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Writing the Perfect M/M Romance Hero – Can It Be Done?

Perfect Hero for M/M RomanceHot guys come in all flavors and sizes. So as a writer of M/M romance books, I’m always striving to make the perfect hero. Of course, this means the perfect hero as I see the perfect hero, because, after all, I only have my own perception to rely on. And what is the perfect hero in my view? Usually a hero that’s not so perfect, if that makes any sense:)

To me, the perfect hero is a dichotomy – a man that’s strong and protective and yet flawed, sensitive and vulnerable. Yep, I said all those things in one sentence. It seems I’m always drawn to heroes I see in anime – Vincent Law of Ergo Proxy (do I talk enough about this dude, or what?), Kira Yamato in Gundam Seed, Cashhern in Casshern Sins. These guys are the best when it comes to fighting, killing, maiming, what have you. Hell, they aren’t even human, LOL. But they all possess a sort of humility about themselves and their abilities, a deep remorse from their wrong-doings or perceived wrong-doings and the ability to love deeply and give of themselves completely. Note I’m talking about Kira Yamato here and not Athrun Zala – get my drift?

And so as a writer of M/M romance, I draw upon what I see appealing in these characters in order to morph certain traits into my own, perfect-yet-flawed heroes. I strive to make a character that I find approachable, but not the type of guy you’d think was approachable if you met him in person. You know, the lonely guy in the corner of the bar who might look like he’s all that, but deep down he’s just the average Joe in his own mind.

I think women (and gay men) in general do dream of guys like this and so like to read about them in their M/M romances. At least I hope so since that’s what I try to write;) On the other hand, it’s a hard job. I’m always asking myself – is this guy too tough? Is he being too sensitive for this scene? Can I get the humanity out of this character and onto the page while he’s being a real asshole? Or the classic – did I just turn this dude into a lady? LOL

Yes, all of these things cross my mind and in the end, I find I just have to be true to myself and the story I’m writing. You can’t write a story everyone will like or a perfect hero everyone finds perfect, because he’s a moving target in the perception of everyone’s mind. Did that make sense? I hope so. Tell me, what is your perfect hero and why? And fellow authors, how the heck do you get that onto the written page?

Anime Expo and A Review of Requiem for the Phantom

4th of July FireworksIt’s the fourth of July. Happy birthday America! And I should be at Anime Expo with all those other lucky bastards. But I’m not. I’m sitting here at my computer while the temperature’s rising outside – it’s 84 degrees and supposed to get up to 103, pretty balmy for Phoenix this time of year.

So what is an unlucky otaku living in a sauna of a desert to do when they can’t go to the biggest freaking anime con in North America (and it’s only a 5 hour drive away)? They watch anime on Netflix in the air-conditioned comfort of their own home. Yep, that’s right. I’m on a quest to find something akin to Gundam 00, or Fullmetal Alchemist, or even Death Note in it’s anime greatness.

I don’t know yet if Requiem for the Phantom fits the bill entirely, but it’s pretty close. Let’s dissect it, shall we?

The opening song, Karma, by Kokia is really cool. I’ll probably download it by the end of the day:) Here it is:

The Plot:

A Japanese traveller witnesses an assassination and becomes caught up in a web with an underground organization called Inferno. They take his memories from him and because he possesses extraordinary animalistic survival skills, they train him to be an assassin. The one who trains him? A girl called Ein, the very assassin he witnessed in the beginning. The organization gives the traveller an new name, Swei, and a new life. He’ s told that he’s not a slave, but if he decides not to kill, he’ll be killed.

The Trailer:

My Take:

I’ll preface this with how I grade a good anime:

1. Hot heros (why watch of they aren’t?)

2. Romantic tension in the sub-plots (because I’m a chick, LOL).

3. Angst factor (I just like angst.)

4. Good mix of action versus, well, action in the romantic tension parts.

5. Good music is a plus. It means I get to find more great JRock artists.

Swei - Phantom of the InfernoSo, the main character in this anime is hot. Swei is both naive and can wield his gun, well, like a good assassin should and he only gets hotter as the anime progresses (sort of like Vincent Law in Ergo Proxy). He’s made to live in a couple situation with Ein and there is a good bit of romantic tension in all of this – she likes to take her clothes off  in front of him and for the guys out here, she’s got nice jugs;) At the same time, a romantic triangle evolves with an upper echelon member of Inferno, named Claudia, and Swei is seduced by her – really seduced – something you don’t see in a lot of animes. There’s even a hilarious line in one of the episodes, “He’s only staying with you so he can suck on your big titties.” Or something like that. At first I said to myself, “Did I really hear that?”  I had to replay it. Yep, I heard it. And guys – she does have big titties, LOL.

Now for the angst factor. You’ve got a guy with no memories who’s being forced to kill people. Think he’s okay with all this? Hell no. Lots of angst.

As you can guess, with all this Mission Impossible-style killing going on, the mystery of who Swei really is, the underground mafia, the seduction and growing romance between Swei and Ein, I’d say there’s a good mix of action in all directions.

For the music, although I like the opening theme song, the ending sounds like carousel music gone insane. I have to turn it off immediately, I dislike it so much. It’s Jigoku no Mon by Ali Project. I won’t bore you with a video;) No, I won’t be uploading it to my phone, LOL.

I give it: 4.75 stars

So there you have it. If you’re at home wondering what to do while lucky anime fans are toodling around at Anime Expo and you’re not, stay home and watch this anime! Let me know what you think of it.


Yaoi Novels versus Manga – Which do you Prefer?

Yaoi Manga - Cherry LemonI have to admit, I like yaoi novels better than manga. What??? you say? Yep, I do. Maybe that has something to do with why I write yaoi and m/m romance novels instead of drawing comic panels (which I think takes way more talent than I have). Although my eyes certainly appreciate the man candy action of a good yaoi manga, I find they’re too dang short. I like quite a bit more meat (pun intended) in my stories. More back story, more character development, more man loving and certainly more plot development.

Now I know some of you might want to flame me right now, but hear me out. Yaoi manga definitely have their place and yes, I do enjoy them. I just like to read a book with little or no pictures more than reading panels. For some reason, my imagination flies when I read a novel and not so much with a comic. I’m always trying to figure out which way, left or right, up or down, I’m supposed to be reading the darn thing. Okay, maybe I’m just a spaz. But the other thing is the limitations of manga – you just can’t fit as much in as you can with a book. You see this in film all the time. If they actually put everything from the Lord of the Rings books into the movies, they’d each be 5 hours long and we’d probably have 20 of them.

Starfighter Comic WebcomicThere are a few manga/webcomics I can’t live without – Starfighter being the main one. I mean, who doesn’t like that? Hot headed, evil dark hero(?) paired with innocent blond hero who needs hard, passionate sex… I wonder sometimes what that would look like in a novel form or if it would even work. If that’s the case, I wonder if the medium drives the plots in found yaoi novels versus yaoi manga? Can they be interchanged?

What do you prefer and why?