Wait…what? Didn’t you start a different novel already?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2014 by BradVance

BrutallyHandsomeYeah…the ‘Gay Princes’ are on hold.  Part of that was just Various Life Crises that derailed me for a while, but some of it?  Well, it takes place in these two nonexistent countries I sliced out between Austria and Hungary, one of which was a former Communist state.  And the whole story arc is dependent on Russian baddies pushing into the former Communist country to try and take over.

And, you know, with people getting KILLED in Ukraine, it just didn’t seem like a good time to do some slick gay romance thing around all that, y’know?  But.  It’s not a dead letter, by any means.  Once characters take on a life, which Nikolas (seen in the photo here is my vision of him) and Franz Albert have already done, I’m kinda fucked :)  But they are on hold while I work on Rocky and Dex.

As always, I’ve figured out how to get around these awkward moments.  When the time comes, somewhere down the line, I’ll be donating a portion (not sure how much yet, but probably 25%) of the profits to a Chernobyl-related charity of good repute.  For the sake of my conscience, that assuages the overall silliness of inserting brutal Russian power grabs into a gay romance plot.  So, yeah!  “A Great Prince” is still coming, at some point.

OH HAI! Not dead, just resting! And BACK with the opening to a new novel!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2014 by BradVance

RockStarSo I’ve been delinquent on posting the last few weeks, mostly because “Angelina” has been working her tail off on “The Cowboy’s New Bride.”  She could sure use a few good reviews if you’re up to it!  It’s a short book, not a lotta sexin’, but some good humor in it and a neat setting in the 1930s.

But, I’ve got control of the keyboard again now, and I’ve started a new novel!  Yeah, I was planning on a series of rock star shorts, but…well, shit, I was partly convinced by economics to make it a novel, but to be honest, the goddamn characters started writing their own backstories – and once you got backstory, you got a novel on your hands, baby.

So…here, in very rough draft, is the first part of “Unnamed Novel about Rocky and Dex.”  Gotta lot of research to do and some shit to solve – I know, the other band wouldn’t actually show up 15 mins before their session.  First draft!  Free pass!  (The picture is just a dude I found on the Internet who’s got a guitar and is HAWT!) So…HAVE FUN! WHOOO!

CHAPTER ONE

“Hey, uh, Rocky…?”

Rocky turned away from the microphone to the sound of the voice.  Without even thinking, he put on his “fan smile,” ready to sign an autograph and make about two sentences worth of chit-chat.  Then he’d make his excuse about getting ready for the show and find out why someone had let a fan onstage during a sound check.

But it wasn’t a fan after all.  It was Adam, the stage manager, looking abashed.

“There’s a problem.”

“Okay,” Rocky sighed.  “Let me have it.”

“We, uh, someone anyway, made a mistake in the booking department.  And um, this stage is double booked.”

“Well, I just did my line check,” Rocky said, indicating the microphone.  “We’re on in fifteen.”

“Yeah…and Dex and the Dallas Devils are, too.”  Adam cocked his head stage left.

Rocky looked into the wings to see a tall man in a black hat, fuming, his band and crew behind him.  The dude wasn’t bad looking, Rocky thought, if you like that sort of thing.  He had that whole Tim McGraw/Toby Keith thing going on, big shoulders and tight jeans and the kind of moustache you only saw outside the Deep South on gay leather men.

Rocky shrugged.  “Well, first come, first served. And besides,” he waved his hand at the few dozen people hanging around the stage, “these people are here to see The Boulders.”  He swung around, put the mike close to his mouth and stage whispered at 100db.

“Right, folks?  You all are here for Rocky and the Boulders!”

Some ragged cheering ensued, but Rocky, a veteran performer, knew that it wasn’t a genuine fan response – more like the generic whooping of people who’d had a few beers and would cheer anything right now.  And, he suddenly noticed, there were more than a few cowboy hats out there.  And not the straw ones with the brims turned up on the side that pretty much said “I’m going to Burning Man” – no, the other kind.  They were in Texas, so they could be this guy’s fans.  But the festival was taking place just outside Austin, which wasn’t really Texas at all.  So it was hard to tell what a cowboy hat meant here.

This was a weird-ass festival, for sure.  The idea was to bring together rock and country acts, and their fans, in one place to promote understanding and all that stuff.  You know, convince the country fans that the rock fans weren’t all decadent drug addicts, and convince the rock fans that the country folk weren’t all crazed ignorant rednecks.  Or something like that.  For The Boulders, it was a high profile gig, and while Rocky would mouth all that peace, love and understanding shit for an interview, he didn’t believe a word of it.

Rocky’s appeal to the crowd was the last straw for the dude in the wings.  He stormed towards Rocky, growing ever larger as he got closer.

Rocky stood his ground.  He was rock-star lean, but he wasn’t weak, and the days when he’d let bullies push him around were far in his past.  All the same, there was something about this…mass of angry man coming toward him that made him want to take a step back.

“I think you’re mistaken,” the cowboy said.  “They’re here for Dex Dexter and the Dallas Devils.”

He had a deep voice, husky and rich with loamy Southern earth in it.  Rocky guessed it must be a Texas accent, though all Southern accents sounded alike to him – they all sounded like prejudiced homophobes, cooked up in the same vat.

Still…Rocky felt his dick betray his defiant face, as it tried to reach out and welcome the stranger.  The dude was in his late twenties, and handsome, in that beefy way that could go to fat later if he wasn’t careful.  His dark brown hair curled out from under his hat, just long enough to look rebellious, Rocky thought cynically.  And his eyes were just as dark, hot with rage now, and he reminded Rocky of a bull, the way he was clearly breathing hard through his nose.

Adam cut in. “We have a slot later, around midnight, if one of you is willing to…”

“Oh, I don’t think so,” Dex said.  “I think we’ll go on now.”

“Yeah,” Rocky said, not breaking eye contact with Dex, even though at six foot four (maybe five in the boots) he had Rocky beat by three inches.  “His fans have drank their prune juice and gone to bed by then.”

He could hear his own crew chuckle at that, which only made Dex angrier.  “Listen, here, Rocky the rock star.  I’m sure you really really rock, but that ain’t what the people are here to…”

Rocky’s disbelieving laughter cut him off.  “Rocky the rock star who really rocks?  And what’s your name, Dex Dexter?  Like the character on ‘Dynasty’?”

Dex blinked.  “That’s right.”

Rocky smiled.  Wow, talk about redneck!  His momma must have been a huge fan of that show back in the 80s.  Imagine naming your kid that!  “You know Dex was a nickname, right?  His real first name was Farnsworth.”  Finally, all those stoned nights watching VH1 had paid off with a useful piece of trivia.

“And you, real name Rockaway?  Seriously?”

Rocky paused.  How did Dex freakin’ Dexter here know that?  Maybe he watched too much VH1 too.

“That’s right.  My parents met on Rockaway Beach.”

“Musta been big Ramones fans, too.  That’s real nice, Rocky.”  Dex grasped the mike stand.  “But now you gotta move aside and let the big boys play.”

Rocky lifted a hand, and his bandmates joined him at his side.  Jet the drummer was a size match for Dex, his sleeveless shirt displaying the kind of tattoos that fairly screamed hardcore badass.  Mexico the bassist had a teardrop tattoo to symbolize his prison stint, and Joey Jay…well, his days as a hotel-trashing, groupie-loving, substance-devouring rock monster was in his past now, but his reputation still preceded him.

Even as they marshaled behind Rocky, Dex’s band took the stage at his side.  No slouches there, either, Rocky thought – they looked like the kind of guys who went to bars looking for fights, just because.

“Okay, okay, whoa, whoa!” Adam said, inserting his small self between the battling bands, holding up his clipboard like a wall.  “This is a concert, guys, not a rumble.  And look out there,” he said, pointing at the gathering audience.  “Check out all those cell phones filming this right now.  You guys want a rep with promoters as troublemakers?  Because that’ll do it.”

Dex took a step forward, deliberately moving into Rocky’s space.  Their faces were inches apart, and Rocky suddenly felt himself get weaker, but not with fear.  Dex’s body heat was intense, the glower on his face reminded Rocky of what a man looked like when he had Rocky on his back, legs up, ready to penetrate him and ride him hard…

Rocky’s lips parted, and he gasped a little.  He knew hot sex when he saw it, knew pent-up lust and desire when he saw it, too.  Dex wasn’t this close to threaten Rocky, he was this close because…he wanted to be.  Whether he’d admit that to himself or not.

Dex blinked, his eyes widened at Rocky’s response was to his closeness – not intimidation, but something else.

And Rocky saw the fear in Dex’s eyes, the dilation of his pupils at the realization that he was this close to another man and if they weren’t gonna fight, then there was only one other reason for it…  Rocky smiled.  All he had to do was reach out and touch Dex and this repressed closet case would fucking cum in his jeans.

Dex backed off.  “Fine, fuck it.  We’ll take midnight.  That’s when the real fans are out anyway.”  He stormed off stage, his band in tow, and though they looked back with glares and flipped fingers, it was all for show.

Rocky let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.  They went on with their sound check, Rocky listening closely, nodding or shaking his head at the different monitor levels and EQ.  But this was all automatic, years of experience kicking in, as his conscious mind was on another path altogether.

Dex Dexter.  Fuck.  The dude was a class A closet case.  And, yeah, okay, admit it.  He’s fucking hot.  Rocky couldn’t take his mind off what the sex would be like – closet cases were fucking insane when they finally got laid.  A huge pain in the ass afterward, but still.

“Rocky!” Jet shouted at him.  “Earth to Rocky the Flying Squirrel.  Come on down, man.”

Rocky laughed.  They always called him that when he got too deep in his own head.  “Yeah, I’m coming, Bullwinkle.  Hold your antlers.”

 

Exhausted, Rocky flopped out on his motel bed and flipped on the TV.  The Boulders had put on one hell of a show tonight, he knew.  Rocky’s energy was always good on stage, the sensation of performing live always got him high.  But tonight had been extra special, and he couldn’t put his finger on why.  But he’d been…inspired tonight.  They’d even done that cover version of Audioslave’s “Like a Stone” that usually toasted his vocal chords, but tonight it had come almost effortlessly.

The Boulders were staying at the Austin Motel, which was pretty much the coolest place to stay in town.  They’d been lucky to get their reservations – this festival wasn’t as big as SXSW, but it had sucked up most of the reasonably priced hotel rooms.

It had taken a lot of trickery to stay here, too.  They’d had to check into the Four Seasons, visibly and noisily, so that the paparazzi and groupies would hang around there looking for them.  And they’d have to show up in the lobby now and then to maintain the fiction.

But the rooms at the Four Seasons didn’t have wallpaper that transformed a whole wall into a panoramic ocean vista, or a long view down a canal in Venice.  It didn’t have a kidney-shaped swimming pool, or a rusted-out old car transformed into a planter, or any of the character that the motel had.  And, maybe most importantly, the Four Seasons didn’t give you the peace and quiet that came with staying where nobody gave a shit that you were famous.  Yeah, that was what he liked best.  Just being able to act normal for a few hours a day.

He hadn’t had time to think lately.  Hadn’t had time to process his breakup with Frank James, the famous actor who’d made a career out of publicly flirting with gay identity without ever saying, “I’m gay.”  Like the white hipsters who inserted themselves into African American musical culture, Frank had immersed himself in gay culture – but like the whiteys who could walk away and still enjoy their white privilege, Frank had never given up the advantage he had in Hollywood of not being “actually” gay.

And it had turned out that Frank, when all was said and done, was straight after all.  Or something.  He’d certainly pounded Rocky’s ass with all the enthusiasm one man could muster for fucking another man.  But when it had come to getting serious, getting real, having an honest-to-God relationship that meant more than furtive fucks…well, Frank might be gay, but he was definitely not gay for Rocky any more.

The old joke was that the difference between a straight man and a gay man was a six pack of beer.  Well, with Frank the difference had been an opportunity for a little self-promotion.  Being seen with openly gay Rocky, being known as his “friend,” had let Frank flirt with gayness just enough to jolt the publicity machine, boost his career…but actually being gay?  That would have been the end of that career, even these days.

And Dex.  Rocky could still remember the heat of Dex, so close to him.  Like the feeling of an August day when you leave an air conditioned building, so nice for just a moment…

Until the cool bubble you’d carried outside with you wore off, and the heat started smothering you.  No.  No more fucking closet cases.  He wasn’t going to go through all that again.  Rocky lived in a world full of musicians, artists, and other freaks, in which the uncoolest thing you could be was inflexible about sexuality, and he didn’t need to go outside his own world looking for trouble.

Sure, even the cool kids carried a lot of sexual baggage people from their upbringings, as Rocky knew all too well.  He was the proverbial preacher’s son, he had been one of those kids waving signs they didn’t understand, that told the gays how they were going to hell.  And the last thing he needed now was for some fucking redneck to start spouting that shit in his face again.

He turned on the TV and started flipping through the channels.  Ah, good, VH1 was actually playing videos.  It was rarer and rarer to find any actual music on the music-oriented channels, in between all the stupid reality shows, and even then it was usually “Pop Up Video” with all the distracting chit-chat.

He smiled when he saw the black and white opening to Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”  Now that was a man who was still hot, after all these years – pushing sixty and still worth a tumble.  Rocky was a firm believer that there was a “rock star gene,” the magical quality that left Anthony Kiedis or Iggy Pop or, hell, even Rick Springfield looking unbelievably great well into middle age, regardless of any substances abused.

But it wasn’t the original “Wicked Game” video.  The clouds rolled past, a man stood in silhouette, and the achingly mournful opening notes were the same…but not.  It wasn’t the famous opening that James Wilsey had produced on his Stratocaster.  This was an acoustic version, but it still had some of that ringing, rolling sound of the original.

The lead vocal came in, deeper that Isaak’s, a voice flaked with Southern accents.  It was mournful, sexy, seductive.  The visuals were the same as the original, starting with the woman on the beach, dancing slowly, bare breasts covered only by her arms.

The singer was revealed, wearing the same white wife-beater Isaak had worn.  Only this guy was beefier, his arms tatted up.  He danced and flirted and begged the woman, carrying her on his back.  Damn, he’s sexy…

It suddenly hit Rocky.  Shit.  It was Dex fucking Dexter.  And the video wasn’t a shot for shot remake, after all…no, this was much hotter.  There was a lot more of the two bods on display, for sure, and what was suggested in the original, well, it was enthusiastically recommended here.  The man and woman cavorted on the beach, and in a shot that would have been totally banned 20 years earlier, she dropped to her knees in front of him.  She looked up, and lifted his wet tank top, and the camera was right there as she licked the salt water off his abs.  Then, he lifted her up and put his face between her breasts, mouth open to catch the trickle of liquid running down her chest.

And whoever Dex’s guitarist was, Rocky thought, he was insanely talented.  Too good for a country bad, that’s for sure.  Maybe I could poach him….

Then the camera showed Dex, sitting on a rock on the beach, and damn it all, it was him playing the guitar.  The camera even did a close up of his fingers on the strings, the “classic American” sparrow tats on the back of each hand.  Then it zoomed back to show Dex’s face too, as if to say, yeah, bitches, that’s really me playing.

The sight of Dex’s gorgeous face and body had excited Rocky, and his voice had made his temperature rise, forced his guts to churn at a low simmer.  But that image of Dex’s agile fingers was the one that sent all the blood straight to his cock.  He wasn’t just some stupid redneck shouting some stupid song about beer – he was a fucking musician!

Rocky pulled his dick out of his pants almost without thinking.  The video was deviating farther and farther from the original, accommodating the public’s taste for far raunchier material that you could ever put on TV back in 1991.  Now it was like the scene in “From Here to Eternity,” with Dex in the Burt Lancaster role, shirtless now, his hands, his lips, all over the woman on the beach as the waves rolled over them.  If the water had risen up in steam from the heat of their bodies, Rocky wouldn’t have been surprised.

Dex could kiss.  He could use his hands, and did, enthusiastically.  The damn video was one pair of panties short of a sex tape.  There was an animal passion in him that…

Rocky stroked himself, watching, eyes glazed, mouth open.  When was the last time he was with a man like that, a man who was so fully sexual, so focused on the moment, so…uninhibited.

He shot his load, eyes still open – his instinct was to close them, the sweet pain of orgasm demanding it, but he couldn’t, wouldn’t lose a second of Dex in action as he came.

Then the video was over, and Rocky still had his sticky hands on his cock when Miley Cyrus came onscreen, twerking like a fool.  That definitely broke the spell, and Rocky got up to clean up.

He looked in the mirror in the bathroom and wanted to slap himself.  There you go again, hot for a straight guy.  Like being with Frank James didn’t teach you a thing.  Obviously, Dex was straight.  He’d been all over that woman.  And however good a guitarist he was, Rocky was sure he could never be that good an actor.

 

“God dammit,” Dex roared at the roadie.  “Be careful with that.”

The roadie looked at him in astonishment.  He had been careful with the big black utility trunk, squatting and lifting with his legs and setting it down as gently as he could.

“Sorry,” Dex mumbled, walking away.  “Bad day.”

He’d seen the roadie lift the case.  Jacob, that was his name.  Dex made sure to know the names of everyone on his crews.  He’d seen Jacob from behind, squatting down in his khaki hiking shorts.  Seen the perfect pair of buns that came from a job requiring hard physical labor.  Seen them rise up, on a pair of sturdy legs.  And felt a flush that had to be redirected, in the way he’d been taught to redirect feelings all his life.

The midnight show had gone badly.  Something had gone out of him after his encounter with Rocky.  How was he supposed to go on stage and whoop and holler and dance around as if he was the happiest guy on earth?  Sing a song like “Six Pack, Four Wheels, Two Dogs”?

Instead of hanging out with the band after the show, he’d gone into the trailer, mumbled at them, and walked back out again with a bottle of Jack Daniels.  They’d discreetly mumbled back, which told him that he was right – it was a shit show, everyone was out of sorts now.

And that was my fault. He was mentally kicking himself as he cracked the seal on the bottle and took a swig.  The Dallas Devils were living in their luxurious RVs, all the better to enjoy the fruits of festival fame.  Dex threaded his way through the performers’ area to a grove of trees where the incessant sound of the performers was muted.

He leaned against a tree and took another swig.  He’d felt…tired.  No, that wasn’t it.  Out of sorts.  Yeah, getting warmer.

There were a bunch of tree stumps he’d had to navigate to get to the woods.  Someone was probably going going to build another housing development out here – more beauty sacrificed to sprawl, he thought.  The big tree stumps had been drilled out in spots, where he knew fuel would be poured to burn out stumps too big to be torn out intact.

Hollowed out.  Yeah, that was how he felt.  He took a big swig of the JD and then laughed.  That’s me.  An old stump that needs burning, so fill me up with Dr. Jack and light the match.

Dex was twenty five years old, and knew damn well that anyone older would laugh at him if they heard him saying that.  But as the saying goes, you’re only as old as you feel, and he felt very old right now.  Everyone was always coming on him for something, everyone fucking expected something from him, expected him to do another interview, expected him to play the early, stupid songs he was sick of playing, expected him to marry Charlotte Deakins and start poppin’ out kids, what you waitin’ for?

“Fuck,” he said out loud.  “Fuck, fuckity fuck fuck,” he said, unable to help saying it in time with the insistent beat of the late night house music DJ, the pounding of the bass still audible out here.

Then he heard the murmur of approaching voices.  Dammit, they must have sent out a search party for me.  I am not ready to deal with people right now.  He decided he’d move a little deeper into the trees, and hope they didn’t search too hard.

“How’s this?” he heard a voice say.  It was Jacob, the roadie he’d just yelled at.

“Looks good to me, cowboy.”  He didn’t recognize the other voice.  Then there was silence, and Dex held his breath, waiting for them to approach him.

But they didn’t.  Instead, he heard a sharp intake of breath.  “Oh, yeah,” the other voice groaned.  “Fuck, yeah.  Suck that dick.”

Dex’s heart started hammering at the sound.  Jacob was…no, he couldn’t be.  That dude?  He was a…no.

He heard Jacob choke, choke again, then gasp for air.  “Oh shit that’s big.”

Dex wanted to see, didn’t want to see.  He turned slowly and let one eye gaze around the tree.  The other dude was one of Rocky’s band mates, Jet the drummer.  Dex knew who he was – Jet had been in a couple of hardcore bands and the thought that he would be, you know, that way…

Jet’s arms were exposed in a sleeveless t-shirt, muscular and tatted up, and his powerful hands were on the back of Jacob’s head.  He gave Jacob just a couple of gasps’ worth of air before he pushed him back down on his…holy shit, Dex thought, that’s a huge fucking cock.

The movements of the two men, Jacob’s head bobbing back and forth and Jet’s hips pushing in rhythm, were like a cobra dance that Dex couldn’t stop watching.

Jet grabbed Jacob’s hair and held on tight, one hand swinging free like a rodeo cowboy’s and the other using Jacob’s head like a saddle pommel as he rode him.  Or like a Fleshlight, like Jacob’s head was nothing but a receptacle for his dick.

“I want that ass of yours,” Jet growled.

Dex swallowed.  He had a fever.  He had to go.  He couldn’t stop watching.

“Fuck yeah, man,” Jacob grinned up at him.  “Right over that tree stump right there.”

“Oh yeah, that’ll put your ass up good and high.”

Dex was startled when they both laughed.  Like this was all, just…a game.  A good time.  And not…a sin.  A crime.

He should stop them.  Had to stop them.  For their own good.

Jacob turned away from Jet and dropped his shorts, his big firm pale ass glowing in the moonlight.  “I don’t suppose you got any lube?  Guess you’ll have to use spit?”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Jet growled.  “Taking it all rough like that.”

“You know it!”

“Nah, my dick’s too big to plug that ass with just some spit.”  He reached into a pocket of his jeans.  “Good thing I always gotta little lug lube with me.”  Lug lube, Dex knew, was a mineral oil used on lugs on congas, bongos or other percussion instruments.  None of which the Dallas Devils had in their repertoire.

Jacob laughed again, getting down on his knees, bending over the stump and arching his ass to the sky.  “You don’t have any bongos.”

“I do now,” Jet said, slapping out a rhythm on Jacob’s ass cheeks.

“Ow!” Jacob laughed.  “So you’re into spanking, huh.”

“Among other things.”

Jacob paused.  “Oh yeah?  Like bondage and shit?”

“Are you?”

“Yeah,” Jacob said, his breath coming in a whisper now.  “Why don’t you…take off that big black rock star belt of yours and use it on my ass…”

“Oooh, yeah?”  Dex could hear the grin in Jet’s voice.  “Tenderize that shit before I get in there?”

Dex suddenly realized.  He had an erection, which at the sound of Jet’s promise of pain had become so hard it was painful.  Dex could feel the belt in his hand, feel what it would be like to land it on that ass, to see those cheeks quiver in pain and…pleasure?

He stumbled away, deeper into the trees.  The sound of the festival, the deep bass of the giant speakers, covered his retreat.  He uncapped the bottle and chugged, until the whiskey burned his throat so badly that he cried.

His eyes were no longer on the two men, but his mind could see nothing but.  Jet, Jacob, both getting more excited with every stroke of the belt, Jet squeezing that lug lube out onto his cock, onto Jacob’s ass, then pushing himself in, the thump thump thump of the house music lending the musician the metronome he needed to time his thrusts….

“NO!” He shouted, hurling the bottle into the forest, where it hit a tree with a satisfying shatter.  “No.”  No I won’t, I can’t, I mustn’t.  I.  Will. Not.

It had been years since this had happened.  Since those feelings, those…urges had taken him.  He had worked so hard for years, successfully doing just what Pastor Panko had told him to do when he’d confessed them:  Take every surge of primal sexual desire and channel it into work.  Into his music, his career, away from those unproductive, unwholesome, barren thoughts.

He’d never seen anything like that.  Two men, fucking.  He’d seen two men kissing, of course, and turned away, revolted, upset.

Yeah, what they all said was true.  He knew it.  Homophobia, revulsion, it was all directed at that part of yourself that you feared was gay.  And why shouldn’t you fear it?  Why shouldn’t you fear that something so wrong was inside you like a cancer?  Pastor Panko knew that.  He knew that there was no way to “pray away the gay.”  All you could do was fight it.  Like you would fight if you had cancer.

And the worst of it was, when Dex had imagined the belt in his hand, it hadn’t been Jacob’s ass he’d been thinking about.  It had been Rocky’s.  Rocky, whose face had been as close to Dex’s as any man’s – though any other man who’d gotten that close had been itching for a fight, and had gotten one.  But what Rocky had wanted was another kind of battle.  Rocky, whose lips had parted in a gasp of astonishment when he’d seen inside Dex, seen the twisted, broken sexuality the same as his own.

But it wasn’t the same, is it?  He had no shame about it.

Well, he should, Dex thought.  He fucking well should.  He took the long way around to the buses, making damn sure he didn’t see any more of what he’d just seen.  But it was too late.  It would take at least another bottle of Jack to blot that out tonight.

HOLY CRAPOLY! A Bigger Better BookBub for “A Little Too Broken”!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2014 by BradVance

ALTBStickerWell, I don’t know if it’s because their LGBT list is now 60k people instead of the previous 40k, but the BB for “A Little Too Broken” went cray-cray!  I sold over 1200 copies across platforms in two days, nearly 1000 on Amazon!  The sale is still on through tomorrow if you haven’t got your .99 copy.  Having had two BBs now, I see how it works – sales peak the first day, with about 25% as many sales the second day, and half that the third day.

And what does that mean for IAVA and WWP?  Well, in TWO DAYS, I raised $225 for these two organizations!  And the best thing is, as I discovered with “Given the Circumstances,” once you raise the price again, the exposure keeps the sales up, so this will definitely be a fantastic month for me and for these charities.

$100 from July to IAVA and WWP! PS BOOKBUB WHOO!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2014 by BradVance

ALTBStickerSplit 50/50 this month, and sent out this a.m.  AND, the BookBub for “A Little Too Broken” which started yesterday is going HEWGE – 900 copies on the ‘zon already in less than 24 hours!

HEWGE

I think “Given the Circumstances” got into the 400 range of the best seller rank during its BookBub, but BB’s LGBT list is now 60k people, whereas it was only 40k just two months ago.

I did forget that the ‘zon dings you hard on “delivery fees” when you have a full size image, so I’ve been losing .05 in royalties per copy on ALTB because of that.  Which is a big deal when the royalty is only .35 (35% of any price under $2.99).   So I need to hustle up a fresh copy with a lower resolution cover this a.m.

Siderant:  Amazon posted this justification for their price war with Hachette in a Kindle Forum:

“It’s also important to understand that e-books are highly price-elastic. This means that when the price goes up, customers buy much less. We’ve quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000.

The important thing to note here is that at the lower price, total revenue increases 16%. This is good for all the parties involved.”

BUT!  Amazon DISCOURAGES you from pricing your books below $2.99 by cutting your royalties in HALF when you do!  BookBub is living proof that the lowest possible cost = highest possible volume, but unless you have BB promo’ing that price, you can’t afford to do it.  I get a 70% royalty on ALTB at $3.99, or about $2.80.  I get 35% on .99, or $0.35.  Minus a few pennies in “delivery fees.”  Go figure…

How I Did It, or, Brad’s Guide To Writing Gayrotica!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2014 by BradVance

RockStar(Also, here’s a hot guy for you!  I’m using him as my inspiration for one of the two dudes in my upcoming Rock Star story…no, I’m not telling yet if he’s the dom or the sub!)

So I’ve been cogitating on my career lately, as writing heteromance has given me some distance from “being Brad Vance” for a while.  I just recently put my gayrotica shorts up on AllRomanceEbooks, where the dirty stuff is sellin’ like hotcakes.

And my biggest selling series is the “Sam’s Reluctant Submission” stories, even now.  I’m giving away the first story in all three series – Sam, Colum and Luke – but it’s Sam the people want.  So as I think about what to do next that will A, sell, B, be the basis for at least four stories (because bundles are where the $ are), and C, be something I’ll really enjoy writing, I’m trying to figure out exactly what it is about Sam that sells.  And, more cosmically, what it is that really makes gayrotica tick.

Sam has a lot of components that could explain his success.  There’s the “gay first time,” the “straight to gay,” the hot hot sexin’, the research I did into SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape), the secondary characters, the “men’s magazine” True Adventure escapades, some or all of the above and/or something else.  Is it some magic formula, some happy accident?

Well, I don’t think it’s magic.  What I’ve realized, and want to share with other would-be writers, is that there are certain conflicts and strategies that make a good gayrotica story, maybe just a good romance, period.

First, for me, the secret is putting together two UNLIKELY LOVERS.  Viking/monk, billionaire/Special Forces dude, porn star/office type.  They would never meet in ordinary life, so EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES have to bring them together.  Admittedly, Derek and Sam meet in a bar, but it’s Derek’s twisted manhunt offer that triggers the meet.

Let’s start with the bottoms.  There’s a SEXUAL JOURNEY each of them takes from some form of sexual denial – whether that’s denying their gayness, or their enjoyment of sexual subservience.  But, they can’t just roll over for the the dom, because honestly, where’s the conflict then?  Someone who instantly abases himself to a stranger on command may be a turn-on in a dark bar, but not in a story.  Sam, Colum, Luke are all tough in some ways (Luke maybe least of all, but he still has his pride and it takes time and more than just cruelty from Slader to move him into submission).  None of my bottoms are pussies!  Sam is an overall badass, Colum walks out of the monastery alone to fight the Vikings, and Luke is very verbal with Slader about his desires and his fears.

So that’s the bottoms.  Who are the tops, then?  They’re men who NEED TO BE DEFIED, who are surrounded by yes men, who WANT someone to say NO, though that defiance is eventually overcome or overwhelmed.  Colum fights Viggo on the beach, Sam plays the psyops game against Derek for several episodes, Luke under “torture” tells Slader that he’s the best slave because he’s not slave-like, because he’ll always give Slader a run for his money.  Each dom has to GIVE to his sub to make him cross the border, not just TAKE.

The dom’s method of giving is reluctant, oblique, and painful to them.  But inside they are GOOD, they are JUST.  As Luke says, someone who knows when to be Jekyll and when to be Hyde.  The doms all have anger issues :).  But they channel that anger CONSTRUCTIVELY, through consensual S/M.  The object of that sexual fury has consented, in some form – Sam consents in that he’s agreed to play a game, and has lost, and yet he fights back in the middle of their first sexin’ by calling Derek out as gay.  But that’s the game!  That’s what makes it HOT!  The defiance is the attraction!

The story is always told from the bottom’s POV.  We’re omniscient about the bottom’s thoughts and feelings, but blind to the top’s, in the beginning.  In some stories, the top/dom is “ready made,” i.e., already the perfect master.  That one-sided dynamic where only the bottom/sub changes is kinda boring to me.

The dom needs to have SECRETS, and not just sexual ones.  Derek has his history in spying/intelligence, Slader has a mysterious source of wealth (which we never learn about because I had to wrap up the series, around the time Amazon fucked over hardcore erotica – I had to give Luke and Slader their HEA and move on). Viggo has a mysterious knowledge of Latin.  The sub is fascinated by the secrets, but knows they’re not going to come out in some ordinary dating-scene “tell me about yourself” way.

It’s EVENTS that force the secrets into the open.  There was never an EVENT with Slader that brought out the backstory I had in mind for him, but that was also because I wasn’t sure it was entirely moral enough – I had the idea that he fell into some of the billions of “lost money” that fell off a truck (plane, actually) in Iraq.  It was fucking wasted money that went into the wrong hands no doubt, but if he kept that money, it would have been immoral, so I never used it.  Where did Slader’s money come from, then?  I don’t know!

It’s crucial that the dom has a STRONG MORAL CORE.  Yeah, he likes to spit on you and slap you around and punchfuck your ass till you scream for mercy…but he knows you like it!  Slader and his crew toss a sub into the street when he shouts the safeword prematurely.  Viggo doesn’t share Colum the way the others share their slaves.  Derek plays a twisted game but he keeps his word, even pays Sam for what Derek sees as Sam’s “win.”

And the “JOURNEY INTO” is something over and above the sexual journey described above.  Colum’s journey is from bored, frustrated monk/clerk into a warrior, a full member of Viking society.  Sam’s journey is into gayness, sure, mostly, but also into self-discovery and self-sufficiency, as he gets his business going without Derek’s help.  He finds himself through Derek, and through his relationship with Jake and Eddie, but it’s not just his sexuality he finds there.  Luke’s journey is the least complex, from the guy who never acts on his fantasies, who would “never” crawl around a bar on his hands and knees on a leash, for all to see, to the guy who does it joyfully, because he’s doing it for Slader.  Well, for himself, too, but yeah.  And yes, because it’s gayrotica, it’s the sexual component in all these relationships that UNLOCKS THE CHANGE.

And, yeah, this is a money making endeavor.  So you have to give the people what they want.  But I have to FUCK WITH EXPECTATIONS as well.  I started Sam back when success in erotic shorts was all about “keywords.”  People searched for certain subjects, so you either stuffed your title or your subtitle with them to get notices.  “Reluctance” and “submission” were the big keywords when I wrote Sam.  But, y’all know me by now.  I can’t just write to order!  If I could, I’d be a fookin’ millionaire right now, with a wagonload of stories about shifters, billionaires, etc.  What I also didn’t want to do was create a boilerplate “submission” scenario.  (“Now, slave, you will learn to please me or learn the meaning of pain!” Oh, brother…)  I wanted there to be some serious pushback – I didn’t go into “Sam” intending to write a series.  But when I got into the character, when I realized how hard he’d fight to maintain his sense of self (which at the time meant “I’m straight” as well as “I don’t lose”), I saw that the journey would take a while.  It would take more than one game, one command, to transform Sam.  Sam would have to CHANGE THE GAME as he played it.

And, finally.  You have to RESPECT THE INTEGRITY of your characters.  In Sam’s case, I wasn’t going to just create some soap opera version of a military guy – to say, here’s Tyler or Skyler or Ryler and he’s a SEAL or SF or whatever, now on with the sexin’.  Not just because soap characters are boring, but also because of my family history.  My dad was a career Army guy, and I know his WWII experiences in the Pacific Theater really fucked him up psychologically.  I didn’t realize that until after he was dead, when I saw the miniseries “The Pacific,” and only then saw the endless terror those men lived through, the insanity of an enemy who wouldn’t surrender (or only surrendered to blow themselves up and you with them).  This is why IAVA and WWP are important to me – when my dad came back, you “just didn’t talk about these things,” there was no such thing as PTSD, you had all your fingers and toes so what’s your problem, man up and shut up…

So I wasn’t going to just slap a uniform on a paper doll and pretend that was enough to create a viable military character.  I’ve never written battle scenes for either Sam or Tom in “A Little Too Broken” because, you know, I just don’t know how crazy/ awful/ exciting/ terrifying that could be, and I won’t pretend I could possibly know.  And I felt really weird/wrong about writing ALTB and making a profit off a character like Tom – that’s why Tom’s half of the profits go to charity.

Anyway!  I did the RESEARCH on Special Forces. (I won’t get into the research thing all over again – y’all know how I feel about that.  You wanna write a story about Vikings?  Better read a book or twelve first!)  I couldn’t have written Sam without that.  And guess what?  It’s paying off!  Sam is a perennial seller, so I did something right!

Okay, that sort of turned into a rant at the end :) So that’s about all I got.  I’m trying to keep these lessons in mind as I start to toy with the rock star story.  Gotta, gotta, gotta get this heteromance done, but I’m kinda feeling the need for a little break for some hot gay sexin’ :)

The Countdown Begins…BookBub Friday for “A Little Too Broken”!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2014 by BradVance

ALTBStickerI’ll be dropping the price a few days before that on all platforms.  I got caught out by Amazon on my BookBub for “Given the Circumstances,” when it turned out that 36 hours wasn’t enough time for them to process my price change.  Yeah, definitely going to push through my changes on Tuesday this time!

Sooo, you can wait and get it for .99, or you can buy it now for 3.99, keeping in mind that 50% of the profits go to IAVA and WWP.  So that’s about $1.40 donated per copy at full price, but $0.175 a copy at the sale price.

I should still reap a hefty sum for both charities during the sale, as I’m pretty sure I’ll make up on volume what I lose on price, since I sold like a thousand-plus copies of GTC at .99.  And GTC is still selling steadily since the BookBub, even at the restored price.

Other than that, I’ve been working hard on my heteromance.  Really need to get that out the door before I return to “bein’ Brad Vance” and write that rock star story :)

50 Shades of Grey Movie? No way I’m gonna see that, man, I’m…ZOMG JAMIE DORNAN!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 24, 2014 by BradVance

ZOMGJAMIEEEKA screen shot from the preview.  Because JAMIE DORNAN.  Yes I will see it, because JAMIE DORNAN! EEEEKKKK!!!

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