Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Gay Romance: "His Only Choice" Human Cheese; James Franco/Brokeback Mountain

Gay Romance "His Only Choice"

I'm going to be releasing a new 30,000 word novella in my Second Chance series titled, His Only Choice. This time the story is set in New York's Hudson River Valley and the main character is the owner of a small brick and mortar bookshop. I've been to that part of New York a few times and fell in love with so many things, and I've wanted to set a book there for a long time. Here's the book description, subject to change. And I'll post more as I get closer to a release date.


In this third installment of the Second Chance series by Ryan Field, Lance has to figure out a way to deal with the fact that his partner, Davis, of twenty years will be traveling extensively in Asia and leaving him alone for long stretches at a time. So Lance plunges into making important changes to the small brick and mortar bookshop he owns in New York's Hudson River Valley to keep it competitive with the rising popularity in e-books. He's also trying to deal with turning forty years old and it's not working out well. In order to fill the lonely hours when he's not working, Lance joins a gym and meets a very young personal trainer named Sergio who makes him feel so young and desirable again he starts lying about his age and telling Sergio he's only thirty-five years old.  

 Like other books in the Second Chance series the story bounces from present to past a few times and the choice Lance has to make to get his second chance isn't clear until the story is in full swing. But there are more than a few sexy gay surprises to keep m/m readers wondering what will happen next, which include whether Lance will ultimately choose his safe, quiet life with Davis. Or will he choose to go another round with dark, sexy Sergio with the weight lifter's body and scruffy rough beard?
 
Human Cheese
 
When I read this article about making "human" cheese, I found it interesting for several reasons. One in particular has to do with a book review I once received where I compared the scent of a certain human body part to the scent of cheese. I thought it was accurate. The editor and publisher thought it was accurate. But one reviewer actually went berserk and made it sound as if I'd stolen the Holy Grail. The fact is that when you are writing erotica and you want to show something sometimes you have to be realistic. And there are people who find the male arm pit highly erotic...or other male body parts I won't mention in this post right now...and many of these body parts resemble some of the finest, most expensive, cheeses in the world. It's also a way to incorporate humor into a story, too, if it's done carefully. You don't want to laugh at the character; you want to laugh with the character. There's a big difference. In full disclosure, I haven't compared any human body scents to cheese since that book. And the only reason is so no one could take it out of context ever again.
 
In any event, this is how they make human cheese:
 
Biologist Christina Agapakis has created a cheese that rivals France's most fragrant dairy product. You see, it's actually made from foot bacteria (or "toe jam"), as well as the bacteria found in armpits, belly buttons, and mouths all mixed up with milk. Yum. She even enlisted famous food people, like Michael Pollan, to donate their bacteria. 
 
 
And this piece in Huff Po gets into even more detail, but also mentions human cheese is not something you'll be serving at your next cocktail party.
 
The project compares the odors between man and cheese, questioning why what is prized in one is reviled in the other. "Can knowledge and tolerance of bacterial cultures in our food improve tolerance of the bacteria on our bodies?" the gallery asks, posing one of the great questions of mankind. The cheese is not meant to be eaten, but visitors were allowed to take a grand whiff of the stinky objets d'art.
 
James Franco/Brokeback Mountain
 
In an essay I think many of my m/m readers will find interesting, James Franco discusses sci-fi rom-com, "Her," and compares it to Brokeback Mountain at one point. I've heard it said that the origins of m/m romance can be traced to BM, as we know m/m romance now. I wonder if Franco knows this...or even that there are so many people reading m/m romance nowadays. His piece isn't so much a review of Her as it is an essay with commentary. Franco is also a contributor to Vice and he's written other pieces there.  
 
There is a moment in Her when Samantha and Theo go through the typical break-up scenario that’s prevalent in most romantic comedies, a scene that has destroyed many a real-life couple, when one lover reveals how many lovers he or she has had (or in this case, currently has). But this usually hackneyed archetype is given new vitality because it now involves a non-human—much like Brokeback Mountain achieved much of its acclaim by using a traditional tragic love story that was invigorated by swapping the traditional gender preferences of the players.
 
You can read this in full at Vice.

Franco is also the author of several books, the most recent, Actors Anonymous, you can find here and read my review. It's one of the best works of fiction of its kind I read in 2013.
 
 

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