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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Guy of the Week: Andrea Bargnani

     Readers often remark to me about how I have a thing for jocks, as evidenced by many of my stories. Indeed it’s true. But it isn’t just about football. This week’s Guy of the Week is Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani. I’m also a big basketball fan and the Toronto Raptors are my favorite team, so that makes Andrea a pretty easy choice.
     What’s so great about Andrea? Well, he’s from Rome, Italy, which means a romance language is his native tongue. As if that isn’t hot enough, he’s also seven feet tall. Maybe it’s immature to wonder if he’s ‘in proportion’, but pardon me if I do it anyway, okay?
     Known in Italian basketball circles as ‘Il Mago’ (The Magician), Andrea has kept a beard through most of his tenure in Toronto. In fact, he wouldn’t look the same without it, and most guys wouldn’t be able to so effectively get away with just letting facial hair grow without cultivating it in some way. More often than not he keeps it short, but sometimes he looks like he just came out of the woods, which is fine by me. What I also like about Andrea is that I got to meet him in Chicago when I traveled to see the Raptors play the Bulls in December 2009. This meeting occurred at court side prior to the game in which Toronto blew out Chicago.
     Shirtless Andrea Bargnani pics are a rarity, but I know a ton of us would like to see them. I also never hear girlfriend rumors about him, which is a bit of a surprise. That doesn’t mean that he’s gay and waiting until after retirement to come out of the closet. The NBA shouldn’t be quite as rough as the NFL for that. 

     But let’s not wait so long to celebrate this very handsome man. Enjoy some Andrea pics and be sure to cheer on the Toronto Raptors!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Guy of the Week: Eli Manning

     Okay, so it’s back to jocks this week. That seems fair since I write so many gay erotic stories about jocks, doesn’t it? Anyway, this week’s honored guy is New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. I think we can remove the Peyton’s Little Brother tag now. I mean, he’s literally won twice as many Super Bowl rings as Peyton for crying out loud.
     Eli’s looks are unique. When he entered the NFL in 2004, he had a general cuteness about him, but it lacked a certain maturity. ‘Boyish’ good looks wouldn’t be quite right (that’s really what he has right now). So, rather than having his looks decline with age, or us being glad that he’s kept his looks, he seems to get better looking with each passing year.
     It doesn’t hurt that he’s learned what to do with his hair. His brown locks look much better when they’re grown out and wavy rather than cut short. He’s also tall with great brown eyes to match his hair and has a great smile. What else could someone want in a man?
     Eli’s not gay—that we know of—but there have been rumors about Peyton and Kenny Chesney. I’ve heard people say it about Eli, too, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in that. At the very least he offers a heaping helping of eye candy for all to enjoy.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Guy of the Week: Reid Ewing

     Two weeks in a row featuring a non-athlete. Is that a record? Anyway, this week I’m featuring Reid Ewing. You’ll know him as the dimwitted yet loveable Dylan on Modern Family. What do I like about Reid? Well, his height doesn’t hurt, but one needn’t be tall to be attractive. Not everyone goes for the lanky look, but it seems to work for him. Several hairstyles seem to suit him which is a plus for anyone. He has boyish good looks that could fade after he’s thirty (he’s twenty-four as I write this), so enjoy them while you can. His Youtube videos show a wonderful sense of humor which counts as a nice intangible quality of hotness.
     In addition to Modern Family, he’s been in Wendys’ commercials as part of their “Where’s the Beef?” campaign. He also had a supporting role in the 2011 Fright Night remake. I wouldn’t say he make a big splash in that movie, but it was still a major motion picture, right? He’s also an avid musician who wrote and performed the song “In the Moonlight (Do Me)” on Modern Family.
     Now for the four hundred pound gorilla in the room. Is he gay? He he he, I can’t answer that one for you. Some of his Youtube clips seem to imply it, but the guy in the videos with him could well be a good friend. That’s still quite possible. It would be nice if he could follow in the footsteps of Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen Degeneres and even his Modern Family co-star and come out of the closet (assuming that he is), but everyone comes out in their own way. And not everyone feels the need to advertise it, so that’s okay, too.
     Anyway, here’s to Reid. I’ve never needed an extra reason to watch Modern Family, but he sure is an extra bright spot.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Let's Talk E-Book Pricing

By Donovan Starr


     Because publishing has changed so much, and because erotica (and romance to an extent) differ so much from other forms of fiction, I’ve chosen to weigh in on the matter of e-book pricing. When e-books and indie publishing made their first big splash, I heard much racous about the low cost of e-books, particularly in the .99 cent to $2.99 categories. Books often do move better at $2.99 as opposed to higher prices. That seems to be the sweet spot, but I don’t blame those who charge a little more if they can get away with it. Some well-established author friends have told me that if a reader isn’t willing to pay $3.99 for a novel or $2.99 for a novella, they don’t want that person to read their work. Fair enough.

     Erotica and romance (or erotic romance) differ a bit in this regard. An erotic/romance author can charge—and receive--$2.99 for a much shorter work. You really can’t get away with that in, say, the horror genre. I know because I have a long line of friends in the horror field, both new and established. $3.99 is the best you will get for a full-length novel before readers begin to roll their eyes.

     And yet serial erotic romances can demand $2.99 per instalment. Some readers hate it, but if you look at the numbers of authors like Delilah Fawkes of The Billionaire’s Beck and Call series, and her counterparts, it’s clear that a lot of people are willing to pay that price for something they want. Part of it may be the suspense of finding out what happens next, assuming they enjoyed the previous instalments enough.

     Still, I wouldn’t charge any more than $2.99 for anything in erotica or romance no matter the length. I've done too much research on the topic not to know better. When stories in erotica reach a certain length and you only charge 99 cents, it’s sometimes taken as a comment on the product’s quality. Many of my stories are priced at 99 cents but that’s because they’re rather short. Quickies you might say. But my Game of Inches series is significantly longer per instalment than any of those short stories hence the $2.99 price point. If I priced it at 99 cents, readers would regard it as garbage and not buy it. In horror, you could never get away with pricing a novel at 99 cents. Readers have reached the point in which they associate 99 cent products with garbage. Not so with erotica, but then other genres wouldn’t allow the abundance of short stories to be successful either. Erotica is a genre of short story readers.

     When can you price at $2.99? In my opinion, the story should be no less than 4, 000 words before you charge that much. Instalments of A Game of Inches are still considerably longer than that, so my conscience is clear in terms of how I’ve handled the market. Some charge that much at lower word counts but you can tell by their sales rank that they don’t sell very well. In that case, 99 cents would  be better.

     Quantity over quality? What matters more? A relationship between story length and price point still exists in erotica as it does in other genres. Erotica and romance happen to be more lucrative perhaps because they account for much more of the market than horror and other forms of fiction. In fact, romance books account for a rather large percentage of books sold.

     So, if you’re writing in the erotic/romance field, wait until your stores are at least 4, 000 words long before you charge $2.99. And, if you’re writing a serial, make sure your instalments are a good 7, 500 words long. Sure, many successful ones are shorter, but by making it longer you can avoid reader complaints—and avoidance.



Kobo Writing Life: The First Few Months

By Donovan Starr

     Kobo Writing Life has been around for a few months now. Like many authors, I’ve chosen to take the plunge with them on a limited basis. My results? So far, it hasn’t been so great. I’ve sold some downloads, but I can’t say it’s anything like Amazon.
     Don’t get me wrong. They do seem to embrace authors much more than Amazon does (and certainly more than traditional publishers). Amazon is good to authors, but they don’t seem to go out of their way to make sure the writer really feels at home the way Kobo does.
     Here’s my hitch: they can’t sell books with the same ability as they have to treat the author right. I like to be treated properly like anyone else would, but the bottom line still comes down to how many downloads I get. As I see it, Kobo needs to change a few things in terms of selling stock.
     For one thing, you can’t use keywords in your meta data nor can customers leave tags the way they can with Kindle or Nook. That means customers can’t find your titles with ease (though some sites make it harder to find erotica anyway). Second, there are far fewer features to properly categorize a book with other likeminded titles. There are some, but not nearly enough.
     I’ll stay the course with them, though. Luckily their royalty rates are higher (like I said, they treat authors like gold). Here are some titles I currently have on Kobo.


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Billionaire Domination Serials?


     So, my cousin, Alexandra Rowan, has also thrown her hat into the world of the sex/romance e-book serials. And, since I know a lot of my readers are heterosexual women, I figured it can’t hurt to bring it up on the blog. “His Commanding Touch” is the first instalment of The Billionaire’s Bedmate series. I was sceptical at first because I figured it was too much like Fifty Shades of Grey (which I gave up on after just a few pages).
     My cousin really surprised me, though. There’s more meat to this than I expected and I think she’ll come up with something great. The good news is that she’s hard at work on the second instalment. The description is below if you’re interested in taking a gander.......

When Charity Moore receives a note from her billionaire boss, Christopher Remington, requesting her company after work, her curiosity is piqued. She has seen him at headquarters but never met him face to face. As it turns out, he knows her every dream and desire and knows how to make them come true. And, just when she thinks her time in his company cannot get any hotter, he cranks up the dial. Still, she is a smart woman who wants to know why she has been chosen. But Christopher’s reasons are cryptic and she’ll do anything to get to the bottom of it.

This sizzling hot billionaire erotica story features graphic depictions of sexual acts including fingering, oral sex, bondage, bdsm and so much more. Do not download if you are under 18.

Guy of the Week: Chris O'Donnell

     Okay, a non-football player/athlete this week.

     I have a thing for guys who never lose their looks. These are guys who, in fact, look pretty darn good with the odd gray hair. Maybe they looked better when they were younger, but who could look better in their older age than them? Chris O’Donnell is one of those guys. He’s clearly taken care of himself and some people just have better genes than others.

     I’ve been familiar with O’Donnell since early in his career and really fell in love with him in A Farewell to Arms in which he plays a young Ernest Hemingway. Before you have any doubts about this film, I should point out that it includes a scene of him dancing naked with a girl, showing his bare butt. Do you need another reason to see this movie? I thought not.

     What do I love about Chris O’Donnell? Let’s start with his eyes. They’re killer. Then there’s his smile, which is punctuated by his dimples. These days he sports the occasional unshaven face, which is great. Maybe it wouldn’t have suited him as a younger man, but he knows what works for him at any given time. The same goes for his buzzed down look as opposed to his moderate locks of yesteryear.

     Did I mention he has five kids? That means the guy is a machine . . . you know what I mean ;)

     Anyway, you know I can’t let this go without offering a shirtless pic (if any are out there. So, enjoy!