“All writers are insane!”
~ Cornelia Funke, Inkheart
“All writers are insane!”
“All writers are insane!”
~ Cornelia Funke, Inkheart
“Writing is its own reward.” ~ Henry Miller
A fictional tale of Marc Strawder, a hetro, young and single preacher who wants more than anything to help his special-needs nephew. To do so, Marc must decide between Family or Religion. Ultimately he must decide if he is willing to do anything for his beloved nephew even at the price of surrendering his Morals and Religious Beliefs?
The story came (one night) in the form of an emotionally draining dream. I awoke crying. Immediately, I jotted down a few brief notes that I remembered from the dream. The next morning, the images of the previous nights dream were just as clear and vivid as they were in my dream. That is when I knew I had to write Marc’s story.
Pulpit To Porn (novella)
a work in progress by Dustin Adrian Rhodes
It’s been one year since I self-published my first novella. Boy was that an adventure and a half. Just months earlier I had written my first short story (Storm of Passion). The overwhelming positive feedback and encouragement I received from readers prompted me to write an expanded version of the original short story. Mind you, I had no prior writing experience or training, yet, I boldly went where I had never gone before.
The first draft of the manuscript was sent off to a small group of Beta readers who volunteered to give their feedback on my story, grammar, punctuation, etc. Their comments came back and I could barely make out the actual manuscript from their too numerous to count comments. I sifted through their notes and I made revisions to the manuscript. After reading my revised work, I created cover art for the book cover and then formatted the manuscript for submission to Amazon and Smashwords.
Already, I had learned some valuable lessons and more would follow:
Take the time to do it right to my fullest ability. Don’t rush.
My novel Auf Wiedersehen~Journey to Goodbye is the perfect example. It’s been three years in the making and it’s still morphing and improving as each day passes. This is the fourteenth re-write, the core story has not changed, but the manner of how the story unfolds has changed dramatically. Patience I tell myself – Rome was not built in a day.
I could save myself time and frustration if I do it alone, but the final outcome is more rewarding if I recruit outside help. Beta readers for example, they were wonderful. But they had not been in total agreement with their generous comments and suggestions during the Storm of Passion Beta read. I took from the experience the comments I was in agreement and revised the manuscript of my first novella.
Ok, here’s where I learned the valuable lesson about the importance of proper editing and proofreading. After the novella (Storm of Passion) was published, the reviewers comments were focused on the lack of and need of editing and proofreading. I will be the first to admit that I have no idea how to structure a proper sentence, my punctuation skills suck and I can’t spell worth a ding dong. But through my many flaws and inadequacies, I was still able to get the gist of my story across to most readers.
An author friend told me that there are three kinds of writers:
1. The technical writer: an individual that has the training and proficient skills to write professionally, but they aren’t as creative as a storyteller.
2. The storyteller: an individual that can mesmerize his/her audience with endless stories, but can’t write a proper sentence if his/her life depended on it.
3. The technical writer AND storyteller: an individual who possesses BOTH talents (like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling), but this kind of extraordinary talent only comes along once in a blue moon.
So, I’ve accepted the fact that I can weave a yarn (in fact quite a few) but lack the technical training and ability. There are lots of folks in this world that are more than willing to assist, if only I ask.
Formatting a manuscript for self-publishing can be a chore and a headache. I read all the manuals and help hints and guidelines before I began my various forms of formatting for self-publishing. I applied all of the knowledge I had absorbed and began the online manuscript submission process. Overall, they came out ok, there were a few minor glitches I was unable to rectify.
Recently the importance of proper formatting slapped me in the face (big time) as I read a self-published book on my Kindle. The text was all over the place, and not on just that page but the entire book. It was difficult to follow the story and especially the witty dialogue. I limped through the rest of the book, just because I was drawn into a wonderful story. Had the book been better formatted, the read would have been much more enjoyable. After all, isn’t that what a reader wants, an enjoyable read?
I’d have to say that the most important lesson I’ve learned is to believe in myself and to follow my dream. From the start, I realized that I had to block out the little voice inside me, the one that said I couldn’t do it. Because I ended up doing it! I had self-published my first book.
I had considered the suggestions and comments from Beta readers and took what I deemed the better of the advice and applied it to my writing. I never compromised my story, but willingly listened to the advice along the way. Ultimately, that advice vastly improved my story.
After the Beta read of my second novella Masked Identities, one of the Beta readers advised me to trash the whole manuscript as it was nothing but sheer crap. Sure, the comment stung, but I wasn’t about to let one person’s opinion squash my story. After all, for each story read, each individual reader will take away a different opinion. This particular comment had only been one person’s opinion. I forged ahead and self-published the manuscript. As of this writing, Masked Identities has two 5-star reviews posted on Amazon and additional 5-star reviews on other review sites.
Right from the start, I was determined to write and publish my stories, because I had tales to share. I wasn’t writing for fame or money, I wrote to tell my stories. Sure, my books haven’t graced the best-seller lists, nor have I received huge, whoppin’ commission checks, but that wasn’t my goal. I enjoy weaving my tales and hope that one or two readers will be whisked away from reality for a few minutes and settle into the fictional world I create in the form of a written story.
Pulpit To Porn, my current WIP is just that kind of novella.
More than I could have ever imagined. I’ve traveled to places and periods in history where it would have been otherwise impossible. I’ve become intimately acquainted with colorful characters living within my imagination. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve cheered. I’ve told my yarn.
That’s the reward of self-publishing …
BEST GAY DRAMA
When this film hit the film festival circuit last summer, this movie has been a huge hit with gay audiences. Following a washed-up gay filmmaker who gets the opportunity to meet his college-aged self, this clever and intelligent gay time-travel tale – peppered with a sexy young cast, high production values and an unconventional script – packs a creative and captivating punch that holds up to repeat viewings. We can’t wait to see what co-writer/director J.T. Tepnapa has in store for us next.
BEST GAY ROMANCE OR COMEDY
The Love Patient
Anyone who saw director Michael Simon’s short film festival hit Gay Zombie back in 2007 probably had an idea that his feature debut, The Love Patient, would have a lot of sick and twisted comedic thrills in store. Benjamin Lutz plays a gay egomaniac who lies about having cancer in order to gain sympathy points from an ex-boyfriend. Packed with wickedly funny performances, we’re glad that our customers love The Love Patient as much as we do.
BEST GAY ROMANCE OR COMEDY
A 100% guaranteed fun time for gay scary movie fans, Bite Marks manages to blend together the horror, comedy and gross-out gore genres perfectly – with a little bit of gay erotica thrown in for good measure. It also doesn’t hurt that all of the lead actors (including aforementioned Love Patient star Benjamin Lutz, Windham Beacham, David Alanson and ’80s teen actor-turned gay porn star Stephen Geoffreys) are so damn sexy!
BEST GAY DOCUMENTARY
Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride
Covering pride events from all over the world, Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride, a fascinating documentary, offers a reminder that many gay communities in other nations have yet to win the battles for basic civil rights that we in the United States have already conquered. Even those of us who have had our fill of pride parades will have a lot of consider after watching this film. The footage from the Moscow Gay Pride March in 2008 had us literally cheering!
SEXIEST GAY MOVIE
When it comes to sexy subjects, is there anything hotter to imagine than the naughty, experimental on-goings of a frat house? The people who proudly voted for Longhorns don’t seem to think so! With this raucous tale of a Texas frat boy’s sexual awakening, director David Lewis (usually known for more dramatic offerings like Rock Haven and Redwoodsmanages to blend true romance and hilarious, completely delicious raunchiness while presenting the funniest, wildest film of its kind since Another Gay Movie.
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A GAY MOVIE
Actor/author/screenwriter/producer/travel show host Charlie David is a jack-of-all-trades if we have ever seen one! We’re absolutely thrilled that he is this year’s Gaybie Award Winner for “Best Lead Actor in a Gay Movie.” With roles in Dante’s Cove, A Four Letter Word, Mulligans, 2 Frogs in the West and the new comedy Vance and Pepe’s Porn Start, he’s always been one of the best in our hearts!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A GAY MOVIE
Seal Paul Lockhart
There are many adult film actors who long to break into mainstream film. Sean Paul Lockhart (formerly known to gay porn aficionados as Brent Corrigan has the talent and charisma to pull it off! Since his mainstream debut in Judas Kiss, Sean has also had roles in the gay comedy Sister Mary and the new cult favorite horror anthology Chillerama. We’re excited to see him do just about anything and can’t wait to see his next movie!
BEST PHOTO/ART BOOK
Seasons of Love - Michael Breyette, Artist
This truly wonderful book documents the seasons of the year with stunningly emotional illustrations from Michael Breyette. Our TLA-commissioned Michael Breyette illustration for Christmas 2011 was one of our favorites ever. Bruno Gmunder’s work as publisher of this volume ensures that it will be a collectible decades from now.
BEST COMIC/COMIC ART BOOK
Just So Horny - Michael Kirwan, Artist
With inspiration from the pioneering gay artist Paul Cadmus, Michael Kirwan’s imagination runs wild in this absolutely, disgustingly wonderful book. And Bruno Gmunder have put together a wonderful book you’ll want on your coffee table, as long your mom and dad aren’t coming over.
BEST EROTIC FICTION BOOK
Riding the Rails: Locomotive Lust and Carnal Cabooses - Jerry Wheeler, Editor
The charming Mr. Wheeler has assembled some really interestingly erotic stories about sex on trains – another in his series of unusual porn collections. I think we need to see sex in zoos next Jerry!
BEST MYSTERY BOOK
Holy Rollers - Rob Byrnes, Author
Rob’s second novel in this series may have changed publishers but it’s just as witty and laugh-out-loud funny. This comic mystery about a pair of bumbling gay criminals is lots of fun.
BEST ROMANCE BOOK
Captain Harding’s Six-Day War - Elliott Mackle, Author
It was quite a drama for Elliott to get his book published as it was slated to come from the now-dormant Alyson Books, but it was well worth the wait. Romantic, erotic and packed with adventure, clear some space on your schedule to read this book if you haven’t yet.
BEST SPECULATIVE FICTION BOOK
Woke Up in a Strange Place - Eric Arvin, Author
While we’ve got nine books either authored by Eric Arvin on the site, or with stories by him in them, none appear to be like this fantasy about a man who wakes in a field with no memories. Very well-reviewed everywhere, we expect Mr. Arvin to revisit this type of fiction in the future.
BEST GOSSIP/SEX/BIOGRAPHIES BOOK
Blow Me - Stephen Niederwieser, Author
Being our top seller for the year we expected this sex guide to win – for some reason you guys seem to enjoy oral sex – we’re not sure why. This handy-dandy sex guide has some hot shots and pointers for making seem fresh with your man.
BEST FICTION BOOK
Chulito - Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Author
Like “Captain Harding” above, this book was delayed by the Alyson Books situation, but it was also worth the wait. Our number one best-selling novel for the year, this book is set on the rough streets of the Bronx and you need to read this book!!!
Congratulations to the 2012 Winners and a special Thank You to TLA for providing this annual forum to recognize outstanding works of accomplishments in the Gay arts.
Visit TLA Video website: http://www.tlavideo.com
On Tuesday March 13, 2012 the Gay Literature world lost one of it’s contemporary authors: William Neale (born: William Fullerton). His seven romance novels were published by MLR Press. Although I had not had the pleasure to have met William in person, I felt as if I knew him from reading several of his works. It’s surprising how we as readers connect with an author through their writing, even though we may never meet face to face. We have shared intimate thoughts and emotions through their writing and feel a personal connection with the author.
According to information gleaned from various online discussion boards, William’s partner Marty Walters, granted permission to MLR Press to edit and publish William’s recently completed (unpublished) novel.
FULLINGTON W I L L I A M FULLINGTON, 55, of Cleveland, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, March 13. Bill is survived by Marty Walters, his devoted partner of many years. He is the loving son of Nell Easley Fullington and the late William J. Fullington. He is also survived by brothers, Mark (Debbie) and Tim; many nieces and nephews; and a circle of loving friends. Bill was President of Fullington Services and former Vice President of Marketing Services at the Richard E. Jacobs Group. A memorial to celebrate Bill’s life will take place at the Ballroom at Park Lane Villa, 10510 Park Lane in University Circle on Saturday, March 24, 2012, from 3-6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Cleveland Animal Protective League or the charity of their choice
Grayson Wagner is a classical pianist who was unemployed, hungry, and on the brink of being homeless until he’s hired by a big-hearted former country music star as her new piano player. Gray loves his job but his new life is threatened when a near fatal accident delivers him into the brawny arms of Jacob Kent, a reclusive park ranger. Their physical attraction quickly turns into much more. But can their love survive Jacob’s secret? Or, a shocking revelation that threatens to tear down the very house that love built?
When Cade and Mark said their vows it was for always and forever. But that was before Mark entered the Marine Corps and before Cade enrolled in college. Four years later, with Mark’s impending discharge and Cade’s graduation, they’re seemingly ready to finally have a long-awaited life together. Their hot and passionate attraction to each other remains as strong as ever. But their long separation has changed both men. And even the strongest of marriages can be threatened by temptation, suspicion, and broken promises. Can their love survive? Or, will they discover that “always” does not always mean faithful?
Andrew Bastion lost his partner to a violent and senseless criminal act. Devastated and all alone, he questioned how he would ever get through his first Christmas season without the husband he so loved. But when Drew’s best friend convinces him to “find people who need help and help them,” he finally begins to focus on something other than his own grief. And to his great surprise, he meets the one man with the ability to help heal his broken heart. Christmasing With You is a shamelessly heartwarming, upbeat holiday story that will require tissues, smiles, a box of good chocolates, and the willingness to believe that Christmas miracles really happen.
Book Two in the HOME Series.
Colby Dawson returns to his southern hometown after serving his country in the U.S. Air Force. Emotionally scarred by a broken relationship, the last thing he wants is another man in his life. But he doesn’t count on falling in love with childhood best friend, Kyle McCoy, now a local deputy sheriff. Their relationship seems almost too charmed until a corrupt governor attempts to locate a state prison next door to Colby’s family home. His prominent father and brothers organize an illegal protest effort that will force Colby to choose between loyalty to his family — or to the partner and lover who may have to arrest them. Not only is Colby and Kyle’s relationship in jeopardy, one of them will fight for his very life while the other must confront his guilt.
Former Marine Corps Major Jake Vincenzo had a plan. He was convinced that his son Mark and his long-time best friend Cade were in love but just didn’t know it. Forced for years to hide his own gayness because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Jake had kept a secret getaway – a remote mountain cabin where he now intended to play matchmaker for the two nineteen year-olds. What he didn’t count on was falling in love with Cade. How will the three navigate the minefields of potential hurt, jealousy and even betrayal? How will father and son maintain their close relationship without viewing each other as rivals? And how will Cade manage not only accepting being gay but also being in love with the two most important men in his life? For the three, it means redefining everything each had thought was normal. Two will live happily ever after. One will go on with a broken heart. And all must recognize that life will never be the same again – that it now means finding a new normal.
Lucas Reed is a big city advertising executive who must return to his small southern hometown after the death of his estranged father. There, he unexpectedly encounters Rogan James, the boy – now man – who had cruelly taunted him throughout high school with insults and accusations that Lucas was gay. Rogan had been the school’s star football player and the dream date of every girl. But deep inside his handsome stud jock persona, he held a closely guarded secret: his own strong attraction to Lucas. Now reacquainted 12 years later, the two finally acknowledge a powerful physical attraction that quickly evolves into an even stronger emotional connection. But their plans come crashing down when they are outed in the local newspaper by an unscrupulous reporter. And Rogan, as the town’s popular deputy chief of police, stands to lose his job, his reputation, his friends, and even his family’s acceptance. But all this becomes secondary when they discover that another man’s deranged obsession for Rogan is a serious threat. Together, they face a crisis that could mean the end of not only their newly found love, but their very lives.
Dave Durand was used to meeting men at the local clubs and bars. But all he had to show in his search for love was a steady string of shallow losers and superficial players. Time for an intervention. Enter Grady, his acerbic and protective terrier whose self-appointed “job” is saving Dave from himself. This whimsical and heart-warming short story celebrates the love between a dog and his man. And, the dog’s humorous telepathic efforts to finally land Dave the one “keeper” he deserves.
For twenty years, Shane has worked in retail management, not happy with the long hours and lack of compensation he deserves, blaming his job for his not having a boyfriend, which he desires more than anything. Fed up with his life, he vows to make two major changes. First: find a new career. One that will afford him the luxuries he deserves. Second: get a boyfriend. Disheartened with one night stands, he desires a lover. With two lofty goals in mind, he sets into motion a life altering chain of events.
Living a mediocre life, Michael has his books, old movies and 80′s music, but there is a void in his life, a man. He hasn’t been so very lucky in love. At this point in his life, he’s willing to settle for an ordinary schmoe like himself, to hold at night, a companion who might want the same, and won’t hold his German heritage against him.
Can two men, with different perspectives on life, nurture a romantic relationship? Can they overcome their differences and their own personal demons? Or does Fate have other plans, using the star-crossed lovers merely as pawns in a game where dreams and hearts could be shattered?
For more info, visit: http://JourneyToGoodbye.dustinadrianrhodes.com
Earlier in the week I posted a poll on my Facebook Fan Page asking personal preference in regard to reading sexual scenes in literature. I admit the question was open ended and I provided only two options to select, either YES or NO. I was surprised that after only a couple of days, the poll had received 25 votes along with a good variety of comments.
The poll question: When reading, do YOU prefer to read a story that has sexual scenes?
Responses were 22 votes for YES and 3 for NO. Majority of those voting were authors, authors read just like anyone else.
What surprised me most were not so much the actual votes, but the comments made by those who visited the poll. Some comments were from individuals who did not feel comfortable answering either Yes or No, but added a comment instead.
A general theme ran through the comments, no matter how they voted: as long as the scene(s) related to the story and were realistic.
Some who voted YES commented that sexual scenes were not required. As readers, they were more focused on the story than the sexual scenes (if there were any).
Myself, I prefer reading releases from one particular publisher. Of the 15 or so books I’ve read from this publisher, the books contained no sexual scenes. Sex is implied but the element of the sexual act itself is assumed and not an actual part of the text. Again, this is my personal preference. I’ve read erotica and a number of books which contained from one to (in my mind) way too many sexual scenes and I often times felt that some stories were constructed around the sex scenes.
Each reader has his or her own preferences in the stories they read. Among a myriad of books available, readers can find plenty to suit their taste. There are no set rules as to what is to be included or excluded in a story, the poll was simply an exercise to obtain readers opinions. From the comments received, there were a variety of opinions expressed. I thank everyone who participated in the poll and for taking the time to share opinions and comments.
This video is just too awesome not to share.
During his high school years, he was like most teens who grew up in small towns, he wanted to move away and pursue a dream far from the confines of a small community. He had a burning desire to get as far away from that town and as soon as he could – he couldn’t get out fast enough. He wanted to shake the haunting memories and the life that he thought he should have had, but hadn’t had. He wanted out so badly he hadn’t considered where he was running too, just as long as he wasn’t in the shadow of that town.
When the time came, he was gone!
He didn’t look back as he passed the city limits – he didn’t even think twice. He was free at last. But as the months and years passed, he still couldn’t separate himself from his past. He traveled further and further away, yet, he couldn’t get far enough away. He kept running, running away from a past that he didn’t want to claim as his own.
For ten years he ran and was still no further from the past than when he started. Finally giving up, he realized that no matter where he traveled, the past would always be there, stalking and haunting him.
Less than one year ago, I began to write a novel OUTED BY ANGER. Angrily I wrote about a young boy coming out in a small rural Oklahoma town during the 70′s. Hate, bullying, prejudice were the key words in a politically charged theme attacking the establishment. Just this past week, I re-read the first six chapters of the incomplete rough draft. In my reading I was stunned that I was perpetuating the very theme that I was taking a stand against: HATE.
I stepped back and re-examined the very story that has been in my head since I was in high school, now the beginning of a manuscript – a manuscript that turned my stomach. This is not the way I had intended to tell this story.
I began at the very beginning of the manuscript and started editing the story. Instead of a narration from the hindsight perspective of an angry man, I turned the voice into that of a confused and naive teen boy. Through the eyes of a teen boy, the story unfolds. My hateful and angry prose were replaced with compassion and sympathy for a boy on a journey through his internal confusion and insecurities. A story of navigation along a rough road of discovery into small town politics and religious prejudice. A tale of a boy with only one objective – to escape the town as soon as he could.
That boy was me.
As I write this story which parallels my own high school experiences, I’m coming face-to-face with my past, the very past I’ve spent my entire life running from. Yet I’m sensing that in writing this tale, it might possibly explain what has eluded me for so very long. What exactly was I running from? Or was I running toward a destination which I had failed to define? A story which began as a coming-of-age story about a young teen boy, may very well become a journey of revelation for the man who is writing it.