Friday, June 22, 2012

Yaoi, True Love and The Prince of Winds

Welcome! This weekend it's time for the Manga and Romance Blog Hop. Check out the link for a list of prizes and how to win. The Grand Prize is fantastic! I'm also giving one commenter on this blog a $20 Amazon gift card. To be eligible for the gift card, just leave a comment and join this blog--and leave your email, or I won't be able to send it to you!

Now, about manga and romance.  I write m/m romance, but for years I’ve been a not so secret fan of anime and manga. The combination of story and words sweeps me away and I adore the sheer enthusiasm of the storytelling.

Yaoi plots are unapologetic. Even when there is coercion, as in Okane Ga Nai, one of my favorite yaoi animes, the theme is one of overwhelming passion. All is forgiven in the face of love. Is the story morally problematic? Yes, and we can discuss that some other time. But the story also fits into a grand tradition of being swept off one’s feet and carried away by the force of all-consuming love.

Who doesn’t want a little of that in their life?

I write gay male romances in part because I want to capture some of the joy and wonder of yaoi. Anime and animated stories create a sense of drama and grandeur I also like to find in the fiction I read. Some of the visuals and world-building are astounding. They inhabit the same literary space as fantasy and science fiction, grand adventure novels and edgy pulp fiction. Using visual elements and techniques, they achieve the heights of atmosphere, tension and theme.

In my soon to be published novel, The Prince of Winds, the title character, Melkor, is consumed by passion. He takes one look at a young, fallen enemy warrior, Rimmon, and he’s determined to have him. From that point on, there can be no one else. Their first kiss is a yaoi moment. Melkor’s ardor is unrelenting. The path to love is not smooth, of course, or there would be no book, but the novel’s focus is as pure and true as those of my favorite yaoi manga.

Boys in yaoi tend to be beautiful, and the genre’s fans love them for it. Boys can be soft, sensitive, or fragile. They can also be caustic, witty, devious and flat out hilarious. Sometimes the boys are damaged or broken, and their stories will break your heart. But they’re never self-conscious. Yaoi celebrates itself. I love that about yaoi.

What yaoi shares with early pulp fiction and the bodice-rippers of yore is a sense of pure escapism. Boys and men fall instantly in love . . . or maybe it’s lust. No, it’s love! They love with a force that cannot be denied. The pursuer is tireless in his pursuit; his beloved resists with valiant confusion. True love, of course, prevails, even when the ending is sad. But usually yaoi is like another of my favorites, Dou imo Nara Nai. I challenge anyone to find a story more filled with humor and joy. 

And that's why I love yaoi.


Thank you for visiting, and remember to leave a comment for a chance at the grand prize.  Check out the links below to read more from the Manga and Romance Blog Hop.


45 comments:

  1. Great post Tali. I've really got to find the time and explore more of this!!!

    ~M

    I'm a member/nomoretears00@hotmail.com

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  2. Thank you very much for the post. I have never read manga but am fast becoming a fan thanks to this blog.
    Yvette
    yratpatrol@aol.com

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Yvette! :)

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  3. Gonna really have to find me some of these. Learing more and more abou them from this hop. Cant wait for The Prince of Winds.

    Tat

    tattoedfairy01@yahoo.com

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    1. They're easy to get, Tat. Some of the older ones are collectibles, though, and cost a fair bit. I'm giving away copies of The Prince of Winds when it's published sometime in September, so check back.

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  4. I have never known exactly where to start with manga/yaoi so I am very excited for this hop and all the reccomendations that come with it!

    I follow your blog and my email is lillywriting@gmail.com :)

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    1. This hop is great, isn't it? I'm finding all kinds of new things to read. Dangerous to my finances, actually. :/ Thanks for stopping by, Lilly!

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  5. I like how you say that "They love with a force that cannot be denied." That is so true! Waving as I hop forward!

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    1. Waving back! Love is what it's all about. :)

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  6. Hey Tali,

    Great blog!

    Have you read ai no kosabi? That is one difficult series to read - I haven't read the last book, but I've read spoilers that make me not care if I read it or not. I wouldn't even classify it as a romance, to be honest.

    The interesting thing about yaoi that sets it apart from m/m romance, in my opinion, is a little thing called non-con consent. In other words, it appears to be non-consensual sex, aka rape, but in reality it isn't because deep down the hero really loves this guy and they love each other and it's more like pre-con non-con, if that makes any sense.

    In m/m romance, that's just plain rape and generally leads nowhere good.

    Julie
    shelley_runyon@yahoo.com

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    1. Hmm, I haven't read that one. I've read reviews and synopses and it sounds a bit grimmer than what I like. And involves an act I don't like at all. (Trying not to give anything away.) It doesn't sound like romance at all.

      I'm just twisted enough to like non-consent, as a fantasy construct. I enjoy bodice-rippers, for example, and m/m forced seduction. Force can be sexy. It's a fine line, though, and difficult to portray as erotic as opposed to violent. The yaoi framework for non-con consent would never hold up in court, but the rationalization is not far from the old loves-her-rapist trope in romance, where it's okay if the hero is sexy and she ends up falling for him so they can live happily ever after.

      What we do for romance! :D

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    2. I have to butt in here. DO NOT read Ai no Kusabi. Tragic, depressing, and everything in between. :(

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  7. Your upcoming novel sounds really interesting, I'll sure be on the lookout for it. ^__^

    Great post! ^__^

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  8. Yes! Yaoi celebrates itself and all the pitfalls. Thank you for the post. Your new to be released story is intriguing.
    Thank you for joining the hop!

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  9. I do have problems with the non-con a lot of the time, though I try to remember that it's a genre device that isn't always what it seems. It's nice to find a series that winks at or even subverts the conventions. What really appeals to me about yaoi (besides the often-gorgeous imagery) is the overwhelming emotion in the stories. In a world where men seem so repressed, it's refreshing to read.

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. The imagery is amazing in some yaoi manga. I wish I could illustrate some of my books that way! Thanks for visiting!

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  10. Hey Tali!!!

    Dou imo Nara Nai? Great choice! Funny, sweet, and ooey gooey in the middle. I loved your post and how you described Yaoi as a form of escapism, because that is so true. Getting swept away in a good manga is a great way for me to unwind. Thanks for sharing your love. :)

    ~Night♥

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    1. As I recall, you introduced me to that title. :) So I'm thanking you right back!

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  11. There's also blatant rape in the first sex scene of Koisuru Boukun, but I love it anyway (and yes, it was forgiven). I feel that yaoi writers (or mangakas) have more lee-weigh to write their stories the way they want to whereas us m/m romance writers have to stick to realism or risk the wrath of the reviewers. So I write with realism, but the humor and some characterization I learned from yaoi still slithers in there. I, for example, seem to be obsessed with short, slender, pretty men (and I've been told off for it by a gay man, who thinks I'm trying to stereotype all gay men with that one story...). Anyway, love yaoi, love m/m romance, (love reviewers too, don't get me wrong there). Thanks for being a part of this ^.^

    Erica
    eripike at gmail dot com

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    1. I haven't met any reviewers yet and hope they won't be too wrathful. Realism isn't my strong suit...which may be why I love yaoi so much. There's already an understanding in place about the story being lifted somewhat apart from reality. Thanks for the interesting insight!

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  12. Hey, Tali! Loved the post. I love yaoi, too, but I'd rather watch it than read it. I've never been good at reading comic books and mangas; I always get confused as to which box I'm supposed to read next, which frustrates me. So, when I want some yaoi, I head over to YouTube, or some other site has the videos. My two top favorites are Koisuru Boukun (sue me if I didn't get the spelling or spaces right. xD) and Ikoku Irokoi Romantan.

    Your book sounds nice, btw. Makes me wish I had money to spend.

    I follow your blog, and my e-mail is angelofcin88@hotmail.com

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    1. Btw, I LOVE your current background. ^.^

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    2. Hey, Cyn! Haven't seen enough of you lately. :) I found the formatting of manga crazy at first, until I figured it out. A couple of the blogs on the hop explain how it works, and that's an invaluable help to new readers, because otherwise it can seem like it makes no sense at all. Thanks for two more titles to check out.

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  13. It's kind of funny now, but when I first began researching m/m romance, it was referred to as 'zipper rippers', a take-off on bodice rippers, the m/f variety.
    So I'm a newbie when it comes to yaoi, but I love m/m stories. Your two- Dangerous Beauty and Prince of Winds- were some of my favorites, and I almost cried when they disappeared off of Lit. I said on another blog that I love history, and I can become totally emersed in books that are historically-based, even if it's fantasy. So what's not to love?

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    1. Zipper-rippers? That's too funny! I'll be using that term a lot from now on. Zipper-ripping is fine with me. :) My favorite m/m romances are fantasy or history-based, with interesting world-building. I'm going to be submitting Dangerous Beauty soon...just giving it a final polish.

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  14. Wow. I spent wayyyyy to much time last night blog hopping and not enough time sleeping. Thanks to you all for giving me yet another genre to obsess over. ABN1815@yahoo.com

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    1. Yeah, this blog hop is dangerous! I'm about to go on a new yaoi kick. I can feel it coming on... Thanks for visiting! :D

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  15. I think part of the appeal of yaoi is that the writers can get away with a lot more than can m/m writers. In my mind, yaoi is supposed to be more fantastical and all-is-forgiven. I love Okane Ga Nai and am eagerly awaiting to find out how it's going to end (though it's kind of obvious already). I was a huge yaoi and manga reader before I started reading m/m books and my collection is quite extensive. Anyways, thanks for participating and sharing!

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. It's amazing, really, how often yaoi pushes the envelope of what in m/m romance would be considered over the top. Uber-love and very dubious consent come immediately to mind, but those are also the very things I love about them! Thanks for visiting, Emily!

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  16. You're the first one to mention Okane Ga Nai! I love that anime despite the taboo way in which it starts. The book part cracked me up!!

    lina7391(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I didn't expect the non-con to be so... non-con. It wasn't graphic, but it was powerful. So too is the story. It's spare but I love it. And the book part. Oh my. Hilarious! :D

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  17. I enjoyed the post; it was a great read.

    I'm a big yaoi manga and anime fan. I also love m/m novels, romance, mystery, fantasty, etc.

    Two of my favorite yaoi manga are Junjo Romantica and The Finders series.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

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    1. I love Junjo Romantica. Just love it. It's the sweetest thing on the planet, really, I believe that. :) Now I'll be checking out The Finders!

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  18. I used to think I was weird for reading m/m stories/books. Finding this blog, and all of the other blogs that I check out daily, has finally make me realize that I'm not the only woman who loves to read male on male. Thank you so much! I finally feel good about myself. <3 <3

    -- Whitney
    Whitbeach1@aol.com

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    1. Oh, you're far from alone, Whitney. :) I used to think I was weird, too, for reading slash fanfiction. And even weirder for wanting to write original m/m fiction. But then I found out how many other women shared my love for men in love. It's quite amazing and wonderful, isn't it? :D

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  19. I agree with what Erica said about m/m writers kind of being more constrained by reality than yaoi writers, and I also try to find a balance between the two worlds with both my writing and my art. "Reality" can be a downer sometimes. ;)

    P.S. The captcha I had to type to verify my identity was "63 fishmon." For some reason, I found that amusing.

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    1. Don't love captcha? I use it for character names. "63 fishmon" could be a plot bunny. :D

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  20. I've been an animanga nerd for years, and become a yaoi fan a years or two after my obsession started.
    This bloghop is fun! I'm learning about a bunch of new authors, and manga, and finally entering the world of Western M/M.

    chibiminty@gmail.com

    ~Minty-chan

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    1. I was trying to explain to my sister the other day the different sub-genres and flavors of M/M and only then realized how diverse the genre is! It's just as diverse as het romance. Which makes sense. But I never thought about it before. Thanks for visiting!

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  21. I had never really thought, dissected, the difference between yaoi and mxm romance, but as I hop around, I am actually learning a lot. things that I always KNEW, but never actually realized. If that makes sense... ^_^;

    Manda
    Krowhop@gmail.com

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    1. You make great sense. I'd never really thought about the connection, or differences, until this hop. :)

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  22. Hey Tali,
    Glad to find your blog...thanks to MA. I wanted to know if you can recommend any places I can check out some free Yaoi. I am interested in it and have been a fan of manga for a while. Thanks.
    Cannd

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    1. Hi Cannd! It's good to see you. :D

      I'm not really up on where to find free yaoi. I tend to find it (and for pay yaoi, too) through other people's recommendations. A good source, though, is Night Tempest! She's pointed me to some really great free yaoi in the last month and I'm sure she'd help you, too.

      You can find her blog in my sidebar, or MA's. :)

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