Saturday, March 28, 2009
BASHED: A Love Story by Rick R. Reed
Release Date: Mar 26, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60820-028-3 (print); 978-1-60820-029-0 (ebook)
Publisher: MLR Press
To order and for more details, click here.
Three haters. Two lovers. And a collision course with tragedy.
When Donald and Mark left the Brig that October night, they had no idea their lives and love were about to be shattered by fag bashers, intent on pain, and armed with ridicule, fists, and an aluminum baseball bat.
The cowardly hate crime leaves one half of a couple alone and haunted—literally and figuratively—by the memories and denied promise of new love.
Bashed charts the course of a journey from grief to hope, from death to life, and from hate to redemption. Come along on a trip that encompasses suspense, horror, and—ultimately—romance.
The night had turned cold while they were in the Brig, one of Chicago's oldest and most infamous leather establishments. A strong wind out of the north had blown away the cloud cover that allowed the city of Chicago to retain a little Indian summer heat this late October night. With the wind, the temperature had plunged nearly twenty degrees, from a relatively balmy 62, down to the low forties. But the wind had also revealed a sprinkling of stars, visible even with the ambient light from downtown. And the moon had emerged, almost full, lending a silvery cast to North Clark Street.
Donald wrapped his arms around Mark as they headed south on Clark, toward the side street where they had left their car. Even with his chaps, biker jacket, and boots, Donald felt the chill bite into him, vicious. He couldn't imagine how Mark was faring, wearing only a T-shirt and jeans. He'd get his boy into leather one of these days! It was just past three a.m. and the far north side neighborhood called Andersonville, once the province of Swedes and working class folk, and now the home of yuppies and gays, was quiet. A lone taxi headed north up Clark, looking for fares. Someone even unsteadier on his feet came out of the adult bookstore ahead of them, blinking rapidly, and looking around, perhaps for more excitement than he had found in the bookstore. Donald thought that once upon a time, he could have been the sad, singular man emerging from an adult bookstore while the rest of the world slept, but things had changed since he had met Mark six months ago.
"I feel almost-almost-like we're the only two people on earth," Donald said to Mark, pulling him in close for a sloppy, beery kiss. When he pulled his mouth away, he flashed the crooked grin he knew entranced his boyfriend, and completed the thought with: "And that's fine by me."
Mark grinned back, then rubbed his upper arms. "It's not fine by me. Not when it's this frickin' cold! Let's get home!"
They wrapped their arms around each other to ward off the cold, much as they had done the night they had met, back in March, in the same leather bar. And once again, they were just a bit boozy and flushed with need for each other. Tonight, the weather outside may not have been as frigidly cold as it had been last winter, when they had first laid eyes upon each another, but the heat and electricity passing between them was still burning as brightly as that very first night.
Donald stopped again in the middle of the sidewalk, pulling Mark close and planting a kiss on his cheek. There was no one around and in this neighborhood, such displays really were nothing to worry about, Donald thought. Hell, most anyone they encountered would either be sympathetic or jealous. He nipped at Mark's earlobe and whispered, "I love you, you know that?" He paused to breathe in Mark's scent and to nuzzle his nose in Mark's blond curls.
And Mark stopped, right there in the middle of Clark Street, on an early Sunday morning, and placed his hands on Donald's shoulders, so he would stop walking and so he could look right back into Mark's penetrating stare. "And I love you, Donald." He gave a small grin and looked down at the ground for just a second, almost as if he was embarrassed and then said, "And I always will. This is a forever thing."
Donald felt a rush of warmth go through him at the exact same moment a harsh wind, full of chill and with the smell of dark water, glided east from over Lake Michigan. He pulled Mark close and kissed him full on the mouth, his tongue lifting Mark's and doing a little duel with it. Neither of them closed their eyes, preferring instead to stare into each other's rapt gazes. Just as they were breaking apart, they stiffened as the roar of a souped-up engine shattered the still of the night. The backfire issuing forth from the car's muffler made both men jump. They gave each other a quick glance, then laughed.
The car, an old maroon Duster that had been tricked out beyond good sense, taste, or fiscal responsibility, slowed across from the pair. Three shadowy figures moved inside. One of them rolled down a window and a young male face, pale and marred by acne, in the moon's light, emerged making a kissing sound, exaggerated and prolonged. Donald heard the other guys in the car laughing. He stiffened and felt a trickle of sweat roll into the small of his back, in spite of the chill in the air.
Just as suddenly as they had arrived, they roared off, leaving them in a wake of sour-smelling exhaust. But they did not leave without casting a parting shot out the window: "Fucking faggots!"
Donald shook his head, glancing over at Mark, whose young face was creased with worry. "Don't let shit like that get to you. They're idiots. And chicken shits...it's pretty easy to call names at people from a speeding car." The pair continued south. Up ahead, they needed to turn and head east to make their way to the little side street where they had parked Donald's Prius. The street could usually be counted on for a spot, even on a busy Saturday night. Donald thought that it was more the fact that the street was hard to get to than the fact that it ran along the northern border of St. Boniface Cemetery that made it such a good parking bet.
"I know. They're just a bunch of assholes," Mark said as they continued east. Donald could feel the defeat and fear in his voice. He hoped the hotrod homophobes hadn't broken the spell of their night. Because Mark was much younger, he hadn't been exposed to some of the same ridicule and taunting Donald had, growing up in the late sixties and seventies.
Donald bit his lower lip, suddenly feeling all the shame and embarrassment he had once associated with being gay rise up again. It never really disappears, does it? His face felt flushed and a curious mixture of emotions warred within him. First, there was the shame, which he chastised himself for, but still couldn't stop the little inner voice that scolded him for the public displays of affection, even on an early Sunday morning and in a part of town that was very gay. Second, there was a more recent, more reasonable voice that was enraged, and asked, "How dare they?" This voice was ready to chase after the speeding car, shouting epithets right back at the cowards who hid behind the car's macho posturing and tinted glass. And the final voice, the other half of the fight or flee duo, just wanted to grab Mark's hand and run back to the car, jump inside, and make sure all the doors were locked before roaring off into the night themselves. Thank God they had a secure garage to park in at home.
"Yeah...assholes," Donald whispered, then spoke up, "I need to be getting you home, young man, it's way past your bedtime." Donald quickened his pace so that Mark would match his step and tried not to let the name-calling weigh too heavily on the evening. He was pissed about how a mood could be so easily shattered, especially by some more-than-likely suburban rubes that were not entitled to it. Fuck them! He wished he could make the mood come back, but not now, not with the "fucking faggots" still ringing fresh in his ears.
Maybe when they got home, Donald could put things to right. No maybe about it! He would light candles, open a bottle of wine, put on some trance music and urge Mark over to the couch. He would undress him slowly, gliding his strong hands over every inch of Mark's silky skin as he exposed it. He could already taste Mark's lips and the clean heat of his mouth.
They were almost to their car when they both tensed, slowing, as they heard the growling muffler of a car behind them. Donald closed his eyes, thinking, Oh God, please not again. Not them. They both stopped for just an instant. Donald didn't have to look back to know who was in the loudly idling car behind them. His heart began to thud in his chest and he resisted an impulse to simply grab Mark's hand and run the three or four feet it would take them to get to the car. But such a sissy maneuver was probably just the kind of thing those assholes would take particular delight in seeing. And the hot pursuit of a couple of scared queers would be the perfect capper to a boring night.
Donald spoke quietly, out of the corner of his mouth. "Let's just walk to the car. Don't look back. Don't even give them the satisfaction we're aware of them. We both know who it is. But to look back will just open the door to more shit."
Mark kept apace. "Right." His voice was clipped and Donald could pick up on the fear and tension in it.
Behind them, they heard the kissing sound again, over the beat of some heavy metal music, the bass throbbing hard enough to shake the car's frame. "Hey boys!" a falsetto voice, mocking, rang out through the autumn night. Donald wanted to freeze in his spot and could tell Mark did, too, by the way he tensed, unmoving. But Donald had enough presence of mind to keep moving forward, slowly, cautiously, the way one would back away from a lion about to pounce. No sudden moves. No eye contact. Donald had to remind himself to breathe.
A wolf whistle cut through the night air. "Hey if you guys are gonna suck some dick tonight, can we get in on the action?" The car's passengers erupted with laughter.
Donald dug in his tight-fitting Levis for his keys. His hand was trembling. His stomach was churning. He wished they had left much earlier. He wished they had parked on busier, more brightly-lit Clark Street. He wished they had taken a cab. He wished he had left his leather gear at home, just for tonight. He managed to grasp the keys just as they arrived at the car. Mark hurried around to the passenger side. When Donald met Mark's gaze, he saw that the younger man's eyes were bright with fear. He mouthed the word, "Hurry" to Donald.
The sound of car doors slamming behind them made Donald's hands shake so badly, he dropped the keys into the gravel by the side of the road. "Fuck," he whispered. They were off busy Clark now, and the side street was dark. Empty. He couldn't see where the keys had fallen. He could see where they should logically be, but of course, that's not where they were.
Mark said, in a tense voice, "Hurry up, Donald."
Donald didn't have to look behind him to know that the car's occupants were no longer in the Duster and were getting closer. Each slam of a car door caused his heart to beat a little faster, his breath to quicken.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
by William Maltese
And so, Lt. Buzz Shaw, communications’ expert, and Lt. Patricia Riley, ecologist, fucked aboard Starship 12B en route to a tiny galaxy in outer space termed on the charts as nothing more than Beta 10.
They both sank down into the padded flooring of the briefing area, not too far from the radio which would soon be broadcasting their latest instructions from the planet Earth. Patricia acted coy at first, trying to put off Buzz’s insistence, but her resolve (Had she actually had any?) was soon dissolved amid his kissing and caressing. After all, as he said, who would know four years from then, when they were scheduled to reach Beta 10, that Buzz and Patricia had fucked in outer space? Besides, it wasn’t like they hadn’t done it before. In those hectic days before blast-off, the two of them had gone at it until both were bordering on exhaustion. The doctor at the final examinations had eyed Patricia carefully. It’d been Dr. Kenault.
“Poor Doctor Kenault,” Patricia said.
Buzz was already naked and out of his flight uniform. His twenty-five years in outer space certainly hadn’t shrunk his cock any.
“What about Doctor Kenault?” he asked, handing her one of the preventatives, which she swallowed.
“‘Cut out the fucking,’” he said to me. “‘Or else you’ll be too damned weak to make the trip.’”
“Doctor Kenault said that?” Buzz laughed. “That meddling old buzzard.”
Poor Kanault, Patricia thought. He was old then. God, how old is he now that twenty-five years have passed, and he hasn’t been in suspended animation to preserve his looks? Patricia shuddered unconsciously. Buzz mistook it for a sign of passion.
“I’ll set these dials,” Buzz said, “so that when the message arrives, we’ll be able to hear it. I mean, there’s no sense in interrupting playtime until it’s absolutely necessary.”
Patricia again noticed his cock. It was ten inches of hard meat if it was an inch. Its fistlike head glistened in the low-light flashings of the machines.
Patricia stretched out on her back spreading her legs. After twenty-five years in bed, her muscles were more than just a little stiff. Buzz turned back from the radio, coming toward her, finally kneeling down. He lowered his body on top of hers, his prick mashing between their bellies. Patricia opened her legs farther, letting his lower body slip between them.
He kissed her, rubbing the wetness of his prick along her lower belly. After twenty-five years in deep-freeze, the fire in their bodies hadn’t been extinguished. If anything, defrost had allowed the flames to burn even higher. Already Patricia’s hole was leaking its juices, streaming them from her cuntwalls to dribble out the mouth of her hair-lined slit. She could feel the stream leaking out of her twat’s mouth, slipping stickily down the crease of her ass.
“God, baby, God!” Buzz muttered. He’d pushed his cock’s head to the doorway. He was previously planning on a lot of foreplay. But after a few minutes of actual body contact, he and Patricia both agreed — without actual voicing it — that nothing more was needed to prepare either one of them for direct action.
The prick’s thick tip pressed its way into her wet tightness, followed by inches of hard cockshaft as it sank deeper and deeper into the offered slit.
Their bodies seemed to fit together perfectly. He’d noticed it before when they’d humped. They seemed to belong together like two peas in a pod, like the right nut for the right screw. It was heaven. It was just as he remembered it.
“This is Lieutenant Shaw,” Dr. Kenault had said. “He’s to replace Williams on the Beta 10 expedition.”
Lieutenant Williams had been found to have a heart murmur. Nobody really knew how it had managed to escape notice until that late in the game. The Beta 10 expedition was scheduled for departure in less than two months.
“You’re replacing a good man,” Patricia had said. She’d meant, of course, as a member of the project. She’d little imagined that Buzz’s cock would soon be replacing Williams’ cock, also.
Patricia and Williams had been fucking around since the expedition’s members had been selected. Everybody knew they’d been doing the sex scene. In a way, it was expected. In one way or the other, the whole Beta 10 contingent had paired off in groups. It wasn’t always an equal dividing line, however. It was a well-know fact that Lt. Martin and Lt. Perkins were Lesbians. But then, Lt. Susan Pilon had done her share for the well-being of the operation by taking on three men at the same time: an arrangement which everyone, Susan and her three men included, had no objections to at all.
But because of Williams’ heart murmur, he was taken off the team. Taken off the team and taken off Patricia. Where they’d transferred him — five-hundred miles away as an instructor at Camp Piptolincan — his cock, no matter how long (and they’d measured it once as nine and a quarter erect inches), had been unable to manage the stretch now required to reach Patricia’s distant cunt.. After a few letters, Lieutenant Williams had settled down with a redheaded civilian nurse, and Patricia had decided that Buzz Shaw was better than nothing: anyway, his ten inches of hard cock sure as hell beat the Coke bottle she’d been doing herself with since Williams had left the scene.
She had, at first, been rather reluctant about Shaw. For one thing, he wasn’t exactly her ideal of a he-man. He was rather nice-looking (she thought a bit too nice-looking, if that were possible), and he exuded that air of self-assurance that is normally only found in the very rich. And Buzz Shaw, or rather Buzz Shaw’s family (which boasted governmental heads back to pre-World War II), did have money. In short, Patricia found him spoiled, conceited, and too cock-sure of himself to actually replace Williams in more ways than one. She might’ve managed not to succumb to his sexual charms (which at first she thought were nonexistent — she’d yet to find out about the ten-inch cock) — if it hadn’t been for Susan.
“Have you two been doing it?” Susan had asked. Though she already had three men humping her, she was always scouting around for more.
“I hardly think that’s any of your goddamned business,” Patricia had replied.
Susan tended to get just a bit personal at times. She figured since she didn’t mind discussing her sex life that everyone else would be just as candid about theirs. Patricia’s blunt reply had admittedly stung.
“I’m sorry,” Susan said, and she said it in such a hurt, downcast way, that Patricia was immediately sorry she’d been so rude. She’d told herself time and time again she had to be more understanding around Susan. Susan, despite her good looks, wasn’t really out to hurt anyone. Despite the fact that her IQ was near-genius, if not genius, she reminded everyone of the “dumb blonde”, and she seemed to prefer that role herself.
“I used to be a bookworm,” she’d once told Patricia in one of their infrequent girl-to-girl chats. “But I found out that a girl doesn’t get anywhere acting superior to the guys — or to the girls, either, for that matter,” she offered as an afterthought.
Patricia never bothered to delve into the meaning of that last bit of unsolicited information.
“It’s my middle-class upbringing,” Patricia had said, finally, feeling tinges of regret at her blunt reply to Susan’s innocent questioning. “I sometimes still get very upset over this sex thing.”
“Oh,” Susan said, immediately brightening up. She was always easy to forgive someone. She’d had years, before flowering into maturity, when she’d been really quite unattractive. Bad looks and a superior brain had made her very undesirable company. She still remembered those days, and even though the ugly caterpillar had metamorphosed into a beautiful butterfly, Susan never forgot her days of social ostracism. She always thought the day might come when the butterfly would somehow revert to the cocoon, coming out finally the ugly caterpillar again. She had nightmares about it that she never told even her doctor.
“I didn’t mean to pry, after all,” Susan said. “I mean, he’s just so damned cute, and Walter said he was hung like a goddamned horse. But then Lieutenant Williams was hung like one, too, wasn’t he?” Susan hurried on. “But Walter said this one is much bigger.”
Walter was Captain Reynolds, head of the Beta 10 mission as well as one of Susan’s paramours.
Patricia wondered just why Reynolds had been so goddamned observant as to the size of Shaw’s cock. It had been rumored, more than once, that Reynolds was kind of fruity, but as long as he kept his extracurricular activities private, and satisfied Susan sufficiently so that she would boldly broadcast his masculine virtues, no one had nearly enough reason to complain.
“That’s the only reason I asked,” Susan said, biting into a roll which was oozing yellow butter. “I’ve never really had a big, big one. I mean, Walter has a good-sized one, but he said Shaw’s must be at least ten inches.”
Patricia had choked on her milk.
“Are you all right, honey?” Susan had squealed, running around the table and giving Patricia a slap on the back that was loud enough to draw the attention of those who hadn’t already noted Patricia’s gagging.
“I’m fine,” Patricia tried to say, but couldn’t get it out. She gagged again, and Buzz Shaw had left his tray to see if he might be of any assistance.
When Buzz arrived, Susan had slapped Patricia’s back once more, and Patricia was almost completely recovered from her ordeal. She was, all the time, despite her gagging, attempting to conjure in her mind’s-eye the actual dimensions of a ten-inch cock. She’d remembered just how large Williams’ had looked, and how they’d measured it with a tape measure.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Buzz had asked.
“Fine,” Patricia had said, finding her face not two inches from Buzz’s crotch. Her imagination singled out the lengthy crease in his pants, which she was sure must be concealing his flaccid prick. It was right then and there that she decided she was going to one day soon be able to tell Susan just what it was like to be jabbed with a ten-inch spike of hard male meat.
(to be continued)
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
When the Bram Stoker Award finalists were announced the other day, I couldn't have been more pleased. Although I share the credit with a passel of other fine writers, two of the anthologies that featured my work in 2008 were named finalists for the most prestigious award in horror literature. And that's out of only four finalists in the "Superior Achievement in an Anthology" category.
The two books are Like a Chinese Tattoo, edited by Bill Breedlove (and featuring three of my short stories, along with the twisted work of Cullen Bunn, David Thomas Lord, and JA Konrath) and Unspeakable Horror: From the Shadows of the Closet, edited by Vince Liaguno and Chad Helder (and boasting the talents of Kealen Patrick Burke, Sarah Langan, and many others, including yours truly). Unspeakable Horror is a groundbreaking collection of queer horror, and I'm so happy to see it make the final cut.
Winners will be announced in June in Los Angeles. I am very proud to have been a part of these two collections and have everything I can possibly cross that one, or both, will take the prize. Hey, a tie could happen, right?
Meanwhile, why not pick up your own copy of one of the nominated books and give yourself hours of reading terror:
Click here to purchase Unspeakable Horror: From the Shadows of the Closet
And here to purchase Like a Chinese Tattoo.
Here's a little sample from my story, "Sublet" which was in Unspeakable Horror: From the Shadows of the Closet:
And then the boy moved, walking in a kind of lazy, jerking fashion across the floor to the other side of the room. He reached up to some bricks in the wall and it looked as if he were trying to move them. He turned then and looked at Ian with such a plaintive, woeful stare that Ian was shocked by the emotion he suddenly felt: sympathy. There was anguish in the boy’s gaze as he ran his hands ran over the bricks.
And then the boy was rushing toward him and Ian was so terrified, he squeezed his eyes together, collapsing back against the bed, and curled into a fetal position, waiting for the touch of the stranger.
But there was no touch. Ian lay still, every muscle tight, in the little ball for what seemed like hours, but was, he realized, only minutes. Slowly, his breathing returned to normal and he allowed his body to uncurl, to relax the muscles a tiny bit. He allowed himself finally to open his eyes.
And the room was empty.
And a taste of "Moving Toward the Light" one of three stories featured in Like a Chinese Tattoo:
There is only darkness. She blinks, trying to focus, but the black presses in: a warm presence, engulfing, suffocating. She reaches out, wondering if she is floating in a vast, starless sky...and her hands connect with wood. Reaches up...and her hands connect with wood. Hard wood, she realizes now, supports her back. She takes in a great quivering breath, wondering how much air is left for her. This is too unreal, she tells herself and once more reaches around herself, fingers groping like subterranean insects, sensing only by touch.
The box in which she has been trapped is little bigger than she is. At best, there is only a few inches on either side of her, above her. Before the panic sets in, she touches the holes drilled in the top of the box.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I was recently amazed to be contacted by a PhD candidate, asking if he could interview me about my online hook-up serial killer novel, IM, for his dissertation. Not that the book isn't study-worthy, I had just never thought of it that way. So when D. Travers Scott contacted me, I had to look over my shoulder to make sure he wasn't talking to someone else. Maybe he got me by mistake. Weren't PhD dissertations supposed to be centering around people like James Joyce or Dickens?
Once I got over the initial shock, I found that Mr. Scott (hopefully soon-to-be Dr. Scott) was interested in IM because of its links to the Internet and modern technology as part of modern-day storytelling.
And, by the way, D. Travers Scott is an excellent writer in his own right, author of the acclaimed One of These Things is Not Like the Other. You should check out one of his websites here or here for more information about him and his writing.
Anyway, I thought our little dissertation interview was a fascinating process. I hope you do too, since it gives you insight into the book as well as the creative process.
DTS: So, to start, I was wondering if you could tell me how the idea came about to center a murder mystery around online dating/hookup sites?
RRR: I started writing IM a long time ago (when I was single) and I would be lying if I said I didn’t avail myself of online hook-up sites. After a while, two things amazed me: the sheer number of guys hooking up (either inviting strangers into their homes or vice versa) and the fact that we all casually dismissed the danger this anonymous way of meeting was putting us in. I know I am not the only gay man to invite a stranger into my home. And I began thinking, as all writers do at one point or another, what if… What if that hot guy you were inviting over was a killer? I started thinking how easy it would be for that killer and how simple it would be to commit an almost perfect crime: there would be no real life links to the deceased, you were invited in to your victim’s home, he often would put himself in a vulnerable and defenseless position…and on from there. Online hookups could be a perfect scenario for a sadistic killer. I just went from there.
DTS: What technology themes are there in any of your other works?
RRR: I use technology quite a lot in my work, probably starting with an early short story, “Online” in the vampire anthology The Darkest Thirst, about an unwitting woman who invites a vampire into her home via an online lesbian chat room. Vampires, according to legend, need to be invited in by their victims. The Internet is also an important part of my novella, VGL Male Seeks Same, a light romantic comedy about a man creating an online persona to find a man, and its sequel NEG UB2, where the same character from VGL Male is diagnosed HIV positive and discovers the online bias now against him. Blogging plays an important role in that story. I think the Internet as a community is here to stay, and growing.
DTS: How is Timothy Bright different from your other villains? Were there any aspects of his character that you emphasized or de-emphasized to 'fit' with his use of the web and messaging? That is, did you have any ideas about what sort of killer would be an online killer?
RRR: I don’t think I really consciously thought about Timothy being an online killer. I wanted to make him very innocuous looking, which is why I made him slight and blond, sort of elfin. I thought it was creepier to have someone who looked like the antithesis of evil cast as a monster. His appearance does come up throughout the book, though, and he lies often about what he looks like when he’s online (he never posts a photo), making himself beefier and manlier. The interesting thing, I thought, was how many of his victims ignored this disparity when he showed up at their door.
DTS: There seemed to be a few references to alcohol and substance abuse in the book. Was this an intentional theme?
RRR: From my own experience with these sites, “party and play” is a very common factor on almost every one I’ve encountered. I just thought it was realistic to have some of the characters using party drugs to enhance their experience.
DTS: What impact do you feel the Internet and modern communications technology has had on the gay community? For example, some people applaud how it empowers rural queer kids to find community, others say it has isolated us, weakening community ties and public meeting places like bars or leather events.
RRR: I think the world is constantly changing, whether that’s positive or negative is up to interpretation. As I said above, this way of connecting and communicating with others is here to stay and will probably continue to grow and make further inroads into all of our lives. I would need a good crystal ball to know how this will affect humanity and the ways we interact. It’s a kind of evolution and only time will tell what its benefits and downfalls are.
DTS: Telecom companies often advertise with phrases like, "stay always connected." How do you feel about this idea of being connected, given that your online presence lets you connect with readers, but you also have a novel about connecting to killers?
RRR: The Internet has been a wonderful way for me to reach out to readers that hitherto would have been unavailable to me. I am old enough to remember that one of the few promotional routes available to me were book signings or conventions, where I reached relatively few people. The Internet, and social networking, has exploded, and although there’s a lot of “noise,” I think I reach many more people than I used to before it was around. As with anything else in life, this way of connecting has its dangers and potential for abuse.
DTS: The initial victims presented in the book -- I'm thinking of the first kills especially but then also somewhat with Mark, the close call -- seemed like somewhat flawed people. They seemed vain, superficial, reckless, and/or closeted (particularly in contrast to Ed and Peter). Was this intentional? Were you intending any kind of commentary in that about aspects of urban gay men or culture? Or about the kind of men who would use hookup sites regularly?
RRR: To be quite honest, no. I think a lot of my writing flows from my subconscious and what you say about these characters make sense and while I wouldn’t say it was wrong, I would be the first to admit that my only intention was creating real people who are often flawed…and many of the adjectives you used above. I will say that I think hookup sites are used by all different sorts of men for all different sorts of reasons and to blanket characterize the group as a whole would be ridiculous.
DTS: If you had to sum up the moral or lesson of IM, what would that be?
To realize that the Internet can often be a lot of smoke and mirrors and even if you think you know with whom you’re hooking up, use caution. Meet first in a public place. Tell someone you trust where you’re going if you’re meeting up with someone. There are no guarantees for either bad or good resulting from Internet interaction, but there are precautions that might help tip the scales in your favor.
To purchase IM in trade paperback go here.
To purchase IM as an ebook, go here (for Kindle) or here (for other ebook formats).
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Last weekend, when I was in Las Vegas at Epicon, the big annual gathering of electronic publishing professionals, I had the pleasure of meeting many others of my ilk: namely those of us who toil a good part of our lives away in solitude writing stories that we hope will entertain, inform, and provoke thoughts and emotions.
One woman I met at the Thursday night party seemed a cheerful sort. She came right up to me and began telling me about all the erotica she writes and publishes. She's quite a name among erotica e-book readers. But then she said something that surprised me: "Nobody knows I write erotica. Even my best friends and my family don't know. Not even my husband knows!" She laughed and I laughed with her, but then I was thinking, "But aren't you proud of what you do? Why would you spend all the effort and time on something that no one near and dear to you even knows you do?" I assume family and friends know at least that she's a writer and have just not delved into the subject matter of her work...or perhaps they don't know at all. Later in the conference, a male erotica writer confided that he needed to keep his identity as a writer of erotica separate from his real life because he also coached Little League baseball. He didn't think writing erotica would go over too well with the parents of the kids he coached. And I think he may have something there, though I think some of the kids might think it's way cool.
But the coach did make me begin to understand this need for anonymity the successful writer I met on Thursday felt she needed. And that was brought home to me the other day when I had lunch with a friend here in Seattle. I was telling him about Epicon and the people I'd met and happened to bring up that I'd met several people who wrote erotica.
He grinned and sort of rolled his eyes and said, "You mean porn?"
Now, this isn't the first time I have heard of erotica being equated with porn, but I did have a flash of further understanding about why someone would choose a nom de plume under which to publish their erotic writing. I don't think my friend's assertion was all that uncommon. I did try to explain that there was a difference, but found it hard to do. I think, the short answer would be that erotica uses sex as a way to bring out emotional themes and to propel a story, whereas porn is there purely for the sake of titillation. Porn does not need character development, a plot, or any commentary on the human condition. It's unfettered, one-handed reading. Nothing wrong with that, in my mind, if that's what you're in the mood for and no one's getting hurt. But all this talk at the conference about being "in the closet" as an erotica writer made me wonder how many others out there automatically think "porn" when they hear "erotica."
I am not above writing the occasional porno story. But the two book covers above, the first for Fugue and the second for MANamorphosis, demonstrate stories that are all about sex, but I don't think are porn. Fugue, in particular, is quite graphic, XXX-rated, yet I think,in the end, it's a story about power in a relationship and the varying ways we experience love...and it's themes like that, I think, that differentiate erotica from porn.
What do you think? For you, what separates erotica from porn? Really, I wanna know. Please leave me a comment below.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
What’s happened, of course, is that those pulp books have since become hot items (in more ways than one) for collectors, for just the very reason that so few of them, considered as disposable as toilet paper in their day, have survived. You thumbed through them, you jacked off to them (I didn’t call them “one-hand reads” for nothing; and, yes, I do hold the trademark rights to that phrase — one-hand read), you got their pages all stuck together with your dried cum, you gave them a toss in the wastepaper basket, and you went down to the dirty-book section of your local sleazy hole-in-the-wall and picked up a couple of the more recent offerings. In those days, the halcyon days of pulp-fiction erotica, Greenleaf was putting out as many as four straight fuck-books and four gay-fuck books on a monthly basis.
While, over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed the decided increase in the amount of money anyone has to shell out for a good many of those early smut books, mine included, even I was surprised to find a copy of my straight STARSHIP INTERCOURSE erotica, written by me as Lambert Wilhelm, offered up the other day for the asking price of $1000.00. Of course, the cover is by none other than Robert Bonfils, an illustrator who has only recently started receiving critical praise for his work, but still …
I’ve decided to provide all of you frothingauthor.blogspot.com readers with a free peek at what, these days, you’d have to dig deep into your pockets (and not just to play with yourself) to see … because, as luck would have it, I do still have one author’s copy of STARSHIP INTERCOURSE in my collection, not only signed by me but by Robert; I’m holding on to it in order to pay for some very plush days of retirement.
Therefore, with no additional fanfare — feel free to unzip, pull out, and grab hold — for …
“Hi,” he said. “Remember me?”
Patricia Riley — Lieutenant Patricia Riley — yawned, stretched, lazily blinked her eyes, then suddenly realized where she was.
“My God, are we there?” she asked, sitting up with a start.
“No,” Buzz Shaw replied with a smile. “I just got lonely.”
Patricia looked about the cabin, noticing the neatly lined suspended-animation cylinders holding the Captain and the rest of the crew. She then turned her attention back to Buzz, who was still grinning like a little school boy.
“You’re mad,” Patricia said. “Absolutely dotty. Do you know what Reynolds is going to say when he finds out about this?”
“What do you mean, when he finds out?” Don’t you mean, if he finds out? I’m sure as hell not going to tell him. Are you?”
“Hell, yes,” Patricia said, indignantly. “You’ve committed a breach of orders. They’ll court-martial you for this. It’s my duty as an officer on this ship to see that those orders are carried out to the letter. You had no authorization to defrost me until we reached Beta 10. You were instructed in the briefing that no one was to be defrosted before Beta 10 unless it was an emergency. Then it was to be Captain Reynolds.” She looked at his smiling face, finding it really impossible to be mad at his baby-faced grin. The impossibility to feel anger annoyed her.
But then Buzz Shaw had always annoyed her. He wasn’t somebody she ever would’ve believed to be Space-Corps material. He was more of the country-club, cotillion, lawn-party, high-tea set. He wasn’t the dedicated sort of gung-ho person one expected to be wrapped in the cobalt blue of the Experimentation Squad. He was too carefree, too happy-go-lucky, and too unobservant of rules and regulations. He’d been that way from the beginning.
“You bastard!” she said finally. “You silly-assed, goddamned bastard!”
“Such language for a lady,” he smiled.
“They’ll have your head for this,” she said, trying to let some form of seriousness creep into the conversation, sink into his head. “They’ll cut the goddamned thing off, shove it in one of the vacuum tubes, and jettison it back to Earth before the rest of your body gets there.”
“How about a kiss?” Buzz laughed. He’d always thought Patricia a bit too serious. Not that they hadn’t had some fun times together. They’d surely had some of those. That’s why he’d decided long ago to defrost her when his turn came up to receive the periodic communiqués beamed to them from Earth.
“Like hell, I’m going to give you a kiss!’” Patricia almost screamed. Her attempt at impressing him with the seriousness of the situation had apparently gone way over his head.
“Hey, baby,” Buzz grinned. “When I pushed all those buttons, I thought I’d defrosted you. You’re just as frigid as ever.”
“My God, my God,” Patricia muttered hopelessly. “What more can I say than that?”
What more could she say? What more was there to say? Here they were, the only two conscious people in an intergalactic vessel in outer space. She was suddenly at a loss for words.
“Come on,” Buzz said, extending a hand. “It can’t be all that bad. Who the hell is going to know four years from now that Lieutenant Shaw defrosted Lieutenant Riley and fucked her in outer space?”
“Who fucked who, where?” Patricia asked. She retrieved her hand, which she’d extended for help in getting out of her suspended-animation tube. “Nobody is fucking this baby, anywhere.”
“Guess I defrosted the wrong bitch,” Buzz pouted. “I was really tempted to push the buttons for Susan. Now, she wouldn’t have bitched. She would’ve been pretty damned appreciative.”
“I guess you should have,” Patricia said, lying back down in her tube, crossing her arms as if she were a Pharaoh being laid out in the sarcophagus. “As a matter of fact, you can just freeze me back up and go defrost Susan.”
“And what makes you think I won’t take advantage of you once you start to go under?”
“And just think what would happen if I didn’t get my rocks off fast enough. Everyone would wake up on Beta 10 and find my cock frozen up your cunt.”
“Ach!’ Patricia said, sitting up again. “You are damned impossible. And I suspect you’re a little perverted to boot.”
“The truth is,” Buzz confessed, “I haven’t got time to defrost Susan.”
“What time is it?”
“It’s time for me to check the ship and see if it’s in working order.”
“You haven’t done that yet?” Patricia was flabbergasted.
“Come, now, sweetheart,” Buzz consoled. “Things can’t be too bad. We’re all in one piece, all the machines are still making noise, and we are still moving.”
“And how about the message? You know your whole purpose in having been defrosted according to a schedule was to accept the message beamed from Earth.”
“I thought if you’d help me check out the ship, we’d have a few minutes to talk before the message. I mean a guy could get pretty damned lonely with nobody but the machines to talk to.”
“What does that mean?”
“I thought maybe we could fuck. I told you that.”
“I haven’t been taking preventatives,” Patricia said.
“No fear,” Buzz smiled, extending his hand again. “I just happen to have some on me.”
“You just happen to have some?” Patricia asked immediately. “You just happen to?”
“Sure,” Buzz said. “I picked some up before boarding. “No one even noticed them in the pocket of my flight uniform.”
“You were instructed to bring nothing,” Patricia said. “Nothing at all except what the regulation set out. This goddamned ship has a maximum-weight capacity.”
“Now, how many excess pounds to you think I added by smuggling aboard one small box of preventatives?”
Patricia shook her head disbelievingly.
“Your time is fast arriving,” she said. “One of these days you’re going to do something you weren’t supposed to. Then look and see what the hell is going to happen.”
“Gee,” Buzz said. “Just because I wanted to fuck a fifty-five-year-old woman? Such static?”
“Just who in the hell do you think you’re calling a fifty-five-year-old woman?” Patricia asked indignantly.
“It’s the year two-thousand-three,” Buzz said.
“My God!” Patricia replied. She automatically checked her body for signs of age.
“You asked me once why I became a member of the Space Corps,” Buzz said. “Now you know. Who else could look twenty at fifty?”
“My God,” Patricia breathed. “Twenty-five years of my life gone in one night’s sleep.”
Unresisting, she let him help her from her capsule.
(to be continued)
Note from Jardonn: William's web site (Link HERE) has more pics of his pulp classic covers, as well as his library of hot erotic fiction still in publication. Best of all, he has an extensive collection of artwork based on his photograph that he calls "'Artists Do' William Maltese."
Best of the best of all, he's put together excerpts of Starship Intercourse from his Greenleaf Classics days for posting to this blog. It is a rare treat, ladies and gents, for here will be words you will find nowhere else -- not unless you were clever enough to save such material from when it was in print.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Oh, great, another award, big deal. News Flash! This one is a big deal.
Last night at EPICON (stands for Electronically Published Internet Connection - Convention) in Las Vegas, the EPPIE AWARDS were presented for outstanding writing in e-book formats, and Rick R. Reed took first place in the GLBT catagory for his novel, ORIENTATION .
Published by Amber Quill Press, Rick's novel is a complex thriller of past lives, of Robert and his long-dead lover Keith, of mysterious dreams and messages channeled through a woman Robert has saved from suicide, and of Robert's current lover, Ethan, whose meth-addicted brain believes that only by destroying Robert can he save himself. It all culminates to a shattering climax in which both loves and lives hang in the balance.
You can read more of the synopsis and an excerpt at Rick's web site HERE.
Thousands of 2008 titles in this catagory alone were culled down to seven, and Rick Reed's Orientation took home the prize. If you scoff at my assertion this is important, just look at the size of Rick's humongous trophy. The smile says it all.
Good work, Mr. Reed. Bask in your glory, and know we are smiling with you and for you.
Friday, March 6, 2009
The book itself deals with a law man in Utah who clings to his Mormon faith while functioning as a closeted gay. Not exactly what you'd call a common theme in the oft-times predictable storylines of gay erotic fiction, but apparently Mr. Buchanan has created a credible story with compelling characters.
The book's only been in release for a few days, and already has received high marks from respected reviewer Chocolate Minx at Literary Nymphs.
FIVE... 5... Count 'em, FIVE NYMPHS... the tops.
Way to go, James! You made for a happy Minx.
Read the review HERE.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Elisa Rolle - My Reviews and Ramblings
She also tells why when she is forced to give a rating, such as at Amazon, she gives the top by default.
Elisa's blog is worth a visit. Her reviews are entertaining and the eye candy she posts nearly melts the ice caps. Do partake.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Wednesday March 4, 2009
EPIC book signing!
Attendees of EPICon 2009 will be presenting and signing their books at the Museum from 7 PM - 10 PM. Wander around, view some lovely erotic art and meet some of your favorite erotic authors...including yours truly!
3275 Industrial Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
The Museum Charges Admission:
Student (18 and older): $15.00
Las Vegas Residents: $15.00
Retired Military: Free