Category Archives: Humor

“The Book of St. Cyprian” – Part of the “Bones” anthology

boneslgThe second Gothika anthology is coming out today!  This one is called Bones, and it features stories by Eli Easton, B.G. Thomas, Kim Fielding, and me, all based around the theme of voodoo.

Bones is 25% off from now until October 31st!

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5564

My story is called The Book of St. Cyprian and it’s a contemporary, somewhat lighthearted story about two teenage boys who bite off a little more than they can chew.  The tone of this story is pretty much YA, so don’t expect lots of raunchy sex.  Expect a horror story with a thread of sweet romance running through it.

Alejandro is the grandson of an old woman who runs a botanica—a shop that sells herbs, powders, and religious/magical supplies—in a largely Latino neighborhood in Manchester, NH.  When his grandmother (whom he calls “Abuela” (“grandmother”)) sends him to New Orleans, where a friend has recently passed away, he rescues a number of items from the man’s botanica there to send back home.

Alejandro2One of the items he uncovers is a copy of El Gran Libro de San Cipriano—”The Great Book of St. Cyprian.”  An old book of black magic, it was rumored to contain so much evil that to merely touch it endangered one’s soul.  According to magical tradition, the book is sealed in a wooden box wrapped in a chain and padlocked shut.

Alejandro knows Abuela would never allow the book to be in her shop, or even in her home, so he sends it to his friend Matthew for safekeeping.

MatthewMatthew isn’t Latino, but he’s been living in the neighborhood since he was thirteen, and he and Alejandro are best friends.  They would both like to be more than best friends, and that wouldn’t seem like much of a problem, since they’ve been out to each other for years.  But it’s a big step to take, and one that has the potential to destroy their friendship.

So they just stay… friends….

SpartacusThings come to a head when Matthew’s beloved pit bull pup, Spartacus, chews his way through the package Alejandro entrusted to his friend, unleashing a dark spirit that takes control of the animal.

At this point, I would like to assure everyone that I adore all dogs, including pit bulls.  Spartacus is loosely based upon my friend Carmella’s pit bull, Neela, who is extremely mellow and affectionate.  So this isn’t a story about how evil pit bulls are.  It’s a story about how Alejandro and Matthew work together to save their little buddy.

Older Mexican womenOh… and it’s also about how Abuela is not particularly amused by this mess her grandson caused.

Not at all….

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Filed under Contemporary, Drama, gay, horror, Humor, New Release, occult, Occult/Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

“Touching Narcissus” available for free on MM Romance group!

Brewer TwinsFinding Narcissus

A young man who sees someone in a cafe who looks exactly like him, and proceeds to become obsessed with finding out who this man is… and sleeping with him. 

This is the story I was challenged to write for the Goodreads MM Romance group’s Loves Landscapes event, and it was just posted this morning!  You have to be a member of the group in order to read it (or download it, when the files become available in a week or so).   But it’s FREE!

Here’s the original prompt:

They say everyone has a doppelganger out there and I have found mine. He is beautiful, he is perfect, he is… me. The mirror image of myself in every way and I want him. I think he wants me. I pretended to be someone else online and planned a blind date/hook up for him, for us, telling him every detail of will happen. I told him when he got to the destination to take off his shirt and wait. Will he accept or reject me when he sees me, himself, reflected back when he opens his eyes?

And here’s the link to the story:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1938767-touching-narcissus-by-jamie-fessenden-8-1

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Filed under Contemporary, gay, Humor, Jamie Fessenden, Loves Landscapes, New Release, Romance, Sex

Guest Blog – Desktop: “The Enlightenment of Daniel” by Eli Easton

“The Enlightenment of Daniel” was released on Dec 18th. Per usual, I’m posting a “desktop” for it. These are the images that I used for inspiration while I was writing the story. I hope they can either intrigue you enough to read the story or, if you’ve read it, provide some interesting visual references.

PURCHASE LINK: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4440

READ AN EXCERPT HERE: http://elieaston.com/books-by-eli-easton/the-enlightenment-of-daniel/

Daniel Derenzo:

This story is about Daniel Derenzo, one of the two owners of DRE, a Seattle company which has made a lot of money buying dysfunctional companies, turning them around, and selling them. Daniel is, in a word, the business shark of the two-man team. He is the one who takes over the failing companies, often via hostile take-over. Yet I didn’t want a typical nasty tycoon. The character of Daniel needed humor. He’s an often unintentionally funny Type A who is a bit bumbling in a always-over-thinking-it type way. Sort of Woody Allen meets Gorden Gekko. He also is good-looking and very concerned about his image. I couldn’t figure out who Daniel looked like until my husband suggested Ben Affleck. And, yeah, when Ben does his uptight-bumbling-intellect thing, he is Daniel-esque. Here are a few photos of Ben in more of a ‘Daniel’ persona.

ben-affleck-300 1365105959ben-affleck-talks-blake-lively-in-details-october-2012-03[1]

Nick Ross:

Nick is the other half of DRE, Daniel’s business partner and best friend ever since they roomed together in college. As Daniel puts it, Nick is the ‘nice’ to Daniel’s ‘mercenary’. Once Daniel has successfully taken over a company, Nick goes in and makes everyone happy, wins over the employees, and makes the company healthy again. Nick needed to be softer, charming, and appealing. He’s a super nice guy who doesn’t necessarily stick up for himself. He’s also scruffier and not as obsessed with his appearance as Daniel (and a bit of a ginger). I picked Ewan McGregor as a physical model for Nick.

220px-Ewan_McGregor_66ème_Festival_de_Venise_(Mostra)_color

Marcia Ross:

Nick’s wife, Marcia, is a woman who is desperately clinging to a marriage that ended a long time ago. She’s concerned with image, yes, but also has been convinced by her mother that divorce will ruin her two kids and that it’s her job to maintain the marriage at any cost. Marcia is not really a villain to me, she is someone who is stuck in a rut and can’t even see how bad things are, nor does she have any idea how to fix them. She’s just determined to hang on to the status quo. If you can imagine a drowning person punching and fighting the person trying to rescue them out of fear–that is Marcia. By the way, she gets an HEA too. I picture Marcia as a sort of blonde, Housewives of Beverly Hills type visually, but she does change by the end of the story.

housewives

Jenny Ross:

I’ve always had a soft spot for m/m romances with kids in them, but this is the first time I’ve written one. Nick has two children including Jenny, who is 13. Jenny is a typical teen but she’s struggling to find her own identity separate from her mother. Below was the inspiration for Jenny **post make-over**.

draft_lens18144027module151452338photo_1310521829Textured-emo-girl-hairsty

Sylvan Ross:

Sylvan is Nick’s other kid, an 8-year-old boy. He’s all boy, a goof-ball, and just “a love sponge”. Here’s my reference for Sylvan.

Boy_being_silly_by_ImaSwedeStock

Frank Derenzo aka “Iron Man”:

“The Enlightenment of Daniel” has a theme of fatherhood. The entire story begins when Daniel’s father, Frank, calls Daniel to the hospital as he is dying of cancer. He gives Daniel a “Marley’s ghost” lecture, warning him not to spend his life pursuing only business, as Frank has done, but to fall in love, live life, and be happy. Frank is a major character in this book–I love him to death (literally, apparently). He’s sharp-tongued and provides some comic moments.

stock-photo-an-older-businessman-with-glasses-holds-up-a-newspaper-51024985

Expanded Horizons Sex Clinic:

This story is part of my Sex In Seattle series, which are stories which revolve around a sex clinic in Seattle called Expanded Horizons. (This story, however, is completely stand alone). Daniel goes to Expanded Horizons for counselling when he starts having sexual feeling for Nick. This is pretty disturbing to Daniel, because he’s 34 and he always thought he was straight. The building below is a reference for Expanded Horizons.

seattle-remodel-urban-animal-01

Dr. Jack Halloran:

Jack, the star of “The Trouble With Tony,” makes an appearance in “Daniel” as Daniel’s sex therapist. He helps Daniel figure out these new feelings, and if he is actually gay or not.

young doctor man with stethoscope and clipboard against different backgrounds

Michael Lamont:

Michael is the gay sex surrogate at Expanded Horizons. When one of Jack’s patients could benefit from actual sexual contact with a licensed therapist, it is Michael who does it. He’s works with everything from E.D. patients (erectile dysfunction) to those with severe handicaps or fear of intimacy. I LOVE MICHAEL and I’m currently writing his book (Sex in Seattle #3). He has a wonderful scene in “The Enlightenment of Daniel”, though. Daniel goes to Michael to test once and for all the theory that he is gay. Hot! [Note: Michael physically is inspired by model Isaiah Garnica, who is in the photo below.]

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Locations:

Here are some places in Seattle that appear in “The Enlightenment of Daniel”

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Above: The Metropolitan Grill where Daniel and Nick have lunch

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Above: Molly Moon’s ice cream where Daniel takes Nick and the kids

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Above: Safeco field from the VIP seats. Daniel takes Nick and his kids to a game here.

The House/Cabin on Bainbridge

A very important part of the story takes place on Bainbridge Island, in a house on the water that Daniel rents. Here’re some inspirational photos for that.

novotny.04 dock

Special Bonus:

Daniel’s John Lobb shoes, which star in the first scene.

John Lobb_Shoe_5

And the (hubba hubba) bathing suit Daniel wears at the cabin.

new-mens-swimming-sport-swim-trunks-shorts

That’s it for this book! I hope you enjoy this story. If you do, drop me a line at eli@elieaston.com or tag me on twitter at @EliEaston

PURCHASE LINK: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4440

READ AN EXCERPT HERE: http://elieaston.com/books-by-eli-easton/the-enlightenment-of-daniel/

Eli

 

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Filed under Drama, gay, Guest Blogger, Humor, New Release, Romance, Writing

Guest blog: Desktop – “The Trouble With Tony” by Eli Easton

Eli Easton’s highly entertaining novella, The Trouble with Tony, was released this past week.  I loved it and definitely recommend it for a quick, lighthearted and very sexy read!  Eli put this post up on her blog a few days ago, but I offered to duplicate it here, because I thought it was a lot of fun.

Click on the cover pic to the right to get to the purchase page!

==============================

Whenever I write a story, I like to google images for inspiration.  Sometimes they’re for mood, sometimes they’re characters (major and minor), sometimes they’re locations, and sometimes they’re things like a building or a shop or a car that I just like to have a visual reference for.  I thought it would be fun to share these with readers.

** Note:  I own none of these images – they’re from google.  These images were not used in the book, but if you have a problem with my having an image on this website, please email me and I’ll remove it.  

So without further ado, here’s my “Trouble with Tony” desktop:

TONY DEMARCO

Tony is an Italian-American private detective from Brooklyn now living in Seattle (in part to elude his big, Italian-American family who don’t know he’s gay).  He was a cop for six years but decided to to go it alone as a P.I. after being shot in the leg.   He’s very funny.

I had several images on my desktop to inspire me to write Tony’s character.  Here’s my favorite:

images

This pic was identified as Fabio Cannavaro by a commenter.  Thank you!

DR. JACK HALLORAN

Our other MC, Dr. Jack Halloran, was a combat surgeon in the US Army for 8 years until an I.E.D. damaged his left arm, making it impossible for him to do surgery.  His PTSD made even working in an ER impossible.  He’s now a sex therapist for Expanded Horizons.  He’s not a big guy, but he’s a serious bad ass.

I searched for a ‘blonde doctor’ image to inspire me and I like the attitude on his face.  This one made it onto the cover!

young doctor man with stethoscope and clipboard against different backgrounds Stock image

MICHAEL LAMONT

Oh, Michael!  I’m currently working on Sex in Seattle #3, which is Michael’s story, but he makes his first appearance in “The Trouble With Tony”.  I love this character!  Michael is a sex surrogate and also does in home nursing care part time.  He’s slightly built, very cute, and extremely compassionate/empathetic.  In my head, Michael is physically based on Isaiah Garnica.

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Isaiah Garnica (LA based model/actor)

SETTING: SEATTLE’S CAPITOL HILL

The story is set in Seattle, mostly in and around Capitol Hill, a gay district in Seattle that’s up on a hill (hence the oh-so-brilliant name).  My husband and I had a house on Capitol Hill for 15 years and I love the neighborhood!  I greatly miss it.  Here are a few scenes of this funky/cool area.

elysian-brewing-company caphill seattle-capitol-hill-flcikr-matthew-rutledge

EXPANDED HORIZONS

Expanded Horizons is the name of a (entirely fictional) sex clinic on Capitol Hill around which the series revolves.  I pictured it on Pike Street between Broadway and 15th, which is an area I walked often.  It’s not a very big building. The clinic has a waiting room with receptionist area, three therapists offices, a staff kitchen and meeting room and a, ahem, massage room.  This is about the style/size of the building.

seattle-remodel-urban-animal-01

DISCOVERY PARK

I’m an avid hiker, so I worked a few of my favorite places to hike into the story.  Tony meets up with his police detective buddy, Mark, to discuss the case at Discovery Park, a Seattle park that I miss dearly now that I’m no longer in the area.  It has a beach, lighthouse, woods and trails on a bluff, and gorgeous views.

discoveryparkseattle

The trail along the top of the bluff.

Disc Park 203 SM

 One of my own photos taken whilst hiking with a friend

MT RAINIER’S SKYLINE TRAIL

One of my favorite hiking trails of all time is the Skyline Trail at Mt. Rainier.  It’s quite high in elevation.  You can hike right up to the glacier and the views are spectacular.  Being above the treeline, the flowers and vegetation are really different from most NW forests.  Tony and Jack discuss the Skyline trail earlier in the book and then the epilogue takes place there.

Mount Rainier Skyline Trail

Image by Smigelski Photography : http://www.smigelskiphotography.com/2011/10/mount-rainier/

That’s it for this desktop!  I hope the pictures add to your enjoyment of the story.

ABOUT THE SERIES:

Sex in Seattle #2, ”The Enlightenment of Daniel,” has been written and contracted to Dreamspinner and is due out in the Dec/Jan timeframe.  This story is about a patient of Jack Halloran’s.  Daniel is a high-powered Type A business man who has a midlife crisis when he learns his father is dying of cancer.  Daniel comes to several life-altering realizations –first, that he’s gay and secondly, that he’s in love with his male business partner who is in a marriage-in-name-only relationship for the sake of his kids.

Sex in Seattle #3, “The Mating of Michael” (working title), is my next writing project.  Tentative pub date is April 2014.  This is, of course, the story of Michael Lamont, sex surrogate for Expanded Horizons.  I’m very excited to bite into this one!

Eli

Eli Easton can be found at http://elieaston.com/

The Trouble with Tony can be purchased at:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4110

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Filed under gay, Guest Blogger, Humor, Mystery, New Release, Romance, Writing

“Finding Love Through Bigfoot” is finished and available for free download!

I had initially planned on this story being submitted for an October anthology that Dreamspinner is putting out, but one of the requirements for that was that the story be no more than 2,000 words (within a small margin).  By the time I hit 3,000 words, with no wrap-up in sight, I knew I didn’t stand a chance of editing the finished story down to 2,000 words.  But I was having fun with it, so I decided to finish it up and release it as a freebie.

Since I’d been reading H.P. Lovecraft stories when I began the project, the initial tone was a bit Lovecraftian — 3rd-party narration, with the narrator rather distantly removed from the characters, and very little dialog.  But I couldn’t really sustain that for the entire story.  Humor started creeping in around the edges.  The “monster,” which initially was something dark and half seen in the forest, began to appear more and more like Bigfoot.  In the end, the story turned out to be rather tongue-in-cheek, if not quite a comedy.  But I’m happy with it.

It’s currently available for FREE DOWNLOAD (Did I make those words big enough?) at Lou Sylvre’s blog, since she was kind enough to let me guest blog there for a few days.  You can get to the link by clicking the image below.

Finding Love Through Bigfoot

Finding Love Through Bigfoot

The story was posted in a bit of a hurry, without the benefit of editors or even just friends looking it over, so I’ve already noticed a few typos.  When I’ve got a little more time, perhaps I’ll repost it with corrections.

SYNOPSIS:

Stuart moved to the country, looking for a little calm and stability in his life.  But that calm is upset, when a large, man-like creature begins showing up in his yard at night.  Soon, Stuart finds himself running for his life through the New Hampshire forests, and the only person who can save him is an enigmatic ranger named, Jake.  But Jake isn’t just out there on patrol — he’s been tracking the creature.  And he won’t rest until he finds it.

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Filed under Fantasy, Humor, Occult/Paranormal, Romance, Writing

“We’re Both Straight, Right?” gets a B+ at Brief Encounters!

After a wave of (in my opinion) rather toxic user reviews on the Goodreads site, which I’ll get to in a bit, We’re Both Straight, Right? received a B+ at Brief Encounters!  You can read the entire review here.

So, what do I mean by “toxic” reviews?  Well, I certainly don’t mean that people aren’t entitled to dislike my story.  The first couple bad reviews I got, I just shrugged off.  But then someone posted a review that used the word “coerced.”  She disliked the story, she said, because Larry was coercing Zack into these sex games.  Then later, Zack and Larry allow the porno director to coerce them into doing things and she found that to be “sick.”

This was upsetting.  But clearly this reviewer just didn’t “get” the story.  I don’t generally believe in engaging people who dislike your stories (or films), but this review seems to be having an impact on reader perception of the story.  Since she posted it, three or four other readers have mentioned the same reason for disliking the story, whereas the reviews had never mentioned that point at all in the first two weeks that the story was out there.  It really upsets me to think that some people may be forming a negative opinion of the story before reading it. 

So, even though this is just going out to the people who read my blog, I feel that I should at least address the issue of character motivation in the story.  At least, as I see it.

WARNING:  If you haven’t already read We’re Both Straight, Right?, there might be some spoilers below.  I tried not to give too much away.

At no point is Larry coercing Zack into anything.  He states quite clearly what he wants and that Zack doesn’t have to go along with it — but he wishes Zack would.  That’s not coercion, in my book.  That’s laying it all out on the table.  If Zack feels guilty and goes along with it because of that, as the reviewer seemed to be implying, well then, he’s being foolish.  But he’s not being coerced.  Are friends never allowed to tell each other that they would like to have sex?  Becuase I can’t really conceive of a way of doing that without the possibility of someone feeling guilty, if they reject the advance.

The other implication here is that Larry knows that he’s making Zack feel guilty, and is using that to manipulate him.  This is simply incorrect.  Larry is socially inept and not really capable of manipulating anybody.  Self-centered, perhaps, but not manipulative.  He’s basically a big dumb ox — a bit on the crude side, but incredibly loyal and devoted to his best friend.  I knew he would be a bit of a hard sell, when I wrote the novella.  Some of us love guys like that; some of us don’t.  But the one thing he is not, is conniving and manipulative.

As far as the porno director goes, he lays it out when they arrive, telling them what sex acts he’s paying them for.  When Zack realizes that there was some miscommunication and they won’t get all of the money without going “all the way,” well, that’s not coercion, either.  That’s negotiation.  He has the option to just take the pay for the sex acts he’s comfortable with, or push himself a little further to get all of the money.  It’s his decision, and nobody is forcing him to do anything.

I worked very hard to have my characters communicating throughout the story, rather than rely on misunderstandings for comedy, as so many bad sitcoms and films do.   When Zack and Larry get angry with each other on occasion, they may brood for a while, but then they talk about what’s bothering them and try to find a solution they can both be happy with. 

To my mind, that makes them good for each other.

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Filed under Humor, Romance, Writing

Reviews, Readers and Fart Jokes

After receiving a very nice review from Lasha at Jessiewave, and seeing the reader comments that have gone by on Goodreads, I’m beginning to see a pattern emerging.  In an online chat about M/M erotic romance not long ago, someone asked if characters burping and farting was acceptable in these stories.

I don’t recall a consensus being reached.  Some writers/readers felt that it was disgusting and others thought it could be funny.  Well, that’s what I’m seeing in the reviews and comments for We’re Both Straight, Right?  Not that people are saying, “I can’t believe Larry farted!  I had to stop reading right there!”  But it does seem to be mentioned more than I anticipated, and I suspect it’s putting some people off. 

On the other hand, other people, including Lasha, seem to feel that it makes the characters more realistic, and there have been comments to the effect that this is a refreshing change from standard m/m romance heroes. 

The latter impression is more or less what I was aiming for with this story, although I don’t think I intended for the fart scene to leave such a lasting impression on people.  Ah, well.  This story was a little bit of a risk for me, since I don’t usually try to write humor.  I’m happy to see that a number of people find the book very funny.

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Filed under Humor, Romance, Writing