Hands Down

Because it’s stuck in my head… Actually, this song gets stuck in my head all the fucking time, and I never stop loving its passion. It reminds me of those heart-exploding moments in my life when everything held so much possibility. I started thinking this morning that the feel and the premise of this song (new, young love) probably explains why young adult fiction has exploded so much recently. The genre contains some of the darkest books I’ve read, but in tapping that darkness we access our deepest emotions, our passion, and then we find the dawn. Most of all, we return to a time when things felt so damn dramatic, and remind ourselves that we came out the other end more or less intact.

After all, those first loves, first kisses, even those tragedies, make us who we are.


NaNo and the next big thing

nanowrimo Winner-180x180

I got tagged by Christopher Koehler in that “Next Big Thing” blog hop, but I’ve had a million crazy things including a sick child, a completely sleepless night, and some other things I won’t go into or else the rest of this blog post will be nothing but four letter words plus a few I just now made up. So this post isn’t gonna be mega-organized, and I apologize, but do go check out Chris’s latest big thing, because his rowing series is fun reading, and Burning It Down promises to be the best one yet. Be sure to hum that Linkin Park song while you download. I know I did.

Technically speaking, I won NaNo. The book is not quite done yet. 50k is a novel by the standards of the RWA, but it’s not a very meaty one. So we’re almost there because I have a few thousand more words to go (and a whole lot of editing) before I’ll feel like my guys are ready to go out into the world. It’s a small town contemporary novel about two guys who work in a strip club and I hope to have it done very soon. My heroes are Greg and Carlos, and this is a prequel to a contemporary novel I wrote earlier in the year that wasn’t ready yet to be finished. I finally decided what I needed was to know the world and the characters better. So I handled that that in the form of writing a prequel instead of a sequel for the supporting cast. I feel like it went rather well, but until I’ve finished it, polished it, given it to my beta readers, polished it some more, and handed it over to my agent (Eric Ruben) for perusal, I don’t really want to say more. Not counting unhatched eggs, and all that jazz. This is darker and angstier than anything I’ve written before, so it’s new territory, and I’ve gone from proceeding with optimistic caution to throwing myself into the void. But fingers crossed, hopefully you get to meet my new guys soon, and in the meantime check out some other great authors and their next big things (snerk). Like Sloan ParkerAmy Lane, Belinda McBride, and Lee Brazil.

One Giant Leap for Gay Romance Kind…

For those who may not have heard, Damon Suede’s Hot Head has been nominated by Goodreads as one of only a handful of candidates for Best Romance of 2011. His is the only LGBT romance nomination, the only romance written by a male, and the only one of two not published by NYC powerhouse publishers. And he’s up against mainstream mavens such as Nora Roberts and J.R. Ward, who I LOVE and admire greatly–but wouldn’t be an amazing leap for our genre, if Hot Head were to win? Please consider supporting Hot Head in particular and/or gay romance in general, by voting here (voting ends 11/30/2011!): http://www.goodreads.com/award/choice/#56966-Best-Romance

Boys Do It, Girls Do It…

(Just a little note here: I know folks have strong opinions on this topic, but I wrote this article in a lighthearted spirit and I hope readers will take it as such.)

So I’m thinking today about penises. Okay, fine, you over there snickering in the peanut gallery–I write erotic romance, so I actually think about them quite a lot. What to do with them, cute names for them, clinical names, sexy names, synonyms for the stuff that comes out of them and the places you put them. Whether or not said schlong belongs on a supernatural being and as such whether or not I need to glove the love. Is that supernatural being circumcised? And so on. But I’m getting so, so off track here, as I tend to do…

The question is, does not having one help or hinder my ability to write M/M??

So awhile back I wrote an article about why women love to read and write M/M. I had no idea this was still such a topic of interest but it managed to score head and shoulders above any other article I’ve ever, ever posted in terms of hits, comments, and retweets so I guess it’s still a topic of some interest. And hey, why not? As one very good friend of mine recently pointed out, there’s inherently nothing for women in a relationship between to men, so why would they be so into that? I get that it’s a little confusing. But hey, it is what it is.

And the problem that I run into sometimes as a woman who writes M/M, is that there are people (mostly men) who don’t feel that women should write in the genre. That many of us are doing it badly or are doing it for the wrong reasons. Oddly, I was reminded the other day that there’s a funny little flip-side to this argument: many folks (mostly women) do not believe that men should write M/M, either.

What’s that, you say? Well if you’re nodding along with that statement then you’re one of those women and I don’t need to explain. For those of us who don’t quite get it, here’s what I think it boils down to: emotion. I guess the idea is that M/M is supposed to be emotionally driven and that women are inherently more emotional than men, and hence better suited to write the genre (which of course we know, statistically, IS female dominated) because we all know that men are emotionally unavailable. 😛 Hmm.

So this got me thinking…if I take apart the various points of view a little…

M/M is all about emotion? So this gets into that whole topic of gay romance vs. M/M romance, and I have to be honest, I don’t always feel like I’m smart enough to know the difference. I’ve read a lot of varying definitions of what M/M vs “gay” means in fiction and I’m still confused. However, I’ve known plenty of men who are emotional. My husband’s best friend gives a speech? Everyone in the room starts crying including him, and he’s the biggest, most masculine Spanish guy I’ve ever known. Conversely, plenty of women (including, I’ll admit, yours truly) have difficulty accessing their emotions and those of their characters. My critique partner has hassled me in the past for not getting deep enough into the emotional connection between my characters. And he’s an actual, card-carrying gay man. Yes, I’ve checked. 😉

Then there’s the question of realism and accuracy…well, I think the bottom-line always is that we’re reading fiction. I’ve seen women use unrealistic sexual positions and scenarios in M/M, but I’ve seen men do it too, and I think to a degree that’s become accepted as standard in the genre.  Also there is a wide, wide variety of people in this world. My husband, for example, is extremely romantic. Extremely emotional. Yes, I’m a lucky girl. But if I were to write him into an M/M novel, I’m betting I’d get a finger or two wagged at me for committing the deadly “chicks with dicks” sin, because he falls outside the “norm” of male emotional behavior.

I’ve read M/M that I thought was well and poorly-written by both male and female authors. I do admit, I shy away from judging the relationship dynamics in M/M written by guys. I figure, I’ve never dated a gay man AS a man, so who am I to judge? Maybe they’re writing from personal experience. I can think the relationship doesn’t make for a very interesting story, but that’s a little bit different.

So who’s right? Damned if I know. Everyone? No one? All of the above? I mean, not me, that’s for sure–to this day I’m amazed that someone saw it fit to give me a college degree for crying out loud. My favorite authors in the genre are both male and female, I know that much.

Personally, it’s all about preference. With reading, just like with sex, it’s all about what gets you off. You, and nobody else.