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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Yes, I even read stuff hot off the vanity presses. 
2nd-Nov-2005 10:52 pm
And, as opposed to the things I occasionally make the mistake of picking up from iUniverse, which tend not to be worth the creamy paper they're printed on, this novel actually made me want more. How cool is that? ^_^ The other books in the Romentics series are Nick of Time and Razor Burn. I shall see if I can't source out both.

Note that this is the second time in a single week that I've put up an illo of a sprawled out, naked male on my journal... (^^;;;

Pomfret, Scott and Scott Whittier. Spare Parts. Romentics, 2004.
Summary: Dan is a mechanic, and Trent is a photographer. However, Dan thinks Trent is a prostitute, and Trent doesn't realize that the older Dan was the evil neighbor next door while he was growing up. Things get complicated, naturally, especially after Dan's former partner cum business rival Rodney starts mudslinging and attacking Dan's character. It all turns out just ducky, of course--when Trent gets the chance to exhibit his photographs, everyone soon realizes that he has captured both the dishonesty of Rodney's repair practices and the honesty of Dan's love for him.
Comments: Though this is my first Scott&Scott novel, it is not my first experience with their writing; I've read both various short stories written individually by one or the other of the authors as well as their well-publicized release with Warner Books Hot Sauce. Lemme tell ya, though, I liked this one a heck of a lot better. So they're both drippy romance novels in the tried and true formula (including the "gay fantasy" of monogamy), but at least this time I actually envied the happiness of the characters. (A well-off mechanic and a photographer? Not bad. At least marriage to one of these guys doesn't mean a lifetime of entertaining blue bloods.) However, I did not like the main female character of the novel at all. She came off as too much of the cookie-cutter drag queen--I'm sorry, but real women aren't usually like that! And Trent's mother wasn't present enough to even warrant fleshing out. As this is a self-published work, it is a touch rougher around the edges, particularly in the beginning, than is typical for professional works, but the story really starts to hit its stride a third of the way through. The book is marred throughout by a few dozen typos, but I was able to forgive the distraction for the genuine entertainment value and emotional sincerity. A nice relief from the gloom and doom of books of late.
Notes: trade paperback, self-published with BookSurge
Rating: 6/10 - *shrugs* Reading this book made me feel good--and no, I'm not talking masturbation! What more can you ask from something like this, anyway?
3rd-Nov-2005 06:13 am (UTC)
off topic but

here goes

*crosses fingers*
hope you like ^^
I can change the color or add text if you want ^^

(ps: I think it's possible to guess where the base image is from. :X)
3rd-Nov-2005 06:16 am (UTC)
it really is too small...
but ah well.
3rd-Nov-2005 11:58 am (UTC)

It's lovely!
3rd-Nov-2005 10:02 am (UTC)
I thought Spare Parts was okay, a light & frothy read very much to a formula but the contrived conflict situations really started to bug me. You can find much better writing free on the Net. The sex was good though. For gay romance I'd take Craig Chester's Adam & Steve anytime.
3rd-Nov-2005 11:57 am (UTC)
Actually, I like what they're trying to do in principle--there're lots of straight and lesbian romance novels, but no actual gay romance novel market whatsoever. I'm definitely watching where it goes, as well, because there is definite crossover potential.

Have you read Hot Sauce? That, as an escapist romantic fantasy didn't work for me at all--I couldn't imagine being an introverted, shy guy living happily ever after with a high-level socialite. It would drive me CRAZY.
3rd-Nov-2005 12:31 pm (UTC)
Oh I agree, there's a need for gay romance with happy endings, enough angst to keep us reading and no agonising over being gay/bi. From that POV hats off to Scott & Scott for spotting a marketing opportunity and filling it. The publicity they attracted (NYT articles etc.) shows male-to-male romance is still regarded as something rather odd, despite increased acceptance of gay relationships. The preoccupation of much slash fiction with sex over love doesn't exactly help either. Though I hate when men are feminised.

I read a lot of gay romantic fiction through various Yahoo groups dedicated to the genre, where the emphasis isn't (for once) on stroke material but writing, characterisation and believable plot. A lot, however, is fantasy which doesn't always do it for me. Isn't the point that gay relationships should be accepted as normal and natural not something that needs an otherworld? (WWGS is a good place.)

As for published gay romance, I've read a few Kensington titles, most better than Scott & Scott. David Leviathan's Boy Meets Boy is a high school set novel I really liked, pure romantic fiction. Also Andy Barriger's Faith series, but I think that's POD.

I take your point. There's a glut of gay erotica but not so much an equivalent of Mills & boon (Harlequin). Though I wonder if men would read it? I tried to sell Spare Parts on eBayuk and got nowhere.

Is Hot Sauce another Romentics (love that!) novel? I haven't read it, though I would pick up another of theirs if it came cheap. I think Romantic fiction is unfairly dismissed in general.
3rd-Nov-2005 12:48 pm (UTC)
Slash fiction has a different market, anyway. There's this idea that gay men might like formulaic romance novels about themselves...and at the very least, it's a niche that has not been filled. There must be some demand somewhere, otherwise no one would be writing them.

The Kensington gay fiction novels roundly turn me off with their lack of quality, and they don't follow the traditional romance novel formula, anyway, so it's not quite the same. (I remember reading one called My Best Man or something like that, and, oh, the horror...*shudders*) Alyson's books also tend to be middling, but at least they put out good short story anthologies. Haworth Press, too, has me underwhelmed. Only St. Martins Press did and continues to put out consistently high-quality books...but they do tend to be tragic.

Is Hot Sauce another Romentics (love that!) novel?

No. It's the one profiled in The New York Times Magazine--a romance novel a la the Romentics series but published by a big name publisher (the imprint was Warner Books). I remember all the bookstores being bombed with a dozen copies when it came out, so I'm sure it should be easy to find.
3rd-Nov-2005 01:36 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed Michael Thomas Ford's Last Summer from Kensington, and Mel Keegan's novels pretty much fit into the romantic fiction niche, but apart from Spare Parts I guess I haven't read any properly formulaic gay romance novels.

Of course gay men need this kind of book to reflect themselves (in the same way novelists are addressing gay marriage & parenting increasingly), and that's why I do think it's great Scott & Scott are putting it out there.

From Haworth Press I liked Paul Reidinger's City Kid, adored Jay Quinn's Metes and Bounds,didn't like Elf Child by David Pierce, have but not yet read The Man Pilot by James W Ridout IV or Trio Sonata by Juliet Stevenson, though none of these fit the formulaic category either.

Much online original gay fiction written either by men for men or women into slash is unashamedly romantic, but you're right the markets don't necessarily overlap- though in my case they do. At a time when gay publishing is in a bit of a crisis imprints are desperate for guaranteed sellers, so maybe we can expect more in this genre. Though like I say there's so much out there free on the Net. Much of it IS admittedly dire and never would make it into print but not all.

I guess we need to try some Hot Sauce. Meanwhile when I need a fix of sweet gay romance I turn to my cowboys...
3rd-Nov-2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
I didn't like Metes and Bounds or Elf Child particularly; the latter especially felt very autobiographical to me, and I was having trouble enjoying the surfer dude lifestyle. Elf Child was just...boring. I've got some of Haworth's newer titles, including a reprint of Dryland's End, which I'm hoping will be good, and an anthology of gay Christmas stories. I need to take a closer look at their backlist, but thus far the quality of the paper has been higher than the quality of the text itself. Alas.

I really ought to read more of Michael Thomas Ford, but after nearly 400 pages of porn, I'm not sure I have the stomach for it. I'm afraid that I would read his novels and be unable to see past his earlier incarnation--as I do with Steven Saylor, for example.

I'm not 100% certain, but I don't think the slash audience and the gay/lesbian fiction audience overlaps all that much. Gay/lesbian fiction is very inbred in its marketing, whereas slash is written mostly by and for straight women.

In any case, it's nice to see more range in gay fiction than the coming out/growing up/illness storylines.
3rd-Nov-2005 02:07 pm (UTC)
I'm not 100% certain, but I don't think the slash audience and the gay/lesbian fiction audience overlaps all that much. Gay/lesbian fiction is very inbred in its marketing, whereas slash is written mostly by and for straight women.

I agree. I didn't expres that very well. I distinguish between online original gay fic written by men and OC slash sometimes available from the same sites. In my experience romantic story groups for gay men are very receptive to women writing/reading, and often make comments like they hadn't realised the writer WAS female (they often use gender non specific names). There are of course men who slash. I have a few on m FL.
3rd-Nov-2005 11:16 pm (UTC)
I'm less familiar with the Western slash fandoms than I am with Japanese yaoi and pro boy's love. In general, the divisions (both by theme and audience) between what women write and what gay men write are quite well-delineated. Interestingly, some women write "gay manga," but there are no men at all writing boy's love. It's kind of like how women wear pants but men don't wear skirts.

I think perhaps Western gay male writers are so tolerant of women in the genre because so many of them are so heavily-influenced by the female writers in the first place.
29th-Nov-2005 11:29 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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