Sunday, September 27, 2015

I'm as Rank as...

     So… Last Sunday, after I posted my blog, I went and did something for me. Oh, and yes, I do know that I shouldn’t start a sentence with ‘so’. I actually do know better, but it pisses some people off, and that amuses me. Hey, it’s my blog, I can do what I want. I am King here!

     Anyway, it was cool enough in the morning and there was a slight breeze blowing so I figured I deserved to have a little fun. Yes, I do realize that a lot of folk think I’m nuts when I say I want to go and do yard work. I have never said I wasn’t crazy, so there you have it.
     I worked in the front flowerbed, under the trees. The Spanish moss that hangs from the big water oaks were doing a seductive dance as they waltzed in the wind. The birds were singing, when they weren’t darting about and there were even some dragon flies that came to visit, wondering what I was doing.
     It wasn’t until I went inside to get another jug of water did I realize how hot it had gotten outside. I checked and it was 88F with the humidity hovering close to the same number. At that moment I decided I’d much rather have a nice cold beer instead of water. I don’t know what it is about doing yard work that makes beer taste so much better, but it’s true. Only problem with that was I was out of beer.
     Time to make a decision: do I want that beer bad enough to go and get some. Damn skippy I did. I got my wallet and keys and went down to the little corner market. I got a six pack, took it to the counter and smiled at the young woman behind the register. It was the look on her face that I noticed first.
     I looked down at myself and realized what a mess I was. I was soaking wet from sweat. My hands were nasty, including caked dirt under my fingernails. From the knees down, I was black, covered in dirt. Returning my gaze to the nicely dressed clerk, her fingernails manicured, reminding me of my friend Tara Juanita Prince. When I handed the young lady the money, she took it with just her forefinger and thumb as if it too were as dirty as me. Can’t say I blame her. I really was filthy.
     I looked at her, shrugged and said,
“Yeah, I’m as rank as a collard eatin’ granny’s ass.”

     The look on that poor girls face… I think I cracked her makeup. Oh hell, I couldn’t believe that I actually said that. Sometimes my big Southern foot fits so well in my mouth.
     I got back to the car and lost it. I was laughing like an idiot. I immediately started thinking of Elaine Lee and how she’d have been rolling on the floor, laughing her butt off. Of course that young lady probably thought I was some sort of racist or white cracker twit, but at that moment, I didn’t care. It was just too funny.
     Damn, that beer tasted so good. I actually worked another hour or so before calling it a day. It was a good day.
     What else…
     I’ve been working on My Hero: The Olympian, as many of y’all know. It has been slow going at times. Several hurdles to overcome but I think I may have gotten the hardest part done. I am going to do my best to finish it up by the first of October. Don’t know if that will happen, but that is my goal. Keep your fingers crossed. Then the beta reading and the editing will commence. Oh joy.
     Now, I’m the first one to admit that I don’t know everything. Oh hell, I don’t know much at all, to be honest, so when I’m working on a story and I find that I need to research something, I jump in with both feet. I actually enjoy doing research for the most part.
     The real issue I have with looking up things is I tend to get lost in all the information and before you know it, the day is gone. Then there is the temptation to do the dreaded ‘info-dump’ when writing out the scene that you’ve just researched. It is so tempting to unload all that you’ve learned, and it seems warranted at the time, but it rarely works. I’ve seen other authors do it, mostly newbies, and it never reads well. I did that in The V Unit. I edited it out as I did a read-through, thank goodness. It really was too much.
     There was one section of that book that I took particular care with. If I remember correctly, there was one part that took me two days of reading several documents from medieval times before I got what I needed. Talk about tough reading! Damn, my eyes were crossing by the time I was done. But, I wanted to get it right and I think I did.
     I can hear y’all now… he he he. You want to know what part that was, right? Okay, I won’t torture you too much. It was the part that had to do with the death sentence of Aniston, the drawn and quartering part. I have to say, you Brits have some pretty sick and twisted history. Ahh, but they didn’t corner the market on that either. Pope Alexander VI was quite the charmer too. Some of the things he came up with would make even the Marquis De Sade cringe.

     Anyway, back to that scene… It was very historically accurate. I needed to make sure of it. I know that there are some serious history buffs out there and I knew that if I got it wrong, I’d hear about it. There was actually one review that said that particular scene was too graphic and couldn’t be true. And yep, just as I thought, another reader jumped in and said it was and even gave dates and times and the like. Whew…. Dodged the bullet on that one!
     Speaking of The V Unit… it is now in production to be an audio book. I can’t wait to see how Jared Bradford handles this one. There are so many accents, speech patterns and personalities to deal with. It will be a big challenge for sure.
     What else… Someone did a post the other day counting down the days to Christmas. OMG, really? Can’t we at least get through Halloween first? I’m soooo not ready for xmas. Of course, it being ninety degrees outside doesn’t help. While my sister is enjoying the cool down and autumn leaves, I’m sweating my ass off.

     I figure as soon as I’m done with this book I can focus on other things… like getting my Toys for Tots figured out. Thanks for the suggestions y’all. I’ll be looking back at those when it gets closer to shopping time.
     I’ve not checked to see if Lost n Found have done their wish list. I doubt they have. I don’t think they do that until later. They may have new charges by then and/or had some move on. Not sure, but I will be keeping an eye out and let y’all know.
     To be honest, I’ve not really done much of anything other than concentrate on trying to finish this book. I’ve been bad, I know. I can’t say that I’ve done anything for anyone else in weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to make up for that next month.
     I guess that’s about all I have for this week. Go forth, live well, do well and I’ll see y’all next week.

Anyone know who this is? I'd really like to know.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Are You a Bully?

     This past week I ran across something that really bugged me. First I was really pissed off and it has basically eaten way at me for most of the week. This was a small portion of why I was staying of FB this week, but only a small amount. I really have been trying to focus on finishing My Hero: The Olympian.
     Writing update: I’m happy to say, I’ve had a very productive week writing, but these guys keep going and going and going… The original My Hero was around 57k whereas The Olympian is now over 110k and still going.
     Back to my previous thought…
     A fellow author, a male author sent me a message. He was… very emotional. He was mad, then sad, then upset and on and on. He sent me a link to a review he’d received to ask my opinion and basically wanting me to empathize with him. This author, who is fairly new and has a fantastic future ahead of him, hasn’t gotten to the point yet where he can let not so good reviews roll off his back. That takes time, but it none the less hurts when you see someone attack you or worse, your baby. That’s what an author’s book is really: a baby, a labor of love.
     So I read the review. In actuality, it wasn’t that bad. I’ve had a lot worse, but I understood what he was saying. There were a few phrases that really stuck in my craw as well. It then struck me… I’d had a very similar review some time ago. Could it be the same person? I went and checked and no, it wasn’t. But what struck me was how similar one particular phrase was.
     Before I go any further into that review, I have to say, I’ve been pretty lucky. I tend to get really honest, nonjudgmental reviews. But like most authors, there are going to be the real stink bombs that will rattle your cage and throw you off your game. Thankfully, those have been few and far between. Of course, I was surprised I didn’t get more pushback from ‘Going Home’. I really expected it to be a lot worse than it was.
     I have been called a racist, a sick and twisted pervert, a no talent hack, oh… and ‘a man’. THAT’s the one that got to me and that is basically the thing that got my young friend. Yep, we were basically referred to as men in a derogatory way.
“I can tell this was written by a man because…”
     I’ll let you fill in the blank. In my friends review, it was for one reason, but in the review I received it was for another reason, but in each case, the sentence started the same. In each review there were a few other small comments, but basically they were both aimed at our gender…negatively.
     I’m going to flip this around a bit… If I were to write a review about a female author in the M/M genre, and I had started a sentence like that, I would have been shredded publically. “I can tell this was written by a woman because ___.” Oh yeah, the women who read and/or write gay male romance would have come after me with pitch forks and torches. Tell me I’m wrong.
     Here we go… I’m going to jump on the up escalator to my soap box. Yeah, I’m going to rant for a moment here…
     A year or so ago I had a reader leave a review of one of my books on Goodreads (yeah, I know…) saying that the sex was unrealistic and most probably not possible. Really? Since when does a thirty-something mother from the Midwest, US have the experience I’ve had as a gay man? Let me tell you now, there isn’t a sex scene in any of my books that I’ve not done! Trust me on this one. To this woman I say: I would be willing to bet that I’ve had more dick than you’d have in ten of your lifetimes. Yeah, I was a big ol’ slut in my youth, so give me a little credit here, I think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to men having sex together.
     When I hear a female tell me that she is really a gay man trapped in a woman’s body, it just kills me. Thank you kindly for your support, but no, you do not know what it is like to be a gay man. Sorry, it just isn’t going to happen. That’s like me saying I know exactly what it is like to have menstrual cramps or to give birth. There are just some things you can empathize or sympathize with, but unless you’ve been there, you cannot know. Those shoes will never fit, so quite trying to walk in ‘em.
     I equate this to being bullied. That is what it feels like to me. Whenever I see one of those little cartoon posts that denigrate men, it’s a slap in the face. When I see some of these reviews, “I can tell this was written by a man…” it’s like taking a punch to the gut. “You’re just a man, what would you know?” That is one that makes my eyes cross. It reminds me of years ago of a teacher saying, “She’s a girl, she can’t do math or science.” Really?
     Here’s a little story for you…and yes it is very true…
     A gym opened up here in the small little city where I now reside. I decided to take a tour and see what it was like. During this tour we got to a place where there were frosted glass doors with a sign saying “Women’s Gym”. I asked the young guide where the men’s gym area was. “Oh, we don’t have one. This is for women only because some feel self-conscious about working out in front of others. My reply? “And some men don’t?” Of course I didn’t get a response, nor did I expect one. Discrimination? Sure it is. Is it okay? Sure it is. I totally understand the reasons and don’t have a problem with it. I pointed it out to let this young lady to let her know that it was just that: discrimination.
     Just like women, gay men also like to have a place to call their own. Some gay men want a place where they can go and not be scrutinized, to be themselves without judgment. So ladies, when there is a gay bar or gay establishment that doesn’t allow women, please remember my little story here. Believe it or not, there are some men who would like to be in an all-male environment. Nothing against women, it’s just that they would like to behave like men and not have to censor themselves for a mixed crowd.
     I will say again that I enjoy the company of women and especially a lot of the readers and writers in the M/M genre, and this is by no means a generalization of all women. But damn, there are a few who make me and other male authors, cringe, bang our heads against walls and downright weep. We are really tired of getting bashed over the head and made to take it while not being allowed say anything just because we have a cock and balls! It is hard enough being a gay man without this kind of shit.
     Okay, I’m moving on… with more coffee…
     I was made aware that there was another blow up over another author writing under a male pen name. There was this big hoopla about the possibility of John Lanyon actually being a woman. Do I care? Nope. I’ve read a lot of John Lanyon’s books and have enjoyed them. Will I again? You bet. My thought is if I enjoy the book, then what do I care if the author was male of female?
     Again, I will say, I have never said a woman can’t write in this genre. Nope, never happened. There are some that do it better than others, but then I’ve read some women who do it better than men. Pass it along please. There are still some out there who, for whatever reason, think I have said this in the past when I have not!
     Now that I’ve said that, I do wish some women writers who so write under a male pen name, for whatever reason, would just come clean, or out of the closet, so to speak. I don’t think anyone really cares who is writing gay male romance anymore. It is the deception that I think most people object to. I also think that if it comes out, they are going to get a lot of kickback, so why not just do it on your own terms and avoid so much negativity. Just my thoughts on it.
     I don’t comprehend why people can’t just treat each other with respect. What ever happened to ‘do unto others’? Isn’t it easier to be kind to someone? I guess I don’t understand the need to tear someone down when it can be just as easy to build them up. There are times when we all feel frustrated, angry and hurt but is that a good enough reason to strike out at someone publically? I don’t get it.
     Personally, I would rather try and help someone, which I try and do each and every day. Of course that doesn’t always happen because I rarely leave the house, especially lately. But I do try to do a little something at least once a week when I do venture out. It might not be much. There are times it is so small but can have a big impact. Remember that as you prepare for the upcoming week.
Just because I can.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

More Ramblings From a Gay Man...

     Sooo… here I sit, yet again, wondering what the hell is going to come out of my mouth (fingers) this week. Of course I really have no clue. I guess we’ll see how this goes…
     This week has been full of turmoil. Not an easy week, writing wise. I have this one character that I just can’t get in my head. I am hoping that help is on the way. Of course I have to wait until she gets back from the UK Meet and returns to earth. I am hoping things start to come together.
     Speaking of the UK Meet…
     I’ve had friends sending me PM’s, texts, along with photos. Makes me wish I were there, to some degree. There are a lot of people there that I would love to be able to see. Ahhh, but there is the rub, because I do wish I could see them but at the same time, I’m kind of glad I’m not there.
     Here are a few photos from last year. 

Patrick Darcy with his fashion clutch.
Such a nice furry butt.

Ann-Marie holding him for me.
Yep, they just piss right out in the open.

     Some of you who really know me know that I’m really kind of on the shy side. Yeah, I know… you don’t believe me, but it is true. Book Conventions, such as the UK Meet, actually scare the crap out of me. I’ve always been a wallflower for the most part, always on the sidelines, watching.
     First off, I really dislike crowds. I think the main reasons for that is that I’m not all that tall and I hate getting stepped on. I don’t like feeling trapped and then I never know what to say and inevitably stick my foot in my mouth. Big surprise there, right? Unfortunately, having spent so much time in a professional kitchen, I have little or no filter and that includes cussing to the point of embarrassing a sailor.
     Oh well, at any rate, I’m missing my friends in the UK this weekend. I especially miss hanging out perving while watching the public urinals. Thanks for the photos Ann-Marie.
     What else…
     It is now football time. Yay! Well, kind of yay. While I’m enjoying it, I am still longing for the Aussie Football. I have to admit, I am really hooked on that game. I am still learning the finer points, but it is such an exciting game. Of course it doesn’t hurt that their players wear much nicer uniforms. Yeah, short-shorts and tank-tops works for me.
     While I do like the tight pants our American players wear, it isn’t quite as nice as seeing naked hairy legs. I think what impresses me most is that the Aussie players just don’t stop. They don’t stop for downs, and get long breaks. Just amazes me at how well conditioned they are. I’ve always wondered what happens with some of these guys have to pee though. Ever wondered about that?

I guess that answers that question.
     Earlier this week I had tried to learn something new on this box called a computer. I read the instructions, all the steps I was to follow and…nothing. I did it again with the same result. I don’t know what I did wrong, but after the second time I gave up. I know myself well enough to not try and go any further. I would only become more frustrated and then pissed off and then… well we aren’t going to go there.
     Needless to say, I didn’t get the damn thing working. I really could use some help with this computer stuff. I’m so bad at it and I have little to no patience for it. The worst part of all that is; it takes me so long to get anything done. By the time I figure it all out, half the day is gone and then I’m crabby because that’s all I’ve gotten done. Grrrr… not good. A crabby Max is just not pretty.
     I would like to say thank you to all the people who had suggestions for my Toys for Tots purchases this year. I have a pretty good idea now what I’m going to get. I’ll probably do that in the next few weeks when I get up the nerve to venture out to do a bit of shopping. Yeah, I hate shopping too. Of course, if I go to Target, as I usually do for such things, I run the danger of getting Tim Tams. Bad... bad… I’m still trying to lose weight and that would be… just bad.
     I’ve been keeping an eye on the wish list for Lost–n-Found. So far nothing that screams xmas at me. I’m hoping that they will start that soon so I can plan my course of action. I’m thinking of perhaps running a contest to generate some attention to their list this year. Still thinking on that. If anyone has any suggestions for that, please let me know.
     I guess that is about all I have this week. Go forth and rack up some good Karma Coins this week by doing something nice for someone.
     Be kind and have a grrreat week, y’all.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Happy Labor Day!

     So… Once again, I have no real theme going on here, so I’m just going to ramble on, as I seem to do.

     This past week has been a busy one for me. I’ve gotten quite a bit of writing done, which is a good thing. I think I’ve been able to work more this past week than I have this year in total. Sometimes life gets in the way and keeps us from doing what we want to do. Any-who, I’m back at it.
     I’m steadily working on My Hero: The Olympian, which has proven to be a bit of a challenge. I think I’ve said before, that this book has scared the piss out of me. This was a very popular book and I’ve been afraid of disappointing. It is also huge. Sometimes these guys just don’t shut up. And if they do shut up that means they are more than likely having sex! I don’t know why I’m surprised, they did the same thing in the first book. Damn horny teenagers.
     I did have a major roadblock. There was this one part that I just couldn’t work through. There was one voice that just wasn’t talking. I was so ready to bitch slap her ass. I decided to go and work on something else until she decided to get her act together. Maybe she got indignant when I wasn’t thinking about her or something, but she finally decided to speak to me.

     One thing that has kept me writing is the weather. It has been so hot and muggy here that it just isn’t fun going outdoors. I love gardening, or as I say, playing in the dirt, but when it is so hot, it isn’t so much fun. It also rains almost every afternoon, which doesn’t make it very much fun either. I relate it as trying to walk through a wet sponge. I shouldn’t complain too much. It is much better than drought, so I’ll be thankful, even it does mean I’m hauling my big ass out to mow. I swear I could sit here and watch the damn grass grow.

     Happy Labor Day!

     This weekend is a holiday weekend here in the US. Labor Day weekend traditionally marks the end of summer. Of course it is also the weekend of a major gay holiday: Southern Decadence. I’ve not been in ten years. Not since hurricane Katrina. I wasn’t sure I could go the year afterwards. I think it would have been too painful.

     New Orleans is one of my favorite cities. The food, the culture, the history is enough to keep me satisfied. I once wandered into a small club only to see Etta James singing her heart out. The jazz clubs there are so incredible as is the food. Of course I’m going to go for the food being the total foodie that I am. Now I’m craving Étouffée.

     Southern Decadence is a celebration of gay men akin to a Gay Mardi Gras. The streets are crowded with men in costumes, almost nothing… sometimes nothing, and exposing themselves for a strand of beads. What’s not to like? It really is all about sex and the celebration of our sexuality. It is a great party. And since NOLA is one of the best party towns in the world, it really is a lot of fun. Damn it… now I’m wanting beignets! Crap.

     What else… As I may have mentioned, I’ve been trying to lose some weight, get healthier and trying to take better care of myself. (Thinking about Étouffée and beignets sure isn’t helping at the moment.) The hope is that if I drop some of this weight I’ve packed on over the past five years, will help my feet. Less pain would be nice as well as keeping my big butt out of a wheelchair that much longer.
     I don’t know about anyone else, but the minute I start dieting, I immediately want to face-plant myself in a key lime pie, or cheesecake or plate of pasta. The minute I can’t have something is when I want it the most. What is up with that? I do try and give myself a cheat day, but that doesn’t always seem to satisfy my cravings for chocolate! Grrrr. Still thinking of those damn beignets…
     It doesn’t help that I recently wrote a story based in Paris. A good portion of that story was centered around a baker who had a pastry shop. I was craving French pastry like a mad man possessed. All I wanted for days were éclairs! I think it took me two weeks to get over craving escargot. I can’t wait to get back to France!

     Earlier this week I fell off the wagon and drank a half gallon of milk in one day. That really isn’t good. I can tell it has an adverse effect on my waistline, but there are times I just crave the stuff. It is nothing for me to drink a gallon a week. Of course I could easily do three, but I really do try and resist.
     What else…
     I can’t believe it is September already. It seems this year is flying by. Before you know it, it’ll be Christmas! OMG! Help! Christmas. I’m not ready. Wait. What am I talking about? My shopping list is very, very short.
     The Toys for Tots drive is something that I participate in every year, so I’ll need to look at getting something for that. Anyone who has kids let me know what toys are hot this year. I normally get two things for girls and two things for boys.
     I also try and up the ante for Lost-n-Found for their Christmas. I always wish I could do more. It is really hard for a lot of these kids who are now away from their families, many for the first time over the holidays. What makes it worse for they know that they aren’t wanted, that they were tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage. That breaks my heart. Is it no wonder I want to do something special for those kids.
     So I guess I need to get busy and start now. Their wish list is never totally filled, and things change there so quickly there. It would be nice to be able to do something fun instead of just providing things that are needed. Does that make sense? You know something fun instead of just socks and underwear? Anyone have any ideas?
     Okay, that’s going to be it for me this week. Keep racking up those positive Karma Coins.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.