Friday, September 28, 2012

Opening My Mind - by B.G. Thomas


 
Goodness I love to read. I’ve read since I was little. Mom got me a subscription to the “I Can Read Books,” so I was one fish, two fish, red fish, and blue fishing it from an early age. Thank you, Mom!
Books taught me to question and to expand my mind – raised in a quite Christian home, mom nevertheless read me all kinds of books. When I was very young, one of those books was about the coelacanth, the ancient fish that was supposed to be extinct millions of years ago but was found to still be living. Millions of years ago, I wondered. But the Earth is only supposed to be six thousand years old. Mom unintentionally opened my mind to far more than a dogmatic view of the world. Without meaning to, she caused me to question, to wonder, and to look for answers that weren’t often contained in her Bible. Thank you Mom!
Trapped at a very menial job that doesn’t in any way take my gifts and use them, it is books that save my sanity. They take me (for 15 minutes at a time) away from work and to other countries, different circumstances, other planets, other times and more. They entertainment, they teach me, they expand my spirit. I love to read! It stuns me when someone tells me they’ve tried, but they just can’t get into reading. O.M. Gosh!
Of course books can get us into trouble.
They taught me I was gay.
I was in my late teens and I was working at a bookstore that no longer exists called Kroch's and Brentano's and it was coming into the holiday season and we were getting tons of boxed books sets. Everything from a dictionary/thesaurus set, to the “All Things Great and Small” series, “Star Trek” sets and so much more.
It was the so much more that got me. To my shock we got a set with these two men on the box looking longingly into each other’s eyes. My heart started beating faster. What the hell was this?  When no one was looking I grabbed a set and checked them out. It was the “beloved” and “New York Time’s Bestselling” Peter and Charlie Trilogy.
I wound up sorta stealing them. I found a set that was the same price, bought them, and put that set back on the shelf and took the Peter & Charlie books instead. So I did pay the bookstore! I just didn’t pay for what I said I was paying for. I took those books home and opened the first page of the first book to a quote that said: “I say it’s love and the Lord won’t mind, there’s too much hate in the world.”
I then read Charlie’s slow seduction of Peter and the amazing sex they had. I got that far, stopped, looked out my bedroom window onto a sunny day…
…and cried.
I knew that I was like Peter and Charlie. And I didn’t want to be!
It took me a lot longer to really come out. A six year relationship with a woman, lots of struggles with God and religion issues, and more. But I did it. I had a set back—a very long term and quite mentally and emotionally abusive relationship. But today? I have a grown and fabulous daughter and I am about to hit the twelve year mark with my wonderful and amazing and male spouse.
Along the way there were so many books that helped me on my path. Thank God for books!
“The Front Runner,” “The Persian Boy,” “The Stand,” “Stranger in a Strange Land,” “The Four Agreements,” “Awakening the Buddha Within ,” “Eat, Pray, Love,” and so many others. These books entertained me, they taught me, and they expanded my spirit.  And they taught me to respect other people’s opinions and beliefs.
I love to read. I walk and read at the same time so I can get in more reading time. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t read. A nightmare was that episode of “The Twilight Zone,” where Ernest Borgnine breaks his glasses after some kind of Apocalypse and can no longer read! Heavens!
I would love to know what some of your favorite books are or were. How they changed you. Thrilled you. Taught you.
Books. Can you get much better than that?
Namaste,
BG Thomas
 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

LIVE!!! (music, that is...) And Marriage Equality! (T.C. Blue's week in review)



Well, it's Thursday again, and you know what that means! That's right, it's time for another rambling and (largely) irrelevant collection of words from Tis. (This has been likened to white noise in the past, so just be glad you're reading rather than listening. Heh!)

It's been an interesting week since last Thursday, full of craziness and frustrations, but we'll not focus on that. Instead, I'm going to talk about music. LIVE music, in point of fact, as I've been to two different shows, both at the same venue in DC.

Monday night was Gossip, and that was amazing. The two opening acts were energetic and very talented and I was quite glued to my spot on the balcony. Then Gossip came on and proceeded to bring the house down. (Not literally, of course, but figuratively? Oh, yeah. They left the 9:30 Club a broken pile of rubble. Amazing!)

In addition to many of their incredible songs, they also performed covers from Madonna, Nirvana, and Tina Turner. The entire band was in great form, and Beth Ditto was, as always, a joy to watch and hear. She clearly loves what she does, and so do I. They really need to play here more often.

By the time I headed home, my brain was buzzing, and not merely from the drinks I may or may not have indulged in. Ha!

Tuesday night I was at the 9:30 Club… again. This time it was to see Adam Lambert perform a charity show for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, which is an organization I volunteer with, so it was just that much more special to me. How amazing was it to see so many people there to show their support? Pretty fucking awesome! People actually came from all over the country. (I spoke with one guy who'd driven down from New York, and a gal from… I want to say Arizona, but I could be wrong, though it was definitely somewhere in that part of the country.) All of them there to see La Lambert, and all of them seemingly happy to spend a fairly large chunk of change to support a good cause.

I was fortunate enough to get a ticket for the meet and greet, and that was lovely as well. Open bar for that part of the event (though I don't actually drink rail liquor, but I know it was handy for those who do), and there was a photographer to snap pics of each person with Lambikins. These photos will apparently be emailed to us, though I'm still waiting for mine. Granted it's only been a day and a half, so I really need to work on my patience. Haha!

After this meet and greet, it was out into the club proper from the back bar, and a short while later, Lambikins and the band took the stage. When I say they took it, they really TOOK IT. They owned that damned stage for the rest of the night, and the stage seemed to love it, so… no harm. *hee*

I'm not one of those people who takes pictures and video. I'm just not that skilled with technology and have no clue about the method of accomplishing that with my phone. (To be fair, my old phone died and I just got the new one on Monday, so that's why I'm clueless at the moment. My old phone? There would SO be video. Sadly, they no longer make my old phone and the new one is… Let's say it functions less logically.)

So the band is there, the lights are good to go, and then… it started.

I'm not going to exhaustively describe every moment. Nor am I going to wax poetical. I will say that they played for just about an hour and fifteen minutes and performed some of my favorite songs, as well as couple that I'm more meh about (even those were great live, though).

So we got (in random order because I just don't remember the actual set list) Kickin' In, Shady (love this song to an unnatural degree), Outlaws of Love, Trespassing, Never Close Our Eyes, Naked Love, Cuckoo, If I Had You, Pop That Lock, Whataya Want From Me… and maybe a couple more that I can't recall right now. I do seem to recall a (short) cover of Thank You (For Lettin' Me Be Myself).

We also got to hear La Lambert's thoughts on marriage equality, and as always, he was extremely well-spoken and presented his thoughts on the matter in a very clear fashion. Not surprisingly, he received loads of applause, not just for his words, but for the entire show.

The whole band was awesome and I couldn't be happier to have seen them.
After the show ended, there was an enormous queue outside the club, by the alley. It seemed Lambikins was going to be coming outside to sign things and allow for brief photo ops with those who had attended. I have to say that the club handled that whole scenario very well. They're clearly quite used to that sort of thing, which was a relief. That sort of situation always has the possibility of becoming a clusterfuck of immense proportions, and that didn't happen here. It was surprisingly civil and even polite, with very little pushing and shoving. To the best of my knowledge, everyone who waited left with whatever they'd been there for, whether that was a photo or an autograph, and Adam Lambert was unfailing nice, as far as I know. Meaning I wasn't there for long, but while I was, he was very personable and kind and went out of his way to give each person a smile or a hug or a laugh. I have no idea what he's like in his real life, but he's a shining example of how to have a great public persona.
His performance raised a lot of money and awareness for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, and on that basis alone I'd have to adore him, even if I didn't think he was a lovely, talented and smart man. As I DO think those things about him, I have to say he's definitely in the running as Tis's Favorite Entertainer 2012. (This is a highly coveted title, or should be, and is never awarded lightly. Just sayin'.)

So that's been my week. Gossip (fucking incredible show), and La Lambert (also wicked-great).

Anyone interested in seeing video of these two shows, there's stuff up on youtube. For Gossip, plug in "Gossip 9:30 Club 2012" and it should give you a decent assortment. For La Lambert, "Benefit for Marriage Equality 9:30 Club 2012" works well. I hope you guys will check it out because seriously, both shows were insanely good.

Now if I could just get a Gossip/Lambikins/Scissor Sisters/Blood On The Dance Floor show, I could die happy. *hee*

Monday, September 24, 2012

Reader Reviews by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday, y'all.

Last week, Dreamspinner Press had a great sale, so I decided some serious shopping was in order. There were books I knew I wanted on my wishlist, some writers who are auto-buys for me, and I also some bought certain books because readers told me how much they had enjoyed them. I was thinking you might also appreciate hearing from other readers about their favorite books too, so I posted a request on Facebook and a few reader reviews showed up in my in box.

I'll post those over the next few weeks and make the same request here - if you have a favorite book, please consider sharing your thoughts with other readers. Send me an e-mail and I'll post your review of a wonderful book so other readers can enjoy it. New release, old favorite, doesn't matter. As long as it touched you, made you laugh, or warmed your heart, someone else will appreciate reading it too.

Today, I'm going to share Marieke's review of Faith and Fidelity. I hope you enjoy it (both the book and the review). Leave a comment here, I'm sure Marieke will appreciate reading them.


Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels


If you are looking for fun and light reading, this is not your book.

Faith and fidelity starts with a tragedy and sucks you right in the world of pain of one of the main characters, Detective Evan Cerelli. He has been happily married for 15 years when his wife dies in a car crash and leaves him to care for their four children.

When he meets Matt Haight, an ex-cop who lost his job, his home, and basically his entire life, they become drinking buddies.
After many drunken nights, 
something starts to grow between them. Both straight their whole lives it takes some getting used to their new-found feelings. 

This part of the book is very endearing. Both men are willing but clumsy when it comes to making love. The fact that there are children involved in their lives makes it even harder for them to get this relationship on the road. 

After Evan gets shot on the job Matt steps up to take care of him. But some things happen and everything falls apart.

Thank god there is a happy ending because after all the tears and heartache you get from reading the feelings and actions of both these men, you’ll need it. Faith & Fidelity is very well written and the characters are strong and well defined. You grow to love the men and the children, you’ll feel the love they have for each-other and the kids. 

The struggle with being gay, grief, and in-laws has you captured from the moment you start reading. It will wring the tears out of you but in the end it will all be worth it.

Marieke


Thanks for sharing this review, Marieke. I've read this book (and the other two in the series) and I also enjoyed them very much. - Cardeno C. (www.cardenoc.com)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Leap and the Net Will Appear! by B.G. Thomas


So you dream and the way will be clear
Pray and the angels will hear
Leap and the net will appear
~ Christine Kane


So I was listening to an inspirational speaker one day about two and a half years ago… He wanted to know what it was that we did that made us feel wonderful. That when we did it, we felt connected to electricity or something. That something just started flowing and we hardly knew where it came from. And when we done, when we looked back at whatever it was, we could hardly believe we'd done it. 

Maybe it was dancing or cooking or gardening or painting and singing or…writing. 

He maintained that whatever that "something" was, it was what we were designed to do. And that when we weren't doing it, we were blocking ourselves from what the very Universe created us to do. Sound crazy? For me I guess not so much. His words shocked and invigorated me. I was one of those people—maybe you are too?—who could answer that question really only one way. It was when I was creating stories. 

All I had ever wanted to do was to tell stories, but I kept coming up with reasons why I couldn't. For instance, I told people that there wasn’t market for what I wanted to write. I loved adventure and romance and horror and Westerns. But at the heart of the best of these stories was a love story about a man and a woman. Try as I might, I couldn’t write about that.  

Think about it. Isn't love the heart of so many great movies a love story? Even the Indiana Jones movies or, goodness!, "The Abyss" or "Terminator" or "Avatar" or "Titanic." But for me, I wanted the story where Indiana Jones falls for a guy. Or a man comes back in time to save and world and falls for a man. Or two men fall in love on a doomed ship (but where they both live!).

As I went home that day I realized that what was really blocking me from my good, from pursuing my dreams, was fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of discovering I wasn't good enough. I knew it was time for me to believe in myself. In my hopes and dreams. Isn't it possible I had those dreams because I was created to have them?
 

And after all, hadn’t I’d recently discovered the growing market of M/M romance? Saying there was no market for what I wrote wasn’t a reason any more. It was an excuse. 

So I went got online and looked for calls for submissions. I found one where the publisher was looking for stories about "things that go bump in the night." Love stories with vampires or werewolves or witches or ghosts. I knew they'd get a ton of those and figured I better come up with something that fit the theme, but was less typical. 

Well, I've been in love with Egypt since I saw "The Ten Commandments" when I was in fourth grade. I have a ton of books. I even got to go to Egypt for three days some years ago. I would write about a mummy! But not the boring zombie version. No! The Boris Karloff version where there was love and angst and all that. Where the mummy really wasn't so bad. Just looking for love. I researched the hell out of it, and began to write. My story began to unfold where two different men were trapped in hurtful and harmful relationships. Two men who, separated by thousands of years, only really wanted true love. And I found a way to bring them together. 

Then the Universe struck again. As I was writing I was listening to background music and was brought up short when I heard the following lyrics…

Right outta nowhere
You open your heart
And that changes everything
You're going somewhere
And all you need to know
Is that you're free to go


And as the song concludes, the marvelous artist Christine Kane quotes an old Buddhist saying: "Leap and the net will appear."
 

The words blew me away… I felt as if I were being given a message.  

So I wrote my mummy story and I sent it in and I got one of those automated replies where I was told to wait four to six weeks for a reply and if I didn't hear anything, to write them. But four days later I had my first contract! It was more than I could believe.  

And in two and a half years I've sold seventeen stories! Is that not a sign? Is that not confirmation? 

I've made it a mission in my life that when I hear people talking about their dreams, I step in and tell them to go for it. "Leap and the net WILL appear!" I cry.  

I’m on my way. I don’t yet have the following of writers like Zahra Owens or Cardeno C or Andrew Grey or Amy Lane. But I know my day is coming. I'll write that story that finally throws me into the lime light. And in the meantime I'm doing a lot of leaping and a lot of net landing and having a wonderful time. My life has turned into magick! I've met amazing people. Been blessed with incredible new friendships with people from all over the world. I've gone to New York City and met more wondrous and delightful people. Christine Kane even gave me permission to use her lyrics in one of my stories! 

All this magick due to an inspirational speaker, a singer, and a mummy. Oh. And in believing in myself and taking a chance. 

My first novel, "All Alone in a Sea of Romance" will be released from Dreamspinner Press on October 5th (paperback available as well!). I can hardly believe it. My heart is racing again as I type these words. 

Listen to me! Whatever your dream? Singing? Dancing? Cooking? Raising children? Teaching? Painting? Writing? 

Do it! Don't wait another day! 

Leap! The net will appear! 
 
Namasté,
BG Thomas

 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bars and Cards and Conversations! (the strange life of T.C. Blue)



As so often happens in my life, most of the things I find interesting tend to happen in bars. Shocking, I know, but there it is. Tis spends time in establishments where liquid libation flows freely -- or at a small(ish) fee. It's a thing. Haha!

So Tuesday night, I was bored and sort of all wrote-out, and decided to pay a visit to a restaurant at which I worked for a not inconsiderable length of time. (I haven't worked there in years, but I do like to stop by every now and again to say hello to several former 'work-friends' and catch up with some of the regulars.)

The evening started out boringly enough, with me exchanging quips and commentary in the bar there with Evan, one of my favorite bartenders ever. We were good friends when we worked together and he remains one of the most ridiculous and amusing people I've ever known… and that's saying a lot. He's also one of those smart people who pretends to be stupid and that works for him because in addition to being smart, he's one of those smart people who doesn't necessarily make the same connections that the rest of the world does. It's sometimes a question whether he's pretending to be stupid or whether he just doesn't get something, and that's part of what makes hanging out with him so much fun. This post is not about Evan, however. (I tend to veer off on tangents, as anyone who's ever read my stories already knows! Haha!)

Now, the last time I was at the bar in this restaurant, I ended up having a conversation with a 76 year old man who was a staunch Republican. When he asked what I did for a living, I told him. He was a bit baffled by the concept of a heterosexual woman writing gay romance, of course, and couldn't understand why I would find even the idea of 'two men together' to be of interest, much less exciting. He may have started to grasp the concept when I told him that I found it appealing for the same reasons that heterosexual men find two women engaging in sexual activity to be exciting. This was after I mentioned my love of gay porn, though, so perhaps he was pretending to understand out of fear that I would start mentioning -- and describing -- favorite scenes… which I would absolutely do, if pressed. *toothy grin*

That was last time, though. This time…

Well, this time I found myself having a similar but also quite different conversation with another stranger. Actually, two strangers, as it was a married couple. They looked to be in their 50s and were, as is common at this particular establishment, very nicely dressed and clearly quite well educated. Here's how it happened…

So I'm bantering with Evan (see, there was a purpose to mentioning him after all!) and he asked me what I was working on. I told him about a few of my projects in progress and he pulled a disappointed and sad face so exaggerated that I wanted to buy him a balloon and give him a puppy. Then he asked me why, since I like writing about gay dudes, I wasn't including bondage and fisting and various other things in my stories. (I didn't ask him why he wanted to know, or even how he knew about these things. I figure that's his business, and there are so many different flavors of kink out there, it'd be more shocking if he didn't know of them. I admit to being curious as to why he seemingly assumes that all gay people share these kinks, but again, I didn't ask. I don't want to know that he's arrived at that conclusion through some sort of prejudice, because honestly, he had this look on his face that was both disturbed but curious when he asked, and I like Evan. I don't want to have to beat him with a stick for being a closed-minded asshat, if that is indeed what he is. This is one situation in which I can live with the concept of "don't ask, don't tell." Happily. Until such a time as I have the opportunity to educate him, or learn that he was fucking with me, because that's not outside the realm of possibility, either.)

So Evan asked me why I don't write BDSM and such, and I told him "That's not my world. I don't know enough about those things to write them responsibly. Besides, there are plenty of people who do write that. Pretty much every kink is covered, somewhere within the genre, and while they're all equally valid, I could never do them justice." Or not without a whole lot of personal research, which just doesn't appeal to me, to be honest. Different strokes and all that, right?

So a few other people queued up at the end of the bar and Evan sauntered off to take care of their drink orders, and that's when this married couple pounced… in the figurative sense, of course.

They'd been dropping eaves during my chat with Evan, and doing it really, really well. They were fascinated that I write gay romances, but even more fascinated by the idea that just because something isn't my cuppa, I don't label it as bad or wrong on general principles. That being so, I wracked my brain, trying to find a simple way to explain the why of it.

"It's kind of like playing cards," I said (and this is, of course, merely to the best of my recollection and encompasses the spirit of what I was saying, rather than being a verbatim account). They seemed confused -- the man moreso than the woman. "See, there are hundreds of card games as well as variations within the same game, but they're all played with cards, right?" They agreed that this is, indeed, so.

"Some people like poker, some people like blackjack, or whatever." (I don't play cards myself, but still.) "So let's say you're a poker player. Nothing wrong with that, is there? It's poker. But say you love five card stud. You enjoy it, it's fun, and it usually goes well for you. Now let's say you've got a friend who likes Texas Holdem' and you decide to give it a shot one day. You play a few times, decide it's not for you, and you go back to playing five card stud because that's your game. You enjoy it more than your friend's preferred game. Does liking five card stud make you better or more worthy than your friend who plays Texas Holdem'?"

Of course not, they answered. It just means the friend likes a different kind of poker.

"Exactly," I said. "Now, even within five card stud, there are variations, right? Something like… I don't know. Deuces and one-eyed Jacks are wild or whatever. But that's not your game of choice. Does that mean the people who play five card stud with deuces and one-eyed Jacks wild are in some way inferior to you?"

Of course not, they said. Again.

"So you've got cards, and you've got all sorts of variations on poker, and each of those variations is just as valid as the rest, as long as everyone playing knows the rules and wants to be engaged in whatever the game may be. Playing Texas Holdem' or five card stud, or blackjack, or whatever other card game, it's all still just cards. Nothing wrong with that, right?"

Unless someone's addicted to gambling, the woman said. Unless they can't help but play even when they know they shouldn't.

"True." (Me again.) "But that's the price of living, isn't it? Cards, alcohol, drugs… whatever is out there, someone somewhere is going to take it too far. But just because someone gambles away their house or car or life's savings, does that make every card game bad or wrong?"

Again with the of course nots.

"Okay. So replace 'cards' with 'sex'. Sex is sex. It's fun and people enjoy it, just as we're supposed to. But just like cards, sex has hundreds of variations, if not more. None of those variations are any less valid than whichever one you prefer. They're just different. So let's say that you two don't care for bondage. That's fine. You don't have to. But that doesn't mean that other people shouldn't enjoy it if that's what floats their boat. And that applies to any other kink out there."

What about pedophiles? (I was actually expecting this question. Honestly, I was just glad they didn't bring up bestiality, cuz that makes me a wee bit queasy.)

For the record, pedophilia isn't a kink. I believe it to be a mental disorder, and as such it's in an entirely different class than 'kink'. Same applies to bestiality, and I said so.

"The point is," I finally said (at this point, we were four drinks in), "I can't in good conscience cast aspersions, here. There is no one right way for consenting adults to express themselves sexually. The important words are 'consenting' and 'adults'. What some people get up to together may very well baffle the hell out of others. It might even seem weird or gross or whatever. But that doesn't matter. It's not up to me to say what other people -- by which I mean those who are not me -- can and can't do with each other as long as they're willing participants. Just like it's not my place to say that no man can ever have sex with a woman because some guys are rapists, you know? It's not the acts themselves that are wrong. It's when those acts are forced upon someone who's not willing that makes it wrong. Simple concept, right?"

They agreed that it sounded simple and we moved on to other subjects. They're actually a very nice couple and we ended up chatting away for close to two hours, in all. We may very well end up running into each other again, as they've recently moved to the area and that particular bar/restaurant is only three blocks from their new home.

I don't know whether our conversation gave them cause to think about everything, beyond that brief span of time during which we talked cards. I don't know whether they took what I said to its logical conclusion, meaning… consenting adults aren't always of opposite genders and it doesn't matter. Hetero, homo, whatever. As long as they're consenting, whatever happens is completely valid and acceptable, regardless of whether it mike make someone else uncomfortable.

I hope they did, and to be honest, it seems likely. They did compliment me on the sticker on my bag as I was leaving the bar. I'd forgotten it was there, honestly. I'd thought I'd removed after I finished canvassing for Marylanders for Marriage Equality on Saturday.

Is it strange that I have these sorts of conversations all the time? *ponders*

Anyway, who's up for Blackjack? Haha!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Roasted Chickpeas and Broccoli by Cardeno C.



Happy Monday, everybody. Today is a recipe day. This is one I got from Sam Shell and tweaked just a bit. Thanks, Sam! 

Ingredients


1 lb broccoli cut into large spears, stems chopped into 1/2 size pieces (Sam uses frozen, I used fresh, both worked fine)

a bulb of garlic, separate into cloves, skins removed (if any of the cloves are huge, cut in half length-wise otherwise leave them as whole cloves)

1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt (I used garlic salt)

black pepper to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (I used fresh once and it was good too)

2 teaspoons lemon zest (optional; I used more than 2 tsp)

1lb brussel sprouts (optional; Sam makes w/out these, but I love them so I add them)

1 cup dried cranberries (optional; recipe is good w/out these, but I like the zing they add)

1 cup vegetable broth

Instructions

Preheat oven 400F

Place broccoli (and brussel sprouts and cranberries, if using), garlic, and chickpeas in a 9x13 pan. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt, several pinches of black pepper, oregano, and lemon zest, if using. Again, toss to coat.

Bake for 15 minutes, take it out, and toss. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes, take it out, toss, and then add vegetable broth. Return to oven again for final 15. (That’s 15 minutes, toss, 15 minutes, toss and add broth, and 15 minutes for a total baking time of 45 minutes.)

Sam serves this with rice. I’ve served it with quinoa, with pasta, and with fake chicken. Hope you enjoy!

CC

www.cardenoc.com

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hot Silver Guys and the Men Who Love Them and Keeping a Character’s Integrity by Patricia Logan, Guest Author



You know, sometimes, as an author, a character will speak to you. He will inevitably tell you… “Hey, write a book about me, woman!” I try to ignore those crazy kids in my head but they don’t listen, the brats. As a reader, I admire authors who tell me about their characters and get deep inside their heads. Sometimes, it takes a whole book… sometimes (growls) it takes a whole series of books to learn about the characters and their hearts. I love those authors and I will become a forever fan because of it. I try to do the same thing… bring people into my story by telling their stories in a compelling way.

So I have this brat, Michael, a really nasty guy from “The Cowboy Queen” and he’s been in my head saying… “Patti, you’re not done with me yet!” I’ve been resisting because I really don’t like him… at ALL. And then, I have this wonderful older 40ish cop named Tyler Winston, who’s appeared in every book so far as a sweet, smart, handsome secondary character… the kind of guy who ties all the other books together with his wisdom, always on the case, the perfect cop.

As I was finishing up “The Cowboy Queen” earlier this year, a fan and fellow author, Seymour James, hits me up and tells me, “girl, you gotta give us Tyler’s story”… perfect except I write gay books and Tyler is… Hello? Straight and married… to a woman. I automatically dismiss this for several months and then… *drum roll* the brat, Michael starts speaking to me… “give me a story… give me a story…” He doesn’t deserve it, he was awful in his last book but whom but for Tyler, my hotter than hot, super cop, can whip Michael into line?

These voices in my head… oy vey! I was sitting at a beachside bar a month ago with my very own Master Po, GA Hauser, a good friend, who just finished shooting a full length feature movie for “Capital Games”, her first gay movie from the “Action” series. So, this grasshopper asks, A, did you ever have this dilemma? Silly, really, since I already know the answer… can you write a character who “turns” gay or is “gay for me” (a phrase that I despise). She’s done it several times and done it well.

“Of course!” she says, waving a hand over her microbrew. “An author can do anything and don’t you forget it, Grasshopper!” She’s mentored me, almost from the beginning of my writing career… (career… laughs lightly) and she’s broken every single rule of the game. She’s beat the critics, she’s turned out books with underage characters, she’s written twincest and other forbidden stories and guess what? It has all worked to make her a stand alone in this field.

So, I ask? Can I write a story for a straight guy who finds gay love? Yes… yes… yes I can!

My love for hot older guys is legendary. I post their hot pics daily on FB and other social media… everyone knows I love the silver guys. The thought of them with young pups and the lust the young ones have for them is pretty amazing when you think about it. Who doesn’t love a May/December romance? Yep. These guys are hot. I thought that my former Navy SEAL’s deserved a series of their own which is why I decided on the Silver’s series. I hope you enjoy my hot older guys!


Silver Bullets by Patricia Logan


Sexy, selfish Michael Francis has hit rock bottom. His boyfriend has dumped him, stolen all his money and his career as a super model has come to a screeching halt. Tyler Winston, macho Texas lawman, has lost the only love he’s ever had and the shocking memories of his long buried past have come back to haunt him. Set on a collision course, can these two broken men find common ground and begin to heal each other or will a ruthless killer part them forever?


Adult Excerpt (get the fans ready folks, this one's hot):


“It’s sexy, you all dressed up in your uniform. I love it when I see you with your badge pinned to your belt, knowing that you carry a gun and that you are so fucking powerful and strong under that suit.” Michael ran his hands through Tyler’s chest hair as Tyler crawled over him and straddled his hips, letting their cocks touch. Tyler grinned down at him, knowing from the twinkle in Michael’s eyes that many men had cop fantasies. Tyler wondered if he was a fantasy for his young lover. He reached down and circled both of Michael’s wrists in his large hands, drawing them over his head as he leaned down to take charge of Michael’s mouth. He kissed him long and deep, learning his mouth well until Michael humped him and groaned. 

“You got cop fantasies Michael?” Tyler growled. Michael nodded his head vigorously and bit his lower lip.

“Fuck yeah,” he panted.

“Want me to handcuff you and force you to suck my dick, scumbag? Lick my hot hole and fuck you hard against the bars? Huh scum, that what you want?” Michael was clearly into Tyler’s dirty cop talk and the whole role playing fantasy. He was whimpering and grinding his leaking rock hard erection against Tyler’s.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

COCK! (from T.C. Blue)



  
So, Kiernan's first post here at Cafe Risque shared a similar title, though hers was 'PENIS!'

Mine is slightly different in that I've titled it 'COCKS!' LOL

It's also different in that I'm not talking about how much we all love them, though if you're here and read within the M/M genre, you likely have a deep and abiding love of cock. I hope so, anyway. *grins*

What I'm talking about today is something a long-ago review mentioned. To be honest, I don't really recall whether it was a review of one of my books or a review for a book one of my friends wrote. That's how long ago it was. Heh-heh.

So here's the thing (and it's not just that it was mentioned in that ages-old review but that I've noticed it -- and done it -- myself).

There seems to be a convention of sorts within the gay romance genre where one guy has a fat cock and the other a longer, thinner one. I see it all the time. I write it all the time. I'm not sure where it comes from. (The convention, not the cock. I know exactly where the cock comes… from.) Or should I say I'm not sure from whence it originates? *ponders proper English/grammar* Even with this lack of knowledge, I feel this urge to explain. From my own perspective.

Now, having had sex more than once (even more than twice, hard as that may be to believe… oh, okay, I'm not giving numbers because it would make me sound -- deservedly so -- like a complete slut), I've had ample opportunity to sample the many sizes, widths, and qualities of cock. And if you think there's no such thing as 'quality of cock'? You and I need to have a long, drunken conversation one night. Seriously.

So, considering this wealth of research I took it upon myself to conduct in my more youthful days, I claim myself to be qualified to discuss the merits of various sorts of cocks and my own reasons for assigning the 'shorter but thicker' and 'thinner but longer' stereotypes to my characters. (This is obviously different in the threesomes I've written, and we're NOT getting into any research I may or may not have done that would apply to those instances! :P)

See, as far as I'm concerned, I like my guys to experience the best of both worlds. I don't want cock-drama rearing its ugly head(s). (Excuse the pun-ish nature of that comment. Please.) So my guys are always happy with whatever their partner has… or become happy with it, if they're not right at first. (At the risk of over-sharing, my favorite ex wasn't hung like a bull. He was actually smaller than average in that area. He was still amazing and the best sex I've ever had. The sex had nothing to do with why we broke up. The real reason is a story for another time, and trust me, that time will come. Let's just say there's a reason I don't write about cheating. Heh.)

So usually, in my couple-books, one guy has a fat cock that's not overly long while the other had a long cock that's not overly fat. Invariably, the one with the long cock loves the width of his (prospective) partner, while the other guy loves the gut-probing length of the first (Um, okay. Gut-probing may be a bit much. :P). It creates a balance between them -- length balancing width. An equality, if you will, just as one person being a great painter can be balanced by their counterpart being a great… cop or doctor or actor or singer.

So that's MY reasoning. It's all about balance.

Obviously, I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd love to hear what you guys think. Is it too predictable? Too trite? Too much a trope? Or am I just being too sensitive, wanting things to be perfect? How do you guys feel about this? Enquiring minds want to know! :P   
~Tis



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11


There have been many defining moments in our nation's history, times so potently charged with emotion that they sear themselves into our memories. We forever remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when the events occurred. The attacks of 9/11 are one of them.

I was driving in a car on the way to school (I went back to college later in life) when the first reports came in. A small plan had hit the Trade Center, they said. By the time I drove the half hour to school it was clear it was a much larger plane.

We jimmy-rigged a television in the library and watched in horror as the second plane hit, and then as the towers - incredibly, unbelievably - fell. I remember thinking the footage looked like a scene from a horror movie. The sight of the towers slowly collapsing in on themselves, billowing smoke and debris, people screaming and running...they're branded in my memory even now, eleven years later.

From the ashes came stories of heroism, of police, firefighters, and everyday people risking - and in many cases, losing - their lives in an effort to save others. Their actions gave me hope for our country.

In the days that followed, I remember the sense of community that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We came together as a country then, flags waving, solidarity evident in everything from our clothing to our music. 

Incredibly, I discovered that we, as a country, do have a soul, even if its usually deeply buried under corporate greed and political dissension.

It was a defining moment in our history, and a telling of our character as a nation.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thank You by Cardeno C.



Happy Monday, y’all. I’m going to use today’s post as an opportunity to thank the readers out there who support small, independent publishers and the writers who are fortunate enough to have our books published through them.

I’ve heard people say that writers write because we have to, that we do it for ourselves. I can’t deny that, for me, that’s true to some extent. I started writing because I wanted to share uplifting, positive portrayals of relationships. I had characters in my head talking to me and writing down their stories felt natural. I didn’t know about Dreamspinner Press then, or about all the other independent publishers who give a venue to gay romance novels. So I posted my little stories on the internet and hoped that they’d touch someone, somewhere. And that’s when that “writing for myself” thing changed a little.

I started getting e-mails from people who were reading my writing and suddenly my characters weren’t just talking to me, they were talking to Carissa or Tony or Tricia or Bob or Jenn or Sam. And, for me, that’s the moment when I stopped writing just for myself and started writing for other people too.

The people who told me I should consider publishing my books and told me about Dreamspinner Press (thanks Tisha). The people who help without hesitation when I need someone to translate a chat (thanks Barbara, Shirley, and GiveARush). The people who review a timeline I want to post on my website and remind about things I’ve forgotten about my own books (Anita and Amanda, thanks for everything). The people who give me suggestions that make my books better (Katie, I’ll continue working on those female characters). The people who buy my books right when they’re released, even if they don’t usually like paranormals (glad I could convert you, Sam). The people who e-mail me about my stories and their thoughts about them (Marc, Elizabeth, Tricia, Terri, thank you). And the people who take the time to write reviews or tell their friends about the books (Natred, James, Anisa, Kim, you’re the reason new people buy my books, which is what helps the new ones get published, thank you).

Of course, no thank you would be complete without a shout to L.A. Borgaard, who betas all my books and remembers details that my poor brain can’t keep straight. Kelly Shorten, the best website designer ever. And Paul Richmond and Reese Dante, covers sell books - thanks for making mine amazing. 

Those are just some names, some people. There are many others who have encouraged me or who’ve written a review on a website somewhere that I’ve come across and thought about and, hopefully, learned from. I’m grateful to them too. So, that’s it from me for today.

Thank you.

CC

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What's in a Name? by Tinnean, Guest Author



Let’s talk about names.

You’d think as the author, I’d have the final say in what to call my characters. After all, they are mine, and it was my idea to begin with.

Well, think again. Back in ’03 I was writing a story where one of the characters, Red, was supposed to be sympathetic to the main character. Of course he disagreed, and the story came to a screeching halt. I’d open the file, read up to that point, and have to give up once again in defeat.

And then it occurred to me: Of course Red wouldn’t do this, but Jimmy could, and so another character, who suited the story very well, was created.

But originally? He wasn’t even supposed to be there!

Then there’s the problem of characters with similar names. What do you do when with them? In a novella that will be out in October, the main character is Emma, and her love interest is Elle. Too similar, with the possibility of confusion too great. I found another name I liked, but this one had a problem with pronunciation, and I wasn’t going to go there.  So I plugged “she” into Google Translate and found CailĂ­n. It’s pretty, isn’t it? And the name I’d toyed with? That should come in handy when I need to name another planet.

Sometimes you don’t have a choice, though. In To Love Through Space and Time, a character was named Hank and his son was Hal. Both are nicknames for Henry, and since Hal was a junior, it couldn’t be changed.

What do you do when you’ve got two characters with the same first name but are in two totally different stories? One will be out in December, while the other is still a WiP, but each character is saying, “That’s my name!” Do you hope no one notices? Do you hope the two aren’t confused? (Wait a second, in Always, Ben he was involved with a guy, but now in Come by Night he’s a dad?)  Or do you bite the bullet and make the change?

But it’s my name!

Back when I was a kid, we used to play games were we’d be Davy Crockett or Pat Garrett or Billy the Kid or any of the characters from the TV westerns we’d watch. (This was back in the 60s, and they were still wildly popular.) It was no big deal.  We knew we were really Tinn and Mike and Den.

But maybe it is a big deal.

So what’s in a name?

Shakespeare said that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Well, all I know is if I was a rose, I’d hate like hell being called a stinkweed.

You can find Tinnean's books at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_386

And the newest release, Call Me Church, here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3186.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Under my rock... (T.C. Blue thinks stuff)


So I'm home from Dragon*Con, where I was fortunate enough to spend time on panels and such with Kiernan Kelly, Kage Alan, Shae Connor, and many other truly remarkable people. The incredible thing is that I survived! (There's a story -- or twelve -- here, but we'll save that for another day. Haha!)

As everyone knows, this week has been crazy in the world. The DNC (Democratic National Convention) has been twitted about, Facebooked, discussed and argued over... and will likely continue to be twitted, facebooked, etc.

I could sit here and give my opinions on everything going on, just as I could have for the opposing party's convention, but let's face it. I'm here. I'm female. I write gay romance. We already KNOW what my opinions are. (Nutshell? The GOP is full of fucking lunatics who want to decide who's 'allowed' to be equal, and as far as I can tell, that would be only men. Specifically, heterosexual men who can control their wimmin-folk and keep them from having stupid ideas like control of their own bodies and possibly voting. Because we women are too stupid to decide anything for ourselves. And those devil-gays are almost as bad, right? Those sinners can have the same rights in life as the rest of the hetero-men, though. All they have to do is deny their own nature and pretend to be straight. They want to get married? Let 'em marry women! Because that's a super idea! *rolls eyes*)

So since we already know my feelings on the subject of politics, at least as they relate to me and my friends, I'm not going to say anything else about that. Instead, I'm posting some links here, just in case anyone's missed these parts of the DNC.

Michelle Obama is amazing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a6URcprapk

Julian Castro is very well spoken and enthusiastic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jx3m7jk1CY

Former President Bill Clinton kicked serious ass. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv7bFW23poA

There have been a lot of speakers thus far, but these three struck a chord with me. If you've missed their speeches, I hope you'll use the links. Or even if you've seen and heard them already but want to see/hear again. :)

Until next time,

~Tis

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dragon Con 2012: Hot Men In Tights


Ah, Dragon Con. One of the few places and times when people are free to don capes and tights and run amuck over the streets of Atlanta without fear of being carted off to a nice padded room with all the Prozac cocktails you can swallow.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Dragon Con is the third largest Fantasy/Sci-Fi convention in the United States, outgunned only by Comic Con and GenCon. Every Labor Day weekend, tens of thousands of people swarm into Atlanta, Georgia for a weekend of gaming, costuming, fan gurl/boying, and overall drunken debauchery. No matter what your chosen fandom, be it comics, manga, yaoi, television shows, movies, or books,  there's a track for you at Dragon Con. There's a parade on Saturday in which hundreds of people march, all dressed as their favorite characters. I'm telling you, you haven't lived until you've seen a hundred Stormtroopers march by, followed by a plethora of Elves, Wizards, Hobbits, Pikachus, zombies, Spartans, and Avengers.

I spent this year's Dragon Con running from panel to panel. I sat on the WriteSex/Tantric Tentacle panel, the Kirk's Communicator (Where Do I Submit) panel, the Down and Dirty Marketing panel, and the Into the Future panel for the Electronic Frontier Track, and two GLBT romance panels for the Writer's Track. All of them, I believe, were extremely successful, and I had a ball sitting on each and every one of them.




My fellow panelists (and big, huge, wet kisses go to Kage Alan, TcBlue, Sascha Illyvitch, Kayelle Allen, Cynarra Tregarth, Adrienne Wilder, Gail Martin, Stella Price, Shea Connor, and I know I'm forgetting people and for that I apologize!) were all amazing, and offered great advice and information on the business of writing and publishing.

I also participated in the M/M Author Meet and Greet, which was held for the second year in a row at the Marriott Hotel. I loved seeing every one again! 

I did manage to jog through the Walk of Fame in between the panels, and saw John Rhys Davies (who played Gimli in Lord of the Rings among many, many  other roles), John Barrowman, Burt Ward (the original Robin in the 1960's version of Batman and Robin), and several other celebrities.

I was also asked to help host the Lord of the Rings Fanfic panel, which was fun. It was after this panel that I was approached by a woman who was...let's say, a wee bit inebriated. She proceeded to regale us with her fanfic in which Ronald McDonald (whose hair was the color of a billion fiery suns) got drunk, decided to rob a bank, and ended up having wild monkey sex with the Hamburglar in the bank.

I cannot get the image of the clown and the burglar rolling around in the lobby of the local Bank of America out of my head. Brillo and bleach probably won't help. It's stuck there forever now, God help me.

In any case, I had an absolute blast at Dragon Con, and definitely hope to be there again next year!











Monday, September 3, 2012

Two Sentence Movie Reviews by Cardeno C. (Part Four)



Some of these movies are incredible, some are blah, some are somewhere in between. There are movies on the list that could be the topic of a multi-hour coffee house hang session, some that could be the topic of a rambling post-drinking night, and some that might just get a shrug and a smile. What they all have in common is a gay theme. I’m going to do my best to narrow my thoughts about each movie to two sentences. Here’s part four of my two sentence movie reviews (in no particular order).


1.      The Conrad Boys:  The young lead wrote, directed, and starred in this movie about family obligations and loyalty. That alone is reason enough to watch it.

2.      Breakfast with Scot: Are they sure they’re gay? Because they don’t touch each other the entire movie.

3.      Amnesia: This one is okay, not great, but not bad. It’s told in varying time points and is a bit confusing and very different.

4.      Friends and Family: I like this one. It’s cute, a little sweet, and funny.

5.      The Wedding Banquet: A bit dated now, but it’s Ang Lee so still good. So long as you can suspend knowledge of really basic biology.


6.      CRAZY: Very well made and interesting. This is a coming of age film, a father/son film, a family dynamics film, but it isn’t a romance.


7.      3-Day Weekend. I don’t remember much about this other than that I didn’t like most of the characters and didn’t enjoy the movie. None of those things (the lack of much memory or the memories themselves) bode well.


8.      Love!Valour!Compassion!: It’s the better, more thought-provoking version of 3-Day Weekend. But I still didn’t like the characters and I hated those years when a gay film couldn’t be made without the characters imploding or dying, as if happy, healthy, well-adjusted, and gay just weren’t an optional combo.


9.      Mambo Italiano: Cute, fun, good laughs. Has a bit of a My Big Fat Greek Wedding vibe.

10.   Mulligans: Like Charlie David, liked The Graduate, feel so-so about this movie. And are we really supposed to believe his roommate had no idea he was gay (hint: No straight man would wear that shirt)?

11.   A Four Letter Word: Maybe I’m too old for this movie. Every character bugged the shit out of me.

12.   The Broken Hearts Club: This movie feels real, like you’re right there with them. Good story, great acting, worth watching.

13.   Cachorro (Bear Cub): Unique, good potential, but fell short in the execution. Probably still worth a watch.

www.cardenoc.com