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Giving and Receiving. I like both. ;)

Published on December 2, 2014 by in Random

Damien_Mander_IAPF

He’s sexy, Australian, a sniper, and is launching a drone to save animals. … I’ll explain later.

Lately I’ve been asking a lot from you guys. I’ve asked you to feed my ego and make my dreams come true. Gee, is that all? Maybe I’ve been too caught up in the current zeitgeist. Thanksgiving is mostly about gorging ourselves on food, Black Friday puts an especially ugly spin on materialism, and Cyber Monday is just as cold as it sounds. I’m relieved then that Giving Tuesday is here. When first starting my life as an author, I promised myself that if I found any success, I would pay it forward. Basically, the better I do financially, the more I try to give to charities. Andreas and I aren’t rich. Not by far, but I think most people in the western world can spare twenty or thirty bucks a month for a good cause. Or occasionally a little bit more. I’ve lost too many loved ones to cancer, both people and pets. It’s truly an atrocious disease, but luckily there are brave people out there searching for cures and better treatments. The Cancer Research Institute awards grants and fellowships to support scientists at leading research universities and clinics around the world. Their funding has helped develop a number of cancer vaccines, treatments that extend lives, and much much more. Today, on Giving Tuesday, donations are being matched dollar for dollar at CRI, meaning the five hundred bucks I scraped together will magically transform into a thousand. That’s pretty cool! People are always looking for ways to double their money. Well, there you go!

Below are some of my other favorite charities. I’m proud to say that Andreas and I manage to give to each of them on a monthly basis. I have you guys to thank for that, because without your support, this wouldn’t be possible. So give yourself a pat on the back too. Please also browse the following charities, and even if you can’t afford to give something today, maybe you could bookmark this page for later reference, or mention some of these causes to friends and family. Some of us have more time than money, and if that’s the case, there are numerous volunteer opportunities in your area. I also encourage people to donate wisely by first consulting sites like Charity Navigator or GiveWell.

Animals AsiaAnimals Asia – Moon bears spend their entire lives in cages so small they can’t move so that their bile can be extracted. The conditions are horrific and the gains purely monetary. AnimalsAsia campaigns to free these animals and gives them new life in beautiful sanctuaries. Stephen Fry was cool enough to narrate a documentary which you can start watching here. Andreas and I were pretty broke when I first learned about this situation. I remember meeting him after work and trying to hold back tears as I explained it all. He simply turned to me and asked how much I wanted to give. I told him, and he said we should make it monthly. And we managed, even back then. Gosh I love that man!

PAWSPAWS – The Performing Animal Welfare Society provides sanctuary for animals who have been the victims of exotic and performing animal trades. Elephants and tigers don’t belong in a circus, performing tricks for our entertainment before being shoved back inside a cage. Imagine them instead romping through open fields, having the time of their lives! Or just watch this adorable video of a PAWS elephant enjoying a mud bath. It might not be as thrilling as seeing an elephant stand on a ball, but I definitely prefer it.

plan-internationalPlan International – I greatly favor charities supporting animals, since they don’t have a voice of their own. Children are very much in the same situation. Plan International works tirelessly to promote children’s rights and to end poverty. You can sponsor a child—like Andreas was eager to do—or donate to specific causes such as their girls campaign, which helps ensure young women get the education they need to live a fulfilling life. There are also urgent appeals, such as one responding to the Ebola crisis. One time donations are also possible, of course.

International_Anti-Poaching_Foundation_LogoInternational Anti Pouching Foundation – Did I mention that I like animals? I do, and while I accept that many animals are tasty and will always be eaten, I’m definitely not down with people killing endangered species just to make a profit. The long-term solution to this problem is very complicated, but for now, someone needs to protect these animals before they are lost completely. Who better than a former sniper who served twelve tours of duty in Iraq? That’s the hot guy in the image at the top of the article. He’s the founder of this charity. Poachers beware! The IAPF empowers park rangers so they can do their job more effectively and reaches out to communities to help raise awareness and change attitudes. They also capture bad guys. And give animals a glass of milk before tucking them in at night. Probably.

 
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You think I’m the breast!

Goodrea's Members Choice NominationOr at least someone was kind enough to nominate me and my books for a number of awards. The M/M Romance Member’s Choice awards are here again, which I adore, since they are decided by the masses. It is a popularity contest, and I think that’s great (even if I don’t win anything!) since it’s most representative of how the readers feel. Even the nominees are chosen by everyday folks, and as you’ll see when visiting the polls, there’s a lot of love out there for this genre. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate authors and stories that they care about. On that note, if you want to send some extra love my way, you’ll find links to the individual categories below. Or the big ol’ master list is right here. You’ll have to login to Goodreads first, and be a member of the M/M Romance Group, which is a great place to talk about your favorite gay books or find new ones to read. And speaking of new stuff to read, the Indiegogo campaign for the Something Like Summer movie is getting really close to 25k. Many thanks to everyone who has chipped in so far. It looks like Something Like Fall is going to happen! I’m so pumped!

Favorite All-Time M/M Series (vote here – The Seasons Series)
Favorite All-Time M/M Author (vote here – You know my name, right?)
Theme ~Best Hurt/Comfort (vote here – Something Like Lightning)
Genre ~Best Contemporary/Mainstream (vote here – Something Like Lightning)
Best Book of the Year (vote here – Something Like Lightning)
Best Long Story (vote here – Something Like Lightning)
Best Coming of Age (vote here – Something Like Lightning or Spring. Oh gosh!)

 
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Something Like Fall – Ben is back!

Benjamin Bentley in Something Like FallThe Seasons series isn’t over! I’ve always been amused by the idea of writing a story to represent fall. Sure, we’ve already tackled autumn, but I kept this loophole in mind, figuring Something Like Fall could be a special story and not a full-fledged book. That time has come. As many of you have already heard, we’re trying to raise funds for the Something Like Summer movie. Private investors are doing what they can, but we definitely don’t have a huge movie studio backing us up with their millions. If we want this movie to be the best it can be, all of us need to chip in. No one is looking for a handout though. There are many rewards to be had, and Something Like Fall could be one of them. The movie producers are hoping to raise $100,000. To help inch us closer, the new story is being offered as a stretch goal. If we can reach $25,000 (We’re already halfway there!) I will write Fall, and everyone who contributes—no matter the amount—will receive an eBook version. The shocking twist? Something Like Fall will be excusive to this campaign. If you want to read the new story—which will include fresh cover art by Andreas—this is the only way. Contributing gets you lots of other cool stuff too. More on that later. Let’s talk about Benjamin Bentley.

Ben is arguably the most important character in the entire series, which makes it weird that his book is the thinnest. Fall, written from his point of view, will help correct that. Just the idea of getting to revisit him makes me want to cry tears of joy. That’s how much I miss Ben. Do you miss him? What about the other guys? Yeah, me too, so let’s do this! I recorded a few videos talking about all the different perks and contribution levels. One is short and sweet. The other long and meandering, which is more my natural style. You’ll find both videos below, and under that, more information about Something Like Fall. When you’re done soaking it all up, please click this link to visit the Indiegogo page. If you can’t afford to contribute, or even if you can, please help spread the word about this campaign. I’ll be pouring my heart into the new story, and I want as many people to read it as possible. Thank you in advance!

Perks! The long version:

Perks! The shorter version:

Something Like Fall PAQ (Probably Asked Questions)

Q. How long will the new story be?

A. As long as it needs to be. I never fluff up my stories with content I don’t feel is important, but let’s face it, my more recent books are a little on the chubby side. I’m calling it a short story for now. If it needs to be a novella, I won’t resist the urge. For right now I’m calling it a short story.

Q. When is it going to be set? After the events of Spring? Before the start of Summer? When when when?!?

A. I have a handful of ideas I like at the moment. I might choose one of them. I might use all of them. So basically, I can’t answer that right now.

Q. Is [Jace/Tim/Jason/Samson/etc.] going to be in it?

A. See the above answer.

Q. I prefer good ol’ tree-killing paper. Isn’t there some way of getting this story in print?

A. Here’s the deal: The stand-alone eBook version of this story is exclusive to this campaign. Someday I might choose to include Something Like Fall in a compilation of short stories or in a special anniversary edition of Something Like Summer. I honestly don’t have plans to do either anytime soon. The next anniversary for Summer is in 2016. What’s more likely is a special edition in 2021, which will mark ten years. If there are any trees left by then, such a thing will come out in print. So yeah, if you’re crazily patient, you’ll find another way to read this story. I’m hoping you’ll choose to support the movie campaign anyway, because I really want to see Ben and Tim kiss.

Q. When will Something Like Fall be released?

A. The summer of 2015 at the latest. That should give me enough time to finish work on Thunder so I can turn my full focus on Fall and give it the attention it deserves.

Q. If you want lots of people to read the new story, why are you making it exclusive? Can’t you put it up for sale after the fundraising campaign is over?

A. I could, but I’m the sort of guy who often intends to support stuff like this. Then I’ll get distracted by a hot guy walking by (usually Andreas), making me forget what I was going to do until it’s too late. But if I heard I needed to act quickly or I’d never see an exclusive episode of Doctor Who or whatever, I’d gnaw off my own foot rather than miss the opportunity. So yeah, I’m trying to motivate you. Is it devious? Probably. Will I make it worth your while? Oh hell yes! It’s worth noting that none of the funds raised will be given to me to write Fall. I’m freely donating my time to this because, like I said, Ben and Tim. Kissing. I gotta see it.

To check out the other perks you’ll get for contributing, please visit the Indiegogo page.

 
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Movie Casting News – Jace and Allison!

Ben Baur as Jace HoldenBen will be Jace in the movie! Uh… Wait, let me try that again. Ben Baur will be playing the role of Jace Holden in the Something Like Summer movie! This pleases me greatly, since he closely resembles the Jace in my mind. He’s a capable actor too. You might have seen Baur in Hunting Season, a racy web series about hooking up with guys, both physically and emotionally. You can watch episode one right here. Isn’t he just adorable? Don’t you just love him already? Isn’t he so totally Jace? Somebody give the man a fortune cookie! Ben Baur has an air of mature wisdom about him, one tempered with a hint of whimsy. This makes him the ideal choice to play Jace. I have no doubt that he’ll slip comfortably into the role and make it his own. I can’t wait to see him in action!

Ajiona Alexus as Allison CrossReady for even more excitement? It pleases me to introduce Allison Cross, played by Ajiona Alexus, who brings multiple talents to the table. Much like Allison, Alexus is personable, bright, and energetic. Talented too. She has already demonstrated her acting prowess by staring in the sitcom The Rickey Smiley Show. She’s also an accomplished singer, but don’t take my word for it. Music will be a key component of the Something Like Summer movie, much like it was in the book. In fact, the new Indiegogo page reveals that seven songs will be commissioned. Worried that the movie will be a musical? Fear not. Tim won’t be waggling his top hat and cane while hopping sideways down the street. What they do have planned for the songs is really clever. Tasteful too. It’s not going to happen without your help though. That Indiegogo campaign I mentioned is raising funds for Ben and Allison’s music, Tim’s paintings, and everything else that goes into making a movie. Naturally there are a number of perks for lending your support, including having dinner with me. Spoiler alert; I drink too much. But I’m a happy drunk, so please head over the Indiegogo page to check out more details of the movie. While there, please peruse the list of perks to see if one of them interests you.

Next up? Tim Wyman. And more episodes of Big Gay Movie, which will explore these new reveals. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look no further than the box below.

 
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Movie news! Meet Benjamin Bentley!

Austin McKenzie is Benjamin BentleyCasting has officially begun on the Something Like Summer movie, and what better place to start than the main character? Austin McKenzie is Benjamin Bentley! In more than one way. Not only will Austin be playing the role of Ben, but he also went to Columbia College in Chicago (like Ben!) and has a lovely singing voice (like Ben!) and has stunned audiences with his on stage performances (like Ben!). I’m also tickled that he shares the name of the town Ben ends up moving to, and that he was the lead role in a production called Spring Awakening. You know I love my seasonal themes! We get a tantalizing glimpse of Austin’s talent in the trailer for that production:

He looks the part to me, and he certainly has enough rave reviews to vouch for his ability. You can learn more about Austin McKenzie in the press release at the official movie site. I also recommend signing up for the newsletter while there. Doing so will ensure you learn who they cast as Tim, Jace, and Allison before anyone else. And hey, come back and see me too. The movie is finally picking up speed, and there will be many exciting details to discuss!

 
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Something Like Lightning is now out!

lightning-releaseBook Five of the Something Like… saga is here! Or should we say Book One of the Storms series? Although really, this new release is Book Two of a story that has already begun. Ugh. Give me a moment to collect my thoughts and I’ll try to explain.

Okay. I think we can all agree that Something Like Spring brought Ben and Tim’s story to a close. I’m not saying we’ll never-ever see them again, but for now, they’re off stage enjoying a life free from drama. So Spring was definitely an ending to a series. And yet, it also introduced us to Jason, William, and of course Kelly, who stars in Something Like Lightning. This means we’ll see a few familiar events through his eyes, so there are undeniable ties between Spring and Lightning. Without giving anything away, even the next book, Thunder, has important connections to Spring. So are we actually looking at a trilogy here, one that already began with Spring? Or perhaps we should cheat and consider Spring a sort of Book Zero. A finale to one series and a prequel to another. I’m not sure if that has ever been done before, namely because other authors are probably better at planning ahead than I am. But hey, the fun of this series has always been hopping into different heads and seeing where that leads us. Maybe there is no true reading order. Maybe, like real life, it’s just a bunch of life stories all tangled up with each other. With that thought in mind, I’m pleased to announce that Book Whatever is officially here. I know we didn’t get the best impression of Kelly the first time around, but I sure enjoyed getting to know him. I hope you’ll have fun with him too, and if not, there’s a rumble of thunder in the distance. We’ll soon be moving on, because this storm is just getting started!

You can find Something Like Lightning at all sorts of places including Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Smashwords. If you’re strapped for cash, the first four chapters are up on the product page. Thank you as always for allowing me to share these strories with you. Happy reading!

 
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