Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir MitchellI think that, if I was a gay man, I would be like Ethan Day ;-) No, I'm not turning into a stalker, it's only that, I believe to have a lot in common with Ethan, the love for good comedy, both in books than movies, above all. And I think that we "want" to believe in romance and happily ever after, and we want to see the good in people, or at least we try. So, I'm more than happy to guest Ethan and his list today. Enjoy!
Before settling in for my Inside Reader, I wanted to extend my thanks to Elisa for allowing me to post some of my own reviews and ramblings on her site.
For my ten list I wanted to cut through all the criteria that I hope and pray make it into every book I write: great characterization, romance, and to emotionally move the reader – whether it be with a few laughs or a few tears. Getting down to the very basic thing I want more than anything else, which is to entertain the reader. I always cross my fingers, hoping that reading one of my books is like going out on a really great date. And with any luck, have the reader ready to turn around and go out with me again.
With that thought in mind, I sat down and chose ten books (more actually as several are part of a series) which fit that criteria for me as a reader. They aren’t listed in any particular order so much as how they came to me when I sat down to write this. Let me also say that I’ve stumbled across a great many wonderful authors throughout 2009, which was a particularly good year for me, considering I was fortunate enough to have a few books of my own published. Some of those writers are on this list – to the great many that aren’t – keeping in mind the limitation of ten books – don’t hate me because you didn’t fit! : )
1) Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil by John Berendt – Despite not being fiction, I think one of the best lesson’s I learned as a writer from reading this book, was how important a colorful secondary cast of characters could be. I was so entertained by the southern charm of all the quirky characters that I continuously had to keep reminding myself that someone had been murdered! The movie version of course sucked-ass due to the Hollywood cliché of inserting a het-romance in some lame attempt to dial down the homosexuality, but the book is a gem and the cast of real-life characters, the envy of this writer. Who knew real people could be so interesting? : )
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Vintage (June 28, 1999)
Publisher Link: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/
Amazon: Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil
Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case. It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city has become a modern classic.
2) First You Fall: A Kevin Connor Mystery by Scott Sherman – I found this author after reading a review he wrote of one of my books on Amazon. I hadn’t read his book at the time I e-mailed to thank him for his kindness. It was something I soon rectified and was so happy I did. Kevin Connor is sweet, sexy, funny, and a hooker? A combination I never would have imagined would’ve worked for me had Sherman not decided to put pen to paper. What made this story so fresh was the fact that Kevin’s career path wasn't the focus of the story. Sherman created a delightfully fun, frisky, and at times laugh-out-loud funny book. A second installment should soon be available, and I for one, can’t wait to fall all over again.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books (June 1, 2008)
Publisher Link: http://www.alyson.com/9781593500597.html
Amazon: First You Fall
When his friend’s death is ruled a suicide, Kevin Connor—a hustler by trade, sleuth by default—sets out to prove a case of murder. It doesn’t help matters that the victim’s grown children, who disapproved of their father’s gay lifestyle, are only concerned about their inheritance. But they are not Kevin’s only problem. His high-strung mother has moved in with him—and she knows nothing about his questionable . . . job. Scott Sherman has written for Newsweek, Genre, Instinct, and The Washington Blade. He is the host of the number-one rated The Digital Photography Show on The Podcast Network.
( books from 3 to 10 )
About Ethan Day: “I am a gay man living in Missouri...I can hear the gasps already!! How very un-chic of me, yes I know. It was here I was born and here I have stayed.
I'm currently single but always looking for that special someone that makes my heart skip a beat...in addition to being able to put up with my neurotic ass. The worst thing about being a romance writer is finding a real life hottie that can live up to the fantasy I create in my head and subsequently thrust upon him before actually getting to know the real him. I can hear you getting all judgie...it's an occupational hazard!! To all my past and future boyfriends, my sincerest apologies...I can't help myself!
I was the youngest of four children and the only boy, so needless to say, I was spoiled rotten. I've always had an extravagant fantasy life. When I played with my Star Wars action figures as a child, I liked to make up my own stories. Naturally, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were totally meant for each other, and Princess Leia made a bitchin' wise cracking Fag Hag.
I somehow managed to survive high school living in a small racist town in Southeast Missouri and emerged unscathed, realizing life was too short to pretend to be anything other than who I was. I was the little homo that could...so damn it, I did! It was all very Lifetime Movie Network meets After School Special I assure you.
After a few stints in college, I eventually signed up for a Creative Writing course. I took the class because there were no tests. For once my scholastic laziness paid off, and I found an outlet for all the fantasies running amuck in my head. It was love at first write, and I've been doing it off and on ever since.
Now I've decided its time to un-barricade the doors and unleash my imagination onto the world. So very sorry world!! With the help of the lovely and talented team at Loose Id and MLR Press, my fantasy life is now available for public consumption. I'm desperately hoping your really, really hungry.”