Jeffery Self, Riverdale Avenue Books

And Now For Something Completely Different… 50 Shades Of Excerpt

Chapter One

“Can you do me a huge favor?” Matty asks,
poking his head into my bedroom and looking paler
than La Toya Jackson with a stomach virus.

Matty has never been shy about asking for favors.
That’s the territory that comes with being roommates
and best friends for four years, the expectation of
favors. Like having a boyfriend you can depend on,
but without the sex, intimate connection, or expensive
birthday gifts. My favors for Matty have run the gamut
from 4 a.m. airport drop offs to plucking some really
unfortunately placed back hairs before we went to Gay
Days at Disney World, which led to even more favors.
The weirdest of which involved my driving Matty and
the eerily youthful-looking thirty-five-year-old man
who played Peter Pan to what would later become the
worst date in Matty’s dating history. So I’d learned
years ago to brace myself when those words came out
of Matty’s mouth: “Can you do me a huge favor?”

I pause the episode of The Real Housewives of I-don’t-
even-know-where, and answer a tentative
“Sure.”

“It’s a work thing, so I’ll throw you forty bucks.”

This is a relief to hear, and not just because it
involves forty bucks—although I could certainly use
that, as I am currently living off of cater waiter gigs
I’ve found on Craigslist. More importantly, however,
Matty works as a reporter for a very popular
entertainment show called The Star Report. They’re
sorta like Entertainment Tonight, except more popular
and without Billy Bush’s uncomfortable energy.

I’m an aspiring writer myself, and this wouldn’t
be the first time I’ve covered something for Matty. I
wrote a really positive review for the movie New Years
Eve, which went kind of viral because it was literally
the only positive review for New Years Eve. What can
I say? I’ve got a soft spot for movies about the
holidays and Robert De Niro in hospital beds. Besides
that, my professional writing experience has, up until
now, been limited to a Live Journal I kept during my
first year living here in Los Angeles that as of today
still has only twenty views. One of these days,
however, I’m going to write a book.

“Sure. What is it?” I ask, hoping he’ll say the two
words I’m basically always waiting to hear: Meryl
Streep.

“I’m scheduled to go to the press junket for this
new Taylor Grayson movie. It’s called The Last…” He
continues, but I’ve stopped listening. Taylor Grayson
is one of the most beautiful movie stars in the history
of beautiful movie stars. In fact, People magazine has
ranked him “Sexiest Man Alive” every year since I
was a freshmen in college and he was playing one on
TV. Matty continues explaining the favor, but I’m lost
in thought, remembering that scene from The Yard, a
movie where he played a talented college football
player who did something important that I can’t
remember. What I can remember is that I spent the
whole movie replaying his four minute shower scene,
where steamy close ups show tiny beads of hot water
dripping down a perfectly tanned six pack
Michelangelo couldn’t have carved if he’d tried, and a
thirty second shot of his gorgeous round butt that may
or may not have been paused on my DVD player for
most of 2009.

“So will you do it?” Matty asks, his story
apparently finished. I look up at him, having not heard
a word he said, and reply, “Sure.”

Matty looks at me closely, the way he always
looks at me when he knows I’ve not been listening.
It’s almost as if he’s trying to look into my soul, but in
actuality I know he’s really just thinking “Why doesn’t
this asshole ever listen to a word I say?”

“Okay, cool. So you’ll need rubber rain boots, a
machete, and about three and a half feet of knitting
yarn.” Matty says, nonchalantly.

“Sorry. I wasn’t listening. I got distracted.”

Matty rolls his eyes and explains the situation.
The Star Report is scheduled to interview Taylor
Grayson about his new movie The Last Hero at a press
junket at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It’s a standard junket
interview: reporter comes in, has four minutes to ask a
series of approved vague questions, then leaves. Matty
is supposed to go, but because he’s come down with a
stomach flu, he needs a replacement, and no one else
from the blog is available.

I remind Matty that I’ve never done on camera
interviewing before, or anything on camera for that
matter…unless you count the video tape of my
exceedingly underwhelming performance as Tevye in
my high school production of Fiddler on the Roof—
which, for the record, I do not.

As usual, Matty’s perception of my ability is a lot
better than my own. Matty has a way of being so
confident in people that it almost seems offensive, like
“How dare you think I am that smart? Haven’t you
listened to a word I’ve ever said? Don’t you know me
at all?!”

“You’ll be great. All you have to do is be excited
to talk to the star and excited to talk about the movie.
Both of which you can handle. Need I remind you, it is
Taylor Grayson? I’m sure you can muster up some
enthusiasm for him.”

Matty has a point. It wouldn’t be hard to get
excited over Taylor Grayson. For one, he would be the
most famous person I’ve ever met, and two, I’m
already getting aroused just thinking about him.

“What would I ask?” is the next question I direct
to Matty, attempting to steer the subject away from
anything having to do with the way Taylor Grayson’s
biceps seem to stretch out every shirt sleeve he wears
to what must be the verge of ripping out completely.

“Standard press junket questions… What was the
hardest part of making the movie? Why did you take
this role? Who was your inspiration for the
character…he plays a firefighter, by the way.”

I nod, as if I’m hearing about this for the first
time. It isn’t that I’m some psycho Taylor Grayson
stalker by any means, far from it…but I’d be lying if I
claimed I hadn’t masturbated, on multiple occasions,
to the moment in his new movie trailer where he does
something like forty pull ups without taking a break.
Taylor Grayson is a lot of things to America—
internationally beloved movie star, magazine cover
model, tabloid favorite—but most of all he’s a member
of just about every gay man and straight woman’s
“spank bank.”

“So will you do it?” Matty asks me, with a look
that combines the eyes of a sad puppy and the face of
someone wanting you to do their job for them.

How often, I think to myself, does one come face
to face with one of his ultimate sexual fantasies? Sure,
I live in Los Angeles, but it’s still not every day. I saw
Brad Pitt in a Trader Joe’s once, and I still talk about it
at dinner parties…and, to be honest, I’m not even
100% sure it was Brad Pitt. At the very least, this face
to face, this one on one with Taylor Grayson could be
just that—wonderful dinner party conversation. Like
the latest Pink album or whatever crazy thing Sherri
Shepherd has recently said on The View.

I worry, for a moment, about the age old advice:
“Never meet your idols.” But Taylor Grayson isn’t my
idol, he’s just someone I find very hot. Very, very,
insanely, drop dead, getting hard even thinking about
him…hot. Without a second thought, or a single doubt
in my head, I answer an immediate and eager: “Yes.”

*Excerpt posted with permission from Riverdale Avenue Books*

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Jeffery Self, Videos

In Which Jeffery Self Serenades You – Watch The Video At The End & It’ll All Make Sense…

Hi, Jeffery, welcome to The Novel Approach, I’m so glad to have you here today. Before we start the Q&A, why don’t you start out by giving us the Jeffery Self story?

A. This is the first book I’ve had published. I technically wrote my second book before this first one but it doesn’t come out until May. It’s called Straight People: A Spotter’s Guide and is a humor book in the style of a bird watching field guide about straight people from my not straight point of view.

Before all of this I’ve mostly worked as an actor and sometimes writer. I had a sketch comedy show on Logo for a couple years with my friend Cole Escola, and on it we wrote/directed/edited/produced a half hour of REALLY weird comedy all out of my apartment in Manhattan.

Since then I moved to LA and have acted on other people’s TV shows like: 90210, Desperate Housewives, 30 Rock, etc.

Q. Being an actor yourself, how much of Taylor’s struggle could you relate to on a personal level?

A. I’ve never been closeted as an adult, like Taylor, so my struggles aren’t very similar to his. He’s also a world famous, super successful movie star…. another thing I am very much not.

Q. Well, I warned you this one was coming, so I might as well just get it out of the way: What made you decide to take the “50 Shades” erotic phenomenon and tell it with Alex and Taylor?

A. I was fascinated by the whole “Fifty Shades” craze for the way it was making readers, a lot of whom weren’t used to reading erotic fiction, look at sex in very obvious terms. More than anything, however, I was attracted to the romance novel genre and the over the top, exciting, high stakes, sexy, campy world one gets to create.

Alex and Taylor were my immediate idea of a way in. I’m really turned on by a lot of gorgeous A list movie stars (who isn’t?) and I think that everybody loves to imagine that some of the biggest movie stars in the world are secretly gay. So that sense of mystery really appealed to me.

Q. Will you share a little bit about the process of telling the story?

A. I definitely wrote Alex as a version of myself. So I mean half of the book is basically my own personal fantasy of myself and Channing Tatum.

Q. Whatever happened to Josh? (Sorry, Taylor, but I can’t help but wonder.)

A. Josh gets his heart broken but he’ll bounce back. He’s a gorgeous, sweet guy in LA who is ACTUALLY genuine. There are literally like three of those kind of people here.

Coming May 7, 2013 from Running Press

Q. What’s the best thing that’s happened to Taylor since he made the decision to come out? Is he kind of surprised that it ended up being somewhat non-eventish in terms of your career and how you were accepted?

A. I think more than anything it’s a lesson on forgetting what your hang ups and fears might make you believe. Leaving honestly is a pretty easy way to live, once you actually do it.

Q. How long did it take you to write “50 Shades of Gay”? What were the easiest and hardest parts of the story to tell?

A. I wrote it rather quickly and I think that came from the first person narrative. When you get the character’s voice in your head and you just start telling the story it’s hard to stop.

I’d say the hardest part was letting myself get comfortable with writing the sexy parts, and not immediately saying to myself: “Is this too much?” but instead “this could be hotter”.

Q. What did you ever do with that contract Taylor wanted Alex to sign?

A. They left it somewhere in La La Land.

Q. This question is for Taylor: Do you remember the exact moment you realized you loved Alex and were going to lose him if you didn’t make some changes?

A. When he told me he was moving to New York, I realized it was now or never. I’ve never been one to really over-think something… so, as usual, I just leapt.

Q. Jeffery, if you were to write a few short sentences that would give us an idea of what life is like for Alex and Taylor right now, what would that be?

A. Alex and Taylor move to New York at the end of the book but remain bicoastal. I think more than anything their lives improve for the better as they both finally learn how to ask for what they want and how to tell the truth.

Q. Does Taylor “do romance” now? I mean, you know, besides that whole coming out on national television thing.

A. Defintely. Before Alex, Taylor had never allowed himself to “do romance” before and I think that was a trust thing. Taylor has never been able to trust anyone, for fear of their exposing his secrets or trying to get something out of his fame and stature. With Alex, however, he finally meets a good hearted person who he feels secure with and once that happens, romance comes naturally.

Q. What’s next for you now that you’ve told Alex and Taylor’s story? Do you have any other works-in-progress?

A. My Straight People: A Spotter’s Guide book comes out in May and I’m in a new movie coming out on MTV this spring called Made: Ladies Man. I do NOT play the ladies man ;-)

Q. Would you like to tell everyone where they can find you on the internet?

A. @jefferyself on Twitter, jefferyself.tumblr.com, and on youtube.com/jefferyself for all my videos.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions today, Jeffery!

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