Tag Archives: gay theme

I miss them

I miss my characters. I finished a story for the Goodreads MM Romance group Love’s Landscape a week ago. I’m waiting to hear from an editor who’ll have the brilliant job of reading my crap. Poor, poor volunteer editor.

That said, I miss the characters. I think about them when I’m driving, when I’m reading, in my shower, or now, in front of my computer.

I want to write more about them. Ideas keep popping up in my mind. They have more to say, more to experience, more to share.

I think I’ll continue it, just for fun.

Tom, Dylan, I’m coming! Hold on!

I’ve done it again

I could cry. I finished another book series. I loved it. I miss the characters already and my tablet is still hot. Five books of pure bliss.

When I started high school, I discovered the school library had a whole bunch of books by a lady named Agatha Christie. I devoured them. All. I could never guess who the murderer was. The best one? The Murder of Roger Akroyd. A classic. Genius.

After that, I was hooked on mysteries.  P.D. James, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (meh), then a whole bunch of more contemporary writers and more mysteries. No one was ever as good as Agatha Christie to keep you guessing until the end.

This series wasn’t like Agatha either. I usually guessed by 70%-80% of the books who had done it, or had a pretty good idea. Only one blew me away.

But I didn’t care.

The romance between the bookshop owner and the cop/PI was what got me.

It spans on all five books and couldn’t have  been written better. It was FABULOUS. Would they? Wouldn’t they? Finally? No? What the fuck do you mean he’s getting married? Aaarrrgghhh!!!! Damn you author! I hate you! Okay, I don’t hate you anymore.  What????? You had to throw that in there? Just to fuck things up??? I’m going to die….. Oh. Okay. I feel better now. Thanks.

Each book has its own murder to be solved. But each book is just a continuation in the long and peppered-with-angst love story. What a romance. Wow.

Such deep, intelligent characters. I’ll miss them.

I’ve done this to myself again. I’ve gotten deeply sucked in a good series and now will miss the characters I’ve been living with for the past sixteen days.

I know I’ll do it again too.

To read and weep is better than not to have read at all. (Who said that?)

 

Thanks, Josh.

How addicted are you when…

You’re afraid of reading the 8th book of a series because people have written bad reviews on it?

I’m so afraid of being disappointed and heartbroken that I don’t wanna read it. I will. Of course I will. But with just one eye…

See, people have written that the story is full of new characters and the two main characters (MC’s) are not the focal point of this book.

Well, I happen to miss these two MC’s and was sooooooo looking forward to reading book 8 because I would reconnect with them and love them and bask in their glory and live vicariously (precariously?) through their new adventure with them that I’m kinda not looking forward to reading it now….

The power of the review.

Be careful when you leave one, guys. Those suckers are potent.

I just read an encouraging one that says that, although the series MC’s aren’t the main characters in this one, it’s a good transition to maybe the end of their story and the beginning of a new one.

Sad but true. It’s gotta end someday, right?

(Sobs on her keyboard as she writes this post….)

 

Flash Fiction Goodreads MM Romance Group

The prompt was:

While MC1 is visiting his parents for a family crisis, his boyfriend MC2 comes to support him. MC1 hasn’t told his family about him, though. Awkward! 

Here’s my contribution:

“I have to go home. I’ll call you later,” said Jeff quickly, his hand on Max’s office door. He was holding his jacket, obviously on his way out.

“Are you sick?” asked Max.

“No, it’s my dad. I have to go home. My mom called me.”

“I’ll drive you. I was almost finished here anyway,” Max got up from behind his desk and grabbed his jacket.

“No, it’s alright. I’ll take a cab,” Jeff said, already walking away.

“Wait!” yelled Max. “I’ll drive you so we can talk.”

In the car, Jeff looked out the window while Max drove towards Jeff’s parents’ house. He had never been there. They didn’t know about him. Jeff hadn’t even told them he was gay. He suspected they already knew.

“So what happened?”

“They found a tumor yesterday during a routine check-up. Today he found out he’ll need surgery fast and it might not be enough. My mom is freaking out. She called my sister too.”

“I’m so sorry.” Max reached out and grabbed Jeff’s hand. Their fingers curled together. “Is there anything else they can do?”

Jeff chocked on a sob. “They have to meet the oncologist in two days. I’ll know more when I get there,” he sniffed. Max squeezed Jeff’s hand. They rode in silence the rest of the way.

“Just over here, the red door,” Jeff said, pointing to his parents’ house.

“Good luck. I’ll wait in the car.” Max let go of Jeff’s hand and turned off the motor.

Jeff  just sat there, his hand on the door handle. He looked so sad it broke Max’s heart.

“Can you come in with me?”

Max was surprised by the question. “Uhm… is that a good idea? What are you gonna say?”

“That you’re my friend and you drove me. I don’t care. I just need you.” Jeff looked up at him with watery eyes.

“Of course I’ll come in.”

They both got out of the car and headed towards the door, which opened as soon as they reached it.

“Jeff,  I’m so glad you could come” said the person who had to be his mother. Jeff walked into her open arms and they hugged. Max stood a couple of steps behind him, feeling a bit awkward.

“Oh, hello, come on in,” said Jeff’s mother when she saw him.

“Hello Mrs. Peters,” Max said, his hand outstretched.

“Mom, this is Max. He drove me,” said Jeff. “Max, this is my mother.” They shook hands.

“Call me Julia. Come on in.”

As they entered the house, they could hear voices in the kitchen. Jeff was following his mom and he stretched his hand out behind him for Max to touch. Max brushed Jeff’s fingers lightly.

A man looking distraught sat at the kitchen table, presumably Jeff’s dad. A tall, pregnant woman with the same blond hair as Jeff was pouring coffee in mugs at the counter.

When they walked in the kitchen, Jeff’s dad got up and hugged his son. Jeff started crying on his father’s shoulder. “I’m so sorry, Dad,” he sobbed.

Max stood in the doorway,  not knowing what his role was. This was an intimate family crisis and he felt like the intruder that he was. He had never met these people. They didn’t even know he was in a serious relationship with their son. Watching Jeff break down in his father’s arms, he realized they needed to have a serious talk about where their relationship was going. But this was not about him, he knew that. He was here for Jeff, whatever Jeff needed. If he required him to act like just a friend, then so be it. There would be time for revelations later.

When they disengaged, Jeff’s dad noticed Max and was startled. He took a step away from his son, seemingly embarrassed.

“Oh, Dad, this is my friend Max. He drove me,” Jeff explained. “Max, this is my dad, and this,” pointing to the woman with the coffee mugs, “is my sister Kelly.”

“Hello Max,” said Jeff’s dad softly, uncomfortable that a stranger had witnessed his emotional reunion with his son.

“Hi Max, it’s nice to meet you,” said Kelly, coming to shake his hand.

“It’s nice to meet all of you. I’m just sorry it’s under such sad circumstances,” said Max, shaking her hand. “I’m sorry, Sir, if there’s anything I can do,” he said, turning to Jeff’s father.

“Thank you, Max, for driving Jeff. We really appreciate it.” Jeff’s dad still looked uncomfortable. He turned to his son. “Jeff, why don’t you walk your friend out. I’m sure he’s got more interesting things to do tonight,” he said, smiling faintly. Julia smiled wanly at Max, twisting her fingers.

“Of course. I’m sorry for intruding, Mr. and Mrs. Peters.” Max quickly turned around and headed back down the hallway. He knew this was a bad idea.

“Max, wait!” Jeff called out. Turning to his parents, he said: “Mom, Dad, Kelly, there’s something I have to tell you. Max isn’t only a friend.”

Hearing those words, Max stopped in the middle of the hallway, his heart in his throat.

Jeff walked up behind him and took his hand. “It’s alright, baby. Come on,” he said softly.

When they came back to the kitchen, both Jeff’s parents looked stunned and his sister was smiling.

“Max, would you like some coffee? I was just pouring some,” Kelly said to Max with a twinkle in her eye.

Max just nodded, not sure what he was supposed to do. He was just going to follow Jeff’s lead.

“Jeff?” his mom asked, her face wide with surprise.

“I know this is an awful time to bring it up and my timing sucks, but Max is my boyfriend and I really need him with me. Is that alright?” Jeff looked to be on the verge of tears again. Max just looked at the floor, waiting for someone’s reaction.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Kelly said in a sing-song voice. She brought a tray of coffee mugs to the table and sat down. “Come on, the coffee’s getting cold.”

Julia was the first to recover from her shock. “Please, Max, sit down,” she said, pointing to a chair. “Jeff, we’ll talk about this more some other time, but for now I’ll just say I’m happy you found someone.” She looked at her son with determination and, yes, a hint of affection.

Jeff’s father, on the other hand, was not so forthcoming. He just stood there, stunned and angry.

“Are you trying to tell me you’re gay and this is your boyfriend? On the day I find out I have cancer?” His voice was raised by the time he finished.

Max just stood there, not moving. He noticed Kelly’s eyes rolling. Jeff looked crestfallen.

“Stan, calm down,” Julia said to her husband. She walked up to him and put a hand on his arm. “It’s not so surprising, is it? Come on, we have more to talk about,” she said gently.

“Yeah, Dad, it’s not like we weren’t expecting it, is it? Come on, tell us what the doctor said. That’s what I want to talk about,” Kelly said.

Stan sighed, shaking his head. “You know, Jeff,  we suspected for a while now that maybe girls weren’t your thing. But to spring this on us at a time like this, I have to say I’m disappointed. You could’ve told us before. How long has this been going on?” he asked, still standing, staring at his son.

Jeff turned towards Max. “We’ve been together six months now. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before. I was afraid you’d be mad,” he said sheepishly.

“I can’t say I’m thrilled, but cancer pretty much stole your thunder, son,” Stan said. He finally sat down, took a cup of coffee and started fixing it with sugar and milk. He looked up at Max and said: “Come on, sit down. Have some coffee,” he gestured to the mugs.

“Thank you,” muttered Max. This is not how he thought they’d come out to Jeff’s parents. He felt terrible. “I’m sorry we’re springing this on you at such a bad time,” he apologized. “If you’d prefer for me to leave, just say so,” he added.

“No, please, stay,” Jeff said, grabbing his hand. “It’s okay, right?” he asked his parents.

“Sure, sit down, Max,” offered Julia. Both guys sat next to each other. Jeff reached for Max’s hand under the table. Just knowing he was there made him feel a little better.

Julia sat next to Kelly and pulled a mug toward her. “I’m sorry Max, I know this is awkward. I wish we would’ve met before this,” she said, pinching her lips.

“We’ll grill him some other time,” Kelly said, smiling. Turning to her father, she asked: “Okay, what did the doctor say?”

They talked about the tumor; the urgency of removing it and the possible treatments but much was up in the air still until they met with the oncologist.

The whole time, Max remained silent, letting the family talk. He rubbed Jeff’s hand with his thumb to comfort him, but that was the extent of his involvement. Observing Jeff with his family, he noticed the brother and sister had a warm, affectionate relationship. They were both on good terms with their parents or, if not,  differences were put aside for the time being. Max had never seen Jeff so vulnerable. His questions betrayed his worry and anxiety and the answers weren’t reassuring much. Kelly seemed the calmer one, taking the information for what it was, not more, not less. Her attitude leaned more toward not worrying about stuff they didn’t know or couldn’t control. Sometimes she would catch Max’s eye and wink or smile at him. This made him feel a little less uncomfortable.

When there was nothing else to say about Stan’s health, Julia put both her palms down on the table.

“Okay, who’s hungry? I have a huge frozen lasagna I can stick in the oven,” she said, looking around at everyone.

“I have to get home. Bob’s waiting for me to put Kyle to bed,” Kelly said. She stood up, putting a hand at the small of her back. “I’ll go with you to meet the surgeon if you don’t mind,” she said to her dad.

“Sure, that’d be great,” Stan said, smiling for the first time in a while. “Thanks,” he said, getting up and pulling her in a hug.

“I can go too. I’ll ask for the time off,” Jeff said.

His dad turned to him. “Great, I’d like that,” he said, smiling at his son.

Jeff turned to Max. “Mr. Stevens won’t mind, do you think?”

“Just tell him why you need the time, I’m sure he’ll accommodate you,” Max assured him.

“You guys work together?” Julia asked.

“Yeah, that’s where we met,” Jeff smiled,  looking at Max fondly.

“They don’t frown on that?” Stan asked.

Jeff’s back stiffed. “No, Dad, they don’t frown on gays,” he answered tightly.

“I didn’t mean because you’re gay, Jeff. I meant they don’t have a non-fraternization policy or something like that?”

Jeff’s shoulders’ dropped. He didn’t meet his dad’s eyes. “Oh. No, they don’t care as long as you do the work. The president and the office manager are a couple, so…” he smirked.

“Is anyone up for lasagna?” Julia asked.

Jeff turned to Max. “Do you mind if we stay?”

“I’d love to,” Max smiled at him. “If that’s alright with you,” he added, turning to Julia.

“Of course it’s alright. It’ll give us a chance to chat and talk about something else,” Julia answered, smiling. She went to the freezer and started preparing dinner.

“Are you a programmer too?” Stan asked Max. They started discussing work so Jeff walked his sister out. She grabbed his arm. “I’m so happy for you! Plus he’s hot,” she whispered in his ear.

“Yeah, he is. He’s great. I’m glad you met him,” Jeff said, hugging his sister.

“Will you be alright?” she asked him, a concerned look replacing the joyful one.

Jeff felt his heart stutter. “Yeah. I’ll be fine. I just feel bad for Dad. He’s not gonna have fun anytime soon.”

“Call me if you want to talk and try not to worry about what you can’t help,” Kelly said, squeezing his hand.

“Yeah, thanks. Kiss Kyle for me.”

“Will do. Have a nice dinner with Max and the folks,” Kelly said, then left.

Jeff walked back towards the kitchen, hearing Max and his dad talking. Relief fought with worry inside his gut. His dad was really sick, but at least he wasn’t going to deal with it alone. He had Max.

Gay romances: why are they popular all of a sudden?

Book clubs, group discussions, blogs, all kinds of stuff about M/M and F/F romances are popping up everywhere. There’s obviously a market for it.

Why? gayboys

This is what I think.

Although hetero romances are fun and make us feel good, there’s a bit more to a gay romance: it’s against the odds. It’s harder, more difficult, not as easily accepted, shunned and judged. If the characters make an effort, despite the adversity, to be together, it makes us feel even better.

Everyone knows how a good romance story is built: A and B fall in love. A and B encounter a difficulty. A and B work it out. A and B live happily ever after because true love always prevails.

When A and B are two guys or two girls, they’re already starting with a difficulty. In this day and age, even if we’re better about it than, say, 50 years ago, it’s still hard to be gay. Depending on where you live (if you’re gay I hope you don’t live in Uganda) it can be life-threatening.

gaygirls

To see two characters live through it and succeed, have a happy life, adopt kids, whatever, even if it’s two young adults who just come to terms with their orientation and decide to live a gay life with the one they love, they don’t even need to encounter a typical difficulty for us to root for them.

And it’s sexy for women to see men in a vulnerable, soft light, even if it’s all hidden behind a macho, virile, very-male badass. For some, the more the better.

The fact that we can now read books in public on our e-readers without anyone seeing the title or the book cover helps a lot, I’m sure. I remember being transfixed by a girl reading “The Story of O” in the bus when I was a teen. I was embarrassed on her behalf! Now? You can read fifty shades of whatever kink turns you on and no one is the wiser.

Also, if we heteros like to read romances about couples like us, guess what gays like it too! Especially young adults who want to find literature that will speak to them about what they feel. We need more teen books about gay life. We owe it to our young ones who need to feel they’re part of something and that something is good, healthy and accepted.

Live long and prosper, gay romance.

Crack the Darkest Sky Wide Open by Eric Arvin, TJ Klune, Abigail Roux, SJD Peterson, S.A. McAuley, Jason Huffman-Black,

ImageSix short stories. Very different, very good.

Eric Arvin wrote The Demon of Jericho. A sweet fantasy story of a young man who finds an angel. This angel winds up saving the village from the terrors of a bad demon. Fantasy’s not my favourite genre. I liked this one. It left me with a feeling of peace, regardless of the violence or gruesome details peppered here and there. The love story of the young man with his angel was sweet nonetheless. 

Abigail Roux went with a war story, A Cruel Thing. I hate war stories in general. You’ll never catch me watching a WW2 movie even if Channing Tatum plays – and even dances – in it. This story was so touching, so real, so full of sincere emotions. I didn’t get too lost in the descriptions as it was mainly about a unit of soldiers during the events of December 1941, Pearl Harbour. Some soldiers fall in love with each other and promise life and love forever to each other. Some don’t make it home, obviously. Some do. I loved it. I’ll read it again, I’m sure. And until the end, you don’t know who the narrator is, or who lives and who dies. It’s fucking gripping. This one left me with a profound sadness and an urge to kiss my sleeping husband.

Wrong, by SJD Peterson, was a hard one to read for me. It’s not even BDSM, it’s plain and simple cruelty done to a guy who couldn’t deserve it more. He’s a true asshole, and that’s the part of him that’s used to bring him down a notch or three. I didn’t get this story, other than that. I had to skip a few lines because the descriptions were a bit too much for me. The thought that came to mind when I finished the story was “ouch”.

Anguish by Jason Huffman-Black is a narration of what is going through a man’s mind as he drives his car and the control he has over three other lives – which I didn’t understand how they were connected – by steering one way or another. Is it an impending accident? Don’t know. Didn’t understand. This one left me wondering what I didn’t get.

S.A. McAuley spun a really nice story in The Hotel Luz about two lovers who lost contact with each other but reunite at a hotel for lunch when one of them learns of the other’s difficulties. Is it too late? Is it the one that got away? Very nicely written, it’s poignant and a little sad. 

And then the coup de grâce: John & Jackie by TJ Klune. Well. Let me tell you now it left me with… it didn’t leave me. Yet. This is the dedication at the beginning: 

“To those who have ever loved with their whole hearts.”

How true. It’s a pure, sincere, lovely love story about two guys who meet when they’re twelve and live seventy-one years together. To say it’s beautiful seems trite but it is beautiful. In its purest form. The writing is honest and well versed. 

Sorry my young readers: it’s not PG-13. It’s not even PG-16 because of Wrong. Stay away from this one until you’ve had some experience and know that not all sexual encounters are like that. It’s fiction, guys. 

 

‘Slay me’, said the dragon by Stephen Del Mar

ImageI can’t believe I didn’t write a review for this one yet! It’s the sweetest, most captivating short fantasy story I read in a long time.

It’s sweet, a bit scary, and oh so beautiful in the end. 

There’s dragons who can appear in human form, and a dragon slayer. Bad dragons and good dragons. And love.

It starts a bit scary and you don’t know where it’s going until you reach the end to realize it’s one of the most beautiful love stories ever written. And I read a lot. It’s really touching.

Yup, kiddies, another one not for you. Sorry. Sex. (I’ll try to read pg-13 stuff just for you, but can’t promise anything… because you don’t really exist!!!)