Archive for January, 2013

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

By Joel Gomez-Dossi

 

 

My thirteen-year-old nephew is a mystery and action/adventure fanatic. He never passes up an opportunity to read an Arthur Conan Doyle story. (He says he likes Sherlock Holmes because the guy’s really smart.) My nephew devoured The Hunger Games Trilogy in a couple of weeks. (His only complaint is that the heroine, Katniss, thinks too much for someone about to be killed.) And he believes Neil Gaiman is the best author. Ever. (His stuff is really cool.)

At a recent family get-together, he pulled me aside. He was pissed because his mom and dad wouldn’t let him to read my first novel, Pursued.BSB_Pursued_3ds It wasn’t the book’s gay content that bothered his parents. They felt the adult themes weren’t appropriate for a boy his age. And I agree. Pursued is about an openly gay college junior who wants a boyfriend more than anything else in the world. But when he finds the man of his dreams, the guy turns into the man of his nightmares and tracks our hero through the Catskill Mountains and New York City. He has only one goal— to kill his young lover. When writing Pursued, I didn’t shy away from the story’s sex, nor gloss over its violence.

“Then is your book dirty?” my nephew asked.

Conscious of the fine line I was walking, I said, “No. But it does have mature themes.”

“You mean it has sex and violence.”

“Well, yes, but the book is about more than that.”

He nodded, but his next question threw me for a loop. Then why couldn’t you write the book without the sex and violence?”

I didn’t know how to answer him. While developing Pursued, the main character’s need for love and the violence he encounters was always an intricate part of the story. It’s what made the story interesting. In fact, I believe sex and violence are two of the reasons we like most stories. Shakespeare probably thought that, and I’d wager that most of today’s best-selling authors believe that too. But sex and violence are just two aspects of a successful story.

In Europe, James Bond is known as “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” because that phrase described every James Bond plot. Sex and Violence. The audience knows what to expect with Bond. In every story 007 gets involved with a lot of women and engages in a lot of fights where he gets to use a bunch of fancy weapons and gadgets. But at the heart of every story is a diabolical villain who is wrecking havoc with the world. Bond must apprehend the villain and save civilization.

Pauline Keal, The New Yorker’s film critic during the 1970s and 80s, even titled one or her criticism books Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. She said those words were “perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies. This appeal is what attracts us, and ultimately what makes us despair when we begin to understand how seldom movies are more than this.”

I believe that same sentiment holds true for our literature. Yes, we love to read about sex and violence. It entertains us. Satisfies our urges, excites our libido and lets us live vicariously through our heroes. Often, it’s the entire basis of how we judge a novel. But deep inside, we also want our stories to enlighten us and to broaden our outlook of the world. We want to believe in our hero’s admirable cause, and to cheer his successes, and mourn his losses.

When the conversation with my nephew ended, we decided one thing. I’d sign a copy of Pursued for him, wrap it up, and keep the book until he becomes old enough to read it. When he reads the novel, I hope he’ll say he has a new favorite author, his uncle Joel, because his books are really cool.

 

Joel Gomez-Dossi lives with his husband in upstate New York. At last count they have twenty-five nieces and nephews of varying ages, so this particular bookworm’s identity is safe. To know more about Joel, visit www.JoelGomez-Dossi.com. You can watch Pursued’s book trailer on Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcb2-fixq6M.

The Inauguration of LGBT Rights

  BY KI THOMPSON

I always get goose bumps each time I watch a presidential inauguration, but never have I felt such emotion as I did yesterday with the second inaugural of Barack Obama.

Photo by Kathi Isserman

Photo by Kathi Isserman

Of course Obama’s first inauguration was historic in its own right, and was made more so by being the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln – a milestone acknowledged by the use of the Lincoln bible during the swearing-in. The symbolism and promise in that moment made me so proud to be an American. This second inaugural had its own share of milestones: the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the installation of the statue of Freedom atop the Capitol building, the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s, “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as well as the fact that it was MLK Day.

Photo by Kathi Isserman

Photo by Kathi Isserman

But for me, the emotion came not from these symbols but from the words of the President’s speech when he noted the struggles from Seneca Falls and Selma to Stonewall. I was especially moved by his reference to the Declaration of Independence that if we are all created equal, then surely that must include gays and lesbians. And if we are equal, then our love must also be equal. This as the justices of the Supreme Court, about to hear the important cases on this very issue, sat nearby. Most of us remember a time when being in the closet was de rigueur, and some of us are still there because of our jobs or for other reasons. These words from the President of the United States will be forever enshrined in the pantheon of historic moments in our nation’s ongoing struggle for civil rights.

BSBers at Baltimore Pride

BSBers at Baltimore Pride

I was married three years ago in Washington, DC because it was not legal to do so in my home state. Last year, the legislature in the state of Maryland passed a law making it legal and recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. This incredible achievement was marred by a referendum aimed at overturning the law through the ballot. Fortunately the referendum was defeated by voters in November and effective January 1st same-sex couples are able to marry in the state. In addition to DC, there are now 9 states that perform same-sex marriages. Let’s hope those justices take the President’s words to heart as they take on the Defense of Marriage Act.

As we move forward over the next four years and beyond, I have a renewed sense of hope in the future of our country. I feel the tide of change shifting as more Americans open their hearts and minds to the gay community, welcoming us to the patchwork quilt of diversity that has always been America and makes us stronger. And while I know we still have a long road ahead of us, I recall the words of Dr. King who said, “Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

Photo by Kathi Isserman

Photo by Kathi Isserman

Magic Between the Covers

By Jerry L. Wheeler

I’ve been asked more than once where I get ideas for my anthologies, and I have to say that inspiration comes from a number of places. My latest release for Bold Strokes Books, Tricks of the Trade: Magical Gay Erotica, bsb_tricks_of_the_trade_small__52383however, is the first that was inspired by a story idea—that I ended up not writing.

My best writing buddies William Holden and Dale Chase and I were at Saints and Sinners in New Orleans in 2011, sitting on Bill’s balcony at Lafitte’s Guest House laughing uproariously at something, when a thought suddenly struck me.

“What about,” I said, apropos of nothing, “a guy who’s into BDSM falls in love with an escape artist who can get out of anything Daddybear puts him in?”

“What about it?” Bill answered. True smart-asses are born, not made.

“Ooooooh,” said Dale. “That could be fun.”

And, indeed, I thought so too. But after a couple attempts, I decided I couldn’t write it. I hadn’t the passion for, or a detailed knowledge of, BDSM. But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone, inspiring a whole anthology about escape artists and magicians and tricksters that I called Tricks of the Trade. But I needed someone to write the damn anchor story.

Enter Jeff Mann.

Jeff and I have been friends ever since I fell in love with his History of Barbed Wire, which introduced me to the BDSM kink. Sexually, it does nothing for me but his passion for it was evident in that (and most all) of his prose. So, I approached him with the premise of the story. To my delight, he loved the idea and a few months later, he had written my anchor story, “Inescapable.” I sold the book to Bold Strokes and put out a call for the rest of the stories.

Whenever I put out a call, I’m always amazed by the kind of work that comes back in response. I have a closed call list that consists mostly of authors I’ve either worked with in the past or those whose work I’ve enjoyed. And I’m always adding new names, but even my old reliables confessed that they had trouble coming up with something they thought worthwhile.

While magic seems like an easy subject to write about at first, making it credible is more difficult than it looks. But the thirteen authors in Tricks of the Trade made it look as easy as pulling a rabbit out of your hat. In addition to Bill Holden and Dale Chase, who supplied me with marvelous tales (Bill’s “The Magic Lantern,” about revenge on a turn-of-the-century homophobe and “Manly Magic,” one of Dale’s wonderful Western stories), ‘Nathan Burgoine turned in his usual bravura performance with a cruise ship time travel illusion called “Transposition,” Lewis DeSimone gave me a creepy tale called “And Now, For My Next Trick,” Rob Rosen got right to the point with “In Through the Out Door,” and Todd Gregory served up a wonderful meal for the feast day of Hecate called “Let’s Just Kiss and Say Good-Bye.”

Jay Neal took time out from putting his own collection of short stories together to weave a terrific tale about Victorian lapdances called “The Mesmerist’s Assistant,” Joseph Baneth Allen suppied an Atlantean illusion with “Old-Fashioned Expectations,” and Ralph Seligman churned out a hot story about a magician on vacation called “Magic Takes a Holiday.”

I’d never worked with Xavier Axelson, Mel Bossa, or Logan Zachary before, but I approached them because I’d enjoyed other things of their I’d read. Xavier gave me a beautifully lyrical story with a djinn called “Sons of Orion,” Mel (who should have won last year’s gay romance Lammy for Split) did a great story called “The Assistant” about a street kid who does magic to earn his living, and Logan came up with the creative concept of a magic duel during a job interview with “The Magician’s Assistant.”

The amount of talent in this book is staggering, and it was my pleasure to put it all together. Just as I hope it will be your pleasure to read it. So dim the lights—well, all of them except the one you read by—cue the music and let the show begin.

There’s magic between these covers.

…what matters is that we seek love throughout the year

By Karis Walsh

I’m the first to joke about the monotony of seasons in the Pacific Northwest. Rain, slightly warmer rain, rain, slightly colder rain. We’re green and damp and mossy year-round. But we web-footed Washingtonians and Oregonians have learned to recognize the four seasons by subtle clues – the feel in the air, the urge to be active or to hibernate, the type of drink in our coffee cups. It might look like a solid year of rain to an outsider, but every season has its distinct flavor and scent and mood.

In my new book, Sea Glass Inn, Sea Glass Inn 300 DPImy character Melinda Andrews has gone through a year of upheaval. For Mel, each season has been marked by a life-changing event, and – in the age-old tradition of life imitating art – my own year has mirrored hers in many ways. We both experienced a year of change and growth and hope.

Spring: A Venti Triple-Shot Latte to chase away the breezy chill in the air and wake us out of hibernation… Although Sea Glass Inn doesn’t begin in the spring, Mel’s personal story begins there. A divorce. Change. At the time, all she can see are the endings of relationships and familiar lifestyles. But the invisible seeds of new beginnings have been sown, and although she stands at a crossroads – nervous and alone – she boldly takes her first steps forward into a new life. That’s what I love about Mel. She insists on looking at the destruction of old ways and seeing the potential with optimism. It’s not always easy to do when we’re hurting and in turmoil – she knows that, and we know that – but it’s always worth making the effort. My own spring was filled with changing relationships as well. Some ending, some growing stronger and more cherished. My optimism came out on the page as I wrote my fourth book. Nothing like a little romance to rebuild our faith in love’s promise.

Summer: An Iced Latte to cool us off on those rare and lovely sunny days… In the book, we don’t see Mel in the summer, but we follow her memories back to the sunny day when she bought both a painting and a new home. Summer is warm and beautiful and fertile. It’s the time to fill our worlds with new experiences, new places, new people. Travel and taste life when it’s at its most bountiful. Stuff ourselves with the raw materials we need in order to create. For Mel, it was an inn, a chance for a new life. Rooms to restore and decorate and fill with guests. For me? Small journeys to favorite places. Locations that will be filled with my characters and their stories in future books.

Autumn: A Pumpkin Spice Latte to soothe our souls, quiet our minds, and gather us close to home for the holidays… Our story starts in the fall, when Mel makes her big move to the Oregon coast. This is a season of huge growth for her. An awesome blend of hibernating – as she settles into her home and works to restore both the inn and her own life – and of exploding out into the world – as she finds her way through some rough spots and toward a second chance at love. Mel and I were closest during this season. Partly because I was working on the final edits for her book, and partly because I also got to experience the wonderful dichotomy of settling in with work at home while, at the same time, branching out with new connections and friendships.

Winter: A Peppermint Mocha with Whipped Cream and Sprinkles to both refresh our minds and warm our hearts as we burrow in for winter and look forward to spring… Our journey with Mel ends as she moves through the winter and into a brand new spring. This one will be as filled with change and growth as the previous one, but now she is stronger and ready for whatever life throws at her. She’s been tested and she’s succeeded. Both Mel and I are looking forward to the spring and the new relationships and experiences we’ll discover there. Because it doesn’t matter what the weather brings or what the seasons look like as they change – what matters is that we seek love throughout the year, in all its forms and ever-evolving glory.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

BY RADCLYFFE

I was tagged by Diana Simmonds (http://dianasimmonds.wordpress.com) to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop this month. It was a real pleasure to get reconnected with one of my favorite authors and to have a chance to contribute to such a fun enterprise. I’ll be talking about my newest release, Crossroads, which came out in November, 2012.

BSB_Crossroads_small

Now onto the questions:

1) What is the working title of your book?

Crossroads.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I started writing in the romance subgenre of “medical romances” with Passion’s Bright Fury, first released in 2003. I discovered I enjoy setting romances within the action-packed sphere of emergency/trauma medicine and have written a number of books set in that arena. This time, I decided to move away from trauma, but not all that far, because I find that life and death circumstances, be they medical, environmental, military or otherwise, heighten the characters’ emotional investment and connection, making for a volatile developing romance. Also, I enjoy writing about the hospital community, which is like a large extended neighborhood. As I began to write this story, I found myself returning to the familiar neighborhood I first introduced in Fated Love and wrote about again in Night Call. I’ve found that my readers enjoy returning to familiar settings and catching a glimpse of characters as they move through life following their initial romance.

3) What genre does your book fall under? 

This would be considered a traditional character driven romance in the medical romance subgenre. By traditional, I mean that character interaction, rather than an external plot, such as intrigue, action adventure, thriller etc, primarily drives this story.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

I don’t have the slightest idea. I need help on this one. Maybe you could pick someone 🙂

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? 

A midwife and a high risk OB are forced to work together despite a rocky past, professional differences, and unexpected attraction.

6) What is the longer synopsis of your book? 

Dr. Hollis Monroe and Nurse-Midwife Annie Colfax first meet under the most frightening circumstances–when Annie turns up in the emergency room alone and in the midst of a precipitous, life-threatening labor. Four years later, they meet again when both are assigned against their will and professional judgment to work together to form a high risk pregnancy clinic with shared care between hospital obstetricians and community-based nurse midwives. While initially at odds, with unresolved anger and distrust simmering between them, they discover their mutual compassion for their patients and passion for one another changes both their lives.

7) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither. I am published by Bold Strokes Books, Inc. and am not represented by an agent (which is true of 95% plus of the authors at Bold Strokes Books).

8) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

10 weeks, which is standard for me, although as I revise each chapter before writing the next one, I actually have a second draft by the end of that period of time.

9) What inspired you to write this book? 

I recently read an article in the New York Times about the plight of nurse midwives after the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. Because in some states nurse midwives are required to practice under the “auspices” of physicians, these practitioners were suddenly without legal standing. Nevertheless, they were committed to caring for their patients and their patients were committed to continuing with them. Some of these issues inspired me to place my characters in a similar situation.

10) What else about your book might pique the readers interest?

This book explores community on many levels–the hospital as community, the neighborhood as community, extended friendships as family and community. Annie Colfax, one of the main characters, has a young child and her interactions with her friends and neighbors, including those with other children, help show the impact of falling in love on all the aspects of our life–social, emotional, physical, and spiritual. I hope that this book does what every good romance should do–allow the reader to experience the joy of falling in love on all those levels.

Crossroads is available at the Bold Strokes Books web store in print and digital versions, as well as at retailers online and at your local bookseller.


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