Title: Dignity Takes a Holiday
Author: Rick R. Reed
Release Date: January 17, 2010
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M Romance/Romantic Comedy
Pete Thickwhistle doesn’t live what one might call a charmed life. At age forty-seven, he’s a flamboyant gay man who believes no one knows he’s gay, still living at home with his harpy of a mother. Worse, he’s still a virgin, longing to find just the right man to make his life complete. Pete’s an upbeat kind of guy, yet he’s never learned that the answer to his motto “What could possibly go wrong?” is always: “Everything.”
Pete’s road to love and happiness is full of potholes, yet he never tires of searching, despite job losses, weight battles, clothing faux pas, and disastrous vacations, parties, and dating debacles. Pete is the ultimate underdog living a television situation comedy, one named Dignity Takes a Holiday.
Welcome to Sizzling Releases, Rick. It's a pleasure to have you as my guest. Your new book was just released. What is Dignity Takes a Holiday all about?
It’s probably going to be the most twisted, over-the-top love story you’ve ever read. It’s not your typical m/m romance, since it’s about an overweight, middle-aged gay man looking for love and happiness and getting himself caught up in all sorts of misadventures. But I think it’s kind of a sweet story, despite its often bawdy humor, and I believe that in Pete Thickwhistle, readers will find a unique hero and one that they may even identify with.
That sounds very funny. How did you come up with the idea?
There’s a part in the book where yet another awful fate has befallen Pete and the book says, “What could he do but laugh?” And I think that’s the guiding principle behind Dignity Takes a Holiday--that laughter in the face of adversity is often the best, and most appropriate, response. I wanted to write a book that was not only funny, but showed that not all gay men are alike. Pete Thickwhistle is definitely an original.
You are a prolific author. How many books have you written?
Dignity Takes a Holiday will make 18 books in print. I have more than that, when you factor in shorter, ebook-only works. The number is probably closer to 30.
Do you have a personal favorite?
That’s like asking a mother which of her children is her favorite. She probably has an answer but would never actually voice it. I do admit to having a soft spot in my heart for Out on the Net (Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure), a story told in blog form about a young man accepting he’s gay moments before his wedding to a woman and leaving her at the altar. His search for love and self-acceptance are, by turns, comic and heart-wrenching. And the premise of the book, if not the actual details, strikes very close to my own life.
I read your book Bashed and found it very touching. Have you personally experienced this type of hatred in your life?
I came very close, but averted it. But my near-miss with gay bashing did inspire me to write Bashed.
What are you working on now?
I just finished a novella for Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure called How I Met My Man (it will be out in February). The book revolves around a masquerade party, a stalker, a serial killer, and figuring out who is the one who wants to love you and who is the one who wants to kill you, before it’s too late.
That one sounds like it's right up my alley! Do you have an evil day job? If so, how do you find time to write?
For the past several years, I wrote and edited full time. Last summer, I took a part time job as a communications consultant for a healthcare company. It’s the best of both worlds: I have a steady paycheck and still have time to write.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written and still think about?
Pete Thickwhistle in Dignity Takes a Holiday. He’s irrepressible and, no matter how bad things go for him, still believes that his knight in shining armor is out there waiting for him.
January is a brand new month of a brand new year. How did you celebrate New Year's Eve?
My partner and I have a regular tradition of going out for a really nice, expensive dinner, then coming home and sharing a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, and then…well, that’s none of your business.
Do you sing Auld Lang Syne at midnight?
If you’d ever heard me sing, you’d know without asking that the answer to that is: no.
Champagne at midnight?
The midnight kiss—someone special or everyone in sight?
Someone special…for the last eight New Year’s. I have done the “everyone in sight” thing in the past and have to say it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Thank you so much for being here. Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?
I am only two and a half feet tall!
LOL Before we go, can we get a juicy excerpt from Dignity Takes a Holiday?
You sure can. And just so you know, this is kind of “not safe for work.”
Pete spent the next two weeks in a fruitless job search. No one wanted to hire him (“Personally, I can't blame them,” Helen told him). He was feeling particularly tense when he emerged, looking guiltily up and down the street, from L'Amour Adult Playhouse. He wore a trench coat bought at Goodwill, giant sunglasses and a beat-up fedora he had hung on to from the 1960s. Concealed beneath the trench coat was a #36, The Kamikaze, dildo. The dildo was eight inches long and six inches around. Pete both feared and desired the object. He prayed Mother would never discover its existence.
A few days later, Pete was starving as he watched Helen at the stove, stirring a big, steaming pot. He wiped away a line of drool that had formed at the corner of his mouth.
“There ya go!” Helen had done the plate up beautifully: with a sprig of parsley and a pat of butter positioned just so on Pete's heap of corn. Steam rose from the hot dog, hidden beneath its toppings, and Pete breathed it in, savoring the aroma of the warm roll and all the trimmings. “I made it just like at the restaurant. I hope you like it...honey.” Helen was grinning.
“Why are you being so nice to me?” Pete picked up the warm bun, opened wide, bit down and found he could not bite through the hot dog. Brushing aside all the trimmings, Pete discovered that there was not a hot dog encased in the bun, but the dildo he had so carefully hidden. There still remained the impression of his teeth in the flesh–colored rubber.
Pete covered his mouth, eyes wide and staring. He suppressed a gag at the back of his throat. And yet again, heat radiated upward from his neck to envelope his face and ears. The heat was not from the steam.
Helen stood at the stove, watching her son and snickering.
“Mother, how could you?”
“I was cleaning your room.”
“You had no right.”
“I had every right. This is my house and I intend to keep it clean.”
Pete was flabbergasted. “I'm entitled to a little privacy, don't you think? I am 47 years old.”
“You're sick. If that's what you need your privacy for, then you're sick.”
“Mother! I'm a grown man and I have my needs.”
Helen waved her son's remarks away. “There are plenty of men around if it's fucking you need.”
“Mother! I never told you I liked men!”
“Well...” Helen snickered, ignoring Pete’s ‘coming out’ remark. He supposed, dejectedly, it hadn’t needed saying. “Where'd you get that thing, anyway?”
Helen was still chuckling to herself as Pete rushed from the room in tears. Helen doubled over in renewed laughter when she heard the slam of her son's bedroom door. She picked up the dildo, shaking her head and staring at it. “Christ Almighty.”
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