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First Pages: Twin Sinners by Douglas Dean

First Pages: Twin Sinners by Douglas Dean First Pages: Twin Sinners by Douglas Dean

Welcome to First Pages on Fridays! On Fridays, we share the first pages from a book (usually vintage), along with a bit of information about the author and the book’s history.

This week, it’s the gay pulp novel Twin Sinners by Douglad Dean.”Douglas Dean” is a pseudonym used by the actor Dean Goodman. Goodman was a radio actor, as well as a theatre actor and director. He managed several well-known theatre companies and even helped form a union for community college professors. His work as “Douglas Dean” includes 12 paperback novels and short story collections, as well as a travel guide to Mexico.

Twin Sinners was published by Phenix Publishers (San Diego) in 1970, under the “A Pleasure Reader” series. There were at least 65 titles in the series, including others by Douglas Dean: His Own Thing, Sidewalk Salesman, and A Stud for All Seasons. (You can see many of the original covers on the LibraryThing website.)

The premise of the novel is pretty simple, as summed up on the back cover: “Skip had been in love with his twin brother since they were ten. He’d always thought of sex as something beautiful, something you saved for a very special person. But he had to admit he’d enjoyed the session with Andy, and the episode with that sailor had really blown his mind. These guys had meant nothing to him, but the hot, raw sex they’d shared had been great!” The dramatic possibilities are endless!

Without further ado, here are the first pages from Twin Sinners:

Chapter 1

It was worse this time than it had ever been before. It was stranger. He was falling, as if from a great height, but the point from which he had fallen was invisible to him. He couldn’t see it. He didn’t know where he had come from. He didn’t know what he was falling into, land or water or anything else. At the same time, some monster–a creature with long flowing hair and pendulous swaying breasts and a blank face–was cutting off his cock.

“Stop! Stop!”

He awakened to the sound of his own screams, drenched in sweat. His hand clutched his prick, still stiff, protecting it. His semen had shot onto his belly and covered the bedsheets.

His heart was pounding. He tried to lie without moving, to quiet himself, but the tremors continued to run through his body. Occasionally a spasm still convulsed him.

Christ! Was he to be plagued with this kind of thing forever, throughout his whole life? It would be better to put an end to it, even if he had to kill himself.

Yet he knew he would never do it. He was not the sort who could commit suicide. The horrors might stalk him in his dreams, but awake he was too optimistic, too life-loving, too filled with hope for his future. Read More…

First Pages: One to Share by Dallas Kovar

first pages: one to share by dallas kovarfirst pages: one to share by dallas kovar

Welcome to First Pages on Fridays! On Fridays, we share the first pages from a book (usually vintage), along with a bit of information about the author and the book’s history.

This week’s selection is the pulp novel One to Share by Dallas Kovar, printed by Greenleaf Classics in 1968. As I wrote in an earlier post, Greenleaf Classics, started in the early 1950′s by William Hamling, published both straight and gay/lesbian erotica–often extreme erotica featuring incest, underage participants, group sex scenes, etc. Greenleaf was one of the very first publishers of gay fiction in the United States, paving the way for dozens of other small publishing companies which began selling gay pulp erotica/fiction.

Nothing is really known about Dallas Kovar. Of course, “Dallas Kovar” was probably a pen name, so it’s difficult to know who exactly he/she was. Under that name, this author published several books, including Two to Show and Three to Trade, which were probably sequels to One to Share.

This book is similar in setting and tone to the Loon novels by Richard Amory (discussed in a previous First Pages post, featuring Willow Song).

Here are the first pages from One to Share by Dallas Kovar. Enjoy!

Chapter One

The river boat Highland Mary steamed slowly against the broad, brown flood of the Missouri, turning her tartan-clad lassie of a figurehead toward the eastern bank. A tall, broad-shouldered, ruggedly handsome, blond young man of twenty-three leaned against the starboard rail, his relaxed attitude concealing his excitement. Thaddeus Carpenter looked out over the river and saw a village of part-log, part-frame houses rising from the river wharves up the hills to the high dome of a courthouse, its tall spire reflecting the early morning light. All along the hilltops and spread around the town were thousands of tents and white, canvas-topped wagons. This was St. Joseph, Missouri in April, 1849, the jumping off point for the plains and the land of gold beyond.

As the boat thumped against the dock, the young man threw his saddlebags over his shoulder and vaulted gracefully over the rail. Walking quickly, his muscular thighs straining against his tight buff-colored trousers, he moved away from the brawling, shouting confusion of the waterfront toward the business houses and saloons nearby.

He pushed his way through the double doors of the Empire Saloon and up to the bar. “Whiskey,” he told the Negro bartender, and threw a silver coin on the bar. Then he leaned against the bar and studied the crowd of men who were drinking and gambling in the bright gas lights. Many of the men were indifferent to his presence, some noted approvingly his strong, masculine body, clearly outlined by his tight pants and plaid, wool shirt. Other men, as he knew they would, glanced swiftly over his handsome face and body to stare openly, with amazement and only partly concealed desire at the massive bulge of his crotch. Eyes slightly narrowed, he looked with feigned indifference about the barroom. He needed information and he knew that before long one of the men who studied him furtively, yet eagerly, would approach.

As he threw down his shot of whiskey with a quick gesture, a voice at his side asked, “Can I buy you another?” Read More…

First Pages: All is Well by Dirk Vanden

first pages: all is well by dirk vandenfirst pages: all is well by dirk vanden

Welcome to First Pages on Fridays! On Fridays, we share the first pages from a book (usually vintage), along with a bit of information about the author and the book’s history.

This week’s selection is the 1971 pulp novel All is Well, by Dirk Vanden. It was published by The Traveler’s Companion/Olympia Press, as part of The Other Traveller series. All of the books in this series feature similar cover designs, with a muted color palette.

I could write about the author Dirk Vanden, but the author’s own website does a very thorough job: www.dirkvanden.net.

Olympia Press was founded in 1953 in Paris and published many avante-garde classics, including some by William S. Burroughs. The company moved to New York in 1967 and finally closed in 1972. All is Well must have been one of the company’s final publications.

Here are the first pages; enjoy!

Chapter 1

The note was creased and worn from many openings and refoldings. The printing was childish and the spelling atrocious, but I knew that no child had conceived such a frightening thing:

DERE ROBBER. THIS HERE IS A WARNING. YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. YOR A WIKID AND TERIBEL MAN. YOU HURT PEEPLE. YOR WIFE HATES YOR GUTS AND THE GIRLS AND YOR SUN ALSO. BUT I HATE YOR MORE. YOU DESERV TO DIE AND IF GOD DON’T GIT YOU I WIL.

PS. YOR SUN IS A QUEER IF YOU DONT NO THAT ALL READY. IF YOU THING I AM FOOLING ASK JERY ASHBY. SO HA HA. THE JOKE IS ON YOU.

SINED YOU NO WHO

My hands were shaking as I angrily folded the note. I wanted to rip it to shreds, or crumple and burn it–get rid of it, forget it! What a blessed relief it would be just to get it out of my mind, if only for a couple of hours, or even a few minutes! Instead, I opened and read it again. The action had become a new habit–reading it, refolding it, unfolding it to read it again. . . .

Just two weeks ago it had come in the mail–two weeks that were now beginning to seem like two years. It had been lying innocently on my bed (where Kate always put the mail addressed specifically to me–fortunately) along with the telephone bill and a real estate brochure, addressed to MR ROBBER THORNE. I’d laughed at first, muttering, “Some idiot doesn’t know how to spell Robert.” Then I’d opened the evil thing!

PS. YOR SUN IS A QUEER. . . .

I pressed my hands hard against my legs, trying to stop them from trembling.

I needed a drink. Read More…

First Pages: Tom of Finland biography by F. Valentine Hooven III

Book Feature: Tom of Finland biography by F. Valentine Hooven IIIBook Feature: Tom of Finland biography by F. Valentine Hooven III

Welcome to First Pages on Fridays! On Fridays, we share the first pages from a book (usually vintage), along with a bit of information about the author and the book’s history.

This week’s excerpt is from Tom of Finland: His Life and Times by F. Valentine Hooven III. The book was published in 1993 by St. Martin’s Press (not too shabby), and it’s a biography of the Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen (aka, Tom of Finland). If you’re not familiar with his work, you really should take a second and look him up. His illustrations of burly, muscular, leather-clad, well-endowed men are sexy, sometimes scandalous, and often a bit ridiculous, too; and they became iconic almost as soon as they began appearing in the 1970’s.

Hooven, the author, worked closely with Tom of Finland in the last few years of his life to write this biography, so it’s not exactly an objective look at his life and work. But it’s still pretty darn interesting.

Here are the first pages. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

“Tom of Finland,” the foremost name in gay erotic art, is not a pseudonym. Touko Laaksonen, the man who would become known by that name, was born in Finland on May 8, 1920. He was named for the month in which he was born (“May” in Finnish is toukokuu) and “Tom” sounds more like “Touko” than any other English name, so “Tom of Finland” really is Tom of Finland.

Though small in population, Finland is one of the bigger European countries in size, being larger than New York and the six New England states combined. Its shape is a lot like an upside-down Italy with the boot portion projecting into the Arctic Circle. Tom’s birthplace was Kaarina, at the southwestern tip of the country, where the Baltic Sea divides into two arms, one stretching north between Finland and Sweden, the other one reaching east to Russia. Kaarina is near Turku, the ancient capital of Finland. The modern seaport of Turku has grown so much since Tom’s birth that Kaarina is now a sprawl of suburbs, but back in the twenties the neighborhood where Tom grew up was more country than town, a checkerboard of fields of wheat and rye alternating with woods of fir and birch.

Fields meant farmers and woods meant lumberjacks. From the start, Tom lived among the kind of men he would never tire of depicting in his art. Even in his early childhood, Tom’s eye began to store up images of those well-muscled laborers: how their mouths looked when they shouted or laughed; how their sweat-stained leather pants wrinkled at the crotch; how they swung their muddy boots out to the sides when they walked.

He also absorbed the sort of detail that could not be pictured directly: how they chose their clothing without any concern for appearance, wearing boots and leather simply because these were practical for outdoor work. If fashion was mentioned, they shook their heads and sneered or laughed. Tom remembered how they looked then, too.

Those Finnish country boys were no different from the youths of any time or place: full of animal high spirits. In spite of long days of hard manual labor, they always seemed to have enough energy left over to tussle and wrestle with their buddies. They liked to strip off their shirts at the first hint of sunshine and work with their bare torsos gleaming with sweat.

I can remember my first infatuation for one of those guys. He was a young field hand whose farm was near our house. He was short but very muscular and his name, Urho, was very appropriate because it means “hero” in Finnish. Although I didn’t have the foggiest idea then why I was so fascinated with him, I can remember hiding in the bushes on summer afternoons to watch him, naked to the waist, working in the wheat.

These were the men Tom would draw for the rest of his life: big, uncomplicated, physically oriented men, proud of their muscles and even prouder of their cocks, easily aroused, whether to anger or to lust, but also–and this is important–easy to please and quick to forgive, always ready with a hand-clasp and an embrace.

These are real men, men’s men, Tom’s men.

Years later, the memories–the way one man’s hand sat on his neck, the way the waistband of another man’s pants rode low on the tops of his buttocks–would come tumbling out of Tom’s pencil almost of their own accord.

Both of Tom’s parents were schoolteachers, who staffed the little grammar school that served Kaarina. The family, including one of Tom’s grandmothers, lived in the school building itself, which had living quarters for the teachers attached to the back. With an ample yard for making snowmen in winter or catching fireflies in summer, it was an excellent place for raising children. There Tom, his older brother, and his three sisters (two older and one younger) grew up.

Though his parents, particularly his father, were strict, they were far from harsh. As might be expected in a family headed by two teachers, Tom’s home life was heavy on culture. He and his siblings grew up steeped in the arts. Even their play involved music, art, theater, literature. Those are subjects not usually found in children’s games. Many a boy would have spent such a childhood moaning and squirming, but Tom loved it. He quickly established himself as a child of many talents, especially adept at playing the piano.

Athletics never held his attention much, not at any age of his life, but the athletes themselves did. His favorite athletes were soccer players in their tight shorts and form-fitting jerseys.

I was always attracted to the men of action. My father was not a real man in my eyes, though he was really very handsome–and very well hung–but he wore a white collar and worked indoors, using his mind rather than his body, so he didn’t have the appeal of a soldier or a policeman.

Tom loved best of all to draw pictures. In mild weather, he hunched over a table on the summer porch, executing one drawing after another. When winter came and the temperature dropped, he would move inside next to the hulking ceramic stove, which radiated heat for hours on one little load of wood, giving him time enough to create a whole art gallery.

He was especially attracted to the comic-strip format. It enabled him to practice several of his talents at the same time, since the humble art of the comic book required multiple abilities, not only visual but dramatic and literary as well.

The oldest extant work by Tom of Finland, done when he was five and a half or six, is a comic book, the tale of a boy who lives in the glamorous big city. It features buses and fashionably dressed stick figures. At the end of the story, big strong policemen come and save the boy and his family from their troubles. Tom confessed that most of his strip was blatantly plagiarized from comics of the time, but it nonetheless showed remarkable ingenuity for a child of that age.

I like the comic-book format because I can show what is happening between two guys, not just how they look. Even when I am doing a drawing that is not a part of a series, I try to draw it so that the onlooker can tell, by the gestures and by the expressions on the faces, what has already happened and what is going to happen next.

There was no doubt that the solemn-faced little Tom was an ingenious boy. Even he knew it, and he had big dreams. He was going to be a great artist–or maybe a concert pianist.

—–

For more information about Tom of Finland, visit the Tom of Finland Foundation.

And don’t forget to visit the Somewhere Books online shop!

First Pages: Mr. Madam by Kenneth Marlowe

First Pages: Mr. Madam by Kenneth MarloweFirst Pages: Mr. Madam by Kenneth Marlowe

Welcome to First Pages on Fridays! Most Fridays, we share the first pages from a book (usually vintage), along with a bit of information about the author and the book’s history.

Today’s book is Mr. Madam: Confessions of a Male Madam by Kenneth Marlowe and published in 1964 by Sherbourne Press (Los Angeles).

Kenneth Marlowe, a female impersonator, is described on the book’s dust jacket as “queen of a beehive of pretty little homosexual slaves who brought exclusive Hollywood clientele.” Famous author Armistead Maupin once wrote of him, “I met Kenneth Marlow[e] in 1972 when he was in the process of becoming Kate Marlowe. He threw a fundraising Big Band dance at which Sally Rand (then 70) performed her famous Fan Dance under a VERY DIM blue bulb. He called the evening ‘The Ball to End All Balls.'”

Below is an alternate cover, from a later (paperback) printing.

Book Feature: Mr. Madam by Kenneth Marlowe

Read these first pages from the “most startlingly candid homosexual autobiography ever written–a significant contribution to sexological literature” (again, from the book’s jacket). Enjoy!

Chapter 1: I Was a Problem

“One day is like another,” I said. “Unusual? No, I have always regarded this place as a kind of Grand Central Station West.”

The comment was prompted by the sum total of everything happening. The phone was ringing, the maid was asking who wanted cream or sugar in his coffee, someone was knocking at the door, and I was trying to explain the Service on the other phone.

“Yes, he’s young, blond and blue-eyed,” I said into the phone, waving the maid to hurry the coffee to the five young men in the living room. “And I know he’ll take good care of  you. That’s right, you pay him in cash.”

I hung up the receiver and went back into the living room. The young men were eying all the furnishings. It was elegant. It was me!

My life-sized portrait hung over one of the long champagne-coloured couches. Everything about the apartment reflected the elegance that money can buy.

One of the boys was seated on my white chaise-lounge. I put my five foot five down on the end of the chaise and said, “Move your footsies, Honey, Mother needs to park her tired ass.” It wasn’t that I’d been working it, but keeping a dozen young, beautiful boys working around the clock takes more than talent. I picked up one of the cups and sipped a Cafe Royale.

“You see, my dears, business and pleasure mix well enough when you’ve been knocking around as long as Mother has.” They were new tenants in the building and one of the neighbors had called to ask if I wanted them over for coffee. They were wide-eyed. I love it.

“There’s no pay-off in this town,” I told them frankly, “and that’s quite a problem because you have to be really careful. But Mother’s been extremely cautious. Lean over, sweetheart,” I laughed, “so I can knock on wood.” Read More…

First Pages: Willow Song by Richard Amory

First Pages: Willow Song by Richard AmoryFirst Pages: Willow Song by Richard Amory

Welcome to First Pages on Fridays! Every Friday, we share the first pages from a book (usually vintage), along with a bit of information about the author and the book’s history.

This week’s selection is from Willow Song by Richard Amory, published in 1974 by Freeway Press. Richard Amory is best known for his classic gay pulp/erotica novel Song of the Loon. Thanks to Arsenal Pulp Press, Song of the Loon is now readily available in a reissued edition; but Amory’s other novels have not yet received the same treatment.

Richard Amory was actually a pen name for Richard Wallace Love. As Richard Amory, he wrote at least eight gay-themed novels, including a couple of sequels to Song of the Loon.

Willow Song covers some of the same ground as Song of the Loon, but with a decidedly more fantastical and mystical bent. The back cover describes the book as a “poetic gay fantasy” and “a gay masque.” Read the following pages, and judge for yourself!

Chapter 1

Alum Rock Park: April, 1972

Strickland knew who Wilghe was the moment he emerged from the trunk of the old willow tree, near-naked, white-skinned, and twined about with greenly shining ivy. Wilghe stood on the dappled bank above the creek, gripping the dark earth with his toes, and smiling. His skin seemed like bark at times, but wasn’t–there was no telling his age. He could have been twenty or two hundred or two thousand. Strickland smiled, and offered him a cup of water from the fountain. Wilghe drank. Rainbow droplets clung to his bronze-colored beard. Strickland drew a deep breath and sighed “Hello, my love.”

“Hello to you, Alor,” Wilghe murmured. His voice was barely distinguishable from the April wind combing down the wooded slope, and his blue-gray eyes were amused and knowing slits. “Have you been waiting a long time?”

“Yes,” Strickland answered. He didn’t know what Alor meant, but surely Wilghe did, and that was all that mattered. He gazed at the tree man’s smoothly knotted body and then away, up the sea of spring-blooming mustard on the opposite slope. Wilghe was not up there so he glanced back, at the man’s golden-hairy legs; there was a sprig of wild, blue-lavender phlox in the hair behind his ear. “Yes, a long time,” Strickland said, “but I wasn’t entirely miserable. Some days were quite nice.”

The tree man’s smile broadened at that, and he stepped carefully to the old table and helped himself to a bread stick, cocking his head at the screams of the blue jays. There were greenish shadows down the groove of his spine, and below, green shadows where his bronze-haired buttocks met muscular thighs. He crumbled a bread stick for the jays, tossing brown and white crumbs to the far side of the table, then turned back to Strickland with a flash of knowing in his eyes. Read More…

First Pages: Pretty Boy by Jay Greene

First Pages: Pretty Boy by Jay GreeneFirst Pages: Pretty Boy by Jay Greene

Welcome to First Pages on Fridays! Every Friday, we share the first pages from a book (usually vintage), along with a bit of information about the author and the book’s history.

This week’s book is the paperback pulp novel Pretty Boy by Jay Greene, published in 1968 by Midwood Publications. As mentioned on the now-defunct blog Pulpnography, “Like other paperback publishers of the 60s, Midwood Publications (New York), mainly published straight pulp novels. Toward the end of the decade, there was a smattering of gay titles available from a handful of authors.” Notably, Jay Greene published 13 books under Midwood in the late-1960’s through the mid-1970’s, although he has been all but forgotten now, and many of his books are difficult to find.

Here are the first pages of the book. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

The sun was bright that morning, the ocean unnaturally clear and calm with the gentleness before a storm. Only a vagrant ripple could be seen on the shimmering green water as it rolled lazily in toward shore, swept with a lover’s caress over the pure white sand, then retreated. Overhead the Pacific sky was a pure azure blue without a single blotch of white cloud. The air was still and virtually soundless. Read More…