- Reviewed by: Scott Burkett
- Print Length: 291 pages
- Posting: M/M Book Review, Romance, M/M, M/M/M
- Publisher: Cerberus Inc. (May 22, 2014)
- Book Provided by: The Novel Approach – Blog Tour Coordinator
- Author: Dan Skinner
- Posting Date: June 09, 2014
Most of us know Dan from Facebook as the man that gives us beautiful pictures of men, some are men in love, some are of men that are hurting and still some that are men being SEXY. All of these attributes that we find in his photography are brought to us by the written word in his new book, The Price of Dick.
Dan takes us on a Decade long journey of finding love, betrayal, hurt and reconciliation. If you follow Dan on his adventures through Facebook, you will see much of what happens in his life has been recreated in the book. Although this is a book of Fiction, it has many autobiographical aspects to it.
JJ goes through so much with Dick that it really tugs at your heartstrings. It was hard to not read the book and think of our friend Dan as JJ and so it is as I write this. We all pretty much know the main characters and how they have influenced the life of our Hero. Dick of course and the monster that plays him like a puppet, Dick’s Mother. They really are a loathsome set, I was enraptured by the writing, through his words and imagery it enabled me to feel the torment that JJ had to deal with all of those years.
Here is a little excerpt that I found relevant: “…His type of people don’t improve with age. Their bad deeds just get more clever. And the more clever they get, the worse it gets for you. They make you think you’re a friend, but to them you’re just another stone to step on to cross the pond.”
Then we have JJ’s savior, the one that pulled him from the dark and let him believe in himself again. He is the one that reinforced in JJ the man that he used to be and the man that he can “Aspire” to be. A man in control of his life and blessed to have people that surround him now.
As I sit back and reflect on the book it makes me really happy that there are people in our lives that care like JJ (Dan) does. This is someone that wants to work and make statements that are for the betterment of mankind. No I’m not putting him up on some sort of Godlike pedestal, you’ll understand more when reading the book. You’ll find out his thoughts in regards to social issues that affect us today.
Since I have this labeled as R Rated we can talk about Sex. The sex scenes are way HOT even the lack luster lay that Dick gave JJ their first time was erotic. How does Dan do this? When Dan writes it is much like his photographs, his writing really portrays people and places. I can feel the hair on Dick’s chest as JJ’s hand slides through it and I can feel of the muscles in his legs as they lay on top of JJ. Even when the sheets are clasped in rapture, I am able to envision the folds and the sheets made wet from the sweat.
Whoo it’s getting hot in here!
Amazon THE PRICE OF DICK Buy Link
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His name is Richard but he’ll say, “Call me Dick.” He’s a big, butch, brainy guy in an executive suit, hotter than spit on a skillet. The type of guy you can see fully dressed and imagine buck naked in the throes of an orgasm – every six-feet-two, muscular, sexually intoxicating inch of him. He’s an ambitious freshman in a prominent brokerage firm who’s figured out he can use more than his smarts to get ahead. He’s perfected a surefire method to drive home a hard deal. No one can resist him. And he’s got one really big secret. But that will cost you.
For photographer J.J. Johnstone, the price of Dick just might cost him everything.
Who is 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!!
Blog Appearance Questions
Question: Rumor has it that The Price of Dick is a completely different type of book than your first one, Memorizing You. What would you say are the main differences?
Dan Skinner: Pretty much everything. M.Y. was a sweet, chaste coming of age story. Dick is more current, definitely a hell of a lot more graphic, and deals with a subject matter that affects all of us across the board, straight or gay, male or female. What would we do to put some excitement in our lives; what kind of risks are we willing to take and are we really prepared to pay the price for the thrill we seek? We’ve all seen one person who has made us say, “I’d sell my soul to..”
Question: You are a fan of probing questions that allow only one word answers. Describe your title character “Dick” in one word.
Dan Skinner: Persuasive.
Question: How do you choose what music to play during a shoot?
Dan Skinner: The models all bear with me playing the new Gary Numan stuff, but when I turn my back they put their own stuff on.
Question: Are many of the models who come to you couples already?
Dan Skinner: Many of them are. If they aren’t, they usually are well on their way by the time they leave.
Question: Do some of them become couples after they meet at shoots?
Dan Skinner: Yep. They send me their damned phone pics of everything they do together afterwards. I could make family albums of my matchmaking.
Question: Where do you find your models?
Dan Skinner: Most of them find me now. My work is pretty well known and they will contact me via my FB page or my galleries. Some models will bring others and introduce them that way as well. I’ve recruited some myself, but not as much lately.
Question: What do you find beautiful in a man?
Dan Skinner: That has changed so much over the years. And I think that’s part of what Dick is about. How we evolve in our perception of beauty. Sometimes that gorgeous exterior can hide a monster underneath. So now I listen to someone. You can tell so much about another human being by just the way they talk and the words they use. Words can guide you to a beautiful soul so much faster than our eyes.
Question: How much of you is in J.J. Johnstone?
Dan Skinner: I plead the fifth. Truthfully, except for the age… I am he, he is me, we are a happy family.
Question: What age where you when you realized you wanted to be a photographer?
Dan Skinner: Early. Seventeen I think.
Question: How long did it take for your first book idea to actually become a book?
Dan Skinner: The first one was Cover Boy. Had the idea in my head for a while if I recall. I can’t even remember how long at this point.
Question: You got your start doing M/F romance covers. Do you still do those kinds of shoots?
Dan Skinner: I still do those shoots for couples but not for covers.
Question: Are you constantly scouting new locations or do you just “find” them?
Dan Skinner: I discover things by accident all the time. One of the shoots where you see the models in a creek, we were simply talking and walking at a location, got lost, and found the creek location.
Question: Is there one location that you use regularly?
Dan Skinner: Sure. There is a farm nearby that I just love as a backdrop. I go there quite a bit during each season.
Question: Do you have a favorite model?
Dan Skinner: I don’t choose favorites, but I do like each model for certain specific things.
Question: What do you find is the most comfortable method when going over and over your manuscript over and over making sure it is as perfect as you can get it?
Dan Skinner: I have a buddy who reads everything I write and we actually read it aloud to see how it sounds. I have an ear for what I call the cadence of words. If the rhythm sounds natural then it’s what I like. My rule of thumb is: if you have to take a breath to finish the sentence, it’s too long.
Question: Do you start writing out longhand?
Dan Skinner: Always longhand first. It’s a pain in the ass, but it’s the way I work.
Question: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Dan Skinner: I’m old style. I plot everything out to the nth degree.
Question: Do you listen to music when you write and if so, what?
Dan Skinner: Always listen to music. It depends on what kind of scene. All through Memorizing You, I listened to Zero Project the group I used for the video trailer. On Dick I put on a lot of Enigma because there are quite a few erotic scenes and their music is suited for that.
(If you are under 17 you need to ask your Parents to read this to you)
So there I was, quickly regressing to puberty, sitting in a sauna with the object of my lust. Looking at his thick muscular legs, broad shoulders and other weight-developed bulges
properly bulging and glistening with a sheen of hot sweat, I wanted to eat him alive. We soon exited the sauna together.
Unburdening myself of common sense was an easy task standing in the shower with him. Every inch of his make-me-growl masculinity, covered in blond fur, ass like two ripe honeydews just daring me not to look when he turned his back. I caught a quick glimpse of that gloriously long, circumcised, purple-capped cock and balls hanging between his legs under an unpruned patch of dark pubes. I remember thinking I hadn’t ever bought that much meat in a delicatessen but I still bet I could eat it all in one sitting. It took every bit of restraint I possessed to not pop wood in that shower. The mating dance was an endurance test. Think tearing down the Washington Monument using only your mind.
He invited me out for a drink this time, and we drove to Houlihan’s again. It was a Friday and the line out the door consisted of families with brats and people with an hour to waste after work. I suggested we get a six-pack and go to my apartment, which luckily, was only three blocks away, with a liquor store right on the way.
I’m sure it wasn’t in his mind, but it was in mine that this was a hookup. And I’d like to think he wasn’t completely naive about my intentions. I was in testosterone hyper-drive. I got him to my apartment and we drank and talked like good ole buds. He was comfortable telling me about his recent college life, the break up with the girl of his dreams who left him for another man because she had cheated on him and was pregnant. His heartbreak. All the things I couldn’t have cared less about—good riddance to anything that would have been competition anyway. Dick got into his high school days of playing football and wrestling, and I sat there picturing that mass of muscled man-ass crammed into a singlet, me trying to pin him on a mat with my head pressed deep into a musk-reeking ass crack.
He was a frat boy. I should have guessed. They all had a certain look to them. And his frat brothers were his best friends in the world and meant everything to him. He missed their daily camaraderie. I wondered if he’d jacked off with any of them. Used the fraternity paddle in an un-fraternity-like manner. You’ve seen the porn. Don’t tell me your mind didn’t go there.
It was a disappointingly platonic get-together, like any dull straight boys could have had, but I learned a lot about him. How many couples fuck on a first date anyway, right? I consoled myself with that lame excuse. Shame on me—I should have paid close attention to the story he shared with me that night. While in his freshman year of college, his parents tried to surprise him with a friendly unannounced visit. Lo and behold, in his dorm room a snooping mother had found a used condom in his wastebasket. She collapsed into pious, Catholic tears and left before he got
back to his room. A few days later she sent him a two page, single-spaced, typewritten letter preaching to him about the Catholic stand on premarital sex, and especially condemning the use of that horrendous tool of the devil, the seed-killing prophylactic. Don’t worry. Those facetious words weren’t hers. I paraphrased. This boy was more browbeaten by mommy than Norman Bates.
Didn’t matter to me that he was a mommy’s boy. He could have been wearing prison orange and had the tattooed tear of a brazen killer on his cheek and it wouldn’t have stopped me wanting him. That he was double-fisted clutching onto his “I’m so straight” persona with his stories, I found cute because I was reading something different in body language and eye contact. He was in my company for a reason. I thought he was just a bit backward about the how-tos of getting naked with another dude. I’d get him there…eventually. I felt it in my bones. One in particular.
So our little beer-drinking, life-sharing, guy get-together ended with him thanking me for a nice evening and shaking my hand at the door.
In my head I fucked that butt so hard I made myself cry.