Archive for August, 2013

Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit

By D. Jackson Leigh

Language is my music.

I’m not talking about the mechanics of grammar—a necessary evil in my affair with words. I’m referring to the inflection, the regional euphemisms and the quirky idioms that add texture to our conversations and communicate who we are and where we’ve been.

That regional texture—whether it’s a Northern England clip, a soft Charleston lilt or  California surfer dudette lingo—is  the icing on my cake, the milk in my Cheerios, the red on my candy.

If you think I’m just porch-sittin’ (being whimsical), then consider this:

When Texas Gov. Ann Richards delivered the keynote speech of the 1988 Democratic Convention, she offered example after example of why the Republican Party’s “trickle down economics” did not work. However, little of her astute research is recalled today. Instead, she is remembered for her “that old dog won’t hunt” declaration that plunged her into the national political spotlight and put her name in history books.

So, when my friend Phoebe gave me a daily calendar of Southern expressions titled “Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit,” my language-oriented brain latched onto a theme for the third in my Southern Secrets series.

Southerners love colorful euphemisms to soften the harsh realities of life. Instead of saying “she died,” we say “she passed on.” A man who has a wife and a mistress is “buttering his bread on both sides.”  To someone who has gone against your advice and then comes to you for help, you would tell them to “skin their own skunk” or “you made your bed, now lie in it.”

The world of quarter horse racing in Cajun-rich Southern Louisiana is fertile ground for the Southern eccentricities in “Hold Me Forever,” Hold Me Forever coverwhich is scheduled for a September release by Bold Strokes Books.

Clinton Casey is a grumpy old Texan who trains quarter horses at Louisiana racetracks. His daughter, Whitley, learned about horses from Pop and then got an education in lesbians and high-tech journalism at Louisiana State University. Mae St. John is an over-educated Georgia debutante with no job experience and no family … rather, no legitimate family.

They each have their own problems.

Clinton’s got more gravy than biscuits (more bills than money) after Alzheimer’s disease puts a leak in his crankcase (muddles his brain), so he takes out a sketchy loan against the farm and puts all his eggs in one basket—a promising bay colt named Raising the Bar.

So, even though Whit’s feeling like a sore-assed duck swimming in salt water (very hurt) after realizing her latest relationship was just spitting in the wind (going nowhere), she moves back home and works like a rented mule (you would never work your own mule that hard) to keep her dot.com business going and shoulder Pop’s training work, too.

Meanwhile, Mae is feeling like a hound dog without a porch to crawl under (a stray). She has neither home nor family since her grandmother, Big Mae, had too many toddies at the country club and drowned when she accidentally drove her Mercedes into a water hazard on the fifteenth fairway. When her grandmother’s will is read, Mae learns that the family fortune is gone and the bank has foreclosed on their house. Big Mae has left only a modest trust fund for the care of her poodle, Rhett, ten thousand dollars secreted between the pages of “Gone with the Wind,” and a letter confessing the father Mae grew up thinking was dead actually lives in Louisiana.

Seriously, while I had a lot of fun with the Southernisms, “Hold Me Forever”Hold Me Forever cover is about seeing people for who they are, not what they are. It’s about family, loyalty and trust. It’s about finding that person who fits perfectly in your life … someone who will hold you forever.

Leave a comment to enter the drawing for an autographed copy of “Hold Me Forever.” A winner will be drawn 5 days after the posting of this blog.

Rubbed the Wrong Way

By

Eric Andrews-Katz

When I’m not writing I make my living as a Licensed Massage Therapist.  People seem to have that confused with prostitute. For some reason people mix these professions up frequently either in a serious manner or joking one. Sooner or later the inevitable question gets asked.

“Have you ever done IT with a client?”

“No. Do you fuck the people you work with?”

I don’t know why but they usually get offended when they get asked this.

I’m not a prostitute. I am a Licensed. Massage. Therapist. It annoys me when people don’t recognize the difference. I went to a credited school and have a state issued license. And I’m pretty sure good prostitutes make much better money then the best of massage therapists.

The massage school I graduated from unabashedly taught us that 25% of all men will get an erection on the massage table. Gay, straight, bisexual, abstinent or eunuch, it’s going to happen sometime. Let’s face it, massage feels good. The client is relaxing, and blood is being filtered through the entire body. It’s a normal occurrence that any massage therapist worth their license knows is bound to happen. Most clients will be a little embarrassed and apologize. I tell them they should never apologize for an erection; the day will come when they’ll want one and can’t get one, and that’s when they should apologize. The client laughs, and the top sheet quickly settles back down against his stomach. No big deal. No matter what’s under the sheet – professionally, I’m not interested. It’s a variation of theme at best, which causes me to say: ‘If I see something I haven’t seen before…I’ll shoot it’. I’ve yet to notch an arrow.

I know that sexual massage is a common fantasy – I’m not stupid. I only have to see how massage is represented in most movies, TV shows or colorful pictorial advertisements in the back of magazines to realize that. But a common question I get is:

“How do you handle yourself with all those hot, naked people on your table?”

Let me put it this way: Do you get hot and bothered when you’re trying to work? Most of my clients aren’t my type (although I have many that would be deemed very attractive), and even if they were there is this thing called professionalism. Remember this is my career. Much like an actor doing a nude scene on stage, I am concentrating on a million details trying to do my job and don’t have time to focus on your ‘goodie bags’.

But the fantasy of others I have no control over. I have my face picture in my ad, but I seriously doubt that’s what’s causing any great commotion. I’m an average man. Average height. Average weight. On a scale from 1-10, I’m comfortable at a self-proclaimed SIX. Even at six-point-five (if I’m having a good hair day) I can’t imagine desirability has fallen to the level that I inspire such a response through a one-inch squared, black and white, printed newspaper ad. My office attire is nothing unusual and I wouldn’t wear anything to work that I couldn’t wear in front of your mother. In all my advertisements I clearly present my state-issued, massage license number, and a list of all the major health insurances I accept at the office. This should attest to the kind of work I do.

I can deal with the occasional curious (blocked from caller ID) phone call that comes every few months inquiring. “Do you offer a Happy Ending?” I usually tell them that I don’t do sexual work. Sometimes they make a legitimate appointment. Usually they hang up and I don’t mind: I’d rather they ask in advance then assume on the table. Maybe it’s just me being a typical man, but the only massage happy ending I’m interested in, is my own – me cashing the client’s check.

There have been subtle clients and those not as much. One client at least waited until the end of the massage before declaring:

“You forgot to massage this!” as he threw off the top sheet, grabbed his legs and pulled his knees to his face, rocking back on his shoulders. As the Cyclops’s brown eye winked at me, I said the only thing that came to my mind.

“You do know that isn’t going to help your lower back issues, right?” Then I left the room and tried not to laugh out loud. He didn’t come back.

As I worked on the legs of another client (whose insurance was paying for the massage) I was a little surprised when he asked:

“Do you do Lingam work?”

I wasn’t sure what that was. As an explanation he reached under the cover and smacked his erection against the sheet.

“No,” I answered. Not wanting to make him feel any more awkward I explained. “I feel about sexual massage the same way I do about pregnancy massage: it’s a specialty technique that many others can do better than I. No judgments, I just don’t offer that service.”

He was persistent and repeated his sheet thumping either thinking that I didn’t understand his offer, or didn’t notice.

“Well,” he announced proudly, as if his achieving an erection was such a grand accomplishment. “As you can tell, I’m UP for it if you are.”

“Unless you can show me an official insurance diagnoses code, I’m not.”

It was the sheer audacity that irritated me. This was an insurance client and he was expecting a lot for that $15 office visit co-pay! I wonder how this CEO would feel if I walked into his office and tried something similar. While he’s trying to focus on his job I’ll saunter into his office, lay down on his desk, whip it out and expect that he service me. Right there. Right then. Something tells me he doesn’t want that in his workspace. But for some odd reason, he seems to think I won’t mind it in mine.

I wonder if this happens in other professions. Do people walk into a dentist’s office misunderstanding what “Oral Perfection” means? Has anyone turned to their hair stylist with trousers around their ankles, gyrating their hips and saying: “You forgot to cut these hairs!” I seriously doubt it.

It can’t be because the client is undressed. I ask you: How many people get horny at a vasectomy appointment or the OBYGN? I can guarantee those professionals get more personal and intimate in their offices than I ever do in mine.

Don’t think that it’s only men that are pigs. I’ve joked that I should change my business name to ‘Circe’ for a reason. Women have also crossed the line although nowhere as frequent. One woman called to gather information about massage. She asked about how insurance companies work, about deductibles, co-pays, prescriptions vs. referrals and concluded by making an appointment date.

“One last thing,” she asked. “Do you mind if my husband is in the room?”

Many women feel more comfortable the first few times with a new male massage therapist, or they want their partners to watch and learn how to administer a decent massage. This is not uncommon and I have no issues with this.

“When the massage is over,” she continued. “Will you fuck me while he watches?”

I literally burst out laughing. It was something completely not expected.

“I’m sorry,” I said between bouts of laughter. “You don’t know how many wrong trees you are barking up right now.” I hung up. She didn’t keep her appointment.

I honestly love my career as a licensed massage therapist. There’s a real benefit from seeing someone enter my massage room stooped over in pain, and leaving with a sense of physical relief. It’s extremely satisfactory for me on many levels, and I enjoy it very much. Even if I won the lottery and became the # 1 best-selling author, I’d still find time for some massage clients. As I continue work on my second novel my mind does daydream from time to time on this fantasy. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll write an anthology of massage stories. True Tales from the Table: Rubbed the Wrong Way. I doubt authors get fans coming up to them with their pants around their ankles saying, “I loved your book! Now blow me.”

I wonder how John Grisham would handle that.

Imagine

BY GREG HERREN

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My new y/a novel, Lake Thirteen, Lake Thirteen 300 DPIwas inspired by a trip to an old cemetery one night at the Bold Strokes retreat in August, 2011. The retreat was an amazing time, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself…but as far as I know, I’m the only person who went who came away with a book idea.

On the way up the mountain where the lodge was located was another road marked as Cemetery Road. One of the first nights there, Lisa Girolami and the infamous Carsen Taite gathered up a gang to go ghost-hunting in the cemetery there and so, equipped with recording devices, they, myself, Trinity Tam and Nell Stark and several others departed for the cemetery. It was a perfect night for ghost hunting–the sky was filled with clouds so there was that sense of true dark–and I think it was our second night there; I could be wrong. Anyway, we found the cemetery–which was truly old. When I got out, I walked immediately to a grave with the headstone ALBERT LINCOLN 1892-1908. My immediate thought, which I spoke out loud, was “How terribly sad, he was only sixteen.” His grave rested next to his parents’; his mother was born in 1866 and lived to 1965; to which I added, “poor woman, she outlived her son by 59 years.” I stood there for a while, feeling this overwhelming sense of sadness, before we began moving around in the cemetery, looking for paranormal activity.

There were American flags everywhere, planted, one would assume, by the local VA on the graves of veterans. There was no wind, and there was a mist rising up from the ground. We were all gathered around a large tombstone when suddenly Trinity called my attention–and everyone else’s–to a grave behind us and far to our left. The flag on this grave was moving back and forth; yet all the other flags in the cemetery were still. There was no wind, none whatsoever. We all walked over to this grave, and it was about this time I noticed that I was feeling cold–I’d been cold since getting out of the car, but it was getting colder. The flag continued waving even after we got to it–and we were all standing at various places around the grave–and there was no wind; no reason for the flag to be waving at all.

I was drawn back to Albert’s grave again from here, and it was around now that I realized that not only was I cold, I was only cold from behind; in other words, my back and the back of my legs were cold, but there wasn’t any kind of wind. I asked Trinity if she, too, were cold, and she wasn’t–no one else was; they all thought it was muggy and sticky. At this point, all the hair on my arms stood up, and I had goose bumps like I’ve never seen before–and my back was getting colder.

While we were at Albert’s grave, several people heard a strange growling behind us (I didn’t hear it) and the majority of the group went investigating, leaving Trinity and myself behind. While we watched them, I asked Trinity to feel the back of my shorts and my shirt–and she confirmed they were cold.

Throughout this entire experience I continued feeling incredibly sad. Later, when the others rejoined us, Lisa felt the back of my shirt between my shoulder blades, and she, too, confirmed my shirt was cold.

Lisa said a prayer, since we were departing, and as she said the words, I got incredibly cold, this time all over. All the hair on my body stood up–head, arms, legs–and then as suddenly as it had come over me, it was gone–and I felt the muggy stickiness everyone else was experiencing.

As we drove back up to the lodge, I kept think about Albert and how he died. And later that night, alone in my room in a different cabin a little further down the mountain from the lodge, listening to the wind moan through the forest, the story started coming to me.

And that’s where the story of my new novel Lake Thirteen came from. I’ve been really pleased with the response to it so far…and now, when I have some free time, I might actually try to find out what really did happen to Albert.

Love, Marriage, Commitment and Prop 8

BY KATHLEEN KNOWLES

My just- released novel, Forsaking All Others Forsaking All Others 300 DPIis a romance about marriage. Sort of. One of the protagonists is a marriage equality volunteer and the other is a polyamorist, commitment phobic, non -believer in marriage.  Well, I figure opposites are supposed to attract.

Given my obsession with the subject, it seemed inevitable that I would write a novel about marriage equality.  I didn’t want it to be another girl meets girl, love ensues and happily ever after, including marriage. So I picked the story of marriage equality coming briefly to California and then being yanked away by Proposition 8. The roller coaster ride of the spring, summer, and fall of 2008 is the time frame of Sylvia and Jules’s romance.

I also wanted to explore a few of the philosophical ideas around marriage equality.

In July, 2008, my partner and I married as did quite a few people we knew. One couple, our friends Kent and Joe married in October at San Francisco City Hall. At their wedding, we were the witnesses and I gave one of the toasts at their reception. Kent said he wanted their supportive but unknowledgeable relatives to hear just why their wedding was significant. So I gave a little history lesson to those assembled and at the end I talked about how important marriage is as concept and why we need the word ‘marriage’ and all that it signifies.

When you meet THE ONE and you start thinking about the future, you can now in some places think about marriage. Marriage was modeled by our parents and what we were taught, as presumed heterosexuals to expect.  Then when we turned out to be queer, marriage was supposedly off the table.

Not so fast.

In spite of being queer, many of us are conventional; I certainly am. Marriage is the epitome of conventionality.  You hear all the time, “I just want to be treated like other people.” It’s not usually” I want be like other people”. As a lesbian, I am not like a straight person but that doesn’t negate my desire to be treated with respect. Marriage is very much about respect for our relationships.

It’s remarkable that as much as the LGBT community argues and disagrees about so many things, we are relatively united on the idea of marriage. There are, naturally, dissenters but they are few and for the most part not vocal.  I wanted to air some of those opinions if only to try to counteract them. In one scene of the book, there is an argument about the need for marriage and the sexually liberated.  I don’t see marriage and sexual freedom, as embodied, for example, by polyamory as incompatible.

I ‘m not polyamorous but I wanted to treat the idea and practice of it seriously in the novel because as a lesbian, by some people’s definition, I’m a sexual  outlaw and I don’t want to judge other people in the same way.

It’s clear that marriage for gays and lesbians is both exactly like marriage for heterosexuals and completely different.  As I explained to the family members at Kent and Joe’s wedding, this isn’t something we take for granted.  We’ve longed for, thought about and fought for it like crazy for years.

In Forsaking  All Others,Forsaking All Others 300 DPI I look at the concept of choice and what that means.  To choose to commit to someone because you want to and not because it’s the expected thing is an entirely different psychological perspective. To  trust someone in spite of preconceived notions  and/or bad experiences is also a choice and it’s the one we all have to make when confronted with the possibility of love and intimacy.

 

 

The P(g)K

By Joel Gomez-Dossi

jgomez-dossi

I’ve got a confession. I’m gay. Okay, perhaps not a big deal today, but growing up in the 1970s it was. I also had a double-whammy. My father was a minister, which made me the preacher’s gay kid.

People usually think that a Preacher’s Kid (a PK, in popular vernacular) will fall into one of two camps. Either the PK becomes a goody-two-shoes or he turns into a hell-on-wheels, ready to knock down the tenants of faith that his minister parent subscribes to. In fact, these two camps are so prevalent that some sociologists have decided to call it a Syndrome. Very rarely, however, do the experts recognize a third camp of PKs comprised of gay children, the P(g)K. I was a card-carrying member of that club.

As a kid, I secretly swooned over the song,  “Son of a Preacher Man” (http://youtu.be/N3Esa7ohFpM). The tune portrays a PK as being a sweet talker and a lover. The vocalist, always female, provocatively sings,

“The only one who could ever reach me/Was the son of a preacher man/

The only boy who could ever teach me/Was the son of a preacher man.”

But there was a tragic flaw with the song. I had to imagine that the singer was a guy. A guy just like me. And that’s where I, being a P(g)K, ran afoul from the religion I grew up with. It made me a “sinner” because my God/my Spirit/my Divine Life-Force forced me to search out other guys who were just like me.

In college I eventually let my family know that I was a P(g)K. Luckily, they affirmed my worth and supported me, even if the religion they espoused didn’t. Also, by the time I came out, I had a front-row seat at the sometimes circus-like events that run rampant in most organized religions. The infighting and political machinations within the congregation, along with the minister’s attempts to placate dissatisfied parishioners, all the while making sure the coffers remained large enough to meet the church’s obligations.

As a result of these revelations, I learned that every religious community is more of a club than a Divinely inspired organization. Many times the people who run the club have the best intentions, but they make their assumptions of right and wrong based upon what they were taught. And all people err. And when they do, they rarely admit their mistakes. It’s human nature.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that the LGBTQ community shun religions, Christian, or other. Everyone deserves to worship the God of his or her choice. Fortunately, many religions, like the population at large, are seeing the light with regards to human sexuality. In fact, Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBTaffirming_Christian_denominations#North_America) lists twenty-three Christian denominations in North America that “do not consider homosexuality or transgenderism to be sins”. When you add in Europe and Central America, the number grows to forty-two, and is rising every day.

Now forgive me while I get even more preachy and philosophical by quoting Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons. “Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed.” If we accept this statement as gospel, homophobic religions can never harm us.

Joel Gomez-Dossi lives with his husband and their Treeing Walker Coonhound in upstate New York. His new thriller, Deadly Cult, Deadly Cult 300 DPIwill be released in August. You can watch Deadly Cult’s book trailer on YouTube, http://youtu.be/5u-0WFLY-xQ. Or to know more about Joel, just visit www.JoelGomez-Dossi.com.

Blurring the Line

by William Holden

I’ve been writing now for fifteen years. During those early years answering the question, “What do you write?” was simple. I would reply, “I write gay erotica.” I never thought that would change. I loved writing about men having sex, but the real reason I stayed with erotica was because I didn’t think I could write anything else. Romance, horror, historical, fantasy, and science fiction all seemed so out of reach for me at that time. Over the last three or four years, that standard question (that I still get asked) has become a bit more difficult to answer. I can no longer say gay erotica because my writing has evolved, and my genres have become, shall I say, a little bent. So now when someone asks me that question, my answer is something like, “I write gay erotic, horror, and historical fiction, and sometimes all three simultaneously.”

Blending genres is a challenge, but one I have fully embraced. It has not only allow me to grow as a writer, but also helps me to put a fresh perspective, and outlook on what can sometimes be considered a tired theme or story idea. The crucial thing is that I allowed myself to do it. A few weeks ago I attended the Horror Writers Association/World Horror Convention in New Orleans. During one of my many conversations with the lovely and talented Amber Benson who played Tara in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she mentioned that she never says ‘no’ to anything. She said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that if you say no, you are closing doors before they ever open up to you. That one little word has the power to limit your creativity, and your potential. That was an eye opening moment for me. Too many times I hear fellow writers and artists say “but I’ve never done that before” or “I don’t think I can write that.” I’ve been known to say it to myself over the years, and while I’ve always tried to do something new, it was nice to hear it put in such simple terms.

With or without the “never say no” attitude, I like to think that this blurring of genres happened more organically for me. My contemporary gay erotic short stories began to take on a darker, more sinister feel, and without much effort on my part. It was during one of those darker moments that I created Nate the Midnight Barker. He’s one of my favorite characters and the narrator of four or five short stories.  For those of you out there who have not met Nate, he’s dying to meet you. Pick up any number of anthologies edited by my good friend Jerry Wheeler, and read one of his dark and seductive tales. You can also read a few of his stories in my collection, “Words to Die By” Words to Die By 300 DPIreleased in March 2012. This collection was my first attempt at writing nothing but horror. Of course, I couldn’t leave out the sex all together, so I compromised with my dark half, Christopher. We shared the stories equally; some are erotic horror while other stories focus on the horror without any erotic elements.

Since that collection has come out, I get a new question thrown at me. “How can you write erotic horror, the two are not compatible? How can one be sexually aroused or turned on by fear, or a bloody mess? My answer was always something like, “I think the two make a perfect couple. It works for me.” I think that I scared some people away. I honestly don’t blame them, but for me it did seem a natural combination, like, do I dare say this…peanut butter and jelly.  Another one of those moments at The World Horror Convention was when I learned that fear and sexual desire come from the same part of the brain – who knew? So now when someone asked me that question, I’ll have a definitive answer as my reply. I’m not a total freak after all. Yay me!

So what does all this have to do with historical fiction? Well while writing “Words to Die By” I wrote my first historical piece. It was set in 18th Century London, “From Within the Alehouse He Came.” I was hooked the minute I started that story. I had been doing research on the sodomy trials for about four years by that time, so I just expanded my research to life inside the notorious Newgate Prison, and well that place was enough horror without my having to exaggerate or embellish anything.  When I saw how well that short story worked, I knew I was ready to write my first novel, and that is when I sat down and wrote, Secret Societies, which is set during the sodomy trials of 18th century London. While there were some horrific events during that time, the novel is not horror. It is, however, very erotic and rather nasty as life was during that period. I’ve heard from many readers that they felt the story of Thomas Newton had a romantic quality to it, so there’s another genre to add to the growing list. For those who are wondering, yes, there is a sequel due out spring 2014 from Bold Strokes Books, entitled, “The Thief Taker: A Thomas Newton Erotic Adventure.”

Once I had finished the novel, I knew that I was going to be ruined from doing contemporary stuff for some time. I love the 18th century. It is such a corrupt, yet vibrant and totally rotten place in time, so when I sat down and thought about my next project, I knew it had to be 18th Century Horror, “Clothed in Flesh”Clothed in Flesh cover was born. I might add that there is no sex within the pages of this collection of three novellas, but it’s sure to at least scare the pants off you, anything after that…well you are on your own.

What’s next for me? Not a clue as of yet. I’m busy writing short horror stories, perhaps for another collection, or not. I have two or three ideas for novels, but nothing set in stone. That’s the fun part of all this for me. There is nothing out of bounds, nothing that I can’t do or can’t explore. Having numerous writing projects piling up around me is what give me the greatest joy, and you better believe all of these projects are blurring as many lines and genres as they can.


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