18 May '15

LGBT Event : Including a M/M Romance in a M/F Series by Laura Kaye (Incl. Giveaway)

Posted in Active Giveaway, LGBT 2015 / 39 Comments

Hola and a big smushy WELCOME to our LGBTQ event which is here for the month of May. We have reviews, Guest Posts, Top Ten List and lots and lots of prizes all with a LGBT theme. The posts will be indexed on the side and I do hope you hop through … I have been so lucky this year!

Today, we have the awesome Laura Kaye speaking about her experiences with including a MM romance within an otherwise heterosexual series. I have to say, some of the things in the post I expected but I can’t say I’m not saddened by others. She is giving away one signed copy of Hard to Be Good and Hard Ink swag to one commenter.

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Just over a month ago, I celebrated the release of Hard to Be Good, the fifth book in my Hard Ink romantic suspense series, and my first gay romance! The Hard Ink series follows the surviving members of an Army Special Forces team as they investigate the conspiracy that got them discharged from the military and seek to clear their names. Hard to Be Good is a friends-to-lovers and opposites-attract story about Jeremy Rixey, a sexy, outgoing, playful tattoo shop owner, and Charlie Merritt, a shy computer consultant who was recently rescued from a kidnapping.

I didn’t set out to write a gay romance in the otherwise heterosexual Hard Ink series – that is, I didn’t plan it that way from the beginning. Jeremy and Charlie are important secondary characters who meet in book one of the series, when the SF team brings an injured Charlie to the Hard Ink tattoo building they’re operating their mission from and Jeremy assists in nursing him back to health. From there, the two men’s friendship grows over the following books in the series. As the two non-military men in the group, they often work together on operational tasks that don’t take them out in the field, and they share both a frustration that they can’t do more and concerns for their siblings (Jeremy’s brother is the co-owner of the tattoo shop and the hero from book one, and Charlie’s sister is the heroine from the same). Because Charlie is essentially hiding out from his kidnappers, he has few belongings with him, and so he’s forced to borrow shirts from Jeremy’s infamous dirty T-shirt collection. Their friendship is sweet and funny and tight.

 

Teaser Ask

 

I knew Jeremy was bi-sexual before I wrote the first word of the series. Charlie was a murkier character for me at first. But once I realized he was gay – and that one of his conflicts was that his Army Colonel father – also the SF team’s commander – didn’t accept his homosexuality, I knew Jeremy and Charlie would end up together. So their relationship was just what was right for their characters and came as a natural outgrowth of the deep friendship that develops between them. What I didn’t know was whether these characters would get a book or, if they did, how my editors and readers would react.

Over the past month, here’s what I’ve learned about those things I didn’t know:

–My editor/publisher was fully supportive of the story I wanted to tell. My editor had no hesitation at all about my plans for this book despite the fact that Jeremy Rixey emerged immediately as a reader favorite in the series. She acquired the book without hesitation and the publisher supported it with all the same marketing and promotion, including featuring a banner with two intimately positioned men (from the book cover) as their Facebook cover image during release week. Having that support was an amazing experience.

–Most readers who communicated with me were willing to follow the characters and story wherever it was going to lead them. Many had picked up on the closeness and flirtation between Jeremy and Charlie and suspected their relationship was heading in a romantic direction, and others who perhaps hadn’t picked up on those clues were game to go there anyway.

–A lot of my readers indicated that they hadn’t before read or usually didn’t read M/M romance, but because they enjoyed the series and the characters, they were willing to give it a try. This was a very common reaction and it was encouraging as well, because it gave me the confidence to be able to tell the story the characters demanded be told no matter where it might lead. I often feel that I write what comes through me or what the characters tell me to do more than I “make up” a story, and it’s hard to force a story to do something it doesn’t want to do. So I was glad that the most common reactions were a willingness to go along for the ride and enjoyment of the book despite it not being many readers’ usual read.

–Some readers expressed discomfort at the idea of reading M/M romance. Some of those said they’d try it anyway, perhaps skipping the sex scenes, whereas others said they would have to skip this book altogether expressly because it was gay romance. About a dozen people wrote me directly to essentially ask if it was okay to skip this book – okay in the sense of either 1) would they be able to understand what happened in following books if they skipped this one, or 2) would I understand if they did so. I knew going into this that a gay romance was not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and I had/have no problem with that. My general response to those questions was that I try to write every book in a way that readers can understand it even if they haven’t read the earlier books in a series, so they would probably be fine.

–A handful of readers were very uncomfortable, offended, or angry with me for including a gay romance and writing explicit gay sex in the series. I received a few emails accusing me of pushing my liberal agenda, letting me know that I would go to hell, and saying they’d never read my books again. One reviewer said she was angry because she felt forced to read a gay romance when she didn’t want to (although in the end her review was mostly positive) and another said the explicit sex was just too much for her despite the fact that all my books have explicit sex (it’s worth noting that even with that negative reaction, the tone and wording of the post was professional/not offensive). There were homophobic comments and expressions of anger on my Facebook page, and my posts about the book in the weeks leading up to and after its release lost more me more page likes than anything else I’ve ever posted. Interestingly, the posts that lost me the second most number of FB page likes were those related to my interracial romance, Hard to Hold On To (also part of the Hard Ink series). However, these more negative reactions were very much a minority in my overall experience of Hard to Be Good.

 

Two young gay man hugging each other

 

For me, the big takeaway about including a gay romance in an otherwise heterosexual series is that the vast majority of readers are game for a good story, no matter what it’s about, and that even those readers not interested in one particular book in a series will not abandon the entire series itself. After all, it was the readers who made Hard to Be Good hit #49 on the USA Today Bestseller List. I think it was important that I built Jeremy and Charlie’s relationship across multiple books so that readers were familiar with and sympathetic to and even eager for those characters before their book released. J.R. Ward did this very successfully with the characters Blay and Qhuinn, whose book Lover at Last was a also gay romance in an otherwise heterosexual series that hit #1 on all the bestseller lists.

To me, love is love, and I want to be a part of celebrating it in all its forms. And I’m super excited that readers are willing to help me do it!

Thanks for reading!

Laura

Excerpt:

“You know,” Jeremy said with a smirk, “if you find yourself feeling the urge to kiss me, that’s good, too.”

Charlie gave a small laugh, all of his tension draining away. “I might be feeling that urge right now.”

Jeremy’s thumb stroked over the side of Charlie’s neck and his gaze narrowed. “Are you, now?”

Nodding, Charlie decided to put his tattoo into practice. He leaned in, flicked his tongue against Jeremy’s lip piercings, and kissed him. Threading his hands into Jeremy’s hair, he pushed his tongue deep in the other man’s mouth, tasting, exploring, stroking.

Jeremy gave as good as he got, and soon they were breathing hard, and clutching tight, and grinding against one another until Charlie had to gasp for air.

“Lay down with me?” Jeremy whispered.

“Yes,” Charlie said, letting Jeremy lead him to the big queen-sized bed. They stretched out on the soft flannel plaid comforter.

Jeremy pushed Charlie onto his back and climbed up over him. The other man’s weight felt phenomenal as it pressed him into the soft bedding. “I like the look of you here. In my bed,” Jeremy said.

“Yeah?” Heat filled Charlie’s cheeks at the comment, but only because he loved it so much.

Jeremy nodded. “Me on top of you—is that hurting your side?” Charlie had taken the bandage off at Jer’s instructions hours before, but the tattoo would take upwards of two weeks to heal, apparently.

“No,” Charlie said, quickly sliding his hands up to Jeremy’s back to encourage him to stay right where he was. Because Charlie would’ve endured just about anything to keep him there forever. “Kiss me, Jeremy.”

“Gladly,” Jeremy said, sucking Charlie’s lower lip into his mouth. Slow, deep kisses quickly escalated to fast and frantic. Their bodies shifted and pressed. Their hands grasped and tugged. Their hard cocks rubbed together through their jeans until Charlie was suddenly sure of one thing.

“I don’t want to come like this,” he rasped, his brain scrambling to figure out exactly what he did want. And how to find the courage to voice it.

Jeremy pulled back, that pale green gaze absolutely on fire. “Then how?”

Charlie swallowed hard and his pulse raced even faster. Because his body, heart, and head were all in agreement, and he knew what he wanted—from Jeremy, with Jeremy.

Everything.

 

Hard Ink Tattoo owner Jeremy Rixey has taken on his brother’s stateside fight against the forces that nearly killed Nick and his Special Forces team a year before. Now, Jeremy’s whole world has been turned upside down–not the least of which by a brilliant, quiet blond man who tempts Jeremy to settle down for the first time ever.

Recent kidnapping victim Charlie Merritt has always been better with computers than people, so when he’s drawn into the SF team’s investigation of his army colonel father’s corruption, he’s surprised to find acceptance and friendship–especially since his father never accepted who Charlie was. Even more surprising is the heated tension Charlie feels with sexy, tattooed Jeremy, Charlie’s opposite in almost every way.

With tragedy and chaos all around them, temptation flashes hot, and Jeremy and Charlie can’t help but wonder why they’re trying so hard to be good…

Buy the ebook at Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Paperback Release: May 26, 2015

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About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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39 Responses to “LGBT Event : Including a M/M Romance in a M/F Series by Laura Kaye (Incl. Giveaway)”

  1. Make Kay

    yeah, I’m like many others. If it’s in the series I love, I will go with it. But I usually don’t seek out M/M books. Unless it’s something C. S. Pacat writes!

  2. I have multiple opinions on m/m in my family. I love it and read it all the time. My older sister is “meh”, not interested. My middle sister acts like it’s disgusting, so I can see how you had mostly the same kind of reactions among your readers. The book sounds great, BTW, 🙂

  3. Thanks for your post! I really enjoy this series and I was so happy that Jeremy and Charlie got a book. They’re great characters.

  4. I’ve been reading m/m stuff for years and actually got my sisters into it. You can’t really please everyone so there will always be a critic. You just have to take it with a grain of salt and be proud of your baby no matter what others say.

  5. I discoverd m/m last year and been hooked ever since 🙂 I love the excerpt of Hard to be Good , this certainly looks like a book i would love to read so thank you for the giveaway chance.

  6. I’m glad you stayed true to your characters! I feel sad that we still live in a world where hate is spewed over fictional relationships because it means their real world counterparts are still feeling that, too. I appreciate that people who may feel uncomfortable are still opening their minds and hearts when faced with relationships of all kinds. It means there’s a little less fear/hate in our real world, and that’s a good step. Words can change the world!

  7. You can never make everyone happy and I’m sorry you had such narrow minded negativity towards your amazing writing!

  8. Jessica Kurvers

    My favorite book in the seires so far! Glad you decided to make the jump! I live love loved it!

  9. I thought that this was an amazing book in an all around amazing series, and I applaud you for your courage in putting it out there. I am sad that there is still any negative reaction to a book like this at all, but I think that your willingness to take the risk and release it anyways is one step out of many that are going to fill the world with tolerance and understanding 🙂 This book was a great read, and it elevated Charlie to my favourite character in the series!!!!

  10. Stephanie Lamb

    Oh my gosh! How did I miss this coming out!!! I love this series! I just happened to be at a retail store and bought the first book and loved it! I read it twice within a week actually like 3 days lol. Started following Laura on FB. I love reading on my kindle but I actually buy paperbacks of this series so I can gawk at the hot sexy pictures lol.
    Anyway I can’t wait to get this book! That ex

  11. Stephanie Lamb

    Gah! I hit enter too soon! I was trying to say that excerpt was hot and I have no problem with m/m!

  12. Love M/M wish they had more !!!!
    my best friend is homosexual and named Jeremy so we went out and bought multiple copies to pass out as a joke to friends because finally finally he had a story with his preference and name.
    Love all your books but this was my absolute fave!!!

  13. Rachel C.

    I love this series, and Jeremy is one of my favorite characters. I thought this book was the perfect addition to the series! It was extremely well written and it was, to me, just a story of two people falling in love with each other. They just happen to both be male. It is one I will read again and again. Love IS love.

  14. It’s wonderful to hear that your publisher and editor were so supportive of the book and story line.

  15. I’ve been waiting for this story from the very first book.

    Thanks for staying true to your characters!

  16. I loved it that they got their own stories. I am a huge fan of mm romances and it is good that the big NYC open their minds now.

  17. I don’t read many M/M books , but it being Laura’s series I love this series and will read any books she has for it! I have loved every book she has wrote! Thank you for all your hard work and great story’s

  18. Loved it Laura and I agree, love is love and I’m happy to see it portrayed in its many forms. In fact, I’m finding I’m much more inclined to seek a romance series with such diversity because some of my favorites have all done this. 😀

  19. I don’t read many M/M books , but it being Laura’s series I love this series and will read any books she has for it! I have loved every book she has wrote! Thank you for all your hard work and great story’s

  20. Anissa Kibodeaux

    I have no problem with m/m books….as a matter of fact I’m a fan of them…my brother is gay and I love him just way he is!!!!! I also have family and friends, make and females that are gay wouldn’t change them for anything…..therefore m/m on books r the same as heterosexual books amazing!!!! Keep up the good writing Laura Kaye!!!!

  21. I have to admit, and I know I mentioned to you as well, m/m is not something I’d normally gravitate to but as it was part of your series I was willing to read. The only other book I read was JR Wards book about Blay and Qhuinn. Both books were very well written and, in the future wouldn’t hesitate to read another m/m from both of you.

  22. Dina Dylik

    I think this was the best book in the series and that’s hard to say as I’ve loved everyeveryone of them. There is just something about their story even before this book that you felt the connection in the other books between these too.
    It was nice that you had the support of your publisher and you touched on a taboo topic that in this day and age should no longer be taboo. Love is love it doesn’t matter by gender, color , race , etc. You fall for who you fall for! I enjoy reading a M/M or a M/F/M every now and then. This book was hands down over a 5-star!

  23. Angie Lowrey

    I really do not read gay romance stories, but having read just about everything you have written I know this will be an amazing book. I very much look forward to reading it! As for those angry or disgusted people…Don’t read it! No one is making you! # peopleareidiots #laurakayeisamazing

  24. Marcy Shuler

    I’ve only read a couple M/M novellas that were also part of a series, but I absolutely loved Jeremy and Charlie! Their journey to their HEA was both wonderfully sweet and hot. I’m a loyal fan of Laura Kaye’s writing.

  25. Michelle Gallegos

    I have the first book in this series but hadn’t bought any others. I just bought books 2-4 books cause of this blog post. I appreciate authors who allow the characters to drive their storylines and don’t avoid possible controversy to appease others and readers who allow authors to push our boundaries. Love is love. Thank you for reminding us of that.

  26. Crystal H

    I have to say I got hooked on the series with Easy in your interracial story and I LOVED Jeremy and Charlie’s story. I don’t read m/m usually but I couldn’t miss Jeremy’s story! It was well written and super hot!

  27. Crystal H

    If you haven’t read this book, do it! I started the series with the interracial book, and have preordered every book since. I don’t normally read m/m romances but I loved Jeremy from the very first. Well written and super hot.

  28. Thank you for your thoughtful post and the potential risk you took adding this loving MM romance to your MF series. I am happy that more authors are able to include more diverse types of relationships, when they feel that the characters and storyline are directing them that way and hopefully gain more readers. Thank you for the giveaway.

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