Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tour the Sausage Factory: Things you may not have known about porn

We all watch porn, right? I'm sure I've watched more than my fair share. I knew I had really gotten in deep when I started recognizing my favorite stars and whether they'd done a video early or late in their career by their hair style.

How well do you think  you know your porn? This video clues the average adult entertainment spectator in to a few behind the scenes truths that some of us may not have known:

Happy Sunday!
Love, Ellis

PS, Happy Easter. :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

It's Official! I am Going to Chicago!!! by BG Thomas

Yup! It is happening! I am going to the DSP Workshop in Chicago!
Last year it was AMAZING--and this year promises to be--and many ways--better.
I cannot believe my plane tickets! Round trip for under $200! Can't beat that with a stick.
I came out in Chicago. It was a little Chicago bar that was my first ever gay bar. Walking in that room and nearly crying--knowing for sure and at last that I was not the only gay man--the only man who liked other men.
So to see Chicago again? VERY excited!

I arrive a day early so that I can spend the evening and night with a friend I haven't see in over twenty years.

I will spend and extra day so that I can maybe see a few sights? I hope so. AND that last day is my birthday. How cool is that?

But the main reason I am going of course is to see the whole DSP staff again. We became good friends last year and I can't believe how much I've missed them--and to meet so many of my fellow DSP writers--and to see writers I haven't seen in a year--HURRAY!--and also of course to learn, learn, learn. I learned so much valuable information last year that has helped me with my writing.

It is going to be glorious!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Return of the Betta

It's my turn to blog again. The question before me is what to blog about? The landmark case before the Supreme Court today? The latest kerfluffle going on between Barnes and Noble and Simon and Schuster? Any one of a dozen news stories that set my teeth on edge?

No, I choose none of the above. Today I will blog about Betta fish.

Why? Because my daughter just got one. I now have a Betta fish residing in my home. He's very pretty, a beautiful blue/black with hints of red.

But he's a fish.

A. Fish.

I don't do fish. I don't even usually like to eat them. Maybe some salmon. Or Cajun catfish. But definitely not Betta.

My feelings toward fish go way back to when I was a kid. Back then, the animal rights activists would've had apoplectic fits at carnivals and town fairs, because one of the most popular attractions was the ping pong ball pitch into a small bowl in which a live goldfish swam. Sink the ball and win the fish. No food. No Ph balancing gizmo. No cute terrarium with plastic plants and rhinestone castle. Just a fish in a baggie filled with questionably clean water.

I loved the fish bowl toss. Why? Because I was a glutton for punishment. I would inevitably win the fish (let's face - they practically gave the damn things away because not only did they want your quarters, they didn't want to lug a thousand goldfish to the next carnival location, so letting you win after a dollar's worth of tries was a no-brainer for them).

Giddy with happiness, I would carefully carry it home, and immediately cajole my parents into buying me a bowl and fish food. I would fill the bowl with water and put Bobby Sherman into it (now that I think about it, all my fish were named after my latest crushes - I had a Bobby Sherman, a Davy Jones, and the year I became obsessed with Planet of the Apes,  a Roddy McDowell). I would carefully sprinkle food into the bowl, and watch the fish swim lazily in circles. Fish, I learned soon enough, were capable of only one trick - swimming lazily around in circles.

Then, inevitably, a couple of weeks later I would wake to find Bobby Sherman floating belly up in the bowl, and my heart would break.

Enough fish were flushed down my childhood toilet to fill the NY Aquarium.

When I had children of my own, I refused to allow them to go through the fish trauma of my own childhood. Maybe that was wrong of me. Maybe I sheltered them too much. But it is what it is. No fish funerals for my children.

Now, at long last, the spirit of Bobby Sherman has come back to haunt me in the form of a Betta fish. My daughter brought it home this morning (she and her father were in cahoots and neglected to tell me before buying it).

It's beautiful. It swims in circles.

I can almost hear the orchestra tuning up for the funeral dirge already.

I hope not. I hope he (he doesn't have a name yet, but my daughter has asked me to help name him, so we may have Joe Manganiello or Channing Tatum living in our house soon) lives a long and slime-free life, and I won't have to give him an Eternal Swirly.

But, at the risk of sounding as if I'm channeling Eyeore, I doubt it.     

Monday, March 25, 2013

US Supreme Court Hears DOMA Cases by Cardeno C.

Happy Monday, y'all. In case you haven't heard, I want to let you know that Tuesday and Wednesday are important days in the battle for marriage equality. The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing the California Prop 8 and DOMA cases. 

We won't know the decision until late June (or so the predictions go), but I'm sure the pundits will give us their opinions on where things are headed after the arguments. I for one believe this is going to be the next step in finally overturning the discriminatory laws that have negatively impacted so many people. 

I remember watching cspan while DOMA was being passed and wondering how our elected officials could make a decision that violated the very foundation of our Constitution. And I remember the pain and shock of so many when Proposition 8 passed in California. But the tide has shifted since then, and I believe these Supreme Court cases, like the results of the marriage ballot initiatives in the last election, will continue to demonstrate the move toward equality. 

So now you know my plans for Tuesday and Wednesday: DOMA watch (and writing). Have a great week.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Flash Fiction: First Date

Alex huddled on a stone bench outside of the closed library, practically vibrating out of his skin while he waited for the bus. Maybe one would come before he froze. At the moment a frigid walk of shame all the way across the tundra this place called a campus was more than his manhood could handle.

He'd dressed the night before in shiny jeans, a body-hugging shirt, and quilted vest. The shirt was silk and the vest was down to help block the cold, but mostly he'd dressed for looks. He pulled his skull cap down over his ears crossed his arms over his chest. He'd gotten some vomit on his sleeve from throwing up in the bushes and there was spooge on the vest because it had fallen to close too that cadet guy's bed the night before. Classy, Alex. So classy. 

He grumbled. Shit was gonna have to be dry-cleaned, as if Alex had that kind of cash.

It was always the same: What started in a rush, some off-campus party, going back to someone's room, had ended in too many drinks and "You gotta leave, my roommate will be back soon and I have to get up stupid early."

Shouldn't have been a big deal. No strings and no emotions was supposed to be how guys were wired. Alex hadn't yet managed to harden himself up to not getting attached after sex. Maybe that came with age and wisdom. This guy he'd just been with? No, Alex hadn't been into him really. But the rejection stung even more than the pain in his ass, which was considerable. For party boy's sake Alex hoped the dude learned to be more considerate in bed.


Alex squinted into the rising sun. Gary Newton, from behind him in English. They'd traded notes a few times. Run into each other at the local gay club, Prospects, where Alex deejayed on occasion. Alex died a little inside, seeing Gary now, outside of Prospects and outside of class. They actually were sort-of friends and English class was one of the few places Alex excelled. Math could take a hike, but he could do music, and he could write. Most days on campus he was just another guy lost in a sea of faces, but Saturday night at Prospects Alex spiked his hair and showed off the ink on his bicep and spun everything from epic trance to old school disco. At Prospects, Alex was someone special.

"Gary. Hi." Right now, Alex was sitting by the curb like a piece of trash waiting for the bus because his ass and his pride hurt too much to walk home.

"You all right?" Gary was one of those guys you just knew played basketball. Six foot seven, with lotsa legs and lean muscles. He lived in the dorm next to Alex's with the built-in gym and the really good cafeteria. Full scholarship. Guys like that, you had to figure it was some sort of sin to not take up the sport.

"Sure. Fine." Looking up at the guy took so much effort Alex thought he might fall over backward. Finally, he decided to stand. "Waiting for a bus."

"To where?" Gary, dressed in warmups and a sweatshirt, breathing hard like he'd been jogging, looked at his watch. "Bus isn't gonna be by for a long time, you know it's wicked early, right? Where you headed?"

"Just back to the dorm."

Gary pulled a face. "Buddy, you'll freeze sitting here. What're you hungover or something? You need a greasy breakfast." He pulled out his student ID. "C'mon. My treat."

Greasy breakfast sounded disgusting but hanging out with Gary sounded nice after the night he'd had, so Alex held his tongue.

They ambled at a pace Alex could handle. When another brisk wind blew, Alex shivered and Gary pulled off his sweatshirt, handing it over. Striated biceps and triceps popped out from the sleeves of the T-shirt underneath. "Here."

"I'm fine. Thanks though."

"You look cold." He pushed the shirt into Alex's hand. The fabric was warm and soft, heated from Gary's skin. "I was just out for a run. I'm plenty warm. Put it on."

Alex started to argue more but he honestly was cold. "Thanks," he said. He slid on the warm sweatshirt, catching the faint scents of sweat and spicy deodorant. Nice.

"So. Rough night?"

Alex groaned and rubbed his hands over his face. "Started off okay. Just a bad decision. Or a series of bad decisions."

"Yeah, I can understand," Gary said thoughtfully. "Hooked up at a party?"

Alex groaned. "Yeah."

"Been there," Gary murmured. "Leaves you empty."

Alex was silent, unsure of how to respond. Empty was a good word.

"I partied a lot in high school," Gary said. "Single mom, got away with tons. These days I don't party much because of sports. I go out to dance some but drinking makes hitting the gym in the morning a real bitch."

"Oh." Alex squinted up at Gary, studying his sandy hair and strong jaw in the early morning light. Maybe this explained why Gary looked so much older even though they were in the same classes. "Yeah my parents kinda kept me sheltered. Didn't even know how to do my own laundry when I got here."

Gary laughed.

"I'm serious," Alex said. But he laughed too, because it was pretty ridiculous. "My roommate had to show me how to separate whites and colors."

Gary laughed harder. "Sounds like you need a keeper."

Alex slowed his pace, taking in Gary's tone. "Maybe so. Or maybe I just need a break, you know? I hook up with a guy I wind up feeling like an idiot. Like you said, empty. I need to reevaluate."

"Maybe you could try, I dunno, dating," Gary said.

Alex slowed to a stop, emboldened by the warmth of Gary's sweatshirt or maybe the fact that he'd hit such a low that morning he couldn't see getting any lower. Worst case? He'd find a new club to spin at, and he could find a new seat in English. "I don't suppose you're offering."

Gary's eyes showed surprise, then his smile widened slowly. "Sure I am." He slung an arm around Alex's shoulder. "I'm gonna buy you breakfast, like I said." He shrugged vaguely and squeezed Alex's shoulder. Then maybe we both shower and get some rest."

"And then we go from there?" Alex suggested.

That strong arm tightened around Alex's shoulder. "And then we go from there," said Gary.

Happy Sunday, Love Ellis

Image credit: nickp37 / 123RF Stock Photo

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Recreating Bliss! (Food-gasms for all!)

So last month, I spent a bit of time in Florida attending Olde City, New Blood, which was a rather small but very enjoyable Paranormal Romance convention. I was there as a reader since I haven't had anything released that would be considered paranormal/urban fantasy and I had a great time. I don't know offhand whether this convention will be held again next year (though I hope it is) or where it might be held, but if you happen to be in the neighborhood of wherever (and if) it's held, I recommend stopping by. (To be up front, this was not a specifically M/M or gay PNR con. Het fiction was more prevalent but the environment was wonderful and everyone seemed very interested in the M/M authors and books there. This, to me, defines a successful convention for any kind of romance, be it contemporary, paranormal of whatever.)

Now, this post is not intended as promo for the convention. I wanted to mention why I was in Florida because I don't ordinarily travel there. As most of you know, I seem to end up in Atlanta a lot. LOL

This time, in Florida, I went to a charming little beach restaurant in St. Augustine, where I had the most delicious corn cakes I've ever had. (Okay, the ONLY corn cakes I've ever had. It's not something I've ever run into here in Maryland or even in New Orleans when I lived there.)

These corn cakes were griddle fried (like pancakes) and topped with pico de gallo, avocado, cilantro, and a chipotle cream. They were AMAZING!!!

I've spent the last month and a half trying to recreate the recipe and I think I've managed to come close. As a public service to all of you (especially you, Cardeno C, because these are vegetarian -- though not vegan), I thought I'd share the results of my hard work. *grins*

So, without further ado... Corn Cakes a la St. Augustine!

Dry items:

3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. corn meal
2    t. baking powder
1    T. sugar (add a bit more if you like things sweet)
1/2 t. salt

* * *
Wet Items:

1 c. milk
2 T. melted butter
1 egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
1 c. frozen corn kernels, thawed

* * *
Other Items:

Cooking oil (for the pan, or use cooking spray to save calories LOL)
Pico de gallo (recipe follows or store-bought works fine)
1 ripe avocado, cubed (as topping)
Chipotle cream (recipe follows)
Fresh cilantro (if you don't like cilantro, parsley will work too)

* * *

Combine dry items in a bowl, then mix in milk, butter and egg. Add thawed corn and mix well. Let rest 5 minutes.

While your batter is resting, heat your pan with the oil in it.
Proceed as you would for making pancakes (these technically are pancakes, but a bit less sweet). Flip corn cakes when the edges are bubbled and look somewhat dry, then finish cooking.

Plate up, top with pico, avocado, chipotle cream & cilantro, and enjoy!

* * *

Pico de Gallo (this is a variation on a traditional pico):

5 or 6 roma/plum tomatoes, diced (I find romas work best due to their lower water content)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced, seeded (or with seeds if you like spicy the way I do!)
1/4 t. crushed garlic
1 lime (juice only)
Chopped cilantro (or parsley or scallions), to taste
salt & pepper to taste

* * *
Combine all ingredients and mix well.

* * *

Chipotle cream:

If you happen to have a can of chipotle peppers in your cupboard, you can simply use some of the thick, luscious liquid they're packed in. If not...

Chipotle hot sauce (Tabasco makes one, as does the Texas Pete brand) to taste
Sour cream (this also works with the low fat and fat free varieties)

* * *
Always mix your chipotle sauce/liquid into your sour cream, not the other way around. You'll be better able to control the degree of spice that way.

* * *

So that's it, all. Corn cakes for everyone! *grins* And if you do make this recipe, don't forget the cubed avocado! The avocado makes it extra-super awesome! *grins*

Oh, and SORGBARN, you won my contest from two weeks ago, so if you'd please email me ( and let me know which of my stories you'd like in .pdf and where to send it, I'll shoot it off to you ASAP! *grins*

Thanks for reading, guys, and hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's a Small World with very Big Ears

This going to be a short post because my husband is in the hospital with acute bronchitis and my time is at a premium.

That said, I felt an overpowering need to speak on a subject that is so often glossed over that it's practically a skating rink - professionalism on author loops.

Common sense.

We should get us some.

Here's the dealio: when you're posting online, keep in mind that whatever you put out to the cyber-universe, be it on Facebook, a blog like this one, or a Yahoo Group, it's out there forever. Even if you delete it.

While it's important to be able to share information, both good and bad, with your colleagues, and no one's opinion should be shut down because it's simply unfavorable, there is a time and place for everything. Complaining about a publisher on another publisher's loop is never a good idea, whether or not you had a good, bad, or indifferent experience, and definitely not when you're making a defamatory blanket statement. Here's why:

Our industry is a small one, and everyone knows everyone else. People will talk, and when you make statements that go beyond opinion and into the dangerous territory of libel, you can bet your bottom dollar the talk will not be favorable to you. Publishers are first and foremost businesspeople, and they may speculate on whether someone who talks shit about a different publisher on their loop might do the same about them should something go awry with said publisher and author's relationship, and how that might affect their business. 

This is not confined to e-publishing. NY does it too, and so do agents. 

We M/M writers tend to be territorial about the companies with whom we publish. It's a natural thing; our publishers are a great deal more approachable than NY, and we often get to meet and interact with them at conventions and gatherings. There's a friendship vibe that grows with time. This is a good thing because it  forges strong relationships between houses and authors.

It becomes a problem only when we allow pissing matches to form. Someone with Publisher B says something derogatory about Publisher A, then someone who's with Publisher A says something about Publisher B, and it's on.

What we need to remember is that we are all professionals -- or are supposed to be -- and need to act accordingly. Think not only about what you're saying before putting it out there, but where you're saying it. If you have had a bad experience with a publisher, fine, you absolutely should share it with your colleagues, but there are places to do it (Editors and Predators, for example). Publishers' professional loops are not the place to air complaints about competing publishers.

Even more important is understanding the difference between an opinion and libel. Expressing a personal opinion, or sharing a personal experience is one thing. Making a blanket statement that is detrimental and unprovable is libel. The line is a thin one, and should be considered carefully before making statements on a public forum.

This is, of course, just my opinion and experience from my years in the industry.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

M/M Romance and Growing Pains

The web has been abuzz lately with discussion over the state of m/m romance. Some folks believe it's in a decline, primarily due to the influx of new writers and self-published works. Additionally, some folks believe the genre as a whole has taken a nosedive in all facets of the industry, from story content to editing to cover art.

I call it growing pains.

From the time Gutenberg cranked up the first printing press, the industry has always been controlled by a select number of people. First the church, then governments, and finally NY Publishers and Big Box Stores held the power to decide what works would be put into print for the masses to read. Readers and authors alike were held hostage by them.  They decided, not only what authors would see their work in print, but what genres readers would be allowed to read. Eventually, it evolved into not how good your book was, but how good your agent was, and whether said agent had good enough contacts to sell it to NY.

While some people believe that meant only great writers were published, the poor and the mediocre filtered out, I don't believe that's true. I've read my share of real honkers over the years, books that I've wanted to throw across the room because of their inferior quality, poor storytelling, or bad editing. Even today, I rarely read a book published by NY that doesn't contain errors.

We are human, and none of us are perfect.

That said, the advent of the Internet and ebook publishing seemed a godsend to many writers who either didn't have an agent, or wrote in a genre NY publishing refused to consider, like M/M. Suddenly, erotic books and same sex books were being published, and put into the hands of readers via their computer monitors. With the miracle of  ebook readers, the market exploded.

And just like any new industry, the ebook industry has gone through, and continues to go through growing pains. For a while, it seemed new publishers were popping up like zits on a teenager, there today, but gone tomorrow. Editing was bad, but has gotten much, much better. Cover art ranged from awful to cheesy, but has also grown in creativity and technique. The writing itself evolved from what was little more than one-handed reading to full-blown plots, and rich and nuanced characters.

With the coming of user-friendly self publishing platforms like Kindle, Smashwords, and CreateSpace, a tidal wave of self-published books has swept over the Internet as thousands of new writers, some great, some good, some not-so-good, and some truly awful, put their books out there. In addition, the popularity of M/M has drawn many hundreds of new writers to dip their toes in the genre, selling their stories to the existing e-publishers.

Which brings me to my point.

There's been a lot of talk lately that the quality of M/M books has declined. I disagree. I think the volume of available books has risen, and that, my friends is not a bad thing considering that just twenty years ago it was nearly impossible to find any books in our chosen genre.

The only answer to eliminating the poorly written books would be to limit who gets published, and I for one, would hate to see things go back to the way they were, when a small group of publishers dictated what the rest of the world could read.

Do we want e-publishing to follow in the footsteps of NY, where only the gifted or the well-connected may be published?

No, thank you.

What I suggest is for authors and publishers to make available substantial samples of the book for readers to try before buying. That way there's no question about whether a reader will like a writer's style, or the house style before buying.

That's my two cents worth on the subject. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fan Page and Group by Cardeno C.

Just a quick post today to let y'all know that two wonderful readers, Rachel and Selina, started a super fun Facebook fan page and Goodreads group. They've already had a contest and put up their own versions of blurbs describing my books. 

A big giant thank you to both of them. Have a wonderful week.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

AND It Appeals to My Voyeur Kink!

So these guys are kinda cute. For whatever reason this handsome young gay couple has decided to document the ins and outs of their lives together. It's an interesting sociological exercise, there are many moments of cuteness and amusement, and it does kind of appeal to my voyeur kink. So I find the videos fun to watch when I need brain candy and The Bachelor is between episodes. ;)

Moreover, I confess I was especially struck when I happened upon the video where they told a nutshell story of how their relationship began. Come to find, one of the two guys in the relationship identified as straight before they first got physical. In the genre of gay romance I've seen some lively debates about the realism of the "gay for you" trope, and I always find it interesting when I meet people or hear about people who learned something new about their sexuality late(r) in life.

Personally, I don't question much of anything. I think if you're lucky enough to find someone who makes you feel cherished, get down with your bad self. These guys clearly have. Hell, it's practically the kind of thing you want to write a book about:

Happy Sunday everyone..
Love, Ellis

Friday, March 8, 2013

Visceral Research and Good Fortune -- By BG Thomas

So I am attempting to write a novel in record time and so far it is cooperating, thank goodness. A good deal of it takes place around the theater. I used to hang out a lot with actors and directors and stuff, and had experience to draw from. However, it has been a long time...
Then the Universe just lined Itself up with me again! My dear friend Curtis Smith, an actor, out of the blue asks me to come see him in his new play at The Living Room. I was so excited by the idea, however with being out of work for two months with my knee surgery and then a whole month of slowly being eased back into the work force (this will be my first full time week in three months!) I didn't have the cash. So what does he do? He gives me his comp ticket!
So I go see Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love." Powerful and dark play, every intimate theater situation where you feel you are almost on the stage, and just the kind of play I imagine my characters involved in! THEN! Then I get to hang out and party with everyone after. There I am in the basement with all these actors, directors, playwrights, and producers! I am asking questions and everyone is sharing with me about their lives and why they do what they do! I was loving it!
THEN a lady turns out to be the producing artistic director of The Unicorn Theater, the theater I was patterning my story theater after. She tells me I can come down a get a tour! And I am doing that today! Sorry about all the !!! but I am excited.
To me, this is the best best best kind of research. I think of it as Visceral Research. It is one thing to read bout a subject, but when you can experience it, touch it, smell it, hear it, feel it, ride it, it becomes so much more with so much material to place into the story.
I went horseback riding before writing "Trust Me," my dude ranch novella and spent a short weekend on a friend's small ranch when writing my story "The Real Thing" for the anthology "Riding Double." It was amazing how many people thought I'd rode horses for years when they read those stories. No. Exhilarating. Showing me how all that work was worth it.
 And now to immerse myself in the theater! I just have to be careful that I don't do so much research that I have time to write the fripping book!
Hugs and Love to you you all!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Excusing Infidelity?

Okay, so the title of this post may be a little misleading because I'm not actually here to "excuse" infidelity, but to examine the concept itself.

Earlier this week, I took a trip in the Way Back Machine (tm), though I suppose it was more like the Just-A-Little-Bit-Back Machine, as I only went a year and a half or so into the past. (Via the internet, of course.)

Back in July of 2011, the NYT posted and article (here: ). This article is mostly about Dan Savage and his thoughts on monogamy, and while I'm not one of those people who thinks Dan hung the moon, I also don't think he stole the stars from the sky and dragged them down to Hell with him so he can gloat over the sparkly and shiny in private. I think he's an exceptionally bright and plain-spoken man who some people find scary because of his views on certain subjects. (I also find that I usually agree with him, for the most part, and even when I don't I can see how he arrived at the wrong-for-me-personally conclusion he reached.)

So this article (at 7 pages, it's fairly long) addresses the question of monogamy as a functional, rational template for long-lasting, serious relationships between adults. To me, this is the the operative word -- adults.

To be plain, here, I don't necessarily think that non-monogamous relationships are for everyone, but I also don't quite grasp the idea of being so possessive that your own sense of worth is bound up in having your partner solely to yourself. I've been confused by this for a very long time, and chances are this sense of WTF is partly responsible for my consistently single state. (The rest of the cause of singleness for me possibly has something to do with the fact that I'm a bitch... and that I'm always convinced that I'm the smartest person in any room. Not saying it's true, mind you, just that it's true to ME. P)

So the question becomes, how can I be dubious about monogamy and yet write romances in which my characters find each other, fall in love, and live happily ever after in committed, monogamous relationships? The answer is...

Like most romantics, I WANT to believe in that one person who may not be perfect, but is perfect for me... or more to the point, perfect for my characters. Hell, part of the reason I write in the first place is because the world tends to treat people badly and it makes me happy to put my boys through all sort of angsty drama only to have them grab the golden ring in the end (so to speak... because there are rarely any rings, gold or otherwise, in my stories).

It seems to be well known and accepted within the gay romance genre (and probably the het romance genre, as well, I would assume) that cheating, when it involves either member of the main pairing, ruins the story. In fact, I'll even go so far as to say that it's a common thing in romance books for the villain of the piece to be the nasty, cheating ex of one character or the other.

So here's what I'm presenting as a serious and sincere question, and if any of you have time to type out a quick response in the comments section, I'll enter all commenters in a drawing for an e-copy of any of my books in current release. What I want to know is...

Do you find it acceptable to have a couple with a non-monogamous relationship as the main pairing in a romance?

What about when an established couple in a book decides to bring a third person into their relationship -- meaning, does the process of bringing that third person into things count as cheating, even though both of the original pair agree to it and the third person becomes and integral part of it all? (If it does count as cheating, would it make you stop reading the story? If it's NOT cheating to you, why not, and how does this scenario differ from someone in an open relationship having sex with people he doesn't love, with the knowledge and acceptance of his partner whom he DOES love?) In what situation would "cheating" be acceptable and how do YOU define cheating? Is it having sex with someone? Just kissing them? What about jerking them off? Is physical fidelity more or less important than emotional fidelity, or do they rank equally?

And just so there's no misunderstanding, I'm asking solely because I'm curious and want a bit more insight into how people feel about these things and why. I'm not planning on writing a big bunch of stories with this theme.

Hope to hear from some of you. Until then, this is Bitchy-Bitch, signing off! D

Monday, March 4, 2013

Reader Interview: Rachel Gallagher Interviews Cardeno C.

Happy Monday, y'all. I'm doing something a little different today. A fun and very, very supportive reader, Rachel Gallagher, had some questions for me so she put together an interview and sent it my way. I promised to answer her questions here at Cafe Risque so here goes (hope I don't put you sleep with this one, Rachel):

1. What was the first thing you ever wrote?

CC: The first book I wrote was Where He Ends and I Begin. Now you may know that this was not my first book published in English, though it was the first published in other languages. I always say that I write the books in my series to be read in any order. Sometimes I think people don't believe me and they think they need to read my books in order of publication. But, really, truly, I mean it. I don't write chronologically and publication order varies depending on the language and the publisher's schedule and probably a whole array of other things I'm not knowledgeable enough to understand.

2. Who is your favorite character you have written about? Least favorite?

CC: I cannot answer that question because it would feel too much like picking favorites. There are aspects to each character's personality that I like and while certain characters definitely resonate more with me than others, at the end of the day I wouldn't be able to live with someone inside my head for as long as I do when I write these books if I didn't like that (fictional) person.

3. You once mentioned at the Dreamspinner FB chat that your family and friends don’t know you write. Does that mean at all, or just m/m romance? 

CC: There are a handful of people who know I write fiction. That's it. And, frankly, sometimes I worry that the handful is too many.

4. How did you come up with your pen name?

CC: My pen name is based on a location where I once lived.

5. Why vegetarianism? Are you a moral eater or texture eater. Also vegan or just regular vegetarian?

CC: Just vegetarian. If something with a face died, I won't eat it. Yes, my reasons for being a vegetarian originate in a moral issue based on the way animals are raised, treated, and ultimately killed for our consumption along with the related environmental impact. I also believe that there are health benefits to being a vegetarian. At this point, I haven't eaten meat for more than half my life, so I think the texture and flavor wouldn't work for me either.

6. What is the one thing you wish you had never done? i.e. skydive, snorkel, etc..

CC: I have to tell you that I read this question and skipped it and then went back to it and skipped it and then went back again and ... you get the idea. 

I've made plenty of mistakes in my life, shed my share of tears, had my share of self-doubt, suffered more embarrassing moments than I care to recount, but something I wish I hadn't ever done? Nope. All the mistakes, tears, anger, etc. were learning experiences. And at the end of the day, I'm pretty happy with who I am. If I wasn't, believe me I'd work my ass off to change it. Been there, done that. I've earned my laugh lines. No regrets.

7. What are your non-writing goals for the next year? Writing goals?

CC: Hmmm. I'd like to get my day job secure enough to foot the bills, but slow enough to allow me time to focus on my writing and my personal life.

8. If you could go back in time, where and when? Also who would you love to shake hands with?

CC: If I could go back in time, I'd love to see my grandmother again. She was an important part of my life when I was a kid. She was always on my side, my steadfast supporter. Unfortunately, she passed away years ago and I never had the chance to know her as an adult. 

When I'm faced with a tough decision, even now, I often think of my grandmother and let her memory guide me along my path. I like to think she would be proud of the person I've become. As far as handshakes, nah, I'd skip them and give her a big hug and an even bigger thank you.

9. Who is your favorite author? Comfort read?

CC: Favorites come and go over the years, so I'll answer this by telling you about the author who is my number one autobuy: Mary Calmes. And I have the great honor and privilege to be writing a book with Mary now. 

10. Last question and this is just because your fan girls have debated, we really don’t care, but I have a curious button that insists I push it...  Are you dude or chick?  For the record I think dude. 

CC: Yeah, I was wondering when this one was coming. I get that question a lot. 

It's very important to me to keep a firm line between my writing life and my non-writing life, primarily because of my day job. I don't share information about where I live, my age, my gender, my eye color ... This is true for everyone - my gender is not on my publishing contracts and my legal name happens to be one that is not gender specific.

I also have another reason why I don't share gender information. Before I published my first book, I heard about perceptions involving male authors and other perceptions involving female authors, particularly in the romance genre. I want my writing to be judged on its merits, not on my gender. So all of that is my explanation for why this is one question I'm not going to answer. :) 

Thanks for all of your support, Rachel. I really appreciate everything you've done including the Facebook fan page and the Goodreads fan group


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Funny, Adorable Gay Men Being Adorable and Funny

I love humor. I love gay guys. Well hell, anybody who doesn't has clearly landed themselves in the wrong place coming to this blog.

So this week, I bring you two great tastes that taste great together: funny gay dudes. These are all short, and offer a much-needed stress reliever.

What gay men really mean when they say:

What gay men think of vaginas:

Big Gay vs Little Gay! (also contains an interesting discussion of midget porn stars. Thumbs up for porn stars.)

Have a great week everyone!
Love, Ellis