Great Blog Hop and Awesome Weekend

The Alpha Males Blog hop is going great. Don’t forget to leave a comment on the previous post to be entered into the drawing for a free ebook. Wanted to share what a great weekend this is being, not only are a lot of great people visiting the blog and leaving wonderful comments, but I just signed a deal with Dreamspinner Press for the novel “The Jouster’s Lance.” The great folks at Dreamspinner have already published two shorts of mine, “Soul Survivors” which was part of their summer daily dose this year and “On An Eagle’s Wings” which was part of “Animal Magnetism.” My experiences with them so far have been awesome and don’t expect that to change. I will keep everyone up to date as more details on “The Jouster’s Lance” become available, projected release is spring 2013.

Crafting Alpha Males

What makes an alpha male? From cowboys to superheroes, werewolves to sasquatches, what are the things that make up an alpha male? Every man likes to think of themselves as an alpha in one way or another. Many people want to be with alphas. The term alpha means first. Alpha males comes from the animal kingdom, they are the leaders of a pack, a troupe, a herd or any other group of animals. In real life some people who think of themselves as alpha males, and even alpha females can be real assholes. I don’t like being around that kind of alpha personality, and in all honesty I don’t think they should be classified as alphas, they are bullies and nothing more.

As a writer, I like to craft alphas that are strong and compassionate. They are the type of characters that I like to be, and that I like around me. I love having strong people around me, people without tons of fears, people who can go out and get things done without worrying about every little thing. It makes life interesting. It makes characters interesting. If writers were to just write about characters that let every little thing interrupt them getting stuff done, in the end no one would read the books. I think characters need to have strengths and those strengths need to be tempered with compassions, not fears. Years ago I went to a gathering and they had a hottest man contest, now it was a close call as far as looks go but the guy who won found a small kitten to hold during the contest. Sure he was hunky, but so were some of the other guys, he showed a compassionate side by holding that kitten. I think about that when I’m crafting my alpha characters. What kind of kitten can I give my alpha males to soften their edges?

How hot is the hunky cowboy who rides in on a lathered horse that before he bothers to get a drink of water worries about his horse and grooms it, feeds it and sets it out to pasture, and then takes a long draw on the water hose and splashes water down his sweaty chest? The show of caring for his trusty steed makes the character a lot more appealing to me than the guy who rides up on the horse, yells for a groom to take care of it while he runs into the house to do some sweaty ravaging. Yeah I like sweaty ravaging, but I can’t get behind the guy who doesn’t show a little compassion, no matter how hot he may be, both literally and physically. If the alpha male is going to take time to show some caring for the critters in his life, he’s going to take the time to show some real feelings for the people in his life too.

Some of this also comes into the details of a person. As a writer, it’s important for me to give my characters lots of details. It’s easy to get a cookie cutter alpha male who sees what he wants and takes it without care of the people around him. The harder thing is to build a character that has the strength and power to do that while at the same time showing caring and feelings to those around him. Words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ hold a lot of power in our real world, they hold just as much power in the worlds we create as our readers enjoy them. Sometime we might not even realize they are there, but they register in the back of our minds. A ‘thank you’ from a rugged man who just had breakfast cooked for him, softens the hard edges and makes him even more enjoyable than the guy who doesn’t bother to say anything wither its by design or the writer wanting to move onto another scene. Alpha males can cuddle. Cuddling is sexy. Alpha males who cuddle can be really hot. Again it’s a little detail that shows they care and will make the readers out there root for your characters even more.

I hope everyone enjoys the Alpha Male blog hop lots of other blogs to visit. Leave a comment, with your email, for a chance to win an e-copy of either “Passion’s Storm” my gay superhero romance or “The Cowboy, The Clown and The Fire” my m/m cowboy romance. If you follow the blog, twitter, and like my facebook page you’ll get an extra entry for each like and follow you make. Winner will be drawn at random on 10/22/12. A side note here, I don’t use raffle copter, just keep track of everything via spreadsheet.

Here’s a pic of all the prizes available for the grand prize. Check it out on the main site.

Backlist

Hey gang this is a great weekend to discover new and interesting writers taking part in the backlist blog hop. Stop by the main site and check out all the great authors who are participating.

For folks who leave a comment on this blog, you’ll be entered into a drawing for you choice of either “The Cowboy, the Clown and the Fire” ebook, or “Passion’s Storm” ebook.

I’m Coming

As a writer of male erotica, I spend a bit of time reading my genre. There’s a thing that to me is a dead giveaway that the person writing a story is one of the many women who’ve turned to gay erotica for the money they can make and not caring about how the gay men reading the story are going to take their mistakes. Nothing irritates me more than using the word come in the place of cum.

The word come is a verb meaning to arrive. It sounds just like the word cum, a layman’s term for semen. In most cases having a character scream “I’m ejaculating!” is a bit awkward. However screaming “I’m coming!” is like saying “I’m not here yet!”, when they are obviously there or they wouldn’t be having intercourse, beating off or whatever they are doing to cause them to ejaculate. Screaming “I’m cumming!” is correct because they are spraying cum all over wherever their penis, cock, dick or whatever you prefer to call the male sexual organ, happens to be at the time.

This is not meant to be a slam against women who write m/m romance/erotica. Some of them are very good and even when they get the words wrong can be very enjoyable. I just think if you’re going to write something you might want to get the words right and in my way of thinking, even if come is grammatically correct, it’s not subjectively correct. This goes back to the basic rule of writing, write what you know. Yes cum, cumming, came (yeah we can use that one) is a little less clinical than ejaculate, semen, or ejaculating, but if you’re going to be writing gay erotica you might as well get it right. And don’t even get me started on anus…

Meaning and Spirit

What is the meaning of the Fourth of July? It is the day that we celebrate our country’s independence from England that occurred over two hundred years ago. For a lot of people the fourth means a reason to picnic and see fireworks. For most of us here in Colorado, there won’t be fireworks this year. We are in a major drought right now and the land is simply too dry to risk any sparks coming down and igniting dry grass. Here in Colorado Springs, we’re dealing with the costliest fire in the state’s history. The Waldo Canyon fire started just west of Colorado Springs last weekend and ravaged much of the foothills west of town, and some very exclusive neighborhoods in those areas. For a while, people were not allowed in many of the parks around town for fear that more fires would start from folks being careless. For a while, I wondered what people would do if they couldn’t get together to celebrate the birth of our country.

I think this year, here in Colorado, we’re going to be celebrating surviving the fires, coming together to help each other out, and the real heroes that have touched so many lives, the firefighters and other emergency service men and women who have done so much over the past week and a half to save lives and property. Sunday, on the first day that they had highway 24, the main road between Colorado Springs and the area in the mountains to the west, opened again for traffic, we drove through, thankful for our trip home being back to its normal hour as opposed to the two and a half hours it had become. Along the area where the evacuations had occurred, people lined the streets holding signs thanking the firemen for their brave efforts to contain the fire. As the fire trucks rolled past, going the opposite way we traveled, they turned on their lights and sirens for the crowds. Something in this display touched me in a way that, even as a writer, I have trouble putting into words. It reminded me of some small-town celebrations that we see documented for the Fourth of July.

The city of Colorado Springs is asking everyone to please not shoot off fireworks this year, but instead they are wanting to have a flashlight celebration in honor of the firefighters that have fought so valiantly to protect our community. Sometimes we have to change the way we do things, but the meanings stay the same. We are still celebrating the birth of a country. Back then, on that first great celebration folks celebrated their freedom from England. Now across this country that has recently been ravaged by fire, storms, floods, droughts, economic down turns and other things, we celebrate the spirit of what makes us great. To find the true meaning, all we have to do is look in ourselves and open ourselves up to freedom and life.


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Fear

So today I’m posting as part of the Hop Against Homophobia. I hope folks stop by some of the other sites involved in the hop. Have your friends stop by. This is a very important issue in today’s world. We need to open people’s minds.

Where does hate come from? For the most part hate comes from not understanding or from fear. But there are several kinds of hate, there is hate of things that make you uncomfortable, like the taste of certain foods, or the hate of some kinds of weather if you are unprepared for it. I live in Colorado, I don’t understand folks who live here and hate snow. If you hate snow, don’t live in Colorado, sorry but go back to California or Florida, Texas or wherever you can that you don’t normally have snow. In my mind that’s the easiest way to deal with something you personally hate. I hate traffic. I now opt to live as far away from it as possible, and only go into town when I have to. It keeps my stress down.

Hates born of fear can be difficult to deal with. When fear is involved, rational beings often act in irrational ways. A lot of people have irrational fears, some of these are actually genetically coded into us for survival. It’s totally normal for primates to have a fear of birds of prey, we used to be smaller and they used to be larger. There are a number of fossil records that show prehistoric birds of prey used to hunt proto humans. But a lot of us overcome this irrational fear as we should all of our fears. Bugs aren’t going to hurt you. In my mind, homophobia is also an irrational fear. Gays aren’t going to hurt you, and they’ll only do your hair if you ask and they have the skilled. Trust me, nobody, not even the cat wants me to do their hair.

In a lot of people, the things they don’t know or understand cause fears. Fear of the unknown is one of the big reasons that we have so few explorers today. Folks are comfortable being feed the information that they are told and don’t care to embrace change. When they are faced with something that they don’t understand the immediate response is to be afraid and depending on the extent of that fear, it can turn to hate. Many people have a deep fear of the dark, because in the dark, you have no idea what’s waiting for you. Being prepared to deal with things you don’t understand is one of the best ways to deal with the fear of the unknown.

So what is the best way to deal with hate? It depends on where the hate comes from. If it originates from not understanding something, then the best thing is to educate people. Show them what they are not understanding and how it is harmless. Too many people in our world today dwell deep in their uneducated states on many things and want to stay there. These people can be the hardest to break out of their closed mental cages. You have to take a slow careful approach with them to pull them out of their confinement; the hardest part is getting them to take the first steps out. Once you have them moving mentally forward, you can fill their minds with positive information and wash their fears away with knowledge and understanding.

In our world right now, we are dealing with minority hate. It is something that has been around since we first swung down out of the trees. In recent history, we’ve dealt with racial hate, religious hate, and the big one right now is sexuality hate. As humans, this hate of difference is natural, but we need to tackle it and push it back. Find a common ground to stand on with the haters. They hate having anything in common with the object of their hate. Often, they have much more in common with the object of their hate than they believe. During the racial hate that scarred this country less than half a century ago, whites didn’t believe they had anything in common with blacks, when in reality, the only difference was the color of their skin. They still had the same types of families, still did the same kind of work, even defecated the same way. The religious hate is harder to fight, because there is nothing physical to fight, the fight is all about ideas. Ideas are more powerful than any material weapon ever created by man. Across the globe we still see most major conflicts can be narrowed down to either physical greed or religious idealism. When we get to the nuts and bolts of the last vestiges of homophobia it’s based on religious ideas. Science explains that sexual attraction is something that is hard wired. The only real choice a person has is the choice to be happy or not. If you choose to be happy, you choose a partner that you’re attracted to. If you choose to follow the outdated religious dogma, you choose to pair off like they say. Be warned, the odds are that you and your partner will be miserable when you choose to go against yourself. You may be hiding from the hate, but you are also hiding from who you are.

Fight the fear to fight the hate. Educate those around you. Help open their minds. Some days it will be easier than others. But be yourself. You best weapons are knowledge, and your own good will. Open minds, and eventually the plague of homophobia will go away.

Leave a comment for your chance to win either “Passion’s Storm” or “The Cowboy, The Clown and The Fire” in ebook form.