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:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Meet: Jacob Z. Flores

Thanks for having me here at Literary Nymphs. Before we begin, I wanted to let everyone know that as part of the blog tour, I’m holding a contest. All you have to do is leave a comment with your email address to this post, and your name is entered to win a free electronic copy of 3. If a reader happens to follow all my blog stops, then she or he can leave a comment at the other sites a well. This means that someone could enter 7 times for a chance to win the book. At the end of the tour, a winner will be chosen and announced.

What are your 2 favorite careers?
That’s an easy one for me—being a father and being a writer.

Being a father is extremely important to me since I never had one. My parents divorced when I was three years old, and though he lingered in the periphery of my life after the divorce, he disappeared entirely when he remarried. It hurt, badly, and I even called him on when I entered high school. I invited him over and asked why he wasn’t being my father, and his answer was simple (at least for him): “You don’t live with me, and I have a family of my own to raise.”

To say his words destroyed me doesn’t effectively communicate how I felt, but I vowed that when I had a child I would never do to her/him what he had done to me.

When I was finally blessed with a daughter of my own, who is now 12, I made it my life’s mission to give her the unconditional love and support as well as a fatherly presence in her life that I never got from the man who helped create me. I have never gone back on that promise, and I never will. As I’ve learned with parenting, sometimes the bad examples and role models we have in life prove to be the ones we learn the most from, and because I learned those lessons, I am blessed with a darling young lady whose smile make me move mountains.

Naturally, writing comes second. I’ve always loved writing. When I was a kid struggling with my doubts and sexuality, I turned to comic books to chase away my demons. Then, I started writing them. They became quite therapeutic and since then, I’m rarely more at peace than when I’m furiously tapping away at the keyboard.

What is the hardest thing you ever had to do?

That’s a sad, personal story, but the hardest thing I ever had to do was come out to my wife. I loved her a great deal, and she is probably one of the greatest people I know. She was so great that when we first met I thought finding her in college had “cured” me of being gay.
Naturally, I was wrong. Telling her that I could no longer be married to her broke my heart because I knew that I was shattering hers. I had never felt more selfish or guilty in my life. It’s still difficult to recall that day, and when I try, it only comes back in assorted pieces. I think I’ve suppressed that point in my life because the pain was too unbearable.

These days, though, my ex-wife and I get along great and we co-parent as a unified front. Like I said, she’s a remarkable woman.

Favorite music, song or band
I absolutely love Lady Gaga. Not only is her music great, but her message is inspirational to those who feel they are misfits or outcasts. I respect her as an artist and a person.

Are you usually late, early or right on time?

Early to right on time. Being late annoys me. It always has. I think that’s born out of a mother who was a supervisor most of my formative years. She constantly complained about late employees, and she would tell me, “Whatever you do, don’t be late!” If I do arrive late somewhere, I get pissy.

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

Yes, I am. My personal and professional lives are on track. I’m not writing full time yet, so when I get there, I’ll be ecstatic!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

That’s an easy one. Provincetown, Massachusetts. My husband and I have been vacationing there in the summer for the past six years. Not only do we have a blast when we are there, but we have met some of the greatest people in P-town. We’ve made friends with guys from all over the country as well as with the Townies who live there year round. It’s truly a magical place for us.

What do you think would be the hardest thing for you to give up on?

Myself. I’ve been a loner for most of my life. I didn’t have many friends, and I learned how to rely upon myself to get through whatever I was facing. If I ever gave up on myself, I would be completely devastated.
Author: Jacob Z. Flores
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Genre: Contemporary m/m/m romance
Release Date: October 15, 2012
What inspired the story?
I got the idea for 3 about six years before I actually wrote it. When my husband and I first vacationed in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the gentleman who picked us up at the airport told us he was a part of a trio.
Needless to say, we were surprised. We’d never met anyone who was in a committed relationship with two other people. We’d heard about such relationships in fiction and film, but never dreamed we’d meet one in real life. Well, maybe if we traveled to Utah.
After meeting the other two men as well as other trios, I started thinking: just how does such a thing happen? The result was 3.
“I think someone’s growing chicken wings,” Xavier said, clucking like a chicken.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Justin asked as his mind once again returned to the present. The DJ was spinning the latest mix of “We Like to Party” by the Vengaboys, and the gays were tearing it up on the dance floor. “And I’m no chicken.”
“Then go pick him up.”
“Pick who up?” Justin asked, aggravated. “Are you blind to how many people are here?”
Xavier laughed and took another gulp of his beer. “I’ll give you one minute to do it before I go get him and bring him to you. Which, as you know, is a penalty, punishable by—”
“Two tequila shots, I know,” Justin said, cutting him off. “Will you just point him out to me? And be more specific than ‘walking through the door’.”
“He’s the Mexican leaning against the wall on the right.”
“Really?” Justin asked. “Mexican is being specific? We live in San An-fucking-tonio!”
Xavier laughed like a fifth grader at recess, something he did whenever he teased Justin, which meant he heard the snicker on a daily basis. “He’s wearing a black muscle shirt and acid-wash jeans. Thick black hair. He’s also wearing a puka shell necklace that all the fags are wearing these days.”
Justin scanned the crowd and saw him, leaning against the far wall with a pink Cape Cod in his hand. He was muscular and rugged, and way out of Justin’s league. Well-sculpted arms and shoulders framed the black shirt. Even at a relaxed stance, his biceps and triceps were clearly defined. Justin hated him for that. He had been working on his arms for months and had yet to develop such muscle tone.
The muscle shirt also clung to his body as if the fabric was wet, and it revealed an absence of love handles on his tightly packed form. Small, perky nipples poked out from the cloth, and the shirt’s fabric ended about an inch before the jeans began. A treasure trail of hair started at his navel and disappeared beneath the waistband of the jeans. Just below the waistband was a package ready to be delivered.
“Do you see Puka Shell Boy?” Xavier asked.
“Yup,” was all Justin could say.
“Then go get him.”
Justin swallowed hard. This wasn’t going to end well. The image of a B-52 going down in flames flashed before him.
Then he noticed Puka Shell Boy’s friend.
His friend was a few inches taller than both Puka Shell Boy and Justin. If he had to guess, he would put him at almost six feet tall. Sandy-blond hair lay perfectly manicured and parted to the left. Longer strands of hair curled inward at his cheekbones and lightly kissed the most unbelievable alabaster skin Justin had ever seen. His skin looked smoother than silk, as if a sculptor had spent hours chiseling the precious stone into perfection. Draping his skin was a green short-sleeve button-down, neatly tucked into his dark-blue denim jeans. The shirt was fitted but not painted on him like Puka Shell Boy. His lean body resembled a dedicated runner and was neither waifish nor frail.
Then Justin noticed his eyes. Dark-green tinted eyes decorated his features, magically cutting through the dimly lit bar and outshining the sparkling disco ball. They weren’t a green he had seen before. He had seen light green and even olive green eyes, but these eyes looked to be made of jade. They were a deeper, richer green hue than he had ever seen before in his life. They looked exotic and expensive, found only in jewelry from a faraway Asian country like China or Japan.
They were breathtaking. Justin didn’t understand how people were walking by him and not staring into those eyes. He could stare at them for the rest of the night.
“What’s the matter with you?” Xavier asked. “You’re standing there with your mouth open like a fucking retard.”
“He’s so beautiful.”
“No shit!” Xavier exclaimed. “Think of him as my New Year’s present to you. You just have to close the deal.” Xavier put his arm around Justin’s neck, Xavier’s sign of friendship and love. “By the end of the night, Puka Shell Boy will be on his back looking up at you, or you know, looking down at you on your back.” Xavier then pushed Justin forward. “Now, hurry up. It’s almost midnight.”
Justin didn’t know what came over him. All it took was a simple shove, and he was crossing the room toward the stranger with the perfect skin and the amazing green eyes. He felt drawn to him, as if he were caught in an unbreakable gravitational field.
Puka Shell Boy noticed Justin coming first. He elbowed his green-eyed friend and flashed a disinterested grin, most likely thinking Justin was coming to talk to him. He wasn’t. Puka Shell Boy no longer existed in his world.
As he approached, the crowds around him got louder. Apparently, the stroke of midnight was approaching. Someone was speaking on a microphone, most likely the drag queen hostess for the night’s festivities, but he couldn’t make out what she was saying. All he could see were the green eyes and the white skin pulling at him like the moon pulls on the ocean.
“Ten, nine, eight…”
Closer still he drew, passing by couples with their arms around each other, preparing for their New Year’s kiss.
“… seven, six, five, four…”
Six feet from the most beautiful man he had ever seen, Justin found he was holding his breath. He had to remind himself to breathe for fear that he would pass out only a few feet away from his intended. Up close, his eyes were more radiant than from across the room. Flecks of gold glinted within the green irises.
“… three, two…”
Then he was standing before him. Puka Shell Boy leaned next to his friend, amazed that he wasn’t the object of Justin’s attention. He whispered something in his friend’s ear, but his friend wasn’t paying attention. He, too, was staring straight at Justin.
“… one ….”
Justin reached up and put his left hand around the green-eyed beauty’s neck. Pulling his head toward him, Justin crossed the remainder of the distance.
Their lips met, and the world suddenly came crashing back to life. Noisemakers exploded throughout the club. People were yelling “Happy New Year,” and confetti and glitter were tossed about. The DJ began playing “Auld Lang Syne.”
Through the noise, the revelry, and the singing, the two never stopped kissing. Their tongues jostled in each other’s mouths as they each inhaled the other’s hot passionate breaths.
Never had Justin been more excited about a new year.
Second novel (The Gifted One) has been accepted by Dreamspinner
Where can we find your website?
You can find me at