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Question # 6 M/M Authors Round Table Discussion – Trends | Romance Novel TV


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    Question # 6 M/M Authors Round Table Discussion – Trends
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  • Published: Feb 23rd, 2009

Last question and final book give aways – this afternoon post for your chance to win either LB Gregg’s GOBSMACKED OR  Jamie Craig’s HIDDEN BEAUTY in print, or an e-copy of  MASTER OF OBSIDAIN. That’s right three books, three  lucky posters!

Marisa: My final question is:  What trends have you seen in erotic fiction over the last 12 months and how do you feel about them? Again – I’ll ask if you care – or as author do you write the books you want to write and hope an audience finds them.

A: From our side of the relationship, it looks like there’s two areas that have proliferated in the market more than others – shifter stories and any type of menage. M/M is certainly on the rise, but in a lot of ways, that’s still a little niche for some publishers. Others have a good smattering of shifters and ménages amongst their bestsellers. Why? Most likely, because both genres offer a wide variety of options to people who like them. Shifters can be het or gay, any type of animal or setting imaginable, while menage can answer female fantasies of the only female in a circle of men or the interest of men who also want to be involved with each other. There’s a place for almost any kind of romance conceivable. It makes sense that as erotic writing becomes more mainstream, that those genres become more popular.

Pepper and I don’t really pay attention or care much about the trends, though. If we did, we wouldn’t waste time writing stories that only sell a handful of copies sometimes, lol. The fact of the matter is, romance and relationships in any form fascinate us. If we get struck by a plot bunny about a contemporary het couple, we’re going to write it, even though non-kinky contemporary het doesn’t necessarily sell well in today’s e-market. And if we decide we’re in the mood to write something dark like our Master series, we’re going to do it, knowing full well that it will not be to a lot of people’s tastes. There are a ton of characters just waiting for us to discover their stories, characters we are passionate about. Sometimes that fits in with trends, and sometimes it doesn’t. In the end, we know we’re pouring too much of ourselves into our writing to settle for working on anything we don’t love. We can only hope that somebody out there will love it, too.

Well, ménage seems to be quite popular. Samhain announced their top ten 2008 best sellers and I think 3 or maybe 4 were ménage stories.  That said, I’m not interested in trends. Like Pepper and Vivien, if I get struck by the plot bunny, I write the story and hope that folks dig it. So I’m sticking to what I’m compelled to write: character driven stories about normal guys who find themselves in abnormal circumstances.

LOL I’m sensing a pattern here *g*
Like my cohorts before me, I’m seeing some trends in publishing, but they aren’t really affecting me. I notice a lot of shifters, a lot of ménage, and a lot of gay romance. Yay for that! LOL. I also see a lot of BDSM out there, though I do have to wonder if that’s just my perception. I am so NOT into that. In porn? Sure, bring it on. But for some reason I just can’t get into it in romance. I know, I’m in the minority *g* That’s okay. How boring would life — and fiction — be if we all liked the same things?

This is where I wave my flags of disclaimers. I don’t intend to follow trends, honest! I write the stories as they occur to me (with one exception) and then I submit them and if I’m lucky, a few months later they come out.  It just kind of… LOOKS like I’m following trends! *grin*  Cowboys, BDSM, firemen….  The one exception is Pyke’s Peak, my M/M/F new release. I wrote it ages ago because I had “The Idea”, but I probably only got the idea because I was told the genre was becoming popular. Still, it was born the same way the rest of them are: I write what I want to read.

I think, as more and more writers are driven out of traditional publishing, this genre is –and will continue to become — increasingly competitive, and the trend I see is toward better written stories. Fully-developed characters, intelligent, coherent plots, a sense of pacing, rhythm, character arcs, and more sophisticated and literate story-telling. All of which is good news for readers.

Is “what they said,” an expectable answer?  Honestly, I don’t pay too much attention to the trends.  I haven’t really noticed any myself, but I’m hearing more and more people mention menages as a trend.  I personally never noticed menages going out of style.  They have been popular forever.  And as you can probably guess, no I don’t really care about the trends.  I have to write what I feel.

To be honest, I don’t really know. It’s not that I don’t care but it doesn’t really have that much bearing on what I write. Besides, I’d rather start a trend than follow it. After all, by the time you notice a trend, it’s already established and might be over so it’d be too late. Besides, with the stuff I write, it just kind of grows. I can just hope that readers will like it.


Well, gay romance seems to keep growing so that’s a big YAY. I’ve always liked it, so I’m thrilled with all the opportunities I have as a reader and a writer. I’ve definitely noticed the trend of the shifters, but that’s across all romance subgenres, erotica and paranormal and urban fantasy. Cowboys also seem to remain very popular in all aspects of erotic romance. Whether I love one a popular trend and read it or I can’t seem to get into it, as far as my writing is concerned, I can only write what the characters give me. I’m not saying I don’t write with an awareness of reader expectation because I love making readers happy, but if I can’t fall in love with the story, how can I expect my readers to?

Marisa: I want to thank all of you for spending the time with us! It was an amazing and illuminating discussion.

Since this is our last question  – this afternoon post for your chance to win either LB Gregg’s GOBSMACKED OR  Jamie Craig’s HIDDEN BEAUTY in print, or an e-copy of  MASTER OF OBSIDAIN. That’s right three books, three  lucky posters!


26 Responses to “Question # 6 M/M Authors Round Table Discussion – Trends”

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  1. Jan
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 3:22 pm

    I have enjoyed reading all the posts from some of my favorite authors and some that I haven’t read yet but plan to. Thanks for doing this.

  2. LB Gregg
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 3:24 pm

    Jan~It’s been such fun. And, seriously, for this new kid on the block, it was an honor to be invited.

  3. Kati
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 3:37 pm

    Thank you ALL so much! This has been a tremendous couple of days. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your openness and willingness to answer all the questions we’ve had.

    You guys are all so talented, I can’t wait to read more of your work.

    Thank you!

  4. Natasha A.
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 3:49 pm

    Thanks authors and Marisa for a great 2 days! I am learning a lot!
    As for trends for me as a reader? I don’t look at them. I look at the cover, I look at the blurb, and if they interest me, I get them.

  5. Josh Lanyon
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 3:50 pm

    It’s been a pleasure. Thanks to all the readers and writers who jumped in with their own thoughts and opinions. I always learn something new in open discussions like this.

  6. Elisa Jankowski
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 3:58 pm

    KA said “I’m not saying I don’t write with an awareness of reader expectation because I love making readers happy, but if I can’t fall in love with the story, how can I expect my readers to?” I totally agree with this – and I think that’s what makes great work great to the reader: if the author is passionate about it, how can a reader not feel inclined to do the same?

    Initially I thought the shifter, menage, bdsm trend was about dead on for m/m, but then I got to thinking about the contemporary and cowboy stuff too – I think there might’ve been a trend at some point but it seems like the dividing walls are being broken down swiftly. And that’s what fiction, literature, art (etc.) are all about: breaking down walls, creating amazing work, etc. I’m not sure where exactly m/m fits into the whole ‘art imitating life vs. life imitating art thing’ but I still think it’s amazing for what it is: a love story.

  7. Elisa Jankowski
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 4:01 pm

    I just wanted to thank everyone for doing this discussion. I’m really big on this kind of thing (can you tell just what kind of student I was in college? 😀 ) and it’s great to get more into the heads of the authors. It was also interesting to get some perspective from my fellow readers.

    Also, thanks for all the new books to check out – I’ve been working at a bookstore for a short time and I’m having a blast discovering new stuff; it’s really cool to have a visual of some of the mainstream m/m out there. But don’t worry, I’ll be supporting you guys too! You’re simply amazing.

  8. Renee
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 4:04 pm

    What an amazing two days of discussion you have provided here. Thank you so much for hosting this round table!

    Thanks also, to you authors who have taken time to discuss this topic and these questions/comments so thoughtfully!

  9. LB Gregg
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 4:05 pm

    Elisa~Thanks so much! I wanted to comment and tell you how much I enjoyed your last comment. I just blogged on this topic of m/m being, at the heart, romance. That the love story IS the story, no matter the trappings or the gender.

  10. Chris Owen
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 4:16 pm

    I’d like to say thank you — to Marisa, to the authors, and to the readers. This was a wonderful discussion, all along the way. It was a real honour to be asked, and it’s always a pleasure to discuss the whys and hows of this thing I love so much.

    Thank you all, so much. (I’ll be back to read more comments and likely say more, later. Have to get a few thousand words in today!)

  11. K.A. Mitchell
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 4:17 pm

    It really was an honor to be asked to participate, Marisa. The organizational skills to make it come off this smoothly and make it look so good are something I could never dream of having.

    Thank you very much to everyone for stopping by.

  12. Joely Skye
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 4:20 pm

    I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading these posts and comments today and yesterday. Great fun! I always love m/m discussions.

  13. Jamie Craig
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 4:39 pm

    We’ve had a great time, too. I love reading all of the answers and the comments. We were also very, very, very honored to be asked to participate in the discussion. I mean, to be asked to be interviewed with Josh, JL, Ally, et al? It was extremely flattering. 🙂


  14. orannia
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 4:48 pm

    I would like to say a huge thank you to all the authors for taking time out of their busy schedules to post and answer all the questions 🙂 I’ve learnt so much and discovered new authors and new books! Also, a huge thank you to Maria & Marisa for organising!

    …and the trend I see is toward better written stories. Fully-developed characters, intelligent, coherent plots, a sense of pacing, rhythm, character arcs, and more sophisticated and literate story-telling.

    And that’s definitely a trend I would like to see continue 🙂

  15. Elisa Jankowski
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 5:05 pm

    LB, agreed! A good story, is a good story. 🙂 Thanks, btw. I love getting the kudos – very pavlovian, I know 😉

  16. Jody F.
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 5:22 pm

    There seems to be a lot of shifter books (Kate Douglas’ Wolf Tales series) and menage. I’ve also seen more vampire ones as well. For me, I don’t care which genre it is, I’ll follow m/m anywhere.

  17. jetmykles
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 5:27 pm

    Thanks all! this was fabulous. Thanks to Marisa for asking to include me with a terrific set of authors and to Romance Novel for having us

  18. Josh Lanyon
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 5:28 pm

    We’ve had a great time, too. I love reading all of the answers and the comments. We were also very, very, very honored to be asked to participate in the discussion. I mean, to be asked to be interviewed with Josh, JL, Ally, et al? It was extremely flattering

    So many of my own favorite authors in one place at one time…yes. A lot of fun — and flattering to be included.

  19. Ally Blue
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 5:45 pm

    Ditto what everyone else said. I was happy enough to be invited for the roundtable anyhow. When I found out who all was in the interview group with me, I squeed out loud like a total fangirl *g*

    I’ve had a wonderful time here. I love this type of open, honest back-and-forth discussion between readers and authors. Josh nailed it when he said he always learns something new in discussions like this. We all do, I think, and that’s a beautiful thing 🙂 Many thanks to Kati, Marisa and the whole gang at RNTV for having us here!

  20. Marisa
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 6:27 pm

    *running in late* I’m so sorry I missed most of today, I had no internet connection. YIKES. BUT after reading all the posts I am thrilled with the discussion and how honest and open everyone was in their posts. I had a few ah ha moments. I’m not signaling the end of the discussion – I’m just chiming in on a few things.

    I have to admit one of the reasons I decided to have this round table discussion was purely selfish. These 9 authors are among my favorites and I’ve read most of their books and wanted to share my experiences with the other readers on RNTV. Each one of these authors has brought me countless hours of pleasure and taken me to worlds I never would have gone on my own. They also allowed me to experience emotions vicariously through their characters. For me it is ALWAYS about the story and the characters. Write it well, I’m back for more. And these authors all do that for me.

    For those of you who have not had the pleasure of reading these authors I highly recommend that you click on their names in the blog and visit their websites – find out for yourselves all the books that are waiting to be read.

    I’d like to thank Ally, Jamie (Vivien and Pepper) JL, LB, K.A., Josh and Jet not only for their books but for taking the time to be a part of this event and being so generous and honest with your responses. You’re all amazing and it’s been my great good fortune and pleasure to have been a small part of this. I’ve got LB’s Gobsmacked, Josh’s The Pirate King and Ally’s Where the Heart is next to read! I’m excited about all the new releases from these authors.

    There are other authors I would also like to recommend, like Laura Baumbach and Samantha Kane , to name two, who were not with us only because I thought there would be way too many authors for us to handle. BUT, there is always next year. Each year the genre grows and each year authors grow – new stories and new ways of telling them.

  21. Stacy ~
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 8:37 pm

    I also want to thank all these great authors for being here today, and I can’t wait to read more stories by them. Marisa & Kati, thank you for bringing this all together. It was a wonderful two days, and I learned a lot, and have added several books to my tbb list. To each of the authors, thank you for answering all our questions and being so open and fun, and for writing such amazing stories. There’s a lot of talent out there, and you all are a part of that. Thank you for pushing the envelope, for not always playing it safe, and for telling the stories that speak to you. It’s been a wonderful experience to read what you’ve created 🙂

  22. azteclady
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 9:50 pm

    *running in later*

    Thank you, all of you, for sharing your insights and experiences with us.

  23. Diane S.
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 10:45 pm

    This was a fantastic discussion. I have read 4 of these authors before, and loved JL. Chris , Ally & Jet. Now, I have new authors to search out. Thanks to this blog site. Keep them coming!

  24. Aymless
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 10:51 pm

    *sneaking in*

    WOW! Great discussion! Thanks of all the new insight!

  25. Brooks
    on Feb 23rd, 2009
    @ 11:55 pm

    I also learned a lot from this discussion. Thanks to all the writers for their insight. This was wonderful. You all ROCK!

  26. cheryl k
    on Feb 24th, 2009
    @ 10:07 pm

    I’ve never really read an m/m book so these interviews were really interesting to read. Now I’d like to read one of these books – sounds interesting

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