Fame is fickle, and stardom’s flip side harbors and reflects darkness. Stardom on a network situation comedy had been Grant Jackson’s lifelong dream. Ambitious, young, sexy, and willing to do almost anything, Grant makes his dream come true at age twenty-three.
When we meet him, in 2004, Grant Jackson is a star of NBC-TV’s “Our House”. The reality of television stardom is heady and intoxicating. As a songwriter once put it, “The sound of applause is delicious, it’s a thrill to have the world at your feet.” And Grant’s newfound celebrity lives up to his expectations:
The money, the recognition, striving for creative excellence and rating numbers every week. But stardom’s flip side harbors and reflects darkness. The knives are always out. One of Grant’s co-stars harbors a cocaine addiction. Another co-star masks a career-busting sexual secret—as does Grant Jackson himself.
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Book II of the ‘Frame of Reference’ picks up just about where book 1 left off. The television show that Grant got cast in is almost finished with season 1 and he learns that there will be a season 2, thankfully. His live-in boyfriend Cam and himself have settled into their loving relationship and by all outward appearances, their life couldn’t be much better. However, Cam is still working in the gay adult entertainment business as an male “escort” and in porno movies.
Grant isn’t happy that Cam is still in the field he left, yet understands why Cam would want to be able to provide for himself. Cam is the biggest star in the gay porn industry though. For that reason and also because Grant doesn’t feel he can “come out” in public, Cam has to wear a disguise when they are in public together. Grant is afraid that any day, their relationship will be found out and it will ruin his career.
Christopher Stone’s descriptions of Hollywood and all it’s offerings are artfully written. It’s as much a book series of Hollywood as it is a gay romance. His character development is spot on. I would love to have some of the characters as friends and some I would never want to meet. The incidents that happen in the book, ring very plausible to me. With the ups and downs in Grant’s and Cam’s relationship I hope they can hang on to what they have. If you want to know the outcome, you will have to read the book. My lips are sealed.
Though book one was my first introduction to a GLBT book, I am happy that I gave it a try and couldn’t wait for book II. Book II exceeded my expectations! Though this book is not for everyone due to the sex scenes I highly recommend it!
Book II does tie up some loose ends from book I however, I don’t think you have to read book I first to be able to enjoy book II.
I received the ebook version for my honest review.
Praise for ‘The Dark Side of Stardom’ by Christopher Stone:
“I really loved this book! It is quite the page-turner, between wondering if Grant, a former porn star, is going to be forced out of the closet, to the dramas he faces working on a legitimate television sitcom. Not only that, but it is a very emotionally involving story. We truly care about Grant and his long-term partner Cam, so we want them and their relationship to succeed every step of the way. Since we care about them so much, it’s the small details of their lives that truly make the story what it is. I also really loved the ambiguous ending, and am hoping that the author will make it a trilogy! A fun, sexy exploration of Hollywood life.”- Rebecca VanDusen, Amazon Reviewer
“The Dark Side of Stardom kept my attention from start to finish. Dealing with issues of fame, love, and sexuality from a unique perspective, it sheds light in areas that often remain dark and unspoken of. A perfect book for a rainy day, or whatever the weather for that matter. I highly recommend it.”- Rich Kendall, author of ‘The Road to Elmira’
Praise for ‘Frame of Reference’ by Christopher Stone:
“This book was recommended by one of my gay friends and I must admit, as a straight lady, I wasn’t sure it was something I would be interested in reading. Glad I took the plunge. Interesting characters, in an interesting Hollywood setting that the writer is very familiar with.
I loved the references, by the main character, to all the TV. and movies. Clearly, Mr. Stone has done his homework. The sex scenes, (while a bit too much information for me!) will be much appreciated by the appropriate audience – in other words, quite hot!
Still, no romance novel is worth its salt without a good story line. Again, Mr. Stone has shown his mettle. The characters are well developed and the story interesting as a young man fights his way to the top of the heap. Bring on the next book, sequel!”- Sharyn St.Clair, Amazon Reviewer
“I only have good things to say about this book from a literary point of view. The characters are well-developed and Christopher Stone’s writing style is superb. I enjoyed going with Grant on his journey of self-discovery and look forward to seeing what happens next in his life. In case the description of the book isn’t clear enough, this is a gay romance, so readers should not be surprised about the fact that the sex scenes are between two or more men. The sex scenes are not the whole of the book, and they are not overly-explicit, but they are more explicit than the average romance novel.
I truly enjoyed this offering by Christopher Stone, and I will definitely be putting him on my list of authors to look for in the future.”- Brriske, Paranormal Romance & Authors That Rock
“This book is definitely not in a genre I ordinarily read, so when a friend recommended it to me, I was admittedly a little skeptical. Skepticism, however, soon turned into genuine delight. Using an almost Christopher Isherwood, I-am-a-camera-like precision, Stone expertly evokes the world of a young gay man from a small town who struggles to establish himself as an actor in Hollywood.
Written vividly and wryly, the book is by turns touching, exciting, erotic and dark, and is always compelling. The characters were full-bodied (in more ways than one!) the dialogue was realistic, the situations off-beat and interesting. When I finished the book, my first thought was, “Bring on the sequel!” I can give “Frame of Reference” no higher praise than that!”- Robert J. Van Dusen, Amazon Reviewer
“I stumbled on Frame of Reference at the nail salon. A lady was reading it and would read passages to the entire shop. So, I bought the book. What an eye opener into the world of gay young men. Being raised in Hollywood as a non-gay, I had no idea about this vibrant subculture. Being mature and growing up in a movie family, I understood all the references to movie stars, TV shows, and cinema. Do read it, you won’t be able to put it down!”- Dee Lewis, Amazon Reviewer
Born in Bronx, New York, and raised in Fresno, California, Christopher Stone’s early years were dominated by school, watching television and motion pictures, bicycling, skating, and reading avidly. Summers were spent swimming, and doing whatever it took to survive the oppressive San Joaquin Valley heat. But he also remembers fondly the yearly summer trips to New York, to visit family and friends – and to see Broadway shows.
Christopher left Fresno, for Hollywood, California, during his college years after being accepted into the Writers Guild of America’s Open Door Program, a two-year, scholarship, training ground for aspiring screen and television writers. As it happened, rather than a teleplay or screenwriting gig, his first professional writing job was in journalism – as the Los Angeles Editor for Stage Door, at that time, Canada’s equivalent of the U.S. entertainment trade weekly, Variety.
Christopher would later use his Writers Guild of America training to co-author and sell the original screenplay, The Living Legend, with Jon Mercedes III, to the Erin Organization, and later, and also with Mercedes, to write two seasons of The Party Game, a Canadian TV game show.
As a young freelance entertainment journalist, he contributed to many Los Angeles-based publications, among them The Advocate, for which he wrote a breezy film column, “Reeling ‘Round,” and the Los Angeles Free Press. During this time, he became a member of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle.
Christopher dipped his toes into the world of motion picture advertising and publicity, as assistant to the West Coast Director of Advertising and Publicity for Cinerama Releasing Corporation, in Beverly Hills. At the same time, he also did special advertising and publicity projects for 20th Century-Fox. Christopher went on to become an Account Executive for David Wallace & Company, a public relations firm specializing in entertainment accounts – and located on West Hollywood’s legendary Sunset Strip.
Returning to his first love, writing, Christopher became a full time freelance contributor to national consumer publications including Us, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, McCall’s, In Cinema, and The National Enquirer, among others. Many of his stories were syndicated worldwide by the New York Times Syndication Corp.
Another important area of endeavor for Christopher Stone was Re-Creating Your Self. A Blueprint for Personal Change that he first developed for himself, the journalist went on to teach the principles and processes of Re-Creating Your Self to others – first, in private sessions, later, in workshops and seminars, and, finally, for California State University Extended Education. Eventually, one of his students suggested he write a book version.
Re-Creating Your Self was first published in hardcover by Metamorphous Press, and subsequently published in a trade paperback edition by Hay House. It has since been published in Spanish, Swedish and Hebrew language editions.
When not writing, Christopher used his longtime interest in, and study of, metaphysics, to teach meditation and psychic development classes – first in Beverly Hills, then later, in Manhattan Beach.
He went on to co-author, with Mary Sheldon, four novellas for a Japanese educational publisher, and then, also with Mary Sheldon, the highly successful The Meditation Journal trilogy of hardcover books. Subsequently, he returned to journalism, this time, contributing hundreds of print and online entertainment features, columns and reviews to magazines and websites. For eight years, Christopher was the Box-office Columnist for MatchFlick.com, a popular online motion picture site.
In his private life, Christopher Stone met David M. Stoebner on May 17, 1994, and they have been together ever since. In 2008, they were married in Los Angeles.
They share a home with their three pets in Coastal Los Angeles County.
In 2013, Christopher’s pet project has been transforming their rarely used kitchen table area into a killer, retro 1950s Diner Nook, complete with a 1952 Seeburg Table Top jukebox, a neon diner sign, and a malt machine.
Christopher’s first novel, Frame of Reference was e and print published, in fall 2012, by MLR Press. A short story, Sweet Homo Alabama was published by MLR Press, December 19, 2012.
Stone spent much of 2013 writing Frame of Reference 2: The Dark Side of Stardom, a sequel novel to Frame of Reference, as well as, Abracadabra, and a short story, published at Halloween. But the indefatigable scribe also found time to contribute weekly reviews, columns and interviews to Queer Town Abbey.
Christopher is currently writing Going and Coming, a novel laced with metaphysical themes, and wrapped around the character of Dr. Minnow Saint James, a highly successful Past Life Regression Therapist, and the author of a best-selling nonfiction book. Christopher hopes Going and Coming will launch a series of Dr. Minnow Saint James Metaphysical Adventures novels. As of this writing, Going and Coming is tentatively scheduled for November 2015 publication, by MLR Press.
On a personal note, Christopher and David adopted a five-month-old Yellow Lab puppy, Sammy (Samantha Stevens), on February 6, following the sudden passing of their beloved Yellow Lab, Gracie, on January 22.
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