The other day I sent out my newsletter. In between writing projects, I’ve been trying to build my “platform,” as they call it in the writing world, which is just a solid list of people who want to hear from me, in a private email, about my writing.
In my exclusive newsletter, I share with you more information than I do on this blog. For instance, personal tidbits, updates on projects I’m working on and free stories. I actually have a lot of fun writing it.
BLOG SUBSCRIPTION VS. NEWSLETTER MAILING LIST
Some people confuse subscribing to this blog as “being on the list.” Not so.
If you didn’t get an email from me with pictures from my dolphin tour or of Bandit nursing his torn ligament (the poor baby) then you’re not on my list. You can get on it by adding your email here or clicking the Become Rick’s Fan button on the upper-right of this page.
DON’T READ IN THE CLOSET CONTEST
Over the next couple of months I’ll be working on a story I was awarded as part of the Don’t Read in the Closet 2014 writing event. Email subscribes will get first dibs on its progress. I’ll be writing a piece based off a really funny photo submitted by one of the group’s members. I don’t want to share too much yet. But I’m excited about it.
HAPPY ALMOST SPRING!
To welcome in daylight savings and the new spring to come, I’m offering the following:
- My first book Not Sure Boys is now available for $.99.
- And on Sunday, March 9th Painting with Wine will be available for FREE all day.
Consider this my little pre-spring gift to you.
If you’ve read either book, I ask that you please write a review on Amazon.com. This is one of the most powerful ways indie pub books can get exposure. You can write a review for Not Sure Boys by clicking here. And you can write a review for Painting with Wine by clicking here. Once on the book’s page, you just scroll down to the Write a customer review button.
Jasinda Wilder is an inspiration to a lot of Indie authors. She and her husband write contemporary romance novels. I found it interesting to learn that they met in bible study and then wound up writing erotic stories like Big Girls Do It Better. Last I heard she was making about $100,000…a month! Her newer books make the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists . You go girlfriend!
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Painting with Wine will be available for FREE February 14th and February 15th on Amazon.
So make this valentine yours–or for yours!–now.
When I first wrote Painting with Wine, I wrestled with not only how far to take the explicit content—that scene in the wine cellar is a doozie—but also with the fear of having a stigma as an erotic writer.
At one point, I toyed with writing it under a pen name. But then I decided, f*ck that! I want to be real. I want to explore extremes in my writing. I’m not going to hide behind a cloak of morality just because some of the material may offend or is only suitable for adults. Being sexual is part of life. As a writer, I want to depict life as accurately as possible. Whether your gay or straight, having a little “sexy time” is par for the course—well, hopefully!
On that note, I’m excited to say that another one of my stories—which is far sexier than Painting with Wine ever thought of being!—just got accepted for the Juicy Bits anthology at Dreamspinner Press. If you think Painting with Wine is explicit then Never Kiss—a story about an out of work consultant who turns to Internet porn to make a living—will straighten out your perm.
It’s Not All About Sex Though
Sex is only a part of the story. Never Kiss, for instance, is about a man who is down on his luck and in order to make some fast money turns to a seedier side of life. In this world, Tony, the main character, struggles to find love. He gets straight guys off, films it and posts the act to his web site.
In this story, I wanted to get across the conflict that some people have in doing something just for the money. Turning to porn may be an extreme example—stories are often best told and absorbed from the outer edges. But you may be able to relate if you’re stuck in a dead end office job, for instance. To Tony, kissing means you care. And he never kisses his clients.
The Other Work in Progress is Not So Graphic
Then there’s a swing to the pendulum.
On Sunday, I wrote the final chapter to my work in progress, which I’m calling Tim on Broadway. It’s not as explicit as the stories I mentioned above; it doesn’t have to be—the story doesn’t call for it. There is some “sexy time” but it’s much more subtle and not as important to the plot.
Tim on Broadway is about an overweight gay guy in his late twenties who is pretty much a virgin—pretty much, because there was this one time he bought a go-go boy in Las Vegas yet didn’t go all the way. Tim is also obsessed with divas and his favorite one, Carolyn Sohier, is giving a concert in Bar Harbor, Maine that he’ll do just about anything to go to. However, Tim has some issues that he must overcome in order to get there.
Sex When It’s Called For
In Painting with Wine, Jon and Richard’s lack of seeing each other for so long has to have a strong climax—no pun intended—when they first reconnect. In Never Kiss, Tony’s career is in Internet porn. Enough said! As these stories unfold we learn that the character’s struggles—Jon’s submission in letting his ex-husband have his way with him and Tony’s inability to kiss—and their process of dealing with it all is what we like best, not just the hot sex scenes.
Tim on Broadway is about show tunes, New York City and divas. Tim also has a thing for a hot Venezuelan named Javier so there is some sexy time involved. But if you were to rate in on heat index, I don’t think Richard Simmons would need to worry that his hair would suddenly straighten.
Photo Source: RichardSimmons.com
Ah, Richard Simmons and a derivative of the word straight in the same sentence. My life is now complete!
When I first wrote PAINTING WITH WINE, it was for an exercise in Stephen King’s book ON WRITING. My manuscript was just a few short pages. I set it aside for about a year or two and then, as I was going through my old archives, I stumbled upon it. “It’s not bad,” I said. “In fact, with just a few tweaks this thing could be killer!”
I developed Jon, the main character, a bit more. I built upon his attachment to his former husband. And then there’s Mark, Jon’s new boyfriend. It’s a complex dynamic but so is life.
It’s explicit in spots but if you’ve read FIFTY SHADES OF GREY it’s tame by comparison!
A friend of mine, a PhD in American Literature—who also happens to be my development editor and best Beta reader—read it and loved it! In fact, he fell in love with it—especially one of the characters. Through many phone calls he listened to me as I worked out a subtle but very powerful subplot. You’ll have to read it to find out. Let me just say, if you love art (hint: especially a very famous Rembrandt) you will be floored by the ending.
Another thing I love about this book, is it’s quick. People have told me it’s one of those page turners that you quickly consumed.
One reader said, “I was so caught up in it that I finished the book in one go.”
Another claimed, “This is a very thought provoking short novella. It is well written, plotted, and edited.”
If you read it, shoot me an email at rick.bettencourtATgmail.com and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you. And if you don’t read it, shot me an email anyway! I loved to hear from you.
Here’s a little sample to whet your appetite:
“Back door ajar,” welcomed the security system. He punched the code into his keypad and from the display saw the alarm was on battery backup. “The electricity is out.”
The cat slunk between his legs. “What’s going on, Bootsy?” he asked without looking down at her. A shiver went up his spine. But what he felt wasn’t cold. He felt scared. For some unknown reason, he felt as if the blood had just drained from his face and he imagined he looked chalk-white with fear.
He shook his head, trying to pass it off. Flash memory. Yet he thought of that night, now more than five years ago, when Richard lunged at him with the kitchen knife. The blood. Mine or Richard’s? Both. Richard had been so crazed with debt. His psychiatrist had changed his medicine to try to stabilize his mood swings. He hadn’t been sleeping. “He wasn’t himself,” he said in the courtroom, as if that were justification.
He stood in the hallway. “It’s nothing,” he said to the cat, and then out of habit walked over to the kitchen area, flipped on the light switch, and chuckled when nothing happened.
Then in the middle of the kitchen, he stopped. His Doc Martens felt as if they were glued to the stone-tiled floor. Did he really smell the faint scent of Burberry London, Richard’s favorite cologne?
Click picture above or order here to get your copy today.
When I was a kid, the year 2000 seemed so far. I remember my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. McNiff, having us calculate how old we would be in the year 2000. “Fifty-four,” I said. But I was in a class with kids all the same age and somehow they all wound up being much younger in the year 2000.
Math wasn’t my strong suit. I felt like an idiot.
“Now Peter is only going to be thirty-four,” Mrs. McNiff said. “How can he be twenty years younger?”
I looked over at Peter. He was popular and good looking but he didn’t look that much better than me.
I looked at the pencil scratches on my math paper and recalculated my age. “Oh, yeah,” I said. “I think I’ll be thirty-four too.”
“You think?” Mrs. McNiff asked.
Now it’s 2014 (in case you didn’t notice) and I don’t worry about doing the math wrong. (I’ve gotten much better at it. Two and two is five, right?) And 2000 came and went. My thirty-fourth birthday was nothing special.
Today, the future seems to hold more promise than it did at the Welch School in Peabody, Massachusetts in the 70s. For one, I’m not even fifty-four yet. Had I been right, in the sixth grade, I would have cut two decades from my life.
Shakti Gawain says it best…
“Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart truly desires must come to you.”
I didn’t know about the power of thought when I was in the sixth grade, struggling with math and thinking I was the fattest and ugliest thing since Fat Albert went off the air.
As 2014 goes forward, I will be communicate more here, via email. I find it more personal. This isn’t a ploy to get you to sign up for my newsletter. It’s just more efficient for me. I need to focus on my stories, not maintaining a blog, updating Facebook profiles and Tweeting my favorite breakfast cereal every five days. Granted these things are part of the social media world in which we live. And I won’t be giving them up. They have their place and time. But I find it more effective to communicate with those individuals who I know want my communications.
If you want my communications, you can sign up for my email newsletter. It doesn’t cost anything. I don’t want to sound all markety (OK I made that word up. I can. I’m a writer.) But honestly, it is free. And I respect the privacy of your inbox. I too hate waking up to three hundred messages about what I should do and when I should do it.
This is my first post of the year, so happy 2014. May the year bring you riches beyond compare and may you find joy, health and happiness right there in your own backyard.
I am very grateful that Not Sure Boys was nominated for several awards by members of the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads. Voting has begun and is open till the end of the year. You don’t have to be a member of the group to vote. If you’d like to cast a ballot, please do so at this link. Voting in all categories is not required.
The categories for which Not Sure Boys was nominated are as follows:
- Best Debut Book
- Favorite All-Time Author
- Best Title
- Best Cover
- Best Book of the Year
Once again, thank you for your support. And may the blessings of the universe be with you and yours during this Christmas holiday season.
P.S. Here is the link to vote for Not Sure Boys. Remember, you don’t have to vote in every category. You can just pick from those above.
P.S.S. If you haven’t gotten your copy of my latest book, Painting with Wine, please do so. I think you’ll love it! It’s a romantic thriller with a smart and sexy plot.
Have you ever thought of getting back with your ex? Why do we do things we know are not good for us? In Painting with Wine you’ll meet two men who just can’t live without each other.
Despite the intensity of their love, Jon’s and Richard’s relationship was a volatile one, so much so that domestic violence and other criminal behavior sent Richard to jail.
When Jon finds out his former husband has escaped from prison, the quiet life he’s since created in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts—with his new boyfriend and daughter—shatters.
With Richard behind bars for the past five years Jon thought he had moved on. But has he? With Richard back Jon loses control. A darker side emerges and Jon finds himself, once again, addicted to the fatal drug—his ex.
For Richard, working out and warding off the advances of gay prison sex haven’t done much for his mental instability. Will Jon suffer the consequences of Richard’s downfall?
Painting with Wine is a gay-thriller romance set in the cold, dark winter of New England. Let the intensity of this story warm you. It’s a love story gone wrong—and a discovery gone right.
You’ll be shocked by the conclusion.
Painting with Wine is a story about coming to grips with one’s past and doing what is best. It’s a tender yet bold tale of two men and their passion for life, love, and art.
Click here to purchase now. You’ll get a great read. Guaranteed! In fact, if it’s not for you send me an email and I will personally refund your money.
A couple weeks ago, I sat down with my editor, Faith Williams, for an interview. Here is a snippet…
Faith: [In your writing,] do you find yourself pulling details from “real life” or does your imagination rule the roost?
Rick: Well, the truth is a little of both. But that’s too easy of an answer. I was telling my best friend the other night about the thrill I had when, as a kid, reading a Hardy Boys book the author mentioned landing at Logan International Airport. You see, I grew up outside of Boston. When I read that, I remember running to my father. “Dad! Dad! Did you know the Hardy Boys flew into Logan?” It just instantly made everything so real for me. I love, love, love instilling and reading about actual places in fiction—the more facts, the better. Now, reading about Logan may not be all that exciting to you but as a ten-year-old boy recognizing, in print, a place he had actual been—well, that was just riveting. I love Robert B. Parker’s books for this reason. Plus he was—God rest his soul—just amazing with wit and dialogue. In pretty much all my writing, I intersperse specific details about Boston’s North Shore and New England.
For the full interview, check out Faith’s blog here.
Also, I’m about to announce the title of my next book as well as release dates.
Click here now to be added to the list of those in-the-know. You’ll get monthly updates on my latest projects and other personal tidbits—plus a chance at winning a $25 Amazon gift card.
P.S. Don’t forget. Signing up for my monthly email newsletter could win you a $25 Amazon gift card—to help with your Christmas shopping. But sign up now before the slots fill up. So, sign up today.