Bad things happen to all of us, that’s a given. No one escapes walking beneath the proverbial black cloud of doom at some point, and yes, into each life a little rain must fall. But that doesn’t mean that bad things can’t have reasons or happy outcomes, and I’d like to tell you about one of those. A bad experience which became a happy one.
Once upon a time there was an online site which shall remain nameless, as that is unimportant, but what is important is that it brought a group of people together who wrote for that site, bound by a common interest in anime and manga. Things went well for a while, but then the situation became unbearable for the group, and they collectively left, and no longer wrote reviews for the site.
These people were still interested in anime and manga, and they’d enjoyed writing reviews and sharing them. They all looked for guidance to the leader of this group. That would be Andy Spencer. Andy then had the brilliant idea of starting his own anime/manga site, with the help of his lovely wife Elaine, and his children. And thus Anime Radius was born. Those who had written for Andy at the old site came aboard and became reviewers for the new site.
Well, the transition was not an entirely smooth one, I have to admit. Aren’t there always stumbling blocks to any new enterprise? This one was no exception. There were problems with the webmaster and getting the site up, and time began to pass. Time is crucial in this business, because if you’re not reviewing and producing, publishers are going to lose interest in you, and in sending you material to review. It’s a testament to the good relationships which Andy had established with these publishers that they were willing to give him and the group a chance with the new site.
Then Elaine stepped up. She didn’t know anything about making a website, or html, or anything like that. But she learned. And she did an amazing job of putting Anime Radius on the map. Everyone else filled in the breach before new material arrived by reviewing other things, books and dvds that they owned or borrowed, as many as possible, in order to fill the new site quickly. Anime Radius opened with over one hundred reviews already in place, which was quite the achievement. It has only grown steadily since the time of its first debut.
After Anime Radius was under way, Andy came to me and said, how would you like to have a sister site, one dedicated to yaoi, and to romance? He offered this to me as compensation for the work I’d put into helping bring Anime Radius to life, and I am grateful to him for that. So Elaine designed and created Yaoi Radius, where romance is for everyone, with my modest input. All of the yaoi reviews which had been on Anime Radius were moved to the new site, which includes not just yaoi, but yuri and het and every type of romance and fantasy you can imagine.
Andy and Elaine have, since opening Anime Radius, also opened an anime store here in St. Louis. Animeggroll is located at Crestwood Plaza, and is a really cool place to look for anime and manga related things. It’s a family business, and you’ll always find a member of the Spencers here. They show free anime about once a month. My daughter and I came to see Gun X Sword and had a great time.
So what began as a bad experience became a good one – two new review sites and a retail store. How can you not believe that every cloud has a silver lining? I certainly do.
Come check us out – we can be found at http://animeradius.com and http://yaoiradius.com and http://animeggroll.com. Pull up a chair and stay for a while, see what there is to see – you’ll be glad you did!
Julie Hayes is a Yaoi, M/M Romance author. For more information about her, please visit her website at: Julie Hayes
Info on her latest releases:
Blurb: Can love conquer all? Is there such a thing as Fate? Do dreams really come true?
To help pay for his mother’s convalescence, Jakob Kohl leaves his musical studies in Germany in order to be a paid companion to his distant cousin Albert. It’s not a pleasant existence, but Jakob does get to travel to Paris, where he meets a beautiful man who asks for his help… a mysterious man no one else can see. Jakob soon fears he may be going crazy, because he finds himself falling in love with Damien, who says they were brought together by Fate—Jakob is the only one who can rescue Damien from the shadowy world where he sleeps and waits for his dream of everlasting love and freedom to come true.
The click click click of Toulouse Lautrec’s cane was a measured accompaniment to the perambulations of the artist and his youthful companion. The streets of Montmartre were uneven, cobblestoned, and given to steep inclines. Even the short distance that Toulouse and Damien had to traverse was difficult on the artist, but he never let it show, and his protégé was young and too intent upon their destination to notice.
The artist had not been born with this disability, but during his youth he had suffered from problems with each leg which, exacerbated by the close genetic tie between his parents, who were first cousins, had stunted the growth of his limbs even though the rest of him continued to grow, causing the legs to not be in proportion to the rest of his body. Although the stories that were told about Toulouse were quick to affirm that nature had not shortchanged him in the areas which were of immense interest to his lovers, perhaps by way of compensation for his lack of stature.
“Pere Toulouse, will I be allowed absinthe this night?” Damien leaned in toward the artist, slumping a bit to ease communication between them, to compensate for the eight or nine inches he towered above. For although the young man had been raised, as were most French youngsters, used to the consumption of wine, albeit watered, the green liqueur had always been off-limits. Tonight was a very special night. This was Damien’s eighteenth birthday, and it was also the night of his coming out party. And he was going to spend it with his twelve fathers at the infamous Moulin Rouge nightclub.
Twelve fathers? A biological impossibility! Naturally. And indeed, none of the twelve could claim the actual title of pere to this beautiful young man. But spiritually, all twelve of the artists who titled themselves the Dreammongers were his sires, for they had raised him among themselves ever since the fateful night, just eighteen years ago, when he had come into this world and their lives, while the Dreammongers were holding their annual revelry at the Moulin Rouge.
“Mais oui, mon fil,” the artist said with a nod. “Tonight you shall.”
Damien smiled. He could hear the sighs of the nighttime ladies of the Montmartre as he walked by, could feel their eyes upon him, aware of their attraction to his pearlescent beauty. He was very, very pale, a soft pallor which invited touching, and his platinum hair hung in lazy waves down to his broad shoulders, while his eyes were the green of sea foam, with traces of gold in their liquid depths. His full, rose-madder lips wore a perpetual smile, one which simply begged to be kissed. Damien was a very happy boy, and he loved his life here in Paris, and he loved his dozen fathers very much.
And now the nightclub itself lay just before them. That infamous den of iniquity.
Electric sex. That’s what came to Toulouse’s mind each and every time that he glimpsed the slowly rotating blades of the red windmill. The Moulin Rouge. Debauchery personified. Electric sex beckoned to him; it called his name and begged his participation. Lithe young limbs and warm embraces. Passion and music. Absinthe and opium. The Moulin Rouge was a purveyor of dreams. And Toulouse Lautrec was a most willing dreamer. He was an habitué of the most infamous nightspot in Paris, spending more time entangled in its spider web of sensuality than anywhere else besides his studio. The Red Windmill was the ambrosia with which he fed his muse, the nectar for his passions, and the fellow dreamers who frequented it became the impressions upon his canvases.
Toulouse paused for a moment, jostled by a pedestrian whose path bisected his own, also headed toward the nightclub. The gentleman in question had his head bent, his hat pulled low over his brow. “Pardon,” he muttered before disappearing inside.
From within, the sounds of gaiety spilled into the night, fingers of frivolity designed to ensnare the interest of the casual passerby. Toulouse paused, temporarily taken aback. For just a moment he had thought… but no, that was not possible. He would not dare to show himself here. Not after all this time.
Damien held the door for him, and the two men entered the Moulin Rouge, intending to pay their respects to the regulars before going to their private party.
Purchase Link: Dreamspinner Press
Blurb: “Tis the night before Halloween, and Fisher Roberts wishes it was over, not being a fan of this or any other holiday. But he tolerates it because his roommate/best friend Hunter Long takes a childish glee in all things Halloween. And Fisher has a vested interest in keeping Hunter happy. If only he could find the nerve to tell his childhood friend that he loves him, and has for a very long time.
Fisher thinks Hunter is carrying things a bit far this year, though. First Hunter claims to be a vampire, and he just won’t let the silly joke go. Then he forces Fisher to go to a costumed Halloween party which Fisher would rather avoid, especially when he realizes where it’s being held, and whose house it is. Things at Fisher’s job might just be going south, too, when he receives a mysterious summons to report to the editor’s office the next morning. And then Fisher goes and does something stupid—like kissing Hunter!
Bad leads to worse when Fisher ends up at the Halloween party from Hell, and he learns something that threatens to destroy his and Hunter’s relationship forever. Running from his fears, Fisher encounters a strange young man with an unusual resemblance to Leonardo di Caprio, who shows him things he never realized before, truths about his life and the people in it.
Can Fisher find his way back to Hunter, and can he find the courage to do what his heart wishes?
Excerpt: “Did you know that Leonardo di Caprio is a vampire?”
Fisher Roberts stopped in mid-chew of a mouthful of fibrous cereal to cast a wary, disbelieving glance at his best friend and roommate Hunter Long on the other side of the table. Wary, because he wondered what in the world Hunter was going on about so early in the morning. Disbelieving, because he only had so much time for breakfast before he had to get going to work, and he had a bad feeling that Hunter was trying to eat into that time. Why he wanted to do that was beyond Fisher. Of course, a lot of things about his roommate were beyond Fisher, despite the fact that they’d been friends since they were—well, too young to actually remember how long they’d known each other. But for as long as Fisher could remember, he and Hunter had been best buddies. And he’d learned over the years that, with Hunter, longevity did not equate to knowledge-ability, far from it.
Now, Fisher could react in one of two ways. He could ignore his roommate and keep eating. Pretend he’d heard nothing. But from past experience, that would only cause Hunter’s performance to escalate. Which would entail taking more time to decipher what he was saying, and in the process make Fisher even later to work. Or he could simply bow down to the inevitable and give in by asking him the question he was doubtless waiting to hear. Even if it brought about that smug smirk he was so fond of wearing.
Fisher finished chewing, swallowed, and managed not to roll his eyes as he reached for his juice to kill off what was left in the glass. Waste not, want not. “What do you mean?”
Hunter Long might be six foot two and possessed of a body that many a male model would kill for—at least that’s what Fisher heard the girls who flocked around him say—with the palest of blue eyes that twinkled all the time, and a smile that could and did light up a room. But honestly, he had the capacity to be an overgrown child at times, and this was one of those times. Fisher chalked it up to it being that time of year.
“Well,” Hunter replied, “look at him, going on forty, and he looks just like he did what, fifteen years ago? It only stands to reason he must be a vampire. They never age, you know. I mean take a look at us. We’re almost his age, but over the years we’ll grow up to be little old men and he’ll still be playing sweet baby-faced guys even when he’s collecting social security, know what I mean?”
“There are no such things as vampires,” Fisher made his typical logical reply, “and just because it’s Halloween tomorrow night, and you’ve got the house all decorated for it, doesn’t mean you have to bring it to the table. Know what I mean?” He arched a no-nonsense brow at the other man. This was not Fisher’s favorite time of year. Neither was Christmas, come to think of it. Or any other holiday. Ironic that he should write articles for a living that meant he was forced to expound on such seasonal topics for Midwest Home and Fantasy, a regional online magazine with a growing fan-base, when he had no real interest in them himself, being a practical, no-nonsense kind of a guy.
“I’m a vampire.” Hunter smiled, leaning across the table toward Fisher. “Want to see my fangs?”
Available Mid March at: Silver Publishing