It’s time to reveal the winner of last week’s totally non-scientific poll to find the best m/m movie ever. I added all sorts of different titles to the list, including ones I hadn’t personally seen but that were helpfully suggested by other members of the team. (As an added bonus, that’s given me several more movies to look out for to watch myself, so thank you for that!)
WordPress doesn’t exactly make it easy. The poll feature is pretty basic, and it doesn’t remember if you’ve already voted, and doesn’t display the results unless you vote again. So I had to re-vote a couple of times to check on progress, which means the results are quite probably bollixed. *grins*
However, on paper at least, here are the top four from the list (the others were mostly ones and twos):
My Beautiful Laundrette: 13 votes
Brokeback Mountain / God’s Own Country: 10 votes each
Call Me By Your Name: 7 votes
As mentioned above, My Beautiful Laundrette got a couple of extra votes from me, so the true result is probably closer to a three-way tie between that, Brokeback Mountain and God’s Own Country. The first two don’t surprise me at all – they’re absolute classics and seem to be loved by one and all – but the third is more recent and more of a surprise. It was beautifully made, though, and had a nice happy satisfying ending, so perhaps that’s the reason so many of you voted for it.
One or two people have pointed out that Brokeback Mountain isn’t, perhaps, Romance in the most traditional sense. They’re quite right, and the same thing would apply to several of the other movies too, including Call Me By Your Name, and Priest. However, this was only a bit of fun so I’m hoping you’ll forgive me eventually!
Thanks so much for all the votes and comments. The next story should be up on site on Friday so do check back for more then.
It’s time for another slice of m/m fiction and this week it’s the turn of Anne Barwell, who’s sharing a gorgeous poignant little slice of paranormal romance which made me sniffle (in a good way) when I read it!
Anne has written lots of paranormal books including her Sleepless City vampire series, so if you enjoy this you might want to check out her website for more.
“Got you!” Rupert Milne muttered under his breath.
Ghosts could be pesky things and next to impossible to spot, unless they wanted to draw attention to themselves.
This one appeared to be a man in his thirties, his dark hair cut in a style popular several decades ago. While age could be deceptive—Rupert appeared to be in his fifties but was closer to four thousand and fifty—the ghost’s clothing confirmed it.
Rupert slid into the seat next to the spirit. He’d always admired the way they could appear to be sitting on furniture although they were incorporeal. But Halloween was fast approaching; a night that often changed the rules.
“Good evening,” he said pleasantly. “Nice trick you have there, turning pages without touching them.”
The ghost looked up in surprise. “You can see me?” His eyes narrowed. “You’re not human,” he said flatly. “Who sent you?”
Rupert sighed. Better to get the formalities out the way first. He lowered his voice to make it harder for a human to overhear his side of the conversation. “Would you mind telling me why you’re haunting this library? It’s creating attention that is better avoided. My name is Rupert Milne, and I have some experience in this kind of thing. I’d like to help if I can.”
“How can you see me?” The ghost wasn’t going to let go of that one. “You’re not human. You feel…different. You’re not one of those with powers either. They can see me, but most of the time they don’t say anything.”
That’s because they don’t realise they’re talking to a ghost.
“Yes, yes, of course they can see you.” Rupert didn’t have time to go into Paranormal 101, and doubted the ghost would appreciate it. “I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to help you work through whatever or whoever is keeping you here.”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
One of the librarians walked past pushing a book trolley. She frowned in Rupert’s direction, probably wondering who the crazy guy was talking to himself. He waved cheerily and turned his attention back to the ghost.
“I’m a vampire. That’s why I can see you. I overheard one of my students talking about you, which is why I’m here.”
“Someone noticed me!” The ghost glanced around, panicked. At least he was more worried about that than the fact Rupert had just outed himself as a vampire.
“You pulled books off shelves. People talk.”
“It was an accident!” The ghost sighed. “I’ve been here so long and I’m tired. I just want to move on.”
“I know how you feel.” Rupert had been teaching at Victoria University for over twenty years. It was almost time for him to move on too, before someone realised he wasn’t getting any older. “Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell me your story, hmm? Then I’ll see what I can do to help.”
The ghost smiled, a glimmer of hope in his eyes. “My name is Bernard Pollard and I was on the Wahine when it went down in Wellington Harbour in 1968.”
“I shouldn’t be here.”
Joseph Tomley gripped the top of his walking stick. His breath came in gasps. Rupert hoped it was nerves, and not a sign that Joseph was about to expire on the spot. While breaking into the library after hours hadn’t been that difficult, Rupert didn’t want to have to explain a dead body to whoever was in charge of security.
“Yes, you should.” Rupert guided him to the corner, and sat him down under the large windows. Although the building was dark there was enough light coming through them so Joseph could see.
Rupert had figured with it being Halloween, it was easier for the two men to meet close to midnight. At least this way they’d be able to talk to each other directly. Rupert had acted as a go between for this kind of thing before and it wasn’t something he enjoyed.
Joseph paled when Bernard stepped out of the shadows. “Bernard. Oh my God. It is you.”
“Joseph?” Bernard said, his voice cracking. “You… I waited but you never came.” He bit his lip, brushed one finger across Joseph’s wrinkled cheek, and sat down next to him. “I… can touch you…”
“Halloween,” Rupert told him. “You only have a short time. Make the most of it. I’ll be close by if you need me.” He headed toward the fiction collection, his attention taken by a familiar name on one of the books in the romance section.
He’d read at least one chapter of a book he wished he’d never opened before he caught a glimpse of someone behind him.
“Thank you.” Joseph and Bernard stood together, in appearance a young man with his arms around the waist of someone old enough to be his grandfather. Both had tears running down their cheeks.
“It’s almost time,” he reminded them. “I’m sorry.”
Bernard smiled. “Don’t be. I know now he didn’t forget me, that he never stopped loving me. I’ll wait for him.”
“I feel so foolish.” Joseph kissed Bernard softly. “This library was always our place, so I avoided it because I couldn’t bear the memories. I’d lost you, and I couldn’t tell anyone about our relationship. Then it was too late.”
“And I waited for you here because it was our special place. We were both idiots.” Bernard took a step back. “Good bye, my love. I’ll see you again soon.” He turned and walked toward the back wall, before disappearing from sight.
“I love you too.” Joseph watched that section of wall for a few moments but Bernard was gone, at least for tonight. “Thank you,” he said again. “From both of us.”
Rupert nodded. It was never easy losing the person you loved, and these men had done it twice. “I’ll take you home now.” Joseph smiled, although his eyes were sad. “You already have.”
Here’s another bit of fun – a quick and totally unscientific poll to try to find the best m/m movie of all time. The ‘of all time’ is a bit limited because it’s only in the last 30 years or so that film producers have felt able to make gay movies without them being labelled as ‘porn’ and sold in paper wrappers from under the counter of your local video store. Thank goodness things have moved on.
Anyhoo, here’s a quick selection for you to choose from. Feel free to vote, tell us what you voted for and why, or add your own suggestions in the comments.
And for our next story, a lovely poignant little flash fiction on the subject of ‘ink’, from the talented Addison Albright. If you enjoy this story, you can find the Ink anthology it appeared in here (along with work from 120 other authors). Or why not try her longer m/m accidental time travel novel When Are You? or just potter along to her website to find out more.
Hello, lovely M/M readers! *waves*
A year ago this 300-word bit of flash fiction was published in Queer Sci-Fi’s annual flash fiction anthology. The 2021 edition is titled Ink, and includes 121 teeny tiny (no more than 300 words each) flash fiction stories that must contain queer characters, be in some way about “ink,” and be either fantasy, Sci-Fi, paranormal, or horror. Romance is optional in the anthology.
I think my story does, kinda/sorta, include romance. Many would probably call it bittersweet, but nobody actually dies, and I suppose we can hope or imagine that Ryan and Simon manage to find each other again. I like to think so. It falls under the Sci-Fi umbrella, being about accidental time travel.
Without further ado, here is my precisely 300-word story:
CAVE DRAWING by Addison Albright
Ryan would never again see his husband, Simon, but he could communicate, dammit. He’d already done so.
Could… would… had. It got confusing. Ryan blinked away tears, stared at the blank cave wall, and scoffed.
If he didn’t do it, would he create an alternate timeline, or would that seemingly unobtrusive change affect their singular timeline like the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings, obliterating his own existence? Was it even possible to change things?
After weeks spent deciphering his new reality, Ryan was now positive the wavy air he’d run through had been a time rift. Others nearby must have seen him disappear. It was a small comfort to know Simon wouldn’t suffer wondering if he’d been abducted and tortured. Instead, Simon might believe some natural phenomenon had disintegrated him. A premature but painless demise.
Or would Simon figure it out?
Ryan pulled in a shaky breath and stirred more minerals into his ink. Locals had been stymied, but Ryan now understood that the cave scrawls where he and Simon had enjoyed quiet picnics together had been (were about to be?) his own doing. The art had appeared primitive, but the surviving text was in English, so it obviously couldn’t have been legitimately ancient.
Except it was. “Thousands of years,” Ryan muttered.
His new present was a time before humans inhabited this place, yet not so far back that the terrain was comprehensively changed. Trees had shifted, the cave entrance had eroded in the future Ryan came from, but it was still recognizable.
Same place. Different era.
A single tear traced down Ryan’s cheek as he dipped a trembling finger into his stone bowl and applied ink to wall. Maybe… just maybe… the next time Simon visited “their” cave, he would look at Ryan’s message and know.
I’ll be posting another story in the next couple of days, but in the meantime, here’s a bit of random fun.
We’re all familiar with m/m movies – Brokeback Mountain, Maurice, my own favourite My Beautiful Laundrette. But what about those movies that are just screaming to be m/m, but for some reason or another never quite made it?
There are loads of them around. I remember doing a whole list in Forbidden Fruit many years ago. Annoyingly I can’t now find the file, but I can remember some of the titles on the list, so here in no particular order are my top three.
Point Break I only ever watched this movie once and all I can really remember, apart from some buff surfer bodies, was being really disappointed, even cheated, at the end because surfer Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and undercover cop Johnny (Keanu Reeves) didn’t get together. Fair enough it wasn’t meant to have a HEA, but there was so much subtext between them that I longed for something – anything – a kiss, even a wistful glance. Because Johnny was clearly mesmerised by charming no-gooder Bodhi, and it wasn’t just the surfer lifestyle that fascinated him!
Tango & Cash There are buddy movies, there are bromance movies, and then there’s Tango & Cash. You wouldn’t perhaps think of Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell as obvious gay-for-each-other main characters, but in this movie those two guys are totally made for each other. They spend the entire plot following each other from one scrape to another, one mad escape to another, and as for the ‘old married couple’ style banter – well, it wouldn’t have felt amiss if by the end they’d just fallen into each other’s arms.
The Lost Boys My own personal favourite on the list – it has vampires; it has one of the best sound-tracks of any movie ever (I will fight you on this); it has Kiefer Sutherland’s David looking amazing in a long black coat. Jason Patrick’s character Michael clearly agrees, as he’s quite happy to follow David into the world of the undead just because of the way he looks. Yes, okay, I know he’s supposed to be infatuated with Star, but he’s already dippy about David’s gang before she ever appears. I used to daydream about an alternate ending where David and Michael roar off into the underworld on David’s motorbike to the accompaniment of Foreigner or REO Speedwagon. Okay, I’m lying. I still do. We m/m fans can always dream…
So go on – what’s your favourite movie that really, really should have been m/m? And why? Stick some suggestions in the comments. I’d love to watch them and see if I agree!
And now… *drum roll please* our very first story! This is a lush, beautifully emotive little flash fic by the wonderful Kaje Harper which seemed very appropriate given all the hot weather so many of us are enjoying (enduring?!) at the moment. If you like it and want to see more from Kaje (including her magical Necromancer series) then head for her website.
Thanks, Kaje, over to you!
It’s one of those nights. The air’s so warm and thick, you can almost chew it, and the moon hangs in the old dead oak like a balloon I might snag from the sky. A hint of smoke tickles my nose― bonfire, campfire― like a hundred nights when we’ve sat side by side and watched the sparks fly to the heavens and talked about what we’d do when we left home. Or joked about bugs and snot because, y’know, thirteen and fourteen and fifteen. We weren’t half as grown up as we liked to think we were.
Tonight, something’s different though. Those crows flying across the moon make you shout “Murder!” and then laugh like a hyena. I shove you and pretend like I want to knock your head off. But really, I want to make you laugh again so I can see the arch of your neck, and the moonlight in your eyes.
Sixteen, and things are shifting. The old easy ways aren’t enough anymore. I’m antsy and restless, and you’re wilder, your voice loud like you can shove feelings aside with volume. We sit farther apart, and our knees don’t touch, here on this old log. And yet, I’m aware of every inch of skin exposed by those baggy shorts you’re wearing. I feel every breath you take like it shivers across my skin.
And suddenly you stop, in the middle of talking about how big a canon it would take to shoot a basketball across the lake. Between one word and the next, you go silent. I turn to you, and your eyes are dark and wide in the faint light. Your lips are a bit chapped, and you lick them, and I follow your tongue with my eyes.
Silence was never so loud, or so heavy. Slowly, unstoppably, we lean toward each other. I want to touch your hair, but my fingers are clenched into fists. Touch would be too much, might break the spell. There’s only this, your fast breaths and mine, chests heaving, lips parting, as the space between us shrinks. Your eyes flutter closed, but I keep mine open, because I need to know it’s real. In the moment when your mouth finds mine― soft, awkward, uncertain― truth leaps free, breath to breath. And in that moment, the world will never be the same again.
pic credit: Deposit Photos; additional graphics by Kaje Harper
RoM/Mantic Reads is a new venture by a group of around twenty m/m authors that will bring you an assortment of free short fiction, missing scenes, character interviews, book reviews, movie reviews and general m/m related fun! We’ll be posting the first stories very soon, but in the meantime why not have a poke around and check out who will be contributing and what they write? You can find all the details on the ‘Meet the Team’ page here.