Posts in the LGBT genre

Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: Kasia Bacon’s THE POISON WITHIN

The Poison Within Kasia Bacon

Happy Post-St. Patrick’s Day! You’ve survived the work week and (hopefully) some partying. If you’re anything like us, you might be in desperate need of a chaser. Thankfully, we’ve got another gift from the lovely Kasia Bacon. Don’t miss this exclusive excerpt of The Poison Within, out today!


I checked my reflection in passing. A typical peasant—blue-eyed, fair-haired, rugged and brawny—looked back. I never understood what Elly saw in me. I rubbed the stubble on my jaw and did my best to slick down my spiky crop.

I was fully clothed by the time he’d managed to put on his breeches and boots. Granted, his elaborate attire involved more complexity than my stark Inspector’s garb.

I came up to him as he struggled to fasten about two dozen buttons adorning the opening of his shirt. At first glance, they looked like pearls—and probably were. The damned garment must’ve cost more than my horse.

I took the front folds of his shirt out of his hands and started doing up the buttons myself. He rolled his eyes, but patiently stood there, watching me in silence with his chin raised, one side of his lip curled. However clumsy my thick fingers might’ve looked, a childhood spent in the forge repairing intricate chains and hinges had left them surprisingly nimble.

I enjoyed dressing him almost as much as I loved peeling the clothes off him. My fixation appeared to amuse and exasperate him in equal measures. But for whatever reason, he indulged me.

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Essential Beginnings Kennedy Layne
Guest Post

Guest Post: The Dream Cast of HARD WIRED

Hard Wired Megan Erickson Santino Hassell

Thanks for having us here at Ever After! We hope you enjoy this dream cast from the Cyberlove series. We focused on the main characters, some supporting characters who may get their own story one day, and Kai and Garrett from Strong Signal who have several cameos!

This series has been really visual for us because so much of it takes place online with people who have to share pictures or Skype because they don’t see each other in person. Also, Strong Signal and Hard Wired are very rooted in the idea of fandom culture. To celebrate that, we created Tumblr pages for both Kai and Ian (and his alter ego Cerise), but here are inspiration pictures of the entire cast!


 

The stars of Hard Wired:

Ian played by Miles McMillan

Miles McMillan

 

Jesse played by Alex Pettyfer

Alex Pettyfer

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: THE MUTT by Kasia Bacon

The Mutt Kasia Bacon

Rough week? Probably an understatement. Thankfully, we’ve brought you an amazing little gift from the ever-wonderful Kasia Bacon! Let us take you world away with this sneak peek from The Mutt, out right now!


 

I WANTED him from the start. From the very first time I laid eyes on him. Everyone kept talking about him in the days prior to his arrival to the camp, curious about this half-breed born to an influential Elven clan, but brought up by humans. A hybrid. A mutt.

Lochan Féyes.

I was curious as well. Maternal half-breeds such as him were a rarity. They retained all physical qualities of a pureblood and enjoyed, at least in theory, equal social status. Not that discrimination didn’t occur. The real losers in the biracial game were the paternal ones. Considered downright human and non-citizen, they constituted the lowest caste in society.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he exceeded my expectations. Later I discovered he had a knack for doing just that.

If I hadn’t known human blood flowed in his veins, I wouldn’t have been able to spot it. The tips of his ears were perhaps less pointy, and his eyes—not as distinctly angular as those of an average Elf.

Even back then, at seventeen, he proved every bit a killer. He made that obvious during the first training session. He was deadly. Calm. Steady. Cold. Disinterested. So self-assured that he seemed arrogant. I wanted to bring him down a peg. Teach him a lesson. Break him. Taste him. Make him beg me to kiss him.

I wanted his attention, but he refused to give it to me.

So I had to find a way to claim it.

His eyes were blue—so intensely the colour almost appeared offensive. Fuck, it offended me. I was just an unworldly Dark Elf at the time, unaccustomed to irises that weren’t obsidian. The azure hue of his gaze reminded me of the glass crystals that grew in caves in the highlands of the Black Mountain. I used to collect them as a child.

I wanted those eyes on me.

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Sisters in Love Melissa Foster
Guest Post

Guest Post: “Otome Games, Toxic Masculinity, and Non-Traditional Masculinity in M/M” by Xen Sanders

From The Ashes Xen Sanders

I have a very sheepish confession to make:

I play otome games.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, “otome” means “maiden,” and they’re called “maiden games” because they’re targeted toward throngs of eager young female players who want their own pretty bishounen (beautiful boy) paper doll to dress up, chat with, and…pretend he’s knocking boots with the other boys in the game, not the girls they’re actually supposed to be dating?

Yep. Even though it’s basically Neko Atsume with boys, while the original goal was a story-style hetero dating game, what otome games attract the most are M/M fans who love their pretty men and love it even more when they dress up in appealingly flamboyant, stylish outfits…and then kiss. (You may have heard of the term “fujoshi.” I’ve seen some Westerners wear it proudly, even though fujoshi, like otaku, is actually an embarrassing label in Japan.) I can see why; many of these games originate in Japan and Korea, and it shows. In both countries, masculinity standards are different; there’s no one uniform for it, but things like sensitivity and grace can be praised rather than derided. Men pursue hobbies and passions that Westerners consider traditionally feminine, and it’s normal; what matters is the dedication to perfecting a craft. Men know how to take care of themselves without being babied by a spouse or parent (well, for the most part, let’s not get into hikikomori or the fact that sometimes some people are just slobs regardless of gender or culture.) It’s not embarrassing for men to care about their appearance as much as women, and some (very heterosexual) men in Korea even use skin care products and makeup, while the rise of KPop has created an entirely new era of men’s fashion that flatters men’s figures in ways that, in the West, might seem effeminate. You can see the same in JPop; both are subcultures that represent less the culture of a country and more a media-sensationalized ideal, but what they do is serve to normalize and even cater to ideas of masculinity outside what we’re used to in ways that blend into everyday society over time.

You can imagine why that would be popular and make such a huge transition from East to West in the form of games, manga, anime, J-Drama, K-Drama, music. In the West, in the United States in particular, we have such a culture of toxic masculinity that men are taught to repress our feelings because anything else makes us feminine and gay, and both those things are painted as negatives instead of positives. “Metrosexual” is used as a mocking insult. We’re taught to do this constant dance of making sure our every action is manly enough. Where women can call their female friends “girlfriend” without it being a thing, if we call our male friends “boyfriend” we’ll get punched in the face. The hetero quadrant of our demo will riot over the inclusion of a gay and/or trans character in their favorite game, because how dare something have 1% of content not catered exclusively to them. We live in a constipated snit of hair-trigger male egos and desperate attempts to prove our status as a manly-man worthy of dragging someone back to our cave by the hair and mating with them. At best, it makes it entirely frustrating to deal with our bull-headed and entirely fragile male egos. At worst it leads to misogynistic behavior that can express itself in sexual harassment, violence, assault. Basically men in the West are an unstable, unpredictable powder keg, and when women come together to share stories of the things they deal with every day from men, it’s really not surprising.

So is it surprising, too, that women (and some queer guys) flock to this imported subculture that creates a safe environment for exploration of other, less rigid forms of masculinity?

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: BEST GAY EROTICA OF THE YEAR: VOLUME 2

Best Gay Erotica Volume 2 Rob Rosen

Who doesn’t love a little adventure along with their steamy reads? Meet Roman legionnaires, dashing Britannic thieves, Egyptian royal guards and ice-impervious Vikings in the second volume of Best Gay Erotica Of The Year! We’ve got a sneak peek below:


Dark. The smell of smoke. The light of a lamp falling on his face, hurting his eyes. A flinch, and the pain biting like an axe buried, rocking into bone. A wail breaking from his chest.

An arm supporting his shoulders. “Drink, Roman.” The clink of a cup against his teeth and a bitter mouthful, spraying as he coughed.

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Q&A

Q&A: Tessa Bailey of WOUND TIGHT

Wound Tight Tessa Bailey

Tessa Bailey is here, and she’s brought exactly what we needed to veg out to after a long day of work: Movies. So many great movies. Tune in for an awesome chat with a fantastic author (and phenomenal lady) and don’t miss her latest M/M Romance, Wound Tight, out today!


What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?

Oooh! This is going to be fun. Here they are in no particular order!

Silver Linings Playbook: The romance between Pat and Tiffany hits me really hard every time. The progression of it, the arguing, the blowups, the moments of connection culminating in the dance contest. All of it was perfect to me.

Safety Not Guaranteed: Man puts out an ad asking for someone to help accompany him to the past in his time machine. Journalist (Aubrey Plaza) answers the ad. I won’t ruin the ending, but I dare you not to cheer when it happens. It’s amazing.

Love and Basketball: I played varsity basketball for four years in high school and whenever we rode the bus to away games, we huddled together and watched this. It’s a gorgeous movie. The couple has a lot of bumps along the way but their love wins. Young Omar Epps, you guys. Get in on this.

Bridesmaids: To me, there are two romances in this film. And my favorite is between Annie and Lillian (her best friend). It’s such a realistic portrayal of friendship between women (like, apart from the pooping in the street). The romance between Annie and Rhodes, the Irish cop, does not hurt, either.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Drawing from the Well of Soul” by Amy Lane

Summer Lessons Amy Lane

Once upon a time, I was seven years old. My parents had just split up, my dad didn’t get back from work for a couple of hours, and the rule was, I didn’t go out and play unless he was home and knew where I’d gone. Our television was black and white and back then, we got two hours of child friendly programming before the news came on and that was it. (Gilligan’s Island, I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch—this is why everyone my age loves those shows.) I was lonely, bored, and probably hungry.

I wrote.

Not with a pen and paper, or, even better, a computer (God, what I could have done with a computer!) but by sitting my stuffed animals in a circle around me on the floor and telling them a story. They were a very good audience, except for the stuffed dog who kept falling over.

Didn’t matter. I wrote.

Several years later in a different time, I was a young-ish mother who had lost her job and had two children under two on a six-acre spread in a drafty house in the middle of nowhere. My son had a communication handicap, my husband worked and went to school eighty hours a week, and I had no car.

I wrote.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Constant Craving” by Amy Lane

Tart and Sweet Amy Lane

You know that moment I’m talking about.

The one where you have eaten nothing but non-fat protein and un-buttered broccoli for going on three days in a row, and suddenly you see it: That perfect combination of butter, refined sugar, white flour, candied fruit and/or marshmallow-swaddled chocolate—whipped cream and cinnamon optional, sin always required.

And you need to make it yours.

Oh… you need to make it yours. You will DAIEEEEEEE if it is not yours. You will mow down with prejudice the poor, well-meaning soul who stands between you and your Chocolate Mephistopheles and screams, “For the love of heaven, remember your diet!” and there will be blood, tears, and no remorse.

For the love of chicken and broccoli, how do you resist such a gut-ripping, life-blood-pumping, necessary to your sanity craving?

One of the most surprising bits of advice from Weight Watchers is… don’t.

That doesn’t mean eat Chocolate Mephistopheles all day every day (and if anyone can create a dessert that lives up to this name, I will eat it all day every day). It just means, on those days when your nearest and dearest are at risk if they intervene, get the Chocolate Mephistopheles—eat it.

Well, not the whole thing.

But, say, get your bestie, order your sin, and eat it with two spoons. Gather the family, take them to the patisserie, and split it four ways. Order it, cut it into eights, and stretch it out over two days.

There are a lot of ways to give into a little temptation without going up three sizes and running away from the gym in shame. Because the alternative?

Even the most controlled of martyrs has a snapping point. The person who fails to indulge in Chocolate Mephistopheles in a safe situation today is the person who goes face first and feral into the Cheesecake Azazel at two a.m. next week and washes it down with a diet coke and pomegranate juice to boot. (Anti-oxidants make up for everything, right?)

So indulgence is not a bad thing, really. In small quantities, it sort of makes us human.

Unless you’re talking about reading.

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Steals & Deals

Deal Alert: K.J. Charles, Tawna Fenske, and Jen Frederick

Would we ever send you off on a Labor Day weekend trip without something good to read? Or a lot of good things to read? Never. Get these great books by K.J. Charles, Tawna Fenske, and Jen Frederick while the sale lasts!


A Fashionable Indulgence: A Society of Gentlemen Novel by K.J. Charles

In the first novel of an explosive new series from K. J. Charles, a young gentleman and his elegant mentor fight for love in a world of wealth, power, and manipulation.

When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.

After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.


About That Fling Tawna Fenske
About That Fling by Tawna Fenske

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Guest Post

Recommended Reading: LGBT Spins on Classic Romance Tropes from Megan Derr

Hello!

My name is Megan Derr. I am an author of queer romance. I am also co-owner of Less Than Three Press, in the interests of full disclosure since some of my recs are from there. But they are honestly among my favorites – that’s why I contracted them!

But I did pull recs from all over the place. I tried to keep things short and failed miserably, but if you are looking for some LGBT spins on some classic romance tropes, here are some excellent places to start (I actually have many, many more, but nobody wants to read a fifty-page post). I tried to keep to just 3-4 per trope, but some get bonuses.

I will likely be doing more of these in the future, on my own blog so as not to plague Ever After, if you should need more recs down the road.

In no particular order:

MAY/DECEMBER

Just a Bit Ruthless by Alessandra Hazard (M/M, Gay, Bisexual, Contemporary) is about a young man who is kidnapped by his father’s enemy. My favorite part of this book is that the MC has always had to suppress who he is because he lives in such a macho world, where even his friends unintentionally say hurtful things, and this big, brusque man who kidnaps him is the first to understand and accept all that the MC wants, needs, and is.

a boy called cinA Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde (Genderqueer, Trans, Bisexual, Contemporary) – one of the books I published, about a business tycoon billionaire and a college student, so two tropes! It’s a lot of fun and #ownvoices

Room at the Top by Jane Davitt and Alexa Snow (M/M/M, Gay, Bisexual, Contemporary) – This book is one of my comfort reads. I’ve read it 500 times at least, as well as its sequel. The only thing I hate is that they’re not in print so I can put them on my bookcase of favorites. It is BDSM, if that’s of interest/not interest, and done well by people who know what they’re talking about.

Bonus recs:

Breakaway by Avon Gale (M/M, Bisexual, Contemporary)

Return on Investment by Aleksandr Voinov (M/M, Gay, Contemporary)

On the Trail to Moonlight Gulch by Shelter Sommerset (MM, Gay, Historical)

(I am supremely frustrated I apparently have not read any F/F May/December, if YOU have recs, I would appreciate them. This is one of my fav tropes)

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