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.


OutWrite DC – Women Write Gay Erotica (or Romance)


Custom drawing by Reese Dante. ReeseDante.com

If you’re in the Washington DC area this coming weekend, I strongly encourage you to hit up the¬†OutWrite book festival. It’s not as huge as some of the other LGBT reading events I’ve been to–nothing quite compares to the
Rainbow Book Fair in NYC–but it’s growing every year. This one looks like it’s gonna be interesting and fun. ūüôā

This year I’m intrigued and excited to be a panel member of the¬†Women Write Gay Erotica event¬†(Friday night, August 2nd, 6:30 – be there!). I classify¬†what I write¬†more as romance than erotica (we can debate the differences if you want but that’s really a whole other post), but there are some blurred lines I suppose, and either way I’m always happy to be involved in a conversation about writing the stories I love.

The topic of women who love to write about men who love other men seems to be an ongoing source of fascination in particular. Perhaps because it’s slippery and tough to pin down, because the bottom line is that the reasons we women love to write gay romance (or erotica) are as many and varied as the women who write the subject matter. Multiplied by a factor of the characters we write.

But I’m rambling. Come join us this weekend, if you’re within traveling distance of U-street. It’s gonna be fun. There will be readings. And shenanigans. Plus, I know a really great bar down the street.¬†

In all seriousness… I was staring at his crotch.


I debate a lot with folks about the importance of romance. Romance is not tripe, it’s not wank fodder. Romance is valuable, and serious (yes, sometimes it’s also wank fodder, but one shouldn’t negate the other). Not to mention, it’s the top selling genre of fiction overall particularly since the advent of e-readers. I firmly believe that for all the people who snort and crack wise when I tell them that I write romance novels–gay romance novels–romance fiction has an extremely important place in the world. I know that especially in the field of LGBT fiction, romance with a happy ending is seen as a little too fluffy sometimes. A little too much like a fairy tale.

And I argue that romance is uplifting. It can help raise awareness (many who stumbled upon the genre of gay romance have wound up becoming advocates for marriage equality, etc). Romance can also provide fantasy, escape, and hope. Sometimes love does¬†win the day.¬†It improves readers’ sex lives. Gets them through illnesses. I once had a reader tell me that reading paranormal romances like mine helped get her through the pain and depression of losing a family member. Fairy tale? Maybe so.

Sometimes people need the fairy tale.

And writing romance is tougher than people think. Crafting a well-told story takes time, effort, and knowledge. Writing is not simply typing. Right now, I’m working on a project that’s got me researching my ass off. I love research, but my noodle is so cooked I barely remember my own phone number. F’real.

Today though? Today, I was flipping through inspirational photos. I realized, after I’d been staring at one for awhile, that I’d zeroed in on the guy’s crotch. Yes, well, what can I say? Legitimately, I had been working on a love scene. I had penis on the brain. I’ve been stuck in “serious” mode a lot lately, and truthfully I’ve been more than a little down. I guess my mind was announcing to me loud and clear that it was done with all that for awhile and needed a break.

So, fine. Happy weekend, everyone. Let’s shake off the serious, shall we? I’ve got some awesome novels to dive into. The British Devil from Greg Hogben and the latest from Cameron Dane. And, ohyeah, I dare you not to stare at that guy’s crotch down there.

Oh, almost forgot! If you’re looking for some free smexy fiction, check out Sue Brown’s episode of Boxer Falls on the Goodreads M/M romance group, or Alix Bekins’s Blogwarming serial story.

photo by Eric Lon

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

Today’s Quickie: The OutWrite LGBT Book Festival–Saturday August 6th

Washington DC area folks!! This weekend, August 6th from 10 am to 6 pm is the DC OutWrite book festival, and I hope everyone will come and support some amazing authors. A few I’m very excited about include¬†Rick McGranahan who will be signing his memoir¬†Visiting the Ghost of Puppyboy¬†at 10, Bob the Book author David Pratt who will be doing a reading at 5:30, and Dirty One, stories by Michael Graves who I believe will be doing a reading at 5:30.

Please follow this link to checkout the whole lineup–the whole day looks like it’s going to be awesome.

I’m especially excited about meeting David Pratt and his¬†Bob the Book, which I loved so much I have read it twice now. And while the author himself calls this gay literary fiction, I saw it in a lot of ways as a romance as well. He does something that you see a lot in children’s stories but not often in adult stories: he brings an inanimate object to life. Gives it thoughts, feelings, and experiences. We follow it through book sales and backpacks as it forms attachments and friendships and we see it view human interactions, and yes it falls in love. ¬†And almost immediately, I fell in love with Bob.

Hope to see you there! ūüôā

— Ellis