Over to you...
Whenever I visit a new blog or website, I like to browse recent posts to see what the readers see each day. Before I contacted the wonderful Ms. Rachel Leigh about visiting here, I browsed her site and realized she mostly had traditional romance visitors. Six months ago, this would’ve sent me running, but I’m a little bit braver today with three books under my belt, and a forth under contract.
Yes, that’s my way of preparing you, dear readers. I’m not a traditional romance writer. I write M/M, manlove or, to put it bluntly, two men falling in lust and love, sometimes not in that order, and almost always explicitly enjoying it. With me, it is always two men (okay, so there may be some ideas sketched out for three, but that’s for another blog post down the road) and it’s always erotic (hey, when both love interests are men, they’re destined to end up in bed, and often) and lastly, it’s rarely anything like a heterosexual romance story.
Before I lose the purely heterosexual readers, let me back up and explain why people read manlove romances. The majority of readers in this quickly growing niche of romance are actually straight women. Yes, you read that right. Het women gobble up these stories about two men falling in love and, yes, having very explicit (and hot and steamy and… you get the idea) sex. A high number of writers in this genre are also women.
So what’s the draw?
Hey, girls, you like men, right? So wouldn’t twice as many in a story be twice as good?
It’s not just having twice the firm, hard muscles, or double danglies, or even four sweet round ass cheeks, but rather, in my not so humble opinion, it’s two specific things that can only be achieved with two male love interests.
First, men are, whether by breeding, societal influences, or gender stereotypes, not given to expressing their emotions. So, being privy to their internal thought, full of longing, desire, confusion, and fear is sexy on an emotional level. Second, men falling in love with men poses a whole mess of troubling storylines that a man falling for a woman never faces. Will their families accept their unconventional relationship? Will they face discrimination in the office for who they date? What if they live in a state that doesn’t acknowledge marriage between two lovers of the same gender? What happens if one gets seriously ill without a power of attorney in place? Who tops? Bottoms? Does the “women’s work” in their home? Will they get attacked by gay bashers? Will they bicker over whether or not they should hide in the closet? Will they long for a “normal” life with kids and grandkids? Will they live happily ever after? Or even “happy for now”?
Okay, so the last two – happily ever after and happy for now – can and do happen in a traditional romance, but the rest of those challenges are unique. Sure, one could argue that the acceptance of friends and family could be (and is) used as a plot device in het romance, but the impact is stronger, and more dangerous, between two men.
Since I started reading M/M, I’ve found het romances lacking. They’re still well planned and the writing is tight, but a female protagonist no longer catches my interest. That is, unless she’s really a guy in drag, taking his first steps out as a cross-dresser. Now there’s a societal line to cross that simply does not have the same effect with women. Even in historical fiction, a woman dressing as a man is nowhere near as scandalous and taboo as a man dressing in a pretty little dress and glittering stiletto heels.
Too much? Don’t worry. Cross-dressers are a smaller niche of the manlove genre. If you’re interested in M/M (and I hope that I’ve managed to draw at least a little curiosity) try out some of my favorites: Jet Mykles writes a series of fun, sweet stories about rock musicians (Heaven Sent), Ally Blue writes a series about paranormal investigators (Bay City Paranormal Investigations, starting with Oeleander House), and yours truly has corrupted angels and drawn out the sweet, gentle side of demons (Bound By Love).
AllRomanceebooks.com is a great place to start loading up your eReader with hot, steamy manlove stories. Or, take your time exploring readers’ M/M shelves over at GoodReads.com.
Best of all, how about a free sample?
I’ll start gentle with a PG rated excerpt from Fallen, and then, if you’re brave, check out this link to a brief and slightly explicit scene from my ongoing free story, CRANK http://thecrank.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/no-question/ If you enjoy it, click the Table of Contents to the right of the chapter to read the rest of the story.
Man has free will, and guardian angels have an eternal place in the holy host.
When unexpected feelings interfere with Malchediel's guidance of a mortal being, he must decide if his love for one man is true, or the work of the devil. Charged with the soul of handsome but suicidal Bran Weller, Malchediel faces a new challenge: Bran's steadfast belief that homosexuality is not wrong despite the Church's view of his lifestyle.
In the course of his angelic duties, Mal is tempted to turn a blind eye to long-standing rules of guardianship as he falls in love with his charge. Torn between faith in God and belief that every man deserves love, Malchediel must find a way to balance heart and soul or risk a Fall to Hell.
Angels can, and do, fall from Heaven. Most of the time it is willingly, like today, but other times, they are cast down for their sins and that Fall is much, much harder. I would rather not discuss this. It breaks my heart to consider the rare brethren who fail so completely that they Fall into the innermost circles of Hell.
A fall is not gentle or graceful, but being as immortal as a sentient creature can get, I am not harmed when I land on Earth. I can be disoriented, which has yet to get any easier with experience, but I accept this and plan my landing accordingly.
I land in a crouch, taking the impact through my legs and up my body. A large object looms in my unfocused vision to the left. It hits me, and I sprawl across pavement.
This hurts much more than falling.
Yes, I am an angel, and yes, it is true I cannot die a mortal death. I can, however, feel pain when ensconced in a human body. I close my eyes and take a silent inventory of myself. I hurt, yes, but my injuries are not severe. I will bruise, but nothing is broken. Human body, but not a human mind; I am confident of my diagnosis.
"Oh, shit. I'm so sorry."
I open my eyes to see from where the voice emanates. A blur moves towards me from that direction.
The voice asks, "Are you okay?" The face is still fuzzy, but I am settling slowly into my human senses. "Can you move? I'll call an ambulance."
His words help me snap through the fog of my fall. I grab his arm as he flips his portable phone open. "No," I say, "I do not need an ambulance."
I hurt, yes, but doctors would slow me down and do very little otherwise. I heal quicker than a true human and an angel's physical form can sometimes cause the little hairs on the back of a doctor's neck to quiver. They know, but they do not. Professional instinct is strong, though we often appear the same as our mortal charges.
I blink, my eyes focusing on the face hovering over me. I cannot go to the hospital because I have found him. I cannot explain how I know he is the one; I am a guardian angel, and he is my charge. I know.
He is beautiful in his concern, but I recognize sorrow veiled in his deep brown eyes. "So brown," I whisper. I blink. I had not intended to say a word.
"You're hurt," he says, blushing.
"I will be fine." I sit up, and he turns his hand to take mine and assist me. I am surprised to find I need his strength to steady me. Closing my eyes, I again seek out broken bones or internal injuries. I find nothing, but I am still shaken.
"Are you sure? Look, I'm really sorry."
When I attempt to stand, his hand is there, helping me. With his arm around my waist, I ease myself to my feet. I look up into his eyes. He did not look tall while I sat on the pavement, but now, both of us on our feet, he looks down at me. My heart pounds in my chest, and the adrenaline makes me sway on my feet.
"Shit. I really think we should get you to the hospital." He catches me, though I am not falling. Not any more anyway.
Fallen is available in print or e-book format from Silver Publishing http://silverpublishing.info/index/typefilter/book_authors/book_authors_id/49
Thanks for reading!
Learn more about Pia at these locations:
Silver Publishing http://bit.ly/piavelenoSP
Great post, Pia! I feel suitably informed about manlove now, LOL! You have definitely given me food for thought and I had never considered the plethora of situations you have to play with that wouldn't come into heterosexual relationships.
There must be loads of questions and comments???