Saturday, December 21, 2013

Update: Life and Writing



I haven't blogged in awhile, but I figured I should post a little update for those who might have assumed that I died or worse.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thigh-deep in two books that I've been writing: the sequel to Clipped and a super-secret YA project. My writing process has involved a lot of coffee and a lot of terrible music. Also, some translating of heinous writing notes, like this: He takes that thing and gives it to what's his face. Yes, that's always incredibly helpful, self. Fuck you, too.

When I write, I feel the need to go into a little corner and isolate myself from the rest of the world, so I may be fairly absent for a little bit, but I'll be back in a few weeks. As I hopefully wrap up my YA project by the new year, I'll post details and ramblings of a crazy, life-deprived person.

Through all this, the above picture has been a source of inspiration and pleasure, so I hope you enjoy it, too.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Promoting through a Goodreads Giveaway: Experience and Tips from an Author


A little over a month ago, I created a Goodreads giveaway in an effort to stir interest in my gay erotica novel, Clipped. (I promise I won't say anything more about my dirty book. This post is just going to be a helpful guide for anyone considering using Goodreads giveaways.) At the time, I had published the manuscript myself on Amazon. I didn't really know how successful a Goodreads giveaway would be, but I decided that I didn't have anything to lose by giving it a go, so I tried it out. Since I went hunting for experiences from author's before I went forth with the giveaway, I decided it would only be fair for me to discuss my experience, as I benefited from other people's thoughts on the subject. I always like to research people's experiences before I pursue something. That said, I'm hoping that someone will find this of use.

If you're an author considering a Goodreads giveaway, I definitely would recommend it. Though I can't say how the giveaway effects sales (halfway through the giveaway, I signed Clipped with Wilde City Press and removed it from Amazon), at the very least it:
  • Put the title in front of people who might otherwise not have seen it.
  • Doubled the amount of people who had added the book to their to-read list.
Now, does that mean that everyone who added it is going to read it? Not even a little bit. In fact, it's likely half of them will let it archive in their TBR queue. But when starting out, I don't think it ever hurts to just have the name of your book floating around in people's faces.

So here's the rundown on how I went about my giveaway. I've included advice and clues for authors and publishers that are considering this option.


1. Things to Consider
  • You need to have a Goodreads Author account to do a giveaway. This is fairly easy. If your book isn't already listed on Goodreads, you can manually add it and then sign up for Goodreads and link your profile to your book.
  • To create a giveaway, you have to be able to send physical books to winners. Goodreads doesn't do e-book giveaways. Don't ask me. Half the things Goodreads does doesn't make any sense.
  • It can take Goodreads two to three days to approve and/or update giveaways and ads, so if you want to list a giveaway for a few days, keep this in mind. Also, if you need to edit the info at any point, it will take another two or three days before they are able to update. As a general rule, I'd say they don't update on the weekends. However, occasionally I've found that something will just randomly get approved. I have no idea. I haven't hacked the Goodreads update system yet.
  • After the winners are selected, you have six-eight weeks to deliver the book to the winners. For those of you who are planning to use POD options (as I was), keep this in mind. Between creating files, getting approved, and proofing, all that time really adds up, so ideally you need to have the book ready to go by the time winners are selected. 
  • The costs of a giveaway easily add up. Cost of book production + shipping to you + shipping to each winner + marketing and promotion = total cost. Just don't be tempted to underestimating your cost and set a realistic number of books for winners.
2. How Do You Create the Giveaway?

Goodreads makes it fairly easy to setup a giveaway. On top of reminding every Goodreads Author that they have the option, the setup is pretty straightforward.

If you click on the title of your book, the right side of your page should look like this:





Click on the "List a giveaway" link, and it will take you to this screen:



You can just copy and paste your description from your book's page, but you should add a little intro before that. A lot of publishers/authors will say something along the lines of, "Giving away ten paperback titles..." I suggest you do a little research before just throwing your title up. Go to other authors in your genre that are hosting Goodreads giveaways and see how they do it. I noticed that more people were signing up for giveaways that were giving away 5+ titles. 10 seemed to be a bit of a magic number at the time. As for the giveaway dates, I noticed that most giveaways were about a month long (this is the length that Goodreads recommends), and I stole my dates from some of the other titles that were posting around the time I wanted to post. In hindsight, it might have been better to choose an end date or time with less people. Your title stands out as the giveaway comes to an end because it shows up higher on the "Ending Soon" page. If there are only a few titles on the "Ending Soon" page with you, you'll stand out to potential readers.

3. Tags Are Important

Something that you may not be thinking about, but which is incredibly important, is the tags that you choose for your title. This section is on the listing page and appears like so:


When filling this part out, you should go around and see what other titles in your genre are tagged as. For instance, for my title, I used some of the following: gay erotica, mm erotica, mm romance, dark erotica. Similar to creating meta-tags for sites, you want to put in genres that you think your audience will write into search engines. Again, the best thing you can do for this part is look and see what others are tagging their titles as. Popular shelf names work, too. By doing this, I found that my title showed up on a variety of lists of "Most Popular" and "Best in" pages because they were tagged similarly, and I'm sure this contributed to some of the sign-ups I got for my giveaway.

3. What Should You Expect?

Though I had a steady stream of signups throughout the giveaway, it definitely peaked in the beginning and at the very end (particularly stronger toward the end). I'm sure that this has a lot to do with how Goodreads set up the giveaways and how people are more likely to notice it in the new and ending soon giveaway sections.

I want to add a little disclaimer here. I posted Goodreads and Google ads for the contest. This did help me get some sign-ups throughout, but when I signed with Wilde City Press, I pulled my ads, so they in no way affected the major spike that occurred at the very end. I'm fairly sure this is a common occurrence with the giveaways. As I mentioned previously, as your contest comes to an end, your title is listed on the "Ending Soon" page of the Goodreads giveaway, and this seems to get titles noticed.

By the end of the giveaway, I had 551 entries, which I am very happy with. I'm not sure how this stacks up overall, but for the niche that I'm writing in (and the fact that I'm an unknown author), I'd say that's not too bad. I also ended up with over 300 people adding me to their to-read shelves. When I started, I think I was around 120, so it doubled the efforts that I made outside of the giveaway.

3. What Can You Do To Promote It?

Like I mentioned before, I used Goodreads ads, and those seemed to be very effective. At the same time, Goodreads ads is a skill that must be learned through trial and error. I'll be posting about my experience with that soon, but just know it's all about getting a good CTR in the early stages. If an ad doesn't take off right away, change your approach ASAP and try again. You learn as you go, and with all PPC advertising, it's all about rapid adaptation.

Outside of Goodreads, obviously you should use any social media platform you can to promote the giveaway. Ultimately, I think the in-house Goodreads promotion that giveaways offer provided me with more promotion than anything that I was able to accomplish through my ads or social media.

4. Overall?

An excellent experience. Again, I can't say how this all adds up in terms of sales, but when you're an indie author, you really have to take exposure where you can get it. A little press is better than no press, and the cost of a giveaway is minimal compared to the cost of PPC advertising.

As I mentioned researching previous posts on Goodreads giveaways, I thought it was only fair to include some of these resources here:

Annie Daylon's Giveaway
Promoting Your Book Through a Goodreads Giveaway

Feel free to ask any questions about Goodreads giveaways. I won't have all the answers, but I'm willing to share anything I've learned in my experience.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Importance of HIV and AIDS Discussions: Tearing Down Ignorance

It's here: World AIDS Day 2013. I hope everyone has a chance to get out and get tested today. In honor of WAD2013, I would like to take a moment to blog about why this subject is so important to me and why I think it's so important for us to keep talking about it. Being a gay man, I can really only discuss this subject from that vantage point, so most of what I have to say is to other gay men, but being that HIV affects many more demographics, I equally encourage everyone to take this day seriously.

Over the past week, I've made sure to interject World AIDS Day into various conversations with my friends. I always make it a point to bring up AIDS and HIV when I can, if only to make sure that it's something people are thinking about. Occasionally, this will be met with glares and comments that say something to the effect of, "Why are you dragging everyone down?"

While I certainly understand that HIV and AIDS aren't the source of the most jovial of conversations, they're important to discuss. Too many times I've heard a friend or a peer say something ignorant about HIV and HIV+ people. An alarming number of these comments come from my gay peers, which is incredibly disheartening. Among these ignorant comments, I've heard:
  • What's the difference between AIDS and HIV?
  • I've only ever had sex with people who tested negative, so I don't have to worry.
  • Oh, I've never really thought about getting tested.
  • I would never be in a relationship with an HIV+ person.
  • Well, it's not my problem that other people weren't being responsible.
  • I don't understand why my new boyfriend won't have unprotected sex with me. That's a trust issue.
This is a small sampling of the sorts of comments that have left me perplexed and deeply concerned about people's education about HIV and AIDS. Just yesterday, a friend texted me about a conversation he was having with someone, where a gay man he was speaking with said that he only had unprotected sex with people who said they tested negative for HIV. Looking back on my sex life, I can recall only one person honestly disclosing their status to me, and it was someone that I really hadn't been planning on having sex with. Considering the number of partners I've had, I have no doubt that several of my sex partners lied about A) their actual status or B) even knowing their status. The truth is, there are a staggering number of gay men who just aren't getting tested. I recent statistic from the CDC, about 60% of young people with HIV don't even realize that they are infected. And seriously...who isn't going to say that they're negative if they want to get some booty? After all, if they haven't found out they're positive, doesn't that make them negative? No. It makes them incredibly irresponsible and representative of one of the insidious ways that HIV continues to spread. In fact, several people I know who are currently positive contracted HIV from someone that they trusted.

As unfair as it is to be lied to about someone's status, the burden isn't just on those who may have been infected to know and disclose. It's not smart to trust anyone about their HIV status, especially considering how many people out there aren't even getting tested. Over the course of my life, I've known several people who hadn't gotten tested until I practically dragged them to the clinic. It's not just that I think people should know their status. It's important to get into the habit of testing, so if there is a scare, people will at least have minimized the fear of the testing process. I remember the first time I got tested. I was in AID Atlanta. I was sitting in the closet-of-a-waiting-room, waiting for my number to be called. I didn't know what they were going to ask me to do. I was anxious, nervous. I was worried, fearful, and to make it even worse, I was sitting in the waiting room with another guy, who was balling his eyes out (I assumed only because he was worried about his pending results and possibly somewhat aware of the risk that he was at). Those first few tests weren't easy for me, so I can understand why people aren't eager to put themselves in that position. But those tests made other times where I was worried about exposure that much easier.

But as much as I like to stress the importance of testing and understanding one's status, I don't want to perpetuate a negative stigma about those who test positive. Testing positive for HIV is not the end of life...not even the end of a person's sex life. I have known plenty of HIV+/HIV- couples who have had long-term, sexually-active relationships without transmitting the disease. I was in a relationship with an HIV+ man for several years. We had an incredibly active sex life, but knowing his status and doing what I could to prevent transmission kept me HIV-. In fact, when approached about this relationship, people usually ask, "Weren't you afraid of the risk?" My response has always been, "With a one-night stand, there's a risk. Are they telling the truth? Are they lying? They could very well be positive. With an HIV+ person, I know the risk, and I take the steps necessary to ensure that I'm always safe." That said, I want to stress to HIV- people that knowing a person is HIV+ does not make them an untouchable, which is so commonly how people react to that notion. You can find plenty of stories from HIV+/HIV- couples to know that not contracting HIV is all about education, not just sexual contact.

To HIV+ people, I'd like to stress the same thing. There is a lot of ignorance in the world about HIV and AIDS. There are a lot of people who are eager to say, "You did something wrong. You deserved it. You were irresponsible." The truth is, though, I have friends who contracted HIV from less risky behavior than others who remain uninfected to this day. HIV doesn't choose victims. It doesn't dish out fair and just punishment. There is nothing fair about it. And just because a person has HIV, does not mean that their life or sex life is over. It does, however, mean that you'll be met with great ignorance and stigmatization. This is where the real enemy is, and I only hope that the world is moving in a direction to lessen this stigma.

So again, please. Get out, get tested. Get educated about HIV and AIDS. Talk with people about it. Tweet about it. Blog about it. Pin about it. Ignoring this problem isn't going to make it go away, but talking about it will make it easier for us to tear down those boundaries that do little more than hold up biases and stigmas.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

World AIDS Day Tomorrow, Dec 1st, 2013


Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. Though I'm encouraging everyone to get out and get tested, I especially want to motivate those who have never been tested to take the opportunity to find out their status. Getting tested isn't just about finding out if you're HIV+. It's about taking a moment to acknowledge the real risks that are involved with your sexual behavior and reminding yourself to do what you can to minimize your risk.

I certainly have not lived a celibate life, but I have lived a careful one, and I take safe sex very seriously. It isn't enough to rely on the word of your previous partners. It's lovely that they say they've been tested and that they're negative, but statistically speaking, if I reflect on my past sexual experiences, I am 100% sure that a lot of those guys were lying, which is why I am so glad that I did what I could to make those experiences as safe as possible.

Also, please use this day as an opportunity to reflect on those who are currently living with HIV and AIDS. There is such a cruel stigma against people who are living with these, and it is our job to work to dismantle it. Talk about this day with whoever you can. Read up on the most current data about HIV transmission, and as you're talking to people you know (friends, relatives, etc), make sure to instill in them the most up-to-date information and dispels some of the cruel myths that serve no purpose other than to marginalize those living with the disease. Not only are you likely to help those who don't know this information, you may very well come across someone with HIV and AIDS who will be relieved to know that there are those out there who are open and willing to talk about this serious issue. For those of you who know someone living with HIV or AIDS, take an opportunity to reach out to them and let them know that you care. In a world that is so prejudice and judgmental, it's always nice to be reminded that you have a friend and an ally.

Do whatever you can to make this day special and to transform the dialogue that the world is having about this epidemic. Tweet about it. FB about it. Pin about it. Blog about it. There are so many people out there who don't want to talk about this. Some people who are most affected by this issue would love to deny it and pretend that it isn't an issue, but it is, and avoiding it isn't going to make it go away. We have to face this problem and talk about it in ways that serve to tear down the myths and lies that have been fixed in people's minds. We don't have to change the way the world is talking about it. We can't do that. But we can talk to those around us and make a difference within our sphere of influence, and that's all that I'm asking you do on December 1st.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

More Poke-stalgia!

http://www.pinterest.com/mmromance/general-hotness/
Since I started a pinterest account a few weeks ago, I've become obsessed with pinning hot, sexy man-pics. (I haven't become this hooked on manmages since I found tumblr!)

Now, if there's one thing I love, it's when two of my favorite things in the world merge to combine one super-amazing thing. Today, that happened with sexy men and Pokemon! I was fortunate enough to come across this gorgeous creation, who wisely decided to go to some costume party (or con event) as a sexy Ash Catchem. I'd say that he's doing an amazing job, and I want to have his babies. God, these kinds of things give me great ideas for role-play night.

Anyway, if you like sexy men, then head over to my pinterest board. There are plenty waiting for you.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Clipped Acquired by Wilde City Press



Hey all,

As anyone who is reading this probably knows, initially, I self-published my gay erotic novel Clipped on Amazon and B&N. Well, today I signed a contract with Clipped's new publisher, Wilde City Press. The release is TBD, but I'll be keeping things lively here and informing you about any new updates. In the meantime, I'll be working on Clipped's sequel, Bound, as well as annoying everyone on pinterest, twitter, and goodreads.

That's the quick and easy version for the night. I'll write more about this another time. Just wanted to post an update.

Thanks to everyone who has been so helpful in spreading the word about Clipped. Special thanks to Kazza of On Top Down Under Book Reviews.

Looking forward to where this next step will take me. Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Interviewed on On Top Down Under Book Reviews

Hey Y'all,

Just did my first interview with Kazza K at On Top Down Under Book Reviews. Head over there and check it out. Also, if you love gay/mm shit, you should just go ahead and follow OTDUBR's reviews, because they're hilarious and explicitly awesome.

Also, if you haven't already, make sure to sign up for the Goodreads giveaway.

For reviewers, title is still available on NetGalley for review.


Thank you so much Kazza and Cindi for having me on the blog!

Devon

Saturday, November 2, 2013

100 Adds on Goodreads! Yay!

Since I started the Goodreads Giveaway on Halloween night, my total adds on Goodreads have reached 100 (I think they were 44 before):

  

And there are 97 entries in the giveaway!


Anyway, just thought I'd have a moment of celebration. That's all I got for now. Back to writing!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

First Goodreads Giveaway!

In efforts to rouse interest about Clipped, I've started a Goodreads Giveaway for ten paperbacks. For those who follow this blog or the book, you'll notice yet another cover for the paperback version, which is different than the very-recent e-cover. I found that this picture produced the best image quality for printing, and for me, that was an incredibly important aspect of having a print version. That's why I opted for this particular cover, rather than just sticking with the new e-book cover.

Even though I'm giving away paperbacks, I plan to exclusively sell e-books. That said, here's the link to the giveaway. Tell any and all, and I'll be incredibly appreciative. Looking forward to sharing the results of the giveaway, which ends December 3rd.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Clipped by Devon McCormack

Clipped

by Devon McCormack

Giveaway ends December 03, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's This? A New Cover?

Indeed, it is.

For those who actually even know that this blog exists, you may have seen my original cover for Clipped:


Well, recently, after a lot of labor and pain...and a few tears, I came up with another cover--one that I think serves as a good replacement:


Oh my. Who might you be, Mr. Man? Well, in terms of my story, he's Janka, protagonist Kinzer's angel lover. Outside of that, just a lovely model that I don't mind staring at for hours on end. And that's exactly what I've been doing ever since I started work on this latest project. I know, I know. I was really going out on a limb (Shirley-Maclaine-style) by opting to place one of my favorite things on the cover: sexy man-torso. My internet bud and fellow author, Brenda approves, so I'm happy.

That all said, when you see this sexy man-cake staring at you, I hope you feel the same delightful sensations that I feel in my penis...um...my hard heart. Heart!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dear, Sweet, Dear Friday (with Dave Franco Love)

Oh, Friday, you couldn't have come at a better time. As I sit at my laptop, sipping Dunkin' Donuts-brand coffee and eating vanilla yogurt, I can't help but reflect on all that's happened this week. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting at this same laptop, yelling, "Why won't you work?!" Screaming at a fictitious character, "Why won't you work?!" Whining at my face in the mirror, "Why...won't...you...work?"

All good, though. Everything seems to have worked out for the best. By that, I mean that I'm still here, in one piece. So, as a tribute to Friday, I'm going to treat myself to some...Dave Franco love!!


Dave. Dave, Dave, Dave. I remember when I first noticed you in that Funny or Die video with the nerdy guy from Superbad (the same guy who makes an inexplicable appearance in Pitch Perfect - I will reserve PP love for another time, and pee pee love for yet another). And then later I saw you in Warm Bodies. At the time, I didn't even know it was you, but I thought, We could be warm bodies together! And then there was the video that you clearly made for me that featured this lovely shot:


And for that, too, I thank you.


I want those eyebrows inside of me!


That's all I got. I know, right? Why'd I even bother? *shrugs. hits post*

Monday, October 21, 2013

Poke-stalgia: Reflecting on Pokemon and Savoring Consumerism






Anyone else miss pokemon? You know who does? This guy. All 150 of the original ones. I couldn't care less about the ones after that. But I was so in love with that initial batch of the alien freaks that the humans of Poke-world enslaved and continually pitted against one another in an unending quest to be the best...like no one ever was. Those guys were awesome.

Every weekend, my mom would drive me and my brothers to Toys R Us. We were adolescents, so of course we were too cool for the kids games or action figures. No, no. Those things were silly. Rather than blowing our money on useless things like that, we spent our not-so-hard-earned allowance on $3.99 packs of 10 cards of these fake creatures. We would trade and get into huge fights over who deserved what. The rule in our family was, if you got mad enough, eventually you'd end up with what you wanted. The secret was to get as mad as you possibly could and then have a magical epiphany that your other sibling deserved it. Then, they'd hand whatever it was right over, no questions asked. This is how my brother ended up with all the Oddishes:


For some reason that me and my other brother couldn't possibly understand, he had to have all the fucking Oddishes. For those who aren't into Pokemon (and if you aren't, I don't understand why you got this far in the post), Oddishes aren't rare at all. They're like weeds that you find as you're looking for something awesome. Nevertheless, he had to have them all, and he wouldn't take no for an answer. This became more problematic when me and my brother started withholding them just because we knew that he needed them so desperately. But we learned very quickly that one does not deprive a Heathcliff of his Catherine unless one wants to suffer great consequences. Oh, brotherly love.

I want you to consider this: the whole point of this being a trading card game was to fight with them. They all have skills and a certain amount of life that you subtract and add to with other cards. But me and my brothers never actually played that game. We just collected the cards. Right?! What the fuck? As you can probably tell (and anyone who got sucked into these guys probably knows already), this was a cruel addiction that prepared my generation for Apple products and Starbucks. It's quite appropriate because, like with Apple and Starbucks, though we were young, we knew that we had an irrational need for these things that had no real addictive quality to them (Starbucks, of course, has caffeine, but we should note that there are plenty of easy ways of acquiring that without needing the brand Starbucks). We were obsessed, and being groomed to be the best consumers in the world! And I believe that my generation represents a great generation of vapid, illogical consumerism. Continually, I'll hear my friends referencing how they feel that companies like Apple and Google are rapidly taking over and encouraging us to blindly consume whatever they put out. Of course, no one actively wants to fight this (I don't really think I do, even). It's like with Pokemon. We knew they just wanted our money, but we'd been sucked in...and we just kept on buying. Today, we do the same thing, recognizing the money-making nature of the business, but also savoring the joy that we find in being consumers to these mega-conglomerates. We really do gotta catch 'em all, because we want to be the very best, like no one ever was. And the latest iPad, iPhone, Chai Latte will do just that...Right? Right?!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

New Carrie Movie Review Starring Chloe Three Names and Julianne Meany

It's interesting when a remake makes me question the quality of the original. That isn't to say that I thought the new one was better. Rather, there were, at times, the new version contained such strong similarities that fell short of my recollections of "ooo" and "aw" that I was left thinking, "Maybe the first one wasn't all that great after all...and that's why this one is only so-so." I think this side-by-side from Yahoo does a good job of demonstrating the radical difference between the two versions:


Left, we have a slightly disturbed Chloe Whats Her-face. Right, we have Crazy-Eyes McGee (aka Sissy Spacek). The shot of three-names-Chloe doesn't do justice to the angry-face that she makes when she's wreaking havoc on her peers, but I think there's a big difference between Chloe's straight up anger and Sissy Spacek's bug-eyed terror. Sissy Spacek took me on a ride into crazy-land. Chloe Blah Blah made me feel like she was just throwing a tantrum, which I believe is what the director was going for.

Stepping back, I'll provide a brief synop for those who might be unfamiliar with the Carrie franchise:

Carrie is loser. Carrie's bitchy peers throw tampons at her. Carrie realizes she has telekinetic powers. Through a series of character choices more unbelievable than the telekinetic powers, Carrie ends up going to prom with hottest guy in school. Lead Bitchy Peer pours pig blood on her. Carrie uses her telekinesis to ruin prom for everyone (throwing appendages and cars all over the place). It may seem like a spoiler, but anyone who doesn't know this by now just needs to be told. There's a subplot with Carrie's über-religious mom, and while it's cool, it's not really the selling-point of the film. I'm not sure why, as it's the best part in both versions. Speaking of the über-religious mom, this was one of the better parts of the movie, portrayed by none other than Julianne Moore.


Though I'm not usually a fan of Ms. Moore, I thoroughly enjoyed her performance. And with lines like, "I can see your dirty pillows," (in reference to Carrie's boobs), how could I not have loved it? There's another wonderful, self-reflective moment where Moore's character proclaims (regarding her pregnancy), "I thought you were cancer!" To which Carrie replied, "That's a terrible thing to say." And that's what everyone in the audience was thinking, too. That's why we all laughed.

The humorous parts seem to be the director and actors commentary on Stephen King's disturbing dystopia. At times, it seems they are letting the audience in on the fact that the things these characters are doing seem unrealistically cruel and maniacal. But that's part of what makes it all fun. Judy Greer does a great job as the gym teacher who gets way too involved in her student's lives. But she's one of the better parts of the movie as well.

Aside from Moore and Greer's performances, we have the usual teen stereotypes running around, doing what you'd expect. Just think Mean Girls, only some loser has telekinetic powers. And since we're back to the powers, I just want to emphasize how hilarious it was watching Carrie walk around, inadvertently and not-so-inadvertently ruining shit with telekinetic outbursts (to the point where the viewer is left wondering, why is no one else noticing that it's her?) In the first movie, it wasn't so blatant. At the same time, I doubt they had the budget or technology to make it that way.

That all said, it's worth checking out, but I don't think I enjoyed it as much as the original. I want to re-watch the 1976 version and figure out if I'm just being pretentious or if there's really something there that was missing in the more recent version (although, if it's pretense, I'll just stand by it...because that's how pretentious people work).

But on to a more important matter: when I posted last about the 1976 Carrie, I mentioned that I didn't think there would be any good torso. The guy playing Tommy, Ansel Elgort (of couse I googled that shit. How the fuck would I have just known that?), actually has a few nice shirtless shots (but for some reason I can't find these on Google. Dammit!) Here's a pretty face shot:


Sorry. It's all I got. But if you think I'm disappointing you now, go see this movie and be even more disappointed by the lack of sexy-man-torso. Though it's not much, I appreciated it immensely (if just because he was the only action the director was willing to give me).

Friday, October 18, 2013

Reflecting on First Times with Carrie (The Movie with Spacek)

"Arg! I hate it when people tag me in photos!"
With the new Carrie movie coming out today, I'm eagerly thinking back to my first time with Carrie. Not the book. The movie. Though I've read several Stephen King books, surprisingly I never got around to Carrie. Perhaps I need to add that to the bookshelf. At any rate, what I want to focus on is that first, magical moment with the cinematic masterpiece. I was fourteen. I was hopeful. I was eager. I was excited about life...I was a lot like Fantine when she was skipping through the fields with her douchebag lover. And then I saw a bunch of high school girls launching tampons at a blood-drenched, bug-eyed Sissy Spacek. I remember thinking, "Girls are horrible. I'm gonna go with dudes." Just kidding. If only I'd come to terms with my sexuality at that age...imagine all the STDs I could have had by now #unfinishedbucketlists.

Admittedly, I wasn't the most attractive fourteen-year-old. I was about twenty pounds overweight. I let my hair grow out till it draped around my Powder-esque complexion, which contrasted beautifully with bright red acne. At the time, I was a good Catholic boy, and I believed in a benevolent God (which considering my appearance, was odd. He certainly had never done anything to earn that adjective). Clearly, I wasn't a very good Catholic. As any real Catholic knows, there is no benevolent God. There is only a money-hungry, guilt-mongering God that envies our affections and is like an omniscient Christian Grey (for those who don't get the reference, you are the lucky ones). I digress. My point was that I was an ugly, round, faggy thing that was an easy victim for teasing, so it was easy for me to sympathize with a girl who I thought I was just like--even though I was never bullied to the extremes that exist only in the dystopian nightmares that King writes. But what can I say? I was over-dramatic. I totally thought me and Carrie would have been best buds. Looking back, I know if someone had handed me a tampon, I would have chucked it at her and said, "You disgusting cunt! What's wrong with you?!" I wish I could say that I've changed, but the reality is, if I had kids, I'm sure I'd be chasing them around the house, screaming, "No wire hangers in this clean closet!" And wire hangers don't even annoy me! Kids, on the other hand...

At the time, though, I totally thought, "That girl's just like me." And I watched those bitches and assholes plot against her, shouting at the TV, "Why are you doing this?!" Fortunately, the brief cathartic moment arrived where Carrie telekinetics the shit out of her peers. I think most people who watch that moment have very specific people that they can put in John Travolta and P.J. Soles places. I sure did. And then she went home to her mother. Like my delusion about having peers like Carrie's, I totally thought I could relate to Carrie's psychotic mother. My mom is a wonderful person, and when she forced me to do things like homework or study, I somehow thought that was comparable to her screaming, "They're all gonna laugh at you!" or trying to kill me because she thought I was the devil. I guess when you're high on hormones and puberty, it's hard to see the world as it really is.

Although, let's be real for second. It didn't exactly make telekinesis seem like the most awesome power in the world. Or I should say, 1976 special effects didn't make telekinesis seem like the most awesome power in the world. In fact, I wonder if they just hired the Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) guys because they knew they could just tie a string to something and pull it to make a person look like they were altering the physical manifestations of our world with their mind. But I guess CGI has spoiled me. Certainly, the new Carrie will have plenty of masturbatory special effects (and speaking of which, probably a hot guy to take the place of JT. Quick search. I was wrong. Don't worry. I looked it up, and now you don't have to. The one replacing JT doesn't seem to have any good shirtless pics. And the shirtless pics of the guy playing Carrie's prom date make me feel like a pedophile. Well...hmmm...At least we'll always have this:


Ah...much better).

Well, here's to hoping the new torso...I mean, Carrie, will be awesome.

(Side note: has anyone else seen the tagline "You will know her name" and thought, "We already do, dumbasses"?)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New Review: From Kazza of On Top Down Under Book Reviews

Hey all,

Kazza over at On Top Down Under Book Reviews just reviewed Clipped. The review includes a must-see disturbing and frightening yaoi pic, so you have to check it out! Here's a snippet:
Well…this book was an interesting ride. I wasn’t sure what to think first of all but not at any stage was Clipped boring or slow. I guess I’m going to start by saying that if you don’t like blood play, breath play, large cocks penetrating unlubed arses on multiple occasions – not because the author was slack – but for the pain and the burn that it brings. If you’re a bit squeamish, if you don’t like rough sex, rape (which is not glorified or on page, as such), and if you don’t like sex at the unlikeliest of times, and on more than a few occasions, in other words if you don’t like erotic, then you may not like Clipped.  This book is M/M erotica with a good fantasy/paranormal story that I think, but I’m no expert, takes a lot from yaoi. I do like erotica, so I was in!
The review mentions all the different types of sex you can expect to read in Clipped, and some of Kazza's descriptions have even inspired me to add some new keywords to my book tags (e.x., auto-erotic-asphyxiation, breath-play, and cock-o-saurus land). It also makes me realize that I might need some psychotherapy to cure whatever pathology has led me to thinking these sorts of things are erotic. But who has time for therapy? Seriously.

I really appreciate Kazza taking the time to read and review the book, and I'm totally not going to judge her for the fact that she lives in the home of the British Empire's criminals...and Vegemite sandwiches. I swear.



Thanks again, Kazza!

Again, you can check out the review here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

On my Obsession with Piryanka Chopra...

*Heads up: this post is loaded with videoclips. There's only one you must see. It's the one that has a big, bold message: The Only Video You Need to Watch heading. 

I sometimes wonder how many American peeps my age are Bollywood fans. Based on the ones I encounter on a daily basis, it doesn't seem like there are too many. But here's the scoop: during the heyday of Netflix InstantPlay, me and my brother got obsessed with Bollywood films. It's interesting, because neither of us are big fans of musicals. I have a hard time watching musical numbers unless it's a cartoon or puppets (Avenue Q). For whatever reason, though, I put on Dhoom 2, a Bollywood action film starring a series of long names: Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. This is actually the number that got me hooked.

Somehow I dragged my brother into this movie and re-watched all 152 minutes of it with him. After that, we started hunting down good Bollywood films on Netflix. To our satisfaction, we found several, a few that starred one gorgeous lady: Piryanka Chopra (aka former Miss World). One of my favorites was Dostana, a knock-off of Adam Sandler's I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Here's a bit that I adore that will allow you to experience the glorious beauty of Piryanka.

My breeder brother, of course, thought she was gorgeous and wanted to fuck the shit out of her, and I didn't blame him, cause that girl could turn me. Anyway, our Bollywood obsession came and went, and one night, my dad and brother were watching football and my bro called for me. When  I looked at the TV screen, who did I see? That's right! Our girl, Piryanka: right here.

It took a little time, but I managed to convince my brother that it really was her (that we weren't just lost in some magical dream). I googled to see what was up and discovered that she'd released a single:

The Only Video You Need to Watch:


Everybody's welcome...we ain't got no worries...she knows you're gonna like it...you ain't gonna wanna leave...her pussy! She says "city," but she's not fooling anyone. I haven't seen such obnoxious faux-innuendo since Britney's "If You Seek Amy." I still sing this on occasion, especially if my brother's in earshot. So flash forward a little bit. Me and my boyfriend discovered this song, "Exotic," while we were on a road-trip:


This was more what "In My Pussy City" should have been: a series of sexy shots of the gorgeous former Miss World, who I can only imagine left Bollywood because she feared her hand over hand dance moves were not enough to compete with the real dancers in the Bollywood market.

Although I adore the video, I think media critic and feminist leader Jennifer Pozner would murder me in the face for liking it. It is the total embodiment of Andrea Smith's third pillar of white supremacy: colonialism. Piryanka is presented as beautiful and enchanting, but ultimately (as we see in the scene where she's flashing mean eyes and dancing in black in the wilderness) dangerous. It really is the most stereotypical representation that could possibly be conceived, but I love it. This is why I'm a shitty feminist. Because I see evil, and say, "I love you!" Oh, tsk, tsk, tisk. The end is nigh.

Anyway, I hope that if you had not been previously exposed to Piryanka, you're like, "Oh my God, this girl's amazing!" If you already knew who she was, I hope you're like, "Oh my God, someone else who knows who the fuck she is!"

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Atlanta Pride and Steve Grand



The other day, me and my boyfriend saw this picture on the cover of David Magazine (a popular Atlanta gay publication). We both had a similar reaction: "Meh, and why is this guy the one they chose to put on the cover?" We've seen plenty of David Magazine covers, and they usually opt to use some scantily clad boy that is more than appealing to the superficial interests of gay men. But considering it was the Pride issue of David Magazine, we were less than impressed.

Skip forward to today. Me and my boyfriend went to Pride Market with some friends. Afterward, we stopped by Jason's Deli, where I devoured a Sante Fe Chicken Sandwhich and an ice cream cone (a ritual binge that I do after pre-Pride starvation). One of my friends had mentioned several times that he was going to a meet and greet with Steve Grand. Evidently, he's an out singer that dates a porn star. I don't actually know if this is true, but it's what my friend said. Of course, I'll be googling this and getting back to you.

At one point, while I was shoving a swirl of vanilla and chocolate down my throat, aforementioned friend handed me his phone, saying, "This is the guy."


 "Oh my fucking Jesus Christ!" I said. "Who is this?"

My boyfriend looked at the pic and gasped. "That's the guy that's on the cover of David Magazine," he explained.

Needless to say, this was the pic that should have been used on the cover, because it evokes a far better reaction than, "Meh." In fact, after a Google Image search, we discovered a slew of images that were far more aesthetically pleasing, and I thank the innovations that have led to modern technology for making this eye-porn speedily accessible to me.

To summarize who exactly this Steve Grand fellow is, he's an out country singer, who as far as I'm aware, is best known for the single All-American Boy:

 

The video features a sexy Steve Grand in an unbuttoned shirt, gazing longingly off to where I assume the light stand is and singing about how he wants to hook up with this guy that has a girlfriend (Is it a surprise that there is a huge heterosexual fear of gays when we perpetuate stereotypes about stealing girls' guys? Nope. Watch out girls. We're coming for your men, and we don't mind giving them an STD, either.).

So, let's take another sip of coffee to progress!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ab Ripper X and Six Packs



I hate to provide free publicity to big money-sucking companies, but I'm gonna be doing that for Ab Ripper X, because it's what I do two days a week, and I have a few comments on this program, specifically because it's been on my mind since I did it a whole five minutes ago.

Does it work? Um...that's like asking if a sledgehammer works at smashing an egg. Yes, of course it does. You wanna know a great secret to losing weight? Don't eat ever again. That's my not-so-subtle way of stressing how convulsed I think programs like Ab Ripper X are. Largely, I think they do more to discourage people who are at their less-than-ideal body weight than they do to encourage those who want six packs to get them. In all honesty, I think I could get results just as good by doing simple, less stressful ab exercises. The only reason I even decided to do the program was because it's 15 minutes and the douche that's yelling at you the whole time really motivates me. I don't know if anyone else is like this, but there's something about people yelling at me that motivates me. At the gym, I'll usually berate myself into doing an extra set or a few too many reps at the bench press. Healthy? No. Effective? I guess so. Destructive to my self-esteem? Absolutely. All that aside, my only comment about that guy who yells at me is, "Fuck you!" That's what I was thinking through the whole video, and that's what's still on my mind. "Fuck you, asshole!"

Moving on, you might be asking yourself, "So...if it works, do you have a six pack?" Um...kind of. I mean, if I flex you can see it, but it's not really that meth-head six-pack that some people go for. I enjoy eating too much to achieve that fantasy figure, but perhaps one day when I take up and eating disorder, I'll have a different story about that.

Six packs aside (which is a funny statement, because who's actually gonna push one of those to the side - not me), I'm exhausted and need a shower. So I'm off. I'll keep you posted on other nonsensical things that you have no reason to know later. For those of you thinking, what the fuck was this post about, I'll just direct your attention to the pic at the top of the post, and say, "Really? What the fuck are you complaining about? You're welcome."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Okay. Finally, on my E-book


Since I forgot to plug my e-book in my initial posts, as I was overwhelmed with excitement for American Horror Story's season premiere, I will now give my book a little show-and-tell.

Clipped is a m/m erotic novel. Rather than re-paraphrasing the story, I'll give you the synop that I've gone through over and over again:

After the fallen spy Kinzer's cover is blown, one of God’s gangs, The Raze, clips his wings and murders his angel lover. He escapes and sets out to warn his allies about a mole in their midst, but along the way, he discovers that his friends have located the Antichrist, whom Satan has created to stop God’s second Christ from destroying the world. Now, Kinzer is on a mission to protect the Antichrist and avenge his lover’s death.

To be clear, this is not erotic romance. Though there is a romantic storyline, the story is about sex: the good and the bad. It depicts the light-hearted, playful moments of intercourse as well as the darker, perverse sides of rape. All too often, I see books that exclusively represent sex as this wonderful, magical thing or strictly as this sadistic, cruel act. I don't really find either of those representations to be accurate. I see sex as being a combination of the two, and this is what I tried to depict in Clipped. Sex isn't all fun, and it isn't all bad. Like life, it's a complex dance between inexplicable pleasure and excruciating pain, neither possible without the other.

Anyway, I hope if you get the chance, you'll give my book a read and a review (or at least drop me an email or a comment to let me know what you think). You can find free copies all over the net, but specifically on Google Books or Scribd. For those who just want a little taste before committing to the book, check out this scene between two of my supporting characters: Treycore and Kid.

American Horror Story Awesomeness (spoilers)


As I should have expected, AHS impressed me yet again with a premiere filled with "what the fuck?!" and "Jesus fucking Christ!" moments. It's got it all. Kathy Bates covers her face in pancreas blood. Jessica Lange sucks the youth out of a young doctor-man (but so would I, if I could). And Precious star Gabourey Sidibe, a human voodoo doll who can stab herself to hurt other people, sneaks food at night.

The episode was packed with witty one-liners, like when Precious asks Emma Roberts (who plays a movie star) when she made her last movie--a question most viewers have been asking about Precious. It also gives fans a flash back to the romance between Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga--a romance that I was certainly not missing, but I'm sure some die-hard fans are super-excited to see this again.

So...to recap last nights episode, these are the things it taught me:


1) Angela Bassett is gorgeous.

I've always thought she was beautiful, but that was back when she was relevant...in the 90s. But she's still hot. Super hot. I thought about switching a few times throughout the episode, which wasn't hard because there wasn't any good man-candy anyway. I'm sorry, but Evan Peters does nothing for me.

2) Jessica Lange should wear heels always.

She's no Angela Bassett, but she's still hot. And did you see her feet when she stepped out of the car? Yes. Wear them as much as possible JL.

3) Ryan Murphy has decided to do a season of AHS as X-Men with witches.

I might be understating this, but it's true. The show opens with that girl from Season 1 (Taissa whatever) pulling a Rogue by killing her boyfriend with her "touch" (she actually killed him with her twat, but same difference, right?). Sarah Paulson, the headmistress of the boarding school, is Professor X. Jessica Lange is Magneto. Kathy Bates, as a friend of mine pointed out, is Apocalypse.
 
Do I blame Ryan Murphy for stealing X-Men to create Season 3 of AHS? Hell, no. X-Men is awesome and so was this episode. If the season promises to be anything like the first episode, I'm completely on board.

So, X-Men-plagiarism considered, here's a quick overview of the characters' powers:

Sarah Paulson - potions wiz. Apparently, she's gonna show us all that she is super-powerful at some point, but she's got a bit of a Jean Grey thing going on, where she isn't willing to exercise her powers to their full ability.

Jessica Lange - everything except feeling youth and vitality.

Precious - human voodoo doll (as mentioned previously).

The down girl from Season 1 - clairvoyant, and she's gonna be obnoxious about it. It's that old, "I know what your future is, and I'm gonna tell you, so watch out Julius Caesar!"

Angela Basset - voodoo queen (is that a power?).

Kathy Bates - must have the power that Jessica Lange doesn't have, cause she doesn't age when Lange digs her up from the street.

Emma Roberts - telekinetic. She flips a bus at one point. But for being an actress, she isn't much into dramatics. The bus had several guys that had raped her on it, and she just tosses it upside-down. If I wanted to punish my rapists, I would want to brutally torture them. Am I wrong here?

Girl from Season 1 - murdering vagina (initially I wrote boy-killing vagina, but I don't think it has a preference).

4) Few things are more satisfying than watching Emma Roberts get train banged by assholes.

I don't know. I'm not a big fan. And it's not something you see a lot on TV, so there was something cathartic about it...perhaps just because I'm a horrible person.

So...that's a wrap for the first episode, but the second looks like it's gonna be just as jaw-dropping, so I'm eager to see where the season goes. If this season is anything like the last two, the moment I think things are going in one direction, they'll change and move in a completely different one.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blog Start-up and American Horror Story Excitement

Hey all,

I'm starting this blog to promote my new ebook, Clipped, which is now available in its entirety for free on Scribd and Google Books. But that's the only mention I'm going to have for that right now, since I am far more eager to talk about the new season of American Horror Story: Coven, which premieres tonight.

Me and my two good friends get together to watch Sons of Anarchy every Tuesday, and FX has been teasing us with some awesome TV spots:



If I've done my math correctly, it looks something like:

Jessica Lange + Angela Bassett + Kathy Bates + Sarah Paulson =  Awesome.

And in case you missed it, last night, the teaser had a man being dragged into a swamp by a crocodile! Sold. For those of you who aren't fans of American Horror Story, I suggest you become fans. It feels like the show's creators just sit around trying to think of what will make me go "What the fuck?!" That's all that it takes to keep me watching a show, so if the season is anything like the teaser, I'm going to be on the edge of my seat till new episodes air.

For those of you who are already fans of the series, here's a present that I hope will brighten up your day, as it always does mine: