I know, I know that sounds like a strange confession for a gay romance author, but it’s true. Obviously, I have no issue with gay romance, since I love writing it, but other than critiquing for my critique partners, I don’t generally read it.
Most of my pleasure reading is done in the historical romance genre. I love historical romance. My favorite is Regency, followed by Victorian, Medieval, and Scottish romance. I also adore Time Travel romance. I do on the rare occasion read Romantic Suspense and I have a weakness for the serial romances (aka Harlequin).
So, why don’t I read historical gay romance, you ask?
Well, I feel like it’s bittersweet. I’m sure there is some really wonderful historical gay romance out there. In fact, I know there is. I actually read a western lesbian romance set in the 1800’s for a contest once and it was outstanding, but as a general rule gay romance and history just don’t mix well for me. In my opinion, they can never truly have a happily ever after with the threat of being put to death held over their heads. Men (and women too) have lived under this threat for centuries. Sadly, it’s still an issue today and not just in third world countries. I think it’s a little too close to reality for me, and I don’t want reality when I read or watch TV. I want the fantasy. I want pure escapism. I want a happily ever after. I demand it.
Side note: I went on a rampage after watching Seven and was in a really bad mood for hours afterward. It’s the worst movie ever! If like me, you demand a happily ever after, do NOT watch that movie. I repeat do NOT watch it. And no, I haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain. My friends were nice enough to warn me.
Oddly, enough I rarely read paranormal romance either and when I do write male/female romance I tend to write paranormal. But as I said I absolutely adore historical romance. I keep saying one day I’ll write a historical romance, but as you can see that is yet to happen. I am a wee bit intimidated by historical accuracy. Though in trust I don’t look for accuracy in my historical romance unless it’s something that is completely off the wall. I don’t mind spunky heroines or heroines in roles they’d have been shunned for in real life. I’m also not going to complain about lack of hygiene in medieval romance. It’s perfectly fine if the author does not include those true to life details.
Over all, I guess it’s safe to say that my favorite genres to read in are vastly different from my favorite genres to write in. But I am often asked for recommendations in gay romance, so let me see if I can take a stab at it.
J.L.’s Recommended Reads for Gay romance:
(Yes, I’m proud to say, most are my critique partners)
Jet Mykles: I love Jet’s stuff whether gay romance or straight romance. Jet always has a happily ever after and leaves me with a smile on my face.
Jade Buchanan: Jade always makes me laugh.
Kimberly Gardner: I think of all my CP’s Kimber and I write the most alike.
Willa Okati: Willa was the very first gay romance I read, back before I started writing gay romance when I did read it. I gobbled up every gay romance Willa put out and I’m happy to say that I still really enjoy her books.
Ally Blue: I found Ally’s stuff when I was first published and asked to give a quote for her book. I fell in love with her writing. She has recently started writing horror, another genre I don’t usually read, and I have to say I love it. It’s every bit as good as her gay romance.
Maura Anderson: I’m most familiar with her Male/ Female romance, but Maura does write M/M as well and she super talented. (Note to Maura. “I need those Scottish contemporary romances!!!)
Brenda Bryce: Brenda was my very first critique partner and I adore her writing. She writes mostly straight romance but she has a few really awesome gay romances as well.
Wendy Qualls: Wendy isn’t a critique partner, but I read Wendy’s debut book for a quote as a favor to my agent and I really enjoyed it.
Laura Baumbach: Again, Laura isn’t a critique partner but she is a friend and one of the first gay romance writers I read. I feel safe recommending her books because Laura is a wonder writer.
KA Mitchell: Same as above. KA is not only a sweetie but super talented.
James Buchanan: James write very steamy gay romance. A lot of BDSM. In fact, there aren’t many, if any, who do BDSM better in my opinion.
Kris Jacen: Kris is a dear friend, my beta reader/critique partner, and my MLR Press editor. She’s new to writing, but she’s really showing a knack for it. Her debut novel is great.
Faye Larson: Faye has a beautiful writing voice and is very witty. I really enjoy her stories.
Now if you want historical romance recommendations, I literally have hundreds of them 😀