Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gay Couple Get Their Cross-Country Move "Lightened" in Oklahoma City

Everyone hates to move, right? And everyone probably has his or her own personal nightmare story about a move gone bad.

But I’d have to say that one would be hard pressed to top the moving-story-from-hell experienced by Adam and Robert. According to the Dallas Voice, the couple had decided to pack up all their belongings and move from Washington State to Dallas so they could be closer to family. Like many other people in the US these days, the couple had been affected by woes like unemployment and foreclosure.

They stopped for the night in Oklahoma City, leaving their moving truck and car attached to it outside in the motel parking lot for the night.

They booked a room with a single bed. Two grown men. Unrelated. One bed.

While they slept, the moving truck, and the attached car, were stolen. The next morning, the moving truck—with everything the couple owned—was found burned and abandoned in a field. The car was missing. You can see in the video that the couple made it out of the ordeal with pretty much only the clothes on their back and their dog.

What’s interesting is that, although Adam and Robert believe they are victims of a hate crime, the Oklahoma City Police Department begs to differ. The officials there believe the only crimes are theft and arson.

I’m with Adam and Robert, in more ways than one. First, I deeply sympathize with them. They lost everything. When they wanted a fresh start, I’m sure this isn’t what they had in mind. I can’t even imagine waking up and finding that all of my belongings, furniture, memorabilia, important papers, everything—had been stolen. But then to find not only that, but that every single item had been incinerated. Second, it’s mighty strange to me that the OCPD doesn’t view this as a hate crime. It simply doesn’t make sense that if these criminals were just out to steal a car why they wouldn’t just detach the car and take it. And if they wanted to steal the truck to make some money (as is usually the case in most thefts), why torch a truck full of valuables and not take anything? Come on!

Let’s just hope Adam and Robert’s string of bad luck ends with this catastrophe. And let’s also hope that the haters who ruined the contents of their lives are caught and brought to justice, hate crime or not.
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Winners of This Year's Lammie Awards

Lambda Awards 

Winners of the 22nd Annual
Lambda Literary Awards

Lesbian Fiction
A Field Guide to Deception, by Jill Malone (Bywater Books)
Gay Fiction
Lake Overturn, by Vestal McIntyre (HarperCollins)
Lesbian Debut Fiction
The Creamsickle, by Rhiannon Argo (Spinsters Ink)
Gay Debut Fiction
Blue Boy, by Rakesh Satyal (Kensington Books)
LGBT Children's/Young Adult
Sprout, by Dale Peck (Bloomsbury USA)
Lesbian Mystery
Death of a Dying Man, by J.M. Redmann (Bold Strokes Books)
Gay Mystery
What We Remember, by Michael Thomas Ford (Kensington Books)
Lesbian Erotica
Lesbian Cowboys, edited by Sacchi Green & Rakelle Valencia (Cleis Press)
Gay Erotica
Impossible Princess, by Kevin Killian (City Lights)            
Bisexual Fiction - A Tie!
Holy Communion, by Mykola Dementiuk (Synergy Press)
Love You Two, by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (Random House Australia)
Bisexual Nonfiction
Leaving India: My Family's Journey From Five Villages to Five Continents, by Minal Hajratwala (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Lynnee Breedlove's One Freak Show, by Lynn Breedlove (Manic D Press)
LGBT Anthology
Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City, edited by Ariel Gore (Lit Star Press)

LGBT Drama
The Collected Plays Of Mart Crowley, by Mart Crowley (Alyson Books)
LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror
Palimpsest, by Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam/Spectra Books)
Lesbian Romance
The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin, by Colette Moody (Bold Strokes Books)
Gay Romance
Drama Queers!, by Frank Anthony Polito (Kensington Books)
Lesbian Poetry
Zero at the Bone, by Stacie Cassarino (New Issues Poetry & Prose)
Gay Poetry
Sweet Core Orchard, by Benjamin S. Grossberg (University of Tampa Press)
LGBT Studies
The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth Century America, by Margot Canaday (Princeton University Press)
LGBT Nonfiction
The Greeks and Greek Love, by James Davidson (Random House)
Lesbian Memoir/Biography
The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin's Press)
Gay Memoir/Biography
Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back, by Reynolds Price (Scribner Books)
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Sunday, May 23, 2010


I'm thrilled to report that I woke up to a glorious, 5-star review of my gay erotic collection, TALES FROM THE SEXUAL UNDERGROUND on Rainbow Reviews. It's one of the best reviews I think I've ever gotten. The reviewer, Indigene, says:

"While this collection as a whole is categorized as erotica, and many of the stories just downright sizzle, being the sexual underground, a few of the stories are inherently dark and by degrees unsettling. Having honed his craft as an author of the horror story and the suspense thriller to the level of standard-setting in both genres, Mr. Reed employs what I term as the “gotcha” technique for some of the darker stories. It is highly effective, whereby the reader is casually reading a seemingly hot erotic tale and all of a sudden the ground shifts and the bottom drops right out from under. And owing to the author's rich descriptions and brilliant mood-setting several of the tales are strongly visual..."

Read the whole review here.

Pick up a copy and read an excerpt here.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Standing Out in a Sea: Book Promoting

I've been thinking a lot lately about book promoting. I have also been thinking about Betty White, good recipes for baked tilapia, and why some people say "reoccuring" when they mean "recurring." But none of those latter topics seem like a good enough subject for a blog...not yet, anyway.

See, when I was a little boy growing up on the banks of the Ohio River, I dreamed of being an author. And the one thing that never crossed my mind in any of those fantasies was book promotion. Back then, it never dawned on me that an integral part of my life as a writer would be hawking my books. And certainly, back in those days of rotary telephones, remoteless TVs, and sending letters through the mail, that there would be such things as Facebook, Twitter, or even more exotic stuff like viral marketing and SEO.

But now it seems like I could spend all day promoting my work via Yahoo Groups (which seem to have several groups for every genre), social networking, blogging, and website maintenance. All that I mean no time for eating, sleeping, reading, exercising, TV, movies...and yes, even writing. There are promo opportunities galore for writers...and all of them can be done right from the comfort of one's laptop. You can literally post excerpts, synopses, good reasons to buy books, and much more 24/7.

But is anyone listening? For example, I belong to several Yahoo Groups, some for horror readers, some for fans of gay fiction, some for fans of ebooks, others for just fans of books in general. Now, if you're one of the uninitiated and you're unaware of these groups, you may be surprised to know there are hundreds of people posting every single day to these groups...and my experience has been that most of the people doing the posting are authors. You post news about your new book, latest review, or whatever, and a thousand other authors are posting right after you, with news about their books.

Is anyone listening?

I happened to notice a writer friend I very much respect and admire--and who is very successful in gay fiction never posts to these groups, doesn't Twitter, shamelessly neglects Facebook and even its sad cousin, MySpace, yet that author's books and readers continue to grow in number, eclipsing even those writers who are blogging and twittering their little hearts out. So I asked her: what's the story? She told me that she long ago came to the conclusion that for her, social networking and chatting up Yahoo groups and the like didn't ever make an appreciable difference in her sales. In fact, she said, once she stopped doing those things (more out of lack of time for it than anything else), her books continued to grow in popularity. She attributed it to two things: the first is having a quality product, or a good, well-written book that people wanted to read; and the second to word-of-mouth, which would follow naturally from having a good, well-written book that people wanted to read. The other things she mentioned was publishing frequently. Gone are the days when writers can wait years for their next book to come out--we are a short-attention span society. And she thought keeping her name in front of readers with regularity made all the difference in her book sales.

Food for thought.

I have been trying lately to evaluate what I should and shouldn't do as an author to let people know about my books. I do blogs like this one. I have a website. I Facebook. I Twitter. I send out regular messages to Yahoo groups, but I wonder: who is reading this stuff? And are they reading it and going on to buy my books?

One thing I have concluded: promotions don't sell books. Books sell books. Give a reader a story they want to read and it will sell. I have published enough to have a handle on what has been successful for me and what hasn't been. Horror? Somewhat. Quirky humor? Eh, not so much. Thrillers? Kinda. Romance? Bingo! Romance readers have to be the hungriest readers out there...and they seem to put their money with their mouths (or should that be eyes?) are.

I guess what this blog is all about are two big questions:

1. If you're a reader, how do you find out about new books? What compels you to buy a book?
2. If you're a writer, what kind of things work best for you to promote your work? Or is it more about just having a quality product and making it available?

I would love it if either, or both, of those groups would take the time to leave me a comment and let me know what gives.

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New Releases from MLR Press

Start stocking up for summer reading!

Current Releases from MLR Press
See our booth at the coming Book Expo America Exhibit in NYC May 26-28th.
Meet Editor Kris Jacen, Artist Deana Jamroz and author/publisher Laura Baumbach!

Title The Code
Author David Juhren
ISBN# 978-1-60820-169-3 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-170-9 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date May 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 188 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
London, 1941, and Roger Mathews, a special attache with the U.S. is teamed up with British captain Clive Westmore to execute a secret plan to secure the final key to solving the Nazi's secret codes from within occupied France. Complicating matters, the two are instantly attracted to each other, beginning a romantic involvement whose tender alliance can only make more intricate their already convoluted mission.

Title The Temple of Skanda
Author Roland Graeme
ISBN# 978-1-60820-167-9 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-168-6 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date May 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 260 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
Determined to turn his life around after a run-in with the law, Conor desperately needs a job, and a place to stay. He finds both with Murray, an importer, who hires Conor as his shipping clerk and live-in handyman. What Conor hadn't counted on was falling in love with his new boss--hopelessly, he thinks, because Murray still seems obsessed with his memories of Derek, the lover he recently broke up with. When Murray takes Conor along on a buying trip to India, the two men team up with Spence, an Australian anthropologist investigating rumors that a secret homosexual religious cult devoted to the Hindu god Skanda exists in parts of rural India. All three men's lives are changed after their initiation into the orgiastic mysteries that are celebrated in the temple of Skanda.

Word on a Wing
Author Jamie Craig
ISBN# 978-1-60820-156-3 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-157-0 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date April 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 248 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
Young, directionless Casey Eller is the perfect bait for a trap Sheriff Kirkland's been laying for fifteen years. On Christmas Eve, he uses Casey to stage incriminating photos of the most powerful man in town, a brutal sadist who takes his pleasure from torturing his subs. A man whose cruelty has only grown since Kirkland subbed for him. When Casey ends up hurt, Kirkland realizes his mistake. Ashamed of himself, he treats Casey's injuries and offers the unconditional acceptance and devotion that a slave craves from his Master. Kirkland knows he can't give Casey a lifetime, but will two days be enough for either of them?

Title Dark Designs
Half Lives Series Book #1
Author Luisa Prieto
ISBN# 978-1-60820-071-9 (print) $17.99
Release Date April 2010
Cover Artist Anne Cain
Paperback: 444 pages

Available At: (paperback)
Barnes & Noble (paperback)

When an enigmatic tattooed woman approaches freelance journalist Kyler Withers, he begins remembering a past life as a mage. Once known as Etherwolf, he served a sentient evil known as the Darkness.
Horrified, Kyler fights to keep his humanity. Against him are growing memories of the monster he previously was. Aiding him is the love he rediscovers he had for a powerful mage artist named Sorin. If Kyler cannot overcome his past, he's afraid he'll help the Darkness destroy everything, starting with his lover.

Title The Good Thief
(ebook release)
Author James Buchanan
ISBN# 978-1-60820-146-4 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date April 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz

Sexual Content: Rated Explicit
Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)

What if the wrong guy, turns out to be the right guy for you? Caesar Serrano thought he screwed up when he landed in the bed of LAPD Officer Nathan Reilly. But when Caesar breaks into the wrong house and stumbles upon a heinous crime, implicating a high ranking LAPD officer, Nate is the only person he knows to turn to. The resulting investigation throws the Blue Brigade into panic. Now he's running for his life and Nate is his only hope for survival. Can two men, on opposite sides of the law, come together to bring a monster to justice?

Title Red
Author Multiple Authors Edited by Kris Jacen
ISBN# 978-1-60820-065-8 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-066-5 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date April 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 218 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
An erotic romance with a dash of ice cold water, a cricket, a pebble, the scent of blood oranges and the color red. With stories from some of the genre's luminaries as well as some newer names, this collection is sure to make you see RED.
SENSE AND SENSUALITY by JP Bowie ~ Alan Robinson has been left a fortune, but what he really wants is someone to love him. When he meets writer Jim Thornton it seems as if his life will now be complete - but can they survive the dysfunctional family that surrounds them?
SCARLET LOVER by P.A. Brown ~ After a rocky start, Jason and Spider have become a couple. Will a visit from Jason's sister help bind the couple or disrupt the still fragile bond between them?

LUDUS SCAENICUS MORTIS RUBRAE by William Maltese ~ Edgar Allen Poe made the party famous; William Maltese provides yet another perspective of the deadly goings-on through the eyes of two lovers.
THE FINAL CURTAIN by Victor J. Banis ~ Be careful what you wish for. Nick wanted the ephemeral young man in the worst way...

BLUSH by Kimberly Gardner ~ Once Vinn might have believed that vampires were nothing but legend and myth. But when his life is threatened by a legend, it takes a myth to save him.

Title All or Nothing
#3 in the Taking the Odds series
Author James Buchanan
ISBN# 978-1-60820-147-1 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-150-1 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date April 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 212 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook) (paperback)
Barnes & Noble (paperback)
Blundering his way forward in his relationship with Nevada Agent Nick O'Malley, Riverside Detective Brandon Carr brings his daughter, Shayna, to Las Vegas to meet Nick. Nick has his own reasons for pushing Brandon toward a deeper commitment. But when the unthinkable happens, what every cop knows ends in tragedy, can Brandon hold it together long enough to solve the crime? As Brandon spirals into the hell of being a cop and a distraught parent will his love of Nick, and Nick's love for him, be enough to see them through? It's all or nothing and they can't afford to lose.

Title Son of a Gun
Author AM Riley
ISBN# 978-1-60820-117-4 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-118-1 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date April 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 253 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
Barnes & Noble (paperback) (paperback)

Politics, drugs and secrets from the past collide in the town of Boerne Texas and end in a chase across the Devil's Backbone.
Stefan Sanchez number one reason to leave Texas was closeted deputy Chet Blain. When Stefan returns for the funeral of his best friend, he is confronted by painful memories, Chet's recriminations, and a hunky Secret Service agent who seems determined to make Stefan's business his business.

Title The Hitch Hiker
#1 in the Tomcat Series
Author Stevie Woods
ISBN# 978-1-60820-176-1 (ebook) $3.50
Release Date April 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz

Sexual Content: Rated Explicit
Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
Ian Grayson's priority is to protect the artifact which could be the answer to all his questions, but he has already been chased across Belize and Mexico by those who would take it from him by any means necessary and he is desperate to find a way to escape from them and get home to Chicago. When he persuades a trucker to give him a ride he has no idea that his life was about to take a whole new direction. When Mackenzie Wallace picks up an unlikely hitch-hiker he soon discovers one should never go by first appearances, Ian Grayson was certainly not what he expected from a Doctor of Archaeology.

Title No Fear
#2 in Conquest Series
Author S. J. Frost
ISBN# 978-1-60820-136-5 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-137-2 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date March 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook) (paperback)
Barnes & Noble (paperback)

After Conquest's long tour, singer Jesse Alexander is ready to head home with his partner, Evan Arden. When Conquest hits the studio again, Jesse finds competition from two new bands and tensions reach a breaking point. Facing challenges unlike any he's ever known, Jesse must somehow duplicate Conquest's success and reach his ultimate goal: showing NO FEAR and announcing his love of Evan publicly.

Title Mahu Men
Author Neil Plakcy
ISBN# 978-1-60820-130-3 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date March 2010
Cover Artist
Paperback: 212 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
Barnes & Noble (paperback) (paperback)

Mixing mystery and erotica, the stories in Mahu Men take readers into the world of openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa'aka. Moving from pickups to murders, Kimo surfs the waves of his professional and personal lives in a sexy, sensual tropical paradise, where danger and desire lurk behind every palm tree.The stories fill the gaps between Neil Plakcy's Mahu novels, showing Kimo dating as well as solving cases and establishing a relationship with his new detective partner. Mixing the sensuality of Plakcy's erotica with the sharp-edged attitude of his mysteries, Mahu Men is a chance for new readers to meet Kimo, and for fans to delve more deeply into his world.

Title Tales From the Sexual Underground
Author Rick R. Reed
ISBN# 978-1-60820-140-2 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-141-9 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date February 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 204 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
Barnes & Noble (paperback) (paperback)
I wanted to write about people who were not just out, but out there, people who lived their sexual lives in ways most of us could only imagine...and for whom the flavor vanilla had absolutely no appeal. I interviewed porn stars, prostitutes, self-proclaimed sex pigs, and delved into bizarre sexual practices. It was eye-opening, arousing, and a lot of fun (but never, never good clean fun). I also include here my favorite dirty stories. They all explore a side of life that exists not in the twilight zone, but in my favorite destination...the sexual underground.

Title L.A. Bytes
#3 in the L.A Series
Author P.A. Brown
ISBN# 978-1-60820-040-5 (print)
978-1-60820-041-2 (ebook)
Release Date February 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 332 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
Barnes & Noble (paperback) (paperback)

Malicious hackers break into Ste. Anne's hospital and alter records, resulting in a patient's death. Chris Bellamere is hired to track them down. It soon becomes obvious this cracker is only starting. Can Chris stop him before he brings a cyber Armageddon down on the city of Angels?

Title Bound To Please
Author Kimberly Gardner
ISBN# 978-1-60820-044-3 (print)
978-1-60820-045-0 (ebook)
Release Date February 2010
Cover Artist Anne Cain
Paperback: 332 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
Barnes & Noble (paperback) (paperback) (kindle)

Brought together for pleasure, bound together by love.
Jason doesn't do monogamy, and as a much sought-after Dom he doesn't have to. But when he gets the chance to play with Benny, his sweet young assistant who wants only to please him, Jason holds back.
Benny's no sub, but for a chance to be with the sexy Dom he's sure he can change. Except he's only fooling himself, and deep down he knows it.
Enter Rain, a sexy badboy who's got a taste for the lash and pretty young things, like Benny. What's a man to do when the two men he lusts after are determined that even a hook-up is not in the cards? Why, orchestrate one single night of pleasure, of course.
But when the whip comes down, and one night isn't enough, it's love, not leather, that's bound to please.

Title The Dark Tide
#5 Adrien English Mystery Series
Author Josh Lanyon
ISBN# 978-1-60820-123-5 (print) $14.99
Release Date February 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 212 pages

Available At: (paperback)
Barnes & Noble (paperback)
When a half-century old skeleton tumbles out of the wall in the midst of the renovation of Cloak and Dagger Bookstore renovation, Adrien turns to hot and handsome ex-lover Jake Riordan -- now out-of-the closet and working as a private detective. Jake is only too happy to have reason to stay in close contact with Adrien, but there are more surprises in Adrien's past than either one of them expects -- and one of them may prove hazardous to Jake's own heart.

Title I Do Two! - Anthology
In support of marriage equality
Author Multiple Authors Edited by Kris Jacen
ISBN# 978-1-60820-128-0 (ebook)
978-1-60820-127-3 (paperback)
Release Date February 2010
Cover Artist Alex Beecroft

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook) (paperback)
Barnes & Noble (paperback)

Love is at the heart of all we want for ourselves so why shouldn't any human being be able to say I Do to a life of commitment and sharing with that special person?
We hope that marriage will soon be a dream that everyone can share.
That's why some of the leading authors of GLBT fiction have donated their talent -- and their heart warming, thought provoking, life affirming stories -- to this anthology, in aid of Lambda Legal Fund's fight for marriage equality.
Ruth Sims; Alex Beecroft; Lee Rowan; Gillian Palmer; Brian Holliday; Rob Rosen; Sophia Deri-Bowen; Nigel Puerasch; Rick R. Reed; Nexis Pas; Michael Gouda; "Nathan Burgoine, Jamie Freeman, Bruin Fisher, D.C. Juris, James Buchanan, L-J Baker, Charlie Cochrane, Neil S. Plakcy, Julia Rios, J.L. Merrow, Lenore Black
All profits from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Lambda Legal Defense to fight Prop 8 in support of marriage equality for all.
(additonal cover design by Deana C. Jamroz)

Title Encore! Encore!
Author Jet Mykles
Kimberly Gardner
Charlie Cochrane
ISBN# 978-1-60820-131-0 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-132-7 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date February 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 240 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook) (paperback)
Barnes & Noble (paperback)
Take a bow and blow a kiss as the curtain falls on love. Or does it? From London's West End to a New York drag bar and onto the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, three couples rediscover the passion that once burned as brightly as the stage lights.
Their plays might be over, but the show goes on. For these players, the heart discovers that just when you think a love story has come to its end, if you have the courage to turn the page then love will make a return to the stage.

Title I, Debauchee
#1 in the "I" series
Author William Maltese
ISBN# 978-1-60820-092-4 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-093-1 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date January 2010
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Paperback: 208 pages
Sexual Content: Rated Explicit
Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)

This is the first in Maltese's m/m "I" SERIES of books that will eventually include I, HUSTLER; I, SATYR; I, VOYEUR; I, MASTER; I, SLAVE; I, CATAMITE... I, DEBAUCHEE takes Maltese fans on a roller-coaster ride into the depths of corruption by intemperance and sensuality as one man is led and, then, leads others, via seduction, on the all-too-easily-taken detour from duty and virtue to homosexual excess and self-indulgence.

Title The Wages of Sin
Author Alex Beecroft
ISBN# 978-1-60820-125-9 (ebook)
Release Date January 2010
Cover Artist
Paperback: 230 pages

Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)

Charles Latham, wastrel younger son of the Earl of Clitheroe, returns home drunk from the theatre to find his father gruesomely dead. He suspects murder. But when the Latham ghosts turn nasty, and Charles finds himself falling in love with the priest brought in to calm them, he has to unearth the skeleton in the family closet before it ends up killing them all.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why AM Riley, Author of IMMORTALITY IS THE SUCK, Writes

Today, we have multi-faceted m/m romance and horror author AM Riley with us. AM gives us a fascinating glimpse into her creative process. Read on...

Why I Write
By AM Riley

I have always loved the sound of my own voice. And, by ‘my own voice’ I mean the one in my head, not that nasal, Chicago accented, sound that comes out of my mouth whenever I speak.

The voice in my head. The androgynous, cynical worldy weirdo, has been driving me crazy with commentary since I was seven and stayed for several nights in a hospital following an appendectomy. It first came out of the mouth of a hand puppet that the hospital gave kiddies. Pink, with a pom pom at the top of his pointed hat. A bump of a nose and a mouth shaped like an open ‘V’. Shades of Chuckie, man. At first he was my sidekick. He said, “Holy Gadzooks, Batman!” He said, “I don’t know, Yogi, I don’t think the nurses would like that.” He said, “What are we going to do today, Pinkie?” And I said, “Take over the world!” It was only later that I became HIS sidekick.

I started writing him down when I was in Junior High Sschool. So. Part of the reason I write is to indulge that voice.

And then, I crave Justice. With the capital ‘J’. I crave murderers and mean people getting their comeuppance. I crave sacrifice having meaning. I crave everybody finding that one person that can love them for themselves. I can’t get that in life but I can make it happen in stories. And so I do.

And, finally, there’s a certain sort of book I look for at bookstores and libraries and seldom find. When I do I read it over and over until the pages disintegrate. Those books were the only thing keeping me from flying off the wheel of life a few times, and I aspire, someday, to write one.

And that’s it.

Oh, and the fabulous amount of money I make. haha.

AM Riley is a film editor, and sometime poet, living in Los Angeles. Riley writes primarily LGBT paranormal and murder mysteries, and has been published with Torquere Press, MLR Press, and Loose ID. Visit her website.
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Free EBook: 20 Tips for Writers

Click here to get a special free ebook: 20 Tips for Writers.
20 Tips for Writers by Douglas Clegg - free ebook.

Please share this ebook with others, post it on your blog, on facebook, twitter, Myspace — wherever you go online.
Thank you!
– Douglas Clegg
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bristlecone Pine Press Call for Submissions

Pictures and photographs capture our faces and preserve our memories. Generations later, they spark our imaginations, making us wonder: Who is in the picture? What are they doing? How are they feeling?

Vintage is a call for written works inspired by pictures or photographs. We are looking for authors who will tell us the story behind those two men on the beach…or standing next to bench…or staring out a window…or looking oddly shy in each other’s presence. We want high quality, original fiction that will draw the reader into world of the photo or picture, to share and reminisce.


Length: Short novels, 10K to 50K words

Theme: Historical love stories that feature a relationship between male same-sex couples, inspired by a picture or photograph. While the actual taking of the photograph (or painting of the picture) does not need to be included in the narrative, the picture/photo does need to be included in the storyline. If you want examples of what we are thinking of, you might want to read Our One and Only by E.N. Holland or Lover’s Knot by Donald Hardy (see in particular, pp. 259-260 and p. 324).

For the purposes of this collection, “historical” is defined as any time in history in which a photograph or painted picture could be produced, with a cut-off date of 1985. Love stories, to us, are those stories that tell of a relationship in a realistic and meaningful way. We do not have a requirement for a “happy ever after” or a “happy for now” ending although that certainly would be acceptable. We recognize the challenges that same-sex couples have faced in the past (and continue to face, but that’s another story) and that can be portrayed, although we also would like these relationships shown in a loving and positive way, to the extent that is possible, given time and circumstance.

Characters can be any age from 15 on up. For stories that feature characters under the age of 18, the relationship must be consensual and presented in a positive light. Teenagers exploring a first, forbidden love would be fine; an older man raping a younger boy would not. It should go without saying but we’ll say it anyway: no incest or bestiality. No vampires or werewolves, no paranormals, although if a story featured a ghost in the old fashioned, classic definition of a ghost story, that would be considered. Again, Lover’s Knot is a good example of the latter.

As these are love stories, characters making love can certainly be included but we do not have a requirement for a set number of sex scenes or level of explicitness. Let your own judgment be your guide: if it is important to the story, include it; if not, leave it out. In general, we are looking for books written for an adult audience.


Query: Send an email to . Include Query: Vintage and the proposed title of your book in the subject line. In the body of the email, include a one paragraph (150-200 word) synopsis of the story. Attach to the email: 1) the photo/picture that inspired you; and 2) the first 5000 words of your story, in a Word doc or PDF. Manuscripts do not need to be complete to be submitted. If an incomplete manuscript is accepted, the completed manuscript will be due two (2) months after the final contract is negotiated and signed. Publication will be two (2) months after a final, completed, edited manuscript is signed off by the author and accepted by the publisher.

Please include your contact information including name, address, email address, and phone number. Queries can be submitted under a pen name, if one is used, although a legal name will be required for a contract, if one is offered.

Queries will be acknowledged upon receipt. A final decision on acceptance/rejection will be made within two (2) weeks. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please re-send, as messages do get lost in cyberspace.

Photograph/Picture and Cover: All books in the Vintage series will use the template cover, as illustrated here, substituting the author’s name, book title, and photograph/picture. Photographs/pictures must be in the public domain or you must have documented permission for its use.

Production, Sales, and Payment

Production: All books will be edited by BCPP staff. Books will be assigned an ISBN and listed in Books in Print. Covers, as noted above, will use the Vintage template.

Format: eBook only. BCPP produces books in a variety of formats that can be read on multiple devices, including laptops/PCs, smartphones/PDAs, iPhones/iPads, the Nook, the Sony e-reader, and the Amazon Kindle. Books are sold in several outlets including Amazon, All Romance ebooks, and OmniLit. We do not sell in the Sony store, although books are sold in a format that is readable on the Sony e-reader. Plans are in the works to sell in the AppleStore.

Pricing: Books will priced and sold according to length: up to 15K words, $2.99; 15K to 30K words, $3.99; 30K words and above, $5.99.

Royalties and Advances: BCPP is a traditional royalty paying publisher. At the time the book is deployed for sale at the outlets through which we sell, an advance (against royalties) will be paid, based on length: up to 15K words, $25; 15K to 30K words, $50; 30K words and above, $100. After that, royalties are paid quarterly at a rate of 40% of the net proceeds to the publisher.

Marketing: Marketing is a joint effort between the author and the publisher. All Vintage books will be featured on the Bristlecone Pine Press website ( and included in our catalog. We will submit review copies to popular review sites, including Speak Its Name and Reviews by Jessewave. We hope that the Vintage books become a recognizable and popular series that readers will look forward to and purchase impulsively.


This is an ongoing call for submissions. At present there is no deadline. Submissions are welcome at any time. Please feel free to direct questions about this call to the publisher, Leslie H. Nicoll, at

The Bristlecone Pine Press editorial team looks forward to hearing from you!
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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Has "Sluggo" Snared You Yet?

Here's one from my latest e-book short, a story that manages to be both chilling and humorous in an offbeat way.

BUY "Sluggo" here: 


When Sluggo cruises online chat rooms, he isn’t looking for a hook-up, he’s looking for love. But love has a way of being elusive, especially when you’re not being honest. Presenting himself as “Sir Raven,” Sluggo promises his chat room cohorts he is the “master of the night.”

And then he meets someone who challenges him—someone who claims the title, “master of the night” as his own. TepesAllure’s enigmatic and flirtatious messages to Sluggo start out as fun banter, but quickly turn to eerie disquiet.
How does TepesAllure know so much about Sluggo's life? How can he know—without even a picture to go on—what Sluggo looks like? And what’s all this about an age numbering in the centuries and a curious taste for blood?

Has Sluggo snared a vampire? Or has the vampire snared him? As the night unfolds, so do the advances of TepesAllure...and even when Sluggo tries to escape, he finds that getting out is not nearly as easy as getting in.

But to make their online connection real, TepesAllure needs Sluggo to invite him in. Will Sluggo succumb to Tepes’ allure? And will the man of his dreams turn out to be a nightmare?

The screen was blank. Even though Sluggo knew that this only meant he was just joining the chat, he preferred instead to imagine the whole room waiting with bated breath for him to speak. Of course, the room was full to bursting with muscular, naked Adonises whose only variation was the color of their hair and eyes. They were all oiled up and stroking cocks with a minimum of eight inches.
Oh stop!

Sluggo readjusted his pajama bottoms and typed, “Good evening, gentlemen,” and waited. Within moments, another message popped up, from a familiar screen name: Flshsinner.

“How you doin’, Raven?”

“Looking for love in all the wrong places.”


Hmm. This one was easy to amuse. “What brings you out on this cold winter night?”

Sluggo waited for a full minute and when he got no response, typed: “I am Sir Raven, master of the night.”

There was virtual silence and Sluggo had assumed his bold statement had scared Flshsinner away.

Good riddance if he can’t handle a simple statement of fact.

A screen name Sluggo had never seen, TepesAllure, popped up. “I thought I was master of the night.”

Bitch! How dare someone try to horn in on his carefully developed persona! With trembling fingers, he typed, “I don’t know if there’s room for two masters.”

Tepes simply sent back one of those cartoon smiley faces in reply.

Sluggo typed: “Tepes, there’s not enough room. What do you care to do about it?”

Flshsinner joined in. “Uh-oh, a cat fight?”

A tiny electronic gong alerted him that he had a private instant mail message from Tepes. “Listen, sir, I have more reason to be master of the night than you could ever dream.”

Sluggo snorted and responded, “What do you know of my dreams, Tepes?”

“I know they’re the only lively thing shedding light in a bland void.”

The message chilled him, as on target as it was, with its casual cruelty. Sluggo wasn’t sure he should go on. Something about this one sent an icy glissando of fear up and down his spine. He had the odd sensation he was dealing here with someone who knew him. But that couldn’t be. His whole persona was pretty much the exact opposite of who he really was. Of course, this TepesAllure was just grasping at straws and trying to get a rise out of him, but his words cut a bit too close to the bone.

“Who knows what are dreams and what is reality?” Sluggo’s fingers rapidly caressed the keyboard. “Perhaps my reality is the color and passion-filled world you could only envy.”

“I have no envy for the walking wounded, past his prime and desperate.”

Sluggo sucked in a breath, almost wincing. The words hurt almost as much as if someone had delivered a punch to his gut. His mouth suddenly felt dry. He leaned back and rubbed his eyes. Perhaps this was the Cyber god’s way of telling him he should have circumvented his den tonight and headed for the warmth and comfort of his flannel sheets, no matter how many hours he lay awake, tracing hairline cracks in his bedroom ceiling.

“Hello? Sir Raven? I haven’t scared you away, have I?”

BUY "Sluggo" here:
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Why I Write" by Rockstar Author S.J. Frost

This week, I am excited to have S.J. Frost with us. S.J. has two m/m romances set in the rock music industry with MLR Press, Conquest and No Fear. Let's see what rocks SJ world when it comes to writing...

Why Do You Write?
By S.J. Frost

Initially, writing for me was a hobby, something I did because I enjoyed storytelling.  For years I wrote not knowing what my goal was with it, or why I couldn’t stop.  Even before I started to seek getting my work published, there was satisfaction that came with finishing a story, and for a while, I thought this sense of accomplishment was part of the reason I kept at it.  As I and my writing matured, and the publications started to come, with them followed the true answer to why I write.  It’s to reach people.  Whether it’s simply making someone smile or changing how they view a certain aspect of the world, I’ve learned the greatest gift of writing is that it gives.

When I get told from people that one of my stories has made them laugh or cry or given them hope in their own lives, I always become humbled to the point of speechlessness, and every time I remember, this is the meaning of writing.  This is why it’s valuable, why I need to keep going at it even when I’m tired, frustrated, and have the world outside my imagination pulling me in ten different directions.  It’s not for me, it’s for everyone out there who has an interest in my work.

With this understanding, I came to another realization.  Once my work is released, it stops being mine.  Yes, the stories and characters will always “belong” to me, but all of it has moved beyond me.  My characters are now melding their stories into the lives of readers.  They’ve gone from just living in my head to existing in the minds of so many others, and in this way, they’ve truly been given life.  They’re out in the world, meeting new people and forming relationships with them.  Sure, it may sound a little odd to think of it like that, but haven’t you ever read a book where the story and characters resonate so powerfully you feel like you know them?  I know I have, and to think my characters could do the same for others is almost too amazing for me to fully comprehend it.

I admit, all these realizations have been recent for me, within the past couple years.  Just as it can take years for an author to find their voice, so it can also take a long time to fully understand why you write and what your goals are.  For me, my work is to provide entertainment, and in giving that, I hope to have my characters touch readers’ lives, even if it’s just giving them a smile.  Maybe that goal sounds simple, maybe it even sounds easy, but to me it’s something of the highest value and importance.

S.J. Frost resides in Ohio on a mini-ranch with her family and a menagerie of pets.  Her short stories have been featured in several romance and erotica anthologies, and her debut novel, Conquest, is available from MLR Press, along with its sequel, No Fear.  To learn more about her writing, please feel welcome to visit her website.
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Monday, May 3, 2010

Agent Says "No Thank You" to Gay Romance

Okay, so just this morning I learned that an excellent writer of gay romance, ZA Maxfield was at the Romantic Times convention last week and bagged herself a NY literary agent. I don't have all the details and I couldn't be more pleased for ZA. I had the honor of meeting (and shopping and dining with) her in New Orleans this year at EPICon and I immediately fell in love with her charming and self-effacing personality. And from what I've read of her work, I know she's deserving of excellent and big-time representation.

But this blog isn't really about celebrating ZA's latest career accomplishment. It's about a stipulation I heard about that was attached to ZA's signing with this agent. I got the news about ZA's coup from my publisher (who also publishes ZA), who said in an e-mail:

"...let me mention that our own dear, sweet, adorable, fabulous ZA Maxfield bagged a NY agent this last week and she wasn't even trying. Nor does she have a manuscript.  YES, she's that good!
They don't want her to write m/m, but they want her and her writing talent, style and voice. How awesome is that? I'm so very proud of her!"

After I got over the feeling of pride and happiness for my new friend, I thought: "wait a minute. What was that part about they 'don't want her to write m/m'?" I confirmed with ZA, who loves writing m/m (or gay) romance and says that she now needs to come up with a "het" book.

And that made me pause. It's not an earth-shattering revelation to me that the NY publishing world is much more equipped to deal with and welcoming to manuscripts that feature straight characters and like their love stories between one man and one woman. It's not even a surprise to me that if you want to really carve out a more lucrative living for yourself as a writer of popular fiction, you are probably better served by keeping your gay characters secondary (if they exist at all) and your "het" characters at the forefront. I know this from my own experience. My first book, a straight horror novel called Obsessed, still has sold more copies than all of my other books put together. I realize that more factors play into Obsessed's success than straight vs. gay characters, but it still made me think about how the old guard--NY publishing--still for the most part embraces heterosexuality in its offerings.

And before you cry "homophobia" I will say something that might surprise you: I understand their "het"'s a business decision, not a socio-political one. ZA's agent is not being homophobic when she says she wants her new client to write straight romance, she's being realistic. Don't kid yourself, agents aspire to make money and while they may work with literature, the almighty dollar is their first priority. And straight romance sells.

It's interesting this news came along when it did, because just last week I was becoming acquainted with another writer of gay-themed stuff and he said, "I feel the homophobia in publishing is pretty pervasive. Not in the traditional sense but more in the literal sense -- they're "afraid" of gay content because they're "afraid" they don't know how to handle it and they're "afraid" publishers will be "afraid" of it and not buy it."

The sad thing, I suppose, from my perspective is that New York is still, for the most part, afraid to give gay themes and major gay characters a chance to even see how well they sell. I know from experience there is a hungry market out there for gay fiction, yet it's really mainly very small presses who are publishing it to any great extent. Maybe it's a niche market with no crossover appeal and I have no idea what I'm talking about. Maybe the average Jane in Peoria, IL likes her romance heavily peppered with "he" and "she" and couldn't care less about two men in love.

Whatever. The bottom line for me is I'm happy for ZA Maxfield and wish her amazing success; I know she deserves it. And perhaps if she becomes a household name for writing straight romance, people will go back and pick up her early work, great m/m books like St. Nachos, Notturno, Drawn Together, and others and they'll see that gay love stories really have a lot in common with straight ones...and she will help open the door to making a niche market more mainstream.

Well, I can dream, can't I? And in the meantime, I'll continue to write my stories about my people. It's what I care most about...even if the potential for big money might not be the same as if I wrote about straight characters.

Success isn't always measured in dollars.

What do you think?
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

THE BLUE MOON CAFE Garners Its First Award

I just wanted to share my good news with you! My gay werewolf novel, THE BLUE MOON CAFE, was just awarded the CTRR (Coffee Time Reviewer's Recommend Award) from Coffee Time Romance & More.  This award recognizes outstanding writing styles in all book types and genres. THE BLUE MOON CAFE received this award because reviewer Danielle felt it was "above and beyond a 5 Cup Rating" (their highest rating).

Here's a link to the award.
And a link to their review.
And, of course, a link to buy your own copy (and read a short excerpt).


Someone--or something--is killing Seattle’s gay men.
A creature moves through the darkest night, lit only by the full moon, taking them, one by one, from the rain city’s gay gathering areas.

Someone--or something--is falling in love with Thad Matthews.

Against a backdrop of horror and fear, young Thad finds his first true love in the most unlikely of places—a new Italian restaurant called The Blue Moon Cafe. Sam is everything Thad has ever dreamed of in a man: compassionate, giving, handsome, and with brown eyes Thad feels he could sink into. And Sam can cook! But as the pair’s love begins to grow, so do the questions and uncertainties, the main one being, why do Sam’s unexplained disappearances always coincide with the full moon?

Prepare yourself for a unique blend of dark suspense and erotic romance with The Blue Moon Cafe, written by the author Unzipped magazine called, “the Stephen King of gay horror.” You’re guaranteed an unforgettable reading experience, one that skillfully blends the hottest romance with the most chilling terror...

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