Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This and That

Yes, I am reading. Slowly, but reading. The book I'm currently reading, The Devil Inside, is really good. I hope to review it soon. In two weeks I will be done with this quarter and will have a whole month off! Woot! I hope to get a bunch of reading in then. Until then though, several things have caught my attention, which I'll pass on.

First up some promo, which I saw on the GLBT promo blog:

I'm not sure if this is pure erotica or what it is exactly, but I've read and enjoyed all the authors who contributed to this book, so I'll probably buy it.

Tattood Ladies
Torquere Press- $2.99

Blurb:

What is it about tattoos that make them so sexy? This Toy Box answers that question for the ladies, with three hot stories.

A Bucket List Tattoo by Adriana Kraft finds just past fifty and freshly divorced cardiac nurse Natalie Gardner who decides it’s time to create her personal bucket list. On the top of her list? A tattoo -- but she’s nervous about the pain. Maybe Cindy McGraw, the hot young physical therapist she often lunches with, can help her out. Next on her list? It may be too much to hope for, but she’s definitely angling for more than tattoo advice from Cindy. Would a taste be too much to ask?

In Lipstick Prints by Kissa Starling, an online baker's site provides an introduction for Tessa to Maria, a bisexual wife and mother. Their friendship builds through daily discussion, phone calls and eventually an in-person meeting. That moment in time becomes a catalyst for change in Tessa that she never thought possible.

Finally, Beth Wylde brings us In My Skin. Melissa is a tattoo artist whose girlfriend has a serious phobia about needles. Kendra finally decides to confront her fears and let Melissa tattoo her, but just stepping into her lover’s shop leaves her shaking. Will Melissa be able to pull off the impossible and put her name in Kendra’s skin? It’s going to take some smooth moves and fast talking to get it done right.

Next up is an interesting post by a predominantly m/m writer Sean Kennedy:

Yes, Virginia, there is a place for lesbians in M/M fiction!

edited- heh, my bad, I've been informed that Sean Kennedy is a man, and not a woman as I presumed. I guess it's hard to tell these days with so many female m/m authors with gender neutral or male names. So, if Sean has come across this post by some remote chance, I do apologize. And for the record, I didn't change any wording in the following part, just the she's to he's. :-)

He wrote a m/m book Wings of Equity that featured a lesbian couple in that book. Apparently, from the reviews and what people have been saying, these lesbian characters and the minor story line of them, are amazing. In his post Mr. Kennedy honestly talks about some of the issues around females in the m/m genre and writing f/f and asks why there a subtle diss of women in m/m. It's a very good post and it's nice when a m/m author doesn't just jump on board with the general diss of female characters in m/m, but tries to integrate them by creating compelling characters that are amazing in their own right.

I read the review at Jessewave's review blog by Kassa and the fact that she spends a fair amount of space talking about the two lesbian characters in her review and in such a positive light considering that most m/m readers dislike any female characters in m/m, tells me that these are characters I want to read even if they are in a m/m. Now I do read m/m. It's not a totally favorite genre, but I do have my favorite authors whom I do read. But I do hope that if these lesbian characters are as compelling as stated, that Sean Kennedy does venture into f/f land.

The section from Kassa's review that talks about these characters. Click on Jessewave to see the full review.

"Here the friendship with his mechanic, pilot, and best friend Jazz offers a great contrast. Jazz is an inspired female character in a sea of weak females offered in this genre. Jazz is raw, biting, totally feminist, and absolutely delightful. Though these types of females tend to be militaristic and unattractive, Jazz is written with such subtly and skill that she becomes essential and just as interesting to read as Ezra. She’s not a stereotype and her banter with Ezra is both touching and reminiscent of bickering siblings.

Jazz’s girlfriend, Lady Bart, offers a more feminine and softer female presence but she’s equally delightful. Although featuring a lesbian relationship within an m/m romance is a chance, it’s one that pay offs entirely. There is no onscreen sex so don’t worry. The only sexing is hot and heavy between Ezra and Icarus but the relationship between Lady Bart and Jazz enhances the story in many ways. Not only is Bart instrumental in the action and plot but their caring give and take help shape Ezra and his thoughts on relationships. The great characterization afforded these women creates a wonderful and memorable dynamic. If there is any stumble it is in the characterization of Icarus."

From reading that review and from reading Sean Kennedy's post, I bought that book just to read those lesbian characters. Even if they are part of a m/m and there's no sex between them in the book, I'd rather read amazing characters no matter what the storyline they are in. I don't know if I'll review it here on LVLM, but if they do blow me away, I will talk about them.

Next up:

Here's a recent article I saw on Yahoo or somewhere that I found interesting. This is like the 5th or 6th article that talks about this phenomenon of older women switching sides or being open to a romantic/sexual relationship with another woman.

Late-blooming lesbians: women can switch sexualities as they mature

Women are embracing lesbianism in their thirties, according to research indicating that shifts in sexual orientation may be more widespread than previously thought.

This is the first article that openly suggests that it's not always about women who were suppressing their lesbianism. Most of the other articles focused on those women who switched but who were suppressing their real nature due to social pressure, or fear of not being "normal" or whatever. In this article, finally researchers are suggesting that it's not always about repression of inherent leanings, but that women can be more sexually fluid:

"While “late-blooming lesbians” are not uncommon in history – the married writer Virginia Woolf had an affair with the poet Vita Sackville-West – the phenomenon of mature women switching sexualities is now attracting academic scrutiny"

"One study even indicates that as many as two-thirds of women who feel lesbian attractions may have changed their sexual orientation over time."

"Following interviews with more than 200 married lesbians, Moran concluded that there is “great potential for heterosexual women to experience a first same-sex attraction well into adulthood.”

"She added that late-blooming sexuality was often wrongly dismissed as repressed lesbians finally coming to terms with their true feelings."

6 comments:

Eyre said...

I don't understand what people have against females in m/m. Yes, I don't want them having sex with the men unless I've been warned about it, but if a book is going to be realistic, I'd assume that the main characters would know some women.

LVLM said...

Eyre- yes, I don't get it either. I've read quite a few m/m that had a female character or characters in them and even one or two in which one of the gay male characters does have sex with them.

I think it all depends how it's written and what the circumstances are. But I do see that there is faction of m/m readers who hate to have any female in the book, even as a friend or person of importance to the plot.

From that review though and from what Sean Kennedy said, it does seem like the females that are represented in m/m are not exactly the type of female character that can stand on their own. They are more washed out or evil, or dumb. Sort of the same complaint I and others have of m/f in which heroines are often TSTL or perpetuate negative female stereotypes.

I'll read the book and see. I always love to read great characters no matter what the genre is. And I'll admit that the m/m that I do gravitate towards are those that portray life more realistically, that gay men would have female friends and or might have been with a woman at some point before they realized they were gay and that person is still important to them.

This is one reason I love Katrina Strauss and K.Z. Snow. They have female characters that are real and part of a m/m story but enhance the m/m plot.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi,

Actually I had Jessewave turn down a review of my M/M Necessary Madness because there were two very minor M/F scenes between the villain and his girlfriend. I hadn't encountered this prejudice before (I'm pretty new to writing M/M) and I was a bit shocked.

I'm really pleased to have found your blog, btw. I've been so frustrated by the attitude toward F/F in the romance community.

All the best,
Lisabet

LVLM said...

Lisabet- yeah, there are a lot of m/m purists, those who don't want to read any female character in a m/m. Others are fine with female characters as long as they don't have sex with the gay character.

You know if I were strictly a lesbian story reader, I'd probably get pissed if the lesbian character slept with a man in the story. I know for many lesbians it's a hot button and pushes all those pissed feelings about being told "you just need the right man."

And if I read strictly m/f and either the hero or heroine slept with someone the same sex, I might get pissed at that too.

Personally--me, I wouldn't get pissed because I read it all and if an author makes it compelling or there is good reason and it furthers the plot or character development, then I'm good.

I have read m/m in which one of the protagonists sleeps with a woman, but it made sense.

I know Jesseswave has that policy and it's her blog, her choice and she keeps it because many of her readers feel the same. But at least it's only about sex with a female and not just all females or I'd wonder.

Jill Sorenson said...

Good for Sean Kennedy. I really liked his Tigers & Devils.

I don't understand the reasoning behind the "no girls" policy at Jessewave. If Kennedy's lesbian subplot had featured a sex scene, the review would have been barred from the site?

In related news, I've been trying to collect some thoughts for a blog post about sexual politics but haven't had time to get it together. I keep hearing that the "equality" in m/m is what makes it so awesome. And yet, f/f doesn't seem to get that credit. Because women are an unworthy subject/inherently lacking power? Because female sexuality isn't valued or understood?

I'm going to have to think on this some more.

LVLM said...

If Kennedy's lesbian subplot had featured a sex scene, the review would have been barred from the site?

I'm not sure if two women would have had sex in the book, if it would be not reviewed. But I know for sure, that the gay characters shouldn't have sex with a woman, for any reason.

Part of it is that Wave herself dislikes this and it's her blog and her likes and dislikes and she has a right to it. But also, many of her readers just don't want any female in the books as well. Although a female side character, is not going stop it from being reviewed on Wave's blog.

My thing is, it's OK to review or have any policy you want. I mean, I'm sure LVLM will never get a huge lesbian readership because we review books with guys in there.

Most of the readers for this blog are straight women who like reading f/f, or bisexuals and a few lesbians. If there were a crap load of f/f/m books, that's what I'd probably review the most of. But they are pretty rare. So I review lesbian and f/f of bisexual nature. What to do.

I would be interested in what you have to say. Please let us know where you post it and I'll link to it, or of course you're more than welcome to post it here. Maybe DA would be open to it.

I keep hearing that the "equality" in m/m is what makes it so awesome.

This argument just doesn't wash with me. In fact, the complaint Kirsten and I have had with f/f is the equality or egalitarianism of it. It's too much of two people being the same.

I think people make all kinds of excuses and liking men and the two guys are better than one is a viable argument. Me, I get pissed at most heroes in m/f so I don't want two alphas or two betas or two rakey jerks. That's double the suck. But the same could be said for two TSTL women, which I've read.

I think most of it boils down to preference. And that's OK.

It's not for me to judge what floats people's boats. But on a personal level, I don't get those who freak or feel disgusted of a women shows up in a m/m. Or even if there's a f/f scene in a predominantly m/f story.