Friday, 31 May 2013

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia: Winner

I know the annoucement of the HAH&T donation winner is a day early, but I'm just anticipating some potential problems with my internet connection.

So, just to try and beat those problems: the winner of this blog's donation is..


Congratulations Darien! I'll be contacting you shortly.

From event organisers to authors to blog hoppers: thank you all for making this hop such a gorgeous event. I've really enjoyed taking part.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Meet William: Week Five

 (Please go to the post below for the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia)

It’s week 5 of the LHNB thread hop over on the Goodreads' M/M Group, and this week it’s: “If someone is going to run in to your MC by accident, where would your MC most likely be? And what would it look like?”

Well…. There’s no other way around this… I’ve got to mention it, and it’s giving something away about Will that’s going to change things slightly, but—

Like any foster dad with a seventeen-year-old in the house, Will would mostly be found stuck behind the steering wheel of his Rover saying, “Where to now, kid?” Quickly followed by, “There’s such things as buses, y’know,” and then, “Ejector seats come as standard in this car.”

If you were to run into him, it would probably be into the back of his car as yours kisses his bumper, of course followed by a few choice swear words as Will stands there scratching at his head, surveying the damage. With just a few small hours to himself, he’d offer a shrug, a smile, then just point in utter defeat at his foster kid, who’s now there going: “Ouch. That’s gonna cost, Wills. I told you to take the A6.”



“Have I convinced you yet?” Ignoring all other bikes on display at the bike show, James started to pace the motorbike as Will forced himself to focus on the leather seat that creaked under his own touch. “Come on.” James was almost dancing, and Will knew if he left the kid hanging on any longer, he would swing into full mosh-pit mode: all energy and a will to get noticed kicking in.

“After that stunt this morning?”

“Uh-huh, like that is it?” James gave a sniff to his nose, then giving a cry—he fell to his knees and gripped at Will’s leg, his head hugging close to Will’s hip. “Don’t leave me, please, Dad,” he cried at the top of his voice, and Will instantly tried to shove him off as he grimaced a smile at the people who turned heads in their direction. “Dad, I love you. And, my room—I’ll promise to pick up that one lone sock up off my cold—damp—”

“Get up—”

“—carpetless, cell of a windowless room—”

“Get up,” Will forced through his teeth, not knowing whether to laugh or run and hide underneath several thousand rocks with how people were staring.

But James wasn’t finished. “Even though I share that small room with five, like—eight, eight other of your shirtless, shoeless off-springs. We all love you, Dad, s—”

“For goddsake, Jay, pleeeease.”

Giving a grin up at Will, James pushed to his feet and started to dust down Will’s jacket, then he looked at the onlookers. “Okay, move on. Nothing to see here.” He waved the bewildered bunch away, and they carried on with a few shoulder shrugs and wide-eyed glances back at them. “Mmmm,” said James, now patting his own jeans down. “Don’t do the whole ‘look at me, I’m gorgeous’ thing too much, do you, Will?”

“You’ve got enough showmanship for both of us,” said Will, fighting off the burns to his cheeks as the sales rep finally came over, now the man had stopped wetting himself with laughter over in the distance.

“So.” The salesman grinned at Will. “I take it that this young chap’s got his eye on this bike?”

Will rolled his eyes. “The whole pleading thing a usual around here, is it?”

The salesman nodded. “You’d be surprised. Although the men are usually older, and a lot bigger too.”

Week 6 will be the final week, but it's title reveal time, *does a little title reveal dance* as well as being Will's favourite childhood memory. It would be good to see you here, or especially over on Goodreads where this story will be a free read in June.

Picture "Fashion Shot Of A Young Man" courtesy of:  Photostock:FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Forced to Play in the Shadows -- The Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Hi there. Today I'm taking part in the Hop Against Homphobia and Transphobia. We're raising awarenes for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17) by taking part in this huge HAHAT blog hop. It means that just for a few momemts, I get to rant about a few things very close to my heart, and, frustratingly, how those few things seem to come hand in hand:

 Homophobia and Football (soccer). 

Yeah, I know -- football; I can hear the groans from here, lol. But we're huge supporters this end, and one shame to football that is always discussed in our house is how footballers are forced to play in the shadows when it comes to homosexuality.

I was listening to a conversation a few weeks back, where two lads were discussing the rioting incident in Manchester. Twenty-nine football fans were arrested for hooliganism after a Newcastle V Sunderland match. Now, with our family, discussions over football rioting are nothing new to us. Like the two lads I overheard talking, we can pretty much recount most negative associations to football, with hooliganism and Racism offering the most heated debates. With both, Fans have been banned, matches threatened with a postponing, or worse, with the threat of being played behind closed doors if there’s so much of a hint of trouble, and rightly so. Football seems to have come so far in many ways. Yet there’s always that one niggling dark discussion point, that one unmentionable element that seems to bring out a red card every time.

I can’t remember the last time I heard a football manager talk openly about homophobia in football. On so many levels, homosexuality doesn’t seem to exist. But being unable to acknowledge it in football just doesn’t come down to the managers, it’s endemic across the whole spectrum, from managers down to fans, with it seeming more acceptable amongst some football fans to resort to crowd abuse over just taking the time to recognise the damage they're doing. And when people do say, “Hang on, this isn’t right,” attempts to discuss and actively stop homophobia within football remain firmly gagged and sidestepped.

Gay footballers remain firmly in the closet, forced to cover their faces with more than just their shirts, their managers and team members not helping the issue over dressing room "gay" jibes. Brian Clough comes to mind here and his autobiographical comments over Justin Fashanu. Fashanu signaled the first and possibly only footballer to come out and openly claim he was gay. The fallout seemed, unsurprisingly, inevitable.

Fashanu turned professional in 1978 for Norwich City, then played for many clubs during his football career. Some of Fashanu’s troubles started under Brian Clough, but most came during the 1990s after announcing publicly that he was gay. Fashanu went on to suffer soul-destroying crowd abuse, reduction in the number of games he played, and gay “jibes” in the dressing room from some of his teammates. 

He committed suicide not long after in London, May 1998.

Since then, I can’t for the life of me think of any other footballer in the UK who has openly announced that they are gay. Many reports have shown some footballers admit privately to fellow teammates about being gay, but they remain out of the public limelight for fear of rebuttal from fans.

Which brings me back to the two lads I overheard talking. It had me wondering, for all of the people banned and sent to prison for rioting and racism, how many have actually seen a ban or similar for homophobic slurs? And it's something I put to my family. And the overall result? I think we could count them on two hands compared to those arrested for hooliganism and racism.

There's that deep groan that comes here. I know efforts have been made as high as government to recognise how endemic homophobia is within football, with the likes of the Stonewall report being submitted to parliament to help address the issue. 2007 saw the FA ban homophobic chants, with offenders being evicted for minor offences, arrested for the more serious. But if we take a look at the numbers of those arrested for hooliganism and racism compared to those arrested for homophobia, the ball still deflates with a resigned sigh of defeat.

Nothing highlights this more than the Justin Campaign. Set up in the memory of Justin Fashanu, the campaign highlights how rife homophobia remains both on and off the amateur and professional football playing field. In March 2009, they created the Justin Fashanu All-Stars, a football team in memory of Justin, which is also fully supported by the Football Association (FA). And it’s one of the few teams that openly support homosexuality within football.

And yet, with all of the efforts being made, there’s still that overbearing shadow with this sport, and many others, that dictates firmly that boys should be seen to like girls and vice-versa. All mostly guided by fear of the crowd.

I have to ask what effect does the managers’ stance on “Don’t talk about it” do to help the situation. I was fortunate enough to learn a little Latin at school, and one quote that always sticks with me around managers in football is “qui tacet consentit“, or “he who remains silent, consents”.  To me it’s the legacy they’re leaving behind; at the end of the day, football’s a big business, a business where see no gay men, hear no gay men, is sold along with the price of a ticket.

This post is to show support for the likes of the Justin Campaign and their continuing attempts to keep it fresh in people’s minds how gay rights are still kept in the dark ages when it comes to football. And to those who choose to bury their heads in the sand, just:

Thank you for stopping by on this Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and be sure to check out other blogs in this hop. For this visit, I’m donating a copy of my novel Don’t, a M/M BDSM thriller (delivered via Smashwords). 

To be put forward for the draw, all you have to do is comment and leave your email address below. The blog ends on May 27th and the winner will be announced on June 1st.


Football sihlouette picture courtesy of:
Man Taking Off Shirt photo courtesy of: 
"Depression" Photo courtesy of: Salvatore 
Stop photo courtesy of Stuart

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Absolutely Erotic Blog Hop Interview: Ravon Silvius

Welcome to my stop on the Absolutely Erotic Blog Hop, where we’re showcasing erotica and erotic romance authors from the Absolute Write forums. Each day, interviews will be posted, and when it’s all said and done, some lucky commenter will win a boot-load of goods! Click Here for the entire blog schedule and details about the contents of the prize, and how to win an armload of ebooks, a $25 Amazon gift card, and more. 

Today, I’m hosting: Ravon Silvius, Author of The Exam and Noble Magic. Ravon has a number of M/M works published through Extasy Books. Stay tuned below for details on which one of the two gorgeous stories below will be up for grabs in the AE blog hop.

Ravon, it's good to have you here with us. 
         Hey all! Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Q: You mostly write M/M romance with a sci fi/Fantasy kick. Why do you write M/M in particular?

        A: I prefer M/M because it’s what I relate to more. I also prefer genre elements in my work because I enjoy the challenge of coming up with fantastical ideas. Contemporary is all fine and dandy, but I often find myself wanting something more otherworldly in a story. I like getting sucked into a new world as much as I enjoy reading about characters, and the same is reflected in my writing. 

Q: In our line of work, there is always a list of hot content that some readers or publishers might find uncomfortable. Is there any topic you find too taboo to cover? 

        A: Other than the usual stuff that publishers don’t want to publish (you know what I mean), not really. I tend to be fairly open-minded.

Q: What tempted you into a writing career, and are there any times that you regret taking it up? 

        A: While writing is not my career, I wish it could be. I have a surfeit of ideas and worlds that I would love more time to write out and explore, and eight hours more a day to write sounds like a dream. Of course, there is always the risk of getting bored or going stir-crazy if I worked from home. ;)

Q: When you do get a chance to write, then, do you listen to music? And if you had to include a soundtrack with one of your books, could you give us the book title and three tracks that would be on that soundtrack? 

        A: I had a lot of inspiration from the band “Infected Mushroom” for Perils of Forgotten Pain, just from a lot of their instrumental stuff.  I’m one of those people who listen to individual songs as opposed to soundtracks, but I definitely have come across songs and artists that reflect my work or inspire ideas. I really like techno, and I even have a weekly little feature on my blog called techno Tuesdays where I share my favorite songs.

Q: What’s the one question you’d most like to be asked when people find out you’re a writer? 

        A: I’d love to meet someone who wants to talk about my writing and my characters. I think that’s true of many writers, though. For someone who just found out about my writing, I think the best question would be “where can I buy your books?” ;)

Q: Lol. Talking about your writing, what's the funniest scene you've ever written?

       A: Hmmm...I'm not huge on comedy, just because I find it hard to write, but Nick and Julian's interactions in Alpha were rather amusing. Both of them have slightly more resilient personalities in the face of hardship than other characters I've written, so they were easier to write more humorous scenes for.

Q: What is the hardest scene you’ve had to write? 

       A:Definitely in the book Remembrance-the scene where Aldric tries to leave. That entire sequence of events, from Daniel's semi-rejection to Aldric's eventual injury, were definitely the most intense I've written in a while.

Q: Are there any characters that you’ve written who you really dislike?

        A: I can't say I dislike any of my characters all that much. I would find it hard to write about people I hated. There are some characters, of course, who I like less than others. Blake in Remembrance was the epitome of hypocrisy, and even though he wasn't a villain, Sam in the WaterLord trilogy was kind of meant to be a person with the typical weak, jealous personality that would get on my nerves. And Lady Victeni, in my new Enforcer's series, is the kind of closeminded aristocrat that is easy to hate.

Q: So let's turn it around onto your favourite male lead chracter. He's sitting opposite you right now: what would be his reaction to the everything you’ve put him through, and what would you say to him?

       A: Ooh, tough question. I tend to put my characters through hell-I think most writes do. It drives conflict! I don’t think any of my characters would be particularly pleased with me, but my only defense would be that it’s what readers want to see. Their stories entertain, and hopefully, make people think, too.

Q: If you could go back, is there anything you would change in your novels?

        A: For the most part, when a story is done, its done in my head. However, I would have liked to have fleshed out Ruthen more in the Waterlord trilogy. He was kind of a faceless villain throughout, and I probably could have done more with him. And there are always untold stories, but that's more along the lines of adding more books or spinoffs than really changing novels.  
Q: We're both part of Absolute Write Water Cooler, and on there we see many authors, aspiring and pro that come through. After your time on Absolute Write, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring author? 

        A: The thing about writing is that its different for everyone. Depending on the kind of writer you are, different advice works better. Some good catch-all advice is to just write rather than talking about writing, to be humble and appreciate the importance of editing, and to find an honest editor. I need my work whipped into shape before it can be seen by the public.

Q: Staying with Absolute Write for a moment, the one thing that I see is that writers sometimes have the strangest writing rituals to get them in the mood for writing. Do you have any particluar habits that you find yourself slave to? 

       A: My only habit is trying to get a certain number of words on a page per day. I don't really have a routine other than just sitting down to write when there's time.

My cat has made a habit of coming to sit in my lap while I write, though.
Q: So, other than your cat, lol, who knows you write erotica?

       A: Only my closest friends. I can’t even imagine telling anyone else, even my parents!

Q: That must make communication with readers and reviewers that little more special. Do you read reviews of your work? And which is your best one so far? 

        A: I stay aware of the general consensus on my novels, but I try not to read reviews that often. I am eternally grateful for anyone who takes the time to review them, though!

Q: And finally, what’s your next project and when will it be available? 

        A: My most recent project was actually released on May 1st, and the sequel to that is in the works. The first book in the series is called Noble Magic. Here’s the blurb:
Lord Kenneth Victeni has every opportunity and every privilege. As the noble son of a powerful mage, he puts little thought into the lives of the talentless, the second class citizens who cannot use magic in a world ruled by mages.
    That changes when he meets Thorn, a talentless who is studying at the inventor’s college, where those without magic develop steam-powered technology. The two men share a mutual attraction, and what’s more, Thorn just might be Kenneth’s lifemate—the man who, with just his presence, can double Kenneth’s magical power.
     Kenneth’s ignorance of the lives of the talentless puts an obstacle in their budding relationship, however, and his life grows even worse when another mage at the collegium attacks and nearly kills him. Now Thorn and Kenneth must put aside their argument and find a way to put a stop to a mage who poses a threat to others—and along the way, Kenneth might even learn the sensitivity he needs to win over Thorn.
The sequel is called “The Exam.” Here’s the blurb for that!

Thorn and Kenneth begin their lives after college, and Thorn has his work cut out for him when he goes to meet Kenneth’s parents. The Victeni are nobility and have no problem putting Thorn in his place—or worse, simply ignoring him.
     But Thorn quickly learns that winning over Kenneth’s parents is the least of his worries. Kenneth has been selected to become an Enforcer, and with Thorn as his lifemate, Thorn has as well. To become Enforcers, they have to pass a test, and their examiners are not always straightforward about what they need to pass. Thorn is uncertain about his chances, and even less certain about whether or not he wants to be an Enforcer at all. He loves Kenneth and wants to stay with him, but as the test goes on he becomes worried if being an Enforcer will really let him help his people, or if he will just be seen as a traitor.
I'm also working on a large novel, tentatively called Stormlords, and I have a free read on my blog. Here’s the blurb for the free read:
19 year old Chris Taklo was a barely average student in high school. He had every intention of joining his father in the lumber business after he graduated. College, and the nearly super powered abilities that come from it, was not for him.
     But then he gets a letter in the mail from the prestigious Creekville University. Despite never actually applying, he’s accepted as a student.
    Chris begins to attend Creekville, very quickly fitting in with his classmates and finding his niche among new friends in Reed Hall. But the reason he got in in the first place hangs over his head, along with the mysterious presence of Frederic Sulzman, a senior who the other students in his hall are leery of. There are rumors about Frederic, and about the strange professor that Frederic does research with.
     The very same professor who sent Chris’ acceptance letter. 

Check it out if you have the time!

Ravon, can I just say a huge thanks for dropping by and spending some time with us today. It's been great having you here.

And thank you to any curious readers who've visited this stop on the Absolutely Erotic Blog Hop! Please be sure to visit Ravon Silvius tomorrow to read an interview with Jocelyn Dex, and comment for more chances to win the grand prize! 

Ravon's prize at the end of this blog hop on the 23rd is a PDF copy of Noble Magic! Just leave a comment with your email address to be in with a chance to win this and many other prizes.

Blog Hop Giveaway

Ravon Silvius lives in a tiny apartment with two tiny cats in a tiny town in the United States. Despite the cramped living quarters, Ravon enjoys coming up with big ideas for novels, with some plots coming from Ravon's findings as a neuroscience researcher and others coming purely from Ravon's imagination.

Author's link to books: Extasy Books
Author's blog link: ravonsilvius
Author's free read: Freshman Blues