Blog Archive - May 2012

Hop Against Homophobia: We Can Make It Better


Welcome to the Hop Against Homophobia, an event inspired to promote equality, spread awareness about homophobia, and hopefully prove that even the smallest contribution is a step in the right direction.

There are over 200+ authors, reviewers, publishers, and LGBTQ supporters participating in this hop, many of who will be sharing personal stories and experiences. I truly believe that by the end of this hop, not only will we all be inspired, but we will walk away having learned something new. 

Many of us have encountered some form of bullying or harassment in our lives, whether we identify as LGBTQ or not. They say kids can be cruel, but we all know that adults can be so much worse. We've been hurt, had things done to us that leaves scars, and anger, but we can use our experiences to help others. We can put an end to the hate, stand up and say enough is enough. We can protect our youth from hurting themselves or taking their own lives. We can use our love to show those who have hurt us that we are strong. No, you won't get through to everyone, but think of the ones you do get through to. 

Equality is not something that is earned or given to some and not to others. It is something that should be present from the moment someone is born. Yes, America, you've come a long way, but you still have so much more to go. Everyone deserves to be treated like a human being, and no person or group has the right to dictate how someone else leads their life, who they love or who they marry.



We are fortunate enough to live in a country where identifying as LGBTQ won't land you in prison or get you the death penalty. However that is not enough. No one should be made to feel like a second class citizen, and everyone has the right to lead a life without fear of violence, hatred, or discrimination.There is no excuse.

There's so much we can do to spread awareness, and you'd be surprised how just talking to someone can make them question and even reconsider their prejudice. We can offer help, love, and support to those who need us, and education and patience for those who don't understand.





As a thank you for participating, I will be giving one winner the following:

  • 1 PDF copy of my upcoming release: Lost In My Waking Dream (will be emailed to you first thing May 23rd when it's released)
  • 1 eBook copy of Roses in the Devil's Garden (This is my Love is Always Write story which is not yet available for download anywhere else and includes a cover especially designed. File formats available are PRC, MOBI, HTML, and EPUB. Unfortunately I don't have PDF available at this moment. I apologize for the inconvenience.)
    • 1 PDF copy of The Amethyst Cat Caper

    I will also be making a donation of $25 to the It Gets Better Project in the winner's name.



    To enter: all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. You can share a story, your thoughts on equality, or anything new you might have learned from this hop. If you'd like to follow my blog, that would be a treat but not necessary.
    The winner will be chosen via random.org and announced on Monday May 21st. 

    * * Please make sure to leave an email address where you would like your books delivered should you win. * * Please note that you must be at least 18yrs of age to enter.





    There are many organizations out there dedicated to providing help and support to the LGBTQ community. No one should have to feel alone or scared because of who they are, and these organizations help make huge differences in people's lives. 

    NoH8 promotes marriage, gender and human equality through an incredible visual protest, as well as social media, and education.




     
    The Trevor Project provides crisis interventions and suicide prevention through a safe, supportive, and positive environment. They offer a nationwide 24/7 counseling hotline, a confidential Q&A forum, Online Chat, and social networking community for LGBTQ youth. 

                                                            


    It Gets Better Project reaches out to LGBTQ teens, showing them that not only are they not alone, but they can have (and have a right to) lead happy lives. With over 50,000 videos created by everyone from celebrities to activists, the It Gets Better Project offers hope and inspiration through caring and understanding.

    PFLAG provides support for not only the LGBTQ community, but for their families and friends. Through education and advocacy, they seek to end discrimination and ensure a brighter, better future of equality.



    Straight for Equality offers allies of the LGBTQ community various ways in which they can help to make a difference. Even the smallest step taken can make a great impact.





    To continue the hop, you can click on the Hop Against Homophobia button at the top of this post or on the sidebar. Or you can click here.



    x Charlie x


    WIP Wednesday: A Rose by Any Other Name

    workinprogressWelcome to this week's WIP Wednesday. Seeing as how my Love Is Always Write story, Roses in the Devil's Garden has gone up, I'm going to share a snippet of the second story in this series, A Rose by Any Other Name, which takes place two years later in 1927.
    Julius Knight is at the top of his game. As the leading act at The Pantheon-- an Ancient Greek themed Cabaret at Club Parisian, Julius uses his beauty and charm to enchant and bring wealthy men to their knees. They lavish him with money, expensive gifts, and adoration. Life is fast, frivolous, and free. But appearances can be deceiving, and it will take department store heir Edward Clarence, to show Julius that not only is real love more than just a fantasy, it also doesn't come with a price tag.
    In this scene, Julius and Edward meet for the first time. It's Edward's 30th birthday, and he's just returned to New York after spending 5 years abroad working in his father's London and Paris office.  To celebrate, his wayward cousin Maxfield, and best friend, Albert, have dressed Edward up in a (revealing and rather short) Chlamys, and now he somehow finds himself in Julius' dressing room.
    Chapter Three
    Julius turned and the witty remark died on his lips. “You’re not Ares.”
    The man sitting in his favorite white armchair looked down at himself as if to verify the fact. “No,” he replied with a shake of his head, a smile tugging the corner of his mouth as he looked back up at Julius. “Merely a mortal.”   Amusing fellow, Julius thought wryly. “I see.” He cocked his head to one side, his gaze brazenly raking over every inch of the man. How had he managed to get in? Granted, many have tried, but none had succeeded, not without Julius’ approval. Yet, here he was, looking as if he wanted to be somewhere else. Not the usual response he was accustomed to, and certainly not from a man who had somehow broken into his dressing room.   Assessing the man, he had to admit, the fellow was rather pleasing to the eye, plenty-rugged, if not a little stiff. He was handsome, muscular, broad- shouldered. Nice legs, Julius mused, nice toes, too. Hygiene was non-negotiable. He preferred his men in shape, clean, and trimmed. All of which his mystery guest seemed to be. Despite being a little on the old fashioned side, the fellow’s black hair was neatly parted on one side. He had a nice tan that made his sharp hazel eyes stand out, a bottom lip fuller than the top, smooth chiseled jaw, and enough hair to make him perceptibly masculine without turning him into a fur coat. He wasn’t anything to write home about. At least that was Julius’ initial thought. However, on further inspection, there was something about the slight fidget, the hands clasped between the knees, the fascination in his gaze as he looked around the room that held Julius’ attention. It was almost… sweet.   Well, that just wouldn’t do at all. Julius sauntered over, bringing the most amusing little jump from his guest as he perched himself on the chair’s armrest and swung his legs up, delicately resting his feet on the man’s thigh. His handsome guest swallowed visibly and Julius smiled at the man’s obvious discomfort.   “What’s your name, sailor?” Julius purred, slipping his fingers into that thick jet-black hair. It was surprisingly silky and soft, not saturated with pomade. Unfortunately some of his guests wore so much of the stuff; Julius feared they might go up in flames at any moment. Considering how much smoking went on in the place, he surprised it hadn’t happened already.   “Edward,” the man stated as if he were standing before a court judge, his chest rising and falling a little quicker now.   “And what do you do for a living, Edward?” Julius asked.   “I’m a business manager, for Clarence & Co. Department Stores,” Edward replied a little nervously.   Julius should have known. Just another dapper daddy out for a night of scandalous behavior before returning to his office desk in the morning, pretending for all the world that his soul wasn’t as damned as the wanton degenerate he had had his way with the night before. After all, they were all ‘normal’ men, while men like Julius were the deviants.   They were all the same, and the more money they had, the worse they were. Julius was no fool. He knew these frivolous times wouldn’t last. Which was why—he reminded himself—he smiled and batted his lashes for men like Edward. Poor fellow, he was clearly in over his head. Julius was rather certain he hadn’t seen him around here before. He would have remembered.   “And what exactly where you hoping for, Edward?” Julius asked, his right hand caressing Edward’s cheek. He made his way slowly down his neck, over his collarbone, down his chest. His middle finger ghosted over Edward’s nipple, bringing a gasp from him. And he was wonderfully responsive to the touch.  Hm...   Julius had to admit he was enjoying himself more than he thought he would. By now, anyone else would have been groping, gripping, and spanking. Oh, but he did enjoy a good spanking, but not from just anyone. From the right person, it was titillating. From the wrong person, it irritated Julius to the point of physical retaliation, as in a good slap to face and an end to the evening. Edward looked like he was going to pass out at any moment, whether from fright or pleasure was anyone’s guess.   “Nothing,” Edward replied when he found his voice.   “Nothing?” Julius pouted, sliding one foot down Edward’s thigh and under his costume until his toes found what he was looking for, giving Edward a start. “Oh, but this doesn’t feel like nothing to me. In fact, it feels like something, a very big and hard something.” And that was no lie. Dear, dear Edward was deliciously endowed. Shame he was such a wet blanket. Edward gave a nervous laugh. “Sorry, I’m a little uh…”   “Excited?” Julius finished for him with a wicked smile.   “Yes, well, difficult not be under such circumstances.” Edward slowly and carefully nudged Julius’ foot away from his groin. Well now, wasn't this just dandy? First time anyone had ever pushed him away. Julius could certainly have some fun with this one.     Well, hope you all enjoyed that! I'll let you know on the progress of the story. Oh, and Harley and Nate show up in this story, too. ;  
    x Charlie x

    Copyright © 2012-2013 Charlie Cochet. All Rights Reserved.

    My Love Is Always Write story is up!!

    Woot! My LiAW story, Roses in the Devil's Garden has been posted to my story thread on the MM Romance group!

    You can read it for free here.

    It should also be available soon for download as well. I'll keep you posted. This is my first year taking part in this event and it's been so much fun. Hope you all enjoy the story!

    x Charlie x

    Texty Tuesday: Lost In My Waking Dream

    Welcome to this week's Texty Tuesday. In just a little over a week (May 23rd), my new short story Lost In My Waking Dream will be released by Torquere Press, and I'm very excited about it. Although it's Historical like my other releases and set around the same period (1930s), it also has just a taste of science fiction. It's a mixture of sweet, sad, sexy, and of course has a happily ever after.





    Blurb:


    George Fitzpatrick is a troubled man and former soldier from the Great War. Ever since his return, fifteen years ago, George has been hearing another man’s voice in his head, bringing him to question himself and his reality. His engagement to his fiancée has steadily been going from bad to worse, and with every passing day, George is finding it more and more difficult to deny his long-buried urges and the feelings brought about by a man he's never laid eyes on. Is it all in George's head, or is there something more behind Noah Baxter, the man whose soothing voice invades George's dreams and his heart?   

    Here's a little teaser for you: 

    He set his clothes to rights and I did the same with mine. When he turned around -- a sad smile on his face -- for the slightest instant, it was Noah, and I couldn't help but touch his cheek.

    "Where is he?" Teddy asked softly, his voice shattering the last remnants of my illusion. His was a kind voice, but it wasn't my Noah's.

    "Somewhere I can't reach," I replied, getting a hold of myself before I started to feel any more miserable. I had enough troubles without adding melancholia to my list of ailments.

    Teddy nodded his understanding, though I'm certain his conclusion was nowhere near the truth, nor as unfathomable. "You know," he said as he helped me into my overcoat and smoothed out my vest, "out of all of them, you are by far my favorite. You're a good man. I can see it in your eyes."

    I swallowed hard and smiled. I'm certain he said such things to his other men, but I appreciated the sentiment. Compliments didn't tend to come my way often, so I took them where I could. "Thank you, Teddy." I took my hat from him and paid him his usual fee. With a tender kiss to my lips, Teddy backed away. "Don't give up. You'll get to your Noah someday." Then he was gone. I stood there in the middle of the shadowy enclosure, enjoying the silence and brief moment of peace, wishing with all my heart that what Teddy had said could somehow be possible. 


    I was listening to this song while I wrote a good portion of it. The song kicks in at about 10 secs. I think it encompasses George's world rather nicely, and sets the mood, before things change. ;)

    To celebrate this release, I'll be hosting the Torquere Press Blog on the 23rd of May, and on the 24th of May I'll be at the Torquere Press Happy Hour Live Journal where you can win a free copy. Stay tuned for more!




    Media Monday: The Gangster Squad

    Welcome to this week's Media Monday. On May 9th, the first trailer for The Gangster Squad went up and I almost swooned. Like L.A. Confidential (which I loved), it's set out of the time periods I write in, but I find the 40s and 50s, no less fascinating, especially when it comes to movies.

    First, the film has an incredible cast. Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Giovanni Ribisi, Nick Nolte, Robert Patrick, Sean Penn... the list goes on. After I saw Drive, I fell in love with Ryan Gosling. He is amazing at playing those quiet, tortured, somewhat psychotic characters. Let me just pause to say how AWESOME this movie poster is! I love that they went the whole old school painted movie poster way. It's amazing and I want one.


    I don't know how historically accurate this film will be (as with many of these types of films), and I'm sure there will be a little Hollywood razzamatazz, but I'm really looking forward to being transported back to a time when the L.A.P.D formed a secret squad to take control back from the gangsters, especially East Coast heavies like Bugsy Siegal, Jack Dragna, and most importantly Mickey Cohen.
     
    The Gangster Squad was formed after WWII, and consisted of a handful of officers who did what they had to do. They had no offices, only unmarked cars. They wouldn't make arrests and needed to be available for "other chores". The idea was that they didn't exist. Their goal? Make life hell for Mickey Cohen and gangsters like him. You can read all about it here on the L.A. Times website (though I imagine there will be spoilers). I'm saving that for after I've seen the film. Here's the trailer:



     


    Official Gangster Squad Synopsis:

    Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and–if he has his way–every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart. “The Gangster Squad” is a colorful retelling of events surrounding the LAPD’s efforts to take back their nascent city from one of the most dangerous mafia bosses of all time.

    And some pictures because, well, why not?

     




    x Charlie x


    Weekly News Roundup

    weekly news roundupWelcome to this week's Weekly News Roundup covering Sunday, May 6th to Saturday, May 12th.

    The Love Is Always Write event kicks off! Kaje Harper's In Deep Waters is already available as a special thanks for the MM Romance Group reaching 6000 members!

    From next week, stories will be posted 2 per week for the next 2 and a half months! All those fantastic stories will be available as a free download, or you can read them right from the thread.

    You can find Into Deep Waters Photo, Letter and Story thread here: http://tinyurl.com/6ruuexr Or download it here: http://tinyurl.com/83nc6g2

    As soon as my story: Roses in the Devil's Garden goes up, I'll make sure and let you all know. If you're not a member, it's a great group to join. However if you don't want to be a member for whatever reason, the story will still be available to you, so don't you worry. For those of you who don't have access to the thread and don't know about the story, here's what's in the awaiting thread:

    PHOTO DESCRIPTION: A rugged, muscular man provocatively holds one arm up beside his head as he looks down at you. His other arm is across his chest, and in his hand is a gun. The words: I am my beloved’s are tattooed across his forearm. He looks sexy and dangerous.

    STORY LETTER: Dear Author, Please tell me why this man is armed and dangerous and who it is he belongs to. I really would like to know if he is defending his beloved or about to shoot him for cheating. Sincerely, Ilona

    STORY INFO: genre: historical 1925 tags: prohibition agents; best friends and lovers; sweet and rough sex; hurt/comfort; former WWI soldiers; HEA words: 18,770

    ♥♥♥

    Roses in the Devil's Garden takes place in 1925, where best friends and lovers-- Prohibition Agents Harlan Mackay and Nathan Reilly are struggling to do good in a city overrun by lawlessness and corruption. How can two men hope to make a difference when they can't even trust their own bureau? If fighting a losing battle wasn't enough, a ghost from Nathan's past comes calling.  Will Harlan and Nathan be able to overcome this latest threat, or will they lose everything they hold dear?

    Stay tuned for more!

    ♥  Happy Mother's Day in advance to all those great moms out there!

    x Charlie x   


    Photo Friday: The Roaring 20s and the Pansy Craze

    Welcome to this week's Photo Friday. (This particular post is best viewed from the actual blog, as unfortunately Goodreads will do crazy things to the formatting and the video won't show up. Thanks!)

    When we talk about the roaring twenties, most folks think about flappers, the Charleston, bootleggers, Jazz, moonshine, speakeasies, Charlie Chaplin and such iconic imagery. What many folks don't realize is that during the 1920s and early 1930s, there was something called the 'Pansy Craze'.

    It's common belief that during this era, the LGBT community was buried, invisible, but in fact, it wasn't. Not in NYC and especially not in Manhattan. Many brave individuals were open about their homosexuality and participated in a lively and a surprisingly visible gay world.

    A good deal of this was made possible through Prohibition, which changed and even disposed of old boundaries. Many "respectable" venues were forced to close, while others were forced to pay cops and mobsters in order to stay open. Suddenly, all classes of society were mixing together to get their kicks, and their booze.

    It was in 1930 that Variety declared NYC as being swept away by the "Pansy Craze", drawing out some of the classiest lesbian and gay acts from the Village into Times Square. It was a time where people attended drag balls  by the thousands, and some of the biggest draws to nightclubs were their gay entertainers. Between 1931 and 1933, these entertainers brought gay subculture out onto the stages of midtown Manhattan.

    Perhaps one of the most well known and influential gay entertainers of that time was Gene (Jean) Malin. Gene was a man of many talents. He was a costume designer who won many awards for his contribution to several of Manhattan's drag balls and later on an emcee who briefly became one of Broadway's top earners.

    In his early twenties, Malin took NYC by storm, and under the name Imogene Wilson, was one of the Zigfield Follies' most famous showgirls. Malin's story is a fascinating and tragic one. He worked as a chorus boy but after losing one too many jobs for being too effeminate, he decided to become a professional female impersonator.  When impresarios keen to exploit the Pansy Craze brought Malin from small speakeasies into the big clubs of Manhattan, Malin changed all the rules. (At this time, many of the "Pansy Acts" were straight men portraying stereotypes of gay men).

    Malin stopped appearing in drag and instead, emceed as himself--an openly gay male. He didn't just fascinate and entertain folks, he demanded their respect. He was over six feet tall and weighed two hundred pounds. When during one of his acts, a group of four tough guys threw a pitcher of hot water at him as he danced by, Malin not only fought back and pummeled three of the members, but when the fight was moved outside, two taxi drivers had to step in and assist the fourth member of the group. To many gay men who had experienced such hostile encounters, Malin was standing up not only for himself, but for them as well.

    Given the inequalities of power in Times Square, Malin's act was exploited for amusement and entertainment, but he was determined to use his success to create more space for the gay members of his audience and for gay culture as a whole. In the early 1930s, he even made appearances in some Hollywood films. Tragically, he died in a freak car accident at the age of 25 the same year he appeared in the film below.

    This is a video from 1933's Arizona to Broadway, Malin appears briefly as a female impersonator. You can read more about Malin here.

    Jean Malin-Arizona to Broadway-1933 by redhotjazz

    Karyl Norman the "Creole Fashion Plate" was a mistress of ceremonies and a star of the Vaudeville circuits in the US, Europe, and Australia. (Born George Peduzzi from Baltimore) Norman was a published songwriter, favorite of Tin Pan Alley, and host at the Pansy Club in the heart of Times Square. Norman was the nation's best-known female impersonator.      Harlem's elegant and lively nightlife also made it the Paris of New York, one of the city's most popular entertainment districts. At speakeasies where men and women engaged in sexually charged behavior, lesbians, gay men, and sometimes their "normal" male friends were likely to do the same in full view of the other patrons. This included dancing and kissing. Nowhere were men more willing to venture out in public in drag than in Harlem.

    Julian Eltinge (Julian Dalton) was a stage and screen actor, as well as a female impersonator.

    In 1917 Hollywood came calling and Julian answered. By then he was one of the highest paid actors of the American stage. He starred in the film The Isle of Love opposite Rudolph Valentino and Virginia Rappe.

    Prohibition, Jazz, speakeasies, and bootlegged liquor are only a small portion of what makes this era so fascinating. The period of the 1920s and early 1930s changed the way society viewed homosexuality--a relatively new term at the time. It was a time of exploitation yet cultural growth for the gay community with far more going on than I could possibly hope to explore in this one post, but I hope to post more on the subject soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share just a few of the well known gay figures of the time.

    Thank you so much, Victor, for reminding me about this tune. In the late 1920s, the song Masculine Women, Feminine Men - by Merrit Brunies & his Friars Inn Orchestra was a very popular song. This video shows some amazing footage taken during the "Pansy Craze".

    ***

    Resource: Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey.

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