May 6th, 2010

andrew potter

Live Action Hero by Mary Winter

Mission: Carnal by Mary Winter

When former Vietnam soldier reborn as action figure died a second time also in his toy life, he thinks that this time will be forever. Instead the Toymaker has other idea in mind for him. But this time he has not a war mission but a love ones: he needs to teach to love again to Adrian, the shop owner who bought him as a broken action figure and that repaired him.

After an initial perplexity, Adrian is ready to enjoy his new toy, the muscular and strong Mack, who hides inside a gentle soul. Adrian usually is not easy to let people near him, but maybe, since Mack is an extraordinary man, means that he is not real, it's more simple for Adrian to let go; all in all, maybe he thinks that this is still a dream.

This is the first in the Live Action Man series by Mary Winter; it's not so short, almost 70 pages, but the plot is pretty simple: the story is a funny sexy romp with a lot of sex, even if sometime it edges on the emotion when Mack remembers his time as a soldier.

Mission: Raw (Live Action Hero 2) by Mary Winter

The second story in the Live Action Hero series is a bit more sad and with more elements to link it to reality.

Sawyer, like Mack, was a former soldier. He fought in the late '70 and when killed in action, he became a Live Action Figure, a toy for a kid along with other three former soldier. In life Sawyer was a Native American man with a penchant for adventures and men. As a toy he was an hell of a fighter, but obviously sex was his last thought. When also his "second" life come to an end, the Toymaker gives him another chance: to be again a man and to fulfill the need of love of Dean.

Dean is Adrian's colleague (Adrian was the main character in the previous book, now Mack's lover). Outside Dean is an happy-go-lucky man, always ready to a new adventure, both in life than in sex, but in reality he is a wounded man, who fears to love again. Probably only a strange and unreal situation like this could push Dean to let go his fear so soon.

As I said, this second book is a bit "more" real: there are a bit more information on Sawyer's past, and since the "surprise" of Sawyer being a toy is not so new, the reader maybe is more open to accept the story. And it's also a bit more "sad" since we know something about Sawyer's former life, and about how he, maybe, regrets of having lost his family.

Still remain a mystery why at first these men became toys and why turn back human... It's obvious that the series will end only when all the four former soldier will find their match. I believe that, to enjoy this series, you need to try to forget your rational mind, and start again to play with toys.

Mission: Possession (Live Action Hero 3) by Mary Winter

The third live action hero is ready to find his man. In the previous two books, the two real life men who find their lovers in a action figure comes to live, didn't know what was expecting them. In the third book, Hugh instead knows that his two friends found love with a paranormal help from the Toymaker, and he is torn between hope and reality. When he repairs his own action figure, Talon, deeply inside he is hoping for it to come alive, and so when it happens, he is not so surprised.

Talon was a soldier during the Desert Storm in 1990; where his fellow soldiers didn't realize that after their death they were turned in action figure, Talon knew that and in a way he was right with it: before enlisting in the army he was a model, and so, from playing in front of the camera, to play for a child, things weren't changed much. But one thing he missed, having sex. So when he comes alive again, he has only one though in mind, and Hugh is more than willing to help him. But after that, what will be Talon's role in real life? Will he be always only a "toy", a pretty face no one care really for? This time Talon wants something more, and maybe Hugh is not the man for giving him that.

First of all, let me remind you that this series is pure fun, so we haven't to find deeply meaning in it; but said that, the third chapter in the series has a bit more meaning than the others: maybe since both characters are aware that they are living something magic, and even if they don't know how all it happens, they are more prepared than their friends.

Mission: Touchdown (Live Action Hero 4) by Mary Winter

With Touchdown, the series about the action figures come alive ends: Brice, the last of the toy squad, has his own mission to accomplish. Brice was a soldier in the Balkan war, this was quite a recurrent characteristic for all the previous stories, all of them were soldiers in different war time, and story by story the period was always more recent, first Vietnam, second Uganda, third Desert Storm and last Balkan territory. Another current characteristic was that the companion they found in their third life (from human to toy and again from toy to human), is similar to them in ambition and life. Brice's partner is the last of the friends who own The Fantastic Five, a comic book shop; but Van's expectation in life is to come back to law school and become a lawyer; same as Brice wanted to do, before enlisting in the Army. So when Brice comes back to the world, it's only natural that their expectations correspond and their paths become one.

Since Van was the man that in the previous books supplied fake identities to his friends' lovers, he is not surprise for him to find out that the last action figure is now a fully man. He has also no problem to benefit of the sexual favors Brice is more than willing to give him. His only problem is that he feels guilty for his desire to come back to school and let his friends down with the shop: a very common problem in a very uncommon and fantasy situation. Nice contrast for the plot.

As I said in the past, the Live Action Hero series is pure fan, you haven't to find deep meaning and neither try to find all the reasons (how Van can supply fake identities to four men without any apparently problems, why all these men don't try to contact their family, even if they are dead for the world, at least to know how they are doing...). They are all little enjoyable escapades from reality.

http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1391

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

ePistols at Dawn by Z.A. Maxfield

I'm too old and it's too much time I'm around. Or maybe it's only that I read too much. Z.A. Maxfiled wrote a parody about a man who wrote a parody... I think I'm able to recognize to whom Z.A. Maxfield identifies herself in the novel, enough to say it's not the writer (too simple), and I recognized who was the writer she is paying homage to.

The story is actually a comedy of errors: Jae is a literary critic working for an LGBT Magazine, The Adversary (quite clear reference to The Advocate...); Jae is an half Caucasian half Asian man, and his full name is Jae-sun, but he goes for Jae, and this sometime leads people to think that he is a female. Often writers who are pissed off from one of his reviews accuse him to be a woman, and so to being unable to understand a real good piece of Gay Literature. You would think that Jae would be the first to defend himself claiming that he is a man, and instead he has always let it go, finding useful to have the change to play the double role, male or female when it is necessary. Like in this case: Jae is real angry since a woman, Kelly Kendall, dared to write a parody of one of Jae's favourite coming of age novel, Doorways. Doorways was like The Catcher in the Rye or some other breaking coming of age novel for Jae, and seeing a trashy novel like Windows taking and ridiculing it, it's too much. Above all since the author who did it is a woman! (payback is hard to digest…) How does she dare? She can't understand how important that book was for young Jae.

Problem is that Kelly can truly understand, since he is not a "she", he is Kelly Mackay, alias Kelly Kendall, alias Kieran Anders, the author of both Doorways than Windows. He wrote Windows to fulfil a bet with Will, his houseboy / dogs boy, a 20 years old former hustler who he welcomed in his home as secretary and buddy friend with benefits. Where Kelly was probably the angst teenager in Doorways, Will is probably the slut teenager in Windows... they are two different perspective on the same story, and Kelly is also probably overgrown on the teenager he was. At this point I also recognized another gentle homage Z.A. Maxfield probably did, to the movie Finding Forrester; not only Kelly Kendall has the same Irish/Scottish origin of the character in the movie, William Forrester, but he has also the same problem to being trapped by his first novel: people adore Doorways so much, that Kelly is scared to writing something else. To do so, he changed completely the genre and went under another pseudo. Plus Kelly suffers of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and he avoids like a plague everything that is not ordinary or stranger.

Jae is bent on "outing" Kelly Kendall as not only a woman (his publisher maintains the mystery around him) but also a plagiarist. He starts to pestering Kelly with emails from a supposedly female fan, StrawberryFields, mails to which Kelly replies with gentleness but avoiding giving details. Only that, email after email, both Jae than Kelly start to realize that they have much in common, and that they like to talk with the other online... is it possible that a so good online relationship turns in something real? Yes, it’s, since Jae is used to have things to easily, and dating Kelly it’s not easy at all. Someone could say that Kelly is a nut case, but I think that he is only a very special man, and he needs someone to take care of him. Don’t get me wrong, Kelly is not retarded or similar, he is only a man with a lot of odd customs, but it’s what makes him a special man, and he has not to change; he only has to find a man who can deal with him. And learning to deal with Kelly maybe will teach to Jae to see things less in Black and White, to see the shades, to be more flexible, and learning that, to be a better man. Not always being a crusader is a good thing, sometime crusade did a very poor job to humanity.

When I said that being a crusader is not necessarily a good thing, I’m not only referring to Jae’s fight to “out” everyone who hides his homosexuality (which negative side we read in the fate of an actor at the beginning of the book); take Kelly’s OCD… someone like Jae, so strong and used to see only the right and the wrong, probably would try to cure himself, to force nature to submit to human’s will… and doing so you would destroy the real Kelly. The real Kelly it’s not the “healthy” man, the real Kelly is the obsessed one, the troubling one, he is special since he is not normal, level him to the rest of the world, means to kill him.

I like also as the author dealt with Kelly and Will's relationship; true, they are having a sexual relationship, but not from Kelly's side or Will's one there is a real emotional commitment. Both of them know that what is between them it's not real love, problem is that Kelly doesn't know if real love exist, at least not until Jae. I like that, even if at the beginning the author let us in the more intimate details between Kelly and Will, when Jae is becoming something more than an email address for Kelly, that relationship slowly but steadily turns in a real friendship, without benefits. It's made in a way that I don't feel bad for Will, on the contrary, I believe that he needs more Kelly as a friend rather than as a lover. Not only Kelly finds his love, but it happens at the same time when Will's past is revealed (a past of child molestation), and in a strange play of destiny, it's actually a better thing for him that Kelly, who can be a fatherly figure for Will due to the age difference, becomes totally sexually detached.

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/epistols-at-dawn

Amazon: ePistols at Dawn

Amazon Kindle: ePistols at Dawn

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Anne Cain
andrew potter

Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price

Jordan Castillo Price is probably the only author I can read who presents me with needles, syringes and blood, and I find it sexy. I'm quite the squirmy type, I don't think how being punctured and bleeding can be sexy, but if it's done by an alluring pale and long dark haired artist, well maybe I can make an exception. As probably would do Mark, the man who is lucky enough to find that man.

In an alternative near future, where the vampirism virus exceed the HIV one, becoming more common and lethal, there are still few cities that allow vampire to live within their limit. Chicago is one of them, and it's here that Jonathan found his shelter; he is an artist, an Hungarian refugee, and a vampire. He is also handsome and wealthy, but a bit strange. Not artist "strange", more like he is a son of some alien planet who fell on Earth by accident. He doesn't talk of his "illness" (drinking blood is something you do in private), he is more than reclusive, even when it's night and he can go out, and he drinks only cat's blood. And before you ask, no, he doesn't kill the cats, he pays one of those old ladies with more cats than fleas to dry a bit her kittens in exchange of money. Obviously all these ordinary tasks are not brought on by Jonathan himself, he has a dogsboy for that, even if Mark is maybe a bit too old for the task.

Almost forty years old, Mark is the classical manquè artist turned art critic turned artist valet. Plus Mark is also gay, something that now maybe it's no more the crime it was, being a vampire is worst, but still it's not exactly cheered upon. Where Jonathan is reclusive and aloof, Mark is always complaining for something: he has not enough time to do everything (even if everything is only do some errands for Jonathan), he has not a boyfriend, he is not as handsome as a vampire... he is probably the only man that, while being followed by a killer and running for his life, can be disappointed by how the jeans he picked up in a store doesn't fit well. And maybe he is not the only one, but one of the best merit he finds in being a vampire, is the chance to be skinny and fabulous.

It's strange, usually in a pair there is always a leader and a follower, and here the obvious conclusion is that Mark should be the second, but neither of them have really the aurea to be leader. Don't get me wrong, they are not weak or submissive, it's only that they are almost alike, at the same level. Maybe Jonathan is the more experienced, but he has not the streak to be on the spotlight, more the people don't notice him and more he is happy. On the other hand Mark can be a primadonna, but he is too squirmy to be an adventurer; and it's strange since at 6 and half feet he is a bit too macho man to be flamboyant... I was almost expecting here and there for him to cry on his broken nails.

Then there is the love story. Again not what you will expect. As I said, probably the most romantic encounter they have is when they share blood, obviously with the aid of a needle, don't let happen that such a vulgar action happens with the use of real teeth and spit. One of the most romantic thing Mark said to Jonathan is that, if it wasn't for the virus, he would have swallowed... enough clues to frame our heroes? But despite it all, I really feel the love between Mark and Jonathan, not always sex and sex and sex is the only way to convey that feeling. I really think that Jonathan is a really reserved man, and it's not easy for him to express his feelings; and Mark is probably the same, and even if a little bitchy, he is always ready to help Jonathan, even if it means the last sacrifice, his blood... but only with a needles between them!

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/hemovore

Amazon: Hemovore

Amazon Kindle: Hemovore

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Kanaxa
andrew potter

Wim Griffith: Realm of Beauty, Pain, and Frailty

Wim Griffith is a multi-disciplinary artist, including sculpting, painting, and murals, as well as scenic artist for television and film.

Widely exhibited in galleries throughout his native Southern California, he has also executed several prestigious commissions including Bowers Museum in Santa Anna, California and several bronze busts for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

 
TITLE: NO TAN LINE, Oil on Canvas, 22"x28"

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Wim attempts to stretch the boundaries of classical sculpture, risking comparison with the great artists of Western Civilization including the Greek, Roman and European renaissance era. A man committed to his vision, he feels he has no other choice: "Classical art often removed the humanity of man by emphasizing immortality. I have returned the individual human male in all his finite, conscious, and perishable aspects to the realm of beauty, pain, and frailty."

The classical forms serve as his point of departure for expressing that individuality, ignored by the classical eras in their search for deathless perfection. Wim works to reveal an unfolding future; a new way to man being in the world. A world where vulnerability is the hallmark of strength-and individuality is the true source of power.

The visual lyrical qualities of these sculptures can be experienced as intuitively as in music. Inorganic metal becomes flesh, molding a seamless union of form and passion, order and vitality.

The artist hopes his vision and execution gives voice to the viewer's own struggle to integrate the presumed man with the real man, while remembering his sense of humor and lust for beauty.

http://www.wimgriffith.com/
andrew potter

Wim Griffith: Realm of Beauty, Pain, and Frailty

Wim Griffith is a multi-disciplinary artist, including sculpting, painting, and murals, as well as scenic artist for television and film.

Widely exhibited in galleries throughout his native Southern California, he has also executed several prestigious commissions including Bowers Museum in Santa Anna, California and several bronze busts for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

 
TITLE: NO TAN LINE, Oil on Canvas, 22"x28"

Collapse )

Wim attempts to stretch the boundaries of classical sculpture, risking comparison with the great artists of Western Civilization including the Greek, Roman and European renaissance era. A man committed to his vision, he feels he has no other choice: "Classical art often removed the humanity of man by emphasizing immortality. I have returned the individual human male in all his finite, conscious, and perishable aspects to the realm of beauty, pain, and frailty."

The classical forms serve as his point of departure for expressing that individuality, ignored by the classical eras in their search for deathless perfection. Wim works to reveal an unfolding future; a new way to man being in the world. A world where vulnerability is the hallmark of strength-and individuality is the true source of power.

The visual lyrical qualities of these sculptures can be experienced as intuitively as in music. Inorganic metal becomes flesh, molding a seamless union of form and passion, order and vitality.

The artist hopes his vision and execution gives voice to the viewer's own struggle to integrate the presumed man with the real man, while remembering his sense of humor and lust for beauty.

http://www.wimgriffith.com/

More Artists at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art



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andrew potter

Not books related: do not disturb the sleeping dog

I don't usually post about me, even if this is actually "my" LiveJournal, but sometime I feel to share what happens in my personal life. Many of my friends, basically since I post pictures about my travels, know that I work in the financial software industry and that I need to travel for work, also abroad. I shouldn't say it by myself, but since a lot of my clients are happy with my work, I'm probably good at what I do. And being happy with what I do for me is more important, really, of how much I gain. Plus, if I'm comfortable when I travel, it's not so important for me of the physical place where I stay when I'm in office. So, even if I have a good seniority in comparison to other people in my firm, my desktop is in an open space; it's not bad since it's in an corner, and so I have all the quiet I need.

Lately I worked a lot abroad, and so I'm not often in the office, and they are hiring new people, and someone from another department asked me if they can use my desktop. I told them that I would check with my department if they had another place for me and so I did. Plus in this period I had to discuss my appraisal with my boss, and so I thought to kill two birds with a stone. The day of the planned appointment for the appraisal my boss at last minute told me that he had an urgency and basically he only told me that the only place they had free was on some "temporary" stations where usually they sort people just arrived in the firm... I saw red! All right, I don't really need an office or a big desktop, but offering me a place practically in the corridor?

I sent to the boss of my boss an angry email pretending to plan a meeting to discuss my appraisal, and I close the letter saying that I was considering to place myself on the market. Then at home, I browsed the job search engine and found a profile that was quite similar to mine. I sent the resume more or less at 11.00 p.m. sincerely not expecting a reply since it was a job not in my city.

The next morning I was powering on my laptop, 9.00 a.m. more or less, when my mobile rang: it was the headhunter and he was really in an hurry to have the all right from me to send my resume to the firm to plan a meeting. I said all right and he said he would let me know in a week or so. Then I went back to my laptop and what I found in my inbox? An email from the boss of my boss telling me that I was assigned an office and a rise of salary. And today? just one day later? the headhunter called to plan the meeting in a week and he also told me that the distance from work is not an issue since when I haven't to be on client site, I will work from home.

So now from not having an office, I have even the chance to work from home. I decided to go to the meeting and see what they are offering and then I will take my decision. Moral of the story: do not disturb the sleeping dog, since if they didn't behave so wrongly with me, I was happy with what I had ;-)


andrew potter

Redemption by Remmy Duchene

Keegan is a 43 years old man who spent the last 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. When he was 18 years old, openly gay and totally bad boy, he was the sore eye of the small town where he lived, and so, when he was framed for a murder of another young man, no one, from the judge to the police to his lawyer to his same parents believed in his innocence and he was sentenced to life. The only one who believed in him was his grandfather, a very wealthy man, who apparently couldn’t do anything for him if not preserve his inheritance. Now 25 years later Keegan is out on parole, and he is also rich, but the only thing he wants is to go back to his ranch, and live in peace, as far as possible to the folks who convicted him.

Jaxon was an orphan two years younger than Keegan; to his teenager eyes, Keegan was a forbidden fruit, someone he desperately wanted. Jaxon was also in the same gang who killed the boy Keegan was accused to, and he knew the true. Only that at the time, Jaxon was too scared to loose the only family he had, the gang, and so he said nothing. Growing up, Jaxon managed to become a famous professional baseball player, but almost as a penance, off season he is back home, and helping Keegan’s grandfather to preserve the ranch for his grandson. Even now that the old man is dead, Jaxon is going home to do his work, but this time it’s Keegan who opens the door, of both his home than all the forbidden desires Jaxon tried to forget. Jaxon is openly gay, but it’s not the gay thing that is forbidden, it’s the love he has for an ex con and also the guilty that weights on his shoulder: how can he fall in love with Keegan knowing that he stole 25 years of his life?

Even if both men deny the feelings they are having for each other, the desire is stronger, and they always end in each other arms. It’s like a play of pull and push, but in the end, it’s more Jaxon who is trying to reach out for Keegan: even if 25 years later, even if more experienced and successful, Jaxon probably is still that boy who was looking upon Keegan, waiting for the bad boy of the town to notice him, Mr Nobody; and yes, maybe it’s also a way for him to re-pay Keegan of his lost years, Jaxon for sure will do everything to make the man happy.

Overall I liked the story even if sometime it was “too much”: Keegan’s grandfather who dying left him multimillionaire? If he had so much money, probably he would have been able to help his grandson before that; it’s more believable that he asked Jaxon to help him out, since, even if it’s not said, maybe he noticed Jaxon’s interest in his grandson; a little less believable is that a professional baseball player is able to live as a rancher during off-season, and even less that he can be openly gay without the media give a fit. It’s instead quite understandable that Keegan doesn’t want to be involved with Jaxon, there are many reason for that: Keegan wants to be left alone and in peace, and a relationship with a public persona will not help; Keegan’s imagine is not help for Jaxon’s professional career; at a time the author hinted also to the interracial issue, Jaxon is Afro-American, but sincerely this was the last of their problem.

The mystery side of the story is pretty simple and the most enjoyable part is probably the hot sexual relationship between the two men, both of them well out the inexperience age, and quite aware of what they like and want.

http://www.loose-id.com/Redemption.aspx

Amazon Kindle: Redemption

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle