Times change and with them the issues of the day. In 2004, a big issue was the 'threat' gay marriage posed to the country. Amendments were strategically placed on the ballots of several states, including the critical, must win, state of Ohio. The gay marriage 'bans' passed fairly easily and helped bring out the 'conservative' vote. Don't ask don't tell was used to don't let fags stay in the military. And a gay athlete? They stayed in the closet until their playing days are over unless they want their playing days to be over.
No this isn't a post about politics or gay rights – thought it is Gay Pride Month so maybe it should be – rather it's about plot bunnies. The changing times mean hot button issues no longer seem as 'hot.' I started writing Second Shot in 2009. Back then, there no gay male professional athletes had come out during their playing days, only after. The military still had the ban on openly gay soldiers and gay marriage was available in a small handful of places only.
Many of the plots in M/M fiction revolved around closeted athletes, soldiers, and sons. What if my teammates learn I'm gay? My parents will disown me. I'll be discharged if I come out. Today, those themes seem a bit passé. That's not to say that they don't still exist, but a story about a gay soccer player who is outed to his team and is accepted doesn't seem so fictitious now that Robbie Roberts has come out and is playing for the two time defending MLS champion L.A. Galaxy. His first game held no gay baiting, no name-calling. His sexuality was – happily – a non-issue.
The same can be said about gays in the military. Same sex weddings are being held for soldiers in military chapels with military personnel officiating. For more proof, one only needs to look at the You-Tube channel of RussMarine2014 the self styled "Your favorite gay marine" and his boyfriend to know that being an openly gay soldier isn't the stuff of fiction and our wildest dreams.
All that and we didn't really touch on gay marriage. (Has everyone noticed how close we are to having enough states ratify gay marriage that getting the needed 2/3 of the states to ratify a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage might not be possible anymore?)
So what does this say for the all those future bunnies? My hunch is that going forward, we're going to see more M/M romance/fiction where the issues that keep the MC apart has little or nothing to do with their being gay. It won't seem so unbelievable to write about an out baseball player and his love interest. The plot can be about distance or jealousy and not the player's need to remain closeted at all costs.
Sure the old plot lines will still exist. No one said the world is perfect. If it were, we wouldn't see the unacceptably high rate of suicide among LGBT teens. We wouldn't read about all the hate and bigotry directed toward LGBT people. But what we are seeing is that it's not the exception to be accepted anymore.
Interestingly enough, it might become harder to find compelling conflicts going forward. I think we can all live with that 'problem.' I know I can.
Purpose has an element of the old 'bunnies' in it; Ryan's family rejected him when they found out he was gay. That happens before he and Will meet. So while it is an element, it is a minor subplot to the story.
The shape of things to come? Maybe, but it depends on the story I suppose.
Forty years ago the Spirit of Vengeance—a Purpose—took William Morgan as its host, demanding he avenge the innocent by killing the guilty. Since then, Will has retreated behind Gar, a façade he uses to avoid dealing with what he’s become. Cold, impassive, and devoid of emotion, Gar goes about his life alone—until his tidy, orderly world is upended when he meets Ryan, a broken young man cast out by his family. Spurred to action for reasons he can't understand, Gar saves Ryan from death and finds himself confronted by his humanity.
Spending time with Ryan helps Will claw out from under Gar’s shadow. He recognizes Ryan is the key to his reclaiming his humanity and facing his past. As Will struggles to control the Purpose, Ryan challenges him to rethink everything he knew about himself and the spirit that possesses him. In the process, he pushes Will to do something he hasn't done in decades: care.
Pre-order link: Purpose from Dreamspinner Press
“You had the chance to tell your family and you didn’t?”
“Twenty-five years is a long time.” Forty is even longer. “Too many questions would have been posed. It was easier to do it out of sight.”
“I suppose that makes sense.” Ryan ran his hand lightly over Will’s body for another couple of seconds, then he sat up. “Actually, no it doesn’t. I’d give anything to see my family again, and you ignore yours.”
Will knew he needed to say something. This wasn’t about him, it was about Ryan, but he had to think about his response. Rolling onto his side, he brushed a lock of hair from Ryan’s face. “It’s not that simple….”
“Sure it is. You pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, I’m still here and I wanna talk.’ What’s complicated?”
Smiling, he shook his head. “No, I meant it’s not as simple as saying I’m ignoring my family. They can’t know about me, about It.”
“Ryan….” He knew how exasperated he sounded, but Ryan still didn’t get it. Sure, he tried, but Gar was so different. How could he expect anyone to understand? “Everything comes back to It. I have to do what It wants. Agent Barrington is not the first one to try to track me, just the newest. Imagine if my family saw me, knew what happened? All seeing them would do is create a trail for someone to follow. It’s hard enough keeping one step ahead of everyone. If they knew my real name….”
Ryan bit his lower lip, then sucked on it after a moment. “You say I don’t get it. Will, you don’t get it. Change your appearance so you look older, or make up a story. Tell them you’re working for the government and this is what happened. That you’re an experiment gone wrong… or right.”
So much passion for something so remote. But Ryan did make a good point. He didn’t have to show up looking like the Will who disappeared. Maybe…. “If I agree to call and meet them, will you come with me?”
“You… you want me to come with you?”
His first thought was to say, “It’s your idea,” but he caught himself. Ryan needed to be included, not put on the spot. “Yes.”
Ryan’s lips slowly curved up until it was a full smile. Will found it infectious and joined him. “So, will you?”
Leaning in, he brought his lips to Will’s ear. A gentle kiss later, he said, “Of course.”
After a moment’s pause, Ryan twisted so his back was pressed against Will’s body. Wrapping his arms around his companion, Will tried to forget what he’d promised to do. It could wait a day.
The feeling of peace Ryan projected left Will drowsy. Content to lie wrapped together, he cleared his mind, ready to just sleep. Ryan’s breathing announced he was in similar state.
It chose that moment to make its presence known again.
Contest: For a chance to win a free eBook copy of Purpose leave a comment answering the following question:
What type(s) of conflicts in a M/M story do you find most interesting?
Please include your email address so we can notify you if you win. A winner will be chosen from the valid entries on June 13th, 2013 using Randomizer.org.
In addition, all comments from all guest blog posts between June 10, 2013 and June 21, 2013 release date will also be entered to win a $15.00 Dreamspinner Press credit. The winner will be chosen using Randomizer.org and each person who comments on any of the Purpose guest blog posts during the book giveaway time will be entered. The drawing for the pre-release gift card will be on June 25, 2013. One entry per blog but you can enter on each participating blog for more chances to win a copy of the eBook or the Dreamspiner Press credit. For a complete list of eligible blogs, please see the Purpose book page on my blog: