Monday, 29 October 2012

Queering James Bond

I've just got back from watching Skyfall. Twice. I was kinda double-booked this weekend. There's a great scene in it where the villain, Silva, captures Bond. He ties him to a chair in a pose painfully reminiscent of his unforgettable encounter with Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, and proceeds to examine the scar of a bullet wound on Bond's shoulder. But then the mood changes, his touch turns lingering, he undoes a button too many on his shirt. He trails his fingers delicately over Bond's skin. He leans in close, hands on Bond's thighs, and tells him, There must be a first time for everything...

Deadpan, Bond looks back. What makes you think this is my first time?

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Writing What You Know: Authorial Experience in Romance

I stumbled across a debate the other day that brought a lot of vague thoughts I've had into sharp relief: namely, the reaction of readers to m/m romance written by women.
As a gay man interested in reading works by gay men and having been lumbered with books in the past misrepresenting as such, I am entitled to research [if a particular author is male or female]...Fortunately, there are many others emailing me with the same views and discussing ways to network regarding this situation.

That's from a customer discussion on Amazon about a well-known m/m author who writes under a male pen name. As his fans were quick to point out, what kind of proof would be considered acceptable? Would a photo do? No, it could have come from anywhere. Would a live chat do? No, it could be one of the author's friends. Ditto a face-to-face meet. Ultimately we either accept the reality with which we are presented, or we don't.

Friday, 19 October 2012

All The Beauty of the Sun - A Review

All the Beauty of the Sun is the sequel to The Boy I Love and opens five years after the close of the first novel. In between a lot has happened - Paul has been arrested, incarcerated and divorced; he and Patrick have emigrated to Tangiers; Paul's ex-wife Margot has remarried and told her young son that his father is dead.

All of this we learn as the novel unfolds; it has already happened and the characters are now dealing with the aftermath of the upheaval in their lives. This is a technique Husband employed in The Boy I Love - she doesn't write about events, she writes around them; her books are nothing so much as psychological studies of the after-effects of trauma. Just as she doesn't narrate the war itself in The Boy I Love, nor does she narrate Paul's disgrace and incarceration in All the Beauty of the Sun.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Boy I Love - Marion Husband - A Review

Marion Husband's The Boy I Love opens in 1919. Paul Harris has returned to civilian life a twenty-three year old man with a glass eye and shot nerves.After surviving the horrors of the trenches, horrors that he still relives each night in his dreams, he wants nothing more than to escape the stifling atmosphere of home life with his father. Adam, his brother's former friend and Paul's lover since the days before the war entered their lives, offers peace. Adam wants nothing more than for the two of them to live happily ever after together. Unfortunately, in 1919 that simply isn't possible.

SPOILER WARNING - here follows some slight spoilers. If you want to find out for yourself what happens, then get the book from Amazon. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Chosen - Annette Gisby - A Review

Love or duty -- which would you choose?
Prince Severin has been brought up to put duty before all else. Now, his duty is to marry and produce an heir. He has his choice of princesses. Unfortunately, his passion is for princes.

Havyn has been a slave all his life. When his powers are discovered, he finds himself purchased and freed by a Prince and apprenticed to the royal wizard, Ildar. His duty is to stay chaste to keep his powers strong. Unfortunately, his passion is for Severin.

With kingdoms at war, the throne hanging in the balance, and magic in the air, can the two men find happiness together, or is duty more important than love?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Heteronormativity and the Myth of the 'Gay Lifestyle'

“…the gay lifestyle is incompatible with happiness and fidelity in human relations.” British broadcast journalist Simon Fanschawe.
How many times have we heard that expression, the "gay lifestyle". What, exactly, is it? We know what our detractors say, we're promiscuous and immoral and obsessed with sex and youth. We're all fundamentally flawed, broken; the gay lifestyle is incompatible with happiness. We're deeply, deeply miserable (excuses for) human beings who adopt a happy, campy air in order to sucker the next generation into our vast whirlpool of misery and self-loathing. The gay lifestyle is nothing if not self-propagating.

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Monday, 1 October 2012

Calling all European Authors!

I've always tried to do my bit for other authors, both here on my blog and over on the KDP boards (where I'm maybe too prolific for my own good). Over the last year and a half I've learnt more than I can ever remember from authors who've been there, done that and bought the T-shirt before my authorial aspirations were anything more than pipe dreams. I am a firm believer in standing on the shoulders of giants, and passing good advice back down the line.

In that spirit, I've been asked to co-moderate a new group on Goodreads, aimed specifically at non-US writers struggling with marketing to an audience 5,000 miles, several timezones and sometimes (it seems) a whole other world away. I therefore proudly introduce the European Writers' Group.