They were looking for some GLBT stories and I wanted to try my hand at that. I had written my medieval ménage story, which also had several m/m scenes, so I thought I could do this. And I wanted something a little different from the many gay stories that I have reviewed (for Got Romance Reviews). So I came up with two emotionally bruised men facing the need to get on with their lives, to start over. I really enjoyed writing Corbin and Matt’s story and have been extremely lucky in that the reviewers who have read the story completely got what I was trying to get across.
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Writing a Heartwarming Gay Romance with Character Depth
Corbin couldn’t remember the last time he’d been late getting to the office….Lately, though, his work didn’t satisfy him. He’d had to drag himself out of bed then force himself to drive thirty minutes into the city.
This is an excerpt from my new release, Starting Over, from Decadent Publishing. In this introduction to one of the main characters you get a glimpse of a frustrated man. Many of us in the “real” world suffer such a frustration: running late, not being satisfied with what we do, going to the job anyway.
With a glance out the wall of windows overlooking the city on this cloudless, June day, he set his briefcase on the desk. He spared a smile as he noted Hazel had straightened his workspace. She liked things neat and tidy to the extreme; he settled for not a disaster.
In this excerpt we get another bit of characterization about this man. We learn Corbin is important enough to have an office with a view and that he isn’t a neat freak. Again, this last part shows a commonality with many people in how they keep their desktop, even handle their life.
Even after months of salvaging a friendship with his ex-wife, he (Corbin) still felt bad about failing her. He’d honestly tried to shove his secret desires aside and make the marriage work….She’d tried, too, even after she came to accept his bisexuality. Finally they both accepted that he really was more flat out gay than bi. They still loved each other, but they couldn’t be man and wife.
Now we are learning about his internal conflict: finally admitting to others that he is a gay man. And we see the external conflict: that he’d been in a m/f legally binding relationship, which had failed. A reader can sympathize with both Corbin and his ex-wife. He clearly didn’t want to hurt her because he loved her, just not as much as she deserved. He feels badly about letting her down and is also struggling with where to go now in his life.
I’ve given you a brief example of how a writer tries to bring a character to life, tries to make that character believable and seem “real” to a reader. By giving Corbin identifiable personality traits (dreading his job, forcing himself to do something anyway, being a bit of a disorganized office person), the reader can understand him to a certain extent.
Who is my favorite character and why?
Each of the men in Starting Over meant something to me and I felt strongly for them as they tried to face the past and move forward. If I had to choose one of them, I would have to pick Corbin. He had been married and tried for so many years to be a good husband and fit the role he thought he should play. Finally it just didn’t work and he had to divorce his wife and let her find a man who could be exactly what she needed. Then he was faced with bucking up his courage and trying to discover how to really be a gay man. The whole notion of what to do, how to do it, and if he could do it had played in his thoughts for a long time…but could he turn it into reality?
MM Good Book Reviews: 4 Hearts-Explicit — “I recommend this to those who love hot men, hot sex, new beginnings and a happy ever after.”
The Romance Studio: 4.5 Hearts-Very Sensual– “All in all, I totally loved this novella! This is a stand-alone story, yes I say this in all my reviews for this series, and there are 33 so far in the series, and I am so happy bought this one! Ms. Kaye does not write only M/M stories, she has regular hetero stories (I own a few) and even another earlier story in this series! Now I need to go find her other works I may have missed!”
What is my favorite scene?
One of my favorite scenes was the start of the first time Corbin and Matt were going to be intimate.
Matt listened to the solid rushing of the shower and wondered how much longer Corbin would avoid him. He’d been in there so long, the water had to run cold by now. He must be beyond nervous, scared. It made him think back to his first time with a man. He’d been seventeen and frightened, excited, too. His first lover had been twenty-five and not gentle. Far less than a good memory. Fortunately, he had met another not long after that who had shown him great patience and understanding. They’d lived together for almost a year. It had been good.
He stood at the sliding glass doors leading out to their private patio with its outstanding view of the beach in front, the two sides screened by palm trees and ferns. They would appreciate the almost complete privacy. Assuming Corbin ever came out of the bathroom.
He heard the door behind him open and he turned around. He bit back a groan at the sight of male perfection not twenty feet away. Lust fired through him. He wanted Corbin, ached for him. Somehow he had to find the inner strength to take his time, to not scare the hell out of him. Seeing Corbin standing there with a white towel wrapped around his otherwise naked body didn’t make it easy.
“Sorry for taking so long, but I….”
Matt shrugged. “Don’t worry about it.” He decided to push things a bit, test him. He glanced at the towel. “Take it off.”
At first Corbin stood frozen, gripping the towel even tighter. Then his shoulders relaxed and he simply dropped his hands. He barely moved and the meager covering fell to the floor at his feet. His cock jutted out, long and proud. He looked at Matt in challenge. “Take off the trunks.”
Approving, Matt shoved his trunks down and off. His cock stood out every bit as long, every bit as thick as Corbin’s. He stroked his rod, pleased to be watched.
Corbin pumped his cock a couple of times, his eyes warming, his nostrils flaring. “I wasn’t sure about doing this with you when I agreed to the arrangement.” He held his shaft and met Matt’s gaze. “But now…well, I want to.”
“Good thing, because I sure as hell need to fuck you.” He studied Corbin, worried that he’d come across as too coarse for the rookie.
Corbin nodded and gave a crooked grin. “Truth time. I’m not positive how all of this will work, but I need you to fuck me.” He glanced down at his thick shaft and back at Matt. “As long as I can return the favor.”
They would each play top and bottom during their short time together. It didn’t get any better than that, in Matt’s opinion. Most men he’d been with only chose to be one or the other. He didn’t have a real preference. Henri had preferred to bottom, although on rare occasions he’d taken on the role of top.
“I brought condoms,” Corbin said, sounding uncertain.
Matt nodded in approval. “I did, too. I guess we both felt a little optimistic.” He walked toward the bed and tugged the covers off and to the carpet. “Let’s get to know each other more first, play a bit. It’ll help you relax.”
Again, Corbin hesitated, a small crease of concern between his eyebrows. Finally he moved closer, trailing the scent of Irish Spring soap.
“Brought your own soap, huh?”
“From years of travel experience, I’m not fond of a hotel’s offerings. Is it a problem?”
“Not at all.” Matt stepped right into his personal space, pleased when he didn’t so much as flinch. “I’m going to kiss you now. Got a problem with that?”
Corbin was finally trying to ease into his new lifestyle. He was scared shitless, wondered what had possessed him to agree to this 1 NightStand arrangement. He’d spent years fantasizing about this. As he neared the long, lean man with graying hair a bit shaggy, a hard on pushing at the front of his swim trunks, and a sexy-as-hell grin, the dreams paled in comparison.
Matt had considered changing his mind about this one-night arrangement. But as the tall, well-built man walked across the pool area toward him, all thoughts of that fled. Those broad shoulders, the amazing pecs, the spattering of dark hair on his chest…all of it called to him. He wanted to touch it, play with it. He forced himself to calm down. This was a virgin gay man. He would be his first male lover and he would have to find the inner strength to take his time. Could he?
Title: Starting Over
Author: Starla Kaye
Genre: Contemporary, GLBT Romance
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Decadent Publishing Buy Link: Starting Over
Amazon Buy Link: Starting Over