Posts Tagged ‘gay romance’

Guest Post

Guest Post: “Space” by Amy Lane

Lollipop by Amy Lane

So, my husband, Mate, has attempted one home improvement project in the last six months: He has moved my desk from the kitchen table to the dump–I mean what used to be the dump but what is actually the computer desk in the corner of the living room.

He cleaned it out (mostly) and dusted it off (well, there are some nooks and crannies) and set my computer up on it with my chair and everything. He even remembered a coaster for my ever-present drink.

 

 A spot in the sun not too far from mom's feet. Best. Desk. Ever.
A spot in the sun not too far from mom’s feet. Best. Desk. Ever.

I approached this new setting cautiously and weighed the pros and cons.

Pro? I no longer have mail crushing down upon me as I work. Con? It keeps sliding off the kitchen table anyway because although I do the initial triage, Mate still doesn’t go through the mail often enough.

Pro? I am no longer “the voice from the kitchen” to my family when I am working and they are watching television. Con? If they are watching Bob’s Burgers, say, a show I usually forego watching and just listen for the funniest parts while I’m working, all I have to do to ditch out on work is to turn around.

Pro? If I get up to “think wander” I am no longer in the kitchen and food is no longer right there and hopefully snacking will get a little less commonplace when I’m home alone with the computer. Con? The dogs still need to snack at every hour of every day, so I need a bag of dog treats in my personal space whenever they decide to waddle over and bully me into overfeeding them.

Bookshelf Amy Lane
Still moving in.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “5 Side Characters Whose Story I Desperately Want to Read” by Ellie Reads

Usually I focus on the main couple in the romance I’m reading but sometimes there is a side character that steals the show or intrigues me just enough as to imagine what happens to them in the future. Sometimes the authors grant our wishes and we get a series of fabulous stories featuring side characters from the previous books. Other times, though, our beloved side characters remain just that, an added bonus to the story which makes the main couple shine even brighter.

Here is my list of 5 side characters that grabbed my attention and I hope the authors would look kindly upon my wishes and someday would write their stories.

I’m starting with Niall from Glitterland by Alexis Hall. He is Ash’s ex and is now in love with a bisexual friend of theirs who, in the course of the story, marries a woman from their circle of friends. Niall has a major role in Ash and Darrian’s story and while he made me want to punch him in the face more than once while reading Glitterland, I also felt deeply sympathetic to him. He seemed so hurt, lost and alone, unable to find his place in the changing world of his friends. Despite his mistakes I feel he is a good man and I want him to find his happiness. Most of all, I want to read his journey to a well-deserved HEA.

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Reviews, Books

Review: A Look at Santino Hassell’s SUNSET PARK by Kasia BB

Sunset Park Santino Hassell

Unquestionably brilliantly written, Sunset Park is the second installment in the Five Boroughs story.  It has been the most anticipated autumn release for me.  The first book, Sutphin Boulevard, was deliciously angsty and featured darker themes.  In comparison, this novel constitutes a much lighter read, filled with sweeter, romantic undertones, repartee, and humor.  It also has more of a New Adult feel. Still, there’s an edge to it, and plenty of heat – of the Kindle melting variety.

Recently I wrote a post on the classic tropes I enjoy within the M/M genre.  Coincidentally, Sunset Park is cleverly woven around not one, not two, but three of my favorite themes, turning this book into something of my kryptonite.

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: TWOFER by Daisy Harris

Twofer Daisy Harris

Twofer by Daisy Harris is out today from Samhain Publishing and we’ve got an exclusive excerpt for you! We hope you enjoy! Be sure and get your copy of Twofer today!


When Frankie got home, Jeremy lay in bed with the covers pulled up to his chest and his laptop propped on the storage cube playing the same Titanic soundtrack he always listened to when he was depressed.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Guest Post

Exclusive Excerpt: NOT SAFE FOR WORK by L. A. Witt

Not Safe For Work L.A. Witt

Today L.A. Witt’s new book, Not Safe For Work hit shelves and e-readers! We’ve got a great excerpt for you to enjoy. Be sure and pick up your copy of Not Safe for Work today!


Rick took a few deep swallows of water. I left mine on the table but wrapped my hands around it, letting the cold bring me back to earth.

My body temperature slowly came down, though the same could not be said for my pulse, especially as I whispered, “Why me, Rick?”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

He tapped his fingers on the sides of his glass. “I did, but…I’m not sure I understand the question. Why not you?”

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Standalones and Overlaps: Telling Several Stories at Once” by KJ Charles

A Seditious Affair KJ Charles

My Society of Gentlemen trilogy is the story of three interconnected groups of people. The gentlemen: Lord Richard Vane and his well born friends Julius Norreys and Dominic Frey. The radicals: Harry Vane, Richard’s long-lost cousin, brought up in poverty, and Silas Mason, an extremist of the lowest possible class. And the servants, like David Cyprian, Richard’s valet, moving silently around in the background.

What I planned to do was tell the story of each couple in turn. First Julius making Harry into a gentleman and finding himself changed in the process (A Fashionable Indulgence). Then A Seditious Affair, starring Dominic and Silas, whose anonymous sexual encounters turn into a dangerous love. And finally A Gentleman’s Position with Richard and David, who would breach every rule of class and morality if they admitted their feelings for each other.

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Guest Post

Top Five Tropes in the M/M Romance Genre

I’m a fussy reader. I choose my M/M romances, both to review and read, carefully. If I venture outside my comfort zone (where comfort stands, trendily, for D&G – Dark and Gritty), it’s usually because I allow myself to be seduced by a specific author, subgenre or trope.

Some tropes I don’t particularly care for.  For example, the Insta Love theme, with no romantic build up or a decent back-story, rubs me the wrong way.  Similarly, the Rescue Me (because I’m a highly incompetent fu**wit) motif doesn’t float my boat, either.  Interestingly, I don’t mind the Help Me Heal (because I’m broken and damaged) kind of trope.  The Age Gap and Forbidden Love themes can be a bit hit-and-miss with me. I perceive the Fake Boyfriends trope as a guilty pleasure, but when written right, it can be a riot.

The tropes I enjoy most play on strong emotions and utilise angst. I crave anguish, pure and undiluted, in my books.  Nesting in me there is this, somewhat masochistic, desire to have my heart mercilessly torn out and ground into pathetic little pieces.  Shred me, dammit, and make it hurt.  Only then, put me back together by the time I hit the last page, and leave me sighing contentedly with slightly dampened lashes.

Here goes. My five favourite classic tropes, often found in M/M romances.


5. Friends to Lovers… or I’m Coming at Ya, Bro!

Who doesn’t like a bromance?  The best relationships are the ones build on friendship. The foundations are already laid – trust, fondness, effortless camaraderie.  This trope offers a great deal of potential for humour through friendly banter and familiarity.

Typically, one character is a bit slow on the uptake.  Clueless and oblivious, he doesn’t realise the other has developed feelings beyond friendship, although the torch his friend has been carrying is three times the size of the Olympic’s.  Initially, he doesn’t, or thinks he doesn’t (duh!), reciprocate.  The unrequited love related suffering, coupled often with miscommunication, is great enough to make both the character and the reader gravely miserable and anxious, before the air starts sizzling and the attraction demands mutual acknowledgment.  The hesitation to act on it and take the plunge stems from the fears of wrecking the friendship to the point of no return.  Eventually, the resistance is futile – the coffee is smelt, the risks are taken and the pants are dropped.

Once the relationship becomes sexually charged and the intimacy is involved, the characters enter the uncharted territory.  The comfortable ease becomes strained awkwardness, and things are no longer simple. Sh** gets complicated and that’s the interesting part for me.

It’s not easy to write a compelling, heart-wrenching and endearing bromance with some depth to it. What grabs my attention, is the shift in the dynamics between the characters – I want to see how their relationship changes, when it ceases being merely platonic, how that affects their interactions and where it leads.  Ultimately, this trope is about realising that sometimes happiness might be right in front of us, but we’re too engrossed in the very process of searching for it, to notice.

Nunzio & Michael (Sutphin Boulevard by S. Hassell)

Griff & Dante (Hot Head by D. Suede)

Nick & Kelly (The Sidewinder Series by A. Roux)

Taylor & Will (Dangerous Ground by J. Lanyon)

Hobbs & Calvin (The THIRDS Series by C. Cochet)


4. Clash of Backgrounds… or Mix-and-Match.

I strongly subscribe to the Strength lies in differences philosophy.  My own relationship could be classed as a bi-national, bi-cultural and bi-lingual hybrid, and I can say with a vague air of authority that it definitely keeps things from becoming dull.   One of the reasons why this trope appeals to me is because – please excuse the lingo resembling Equality Is Us leaflet – it promotes and embraces diversity.

I refer to the word background here in the broadest possible sense, meaning differences of status, ethnicity, race and culture.  While I’m not a massive fan of the wealthy man vs. poor man dichotomy, because it’s rather trite, clichéd and one-dimensional, I’m quite fond of the city boy vs. country boy theme.  I especially enjoy the Love over the Class Divide (doesn’t it sound like a rather hazardous sex position?) theme, as it carries an equally huge capacity for humour, as it does for drama.  The tropes playing on those differences frequently incorporate the topics of discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance.  They may also explore the strain of facing animosity or disdain from the partner’s friends or family and struggling with a feeling of inadequacy and inferiority.

The way the characters deal with their differences is the most compelling part for me. Does it tear them apart or make them stronger as a couple?  Is it enriching or detrimental to their relationship?  Essentially, this trope is about discovering if people can be different, yet compatible at the same time.  It poses an interesting question:  Are love and acceptance strong enough to overcome dissimilarities and bias?

Seb & Dex (Heart by G. Leigh)

Ray & David (Sunset Park by S. Hassell)

James & Cal; Spencer & Nick (The Market Garden Series by L.A. Witt & A. Voinov)

Josiah, Mateo & Tristan (The Broken Pieces Series by R. Hart)

Nichol & Cam (Scrap Metal by H. Fox)


3. Out For You… or Leaving Narnia.

This is an interesting one, which works a treat especially within the law enforcement environment, with their added pressures and prejudices.  Typically, we’ve got this tough, cool dude, straight acting and straight looking.  His outlook on life is of a traditional variety and due to family or work related issues, he’s deeply closeted.  Initially, he’s not fully embracing his same-sex inclinations, although he is fully aware of those desires and usually has acted on them in the past.

Next thing he knows, he meets someone challenging and after his failed attempts to downplay the significance of this casual, (at first), arrangement, he falls in love.  The sexy times are always incredibly hot, and the passion – undeniable.  After a while, his partner gets sick and tired of the constant sneaking about and being kept a dirty secret on the side.  This situation generates multiple conflicts and trust issues, as well as a lot of hurt and resentment.  Often the tension is so great, that it breaks the couple up. At this stage, the angst and drama are practically dripping from the pages at an alarming rate, just like raspberry coulis from a decent panna cotta, both phenomena equally delicious.

What I find most intriguing about this trope are the reasons behind the character’s eventual decision to come out, the circumstances leading directly to the big ta-dah and how it affects his partner and their relationship.  Moreover, this theme is sometimes accompanied by a fascinating insight on how the characters discover their sexuality, how they perceive it and come to terms with it.

Jake & Adrien (The Adrien English Series by J. Lanyon)

Ash & Cael (The THIRDS Series by C. Cochet)

Jory & Sam (The Matter of Time Series by M. Calmes)

Mac & Tony (The Life Lessons Series by K. Harper)

Evan & Matt (The Faith, Love & Devotion Series by T. Michaels)


2. Enemies to Lovers… or I Hate Your Guts. Now Drop Your Pants.

Fierce emotions, like instantaneous mutual animosity or strong dislike, are fuel for romance.  As far as this trope goes, I don’t require the guys to be arch-enemies per se.  It’s more about them being on the opposite sides of a conflict or experiencing a major personality clash.  All is laced – needless to say – with an intense physical attraction. The sparkling chemistry is too powerful to be denied or resisted.  However, it doesn’t mean the poor bastards won’t attempt holding back – gah!  The initial antipathy, hostility or rivalry between the characters makes them, and consequently the reader, stiff (in more ways than one) with unresolved sexual tension and antici…pation.

Eventually, the friction is defused through a bout or ten of hot, angry and raw hate-sex, bringing about all kinds of fireworks.  This arrangement usually continues for a while, kept on the down low and perceived by both characters, rather naively, as a casual thing of no emotional importance.  A lot of fronting accompanies some downright stinking dismissive attitudes.  This trope holds a special appeal to me, in particular, in the military or the law enforcement setting.  Due to the nature of the circumstances, secrecy and skulking around is necessary, creating additional suspense.  Inevitably, the characters are forced to man up, often by external circumstances, and face reality, by admitting that the sex has led to more and the dreaded feelings are now involved. Hallelujah. Phew.

What I find particularly touching, is the development of the emotional bond and trust over time.  I love the transformation from just indulging in meaningless sex, however great, to being in a tender, committed, loving and supportive relationship.

Zane & Ty (The Cut and Run Series by A. Roux & M. Urban)

Dan & Vadim (The Special Forces Series by A. Voinov)

Jack & D (Zero at the Bone by J. Seville)

Prophet & Tommy (The Hell or High Water Series by S.E. Jakes)

Sloane & Dex (The THIRDS Series by C. Cochet)


1. Second Chance at Love… or Putting Humpty Dumpty together again.

Love is often complicated and difficult.  However, it’s even more of a complex minefield the second time round, when after a relationship riddled with obstacles and a (preferably dramatic) breakup, the ex-lovers meet again.

Seemingly, the past is all water over the dam.  The wounds have closed and the scars have formed; both men have moved on.  But in truth the affection, attraction and longing still remain dormant.  Even though the trust had been pulverised and under the surface, a powerful concoction of hurt, anger, regret and doubts is bubbling away, the romance prevails. The lovers are finally reunited (aaand cue the applause.)

The way I see it, it’s a romance reader’s paradise.  The strong connection, combined with the emotional build up – the anxieties, blame, guilt, past mistakes, and misunderstandings, become a top-notch catalyst for angst.

Moreover, there’s something undeniably moving and incredibly romantic about seizing the chance one thought long gone and irretrievable. The decision of making yourself vulnerable again to the very person who was supposed to catch you, but ultimately failed and broke your heart in the process, is a courageous one and not taken lightly.  If it’s still in your mind, it is worth taking the risk, as Paul Coelho said.  People only tend to invest their efforts into restoring something they perceive as valuable and extraordinary (unless, naturally, they are emotional idiots, saints, masochists or all of the above.)  An HEA delivered after such a heart-wrenching bittersweet journey leaves me drained, yet satisfied.  Puffy eyelids, smudged mascara, and a glass of wine are obligatory.  An easy winner.

Elliot & Tucker (The All’s Fair Series by J. Lanyon)

Hsin & Boyd (ICoS by S. Hassell & A. Lin)

Christopher & J. X. (Somebody Killed His Editor by J. Lanyon)  

Chris & Justin (Ex Equals by L.A. Witt)

Tim & Vincent (The Trouble with Hexes by A. Amara)


The tropes are significant in romances, methinks, possibly to a greater degree than in other genres.  In the grand scheme of things, a good trope or a combination of tropes is not guaranteed to make a book a success.  It’s not a magic bullet but a tool, only one amongst an array of ingredients.  If the other components of this recipe are not up to par – the plot weak, the characters flat, the dialogue fake and the writing mediocre, even the most elaborate trope won’t save the cake.  The truth, just like the emperor’s naked butt, will shine through.  And this, for once, won’t be a good thing – however I like my sweet buns.

Sweet Buns


A bilingual Londoner Kasia BB is a literary/medical translator and a proofreader. An avid reader, reviewer and book blogger, she’s currently working on her debut M/M fantasy novel, filled with the shenanigans of assassins and sexy elves. She has a mild coffee and lemon tart addiction, coupled with a slight obsession of all things paranormal. She is a lover of MMA, nature and the great outdoors. She can be found on her website, Twitter, or on Goodreads.

Guest Post

Guest Post: “What Makes a Romance?” by Shae Connor

Nobody's Son Shae Connor

One of the ongoing discussions surrounding the romance genre is what, exactly, constitutes a romance. For those who publish romance, and for most authors and readers, the answer is clear: a romance is a story that focuses on a romantic relationship that has a happy ending. For many years, that meant a “happily ever after” ending, with marriage and babies and all that, though that’s been scaled back over time. “Happily for now” endings, with the couple together and committed to each other but not necessarily headed for an altar, qualify as well. In particular, until recently, legal marriage wasn’t even an option in same-sex romance.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Sea Changes” by Amy Lane

Keeping Promise Rock Amy Lane

We had to ask it eventually.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed. DOMA was repealed and marriage equality was granted.  Let’s face it—for gay romance writers, the landscape has changed. Gone are the days when just being gay was a conflict, and when “this strange feeling in a young man’s loins when looking at his best friend” was a passport to a bewildering new world.

The average age of coming out is now fourteen—parenting blogs are full of tips for parents to make their gay or trans children feel accepted and loved, and the kids themselves are hyperaware.  In fact, should children be unsure of where they fit in the rainbow? There is always the Internet. Any curious young man or woman can go on Tumblr these days and open a box full of dicks (or breasts for that matter), and kids are continuing to invent electronic ways with which to not feel alone anymore.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “The Gay 20s?” by Kate McMurray

Such a Dance Kate McMurray

Today we’re joined by author Kate McMurray, whose newest release (out this week!) is a historical m/m romance set in the 1920s in America. It’s got Prohibition, dance, and the mob. Yow! Kate is here to talk about what it actually meant to be gay during that time.


My novel Such a Dance is largely about the relationship between a male dancer (Eddie) and a Mob boss (Lane), set in the era of Prohibition and Roaring Twenties. It was a particularly interesting period to write in because, contrary to what I think is widely believed, the 1920s were not a terrible time to be gay in New York City. So, in honor of the release of the book, I thought I’d talk a little about what it was like to be gay in the ‘20s.

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