What’s up with all the nudity?

1486897_239607046199651_1288080316_nMost readers who pick up a M/M Romance novel aren’t terribly surprised to find out that the characters take their clothes off, at least for the sex scenes.  That’s pretty much expected. But a number of readers/reviewers have expressed surprise at just how much nudity my adult novels contain.

Tom and Kevin in Billy’s Bones are naked whenever they’re in the house alone, or outside in the yard.  There are so many people wandering around naked on the grounds of the Temple in Murderous Requiem that even I’ve lost track of how many.  And dorm life in Screwups appears to be one big, hedonistic romp, with people streaking, stripping, and partying without a stitch on. Do I really think that’s realistic?

Well, actually, yes.  I do.  All of these were loosely borrowed from real situations I’ve been in.

Like my favorite science fiction author, Robert A. Heinlein, I’m a nudist.  (Don’t worry—I won’t be posting pictures.)  How this happened, I’m not quite sure.  I was an extremely shy teenager who had difficulty looking people straight in the eye, never mind taking his clothes off in front of everyone.  But at some point in college that changed.

Body image was a big part of it.  I was skinny as a toothpick and I thought that made me unattractive.  Then one night, sleeping over at my boyfriend’s apartment, I decided to be bold when I went downstairs for a drink and just wear my underwear, even though his friends were watching TV in the living room.  I cut in front of them and they whistled at me.  “Stop making fun of me,” I said.  The response I got was a slightly lecherous, “Oh, we weren’t making fun of you.”

Wait… what?  Really?

Over the next few years, my shyness fell away.  I lived for a short time in an apartment with two other people, and we decided clothing would be optional.  Then I moved into a dorm which subjected me to co-ed bathrooms, where people of either gender might be stepping into or out of the shower when I walked in.  I was exposed to streaking, skinny dipping, nude snow angels, and posing nude in the lounge for people to sketch.

Ah… those were the days.

At one point, I was dared to strip naked in a hallway, cover my entire body with marshmallow fluff, and run through the dorm.  I don’t know how many people gathered for that event, but I estimate it was at least forty. So much for shyness.  Although I have to say this about it:  when you’re covered with marshmallow fluff, you kind of feel like you have clothes on.

Since then, I’ve been to nude beaches, nudist resorts, and clothing-optional pagan gatherings.  So, yeah.  Even though age and weight gain has taken its toll, I’m still pretty comfortable in my skin.  So does this mean I’m going to use my novels to push some kind of evil nudist agenda?

Well, not deliberately.  But you write what you know.  And all of my main characters are me, in some guise or other.  Tom in Billy’s Bones, Jeremy in Murderous Requiem, Danny in Screwups—they’re definitely me.  But so are Kevin, Bowyn, and Jake to a lesser extent.  What isn’t me is filled in from other people I’ve known.  I rarely write a character who isn’t based in some part on a real person.

There are characters in my stories, of course, who wouldn’t be caught dead naked.  Isaac in By That Sin Fell the Angels, Susan in Billy’s Bones, Paul in Screwups.  But those characters are probably the least like me.  Susan Cross is based on my mom.  My mom doesn’t run around naked.

At any rate, the best I can say is, if it seems weird to a reader that my main characters are completely at ease without their clothes on, that’s simply because it doesn’t seem weird to me.  Will I change it to make others happy?  Probably not.  But if I write a scene in which my main character goes to work naked and his corporate boss says, “Hey, Joe!  How’s it hanging?  Oh, never mind—I can see for myself,” I do hope my editors will point out that this probably wouldn’t happen in real life.

At least, not in New Hampshire.

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Filed under Jamie Fessenden, Life, Nudity, Writing

“Screwups” gets its first review – 5 stars!

My new novel Screwups will be coming out on March 7th, and it’s already received a great 5-star review from Brandilyn at Prism Book Alliance!

Is that enough bolds and highlights?  Maybe I should add a couple more….

“The characters in the dorm are very real. I felt like I was back in college, myself. I was not in an “artistic” dorm, but I was in the “honors” dorm. Many of the characters were taken right from my own past. I had a Paul. I had a Danny and Jake. I wasn’t nearly as cool as Eva, but we can’t have everything. Even though I am not a gay male, I can certainly relate to some of the issues Jake is holding on to from high school. Everyone will find something to which to relate in Screwups, from the weekly D&D game to the Police Box to the characters surrounding the main couple.

. . .

These people aren’t perfect. There are no pretty ribbons and bows. There is no fairytale romance. What there is is slow and real, hurting, misunderstanding, over reacting, groveling, holding, kissing, loving, and hoping.”

Blurb:

In 1996, Jake Stewart is starting his third year at the University of New Hampshire. Even as a successful business major, he is absolutely miserable. Not only is Jake pursuing a field he hates when he’d rather study art, he is utterly terrified of what will happen if his father finds out he’s gay. When he finally gets up the courage to move into the creative arts dorm on campus, his new roommate, Danny, is openly gay—and there’s no denying the attraction between them. 

Danny Sullivan has been out since high school, and he appears comfortable with his sexuality. But something happened in Danny’s past—something that gives him nightmares he refuses to talk about. Unknown to Jake, the way he mistreated his friend, Tom Langois, when Tom came out to him in high school, is mild compared to the way someone very much like Jake treated Danny. 

It may be too late to fix the mess Jake made with Tom, but if Jake wants to be with Danny, he’s going to have to fix the mess made by another closeted jock he’s never even met.

Buy link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4756

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Filed under College, Contemporary, Drama, gay, New Release, Reviews, Romance

New trailer for “Gothika #1: Stitch” coming this April!

This is a trailer I created for a gay Gothic romance anthology called Gothika #1: Stitch. In addition to my story, called Watchworks, the anthology also contains stories by Eli Easton, Sue Brown, and Kim Fielding.

It will be released in April 2014.

The music for this video was written by Jamie Fessenden (me), and all of the images are, to the best of my knowledge, public domain or purchased stock photos.

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Filed under Book Trailer, gay, Historical, horror, New Release, Occult/Paranormal, Romance, SciFi, Victorian

An interview with Maliha in the novel Beloved Pilgrim

Today we’re featuring a new novel release by author Christopher Hawthorne MossBeloved Pilgrim, from Harmony Ink Press.

The blurb for the novel is at the bottom of the post, but first, and interview with one of the main characters:  Maliha, the love interest of Elias.

Maliha is the daughter of a Turkish woman whose Greek lover had abandoned her.  She used to live in a Turkish village but married a Turkish man named Yukop in an arranged marriage.  Yukop has been away fighting alongside Kilij Arslan, and may be dead at this point.  Maliha lives with her son Taceetin and her harridan mother-in-law in the street of the laundresses outside the city gates of Constantinople.  There she is forced to work as an “entertainer” in Andronikos’ villa, serving the male guests of Andronikos.

Elias is enthralled by Maliha from the start but cannot reveal himself.  When Maliha is fired for not fitting in, Elias goes to fetch her back.   It is then that the kiss Maliha mentions below takes place.  Maliha follows Elias back to the villa she, where she persuades Elias’s squire to let her into his room while he is bathing.

The rest is, as they say, historical fiction.

Interview:

Did you realize that the man you knew as Elias had a female body?

Not until we kissed at my husband’s mother’s hut.  You see, I had raised my hands to push him back when I saw he meant to force me.  My palms pressed on his breast, or should I say breasts.  Even through his clothing I knew those were the breasts of a woman.  That’s why I kissed him back.

You prefer women?

Yes.  I discovered this when I was a younger girl and spent time with her at her home.  We got up to all sorts of mischief, including in her bed.  In my culture, such relations are overlooked, so long as we marry and have children.  I was married and knew I had not at all liked the rough handling of my husband.   When I felt Elias’s breasts it was such a wonderful memory

Then what did you think when Elias told you that he was a man in his heart and mind?  Did you believe him?

My Elias would never lie to me.

Could he not have been mistaken?

That is not something one makes mistakes about.  I trust him to tell the truth and also to know the truth.

So you were still attracted to him?

Oh yes, of course.  I loved his woman’s body, but I had the companionship of a man in the same person.  I have more than any woman such as I could ever hope for.  And he is a man inside, I know, but he is a wise and good man.  And he loves me and my little boy.

The Blurb for Beloved Pilgrim:

At the time of the earliest Crusades, young noblewoman Elisabeth longs to be the person she’s always known is hidden inside. When her twin brother perishes from a fever, Elisabeth takes his identity to live as a man, a knight. As Elias, he travels to the Holy Land, to adventure, passion, death, and a lesson that honor is sometimes found in unexpected places.

Elias must pass among knights and soldiers, survive furious battle, deadly privations, moral uncertainty, and treachery if he’ll have any chance of returning to his newfound love in the magnificent city of Constantinople.

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

2nd Edition

1st edition by Nan Hawthorne published by Shieldwall Books, February 2011

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Filed under Blog Tour, Historical, Interviews, New Release, Transgender, Young Adult

“Screwups” is now available for pre-order!

Screwups_postcard_front_DSPMy newest novel Screwups is now available for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press!

Blurb:

In 1996, Jake Stewart is starting his third year at the University of New Hampshire. Even as a successful business major, he is absolutely miserable. Not only is Jake pursuing a field he hates when he’d rather study art, he is utterly terrified of what will happen if his father finds out he’s gay. When he finally gets up the courage to move into the creative arts dorm on campus, his new roommate, Danny, is openly gay—and there’s no denying the attraction between them.

Danny Sullivan has been out since high school, and he appears comfortable with his sexuality. But something happened in Danny’s past—something that gives him nightmares he refuses to talk about. Unknown to Jake, the way he mistreated his friend, Tom Langois, when Tom came out to him in high school, is mild compared to the way someone very much like Jake treated Danny.

It may be too late to fix the mess Jake made with Tom, but if Jake wants to be with Danny, he’s going to have to fix the mess made by another closeted jock he’s never even met.

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Back to murder and mayhem

JesseSince I have a deadline in mid February for Murder on the Mountain, I’ve had to temporarily put aside the YA novel I was working on (Martian Born) to focus on this one again.  It was nearly finished at the end of November, but frankly I was so sick of it, I just needed a break.  Why was I sick of it?  Because trying to cram an entire novel into one month really didn’t work well for me.  Sure, I got most of it done, but I burnt out twice as fast.

Rushing things (for NaNoWriMo) also meant that I didn’t have time to straighten out problems with the plot as they came up.  So now I’m going back through the manuscript and doing a lot of tweaking, before I move on to wrap things up.

None of this means that I don’t like the novel.  I think it’s good, and definitely successful as a murder mystery.  But I’ve learned some things since I began writing it about proper police procedure when it comes to criminal investigations on the mountain, and of course my husband and I spent a weekend at the Mt. Washington resort hotel where the bulk of the story takes place.  So now I’m going back and restructuring to take all of this into account.

KyleI’ve also decided to slow the romance down a bit.  Not a lot—the entire novel takes place over less than a week—but just a bit more, to make it more obvious that the bisexual police detective, Kyle, is on uncertain ground.  He’s never dated a man before, so I wanted him to come across a bit more hesitant.  This is not a “gay for you” story—Kyle knows he’s interested in men—but until recently he’s been married to a woman (she passed away a few years before the story begins), and he never thought he’d act on his attraction to men.  Then along comes a confident, openly gay young man named Jesse….

In the meantime, I’ve also entered edits for two stories:  my contemporary romance, Screwups, and a steampunk novella called Watchworks, which is part of an anthology called Gothika.  The anthology includes stories by me, Eli Easton, Sue Brown, and Kim Fielding, and should be out this May!

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Filed under gay, Mystery, NaNoWriMo, Romance, Work in Progress, Writing

Guest Blog – Desktop: “The Enlightenment of Daniel” by Eli Easton

“The Enlightenment of Daniel” was released on Dec 18th. Per usual, I’m posting a “desktop” for it. These are the images that I used for inspiration while I was writing the story. I hope they can either intrigue you enough to read the story or, if you’ve read it, provide some interesting visual references.

PURCHASE LINK: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4440

READ AN EXCERPT HERE: http://elieaston.com/books-by-eli-easton/the-enlightenment-of-daniel/

Daniel Derenzo:

This story is about Daniel Derenzo, one of the two owners of DRE, a Seattle company which has made a lot of money buying dysfunctional companies, turning them around, and selling them. Daniel is, in a word, the business shark of the two-man team. He is the one who takes over the failing companies, often via hostile take-over. Yet I didn’t want a typical nasty tycoon. The character of Daniel needed humor. He’s an often unintentionally funny Type A who is a bit bumbling in a always-over-thinking-it type way. Sort of Woody Allen meets Gorden Gekko. He also is good-looking and very concerned about his image. I couldn’t figure out who Daniel looked like until my husband suggested Ben Affleck. And, yeah, when Ben does his uptight-bumbling-intellect thing, he is Daniel-esque. Here are a few photos of Ben in more of a ‘Daniel’ persona.

ben-affleck-300 1365105959ben-affleck-talks-blake-lively-in-details-october-2012-03[1]

Nick Ross:

Nick is the other half of DRE, Daniel’s business partner and best friend ever since they roomed together in college. As Daniel puts it, Nick is the ‘nice’ to Daniel’s ‘mercenary’. Once Daniel has successfully taken over a company, Nick goes in and makes everyone happy, wins over the employees, and makes the company healthy again. Nick needed to be softer, charming, and appealing. He’s a super nice guy who doesn’t necessarily stick up for himself. He’s also scruffier and not as obsessed with his appearance as Daniel (and a bit of a ginger). I picked Ewan McGregor as a physical model for Nick.

220px-Ewan_McGregor_66ème_Festival_de_Venise_(Mostra)_color

Marcia Ross:

Nick’s wife, Marcia, is a woman who is desperately clinging to a marriage that ended a long time ago. She’s concerned with image, yes, but also has been convinced by her mother that divorce will ruin her two kids and that it’s her job to maintain the marriage at any cost. Marcia is not really a villain to me, she is someone who is stuck in a rut and can’t even see how bad things are, nor does she have any idea how to fix them. She’s just determined to hang on to the status quo. If you can imagine a drowning person punching and fighting the person trying to rescue them out of fear–that is Marcia. By the way, she gets an HEA too. I picture Marcia as a sort of blonde, Housewives of Beverly Hills type visually, but she does change by the end of the story.

housewives

Jenny Ross:

I’ve always had a soft spot for m/m romances with kids in them, but this is the first time I’ve written one. Nick has two children including Jenny, who is 13. Jenny is a typical teen but she’s struggling to find her own identity separate from her mother. Below was the inspiration for Jenny **post make-over**.

draft_lens18144027module151452338photo_1310521829Textured-emo-girl-hairsty

Sylvan Ross:

Sylvan is Nick’s other kid, an 8-year-old boy. He’s all boy, a goof-ball, and just “a love sponge”. Here’s my reference for Sylvan.

Boy_being_silly_by_ImaSwedeStock

Frank Derenzo aka “Iron Man”:

“The Enlightenment of Daniel” has a theme of fatherhood. The entire story begins when Daniel’s father, Frank, calls Daniel to the hospital as he is dying of cancer. He gives Daniel a “Marley’s ghost” lecture, warning him not to spend his life pursuing only business, as Frank has done, but to fall in love, live life, and be happy. Frank is a major character in this book–I love him to death (literally, apparently). He’s sharp-tongued and provides some comic moments.

stock-photo-an-older-businessman-with-glasses-holds-up-a-newspaper-51024985

Expanded Horizons Sex Clinic:

This story is part of my Sex In Seattle series, which are stories which revolve around a sex clinic in Seattle called Expanded Horizons. (This story, however, is completely stand alone). Daniel goes to Expanded Horizons for counselling when he starts having sexual feeling for Nick. This is pretty disturbing to Daniel, because he’s 34 and he always thought he was straight. The building below is a reference for Expanded Horizons.

seattle-remodel-urban-animal-01

Dr. Jack Halloran:

Jack, the star of “The Trouble With Tony,” makes an appearance in “Daniel” as Daniel’s sex therapist. He helps Daniel figure out these new feelings, and if he is actually gay or not.

young doctor man with stethoscope and clipboard against different backgrounds

Michael Lamont:

Michael is the gay sex surrogate at Expanded Horizons. When one of Jack’s patients could benefit from actual sexual contact with a licensed therapist, it is Michael who does it. He’s works with everything from E.D. patients (erectile dysfunction) to those with severe handicaps or fear of intimacy. I LOVE MICHAEL and I’m currently writing his book (Sex in Seattle #3). He has a wonderful scene in “The Enlightenment of Daniel”, though. Daniel goes to Michael to test once and for all the theory that he is gay. Hot! [Note: Michael physically is inspired by model Isaiah Garnica, who is in the photo below.]

854570213_79e5967a46_o

Locations:

Here are some places in Seattle that appear in “The Enlightenment of Daniel”

metropolitan-grill-seattle-wa_28_550x370_20111026221652

Above: The Metropolitan Grill where Daniel and Nick have lunch

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Above: Molly Moon’s ice cream where Daniel takes Nick and the kids

diamond_club_01

Above: Safeco field from the VIP seats. Daniel takes Nick and his kids to a game here.

The House/Cabin on Bainbridge

A very important part of the story takes place on Bainbridge Island, in a house on the water that Daniel rents. Here’re some inspirational photos for that.

novotny.04 dock

Special Bonus:

Daniel’s John Lobb shoes, which star in the first scene.

John Lobb_Shoe_5

And the (hubba hubba) bathing suit Daniel wears at the cabin.

new-mens-swimming-sport-swim-trunks-shorts

That’s it for this book! I hope you enjoy this story. If you do, drop me a line at eli@elieaston.com or tag me on twitter at @EliEaston

PURCHASE LINK: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4440

READ AN EXCERPT HERE: http://elieaston.com/books-by-eli-easton/the-enlightenment-of-daniel/

Eli

 

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Filed under Drama, gay, Guest Blogger, Humor, New Release, Romance, Writing

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