Why I Read MM and some Favorites ~ introduction to Marc

Question:

Answer: My name is Marc and I’m a 23 year old student from Germany. Let’s get one thing straight right away; I’m not. I know, such a cliché thing to say, but it has actually taken me a while to say it and I’m proud of myself for being able to not only openly reveal it, but more importantly admit it to myself. Not that I ever thought that being gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, queer or questioning (GLBTQQ) was wrong, but I’ve always realized that admitting it would bring major changes and I kinda liked my quiet life.

I got to live in the US for 4 years (2 in Michigan and 2 in South Carolina), had some girlfriends, but never anything long term and graduated the IB program in High School so that I was able to take up my studies to become a TV screenwriter or creative producer for US TV shows at a German University. I’m currently sitting at a University computer, thinking about the best way to share with you why M/M books have had such an impact on me that I will spend many hours reading, reviewing and setting up interviews, giveaways and other cool events for you.

I believe the reason is that M/M romance novels have given me the courage and the drive to come out to my close family and friends. I have always known that I was also attracted to guys (a stronger attraction than I feel to girls), but I never felt the need to label me. It was a private curiosity and interest, felt kind of forbidden, special, and I never really thought about it much. Nor did I think that any higher power would consider me less in some ways, because I also was attracted to guys as well as girls. Even with a great interest in religion and a Catholic upbringing (well, my father is an atheist actually and we were never the church going folks – except for me 😛 – but I was taught about a higher power that loves unconditionally), I never doubted once that I was loved. It was such a deep knowledge that it didn’t matter when people used religion to justify their own hatred and prejudices – Well, it mattered in the way that it showed their true colors and I jumped in to defend the right to love anybody, long before I realized that I would one day be among those having to defend their love and sexual orientation to those, who truly didn’t have any business even discussing it – but it never made me think that I had it wrong and would someday end up in hell for loving someone. If the church and religious people thought that, then obviously they got it wrong. It’s not like it would be the first time, if you look at history. Well, anyway, I was gonna tell you about the M/M novels, right 😉

Thing is, I’m not actually sure how I got the idea to read one. I think it must have been the realization that stories with GLBTQ themes, especially with gay protagonists moved me strongly. I loved reading as well, so it was only a matter of time before I wanted to explore these themes in books as well. I think at first, I was looking for free stories so that I wouldn’t leave any traces by buying books that would reveal a truth about me that I wasn’t yet ready to be confronted with. Looking for such stories was not very rewarding, though, as I found a lot of free stories that made me very uncomfortable. I wanted love and romance, not stories of such illicit nature that it made my stomach turn. And I’m saying that being very open. Thankfully, these stories (that seem to be very popular, unfortunately, because it was hard at first to find anything else) didn’t turn me away from the genre, but I needed a different place to look.

It was actually the TV show “Supernatural” that gave me the needed idea. Did I mention I was a series fanatic as well? No? Well, I am 😉 It seemed like slash fan fiction for the series had been taken to another level, so that it was even mentioned in the series as well and got my attention. Now remember, I said I was open, right? So I know they are brothers, but… well… anyway- it was actually an alternate Universe story that really caught my attention and captured my imagination. When looking for the best fan fiction slash stories, I found a series called the “Homework Verse”. It has actually nothing to do with the series except for featuring the actors likenesses and names and really shouldn’t have worked for me, to be honest. It’s a hardcore BDSM story, which I didn’t know at that point. It has major D/S themes with collars and keys standing in for a traditional marriage ceremony and explores many different sexual practices that I’m still not really comfortable with like fisting, bondage (and not just for to restrain, either, but as an art form, breath play, knive play, and many other things. However, it was so well written that nothing was shocking enough to turn me away from the emotional rollercoaster. I wanted to read about the journey of these guys, wanted to see them fight for their happy ending, even with all the odds against them, fight through any problems and find the kind of love I yearned for. So I devoured it, read all the stories in the series without break, wherever I was. I laughed and I cried and when they had their HEA, I knew it was time to stop tiptoeing around the topic, because as long as I didn’t admit my sexual orientation to myself, I would lock away a part of myself and never be really free to be true to myself.

So, on that very day, I wrote a long letter to the author stating how much the story inspired me and went online to confess my secret to my best friend. She was incredibly encouraging and calmed me down, before I had a heart attack. Yes, I was nervous. I’m always nervous when I come out to someone and that happens quite often, because one meets many new people and it is always hard to know how they will react.

There are many old acquaintances and family members, who don’t know about me. Honestly, when it becomes important to me that someone knows, I will tell them and I’ve been showered with love and acceptance. But I know it will not always be that way. Sure, Germany is a very liberal country and more than 87 percent of Germans are for full equality. However it seems to me that some of that is a façade, people knowing what the popular attitude is and going with it publically, while nursing their prejudices in private. I have heard a lot of stuff that made me really sad, even if not directed at me.

Though I am out to those people in my life who really matter and that was not an easy thing to do in the beginning. The fan fiction story was only the beginning for me, though and I soon switched to published e-books that I could purchase with my own credit card on my own amazon account and read in private on my brand-new kindle. The most popular M/M author in Germany seems to be J.L. Langley, so my first published M/M was her “The Tin Star” and I loved the combination of sexy romance with emotional depth and outside obstacles that needed to be overcome. It’s a hot cowboy story that I can still really recommend today, after reading about 350 M/M novels with an average of about 250 pages.

Anyway, these stories set something in me ablaze and I made a deal with my best friend. She had a secret crush on a former teacher and I just accepted that I was gay (bi, with a preference for guys, whatever. I’ve been in a gay relationship for almost 3 years, so it doesn’t really matter and saying I’m gay makes my life so much easier 😉 – so she challenged me to go to a gay youth meet in Munich and I challenged her to confront him and we did. I went there and was nervous as hell, but it was really interesting and nice. I met some nice guys and one of them mentioned that he had met his ex online at a site. When I went home, I logged in and created a profile.

Now, some of you might think that these gay dating sites are mainly used for sex and in many cases you may be right. I had some sexual adventures as well, but I was also and mainly looking for love – from those who didn’t want a casual sexual experience, but something permanent. One week after putting my profile up, I found my mate. He always worked late, but he would come online everyday only to talk to me and we would spend hours talking, until dawn was breaking. Whenever he was there I dropped everything else and it became clear to me that I had to meet him. He was a lawyer, deeply in the closet out of fear for the consequences it could have for him in the very conservative feel and he had never agreed to meet someone so quickly, but about two weeks after putting my profile up, I met him and we had a perfect date with dinner and romantic walk through Munich and the royal gardens. When I was home, he was waiting for me on Skype and we switched to the phone to hear each other’s voices again and talked the morning away. It was 4:45 am when I confessed to him that there may perhaps be the possibility that I might be falling in love with him. Again – I was terrified. He said he felt the same way, though, after one week of chatting and one date and the rest is history 😉

So there’s a lot to be grateful to MM Romance for and reading these books still affects me in a special way, because I feel so connected to the stories. It was another book that brought me to the MM Romance group on GR, where I became addicted enough to the genre through merciless enablers and now dear friends like Brandilyn Carpenter (you may have heard about her? LOL) and Kaje Harper. After re-watching “Gladiator” with the incredibly hot Russel Crowe, I searched for gladiator M/M stories and found “The Gladiator’s Master”. I devoured the story and wanted more, but amazon was clearly not the right place to look for them. So I looked for gladiator stories and later fantasy stories on google and found many Goodreads lists (finding books like the incredible fantasy stories “A Companion To Wolves” and the Nightrunner series (I had actually read the Tamir Triad by this author and in the same universe long before, but never realized she had written M/M books as well). The book that finally made me join the group was finding “The Culling”, a gay YA dystopian novel, by accident. I’ve always been a big fan of the YA dystopian genre and finding a book like that made me want to be in a group where I would get help finding specific recommendations. Ironically, I have wanted to read this one on a special occasion and though it has been waiting on my kindle since April 2013, I have not started it.

So this is how I ended up in that group, meeting great M/M authors like Kaje Harper (who welcomed me warmly from the very beginning, and has been there for me ever since to talk about anything) and other readers who are just as addicted as me to the genre. I love to meet people (I’m Marc F, there) and chat, share recommendations, love the reading challenges, even though I overdid it at first, by adding more and more challenges until I was burned out and the many books were more of a chore than pleasure – I’m not a very fast reader) and the games, some of which I started. I soon was fully immerged in the M/M reading community and when Brandilyn asked me to review on her blog, I was overly enthusiastic and not only agreed but bombarded her with many ideas (I have ADHD, folks, that’s normal for me J)

And here I am. I really hope you enjoy my reviews and interviews and if there is interest, I will follow this introductory post up with regular personal blog entries to share with you my own experience with being a gay man in a M/M relationship.

I can’t really surprise you with an awesome list of my favorite 10 authors, because Brandilyn and I have very similar (and may I say extremely good 😛 ) tastes in books and I can only agree with her on it. Perhaps I can share with you some of my favorite books?

Favorite M/M novel: Keeping Promise Rock (Amy Lane)

Favorite M/M character: Dex from Dex in Blue (Amy Lane)

Most realistic M/M relationship: Mac and Tony in the Life Lessons series (Kaje Harper)

Favorite M/M mystery series: Holmes and Moriarity (Josh Lanyon)

Favorite M/M historical: The Gladiator’s Master (Fae Sutherland)

Favorite M/M series: The Cut & Run series (Abigail Roux)

Favorite M/M comfort read: Frog (Mary Calmes)

Favorite M/M shifter series: Change of Heart (Mary Calmes)

Most freshly honest and unique M/M novel: Rough Draft (Chris Owens)

Favorite M/M paranormal mystery novel: A Reason To Believe (Diana Copland)

Favorite M/M short story: 500 Miles (Parker Williams)

Favorite M/M paranormal: Sunset, book one of the Pact Arcanum series (Arshad Ahsanuddin)

Favorite M/M Sci-Fi story: Gravitational Attraction (Angel Martinez)

Favorite M/M ménage series: Dark Horse (Kate Sherrwood)

Favorite M/M YA: Gives Light (Rose Cristo)

Favorite M/M debut: Keeping Sweets (Cate Ashwood)

Favorite M/M fantasy: A Companion to Wolves (Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear)

Favorite M/M Sequel: Captive Prince 2 (S.U.Pacat)

Most anticipated M/M sequel: Not So Innocent, sequel to Shattered Glass (Dani Alexander)

Favorite M/M that is very different from other works the author writes: Mine (Mary Calmes)

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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43 thoughts on “Why I Read MM and some Favorites ~ introduction to Marc

  1. Awww, Marc, you just put a very happy lump in my throat. 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. *hugs*
    I think we’re going to have lots o fun her. 😉

    • I think so, too. I’m having a great time getting to know all these awesome authors and fellow M/M addicted reader. Hope my reviews will make you buy and pick up books you will love and that the personal blog and and author interviews will provide some new insights

  2. Hi Marc
    Good to see you here and for sharing you story!
    I too am keen for Shattered Glass 2 and am glad Dani is on the mend again – and oh yes, Holmes and Moriarity!

    • Me, too. I came aboard the Shattered Glass train later than most, but it was hilarious and spellbinding. When I heard about the health problems of the author I was shocked and hoped for a full recovery and I’m so happy that might just happen and that the author is already writing on the second novel again. I’m sure we’ll hear some news in February, when Paisley will interview Dani Alexander 😉 So stay tuned! *g*

    • The honor is all mine. When I became a new member at Goodreads, someone recommended Keeping Promise Rock to me. I listened to it on audio and I was absolutely hooked. Such an epic love story. I especially loved the important role that the chosen family of friends played 😉 Never was any other M/M able to push KPR off its pedestal 😉 I’ve just finished reading your upcoming novel “Behind the Curtain”. In the beginning it felt somehow different and fresh in its style, but it soon became clear to me that it’s not just another story, but another epic love tale in the tradition of KPR 🙂

      So thank you for taking the time to comment!!! I really appreciate every comment! 😉

  3. Marc, thank you for sharing your story, you do know that the part about how you met your boyfriend was like reading a romance novel? That was beautiful and I had actually tears in my eyes 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing your story Marc and your great book list. I love seeing a gay man’s perspective on the books us women love so much too. 🙂

    • Well, thank you actually! Several months ago, I actually won your book in your giveaway. I told you then that I would read it and strongly recommend it to all my friends, should I like it! I shared my rec with my entire friend list and got a few people hookd on it 😉

    • Thank you for gifting us with such beautiful stories. They are all very dear to my heart. And thank you for taking the time to read and comment! <3

  5. Wonderful post Marc. I’ve read quite a few of the books on your list and many of the others are on my tbr pile 😀

  6. Marc, I really enjoyed your story and how you found your mate. I agree with a lot of your favorites so will be looking forward to more reviews from you. 🙂

  7. Thank you for sharing your life with us, Marc. What a sweet and romantic story how you met your mate. Some of your favorites are still in my huge TBR pile so I better start moving them up my pile.

  8. I’m so glad to see you being more social & giving me even more stuff to add to my ever-growing TBR. *hugs* I look forward to maybe one day meeting you in person. Lisa~Books are my drugs

    • *hugs back* If my BF and I come your way, I’ll be sure to make a stop. Unfortunately he’s not big rollercoasters, otherwise Cedar Point might have been a big selling point. He’s more of a Marco Island beach, Florida kind of guy – but I’ll see what I can do. Should I go to Michigan to see my old home and neighbors again, I’ll def make a stop in Ohio *g*

        • Would be awesome to see you 🙂 Might be able to coax the BF up to Holland 🙂 He loves the netherlands and Holland has such a nice beach 😉 We’ll see when I have more info, but it would be great to meet up 🙂

  9. Thanks for sharing how you got into reading m/m romance and how it’s changed your life. Great m/m list, I’ve several of those stories and I’ve picked up new titles I haven’t read yet. I’m looking forward to seeing what type of things you have to say about the things you’ll be reading =)

    • Thank you. I hope you’ll find interesting what I have to say about the books I read *g* Glad you found some new and interesting books to read and I hope you’ll enjoy them 😉

  10. Marc, welcome to the wonderful world of MM. I’m not as old as some I could mention but 58 is definitely on a different spectrum to yourself.
    What I would love to do is introduce you to an amazing wealth of MM/gay stories written before the digital age.
    Thankfully many are now available on ebook/audio but you gotta give some of them a go.
    The Dave Brandstetter novels by Joseph Hansen, Tales of a City by Amisted Maupin, Maurice by EM Forster, Larry Duplechan, Felice Picano, George Baxt, Michael Curlovich, Elliot Mackle, Dorien Grey, Neil Plakcy, Anthony Bidulka.
    Well there’s a start.
    Happy for you to troll through my list over at LibraryThing (http://www.librarything.com/profile/gsc55) (you can sort by date to look for OLD stuff! LOL)
    Enjoy
    Graeme

  11. Marc, tons of hugs to you! Reading your story was an emotional ride and I am so happy got to a point where you could freely accept yourself and have those closest to you accept the real you. 87% is a high number, I wish that was the case here, even if more than a third was a mere facade. It would be better than a lower number of which some are just saying so cause it’s cool.

    Thanks for sharing your story and your list of favorites. My TBR will forever be a black hole 😀 Sucking up all new recommendations way faster than I can read them.

  12. Hi all, just had to come in an say: Graeme, thanks so much for your list! I’ve come across Brandstetter, Maupin and Dorien Grey but none of the others.
    Thanks for sharing with us! 🙂

  13. Hi Marc. Wow, thank you for sharing your inspirational story. I’m a good friend of Kaje’s and completely adore her. As a writer, I love hearing personal stories that inspire me to keeping writing, and we actually share a lit of the same fave books – Keeping Promise Rock, the Gladiator’s Master, Change of Heart, Frog, 500 Miles – too many to list. 😉

    Have a great weekend.
    Hugs
    K-lee

    • I’m glad you liked my first personal blog post and took the time to comment here as well as recommending me a new Gladiator book on Facebook 🙂 I must admit, I never heard of “Lucius and Callistus” by J.P. Bowie and the two sequels, so I’m very grateful to get to read a new series 😉 Very surprised that it has so few reviews and ratings, as I know some people who love gladiators as well but this one was never mentioned. When I read the story, I will make sure to rate and review it to get the book some buzz. So thanks for comment, rec and hug *rehug* 🙂

      • btw, if anyone else wants to read a new gladiator book, the gladiator one is book number three, warrior prince in the slaves to love series, not book 1 as mentioned above!

  14. Did you find a secret source of time? I am surprised that someone can read as many books as you do AND have a life with real friends and even a relationship. You have added some new novels to my “to-read-list”. Unfortunately my day only has 24 hours (and I do need my beauty sleep ;-))

    Being part of any kind of minority will bring you in contact with people’s prejudices. Sometimes – if not mostly – prejudices are from ignorance. If you really get to know someone who is gay, handicapped, from a certain part of the country or whatever, you will learn that there are much less differences than you thought. I really hope that last week’s news will increase the percentage of 87% to at least 95%. There will always be a part of people who fight against everything.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Well, you wanna know what my secret source of time is? *g* The answer is simple: You have to life somewhere so far from your work or university that you need to take the bus, train and U-train for 1.5 to 2 hours in every direction, daily. That’s when I do most of my reading – but with my trusted kindle paperwhite on my side, I also read while waiting in line, while taking a bath, in bed, on the plane, while eating… except when I’m with friends or my BF, then I will give them full attention – mostly. BF does complain about me reading on long trips with the train or car and not talking to him the entire time, but petting him behind the ears will usually make him tame again 😛

      And I totally agree! Inclusion of all minorities into normal life is essential. That’s why I’ve done a social internship for an integration agency for people with disabilities and still work at assistant for a fellow student at University. Always hoping for positive change 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading my story 😉

      btw, I have some friends who read at least one book a day 🙂 Ask Brandilyn *g* Hehe

      • Hey I resemble that remark! And it is more like 1-3 books a day 😉 Actually I have been known to read as many as 6 novellas in a day. Though, this blog has taken some of my reading time away :).

      • So I should move far away and throw away my car keys 😉
        Rare times when I use public transportation I do read (of course!) but drinving a car it’s not recommendable.
        Unfortunately I like living in the city and don’t want to move somewhere else;-)
        My only time for reading more than a few chapters per day is on vacation. Any problems with long flight hours? No – as long as I have something to read (and I will have!)

        • Lol. hat would certainly help with getting more reading time. But it helps if you take some time in your day and just make it your reading time and relax. I actually love to just stop whatever I’m doing from time to time and read for an hour or two. Perhaps let in a bath, just relax with a great book. But of course there are also a lot of really, really great audio books for the car. I know lots of ppl who loe to listen to them, while driving 😉

          • I am not very fond of audio books but I did listen while driving already. But only on long road trips not for a 20 minutes traffic jam at business hours 😉
            Seems that I have to wait for retirement – or someone will find the source to buy reading time together with a new book. You could become rich being the one who can sell it!

  15. Marc,

    Thanks you SO much for telling me about this blog post and letting me into your world. It’s such a true and honest account; something really admirable about that. It seems as if you’ve truly found your path now, and I’m so happy for you.

    Also, Supernatural. LOVE. Sam or Dean? It HAS to be Dean for me. 😛

    • Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. Looking forward to reading about your experiences in your 52 First Dates series.

      And yes! God, yes! Dean, all the way!!!

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