When Gay Men Have Straight Sex… [NSFW]

When Gay Men Have Straight Sex …

-or- why my guys are more like real guys than the stuff you read in m/m romance.

 

I’ve done it now. Angels of Mercy won’t be an easy read for the chicks who dig their man-on-man (-on-man?) love action. There’s a cardinal rule there that gay men don’t play on the other side of the fence.

Only, after being around the block as much as I have – and I’ve really been around the block so much I can give muthafuckin’ tours and sell shirts and shit – I know that gay doesn’t always equate to GAY with a big ol’ pink triangle and a rainbow flag. Men are far more fluid when it comes to sex. They won’t talk about it honestly with others if they know they can be identified – but in the course of my Human Sexuality class I took last semester we ran a world-wide sex study and the results were rather enlightening (well, more so for the class than myself). Mostly because the survey was completely anonymous. No tracking, no cookies, no way to link it back to you as the participant. So I think we got really refreshing responses. It turns out that across the over 600 respondents from around the globe, the spectrum of gay vs. straight ain’t so lopsided as one might think. In fact when we added up the queer populace it came damned near EQUAL to the total self-identified straight population within the sampling.

Read that again so it’s clear to you all – THE QUEERS (LGBTQAI, etc) WERE DAMNED NEAR EQUAL IN NUMBERS TO THEIR STRAIGHT COUNTERPARTS.

 

A little man on man action never hurts...unless its done right.

A little man on man action never hurts…unless its done right.

 

In my past I’ve bedded enough “married straight men” to know that straight doesn’t always mean what it says. DL much, guys?

Honestly put (and this is NOT news, ladies and gents):  GUYS LOVE TO GET THEIR ROCKS OFF.

And don’t let all that straight boy bravado fool you – a gay boy will do just fine if there’s no pussy to be had. Just callin’ it as I sees it. And believe me, I’ve seen plenty. Sex positive here and all that rot.

So my literature work is not genre romance. It just isn’t. I never really saw that it was. I mean, I think it could be embraced by that audience, but they are so deeply entrenched in their own genre dogma that they often rail against stories that don’t fit into their nice and tidy rainbow box.

Well, as a fully fledged GAY man, I know that the world is a whole lot grayer than the black and white everyone likes to classify things into. We all like tidy little boxes. Well, human sexuality is not so fucking tidy.

And neither are my boys.

I’ve known gay men who have sex with women on an on-going basis. The difference is they can’t emotively connect with women beyond friendship. Men, on the other hand, turn their little heart crank in 0.065 seconds flat. They become a puddle of emotional goo if a guy begins to woo them. Therein is the difference, sweet cheeks. That emotive quotient that is added to the sexual mix between gay men and their male lovers.

It’s no different than the ‘gay for pay’ adult actors who want to earn more money by doing gay porn than they ever could doing straight porn work. They may get all the pussy they want doing straight porn, but the real money for the men is on our side of the fence and they’ve figured that shit out. And the guys in gay porn who are gay are stretching the boundaries of what gay men look and “act” like (though I grouse at the word “act” when it comes to anything gay – I am only using it here because of the commonality of how many use it in the sex work industry).

Colby Keller is one such man that I admire not only for putting himself sexually out there (which, let’s face it, takes REAL BALLS to do that – and believe me, Colby’s got ’em – and then some!), but also has a brilliant mind and a real sense of aesthetics in art and literature. A man I can really admire with all of his sex-positive stuff going on that makes it oh so sexy to watch in a man. He’s hella sexy and that ginger status only adds fuel to the fire in my book (just sayin’).

But I digress, that’s not what this blog post is about really.

 

Colby Keller and all of his auburn glory

Colby Keller and all of his auburn glory

 

What I did that many readers of M/M Romance genre might take offense, was organically developed in the way that my story needed to evolve. Angels is about choices gay men have to make to try and eke out some happiness in their lives. Some of those choices go epically wrong. Horrifyingly so. Especially within the context of organized/team sports. They (the jocks) have a script that they have to go by to be a fully fledged member of the “club.” Even if there is no literal script to run with.

Angels of Mercy - Volume 2: Marco

Angels of Mercy – Volume 2: Marco

My protag, Marco Sforza, in the second volume (Angels of MercyVolume Two: Marco) is just such a young man. He knows he is in love with the out, but shy, gay boy on campus. But he is also painfully aware that the big bright shiny spotlight that follows him everywhere on campus is not what will bring the love of his life into his arms. He knows that there are other factors at play here. He knows he has to “play the game” so he can play the game (of football, in this case). Marco’s good at what he does. His stats are some of the top in the nation for high school athletes – especially those who are eyeing a college career, if not a professional one. Marco knows he is going to be scouted as he gets to college level playing. But that only serves to put an added layer of pressure to be one of the guys.

This doesn’t do anything for his heart. It only denies him what he wants most in life – to have that boy of his dreams (Elliot) in his arms and in his bed day in and lights out.

But he chooses to “play the game” rather than give up the game he loves to play. So he finds a girl that he’s comfortable with. She’s a good fit for him. She doesn’t pressure him, she enjoys his company, she is everything he could want in a relationship. This is something that takes him by surprise. Something that he doesn’t expect to happen to him. And Holly, the girl in question, is easy for him. Not in a slutty girl way, but rather because he doesn’t feel put upon when he’s with her. This only serves to cloud the issue of whether he really is gay or not.

But each time he goes out with Holly, he finds himself back at that boy’s house, out back in the woods that surrounds his home, just waiting for any sign of the boy who still has his heart. Marco has some big choices to make in this case. He knows he needs to let what’s easy go, in favor of that much harder choice of what will feed his heart and his soul.

But then, there’s the added complication that he’s an hormonally charged teenager too.  And despite what mothers and the girls in their lives, that’s never an easy thing to wrestle with. Hormones in a teen boy are massively and epically confusing to deal with. Part of me thinks this is why so many boys choose team sports – it is a way to direct that pent up sexual energy.

Holly has decided that Marco is the guy who will be her first. And for Marco, who hasn’t been with anyone in that way, decides that she will be his. So they have sex. Nailed to the fucking wall, kind of sex. Sex on steroids kind of sex because, as it turns out, Marco and Holly are very sexually compatible. Each one driving the other to new heights of pleasure. And to Marco’s surprise he actually finds he enjoys himself in doing it. It’s just easy, that way. And that is what makes everything so much harder for him.

But inwardly, he knows it’ll never be what he wants most in life so he let’s that slip away from him in favor of what he’s always wanted. But his time with Holly answers so many questions he has about himself. It gives him clarity so when he makes the conscious choice to set all fear aside and move in to tell Elliot (the boy he’s secretly loved) how he feels, he does it with real conviction, no longer unclear about who he is and what he really wants. No one can ask him: “Well, how do you know you’re not straight if you’ve never tried it?”

‘Cause he bloody well has, that’s why! And his boy Elliot, STILL came out on top!

Angels of Mercy - Volume 1: Elliot

Angels of Mercy – Volume 1: Elliot

Book one covers their relationship from Elliot’s perspective. It’s heady and very over-the-top romantic. Book two is Marco’s perspective on it all. But I wanted these books to be real character studies. I wanted the reader to know these boys intimately. Seventy percent of the books are inner-monologue. They are fashioned that way so the reader goes through this emotive questioning that all gay men go through. The struggle to answer that question of who am I and what does it all mean?

Gay men do have straight sex. It happens more than people realize. And the reverse is quite true too. Straight men will have gay sex (even beyond the “acceptable” practice of it being prison sex). Sexual fluidity is a far more potent place to write stories. Why? Because all cards are on the table, all bets are off.

The real stories can be told when nothing is guaranteed.

Let the gloves come off and start swinging… that’s my motto.

Some men just can't wait... it's all good.

Some men just can’t wait… it’s all good.

It may not win me any points with M/M genre fiction readers. But I think they are, by and large (though not everyone, I’ll grant you), limited in scope of what are acceptable storylines. There should be no guarantees in the writing of these stories. Only then do we let our true creative sparks ignite and become the storytelling firestorm that they can be. Otherwise, we’re just swapping characters and occupations around and rehashing old ground.

So Angels is not a player of that M/M genre game. My boys won’t fit in tidy fucking boxes. I hope those readers give it a chance. But since one of my main characters (the jock in the relationship) has straight sex in it, I may have just lost that appeal for them. Too bad really, because I think it makes him infinitely more real and accessible. The experience defines him, gives him greater clarity. It also allows him to push for what he really wants without the need to put these characters on unattainable pedestals. Elliot does that for most of book one – Marco is a god to him. Only to have that smashed when it looks like Marco has strayed on the very same night Elliot does with another boy – but now I am getting ahead of myself. Best to leave that for when the books come out.

So yeah, broke a rule here for that audience. Maybe they’ll take a chance on it any how. I know that the readers who have groused about some of the positions I’ve taken and then previewed the first book found that I really did have something here that is a bit of a game changer. It is different than what’s out there. I am striving for real literature. Beyond genre. Beyond that sort of (IMHO) myopic rule set.

No guarantees. 

No automatics.

No ‘they must not…’ 

Because they do. And they will, and I wouldn’t have them any other way.

 

Until next time …

SA C

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Blog Tour – Shane Allison – Men on the Make Book Release

Blog Tour – Shane Allison – Men on the Make Book Release

Men on the Make - True Gay Sex Confessions

Men on the Make – True Gay Sex Confessions

 

Described by editorial reviewer Amos Lassen as, “Tales that are a reflection of the way we as gay men live today. Some of these stories are so hot that I must say that they do not reflect all gay men but might indeed reflect their dreams,” you know you’re in for one helluva rompfest of a book.

On today’s blog post, I had a moment to discuss with Shane Allison his points of view in how the book came together, the views he has on the work itself as well as a broader look at Gay Literature as a whole.

SA Collins (SC):  So Gay Sex Confessions. What was the impetus for the book?

Shane Allison (SA): I have always had an interest in gay erotica, and when something centers on being confessional, that’s even more fascinating. Cleis had done some lesbian true confession books I think, but never anything queer, so I wanted to visit that theme.

SC:  Was it something you saw lacking in the gay literature arena that needed addressing or was it more of a lark? 

SA:  I wouldn’t say lacking, just not enough of true gay confession writing. It was a hard book to do because there weren’t too many I guess that had anything to confess, or wanted to confess. There definitely needs to be more books like Men on the Make for sure.

SC: Given the topic, how did you go about sourcing the material? Was it a general call via social media or did you ping gay men in your own social network to contribute? 

SA: A general call pretty much. I hoped that there would be those out there that were willing to share their real life sexual experiences with me.

SC:  Do you feel there is more to explore with this type of ‘confessional’ scenario with men like us? 

SA: Yes, always. Every confession holds something new and exciting. I keep a journal of my sexual experiences, and there’s always something new and great to write about. 

SC: Overall, how do you see our voice out there in literature? By and large, my impression is that, like mainstream media, we are woefully underrepresented. Do you feel this is the case? If not, why not? 

SA:  Good question. I like the idea of new LGBT writers expressing themselves in whatever medium they choose. There are many, many stories that have yet to be told. I feel that we are more represented now than we were a century ago. We have come far by leaps and bounds, and we still continue to make strides. I don’t want the LGBT community to be defined as one dimensional, that we all want to march down aisles in wedding dresses and tuxedos. We are so much more than that.

SC: How do you feel about the M/M romance genre or gay fiction? What is your perspective on why there is such a prevalence of women writing (in the majority) to other women rather than to us? 

SA: I don’t mind M/M romance as long as it’s good writing. I prefer mine with a bit of sex mixed in. I don’t really like the term romance because it’s associated with bad writing and watered down work you find in books sold in supermarkets. I get a lot of gay erotica written by women, most of it not so good. I believe there’s this idea that erotica is easy to write, but it’s not as easy as some might think. I get material that comes off very generic and over the top like I wouldn’t know the difference between that and mind-blowing work.

SC:  How do you feel we, as gay authors, work to get our words, our voices into the hands of gay men? Do you see it as a systemic issue or more of a cultural or age related issue? 

SA:  I use to wonder with the state of LGBT bookstores, if we really get out and support the stores. Not just buying books by your favorite authors, but going to readings. That support is so important. With bookstores closing around the country, we have to get the book in the reader’s hand. Whether it’s doing interviews like this, using social media as a tool to get the word out, and doing reading and tours. You have to let them know who you are and what you’re doing. You can’t depend on the publishers and bookstores to do everything. This is especially important in the gay community. Just when I think no one is reading, I get emails from people telling me how much they like what I’m doing.

SC:  Given the nature of the work, sexual confessions, what are your influences from a literary standpoint and how do you feel they helped in putting this work together? Or do you see them as separate from the fictional writings you’ve done? 

SA:  Well, fiction and non-fiction are close siblings for sure. There’s usually a little non-fiction in my fiction, a story loosely based from a true life experience. The Straight to Hell Magazine was a big influence on me. Billy Miller runs it now. That magazine gave me the idea for Men on the Make.

SC:  How much of it is, in fact, real – by that I mean, do the men who have contributed to this work, actually say this happened to them or is it more of a coloring of how we as gay men experience our world? It is a metaphor or an amalgam of our experiences? A broad stroke, if you will?

SA:  All of the work are from real life experiences. 

SC:   Did you find the editing process difficult or easy with this particular piece?

SA:  It was easy pretty much. I did have a few questions about some of the stories, but all in all, I think this is a great anthology.

SC:  What was your experience like in coming to terms with your own sexuality? Do you believe it influences your work or is your work more illusionary? By that I mean, are you writing from a core set of experiences that you have personally gone through or do you like to dabble in the ‘what if’ of life? A combination of both? 

SA:  A combination of both really. The true confession work comes to me easier. I’m one of those writers who likes to write about mostly everything that happens to me. 

SC:  So many who write with an erotic edge to their work do so with a fair degree of anonymity, under a pseudonym. I know I use a nom de plume becuase my name is rather boring and doesn’t quite standout. So I chose to write using a variant of the first character I ever fleshed out – sort of honoring my first creation. Do others in your personal life know about the type of writings you do or are you writing in the closet, as it were? 

SA:  I use my real name, so folks know. My friends know what I write and edit and they are cool with it. I don’t really go for pen names. I understand it with some people, but I’ve been writing material with sex in it for years and decided long ago that if I was going to be out about it, I needed to be proud of what I do and I am.

SC:  Who was the greatest literary influence in your life, and why do you think they made such a great impression? 

SA:  I started out writing poetry, so poets like Langston Hughes. Later, in my twenties I discovered Allen Ginsberg’s work. His sexual poems and poems he wrote about friends is great stuff. I love his poem, “Please Master.” That one is my favorite poem by him. I had lots of influences. Madonna, poetry, dirty magazines and my own imagination mostly. Whether it’s writing sex or getting in front of a camera, you have to decide to be balls out. You can’t be timid. 

SC:  What’s next in the pipeline for you – what tickles your literary fancy from an author’s standpoint? 

SA:  My debut novel, You’re the One That I Want will be out in 2016, so I’m psyched about that for sure. I have all sorts of ideas.

SC:  What inspires you? What makes you stop and ‘smell the roses’ in life?

SA:  Anything positive inspires me.  Other people pursuing their dreams makes me get off my ass to make my own dreams come true.

SC:  Anything else you’d like to add? 

SA:  I know there are folks who want to write in this genre, and the best advice I would give would be to read as much of the stuff as you can get your hands on, the good stuff mind you like the wonderful books Cleis Press does. Read and write everyday. Even if you think it sucks, keep moving forward with it. Don’t think about it too much. It’s more important to get the overall idea out there. 

I want to thank Shane Allison for taking  a few moments to discuss his current release (out now – see links below) and wish him nothing but success on his new venture.  I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for his novel when it drops in 2016.

 

From Cleis Press – 

Want to Hear a Secret?

Nothing is better than a juicy secret, especially one involving what goes on behind closed doors! Men on the Make: True Gay Sex Confessions features the absolute hottest and most unexpected sex: in public, with strangers, threesomes, foursomes and moresomes. What makes these stories collected by award-winning editor Shane Allison even sexier is that they are real-life encounters and reflect gay life today in all its cultural diversity.

 

About the Editor – 

Shane Allison has been published in countless literary journals and publications, such as McSweeney’s, Velvet Mafia, Mississippi Review, New Delta Review, and Outsider Ink. The editor of Rookies, Cruising, and College Boys, his stories have also appeared in anthologies such as Beach Bums, Best Gay Erotica 2014, and The Big Book of Orgasms. He lives in Tallahassee, FL.

 

My Review –

I think the thing about Men on the Make that I liked was the variety not only in the sex but the way each man relayed the telling. It’s a tapestry of maleness and rutting that is so strong you can literally smell it coming with each turn of the page. Whether Rosen’s Castro ‘forbidden fruit’ boss man, a torrid romp with Daddybear or a bisexual fuckfest in the French Quarter during the height of Mardi Gras, this book pulls no punches, safe sex or otherwise, in how we, as gay men, are varied in our sexual appetites or adventures.

The book flirts with men moving out of their comfort zone all for the thrill of a busting a nut in a public place, or in a seedy apartment. Sometimes love is in the mix, other times, not. It’s a cornucopia of semen laden and male musk filled orgasmic tales. Or I guess you could argue, tails. Some are better told than others, some with more stylized method of evoking that raw sensuality and male musk that seeps from the page. As with most compilations it has its high points and thankfully, very few that don’t quite make that high mark. It’s a more even work than I expected. In that I was thoroughly pleased with the effort.

This is by no means a romantic influenced compendium of male experiences. This is out and out rutting and sexual gratification. Tales of the need to seed. The darker and seedier side of (gay) male sexuality. That’s not to say that there isn’t some more subtle flavors like angst, confusion, desire percolating at the edges of these men’s confessions that heighten the emotive quality of the tales. There most definitely are. I agree with Allison when he says that there needs to be more work of this nature out there. That’s true. I think our voices, no matter the expression of them, needs to be heard. As with our heterosexist opposites who have no problem bathing us with their hetero-normative sexually laden world in the media, there does need to be more of who we are as gay men. Bold and honest work. Men on the Make is an attempt to close the gap on this. I think gay men, while we often experience so much of our lives in varied and unusual ways – sometimes throwing caution to the wind just for a good fuck, we aren’t always so quick to share those experiences. It’s something that Shane laments a bit in compiling the work. I think society has taught us to be a bit reserved with the sharing of this aspect of our lives. Men on the Make is a strong contender to balance that underrepresentation of our sexual lives.

Where you can get a copy –

Men on the Make
True Gay Sex Confessions

Edited by Shane Allison

$15.95, Trade Paper
216 pages, 5 ½” x 8”
978-1-62778-061-2
Publishing on September 6, 2014

From Amazon US

From Cleis Press

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Finding Your Voice… Then Sticking To It

Finding Your Voice… Then Sticking To It

 

Today I’ve been mulling things around. I do this, as I am sure you do it too, from time to time.

 

But here’s my dilemma, of sorts: I’ve gotten caught up (with my mental ramblings) in a conversation going on with other gay authors and the lack of our representation within the M/M genre and what that means to our voice within our own community. By that I mean real gay men’s voices writing about our own experiences, or at the very least experiences that reflect the reality we all live in. I mean you can have gay vampires, weres or what have you and still have it rooted in what we, as gay men, have to deal with in our lives. How we feel, how we cope.

I know I’ve preached from the Rechy alter before. I just love his work, I have since I was a boy. There are others, but he was the first one I found – sentimentally clinging to his work more than any other, I suppose. The hubby actually found his website out on the net. Well, that’s sort of redundant, isn’t it? Where else would one find a website? Isn’t it funny how I’ve been such a pro-Rechy reader that I never thought to see if he had a website? That really fascinates me. The idea that I can be so vocal about something that has dominated my views on reading for so long and never once seeking him out on the web. I think I know why that is and I’ll come to it anon.

I suppose that some part of it has to do with what I’d built up in my head that was his allure. Well, I’d like to think so – he’s one helluva sexy man – Hollywood sexy. If anything, I am still that 15 year old boy who found Sexual Outlaw on a low shelf in the Gay and Lesbian Studies section of a bookstore. Believe me, I was just as surprised that there was such as section like that in 1979. But there we were…me in my shorts and t-shirt on a hot summer day, and there it was in all of its seedy and semen soaked glory:

 

The Sexual Outlaw as I saw it in 1979.

The Sexual Outlaw as I saw it in 1979.

 

I know I’ve written before on how amazing this work is and how it saved me from plunging headlong into a wanton and lascivious chain of sexual exploits. Exploits and adventures that in that era (we’re talking the cusp of the HIV pandemic) might just as well have killed me. I know I’ve covered that before. What I haven’t said is that while that book “opened doors and windows I never dreamed existed…” (paraphrasing Patrick Dennis’ Auntie Mame now), it also allowed me to mentally and sensually let myself fall into the main character’s exploits. Okay, I’ll be blunt about it. I rubbed several of my own creative juices out while reading it. It was like heady, sperm filled porn to me and I was fucking hooked. The odd thing was, it wasn’t porn by any stretch of the imagination. I was titillated all right, but only because I had no other outlet to explore the sex that was contained in that book.

But it was more than that too.

When my parents found out about me, when I confirmed it to them, my dad didn’t really have a huge reaction to it. Just told me that sex with a woman was pretty damn great, but if I wasn’t into that, then maybe sex with men might be great too. And that was about it. Conversation over. It wasn’t like I couldn’t bring it up again with my dad. I didn’t have a problem with that, nor did he, it seems. My dad was pretty goddamned awesome. I’d like to think he knew that. But even with a great male figure in my house to give me guidance and unconditional love, he was right in thinking that he didn’t have much in the way of advice with what I was dealing with inside.

That’s where John came in. John Rechy became my mentor, of sorts. Not that I put any of the responsibility on him. I wouldn’t presume to think such a thing. But I needed something, mind you. I needed someone male to give me a heads up on what was out there and how it sort of worked. I needed a primer. Sexual Outlaw became that primer. He was like my kinky Mr. Rogers (wow, there’s GOT to be some therapy in that statement somewhere), and I soooo wanted to be a part of his neighborhood.

 

John in all of his Hollywood glamor glory... who wouldn't idolize that?

John in all of his Hollywood glamor glory… who wouldn’t idolize that?

 

I explored that part of my sexuality. I had anonymous sex in the park, I had encounters with nameless men. I had sex. Quite a bit of it too before I ever had my first boyfriend. No one knew about this, of course. I put on a very good face to friends at school and the new gay social friends I’d made. But I still found time to have anonymous sex. I was careful – well, insofar as I could be back then. I didn’t go off to some john’s house or somewhere I knew could literally be a dead end. Yeah, there was a degree of fear in the whole equation. But that also heightened the sexual tension. It made it come alive. That wasn’t Rechy’s fault. I’d already had those thoughts, those desires. Rechy just gave me the wherewithal to admit to them, to embrace them to some small degree and let me know that I wasn’t half crazy with the thoughts and feelings I’d been having. Somehow, I’d survived. Somehow I got very lucky. I know that, believe me I do. It’s not something that I would advise anyone else of doing either.

Women don’t get how powerful and potent testosterone can be. How intoxicating and bewildering and utterly dominating it can be within a man. I saw a documentary on men and their penises called Private Dicks. It was a somewhat humorous way to look at men and how they view their dicks. Sort of the Vagina Monologues but the men’s side of the fence. There was a trans (F to M) man in the film named Spencer. Spencer had spent part of his life as a woman. After the sexual transition, he became acquainted with testosterone very intimately. He said to any woman who was watching it that having been a woman and now was a man, he could say without a doubt, that women have no idea just how potent and powerful that hormone drives men to do what we do.

He’s right about that. It is potent. It is powerful, heady, and lusty. The need to seed is intense.

Anyway, that’s what I want to explore with my own writing. That incredible rush that men get when our sexual potency is heightened. That’s why Angels of Mercy doesn’t shy away from my boys sex lives. It permeates the book because that’s how teenaged boys are. If they could have sex they would – no questions asked. Marco and Elliot have quite a bit of sex in the book. It’s honest. It’s forthright and it is unabashedly male in all of its splendid semen laden fornication. I did quite a bit of research on the topic – mothers would be surprised just how much their teenaged gay boys are having sex – and how much of it they’re posting online. And just to be clear, there was no under-aged stuff within my research. All 18 and above, but there were several postings from these boys that it became quite clear they’d been at it (posting their sexual encounters) for years. Marco and Elliot toy with that as well – sex and social media. These are boys of the internet porn age. They act accordingly but not beyond the realm of their natural characteristics. I don’t call upon the reader to make a huge leap of faith when Marco or Elliot explore their sexual relations. The sex happens organically, as it should.

But, as my hubby keeps reminding me, it is NOT erotica in the sense that I am writing sex to titillate – because he’s quite clear that I am not. The sex Marco and Elliot is very hot and heavy, but it also drives the story forward as these two boys discover how sex becomes another character in their story. The sex they have is varied and pointed and sometimes downright angry. I didn’t want to shy away from it. It’s also why I think it will never get picked up by a traditional publisher. I think it warrants a decent publisher. I believe in the work that much, but I am also a pragmatist – there are too many cards stacked against a ‘gay’ novel already. To use cum play like I do because my boys are into it is definitely pushing the envelope too much. But again, it is a very intrinsic part of who they are – both as a couple and individually.

In Elliot’s book (Volume One of the series) I never really allow Elliot to give voice to how his orgasms are. He says that he has his orgasmic release, but he never gives it any weight – you never get to experience it from his perspective. It’s always about Marco’s ejaculate that Elliot fixates on. For Elliot, it is all about Marco’s release. That’s very much a theme between them. Elliot talks a lot about every time Marco makes love to him. How much he applies himself to learning what pleases Marco as a lover. But Elliot never gives his own desires much voice. My husband says many times over (as he’s had to read it many times over) that what I have is a character study of these men’s lives. Their lives happen to coincide with the love they feel as they come together – BAM! Like a head on collision of two bullet trains – it’s hard, fast and intense – almost to the point of being violent. The hubby also says that I shouldn’t ever refer to my work as erotic. He thinks it is far more than that because of all the little things I’ve woven into Elliot’s psyche. The hubby ought to know – being a retired psychiatrist himself.

Maybe he’s right.

The hubby also did something else: he looked up Rechy’s website and sent me a bunch of blog entries he’d posted. Several of which I have opposing points of view on. I guess this is why I cringed when the links to the blog entries were in my inbox. I knew what he was trying to do. He was trying to get me to see why Rechy’s work meant so much to me and how far I’d gone into left field – over thinking elements of my work when I should be just concentrating on the work itself and not the minutiae that surrounds it. He also knew the temptation to reach out to Rechy would be too great. I knew then as I stared into the iphone this morning at all of those links to Rechy’s site, why I’d never looked him up.

Fear – plain and simple. Over the years I’d built Rechy up as a monolithic mentor. He’s never been anything of the sort, just to my 15 year old eyes and in my 15 year old heart. I sort of fell in love with him through his works. He was my first (virtual) boyfriend. I know how that sounds. But I remember that feeling that Rechy was talking directly to me, because I needed it. I needed someone. Sexual Outlaw was it. Then it was City of Night, then Numbers. Yeah, I pretty much did them all. Rabid about it, I was.

So yeah, I was fearful that whatever I’d say I know I’d embarrass myself somehow. And I am not usually like that. I come from theatre and opera. Working with big names in the industry is second nature to me. But John Rechy is different. No one wants to be thought of in those epic monolithic tones. He’s human, same as the next guy. I get that, I do. But my romanticized 15 year old self, yeah, he’s not so convinced. It’s this duality when it comes to him that colors what I write. It’s that strong voice that I am constantly striving for, trying like hell to lock it down for myself. Try to make my own mark – no matter how big or small it may turn out to be.

So yeah, fear… fear that I can’t or fear that I won’t. But I know I have to try. Writing is what I want to do. Writing is what drives me each and every day now. I could lament on the years that I did nothing with that passion, but I’d much rather concentrate on the here and now, right? Rather than the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s…huh?

I hope it wouldn’t be fear of something that I’d say or write – though thinking on it now, yeah I could so gush all over Mr. Rechy and it wouldn’t be pretty. I’d go all Japanese fangirl on him, I’m sure. I wrote him a decent sized email this afternoon (and felt immensely guilty for doing so right after I sent it). He’s a busy guy, I am sure he didn’t need me to prattle on about my life to him. I know I embarrassed the fuck out of myself. I sort of liken it to being that Japanese fangirl walking up to one of those waifish boys from One Direction and just well, sort of fall apart. There might even be some tears involved. How fucking embarrassing would that be? Uh, VERY… he’s gonna think I am some sort of fucktard and will investigate the steps he’ll need to take to ensure his safety from my impending fangirl moment.

Let me lay that to rest for ya, John – I’m too damned embarrassed already. I’ll stay put under my rock if it’s all right with you.

But it’s done now. I’ve had my say to him – thanking him for the inspiration, for being a guiding light in my young gay boy life to the man I’ve become today. I suppose actually, in some strange way he’s left such an imprint upon me that some part of me that was 15 has never grown up. Like a sexually driven Peter Pan, he’s still tucked in there. I still get giddy when I open Sexual Outlaw now. That same feeling never fails to rear its head when I open that book. I immediately go back to that moment when I first found it. My skin sort of tingles, knowing what’s in those pages already – the surprise has long since worn off – only to be replaced by something far greater: my younger self. I am there, trapped and forever lost in those words. Words I can’t fully escape, nor would I ever want to. They’re what gave me the courage to seek out my own voice in this world. Outlaw gave me the balls to seek it out for myself.

So yeah, I may have just fangirl’d all over John (sorry!) in that email I sent to him (I am too afraid to even reread the copy in my sent mailbox because I know I’ll cringe). How teenaged girl can you get? Not that I am disparaging teenaged girls – on the contrary, I am commiserating with them. I’ll take the embarrassment. At the very least I can say that I’ve had my say on it. I’ve told him what his works have meant to me – let the chips fall where they may, right?

Fifty years in and I am still trying to sort out my own voice. I think I am close. Angels of Mercy is helping me get there. And when I do find it, by the gods, I will make sure I stick to it and never let it go.

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Angels Hiding in Darkness…

Angels Hiding in Darkness…

 

-OR-

 

Random thoughts as I write volume 2 of my Angels of Mercy series. Establishing my angelic boys in the world I’ve built for them. Pondering what it means and why these things and man on man sex matter as I continue this journey.

 

I know my journey is different from other authors. I know that many won’t get what I am on about. But you see, I have this need to write from somewhere deep in my gut – yeah, not so different from any other author, right? So what’s the diff?

Simple: My success at it has very little to do with it’s marketability. If it succeeds on that front, all the better. But it is NEVER going to be a requirement. My stuff may never sell. So not the point for me.

I write because these are stories I want to write. These are stories that matter deeply to me – they are my worlds, they are my characters and they are unapologetically who they are. Again, I get that many authors take this stand.

But my boys are a hot mess – and I have little interest in holding to the m/m romance genre as it stands currently. And they are a product of this internet rife with porn age. They are products of the social media world where a sixteen year old boy can have more followers on Twitter than Justin Bieber (and there is such a boy). Internet celebrity, while I rail against celebrity for celebrities sake, is fascinating to me. Surely they are filling a void that the regular media channels don’t fulfill.

So my boys have to deal with that.

Most of the M/M genre doesn’t play with that. Most of them write using formulas and stoic writing narratives that unless the writing is uber crisp and engaging I just yawn and take a pass. The implied rules are that whatever theme is prevalent in the genre is what everyone is writing about. Shape shifters, vampires, etc. They’re all in the mix because it’s simply not enough to write about young men who are coming out their confusing teen years and find the wherewithal to establish themselves as confident in their sexuality. To embrace it whole heartedly. To even revel in the messiness that boys often get into and not bat an eye whilst doing it.

It comes down to this for me. I want to give back. When I was sixteen I found my way into a Walden’s Bookstore (remember them?). Or sometimes it was a B. Dalton – another one that has long since bit the dust. Anyway, there I was – fully cognizant that I was a gay boy struggling to figure out not only how I was going to work my way into the big gay world I just knew was out there, but I was in desperate need of a primer. I needed a gay daddy figure to show me the ropes.

Head out of the gutter now, we’re not discussing BDSM (though I have no judgments for those that do partake of that scene – even I can see the sexiness in it). No, what I am talking about was some real honest man on man instruction guide on how things were going to go for me. What was out there.

So yeah, there I was at 16 and  knowing what I was but having not a single clue about how to go about it. The upshot? I could drive and I had a part-tine job which meant money in my pocket.

Then something magical and mysterious happened: I found a book.

 

City of Night by John Rechy.

John Rechy circa 1970's.

John Rechy circa the late 1970’s.

cityofnightcover

This book gave me exactly what a 16 year old (hormonally charged) gay boy wanted. I wanted a primer on what was out there. I mean, I loved my parents and they were great. Never once did I ever feel like my home life was ever in question. I had the unconditional love – that part was secure. Just not a road map of where I could go with the whole thing. Remember, this was way before the internet and online porn sites aplenty that permeate every corner of our media and information laden lives.

But back then – this was all I had. It was gritty, it was dark and deeply hormonal. It spoke about the emotions and urges I was going through that I couldn’t talk to anyone about. I mean, it’s one thing if your a straight boy and wanna talk about boning some chick you think is hot. Imagine having that exact same conversation and your buddy tells you he thinks he could so get into boning Susie Whats-her-name and looks to you and all you have to say is, “Yeah? I’d so rather be popping one up your ass or down your throat, but hey, that’s just me.”

So wouldn’t go over very well, no matter how much hotness cred you were trying to give your best bud that you thought his ass and cock you spotted in gym had your blood boiling.

So yeah, I only had John Rechy in my court. But what an ally. His world was gritty, it was emotively volatile, it was gripping from the very first page. I drank it in like a parched man to a river. Then I found the other two books of his that would also color my young gay life: Numbers and The Sexual Outlaw.

This was at a time when promiscuity wasn’t the most prudent course. HIV and AIDS were just making themselves known – well, I say known but no one really knew what that meant. Without a doubt, those books changed my life. Without a doubt, those books saved my life. That was when I learned unequivocally the power of writing and the written word.

In the course of writing this blog entry my mother called to give me an update about the state of my brother’s current drama. I’ve blogged about it before so I won’t go into the details at this juncture again. What I will say is that, and you’d have to know my mother and me, we ramble quite a bit over the course of our conversations. We’ve always been this way. Somehow, in the middle of hearing about my brother’s woes, we ambled over to when it was like for me growing up and figuring things out in my life. Trying to sort out why I write the things I write.

Why M/M erotica? Well, in reality, I don’t really look at it from that standpoint. Sex and men are hard to separate. We think about it constantly. It’s just built into us. To varying degrees I’ll grant you – as it is with all facets of life. But the urge is still the same. Men feel the need, the burning need to do what we’re built to do. It’s why porn has the industry it does. I am sure some women enjoy it but they are far outweighed by their male counterparts – I don’t believe anyone would seriously challenge me on that.

We have porn because of that sexual drive that ekes into every corner of who we are as men. I see it every day. The furtive glances from the guys I work with when one of the cuter girls happen by. Married or not, their eyes rove. I know my sex – and sex is what’s going on in those looks.

I have a buddy who is happily married to a man he loves whole heartedly. They love each other, they complete each other. It’s a very beautiful thing. They also have an open sexual relationship and actually find joy in sharing other men in their lives. They are honest and open about it and work at it as adults should who are confident enough in who they are to know that they will be there for each other no matter what. They’ve been together for ten years now and they act around each other as if they had just started dating.

It’s a beautiful thing to watch the two of them. Embracing each other and yet knowing that the way to do that – and to remain true to how they are that they were open enough to clear the air about how their lives were going to be with regards to love and sex. I admire them. I am sure it’s not always easy.  But the love they have for one another is palpable.

They’re two rough and tumble boys that have matured into sexy as hell men. And they embrace who they are.

So anyway, back to my writing. It was important for me to write from that perspective. I want to write books I wanted desperately to read when I was young.

It isn’t enough that it’s just about the romantic feelings. As a young man (teenager) sex was important to me even though I hadn’t had any at that point. To deny young gay boys the gratification that what goes where and why, and to let them know that those ‘nasty thoughts’ (which by the way are NOT nasty at all… they’re human, folks… I am so over the fucking moon pissed off about how we infantilize young men). I am not postalizing pedophilia in any way – let’s be clear about that. But if a boy (say around the age I was) wanted to become sexually active and the opportunity presented itself with another boy at the same school? Well, personally, if everyone involved was safe and sane about it, no coercion involved, then I’d be down for it. Boys feel those urges when puberty hits. While I understand they may not have the emotional maturity to handle it, sometimes, especially with regards to young gay boys, experimentation is probably the only recourse for them if it presented itself.

It’s why I grouse when YA novels never seem to cover this subject adequately. These boys are having sex – if the internet is to be believed, some of them are having enormous amounts of sex and what’s more they are posting it online. To think that we can’t put down what really goes down in a teen sexual situation is just plain ludicrous. The shit is going to happen if it’s going to happen and writing about it or reading about it will not promote it.

A potential for how i describe Elliot Donahey in my book Angels of Mercy

A potential for how i describe Elliot Donahey in my book Angels of Mercy

What it will do, in my opinion, is tell these boys who don’t have the means that they are not alone, that there is someone out there who feels just like they do. Someone out there may find Elliot Donahey (my protagonist in Angels of Mercy Volume 1) and how he processes having not only a boyfriend for the first time in his life, but the jock stud that every girl is after might give them hope that their dreams of an Ever After Happily is in the cards for them.

Rechy’s work allowed me to vicariously live through those tumultuous times of the 80’s and 90’s when HIV was nothing short of a death sentence. Sure I experimented myself. My first boyfriend and I evolved to having an open-ish relationship. In the end it wasn’t even a consideration of why we parted company – that was something else altogether. The openness in the sex wasn’t an issue at all. So I get my buddy and his hubby. I really do. I fully support them and how they’ve defined it for themselves.

Those are the stories I want to write.

Those are the characters and the sexual scenarios I want to put out there because they are born of experiences either I went through or friends of mine did.

Those are the books that have to be out there somehow. Because those were the books I would’ve wanted to read. Stories that are emotively and sexually charged – pulling no punches in either department. The emotive moments were equally important, but the words that had the power to stimulate my erotic mind and allowed me to vicariously live through the sensations that the character goes through when he’s fucking or being fucked. The draw they have to cum (and I deliberately use that spelling because for me it is inherently crass and male (not that all males are crass – but we have it within ourselves to be so)). The desire they have to seed and for it to be a big hot mess. Cum play is just one element I explore with these boys. Again, this was drawn from personal history and my own explorations.

These are the stories I would want to read. They are honest in scope and in expression of thought. Elliot is all over the map – thoughts and emotions roil around like a tumultuous ocean. He wavers, he is adamant, he hides and he comes out swinging. Gay boys have to. We bob and weave our entire lives. We live in a world, that while it grows with increasing acceptance and tolerance, where we are constantly reminded that we are not the same. We are not in a relationship that can honestly and without fanfare be expressed in the course of a TV show or movie that still  doesn’t cause a stir.

Every time I see two straights going at it in a series or TV I am so over it. And before any detractors flip lid over that position, think about it for a moment – It literally soaks every form of media around us.

Swimming upstream, remember?

Yeah, well, this pink gayboy salmon is gonna start taking nips out of those that swim downstream. I don’t have to buy into that hetero-normative play in life. It’s secure enough in the human condition that it doesn’t require my support or proliferation.

My worlds will be gay oriented because that is my real existence. Straight people will cross into those worlds because that is how the world works. I get that. I would be ape-shit cray-cray not to include it. But it will sooooo not be the focus of my work. There are more than enough on the printed/digital page to read about that.

A potential young man that resembles how I describe the quarterback  Marco Sforza in Angels of Mercy.

A potential young man that resembles how I describe the quarterback Marco Sforza in Angels of Mercy.

That’s probably why my gay boy hero in the story comes from the Jock quarter. I wanted a story for one goddamn time to be that the jock is rock solid in who he wants and won’t take no for an answer. Marco Sforza is dead set on Elliot as the only one for him. Their world would seem letter perfect. The first book begins to bear that out.

But as with all drama, these boys don’t have an easy path to their Ever After Happily. Forces conspire to separate them. The boys have their allies. There is definitely a Team Sforza-Donahey. They aren’t alone, even if at times they feel like they are. But that’s how heady love is. That’s how it goes sometimes. While you may know deep down inside that you’ve found your one and only, others in your world may not be so comfortable with that.

My villain is also über sexy in that straight hetero-normative way. He’s a womanizer, he tosses the girls he bangs like used Kleenex to the ground. I think the phrase I use is: “Still smelling from the last pussy he banged.” Yeah, that’s Beau Hopkins. Tall, dark, handsome as all fuck but with a heart as black as pitch that pumps the sludge of tar. And he absolutely hates faggoty boys like my Elliot. He is the quintessential preacher’s son.

I ended volume one on a helluva cliff hanger. My beta-readers were all up in arms about that. They wanted to know WHAT HAPPENED NEXT. So I guess I got something here. We’ll see.

As for me, if I like it, if I feel proud of the effort and am not embarrassed by it at all, then I am good with it. It’s a success on that all by itself.

My Angels may be in the dark, hidden, remote for beta-readers eyes now. But not for long. Book one is in the can – still polishing it here and there. But I am also sourcing my ISBN’s and galley art with a cover artist. Then I’ll explore the marketing facet and promotions venues. I’ve even sorted that it will also be offered on my website directly. I am willing to invest in my own work enough to do the whole she-bang. I am down with it all.

It may come to nothing, but if my readers thus far are spot on with their assessments and their desire to know what happens next, then maybe, just maybe I’ll get it there.

Maybe my boys will be heard – they will walk out from the darkness.

It might be a nice thing after all, if my Angels got to see the light…

 

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