Yup. You read that right. I’m supposedly an author of M/M romance, and I just asked for a definition. I can almost see you arching an eyebrow, but bear with me.
When someone picks up a book that falls into the romance genre, they expect to read some manner of a love story. That’s fairy clear. What I don’t find so obvious is what specifically constitutes romance. Hearts and flowers and skywritten professions of undying love and passionate kisses in the rain often come to mind when we think of romance. We envision people undertaking perilous journeys to return to one another, or lovers giving up everything just to be together. We picture big grand gestures—proposals on the top of the Eiffel Tower, serenades outside bedroom windows, or other scenes that could be ripped from a picture-perfect movie script.
I’m not saying these things aren’t romantic. They absolutely can be. But I do think that it would be a mistake to limit our idea of what constitutes romance to the above examples. Let me tell you why.
When I was little, all I wanted was to be was a princess. And if I were a princess, then obviously Prince Charming would come riding up on his handsome steed and sweep me off my feet and it would be totally romantic. I also thought, in my more formative years, that my parents were totally unromantic. My dad never gave my mom flowers. (Mom and Dad: “They just die in a few days.”) They never bought each other lavish gifts. (Mom and Dad: *shrugs* “We have everything we need.”) They didn’t even have a good proposal story. (Mom and Dad: “It was a long time ago. We don’t really remember exactly how it happened. We just knew we wanted to be together.”)
Now that I’m older, I tend to look at things a bit differently. My parents have been married for just over 42 years, and not only are they still together, but they’re still ridiculously happy. Whenever I visit them I find myself reminded each time that displays of love and affection do not have to be demonstrative or wrapped up in fanfare in order to be unbelievably romantic.
My parents might be doing something as simple and ordinary and boring as cleaning up in the kitchen after dinner. But somewhere in the midst of tidying up my dad’s arms will go around my mom’s waist. He might even given her ass a little pat. He’ll nuzzle into her neck and whisper some sort of sweet nothing in her ear. She’s blush like a school girl and look pleased as punch all at the same time, and my dad will give her a goofy besotted grin as if he knows he’s absolutely the luckiest man on the planet.
When I witness these little moments, I often think who the hell needs flowers and big grand gestures when two people can still look at each other like that after 42 years?
I guess my point is, it’s easy to pass over, or not even take notice, of the quiet, steady, enduring romances because there are other types of romance that seem grander and shinier and sexier.
Big grand gestures and unrestrained actions and ardent displays of affection can be wonderfully pulse quickening and exciting to read about. But my parents have given each other over 40 years, and I have no doubt they will give each other the rest of their lives. So it may not be grand, and their story may never get made into a movie, but honestly, I can’t really think of anything more romantic.
As a writer I try to remember this, because I’ve found that it is often the simplest displays that can take your breath away and truly show the depth of love between two people.
When a family friend offers him the job of resident psychologist at Chicago’s GLBT Center, Kyle Michelson jumps at the chance to reinvigorate his career, move on from his recent breakup, and get his life back on track. Kyle hopes returning to the familiar territory of his hometown will do him good, but meeting Emory Brenner at a club changes everything.
Anything but familiar, Emory leaves Kyle breathless from the start. There’s just one problem: Kyle wants more than a one-night stand, Emory doesn’t do relationships, and neither man can resist the other. Luckily for Emory, he never has to see Kyle again. Or so Emory thinks until he runs into him while volunteering at the GLBT Center.
Kyle makes Emory want things he never thought he could have and chips away at secrets Emory has kept locked away for years. On the surface, Emory’s recovered from his past: he has a job at a record store and a roof over his head. But putting his trust in another person, having a relationship, means opening himself to more pain—and that is a risk he can’t take.
Lily Grace hails from the Midwest but currently resides in the DC metro area. Her background is in public health and the life sciences and she spends her days working as a health care consultant. When she’s not busy being a nerdy scientist she curls up with her laptop and dreams up romantic stories about beautiful men.
She's a fan of loud rock concerts, cooking, shoe shopping, and strawberry ice cream. She loves love, hates cleaning, and is still amazed that when she decided on a whim to try writing a story a few years back that it would lead to having her works published.