Nov 10, 2017

Sam Smith---Too Good At Goodbyes

You must think that I'm stupid
You must think that I'm a fool
You must think that I'm new to this
But I have seen this all before

I'm never gonna let you close to me
Even though you mean the most to me
'Cause every time I open up, it hurts
So I'm never gonna get too close to you
Even when I mean the most to you
In case you go and leave me in the dirt

Nov 9, 2017

Mot du jour

"Remember Whitewater, remember Benghazi? They could see a rerun on the fertile grounds of Trump's international financial involvements, including Russia and many other dodgy states, if the Democrats win the House in 2018."---Michael Ampersant

Nov 5, 2017

We have a bad day

It wasn't a great day today, but then they played Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" on Kiss FM, and the day got better. This is the official video. The sound is good, but the visuals are didactic. Worse, they have nothing to do with the lyrics, which are clever. And Daniel's "rival," who wins the visual show, looks like Trump's son in law. And now our internet connection problem is coming back, which appeared like being resolved for three days. Terrible. 

Where is the moment when we needed the most?
You kick up the leaves, and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue sky's faded to gray
They tell me your passion's gone away
And I don't need no carrying on

Stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee to go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces every time
And I don't need no carrying on

Nov 1, 2017

Back home

The dogs of our neighbors, Chang, our hill, the "mont de Théoule," (still in the sun) and, in the background, "la baie des anges," (the Bay of Cannes)---the picture taken by Chang's Korean friend Kim (aka Alice, her German name; she lives in Hamburg).

Oct 25, 2017

Oct 22, 2017

More reactions to "This Is Heaven"

Michael P.  on Goodreads:

Anyone who uses neologisms correctly, and understands their meaning, has me intrigued. This novel, the second in a series, had me from the first page. A plethora of language used eloquently and subversively kept the story going. We meet a number of characters who are intertwined in various ways. There is a Vampire festival, dead bodies, 'trolling' (to use the author's word), an amnesiac who cannot remember his former life due to committing suicide, an internet scam, and colorful people which blend this wonderful story into a crazy week of escapades which ends happily ever after...or does it? I wish I had read the first book to understand some of the goings on in this one, but it can be read as a stand alone novel due to the author creating vivid characters that will long stay in my mind. I would love to know these people and party with them, as they make life interesting.

If I can say something here in between: I got the informal meaning of 'trolling' from our friend Glenn, who figures regularly on this blog, and who was the owner of Nick's Restaurant---which also appears in the GREEN EYES---the real one, located in Baltimore. Let's hope Glenn used the word correctly. 

Nick's Restaurant (or Fish House, as it is now called)

Fun read, like Christopher Moore

(Yes, that was the entire review)

on Goodreads:

I loathed the formatting of this book. That out of the way, the story itself was wacky (and that's a good thing). It was hugely entertaining.

This Is Heaven, order now...

Michael Ampersant

Support the troops

Oct 19, 2017

Holier than thou --- solid like water

(From The Economist, Oct. 14, p 42 (in the European Edition:)

"Older American evangelicals [81% of whom voted for him] also know what Mr. Trump is. Last year, they flipped from being the voter group most likely to say 'personal morality mattered in a president,' to being the group least likely to say that."

Oct 17, 2017

More about the GREEN EYES franchise

Reviews posted on Amazon and/or Goodreads:

Glen Kline:

I will have to admit, this is my first foray into the land of erotica, and my experience with this genre is limited. But this particular book has opened my eyes to a whole different species of writing that I feel I will be reading more of in the future...


It was a sexy, fun & witty sequel...and now I need to read book one!

Terry Osman: 

There is something great here if you can follow the writer's style. Stick with it and you'll get there. I liked it, but it took me a while to understand it.

Try us:

Michael Ampersant

Oct 11, 2017

A prayer for your thoughts

Portugal (4)

Just a few pictures from Aveiro:

Beach houses... the fog. It's a bit like San Francisco, and almost as cold.

The fog is gone.

It's also a bit like Amsterdam, the place.

The tide is low; Pedro, or new friend, is roaming in the wetlands of the lagoon.

Oct 6, 2017

Homosexuality is a choice

Anything to do with the Green Eyes? Well, sure, after his OD-suicide-attempt, Alex re-awakes with serious amnesia and can't remember his sexual orientation. We're at the hospital, Alex still recovering, John and Alice are with him. GREEN EYES, Part I:

“John, you said you were my friend, right?” Alex asks.
“You are my friend?”
“How about my family?”
“Good question,” I say.
“How old am I?”
At least, I know his age. “Twenty nine.”
“I’m twenty-nine. Just attempted suicide. There’s no family to speak of? To work with?”

I’m chewing on the sweet. What do I know?

“They live somewhere else,” Alice says.
“I could be married, right? Have children?”
“You have no children.”
“How about a partner, a wife?”
“No wife.” she says.
“Figures,” Alex says, “she would be here now. I could be divorced, though. Not divorced?”
“Not divorced,” Alice says.
“You’ve heard this social worker,” he says to me, “I need an ally. How about girlfriends.”
“Girl friends don’t make good allies,” Alice says, “I speak from experience.” She looks at me. “Alex, you’ll have to do with us,” (she rests her hand on my shoulder) “John here, and myself. We’re your allies.”

“Thanks,” Alex says. He seems unconvinced. He seems so unconvinced, Alice has to add: “All the girls I know are in love with you.”
“You are a girl, too,” Alex says, more matter-of-fact than joking.
“You are not my partner, right. Never been?”
“I’m lesbian,” Alice says, “I’m a dyke.”
“Right,” Alex says.
“How to explain this,” Alice says, “Here, John, here, he’s your partner.”

Don’t ask me how Alex looked glared at me. “Right,” he says. We’re cool.

Y'all still there? Then you'll like us:

Michael Ampersant

Oct 4, 2017

If only the Vegas gunman had been a Muslim

We're not really Thomas L. Friedman fans, but here you have his latest column in the NYT:

If only Stephen Paddock had been a Muslim … If only he had shouted “Allahu akbar” before he opened fire on all those concertgoers in Las Vegas … If only he were a member of ISIS … If only we had a picture of him posing with a Quran in one hand and his semiautomatic rifle in another …

If all of that had happened, no one would be telling us not to dishonor the victims and “politicize” Paddock’s mass murder by talking about preventive remedies.

The Mandalay Hotel in Las Vegas on Monday

No, no, no. Then we know what we’d be doing. We’d be scheduling immediate hearings in Congress about the worst domestic terrorism event since 9/11. Then Donald Trump would be tweeting every hour “I told you so,” as he does minutes after every terror attack in Europe, precisely to immediately politicize them. Then there would be immediate calls for a commission of inquiry to see what new laws we need to put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Then we’d be “weighing all options” against the country of origin.

But what happens when the country of origin is us?

What happens when the killer was only a disturbed American armed to the teeth with military-style weapons that he bought legally or acquired easily because of us and our crazy lax gun laws?

Then we know what happens: The president and the Republican Party go into overdrive to ensure that nothing happens. Then they insist — unlike with every ISIS-related terror attack — that the event must not be “politicized” by asking anyone, particularly themselves, to look in the mirror and rethink their opposition to common-sense gun laws.

So let’s review: We will turn the world upside down to track down the last Islamic State fighter in Syria — deploying B-52s, cruise missiles, F-15s, F-22s, F-35s and U2s. We will ask our best young men and women to make the ultimate sacrifice to kill or capture every last terrorist. And how many Americans has the Islamic State killed in the Middle East? I forget. Is it 15 or 20? And our president never stops telling us that when it comes to the Islamic State, defeat is not an option, mercy is not on the menu and that he is so tough he even has a defense secretary nicknamed “Mad Dog.”

But when fighting the N.R.A. — the National Rifle Association, which more than any other group has prevented the imposition of common-sense gun-control laws — victory is not an option, moderation is not on the menu and the president and the G.O.P. have no mad dogs, only pussy cats.
And they will not ask themselves to make even the smallest sacrifice — one that might risk their seats in Congress — to stand up for legislation that might make it just a little harder for an American to stockpile an arsenal like Paddock did, including 42 guns, some of them assault rifles — 23 in his hotel room and 19 at his home — as well as several thousand rounds of ammunition and “electronic devices.” Just another deer hunter, I guess.

On crushing ISIS, our president and his party are all in. On asking the N.R.A. for even the tiniest moderation, they are AWOL. No matter how many innocents are killed — no matter even that one of their own congressional leaders was shot playing baseball — it’s never time to discuss any serious policy measures to mitigate gun violence.

And in the wake of last month’s unprecedented hurricanes in the Atlantic — that wrought over $200 billion of damage on Houston and Puerto Rico, not to mention smaller cities — Scott Pruitt, Trump’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency, also told us that it was not the time to discuss “the cause and effect” of these superstorms and how to mitigate their damaging impacts. We need to focus on helping the victims, he said. But for Pruitt, we know, it’s never time to take climate change seriously.

To take the Islamic State seriously abroad, but then to do nothing to mitigate these other real threats to our backyards, concert venues and coastal cities, is utter madness.

It’s also corrupt. Because it’s driven by money and greed — by gunmakers and gun-sellers and oil and coal companies, and all the legislators and regulators they’ve bought and paid to keep silent. They know full well most Americans don’t want to take away peoples’ rights to hunt or defend themselves. All we want to take away is the right of someone to amass a military arsenal in their home and hotel room and use it on innocent Americans when some crazy rage wells up inside them. But the N.R.A. has these cowardly legislators in a choke hold...

Sep 29, 2017

Portugal (3) --- Porto: Harry Potter's bookstore

So we're in Porto, and Chang begins to talk about Harry Potter. Namely, we have to go to this bookstore. Huh? Chang, bookstores?

Yes, the Harry Potter book store

Turn's out, J.K. Rowling, the author of the Potter franchise, had been living in Porto for a while, and when it came to locations for the movies, she moved Hollywood to the Lello Bookstore here, whereto the library of Hogwards had been relocated.

It's now a major tourist attraction, and the only bookstore in the world that charges an entrance fee (of four EUR) and has a line waiting outside.

The entrance fee is exchanged for a "voucher" which one can redeem book-wise. So, we bought "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," the first installment of the series.

Our friend Glenn sends this cri de coeur:

Not exactly a cri de coeur, but you get the gist.

Anything the GREEN EYES have to add to this? We have a billionaire, Neill Palmer, sure, and he dies a suspicious darkroom death in Part II. But we have nothing really funny. Well, okay, here, from Part I, John meeting Palmer at Godehart's party/orgy (the thing about the web site is true, actually, and the guy's name really was Neill, but he wasn't wealthy). Here goes:

The network next to me consists of two elderly men, and two youngish rent boys. Love is in the air. The men are much older than me. I recognize one of them from the distant past, when I was still a young regular at the Blue Moon. He was running a place off the Coastal Highway, on Route 24, a large Thai place with an upper, more secluded, floor above the main restaurant, awful food, and willful oriental boys, who were waiting on tables in the meantime. Patrons came from all over the place, even from Atlanta, to taste one or more of his waiters. Yes, now I remember his name, Neill Palmer. He kept a website back in those days that was quite revolutionary, poorly aligned text in colorful, meandering hues and pictures of his staff, ranked according to their state of sexual arousal, the apex being the climax, boys caught with their cum coming in flagrante. I remember that he had never managed to externalize the moment of the squirt (white ropes flying from the penis), his cum-shots were always a bit off, the cum caught already dispersed into milky drops in the empty, or not so empty, space in front of his oriental masturbators.

Sep 28, 2017

Portugal (2) --- Porto

Westerly view of the Douro River. Note the fog; it's like in San Francisco.
View of touristy downtown Porto from the upper level of the Louis I bridge.

We're in Porto at the moment, the city of port wine and Harry Potter. 
Tomorrow we'll explain why.

More reactions to This Is Heaven

M. v. Brentano

Michael's philosophy teacher Margherita v. Brentano always used to say: "Don't care about what they are saying, care about what they are doing." Along those lines, a friend sends this message on Goodreads:

"I am about 100 pages into "Green Eyes, An Erotic Story" and I am quite impressed. (Admittedly, I've had 2 boners already. Sorry if that is too graphic for you, but I figured that the stories you write it would not be.)
I read your book before bed (and in bed) so it makes for a better atmosphere."

And here, another review on Goodreads from Mrs. Becky Kahl:

"I don’t read this kind of books but overall it was a good book. My grandsons age 15 & 16 loved it."

So much for adult content.

This Is Heaven, order now...


(One remark: Reading about Becky's grandchildren, I was first surprised, but then I thought: if you discount the sex scenes, this is very much an Enid Blyton story---and any contemporary adolescent has been exposed to so much sex on the internet (and perhaps elsewhere), all of them possibly discount sex scenes automatically.)

Sep 21, 2017

Portugal (1) --- Bondi Beach

We're on our way to Portugal---in fact, we've arrived already---and so we need to share this picture Chang took of Michael in Pau, a historic town north of the Pyrenees, where Henri IV was born, father of Louis XIII.

And Bondi Beach? In case you were wondering, it's Australia's signature beach, located south of Sidney:

The place where we are now, Vila Praia de Ancora, looks roughly like this, by the way. Stay tuned.

Sep 13, 2017

The Schadenfreude Institute

(Our friend Glenn sends this cartoon)

Anything the GREEN EYES have to add to this? Not really, except that we have Barbette Bienpensant, a professor of quantitative metaphysics and experienced forecaster of doom, who's affiliated with the University of Metaphysics. There, they have Departments of Alchemy and of Astrology. Why not  adding a Schadenfreude Institute to the mix? Especially with Donald Trump in the offing? Here's a pertaining fragment,  CH 46 of This Is Heaven, with John and the Bienpensant  conversing (the story is set in 2014):

“You and I talked about this before,” I say. “What do you do if your prediction is wrong? If there is no Armageddon?” Well, there’s so much Armageddon already. And there’ll be more soon, her Department of Astrology put out a Trump Warning. “A what?”  Trump, you know, the NYC real estate mogul, the stars have aligned apparently, they predict he’ll be the next president. And yet, you know, the end of the world need not be the end of the world, even with Trump in the offing, see, it could be rapture, rapture for just about everybody, an ecumenical ride from this world to the next. One moment we’re in this vale of sorrows, and the next we are up there in heaven. This is heaven— like Alex says, that’s what she loves so much about Alex. But people are so edgy these days, they don’t take yes for an answer. And so impatient. They always require distractions.

Sep 7, 2017

Amos Lassen reviews "This Is Heaven"

Cool, folks, cool. The first official review of This Is Heaven is out, and it's by review celebrity Amos Lassen. Here are a few lines:

I have remarked several times that the sign of good literature is that which makes me think and I have been doing a lot of thinking about Michael Ampersant’s wonderful new novel, “This is Heaven”...

...I must admit that I have already had more than my fill of novels predicting the end of time and vampires. Novels like this tend to appear in cycles and it seems that vampires have become a staple in gay literature. I became apprehensive with where this story was going but something said to me to keep reading and I am glad that I did as many of my favorite historical and literary figures make an appearance here— Shakespeare, Albert Camus, Enid Blyton, Mark Twain, and many other writers appear in cameos. The satire becomes quite strong while we move forward and the characters interact with each other. I surprisingly realized that I was totally pulled into the novel...

 ...Ampersant's wit is wonderful and there were times that I could see him in my mind as he sits at his computer writing this with a wry smile on his face. His prose is gorgeous and his characters are fascinating. For those two reasons alone, you should want to read, “This is Heaven”.

Read Lassen 's entire review here

This Is Heaven, order now...

Michael Ampersant

...and/or subscribe to our mailing list:

Sep 5, 2017

Why we like Paul Krugman

Krugman is always good, but here's one of his krugest statements. I've been thinking about it since I read it in the NYT in 2016, long before the elections:

And, yes, this being us, now we have to paddle our wares. There's nothing about Krugman in This Is Heaven, but we have an entire Krugman chapter in the GREEN EYES, Chapter 38, titled (don't hold your breath): "What's Paul Krugman's Penis Size."


I have been courageous enough to ask for a table for two to be ready at seven, we’ll have to wait some more. Howard will have a drink at the bar. Let’s get this on track immediately, let’s talk about the gym. I didn’t have a chance to go to the gym during the last couple of days, too busy. You can’t imagine how busy life is for a hippocampus teacher during the college break, but tomorrow I’ll be going (duh, duh, duh). So I’m teaching French. How interesting. Interesting, indeed. How to turn the conversation to murder? I seemingly can’t make the transition, bubbling instead about the influence of French on the evolution of English, or hiding the many weaknesses of my résumé.

I see two tables cleared next to the central window on the street side, very good tables indeed, when I notice two people to my left, who have replaced the beefy guy. I’ve seen the face of the man before, on my blog, actually. We’re famous in Georgia Beach, seriously, folks. Will I tell Trevor? You think Trevor would be interested in politics, or the New York Times, or economics, or Nobel prizes? Possibly not—you have other problems when you’re a confirmed bachelor without a future. Trevor, who must be looking right into the eyes of Paul Krugman behind me, shows no signs of recognition what-so-ever. It’s crystal-clear, he’s not attracted to the fifty-nine year old Nobel laureate.

Sep 3, 2017

Vanity fair

We're also---see last post---featured on:

Two men are better than one

Queer SciFi


Gay Flash Fiction

The Reader's Handbook

Cool, folks, we are this week's Sunday Feature of Katie Lewington's The Reader's Handbook. There's a lot of stuff about THIS IS HEAVEN, including an interview. 

Here's one Q/A from it:

What themes are in your writing? 

The two fiction books I’ve finished are fairly erotic, and fairly explicit in places. So, sex would be a theme. But it’s not the principle message. There’s this aphorism by Mark Twain: It’s easier to fool people than convince them that they get fooled. That’s what I’m writing about. Highly topical in the age of Trump, I’d say. I’m interested in language, and lots of my writing is about language and how it’s used and misused. I’m also interested in politics. Here’s one little fragment from This Is Heaven (with Nick, the owner of Nick’s Restaurant, speaking):

“People have a right to forget,” he says. “Think of slavery. That wasn’t ‘slavery’ at all—that was ‘our peculiar institution.’ ‘Suffragette’—that was our term of derision for a bunch of uppity bitches. ‘Miscegenation’—that was miss, you understand, and illegal to boot. ‘Separate but equal’—my God, we swore by it until fucking Truman put them all in the same bunkbeds. And Brown versus Schoolboard—have you seen the clips, Brown emanating from a court hearing, and the entire American press stalking him with sneers and laughter ‘cuz he’s black and wannabe white? And now you guys, with your rainbow marriage. There’s only one solution for real Americans, who have never, ever, been racist, or misogynists, or segregationist, or anti-Semitic, or homophobic, or whatever was wrong with us in the past—or will be wrong with us in the future—and that’s forgetfulness.”

Haha. Can you come up with a more succinct critique of American Conservatism?

Aug 31, 2017

They have arrived!

This Is Heaven arrives in Australia

The King Bolete arrive in Switzerland. They were late this season.

Aug 24, 2017

The ad that ends the culture wars --- This Is Heaven --- Teaser (17) --- reposted

(A few more days to go until the release of This Is Heaven, so here's an old teaser re-posted---our favorite one, in fact, because of the fab gif sequence)

John is back home where he's confronted with Ben --- Ben, last week's conquest and this week's backbone of the newfangled A-level Escort Service.

Ben has a very long shower at the moment and my feeling is that he’s going to depart from my life pretty soon, the way he shot cursory glances at the bedstead and then at me---which was still okay, especially under the circumstances---but then he asked whether he could use the shower, and his next step will be to ask whether he can use the bathroom, and then he’s gone.

We shouldn’t belabor the obvious here, but if you’re in the pay of one of these outfits that use “family” as code against gays, and you’re tasked to produce the definitive ad, the ad that ends the culture wars, you could do much worse than to tell the story of a young, handsome Afro-American who has options, obviously, when it comes to sexual preferences, and who falls into the hands of this homosexual assistant professor of French who’s only option is a tangled ménage with a rape victim and a suicide victim and pimping handsome Afro-Americans to high-strung Valkyries---not to mention Ray, the murder suspect whom he hasn’t met yet.

Now Ben’s back from the shower, and this is my last chance. He’s wearing these graffiti briefs that look so great on him even when not quite fresh, and he's just standing there, the precise model of ebony perfection, unconscious of his own skin, one more second before he’ll ask whether he can use the bathroom. So you say: “Ben.”

Aug 15, 2017

Out Write Fair, Washington DC

Perry Brass took us---or at least our book ("you are what you read, or you are what you write")---to the Out Write Fair in Washington DC earlier this month.

He writes: "Just wanted to share these shots of Green Eyes at the OutWrite Fair in DC. You can put them up on Lustspiel if you’d like. I really enjoyed this fair—you would have loved it: droves of good-looking black men! I gave one copy of Green Eyes to my friend Philip Clark who is a young writer working on a history of pornography in the gay men’s community. He will be at the next Rainbow Book Fair on a panel called “Pornography as History.”

Ohne Worte

Aug 9, 2017

Kapitalismus Kritik (1) --- 1843

Karl Marx disliked it, "sheer critique of capitalism," although he hated "moralizing" even more. But there you have it. 1843---yet another attempt of THE ECONOMIST to launch yet another magazine and dump it onto unsuspecting Economist subscribers until it flounders---has this add in its latest issue:

You shouldn't worry that most ads in this unsalable magazine are about jet charter (or Hublot watches), but: 

(1) The suit of this this guy who has supposedly chartered this aeroplane and is now striding towards it as if it were an expensive prostitute---isn't he sagging a bit too much for his cut-to-fashion outfit? This is really bespoke (tailor-made), his 'suit'?
(2) And now what; he's walking all the way? Where's the chauffeured limousine that would take him to the gangway? 
(3) And if there's no limousine because he had a bad day in the market, why is he approaching his airborne convenience as if he's trying to commit suicide by cutting his head off the sharp side of the plane's left wing? 

You say.

Aug 8, 2017

We picked up two friends from Korea, at the airport of Geneva...

...and the weather was like this.

We simply had to --- Cloud fart --- This Is Heaven

We had this firm resolution: no more TIH teasers until the release date of August 27. And then we saw this gif:

So, there we are in Chapter 37. Note the name of Juliette's new boyfriend---Romeo. Romeo's sugar daddy Roper has just been found dead with a kinky dog collar around his neck, and there is more trouble on the horizon.

“Act Two,” Alex says, and fumbles in the pockets of his shorts. Alex always seems to carry a medication bottle lately, and now he unscrews it and hands a pill to Juliette.
“This will do,” he says.
“What is this?”
“A pill.”
“Oh my God, the pill,” Juliette says.
“The pace quickens in the second part of the play, doesn’t it?” Alex says.
“The pill is Act Four.”
“Act Four, then.”
“Alex, please,” Juliette says. “My Romeo, when am I going to get him back?”
“Hold on, Alex. First you say Roper is not a big deal. Next thing you say they will put up wanted bills and he has to go into hiding.”
“Juliette, I’m just thinking on my feet.”
“For how long does he have to go into hiding?”
“Until Strada and friends get distracted by something else. They’re up to their ears in unresolved cases like this-—perverts passing away in seedy circumstances. Nobody wants these cases resolved, it’s much too embarrassing. Give it a week. Four days.”
“John said you know the assistant DA for vice?”

Alex grins introspectively and a bit longer than he should. He has been standing next to me and now he adds his habitual arm to my shoulder. “Yes, we do, John, don’t we?”