Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Damon Suede - Hot Head

Today I have a very special guest with a very special background for his new release, Hot Head.  Thank you, Damon for guesting today!


Thank you so much Jadette for letting me come play in the inspirational sandbox!

I wrote Hot Head on a dare from a dear friend who I was helping with structure questions on her own novel. I’ve been writing for 20 years in film and theatre, but fiction has never been my favorite form; she told me if I didn’t write an M/M I was “a lazy idiot.” I laughed and agreed, but then I needed an idea. I didn’t want to write something porn-y, which is the criticism often leveled at male writers in the genre. I wanted angst, and heightened, compressed emotion. And then I remembered an intense confession I’d heard…

See…starting in the late 90s, my best galpal in the whole universe went through this compulsive, sex-n-drama addiction in which she became obsessed with and only dated a string of gorgeous, tormented firefighters. For seven years or so, she found hysteria very romantic and for that stretch of time she only had eyes for unfaithful troublemakers with eight-packs and cocks like waste baskets. Most of these relationships lasted under a year, operatic tragicomedies with dildos and screaming. Most ended with three a.m. arguments in which she hurled crockery and birthday-gifts out the window at the “cheating lying asshole” she’d just dumped while he begged for forgiveness with crocodile tears in the street below her window. Lots of agita, lots of broken promises, incendiary sex, but (safe to say) completely unhealthy.

For those seven years, I logged untold hours on porches and barstools listening to crazy heroics, sleazy anecdotes, and odd confessions because these hot mooks wanted to impress my friend with how hip and “cool” they were with her gay best friend. They all loved telling stories, and they had stories that defied belief. The FDNY is insane and its members take pride in that. Full stop.

One night in about 2002, she and I were writing in a house upstate. She was editing a novel, I had to finish a screenplay because a play of mine had won an award and sold to film folk. We go away every summer  for intense marathon writing, and on the weekends our men would visit. 

That weekend, my boyfriend was working a case somewhere. Her boyfriend, let’s call him G, had arrived after dinner a little drunk and horny.

While I did the dishes they had loud, hilarious sex upstairs. My friend fell asleep after, and then G clumped downstairs in a pair of sweats because he hadn’t eaten. He fixed a plate and I poured us a couple whiskeys and we went out to the porch so he could smoke. Now, this guy was a career fireman: 30ish, Irish mutt, probably wore a size 52 suit, hands like roast beefs, big open face and doe-eyes on top of this wall of muscle. I remember we were telling gross dating stories, NC-17 stuff about sex we’d had and things that freaked us out. He mentioned to me that I didn’t “seem all that homo” and joked about his “crappy” gaydar but made sure I knew he had no problem with folks doing their thing. He mentions a meathead couple at his gym who gave him pointers and a no-bullshit female podiatrist who he likes; he’s pretty sure all of the above are “homos” but he thinks they’re “so cool.”

At this point I felt tired and thought it high time G go upstairs for hokey-pokey round two, so we could all get some sleep. Before I could say my goodnight, this sweet mook kind of thumped me on the back; his face got serious and he didn’t say anything… but I could tell he wanted to.  

Very quietly, looking at the dark yard, he confessed that he had once loved a man. “Like that,” he said, a guy as straight as he was. I had NO idea what to say but I nodded in support of the idea. (HOT! Was the thought I had actually.) G explained that the man was his best friend and fellow fireman, a legendary golden-boy around the FDNY… a courageous nutjob working at the worst houses, so gorgeous he was date bait for the other crew members, and a habitual cheater who got away with everything because the world loved him.

Both of them were “totally straight,” G said. Hell, they’d tagteamed “broads” together, puked on each other, bailed each other out of jail after bar fights… but at a certain point G had realized that he loved-loved his friend. Affection had grown into attraction, but he never confessed his feelings. Speaking would have jeopardized the friendship, the FDNY, their families, their lives. 

Even worse: one horny drunken night, G and his then-girlfriend had asked his buddy to join them in an ill-advised threeway that wrecked the friendship for a long time. Up close and personal, G had gotten tense and weird and wouldn’t explain why. G broke up with her the next day; the friends fought and then spent a horrible August not hanging out at all… even though they were supposed to go on vacation together down the Jersey Shore. G slowly went out of his mind trying to decide what to do, what to say about what he felt.

And then his best friend was killed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

They had both worked the scene but only G made it out alive. He had been outside when the first tower went. He had no idea what had happened to his buddy, couldn’t find him in the chaos, didn’t even know how to try because they hadn’t spoken in over a month. Command had been wiped out in the collapse and thousands were lost while the world burned down around them. 

That day, without ever knowing the truth, his best friend simply vanished into thin air.

Even now, retelling this, I can see the stricken look on his big baby face … the pain and grief and anger and regret churning inside of him while he sat smoking a cigarette with a shaking hand on a porch at night. I will never forget his stare, creased with a terrible, patient longing he’d carry until he died himself.

I knew. It was so clear to me that he wished he had died on 9/11. That’s what he was saying, what he confessed to me. He vibrated with the desire dig and dig and dig until he’d dug his rut into a grave. I don’t know how else to explain it. At that moment, I knew he was pretending to be alive and taking stupid risks on purpose, I knew how he would die, and (maybe) only I knew why.

In a way, he buried his secret in me. I think G needed so badly to confess the truth to someone sympathetic it had just slipped out. The thing is, he couldn’t tell anyone his secret except some gay writer he barely knew, because his life had no room for that unspoken love, or those unlikely lovers. No one could ever know. When he and my friend did split up she admitted that she felt like she’d using him like a big dildo, a hung fireman with sad eyes and a dead heart, and that they’d openly joked about when she’d get tired of him being a visitor in his own life.

So when my friend dared me and I needed a germ of an idea for an M/M that could support the angst, sexiness, and drama I crave in my books, G’s face on the porch came to me like a handsome ghost. I wished more than anything that I could answer a question he’d never asked and wanted to give a happy ending to two men who could never have found it outside the pages of a romance.

So Hot Head grew out of that night I sat listening on the porch with no way to help a man who’d been punished for loving… if I succeeded at all, it’s because of the pain and truth he shared. Writing the book was a chance to rewrite their lives the way they might have been, unspoken love given time to grow and the happily ever after those men deserved.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dianne Hartsock - Shelton In Love!

            Thank you for having me on your wonderful site today. You asked what had inspired me to write my m/m romance ‘Shelton in Love’. Boredom, to start with! My husband and I had taken a trip to Glacier National Park last summer. Beautifully romantic trip. But the long drive through the Idaho desert would have done me in, if it wasn’t for my sometimes naughty imagination.

            The air conditioner wasn’t able to keep up with the close to 100 degree weather outside. We were in a desert in the middle of nowhere! Not another living soul on the road. Hot, dry, burnt landscape around us. Scrubby brush and stones baking in the sun. Heat waves rippling across the road. Humid, sultry air in the car lulling me towards sleep…

            I’d recently written a short ghost story, The Trials of a Lonely Specter (MuseItUp Publishing, due out this summer) and I began to wonder what my two men had done when they were alive. How had they met? Who would they be in the new story taking shape in my mind? 

            Nevil came first. Handsome, sexy, witty. Do you know the song ‘Last of the Famous International Playboys’ by Morrissey? That’s my Nevil. 

            And who would be special enough to win his heart? Someone shy and beautiful, unsure yet alluring in his own way. Definitely a temptation. Lovely Shelton.

            Now to get them together. Yum. But I couldn’t just start with them in bed, however much as I’d like to! Should I start with their first meeting, where Shelton falls helplessly for Nevil’s charm? Come on, who wouldn’t!

            Too predictable, though even as I’m writing this, I picture their first encounter in my mind, Shelton meeting Nevil’s burning glance across the room, his bones melting as the gorgeous man seemed interested in him…

But no, I wanted their relationship to be special. So I started later, with Shelton already hopelessly in love, his happily ever after still achingly out of reach. The story is about Shelton’s struggle to win Nevil’s elusive heart and not break his own.

            After I’d finished the story and sent it off to Breathless Press, I couldn’t just leave them like that. What happened to my lovely men afterwards? The sequel, Shelton’s Promise, was just as enjoyable to write, and will be released from Breathless Press on July 8, 2011.

            Thanks for stopping by!

Dianne Hartsock

My website:


Shelton is falling hard for his best friend and roommate, finding Nevil’s dark good looks and moments of gentleness almost impossible to resist. But Nevil is more interested in affairs of the body than the heart. As Shelton’s desire for the man grows, he wonders if he can change Nevil’s mind. But does he even want to? Nevil might not stay, once he learns Shelton’s secret, and then Shelton’s loneliness would be complete.


           Shelton chuckled, already stripping out of jacket and shirt as he crossed to the curtained booth. Tera was always in a rush, bursting with more energy than two or three other people combined.

          Stepping into the booth, he quickly changed from jeans into the coffee brown slacks and white dress shirt hanging on the rack. Slipping his arms through the ivory colored vest, he slung the coffee and tan tie around his neck and returned to Tera’s side, tucking in the shirt as he went. 

          Shelton glanced up at a low whistle, feeling the tingle of a blush in his cheeks under Nevil’s appraising eyes.

"You dress up nicely,” Nevil assured him as he stepped closer to bat Shelton’s fumbling hands away from the tie. “Let me do that.”

Shelton concentrated on Nevil’s fingers on his tie, urging his heart to stop racing before Nevil felt it pounding under his fingertips or heard its wild patter. Nevil’s breath brushed his cheek and his spicy cologne sent his senses whirling. 

Why did the man have to be so damned attractive?
           Shelton hardly noticed Tera slipping a jacket on his arms until Nevil commented on it, rubbing the silk and wool material between his fingers. “Nice.” 

           Shelton glanced at his sleeve and admired the sharkskin pattern of taupe and tan and black checkers. He shrugged his shoulders, delighted with the fit and comfort of the sport coat. “A new one?” he asked Tera.

        "I’ve had the design finished for months, but couldn’t decide if it should go in my summer or fall catalogue.” 

         Nevil finished with the tie and stepped back, looking Shelton up and down. “Definitely summer, though I’d wear a coat like that all year round. Almost any color of slacks would go with it.”

         “Or socks,” Shelton muttered, a reminder to himself as Nevil ran his fingers through his hair, sending sparks of desire through his body as the man mussed his curls.

         Nevil tilted his head to take in the overall affect. A lazy smile spread on his face while a warm gleam entered his fantastic eyes. “Delicious.” His gaze lingered on Shelton’s shoulders, before sliding down to his hips. 

        The whirl of the camera in Tera’s hand recalled him from the tantalizing thought of Nevil’s hands on him as well as his gaze, and Shelton moved to stand under the soft light she set up to compliment the glow from the setting sun.

         He thought he’d feel awkward with Nevil watching as he posed, but instead found the man’s presence exhilarating. Shelton knew he looked his best and Nevil’s admiring attention bolstering his confidence. Ignoring the stares of a few passersby, he flirted with the camera, losing his inhibition as Tera called encouragements and clicked frame after frame, only calling a halt when the sunlight had gone.

         “These are lovely. They’ll fill out the catalogue nicely,” she commented, tilting the camera to show the men a few of her favorites. 

         Nevil whistled at one in particular, where Shelton had glanced at the camera through lowered lids, a secret smile playing on his lips. The overhead light brought out the highlights in his chestnut hair and lightened his hazel eyes, complimenting the warm colors of his ensemble for an overall attractiveness. 

         “You’ll need to stockpile this coat, Tera.” Nevil observed, his eyes never leaving Shelton’s. “Every man who sees that picture is going to want one for his own.” His gaze was intense and Shelton colored at the innuendo.

If you love this book,be sure and check out this one too!