The Mainstreaming of M/M …. by Josh Lanyon

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About a year ago I was invited to be a guest author at JR Ward’s Goodreads group. If you’re not familiar with Ward – and I confess I was not thenjosh logo - martini glass familiar with her work – she writes the enormously popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series about vampire soldiers battling against…well, that part isn’t really important. The important part was that Ward, a #1 New York Times and USAToday Best Selling author of erotic paranormal romance, had decided to give two of her gay characters, Qhuinn and Blay, their own full-length novel love story, and to warm up for the big event, Ward’s Goodreads group invited a series of M/M authors to come and chat about M/M romance to virgin readers.

Now granted, Ward was not the first #1 New York Times and USAToday Best Selling author of contemporary romance to dare to write a front and center gay love story for her mainstream audience (that honor goes to Suze Brockmann for the Jules and Robin storyline in her Troubleshooters series) and, granted, Ward’s series is paranormal, and spec fiction writers have been writing gay characters and gay relationships for decades, but it was still big news – and it continues to be big news.

If Lover at Last — due out March 26th of this year — does well, if a significant portion of Ward’s huge mainstream audience likes what it reads, those readers may seek out more of the same, they may look for other romances featuring male/male relationships, and that could be a very big deal for writers of M/M romance. Particularly writers of M/M paranormal romance.

That’s the theory, anyway.

The timing is much more auspicious for Ward’s book than it was when Brockmann came out with Hot Target. An audience for M/M romance already exists – in fact, Ward’s fan base pushed her to give the Qhuinn/Blay storyline a full treatment and not shortchange them with a novella – indie and epublishers like Carina Press, Samhain, etc. regularly publish  mainstream quality same sex fiction; romance sites like Dear Author — and even Publisher’s Weekly – now review these titles; a GLBT Chapter of RWA exists; and we have an increasing number of writers working within the genre producing professional level work.  In fact, the timing couldn’t be better.

But even with the best timing in the world, is it realistic to expect that a successful M/M release from an already bestselling mainstream author will translate into a boom for indie M/M authors? Won’t much of that enthusiasm be chilled when these readers purchase their first badly-edited piece of schlock from Schnooky-Nooky Press? Is it not likely that these enthusiastic new readers will look for more offerings from already established mainstream authors?

Those mainstream offerings are coming. I recently had the opportunity (“misfortune” sounds so harsh, but yeesh!) to read Lori Foster’s What Chris Wants. Word is Foster was pushed by fans into writing an M/M story for recurring series character Chris Chapey. I guess this infomercial disguised as a novella was her revenge.

Grinning, shirt and shoes in hand, Matt slogged through the water behind him. “I’ll stay.”

“Good.” And though Chris didn’t want to admit it, relief lifted the tension from his chest.

Now what?

 Chapter Two

Dressed in his usual aged and faded T-shirt with comfortably loose shorts, his feet bare and his hair finger-combed, Chris stared at the bed.

Or more precisely, the man in his bed.

Huh???

I’ve seen reviews where readers took Foster to task for skipping over the implied sex  (this is an often expressed concern about the upcoming Ward book – will she water down the erotic content?), but more to the point, where the hell is the romance? Where the hell is the STORY? It’s one thing to fade to black when it comes to scenes of sexual intimacy. When it comes to what should be the heart of the plot? That’s not okay. It’s not okay to skip the dialog and the getting to know each other and the falling in love. And if Foster’s half-hearted effort is a sample of things to come, our mainstream colleagues may not be doing us any favors by dipping their toes in the genre.

This probably sounds like I’m not thrilled about the mainstreaming of M/M, whereas in fact, I’m both excited and hopeful about the possibilities. But I don’t want to get carried away. There have always been successful standalone gay romance novels, from Renault’s The Charioteer to Laura Argiri’s The God in Flight, but these are literary novels, not genre fiction. Previous attempts to mainstream male/male contemporary genre romance have been, at least by the publisher’s standards, unsuccessful. Remember Time-Warner’s 2004 launch of the Romentics novels? Or how about Running Press’s 2009 foray into historical male/male romance?  These were brave endeavors that crashed and burned because mainstream calculates success on a different scale from indie publishing.

Nor is every M/M author thrilled to see the big guns of mainstream poaching on our little and already crowded game preserve. I’ve had more than one writing friend express nervous qualms about some big name romance author swanning in with all the might of an HQN or Random House behind her and taking up more than her fair share of cyber shelf. Can we compete against professional mainstream authors? That’s what they’re really asking – and it’s a good question. Some of us can. Some of us can’t. But isn’t that the current situation?

Of course the flip side of that insecurity is M/M authors hoping that an unexpected success with male/male romance by a Ward or Foster or Brockmann will lead mainstream publishers to take a chance on an unknown. And there are promising signs that this may come to pass. In January, ZA Maxfield signed a two-book deal with Berkley InterMix. This is Berkley’s first foray into M/M romance and it’s encouraging. Of course the assumption is that mainstream publishing is where the real money and prestige lie. It may be true about the prestige, but it would require moving one heck of a lot of books to beat the money of indie publishing. Still, being mainstream published offers a great opportunity to lure new readers to an existing backlist and might be well-worth the tradeoff. Assuming there is any tradeoff. Maybe Maxfield will move 50,000 units. I hope she does!

It’s too soon to draw any conclusions, but to me, two things are obvious: our already crowded genre is about to get a lot more crowded. Part of that crowd may – or may not be – new readers. I was surprised to find how many existing fans I had in Ward’s Goodreads group. But did I win over new readers? That, I couldn’t say. The second thing that is clear to me, is that everyone needs to bring his or her best game because here on out the competition for both old and new readers is only going to get…yes, I’ll say it…stiffer.

 

123 thoughts on “The Mainstreaming of M/M …. by Josh Lanyon

  1. Pete

    I do hope M/M could go mainstream.

    If for no other reason than to be able to be able to show the covers on the prime shelf space and table in bookstores. I have read a post of a goodreads member feeling perplexed that *that* S&M novel (Fifty shade…) got top shelf spaces, shown in highly visible areas when it is an erotica novels. While, at the same time, M/M novels, good ones, got sidled into the back corner away from the *innocent kids*. :sad:

    1. Majken

      Pete
      What m/m? You don’t find that stuff in respectable Danish bookstores, 50 Shades however, oh yes, and now we get more HET erotica on the shelves, with a nice sticker ‘devoured 50 Shades?’ attatched
      Ick

      1. Josh Lanyon

        :-D

        That’s more about flat commercialism. Pushing what will sell — or what booksellers hope will sell.

        In a way you have to almost not take it personally because so many business people — publishers included — lack imagination. They just look to see what is selling and then they follow the crowd.

    2. Josh Lanyon

      Hey, Pete! I agree with the hypocrisy in marketing m/m.

      For one, the idea that m/m is by definition erotic romance. No. It’s romance featuring two male characters. That doesn’t automatically mean it has to be erotic — though, yes, the majority of readers seem to prefer that.

      But as with all romance fiction, there are all levels of heat, including sweet m/m complete with fade to black or just the promise contained in a kiss.

  2. rdafan7

    I hope this (mainstreaming) is a good thing; there are so many great authors in the m/m genre that deserve a wider audience.
    …but it also worries me that you may be right in that these mainstream authors may “water-down” the story. If so, it’s just setting those books up to fail (IMHO)

    1. Josh Lanyon

      If that’s the case, then I think it will be a wash. We’ve got a discerning audience here who won’t be impressed by lame offerings in the vein of the Foster book. And the amount of mainstream readers convinced to sample m/m based on mediocre offerings will be negligble.

      I’m hoping for the best case scenario, but we’ll see.

  3. Majken

    Well, if this works hooray and halleluja, but I think I’ll still stick to my beloved m/m authors rather than mainstream with added m/m
    But maybe, just maybe, this will get m/m and f/f on the physical shelves in little old Denmark, we’ll see…

    Now, if you guys got to sell more books due to this, AWESOME :)

    1. Josh Lanyon

      I agree with that! I’m all for selling more books and the big challenge facing every writer now is “discoverability.” So anything that opens new doors is promising.

  4. Wave

    Hey Josh

    This may be a great idea or the biggest bust. I have read all the books mentioned in your post and while the Suze Brockmann books are okay, I was offended by What Chris Wants by Lori Foster which received 2 stars from me. If you’re going to write a book in this genre, readers expect a story, and there was NOTHING in WCW, nada. Brockmann did a better job but the usual fade to black made the sex in these books quite different from that in the het romances she writes that have explicit sex scenes. I have no problem with fade to black because sometimes it makes for a much better story, but is sex between gay men something these authors find offensive? Apart from the sex we need good stories – not only something to fatten the pocketbook – from mainstream authors, so they will have to bring their A game.

    Also, as you said, the issue of het readers looking for quality M/M books and finding the cupboard bare is a real possibility not just if they buy their stories from “Schnooky-Nooky Press.” Even the well known epublishers are releasing stories that are not ready for prime time because of the fight to be on top. The numbers are exploding, just check out the latest post by Lori James COO of All Romance EBooks on DA. However, as readers and reviewers we are struggling to find books that are at least 4 stars, even from many of our favourite authors who seem to be bitten by the bug to be a member of the book-a month-club which has the expected result – a deterioration in the quality of the product. I can’t imagine what someone new to the genre would think.

    I hope that this trend of mainstream authors moving into M/M will at least give some credibility to the genre so that we’ll no longer be the red headed step children.

    BTW, since 50 Shades I’m so sick of reading abysmally written BDSM books from writers who know absolutely nothing about the lifestyle and don’t do the required research, (which is dangerous) but figure this is their way to a quick buck and fame and fortune.
    Congratulations to ZAM. I hope that this reverse move works out for her which could help pave the way for other M/M authors who want to make the big jump.

    I’m waiting for Lover at Last to see if this is any better than what we have been fed to date from mainstream authors.

      1. Wave

        Hey J

        What I’ve been doing with long comments is save them before I push “submit.” This way, if WordPress screws up and eats my comment I have it saved. Sorry this happened to you. :sad:

    1. Josh Lanyon

      I liked the Brockmann books more than you did, Wave. I was disappointed by the fade to black, yes, but given the publishing climate at the time, I give her kudos for daring to write a full on romance story. A secondary romance story, yes, but though that’s old hat now in mainstream, when Brockmann gave Robin to Jules, it was pretty daring.

      The fact that Jules and Robin finally got their own standalone story was as much credit to the readers as Brockmann, but it’s a big moment in m/m publishing.

      The Foster story. I’m still scratching my head over that. What on earth was she thinking? It actually makes me angry with HQN that they went ahead and let her put that out there. It shows such disrespect for this audience and for the genre.

      The m/m glut is a concern. No question. And it’s hard to say if it will get worse before it gets better.

      1. Wave

        Brockmann actually wrote three M/M books. The first one All Through the Night was released in 2007 and it was the best of the lot because there was enough story content and length (350 pages). However, I found the number of characters a bit confusing as I didn’t follow the Troubleshooters series.

        The other books were very short (60 and 40 pages respectively). I felt that the plot of Beginnings and Ends the one that was released last year was too complicated for such a short book.

        There’s no doubt that Brockmann is a really good writer or she wouldn’t be where she is today.

        I think the M/M glut exceeded the capacity of readers sometime ago, and the new releases just keep on coming. For most of us, our current TBR is daunting. Every week it’s really depressing to see the number of books that “disappear” a week after release, either because the blurbs are so horrible that no one wants to buy them, even from well known authors, or the writers are unknown and readers don’t want to give them the benefit of the doubt, unless they see a really great review of the books.

        If mainstream authors like J.R. Ward give us excellent M/M stories I’m sure there will be lots of takers because of their fan base since many M/M readers also read het, but if they write stories like What Chris Wants this will be a short lived incursion into the genre.

        1. Josh Lanyon

          Ah. I only ever read the Jules and Robin story — that began in Hot Target and then finally culminated in All Through the Night.

          I’ve never read her other m/m efforts. Now I wonder why.

  5. Rhys Ford

    Oh…. so many feels.

    I would say one of my main hairy eyeballs on this topic is the fear of meh writing. Okay, my second one is the moneyed push of the meh writing by larger publishing houses…. because let’s face it… some people are going to do “gay for pay/shock/fanservice” without really writing a solid relationship book. ‘Cause that’s kind of what it feels like in some cases.

    I’d like the genre to be widely read. Most definitely. I dunno. I need some coffee. Too early to think. :coffee:

    1. Josh Lanyon

      From the minute I landed here I was startled at the writers who would say things like, “I’m not really into m/m, but that’s what sells now.”

      So we’ve always had this percentage, but it’s always been a minority. I mean, the hard core wearetherealgaymen brigade can say what they like, but — approve of it or not — the majority of writers in this genre are doing it for reasons both sincere and personal.

      That said, m/m is different from standard gay fiction in that it is first and foremost a sub-genre of romance. And in that sense, I guess it is fair game for authors who might give paranormal or steampunk a shot, might look at writing m/m in the same spirit.

      But at the same time, I remember reading a book on How to Write Romance, and one of the editor interviews mentioned that if you look down on romance, if you aren’t a romance reader, and you try to write romance — it will show. The work will betray you.

      And I think this is never so true as when people who don’t get m/m romance try to write it.

      1. Rhys Ford

        Ah, I think to write M/M you have to have a passion for really wanting to read it. *nods* Yes? :grin:

        1. Josh Lanyon

          I think writing, storytelling, is always better when there is a passion for the work. When the stories are written by writers who are writing what they love to read.

          I mean, passion is no guarantee of quality, but it’s a good starting point.

          1. Rhys Ford

            Not to be confused with the coffee and alcohol the writer needs. *nods* And yes, a good starting point.

  6. Josh Lanyon

    I think that getting some quality m/m fiction out of mainstream could be a very good thing. It could encourage a lot of writers and publishers who have fallen into the “good enough” thinking to improve their game. And it could bring more readers in for all of us.

    But it’s not a magic bullet. And for those thinking that mainstream m/m would instantly result in lots more readers and money and visibility for all are miscalculating in the same way that some writers thought the success of m/m would automatically translate into a boom for general gay fiction.

    1. Rhys Ford

      I agree. I would say I write romance into what I write but would never attempt something like a historical romance without fully delving into that genre’s language, you know? I would whole heartedly agree with getting good quality m/m out there.

      I’ve written things with a gay character in urban fantasy without having a full blown romance aspect and selling that is difficult. Not that I’m going to start folding tin foil hats or anything but I have inklings it’s easier to “sell” a gay character if there’s romance within the book… for right now. I’m probably going to be set on fire for saying that. But it’s something pricking at the back of my mind.

      I’d like to see a gay character featured in a mainstream genre series. That’s probably more in line with that I’d like to say. Just like I’d like to see M/M romance (mysteries, steampunk, etc.) be more mainstream.

      It’ll be interesting to see where it all goes in a couple of years.

      And yes, I’ve encountered a few guys who have told me to GTFO out of M/M writing because I’m not “representative” of the genre or gender. You know how well I take being shoved at. :grin:

      Regardless of what someone writes, I just want them to write well. Entertain me. Keep me coming back for more. Make me hate/love a character. And I know it’s a business but damn it, it’s also a love. :hearts01:

      1. Josh Lanyon

        Well, it seemed to work for Tanya Huff and gay secondary characters have been a staple in mystery for some time.

        And yes, I’ve encountered a few guys who have told me to GTFO out of M/M writing because I’m not “representative” of the genre

        Now there’s confusion for you. M/M evolved from slash fiction not the gay pulp tradition. So if anyone’s in the wrong place…

        1. lawless

          But what they’re really saying is that m/m and slash are illegitimate (or appropriative) genres because they’re written by women instead of gay men. So they’re not being inconsistent; they’re just saying “Gay main characters belong to us, bitches, and the only legitimate way of writing them is our way, which we call gay fiction. Forget that romance drivel.”

          1. Rhys Ford

            I hesitate to put words in anyone’s mouth but that’s what I took away from the few exchanges I had. But then the few that reached out to me did so with a certain thought in mind so, I have to keep that in the forefront when thinking that.

            I figure, I’ll write what I want and see who wants to read it. And maybe order pizza for dinner. :grin:

          2. Josh Lanyon

            Which is fine. Unless you’re trying to sell non-romance books to a romance-reading audience. That I fear is the Catch-22 for so many writers — it’s not a struggle specific to m/m. It’s the age-old problem of not wanting to alter your personal literary vision but yet wanting to reach an audience that is looking for commercial and genre fiction.

            1. lawless

              I still take offense at the view that women writing gay male MCs is automatically appropriative. What does that say about gay men writing straight men or women as MCs? Writing het?

              I agree with your point re: gay lit and m/m or gay romance. People should be free to read what they want. What bothers me is the snobby sniff given about romance as a genre and the implication that gay lit is automatically better. Part of people being free to read what they want is the availability of m/m (or gay) romance for those who like it.

              1. Josh Lanyon

                Sure. It’s tiresome and uninformed.

                But for me it’s not worth the energy to debate because the simple fact is — the reality of art is — it just doesn’t *matter* what anyone says. Artists — writers — will write the story that is in them, the story they must tell, whether it pisses off someone else or not.

                And readers will buy the stories that interest them, that speak to them, whether it pisses off someone else or not.

                Wasting time responding to these folks is like arguing with a barking dog.

              2. Josh Lanyon

                I don’t know why it is that romance gets so little — ZERO — respect given that love is probably one of the most important things in the world. Maybe THE most important thing.

                We are the relationships we forge.

                1. Frances Reed

                  Why? Maybe misogyny has something todo with it. Love and relationship building are relegated to the feminine sphere, not as important as the man stuff of building careers, bombs and war machines.

                  1. lawless

                    Yup, I agree. If it’s not something “masculine” or that men feel good about liking, it’s not worthy of consideration, even though, in my limited personal experience, men are more sentimental and (dare I say it?) romantic than women. They’re certainly less pragmatic when it comes to relationships.

                    1. Frances Reed

                      Totally agree. Sometimes I suspect my love of M/M might be my fascination with the exploration of love/relationships from a third perspective that discards the typical feminine/masculine baggage.

  7. Lasha

    My sister loves the Black Dagger books, and after getting her a Kindle for her birthday, she has pre-ordered the new one and is so excited about Qhinn/Blay’s story. Now, she’s never read M/M before, but can’t wait for this book and actually hopes there is no fade-to-black love scenes. (Yeah, we’ve had that discussion).

    In the past, I’ve tried to get her to read M/M, but no go; however, JR Ward seems to be the exception to a lot of romance readers rules…and I’m personally excited about it. If my sister likes Lover at Last, believe me I have a HUGE list of M/M books I will recommend. :grin:

    1. Josh Lanyon

      The Ward series is the perfect vehicle for introducing readers to m/m in that you have readers already signficantly invested in the characters of Blay and Qhuinn. That’s key.

      Of course that was part of what was happening in the Foster book. She had made Chris gay and her invested readers then pushed for Chris’s HEA.

      And who knows. Maybe Foster got the balance right for the majority of her fanbase? I kind of doubt it. In fact, I sincerely doubt it.

      I think love is love and most readers recognize and respond to that.

      I think for many readers Ward and other mainstream authors will be the gateway. However, if the next book up is one of those dumbass efforts from our less-respected presses, the blossoming love affair will likely wither there.

    2. Wave

      Hi Lasha

      If Ward’s new book about Qhuinn and Blay disappoints, I have a fanfic of Butch and Vishous together that doesn’t. :shock: :wave:

      1. Mikou

        I would love to read that fanfic. I gave up on JR Ward’s stories a while ago. Her writing has a kernel of something that kept me coming back for a while. Ultimately, however, the world inconsistencies, the wanna-be-gangsta rapper dialogue, and the brand name dropping wore me out. The one aspect of the stories that kept me going for a while was the sexual and romantic tension between Butch and Vishous. I wish she had let them hook up because they had way more chemistry together than they did with their respective mates.

        That being said, the Quinn/Blay story might actually get me to read another JR Ward story.

    3. Frances Reed

      Ain’t that true. In the macho Hemingway, the love affair of Farewell to Arms is the refuge and salvation from the chaos of war. That puts a big emphasis on love/romance even though this book isn’t romantic literature.

  8. Lege Artis

    Great post, Josh.
    I think your concern is spot on. I actually read What Chris Wants and general conclusion/joke in my book club was that Chris would definitely wanted more sex. First mm work or not- it really was a halfhearted effort from author.
    For now I choose to remain skeptical about Ward news.

  9. Justine

    I’m one of those readers that is eagerly awaiting Lover At Last, I’m a lover of M/M books so I’m really hoping not to feel let down by the story. I’m hoping she commits and doesn’t cop out in the hope of losing some of the readers who don’t do M/M stories. Their loss I think.

    If its done well I can’t help but feel that it helps the mainstream cause for M/M. I shall continue to read my usual authors on my Kindle.

  10. Angelia Sparrow

    I have several thought:

    It’s nice to see same-sex romance slipping out of the shadows. I remember reading it around the edges of the SF/F books I read in the 80s (Arthur and Lancelot in The Mists of Avalon, any number of gay and lesbian characters in Julian May’s Pilocene series) Seeing it up front and center will be nice.

    I fear for a _Warrior’s Woman_ moment, (Joanna Lindsey’s try at Science fiction romance) when some big name tries it, fails miserably and tarnishes the genre for mainstream readers for year to come.

    And until publishers get better distribution, we aren’t going to be in book stores. Used to be (2005), Ellora’s Cave was in every bookstore in the country. Then they changed policy and today you can’t find a one. (OTOH, we don’t get rpyalty checks where we OWE the company three figures for returns)

    1. Josh Lanyon

      Angelia, I think — judging by what I’m reading in Publisher’s Weekly over the last year — print distribution may be moot. I don’t think our audience is looking for print.

      I nearly fainted when I read your last line.

      1. Angelia Sparrow

        Happened to Elizabeth Donald. She had a very nice check, because every B&N and Borders in the country ordered her vampire murder mystery. Six months later, the returns rolled in, and she got negative royalties for three years. She took to calling her statements “My monthly insult.”

        A lot of readers do like print. They like having their keepers on the shelf, preferably signed.

        1. Josh Lanyon

          Yes, there is still an audience for print — depending on the author and the genre. But for the majority of ebook authors, there will not be money in print (this is according to the industry stats and the observations of Mark Coker of Smashwords).

          That said, I do try to make my work available in print, at least for the titles I’m self-publishing. I price them just a bit over cost (which is still expensive when you’re going POD). I view them mostly as a courtesy to the readers who still love print (being a reader who still loves print myself).

  11. Sunne

    I’m a huge Ward-fan and my greatest fear is, that she’ll not be able to deliver Blay’s and Qhuinn’s story.
    I’m quite sure she won’t shy away from the sex, she already has written a small scene in the last book. In general she only fades to black with couples who are not the main focus on her books so I feel sure to say that we’ll read about Blay and Qhuinn in action.
    What I’m afraid of is – that after reading so many good m/m books – I maybe won’t like her action. :???:

    But – and here I have to defend at least her – J.R. Ward was the author who inspired me to read m/m. And not only me, I know a lot other m/m readers who started reading m/m because of Vishous and Butch and because of Blay and Qhuinn. If you ask around…you’d be astonished. Post a poll in the goodreads m/m group – I wonder how many but I think a lot started reading m/m because of J.R. Ward or Suzanne Brockmann. So mainstream already had an effect.

    The effect that mainstream will have on the quality? I don’t think there will be one…seriously, there are a lot of really crappy written books already published. There is even a publisher I avoid because I’ve been dissapointed nearly every time I bought a book (only if I already know the author I buy Silver).
    So if bigger houses print m/m…at least we can hope the books have seen a good editor.
    What’s quality and what’s not, what will entertain and what not? It’s not in our hands anyway. I mean seriously, let’s mention 50 Shades again. Did anyone expect it to be such a sucess? Do we understand why? (I mean, I have a theory…all these Twilight fans were looking for their next swoon-fix).
    So – there will be readers who will swoon over books that will make us shudder…this has happened in the past and will in the future.

    Let’s just hope that increasing popularity of m/m will help to more equality (I assume it will lead to more tolerance and will actually bring people to accept homosexuality who so far hadn’t had an opinion) and to higer sales for those authors who deliver first class m/m.

    It will make boards where you can read honest reviews more important. As they already grew more and more important with the constant increasing new releases.

    1. Josh Lanyon

      Let’s just hope that increasing popularity of m/m will help to more equality (I assume it will lead to more tolerance and will actually bring people to accept homosexuality who so far hadn’t had an opinion) and to higer sales for those authors who deliver first class m/m.

      I think those are two almost certain benefits of mainstreaming — the pressure to edit and an increasing acceptance that will ideally turn into blase response to the idea of same sex romance.

      1. Sunne

        Okay…I can’t help it…..*squeeee* (that was a fangirl moment)
        Josh Lanyon actually answered to my comment :cool: :smile:

  12. Whitley

    An interesting topic for M/M authors and readers.
    As a group, we’re all waiting to see what happens with JR Ward’s book. The consequences for other M/M authors may be boom or bust: discovery of great indie M/M authors (like Josh) or a flooding of the market with bad M/M romance from “jump on the bandwagon” authors who don’t have their hearts in the work.
    Josh is absolutely right–if your heart’s not in it, it’ll show. If you write het romance but don’t like writing M/M, it’s going to show.
    Success for JR Ward’s book will see new M/M indie publishers popping up everywhere—many of these the caliber of “Schnooky-Nooky Press.” These pubs will look to make a quick buck by riding the crest of the M/M wave and will care about quantity far more than quality. This will potentially hurt M/M romance.
    Whether any introduction is better than none remains to be seen. Presumably readers are intelligent enough to recognize this knee-jerk response in the publishing industry, and will suss out quality books.
    With the price of JR’s book (even on Kindle), I’ll wait until the reviews roll in before acquiring a copy.

    1. Josh Lanyon

      With the price of JR’s book (even on Kindle), I’ll wait until the reviews roll in before acquiring a copy.

      An interesting point. Pricing. The big six don’t tend to underprice anything except what they regard as “throwaway” shorts and novellas.

      1. Whitley

        And that can potentially hurt. If the book gets bad reviews from respected M/M reviewers, I’ll be glad NOT to have invested the money.

      2. Wave

        I don’t know how Penguin justifies charging $18.72 for Lover at Last in Kindle format when the hardcover is $16.44 on sale. I might wait to see if the book comes down in price rather than buying it as soon as it’s released.

          1. L.C. Chase

            You guys… There’s this crazy place called the “Library”. All you have to do is check it out and promise to return it on time. ;) That’s what I usually do because the only thing keeping me still reading that series is Blay & Qhuinn, and no way am I paying a gazillion dollars for the minor page time they’ve been getting the last couple of books. That said, I did, uh…. preorder this one.

            She better do them justice! :strike:

            Ward and her BDB series are what led me to MM, btw. So, I’d like to think it will have a positive impact, not just in bringing an influx of new readers, but opening the door to equality and acceptance much wider. Of course, the story and characters need to be fully developed so we care about them. As with any story.

            1. Josh Lanyon

              Very true.

              On another note, I was reading a somewhat depressing article on libraries — the point being that libraries basically have two to three years to figure out how to stay relevant in this rapidly changing publishing environment.

        1. Jenni719

          Amazon has it listed at 14.99 but the publisher’s list price is 27.95!! It really doesn’t matter to me. I’ve already preordered it and I’d pay twice that just so i can start reading it right at midnight.

            1. Whitley

              Yes, it’s an interesting side topic here, isn’t it? What will the market bear?
              I love to watch a new release download at midnight on my Kindle, and then stay up way too late reading.
              That said, I have to keep that pleasure in the context of my monthly book-buying budget. the bucks for JR Ward’s book would buy several Lanyons (an author whom I know will deliver the M/M read I want).
              The public library may end up being the JR Ward vendor for me , unless a well-respected M/M reviewers gives the book such a glowing review I’m unequivocally reassured buying won’t lead to regrets.
              There’s always returns, but that can hurt the author more than not buying in the first place.

  13. thelastaerie

    To be honest, I’m not too concerned if m/m goes mainstream. Of course, I like the upside of it – that good m/m writers will sell more books and get more recognition; that going mainstream will help to make reading m/m romance an everyday thing for anyone who’s interested. But I am not sure if it will necessarily help to improve m/m stories’ quality, which to me, as a reader, is more important. There are loads of badly written books (ok, bad books with less typos) in mainstream publishing, and I certainly don’t care for mainstream writers jumping into this genre just because it’s “trendy”. I’m sure many het erotica/BDSM genre readers are mad that “50 Shades” books giving their genre a bad name to the public.

    1. Josh Lanyon

      If it results in more quality fiction, I’m all for that. If it results in a further flooding of the genre with mediocre work penned by authors who figure mediocre will be good enough for this audience, that will not be a positive.

      Not even for readers who can’t keep up with tne new releases now.

  14. Trix

    I always assumed the commercial and critical success of Madeleine Miller’s THE SONG OF ACHILLES would be more of a benchmark crossover, since for all intents and purposes it is a gorgeously written m/m mythological fanfic. I’ve seen very few mentions of that in either mainstream or m/m venues, however. It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

  15. J.K. Hogan

    Hi Josh! Great, thought provoking post. As an avid reader of both het and m/m romance, I share your concerns about mainstreaming. I’d hate to see the genre “adapted” to fit what authors think a larger audience would want (Read: watered down). I hope that doesn’t happen, and I hope Ward’s book has the desired effect of drawing reader attention to already established authors of the genre.

    For what it’s worth, also being a long-time JR Ward fan, I don’t believe she’ll go the fade to black route (I believe her “fandom” would crucify the book if that were the case), and as far as the story, it has already been developing throughout the series and is just as complex as all of the other characters’ stories

    I’ve also worried about the “50 Shades” effect, where a less-than-stellar (IMHO) example of a genre that is not mainstream, in that case erotica, is introduced to the larger audience who weren’t previously familiar with it. It trivializes all of the amazing authors who are already established that these people who are new to the genre aren’t familiar with.

    As a het paranormal romance author, I always include gay characters in each my stories because it is important for me to show my readers that this is normal, being somewhat of a LGBT activist in my real life. I was deeply gratified when my mother read my book in which there are two men who are long time partners, and she was pleasantly surprised that she liked that part…she’d said she’d never read about gay characters and it was interesting to her.

    I have entertained the idea of writing m/m novels for the gay secondary characters in my novels, but am hesitant because of the same concerns you voiced about Ward’s book, et. al. I do not want to do it until I know it will enhance and gain appreciation for the genre rather than be a detriment to it.

    Would you mind if I share your post on my blog and my response to it? I’d love to get a discussion going with some of my readers! TIA!

    1. Josh Lanyon

      Would you mind if I share your post on my blog and my response to it? I’d love to get a discussion going with some of my readers! TIA!

      Sure. Or at least, as long as Wave is okay with it, I am. I think the more discussion the better!

  16. Mary G

    This is a combo of MHO & devil’s advocate. I think M/M will benefit from mainstream exposure but we will not see a glut of M/F writers jumping on the M/M bandwagon. I read mostly M/M now but I voraciously read pretty much everything before. I beta read and freelance edit and believe me, the leap from M/F to M/M is not the same as your editor saying to you, “romantic suspense is really hot, so put away your contemporaries for now” which has happened to a few of my writers.

    Foster is a case in point. She has mad writing skills and writes excellent & hot books but was not going to claim any expertise in the M/M genre. She is being penalized for introducing a fabulous gay character and the fact that her fans wanted closure on his story, not something she planned when writing the series or Chris’s character. What Chris Wants is the 6th book in the series, a novella of approx. 40 pages. It was meant to not only give Chris his romance but to tie up the series. Chris & Matt’s story and therefore the background was started in the previous books. It did it’s job for fans of the series (like me). I’m actually impressed that HQN was involved. I never expected this company who made it’s start on “fade to black” books to make this step, however small.

    People who would not normally read M/M may decide to check it out & will be looking for existing M/M books & authors. They won’t be waiting for Ward & Brockmann to write more books or for my fave M/F writers to make the switch to M/M. They’re going to want to read it by authors experienced & talented in the M/M genre.It’s about more exposure and it’s not a bad way to get it. IMHO of course. Maybe one day, I might even tell my mom I write M/M reviews – baby steps LOL.

    1. Josh Lanyon

      She is being penalized for introducing a fabulous gay character and the fact that her fans wanted closure on his story, not something she planned when writing the series or Chris’s character.

      Well, in fairness, she’s being penalized for writing an infomercial disguised as a romance novella. I give her credit for creating a fabulous gay character, but no writer should be pressured into writing what they don’t want to write or feel they can’t do justice to. I don’t see any shame in simply saying the truth. I don’t think I can do justice to this story.

      1. Mary G

        I’ve read the whole post & every comment so I’m missing something here. Was Foster’s book “sold” as an M/M novella? I’m not getting the “infomercial” thing.

        1. Josh Lanyon

          I’m guessing if I was a fan of Foster’s series — and if the relationship between Chris and Matt had been developed in the novella — the constant references to the other characters and their backtories would have read less like an infomercial and more like revisting old beloved friends.

          But since I’m unfamiliar with the series and characters, and since I bought the novella to read a romance about Chris and Matt, the fact that the relationship took place off-stage and that the characters spent more time talking to the supporting cast than each other, was quite a disappointment.

          It felt to me like its real purpose was simply to introduce potential readers to the proper series.

  17. KerryP

    Thank you Josh for the interesting conversation. I started reading MM romance about a year ago and feel it has given me a glimpse of that community. I am happy that JR Ward has decided to give a full novel to these characters because I am counting on her excellent reputation as an author. It is important that for someone just being introduced into any new genre, that the story and sex be well-written. If the first MM I read had been poorly done, I would not have picked up another one.

    I found MM romance through Kate Douglas, who writes paranormal erotic romance. She is a huge advocate for the LGBT community and in her series Wolf Tales, the characters are all making love to each other (except familial). She opened the door for erotic romance and at the same time introduced MM sexual encounters to many readers.
    I would also like to mention that in the Crossfire Series, Bared To You etc., there is a prominent secondary character who is bisexual. The author has mentioned that Carey’s story is in the works and he will have his own book. I hope that does happen, because these novels have been so exquisitely done I cannot imagine the author to do any less for a MM novel. :smile:

    1. Josh Lanyon

      Kerry, thanks so much for sharing this information.

      You make an excellent point about a reader’s first experience with m/m. While I’m not saying that every reader would love m/m if she/he just started with the right book (what we each find romantic is too personal for that) I have seen enough reader comments to know that starting with a terrible book can end a reader’s interest in the entire genre right there.

  18. K. Z. Snow

    Before we get too optimistic, we need to keep in mind that Ward and Foster a.) have enormous followings and b.) cannily tucked their m/m stories within very popular, well-established series. Readers are wildly devoted to those authors, Ward in particular, and deeply invested in their characters.

    The rest of us don’t have those advantages. And they’re considerable.

    Just keepin’ it real. :cool:

    1. Josh Lanyon

      Yes indeed. It’s possible that no matter how much Ward and Brockmann and Foster’s readers love those m/m stories, they may only want more of the same from their favorite (trusted) authors.

      1. Sunne

        But they can’t wait another year for the next book….that was what in the end had happened to me. I wanted V and Butch to get toegether – I knew it wouldnn’t happen – then finally Qhuinn kisses Blay (man!!! That kiss in the PT-suite…*fans herself* best moment in Lover Enshrined…) and????? Nothing more??? My frustration found it’s valve in reading m/m. I was lucky, my first book was Keeping Promise Rock – so I started with a good author. And since then I’m soooo hooked.
        And I think that those who’ll love Blay and Qhuinn together will search for more books of that kind. They’ll probably will start with PNR – it makes it somehow easier if there are vampires or weres involved.
        But if they are avid readers – they can’t wait till one of their fav authors will finally produce another book.

        1. Josh Lanyon

          But if they are avid readers – they can’t wait till one of their fav authors will finally produce another book.

          This is absolutely true — the avid reader (and I speak as an avid reader here) is someone whose heartrate changes at the thought of a new book from a favorite author. :-D

          1. Sunne

            Yeah….and in this case you can imagine what will happen to my heartrate at the thought of “The Boy with the Painful Tattoo” :grin:

            In the meantime…since I read about 200 books a year (I know – insane and only doable because I have my kindle)…I always have to find new authors and books. So mainstream isn’t enough for me. :smile:

  19. Mary B

    Speaking of Ward, it was actually the angst between Quinn and Blay that pulled me in to the series after breaking down and borrowing “Lover Mine” from the library. I flipped through it as it was lengthy and complicated and a genre I hadn’t been into. I am glad she is going big with their story. The part that I think is so wrong and a betrayal is what she has done to the characters Vishous and Butch. How I read their story was that these two men deeply loved each other, and as with all true intimacy there was some sensual experiences due to how open and trusting they were with each other. As it was written, that was it. Story lines for both characters included them falling deeply in love and “bonding” with female characters and yet their strong bond with each other remained but it wasn’t sexual. But there have been some in the readership that are implying that they have had a sexual relationship, and I have been stunned to see where it took place, because it was not written into the published stories, and if it is it is so coded that only a certain few get it. What I think is readers though both these male characters were hot and wouldn’t it be hotter it they were together sexually, and if that’s the case I am left screaming “no that is not hot, that is false to what is actually being conveyed in the story, it cheapens their love IMO. And the real betrayal is the author in her side barring Facebook posts and book signings has supported the suggestion that more went on than we think. What is with that, either write the story as the story, don’t imply a whole other story line that you didn’t go with cause you weren’t ready or whatever reason. I honesty feel betrayed by the authors actions which is a bit ridiculous, but you either tell the story one way or another and then leave it. It is a betrayal to the emotional integrity of the story. IMO all the story lines related to these characters, published, implied, fanfiction are tarnished. :sad: Well that felt good to get off my chest :smile:

    1. Josh Lanyon

      Mary, that’s fascinating. Starting with the point about angst — the emotional story — first grabbing your interest and attention. I think this can’t be overemphasized enough. There’s so much focus on the erotic content (and it’s vital, no question) that I think we sometimes forget that the emotional connection is what turns sex into lovemaking.

      As for the rest of your comment, I’m still working through the idea that the author is suggesting there’s an alternative storyline to the one she’s written. Wow!

      1. Sunne

        To make it clear – J.R. Ward is not suggesting that there is an alternative storyline….she is just teasing that there is more going on than she is writing.
        She actually has the whole world built like they are independent people – she is just the one to quasi report what they allow her.
        This rumor of V and Butch is based on a comment she had made at a book signing to the question if they would some day have sex with each other and her teasing answer was “Who says that they haven’t?”
        But that’s her style, she is doing that hinting and teasing thing in her signings and it’s all open to the interpretation of the readers.

        1. Josh Lanyon

          And, per my comments to Mary below, how successful that teasing is depends on the reader and how seriously they take authorial intent.

          I do think that it’s one thing to have fun with the idea that right now Jake and Adrien are unpacking boxes in their new home — that’s a future I’ve laid out in the existing books. But if I were to joke that right now Jake is at a club and Adrien is home alone having to unpack all the boxes…that would be disturbing for readers because it’s not the future I’ve intimated for them — and it’s not a future most readers want to contemplate.

          So I think it’s great that Ward has a sense of humor. But it’s tricky too!

          1. Mary B

            Thank you for giving such a perfect example. It would be heart breaking to come across that kind of info showing drifting from the growing intimacy and commitment between Adrien and Jake. In the interview you do after Dark Tide, you show them in deepening intimacy with the little, sacred touches of love. These type of timbits are delightful and further the appreciation of the whole story.
            I also so greatly appreciate your diplomacy and inclusiveness. you are a master storyteller.

      2. Mary B

        Thanks Josh. Your comments are very validating and assist in easing the gloss over of this issue. The reading journey is special and IMO deserves to be respected.

        1. Mary B

          Thanks for your comments Sunne, but how is that not hinting or teasing of an alternative story line? Why even bother teasing? To me there are two different story lines with different emotional attachments involved. How do you just slip in “oh yeah, maybe they do have sex together.” It is confusing and it just doesn’t work for me. Since this, the actual published story does not read the same for me and that makes me a bit sad. However I might be a minority in thinking this way.

          1. Josh Lanyon

            I think there’s actually a huge discussion here that would make a great topic all on its own. Authorial Intent.

            There are some readers for whom authorial intent is crucial (I’m one of them!) so a casual comment that maybe what we see in the books is not exactly what’s happening sends me reeling. :-D

            But for other readers, readers who are maybe better able to simply look at writing as the creative and intellectual exercise it is, they don’t care that much about authorial intent because they know for every given storyline there are dozens of possible alternative paths. So Ward’s teasing is just fun for them.

            1. Sunne

              I agree that’s a tricky subject.
              J.R. Ward is teasing and from history of other book signings, her comments etc. it really is just to make the readers crazy. Nothing she had hinted had been exactly as people wanted it to interpret. E.g. she had hinted that V and Butch would be together in V’s penthouse (in Lover Unleashed) – well, yes, but there was absolutely no sexual content in that Sub/Dom scene.
              And about them having sex – Mary B – she never said they had, she just answered to the question: “Who said they never had?” It’s our interptretation that this implies that they had had sex.
              Most of her readers love the teasing and start to speculate. Me for myself I have made the experience that nothing gets eaten as hot as it gets cooked (duh..translated a German saying).

  20. VutchGirl

    Ward should write the Vutch story. That’s the only thing I want to see.

    Qhuay always felt to me like a poor substitute, a teenager version of the real m/m love story in the BDB. It also has a certain bitter aftertaste… I don’t know… Like she only does it go give m/m fans something and make the Vutch fans STFU (which she won’t achieve) and to jump on the m/m bandwagon.

    But hey, the most important thing is that Butch gets it regularly… ;-)

    1. Wave

      VutchGirl

      If you would like to read a fanfic someone sent me years ago about Butch and Vishous email me and I would be happy to share. It’s only about 12 pages long and in double space but it’s fun and, of course, there’s sex. :grin:

  21. Shelley

    I’ve become less and less enthused with the BDB series. For me, the last couple of books have been disappointing. I’m still at the ‘will I, won’t I’ stage as to whether or not I will buy/read Lover At Last. The NZ$20 (approx US$16) price tag has put me off, and I’m not interested in joining the 240+ request queue at my library!

    Unlike a lot of people, I never bought into Butch and V as a couple. Yes, the deep, deep love for each other is there but for me it is a strong friendship that may seem to be a pseudo-sexual relationship but it doesn’t actually go there.

    I definitely want to read about Quinn and Blay and their HEA but I’m not sure that I want to read any of the secondary plot lines. To me that is just going to be a whole lot of clutter full of product placement, bad slang and female characters that just never seem to be strong enough for their mates.

    My biggest concern Is that JR Ward is writing this simply to pander to the fans out there that want her to write an m/m book. In previous books some dialogue and some of the male/female character interactions have appeared stilted. JR Ward doesn’t necessariy write great female characters anyway so maybe with an m/m plot she may just pull it off. Perhaps she should have been writing m/m right from the start!

    I’m sure I will get around to reading LAL at some stage but just not right now. If mainstreaming m/m means hefty price tags for the eBooks, then count me out. I spend my book budget very carefully and it doesn’t include hardcover prices for eBooks. There are more important priorities, such as the much longed for 3rd book in the Holmes and Moriarty series!

    1. Sunne

      I have to agree with you … a little bit.
      The last BDB-books just hadn’t been as good as the first ones. I’m still reading because I want to see Blay and Qhuinn.

      And these two are the only ones I’m willing to spend so much money on.
      Every other mainstream series I’ve been reading I have stopped because I hate when they suddenly go from paperback to hardcover and demand the hardcover price for the ebook, too.

      And I soooo agree about “The Boy with the Painful Tatoo” :smile:

      1. Josh Lanyon

        The whole pricing thing is such a puzzle to me. As a reader, I honestly have no self-control. If I want a book, I don’t even look at the price. I just don’t care. Now partly this has to do with buying fewer books, so I’m not guilty if I overspend here and there. It all balances out.

        As a writer, I really try to keep my pricing fair — but realistic. I charge $2.99 for a short story. Period. Any creative work by a professional writer should begin at $2.99. That’s the base point, in my opinion. Right there you’re paying for education, experience, and a professional quality product. So I charge higher than some for a short story, but on the other side of the scale — when we get to novels, etc. — I’ve yet to charge over $6.99 for an ebook.

      2. Shelley

        I’m happy to pay a fair and reasonable price for an ebook, but I just don’t understand the ‘hardcover’ and ‘trade’ pricing for them. For me in New Zealand, geographical restrictions also push the prices up if the only edition I can purchase is supplied by a UK publisher. Prices for UK editions of ebooks are generally a minimum of NZ$5 dearer than a US edition. I certainly won’t pay NZ$15+ for an ebook if I can purchase the US edition for around NZ$10! I became very selective about the authors I purchase when the only edition available to me is published through a UK publisher.

        If there is no UK publisher and if the US publisher does not have (or utilise) worldwide rights then the ebooks aren’t available to me. There are several authors I no longer read because their ebooks are not available to buyers in NZ – Ilona Andrews is one that comes to mind. I know that there are other authors unavailable to me but I can’t recall who they are right now. When geographical restriction were enforced several years ago I moved onto new-to-me genres and new-to-me authors. Those authors have now replaced authors that used to be my favourites.

        1. Josh Lanyon

          I moved onto new-to-me genres and new-to-me authors. Those authors have now replaced authors that used to be my favourites.

          This is where I think it’s all changed, and where some publishers are misreading the situation. Now days readers have endless options — no one is irreplaceable. Behind every popular, bestselling authors is a long line of talented hopefuls waiting to move up.

    2. Josh Lanyon

      There are more important priorities, such as the much longed for 3rd book in the Holmes and Moriarty series!

      Ha! Well, we’ll do our best not to disappoint. :-)

  22. Natasha

    I own all the BDB books in kindle, hardback and paperback (all have different covers) and I have pre-ordered Lover at Last (in Aug of last year… Obsessed much?) But, I have to admit I am worried about the sex scenes. In book 10 she tried a scene between Saxton and Blay but it kinda cut short. Saying that it was still er um sort of… Well it was a trial run I suppose.
    The BDB books are top heavy sex (m/f) and I really really hope she gives Blay and Qhuinn the same treatment. The whole series is very good, with some books better than others (there are 10 of them so far, so some people will like ? And think ? Weaker etc etc)
    Anyway, in all this rambling, I just wanted to say, I nervous! Really really nervous. I like the character Blay very much and I want his HEA. Also in the other books Blay has been having a relationship with Saxton but it fades to black whenever they have sex. You know they going at it like bunnie but DAMN I want in! ;-)

    Tash

    1. Josh Lanyon

      Tash, I think the consensus is that Ward is *probably* going to give readers what they want — or at least try her damnedest. There’s more pressure on her for this book than the last four.

  23. Nicole Kimberling

    This kind of reminds me of the Japanese phenomenon where a manga author draws doujinshi of her own work. So, for example there’s the “real” story of Gravitation, but for fun the mangaka draws an alternate story with a different pairing or something.

    (And just as an aside, the Gravitation doujinshi are truly not for the faint of heart. Poor Yuki! The things Murakami-sensei does to him in these little one-offs! :eek:)

    Usually these are strictly self-published fan service items sold at conventions. It’s an interesting thing to do, but its not the same as releasing a, for lack of a better word, legitimate book.

    1. Josh Lanyon

      Ah. Yes. I see — and those would be considered added value promo items but because of the way they’re handled (or maybe just manga culture) they wouldn’t get in the way of anyone’s understanding of the “real” story/plot line?

      I find this especially interesting given what a strangely delicate balance there is between the writer’s always restless vision and the reader experience.

  24. Jutta Schneider

    Dear Josh,
    I’m really a bit excited to post something here, as I’ve been reading a lot of comments here and in other groups and I’m totally hooked by your books and some other m/m fiction I’ve read so far. And I thought maybe I tell you something about my point of view as a german, female reader who has read m/m books for the first time in her life some weeks ago and nothing else since then – like totally addicted to this genre! The funny thing is that I really stumbled upon one book which sounded quite interesting (The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles), being some sort of victorian mystery/ghost story whith a bit of romance. I read a review in a german romance magazine (Loveletter) about this book and gave it a try.
    (By the way, I have to admit that I’m also partly from the publishing business having worked as an editor for a german mostly mainstream publishing house for over 10 years. Well, after my second kid I stopped working there and started to work freelance from home. So I also have some “inside” perspective from the publisher’s point of view.)
    Back to the book I was reading: Suddenly I realized this was a story about two men falling in love with each other (in different times and with even more difficulties and barriers to overcome then nowadays) and thought “Wow, what a really nice surprise!”
    The funny thing is I really don’t know exactly why I am so drawn to m/m stories since then. I read some articles and thought about it and I think there are a lot of aspect involved which make me like this genre: okay, erotic aspects of course, I have to admit I find the sex scenes really hot … ( I like men, so it’s obviously very nice to read about TWO men in love), maybe because it’s something different and new. I read all sorts of different stuff, I like crime novels, fantasy novels and erotic novels, sometimes more literary books, but at the moment I prefer to read more entertaining books, as with working and having two kids life is really quite exhausting most of the time. But in general I am quite open to new genres or subjects and books which are a bit off the normal mainstream. One important aspect though, seems to me that m/m novels often contain a certain atmosphere: a bit melancholic, gloomy or bittersweet, as the lovestories between men often involve a lot of problems gay people have to deal with when falling in love or coming out. And all these struggles with society, themselves and their partner seem to be quite appealing to me – and a lot of other readers as I assume – as they really get under one’s skin. It’s really more interesting to me than reading classical mainstream romance novels, which I do not like so much by the way. Additionally, with the perspective of gay male protagonists in books a whole new world opened up to me – a thing which I really apreciated, as I view lots of things different now and learned a lot (I think).
    Now about the fear that quality m/m fiction is taken over a bit by mainstream fiction: I think that these books really are a big chance for readers to find this m/m genre! As with me who didn’t search for the books before they landed in my ebook-reader by chance. And if readers are hooked or interested enough they will search for more books to read, and they will search for quality books with good and comprehensible stories and characters. And they will search for books which are not only about sex, because this is simply boring without the development of their characters and relationship.
    As I love to read suspense novels, especially crime series, your books containing this and the additional treat of personal development and love life of the male characters – are really a great mixture!!! Since stumbling upon the above mentioned book I found “The Haunted Heart”, the first book from you I read and liked so much, then the Adrien-English-Series (oh. my. god!), Holmes & Moriarity, The Ghost who whore yellow Socks, Lone Star and A Ghost of a Chance. I’m very much looking forward to reading every last bit which is published so far and to reading the sequels of your books.
    So, sorry for all this rambling, but I just had to say this. :-)
    Greetings from a german bookworm :-)

    1. Josh Lanyon

      Dear Jutta, Thanks for your insightful comments! (And of course for the very kind words.) I think that one of the attractions for mainstream publishers is that m/m seems to tap into a voracious readership that has little or no interest in traditional romance fare. So a publisher shrewd enough to look at those sales as rather lavish icing on the cake, could be well positioned to establish a small but vibrant m/m imprint and corner this particular market.

      So glad you stopped by — I hope you are continuing to find stories to enjoy in this genre!

  25. Sally

    So of course loving J R Ward’s books and now loving your books too, I’ve gone straight to search for the discussion and your name comes up a LOT there, I had to search hard to find the appropriate posts.

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