Monday, June 13, 2011

Taboo Tens: Day Thirteen Lavinia Lewis

Greetings fans!

Welcome to another day at Michael's for the Taboo tens! 

I'm privileged and excited to have on great friend and fellow author, Lavinia Lewis with a guest post!

Lavinia is giving away a copy of each book today as well, so please comment.

Here she is. Give her your undivided attention!


Before I start I’d just like to take the time to thank Michael for inviting me here to ramble talk today. Michael is one of the most welcoming and generous authors I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know. She always has a kind word and a helping hand for those starting out. Just want you to know I appreciate it honey, I really do. So…

A friend of mine made a comment recently that really made me think about what I write. She said that writing M/M romance must be easier than writing hetero because gay men can face so much prejudice that you already have the conflicts in place in your stories without having to invent any.

Wow. I can tell you I had no idea how to respond to that comment at first, and had to spend some time really thinking on it. To some extent, I could understand the point she was trying to make. I think it is fair to say that gay men can face greater difficulties in life than heterosexual men. Yes, everyone has their troubles, be they financial, health, work or relationship based. But gay men have those same issues plus a whole range of others. The major issues of course being homophobia, victimization and discrimination.

Also, the dilemma of whether to come out or to remain closeted must be one of the most difficult decisions a gay man has to face. In choosing to lead an openly gay lifestyle, one is essentially setting oneself up to scrutiny from friends, family, coworkers, employers and indeed strangers. Those who choose not to disclose their orientation however deal with a different set of complications that are no less challenging.

When we write M/M romance, these issues can give us conflict in our stories before we even come up with our plot, it’s true. However I would in no way say writing M/M romance is easier than writing M/F. Far from it. These subject matters have to be treated with great sensitivity and care or we run the risk of being offensive. And of course women M/M romance writers have often been accused of fetishizing male homosexuality.

And then there is the sex. Sex in M/M romance is by far one of the biggest topics I hear discussed in the genre and people can be very outspoken about it. Too much sex and sex without plot are phrases I hear often. By writing M/M romance we are telling the story of an adult romantic relationship so there is inevitably going to be sex, but how much is too much? And how graphic should it be? Do you like to read every detail of a sex scene or do you prefer fade to black? The problem of course is that we each like different things and as the old saying goes, we may be able to please some of the people some of the time but we can’t please all of the people all of the time. And I think that M/M readers in general can be far more critical than het romance readers.

Then of course there is the issue of women writers being accused of writing ‘chicks with dicks’. Women have to be extra careful not to over-feminize their male leads or face a flurry of bad reviews and ridicule. So, women writers of M/M romance do not have it easy and it is certainly not easier to write M/M romance than it would be to write a hetero.

That being said, if we were to worry about all of these issues then we would never get any writing done at all. I think the important thing for any writer, be they a writer of M/M romance or any other genre is to write from the heart. I always write the things that I myself would enjoy reading and hope that I’m not the only one out there who would enjoy reading it.

At the moment I am hard at work writing books five and six in my Shifters’ Haven series and I have to say I am enjoying writing the series immensely. The latest release in my series is Cody’s Revelation Please feel free to comment to receive a copy of the first three ebooks in the series.

Cody’s Revelation - The blurb

What happens when a werewolf meets his mate, only to discover the man he has waited his life for already belongs to someone else?

Werewolf Cody Morgan is summoned home from New York to Texas by his elder brother and alpha Kelan, and immediately knows that visiting alpha Stefan Drake is his soul mate. However, Cody’s newfound happiness is short-lived after he discovers Stefan has a wife and son. Suddenly, everything he has waited his life for isn’t the fairytale he had hoped for. Cody’s life becomes further complicated when Stefan’s brother-in-law shows up and challenges Stefan’s position as alpha. Stefan assures him all is not as it seems, but are there too many obstacles for a wolf to overcome or is true love worth taking a chance on?


Cody was about to protest. He tried to pull away, but he swallowed his objection as soon as the man’s lips touched his own. His tongue pushed at Cody’s lips, demanding entrance. Cody had no choice but to open up and let the man plunder his mouth.

He was on fire at the touch of the man’s lips and the taste of his sweet mouth. He honestly felt like he had never been kissed before this moment. Every other guy he’d known paled in comparison to this mountain of a man who was now devouring his mouth with a passion Cody had never before experienced. A rock-hard cock pressed against his own, which was now swollen inside his pants and pushing painfully against his zipper, begging for release.

His whole world tilted on its axis. Cody forgot where he was and the fact they had an audience—damn, he could barely remember his own name. It was as though they were the only two people that existed in the world. Cody felt himself start to tremble—he couldn’t control it. If the man didn’t have such a tight hold on him, he knew his legs would have given out by now.

Cody could do nothing but surrender to the all-consuming kiss. It was as if every nerve ending in his body led directly to his cock. He ground his hips against the man in an effort to get closer, which solicited another growl from the chest of the larger wolf. He reached down to grab hold of Cody’s ass and pressed them closer still. As soon as he became capable of rational thought again, Cody narrowed it down to only one. It’s him! He wanted to scream it to the entire world. It’s him! He found me!

Awesome blog, Lavinia! Everything you say is true. Women do have to worry about all these things and sometimes, over thinking can get in the way of writing.

In the end, you must do what you, the author want. Hopefully someone will like it along the way.

Thanks for the kind words also, hun. I'm truly happy to help my fellow authors and anytime I'm able to have a guest on, I love it because, I enjoy hearing other writer's perspectives.
So readers, go on and comment to win 1 of the first 2 books in the series!

Join us tomorrow for another dear friend, Angel Martinez.

Till then...


LaviniaLewis said...

Thanks so much for inviting me on your fab blog again honey!

C. Zampa said...

Good to see you, Lavinia! Loved your excerpt and the covers are beautiful!

I have mixed feelings about the conflicts in m/m writing, and I can sort of see what your friend meant.

I think, for myself, though, I get weary when so many of the books out there are ONLY about these issues--coming out, prejudice, etc.
Not that they are not issues to BE addressed.

But I also enjoy romances where the fact that the men are gay is just a factor in the story, not THE issue. I LOVE seeing portraits of happy, normal daily lives of gay characters. They DO happen. LOL.

Enjoyed your post! Very thoughtful! Thanks for sharing this!

Rawiya said...

Youre so welcome Lav!

Thx for visiting, C

K.T. Bishop said...

great job!

Rawiya said...

TY for visiting!

LaviniaLewis said...

@C. Zampa. Thanks for reading and for your comment. I agree it is nice to read books in which these issues are not the main focus of the story, but on the other hand I've seen M/M books that contain none of these issues slammed because they are too unrealistic. I think it can be difficult to get the perfect balance of real life and fantasy sometimes.

@ K.T Why thank you!

Jude Mason said...


Excellent blog post. I write m/m and to be honest, I do understand what your friend was getting at, but would never dream of using those issues as the main plot line/conflict in a story. I'm not even sure I've ever used it as any kind of issue in one of my books. To me, it would be stating the obvious. We all know gay men have those problems, so let's move on to something else in their lives.


Tara Lain said...

Thanks for the great post, Lavinia. : )

Tanith Davenport said...

Great post! I certainly agree with you on the "chicks with dicks" angle. I love m/m fiction, but I've read far too many stories with excessively girly men.

LaviniaLewis said...

@ Jude Mason:- Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree, I think I can see what she was getting at but there is so much more to writing M/M romance than just relying on these issues for our stories.

@ Tara Lain:- Thank you! And thanks for reading and commenting!

@ Tanith Davenport:- Thanks for stopping by and commenting Tanith! As women writers, I think we do have to work hard to ensure our men are men. That being said I do think it's okay for men to be emotional but maybe not overly so. It's a difficult and complex topic I think.

Jan Irving said...

I've written m/m and now m/f and menage but I've not found one easier than the other. Each story is different, each presents its challenges.

LaviniaLewis said...

Hi Jan! You're right of course, each story is different, with its own set of challenges, and I don't think that one is necessarily any easier than the other. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

Rawiya said...

TY all for visiting! ;)

Jen B. said...

I would love the chance to read this. Not that I need anymore to read right now but this sounds really good! Thanks for the giveaway.

She said...

Good post. As a reader, I just want a good story with character I come to care about. Love the covers on your books. How much control did you have over them?

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Lavinia,

I don't think M/M ER is easier than any other subgenre. It might even be more difficult, because one has to balance the sensibilities of mostly female readers with realism. To be honest, much of the gay erotica I've read (by gay men) is much rougher and more oriented toward the physical than the M/M romance I've read. When I've tried to write more in this vein, though, I've found that female readers really don't enjoy it.

LaviniaLewis said...

@Jen:- Thank's for reading and commenting Jen, you've been entered to win!

@She:- Thank you! Yes I love the covers too! They are designed by Posh Gosh. We do get quite a bit of control over them. We fill in a form in which we describe the characters in great detail, we describe the setting and give a brief summary of the story then we are given a copy to proof. If we're not happy with anything we can then go back to the cover artist and ask for changes but I haven't had to do that as I've been really pleased with the results to date. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

@Lisabet:- Yes there can be a difference in style between male and female authors but I think it all depends on the individual. Andrew Grey's books are less rough in style for example and he writes with great emotion. Then there are books i've read that I thought were written by a man but turned out to be a women so I think the line and divide is far more blurred these days. Thank you for reading and commenting Lisabet!

Nikki McCoy said...

Great post Lavinia!
I too can see what your friend was getting at, but I think maybe she was looking at it from a stereotypical perspective. For instance, nearly all of the people I've told about my M/M books automatically assume that I write about gay conflict and are surprised when I tell them my books are fantasy-based. Even the gay men that I know are shocked when they read my sex scenes.
How can a female have knowledge of gay sex?
My mom's reaction was the best. When I told her that my first book had been accepted, she was confused. She suggested that I write F/F books, being that I am female, and to this day still insists that I would find writing much easier if I chose that genre.
However, it all boils down to the fact that I feel most comfortable with the dynamics of M/M relationships. Don't ask my why. I still can't explain it. But it's what makes me feel good, and hopefully my readers as well :)

LaviniaLewis said...

Hi Nikki, thank you for reading and for your comments. Yes, I think us female writers of M/M romance are often misinterpreted. It is difficult for many people to understand why we would chose to write in this genre and it is equally as arduous trying to explain and or justify our reasons. Personally I don’t bother, let people think what they want. I write what I enjoy writing. It would be equally as difficult for me to explain why I like a certain food or why I have a favourite colour. We like what we like and we do what makes us happy even though sometimes that confuses the people closest to us. We can only hope that our readers enjoy our stories as much as we enjoy creating them.