Saturday, March 31, 2012

Novel: A Bar Tender Tale

A Bar Tender Tale by Melanie Tushmore
Today I'm here to talk about "A Bar Tender Tale", an m/m romance novel by Melanie Tushmore.

This is a romance novel (novella?) for those who like their gay lovin' fluffy and off-beat. The reason I picked it up is because it promised a main character who loves "loud music, tattoos, and zombie paraphernalia". And boy, does it deliver.

The novel starts with Nathan -- our narrator -- trying to get into touch with his asshole boyfriend. Our adventure begins when Nathan decides to dump the asshole and find a replacement (with "help" from his friends).

Now, there's a lot of fiction out there involving heroes and heroines who call themselves 'weird' or 'nerdy', when what they really mean is they're self-absorbed (and disappointingly average) people who don't seem to understand what it actually means to be different. And that drives me nuts.

But Nathan is just absolutely immersed in subculture. He's a skinny guy with blue-black hair and tattoos, who likes B-movies and doesn't quite fit in with his straight friends. But best of all - he's not self-conscious. He recognizes that most people don't share his tastes... and that's cool with him.

I absolutely loved the scenes between him and his love interest, Auryn. I really felt like the two of them had an authentic connection. Too often a novel will have endless descriptions of how attractive its characters are, but no real chemistry between the two. Here, I got to see two guys really interacting like... well, guys. The flirting is very subtle, very nice.

My only quibble was that everything was a little too fluffy for me. While I enjoyed the scenes where Nathan had some funny moments with his friends, those scenes constitute a small chunk of the first half of the novel, while, to be honest, I'd rather have been reading about Auryn.

What really held me was Tushmore's writing style. Very nice - not too prosy, not too bland. There's a lot of details about British bands and subculture and clubs, all of which ring true (to my limited knowledge of the subject). Once I finished the book, I visited her blog and realized that this is because she probably has a strong interest in that stuff herself.

While this novel didn't fully satisfy me, it's definitely a fun read. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Webcomic: The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal

<epic tj and amal gay webcomic
Let me start off by saying that this is one of the most slow-paced gay webcomics I've ever read. It's called "Less Than Epic" for a reason. As I am typing this, there's 26 chapters and little romantic conflict (though there's plenty of tension).

Despite this, I spend an entire day reading this comic because I NEEDED to see TJ and Amal get together. And once I was done with what had been posted so far, I went back and re-read it, and re-read it, and re-read it.

It's fucking beautiful.

It's the story of a med student, Amal, and TJ, a (seemingly) aimless but amusing stranger. The author's description is as follows:
In the span of a single day, Amal calls off his arranged marriage, comes out to his conservative parents, prompty gets disowned, goes on a bender... and wakes up the next morning to find TJ, a lanky, dreadlocked vagrant, frying eggs and singing Paul Simmons in his kitchen.
TJ claims that the two have made a drunken pact to drive all the way from Berkeley to Providence. As it happens, Amal promised his sister he'd be there for her graduation from Brown University. And TJ, well... TJ has his own reasons.
The agreement is simple: Amal does the driving, TJ pays the way - but a 3500 mile journey leaves plenty for time for things to get complicated.
TJ and Amal feel like real people. When you read the comic and watch their expressions as they talk, you can hear every unsaid thing going through their minds. Wow. Just, wow.

Look at this! Oh god, my heart just MELTS.

Clicky click click

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What the hell is this?

I realized today that my life is very gay.

My friends are queer folk, I read m/m romance, I used to write slash fanfiction, ect, ect.

And I thought to myself - there's a lot of people out there like me, who just enjoy gay things in general. And I've come across a lot of good stuff - gay romance novels, yaoi, gay webcomics, and the like - worth telling people about. So I've decided to share it with the world.