Showing posts with label gay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gay. Show all posts

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Thinking About Some Boys-Boys in Space #PRIDE Readings

This is going to be interesting. LGBTQ. Space Opera. Drama. Princes. Romance. And sinister, conniving villains. At least I think these two books have that much in common. Regardless, I’ve always kept my eye out on reading them both, in the hopes that I will enjoy them and proceed forward in each individual series. I got a good word for Bonds of Brass from the librarian who checked me out. She commented that I had “good taste in books”. She was remarking about how much she enjoyed Bonds of Brass herself. She and I were both unsure of Winter’s Orbit but were optimist that it would be a blast to read as well. I've made it my job to return to her with a good or bad word about the book.

Well, here goes…

I might skip reading Michael Nava's Rag and Bones from my TBR for now. To, of course, immediately get into these space operas.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

CHOP IT UP: The Little Death by Michael Nava (Henry Dios Mystery #1)

Published in 1986, The Little Death is the first book in Michael Nava’s Henry Rio legal mystery series. Henry Rios is a gay, Latino public defender based out of San Jose. At the opening of The Little Death he acquires a case involving of a young socialite named Hugh Paris. Hugh has found himself arrested for being under the influenced of PCP as well as in possession of it. Which turned into an arrest and battery of an officer situation for him. During Rio’s prodding toward building Hugh's case, the two become lovers. Until Huge turns up dead underneath a bridge.
A budding companionship soured by death; with a few bizarre family-related clues in hand, Rio begins to question Hugh's death. And it's here where Rio unravels dark, generation-long secrets surrounding Hugh's family. These secrets involve the wealth and control behind the patriarchal governing of the Paris family. With, of course, many resulting family murders to unbury.

The character of Henry Rios is a direct reflection of the author, Michael Nava, himself. Both identify as gay. Both are Latino. And both are attorneys. All three landed me this book into my "trust" box. I knew the author was going to give it to me straight (no pun intended) from all three angles. Yet, the glowing reason I wanted to read this book was because of the gay lead element in a mystery series.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

50 Pages a Day Keep the Good Reading... I Don't Know What Goes Here...

What’s on my reading plate after abandoning half of my October TBR?

"When V.I. Warshawski gets word that her close friend and mentor Lotty Herschel’s nephew has become a murder suspect, the legendary detective will do everything to save him. The cops found Felix Herschel’s name and phone number on the unknown victim’s remains, but Felix insists he doesn’t know why. Soon Vic discovers that the dead man was obsessed with Middle Eastern archaeology—the first clue in a bewildering case. 
But the trouble multiplies when Vic’s long-lost niece, Reno, goes missing. Reno is harboring a secret that may cost her her life. V.I. can hear the clock ticking on her niece’s safety and is frantic in her efforts to find her. She won’t leave any stone unturned until these very personal cases are cleared—a complex investigation that will entangle the Russian mob, ISIS backers, rogue ICE agents, a nefarious corporation preying on the poor, and a shady network of stock scams and stolen antiquities stretching from Chicago to the East Indies and the Middle East."

Monday, September 21, 2015

Oh How I LOVED His Mask

I’m not going to speak much about Japanese writer Yukio Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask.  A modest description: the fraught inner confessions of a closeted man coming up in Japan between the 20s and 50s.  But the book is also a meditative (sometimes to the point of brooding) and introspective encounter.  One you’ll have to witness for yourself–if you will.  I say that because the book seems driven more or less by plot, and it wasn't until its conclusion that I took it as less. 
So to me, Confessions of a Mask wasn't a diarist scratching pen to paper underneath a burning candle.  Though it's easy to see the book that way, as it chronicles the events of Mishima’s protagonist from childhood to adulthood.  However, a stimulating and introspective piece of fiction is what I left the book with–carried by a genuinely captivating protagonist.  So, thankfully, Mishima's lead owned a keen grasp of his surrounds and inner conflicts.  Enough to keep me engaged with his musings, and either frowning or grinning at his choices. 
Within Mishima's protagonist, the book addresses familiar social, psychological, and physical arenas visited by gay men.  And the protagonist delivers pieces of the verbose identifiable with others who've found themselves locked in his view and scenarios. 
However, an acknowledgeable distinction comes from the region, culture, and time the book takes place.  To elaborate a little, Mishima’s protagonist finds a multitude of reasons to acquaint an attractiveness for death with being gay.  Though the contemplation of death is not foreign for gay men to preoccupy themselves with; culturally speaking, many Japanese have a reverence for the subject of death (research Shinigami or Buddhism from the Edo Period forward).  This, in turn, shined a lot more brightly in Mishima's Confessions of a Mask.  Though that absolutely doesn't qualify as a detriment of any sort.  I only found it part of the flavor and uniqueness of this particular experience.  It also slipped in a sense of suspense regarding the protagonist's fate.
Wonderful book.  Easily five stars for me.  I will definitely follow up on more Mishima novels.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The GAY Men in Alan's Swimming Pool

Ah.  Let me throw you a bone here, considering I found myself off the mark after reading the dust jacket of Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming Pool Library.  I really want to re-premise the synopsis with my not-quite-damn-near instantaneous look at the opening stages of the book.  Though this “look” gives nothing nowhere near as complex and multi-layered as the actual material.  So don’t let my speed-running summary of the book throw you off.  But hear me now as I suggest you pick the book up whenever possible.
Anyway, a gay twenty-something British aristocrat is ready to pull a routine cruise mission inside a public lavatory.  This lavatory is popular (and populated) with men filled with a thirsty compulsion for spontaneous sexual fulfillment.  And so our young aristocrat comes in on the fold with a practiced stroll.  You see, this type of environment isn’t unique to him.  However, it's a little dispiriting seeing the array of middle-aged white men available and present.  The aristocrat longs for a different, more youthful flavor.  Lucky for him he spots an Arabian boy, and proceeds to have him to himself.
Until an eighty-something elderly Lord stumbles into the lavatory with the same mission: quick sex where possible.  Unfortunate for the Lord, his expedition results in a heart attack or stroke of sorts.  Troubled by his duty to seek sex with the Arab, the aristocratic runs to assist the elderly Lord.  And he does so successfully before the two part ways.  
Later, the two encounter one other at a local swimming hole/fitness center familiar with gay men.  A friendship forms, leading the Lord to ask the young aristocrat to scribe his biography.  The Lord fears for his remaining years, and is desperate to tell his story.  He pushes and pushes for the aristocrat to take on the assignment, until the aristocrat gives in and accepts the task.  Yet, there are deeper unforeseen intentions behind the Lord’s request.  Decades of quiet, vengeful purpose hides underneath.  Suddenly caught in a trap, the aristocrat soon arrives at two choices: honor the Lord’s request to completion or choose the respect of his family instead?

Ah.  Putting the premise into my own words helps.  But I can agree to the dust jacket’s statement of the book taking readers to “dimly lit underground bars, swimming baths, and cinemas.”  That, and so much more, it did under Hollinghurst’s beauty way with prose, character, and illustrative settings.  Fearing the book would smother me in stereotypical and dusty stories frequented in gay/LGBT literature, I arrived to its conclusion surprised it did so with me savoring each motion in its journey.  And while I could sit here and delve deeper into that "savoring", I'm choosing to focus on the men who populate the book.  As that's where most of my attention and captivity found itself.  So these are my thoughts on their roles and what moved me about them.  Otherwise, I could be here all day posting about this hyper immersing read.

WARNING: There may be spoilers, so read at your own risk!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Guest Post: Author Kevin Klehr Drama Queens

Ravenswood Publishing Virtual Tour Presents:
The Drama Queen Series
Title: The Drama Queen Series
Author: Kevin KIehr
Genre: LGBT Fiction

 Book One Synopsis:  Close friends Allan and Warwick are dead.  They're not crazy about the idea.  So to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blond bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel.

They are soon drawn into the world of theater–Afterlife style, with all the bitchiness, back-stabbing and ego usually associated with the mortal world.

Allan also has a secret.  He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick; but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro.

Not only does Allan have to win the heart of his companion, he also has to grapple with the faded memory of how he actually died.

Book Two Synopsis:  Adam's about to discover how much drama a mid-life crisis can be.  He's obsessed with Mannix, the nude model in his art class.  But Adam has been married to Wade for nearly two decades, and they don't have an open relationship.

Little do they know that Fabien, a warlock from the Afterlife, has secretly cast a spell of lust on Adam and his potential toy-boy.

As things begin to heat up, Adam's guardian angel, Guy, steps in.  But what's the best way to save the relationship?  Should Guy subdue Adam's wandering passions, or instigate a steamy threesome?

The Author On Dreaming Up a Gay Angel

One evening a friend asked me about my writing. I talked about my surprise at how my gay angel character, Guy, seemed to win many readers’ hearts. And as the night flowed with much conversation and wine, I had an epiphany.

You see, back in the mid-80s when I moved to Sydney, I met a man who was an aspiring artist. He sold his soul to his paintbrush, determined to be as successful as the many avant-garde creatives he admired. He quickly became one of my closest friends.

He had an awkward personality, and although he was liked by those who I introduced him to, his social graces were underdeveloped. This had more to do with the fact that he was self-conscious of what he said and how he acted, and this combination brought out the parent in those he met.

He was unique. He was a guy who balanced part-time work, socialising, and art, making sure there was plenty of time for the latter, as this was his dream. So many hours were spent alone at the easel.

He shared several exhibitions with other artists, but there was one upcoming event he was really excited about – his own individual showcase in Perth. He never made this important event. He died of an asthma attack over the Easter weekend of 1990, one week before his important show.

In my novels, Guy the angel is awkward. He is self-conscious. He brings out the parent in his friends. Yet this character is loosely based on a completely different individual. When I talked about Guy after many wines the other night to a friend, I started wondering if he was really my old buddy.

My artist pal was twenty-eight when he passed away. Guy is about the same age. Both are tall. And in the second paragraph of Drama Queens with Love Scenes, my angel is described as having “a vanilla hint of gayness”. My artist friend denied it, but if he had lived…

The last time I saw him was a week before he died.

He actually said “good-bye”. It sounded so final. This was strange as whenever we parted he’d always make the point of reminding me of our next engagement, which on this occasion, was three weeks away.

I hugged him and something inside told me not to leave. That little voice was encouraging me to stay the night and get drunk with him. But it was Sunday evening and I was catching up with someone else. I always regret not listening to my gut feeling.

The character of Guy developed into his own, but I wonder whether I really just channelled my old friend. Was there a possibility that my subconscious had bled onto my keyboard? And as writers, are we simply doing this all the time without even realising it?

Excerpt from Drama Queens and Adult Themes (Book Two)

He had the perfect vee-shaped torso. The kind that would turn on a dozen potential lovers if he wandered into a gay bar. And while his faultless crew cut was artificially red, his other natural features were as intense as James Dean's. I could go riding in his sports car, feeling the breeze as we headed to Lover's Lane. He'd admire me with his penetrating eyes before undressing me for a lovemaking session so powerful, not even a night with a handpicked selection of porn stars would compare.

But unlike anyone I'd ever met, he was blessed with soft charcoal-colored wings. This was Guy's boyfriend, Joshua. I was back at that thespian drinking haven, the Pedestal, at some stage between going to bed and waking up the next morning.

I tried not to drool at this bad boy, while picturing myself taking off his well-fitted leather jacket, slowly. I wanted to let out an orgasmic moan, before any foreplay had begun.

"I think you need to sleep with Mannix," he said.

He sipped on a Bloody Mary.

"Joshua!" his loving partner reprimanded.

"Joshua, we tried," I said.

"And what happened, sweetheart?"

"He freaked out. He gives us all the signals and then runs off in terror."

"Tsk, tsk. Now why would he do that? You're not exactly on the ugly scale."

"Thanks," I replied. "I think."

"Joshua, that's not the issue here," Guy said. "I've been watching over them, and they're getting obsessed with Mannix. And just as odd, Mannix is obsessed with them. It doesn't make sense."

"What's there to make sense of, Petal? They're grown men looking for a bit of spice. This Mannix dude is the spice. Supply and demand. No problem."

"But Guy has a point," I said. "This is doing my head in. One minute, Wade and I are respectable grown men, the next we're one step away from toupees and face-lifts."

"And is this causing you two to argue? Fight? Split up?"

"Strangely, no."

I picked up my cocktail, resting the top of the glass on my lower lip before sipping slowly.

"Joshua, it's still causing drama," continued Guy. "Adam and Wade have their heads in no-man's land, and Mannix is just as bemused."

"Oh my darlings, they're men. Adult men. Every one of them. That which doesn't kill them, will make them stronger. Or separated but I can't see any hint of that. Can you, Adam?" I nodded tensely. "There, you see, Guy? It might be causing a bit of grief, but in the end, they're men. Once they stop questioning it with their emotions, they'll solve it physically and wonder why they didn't get down and dirty sooner."

I sat with the two angels, none-the-wiser. That dark-skinned woman was back on stage. Sultry jazz was her genre of choice today, and her small ensemble cruised into mellow tones that could set you adrift on a small boat. As she crooned the first lines of "Someone To Watch Over Me", Guy sang the words with her under his breath.

Around me, the mismatched furniture complemented the mismatched cast. A lone African woman, wearing more colors than a peacock's tail, stood transfixed as if the singer was secretly robbing her soul. Her fingers tapped on an imaginary piano, and her wide-eyed stare gave me goose bumps.

An old lady, dressed in clothes her own granddaughter would wear, clutched her wine glass like it was a precious jewel. At the same time, she gazed into the eyes of a mature athletic man who looked like he once had a passion for ballet dancing. Their loving gaze reminded me of the way Wade sometimes looked at me.

"So, Joshua, you think we're making too much of a big deal about this?"

He rubbed the tip of his sculptured jawline as Guy casually leaned toward him.

"Adam, darling, there are men who put themselves through hell and back trying to do the right thing. They won't act until they work out all the final consequences. And let's face it, as much pontificating as humanly possible is not ever going to let you know the final outcome, really! And there are men who are a lot more spirited and take life as a challenge. Go forth and take the risk and see where it leads you."

"Joshua, Adam understands that," Guy said. "But there's Wade to consider. What if their marriage falls apart?"

"Darling, seriously. From what you've told me, they're not going to fall apart. It's all just a bit of fun. Mannix is a new appliance, like a fridge or a vibrator. Something that has a use. And think, Adam. Think of the uses you can come up with, with your new appliance."

Author & Links

Kevin lives with his long-term partner in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia's own 'Emerald City,' Sydney.

From an early age, Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty.  After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn't pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties.  His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write.  Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel.  It wasn't long before Kevin's active imagination was let loose again.

Kevin's first novel, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, has been relaunched via Wilde City Press along with the sequel Drama Queens with Adult Themes.

Kevin is currently working on his third in the series, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes, and a romance novella, Nathan and the New Yorker.

Currently Available At:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Manga Realness: "Eerie Queerie!" by Shuri Shiozu

Hi, everyone.  For those who are new to my blog, welcome.  For those returning, welcome back and thanks.  Should I tone down all the colors? (^_^)  

I made the--now titled--Comic Towel to create a space where I can promote my Zazzle store/drawings and my interest in literature, manga, and philosophies (some personal).  Sounds like a lot, but as I find myself delving into the materials that I love in each category, I can’t help but want to share and create conversations about them and how they relate to my life.  A side objective to that is to help motivate and inspire others by finding inspiration in all mediums.

With that said, I would like to find some of that inspiration in
Awkwardness of Mitsuo Shiozu
Manga Realness Number 3: Shuri Shiozu’s Eerie Queerie (the original Japanese title is Gosuto!, or Ghost!).  The English adaptation title of Eerie Queerie is more or less a play on the fact that this manga series is within the shonen-ai genre, or "Boy’s Love".  That’s Boy’s Love in the sense that it features gay characters/themes.  See, the story is about a cumbersome high school teen name Mitsuo Shiozu [uke].  His cumbersomeness isn’t pressed upon him simply because of the awkward stage we all face in high school.  No, Mitsuo just happens to be a spirit medium, meaning he communicates with the dead.  Therefore, he has every reason to be weird, soft, and many times over dramatic   He has a lot to deal with besides crushing over boys--or hiding it, rather.  Undoubtedly, the paranormal aspect drew me into the four-volume series as it appease to my love of Japanese kwaidan stories.  Of course in a severely cutesy, melodramatic manga-style fashion.  Naturally, there are better manga featuring stories of the occult and paranormal, but Eerie Queerie! ranks a little differently with its shonen-ai elements.

The Handsomely Dedicated, Hasunuma
The problem Mitsuo finds himself in lies in his ability to become possessed by the ghost that he runs across.  Usually, they are female.  And usually, they uphold a somewhat unrequited love of a certain male classmate.  Tucked within Mitsuo’s body, these ghost seek the returning affection of those who’ve obtained their attention in life.  This leads to further awkwardness and a pattern of misunderstandings that creates a love triangle between Mitsuo and the popular boy in school, Hasunuma [seme].  The third piece of the triangle belongs to the neatly handsome, Ichi.  With the romantic stage set, the battle for Mitsuo’s affections commences through this winding series of miscommunication, bad intentions, hidden secrets, and desperate apparitions.  The crux of much of Hasunuma and Ichi’s intent is to both love and protect Mitsuo.  Which also fuels Mitsuo’s desire to strengthen himself from the weedy boy he started as?  

So will Mitsuo allow one of the boys in?  Will he gain the change that
The Competition, Ichi
he seeks in himself?  It’s all whimsical, comedic entertainment at its best.  However, the magnetism of watching your archetypal bad boy (in this case, Hasunuma) fall for the likes of Mitsuo is just too sweet to turn away.  Mainly because we see it all the time in conventional romance stories where the bad boy is reformed through the admiration of the good girl.  In essence, there isn't much differences in any budding relationships, despite the sex of the partners.  This, and the slow pace of love taken in this series, is the reason I loved Eerie Queerie!

Small Japanese vocabulary lesson in concerns to shonen-ai/yaoi genres...

The Uke and the Seme.  Guess who is which?
A uke character is normally described as the fail, feminine character in the dynamics of the male-male relationship.  The seme character is the opposite.  He is the moody, brawny character that often is overprotective of his uke.

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