Thursday, October 31, 2013
Bits 'n' Pieces
Random stuff to fill out the blog for a Thursday …
We’ll start with the unintentional shout-out Supernatural gave to my book Belonging on Tuesday. It’s the story of a vampire (played in my mind-movie by Jensen) and his human lover (as portrayed by Jared). In his human days the vampire was a slayer on an Oz-themed team; his street name was the Tin Man. His pet name for his lover is Scarecrow. Well, the recent ep had its own Oz theme. Imagine my surprise when the demon Crowley referred to Sam and Dean as the Scarecrow and the Tin Man. Nyah, nyah, I was there first, a couple years and a M/M/F sequel ago. The King of Hell needs to catch up on his M/M reading. You can read a stand-alone scene involving these characters here on this blog (“Origin Story,” 6/27/13). I'd make it a link but I don't know how. Damn computer age!
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I see some head-scratching among the newbies. Those initials up there, M/M, etc. What’s that mean? That’s the secret code of romance writers, especially in the erotica subgenre. Okay, it’s not really all that secret, but it can get a bit confusing.
These letters are a guide to readers as to what kind of relationships they can expect in their reading experience. M/F is the traditional boy-and-girl, or Male/Female. Two guys is M/M, or Male/Male, and F/F is Female/Female. It’s when you start getting into multiples that things get tricky. M/F/M is two dudes and a chick, but the dudes have no romantic entanglement. M/M/F is two dudes in a relationship who branch out by adding a chick. If the men in the M/F/M are brothers, you need to specify there’s no sexual contact between the men during the deed, because that’s incest and largely frowned upon except in fan fiction. In an M/M/F the boys can have their own sex scene as well as romps with the lady. It helps if you warn the reader beforehand. Just label it M/M/F with M/M elements.
Similarly, F/M/F would be one man with two women (lucky him), but the ladies aren’t into each other, whereas in a F/F/M they would be (again, lucky him). I’ve never heard of a M/F/F, but I’m guessing there must be one somewhere. I recently learned there’s such a thing as F/M/M, a dominant female with two or more men in her harem. Good thing, because I wrote a flash scene (“Double Dipping”, 10/9/13) that, if I decide to expand it into a story, would fall into that category. I didn’t even know it was a category, but apparently some publishers do run stories with the chick in charge. If mine makes it to full length, it’ll be F/M/M with M/M elements, because the guys get horny and she has to sleep sometime. I don’t know how a woman in a M/F/M/M/M/M/M survives to the end of the book.
On the same writing forum where I learned about F/M/M, I asked why the “M” always comes first, when most of these books are about the woman and are aimed at female readers. I was told the first letter signifies the dominant partner. Since that’s usually the guy, he comes first. I was also told a lower-case m or f signifies a subordinate or submissive partner. This is why dom/sub labels are written D/s and not D/S. Since the two guys in my maybe-book up there are the woman’s legal slaves, I suppose I could write it F/m/m, though it’s more slaves in name only by the end. Something tells me M/f (dominant male, submissive female) isn’t popular, but if you make him a Dom and her a willing sub you can probably get away with it.
As more genres get mixed in with erotic romance, we’re liable to see M/F/N (male, female, neuter) or F/M/B (female, male, bi). Or, if you’re into science fiction, M/F/WTF. That one should be interesting. I’d better bone up on my alphabet.
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Here’s another term you might run across: mpreg. That’s male pregnancy, and you can thank fanfic writers for that. It’s a way for your two lovely boys to experience the joy of parenthood without involving a woman and her icky girl cooties. It helps if one of the partners is an alien or knows magic or something, because the last time I checked human men don’t have a uterus or a birth canal, which would make gestation and labor pretty messy. Pouches are one alternative if you don’t want to give your hero a womb. On the TV show Alien Nation, not only did the woman have to be fertilized by a third party before she could conceive with her mate, but toward the end of the pregnancy she transferred the fetus to the man’s pouch and he carried the kid until birth. If your main character’s dating a seahorse shifter, you could end up with one of these stories. I’d love to see their medical textbooks, or sit in on a sex-ed class.
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Speaking of reproduction, a stray cat in our neighborhood has been raising her two kittens under the guy on the corner’s shed. Fortunately we’re in a semi-rural area, and the local farmers always welcome outdoor cats to keep the rodents out of the feed. Mom and her brood are already assured of a home and all the mice they can hunt. Now we just have to catch them. And how is your week going?