Author Archives: victor j. banis

About victor j. banis

Born in Pennsylvania, raised in Ohio, lived most of my adult life in California (20 years Los Angeles area, 20 years San Francisco. 160 plus books, and counting.

Thanksgiving 2013 by Victor J. Banis


victor recentIf you are like me, you find it easy most days to focus on what we lack or need or wish for – so, what better time than today to focus on what we have, the things we can be grateful for?

Did you sleep last night with a roof over your head – a real roof, I mean, and not just a bridge trestle or a piece of cardboard? If you did, give thanks – in our rich nation, many are not so fortunate.

Is there food in your belly – food you got without begging for it? Give thanks. Share it with those who are hungry. Too many are.

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No More of Tom … by Victor J. Banis


When Victor sent me this article yesterday, (which is really a letter to his fans and peers), I was in tears because I’m  very fond of him and I can appreciate how difficult it must have been for victor recenthim to write it. Sadly, there is no one to whom he can pass the torch because he’s unique and so are his books. Victor is held in high esteem by everyone who has read his books or knows him, and for him to lose that wonderful gift, his writing, that he has shared with us for decades,  must be a bitter blow, but for his fans his work will live on. Many of Victor’s stories are among my prized collections and I wish selfishly that this day had never arrived. Tough as this article will be for you to read, it was heartbreaking, I’m sure, for Victor to write.



But Tom’s no more – and so no more of Tom …. Lord Byron

It has been more than 2 years now since I had a new novel released, and in that ensuing time, there have been only a handful of short stories, some of them written in the past and recently discovered by me in boxes of old manuscripts, and only a couple of them new material.

Still, I get queries from friends and fans, asking about what will come next – I get this one often: “Will there be another Tom and Stanley book?”  How I wish I could answer in the affirmative – but, sadly, no, there is not likely to be another Deadly mystery novel – nor, I think, any novel at all.

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The Butcher’s Son (A Dick Hardesty Mystery)


thebutcherssonwebfsTitle and Link: The Butcher’s Son
Author: Dorien Grey
Cover Artist: N/A
Publisher URL: Zumaya Boundless
Amazon Buy Link
Genre: Contemporary Murder/Mystery
Length: Novel/
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A Guest review by Victor J. Banis

Summary Review: Someone is torching the city’s gay bars, and one of the dispossessed owners asks public relations maven Dick Hardesty to ask about and see what he can discover.

So is launched one of the longest running—and arguably one of the best—detective series in contemporary gay fiction.

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Taxi Rojo


Title: Taxi Rojo
Author: Erik Orrantia
Cover Artist: n/a
Publisher: Cheyenne Publishing
Amazon Buy Link
Genre: Fiction/Gay Fiction/Diverse
Length: Novel/220 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Victor J. Banis

Summary Review: The lives of a diverse group of characters become entwined when they survive the crash of a taxi near Tijuana Continue reading

Caregiver by Rick R. Reed


Title and Link: Caregiver
Author: Rick R. Reed
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher URL: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon Buy Link
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Victor J. Banis


Summary review:  Assigned to provide social services to an AIDS infected patient, Dan goes to visit his new client, thinking of himself as the caregiver –but in the author’s clever twist on words, it turns out to be Adam, dying of AIDS, who becomes Dan’s caregiver.

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Traveling Light


Title: Traveling Light
Author: Lloyd Meeker
Publisher: MLR Press
ISBN: 978-1-60820-318-5
Amazon Buy Link: paperback
Cover Artist: Winterheart Designs
Genre: Romance/Spiritual/Psychology/Time Travel/Paranormal
Length: Novel (284 pages)
Rating: 5+ stars — a definite keeper

A guest review by by Victor J. Banis

Summary Review: A unique and wonderful tale of love and wisdom spanning centuries

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The Shakespeare Conspiracy


Title and Link:  The Shakespeare Conspiracy
Author:  Ted Bacino
Publisher URL: Author House
Amazon Buy Link
Genre: Historical M/M, Mystery
Length:  Novel 300 paperback pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Victor J. Banis

Summary Review: Accused of heresy, Christopher Marlowe, London’s most popular playwright, must go underground to escape prison and death. In order that his plays will continue to be produced, he and his protector, Sir Thomas Walsingham, arrange for William Shakespeare to put his name to them.

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Tricks by Rick R. Reed


Title and Link: Tricks
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher URL: MLR Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Victor J. Banis

Summary: A welcome change for the long time horror writer, venturing here into the realm of m/m romance, and quite successfully, in a well paced story of mis-matched lovers finding their soulmates in one another.

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P’tit Cadeau


 Title and Link: P’tit Cadeau
Author: Anel Viz
Publisher URL:  Silver Publishing
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel 480 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Victor J. Banis

Summary Review: The narrator of the story, Ben, is told before he meets Jean Yves that the boy is a simpleton, unemployed because unemployable. He is pleasantly surprised instead to find the young man is both attractive and likable—but, Ben is sure, straight, and he accordingly resists his growing attraction.

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The Rules of the Game by Victor J. Banis


The legendary Victor J. Banis has written so many posts on this site he needs no introduction, other than he has written 200+ books during his career and his work is much loved by his fans. Although the series Ins and Outs of M/M Romance has now concluded today Victor is offering his own brand of writing advice which, as always, is very soound. 


Livia Blackburne, a guest blogger on the blog A Guide to Literary Agents, recently wrote about the Writer Idol Event at Boston ‘s Book Fest and a panel both unique and, one would hope, instructive. In order to avoid copyright questions, I’m paraphrasing here some of what she had to say but I think I have the gist of it right.

The panel was made up of an editor and three agents. Manuscripts were chosen at random and an actress read the first 250 words out loud for the audience and the panel. Whenever she reached a point where one of the panelists thought he would stop reading the submission, he raised his hand. When two or more had raised their hands, the reading ended and the panelists discussed why they had stopped where they did. In the rare cases where the reading went on to the end  (roughly less than a fourth of the manuscripts) the panelists discussed what worked for them.

In general, the panelists cited 7 common reasons why they would stop reading.
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Match Maker


Title and Link: Match Maker
Author: Alan Chin
Publisher URL: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: novel (337 pages)
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

A guest review by Victor J. Banis

Summary: the author pulls all the stops out in this gripping story of love, tragedy and redemption, set against a backdrop of professional tennis. An emotional roller coaster that will hold the reader enthralled until the last, fully satisfying page.

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Ins and Outs of M/M Romance: In a Manner of Speaking by Victor J Banis


It pays to be polite and Victor J. Banis hammers the point home in his latest post which illustrates that authors get better results by using honey than by insulting readers. I did a poll 16 months ago in which I asked whether an author’s online behaviour affected readers’ buying decisions. 46% of readers said they stopped buying an author’s books due to rudeness, and 35% of those polled said that they were more likely to try an author based on the way they interacted online; only 15% said it didn’t matter either way. Even though the survey was done over a year ago I suspect the results would be the same if it were done today.


I recently dropped out of an online writers/readers group because of a snarky comment made by a moderator. Actually, it wasn’t really a slam, more a dismissive kind of thing, and I’ve got pretty thick skin, so I can’t say it kept me up all night with tears on my pillow. What really bothered me, though, was the lack of manners. If only as a veteran in our gay Civil Wars, I thought surely I deserved more respect than this. Actually, just as a member of our human family, I thought I did. I think we all do.

I’m old fashioned—hell’s bells, I’m old—and I grew up in an era in which courtesy was the expected norm. People comment often on my good manners—but, wait, isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? Now I look around and I think, when did rudeness become the standard? This is not the first such group I dropped out of—I left another a couple of years ago when a member emailed a nasty message culminating in “f… you.” Apart from any other consideration, one has to worry about the word skills of a writer who can’t summon up anything better than that.

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Ins and Outs of M/M Romance: “Characterization, characterization, characterization” by Victor J. Banis


It was always my intent to ask Victor to come back again and again to give newbie M/M authors the benefit of his vast body of knowledge of writing. This post proves what a brilliant strategist I was when I sucked him into promising to be a regular columnist in this series. :) In today’s post Victor offers authors real examples of how to make their characters come alive so that the readers will ‘live’ their stories.

Here’s another gem from the master, Victor J. Banis.


When Wave asked if I would like to do a follow up to the Author Advice series, I went back to look at what had been offered so far. Gosh, what a stellar bunch of posts they have been, such great advice – Sean’s insistence that we write, write, write; Josh’s suggestions for finding the right publisher; Laura’s pointing you toward your own (and your characters’) sexual comfort zone; Rick’s admonition to look for social relevance in your work; Ally’s hints on characterization. How, I wondered, was I going to follow all that?

I went to bed to sleep on it and I was deep asleep when, at precisely one seventeen in the morning, I said aloud (and so woke myself up): Characters. Yes, of course, Ally had already written a brilliant essay on that subject, but that is a subject that could easily fill an entire volume by itself. And it’s always been my opinion that the number one element in writing fiction is characterization, followed 2nd, by characterization, and 3rd, by characterization. There was plenty more that I could say on that subject.

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