Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review of Leather+Lace by AB Gayle

★★★★★ Five out of five stars.

I literally couldn't put it down! For anyone interested in a great story, I can't recommend Leather+Lace enough.

I love, love, love Stevie. He is an irreverent smart ass with a wonderful sense of humor. He's been through Hell and it may have twisted him a bit, but it didn't break him.

Master D, or Don the Dom as Stevie dubs him, is a bad ass. Or is that bad ass wannabe? He may know his way around Harleys and leather, but he's no stranger to the softer side of life.

Stevie Tricks may be a female impersonator and Don may be a Dom, but the story is not about BDSM or drag queens. It is about learning to trust again. The elements of both drag and BDSM are very limited.

So leave your expectations behind and enjoy the journey. But be sure to get everything you need handy before you open that first page because I pretty much read it straight through. And at roughly 300 pages, it is by no means a short story.

AB Gayle also put together a Stevie Nicks Leather+Lace playlist on YouTube of all the chapter titles. Something to listen to as you read the novel.

Leather+Lace is available at Dreamspinner Press.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Drag Queens Rule, Okay?

One of the stars of “Leather+Lace” is the Hotel Paradiso. The opening scenes take place in the run down hotel up near Sydney’s notorious Kings Cross.

According to my story, the venue is under new ownership and celebrates the fact with a charity fund raiser. Stevie Stanhope, aka Steven Lindsey Stanhope (when people are pissed off at him) or Stevie Tricks (when in drag) is there in two capacities: as a participant in “Blowjob for Bucks” promoting a new range of flavored condoms especially designed for oral use, and to perform three Stevie Nicks numbers.

Drag is a very obvious part of Sydney’s gay nightlife. Later in the story, I mention two of Sydney’s much loved drag queens: Amelia Airhead and Minnie Cooper. These represent two distinct shades of the drag spectrum. Amelia, (who is just as gorgeous in real life) is the truly glamorous variety. Not trying too hard, just disgustingly beautiful. Minnie Cooper on the other hand (who I've never seen out of drag so I can’t comment here) is more the in-your-face bitch-queen-from-hell variety.

There are a few venues around that they perform at. Thursdays are drag nights at Arq described as Sydney’s best gay nightclub. That’s where artists like Minnie Cooper can be found doing shows like ‘A Tribute to Katy Perry’ or a ‘Tribute to Britney’ (another favorite target).

Another version of the drag queen is Daniel Cater’s alter ego, Dallas Dellaforce. Daniel sees himself as a Performance Artist rather than a drag queen. He is a keen student of glamour and recently sold out three nights of a show dedicated to this. He goes for “effects” and a certain look that he is trying to create. He also creates his own costumes. He attended the recent Mardi Gras (our Pride event) after party as Barbie and recreated one of her costumes. He’s fascinated by the Super Models like Linda Evangelista and manages to recreate their looks.

Note the scraps of material on the floor in the above picture and he made the gown based on the Aussie and Aboriginal flags. The thing I like about Daniel is that he can do the "effect" the other way and be the butchest male around as seen on the poster for a recent Sleaze Ball and another from a recent shoot. He's more how I see the male version of Stevie...

The final type of drag queen is the female impersonator, where it’s a musical performance and not so much cross dressing to scratch a sexual kink. That’s how I see Stevie. The clothes and the make-up give him the permission to break out of the straight jacket that he’d been forced into, but he still stays as close to the original as he can. Who, let’s face it, is beautiful and all the clothes and flowing scarves can hide his tattoos and butch physique.

We don’t have any Stevie Nicks impersonators in Australia, but the US have a “Night of a Thousand Stevies.” A guy called Todd Stephens did a fantastic rendition.

Drag queens and the guys who do drag have to be tough and usually are tough. They've had to be in life to survive. Rush Derr IV one of my Facebook friends is a great example and helped me a lot by describing his routine for getting ready for a performance.

And for those who have been curious about how they manage to hide everything so effectively. When they’re cold a guy’s balls draw up into a cavity within their pelvis. So they can tuck them into there. Then they wedge their penis back into their ass crack. Some use tape to fix it into position, others just wear tight underwear. Stevie’s flowing clothes would have hidden that aspect, but according to Rush, any drag queen who doesn't tuck is not really a drag queen.

The contrast to the Drag Queens are the Leather Men who have parties like this:
Note the ban on cologne (also expressed as “closed toe nights”).

So, I’d love to hear from readers what they think about drag queens. Love ‘em or hate ‘em? I’ll give away an ecopy of “Leather+Lace” to a lucky respondent.

Blurb: Swathed in chiffon and lace, Steven Stanhope owns the stage as Stevie Tricks, lip-synching the songs of the famous gypsy queen. But after he escapes an abusive Master/slave relationship, the only collar he'll allow around his neck is black velvet.

After a four-year absence, Steve is ready to reclaim his life and the property he left behind. But is it safe? Definitely not if his ex is still into leather. To find out, Steve appears at a charity night for the local BDSM community, using the anonymity of his stage persona to mask his identity.

Instead of his ex-Master, Julius, Steve finds a tangled mess centered around another Master of Leather, Donato Rossi. In order to unravel their ties to the past, Steve and Don must find common ground and work together. In the process, they learn that when it comes to love, sometimes you have to make your own rules.

Leather+Lace available March 22, 2013 at Dreamspinner Press

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Apollo's Men

The series Apollo's Men is centered around pederasty and the strongly homocentric culture of 5th century BC Greece, when women were sidelined in most of the city-states. Sparta was an exception. Spartan women were trained to be matches for their men, to be athletic and educated. "Because only Spartan women give birth to real men."

In Homeric fashion, the gods and all their lesser brethren are real. Apollo walks the world Alexios, Galen, Lykos, Theron, and Andreas inhabit. He is not a benevolent omniscient deity. He is more a personification of his attributes as the Lord of Light (notice that is not the sun god, Helios), healing, music and the arts, and of course prophecy. He has a darker side as do all the Greek gods, having all the personality flaws that men, ie humans, do.

Alexios' Fate is the first book in the Apollo's Men series. This is where we meet Alexios and Galen. Alexios is the heir to the city-state of Dicaea. Galen was purchased as a birthday gift a decade before when Alexios has still an eight-year-old boy. Together they learn more about themselves and each other in the face their own mortality.

496 BC, Apollo's Men #1.5, continues Alexios and Galen's saga. This story gives us our first look inside Galen's heart and mind, exploring his feeling for Alexios, his new status as a recently freed slave, and his antipathy toward his lover's mentor. As well as giving a better view of slavery, class status/distinctions, and the homocentric nature of portions of the ancient Greek world.

Taming Theron, Apollo's Men #2, is the story of Andreas, a Spartan helot, who finds that food is the way to a man's heart. He sets off to "seduce" a young elite Spartan warrior, but may have bitten off more than he can chew. Taming Theron is off with my second beta reader. When he comes back, I will address any changes/suggestions she makes and get it ready for submission.

In the meanwhile, I've started A Spartan Love, Apollo's Men #3. This tale continues the story started in Taming Theron. Theron fears that his relationship with Andreas has been compromised, placing Andreas' life at risk. He has to make some life-changing decisions, and fast.

Apollo's Men #4 is still unfortunately without a title. The rough draft is approximately 3/4 finished. But when I realized that Taming Theron and A Spartan Love preceded it chronologically, I put it on hold and started with the other works.

Apollo's Men #5 adds another couple to the mix, but I think I'll wait a little longer before revealing who they are. I've got to have something to surprise you with.