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Friday, March 13, 2015

Magic realism




A while ago I wrote a novel about thespians in the afterlife called Drama Queens with Love Scenes. It was a tale of unrequited love between best friends, Allan and Warwick, who find themselves, unexpectedly, dead. While most of the reviews were favorable, two things that critics kept mentioning was their affection for the gay insecure angel character, Guy, and their confusion about what genre the book was.

One even said that ‘it flouts m/m convention throughout’. Others saw it as a comic fantasy even though it wasn’t set in some medieval empire. But someone called it ‘magic realism’, a term I liked immediately. It summed up various blogger’s views regarding the lifelike characters in a supernatural setting.

In the sequel, Drama Queens and Adult Themes, Allan and Warwick are reincarnated as long term married couple, Adam and Wade. Why? I’m using reincarnation as a metaphor for theater where the same people play different roles, but that’s too esoteric to talk about in a guest blog. All you need to know is that in the Afterlife, a warlock has cast the spell of lust on middle-aged Adam and potential toy-boy, Mannix. But there’s a problem, Adam and Wade are monogamous.

The action drifts back between earth and the Afterlife, where Fabien is joined by moralising fellow warlock, Ipan (incidentally, both have come to life from a play performed in Book One, again, too esoteric), and gentle natured witch, Farah.

But why take a simple story about a lust triangle and add mythical characters? Simple. My partner and I watched this scenario play out in real life and the whole time we joked that some fairy had cast a spell on the couple and the third interest involved. And as any author knows, real life is where the best fiction comes from.

One reviewer said of book two: “I found myself pausing as I read, thinking back over my own long lifetime as a gay man in a rapidly shifting world.” Fantasy characters are the best muses to voice the subtext of our protagonists, and Fabien, Ipan and Farah, get up to enough mischief to keep the drama, and the laughs, rolling to the last page.



Blurb:

Adam's about to discover how much drama a mid-life crisis can be. He's obsessed with Mannix, the nude model in his art class. But Adam has been married to Wade for nearly two decades, and they don't have an open relationship.

Little do they know that Fabien, a warlock from the Afterlife, has secretly cast a spell of lust on Adam and his potential toy-boy.

As things begin to heat up, Adam's guardian angel, Guy, steps in. But what's the best way to save the relationship? Should Guy subdue Adam's wandering passions or instigate a steamy threesome?


Excerpt:

He had the perfect vee-shaped torso. The kind that would turn on a dozen potential lovers if he wandered into a gay bar. And while his faultless crew cut was artificially red, his other natural features were as intense as James Dean's. I could go riding in his sports car, feeling the breeze as we headed to Lover's Lane. He'd admire me with his penetrating eyes before undressing me for a lovemaking session so powerful, not even a night with a handpicked selection of porn stars would compare.
But unlike anyone I'd ever met, he was blessed with soft charcoal-colored wings. This was Guy's boyfriend, Joshua. I was back at that thespian drinking haven, the Pedestal, at some stage between going to bed and waking up the next morning.
I tried not to drool at this bad boy, while picturing myself taking off his well-fitted leather jacket, slowly. I wanted to let out an orgasmic moan, before any foreplay had begun.
"I think you need to sleep with Mannix," he said.
He sipped on a Bloody Mary.
"Joshua!" his loving partner reprimanded.
"Joshua, we tried," I said.
"And what happened, sweetheart?"
"He freaked out. He gives us all the signals and then runs off in terror."
"Tsk, tsk. Now why would he do that? You're not exactly on the ugly scale."
"Thanks," I replied. "I think."
"Joshua, that's not the issue here," Guy said. "I've been watching over them, and they're getting obsessed with Mannix. And just as odd, Mannix is obsessed with them. It doesn't make sense."
"What's there to make sense of, Petal? They're grown men looking for a bit of spice. This Mannix dude is the spice. Supply and demand. No problem."
"But Guy has a point," I said. "This is doing my head in. One minute, Wade and I are respectable grown men, the next we're one step away from toupees and face-lifts."
"And is this causing you two to argue? Fight? Split up?"
"Strangely, no."
I picked up my cocktail, resting the top of the glass on my lower lip before sipping slowly.
"Joshua, it's still causing drama," continued Guy. "Adam and Wade have their heads in no-man's land, and Mannix is just as bemused."
"Oh my darlings, they're men. Adult men. Every one of them. That which doesn't kill them, will make them stronger. Or separated but I can't see any hint of that. Can you, Adam?" I nodded tensely. "There, you see, Guy? It might be causing a bit of grief, but in the end, they're men. Once they stop questioning it with their emotions, they'll solve it physically and wonder why they didn't get down and dirty sooner."
I sat with the two angels, none-the-wiser. That dark-skinned woman was back on stage. Sultry jazz was her genre of choice today, and her small ensemble cruised into mellow tones that could set you adrift on a small boat. As she crooned the first lines of "Someone To Watch Over Me", Guy sang the words with her under his breath.
Around me, the mismatched furniture complemented the mismatched cast. A lone African woman, wearing more colors than a peacock's tail, stood transfixed as if the singer was secretly robbing her soul. Her fingers tapped on an imaginary piano, and her wide-eyed stare gave me goose bumps.
An old lady, dressed in clothes her own granddaughter would wear, clutched her wine glass like it was a precious jewel. At the same time, she gazed into the eyes of a mature athletic man who looked like he once had a passion for ballet dancing. Their loving gaze reminded me of the way Wade sometimes looked at me.
"So, Joshua, you think we're making too much of a big deal about this?"
He rubbed the tip of his sculptured jawline as Guy casually leaned toward him.
"Adam, darling, there are men who put themselves through hell and back trying to do the right thing. They won't act until they work out all the final consequences. And let's face it, as much pontificating as humanly possible is not ever going to let you know the final outcome, really! And there are men who are a lot more spirited and take life as a challenge. Go forth and take the risk and see where it leads you."
"Joshua, Adam understands that," Guy said. "But there's Wade to consider. What if their marriage falls apart?"
"Darling, seriously. From what you've told me, they're not going to fall apart. It's all just a bit of fun. Mannix is a new appliance, like a fridge or a vibrator. Something that has a use. And think, Adam. Think of the uses you can come up with, with your new appliance."





Author website – www.kevinklehr.com

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