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Something Like Thunder

Have you read them all?

Books by Jay Bell
Don't let your collection be incomplete! Check out this comprehensive list of Jay Bell's short stories and novels.

We’re headed to the cinema!

Something Like Summer movie
Ben and Tim on the big screen! Find the latest news about the Something Like Summer movie at the official site.

A seductive whisper…

Jay Bell audiobooks
Many of the Something Like... books are now available on audio. You can listen to free chapters right here!

Christmas beer and holiday cheer!

Nothing says “holidays” like getting hammered, and nothing says “beer” like Germany. That the two should be combined was inevitable. Germany isn’t big on fleeting food gimmicks, but come Christmas they loosen the lederhosen and break out a variety of holiday themed products. Considering that they already make beer for dogs and champagne for children, I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover Weihnachtsbier, a special beer just for Christmas time. No wonder Santa Claus visits here a day early!

Before trying it, I was sure Weihnachtsbier would taste like cinnamon, since that seems to be the local holiday flavor. Instead, Christmas beer is about percentages more than taste. While the average beer might contain between 4-5% of alcohol, Christmas beer usually clocks in at 5.5% percent and higher. The idea, I suppose, is to get just a little warmer during the cold season.

Wine has its own Christmas twist at this time of year. Glühwein, or “glow wine” because of the effect it has on your cheeks, is served in the winter months. This mulled wine is especially porpular at outdoor Christmas markets. Glühwein is made from cheap red wine enhanced with cinnamon, oranges, clover, and sugar. All of this is heated together, and is an absolute treat when strolling the market stalls in the snow. I made a video last year of our local Christmas market, which is a bit unique since it has a medieval theme as well. That adds hot honey mead and smoked beer to the list of seasonal drinks. You can see the Christmas market in part of my doofy video below.

However you celebrate the holidays, and even if you choose not to, I wish you a warm and loving time with friends and family, and the very best start possible in the new year.

 
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Brand Nude Cover Art!

Something Like Summer Cover ArtBehold! The cover art for my second novel, Something Like Summer. Imagine, if you will, that you spent hours and hours working on a piece of art. You do this in your free time, since you have a fulltime job and often work ten-hour days. When you are finally done slaving over your art, some skinny bastard walks into the room, says he loves what you’ve done, and then rattles off a list of changes that need to be made. That unfortunate artist is Andreas, so please pause for a moment to appreciate the fruit of his labors, because I honestly can’t afford to pay the poor guy in anything but foot massages and inexpertly cooked meals.

The cover, as you can tell from the wide format, is wrap around, and the feel is much different when holding a physical copy. The two characters on the front (aka the right hand side) seem as though they are just beginning their journey, while the lone figure on the back of the novel is staring off into the sunset, perhaps reflecting on the past or even dreaming of the future.

I could rant about this all day, but the bottom line is that I love it. The colors really pop on the screen, but there’s an added warmth in the printed version too. The gay genre is starting to see more and more illustrated covers, rather than clumsy stock photography mash-ups, and I’m extremely proud to add Andreas’s latest effort to the mix.

 
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Get high creatively!

Published on November 30, 2010 by in Books

Jay Bell's first and last paintingAnd I don’t mean making a bong out of a Barbie doll, although that would be impressive. What I’m saying is that creating can be an incredible, endorphin filled rush. Today marks the end of National Novel Writing Month, a program that encourages people to write as much as they can in a thirty day period. The sentiment is nice, but unless you are independently wealthy or retired, you probably don’t have much time to be creative. Full time jobs, house work, and social obligations all get in the way, so slow and steady is the only realistic way to create these days. If you didn’t meet the 50k word goal this month, don’t sweat it. No professional author writes an entire book in just a month. Well, a couple do, but nobody likes them. The rest of us desperately scribble down lines in those rare and increasingly less common quiet moments in life.

Or maybe you found that writing isn’t your cup of tea. That’s fine, but why not try something different next month? You could paint, sculpt, freestyle rap, get hardcore about crafts, or clumsily pluck an instrument of your choice. The philosophy behind Novel Writing Month is to try without worrying about the quality of what you are producing. I support this idea. Few of us will ever make a living being creative (myself included) so creating for the sheer joy of it should be the only goal. Others appreciating what you’ve made is just a bonus. Trust me when I say that completing something you’ve made all by your lonesome is leagues more gratifying than playing zombie in front of the television night after night. In the spirit of trying something new, the image accompanying this article is the one and only painting I’ve ever painted. It’s not very good, but it’s mine, and I had a great time sipping wine and pretending to be a snotty, world famous artist while creating it.

 
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I’ve got my own logo!

Published on November 20, 2010 by in Books

Jay Bell Books LogoNow I just need my own cable TV channel. JTV? Nah, I’m sticking to books. While working on the cover for Something Like Summer, Andreas decided that I needed my own logo. Sort of like how Penguin Books has the penguin or Tor has the mountain on the book’s spine. As usual, I seduced Andreas with a couple of beers, and what you see to the left is what we came up with.

Fool Tarot CardWhat does it mean? Well, the idea comes from Tarot cards, the very first of which is the Fool. As you can see from the card, we have someone setting out on a new adventure, a pack over one shoulder and their loyal dog at their side. This is exactly what the card represents, the endless potential of that first day where any destination can be chosen and anything can happen. The Fool, perhaps dreaming of these possibilities, doesn’t realize he’s about to step off a cliff. Peril and mistakes are at the heart of any good story, so this seems very appropriate to me. The number of this particular Tarot card is zero, which my Dad taught me to draw a slash through to distinguish it from an O. This brings us full circle, if you’ll pardon the pun. In the logo Andreas designed, we have a zero (a fool) carrying his pack and about to start a new voyage, and this is exactly what happens when each of us starts a new book. Now I just need to figure out where to put the tattoo…

 
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The cover art that never was…

Gay Cover Art PaintingThe release of my next book is inching ever closer! Something Like Summer is a coming of age novel that should be out January of next year. All that remains to be done is proofreading by test readers to catch the last of those typos, and the cover art, which Andreas has been diligently working on. I thought the cover art would be a breeze since it has been done for twelve years now. Sort of. Andreas was organizing his art drawer one day when I spotted a painting I’d never seen before. I instantly fell in love with the image, which he had created a few years before we met each other. I’m crazy for grays and blues, so the mix of colors appealed to me, not to mention the sexy male figure with one hand down his pants. Something Like Summer is a sexy novel (although tasteful and heartfelt too) and I felt this image would sell that point.

Andreas tried and tried to reshape his long forgotten painting into being the cover of a book. Despite his best efforts, it just wasn’t clicking. One big obstacle was the limited amount of empty space left for the title. Even after some creative solutions it still didn’t look quite right. As much as I love it, this painting just wasn’t meant to be a book cover. I found the courage to ask Andreas to start over from scratch, and like a rather artistic trooper, he came up with something amazing. I’m not quite ready to reveal it yet, as there are still some small changes to be made, but I’m already glad the above image didn’t work out. I still love this painting, but from now on I’ll simply enjoy it for what it is.

 
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Hey! Are you pooping? Hello?

This isn't my toilet, but I wish it was.The Germans have the strangest habit that drives me absolutely nuts. They close the bathroom door. Yeah, okay, we all close the bathroom door. Hopefully. But the Germans close it when they’re not even in there. The biggest drawback to this is not knowing if the room is occupied. You either have to walk through the house and do a head count, or knock on the door. This also increases the odds of someone knocking on the door when you’re in there, an experience that nobody enjoys.

My in-laws have an interesting solution this predicament. Their bathroom door is made entirely of glass. Thankfully the glass is frosted, but since the bathroom is between the living room and kitchen, this means you constantly see ghostly figures lurking beyond the door as you are trying to get business done. Even better, there’s a huge window next to the toilet which overlooks the backyard and main entrance to the house. My in-laws have generously provided a wispy curtain the size of a Kleenex for privacy. Whenever I’m there, I always sneak to the upstairs bathroom with the nice solid door… that usually gets knocked on because no is sure if I’m there or not.

 
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