Jay and Andreas Bell (Andreas is the handsome one)
“What can you tell us about the Lambda Literary Awards that most people don’t know?” Blinded by camera lights, sweat trickling down my face, I considered the question. This was my first time at the awards. Why would I have any insider information? Was there some secret to be discovered? Are the Lammys controlled by the Illuminati? In the end I rambled incoherently, the camera man appearing relieved when I finally finished. Then I walked into the crowd of authors and book lovers to discover the truth for myself.
The evening began with a cocktail reception—an hour of free drinks and mingling that I wish had gone on longer. Not just because of the booze, but because this part of the Lammys was most conductive to conversation. The actual awards ceremony required respectful silence, and the music pumping at the after party made comprehension impossible. Only the cocktail reception provided the right environment for getting chatty. Picture a room filled with men and women dressed to the nines, half of whom (myself included) wore a “Holy crap! Who are all these people?” expression. The other half conversed comfortably, as if they spent all their time at such events. The situation would have been intimidating if not for the extremely supportive genre I work in. Case in point, fellow finalist Eden Winters soon tracked me down.
Once upon a time, I was very nearly beaten up and potentially shot, simply because of who I am. This story isn’t just about the horrors of homophobia, but also the difference a single person can make—how one brave soul kept me safe and changed the way I view the world.
I was sixteen and still in high school when I first came out of the closet. This didn’t really affect how people treated me. I’d already been called a fag numerous times, usually by guys that caught me checking them out. Once everyone knew I was gay (instead of just suspecting it) the slurs came unprovoked. Occasionally this made me angry, but usually I shrugged it off. Kansas might not have the most cultured reputation, but for the most part, I faced relatively little homophobia. Until Zack came along. That’s not his real name of course, but it’s damn close.
Young adult! Many of us positively associate this genre with nostalgic tales of teenage angst, glittery vampires, and boy wizards. But hearing “young adult” can also send heads shaking. “Oh no! No thanks. Not for me!” I don’t understand what these readers are rejecting – probably because I’m not quite sure what “young adult” is supposed to mean. A more simplistic style? Adult bestsellers like Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist couldn’t feature simpler prose. Length isn’t it either, as J.K. Rowling has proven. So if size isn’t everything, and it’s not what you do with it, what shoves a book onto the YA shelf?
I know what you’re thinking: Young adult novels either feature young protagonists or are aimed toward a younger audience. But what qualifies as young? The United Nations says a young adult is someone between the ages of fifteen and twenty. The World Health Organization is much more generous, extending the range up to thirty-four. And in modern psychology, Erik Erikson cuts out the teen years altogether, claiming a young adult is someone from twenty to forty. So does that mean most of the M/M Romance we enjoy features young adult characters? Depends who is asked, apparently.
Title: Judas Kiss
Director: J.T. Tepnapa
Starring: Richard Harmon, Charlie David, Sean Paul Lockhart, Timo Descamps
Producers: Blue Seraph Productions, Border2Border Entertainment
Amazon Buy/Watch Link
Country of Origin/Language: USA/English
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jay Bell