Tears, Therapy, or Hot Gay Romance?

As with most authors, potential readers contact me and tell me they’ve just discovered my books. Often, they’ll ask which book they should read first. Usually, I’ll forget to ask how they found me (which is important) and get right to the point.

What kind of book are you looking for? What are your tastes like? Do you want sad, happy, smexy, sweet, or downright tear-jerking?

I wrote this post to make it easier for readers to decide which book they wanted to read.

Note that I typically don’t follow genre conventions, write PC, or scribble comfort reads. So I have to be careful when I make a recommendation. Readers looking to me for those types of books are sometimes disappointed. I don’t like disappointing readers, but the reality is you can’t please everyone. You have to be happy before you can even attempt to make someone else happy, and I am partial to following my own path when it comes to writing.  I like to explore faults and frailties and prejudices. I like to challenge opinions and assumptions, especially when they conform to a cultural dogmas posited by our society, our media, and our politics.

So let’s get to it. Here’s the breakdown with the conventional ‘wisdom’ I’ve tried to challenge. Only readers can decide if I’ve achieved these goals, so I make no promises. You must decide for yourself.

(Click the covers for more info.)

The tear-jerkers

Summer Symphony by Brandon ShireGrief is such a highly personal emotion that it’s hard to encapsulate in words. In the West we talk around it, we avoid it, we steer our children’s eyes from it. But do we ever really face grief head on, or acknowledge what it does until it’s actually upon us? I tend to think that we don’t.

CHALLENGING: The false idea that male grief is subordinate to the concept of masculinity, especially when it comes to the loss of a child through stillbirth.

Listening to Dust - gay fiction

I get more email about Dust than any other novel. This book is about love and loss and how homophobic violence shatters people. It is also dedicated to a friend I lost through homophobic violence, so it is probably the most personal of all my books.

CHALLENGING: The idea that tragedy can’t display the true depth of love. We want shine and glitter. We want pretty packages and forever loves and HEAs. But life isn’t like that. This book is for readers who aren’t afraid to cry.

You need therapy

gay fiction - the value of rainThis is not a romance book. It’s about a teen institutionalized for being gay and was derived from real people who went through the sewers of reparative therapy. So yes, it is based on real people, but it is completely fictionalized. It is the more poetic of my books and many readers have classified it more as ‘literary fiction’ than gay fiction. They may be right, the style of prose was the only way I could deal with what I learned in writing this book.

CHALLENGING: How negative emotion can move and motivate people, how injustice is often cloaked and overlooked, and feel-good family dynamics. Not everyone was raised by the Cleavers, and not all children have fond memories of parents. This book is for those people. Trigger warnings apply due to subject matter.

Hot Gay Romance

The Love of Wicked Men

Wicked Men - Gay RomanceRich men. Hot lovers. Hotter Sex. Who doesn’t love a good legal thriller with gay sex?  This book is a little different because readers are being invited to offer their input before the story is complete. The conversation is already heating up and readers have  begun to make changes to the story line. (Click the cover to learn how.)

CHALLENGE: To have some fun and offer readers the ability to change the story.

 The Afflicted Series

My best-selling books, by far. Because I am a gay male, I write from a gay male perspective for a gay male audience. It’s not an intentional slight to my many female readers, it is just who I am. But it also means I’m inclined to offer less sweetness and more of the tart realities of gay relationships (and sex).

gay romance gay romance

CHALLENGING: The ridiculous notions associated with disabilities, particularly blindness, as they relate to blind LGBT people, gay sex, and a whole host of other misinformed ideas. For those who like the really hot hotness factor.

The Cold Series

Cold by Brandon Shire Heart of Timber - Brandon Shire

CHALLENGING: The whole concept of ‘prison love’ and all its tropes and associations – innocence, guilt, prison culture. I explored how love and loneliness changes people, and the sacrifices we make in the name of love.