At my conference I took a seminar called Exotica. This is rather a joke in our critique group; I've got one guy tells me when my male character should soooo be looking at her breasts right about now (yes, he says breasts, very politely). He always advises ramping up sexual tension and his advice rarely fails to make my books better. Anyway, we HAD to take exotica when we saw it on the agenda, so we did.

I learned "slash" is selling well. This is guy-on-guy exotica. It sells well to women, of course, not guys, because guys know they're basically gross and women are basically not. Also any self-respecting man, gay or straight, would not be found dead with a romance/exotica novel in his back pocket.

The reason slash is important to me is that I've always toyed with homophobia and guy relationships in my work. I don't know why, but I like to throw two guys together in close quarters and see what happens. In my series, Aidan and his older cousin Jason often sleep in the same bed because Jason is Aidan's guard and he needs to keep an eye on him. (Aidan is a bit... difficult, to put it mildly.) Jason is very physically affectionate with Aidan all the time, albeit more in a parental way. That doesn't make it any easier for Aidan to deal with, though.

And in Hinterland, poor Sean, who is completely out of his element anyway, finds himself attracted to Jaim the Mance. This never manifests itself and to Sean's credit, Jaim is hot in a gods-given, magical sort of way. Sean really can't help his attraction, and it makes for interesting challenges and set-ups.

And "Prey for Change" is about two gay Changlings.

I've noticed that several of my more mature guy characters shrug off such attractions with an "It's just sex" attitude. From where I sit in the director's chair, one hot guy is hot, two hot guys are, well, hotter. I don't really care who's having sex with whom, in fiction or real life. No worries about gay marriage and all that. Of course they should be able to be together with all the rights and responsibilities I've got. A thinking person (albeit, they are few and far between) can't even use the procreation argument. At five billion and counting, I think we've got that bit worked out. I feel the same way about chics together. Really, knowing my girlfriends, in a way life would be so much easier. There are just some things a guy will be forever clueless about, like... shoes.

Personally, it's one game I've not played, and truly, in the heat of the moment, PHF is plenty enough for me.

But still. A girl can dream, can't she?

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