Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Submission CHASER

Just submitted my new novel, CHASER, to my publisher. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Here's what the new novel is about:

Caden DeSarro is what is known in gay parlance as a chubby chaser. Although lean himself, the handsome young man has always been drawn to guys who have a little meat on their bones.

And when Caden spies Kevin Dodge when he’s out bar-hopping in Chicago’s Boystown one night with his best friend Bobby, the bells of attraction chime. Seen from across a crowded bar, Caden refers to Kevin in his mind as “Beefy Blond” and isn’t even sure he’ll ever have the chance to meet this man who is his physical ideal. A chance late-night encounter on the el throws the two men together—and on the path toward not only a hot one-night stand, but also toward the longer-lasting state of true romance.

But, as Shakespeare once penned, “the course of true love never did run smooth,” and Kevin and Caden’s romance is no exception. When Caden is called away for several weeks to take care of an ailing mother, Kevin decides he will surprise him with a whole new—lean and buff—body when he returns.

But what happens to the pair when one of them is no longer the other’s physical ideal? And what if this new physical ideal creates great attraction and temptation for not only a lot of other men, but for Caden’s best friend, the promiscuous and drop-dead gorgeous Bobby?

The answers await you in CHASER, Rick R. Reed’s first full-length contemporary romantic novel.
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Story Spotlight: A DEMON INSIDE

I thought I'd give you all a little taste of a different book each week. And I'd love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below and let me know if this made you want to read more.

This week, I'm featuring my haunted house story, A Demon Inside. Bookwenches Reviews said, "...A Demon Inside does not lead you gently into the wading pool; it shoves you into the deep end of horror...I plan to read it again, if only to remind myself what constitutes a satisfying scare..."

BUY A Demon Inside

Hunter Beaumont doesn't understand his grandmother's deathbed wish: "Destroy Beaumont House." He'd never even heard of the place. But after his grandmother passes and his first love betrays him, the family house in the Wisconsin woods looks like a tempting refuge. Going against his grandmother's wishes, Hunter flees to Beaumont House.

But will the house be the sanctuary he had hoped for? Soon after moving in, Hunter realizes he may not be alone. And with whom--or what--he shares the house may plunge him into a nightmare from which he may never escape. Sparks fly when he meets his handsome neighbor, a caretaker for the estate next door, but is the man his salvation...or is he the source of Hunter's terror?

Nana lies propped once more on the pillows, her eyes engaging and imploring him. “Destroy Beaumont House.” His grandmother makes the command over and over again, a litany, her voice dead and toneless. Soon, other voices join in, people hidden in shadows in corners of the room. The chorus rises in volume until it hurts his ears.
And then it stops. Hunter moves toward his grandmother, but before his eyes, she morphs into something else, something scaly, with yellow feral eyes.

Hunter awakened all at once. There was no swimming upward out of a haze of sleep. He shivered and looked over to see he had left the window open to cool himself after his bath, but now the room was freezing, the pale curtains billowing inward. They made Hunter think of ghosts. He got out of bed, hearing the soft hiss of rain outside. He pulled the windows closed and hurried to get back beneath his comforter, pulling it up to his chin. He didn’t know if he would get back to sleep tonight, at least not with the imagery from his nightmare still so fresh in his mind.

What did it mean? Was it some sort of omen? Or just psychological residue, his mind processing the odd and frightening day he had had?

Either way, the dream still clung to him, like something sticky and wet, disturbing him when he knew it shouldn’t. If it was something paranormal, like an omen, shouldn’t he listen? After all, what were omens anyway, other than warnings? And more logically, if it was his own psyche’s wake up call to him, then maybe he should stop and consider these thoughts he was having of taking up residence in rural Wisconsin.

And finally, he thought of Nana. Beyond the dream images, beyond her final pathetic entreaty about the house, Nana stayed alive in his heart for all the good she did. She had taken him, as a shell-shocked little boy, and raised him. Protected him. Nurtured him. And yes, spoiled him, giving him practically whatever it was he wanted (riding lessons, a piano, a car on his sixteenth birthday), taking him to China, Italy, France, England, Egypt, and Argentina. The old woman could never say no to him, but she always had a bottomless well of love for her grandson and always put his best interests first.

BUY A Demon Inside

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day! My Idea of Romance...

Note: This post, slightly altered, originally appeared on the Guys Like Romance, Too blog on February 10. I thought it would be appropriate to add it to my own blog today.

What's your idea of romance?

Ah, February…and Valentine’s Day. Chilly nights, warm fireplaces, two bodies pressed close together—the month is ripe for romance.

And if your idea of romance includes leather, submission, domination, restraints, and perhaps the electric shock of a whip applied to one’s skin, my story Fugue, published by Amber Allure, may be just the kind of twisted love story you seek.

I don’t write much BDSM, but this story called to me. I wanted to play with two ideas: one, the shifting of power in dominant/submissive relationships (dominance does not always equal power) and two, the idea that sex is never centered between the legs, but between the ears.

Who is the master and who is the slave?

In Rick R. Reed’s tortuously sexy short story, you might not always know. Fugue takes the brave reader into the dungeon playroom of a master and his boy. It’s the kind of place where “darkness skitters into corners, hiding in shadows where the walls disappear.” A boy is chained to the pipes along the ceiling. Hooded, he can only experience the sensations his master delivers with his whips, fingers, tongue...

But in the boy’s mind, a dream state takes him places even the master could not imagine...places where the established pecking order is turned upside down. As he’s being deliciously whipped, tantalized, and tortured, the boy takes a mental journey on a late-night train where his adventures are even more raw and erotic than what goes on in this very dungeon.

Come along for the Fugue...and answer for yourself the question: who is the master and who is the slave?


...Shackles embrace my ankles, keeping me anchored to the cool, damp floor. This sense of immobility ratchets up the tension and anticipation, and these feelings war within me, causing tingles throughout my body in much the same way as the restraints holding me in place do. I ache for something to happen, yet know I am powerless to bring anything about. Patience is a virtue I have learned, honed in its tutelage now for several years.

Ever since I met my master. That man of mine. The one I love. The seer and deliverer of pain, of pleasure, of love…and discipline.

Waiting. Anticipation pulses like a drug, pounding and surging through my body, binding me more thoroughly than these cuffs, chains and shackles. The air against my naked body is especially cool, its dampness almost like a second presence, like an icy caress.

This is true love.

Yet all this dull sensation of pain is but a prelude to the full symphony of hurt that’s on its way. I keep my eyes shut tightly; a lazy smile moves across my lips, disappears.

Waiting. Anticipating. Almost overriding the pedestrian ache of my constraints is the roaring of my blood in my ears, the pounding of my heart, the quickening of my breath, all of these racing with each little noise I hear. My mouth is dry with want, with need. I almost ache to shout out into the murky light: “Hurry! Hurry! I almost can’t bear you making me wait like this. The anticipation is too much. It’s torture even I don’t want. Hurry!”

But I don’t dare. I keep my own counsel and stay mute. A good slave knows his place, knows when to groan, when to scream, when to whimper, and when to sigh. And now, in this waiting, is not the time.

Behind me, my master busies himself, arranging lashes on a table: cat o’ nine tails, bullwhip, riding crop, and even a wooden paddle with holes drilled in its smooth oak surface that transports me back to junior high school.

My master comes up to stand behind me, firm touch of his hand on my chest, then moving away. His hands are warm and strong. I am his.

I smell the leather: deep, musky, manscent.

Leather aroma deepens as he pulls my head back and I close my eyes. Leather fills my senses until it’s all that exists. My master slides the hood over my face, obliterating this dusky space where we will be together, making me his and his alone.


Available at Amber Allure:  For KindleFor Nook:

Note: “Fugue” also appears as part of my print paperback collection, ON THE EDGE, which is available here:

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Interview: Inside the Warped Mind of a Writer

Note: This interview originally appeared on crime writer M.R. Gott's blog on Friday, February 10, 2012. I thought it revealed a lot about my process, so I wanted to share it with you here.

M.R. Interviews...Rick R Reed

Cutis Anserina welcomes Rick R Reed

What were some of the particular challenges in creating the character of Joe MacAree in Obsessed?
Joe came to me one night when I was driving home from a job I hated, back when I was a young married man living in Chicago. I had had to work late, it was raining, and all of a sudden, I noticed how the colors looked almost neon in the rain-slicked pavement of the Eisenhower Expressway. For some reason, I thought of a man who had just murdered a woman, heading home to his own wife, and what was going on in his head. This scene, altered and fictionalized, became the opener for the novel.
Joe was obsessed: obsessed with killing, blood, and the sexual gratification it gave him. As we read the book, we learn of Joe’s disturbing background and one time a reviewer said he killed because he was the controlled becoming the controller. There was a lot of truth to that.
Once I knew who Joe was, he led me. He got deep into my psyche in ways I don’t even want to think about. So, I can’t say how challenging writing him was—once he was real to me, I just followed him.

In your novels Bashed, Tricks, and Blood Sacrifice you combine romantic elements within the context of the darker horrors that elements.  When crafting these novels is it difficult to find a balance between these polarizing elements?

I don’t really agree that horror and romance are polarizing. As I’ve said before, fear and love have a lot in common. Fear is a powerful emotion and I’m fascinated by how people react to terrifying situations, and what makes evil characters tick. Readers of horror want to be scared; it’s terrifying and fun all at once. Readers of horror want a satisfying ending, that’s the safe part. Fiction is a created world where things can be put to right, unlike the real world, where atrocity doesn’t necessarily have rhyme or reason and may go unchecked. Similarly, love is unpredictable and often terrifying. Good can turn bad very quickly. There’s a remarkable emotional vulnerability. Readers like romance because it’s also a controlled world. They can count on a happily-ever-after ending. Romance in fiction allows the reader to experience the thrill and conflict of love, in a safe way, because the reader knows it’s not real. I think that sense of emotional vulnerability applies to both romance and horror. Vulnerability is universal and that’s why people enjoy reading about it.”

Crime Scene has a very personal connection for you contained within the story.  Is this a common thread throughout your writing? 

My goal with Crime Scene was to write about a crime through the eyes of a distant witness. I was inspired by a picture in a book of actual crime scene photographs of a little girl who had been strangled and left on a women’s room floor. It was so disturbing that I wanted to capture what it would be like to go back to when the crime occurred and, in a way, change time and put things to right. That can never happen, but it can give the observer and sense of peace to imagine that things turned out differently than they actually did. 

A Face Without a Heart is a modern re-telling of Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Grey.  Was updating the work of Mr. Wilde a daunting prospect?

Not really, because I thought the story—about a quest for youth and beauty at any cost—was even more relevant in today’s times than it was during Wilde’s. It was also very liberating to have the ability to bring the gay elements of the story out in a more graphic way. The only thing that was daunting was capturing and retaining the wit with which Mr. Wilde wrote. I hope I have done him justice.

Blood Sacrifice is a vampire tale; are there any other classic monsters you wish to try your hand at?

I already have. I’ve written about a demonic force haunting a house in A Demon Inside, werewolves in The Blue Moon CafĂ©, and ghosts in Bashed and Echoes. IM features a diabolical serial killer, which is, to my mind, another “classic monster.” I think I have explored a lot of monsters, both real and imagined, in my work. The only thing I have yet to write about are zombies—we’ll have to see if that ever happens.

What is your favorite character that you created?  Do you love or hate him/her?

In Obsessed, there’s a wheelchair bound woman who becomes an accidental witness to one of the murders. But she’s a hateful woman, obsessed herself, and ends up entrapping the killer and using him for her own twisted sexual gratification. In her own way, she’s just as, if not more, evil than the killer. And that makes her kind of deliciously fascinating. The fact that she’s handicapped and that she overcomes her paralysis not for good, but for evil, makes her a very unusual character, one of the oddest I’ve ever created. Pat is certainly not sympathetic, but you can’t look away from her.

Supernatural or conventional horror, which do you find easiest to craft?  Which to you find to be personally more frightening?

The horror of real life is what I find the most frightening—and what I am drawn to writing about more. In IM, Obsessed, Penance, Crime Scene, Orientation, Bashed, Echoes, Deadly Vision, Tricks, and others, I write about monsters that could, and do, exist in the real world, which makes them infinitely more terrifying. The supernatural is more like a thrill ride and can be more “fun” as opposed to disturbing because there is a lot less chance you’ll wake up and read about a werewolf or vampire going on a killing rampage in the morning paper. Real folks, though? Not so much. That scares me.

What is the first book you remember genuinely being frightened by?  Was your immediate reaction to run out and find other similar tales, or stash it in your closet and block it out?

That’s tough. All my life, I’ve devoured books. I never take a break from reading. Once I finish one book, I’m on to the next. Writers who have affected me most and made me compelled to read more of their stuff include Patricia Highsmith, Flannery O’Connor and Ruth Rendell. All three of these women know what darkness lurks in the human heart and explore it in their work to fascinating result. I know that didn’t quite answer your question, but it’s impossible for me to pick one, or a first.

What are some of your current favorite genre writers working today?  What attracts you to their work?

I read a lot of thrillers. I love Brian Freeman, Harlan Coben, the Scottish writer Denise Mina, and, as I mentioned above, Brit author Ruth Rendell. All of them write books I can’t put down and that I can completely lose myself in. I love that.

Do you have anything new coming down the pipeline you would like to share with us? 

I am working on a love story right now that actually has no dark elements. It’s called Chaser and I’m about ¾ of the way through it. I don’t really want to talk about—I rarely talk about work in progress in any detail. It kind of spoils the momentum for me. I do look forward, though, to getting back to my darker side in the book I will write when CHASER is finished. Right now, I’m thinking of either a vampire story or a suspense/romance novel with elements of murder and multiple personality disorder.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Velocity? Not so much.

VelocityVelocity by Dean Koontz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have a love/hate thing with Mr. Koontz. I mean, he has written some books I really, really like: WATCHERS and ODD THOMAS spring to mind...and then he has written some others that, well, let's just say I wasn't quite as thrilled with. VELOCITY falls into the latter category. It's a great premise, and a reader like myself can be easily sucked in by the premise and the title, which promises a high-octane, page-turning reading experience. Alas, that's not the case. See, I think what makes VELOCITY lag behind books like WATCHERS and ODD THOMAS is the fact that Koontz forgot to give us a sympathetic character. His main character, a bartender named Billy, is sort of a sad-sack everyman and I never really cared much, one way or the other, about him. All these horrific things were happening around him and Koontz tried valiantly to create a Lecteresque villain, but there was never the element that a good suspense book needs--that ability to identify with and root for the hero. Billy was just sort of blah and Koontz never gives me a reason to root for him--only to pity him. I'll continue to look for other good Koontz books, but right now, my experience with him is about 50/50, evenly divided between good and mediocre. Anyone care to recommend what they feel is a really good Koontz?

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Looking Back: The Gay General in THE WIZARD OF OZ

Okay, so I'm currently reading Jane Lynch's autobiography, Happy Accidents, and have discovered I have more in common with Jane than I might have first realized. For example, we're about the same age, she grew up in similar times with a similar background, we both lived in Chicago, we both never quite felt we fit in.

We were both fiercely in the closet growing up.

It's this last point that caused me to have a revelation. I just read the part of the book where Jane gets her first speaking role, as a freshman, in the University of Illinois production of Lysistrata. Jane decided, in an improv moment, to play her character as an out lesbian. Even though she was deep in the closet and actually shunned the only other obvious lesbian in the theater department, she went this route.

Coincidence? I think not.

But Jane made me think of my own theatrical experience--and one in particular. My senior year of high school, back in East Liverpool, Ohio, my school put on The Wizard of Oz as the spring musical. It was a kitschy mix of the original with some songs from The Wiz thrown in to make--the director, a gay man, hoped--hip. Since I have always loved The Wizard of Oz (clue #1 that I might have been gay), I had to audition. For the singing part of my audition, I sang "Sentimental Journey", an odd choice for a small town high school boy (clue #2).

For my stellar singing talents, I was cast in the farmer's chorus (swaying in the background as Dorothy sang "Over the Rainbow"); as a ghost in the witch's castle (I got to come through the audience in a sheet, dancing); and as one of the witch's generals.

This last part is what caused me to have a revelation. There were fifteen of us generals and we all said the same line to the single private in the witch's army. If we wanted to stand out, we had to do something to differentiate ourselves. I chose to do a nasal voice (thinking that's all it was). When my fellow cast members heard the voice, they cracked up. It took me a while to realize what they found so hilarious was that they thought I was doing a gay general.

Oh, a gay general? Sure, that was what I had in mind. Not really.

But now I wonder if it was the subconscious, closeted gay boy yearning to be recognized for who he was coming out. Even though I hadn't intended to be a gay general, I went with it and added a lace hanky to my sleeve and a sashay to my march that was so effeminate it would make Paul Lynde look butch. It was probably a horrible gay Uncle Tom moment, offensive, but I plead ignorance--on a lot of counts.

The audience loved it; they roared.

Now, thanks to Jane Lynch and her open lesbian character when she was a freshman too, I can look back at that thespian moment in my life and see it for what it was--an unconscious moment of coming out, a moment where I was recognized for who I really was, recognized and laughed at, yes, but appreciated all the same. And remembered. And, in an odd way, accepted--because I was entertaining. Bringing what I so loathed about myself and was desperate to keep hidden to the forefront was, now that I look back, revealing myself.

And the best part was, I was not hurt for it.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Now Available in eBook! Like a Chinese Tattoo!


Unusual, weird and wonderful, herein are twelve stories from the minds of four supremely talented — and twisted — authors.

From the curse of the living dead to vengeance from beyond the grave, from the darkest corner of Africa to the bowels of the local cemetery, these tales are as unique and as mysterious as…well, a Chinese Tattoo!

For fans of JA Konrath's Jack Daniels mystery series, this collection includes a Harry McGlade novella, "The Necro Files." (McGlade also appears in the Suckers novelette from Delirium Books, co-written with Dark Arts Books alum Jeff Strand).

In addition to the hysterical "Necro Files," the book offers Rick R. Reed's dark vamopire tale "Purfleet," David Thomas Lord's deceptively creepy "The White Room" and Cullen Bunn's darkly horrifying "Tomorrow, When The Demons Come" (as well as "Granny Kisses," one of Cullen's insanely twisted World Horror Convention Gross-Out stories!)

And those are just a few of the 12 offerings!

Order for your Kindle.

…a brilliant collection of work from four talented authors, all of whom bring something sick and dripping to the table.
-Rue Morgue

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Devil All The Time--One of my Favorite Books of Last Year

The Devil All the TimeThe Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Donald Ray Pollock has only two books under his belt, this one, and the short story collection, KNOCKEMSTIFF. He writes with an authenticity and originality that would make one think he has been honing his craft for decades (and maybe he has, just not in the public arena). I was initially drawn to THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME because 1. It has a serial killer storyline and that particular species is endlessly fascinating for me (don't judge me) and 2. The story is set in eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia, the area in which I grew up. What I was not expecting was such an amazing book, one of the best I read in 2011. Pollock reminds me of one of the best writers (I believe, anyway) 20th century America produced: Flannery O'Connor. He has the same affinity for damaged people, quasi-religious themes, and quirky world view. He also has the same command of language that is always simple, but never simplistic (a big difference). Very, very highly recommended.

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