Bring the Love is the exciting new m/m anthology with eleven stories from nine authors! The stories feature men who reclaim lost love, men who find themselves in the love of another man, and men who defy oppression for the sake of love.
This is one part of a three part interview with most of the authors whose work is included in Bring the Love anthology. Visit the Bring the Love Blog Tour page during the last week of June 25-30 for links to the other two parts of the interview, behind the scenes pieces on the stories, and giveaways of print and ebook versions of the book!
Bring the Love Authors Interview ,Part 2 of 3
How directly do you like to engage with real-world issues affecting gay men in your fiction?
Author of Slow Surrender
Since Slow Surrender is a contemporary romance, real-world issues do play a role. In this case, the backdrop of the story is intra-community issues around gender norms and presentation, the tension between “femme”and “masc.” My exploration of these issues is grounded in the characters and how they navigate their lives and relationships. The devaluation of feminine traits within the gay community makes Lucas’s dating life more difficult and is part of the reason why he’s wary of getting into relationships. When I bring in real-world topics, I want to do so in a way that feels natural and makes the characters come to life.
Author of The Wages of Sin
I live in the south, so for me everything is connected to religion and politics. It’s the way I’m wired, I suppose. Political changes (often cloaked in religiosity) have the potential to throw gay lives into chaos or peril at a moment’s notice. I watched LGBT rights (housing, employment, adoption, civil unions, anti-discrimination, etc) voted in and out of local law several times here during the 90s. The legal battles were vicious, public, and divisive and (as in most places) they hinged on small numbers of votes. This volatility is frightening and it’s become one of the central themes of my life as a gay man and my work.
Author of Bare Blue Steel
It isn’t something I tend to deal with “head on”,it’s rare I’ll feature a character having to manage homophobic family members or colleagues, for instance, as a key part of the plot. It may come up in the background or as an aspect of how characters behave, Jimmy, for example, doesn’t come on to Tom right away because he isnt sure how Tom will react. I think it’s important to acknowledge the real-world issues when you’re using a contemporary setting, especially in longer fiction, but I think, as a het female writer, I would be over-reaching to make it too prominent, because the commentary I could offer is limited.
Author of Cigarette Burns and From the Storm
There’s a great piece of advice about writing floating around that says you can write a character that is gay/disabled/a person of color/etc even if you are not any of those things, but what you shouldn’t do is try to write that character’s experience as gay/disabled, etc. Obviously, homophobia is a big issue for gay people and discrimination is a universal issue, so while I don’t try to write someone else s experience, I think it’s important to represent the real life issues and how they affect people, especially relationships to others.
Author of Private Security
My stories are pure fiction that take place in a world created in my imagination. I generally keep my work out of the real world and our real world problems.
Author of Naked in the Sun
It varies from story to story. I start with characters before issues. When I think about the characters I’m creating, I think about whether or not real-world issues would be a useful way to tell their story. That’s often something I like to incorporate, but not always.
Author of Designated Driver
I try to engage very directly with such issues. I never want a gay male reader to think I’ve deliberately ignored the hardships he still faces when it comes to simply having a relationship.
In Designated Driver, for example, I explored gay male insecurities, like the fear of being seen as effeminate. A fear instilled by mainstream culture to the point where even openly gay men can feel pressured to assert their masculinity. Such men will reject, sometime violently, anyone who threatens their macho reputation.
Author of Between Here and There
I tackle real-world issues head on. AIDS, homophobia, transphobia, homelessness, prostitution, conversion therapy, struggles with a lack of marriage equality, child abuse, rape, molestation, mental illness, incest, loss, and the search for a voice in a world that only wants to silence difference are some of the issues I’ve touched on in my work.
As both a reader and a writer, real-world issues are what grab me. They make me feel like a story is really vital and relevant for readers, so I specifically look to incorporate them in my work. Sometimes I’ll shape an entire story around one key issue, just so I can dive deep into it to get to explore the devastation and turmoil it causes in relatable, normal people who could easily be us or someone we know. I look for fiction to be eye-opening and mind-expanding. I want it to challenge and make readers uncomfortable. It should rip at the heart and twist expectations upside-down or inside-out.
To find Parts 1 & 3 of the Bring the Love Authors Interview, see the Bring the Love Blog Tour page!
There is something about the love of men for men that speaks to the heart. Masculinity in passion is more than muscle and attitude. It’s in the mix of hardness and tenderness, the burning gaze and the soft caress. The struggle with expectation to be tough and the need to be vulnerable. There is something about these stories that show men opening–sometimes eagerly, sometimes reluctantly–to love.
For your pleasure, we offer you men who reclaim lost love, men who find themselves in the love of another man, and men who defy oppression for the sake of love. These are stories that show that an ending is not necessarily the end and that softness is not the same as weakness. In all, eleven stories of love and romance between men from ForbiddenFiction’s top authors, including award-winners Julian Keys and Lynn Kelling. To you, our readers, we bring the love.
- Cigarette Burns by E.E. Grey
Maddox doesn’t want to be around anyone unless it’s his pack of cigarettes. Yet, when Rory, the cute guy from the bar, not-so-subtly hits on him, Maddox figures he can always smoke later. He has something else in mind his ex-boyfriend would not approve of in the least. (M/M)
- Judge Not by Kailin Morgan
Matt is gay, but has given up love rather than accept it. Hiding from himself as well as the rest of the world, he works hard and goes home alone. Until one night he doesn’t make it home. He steps into the underworld of the Earl’s Court where he will be punished for his mistakes—and maybe get a second chance. (M/M)
- The Wages of Sin by Jamie Freeman
In the breakaway Christian States of America, homosexuality is punishable by death. In the rebel capital of Washington DC, Jason Braverman lives a life of quiet desperation. Hiding his true nature, he grapples with the loss of his sexual freedom as he watches his beloved city patrolled by uniformed thugs and bombed to the ground by the U.S. Army. Then he meets Daniel, and he realizes sometimes liberation is worth paying the ultimate price. (M/M)
- Between Here and There by Lynn Kelling
Ever the tease, Avery Williams leads his lover, Timothy, on a chase that brings them to Ben Franklin bridge spanning the Delaware River. Behind them is Camden and their daily struggle to stay off the streets. Before them is the vibrant, elusive promise of the future. Trapped between, Avery lets himself be caught by the boy who owns his heart. Dreams and demons alike lie in wait as Avery gives Timothy yet another piece of himself in the hopes that it will somehow save them both. (M/M)
- Greasy Boy by P.L. Ripley
For Simon, sex had always been clean, gentle and safe. Now a chance encounter in a gas station bathroom gives Simon the opportunity to see what he has been missing. That is, if he can overcome his fear to delve into a greasy stranger through a glory hole. (M/M)
- Naked in the Sun by Dorla Moorehouse
Andy has spent the last year nursing his partner, Daniel, through an illness that left Daniel completely blind. Andy has been nothing but gentle, considerate, and careful with Daniel, who’s depressed and frustrated with the situation. Exactly which aspects of the situation frustrate him the most comes as something of a surprise when Daniel drags him off into the bushes for some fun in the sun. (M/M)
- Private Security by P.L. Ripley
Ryan has been fantasizing about his best friend, Justin ever since he started working nights as a security guard. He puts it down to exhaustion and his lack of time to spend with his girlfriend, Jennifer. But, when he catches Justin in the middle of a theft, he begins to reevaluate if he wants these fantasies to remain just fantasies or bring them to life. (M/M)
- Bare Blue Steel by Jacqueline Brocker
Jimmy adores his boyfriend Tom, with his slick suits, fedoras, and cool demeanour. When Jimmy discovers a revolver in Tom’s bedside drawers, he is confronted with the truth about Tom’s business activities. How did he miss the signs? Or has Jimmy been ignoring the truth about Tom to hide from the truth about himself? (M/M)
- From the Storm by E.E. Grey
Bailey is exactly where he doesn’t want to be: stuck at work during the worst storm of the summer, but he’s got a case to finish. When the power goes out and it’s just him and Ian—the hot intern he’s been tentatively dating—everything is ruined. Or is it? (M/M)
- Slow Surrender by Olivia Stone
Lucas Walker is a barista by day and a drag queen by night, working toward making a name for himself in Los Angeles. Everything seems to be falling into place, except in the romance department. The guys he’s met so far don’t seem to understand that just because Lucas does drag, that doesn’t mean he’s submissive. Lucas is looking for someone he can push and challenge, someone who truly wants to submit. When Connor walks into the drag bar one night, Lucas thinks he may have finally found what he’s looking for.
- Designated Driver by Julian Keys
In the days before the inebriated had apps to summon a ride, there were designated drivers. Eric is one such, a shy and gay chauffeur who rarely gets propositioned by men unless they’re drunk. He has learned the hard way, however, not to accept such invitations.
And yet, one morning, Eric finds himself in bed beside a very naked man, a man who was anything but sober the night before. It’s Arthur, a handsome customer and friend; Eric has long been hopelessly in love with Arthur. Problem is, Eric doesn’t think Arthur is at all interested in him or that he’s going to be happy with him… if, that is, Arthur can remember what happened between them the night before.
Yet even as Eric tries to sneak away, Arthur wakes, demanding answers. Now Eric must navigate his way through the story, managing every twist and turn. If he doesn’t, it could mean the end of their friendship and of his one chance at true love.