Opinion – Expanding My Reading Horizons

Snowy HorizonI had always considered myself a pretty well-rounded reader when it came to genre fiction, but with my involvement in the on-line reading and writing community I became aware of several subjects that I had never discovered. I happily started digging into most of those but there were still a few niches moving towards mainstream that I hadn’t touched. One of those was M/M. I had a hard time understanding why someone who wasn’t titillated by the thought of two guys together would read them. I was never interested in the thought of watching or hearing about what two guys would do together in their private sexual lives. The thought of them together didn’t bother me because I firmly believe that provided consent is given you should be able to love whom you want and enjoy whatever your kink(s) happen to be.

I had read and enjoyed ménage themed stories with M/F/M or M/M/F some of which were known as true ménages where the two males sexually interacted with each other and did not just focus on the female. To my, then, limited thinking that was ok because they had a woman as the buffer… I didn’t feel comfortable throwing the question about why the attraction in M/M because no one likes to feel stupid in public. So I kept quiet and continued to wonder. Then I noticed that people I actually knew, who demanded plot and story with their smut, were reading and enjoying M/M. That told me there had to be more to them then just the sexual activity.

Dirty KissDuring a discussion with one of my friends, I was introduced to M/M slash asian style. I read some and thought to myself huh they contain emotion, caring, and everything I associated with romance, which means there might be something to this. Time passed and my curiosity continued to grow. Rhys Ford released a book called Dirty Kiss, which was M/M driven by a murder mystery. Once again there was a lot more to this then the relationship between the two guys even though that was essential to the story. If you had replaced one of them with a woman then the story wouldn’t have worked as written…

Now I am pretty stubborn so I still wasn’t convinced that I hadn’t found the exception. Then one Maskedauthor, Lissa Matthews, whose writing I really enjoyed for the emotion and caring that she brought to her stories announced that she was working on and would release three connected M/M shorts. I trusted her writing so when the first one, Masked, came out I quietly went out, purchased, and read it. Wow talk about packing a punch! So when the next two were released I got those as well and wanted more. The same type of character growth occurred in those as I typically saw in more mainstream stories and once again you couldn’t change the gender of one of the characters and still have the story work.

Cut & RunAbout couple of months or so later I had a two things happen around the same time. First one of my fellow pushers, MinnChica, started insisting that I read Cut & Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux  and I found a very NSFW website called Coffee and Porn in the Morning. The two ladies who run that site were very open about enjoying things that “society” suggests should remain hidden, at least for women. Curious I looked at the About page and decided I might have to see how that translated into their professional writing. The book I decided to try was Song of Oestend by Marie Sexton. I couldn’t Song of Oestendput it down. The story, the relationship, the character growth, the world building it all worked to provide what I expect from a great read. That meant when I finished reading it I immediately started Cut & Run and I enjoyed that as well.

After kicking myself for resisting so long I decided to share my journey to thank those mentioned in this post and to say I am glad I expanded my reading horizons. So ummm anyone have any recommendations for me? *grin*

8 thoughts on “Opinion – Expanding My Reading Horizons”

  1. I have not totally made the transition but am reading more and more erotic romances and in some of them the two men have a sexual relationship prior to falling for and including a female. Most of my stuff is paranormal romance genre so it is somehow easier to get past two guys being involved than if it were contemporary (human characters) for some strange reason.
    Anyway variety is the spice of life, that includes reading out of our “normal” preferences as well!

  2. I found this post through Lissa’s FB post.

    If you’re looking for an m/m romance, I can recommend The Heart of Texas (& it’s sequel, Texas Winter) by RJ Scott and, if you’re looking for a good tearjerker, Acquainted with the Night by Tymber Dalton (it IS also kind of sci-fi).

  3. @Jackie B Central Texas: I forgot how it can be much easier to accept something when you can chalk it up to fantasy or not in real life. I had read those before too. I certainly agree that variety is the spice of life and I am almost always happy when I discover something new.

  4. Recommedations: I’m a huge fan of M/M, though I certainly didn’t start out that way. But I’ve found a number of m/m/ authors whose work really does it for me emotionally. I love Cut & Run, and I love ALL of Marie Sexton’s books. Her series about Coda (Promises, A to Z, Strawberries for Dessert, and related shorts) is fantastic. Everything by K.A. Mitchell is also great — my two faves are A Regularly Scheduled Life and You Don’t Know Jack, both of which are kind of emotionally heavy, but so good. The sex scenes in K.A. Mitchell’s books are pretty explicit and plentiful, so be warned.

    I love Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English books (I think there are 5). There is sex in these books, but it is not that prominent in the story.

    Harper Fox is also great, and I’ve liked a lot of stuff by Z.A. Maxfield (most of the St. Nacho’s series, with the possible exception of the last, which wasn’t terrible but wasn’t great either).

    I’ve also been liking Jordan Castillo Price’s Psycop series, and also L.B. Gregg’s Romano & Albright books (there are 2, I think). Both of these authors are less “angsty” than some of the others. The first has a paranormal aspect to it too.

    Finally, one of my favourite recent m/m reads is Damon Suede’s “Hot Head” (about two firefighters). It didn’t work for some people, but it really did it for me.

  5. @JacquiC: Thanks for the list. I have some Josh Lanyon I need to start. I also have the second by Urban and Roux. You are the second to say I should read the Coda series. Soo many books *grin*.

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