Second Chances Blog Tour Guest Post - L.J. Harris
WHY DO WOMEN READ AND WRITE M/M ROMANCE? By L. J. Harris
According to the Romance Writers of America, women make up ninety-one percent of romance book buyers. Considering that fact, and that the writers across all romance genres are predominantly straight women, it’s of little surprise that hot, bare-chested studs are just as popular, if not more, than the bodice-ripped heroines on the covers of the more traditional romance novels.
After all, why should men be the only ones able to fantasise about two members of the opposite sex getting down and dirty?
The moment I read my first male/male story, I knew I was hooked, but not just because I loved reading about hard, lean bodies and broad shoulders, perfect abs and handsome faces. I’ve also come to discover that I find it fascinating to read about the unique set of challenges that are often faced by two same sex characters.
From the emotions that go along with realising one’s sexuality, to dealing with how relationships can change once a character comes out to family and friends, to facing discrimination both in one’s personal and/or working life, or even dealing with acts of violence just because of who one chooses to be with, all add a dimension to the story that you simply can’t find in male/female romance.
There’s also something refreshing about getting inside the male psyche…seeing a relationship develop from the male perspective. Though some would argue that because of the high number of male/male romance stories are written by women, predominantly for women, we aren’t getting inside men’s heads at all and are in fact getting a woman’s fantasy of how a man should think, I’d prefer to think of it in a different way.
When reading a story, no matter the genre, we all want to leave our everyday lives behind for just a moment, and immerse ourselves in a world filled with characters we can easily relate to and ultimately fall in love with.
It is, after all, the reason why we read romance in the first place, isn’t it?
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L. J. Harris’s short story, “Heart of Glass” features in the Second Chances male/male anthology published by Bottom Drawer Publications in August 2012.
L. J. Harris was born in Sydney, Australia and now lives in the nation's capital with her husband and twin teenage sons. She has only discovered her passion for writing in the past three years. Shy by nature, she discovered that after her father fell ill, writing down whatever she felt not only helped her deal with the situation but express herself in a way she couldn't before.
Working part-time afforded her the opportunity to explore her sudden drive to write, originally via fan fiction. With her husband's encouragement, she penned a dream sequence around which her novel-in-progress is built.
She loves building the sexual tension between characters and developing interesting plots twists, as well as leaving readers wanting more.
L. J. Harris Website Link: http://www.theworldofljharris.blogspot.com.au/
IT WAS EARLY on Friday morning, and I was beat. Ever since I’d touched down in Sydney on Tuesday, I’d been sleeping during the day and lying awake at night, having not quite adjusted to the time difference. Although the jet lag was literally killing me, I needed to start the newest phase of my life, and my first plan of action was to get the hell out of bed and look for a job.
I already missed the life I’d built back in San Francisco—my family and friends, even my crappy job at a local bar I’d taken after cutbacks forced me to leave the job I loved. But after suffering a bad break-up with Trent Forster, the man I thought I’d one day marry until I found him in bed with his ex-boyfriend, I had needed a little time and a lot of space to rethink the direction my life was headed.
It had been more than six months since that day, yet I still hadn’t managed to move on. Everywhere I’d looked, Trent had been there; our social circles colliding so often that his and his lover’s presence had worn me down. Eventually deciding enough was enough, I’d packed my bags, my tail tucked firmly between my legs, and departed for Australia for a working holiday, leaving behind the only life I’d ever known.
My father had returned here to Canberra, south-west of Sydney, the place he was born, when I’d moved out of the house to finish college, a year or so after he and Mom divorced. I was looking forward to not only making a fresh start but also reconnecting with him, having only managed to visit a mere handful of times since he’d returned here ten long years ago. I was giving myself six months to find a job, and if I liked it, I’d probably end up extending my stay and finding a place of my own.
Dad had returned to the job he loved since coming home. It was the very same job he’d had when he first met Mom—working in public affairs for the US Embassy—and it kept him extremely busy. So busy, in fact, that he rarely had the opportunity to take his beloved Mustang out for a spin, especially since the Embassy provided him with a car for work purposes. I’d only been in the house for a few minutes when he handed me the keys to the Candy Apple Red ’67 Fastback, telling me it needed to be driven around town from time to time to keep it in running order.
After a quick reviving shower and shave, I grabbed the car keys from the dish on the sideboard, happy that I finally had the chance to oblige him.
It had been five years since I’d sat behind the wheel of this particular vehicle. No matter how many times I opened the door and jumped in, the familiar smell of tobacco, mint, and leather never failed to invoke many happy memories ... so many, in fact, that I had a hard time keeping a smile off my face whenever I slipped into the driver’s seat and turned the key.
But when I decided to go for a drive and check out Dad’s place of work, stopping off at the store on the way to buy a newspaper so I could check out the local job market, I thanked the gods for their gift, because if not for my father’s generosity, I’d never have encountered ... him.
He was washing car windows at the traffic lights. He was tall, tanned, and lean, with broad shoulders. I could tell his hair was long, thick, and wavy by the wisps of light brown hair that peeked out every which way from underneath his black, woollen hat. A smattering of stubble across his jaw and his long, narrow nose enhanced his features perfectly, and when I caught sight of his bright blue eyes as he moved closer, the most beautiful eyes I’d ever seen, roving over the entire car before they met with mine, I was hooked in an instant.
I had to suppress a laugh when I noticed he was wearing one of those god-awful green glow-in-the-dark vests, and as he stood there, holding a squeegee in his hand and looking at me like I was something to eat, a strange but exhilarating combination of embarrassment and elation flowed through my every cell. Even as the light turned green and the traffic began to move, I continued to devour every inch of him. Shooting him a nervous wink for good measure, I watched as he turned and walked away, his ass swaying hypnotically with every step he took. It was in that moment as I sat there, ogling the most handsome man I’d ever laid eyes on, that I felt as though I’d been struck by lightning.
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