Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Best Gay Romance 2015

If you’re a fan of gay romance stories, then Felice Picano’s new anthology for Cleis, Best Gay Romance2015, is well worth the price of admission. Sure, there are a bunch of very short hook-up pieces and a few “WTF” moments, but the best stories in the book are deeply romantic and beautifully written.

“Discodemius,” by Jerry Wheeler, is a real hoot. A present-day twink casts a spell that conjures up a demon. But instead of the Azmodeus, whom he expects, he gets “the unholy terror from the seventies, Discodemius,” wearing a hot pink leisure suit and a “mass of medallions on gold chains that clacked against his scaly chest.”

Be careful what you wish for, right? When Kevin wishes to be “entertained,” he has no idea what he’s getting into. I read this one eagerly, wondering how a time-travel story could have a happy ending, and I was delighted by the twist at the end.

“The Great Masturbator” by Daniel Jaffe is another story that kept me puzzled, about a man who has an out-of-body experience at a circus. It’s a very clever twist on the idea of a romance, as well as full of great little details and very evocative writing.

Michael Thomas Ford
I was also delighted to see one of my favorite romance authors, Michael Thomas Ford, represented in the anthology, and “Reader, I Married Him” did not disappoint. When you get to the end of the story, then go back and look at the story’s title, and you’ll understand how a master works.

As an English major myself, I loved the romantic allusion here. Go Charlotte Bronte!

One of the sexiest and most romantic stories is by two women, Erin MacRae and Racheline Maltese, the story of a date that starts out to be a huge screw-up, as Pete tries to remove his wedding ring (his husband has died three years before) in preparation for a big date with Isaac. Olive oil, lube, and Windex make for a sweetly erotic encounter that has the reader rooting for both men.

All in all, this is a can't miss book for fans of the M/M romance genre. And of course, there's another can't miss coming out June 9 from Cleis -- my own Take This Man: Gay Romance Stories

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Love is Love

Show and Tell

Welcome to the "Love is Love" blog hop. Below my post, you'll find 
an entry link where you can win a Kindle and 42 ebooks! Also 
below you'll find links to the blogs of all the other participants, 
and you can visit each one to enter the contest again.

Remember those childhood days when you’d bring something cool
in to school for “show and tell?” As I got older and began to study
 writing in depth, the phrase shifted to “show, don’t tell.” Instead
 of writing, “Joe was happy,” you should write something that
 showed Joe’s happiness, such as “Joe grinned from ear to ear.”

Oh wait, that’s a cliché. Supposed to avoid those. How about 
“Joe grinned broadly.”

Nope, adverbs are weak. “Joe grinned, showing the perfect teeth 
his parents had paid so much for.”

That’s better, in that it gives some extra piece of information about 
Joe. But it makes him sound pretty young, doesn’t it? Suppose Joe 
is actually in his forties. “Joe grinned, turning his head a bit to the 
side in a way that made his weathered face look boyish and charming.”

Okay, enough with Joe. What does all this have to do with Valentine’s 
Day? Well, I think that it’s important to both “show” and “tell” when it 
comes to the person you love.

My partner and I say “love you” at least six or seven times a day. 
When one of us leaves the house, when we end phone calls, when 
we say good night. Even though it’s become such a habit that 
it doesn't have the meaning of a full-on face-to-face “I love you,” 
we both think it’s important to reinforce. It’s a tough world out there 
and anything can happen—and if at all possible I want my last words 
to him to be “love you.”

But as the cliché goes, actions speak louder than words. I’m the 
“Mr. Outside” in our relationship now that my partner has become 
disabled. I’ll buy food he likes at the grocery, make sure that we 
have all the over-the-counter medications and household items 
we need, like the brand of soap he prefers. I’ll go out late at night 
on a fast-food run for him. When he’s not up to going up and 
down stairs, I’ll fetch his pills or find his phone or wallet for him.

He looks after me, too, trouble-shooting computer problems, 
bringing in the morning newspaper on his way back in with 
the dogs, forwarding me articles about health or writing, 
reassuring me when I've lost an award or my book sales are down.

Of course, our relationship isn't perfect. I often say there’s a 
lot of free-floating testosterone in our house. We've been known 
to argue, yell, slam doors. But fortunately, so far we always 
come back to those positive words and gestures.

To tie this back to writing, I try and do the same thing in my 
M/M romances. Kimo and Mike in the Mahu Investigations are 
both alpha male types, so there’s lots of conflict between them, 
but there is lots of romance as well, and the sense that they've 
conquered a lot of challenges to be together.

In the Have Body, Will Guard series, Liam is the alpha male and 
Aidan the beta. Liam is the muscular former US SEAL, while Aidan, 
a teacher of English as a second language, is a nurturer with a 
wide range of domestic skills that often come in handy in their 
work. They, too, use a lot of tender names for each other like 
sweetheart and baby.

I’ve tried to do the same thing in my stand-alone romances 
and the “Love On” series about young guys finding romance 
and careers on South Beach. I guess that childhood of “show 
and tell” has worked out well. 

Here are the Ebooks you can win:

Shiloh Sadler              Private Pleasure
Aidee Ladnier
The Break-in
Amanda Young
Winner chooses from author's available titles
Bronwyn Heeley
Winner chooses from author's available titles
C. J. Anthony
Charlie Cochrane
Something from my back list - winner's choice.
David Connor
Tidings of Comfort and Joey Down Under
DP Denman
Winner chooses from author's available titles
Elin Gregory
Alike As Two Bees
Ethan Stone
Winner chooses from author's available titles
Eva Lefoy
Love is a Mess anthology
H.B. Pattskyn
Hanging by the Moment
J.M. Dabney
When All Else Fails
Jessie G
The Protector
Julie Lynn Hayes
When Will I See You Again
Lisabet Sarai
Necessary Madness
Lynley Wayne
Winner chooses from author's available titles
M.A. Church
The Harvest series (book #1 and book #2)
Morticia knight
All Fired Up (Sin City Uniforms 1)
N.J. Nielsen
Winner chooses from author's available titles
Sibley Jackson
Private Performance
Sue Brown
The Next Call
Tali Spencer
Dangerous Beauty
Tara Lain
Canning the Center
Thianna Durston
The Blake/Dusty Chronicles: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Alexa Milne
Rainbow Connection (due out 13th Feb) or Sporting Chance.
Anne Barwell
Winner chooses from author's available titles
April Kelley
Whispers of Home
Brandon Shire
The Love of Wicked Men - Episode One
Catherine Lievens
Cecil Wilde
Defying Convention
Christopher Koehler
Draven St. James
Scent of a Wolf
Elizabeth Noble
Winner chooses from author's available titles
Hayley B James
Undercover Addiction
Jennifer Wright
All 3 Finding Home Series books - Pavarus, Morvea, & Airos
Karen Stivali
Moment of Impact
Kendall McKenna
1) Strength of the Pack 2)Waves Break My Fall
L M Somerton
Rasputin's Kiss
Lily G Blunt
Paint the Sky
Megan Linden
Running Off the Edge
Stephen del Mar
Dark Love
TM Smith
Tracey Michael
Pretty Please

Hop sites: