Wednesday, April 25, 2018

An Update on a Fairy Tale, by a Fairy

 BEAU AND THE BEAST is my LGBT Seattle-set, modern-day version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I hope you'll pick up a copy! 

At JMS Books
Amazon Kindle (FREE if you're in the Kindle Unlimited program)
AllRomance Ebooks

Beau is a down-on-his-luck street artist living on the streets of Seattle. One rainy night, he is accosted by a group of fag-bashing thugs, intent on robbing him of his art supplies and humiliating Beau for who he is. Beau is beaten into unconsciousness ...

... And awakens in a bedroom, head bandaged, with no memory of how he got there. Outside his window pine trees and mountain vistas beckon.

Beau’s tale grows more mysterious when a large, muscular man begins bringing Beau his food. The man says nothing -- and wears a wolf mask. When he finally does speak, it’s only to tell Beau to call him “Beast.”

What secrets does the mask hide? What do these two outsiders have in common? And will their odd circumstances bring them to the brink of love -- or rip them apart? Inspired by the timeless fairy tale, this is a haunting love story that reveals that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.


The door opened and a large figure, clothed all in black, stood for a moment, framed in the doorway. His massive shoulders were so broad that Beau wondered if he would have difficulty making his way across the threshold. The man -- and Beau was sure it was a man despite not being able to see his face—stood well over six feet tall, perhaps closer to seven. In the form-fitting black jeans and long-sleeved T-shirt, Beau made out a pumped-up body in which the muscles were piled on like slabs. His hands, huge, dwarfed the silver tray he clutched, a tray containing a ceramic teapot and several bowls and plates.

Breakfast? Dinner? What time was it, anyway?

And, more importantly, was he a prisoner here?

The last thought came unbidden, but bolstered by the logic of the most mysterious and disconcerting aspect of the man standing before him -- his face was completely covered.

And it wasn’t merely covered, but covered in a most unusual fashion: with a mask made of rubber that looked surprisingly realistic -- the visage of a wolf. The salt and pepper fur crowning the top of the mask blended perfectly with a mane of salt and pepper hair that hung halfway down the man’s back.

“Who are you?” Beau managed to stammer and his words seemed to propel the man forward, although he offered no response. His silence was equal to his appearance in eeriness.

Beau caught his breath as the man approached the bed, his footfalls echoing on the hardwood. Beau wanted to ask more, but suddenly lost the power to form words. He could only stare.

The man paused at the bed and stooped over, one hand outstretched. Beau imagined he was going to touch him and recoiled, drawing back.

But all the guy did was push the Tiffany-style lamp on the bedside table over a few inches, so he could set down the tray. Once he positioned the tray just so, he stood back up and clasped his hands together, staring down at Beau.

Even though Beau could not see his face, he had a certainty that this man, creature, whatever was hiding behind the mask, was smiling. Beau glanced up at him and, for the first time, their eyes met.

Beau was struck by the intensity of the eyes peering out from behind the holes in the wolf mask. Not only was the gaze fixed and passionate, but also the eyes themselves were remarkable. They were a pale green, the palest shade of green Beau had ever seen on a person, almost a kind of aquamarine, and they were rimmed by long black lashes.

They were the kind of eyes, Beau thought, that had inspired that careworn cliché for the eyes: the window to the soul.

Just this connection with the man’s eyes calmed Beau somewhat. Even though the man had spoken not a word, there was something in those eyes of his that told Beau he was safe and that the man standing above him meant no harm.

At JMS Books
Amazon Kindle
AllRomance Ebooks

Friday, April 20, 2018

#FLASHBACKFRIDAY: True Romance, Real Life, and LEGALLY WED


I get asked this question a lot and the answer lies in the little story I’m about to tell you. It’s a story about finding one’s own happy ending—and how, today, even two men in love can end up Legally Wed.

My husband Bruce and I were having dinner at a little French bistro in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle on my birthday a couple years ago and, as the wine flowed, we talked. He told me how content he was with his life and that, really, there was nothing else he could wish for. I felt the same way (I still do). It's nice when you're on the same page. He said we had something special and that one word summed up what we had. I'll get to that word later.

But it wasn't easy getting to this page in the book of our lives. And thinking about Bruce and me has made me think about my other special love, and that's writing. If any of you out there have followed my career at all, you'll know that, lately, my stories have plotted out the course of love just as much as they have the build-up of suspense or horrifying revelations. I can proudly say I am now just as much a romance writer as I am a horror or dark suspense writer.

You may wonder why my writing slipped off in this new direction. I certainly have. And I think it has a lot to do with Bruce. See, we're happy. We're content. We're settled and in a love that only continues to grow with the passage of time.

I don't know if this is a leap of logic that makes sense but I think that I am more drawn to writing stories that map out the connections made by the human heart these days because I am not expending as much energy seeking out that connection in my own personal life. Now that I have found my one true love, my soul mate, I can open up and write more freely about what draws people together and what keeps them apart. I find those connections fascinating and I don't believe I could write about them objectively until after I had found, after much searching, a relationship that would work for me, one that would nurture and sustain.

Before Bruce, there was a marriage to a woman and a child. Both of those were—and still are—wonderful in their own ways. But trying to live a life that was not my own was not only emotionally exhausting, it was dangerous in many ways. With a lot of heartache, I had to let that dream, which really was never for me, go. I came out in my early thirties, in a world where gay marriage was not really even being discussed yet and the specter of AIDS loomed large. It was not necessarily a good time for a gay man to be experiencing the world and finding himself. But then, when is it ever a good time? But my point is I went through a lot of searching, a lot of experimenting, a lot of bad choices, always in search of love, and always coming up empty-handed.

A lot of those disappointments occurred because the real love I needed—the love of myself—I had yet to discover. I look at my thirties as my true adolescence, with its attendant growing pains.

It wasn't until I was 43 that I met Bruce. Gone were the hopes that I'd meet a special man in some bar or even a gay social group. The era of the Internet was on us in a big way and I placed an ad with the headline, "What's Your Story?" Bruce was one of several who responded, and the only one with whom I connected. He sent me some pictures of himself. He said things in his very first response to my ad that resonated.

I wrote back. He wrote back and we started a daily correspondence that would last two weeks, two weeks before we even laid eyes on one another, even though we lived less than two miles away from the other. We began to get to know each other and we both liked what we saw, what we read in our lines to each other, and what was between them. We had both reached a stage where we were ready for the other. Timing is everything.

We met in person and it was magic.

I won't say we didn't have some bumps in the road, though, getting to where we are today. Nothing really good ever comes easily. But Bruce and I were always willing to talk--whether it was face to face or through e-mails (and now texts and Facebook updates!). The line of communication has always been open and I think that's what's made the difference with us.

It's also made it possible for me to be able to sit back and be more objective about writing romance because finally, at age 59, I finally, finally, have a handle on what works and what doesn't. Until I had that key, I honestly believe I couldn't have written convincingly or effectively about romantic love.

So you can expect two things from me—one, that I will always be in love with Bruce and two, that you will enjoy many more stories of love and romance between two men—because of Bruce and what he gave to me.

Oh, and that one word I alluded to above? The one Bruce used when he said it summed up what we had?

That word was family.

Legally Wed BLURB

(Dreamspinner Press/2014/Contemporary Romance)

Love comes along when you least expect it. That’s what Duncan Taylor’s sister, Scout, tells him. Scout has everything Duncan wants—a happy life with a wonderful husband. Now that Seattle has made gay marriage legal, Duncan knows he can have the same thing. But when he proposes to his boyfriend Tucker, he doesn’t get the answer he hoped for. Tucker’s refusal is another misstep in a long line of failed romances. Despairing, Duncan thinks of all the loving unions in his life—and how every one of them is straight. Maybe he could be happy, if not sexually compatible, with a woman. When zany, gay-man-loving Marilyn Samples waltzes into his life, he thinks he may have found his answer.

Determined to settle, Duncan forgets his sister’s wisdom about love and begins planning a wedding with Marilyn. But life throws Duncan a curveball. When he meets wedding planner Peter Dalrymple, unexpected sparks ignite. Neither man knows how long he can resist his powerful attraction to the other. For sure, there’s a wedding in the future. But whose?

Legally Wed EXCERPT
Same-sex marriage had just become legal in Washington State and Duncan Taylor didn’t plan on wasting any time. He had been dating Tucker McBride for more than three years and, ever since the possibility of marriage had become more than just a pipe dream, it was all Duncan could think of. He had thought of it as he gazed out the windows of his houseboat on Lake Union, on days both sunny and gray (since it was late autumn, there were a lot more of the latter); he had thought of it as he stood before his classroom of fourth graders at Cascade Elementary School. He had thought of it when he woke up in the morning and before he fell asleep at night.

For Duncan, marriage was the peak, the happy ending, the icing on the cake, the culmination of one’s hearts desire, a commitment of a lifetime, the joining of two souls. For Duncan, it was landing among the stars.

And for Duncan, who would turn 38 on his next birthday, it was also something he had never dared dream would be possible for him.

And now, too excited to sleep, he was thinking about it—hard—once again. It was just past midnight on December 6, 2012 and the local TV news had pre-empted its regular programming to take viewers live to Seattle City Hall, where couples were forming a serpentine line to be among the first in the state to be issued their marriage licenses—couples who had also for far too long believed this right would be one they would never be afforded. Many clung close together to ward off the chill, but Duncan knew their reasons for canoodling went far deeper than that.

The mood, in spite of the darkness pressing in all around, was festive. There was a group serenading the couples in line, singing “Going to the Chapel.” Champagne corks popped in the background.


Duncan couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he watched all the male-male and female-female couples in the line, their mood of jubilation, of love, of triumph traveling through to him even here on his houseboat two or three miles north of downtown. Duncan wiped tears from his eyes as he saw not only the couples but also all the supporters, city workers, and volunteers who had crowded together outside City Hall to wish the new couples well, to share in the happiness of the historic moment.

And then Duncan couldn’t help it, he fell into all-out blubbers as the first couple to get their license emerged from City Hall. 85-year-old Pete-e Peterson and her partner and soon-to-be-wife, Jane Abbott Lighty, were all smiles when a reporter asked them how they felt.

“We waited a long time. We’ve been together 35 years, never thinking we’d get a legal marriage. Now I feel so joyous I can hardly stand it,” Pete-e said.

It was such a special moment and it was all Duncan could do not to pick up the phone and call Tucker and casually say something like, “Hey honey, you want to get married?”

Legally Wed Buy Links
Dreamspinner Ebook
Dreamspinner Paperback
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
AllRomance eBooks

Friday, April 13, 2018


I hope you enjoy this little excerpt...and my voice. Point of interest: I read this at the same desk and in the same room, and on the same computer where I originally wrote Hungry for Love, back in Seattle (where Hungry for Love happens to be set) in our condo.


Nate Tippie and Brandon Wilde are gay, single, and both hoping to meet that special man, even though fate has not yet delivered him to their doorstep. Nate’s sister, Hannah, and her kooky best friend, Marilyn, are about to help fate with that task by creating a profile on the gay dating site, OpenHeartOpenMind. The two women are only exploring, but when they need a face and body for the persona they create, they use Nate as the model.

When Brandon comes across the false profile, he falls for the guy he sees online. Keeping up the charade, Hannah begins corresponding with him, posing as Nate. Real complications begin when Brandon wants to meet Nate, but Nate doesn’t even know he’s being used in the online dating ruse. Hannah and Marilyn concoct another story and send Nate out to let the guy down gently. But when Nate and Brandon meet, the two men feel an instant and powerful pull toward each other. Cupid seems to have shot his bow, but how do Nate and Brandon climb out from under a mountain of deceit without letting go of their chance at love?

From Dreamspinner Press in ebook or in paperback
Amazon Kindle

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Guest Post: Author Michael Rupured Talks Up his New Release: CASE OF THE MISSING DRAG QUEEN

I can't wait to read my friend Michael's new book! Buy links are at the bottom...

The Case of the Missing Drag Queen takes place in 1982 – three years after I came out of the closet. The local gay bar was clique-ish. My circle consisted of upper-middle class white guys around my age who’d grown up in Lexington.

Aside from occasional-to-frequent walks on the wild side, we kept our distance from anyone who wasn’t like us—especially drag queens. What can I say? We were young, dumb, and—like everyone else at that time—raised to be homophobic.

Today’s distinctions in the Trans community were unfamiliar. Anyone who dressed up was a drag queen. Some performed in drag shows. Most did not. A few were always in drag. Whether an individual was or wasn’t transitioning was a subject for speculation and gossip.

Several years later, my partner and I started going to the 10:00 p.m. drag show. Getting to the disco before 11:30 was totally uncool. The drag show was a better option than falling asleep at home waiting for it to get late enough to go out.

Go ahead. Try not to enjoy a drag show. I dare you. From the first show, I was hooked.

Years of research watching drag shows at various venues around the country went into The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. Much of the action in takes in the Gilded Lily showroom where Luke Tanner tends bar. Get a taste by reading the excerpt below.
Broke, saddled with a mountain of debt, and dependent on his Aunt Callie's support, aspiring writer Luke Tanner has returned to Kentucky to put his life back together after a failed five-year relationship.

On his twenty-fifth birthday, Luke meets diminutive Pixie Wilder, a long-time performer at the Gilded Lily. After headliner Ruby Dubonnet doesn’t show up, Pixie takes her place as the star of the show—a motive that makes her a suspect in Ruby’s disappearance.

Luke reluctantly agrees to help his new-found friend clear her name. He and Pixie set out to find the missing drag queen, and in the process, put themselves in danger.

Cover Artist:

Buy Links
DSP Publications

Author Bio
Michael Rupured writes stories true enough for government work about gay life from the 1960s to today. This life-long Southerner was born in Fayetteville NC, grew up in Lexington KY, and after 18 months in Washington DC, moved to Athens GA where he’s lived since 1999. By day, he’s senior faculty in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia. He’s an avid fan of the Georgia Bulldogs, the Kentucky Wildcats, and any team playing the Florida Gators. In his free time, Michael tinkers with his garden, plays with Toodles (his diabetic chihuahua), and keeps up with his many friends around the country. Previous novels include Until Thanksgiving (thriller), No Good Deed (mystery/thriller), Whippersnapper (regional), and Happy Independence Day (historical). Visit his website (, follow on Twitter @Crotchetyman), like his Facebook page (  or shoot him a message (

Thursday, October 21, 1982
The smoke-permeated Gilded Lily barely contained the standing-room-only crowd for the eleven o’clock drag show. Luke Tanner had never been so popular. Thirsty customers vying for his attention stood three- and four-deep along the bar as he quickly mixed drinks, opened bottles, and poured draft beer.
The house lights blinked several times, and Frank Marvin’s voice echoed from the loudspeakers. “Five minutes until the show begins, folks. Still plenty of time to see Charlie or Luke for a cocktail. Tip them well, y’all, because I don’t pay ’em shit.”
Luke stuck out his lower lip and put on a sad face as he fixed drinks for three different customers. Every gay man in town wanted to bartend at the Garden. The hourly rate was the same everywhere, but bartenders in any of the Garden’s four bars averaged thirty dollars an hour in tips—more upstairs in the Green Carnation disco and on busy nights.
The day Luke got back to Lexington, he’d popped into the Garden. Five years earlier, in the months between coming out of the closet and moving to Atlanta, he’d danced in the Green Carnation six nights a week. who owned the Garden, remembered him from the thousands who frequented the club, and shocked when he’d offered Luke a job.
They’d never met before. Luke would have remembered. Frank had been on a very short list of men in his desired age range—. Then and now, the age group was under-represented at the Garden.
The house lights dimmed, and Frank’s voice again filled the showroom. “Good evening, ladies, gentlemen, queens, and queers.”
The crowd responded with cheers, jeers, and whistles.
“Welcome to the Gilded Lily, home of the best motherfucking drag in the entire United States!”
Luke dropped a cocktail napkin on the bar in front of a handsome man wearing an expensive-looking patterned sweater who appeared to be in his late thirties. He cupped a hand to his ear to hear his order above the thunderous applause.
“Cape Cod,” the man shouted and held up a finger. “One, please.”
Rather than taking orders from other customers and making several drinks at once, Luke gave the well-dressed stranger his undivided attention. As he topped an ice-filled tumbler of vodka with cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime, he wondered if he was a gay visitor from out of town or a straight tourist observing homosexuals in their natural habitat. Most likely gay. A heterosexual man at the Garden who wasn’t clinging to a woman for dear life was rarer than snow in July.
“Three dollars,” Luke shouted as he placed the drink on the cocktail napkin.
The handsome, blue-eyed man gave Luke a dazzling smile, a wink, and a ten-dollar bill and said something drowned out by the din.
Luke furrowed his brow, shook his head, and leaned forward. “What?”
The man formed a megaphone with his hands again and leaned toward Luke. “Keep the change!”
“Oh.” Luke’s face grew hot. Good-looking and a big tipper. “Thank you, sir.” He shoved the ten into the register drawer and moved seven dollars to his tip jar. When he turned back around, the man was gone.
“And now,” Frank yelled through the microphone. “Please welcome to the stage, the dark and lovely Dirty Duchess of Broadway, Simone!”
The stage went dark except for a spotlight trained on the center. The music started—a dance club remix of a recent Diana Ross hit—and Simone burst through the curtain wearing a tight red cocktail dress, red spike heels, and an Afro wig that added a good eight inches to her height. She danced from one side of the stage to other, then strode quickly to the end of the catwalk and danced some more. In between wild bursts of joyous and energetic dancing, she bent to air-kiss adoring fans who clustered around the stage waving bills of various denominations to get her attention.
Russel Clark stood just offstage with his burly arms folded across his massive chest. The bodyguard-slash-bouncer was six foot seven inches tall and weighed over three hundred pounds. In the weeks that Luke had worked at the Gilded Lily, Russel’s hulking presence had prevented any unwanted interaction with the performers from even the most inebriated fans.
By Simone’s encore, the preshow rush at the bar had slowed to a trickle. In between customers Luke emptied ashtrays, cleared empties from the bar, and washed glassware. When nobody was looking, he shoved his hands into his pockets to soothe a relentless itching that he suspected was what he got for washing his underwear with cheap laundry detergent.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, the queen of the cathouse, Miss Kitty Galore!”
Kitty Galore was an S&M queen, standing and modeling as she lip-synced. The tight-fitting Kentucky blue and silver gown she wore emphasized her fabricated curves. Matching heels and an elegant backswept bouffant embellished with pearls added to her already impressive height.
Charlie Ross, who Luke had shadowed for two weeks to learn the ropes, crossed from the other end of the bar into his section. Charlie was a good head taller than Luke with strawberry-blond hair, brown eyes, a smattering of freckles across both cheeks and the bridge of his nose, and an imposing, athletic physique. He intimidated Luke, and for essentially the same reasons, turned him on. Not that turning him on was particularly difficult. He hadn’t had sex in months.
“Hey, man,” Charlie said. “Think you can handle the bar without me?” He reached down and groped his crotch. “I’ve got some business to attend to.”
Luke gulped, struggled to maintain eye contact, and pushed thoughts of what a naked Charlie might look like from his mind. “Frank say it’s okay?”
Charlie nodded. “If it’s okay with you.” He scratched his butt. “He’ll pull somebody from elsewhere in the Garden to help if it gets too busy for you.”
“I can handle it,” Luke said, feigning confidence. This was only his fourth night with his own section. If everyone in the showroom wanted a drink at the same time or someone ordered an unfamiliar cocktail or—
He slammed the brakes on his runaway train of thought. No point giving Fate any ideas.
“Thanks, man,” Charlie said, extending his hand.
“No problem,” Luke replied. He swallowed and wiped his sweaty palms on his hips. Shaking hands was not his thing. A firm grasp had thus far in life eluded him. He reached out, and Charlie engulfed his hand with a finger-crushing grip that hurt more with each pump.
“I owe you one,” Charlie said. He let go of Luke’s throbbing hand, pulled a five-dollar bill from his pocket, and tossed it into Luke’s tip jar. “Mind shutting down for me? I really need to run.”
“Sure,” Luke replied. He’d assumed Charlie would break down the well on his end of the bar before leaving but said nothing. He’d also kept his mouth shut for two weeks when he’d done all the work and Charlie kept all the tips.
The handsome, big tipper approached. When he reached the bar, another Cape Cod awaited him. He raised his hand and saluted. “Thanks, handsome. I’m flattered you remembered.” Then he thumbed through his wallet, pulled out a bill, and slid it across the bar. “Keep the change.”
Luke gasped when he saw the twenty-dollar bill. Too stunned for words, he nodded as the gorgeous man turned and walked away. The big tip was only partially responsible for his sudden inability to speak. That some imbecile somewhere hadn’t remembered his drink was as shocking as being called handsome. Presentable yes, perhaps even interesting, but handsome? Never.
On stage, Pixie Wilder wrapped up a disco version of “Rose Garden.” Her look was classic Nashville: big hair, flashy jewelry, a vibrant turquoise dress embellished with ten or fifteen pounds of rhinestones, and high-heeled, rhinestone-studded boots. For a girl, she was short. For a guy, she was tiny.
Luke kept up with the demand for beverages as Simone, Kitty Galore, and Pixie Wilder each performed a second number. The crowd grew restless, but nobody left. Business at the bar picked up as Pixie performed her second number. Ruby Dubonnet was next, and nobody wanted to miss a second of her performance. Only a couple of customers still waited for drinks as Pixie retrieved the tips she’d dropped and exited the stage.
A church bell sounded, and two well-oiled young men stepped onto the stage wearing white bikini briefs and matching bow ties. They marched in step to the end of the catwalk and back, tossing white rose petals from large baskets into the wildly cheering crowd as the bell chimed two more times. Luke was alone at the bar when they stopped on either end of the stage.
A hush fell over the Gilded Lily. Everyone stared at the stage, waiting. On the fourth chime, the curtains parted and Ruby Dubonnet emerged in an elegant beaded wedding gown with a long veil over her head and an enormous bouquet of white lilies in her arms. She took a few steps, stopped, and looked over the enthusiastic fans who scrambled for a position next to the stage to the back of the room.
Nobody—including Jennifer Holliday—did “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” better than Ruby Dubonnet. Ignoring her adoring fans and the bills they tossed onto the stage, Ruby gave herself to the performance. As the song progressed, she flung her bouquet to the ground and stomped on it a few times, yanked off the veil, and ripped the dress from her body in pieces. For the dramatic conclusion of the Broadway showstopper, she sat in the remnants of her tattered dress with an upraised fist, mascara running down her cheeks, and the mutilated bouquet in her lap.
When the music stopped, she stood, straightened her hair with a few well-placed shoves, quickly wiped the mascara from her face with a recovered sleeve, and stripped away everything but a lacy bra, dainty white panties, a garter belt, white hose, and white spike heels. She blew kisses to the rapturous fans tossing crumpled bills at her. Then she traversed the stage touching the fingertips of her fans and blowing kisses while the flower boys picked up her tips and tossed them in the baskets they carried.
The crowd gasped when the handsome big tipper vaulted onto the stage. Russel leaped into action, moving toward Ruby with far more grace and speed than Luke would have thought possible for such a large man. Ruby stopped him with an upraised hand. Then she opened her arms to embrace the handsome big tipper. He hugged her close, kissed her right on the lips, and after a moment, stepped back to bow deeply before hopping off the stage.
Moments later Ruby and her boys slipped behind the curtain, the lights came up, and the crowd dispersed to other parts of the Garden complex until one o’clock when the bars closed. Nobody lingered in the Gilded Lily. Even Frank and Russel had left.
Luke thoroughly scratched his irritated nether regions and then counted his tips, and readied the deposit for Frank to take to the bank. Cleaning up both ends of the bar took longer than expected. Exhausted, Luke brushed his teeth when he got home, stripped to his underwear, and fell into bed.

Friday, April 6, 2018


Today, I'm looking back at one of my early m/m romances, and loving the relationship between Caden and the adorable and lovable Kevin.

Here's a review from Insight Out! that sums up the book in a really cool way:

Caden DeSarro likes more cushion for the pushin’.  He likes them with more to love, a sentiment I fully understand and champion with my ever-expanding waistline.  In a world of twink-orexia and the Muscle Mary Mafia, Rick R. Reed explores what happens when your preference lies on the side of the meatier man.  And what a job he does!

On a regular night on the town with the scene-dream best friend and full-time Adonis, Bobby, Caden encounters the beefy Kevin Dodge, and after a hilariously bad first impression, the men get a chance for their second introduction on the El.  After two great dates and the premature assumption of a future, Caden is called out of town to help his sick mother and Kevin is left for six weeks feeling that he might not be the type of guy good enough for the hunky other man.  So he basically starves himself and exercises to exhaustion and when Caden returns, things get a little tense.  In a society where initial attraction is 100% visually based, what’s a boy to do when the object of his affection re-emerges and is just like all the guys he dismissed before?  Kevin is such a believable character that at times you actually see his good guy persona falter, hints of arrogance threatening around the edges.  He is so well characterised, he is completely human, his thought processes eerily accurate to the standard.

Reed’s descriptive prose is not wrought with adverbs or overtly dripping with meaning, yet the simple descriptions hold their own emotional meanings and after a few short pages, you are right there with the author, dancing down the streets of his hometown like you’d grown up there yourself.  It’s quite a feat to achieve but Mr Reed does it effortlessly and with seamless panache.  So as Kevin shrinks away and Caden is in turmoil as to whether or not he wants to carry on the relationship, what happens to the story?  How do we fill the awkward silence?

Introducing Bobby, the homosexual stereotype that makes you want to Linda Blair just reading about him.  Bobby seems to have no soul, and me being me, I do love a bad guy, especially one pretending so adequately to be a true friend.  We’ve all known a Bobby or two in our lives, the prettier than you guy whose self-worth is based on how he looks and who he takes home.  Bobby isn’t especially deep, his thoughts immediately going to his groin at every opportunity.  He wants what his best friend has, so he tries to take it.  For the sake of this book, that’s all Bobby needed to be, and damn if I wasn’t loving to hate the character from the get-go.  Luckily he wasn’t written off completely, the follow up story Raining Men giving the truth about why he is such an unrelenting so-and-so.

Chaser is light reading, a giggle and a drama all rolled up into two hundred-odd pages and interlaced with humorous references and comedic dialogue like the pro Reed has proven himself to be.  It was such a refreshing change to see a story approached from within, as with writing it’s difficult to ignore the visual.  But Reed defies the ordinary and scrapes away to a deeper level, grabbing the readers hand and taking them into the story with him.  I liked this book a lot, you should read it.

Caden DeSarro is what they call a chubby chaser. He likes his guys with a few extra pounds on them. So when he meets Kevin Dodge in a bar bathroom, he can’t help but stare, even if he does make an ass of himself. As far as Caden is concerned, Kevin is physically perfect: a stocky bearded blond with a dick that’s just right. (They met in the bathroom—of course he looked!) But Caden gets tongue-tied and misses his chance.

When Caden runs into Kevin one night on the El train, he figures it’s fate offering him a second shot. Caden manages to get invited back to Kevin's place for a one-night stand that turns into the kind of relationship he’s dreamed about.

But the course of true love never did run smooth, and Kevin and Caden’s romance is no exception. When Caden returns from a few weeks away on business, Kevin surprises him with a new and “improved” body—one that fits Caden’s shallow friend Bobby’s ideal, not Caden’s. Caden doesn’t know what to do, and his hesitation is just the opportunity Bobby was looking for. This isn’t the same Kevin he fell in love with… is it?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Getting the Blurb and the Cover Right for my upcoming SKY FULL OF MYSTERIES

I just finished up blurb and cover forms for my upcoming novel, SKY FULL OF MYSTERIES, which is a gay romance with an alien abduction hook. Dreamspinner Press, my publisher, always does a beautiful job with both the cover and the blurb, but it's forever a chore to wrestle my thoughts down to make them coherent and useful for the blurb writer. Below is my suggested blurb for the book (which should be out next summer), and attached are some of the pictures I sent to inspire my cover artist.

TENTATIVE BLURB What if your first love is abducted, presumed dead, and then returns twenty years later?
For Cole Weston, that’s the dilemma he faces. Now happily married to Tommy D’Amico, he’s suddenly thrown into a sense of the surreal as his first love, Rory Schneidmiller, returns. Where has Rory been all this time? What happened to him the night, two decades ago, when a strange mass appeared in the night sky and he felt himself being sucked upward? Even Rory has no memory of those years. For him, it’s only as though a day or two has passed.
Rory still loves Cole with a passion unique to young first love. Cole has never forgotten Rory, yet Tommy has been his rock, with him since Rory disappeared so long ago.
Cole is forced to choose between an idealized and passionate first love and the comfort of a long-term marriage. How can he decide? Who faces this kind of quandary, anyway? The answers lie within the pages of SKY FULL OF MYSTERIES…and, perhaps, within the stars themselves.
Look for SKY FULL OF MYSTERIES, Summer/Fall 2018