MAY 2011 M/M ROMANCE NEWSLETTER|
Welcome to our newsletter. We hope the content on this page is both informative and entertaining. We welcome feedback; you can send it to the Newsletter Editor. Also, please visit the Dreamspinner Press blog! Follow the blog to see author posts, book excerpts, contests, and other news from the press about M/M romance. Enjoy!
Ariel Tachna, Social Networking Coordinator, Dreamspinner Press
Why did you decide to write romance stories?
I don't think I ever really DID decide. I just started writing, and it turned into a romance. And then once I was doing it, I found the format really satisfying. I don't think I'm really a romantic in real life—I don't believe in love at first sight, and I don't believe in real 'happily ever afters'. That's not to say that I don't believe in love, or that I don't think people can stay together for their whole lives. I just think that it all comes with work, and commitment, and a sincere appreciation of the challenges that will face any relationship. But once I started writing romances, I found that I could integrate those beliefs into the romance format, and create stories that felt romantic and exciting, but that also felt real. So I decided to keep going.
Where do your ideas come from?
Life. Not mine, necessarily, but just looking around and seeing things happen. I write contemporary romance, so there's no shifters or wizards or even historical figures, just regular people trying to figure things out. I think most of my stories are character-based, so really I think my ideas come from devising one character, and then figuring out what kind of a person the first character would do well with, and what challenges they might face in trying to be together.
How were you introduced to M/M fiction?
I assume I'm not alone in saying fan fiction? I'd never heard of m/m until I stumbled onto some m/m fan fiction. I've never really been much of a fan, and I can't remember, now, what I was doing poking around (just killing time on the internet, probably), but I somehow stumbled across some fan fiction and was blown away. I can't remember who wrote the story I found, or even what fandom it was in, but the quality of writing was unbelievable. As I read more widely in the genre, I found that I couldn't always count on that quality, but I eventually developed a list of authors who reliably produced material that I thought was at least as good as a lot of the published work I read, and through them, my love of m/m was born!
What are five of your favorite books/series?
I think this might be a bit YA heavy—I read a lot of adult books, of course, but I don't think that books have the same emotional resonance with me, anymore. Not that I don't still enjoy reading, but I don't get lost in the story and the characters the way I did when I was younger. When I was a kid, I LIVED in those books; I would be totally lost in another world for days at a time. I can't do that anymore, so while I still read a lot of good books, the ones that come to mind as 'favorites' are the ones that affected me so much as a younger person. So, that said...
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton. Absolutely. I don't think I've picked the book up in the last decade, and I can still quote parts of it word-for-word. Is it great literature? Probably not. But it's a hell of a story, and the characters are iconic, to me.
The Pern books, by Anne McCaffrey. They're a bit problematic from an adult perspective (especially a feminist adult), but I can't deny that they caught my imagination in a pretty huge way when I was a kid.
Any Jane Austen, but especially Persuasion. When I first read these, as a teenager, I didn't really get into them. Then I saw the BBC Pride and Prejudice, and gave the book another chance. As an adult, I found the humor in the books, and saw that the narrator was actually making fun of the characters, sometimes gently, sometimes quite viciously. I was hooked. I love them all, but I think Persuasion is my favorite, for the way that it adds so much heart and kindness to the usual Austen wit. It's a romance, sure, but the characters are imperfect and unglamorous and real, and I love it.
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman. I think this is the first book that was recommended to me by a friend, rather than an adult. And I loved it. When the movie came out, I loved it, too; even though it left out a lot of my favorite parts from the book, it added new dimensions, and made it all fresh and lovely.
And I was just checking my Goodreads books, searching for a fifth title—and I find that I only gave four stars to Little Women. I guess that's what I'd give it today, but I remember being thrilled by it when I first read it. I was Jo, except that I kind of missed out on the big lesson about forgiveness—to this day, I want to kill Amy. And I also want Jo to end up with Laurie. Probably not going to happen, right?
Why did you decide to try to publish your stories?
I just thought it would be fun. I'd written the Dark Horse monstrosity before I had any idea of how long a book was supposed to be, and I'd just done it for fun, but people said they really liked it, so I thought, why not? Dreamspinner Press was the only publisher I submitted to, because they were the only reputable m/m publishers I could find who would consider something so long! I've been grateful for that limitation ever since, because I've really enjoyed my time at DSP and can't imagine a more supportive environment in which to explore the world of publishing.
Kate Sherwood started writing at about the same time that she got back on a horse after a twenty-year break. She'd like to think that she's far too young for it to be a mid-life crisis, but apparently she was ready for a few changes!
Win an eBook copy of your choice of one of this author's works. Clues are available in author bios on our web site.
This author graduated from Marshall University and used to work as a copy editor for a newspaper.
E-mail the Newsletter Editor with your answer. A winner will be chosen randomly from the correct answers. Contest ends the last day of the month.
The correct answers to last month's question: In this Croation author's free time, she enjoys free climbing, long walks by the sea, and yoga. Valentina Heart
Cream in Your Coffee
By Rebecca Cohen
The adult part of his brain knew he had been out of order, but the part that reverted straight back to kindergarten at any sign of a fight had refused to back down. Greg sipped his espresso, enjoying the bitter tang as it exploded across his tongue. Unfortunately, it wasn't the only thing that was bitter this morning. And hiding in a secluded corner of his favorite coffee shop's terrace wasn't going to improve the situation.
He tried to distract himself from the argument by flipping through the newspaper, but as he scanned through the articles, his conscience got louder, until it was too loud to ignore. Okay, so he knew Carl was no angel, but he'd never cheated. Yes, he was a constant flirt, always ready with a cheeky smile, and if Greg was honest, that smile was one of the many things he loved about the guy. So the barrage of accusations he'd thrown as he'd laid into Carl was probably—all right, definitely—undeserved. It wasn't as if Carl hadn't called to say he wouldn't be coming over after his shift like he usually did, and his excuse had been more than reasonable, but ever since Justin, Greg had found it hard to trust any partner.
A shadow fell across him, and he looked up, squinting into the sun. Standing over him was the tall, broad-shouldered figure of his boyfriend.
"You wanted another coffee? I'm new and still training so it might not be that great... it's on the house."
Before Greg could say anything, Carl continued. "Y'see, I used to work at Delany's, down on Fifth, but my partner wasn't too happy with all the attention I was getting, so I quit."
Carl cocked his head to one side, and Greg could see he wanted him to play along.
"He the jealous type?"
The blond nodded, leaning down to wipe the table with a cloth. "He's got no reason to be, but sometimes I could be a little more understanding; he's been messed around on a few times."
"He's a bit of an idiot, by the sound of it."
Carl shrugged. "We both are."
Greg glanced around to check they were on their own and grabbed Carl by the wrist, pulling him down and into his lap, Carl straddling his thighs.
"I'm sorry—I just...."
Carl shushed him, pressing a light kiss to his forehead. "I know, but you've gotta learn to trust me, baby."
"I'm not doing it on purpose. I just hate the way other guys look at you, like they're starving, and I get all caveman and want to drag you back my apartment and never let you out again."
Carl ran his fingers down Greg's cheek. "I have to work, and unlike a certain sexy architect, I don't have a college degree to fall back on. There's only certain types of jobs I'm gonna get."
Greg buried his nose in the soft skin at Carl's neck, breathing in the smell of the man he loved, the scent of Carl's cologne making him hard.
"I don't see why you can't just move in and be my personal barista," he said, his hands sliding down Carl's back until they rested on his ass. "Then you could go back to college."
Carl sat back. "You want me to move in? You always said that after Justin...."
Greg looked into Carl's face, realizing that he was letting his ex hurt his new lover almost as much as Justin had hurt him. "I know I said I didn't want to live with someone again, but you're not him. You're nothing like him, and I need to start thinking about my future and not my past."
Reaching up, Greg slid his fingers into Carl's soft hair and pulled him closer. Their lips met, softly at first in a gentle kiss that spoke of love and devotion. Carl squirmed in his lap, causing Greg to growl in response to the spark of want deep inside. Slipping his other hand under the apron tied around Carl's waist, he located the button fly of his boyfriend's jeans.
The kiss deepened as Greg worked his hand into Carl's shorts, swallowing his boyfriend's breathy moans as his fingers brushed against the head of Carl's cock.
"We shouldn't, not here," gasped Carl.
"There's no one here. Just you and me."
Carl was beautiful like this, wild-eyed and wanton and on display in the warm sunshine, his eyelids flickering, not quite closed, and his mouth part open, panting gently as Greg curled his hand around his cock, the warm flesh hardening further under his touch. Slowly pumping his hand up and down, Greg teased Carl, a casual swipe of his thumb over the head making Carl lean forward and bury his face in Greg's shoulder.
Greg sped up his movement, enraptured by the noises his boyfriend made, the undulation of Carl's hips sending delicious friction through his body. But this wasn't about him. This was for Carl, and Greg squeezed Carl's cock firmly, milking his release from his trembling body.
Withdrawing his hand, he wrapped his arms around Carl, holding him steady while his breathing returned to normal and the rush of hormones subsided. Carl looked at him, all flushed with lust-slaked eyes, the color of Carl's cheeks broadcasting to the world what they'd been doing, and Greg couldn't bring himself to care.
"God, I love you," Carl whispered, almost desperate.
Greg chuckled and held Carl tighter. "You're pretty amazing too."
Sliding off Greg's lap, Carl wriggled with discomfort as he refastened his fly, and Greg tried to wipe his hands clean on a napkin.
Carl held out his hand. "Come on. I've done my training for the day. Let's go back to your apartment. I want to make you feel as good as you make me."
Taking the offered hand, Greg grinned. "I hope you don't say that to all your customers."
Carl smiled cheekily. "Only you."
|WHAT I'M READING Ariel Tachna, Social Networking Coordinator
Gathering Storm by Lyn Gala
Vinnie Bernardi wants to leave his past as a repressed rich boy behind and find himself as a proud, gay submissive. Unfortunately, there's only one man who has ever successfully dominated him, and that man is unattainable. But Vinnie is slowly falling apart and needs a top to help him hold it together, so he decides to go ahead and make his move on Charleston, the military academy instructor at the center of his very favorite fantasies.
Instead of finding his dream come true, Vinnie discovers the reality of Charleston's world is darker, more brutal, and more dangerous than he ever suspected. When Vinnie bumbles his way into Charleston's attentions, he stirs up ghosts from the other man's mysterious past—phantoms deadly enough that Vinnie begins to fear he might not survive long enough to get what he truly needs: love and a firm hand to shelter it.
Ariel's thoughts: BDSM is one of those genres that has to be done just right for me to enjoy it. And of course "just right" for me won't be just right for other readers in the genre, but this one hit the right notes for me. Vinnie is a quintessential submissive in search of a good top, something that's a lot harder to find than one would think, especially for him. He's a master manipulator who has no reason to trust anyone, except Charleston. This isn't a stereotypical romance with flowery declarations of love, but those wouldn't fit the characters. Instead you have two men struggling to find a balance while other people try to separate (and even kill) them, and the change in Vinnie in the final scene is proof of just how far they've come. - Ariel Tachna, Social Networking Coordinator
By Mary Calmes
"Trusted Bond is a perfect balance of drama, suspense, action and tantalizing erotic scenes. Those who enjoyed Change of Heart won't want to miss Trusted Bond."
Scandalous Minx at Literary Nymphs
by Amy Lane
"I like this story since both characters are young and innocent (and no, innocent is not referring only to a physical thing); these two are not naïve or spoiled young men, they grew before their age, and Tate has experienced pain and even rape; at the end of this novella, not everything will be solved for them, they will have still a lot of obstacles to overcome, but at least they will be not alone in doing so. I feel that even if young, these two have a long-term future together in front of them."
Free Short Story:|
Cream in Your Coffee by Rebecca Cohen
Calls for Submissions - Contest
News - What I'm Reading Recommended Reads
Ask the Editor - About Us Unsubscribe -
The following books will have a limited number of signed copies available on a first come, first served basis:|
Kindred Hearts by Rowan Speedwell, Little Boy Lost: Abandoned by J.P. Barnaby, Infected: Life After Death by Andrea Speed, Treasure of Love by Scotty Cade, Marked Yours by Elizabeth Noble, and Lorcan's Desire by SJD Peterson.
The following authors will host Meet the Author events at Dreamspinner Press's Goodreads group this month. All Meet the Author events are from 1 to 6 pm EST unless otherwise noted:
Shelter Somerset - May 7, 2 - 6 pm
Aleksandr Voinov - May 14
Scotty Cade - May 21
Maureen Willman - May 28
Rick R. Reed was interviewed at Bibrary Bookslut.
Tinnean did an interview with Sullivan Wheeler.
Read Amy Lane's interview with Jessewave.
Andrew Grey chatted with SJD Peterson.
CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS|
In order to give all our potential authors the best service and attention, Dreamspinner Press no longer accepts simultaneous submissions. |
See the Open Calls for Submissions page for further details.
Limited Calls for 2011
Ahoy, me proud beauty, shiver me timbers! I ask ye to sail me jollyboat on the high seas, lubber, but will ye dare to accept? On offer be a pirate's life full of danger and risk, and not just to yer neck, but to yer very virgin heart! There's many a bodice to be ripped—or perhaps I should say many a codpiece to be snapped—and should ye be graced enough to cross bones with a corsair, don't be an addlepate! Heave ho, lad, handsomely, and show him how ye bury yer treasure!
Pirates didn't only sail the high seas in historical times. Modern-day renegades and futuristic rebels are just as ripe for adventure and plunder. No matter the time, place, or circumstances, bad boys steal affection as often as they salvage treasure, and in these stories of romance, a rogue's black heart always conceals a center of gold.
Submission Deadline: May 23, 2011
Enter the hallowed halls of higher learning, where there's a lot more to life, sex, and love than what these men can get out of a book. They'll give English a slip of the tongue, practice their Interpersonal Communication skills, and learn about the birds and the bees in Biology. Join them as they see why flexibility is important in Phys Ed, figure the odds of finding the perfect mate in Statistics, flirt and woo each other with poetry in Literature, and discover why Chemistry is a double entendre.
Submission Deadline: Aug. 15, 2011
I'll Be Home for Christmas
2011 Advent Calendar
It's the most fervent dream of the holidays: to have a life full of blooming romance and enduring devotion with love, joy, and even a touch of lust to warm the cold winter nights. No matter what holidays are celebrated, the idiom holds true: home is where the heart is.
Submission Deadline: Sept. 1, 2011
Two Tickets to Paradise
A vacation is exactly what these men need to find love in their lives. It may be about looking for a little fun, gaining a fresh perspective after a breakup, or building up the nerve to take the plunge. Whether they travel by plane, train, or automobile, none of them want to go it alone. They're hoping romance will be the ticket to finding paradise in another man's arms.
Submission Deadline: Dec. 1, 2011
Dreamspinner Press is accepting submissions for our in-house genre Timeless Dreams, romantic M/M historical fiction with happy endings. While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma. You can visit the rough and tumble Old West, travel the ancient kingdoms of desert sheikhs, see the black and red lacquer of the Far East, or dance in dramatic Regency England. No matter where or when, in the romantic worlds of Timeless Dreams, our heroes always live happily ever after.
Manuscripts of any story length may be submitted. You must follow general submission guidelines for short stories for proper consideration. Please list "Timeless Dreams" in the subject line of your submission.
Dreamspinner Press is accepting submissions for our in-house genre, Bittersweet Dreams, stories of M/M romance with nontraditional endings. It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
Manuscripts of any story length may be submitted. You must follow general submission guidelines for short stories for proper consideration. Please list "Bittersweet Dreams" in the subject line of your submission.
Congratulations to Heidi Cullinan and Marguerite Labbe who had books in the finals at the Rainbow Awards for Excellence.
Desert Island Keeper award: Woke Up in a Strange Place by Eric Arvin|
Whipped Cream Reviews Best Book: American Love Songs by Ashlyn Kane
A+ from Man-Oh-Man reviews: Counterpoint: Dylan's Story by Ruth Sims
ASK THE EDITOR|
How necessary is a summary for daydream and nap-size dream submissions?
for short fic, we use the summary primarily for writing the blurb. The summary for a short fic does not need to be long—ideally it is the author's description of the story in 300 words or less.
How does an editor reading the slush pile get past their own genre preferences to see a story they might not personally like for its intrinsic merits?
We recognize that individual readers like some genres and not others. That's why no single person reads a submission for Dreamspinner Press and why the publisher and submissions editor keep track of who likes/dislikes/is knowledgeable of which genres. Publisher Elizabeth North has developed a network of more than twenty readers who review submissions for us, and every submission gets at least two random reads besides the master review by Elizabeth herself. We make every effort to give every submission a fair shake, and we take into account more unusual genre choices such as BDSM/Kink, science fiction, Westerns, and Bittersweet Dreams. We want to provide reading for customers who enjoy a wide variety of genres, and multiple inputs allow us to do that while planning a varied publication schedule.
Launched in May 2007, Dreamspinner Press offers quiet romance, supernatural passion, out-of-this-world lovers, kinky explorations, and heated dreams—a little taste to whet your appetite for romantic homoerotica. We hope you take a little time to be enchanted, romanced, and loved by enjoying the publications of Dreamspinner Press.|
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