Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Flash Fiction - Happy New Year



Ken Stone shivered and pushed his hands into his pockets, trying to smile as people cheered and pressed close around him.

He hadn't been back to Jacksonville Landing since senior year of college. Almost fifteen years. Sadly, strangely, the excitement that pulled at his chest and dread that lurked in his gut were so very much the same. The New Year approached and he was back at square one, the future stretched out ahead of him. No clue. Nobody to kiss when the proverbial ball dropped.

"Here, I got you another yard of beer." Chad Tyler, Ken's roommate from freshman year, smiled brightly enough to light up half the landing. He pushed a long, tall plastic hourglass full of cheep brew into Ken's hands.

Wanting things he could not have.

"Thanks," he said. Ken sipped the beer from its plastic accordion-like straw without tasting. He paced himself just like he had all night. The past decade of getting Stone and Berkman off the ground had meant no drinking. Drinking made you soft and tired. God knew Ken had always been an affectionate drunk. Tonight, when he was deep in the pit of woe-is-me and looking for sympathy? Couldn't risk stupidity.

"So, what's the deal, man?" Chad startled Ken by slinging one heavy arm across his shoulders.

Ken licked beer from his lips, frowning even though he could guess what "deal" Chad meant. "What do you mean?" He had to close in some, it was that or shout over the throng of party-goers.

"Fifteen years you're gone without a trace, suddenly you're back." The guys's chapped hand made a flapping gesture. "Kind of a big thing, dontcha think? Shit, dude, if I hadn't run into you while you were moving into your apartment I wouldn't have known. Come on, weren't you going to tell anybody?"

Ken shrugged. Frankly, he hadn't figured on explaining. "Didn't 'know if anybody was still around. Like you said, I kind of lost touch."

Chad slugged Ken on the shoulder. "That," he said with a playful grin, "is why God invented Facebook."

Ken chucked and realized belatedly he'd been sipping that damned beer without paying attention. His head buzzed pleasantly. "I'm not so sure that's the work of God, Chad."

Chad laughed and gave Ken another one-armed "bro" hug. Their legs brushed side by side and even through their coats and cold winter clothing Ken could swear the heat of Chad's body got him warmer. "Well, whatever," Chad said. "Glad I found you again. Glad you're here now."

***

Chad's mouth was stuck on autopilot. Couldn't stop talking, couldn't stop laughing. Nerves. If he did he might puke. The nerves were going to make him insane.

"So listen, I'm not trying to get heavy and I'm not trying to pry, but what did bring you back to town all of a sudden?"

Fifteen years ago New Year's night was the last time he'd seen Kenny Stone. Ken. God damn, he'd aged well. That blond hair had gotten a little sandy, blue eyes a little lined. The body, if anything, was even better. Bigger, firmer. Plenty of times freshman year Chad had snuck looks when Ken wore nothing but a bath towel on the way to the showers, and Chad would lay down good money--hell, he'd put up the apartment building they both lived in--that Ken's body was something fantastic under all those winter layers. He hoped to find out sometime.

Next to Chad, Ken's firm arm rose and fell in a shrug. "Bad breakup." The strain of Ken's voice left so much unsaid.

Chad turned. Breath puffed between their lips, their noses were almost touching. The crowd was so noisy, they had to be close so they could hear. Chad hadn't decided yet if coming here tonight was a fantastic idea or plain stupid. He raised his eyebrows at Ken in question.

"A really bad breakup," Ken clarified.

Chad smiled. "I see." His chest burned with the effort of acting casual around the guy who still haunted his fantasies. Who he never thought he'd see again.

"Look." Ken's cheeks blushed red, maybe from embarrassment, maybe cold. Maybe both. "You don't want to hear this."

Oh yes, I do. "I asked, didn't I?"

Ken leaned in. "My breakup was with my business partner. He bought out my half of the business. I came back here to regroup." Palms-up gesture. "For lack of a better place." Ken, looking suddenly angry slurped the last of his yard of beer ad slammed the empty on the railing. "Happy now?" Hands shoved deep in his pockets now, he backed away from Chad.

In spite of Ken's anger Chad suppressed the urge to pump his fist in the air. He'd suspected. Hoped. He put his hand on Ken's arm. "Hey, wait."

Fifteen years ago he'd finally gotten the balls to tell Ken. They weren't roommates anymore, Ken would be moving, if it all went down badly nothing would be weird. They'd been here, Chad had hoped maybe they could find someplace private to kiss at midnight. Then Lara Hayes had grabbed Chad right before midnight, and Ken had disappeared. She'd wound up kissing Chad without asking. Chad, too polite to pull away, had looked from the corner of his eye right at midnight to see the guy he'd really wanted to kiss staring back. He hadn't seen Ken again. Fifteen fucking years.

Chad let his hand slide down to Ken's wrist, tightened his fingers. "I don't want you to leave. Not again."

***

Ken flicked rapidly between the sure fingers wrapped around his wrist and the bright shine in Chad's eyes. The man still held a nearly full yard of beer, and how was that possible? Ken, with his insistence that he would be so moderate, buzzed with beer and confusion and that same want he'd suffered under back in college. "I don't understand," he said slowly.

No, he wasn't that drunk. Still, this... vibe between them was weird. The cute, sweet, skinny religious kid he'd shared a dorm room with freshman year of college had turned into a smart-mouthed rugby player and debate champ by senior year and now he was all grown up and if Ken didn't know better by the way that thumb was rubbing back and forth over his palm he'd swear the guy was... "I'm a little buzzed. You're not hitting on me, are you?"

"Ew. No." Chad dropped his hand. "I'm doing this wrong."

But just when Ken thought he was back to figuring out the lay of the land, Chad nudged close to him against the railing. Too close. "I get that you just broke up with someone. I don't want to... If I was inappropriate, I'm sorry." Chad leaned close, lips brushing the edge of Ken's ear. "It's just that fifteen years ago when we were right here I was finally about to tell you how I'd been crushing on you since we were roommates, and then you were gone."

Fuck. Fuck. Seriously? "You're kidding."

The shake of Chad's head nuzzled his nose and goatee against Ken's jaw.

Why hadn't Ken seen the signs? "But you were so conservative."

"Which is why it took so long to get my head together, to admit to myself how I felt. Since we met, a lot has changed. I've changed."

Clearly. Ken turned to face his old friend. "I'd like to know more."

Chad's expression was cloudy. "I don't want to be a rebound guy. You mean too much."

Ken shook his head. "Bernard was cheating. The breakup took so long because of the business, but by the time we split I was already gone. And you and I have history. You weren't the only one with feelings."

Chad smiled, and from all sides, the ambient chatter swelled. People chanting. "10...9..."

Ken looked up. "Almost midnight."

"Indeed."

Perhaps this could be a new beginning for them both. Ken's hand snaked around the back of his old roommate's neck, tugging. The skin of their noses and cheeks were cold, but their lips were warm.

"5...4...3...2...1"

Their tongues, even hotter.

"Happy New Year," Ken whispered into Chad's ear.


Chad smiled and pressed closer. Overhead, fireworks exploded. "Happy New Year."

--
Happy New Year, Love Ellis

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy Holidays! And a Happy New Year! By B.G. Thomas



So I hope your holidays have been amazing and I hope the coming year makes all others pale in comparison. And I mean that! I put it out there for you and I hope you claim in with open hands.

It has certainly been in interesting and frustrating holiday for me. On December 10th,  had a full knee replacement and believe you me, it’s not picnic. Fortunately, I had miracle nurses in the hospital who treated me like a Queen…I mean king. *G*

Then my husband!  O—M—G!  I don’t know how to describe it all, but he has been unbelievable. His patience, his kindness, his love… I want to wax poetic and not go into purple prose! I don’t know if I could give in the abundance that he has given.
 
What surprises me about all this is that “R” is a loner. He needs alone time. Lots of it. TONS of it! Me, I would be happy Velcroed to his side. I am a pack animal, happy to be in a heap of warm cuddling bodies. It has been a tough thing for us both to over come to make our relationship work, but we have, for over twelve years now.

So here is this man who needs tons of alone time waiting on me hand and foot. Giving me a sponge bath, helping me in and out of bed, taking my hand while the nurse took out thirty-five staples, feeding me, giving me aid even in the bathroom (I won’t explain), helping me shower (hell, showering me!), holding me when I want to cry in frustration—as I think I should be further along than I am. I had a partial knee replacement for the other leg in April and I was back at work in six weeks. I went to church the Sunday after my surgery. This time it’s been over two weeks and I have only made it downstairs three times! Aaaarrgghhh!

But little sweet miracles happen. One of my dearest friends took a taxi and dropped off holiday treats I was grumpy I was going without—egg nog, butter batter for hot buttered rum, Christmas cookies…

I think about how all this could go in a romance novel. Would people say, “Oh, this is too much! Too sweet. Too sugary. This doesn’t happen in real life! Oh, but it does.
I hit gold with “R.” Especially after the ass I was with ten years before I met him. D was a cheater and a liar and a conniver par excellence! If I put a tenth of what he did to me in a book people would roll their eyes and say that no one goes through that much shit. I did!


So needless to say, while I am not having the holidays I am used to, while this social butterfly is trapped inside and unable to go to a bar for a holiday drinkie with friends, unable to go to a single party, and still haven’t seen The Hobbit, I have so many blessings in hardly seems real. I know I have found MY Happily Every After.

If not for R, I don’t know that I could really write romance like I do. He’s proven to me that real love does exist, even for a middle-age and plump gay man!

On top of that, my story “Bianca’s Wish,” written for Dreamspinner Press’s Advent Calendar (a holiday story a day for a month) is doing pretty well! I am very excited. Isn’t that a great Christmas present?
 

Here is the blurb:  “Bianca worries that her daddy, Gavin, is lonely and decides he needs a boyfriend for Christmas. So she enlists her father's best friend, the straight and unattached Curtis. Gavin has a Christmas wish, too, and Curtis setting him up on disastrous dates isn't part of it! Meanwhile, Curtis finds life becoming complicated as he tries to please Bianca, make Gavin happy, and fend off his own unexpected mixed feelings. Will anyone's wish come true?”

And it’s a holiday story, so what do you think? Will anyone’s wish come true? I bet you know the answer!

I waited until after Christmas to tell you about my tale, because I didn’t want to come across as begging. Now I feel you can make up your own mind (like you couldn’t anyway, right?).

The reviews have been wondrous!

Hearts on Fire Reviews gave in 4 of 5 stars and declared: "This story was like Christmas hot chocolate with marshmallows."

Rarely Dusty Reviews said that "Bianca's Plan" is "an entertaining and enjoyable read with quite some humorous moments that are bound to make you smile. It's exactly the right dose of light, happy and Christmassy feel that I can't help gobbling up this time of year."

The Book Vixen stated “This is a great MM holiday story combining the best of family and love.”

And I can’t get over how favorable the reader’s reviews have been. It’s the best medicine I could have right now with all of this stuff. Correction: R is the best medicine!

And once again, I hope you all have the happiest of New Years!
With much love, B.G. Thomas

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bad Naughty Gays! The Gay Agenda! 2012! (A Rant of Sorts)



Hello, and welcome to my last post of 2012.

It's been an interesting year, filled with things that made me smile, and other things that had me horrified, saddened and depressed, by turns.

Marriage Equality was voted on and approved in several states. Stories about celebrities coming out and being greeted with simple shrugs as people accepted their orientations and moved on. A Presidential election that went the way I'd hoped it would. Same-sex weddings in general, and also for several of our active military members, some held on military bases. Compared to previous years, it seems that numerous strides were taken in 2012 -- a trend I hope will continue.

On the other side of the coin… school shootings, the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut being the most horrific example. Outdated and disturbing rhetoric from certain religious organizations that seemed to be deliberately divisive and more geared toward encouraging exclusionism and hate than any so-called 'word of God' groups should ever be. Superstorm Sandy, that caused so much damage and left so many, many people homeless, injured, or dead. This last isn't something that people could have stopped from happening, of course, but I think you get my drift.

Worse than the bad things -- school shootings, storms, loss of lives -- is the very worst thing, which to me is that the same quasi-religious organizations I referenced in the previous paragraph seem to have had a conference call and decided that the only way to make sense of the senseless tragedies and acts of nature we've all been subjected to or horrified by, is to blame… you guessed it. THE GAYS!

See, it's all the fault of The Gays for having an agenda, and it's the fault of everyone else who hasn't risen up like the angry, torch-bearing, dimwitted townsfolk from a bad horror movie to round up said Gays and… what? Kill them? Burn them at the stake? Force them into conversion programs so they'll be so traumatized and cowed that they'll decide to bury the Gay, marry people of the opposite sex, and start making loads of babies? Or gather them up and throw them into some sort of confinement, maybe. Kind of an 'Escape from New York' situation, but with much better restaurants, bars, boutiques and landscaping (also manscaping, but that's a whole different subject… kind of).

As I joked on Twitter the other day, I'm just waiting for the political and religious wackos to suddenly decide that there IS such a thing as Global Warming, and it's happening because those damned Gays are so extra-flamey! Someone would likely do a study (in their bathroom while straining to produce something of equal value) showing that global warming started at exactly the moment the first ever Gay Pride Parade started trundling down the street. This 'study' would then be disseminated  all over the Intarwebz and be cited as factual evidence that the bad-naughty-bad Gays are trying to destroy not just civilization, but the WORLD (cue bwahahaha laughter and pianoforte music -- because, y'know… Gays, and what's gayer than the pianoforte, right? :P)!

Maybe that's part of the infamous 'Gay Agenda' too, though. Global warming, I mean. After all, what do The Gays like more than a nice tropical environment that encourages other Gays (and straights, too, because as the crazies will tell you, there's nothing the Gays like more than seducing the straights into becoming Gay) to run around at least half naked all the time. So Global Warming is really just a concerted effort by The Gays as a whole to change the climate of the entire Earth, just so there can be more half-nekkid revelry that will result in broadening the horizons (or whatevers) of straights. Yep.

And according to these same nutty folks, God decided to make some mentally ill people go kill a bunch of kids because he's mad at the world for not smiting The Gays. (Never mind the fact that if God -- assuming for the sake of argument that such a being actually exists -- really wanted to smite The Gays or anyone else, it seems far more reasonable that he, she or it would just DO IT instead of farming the jobs out to crazy people. I mean, I'm not to my own knowledge a God, but when I have something that needs doing and have a choice between doing it myself or getting someone else to do it, especially when that someone else is just as likely to be distracted by pulling the wings off of flies, or strangling kittens, or watching a Kirk Cameron movie? I do that shit myself. Just sayin'.)

Superstorm Sandy was ALSO retribution by God, it seems. And it hit NYC especially hard because not only did New York State approve gay marriage, but Mayor Bloomberg of NYC donated $250,000.00 to Marylanders for Marriage Equality (full disclosure, I canvassed for M4ME, but I don't live in NY so I don't think Sandy was my fault). Apparently, this was offensive to God and required punishing an assload of people who DIDN'T contribute to the marriage equality efforts in Maryland, and bitch-slapping those who voted against marriage equality in New York State, as well. (I still don't understand this reasoning, so if anyone can explain it to me, that would be super.)

Of course, this blame-game is also part of the Gay Agenda, because The Gays are clearly trying to play the martyrs. How DARE they refuse to accept responsibility for Sandy? How DARE they deny their obvious part in manipulating weather patterns by thumbing their noses at God? Clearly it's all just a big cog in the propaganda machine, meant to have the 'undecided' people of the United States sympathizing with the poor, abused Gays, right?

Another thing I saw this year -- and I don't have the link to the article, unfortunately, but I swear it exists -- was a report by some woman who pretty much said that The Gays shouldn't ever be afforded Federal recognition of marriages because The Gays already have median incomes that are, on average, between ten and twenty thousand dollars per year higher than the incomes of straight people within the same demographic. It would be unfair, it seems, for The Gays who were married to receive the same Federal advantages and benefits as straight married people because The Gays already make more money. (Let's take a moment to appreciate the WTFery of that. Now let's take another moment. And another. Does it make sense yet? *ponders* No… still having a huge WTF sensation.) So there's another part of the Gay Agenda: Defrauding the government because they already make more than straight folk. Those dastardly Gays, wanting to have the same rights and benefits in addition to having the same responsibilities under the law. Selfish and horrible GAYS! Boo-hiss!

My all-time favorite objection to 'gay marriage,' of course, is the assertion that it in some way invalidates or ruins every single heterosexual marriage in recorded history. That two people falling in love and wanting to be joined under the law is somehow less valid or respectful of love, commitment, and the pursuit of happiness as a family… when those two people happen to be of the same gender. I've asked many, many opponents and objectors to explain their reasoning to me, and have yet to receive any sort of rational answer. ("Because God said so" isn't reasonable or rational, as far as I'm concerned. Unless someone has God's number on their speed-dial and rings the guy-girl-whatever up and God itself replies on speaker, I don't buy into anyone knowing God's thoughts on the matter. And don't cite the Bible at me, either, because everyone's all "Rah-rah, King James!" these days. See, apparently God changed his mind about the Old Testament. If he could change it once, he could have changed it again and just forgotten to let the stupid humans know. Or the humans, being stupid, were too busy persecuting other humans to pay adequate attention.)
My second-fave assertion is that 'allowing' Gays the basic human right of being able to marry their partner of choice means that public schools will have to start teaching kids how to BE Gay. Because apparently just the act of admitting to kids that there are people in the world who are attracted to people of their own gender, both sexually and romantically? Somehow translates to forcing those same kids to become Gay. (Do I even have to explain why this is ridiculous? No, I didn't think so.)

Another part of the Gay Agenda, or possibly the same part I mentioned earlier, is to object to it being legal in more than 25 states to terminate employment and deny housing to someone based solely upon their sexual orientation. It's that 'sympathy for the poor, mistreated Gays' thing again. Obviously. They're doing it on purpose. CHOOSING to do it, just like they CHOOSE to be gay. (Because I can't imagine anything better than waking up one morning and thinking "Y'know, it would be super-fun to paint a giant target on my back and be bullied and treated like shit by everyone, even my own family. And how awesome would it be to have complete strangers make fun of me and judge me and call me a whore just because I don't choose to live like a monk? I think I TOTALLY want to find out! Yay! Bring on the hate!" And that brings me to the next touchstone in my… okay, it's a rant. I'm ranting.)

Speaking of the perception by so many political and religious groups that The Gays are overly promiscuous and it's all about the sex for them… I submit that sexual promiscuity isn't a Gay thing. It's a guy thing. (And increasingly a girl thing, as societal constructs claiming that any female who has sex without being in a committed, monogamous relationship is a slut have begun to break down and women, young and old, have started to embrace their right to enjoy sex. AND their right to have that sex not always be with the same person.) This is, of course, solely my own opinion, and you're welcome to think, and even say, that I'm completely full of shit. My position is…

Men like sex. Hell, men LOVE sex. Pretty much any kind of sex. If a guy can't get fully penetrative, well, a friendly mouth or hand on his man-parts will get the job done. If there aren't any friends around, his own hand will do. This is true of straight men, too. It's not just The Gays. (It's also true of women, whatever their orientation, but again we run into that societal bias against female sexuality, and that's a whole other rant for another time.)

The difference is, when straight guys run around trying to bang every female in sight, that's just "boys being boys" and there's a certain expectation that they won't succeed much of the time (see above commentary on girls who have sex being seen as sluts, meaning not every girl will say yes, and especially not if someone is sweaty, gross, and rude, which sadly includes many straight guys on the make). The Gays, at least the male Gays, don't have that skewed idea of sex equaling something bad that so many females were raised with, and as the male desire to fuck IS socially acceptable, when two guys who are similarly inclined approach each other and express interest, the chances are that they'll end up doing whatever it is that they want to do together. That might be sex. It might be going to lunch the next day, or anything in between. JUST LIKE WHEN A STRAIGHT GUY AND A STRAIGHT GIRL CONNECT. Is there more likely to be sex between The Gays? Maybe. I'd say it depends on The Gays in question.

For some groups, this equals "The Gays are promiscuous and spread disease!" For me, this equals "Lucky fucking Gays!" (I may even want to watch them GETTING lucky, but that might be awkward so I keep that part to myself.)  And for the record, The Gays are no more likely to contract STDs, STIs, or HIV than heterosexuals, as long as safe sex practices are followed. Just sayin'. Or maybe that's the Gay Agenda speaking through me. See, I'm not gay myself, but it's possible that I'm a Gay Collaborator, wanting to push the Gay onto every hetero person in the world (not likely, really, because I've tried the girl-on-girl thing and it wasn't for me, but who knows? Maybe I've been infected with some unknown Gay-pathy -- aka 'empathy with the Gays').

Y'know, I'm not entirely sure I believe in this Gay Agenda, now that I'm thinking about it. I mean, I remember when I lived in New Orleans, there was a group of us -- I think it was 12, in total -- four of us were straight; the rest were gay and lesbian. We were all going to a party during Mardi Gras. It took over a WEEK for us to agree on a theme and color scheme for our outfits, and that was just a dozen people! Now consider the millions of Gays who would need to be involved for there to be a national Gay Agenda. It would literally take centuries to get that group organized… and they'd need to have a Seer in order to make plans. And let's face it…

If The Gays have people who can see the future, all the gay-haters and obstructionists are already screwed.

On the other hand, several states do have marriage equality now, acceptance is far more prevalent than it's ever been before, and there's hope on the horizon for Federal recognition of same-gender marriages, so… I guess I can't bitch too much (too much MORE). Haha!

Sorry for ranting, but it feels good to get it off my chest! J

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!


Today is Christmas Day in the States, and since my family and I celebrate (we open gifts after midnight on Christmas Eve, which means that at the moment, I'm bleary-eyed, and suffering from a sugar cookie-and-egg-nog hangover), I'll keep today's post short and sweet.

I hope everyone who celebrates has a very merry Christmas, and everyone else has a very happy Tuesday!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Have a Merry Gay Christmas


No flash fic this week. I tried, and a thousand word short story should be an easy thing to finish quickly--it usually is--but instead of adding more stress I'd like to focus on that "merry and bright" business we're always hearing about. Spending time with my kiddos in the wake of a great tragedy, and finding acts of kindness that I can commit.

Speaking of acts of kindness, for the next 20ish days the rock band One Republic is raising funds to send to the families who need help in Newtown. Contributing would be a great way to help spread some kindness to people who are struggling to rebuild their lives this holiday season: http://www.indiegogo.com/OneRepublicForSandyHook

If you're looking to cuddle up with some cocoa and a good film, try Latter Days which not only ends happily but wraps up right around the holidays, or Eating Out (there are three of them) which is uproariously funny and also quite wrong, but sometimes--especially these days--you just need that kind of laugh. Both, last I checked, are available on Netflix.

I hope you have a merry holiday and a blessed new year. Or a sloppy drunken new year. Whatever it is that brings you joy.

Love,
Ellis


Friday, December 21, 2012

Cheating: A Sticky Issue in Romance Fiction – Part Two – By BG Thomas




In Part One of this essay, I started talking about the issue of cheating in Romance Fiction, but centered my writing on statistics and “real life” instead of fiction. Now I want to hit cheating in fiction and romance fiction. And why so many readers are unforgiving of just a hint of infidelity in their romantic heroes…

Part Two

Cheating of any kind in Romantic Fiction seems to be the death knell for a story and even its author. I get the idea people don’t want to hear about it, or read about it, despite the fact that it is a very grim reality.

For me writing and reading about cheating is healing for me, considering I was cheated on so many times in my first gay long-term relationship. I want to read about redemption, but more I want to read about the fact that just because the relationship one thinks it the one that will last forever fails, that doesn’t mean one doesn’t have a second chance at love.

What is wrong with a story about a character slipping—re: cheating—and how the couple find redemption and forgiveness and new love? Wouldn’t that be a great story. It would talk about how the cheater was more than weak, he was going through all kinds of shit that made him vulnerable to making a mistake. Does this mean the hero is beyond redemption? No! As a matter of fact, the couple working on their relationship would make it stronger.

Why is it that so many readers can not forgive a character who has cheated? They’ll see a hint of it in a blurb and not even consider reading the book.

But wait! It gets worse!

All kinds of stuff gets lables or lumped into cheating!

For instance: in my novella "All Snug" two men meet in an antique store. Elliot is wealthy and rather jaded. He longed for love for years, but has given up on it and settled on a hot time with a friend with benefits. Sean can barely afford his rent and utilities, but has found what he thinks of as the love of his life. Both the heroes have come to the store to buy the same thing: an expensive antique bed.

The two men decide to do a series of tests, based on the Trials of Hercules. The one that wins the most challenges gets to buy the bed.

But as the story goes along, the men find themselves attracted to each other. Elliot man begins to suspect that maybe real love is there after all. Shawn becomes incredibly confused and begins to suspect that the only reason he is in the relationship he is in is that he is in love with being in love, and not in love with his boyfriend at all. That they have nothing in common.

To my shock, some readers considered my two characters to be cheaters!

One reader said, “I was really, really enjoying this story until halfway through Elliot goes home and I had to read about how he had rough sex with his boyfriend Steve. Twice.”

She was upset that Elliot had sex with his boyfriend!

She went on to say that it ruined the story for her. She said that she couldn’t believe that Elliot would have sex with Steve when had developed some semblance of feelings for Shawn. She was upset that Elliot was getting aroused by Shawn even though he had a boyfriend. Hello! I said that Steve wasn’t really a boyfriend. That Elliot was settling on sex because he’d given up on love. She said that when the two main characters finally make love, “the only thought in my head was that how romantic it was that the last person Elliot’s dick had been in [anther man].

Did she miss the whole point of the story? Oh, she did, Entirely. She stated that since the story was a romance, nothing like this should have happened. I guess Elliot and Shawn had to be virgins and not dating anyone. Of course there wouldn’t have been a story that way…

Other writers have reported the same thing. Like maybe their hero is dating this other guy, but he has a long term friends-with-benefits that is a very fulfilling relationship and he isn’t sure if he wants to give it up to have a monogamous relationship. They call him a cheater even though there is no cheating going on. Especially if the potential boyfriend knows about the FWB.

When I single and I am dating, I don’t become monogamous on the first date! That is how the hell I got with my ex. One date and I felt that to be a good boy, I had to be faithful to him! No no no!  When you are simply out there meeting and going on dates, it in no way implies monogamy. That only happens when the two people begin to realize that there is something special going on and perhaps giving up others is a small price to pay in order to strengthen what is happening between them.

So I began to suspect some things about the woman who only gave my story “All Snug” one star. First I began to think it was very likely that she had been cheated on. It would make her overly sensitive to the issue. I know that when my ex would want to have sex with me, I often couldn’t help but wonder where his dick had been and if I wanted anything to do with it. Did I want that thing in me?

I also began to wonder about the age of the reader. I began to wonder if she was very very young. Like in her teens. Still believing that a person meets the love of their life when they are somewhere between the ages of 12 and 18, they are both virgins, the get married and not only never cheat, but are never even tempted to cheat.

As romantic as that may or may not be, it ain’t real.

So…  What should a romance story be? Should it be totally fairy tale with little semblance to real life? Totally sweetness and light? Fairly unbelievable?

Or should it show that romance can be found when you never ever expect to? That when you’ve given up, you can still find romance. That when you have cheated or your lover has cheated, you can find a way to make it work? That when the relationship you thought would last forever ends, that you can find a second (or third?) chance at love?

I’ve talked to a lot of writers who are conflicted over this issue. They do have been downright attacked because they wrote a story where one of the lovers cheats. Or “worse,” one isn’t a monogamous kind of guy. It doesn’t matter that the character might change his mind and decide to be monogamous by story’s end. He is considered irremabel simply because he wasn’t interested in monogamy in the first place.

I talk to fellow writers and we often wonder: Do we write about romance that could really happen in real life? Or only the fairy tale kind that rarely happens? It gets a bit saccharin to write I can tell you. Especially when you’ve experience hurt and pain and infidelity and you find it hard to write about something you no longer believe in. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in love! Hell no! I am totally in love with my husband, even thought we aren’t living a fairy tale either. It doesn’t mean we haven’t been each other’s Knight in Shining Armor more than once! Because of real life, I find that I can write about love finding a way to prevail despite all of the pain life can sometimes offer.

So what do we writers write about? What do you want to read?

Is it only the saccharin-sweet fairy tale that rarely happens in real life? Or the kind of love that finds a way, no matter what?

I want to know! I hope to hear back from you on this! It will certainly guide what I write about in the future!

Namaste,
BG Thomas

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Leftovers suck! Or do they...? (T.C. Blue was a chef! Haha!)



There's been so much that's gone on in the past week, and much of it is less than happy. I'm not talking about in my personal life or anything, but in the world in general. It's been a gut-wrenching, heart-rending seven days, and while I could go into that and share my thoughts, I think we all feel something similar, so I'm not going to do that. Kiernan covered it perfectly in her last post here on Ye Olde Blog.

Instead of repeating her words in spirit or in fact, I'm going to focus today on what I promised to a few weeks ago. Even in the face of tragedy, life goes on, the holidays come… and especially this year, I think we're all going to treasure the family and friends we have still in our lives. What we may not treasure so much is the sheer amount of leftovers there always seem to be after the big holiday meals.

So, we wake up the morning after Christmas (or other religious/seasonal feasting) and open the fridge. Personally, I groan -- loudly -- at the sight of all the food that was so yummy but now is just kind of sad… and unappetizing, because let's face it, I stuffed myself to the eyebrows on this stuff just twelve hours ago!

If your family is anything like mine, the leftovers sit there because while no one wants to eat it, there's nothing actually wrong with it. Someone might want it, right? And somebody definitely will be having turkey (or ham, or whatever protein) sandwiches. But one can only eat so many of those. There must be something else to do with leftovers, right?

There is! I've actually used leftovers for loads of things, and I thought I'd share some of my favorite remedies for full-fridge-itis here. J

SOUP: this is a no-brainer, right? What's better than soup in the winter (winter here in the U.S., I mean). And it's easy! Just chop up whatever your protein is, cut up leftover veggies (or toss in a bag of frozen vegetable blend if your leftover veggies are battered, fried, or soaked in cream or cheese). Water or the stock of your choice (sold on grocery store shelves). Throw it all together in a pot, season to taste, bring to a slow boil, then simmer for a few minutes and you have soup! Yay! You can also add leftover mashed potatoes to thicken the soup, if you so desire.

BREAKFAST: Easy-peasy, too! We've all heard of eggs benedict, right? Just substitute your turkey, ham, or whatever for the Canadian bacon and top your poached eggs with Hollandaise (Knorr makes a reasonably decent version in powder form and the instructions are pretty easy). Fancy-schmancy without all the effort of doing Hollandaise from scratch, which no one wants to do whilst in the midst of a food-hangover. Trust me.

HASH: Chopped protein-of-choice, diced potatoes (most grocery stores carry frozen diced potatoes, which work just fine for this), whatever seasonings you like, and I like to use fresh herbs in mine. Add a raw egg, mix together, then cook in a sauté pan like a pancake almost, until both sides are crispy and have a nice, golden brown color. This can be topped with fried or poached eggs if that's your thing. Oh, and whatever leftover gravy you might have works really well as a topping! Keeps it all nice and moist!

SAVORY BREAD PUDDING: If you happen to end up with a lot of stuffing/dressing left over, this is really nice as a side dish. It's really simple, too. Just put your leftover stuffing in a large bowl, add a bit of freshly diced bread (the texture is different and adds to the depth), a bit of shredded cheese, just enough milk or cream to get things good and moist, and an egg yolk or two (depending on how much stuffing you're working with). Mix well and place in a greased baking pan, then bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes (until you see a nice, golden color on top). I like to do this with some caramelized onions, and if I've got whole-berry cranberry sauce left over (as opposed to the jellied variety which just melts here), I'll add a couple spoonfuls of that, too. This can also be topped with leftover gravy. It's super-good! :D

POTATO CAKES: This can be a side dish or an entrée, depending on preference, really. Again, super-easy! Leftover mashed potatoes? Throw them in a bowl. Add a small dash of cream or milk, whatever chopped herbs you like (fresh or dried, though I prefer fresh myself), some of your leftover ham/turkey/other (chopped). Mix well and season to taste. Form potato mix into patties, kind of like you'd form a burger, and cook on a griddle or in a sauté pan, with just enough oil to make things sizzle. (If this is being used as a side dish, you can leave out the ham/turkey/whatever. Crumbled bacon is really nice in this, too.) This can be served with a dollop of sour cream on the side, making it sort of like a baked potato in patty form! Haha!

DESSERTS: If you have leftover desserts from your holiday meal, you're obviously doing something wrong. Just sayin'. :P

 

So there you have it, guys. Just a few simple solutions to your holiday leftovers problems. And if you don't generally have holiday leftovers or don't consider them to be a problem, well… you're clearly better at planning than I am! Hahaha!

Wishing you all a very happy holiday season. Thoughts and prayers for those who've suffered grave losses, and for those who haven't. I'm convinced that good wishes never go to waste.

Until next time… be good to yourselves and each other!

~Tis

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hard to be Jolly Through Tears


Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, a time of giving, of hope, friendship, and renewal. Instead, this year, in the light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, it is a time filled with the faces of children slaughtered, of hope diminished, and unfathomable pain.

Compounding all of it are the crazies who seem to crawl out of the woodwork every time tragedy strikes, be it natural disaster or man-made horror. Case in point, Tennessee pastor (and I use the term lightly) Sam Morris, whose tiny, homophobic, creationist peabrain has decided that, basically, the shooting was God's judgment for teaching kids evolution and "how to be a homo."

Quite honestly, I'm sick to death of nutjobs who seem to revel in human agony, and use it to support their own twisted, antiquated, and perverted religious views. 

Although I am not a proponent of organized religion, I believe in God. I do. Really. However, it seems the God I believe in is Someone vastly different from the one Sam Morris professes to speak for. My God is kind and loving. My God would never use the senseless murder of innocents to punish those he deemed wicked - obviously, since Sam Morris and others of his ilk (including those moronic inbreds at Westboro Baptist) is still walking around with all his parts firmly attached.

And do you know what? Aside from voicing our dissension and outrage at their messages of hate, there's not a damn thing we can do about it. Free speech is a narrow, rocky road, full of potholes and stumbling blocks. Veer from the course, and we risk wandering so far astray that eventually, everyone's voice will be silenced. To protect the freedom to voice our opinions, we must protect all opinions, including those that make our skin crawl. It sucks, but that's sadly the way it is.

That doesn't mean we have to like it, or take it without comment. We need to exercise our own freedom of speech. We need to stand up, to voice our fury at those who use tragedy to further their own twisted agendas. For every sign that's waved with a message of hate, let's wave a hundred in support of tolerance. For every voice raised in intolerance, let 's raise a thousand ringing with acceptance.

This holiday season, while our hearts are still aching from the senseless loss of so many young children and brave teachers, fallen police officers, and others lost to senseless violence, let's silence the hate-mongers by drowning them out with messages of hope. 







Monday, December 17, 2012

Pretty New Cover by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday! So I was all set to recap Twitter again because I'm just that dull, when I remembered that I have something wonderful to share - my gorgeous new cover! I guess next week we'll have two weeks of Twitter recaps - restrain yourself, I know it's exciting. :)

Okay, so here it is, the beautiful cover for Something in the Way He Needs, the first book in my new Family series, to be released around March-ish:


Big, giant thanks to the amazing Reese Dante who brought this cover to life. I'm really excited about the cover and the book. 

CC

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Flash Fiction - Two Men and a Baby



(Two men, an abandoned village, and a baby. I hope you enjoy today's flash ficlet. Happy Sunday and happy reading, love Ellis)

Tyler hadn't understood much when he'd come out of the dilapidated house and stared into those adorable brown eyes, but right then he’d given his heart away. "Who do you belong to?" he whispered to the muslin-wrapped baby. The nothing that it weighed was immense.

"Tyler." Aiden Velise, the reporter who'd followed his team on the trip, came tromping across the pitted, potholed road. His clothes and mop of blond hair were disheveled, the look on his face weary and full of hate. The ride to the hospital had gone badly.

Tyler tucked the baby under his arm as Aiden approached. "She didn’t make it? I'm sorry."

Aiden's frown deepened. "You have a baby."

Tyler couldn't help but smile down at the quiet, wide-eyed little thing. "I have a baby." He pointed toward the direction Aiden had come from. "Do you have bottled water? He seems okay, but I should hydrate him. And it would be good to find a store that sells formula."

The look on Aiden's face suggested Tyler had gone insane. This from the man who followed animal researchers through the wild for a very poor living. “Shouldn’t we be finding his parents?"

Tyler's molars slid over each other with maddening intensity as he gestured around the empty, broken-down village. He jabbed a finger at the last house he'd searched while Aiden and Terri were gone to the hospital. "I found him on the step of that house after I'd already gone in. Option 'A' is that he belonged to one of the poachers we ran off. Option 'B' is he belonged to one of the villagers the poachers killed. Maybe that poor woman who was dying in the field when we arrived. Either way, that someone left him on the step for the 'nice American' to find...’" Tyler simultaneously made air quotes with one hand and drew the child closer to his chest with the other. He gave Aiden a pointed look.

Understanding dawned. "So the parents aren't coming back," Aiden finished for him.

"No," Tyler said. "I highly doubt it." He would probably have to turn the kid in to someone, at some point. Best not to get attached. But he couldn't stop himself from rubbing his cheek against the baby's soft skin, and was gratified by a rooting response and some whimpering. The little one had been so quiet.

Tyler's research partner, Terri, waved to them from up the path. Aiden waved back. "All right then," Aiden said. "Let's get the kid some food."

*

"You're very good with him," Terri said over Tyler's shoulder. With one hand he helped the baby drink a bottle, with the other he fastened a diaper.

They'd found a roadside shop that sold diapers and formula. Good gravy, talk about ka-ching. In the states diapers came in massive cases for comparatively minimal amounts of money. Here, it was the exact opposite. And the formula? Hell, the kid spit most of it up. Tyler couldn't remember how much was normal.

He masked his anxieties with a smile and looked over his shoulder to where Aiden was setting up camp. "Aiden? Nah. He's cranky but he manages himself just fine."

Terri laughed and sat next to Tyler on the wooden picnic table, which didn't sit evenly on the ground. The whole thing creaked and rocked. "I'm just surprised. I would never have pictured you with a baby. I've seen you photograph tigers. I've seen you chase poachers through the tall grass."

Tyler smiled, more at the baby than at Terri. "I was the oldest of seven." Once finished with the diaper, he pulled the little one back into the crook of his arm. "I could do this in my sleep. I probably have done it in my sleep."

She cocked her head to the side. "Huh. All this time we've spent together, you never mentioned siblings."

"No reason to." He shrugged slightly, not wanting to disturb the baby, now sleepy from his bottle. "I haven't seen any of them in about twenty years. "When I came out they took the whole 'tough love, get out of our home' approach. Told the sibs not to speak to me."

Terri looked up. A footstep scuffed in the dirt behind Tyler.

"Just when I think I'm getting to know you," said Aiden.

Tyler smiled at him. Dusk had fallen and the play of light and shadow sharpened his already handsome features. "It was a long time ago."

Aiden nodded, smiling sadly. "I could use some help with the tents. Holding up the poles." He gestured with his hands. "Kind of a two-person job."

Tyler turned to his partner. "Terri, would you--"

"How about I hold the cute sleeping baby, while you big strong men set up the tent?" She reached toward him.

He hesitated.

"Oh please, I'll give him back," she chuckled. "My cat would disown me if I brought home another person."

Tyler forced himself to let go, and walked beside Aiden to the tents.

*

Tyler stamped the last stake into the ground with his boot, trying to ignore the looks Aiden cast his way. "Okay, what?" he asked finally.

Aiden smiled and shrugged vaguely. "You keep surprising me."

Tyler came around to the front of the large tent, zipping the flaps to keep insects out. "Yeah. I get that a lot." He stood again, ready to turn back toward the eating area.

"Yeah," Aiden continued, unaware that Tyler was ready to end the conversation. "I remember the first time I saw you take your shirt off. Those full-sleeve tattoos." He shook his head. "No foolin' around, Dr. Stephenson. I thought you were just a loner nerd, turns out you're a loner nerd with MMA training, tattoos, an estranged family, and a secret fondness for babies."

Aiden's expression was tough to read in the near dark, but Tyler bristled at the odd tone and what he interpreted as a hint of judgment. "I'm not sure how any of that is any of your business."

"The child. What's going to be done about him? Does finding a place for him not become an issue for all of us?"

"No." Tyler's chest burned. "You have your return ticket. The poachers have gone, I doubt they'll be back since we didn’t find any tigers. You're free to head home anytime. I will stay and sort things out with the baby."

"You want to keep him, don't you?"

"No." Yes.  Very much. Tyler was thirty-five. Single. Ready to settle down. He'd just been offered a very nice position with the National Zoo. Why not?

"Well anyway..." Aiden drew closer. "I find what you're doing admirable, but in a way it's too bad." Not quite nose to nose, the curve of Aiden's smile was just visible in the dark. "I have to confess, I'd been hoping that if it was all-quiet tonight, maybe I could finally make a pass at you."

Oh. Tyler's face heated.

"We're going back in a few days," Aiden continued. "I figured if it got weird, I'm returning to DC and you're heading back to Philly. No need to make it awkward. No strings."

Their hips pressed in the dark. The hum and throb of Tyler's body betrayed his logical brain's resistance. "I'm...actually transferring to the zoo in Washington DC soon,” Tyler said. “Species Survival Program."

"Really." Aiden's palm burned Tyler's shoulder. "That's fantastic."

It was?

"In that case, why don't I stick around? See if I can't help you with your baby situation."

Tyler turned in surprise. Their lips brushed. "You said no strings."

"But this is even better. Friends. Maybe more. We'll see where it goes. Could be fun. Huh?"

"Aiden, I do want to keep him."

"I know."

Their lips brushed again, and when Aiden's tongue slipped into Tyler's mouth, Tyler met the kiss with equal passion. The kiss was not friendly. Not at all.

Tyler didn't care. "Fun. Okay." He could do fun. And he was thirty-five, single, ready to settle down. Why not? They held hands as they walked back to Terri and the baby.

Find out more at EllisCarrington.com

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cheating: A Sticky Issue in Romance Fiction – Part One – By BG Thomas




So first, a quick apology. It’s been a month since I posted. A lot was going on. My anniversary with my husband (12 years!).  Going to CA to spend Thanksgiving with his family and we got to go to San Francisco for two days! His first time and for me the first time in about 13 years. My husband’s birthday. NaNoWriMo (I made the 50k and the novel will be finished in the next day or so). And more. Plus I am wigged out about my impending surgery to get a knee replacement on Dec 10th (send me healing energy?).

No excuses. Just an apology.

And now on to the meat of a situation that I am HOPING gets me some input to understand a sticky situation in Romance Literature. And that is the subject of cheating.

I can say one thing, it will get you some bad (and I mean major bad) reviews every time if one of your character cheats or does something a reader considers cheating in any way whatsoever. It seems to be the anathama in romance, no matter what. There doesn’t seem to be a situation where it is permitted, unless the cheater is the villian. Once a cheater, always a cheater in many a romance reader’s mind.

Even in a situation where the story is about redemption, about someone making a mistake that he is deeply sorry for committing and wants nothing more than to make up for it.

The cheating can be the result of many a Real Life event. Maybe he was weak. Perhaps he was hurt and having revenge sex. Hell, I remember a soap opera I saw a thousand years ago when I was in college where two people are stranded in a snow storm in a cabin and wind up having sex. Seems in M/M romance, a hell of a lot of readers would not only be unforgiving of the two character’s mistake, but might hold the grudge on the writer as well. A hero isn’t permitted to have sex with anyone but his lover even if he’s stranded for ten years on a deserted island.

Now what the hell is this about?

Cheating happens. It is a part of life. It is a part of being in a relationship. In my research I found that estimates that between 20 to 60% of couples will fall into infidelity at some point during the relationship. Many sites argued that those numbers are on the conservative side. Some put it at around 20-20%. The trouble on getting an accurate count is that very few people are willing to admit their adultery.

The statistics I found for gay couples was alarming, reporting that at least 29% cheated, and the book “Sex in America: A Definitive Survey,” by Michael, Gagnon, Laumann, and Kolata cited that in couples they studied, and who had been together 1 to 37 years, 100% of all the couples experienced infidelity within the first 5 years and that couples who made it past 10 years did so only by accepting the reality of infidelity in their relationships.

Wow! Even I was surprised. Not very romantic, huh?


So the fact is, in the real world, people cheat for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s just because they’re a scum ball. I would never say that about my cheating ex-husband of many years ago, because he’s not here to speak for himself. But sometimes the cheating happens because the person is just a jerk. But there are tons and tons and tons of other reasons. I know of someone that I think is a great guy, and he cheats for several reasons, the major one being that his partner of many years is pretty much unable to have sex and refuses to allow them to have an open relationship.

Sometimes it just happens, when it was the last thing they ever wanted. They were going through a really bad patch, they weren’t having sex, they were spending too much time apart, loneliness became a huge issue, and then one day it the right (or wrong) circumstance led up to infidelity. Say one partner was out of town and the one left at home was feeling desperate and ugly and unattractive and horribly lonely and then some stunning hot stud at a bar just started being nice to them. Before he knew it, he’s laying there in bed after sex asking himself, “What the fuck did I just do?”

SO! I ask myself as a writer, isn’t all this incredibly fertile ground for some great stories? The biggest ones being how a couple deal with this and come together in forgiveness and pull themselves through stronger and better than ever? I’ve asked gay couples who’ve been together for decades how they did it. The biggest answer? Forgiveness.



I was asking a close friend about all this and was surprised that despite all I have said above, she said that when she read a romance she doesn’t want reality. She lives in reality every day. When she reads romance, she wants it practically sugary sweet, where both men fall in love and could never consider anything but monogamy.


Here is my guess on the big reason why readers don’t like cheating in their romance stories.

I see through statistics and by simple looking at my friends and acquaintances, gay and straight, that for whatever reason, a lot of people have been cheated on. I was. My first long term lover cheated on me so much he should have installed a revolving door to replace our front door. He cheated hundreds of times and I stupidly kept forgiving him, thinking that one day he would change. "He’s a good man," I would cry. "He just has this problem and he’s trying to get better. Marraige means for better or for worse, not just for better. If I ride this out, he will finally stop cheating on me and we will survive!"

He never stopped and I finally realized I would rather live in a cardboard box in an alley than live with him one more minute. I gave him the boot.

So for those who have been cheated on and deeply hurt? I understand. Trust me.

However, my intial forgiveness of my ex’s cheating? It wasn’t because I was a sap. Nope. It was because I understood he was human. And as humans we make mistakes. I’ve been tempted. I was on a campout with 120 gay men and my husband wasn’t there. I was feeling sad and lonely, I was deeply depressed because of my job. This beautiful young man started talking to me. He was smart and emotional and energtic and passionate about life. We conntected on many levels. Then I suddenly realized that we had a mutual attraction going on. This thin, stunning man, twenty years my junior, wanted me. And I wanted him.

I managed to resist. We didn’t cheat. But Lord I wonder what might have happened had a had a few glasses of wine or beer under my belt?

Was my attraction to this man because I am a scum sucker? No. I am a good man. A very good man. But I was tempted.

Would my husband have left me if I had played around with this guy? No. We love each other deeply and are commited to making our relationship work. I told him the instant he arrived at camp two days later what had happened and he told me there was nothing even to forgive.

A lot to think about…

And in Part Two of this…I’ll get back to cheating in fiction and romance fiction. I hope to hear back from you on this! It will certainly guide what I write about in the future!

Namaste,
BG Thomas

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Woot! (T.C. Blue is being a git. Again!)


So here I am, with nothing to say. As usual. Also as usual, I expect to say absolutely nothing with as many words as possible. I'm kinda like a tea-partier or possibly a far-far-wacky fundie that way. (I have an odd skill which translates to never using 4 words when I can use 40 instead. This is a true fact. Some people might say "I don't know," whereas it's not unheard of for ME to say "I may or may not have knowledge of this, but if I do, I'm currently unaware of it." Seriously. I'm kinda nuts like that. In other ways, too, but that's not the point. :P)

So in my pursuit of saying nothing of any great import whilst using the largest number of words possible, I've decided to share a bit about the week since last we met. (That would be last Thursday, for those who don't follow me on Twitter... and if you don't, why not? *pouts* How mean is that to me? I LIKE followers! I even like following when people ask and stuff, so... follow me! *tries to look like she's not begging because begging is just pathetic... unless there's nudity and 18+ activity in process, which makes begging less pathetic and more fun*)

In an effort to provide full disclosure, this Sunday-past (December 9th) was my birthday, and in typical T.C. Blue fashion, I chose to celebrate in what may seem like a unique fashion. On Friday, I went to my darling LGBF's (local gay boyfriend's) house to cook for an assortment of people. Aaaaand... this requires some backstory.

Okay, amongst my many different professional occupations, I was a chef for a while. I gave it up when the restaurant I was working for went the way of the dodo, back in 2009(ish), and that was a good thing. See, when you're head chef, you're on salary, and that means you end up working anywhere from 60 to 75 hours a week. After a number of years doing this, I was somewhat burned out. After a few years, though, I feel good about cooking again. Not to the point that i want to do it all the time, but good enough that I do get the urge on a fairly regular basis. So the week before Thanksgiving, I suggested to my LGBF, Josh, that I might want to swing by his place and cook dinner. As he's not a moron, he was on board with that idea. *grins*

So off I went to the wilds of Alexandria, Virginia (I live maybe 20 miles away in Maryland, so not as much of a trip as I make it seem), and he let me cook in the beautiful kitchen of the house he and his honey share there. They have an amazing kitchen! I LOVE their kitchen! I made shrimp cocktail (with 16/20 count shrimp), followed by 11/15 count shrimp (these are enormous!) with asparagus and  pasta in a sauce od XVO (extra virgin olive oil), garlic, white wine and lemon juice. Josh's friend Michael, who is fabulous, stopped by and joined us, as did Melissa, Josh's neighbor. A good time was had by all.

Now, fast forward to this past Friday. *hee*

Most people probably don't want to cook for others on their own birthday, but as my apartment is tiny, with a barely-usable stove, I was psyched about the idea. So off I went to the wilds of Virginia (again), and this time I made lavender chicken. (Lavender chicken is amazing, and I don't even like chicken. It's got lavender, garlic, shallots, butter, and several other seasonings that the chicken is roasted with. Maybe I'll do a recipe post some time. Haha! :P)

We added a new (to me) friend, this time, who was another friend of the LGBF's, and that was awesome, too. She brought a cake though we were too stuffed to eat any of it! So there was lavender chicken, roasted carrots and potatoes, and sauteed mushrooms cooked with garlic, lemon and beer! *bounces* It was so much fun to cook for people again!

Yes. We had a kiki. And our kiki was MARVELOUS! *grins*

After the feasting portion of the evening was done, Josh, Melissa, Michael and I all went out to a local club. Michael needed to leave shortly after because he had to work in the morning (boo-hiss for work interfering with fun!), and I may or may not have decided to sing karaoke. O_o (It was Friday night, so they were only allowing upbeat songs, which was something of an issue for me as I'm more drawn to ballads about love gone wrong. Still, I managed. I may or may not have yowled my way through "Love is a Battlefield" and "You Oughta Know". Just sayin'.)

We closed the place down. Meaning last call had come and gone by the time we headed back to the LGBF's place.

I neded up passing out on the couch after an extended chat with Melissa -- out on the balcony because that's the smoking section at Josh's place (and I don't blame him because that house is fucking beautiful and I wouldn't want it stinking of smoke if it were mine, either... not even my own smoke). He offered me the spare bedroom, so please don't think it was anything but my own decision to be on the couch! It was entirely me because I didn't think I was that tired. Oh, alcohol. LOL

So the point of all this is that today I'm going over to Josh's again. I'm going to cook for him, me, and his honey. There will likely be club-going afterwards, too. I expect that I'll take them up on that gust bedroom this time. Then the LGBF and his guy will be travelling during their free time until probably this time next month.

Maybe I should be pouty and sad because I won't see them until then (after today, I mean), and I guess I am, a little. But I had the best fucking birthday I've had in ages, even if it wasn't on the actual day, and I have to say I'm excited to hear all about their adventures when the holiday travel-season has passed. *grins*

Now I just need to figure out a menu for dinner. I WAS thinking steak, but it's gotten more chilly here now, so maybe... braised beef short ribs with homemade macaroni and cheese? I would ordinarily throw some peas in there, ut I think the LGBF hates peas, so... maybe some sliced asparagus instead? (Again, there might be a recipe post coming soon. If there's any interest.)

So that's my giant post in which I've said nothing of any great import. *grins* Thanks for stopping by. More random craziness next week!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Retro Ads - Wrap Up a Bit of Creepy This Holiday Season! by Kiernan Kelly


We've been inundated since Labor Day with ads for holiday gifts, everything from toys to holiday music CDs. It seems like the holiday season starts earlier and earlier every year. By the time the holidays roll around, I'm actually sick to death of tinsel and holly, and if I hear "Santa Baby" one more time, my head may actually explode.

So, as a bit of a break from the mad rush of the holiday season, I bring you a glimpse of the fabulous ads of Christmas past. It never fails to amaze me how companies managed to actually stay in business years ago with ads like these.




What should we get the kids for Christmas, hon? Oh, I know...deadly weapons. Perfect!



Oh, I do love coffee with just a hint of spousal abuse!

 Oh, my gosh! Really, you shouldn't have. No, I mean it. You shouldn't have. You might as well fill my stocking with a great big, heaping helping of lung cancer.

 Oh, yes! It's the perfect size for stashing the body.
 Why do I get the feeling Santa is about to boost that car?

I always suspected Santa was a bit of  a perv.
 Is there anyone who doubts that log is a substitute for wood of a different kind?
 I don't even know what to say about this except, dude, get some help, okay?
 Grown men in their underwear and slippers playing with trains. 'Nuff said.



Ooh...creepy flying, fuzzy, flaming balls. Yum.
 Because nothing says "Christmas" like a small child playing with a loaded weapon.

 Oh, honey, just what I always wanted! Melanoma, wrapped up in a pretty bow!

 Just what every wife wants for the holiday...more work.
 Giving a fucking scale for Christmas is a sure fire way to start the New Year off with a divorce.
Because who doesn't want to find a decapitated head under their tree?
Okay, not technically a holiday ad, but I had to include it. I just HAD to.

Well, gosh, I don't know which to pick! A toaster? A can opener? A mixer? Santa, I want them all!


Only if "Hoover" is the name of a six-foot male exotic dancer.

Nope, not creepy at all.