November 24th, 2015

andrew potter

Selling the story you want to buy

Big warning before I start this post: I’m not preaching. This is my opinion, and I wanted to share it with you all. I hope to be able to discuss this, but this is not a lesson. After reading and discussing, I will still have my position and you will have yours, and both are good since it’s up to the single individual to choose their own stance.

People is complaining about authors in the M/M community impersonating a character, and they are saying, why is happening now, why is so common in this community, this is bringing bad attention to the community…

First of all, remember the wise words of Oscar Wilde: "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

Second, I want to tell you a story: in 1962 a newbie author by the name of Rosalind Erskine published a novel, The Passion Flower Hotel. The story concerns a young girl going to an English girls' boarding school. In the dormitory, the girls discuss losing their virginity and decide that the best way is to set up a "service" for the local boys' school situated across the lake from them. It was adapted as a musical in 1965 and as a movie in 1978. It was a huge success and it became a “loosely” Lesbian classic. Loosely since the story wasn’t really targeting the Lesbian readers, but that was what happened and many young Lesbian girls around the world started to send fan mails to Ms Erskine (and I know for sure since one of those young lesbians told me she did), and she replied to them with advices and good words. She gave them sometime hope, sometime pleasure. But if various fans, from various genre of literature, checked carefully, they would have found an odd coincidence: Ms Erskine shared her mail address with Scottish historical novelist Laura Black, spy thriller novelist Ivor Drummond, mystery thriller novelist Frank Parrish, black comedy about dysfunctional families’ novelist Domini Taylor and even other two smaller authors, Megan Barker and Grania Beckford. Plus sport writer Roger Longrigg. Was this a sort of literary agent who was working for many authors? Was he collecting the fan mail for all his clients? When Mr Longrigg died, the truth came out: Mr Longrigg adopted different styles and pseudonyms to suit different audiences. But it wasn’t just a question of using pen-names, he replied to his fan mail as Ms Erskine, he accepted awards for emerging writers as Domini Taylor, he released interviews as Queen of Gothic Romance as Laura Black… was he deceiving his readers or was he giving them what they wanted?

Now I want, for once, take my position: if you are a man and want to write with a female pen-name since you think romance readers will trust you more (Roger Longrigg/Laura Black, Tom E. Huff/Jennifer Wilde, Nick Bienes & Rhea Gallaher/Judith Gould, William Maltese/Willa Lambert) or if you are a woman and want to write with a male pen-name since you think readers of Gay romance will trust you more, that is up to you. I sincerely do not care. I care for your books. I personally think Jennifer Wilde’s books were too much, I did not like the romance in it, the sex was good, but the romance was so and so… was that since Jennifer was in reality Tom? Maybe. Sure you are deceiving your fans, who believe what you say you are, but in the end, if you let “speak” your books, the stories in the books, and what you are only faking is the name of the author on the cover of the book, then, again, I do not care. I’m buying your book, not you; the story is good? The money I spent are well spent.

But if you are a thirty something female author, faking to be a male teen prostitute to be able to catch the interest of a notorious male gay novelist so that he will sponsor you with his publisher (J.T. Leroy anyone? Do you remember that story?) and when you manage to do so, you use the teenager sister of your husband to impersonate the supposed gay teen prostitute, and you sold his fake personal life other than your real fictional books… well, then maybe you went a little over. People is not only buying your books, you decided also to sell yourself, and sorry, but I want to obtain what I decided to buy: if I want to buy fake bijoux I go to Wallmart, if I want to buy diamond I go to Tiffany, if Tiffany sold me fake bijoux than they are deceiving me.

Personally I do not think the readers should associate too much their personal life with their fictional dreams, cause in doing so, they are, from my point of view, eradicating the reason of being reader. Let me explain: once they asked me why I read Gay Romance, and I told them, me, as a working woman, was not able to identify with the female heroine. That is partially true, but it doesn’t explain why I was reading heterosexual romances before gay romances. But there is an important detail: when I was reading heterosexual romances, my favorite genre was Historical Romance or Paranormal Romance; now that I’m reading gay romances, my favorite genre is Contemporary Romance. Do you see the connection? I like to read about dreams. I’m a romantic reader, I want the romance, I want the dream, I do not want the reality. Again please, be careful, this is ME and not for everyone. If I read contemporary romance with an heterosexual couple, that could be me, and I do not want to read about me, so I prefer historical romance, because I cannot live in the past. If I read contemporary romance with a male gay couple, I’m good, since I’m not male and I’m not gay, and I do not want to be male and/or gay. So to the previous question of why I read Gay Romance, my answer should not have been, “I’m not able to identify with the female heroine” but better “I do not want to identify with the female heroine”.

So, when I’m reading gay romance, I’m reading fiction, and in a way, I do not care if the author is a woman or a man, I care about the fiction. But if I’m a man, and gay, and I read a gay romance, I probably care about the author, cause I’m probably identifying with them. And if the author appropriates my identity, of gay man, he is hurting me: AIDS, rejection, fear, and many other scares, they didn’t live them, and therefore, they can write fiction about it, but they cannot pretend to have gone through them in real life.

Another point is when the reader, female or male, other than caring for the books, start to care for the author, pushed or not by the author themselves. Again I think the fault, if fault you want to find, lays on both side: as a reader you are buying the books, you should not “buy” the author. You want to help the community? Buy the books to help spreading the acknowledgment of the community, and then pick a shelter near to you and help there; there are plenty of LGBT young people needing your help, and they are probably living just a block from you, or worst, they are homeless and dying just a block from you. And if not youth shelters, there are organizations who help AIDS patients, old people, people with disability, veterans… change the world starting from your own home. You want a list? I have hundreds of links to LGBT organizations.

But let’s say you trusted that author, believing he needed your help since he was a runaway, homeless, a former prostitute, a veteran, living with AIDS or whatever, and in the end she was not… yes, she was wrong. But remember, she sold you the story you wanted to buy.

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andrew potter

Blog Tour: Heart on the Run By Lee Brazil & Havan Fellows

Heart on the Run (A Hearts of Parkerburg 2) by Lee Brazil & Havan Fellows
Publisher: Appleton Publishing Avenue (November 14, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Heart on the Run (A Hearts of Parkerburg 2)

Blurb: Charles Darwin Millsworth, Chaz to one and all since infancy, has no wish to live up to the grandeur of his name. Fortunately, his Southern belle mama isn’t at all inclined to push her son into a career that won’t make him happy. She thinks he needs to loosen up and enjoy life. After all, that’s the whole point of being independently wealthy, isn’t it?

Chaz can see her point, but his father died in his forties as did his father before him. As far as Chaz is concerned, he has limited time on this earth to make his dreams come true. And he refuses to leave anyone weeping over a wasted life.

Sprocket Moretti is a simple guy. He loves his job, enjoys college, lives in his beloved childhood home—why worry about the little things when the big stuff looks so good. Unfortunately one of the little things he tries not to stress over is a broken friendship with a very hot and bewildering sous chef. They were pals, hung out and had fun. But one night they stepped over that invisible line, and the next morning Chaz kicked Sprocket out of his bed and his life.

Now, no matter how much Sprocket tries to charm Chaz, the guy has no desire to return to their pre-sex playful bantering ways. And if Sprocket stays true to his motto, this little thing—Chaz—should be written off and never worried about again.

If Sprocket had known one night of reality altering orgasms would endanger their easygoing friendship… How do you finish that sentence when all your mind wants is its friend back and all your body wants is another taste?

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Meet the authors:

Lee Brazil: Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it’s nevertheless one hundred percent true.

Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.

Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don’t belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don’t fit?

Someone hands you a book, and then you turn the page and see… There you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.

I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.

If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I’ve come to realize that’s the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.

If I hadn’t learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.

Havan Fellows: I annoy, love, respect, scare, seduce, hurt, anger, infatuate, frustrate, flatter, envy, amuse and tolerate everyone. I just do it better in writing thanks to a little thing called…edits.

Okay no, seriously…I'm a simpleminded person who enjoys the escape from real life through a book. I write with the group Story Orgy and hope to continue doing so for a long time. I also am privileged to be with the Pulp Friction writers, creating intermingling books in a world all our own.

I recently took the drastic step of quitting my EDJ (evil day job) and am now living in the gorgeous desert in Arizona making a go at this writing stuff full time…and I can’t see me regretting this decision ever.

Just like every other red-blooded human—I get a little bouncy when I get mail (any kind too…email, comments, private messages…you wanna do it, do it with me *winks*). So feel free to drop me a line—whether it's on my blog, twitter, PInterest, or you track me down on FaceBook or Google +…it's easy to catch someone who wants to be caught.

Hey there *raises coffee cup in salute*. Thanks for having us over. (Us being Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows—the dynamic duo in *cough cough* charge of this quaint small town called Parkerburg)

We’re here to put our two main characters from Heart on the Run in the hot seat...give them a quickie for you, the readers.

The main men in Heart on the Run are Charles Darwin Millsworth (aka Chaz the hot ginger sous chef) and Sprocket Moretti (the not so bad boy with tats and piercings).

Now, Chaz and Sprocket, the rules are both have to answer. See easy. Oh, and don’t be afraid to poke the other one if you feel it necessary. *wink wink*

Let the quickie begin…

Most likely to eat in bed.
Chaz: Sprocket.
Sprocket: I’m not confined to the bed, it all depends on where Chaz is...

Name a place that is strictly off limits for nookie.
Chaz: The kitchen.
Sprocket: HA! Tell that to your kitchen...or mine. There are no off limit spots.

Name a food that works as an aphrodisiac for you.
Chaz: Food. All food. If Sprocket is eating it.
Sprocket: I can honestly say all food is sexier when Chaz makes it.

Most likely to be found barefoot.
Chaz: Sprocket
Sprocket: True, as soon as I enter my house the shoes come off.

Most likely to find a stray kitten and bring her home.
Chaz: Me. If Sprocket was going to bring a kitten home, he wouldn’t wait for one to cross his path.
Sprocket: He’s got a point there.

In a silly battle of wills...most likely to refrain from masturbating the longest.
Chaz: Uh…
Sprocket: I’m sorry, Chaz...what was that?

One word to describe each other.
Sprocket: Amazing
Chaz: Beloved

Name the song that best describes your story.
Chaz: Ugh.
Sprocket: Never heard of that song...sing it for me?

Color that best describes your personality.
Sprocket: Tie-dyed
Chaz: Blue

What would your Facebook status be right this very second?
Chaz: “If you could describe my love story in a song, what would it be?” What? I’m stumped. I need help.
Sprocket: And that’s all they wrote.

Thank you Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings for having Chaz and Sprocket over. If you’d like to read more about the great people of Parkerburg check out their books Christmas in His Heart and Heart on the Run…with more to come too! Because the Hearts of Parkerburg are enough to make you go woo woo.

Where to find the authors:
Lee Brazil:
Facebook Author Page:
Twitter: @leebrazil
Newsletter Signup:
Havan Fellows:
Blog -
Twitter - @havanfellows
Pinterest -
FaceBook -
Google + -
FB group -

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andrew potter

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Sail Away by Lee Rowan

Sail Away (Royal Navy Series Book 4) by Lee Rowan
Gay Historical Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 29, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Sail Away (Royal Navy Series Book 4)

Sequel to Home is the Sailor
Royal Navy Series: Book Four

Sail away once again with Will Marshall and Davy Archer in this collection of missing moments from their saga. Meet some of the background players from their story as they take center stage in tales of their own. Enjoy a journey through the family album of the Royal Navy series universe in the following stories:

Captain’s Courtship is the tale of Cynthia Lancaster and newly promoted Commander Paul Smith as they face revolution in both the Lancaster household and the colonies, unwilling to let anything stand in the way of their love.

While fleeing an angry mob who takes exception to a despised Aristo courting a French girl, David Archer's cousin Christopher St. John and his fiancee wind up on the HMS Calypso in See Paris and Live.

The relationship between Will Marshall and David Archer has moved beyond friendship into love worth risking death for—even though neither young man has spoken his feelings. But when a storm leaves them Castaway on a deserted island, their fantasy is within reach… if they dare to take the chance.

After the harrowing events in Ransom, David Archer is given the chance to take the test that will promote him to Lieutenant, and secure the first step in his career. But when Will Marshall realizes the vast difference between their social standing in their Voyage to London, he wonders whether there will be room in Davy's life for him, after all.

Finally, enjoy six short Royal Navy stories that show a glimpse of Will and Davy at the holidays—Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's day, shore leave… and a special nit-picking vignette from Charlie Cochrane.

Excellent historical details, fabulous attention to detail, top notch writing and confident author's voice. This is a collection of stories in the author's world and as such is a little disjointed but overall quite strong and I'm a new fan.

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andrew potter

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Blind Trust by Jody Klaire

Blind Trust (The Above and Beyond Series Book 2) by Jody Klaire
Lesbian Mystery / Thriller
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company (June 6, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939562384
ISBN-13: 978-1939562388
Amazon: Blind Trust (The Above and Beyond Series Book 2)
Amazon Kindle: Blind Trust (The Above and Beyond Series Book 2)

After six grueling months in CIG's boot camp, Aeron Lorelei is looking forward to spending some vacation time with her friend Commander Renee Black in Colorado. When mother nature puts an avalanche in their path, they're stranded in a small mountain town. While walking downtown, Renee shoots a man for no apparent reason, and Aeron has until the roads are cleared to prove that Renee had justification for the shooting. During her investigation, Aeron is forced to use the burdens she loathes and hopes they're strong enough to vindicate Renee before the authorities arrive.

Though I've never read the first book in the Above and Beyond series, after reading Blind Trust, I dearly want to. This story was a wonderful mixture of heartwarming, chilling, spiritual, and relatable. Heroine Aeron Lorelei is the kind of "aw, shucks" down home woman it can grow tiring to read about in less skilled hands, but in Klaire's care, she's a paragon of many virtues, none of them cloying or unbelievable. I fell in love with her over the course of the novel, and when I finished, I wished I had my own Aeron. 

This story pleasantly surprised me. I'm glad that I took the time to read it twice. The story started off rather confusing and I was a bit lost, but this was probably due to the fact that it was the second book in a series, but the author does a rather good job clearing up a few of the plot holes throughout the course of the book, but in order to completely understand everything, one is going to have to read the books in order, I'm sure. While there were a few editing mistakes, there weren't enough to throw me out of the story. The story was exciting and thrilling, the characters were both sympathetic, strong, intelligent, passionate, with just the right about of angst to make you feel compassion for them without making you want to pull out a gun and want to shoot them at the same time. I cheered for Aeron when she proved so many people wrong at the end, I had been hoping for that throughout much of the book. The setting was was brilliantly described, to the point that I was so thoroughly engaged around 87% that I had to reheat my cup of coffee three times. Jody Klaire did an exceptional job writing this mystery/thriller, up until almost the very end I still wasn't sure if the good guys had been successful.

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andrew potter

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane

Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632162326
ISBN-13: 978-1632162328
Amazon: Beneath the Stain
Amazon Kindle: Beneath the Stain

In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers—and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends—especially Grant Adams—made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind.

Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help—but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey.

Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.

No one does angst like Amy Lane. At times this book was almost too much--even for someone like me who adores angst--but it's impossible to put down. The characters are perfectly flawed, so loveable you feel every shred of their pain and hope and loss. A story that will stay with me forever, for sure. 

This book pulled me in from the very beginning, and I almost felt like I was there.

Intense long gripping story with a plot that continued to evolve throughout the story. Interesting characters. Looked at sad side of life as well as the good side.

Amy Lane's dark contemporary stories always gut me -- this one was no different, and it wasn't even one of the darker ones. Incredible characters, roiling emotions, and rock and roll! When you finish an Amy Lane book, you feel like you really know all her characters personally (and for some of the less pleasant ones, that's not entirely comfortable!).

Absolutely loved every word, Amy Lane at her finest!

Coming of age story. As expected from this author, very well written and interactive. A song of life, love and friendship.

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