Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jude in Chains

My novella, Jude in Chains, is now sitting in a few publishers' computers. The fact it isn't laden with explicit sex scenes -- it's just erotic enough to suit the needs of the story -- sort of limited my options. I also found it a bit dispiriting, yet again, that certain outlets are closed to me, since I've never been "invited" to submit to them. (Reminder to self: must find out whom to blow; wouldn't hurt to remind them I know when to use "who" and "whom.")

I don't know how this one is going to be received. It's a contemporary, but it might strike some editors as heavy fare due to the theme -- the "ex-gay" movement. Don't know if you're all aware of it or not. It's a truly hideous effort that's been mounted by various conservative, homophobic organizations -- both here and, I think, in the UK -- to turn queers into straights. I tried not to be too ham-handed in my treatment, although it's difficult to underplay the seriousness of this situation, and I believe the protags are engaging. But ya never know with publishers.

So anyway, following is the blurb. Wish me luck!

* * * * *

Hoping further to expose the fallacy of "reparative therapy" for non-heterosexuals, writer Misha Tzerko has enrolled in a week-long program at the Stronger Wings Camp and Conference Center in Arkansas. He's already lost his long-term boyfriend to the ex-gay movement, and for the sake of his own closure as well as his job at Options magazine, Misha hopes to get an inside look at the nondenominational ministry established by C. Everett Hammer III.

Contentedly gay, Misha has always been a player -- except when he committed to his only real relationship. But when Robbie abandoned him for straight life complete with wife, Misha's promiscuity began to peak as his emotional landscape flattened.

That’s all about to change. Misha is shocked and dismayed to see another man from his past at Stronger Wings, a man with whom he’d had two brief but captivating encounters. Although Misha knows he can’t save every registrant in the Stronger Wings program, he becomes determined to save Jude Stone.

No matter what it takes.


Jenre said...

wouldn't hurt to remind them I know when to use "who" and "whom."

Based on some of the output from some publishers that may actually be a disadvantage!

Good luck with it. It sounds an interesting premise, although stories containing conservative religious people make my blood boil.

Obsidian Bookshelf said...

This premise has a lot of potential! You could do a number of fascinating things with it and I don't think I've seen it come up before in m/m fiction (the closest thing I can think of is a movie called Latter Days where this poor gay Mormon kid gets sent to a ex-gay place. Your excerpt is intriguing, too! Good luck with this. I hope I see it in the near future.

Wren said...

Even tho' you're talking about a 'heavy'subject your excerpt displayed a level of humor that would keep the book from being maudlin. I like the style.

The recent brouhaha over gay-to-straight was discussed in
and then followed up here:

and yeah, it really gets my dander up, so if I read fiction with this idea at the base, I'd want to see the "bad guys" get their due in the end, otherwise I'm not sure I'd be satisfied.

Sorry to hear you aren't being invited to certain pubs. They don't know what they're missing!

K. Z. Snow said...

Jen -- I made this fictitious organization nondenominational, so there wouldn't be a dreary emphasis on religion. But I couldn't avoid the issue entirely (which would've been cowardly), since many men and women who choose these drastic measures are very conflicted re. their sexuality and their faith.

Rest assured the protags aren't Bible-bangers, though! Honest, the story is very much a romance.

Val --thanks! I've heard of Latter Days but haven't yet seen it.

The excerpt in this post comes from a flashback chapter. The story's whole premise is that the promiscuous journalist comes to realize Jude might be able to save him as much as he might be able to save Jude. Not through religion, however.

K. Z. Snow said...

Wren -- you're a sweetheart! Yeah, there's quite a bit of dry humor in the story. Compassion, too. I didn't want to get all gloomy-gus and drag readers down.

Tam said...

"although stories containing conservative religious people make my blood boil."

What Jen said. I found the character very appealing though. Good luck.

Jenre said...

OK, that doesn't sound too bad. I may be pursuaded to buy it ;).

Clare London said...

Good luck with it, I'd certainly want to read it. I strongly support the opportunity to read books with m/m relationships in many different genres and themes.

BTW Richard Stevenson featured the same kind of organisation - though it was strongly religious - in one of his Donald Strachey novels (can't remember which one, I'm poor on titles). Don went undercover after one of the guys was killed, to see if the group had anything to do with it. No more spoilers!!! LOL

Keep us posted!

K. Z. Snow said...

If you guys think the Religious Right in this country doesn't make my blood boil, you haven't read Acts of the Saints!

I did a lot of mental wrestling with myself before I started this book. Had I had the luxury of time (and most e-authors don't, because they have RL jobs and/or earn such a pittance at writing that they can't linger indefinitely on one work), I might have made the novella a full novel. The subject certainly deserves a more thorough treatment than I gave it.

I ultimately came to the conclusion that readers' preferences came first, and since I'm not writing for the snotty New York Times Book Review crowd, I should focus on the central relationship and not go spinning off into the realm of social commentary. (Well, I spun off a little bit, but, I hope, not enough to put readers off.)

K. Z. Snow said...

Hi, Clare! I wholeheartedly agree that GLBT romance can exist in a variety of genres and explore a variety of themes. So long as the central relationship isn't sacrificed to or overshadowed by the genre or the theme, I think the author is being true to his/her audience.

Hope so, anyway! :-)

Your vamp tale is next on my roster of reads, dear. ;-)

Kris said...

Sounds interesting, K Z. I hope it gets picked up. I just did a mini-review of the book "Thinking Straight", which has similar themes although it's ya and not strictly a 'romance' as such.

K. Z. Snow said...

Thanks, Kris. It was in part because of you that I was mindful of how I presented the flashback. :-)

Kris said...

Oh, the power! ;)

K. Z. Snow said...

Don't let it go to your head, chicklet.

jitterbug said...

Hot smexing doesn't necessarily a good book make *g* Some of my favs have almost no sex at all. Sexual tension is great. This book sounds really interesting and I would certainly buy it. I hope it will be picked up, KZ :).

I don't usually mind heavy themes in romances (if they're well done of course), because knowing that at the end of the novel/novella the characters will end up together keeps me from becoming too gloomy and depressed.

K. Z. Snow said...

Hi, Jitterbug!

Thanks for the encouraging words.

I like different degrees of sexual content. Just as in life, some situations lend themselves to an impulsive kind of urgency and others take more time to build. Depends a lot on the characters, too.

Yup, optimism makes all the difference. If a reader knows s/he has an upbeat ending to look forward to, I think it makes the protagonists' difficulties easier to accept.

H said...

Good Luck!
I would read this (knowing it is an m/m romance means I can let go of any concerns about the "serious bits" and concentrate on the story itself - hope that makes sense!) and hope to see you posting a release date soon. The level/number of sex scenes in a story has never been the draw for me - it is always about the characters, their story and the greater 'verse that they occupy.

Cheers :)

K. Z. Snow said...

Thanks for letting me know, H. And you're absolutely right about the "reassurances" that are built right into the genre.