Tag Archives: Photos

Pic-a-Day 2021

I have started a new project for 2021, one photo for each day of the year. This is my second attempt at something like this. The first time was using a DSLR camera, and because I don’t carry that everywhere things quickly fell apart. Now that I am carrying my phone around everywhere (and the camera quality is likely better than that old DSLR!) I think that this time around will be easier. I will be gathering all of the photos in one album, which you can click through below:

02 January 2021

Some Thoughts After One Year of Reading M/M Romances

I realized yesterday that I bought my first M/M romance book on June 7, 2015. They’ve all been through Amazon Kindle (read using the Kindle app on my iPad or laptop), which is good and bad – good for easy accessibility, bad for impulse buying! While musing about this over the last few days I made some observations:

  • Everyone in this genre is fit, muscle-bound, and well-endowed. As someone in the rather average-to-chubby side of the spectrum this was a little off-putting until I realized that as a gay man, I am not the target demographic for these books. The majority of the market is women writing for women, and as much as women are subjected to ridiculous beauty standards by men I suppose turnabout is fair play, particularly when it comes to fantasizing. And that’s OK – the beauty of reading is I build whatever image of the characters I like in my mind as I read. That said, it would be nice to find something well-written with guys who are average or maybe even a little bearish (which apparently exists!).
  • M/M romance novel covers range from OK to hilariously bad. To whit:

    I’ll assume this is due to self-published works or working with a small publisher of limited means. Since I’m buying ebooks it doesn’t really matter much to me, though I’ve learned to avoid looking at the cover before I read a book’s synopsis.

  • Dreamspinner Press is one of the biggest publishers of M/M Romance out there. They have a lot of good stuff…and a lot of dreck.
  • Goodreads is invaluable for exploring a new genre of fiction, but you can’t take the numerical ratings at face value. I find I need to read the reviews to see what the average reviewer is reading for – it’s often not what I’m looking for in a book. Even so, I’ve been trying to limit my explorations to books/authors whose average reviews run better than 4.0 (out of 5). The pickings are starting to get a little slim. This leads me to…
  • The more narrow the genre, the fewer the possible titles, and the even fewer possible titles worth reading. M/M romance, no problem. M/M Romance/Paranormal, ok but fewer. M/M Romance/Paranormal/Werewolves, you start to really narrow your choices. There are still some gems to be found, though.
  • The fans of each genre on Goodreads have their own jargon and acronyms. For M/M Romance you have things like MC (main character), HEA (happily ever after), Gay For You (GFY). The latter notion (“I’m straight, but I’ll go gay for you”) annoys me slightly because I believe the correct term would be “bisexual” but there’s no point in getting my hackles up over it.
  • I’ve found things that I adore in a book: a drawn-out courtship, good writing, a coherent plot, and likeable characters. I also like well-constructed conflict, though not to the point where everything bad in the world happens to the main characters. Many reviewers dismissively call this “angst” but I think it is an essential storytelling element.
  • Conversely, I’m not a fan of instant-meet-fall-in-love-and-directly-into-bed, more sex than plot, or ridiculous plot developments that only exist for an obvious non-plot related purpose (i.e. introducing a character for the next book in the series).
  • Many books follow a very obvious structure: Introduce characters. Introduce conflict between characters. Resolve conflict between characters. Introduce conflict between characters and outside parties/forces. Resolve conflict between characters and outside parties/forces. Happily ever after. Now, this is certainly not unique to this genre by any means, but this is the first time I’ve seen such blatant examples of plotting by numbers. Good books can follow this slavishly as long as it is well-written and well-plotted.
  • Writing a good first book is the easy part. Writing sequels is more difficult. Writing sequels that include the same characters as the first book and keeping the reader’s interest is really, really hard, particularly if you’ve already wrapped up their story with a Happily Ever After in the first book.
  • Finding one author you really like and working your way through their books is pretty awesome (see also: Amy Lane).
  • I have really enjoyed this year of reading, and I am still learning more about the genre and finding new and interesting authors (and revisiting authors whose other works I’ve read, too!). After taking literally a few decades off from casual reading, I am finding this a welcome and refreshing return to something that I have always deeply enjoyed.
    on tumblr: http://ift.tt/1XEDHOE

    Tumblr post: shawnlenore: I feel like the werewolf genre just makes…

    shawnlenore:

    I feel like the werewolf genre just makes werewolves generic bad asses too often without exploring some of the pitfalls of being a werewolf….like not wanting to rip your nice clothes because you gotta tear off a dude’s face. (To be fair, she normally would wear clothes that aren’t as nice, but it was an emergency.)

    I’m working on pulling together a lengthy werewolf comic story, and this is sort of a little test comic to see if I can deal with drawing werewolves constantly. (Not a problem. It’s super fun to draw werewolves.)

    on tumblr: http://ift.tt/1SOOHqN

    Tumblr post: Until Forever Comes

    So as a follow up to Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C., I picked up the next book in the series, Until Forever Comes. I almost didn’t – it’s a werewolf/vampire romance, and while I do loves me some werewolf romance, vampire stories in general leave me cold (heh). I’m finding this one surprisingly engaging.

    The central trope for this series (“Mates”) is that on rare occasions there is someone out there who is your One True Mate. You are drawn to them spiritually, emotionally, and physically. This seems a very pat express route to Happily Ever After, but the author introduces enough interesting twists and obstacles (both mates are male? They’re forced to remain separated? One is a werewolf and the other a vampire, who are natural enemies?) to make the books worth reading.

    I’m now looking forward to the third book in the series as well, and I’ll probably write up some thoughts when I’m done with that.

    on tumblr: http://ift.tt/1Z90GzO