Sunday, October 26, 2014

I write for me first, then you...

     Wow…where do I start? 

     GRL was last week and it was, as usual, a whirlwind of people and activities. Last Sunday I was traveling, so was unable to get a post put up. There was just too much going on. I’ll try and catch you up, so this may be a long ass blog. Well, for me at any rate. 
Thank you Meredith Russell for the great photo.

     So Gay Rom. Lit. What can I say? It was so good to see so many friends. I do say friends instead of readers and authors. It is amazing to me how much my life has changed since I started writing. When I first started out, my writing was really crap. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think anyone would want to read my stories. A lot has changed since then. 

     Last year I was scared to death. I've never been much of one to be out front, dealing with people. Putting myself out there for people to talk to? Uhhh, not my cup of tea, as they say. So you can only imagine what I was going through. My Hero had been out for a bit and did really well. My nerves were shattered. People knew who I was and I knew nobody except for a very select few. 

     This year it was much different. Although I was a bit nervous, I was more excited to see people who I had made friends with last year and then over the course of this year online. It is great to put actual faces and voices to those you meet from FB. I received so many hugs it wasn't even funny. That is what I like best about GRL. 

     Met several new people who I also admire, like Zathyn Priest. What a cool guy. Need to read some of his books. Got to meet Ethan Stone and his other half, Demetri. What a cute couple. They were both so nice during the book signing. These are just a few who I so enjoyed spending time with. There were so many others as well. Over all, it was a great weekend. Lots of fun. Lots of laughs. 

     Now for my UGH…, which I hate.

      As many of you know, my book Going Home, was pulled from Amazon and ARe, in less than twenty-four hours from one another. I can only surmise that it was reported for the ‘taboo’ content that was clearly stated in the warnings. I even went so far as to mention these warnings days in advance of the book being released. 

     From experience, I have learned that rarely do readers complain about the content of books. However, it is fairly well known throughout the M/M writing community that some authors or some of their minions get jealous of other writers and then will go after them either in reviews or in some cases, flagging such type books and getting them removed from selling venues, such as Amazon. I truly hope that is not the case, but my gut feeling is that it was. 

     Now I know that neither Amazon nor ARe pulled my book because of the sex scenes. I know that some were a bit on the raunchy side, okay a lot on the raunchy side, but then my other books, equally as raunchy in parts, are still there, so that only leaves the content about the close, personal relationship between two of the characters. 

     I’ve read several comments as to why I think and feel, as do some others, that this is discrimination. If you remove the sex scenes from this book, you will be left with only the relationship aspect of it, correct? Let us start from that point, shall we? 

     IF indeed we can agree to start there, then it is really quite simple. There are a hell of a lot of books that should also be removed from Amazon that have the same type of content. I will list but a few of them.

1. Hamlet by William Shakespeare 
2. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews 
3. Like Father, Like Son by Robert Scott 
4. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin 
5. In the Barn (Taboo Forbidden Erotica) by Selena Kitt (who says she has sold over a million copies) 
6. Incest to the Fourth Power by J & S Coleman 
7. Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley 
8. Baked by Sean Michael  
9. Daddy's Little Boy by Alan Holloway
10. Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving 
11. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively 
12. The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan 
13. The Color Purple by Alice Walker 
14. Ada by Nabokov 
15. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe 
16. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles 
17. Metamorphoses by Ovid 
18. Sleepwalkers by Stephen King (which is a book and a movie) 
19. Taboo by Willa Okati 
20. Brothers without Borders by Leiland Dale 

     Now, from the list you can see that some of these titles have been around for quite some time. I do not see them banning William Shakespeare anytime soon, do you? Color Purple? Or how about the ever popular Game of Thrones? Anyone care to argue this point? Could it possibly be because of the sex of the two main characters? 

     You can't judge the same because of the sex scenes, you say? Uhhh, you truly believe that? Then you obviously have not read much general reading then. I can also name several books, heterosexual of course, that get quite graphic by some rather well known, bestselling authors. Ms. Anne Rice for one. So don't even try that with me. 

      For those of you say that is a hard limit for you? Well, I didn't write it just for you. I write for me first and then those who might like to read it. It is the characters in my head that dictate what is going into a story. The people in my stories actually write the book if truth be told. 

     If you don’t care for what I write, then move along please. There are plenty of other books by some brilliant authors out there for you to take pleasure from. I’ll even recommend a couple of hundred or so if you would like. I will take no offense if this isn't your cup of tea. 

      However, let me make this very clear, for those of you who want to go and give a book a two star rating, or go off on a rant because of content - you only show others how closed-minded you truly are. Look at it this way: you aren’t giving a true review of the book but only a review of yourself. Trust me when I say this: I laugh. 

      I write as a gay man. I write what I know. I write what is real. I write for me. I write from a gay man’s point of view. It is really that simple. 

      I am truly blessed that there are people out there who enjoy what I do. To those, I thank you and am truly humbled. 

     Thank you so very, very much.


Because I fucking can.


  1. Great Blog post buddy! Keep doing what you're doing! Great closing photo as well!

  2. Couldn't have said it better. Good for you Max. You keep writing for yourself and I'll keep reading for MYself because you are so talented a storyteller.

  3. Hi Max, nice to meet you. I normally don't do a lot of commenting, but I'd like to in this case, if I may. First, I know what the relationship is in your book that was pulled, and I am not going to disparage it, as I have an ongoing flash on my blog with two characters with the same relationship. I see nothing wrong with writing about people with what others might consider unnatural relationships. That's life, and it happens. And this is fiction, so get over it.

    Secondly, as to your list of books on Amazon that have not been pulled, I don't know all of them, but of the ones I do, I have a theory as to why they haven't been pulled for incest - with Game of Thrones and Flowers in the Attic, these are not fulfilling, loving relationships, and they don't end well, so there is a moral here - incest is bad. Also, there is another book you could have mentioned which certainly qualifies for this list - The Bible. Let's see them pull that. I don't see that happening.

    Amazon needs to seriously get over itself and not continue to be so judgmental. They are here to sell books, not censure them. People who don't like this content should not buy or read it. If you see warnings of content, and you buy it anyway, then that's your problem. As an adult, I feel I have the right to read what I wish without being slapped on the hand like a naughty child and told it's bad for me. Screw that!

    Sorry to be so long-winded, this subject gets my back up. In conclusion, Max, I say keep on keeping on. Do what your Muse says, and hopefully places like Amazon and ARe will come to realize that this is not their place, they are simply a market.

  4. I've had books pulled from ARe and Amazon simply because of words and search engines. In other words, I didn't even have any taboo content in the books...or at least not what's considered taboo with respect industry standards by most publishers. My books were pulled because of titles or blurbs that contained words like "Boy." For instance, my "Skater Boy" book was pulled because of the word "boy," which the search engine thought was a story about an underage character. It wasn't like that at all. The character was over twenty-one. There was nothing taboo in there. And I had to wind up fighting to have that book and a few others put back up just because of this search engine issue. Now I just title books and write blurbs with caution to avoid the issues. I stay away from words like "dad," "boy," or "son." They seem to really set things off.

    All I can say is that I've been in publishing for over twenty years and there have always been set standards for what's "taboo." I've seen them all my life, practically. Whether or not I agree with them is another story. But I know that if I wanted to get published there were topics I couldn't go near. Publishers are very strict about it.

    I think this is a good example of how authors need to start taking control of their own businesses and start selling their own books on their own web sites. I know that's just one more thing we don't want to deal with, but I see that happening in the future with newer authors that don't want to deal with the rules and regulations either.

    Side note: A good deal of the problem is with authors who try to sneak "taboo" content onto retail web sites without stating it up front. As far as I know, you did state that the book had taboo content, but many don't do that and it really gets readers freaked out when they don't know. So retail web sites tend to avoid this altogether. And they aren't set up well enough to classify all categories. Once again, another reason why all authors should seriously be thinking about selling their own books on their own web sites. I know I'm looking into it for the future.

  5. Well said Max! I enjoyed Going Home and am glad you made it available on your website so I could purchase it directly. I'm a big proponent of 'if you don't like the music, change the station' and I think that applies with books as well. I think your warnings were very clear and those that would be offended by such content should have known enough to stay away.

    As long as you keep writing, I'll keep reading. :)