Jeff and Will briefly updated on their week. Shoutouts to previous podcast guests Atom Yang for his Red Envelope story, which Jeff read and reviewed, and Wade Kelly who celebrates the release of No! Jocks Don’t Date Guys this week. The guys read some of the answers from last week’s question of the week (all of the answers are below). Brandon Witt is interviewed and talks about his Christmas story, Christmas Miracles of a Recently Fallen Spruce, as well as his plans for 2016, his thoughts on the #BlameBrandon hashtag and more. Brandon also answers Episode 9’s Question of the Week and provides the Question for this week. You can listen and subscribe to the podcast anytime on iTunesStitcherPlayerFMYouTube and  audio file download.

[h2]Show Notes[/h2]
Here are the things we talk about in this episode:

[h2]Question of the Week Episode 9 Responses:[/h2]
While listeners can leave comments on the website each week, answers come in from various other platforms as well (and we can only read a few on the show). Here are all the responses we got to the question “What was the first gay romance you read and what was it’s impact on you?” Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer.

  • Brandon Witt (from this week’s interview): That is so easy. I’d read a whole bunch gay novels before and every single one ended with suicide, HIV or both. The first book I read that wasn’t that  was Eric Arvin’s Woke Up in a Strange Place. I love all of his stuff, but it’s my favoite of his. (Check out Brandon’s interview in this week’s show to hear more about why he loves this book and it’s impact on him.)
  • Linda: Double Full by Kindle Alexander and I haven’t read a straight book since.
  • Anna: Handyman by Claire Thompson. I still love that book. So sweet. Funnily enough, it turns out that coming out late in life is one of my absolute favourite tropes of the genre, I wonder if I am biased due to the first book I read?
  • Max: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. I didn’t really like it. I just thought the drag queen quarterback was far too over the top, and everyone was gay. But I have read it again and enjoyed it more the second time around with a different perspective. Now, what really got me started loving M/M romance was the Cut and Run series by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux.
  • Liliana: Hot Head by Damon Suede.
  • Robert: My first gay romance was The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren. To this day, it resonates with me. It explores so much of the joys and pains of real relationships, especially for the era.
  • Janice: Him by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen.
  • Denise: I came to read gay romance first by reading Tymber Dalton’s Love Slave for Two (which is a MMF) the relationship between the 2 men was well written and intrigued me so I went looking for a MM romance. Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton was the first MM romance I read. It hooked me. The characters were well written, the story line kept me hooked, and it felt real. Something I was finding MF lacking in. I really liked how she wrote about gay romance and religion but didn’t bash the religion or the followers. I have a tendency to judge all books with religion based on that book.
  • Mandy: I’m not sure if it counts but way back in 1987 I read Maurice by E. M. Forster, which was released in 1971 after the author died. It was later made into a film, and is still one of my favourite gay films.
  • Robin: My first MM was S.E. Jakes Bound By Honor. It blew me away!! I never thought it would be so smokin hot reading about two men! Whewww it just did it for me & now reading MF is like a huge yawn! LOL Once you go MM there’s NO going back! LOL
  • Rachel: Magic’s Promise, by Mercedes Lackey. I was fourteen and it blew my mind, how right it read.
  • Robin: Try by Ella Frank followed by the Cut & Run series by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux.
  • Joseph: Poppy Z. Brite’s book Drawing Blood. I’d read some of the depressing AIDS stories and the coming out stories back in the early 90s, stories that were often pretty heavy-handed. Brite’s book showed me a story that was different. It was a horror novel, of course, but it was gay people in a leading role that wasn’t all about getting sick. Sex wasn’t the main focus of the story either, even though there was a strong romantic subplot and a couple steamy sex scenes tossed in. It was a book that I truly appreciated at a time when M/M didn’t even exist as a genre yet.
  • Zam: Not a book, but a film. My Beautiful Launderette. I think that ends happily for now, doesn’t it? That was probably the first love story between men I remember seeing that didn’t end up tragically. Or am I just rewriting it? There’s a scene where Daniel Day Lewis is cleaning blood off his face from a beating, and splashing water on Gordon Warnecke was so tender. I will never forget that, even if I’m imagining it, LOL, because back then, even the romantic stories seemed to all end tragically. That’s one of the reasons I write. I keep wanting to rewrite stories where the characters ended up apart.
  • Kara: Dana Marie Bell included an M/M book, Howl For Me, into her M/F series, True Destiny. I read it and found it awesome.
  • Mary: Bear, Otter, and the Kid. TJ Klune. Then it was the Matter of Time series by Mary Calmes. I was hooked from then on.
  • Wendy: Gray And Harrison by Tracey Michael. It made me want to become a M/M author to tell my stories of two men in love.
  • Amy Jo: The Robin & Jules arc in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series, then the followup story, When Tony Met Adam. I was madly in love with those characters. Then Amazon rec’d a Carina box set to me with Josh Lanyon, Ava March, KA Mitchell and Harper Fox, and I was hooked for life.
  • Sarah: My first gay character was Lord John from the Outlander series. Was hooked on M/M from then on.
  • Duine: The Front Runner by Patricia Warren. I was pleasantly surprised that any local bookstore in Greenville, SC, carried anything Gay positive.
  • Jenn: Mine was Sarina Bowen’s The Understatement of the Year. Graham and Rikker embodied what I’d seen on the news, or vaguely heard about, but Graham’s hate for himself helped me leave ignorance behind. I am Christian, I am not passively Christian. Graham reminded me that love is far more important than anything else. My heart broke for that fictional character, and I have been an advocator of love since then. Thanks Sarina.
  • Kenn: The Lord Won’t Mind by Gordon Merrick. I was stunned to see this book in a bookstore in the general area. I grew up in a very small town in MS. On a trip to the capital city of Jackson, i found this book and bought it. This was longer ago than i care to admit, but it was well before anyone dared say gay/queer in public. It reaffirmed to me that there were others out there somewhere.
  • Gillian: I think it was my first year of University. I had a pretty sheltered upbringing, and when I stumbled upon a translation of a Roman writer who was romantically involved with his male slave, it blew my mind. I don’t remember what the book was, and the relationship was played for comic effect, but the fact that it happened at all was amazing to me. At the same time, I’d discovered fanfiction and stumbled into the slash side of things. My part of New Zealand was incredibly conservative, and I didn’t have any out gay friends, so just seeing same-sex desire acknowledged and treated as a positive thing (in the fanfic more than the Roman novel) was a huge relief. How did it impact me? Well, I started writing my own fanfiction, and just recently started writing my own original stories, so I think it had an impact!
  • Kim: Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michael, my friend eased me in nice and slow to the genre LOL.
  • Ruby: When I first came out, I went for the classics! The first I remember reading is The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (F/F).
  • Kathleen: My interest in MM romance/gay fiction started in an MFM romance series that included an MMF story. I was totally intrigued. I don’t remember the first MM story I read, but it was sometime in late 2010 and I know that one of my earliest reads was Fatal Shadows (AE Mysteries) by Josh Lanyon. And I LOVED it, and the entire series. The real effect on me was the development of real caring about the LGBT community in real life. And that has continued to grow over the years to staunch and vocal support.