November 1st, 2011

andrew potter

WED Ross (November 16, 1909/1912 - November 1, 1995)

William Edward Daniel Ross (b. November 16, 1909/1912 Saint John, New Brunswick - d. November 1, 1995), Dan Ross, was a bestselling Canadian novelist who wrote over 300 books in a variety of genres and under a variety of mostly female pseudonyms such as Clarissa Ross, Marilyn Ross and W.E.D. Ross. As Marilyn Ross he wrote popular Gothic fiction including a series of novels about the vampire Barnabas Collins based on the American TV series Dark Shadows (1966-71).

W.E.D. Ross also wrote under the pseudonyms 'Ann Gilmer', 'Charlotte McCormack', 'Charlotte Ross', 'Dan Roberts', 'Dan Ross', 'Dana Ross', 'Diane Randall', 'Ellen Randolph', 'Jan Daniels', 'Jane Daniels', 'Jane Rossiter', 'Laura Frances Brooks', 'Leslie Ames', 'Lydia Colby', 'Marilyn Carter', 'Rose Dana', 'Rose Williams', 'Ross Olin', 'Ruth Dorset', and 'Tex Steele'.

The Paperback Library began releasing novels based on the TV series Dark Shadows in December of 1966. There were thirty-three novels released through to 1972, all of them written by Dan Ross under the pen name Marilyn Ross.

All of the novels, with the exception of House of Dark Shadows were part of one shared continuity separate from the history supplied in the original television series. House of Dark Shadows was an adaptation of the MGM film, House of Dark Shadows and as such, represented a separate continuity.

Many of the 1st printings of the novels featured covers with enframed production stills from the television show. Invariably, the photographs represented on the covers had little if anything to do with the actual stories inside.

As Dan Ross, he had over 325 novels in print. He was the author of both national and international best selling novels. His book "China Shadows" sold over 2 million copies.

WED Ross's Books on Amazon: WED Ross

Marilyn Ross's Books on Amazon: Marilyn Ross

Clarissa Ross's Books on Amazon: Clarissa Ross

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Referrals Program: October Top 10*

Here are the posts that, according to the referrals program statistics, generated more out clicks:

1) Strings Attached by Nick Nolan
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2) The Soldier and the State Trooper by Cherie Noel
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3) Submerging Inferno (Men of Myth) by Brandon Witt
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4) Romeos directed by Sabine Bernardi
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5) Midnight by Megan Derr
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* There are more than 10 since some are tie positions. The books with the same number of clicks are listed alphabetically.
andrew potter

Real Life Romance: Paul Lisicky

I first "met" Paul Lisicky online during the notorious Amazon debacle about removing the rank on LGBT books so that they didn't appear on the search engine (it was then discovered it was not only LGBT books, but also books on sexual health and everything related to the "adult" theme); Paul's book, Lawnboy, was one of those affected and I sent him an email. He quickly replied with a thank you note, and told me his partner, Mark Doty, had some of his books affected as well and they were among those authors who started questioning Amazon in, probably, the most efficient way. True, the online rush was useful, but I think Amazon realized their mistake when people started calling and questioning. After that I continued to follow Paul and Mark from afar, enjoying their success (Paul's new book, The Burning House, and the coming soon Unbuilt Projects, Mark's Lambda Literary Award for Fire to Fire, and if I remember well, how he broke the award the same night due to a fall from the stage). So when it was the time to start this new serial, about Real Life Romance, I had two couple in mind, Vincent Virga and James McCourt (and indeed Vincent is working on his interview right now) and Paul Lisicky and Mark Doty... and so I wrote to Paul asking for an interview, and he once again proved to be a very kind and gallant man. Why? Just read and you will know.

Elisa Rolle Interview with Paul Lisicky, October 31, 2011

1) My first question is about your experience as teenager; doing a little bit of math, you were a teenager in the ‘70s, how was it at the time? Were you already out?

It’s hard to talk about all that without sounding like a relic. We were pretty isolated back then, even though the bars of Philadelphia were just ten miles across the river. I didn’t know of anyone in my high school who was out--I certainly wasn’t. That changed once everyone went off to college of course, but the landscape of high school didn’t feel all that friendly or safe. Also, there wasn’t an internet; there weren’t images of gay people around, except for the guys on the covers of Honcho or Mandate--funny that the suburban newsstands made sure to have those magazines in stock. The disturbing thing is that I really didn’t know of gay people who had professional lives. There were rumors about some of our teachers--the history teacher who wore clogs, for instance. The ceramics teacher in the tight jeans. But as to whether I believed the rumors? I just thought gay people were anywhere but where I was. They were part of some urban sex dream that seemed very far away.

2) You earned both Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in English from Rutgers University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Was that your dream, being a writer I mean?

I actually wanted to be a songwriter. I was a Joni Mitchell fan from the time I was in fourth grade and I wanted to be her. Or, I wanted to find my idiosyncratic voice as she did as a singer, guitarist, pianist. But all of my songs sounded like copies of hers. In college, I ended up taking a poetry workshop. My poems, unfortunately, all sounded like copies of Joni songs. But then I took a fiction workshop and the locks started to click.

3) You are the author of the novel "Lawnboy," the memoir "Famous Builder," and the novel "The Burning House.” Your next book, “Unbuilt Projects,” is coming out next year. Do you want to tell us something more about these works?

Though my books sound different from one another, they’re all about desire, how it can both take care of us and get us into trouble. I’ve always been stirred up by that contradiction. How do you make a life inside that tension? They’re also about a search for home. My narrators all seem to live with some deep dread of homelessness, either literal or figurative, and they do what they can to redefine home for themselves.

4) When I asked you for this interview, I wanted to do a serial about real life romance, and my idea was to ask you about your relationship with Mark Doty, your partner since 1995. This was your very kind reply: “I'd be happy to be a guest--I like this notion of "real life romance." I don't know if it matters to you that Mark and I have separated after 16 years together. We're still close, of course, and maybe there's something to say about all that. Maybe one could have a real life romance, and there could be more life to come beyond that?” My opinion is absolutely yes, and so please, can you tell us something more about all that?

Well, it’s complicated. I certainly like this idea of “more life to come.” The fact is it’s hard to be apart from someone you’ve spent most of your adult life with. It’s even harder to be apart from someone you care about--and who cares about you--and realize that after all those years together you’ve come to want different things.

I would like to think that we’ll all have more than one real life romance in our lives. I think the notion of the “love of one’s life” puts too much pressure on finding a relationship, being in a relationship. I didn’t realize how much I’d taken in that myth until recently. Maybe a part of it had to do with coming of age during the beginning of the Epidemic. It was just expected that none of us were going to be around that long. Our lives were going to be short, so you better hold on to that one person.

I remember feeling so miserable in my twenties when I wasn’t in a relationship. I thought my life would begin when I had a partner, and in part that was true. But there’s also a real beauty in being by oneself. I wish I could have known that when I was younger. You see things more deeply, you get to know yourself better. It’s not a bad thing.

5) Correct me if I’m wrong, but you live in New York City, isn’t it right? How did you feel about the Marriage Equality Act that became legal on July 24, 2011?

Time for the other states to follow suit. No one who’s “married” in her home state should have to check “single” on her Federal Income Tax return. Period.

About Paul Lisicky: Paul Lisicky is the author of LAWNBOY, FAMOUS BUILDER, and THE BURNING HOUSE. His work has appeared in PLOUGHSHARES, THE IOWA REVIEW, FIVE POINTS, STORY QUARTERLY, GULF COAST, SUBTROPICS, and other magazines and anthologies. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, his awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he was twice a fellow. He has taught in the writing programs at Cornell University, Rutgers-Newark, Sarah Lawrence College, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and elsewhere. He currently teaches at NYU. UNBUILT PROJECTS, a collection of short prose pieces, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in Fall 2012. He lives in New York City. See his blog, MYSTERY BEAST, at
andrew potter

Best Gay Contemporary Romance (2° place): Too Soon for Love by Kimberly Gardner

The odd thing about this novel? I liked it since its main character, blind guy Michael, is full of faults. And no, I’m not referring to the most obvious disability, but more on the fact that Michael is not a saint, and he commits mistakes like and sometime even more than a sighted person.

Michael was in a long term relationship with Philip and they were in love, deeply in love; despite everything else will happen I think Philip was really in love with Michael and that is proved by the fact that, despite him having an affair for more than 2 years, his main thought was to take care of his personal business so that Michael will not have to worry if something happened to him… as it indeed happens. Philip loved Michael, but theirs was not really a balanced relationship, Philip “picked up” Michael soon after college and Michael more or less grew into the man he is always depending from Philip. Michael never questioned Philip, not even when his decision were affecting him; like when Philip decided he wanted a threesome, not considering that for Michael was the first time having sex outside their relationship; sure Michael enjoyed the experience, but maybe it would have been better for Philip to ask… that was yet another proof that he almost considered Michael like a beautiful toy boy than a same level partner.

So, you are thinking, Philip is the bad guy and Alan is the right one who will rescue Michael from his golden cage? Not really, I think that, in a way, Michael was more than comfortable in his cage and that he, in a way, decided to not see (no pun intended) certain things since it would have meant to face issues he wasn’t ready, or didn’t want, to face. And when he is forced to face them, the immediate reaction is to dump the guilt to someone else, an easy target that wanted only to help him. Again, I want to highlight that being Michael faulted is the reason why I liked him, I appreciated him even more for not being the pity case you usual find in novels dealing with disability.

Now on the other hand Alan is almost a saint, and yes, he is maybe too perfect to be true, but he is a perfect romance hero. The author made him only a little naughty, for how much naughty can be a guy who lusts after a newly widower man like Michael. But I liked him, he is basically a big hearted man and I found quite nice that he is a bottom in bed, it would have been even too much easy to have him being the dominant partner with Michael, and instead in this way the author gives an original perspective on both Alan and Michael.

There is also a nice plethora of supporting characters: of course I’d love to read the story of Tommy, Alan’s brother, and Patrick, but I’d really love to read also Robby’s story, even if he was here the “bad” guy, I really think he was in love with Philip as well, and yes, he is a twink, but who said twinks don’t deserve an happily ever after?

Amazon: Too Soon For Love
Amazon Kindle: Too Soon For Love
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (February 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608202992
ISBN-13: 978-1608202997

Reading List:
andrew potter

Best Gay Contemporary Erotica (1° place): Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan

Also Best Characters Development (3° place)

I have to give credit to this novel, it made me change idea in the span of less than 150 pages and I think that is a record.

It’s probably no news to who reads my ramblings that Idon't care so much for the sex, it doesn’t bother me but it’s not really what I’m searching in a book. Give you a totally unrelated example? I once was looking at a movie, and there were two pretty guys “having fun” (do you know what I mean right?) on the floor, and I was fixated with the glass of wine on the nearby sidetable… they didn’t explained why that glass of wine was there, it was not part of the plot, and I was wondering why it was there… while the two guys were being pretty intense on the floor.

So when the author of this book had the two men becoming pretty intense more or less from step 1, I was like, “all right, buckled up, this is going to be a sex ride”. And the kind where one of the two likes to get hurt, nothing serious, but on the line of, I want to feel you the morning after… again something I’m not really fond of. Sure, it was not done without a meaning, on the contrary, it was quite clear that Roe needed the “physical” hurting as a way to forget a reality that was even more hurting, since it went directly to the heart, squeezing it until it was almost impossible to bear. It was also clear that Roe is a good guy but he wanted to be treated like a whore, i.e. without love, since everyone he loved told him he was bad, and so if also strangers do that, then it was real, then it meant his family was right, then he could still love them since it was not like they betrayed him.

Are you beginning to understand what the author did? She gave me detached sex at step one to then, step by step, weaving a net of love and trust, a net that will wrap around Roe, until the moment he could not get free, neither when the nightmare reach him again.

The story is pretty much centered around Roe, but sometime Travis has his spotlight, and that is enough to make him one of the nicest men you can come across. He is not perfect, and I think he has his own issues when talking about commitment, but he is basically a good man, maybe a little gruff on the edge, and not really “talkative”, above all not around the love word, but he is one of those men you can trust, that will never let you down.

By the way, this is also an erotic turning into family romance. I will not arrive to say it’s sweet romance, the sex is plenty and explicit, but I think that also the more romantic readers will enjoy it: give it a chance, there are even two cute puppies and an even cuter baby.

Amazon Kindle: Nowhere Ranch
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (February 15, 2011)

Reading List:

Cover Art by April Martinez