gay romance

Gay love recs: Movies

There are so many great LGBTQ movies out there. Here are a few that I would recommend to anyone looking for a touching and interesting m/m love story:

  1. Weekend (2011) – This is an amazing, tender portrayal of two men and their growing feelings for each other during one intense weekend. Absolutely beautiful.
  2. Maurice (1987) – A classic gay movie based on E. M. Forster’s novel, featuring Hugh Grant, James Wilby and Rupert Graves. Sweet and romantic and perfectly British.
  3. Beautiful Thing (1996) – Love between two working class boys in a British suburb. Awfully cute story that will make you smile.
  4. Ai no Kotodama (2008) – A Japanese movie about two boys who face trouble in their relationship when one of them has to deal with jealousy. Not the best movie ever, quality-wise, but the boys are cute.

There are, of course, lots of others – most gay-themed movies seem to have sad endings, though, and there’s always lots of death and drugs and misery. Which is sad, and I hope there will be less angst and more happily-ever-afters for on-screen LGBTQ couples/characters in the future.

I really want to watch Tel Aviv (Out in the Dark) (2012), but I’m afraid it’s going to be sad and angsty and make me feel bad after I’ve watched it… Does anyone know what it’s like?

AU short story: Skyline

I’ve written lots of short stories recently, as I’ve told you before, and some of these are for an AU part of the Wavesongs verse, where Captain Hart has turned into Mr Hart, a wealthy corporate leader, and Chris into his young intern. I write AU:s sometimes because it’s fun, and it’s liberating because you don’t have to stick to your usual timeline, you can do whatever you feel like. Now, these stories are silly and they don’t make much sense, but I still want to share one with you today. It might give you a sense of what the characters are like in the novel, at least. So here goes:

Skyline

(Rating: PG)

”Come in.”

Chris stepped inside, took tiny steps so as not to spill any coffee on the exclusive rug in Mr Hart’s office. Nina, the secretary, had handed him a couple of letters on his way in and the only way he’d been able to take them with him was to hold them between his teeth. Fuck. He looked like a complete idiot, and this the morning after he’d sent that stupid text.

See you tomorrow.

Looking forward to it.

Who wrote something like that to their boss? Chris did, apparently, after a few rounds with Alec and the lads by the poker table. He hadn’t even been that drunk, which was the most embarrassing part of it all. He’d just sort of… felt like it.

“Oh, let me help you with that!” Mr Hart hurried forward, tried to suppress a laugh as he took the coffee tray and the letters. “Nina’s hopeless… she could’ve easily given me those herself.”

“Thank you, sir,” Chris said, putting the stack of newspapers and the brown paper bag from the nearby Starbucks down on the desk. “I got the bagels like you asked… the ones with goat’s cheese and arugula, you still like those the best, right?”

Mr Hart sat down. Smiled at him. Was he going to say something about the text? Chris had been working in his office for six months, but he still couldn’t read the man.

“Take a seat,” Mr Hart said. “Just look at you, all worn out already, and it’s barely eight o’ clock. You work harder than anyone else in here, you know.”

“I really don’t.” Praise? Mr Hart had never scolded him for anything, but praise was equally rare.

“I take it you got home safely last night, then.” Mr Hart removed the Starbucks mugs from the tray, and threw it in the bin. “I did worry about you for a moment or two, when I got that text and thought you might’ve had too much to drink.”

“Well, yeah,” Chris said, too quickly. “You know what it’s like, out with the boys… I don’t really, um, remember texting. Sorry if I woke you up, sir.”

“Oh, you didn’t wake me. Never getting enough sleep is, well, one of the many drawbacks of my position. But that text made me smile, Chris, so thank you. Whether you recall sending it or not.”

Chris thought of what he’d written. Wished he really had forgotten. “Yeah, I know it was stupid. I mean, I can guess. Glad you got a laugh out of it, though.”

Mr Hart was silent for so long Chris had to look at him, only to see the kind, serious expression on his handsome face. “Stupid? Dear God, no, that’s not what I meant. Not at all. You… you made me happy. Thinking you might actually mean what you wrote last night, made me happy.”

Chris sat there opposite him, thoughts racing through his head. Happy. For six months he’d waited for Mr Hart to even notice him, as more than a new intern who’d soon be replaced by someone else. You made me happy. “I… I like working for you, sir.”

A mug was pushed his way, and Mr Hart carefully placed one of the napkin-wrapped bagels in front of him. “Here. You haven’t had breakfast either, have you?”

“But you asked me to bring this stuff yesterday,” Chris said. “I thought you had a meeting with someone.”

“I did.” Mr Hart took his mug, tasted the macchiato. “With you.”

Chris bit into his bagel – had been hungry ever since he left home at seven. “Me?”

“We’ve never had time to sit down like this, just you and me. Don’t you think that’s strange? After six months in the same office. And I’m supposed to be teaching you everything.”

“You’re a very busy man.”

Mr Hart chuckled. “Oh, I am. Far too busy for my own good, but that’s another story. See, Chris, I picked you for this internship myself. We had tons of applications, but I wanted it to be you. So the least I could do is make sure you get the most out of your time here, don’t you agree?”

“I suppose,” Chris said. He’d had no idea he was handpicked by Mr Hart himself.

Mr Hart was silent for a moment, sipping his coffee. Broad-shouldered under his black Prada suit, with the city skyline glowing red behind him, he looked every bit the successful businessman he was. “Don’t you want to know why I chose you?” he said at last.

“Yeah, I do.”

Mr Hart smiled. Looked like he couldn’t decide which words to use. “Well, firstly, I saw your potential, of course. We’re always looking for people who might be of value to the company after their internship is over and… you haven’t let us down so far, Chris. But I had other reasons. Some rather selfish ones, if you will.”

“Like what?”

Mr Hart got up from his seat. Went over to the window, turned to watch the burning sky.

“You’re a handsome boy, I thought… it would cheer me up, having you around every day. And it has.”

Chris had sort of hoped Mr Hart might be gay, had heard a few rumours here and there. Was this proof?

“But ever since you started working here, I’ve come to enjoy your company more and more. And I’ve tried not to, because not doing anything is the only sensible option.”

Chris got to his feet. “Why?”

Mr Hart did not turn around. “Because I’m thirty-three, Chris, and you’re a twenty-year-old boy.”

“Twenty-one!”

And because I’m your boss. Which is why it would be awfully unethical and, apart from that, I wouldn’t want people to start talking.”

Chris went up to him. Put a hand on his arm, didn’t let go. “But…?”

Mr Hart sighed. “Go back to your seat, Chris. Please.”

“What if I don’t want to?”

“Oh, for God’s sake, then stay. No touching, though, not… not here. Like I said, I don’t want people to find out.”

Chris removed his hand. Mr Hart was right; everything in this building was made of glass. Nina would have a field day with something like this, and Chris wasn’t eager to go back to working at his local Sainsbury’s, far away from the city. “Sorry.”

Mr Hart glanced at him, softness in his dark eyes. “Don’t ever say sorry for doing something like that. Let’s just… let’s just pretend we’re admiring the skyline, okay? And while we’re doing that, I might just happen to ask to take you out to dinner this weekend. No need to answer now. But I’d be thrilled if you said yes.”

“Are you crazy?” Chris said, eyes still on the skyscrapers in the distance. “It’s a yes. It’s a very, very quick and definite yes.”

“Good.” Mr Hart went back to his desk, sat down again. Motioned to Chris to come sit down as well. “Friday at seven, my car will come pick you up.”

They exchanged a smile; a smile that made Chris feel like his body had suddenly turned to jelly. Friday wasn’t even two days away, and it still felt like an eternity.

“Now for those budgetary reports,” Mr Hart said, every bit the corporate leader again. “Did Nina get notice from the board, or should I give Mr Yamamoto a call?”

He was already checking the notifications on his phone, rummaging through the files scattered over his desk. Concentrated, focused on another workday.

But when he looked up at Chris, he was still smiling.

Gay fiction eller gay romance? / Gay fiction or gay romance?

Alltså det här är ju en sån himla intressant fråga. Gay fiction-författaren Marshall Thornton skriver om gay fiction vs gay romance i ett inlägg som visserligen har några år på nacken, men som är högst aktuellt för min del. Ända sedan jag blev “klar” med Vågsånger har jag funderat mycket kring hur man ska genrebestämma boken. För på ett sätt har den lite av båda genrerna – den är skriven med en kvinnlig målgrupp i åtanke och fokuserar på sex och relationer, med en kärlekshistoria i centrum. Samtidigt går den emot romance-konventionerna eftersom min huvudkaraktär förälskar sig i och har sex med andra, innan han träffar den han verkligen vill leva tillsammans med. Ingenting av det här är sådant som jag har tänkt särskilt mycket på under arbetet med att planera storyn, då handlar det bara om vad som kommer till mig, vad karaktärerna vill ska hända. Jag har märkt att jag har svårt för att skriva regelrätt romance, med två karaktärer som träffas, blir förälskade och möter hinder innan de slutligen får varandra. Att läsa det är en annan sak men när jag själv skriver komplicerar jag gärna saker, utforskar karaktärernas psykologi, låter dem göra dåliga val och utvecklas tack vare dem. Ett av projekten jag sysslar med just nu handlar enbart om relationer och om sex, men inte ett dugg om kärlek – och det är inget som problematiseras. I fallet Vågsånger kommer min huvudkaraktär från en tillvaro där han tvingats undertrycka sin sexualitet och aldrig har varit riktigt medveten om vad han vill ha, till en värld där han plötsligt är omgiven av män som vill ha honom. Det blir ett stort uppvaknande och början på en resa där han lär sig mycket om både sig själv och om hur kärlek fungerar. Vill man ha en traditionell romance-berättelse så blir man kanske besviken på Vågsånger, jag vet inte. Men jag har skrivit precis den roman jag vill skriva.


This is such an interesting topic. Gay fiction writer Marshall Thornton writes about gay fiction vs gay romance in an old post, but one that is very much on point. Ever since I “finished” writing Wavesongs, I’ve been thinking a lot about which genre suits the book best. In a way, this book is a little bit of both genres – it’s written with a female audience in mind and focuses on sex and relationships, with a love story as the main plot. But at the same time, it goes against the conventions of romance, since my protagonist falls in love with and sleeps with other characters, before he meets the one he’ll want to spend his life with. I didn’t really think about any of these things while I planned and wrote the story, then it’s all about what comes up in my mind, what the characters want to do. I’ve realised that I find it difficult to write actual romance, with two characters who meet, fall in love and overcome obstacles before they can finally be together. Reading it is another thing but I usually complicate things when I’m writing myself, I delve into my characters’ psychology and allow them to make bad choices that they can learn from. One of the projects I’m working on right now is all about relationships and sex, but not at all about romantic love – which is never really addressed in the novel. In Wavesongs, my main character is from a background where he’s been forced to suppress his sexuality, and then he walks into a world where he’s suddenly surrounded by men who are attracted to him, where homosexuality exists and isn’t frowned upon. It’s a huge awakening for him and the beginning of a long journey where he learns a lot about himself and about how love works. Readers looking for traditional romance might be disappointed by Wavesongs, I don’t know. But I’ve written exactly the book I want to write.

Enthralled by the Viking

Jag kan vara riktigt ärkekonservativ med vissa grejer och e-böcker är en sån där sak som jag inte har förstått mig på. Förrän nu. Det är ju så med gay romance att det är väldigt mycket en e-boksgenre, och jag har läst en massa samples på Amazon men liksom aldrig kommit dit att jag faktiskt har köpt och läst en hel story.

Vad som krävdes för att jag skulle göra det? Vikingar, såklart. 😉 Den här blev det, Enthralled by the Viking av Calandra Hunter, om en kille som tar hjälp av en viking och låtsas vara hans träl, för att kunna resa till Norge och befria sin syster ur slaveri. Och det är sååå bra och trevligt och bara GAH, varför har jag inte fattat hela viking/träl-grejen förrän nu? Det finns massor inom den genren som tur är och jag har redan råkat köpa ett par böcker till. “Råkat”. Och fått en jäkla massa idéer till skrivprojekt settade under vikinga-/medeltid. Alla dessa fantastiska epoker som finns, alltså åh vad jag älskar historia. Alltid.


I’m terribly conservative about certain things and e-books is one of those, where I just never understood the hype. Until now. The thing about gay romance is that it is very much a genre that exists mainly in e-book format, and I’ve read lots of samples on Amazon but never actually bought and read a whole story.

So, what made me do just that? Vikings, of course. 😉 I read this book, Enthralled by the Viking by Calandra Hunter, about a guy who asks a viking for help and pretends to be his thrall, to be able to go to Norway and free his sister from slavery. And it’s sooo good and nice and I just can’t believe I haven’t discovered this whole viking/thrall thing until NOW? There’s lots and lots to read in that genre, luckily, and I sort of did buy a few more books, so… I’ve also had a lot of new ideas for stories set during that time period and also the Dark Ages. God, there are so many amazing eras and I love history so much, always.

Sex

Sandemo

Citatet är hämtat ur tidningen Skrivas långa intervju med Margit Sandemo i senaste numret, och jag kan känna igen mig så himla mycket i det. Sexscener är verkligen det jag tycker minst om att skriva – bara en sån sak som att välja rätt ord – men för en roman som Vågsånger är de otroligt viktiga. Sex och relationer är vad som driver karaktärerna och för handlingen framåt, och skriver man den typen av berättelse funkar det inte att köra “fade to black” så fort det hettar till lite. Och det är klart att det finns erotiska scener som jag minns som väldigt roliga att skriva, men då rör det sig om scener som även innehåller en hel del dialog/backstory eller där det finns någon konflikt inom protagonisten som man kan utforska. Värst av allt är när en scen ska vara sexig och romantisk samtidigt, bara fluff och stön och lite mer fluff på det. Bara det rent romantiska är ju också svårt, för det är så lätt att ta i för mycket eller att inte bygga upp spänningen mellan karaktärerna tillräckligt.

En av sexscenerna i Vågsånger skrev jag på bussen på väg till jobbet (större delen av boken skrevs för hand medan jag pendlade). Det blev väldigt smått och svårläst på sina ställen…