No Romance in the NFL

No romance in the NFL? No, there isn’t really. I had to make it up. You see, there aren’t any out players in the NFL. Actually, I don’t think there are any out players in the NBA, the NHL or in MLB. I want to say WTF except for the fact that it gives me an opportunity to write something I think is pretty cool…a story about the first two out NFL players.

I kept the idea under wraps for quite awhile. Only my pal ZAM knew what I was plotting. Eventually, I enlisted the aid of a co-worker to help me out with some football info. He and I discussed expansion teams and what one would be called if LA ever got one. Michael has been a huge help even though he thinks it will be a long time before an active player in the NFL does come out. I think it will happen sooner than Michael thinks.

Other than ZAM, I had my other reader all set up. Fellow author William Neale was excited to read this story for me. He knew football and he loved the premise of the story. Unfortunately, Bill died recently and I was bereft at losing a friend. Now, I’ve got other readers in place including Marty Mankins who is a brave het soul for reading a gay romance. It’s a testament to his masculinity that reading this book does not faze him  in the least. GO MARTY!

Anyway, the publisher I wanted for this book has requested the full manuscript and I’ve been working on it diligently to get it finished by the deadline, June 1. I’m just over a third of the way through this and it seems epic to me because it spans these two players’ lives from age sixteen to thirty. Of course, the bits when they were younger are like vignettes. That section of the book has each chapter showing the reader a significant scene in their lives that has to do with football, being gay and their relationship with each other. The middle section of the book takes place a few years before the present day and its focus is on a milestone event in the two mens’ lives. The player who has been in a relationship since college finds out that his partner has been cheating on him and is HIV+. The partner has a family history of illness and dying young so, of course, it takes no time at all, despite modern day medicine, for the man to end up with full blown AIDS. And he dies.

That is the turning point in the book. Both of my players face their mortality, the possibility of having their careers in the NFL cut short and choices about love and friendship. I keep them apart romantically until the last half of the book, but I do get into key issues like the way the media treats them and the things they have to do in order to keep positive press flowing, how other players treat them, how injury affects them, and what you do when you are forced by injury to retire from a game that’s been your whole life since you were six years old.

It’s a deeper book than anything else I’ve written because usually, I focus on a relationship between two people and what they have to overcome to be together. This book isn’t just about the relationship between my two players (who actually do get a Happily Ever After with each other) but about how their relationships with others and with football affects their friendship and their love for each other. I don’t usually get into external forces much in my books but this time I do. It’s an emotional story, funny one moment and heartwrenching the next. I’m really proud of it thus far and I really hope the publisher likes it because I seriously want this house to publish it.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to, putting romance – and gay romance at that – into the NFL. HEH. And now, here’s this Monday’s Marcus!

That’s such a pretty one! Oh, yum! Have a great Monday everyone!


Coming Home

Yup, yup. The baby is coming home. Her roomie is graduating and moving away. I am glad to have her back because she is a lot of help for me especially when I’m going through all the health issues I’m going through. (Getting old sucks.) I know Rott’s not exactly jumping for joy, but he seems okay with it. And the babies (cats) will be ecstatic. They adore her! I don’t relish sharing my computer or getting used to having another body in the house, but those annoyances are really small to be honest. The pros outweigh the cons in this instance and I’ll get used to having her underfoot again. She is my baby girl after all. (Who will be 23 on May 16! Where does time go?)

I’ve been doing a lot of ads for authors going to GayRomLit lately so I made Winterheart Design a little “commercial” so to speak. When I uploaded it, it couldn’t be seen. Grrrr. Used to be YouTube would email you if the music wasn’t something they had a license for. No more emails apparently. Grrrrr.  I changed up the music and the commercial for Winterheart Design is now live on my YouTube channel. Still…grrrr.

I’m off to a dr’s appointment now so I’ll post my Monday Marcus and skedaddle.

Shirtless in jeans…oh, yum.

Oh, yeah. In case you didn’t see my Facebook page…Loose Id requested the full manuscript of my NFL story. Woot! Now I need to hurry and finish it! Have a great Monday everyone!


Have you ever had to do research? For an essay or term paper? For a book? For information about something you knew nothing about, but now need to know? I’ve done all of those things, most recently, for a book.

Like a lot of Americans, I’ve been a football fan. I’m from NoCal so I’ll admit to being an Oakland Raider fan. My brother is a referee and he’s been a big football fan since before I was born so when I eventually started watching he taught me a lot about the game. I used to watch religiously, but now I don’t even watch the Super Bowl.

But now that I have a football story I’m working on, I think I’ve learned more about the game than I ever thought I’d know. First, I asked a co-worker some questions to help me solidify my plot outline. Then, once I started writing, I had to do some research. Mostly about the draft, but I’m sure at some point it will be about something else. I’m going to pull out the snippets that involve football and see what my co-worker thinks. If Michael thinks the football related parts sound okay, I’ll just keep moving along. If something’s not right though, I’ll have to go back and fix it.

For now, I still have a long way to go. I have about 10K words on a book that could go as high as 60K.  I have almost half of the first part of the book done. I’ve got a few bits and pieces of the latter half done as well. A couple of scenes. But all that research is stuck in my head now. Mostly, I found this fascinating list of a dozen of the highest paid rookies. Ten of the twelve were NFL players and they told how much these guys signed for and how much the signing bonus was. WOAH. We’re talking some serious numbers although there was at least one on the list whose numbers were lower due to the salary cap instituted some years ago. The guys in my book would have signed before the cap so I gave them numbers like 32 million and 40 million with a few million in signing bonuses. That’s so much money I just can’t even imagine it.

Once this story is done, my next bout of research will be emailing with a co-worker’s son who is a professional ballet dancer. Instead of salary caps and signing bonuses in my head, I’ll have ballet moves. And that information will reside in my head until that book is done and the next bout of research replaces it.

Writing paranormal stories means I can make up whatever I want. No research. Just world building. I do that in my head. I lay down to take a nap and start planning the creatures and how the world works. I do this over and over for a few weeks until the world is pretty fixed in my mind. Then I write.

For now, I’m enjoying my football story. It’s more serious and more dark than any contemporary I’ve ever written. It deals with coming out, risky sex, HIV and AIDS as well as the media. I mess with these two heroes quite a bit before I let them have a Happily Ever After. I’ve sent the partial (the first three chapters) to the publisher and now I have to wait to see if they want the book. I hope they do. I’ve wanted to get in with this publisher for quite awhile but I never had the right vehicle before. Cross your fingers for me!

Before I head in to work, here’s a Marcus for this Monday morning.

Ah, one of my favorite photos of him! Sure brightens up my rainy Monday morning. I hope everyone has a great day!

One Down More To Go

I finished the expansion and revision of Mating yesterday. I was so glad to have it done! Now, I’ve just got a partial to finish, my Father’s Day story and Fire Storm. I honestly can’t wait to get back to the Darkworld. I’ve missed it while writing all these contemporaries. But Runaways is out now (came out on Friday) and I’m sure Mating won’t be too far behind now that the hard part is done.

Writing has been going smoothly for the most part, if a little slow. Being tired a lot has slowed down the process for me. I’m still doing cover art, videos and now promo graphics for ads. And an occasional website. I’m about to start one for author Tim McGiveny. I’ve been looking at templates for his and I think I’ve got one he’ll like so it’s time for me to have him get his hosting. New websites are always so exciting!

The promo ads are a new thing for me sort of. I’ve done a few in the past but now I’ve put up some samples for GayRomLit. I quickly made some examples of ads in the different sizes yesterday at Ethan Day’s suggestion. He then pimped out the link and thus far I have one bite for creating an ad! Yay!

Nikki (aka Motley) will be coming home soon and to be honest, I’m really glad about that. I could use her help with some things and I missed her this past year while she was living with a roomie. Which reminds me that I was supposed to email her a to do list because she’s going to help me whip my website into shape since I haven’t had the time to do it. My book pages are a mess.

The day job is going really well these days. I have help now (yay!) and it frees me up to do some of the things that got backburnered when we were short staffed. For one, I need to work on cleaning up some stuff in our cemetery software database. Ugh. It’s a nasty task but it needs to be done and until recently, I haven’t had the time.

Another thing I’ve been doing at work is blogging! Yes, blogging. And coordinating the blog. Finding guest bloggers can be daunting when your topic is specific. Every now and then I actually have to write a post myself. Last Friday, I did that while in the midst of an IT emergency…our internet was down! Luckily, it was the carrier so there was nothing for me to fix other than reboot the firewall. The internet was down for only an hour or so but afterward I couldn’t reach the company blog because of a router issue with the carrier. Waiting around for them to fix stuff sucked. But I finally got the blog post up at 5 pm before I went home.

So yeah, been busy. Nothing new there. LOL And now I need to head off to the office where I have a lot of stuff to do today. I’ve got a full plate for sure! First, before I leave, here’s a Marcus!

Oh, yummeh! Have great Monday!

To the Bone

I’ve been working my fingers to the bone and some of it feels like it’s for free. A bunch of cover art, a lot of writing, some website work…Enough stuff that I can’t even get to my own author website which has non-existent and messed up book pages. (I really, really need to fix that.) But there are rewards for what I do. When I write, I have releases and those bring in royalties. When I do covers, mostly I get paid right away for them, for which I am grateful because with any cover there is an outlay of money on the artist’s part to create the cover. If I spend my grocery money for the week making three covers and I don’t get paid for two weeks on them, we don’t eat. Which is why I sometimes wonder why I agreed to do some covers and be paid based how well the book sells. This goes hand in hand with why the heck I wrote a story for the M/M Goodreads group for free and why you can download Breathe Me In at All Romance eBooks tomorrow for free.

So here’s the deal. I thought I’d give the new cover thing a try because I thought it might bring my work to the eyes of other publishers and authors who are looking to self-pub and need covers.  I thought it might be a good investment in terms of getting my work in front of more people and a different audience.

The same goes for the Goodreads story. This group has nearly 6,000 members. I’m willing to bet a lot of them don’t know me and/or haven’t read my work. Doing the prompt for their Love is Always Write event is a chance for those members to get to know my work. If they like it, they could go looking for my backlist (damn, need to fix my website!) in order to find other books they might want to read.

So you could say that both ventures are an experiment. Obviously, if the cover art one doesn’t start paying out more than I’ve paid in, it won’t be a viable venture long term. I’m keeping track of what I spend and will compare it to what I make to see if this is something I should continue with. It’s only one publisher, if I decide it’s not working out, I can stop. The other publishers pay me up front, one directly via Paypal (for which I’m grateful) and the other via Paypal echecks which means I get paid in about 4 days. Sometimes the wait sucks, but at least it’s not quarterly.

With writing, you always have to wait to get paid if your publisher is a small indie press.  Sales come in and then the pubs pay out royalties (unlike the big NYC houses that pay an advance and then you have to earn that out via sales.)  I’m used to royalties trickling in from my different publishers at different times of the month. It’s cute when Rott calls me at work to tell me I got a check from “The Cave.” Some pubs pay with a check mailed to me and others via direct Paypal or Paypal echeck.

So I’m working my fingers to the bone to get all my projects done as quickly as possible. Now, that the Goodreads story is done, I’ve got to finish my expansion of Mating which shouldn’t take long. After that, I’ve got two more manuscripts to work on. One is a novella (probably about 15-20K) for MLR Press’s Father’s Day releases. It will be the last story about my pilots Sebastian and Ryder. The other manuscript is the long await sequel to Fire Season, Fire Storm. I’m so looking forward to writing Holden and Garret again.

As for really giving my work away for free…tomorrow you can get a copy of Breathe Me In for free from All Romance eBooks as part of their Earth Day celebration. I did this once before and it was great. For those of you who like the Tales series and/or like M/M books, you’ll definitely want to download this one!

Now, it’s time for a Marcus and then off to work with me.

Oh, what a yummeh Marcus! *sigh*

Have a great Monday!