Category Archives: Gay Marriage

Polyamory Is About Love

I’ve read a number of MMM books over the years, and many were excellent—Us Three by Mia Kerick (this one is YA), The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles, Polar Reaction by Claire Thompson, and Dark Horse by Kate Sherwood are all great—but I was surprised to discover how strong the connection appeared to be between MMM and BDSM. Don’t get me wrong. BDSM is fine. It’s just not something I’m into, and I wouldn’t classify the poly relationships I know of in real life as having much to do with BDSM—certainly not all of them. (None of this is meant to imply anything about the content of the novels I listed—some have BDSM, some don’t.)

As I was developing the blurb for my novel, The Rules, it was mentioned more than once that I should emphasize that the book was hot, hot, HOT! and kinky… except that it isn’t, by my definition. Oh, sure, there’s plenty of sex and those scenes are hot. But the novel isn’t specifically meant to be kinky or about a hot menage or threesome (both of which terms imply a temporary, sexual circumstance to me, rather than a permanent relationship).

It’s about three men with emotional holes in their lives coming together to form a loving, polyamorous family. (The search engine on Goodreads tells me “polyamory” is mostly used for nonfiction. Seriously?)

Hans feels alienated from his family. After his parents divorced, his father drifted away, and his mother and sister grew close, more or less excluding him. Thomas was thrown out of his family and cut off from his inheritance for being gay, and Boris… Boris is a mess. He survived bullying and worse at the hands of his country, Russia, and has a dark secret he’s afraid to reveal to anyone. But they come together to heal and love one another. The sex (and there is a lot of sex for a Jamie Fessenden novel) begins as kind of a kinky situation, but quickly becomes more than that.

My point is simply that a polyamorous relationship should be viewed as an alternate type of relationship. Polyamorous families are families. They involve more than two people, but they are still families. They aren’t about sex (exclusively)—they’re about love.

Family is how you define it.

BLURB

WHEN HANS BAUER, a college student in New Hampshire, accepts a job as a housekeeper for an older gay couple, he soon learns the reason they’ve hired someone with no experience is that professional agencies won’t work there. Thomas is a successful businessman whose biggest goal in life appears to be giving his husband anything he wants. Boris is a writer who immigrated to this country from Russia, and suffers from depression and PTSD because of the things he endured in his native country.

He also refuses to wear clothes—ever.

While Hans is working alone in the house with Naked Boris all day, things start getting a little weird. Boris gets flirtatious and Hans backs away, not wanting to come between him and his husband. So Boris calls Thomas at work and asks permission.

At that moment, The Rules are born—rules about touching and kissing and pet names that the three men use to keep jealousies at bay, as they explore the possibilities in a new type of relationship….

WARNING: This story deals with themes of sexual assault and past abuse.

BUY LINK

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rules-Jamie-Fessenden-ebook/dp/B075FPT1VF/

EXCERPT

[Hans comes to the house to ask Boris to pose nude for his art project.]

The house was wonderfully cool. They must have been running the air-conditioner, though Hans couldn’t hear anything. The place was absolutely silent, as if nobody was home. Hans closed the door and called Boris’s name, but there was no response. From the front hall, he could see the sofa, and it was bare. Hans did a quick check of the downstairs rooms. The study door was open, and the room was empty. It also smelled kind of like a men’s locker room. Hans wondered if Boris would let him in again to clean on Tuesday.

At the end of the hall, Hans looked out the French doors and spotted his quarry. Boris was lying on the lawn, sunbathing face down on a large blue-and-white beach towel. Hans opened one of the doors and stepped outside.

Boris heard him and raised his head. “Hans! I did not expect you today.”

“No.” Hans crossed the patio to where he was stretched out. “I’m not normally… Boris Ivanich, do you have sunblock on?” The Russian’s back was getting a little red.

“It did not occur to me.”

Hans set his backpack on the grass. “Do you have some in the house?”

“Thomas might. I do not know.”

Hans frowned at him. “Hold on.” He went back inside. I swear, it’s like looking after a kid. He wasn’t sure where to search for sunblock, but the bathroom seemed a good possibility. He checked the downstairs half-bath first. There was nothing in the medicine cabinet, but he found an old plastic tube of sunscreen under the sink. It was nearly empty, but there was a little left.

He went back outside and knelt in the grass beside Boris. “You really should put some on. You’re getting burned.”

Boris took the tube and opened it. He scrunched up his nose. “It smells like coconut.”

“I got this out of your bathroom. You must have used it at some point.”

Boris waved dismissively. “Not me. Maybe Thomas.”

“Well, it’s the only one I could find, so stop being difficult.”

Boris grinned, and Hans’s heart did a little flutter. That wasn’t good.

“Okay,” Boris said, handing the tube back to him. He put his head down and wiggled his butt like an excited puppy. “You may put some on me.”

“Oh, may I, your majesty?” Hans was using sarcasm to disguise his sudden discomfort. It really didn’t seem like a good idea for him to rub lotion on Boris’s… anything.

Boris snickered. “Please put some on me?”

“I’m not sure I should do that, Boris Ivanich.”

“Why not?”

“Well, because you’re naked.”

“I am always naked.”

“Yes,” Hans explained patiently, “but I’m not always touching you.”

Boris lifted his head again and cocked an eyebrow at him. Then he grunted and nodded. “You are worried about Thomas.”

“I don’t want to do anything that would upset him,” Hans said. Then he quickly added, “Or that we’d have to hide from him.”

Boris held out his hand. “Do you have your phone?”

Hans hesitated, but Boris made an impatient gesture with his fingers, so he dug his cell out of his pocket and handed it over. He watched nervously while Boris dialed. Boris put it on speaker while it rang, placing it on the towel between them.

“Hans?” Thomas asked. “You still can’t find him?”

“I am here,” Boris said.

“Oh. Why do you have Hans’s phone?”

“He gave it to me in exchange for a blow job.”

Hans gasped. “I did not!”

Thomas laughed. “What’s going on?”

“Hans tells me I will get sunburned,” Boris said, “so I should put on this nasty-smelling coconut shit. But I cannot reach my back—I am not a comic book character—and he will not put it on me.”

“You’re sunbathing? Since when do you sunbathe?”

Boris made a rude noise. “That is beside the point. I need you to tell Hans you won’t divorce me and come after him with a butcher knife if he rubs coconut shit on my back.”

“You two will be the death of me,” Thomas muttered, but there was a note of affection in his voice. Hans assumed that was for Boris, but the way Thomas had said “you two” sounded as if they were all somehow together. Hans was surprised by how much he liked that. “Hans, I won’t divorce Boris and come after you with a butcher knife if you rub coconut shit on his back.”

“Thank you,” Boris told him.

“But Boris? You behave.”

“Me?” Boris sounded scandalized.

“Don’t think I can’t see what’s happening.”

“What is happening?”

“You’re attracted to Hans,” Thomas said calmly.

Hans was suddenly dizzy. This is not normal. People don’t have conversations like this! He wanted to run away, but he was riveted.

Boris looked at Hans for a moment, as if he were evaluating the truth of Thomas’s statement. At last he said, “That is true.”

“And I think Hans is attracted to you.”

Hans tried to answer but couldn’t speak. Boris smirked and said, “He might answer that, after he stops pissing himself.”

“Shut up,” Hans said, finally finding his voice. Boris grinned.

“I’m not going to flip out over it,” Thomas went on, “but I think we should all sit down and talk about this, especially if Hans decides to move in for the summer. For today, I need you both to understand what my boundaries are. I’m fine with you rubbing lotion on each other’s backs, chests, arms, and legs. I guess butts are reasonable. But don’t be rubbing lotion on each other’s dicks—your crotch is not a hard-to-reach spot.” Then he dropped the bombshell. “If you get so turned on you absolutely can’t stand it, jerk off in front of each other, but don’t jerk each other off. Are we clear?”

“Yes, yes,” Boris said, clearly enjoying this. “We’ll fondle each other’s asses and jerk off, but no touching of dicks.” He glanced at Hans, who was sure his face had turned bone white. “Or maybe Hans will run screaming in terror and never come to our house again. I will keep you informed.”

“Buck up, Hans. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Be nice to him, Boris.”

“I will be very nice to him.”

Thomas groaned, but he said goodbye and hung up.

Hans wasn’t sure what to make of the exchange, and he was pretty wigged out. “What just happened?”

“You were worried about how Thomas would feel,” Boris said matter-of-factly, “so I asked him.”

“Did he just tell us to jerk off together?”

“No,” Boris replied. “He explained what would bother him and what would not. Jerking off together would not bother him. That does not mean we have to do it.”

“All I wanted was for you to put on some suntan lotion!”

 

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Filed under College, Contemporary, Drama, Excerpt, gay, Gay Marriage, Jamie Fessenden, New Release, Nudity, Rape, Romance, Russian

I just finished my first MMM Romance!

I’ve just finished a novel that explores some themes I’ve been toying with for a while now. I’m doing a final polish before sending it off for editing, and I’ll be working with the cover artist soon. Despite what the title might suggest, there is no BDSM in this novel. It’s a MMM romance, and it should be released this fall.

“The Rules” is about Hans Bauer, a college student in New Hampshire who accepts a job as a housekeeper for an older gay couple, Thomas and Boris. He soon learns that the reason they’ve hired someone with no experience is that professional agencies won’t work there. Boris is a writer who immigrated to this country from Russia, and suffers from depression and PTSD because of some of the things he endured in his native country.

He also refuses to wear clothes — ever.

While Hans is working alone in the house with Naked Boris all day, things start getting a little weird. When Boris gets flirtatious, Hans backs away, not wanting to come between him and his husband. So Boris calls Thomas at work and asks permission.

And at that moment, The Rules are born — rules about touching and kissing and pet names that the three men use to keep jealousies at bay, as they explore the possibilities in a new type of relationship….

 

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Filed under Christmas, College, Contemporary, Drama, gay, Gay Marriage, Jamie Fessenden, Nudity, Rape, Romance, Russian, Writing

What I’ve been up to lately

008Things have been pretty quiet on both my adult blog (https://jamiefessenden.com/) and my YA blog (http://jameserich.com/) over the past few months, so perhaps it’s time to let people know what I’ve got going on.

So I did have a novel (Violated) come out in the fall, and it did pretty well. It’s pretty dark, and the resolution — while happy — isn’t the big catharsis a lot of readers hoped for, simply because my goal was realism. A story like this isn’t resolved by an epic bout of sobbing in your lover’s arms. Ever. Derek and Russ find the best possible, realistic happily-ever-after for them.

At Christmas time, I was delighted to be offered the chance to do a Christmas story on the WROTE Podcast — one of twelve stories representing the twelve days of Christmas in the carol. I hadn’t had time to get out any of the Christmas stories I was working on (I have one contemporary novella in the works, a free holiday story that revolves around the characters in the Dreams of Fire and Gods series, and a re-write of a previously published novella), so this was a great opportunity. I’m delighted with how the story came out, and Brad Vance‘s wonderful narration! All of the stories are terrific, so if you’re still in the mood for Christmas….

Brad also conducted a great interview of me, aided by my friend, Scott Coatsworth, if you’re interested.

Moving forward, I’m currently working on a novella about alien abduction for the next Gothika anthology (see previous installments: Stitch, Bones, Claw, and Spirit). Eli Easton, who originated the series (I helped a little), won’t be joining us on this installment. The authors participating in this issue are Kim Fielding, BG Thomas, FE Feeley Jr., and myself.

As far as which novels I’m working on goes, I’m having a little trouble with that one. I have several in the works. My YA novel Martian Born, a novel about a spy in the Soviet Union during the cold war (currently called Chimera), and a novelization of the Jomsviking Saga, about a fortress full of Vikings in the tenth century. I’m also tentatively working on an untitled novel about “cavemen” (what we used to call Cro-Magnon Man, but is now referred to as “Early Modern Humans” or “Anatomically Modern Humans,” because they are physically no different from us).

This probably sounds like I need to focus, and that would be correct. Martian Born is closest to being finished, but it’s intended for the mainstream science fiction market. This means a long, tedious process of sending queries to agents — most likely over a year or two, if not longer — because mainstream publishers, by and large, no longer accept submissions directly from authors. So while I do want to get that process moving, I’m also looking at getting other novels out more quickly.

This probably means I’ll either finish up Chimera or The Vikings of Jomsborg. But both still have a lot of work to do on them.

In the meantime, I have two stories that will be coming out soon. One is actually the first part of Chimera, presented as a short story called Train to Sevmash. This will be part of an anthology published by DSP Publications. I wrote the story first, then got permission from the editor of the anthology to expand it into a novel.

The second story is in an anthology put together by BG Thomas called A More Perfect Union — a collection of stories about same-sex marriage written by gay men who are actually married. My story, Destined, is a fictionalized account of how I met my husband and how we created our life together. The characters aren’t exactly me and Erich, but the events are largely true.

This has gotten lengthy, and I haven’t even touched on other projects I’ve been working on, such as finishing the Dogs of Cyberwar trilogy (I’m nearly done the second novella (A Mote in the Eye), but my publisher wants the third, before we move ahead), the samurai tale I’ve been adapting (Shinosuke), and the sequel to Murder on the Mountain, which is in the plotting stages (murder mysteries take a lot of plotting).

Yes, I’m a bit over-extended. But it’s my fault — ideas keep popping into my head. I just need to focus and prioritize.

In the meantime, I have the re-release of my first novel, Murderous Requiem, available for pre-order on DSP Publications. It will be released on March 22nd. This edition isn’t enormously different from the first, but I did go through and tighten things a bit, as well as clarify some of the confusing sexual issues in the novel. The story centers around an occult order in what is basically a “free love” commune, so all of the characters are in open relationships. This upsets some readers, who regard it as “cheating.” I do not. I wrote it for my friends who are involved in open or polyamorous relationships where everything is up front and honest, and everyone’s feelings are taken into account.

But that isn’t actually what the novel is about, anyway. It’s about an ancient manuscript containing a requiem mass that, when performed, may cause death… or possibly may resurrect the dead.

 

 

 

 

 

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Remembering Charlie Howard (1961-1984)

I came across a rather unpleasant editorial by a member of the clergy in Britain this morning.  I don’t intend to name him, since I am tired of giving free publicity to these people (though I did comment on the article directly on Facebook), but his point was that Christians who oppose same-sex marriage are as brave as gays who came out in the 1970s.

It’s a common fantasy—the persecuted Christians under constant siege by the liberal media and government, merely for professing the Word of God.  It ignores the fact that the majority of people who support same-sex marriage are, in fact, Christian.  And not all of them are liberals.  But apparently, the fact that they don’t think there is a conflict between their faith and granting gay men and women equality under the law somehow excludes them from the community of “true Christians.”

I could go on at great length about my disgust with those who use their religion as justification for treating others as lesser citizens, but instead I’m going to focus on his assertion that he and his ilk are as brave as those who came out in the 70s.  I came out in the early 80s, just a few years later, and I have a fairly good recollection of the way things were back then.

I’ve written about my personal experiences being gay in New Hampshire in the 1980s.  My primary problem was loneliness and isolation, rather than outright persecution.  I’ve never been beaten up for being gay.  In that, I consider myself very lucky.

But let me tell you a story….

It happened the year I came out—1984.  And it happened in Bangor, Maine, the town I was born in.

Charlie was 23 years old, just four years older than I was.  I was nineteen at the time, living in Keene, NH.  My boyfriend was twenty-four, which made him older than Charlie.  We didn’t know him.  He was originally from Portsmouth, NH, just a half hour down the road from my house now, but the last year of his life was spent in Bangor, which is about 4.5 hours drive from Keene.  My grandparents still lived just outside of Bangor at the time.

Charlie was out.  Not just out to immediate friends and family, but still closeted at work and around town, as many of us were.  He was flamboyantly gay and often wore makeup and women’s jewelry and other accessories.  He had friends in the area and had found a local Unitarian Universalist church that supported him.  He’d just taken an apartment on First Street and adopted a kitten.

Charlie also had asthma.  Remember that.  It comes up later.

He was frequently harassed by local high school kids, and adults in the area didn’t behave much better toward him.  He was ousted from a club for dancing with a man and one day a woman started shouting “pervert” and “queer” at him in a market.  One day he walked out of his apartment to find his kitten strangled on the doorstep.

Then one night around 10 p.m.,  he was walking the post office with a friend and a car with five teenagers started following them.  The teenagers were apparently on their way to buy alcohol with a fake ID one of the two girls in the car had.  Charlie had had run-ins with the boys in the car in the past, so he began to run.  The three boys jumped out of the car and chased after him, shouting epithets at him.

Then Charlie had an asthma attack.  He fell near or on the bridge that crossed the Kenduskeag River and couldn’t catch his breath, while the boys descended upon him, kicking him and beating him.  According to the wikipedia article:

Jim Baines shouted to throw Charlie over the bridge and grabbed him by the legs. Jim Baines and Daniel Ness grabbed Charlie and they began lifting him. Pleading for his life, Charlie grabbed the rail and begged them not to throw him in the river as he could not swim. Prying his hand loose, they began to pitch him over the rail, with Shawn Mabry giving the final push.

The river wasn’t deep—only about three feet—but due to the asthma attack he was having and the fact that he couldn’t swim, Charlie Howard drowned that night, on July 7th, 1984.  His friend escaped from the teens and pulled a fire alarm, which brought the police and fire department.

Charlie’s body was recovered about three hours later.

The teenagers returned to the party they’d been at and bragged about what they’d done.  It’s probably true that they didn’t know the full extent of it, that they’d thought he would swim to safety.  They found out the next morning that they’d killed a man and one of them turned himself over to the police.  The other two were arrested at their homes.

As I said earlier, this didn’t happen to me.  But I came out at a time when it could have happened to me or anyone else I knew.  My boyfriend, Michael, was billy-clubbed in the stomach at a Pride march and later had to jump out a second story window when the gay bar he was DJ-ing in was smoke-bombed.

We didn’t feel safe, because we weren’t safe.  Don’t forget that Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone were gunned down just six years prior to this, when I was in high school.  The danger to gay men and women in the 70s and 80s felt very real to us.  And it was.

Christians make up 70 to 80 percent of the people in this country, and although it is now unpopular to express opposition to gay rights, that is a recent development.  And to the best of my knowledge, nobody has been murdered or beaten up for it.  Oh, sure, they might be called names.  But that’s the way Free Speech works—you can say anything you like, but that means other people can say anything they like right back at you.  Also, the law says that in the public sphere, everyone has to be treated equally.  So if a business person decides they don’t want to allow a black person, or a gay person, or a Jewish person to stay in their hotel or buy things in their store… well, guess what?  That’s illegal.  That person can be sued.

Darn.

So I don’t want to hear it, if some jackass whines that he should have the right to insult people without anyone insulting him back, or discriminate against people in a place of business without the law coming down on him, all because he has “religious convictions.”  He doesn’t know what it’s like to really feel threatened by the community he lives in.

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A Beautiful Ad For Marriage Equality From The UK

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The First Gay Marriage Proposal On A US Marine Base

This past Tuesday (April 24th), Navy veteran Cory Huston proposed to his partner witha a pink morganite engagement ring, Marine Avarice Guerrero, in the first gay marriage proposal to ever take place on a US military base! Well, possibly others have occurred under more private circumstances, but this one had reporters photographing it.

After a few minutes of emotional holding and kissing, Huston went anxiously down on one knee; looked up at Guerrero, who was dressed from head to toe in military fatigues; and produced an engagement ring and the time-honored phrase, “Will you marry me?”

Huston’s mild tremble, a result of hours and days of anticipation about this day, was quickly quieted by the one word every hopeful fiancé wants to hear: “Yes.”

“I was blown away,” Guerrero said, staring at the shining ring on his finger shortly after the proposal. “I was shocked that after all we’d been through, he would honestly want to spend the rest of his life with someone like me.”

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The gay marriage repeal has failed in the NH legislature!

This news is actually a week late, but I was in NYC for the Dreamspinner Press workshop and I had other things besides blogging to occupy my time.

For those of you who don’t live in New England and haven’t been following the news, a group of people in the NH state legislature have been trying their damndest to get gay marriage repealed for the past two years.  They’ve introduced bill after bill, held rallies, gone town to town with petitions and spent thousands of dollars on TV ads and campaign pledges.  This, despite the fact that more polls than I can recall have been demonstrating that the residents of NH don’t consider gay marriage to be a particularly big deal and between 60% and 70% of them don’t feel like discussing it anymore.  They’d rather talk about taxes and the state budget.

A little over a year ago, my husband Erich went down to the State House to join about 400 people rallying there to support gay marriage and unintentionally scare the crap out of the 50-odd repeal supporters.  (Apparently, they interpreted the pro-marriage supporters all wearing red shirts as some kind of “gang” thing and said we were trying to frighten them.)  The bill under consideration at that time would repeal gay marriage, but allow those of us already married (as Erich and I were) to remain married.  Ostensibly, it restored civil unions, which is what we had before gay marriage became legal in 2009, but the civil unions in the bill were watered down to allow anyone who had “religious convictions” against them to blatantly ignore them, even in a legal sense.  How awesome would it be if your “civil union” (or even your marriage) was conveniently ignored by a nurse in the ER who told you, “I’m sorry.  It’s against my religious beliefs to treat you with human dignity.  Please wait in the lounge while the doctors see to your ‘friend.'”

The repeal side pulled a “clever” move back then.  Seeing that they didn’t have the support they needed for a repeal, they asked for the bill to be postponed until next year.  This gave the appearance of a victory to the pro-marriage side, but it was really a ruse to give the repeal side time to rally more supporters themselves.  So for over a year now, we’ve had to play politics and try to garner more support than the repeal side, all to keep a right we’d already been given three years ago.

Over the past three months, the repeal side continued to delay the vote as the support they’d been hoping for failed to materialize, but they couldn’t delay past March without the bill dying.  So finally, on March 21st, a vote was called.

We (on the pro-marriage side) were worried.  We couldn’t effectively guage how much support the repeal folks had dredged up and our legislature is currently two-thirds Republican, which has not traditionally been a good environment for civil rights advancement.  (Well, okay, it was back in the Civil War and early 20th century, but that’s an entirely different post.)   However, we had several Republicans on board:  people with gay children; people with gay brothers and sisters.  And a lot of libertarian-leaning legislatures simply didn’t think it worth opening that whole can of worms up again.

The vote was almost two-thirds against the repeal in the House, which basically killed it.  Rep. Bates, the right-wing religious fanatic who introduced it in the first place, is determined to keep fighting, but the general public is clearly not that motivated to reconsider an issue that really doesn’t hurt anyone and brings additional revenue to local businesses.  (I can vouch for the fact that Erich and I probably put a few local kids through college.)

Even though Erich and I were supposedly exempt from Bates’s ill-conceived bill, friends of ours who are planning weddings for this spring were not.  Its defeat is very welcome, after two years of these people toying with our lives.

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