Living a care-free party life-style, junior journalist and gay lifestyle reporter, Liam Adams thought he had it all; the money, the job, the endless supply of men in his bed. But when his work causes him to question the very foundation of the life he has built for himself, Liam finds certain areas are glaringly lacking. All it takes is one assignment to unravel the very fabric of his promiscuous antics, compounded by the arrival of a long-forgotten tryst. With the rusty screech of the mailroom guy’s trolley wheels, Liam lands head-first in the arms of something bigger; something more.
As the romance burgeons between Liam and the Mail-Manny of his dreams, each article he writes proves to uncover something new and never realized about himself, namely that all the one-night-stands in the world could never give him what he truly wants; love. In a slapstick commentary through the eyes of the world’s most hypersensitive journalist, watch as Liam’s story unfolds in the most ridiculous of fashions, leading him straight into the arms of love, via The Rainbow Connection.
The following guest post was written by BJ Sheppard in character as Liam Adams, the lovable MC in The Rainbow Connection
The Rainbow Connection Blog Tour Posts Part V: Aliens, Shifters and Squid…OH MY!
Back again. Did you miss me? Well now I think it’s time to talk a little about the fantasy sub-genre in our little corner of literature, and, while on the surface it may seem a little sketchy to the casual observer, I happen to observe things from a different perspective. Read on to hear more.
While it may appear that things can get a little hokey in this genre as far as weird, mythical creatures go, I happen to think that if you do a little more than just scratch the surface, there is a lot more to be found, buried deep in the anatomically abnormal forgings of these delightful little (and sometimes humongous) tales. Now, I personally don’t give credence to theoretical psychology. Freud ruined it for everyone when he suggested all boys want to kill their dads and screw their moms. Sick little pervert that he was. But human psychology does tend to make a bit more sense when you eradicate every ounce of perversion that little sex monkey ascribed it and apply it in it’s pure form to real life. The stories we read contain these treasure troves of human behavior that even some authors who write this genre may not specifically have noticed.
Take shifters for example. Werewolves, more specifically. Now while the subject is totally trendy right now and writers the world over love to describe the carnal, animal sex between a burly alpha and his subordinate/mate/the grocery store clerk, there happens to be an allegory hidden in the depths of this trope. The alpha is physically imposing, domineering, and just about the biggest, juiciest beefcake you can find. He rules from a stance of power and his physical presence along with his intimidating demeanor allows him to do so. It’s the addition of a partner that lends the intriguing factor to this. Typically this partner is more level headed, physically nothing to write home about, but always finds a way to help their alpha be the best leader they can be. This story reeks of teamwork, of partnership. Its subtext is one that reads: A. power cannot be earned through fear tactics, and B. no man (or creature) is an island. These two characters together provide/accomplish things they cannot without each other. It’s easy to relate that to real life, right? Combine that with the pack dynamic, which is basically a Hallmark card for valuing and protecting your family, and boom, we have another message going out subliminally that rings true, even if you are more focused on your [lady] boner.
If you look a little deeper into any of these fantasy stories, they are mostly replete with hidden, positive subtexts. Vampires are representative of redemption. Something terrible in the past (being turned) has led them on a journey to make up for the past and to be the best person (or vamp) they can be. Alien tropes are social commentary about the fluidity of human sexuality. Aliens represent something not of the norm, and the vast differences between us. Some might find comfort in the fact that even though they are what might be considered different, they, too are worthy of and capable of finding love. Same goes for tentacle erotica (although I’m still a little weirded out by that one). Male pregnancy (or m/preg) is a comment on how gender is irrelevant when it comes to nurturing offspring; a really positive message when faced with current adoption laws for LGBTQ people.
As you can see, though what you’re reading is sexy fantasy romp to curl the toes and leave you a little hot under the collar, this sub-genre is actually a perfect way of conveying a deeper message. I’m not saying this is true for all of these stories; some are just downright nasty (CF: tentacles), but for the most part, they have the potential to really pack a punch with the social commentary, whether intentional or not on the author’s part. So next time you’re reading one of these stories put down your genitals for five seconds and have a think about what else might be going on, between the lines. Then by all means, re-commence your self-appreciation.
But tentacles? What on earth could be sexy about a dude having his fart-box ravaged by overgrown store-brought calamari? That’s just sick. There is no meaning there. But the other stuff, sure.The Rainbow Connections Volume I Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble
It will be available on Apple iBooks and Amazon on release day.
Excerpt for Tour:
If I were to take a meat cleaver to the brain and infuse my cerebrospinal fluid with strychnine, then attach my eyes to car batteries and gargle with gravel, still it would not be enough to emulate how bad I was feeling that morning. Turns out a gallon of ice cream and the trifecta of mismatched wines in the three for $10 bargain at 7-11 was not the greatest of ideas. In fact, I would claim it to be somewhere near the bottom of the list, as every jerky movement of the elevator threatened to set me to vomiting again, after only having stopped briefly an hour before. With my work shirt fastened like a noose and my Bono-esque indoor shade wearing antics, I zombie walked from the sliding doors and down the corridor, passing Lourdes’s office for fear the pitch of her voice would have my head explode like a rotten grape.
Safely tucked inside my office, I bolted the door (by lying down in front of it) and groaned loudly, like by groaning I could exorcise the demon of my classily acquired wine hangover and liberate myself from the tyranny of my own sorry state of being.
In amidst the multitude of phallus related e-mails from Marie, I clicked on one from Lourdes, bile rising in my throat at the thought of having to expend a single second more writing about the topic that had essentially ended my social life. As the window blared to life, all the tension left my body, sinking from every nerve, tendon and extraneous piece of sinew as I read the in depth analysis of my previous days effort.
Not what we discussed. But it does read better than a who’s-who of dick dives.
P.S Don’t fuck around with the brief again or I’ll castrate you. You might be my favorite employee and wine companion, but if I have to read another of your therapy sessions in this magazine, I’m likely to take us both down in a murder-suicide that will rock the ages.
Even through my impending aneurism, I still managed to laugh.
In the twilight of my most painful working day ever, with little to do but swallow ineffective painkillers and gradually rehydrate to the point of drowning, I began to look back over what had happened with Manny. If I ignored the fumble with that muscle bound shower rapist, then everything was fixable. Surely he would understand if he just heard me out, right? Or not, I guess. At that point I was singing in the clowns, knowing that boys like me don’t get our happy ever afters’, when Lourdes sauntered into my office, for some unbeknownst reason wearing a kimono, and dragging behind her the man of my dreams/the biggest fuck up of my adult life. Manny seemed to be struggling in the tiny woman’s grasp, something that made me reassess the sheer terror that resided in the booze-addled editor (*note to self: tread carefully with that one). When she had dumped the much larger man down in front of me, she smiled as if she were Santa Claus, and she was bringing the best present ever in the form of a pissed of mailman.
“Liam, you smell like the floor of a college bar,” she hissed, as I sniffed at my underarm, the hints of au de sauvignon tickling my nose hair and threatening to recommence the onslaught of my vomitty ways. Though he wasn’t looking at me, it was impossible to miss the slight smile as it escaped his mouth, try as he might to contain it. “If you’re going to become a lush, well you know I’ll be there every step of the way, but try to salvage some kind of dignity before you drag us all down.” I frowned at the woman; wishing looks could kill as she turned her attention to Manny. “And as for you Mr. Collins,” she chided, completely oblivious of the fact that his surname was Jacobs; “if you want to stay in my impeccable graces, then you will sit down and listen to what the boy has to say.”
Both of us feeling like we had just been put on probation seemed to satisfy the old dragon, as she nodded her head once, closing the door behind her as she swept away in a storm of well-meaning arrogance and Channel No.5. Manny sat down in the seat across from my own as I shyly sunk down into the leather of the chair, hoping upon hope that now would be the moment the earth would open up and swallow me whole. I gave it a second, then two, and when it seemed like the earth’s appetite was not for skinny white boys, Manny opened his mouth.
BJ Sheppard Bio:
It’s always difficult to write about yourself, especially when, like me, you have no idea what you’re doing most of the time. I have always loved to write, from a very early age with some rather extravagant dinosaur fairytales to more recently when I found my writers voice and finally put it to good use. It has been a dream of mine for a long time to write a book, and since finding a genre I am comfortable in, the ideas have been pouring out of me. I hope it never stops.
In my spare time I like to hang out with my friends, write and record music and read all the books I can lay my hands on. I currently live in the south of England, but from here on out, who knows what will happen. Each day is its own.
These books are hopefully the first of many, and while there are readers enjoying my work, then there will always be new things for me to say. If you want to know any more, please feel free to contact me at any of the links below. Thank you for reading.
My name is BJ Sheppard and all at once I found myself an author. Such a strange sensation to actually feel you deserve the thing you had aspired to for many years. After all, all it took was computer access and an inner world that reads like a Sheryl Crow song to pound the keys and translate my crazy ideas onto the page. I feel like I could have business cards printed. Maybe wear a black roll neck and perch my glasses on the tip of my nose. I could drink whisky and smoke a cigar and do all those really stereotypical things I imagine all writers do. Perhaps I could get laid a little more? This is not the end. Nor the beginning. Hell, it isn’t even about me. My boys write themselves; I really don’t have that much say in the matter. As long as my characters need a voice, I have two chubby typing fingers and a need to please— watch this space: there is more to come.
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8/3/14 The Novel Approach Reviews