Friday, February 13, 2009

A Valentine's Weekend Release: IM

With the advent of the high holy day of all romantic holidays, Valentine's Day, I wonder how many of us will go lookin' for I especially wonder because my serial killer thriller, IM, has just been released in a brand, spanking-new edition from MLR Press. What does one have to do with the other, you might ask. Well, with the romantic weekend coming up, many of us might hop online, looking for a little companionship. As food for thought, I post the following from my novel, IM:

IM is about a serial killer who uses gay internet hook-up sites to find his victims. The excerpt here gives you a front-seat view to a murder, through a killer's eyes...

Excerpt from IM © 2009 by Rick R. Reed

LAKE SHORE DRIVE at night has its own excitement, especially when one is hurtling toward a rendezvous with an unknown destiny. On one side of my car, Lake Michigan bears silent witness to the streams of cars heading north and south, headlights like glowing insect eyes, piercing the night. The other side of the highway is crowded with high-rises, their glass, chrome and concrete rising into the night: hives of activity within, quiet sentinels without.

I have a cold bottle of Samuel Adams between my legs, a Marlboro burning in the ashtray. Normally, beer and cigarettes are not my vices. I care about my health, you see. But these are props, the same as the deeper-pitched voice I use, same as my word choice, which is much less sophisticated than someone with an MA in English from the University of Chicago. The beer and cigarettes are part of my costume. Tonight I wear faded, ragged Levi's 501s, the crotch faded, the buttons moving in an inverted question mark, emphasizing the bulge in my crotch.

When did gay men turn into no-charge prostitutes? Has it always been this way?

Whatever. I'm also wearing a Bulls T-shirt, the sleeves cut off raggedly, the neck cut low.

I take a swig of the beer, letting its cold bitterness snake down my throat, and turn up the tape player. Ironic. Leonard Cohen is singing, "There Ain't No Cure for Love."

I press down on the gas; ahead is my exit: Irving Park Road.

When I arrive, I see the apartment is a red brick six flat, identical to others all over the city. I ring the buzzer, and the guy doesn't even bother to ask who it is. No difference. We never exchanged names anyway.

Trudging up the stairs, waiting for the shotgun-cocking sound of a lock being turned, a chain sliding back into place. Someone waits to admit me. Someone I don't even know.

What a friendly world this is.

A door opens above.

What waits upstairs?

I round the bend and I see him. Nothing like his description, but who expected different? I am nothing like what I told him. No matter. As long as you're male and reasonably young and acceptable, you're in.

The guy has a good body and his lips curl into a grin as I head toward him, dragging on my Marlboro. He's wearing a pair of black bikini briefs. His moment of glory: this is what he's worked for all those long hours at the gym. Finally, someone to appreciate the shaved and defined pecs, the smooth washboard belly, the bulging biceps that I just know he will somehow maneuver to flex for me.

But he's much older than what I had expected. Mid-40s probably. His reddish-brown hair is thinning and the blue eyes are framed by crow's feet (a bottle of "eye-revitalizing" cream is in his medicine cabinet, I bet). The goatee, a desperate ploy to make himself look younger and hip, is embarrassingly ineffective. A cougar tattoo snakes down one of his arms.

"How you doin'?" I exhale a cloud of smoke and pass him as he opens the door wider to admit me.

"Great. Now that you're here."

The apartment is small, crowded with "contemporary" furniture: a black leather grouping in the living room, chrome and glass tables, spare jagged-looking twig and dried flower arrangements. On the walls, Herb Ritts posters of absurdly pumped-up young men in various settings: a garage, on the seashore.

The guy leads me into the bedroom. Platform bed, comforter thrown back, striped sheets. The nightstand holds the tools of his true trade: a plastic cup full of condoms he probably never uses, a couple of little brown bottles filled with butyl nitrate, a leather cock ring, a metal cock ring, and a large pump bottle of Wet. On the lower shelf, a stack of neatly folded, but ragged, white towels.

A dresser faces the bed and atop it, a color TV and DVD combination. On the screen, a wildly muscled dark-haired guy tries to sit on one of those orange traffic cones. Amazingly, he's beginning to succeed.

I grin.

The guy drops the black briefs and sits on the bed. Hoarsely: "Why don't you get undressed, man?"

"Why don't you do it for me."

Instant supplicant, he's on his knees before me, working the buttons on my jeans. I'm sure his eyes are glistening. Already his breath is coming faster.

I push his hand away. "Hold on." I lift the goateed face up to my own and look in his blue eyes, where nothing but desire and trust mingle. "I want you to lie down on the bed. Lie on your stomach."

He gets up and does as he's told. The half-moons of his ass practically glow in the darkness. A thin, whiter line disappears in his crack, where his thong was. The definition in his arms shows up perfectly as he raises his arms above his head to clutch the pillow.

His legs are parted, waiting.

"I just need to do something real quick. You stay right there." I look back at him as I exit the room. "You're a good boy, right? Do what you're told?"

"Yes, sir."

In the kitchen, I go quickly through the drawers until I find the one with the knives. For the first time, I get hard, and I think of the blood pumping, filling the spongy cavities.

The blood. Essence of life.

I strip down, leaving my clothes in a pile on the kitchen floor. I hope that I don't bring any cockroaches home.

I hold the butcher knife I chose to my side, concealing it with my arm, and head back to the bedroom.

He still lies there, waiting and trustful, thinking he's about to be penetrated.

And he is.

I move quickly to the bed and the guy is perfect: he closes his eyes, pulling the little brown bottle to his nose and inhaling deeply, for what seems like about 30 seconds in each nostril. Then he moves the little bottle to his mouth and inhales through that as well.

Just as I raise the knife, he turns to hand me the bottle of poppers. He sees the knife in my hand and for a moment, he doesn't know what to think.

What's wrong with this picture?

The confusion registers in his eyes, then it's replaced by terror. He half sits up, scuttling to the other side of the bed. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing, man. Don't get so excited. Can't we just do a little fantasy scene here?" I smile and imbue that smile with kindness and a hint of mischief. I'm able to keep calm. I want him to be reassured. It will be so much easier to enter him if he's relaxed.

Visibly, he grows calmer. His features relax, but a hint of wariness remains in his eyes.

"I kind of get into fantasy." I let a small laugh escape, as if I am embarrassed by this admission. "Couldn't we maybe pretend we're doing a little force scene here? I want to rape you, man."

He chews on his lower lip, and I notice he's gone soft.

"Look, we don't have to do this if you're not into it." I put the knife on the floor. "I just thought it would be kind of exciting." I smirk. "Did you really think I'd hurt you?"

"Well, no, of course not."

Of course he thinks I wouldn't hurt him. I suppose that's what everyone thinks.

Until someone does hurt them.

"Look, maybe we should just forget this. Not everybody is into the scene." I laugh. "But it can be kind of fun."

The guy's thinking; I can see it. And I know I've got him now. He rolls back over on his stomach, hugging the pillow. "Sorry," he says. "You just can't be too careful these days. Know what I mean?"


He wiggles his ass at me. "Why don't I pretend to be sleeping."

"Perfect." I pick up the knife and move toward him.

In the background, a guy on the screen moans and shouts: "Oh shit, man, I'm gonna come!"

To purchase IM (and to read the first chapter), click here.

A Phoenix Rising Followup

A lengthy thread of comments on Kimberly Gardner's book evolved into discussion on more books and Proposition 8 and... well, the end result is information worthy of its own post. It began when author James Buchanan noted the success of Phoenix Rising and books of the M/M Romance genre:

JB: And they said nice girls wouldn't buy that shit...

Author Z.A. Maxfield followed with: Or write it. ;-)

JB: Yeah, but can I send your Stake President a copy of Hard Fall?

ZA: Please do!

JB: Yeah, but then I’d get a bill when he had an aneurysm and had to be rushed to the emergency room and the Relief Sisters had to go help his wife and their ½ dozen kids… sheesh we finally got the missionaries to leave us alone. The Elders were getting desperate, sending the female Elders out and they’re the rare, big guns you know (24-25 year old unmarried gals as opposed the 19 year old boys)

ZA: yep. You know, I always feed the boys but it's funny how those no on prop 8 signs seem to have kept them away as nothing else has.... Shun the non-believers...

These were references to missionaries from the Church of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, who played a significant financial role in California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state, and the authors were asked to explain.

JB: Various lay positions in the Mormon Church. The only paid position is the Janitor, all others are “called” into service. Elders (Missionaries) are usually boys between the ages of 18-21, but if a girl hasn’t gotten married by 21 she can go on a mission…and those women are FANATICAL. The Relief Society is Women who have been called to take care of the sick and elderly in the church. They bring meals, drive elderly members to Dr’s apt’s yadda. If you simply stop going to church and stop tithing (10% required) they send the older, more experienced Missionaries out to your house with a vengeance…often bringing the Stake President with them to discuss your absence. SG finally got rid of them when the Stake President said, “Well if you really don’t like the church, you should petition to have yourself removed from the rolls.”

His answer: “That would mean I cared…” They stopped coming, even when they’re in the neighborhood, although as with ZA we always fed them. It’s like being a door to door salesman with nothing people want to buy. SG did his two years among drug addicts in Northern England…he refuses to travel anywhere in Great Britain because of that time…

OH…and Hard Fall.. next book coming out…Gay Mormon Back Country Sheriff in Utah…

ZA: I cannot wait for that book, when again?

JB: It is in formatting…so soon

End of discussion!

James Buchanan's upcoming Hard Fall is shown in column right, as is the I Do Anthology of which Z.A. Maxfield was a contributing author. The proceeds from sales of I Do go to the Lambda Legal Defense Fund in their court battle to overturn Prop. 8, and was organized by contributing author Alex Beecroft. Book cover link takes you to where you can learn more about the project, see a full list of authors involved and, if you wish, purchase the book.

Thank you to Z.A. and James for taking this conversation to a good place. Comments to this post are definitely encouraged.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kimberly Gardner is Rising

Normally we don't ooh and ah about book awards because there are so many that only pertain to a limited audience. But this one here is a big deal, and since Kimberly Gardner is an author we can get in to (soon you'll know why) I am going to announce it here and now.

Kimberly's Phoenix Rising, published by MLR Press, made the top ten for AllRomanceEBook's The Best of 2008 Awards and we are very much impressed because out of all the thousands of titles released in 2008, both M/M and F/M, making the top ten is a major accomplishment.

If you're wondering why, here's a little excerpt from the book:

The rain had stopped and a thumbnail sliver of moon cast silvery light over the yard. From the rear of the garage the ground sloped down. About ten yards down the slope, the manicured grass gave way to a line of trees and wild growth where the shadows grew thick and heavy.

"That's Fairmount Park," Jimmy said from the bathroom doorway. "It backs up to this property so there aren't any neighbors, not unless you count the deer."

"How far does it go?"

"The park? Miles and miles. Fairmount is the largest municipal park in the country. When we were kids we weren't allowed back there. My mother was sure we'd wander off and she'd never see us again."

"But you went anyway."

"Of course we did." Jimmy laughed. "Tell a kid not to go somewhere and that's the first place he wants to go. I remember when Laton was in high school, he used to take his girlfriends back there and make out."

"How do you know?"

"I followed him a couple times. You know, the kind of stuff little brothers do."

He didn't because he didn't have any brothers, but he liked listening to Jimmy talk. Knowing these little details made him feel closer to Jimmy, like they could actually be friends. "Did he ever find out that you followed him?"

Jimmy shook his head. "Are you kidding? He would have kicked my ass if he knew."

They both laughed.

Adam let the curtain drop and stepped away from the window. "How about you. Who did you take back there when you were in high school?"

Jimmy's cheeks flushed. "I went to boarding school in New Hampshire."

"So you never snuck into the woods with anyone to make out?"

Jimmy's hesitation was just enough to tell Adam there was something here. A little thrill raced through him.

"Who was he, Jim?"

Jimmy shook his head. "I don't remember. That was a long time ago."

Adam stepped up close. Jimmy could easily have moved away but he didn't.

Adam slipped his hand inside Jimmy's open collar and stroked the warm skin. Jimmy's pulse jumped under his fingertips as Adam leaned in. "Tell me."

There was a pause. Jimmy's lips parted. He swallowed. "His name was Christopher," Jimmy whispered. "Chris Daley. He was the first boy I ever kissed."

Adam leaned closer, stopping with their lips no more than a breath apart. "You took him into the woods and kissed him?"

"He kissed me." Jimmy's lashes fluttered down.

"Show me how." He didn't know where this little game had come from or where it was going, but he liked it.

Jimmy's hands slid around Adam's waist. The man drew him close. He pressed against the hard length of Jimmy's body. Jimmy's mouth claimed his, the kiss starting slow, the contact soft and just a little tentative, the way a teenage boy might kiss.

Adam's fingers caressed the back of Jimmy's neck before sliding into the close-cropped hair. He sighed as his eyes drifted closed. But when his lips parted, Jimmy broke the kiss.

Adam opened his eyes. "What-"

"He asked me if I liked it," Jimmy said, his words slow, his tone dreamy and far away. "And I said I did. Then he put his hand on my cock."

Adam's breath caught. He could imagine it, Jimmy so young and unsure, never even kissed let alone had another boy's hand on his cock. God.

"How old were you?"

"Fifteen. We were both fifteen."

Adam slipped his hand between their bodies. With a fingertip he traced the hard length of Jimmy's cock through his pants.

"So hard," Adam murmured. "Were you hard for him, Jim?"

"Yes," Jimmy breathed, "so hard ... from the kiss, you know? And it was nothing really, just a kiss. But, God ..." Jimmy's hips pressed forward, silently asking for more contact.

Adam squeezed Jimmy's prick before sweeping his thumb over the head where a damp spot on the fabric of his pants let Adam know just how much Jimmy liked this game.

"Did he fuck you and make you come?"

"I came," Jimmy said, hips rocking against the press of Adam's hand. "He kissed me and I came in his hand."

God, it was too much. Adam laid his head on Jimmy's shoulder. They were supposed to be talking. He should be telling Jimmy why he couldn't live here, why he couldn't be Jimmy's fuckboy.

Jimmy squeezed Adam's ass, angling their bodies so their cocks bumped. "God, Adam, I want to fuck you so bad."

Adam moaned. He wanted it too. "Let's do it. I want your cock in my ass."

"Can't," Jimmy said, "no condoms or lube out here."

Adam didn't have anything on him either. Shit. Suddenly, inspiration struck.

"We'll just kiss and use our hands. Like you did with that boy all those years ago." He rubbed against Jimmy, begging with his body, cock against cock.

"Adam, I don't-"

"You going to make me beg?" Adam flicked his tongue inside Jimmy's ear. "Please, Jim, I want to hold your cock in my hand, make you come." He nipped at the pulse in Jimmy's neck. "Please, let me kiss you and come for you."

Now you stop right there, Ms. Kimberly Gardner. We know good and well Adam's little bondage fantasy will be played out, and since you obviously are a talented wordsmith we now have more than enough reason to buy the book. Apparently, many others agree, proven by the fact your Phoenix Rising rose above countless others to make the list.

On that note (the note of me being a man rising just thinking about this), Jardonn and Jasper extend to you a sincere CONGRATULATIONS and wish you much future success in your writing adventures.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jardonn's Hugs and Hickies

I know we've built a reputation for writing bondage and torture into our erotica, but Jasper and I can write love scenes as well. Write... er, right, Jasper? Allow me to post some examples:

From Jasper's Maggie Pie --

She journeyed with him to their beginning -- their second beginning, the night he showed up on her porch, his porch, the night of his confrontation with three men outside a Holyoke tavern. He appeared before her near midnight as a weathered alley cat, the hair on his head matted with dried sweat. His shirt waved in the breeze, overlapping his jeans, its buttons unbuttoned, most buttons missing. The matted hair of his chest and belly centered his open shirt, splotches of red dotted his knuckles, the backs of his hands. He told her of his deed, of his manhandling of her husband, his pummeling of her husband’s two friends, not knowing how she would respond, not knowing if she would be pleased or displeased. He surrendered to her, desperate for her acceptance.

She took his scarred hand, led him directly into the grey-shrouded turret, near this same bed in this same room. She stripped him of his tattered clothing, guided him to lay flat on her mattress, exhibited for him her newly-found skills, unknown even to her until executed. With her mouth she praised him, with her tongue she painted him, and with her throat she controlled him.

Bud had no choice but to reach for the bedposts. His reach was involuntary, but of his own doing. The overwhelming ecstasy of her touch stripped him of all notions that he was the dominant partner. The power of her touch weakened him, sapped his strength, erased his ability to defy her. He stretched himself, demanding to be punished. Then as now, she punished him with denial. Their first session, a session of discovery, of secret desires learned in silence by movements and responses, sealed their reunion, rekindled their passion, while leaving their pain a distant memory. She controlled him, and her domination allowed him to exonerate himself from all guilt. With Julie in control, Bud’s demons were extracted, taken from him, no longer his responsibility, no longer his problem. With Julie in control, Forrest Richter was dead, buried and forgotten.

Now as then, she became weary. She laid atop him where she had begun, keeping his penis imprisoned, crushed to the depths of her vaginal walls. Her head fell next to his, between his cheek and the crook of his shoulder. Her fingers encircled his triceps and biceps. Julie drifted into sleep.

And now from my Thomas Coleman Full Nelson, from the book Hard Working Men --

Thomas basked in my praise. Sprawling before me with eyes closed, he snored off and on, moaned and groaned off and on as I licked and kissed and manipulated muscle with my hands. With no regard for his sore ribs or anything else, I saturated his body with my spit, buried my face into his untreated armpits and glossed over their bushy blackness. My lips clamped his biceps, my jaw opening wide to engulf their thick and hard power. My face inhaled his belly, so soft at its surface, so concrete beneath. His perfectly-matched nuts were assaulted with tongue and lips, their cropped hairs tugged with teeth, their sperm-bulging skin nibbled with mouth and twisted with fingers. His feet, his sturdy, size ten, fur-topped feet were painted with my spit, each toe sucked, each sole and each ball joint massaged with fingers and licked with tongue. And his tits, so firm, so tiny and so hidden with his arms down, now were wide open with his arms up. Little nickels with little tips became little dimes with rising tips, hardening tips, as I sucked and licked and slurped and finger-pinched. My baby's baby bottle nipples were treated as such without mercy, because my eyes were locked onto his frantically bouncing cock. My assault upon his tits produced a phallic ballet of involuntary clenches. The contractions of his scrotum were my doing, not his. His mighty cock bobbed and weaved with power and grace. He spit silky, pre-orgasmic lubrication, strands of the stuff glistening in window-filtered moonlight and tethering his cock head to his belly. Overflow of his manly syrup sugar-coated his ready-to-explode mushroom, its bulging sheen inviting my mouth to taste. All of my beautiful Thomas joined his scrotum in convulsing, as he arched his back, sucked in his belly, thrust his tits deeper into my mouth and fingers.

Oh, how he suffered, how he writhed in uncontrolled ecstasy, flexing and posing and thrusting and groaning like a heroic, chained muscle-stud. And when I could no longer bear to watch him struggle through my cruel extension of our nine years of frustration, I finished him.

See? No chains or ropes, simply two people upon a mattress making love. You and I are true romantics, Jasper.