Welcome to Michael's!
Today, I'm happy to have one of my most favorite people on the planet. Fab author Angel Martinez with a Q&A. Let's have a listen to this virtual conversation.
What is your favorite subgenre to write?
I write mainly in the subgenres I’ve devoured all my life. Science Fiction and Fantasy sustained and nourished me through my childhood and misspent youth—aw, heck, they still do. No, I’m not one of those people who lumps SF and Fantasy into one bin. They’re very different animals and not every author can snuggle up to both. But they do share a couple of vital elements for me: the freedom to create realities at different angles from the norm and the ability to discuss issues that might be preachy or uncomfortable in a “real world” setting.
Would you ever write a hetero romance? Why or why not?
Under my given name, Sandra Stixrude, I have written het relationships, but as plot elements in SF stories rather than as romance. The few short stories I’ve written as het erotica and romance were mostly of a gender-bending/non-traditional nature. (A boy coming of age in Amazon society and having to face marriage. Aphrodite’s re-conquest of her husband Hephaestus. That sort of thing.) These things don’t play well with most het romance readers and, while I enjoyed writing them, they simply didn’t catch fire for me like writing gay romance does.
Your first published book?
Ah, there’s nothing like your first time, right? My first published book, in 2006, was a little SF chap book titled “The Missionary.” Stop that, all you dirty boys and girls. It was a story about a missionary to alien races, one who has been wildly successful but is wounded and weary, one who learns as much from his new mission as they do from him. My heart raced for days when it was accepted. I couldn’t sleep, as I recall, for about a week. The price? I think I sold it for thirty bucks, the publisher ruined the reveal by throwing a spoiler in the tag line, and the illustrations drawn for it weren’t, er, the most professional. But I still have it and treasure it.
Do you believe it’s important for you to know the gender of the author?
No. Plain and simple. If an author wishes to remain completely veiled, like Lemony Snicket, I don’t find my enjoyment of the work diminished in any way. And, like Lemony, if the author wishes to build a tongue-in-cheek persona to go with the veiled identity, that’s wonderfully creative. However, I do find it absurd that we, as a writing community, and the literary community at large still consider gender an issue. Additionally, I can’t condone using gender identity to mislead, for personal reasons or for monetary ones. I’m proud to be a woman author. I’m grateful and in awe of all the women who came before me and struggled against the establishment, the men who said their poor little brains would never manage writing as impressive as male writing. Does that mean I’m embittered toward male authors? Certainly not. Does it mean I want every woman writing erotic and gay romance to reveal who she is? Not if she’d rather remain veiled. But don’t engage me, as the reader, in bald-faced lies. It’s not necessary and it benefits no one in the end.
How do you feel about m/f writers making the jump into the m/m romance genre just because it’s popular?
I feel the same way I did about writers jumping onto the vampire chariot and writers diving into the religious conspiracy pool. Sure, writers all want to make a living, but there’s something sad and wearying about everything having to be about the money. Write what you love. Write out of love. Write from the fires of your heart and the bleakest landscapes of your soul. Write because you are compelled, because you must, because your head will go supernova if you don’t. Keep chasing the next big thing, just because it’s the next big thing, and you will begin to write insipid, shallow, dull stuff.
What is your stance on issues in society like same sex marriage, DOMA, etc?
Did you write this question just for me? I came of age during the Reagan years, the rise of the HIV virus, and the decimation of a generation of young men. We all had friends and co-workers who died during those years of silence and government stupidity, but one of the most heart-wrenching things during that time was to watch the ones left behind having to deal with family. The young man denied visitation rights in the hospital. The lover who suddenly had no say in funeral arrangements. The complete absence of rights for someone who had been faithful and true for years that a wife of three minutes would have had automatically. You still want to ask me this question?
What is your opinion about some review sites not accepting m/m books?
I think they should have a few drinks, get screwed more and lighten up. Seriously? Different review sites have different focuses. Some review sites won’t review het because that’s not their focus. Some review sites are only for paranormal stories. Some won’t do erotica. (Eeew! Squishy bodily fluids!) I don’t think there’s anything wrong with deciding on one focus over another. I’m thinking of starting a review site only for books written as first-person, stream of consciousness about apocalyptic zombie dreams. What? You haven’t written one of those yet?
As an m/m romance author or gay fiction author, should there be more m/m or gay YA novels? Why or why not?
Yes. Absolutely. Young people need heroes and heroines. All young people do. Why should every single, freaking young adult protagonist be straight? Not that I feel strongly about it or anything.
As an m/m romance or gay fiction writer, what stereotype of gay men bothers you the most?
Stereotypes in general bother me. It’s an automatic cringe moment for me when someone starts out a sentence “All women are…” or “Gay men are all so…” The wonderful thing about the human race is the mind-boggling variety. We are legion and we are everything. Gay men are prissy and tough, weak and strong, athletic and nerdy. They like to bake and to play football (hopefully not at the same time.) They are florists and designers and truck drivers and sports stars and teachers and politicians and janitors and, oh, yes, even writers. Imagine that.
Are you tired of Lady Gaga yet?
Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of an author of several genres and smart-ass remarks. You can find her at her website:
Watch for Angel’s next release, Gravitational Attraction, coming 2/25/12 from Silver Publishing:
A M/M Science Fiction novel
A distress call draws the Hermes to a drifting ship, empty except for the gore-spattered corridors and one survivor. Drawn to the traumatized man, Isaac offers the kindness he needs. But Turk harbors secrets, his brain a dangerous military experiment. It will take more than kindness to save them all.
While Isaac couldn’t run in the heavy exo-suit, he did pick up the pace. Unlike his first foray with the remote, now he knew exactly which cross-corridors and doorways to use. Within three minutes, he had them in the lift, headed toward the holding block. The heavy blast door slid aside to show the gruesome tableau at the comm console. A catch of breath in his pickup told Isaac that Rand had probably missed this the first time through. He couldn’t be sure, but their nervous scan tech had most likely been one of the bridge officers throwing up.
“Still only showing one heartbeat,” Isaac said to distract them all. “This way.”
He led them down a corridor marked “A-block” where they passed one empty cell after another, not empty because the occupants had been torn to pieces but entirely empty.
“What kind of Jud ship carries one prisoner?” Sylvia asked.
“Maybe they were trying to evacuate before…” Lester’s deep voice trailed off.
“Don’t waste time on speculating,” Travis cut in. “We’re close.”
The last cell held an occupant, it’s transparent, electrified door still intact and locked tight. The man lay curled in a tight ball against his air pallet, dazed eyes half open.
“Hey,” Travis shouted through the door. “Can you hear me?”
The man didn’t move, though he shivered violently, hard spasms running along massive arms and a broad back. Probably in shock.
Isaac found himself staring. Dark shadows marred the prisoner’s skin, but the strong jaw and even features spoke to a devastatingly handsome face when he was well. Even curled up so tightly, he could see the man was huge, easily two meters tall, maybe more. Golden-blond stubble atop his head indicated a recent shaving, though Isaac had no idea if he wore it that way out of choice or if prisoners were routinely shorn. He wore only a sleeveless, mid-thigh shift, which caused anger to rise in Isaac’s chest. Bad enough they locked him up, but to take away a man’s pants? Such calculated humiliation seemed cruel.
“Get the damn door open,” Travis said, bringing Isaac back to the task at hand.
Rand plugged into the wall jack, and all his uneasy sounds ceased as he concentrated on hacking the door code. The door whispered open on Rand’s triumphant cry.
“Attaboy,” Travis said. “Now go back out to the console and download the logs.”
“Out there? Alone?” The audio picked up Rand’s hard swallow.
“Dammit, son, they’re just pieces of meat out there. Nothing’ll hurt you.”
Travis sighed. “Sylvia, go with him so the ghosts don’t eat him.”
Distracted by Rand’s fears, Isaac had missed the moment their rescuee began to move. He had pushed up on trembling arms, hard muscles corded with the effort, and turned his head to face them, teeth bared in a snarl.
“Shchfteru scum,” he whispered in a cracked, ruined voice. “Damn you…”
He’s going to hurt himself. Or lunge at Travis, and then someone’s going to panic and shoot him… “Humans.” Isaac held the hands of his exo suit wide. “We’re not some damn chuff, we’re humans.”
A low growl came from the man’s chest, a sound Isaac had never heard from a person before. The man was obviously too far gone and the suits looked too menacing. He reached up, undid his helmet latches, and lifted the whole assembly off his head. “See, human. We’re here to help you. Get you out of here.”
The man stared at him, something flickering in his eyes through the rage. During his moment’s distraction, Travis and Lester grabbed him and pinned him so Dr. Varga could get him sedated.
Isaac caught a whiff of the foul air and slammed the helmet back on his head, coughing fitfully as he got the latches secured. “Oh, shit…that’s horrible…how was he still breathing?”
“Don’t know, bud.” Travis stood his suit back up for the return walk. “But the shchfteru, if they were here, it explains a hell of a lot.”
“Explains why the crew’s in shreds,” Lester rumbled. “Doesn’t explain why the ship’s whole and the boards are untouched. Or why this guy survived.”
Lester was right there.
“We need to get the Hermes away, Trav,” Isaac said softly. “The chuff don’t leave things half done. They’re bound to come back to finish.”