Friday, November 5, 2010

I’m Sorry, You Write What?!

Hey all,

It's Friday and I have a very interesting blogger for you all today.  He's a little bit different than my usual guests and I like that.  I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I invited him over, but like a lot of surprises, this one is one I'm happy to enjoy. 
Fellow Loose-Id author, Johnny Miles has led a most unusual life and has come late into the world of romance, but I can say from what I've seen, his experiences have only enriched his writing.  It says this about him on his website...

Johnny Miles first burst onto the world of gay erotica in 1985, when he published his first short story for self-abusers. Since then, his work has been in Blueboy, Numbers, Stars, Honcho, First Hand, Skin, Male Insider and, more recently, Handjobs magazines.

After several decades of experimenting with different careers – graphic designer, massage therapist, phone sex operator and human dildo – he spurt back into the world of erotica in 2008.

Sounds interesting, right?  So let's see what this unique writer has to tell us.  Please join me in welcoming, Johnny Miles to my blog

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   At 48, I find myself in the unique position I once did when I was fresh out of high school and stepping out into the real world of obnoxious adults. Imagine me in a group of people, some of them looking down their noses at a not-so-fresh-faced Latino kid from the ‘hood wanting to mingle with others outside his realm.
   “So, what do you do?”
   And I think, hmmmm. Should I try for their sympathy and tell them I used to do customer service? Shall I impress them with my limited technical savvy in the graphic arts field? Or should I stun them and tell them I’m in the adult entertainment industry? It’s not like I haven’t done any of those things. I have. In fact, to some degree, I still do. Well, all except for the customer service bit.
   So I decide to go with the truth and, in a somewhat meek voice, I say, “Ahem. Well, I’m a writer.”
   “Really? What kind of stuff do you write?” Curiosity in their voice.
   I cough, mumble, clear my throat again. “Roh- roh, romance.”
   “Oh.” Not impressed.
   “Gay romance.” A bit more surely.
   “I see.” Quite clearly and most definitely not impressed, bordering on who cares. Then I finally find my voice.
   “I write erotic gay romance novels for women.”
   By this point I smile to myself because the pretentious bastards have usually stopped, peaked an eyebrow and said, “I’m sorry, you write what?!”
   “Ha! Got your hoity-toity ass now, don’t I?” I think to myself and grin but so wish I had the balls to actually say it.
   Of course, I don’t tell everyone what I do, and what I say really depends on who’s asking. Not to mention the circumstances. Still, I never thought I would ever hear myself utter those words. It’s not like I aspired to be a romance writer, specifically. In fact, when I was younger, I loathed romance novels. Except for that one time when I picked up a Rosemary Rogers novel in junior high school.
   So how exactly did a boy like me, from the ghetto, wind up writing romance? Looking back it seems like everything kinda led up to this point. While other kids were out on the streets, doing God only knew what, I spent time at the library. I borrowed the maximum number of books allowed and returned them religiously, on time, with barely a crinkle in the pages.
   You see, books were sacred to me. And to my mom. It was she, more than anyone, who taught me to love books. She encouraged me to read the written word often and she rarely ever censored what I read. Which is why I didn’t understand her fuming when I laid out a copy of one of my stepfather’s Playboys alongside my kid-friendly version of Funk and Wagnall's.
   Little did she know I actually was interested in the article, despite the fact that I didn’t know the meaning of a multiple orgasm. Organism was in my kid’s dictionary but not orgasm. Go figure.
   Several years later my cousin and I made it a point to seek out the one book my uncle swore we should never read: The Exorcist. We went looking for the curse words but when we were caught my cousin left me holding the…uh, book.
   Later in life, I discovered porn. And the rest, as they say, was history. Aside from getting hooked on gay porn I became a writer for several gay magazines. Yes. I wrote smut. Now we just call it erotica and most people don’t argue the point.
   Mind you, like thousands – if not millions – of others that came before me, I have always wanted to write. I’ve always enjoyed putting words together. And I’ve always watched people and made up elaborate lives for them, complete with problems, sorrows, joys and triumphs.
   Fast forward to January of 2009 when, on a cruise, I met Treva Harte through Bobby Michaels. Here’s where the memory gets fuzzy. I don’t remember what I was drinking but I do remember someone saying something along the lines of, “Gee, too bad you don’t write romance. You could submit it to Loose Id.”

   Maybe it was the booze talking. Maybe it was the way I heard it. Or maybe it was the way I needed to hear it. Whatever the reason, I took it upon myself to write my very first gay erotic romance. As a challenge. After all, how difficult could it be I asked myself. You think up some characters, think of a premise, add some conflict, throw in some hot kinky sex and stir. Voila!
   Boy, was I ever wrong. In fact, not only was I wrong, I was very, very, very wrong. Once again, the little cockiness that still remains from my teenage years turned around and bit me in the ass.
   Even now, with one book published, another one on the way and a third that has sent me surfing the rim of what I call “the butthole of depression” I’m still not sure I know what I’m doing. It’s not easy writing gay erotic romance for women! There are many do’s and don’ts from the editor, along with the unmentionables – men don’t sweat, they glisten; women don’t like hairy men, have you ever rubbed yourself against stubble? – and then there’s the very idea of romance.
   What exactly is romance? How much is too much? Do I throw some reality in there? What sort of reality is acceptable and just how much of it can I interject? Reality, like romance, are both in the eye of the reader ,so it’s hard to tell what will work and what won’t. I still consider the story between Rose Tyler and The Doctor, from the BBC television series “Doctor Who”, to be one of the greatest modern love stories ever told. But others don’t see the romance in that.
   I must admit that the last two years have been an interesting experience. No, I’m still not raking in the bucks or living off any royalties. Hell, my last royalty check wouldn’t even buy two combo meals at McDonald’s. But it wasn’t about the money for me; not at first, though I wished and prayed with all my heart!
   I wanted to challenge myself to do more than just erotica; which I’ve done. Now, it’s about the discipline of writing – which is still very difficult – regardless of what it is. Because, you see, writing is writing, no matter what genre. And I’ve discovered that I like writing. I enjoy putting words together and making stuff up.
   And for once in my life, it’s not called lying. For once I can justify sitting back quietly in a coffee shop, sipping my latte and just watching.
   Maybe after the third or fourth story is under my belt (please God!), after I find my “romance voice” and once I’ve delved deeper into the psyche of made-up characters, the money can come rolling in.
   I don’t know what my future as a romance writer will bring. Like many, I’ll probably want to take a stab at a different genre. I’d even love to try a screen adaptation of something I’ve had published (that least bit was in case Hollywood was listening). All I know is that, for now, I’m having fun writing and learning as I go. I’m enjoying meeting new people in the industry and have really grown to appreciate the enormous sense of satisfaction when I finally type “The End”.
   I can finally say, “I did it. I’m a published author! So you can just take your hoity-toity attitude against romance writing and stuff it!”
   Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll sit down and write the great American romance novel! I can almost hear someone out there saying, 
   “I’m sorry, you wrote what?”

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Wasn't that great!  I grinned all the way through, and just to add my two cents worth, I LOVED the storyline between Rose and The Doctor.  I wept like a baby when they went their separate ways.  Now THAT was romance!!!!

Anyway, if you'd like to learn more about Johnny and his M/M stories, check out his WEBSITE or become a follower of his BLOG.  And be sure to pick up his book at Loose Id.  Casa Rodrigo is his latest work and you can read all about it HERE.

I'll be back on Monday with another blog about something or another.  Who knows what will tickle my fancy between now and then.

And don't forget my FREE READ going on over at my FREE READ BLOG.  It's an exotic doozy!!!!

Hugs to all!!!

CJ England  















Follow Your Dreams
http://cjengland.com/luckbealady/luckbealady.htm

11 comments:

Treva Harte said...

Ahem. Women can like hairy and sweaty. It's like food. All in the presentation.

CJ England said...

*grin*

Thank you, Treva. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Some of my best heroes are sweaty...never had one glisten. Too much like a sparkly vampire. LOL

And when I look back 90% of my guys have stubble. I adore stubble. *sigh*

But I do understand what Johnny said about the rules. Like Treva mentioned, it's all in the presentation and each pub seems to present differently.

Me...I just like men. Unless they're serial killers. Still can't understand that whole attraction thing!

Phylis said...

Hairy, sweaty men! Lovely! *grin* Sound like he has had an interesting life!

CJ England said...

Phylis,

Hasn't he though. I've explored his website and I now know how sheltered I really am. LOL

Love the adventure!!!

Sue Roebuck said...

Oh that was a great blog - and I can so relate to Johnny. I laughed so much when he described his conversations, "Umm...I write romance."
"Oh."
"Ummm...gay romance."
"Jesus."
That's exactly my type of conversations also. Sometimes I wonder if I should make something else up too because people look at me as if I'm a perv. I must read Johnny's books especially the one about the rose and the doctor. I'll go to his site now.
Many thanks for your blog (which I saw on the Alternative Reads digest).
Sue
Sue

CJ England said...

Sue,

Hey! It's nice to meet you. I hope you enjoy other blog posts as well.

Johnny's blog is one of my favorites. And I've found a new author to enjoy.

A win-win as far as I'm concerned. *grin*

Ben Gines said...

Wow! You guys are truly awesome. Thanks for the compliments everyone.

@ Sue: Sadly, the story between Rose and The Doctor is not mine. Just one of my favorite t.v. shows ever. When I grow up that's the stuff I wanna write!

carabristol said...

Really enjoyed the blog. As an erotic romance writer, I can relate. For the record, my characters have stubble...I think it's sexy and my publisher is fine with it.

CJ England said...

Hey Carabristol,

Nice to see you here. And all my guys have stubble. I love a good five o'clock shadow so I guess I gave my heroes the same. LOL

CJ England said...

Hey Johnny,

Have you ever thought about doing some slash fan fiction with Rose and the Doctor. See if you can make the ending different?

Johnny Miles said...

Hey CJ:

No, I can't say that I've thought of slash fiction with The Doctor and Rose. But then, I'm certain what you mean.