Friday, June 24, 2016

G'day, Mates...

     So… here I am, sweating my ass off. Still not feeling 100%, but doing okay. I know that several people have asked, and thanks for that.
   Now for what’s been going on this past week… As most of you know, I am in Australia. The TAT’s mum gifted me/us with an excursion into the outback of Oz, ending up at the top part where Darwin is. This is supposed to be their winter. Pfft… it’s hot. Each day has been in the 90’s here. Normally, I don’t really mind the heat, until it comes to bedtime. Then I tend to be a bit grumpy if I’m hot. Yeah, I’ve been a wee bit on the grumpy side. The a/c in the camper isn’t keeping up with the heat. Oh well, I’ve lived through a lot worse and we’ve only got 2 more days here and I intend to make the most of it. Alright, Zathyn Priest, you were right… it is hot up here. LOL
     I’ve learned a lot about this big country. There is a lot of culture, a lot of history and a lot of very handsome men. I think it is an unwritten law that most adult men must have great legs. I swear, at least 99.9% of the men here have the best looking legs I’ve ever seen. It really is astounding. Oh there was this one guy. I thought, ‘Wow, he’s got skinny legs, so it isn’t everyone’. Yeah, then he opened his mouth. He wasn’t an Aussie. So, there ya go. I’m back to great legs, and often, really cute butts to go with them! Oh, and this goes for men of all ages too.
     Another things I’ve observed while here. These guys aren’t waxing, shaving or manscaping. Woo-Hoo! I’m not sure about the ones in the larger cities, I admit. But the ones that I’ve seen around the outback are au natural. Just the way I like ‘em. Not that I’ve been able to sample any… damn it all to hell. Oh well, such is life.
     For those of you who keep up with me on other social media, you’ll know that we took a train from Uluru to Darwin. Along the way we stopped at Katherine’s Gorge and took a boat ride to see some of the oldest native rock paintings known to man. That was way cool.
     But back to the train…
     It was a truly magnificent experience. I felt as if I was in an old Agatha Christie novel. Had the sleeper stateroom. They had a bar and lounge. The restaurants, and yes, that was plural, and the kitchens, and yes, that was plural as well.
     Of course you know I’m going to talk about the food. The food? Superb. And yes, I did sample the local fare. Smoked emu: outstanding. The crocodile sausage, fantastic. The kangaroo, marvelous. The sauces were great as well. Plate presentation was beautiful. All this on a train!
     On a slight side note… I saw one of the cooks while waiting to board the train. I only wish he’d been on the menu. “I’d like him and a big bowl of whipped cream please.”
     The one thing that really impressed me on the Ghan, the name of the train, was the service. The dining experience was unbelievable. Great service. These people were trained extraordinarily well. Impeccable. I highly recommend this journey to anyone who might even consider it.
     A little about Darwin...
     This is a jewel of a little city. I thought it would be much larger, but it isn’t. We stopped for a brief visit to Fannie Bay. You just gotta love a place named that. Had a fantastic lunch. The water was so clear. It reminded me a bit of the Gulf of Mexico… just better. Oh, and they had this waiter… and yep, you guessed it… great legs. And boy was he purty.
    Let’s compare…
     I could never afford to live in Oz Land. Things here are so very expensive. The cost of living here is exorbitant. Why? Ahhh, here is the perfect argument against higher minimum wage, which I used to all for. Businesses will not just sit on their hands and say, “oh, okay, we’ll eat the extra charge it costs us to make something.” Nope, they are going to raise prices on goods and services so that their profit margins don’t take a nose dive. Yep, it’s a vicious cycle, and a lot of you don’t want to hear that, but that is the bottom line. Raising wages isn’t going to solve the problem of people living in poverty while working a full time job. Education is the key here I believe. No, not everyone is going to be cut out for college, but then we really aren’t promoting or paying for any vocational training either.
     Another thing is their medical care. I still shake my head in wonderment as to why we, the US don’t have universal health care. I think we are the only first world country who doesn’t. I do like the way the Aussies have set things up. Everyone has health care. Those who make a certain amount are obligated to have secondary insurance, or a private insurance policy. That takes the strain off basic healthcare. It all works. They also have dental and eye that is included. When was the last time you got premium eyeglasses for ten dollars?
     I’m glad to see that their politicians are just as fucked up as ours though. I guess there are some things that just don’t change. The one thing that is different, is that you don’t see a bunch of religious zealot nut-jobs running things. Come to think of it… I really don’t see many religious whackos anywhere. It just isn’t here.
     Words and language…
     They say they speak English, but… yeah, not so much. They abbreviate everything. If they don’t do that, then they have a nickname for it. It really does get a bit confusing. I will often look to TAT for translation. Oh, and words… oh hell, if I hear lovely one more time, I think I will hurl. I’m sure that is left over from the English, but fuck me, do you have to use it in every other sentence?
     Another one that is universally overused is actually two words. “No worries.” That seems to be the automatic response to just about everything. If someone says thank you? No worries. Sorry? No worries. I just stabbed your wife. No worries. AAaarrggghhh… find something else to say people, like you’re welcome. Although TAT says that is just as irritating in the States. Pfft… what does she know? No worries, mate!
    Alrighty then, time for me to sign off. I’m sorry I’ve not been around much, but the internet and phone service out this way tends to be a bit hit or miss. I’d like to thank Graeme Cheater and his partner, Darryl for their hospitality and letting us use their internet. They’ve been great hosts here in Bachelor! And damn, what beautiful gardens they have.
     Did you do something nice for someone this week? I bet you did. You may not have even noticed it. Keep on though, it will come back to you.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.
     (I have tons of photos that will share at a later time... of the trip! Get your minds out of the gutter.)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Open and Honest

     So… I sit here wondering WTF! Bear with me while I try and sort it all out. I can’t guarantee is will make sense.
     Some things I’ve been feeling…
     Sadness. Depression. Pain. Tired. Lifeless. Sluggish. PAIN. Joy.
     I’d actually considered giving up writing. That’s not quite correct… I did make the decision to give up writing. Why? There were several reasons. I’ll only go into one though: mean people. There are some really awful people out there. Hurtful. Spiteful. Nasty. I’m talking about some of the folks who are in the M/M romance world. Yeah, that was part of it. The other part, while also part of this whole genre, is very personal. I’m not going into it because I’d like to think that I’m not one of those who are hurtful, spiteful and just downright nasty. But damn, it hurt and pushed all my buttons. Then of course I got mad and that is where I left it. When I can’t say anything nice, its best to just keep my mouth shut… which is really, really hard for me.
     I’ve also had some medical things going on, which are also personal. And no, I’m not going into that either. As far as I’m concerned, whining is not the answer. I don’t want sympathy or pity. However, it does contribute to a lot of the feelings I’ve been having. ‘Nough said.
     Pain… I can’t even express of my shock and sadness at what occurred in Orlando. Not only was it close to home, but the sheer magnitude of senseless slaughter of innocent children. Yeah, most were kids in my eyes. Cut down before they even had a chance to know themselves. To share all the love and joy that they would no doubt have experienced.
     Okay, and yes, I snuck off and left the country. Now, part of that was unexpected and a wonderful surprise for me. Unfortunately, it came at a time when I was physically not all that well and also caught me completely off guard. While I was supposed to go to Europe, my doctor actually forbid it. After undergoing some treatment, I was given the okay to proceed along with some new medications. With some finagling, a lot of last minute planning, I left for Australia. I was concerned at first, and while I didn’t feel all that great, I’m glad I did.
     I am having a wonderful time, even though I’m having to take it much slower than I’d like. I hate feeling like an old man, but… well can’t help it. Not sure if it is part of the new medications or part of the last treatment, or what exactly, but my ass sure is dragging. Don’t walk too close behind me or you’ll for step on it.
     On top of all this, I had three book releases all going on at once. My Hero: They Olympian came out in French and Italian. I was supposed to be in Italy during its release, and that makes me so sad that I had to miss that. I was then supposed to go to Paris to celebrate its release, which broke my heart. The city that captured my heart, the readers and so many friends I didn’t get to see. That put me into such a funk, I can’t even express how down I was when I didn’t get to go.
     Then, ‘Life After Living’ was going up for pre-sale and then was released day before yesterday. I should have been promoting it but with lack of internet and almost no energy, I had to sit back and hope for the best. I do have to thank the loyal readers who did pre-order. I hope that you enjoy the book. I put a lot of time into researching this novel. It is unlike anything I’ve done before. It does seem like I say that about most of my books. LOL I try and keep things mixed up I guess.
     I’ll come back to the book release in a bit…
     Then yesterday… I got a huge surprise. Something that made me smile and give me hope. We stopped at a little roadhouse that is literally in the middle of nowhere in the Outback of Australia. There was an Aboriginal art gallery attached to this… shack of a building. What is the first thing I see? I see rainbows. Quite a few rainbows. Art. Here, in the middle of the desert of Oz is a group of native artists who have painted rainbow art, all of them titled ‘Pride’.
     I turned to TAT and asked, “Am I seeing this correctly?” And yes, she confirmed I was. All I could say was “Wow”. Yeah… just wow. I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that the curator/saleman was family. I also have a sneaking suspicion that he may actually be Mr. Dixon Mumu, the artist of the piece I purchased. Not certain, but… I just got that feeling.
     Anyway… that small little thing, which isn’t really all that small, made me smile. And yes, it made me proud. I wish I could have gone and hugged each and every artist that had participated in celebrating Gay Pride Month. I wish I could have photographed the exhibit, but it was strictly forbidden. It really touched my heart, my soul and more importantly, made my day.
     OUCH… that hurt so good…
     Alright, so Aleksandr Voinov kinda kicked me in the ass the other day. I expressed my disappointment in the M/M community and told him of my decision to quit writing. After a fairly long chat, I decided to reconsider that decision. He gave me his ideas and some solutions to how I was feeling. We’ll have to see how that goes. But thank you kind sir. Your words of wisdom were not wasted.
     And now… Lynn Schmitz… I am continually amazed and the energy and strength of this woman. Why do I mention her? Well this is why. Follow this link and you’ll see. No it isn’t by her, but it could have been. Whenever I see something about PFLAG, I think of Lynn and all the time she commits.

     Thank you, Lynn, for all you do.
     Alrighty then…
     About ‘Life After Living’… here is a brief excerpt.
     After a trip to the bathroom, Vance made his way to the coffee maker. He stood there a moment, mystified as to why there was no coffee. As the cobwebs finally cleared he remembered that Jeff was no longer here. He was the one who had always set up the coffee maker the night before. Sighing heavily, Vance went about making coffee.
     “Was it four or five scoops?” Vance asked out loud, even though he was the only person there.
     The black-and-white Border collie, Bonnie, cocked her head to one side as she watched the human struggling with making a simple pot of coffee. Vance looked down at the dog. “If you think it’s so easy, you do it.”
     Bonnie whined and then turned and went out through the doggie door.
     “Yeah, didn’t think so,” Vance grumbled while he filled the pot with water.
     When the smell of coffee started filling the kitchen Vance sat down on one of the stools at the breakfast bar and waited. He looked out the window over the sink. It was another beautiful sunrise. The sight was so familiar that he could close his eyes and still visually see the hues of deep purple fading to pink that would turn to pale yellow as the sun rose higher in the sky. Even so, it was as if his eyes were open, he had it so firmly imbedded in his mind. It was a sight that he never grew tired of. Only now he would be seeing it each morning alone. Jeff was gone.
      And the video blurb… 

Life After Living

     What you might want to know about this book… I did a lot of research for this book… a whole lot. It is quite different from what I’ve written previously I think. I wanted to take the approach of getting to know each character slowly. To let the relationship build in a non-romantic way. Oh and… well there is almost no sex. Yep, you heard it here. There is some… but nothing like what I normally write. It is all about raw emotion. There is pain. There is growth. There is love. The biggest thing I’d like for everyone to take away from this book is understanding. Might want some tissues for this one, because… I did my best to rip your heart out. I do give it back to you, but you’ll have to finish the book to get it. So ha! If you do cry, big ugly, snotty nose cry, then I’ve done my job. But honestly, it really is about putting you, the reader, into someone else’s shoes for a while. I hope you take up the challenge. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Buy Links:

     In closing… I admit I’ve not done much of anything for anyone else in a while. I think it is due to me closing myself off from the world. I’m going to make a concerted effort to change that. I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, would you please consider doing something for someone else? It would make me feel better.
     That’s all I’ve got for now. Have a grrreat week y’all.
Okay, one small photo...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Milestone...55

     So… here I sit, slightly groggy, only a partial cup of coffee down, and I start this. What to write about this week. Um… well… I haven’t the slightest idea. I guess it’s going to be a fly by the seat of my pants… shorts this morning. 
     Let’s get started… but another cup of coffee is in order first…

     This week I hit a milestone: I became a speed limit, hit the double-nickel, in other words, I turned fifty-five. Ugh… There wasn’t a big party or a lot of hoopla. To be honest, I slept through most of it, thanks to an early morning massage that I received as a birthday present from TAT, (The Aussie Tart) Oh, I do miss getting a regular massage. I really do need to remedy that. Anyway, it was a pretty average day over all. Trust me when I say, I was perfectly okay with that.
     But there was something niggling me, in the back of my mind, something that was bothering me. It took me a while to figure it out because… well I’m not very bright sometimes. I was depressed, but why? It wasn’t that I turned fifty-five. Pfft… I’m an old fart now and I’m okay with that. So… what was it?
     It hit me last night while at happy hour. I know I’ve mentioned this weekly event before, but I’ll touch on it again. There is a fairly vibrant gay community here and a lot of men gather on Friday for happy hour. Yes, there are some men close to my age there, but for the most part, they are older than I am. I have to admit, that kind of makes me smile to think I’m a younin’ there.
     Anyway… It finally dawned on me why I was feeling the way I was: remorse. Now I’ve heard of it before. Could empathize with it, recognized it in others but never actually felt it. It was survivor's remorse. I lived through one of the biggest health crises’ this country, the world had ever seen.
     It was political. It was dirty. It was argued that the men, the gay men who were dying left, right and center, deserved what they got because they were perverts, vile creatures in the eyes of God. It was God’s way of cleansing the earth of such abominations. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was God’s way of punishing the wicked sodomites!
     However, this was the first time that I’ve actually felt guilty for surviving, and living through the nightmare that took so many of my friends and some colleagues. How did I escape it? Why was I not one of the first to go? Trust me; I was out there having just as much fun as everyone else, if not more than some. So how was I so lucky to have made it? It isn’t as if I was some great artist. I’m really not all that smart or funny, or good looking or… anything really special. I was just an average guy trying to make his way in the world, who happened to be gay. So why? Why me?
     I once knew this guy, an acquaintance, a friend of a friend of a friend, who really had a bad case survivor’s remorse. He felt it was a punishment to be left behind. I thought he was being a little dramatic at the time. Okay, he was pretty crackers in my opinion. He was one of those people who was gloom and doom all the time. I personally never felt that way and still don’t. Do I? Was it a punishment to be allowed to live when so many other talented, smart, funny, gifted men were cut down in the prime of their lives?
     The simple answer is no. I’d never felt I was being punished for not dying such a horrendous death. Do I now? Hmm… Was that what was bothering me? I don’t think so. I think what I’m really feeling is loneliness. A loss of all the friends I knew who are no longer here. Is that what was bothering me? Sort of I think. It was also the feeling of lost youth, of having so many good times with those friends, those lighthearted times. It’s the loss of staying up dancing all night. It’s the loss of the T-dances on Sundays. It’s the loss of going out, carousing with them. It’s the loss of the laughter that we all shared. That was the remorse I was/am feeling.
     Yeah, yeah… I know I’m going to hear ‘But you’re not that old!’ Pfft… in gay years you might has well be invisible. Well unless you’re one of those hunky gym-daddies, which is so not me and that still won’t alleviate the loss I feel. No, I may not seem that old in general society and in general I don’t feel that old. I just wish someone would tell my poor beat-up old body that! LOL
“Mary, crawl off that cross, someone needs the wood!”
“Miss Self Pity, table for one!”
“Honey, would you please come out of the pity pool? You’re all shriveled up.”
     Okay, I didn’t just write all that for any kind of sympathy, or oh poor, poor Max. No, I think it was my way of paying tribute to some of the fabulous gay men I was fortunate to call friends and in my way, letting them know that they are missed but not forgotten. No, it was me remembering, subconsciously, those who I loved and wish could have been here for my birthday. I know without a doubt that they’d have given me total shit for being a speed limit. There would have been old fart jokes from start to finish. Yeah, yeah, yeah… bite me you bitches. I made it!
     I am a proud gay man. I’ve lived through one of the most horrendous, catastrophic health events know to mankind and I survived. I still laugh, cry and feel. I have people who I love and who love me. I love the feel of the sun on my face and the dirt under my fingernails. I have a life and I intend to live it!
     So, this tired ol’ nag is gonna trot his ass around the track at least one more time. I’m gonna throw my tits to the wind and dare anyone to tell me not to. Damnit, I’ve earned the right to say ‘fuck you’ to anyone who wants to try and put me down. Don’t tread on me. Oh wait, there’s a snake involved in that, isn’t there? Okay… might not go that far then. I hate snakes. Alrighty then… I will survive. There. ‘Nough said.

     Okay, this is running a bit longer than usual but I did want to share something with everyone. This made my day and actually made me a bit weepy.
A Bear in Paris – A French Review
      Rhett Beaumont arrived in Paris to make the dream of a lifetime, this should have been done in joy but it is with a heavy heart the memories of the past that puts his first look at the city. It is immediately amazed when he discovered Paris, its boulevards, this special ambiance of the capital of love, of glamor and romance.
     After a quick installation, stay a month can finally begin. At the street corner, pastries irresistibly attracted. However, when his eye catches a completely different kind of sweetness that would be enjoyed with relish, this is a new world that awaits him!
     To my surprise, this story has literally snapped up, it is very refreshing. I loved the character of Rhett. Outside it is beautiful, intelligent and tender with a cracked past, he is finally ready to conquer, discover, explore and live his dream.We will follow the whole time wonder.
     Descriptive emerge elegantly Parisian charm, I was enrolled in a trip to the heart of the story. It almost would feel the vibrations of the city to our reading and the wonder of Rhett each discovery of a new place to visit, the most tempting specialties as each other. It eats everything around it, drinking at every moment of every detail.
     His morning routine was already very nice, pastries to die for, the smile of sexy pastry chef and player chewable.
     Luke is charming, pleasant to the sight, direct and enterprising so that he gets to overwhelm the American of his deep gaze. It is also on the defensive, not knowing whether he can be trusted again.
     All crescendo rises like a heartbeat accelerating with emotions. This romance is languorous, simple and tasty. The story takes its time, it is a pleasure to follow these two wounded beings groping bruised face their doubts and pain of an experience but do not let down!
     The authors make a beautiful tribute to the city of Paris, I felt the attraction they have for it to through their words so enthusiasts. This is why it makes this moment so unique, special and exciting. They reveal extreme delicacy with a splendid history, euphoric and fulfilled.
     Your feathers Max and KC Wells combined are very pleasant. A delight for the senses. A sumptuous alchemy of letters, a bookish escape that will transport you and delight you fully.
     The end ... Oh the end is simply magical, beautiful and radiant.
     This book is a sweet romantic jewel to be enjoyed without moderation!
     Thank you Karine for such this review. A Bear in Paris is being published in English, French and Italian. All proceeds to go help LGBT youth. Your purchase price of only $2.99 will help young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth get off the streets and get the help they need. You get a pretty good story for that price and help kids at the same time. I’d say that is a win-win situation. Why don’t you go, get the story, have a good read and feel good about the Karma Coins you’re collecting.

     Thanks, y’all. I think that is about all I have for this week.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Ramble and Grrr...

     So… Here I sit wondering what I should write about this week. The quick answer is: I have no clue. Here goes me flying by the seat of my pants once again.
     Ramble, ramble, ramble…

     I found a new cookbook that I really must have. There is no doubt that this one will find a home on the coffee table it looks so good. I can’t wait to see all the recipes. More than likely I have a variation of most of them, but who cares when the book looks as nice as this one! Who doesn’t need a good ginger cookie recipe and a fine looking ginger man to go with it? Anyway, if you have a gay friend or a gay friendly hostess, this might be the perfect gift for them.

     I swear if I were to ever do a cookbook, I would have to do something like this one, maybe featuring bears. Hmm, I’m thinking I might need models for inspiration. Oh pfft… don’t worry about the hair. After all, when you have a nice hairy man around, there’s never a need for dental floss!
     Oh, I do have some news…
     An old friend of mine and I reconnected a few months back and she’s been reading this blog. She said it sounded just like me and she could hear my voice as if I was in the room to her. I think that is a good thing. I really am just me after all. That’s not the news however. She got with a friend of hers and showed her the blog and they decided that I needed to start doing a podcast. To be honest, I really hate doing public speaking, but this sounds like something that I could do.
     What do y’all think? I personally don’t listen to podcasts so I have no real idea of what goes on with those things. Is it something you good people would be interested in? Are you sure you want me to sit and hear me ramble on? I did come up with a few ideas that might make it more interesting. You tell me. It might be fun.
     What else…
     Oh, I was surfing about the internet reading some news items when I came across something that made me shake my head. It seems that the World Health Organization did a recent study on human sexuality. Okay, nothing so strange there I guess. This article highlighted the fact that a good percentage of people had some type of homosexual experience at some point in their life.
     Well, duh. Didn’t that little tid-bit of information come to life some fifty odd years ago with the Kinsey report? Shocking huh? Okay, not so fast… because that is exactly what I thought until I continued reading.
     It seems that more and more men (and women) between the ages of 18 – 32 are more open to having sex with a same sex partner and still claim to be straight. Can it be that this next generation doesn’t think that homosexuality is taboo? Have we really reached this milestone? I guess only time will tell, but that kinda blows me away. Kinda cool if you ask me.

     Grrr… I’m irritated…
     I often listen to Pandora while writing. Now what I listen to really depends on my mood and what I’m writing. I have a channel set up, is my go-to channel, which is classical piano. This is where I start getting exasperated. Perhaps I’m being picky or maybe even snobbish. But damn-it-all-to-hell, play the whole thing or don’t play it at all.
     I’m referring to Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14. There are three movements damn it. I hate it when they only play the first one and then move on. I am sure that most of you know the piece as the Moonlight Sonata. That’s just one movement.
     It’s like sticking your dick in, pumping a few times and then saying “Okay, that’s it. Bye.” No orgasm, no conclusion, just stopped one third of the way, putting your dick away, zipping up and leaving. Now how frustrating is that?

     Okay, it might be that I’m getting older and my OCD is getting more and more pronounced, but I don’t think so, well not this time at least. This is something that has always bothered me. If you’re going to do a job, then do it to completion, not stop before the task is done. Grrr… just… GRRrrrr.
     If you’re at all interested, I’ve included a link so you can hear the entire piece. 

     Of course I’ve been on a huge Chopin kick of late. No surprise to a lot of you out there. He is after all one of my all-time favorite composers. It is also a major part of the book I’m currently working on. The man was pure genius if you ask me, Chopin that is. I think that one of these main characters is also, but time will tell on that one.
     I’m sure I’ve mentioned Garrick Ohlsson before, but I’ll do it again. He is the master of master’s when it comes to Chopin if you ask me. (Are you bored yet?) Not only is he a hunk of a bear, gay, (also married, dang it) but boy can he play. Here, have a listen to my favorite Chopin piece.

     On the writing side…
     I announced the new release of A Bear in Paris, which is no available for pre-order. When I first mentioned it, I said I would talk a bit more about it. I also mentioned that all proceeds to go charity. Those charities are:
The Trevor Project – Here in the US
La Refuge – in France
Arcigay – in Italy
     The proceeds will be split evenly and the book is to be released in English, French and Italian. It is all going to help LGBT youth around the world. There are four parts to this series, all based on the seasons. I was lucky enough to get summer. 

     As one of the French beta readers said, “It is like a love affair with Paris.” That is exactly how I felt when I wrote it. I do love Paris. Of course I also love the French pastries, so that might skew my opinion a little.
     Honestly, I think I could live in Paris for a year and get some really good writing done. I have a huge dislike for most major cities and wouldn’t even consider living in one, but Paris is different. Yeah, I think I could do a year there easily.
     What else… more rambling?
     While in the post office the other day, there was a lady on crutches who was struggling to handle a parcel she was mailing off. It didn’t take any extra time to help her with the heavy glass doors or get the box up to the counter for her. She was most appreciative. I would have been also. It’s hard managing anything while on crutches. I should know. Been there done that a few times now. She thanked me profusely. Yep, that was my good deed for that day. Didn’t cost me a penny and yet I’m sure I gained a few good Karma Coins. Did you do something nice for someone this week? Hmm….?
     Well, I guess that’s all I have for this week. I’m off to buy more mulch!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Yep... More Ramblings...

     So…What’s been going on? Yeah, I know this is a few days late, but honestly, I’ve really been busy. I’ll try and do better. Promise.

     Ugh… it is has been a busy last few weeks. As some of you may know, the Aussie Tart (TAT) and I have been working on a major house renovation, with the help of Studly-Do-Right. It has been a long process, but I think we did a pretty good job. I have some photos, but they are not complete, so I’ll post some on FB and perhaps Instagram later on.
     Sadly, I’ve gotten very little writing done and I’m anxious to get back to this work in progress. It’s one that I started over 2 years ago and ended up setting it aside for a bit. I sometimes do that if I get stuck or if something else comes up. Unlike the last book I worked on, it is not quite as heavy.
     Funny thing is, after I read through what I’d written I was… well horrified, if I’m to be totally honest with myself. It was pretty bad. It sometimes amazes me how much I’ve grown as a writer. I’m sure my poor editor will be happy that I scraped the whole thing and started over. Yep, I ditched everything I’d written and started over. That was hard to do since I was about halfway done with the thing. Oh well, I’d rather do that than put out that kind of crap.

     I recently received an email asking if I was planning on continuing the Memory series. The simple answer is yes. Well, at least one more about the Sutton family. I do like the story and feel it has at least one more installment. After that I have something in mind that is a spin off from their story. I’ll keep that as a surprise for later.
     Now I have a question for y’all…
     If you’ve read the Memory series, do you prefer the small installments or would you rather have a full length book? I’m pretty good either way, so I’ll let you, the readers decide.
     Speaking of writing…
     Y’all wouldn’t believe how many how many story lines I’ve got jotted down. I had an idea not long ago and went to write it down before I forgot it. Damn, I have about twelve full length book ideas sitting there waiting to be written. I guess I should get busy, huh?
     What else…
     Yesterday we were driving home from the other house… at 8:00 p.m. (Yeah, another long ass day), and we drove past downtown. Now, you need to understand that downtown here is about two square blocks. Yeah, it is a tiny little town. But they were having the monthly Friday night street party. They often have a live band, arts and crafts, small businesses have booths set up and there is all kinds of food.
     The place was packed. The lake was off in the distance, the sun was just setting and it was so nice to see so many people out. There were lots of families, young people, and retirees, just a mixed bag of people. It was nice to see.

     One of the reasons why I like this little town is they are always doing something. The last Saturday of the month they have what they call a Classic Drive In. It’s basically every classic car enthusiast showing off their old cars. I just love that. So many cool ol’ cars. They always have a good turnout. If I were to win the lottery I’d participate. Yeah, I’ve always wanted a classic Cadillac Biarritz. That has always been my dream car. Not sure why. Just something that I’ve always liked.
     I’m starting to ramble…

     In a few weeks I’m going to be 55. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d live this long. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, with the AIDS epidemic killing off most of my friends, I just assumed that I’d be one of those statistics. Well, I’ve made it this far so I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. Initially, I’d planned to go to New York City for Fleet Week. That’s something I’d always wanted to do but since I’d was just there, I’ll forgo that. Besides I don’t think my poor feet could do another NYC visit. I have no plans for the upcoming event. To me, it’s just another day.
     OH! I almost forgot…
     I have a new release coming out. Don’t know if you’ve heard about it or not, but A Bear in Paris is up for pre-order on Amazon. It’s just a novella, but I did love writing it. Did I mention that it was for charity? I was so honored to be asked to participate in this project. Go get yours now. It will be available May 24th.
     The idea is that pairs of authors were to write a story together with the theme being the four seasons in Paris. Since I loved my week in Paris two years ago, I had no problem with the subject matter. There really is something magical about the City of Lights. I can’t wait to return. Of course, I plan to eat as many French pastries as I can! I got summer, so it was easy for me.
     All proceeds go to help LGBT youth in France, Italy and the US. All are stellar charities that do a lot of good. I hope that everyone will run off and get a copy. It will help many young people. Here is the buy link.

     That brings me to ask… Have you done something for someone else this week? I have a feeling that y’all did, I know I did. As I often say, it doesn’t have to be much. It might not even have cost you a penny. Sometimes just a smile, a quick hello is all it takes.
     That’s all I got for this week. Go forth and conquer y’all.
     Have a good week.

Now... go read a book. ;-)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Playing Catch Up...

     So… It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a blog. The first week I missed was because I was in New York City for the Rainbow Book Fair. It was a busy weekend, and to be honest, I was taking a lot of pain killers for my feet. I had to admit to myself that I just can’t do the things that I used to do. I knew that day was coming, but I chose to ignore it and push ahead.
     The reality is that I’m not going to be able to put off the surgery that was recommended some five years ago. I have yet to follow through with setting up the appointments, but they will be happening.
     The second week I missed was simply laziness on my part. Well, that and I was still having issues and a lot of pain, but mostly, I was just putting it off. There are times when I’m just not in a good frame of mind to do a blog. I often try to keep it upbeat if not downright silly.
     This past week… I was thinking. When I have a problem, I like to sit on it a bit. Let it percolate and see what comes out. It’s a process for me. There are times when it is a good thing and then… not so good. This was a not so good time.
     I had a conversation with someone that I enjoy being around, respect and consider a friend. Of course I knew that he was religious and I can respect that. To each their own. As long as I don’t have to listen to the rhetoric, I’m good… up to a point.
     My writing, my work, is a big part of my life. I was talking about the book that I just finished and the one that was coming out in both French and Italian, as well as the novella that should be available around the same time, the novella for charity.
     When I didn’t get a response I looked and their face was tight, eyes averted as they continued to work. I knew what they was thinking, but I asked anyway. I wasn’t surprised at the response. I figured it was coming.
     “You know I don’t believe in that. Your lifestyle is your choice and I can’t condone it.”
     Okay, I get it. There are a lot of people out there who still believe it is a choice. But someone who is that intelligent, that smart, who still believes that amazes me. That I just don’t understand.
     Now realize I’ve dealt with this for years. I’m no spring chicken and I’ve learned to accept that people just are going to think that and move on. I always think the same thing…
     Yeah, I chose this. Who in their right mind would want to be gay, to be an outcast?
     That is how I used to think. To some degree I still think that, right before I say “Fuck ‘em”.
     So why did it hurt this time? As I said… I like this person. I respect this person. I like being around this person. The realization that the feeling wasn’t mutual was like being slapped in the face with a cold, wet, dead fish.
     I also understand that this a belief that has been ingrained in them for most, if not all of their life and it isn’t going to change anytime soon, if ever. Been there, done that. Doesn’t mean that it still didn’t hurt.
     I will continue doing what I normally do. I won’t say anything, but I won’t hide who I am either. There’s no doubt that there are things that I say that will make them uncomfortable and there are times I purposefully do it but always in fun. But hey, that’s who I am. Yeah, I admit… I brought in powdered doughnuts one day and snickered the entire time. If they only knew, right?
     Who wants to bet that this is going to find its way into a storyline in a book? Of course it is… sometime, somewhere.
     Speaking of books…
     Did you know that I just finished a book? It has now gone through numerous beta reads and is now at the editors. It is a little something different than what I’ve done before. Yeah… I know… I never seem to stick with any one type of sub-genre. What some of the beta readers have said...
"I think this is the best book you've written so far."
"I have book hangover, thanks for that."
"Five paragraphs and I'm hooked. Five stinkin' paragraphs."
"I hate you and love you at the same time."
     I gave you My Hero: The Olympian, which is more on the fluffy side. This time, not much fluff. I took on a serious subject that I feel needs more attention. Once again, I took part of a story I heard on the news, then a piece from somewhere else, a little of this, a little of that. Damn, it sounds a little bit like how I cook!
     Anyway, I hope that everyone likes it. Might reserve a tissue box. Oh don’t worry, you’ll laugh and smile too. It’s not all gloom and doom.

     There is another book that will be out soon; a novella. It’s called A Bear in Paris. This is only one of four books in this series. The other three are written by some other wonderful authors and it is all for charity. I’ll go more into that before it is released. I think everyone will like it. I know I loved being able to write it. It really is my love affair with Paris and the great people that I had the opportunity to meet there.
     You know I'm always preaching on about helping others, right? Well I did that, or tried at least. There are some people who need a hand up, who could really benefit with a fresh start. However, they have to want to participate and not screw it up.
     This happened to me recently. I reached out, gave someone a chance and they screwed it up. Sad that they threw away a decent chance, but hey... at the end of the day, you can only lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. That's kind of how I feel about this.
     It doesn't mean that I won't keep doing things for others. Most really appreciate the helping hand, but there is always going to be that one. Oh well. I did what I thought was best. I wonder if I will still get Karma Coins for it?
     That's about all I got for this time. Have a grrreat week, y'all.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mad Ramblings From A Mad Gay Man...

     So… what’s been goin’ on y’all? Have you had a good week?
     Here we are again… Monday. Yay! I can only imagine how many of you want to hit me about now. He he he… 

     This is going to be one of those times when I have no specific theme in mind, so I’m going to just kind of ramble along and see where this ends up.

News Alert! Hello New York City!
If it snows, I'll be so pissed!

     I will be arriving in New York Thursday afternoon. I’m going for the Rainbow Book Fair. This will be the first time that I’ve done this event and I’m really looking forward to it. There will be so many great M/M authors there as well as many other genres. I can’t wait to experience this wonderful event. I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about it, so I figured I should give it a try. So anyone who is in or around New York, why not swing by and say hello.
Rainbow Book Fair
524 W. 59th St. (Just west of 10th Ave.)
Saturday, April 9, 2016 12:00 p.m. – 6 p.m.
     I will have copies of all my backlist available (in English). So stop on by if you’re going to be in the area.
     Even though I will be out of town, I will do my best to keep up with everything, including my daily Facebook coffee posts. But if I miss a day, you’ll know I was either on the run or… well shit happens sometimes.
     What else…
     This past week I found out a few things about Smashwords and the distributors they deal with. One in particular stood out, mainly because of the sales report I saw. Scribd is one of those that I’d never heard of. I think I may have mentioned it last week. Well, I dug a little deeper and I was really surprised that I’d never heard of it. Looks like a pretty good deal if you ask me. Granted, I’ve not used it, and I don’t see myself signing up for it anytime soon. I’ve got a To-Be-Read file I mile high as it is. If there is anyone out there who uses Scribd, I’d like to hear from you.
     I’m really proud to announce that most everything in my back list is now available on many distributor sites. Thanks to The Aussie Tart (TAT) for having the patience to persevere to get this done. I’d never have the patience to do it. Honestly, I’d probably have thrown the computer out the door before I even got one book done.

     Here is the list of retailer where you can find my stuff…
Amazon, Apple, Baker & Taylor Blio, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Flipkart, Gardners Extended Retail & Library, Inktera, Kobo, Library Direct, Odilo, OverDrive, Oyster, Scribd, Smashwords, Sony, Tolino, txtr and Yuzo.
     Frankly, I’ve never heard of most of these, but hey, they are carrying my books and many other wonderful authors, so I figured I’d go ahead and list them.
     Now, while I was exploring these retail sites I noticed a fellow author who is also listed there. Damn, but this author is productive! I’m talking hundreds of books. I can only bow, take my hat off to him, you know what I mean. Wow… just… wow. At first I felt dwarfed by this giant of a writer. It didn’t last long though. In reality, I’ve only been doing this for three years, so I’m still a newbie. Then I thought about it some more and went back and looked again. Hmmm…
     Now do not get me wrong, I’m not putting down anyone or their work. However, the biggest thing I noticed is that my books, most of them anyway, are two or three times longer in length. One is almost four times longer.

     How I work…
     This whole writing thing is still new to me I guess. I try and take my time to make sure I get it right. By that I mean, I try and let the characters tell their stories. This is one reason why doing an outline of a plotline doesn’t work for me. My characters have minds of their own, and there is no sense in me spending the time with an outline when they take over and do whatever the hell they want to anyway. Pfft… I have no control over them. Pisses me off sometimes, but hey, that’s the way it goes.
     I may only turn out a book a year, but I do put a lot into it. I also have to remind myself that I’m the publisher. I get to do it all. I don’t have a publisher that is taking care of the cover, the promotion, the book keeping, the editing, formatting and the printing. All this… stuff takes time. A LOT of time.
     Now I don’t feel so bad. Go me.
     What's new...
     As some of you may know, I just finished a book. Yeah… it’s one of those that I’d been working on for a long while. While I was writing My Hero: The Olympian, I’d sometimes get stuck and then I’d jump over to this one for a while. I would have gotten it done sooner, but sometimes life just gets in the way. I’m sure most of you know how that goes. Anyway, I hope to have it out by the end of May. For now, all I’m going to tell you is the title: Life After Living.
     There are a lot of funny parts in this one, but a good deal of the humor is what I'd say is a coping mechanism. Personally, I think it is a topic that needs attention. I really like to push myself and thus, taking you, the reader, along with me.
     Anyway, I’m working hard on getting it ready for release. I’ll let you know when I’m close.

     I got an email from a reader recently asking me if some of the foods I talk about are real recipes. In this particular instance it was the Peanut Butter Chicken dish. Yes, it is real, as are the other foods I talk about. I was a Chef for many years, and a total foodie. I can’t help it if it bleeds over into my writing.
     I guess that’s about all I’ve got for this week. Happy Monday. Go forth and conquer. Be kind to one another, help those who can’t help themselves or are less fortunate. I did my bit this week. Did you?
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.