Johnny Murdoc

In a naked appeal for my dollars, Flaunt Magazine has covered their latest issue with James Franco’s

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I just returned from Kansas City. It was a work detour that came out of nowhere. I’m eager to write again. I didn’t have any time to write while I was there. We checked out the wonderful vegan options in town, and bounced around bookstores and comic book stores. I brought home a stack of new books. At one of the comic shops, writer Jason Aaron was just standing around, hanging out. He writes one of my favorite comics, Scalped.
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We got muffins and scones and coffee at Mud Pie, a vegan coffeehouse. We ate Chinese food at The Blue Koi, a restaurant staffed by cute Kansas City hipsters.

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St. Louis has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to feeding vegans.

While I was in Kansas City, I read a novella by Robert McCammon, The Room at the Bottom of the Stairs. It’s collected in a soon-to-be-released collection, The Hunter from the Woodsfrom Subterranean Press.

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The Room at the Bottom of the Stairs tells the story of Michael Gallatin, a British spy who’s tasked with infiltrating Berlin during World War II in order to distract Franziska Luxe, a German journalist, from her mission of exposing traitors within the Third Reich. Gallatin finds himself drawn to Luxe despite her role as a Nazi, and soon the two are caught up in a whirlwind romance. The book deals with the moral and emotional complexity of a damaged man who finds himself enraptured by an (un)questionably evil woman.

I came to McCammon’s work via another book, The Five, but I found that book to be hard to penetrate. While reading about McCammon, and reading his blog (I virtually always research writers and read interviews with them as I read their books.

The Room… caught me off guard. McCammon’s an incredibly talented writer, and the story of Gallatin and Luxe broke my heart; it’s erotic, exciting, and fraught with danger. McCammon beautifully twists between scenes of subterfuge, action, sex and romance in a way that made me care deeply for the characters, and made me want to strive to be a better writer. His language is clear and simple but manages to evoke a dramatic range of emotions and sensations and he presents a poetic view of Berlin as a war-torn city filled with debutantes who will continue the party at any cost. It’s in this backdrop that Gallatin and Luxe can continue their charade as though nothing is wrong between them, between their respective countries and ideologies.

The twist (not a plot twist, or a spoiler) is that Gallatin is a werewolf. He’s the star of McCammon’s earlier novel, The Wolf’s Hour.

That McCammon pulls all of this off in a story about a werewolf fighting Nazis is nothing short of astounding. Even if nothing interests you less than the topic of a werewolf fighting Nazis, I urge you to check it out.

The novella is available as a free download directly from Subterranean Press(scroll down to the bottom of the book description.)

The above illustrations are by Vincent Chong.

publishes DRM-free ebooks, and it’s really similar to why any ebooks you buy from me will always be DRM-free (although I can’t do much about the DRM used by Amazon and B&N, and they make up too substantial a portion of my sales for me to drop them):

Well, here’s a theory about DRM-free that’s widely-held by advocates of DRM-free.

“Don’t treat your customers like criminals.”

That’s true, though it’s not the only reason we do it. Another theory is:

“Make something convenient for folks and they won’t pirate.”

Also true, though also not the only reason we do it.

The deep reason we do it is that we want you to forward the ePub to someone you think will really like it.

It’s not that I trust you not to pirate it—it’s that I trust you to appropriately pirate it!

Because the primary reason folks don’t read a particular book isn’t because it costs money (though for some folks that can be an issue), it’s because it takes time, and brain power, and emotional commitment. And you don’t give those things up lightly. You give them up mostly when a trusted friend advises you to.

Artist Felix D’eon returns from Burning Man and shares an awesome photo:

pretty excited about the ebook. Eah of the stories in it were originally published in an anthology or magazine. I don’t value my “published” work over my “unpublished” work, because those are largely arbitrary designations considering the state of gay erotica publishing, but I do know that these four stories are really damn strong. It will be nice to have the four of them collected and helping me make more money on them.

The mailing list will be solely for announcing new ebooks, stories and essays, deals on ebooks, etc… You can sign up in the right hand column of this site, or right here:

I promise not to span you or abuse your email addresses for nefarious purposes. If you’d signed up on my previous list, you’ll be included. Also, if you’ve provided your email to me when purchasing books, you’ll be added. Don’t worry. You can always remove yourself later.

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Writer Chuck Wendig (whose blog I don’t read but I probably should because people I follow are constantly linking to great posts and essays he writes, like this one on 25 Things You Should Know About Self-Publishing) is releasing a new ebook, and he has a handful of awesome desktop images to help him promote the book, like the following one:

You can access the full-size options at his website by clicking the image above.

I almost feel bad for writing this next bit, as it feels a bit like picking on one of my favorite writers. And don’t get me wrong, Stephen King is one of my favorite writers. However, his new ebook, Mile 81, has some really fucking terrible writing in it. While the story has some genuinely creepy moments in it, and I’m not opposed to the basic concept of King writing about another haunted car (because, honestly, From a Buick 8is one of my favorite King books, as is Christine), it has a handful of things that just rip you right out of the story. Namely, a scene featuring a state trooper who is playing on his iPad while sitting on the side of the road:

“He was playing a Scrabble-like game called Words with Friends, his Internet connection provided by AT&T.”

Are you fucking kidding me? Product placement in the middle of a story? I was suspicious of King’s inclusion of Bing in a previous novella, but calling out AT&T as an Internet provider has no place in the story. Even if King receives no compensation for dropping these mentions (and I can certainly understand occasional references to branded objects), noting the ISP that the trooper is using is just bad writing.

And now, a video of a young, fit guy stretching in the nude:
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r the past three and a half hours as we drove back to St. Louis.

“I didn’t want to stop. It’s late enough as it is. I had to piss, so I had to piss in a bottle.”

 

Neither of us says anything after that. I focus on the road. Davis lights a cigarette and turns up the stereo. We’re listening to crazy preachers. Out here, that’s all that there is, really. Crazy preachers and adult contemporary. We’re leaving Chicago. I have to be at work at eight in the morning. Every minute that I’m driving is a minute that I’m not sleeping.

Davis finishes his cigarette and flicks it out of the window. He slides down in his seat and closes his eyes. The preacher drones on. I listen, but not really. I watch the road, the crazy wild laser shots that zoom down the middle, bright yellow surrounded by darkness. It’s easy to forget that we’re the ones moving, not the world around us. A farm glides by on the left hand side. I look at the stars. Dozens and hundreds of stars are visible now that I can’t see in the city. When I was in elementary school we learned about light pollution. I remember thinking “That’s not really pollution.” Now I live in a city, though, and half of the stars are invisible to me. Light pollution may not be smog, but it’s another form of sadness that steals beauty from the world.

On the radio, the preacher says “The church has gone a’ whorin’!” I laugh. Davis giggles. “Oh, shit,” Davis says. We try to hear more but the station isn’t coming in well. The preacher is drowned out in static.

Davis wiggles in his seat and reaches down to readjust himself. I scan through radio stations. I find an oldies station that’s coming in well enough. We catch the tail end of “Mr. Blue Sky” and then a commercial comes on for tractor equipment. I look at another farmhouse and think about what it must be like to grow up in the middle of nowhere. Everything in Illinois is flat. Out here, there are only farms and gas stations. Churches and oldies stations. People out here must just pray and fuck and drive around.

Davis says “Man, you brought this on yourself.”

I start to ask him what he means, but Davis is already pulling his zipper down again. “I don’t have another bottle,” I tell him.

More than once, the makers of the upcoming Spider-man film have noted the work that went into obscuring Andrew Garfield’s junk while he’s in costume. It’s a weird publicity play where they want to note that Garfield has a big dick, but that you won’t be seeing it in his costume. It would appear that the makers of the new Superman film, starring Henry Cavill, are not going to such great lengths to deny that Superman has a substantial bulge.

Sunday, my partner and I are going kayaking. We tried to arrange to go with friends but it looks like we’re going alone and I’m kind of happy about it. As much as we go floating, we’ve yet to do it as just the two of us, and I think that winding our way down a river—one that we’ve never floated on—could be a lovely day. I am happy to have all of the people in my life that I do but I think that I need to spend more time alone with him.

And, because I promised more videos of the hot guy from the other day, I provide you with yet another of him jerking off below the cut. This time, wearing cute Darth Vader underwear:

Apparently, there’s this show called Wilfred about a guy who sees a dog as a man in a dog suit. The show looks intriguing. More importantly, the promo image nearly gave me wood. (And that’s not a pun.)

Tom Sanfield by photographer Joe Lally. Somehow, the Coke Zero makes the picture hotter.

I want to bury my face in his pubic hair.

Thanks to The Stranger’s SLOG, I caught the above work by artist Storm Tharp. So fucking wonderful. This is the kind of art I would hang on my wall, in the living room for everyone to see. If you live in Seattle, Tharp’s work will be showing at the James Harris Gallery September 2nd – October 8th. Wish I could see them in person.

I’ve had my share of straight guys. Maybe I’ve had my fill.I bagged the majority during my college years, that magical time when sexual identity is as addled and messy as a frat boy after his third keg stand. One straight drunk buddy made out with me at a party then invited me to his bedroom to trade blowjobs. Another got so horny looking at straight porn he whacked me off and let me return the favor.

And I’ve had others since then. Dalliances in secluded park paths and in the backrooms of adult bookstores, those playgrounds of the minivan-and-wedding-band set. Hookups with masc, discreet Internet-personals advertisers who need to be fucked quick before the gf gets home.

All of them “straight,” though in varying degrees of believability. My penchant for straight guys has come through most strongly in my writing, and I’m aware of the inherent irony in an oeuvre of gay porn about straight guys. I’ve joked that my characters think they’re straight but are actually bisexual; these days I use the term “straight-ish” to describe them. It’s something of a cop out but it serves my purposes. I’m certainly interested in the intersection of sexual identity and behavior, but I prefer to leave those conversations to the queer theorists (who need something to talk about).

On Sunday, I spent hours catching up on True Blood, which means I’ve spent the past few days thinking about Joe Manganiello, Sam Trammell, and Marshall Allman’s hot, naked bodies:

Thanks to SuperheroFan for the caps.

blog just turns into me posting gay-ish Steve Rogers/Captain America pics

This by the artist Fukss.

I’ve been following photographer Marlen Boro for awhile; his Male Boudoirwebsite has dozens of wonderful slideshows of his erotic photo shoots. These are from a series called “Kent Has a Secret Weapon“

Dream Boy tells the story of Nathan and Roy. Nathan’s troubled family relocates to a new home on Roy’s family farm. Nathan is smart, shy and slight. Roy is two years older, strong and popular. He is pulled gravitationally toward Nathan. The first half of the book is written with devastating beauty; the language manages to be clear and precise while at the same time dreamy and incantatory.

The second half of Dream Boy takes us to a haunted house, and the book becomes a ghost story. This is a brilliant, unexpected turn, and Dream Boy is like no other book I’ve ever read. I won’t say too much more here, because you must read this book, but I will say that Grimsley realizes literature is not bound to the laws of the physical world, and he makes the most of this. And though he writes about those on the margins, he is an inventive, masterful writer deserving of a universal audience.

I loved Dream Boy when I read it, hell, ten or twelve years ago. It disappoints me a little to note that it becomes a ghost story, as I knew nothing about that aspect of the book until I actually made it that far into the story. The shift does nothing to lessen the book’s impact, though, and I highly recommend it.