Please join us in welcoming Dan Skinner to Sinfully as he celebrates the release of his New Novel A Summer of Guiltless Sex.
Guiltless Blog Post… An A"Muse"ing Anecdote
Dirk and I have come a long way since we first met but I still remember distinctly the first time I saw him. I was in a new gym right after I moved, lying on a mat facing a row of treadmills working my abs when he walked in with two of his buddies. He was hard to miss. His buddies were in workout clothes and he was in a pair of the baggiest sweats I'd ever seen, and a sweatshirt covered by a loose, yellow jacket. He had a stocking cap barely pulled over his head and it had a peak as high as Mount Everest standing on top. He had a backpack on like he'd just come from school and he didn't bother to take it off as he climbed aboard the treadmill nearest me, plugged some ear buds in and began walking. He had a loose walk, that kind of gait that many young guys get after a sudden growth spurt that makes their movements seem gangly and uncoordinated. He bobbed his head continually with what I suspected was the beat of the music, but he was mouthing words I knew didn't belong to any song.
"I hate this. I really hate this. Walking on a treadmill indoors is stupid" didn't sound like anything that even Lady Gaga could put to a beat, so I gathered he was really not enjoying being in a gym on a treadmill.
Truthfully, I can't explain to you why some things strike me as interesting, but this kid did. He had one of those boy-next-door faces that was still trying to grow hair, that I knew would soon phase out of cute into handsome with a little maturity.
He caught me staring at him but didn't seem distracted by it. He nodded, smiled, and kept on plowing forward, loose-legged on the treadmill keeping the rhythm with "I hate this, I really hate this, this is stupid."
I saw him several times after that, always dressed heavily, always wearing a backpack and stocking cap when he came into the gym and perpetually displeased to be there, like his friends had tethered themselves to him, pulling him along each time they came. On one occasion, he sat on the leg machine next to me and I watched him carefully roll up the legs of his sweats just to his knees before beginning to do his presses. I was actually surprised to see that he had hairy legs and he caught me staring at them but assumed that I was looking at his socks. They had a cartoon print on them, but I hadn't noticed that until he told me they were a Christmas gift. Those were actually the first words he spoke to me and I remember it because it saved me the embarrassment of having been caught in a gym staring at a guy’s legs.
My first impression of him was how unlike his college friends he was. They were pretty much the typical jocks and he came across as that guy they grew up with who really needed to work out so they dragged him with them. As it turned out, I was right. When he finally discarded the coat and sweatshirt for a T-shirt, I could tell he was thin, but he carried it like a good thing. It gave him a feline quality I’m drawn to and I actually had it in mind to eventually ask him to do a shoot with me. He was what I like in models… expressive, genuine, original – and beautiful because of all those things. He has wide eyes with perfect lashes, brows that are in perpetual motion and one of those naturally turned down mouths that have a voluptuous, pouty look to it. Just the type of person I like to get in front of my camera to make something wonderful happen...
As it turned out, he found out I was a photographer and that’s what he was studying in school. He asked me if I needed an apprentice and from there a friendship began. I tell all of this because in the time we've known each other he has become something I didn’t know I needed – a muse. It was a rambling conversation during Thanksgiving at his mother's house in which he gave me the idea for "A Summer of Guiltless Sex." It was one of his fantasies and God knows he can go on and on about those. But this one ignited in my head. I thought it was a grand idea, a sweet premise, and something that everyone could relate to.
To this day, I still want to create a character who gets on a treadmill chanting... "I hate this, I really hate this." Only because we can all identify with how normal that is, and yet out of that ordinary spectacle... a muse emerged.
A Summer of Guiltless Sex
Published ~ 1st April 2016
Genre ~ M/M Contemporary
Two very different men, from two walks of life find common ground for an exciting and unique adventure. It'd not been a great beginning of the summer season for either Bill, a young bridal store clerk, or Ted, a college student working as a lifeguard at the apartment complex’s pool. They'd both been dumped in their respective relationships and were still looking for “the one.” Their chance meeting at this low ebb in their lives and an off-the-cuff remark about what they both needed as a temporary solution to their physical needs, lead to a unique and adventuresome pact between the two. They agree to be what's lacking in each other’s lives. They begin a journey of self-discovery. One that will only last the length of the summer and will forever change their lives and ideas about love and friendship. One season of guiltless sex.
::: DEBRA’S REVIEW :::
Meet Dan Skinner
I'd already been in the photography business for too many years to count, shooting covers for hetero romance covers when I had my epiphany (ten years ago now) to shoot gay book covers and make them as acceptable and mainstream as the hetero ones. It was a big risk and I was told by many people, especially people who advised me financially, that it might not be a profitable thing to do, and could quite possibly ruin my reputation. But I was tired of seeing the proliferation of covers featuring a man and woman, the cologne and perfume ads featuring a man and a woman... every ad under the sun - only featuring a man and a woman, and knowing that only one side of life was being spoon fed to us by the media as the acceptable aspiration and ideal. In fact, it made me angry and crazy, and determined to do something about it. We were here... didn't anyone see us?!!
I had several things working against me. The m/m fiction genre was just beginning to come into its own, but television and the entertainment industry were slowly allowing us into their vision as folks who existed right alongside them, and I knew the flux and flow of gay literature was going to eventually change. Will and Grace helped that. Brokeback Mountain helped that. So I had hope and crossed my fingers that I made a good choice as well as a conscientious one.
Along with that, I had to find guys daring enough to pose with each other in photos mimicking the same love and adoration as was seen in every Harlequin cover since time immemorial... They had to embrace and kiss and portray romance… between two people of the same gender. So finding the guys was going to be a chore... and finding guys in the Bible belt of the country, the Midwest, was going to be even tougher. But I did it.
Revenge is mine… the dbag’s bed has been christened by the models during a shoot!!
Dan Skinner will be gifting one lucky reader an e-copy of A Summer of Guiltless Sex plus an eBook from his backlist. All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.