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'09 Authors Insider Tips

Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Digital Publishing & Print
Common Myths of Epublishing
Ebook Formats and Devices


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
Compelling Characters
Point of View, Part I
Point of View, Part II
Learning to Love Conflict
Story Structure
Keep ‘em Guessing
Keep it Simple
Keep Your Writing Real
The Importance of Pacing


Literary Streetwalker
by M. Christian
New World of Publishing
To Blog Or Not To Blog
Meeting & Making Friends
Thinking Beyond Sex
Selling Books
Walking the Line
e-book, e-publisher, e-fun
Still More E-book Fun


Shameless Self-Promotion
by Donna George Storey
Our Journey Begins
Pitches and Bios
Websites, Blogs & Readers
Publicists, Press Kits and...
Viva the Internet
Adventures in Cyberspace
Promoting In the Flesh
Make Your Own Movie
Bigger is Better
Looking Back, Planning Ahead


Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Questions to Ask Yourself...
Tough All Over


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Ideas
Practice Makes Prefect
5 Books for Fiction Authors
Poetry In Motions
Six Serving Men
Ashley Lister is Anal
Stealing Ideas
Celebrating Poetry


2009 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Myths
Graduation


Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
A Year of Living Shamelessly
Adultery, Exhibitionism ...
John Updike Made Me Do It ...
Story Soup: Forbidden ...
Lessons from Amazon
Naked Lunches ...
Erotic Alchemy
Secrets of Seduction
Are You a “Real” Writer?
Don’t Fondle My Sentence


Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
The Passionate Taphophile
Havens on Earth
A Knight Without Armor
Jail-Baiting
Magic Carpet Rides
Getting Hammered
Keep It Quiet
Hang Around for a Spell


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Worked Up About Why
Worked Up About Why, Part II
All Worked Up About Porn
The Catholic Church
Purity Movement
The National Crisis
The Future
About Homosexuality
Public Indiscretions


Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Premature Ejaculation
Auctioning Off What?


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Who's Who Around the Table
Retro-Shame
Ritual Sex
Mixed Legacy
The Spectrum of Consent
Drawing the Line
Marriage without the Hype
The Distracting Smirk
Innocent Guns
Gardens of Earthly Delights


Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Anneke Jacob
D L King
Kristina Lloyd
Lisabet Sarai
Mitzi Szereto
Portia Da Costa
Shanna Germain
Sommer Marsden
Susan DiPlacido


Guest Appearances

Marketing a Self-Published Novel
by Jeanne Ainslie

The Low Road

by James Lear

Book Review by Jean Roberta

 

gay erotica

"You'll take the high road, and I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland before ye.
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond."
- from "Loch Lomond," Scottish folk song (see below)1

James Lear is a sly dog who subverts the kind of novels that are widely thought of as "classics" by larding their plots with man-on-man sex. The results are hilarious, arousing and surprisingly faithful to the originals.

The title The Low Road, like his previous titles, The Back Passage and The Secret Tunnel (wink, wink) is a barely-disguised reference to anal sex. Each title works on several different levels, however. The Low Road also refers to different routes taken by different characters, and to necessary secrecy.

The most obvious model for James Lear's novel about Scotland after the defeat of the Jacobites (Catholic supporters of Prince Charles Stuart's claim to the throne of Scotland) at Culloden in 1746 is Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, a novel published in the 1880s but set in the mid-1700s and largely read (when it first appeared) as an adventure story for boys. The central character in Kidnapped is a young man whose parents are dead, and whose wicked uncle arranges for him to be taken to sea against his will. In the course of his adventures, the young man grows up and eventually gains his rightful inheritance.

The Low Road picks up the picaresque (adventure-story) and coming-of-age themes and intertwines them with the romance of "coming out" into a society in which "sodomy" is a hanging offense but in which most men enjoy sex with other men. Nineteen-year-old Charles Edward Gordon, the central character, lives with his grieving mother in the family mansion after his father, a brave Jacobite leader, has been murdered. Young Charlie, a physically active but isolated lad, develops a "friendship" with a servant:

"My sole contact with my own sex is Alexander, our groom, the only man I know who knew my father. Alexander kept the horses at Gordon Hall after Culloden, and remained in the family service ever since.”

Before long, Charlie engages Alexander in playful wrestling which results in a messy fall. Alexander tends to Charlie as he does to the horses, one thing leads to another, and Charles discovers the joy of a man's touch. Charles even persuades his mother to let Alexander spend nights in Charles’ bedchamber in the great house. For awhile, the lovers live together in bliss, but the country is still in turmoil, spies and English soldiers are everywhere, and danger lurks.

One day, Alexander disappears and a mysterious French "priest" named Benoit arrives to tutor the lad in Greek and Latin. Charles resents him, but grudgingly admires him.

By spying on the strange man in the house (after being spied on himself), Charles sees the “priest” masturbating. Charles confronts Benoit about his hypocrisy and misunderstands Benoit's request that Charles call him "Father." (Charles suspects Benoit of being an opportunist who intends to marry Charles' mother and take over Gordon Hall.) Before Benoit can explain his real mission, English soldiers arrive to search the house for "traitors" to the English crown. Benoit offers no resistance, and the soldiers take him away, leaving Charles and his mother. Charles realizes that he must take action.

Charles sets forth to outwit the "redcoats" of the garrison and rescue Benoit. Along the way, he stops at an inn where he encounters a group of men:

"a rough and ready group, but, I thought, honest-looking Scotsmen each and every one of them. When I entered the inn, they had been joining in a chorus of Loch Lomond -- a crypto-Jacobite hymn, as every young Scot knew well. My immediate fears that these were the dreaded redcoats were swiftly allayed. I felt, for the time being, safe."

Charles feels so safe that he lets the men goad him into drinking excessively, and he takes part in a contest to see whose cock is the biggest:

"Jamie, the middle brother, took our two hard cocks in his hand and held them side by side, pressed together. The heat from Davie's weapon was helping me to get even bigger.”

However, one man in the group has a bigger cock than Charles, who is told that "winner takes all." This means that Charles must use his mouth on Johnnie, the winner, and then accept a punishing (yet exhilarating) fuck. Charles loses consciousness and wakes up on board a ship, where he is destined to be the plaything of the crew.

The captain is an English gentleman in his own way. He rescues Charles from the attention of uncouth sailors (not that Charles really minds it), and decides that he wants to keep Charles for himself. Although he has been commissioned to bring Charles, the Jacobite "traitor," to a feared English general for "questioning" (torture), Captain Moore makes Charles "disappear" as a target of the English by sending word to the general that Charles has been killed. But Charles doesn't want to be the captain's concubine for life. He has more heroic things to do.

Of course, Charles eventually meets up with the feared General Wade while impersonating a messenger so that he can discover the whereabouts of Benoit. In one adventure after another, Charles uses his healthy young cock, his eager mouth and his muscular ass in the service of Scotland.

Meanwhile, Benoit uses any means at his disposal to write letters to Charles, addressed to him at Gordon Hall and smuggled out by corrupt guards. Benoit has little hope that Charles will ever receive the letters, but writing them helps keep Benoit sane in desperate circumstances.

The letters are interspersed with Charles' adventures, so the reader can follow the parallel narratives as the suspense builds. Will Charles and Benoit both survive long enough to be reunited? And if so, what kind of relationship will they have after each man has a variety of sexual learning experiences?

The plot proceeds at a gallop despite the frequent sex scenes involving orgies, voyeurism/exhibitionism, spankings, cross-dressing and a memorable banquet in which Charles is the piece de resistance. Charles survives numerous close calls long enough to mature from a sheltered boy to a more sensible man, and all complications are resolved—at least for the major characters, if not for the doomed Prince for whom Charles was named.

For those who love historical fiction and m/m erotic romance, this novel is a treat. The period flavor resembles that of novels that were actually written in the mid-1700s, and the episodic plot lends itself to being read in installments. James Lear has such a shamelessly homoerotic take on history and literature that a reader wonders which "classic" he will take on next. 
_____

1  From the Wikipedia entry on “Loch Lomond:”
“There are many theories about the meaning of the song. One interpretation is that it is attributed to a Jacobite Highlander who was captured after the 1745 rising. The English played games with the Jacobites, and said that one of them could live and one would die. This is sung by the one who was sentenced to die, the low road referred to being the passage to the underworld.

Another interpretation is that the song is sung by the lover of a captured rebel set to be executed in London following a show trial. The heads of the executed rebels were then set upon pikes and exhibited in all of the towns between London and Glasgow in a procession along the "high road" (the most important road), while the relatives of the rebels walked back along the "low road" (the ordinary road traveled by peasants and commoners).”

Jean Roberta
October 2009

The Low Road by James Lear
(Cleis Press, 2009; ISBN 1573443646)
Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

______
© 2009 Jean Roberta. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written

About the Author: Jean Roberta is the thin-disguise pen name of a writer who teaches mandatory first-year English classes in a Canadian prairie university and who writes fiction (erotic and otherwise), research-based articles, opinion pieces and reviews. She joined ERWA in December 1998, and has never looked back. Several of her stories can be found in the "Treasure Chest" gallery. Over sixty of her erotic stories have been published in print anthologies, and Eternal Press has released her single-author e-collection of erotic stories in various genres and flavors, Obsession (2008).
Jean is a staff reviewer for the monthly reviews site, Erotica Revealed (edited by D.L. King). She blogs on Livejournal as "Lizardlez" and at www.goodsturdyjeans.blogspot.com. Her website (www.JeanRoberta.com) is a work in progress.
Read Jean's full bio at Erotica Readers & Writers Association.



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'09 Movie Reviews

Blame It On Savanna
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Cry Wolf
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Faithless
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Heaven or Hell
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House of Wicked
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The Office: An XXX Parody
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This Ain't The Partridge Family
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'09 Book Reviews

Anthologies

A Slip of the Lip (ebook)
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Best Women's Erotica '09
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Bottoms Up
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Enchanted Again
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Frenzy
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Girls on Top
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In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed
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Libidacoria (Poetry)
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Licks & Promises
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Like a Thorn (ebook)
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The Mile High Club
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Nexus Confessions: Vol 5
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Nexus Confessions 6
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Oysters & Chocolate
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Playing with Fire
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Sexy Little Numbers Vol 1
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Up for Grabs
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Novels

A 21st Century Courtesan
Review by Donna G. Storey

The Ages of Lulu
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Amanda’s Young Men
Review by Kristina Wright

As She's Told
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Bedding Down
Review by Victoria Blisse

Broken
Review by Ashley Lister

Brushes & Painted Dolls
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Cassandras Chateau
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The Edge of Impropriety
Review by Kristina Wright

Exposure
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Free Pass
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The Gift of Shame
Review by Victoria Blisse

Kiss It Better
Review by Ashley Lister

The Melinoe Project
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Mortal Engines & The ...
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The New Rakes
Review by Ashley Lister

Ninety Days of Genevieve
Review by Victoria Blisse

Obsession: An Erotic Tale
Review by Kristina Wright

Sarah's Education
Review by Ashley Lister

Seduce Me
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Lesbian Cowboys
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Night's Kiss
Review by Jean Roberta

Where the Girls Are
Review by Jean Roberta

Gay Erotica

Animal Attraction 2
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Boys in Heat
Review by Vincent Diamond

Faewolf
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Low Road
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Personal Demons
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Ready to Serve
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The Secret Tunnel
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Shuck
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Transgressions
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Non-Fiction

Best Sex Writing '09
Review by Kristina Wright

The Big Penis Book
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Erotic Encounters
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The Forbidden Apple
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Hollywood’s Censor
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Lady in Red
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Licentious Gotham: Erotic...
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Live Nude Elf
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Live Nude Girl
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The Other Side of Desire
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Scripts 4 Play
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