Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jared has done it again!

The very talented Jared Rackler has done it again, producing an unbelieveably gorgeous cover for my short story, Flame.

While Flame is currently out of publication, look for it again real soon, sporting Jared's amazing work.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lovely, Lovely, Lovely

Those of you who follow my blog have seen posts before about talented up and coming cover artist Jared Rackler. It seems my recent Goodreads Love is Always Write story, In Dreams, inspired him, and he created this lovely cover. Beautiful, isn't it?

Find the inspiration behind the cover here. 

Remember what the day is for....

While having a day off from work is lovely, and it's a great time to spend with family and friends, remember to pause and consider what Memorial Day stands for. Let's honor our servicemen and women, who'd lay down their lives for this country, or who already have.

I cannot even imagine what it must be like to leave home at eighteen and immediately be thrust into a world where people hate you for your country and would happily kill you, not for who you are, but what you represent: freedom, democracy, the right to free speech. And so many do not return home.

So if you're a praying person, pray for our military personnel in harm's way, but above all, quietly or not so quietly thank them for keeping us safe here at home.

I'm a proud Navy mom!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Just one more week...Lambdas!!!!

Oh my God! At this time next week I'll be in New York City, preparing to attend the Lambda Awards. A friend, who also has a book nominated in the M/M Romance category, just pointed out an email I hadn't properly read, instructing me about acceptance speeches, where to sit, and asking if I'ld like to be photographed on the red carpet. Red carpet? Acceptance speeches? Which immediatly sparked a bout of hyperventilation.

This is without a doubt a dream come true for me, being nominated and attending the awards. I'd hoped for it later on in my career, never realizing it'd happen so soon. I still check the nominess list from time to time to make sure Settling the Score is still there, and that being nominated is not simply a sweet dream I'll soon wake up from.

Ya'll wish me luck!!! And thank you Lambda Literary!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Free Read at Goodreads

I had a blast last year participating in the Don't Read in the Closet short story project at Goodreads, and chose another prompt picture this year for their Love is Always Write campaign. Here's the picture and prompt I choose, offered by Lexi:

For three sleepless days, the lyrics have been pounding around in my head. Every time I close my eyes, this is the face that I see. The music is pouring from me, dragging me in its wake and I can almost believe he is real, his haunted eyes singing to me.
Although my original idea was for a rock musician with amnesia, the story turned out much, much different.

See how different here:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hop Against Homophobia Part II

Every now and then you come across something so deeply moving that you want to share it with everyone. That happened for me today when I read my dear friend Will Prater's poem, written as part of the Hop Against Homophobia. I cannot see how anyone could read these heartwrenchingly beautiful words and walk away unchanged. Will is such a joyful, funloving soul, that I never imagined the deep pain he carries inside. It's a testiment to his fortitude and character that he has grown into the warm, loving man he is today.

This picture is one of the few times I've seen Will not smiling, but that T-shirt and the hair explains a lot about his life's philosophy.

That Kid by William Prater

I am that kid, bloody and bruised, 
thrown on the sidewalk, wasted and used. 
I am that kid in different clothes, 
beat up and spit on for words that he chose. 

I am that kid, no belief left in God, 
that Christians reviled, and Samiritans robbed.
I am that kid that stayed late at school,
to avoid the cheers and the sneers of the "cool".

I am that kid that covered the mirrors,
that quietly hurt myself, screaming through tears. 
I am that kid, coming out to my folks,
only to find I am the butt of their jokes.

I am that kid, hit and thrown to the ground,
you said you'd protect, but you were never around. 
I am that kid who couldn't take any more,
so I closed off my heart, and prayed to my core.

I am that kid, that pray and pray,
since suicide's sin, kill me another way.
I am that kid, who lived through that shit,
now I AM STRONGER, and on the other side of it. 

I am that man, who sees the truth,
that people are mean, and worse, in their youth.
I am that man who understands how
the same ones who made fun are all sorry now.

I am that man, they all wanted to be,
even in youth, cause the truth set me free. 
I am that man, who chooses to love, 
stronger than hate, I rise above. 

I am that man though the kid is still me,
the only difference is now, I'm happy to be. 

I am that man who journeyed though hate
bruised but not broken, who chose his own fate.

I am that man who will love who he please
No apologies, no regrets, 'til this life, it does cease.


If this poem brought you to tears, as it did me, please visit Will's site and let him know at Just Write and SO Gay. 

Please give a warm welcome to Rodney Ross

I don't have guests often, but I'm pleased to present Rodney Ross, whose new novel, "The Cool Part of His Pillow" recently released from Dreamspinner Press. If you've read my work you know I love angst, and happy endings (but the main character has to work for it.)

I've read the blurb and can't help wondering: is ‘The Cool Part Of His Pillow’ (TCPohP) a romance or a journey to recovery?  What kind of experience can readers expect?

I would say both. Barry Grooms is a success by any measure: expansive interior design gallery, 20-plus years of stability with partner Andy, financial security, he still has all of his own hair and teeth. Then everything changes when, on Barry’s 45th birthday, a horrendous construction crane collapse kills Andy and their two pugs.

His plunge into widowerhood is surreal – casseroles of sympathy, being offered someone else’s snotrag, a parasitic grief support group –  yet Barry is damaged, not destroyed, and as he slowly rebuilds a world largely destroyed, my hope is anyone who has experienced loss, felt backed into a corner, dealt with know-it-all-but-well-meaning-friends-and-relatives or retreated into denial, will find resonance.

TCPohP is also funny, full of wicked observation. Not rimshot jokes nor Neil Simon-ish set-ups…more humor that naturally emerges from situations…misery is so much more fun when sprinkled with the macabre or the politically-incorrect, the scatological or the blasphemous. Barry’s smartassedness, his skeptical eye rolls, are what ultimately save him.

I notice you have a book trailer.  Tell us some of your thoughts on book trailers.  Do they make an effective marketing tool?

Actually, I have several TCPohP trailers; by going to YouTube at by going to YouTube at, you can watch one, then access the rest, some teasers, others time-sensitive, a couple more general. Having come from -- or, rather, escaped -- the Advertising arena and its bloodlust, I know too well how society is visually-driven. And don’t we all love a good Coming Attraction at the local multiplex (after the 22 goddamn commercials for soft drinks and one-night-only opera telecasts we’ll never attend?) A carefully-crafted trailer can give the potential reader a hint of what’s to come, without spoilers or too much hyperbole. My endgame was to attract interest.

I absolutely adore the cover art. Who designed the cover and what do you like best about it?

Anne Cain, who does a lot of work for DSP. Beyond the literal emptiness of the bed, a pillow clearly not slept upon and a forlorn hand, I like the detachment…almost seen through parchment, from an impassive distance. I like how the wrinkled sheets trail down and recede into marbelization. The colors aren’t quite real. Nor is the character’s life after being thrust into the darkest recesses he could ever imagine.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  What has been the best compliment?

The worst: being informed by a literary agent probably no older than my tweezers that my writing was “too jazzy” for her palate. I protested, “But I hate jazz!” I still don’t know what that means, but I do my best now to avoid mentioning saxophones and Ann Hampton Calloway as I wordsmith. What a load of horseshit. You may as well tell me you don’t like the way I type, it’s that impenetrable.
The best: a Key West, FL neighbor who was once a columnist for the Chicago Tribune telling me, upon reading the raw manuscript-- before I ever submitted it anywhere --  that TCPohP gave her an asthma attack. My new goal is to always make someone reach for an inhaler.

What aspect of your own life has most influenced your writing or storytelling?

Being a gay male, certainly, and permit to be demure and evasive as I add one of a certain age, I wanted to voice something relevant to a certain demographic: loneliness borne of loss, not of abandonment or cheating or even illness, but unthinkable circumstance. I am remarkably fortunate to be with a man who has tolerated and treasured me for a very long time. If our relationship was measured in dog years, it would be something out of Jurassic Park. Having known this bliss, I wanted to talk about the absence of love after having had it…when AARP is about the only thing that may come courting. Love is visceral and tactile, as well as emotional, and its absence can cause as much physical as emotional distress. And I ain’t talking blue balls.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?  The least?

The challenge is always sitting down and writing, while also being depressingly aware that the final polish is so, so distant. Writing is so damned isolated, and isolating. A writer looks for distraction: the shit-laden litterpan to scoop, or sit-ups to attempt, a martini that’s just yelling to be shaken. I always have a notepad and pen, or a mini-cassette recorder, handy. I treat my muse like a sneeze: I gotta catch the spray when I can! 

That said, I cherish the ability to create and manipulate lives in the way we, of course, cannot make ours so malleable. The inclination to write is so embedded, I cannot imagine NOT writing. I was a creative child, self-isolating and brooding. Most is nature….a bit is nurture…all of it is heavy lifting.

I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer, working on twelve stories at once. Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

One at a time. Having come -– or, rather, escaped, from the arena of Advertising –- I multitask quite capably, but that doesn’t guarantee a satisfying result. I wish I could divide my brain like the segments of an orange and each juicy membrane would address a different novel, screenplay or play, but I have to bring my whole fruitness to a single game.

What song would best describe your life?

Anything from Karen Carpenter.  As a younger gay, I instinctively understood the forlorn quality of her voice; now, as an Eldergay, I appreciate even more her. When pressed, I would say her rendition of ‘Superstar’ would accompany me to a deserted island, along with guacamole,Grey Goose and a glycolic facial wash.

Personally, I find techno without words helps drive creativityDo you listen to music when writing? Do you feel like some stories write themselves a soundtrack with specific music? If so, what book and what kind of music influenced it?

I prefer silence when I write in my office: no music, no TV in the other room, even ambient noise outdoors can be distracting. Occasionally, when traveling, I’ll listen to my iPod and scribble some notes and, inevitably, it’s usually sparked by a film soundtrack. The compositions of Rachel Portman are especially inspirational.

Now that you’re published, describe the journey.

Well, I’m still on it. I cannot begin to predict the turns, the fast stops, the backing-up I will have to do to push my novel in conjunction with Dreamspinner Press (DSP).

Writing letters of inquiry and sending novel samples – “send us your best chapter,” some implore, as though I can disconnect one from the other as a perfect stand-alone example of my ability – is especially brutal, one that embodies the word dread.

My favorite rejection letter was an E-mail from another literary agent (do you sense a trend here?). It was 3 words in response to what I thought was a succinct plot summary coupled with a witty turn of phrase or two and the first three chapters.

The E-mail read: Not for me

No greeting, no signature, not even a period. She didn’t have time to close the fucking sentence.

Any upcoming projects you would like to let us know about?

Beyond conceding that I AM at work on a new novel, that’s a big sssssssshhhhhh. I can say that it’s about bad luck, and good -- the paths chosen when fortune smiles on us, the desperate measures taken when it doesn’t.

Is there an author you would really like to meet?  Where, and what would you talk about?

I always cite John Irving. The World According To Garp opened my eyes to possibilities in literature that didn’t exist to me prior. His subsequent work has been just as vital, and his style brings an empathy, clarity and humanity to the most unrelentingly cruel encounters and unexpected character pivots. I can only aspire to his literary prowess, and I would probably just weep copiously or lose control of my bowels in his presence, neither of which would make a favorable impression.

What are you reading currently?

I am loving the trashy and salacious Full Service, by Scotty Bowers, the Hollywood hustler who serviced people like Cary Grant and procured women for Katherine Hepburn.  Whether it is true nor not is inconsequential. I crave a little dirt to sprinkle over my morning egg, and this tell-all supplied it.

Where can we find The Cool Part of His Pillow? 

Publication Date: May 2012 Publication
Buy Links: Paperback                           ISBN 978-1-61372-504-7

Can you share an excerpt with us?

I push away the toss pillows plumped horizontally under the duvet to approximate a body alongside my own.

I hate this foam memory mattress. I wish we’d kept our very first lumpy, concave mattress. Andy’s dent would still be in it. I could sink into it, let it swallow me up.

I will never again hear him whisper into my ear, “Sleepy time now.”

I will never again feel his heartbeat when he wakes from nightmares, holding on to a spindle of our headboard.

I will never ever again kidnap the cool part of his pillow. It was just one push/pull in our 23 years of push/pull continuum. When my own was airless and warm, I would find that unoccupied part, I would slowly pull the pillow toward me until his shoulders grazed my breastbone, nestle my head behind his and go to sleep. It didn’t stay cool for long. I’d restlessly return to my own, or he’d wake enough to take it back with a grouchy harumph but two, three times a night my right hand, like a divining rod jerking toward a source of water, would go wandering for fresh, for safe, for cool. It was like winning a prize. I will miss those two big heads full of alpha male dreams sharing one pillow.

Now it’s all mine.

I can have as much cool as I want, can dominate every bit, which is very different.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Rodney!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hop Against Homophobia

As I'm a bit older than a lot of folks participating in the Hop Against Homophobia, I'm taking a historical look at predjudices in the US's not so distant history.
In 1967, about 72% were opposed to interracial marriage and 48% felt that marrying a person of another race should be prosecuted as a criminal act.Sean Robert Cahill, "Same-sex marriage in the United States: Focus on the facts," Lexington Books, (2004), Page 12.
Althought federal law changed in 1967, my sister's 1977 marriage was deemed illegal  -- interracial marriage was against state law. That law remained on the books until 1998 (can you believe it?), though it (thankfully) wasn't applied. Her family faced riducule and desertion by friends. So many people I talk to did not know about the illegality of interracial marriage during that time in our history, for no one bats an eye at it today. Thankfully, that law crumbled and fell, as should any law that denies a citizen their basic rights. In the future, the same will be said of marriage inequality laws, bullying, and homophobia in general. I simply do not understand the arguments that prop up ill-concealed attempts to destroy human rights, or how anyone can blindly hate or bring harm to another simply because they're different.

I'm a student of human nature, and see the pattern of how each generation repeats the mistakes of the one gone before. For some reason, folks feel the need to push down another group to make themselves look better. Anyone remember what N.I.N.A stood for? It meant "No Irish Need Apply." Yes, at one time, the Irish were the group to be discriminated against. Then Italians. I wonder what criticism my Native American great-grandmother endured when she married a "white man." One by one, those prejudices weakened and disappeared. When are we going to stop applying labels to each other? We're people, dammit. 'Nuff said.

Now, I'm not college educated, don't have degrees to brag about, hell -- I live in the trailer park for crying out loud. But I do know that judging a person based on anything other than who they actually are is dumb. Right now shunning someone for being from Ireland seems ridiculous, doesn't it, in this great melting pot of the USA where most folks can claim many nationalities among their ancestors? Yet it happened, and not too terribly long ago.

Now in 2012 my friends can't legally marry. In thirty years, if it takes that long (hopefully not), the current homophobia and prejudice will seem just as absurd a the country's previous biases. Our descendants will feel shame when they see pictures in history books of folks bearing hate-slogan banners. Why not discriminate against blue eyes, or brown hair? Overbites? Freckles? Of course, left handers were once targets of bias, too. 

We are each who and how we were meant to be. If you find that special someone who makes your world a better place, regardless of race, religion, gender, or crazy relatives, hang on for dear life. If we all focus on love we won't have time to hate. You don't have to carry signs or scream in anger, just quietly lead by example. One by one we can make a difference by setting a positive example, in our homes, schools, and workplaces. Do not tolerate bigotry or turn a blind eye to injustice. 


Visitors to my site, welcome to the Hop Against Homophobia. Below are other participants that I hope you'll visit in support of ending homophobia and predjudice for good. If you look on the right sidebar, you'll see several free reads that I offer; all I ask is that by downloading you're confirming that you're over eighteen. The Telling is a full-length novel; the rest are shorter works. All comments on this post from today until midnight EST May 20 will get your name in the drawing for a print copy of one book of your choice: The Angel of 13th Street, Settling the Score, or Diversion. You can ask for my latest release, Fallen Angel, but you might have to wait a few days until I can get my hands on a copy. Thank you, and let's all be a little kinder to each other, okay? Now why don't you go visit these nice folks, register for prizes, and show your support for ending homophobia.

1. Erica Pike  78. L. A. Witt  155. Randy's Book Bag Reviews  2. K-Lee Klein  79. Sui Lynn  156. Becky Condit  3. Zathyn Priest  80. RANDALL WIGGINS  157. Jessica Lee  4. Andi Anderson  81. Haley Walsh  158. M.L. Rhodes  5. Kayla Jameth  82. Nephylim  159. Amanda Corlies  6. Dani Alexander  83. Marie Sexton  160. A.M. Burns  7. S.J. Frost  84. Kayelle Allen  161. Sue K.  8. Tara Lain  85. Anne Barwell  162. Angela S. Stone  9. West Thornhill  86. SJD Peterson  163. Amber Quill Press LLC  10. Vicktor Alexander  87. Rick R. Reed  164. Elin Gregory  11. L.M. Brown  88. Kracken  165. Rowan McBride  12. Embry Carlysle  89. Erato  166. Marie Dees  13. Michael Mandrake  90. H.L. Holston  167. B.G. Thomas  14. Lori Toland  91. Johnny Miles  168. Lissa Matthews  15. Carolyn Gray  92. H.A Caine  169. Jessie Lansdel  16. Diana DeRicci  93. Kit Sands  170. Barbara Elsborg  17. J P Bowie  94. Andrea Speed  171. Katey Hawthorne  18. Lily Sawyer  95. AJ Jarrett  172. JL Merrow  19. Kerry Freeman  96. S. L. Danielson  173. DARK HAVEN BOOK REVIEWS  20. Kaje Harper  97. Blaine D. Arden  174. Full Moon Bites  21. Shae Connor  98. Anne Brooke  175. Zahra Owens  22. L.C. Chase  99. Em Woods  176. Caroline Stephens  23. Piper Vaughn & M.J. O'Shea  100. Karenna Colcroft  177. J.A. Rock  24. Zach Sweets  101. Stevie Woods  178. Hunter Raines  25. Charlie Cochet  102. Jambrea Jo Jones  179. Stormy Glenn  26. Jaime Samms  103. Tana  180. Sue Roebuck  27. Taylor V. Donovan & Anne Tenino  104. TanaRaeReads  181. Makayla's Book Reviews  28. DC Juris  105. William Neale  182. Evelyn Shepherd  29. Top2Bottom Reviews  106. S.A. Reid  183. J.R. Loveless  30. Silvia Violet  107. Cherie Noel  184. Kate Hill  31. Sara York  108. Dustin Adrian Rhodes  185. Saloni Quinby  32. Pants Off Reviews  109. Havan Fellows  186. The Jeep Diva  33. Dawn Roberto  110. Tami Veldura  187. The Story Orgy  34. Matthew  111. PD Singer  188. Miho Li  35. Storm Moon Press  112. Well Read  189. Harper Kingsley  36. S.L. Armstrong  113. Brief Encounters Reviews  190. Breathless Press  37. Jessica Freely  114. Rarely Dusty Books  191. Z.A. Maxfield  38. Sue Brown  115. Ally Blue  192. Viki Lyn  39. Megan Derr  116. Elizabeth Lister  193. L.E. Harner  40. Samantha Derr  117. K.M. Mahoney  194. CR Guiliano  41. Sasha L. Miller  118. H.B. Pattskyn  195. Erastes  42. Less Than Three Press  119. Stephani Hecht  196. Speak Its Name  43. Hayley B. James  120. Connor Wright  197. L. J. LaBarthe  44. Dakota Trace  121. Devon Rhodes  198. MLR Press, LLC  45. Kharisma Rhayne  122. Louisa Bacio  199. Laura Baumbach  46. No Boundaries Press  123. Dianne Hartsock  200. Sean Michael  47. Angel Martinez  124. Cryselle's Bookshelf  201. A T Weaver  48. Simply Erotic Reviews  125. Dawn K. Johnson  202. Lou Sylvre  49. Missy Welsh  126. Eden Winters  203. A.J. Marcus  50. Sessha Batto  127. Avril Ashton  204. Daisy Harris  51. Joyfully Jay  128. K.Z. Snow  205. Lara Brukz  52. amy lane  129. Keta Diablo, Author  206. Turning The Pages  53. Kathleen Hayes  130. Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews  207. Holsum College Tumblr  54. Arshad Ahsanuddin  131. MA Church  208. Sex Scheming Geniuses  55. Andrew Grey  132. Sloan Parker  209. Riverina Romantics (INT)  56. Kari Gregg  133. Books Make Me Happy  210. Bella Leone  57. Marguerite Labbe  134. Guilty Indulgence Review Site  211. Tyler Robbins  58. Ariel Tachna  135. Matt and Brad  212. Sasha Conte  59. Xara X. Xanakas  136. Blackraven Erotic Cafe  213. Violet Hilton  60. B. Snow  137. Blackravens Reviews  214. Ryan Loveless  61. Mary Calmes  138. AJ's Reading Nook  215. Brenda Cothern Books  62. J. P. Barnaby  139. Dark Divas Reviews  216. The Romance Reviews  63. Ellis Carrington  140. The Readers Roundtable After Dark  217. Tam Ames  64. Dreamspinner Press  141. Barry Brennessel  218. Kendall McKenna  65. T.A. Chase  142. Occasional Musings n Ramblings  219. Under the Covers Book Blog  66. Lavinia Lewis  143. Lydia Nyx  220. Ranae Rose  67. Elizabeth Noble  144. Alex Kidwell & Robin Saxon  221. The Book Bunnies  68. KC Burn  145. BA Tortuga  222. Kirby Crow  69. Brita Addams  146. Megan Slayer  223. krissy  70. Riptide Publishing  147. Kathy's Library  224. Charlie Cochrane  71. TWLIB Reviews  148. Suzanne van Rooyen  225. J. Lannan  72. Rachel Haimowitz  149. Hearts On Fire Reviews  226. Leontine's Book Realm  73. Rhianon Etzweiler  150. Nastasha LaBrake  227. Shadow Sterling  74. Scarlet Hyacinth  151. NJ Nielsen  228. Dilo Keith  75. Julie Lynn Hayes  152. Kerry Sullivan  229. Sui Lynn  76. Kalita Kasar  153. Andi Lea  230. Lisabet Sarai  77. Poppy Dennison  154. Anna Lee  231. Caitlin Ricci  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tomorrow is the Big Day - Hop Against Homophobia

From May 17-20 participating authors, reviewers, and other bloggers will be posting their thoughts on homophobia, along with prizes. Be sure to visit for my post on the evils of bigotry, a contest for a print copy from my backlist, and a listing of other participants. Just click the links to hop to the next blog.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Beyond Excellent" review for Diversion!

Jenre at Well Read was the first reviewer to ever comment on my work way back when The Pirate's Gamble first released late in 2009. I admired her critique and took it to heart, which makes her latest review of my work all the more thrilling. She's been there to see the gradual growth and, apparently, noticed progress.

She had this to say about my March release, Diversion:
If you're looking for a strong character based book which is heavy on romance, action, plot; if you want a pair of opposites attract characters who are wholly sympathetic and consistently behave true to character; if you want a book you can hardly bear to put down; then I can highly, highly recommend this book.  I can see it being one of my top reads of the year.  Grade: Beyond Excellent!
See entire review at Well Read.