Sunday, August 30, 2015

Last Gay Nerve Plucked


     This has really been an interesting week. My audio book came out, which has been exciting. A great big thank you to everyone who purchased it. I personally think that Jared Bradford did an outstanding job. Check it out of you haven’t already. The sample alone is wonderful. 

Check out this amazing trailer made by May Wilson

     Note: I think that most of you know that I try to stay out of anything that has to do with politics, religion or anything that is really controversial. It isn’t my job and I think that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, sometimes, I just need to say something.
     Then this…


     Every heard of Rentboy.com? Well you will now if you haven’t. One, I’m going to tell you a little bit about it and two, I’m sure it will make the news, or should. If it doesn’t make the major news outlet though, I won’t be too surprised. There is something really off on this whole story.
     Here’s what I know…
     Tuesday afternoon the department of Homeland Security, (yes, you’re reading that correctly) raided the offices of Rentboy in Manhattan, New York City. Now, I was scratching my head wondering why Homeland Security was involved. Being the curious person I am, I went directly to their website to check them out. What did I find? Their mission statement says…
          1. Prevent Terrorism and enhancing security:
          2. Secure and manage our borders:
          3. Enforce and administer our immigration laws:
          4. Safeguard and secure cyberspace:
          5. Ensure resilience to disasters:
     Looking at that list, the only thing I could see relating to this would be the cyberspace statement, so I looked a little further. Here is what they say about that. (Taken directly from their website.) 
     The Department has the lead for the federal government for securing civilian government computer systems, and works with industry and state, local, tribal and territorial governments to secure critical infrastructure and information systems. The Department works to:
          • analyze and reduces cyber threats and vulnerabilities;
          • distribute threat warnings; and
          • coordinate the response to cyber incidents to ensure that our computers,                       networks, and cyber systems remain safe.
     Umm… call me crazy but I don’t see anything on that list that says going after prostitution rings. So why? Well, like most things in Washington, D.C., where Homeland Security is based, the best way to figure something out is to follow the money.
     Now I know that there are some who are saying that it was all about diverting attention from the whole Ashley Madison thing, and that some big political big-wig was running scared. Not so fast there… if that were the case, it would have been handled by the FBI, who has more influence in political matters than Homeland Security. Sorry, but that dog don’t hunt.
     Having lived in D.C., I know that things are not always on the up-and-up. I’ve seen and heard too many tipsy (drunk) aides, pages and other government workers. Some of the things I’ve heard would piss most Americans off and then there are the things that are just scary. I’ve never been a big conspiracy alarmist, but I’m smart enough to know that there are some things that just don’t add up.
     So what it the big deal? This is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, right? Uh, not so fast my friends.
     It reminds me of the whole D.C. Madame scandal back in 2006. The raid was underhanded, at best, and done by the US Postal Inspection Service, which is under the jurisdiction of the FBI. Here again there was a lot of money and property involved. Funny how these things happen, huh?
     What a lot of people may not know is that there was a man or two who were on the ‘call’ list for those clients who might have swung that way, or both ways. However, their names never came out.
     The woman later hanged herself. Hmmm, not so sure I believe that one either, as many other feel the same way. There were some really important people on that client list. And of course there was an election going on and surprise… a major player got caught up in it, another surprise… not.
     Again, why was Homeland Security involved? I still say it was all about the money. The automatic budget cuts that forced most agencies to cut back, including the Secret Service, which has had their fair share of scandal of late.
     And what could be easier? Gay, prostitution, big money, not a lot of publicity or public support… easy pickings. What I’ve noticed over the past ten years or so is that the hardline gay politicos have disappeared. Sure, there were some out there for gay marriage, but for standing up for other injustices… they’re just not there and haven’t been for quite some time. So yeah, there isn’t much push-back on the feds.
     Here’s my thoughts on the matter…
     It’s called the world’s oldest profession for a reason. You’re never going to stop it. The right wingers and stomp and scream and carry on till they are blue in the face, but it is still going to exist. Of course, once they put down their picket signs, they’re the first ones to go running into the backdoor to take advantage of ‘the services’ of those they were protesting.
     I personally think that Rentboy provided a much needed service. They offered sex workers a platform to be safe, still peddle their wares, while letting men needing or wanting those services a way to do it safely as well. I say it was a win-win situation. As far as I know it was between two consenting adults and behind closed doors… I assume. We all know there are some kinky fuckers out there, so they may have been doing the nasty in the bushes for all we know. Still, as long as they weren’t hurting anyone, none of my business.
     For the most part I was pretty blas√© about the whole thing. Well, that’s not exactly true. Okay, okay I was really ticked off. I was pretty pissed that the government was once again picking on the LGBT community. But I had a pretty good idea of the why’s of it all. Unfortunately, those associated with Rentboy will be left unemployed, penniless and their reputations ruined.
     The thing that really pissed me off is thinking of those guys who were putting themselves through school while working in the sex industry. Oh, did you know that Rentboy had a scholarship program? Yeah, they were helping the community in several ways. Where else can a guy make that kind of money in such a short amount of time? It sure won't be at Mickey D’s!
     Then there are the guys who were doing it just to survive. It kept them off the streets, made it safe and a way to vet potential clients. Remember, this has been going on for thousands of years, and it isn’t going to stop just because you pull down a website. Another will take its place eventually, you wait and watch.
     I’ve been pretty busy this week so I’ve not been online much but I did sneak on the other night when I couldn’t sleep just to catch up on things. What I saw was appalling to me. Gay men bashing those sex workers. I really had steam coming out of my ears when a porn star put those guys down.
     Wait… you’re fucking on film and you have the nerve to call those guys on Rentboy whores? Uhhh… you’re a sex worker just like they are and you have the gall to call someone a whore? Listen, they are having sex, going on dates, keeping men company one-on-one. Mr. Porn Star, you’re having sex and invited the entire world to watch? So you get a nice legal paycheck instead of some John forking over cash. Money is money jerk-wad, and you’re still throwing your legs to Jesus, jacking your dick as you take a dick up the ass for money. In my opinion you just showed yourself to be a shallow egotistical asswipe.
     Oh, I’m not done yet…
     Then there was this gay man, on his white horse saying that they got what they deserved, talking about the guys on Rentboy. Just remember you pious butt-cunt, every time you take your pud in hand, watch the porn on your laptop as you spank-the-monkey, you yourself are participating in the same industry you’re putting down. I swear, some of these uppity-better-than-you faggots pluck my last gay nerve. (I’m so going to need a Bloody Mary after this.)
     Now that I’ve done my rant, I’d like to draw y’all’s attention to the plight of the LGBT youth around the world. Some of these sex workers have no other choice to make a living other than selling themselves. Oh, I can hear it now… ‘there’s always another choice’. Yeah, well you stick your butt out on the street with no money, no shelter and no food and see what you come up with. The choices are not a lot, I assure you.
     I think we all need to take a step back, take a deep breath, step down into that gutter and have a good look. What I see are kids, young adults, who are so downtrodden, so without hope, without love, without…anything. Having lived in Atlanta, I’ve seen this first hand. It isn’t pretty. It is a hard life and these kids become shells of themselves, just trying to survive. Survive without the tools to help themselves, because they are just too young to have learned how yet.
     Each one of us can help. All it takes is your commitment to open your eyes and see the need. There are homes for LGBT in almost every major city that need help. Volunteer. Meet the needs on their wish lists. Hell, just reach out and see how you can help.
     I know that the LGBT Youth Center in Atlanta was always asking for books for their library, board games, snacks, tutors, etcetera. There are so many ways to help.. You just need to do it. If each and every one of you were to do just one small thing, that adds up quickly. Pretty soon, those wish lists become smaller and smaller.
     These are just kids. Kids that might not have to turn to places like Rentboy or walking the streets looking to make enough money to eat that night. Kids who will be out in the cold this coming winter. Kids that will have a chance to get back in school and have a chance at life.
     I tell you now… if you do something…anything, no matter how small, you really are helping yourself. I know this from experience. The warm feeling that starts in your gut will soon grow and before you know it, you’re heart, your very soul will be a glowing ember that will make you shine. Good Karma Coins will go into your bank. Know that old saying? “What goes around comes around.” Remember that one. I truly believe in that. But don’t do it because you expect something though. Do it because you have a heart and you care. You do care. I know you do.
     So I am going to leave it there. I hope that I didn’t bend your ear too much.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all. Oh, feel free to share this if you want.
     Max




Sunday, August 23, 2015

Over the Cliff I Go

     I finally did it. No, I didn’t lose my mind, just threw myself over a cliff. Okay, so maybe I did, but that’s not what I’m talking about. No…I entered the world of audiobooks! Yay me!
     The thing is, I’d talked about it but that’s about. Of course I’ve heard about other authors doing audiobooks and hear that readers liked them, I just never thought of myself doing them. Why? I just figured that was something that publishers did or other Indie authors who were more successful than me.
     HA! Well I did it, and boy did I get it done. Yeah, I have to give myself a pat on the back for this one. Now I do have to say that it wasn’t without some trials and tribulations, but eventually it came together. The biggest part of the putting this puzzle together was finding the right narrator/producer, and that was the hardest part.
     I listened to some of the worst auditions I’d ever heard. There were times that I wanted to stab my ears with an ice pick, if anyone even knows what that is anymore. There was this one guy that hit it out of the ballpark. I’m going to use that metaphor because, it is very fitting here.
     You see, the guy that was so good, who was from Tennessee, who wanted to do it, was good at it, withdrew his audition after reading the book. He was afraid that he couldn’t do it because he was also an announcer for a baseball team and he also did a sports radio program. I can't blame him really. So it was back to hunting for that perfect guy.


The talented Jared Bradford
     You see, I started this hunt last October. I’d thought I found the perfect guy two other times, but it always seemed to fall apart on me. Just when I was about to throw in the towel, I found Jared Bradford, thanks to Monique Thompson. It was well worth the wait. He really is perfect for this. He stands head and shoulders above anything I'd heard. Now that the book is done, I couldn't have done any better. After that, the process was a breeze. I’m now looking forward to working with this brilliantly talented young man again.
     I  have to give Kudos to May Wilson who did the trailer for me. She did an outstanding job. If there were awards for book trailers, I think she'd win this one hands down.

     Here is a clip for the audiobook. You decide for yourself. I have to say he nailed the character Anita, who was one of my favorite people in this book.



     After listening to this audiobook, it really got me back in the mood to finish My Hero: The Olympian. This is both a good and bad thing. I knew this was going to be a big book, but once again, Johnny and Rich have hijacked the damn thing and it has taken on a life of its own. Damn this is starting to feel like it might be as big as War and Peace which isn’t exactly what I had in mind. I’d actually hoped to be close to finished by now, but… well that didn’t happen. I guess we’ll see where they end up.
     Okay, so this morning, while trying to do the blog, I fell into Youtube. Okay, face-planted. Yep, splat! It wasn’t pretty either. I think it would have looked like I’d gone face first into a plate of pasta. I’m so dangerous on that damn site. I can get lost for hours and suddenly look up and the day is gone. Why I rarely go on there.

     So, I was totally perving over Garrick Ohlsson. I can hear you all the way from here… who? Yeah, time to edcucamate y’all. Garrick Ohlsson was the first American to ever win the international Chopin competition. Oh, and he’s a total bear and just my type, and he’s gay! Of course he’s married. I wanted to go to his concert in Miami last March, but well that didn’t happen. Probably just as well. I’d have been drooling like an idiot. The things that man can do with his hands.
     Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s one of the leading authorities/teachers on Chopin, who also is my favorite composer. Hell, I even made a special point of going to Chopin’s grave while in Paris. Oh, and I’ll be going back when I return to France. The last time we were on a fairly tight schedule and I didn’t get to spend as much time there as I’d have liked. Next time, I will know better and give myself more time. 
     Now that I’ve been able to pull myself out of Youtube long enough to finish this blog, I have to say I’ve found myself a new favorite. Such the total nerdy musician. I couldn’t help but smile and sometimes laugh at some of his videos. There is such talent there. Kyle Landry. Check him out. He’s just fun and brilliant at the same time.
     Oh hell, I’m rambling again… oh well. Y’all should be used to that by now.
     What else…
     Hmmm, I’m supposed to be looking for hot, sweaty, manly, beefcake cowboy pictures. Yeah, well I’ve not had the time. So if anyone knows of any, send ‘em my way. I’m looking for something that has a straw cowboy hat, where the model’s face isn’t showing. Yeah, I know I’m being pretty specific, but that’s what is what’s in my head. There’s no big hurry, since the book isn’t anywhere near finished.

     I had someone ask me the other day what sub-genre I wrote in? Pfft… like I know? Hell, I’m all over the place when it comes to that.
     Like, My Hero is a total jock story about college guys. Why? Because it was football season and I was watching the Vols. The Olympics were coming up and I always like to watch men’s diving.
     Then there was P.O.W., a very gritty, hard war story where I was inspired by a short clip by Anderson Cooper. That was a hard one to write. Hell, I even got nightmares while I was writing that one. It was published by MLR, the last time I used a publisher. Yep, still haven’t seen on red cent from that book.
     And then on a dare, I wrote The V Unit. I swore I’d never write a vampire story, and yet, I did. I mean, after Anne Rice, who can top the ultimate vampire story? And no, I didn’t make them glitter either. I do love the concept of that book. Too bad it wasn’t much of a seller. There was a whole lot of research that went into that book.
     I then put together all the short stories that I’d done in Inappropriate Roads. It really does show the progression of my writing. It was actually a little difficult to put together. That first story, Cooking English, was the first thing I published. It was hard to look at again. I’ve learned so much since then.
     Finally, Going Home. That was another one that was difficult to write. There was so much going on in that book. It was personal challenge for me to write in a first person point of view, which I personally don’t much care for. But I was determined to make it work. Then there was the whole taboo aspect of it. It is still one that I’m proud of. I’m glad that so many people liked it. Of course, it would have done better in the market place if others didn’t want to pick and choose what adults could or could not read. Oh well, I still am pleased with the book.
     So, you tell me, what sub-genre of the M/M world do I belong?
     It’s that time of the month again where I go and look at the wish list for Lost –n- Found. I try to look at things that they have requests for but haven’t gotten yet. I try to stick to a budget of $20.00 - $30.00 a month. It really is pretty easy to do. A lot of things on their list are under $15.00. A lot of things they are asking for are snacks. That’s always easy, so I may go for something like that. How about you?
     Well, I guess that’s about it for this this time. Have a great week, y’all.
     Max






Sunday, August 16, 2015

Up-Down Up-Down


     Sooo… I actually had a rough idea of what I was going to write about today, which is unusual. Most of the time I have no clue and I just sit down and hold my breath, waiting to see what might fly out of my… fingers.

     There was a blog post on Lovebytes this week that caught my attention. First off it was by SJD Peterson (Jo), who I adore. Not only in person, but her books are really hot, which means good. Yeah, ohhh so good. If you’ve not read any of her stuff… well treat yourself.
      (This is still one of my all-time favorite reads of Jo's. Here’s a link in case you want to check it out.) 

     Anyway, this blog post… 'Writing Full Time Can Be a Killer, Literally', struck a chord with me. Since I retired from cooking, I’ve gained all kinds of weight. Most of this is because I’ve become so inactive. In my own defense, it is hard to exercise when it is painful. The feet are not getting any better, but seem to be getting worse. 

     Basically what she is suggesting is that you work for 30-45 minutes, while sitting, and then get up and get some other things done that require some kind of physical activity. You know, little things like suck the floor, or as some would say, vacuum, or cleaning the bathroom, doing dishes, things like that. When I break it up like that, it isn’t so bad. Okay, I got the stuff out to dust, looked around and said fuck it. I really hate dusting.


     Of course my doctor is saying that I need to lose weight, get more exercise, stop smoking, eat better..yada, yada, yada. Damn, I’m a middle-aged man, give me a break. Okay, there are some things that are valid, but come on… how much does he expect from me?
     Back to Jo’s post… Since I read this I’ve tried to do what she’s suggested. I’m not sure if it is working or not, but I have noticed that my shoulders aren’t as stiff. This may work for me. I’m going to give it a try and see what happens, although, I really do hate doing housework. It didn’t use to bother me, but now… I just hate it.


     Milk, it does a body good. Yeah, well it might if I didn’t drink it a gallon at a time. I just refuse to do skim milk. It’s like trying to drink milk flavored water if you ask me. I have gone to two percent over the last decade or so, but it still has fat calories, which I really could do without. If I can make a gallon last four days, I’m doing good.

     If I’m feeling down, I can easily drink an entire gallon in one day. You know I’m a bit depressed if I take a bag of Dorito’s and a gallon of milk into my bedroom. Oh yeah, it isn’t pretty. And yes, I will eat the entire bag and drink the whole gallon of milk in one sitting.
     Well, now my friend Lauren has confessed that she is now drinking more milk since her visit here. She’s better at not drinking as much, but she does insist on putting chocolate in it. That just makes it sooo much healthier. I think everyone should drink milk.

     Earlier this week I did post on Facebook saying how much I needed a personal assistant. Today, I’ve decided that was probably the best idea I’d had in a long time. I’m so bad with computers and technology and I really am so behind on what I need to be doing in that regard. The real problem there, is it takes me forever to do anything because I just don’t know how.


     I swear I’d be writing a lot more if I didn’t have all this other stuff to do. Such is the life of an Indie author. To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way… the Indie author stuff that is. The computer tasks, yeah, I need help. I’m not good at it. It frustrates the fuck out of me and I really don’t like doing it. Just trying to keep track of what I’ve got is enough to push me over the edge. Add all the other stuff that needs to happen… yeah, I’d end up in a padded room somewhere.
     So, if anyone sees a cute man, with outstanding computer skills, easy to get along with, not a picky eater, and needs a job that doesn’t pay anything, send him my way. I’ll be more than happy to let him live here and feed him. I think that’s a pretty good deal.

     On a side note: I’ve managed to go three whole days without putting a single stitch of clothing on! Just thought I’d share that. And no, there aren't any pictures!

     Over the last week I’ve seen some really amazing stories online. There was the one about the little boy, who has lost both of his parents, and has decided to go out and give little toys to people who aren’t smiling. What a great idea! He goes out of his way to cheer people up. I love that.
     Then the waitress who paid for two firefighter’s breakfast because they’d been on a particularly bad fire and had worked for twelve hours. What a great gesture. That small act of kindness came back and boy, did it come back with interest. She’d been trying to raise money to purchase a vehicle for her quadriplegic father. Long story short, they found out about it and gave her hand in getting the word out. She ended up getting enough to get three vehicles if she’d wanted to. Instead she was able to build a better ramp into the house for her father’s wheelchair and take care of a few other things.
     Remember me talking about banking those good Karma Coins… well there the perfect example of what I was talking about, giving because you want to and see a need. Not to get something in return, but just to give of yourself. That’s when it means the most. The Cosmos knows all.

     Did you know that some people actually wear underwear? That they actually want to wear them? As confusing as I think that is, I went ahead and got some from the Lost-n-Found wish list this month. Personally, if I were going to want to, or have to, wear underwear I’d prefer something a little nicer looking than those Fruit of the Looms they asked for. I think something more along the lines of Andrew Christian or at least Calvin Kline.


     Oh well, it was what was on the list, so that is what they got. I’m wondering if I should write a letter to Andrew Christian asking if they had something that might not be selling so well or going out of stock or something. As I always say, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
     Okay, that’s it for me this week. Go forth and do something good for someone else and have fun.
     See y’all next week,
     Max




Sunday, August 9, 2015

Yep, I'm excited!


     Sooo… it’s been a whole week since I sat down to try and figure out what to put on this blog. I wish I was as talented as some other writers who do blogs, like Mr. Ryan Fields. They always seem to have something poignant to say. I just ramble on and post naked pictures.
Yeah, I know... sad isn't it.
     This week, today, I saw something that kind of rattled my cage a bit. I don’t know if many of you know of Scruff? It’s an app that is a lot like Grindr. They tend to focus more on rugged and often furry men. Anyway, they tend to do more community stuff than a lot of those other date (hook up) apps. Today, I was reading their weekly tid-bit email that they send out. They did an article on homeless LGBT youth in America.
     This information was gathered up by the Williams Institute. I’ve known about them for several years, and have found that they do a pretty good job at sticking to the facts. Here’s a link to find out who they are. 
     Forty percent of all homeless youth in this country identify as LGBT. Seven out of ten said that the reason they are homeless is because of rejection of their families. It will never cease to amaze me how people can toss kids out like yesterday’s trash. 
     When I see or hear this I go through a range of emotions. First is sadness. I feel like someone has a rope tied around my heart and is pulling it down, trying to remove it from my body. Then I just get mad. I get so angry that I want to go and shake some of those people who have thrown away these kids. Lastly, I just want to go and do something.
     In this report the homeless youth agencies, which were used to gather this information, state that the biggest challenge they face is lack of funding and support, both from the government and the general public. They also state that the need has risen twelve percent over the last ten years. While it seems the general public is more accepting of LGBT people, which may be why these kids are okay with saying they are gay, lesbian, bi or transgender. But because of this acceptance, it seems we may not be doing enough for them.
     Here is a link to that report so you can read it for yourselves. Notice what Cyndi Lauper has been doing.

     I have to admit, I’ve been remiss in doing my part. I’ve let life get in the way of doing my part. It is my plan to take care of that this coming week. However, each month when I sit down to pay bills, which I hate, I do make a point of purchasing something for Lost-n-Found in Atlanta. They have a running wish list which you can find on their website. It isn’t much, but it is something at least.
     As my grandmother always said, “There is no greater gift than giving of yourself.” I need to do more of that. I know it makes me feel better about myself, so I am going to make a point of remedying that this week. I have a few ideas floating around in all that empty space upstairs, called my head.
     What else… 
     Woo-Hoo! This is why I've been so excited! I got the first full draft, if that’s what you call it, of the audio book My Hero! Holy fuck is it good! This narrator has nailed it. I liked that he asked me how I saw the characters, how they sounded to me in my head. What he did with the character, Anita, was spot on. I loved it. I am hoping that it will be available sometime towards the end of this month. Still finding my way on how to do this, so there is a learning curve I have to overcome, so we’ll see when it actually does come out.

     The one good thing about listening to this audiobook is that it got me wanting to finish the sequel. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve really been dragging my feet on this project. Frankly, I’ve been scared to death to finish it. I guess I’m terrified that it won’t live up to people’s expectations. Anyway, I think I have the gumption now to dive in and try and get it done.

     Oh, quick question for you folks who like audio books… which of my books would you most like to see turned into an audio book? Maybe I’ll run a contest or something. I’ll have to think on how to do that. I’d like to get that going as soon as My Hero is done so I can keep this narrator busy. He is just that good!
     Okay, I gotta say that I do love living in a small town. I actually liked living out in the middle of now where, but well… that kind of fell apart on me, so now I live in this tiny little place, and I do like it here. The downtown area is so quaint and actually has a lot of things going on during the month.

     The only big drawback is the lack of strippers. Sadly enough, I’ve been going through stripper-withdrawal. When I went to New York City we went to one club. It was…disappointing. Then to another bar while in NYC and they were running so far behind, like two hours, I just said fuck it. Didn’t see nary a one in Australia, which was truly disappointing. I’ve been doing my homework, did do a little checking, and the closest that I’ve been able to find is in Ft. Lauderdale, which is a good two hour drive from me. What’s a poor ol’ fag like me supposed to do? Any suggestions? I keep collecting stripper dollars and no way to get rid of them!

     Oh, and thanks for the comments and feedback from last week. Seems there are a few of us that would like one of those dolls. Wonder if we could get a group rate! BWHahahaha!
     Let me hear from you people. Have a grrreat week, y’all.
     Max


Ain't her purty?



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Yeah, I went there...


     So… it’s been a few weeks since I’ve actually done a blog post. The week before Rainbow Con I just didn’t have the time, then I was at Rainbow Con and didn’t have the time. Last week I just didn’t have it in me…I kept drawing a blank. This week, well… who the hell knows? I’m just going to ramble on here a bit and see what happens. This could be scary.
Yeah, scary. :D

     First off… I have to admit, I have no shame. That and I really don’t have much of a brain-filter. Sadly, it gets me in trouble sometimes. Oh well. Ooops.

     What brought this on? Well, I was on FB and read a post about someone who put up with some preacher telling her how she was going to hell for supporting gay marriage. She’d finally had enough and told him where to stick his bible, after a few other choice words. She was better than me. I doubt I would have stood there for five minutes and listened to his drivel.

     However, it did remind me once of some cute little Mormon boys who were trying to lure me into their web. I finally just came out and asked them if they would care for a blowjob. One was really cute and the other wasn’t exactly ugly. After they finally picked their mouths up off the floor, they ran off that porch so fast it was like watching a road-runner cartoon.

     One Saturday, years ago, I had the rare Saturday off. The Jehovah Witnesses were out in the neighborhood, doing their trolling thing. I saw them coming and just rolled my eyes and waited for the doorbell to ring and ring it did. I answered the door, dogs barking behind me. I didn’t even get ‘hello’ out of my mouth before they were hurrying down the sidewalk. Seems I may have forgotten to put pants on. Ooops.

     Speaking of which… I used to be really bad about forgetting about clothes while at home. One of the joys of living alone I say. But I have gotten better over the last few months. I really have. Not once have I gone to the door without something on. Okay, there was that one time when I almost did, but then I actually did remember. I saw it was just some odd salesmen and said fuck it and didn’t answer. No, I didn’t go rushing to find shorts to put on. If it was important, they’d have come back. Instead, they just left a door hanger inviting me to church. Yeah, well they can hold their breath on that one.

     And yes, I did seduce a Catholic Priest once. Wasn’t hard to do either, I might add. Poor thing popped off in less than two minutes. Who knows when the last time he’d gotten off. Damn, he was good looking too!

     I saw something online not too long ago. At first it really creeped me out, but then my curiosity got the best of me, and I had to go and do a bit of research. It was a bit weird, but then I started to like the idea more and more. Has anyone heard of Sinthetics? Oh boy, you gotta check this out.


     Yep, it really was-is… different. It got me to thinking… (Yeah, I know, so dangerous for me…) You could dress him up and have him sitting around. I guess you could talk to him. But then, just think of him sitting there naked or in underwear and someone happens to stop by. Oh, hell yeah, I could have so much fun with that.



     I don’t think I’d be able to have sex with him, that would be just too weird, but damn, he could be entertaining. I wonder if I could persuade Gio Dell, or Armando Santos to model for one. Hmmm… ya never know. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Of course, I don’t see myself spending that kind of money on something like this. I still think it would be fun.

     What else…

     Oh, you can thank Rain Carrington for this one…


     I’m glad to know I’m not the only twisted perv out there. So I look at this and the cook in me jumps out. Damn, the vitamin C and Zinc are off the charts here. So next time you catch a cold, remember this. I do need to ask… seventy ejaculates? Damn, that’s a whole lotta spunk!

     I may have mentioned this a time or fifty, but I’d really like to one day get these books, if nothing else other than to add to my collection. Can you imagine the look on someone’s face if they started looking through your cookbooks and see this? OMG, I can just imagine the expression when you ask if they want a pre-dinner cocktail. BWAHAHAHA!

     What’s new on the writing front? Well I just finished up a story that I’m rather proud of. I really liked writing it. This one is for charity, so I hope you guys will support it. I did it with several other amazing authors so I am sure there will be some great reads here. I think most of them are novellas, so lots of entertainment value. I’ll keep you posted when it comes out. Of course, A.J. Corza did an amazing job, as always, on the cover.

     On a more serious note… There is one of my favorite authors out there who has been having a very difficult time of late. After seeing her at Rainbow Con, I haven’t been able to get her off my mind. Yeah, I’ve been worried a bit, but I’ve not been able to figure out what, if anything, I could do for her. Well, low and behold, a dedicated reader paid her a surprise visit. I know that it must have made her week. What a great guy. He really racked up some Karma Coins for this one. There is no greater gift than to give of yourself.

     I guess that’s about all I got for now. Go forth, do good, live life, be happy and don’t forget to do something good for someone else. It does come back to you.

     Have a grrreat week, y’all,

     Max
I just love this photo!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Life of an Indie Author


     Sooo… Recently someone asked me why I self-publish and why not go with a publisher. Only a few moments later, a read a post from a reader saying that she is skeptical on buying Indie books because so many are so badly edited. Today, I’m going to try and shed some light on this subject.

Gotta have a hottie in there somewhere.
     First off, I’ve done the publisher route. The first experience was pretty good. Well it was until they didn’t pay me. It wasn’t much. It was for a short story, but still, I deserved to be paid for work done. I did submit invoices, wrote emails and finally gave up because it was taking more of my time up than it was really worth. Still, over all I was fairly pleased with them.

     The second publisher was a nightmare from start to finish. The editing process was long and tedious. On the first round of edits, the editor asked me to rewrite a paragraph. I did. The second editor didn’t like that same paragraph, so I tweaked it and sent it back. The first editor didn’t like that and asked for something different. A third editor said that the same paragraph didn’t make sense and it needed work.

     Okay, this had been going on for weeks by this point and no one was telling me what specifically they wanted, or were looking for. So what did I do? I changed it back to exactly the way it was in the first place and everyone loved it. Go figure.

     If there were the only issue with this publisher, I could have dealt with it, but no. That was only the beginning. That book has been out for almost two years now and I’ve yet to be paid anything for it. Not one red cent. Nada. Nothing. I’ve asked for the rights back, but have never gotten a response from them. Come to find out, I’m not the only author this has happened to. Its okay, Karma is a real bitch.

     The last issue that I have with publishers is that it takes them months to get a book out. That is time money is not coming in. From the time I finish a book, till the time it goes live is a lot less. Now granted, it still takes time, and this is where I get into the comment about editing issues.

     After I finish a book I turn it over to a beta reader. I try to proof it myself first, but by that time, I’m usually sick of looking at it, and I miss things. It looks and sounds right in my head, but that doesn’t mean it actually is.

     So, first beta read… They are looking for plot holes, things that don’t make sense, name mix ups and things like that. After they are done, I will go back over it, make corrections and then send it back to them. They have another look and send it back, often with more corrections.

     I’ll go over it once again and then I will send it off to an editor. This is where the real work begins. First off, editors are not free nor are they cheap. This can be very expensive. The more time they have to spend on it, the more expensive it gets, so it is wise to try and give them the cleanest manuscript possible. If they have to go over it a second time, you get charged for that round of edits as well, round two and possibly round three. They don’t work for free and I don’t expect them to. However, I try and keep the cost down as much as possible, so I do my very best to limit it to only two rounds.

     After I get the edits back from the editor, I go through the story again. How many times is that now? Now you can see why I get sick of looking at the damn thing. Okay, so I go through it once again… then off to a second beta reader. They still catch stuff. No one is perfect and things slip through.

     Oh guess what, I then get to go over the thing again. Yep, joy-joy. By now I’m ready to start drinking first thing in the morning. I begin to hate the characters and have self-doubts if this damn book is any good at all.

     Now, all this does take time. I can’t expect a beta reader, who does this out of the goodness of their heart, to do a one or two day turn around. They have lives too after all. The editor, depending on their own work load, can sometimes take up to two weeks to get a round of edits back to me, for an averaged sized book.

     And guess what? I send it off to yet another beta reader. Yes, I usually have three different beta readers go over this story as well as the editor. I learned the hard way about putting out something that had major editing issues. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was my first go-round, and I learned a lot. So yes, I try and put out as clean and polished product as I possibly can.

     On average, I say I can get a book ready to go live in five weeks, compared to six months or longer with a publisher. Yes, it is a lot of work and can be frustrating as hell, but again, I’d rather get it out there to readers than it sit on someone else’s desk for who knows how long.

     Then we get to the cover… yeah, that pesky thing. I thank my lucky stars that I have A.J. Corza who does my covers. The woman is a true artist and a genius. We work very well together. There are times I have something in my head and she will go in a completely different direction and it is amazing. No, I don’t mind that she does that. She knows me, what I like, how I work and she’s always spot on. Of course there are times that she does go with my ideas, and that works too. But let me make this clear, she doesn’t work for free either.

     What I truly love about self-publishing is the freedom it allows me to get all this done. Of course I’m out of pocket hundreds of dollars before you know it, but that’s on me. I’d rather pay for that freedom.

     “Well the publisher promotes the books, don’t they?”

     Uhhh, not that I’ve seen. The two publishers that I worked with didn’t post, promote or do anything to get my work out there and into the hands of readers. Nope, I did that. And guess what, I don’t see any other author’s work getting promoted either. They end up doing it themselves, for the most part.

     There are a few exceptions here: The Bears of Winter. That editor and the publisher both promoted that anthology. They are one of the few that I would consider working with again. Also Wilde City does more promoting than any other publisher that I’ve seen, so I’d look at them if I ever decided to go with a publisher again.

     The dirty side of indie publishing: money. Oh yeah, there’s that too…

     Readers who do not know me or my work will balk at spending $2.99 on a short story, especially if it is under the one-hundred-twenty-five page mark. I have no idea why that page number is the magic number, but it seems to be. So let me break it down for you…

     Editing…costs money. Cover art costs money. Time, well I’d like to think my time is worth a little something. Ahhh, but the biggie is that giant that everyone loves to hate: Amazon. Why does Amazon have anything to do with it? I’ll tell you. (Like you thought I wouldn’t?)

     Amazon has this little rule… anything below the $2.99 mark, the author only makes thirty-five percent of total sales. Anything $2.99 and above, the author makes seventy percent of total sales. This has nothing to do with that KU thing. Not even going there. It is a hard balancing act. Ahhh, but then there are those who are constantly saying they want bigger books; longer stories. I am all for that. I myself love a nice long book. BUT, and it is a big but; are readers willing to pay for that longer book. The numbers say no. This is why you will see many authors aim for the sixty-thousand word mark. Remember, this is not only an art, but also a business.

     Let’s go back to the editing process for a moment. Editors charge by the word. For just one round of edits, the price can vary from $0.0025 to $0.035 per word! That is just one round of edits. A lot of time it will have to go through a second round of edits, which will often be less, but still, that is money out of pocket.

     I’m going to use the lowest number, the $0.0025, here as an example. That’s $150.00 for a sixty-thousand word book, for just one round of edits. Add another $100.00 to that for a second round, and as you can see, it gets a little expensive for an individual. It is very easy to be in excess of $500.00 to get a book to market, and that isn’t a huge book.

     Double the size of the book and you are going to double, at minimum, the cost of producing the book. Often times, the longer the book, the more the editor is going to charge per word because it is going to take more of their time.

     The average cost of an ebook is around $4.99. That is roughly a sixty-thousand word book, give or take a bit. Are readers willing to pay more for an indie author’s book even if it is longer? Again, the numbers say no.

     I’m currently working on My Hero: The Olympian, which is well beyond that mark. It could easily reach the six hundred page mark, no problem. Here is the dilemma: Do I charge for the word/page count or do I charge for what the market will bear? Do readers really want longer books? Will readers pay for a longer book? See where this is going?

     Readers want longer books but rarely are they willing to pay for them.

     Now for a total topic jump… damn, I’m longwinded today…

     European book sales are in the toilet. Why? Because most European Governments have placed a VAT (taxes to us Americans), of anywhere from 19% to 22% per book. I personally think that is outrageous. Not only has it hurt the readers, but it isn’t much fun for the author either.

     Before the end of this year, I am going to offer all my books at the same price, across the board, to ALL readers directly from my website. We’ll see if Amazon will allow this, the big brother that they are, or not. I’m going to try at least. I think the European readers are getting ripped a new one and I don’t think that is right. We’ll see how it goes.

     What did I do this week as far as doing something nice for someone? Nothing individually, however I did finish a story for charity, which I enjoyed doing. I loved the story, even if it did make me want to jump on a plane and go stuff my face with √©clairs. It is being divided among charities that I believe in, so I feel good about that. How did y’all fair this week? Did you reach out and touch someone’s life, even if it was just a tiny bit?

     I bet you did! Have a great week, y’all,

     Max
And I leave you this.... enjoy!