This is my first entry for the TRR GLBT Madness Hop! This hop will last four days, from the 27th to the 30th. Please join us in supporting all the blogs that are included! As for Just Write and SO Gay, today we are focusing on our First Loves of Book! And just for commenting on this blog, you could recieve a copy of my first story, which has never been published! Exercising His Options is a story of a closed minded man named Enver Mann who takes a journey that blows his mind, and opens up his options.This story is so hot you will not want to read it in public. And you can WIN YOUR FREE COPY before the masses get it! ***CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE END OF ARTICLE TO GO TO THE NEXT BLOG INCLUDED IN THIS HOP***
So today, on my blog I thought I would talk about first loves. Not in humans, because that would take a novel (hey, cool idea, huh?). i want to talk about first loves in books. Two years ago, I didn't know that there was a M/M catergory. I was searching quite desparately in all the books I was reading to find GLBT characters, trying to read between the lines and see if Ron was really in love with Harry (the Dumbledore secret, WHAT?) and hoping and praying Jacob was really in love with any of his pack rather than Bella (I think that would have made the story more interesting), and so forth. I was almost hard up enough to start digging through Fan Fic to find the kind of stuff that I really wanted to read.
And then a friend suggested I attend GRL Gay Rom Lit, and at first, I blew it off thinking I didn't need another convention to add to my roster. I was already going to 6 or 7 a year. However, I went to their website and read about it. I was hooked. I registered within a week, but I could see one small problem: of the hundred and seventy-ish authors that were attending, I was familar with one or two of the names. And I mean, familar as in I had seen, but never read. So, I did what any rational bibliophile would do: I made a list of ALL the authors and started stalking them.
I wore out Facebook, GoodReads, and google search finding every story that this group had published. I would describe this experience as a step toward Heaven. Finding so many authors that wrote what I wanted to read, OMG many times over. And we won't even talk about how much money went into this venture. I am still exploring many of these authors a year later. And I've added tons of authors to my list. But one name stands out above and beyond all the others. Because it was my first love. Now I have loved many authors since then, but one's first love always holds a special place. Any one who knows me knows this is the first author I recommend to any one looking to explore this genre. That author, whom I adore above all others, is J P Barnaby.
I began my exploration of Barnaby's Little Boy Lost series with Enlightened, the first of the six book series. This book started with "My name is Brian Patrick McAllister, and I am going to hell." And caught me immediately. I grew up in the south, Tennessee, so I understood being condemned by the church. But reading Brian's story, he gave me hope. Not because his story is so unlike mine, but because his story was exactly mine. Finding love, and having that love become your salvation. Now, I don't want to spoil these books for anyone who hasn't read them, but they take the reader on a journey unlike anything I've read before or since. The plots may be somewhat predictable, but the emotions are not. They are the most realistic fiction I've ever read. Now keep in mind with your first love, you don't notice the imperfections you just see the overall arc of the relationship. And this describes my relationship with this book.
Unlike most books where I have felt sympathy for the character, this book and all the others that follow it I felt with the characters. (Spoiler) When Jamie is "gay bashed" in the second book, his road to recovery is realistic and heartfelt and inspirational to me. He fights and falls down with such truth that following his journey is better than watching an edisode of Queer as Folk or Noah's Ark. I loved the characters in these books, not for their strengths but for their obvious humanity. As the third book and Brian's journey continues, the audience gets to see a big city from a small town's point of view. Even through fear of the unknown, we get to see the search for true love prevail and meet new characters that are fleshed out and idealistic but grounded.
Whether the reader has never read M/M before, or has read tons, this series will open up a newness to the genre that is much needed. I have given copies of these books to my wife to read as well. Because in my humble opinion one hasn't read M/M done well until they have read these books. Thank you to J P Barnaby and the Little Boy Lost series for setting an incredible standard of impecible fiction. And for being my first love. I will always remember you.