I never set out to write m/m romance. In fact, I never set out to write anything. It’s kind of a surprise to find myself here after all my protestations that I am not an author. Occasionally I would admit to being a writer, but I still don’t feel like an author.
I got hooked on m/m romance quite by accident. I used to watch a lot of anime and found one called Yami no Matsuei/Descendants of Darkness. In one episode the nemesis (male) traps and kisses the protagonist (also male). I was hooked. I don’t know how many times I watched that scene before I asked good old Google about the genre. Turns out there is this wonderful thing called yaoi or shonen ai and I had discovered my new obsession.
While trying to find more chapters of You’re My Love Prize in the View Finder, I made a friend, Sara. Sara is the source of all things yaoi. She also told me to read J.L. Langley’s Without Reservations. That was the first m/m romance I ever read and it is still one of my favorites. I think at that point, even though I wouldn’t have recognized it at the time, my fate was sealed.
When I helped Sara edit some of her slash fanfiction, I found myself reading a fair amount of facfic. There was a pairing I wanted to read, but the author had only used their names and changed everything else about the fandom. I foolishly said I could write better and Sara insisted that she wanted to read it. So I found myself writing my first slash. Sara and several readers of the fanfiction site I posted it on said I had talent.
Author Linda Reilly suggested a call for submission for fairy tales. I came up with a plausible story line and Cinder wouldn’t rest until I put his story on “paper.” Not that I had any intention of subbing it. I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head and I couldn’t finish the Samurai Champloo fanfiction I had started until Cinder was happy.
I didn’t write anything further for a while, but even that wasn’t destined to last.
I have an impressive collection of photos on FB and several of my friends, mostly m/m authors, had commented at various times about my photographic plot bunnies, so I formed a group called Inspired Writing (IW). We post a photo periodically and write stories to go with the photo. Because it was my group, I felt I had to be a good example and so I wrote my first original story Sex, Love and Video Tape. I had also been working with AB Gayle by this point and so this story was my first attempt at using POV. It was aided by the fact that there is really only one character in this short story.
All of my subsequent stories have been inspired by a photo, almost all of them for this very group. The only exception is the photo I chose for the Goodreads M/M Group’s anthology Hot July Days. Controlled Fall, a short story about friends turned lovers takes place while trapped in a New Zealand canyon, will be in the anthology. The photo made for a good back to nature backdrop. Of course the obligatory “if we’re going to die, let’s get this off our chest” story line presented itself. I have gone rappelling so I felt that I could do that part of the story justice.
My current WIP (Work In Progress) is called Alexios’ Fate. It is another story inspired by one of the photos in IW. I decided to do an m/m version of Andromeda’s story, only Peruses, played by Apollo, would be coming for Alexios. The short story started out humble enough, being about a young Greek man who found himself the object of Apollo’s interest; however, one of my beta readers wanted to know more about ancient Greek culture and several of the characters in particular. The story has become a novella and once I add the further details about Apollo, it should be a novel. The story is now a paranormal story about a young Greek man and a god. Who said writing wasn’t an evolutionary process?
I like puzzling out a good story to go with the photos. I think the puzzle and doing the research are the things I like best about writing. What brought the characters to this point and where will they go next? I will spend a lot of time researching things that only appear in one sentence. I abhor inaccuracies in others’ works and I will be mortified if I ever propagate untruths. Besides I enjoy finding out little bits of information like that.
My short story Legends appears in Breathless Press’ anthology Ad-dick-tion. It is my first published piece and I’m inordinately proud of it. Legends also is inspired by a photo. Sense a pattern here? This is my first and only use of first person POV. I never intended to use first person, but when I went to write this story the first word that came to mind was “I.” The characters named themselves, which doesn’t always happen. I will say that the next time someone wants to be named Jack, I’ll try to talk them out of it. That seriously limited my verb choices!
Excerpt from Legends:
The room was amazing. The walls were a lush sunset red painted with imitation windows showing scenes from mythology. An inlayed stone mosaic of a scene I didn’t recognize and would have to ask Jack about covered the floor. I could only read a few of the Latin inscriptions. Amphorae in stands lined one wall. I was pleased to see none of them had flat bottoms. Some red-figure vases adorned a series of alcoves, but the piece de resistance lay in the dining area.
There were two plush coffee colored couches for reclining and a carved wooden table set in front of them. But probably the most striking thing in the room was the naked young man amidst the food, his smooth golden skin in bold contrast with the colorful food arrayed around him. His dark hair and eyes completed the vision of Mediterranean perfection.
I watched Jack recline on the couch and mirrored him. He plucked a grape from the table and pressed the sphere against my lips. I opened obediently for the fruit and pulled his long fingers into my mouth as well; licking and sucking on Jack’s fingers as he inhaled sharply through his slightly parted lips. The salt on his skin and the tart grape a perfect start to the evening.
When he withdrew his fingers, I swallowed the grape and reached for one of my own to feed to him.
The Greek god on the table chuckled and said, “If you keep that up, there will be no need for me.”
He began feeding us both tidbits from the table slowly exposing more of his smooth caramel skin as he did. His fingers brushed against my lips and periodically slipped into my mouth under the pretense of being licked clean. I could see he received the same treatment from Jack, murmuring his pleasure with every swipe of Jack’s tongue.
I hope you enjoyed that small taste of Legends.
I still can’t believe that I have a published short story and am actually writing a novel with the express intention of submitting it for publication. This all still feels a bit surreal, but it’s still a great ride, one I never thought I would take.