Monthly Archives: January 2011

Next Week at Out in Print!

The Week of Shameless Self-Promotion!

The latter part of 2010 saw the publication of books both
Bill and I had our hands in. His were full of gay erotic fairy tales he’d
written, collectively called 
A Twist
of Grimm
, and mine juggled circus stories for Tented: Gay Erotic Tales
from Under the Big Top
. At first, we studiously avoided pumping our own
releases on Out in Print (I know how dirty that sounds, but what can you expect
from an erotica writer?) but the more we thought about it, the more
irresistable the opportunity became. Thus was born our “Week of Shameless
Self-Promotion” with promo videos for both books along with reviews by our
wonderful guest-bloggers Ron Suresha and Jeff Mann. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry –
and hopefully, you’ll buy! Just click the links, type in your credit card
number and no one will get hurt.

We promise. 

Jerry and Bill

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Tricks – Rick R. Reed (MLR Press)

“Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Buy it direct from MLR Press or from our Amazon.com store – Tricks
 

Reed first gives us Arliss, “…young, handsome, and
vital.” Pierced ears, tattooed, eyes that stab and entrance with blue ice,
and outfitted in “…a costume that would make the construction worker
from the Village People look demure.” Yes, Reed gives us this
“…perfect fantasy specimen of pornographic machismo.” And the
allure of this package, of this boy, of this embodiment of sensuality is not
lost on the patrons of the bar, Tricks. Tricks draws older men mostly, whose
appreciation and generosity is meted out in dollar bills, fives, tens and
twenties, as Arliss climbs upon the  bar
to gyrate and smile, squatting here and there to allow those greedy fingers to
stuff those greenbacks into the jockstrap pouch in front, or between and up
into the naked cheeks behind. Arliss does not mind the attention, the gropes,
the come-ons, the hungry eyes of these men. No, this is his job; the fantasy he
provides to others in order to live.

Then we meet Sean, a “thirty-something” somewhat
nerdish, somewhat cynical presence that finds himself in Tricks after
discovering his present boyfriend’s commitment to him colored with feeble
clichés: “I need my space. I’m
feeling suffocated. …it’s not you, it’s me
.” So, Sean steps into
Tricks in need of oblivion, in need of forgetting about Jerome for perhaps just
one night.

Sean is enamored of Arliss, although certain that the boy’s
life is besotted with all the trappings of the life of a stripper: drugs,
carless carousing, sleeping with anyone who offers the right price. We learn
that Arliss’s life has, since childhood, been lived on the edge of misery, with
few opportunities to see anything of himself worthy of the interest of others,
except his body. 

Arliss, as he makes his moves, struts his stuff upon the
bar, notices Sean in the crowd, appearing so unlike the bar’s usual clientele,
and is himself, if not fascinated with Sean, at least interested, curious. But
the clean-cut, thirty-something Sean leaves the bar by the time Arliss finishes
his act.

Fate provides Arliss and Sean with a chance meeting on the
Chicago shore of Lake Michigan, where both find themselves disposed to slough
off the events of the night, and to cherish the calm of the cool breeze, and
the ebb and flow of the water. It is here the plot advances: “Excuse me,
mister,” [Arliss says] “but is this seat there—the one next to
you—taken?” It was not.

Suffice it to say, Sean and Arliss pursue their mutual
attraction. Sean, being Sean, sees the worth of moving slowly. Arliss is, after
all, not much more than a boy, a stripper, a beautiful presence who, alas,
allows old men to stuff money up his ass. But Sean sees something else in
Arliss: a young man with dreams, natural intelligence, a good heart, an
insatiable urge to succeed…if only to turn his “career” toward
porno films.

Arliss sees Sean as a kind presence, someone interested in
more than just his body. Arliss realizes, however, his past will forever cloud
any relationship he might have with Sean. “There was too much in his past
that would shock the man sleeping next to him, shock him enough, Arliss was
certain, to send him running in the other direction as fast as he could.”

Reed provides a wholly believable journey of the eventual
body and soul coupling of two men who, on the surface, are the unlikeliest of
lovers. He advances the plot to the edge of Arliss’s dream to be in the movies, something that Sean
cannot fathom, cannot accept as something compatible within the context of
their newfound love for one another. However, there is big money to be had, and
Arliss cannot resist the offer to do a shoot.

Quite apart from the seediness of Tricks—the booze-breathed
old men, the thick fingers rummaging over Arliss’s body, the leers, the
come-ons—there is a more sinister intent amongst those who would use Arliss,
the beautiful Arliss, for their own gain. Yes, Arliss is the perfect specimen
to appear in a video intended to be much more than the usual fare, much more
than just another excursion into the earthy delights of bodies entwined in the
old in/out; the suck, the fuck.

This is a love story. This is a story that explores the
darkest depths of mendacity and greed that feed off the dreams of a young man
yearning for a break against the hard knocks life has handed him. This is a
story of two men from disparate realms of experience who, in the end, find
their saving graces in the simple gift of love, of caring perhaps more for the
other than they do for themselves.

Reed’s prose is, as always, clean and precise. Reed’s fans
will not be disappointed.

This is a quick read of only 182 pages. If I have one
complaint about Reed’s storytelling, it is that this one ended too soon.

Reviewed by George Seaton

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Suspicious Diagnosis – Jardonn Smith (CreateSpace)

Buy it now from our Amazon.com store –Suspicious Diagnosis
 

Okay, look at the picture to your left before reading any
further. No, no—force yourself. Isn’t that the most disgusting,
off-putting, unappealing, WTF trainwreck of a cover you’ve ever seen? I mean,
what is that all over the guy’s mouth? Vomit? Crusted oatmeal left over
from breakfast? Ossified scrambled eggs from yesterday’s breakfast? I
hear what you’re thinking—the content has to be better than the cover.

You’d be partially right.

Jardonn Smith’s Suspicious Diagnosis is a short,
uneven book consisting of five stories—well, four stories and a seven page,
two-act play. The first story, “Such a Man,” is basically the internal
monologue of a guy during the funeral service for his partner, and it’s involving
despite its brevity and lack of direction.

The second story, “The Nosy Neighbor,” features straight
widower Daniel McKay, who finds an unlikely friendship with his new gay
neighbors, Jeremy and Fred. Daniel gets a fantasy fulfilled with a blowjob from
Jeremy while Dan’s hanging from a pull-up bar in a doorway but also becomes
involved in their lives. The tone is interesting and Daniel unexpectedly
changes from a nosy, judgmental neighbor to a kind, compassionate one.

The seven page, two-act play, “Senility” tries hard, I
think, to be Beckett’s Waiting for Godot without the wordplay, metaphor
or meaning. It’s almost as bad as the cover. Almost. 

But Smith comes into his own with the wonderful “A True
Ring,” which mixes sex, romance and professional wrestling into a lengthy,
truly interesting story. Marshall Strendlehocker is a collegiate wrestler
hoping to break into the pro ranks, but he doesn’t like the
“let’s-put-on-a-show” aspect. The bosses send young Jimmy Dolan to change his
mind, Dolan and Strendlehocker falling in love as the wrestler learns the
ropes. The story is sweet and hot, despite Smith’s over-reliance on labeling
its parts.

“Suspicious Diagnosis,” the last piece, is a shade over a
page long. Since it’s the title story and very brief, I read it several times
thinking it might provide me with a clue not only to the title of the book but
to the godawful cover. I was wrong on both counts.

Self-published books are always a crapshoot, and most of
them really aren’t worth the trees they take to produce. Suspicious
Diagnosis
, however, shows enough raw talent for hope. All Smith needs is
some polish, some editing and some guidance to let his writing shine.

A good art director wouldn’t hurt, either. 

Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler

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