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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Love is Love tour: Jambrea Jo Jones!



Love is Love
I’m happy to be a part of this blog tour because I truly do believe you fall in love with a person and not their gender. Have I always thought that? Maybe not fully, but I think that has to do more with life experience. As you grow as a person you realize there is more to the world than your little bubble of home. You begin to explore and see a different side of things outside of your realm of safety.
I’m very happy that I have grown enough to realize that each person that enters your life teaches you something. I’m hoping that as my son grows, he learns from my life experiences Let’s face it, most of us grow up thinking that there is only one path UNLESS we have someone enlighten us and open up our world to the endless possibilities.
I hope that my son is part of a generation that will understand that EVERYONE is equal. That love shouldn’t have parameters. I guess I always have been a glass half full kinda gal.
The world is changes and I think most can see it as more and more states are getting with the program and saying—it’s MARRIAGE. Not gay marriage, not straight marriage—but two people in love making a legal decision to entwine their lives together.
So here is to hoping that by the time my son is ready to fall in love—no matter who it might be with—he can get married where ever he wants to and not have to worry about someone looking down on him for his decisions.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Love is Love tour: Alex Beecroft!




Faith and Sexuality

Sometimes I am lucky enough to get emails from people who have read my books and liked them enough to tell me so. Probably my most treasured example of this came from a gay man who had used the passage in my novel “Captain's Surrender” where my hero Peter Kenyon realises that God does not condemn him for being gay, as a tool to help a friend through the painful process of coming out himself. In a very small way, I had helped a man to reconcile his sexuality with his faith, so that he could be at peace with both.

I've been a Christian since my twenties. I had a conversion experience at university which left me utterly convinced that God existed, but – because I had been brought up as an atheist – with no idea of what God was really like. I started going to church, learned a whole lot about grace and mercy and God's loving kindness towards humanity, and his sacrifice whereby he redeemed the world as a free gift to anyone who believed in him.

This was all very good news. But then I ran into the teaching that being gay was a sin. There were people even saying that being gay was the kind of thing that would damn your soul to hell. I couldn't accept this. I thought it was horrific to condemn anyone for love. Surely the whole point of Christianity was that “God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them”?

I was plunged into a terrible period of doubt and despair. Did I give up my faith – which I knew was true – and thus damn myself? Or did I somehow have to accept that people could have been created gay so they could be damned? What kind of a God would do something like that?

All I could do was to look more carefully into what the Bible actually said on the subject – find out if there was any doubt, if there was evidence for my belief that being gay could not be wrong.

I looked, and I found it. It turns out that all of the passages in the Bible which have been taken to condemn homosexuality have been taken out of context, or refer to prohibitions in Jewish ritual which are no more binding on Christians than the command not to eat prawns. It turned out that all that persecution over the centuries, all that fear, all of it was based on prejudices read into the Bible rather than read out of it. If you don't believe me, there's a good start to your own research here:


On the one hand this was a great relief – yet again, God had proved to be better than I had thought. His love was still for everyone, not limited by petty nonsensical rules about which tab went in which slot. It was possible to have both ones sexuality and ones faith without compromising either.

On the other hand, I was angry. Why did nobody know? How could the church continue with ugly, soul-destroying condemnation, with nothing but prejudices to back it up? What was Christian about that?

I still feel that anger. That's the reason I wrote both Captain's Surrender and False Colors with a hero who has to learn to reconcile his faith and his sexuality – a hero who comes out at the end accepting and celebrating both.

That's what I wanted to say here too. You don't have to choose. If you are being told you can't have both your sexuality and your faith, that is a false message. Ignore it. You can. Love is love, and God is love, and there is no quarrel between them.

Apologies to those who don't have a faith and therefore don't see why having to give it up is like having to give up a lung. But for those who do, the loss feels like one that cannot be survived, so I am glad to be able to say that God loves everyone he has made, and he made you well.
~


Alex Beecroft was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She studied English and Philosophy before accepting employment with the Crown Court where she worked for a number of years.Now a stay-at-home mum and full time author, Alex lives with her husband and two daughters in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Alex is only intermittently present in the real world.She has lead a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800 year old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.
Alex writes mostly m/m romance in the historical and fantasy genres. 
Her latest novel is Under the Hill, a fantasy in which a sleepy Northern English town is invaded by angry elves, and her latest novella is Blessed Isle, an Age of Sail tale of mutiny and shipwreck on the high seas.
To find out more, visit her website on http://alexbeecroft.com

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Love is Love tour: DC Juris



Gay For Me

Hi folks! ::waves:: I'm DC Juris. I'm a transgender fella who writes GLBTQ and het romance – mostly fantasy and contemporary. I live in Upstate NY with my Hubby, three dogs, three cats, and an army of sock monkeys, of which Caesar and Leo are the leaders. I wanted to tell you a little tale today. Stop me if you've heard this one… 

Picture it – Late summer 1999 in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. The sun is shining, you're driving home from work and can't wait to get home and get online to talk to your long-distance friend. She's the love of your life, although you're only barely aware of it at that point. Months go by, the year rolls into another and another, and it's February 10, 2001, and you're standing at the airport with your two preteens, waiting for this woman to get off the plane and join you in your life. That same year, you ask her to marry you. Though after your divorce you'd vowed off marriage and relationships, you've realized that this person – this woman – is the person you want to spend your life with. The person you wish you'd spent the past 13 years with. 

Fast forward to 2008. Your wife starts hinting at things you've suspected for a while: not being comfortable in her skin, not wanting to look feminine. By the end of 2009, your wife is now an out-and-proud transgender male, and you're married to a man.

Think it's far-fetched? Think it can't happen? Think it can't work?
It's not. It did. It does.

That's what happened to my husband. He married a woman on 10/31/03, but he wakes up next to a man these days. And he's okay with it.

Now, believe me, it's not all hearts and flowers and pooping sunshine. There have been, and will continue to be, plenty of bumps along the road. Plenty of words spoken too hastily on both sides. Plenty of hurt feelings and misunderstandings.
From the start, my husband knew I wasn't like typical women, and frankly, that's what drew him to me. I was more of a tom-boy. I owned maybe one dress, and had not one pink thing in my arsenal. I didn't like the shows all the women he knew liked. And, God help him, I couldn't cook worth a damn. As the years went by and it became clear that he loved me, the person on the inside, I was finally able to be free to be myself. No more acting one way around one person and another way around another person. No more putting on clothes I hated just to please my family. No more having to remember to be "lady-like" all the time. I could just be me. 

Me turned out to be a dude. Well, I'd always known that. I can remember being in Kindergarten and wondering when I was going to get facial hair and muscles like the High School boys. When would I be able to join the football team? When would girls start to notice me? My tender brain didn't quite understand that I was a girl, and those things wouldn't happen to me. 

My parents didn't have a lot of money, so I ended up with a lot of hand-me-downs, most of which were "boy clothes." I loved them. Overalls, jeans, turtlenecks – WOW! I only had to wear frilly things for special occasions, like Easter. It seemed, even back then as a kid, like a fair compromise.
Then, something awful happened. Puberty hit with a vengeance. During 6th grade, I went from being a flat-chested little gender neutral kid to a full-blown C cup princess. You cannot imagine how devastated I felt. You really, really can't. I wanted to die. 

My parents decided that "boy clothes" were no longer appropriate. I was thrust into a world of panty hose, high heels, short skirts, shorts that showed my ass, shirts that hiked up over my tummy, and make-up.  I was mortified, horrified.
I spent the time from junior high to graduation playing dress up like a drag queen. That's how I felt. Every day I would put on those clothes I hated, plaster on a fake smile, and pretend to be something I wasn't. That was life until I met my husband. 

A lot of people have come and gone from my life, but I can honestly say the very first person who looked at me and said, "I love you" and really meant that they loved me was my husband. He accepts all my quirks with a calm grace. And he has set aside all his previous conceptions about gender roles, and made a real, concrete effort to accept this change in our lives.

Understand, my husband isn't gay. He's not attracted to men. They don't turn his head. But he's attracted to me. He understands that what I wear doesn't affect who I am on the inside, and neither goes  a gender label. After trying to raise two boys with a woman who mentally and emotionally abused him (his first wife) he's come to realize that, when you have a good thing, details don't matter. 

Once, he said to me, "I never want to be something that holds you back. I want you to grow and blossom and be who you are meant to be, and I want to be there for it. I can't do that if I close my eyes and let should and shouldn't be in control. At age 20, if you asked me if I could see myself married to a man, I'd have said hell no. Gay is cool, but I'm not into that. But you know what? I'm into you. And if that means people think I'm queer? Well, there are a lot worse things in the world than being queer."

Yes, yes there are.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Love is Love tour: Laura Tolomei



Evolution: of Gay

That homosexuality has always been a tricky subject is no news. Even if it has been true for most of our history, I don’t mean to compare the ways gays have been perceived through the various ages. I’m sure Internet supplies plenty of sites on this topic, whereas I’d like to focus on understanding why and how this attitude eventually damages society.

The first reason that pops in my mind, however trite it may sound, is the issue of reproduction. Seen under this POV, it seems like an open and shut case—society’s priority kind of clashes with homosexuality. To accept it or even tolerate it could bring humankind to extinction, so best repress it all together. But is it really so? It’s like saying that the entire world’s population is not interested in heterosexuality at all, and we all know that’s not true.

Another reason I can see is the need for society to annihilate single individuals in order to privilege the majority. It’s as simple a notion as the need to keep control over a large group, which is a hell of a lot easier if everyone does the same things. But can any amount of punishment or deterrent ever curb the attraction between members of the same sex? The more enlightened civilizations, like Greeks and Romans, not only tolerated it, but disciplined it, at least as far as men, and men alone, were concerned. As long as they married and paid their dues to the procreative effort, they could have sex all they wanted with a male slave, if they so wished.
Aurelius took a careful sip from his cup. “I guess you have a long experience with women.”
Attilio nodded. “Unlike you, Pullus, I like them.”
“I—“
The centurion raised a hand. “No need to explain. I’m half Greek so who better than I can understand certain tastes?”
“I know in Greece, some habits are better tolerated than they are in the rest of the Empire.”
“Tolerated? We wrote poems about it, have plays that call for it. A man is perfectly entitled to conduct his sexual affairs how he sees fit and no one recriminates.”
(Excerpt from Roman Seduction, Trespassing Series Book 1, by Laura Tolomei)

If with the Celts things were different, I believe the reason can be traced to their symbiosis with nature.

Unlike the soldiers I’d heard complaining around the camp, we Celts had no problem expressing our preferences for the male gender. Our traditions did not impose restrictions to what people saw as a natural taste, allowing it only for youngsters and slaves or forcing men to marry and raise a family in spite of their inclinations just to prove they were dominant males like the Romans did. The Celts had no such limitations. We were men regardless of whom we liked to fuck so many of my age offered themselves to older friends or even strangers for purely pleasurable reasons. And the forest was full of their passionate twists and turns.
(Excerpt from Bloody Passion by Laura Tolomei)

But this was a short-lived period. If traditions ran contrary to such open-minded approach, the reason, in my opinion, is largely due to the monotheistic religions that favored heterosexuality over everything else and ushered taboos along with a so-called moral code, which everyone was supposed to abide by. Today, I fear we haven’t evolved much from those dark ages. Today, homosexuality is still stigmatized, if not outright punished with the death penalty in some countries. Today, having same gender relationships still takes guts, a lot of self-analysis, a lot of questioning the norm, a lot of self-awareness—all things straights don’t need to do because they’re accepted by default.

“It’s easy to live in a world rigidly divided in classes and genders, but it gets complicated if you start considering people as individuals, not labels,” says Prince Duncan Caldwell in The Game, Virtus Saga Book 2.
True, it’s more complicated but a damn sight more stimulating and avoids the risk of plunging in one of those sci-fi worlds made up of robots. As a people, we should learn to stop being afraid of deviations from the accepted conventions. Conforming to a pre-existing model isn’t necessarily a positive value. Turning off our brains to believe blindly in anything society feeds us is illogical. Freedom to follow one’s sexual orientations adds to societies. It doesn’t subtract anything from them. Alternative lifestyles enrich societies. They don’t impoverish them.

As an author, I tend to privilege these aspects in my writings, going beyond the sex itself. The confrontation between two equals, in bed and out, is what gets my attention and holds it stead-fistedly. Being on the same level of someone who can turn the tables around quicker and more effectively than any different-gender mate helps overcome prejudices. Take Leon Sterling of Re-Scue and its sequel, Tasting Leon’s Mark. He prefers women, yet has no qualms in claiming Sean as his own, once he discovers Sean is the soul Leon has been looking for all his life, the prey he–the hunter–has chased through several lives already. The fact Sean is a man makes no difference to him, not in the least. Take Sean also, a declared gay whom Leon forces to have sex with a woman in Tasting Leon’s Mark, ReScue Series Book 2. A bad experience? Actually, better than he thought. Here’s what Leon tells Sean to open his mind to new possibilities.

Sean took a deep breath. “I’ve always believed women didn’t attract me. Seeing them half-naked at the beach or on magazines is no turn-on, physically I mean. With men, instead, every sense becomes alert. My mind starts picturing sex, even if I don’t like them that much. This has never happened with a woman.”
“If it makes you feel better, it didn’t this time either. You liked one woman, which doesn’t mean you have to like them all. Like me, I only feel something for you, not for men in general.”
The blond beauty was silent for a while. “Maybe you’re right, but I don’t know—”
Leon forced him to turn around and look straight into his eyes. “You’re just worried you’ll lose your gay identity if you admit you like a woman. But I know you’re much too intelligent to let generalizations blind you. Gay doesn’t define you. It simply limits your choices. You’re a person, first of all, who happens to have his own particular tastes, which should never, ever become a label.”
The dazzling blue eyes flashed in anger. “Funny of you to talk like this since you’re the first to deny our relationship, afraid to let people know you’re doing it with a man.”
Leon searched the beautiful face for a moment. “You’re right. It’s my problem, too. If I haven’t told anyone, except Janet—”
“The Kitty?”
Leon grinned at the appellative. “Right. I guess in a way I think along the same exclusive lines as if fucking one gender automatically excludes the other, as if by admitting I like you, I denied my heterosexual nature.”
“That’s what defines us, lover.”
“Well, it shouldn’t because we miss out on life’s infinite possibilities. And we, above anyone else, should make it true for our current lives since we spurned it in our previous ones.”
(Excerpt from Tasting Leon’s Mark, ReScue Series Book 2, by Laura Tolomei)


Then again, I have plenty of characters you can quote on the subject of homosexuality, alternative lifestyles, freedom of expressing one’s sexual orientations or however else you want to call it.
Sex is meant to be shared. It’s too precious to lock in a drawer, throwing away the key, or save for an exclusive use alone. It’s free and has no limitations except our own. And gender should never be an acceptable limit. Andrea, Spying the Alcove.

Sex is a powerful exchange of energy, my dear boy, a deep sharing at all levels where physical intimacy often leads to mind bondage faster than any other method. Arthur Fairchild, The Sex, Virtus Saga Book 1.

And as you know, awareness is the first step to mastering. Korax, Bloody Passion.
Life is too short to play silly games with your happiness. We don’t have the luxury of time so if you find something truly special, you should grab it with all your strength never, ever, letting it go, and the hell with everything else. Peter, To Seduce A Soul Mate, Soulmate Series Book 1.

 Love gone wrong hurts so goddamn much, but it’s nothing compared to the pains of repressing its memory. Prince Duncan Caldwell, The Game, Virtus Saga Book 2.

Laura Tolomei



EROTIC M/M EXCERPT
“Though it would be nice if you could stay over this week­end.” It was not a habit, of course, but at times, the best ones to date, Leon stayed from Fridays to late Sundays, giving Sean the rare opportunity to watch him asleep, powerful naked frame stretched out next to him, lean muscles at peace, long dark hair scattered on the pillow, chest softly rising and falling in steady breathing.
“Sorry, sweetie, I can’t.” Leon rolled off. “Have to be with Peg’s parents tomorrow.” Glancing at his watch, he sat up. “In fact, it’s late enough, so I better go.”
Right, he’s fucking married! Sometimes Sean forgot the insistent rumors at work claiming Leon had affairs with his secretaries, each one in turn it seemed, while his wife looked more unhappy each passing day. Then it would come back to him with Suzy’s sad disclaimers and angry requests to know who spread the malicious allegations—wishing they were true, of course—or in alternative, who was the lucky woman. Needless to say, Sean felt a thrill of excitement thinking it was him in fact, Leon’s secret lover, and pursued the game with more energy, making its predictable result during the nightly overtime bloodier and sexier than imaginable. “Oh, no, you don’t.” Grabbing the broad shoulders from behind, Sean wrestled Leon down, then squatted smugly on his crotch. “At least not until I’ve used your wonderful dick one more time.” And swaying his ass seductively on the limp organ, he felt it becoming alert.
“Damn!” Leon pushed up his hips, attempting to unsaddle Sean, obtaining only the exact reaction his prey wanted, the forward thrusts hardening the cock. “Sweetie…”
As the tone turned deeper and huskier—the shaft’s fault, no doubt—Sean’s arousal grew to a sizable erection, too. The endearment, whatever the language or the voice, was the hunter’s own call, and its possessive undertone always made Sean lose control with the awareness he belonged to Leon…in or out of bed, in or out of time and space.
“Come on. Stop…”
Well, he sounded anything but convinced, not with a cock as thick as his had become. “Is that what you really want?” With a smug grin, the prey continued the sensual rub between his ass and the bulging head now pushing up to enter, not throw him off anymore. Since it was his same aim, Sean spread his buttocks apart to make it easier for the shaft to get what it wanted. His narrow hole was large enough anyway after Leon’s repeated poundings, so the dick slipped inside without any effort. Soon filling the available space to its fullest, it strained for more, only the balls could not follow, however deep Leon shoved to get them inside, helped also by Sean having to clasp his hands to keep from falling off. And the drilling burned his butt with a fiery heat that crunched his balls from the sheer pressure of the semen throbbing to come out. To help him resist, the not-so-comfortable position worked great, forced to rely on the hunter’s firm hold to allow his legs to press the ass down every time the hunter thrust upward. “Just say the word, and I’ll end it right now.”
“And miss all this?” Swinging his hips, the hunter penetrated so far inside Sean thought the tip of the erection would come out from his throat. “How the hell do you manage to convince me every time?”
“Because you can’t get enough of me.” Squeezing the hard screw in his butt, his own thick dick twitched in agreement, and the prey was afraid he would lose it right there and then.
“Oh, no, you don’t!” With an elegant rollover, Leon flipped Sean beneath him, gaining the upper hand and impal­ing his lover deeper since the new position, with the prey lying on his back, allowed for greater pumping.
But Sean was close to the edge, the dangerous one of spilling his feelings, a mistake the hunter would inevitably catch and the prey would regret for the rest of his life. It was the same reason he had chosen a strenuous position that required much physical effort and distracted his mind. Lying down, instead, with Leon’s hair brushing now his face, now his shoulders or chest, he could have kicked himself for falling once again under the hunter’s spell like in every past life. The sole difference this time he accepted it, even en­couraged his falling deeper in love since any other alterna­tive was a useless battle, a total waste of time according to his age-old experience.
No, he did not want to repeat the experience. It was high time for a change. To alter the endless pattern, even against Leon’s adamant resistance, to devise a new strategy, a different way to play the game in order to turn the tables and bring the hunter at the prey’s mercy. How exactly to beat his lover’s stupid rules, Sean still had no idea, but looking at him, the prey fantasized of a long-term relationship, con­vinced that allowing feelings inside the game would only enhance it, a seemingly impossible dream considering the past’s high failure rate. Then again, Leon was well worth another attempt…always had been, though his prey had so far lacked the skill to accomplish it. Well, maybe not now that he was a man with the experience of the women’s wasted lives and the opportunity to redeem them.
In Leon’s arms, ass ravaged by the frenzied hammer­ing, he wanted to prove his point—however remote the possibility the hunter had not yet guessed it, in view of his trained eyes and ears that in other lives had sniffed it out even before the prey had. Wrapping his neck, Sean pulled Leon down, blindly seeking the full lips, then opening his mouth wide the moment he felt the tongue’s nudge, sucking it inside to mix with his flavor, melting and surrendering everything he had to the only one who ever meant anything to him.

As if sensing Sean’s mood, Leon increased the sensu­al sweeps, almost reaching the throat both with his tongue and shaft, the tempo of one matching that of the other, until the prey knew he had him right where he wanted him. At the verge of an explosive come, the uncontrollable spasms in his butt were not surprising given the amount of emotions spic­ing the plain sex into a more elaborate plate than the hunter was prepared to handle. Then before Leon had the chance to recover, Sean rolled him over and jerked off while straddling him, the feeling of the cock cramping his ass still strong in spite of its going limper by the second, the sensations tearing his soul apart more than enough to push his desire to the tip of his erection and flood the hunter’s chest with powerful jets of hot, seedy fluid.