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A.B. Gayle – Why Straight Women Love Gay Romances

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Our final guest blogger this week is Australian m/m author, A.B. Gayle. And let me just say…WOW. Have you read any of her work? No? Then bloody well get to it. It is hot, emotional, incredible and will stay with you for a long time.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, A.B. Gayle…

Lexx

 

Thanks Sami, Jess, Lexxie and Rhian and for having me.

Why did I choose to write m/m?

Good question.

Why does any female write m/m for that matter?

The easy answer is that if one man is good…
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…. then two men must be better.

Make them gay (not suggesting that Thor or Wolverine are that way inclined 🙂 ) and story ideas just jump out of the page.

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But what’s wrong with the normal male and female scenario? Why write about gay men?

Aussie author, Geoffrey Knight, posed this question to a number of authors and reviewers and compiled the answers into a book: “Why Straight Women Love Gay Romance.”downunder4

As a gay man, he found the whole concept fascinating.

Some gay men are disturbed by the thought of females writing and reading gay sex scenes, but others seem to get it. After all, heterosexual females and gay men have one huge factor in common. They both love men! They both appreciate the beauty of the male body. Many have *gasp* even gone to bed with a male!

Mind you, gay men often suggest we don’t know what it feels like to get a blowjob, but many of us know exactly what it feels like to give one!

So, with just a little research the mechanics are not that alien.

But why did I start writing them?

Over the centuries, writers have covered every angle of the traditional m/f romance. In every writing style, in every location. I devoured so many that I was looking for something different, especially as I’ve been there, done that in real life and have got the hubby and two kids to prove it! Writing stories with male heroes allows me to get “outside the kitchen” and into areas most females can’t or won’t venture.

Perhaps part of me always wished I could be the fireman who went in and rescued people, or was able to casually stroll into a bar and feel that my gender didn’t make me feel conspicuous.

When I was writing “Red+Blue” Red+Blue3I was very aware that most scenes would have been impossible with a male and female. The story wouldn’t have worked the same way. Men have a lot more freedom to go places and the strength to do different things. That immediately creates a difference in what is possible to write about and the scenarios that can be explored. For example, my characters go canoeing in the wilds of Minnesota and the Quetico. Yes, females can do those sorts of things – I am living proof of that fact – but different factors would be present. More rigid constraints on behavior. Expectations.

Caught05medresEven when I had Danny, my hero in “Caught” walk up to Nathaniel Taylor, a total stranger, I was reminded that if he had been a female, the chance of that sort of thing occurring would be unlikely and, if it did, another set of expectations would be in force. All set by society and circumstance.

Like it or not, our gender restricts us to certain places and actions.

Yes, there are always exceptions to the rules and paranormal and fantasy are great ways to explore these.

But it’s not just the expanded horizons that result from having two male main characters, there are also a whole new set of conflicts that come into play.

And even the mushiest romance needs conflict.

But conflict with two guys isn’t just arguing about who is going to top and who is going to bottom – although that has been the case in some books – it can be about egos, whether they’re out or not, their willingness to let their guard down and admit they actually care for each other. Especially as the typical male finds it difficult to express their emotions. Plus, the outside world adds a totally different flavour in contemporary m/m romances. Life is not easy for a gay man growing up. While things have definitely improved, there is still a lot of homophobia around. Many of the older generation still see homosexuality as an aberration.

But there are also more positive sides to heterosexual women writing gay romances. The whole concept of love and romance shouldn’t belong exclusively to straight relationships. Yet, a happy future seems an impossible aim for gay men (and women) who are still coming to terms with the fact that they can be openly gay.

Many still bear the scars of years of feeling left out. Not wanted. Excluded. Every book they read, every movie they watched never depicted them in a positive light, assuming they were included at all. Gay men often bemoan the fact that they had no positive role models while growing up. People they could identify with.

Until now, most gay fiction reflected this reality and the stories were rarely happy. Let alone had a happy every after. Just when they finally won their freedom from laws which prevented them from being who they were born to be, they were hit by the scourge of AIDs. Some heartless members of society even told them that they deserved this fate. It was the will of God. So, to suddenly have a genre where being gay is not only accepted but is celebrated is something that they find quite amazing. For years, the concept of love and a happy long, lasting relationship felt an impossible dream. Yet, m/m romances show how that can happen. This is starting to make them believe it is possible.

How do I know this for certain? Since I started writing m/m romances, I’ve got to know a few gay authors. I’ve emailed them and interviewed a few on my blog. http://www.abgayle.com/my-blog—reviews–interviews.html

One, Don Schecter, is now 75 and didn’t come out of the closet until he was in his forties. “You just weren’t allowed to be gay in those days,” he told me. We have become internet friends, have skyped and beta each other’s stories. He makes sure I get the nuts and bolts right.

I’ve also been fortunate to meet and become friends with the Sydney-based author, Barry Lowe who delights in telling the story how someone
Portrait of a sexy naked man in bedroomat high school, accused him of being camp. He’d never heard the term before. After being told it meant he was a homosexual, he went to the library and looked up that word, saying, as he closed the complete Oxford dictionary with a thud, “Wow, so that’s what I am. Great!” (Or at least, that’s the story as Barry likes to tell it.) Even though he’s been with his partner, Wally, for nearly 40 years, the thought of men writing about love just didn’t occur to him. He mainly wrote gay erotica because he thought that’s all gay men wanted to read. He’s still amazed that his romantic style stories like “A Red Rose Before Crying” sell so well.

Gay men in books, movies and plays rarely had a happy ending. They died tragically, or their love was thwarted. Think “Brokeback Mountain” or even “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

That’s assuming gay characters were included at all.

Like the villain in a murder mystery, because of who they were, they often “got what they deserved.” Even now, although gay characters are being included more, they are often the stereotype bitch queen from hell or the soft, femme type. Rarely do we see the burly gay bears or the ones who don’t flaunt their gayness.

When I attended the Mardi Gras after party as research for my novella “Mardi Gras”mardigrasFinalMed I was astounded by the sheer number of gay men there. Thousands of people spilled out of the Hordern Pavilion and neighboring entertainment areas. Every variation was present, including some leather men dancing to a DJ, or just milling around, chatting. Attending some of Sydney’s great drag events proved great inspiration for my recent release “Leather+Lace.” leather+lacemres

Yet, even at Mardi Gras, I was conscious that when they left the area, they would have to stop holding hands and scuttle back into the box that society demands they live in.

In books they can escape that boundary.

I really feel that by giving them their happy ending, authors are helping to change things for the better. Writing in the gold rings and the picket fence, puts the issue of gay marriage onto the agenda. Showing the effect that homophobia has on their lives reminds us to ensure that our children have a more enlightened attitude. Reading about people being forced into the closet by the expectations of parents and society helps us understand the difficulties of coming out.

Lecturing (telling) people to behave in a more tolerant fashion doesn’t work.

Showing them situations and making them feel these issues as they walk in the shoes of the characters for a couple of hours, I believe can, and will, change people’s minds. That’s assuming they need changing. Yet even those who are already enlightened can gain a sense of affirmation.

Yeah, it’s hot writing and reading about two gay men getting it off, but more than that, literature – even when it masquerades as a light-hearted m/m romance – can help change perceptions. If properly researched and respectful towards gay men, by reading it we learn about the issues they face which helps us to support them when they need it.

It’s interesting that when we did a poll of subjects for panel discussions at our upcoming inaugural OzmmMeet the option for discussion that received the most votes was “Injecting realism into m/m romance” and “Are we stereotyping gay men and what would constitute an acceptable HEA for them?”OmmM Logo_TransparentWeb

Thanks to the internet, this blog probably extends far around the world. But anyone who lives locally or would like to join a group of authors, reviewers and readers on the weekend of 11-13 October. we’d love to see you there. Check out our webpage for more info http://www.ozmmmeet2013.com.

Thanks to Down Under Divas for inviting me along. You gals rock!

 

PS: I have to thank Jess Dee especially, as her interest and encouragement when I chatted about the plot of my first story, an m/f romance was what gave me the courage to start writing in the first place. It was eventually published by Total eBound and called “Isolation.”

 

BIO: A.B. Gayle hasn’t been writing stories all her life, instead she’s been living life. Her travels have taken her from the fjords of Norway to the southern tip of New Zealand. In between, she’s worked in so many different towns she’s lost count, shovelling shit in cow yards, mustering sheep, being polite to customers, trading insults with politicians. Sometimes she gets confused as to who needs what where. Now living in Sydney, Australia, she finally has time to allow her real life experiences morph with her fertile imagination to create fiction that she hopes readers will enjoy.
Her writing centres on the theme “Opposites Attract” and the first two books in the series, “Red+Blue” http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2952 and “Leather+Lace” http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3658 are out now with Dreamspinner Press who also published the novella “Caught” http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1975. If you want to read more about A.B. Gayle and her work, check out her website http://www.abgayle.com.

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Jambrea Jo Jones ~ Why I Love and Write M/M Romance

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The last week of June here at the Down Under Divas is dedicated to some of the most amazing, incredibly, talented m/m and m/m/f authors we Divas know. The GLBT genre is a powerful one and what better way to start this last week of GLBT writers than with Jambrea Jo Jones.

The Divas know Jambrea Jo Jones (aka JJJ) via International Heat You may know her via her hot hot hot m/m and m/m/f books. Don’t know who Jambrea is? It’s time to start….NOW!

Lexx

The wonderful world of m/m (man on man action)

Hello, my name is Jambrea Jo Jones and I love gay men. I love gay men in love. Okay, now that I feel like I’m standing up in an AA meeting I’ll tell you a little more.

I first found out about gay romance by winning a story written by Ally Blue. It was a good story so I thought I’d try reading another and picked up a TA Chase story. I was hooked. I loved seeing two men meet and fall in love. I can’t explain it, I just—love it. Of course that is reading gay romance. I never thought I’d write it. Or…um….watch gay porn. But I did and I do.

It started off innocently enough. I had a story about a brother and sister. She was in a predicament because of her brother. It was supposed to be because of who her brother was sleeping with. At first it was a girl, but the story wasn’t working so I gave him a boyfriend and boom! Story ready to be written. His book would be second and I’d written myself into a corner. It was an erotic romance so I would have to write about sex. What did I know about gay sex? Nothing. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I couldn’t even picture it. Hell, I had a hard time picturing straight sex  most of the time and I really didn’t watch straight porn. I don’t like it.  I put his story aside and wrote a sweet m/m romance called Runaway Man. Only real sweet thing about it was the lack of sex.

Then one of my publishers had a call about flowers and their meanings. At the time someone in my life had died and I had a strong feeling and needed to write a story. It’s called Heart Song and with that story I wrote my first sex scene. I had to explore and I asked around about where to find gay porn. I had no idea, like I said I didn’t even watch straight porn.

Boy it was fun finding sites and I never went back. I am proud to say that I LOVE GAY PORN. Lol  And in watching it found out that sex is sex just as love is love. I think that is the most important thing and I’ll say it again. Sex is sex just as love is love.

(Hottest cover EVER! ~ Lexx)

I mostly right gay romance now in about any genre—sci-fi, romantic suspense, contemporary and paranormal, even some horror. I’m willing to try anything once when it comes to writing because I also read just about anything.

Why write gay romance? I mean, I’m not gay, so why? It feels right and my characters are gay for the most part. If I tried to make them straight, I wouldn’t be able to write my stories. I think that is the way of most writers. If you force something in a story, it doesn’t flow. You need to go with what feels right for your people. Like I have a marine series—there might be a gay character in there, but the main guys that are getting a story? They aren’t gay. Same with my shifter series—well, I ended up with a main couple being gay, but that came along as I was writing the story, which happens to some great series. The Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward, The Troubleshooters by Suzanne Brockmann, Hearts of Fame by Lexxie Couper and Because series ( I don’t know if it has an actual series name) by Mari Carr.

So is gay romance for you? Maybe not, just like with any book people will love them, like them or hate them and that just goes with what you like to read. Like I’m not big on inspirational romance, just isn’t my thing. Nothing wrong with that because there are plenty of books around for each of us.

Thank you to the Down Under Divas for having me on their blog and I hope you enjoyed my talk on gay romance. You can find me at www.jambrea.com or email me at anytime at binojo2@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

Who Is Sexier? The Gay Edition

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In honour of June being GLBT Pride Month in the US, today I give you three of the sexiest gay guys out there. But the question is…

Who is sexier?

Matt Bomer

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Zachary Quinto

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Neil Patrick Harris

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Well? What do we think?

(Well, we know what Sami thinks, right, Sami?)

 

 

June is GLBT Month in the US…So Let’s Do It Aussie Style…

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President Barack Obama officially proclaimed the month of June 2013 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride month. We, the Down Under Divas, think this is bloody brilliant and fantastic and worth making a big song and dance about.

So this week (the first week of June), we’re going to celebrate President Obama’s stamp of approval 🙂

Let’s start with me (Lexxie).

Guarded Desires blind-sided me. My Samhain editor has asked me on numerous times to write a m/m. I’ve always been hesitant, not sure I could capture the raw emotion of the genre. But then, a few months ago, a very good friend of mine experienced something they never thought they would: they found themselves attracted to a member of the same sex. My friend had been happily married for over twenty years, so to say the response was a shock is an understatement. It changed everything.

Everything.

Guarded Desires is my friend’s story. Just with more ravenous paparazzi and screaming fans. :)

It’s available July 14th and today, to celebrate President Obama’s amazing proclamation, I’m sharing a little teasing snippet.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Desire like this wasn’t in the script…

Heart of Fame, Book 3

Small-screen sex symbol Chris Huntley is on the fast track to becoming the next big action-blockbuster movie star. When his latest movie takes him to Australia for a red-carpet premiere, he thinks he’s ready for anything.

But nothing could have prepared him for his raw, carnal response to his Aussie bodyguard. Sexual attraction to a man is a first for Chris. Now he realizes why his relationships with women have never felt quite…complete.

Liev Reynolds is comfortable with his bisexuality, but his attraction to Chris is an inconvenience he must ignore. For starters, there’s his professional ethics. Then there’s the long trail of female broken hearts in Chris’s wake.

Hard as they both try to keep their minds on their jobs, desire and a little matchmaking tip them over the edge. But Hollywood endings aren’t real life. And when the truth leaks out, their careers aren’t the only collateral damage.


Product Warnings

A hunky Hollywood sex symbol. A smoldering, stubborn Australian. A desire so powerful it cannot be denied. A kiss. And a photograph. This isn’t your normal boy-meets-boy story.

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Okay, Reynolds. He steeled himself with a sharp intake of breath, wrapped the fingers of his left hand around the door handle and positioned himself so as to immediately shield Chris from the crowd. Here we go.

He opened the door.

The squeals were deafening. The feverish fans pressed at his back in a wave of maniacal rapture. He pressed back, holding his right arm out to protect Chris as he maneuvered on the backseat.

The actor looked up at him, his grin bemused. Their eyes connected for a second, just a second, but what Liev saw in their light-blue depths stole his breath. Slammed into him with more force than the screaming crowd trying to mow over him in an effort to see and touch their idol.

Desire.

Chris Huntley looked at him with desire.

There was no denying it.

Jesus.

“Let’s go,” he said, forcing his voice to sound stern as he threw the crazed crowd a threatening glare.

Chris alighted from the SUV.

The crowd squealed again. Surged forward. Pressed against Liev’s back.

He braced against the pressure, curling his hand around Chris’s upper arm to support him.

Protect.

Touch him.

Hot energy shot down his arm. Into his chest. His soul.

He ground his teeth. Ignoring the disturbing reaction, he pulled Chris into his body, tucking him close to his side. The subtle scent of expensive aftershave threaded into his breath and, completely indifferent to the volatile moment, a tight lick of heat stole through his groin.

Clenching his jaw harder, he turned just enough to shield Chris from the crowd and began walking, parting the shoving fans with one arm.

They protested louder but scurried backward, enough for Liev to hurry Chris toward the entrance.

And then a stark white light flash right in front of Liev’s eyes.

He flinched, raising his hand to his face. Chris stumbled, his shoulder bumping into Liev’s armpit. The flash fired again and a man chuckled. “Nice.”

Liev caught the actor before he could trip again. But the action was enough for the crowd to sense weakness.

“Oh my God, I love you, Chris!” a female voice screeched at Liev’s right.

“I love you, Chris!” a new female voice squealed.

“I love you, Chris!” another woman cried.

“I love you, Chris!”

“Chris!”

“Chris! Chris!”

The horde erupted, pressing in with greedy excitement. Hands snatched out. Fingers scraped at Liev. Chris let out a shout.

With a snarl, Liev hauled the actor hard to his side and swung out his arm, his fist bunched.

People went tumbling, falling over each other. The flash fired again, joined by others.

Madness took over. Like a feeding frenzy, the mob attacked.

Liev didn’t let Chris go. Nor did he falter. Shoulder down, he barged forward.

He didn’t know where Bethany was. He couldn’t risk looking for her. She was smart. Smart enough to sense the crowd and not get out of the SUV. At least, he hoped to God that was the case. For now, all he could focus on was getting Chris off the street. Out of danger.

Away.

“Here!” a man shouted somewhere in front of him. “Mr. Reynolds, here!”

Liev flicked his attention upward, glaring at the screaming mob. Behind the wall of waving, grabbing people, a man in a suit pushed toward him. His face was red and covered in sweat, his hair disheveled. He grabbed at shoulders and clothes, yanking people out of his way, clearing a path for Liev and Chris. “This way,” he shouted.

Without hesitation, Liev tightened his grip on Chris and charged forward.

Hands and fingers raked over his back and arms and shoulders, but he didn’t slow. Behind him, growing louder every second, a police siren wailed over the noise.

“This way,” the man shouted, a second before Liev reached him.

He waved Liev and Chris through the open restaurant door, muttering something Liev didn’t hear.

For a split second, Liev dared to slow, to draw breath, and then the man behind him slammed into his back and he stumbled forward.

“Through the kitchen,” the man shouted, just as Liev watched the crowd surge through the door, even as the man tried to shut it. “To my office. Go!”

Without a word to Chris, Liev pulled him through the restaurant. Passed the gaping diners, passed the wait staff, through the kitchen with its busy cooks and into an office.

Releasing Chris, he spun around, slammed the door shut and rammed the locking bolt into place. “Fuck,” he ground out, palms flat on the door. “That was insane.” He looked over his shoulder at the panting, gasping actor. His gut churned at the stunned shock on Chris’s face. “I’m sorry, Mr. Huntley. That was—”

He didn’t get a chance to finish.

Chris grabbed his shoulder, yanked it hard enough to jerk Liev around and kissed him.

Liev froze.

For a heartbeat.

And then he growled into Chris’s mouth, dug his fingers into the man’s biceps, spun him around and drove him backward. Pinned him to the door.

***

Guarded Desires (Heart of Fame Book Three) (Amazon)

Guarded Desires (Heart of Fame Book Three) (Nook)