Saturday, June 23, 2012

Interview with Starfighter Creator Hamletmachine

There are a lot of webcomics portraying relationships between men. Majority are free to read online and have chapters with bonus content available to purchase.
Support what you love--purchase art you want to encourage.

A few ones I read/love/admire (in alphabetical order):
Demon of the Underground (Wonderful art and intriguing world building)
Less Then Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal (funny, heartwarming, all around enjoyable)
Mahou Shounen Fight (So many colors!)
Sfeer Theory (gorgeous art and a complex, interesting world)
Spacejinx (robot sex bot, wut? Humorous and entertaining)
Spectre (Just got started but the plot building blocks are already interesting)
That Which Wills (a short story from the creators of Sfeet Theory)
Teahouse (as their site says, it's fancy whores)

And lastly, Starfighter. I was able to ask the brains behind Starfighter comic, Hamlet Machine, a few questions for the Manga and Romance blog hop.
Thank you for joining us for the Manga and Romance blog hop. Your comic, Starfighter, falls under the definition I’m using for yaoi. What inspired you to write/draw yaoi and when did you first get into the yaoi genre?
Thank you for having me, it's an honor! I first discovered anime and manga as a young teenager; I loved the style and adult concepts it had to offer and was very much a gawky, embarrassing nerd about Escaflowne and such. One day, using the family computer in search of Gundam Wing images on awesomely 90s anime webrings, I stumbled across an erotic yaoi doujinshi of Heero and Duo- that's when I created Starfighter- I'm kidding! But that was my first introduction to yaoi! Even as a teenager, I was very interested in romance and erotic art. I found that hentai didn't really fulfill the emotional context that I wished for and that the romantic shojo I read never strayed too far into 18+ territory- yaoi had both, so it was like a genre jackpot.

As for what inspired me to write and draw yaoi- I noticed that I had accumulated a fairly large collection of yaoi manga but had never tried my hand at it! Starfighter is my first comic and it started out as an experiment (I recall telling friends it was only going to be "a few pages") I wanted to create a hybrid: a story that pays homage to the genre I enjoyed so much, but also a story that changes some of the conventions that I found reoccurring in yaoi which were not my personal preference.

Starfighter is rated 18+ with some delicious scenes. How long have you been drawing the male anatomy?
Oh, thank you! I have been drawing since I was little, but I would say my study of the human body, in earnest, really started in college when I was taking life drawing. That experience was invaluable.

I’ve been reading Starfighter since the third page was posted. Did you ever imagine the popularity would reach these levels? 
Oh wow! That is so awesome to hear! Haha, thank you so much for sticking with it! And gosh, no- I did not expect any of the attention it garnered. It will forever amazing and humbling to me that so many people enjoy Starfighter. To you and other readers, thank you so much!

What went into creating the website and launching Starfighter comic? 
Before the Starfighter site, I had been posting all of the pages on DeviantArt (perhaps you remember these days!)- this worked until about page 18 or so when things started to get dirty! I knew I wanted the comic to have a lengthy sex scene and uploading pages of all censored panels was not going to fly-- so my partner, Thisbe, created a home for Starfighter! Thisbe is the mastermind for the site and he's done a really wonderful job, if I may say so!

Thank you for joining us. You're such a sweetheart. Could you share links with the readers? 
Thank you so much, it's been great! :)


Check out the rest of the Manga and Romance blog hop! It ends June 24th. 
Don't forget to comment and be entered toward a grand prize!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Have I Been Influenced by Yaoi?

Has yaoi influenced me and my writing voice? Of course it has. Everything I read, watch, or do adds to my voice and influences my ideas, and I’ve read a lot of yaoi novels and manga in my day.

Yaoi for the most part has pretty distinct rules about the boys involved. One is usually more feminine than the other. The gap is wider in some stories. In real life we know this isn’t the case. It’s a bit discriminating and it reinforces gender biases if you think about it, but Japanese yaoi isn’t published to make social comments. As a fan I happily ignore the bits I don’t like and focus on the bubbles, sparkles, and flowers that appear out of nowhere when the two heroes stare at each other and wish real men had disappearing smn too.

I read a yaoi novel series with a cop and yakuza (Japanese mafia) leader. While the cop had his manly moments, he was vastly inferior to his seme (top) in the story. This might be a female writer or female audience preference, but I know I sometimes do this to my characters. While the two are definitely men, one is more aggressive than the other. While this isn’t strictly yaoi, I believe my character dynamics have been influenced by yaoi in this way.

In Water Waltz, Triste is a strong character on his own but he is brought down by his struggle with his love for Varun while Varun seems almost too cold. Varun has the same struggle as Triste but he isn’t weakened by it in the same way. This could be typical reactions for entirely different characters, but looking into my skill set, I’m inclined to believe there’s a bit of yaoi in Water Waltz. And that’s okay.

Every once in a while in the gay romance community a debate over female authors being unable to write gay characters will surface. I find this particularly interesting given my yaoi reading background. In yaoi, male authors are rare. (I can’t even think of one for this post. Leave me a comment with a name, please. So many more males than I thought. Still tipped into females, but thank you for the list, guys!! ^.^) Females dominate the yaoi industry and the novels are written for female readers. Since I’m female, I guess I write for a female audience, but I hope all genders can enjoy my novels regardless of my gender or sexuality. I know men read and enjoy yaoi just as much as I do.

If you want to check out my novels, they’re available on Nook, Kindle, or straight from the publisher. (Also on third party sites) Check out the Available Now section for links. Thank you for joining me on this hop, and remember to leave a comment for a chance to win the grand prize.

Read more from the Manga and Romance blog hop:

Manga and Romance Grand Prize

This contest has ended.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Manga and Romance bloghop is next week!

Many bloggers participating in the hop are offering prizes on their own posts, but there's one grandprize for one commenter. The more you hop and comment on available blogs, the higher chance you have to win!
I have a partial list for the grand prize that might grow before June 22.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reinventing Long-Loved Fantasy Elements

I'm a gay romance author and I recently broke an unwritten golden rule of fantasy I wasn’t aware existed. I wrote a gay romance novel called Water Waltz and gave angels hollow bones for flight. Angels are referred to as weak because of their bones, but they do have rejuvenating blood so it evens out in their favor. And while they are weaker than the others in the world of Water Waltz, they are not pushovers. I’ve received a review or two and a few emails about how readers disagree with my take on angels.

There’s no actual rule in fantasy. That’s what makes the fantasy genre evolve and gives it that special something that brings readers back. (All my personal opinion, of course.) I “reinvented” demons, angels, devils, and faeries for the world in Water Waltz and removed biblical ties. My angels are not angels of old. I might as well have just borrowed the term for a man with wings. I took liberties with the term devil and demon as well, making it separate races with different strengths and weaknesses.

Changing classic creatures is a not new practice. Vampires tend to evolve with each new adaptation. I do remember a backlash about sparkling vampires so maybe certain aspects really are untouchable...

I enjoy taking fantasy elements and changing them to fit my imagination. I also enjoy reading fantasy with a new take on classic ideas—especially with gay romance tied into it since that seems to be all I’m reading lately. Fantasy creatures don’t come with strict guidelines. That freedom makes fantasy fun and only bound by one’s imagination. Do you have a favorite fantasy novel that "broke the mold" of its time?

Water Waltz is available now from Dreamspinner Press:

In a land where humans are enslaved as sexual toys, angels and demons are in constant conflict with their playthings. The demon Varun works with STAR, an organization devoted to human liberty, and it’s a never-ending battle.

Two years ago, the angel Triste broke Varun’s heart by choosing to be his butler instead of his beloved, giving Varun no explanation and no hope. However, that doesn’t mean that Triste will simply sit back and watch as Varun takes the human Elden under his protection, and Triste’s secret investigation will unearth terrible secrets, including the kernels of a pernicious plot.

Despite appearances, Triste and Varun are still in love, and Varun may well risk everything to protect Triste and discover why the angel left him heartbroken. But a still worse danger hangs over them as they seek to calm the threat of a catastrophic war.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yaoi and Gay Romance

If you want to learn more about yaoi and gay romance, come back on June 22 for Manga and Romance Blog Hop! If you have a yaoi or gay romance blog or website and want to sign up to participate, please visit the main page here. We’re colliding two cultures, yaoi and romance, and partying all weekend! There’ll be a grand prize and a few authors are offering prizes as well.

Friday, June 1, 2012

~Manga and Romance~

The Manga and Romance Blog Hop has ended, but you can still hop over to my post about yaoi and romance books and check out the links below.

Welcome to the Manga and Romance Blog Hop! From today to Sunday, hop around the links below to discover yaoi, webcomics, and written word centered on m/m relationships of all sizes.
Many bloggers have giveaways available for a lucky commenter. If you’re interested in the grand prize, please read the rules just below the links or hop over to the grand prize post.
NOTE: If you come across a site that doesn’t have a comment section, don’t fret. Explore what the site has to offer and use your new knowledge to enter toward the grand prize—read more about that on the grand prize post.