Friday, December 4, 2009

Do Readers Fully Understand Book Pirating?

While I was filing abuse forms this week with book pirates, I wondered if readers who download illegal e-books know what they are doing. Since I have always followed the law, and I believe in the law and respect the law, I truly don't believe readers fully understand what they are doing. Maybe I'm being naive, though. If you want to read another post I wrote last summer about book pirating, here's the link: And if you do a search on my blog, there are even a few more.

This post is more for readers than it is for authors or publishers. Frankly, I'm emotionally flattered when readers go to pirate sites and download my books for free. At least they are reading them and talking about them, even if my hard work is being completely ignored. I do file abuse forms all the time, but it's virtually impossible to keep up with book pirates. They are making a lot of money by doing this, and a lot of people are supporting them. But I don't think the people who are supporting them fully understand the magnitude of what they are doing.

One fact about book pirating is clear. No matter how much anyone wants to justify downloading e-books for free from pirates, it's still illegal. I don't make the laws; I don't decide what's legal or not. And when someone goes to a book pirate site, signs up, and pays a fee to join, their information is permanently recorded forever. People think they are getting away with something by using fake names and fake identities on these sites. And on the surface, they are correct. If you sign up with a pirate site and download books for free, and discuss those books and leave comments and reviews under the name "Chantw0968," or something like that, you are protecting your identity on the surface. (Chantw0968 is an actual person with a profile who downloads books for free; click the link on Chantw0968 to see how it operates. If you've never done this, it's interesting to see how dark and furtive and creepy this whole underground world really is. I actually feel bad for people like Chantw0968)

However, your information is still there. Whenever there is a crime, especially when it comes to things like sexual child abuse, the first thing the authorities do is confiscate the computer. They do this for a reason. Anything you do on your computer is recorded. Anything you download can be traced back to you and the computer you used. A while back, there was a well known cigarette web site. They sold cigarettes cheaper than anyone in the world. Millions of people ordered from them and they made tons of money. But they were doing this illegally. And the government caught up with them, confiscated all their merchandise, and then went after the people who purchased illegal cigarettes from them. These customers (most didn't know how illegal this was) paid hefty fines and back taxes. And they never even received their cigarettes.

In the world of technology, even if you think you're doing something anonymously, you're not, Chantw0968. If someone with the right power and knowledge wants to find out who you are and go after you, they can. Personally, I wouldn't want to take that chance. The laws between what is legal and what is not are clearly defined. And they are becoming clearer each day.This isn't an emotional issue up for debate; it's not even a moral or ethical issue. Downloading books from pirate sites is illegal and you are infringing on the author's copyright.

Update: As of today, Dec. 6th, the user, Chantwo968 that I linked to on the pirate site has hidden his/her profile from public viewing. Interesting, and most likely not a coincidence. So if anyone is interested in checking out another profile, here's a fresh one:
pmac_xer 595 ♠ 1076 ♣
Be interesting to see if this one disappears, too. By checking this link, you can see the books they've released and the books they are requesting as free downloads, which infringes on the author's copyright and is highly illegal.

Love in Which You Can Believe

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Love in Which You Can Believe

While I was writing A CHRISTMAS CARL, I kept wondering about the darkness of the overall storyline in the original novella, "A Christmas Carol." And I knew that this storyline had been done many times, in many ways, both in books and in films. I'm not exactly sure, though, if it's been done with an LGBT slant as a m/m romance. So the key factor with this book that I thought was most important was the LOVE. Carl, the main character, had to believe in LOVE, otherwise nothing would have mattered and he wouldn't have been able to grow.

The love is what causes all the conflict in the story. It takes this typically dark story and turns it into something uplifting and light. I didn't play around with the fact that the main character is cheap and mean and everything that Christmas and love is not about. Due to various circumstances in his life, Carl has given up on love and he despises Christmas. As a matter of fact, from page one, Carl's negativity and his cold blooded attitude toward everything that is good and decent about love and Christmas is chronicled. And he's not well loved by anyone else, either. All the negativity within him, attracts even more negativity to him.

But as the story progresses and Carl witnesses why he's become the way he is with the help of the three Christmas Ghosts (one of which is the ghost of Quentin Crisp), he begins to arc, ultimately leading toward a very happy ending that's filled with the kind of romance and love and quality of life Carl thought he'd once lost. And the fact that he is a gay man, who has lived through major changes in the way society views gay men, (I never get political, but as an openly gay writer it would be impossible to write a m/m novel without getting into the realities that surround gay men) makes the climax of the book even more valid. In other words, he has real reasons (he thinks he does) for becoming a negative man who hates Christmas; just as he has real reasons for changing the way he lives his life in the end of the book.

And it's all centered around love. Love is what gives him the reason the change. And believing in Love is what changes all the lives around him.

Happy Release Day: A Christmas Carl

Thursday, November 19, 2009
Happy Release Day: A CHRISTMAS CARL

What makes A CHRISTMAS CARL different from other versions of "A Christmas Carol?"


Second, it's a gay version, which I don't think has ever been done before.

Third, Hillary Clinton actually does become President of the United States...way into the future.

The storyline revolves around love, hope, miracles and second chances. When the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come pays a visit to the main character, Carl Smite, it's actually the ghost of gay icon Quentin Crisp. Mr. Crisp was born on December 25th, and I thought it would be fitting to help him show Carl how he can get back the love of his life, save his son from a horrible death, and spend the rest of his life giving to others instead of taking from them.

There are a lot of romantic scenes in this book, and all the sexy scenes help the love between the two main characters move forward. But there aren't as many sexy scenes in this one as there are in some of my other books. But, in spite of all Carl's past transgressions and his penchant for hoarding money, there is a very happy ending and a great deal of hope for the future.

Here's the back cover copy. I'll post an excerpt later this week.

If you believe in Christmas miracles, second chances, and absolute true love, then this remarkable journey of rediscovery will guide you through one selfish man's quest to recapture everything he thought he'd stopped loving.
Wealthy Carl Smite, owner of a high-end antiques store in Greenwich Village, hates Christmas so much he takes the last dollar bill from a sick delivery boy with one leg on Christmas Eve. Carl despises everything that is good and pure about Christmas, including the fact that his employee devotes his time to handing out free dinners at a homeless shelter.
But when Carl goes to sleep on Christmas Eve, he never expects to receive a visit from the ghost of his former business partner, Marty Keller. Marty explains that Carl will have a visit from three Christmas ghosts that night.
The solemn Ghost of Christmas Past takes Carl back to a Christmas when he was in love with the most wonderful man in the world. The lighter, beautiful Ghost of Christmas Present shows Carl what happened to the love of his life and introduces him to the son he never knew he had. And the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, who is actually the flamboyant ghost of gay icon Quentin Crisp, shows Carl the horrible things that will happen to him, and all the people he loves, if he doesn't start loving again.
And while Carl is working through a Christmas Eve he'll never forget, the romance moves toward a joyful climax of enlightenment and transition as he searches for the true meaning of life and hope. By the time Carl wakes up on Christmas morning, will he be ready to reclaim his lost love and give back what he's taken from the world?

It's that Time of Year Again: A CHRISTMAS CARL

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again: A CHRISTMAS CARL

I don't usually write holiday novels. The reason is because you have to write them when it's not Christmastime, and it's hard to get into the holiday spirit during the summer. But this year we came up with an idea that is a play on "A Christmas Carol," and titled it A CHRISTMAS CARL.

It's a gay version, loosely based on the original storyline. Only in this gay version, which runs 50,000 words, things get more complicated and the ending is much longer than the original. The main character is a wealthy young man who hates Christmas, and on Christmas Eve he gets a visit from three ghosts who are all colorful and exciting. The last ghost, The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, is actually the Ghost of the famous gay icon, Quentin Crisp. Mr. Crisp was born on December 25th, I've always been a huge fan of his, and I thought he'd make an interesting ghost in a gay Christmas novel. I hope he would have liked it.

And, of course, this is a m/m romance with a very happy ending. I will say that the erotic scenes have been toned down quite a bit in this novel, as compared to other books I've written. And that's because too much sex in this story just wouldn't have worked.

So here's the new cover. I'll post the actual back cover copy of the book, and an excerpt, on the release day.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Pre-Release Post about DOWN THE BASEMENT


I just received the cover art for a stand alone short story titled, DOWN THE BASEMENT. It's five thousand words and though it hasn't been released yet, it has a history I'd like to explain.

The story was first published in an anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, which got some great reviews. and then it was selected for BEST GAY EROTICA 2009 anthology by Richard Labonte. And the BGE 2009 anthology went on to win a Lambda award this year in the best gay erotica category.

Recently, I decided to retire the story for good and have it published, for the last time ever, with as an e-book. I made a few changes to the original story, so it's not exactly the same as the one published in the first two print books. I added more dimension to the main character and one supporting character, and I added a happy ending that expresses hope and promise for the future of these two characters.

When it's officially released, I'll post again and give a few samples and a more detailed explanation so readers know exactly what they are buying. But make no mistake, there's no "coitus" in this story (lol) It is classic gay erotica.

How Do I Feel About Maine Today?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How Do I Feel About Maine Today?

I've been writing (and reading) gay romance for a lot longer than m/m fiction has been considered a trendy thing to write. And I'm sure, without a doubt, that I'll be writing it long after the trend has died down. When someone reads my books or my short stories, they are reading fiction that I have based on my own personal experiences as a gay man. I know discrimination on a personal level and I don't have to go out and research it for a book. All I have to do it draw from my own personal experience and it's there.

I also don't have to go around the Internet today posting about how disappointed I am in Maine and leaving heartfelt comments on blog threads about how I wish the characters in my books weren't so far away from realizing their dream of obtaining the same equal rights every American citizen has. I live the for the dream every single day of my life, and it is a given that I have always fought for, and always will fight for, the civil rights of gay Americans.

And while I'm extremely disappointed in Maine today. I'm not giving up hope yet, because I truly believe that there are just as many people who disagree with Maine as there are who agree with them. We just have to fight a little harder next time.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NaNoWriMo...National Novel Writing Month and Ravenous Romance

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. There's a great opportunity being offered over at right now.

Ravenous Romance is supporting the writers who enter NaNoWriMo this year and I'm helping to spread the word. You can read all about it here:

This is a huge thing for new writers. So often they are discouraged and laughed at for entering NaNoWriMo, and for once someone is supporting them. Especially m/m writers. I love to see this happening.

Sleepless in San Francisco, # 8 on

I've been really bad about updating my livejournal blog. I keep up with google blogger all the least three times a week. But here's an update about SLEEPLESS IN SAN FRANCISCO.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

LGBT romance SLEEPLESS IN SAN FRANCISCO on Best Seller List at ARE


I received an e-mail this morning that SLEEPLESS IN SAN FRANCISCO just hit number 8 on the web site. So I figured I'd post something. I've received tons of e-mails about this book, and almsot all (you can't have it all :) have been great.



A Nice Review for TAKE ME ALWAYS....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A New Review for TAKE ME ALWAYS...


I'm posting this review for TAKE ME ALWAYS because this is one of those times that a reviewer picked up on all the things I had hoped someone would see while reading this book. Though it's loosely based on "The Notebook," in a large sense this is the "Gay Notebook" that was never written by anyone. The characters are loosely based on older gay couples that I've personally known who have had to deal with aging and nursing homes. These are men and women who have never been able to legally wed, but they've remained in love, committed to each other, and have remained with each other right to the very end.


But this book is still a romance with a happy ending. Which made it difficult to write at times. And in the end, even though life itself can be extremely difficult, love truly does conquer all.

Lunch with Elisa Rolle, Book Reviewer

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lunch with Elisa Rolle, Book Reviewer

For the past few days I have been following the blog posts of M/M book reviewer, Elisa Rolle. I saw that she was in the US on vacation, touring the east coast, and I contacted her about possibly meeting in person.

To my surprise, she accepted an invitation to meet me at my home on her way back to New York, from the Baltimore Washington area. Then we started private messaging each other through, where we both have blogs. For some reason, my AOL account kept bouncing back all the e-mails I was sending her and I didn't want to miss out on a chance to meet her in person. I was so determined that I actually posted my home address and phone number on her comment thread, knowing I should not do something like this on the Internet. Thankfully, when she saw it, she covered it up.

I don't remember exactly how long ago it was, but I met Elisa, online, through a review she'd written about a short story I wrote. The short story is titled, "Irene's Cabin," and it was published in an anthology by Alyson Books a few years ago. The story was a romance; the characters were totally in love and there was a very happy ending. And Elisa seemed to like it, so I thanked her in the comment thread.

After that, I started reading her blog regularly. I liked her taste in books and I'm always looking for good recommendations when it comes to my own personal reading. We seemed to connect through the comment thread and we built a nice online friendship without even realizing we were doing it.

This past year I did in in-depth interview with Elisa and I published it here and on The questions were geared toward M/M fiction and book reviewing, but the answers I received were detailed and smart. I gained an even stronger respect for Elisa after that interview. I also learned a few things I didn't expect to learn.

I never, not in a million years, thought I'd get a chance to meet her in person unless I actually went to Padua and visited her myself. But it happened today. She pulled into my driveway at one o'clock this afternoon, she sat in my living room and we talked, and then we went out to a restaurant and had lunch.

Elisa was traveling with a good friend, Alessandra, who was doing all the driving and all the navigating. I was amazed to hear how much ground they covered while in the US. They drove between Mt. Desert Island in Maine and Virginia in a record two weeks time. We talked about books, about authors, and about publishers. We probably bored poor Alessandra to death. But the time passed too quickly. When we arrived in the restaurant, the room was filled. By the time we left, we were the last people left from the lunch crowd.

Online friendships can be simple or complicated. It's an entirely different way of connecting and communicating. I've worked for editors for years that I've never met in person. I've never actually met my own agent. My friend, Ryan, has been an online friend forever, and I've never actually met him in person, either. But yet I feel as if I know these people. And that's exactly how it was with Elisa. I only wish the time we had this afternoon hadn't passed so quickly.