Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banned Books Week: Geography Club

This week is Banned Books Week (Sept 30 - Oct 6th). I have no doubt that many of today's GLBT books are being banned all over the world. However, only a handful of those instances gets reported. Throughout this week, I will feature an LGBT book a day that's been either banned due to homosexual content, or has been under some discrimination and attempts of being banned (for the same or other reasons - note, I've learned that people have been hiding behind "sexual content" and "inappropriate language" to get LGBT off the YA library shelves!). 

Today's feature is Geography Club by Brent Hartinger (check out the giveaway at the end of this post). It was "withdrawn" in 2006 at the Curtis Junior High and Curtis Senior High Schools libraries after parents claimed the book could result in ""a casual and loose approach to sex", encourage use of Internet porn and the physical meeting of people through chat rooms".  In 2009-2010 there were attempts to have it removed from the West Bend (WI) Community Memorial Library by the West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries group, but the attempt was unsuccessful. Score one for the library! (Information and quotation from the Marshall University Libraries).

Here's a short, but interesting essay by the author on the whole matter: They Tried to Ban My Gay Teen Book.


Russel Middlebrook is convinced he's the only gay kid at Goodkind High School.

Then his online gay chat buddy turns out to be none other than Kevin, the popular but closeted star of the school's baseball team. Soon Russel meets other gay students, too. There's his best friend Min, who reveals that she is bisexual, and her soccer–playing girlfriend Terese. Then there's Terese's politically active friend, Ike.

But how can kids this diverse get together without drawing attention to themselves?

"We just choose a club that's so boring, nobody in their right mind would ever in a million years join it. We could call it Geography Club!"

Brent Hartinger's debut novel, what became first of a series about Russel Middlebrook, is a fast–paced, funny, and trenchant portrait of contemporary teenagers who may not learn any actual geography in their latest club, but who learn plenty about the treacherous social terrain of high school and the even more dangerous landscape of the human heart.

You can buy this book from major (and minor) retailers, like Amazon and Barns&Noble. Or you can try to win a copy by leaving a comment along with your email address* to any of the banned books posts this week (only one entry though and one prize for the whole week). That's right. To kick off the Banned Books Week, I'm giving away an e-copy of Geography Club by Brent Hartinger. The premise of this story sounds so interesting and I love the blurb.  

*If you don't want your email address posted here, feel free to send me mail at eripike at gmail dot com. I will also make this contest open in the YA LGBT Books on Goodreads, for those who aren't old enough to enter this site.

The winner will be randomly drawn, contacted and announced on October 6th - the last day of this awareness week.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Back to School Bash!

Sure, school started almost a month ago, but we like to throw a bash anyway! Welcome to the No Boundaries Press's Back to School Bash where I'll be offering an e-copy of one of my College Fun and Gays stories. If you already have it, you may choose from one of the other books in this series

I'm supposed to write about my best or worst back-to-school experience from when I was a young girl. I could write about when I insisted to wear make-up in first grade - got teased and never did it again; or when we were given a shot the first day back and I crawled under the table to hide - got teased about it and was first to offer my arm the next time; or when I was waiting to get into the classroom and got a basketball in my face (didn't get teased about that one, but the pain was bad enough). Hey, I like to write optimistic, fun stories, but sadly I don't have too many of those from school. I KNOW I had a good time, because I had friends, but the bad times so outweigh the good because of their severity that I'm having a hard time remembering the good ones.

So I'm writing about my boy-friend (not boyfriend). We used to walk to school together every day for the first few years. We were best friends and despite everything, the first day back to school was always exciting. But there was a dark shadow looming over every day walking to and from school - three or four dark shadows in the form of older boys who lived in the neighborhood. They'd ambush my friend, chase him to school and I'd stand back with galactic fear in my heart every time. I was scared as hell of them. It confused me. I knew he didn't like the beatings, but he laughed when they were chasing him. It wasn't until much later when I read up on bullying that I learned that his behavior is very common among bullied kids, to pretend that they're not afraid and that they're part of the "fun". They did catch him often - and they did on that first day back - beat him up and then gave him a hard time for crying (all three to four of them calling him a crybaby because he got beat up - idiots). This happened day after day for years, starting from the age of six.

I'm probably putting a huge damper on the hop with this story, but this is what pops into my mind when I think "school" in relation to my own childhood. These bullies not only hurt my friend in his past and future; they also hurt me in my past and future. In all my years of therapy, I've been trying to pinpoint the origin of my anxieties and depression. When did I become scared, insecure and anxious? When did I start to worry about people being hurt and people dying? When did start feeling so helpless, like the whole world was big and bad and there was nothing I could do about it? When did I start blaming myself for everything, and when did it start feeling so that everything I tried to do was never good enough? 

It's only recently that I've been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There have been a number of events that have triggered the PTSD, but watching my friend being bullied by several older guys for years was the the first time I got PTSD, and the one that set my path for more anxiety and insecurity. I learned very early that people are dangerous and that I am but a teeny tiny person.

I've met four of those bullies in my grown-up years (they were six guys all together, but were usually only three-four at a time, always with the same two main bullies). Three of those I've met sent creepy crawlies down my back while I talked with the third (one of the two main bullies) and learned that he's actually a nice guy. He's the only one who doesn't scare me anymore, so I guess people can change.

Okay, onto lighter things. I'm giving away a copy of Hot Hands. Casper, the character in the story, faces his high school bullies in college, after two years away. Much of his internal struggle are feelings I've been dealing with (I was bullied too, by different kids). This is an erotic romance and it was an interesting challenge to write it that way. I also wanted to keep it light with humor so it wouldn't get too heavy with the serious matter of being bullied. Furthermore, I'm currently working on Cold Hands, the second part of the story. 

I will draw, contact and announce the winner on October 2nd. Please leave a comment on this blog post along with your email address.

For weeks, college student Casper has been the victim of sail-by goosing and groping. The problem is that Casper would very much like to get more than groped by those wonderful, big, hot hands. 

With a journal full of clues, he sets out to discover who his mystery groper is. However, he may be in serious trouble once he discovers the ominous identity.

Before we go, I'm inviting you to follow me on my blog (follow button to your right), facebook, Twitter, and newsletter. This is NOT mandatory to take part in the giveaway.

Want a free read? Half-Baked Promises is a free story I wrote for the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads. It can be downloaded in pdf, mobi and ePub :)

Happy hopping!

Wait... Are you looking for the GLBT Madness Hop? Scroll down, or click here. That's right, I'm doing TWO hops at the same time - different prizes. That should burn some calories :O You can take part in both contests, just comment on both posts :)

Please visit the other people taking part in the Back to School Bash:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

GLBT Madness!

Yeah, I know, I just did a hop a couple of days ago. They're so much fun that I'm actually doing TWO within the next few days. Today, and running through the 30th is The Romance Reviews' GLBT Madness Hop! Carrrazy hopping here with a lot of my favorite authors taking part! Of course I had to squeeze my ass in there as well. Yes, we're talking Rick R. Reed, K.C. Burn and Piper Vaughn to name a few ^.^

The second hop starts tomorrow and I'll make a separate post and prize for that one.

The GLBT Madness Hop will start on the 27th and end on the 30th. I'll draw, contact and announce a winner on October 1st, after using to choose.

First, I'm inviting you to follow me on my blog (follow button to your right), facebook, Twitter, and newsletter. These are not mandatory to take part in the giveaway.

What's up for grabs? An e-copy of either A Life Without You or Absolutely Eric. Why those? I'm proud of all my work, but these are my novel-length series, Boston Boys. They center around a group of friends in Boston and each book features a different couple. Only one couple is established and their story hasn't been written yet, so the rest is about finding love, with various sub-plots. These friends get up to the craziest things, but they're tighter than family. 

Anyway! The giveaway. Please read the blurbs below and state in a comment to this blog post which book you'd like and which format (pdf, mobi, or ePub). Also, please leave your email address so I can contact you.

Jesse's like a bar of soap: the tighter Adam holds on, the faster Jesse slips away. Or thats how it feels to Adam. It doesnt help that Jesse has a girlfriend back home and claims to be straight, but there's no way with all the sparks and physical intimacy flying between the two roommates.

When Adam believes he has reached his ultimate happiness, the bedroom walls come crashing down with a visit from Jesses girlfriend.

Now Jesse has to decide if he can come to terms with his sexuality, while Adam has to learn to accept that Jesse might never be able to crawl out of the closet.

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

Eric, however, has never been in love before and doesnt see that the guy whos been gazing at him all summer might be Mr. Right. Alexander Centauri isnt only style-less and clumsy, but also terribly awkward. After a miserable date, Eric plants Alex on another guys lap and goes after Mr. Wrong who looks so right.

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

Want a free read? Half-Baked Promises is a free story I wrote for the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads. It can be downloaded in pdf, mobi and ePub :)

But there's more! After leaving a comment to this post, please click on the button below to go to the next blog for a chance to win some more goodies ^.^

The Romance Reviews GLBT Madness Hop

Happy hopping!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Indulgence Winner

I am so sorry, guys. I was supposed to draw a winner days ago, but I've been moving houses and have had limited internet access. However, I just drew a winner:


Congrats, Sheri :) I'll send you mail tonight so you can receive your copy of The Walls Have Ears.

Didn't win? Don't fret, there's another giveaway in two days! The Romance Reviews' GLBT Madness Hop. I'll be offering a choice between my Boston Boys books in that one, so come back in two days and sign up :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A True Gem: Hot Hands

For those wondering about the winner of the Indulge Blog Hop, I'll be drawing, contacting and announcing tomorrow. I'm in the middle of moving houses and I can barely keep my eyes open. However! My eyes did pop open for a second when I was reading through my email. I'm a subscriber to the Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews newsletter and saw that they had a review on Hot Hands. What's more is that the reviewer marked it five stars and gave it a "A True Gem" stamp! That's a first for one of my books ^.^ 

Here's a quick quote: 

 "A shockingly entertaining read. This has to be one of the best short stories I have ever read." 

And here's the badge ^.^

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Indulge in a Book

It's time to hop again! What do I like to indulge in? Reading, what else? ^.^ I like to savor the pages and read slowly for that reason. I also indulge in salt-licorice filled chocolate, but let's not talk about that ;)

I'm going to make this easy and hop straight to the giveaway. I write gay erotic romance, so if you're not into that, you don't have to leave a comment - you may, of course, just please say you don't read m/m so the ones who DO love it have a better chance at winning. You can still take part in the grand prize giveaway even if you don't want my prize. To take part in MY giveaway, just leave a comment below with your email address. Also, please let me know which story you would like to have should you win.

For the m/m lovers (and others interested), I invite you to follow my blog (button to the right), sign up for my newsletter, and follow me on facebook. None of these are mandatory to take part in my giveaway - they're just options if you're interested in following my writing.

Want a free sample of my writing? Half-Baked Promises is available in pdf, ePub, and mobi. Just click the link :)

My prize is an e-copy of one of my College Fun and Gays series:

Hot Hands (All Romance eBooks Bestseller)

For weeks, college student Casper has been the victim of sail-by goosing and groping. The problem is that Casper would very much like to get more than groped by those wonderful, big, hot hands. With a journal full of clues, he sets out to discover who his mystery groper is. However, he may be in serious trouble once he discovers the ominous identity, and it’s not because of the light bondage the groper seems to prefer.

Hot Hands is the first of five in a series of short stories. Each story is independent of the others and each covers a deep issue. Hot Hands focuses on the effects of high school bullying for being gay.

Grade-A-Sex Deal

When College professor Daniel Corrigan was brutally kicked out of his home after revealing his true sexuality to his wife, he had to make a whole new life for himself. For the first time in two years Daniel’s main heartache isn’t the none-existent relationship with his two kids, but the fact that the grade-A-sex deal with his student Troy Anderson is about to expire. After a whole semester of office fun, Troy has managed to squeeze his way into the core of Daniel’s soul. Daniel, however, is positive he’s nothing more to Troy than a teacher who can modify a grade. 

The Walls Have Ears

Short and scrawny college student Harley Santos has a strange relationship with the guy on the other side of his bedroom wall. For weeks, the two have been masturbating to each other’s voices, but they have never met in person. 

When Harley’s roommate (Ryan) is asked out on a date by one of his neighbors, Harley is devastated that his wall-mate mistook not-hot Harley for super-hot Ryan. 

Ndulgent is giving away a grand prize. To take part in the grand prize drawing, please fill out the below. What's the grand prize, you ask? $100 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble! Please note that if you want to take part in MY giveaway as well, you'll have to leave a comment with your email address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go ahead and visit the other blogs to get a chance to win more prizes. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sound Familiar?

Homophobia isn't a huge problem in Iceland anymore. People were receiving death threats because of their sexuality 30 years ago. Some even had to flee the country, but no more. Sure, there's still some homophobia, but in general things are good and people generally strike against anyone who speaks badly about homosexuality in newspapers etc., so it doesn't happen very often. Icelandic homosexuals have the exact same rights as heterosexuals and cannot legally be discriminated against in workplaces or other venues. They may marry (even in churches), adopt children, and live their lives with all the same benefits as heterosexuals. This didn't happen all by itself. It's taken the Icelandic LGBT Organization 30 years to change the minds of people through campaigns and education. 

Icelanders are hard workers with the mentality that hard work makes you a "real" person. In fact, disabled people face a lot more prejudice than homosexuals. Disabled people in Iceland are considered weak and/or less. Leeches upon the society. It looks like the association for disabled people are trying to change that image. I heard an ad on the radio yesterday as I was driving to the city. It really caught my attention. Translated, it sounded something like this:

Prejudice prevents companies from hiring disabled people. Being disabled is neither a choice nor a lifestyle.

Sound familiar?


Sunday, September 9, 2012

This Picture Takes My Breath Away...

Photographer: Dan Skinner
Copyright Holder: Erica Pike

It's late, and I'm supposed to be in bed, but I just had to share this Dan Skinner photo with you. And guess what? I bought it!! That's right, this photo belongs to me now to use as I see fit. I plan to use it as a cover for the novel I'm working on (no, I'm not ready to share info on it - it's not the Jazz story). 

Dan Skinner is the same photographer who took the photo on the Absolutely Eric cover. This guy is a genius and the model he found, Jan? That guy should be a super model. Check out Dan's other photos, the most recent ones featuring the stunning Jan.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why Straight Women Love Gay Romance

Why indeed?

That's what m/m author Geoffrey Knight attempts to answer with the aid of 32 women in this book. Some of them are m/m writers and some are m/m readers. So why am I promoting this book, other than for its awesomeness? Because I'm one of the 32! I won't be hard to find, being the only little miss Iceland. And yes, that guy on the cover is just lickalicious.

Why Straight Women Love Gay Romance
Out NOW!

It’s one of the world’s biggest secrets, and it’s about to come out … Why do straight women love gay romance?

What is it that attracts straight women to the idea of two men falling in love? Is it the muscles? The mystery of the male mind? The idea of true love overcoming all odds? How has it changed who these women are and how they see the world? And how powerful is this once-silent army of readers in the fight for equality?

32 women across 9 countries and 4 continents – from the world’s best selling romance authors to the biggest female fans of Gay Male Romance — are about to reveal — Why Straight Women Love Gay Romance.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Backlist Winner and Future Hops

The Backlist Hop is over and the winner is:

Jaime (jaimiessmiles)!

I've already sent you an email.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone :) There are loads more hops and giveaways coming. You can see them all in the right hand sidebar, but just to be sure, here's what's coming:

(28-1) NBP's Back to School Bash (open for all authors)



There will probably be more, but these are the ones I've signed up for.