Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Search for Permanence

My mother used to joke that she'd need to get a new address book just for all the different addresses I've had. If I were to publish a roster of all the different places I've lived in my adult life, it would make for a longer-than-usual blog. You'd probably call me a nomad, a wanderer, someone who can't stay in one place too long.

And yet I am a true, dyed-in-the-wool Cancer; my home is vitally important to me. So why all the moving around? Restless?

For the first 18 years of my life, I grew up in the same house, on the same street in the same little Ohio River pottery town called East Liverpool, Ohio. Hilly and situated just where Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia meet, it's where my roots are and where most of my family continues to live to this day, making up a part of its population of 12,000, give or take a few.

But then I went away to college. For a little boy who always dreamed of living in New York City and couldn't wait to get out of the little burg where I was reared, you'd think I'd choose a more happening, urban school than Miami University. Miami is pretty, bucolic, in the tiny town of Oxford, Ohio, which has a population (minus the students) of even fewer than my home town. But it was where I went and where I got a great education (mainly from a wonderful creative writing professor named Milton White). I lived there for four engaged there and followed my fiancee to:

Chicago. Now we're talkin'. This was the big city life I'd always dreamed of, and where my nomadic existence really took hold. In my twenty or so years in the windy city, I lived in no fewer than twelve different places, from the northside lakefront suburb of Evanston, to the Chicago neighborhoods of Rogers Park, Edgewater, Lakeview, Ravenswood Manor, and Lincoln Square.

I took time out of my extended stay in Chicago to move to Peoria, IL, where I lived for four years. Then Tampa, FL, where I lived for two, then back to Chicago.

Then Miami for a year and a half and now I just celebrated my two-year anniversary here in Seattle, where I've lived in the same townhouse since we moved here back in 2008. I hope to stay here for quite a while, maybe until I die. My partner and I are looking into buying a place in the spring, so that will mean another move, but at least within the same city.

But who knows where I'll end up? Almost all of these moves were unpredictable. I never planned on living in Tampa, Miami, Chicago, or Seattle. It just happened. Circumstances. Jobs. Men.

Who knows where I'll end up? Maybe next door to you.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Take the American Morality Survey

The so-called "Public Advocate of the United States" is passing around the "American Morality Survey" hoping that it will definitively show Americans do NOT support equal rights in marriage, jobs, and education.

Let's tip the scales in favor of decency and equality by taking their survey and showing them what's right.

I did. It was only five quick questions, and I'm sure they expect you to side with them.

This, in part, is what I got in response after I clicked the submit button for my survey:

"Dear fellow American,

I would like to thank you for completing the American Morality survey. The Radical Homosexuals claim you and other pro-family Americans actually now support same-sex marriage, special job preferences for homosexuals and promotion of the homosexual lifestyle in schools.

Now that I have your completed survey, we can prove to Congress that the American people do not support the Homosexual Agenda.

I know you understand just how serious this issue is..."

Hope you will stand up for true democracy and take the survey today.

Take the survey here.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Judge Strikes Down Counseling Grad Students' Refusal to Counsel LGBT Students

Homophobe J. Keaton
So Jennifer Keaton filed suit to keep from being expelled by her graduate counseling program for her "problems" with counseling LGBT students.

She lost.

Keaton has been quoted as saying she would tell LGBT clients that their behavior was "morally wrong" and she would try to get them to "change." She also said she would refer LGBT clients to other counselors. "Yuck, I just can't handle being around gay people! It gives me the willies!" No, she didn't really say that, but I like to imagine her saying it...and it's not that far afield to surmise, anyway.

You can read the whole story at The Bilerico Project Report. But the story made me think of my own experiences with coming out and with two therapists I had the misfortune and good luck working with. The first, who shall remain nameless, was part of a counseling program at a suburban Chicago hospital. He reassured me I could "change" and that I wasn't gay at all. No, he posited, because I had such a bad relationship with a distant, perfectionist father, I was merely seeking love and affection from other men and that, once I had a solid relationship with a good buddy, I could move on and be a straight fella, normal in every respect.

I can't tell you how much damage his "counseling" did to me and my life, delaying my acceptance of myself for many years and encouraging me to continue the self-loathing and self-denial that had, sadly, marked most of my adult life. I have a feeling this counselor would understand where Jennifer Keaton was coming from.

Thankfully, the world has changed enough to not uphold Keaton's protest that she not be expelled from her university grad program for her homophobe beliefs and her refusal to treat LGBT people as human beings.

And thankfully, for me, years later, I braced myself and went back to see another counselor. He wouldn't understand Keaton's logic. He encouraged me to accept myself. He told me to take off my mask and stop pretending to be someone or something I was not. He told me there was nothing wrong with who I was, other than the fact that I was hiding from that person at my core...that person no one knew. He showed me that until I accepted and loved myself, I couldn't really have love and acceptance from others--not in any real way. He was what a counselor should be--affirming, supportive, strengthening.

And non-judgmental.

Jennifer, if you're reading this, I encourage you to think about my story. Like you, I thought my feelings were "wrong" and that I could "change". If you ever do become a counselor, Jennifer, I urge you to remember what happened to me--lines of counseling like yours can only harm. And that, to me, is not a very Christian thing to do to your fellow man or woman.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Vampire Novel to Remember: MOZART'S BLOOD by Louise Marley

Hope you'll take the time to check out my latest review at "Grimoire" my book review column at Dark Scribe magazine. This month, I'm giving my thoughts of one of the most accomplished vampire novels I've read in years, Mozart's Blood.

Here's a taste:

"Just when you think you’ve read everyone in horror who matters, along comes Louise Marley with her amazing and lyrical vampire tale, Mozart’s Blood. Gripping, artful, tellingly detailed, and impossible to put down, Mozart’s Blood is that rare kind of horror novel that works on more than one level. It’s visceral. It’s evocative. It’s scary. It envelops you in atmosphere and delivers on its promise to tell a compelling story.

There’s that old saw – you know the one – about there being nothing new under the sun. Well, I’ve often heard that about vampire stories. They’ve been around so long and told in so many ways and with so many variations, is there really anything new left to say? Or is everything written about vampires just a rehash of the same old tropes we know, love, and dread?

Louise Marley has taken the vampire mythos (and, stunningly, the werewolf one, too) and breathed new life into it. Breathing new life into the undead, whether you’re speaking literally or about literature, is no easy feat. But Marley, with her tale of an opera diva who was “turned” during a ménage a trois with Mozart himself and a Czech aristocrat, has used her imagination to craft something wholly original and often beautiful to behold.

Louise Marley has taken the vampire mythos (and, stunningly, the werewolf one, too) and breathed new life into it. Breathing new life into the undead, whether you’re speaking literally or about literature, is no easy feat. But Marley, with her tale of an opera diva who was “turned” during a ménage a trois with Mozart himself and a Czech aristocrat, has used her imagination to craft something wholly original and often beautiful to behold..."

Read the rest of the review here.

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Monday, August 23, 2010


Another positive review for my haunted house story from OUT IN PRINT:

"A Demon Inside is a rip-snorter of a read with enough spooky scenes, chilling night-time visitations and cackling, otherworldly laughter to put a few shadows into even the warmest, safest summer night. You don’t have to wait for Halloween to get your chills – start the scaring season early with the ever-dependable Rick R. Reed."

Read the whole review here.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Joyfully Reviewed Does A DEMON INSIDE

I just wanted to share with you a great new review of my haunted/possessed house story, A Demon Inside at Joyfully Reviewed. The reviewer says, in part:

"A Demon Inside shows why Rick R. Reed is so well-regarded in horror circles.  I’ll tell you right now, this book is creepy... horror fans can rejoice—it’s not often that the elements of gay romance and horror are combined without sacrificing the suspense.  "

Read the full review here.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Five Tombstones for THE BLUE MOON CAFE!

Paranormal review site Bitten by Books gives THE BLUE MOON CAFE five tombstones and calls it a "luscious dark chiller" and "a deliciously horrifying adventure."

Read the whole review here.


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 rainy 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?

Get your copy here.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Garage Sale Find

Recently, I heard from a reader in Wisconsin, who had found my very first novel at a garage sale (the original is now out-of-print, so it was a good find). Anyway, the note touched me and I thought I'd share it with you here:

I always look at the books first. Today was no different. A paperback caught my eye and, soon, made me smile. The previous owner hand penciled Excellent + ! on the first page of the front matter -- the blurb page. A ringing endorsement, obviously, but from whom, I had no way of knowing.

The author, whose photo was on the inside back cover, was a handsome man with a soulful, penetrating gaze.

So where do the joy and guilt come in? I'd just found an obviously well-loved copy of Obsessed by Rick R. Reed, published by the Abyss (Dell horror) line, copyright 1991. There's the joy. The guilt? I now owe Rick royalties on 25 cents. :-)

(Seriously, I was thrilled to have found this!)

Even though that original can now only be found at used outlets and, of course, garage sales, you can still buy a copy of the reissued edition from Amazon.
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

20 Gay Literature Classics: How Many Have You Read?

The LA Times have named the following books gay classics. Maybe one day, I'll make the list (hey! I can dream, can't I?).

Anyway, a lot of these books mean so much to me, as I read them on my long and arduous journey out of the closet. I have read 13 of them and have placed asterisks next to those. The others I need to get to soon.

How many have you read? What books are missing?
*"Giovanni’s Room" by James Baldwin -- a man discovers his sexual identity in Paris
"Nightwood" by Djuna Barnes -- early postmodern fiction of women in Paris in love
"Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" by Alison Bechdel -- a graphic novel memoir of her troubled gay father and her own coming out
*"Rubyfruit Jungle" by Rita Mae Brown -- the 1973 tale of a young woman’s coming of age
*"Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs -- the focus of a breakthrough obscenity trial, a landmark experimental novel
*"Oscar Wilde" by Richard Elmann -- bio of the lively writer whose gay relationship got him sent to prison for “gross indecency”
*"Maurice" by E.M. Forster -- a love story written when homosexuality was illegal in England; published posthumously
"The Well of Loneliness" by Radclyffe Hall -- groundbreaking lesbian novel of the 1920s
"Invisible Life" by E. Lynn Harris -- an African American law student's sexual discovery
*"Howl" by Allen Ginsberg -- the poem was subject to an obscenity trial in part because of its explicit gay themes
*"Our Lady of the Flowers" by Jean Genet -- published in 1944, sexual adventures in Paris' criminal underground
"American Studies" by Mark Marlis -- an aging man looks back; won the LA Times book prize for first fiction
*"Tales of the City" by Armistead Maupin -- in San Francisco, the stories about Michael Tolliver continued in five sequels
*"Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir" by Paul Monette. A breathtaking yet matter-of-fact, day by day account of the death of his longtime partner from AIDS.
*"Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx -- a story of cowboys in love, from the collection "Close Range"
*"City of Night" by John Rechy -- a novel of gay street hustlers in the 1950s 
"The Complete Poems" by Sappho -- a woman's love poetry from the seventh century BC
*"The Queen Is Dead" by Hubert Selby Jr. -- a story of a transvestite's death, from the collection "Last Exit to Brooklyn"
"The Master" by Colm Toibin -- an imagining of the life of Henry James
*"Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" by Jeanette Winterson -- a young woman’s sexual awakening that won the Whitbread Prize for first fiction

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

FREE on Kindle: MANIA

From time to time, I will post on here books that have cropped up for FREE on Kindle. Be sure to check back frequently, because these books often don't stay free for long. Today's book is Mania by Craig Larsen.

A City Gripped By Fear. . .
Seattle newspaper photographer Nick Wilder has snapped his fair share of gruesome homicide scenes. But when a serial killer dubbed the Street Butcher takes his sick crimes to new depths of depravity, Nick finds the case suddenly getting to him in more ways than one. . .
A Killer Who Knows No End. . .
With each new murder Nick is shocked by what he won't soon forget. But the deeper he digs, the closer he gets to his own disturbing past--and the more he must risk to unmask an unpredictable, deranged psychopath. As the motives multiply and the suspects mount, the cold, stark Seattle winter is about to turn even chillier. . .

Get your copy here.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Tale of Two Covers

Sometimes, our best intentions go awry. Recently, I wrote a blog revealing the cover for my upcoming gay romance novel, Tricks, from MLR Press (look for it in late September/early October). Well, the cover below, which I thought was wonderful (designed by the talented Alex Beecroft), was fated to live a short and uneventful life:

See, that cover, after everything was all laid out and put together, was almost identical to the cover used by another publisher, Dreamspinner Press, for their anthology, Sindustry II. This is what happens occasionally when we rely on stock photography for cover images.

Too close. Just wouldn't do. I had to say goodbye to the original cover concept.

Out of the ashes arose a second cover (by the amazing Deana Jamroz) which I think is absolutely stunning and puts a face on my book that I could only have dreamed of.

 So it's nice to get a happy ending.

Here's a look at the the whole wraparound, front, back and spine, for the upcoming Tricks.

And here's what Tricks is about:
Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic. In Rick R. Reed’s searing love story, it means all three. Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago’s Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks, but nursing his wounds from a recent break-up.

When the two spy each other, magic blooms.

But this opposites-attract tale does not run smooth. What happens when Arliss is approached by one of the biggest porn producers in the business? Can he make his dreams of stardom come true without throwing away the only real love he’s ever known? And will this question even matter if the mysterious producers realize their dark intentions?

Watch for it this fall!

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Monday, August 9, 2010

FREE on Kindle: A Little Death in Dixie

From time to time, I will post on here books that have cropped up for FREE on Kindle. Be sure to check back frequently, because these books often don't stay free for long. Today's book is A Little Death in Dixie.

The Blues were born out of need, anger and pride. Murder comes from those same dark places. Memphis has both. One of Memphis' most seductive and notorious socialites has vanished. Either she's off on another drunken escapade or the disappearance is something much more frightening. What begins as an ordinary day's work for Detective Billy Able quickly grows into a complex spider's web of tragedy, mystery, suspicion, and sordid secrets including a few of Billy's own. With the help of Mercy Snow, the estranged sister of the missing socialite, Billy follows a twisted trail of human frailty and corruption to disturbing truths that undermine everything he thought he knew about himself and the people he loves.

Get your FREE (for now, anyway) copy here.

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