Posts Tagged ‘lgbtq’

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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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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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
Guest Post

Guest Post: Jenn LeBlanc on Diversity in Romance

The Trouble With Grace Jenn LeBlanc

Hello all! Thank you for stopping by to visit me here at EverAfter! I’m really excited to share my two newest erotic romance novels with the world. The Trouble with Grace and The Spare and the Heir is a duet within a larger five-part series, Lords of Time, which is centered on a family in late Victorian England. The illustrated versions are available exclusively on iBooks. (While you can read the duet without having read the first three books, just know there’s an overarching time travel element and two characters, Francine and Lulu, are both from the 21st century.)

Set in the 1880s, the love story in the duet centers on Calder and Quinn, two men who long to be together in a world that tears them apart. When Quinn marries the beautiful Celeste to save her life, the two of them must convince Calder that their relationship is platonic.

The reason my two newest books aren’t published as a single book is because they are truly two separate stories with two completely separate happily ever afters, or more correctly, a happily for now for Celeste in The Trouble With Grace, and a happily ever after for all three of them – Celeste, Calder, and Quinn – in The Spare and The Heir. I’m in love with these characters and their story. Their shared journey is one of the most intricate and powerful stories I’ve had the pleasure of telling and I can’t wait to hear from readers!

Let’s start with Celeste. Celeste is autochorissexual, which is a subset of asexuality. Technically she’s gray asexual, or grace. She doesn’t want or need a physical partner, but she does enjoy intimacy and her sexuality in her own way.

Celeste is also a woman of color born to a family in the peerage. Her grandfather was the second son of Marquess. Since his older brother would ascend to the title, he was superfluous in the family and traveled, ultimately marrying a woman from Capri. They were happy together until his older brother died and he was necessarily recalled to England to take up the family title of Marquess of Dunphreshire.

There were many people who married women outside of England, and many of them returned without them, as if the marriage never existed. To her grandfather’s credit, he refused to abandon his wife, bringing her back to England with him. They lived a fairly reclusive life because his marriage to someone of unacceptable breeding meaning she wasn’t accepted by the peers.

Celeste’s grandparents had several children, the oldest of which was Celeste’s father. As a man who had a title and presented as white, he was able to marry a prominent woman of wealth. [She isn’t named beyond her mother]

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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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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Not ‘Just Another'” by Sarah Nicolas

Keeping Her Secret by Sarah Nicholas

A couple of weeks ago, I saw author Dahlia Adler tweet about how important it is that diverse books are finally putting more faces on some of the “same old” stories, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. From many people, especially those who have been able to see themselves represented in media thousands of times, there comes this assumption that we should all be happy with the white cishet versions of stories. But what Adler said — and I agree with — was that the creation of diverse stories within these established frameworks is incredibly important.

When I tell someone about a court intrigue fantasy I’m reading, where the princess starts falling for her betrothed prince’s sister, I get so many unenthusiastic responses of “oh that sounds like [insert one of a dozen court intrigue fantasies here], but just with two girls.” While I tamper down my initial response of, “heck yeah, it does!” and move right past my mind asking, “What do you mean just with two girls??” I wonder why that person doesn’t also object to the twelve-thousandth* YA court intrigue fantasy where a white cishet princess is engaged to a white cishet prince and ends up falling for the white cishet gardener/stable boy/musician/other prince/soldier/etc. (*12,000 might be an exaggeration. Maybe.)

Given that there are only seven basic plots (according to Christopher Booker), most books can be described as “just another ____ but with _____,” but that’s only a problem if the main characters are diverse. Even if a concept or hook is similar to another book (which, again, it always will be), the story isn’t the same. The background of the characters informs the characters’ actions in both overt and subtle ways.

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: L.A. Witt’s HIATUS

Hiatus L.A. Witt

Fans of M/M Romance, we’ve got a  taste of something special just for you! We fell in love with this emotional little sneak peek into L.A. Witt’s Hiatus the minute we jumped in. And now? You get to too! (Congrats!)


I couldn’t decide if I should take off my wedding ring or leave it on.

Lying in a small, borderline shitty hotel off the interstate in Amarillo, waiting for Nate to text me, I turned the gold band over and over between my fingers.

Cam had stopped wearing his almost immediately. No one asked him questions if he showed up without it. His clients were used to him not wearing one—he never wore his ring or his watch while he was working.

I worked in one of those offices where people noticed. A coworker had come in without his wedding ring once, and the whispers had started flying before he’d even reached his desk. Turned out he’d smashed his hand on something over the weekend. He’d wisely removed the ring before his finger had swelled up too much. A week later, the ring was back on, and when he brought his wife to the Christmas party a few months later, people finally stopped speculating about trouble in paradise.

If I didn’t wear mine, people would notice. And I really, really didn’t want to talk about it.

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Q&A

Q&A: Ralph Josiah Bardsley of THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S TRUTH

The Photographers Truth Ralph Josiah Bardsley

We are so happy to have Ralph Josiah Bardsley as our guest today! One of our favorite M/M Romance authors, Bardsley’s so good at capturing emotion it’s hard to bring one of his books with you on the subway. There’s just too much to wistfully sigh at—which is great at home, less so on public transportation. But it’s also exactly why we just had to know more about him and The Process! Check out our QA below and don’t miss The Photographer’s Truth, out now!


What would you say is the easiest part of writing?

For me, the easiest part is the first draft.  I give myself a lot of leeway during this part of the process – I let my imagination go wherever it wants to.  That’s also where I have the most fun.

 

What’s the most difficult part?

The editing process is definitely the most difficult process for me.  Some writers love that phase – honing the language, cleaning up grammar and plot.  While I respect the focus and the effort it takes, it doesn’t come naturally to me.  Thankfully, I’ve got an amazing editor at Bold Strokes Books by the name of Jerry Wheeler who makes that process much smoother.

 

What love story stands out in your mind as the most compelling?

In general, I like a love story that requires the characters to struggle with their own demons as part of the process of falling in love.  Specifically, Mary Renault’s The Charioteer is my favorite love story. It is set in WWII and the characters are at war – both in the literal sense and within themselves.  Another more recent love story that I found absolutely compelling was A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.  But have a box of tissue and a glass of wine handy if you read that one – you’ll need it.

 

Are there certain moods or scenes that are easier to write for you?

I’ve been told that I write descriptive scenes well – that I can make someone feel as if they’re walking down a street in Paris or Boston.  I’ll be honest; I think my best scenes tend to be the ones that take place in Boston.  Though I haven’t lived there for years, I spent most of my twenties in the city and everything about it is still absolutely visceral in my memory.

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Q&A

Q&A: James Lear of THE SUN GOES DOWN

The Sun Goes Down James Lear

Today we take a small peek into the mind of James Lear, the brilliant author behind The Sun Goes Down, out today! Get a glimpse at what influences and inspires one of our favorite erotica writers.


FAVORITE MOVIES

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

Now, Voyager with Bette Davis, which is the ultimate romantic wish-fulfilment/self-denial movie.

Showgirls, which is an anti-romantic movie with a lot of romantic elements in it.

Brokeback Mountain, which is incredibly depressing but does feature a very persuasive love story.

Cabaret, which I found intensely romantic as a young man

If…, the Lindsay Anderson movie about a revolution in a boys’ boarding school, which includes a great love theme between two boys.

 

Describe your favorite scene from each one!

Now, Voyager: the scene when Charlotte descends the stairs on the boat for the first time, we see her fantastic shoes first then pan up to take in the whole transformation. It’s probably my favourite scene in any film, ever.

Showgirls: the scene in which Nomi has sex in a swimming pool. It’s berserk.

Brokeback Mountain: the scene in which the two men are reunited for the first time after their initial affair, and they can’t keep their hands off each other. They have a passionate kiss just outside the house, as I recall.

Cabaret: the dialogue goes something like ‘Fuck Max!’ ‘I do!’ ‘So do I.’ I thought that was really exciting and daring at the time.

If….: There’s a scene in which the pretty younger boy watches the older boy (played by Richard Warwick, one of the most beautiful men ever in a film) in the gymnasium. It’s really intense.

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