Excerpt from Brita Addams’ Beloved Unmasked

October 16, 2015

In this hour, I’m giving you a sneak peek into the world of Beloved Unmasked where my character, Pic, lives. This excerpt also introduces you to Spence, a scampy male prostitute.

 

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With each stair, Pic’s curiosity built. Spence often boasted a surprise and gave him a piece of filched cake from the kitchen. But there was the time he had Pic hide behind a curtain while the most gorgeous man he’d ever seen wore Spence out. Pic lost count of how many times Spence howled, “Yeah, Daddy.” Not to mention the nights Pic had spent peeking through the crack in the mahogany armoire.

On those nights Pic’s cock stayed hard until Spence relieved him. Spence often promised that when the time was right, he, in all his magnanimity, would personally oversee the popping of Pic’s cherry, and the promise was all Pic had to show for his patience.

After each of those nights, in the darkened attic, Pic pulled out every drawing he’d ever done of men and beat off three times in an hour. Only then did the fear drain from him at the realization that a wife and kids were not in the cards for him.

Halfway up the stairs, Pic’s instinct to go home nearly turned him around. His gritty eyes demanded sleep. He’d gotten up early and would have to again because he had work to do around the house. Sapphire needed her room cleaned and insisted he do it.

Pic took a step back, but Spence opened the door, his prick in hand. “What in hell takes you so long to climb a flight of stairs? Aren’t you interested in your surprise?”

“Sure I am, but you gotta give a workin’ man a break.”

“You’ll get a big, long break when you’re dead. Get up here.”

Pic trudged up the steps, summoned by the call of cock.

The lingering smell of sex and stale cologne drew him into the massive room Spence called home. Lots of space, and he paid one of the younger girls to polish his furniture every day, which left the room with an underlying aroma of lemon oil.

“Tonight you are in for a treat. I’ve arranged your first time, just like I promised.” Spence bounced with excitement.

Pic gave the room the once-over. “Really?” He shook his head. “I don’t know. Here?”

Spence put a hand on his hip, though the other never left his cock. “Perhaps you’d prefer the parlor downstairs, with witnesses. Yes, here, with only me and the man I personally selected for you.”

“I don’t know, Spence. Maybe it’s too soon.”

“You can’t decide if you wanna get laid or not? What kind of red-blooded American man are you?”

Pic shrugged. “Don’t you remember your first time?”

“Sure I do, and I was a damn sight more eager than you are. Listen, take a drink, and you can ease your mind into the idea that I’m not letting you out of here until you become a full-fledged pansy like me.” Spence ran his long slender fingers down Pic’s face. “I want to set you on the right path. Your partner is a perfect candidate, and he’s eager to help the cause.”

“I’ll take the drink.”

Spence clapped and giggled. “Excellent.”

With an exaggerated sway of the hips, he sashayed to a bootleg liquor–laden table he’d set up near the window.

“I always love coming to your room. So much more comfortable than my cot in the attic.”

“I rather like it myself. I do have a flair for décor, don’t I?”

Spence turned his back, so Pic ambled about. The walls held an overabundance of framed pictures, not just pages from magazines taped to the wallpaper. One was of an older Queen Victoria, adorned in black, her face a mask of sadness. Spence had a thing for England and dreamed of one day visiting Kensington Palace, birthplace and once home of his favorite queen.

The heavy green draperies that hid the bed cost someone a pretty penny, as did the fine lace canopy over Spence’s four-poster.

“There you are, a good vintage, from yesterday. It’ll water your eyes when it hits the bloodstream, but guaranteed, it’ll loosen you up.”

Pic took a sip of the clear drink and wrinkled his nose. “Whoo! That shit is potent.”

“Told ya.” Spence cupped Pic’s crotch. “Speaking of potent. Have I got a treat for you.”

After another sip, Pic put his glass on a nearby table. “What kind of treat? Something better than that shit I hope.”

Spence ran his fingers beneath Pic’s lapel. “You, dear boy, will have your cherry popped by an esteemed attorney.”

Pic raised his hand to ward yet another of Spence’s wild notions. “No.” He leaned in closer. “I’m not baring my ass for some grizzled old fart on his last leg.”

“Au contraire, ma petite pomme de terre.” Spence chuckled and pulled back the heavy drapery. “Does this look like a grizzled old fart to you?”

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Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment (not “I’m in” or the like,) about the posts and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

 

I’m very excited about the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked

 

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

 

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

 

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

 

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Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

 

About the author:

Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter.

Find Brita at any of the following places:

Website

Blog 

Facebook 

Twitter 

In the final hour of the Release Party for Beloved Unmasked, I’ll have a “behind the laptop” view of the book and some tidbits of Beloved Unmasked Trivia.

Release Party – Beloved Unmasked by Brita Addams – Storyville Photos

October 16, 2015

Welcome back! I knew you wouldn’t want to miss this post.

A gentleman by the name of John Ernest Bellocq, known during his lifetime as E.J., was a photographer for shipping lines in New Orleans before he took an interest in photographing the many sights in the famed red light district known as Storyville. You can read more about Bellocq on October 2img0020th, as part of my week of Storyville posts on my blog, but here, I’d like to share some photographs taken by Bellocq between 1897 and 1917, the year Storyville closed.

A great many of his subjects posed nude, but I haven’t included any of them. With so little known about Bellocq, we know even less about the women and men he photographed. After Bellocq died in 1949, New Orleans folklore says his brother, a Catholic priest, destroyed or damaged a great many of Bellocq’s glass negatives. One representation of the damage is below in the photo of the woman on the chaise. Leo Bellocq scratched out the faces of many of the women and /or smashed the negative. His motives might seem obvious, but they will forever remain with him, as he never divulged whether he had indeed attempted to destroy is brother’s work.

Do you see something in the faces of his subjects? Remember, though, they had to remain still for several minutes during the picture taking, so what you might see is, “Hurry up and take the damn picture.”

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On the left is a picture of a nurse at the hospital where the Storyville prostitutes were sent when they contracted a venereal disease, commonly called “the gleet”  which ran rampant through the nineteen square blocks of Storyville. It claimed many a life, despite prevention methods.

The other two are unnamed women. The middle photo appears on the cover of Al Rose’s book, Storyville New Orleans.

From Al Rose’s Storyville New Orleans:

a270d92d8669b0f8eb175f237fd2a490The most popular hard liquor in Storyville was Raleigh Rye. Striped stockings were expensive and could be afforded only by the high-priced bawds of Basin Street. Opera length, the hose were sold by traveling salesmen who, with a tricky demonstration, made them seem run-proof. They cost six dollars a pair and lasted one or two washings.

Also from Al Rose’s book re: picture on the right:

A prime attraction at Minnie White’s place at 221 North Basin Street was Marguerite Griffin, who 12cf4a3d037f9fe9f60f32f8ce01c3f2could not only handle the conventional duties of a storyville tart, but also knew the lyrics of countless bawdy ballads. Note on the wall hangings: The pillow above her head reads, “Daisies won’t tell.” The risque signs read, left to right, “Oh! Babe, please come,” “Oh! Dearie, I give U much pleasure” (affixed to a Mardi Gras pennant dated 1910,) and “Dearie, U ask for Marguerite.”

For more photos and more on E.J. Bellocq, visit my blog on October 20. There I’ll have some photos that inspired scenes in the book as well as many others.

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Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment about the post or the book (not “I’m in” or the like,) and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

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Here’s some of the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked:

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

I was delighted that I was asked to review Beloved before release. I really enjoyed the story. Brita is the only historical author who can suck me in early enough that I’ll read the entire book. :) (4 Stars – Brenda Cothern)

Absolutely amazing. (Lorraine Lesar - Threebooksovertherainbow.wordpress.com)

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Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

Beloved UnmaskedBeloved Unmasked

Cherished One: Book One
A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

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Next hour – An excerpt from Beloved Unmasked.

Release Party Beloved Unmasked by Brita Addams – Can you speak Yat?

October 16, 2015

Beloved UnmaskedWelcome to my release party for my New Orleans-based historical, Beloved Unmasked. I thought we’d have some fun this hour, and this topic does relate to the book. (Good thing, right?)

There are characters in BU that speak what natives of New Orleans nowadays call Yat. I’ve “citified” it a bit, because in its purest form, one might think they are listening to a foreign language. But it is something to hear and never fails to bring a smile to my face.

As a young woman from an Upstate New York farm town, (replete with her own pronunciation problems) I ended up in New Orleans at the age of 22, due to a Navy transfer for my then-husband. While it wasn’t Italy as we requested, New Orleans became home. We figured a couple of years and then we’d move on, as we had left Iceland for the Deep South.

Many years later, I’m still in the area, sans the sailor, and married for the last 35 years to a certified, bona fide New Orleans native. He is N’Awlins to the bone. Yes, that’s the way natives pronounce it. He doesn’t speak much Yat anymore, because college beat that out of him, but every now and again, his upbringing creeps through. It’s in the blood. He’ll ask the kids “Where y’at?”

I will confess to thinking my mother-in-law was wholly uneducated when I first heard her speak. She was Cajun through and through, as was her mother. The eaves on the house were “the ease.” You don’t boil, you berl. You don’t wash dishes in the sink. No, in N’Awlins, every kitchen has a zink. And of course you don’t fry those scrumptious shrimp in oil, but rather, earl.

Here’s a few head scratchers and some of my all time favorites, courtesy of Gumbo Pages:

AX – ask

BANQUETTE – The sidewalk. Pronounced <BANK-it>.

BERL – To cook by surrounding something in hot, bubbling 212°F liquid; the preferred method for cooking shellfish.

BOBO – A small injury or wound. (this one grated on me because my mother always said boo-boo)

BOO – A term of endearment, frequently used by parents and grandparents for small children, even small children who happen to be 40 years old … Believed to be Cajun in origin.

BRA - A form of address for men, usually one with whom you are not acquainted. Usually used in this manner: “Say, bra …” Ostensibly an abbreviation for “brother.”

BRAKE TAG – An inspection sticker on your car, proof that you’ve passed the required annual safety inspection.

CATLICK – The predominant religion in New Orleans. And, according to some Baptists, all Hell-bound.

CEMENT – A standard English word, but with a special pronunciation. Locals say <SEE-ment>, not <s@-MENT>.

DA – The.

DAT – That.

DAWLIN’ – A universal form of address. Women use it to refer to both sexes, men use it toward women.

DEM – Them.

DERE – There. As in “Dere ya go!”, an expression of encouragement or acknowledgement of having done something for someone else.

DESE, DOSE – These, those.

DIS – This.

DODO, MAKE DODO – Sleep. (pronounced dough-dough)

DRESSED – When ordering a po-boy, “dressed” indicates lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and MYNEZ, on it.

ERNGE, URNGE – An orange-colored citrus fruit.

ERSTERS, ERSTAS – Oysters.

INKPEN – A ball-point pen, or any kind of pen, really. Always heavy emphasis on the first syllable … “Lemme borra ya INKpen, awrite?”

MUFFULETTA - A quintessential New Orleans Italian sandwich, of ham, Genoa salami, mortadella, Provolone cheese and marinated olive salad on a round seeded Italian loaf. Invented at Central Grocery on Decatur in da Quarter. Locals pronounce this <muff-@-LOT-@>, and will tend to just abbreviate it as “muff”. But if you ask a member of the Tusa family (the proprietors of Central), they’ll pronounce it in elegantly proper Italian as <moo-foo-LET-ta>. (You haven’t lived if you’ve never eaten one!)

NUTTINONIT - A po-boy that is not dressed, which only contains the main ingredient(s).

ON DA WES’ BANK, ACROSS DA RIVUH, OVA DA RIVUH – On the West Bank of the Mississippi River, where such places as Algiers, Gretna and Marrero lie. Interestingly, the West Bank is due south of New Orleans (except for Algiers, of course). Make sense? Thought not.

PECAN – A nut indigenous to the South, and beloved in New Orleans as an ingredient in pies and pralines. Pronounced <p@-KAWN>, not <PEE-can>.

PO-BOY – The quintessential New Orleans lunch, a sandwich on good, crispy New Orleans French bread. This definition doesn’t begin to describe what a po-boy is all about, so if you really don’t know you need to get one soon. Take a moment to read a little bit about po-boys.

PRALINE – A sugary Creole candy, invented in New Orleans (not the same as the French culinary/confectionery term “praline” or “praliné”) The classic version is made with sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and pecans, and is a flat sugary pecan-filled disk. Yummmmm. There are also creamy pralines, chocolate pralines, maple pralines, etc. Pecan pralines are the classic, though.

This is one of THE most mispronounced New Orleans terms of all.

 

It is ***N O T*** pronounced <PRAY-leen>.It is pronounced <PRAH-leen>. Got it? Good.

SHOW, DA SHOW – The cinema. The movie house. The local motion picture emporium. Where works of cinematic art (or crappy flicks, depending) are shown. True New Orleanians never say, “I went to the movies”, they say “I went to da show.”

SILVER DIME – A small coin of U.S. currency, worth ten cents. Always pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable, <SIL-vah dime>, even though they haven’t been made of actual silver for over 35 years.

SUCK DA HEAD, SQUEEZE DA TIP – The technique for eating crawfish. If you’ve never done this, have someone demonstrate.

SUG – A term of endearment used primarily by Yat females. Pronounced <SHOOG> with a soft “oo” as in “book”. (I changed the spelling in the book to shug, so non-natives would know how to pronounce it.)

“THROW ME SOMETHIN, MISTA!” – The traditional (nay, required) request of a Mardi Gras paradegoer to a Mardi Gras parade rider, so that the rider will shower said paradegoer with cheap trinkets like beads, doubloons or cups (actually, the cups are highly coveted, more so than the doubloons are these days, apparently).

TURLET - Ya standard flushable porcelain waste disposal unit found in every bat’troom, referred to by English speakers as a “toilet”.

So there you have a primer in Yat. Fun, huh? Imagine this one here plunked down in the middle a all dat. A shock to my system. But I got used to it and picked up a few.

 

 

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I’m  excited about the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

 

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Beloved Unmasked

 

Cherished One: Book One

A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

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So in my best Yat, y’all come back chere, and see what I got in stow fa ya next hour. Hows about some pitchers taken in Storyville? Y’all’d like dat? Show ya would. Pass back in a while.

Meanwhile, pass on by Dreamspinner for a copy of Beloved Unmasked. Dreamspinner has it on sale at 25% off through October 18.

Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville.  Leave a substantive comment (not “I’m in” or the like,) about the posts and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

 

Release Party for Brita Addams’ Beloved Unmasked

October 16, 2015

Beloved UnmaskedI’m Brita Addams, and I’d like to welcome you to the release Party for Beloved Unmasked. I’ll be here from Noon until five o’clock with posts about fun things to do with the book, New Orleans, and Storyville.

Each hour, I’ll give away a backlist book, Beloved Unmasked is not included. Your comments have to be more than “I’m in.” Let’s chat.

Beloved Unmasked has been a long time coming and I’m very excited to get it into readers’ hands. A year ago, I thought this book was going to be something completely different. I’ll tell you about that in my second post.

This is third Tarnished novel and the first in the Cherished One series. Why the new series within the Tarnished world? Well, because first, Beloved Unmasked takes place in New Orleans, where the other two are set in old Hollywood. But more than that, Cherished One will be a series about men who feel unworthy, who have had tough starts to life, had things done to them that leaves them leery of anything that makes them happy.

In Beloved Unmasked, David starts life as Picayune. No real name and no surname. His mother, a Storyville prostitute, is a bitter piece of work, who hates him and shows her disdain in ways that shape who Pic thinks he is, starting with his name. But he has something she doesn’t have, and that’s hope, which makes him vulnerable in a way she isn’t.

I intermingle my characters with real life personalities. Pic’s love of  music is nurtured by Joseph “King” Oliver, a famous New Orleans musician in the early 1900s. King was what people of the day called a professor, a musician who played piano. King, like Jelly Roll Morton and others, plied their trade in the brothels that lined Basin Street. Their job was to entertain the customers, while the ladies softened them up. Everybody won. The girl had the john tip the professor and the john got heaven in return.

While Pic doesn’t play at the brothel he grew up in, he carries his lessons with him. Music provides solace and joy for him. But music isn’t the only thing that keeps Pic going. He has a soft spot for his friend Spence, a male prostitute at Miss Gert’s. We meet Spence as he calls to Pic from his second story window. I can’t begin to tell you what a joy Spence was to write. To this day, my family knows what I mean when I say, “I’m channeling my inner Spence.”

Like many of my characters, Pic evolves over the course of the book. We see him grow, much as Jack Abadie did in Tarnished Gold, and as he grows, he blossoms. A secondary character, Emile Dauterive, a lawyer some years older, takes Pic under his wing, helps him change his name, and from there—well, you’ll have to read Beloved Unmasked to find out.

New Orleans is heartbeat of this book, much as the French Quarter (different than Storyville,) is the heartbeat of New Orleans. I love the city, having lived in the area for many years. There is no other city in the world with the uniqueness New Orleans has. The language, a mixture of English, Cajun French, and what the natives call Yat—as in Where y’at? is an experience not to be forgotten.

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Come back during my release party, and I’ll give you a taste of Yat. LOL

Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment about the post or the book (not “I’m in” or the like,) and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

Mens-Black-Leather-2

Here’s some of the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked:

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

I was delighted that I was asked to review Beloved before release. I really enjoyed the story. Brita is the only historical author who can suck me in early enough that I’ll read the entire book. :) (4 Stars – Brenda Cothern)

Absolutely amazing. (Lorraine Lesar - Threebooksovertherainbow.wordpress.com)

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Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

Beloved Unmasked

Cherished One: Book One
A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

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Next hour – What was the original book going to be about? And I’ll give you a taste of Yat.

Tricks is Out! Win a FREE autographed copy with Rick R. Reed

October 12, 2015

Tricks-400x600

I confess: the world of sex workers fascinates me.

And what fascinates me more is how love can flourish in such an environment. This was the question I posed to myself when writing TRICKS.

I also love the idea of an opposites-attract love story. What could be better, I wondered, than taking a male stripper and a kind of nerdy, straight-laced guy who hardly would ever even frequent a place where male strippers dance and…have them fall in love?

I based my stripper bar, Tricks, on an actual bar I went to once in a while back when I lived in Chicago called the Lucky Horseshoe (it’s still there, if you’re a Chicagoan or visiting, on Halsted, just south of Belmont Ave,). The Lucky Horseshoe was good sleazy fun with an endlessly rotating roster of young male dancers (and a mostly older clientele). The times I went in there, I was probably storing away the details for the romance novel I would one day write. Once I got beyond the tight pecs, firm asses, and bulging straps of the men on stage, the writer in me wondered if they ever met anyone engaging or special in their work. And, if they did, were they able to sustain a relationship? It’s an interesting question. Could you let your significant other go out night after night and strip down to almost nothing for strangers? Quit laughing! It’s a serious question! Could you allow him or her to be fondled by those same strangers for money? And, if you could, how would you make it work? My male dancer, Arliss, besides being super-hot, is also a real sweetheart. He’s deserving of love. But how would Sean, whom most of us would think of us as pretty conventional, answer those questions?

If ever the path to true love never did run smooth, TRICKS is one story that proves the old saying…in spades…or jockstraps.

BLURB

Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic—or maybe all three.

Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago’s Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks, but nursing his wounds from a recent breakup. When the two spy each other, magic blooms.

But this opposites-attract tale does not run smooth. What happens when Arliss is approached by one of the biggest porn producers in the business? Can he make his dreams of stardom come true without throwing away the only real love he’s ever known? This question might not even matter if the mysterious producers realize their dark intentions.

WIN A COPY
To win a free autographed copy of TRICKS, simply comment below (leaving an e-mail address so we can get in touch if you win). And, just for fun, let me know: could you allow your significant other to work in a stripper bar? I will draw a winner from all entries submitted by October 19. Please note that this offer is only available for US residents (because of the prohibitive cost of foreign shipping). Those outside the US will win an ebook of TRICKS.

EXCERPT
Attired in a costume that would make the construction worker from the Village People look demure, Arliss turned in front of the mirror to ensure he was the perfect fantasy specimen of pornographic machismo. He was grateful he had added the angel wing tattoo to his back and the snakes that twisted around each bicep. And the one on his chest, the tiny heart with the name “Helena” in it, always brought a lump to his throat—or a splash of bile to the back of it, depending on his mood and how forgiving he felt. But now was not the time for being sentimental! Arliss was glad for the tattoos because they added a bit of manliness to his six foot two inch frame that held only 160 pounds in weight. He was what the older men at Tricks referred to as a twink and, thankfully, was a desirable commodity in some circles.

He set the cigarette down in a tin ashtray and took a swig of vodka. He could feel as much as hear the heavy bass of the techno music playing in the bar and knew that Antonio, a Puerto Rican dude with a shaved head and heavy stubble, was probably just about finished with his set, which meant his boxing ensemble cluttered the small stage.

Arliss would come out, dance briefly and flirtatiously with Antonio, and then have the stage to himself. He didn’t know how he did it, night after night, but somehow he managed. He had always been the shyest boy in Ruskin, Florida, where he had grown up. He remembered his hometown with no nostalgia, only with relief that he’d managed to escape its flat, charmless stretches, so unlike what most people thought of when they conjured up images of Florida. Ruskin had no coastline, no beaches, and no picture-postcard landscapes. If they could see me now…. Well, if they could see me now, they’d probably still call me a fag and try to beat the crap out of me, as they once did. Once again, my dear, now is not the time for sentimentality. He took another swig of vodka, draining the glass and feeling the warmth of the liquor as it spread through his chest and extremities. Showtime!

Arliss hurried to the door that separated the cramped dressing room from the bar proper. Tricks didn’t really have a stage, although the dancers liked to think of the bar upon which they danced as one. It was Friday night, and from the rise of conversation and laughter beneath the pounding electronica beat, it sounded as though they had a sizable crowd. He sucked in a breath, looked down at his perfectly smooth pale skin and six-pack abs, and told himself he was gorgeous.

“Don’t forget to smile, toots! You always look like some gloomy Gus out there!”

Leave it to Emmett Myers, owner of Tricks and Arliss’s boss, to try to unsettle him just before he went on stage.

Arliss flashed the man a big Farrah Fawcett smile. If the prissy older man with the pencil moustache recognized it as fake, he gave no indication.

“There! That’s what they like to see! For heaven’s sakes, you have to remember that if they think you’re having a good time, they’ll have a good time. And a good time means more money for all of us.”

Arliss listened as the song wound down, morphing into yet another bass beat that signaled him it was time to stride out through the door, amble across the crowded room, ignore the covert feels and pinches he got as he made his way to the bar, and climb up on it to join Antonio in front of the crowd.

This moment, just before he went out, was always almost surreal. There was a paradoxical rush of nerves that made him feel both nauseated and tingly with electric anticipation. He felt as though he became someone else when he opened that door, or more properly, that his everyday world changed when he opened it. It was kind of like when Dorothy opened the door to Oz and saw the hyper colors of Munchkinland. But instead of munchkins and good witches who descended in translucent bubbles, his world was populated with bitter old queens, alcoholics, and trolls trying to put some oomph into their libidos by staring at boys young enough to be their sons—and in many cases, grandsons.

“Get out there, gorgeous! Shake your groove thing!” Emmett cackled and placed a hand on Arliss’s back to propel him forward.

Just as much to get the hand off his back as to get to the stage, Arliss threw open the door, plastered on a big smile, threw his shoulders back, and strode through the crowd, keeping his eye on the narrow strip of bar that would, for the next fifteen minutes, be his stage.

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Also available at Amazon, AllRomance, and other fine booksellers.

NOH8Rick

Rick R. Reed BIOGRAPHY
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction.  Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Web: http://www.rickrreed.com
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed
E-mail: jimmyfels@gmail.com

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Need More Input (devices) with Xara X. Xanakas

October 10, 2015

I am a gadget girl. I crave handheld devices the way I crave Torchy’s Tacos. If it runs on batteries, I’m all over it. I can’t wait to play with it.

That… doesn’t sound quite right.

You know what I’m talking about. Electronics. Tablets, laptops, smartphones, Kindles. Those little lifesavers that connect us to each other. Electronic leashes that tether us to the world. Devices that let us fly away and bring us home.

I’ve always had to have gadgets for my gadgets. Step into the Wayback Machine with me: I had a keyboard and an external GPS device for my Dell Axim. I had to get a carrying case to carry all the pieces with it, in addition to the carrying case for the Axim itself. Which I carried next to my Motorola PageWriter 2000 (a two way pager with a keyboard? Sign me up!!!)

Keyboards have been my bluetooth drug of choice. I just can’t seem to let a device sit well enough without adding an external keyboard for it. Well, my first Kindle was an exception, but it had its own physical keyboard. Sine I fancy myself a writer (sometimes), I just have this compulsion to carry a keyboard along with my devices.

Someone at work called my iPad Mini plus Folio case the ‘cutest little computer’. Well, I guess it kind of counts as one. And ultraportable. The Zagg keyboard cover on my iPad makes it far more usable for writing than smacking away on the screen. And keeps the fingerprints down.

Right now, I carry two different keyboards for my Samsung tablet: one silicon (waterproof, but the keys are pretty small), and one that folds in half (full size keys in the right places). I even ordered a full-size wireless silicon keyboard for my desktop. (what can I say? I’m addicted.) It takes up almost no space on the desk and works like a champ.

How bout you? What feeds your electronic fetish? Or is it just me?

~xXx~

Dream Cruising with Andrew Grey #dreamer

September 25, 2015

When Dominic and I take a cruise, Dominic plans a lot of our activities. Most ships allow passengers to reserve places at the shows, so he builds a cruise calendar so we can take in the ice show, stage shows, nightly entertainment, cabaret acts, and so on. There are times when I’m surprised I’ll have time to sit by the pool for an hour. :)

2300antiguaDanparrot3

I would like to share a piece of advice. When cruising, plan your excursions in port ahead of time. The ships have lists of excursions you can book and take and if time or dodgy transportation is an issue, definitely book through the ship. However, be sure to review listings on the various boards such as Cruise Critic. There is a wealth of information about private excursions that you can book. They are often less money and can be of superior quality. When we were in St. Kitts we booked an island tour that took us from the 16th century fort to the portions of the island where waves burst over crags, with a small group of donkeys what we got to feed sugar cane. On Antiqua he found a wonderful kayaking expedition that allowed us to scope out tide pools and mangroves. I also became friends with a parrot named Sweet Pea.

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I’m happy to say that Dominic is amazing at ferreting out fun things for us to do on almost every island we visit. Some are in the water, some on it, and some simply seeing the sights. With a little research, you can make every island you visit, a place filled with memories.

Working the Dream Job with Lex Chase

September 24, 2015

Hello Internet! I’m Lex Chase and welcome to this months edition of being a #dreamer! This month, Dreamspinner is talking about Dream Jobs. Some of us out there have the EDJ, and some of us are livin’ the dream!

….Sort of.

Here’s my dream job of being a writer summed up in one meme.

Yeaaaahhhh…

By the way yes, those are all really me and my trappings of life. Let me tell you a little story. Writing wasn’t always my dream job. I actually never planned it at all. I grew up reading comics, my first being X-Men #11, and the second I held it in my hands looking at Jim Lee’s artwork, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I was only 12 or so at the time, but I was determined that was my destiny.

I had always created characters, and made up elaborate backstories for them. Sweeping epics, adventures, mortal enemies, tortured pasts, all the trappings of comics at the time. Many of those stories I ended up incorporating into my current books. The world of the aisa from Chasing Sunrise in particular I created when I was 13. Yes, really.

Creating comics and telling stories of the characters that lived in my head was my dream. I even studied Sequential Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design. But I experienced something quite different while at SCAD. My classmates didn’t know how to tell stories. They wanted to draw the characters from other writers. I had never quite gotten over that. I boggled over it. What do you mean you had to rely on others to draw a story? To draw their characters, and not your own? To invest in someone else’s dream? 

Nothing wrong with that, absolutely nothing. It just wasn’t for me in the end. And lo. I discovered the one thing that truly made me excited in the end. Telling stories.

I wish I could say telling stories is as easy as daisies popping from the ground. But it’s a lot harder than you think it is. Not only following the ideas to completion, to actually believing in the idea when you think you’re a no talent hack. But then when you look back and have a completed manuscript, you think that’s it.

Hold up. You thought you were done for the day? Nope.

Now there’s paperwork, and editing, and promo to organize. On top of that there’s new projects to line up, word counts to calculate, time frames to set, and if you’re like me a 10k beat-by-beat of the next book to outline. Yes. I really do write 10k outlines. There’s long hours, and there’s not enough time in the day to do it all. There’s times when PB&J is a sensible dinner because you can’t be bothered to cook and there’s work to do.

Yet, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love telling stories. I love “making things up and writing them down” as Neil Gaiman says. I love how I have readers that find one small detail in one of my books and makes a thing out of it. Such as Taylor’s honey bun and Corentin’s journal in Americana Fairy Tale. You guys make it all worth it. And I’m grateful for each and every one of you.

And I almost didn’t get here until I dared to take a left turn on my creative path.

So, you guys tell me, what is your dream job? Are you already doing it? If you’re not, tell me what the rewarding parts of your current job is, what makes it all worth it?

Let me know in the comments for your chance to win a $5 USD Dreamspinner Gift Certificate!

Tune in next month for a spooky-ooky Halloween edition as I chat about the next Dreamer theme “Wouldn’t Dream Of It” Mwahahahaaaa~

And if you haven’t yet, Bayou Fairy Tale is up for pre-order! Taylor, Corentin, and Ringo are back and better than ever! What happens when New Orleans gets overrun with nefarious magic? It’s up to our boys to find out! After all…You can’t find Happily Ever After with GPS.


Photo Credit: Lex Chase’s personal Instagram.

Rating Guys: A Primer from Legally Wed (A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed)

September 12, 2015

LegallyWed cover front and back

How do you rate guys? Do you have a system? What kind of man turns your head and what kind makes you simply shrug and say, “meh”?

In my book, Legally Wed (Dreamspinner Press, January 2014), my sort-of “Will and Grace” best friends, Marilyn and Duncan, have developed a unique rating system for identifying who is leer-worthy and who, sadly, is not. The following excerpt details their system. I encourage you to share how you rate men in the comments below—or just share what you think of Marilyn and Duncan’s unique classification system.

Excerpt from Legally Wed by Rick R. Reed (Dreamspinner Press, January 2014)

“What the fuck are you staring at?” Marilyn had strained to turn around in her seat, to try and follow the line of Duncan’s gaze. Marilyn never wanted to miss out if Duncan had spotted a hot guy. Looking out for one another was one of the many ways they cemented their friendship. That, and the way they rated men, using a food system:

Dee. Lish. Us. was the top of the heap, the guys who could stop traffic, open doors, inducing in the viewer heart palpitations. These were men who either were models or could have been, with little effort. The DLU guys were so gorgeous that both Marilyn and Duncan realized—and accepted—they moved on a different plane from mere mortals. Thus, they could never be approached, for to talk to them would risk one being blinded by their magnificence. They saw very few men who actually warranted the DLU label, but when they did, oh boy, did they love to look, in spite of the intimidation their beauty inspired.

Yummy. These guys were the good-looking ones that were still hot, but fell into the realm of the approachable. They could be young or old, tall or short, stocky or thin, hairy or hairless—they could be anything, as long as something about them caught the eye of either Marilyn or Duncan, who had very similar taste in men. If there was a commonality to these men, it was that they were most often regular guys who, more than their good looks, exuded a sense of confidence and masculinity which was immediately apparent and, often, immediately magnetic. Duncan’s sole sexual experience these past several months had been with a yummy man, a shaved head, bearded guy who worked on one of the commuter ferries in town. Duncan thought he had hit pay dirt until he had gone home with the guy and seen his Barbie collection. Oh well, they had spent a pretty amazing night together, one for which Duncan had been long overdue, but he declined when Abbott, as his name was, called to see if Duncan wanted to go along with him to a meeting of his favorite social group, Gays and Dolls, a group of doll-collecting gay men. As lovely as it sounded, Duncan didn’t think the group was for him and probably Abbott wasn’t either.

Edible. Truth was, most guys fell into this category. These were not the men you stopped on the street to admire. These were the run-of-the-mill guys that most people did not notice. But Marilyn and Duncan had found that, if you took the time to really look, you could always find something quirky or wonderful about these men to admire. It might be something as simple as a pair of cool retro glasses that shielded a pair of amazing brown eyes, or a brilliant tattoo-sleeve of dragons or birds running down one manly arm, or perhaps something not easily identified, such as kindness, a genuine warmth that came across in a smile.

Not quite appetizing. While Marilyn used this appellation more often than Duncan, he had to concede she was always spot-on in her estimations. The NQAs were guys who just didn’t appeal. They may not be terribly unattractive in any obvious way, but there was simply something about them that made them disagreeable. For example, a very good-looking man, one who might be a DLU, could become an NQA if he gave off too much of a self-absorbed vibe. Duncan had seen one such situation in a men’s room at a bar once, where a man they had both admired (and Duncan followed into the bathroom, even though he didn’t have to go—hey, he was gay after all) had disappeared. And there, Duncan had witnessed a full-fledged love affair that the guy had—with the mirror. Duncan would later swear to Marilyn he hadn’t even seen Duncan or any of the other men entering the restroom as he adjusted his black hair just so, gazing rapturously at himself, and even, at one point, treating himself to a smile and a wink. Not all NQAs were of this variety, but they all did not appeal, for one reason or another.

Tofu. These were the bottom of the barrel, the flavorless guys, the ones who, sadly, just failed to register at all on their attraction meter. For Duncan, these men were as rare as the DLUs, because he could usually find something worthwhile about a man, be it a strong nose, or a good haircut, or even the way he carried himself across a crowded dance floor. Marilyn was less kind but even she too would admit that very few guys were actually tofu and those that were, well, they probably never noticed them anyway.

“Do you see a DLU?” Marilyn turned back to Duncan, eyes bright with anticipation.

“Well, kind of, in my eyes, anyway.”

“Where?” Marilyn did an almost Linda Blair-like swivel of her head.

Hope the above entices you to want to read more from my latest! More information is just below:

BLURB
Love comes along when you least expect it.
That’s what Duncan Taylor’s sister, Scout, tells him. Scout has everything Duncan wants—a happy life with a wonderful husband. Now that Seattle has made gay marriage legal, Duncan knows he can have the same thing. But when he proposes to his boyfriend Tucker, he doesn’t get the answer he hoped for. Tucker’s refusal is another misstep in a long line of failed romances. Despairing, Duncan thinks of all the loving unions in his life—and how every one of them is straight. Maybe he could be happy, if not sexually compatible, with a woman. When zany, gay-man-loving Marilyn Samples waltzes into his life, he thinks he may have found his answer.

Determined to settle, Duncan forgets his sister’s wisdom about love and begins planning a wedding with Marilyn. But life throws Duncan a curveball. When he meets wedding planner Peter Dalrymple, unexpected sparks ignite. Neither man knows how long he can resist his powerful attraction to the other. For sure, there’s a wedding in the future. But whose?

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Dreamspinner Ebook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4531

Dreamspinner Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4532

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Legally-Wed-Rick-R-Reed-ebook/dp/B00HNXIT5U/

Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Legally-Wed-Rick-R-Reed/dp/1627982043/

AllRomance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-legallywed-1387389-149.html

NOH8RickRick R. Reed Biography
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Stay in touch with Rick
Web: http://www.rickrreed.com
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed

Write to Rick at jimmyfels@gmail.com

What’s that word? with Xara X. Xanakas

September 10, 2015

You’ve got your outline done, your story plotted out, and you’re ready to start flushing out the story. You sit down at the keyboard (or grab your pencil, or your fountain pen, marker, or crayon – whatever you choose to use), and you start writing. The words are flowing, except there’s one tiny problem; they’re all the same words. Well, not all the same words, but you find yourself repeating certain words. And that’s all you can see when you look back over your work. No worries, you can just pop on over to Thesaurus.com and replace some of the instances.

But surf around a while and you’ll find there’s a lot more help out there for getting unstuck over word choices.

The Writers Helping Writers site has several online thesauruses, including help describing those tricky emotions, settings, and character traits.

We all know the very colorful Urban Dictionary for more interesting expressions, but there’s also the Online Slang Dictionary and the Double-Tounged Dictionary.

Wondering if what you’re writing makes any sense? Try checking out the Skeptic’s Dictionary, which delves into “definitions, arguments, and essays on hundreds of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions.”

Google Translate can help when you aren’t quite as fluent in another language as you wish you were. But its predecessor Babelfish is still around, too. And of you’re stuck for just the right words for your Downton Abbey fanfic, here’s a table with British to American translations.

Because if there’s anything I understand, it’s how getting stuck can bring your momentum to a grinding halt.

Now, go forth and conquer. (As in defeat, or trounce, or master. Not masturbate in an unusual places. But then again, if it helps, have at. Don’t let me stop you.)

~xXx~