April 28th, 2011

andrew potter

Violet Winspear (April 28, 1928 - 1989)

Violet Winspear (April 28, 1928 – 1989) was an English writer of 70 romance novels in Mills & Boon from 1961 to 1987.

In studying the history of Mills & Boon, we can trace the evolution of the firm’s greatest achievement and the source of its financial success – the imprint, a recognizable brand name that has given Mills & Boon a distinct advantage in sales.
“At your library you can always ask for “a Mills & Boon novel” in the confidence that you will get an enjoyable story”, the firm assured readers in the 1950s.
Collapse )Violet Winspear writes in a style that is not sufficiently modern for present day readers. However, the use of archaic turn of phrasing and dialogues create a by-gone era mood in step with her subject material.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violet_Winspear

Source : Passion's Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon

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andrew potter

Penelope Fitzgerald (December 17, 1916 – April 28, 2000)

Penelope Knox (17 December 1916 – 28 April 2000) was a Booker Prize-winning English novelist, poet, essayist and biographer.

She was the daughter of Punch editor Edmund Knox and the niece of theologian and crime writer Ronald Knox, cryptographer Dilly Knox and Bible scholar Wilfred Knox.

"When I was young," Fitzgerald later wrote, “I took my father and my three uncles for granted, and it never occurred to me that everyone else wasn't like them. Later on, I found that this was a mistake, but I've never quite managed to adapt myself to it. I suppose they were unusual, but I still think that they were right, and insofar as the world disagrees with them, I disagree with the world.”

She was educated at Wycombe Abbey and Somerville College, Oxford; she worked for the BBC during World War II. In 1941, she married Desmond Fitzgerald, an Irish soldier; they had three children, a son and two daughters. In the 1960s, she taught at the Italia Conti Academy, a drama school; she also worked in a bookshop in Southwold, Suffolk. For a time she lived in Battersea on the Thames, on a houseboat that reportedly sank twice.

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A collection of Fitzgerald's short stories, The Means of Escape, and a volume of her essays, reviews and commentaries, A House of Air, were published posthumously.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penelope_Fitzgerald
andrew potter

Paul Richmond: UNCOVERED

Today post is very easy for me ;-) I will simply let Paul speak and he will announce the winner for the Uncovered contest. From my side I want only to add that I was immensily pleased to host Paul and his contest in this page, Paul's art is classy and funny, just as I like it.

Hello everyone! This is Paul Richmond and I’m excited to unveil the results of our Uncovered Contest.

For those who joined us during the commercial break, let me re-cap:

A month ago, I stopped by to enlist your help in an important decision – which of my novel cover illustrations should become the next limited-edition print offering in my online store. I asked you to vote on your favorite, which would also put you in the running for some fabulous prizes. Well now it’s time to unveil the results…and the lucky winners!

We had more votes this year than ever before, and it was a close race. The four covers that were in the running are:

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And the winner is…


Rah! Rah! Cue the confetti and fireworks!
“Woke Up in a Strange Place” is now officially available in my online store at a first-day discounted price of $32.50. Order a print for yourself here: http://paulrichmond.bigcartel.com/product/woke-up-in-a-strange-place-print  

And now for the prize winners:

1st prize – Richard Duncan
Will receive the first print in the series of “Woke Up in a Strange Place,” the corresponding novel courtesy of Dreamspinner Press, and prints of the previous Uncovered winners “The Hired Man” and “Shadows from the Past.”

2nd prize – Monika Krasnorada
Will receive the second print in the series of “Woke Up in a Strange Place” plus a print of “Rainbow Cheesecake” (the official pin-up boy of the Rainbow Awards)

3rd prize – Anke Gabriel
Will receive the third print in the series of “Woke Up in a Strange Place”

Congratulations!!!!! Woo-hoo! And thank you to everyone for participating in this year’s Uncovered Contest! How fun was that?? We MUST do this again.

Oh, and let’s not forget the bonus prize! I included a space on the entry form for you to ask me a question – anything you wanted – so that I could choose my favorite questions to answer in today’s post. Of those whose questions were picked, one would be randomly chosen to receive a signed copy of my book “Cheesecake Boys.” Since I fancy myself a master of suspense (even though I can’t really keep a secret to save my life!), I’m going to answer the questions first and then announce the bonus prize winner at the very end. No skipping ahead!

And I should say, there were hundreds of questions submitted and I had a hard time narrowing them down to a reasonable amount that wouldn’t completely use up all of Ms. Rolle’s server space. You asked some awesome questions, many of which gave me quite a chuckle!

Q: (from Jessica Lee) I see a mixture of bare buttocks, sneak peeks, and underwear clad models displayed in your art. Of the three, which do you find the most appealing to create/include in your designs? I've heard some to say that the imagination is sometimes more fun and sexier than the reveal. Which do you find the most provocative?

A: To me, just a little peek of something we’re not supposed to see is almost sexier than erotic art where absolutely nothing is left to the imagination. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate some of the more overt stuff too, but in my own work, I prefer to keep things a little more on the suggestive side. You’ll notice in a lot of my cover illustrations, I try to sneak in a hint of the figure’s underwear waistband peeking out, as if it’s popping up to say, “Hello, don’t you wish you could see more?”

Q: (from Regina) Hi Paul- has your partner ever modeled for you?

A: Dennis is so handsome and I’d love to paint him all the time but he’s quite a reluctant model. Perhaps I pushed my luck with one too many bizarre pin-up boy pose requests. I can’t imagine why my Jewish honey would find it slightly undignified to pretend that he’s putting a star on top of a Christmas tree while his robe flies open to reveal a pair of skimpy, candy-cane printed undies! I do have a few serious paintings of him, and I plan to do more. I may just have to catch him off guard next time for the reference shot!

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Q: (from Kirsten) Aside from your own work, who are some of your favorite artists and who influences your work?

A: My biggest influence has always been my childhood art teacher, Linda Regula, who put a paintbrush in my hand when I was three and a half years old. We’ve remained great friends and are collaborating on some exciting projects now. Some of my other favorite artists include Melissa Forman, Eric Fortune, Jason Driskill, James Rosenquist, Isabel Samaras, Paul Cadmus, Gilbert & George, Ross Watson, Mark Ryden, James Bidgood, Michael Breyette, John Cameron Mitchell, Mike Ruiz, and David LaChapelle.

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Q: (from Kiernan Kelly) What's your secret to getting so many men to drop their drawers for you?

A: Assuming you’re referring to my Cheesecake Boy subjects, the answer is “Just ask!” They have all been quite willing to oblige, even contributing their own ideas about what their wardrobe malfunction scenes should entail.

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Q: (from Jorgi) How did you get into cover illustration?

A: Puerto Rican author Carlos Vázquez Cruz discovered my painting “Not Just a Closet” and requested to license it for the cover of his novel Dos Centímetros de mar (Two Sea Centimeters) published by Librería Isla in 2008. My introduction to Dreamspinner Press was through my friend Jane Seville, who asked me to illustrate the cover of her wonderful gay thriller novel Zero at the Bone. Dreamspinner was pleased with the way it turned out and have been keeping me really busy ever since, and they are a dream to work with! I’ve also done work for other publishers as well, and at this point, I’ve illustrated over 80 novel covers…and counting!

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Q: (Cooper West) What was your earliest inspiration, even as a child? Nature? People? Animals? Or...?

A: Divas! I was fascinated by the Snow White story as a child, mostly the character of the wicked queen. She was elegant, bitchy, and willing to do whatever it took to get her way — what could be better? She’s like a cartoon Barbra Streisand! From Snow White, I progressed to the human cartoon Dolly Parton after happening upon “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” on tv. I was too young to fully grasp the premise, but I liked the idea of living in a big house with Dolly, wearing glamorous clothes, and singing and dancing all the time. Alas, my childhood ambition to become a whore was quickly squelched when I announced my plan to my parents.

“Snow White” by Paul Richmond at age 6

Q: (from Joann Finke) If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be and why?

A: I would want to have a little British royalty in my blood so that Dennis and I could witness the royal wedding tomorrow in person! As it is, I’ll be doing my queen’s wave while watching the festivities in bed, sporting tighty whities and bedhead. So undignified!

Q: (from Lloyd Gootee Jr.) Your Cheesecake Boys are reminiscent of the Pin-Up Models of the 40's and 50's. You recently did a series of prints with famous gay celebrities of our time. If you could travel back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, what famous male celebrities would you have wanted to meet and have model for you?

A: Well, Rock Hudson and Cary Grant would certainly be fun to de-pants (for the sake of art, of course!).

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Q: (from Jerome Stueart) If you had to recast a great novel from the past--American, Canadian, English, European---with gay characters, and illustrate the cover---which novel would you choose? And what would you do with the cover? (Personally I'd like you to redo Treasure Island ---a bunch of hairy bear pirates would be beautiful.... but hey, that's me.... what about you?)

A: “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” by James Joyce – don’t you think he would look great as a young, blonde, freckled boy from the Midwest?  Actually, I like your idea better. Do you think Mr. Stevenson would mind?

Q: (from Jennifer Swanson) If you could be at an historic event in person to paint it, what event (or person) would you pick?

A: A Marky Mark concert, of course. He was the ultimate Cheesecake Boy, after all! Ok, I suppose that would be a colossal waste of my time-traveling privileges. Here’s another idea. I’ve always had a fascination with ancient Greek culture. I went to Greece a few years ago with my friend Melissa and got to live out some of my Grecian fantasies. Opa! I would love to have been there to witness (and paint) the first Olympic games.

Q: (from Bobby Phillips II) Do you ever imagine yourself in the scene of your illustrations or are you the observer who is the artistic biographer of gay life?
A: If there are figures in the painting, I do usually take reference photos and while I have several friends who are really good sports about it, sometimes I have to use the good-old self-timer on the camera and be my own model. This, of course, results in some bizarre antics in my studio as I set the camera in place and then dive into pose as quickly as possible before it goes off – trying to look as sexy as possible, of course. Sometimes it’s quite a test of one’s acting prowess. Just the other day I had to pretend I was hiking across an Alaskan river trying to dodge a leaping sockeye salmon with my pants falling dangerously low. Try that, James Franco!

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Q: (from Linda Regula) How did school-yard bullying motivate you to become a creative adult?

A: I’m so glad you asked, Linda, because it gives me the perfect excuse to plug our new anti-bullying project! I was definitely a target for bullies as a kid, because of my effeminate mannerisms and artistic nature. Thankfully, I had you to show me how I could turn those frightening, confusing, and painful experiences into works of art. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise. Being an artist gave me a voice, and no bully could take that away. That’s why Linda and I just launched the You Will Rise Project, an online gallery dedicated to giving the victims of bullying a voice through the arts. It provides a multimedia showcase for drawings, paintings, sculptures, videos, poetry, and other creative expressions by people of all ages, representing their experiences with bullies. It’s an exciting project because it empowers people to speak up about what they’re experiencing and share their stories with each other. Check it out and get involved here: www.youwillriseproject.com.

Q: (from Jaime Samms) I have to ask: How much do you _love_ your job? :)

A: You have noooo idea! I am a seriously lucky boy, and I don’t take it for granted. I know that if it weren’t for the support of you and Elisa and everyone reading this, I might be in that accounting job my dad always dreamed of. Of course there would be some corporations with majorly screwed up financial reports because their accountant was busy scrolling through the “Behind the Cover” archives on Elisa Rolle’s journal wondering “What if…”

Weren’t those great questions? This was a blast! And now to go out with a bang, let’s announce the winner of that bonus prize…

Drumroll, please….

Cooper West!!! Yay!!

Thank you again to everyone who took part in the Uncovered contest, and especially to Elisa for being our fabulous hostess and Dreamspinner Press for contributing to the prize offerings. I don’t want the fun to end! Can’t I just take you all home with me?

I suppose I should quit talking soon though and get back to work. I do have quite a few cover illustrations waiting patiently on the shelves beside my easel. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be asking for your help deciding which of them to “uncover” next!

Paul Richmond’s website: http://www.paulrichmondstudio.com
andrew potter

In the Flesh by Ethan Stone

I have to admit that cop novels are not usually my cup of tea, even if I can sympathize with the imaginary seeing a cop like a perfect lover. But this cop in particular, Cristian Flesh, or simply Flesh, is at the opposite of your common idea of a police detective: unapologetically gay, and that is the point I liked the most, he is also pretty open on what he likes and doesn’t like; he likes sex and more is good, and so, probably for the first time in a novel, I found a detective that slept at least once with co-workers, victims, suspects, defensive lawyers… in a way the reader could guess who was involved in the plot by the fact that Flesh has slept with him.

When Flesh is asked to investigate on an attempt murder, he has to renounce to the case since he slept with the victim; then, on a short distance, he sleeps with two of the suspects and when he is framed with a crime, he sleeps with his lawyer (plus other non-important men in the middle). If at the beginning I was wondering if I liked Flesh, one night stand by one night stand I started to realize that, even if it sounds odd, he was sleeping with all these men to take a distance from them. Lowering everything to an “only-sex” level it allowed Flesh to convince himself these men were not touching him.

That is another point I noticed, Flesh has an “untouchable” aura: not only on the physical side (bald head, white skin, no body hairs), he is also aloof and distant; Flesh put everything on plain air, his body, his personal life, so that no one can accuse him of hiding something, but in reality, he is firmly protecting what is most important for him, his heart.

Colby, the lawyer who has to help Flesh, is more or less at the opposite: apparently more open than Flesh, kind and compassionate, warm against the ice that is Flesh, he is instead deep in the closet. For various reason, his job, his friends, Colby doesn’t want to come out and in doing so, he doesn’t allow Flesh to do his “trick” with him; Flesh is not “allowed” to sleep with Colby as soon as they met, and in this way, Colby is able to insinuate in Flesh’s heart a little bit. Once there, it will not take long before the breach will break Flesh’s protective shield.

While the first part of the novel was about sex with strangers, and while good, it didn’t do much for me, once Flesh and Colby start their relationship, the sex turned in very good and hot. Flesh in bed was as complex as he is out of it, strictly a bottom, he was not though weak, and in a way he managed to be in control also in that position. Again it was an odd thing, since usually when someone tries to protect his heart, I usually link it with a refusal for the bottom position, but again the author prepared the scene for a right and good explanation of also this point.


Amazon: In the Flesh
Amazon Kindle: In the Flesh
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 27, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161581552X
ISBN-13: 978-1615815524

Reading List:

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