Thursday, May 31, 2012

Masterpiece! The Statue, by Zathyn Priest

Hi guys,

I wanted to share with you a story I read last night. It's Zathyn Priest's seventh story, The Statue, another one to place on the shelf of great masterpieces. What makes the story even more special is that if you buy it from his website, you get the graphic version too. Those graphics are absolutely stunning! 

If you've read a Zathyn Priest story before, you'll know that what you'll get is top quality. If you haven't read one before, I so envy you for the gems you have yet to read! I don't know of another m/m author who has 4+ star ratings on ALL of his stories on Goodreads. That's so rare for authors, but not surprising for Zathyn. His writing is beautiful, funny, and the storylines stay with you forever. It's no wonder that his books keep popping up on lists of bestsellers and awards.

You can download a free graphic story, One of Those Days (my first read and what got me hooked on this author). You also get a "normal" story (without the graphics), but I do recommend the graphic one, it's just so beautiful. 

You can also buy The Statue for $2.99 (a total steal for a story like this) - and while I'm at it, Left of Centre is also $2.99 and it is to die for! (Yes, this is me being a total fangirl). Then there are the bestselling novel length works: The Curtis Reincarnation (Rock star!! *Swooon*), Liquid Glass (currently down for re-publication), and The Slayer's Apprentice. Last but not lease is his blog story Emrys Amara. They're all brilliant.

While I'm at it, Zathyn is giving away a copy of The Statue on Friskbiskit. It ends on Monday (I think).

The Statue Blurb:

Freelance journalist, Tristan Church, wants to expose Galloway Mental Hospital’s dirty secrets. Teaming up with broody photographer, Mark, promises other perks.  A ten year relationship with high school sweetheart, Eli, no longer offers Tristan the excitement he craves.  Mark made his intentions clear and Tristan is close to giving in to his advances.

One morning at ‘The Gallows’ leaves Tristan reeling.  He wasn’t prepared for the hell he witnessed and certainly wasn’t prepared to meet Zane.  Disarmed by Zane’s angelic manner, Tristan can’t believe anyone would stand him up.  He soon realises the tardy boyfriend only exists in Zane’s mind and the beautiful young man is not a visitor to The Gallows but a patient.

Eli walks out and Tristan’s life falls apart.  A decision to meet with Mark almost ends in tragedy and Tristan finds solace in Zane’s company.  Before long Zane’s delusions begin terrorising him again.  While Tristan fights to save his own sanity and get Eli back, he knows someone must fight for Zane’s right to love a man no one else can see.  A man who scares away violent hallucinations, takes away Zane’s fear, keeps him safe, and is trapped inside a stone statue.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Absolutely Eric Giveaway

Hi guys,

I'm being interviewed at Book Reviews and More by Kathy today with a giveaway of Absolutely Eric. Please stop by :) The drawing is 5 PM tomorrow.


Monday, May 21, 2012

HAH Winners

Hi guys :)

Thank you all for taking part in the Hop Against Homophobia. The participants worked hard on their posts and the visitors left thought provoking comments. All in all, the outcome was far beyond my expectations, and I'm thrilled. 

I've drawn the winners from my giveaway, and they are:

For a choice off my backlist (any pre-May release):
Sal - (flubber2kool...)
SiNn - (mortalsinn...)
Rissa - (raynman1979...)

Absolutely Eric:
Luci - (elle.cee6...)

$40 donation to the Samtökin 78 will be given in the name of:

I have sent mail to the winners.

Thank you all for stopping by and I hope to see you all in next year's hop :)


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hop Against Homophobia!

It's time! It's the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. It's the day where we stand up and and say no to homophobic and transphobic discrimination. It's a day where we honor GLBTQ people and their rights and remind the world of the injustice they've gone through, but it's also a day to be celebrated because a lot has been accomplished in fight against homophobia and it's worth noting those things in hope that it will give inspiration and hope.

I'd like to talk about homophobia and transphobia in my home country, Iceland. I've been saying left and right that there isn't much homophobia here, because the people I know aren't homophobic. The media and society here also appear to be very supportive of GLBTQ people, but I felt uncomfortable stating this during this hop, in case I was wrong. So I stopped by the Samtökin 78, The National Queer Organization, last week and spoke with the director, Árni Grétar Jóhannsson. 

Icelandic Prime Minister
Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir
First, Iceland is a small country with around 300,000 inhabitants. The general public is not heavily religious and most of the churches here are liberal and welcoming to everyone (GLBTQ people included). We have a lesbian prime minister, but no one really cares. We have a lot of people in show business who are openly gay and, for the most part, they don't suffer for that. In fact, they're generally more respected for being open about themselves.

Iceland hasn't always been open to homosexuality - far from it. In a 1975 interview with Hörður Torfason, the first Icelandic man to openly admit his homosexuality in a magazine, he talks about how homosexuality shouldn't be anyone's business. He also talked about the hardships he'd gone through because of the rumors of him being gay. Among other things, he couldn't rent an apartment and had to take a lot of verbal (and hinted at physical) abuse. He had to flee the country after the interview, because his life was threatened. This is truly heartbreaking, and the worst thing is that this is still what GLBTQ people have to face today in many countries. But a lot has changed in Iceland since 1975.

Samtökin 78
Árni confirmed that there isn't a lot of homophobia in Iceland. Samtökin 78 has been working tirelessly for 30 years for the Icelandic community to accept GLBTQ and to protect the rights of GLBTQ people. Árni told me that the first thing they did was to take the words "lesbia" and "hommi" and make it their own, so in Iceland it's perfectly acceptable to use those terms (though I feel wary about using "hommi", because "homo" in English is usually offensive). They go to schools and educate the kids. They also get called out to the schools especially if there's extra need (if prejudice pops up in relation to a GLBTQ child, for example). They're also very active in the community and make sure that the government doesn't do anything silly that would compromise the interests of the people they represent. 

Icelandic pop star, Paul Oscar
Working alongside the Samtökin 78 is Paul Oscar, Iceland's most beloved pop singer. I remember him from when I was a teen and I also remember how he repeatedly shocked the public into acceptance with his videos, interviews, and just by being his gorgeous, amazing, fun and charming self. Absolutely nothing is taboo when it comes to him and he'll answer any question on homosexuality, not matter how intrusive. Árni confirmed that he's been a huge part of bringing acceptance of gays and lesbians in Iceland. 

Celebrity stylist Karl Berndsen
There are more public figures that have helped bring acceptance. There's Friðrik Ómar, a singer who's flamboyant like Paul Oscar, but is married to a man and they walk hand-in-hand like any other couple to public events. There's the confident and eloquent Karl Berndsen, a hair and makeup stylist who moved back to Iceland a few years back and did a TV series. There are many more, but it's time to move on to the less positive sides...

There may be less homophobia in Iceland than in many other countries, but that is not to say that there is none. What were harmless "homo jokes" and comments before, now sound offensive to me and is probably hurtful to others. There is also gossip about GLBTQ people in smaller communities...but then there's also a whole lot of gossip about everyone else, so I guess this will never change. Árni was able to name four loud voices - bloggers - in Iceland who actively speak out against GLBTQ people, and one church (that is not a part of the national Lutheran church). However, the government and city officials are clear: homophobic discrimination is not acceptable. The church had been promised funds from the city, but the promise was withdrawn when Reykjavik learned of the church's anti-GLBTQ speech and ideals. One of the bloggers is a school teacher in Akureyri (the largest town in the north), but he got discharged because of his anti-GLBTQ speech, as it was likely to influence the children. He appealed, saying it had nothing to do with his teaching, so he's still teaching today, but Akureyri isn't giving up and the lawsuit is still going.

Web-TV Star Vala Grand
Trans people, unfortunately, are not as accepted as gays and lesbians. Árni told me that two years ago, the rights of trans people were in the same place as the rights of gay and lesbian people were thirty years before. For the past two years, Samtökin has been working hard to fight for trans-rights, and to educate the public. Things seem to be changing for the better though, and a lot of it has to do with Vala Grand, another public figure who isn't afraid to express herself. Physically, she used to be a he, but has now gone through a sex change. She has been very open about the whole process and hosts her own web-TV shows that are very popular. I can only hope that by being herself and allowing others to get to know her, transphobia in Iceland will quickly die down. But there's still work to be done, because a few weeks back, a trans-man was badly beat up in a bar for being who he is.

Beside writing this blog and organizing the hop, there is one other thing I've done today. I've joined the Samtökin 78, as it is for GLBTQ people and everyone else who wants to lend their support. By joining, I am openly standing up and telling my countrymen that I support GLBTQ people and rights. I'm also writing a proposal for my home town, pleading with them to renew their contract with Samtökin 78, so that Samtökin can continue educating the children in our school and provide their services to the GLBTQ people and their families in my home town. Samtökin 78 operates on donations and membership fees alone. Which brings me to the next part...

I want to thank everyone for stopping by and here is what I have to offer in the giveaway today: 
an e-book from my backlist for three different people - winner's choice (anything released before May). 
An e-copy of Absolutely Eric for one winner.
And here's the best part: a 5,000 Icelandic kronur donation to the Samtökin 78 in the name of one winner (roughly $40 according to today's exchange rate). 

If you'd like to be entered for the drawing of these prizes, please leave a comment to this post with your email address. If you feel uncomfortable leaving your email address, you can send me mail: eripike at gmail dot com (but please leave a comment as well, saying that you've sent me mail).

This hop, Hop Against Homophobia, is an attempt of nearly 250 m/m writers, reviewers and publishers to bring about awareness of homophobic discrimination. Each blog is giving out at least one prize. To visit the other sites, please click this link.

I hope that you've learned something from this entry, namely that it's possible to reach very positive result in national GLBTQ rights. All it takes is time and people to stand up for those rights.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Excerpt: The Walls Have Ears

Harley has a strange relationship with the guy on the other side of his wall...

Excerpt for The Walls Have Ears:

The walls have ears, or more like, the guy on the other side of the wall has ears…and a lovely voice. His moans are deep and sensual. They drive me nuts every time I masturbate to his grunts, like I’ve been doing almost every night since moving in.

I had been dreading going off to live with some stranger in the deep, dark forest that is Philadelphia. The rustle and bustle of city life was scary for a small-town boy like me. It didn’t help that the people I knew, who’d been to Philly, took great joy in stuffing my head full with stories of serial killers, mobsters, and nasty dorm mates. That last part scared the hell out of me, because I was a green-horned little girly-guy. I was sure I’d be pushed down and fucked by the first guy to cross my path. Of course, the idea of being fucked wasn’t all that unappealing, but I didn’t want to be made into the dorm’s butt boy or anything.

Naturally, nothing of the sort happened and I really hit the jackpot with my roommate Ryan. We don’t really run in the same circles. It’s not that he wouldn’t hang out with me if I asked; it’s just that he’s a very busy guy with his sports and other multiple after-school activities. The guy is so busy he barely stays in our small dorm apartment, so it’s almost as if I have it all to myself, which is another plus.

However, it isn’t Ryan who’s moaning so deeply on the other side of the wall. There’s a whole living room-slash-kitchen area between mine and Ryan’s rooms. No, the neighbor is one of the two smoldering hot guys who live in the apartment next to ours.

On my first night here, I was just about to fall asleep on the wooden bed, under my green comforter, when I heard these low, sexy grunts coming from the other side of the wall. He wasn’t alone. In between his deep groans were low gasps and moans coming from another guy. My cock immediately perked up at the sweet sounds. I jerked off as quietly as I could and came hard just about the time the owner of the deep voice did.

There were more nights like that. The guy had a lot of partners, and sometimes it was just him alone. Lately it’s just been him and me. See, one night, about a month ago, we were both getting off on each side of the wall. When he let out a particularly long and sensual groan, my own voice slipped with a low moan. I practically heard him stop for a few seconds, but then he continued and groaned again, only a little higher this time. I was curious, embarrassed, and thrilled all at the same time. Instead of stopping, I kept at it and let out an experimental moan. My neighbor’s voice grew louder and from the sound of things he was definitely masturbating. We ended up fisting our cocks, vocalizing our pleasures with moans, groans, grunts, and gasps until we climaxed. I hid under the comforter after that with a mind spinning like a hula hoop. I thought he’d want us to talk and that would only get me embarrassed, but he never said anything. We did, however, repeat the game every night after that.

With knees pressed in the thick mattress, I lean my head against the red wall with labored breaths. I yank on my cock so fast my vision goes blurry. He breathes equally hard on the other side. His forehead bumps against the wall, right against mine with only the thin wall between us.

“Fuck,” I whisper when the wonderful tightness in my balls gathers in a knot.

He groans deeply in response, which coaxes out a moan from me just before I cry out my groin-twisting ecstasy. His lovely voice lets out a series of deep grunts as he comes. We know each other’s voices so well now that we automatically tune in on each other’s rhythm and almost always come at the same time.

After my boneless body slumps down on the bed, I reach for tissues to wipe myself off. My neighbor runs his fingers along the wall and rustles about, maybe wiping himself off too or getting comfortable on the bed. When all is quiet again, he strokes the wall and whispers good night to me.

“Good night,” I murmur back just before curling up and dozing off.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Love in Bloom Extravaganza + Absolutely Eric Giveaway

Hi guys :)

I'm up on Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews in their Love in Bloom Extravaganza where I'm giving away a copy of Absolutely Eric. If you take part, you could also win a Kindle or Nook, plus a $99 GC at Amazon or B&N, so do stop by!

Also, Absolutely Eric is now also available at Amazon. Other places will soon follow :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Absolutely Eric is Out and Proud

It's out! Absolutely Eric was released late last night and can be bought from MLR Press and Amazon. Other sales links should be available soon.


Eric Wesley is short and snazzy, hot and happy. Or that’s what he thought. After three years of living on the wild side he’s tired of being a playboy and wants to find love. 

Eric, however, has never been in love before and doesn’t see that the guy who’s been gazing at him all summer might be Mr. Right. Boring-suit-guy Alexander Centauri isn’t only style-less and clumsy, but also terribly awkward. After a miserable date, Eric plants Alex on another guy’s lap and goes after Mr. Wrong…who looks so right. 

When Eric realizes his mistake, it might be too late.

Here's the excerpt :)

Now, remember, this isn't your everyday sweet, easy-sailing, minimum-conflict romance. There are strong conflicts here, the characters are flawed and make mistakes before they reach their happy ending. This is the same with almost everything else I write.

Also, another note: We saw Eric in A Life Without You and we see Adam in Absolutely Eric. The two stories are written from two different PoV's (first one from Adam's and the second story from Eric's). In A Life Without You, Adam experiences Eric in a certain way, and in Absolutely Eric, Eric experiences Adam in a certain way. There's no way Eric can see Adam exactly as he really is, because Eric's never been inside Adam's head and doesn't know him intimately (as the readers of ALWY do). The same goes for Adam's view of Eric (he thinks Eric is like so and so while real Eric is actually like so). 

Er...yeah, just saw that people were talking about that Eric feels different in this story from what he was like in A Life Without You and that Adam feels different in Absolutely Eric

Wow, that sounded confusing...perhaps I should have drawn a stick-figure picture to explain ^.^ I color coded in hope that it'll be a little easier to understand.

Before I go! The winner from Stumbling Over Chaos giveaway is Wendy, and the winners from the Goodreads giveaway are Juliana and Nichole (Dirty H) - they have all been contacted. Congrats girls :D

Friday, May 11, 2012

Twinks… and the Misconceptions We Perceive, by NJ Nielsen

For those wondering, no, Absolutely Eric isn't out yet. I've sent a query to see what's up, but the day in America isn't over yet (though it's drawing to a close here in Iceland). While we wait, here's NJ Nielsen's post on twinks (mind you, I had a blast looking for photos for this one!) :)

Twinks… and the Misconceptions We Perceive, by NJ. Nielsen

I had this great piece I was going to write about twinks when Erica asked me to write a post, but in the end I just decided to wing it and hope for the best. I will probably get it wrong and have you all scratching your heads by the end of my time here. (All I can say is welcome to my world).

What is a twink really? Some people would think a twink is a small delicate man. Others would say add in flamboyant and prone to hissy fits. More people would say they are feminine and very soft, or barely legal looking men. My daughter said to add that most times twinks are portrayed as a little bit sluttish.

Are they right? 

Who the hell knows – I don’t.

I think a twink in stories can be whoever you want them to be. I personally favour the ones who have the underlying strength that gets both main characters through whatever drama they are facing.

In my paranormal series my main character Michael Marsden would be considered a twink. Mainly for the reason he is a slender young man who is just finding himself and is a little unsure of who he really is, (stepping out of the closet and into immortality has a tendency to do that to a person). 

Do I see him as a twink?

Hell no! I think Michael has the potential to be one of my greatest characters yet. In Book one of The Lines of Marsden: Rules Are Meant To Be Broken, Michael’s whole world is turned upside down – literally. And yes he does have some very overemotional moments (which are another misconception of a twink). But by the end of the series my Michael will rule them all, and be bloody good at it.

I have always wondered is an emo guy considered a twink? Because nine times out of ten they are slender and either overemotional or emotionless. (Maybe the whole wearing only black thing might say no). Then I have to ask can straight guys be classed as twinks? I have a very straight 6”3 nephew who is very slender, kinda effeminate, long hair (from a distance you would mistake him for a girl – believe me I have done it before). Actually he reminds me of a pixie crossed with an Elven Kind. How old are you before you stop being labelled a twink?

Okay, what was I talking about again? 


I have read a lot of books and I can tell you I am no nearer to working out just what a twink is as in each book there seems to be a different version for each author. In my books twinks are always (mostly) the strongest of the couple. I like it when the ideas of what a person is doesn’t quite match up with what I have written. It gives a story that bit of an edge and hopefully gives you another idea of what a twink is.

5 twinks I have loved in books – oh Lordy where to start? 

Edward Beauregard III from Lynn Lorenz’s, Common Powers 3: Edward Unconditionally.
Nicky Everson from Stormy Glenn’s, Sammy & Friends 1: Picture Me Perfect.
Sean O’Brian from Evangeline Anderson’s, The Assignment (okay can I count him seeing as he only plays one undercover – LOL, I love that book so I guess he counts).
Jay De Luca from Carol Lynne’s, Cattle Valley 15: Recipe for Love.
Echo from Gabrielle Evans, Fatefully Yours 1: Dark Devotion.

Even though all of these men may be classed as twinks, they all have that undercurrent of inner strength that I think all twinks hold. I honestly don’t think I know any twinks in real life though I do have a friend who is gay and in his sixties that when he was younger he would definitely have been a classic twink. Man, I love that guy to death; his husband is just as wonderful.

I think that you either love twinks in stories or you hate them there is no in between… or you could be like me love some and hate others. Hey, I never said I make sense.

On that note I will away and wish you all the best with the week in twinkdom… oh Man did that just get the plot bunnies a hopping. A Royal family full of twinks, who have to find the men who can protect them in life and love. Somebody out there will write that story I am sure.

Okay, back to me - Erica:

NJ's first novel, Rules Are Meant To Be Broken (The Lines of Marsden #1) will be out via MLR Press soon! I've had the privilege to have read it in the early stages and I'm telling you, you're in for something amazing. I'm telling you, if you want something original, her stories are it. 
Here's the blurb:

The Lines of Marsden were born into existence for a reason: to right the wrongs that had once taken place. Destiny fated that they must destroy the Eldren before evil wins.

Michael Marsden wants to die -- for real this time. He wasn't meant to lead the half-life that he does. He chooses to let it go and let death take what it had already claimed.

But Christian Risely isn't about to let that happen. He is drawn to Michael and is willing to do anything to ensure that he lives, even if that means keeping him alive against his will.

Other stuff by NJ Nielsen is:

Shadows on the Heart (free read)
Angels on Top (Toowoomba Boys #1)
Hunting for Clay (Toowoomba Boys #2)
One Last Kiss Goodbye (Out in June 2012)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Special Love for Twinks, by Havan Fellows

Well hello there my lovely hostess, Erica! Thanks so much for letting me crash your party this week *bouncing and smiling*...I love your place...oooooh look at how comfy that couch is! *plops on couch and starts to tuck feet under me...stops and blushes* Sorry...guess I got a little too 'at home'...hehe...but I figure since we are sharing a release date for our new books we were pretty much like siblings you know? BTW – what's the chances that I could borrow that lipstick—that color is amazing! Oh...never mind siblings, we could be kissing cousins...hehe

Okay okay...sorry, I'll behave. But you know it is soooooo hard to do sometimes. Especially when you ask me to talk about one of my fave subjects...twinks! Now let me point out right from the start—I don't have a complete fave 100% type of man...oh no—that would be sooooo unfair to me! *smirks* But I do have a special love for each different type...and most definitely a special love for twinks.

So...what makes a good twink? Well isn't that the thousand dollar question? *heads desk* I've asked numerous people about this, pondered over what I believe a twink to be and even googled it some...(that brought up some very interesting sites...and no I won't mention which ones I bookmarked for further study...*clears throat*)

The list I've come up with is diverse while still circling around the same traits ( that even possible?) instead of telling you what I believe a twink to be I think I'll list a few of the attributes I discovered and ask you what you believe makes a good twink. 

Now remember –these are not my personal ideas, this is pure research baby...without a scientific formula that is...*eye roll giggling*

younger - pushy - flirty - smaller - blond/light hair color - wiry - mouthy - bottom - out of the closet - well manicured - pixie-ish - slighter build - tops-from-bottom - extrovert - fresh faced appearance - loud and proud - immature - no facial hair - effeminate - smooth hairless chest/body - self-confident

Wow...and that is without going into the sexual aspect of the word...*eyes bug out* there any wonder why I am having a hard time nailing down what being a twink might mean to others?

All I know is I love them... just like I know that I will freaking adore Erica's twink Eric...this world is plenty big enough for all kinds, especially those yummilicious twinks. *big smiles*

So please, leave a comment telling me what you think...and after you are done enjoying all Eric has to offer in Absolutely Eric...maybe you'd like to check out what my boys have to offer in Emery's Ritches...

Emery's Ritches
Releases tomorrow 5/11/12

Ritchie Lymings is wallowing in self-pity after seeing the man he loves—his best friend—reunited with his arch enemy. He's drowning his sorrows in coffee and caramel when an irritating stranger barges into his life, determined to make him smile. Even if this interloper is too dense to understand his faux pas, Ritchie figures he may be good for a quickie to get his mind off of his immediate situation. A simple round of love 'em and leave 'em sounds promising.

Emery Hutchins recognizes Ritchie immediately when he stops for his morning coffee and breakfast. His friend Ryder had been telling him stories about "the infuriating twit" for years. Fate and coincidence were two things that normally gave Emery cause for pause, but he couldn't let this opportunity pass him by. Unable to relinquish control to fate though, he immediately devises a plan to make the deliciously snarky Ritchie his own, one hundred percent completely.

But for these two diverse personalities there is one major problem. How can Ritchie's attitude and Emery's meticulousness blend together, or is this an oil and water mess?

You can find Havan Fellows @ Havan's Heavenly Haven blog & Facebook 
You can find her new book Emery's Ritches @ Breathless Press

"Oh wow, and here I feared the worst, that you would never break through that dark look and smile. Now that I've seen your smile, I'm pretty sure I never want to see you without it."

Snapping out of his daydream, Ritchie turned to the intruding voice and set eyes on the sexiest man he'd seen in a long time. Short golden hair on the sides, longer in front, clear silver-blue eyes, high forehead, and pouty cupid's bow lips. Hot damn, he's a god. 

After a few tense seconds, Ritchie finally found his voice and attempted to put it to good use. "Can I help you?" Okay, not good use, but use at least.

"Most definitely, in so many ways too."

Ritchie's brows drew together and he couldn't hold back the growl. "Excuse me?"

The man smiled, wide and easy. "I wondered if I could share this table with you? This place gets busy in the blink of an eye. Plus I seem to have bought two coffees and two scones so I was thinking we could have breakfast together." And with that, he placed two cups and the single plate with two cinnamon chip scones he had meticulously juggled onto the table. He then proceeded to make himself at home in the chair across from Ritchie.

Ritchie glanced around and noted at least three empty tables, and pointedly glared back at his interloper.

That easy breezy grin didn't falter and the man didn't miss a beat. "That table wobbles, almost spilled a whole cup of their hazelnut all over me the other morning." He pointed to empty table number one. Then he directed his finger at empty table number two. "Sitting right next to that table you'll find Mrs. Glein. She's a widow and sweet as pie, but keeps insisting I meet with this mysterious grandson of hers named Stevie. Now considering she only has one grandchild, a beautiful woman named Stephanie, I figure she wants to convert me. I would rather skip that conversation this morning." Ritchie glanced over at the old lady. She smiled widely at the stranger and he waved and nodded back in acknowledgment.

Then he turned his attention to the third table that now housed two students with their laptops. "And darn if I didn't just miss that table by a millisecond. Good thing I got this seat when I did, huh?"

Ritchie took another sip of his coffee, trying to process how to lose this guy. He was obviously ill in some department no matter how hot he might be. Ritchie tilted his cup all the way back, then remembered it was empty. He set the mug back down a little too heavily causing a loud clacking noise that caused many of the patrons to look up with disapproving glares.

Then he looked back at his company, who held the extra steaming cup out to him. "Caramel latte, I believe?"
Begrudgingly, Ritchie took the cup and sipped some more. Damn near everything could be solved with the blessed combination of coffee and caramel. Staring into those clear silver-blue eyes from across the table, he stressed the damn near part.

"So, to what do I owe the great honor of your company?"

Grinning (of course, Ritchie mentally rolled his eyes) the man said, "You can owe the great honor to the fact that I didn't want to eat breakfast alone. Usually I don't mind, but when I noticed you so melancholy I decided today I minded."

Ritchie nodded. "Ah, I get it now. You're one of those do-gooders that just has to stick his nose where it isn't wanted. Come to turn my frown upside down, have you? Thanks, I appreciate the pity, but I'm doing just fine pitying myself. Don't need your help."

"But you did need my coffee and you do need to eat something." He placed one of the scones on a napkin in front of Ritchie.

"What are you, my mother?"

He winked at Ritchie. "Not exactly, I don't have the proper equipment for that. Though now I think I should start pitying myself that you didn't notice." And for the first time throughout this whole weird interaction, the stranger's smile turned into an exaggerated version of a pout.

Ritchie rolled his eyes for real this time, and against his will, he felt himself smirking in response to that pout.
"Ah ha!" Not surprisingly the pout disappeared. "I knew I would break down your defenses eventually. So who is he?"

"Excuse me?" Hadn't he already said that during this conversation?

"Who's the guy that's got you all knotted up? Only way for someone to look that downcast is when love's involved. Since you aren't all pissy and mad, well, not any more than what I assume's the norm for you," the man chuckled at his own joke, "I have to deduce that it's unrequited love. The guy obviously doesn't understand what a joyful gem you are. So I repeat, who is he? Shall I hunt him down and explain the error of his ways?" He popped a bit of scone into his mouth and managed to smile through the closed-mouth chewing process.

"I'm sorry, am I putting off a vibe saying that I'm a people person or something? Because if so, I need to fix my vibe-o-meter. What makes you think it's a guy anyway?"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Beautiful Boys, by Tara Lain

I’m so happy to be at Erica’s today enjoying the Twink-fest. Twink is one of those categories where we say, “I may not know how to describe a twink but I know one when I see one”! We usually think of a twink as a young gay man, under 21, with a slender body, pretty face, and no appreciable body or facial hair. Anyone who fits this category could be called a twink. Even a slightly older gay man who looks very young might be twinkish.  One problem with the definition is that the word often implies a young man or boy who is naive or even not too bright.  If we substitute the word innocent then I think we have a good picture of a twink.

Who are some of my favorite twinks? I suppose Tristan “Sparky” in Z. A. Maxfield’s wonderful Crossing Borders is technically a twink. But the kid is so bright and self-actuating it’s tough to think of him that way. He is one of my favorite heroes of all time as is true for many readers. Mal in Missy Welsh’s My Summer of Wes definitely falls into the twink category although he barely realizes it, and Treva Harte’s charming Max in Maxxed Out certainly qualifies.

Even though I write the Beautiful Boys of Romance, I have written few twinks. Only a couple of my heroes are actually under 21. Most of them are in their 20s. Interestingly, I’m writing a young man that might qualify right now. In Genetic Celebrity, the fourth book in the Genetic Attraction series, Shay Shaleen, 20,  is six feet one and willowy as a reed with pale moonlight hair and blue eyes. He has almost no body hair. But he can pass for a woman as is often the case with my heroes. Does that disqualify him as a twink? And he is a tough, pierced street kid. Maybe that also disqualifies him. My hero Mark Sintorella in Sinders and Ash is a little too old--he’s 22--but he certainly fits the description in every other way. Still, he’s also a tough survivor who takes care of himself. So no, I guess I don’t have any twinks among my Beautiful boys, but I do love other peoples, so keep writing!

Sinders and Ash
by Tara Lain
Available at Amber Allure   Amazon   ARe

Work hard, stay anonymous and don’t expect much. That’s resort housekeeper Mark Sintorella’s philosophy of life. After being kicked out of his family home at sixteen for being gay, Mark knows what it takes to survive. But how is he going to stay anonymous when he wants to be recognized as a great fashion designer? And how can he control his expectations when he’s desperately attracted to Ashton Armitage, the son of the fifth richest man in America? If Ash doesn’t find a woman to marry he’s going to lose his inheritance, but he can’t seem to resist the beautiful kid who cleans fireplaces while hiding behind a black cap and heavy glasses. And then this crazy elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, has Mark running around looking like a fashion model wearing gorgeous women’s clothes. The clock strikes twelve and the wedding follows the ball. Two beautiful princesses line up for attention. But one isn’t interested and one isn’t a woman. Who will be the bride? Will the shoe fit? Only his fairy godmother knows for sure.

Image credits: I have been unable to locate two of the images - I'll keep trying and apologize in advance to the owners of the photos.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Twinked Out, by Katey Hawthorne

True story: I first heard the word "twink" when I was 20 years old and in college. Hey, this was a long time ago, the internet was small, and I grew up in the middle of nowhere. Gimme a break. Now, my friend group had an extremely, er, fluid outlook on sexuality, let's say, but we did our own thing and never applied labels.

Which is why when I first heard the word, it was in this context: "Katey, you gotta come play EverQuest--we'll totally twink you out!" "Dude, you are the awesomest wood elf bard twink ever! W00t!"

Probably the same year, I heard that word hurled between two men as an insult. "Whatever, you fucking twink." Context clues let me know they were not referring to a high elf wizard or dwarf paladin. I'm quick like that. Shortly thereafter, of course, I came to understand what it meant, and that it was often used in a complimentary (oh-god-you're-so-pretty) way as well as a pejorative (dumb-and-full-of-cum) one, and that it was yet another label that some will embrace and some will loathe, as is their right and no one else's.

Which is why I'm always kind of split on the word. While I approve wholeheartedly of any and all physical types celebrating their own personal brand of beauty, I know some find that particular word offensive due to connotations of shallowness and disposability. Unless I know how a person feels about the label, I have zero right to use it. Like, you know. Any label at all ever. 

So when I'm writing a character to whom it might be applied, then he gets to say.

Exhibit A: Hansen Marks. My friends will tell you that I often describe the cover of Equilibrium as "Hansen lookin' all twinky." The boy fits the textbook description perfectly. He doesn't know it, but his boyfriend totally does--and knows to keep his mouth shut about it. 

Defensive? Misguided? Hey, whatever, man, step off his balls already. He's on his way to a PhD in applied economics and he can set you on fire with his brain. Imply that you judge him even slightly based on his looks at your own peril.

My blog isn't safe for work anyway!
Exhibit B: Kieran Cooper, a character in an upcoming book--two, actually. I saw this NSFW picture on tumblr and thought of him, just as an illustration. Anyone who points out his twinkiness to Kieran gets a big old, "Thanks, honey." (Did I mention he's southern, too?) Dude is tooth-rottingly sweet, golden on the outside, and even occasionally, yes, full of cream.

He is also incredibly intelligent, loyal, and tough. He might look like junk food to some, but the hell with them--he doesn't believe anyone is, when you get to know them.

What's the point? Twofold:

1. Although most games make an effort to disallow twinking with things like level caps nowadays, gay gamers always get a good laugh over the puns.


2. No one gets to stick a label on someone's forehead except the person who owns said forehead. And that's when a label can be awesome. And, like this week, celebrated.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Twink Week

Okay guys, I explained about my straightforwardness last week and how, although I’ll try not to be offensive, I’ll be open about subjects that may be considered taboos. Here's one:

It’s Twink Week here at my blog, in honor of Eric Wesley from my upcoming release, Absolutely Eric. 

Before we start, here’s the definition of a “Twink” on Wikipedia:

"Twink" is a gay slang term describing a young or young-looking gay man (18–21 age category) with a slender, ectomorph build, little or no body hair, and no facial hair. [4][5] Someone older than 21 with similar looks and build is said to be "twinkish." In some societies, the term chick or chicken is preferred.[6] The related term twinkle-toes, which implies that a man is effeminate, tends to be used in a derogatory manner.[7] The terms can be complimentary or pejorative.[8][9]

See that last line? Whenever I use the word “twink”, I never mean it in a pejorative manner. I love writing twinks. They’re never “girly” in my stories (see my rant on that term): They’re guys, they’re strong and they’re usually the stars of the stories (not in a flamboyant way – except for Eric). Eric is interested in fashion, he wears eyeliner and he likes doing things with his hair, but he’s a guy through and through. 

The term is often used in the pr0n industry, but it’s not exclusive to it. The LGBT community uses it freely, but there seem to be different meanings to the world. Usually it’s only a “look”, but Homorazzi goes further and describes twinks as "...generally quite young (18 to mid-20′s), skinny, have essentially no body hair and may frequently be found applying foundation or fake tanning lotion. Generally, they act as though the entire world revolves around the fact that they are young and gay." Yeah, no, whether or not that's the correct classification, that's not what I think when I think "twink". I’m merely talking about the look, and not personality. Is this stereotyping? I don't believe so, because (leaving out the personality) it's just a look, like "bear" and "athletic" is a look.

Should twinks be ashamed of being twinks? No. “Bears” are generally proud to be bears, so why shouldn’t twinks be proud to be twinks? They're no less men than bears.

Should non-GLBT people not use the word “twink”? I don’t see why they shouldn't. It may be a slang among GLBT people, but it's become very widespread. People who know me know I'm the advocate for "more exposure = faster acceptance", so even if some people see twinks as a negative thing, the more they hear the term and the more the term is discussed, the better to get over the negative aspect.

Should I not talk about twinks because I’m a semi-straight woman? Again, I don’t see why I shouldn't. I write m/m literature, I’m extremely supportive of GLBT people, and I don’t ever use the word “twink” in a pejorative manner. I also think "twinks" are attractive, just like I find all sorts of other looks attractive.

Should I not have brought up this topic? Perhaps not, but just like brunettes, beefs, and bears can be talked about (in a good, non-offensive manner), twinks should be okay to talk about too.

So, I officially welcome you to Twink Week. I’ve got some awesome people visiting with guest blogs, and I hope we can have fun.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hot Hands: FREE Today Only!

Today, Hot Hands is FREE at No Boundaries Press. This is for today only (May 5th) - it'll be back for sale tomorrow, so use this day to grab a copy.

The Purpose of Hop Against Homophobia

Hi guys,

There's a new post up on Hop Against Homophobia. We were recently made aware of a blog post that talked about how wrong this hop is, and the person who wrote that post made a very valid point. We're hoping that today's post will help clear any misunderstanding about the purpose of this hop. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Women Maintain Gay Stereotyping

Image credit
I'm continuing the topic of female m/m authors. You can read the first part here and the second part here. This is the final part.

You want to hear something funny? When women do write unemotional guys who are driven by testosterone, like "men are supposed to be written", they get reviews saying that the reader couldn't connect with the characters emotionally. You know why they couldn't? People expect emotions in romance books.

The people who down-talk female m/m authors who write men with emotions, don’t seem to consider the genre. There are "rules" to every genre, though these rules can be bent all sorts out of shape. However, once you stray too far, you've ventured into a different genre (or no genre at all). This is why most of the male m/m authors I've read also write guys with emotions: they're writing in the genre and know what the reader expects (or maybe they’re just writing realistic men?). You can’t, for example, write in the romance genre if there’s no romance in the story. Furthermore, you can’t have a romance with no feelings involved – that isn't romance! There are different ways to displaying the romance and feelings, but it won’t be a romance if there aren't strong emotions behind it.

Comparing the books I've read by male and female m/m authors, I can't say there’s a whole lot of differences in the gay male characters. Very often, I don’t see a difference at all. Some say that there’s a big difference in the sex scenes, and I’m not going to refute that, but is a sex scene written by a woman any worse than the ones written by a man? I’d say that in most cases they’re not.

I've often heard people say that female m/m authors maintain gay stereotyping. Writing gay men with emotions doesn't make stereotypes out of gay men. Like I stated in my first post, all men have emotions. Furthermore, men, gay and straight, are as different as they are many. Most of the books I've read have such vast range of characters that I rarely see the same character twice. I wonder what sort of books these people have been reading for them to claim that gay men are subjects of constant stereotyping in books written by women. Very old books? Side characters in non LGBT books? I don't see it in the more recent gay fiction books. I don’t know, maybe I've just been lucky.

Or maybe these people see a flamboyant character in a book and think back to all the TV stereotypes through these past years. Yes, there are TV stereotypes of gay men (as nicely pointed out in the US version of Queer As Folk), however, I don’t see a single “gay type” that appears more in m/m books than other “types” (well, apart from the physical builds, but that’s another topic altogether and has to do with the genre as well). From what I've experienced, the characters are very diverse, and even when I do find flamboyant characters in books, each of them is unique and much deeper than the TV types. Not to mention that just because certain, for example, flamboyant men have become stereotypes, we must be careful not to make them into taboos. There are, after all, flamboyant men out there in the real world and they shouldn't be made to feel bad about being who they are.

Here are links to my other posts in this series of posts:
Men are Not Emotional
Women Can't Write Realistic Men

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Icelander in Me

I think it‘s time I explain a few things about myself. I was born and raised in Iceland. I lived in Denmark for three and a half years, but other than that – and some overseas vacations – I've been in Iceland, around Icelanders my entire life. 

The thing about Icelanders is that we‘re pretty straight forward people with straight forward humor. That means a lot of things, but I‘m going to talk about two: taboos and humor.

Iceland is very advanced when it comes to taboos. That is to say, for not having many taboos. Iceland is first and foremost in Europe, where there are less taboos than in the USA, and Iceland is also a part of the Nordic countries where there are even less taboos than in a lot of other European countries. 

I was a teen when Iceland‘s biggest pop star, Paul Oscar, became popular. He was a phenomena that no one had seen in Iceland before (or since). He not only had unique music, but he was gay and proud of it. He has helped push things out of the closet when it comes to LGBTQ talk and today LGBTQ talk isn't taboo at all in Iceland. It is freely discussed in media and among people. It is why I sometimes discuss LGBTQ matters that make some people take a step back...and ask if I have a right to discuss these matters. This makes me stop and think every time because while the discussion may seem innocent to me, it may be a sensitive matter for other people, so I start to wonder if I should really be discussing it. But then there's the fact that everyone has a right to discuss whatever they want to, as long as they're not harming other people while doing it.

There are other things that are in no way taboo here, like the talk of sex. We don’t even hide that sort of talk from our teenagers. Most of us don’t even freak out if our kids catch a glimpse of something erotic, not that we’re actually showing them pictures of naked people - of course not; they’re children - but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they accidentally caught a glimpse of it. 

Now, humor: Danish humor is not unlike the Icelandic humor: a bit sarcastic, jabbing, and make-fun-of-yourself. Like the Danes, Icelanders have a knack for making fun of themselves. We’ve pretty much had to, since we’ve lived under very harsh conditions since the settlement years. It is said that joking makes life easier, and I believe this has been a motto for many Icelanders through the decades.

Until World War II we were pretty isolated from the world. It’s a small country, 300,000 people’ish today (probably around 230,000 in WWII), and when you meet someone new it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll have a joined acquaintance. With that kind of familiarity it’s easy to see how the jabbing humor has developed, like it would between siblings. Almost anything goes and not many things are off limits when it comes to joking. What I’m trying to say here is that I’ll joke about things, and talk about subjects without much reserve. To some it may seem insensitive, but it’s not meant that way. I realize not everyone’s humor is like this – far from it – but I’m hoping by explaining this that people will take my humor in stride and not take the things I say personally. I try to be careful, considerate to the fact that this kind of humor is...weird and offensive to different cultures/people, but sometimes things slip out before I can stop myself.

So why the archer woman in the skimpy outfit? Because my humor, comments and taboo-less discussions can sometimes seem like a sharp arrow at a target. A jab. A negative thing. I apologize in advance for that. I try not to be offensive, but it’s sometimes hard to see where the lines are. I understand that some people are sensitive when it comes to matters of sex and LGBTQ talk. Me being me, and raised in this surrounding, I go all out and don’t hold much back. This may seem insensitive to some people, and I’ve gotten into trouble for it more than once, but those who know me or have gotten to know me know that I mean no disrespect by it. It's hard for people to change who they are and I’m not sure I’d want to change this openness in me. I never talk about LGBTQ things in a pejorative manner. If I talk about gay men in leather, I talk about gay men in leather in a positive way and I don’t see how such a discussion can be negative or should not be talked about (just like I don't see how it would be wrong to talk about straight women in leather). Not talking about it would make it a taboo, and, yeah, you know where I stand on that.

Onto whether or not I have a right to discuss LGBTQ matters: Am I harming LGBTQ people by it? I don't think so. I'm of the belief that the more matters are discussed, the better, especially if things are talked about in a positive light.

As I've said, I am aware that there's a big difference in culture and/or personal opinion when it comes to these things. However, I will still be myself and I can't change my humor. That means I will probably continue to rub people the wrong way in the future. That said, next week is “Twink Week”. Yup, I said it: twink. I can already hear the bones crunching, as I'm pretty sure I'm stepping on some toes, but I’m going to do this in honor of next week’s release, Absolutely Eric. Eric, after all, is a very proud twink and I want to be able to discuss twinks in a positive way, just like "bears" are usually discussed in a positive way. So please, if the word or discussion of twinks offends you, you may want to stay away from this site next week, since I have fellow authors stopping by to discuss twinks. If you don’t mind the discussion then come on over and make yourself comfortable :)

Header credits