Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hop Against Homophobia

Drum roll please! And the winner of the free e-book copy of Bashed is PaParanormalFan Renee! Renee, I will be in touch via e-mail to see what format you want your copy in. Thanks, everyone, for playing! And thanks for taking a day or two to think about a serious issue.

If you didn't win and still want to read the book that was inspired by the incident below, simply click on Bashed for ordering options.

I'm taking part in the Hop Against Homophobia, an attempt by over 250 GLBT authors, reviewers, and publishers to stand together and create awareness of homophobia. Each participating blog will feature a message on homophobic discrimination in its various forms. Today, May 17th, was chosen in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia and we're hoping to get people more involved with this day by inviting them to our blogs, where the visitors have a chance to win prizes.

 My prize is a digital copy of my novel, BASHED, which was inspired by the hate crimes perpetrated on GLBT people all too often (and, nearly, on me--read on). Simply leave a comment below with your e-mail address and I will pick a winner on May 21.

Homophobia comes in many forms, some subtle, some not so much. What inspired me to write Bashed is a real-life incident that happened when I lived in Chicago. Here's my story:

My close call with fag bashing came one October night in Chicago.

I had been hanging out at the Eagle and had stayed late, leaving at close to four in the morning. I had made a new friend and we were making our way to my car, which was parked on a side street that ran parallel to St. Boniface Cemetery. My companion and I weren't thinking about things like hate crimes. But we suddenly were when we noticed an idling old car. The car was a souped-up muscle vehicle and inside were several dark figures, all turning their heads as we approached. Both of us quickened our pace. Even in the middle of a metropolis like Chicago, it was easy to feel vulnerable. And we felt even moreso when the still of the night was broken by the sound of car doors opening.

Suddenly, my friend and I stopped, feeling exposed in our leather, as four young men emerged. They all sported shaved heads and were dressed in baggy jeans and hoodies.

One of them carried an aluminum baseball bat.

They didn't say anything. Their silence was more frightening than if they had hurled epithets our way. To reach my car, we would have to walk by them...and it didn't appear as though they were planning to let us pass. We froze. The four moved closer. One of the guys, the one with the bat, grinned, swinging the bat slightly.

In books, they call what happened next deus ex machina, but at just that moment, one of Chicago's finest rolled down the street, very slowly, toward us. The men got in their cars quickly. And so did we. Thankfully, I do not know what the outcome of that night would have been had not the police come along. But the incident did stick with me until I dramatized the incident as the opening to Bashed. But in my fictional world, no police car came to the rescue. It’s chilling to think that one of your characters could have been you, a you that might not have survived to tell a tale.

To read more from the other authors, publishers, and reviewers participating in the Hop Against Homophobia, visit its main page.
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  1. Wow, I'm happy to see you here. I picked up a copy of Caregiver earlier this week. I absolutely loved it! I had no intention of writing a blog review but after finishing it I knew I had to do one. The review will take a while because I'm still so emotional every time I think about it. In the meantime I think I've now told everyone I know that they have to read it.

    andreagrendahl AT gmail DOT com

  2. Thanks so much, Andrea. I'm glad the book resonated with you. I hope you'll share your review with me when you've finished. And thanks for joining the Hop Against Homophobia.

    1. here is the review

  3. That was one of the most chilling books I've ever read. It really stuck with me.

  4. Rick, I shudder to think how close you came to something truly terrible, of being a statistic, but for the grace of the Chicago PD. Such a thin line. Thanks for telling your story, and for being a part of the hop.


  5. Thank you for sharing your sotory with us and for taking part in HAH.
    Caregiver is next on my kindle, I´m really looking forward to it.

  6. Excellent read, Rick. And thank God you didn't get bashed in real life like so many other's have. I had something similar happen. I was at a gay church late one night and we were walking home -- my bf and me -- since we were only a few blocks away. Suddenly, like something out of a story, we were surrounded by a bunch you young men wanting to know if we were a couple of fags. I suddenly knew I was about to die. So since I knew it was going to happen, I was not going to leave this world hanging my head. I raised my face to his and told him that yes, we were. He was so shocked, they were! And guess what? They walked us home. I am convinced to this day that standing up to him saved my life. Thank goodness I didn't get bashed either. Thanks for posting! B.G. Thomas /

  7. Dear Rick,

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I've read ''Bashed'' and I had to overcome my resistance because of the subject. But in the end I was happy I had read it: you wrote a great book.

    Thank you also for joining the hop.

    Be well!


    PS: You don't have to count me for the prize because I've got ''Bashed'' (and more or less all your books ;-).

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I'm hoping with time there will be less & less haters until everyone can live without fear. Unfortunately I think that's still a long way off.
    I know I've been lucky - I'm bi but I've not had many problems & my parents accepted it (granted with a fair bit of confusion!).

  9. Thank you for sharing and for being part of this blog hop, Rick.

    Please enter me in your contest thank you!

    yinyang1062 at yahoo dot com

  10. I am truly glad that the police came at that moment and you and your friend were able to get away.

  11. When I read this, I remembered the scene in this story and I had goosebumps. KNOWING this could have happened to you? Knowing this still happens to others. It just breaks my heart. We're lucky to have you!


  12. I'm glad you came out of that situation unharmed and that you voiced it here and in your book. I'm fairly new to the genre and don't know anyone who is gay, but I feel that every little bit of information out there can help me and others. I was one who stayed neutral in my opinions about homosexuality since it didn't affect me directly, but since I started reading MM Romance, I've learned better. I may not know anyone gay, but I live in a place where the culture is not gay friendly. I don't do much, but I do not stay quiet anymore nor neutral and that's because if people and authors, who share their experiences with others. Thank you. And BTW, loved 'Caregiver'.

  13. Thanks, Shirley, not only for your kind words, but for your understanding and refusal to "stay neutral."

  14. Reminds me of a line from the movie The Count of Monte Cristo: "God sees you out of the corner of his eye." I'm glad you were spared that night.

    You're on my to-read list, so I'd love a chance to win a free copy. :)

  15. Thank you for revealing your personal experience with hatred and as one of the organizers of the Hop, thank you very much for participating. You don't have to enter me in the draw since I already have Bashed.
    See you in New Mexico. ;)

  16. Wow - it gives me chills just thinking about it. Thanks for sharing, hon.

  17. What a scary thing to experience. It's horrible that anyone would have to fear something like that for a reason that is of no business of or concern to the bully or attacker. Here's a prayer that the day is coming when a person's sexual orientation does not cause the person to fear for his/her safety. Tami (

  18. wow. I can't imagine that kind of situation. When you wrote "aluminum bat" I got chills thinking it.

    Thanks for posting.

  19. Wow, Rick! Chicago is still one of my 3 favorite American cities, but you've just put it under a very different light!
    I first visited Chicago in 1994 with my mum and on the morning we left, as we waited for the taxi to the airport (the tour was East Coast/West Coast, so we were bound to Vegas to continue our tour) she went "Yuck!" and I asked "What?" and she said "Two men kissing, it's disgusting!" I was more "where? Where?" But I couldn't see them. Sigh. So my bigot Catholic mother saw something that disgusted her but wouldn't have disgusted me - uhm, OK, confession: I actually wanted to see it in real life.
    Thanks for this post!
    Barb from Italy

  20. Wow Rick...what a scary experience youhad. I am glad you and your companion were not hurt but just the fear alone would paralyze someone. Thank you for sharing today.

  21. Barb...I remember that taxi swinging by and your mother's stunned face. My pal and I had a laugh about it over a fabulous brunch!

  22. Hi Rick. I don't need to be entered to win anything. I just wanted to say I am very glad the police happened along when they did! I'm also glad you've turned that terrible experience into something positive by speaking out for change. All the best to you and your family, as always. Thanks for your participation in the hop!

  23. Rick, so glad that was as close a cal as you got... My heart was in my throat - and sighed in relief at the cops rolling by. Thank the be all and end all someone was watching over you that night. Thank you for telling us this tale and I can't wait to read Bashed.

  24. Scary indeed -- I went through something similar with a couple of friends at different times in my life... I have never had a problem being a bi female, but with the bi, gay and transgendered male friends and family members, this is quite the issue... continued success on your writing -- thank you for sharing this with us... oh, and I am a new follower of your blog... had always followed you on twitter, but never took the time for the blog...

  25. Rick, you just scared the shit out of me. The idea of you getting jumped by some dude with 3 cronies by his side and a metal bat in his hand... God, my heart just hurts. I know the world can be an ugly place... and I fracking love how you take the ugly and use it to make something beautiful, something that can reach out and wipe a little of the homophobia off the face of the world by making it real to folk who might not ever come into contact with it otherwise. You really do amaze me. I'm glad that cop car rolled down the street just then.

  26. I want to hug you right now. I'm so glad that it was an "almost" gay bashing. More than that, I'm glad that you used something that could have been so tragic and decided to twist it for the better. That's what we have to do. Thank you for this post Rick, thank you for taking a stand, thank you for surviving and thank gods for that cop car.


  27. What gives people the right to think they can hurt others? like they are doing something good. I am happy and grateful that the cops showed up at perfect time. Thank you for sharing your story.

  28. Wow, that's scary. I'm glad everything worked out for you. I had a friend who had a similar encounter except it didn't work so well for her and I still miss her to this day. Thanks so much for sharing and spreading the word.

    tiger-chick-1 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  29. Thank you for being part of this HOP and helping shine a light on this important issue.

  30. Hhmm, no. Not one of those stories you can "look back on and laugh at in 5 or 10 years". At least it was an inspiration for what I'm betting is a really good scene? *shivers*
    Cheers to your continued health and well being cutie, thank you!


  31. I'm so glad you got out of that situation unharmed!For once the police was in the right place at the right time! I had a really hard time reading that scene in "Bashed" it's so chilling and intense and to realize it is a personal experience rather than mere fiction makes it even more scary. Thank you so much for sharing! Btw, I just purchased "Caregiver" and the M4M series and really look forward to reading this weekend! Take care!


  32. Thank you for sharing your post...

  33. Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like someone was watching out for you that night.

    lmbrownauthor at gmail dot com

  34. That had potential to be an absolute horror story - as it is, it's still deeply disturbing and upsetting. Thank goodness for patrol cars.

  35. Okay, now I'm going to have to read Bashed! Thanks for sharing that. I can't imagine what must have gone through your heads before the police car drove by. Thank goodness it did drive by.

    eripike at gmail dot com

  36. Just goes to remind you that happenstance, fate and karma all play a part in our lives and sometimes we realise it and sometimes we don't. I'm glad it worked out in your favour....minutes earlier and it might not have. Goosebumps just thinking about it.

  37. Thank you for sharing. We need to humanize the issue. For so many, the victims are just names and there is no understanding of the real impact of hate and violence. Glad you were ok.

  38. Wow. Thank God for that police officer. I'm so glad you and your friend were alright! And thank you for sharing your story with us. It makes it so much more real.


  39. Hello Rick,

    Thank you for sharing with Us a Very Personal & Extremely Frightening Experience You had to endure in your Life. It was scary just reading what happened to You after an innocent night out meeting a new Friend because it is horrible to think the outcome could had been very different.

    I believe everyone deserves to be Openly Happy in Life, to be with the Person who Loves & Completes Them, without having to be subjected to the ignorance of some close-minded people. True Love does not see Race, Gender, Socio-Economic Status, etc….if people understood that, there would be so much more Happiness in this World...We Could Hope!!!

    I would very much appreciate the opportunity to be considered in your very generous giveaway for a chance to win a digital copy of your novel, “BASHED”.

    Thank You for participating in the Hop Against Homophobia.

    Take care & Wishing You All the Best,
    PaParanormalFan Renee
    paranormalromancefan at yahoo dot com

  40. Love the post, the blog has been great. Thanks for participating.

  41. Great post. Thanks for participating in the HOP


  42. Hi Rick. I'd have to say, I'm so glad that you wrote Broken but that what developed in the story didn't actually happen, not even a smidge of the assault. Broken is a heart gripping story that, unfortunately, happens too often in our world. Hate has got to stop!
    Thanks for participating in Hop and sharing with us.
    I already have Broken so you don't have to add me to the contest.
    Peace and Love dear.
    Sandra Rush

  43. A really scary expierence that is. I am glad you guys got away unharmed. Thank you for sharing your story.