Poppy’s Birthday Bash: Edmond’s Baking Tips

It’s almost the last day of Poppy’s Birthday Bash! Today’s guest poster is the wickedly charming Edmond Manning. Edmond and I bonded over vodka at the GRL retreat in Albuquerque. He’s lucky we had that moment, because the clown suit almost put me off of him for life. Seriously…clowns…*shivers* But I loved him anyway and his constant ability to make me smile. He’s arrived today with some tips of what not to do to my birthday cake. I wonder what he’s come up with…

12 Things To Avoid Putting On Top Of Birthday Cakes
I’m sure many of us are considering making Poppy a birthday cake. Well, purchasing a cake. Okay, maybe not purchasing a cake, but we hope she has birthday cake. Or maybe that, you know, we had cake. Yes, fine, I’m projecting. I would like a piece of cake. I am actually hoping that Poppy mails me a piece of cake.
Let’s pretend that it’s the party moment where we’re all getting ready to sing. Poppy is a little drunk on the good cheer and congeniality of her birthday-celebrating friends (also possibly buzzed from two glasses of champagne slipped to her by her best friend) and we’ve reached the moment where someone dims the lights and we all take a deep breath in anticipation of singing loudly and poorly.
As the cake bearer walks toward Poppy, all smiles, what are the twelve things that would ruin a white-frosted cake with pink tubing and sugary red roses?
12. Broken glass
I think we all saw this one coming. Don’t put shit on a cake that has no business being on a cake. No hilariously broken Budwiser bottles, oily rags, used Kleenex, and broken pencils. I think most of us can avoid this trap, but it had to be said. No household items. Nothing from the garage. When you finish squeezing the last bit out of that toothpaste tube, throw it away. It does not belong on cake.
Poppy: Edmond, is there some cake trauma you need to share with us? I’m thinking there must be…
11. Pineapples
C’mon. Is there anything more disappointing on a cake than fresh fruit? Birthday cake = unhealthy sugar. It means indulgence. We lie to ourselves and say, “I would skip having cake, but it’s Poppy’s special day and I wouldn’t want to offend her by my not eating a piece.” Then, oops — we accidentally get a corner piece with thick frosting. Fruit on top of cake is an uncomfortable reminder that we should eat better. Nobody needs that reminder. You’re ruining our cake moment.
Poppy: Hey now! Them’s fighting words! Don’t put pineapple on my birthday cake??? Have you lost  your noodle? Have you never experienced the deliciousness that is pineapple upside down cake? There’s fruit, sure, but it’s carmalized fruit. Do you remember the caramel vodka? How yummy and delicious it was? Yeah, imagine that on a cake! Nom nom nom. Seriously, I have to stop thinking about this. I have to wait until my party this weekend to get my pineapple upside down cake…
10. Writing
 Does it really need to say ‘Happy Birthday Poppy?’ We all know it’s her birthday. We’re standing in her living room, aren’t we? We wrapped a present —it’s on the credenza. Writing gets in the way of the aesthetic appeal. The only exception to this rule is if the frosting is really, really good (i.e. lard-based sugar or chocolate. Or both).
In that case, written cake words become a vehicle for getting more sugar into your system and under these circumstances, words are permissible. In fact, with the right frosting, you might squeeze out Chapter one from A Tale of Two Cities.
Poppy: Agreed. Lots of frosting equals happy times. So write away. Or get rid of the writing and cover that cake with lots and lots of flowers. You know, the sugary ones that make you sugar hyper from just looking at them. 
9. Tiny clown heads
Are you trying to give the poor woman nightmares? They aren’t cute, they’re horrors. Did you know clowns are specifically mentioned in The Book of Revelations? Check out verse 16:3:  “Lo, and beware that you welcome unto your spirit, those who carnivalize with red noses, for they shall rend your flesh with pointed teeth and devour the meek of heart.” It’s true.
Poppy: Yes! Clowns are EVOL. I’ve been trying to tell everyone this for years. Thank goodness I finally have a verse to quote for proof!
8. A picture of the birthday honoree’s face
What better way to send a mixed message to the birthday guest than to sing a song wishing cheer and future happiness, and immediately cut up their face and canabalize it with friends? Poor Poppy. She’s trying to reflect on her life and what lies ahead. Meanwhile, you’re sticking a fork through her eyelid and pulling the sugary tendrils of her retina toward your mouth. “Oh, you’re thinking of taking a vacation, Poppy? Munch, munch, munch. That sounds great. Go to Mexico. Munch, munch, munch.  Boy, your hair tastes delicious.”
Poppy: Note to self-Never ever do one of those picture cakes again. I will never get the retina image out of my head. Thanks for that, Edmond.
7. Paper
I’m afraid this comes from personal experience. My mom likes to do ‘theme cakes.’ It’s not enough to make the cake and decorate it. Well, it’s enough for me. But mom likes there to be a thematic connection between the time of year or current events and that kid’s birthday. Two years ago, my brother and I celebrated our August birthdays together as we always do, as they are only a week apart. Mom frosted us a lovely cake, decorated with twin candy suns, spiraling out their firey heat with sliced yellow and orange gum drops. Quite charming.
She also made a small placard, attached to the cake with two straws taped to the back to lend support. The placard looked like a billboard on the cake, like someone had rented advertising space. The words she wrote on this sign said, “To the sizzling suns of summer.” Get it? Suns? Sons? She made smaller signs that had both our names on them, also paper squares.
Mom is awesome and her cakes are delicious.
However, disaster struck when metaphor and reality merged. None of us anticipated how my brother’s and my wish-blowing breath would send deadly solar wind currents directly to the cake’s paper-based explanation. While assorted family members clapped at our efforts, the cake top caught fire, and soon everything was ablaze. The straws melted, the paper turned to ash, and really, who doesn’t want to eat birthday cake covered in paper ash?
We scraped off the fire residue and glumly ate the charred remains. Happy birthday.
Poppy: Yikes! Good to know, though. Your mom is awfully clever…and hopefully good with a fire extinguisher! 
6. Hard candy / Tic Tacs
Poppy: Double no.
5. Swedish fish candy
Poppy: No squared.
4. Red licorice
C’mon. No.
Poppy: But I did see this really cute cake on Pinterest with licorice…oh, okay. No. 
3.  Advice
Cake is no time to get preachy. I’ve seen cakes that said, “Live well!” and “Celebrate!” Okay, well, celebrate isn’t so terrible, I guess. But for each of us, our birthday is a sacred, special thing. For some, surrounded by friends and loved ones means everything. For others, a day of quiet reflection on past and future is the thing.
Whatever your relationship with your mother, you and she did this crazy thing together, years ago. You popped out of her va-jayjay. On a less crude level, the day was emotionally draining for you (who cried your tiny little eyes out) and her. Whether she coddled you, promising to always keep you safe and happy, or she kissed you and gave you up for adoption, it was undeniably a huge day for you both.
What’s the right way for you to celebrate? Who knows?
What you don’t need is a bossy cake telling you how to live.
Poppy: Have you met my mother? 
2. Real flowers
Sure they look pretty. Orange and yellow with faint pink highlights. Or maybe soft lavender petals with periwinkle streaks leading right into the stem. Lovely. But incredibly disappointing if you think you get to eat it. I have witnessed luscious wedding and birthday cakes decorated with gorgeous flowers and thought, ‘I can’t wait to chomp the shit out of those pansies” only to discover they really arepansies. Not frosted pansies. Not candy pansies. No, just pansies.
Not cool, cake decorator. Sure they look lovely and prove you’re one-with-nature, I guess. But think of your recipients. We sing the song, we clap when Poppy blows out the candles, and then we start removing off the non-edibles. Off go the flowers? Damn. What’s left is a barren oil drum of a cake, a white-frosted shell reminding us that all the beauty is gone.
Cake decorator, I can hear you saying, “Go ahead and eat one of the flowers. They’re edible. Try one!”
Go to hell.
Poppy: And let’s face it, real flowers alongside the sugary goodness that is frosting? No. Just no. A million times NOOOO!
1. Candles.
Whose brilliant idea was this? Let’s bake a delicious cake, frost it beautifully, decorate it to reflect our love and good cheer…and then stab it repeatedly with candles and set it aflame. But wait, that’s not all. Let’s also sing a long song with multiple verses so that the candles have plenty of time to melt into the frosting that two minutes ago looked very appealing.
But wait, there’s more. Two candles? Four? Nope. Let’s stab said cake with thirty candles. Forty candles. (And in Poppy’s case, twenty-two candles, right? That is what you told me…) How hilarious to use the exact number of birthday candles so as to coat the entire frosted cake in a shield of disgusting, melted wax that you discover when your teeth tell your brain ‘I taste something that doesn’t belong.’
Whoever invented sticking candles on the cake must be laughing their ass off at all of us for embracing that tradition.
You know what we should put on top of our birthday cakes?
More cake.
Happy birthday, Poppy.
Poppy: Thanks Edmond! And yes, a double or triple layer cake sounds so amazing right about now! But don’t put candles on it. I don’t need the reminder of how old I am. The cake might as well say “Flame On”.

Poppy’s Birthday Bash: Geoff Wants to PILF

The adorable Geoff Knight always makes me smile. He’s given me some pretty fantastic advice over the past year, and I’m really glad I get to call him friend…even thought he never calls me Poppy. 🙂 He came up with a list for my birthday bash inspired by one of his many  nicknames for me.

For those who don’t know, when I send emails to birthday gal Poppy I always give her a cute little nickname—Popcorn, Poptart, Snap Crackle & Pop, and my favorite, Popstar. So I thought it would be more than fitting for my list to consist of the 12 hunkiest Popstars I’d like to f**k (PILFs, for short, kinda like a MILF but a lot more fun considering I don’t actually know any Moms I’d like to you-know-what…mainly because I’m gay, surprise, surprise.) Please note though that I’ll be taking a little poetic license and including rockstars and singers from other music genres in this list too, but categorizing them all under the label of Popstar just for my birthday girl Poppy (I’m hoping Henry Rollins won’t sue!). And so, in no particular order:

Adam Lambert

Adam makes the grade for taking the world by storm, wearing the make-up, blasting some amazing songs and performances, and never pretending to be anything he’s not.

Poppy-It’s the smirk, Geoff, isn’t it? I can never resist a man with a sexy smirk. 

Jon Bon Jovi

The man just DOES NOT AGE! I think he looks hotter now than ever before.

Poppy-Geoff, sweetheart…I love you. Really, I do. More than my luggage. But if you think you’re getting ahold of Bon Jovi before me…well, I will so knock you out. *whistles innocently*

Matt Alber

Matt’s music is sooooo beautiful and his songs are so unashamedly romantic and gay, but if you haven’t seen his music clip for The End Of The World, do yourself a favor and YouTube it now!

Poppy-Well, hello there handsome. Why have I never heard of this guy before? I shall go to YouTube and check him out. 

Justin Timberlake

He can act, write, sing, dance and crack a joke… he’s pretty much the complete package, really!

Poppy-*giggles* You said package. 

Ricky Martin

After seeing him live in Evita this year, I fell in love with Ricky all over again! It was like watching the clip for She Bangs for the first time!

Poppy-*nods* Yes…very much yes. 

Josey Greenwell

Poppy-Great googily moogily. I don’t know this fella either, but I’d arm wrestle you for him, Geoff. And I’d totally cheat. Droooooooooooolllllls with you.

Chris Martin

There’s just something about Chris that I find seriously sexy. I think it’s his energy, he seems to have a limitless amount of it. Always a good thing in bed!

Poppy-There is something really sexy about him, isn’t there? Hard to put a name to it, but good in bed works for me! 🙂

Lenny Kravitz

Sorry to turn you into an object of lust, Lenny, but it’s all about the body!

Poppy-And the dreds…and the cool style…and…and…yeah, he’s just hot. 

Robbie Williams

Robbie, that bad boy routine wins hands down, every time!

Poppy-Oh, Geoff likes bad boys does he? Good to know. Good to know…

Cosmo Jarvis

For an independent straight male singer to write a song in the first person called Gay Pirates about a sailor’s undying love for his boyfriend Sebastion, my hat goes off to you Cosmo! Plus you have the coolest name ever!
Poppy-Gay pirates? Seriously? HA! I love it. Another one I’ll have to check out. And his name is awesome!!

Keith Urban

It’s all about that naked photoshoot he did with just him and his guitar! If you haven’t seen it, google it now!

Poppy-Uh huh. Sure, Geoff. I think it’s just ’cause he’s Australian! 

Sufjan Stevens

Seriously, those eyes! That hair! The cute way he never smiles but his lips curl up just a little around the edges! YUM!

Poppy-Okay, so he’s totally adorable. 

Henry Rollins

HOT!!!!!!!! Although I’d be scared he might break me!

Poppy-Oh, he’d totally break you, but it would be very hot. Hey, how about I make a deal with you Geoff? I’ll take Bon Jovi and you can have this guy. That’s fair. *nods* 

Poppy’s Birthday Bash: Top2Bottom’s Best of 12

For today’s post, I had a hankering for the 12 Best Books of 2012. Who else to go to but my friends over at Top2Bottom Reviews! Special thanks to Michele and the rest of the team for putting together their favorite books from this year.

So here they are, in no particular order:

KingPerry by Edmond Manning

Fighting Addiction by B.A. Tortuga

Conner’s Courage by SJD ‘Jo’ Peterson
Ethan, who loved Carter by Ryan Loveless
The Statue by Zathyn Priest
Hard Tail by JL Merrow
Ruby: Lost and Found by M.D. Grimm
Loving the Boss by Shawn Lane
Caregiver by Rick R Reed
3 by Jacob Flores
Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street by Ryan Field 

A fantastic list, for sure! So what book would have made your top 12? 

Poppy’s Birthday Bash: Taylor Gets Listy

Today’s special guest for Poppy’s Birthday Bash is the lovely and talented Taylor V. Donovan. Along with several other writers, Taylor runs the blog Chicks & Dicks. Some of the posts on the blog have really changed the way I look at things. They make me think, and that’s always a good thing. So for Taylor’s contribution, I asked her to come up with a Top 12 list of Chicks & Dicks posts. 
First of all I’d like to thank Poppy for having me on her blog as part of her special birthday celebration. You are an amazing lady, and I am very happy to have you as my friend. 
One of Poppy’s favorite things is Chicks & Dicks http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/, a blog conceived for the purpose of providing a platform where a variety of subjects and opinions concerning MM Romancelandia can be aired, whether we agree with them or not. It is run by a group of amazing people that you can check out when you visit our blog, and counts with excellent collaborators that spice things up every month.
It’s been a year since we launched the site and during that time we’ve had a plethora of guests, themes, and a fair share of controversy. As you could imagine choosing only twelve favorite posts was almost impossible, but there are several that stood out because they made me think, laugh, and even cry. So without further ado and in no particular order I give you my twelve favorite posts on Chicks & Dicks to date.
1. Believing in Love http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/12/believing-in-love-by-marie-sexton.html , by Marie Sexton about characters reclaiming their faith and incorporating religion in stories in a positive way. 
2. This Really Needs to Stop http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/11/this-really-needs-to-stop-by-thorny_20.html, by Thorny Sterling about the use of the term “chicks with dicks” and how hurtful and/or offensive it can be. 
3. Coming Out as an Author http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/06/coming-out-as-author-by-tj-klune.html, by TJ Klune about letting people know he writes MM Romance. 
4. Real Stories, Real Romance, Real Soon, Please http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/03/real-stories-real-romance-real-soon.html , by Adara O’Hare, a very insightful analysis of the stories in our genre. 
5. Gay Pride, Fathers Day and a Gay Father and Son http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/06/gay-pride-fathers-day-and-gay-father.html, by Rick R. Reed, in which he talks about being a gay father of a gay son. 
6. American Grandstand http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2011/12/josh-lanyon-american-grandstand.html, by Josh Lanyon, in which he offers invaluable advice to authors on all things promotion. 
7. Mores First Ejaculation http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2011/11/mores-first-ejaculation.html, by Mores. A touching, hilarious recount of… well, the title says it all  
8. Same Sex Abuse: Can You Spot the Indicators? http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/07/same-sex-abuse-can-you-spot-indicators.html, by Edmond Manning, an eye opening look into the oftentimes difficult-to-spot same sex abusive relationships. 
9. Gay-For-You? That’s Not What I Call It http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/04/gay-for-you-thats-not-what-i-call-it-by.html , by Alec E. in which we discuss the viability (and veracity) of one of the favorite tropes in the genre. 
10. Authors’ Personal Lives http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/09/authors-personal-lives-by-nikyta-jenkins.html , by Nikyta Jenkins, a perhaps controversial take on the time authors spend online and how much information they should share… if any at all. 
11. What Makes a Series Spectacular http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/08/what-makes-series-spectacular-by.html, by Joyfully Jay about what makes or breaks a series. 
12. Smell-A-Mate Syndrome http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/04/smell-mate-syndrome-by-poppy-dennison.html, by Poppy Dennison, a hilarious look into insta-love. 
As a bonus, I’d like to include a post titled The One Thing We Shouldn’t Break is Our Community http://www.chicksanddicksrainbow.com/2012/04/one-thing-we-shouldnt-break-is-our.html , written by yours truly. It is a reminder of what our blog stands for, as well as a heartfelt plea to be kind to one another in our little MM Romance World. 
Taylor V. Donovan

Poppy: No commentary necessary from me on these. If you don’t follow Chicks & Dicks, you should. They’re a great group and while you may not agree with all of the posts, you’ll definitely learn something from them. 

Poppy’s Birthday Bash: Annette Goes Hollywood

For today’s 12 Days of Poppy post, I hit up my friend and RomFanReviews blogger Annette. Annette and I are both avid readers, and wanted to compare notes on books turned into movies. Do we love them or hate them? Are there any stand outs? And did Annette put my favorite on her list? Let’s check out what she has to say…
When I came up with the idea to do “12 Books Turned into Movies” for Poppy’s 12 Days of Poppy Birthday Bash I did not realize what I was getting myself into.  All that came to mind was my favorite book of all time which you will find out what my #1 is later. So, I changed my idea to “My Top 12 Books Turned into Movies” so, here we go!!!
12. Gone With the Wind – Author Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer for this book which was released in 1936.  The story is set during the Civil War and follows life and trouble of Scarlett O’Hara who begins the story as a sixteen year old girl in love.
What more can be said about this one “Oh Rhett” starring Vivian Leigh and Clark Cable who gave us the phrase “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn” that made every woman swoon.  And then of course we have Scarlett that you either wanted to hug her or slap her, talk about a woman who went from sweet to bitch in zero-sixty. 
Poppy: What I love about this movie is that it isn’t your typical romance. It’s funny, because everyone seems to think of Gone With the Wind as a romance, but it isn’t that as all. And Rhett…oh Rhett…
11. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
Published in 1967 The Outsiders tells the story of a group of boys coming of age in 1965. Claimed as a controversial book due to the violence even to this day it is now part of some schools reading curriculum.
I was a young adult myself when this book was turned into a movie in 1983 and I cannot tell you how many times I watched this movie.  Yes, partly because of the cast but also the story of all that Ponyboy had gone through and the friendships that held through it all.
Poppy: This is one where I watched the movie first. I don’t like to do that, but heck, I didn’t really know any better at the time. And really, how could you go wrong with that cast? How many of those guys went on to become superstars? 
10.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
Okay, I know it is a children’s book and movies but I love them both.
First published in 1950 and then adapted into a movie in 2005 this story follows Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy into the world of Narnia where they befriend many of the characters and help to defeat the White Witch.
What more to say about a story that takes you into a world of beings and magic. 
Poppy: I tried to resist watching this movie when it came out a few years ago. You might not be surprised to know that I get cranky when books are made into movies and they don’t do it “right”. Fortunately, this one worked for me and it introduced my nephews to the world of Narnia. Gotta love a movie that makes kids want to read! 
9. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Published in 1843 and the first time I saw one of the many adaptions made into a movie was the 1951 version starring Alastair Simms. Of course it was probably 20 something years old by the time I saw it.
We all know how the story goes, grumpy and tight fisted Scrooge is haunted by three ghosts.  The best way to start the holiday season along with The Grinch, Rudolph and Frosty.
Poppy: I adore this Christmas story. One of my all-time favorites. I don’t know though, Annette. I’m not sure the films have every really done the book justice! 
8. Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice
This was the beginning of my love of all things paranormal.  Anne Rice is the queen that started it all for me at least.  I know there is Dracula and other stories out there but this was where it all began for me.
The telling of the story of Louis and how he became a vampire and his survival over the 200 years the book covers.  Anne Rice began this book as a short story and who knew the hit it would become. 
Just a little tid-bit my daughter found a kitten and brought him home and she named him Lestat after the character in the book.  He lives up to his name with his fangs and his nightly roaming the house and 11 years later he is still my vampire kitty.
Poppy: You know, my absolute favorite character in the film? Claudia, as played by Kirsten Dunst. Man, she broke my heart into a million pieces…and sent cold chills down my spine while doing it! 
7. Beaches – Iris Rainer Dart
I will admit this is one book I did not actually read but the movie I could almost recite word for word.  You see my best-friend Tina and I dubbed this “our” movie.  Of course I am not sure which one of us is Bette Midler LOL…
The story of two young girls who meet and become fast friends it follows them through their adult lives of struggles and just trying to make it through another day.  But, when one of them falls ill and the other drops everything to be there for her is the main plot of the story and their flashbacks of their friendship.
It is a movie I can relate to because my BFF or my soul-mate as I call her are like that, no matter how far away we are from each other we are always there when needed.  Who knew that two women who met at a bar would still be best-friends 25 years later?  I love you Twinkie.
Poppy: Well, it had to happen at some point. I hate to admit it, but I haven’t read the book! Meep! But I have seen the film version multiple times. Bette Midler is outstanding in this movie. Whenever I need a heart-wrenching cry, this is the film that goes on! 
6. A Time to Kill – John Grisham
John Grisham brought us the story that made us all question what would we have done in the same situation. 
The tale of a white lawyer, Jake Brigance who takes on the case of Carl Lee, a black man in Mississippi that murdered two men who had beaten and raped his young daughter and left her for dead.  It follows the hardship that and the trial and tribulations that they encounter.  This is one of those stories that could have been ripped from the headlines of a newspaper.
I watched this movie the first time because it had my favorite actor Matthew McConaughey and it has become one of those movies that I will forever treasure just because it does raise the questions, would I do the same thing Carl Lee did? 
Poppy: Well heck, Annette! You surprised me with this one. I wouldn’t have put it on my favorites list, but I can certainly see why you did. Matthew McConaughey was really good in this one. Yeah, I can see it. How about that. You got me on this one! 🙂 
5. Dances with Wolves – Michael Blake
The story of Lt. John J. Dunbar and life on the wild frontier, he encounters the Sioux Indians and a woman who lives with them although she is a white woman.  Stands with a Fist has been with the tribe since she was a child and adopted by their Shaman. 
Dunbar becomes friends with the Sioux and has a connection with a wolf that hangs out at the post.  But, he has to make a decision and choose between the two worlds.
This is one of my favorite movies, I love historical movies and books, and I can never get enough of them.  And when it involves the great people of this land the Native American Indians and wolves I am hooked as it brings two of my favorite loves together.  If you were to see my house you would know what I am talking about, wolves and Native American Indian art and books all over the place.
Poppy: Love. Absolutely love. All I can say about that. Well, I could say Kevin Costner, too, but you knew that already…
4. The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
Written in 1996 this story based on true events made me cry, laugh and also at times want to throw it out the window.  That is what makes a great book for me, one that brings out just about every emotion possible and still has you come back for more.
The story of a man who falls in love with a woman but life happens and separates them to only come back again and still feel the sparks.  It proves to us that there is a love out there that can last through anything and that there is that one person out there for us all.
Made into film in 2004 I had to see if the movie was as good as the book and of course it did not hurt that it starred Ryan Gosling.  I swear I probably went through a whole box of Kleenex.  This is one of those movies that I can watch over and over and still not get enough.
Poppy: Now, don’t shoot me, Annette, but I’m not a Nicholas Sparks fan. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’m a fan of anyone who can make me cry with every. single. book. That said, this movie was really fantastic. Gena Rowlands is one of my favorite actresses and, man, she did something amazing in this role! 
3. The Twilight Saga– Stephanie Meyer
Well, unless you live under a rock these books really need no explaining.  We have Bella, Edward the vampire and Jacob the werewolf.  I know a lot of people have a problem with the books compared to adult version of vampire romances but I devoured these books in one week.  Of course it was due to the first movie Twilight being released and I wanted to read the books first.
With the release of the final movie Breaking Dawn Part 2 I will admit finally that the final book in the series was my favorite, maybe because it was more adult then the first two when they were still in high school.
Poppy: I love you, Annette. Really and truly. But nope, not this one. LOL! 
2. The Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper
The oldest book on my list, the first publication of this book was in 1826 when they didn’t even have pictures on the covers since they were the nice leather bound, last forever books.  Can you imagine what it would cost to get one of those now?  If I ever hit the lotto this will be one book that will grace my shelf forever.
As I explained before I have a love for history and Native American Indians and then throw some romance in the mix and it is the perfect film for me.
When the daughters of Colonel Munro are taken by a Huron Indian for revenge against their father it is up to Hawkeye, Chingachgook and his son Uncas to rescue them from the fate handed to them.
This is a story of not just war and romance but also of a man and his people, what is to become the beginning of the end for a race of great people.
Poppy: Now you’re speaking my language! Daniel Day Lewis! Need I say more? Oh, how about “I will find you!” *melts into a big puddle of Poppy-goo*
1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Published in 1960 I remember this being one of the required books I had to read in my high school Lit class and I just remember that I could not put it down once I started to read it.  Harper Lee is another Pulitzer Prize winner.
Based in 1936 the story of little Scout Finch getting a lesson in strange friendships with neighbor Boo Radley and hatred due to her father defending a black man accused of raping a white woman in the south.
The movie starring Gregory Peck is an all-time favorite of mine.  Released in 1962 I never saw the movie until I was in high school and after I had read the book.  Based on a time when I was not even thought of yet and to see the prejudice that was going on in that time just blows my mind.  To know it still exists today in the form of race, religion and sexual orientation to me is unforgivable.  It makes me what to just “bitch slap” the bigots of this world.   We all bleed red.
Poppy: Absolutely 100% agree on this one. Gregory Peck…yeah. Just yeah. Amazing book and must-see movie. 
Well, that is my Top 12 list and if I could have continued with even more it would have also included such books as the Harry Potter Saga, Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Green Mileand many, many more. But, I had to narrow down to 12 which was not an easy task at all believe me.  We will see if City of Embers will be added to this list when it hits theaters next year.
 Now I have a couple questions for Poppy since this is her Birthday Bash:
Keeping with the theme here what is your #1 book turned into a movie?
Poppy: Oh, this one is so easy for me, and I’m surprised it didn’t make your list, Annette! Without a doubt, Pride & Prejudice! I’ve read the novel dozens of times, and I’ve watched the BBC mini-series about as many times! Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Yeah. Just yeah. *nods* Yes. On so many levels. Poppy likey. 🙂 
If either Mind Magic or Body Magic were made into a movie who would be your leading man?
Hmm. This is actually a really tough question for me. Although I did find some images of guys to use as inspiration for the characters of the Triad verse, none of them are really actors. Well, unless you count Colton Ford. He was the person I used as an inspiration character for Gray Townsend, my alpha werewolf. 🙂 
What is something on your Birthday wish list?
Well, other than books, I’d say that owls would be top on my list this year. Owls? Yes. I know, I’m random. I’ve developed a sudden fascination with owls. I can’t explain it. 
Now for everyone else out there….what is your favorite book turned movie?

Poppy’s Birthday Bash: MJ O’Shea Talks Larry Stylinson

Day two of the 12 Days of Poppy has arrived, and with it comes the sparkly that is M.J. O’Shea. M.J. is one of those gals who believes in pink and glitter and being your own damn self. I love her for it, and she’s taught me a lot over the course of our friendship. She’s also brought to our friendship the love that is Larry Stylinson. 
Now, I’m not normally one to speculate on the love lives of celebrities, but Louis and Harry…I just can’t seem to help myself! Larry is real, dangit! Here to prove why my obsession is based on some facts and not just conspiracy theories and speculation, is the gal who got me into the obsession in the first place! 

12 Reasons why Poppy thinks Larry Stylinson is real:)
(in no particular order)
MJ O’Shea here!  Hey….
Soo, how to begin? First of all, Embarassing confession: I’ve always had a thing for boy bands. Shhhh. Don’t tell. Lol. But really, they’re so fun. The matching sweaters, the dance moves, the slightly corny music…what’s not to like, right? Anyway, to celebrate our love of all things choreographed, harmonized, and color coordinated my co-author Piper Vaughn and I decided to put down our rockstars temporarily and write a boyband book. Oh yes we are. It had to be done:) For “research”, we watched about 500 backstreet boys and Nsync videos (because it was necessary okay?) but after I was done drooling over Nick Carter (<3 sigh), I happened to come across a little phenomenon called “Larry Stylinson”. I showed Piper, and being the mm writers we are, we both thought omfg what IS this??? After that a slight…okay, maybe a little less than slight obsession was born:) I then shared it with Poppy who I’m sure curses me for it on a daily basis and yeah. That’s about it!
If you’re not aware of the Larry, I’ll try to sum up: Larry Stylinson basically equals Louis Tomlinson + Harry Styles of the boy band One Direction. We’re all going to pretend that I didn’t just admit I listen to One Direction, okay? Shhhh. Like at this point it’s a big secret. Anyway…Here’s the thing with these two: they kinda really act like they’re in love. There’s actually a fairly large section of the fan base who seriously believe that they’re in love. Not a cutesy “bromance”, or “just effing make out and get it over with” but real actual love. Like the stuff we read and write about every day.
Now, if you’ve never watched any One Direction footage, I suggest you do. It’s very entertaining. Hehe. Let’s just say there’s a reason that, as a group, they’ve been called “undeniably adorable yet intensely homoerotic” before. Uh…because they all are. Both of those things. It’s like five way puppy love. Thing is, these two boys (Harry and Louis) take it just a step – or maybe two hundred steps – further than the rest of them do.
I’ll be honest. For me, the jury is still out on what “the truth” is.  I do, however, find it extremely and undeniably entertaining… and occasionally quite convincing.
So without further ado, here are the 12 reasons why Miss Poppy believes in the love that is Larry <3 
1. Heart Eyes and Hungry Staring
These two stare at each other constantly. Seriously. To the point where it’s sometimes almost uncomfortable to watch (like Molly Ringwald movie embarrassing, I swear) Of course there are about a gazillion pictures of the staring…like really. Gazillion. Maybe even more. I’ll only share a few for posterity.  The stares typically come in two categories:
 One is: “You’re so perfect, you can’t really be real, I love you till it hurts, how do you even exist?”
 And the other is well, basically…. “I want to eat you.”  Believe me. You’ll see.
For newbies, Harry is the one with the dark curls and Louis kind of looks like…peter pan?
tumblr_lzyx3sczOA1rqsk67o1_500.gif  And time stands still…. Awwww. Lol.
tumblr_m1n641EhIz1r0e0bq.gif  You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
tumblr_m6hvrkuqOw1r3wk77o1_500.jpg  Umm guys? You’re like on a TV show. Save it for later.
tumblr_m2lhg3eBiI1qbhk9c.gif   Okay, seriously this makes me laugh every time. It’s like Harry’s contemplating what sauces would taste best on Louis. Personally, I’d go with honey.
tumblr_m2jmma679n1rpm0jao1_500.gif  yeah…lol. Harry’s hungry a lot.
tumblr_m4tmexEbJh1rqtr9uo1_500.gif   This is like sparkly rainbow lovey sunshine 🙂
tumblr_lyyl00nVNO1qe7qpso1_500.gif   Sigh, Louis you’re so wonderful I can’t even handle it…
tumblr_mdm2d4aOx91ru52jc.gif  Same look…different guy. Le Sigh.
S640x480  Hungry? Thirsty? Secret Vampire? You decide.
Okay, okay..lol. No more. But there are SO MANY!!! That was just the sprinkling of snow on the tip of the iceberg. Next topic!!! Onward and ummm… upward? Snort.
Poppy: You know, I’ll be 38 here in a few days, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never had anyone look at me as intensely as these two guys look at each other! You’ve got to admit, the heart eyes have to mean at the *very* least that they care about each other very much. ‘Course, I choose to believe that that caring is love. You can decide for yourself.
2. Near Kisses and (yikes!) Near Misses
Near Kisses: There have been a number of occasions where it looks like Harry and Louis are leaning in for a romantic smooch but then mentally check themselves when they realize they’re in public…poor babies having to hide their love. Lol. For reals though this one makes me wonder. I can’t come up with another explanation for why their mouths have to be .001 inches away from each other…like ever. And they are. A lot. Once is an accident boys, two is a coincidence. 500 times is Larry Stylinson. (and I’m not going to even start with the kisspering. No, you don’t have to have your lips ON someone’s ear and your whole body squished to theirs to whisper…I promise).
tumblr_m52c62DXLC1qjryvto3_500.png  ummmm, that’s not his ear
tumblr_m2gfja7o3H1r6943u.gif  Bonus for heart eyes <3
tumblr_m4i5pgcvNP1r8qqwno1_500.gif there are actual videos of this out there. I’m lazy.
tumblr_m2yqxiJs091qkf2j5o1_500.gif cheek kissing just for awwwww
tumblr_m2wr26rrUA1qf45iv.jpg  (not kissing but I love their hugs. They hug so… intensely? Adorable)
Near Misses:  In the Larry fandom there is a word that’s spoken, kind of a code word for “the jig is up Harry and Louis. You’re not straight but good try”. That word is ‘Wellington’. Cell phone footage was taken of them in a bar there that, well, doesn’t look very platonic. Now the film is grainy and crappy and it’s hard as hell to tell what’s going on, but some people see kissing, some hear the girl say ‘oh my god they’re kissing’, and there for SURE is cuddling/upright spooning action. I’m going to say I’m not sold on this one. I’ll leave you the link and you decide! It’s really short.
tumblr_m30ghkWa5b1qzgdofo1_500.png  also, this from the guy who owned the video. He later changed his story about 600 times…but that goes in the “weird things” category. I’ll leave this one alone for now.
The other near miss is a quick video of them walking down the street “holding hands” . As soon as one of them sees a camera the hand goes in the pocket very quick like. Again, this is another thing I kinda buy (far more than Wellington). I’m having a hard time coming up with another reason for what happened here. I mean I guess they could be “bros hand holding”. It happens. I imagine. Anyway, you decide for yourself. I’m open to explanations:)
tumblr_m9dpkciEvA1rnjfa7.gif  (found it in GIF form. Can’t be bothered to find the whole thing.)
tumblr_m9dpohIgdA1rnjfa7.gif  afterwards walking closer to whoever’s filming, head down. Harry’s a rockstar. He didn’t move his arm:) Out of the two he seems to be the one who cares less if people think he’s gay.  Actually, he doesn’t seem to care at all, which I think is cool.
Poppy: As those of you who’ve met me know, I’m a touchy-feely kind of gal. But come on, even I don’t get *this* up close and personal with my friends! 
3. Subtle but not so subtle Touches
Okay. Let’s be real. This whole group touches a lot. A LOT a lot. There’s a reason that the typical shipping OTP (or one true pairing) got turned into OT5 for them. It’s kind of like a big cute puppy orgy complete with butt touching, fake make outs…crotch grabbing? Yeah, they do that too. But again, Harry and Louis touch a lot more. And quite often it doesn’t have that “Fanservice” element to it. It actually seems like nobody was supposed to see it…or they don’t really care who sees it but they just had to touch. A few GIFs below:)
tumblr_m1gd1lXxFT1r3wk77o1_500.gif  IDK about you but I nibble seductively on my friends all the time. I mean, it’s a thing, right?
Tumblr_m2lh3zoig61qbhk9c.gif   hee hee hee stop teasing me Louis!! Heee heee heee
tumblr_m2lfsgvFcT1qbhk9c.gif Casual upright spooning. No big.
tumblr_m2le2mRdak1qbhk9c.gif  awww hand holding on the X factor.
tumblr_m2apglkcR61r6943u.gif  Ohhh the hair stroking. There is MUCH of this.
tumblr_m2km4ak9GW1rrjb1lo1_500.gif  Sure everyone caresses their buddies’ cheek when they whisper. IN AN INTERVIEW.
tumblr_m32ibc4nPf1rsm5ipo1_r4_400.gif  (This one is hot. I seriously want to know what Harry said cause this was followed by a good minute of squirming.)
tumblr_m2ldhmKWqs1qbhk9c.jpg  grooming? awwwww
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7ip_wVfOb0 (a whole interview of constant touching)
This next video is one of Poppy’s favorites. Mine too. It actually made my stomach flip too like I was seeing something I wasn’t supposed to see. Go to 3:53 and watch. It’s just a moment but…well, decide for yourself. It’s a combo for me of all three guys. Those main two and camera blocker Zayn. (see the section about the other boys’ reactions below)
After I just typed that I sat here and thought about how I know all of their names and faces just like a teenage girl…. Good lord. I blame research. RESEARCH. Continuing on…
Poppy: Sure, M.J. It’s all in the name of research. But seriously, go watch that video above at 3:53. Tell me you don’t feel like you’re watching a secret touch between a couple! I dare ya! Gah, everytime I see it my stomach does that little stomach flip, too. 
I also have my favorite “grooming” moment. In this video, at about :41 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxmId33_UTw&feature=player_embedded Louis looks at Harry and says “I’m not sure about your fringe.” Harry immediately fixes his hair and looks to Louis for approval. Aww! <3
4. The “Secret” Signal
They do this thing. They do it a lot. It looks like a thumbs up, but it’s more. Often, they’ll do the thumbs up but then bump their knuckles together and give each other these weird little flirtatious smiles. OH, and btw, they said they were learning sign language. Hmmmm…We were suspicious. So much so, Piper asked our friend who knows ASL and he said the way they’re doing it means “sweethearts”. Yeah. Wow.  So that’s a thing. We don’t really know for sure what it means to them but we do know they giggle a lot and exchange significant glances when they do it so there ya go. A few GIFs below:)
http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m9dqttd6dJ1rnjfa7.png  That right there? That’s it in joined form. They do it separately a lot too though.
http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0qte5ahUm1rqstuho2_250.gif  see? Under the table. Nobody was supposed to notice that.
http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m2u29bVAxv1qdghmvo1_500.gif  (could Harry’s body language be any flirtier here? Lol. )
Anyway, again. They do it a LOT. There are more examples of it than I could ever post here.
Poppy: This is one of those times that “proof” makes me nod in agreement. Like MJ said, I don’t know what this secret symbol means to the two of them, but it obviously has some sort of meaning. Just look at the smiles on their faces when one sees the other doing it. *happy sigh* They are so in love. 
5. Harry’s Freudian Slip ups  
Harry Styles is famous for using gender neutral pronouns in interviews. When asked what kind of girl he likes he changes it to “someone who is funny”, or “they have to make me laugh”. Always.  Well, always except for once. When he accidentally said “him”. I’ll link the video below. Just go to 3:53. And if you look at the face he makes after he says him? Haha. I will always laugh. It looks like his life is flashing in front of his eyes.
Another time in an interview he nearly said…well nobody’s sure what he nearly said cause he caught himself. But it sure sounded like he was about to say “my boyfriend came and picked me up.” because after that he got all awkward and changed it to “someone picked me up and I had to drop him back off…” etcetera etcetera flustered babbling. Again with the life flashing in front of his eyes too. Harry needs to work on his poker face. Actually don’t. We like the entertainment.  The interview is LOOONNG…but Harry and Niall are kinda cute and funny. Start at 10:54 to see what I’m talking about.
Note: This interview is also interesting, because he actually said when asked… “what is a turnoff in a girl?” And made it very clear that he was talking about girls (and not guys I’d imagine) — then gave a really dumb jokey answer. I think it was Spitting. He also made the distinction of saying “I had a lot of friends who were girls” instead of implying that he was good with the ladies…interesting? Perhaps.
Poppy: Yep. Harry isn’t big on the denial. And he’s very careful with his use of gender-neutral pronouns. Proof? I don’t know. But it sure does make you wonder…
6. Photoban or BS?
This one’s actually kind of serious…or it could be nothing and I just don’t have a clue:) There are rumors that back in the UK there is actually a photoban out on them, meaning paps can’t take (or maybe they just can’t be published) pics of the two of them together in public unless they’re out as “One Direction”. Now, I in no way know a damn thing about this but these Larry Shipper girls have actually asked media experts who assure them it’s very possible and has happened before. Now I (and Poppy) realize this could be massive amounts of conspiracy theory bullshit. Neither one of us are experts. Here’s what I do know. There are times when both boys have been places and there are pictures of them with everyone else there, but no pictures of them in the same screen. So they were there. And they weren’t papped together. And they’re famous for the gay rumors so wouldn’t those pictures be paparazzi gold? 
Just think about it…
Poppy: This one kinda breaks my heart a little. When the good ship Larry Stylinson first started sailing, we got tons of pics of the two of them together and being flirty and sweet. Seems strange to me that all of a sudden those pictures have disappeared. If they are nothing but friends, why can’t we see them together? 
7. Mario Kart (aka the best interview EVER)
There really is no explanation for this interview other than they weren’t talking about Mario Kart for a single second…and “Mario Kart” was pretty much blatant euphemism for sex. Quick breakdown for those who have a hard time understanding boys with accents who mumble a lot. Starting at 5:35 in the video. Seriously, watch from there till the end. It’s like sexual innuendo city. I laughed.
… The interviewer makes a rather obvious innuendo: “Harry and Louis you have a special  relationship that people have picked up on. Blah blah blah. Who is in front and who is behind when you “play mario kart”. (or something like that).  And you know they all get it (well, all except for poor clueless Liam in the back) cause two of the boys start giggling and Harry feels the need to clarify “you mean, who is in front and who is behind?” (more giggling) They go on to explain that they’re very generous to each other and when Louis is tired, well yeah. You’ll see. (LOL) I don’t really take this seriously. It’s joking. Or maybe “joking but not really joking”…right Mr. Snicket? Either way, it’s funny as hell. Probably my favorite thing One Direction has ever done. Including their music.  (remember start at 5:35 unless you really want to watch the whole thing)
And just in case you didn’t get what I said above:
“What is the best way to keep a secret, Mister Snicket? Tell it to everyone you know, but pretend you are kidding.”  — Lemony Snicket. Series of Unfortunate Events.  <3
Poppy: I have to agree with MJ that this one isn’t so much proof as it is seriously entertaining. I laugh every time I see them carrying on and being about as unsubtle as possible. The funniest thing to me though is Liam’s cluelessness. Trying to beat 2 minutes Liam? Really. LOL
8. My favorite game: Spot the Couple
The pictures speak for themselves. It’s kind of adorable. There’s Harry and Louis…and the other three. By the way, sometimes the band is two couples and then poor little Niall (awwww I  <3 Niall). I’ll include a double date shot in here for fun. Ziam, which is Zayn and Liam, they’re really only a few steps behind Larry in PDA. At least they admit that they’ve kissed once. They’re kind of pretty together. Mmmm… But that’s a whole other story. I’ll leave it for another day.
tumblr_m24sfa8PNa1rox1lho1_500.jpg  lol.. Really Harry? Really?
tumblr_m268fmN5NO1qm2t9oo1_500.png  ( off in their own little cuddle. Not sure why the circle is there…oh never mind. Harry’s grabbing his ass again.)
Self explanatory. And adorable.
tumblr_m2ldxmJC1V1qbhk9c.jpg …yeah the other three were there. I promise.
tumblr_lefqsbkQo41qfn2sno1_500.jpg just a little stage cuddle. No big.
tumblr_mchzugdmqy1rwv64go1_500.jpg this one is verging on double date…but Larry is in their own little corner kisspering away.
tumblr_m2np61XS5z1qdtmnj.png couple and awkward interloper.
http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4fo7cIM4D1rn2v9o.gif The rest of them could get to the bus on their own. Apparently Louis needed help from harry’s lips.
LOL. The bottom one is another double date: tumblr_mdg4tdbLfW1qh787go1_500.png  (and Niall)
9.  The other boys’ reactions
This is actually kind of a long and involved topic including body language, instinctive reactions, and lots of stuff that could easily be analyzed to death. I’ll just do a few little points.
1. Niall. He’s the little blond Irish one. He’s been dubbed “Captain of the Larry Ship” because by all appearances he likes the idea of Harry and Louis as a couple as much as the girls. He also does stuff like glance at Harry when Louis’ girlfriend is brought up (again, she is another LONG topic), or watch them when they’re doing the secret signal, or says stuff in interviews like “I’m their spokesperson and they don’t want to discuss their relationship.” His behavior is odd if those two are “only friends”.
2. He’s not the only one. The other boys tend to watch them too. And defend them with body language, cover for them (like in that video above) … And get really squirrely/oddly smiley when the subject of Larry is brought up. And the smiley-ness is decidedly odd now since it’s gotten to be an uncomfortable topic for Louis (at least according to print articles) and would be something not to smile over but to annoyed by.
3. Stirring up shit. The other boys…insinuate things regarding Harry and Louis. Especially lately. They like to say stuff like “Larry is our friend” or allude to the possible fact that Larry is living together, or “but aren’t you bringing your man?” (to Louis from Zayn). Yeah. I really have zero idea what that’s all about. That stuff is all over every interview. It’s a pain to find…but if you’re so inclined, I’m sure you can. Again, with how tense Louis has supposedly been over the rumors lately, I’m not sure why they’re doing it. Seems…weird.
A few pictures as example — even though this mostly happens in motion and verbally —
tumblr_m37yk6yGfj1qbtghmo1_500.jpg this cracks me up. It’s an actual photoshoot shot of Harry and louis watching each other and everyone else watching them. Art representing life??
Here’s Captain Niall. 🙂 he’s adorable by the way. I like the Irishness…

See how Niall sees Harry getting grabbed by the girl and he looks at Louis? Notice Louis’s pissy expression! 

10. Love Bites and Suspicious Bruises
Sometimes Louis has hickeys when his girlfriend is on another continent and has been on another continent for days and days. Sometimes Harry has them at the exact same time, along with these odd bruises that quite often show up on the same spot on his arm. Hmmmmm…. No comment (kinky boys). But I shall include pictures:) Let’s just say, Louis is having fun with someone and it’s not his girlfriend. Who knows for sure what Harry’s deal is. I’ve heard the boys say jokingly before that they all give each other love bites to be jerks. 1. If that’s true I’d like some video footage of it please!  2. How come nobody else ever has visible hickeys?

11. Cute as Hell Jealousy
This speaks for itself. Some touching seems to be fine, but then they both appear to not like it toomuch when the other guys touch or get too close.  I’ll include some GIFs and my absolute favorite short video where Harry has a fake but not so fake hissy fit when Louis’ attention is elsewhere instead of on him. The jealousy might not be romantic, but it’s there. There’s lots of…nope. You can’t touch him.
tumblr_m3snopdkCv1qg5snoo2_250.gif  I love the “that’s enough cuddling with Zayn, honey” knee pat. Best part is, Louis listens.
tumblr_m3snopdkCv1qg5snoo1_250.gif  Did you seriously just touch my man interviewer dude?
tumblr_m3bkyfeS961qgahfro3_500.gif Okay, Zayn. No more touching Harry… (you’ll notice Zayn is often the source of jealousy between them.)
tumblr_m3snopdkCv1qg5snoo3_250.gif This time it’s Liam. Liam, back off…
tumblr_m23kzhinWj1qhbc2uo1_500.gif (jealousy plus hand signals. Lol)
(video is here. This is cute…and again it’s Zayn. It’s only a minute I think)
12. Smokescreens, “Weird stuff”, and lack of actual denial.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet even though the topic is long and involved and quite possibly the most conspiracy theory – ish thing I’ve read into since the Davinci Code. Here goes.
1. Smokescreens:  Smokescreen One. Louis has a girlfriend. Snort. Okay, I’ll be fair. He might be straight — not that it matters. I’m not saying she’s not really his girlfriend or that she’s a beard etc. I’m saying there is a lot about their very publicized, used to promo products, overly papped relationship that seems a bit fishy.
Smokescreen Two: Harry as a manwhore. Now again, he’s a young guy. He’s allowed to have fun. BUT articles released about how he’s slept with 400+ women this year and is called a Lothario, while touring constantly, recording a new album AND doing promo? Now remember, they’re supposed to be the sweet squeaky clean Nickelodeon boyband. If his PR team is cool with that kind of constant scandalous press (when Harry himself has said it’s not true), in my opinion there’s something else that needs to be hidden. Better to be a manwhore than ???? Yeah. And of course there’s Haylor (that would be Harry and Taylor Swift). They’re supposedly in this heated relationship…but awkwardly nobody has ever taken a picture of them in the same room.
2. Lack of Verbal Denial:  All this “Larry” speculating could’ve ended a long time ago if one of them in a pleasant and nonchalant voice said “Oh, haha, the bromance stuff is funny but we’re just friends.” Louis has said it about him and Liam. Harry has said it about him and Niall. But they’ve never said it about each other… There’s just really weird brush offs. “Oh, some fans think Harry and I are together. Crazy, huh?” BTW. Harry never ever talks.
Now there are print denials all over the place. If it’s that easy in a magazine, how come you can’t say it in person? Food for thought.
3. Weird Stuff: Oh man. Yeah. There’s a lot. Tweets that don’t line up, vacation shots that were photoshopped, things deleted, the old One Direction youtube account with “someone” (one of the five boys who ran it) saying they’d go straight for Cheryl Cole…. The list of things that don’t add up in this situation is really long and yeah. Weird. Especially for people that have nothing to hide. The link I provided below goes into the weird stuff in depth.
I bet PR teams miss the days before twitter and tumblr and blogs and cell phones. Just sayin.
Okay this has gone on FAR too long.
If you want to know more…this chick is pretty much the Larry messiah: http://reasonswhylarrystylinsonisreal.tumblr.com/post/22345529322/reasons-why-larry-stylinson-is-real-masterpost  There is HOURS worth of stuff on here that I didn’t even start to get into…hours. Just a warning. You might get sucked in. Even if you don’t believe, it’s hard not to look.
Poppy: Trust me, if you go to that masterpost, you will get caught in a time warp. Next thing you know, a day will have passed and you’re still reading about Larry…
That’s all for me!!
XOXO  (I totally just felt like gossip girl for a second)
🙂 MJ
Poppy: There is so much weird stuff with these guys it just doesn’t add up to anything but love. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! In the end, there’s just one question…
 And now for my favorite part of the Poppy Birthday Bash, those pesky questions that I agreed to answer as “payment” for these posts!

1. What name for a male character have you always wanted to use but haven’t yet?
Well, huh. That’s a stumper. Cause I’ve used most of my favorite names already! Couldn’t you have asked me this yesterday before I just used my newest favorite name on a new character?? Huh?? Okay, let me ponder…Oh! I know. I really love the name Skylar. I was planning to use it in an upcoming book, but it doesn’t work so I had to change that guy to something new. So…I will have a Skylar one day when it works! 🙂 
2. What’s your favorite flavor of Ice cream. Why?
OMG…hands down, Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra. For serious real. Caramel icecream on one side, fudge ice cream on the other, with a big ole gooey hunk of caramel down the middle. *whimpers* I need some. Right now! 
3. What is your favorite paranormal universe other than your own?
Dang it, MJ! I can’t answer that! There are too darn many! Okay, if I have to pick just one, I’ll go with Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake universe. I love how she weaved in so many different elements of the paranormal world. She has vampires and shifters and every other paranormal element you can think of, and some you can’t! (But J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood is right up there as well as Mary Calmes Change of Heart werepanther series…panthers and egyptian mythology for the win!)

M.J. O’Shea has been writing romance since algebra class in sixth grade (when most of her stories starred her and Leonardo DiCaprio). When she’s not writing, she loves listening to nearly all types of music, painting, reading great authors, and on those elusive sunny days in the Pacific Northwest, she loves driving on the freeway with her windows rolled down and her stereo on high.


Poppy’s Birthday Bash: Rick Reed Stuffs My Box!

Welcome to day one of the 12 Days of Poppy Birthday Bash! I’m really excited about my birthday this year because it falls on December 12th…which is 12/12/12 this year! Pretty cool, yeah? In honor the coolness of the date, I decided to gather a few of my friends for a blog party. 

Today’s post is a gift list from one of the loveliest men I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, Rick. R. Reed. Rick and I met last year in New Orleans and again this year during a trip I took to his hometown of Seattle. I also got to see him at the GRL Retreat in Albuquerque. He’s an amazing man, and such a talented writer that I find myself in awe of him. I’m very proud to call him friend, and can’t wait to see what gifts he has in store for me!

For Poppy’s big birthday, these are a few of my favorite things, so I thought I’d stuff them in your birthday box. Each item has special meaning for me, some serious, some not so much. Hope you enjoy these things as much as I do.

1. Best Book Ever–What writer’s box would be complete without this? For me, it’s John Kennedy Toole’s A CONFEDERACYOF DUNCES.

Poppy: I hate to admit that i haven’t read this, Rick! It’s going on my amazon list right now! Happy Birthday to Me. 

2. Best M/M Book Ever–James Purdy was writing strange, lyrical gay love stories long before anyone even thought of the term, “m/m” and his books still resonate as not only the very finest in gay literature, but the finest in literature period. For Poppy, I pick what I think may be his best, IN A SHALLOW GRAVE.

Poppy: Another one I haven’t read! Gosh, I know what I’m going to be doing over the next couple weeks. Reading some great books. 

3. Best Junk Food Treat–I’d like to shove a Ding-Dong in your box (RIP Hostess!)

Poppy: Now you’re speaking my language, sweetheart! I must admit though that when you say you want to shove a Ding-Dong in my box…well….

4. Best Epicurean Treat–I’d bring you back one of my most delicious finds on my trips to Italy: anchovy-stuffed olives from Peck’s Gourmet Food store in Milan.

Poppy: Anchovy stuffed olives? I’m going to have to trust you on this one, Rick! Now I know that you have great taste….how about on my next trip to Seattle you hook me up with one of these bad boys? *g*

5. A Pair of shoes–But not just any shoes…and what girl doesn’t want a pair of birthday pumps (we’re talking shoes here, dear) on her special day? For you, I offer Kate Middleton’s classic beige pumps.

Poppy: Shoes! Wee!! Gotta love shoes, and these are fantastic. Believe it or not, I don’t own a pair of beige pumps! You’re a great gift giver, Mr. Reed! 

6. A Fling–With Bradley Cooper, one night only and I get to get in the middle.

Poppy: Okay, hold on here a second…one night with you AND Bradley Cooper? Cause…yeah…wow….I’ve got some mental images going on here buddy! I think I’m going to have to write down this plot bunny right this very second. Oh my. Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me? 

7. A Long Weekend–In the San Juan Islands. We’ll take the ferry over from Anacortes, WA to Orcas Island and spend the weekend relaxing in a cabin and soaking in the clothing-optional outdoor hot tubs with gorgeous views of the bay.
Poppy: Please? Pretty please with sugar on top and a picture of Bradley Cooper? I am planning a couple trips to Seattle this year and…yeah…*whimpers*…I think this is your best box stuffer yet! 

8. A melon baller–Because everyone needs one.

Poppy: A melon baller? Really? Okay, this one made me giggle like a loon! And yet another thing that I don’t own! Did you sneak into my house and take a look around? 

9. A puppy! We’ll head down to the pound together and rescue one of the neediest cases and you will never feel so loved and appreciated.

Poppy: I’d love nothing more than a puppy of my own to love as much as you love your Lily! 

10. A pajama party–with all your favorite people selected from the cast of characters assembled at this year’s GRL.

Poppy: Oh how fun! Now I want to go pajama shopping! Rick, your birthday list is going to be very bad for my wallet! Can you imagine all of us hanging out in our cute pjs and partying like…well…like us! Cause rock stars don’t have anything on us! 

11. A pack of smokes–it’s your birthday…indulge yourself.

Poppy: *blushes* You know me too well. But I haven’t forgotten our little talk in Albuquerque! 

12. Love, love, and more love–because we can never have enough.

Poppy: And this is the best gift of all. Thank you, Rick. And I wish you all the love in the world as well.

As a bonus, my sneaky friends agreed to do these posts only if they got to ask me any three questions in return. Since I’m a bit of a glutton for punishment, I agreed. Here are the questions Rick wanted to ask me:

1. Now that you’ve reached this age, what’s the single most important thing you’ve learned?

The most important thing I’ve learned is to love me for me. I’m not perfect–Lord, am I so far from perfect–but every thing about me is just the way it’s meant to be. I love that I can embrace the things about myself that make me happy and work on the things that don’t. It’s a gift that I give myself and wish the same for everyone else.

2. Name the three most unusual things in your refrigerator right now.
Unusual? Hmm. That’s a bit tricky as the fridge is a bit bare at the moment. *goes to look*
Oh wow. I just found a science experiment in the veggie bin that used to be some sort of green vegetable. I’m going to guess asparagus, but I can’t be sure. *shivers* It’s now in the trash. I’ve also got a jar of Devon cream that I picked up to go with some scones I plan on baking next week. Scones and clotted cream are one of my favorites treats, and you just can’t get them here like I could over in England. And the third is a jar of apple butter that one of my neighbors made for me. Homemade! Yum!

3. Just who do you think you are?
I’m proud to say that I’m an author! Not much more than a year ago, that title seemed to be an impossible dream, but now I’m living the life I’ve wanted to since I first put my first story to paper.

Rick R. Reed BiographyRick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a two-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his partner and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.” 

Visit Rick’s website at http://www.rickrreed.com or follow his blog at http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/. You can also like Rick on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rickrreed.

Guest Post: Daniel B Johns-“The Average Joe”

 Guest Post for Flash Fic Friday “Inspired by Joe”

‘The Average Joe’
By Daniel B. Johns
 *** *** ***
 I take my laptop and begin my search for a ‘chat room’ that suits my needs. A buddy says there are many online sites to choose from, and of course, the one that catches my eye is titled, ADULT.
I click on it and find three more options:  GAY, LESBIAN, and MARRIED BUT LOOKING. Since I am not a lesbian, nor am I married, I click the third option.  I have always been curious as to what goes on in these ‘rooms’. Here is my chance.
My first instinct is to hit ESCAPE and LOG OFF, but something deep down inside makes me stop….
My curiousity?
My fear?
My raging boner?
I click on ENTER. This isn’t admitting anything, right?
Numerous chat boxes pop open immediately. I can’t decide who to talk to,so I close my eyes and point at the screen. There is the lucky one!  I swallow hard,and take a gulp of my water.
PETESMITH63: hey there average joe!
PETESMITH63: how are you this morning?
PETESMITH63: a man of few words. i like that!
PETESMITH63: what you looking for this morning?
*** *** ***
 Daylight Savings Time always screws with my sleep, so here I am wide-eyed at 6am on Saturday morning. I gulp more of my water and take a deep breath. It’s now or never.
Is this guy for real? Do guys just come right out and ask this stuff? What the hell do I do now?
Before I know it, my fingers start typing.
AVERAGEJOE: lookin 4 cock
PETESMITH63: lol…good answer.
AVERAGEJOE:  can you help me out?
PETESMITH63: out of?..your pants? the car? debt? talk to me!!!! lol
AVERAGEJOE: hmmmm…. all of the above! but I will start with me watching you jack off!
PETESMITH63: how do you know im doing that?
AVERAGEJOE: a wild guess!
PETESMITH63: pretty close
AVERAGEJOE: thought so. I like your sense of humor
PETESMITH63: thanks,you too.your quick
AVERAGEJOE: at some things…at others…I like to take my time
AVERAGEJOE: you hard?
PETESMITH63: almost…getting there talking to you
AVERAGEJOE: you need my mouth wrapped around that cock of yours?
PETESMITH63: i think i might
AVERAGEJOE: how bout teabaggin those balls of yours too?
PETESMITH63: now that sounds….soft and wet
AVERAGEJOE: from there I work my way up your shaft and tease that cock head
PETESMITH63: mmmmmmmmmmmmmm
AVERAGEJOE: then up your belly and nibble a nipple…..or two
PETESMITH63: yikes… I belive I am … turned on now!
AVERAGEJOE: then…… I lick over your adams apple and up to a ear
PETESMITH63: now that feels goooood! feel me squirming?
AVERAGEJOE: then I kiss you
PETESMITH63: deeply i hope
AVERAGEJOE: any other way?
*** *** ***
 Everyone at work tells me that I need to get back out there. It is time to stop hiding and start dating again, but I just can’t bring myself to do that yet. I break out in a sweat at the thought of putting myself out there again. Call me paranoid, call me crazy, but I am just not ready. It’s too soon after the break-up.
I am content being single now and comfortable with being alone. I will admit that I get lonely sometimes. Sitting here chatting, with a total stranger, proves that point. I still dream of finding someone special again, but for now, THIS is my comfort zone.
PETESMITH63: well a soft wet one with lip nibbling is good sometimes…just sayin
AVERAGEJOE: that is a morning after kiss
PETESMITH63: well thats good then.. I believe I just spent the night
AVERAGEJOE: hope you are not to tired after last night
PETESMITH63: just look down and see for yourself…just sayin..
AVERAGEJOE: you hard and dripping yet?
PETESMITH63: for you!
AVERAGEJOE: where you thinking of putting that thing?
PETESMITH63: well… hows anywhere u want as an answer???
AVERAGEJOE: mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….. I do have a few places in mind
PETESMITH63: thats what i was hoping to hear
*** *** ***
 My own throbbing cock is in need of attention, and now!
I reach down with my right hand and hen peck my words with my left. This bold flirting is not only making me horny as hell, but it is making me brave. I want to know more. I want to do more. I want to watch him jack off.
PETESMITH63: well JOE…tell me a lil somthing about u..how old.. body shpe… anything u wnt
AVERAGEJOE: lets see….. 37 yrs. old,6’1,250#,br/br….. how bout you?
PETESMITH63: Damn! 36,6’2,255#,br/br….. facial hair?
PETESMITH63: me too!
AVERAGEJOE: you on here alot?
PETESMITH63: about every weekend. U?
AVERAGEJOE: first time here
PETESMITH63: oh,a virgin! LOL
AVERAGEJOE: hardly,LOL…u chat with alot of guys here?
PETESMITH63: not really
*** *** ***
 This chat room stuff opens a new world for me, where apparently anything goes. In here, I can be whomever I want. Do whatever I want to do. I make the rules, and if things get to be too much…one click and I am gone.
AVERAGEJOE: U married?
PETESMITH63: not anymore. u?
AVERAGEJOE: nope. you str8?
PETESMITH63: not exactly
AVERAGEJOE: ever let another man touch you?
PETESMITH63: twice…years ago….but been wanting to try it again.
AVERAGEJOE: did u like it?
PETESMITH63: fuck yes! best BJ I ever had
AVERAGEJOE: lol….you know what they say
PETESMITH63: what?
AVERAGEJOE: only a man knows how to really please another man
PETESMITH63: I believe it! u stroking?
AVERAGEJOE: yes,and getting close
PETESMITH63: me too! wanna cam? we can cum together
*** *** ***
 This is the moment I have anticipated and dreaded all morning. The moment of truth. My mind suddenly fills with questions.
What are fucking ‘BOTS’?
Will he be tall, dark, and handsome?
What if this is a woman that just wants to watch guys jack off?
I take a chance, accept his invite to view, and in seconds I see him…just as he described. His hand wrapped around his hard cock, stroking it. My own dick gets harder just at the sight of him. It gets harder to type as I gaze at the screen and this gorgeous man before me. I feel the pressure build inside me, and I watch as he speeds up his rhythm.
“I’m Cummin’!” I scream out to no one and jump to my feet. The first two shots coat my screen and camera.
I watch his breath catch. He arches his hips just as the first rope of cum shoots from his body. A second and third quickly follow.
The next few seconds are a blur as my heart rate returns to normal. He smiles at me, and I cannot help but smile back.
AVERAGEJOE: best saturday morning i’ve had in a while. thanks
PETESMITH63: me too buddy
AVERAGEJOE: wanna meet here next saturday?
PETESMITH63: sounds like a date to me
AVERAGEJOE: see you then. I better get going. take care
PETESMITH63: you too
*** *** ***
 I log off, open a file of a photo he sent me, and watch as the trails of milky white protein run down it. I feel a loss for him already, one I didn’t expect. This truly is the best Saturday morning I have had in a while. Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with being average.
Here’s wishing everyone a great weekend…………………………………  ‘AVERAGEJOE’

Guest Post: Karen M Candido-“Mr Clean”

Guest Post for Flash Fic Friday “Insired by Joe”
“Mr Clean” By Karen M Candido
“Why are you taking a picture of me while I’m eating?” Joe said putting down his sandwich
“Because Mom has been complaining she wants more pictures of her future son-in-law. So, I am taking as many pictures as possible. Hopefully that will get her off my back.” Gabe said placing the camera back into his pocket.
Joe rolled his eyes “Seriously? You really think she wants pictures of me eating?”
“That’s the point isn’t it? Give her more pictures than she wants and she’ll leave me alone for awhile.” He held out his hand to help Joe up. “Now, come on, I want to get some of you cleaning the house.”
Joe grabbed his hand and started laughing, pulling himself up. “You just want to get out of doing your half of the cleaning.”
Gabe pouted. “How can you say that? I’m just trying to get some pictures!”
Joe pulled Gabe close to him. “Babe,” leaning in and giving him a soft kiss, “I know you better than that.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Alright, let’s go then and get this over with.” He took the keys out of his pocket and started walking towards the car swinging his jean clad hips a little more than usual.
“And no using sexual favors this time either!” Joe said following Gabe along and throwing the rest of his sandwich into a garbage can on the sidewalk.
Gabe used the key fob and unlocked the doors of the car. Leaning against the roof he said, “Take all the fun out of it why don’t you?” he groused.
“Oh, I don’t know. Im sure we can have some “fun” with the cleaning.” Joe said pulling the car door open. 
“You never know what might be dirty.” He smiled at Gabe.
“Now you’re talking my language!” Gabe jumped in the car, buckled his seatbelt and started the car at once. “Hurry up and get in here! We have to go clean!”
Joe got in the car and leaned over the console towards Gabe. Whispering into his ear he said “I think I know what might be dirty.” He moved his hand down to Gabe’s crotch and rubbed hard.
Gabe let out a little gasp as his head thudded against the head rest. “Yeah, definitely dirty.” He said thrusting his hips towards Joes’ hand.
Joe kept rubbing in little circles feeling Gabe’s cock growing harder. “Are you sure its dirty? I seem to remember cleaning it this morning in the shower?”
“No” Gabe panted, “Its dirty again…very, very, dirty.”
“tsk, tsk, tsk. Now, I’ll have to be extra vigil this time cleaning it.” Joe leaned back into his seat, adjusting his own tight jeans now.
Gabe lifted his head up and looked at Joe. “You’re a tease, you know that?” Shifting in his seat he put the car into park and started to drive away.
“Oh, Im going to deliver don’t worry. Once, you clean the bathroom. Then, you’ll get your reward. One you will never forget.” Joe said watching Gabe drive the car towards home.
“Then just call me Mr. Clean” Gabe said with a grin, hitting the gas just a little bit more.