Alex Gabriel

Writer. Reader. Romancer.


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M/M Romance Member’s Choice Awards!

Love for the Cold-Blooded, Still Waters and First Contact have been nominated for eleven M/M Romance Member’s Choice Awards!

Thank you so much to everyone who nominated my books. I am beyond thrilled! While I don’t expect to win any of the awards, I feel that being nominated so many times is a wonderful compliment.

If you’re a Goodreads M/M Romance group member, you have until the 15th to vote. Here’s a list of my nominations with links to the polls. If you’d care to vote for any of my books, I’d appreciate it very much, needless to say!

First Contact
Best Contemporary/Mainstream

Still Waters
Best Love is an Open Road Story

Love for the Cold-Blooded, or The Part-Time Evil Minion’s Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero
Best Book Debut
Best Book of the Year
Best Fantasy
Best Humorous
Best Main Character (Patrick West)
Best Coming of Age
Best Story that Should have a Sequel
Best Virgins (unlike me, Pat would not be thrilled to know he is nominated in this category – rub it in, why don’t you *g*)
Best Family Drama

members choice badges overview

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Coming Soon: Sexy Free Bonus Story “Walk the Walk”

Very soon — shortly before the year is out — I’ll be publishing a FREE, all-new short story featuring Ryuu and Hiro of Learning How to Lose, in Six Easy Steps. It will include hot sex, unexpected sweetness, roleplaying of the “hooker and john” variety, Ryuu being awkwardly sincere in strange moments, Hiro being surprisingly good at being a fake hooker, and more. (Also, Yo is a troll. But then, we already knew that. *g*)

Walk the Walk is something of a self-indulgence on my part; it’s a slice of life set after the Learning How to Lose trilogy, with a large percentage of hot sex included, and basically, I just wanted to write it. 😉

lhtl ep2 walk 1600The story doesn’t have any real spoilers, but it does build on the characters and their relationship and history as established in the earlier books. Personally, I’d recommend reading the previous works in the series first, but hey — go where your reading whims take you!

Learning How to Lose is a Rainbow Awards 2015 Finalist, and an ARe besteller. Here’s the synopsis:

Losing is a thing Japanese pop star Ryuu Shiwasuda does not do — certainly not gracefully. Image is everything to hot-headed Ryuu. Sure, his macho bluster is only a cover for shyness and social awkwardness, but he takes it (and himself) very seriously.

So when gratingly cheerful punster Hiro Takahashi delivers the ultimate insult of letting Ryuu win at a video game, Ryuu is cut to the quick, and vows swift vengeance. Can’t be too hard to beat a dork like Hiro, right?

Wrong. As Ryuu chases after his elusive victory, he’s forced to add more and more items to the list of “things to beat Hiro at” — and is shocked to find that Hiro’s quirky charm is sparking never-before felt desires in him.

Ryuu’s life and career have no place for a male lover. But he’s already in too deep. Can he risk going all in? And what does he stand to lose if he doesn’t?

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Bewildering Plots: The Secret Coolness of Lost Lovers

Several bestselling books in recent years have featured the protagonist looking into the mysterious death of a loved one, and discovering that their beloved was leading a secret life as – say – a heroic amnesiac assassin, or infamous pop star art thief, or celebrated grave-robbing archeologist. When they weren’t with the protagonist, they were actually out saving the world with their metal arm (or making youths faint in rapture while making off with priceless treasures, or sexily wielding a bullwhip while breaking into the tombs of dead kings… whatever), and were even more amazing and wonderful than the protagonist ever suspected.

love-in-a-cage-515682These books have made me stand in a number of bookstores in complete, befuddled lack of comprehension. My theory is that the interest of these stories lies in puzzling out an intriguing mystery, and perhaps – to some extent – in learning to live with loss while keeping the love alive. But this is a wild guess, because the truth is that I do not understand. At all.

This is basically a love story where one of the lovers is already gone forever, right? It’s about losing someone you love, and then discovering you never really knew them at all. You loved them, sure, but you never knew and loved them as completely as you would have wished to know and love them. And now it’s too late.

No. Just, no. Have I mentioned no?

It’s no better when the dead loved one is a sibling, or parent, or whatever. (It IS better when the person who died turns out to have been a villain all along, because that’s a different kind of tale altogether.)

I think every reader has certain plots that just don’t work for them. I’ve found that this is one of mine.

Maybe someone who does like this kind of plot can explain the attraction to me someday.

Do you like this kind of plot – and if so, what is it that attracts you? What kinds of plot don’t work for you?


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What I Like In A M/M Romance

A well-written story can make me enjoy (almost) anything. Still, like every reader, I have certain things I tend to particularly love in my m/m romance reading. I don’t mean specific themes or tropes, but general, underlying factors in the way the characters are portrayed and the dynamics of the relationship.

vogue-405148_1280I’m going to talk about this in several entries, because there is a lot to say. Today, as the first installment: Equality!

Please note: These are my personal preferences only, and I in no way intend to set them up as rules, or indicators of literary quality, or anything of the kind. Tastes differ; other readers and writers have other preferences, which is exactly as it should be. The world would be a sad and boring place if everyone liked the same things.

So if you have different preferences (or if you share mine), tell me! I love to talk about these things.

Equality

I am not a fan of hierarchical relationships or other types of power imbalances in romantic relationships (I do love power reversals, though, provided the end result is a balance of some kind).

An Advantage of Same-Gender Romance

For me, one of the great things about m/m romance is that there is no inescapable social inequality tied into the main characters’ genders. Continue reading


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New Cover for “Love for the Cold-Blooded”!

Several readers mentioned they found the original cover of “Love for the Cold-Blooded” bland – so I enlisted the talented, amazing and endlessly patient Joanna of Book Cover Master Class to design a new one. I am very happy with the result. Thank you again, Joanna!

Ccold-blooded 200lick on the image to check out the full glory of the dramatically posed hoagie – ahem, hero – with his imposingly billowing cape! The little mind control ray! The snakes! The jaguar! The cheeky minions peeking over the cape! And, of course, the heroically shirtless Silver Paladin, aka Nick!

(I’m only sad Nick isn’t slinging a Ghost Matter t-shirt over his shoulder. Alas! Clearly this was a day when he was forced to leave his lab.)

I hope this cover reflects the light-hearted, whimsical nature of the book, while also alluding to the superhero theme, flirting with its comic book origins, bringing out the affectionate parody / satirical homage element, and – not least – emphasizing that this is a book wherein readers can expect to find men without shirts.

The print cover is even lovelier, you guys. Just saying.

What do you think?

As an aside on the subject of cover models, let me just say: argh. Finding this one took a long and painful search (sifting through endless archives of half-naked men; I’m sure you can picture my suffering). He still doesn’t quite match my mental image of Nick, but he’s like the fictional movie version. In my mind, this is the underwear model who portrays the fictionalized character Golden Warrior in the films within the novel’s world.


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Still Waters

Usually, I have a hard time writing to prompts – but I risked it for the Goodreads M/M Romance group’s “Love Is an Open Road” event, in which group members write free image- and prompt-inspired gay romances. And I am very glad I gave in to temptation, because I was lucky enough to snag the perfect prompt for me! It’s by Kathleen, and reads simplyI only have two words for you: ginger merman! Everything else is up to you.

Still Waters Cover

My myth-inspired novella “Still Waters” is roughly 30k long and will be published this summer – first in the M/M Romance group, then in all the usual places. And it will be entirely free!

This is the book’s blurb – extract to follow.

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A reformed nix.

Drakjan has been living as a harmless freshwater merman for so long he sometimes almost believes in the lie himself.

Almost.

A deadly hunter.

Hraban has dedicated his life to taking down creatures like Drakjan, protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

An uneasy truce.

When fate forces them together, the nix and the hunter discover a dangerous attraction… and a threat that can destroy everything Drakjan has come to love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Why, yes. Faced with a prompt consisting of two words, I still managed to avoid complying with both of those words, if you want to get technical. Ahem.)


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Ebooks or printed books? My answer is YES, absolutely.

My first ebook reader was a Rocket eBook. It must have been, oh, 1999 or 2000 or thereabouts. The Rocket eBook was a giant, chunky and heavy thing, and it was absolutely wonderful. It was also incredibly sturdy – I used it intensively for almost a decade, dropped it repeatedly, and lugged it along on every trip and vacation. I might still be using it today if it hadn’t stopped being compatible with my PC. It still worked fine at that point – the battery life had shortened and it was a bit battered, but that was all.

rocket ebookNobody I knew had ever heard of an ebook reader when I first got the Rocket. Reading it in public was a sure way to start a conversation.

Go back a few more years before the Rocket.

When I was young, I would finish a good book and reluctantly emerge back into the Real World, longing for the next book. If only there were some way to have a single book that would magically change to be whatever book I wanted to read, without lengthy delays for ordering the sequel, waiting for it to be shipped, picking it up after weeks or months…

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