Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Frothing Author: Green River Review

Frothing Author: Green River Review: Lisa at Top2Bottom Reviews has read and written about my 1938-set, ghostly mansex tale, Green River. Here's a snippet from her review: ...

Frothing Author: William Haines via Elisa Rolle

Frothing Author: William Haines via Elisa Rolle: Charles William "Billy" Haines (January 2, 1900 – December 26, 1973) was an American film actor and interior designer. He was a star of the ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Frothing Author: Touchless Love

Frothing Author: Touchless Love: My first audio excerpt from this book, Jardonn's The Good Shepherd features two guys in a Nazi POW camp who must make due with the faciliti...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Good Shepherd 1

Today, December 18, is release day for Jardonn's WWII ebook story, The Good Shepherd, and this is the cover created by its publisher, MLR Press.

As promised, here is the third excerpt. Harold and Frank exit the latrine and walk the yard inside their POW camp, trying to figure reasons for a particular guard dog's unusual behavior.

* * * * *

We didn't talk inside. I peed a little, and the only reason I stayed with Harold was in case other guys started asking him questions about us being singled out. The Nazis frequently put plants amongst us prisoners. Germans acting like Americans hoping to hear useful information, and I didn't want Harold to go it alone if he was accused by the prisoners of being such. Fortunately, nobody said a word to either of us.

"What do you think about that dog?" I pondered as we exited the building. "What confused him?"

We drifted about the yard walking slowly to nowhere in particular. "I don't think he was confused." Harold seemed to have limbered up from his soreness, moved with more ease. "The dog's eyes told me he wants out of here. Like he knows the Nazis's days are numbered."

"His eyes?"

"Sure. Animals have expressions same as we do."

"Hmm. Guess I've never noticed."

"Well, I have. Growing up on a farm, you get to know what animals are thinking. Or at least tell whether they're happy or sad. Or angry, which comes in handy when you're dealing with a thousand pounds of Hereford bull."

"I'll be damned. So, you think this dog's ready to abandon ship?"

"Yes, I do."

"Then, why did he approach us? Any ideas on that?"

"Don't know. Maybe he felt sorry for us. Knew they'd take us into a well-heated room for a search and we could warm up."

I laughed at that one. First time in many a week. "If that's the case, I hope he stops by to see us every day."

"Me, too."

We came to a spot where down a corridor between buildings we could see the kennels. The dogs, all males, had their own fenced yard and wooden houses for shelter. Harold stopped, grabbed my arm. "Do you see what I think I see?"

The Germans had a dog on a leash attacking a man protected by a helmet and face mask, plus padded coverings roped to his limbs and torso. "Looks like a training session."

"Or retraining," Harold knudged me with his elbow. "Can we get closer without getting shot at?"

"Sure, but let's not go between buildings. Follow me." I circled back to an open area where we could view the fenced pen without drawing attention, caddy-corner and about twenty feet away. "Think it's him?"

"I'd put money on it. The Nazis are afraid he's lost his nerve. No longer aggressive."

"Guess they're wrong. He'd eat that man alive if he could get at him."

"If I could get a better look at his tail, I'd know for sure."

I took a few baby steps closer. "His tail?"

"Yep," Harold craned his neck. "His black turns gold on top before ending at the tip. Usually it's black all the way." He inched a bit closer, a few steps ahead of me. "That's him. I guarantee it."

"Good. He's proving himself so he can stay." I grabbed Harold's sleeve, tugged him back. "We better go. Don't want to get him in trouble. I'd hate to lose the only Nazi who's ever been friendly to me."

"Ex-Nazi, Frank."

* * * * *

The Good Shepherd is now available in ebook formats at MLR PRESS.COM

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Good Shepherd 2

What say we start at the beginning of the story? This excerpt nearly leads to yesterday's posted piece.

* * * * *

You belong to me, Harold Tripp, and you are beautiful.

On the day Harold's plane went down, Lady howled all night long. Made sense. Animal sense, you know, like when all the beasts ran for the hills hours before the Indian Ocean tsunami crashed ashore.

Lady was Harold's dog more than mine. He picked her out from a litter of four pups. He named her, and from her puppy years to full-grown, she followed him everywhere. Lady and I got along fine, too, until Harold joined the Air Force and shipped out to Korea. During Harold's tour of duty, Lady had very little to do with me. Kept her distance. Staked herself out a spot in our yard thirty feet from the house where a barbed wire fence bordered our west pasture. At feeding time, she'd stand by the fence watching me while I filled her bowl on the back porch. Calling her did no good. Only after I'd gone back inside would she approach the house and eat.

The dog shelter Harold and I built for her sat near our house, but she never used it after Harold left, and so as winter approached I loaded the damned thing into the pickup's bed and moved it out to her spot. Couldn't bear the thought of her shivering in the Illinois cold, and my gesture worked. She slept in her dog house. Crawled inside when she needed to warm herself or get in from the rain, but otherwise most of her time was spent sitting by the fence and looking west, toward Korea and Harold. Understanding her need, feeling it myself, I turned her house so her doorway faced west.

Through the winter of 1950, I rarely saw Lady. It was almost as though she thought I'd done something to Harold. Taken him away so she could never see him again. I sympathized, because in actuality Harold had taken himself away from me and from her.

After we both returned safely from Europe and our service during World War II, Harold and I enjoyed five years together. Five glorious years, no doubt, but when news broke that the communist north had invaded the south of Korea, I knew he'd be joining in the new fight. Nothing could keep Harold grounded. Not Lady. Not our southern Illinois farm and home. Not me.

Harold Tripp grew up on a farm but was born to soar. After eighty-two missions of piloting B-17's over Nazi-occupied territory, all successful save one, Harold itched to be back in the air for a worthy cause. I needed him to be happy. How could I possibly hold him back and expect our love to be the same as before? Doesn't work. Misery of one partner infects the other until hatred consumes both. Besides, Harold and I had both seen our share of misery.

I like to say Harold was my Christmas gift, delivered to me December 15, 1944.

When the Germans dragged Harold into our seventeen-man Stalag barracks, I took notice like never before. In my three-plus months as a prisoner of the Nazis, I'd seen several downed airmen brought in to join us, but Harold affected me differently. Could have been pity more than infatuation. He'd been roughed up pretty good. Lacerations marred his face, hands and arms. Purple bruises colored his left eye socket.

After his two-man-German-guard escort unceremoniously pushed him through the door and slammed it shut, several airmen rushed to his aid. Guided him to his bed, a two-feet-wide plank of wood with a two-inch-thick mattress recently vacated by a man dead from dysentery. They removed his prison-issued shoes. Laid him down. Tucked him under a thin grey blanket of wool, and then the entire gang, all Americans from downed B-17's, surrounded him.

end excerpt from The Good Shepherd by Jardonn Smith. My MLR Press holiday story is scheduled for release this coming Sunday, December 18.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bibrary Book Lust: REVIEW: Best Bondage Erotica 2012 edited by Rache...

Bibrary Book Lust: REVIEW: Best Bondage Erotica 2012 edited by Rache...: I must say, the good folks at Cleis Press have really spoiled me this year. First it was the five-star transgender collection,  Take Me Ther...

The Good Shepherd 3

Frank Jenkins says Harold Tripp was his Christmas present, delivered to him December 15, 1944. Unfortunately, both men were in a Nazi POW camp at the time. My fictional U.S. airmen arrived at different times after having survived the downing of their B-17 bombers. Their friendship is instant. Their relationship with a Nazi attack dog is highly unusual.

The Good Shepherd is scheduled for release by MLR Press on December 18th. That's three days away, and so I'm posting one excerpt per day until the ebook's release. I made this cover photo. MLR Press will make their own cover, which I will also post on release day. Here is today's snippet, as Frank and Harold get acquainted.


I strolled to my bed while gazing down at him. His eyes were open, staring at nothing. Arms outside the blanket, hands folded atop his chest.

"Needing a snooze?" I asked, taking a seat on my bed to his left.

"Probably," he sighed, forcing a half-hearted grin. "Doubt if I can, though."

"Yep. I know the feeling. Too much thinking about how things could turn so bad so quick." I stood over him, extended my hand. "Sergeant Frank Jenkins. Turret gunner on the Lucy Lu out of Cheshunt."

His grip was stronger than mine. "Lieutenant Harold Tripp, pilot of the Yankee Pride out of Nuthampstead."

I sat on my bed, scrutinized his cut-up face. "Tell you what, Lieutenant Tripp..."

"Harold," he gave me permission.

"Sure, sure. Call me Frank. Are you thirsty?"

"Very," he gingerly drew back his blanket.

"No. You stay put. I'll get it." I dropped to a knee, reached under his bed, pulled out his washpan with a tin cup, bar of soap, toothpaste and brush, shaving razor, and a towel inside, his one-week supply, courtesy of the Red Cross. "I'll be right back," I said with cup in hand. Upon my return, he greedily gulped while I supported the back of his head with my palm. "Want another?"

He wiped his mouth with his fingers. "No, thank you. That will do."

"All right, Harold," I put his cup into the pan and pushed it under. "Try to rest. That's what I'll be doing right here next to you."

"Can do, Frank. Thanks again."

True to my word, I laid down and kept quiet, but only for a minute or two. That's when Harold rolled onto his side and faced me. "Frank?"


"Every man here is skinny as a rail. I'm guessing you didn't come in that way."

"True." I turned onto my side so I could see his reaction to what I had to say. "They're starving us, Harold. Slowly but surely. We get water in the morning. Soup and a chunk of black sawdust bread for supper. We call it that because there's more sawdust in it than flour. Most men don't eat it. Those that do get stomach cramps something awful. Soup is a rutabaga boiled in water. Every now and then we get a potato, but either way each man gets about ten swallows of soup, one tiny piece of vegetable."

"How long have you been here?"

"Since September. I'm guessing I've lost thirty pounds or better. There's no man here who's been in camp more than a year. They're all dead. Dysentery or starvation, take your pick." I waited, taking his silence to mean he wanted to hear more. "Some of the officers and enlisted men who were in bad shape got shipped down to Luft 3 last spring. That's Goehring's quality camp for airmen, or so I'm told. The one the Germans show off to the outside world so they'll think all prisoners are in a good place. This camp here, Harold, is not a good place. I don't even know why it's called a Luft. Only Luftwaffe I've seen is the Commandant. Rest are regular Army or SS." I reached for the corner post of my bed. "See this?"


"Been sawed off. These used to all be tripled-decker bunks. This was once a forty-eight man barrack, according to Jack."

"You mean the barrack's rep?"

"That's him. He's been here since May, and he said that's when the Germans came in and cut off all the top bunks. Chopped them into firewood for their stoves. Officer's quarters and soldier's barracks."

Harold stared blankly toward the floor, and then locked eyes with mine. "Think the guys here can make it another month or two?"

"Yeah. I heard you telling them our men are in Belgium and the east side of France."

"Some are saying we'll be inside Germany by first of the year."

"Well, I know it's getting rough on the Nazis. Our portions of grub shrink every day. I mean, how desperate are they? Can't even spare a few rutabagas for their prisoners. Tell you something else I've noticed."

"What's that?"

"Fewer guards. Like they're taking soldiers out of here to be used somewhere else."

"Maybe east. The Russians are closing in, too."

"Could be. All I know is, if I see a way out of here, I'm running. Hell, before long I'll be too weak to stand. I'd rather take my chances roaming the countryside than to stay here and starve."

"Hmm... I don't know, Frank. This camp might be liberated by New Year's. Can you hold out a few more weeks? No use getting shot when the end is so near."

"Well, Lieutenant, you know more about it than I do, so I'll hang with you for now. All right?"

"Sure, sure. We'll stick together."

Funny how he made it sound as though we needed each other on equal terms. After all, I was the three-month veteran of prison life. Of course, that also meant he was stronger than I by three months. Guess it all evened out.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Frothing Author: Mary Renault via Elisa Rolle

Frothing Author: Mary Renault via Elisa Rolle: Mary Renault (pronounced /rɛnoʊlt/ Ren-olt) (4 September 1905 – 13 December 1983) born Eileen Mary Challans, was an English writer best know...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Frothing Author: Emanuel Goldenberg 1893-1973

Frothing Author: Emanuel Goldenberg 1893-1973: He would be 108 today. There's no need to get into the lengthy biography of this man who appeared in well over 100 films. Just know that h...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Frothing Author: Rainbow Awards Winners Announced

Frothing Author: Rainbow Awards Winners Announced: This year was really HUGE! more than 300 books, more than 100 judges, all over the world (even for the first time Australia), and many, many...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Frothing Author: Jardonn Christmas Tale Giveaway

Frothing Author: Jardonn Christmas Tale Giveaway: Want to get a free PDF copy of this book? Top2Bottom Reviews is helping me gift my short story, Furlough Bridge, set in the U.S. homefr...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

frequently felt*: Lame Porn from the 70s

frequently felt*: Lame Porn from the 70s: Actress Thora Birch (you may remember her from movies like American Beauty , and Ghost World ) is the daughter of two former porn stars: bu...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Frothing Author: Plethora of Art Round 5

Frothing Author: Plethora of Art Round 5: Round 4's winners are chosen. Covers for Round 5 are posted for your viewing and voting. GO! Rainbow Awards Book Cover Contest at Elisa Rol...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Frothing Author: Top2Bottom Takes on Danube Divide

Frothing Author: Top2Bottom Takes on Danube Divide: Lisa over at Top2Bottom Reviews plowed her way through my heavy historical tale, Danube Divide. Set in Rome's Eastern Empire, Lisa read a...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Release: Divinity by Bryl R. Tyne

Divinity was made available last night at midnight! Very excited about it. Those who've pre-ordered, you should be able to download it now. Those of you who haven't ordered your copy, go for it! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Frothing Author: Melvin Dixon via Elisa Rolle

Frothing Author: Melvin Dixon via Elisa Rolle: Melvin Dixon (1950-October 26, 1992) was an American Professor of Literature, and an author, poet and translator. He wrote about black gay m...

Frothing Author: Mavel Hampton via Elisa Rolle

Frothing Author: Mavel Hampton via Elisa Rolle: Mabel Hampton (May 2, 1902-October 26, 1989) was an American lesbian activist, a dancer during the Harlem Renaissance, and a philanthropist ...

Frothing Author: Frederick Rolfe via Elisa Rolle

Frothing Author: Frederick Rolfe via Elisa Rolle: Frederick William Rolfe, better known as Baron Corvo, and also calling himself 'Frederick William Serafino Austin Lewis Mary Rolfe', (July 2...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Frothing Author: Andrew Kopkind via Elisa Rolle

Frothing Author: Andrew Kopkind via Elisa Rolle: Andrew Kopkind (August 24, 1935 – October 23, 1994) was an American journalist. He was renowned for his reporting during the tumultuous year...

Frothing Author: Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Consummata...

Frothing Author: Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Consummata...: Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Consummata -- Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Coll... : Those of you who've been following along will re...

Frothing Author: Charles Demuth via Elisa Rolle

Frothing Author: Charles Demuth via Elisa Rolle: Charles Demuth (November 8, 1883 – October 23, 1935) was an American watercolorist who turned to oils late in his career, developing a style...

Frothing Author: Ned Rorem via Elisa Rolle

Frothing Author: Ned Rorem via Elisa Rolle: Ned Rorem (born October 23, 1923) is a Pulitzer prize-winning American composer and diarist. He is best known and most praised for his song ...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Frothing Author: Elisa Reviews Furlough Bridge

Frothing Author: Elisa Reviews Furlough Bridge: ELISA ROLLE has read and reviewed my World War II Christmas manlove tale, Furlough Bridge.

Here's part of what she has to say:


Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

frequently felt*: 100 Whores

frequently felt*: 100 Whores: A buyer went to the St Marks Bookshop in New York's East Village and chose my 100 Whores to read, far out! (scroll down)

via Marty After ...

frequently felt*: 100 Whores

frequently felt*: 100 Whores: A buyer went to the St Marks Bookshop in New York's East Village and chose my 100 Whores to read, far out! (scroll down)

via Marty After ...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

frequently felt*: The Pittsburgh Kid

frequently felt*: The Pittsburgh Kid: Pittsburgh native Billy Conn first boxed professionally in 1935 at age 16. He lost that one and a couple more, but by 1937 had developed...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Frothing Author: JJ Said 082011

Frothing Author: JJ Said 082011: Jasper's the pen name I use when writing hetero fiction with female dominants. In my tale from the old American West, The Black Pouch Crusad...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

frequently felt*: Carnal Tunnel Syndrome

frequently felt*: Carnal Tunnel Syndrome: "From the Urban Dictionary : Carnal Tunnel Syndrome - A tingling or numbness or a sharp, piercing pain shooting through the wrist as a di..."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

frequently felt*: Mr. Tambourine Man

frequently felt*: Mr. Tambourine Man: "Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meet MLR Press Authors

An Evening of Gay Men's Romance at Giovanni's Room

Philadelphia, PA (August 12, 2011) Join MLR Press at Giovanni's Room for an
up close and personal book signing featuring the award winning authors of some of the best in contemporary gay fiction.

The evening will include readings by: Victor Banis, Ally Blue, James Buchanan, Z.A. Maxfield, William Neale, and Rick R. Reed. Selections from their current releases will showcase a variety of heat, from sweet romance to scorching erotica, and genre ranging from horror through mystery, BDSM, humor and more.

Giovanni's Room, founded in 1973, is the oldest gay bookstore in the US.
Housed in historic buildings from the 1800s, Giovanni's intimate setting and comfortable ambiance allows readers and authors to connect one-on-one, providing a unique experience. Attendees can mingle with their favorite author or discover new books and authors.

Owned by best-selling, award-winning author Laura Baumbach, MLR Press offers the highest quality stories to readers of gay fiction and erotic romance.

MLR Press titles include multiple award-winning and Lambda nominated books such such as the Donald Strachey Mystery Series by Richard Stevenson and The Golden Age of Gay Fiction edited by Drewey Wayne Gunn, a Benjamin Franklin Award winner. Books from MLR Press take readers on amazing adventures through the creative minds of a small, select group of bright, uniquely talented authors and artists.

Friday, August 12, 2011

5:30 to 7:00 pm

Giovanni's Room

345 S. 12th Street

Philadelphia, PA

Also attending and signing books: Laura Baumbach, Kimberly Gardner, Ethan Day, Jet Mykles, Diana DeRicci, Taylor Donovan, Liz Strange, DH Star, David Juhren, and Karenna Colcroft.

For additional information:

Friday, July 29, 2011

frequently felt*: Daring Beth

frequently felt*: Daring Beth: "I love this picture because I rarely see women with my body type - bigger (but not SSBBW) with a double belly in pornish/nude type photos...."

frequently felt*: 'Show me your nuts'

frequently felt*: 'Show me your nuts': "Woman to face trial over fake testicles The police chief of a small South Carolina town will ask a jury to decide if a woman broke the st..."

Plethora of Art XIV

Round 13 - toast. New covers fresh and primed are posted for your view and vote. It's Round 14 of the Rainbow Awards Cover Contest at...

Elisa Rolle's My Reviews and Ramblings

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

HOT SUMMER DAYS for m/m romance readers

So over on Goodreads, I am a member of a readers/authors group, a private group specifically made for those who enjoy m/m romance, aptly called "M/M Romance". The mods of the 3000+ member group got together and come up with a Hot Summer Days contest where members could write an open letter to the authors on the group requesting a story centered around one of their fave erotic photos the group has in a folder. They could even set up the scenario if so desired. The stories are being put up on the group daily since July 1 and by the time they're all posted, the combined word count will come close to 1 million words. Afterward, the stories will be combined into one anthology and made available for FREE.

I accepted reader Jacqueline's challenge to write a story based on this photo and with the instruction "...this man is his muse" and qualifications: HEA and more story over sex.

Here's a snippet of my story:

Tags: short story, deaf, m/m, gay fiction, gay romance, fantasy, anthology
Genres: Fantasy
Content Alerts: N/A

Alipio by Bryl R. Tyne
(He who suffering does not affect)
For Jacqueline

Blurb: Incapable of wooing this man, I stand in awe of his presence, hoping to one day carry myself half as regally, for he has the self-worth of a majestic oak, the harmlessness of a feather, and the heart of a lion. His name is Alipio...and I am hopelessly in love.

Excerpt: Alipio. Every Tuesday afternoon since that first day, his name had rolled off the walls of my mind, blanketing me in peace, guiding my artist's hand. His master called him Alipio. I called him perfect.

No god possessed finer lines...or eyes more soulful.

I was sure of my assessment too as I strained the edge of my charcoal, and felt the energy transfer from Alipio's stare into my own. My left shoulder tensed, tapping that power, feeding it along my arm to fuel the creativity of my hand as it moved in sweeping motions across the canvas.

Coming to myself minutes later, I stepped back from my work in progress, looked toward the front of the room. Alipio remained motionless upon the ladder. I caught the briefest flicker in his irises, and his sure but questioning gaze met mine as if to ask, "Is it done?"

I dropped my stare to my canvas. What I saw there fed my insatiable thoughts of inadequacy. No, I was far from finished...and from the rough lines that I'd gone over at least a hundred times and still not gotten right, I determined the drawing would never be. Surely, my hands could never do justice to one as fine as Alipio. Heat drew my attention upward, my own or the burn of another's stare, back to the face of my muse. Jaw tense on that face of stone, I noted one corner of his perfect mouth crook higher, by just a touch...a smile meant just for me. Cool air from the studio's one open window crept across the back of my sweat-dampened shirt. I shivered, wondering what his master would do to him if he discovered Alipio's unfaithfulness. It was then I realized that I would never be happy until I had Alipio for my own.

I'd been in the market for a new slave for some time, give or take a couple of years. For the longest time, none had satisfied me enough to lead me to purchase any of them. All had left me bereft of emotion, save frustration. Not since my days as a much younger man had I allowed loneliness to guide my decisions. Of course, thirty-three was by far not "old," not by any means. The air left my lungs, dissatisfied, hollow. Alipio had ruined me; I would blame him. Since first setting eyes on the man who belonged to another, I could not recall one happy moment in my life...


Stories are being posted daily and group membership continues to grow. So hop on over to Goodreads and request to join the M/M Romance group so you too can enjoy Hot Summer Days!

Bryl R. Tyne is a wrangler by nature and a writer by choice, published with Noble Romance Publishing, Ravenous Romance, Dreamspinner Press, STARbooks Press, Untreed Reads Publishing, Changeling Press, and Amber Quill Press. Check out Bryl's bi-monthly column: My Way   Find out more about the author at:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Frothing Author: Amos Lassen and Furlough Bridge

Frothing Author: Amos Lassen and Furlough Bridge: "Yes-sir, looks like Amos Lassen is on a Jardonn kick of late. His review of my short story ebook, Furlough Bridge tells the world that Wilt..."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

frequently felt*: Welcome!

frequently felt*: Welcome!: "- and the Frequently Felt family continues to grow: let's have a firm, wet, arousing welcome to two brand new editors and contributors:   J..."

Frothing Author: Amos Lassen and GRIT

Frothing Author: Amos Lassen and GRIT: "I'm always happy to see when Amos Lassen has read and reviewed one of my books. This time, it's GRIT, the Dirty Thirties, erotic manlove nov..."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gladiator Cheated

This from LiveScience via Yahoo News: Just goes to show that referees on the take is nothing new and that history is constantly being modified.

Roman Gladiator's Gravestone Describes Fatal Foul

An enigmatic message on a Roman gladiator's 1,800-year-old tombstone has finally been decoded, telling a treacherous tale.

The epitaph and art on the tombstone suggest the gladiator, named Diodorus, lost the battle (and his life) due to a referee's error, according to Michael Carter, a professor at Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada. Carter studies gladiator contests and other spectacles in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.

He examined the stone, which was discovered a century ago in Turkey, trying to determine what the drawing and inscription meant. [Top 10 Weird Ways We Deal With the Dead]

His results will be published in the most recently released issue of the Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik(Journal for Papyrology and Ancient Epigraphics).

Tombstones talk

The tombstone was donated to the Musee du Cinquanternaire in Brussels, Belgium, shortly before World War I. It shows an image of a gladiator holding what appear to be two swords, standing above his opponent who is signalling his surrender. The inscription says that the stone marks the spot where a man named Diodorus is buried.

"After breaking my opponent Demetrius I did not kill him immediately," reads the epitaph. "Fate and the cunning treachery of the summa rudis killed me."

The summa rudis is a referee, who may have had past experience as a gladiator.

The inscription also indicates Diodorus was born in and fought in Amisus, on the south coast of the Black Sea in Turkey.

Though Carter has examined hundreds of gladiator tombstones, this "epitaph is completely different from anything else; it's telling a story," he told LiveScience.

The final fight

The story the tombstone tells took place about 1,800 years ago when the empire was at its height, its borders stretching from Hadrian's Wall in England to the Euphrates River in Syria.

Gladiator games were popular spectacles, many of them pitting two men against each other. Although deaths from wounds were common, the battles were not the no-holds-barred fights to the death depicted by Hollywood, said Carter.

"I believe that there are a number of very detailed rules involved in regulating gladiatorial combat," Carter said.

Though the exact rules are not well understood, some information can be gleaned from references in surviving texts and art.

For starters, most, if not all, of the fights were overseen by the summa rudis.

Among the rules he enforced was one in which a defeated gladiator could request submission, and if submission was approved by the munerarius (the wealthy individual paying for the show), the contestant could leave the arena without further harm.

Another rule that appears to have been in place was that a gladiator who fell by accident (without the help of his opponent) would be allowed to get back up, pick up his equipment and resume combat.

Death of Diodorus

It's this last rule that appears to have done in Diodorus. Carter interprets the picture of the gladiator holding two swords to be a moment in his final fight, when Demetrius had been knocked down and Diodorus had grabbed a hold of his sword.

"Demetrius signals surrender, Diodorus doesn't kill him; he backs off expecting that he's going to win the fight," Carter said.

The battle appears to be over. However the summa rudis — perhaps interpreting Demetrius' fall as accidental, or perhaps with some ulterior motive — thought otherwise, Carter said.

"What the summa rudis has obviously done is stepped in, stopped the fight, allowed Demetrius to get back up again, take back his shield, take back his sword, and then resume the fight."

This time Diodorus was in trouble, and either he died in the arena or Demetrius inflicted a wound that led to his death shortly thereafter.

This event would have happened before a crowd of hundreds, if not thousands, of people in a theater or in part of an athletic stadium converted into a sort of mini- Colosseum.

After Diodorus was dead, the people who created his tombstone (probably family or friends) were so upset, Carter suggests, that they decided to include some final words on the epitaph:

"Fate and the cunning treachery of the summa rudis killed me."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Suspicious Diagnosis goes E

As in Electronic. Ebook formats include Kindle compatible and sell for $5.99 USD at the publisher's web site, MLR PRESS.

You'll find an excerpt to read there, AND, the ebook has a new cover. See?

Another text excerpt and an audio mp3 from the book can be accessed from my web site here: Jardonn's Erotic

Speaking of excerpts, here's a shortie:

I blame him. I thank him. I love him because he makes me secure. Hate him because he makes me vulnerable to my loving him so much. I shudder at the thought of losing him. Tremble with the notion of him leaving me. For upheaval. For a change of scenery. For anything, or another. I recognize fear as the price for keeping him, but I'd prefer to use plastic. A credit card, a pay-as-you-go, a lay-away plan, a time share. Time erodes doubts, but never fully eradicates. My only consolation is my suspicion that he suffers same as I do. I hope he suffers.

Plethora of Art VIII

Slot 7 results are in. Slot 8 covers are now posted for viewing and voting...

Elisa Rolle's My Reviews and Ramblings

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Love Hurts...

Or so the 1975 song of the same name claims.

Of course, by definition, it's not really the love that does the hurting, but rather one's reaction to it. As the timeless lyrics of the Nazareth song suggest though, love can leave one with more of a mess to sort through than he arrived with. In my latest release, Rite of Passage, novelist John Ashley Price deals with such adversity.

In love, he did what many of us do or have done and trusted blindly, and he ended up in the aftermath of love gone wrong. Broke, penniless, and with nothing but his name, John now suffers from anxiety so strong anytime he gets near anyone "interested," he doesn't know how to cope with the adverse reactions. Just to be around a man who shows interest sends John's body into instant fight or flight mode--a panic attack.

Many of the following physical reactions are known to be felt when one experiences a panic attack:

slow heart beat
difficulty breathing
fear of losing control or dying
sweating, chills, hot flashes
racing thoughts
stomach pain
numbness in limbs

And John get to experience them all. I put the poor man through the wringer in Rite of Passage. But he'll learn that not all love hurts before the book is through. Take a chance. Go along with him on his journey.

 Rite or Passage by Bryl R. Tyne
 Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13:  978-1-61581-926-3
Pages:  80
Cover Artist:  Dan Skinner/Cerberus Inc.


Forty-one-year-old John Ashley Price was a Western writing superstar until his accountant stole his heart—and everything else he owned. Now, unable to write and suffering from debilitating panic attacks, all he wants is to start over someplace where dropping off the radar is the norm. Someplace he won’t meet anyone. A place where writing should come easy. Hence his relocation to Divide, Colorado.

Of course, John didn’t count on Pat Smith—or Pat’s determination and raw sex appeal. Pat has his sights set on winning John’s heart as well as his trust, and he’s making serious headway… until John learns the truth. Just how does Pat know so much about him?


BELLY full, I carried in enough wood to start a good fire, ran myself an extra-large glass of water, added a few ice cubes, and headed back upstairs to write.

Well, Sheriff Chad Hardy, where were we? I got comfortable, noticing the late afternoon sun out the room's single window.

You like sunsets, Chad Hardy?

He didn't, and he cemented the fact by whipping his horse around, effectively placing his back to a horizon of reds and golds.

Not even in the end? I had to ask, I mean, most cowboys rode off into the sunset at the end of my books.

No? Not even in the end. He didn't believe in sunsets.

I couldn't blame him…

…And closed my laptop, stood, stretched, wondering how in the hell Carol had gotten this desk up here. No doubt, my “neighborly neighbor” had a part to play in it. I lifted the front left corner and carried it forward and to my right until I could sit peacefully with the setting sun at my back. Less than a minute later, I was typing away.

Words turned into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and so forth until I had two pages of what I considered “good words.” I leaned back in my chair, feeling rather smug. Fingers laced across my chest, I caught movement in the mirror opposite the room's solitary window and felt the frown that I was sure creased my forehead as I honed in on the streak of movement in the reflection….

I was on my feet, before I could think to move, and looking out my window.


Tracking the only movement I could see through the trees, I watched the wood split—the axe stick—he lifted the entire getup, block of wood and all, and swung it over his shoulder, then back to the stump. Three even pieces toppled to the ground in different directions.

Shirtless, the man kept a rhythm. Judging from the force and repetition of his swings, if I was closer, I was certain I would've noticed the sheen of sweat coating his skin. Through a hundred-plus yards of thinly populated trees, I spied, mesmerized.

Corded muscles drawn taut. The swing. The snap. The release. The quiver….

Okay, okay. I could see his ripped form in my mind's eye only, but I was no less content to lean on that sill and watch my neighbor from a distance. His intention was clear—at least, to me—grab the new guy's attention and keep it. I mean, who in his right mind chopped wood wearing only jeans and a cowboy hat in fifty-degree weather?


I broke my concentration to glance over my shoulder at my laptop, but in the next heartbeat, I was back at that window with my mind fathoms beneath any gutter.

“Well, Sheriff Hardy, looks like you've met your match.”

Sweat beaded at my temples, accumulated across the back of my neck. I adjusted the shrinking fly of my jeans, ran my tongue over dry lips; but sandpaper never moistened anything. With only one thought in mind, I leaned harder on the sill—definitely been awhile since any man’s held my interest.

Sadly, the last one I could recall by name was Mark. The excitement left my lungs in a single, solitary sigh; I even gained a bit of slack in the crotch of my jeans at the thought.

How deflating.

The more I dwelled, the tighter my chest got, and I turned away from the window. Wasn't bad, per se, that I thought of the man, but he'd affected my actions… and my reactions. Bastard had no right.

I pulled myself together, reminded myself the fewer complications the better. “Looks like you win, after all, Chad Hardy.” Time to concentrate on the one man in my life who hadn't given me a shovel full of shit.

I retook my chair, placed my fingers on the keyboard, and waited. Within seconds, I was once again typing away. Seemed all my character needed was some competition to spur him into action.

Like most of my attempts to write lately, though, this one proved a lost cause, also. I hadn't gotten a full page down when my mind drifted back to the scene outside my window. By the shadows cast on the far wall, the sun had all but disappeared, and the wood chopping had ceased a good while ago. I closed my laptop and hung my head, debating—Jim Beam or Jack Daniel’s—which one was the quickest route out of misery?

Purchase Link

Bryl R. Tyne is a wrangler by nature and a writer by choice, published with Noble Romance Publishing, Ravenous Romance, Dreamspinner Press, STARbooks Press, Untreed Reads Publishing, Changeling Press, and Amber Quill Press. Check out Bryl's bi-monthly column: My Way   Find out more about the author at:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Danube Divide is Free

This week's free e-book read at MLR Press is Danube Divide, my homoRoman historical set in the Eastern Empire of 378 CE.

There's an epic battle between Goths and Romans, a mass migration of refugees crossing the Danube, a pretend crucifixion for purpose of mansex, a real crucif... WTH is wrong with me? IT'S FREE! No need to pester you with my sales pitch.

Get Danube Divide now until Sunday June 5th at the MLR PRESS SITE.

Look at top of MLR's page for a small picture of this big picture:

Right click on the little picture, save the file to your hard drive and it's yours forever.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Plethora of Art IV

The winner from slot 3 is announced, and book covers for slot 4 are now posted. Entertain your eyes and your brain, and then vote.

Elisa Rolle's My Reviews and Ramblings

Monday, May 16, 2011

Furlough Bridge and Forrest Barton

Seeing those service banners, that's what made me vulnerable. A blue star banner hanging in the window means somebody from that household is serving overseas in the armed forces. A gold star means somebody gave their life while serving. Either way, it is not possible to look at one of those banners without feeling something.

Back in December of 1944 what I felt was frustration. I couldn't hang one of those blue star banners in my window to honor my Ernie. Never mind that he was somewhere in Europe with the U.S. Third Army. Never mind that one week prior the Germans had launched their offensive in Belgium, known to history as the Battle of the Bulge, and that Ernie soon would be, or for all I knew could have already been, in the middle of that fight -- I could not display a banner to honor him. Jane Doe could hang one for her husband John or son Jim, but Forrest Barton could not do the same for Ernest Surbaugh.

Technically, I suppose I could have, but just think of the questions. "You're a widower with no children, so who's the banner for?"

For the man I love, that's who.

Now, there's a 1944-vintage proclamation made to raise a few eyebrows.

No, all I could do was listen on the radio and read the newspapers for the latest reports. I could fret. I could be proud, and I could honor him in my own way, nice and private.

The first stage was planned. My Christmas tradition, I laid a wreath at the base of the memorial honoring my war, The Great War, or if you wish, World War I. My prayer was for men who served with me -- those who came home; those who didn't -- and because the ongoing German offensive in Belgium so effectively surprised those of us on the homefront as well as Allies on the battlefield, I asked the men who served with me to send their strength to the men currently under siege.

Prayers offered, I strolled to the chest-high wall fronting the memorial. Down below less than half a mile away, the Union Station train depot was a buzz of activity. It was the night before Christmas Eve and trains waiting to depart or having just arrived filled every terminal. From that moment forward, nothing that happened to me was planned.

My bladder needed relief. Union Station was the nearest building with facilities open and available. A soldier in green Army coat standing next to the wall at the last urinal in a row resembled, in profile, Ernest Surbaugh. My Ernie.

Sure, there was no way in hell Ernie could have been in Kansas City that night, but this was one of those "seeing what I wanted to see" things -- one of those "hope against hope" deals, and I had to know for sure. That's why I struck up a conversation with the soldier who turned out to be Vernon Gower. That's why I believed his story that he'd missed his connecting train home. That's why I drove him in my automobile the one hundred miles to get him there. That's why I kept driving even as his story, little by little, fell apart, and despite my faltering faith in him, I continued driving all the way until we were parked in front of his little matchbox house in Lexington, Missouri.

I did it because he looked like Ernie. I was vulnerable. The service banners made me so, but for good purpose.

Pvt. Vernon Gower made it home for Christmas. His corpse was lying frozen in a Belgian field, but his wife and children got his gifts nonetheless, courtesy of me. I bought them. I delivered them, and then I plucked his family from the squalor in which they were living and drove them to Kansas City so they could start their lives anew.

Maybe you don't believe in ghosts. I'm okay with that, and you can call me crazy if you like, but I attest to having seen two spirits in my lifetime. One living under a river bridge in 1938 at the WPA camp where I first met Ernest Surbaugh. The other a victim of the Malmedy Massacre who needed a man of this world to give his family some sort of Christmas.

And what was my reward for my good deed on Pvt. Gower's behalf? Just before leaving for his wherever destination, just after midnight on Christmas Eve, 1944, Vernon Gower assured me that my Ernie was all right. Ernest marched with Patton's Third Army in a dash toward Belgium to break the German lines and relieve the Allied soldiers under seige.

Pvt. Gower's gift to me far outweighed anything I could and did do for his wife and children. Vernon Gower gave me peace. I clinged to what he told me. Believed every word, and around the time Soviet soldiers entered Berlin, May of 1945, I received my first letter from Ernie since Vernon Gower had said what he'd said. All was confirmed, and soon afterward, Ernie came home for good.

My next Christmas, and all those which followed, were spent with a man of this world. One I could touch, hold, breathe in and taste. A man I could keep as mine until the end of my days. My soldier. Ernest Surbaugh.

Jardonn Smith
Read excerpt HERE.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Plethora of Art III

The highest number of votes received in Slot 2 was for Black Gold, cover by P.I. Nunn.

Now, time to vote in Slot 3 and your link is here:

Elisa Rolle - My Reviews and Ramblings

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Plethora of Art II

The next group of book covers are now posted at Elisa Rolle's site for viewing and voting. Anyone can play. All are welcome. Link is here:

Elisa Rolle's Rainbow Awards Cover Contest

Sunday, May 8, 2011

NEW RELEASE: Class Distinctions at 35% Off This Week Only!

I'm pleased to announce my latest release, a romantic ebook short from Amber Allure (the GLBT imprint of Amber Quill Press) called "Class Distinctions."

This week only, the story is available for a 35% discount from the publisher for all ebook formats (for Kindle, choose .prc). Click here to get your copy.

"Class Distinctions" will be available soon for Amazon Kindle, Nook, and other ebook readers.

Here are the details for "Class Distinctions":

Kyle and Jonathan were perfect for each other, the two halves that, once together, made a whole. And then one snowy night just before Parents' Weekend on the campus of Hamilton University, Kyle drops a bomb: he's breaking up with Jonathan.

Class Distinctions follows the couple through the stormy (in more ways than one) night that ensues. Why has Kyle suddenly decided to throw away something so precious and good? The answers lie in their backgrounds, and will gradually come to light as a winter blizzard rages around the young couple. Their tortured paths bring them to the covered bridge where their love had come to life on a hot summer day. But will the warmth of that memory and the heat of the love they once shared be enough to outclass the storm, and more importantly, bring them back together?

...He had come to the bridge almost without thinking about where he was going, but when he arrived there, he knew his feet had had a purpose in bringing him to this place. The snow swirled around him and pitted against his face like needles. He watched as the flakes vanished into the rushing water beneath him.

The bridge was a special place for Jonathan and him. It had been where they had shared their first kiss, back in August, shortly after they had met. The bridge had been a different place, almost of a different world, in August. The sun was bright, beating down relentlessly, bringing the temperature of the day into the mid-nineties. The air was thick, like a damp cloth thrown over one’s skin. Mosquitos hummed…and the leaves on the trees whispered whenever an all-too-infrequent breeze came along.

Jonathan had led him to this bridge, after they had spent the morning hiking the woods surrounding it. The two of them had forged a path along the creek that ran below it.

“You have to see this…it’s really cool.” Jonathan took my hand and led me through a copse of trees to a clearing. He gestured grandly as the vista opened up before us—the weathered bridge, with its stones and faded boards, rose up against the brilliant blue sky like an ancient treasure. On either end of it, weeping willows sagged in the heat.

There wasn’t a soul around us.

Jonathan took my hand in his own and the touch was electric, almost like a jolt, as it coursed through me. It was the very first time he’d touched me and I think that simple pressure of palm against palm and fingers intertwining let me know I was in love with this boy. It also opened the door to a hunger for thousands more touches from him, ones as simple as grabbing my hands and ones a lot more complex.

We fought our way up through cattails growing along the shoreline and further up the rise, brambles, but at last we reached the planks that would lead us inside the covered bridge. Its shade promised cool.

Jonathan pulled me into the darkness and turned to me, smiling. “Isn’t it something? I wonder how old it is?”

I looked in his robin’s egg blue eyes, amazed I could still make out their pale color even in the shade of the covered bridge. “It’s great. Thanks for bringing me here.” I let go of his hand so I could reach up and touch his face. “But it doesn’t compare to you, to just being here with you.”

I leaned down then and kissed him. Even though he had taken my hand, I wasn’t sure until that moment that Jonathan was even gay. We had started the morning as buddies, classmates, fellow students at Hamilton University on our way out on a hot Saturday for a hike. But when he lifted his face and parted his lips slightly to meet me, I knew not only that he was gay, but also that my feelings were reciprocated.

And that filled me with an inexpressible joy.

The kiss lingered for what seemed to me like a half hour, but was really only a minute or two. My tongue probed the inside of his mouth, which tasted sweet, slightly of cinnamon. He reached up and laid his hand on the back of my damp neck to twine in my curls and pull me closer to him. Our sweaty bodies meshed.

It was a moment of pure, undiluted happiness. It was a moment I would never forget...

Click here to get your copy.

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Plethora of Art

You absolutely MUST stop by Elisa Rolle's LiveJournal and see the book covers on display. It's round one of her poll featuring some of the top artwork and photography from published books and ebooks collected on one page. Best part is, after feasting upon the visual stimulants, you can vote for your favorites and see poll results to date.

Do it all at this link:

Elisa Rolle - My Reviews and Ramblings

My favorite so far is Sheri's work for Accidents Never Happen. I'm a sucker for boxers, and the red landscape behind him reminds me of Munch.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Frothing in the Frothy Sea

I really like this picture HERE.

Not only is it the latest interpretation of William Maltese's "Artists Do" series, the artist doing just happens to be Kris Jacen, Executive Editor and Formatting Director at MLR Press, Passions in Print Press, and Featherweight Press.

Considering the heavy workload of Kris's publishing duties, I have to wonder how she found time to create her "William Maltese Arising From the Frothy Sea." Makes me feel as though I'm moving at a snail's pace. Makes me question my own efficiency, or lack of it, but doesn't prevent me from enjoying Kris's graphic.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

As it Was Can Still Be

I got this in an email. Usually in such cases, I will read a paragraph or two and delete, but the writing on this piece carried me to the end. The author is Michael Gartner, whose career began as a sports writer and progressed to managing editor of many newspapers and president of NBC News. He wrote this in 2006. Hope it hooks you like it did me.

* * * * *

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in:

"Oh, bull!" she said. "He hit a horse."

"Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car.. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines , would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough , my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.

(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church.

She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn."

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it.. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support.

"No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works." But then she added: "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

"Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."

I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said " If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred."

At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer."

"You're probably right," I said.

"Why would you say that?" he countered, somewhat irritated.

"Because you're 102 years old," I said.

"Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: "I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet!"

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

"I want you to know," he said, clearly and lucidly, "that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have."

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, or because he quit taking left turns.

* * * * *

The beauty of carefully-chosen words is a gift. Thank you, Mr. Gartner, for sharing yours.


Friday, April 22, 2011

GRIT Your Teeth

We have our first (known) review of the William Maltese / Jardonn Smith man-on-man novel, GRIT, and it comes from Elisa Rolle at her site,

Our story is set in the 1933 Dust Bowl of Kansas, where railroaders and freight-train hitchers do battle with bootleggers and other assorted hoodlums while trying to find time for love-making.

As is always the case, Ms. Rolle tells readers exactly what they're in for without giving away plot, plus, as always, she finds traits in our characters even we didn't recognize.

So, with a nod to Elisa and much gratitude, William and I invite you to read her review (Reviews and Ramblings link above) and consider our book. See GRIT at the MLR PRESS web site HERE.

There's an excerpt to read at MLR, plus text and audio excerpt links at my web site HERE.

Thank you, Elisa.


Friday, April 15, 2011

25 on 5 - Bandit's Prey 2

by Jardonn Smith, Copyright 2007

“Sorry, Bob, I don’t believe you. Guess you’ll have to watch us do our thing.”

Taggert stood helplessly and waited. The arches of his feet already were sore, but any lowering of his body tightened the noose around his neck, so he continued to prop himself up. He watched the men bring two of his saw horses from the side wall and place them between him and his two ranch hands. With a shotgun still aimed at their heads, Jason and Lucas were forced to strip naked, then made to bend over and straddle the ends of the horses. The blond-haired Lucas cast his eyes to the floor, while Jason turned to look at his boss.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Taggert. We ain’t told ‘em nothin’.”

“I know, boys.”

Each of the men’s ankles were roped to the two vertical legs of the saw horses, followed by their wrists, which were stretched beyond their heads and tied to the top horizontal beams. From Bob’s view, each man’s buttocks faced him about four feet away, while their bodies were bent at angles of 90 degrees. Their legs were spread like an inverted “V” in conjunction with the legs of the saw horses, while their strong backs flared from the extended and stretched position of their arms.

Bob encouraged them by explaining the deal. "It's my fault they're here, men. I'm sorry. I got us into this mess and we'll just have to fight through it." 

The lead henchman butted in, “That’s a touching speech, Mr. Taggert, but we know they can’t help us. They’re just here for our entertainment. You can watch, too.”

Removing their belts, two of the bandits started laying leather across the broad backs of the ranch hands, starting at the deltoids and working downward towards the butt cheeks. Neither victim cried out, but emitted manly grunts and an occasional whimper. Taggert watched the beatings in anger, but his rage was not directed at the hoodlums. No, Bob Taggert was angry with himself – and his wife. It had been less than 24 hours since they had last seen the man responsible for this invasion – this violence against him and his employees.

Sex had brought this to them. Bob and Marsha Taggert liked to swing with other couples. They had just wrapped up a satisfying four way in the plush room where they had spent the last two evenings – The Pepper Grinder Hotel and Casino in Wendover, Nevada.

Wendover was just a lonely spot along Interstate 80, until someone decided to put a casino there. Surrounded by the Utah Salt Flats to the east and Nevada desert for endless miles in every other direction, there was no logical reason to put anything there, but somebody did and soon two other companies came to the same area to build.

Bob and Marsha loved to visit Wendover – more Marsha than Bob – and would book their favorite room at the Pepper Grinder weeks in advance, even though there was no need for reservations. It was their destination of choice for any special occasion or just to get away, because Marsha loved to play the slots, while Bob enjoyed the comfy beds, good food, saunas, swimming pools and frequent sex parties his constantly-horny wife managed to put together for him. Plus, knowing how his wife liked to gab with strangers, he avoided taking her to Las Vegas or Reno, where too many hustlers and con-artists lurked for easy prey. The Wendover crowd – what little there was of it – was more their kind of people and this allowed Bob to relax when there.

His first meeting with Everett and Mindy Hurst came at the hotel pool and nearby whirlpools on an open-air rooftop. Pre-arranged by Marsha, the Hursts joined the Taggerts for a swim, then conversation in bubbling and heated water – four in a hot tub. Bob’s screening process was thorough, as Everett and Mindy convincingly posed as vacationers weary of the crowded casinos of Las Vegas and Reno. He was an insurance salesman for The Prudential and she, like Marsha, a housewife. None had kids, because they preferred to party – in the bedroom – and since they were more than attractive enough, that’s where the four of them ended up. Two joy-seekers and two supposed vacationers traded partners to fuck, eat pussy and suck cock in a marathon, six-hour session.

Making the most of the Taggerts’s two-king-sized-bed suite, the gala ended with some three-on-one body worship, the final recipient being Bob. They stretched him out on one of those big beds, and while Mindy and Marsha took turns riding up and down Bob's thick pole, Everett and whichever other one was available worked their tongues all over Bob’s compact and strong body, stimulating every sensitive area that could be found.

It was one of the hottest hook-ups he had ever been involved with and he performed like some sort of super-human stud, keeping his cock fully swollen and firing endless salvos into whatever receptacle happened to be ready to take it. After that, Bob and Marsha slept peacefully, while Everett and Mindy returned to the casino for more slot play – or so they said. Obviously, the Hursts had checked out of the hotel and – armed with whatever information they had finagled out of the naive Marsha – managed to find the Taggert ranch, bringing the entire gang of bandits with them.

Suddenly, a painful scream jolted Bob from these memories.

Straining his neck to the left, he saw a cattle prod electrocuting his foreman, Marsh Nolan. The suspended man howled in agony, as the metal touched the middle of his back and forced him to thrust his upper torso forward, where he was greeted by two solid fists pounding into his chest and belly. Taggert winced when he saw what they were doing to his good friend. Nolan's body twisted and writhed, uselessly trying to avoid the simultaneous assault to both his front and back.

Oddly, Bob Taggert didn’t think about the ungodly pain being inflicted upon his foreman, but more about the desecration of that beautifully masculine body – one which he had seen up close and personal many times. Wiry and chiseled from hard work on the ranch, now it was being scarred by hideous jolts and bruising punches. And as a further insult, the cattle prod was one of their own – hand-held, battery powered and capable of delivering up to 60,000 volts of electricity – used by the ranchers in persuading animals to move through chutes or up and down ramps. It was designed to prod 1000 pound livestock – not 180 pound humans. Marshall Nolan was a man and Taggert could no longer idly watch them torture his friend with that hideous device.

“God damn you, Hurst, stop it. He doesn’t know anything.”

“Of course not. We figured that out long ago. This is for your benefit.”

“Leave him be. Let my men go and work on me.”

Hurst raised his hand and the torture stopped. “Your time will come soon enough.”

Nolan’s body collapsed and the chin dropped onto his chest. Scars of crimson red peppered his handsomely defined shoulders and muscular back. Bob was sickened by the sight of this, as he reflected upon the times he had lovingly scraped his nipples across the solid surface of that man’s back, while driving his penis into the squeezing depths of the same man’s bowels.

Men get lonely moving cattle from one part of 250,000 acres to another, and since men are purely sexually beings, they have no reservations about taking care of one another next to a warm campfire miles from nowhere. These men held a deeply seeded trust and fondness for one another – a necessity on the open range, where one slip up could result in injury to either men, horses or valuable livestock. Inspired by rolling hills and natural grasslands at the foot of the Calico Mountains, these men strengthened their bonds when darkness fell.

Every 30 days or so, Bob, Marsh, Lucas and Jason would cull a number of select animals from the herd, then drive them to the feedlot pens built between Nolan’s living quarters and the main ranch house. These cattle drives usually took at least 76 hours to complete and when the four men were alone at night on the grasslands, Bob would hook up with Marsh and Jason with Lucas.

This man’s cattle was a prized commodity. Once the selected head were brought to the home feedlots, they would be pampered for the final year of their lives. Only irrigated corn went into their bellies and Taggert beef had a direct pipeline to all the Las Vegas and Reno hotels. In fact, all Bob Taggert needed to do when he had livestock ready for harvesting was to dial his phone, call the packing house and wait for their trailer trucks, which would be sent directly to his ranch within 12 hours. For three generations the Taggert family had run one of the finest cattle operations in the state and a check arriving from the Gerlach Postal Office would mean pay day for the Taggerts and their hired hands.

He loved these men and treated them accordingly. They had a top-notch bunkhouse within sight of the main house, plus Bob Taggert paid them in cash, because where they lived banks were hard to come by. Three hours north of Reno, the only town of size anywhere near the ranch was Gerlach and even that was 65 miles away. This is why Bob used the bank only to convert checks into cash and kept plenty of it in a safe at his home.

Next post 04-25

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Release: At Day's End

At Day's End by Bryl R. TyneAt Day's End by Bryl R. Tyne
Samuel's not just feeling old, he is old, but he's not dead... not yet. And the bright spot of his week is spying on his hot new gardener. No one knows better than he does how ridiculous it is to think a twenty-something beefcake would show any interest in a recluse like him; fifty years hasn't changed a thing, really. Though Samuel feels a connection he can't explain, he's stunned beyond words one Friday morning to find the young man knocking at his back door....
 A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

ISBN-13: 978-1-61581-858-7
Pages: 16
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Categories: Daydreams, Fantasy/Paranormal, Bryl R. Tyne, Bittersweet Dreams
Book Type: eBook
File Formats Available: .epub, .lit, .prc, html, pdf