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'10 Authors Insider Tips

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Have More Good Sex
I Can Do Better ...
Trying to Get the Feeling
Plotting and Planning
Character Profiles
Discovery Draft
Be Bad to Be Good
E-Book Revolution
Naked for Halloween
Sex With Pilgrims


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
The Music of Words
The Balancing Act
Your Fictional World
Backstory & Foreshadowing


The Fine Art of Submission
by Shanna Germain
Nailing the Query Letter
Banish the Boring Bio
Becoming a Market Master
Become a Market Master, 2
Backstory & Foreshadowing
Enticing An Editor, Part 1
Enticing An Editor, Part 2
Contracts, Money & More


Serious about Smut
by Vincent Diamond
No More Horsing Around
Short Stuff
Selling Short Stories
Editors' Pet Peeves
Settings: Beyond Time & Place
Beating Up Your Scenes
Selling Your Books in Person
Staying in the Saddle


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Broken Rainbows
Talk the Talk
Equations
10 Commandments for Writing
Plotting to Avoid
Cover Story
Rewriting




'10 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
St Valentine's Day
Renaming Body Parts
Sex, Cigarettes & Erotic Fiction


Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
C. Sanchez-Garcia
Emerald
Kathleen Bradean
Lucy Felthouse
Neve Black
PS Haven
Tracey Shellito
Tresart L. Sioux


Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
Plenty of Miles Left
Don't Worry, Be Happy
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Coffee Time
Castrated Words
Virtual vs. Actual Romance
Bait
The View from Gallows Hill


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
The Fashion Industry
The Same Old Same Old
Writing Porn
About the Closet
... About Spirituality
Making Sense of Religion
Worked Up About Monogamy
What's Next
All Worked Up About Nature
Still All Worked Up...


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Holiday Ghosts
Love and Romance
An "Interracial" Epic
Trying to Make It Go Away
Sexual Etiquette
Sex and Children
People Against Bad Things
Virtual Acceptance
His Cold Eyes, His Granite Jaw
A Flash of Northern Light

Best Gay Romance 2010

Editor, Richard Labonte

Book Review by Vincent Diamond

 

Gay Erotic Ficiton

Continuing their now-classic series, Cleis Press releases this year’s Best Gay Romance just in time for Valentines' Day. I read it that week and the timing was perfect. Every story focuses on love, schmoopy or solid, hard-edged and bunny-soft. There are those who say love between men is different than other kinds, but these stories show that caring, nurturing, sex appeal, and lifelong love fits male couples of all types. And despite the youth of the cover models, many of the characters here aren't fresh-faced neophytes to love but scraggly, scruffy, middle-aged or older men who dare to take a chance with their hearts.

Labonte has gathered several well-known gay fiction writers: Trebor Healey, David May, Rob Rosen, Natty Soltesz, and Simon Sheppard round out pieces from relative newcomers such as G.A. Li, L.A. Fields, and Doug Harrison. The mix of voices creates a charming book.

Among the strongest pieces:

"World's Greatest Dads" by David Puterbaugh captures the day-to-day, minor irritations of a life together, especially one faced with the huge undertaking of adopting a child. Mark and Scott are shopping at an Ikea-esque megastore and arguing—gently—over the as-yet-to-be-determined name for their son. With deft characterizations and spot-on dialogue, this is a gentle read that evokes the joys and trials of pending parenthood.

"Templeton's in Love" from Jerry Wheeler is another romantic piece, and one with a much more somber tone. Tom and Stan have broken up, with angry words and some bitterness. The story has dual love lives to share: the singer, Templeton, and his lover, plus the main characters. When Tom and Stan run into each other at Templeton's "comeback" concert for one of their favorite singers, the story takes a hopeful turn. Yet underscoring this renewed romance is the sadness of Templeton's revelation. A lovely piece.

"Guy Sydney" is a take on the Cinderella story except this tale has a rare-book dealer as the Prince and a hotel desk clerk as Cinderella. The nuances of book collecting are a nice touch, and though this may date the story as publishing moves to digital files, a reader can almost feel the worn pages and smell the pleasant book-musk rising from the pages as this couple wend their way towards love. Author David Holly also gives his Cinderella a modern twist so that they evil-doers get an appropriate come-uppance. This is a terrific spin of the fairy tale that works on all levels.

Rob Rosen contributes the snappy and energetic "Make a Wish." When birthday boy Glenn meets the world's most gorgeous waiter at a sushi restaurant, Jeff gives him a birthday cakelet and the hope for a romance-dipped wish. But then Jeff disappears, presumably to wait tables at another restaurant. Glenn works his way through the phone book, dialing restaurants night after night in a fruitless effort to find the man of his dreams. This story has an ending with a perfect touch, just enough sexy double entendres to make it fun but not veering into crude porn territory. Worth nibbling on again, this story was probably the sweetest of the bunch.

Another solid story is "Squeamish" by Simon Sheppard. When his lover leaves for him a Master, the narrator Brett, struggles to make sense of dominant/sub relationships that he's had little experience with. Brett's heart aches for Jeff, uncomprehending though he may be. Sheppard does an able job of showing Brett working through the end of their relationship: "It's such an old story, if you strip it of its whips and chains."  And later, when Brett finds incriminating letters and photos:  "How could I compete with the fascist of your dreams?" The story veers nearly into an uncomfortable vibe, at odds with the more traditionally romantic of the other stories. Yet it works.

It all works. Read it with a lover, read it with a friend, read it on the beach or in a bed. Whether alone or to share, this book has gay romance of all kinds to entice you.

Vincent Diamond
March 2010

Best Gay Romance 2010
(Cleis Press, January 2010; ISBN-10: 1573443778)
Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

______
© 2010 Vincent Diamond. All rights reserved.

About the Author:
Vincent Diamond's short story collection, Rough Cut, was released by Lethe Press in 2008. "An erotic wordsmith," says noted editor Richard Labonte in the foreword to the book, "...erotic fiction that possesses story-telling heft." Diamond's stories have appeared in Screaming Orgasms, Sex on the Beach, Coming Together: Under Fire, Country Boys, Truckers, Best Gay Romance 2007, Hot Cops, Love in a Lock-Up, Best Gay Love Stories 2005 and 2006, in the e-books Feathers, Chance Encounters, Under Arrest, and Play Ball from Torquere Press, and online at Fishnet, Clean Sheets and Ruthie's Club.
More info, with free stories and excerpts, available at: www.vincentdiamond.com.



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'10 Book Reviews

Anthologies

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Freak Parade
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I Came Up Stairs
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The Master & the Muses
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Naked
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Sinful
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Tangled Web (MM Romance)
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Tucker's Sin
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Gay Erotica

Best Gay Erotica '10
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Best Gay Romance 2010
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Biker Boys
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Personal Demons
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The Royal Treatment
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Silver Foxes
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A Sticky End
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Wired Hard 4
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Fast Girls
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A Brief History of Nakedness
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Condom Nation
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Dictionary of Semenyms
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How Sex Works
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The Orgasm Answer Guide
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Screening Sex
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Sex at Dawn
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Whip Smart
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