Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Literary Nymphs Interview

Title: Rent    
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 1, 2012 


What inspired the story?
After writing my novel, TRICKS, which brought elements of the love story into the world of male stripping and porn, I thought it would be interesting to continue that idea but this time, I would bring romance to the world of male escorts. In my nonfiction past, I have interviewed gay male sex workers and found their lives fascinating. But I always wondered: how do you separate sex and love, when one is your job and the latter is your dream? I also wondered how sex workers managed to find a stable, loving relationship, or if that was impossible given their work circumstances. Then two characters came to me, both escorts, and I thought it would be fascinating to explore how they navigated the rocky road toward love. Throw in the fact that there’s suddenly been a rash of murders of male escorts as a backdrop and you have a heady brew for a novel…or at least that’s what I hope readers will discover.

On the worst day of his life, Wren Gallagher loses his wallet, his job, and his security. Can a stranger met in a bar deliver on his promises of wealth and meeting Mr. Right?

Sex can be a dangerous business. So can love....

On the worst day of his life, Wren Gallagher wants oblivion when he steps into Tricks for a drink. He's lost not only his job, but his wallet as well. When a mysterious stranger steps up to pay his tab, he also offers Wren the key to fulfilling his dreams of prosperity and true love. But appearances are not always what they seem....

His savior is the owner of the escort agency, A Louer---and he wants the young and handsome Wren to work for him. So down on his luck, Wren figures---why not? He can use the money. When he joins, though, he hadn't counted on meeting Rufus, another escort with whom he quickly falls hopelessly in love.

But their love story will have to overcome the obstacles of not only trading love for money, but A Louer's dark---and deadly---secrets.

It always amazed Wren that Tricks could be so busy, no matter what time of day he stopped in. Today, for example, it was three in the afternoon, a Friday, yes, but still, three in the afternoon. And yet the stripper bar was crowded, mostly with older guys, but some like Wren, too. Younger-wearing snarky 'what am I doing here?' expressions on their faces even as they cast furtive glances up at the two buff guys dancing in G-strings to the latest Lady Gaga anthem.
Outside, Chicago in summer was in full swing, but once you entered Tricks, you forgot all about the city and the season. The traffic sounds at the intersection of Belmont and Broadway, the rumble of the el a few blocks west, and the voices of many pedestrians mingling on the street, disappeared. Tricks was a world unto itself, a universe where nearly naked men, alcohol fumes, colored lights, dirty floors, the clinking of ice in glasses, the husky music of men propositioning men, and mirrored walls all conspired together, creating something that was one part sleaze, one part gay, and one part home (at least for many of the men who frequented Tricks).
Tricks was all about escapism. Its dancers allowed you to free yourself from the shackles of your own body issues. Too skinny? Too fat? In-between but nowhere near remarkably ripped? It was okay at Tricks because the dancers were beautiful and one could imagine they got their ripped and muscular physiques effortlessly, from hanging out in bars, consuming copious amounts of alcohol, and tricking athletically with a parade of handsome strangers. The magic might work for you one day, too.
Or at least that was the fantasy they were selling at Tricks.
And...if your self-esteem tank was running a little low, a wink or a smile from one of the dancers was enough to kick it up a notch. The hunky bartender calling you 'Gorgeous' or 'Stud' didn't hurt either when he asked what he could get you. This kind of behavior from those who worked at Tricks was hard to swallow, yet easy to cling to, making you believe, if only for a second, you were hot. You were wanted.
It was all part of the make-believe. And sometimes, it was enough.
Wren Gallagher, all of twenty-three years old, today needed some of the escapism Tricks offered. Yes, he required it even at three in the afternoon. As the crowd jostled him, Wren kept his eye on the one open stool at the bar in front of him. It was like some sort of prize, an alcoholic holy grail, a place where he could park his skinny ass and maybe, just maybe, forget for a few hours what a crappy day he'd had.
Just as he elbowed his way through the laughing and chattering crowd of mostly middle-aged men and had managed to get within inches of the vacant stool, a heavy-set guy with a bottle of beer in one thick paw materialized out of nowhere to claim it. He was focused intently on the blond Adonis gyrating on the bar, so he did not see that there was a competition for the stool.
Wren stopped and regarded the man with his brown eyes, hoping his telepathy was in good enough working order that the man would feel the force of his gaze. At least one thing would go right on this shitty day, Wren thought, and that one thing-all I ask-is that this character makes eye contact with me.
Lo and behold, he did. Wren smiled prettily, trying to buoy up the older, balding man's ego with the combined force of his slightly gap-toothed, turned-up-at-one-corner grin and his shock of red hair, his slender hips encased in denim, and the geek allure vibe he knew he gave off. He knew because he had been told he was a sexy nerd on more than one occasion.
The guy did a bit of a double take when he saw Wren trying to make eye contact, smiling. He looked up at the dancer and back at Wren, as if he had to decide between one or the other. As if he had a choice...
Wren winked.
That was all it took. The older man stepped back, away from the stool, and gestured with his hands, the perfect gentleman, that Wren should take it.

Meet: Rick R. Reed


What are your 2 favorite careers?
Garbage man and sex surrogate

What is the hardest thing you ever had to do?
Make like a zombie and eat… brains. Beef brains, but still….

Favorite music, song or band
Classic jazz. Give me some Oscar Peterson on the piano or Ella Fitzgerald’s honeyed voice and I am happy.
Are you usually late, early or right on time?
I am usually early. For me, on time is late.

Are you happy with your life for the most part right now?

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Back to bed!

What do you think would be the hardest thing for you to give up on?
Writing. I get depressed if more than two days go by and I haven’t written.

Where can we find your website?
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a two-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint." Rick lives in Seattle with his partner and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."

Visit Rick's website at or follow his blog at You can also like Rick on Facebook at or on Twitter at

Rent BUY Links:


  1. SOunds like a good read.... used to be a rent boy... a long time ago. WOuld love a copy of this for my library. COunt me in.


  2. Love to hear what you think after you read it, especially from the perspective of a former rent boy.

  3. I am not a rent boy but do know friends who have been. If I can win a copy of this book for them I will let them give you their honest review about it.

  4. Thank you, Lupa. I hope they won't charge for the review.

  5. I'll ask around and see if I know any serial killers I can pass some of your other books on to.

  6. I'll send a few your way, Anel. Watch your back.

  7. Goodness, I neither am, was, or hire, rent boys. I have no problem with what other people do or are, but, alas, I am a hard core romanticist. On the other hand, I know that Rick is a romanticist as well, so I doubt this is really about commercial sex. If I know him at all, there is romance in here. However he disguises it at the beginning. Ha ha, I started to say, "up front" but that does sound like a pun, doesn't it?

  8. Victor, you got me: RENT is very much a romance. I was going to say "in the end" but feared being misinterpreted as crass.

  9. Hi, Rick.

    Congrats on your release; I look forward in reading it.

    I enjoyed your post and the interview and excerpt were great.

    Tracey D

  10. Thank you for the excerpt!
    I will definitely be checking out "TRICKS" as well.
    :D Heh, enjoyed the post.


  11. I read Tricks several years ago. There were definitely some very tense moments, but I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to reading Rent.

    Thanks for the giveaway!