Day: June 15, 2020
Writing Gay Romances: 4 FAQ (Part 1) by Kelli A Wilkins
My name is Kelli A. Wilkins and I write romances in every genre and heat level from mild to super-spicy. When people learn that I write gay romances they usually ask “Why would you write one of those? You’re not a man or gay.”
I generally respond with “Why shouldn’t I write gay romances? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’ve never been a vampire.” (That quiets them down for a while.)
I get a lot of questions about “why” or “how” I write gay romances. To celebrate Pride month, I’m sharing four FAQ about writing m/m romances. In the second part of this blog, I’ll share four more questions from readers and authors.
#1: You’ve written lots of straight romances. Why write gay romances?
Why not? I’m a writer. And as a writer, I write whatever romance book comes to me, whether it’s a contemporary, historical, paranormal, or gay romance. My stories are about people who meet, fall in love, and overcome obstacles to be with one another.
This basic philosophy applies whether the characters are same-sex, different sex, or space alien and earth girl. Love is love and romance is romance. I’m not married to one specific genre or heat level. I go where the story and the characters take me.
When I wrote Four Days with Jack, A Secret Match, and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing I trusted my instincts and wrote the story that was in my head. Although all three books are contemporary gay romances, they’re very different.
In A Secret Match, a big part of the storyline centers around Everett dealing (or rather, not dealing) with his sexuality, and his (un)willingness to be open about who he really is. Ev has been in a committed relationship for years and is afraid that if he doesn’t come out, he’ll lose the love of his life. He’s also worried about his career. How will the world view a gay wrestler? Will there be backlash if he comes out?
David from Four Days with Jack has never come to terms with his sexuality. He’s been lying to himself for years about his orientation and hiding his true desires. David has always loved his gay best friend (Jack) and has fantasized about being his lover, but he lacked the courage to admit his feelings—until now.
The main characters in Killer in Wolf’s Clothing are comfortable with their sexuality, but have other issues to deal with (like shapeshifting and a serial killer). This erotic paranormal is a fun look at the werewolf legend and blends romance, mystery, danger, humor, and sizzling love scenes.
#2: How do you write the gay love scenes in your books?
I approach a same-sex love scene the same way I would if I was writing about a hetero couple. When I write a straight romance, about half of the scenes are written from a male point of view, so I’m used to writing in (and thinking in) a male “voice” anyway.
There’s not much difference in writing a story from two male points of view. Writing a love scene isn’t only about the gender or the anatomy of the characters—it’s about creating a believable, intimate scene where two people express their love for each other.
Each character in each book is unique, so the love scenes are always approached from different directions. In Four Days with Jack, David is introduced to a world of new experiences. Everett and Josh’s first kiss in A Secret Match is a tender and sweet moment; and the first time readers meet Deke from Killer in Wolf’s Clothing they realize he’s anything but shy.
#3: What’s the hardest part about writing a gay romance?
The answer to this might be surprising, and no, it has nothing to do with bedroom activities. The hardest part about writing a same-sex romance or m/m love scene is pronouns.
As I’m writing, I’ll dash off something like: “He ran his hand down his chest and…” Wait, what? He ran his own hand down his own chest? No… I have to pay extra close attention when revising or editing a same-sex scene. Too many “his” references and the reader doesn’t know who is doing what. Better to say: “He ran his hand down Kevin’s chest and…”
#4: Are you concerned about what people will think about you writing gay romances?
Not in the least. People will think whatever they want. I realize that not everyone wants to read the same type of romance. Some readers love historicals, others only read contemporaries or paranormals, and that’s fine. But if readers are turned off to me as an author just because I write gay romances… well, that’s too bad, see ya.
When I wrote my first gay romance, I considered “what people would think” about the book and me writing it—for about three seconds. Then I reminded myself that I’m a writer, and I create the characters and scenes that make up the book.
I don’t worry about what people might think of me writing about two male characters kissing, going to bed, or making dinner. Basically, the story needs to be told, and I’m the one telling it. As a writer, I’ve made up all sorts of things: an erotic Bigfoot story, a historical Viking tale, detailed ménage scenes (in all combinations), and a first-person vampire love story.
Writers need to turn off their internal editors and forge ahead with the story as it should be (and needs to be) told. If we constantly worried about what grandma would think about our writing, or if we were afraid to open up and let the characters (and the story) take us into the bedroom, we’d never write anything except G-rated fables.
Now more than ever, I’m just as proud/PRIDEful of my gay romances as I am of my straight romances. Why? Because I’m a romance writer—and in my books, everyone deserves to be in love and live happily-ever-after with whatever partner they choose.
And that’s the way it should be… in fiction and in real life. Here’s the book summary to my first gay romance, Four Days with Jack. I hope you’ll check it out. I fell in love with the characters, and I hope readers will too. It’s got a good blend of humor, drama, and plenty of hot love scenes!
I hope you enjoyed this FAQ blog. Stay tuned for Part 2, and don’t forget, you can catch up on all of my blogs on the blog section of my site: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog
Enjoy & Happy Reading!
Kelli A. Wilkins
FOUR DAYS WITH JACK
When David invited his best friend on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…
Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David has lived a lie and denied his romantic feelings for Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he finally admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.
Jack has been in love with David for years and is encouraged by his desire to explore a sexual relationship. He’s more than willing to introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden cravings, but what will happen when they leave the resort?
Will David come out and start a new life with Jack? Or will he go back to his old ways and risk losing the best friend he ever had?
Order Four Days with Jack here:
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bo6Rap
Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/four-days-with-jack
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 6 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
In January 2020, Kelli published Love, Lies & Redemption, a western romance set in 1877 Nebraska. This novel blends a sensual love story with mystery and danger.
She released Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love, a non-fiction guide to romance in 2019. The book features 104 fun and easy ways you can express your love to that special someone in your life. Perfect for men or women, it focuses on tender, everyday gestures that let your partner know how much you love him or her.
Kelli published Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.
Kelli has authored two online writing courses: Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas and Fiction Writing for Beginners. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.
Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.
Kelli posts on her main Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and she created a Facebook page for her Gay Romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/
Follow her on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor and visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.
#Featured “Black Girls Must Die Exhausted: A Novel for Grown Ups” by Jayne Allen
A compelling reader-celebrated debut novel by contemporary fiction author Jayne Allen. This conversation-starting story is perfect for reading alone, with friends, or along with one of the many “Black Girls Must Die Exhausted” online reading groups.
From the Author:
“I wrote ‘Black Girls Must Die Exhausted’ because, as a black woman, I wanted to see a recognizable version of myself reflected in accessible and relatable contemporary fiction. My goal was a story that could make us feel, make us laugh, make us think, and make us proud.”
– Jayne Allen
From Black Girls Must Die Exhausted:
At 30, I just knew it was the end of the dress rehearsal. I was officially grown.
And to me, that meant a checklist…
But then, at some point, once you get into it, the 30’s throws some major curveball your way and you realize that life…is what happens between the lines of that checklist.
You learn that life isn’t really about checklist-type problems.
And that’s when you have to find out who you really are, because one minute you had all the answers, and the next, you’ve got none at all.
“Black girls must die exhausted” is something that 33-year-old Tabitha “Tabby” Walker has heard her grandmother say before. Of course, her grandmother (who happens to be white) was referring to the 1950’s and what she observed in the nascent times of civil rights. With a coveted position as a local news reporter, a “paper-perfect” boyfriend, and a standing Saturday morning appointment with a reliable hairstylist, Tabby never imagined how this phrase could apply to her as a black girl in contemporary times – until everything changed.
A sudden doctor’s diagnosis awakens Tabby to an unperceived culprit, threatening the one thing that has always mattered most – having a family of her own. With the help of her best friends, the irreverent and headstrong Laila and Alexis, the mom jeans-wearing former “Sexy Lexi,” she must explore the reaches of modern medicine and test the limits of her relationships if she’ll ever reach her goal.
Set in Los Angeles, Tabby’s journey entertains readers with an intimate view of the experience and effects of race, complicated romance, and contemporary womanhood. Will she be able to leverage the power of laughter, love, and courageous self-care before the phrase “black girls must die exhausted” takes on new meaning?
What Readers Are Saying:
“Black Girl Magic is everywhere in this book!”
“I absolutely loved this book! The characters seemed to jump off of the page…they were so real.”
“…finishing up the last few pages of this book ~ I realized how much I will miss my little moments that I steal away in my day to read….every character became family and most relationships reminded me of my life.”
“I loved this story with every part of my soul, humanity, and womanhood!”
“You’re not going to want to put this book down!”
“If you want a glimpse of some of the complex issues facing women of color, read this book.”
“Everything is said without being overwhelming. Loved it! A must read!”
“This was part of our book club read. I really enjoyed it and will be reading the next book.”
“Great and fun read!”
#GuestPost Kirk Zurosky, author of “The Immortal Divorce Court Series”
What inspired me to create the Immortal Divorce Court series?
The Immortal Divorce Court Series was created from my experiences as an attorney, and my going through a hellacious divorce. It inspired the premise of what could happen if you were an immortal creature of myth, but you had a habit of making really bad relationship choices. We have all had that one relationship (or more) where when it was over we wondered just what in the Hell were we thinking! But, what if ending up in literal Hell was one of the consequences for those bad relationship choices? So with that idea in mind, I created the Immortal Divorce Court universe where immortal vampire assassin, Sirius Sinister, is getting haled into Immortal Divorce Court by his femme fatales, but also meeting and making eternal friendships with an incredible cast of mythical characters along the way.
What do I want readers to take away from the Immortal Divorce Court series?
Immortal Divorce Court is at its core a book about Sirius Sinister’s relationships with his family, friends, and paramours. Sometimes when Sirius meets someone in the book there is an instant connection and a lifelong (in this case a really lifelong!) friendship that develops. The people we meet and love, and sometimes those that we meet that really aren’t good for us, are ultimately the people that help us to grow and change to be the best people we can be. The Immortal Divorce Court world is not that much different from our own in that we need other people to be at our very best because without love and friendship life can be pretty hard and lonely. So, the take away for the readers is that to be your best self you have to put yourself out there and experience the wonderful diversity that is humanity.
Do I have a favorite Immortal Divorce Court character?
I enjoyed creating and writing dialogue for all of the Immortal Divorce Court characters, but I especially liked the challenge of portraying Garlic, the vampire Maltese, as the real person she is without any actual spoken dialogue. Garlic is based on our wanna be vampire Maltese, Daisy, who can absolutely communicate when she is irritated, that you shouldn’t be ignoring her, and most importantly in getting more than her fair share of dog treats and belly rubs. There is no doubt that she has mastered teaching old humans some new tricks. As a lawyer, I have taken great joy in writing dialogue for Maximillian Justice, Sirius’ divorce attorney. It was such an absolute blast to push the envelope with what he says and does in the Immortal Divorce Court courtroom.
What was your inspiration for writing such steamy sex scenes?
Though he doesn’t realize it at first, Sirius Sinister is on a quest to find his true love, and I just thank the heavens every day that I found mine. I didn’t know what love was until I met my wife, Susie. When you are in a relationship that doesn’t mesh everything about it seems difficult, and forced. However, if you are ever so lucky to meet your true match in life, everything is effortless and natural, and every instinct is the correct one. So, in effect with the Immortal Divorce Court Series, I wrote a seven volume love story to my wife, and she has graciously allowed me through my writing to share some of the most inspirational and intimate parts of our life. And, as the saying goes – you write what you know!
Have I been to all of the places in the book that Sirius Sinister travels to?
One of my favorite things to do in life is to travel the world with Susie. I have been fortunate to visit many of the places where Volume One is set and the locales of the next six volumes as well. But, because the book is set over several centuries, I had to do a lot of research as to what was happening at the time in history that I was setting the story there. Of course, I haven’t been to Hell (though my first marriage certainly felt like it might qualify…)
About Kirk Zurosky
He started writing about the adventures of Sirius Sinister as a means of personal therapy to cope with a contentious divorce that felt endless, having no idea at first that it would turn into the seven-book Immortal Divorce Court series. Incorporating his own legal experiences into the books, Kirk puts a playful and racy spin on the worst-case scenarios that can possibly crop up in divorce court.
Kirk lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife, Susie, and their wannabe-vampire Maltese, Daisy.
Visit Kirk’s website at kirkzurosky.com where you can get Sirius Sinister™ Gear!
Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Immortal Divorce Court Volume 1:
My Ex-Wife Said Go to Hell
Sirius Sinister keeps sleeping with the wrong women. And this time, it’s led to his imprisonment in Hell. Literal Hell.
Immortal vampire assassin Sirius Sinister has a healthy libido that constantly results in bad relationship decisions. But when he’s served divorce papers by Bloodsucker Number One—a shady woman from his past—he realizes there’s a major problem: he was never even married to her, or so he thought. Regardless of the truth, Sirius is put under the jurisdiction of Immortal Divorce Court.
You would think by now he’d know having sex can lead to horrific consequences like marriage, children, and ex-wives—but some habits just won’t die. Leaving his faithful vampire Maltese, Garlic, behind, Sirius travels to court to defend himself with the help of his demon attorney, Maximillian Justice. Unfortunately, the trial quickly spirals out of control, and Sirius is banished to hell for a hundred years.
When Sirius finally escapes, he ends up in the Caribbean where he meets his next paramour: the Howler. After a wild romp with his new werewolf lover under the lure of a full blood moon, he finds himself becoming the father of a litter of pups—but, the Howler and her Pack want to put the dead in deadbeat dad. Luckily, Sirius is saved by the Queen of the Merfolk, who comes with a hidden agenda even as they fall in love. Can he make it work with the Queen, or will he have to head to Immortal Divorce Court once again as yet another relationship flounders?
For all those who have nursed a broken heart—or a vengeful one—Immortal Divorce Court Volume 1 is a sexy, exciting debut and the start of a hellishly fun new series about the flawed antihero Sirius Sinister.