September 21, 2012

Aloha! Plus, a Q&A w/yours truly...

Aloha from Hawaii!

I'm in Hawaii this weekend (plus a few bonus days) for my friend's wedding and a sort of unofficial celebration of (think George Michael when you say this:) freedom...Freedom...FREEdom...FREEDOM! (See previous post for more info.)

This morning I did a waterfall hike, and it was beautiful just to walk the trail and be out in nature. I'm kind of suffering from a contact high due to the immense amount of sunscreen and bug spray to which I subjected myself during that time, though, which unfortunately has yielded the result of running out of things to blog about during this celebration-slash-attendance at friend's destination wedding.

Well, THAT'S OKAY because, thankfully, there's somewhere else you can find more stuff to read!

I did an interview recently for EM Lynley, the editor of the Going for Gold anthology.  Check out what I have to say about my karaoke addiction, my complete inability to do anything even remotely athletic, and how I came to write about a yummy diver named John. Just click here for the full Q&A scoop!

And if you want to read about men who have the completely opposite affliction - that is, men who have a completely awesome ability to do athletic stuff! - then take a gander at the Olympics-themed stories in Going for Goldavailable now on MLR PressAmazon, and All Romance eBooks.

Slathering on the SPF and lacing up her hiking shoes,
NJ



September 17, 2012

So, I outed myself at work...

...as the writer of scandalous fiction, that is.


Yeah, I know. Not quite what you were expecting, but still...being a writer of gay romance is itself kind of a big thing to reveal in a place like my super-conservative area of employment. The reactions have been...interesting.

Let me back up a second. Up till now, I've been employed as a Wall Street lawyer working for a gigantic multinational corporation. And before that, I was employed as a law firm lawyer working for a gigantic multinational law firm.  So yeah...basically, I've been working for The Man in all his pinstriped and super-corporate glory for a while.

Well, no more.

I recently gave notice at my job without having another job lined up.

Yup. That's right.

I've chosen to leave my six-figure job to become voluntarily unemployed because, after a lot of soul-searching, I realized that lawyering - at this stage in my life, at least - is simply not for me. Honestly, the longer I stay in the profession, the less "right" it ends up feeling.  At this point in my life, I don't have commitments - I'm single, have no kids, and don't even have a mortgage - so I figured if I didn't do it now, then when would I really have the chance to do it?

Of course, as a Class A planner, I've been scrimping and saving for ages to get to the point where I can make a run at this huge...leap of faith? Pursuit of happiness? Investment in me? Whatever you want to call it, I decided recently that it's time to take the plunge and see what might be behind Door Number Two.

What's interesting, though, is the reactions I'm getting to my admittedly unorthodox departure.  Nearly everyone I've spoken to has been incredibly positive and supportive - and, to be honest, envious of the opportunity to explore what I want to do, not just what I am currently doing.

And that leads me to the title of this post.

With some of my closer work colleagues, I've shared the fact of my writing activities and, in some cases, my writing itself.  And the reactions? Overwhelmingly encouraging. It's really amazing to be surrounded by positive vibes for something so close to my heart.  Indeed, some people have also opened up about their own personal experiences with the LGBT community, too. I swear, I've had more interesting conversations in the last couple of weeks than I had during my entire tenure there. From discussing gay athletes to coming out in the workplace to general LGBT activism, it's been a fascinating journey to VU (that's "Voluntary Unemployment") Day. Which, incidentally, is almost here. *eager grin of anticipation*

So here it is...my Manifesto, Part Deux: My self-imposed sabbatical will be a time to work on...me. I want to hone my skills, find my focus, and explore avenues of interest - including writing - that are decidedly non-lawyerly.  I hope I find what I'm looking for, but even if I don't, I'm sure it'll be a hell of a ride. :)

Lifting her glass in honor of finding your passion and taking leaps of faith,
NJ



September 10, 2012

Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point NOW AVAILABLE


Hellooooooooooo, ladies (and gents)! Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point is a wrap!

Let me get it out there right now: DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE EBOOK COPY HERE!



Whew! Okay, onwards! 

So, the sequel to Man-to-Man Coverage is now available. Yay! If you haven't read the first one, here's the link to the FREE ebook download for book 1: CLICK HERE. :)

Ahhhh...and now the sequel. Wooohoo!  :D I had sooooo much fun writing this one and hanging out again with Brad and Cam.  I got a little sidetracked in the middle of writing this story because of Into the Deep (available in the MLR Press anthology Going for Gold, also on Amazon and All Romance eBooks!!), which, after lightning round edits, became my first "real" publication when it was released on August 31st. Yayzerbeams!

Anyway, once that story was a wrap, I plunged right back into M2M2 (my code name for Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point).  *dreamy sigh* Cam and Brad. Like visiting old friends, really.  They just started talking to me at the oddest times. Brushing my teeth? Yup. On the subway? Yup. Trying to sleep at 4AM and ending up having to pull out a notepad to take longhand notes since I'd already shut off my computer? Yup. 

The sequel is entirely from Cam's POV and takes place three years after Man-to-Man Coverage. Included in this story is the pivotal...locker room outing. Yup.  

I really hope you guys like it. :D

(Total tangent, but I'm going to pretend it's related because it's football-y stuff. Here's a pretty awesome letter from NFL player Chris Kluwe defending another NFL player's support of gay marriage.  This one put a huge smile on my face.)

BACK TO M2M2 - I always feel weird about writing blurbs, so here's the admittedly non-blurby (sorry!) info that I posted to the Goodreads listing:

***

Word count: 16,128

STORY INFO:
genre: contemporary
tags: established couple; coming out; children; athlete; football; sports; opposites attract; oral sex.


***

Once again, download your own FREE ebook copy of Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point HERE on Goodreads. If you have a sec and want to give it a rating and (maybe??) a review, that would be super awesome, too. :)

And check out my story Into the Deep, one of EIGHT awesome m/m Olympics-themed stories in the Going for Gold anthology, available on MLR PressAmazon, and All Romance eBooks.

Since it looks like the green "read book" button might be wonky on Goodreads, I've posted the entire story for Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point after the jump. 

Hugs and awesome vibes all around,
NJ


(click "Read More" for the online posting of Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point)

September 7, 2012

Coming Out as a Gay Athlete



So, quite awesomely, my diver story came out last Friday as part of the MLR Press anthology Going for Gold, which is also now available on Amazon and All Romance eBooks. YAY.

Separately, but relatedly on the topic of gay athletes, I wanted to mention that I'm still working on a follow-up for my first story, Man-to-Man Coverage (available as a freebie here).   I'm alllllllllllllllmost done with the follow-up and will post more about it here when it's available. In the first story, M2MC, two NFL players discover that, rather than perfect rivals, they make even better lovers.  Some people scoff at the idea of gay football players, but to me, it feels like a step in the right direction.

In my research on the topic of being gay in the NFL (yes, there is actually stuff to read about this!), I came across a number of interesting articles. M2MC came out this summer, which also happened to be the summer Wade Davis, a former NFL cornerback, came out...in real life. This was headline-making news, as you can see here, here, and here.  Something to note, however, is that many of those stories emphasize that, while there may be a few openly-gay former professional athletes, there has never been one to come out while an active player.



Many people assume that the NFL - or all professional sports or even sports culture generally - is a homophobic culture. I like to think that we are not giving these guys the credit they deserve.

The Bleacher Report article "Is the NFL ready for an openly gay player?" by Andrew Garcia explores players' reactions to having an openly gay teammate.  What I learned from reading the article is that these guys are smart, knowledgeable, aware, and, no matter what we think, they live in our world - a world of black, white, gay, straight, and everywhere and everyone in between. Of course there will be bigots and haters, but...there are also going to be people who are accepting and supportive, as there are with everything else in the world.  The article makes a great point that, in addition to being supremely talented athletes in a testosterone-fueled sport, these football players are also human beings with minds of their own.  They have family and friends who are gay, and they can think for themselves without having us project stereotypes on them of the big brutish jock.

What do you think? Is the NFL - or the MLB, NBA, or NHL, for that matter - ready for a gay athlete to share the field, diamond, court, or ice?

Keep an eye out for Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point to see what happens when Cam and Brad come out to the world and their families. And check out my story, Into the Deep, available now as part of Going for Gold, an Olympics anthology filled with - you guessed it - gay athletes! There's a great lineup of sports and athletes to sink your teeth into. Check out my previous blog post for links to excerpts and blurbs. :D You can find Going for Gold on the MLR Press site here, on Amazon here, or on All Romance eBooks here.

Feeling incredibly charitable about the NFL,
NJ