Five Historical Romances I’m Loving Right Now!!

If you’re like me, end of summer sloth is starting to take over. That time of year when the air is sweet, the sun golden but sets earlier every evening, and nothing beckons louder than your backyard/balcony lounge chair. Maybe you’re on holiday. Maybe holidays are done and you, like me, want to recapture that lazy feeling on your weekends. At this time of year, there’s no luxury like a good book, a fruity drink, and an afternoon to relax through.

In Romancelandia, the sunny season had seen published an unusual amount of LGBTQ+ historical romances, and I, for one, am not complaining. Five of the most talented authors around have put out incredible books, and so it’s time to give my fellow historical writers some love in one of my favorite features, Five Things I’m Loving Right Now (Historical Romance Edition).

So take advantage of the last days of summer to soak in a few rays and travel back to far more adventurous (and repressed, it must be said) times. After you’ve read Stoker & Bash: The Fangs of Scavo, of course. ūüėČ

Aqua Follies by Liv Rancourt

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Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. And this cover is not only gorgeous, but a perfect reflection of the story inside. I’d read paranormals by the wonderful Liv Rancourt, but her historicals were new to me. Boy, am I glad I dove into this one! A rare historical set in the 1950s, Mrs. Rancourt brings the era we think we know through movies and TV brilliantly to life. You will fall as hard for Russell and Skip as they do for each other, and be bedazzled by the dialogue and period detail. A must-read for any historical romance fans.

A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers

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The author of the astounding Enlightenment series journeys to Porthkennack, a Cornish seaside town with a moody beauty and a stormy atmosphere. Especially when it comes to its newest and most inscrutable resident, Ward, a disgraced scientist chasing the ghost of his dead brother. Salt of the earth Nicholas is blackmailed into helping him with his experiments into weather and spirits, and gets more than he bargained for when sparks fly between them. Need I say more? A master of the genre at the top of her game.

Spectred Isle by KJ Charles

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The shadow world encroaching on 1920s London was never so beguiling as in the hands of Mrs. Charles, who expands her world of occultists and invisible entities established in The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, but a generation later. As always, the period detail and the level of research into folklore is gold-standard–you will learn ridiculous amounts of the most fun kind of information reading this book. But the deep emotion with which she imbues her characters, wounded Saul and sardonic Randolph, are what makes this so glommable.

The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian

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Mrs. Sebastian is my favorite new discovery this year, earning one-click status with her first book A Soldier’s Scoundrel and my undying devotion with her second, The Lawrence Browne Affair. This gem concludes her trilogy, but is hopefully not the last historical we get from her golden pen (or, er, keyboard). Courtenay, who has the reputation of a Cassanova thanks to someone publishing a book of his exploits, is the titular rake. He finds his foil in Julian, an ultra-proper man with dark secrets. Together, they try, and fail, to resist their best instincts and the lust that burns between them. Much to the reader’s delight.

The Bones of our Fathers by Elin Gregory

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Okay, so I’m cheating a bit with this one. It’s a contemporary, but it involves a museum curator and the discovery of an ancient burial cist, so I hope I’m forgiven. It’s also bloody fantastic. The lovely Mrs. Gregory doesn’t get enough love or attention, despite being an incredible author, so do yourself a favor and pick up this treasure about… well, the power struggles over some ancient treasure in the form of two intertwined male Bronze Age skeletons. Mal, the curator, and Rob, a local boy with an unfortunate nickname and hidden depths, also find their lives intertwined, in the best and sometimes most difficult ways possible. Wit, warmth, and welcome are the hallmarks of this book–don’t miss it.

Happy reading!

Selina

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Best Books of 2015

As the last grains of sand pour through the hourglass that was 2015, every one of us, I think, is taking a few moments to reminisce about the year that was. It’s the time of year to shift around the beads on the abacus of life and, if you’re a geek like me, to remind yourself of all the indelible pop culture experiences you had this year. A tough year for me personally, but an epic¬†one in terms of the entertainment I consumed, and the thoughts about it I shared with my social media friends. So, over the next couple of days, I’m rolling out my best of 2015 in books, TV, and film. Because who doesn’t love a good list?

Thanks to the lovely folks at GoodReads, putting together my best books of 2015 list was a breeze! I pressed a button and presto, changeo, they tallied all the stats and collected all the book covers for me. A huge help! But also¬†surprising.¬†The year has been¬†a busy one, and that’s reflected in the¬†smaller number of books I got through. Not a surprise, since¬†as I type this there are at least a dozen on my waiting list,¬†with at least¬†five by major authors.¬†I also tend to rate books quite highly, but I attribute this to the fact that I’m very good at selecting books for myself that I will enjoy. I have my stable of trusted¬†authors, and though I do¬†sample works by new writers (four of which made it to this list), just keeping up with my favorites eats up the largest chunk of my reading time.

So, without further ado, here are the seven best books I read in 2015 (in no particular order).

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A Death at the Dionysus Club by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold–A Victorian mystery series with occult leanings, beautifully drawn characters, a fascinating and terrifying underworld, and a¬†complex, touching¬†romance. What’s not to love?

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Captive Prince 1&2 by C.S. Pacat–I’ve written about them before. If you’ve read this series, you know how expertly plotted, devastatingly smart, and utterly riveting they are. Laurent is one of the best characters of all time.

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Missing Reels by Farran Smith Nehme–If you, like me, love old movies and¬†are just as fascinated by the stories behind the making of those movies, you will love this book. A film buff’s romance with strong mystery element, with a lovely, complicated,¬†silent film-loving¬†heroine and¬†her dashing mathematician¬†foil. I ached when this one was over.

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Hoarfrost by Jordan L. Hawk–A new Whyborne & Griffin book is always a cause for celebration. This one’s winter setting hit close to home, and made for a particularly emotional outing. I marvel at the depth of Mrs. Hawk’s imagination, which conjures up¬†civilizations and creatures that, like the best episodes of Doctor Who, touch the head and the heart.

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Jackdaw¬†by K.J. Charles–What else is there to say about Mrs. Charles other than she is the best historical M/M writer working today? I could have put all of her releases on this list, but my love for the Charm of Magpies world knows no bounds, so Jonah and Ben it is.

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Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates–A pitch-black book about six Oxford University students who start a game of dares that transforms all their lives. Twisty and addictive, Mr. Yates pushes all of his characters to the brink and beyond.

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Unnatural by Joanna Chambers–An engrossing historical that had me by the heart for its entire length. I just loved James and Iain to bits. But it’s the brushstrokes of her writing that stay with me, the quiet moments and the compelling images that linger in the mind long after the last page.

What books made you stay up into the wee hours to finish them this year? Hit me up in the comments!

 

Spotlight on Humbug and Author Interview with Joanna Chambers!

Dear Friends,

I have an extra-special pre-Christmas treat for you all today, an interview with none other than the extraordinary Joanna Chambers, author of one of my favorite M/M historical trilogies, the Enlightenment series. She’s here to promote not one, not two, but three new projects, with a spotlight on her first venture into self-publishing, Humbug! So join me in welcoming her, and read on to find out more about her sparkly Christmas story…

Welcome, Joanna! To start off, tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing. Unlike a¬†lot of M/M authors, you’ve also written M/F before. How did that transition come about?
It’s a clich√©, but I always wanted to write. As soon as I could read, really. It took me a while to figure out what to write (romance), and then a little longer how to write it (sincerely). I’d had a brief but intense love affair with romance as a teenager, then read none at all for years and years. I rediscovered it in my early 30s as a new mother after years of reading¬†miserable literary fiction that left me vaguely unsatisfied. ūüėČ
My writing passion tends to follow the cycle of my reading passion plus approx. 2 years. So, when I was publishing M/F historicals, I was reading M/M historicals. I’m a massive glommer. When I love something, I tend to devour it to the exclusion of everything else (once went a whole year listening to nothing but Bob Dylan), and I’ve read pretty much exclusively queer romance for the last 5 years–this¬†year mainly contemporary. I don’t honestly see that changing anytime soon, but it could do. I’d never rule out a return to M/F at some point, but I have to feel some degree of passion for whatever I’m working on.
So I guess the logical question is: What were you reading two years ago? And will we be seeing any contemporary books from you after this set of releases (I’d love to see what you’d¬†do with an M/M romance¬†legal thriller,¬†since that’s your background)?
I kind of started on my (current) contemporary queer romance kick two years ago, and, yes, there is a contemporary novel planned–part of something bigger (and currently under wraps)… I don’t see any legal thrillers in my future though. I’m not a fan of those really. Never say never though.
You’re spoiling us with not one, but three releases in the space of a month, and all just before Christmas. You must feel a bit like Santa ¬†Claus.¬†Tell us about Humbug. (Exceptional cover, BTW.)¬†What about A Christmas Carol made you think it was ripe for an M/M twist, and how did you go about re-interpreting the classic?
I totally love the cover. It’s a contemporary retelling of A Christmas Carol, and I feel like Natasha Snow’s design captures a feel of the original as well as the contemporary vibe.
My Scrooge character is Quin Flint (aka Skinflint), a workaholic management consultant who specialises in downsizing. I had a¬†lot of fun writing this story, figuring out equivalent characters for Marley’s ghost, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and a few other, more minor characters that aficionados of the original will recognise. Plus, on top of that, I’ve added a romance component. I love this story a lot actually–I really hope readers will too.
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You also have a Christmas story in a charity anthology this year. How did that come about?

I’m really pleased to be doing another charity antho with Susan (Lee of Boys in Our Books) this year, particularly since I love Christmas stories–I literally can’t get enough of them. My contribution is a (pretty heavily)¬†revised version of a story I published under another name a few years ago, “Mr Perfect’s Christmas.” The rights reverted to me a few months ago, so the timing was great.
I loved Another Place in Time, so I can’t wait to dive into the new anthology. Can you tell us a little bit more about it, and what charity the proceeds go to?
It’s called Wish Come True and it’s the lovely Susan Lee’s baby (as was Another Place in Time). However, whereas APIT was historical stories, WCT is contemporary NA. My fellow authors are fab: Kaje Harper, Megan Erickson, Anyta Sunday,¬†Amy Jo Cousins, Keira Andrews, and Suki Fleet. All proceeds go to¬†Lost-N-Found Youth, an Atlanta-based non-profit corporation whose mission is to take homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths to age 26 off the street and transition them into more permanent housing. So, a very worthwhile cause.
I personally love Christmas anthologies–there’s something about the holidays that just lends itself to shorter tales, kind of like a box of¬†chocolates or presents under the tree.¬†Do you prefer writing these shorter stories, or the breadth and depth of a novel?
I like both. I like the palate cleansing you get from writing a shorter story after working on a longer piece for months and months–it’s energising. But I like the challenge of the longer form, too. My first novel was over 90k and my second 75k ,but since then, most of my novels have clocked in at about 60k. That feels like quite¬† natural length for me to write. And about 20k for a novella.

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Speaking of novels, I cannot wait to dive into Unnatural, which is sort of a companion book to your Enlightenment series. I certainly understand the impulse to stay in that world–the trilogy is easily one of my favorite M/Ms of all time. What about Iain’s story drew you back, and is this¬†a start¬†of a new trilogy? Can we expect more companion books?

There’s an origin story that I’ll be blogging about separately; however, in a nutshell, Iain started off as one of those characters that I think of as human furniture–he was initially created literally just to stand next to Murdo in a scene in book 2, but once I’d described him in his scarlet¬†uniform with his moustache and his glinting smile, I found myself writing him into another scene, then another. Then he got a small but significant role in my freebie short, “Seasons Pass” (set between books 1 and 2), which is where James gets his first appearance. After that, writing their story was inevitable…

I’ve not got any more Enlightenment books planned at this point. I could see myself possibly writing a short about Kit Redford (the owner of the club in “Seasons Pass”) at some point though. ūüôā

Just a couple of fun questions to¬†finish things off.¬†So if you were visited by a ghostly presence in the middle of the night, would you prefer it to be the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, or Future, and why? (I’ve just noticed that that aspect of Humbug ties in nicely with your¬†Somnus series, actually.)

Probably the Ghost of Christmas Past. Christmas is a¬†time of nostalgia after all. I wouldn’t mind revisiting some of those exciting childhood Christmases. ūüôā And yes, I do seem to write about sleeping–and Christmas–a lot!

Finally, let’s play a romance version¬†of a game we’ll call “One Night Stand, Long-Term Relationship, or HEA”.¬†Of all of your characters, which one would you want to¬†a) have a one-night stand with, b) have a long-term relationship (that ends in a breakup)¬†with, or c) live happily ever after with?

Great question! My¬†one night stand would be probably be Iain Sinclair from Unnatural because–hello, moustache! (My love of facial hair significantly pre-dates the rise of the hipster. I used to have a regular piece at my old reader¬†blog called “Tash or Slap” in which I posted a picture of man with a tash and another wearing make up and invited my readers to vote on their favourite. Example here).
My long term relationship¬†might be… Cam McMorrow from “Rest and Be Thankful” because we’re very alike and I think we’d have a lot in common. But ultimately (sob) we’d break up because we’re too alike.
My happily ever after is easy–Murdo Balfour. He seems all high-handed and arrogant, but really he’s a nurturer. So he’d be fabulously alpha in bed then bring you a cuppa tea after.

And that’s a wrap! Huge thanks to Joanna for stopping by and treating us to some time with her! Readers, who would your choices be for a ONS/LTR/HEA from among Joanna’s characters? Hit us up in the comments, and enjoy her holiday releases.

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Bio
Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. In between studying, finding¬†a proper grown up job, getting married and having kids, she spent¬†many hours staring at blank sheets of paper and chewing pens.¬†That changed when she¬†rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse.¬†Joanna’s muse¬†likes red wine, coffee and won’t let Joanna clean the house or watch television.

 

Blurb

Quin Flint is unimpressed when his gorgeous colleague, Rob Paget, asks for extra time off at Christmas. As far as Quin is concerned, Christmas is a giant waste of time. Quin’s on the fast track to partnership, and the season of goodwill is just getting in the way of his next big project. But when Quin’s boss, Marley, confiscates his phone and makes him take an unscheduled day off, Quin finds himself being forced to confront his regrets, past and present, and think about the sort of future he really wants‚Ķand who he wants it with.

Top 5 Most Cinematic M/M Romances

One of the great tragedies of the modern cinematic era, IMHO, is the fact that Brokeback Mountain was followed up by… absolutely nothing. There hasn’t been one mainstream film about a gay couple since, nor is there likely to be one in the near future. A few on the indie scene have managed to make something of a splash among critics and diehards‚ÄĒLove Is Strange, Mysterious Skin, and The Kids Are All Right come to mind‚ÄĒbut nothing on par with the visibility and the success of Brokeback.

It’s not like Hollywood is lacking in source material, either. They could adapt Mary Renault, Christopher Isherwood, or Gore Vidal if they want some highbrow Oscar-bait. But wouldn’t it be more interesting if, hot on the heels of *that movie* and the supposed renaissance of sexy adult films (I’ll believe it when I see it), they looked to the M/M romance genre and the hundreds of authors whose works are both high-quality and highly filmable? Seriously, indie producers, what are you waiting for?

But, as a community, we don’t really have to wait for those producers anymore, do we? Surely there are enough M/M readers worldwide to fund a serious Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign. Enough readers with a background in film or television (like me) to shepherd the project to completion. Maybe one day my dream of having a production company that exclusively adapts M/M books will be a reality. In the meantime, a girl can dream… about which books she would tackle first, and who should star in those theoretical films.

Whether this is a pie-in-the-sky ambition, a dream that could be a reality with enough elbow grease, or a fun party game, I offer up for debate my (very subjective) list of the Five Most Cinematic M/M Books! After you’ve perused the list, hit up the comments with your suggestions, alternatives, or casting revisions!

Stranger on the Shore by Josh Lanyon

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If that IndieKickGogoStarter campaign ever does see the light of day, one of the big issues is going to be which book to tackle first. Any producer worth their salt would do enough research to know that Josh Lanyon is probably the most read author in the genre, with an extensive backlist and several movie-ready series (because the name of the game is always sequels). The two obvious choices would be to start with the first Adrien English novel, Fatal Shadows, or, if they have more of a budget to work with, the Dangerous Ground series. Both would be excellent choices and would make great films.

But I would look to one of his more recent works, Stranger on the Shore. I mean, just look at what he did with the trailer! The book has everything great movies are made of: a compelling mystery, a Kennedy-esque family with dark secrets that suffered a major tragedy, a leading man with a personal connection to the family and the crime, a nosy reporter with secrets of his own, a gorgeous Hamptons backdrop. With its many allusions to The Great Gatsby, Stranger on the Shore positions itself as a modern-day twist on that classic: romantic, mysterious, luxurious, and entrancing. Throw in a picturesque moonlit lake view with a green light across the water, and I’m sold.

Casting: As Griff, the pesky reporter writing a book about the Arlington family tragedy, I can’t think of anyone more dogged yet charming than Grant Gustin. He also suffers quite prettily, too, and that baby face doesn’t hurt. As Pierce, the stone-cold lawyer and Arlington family bulldog, Alexander Skarsgaard’s Scandinavian chill and grace would seduce pretty much everyone watching. Still, even though the character in the book is Caucasian, I like to practice color-blind casting, and think Jesse Williams or Mike Coulter would also be great‚ÄĒand super hot!

The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles

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Victorian London. A cursed lord with a booby-trapped mansion and a merciless sorcerer out to exploit the very blood coursing through his veins. A secret organization of magic police who hunt down anyone who abuses their powers. A book crammed with more imagination, thrilling events, sexual smoulder, and cataclysmic climaxes than a reader deserves… Not to mention stripping. Both the kind you think and… not. The stuff of fantasies, both sexual and adventurous. The stuff of nightmares, but, you know, the fun kind that go bump in the night. This is the real Harry Potter for grownups.

Casting: The obvious choice for Lord Crane based on physical description alone is Lawrence Fox, but I find he has a sleepy quality that doesn’t suit Lucian. Someone who has the strength, the stillness, the wryness, and the imperiousness required is Richard Armitage. He doesn’t look exactly right, but that’s an easy fix. For Stephen Day, the tiny ginger with the adamantium sense of morality and the fearsome powers, I would look no further than the lovely Luke Treadaway. Although…. something about James McAvoy speaks to me as well. I think he would nail Stephen’s weariness and intractability.

Driftwood by Harper Fox

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When comes to the fantastic Ms. Fox, there isn’t a book in her cannon that isn’t outrageously cinematic. This author paints on a epic canvas, and her settings are often secondary characters in her books. Any one of them would make a riveting film, but Driftwood has touchstones and elements that I still remember vividly some three years after reading it. The statue shaped like a wave. The many rescues/dangerous encounters at sea. The protagonists’ military backgrounds and personal tragedies. Meet cutes at standing stones. And, of course, the decaying lighthouse where the MC lives, which at one point topples over the side of a cliff. The dangerous beauty of Cornwall, where it is set. There is so much meat here; it would be a cinematic feast.

Casting: Ever since I read the book, I have a theory that a crude version of its genesis went a little something like this: Benedict Cumberbatch shags Michael Fassbender. Now, this doesn’t do anything like justice to Ms. Fox’s subtle character shadings and riveting storyline, and it could be me imposing my own obsessions on the books, but, well. That’s the movie I see in my head. Cumby would be the doctor, Tom, of course, and Fassy the helicopter pilot, Flynn.

Captive Prince Volumes I and II by C.S. Pacat

 

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Two rival countries, both alike in… well, deceptions, double-crosses, overthrows, assassinations, warmongering, and manipulations. Romeo &¬†Romeo, this ain’t. The captive prince of the title is forced into slavery after his father’s murder by his bastard brother. He’s sent to their most vicious enemy, a kingdom with a maniacal regent and a ruthless king-to-be, who is first in line for the throne because the slave-prince killed the older brother he worshipped in order to win a war. The political machinations alone make the Game of Thrones look like a round of Scrabble, and the enemies to lovers saga is one of the most gripping and infuriating I’ve ever read. Did I mention the kidnappings, wild hunts, sneaking into enemy territory at night, stormings of castles, and breath-stopping escape attempts? Possibly the best love scene I’ve ever read? One of the most complicated and inscrutable characters in all of creation? Forget a movie‚ÄĒthis book needs its own 10-part HBO series.

Casting: Jason Momoa would be interesting for Damen. For Laurent, I can’t think of anyone better than Freddie Fox. If you’ve seen Cucumber, the Russell T. Davies series, you’ll understand.

Provoked by Joanna Chambers

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Righteous young lawyer David Lauriston is eager to make his mark on the legal profession in 1822 Scotland, but also to help people and serve the common good. He is tormented by his sexuality and longs for the one that got away, a boyhood love he was forced apart from years before. Enter Lord Murdo Balfour, tall, dark, and unapologetic about his need for other men. Of course, it helps to have the bank account and the social connections that can pay for discretion. Part legal thriller and part opposites-attract romance, all set against a rarely seen historical backdrop‚ÄĒnot to mention an inordinate amount of men in kilts‚ÄĒthis book is begging to be made into a film. Though book three, set at Murdo’s highland estate, would be the most picturesque.

Casting: As ambitious but morally conflicted David, the Australian actor Sam Reid, so good in a similar part in last year’s Belle. As Murdo… I’m conflicted. So many of the actors I think would be amazing in the role are too old now to play it‚ÄĒMatthew Macfadyen, Viggo Mortensen, Manu Bennett. But then I remembered that Henry Cavill‚ÄĒbefore he chose to go the leading man route‚ÄĒhas the height, the range, the manliness, and the sense of mischievous superiority, as evidenced by his work on The Tudors. BBC Films, make this happen!

Over to you, gentle readers. What M/M romance would make your list must-see films? Who would you cast and why? Feel free to use and abuse the comments as your very own casting couch.

The Twelve Smutty, Geeky Treasures of Xmas!! Happy Holidays!!

Friends,

Thank you one and all for making this one of the most intense and interesting years of my life. I hope it was an equally eventful one for all of you! I hope this holiday season is whatever you wish for it to be, whether cozy and relaxing, or exhilarating and full of adventure, or a flurry of social activity with family or friends. However you choose to celebrate, make your own list of all the good things in your life. We are luckier than we think, and to me, remembering that is the real spirit of the season.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little decadence to go along with it. So along with a very¬†Happy Holidays, I wish you…

Twelve sexy gingers from the Red Hot 100 calendar to indulge your every whim!

The Eleventh and best Time Lord to whoosh you off to the far reaches of the galaxy/time period of your choice!

Ten episodes of Fargo, an ice-hearted, atmospheric delight, to binge on!

Nine (okay, a lot more, but just go with it) amazing LGBTQ-related charities that could definitely use a bit of help in this season of indulgence!

A box of Eight grand cru chocolate sticks from Valrhona, the best chocolatier in the world!

The Seven movies¬†in cinemas¬†now actually worth your valuable dollars and time: Selma, Birdman, Nightcrawler, Whiplash, Gone Girl, The Theory of Everything, and Inherent Vice! (People, it’s Christmas. Google them!)

Six exceptional holiday shorts, some free, some not, from the best M/M authors out there: Joanna Chambers, Harper Fox, L.B. Gregg, Josh Lanyon, Jordan L. Hawk, KJ Charles.

Five new Christmas codas from the exceptionally generous Josh Lanyon!

Four incredible restaurants that will revolutionize your taste buds if you ever visit Montreal, Quebec: Au Pied de Cochon, Joe Beef, Hostaria, Satay Brothers.

A riveting Three-book series that plunges you into an indelible world and shows the moral and personal consequences of magic, by Lev Grossman!

Two interconnected superhero shows, Arrow and The Flash,¬†that you won’t regret watching for a second!

One very grateful author and blogger who can’t wait to see what the new year brings, and is so thankful to have all your scintillating insights and disparate opinions to read and react to. Keep it coming in 2015!!

Much love,

Selina

 

Five Things I’m Loving Right Now

This post is an act of thievery. I fully confess the crime. One of the things I look forward to seeing on my reader the most is one of Josh Lanyon’s occasional “Five Things I Love/Am Grateful For” posts (read the latest here), because I am all about sharing the love. I love that he shares his loves, and I love to share my loves. So get ready! (And apologies to Josh for the pick-pocketing.)

I am, to put it mildly, an enthusiastic person when I latch on to something great. I tell everyone I know about it (my friends can attest to this; I usually tell them at least five times each). I shout it from the rooftops. When I’m enamored by a person, place, or thing, I am like a cheerleader punch-drunk on pep and a gallon of Red Bull.

But.

These infatuations of mine usually have a shelf life. Exclusivity + frequency – availability / distraction X work overload, or something. This is not to say that I stop loving these things–far from it–but that my enthusiasm powers down enough to let something else shove a spoke into the hamster wheel that is my brain. All this to say that, every so often on this blog, I’ll write a post about some things that I love. But I’m giving it a little twist so that the lovely Mr. Lanyon doesn’t sue (please don’t, I’m a writer. I literally have some sunflower seeds and a 15-year-old TV to my name), in that these are five things I’m loving right now. As in, if you see me this time next week, I’ll still like them. But I (probably) won’t go full-on Tracy Flick on your ass.

So, without further ado, here are Five Things I’m Loving Right Now:

1. It seems fitting to get the party started with the author who inspired it all. One of the first M/M anthologies I ever read was His For The Holidays, because I am a sucker for holiday-themed romance at Christmas time. I am normally one of the biggest bah-humbugers of all time, so the fact that I love nothing more during my few late-December days off than to cozy up with a cuppa and a smutty Christmas tale confounds me. But it’s truly one of my great loves of the season. I quickly hunted down Men Under the Mistletoe for the same reason. But the past few Christmases, there haven’t been such anthologies–or maybe just not of that caliber.

This year, Santa has been especially nice because this Sunday, the anthology Comfort and Joy is being released. It features the estimable Mr. Lanyon, as well as my faves Harper Fox, Joanna Chambers, and L.B. Gregg. Four presents for the price of one! If I read one a week, it’ll be like a literary advent calendar. But who am I kidding? I’m waiting for my Boxing Day mug of chai.

2. The Flash/Arrow crossover episodes, “Flash Vs. Arrow” and “The Brave and the Bold”.

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Best crossover in TV history. Exciting, angsty, and funny as hell, featuring hot guys in tight leather, science-girl power, scintillating sidekicks, formidable foes, and some touching, thrilling writing. If you’re not watching these shows, binge from the start!

3. London theater on demand. I thought it was a dream come true when I could go to my local cinema and see productions by the National Theatre live, like the incredible version of Frankenstein Danny Boyle directed, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller. Now there’s a web site that has a library of older productions you, like me, might have missed because… Oh, you live thousands of miles away and barely get a vacation every two years, if you’re lucky. Well, lady fortune has whammied you today, my theater-loving friends, because you can now watch “the best of British theater” in your jammies! Just subscribe to Digital Theatre, and let the streaming begin! It does cost a wee little something… but a lot less than a trip to London and a ticket, even from the half-price booth in Leicester Square.

4. This Medieval Princess Bathrobe from Think Geek. Because don’t we all want to pretend we’re Galadriel every once in a while?

5. I won’t often use this space to self-promote or talk about personal things, since it’s meant to be an exercise in fun, but I have just put out a new book and, as a consequence, I’ve had to confront some experiences that I’d been dreading for months. Namely, the reaction of my friends and family when they discovered I write M/M, and exactly what that means. I think most bookish introvert types like myself can relate to the fact that few of our online adventures spill into the real world, especially if you have a family that has very rigid/conservative ideas about things (I don’t mean that in the political sense). The point of it all is that it’s your private play time (though of course a lot of good can be done in the process) and people in your real life don’t know that much, if anything, about it. This was the case for me.

But when you publish a book, well, how can you keep that a secret? Especially from the people who love you. When I decided to focus on writing M/M, I knew that one day I would no longer be able to hide behind my computer. That actual living, breathing people I talk to on a regular basis would learn about this side-profession of mine, and I’d have to talk to them about it in the flesh. I should mention that I am not in any way ashamed of what I do. But I confess I was a bit nervous about how this all would play out.

Turns out, I didn’t need to be. My uncle joked that he wanted me to start writing M/F/F and my sister read some of the sex scenes to her friend over the phone. When I tried to hedge by saying that I know it’s weird, my sister corrected me and said it’s not. My mom read the book in two days and loved it. Something that had me quaking in my boots turned out to be no trouble at all, and I am so very grateful for that.

Hopefully you can find something in there to inspire you!

Selina ūüėÄ