Tag Archives: Damon Suede

GayRomLit Retreat

Barbara Vey -- November 6th, 2013

DS-Spring12 200

Today’s Cub Reporter is Damon Suede.  Damon is the author of the brand new contemporary Bad Idea and his previous novel, Hot Head was #1 in the gay romance genre on Amazon for six straight months. He grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. 

I’ve just come back from the most fabulous con you’ve never heard of. 



The GayRomLit Retreat just unleashed its third phenomenal year to a sold-out crowd in Atlanta. And I don’t say sold-out lightly: author spaces for the weekend were snapped up in under six minutes and the entire con was sold out in less than a week…with a waitlist that grew into the hundreds as the retreat approached. GRL has quickly become a must-attend event for a burgeoning community of readers and writers…and gained a rep as one of the most fabulous cons of the year.


T.A. Chase, Devon Rhodes

T.A. Chase, Devon Rhodes


GayRomLit describes itself as a gathering for the folks who create and celebrate LGBT romance, and boy is it. In the past few years, gay romance has enjoyed an explosive groundswell in the romance genre and GRL 2013 reflected every bit of that affection, acceptance, and warmth. Events ran the gamut: soirees from black tie soirees to black light disco, porn star jams to tearstained marriage proposals. A blowout across the board!


For the first time at GRL, things kicked off Wednesday with a pre-retreat convention for writers to kick off the week with some networking and craft-building for the author-types. Co-sponsored by the Rainbow Romance Writers, RWA’s chapter for authors of LGBT romance, the GRL Writers Workshop featured over twenty instructors from within the RRW chapter offering panels and workshops on craft, strategy, and professional development. The editor/agent pitch appointments proved a complete slamdunk and more than few deals got done that day. We broke midday for a groovy keynote luncheon by K.A. Mitchell and wrapped up with a poolside cocktail party in the evening. Established and budding authors alike lauded the workshop as fantastic addition to both GRL and the LGBT romance community; plans are already in the works to bring the workshop back, bigger and better, next year.


photo by Madison Parker IMG_2265

Thursday morning, GRL kicked off in earnest. Fans and authors had flown in from all over the world (Australia, Germany, Belgium, Brazil) to join the LGBT romance tribe. By day the GRL Retreat featured author readings, question and answer sessions, and panels focused on subgenres to answer questions from PG to NC-17. The publishers opened up a book room that broke sales records; Dreamspinner alone sold 1200+ books in a couple days. The GRL fun fair offered everything from author scrapbooking to a salacious sidewalk artshow. And of course, the nights featured a variety of parties to satisfy almost any taste.

Gyn Hobbs

Gyn Hobbs (all pictures by Madison Parker)

GRL has a reputation for unforgettable parties and this year we raised the bar. The Thursday night Juke Joint (hosted by Wilde City, Stiff Rain, and Extasy) had a blacklight theme, and about two-thirds of the attendees came in an array of fluorescent costumes and wigs. Friday night was elegant evening wear for Dreamspinner’s Enchanted Evening, and Saturday was Samhain’s sunset cocktails followed by Totally Bound’s masquerade extravaganza, where GRLers got their ghoul on. All three nights featured an after-party in a private bar where, true to GRL spirit, DJs sprang spontaneously out of the crowd and kept people jumping and bumping. The whole GRL tribe generated so much wacky fun energy that each night the go-go dancers or jazz singers or MCs would put on their street clothes and join us for the rest of the night just to hang out till the wee hours.

That’s the thing: a singular openness and warmth drives GayRomLit. No surprises there… LGBT romance breaks down walls, closets, and expectations on the page, and that freedom and acceptance carries over to the general shenanigans whenever we come together as a community. So much of the GRL event is about family and the friendly tribe that seems to spring up around these books, and that carried over into real world contributions.

 Heather Roesberry, Seymour Janes

Heather Roesberry, Seymour Janes

Elisa Rolle, longtime LGBT reviewer and blogger, partnered with the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter to raise over $6000 for two separate charities through her awards contest, and the checks were signed on the ground in Atlanta. One GRL attendee collected knitwear for homeless LGBT youth. Author J.P. Barnaby hosted a phenomenal bodypainting event that raised more money for a local shelter.

As dazzling as the entertainment is each year at GRL, my favorite moments come in the little unexpected meetings and intersections that happen at random. Putting names to faces for the first time, discovering shared favorites or crazy coincidences. Some of my highlights:

  • watching Joyfully Jay greet a PACKED room of excited first-timers for her annual newbie meet-n-greet.
  • sharing a sweaty dance with Devon Rhodes which always gets my convention started right.
  • shamelessly fanboy-ing genre favorite Jordan Castillo Price who proved to be more gracious, gorgeous and brilliant than I could have hoped.
  • getting to eat and dance and joke with the RRW members I only get to see a few times a year. 
  • one of my fans surprising me with a spectacular tattoo from one of my book covers.
  • seeing YA author Michael Chulsky arrive GRL2013 as a GRL virgin and leave with a bushel of new fans and inspirations for about a dozen new projects.


Bottom Line:  If you read LGBT romance then you need to come to Chicago next year for GayRomLit 2014. And if you don’t read LGBT romance, what are you waiting for?

Winner of Southern Magic Giveaway is Jillian Mick.

Winners of New Releases Tuesday are:

Harlequin - Collen C., Kathy Setter, Barbara, Kathy K., Kim

Please email Anna_Robinson @harlequin.ca with BHB winner in the subject line.  Include your mailing address.

Emily March’s Miracle RoadDina S., Blurbette Heidi, Nancy Northcott, Loretta Rogers, Rebecca C., Amy R., Nicole H., Cindy Ulrich, Susan Kay L., M. Bourke, cyclops8, Kari, Marcy Shuler, Elena L., pjpuppymom

Please email barbaravey @gmail.com with BHB winner in the subject line.  Include your mailing address.

New Releases Tuesday!

Barbara Vey -- October 22nd, 2013

Everyone loves new books and we’ve got quite the list for today.  Take a look for some fab reads to add to your TBR pile.

10-22-13BadIdea-DamonSuede150px10-21-13Love Letters Volume 610-21-13TasteOfPassion final







Bad Idea by Damon Suede www.DamonSuede.com (Dreamspinner Press)

Love Letters Volumes 6: Cowboys Command by Ginny Glass, Maggie Wells, Christina Thacher, Emily Cale (Carina Press)

Taste of Passion by Renae Jones (Carina Press)

10-21-13Death Bringer final10-22-13Running Back10-22-13A Mavericj Under the Mistletoe








Death Bringer by Kate Pearce (Carina Press)

Running Back by Allison Parr (Carina Press)

A Maverick under the Mistletoe by Brenda Harlen (Harlequin)

10-22-13What The Bride Didn't Know10-22-13Highlander's Dangerous Temptation 10-22-13His Until Midnight






His Until Midnight by Nikki Logan (Harlequin)

What the Bride Didn’t Know by Kelly Hunter (Harlequin)

The Highlander’s Dangerous Temptation by Terri Brisbin (Harlequin)

10-22-13Driving Her Wild10-22-13The Consequences of That Night10-22-13Runaway Attraction






Runaway Attraction by Farrah Rochon (Harlequin)

Driving Her Wild by Meg Maguire  (Harlequin)

The Consequences of That Night by Jennie Lucas (Harlequin)

10-22-13Rebecca's Christmas Gift10-22-13Christmas at Cardwell Ranch10-22-13Million Dollar Christmas Proposal






Million Dollar Christmas Proposal by Lucy Monroe (Harlequin)

Rebecca’s Christmas Gift by Emma Miller (Harlequin)

Christmas at Cardwell Ranch by B.J. Daniels (Harlequin)

10-22-13sorensen_TemptationOfLilaAndEthan_TPSome Kind of Wonderful 10-22-13Up To The Challenge Cover 150






Up To The Challenge by Terri Osburn  (Montlake)

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan by Jessica Sorensen (Forever, E-Book)

SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL by Beth Ciotta e-novella (St. Martin’s Press)

Winter's HeatMidnight's Promisekiss the enemy





WINTER’S HEAT by Zoe Archer e-novella (St. Martin’s Press)
MIDNIGHT’S PROMISE: Part 3 by Donna Grant Full book: 10/29 e-serial (St. Martin’s Press)

Kiss the Enemy by Dianna Love (Silver Hawk Press)

Bottom Line:  I love Tuesdays.

And the Author Recommends…

Barbara Vey -- September 19th, 2013


People have been posting on Twitter and Facebook that they have successfully listened to the For the Love of Romance webcast.  Here’s the link they give.  PW has not officially notified me that it is ready and when I tried to listen I only heard part of the audio.  Please listen when you have time and let me know if it works for you.  I’d love to hear your feedback.  What you liked, what you’d want to hear in future webcasts.

And now, here’s what the authors are recommending.


.Redeeming Love

Carla Neggers recommends COLD by Stella Cameron (thriller)

Debbie Kaufman highly recommends her all-time favorite inspirational story, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.



Every Breath She Takes

The Wolf Gift.Pamela Clare recommends Every Breath She Takes By Norah Wilson (romantic suspense)

Anne Elizabeth recommends Anne Rice’s The Wolf Gift – Rice’s hero is flawed and perfect in so many wonderful ways and speaks to the primal nature of man and the beast. I’m looking forward to the next book.





Jade Lee recommends Hot Head by Damon Suede (M/M romance)

Jennifer Jakes recommends Silverhawk by Barbara Bettis.  (Historical Romance) It’s one of my fave books ever and I would LOVE to recommend her book.



DickCover17877304KT Grant recommends Take Care, Sara by Lindy Zant. This book will tear at your heart, but in a good way. Don’t be surprised as you read, you find a lump in your throat and tear up at certain points.

Holly Jacobs recomments How to Write a Dick by Colleen Collins/Shaun Kaufman,   This is a fantastic read for writers, and for people who just want to know how a detective really works. (Nonfiction)

Authors can send their recommendations to maggiemaepw@gmail.com

Bottom Line:  Ok, I’ve got to admit the title How to Write a Dick made me think of a Dear John letter but the guy is named Dick.  I need more coffee.





Damon Suede Goes Looking for Tropes

Barbara Vey -- September 13th, 2013

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“Why do romance readers and writers find tropes so compelling?”  This question was posed by author Damon Suede on the Romance University blog the other day.  My question is, what the heck is a trope?

Damon explains, “Merriam-Webster defines a trope as “a common or overused theme or device: cliché,” but in the romance genre the term has evolved to cover the constellation of formulaic themes that “tag” a story…thematic patterns, archetypes, and story hooks which draw audiences inexorably to certain types of narrative. These can range from a plot device as convoluted as a secret baby to the open-ended friends-to-lovers chestnut. Tropes spring from our most primitive storytelling impulses, and those ancient roots are the key to their appeal, their power, and their potential.”

We’ve all read them, heard them, repeated them and some of us have written them.  But did you know you were “troping?”  Damon’s detailed explanation, “Romance fiction requires only two carved-in-granite essentials to merit the name: a central relationship that drives the story and a positive outcome.  Real life may be frustrating and uncertain, but genre fiction tells everyone what they can expect before they step inside. At its core, escapism guarantees an entertaining trip and a satisfying destination.”

happilyeverafterWell, I agree there.  I’m all for escapism and absolutely need my “Happily Ever After.”  A lot of readers I know love the guarantee.  Many who don’t want to venture any further than Harlequin Presents tell me it’s because of the comfort they receive from knowing ahead of time how they’ll feel as they are reading it as well as how they’ll feel when they finish.  It’s what’s needed to keep things stable in their lives.

But the most fascinating thing about Damon’s article is his intensive knowledge of mythology.  I’ve always thought the stories horrifying myself.  I mean, Hercules kills his wife and kids, Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother, ewww.  Not my kind of bedtime stories.

I needed to get some answers to burning questions I had straight from the horse’s mouth.  Damon was kind enough join me here today.

BV:  Is the trope issue something that recently came to you or have you been thinking about it for some time?

DS:   Both, in a way. I come from the world of film and theatre, and I have a degree in comparative religion. I’ve always been fascinated by archetypal patterns in narrative. That extends to character types and plot devices. What fascinates me is that these story kernels recur so frequently in ALL cultures. Not in the sense of the “Hero’s Journey” monomyth popularized by Campbell and thence Vogler (HUGE separate convo there!)…but in the sense of basic human relationships and desires we wrestle with as individuals. So this particular post was just something I wrote because Robin Covington thought it sounded cool at RWA in Atlanta, but it came out of 25 years of thinking about plot and character this way. And in the last year, realizing that category titles/tropes act EXACTLY the way myths do in establishing themes and topics for a writer and audience.

BV:  Knowing what you know about mythology, do you analyze every book you read?

DS:  I’ll confess that I do. Again, my day job is film and theatre. I’ve spent over two decades pulling stories apart and analyzing them very quickly because the clock is ticking and production can costs hundreds of thousands of dollars a day.  My media agent would I stayed busy in that world because I’ve developed a weird “muscle” that lets me pull narrative apart without killing it; I can dissect the plot/characters in the moment and come up with options immediately.  The ticking clock makes for decisive action. LOLOL About 15 years ago I noticed that I can’t really stop analyzing stories, and I get a lot more pleasure out of the process, actually because it makes me respect the great work, and makes me understand the shoddy work.

BV:  Do you think the whole secret baby thing is still so strong in romance because it brings out maternal instincts in a lot of women?

DS:  Partly… secret babies are a sword that cuts both ways. On the one hand, they speak to basic maternal impulses that (I’d argue) everyone male and female shares. As a species we’re hardwired to protect and nurture our young. But by the same token, in trope terms, I’d say that secret babies operate as a kind of “agent of fate” within a romance narrative. They are this big obstacle plunked in the middle of the main couple’s lives that MUST be embraced and addressed. The secrecy of the baby gives an author delicious tension and deception to play with, and also to elide tricky problems like time passing and couples reuniting (so that their emotions have had time to summer.”) That baby (like Fate in most myths) is unavoidable and all-powerful…and since it’s a romance the baby becomes a kind of hopeful hand tipping the scales for the couple.

BV:  Do you have a favorite trope?

DS:  I’ll confess: I’m sort of a trope slut; I love any story that manages to push these primal emotional buttons when I’m reading it. But if I had to pick just one, I ve self-sacrifice. Protagonists who destroy themselves for the thing they love and inadvertently become more than they’d thought possible. I love the hairpin swivel from hopeless to hopefully ever after. Then again… friends to lovers is pretty amazing. And oh yeah.. country-mouse/city-mouse… and abduction/rescue. LOLOL See what I mean? It’s hard to pick just one.

BV:  What do you think of some of the wildest titles they’ve come up with for the series stories?

DS:  My favorite recent title was a 2013 Golden Heart finalist called The Billionaire’s Hypnotized Mistress. FABULOUS TITLE! I spent all of RWA 2013 in Atlanta trying to find author Greta MacEachern so I could beg for a copy. Phenomenal, charged title that made the entire room applaud at the RITAs. Some other trope-tastic faves: The Sheriff’s Amnesiac Bride, The Spy’s Secret Family, Tempted into the Tycoon’s Trap, Virgin Bought and Paid For, The Librarian’s Passionate Knight

BV:  This blog has gone viral.  What do you think makes it so identifiable for people?

 DS:  I think because the post treats tropes (and by extension category romance) seriously and with affection. Trope focused genre fiction and category romance in particular strikes such a deep nerve with people, and yet I think it gets a lot of flack as “junky” popular entertainment. That’s been true of every popular genre in history. Human beings love a juicy, life-changing story but are told repeatedly that the stories they love are unworthy of attention. Are some books formulaic hackwork? Sure. But some genre fiction saves lives and changes the world. Being popular isn’t an indication of worthlessness. As Joe Orton once said, “There is no inherent artistic merit in a flop.” J Though the academics hate to admit is, everything we think of as high culture began as low culture and clawed its way out. Austen wrote sentimental junk. Dickens was a magazine hack. The Brontës churned out lurid twaddle. Dashiell Hammett was a crummy pulp hack. Those books and the worlds they built have changed (and continue to change) the face of entertainment. So…maybe my enthusiasm for the “lotus in the mud” connected with folks who know that writing popular fiction well, is damn hard! LOL

You can read Damon Suede’s complete blog here.  Do yourself a favor and read it.  Absolutely fascinating.

Bottom Line:  I’ve learned a new word for today, my work is done here…time to read a good trope.

Winner from yesterday’s Hank Phillippe Ryan’s giveaway is Sarah Basterash.  Congratulations!  Please email nancy @ nancyberland.com with your name and street address and put The Wrong Girl Winner in the subject line.

WW Ladies Book Club

Barbara Vey -- October 10th, 2012

I had a great birthday this weekend.  Breakfast with my sisters, a movie and dinner with my son, Andrew.  We saw Looper with Bruce Willis, a time travel movie that really makes you think.  Andrew and I saw different things in the movie, I like that.  Now I’m going to check out what the WW Ladies have been reading this week to add to my TBR pile.




Return of the Viscount by Gayle Callen

Read by Ashley

Desperate to get full access to her inheritance Cecilia weds a complete stranger, a solider who fought with her father in India. She expected an older and equally desperate man who would spend his time in India and not in England. What she didn’t expect was a young, vibrant and breath-taking handsome man. But can two strangers really fall in love and live happily ever after?

Return of the Viscount tells a non-traditional heart-warming love story. It was very interesting to read a romance where they were already married and to watch their love unfold. A very refreshing and cherishing story.



The Spia Family Presses On by Mary Leo

Read by Michelle

This is a Deliciously Entertaining murder mystery ensconced in Olive Oil.

The Spia family grows and harvests Olives, and is best known for their Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  The business is threatened when Cousin Dickie is found murdered his first day home from prison.  The entire family becomes a suspect as these recovering ex-mobsters have such a venomous hatred for Dickie.  It is up to Mia and her best friend Lisa to protect the family and find the killer before someone else dies.  Now the killer is targeting them and Mia is starting to doubt the ones she loves.  She is uncovering secrets about her loved ones that will change her outlook forever.

For those of us who enjoy a good meal, you will love the delicious Italian Olive recipes found at the end of every chapter.  I had a great time reading this novel and anxiously await the arrival of The Spia Family Branches Out the next book in this new series.





The Cowboy and The Princess by Lori Wilde

Read by Ashley
Princess Annabelle decides to have her first and last fling before she is forced to take the ring.  She flees to Texas to begin her six week adventure before returning to Europe to be married. Brady was your typical loner cowboy, living out of his horse trailer; he thought he had it all. Then “Annie” comes along and both of them have their emotions whirling out of control, but how can they have their happily ever after when she is getting married in six short weeks!

This contemporary romance book has it all! I smiled, laughed, and cried in this heart wrenching love story.  I just couldn’t put it down til I found out if they lived happily-ever-after or not! A must read for all romance lovers. This book is sure to be an instant classic!





Hot Head by Damon Suede

Read by joysann

FDNY firefighters Griff Muir and Dante Anastagio have been best buddies since they were kids, always sharing everything, even Dante’s close, loving family. But it wasn’t until 9/11 almost took Dante away that Griff realized that their friendship meant a whole lot more to him than he had known, and for 10 years now he’s remained silent, sometimes even to himself. When Dante needs some fast money, he talks Griff into posing with him for an erotic photo shoot for a gay porn-site, and that opens a whole new reality between them.

I enjoy good erotic romance, and I found the passion and romance in Hot Head convincing and touching, and I am enamored of these two male characters, especially Griff. Damon’s writing is certainly plenty hot, hot, hot, but more compelling was the feeling and compassion written into Hot Head, and, as in all good romance, I loved the hope of a happily-ever-after.




Immortally Yours by Angie Fox

Read by joysann

Just beyond the sight of normal mortals rages a centuries old war between the gods, and the troops are beings with even just a little touch of supernatural. Dr. Petra Robichaud was drafted into the M*A*S*H unit to paste together the broken immortals and get them back to battle. But she has a secret talent that would mean certain death if anyone learned, and when demi-god Commander Galen of Delphi discovers her gift, he will not let her go.

Angie Fox’s new series begins with an exciting premise and the promise of a magical new world. Immortally Yours has interesting, likable characters that kept me entertained, and the writing, as we would expect of Angie, was humorous and fun. I expect to continue enjoying this series even more than I did her last, and look forward to the next book.


Bottom Line:  I think instead of celebrating birth-days, we should celebrate birth-months.