Monthly Archives: March 2014

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