Hello! It’s IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia), and I’m here (with the rest of the hop bloggers and readers) to talk about visibility, awareness, and equality.
Well, that’s a lot to talk about, so let’s break it down. Let me start today by talking about visibility, and specifically visibility in the United States.
This year, Trans-related issues are big on everyone’s radar, what with hater legislation (let’s call it what it is) about—of all thigs—bathrooms being very visibly bandied about and enacted in several states, with North Carolina’s HB2 taking a front and center position though Tennessee and eight other states including Minnesota have similar bills. Yes, visibility is an issue across the LGBT-QIA spectrum, but for now, let’s talk about Trans, baby.
“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry—which is happening as I write—is one of them.”
Why focus on visibility?
As I see it from a historical perspective, because visibility is the crux of this focus on toileting. Conversely, invisibility has been both a product and a tool of hateful bigotry for… well, maybe as long as there have been humans who hated. If you are a member of any group that has been marginalized (to any degree) by the dominant culture, you very likely have experienced invisibility. Sometimes, it is a protective instinct to retreat into it. If a hypothetical ‘they’ don’t know that a hypothetical ‘you’ is African, Native, gay, lesbian, refugee, bisexual, HIV+, immigrant—anything that doesn’t match ‘their’ perception of ‘like us’—if ‘they’ don’t know, it is possible to avoid being excluded, ridiculed, ignored, followed around by the store detectives, or beaten to a bloody pulp. Sometimes, invisibility isn’t on purpose. ‘You’ can’t or won’t or just don’t happen to hide your color, country of origin, sexuality, gender identification, age (etc), and therefore the store employee skips over you, your job application gets lost, you speak and no one hears you.
But it shouldn’t be like this. Not only does rendering certain people invisible in society result in numerous individual violations of constitutional human rights, it attempts to rob people of status as human beings. You realize, don’t you, that in the sixties, if you had asked school officials about gay or queer students, they very likely would have said they didn’t exist?
I believe bigoted people feel threatened because trans (and other rainbow spectrum) individuals have shrugged off their cloaks of invisibility—a brave thing to do, dangerous, but life-affirming. People have embraced their identity and thus their humanity. “I am this person, exactly as I am meant to be.” That is a joyful thing, to be celebrated.
Except to the person who keeps their mind closed around the training tapes they’ve heard all their lives, which make it clear that if someone is different, they’re dangerous. If that’s the case, you’re likely to be afraid.
Two ways to deal with fear. One: find out why and fix it. This usually involves a willingness to learn and understand—to listen and truly hear. Two: turn it into something else—hate.
Getting back to North Carolina where you might have to flash your birth certificate to get into a bathroom (because hey, what’s more important for a state legislature to spend time on than where people pee?), just today I saw an article relative to North Carolina’s ridiculous law, being trans, and visibility. Singer Laura Jane Grace, founder of the punk band Against Me, decided they shouldn’t cancel their appearance. In her particular case, she thought another approach would be more effective.
She’s a trans woman, you see, so she burned her birth certificate on stage.
Thank you for reading and hopping for the cause. Comment on this post and enter your name for a giveaway: $15 Gift Certificate Dreamspinner Press, ARe, or Amazon. I’d love to hear how you feel about visibility, whether you have experiences to share, news, or thoughts on the subject. Or, comment on any aspect of these issues, the hop, or my post.
Here are all the blog hop links, for your convenience! (Thanks all you bloggers!)
Every year, chocolatiers and florists make an unholy mint on February 14th, Valentine’s day. Couples are making their first declarations of love (or lust as the case maybe), others proposing marriage, and others smiling, crying, or quaking through their wedding vows. Thank all the powers that be, in some states, some of those couples who are getting married are gay.
But what makes February 14th the romantic pinnacle of the year? The day is named after a Christian (Catholic) Saint who allegedly was martyred on that day. Yes, martyred, as in put to death whilst taking a stand for a cause, which doesn’t seem very romantic, in the sense of love and happily ever after. Of course, as soon as someone says that, someone’s conscience will lead them to proclaim that, like just about every other “Christian” holiday, the celebration had pagan origins—and they’re right.
In fact, ancient Romans celebrated Lupercalia on February 13th – 15th,, commemorating (who else?) Romulus and Remus, the twin hotties who, after being suckled by a wolf in a cave called the Lupercal, grew up to found Rome. “Ah,” you say, glancing back at my title. “There is the wolf connection, right there.” Well, yes, but the connection is multi-faceted and a lot more convoluted. You see, the festival was connected with the Roman God Lupercus, represented by a wolf, who strangely enough was the God of shepherds. Yes, Roman shepherds worshipped the wolf—and I’m sure they had their reasons. During the festival a goat (standing in for a sheep?) and a dog (standing in for a wolf?) were sacrificed, and salt cakes prepared by vestal virgins were burnt. Okay, vestal virgins/romance, a vague connection, but a step further reveals that Lupercus was sometimes identified with Faunus, the Roman version of Pan.
Okay, Pan. Not so much romance, but hot sex with glorious abandon. That’s possibly a connection. And in fact, before the Roman holiday, a Greek festival on the ides (13th) of February celebrated Lykaia (the wolf-god) and Pan (the pleasure and chaos god, or at least that’s how I like to think of the little devil).
But we’re still a far cry from the public vow of love (or at least commitment) which we know as marriage, and especially (see title of post), equality of marriage rights. For that, we must return to the story of the martyr, Valentine. There are many stories about the man, but it is agreed he was a real fellow and did indeed get martyred on February 14th by the Roman emperor Claudius II in the 3rd century of the common era (AD). One story about why he was martyred… wait for it… wait for it… he was performing marriages for Christians! Apparently, Christians in 3rd century Rome did not enjoy marriage equality, and our dear Saint Valentine defied the powers that were, either just because he wanted to, or because he believed love is love, marriage is marriage. (Or else he didn’t do it at all, as no one knows for sure.)
To further muddy the waters, there are a dozen or so Saints Valentine. That’s unimportant, as the February 14th date is definitely connected with the forward thinker I mentioned above, identified for disambiguation as Valentine of Rome. But it does tickle the imagination—what if we celebrated a smexy holiday for each of them?
As a last little tidbit of information, in medieval times, Valentine’s Day may already have been a celebration of love, courtly and/or marital. Chaucer took note that on February 14th, birds find their mates. Also humans, for he wrote:
For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day when every foul (fool) cometh ther (sic) to choose his mate.
So, go forth and give chocolates, send bouquets, kiss, make love, and marry the person of your dreams no matter the gender and (possibly thanks to Saint Valentine) even if you’re Christian.
So yeah, comment below, tell me something lovely about Valentine’s day, or the reason you loathe it, if that’s the case, and you’ll be in the drawing for $14 spending cash at Dreamspinner–and they just happen to be having a sale!
Hello blog-hoppers! This post is my contribution to the Blog Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, or HAHaT 2013. I hope tons of you visit, and we can discuss some serious matters, while having some fun, too. Read all the way to the end to find out about the small but noticeably free-of-charge thing I’d love to give you…
“But,” you or someone you know says, “it’s all coming up roses, isn’t it? Laws are being passed, people are getting married. It’s a brighter day!”
Yes! It is a brighter day, indeed!
But before we assume that laws leaning more toward fairness and equality mean the demise of fear and hate, let’s think about history. Some questions to ponder:
Did legalizing the right of women to vote and work give them equal standing in the community? (If you think so, you and I should talk.)
Did abolishing legal slavery create attitudes of fairness and equality toward African Americans?
Did laws prohibiting brutality lead to the end of child abuse?
In the USA, we’ve had eleven states (I think) pass laws saying GLBTQ people can marry. In some of those states, the spouses can also adopt children, should they wish. These changes have led to many lovely, loving moments and years, and beautiful images, for us all to cherish, that have made it into our lives.
Like this one:
And this one:
But eleven states is only twenty-two percent of all the possibilities. To me, the progress of human rights in terms of marriage equality has seemed like a snowball rolling downhill. But there is no guarantee that the ball will keep rolling! If anything, I think this is the point in the battle when so much can go wrong, simply by virtue of a broader, shifting field–and this is even more true because the fight for fair laws is an international one.
And the fight for legal equality is also, moreso, a fight for the hearts of all good people.
Forgive me, for I am about to commit the fiction writer’s sin of thinking all points can be illustrated by a scene in their novel. No, really. This is a very brief excerpt from Saving Sonny James, the finale to the Vasquez and James series, which has been submitted to the publisher a few days ago, but not yet accepted. Here, Luki and Sonny have recently been through hell (which anyone who’s read the series has come to expect 🙂 ). In this case, hell is in Paris, France, where equal marriage has recently been codified as law, in the real world.
The black car rolled up to the embassy, an elegant building with an expanse of lawn, a pair of huge flags—US and France, and a red-trimmed, white fabric canopy over the entry walk. Jean Baptiste let them out at the street curb, and they walked along a paved semicircle drive, hand-in-hand, though they weren’t conscious of it until they got some looks from the Gendarmerie in their peaked hats. Sonny might have tried to extract his hand, but Luki held on tight and gave one or two of the gendarmes his iciest look.
When they reached the canopy, he quietly said to Sonny, “Tell me those bigots don’t have the power to make you ashamed of me… or of who you are.”
“Of course not, Luki!” Sonny was emphatic, but he chuckled and added, “But they do seem to have the power to make me nervous.”
Luki glanced sideways at him and back at the police—whose attention had gone elsewhere, now—“Fuck ‘em, baby. We’re legal in this country, you know. Just like at home.”
“Yeah but honey, when Washington State decided we could marry, that was a vote of the people, and the people that didn’t like it didn’t join up in mobs and start beating people up and killing folks wholesale in the street. Here…”
Luki heaved a tired sigh. “I know, but it’s—”
“Safer to be right up front with it. I agree. Thanks for holding my hand, husband.”
I invite your comments and discussion! I’d love to hear about fictional characters (movies, books, TV, ballads, whatever) that have put the haters in their place. Can be humor or badass-ness, or whatever. Tell me about your fave, and you’re in the drawing for a $15 certificate for Dreamspinner Press, anything at all from their catalog. The contest runs all ten days of the blog hop, and you can enter more than once as long as you have new material in your comment. ‘Kay? Please play! (By the way, I’ve had to put comments on moderate for awhile because of ugly spammers. Please don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away.)
The Halloween Blog Hop, brought to you by The Blog Hop Spot, is a chance for some grown-up, arm chair trick-or-treating. Click the link above for the list of 200+ participating authors. I’m sure they have all come up with sweet or spicy ways to “treat” their visitors over the four days of the hop (10/26 thru 10/29). I plan to check out more than a few and have a little fun myself.
Thanks for knocking at my blog door. My treats are going to work like this:
Each of the four days, I’ve added something new to this post, and today is the last day. Because today’s post is late, I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Some of these daily bits are words (some sexy ones included), and some are images. Today’s ‘treat’ posted 10/29 is part of one of my favorite Vasquez and James scenes–Sonny’s marriage proposal, from Delsyn’s Blues For yesterday’s photos, Saturday’s smutty/sweet scene from the next Vasquez and James, Finding Jackie, and for the 10/26 photo, and for the contest stuff scroll down.
********* “Good Christ and all the saints! That wind came straight from hell!” Still standing braced against the door, [Luki] looked up at Sonny through wet curls falling over his eyes. “Make a run for the house?”
Sonny, who had stepped back out of the rain and who wasn’t having to fight the wind for possession of the door, said calmly, “No. It’s almost a quarter mile! I don’t want to get wet.” Ignoring the shocked look Luki gave him from under curls now dripping down his face as if he was in the shower, he added, “Let’s just sit in the Mustang.”
Accordingly, Luki let the door drive him inward and followed Sonny to the mean yellow machine, which he apparently had just been wrenching on. “Is there something wrong?”
“With the car, I mean.” Sonny gave him his brows-drawn-together confused look as they climbed in, so Luki elaborated. “You know, the tools, the greasy rag, the—oh God, the grease all over your hands. You weren’t planning to be intimate with me or anything, were you?” Sonny burst out into a loud and hearty laugh, which delighted Luki, though he tried to keep that secret behind a cool facade. Almost, he could forget his troubles. No, their troubles. But his fears.
Bringing him back to the more pleasant moment, Sonny stopped laughing long enough to say, “You’re going to be cold. You’re shivering already….”
He’s not supposed to notice stuff like that. Nobody’s supposed to notice stuff like that.
“…And your clothes are soaked; your hair too. We’ll have to get you warmed up.”
“Warmed up. I’ll turn the heater on for starters.” He cranked the engine and it purred, and in no time, the breath of air coming from below the dash turned warm. “And while you’re getting a start on warming up—honey, why don’t you take that wet jacket off? I’ve got a towel too.” He reached a long arm around the back of Luki’s bucket seat and fiddled with something that had a zipper. When he handed Luki the towel, he said, “It’s clean. For your hair, maybe? I’ll go clean my hands up.”
Before he opened the door, Luki, still shivering, quaked, “How?”
“Yeah, you know. Stuff that cleans off the grease. Goop is a brand name.”
“So then you’ll have ‘Goop’ on your hands.” Luki’s shivering had rattled to a stop, his hair no longer dripped, and he felt that he could manage ultra-cool again. Though he questioned the look of his wardrobe at the moment. Still…. “Like I said, I hope you weren’t planning to get intimate with me or anything.”
Sonny laughed again. “Well,” he said, “I wasn’t actually planning on it, but since you keep bringing it up, I guess it might be in the offing?”
“Then after the Goop, I’ll go stand right there where the water is running down off the roof, put my hands under the stream, and get the Goop off. ’Kay?”
“’Kay.” Luki had to fight off the urge to laugh at Sonny’s exaggerated tone, waiting until he was out of the car even to smile at him. Also, at the idea of getting intimate in the Mustang. Which didn’t have enough room in the backseat for two German Shepherds, much less two six-foot men. Which had narrow bucket seats in the front and a gear shift dead center between them. And a steering wheel and a wrap-around dash and a low roof. Yep. Unlikely intimacy environment. He thought cigarette, but remembering their earlier… conflict, he shooed the thought quickly away. You’re going to have to do something about that addiction, Luki. Even though that was his own thought, he did his best to ignore it.
When Sonny came back, he went to the trunk first and collected a blanket, which he tossed to Luki before he got back in the Mustang. “It’s pissin’ buckets out there. The whole yard is a mud wallow. If you want, I’ll drive us over to the house—seems stupid, I know, but I don’t want to walk it. I really don’t want to take the Mustang out there, though, because I just cleaned it up and, well, you know.”
“That little Honda?”
Sonny shook his head. “Even if we’d both fit at the same time, it’s not running. Truck’s out of the question too. You have to pop the clutch to start it.”
Luki nodded sagely. What the hell is “pop the clutch”? Sounds like porn. Such thoughts played havoc with the sage look, so he spoke up to change the subject. “So, how long will this last?”
“Could be minutes, could be days.”
There went Sonny’s wonderful laugh, bubbling again. “Well, not days. Hours, max.”
“I like it when you bubble, Sonny. Are you cold?”
“I’m going to ignore the bubbling comment—I hope it doesn’t mean you’re getting a fever. In answer to the meaningful question, yes, a little bit. Here, let’s spread out this blanket. Between that and the heater, we ought to be warm and dry in no time.”
“Just in time for us to fight the bluster and mud to get back to the house, for instance.”
“I’m turning the engine off. I smell exhaust. I love that you always have a positive attitude.”
“Just comes naturally. So weren’t you formulating plans for small-space intimacy? Kind of like gardening in pots?”
“I can think of some things that might sprout. Maybe even bloom.”
“That sounds so crude.”
“I agree, but before we get crude, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you—”
“Ask away. No time like the present.” What the hell has gotten hold of me. It’s like I’ve got two modes—smoking and stupid.
“Yes,” Sonny continued, “I’m trying to. Umm… why—”
“Do I keep smoking even though it’s stupid?”
Sonny took an exaggerated breath and blew it out. “No, no, that’s a very good question but—”
“You’re right. I’m quitting, Sonny, for real.”
“Good! But, damn it, that’s not what I was going to ask….” Suddenly wide-eyed, he turned and leaned to get a good look at Luki’s face. “Hey, maybe you really are getting a fever.” He put a hand on Luki’s forehead.
“Maybe. Doesn’t matter.”
“Matters to me.”
“Yes, if you’ll let me ask!”
“You are lucky I want to ask this so badly, or I’d be out of here.”
That sounded ominous to Luki. He didn’t know why it should, but he thought a lot more might be riding on that statement than a little half-serious afternoon spat. His head hurt, and he’d started shivering again. Maybe that made it seem more important. Maybe he did have a fever. Whatever.
“Luki, will you marry me?”
For the contest, answer one of these questions:
For you, what is the scariest kind of monster in the movies?
What is your favorite Halloween sweet?
In books what kind of evil (human) criminal is the most frightening?
If you could trick or treat with anyone in the world who would it be?
(Note, each question you answer is one entry, so you can enter up to four times.)
What can you win? Choose an ebook of any one of the Vasquez and James series books available at Dreamspinner Press.
What if you’ve read them all? When Finding Jackie, the sequel to Delsyn’s Blues, comes out in May or June 2013, I’ll reserve you a copy of that. That’s a long wait… So, email me at lou(dot)sylvre(at)gmail(dot)com. We’ll talk about it!
Here’s the visual treat posted 10/26
******** They walked back to the hotel after their business and pleasure at the market was done, and Sonny sighed.
Luki said, “What?”
“Nothing,” Sonny said, sounding like a martyr. “It’s just… interesting wallpaper.”
“Baby,” Luki said, not understanding at all but willing to go to any lengths to please his man, “If you hate it—”
“No, no, I don’t. I mean, it’s not bad—it’s probably even good, I just need to get used to it. The colors in here are gorgeous, truthfully. And you know what?”
Luki’s eyes followed his husband, who paced from side to side, peaked around curtains and walls, opened doors. He made a sound something like “Mm,” knowing Sonny wasn’t really looking for a response, but would appreciate knowing Luki was paying attention. He also smiled. Something about the quirky way Sonny settled himself into a space was too sweet for words.
“You know what I need to do, honey?”
Luki noted with glee that Sonny had begun to strip. This time when he said, “Mm,” he didn’t have to feign interest.
“I need to get in that bathtub—do you see that thing? It’s like a swimming pool. I need to get in there and soak, all nice and relaxed, and take in that wallpaper until it seems normal to me.”
The man is fucking crazy, Luki thought, both disappointed and surprised. Sonny was already in the bathroom, fine-tuning the water temperature at this juncture. Luki put his hands in his pockets—not a characteristic posture at all, but he was at a loss. He literally jumped when Sonny whooped, and yelled.
“Yes! There’s bubble bath in here!”
Luki was so nonplussed by this time that he sat down on the couch, rather hard. When he tried to think of something he might be doing the only two things that came to mind were jerking off—which he dismissed immediately—and eating a hamburger. He considered the hamburger carefully, decided against, and got up to wander into the strangely wall-papered, thoroughly lavender scented bathroom.
“This is a big tub, Luki.”
Luki stepped closer to Sonny so he could push a long strand of dark hair off his chest, letting it join it’s fellows falling down Sonny’s back.
Sonny grabbed Luki’s belt at the buckle, made as if to undo it. “Get in, Luki. There’s room. Look.” He lifted a foot out of the water. “See, my feet don’t even reach all the way to the other side. Not crowded at all.”
Luki stood silent, chewing his lip. He wasn’t one for shower play, which Sonny knew. It just reminded him too much of lonelier days. He never took baths—especially bubble baths. And, he really, really didn’t want to smell like flowers. But he loved his husband so much, and there the man was, asking for this simple little thing.
“Luki, take a bath with me. Come on.”
Luki started to strip, tossing his clothes back out onto the chair in the bedroom. He was, of course, hard by the time he was naked, which was something Sonny certainly didn’t fail to notice, even though he said nothing. Luki stood there, feeling confused, never before having realized that deciding how to get into a bathtub and situate oneself was so difficult.
“Luki, you can just sit on that side, face me, so I can look at your eyes and we can talk. Okay? That way you won’t feel so awkward.”
“I’m pretty sure there’s something in that statement I should scold you for, Sonny Bly, I just haven’t figured out what it is.” Luki said that while climbing in and turning around and sitting down as instructed. But once he settled, his hands found Sonny’s legs, and he couldn’t help but rub them. And then Sonny found his foot, and as Sonny well knew, Luki’s toes were really sensitive. And Sonny played with them. All the while they looked each other in the eyes.
“Luki,” Sonny said, finally, “you don’t play in the shower.”
“No. What’s your point?”
For answer, Sonny took Luki’s foot and laid it along his own erection, which was one of the sexiest things that had ever happened to Luki. Then Sonny took his size a-very-large-number foot, with its long, nearly prehensile toes, and not too gently stroked it up and down Luki’s cock, and Luki spent a few seconds catching his breath.
“This isn’t a shower,” Sonny said.
Luki nodded. “Right.”
Sonny let a little water out, added some hot to adjust the temperature. “We could fuck here, if we so desired, which I do.” Sonny actually looked hopeful, as if he was a little afraid Luki would say no, or maybe scoff.
Luki wasn’t about to do either one. Sonny was the most beautiful, lovable, eminently fuckable person on the planet, and Luki wasn’t about to fail him. As he’d explained to Sonny just the other day, fucking Sonny happy was his personal joy. He licked his lips. “Come here, baby.”
Sonny more or less slithered up Luki’s body, dragging his weight over Luki’s flesh until he’d brought his lips even with Luki’s. He stopped, offering his slightly open lips, but waiting for Luki to take them. Luki did, starting with a suck and nibble of Sonny’s lower lip, then licking with just the hard tip of his tongue along the underside of Sonny’s upper lip. He kept it up, nibbling, sucking, licking, lingering at the sensitive corners. Sonny made a move to kiss back, but Luki pulled away, and answered Sonny’s widened eyes by kissing them. He smiled, biting his own lip, made sure Sonny saw the expression, then whispered in his ear. “Just let me do whatever I want to you baby, okay? It’ll be good, I promise, and when I want you to kiss me back, I’ll tell you. Okay?”
“Oh!” Sonny’s breath puffed out, then he nodded. “Okay,” he said. “Yes, Luki. Okay.”
The water, hot and ever so slightly silky from the bubble bath, made touching—running his hands along Sonny’s back, over his ass, down his legs—a little bit different than touching had ever been before, for Luki. And by different he meant, damn, that’s nice! And Sonny, who was never, ever still unless specifically instructed, kept squirming and rocking, moving his body side to side over Luki’s. And the water lifted him just a little bit so Luki felt little weight on him, only a teasingly sweet, achingly light friction.
He pulled his lover tight against his chest. “Sonny, baby, you are so damn sweet!”
Sonny was not very coherent. “Mmm, mm…ooooh! Luki!”
Luki chuckled. He couldn’t help it. Then he took hold of Sonny’s forelock and tilted his head back until he was sure he had Sonny’s eyes, and he said, “Stick out your tongue.”
Sonny did so, a little, and said, “Aauuh?”
Luki smiled. “More.”
When Sonny obeyed, he said, “Yeah, like that.” Then he laid his own tongue alongside it, teased it, licking at its tip, and finally closed his lips around it and sucked it into his mouth, meanwhile invading Sonny’s mouth with his own tongue, and touching every part of Sonny he could reach with any limb, and rocking Sonny over him, cock to cock, chest to chest. At some point he said, “Okay, kiss me back, Sonny.” Finally, after a long interval of bliss, or else torture, Luki asked the question he almost always asked when they made love. “What do you want, baby?”
Unlike his earlier efforts at speech, Sonny answered clear and concise. “Fuck me.” Then he buried his face in Luki’s neck, where he commenced licking, sucking, and yes, even biting.
Luki gasped at the sensations that weren’t quite tickle, weren’t quite pain, “So you’re serious, you want to fuck here? In the bath?”
“Turn over baby, and turn around; get up on your knees. I want your ass right here, up close and personal.” Continue reading →
Hi! Welcome to the Follow the Rainbow Blog Hop! Before I answer the essay question posed by the hop organizers, just in case you don’t already know I’m going to tell you about the other important stuff—prizes! The hop is the brainchild of Rainbow Book Reviews, and they’re set to give away four $25 book gift certificates, good at Amazon or All Romance. Nice, huh? To be eligible for one of those prizes, follow this link and comment: Rainbow Book Reviews Follow the Rainbow Blog Hop. But that’s not all! Your comment there also puts you in the running for prizes from a whole long list of participating publishers—Dreamspinner, Bold Strokes, Silver, Torquere, Untreed Reads, Riptide, Amber Allure, Less than Three. (I think I got them all).
On top of all that, if you comment here, I’ll put your name in the hat for my own drawing, prize is an ebook ofYes: A Vasquez and James Novella (the latest release in the series). (If you already have Yes, we may be able to work a deal for one of the other Vasquez and James books.
Okay, now down to the Blog Hop Question. The instructions tell me to write about what writing GLBTQ means to me. Um. Well. As a bi woman who has lived much of her life as a lesbian, you would think I would say it gives me a chance to create lesbian role models and beautiful lesbian relationships. However, I have in recent times only written M/M romance. So I’m going to cheat a bit and write about “why” I write M/M romance. Of course the short answer is because I love to write and this is what I’m loving to write right now—probably will be for a good long while, if the multiplying ideas and plot bunnies are any indication. So, other than sheer love of the act, why do I write M/M romance?
Why is always a trick question, I think. So often, as soon as I say, “this is why I did it,” I realize there’s a thousand other answers equally true. Nevertheless, here’s the answer:
I find it unavoidable.
No bull, this is true—for me, for right now I cannot not write this stuff.
This situation of inevitable M/M romance production started when I was writing a YA fantasy, a book meant for the young end of that readership spectrum. The book had no romance (I don’t believe the average 12 y/o boy wants to read romance of any kind) although I did have an idea that romances might flourish in later installments in the series. One night, while I slept and the characters talked quietly amongst themselves in their word document, a couple of really, really fine adult male characters (both of whom I was secretly in love with) fell in love with each other. They were so hot for each other strange things happened, and they became tongue-tied when they met up. One of these guys was a tall Native American (like Sonny James) firefighter from northern California (not like Sonny James) who also happened to be a shape shifter—his alter ego being a California Condor. The other guy was a very self-possessed ultimate warrior with a limited talent for reading minds—sometimes for some reasons. (Oh yeah, also he’s 200 years old, from another world, and works for the Premier Wizard.)
When those two fell in love I was virtually paralyzed as far as writing the book I’d meant to write. I had to stop working on the book, scratch out a quick, hot love story for the guys, promise I’d see them later, and then finally get back to my YA Fantasy. But I had never heard of M/M romance as a genre, and I’d never heard of publishers that not only accepted but solicited such stories.
At the time, I wrote short stories with some regularity, and published them in small markets. I wrote two blatantly M/M stories, one a humorous romance, and one an angsty romance. I wrote another humorous story in which the protag is gay, but that wasn’t the central theme of the story, and there was no romance. Finally I wrote a dark paranormal pseudo-historical fantasy (I know, too many adjectives) that I can best describe as murder/romance, very creepy but one of my faves. All that time, I still didn’t know I wanted to write M/M romance.
But then I did know.
Loving Luki Vasquez is a direct descendant of that original pair of demanding lovers that were born (in full, rampant, sexual heat) in the manuscript of that YA fantasy—maybe a couple of generations removed. It almost wrote itself—at least in the sex scenes—and I started looking for a place to submit. When I ran across Dreamspinner, I almost thought, “No, that’s too good to be true!” Once I had that novel submitted and accepted, I realized that Luki and Sonny had more stories. I also realized that, while they don’t think of me as their slave, I am an indentured servant. I hope I can buy my way out soon.
Ah, but if I do… I have other gay men standing around making romantic and or sexual overtures toward each other, keeping each other occupied by making up stories together that I will then be forced to write. Forced to write because the stories are compelling, because the love and pain the characters endure are not so much gay as human, because passion and heartbreak and sickness and health and friends and children and parents and pets and—deep breath—are no different for gay men and their loved ones than they are for anyone else.
So that’s why I write M/M Romance. That’s what it means to me. Good thing I enjoy it!
(See my free fiction page for some of the stories I mentioned above, if you are interested.)
Fireworks. I love them. And I hate them. But still if I had to say what I like best about July 4th, apart from the day off from the day job, it would be fireworks–the big ones. Of course there’s more than one kind of fireworks, and not all of them happen in public. For instance, just a bit down the page I’m going offer some private Luki and Sonny fireworks, just a snippet, from Delsyn’s Blues. First, though, let me tell you about the contest:
What do you like best about July 4th? What’s your favorite kind of fireworks? (First question is mostly for Americans, but hey, you can like fireworks anywhere in the world.) That’s the contest. Your answer puts you in the running for a Vasquez and James ebook of your choice.
So here are Vasquez and James, making their own fireworks:
Luki kissed him, slow and sweet, and moved his lips to Sonny’s ear. “You’re so perfect, Sonny Bly James. So perfect. What would the world be like without you?” As he pulled his lips away, rose up on his arms and began to pick up his rhythm once again, he blew across Sonny’s face and neck, creating a draft that cooled him but at the same time made him harder, took him closer. In just a moment, Sonny saw Luki’s eyes blur with a need for climax he could no longer put off. He leaned down again, kissing Sonny hard, pushing harder. Shifting a little to one side, he began to stroke Sonny’s waiting erection with a strong, practiced hand, matching the slide of his prick in and out of Sonny’s ass, two strokes to one.
“Luki, please,” Sonny said, wanting, needing to put his hands on his own erection and beat his own rhythm the way no one else could, not even Luki. Luki knew—knew what Sonny liked.
“Come on, baby,” he said, letting his hand take the place of Sonny’s to hold his leg. “You do it. You stroke it, and I’ll fuck you, and you can give me one more orgasm. And I want one too. I need it. Work with me, sweetie.”
And Sonny did. His vision fell back to a distance, and nothing in the world existed except his penis and his ass and Luki’s eyes shuttling him through an ocean of pleasure. And when he came, everything inside clenched around Luki’s hard cock, sucking it even farther in, and his hand felt the cum pulse through the shaft of his penis, forcing its way out to spill through his fingers.
Luki kept sliding against him, smearing cum between them, driving his hard shaft in fast, matching Sonny’s heartbeat, both of their heartbeats.
Sonny’s moan became Luki’s name
“Yes,” Luki gasped. “Yes! Oh God, Sonny!” And then Luki was all but screaming too. He rose up on his knees, rearing back, lifting Sonny to drive hard three last times into Sonny’s still-pulsing ass. Both of them went silent in pleasure so deep it left no room for sound or sight or movement.
It was over. Just in time, because in another second, Sonny was sure, his heart would have exploded. Or his ass—he wasn’t sure which. Luki had collapsed next to him, breathing like he hadn’t had enough oxygen for the last month. Exhausted, Luki still held Sonny, draped an arm across his shoulder. He lay on his side and Sonny turned to face him. As they both began to breathe easier, he bent his head to Luki’s chest. Luki stroked his hair and kissed it, so sweet and soft and loving. He turned away briefly and brought back from the night table a glass of cool water. He helped Sonny rise up to drink, and then cooled his own throat. The damp towel he dragged over Sonny’s skin felt cool and wiped away the stickiness, and after he did the same for himself, he lay back down and drew Sonny a little closer.
“Jeez, Luki,” Sonny answered, his voice hoarse, “if ever there was a stupid question, that’s it.”
Luki chuckled, and it sounded like deep water to Sonny, with his head pressed against Luki’s broad chest—a place that felt always like home to him.
Sonny said, very softly, “Yeah, Luki. It was good. It still is.”
A little aside on the subject of Amereican independence from British rule (and taxation): Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was, you might say, the founder of the American army at the time of the revolution. Before him, things weren’t looking so good. He trained up the troops and and organized, and turned it into a real army. And he was gay, so things appear. In fact, he narrowly escaped prosecution in pre-revolutionary France. Interestingly, just a few years later after their revolution, France was one of the few countries to decriminalize same-sex love. The Washington Blade online
Treasure! Congratulations! Treasure has elected to wait for the summer release of Yes: A Vasquez and James Novella, because she’s already read the first two books, so that will be coming her way as soon as it’s available. Thanks to everyone for stopping by, standing up for what’s right, commenting, and playing. I feel it was a privelege to take part with so many worthy others. A success, I think, and fun, too!
Vasquez Inc #4—A Shot at Perfect (Click to preorder)
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Vasquez and James Vol. 2—Click the cover to buy!
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