Who knew? I sure didn’t. But it’s not “new,” since it’s been presented in dime novel/pulp fiction since the 40s/50s.—eg; Banis’ Man From C.A.M.P.—and existed in the 70s “slash” fiction, better known as the “Kirk/Spock stories.” The 80s arrived and so did “Youi” from the other side of the globe, specifically Japan, and the 90s brought us “Gay Fiction.” (The genre of Gay Fiction addresses sociopolitical issues encountered and navigated by gay/lesbians as they live, or strive to live, their everyday lives. Its not “romance.”)
The ’00s arrived with the renaissance of M/M romance. It bloomed, growing with a robust intensity fueled by its passionate fan base to the point that now even NY publishers and their keystone authors are coming on board. An example of this is J.R. Ward, whose first M/M novel is due to hit the shelves. (Or has it already?)
M/M Romance may not be “new” but it is “hot.”
In sum: M/M romance is a small but growing part of romance fiction. Why? Well, why not? A man in motion is gorgeous; a man in sexual motion is breathtaking. (Although, yeah, I’ve always felt left out when I read stories while two guys got it on. I mean, what about me???) Still, romance is romance and I’m a romance author and that is a hotly selling genre and I like eating… which brought me to a LGBT romance instructional module at a Seton Hill’s MFA summer ’13 Residency.
(Shout out to my professor, the fantastic Anne Harris, AKA “Jessica Freely” who has M/M novels with LooseID Publishers.)
In that module I learned much, specifically the best-selling themes:
- Gay For You: AKA the bodice ripper with a penis. (IMHO)
- Chick with Dicks and Male Pregnancy. (Most often Sci Fi, cuz they sky’s the limit there.)
- PWP (I forgot what that meant but I’m sure someone will know.)
- Non-consensual/dubious-consensual – Most often found in Fantasy, where people read to escape the burden of being Always So Responsible. (Escapist fantasy is HOT HOTHOT!)
- Uniform: (My heroes have always been in boots. Just saying.)
- Rent Boi(s): I had to look this up on urbandictionary.com. I’m so uncool.
- Hurt/Comfort: this has deep roots in the Kirk/Spock slash.
Of course my mind went to the guys in uniforms. Love them military men! And I had no qualms idly developing a story line for military men since I once had a Marine tell me, “I don’t care about the gender of the person sucking my dick.” (ßSeth, of In Training.)
Then, an email from Trace—God Incarnate of Amber Quill Publishing—arrived in my inbox. The Amber Allure line, Amber Quill’s LGBT books, was open for Allure writers interested in climbing aboard an upcoming anthology. Its theme: Tattoos. Its title: Brand me.
I’m not an official Allure author, but romance is romance and I’m a romance author and that is a hotly selling genre and I like eating…and Trace welcomed me aboard. (Trace ROCKS!)
So begins my odyssey of learning to and producing M/M romance fiction. Fortunately, there is a How-To book out there to help me navigate these unfamiliar waters. (Thank God for Josh Lanyon!)
Of course I didn’t choose Gay For You or a Coming Out Story. My muse always seems to prefer the Road Less Traveled. Therefore, my tentatively titled story, “Marked,” is a hybrid of Rent Boi and Hurt/Comfort…and a raving murderer thrown in for flavor. Yeah, I gotta be me.
First stumbling block encountered: the overabundance of male pronouns in a sentence or paragraph, causing unclear prose for the reader. More on that later…