Jeff Baker: Barney Miller’s Gay Connection

This is the latest in Jeff’s series of articles looking at lgbt content in vintage US TV shows – and yet another series I’d never even heard of. It brings home how few US shows ever made it to this side of the pond and it’s always interesting to read about the ones that didn’t, and what made them stand out. (And I do love the ‘anonymous’ joke – read on to find it!)


Pic credit:

            One thing was certain when you entered the 12th Police Precinct of New York City; you would be treated with respect, a few quips and some questionable coffee. At least that was the way it was on the fine American sitcom “Barney Miller” which aired from 1975 to 1982. And LGBT people were welcome there too, from the very beginning.

            In fact, the series may have affected the course of LGBT history but that wasn’t obvious at the time.

            “Barney Miller” was a situation comedy about a squad room of detectives in New York City’s fictional 12th Precinct. The show premiered in January 1975 and within a few episodes Marty Morrison (played by Jack DeLeon) was brought in for shoplifting. Obviously and unapologetically Gay, Marty would be a semi-regular and would show up in several more episodes and we would be introduced to his partner Darryl Driscoll (Ray Stewart) by the end of the year.

            Marty: (entering the squad room.) “I love what you’ve done with the place!”

            Darryl: “Quit perpetuating a stereotype.”

            The pair would encounter the humanity and hilarity of the 12th as well as introducing viewers to Darryl’s ex-wife who tries to file for custody of their son, jealous of the good time he usually has with Darryl and Marty at fancy restaurants and shows.

            They were not the only Gay characters to traipse through the 12th. In the episode “Inquisition” Barney receives an anonymous note from an officer working in the building who outs himself just to say there is a Gay presence in the department. Word of the note reaches the heads of the NYPD and soon someone from Internal Affairs is snooping around. Barney learns that the writer is Officer Zatelli (played occasional guest star Dino Natali) but won’t tell. The hostile Lt. Scanlon of Internal Affairs (the hilarious George Murdock) demands to know who wrote the letter. Barney says the writer prefers to remain anonymous.

            “I wanna hear that from him!” Scanlon bellows.

            By the episode’s end, suspicions of each other among the Detectives have been quelled by Barney, and the case of a man who tried to trash a Muzak player is also resolved. (That was the sort of oddball the 12th frequently attracted.)

            While there are some Gay jokes in these episodes, often they show up the ignorance of the people making the jokes, and humanity and character are always put first in this well-acted, well-scripted series.

            Years later, a far-right anti-Gay activist revealed that he had gone to the network and voiced objections to the Gay characters on the show and the network had shot back “You mean, you object to them just because they’re Gay?”

            The activist said that the question had caught him unprepared and he didn’t know what to say.

            “Had I known how to respond,” he said later, “there would have been no “Will and Grace,” no Gay Marriage…” The pop culture perception of the LGBT movement affected the movement for real, and some of that can be traced back to this 70s sitcom.

            Barney Miller, even edited to make room for more commercials, is one of the best T. V. Comedies, no, best T. V. series ever. a familiar friend airing in countless reruns on cable and broadcast. And the subtle benefits of the interactions of the LGBT community with the men of the 12th are still being felt today.

Alexa Milne: Tattooed Me

This is a really thought-provoking and bittersweet story from Alexa. Bear with it as although at first it seems unbearably sad, there’s hope and love in there too! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and if you’d like to see more of Alexa’s books then just click here.


Pic credit: Shaarc on

 I’m dying. I’ve known for a while now, but I’m over it. So I’ll never see the year 2000, I can live with that, or die with it. When you reach over seventy-five you know your time is limited, despite what they say about everyone living longer. After all, for there to be an average, some people have to die below that age, and I guess I’m going to be one of them. I’ve left everything in order. Jenny and the kids will be all right. I married late, you see, and she’s young enough to remarry. I’ve told her to find someone else, and I’ve told the kids to let her. I’m sorry I’ll miss my grandchildren growing up but these things happen in the best regulated of lives.

Cancer sucks. It took both my parents, so I wasn’t surprised when it got me. I’ve always had what you might call a delicate stomach—but you don’t want to hear about that—and I left it too late. So here I am, waiting to die, pressing my morphine drip to ease the pain, and thinking about him.

Sorry, did that surprise you? The him was Jack, who I met when I was eighteen. His name is tattooed on my shoulder, we spent twelve glorious months together in the middle of a war. He was older than me, but not by much. We were called up the year before the D-Day landings and trained together. He wasn’t anything special to look at, but then neither was I. He’d been down a pit digging out coal and suited that work, being small and wiry like many from the Black Country. Ten stone of muscle and sinew, and only five foot four—he was definitely no matinee idol. He also swore like a trooper and got placed on a charge more than once for insubordination. I watched him cut grass with a pair of scissors all afternoon once.

The sergeant-major got him to box, to channel his aggression they said, after he’d threatened to knock the teeth out another soldier’s head. I never did discover what had been said. Jack wasn’t really a talker which was just as well as his accent was thicker than mine. I was his second in the ring, towelling him down, feeling those muscles. I didn’t understand at first why my stomach did cartwheels just touching him—I told you my stomach had always been dodgy—or why my hands shook trying to tie up his gloves. When we sparred together, I loved the way the sweat ran down his chest, and when he clutched me, bringing us skin to skin, my body seemed to respond on its own and in a way I didn’t really understand.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew about sex, I’d grown up on a farm after all, but I guess I was naïve at first. Sometimes, I caught him looking at me differently. His gaze seemed to take in all of me and I blushed as if he’d caught me doing something wrong. I found myself making excuses to touch him, rubbing him down after a bout, pressing my fingers into his bare flesh. I was thankful he couldn’t see me. He was a popular guy, winning as often as he did. All the services loved their boxing and Jack was good. He could have been professional in peace-time, but then he fought for the army, against the navy and the RAF, and beat all comers.

After one successful fight, which won a lot of money for those that bet on him, he got a two day pass for us both. I remember being surprised that he wanted to take me. We went to London. Neither of us had been before. I’d been brought up on a farm in the wilds of Cumbria. He was from a small mining town. My family had kept sheep on the hills for generations. Later, I got into looking after animals in the army and trained to be a vet. I had my own successful practice. It’s where I met Jenny when she brought in their family’s prize border collie. But I digress. We booked into a hotel. The capital was still busy, despite the bombing. We shared a room. No one thought anything about that back then. We were both in uniform, and on leave, so we could sort of be heroes, even if we’d seen no action as yet. We had plenty to drink—alcohol wasn’t rationed, and people bought us rounds. Girls hovered about us, and we danced a bit, but neither of us wanted to take one back with us, or screw one against the wall in a dark alley. All sorts went on in the dark in those times.

We fell into the room around midnight and on to the bed, laughing at some joke Jack had told. I remember how he stared at me as if he was seeing me for the first time. He’d shaved that morning, but dark hair was already creating the beginnings of a beard on his chin. There was a small chink in the blackout curtain and the beam of moonlight hit his face and lit up his eyes. He kissed me, his stubble rasping against my skin, and suddenly everything fell into place. I knew why I wanted to touch him and why my body had responded as it did. I didn’t want to give it a name though. I was hard in what seemed like seconds, and I could feel him rubbing against my thigh. I reached for his trousers and undid the buttons needing to touch more of him then reached inside. His cock was shorter than mine but thick and he groaned as my fingers closed around him. I opened my own trousers wanting to press myself against his body, desperate to feel every part I could.

“Take them off,” he whispered. “Or we’ll get them stained and end up on a charge.” We took everything off and lay pressed up against each other, cocks rubbing as we moved. His hand grabbed us both, pushed us together. The feeling was glorious, and it didn’t take long for either of us to come. I felt the sticky wetness between us but didn’t want to let go. I couldn’t believe what I’d done—what we’d done. I lay trembling in his arms, terrified we’d been too loud and that the police would come bursting through the door to arrest us, but other than our breathing, there was no sound. I was safe. I’d never felt safer in my life.

“That was…,” I started, but I didn’t really know what it was, not really, or what it might mean, not then, but from that time onwards we took every opportunity to be together. Little touches when we could, kisses when no one was looking, and more when we dared. In a barrack there wasn’t much time to be alone. We knew about queers, everyone knew, but we didn’t give ourselves that name at first because we weren’t like them, were we? Some people thought that queers didn’t join the services because they were all cowards, but I came to know better, especially after I’d served for a while. I discovered that when your eyes had been opened that you saw more. At least that’s something that’s changed over the years.

I wish we’d been young now, not then, and in wartime, because everything was so fleeting. The first time he buggered me, I thought I’d never feel anything so glorious again in my life. I suppose using that word would be considered wrong today. He called it fucking, but I’ve never used that word, never felt comfortable with it. I was full of him, as close as two people could be. It was winter and snow lay on the ground. I’d taken him home for Christmas as he didn’t have a family of his own. I was his family he said, and I cried hearing those words. We’d been rounding up the sheep and we were tired and sweaty, in spite of the cold. The straw in the barn was warm and welcoming. We had a chance to be alone and we took it. I asked him to do it. I wanted to be his, to consummate what it was we had. I don’t know what he felt—we never talked about feelings. Men didn’t talk about that sort of thing—not then. People didn’t back in the day. You just got on with things. I remember thinking that I must be a queer after all if I wanted him to do this. I also remember being terrified it would hurt or that we’d get caught but need overcame fear. We had nothing but spit and what we got from our cocks, but he took care with me, stroking me to divert attention, even so it burned like hell when he pushed in slowly, carefully taking his time, checking with every thrust. I felt whole in a way I’ve never felt since. It should have been wrong, but I knew then that it was right in the way that nothing would ever be right again. He’d made me his, found that secret part of me and exposed it, made an invisible mark on me so I couldn’t help myself as the words slipped out.

“I love you,” I whispered afterwards, but he didn’t reply. Maybe he didn’t hear me. He never said it to me, well not in words. Four weeks before D-Day, he was posted to the South coast. We were going to be parted. We’d known that it might happen. In war nothing lasted forever. The night before most of us got drunk on alcohol someone had smuggled in. It was illegal stuff, strong enough to kill. The sergeant turned a blind-eye, and we knew we’d all have to get up in the morning regardless. When I woke up the next day, I felt an unfamiliar sensation in my shoulder. I had a vague memory of pain the night before and of me and Jack laughing outside in the moonlight. I looked in a washroom mirror and saw it. He’d carved his name with his penknife. JACK—there on my shoulder and inked over with the fountain pen he’d stolen from the office. It looked angry, outlined with red, and I had to cover it up so no one could see.

He wrote to me once only after we parted. I’m looking at that letter now, over fifty years later. He didn’t say much. It was wartime after all, and letters were read, but I knew what he meant. I know he landed on one of those beaches on the first day, on what became known as the longest day. The British fared better than the Americans, but he was reported missing. His body was never found. There were rumours he’d deserted, but I knew he was dead or he’d have come back to me.

My squad went over after the main attack. I was there when we opened the camps in Germany. Such things we saw. From then on I was Jack. It made it easier to explain the tattoo as a diminutive of my own, although I’d always been John until then. Time passed. My life continued. I’ve never regretted my choices. I love my wife and children, but I know that when my eyes close for the final time, it’ll be his face I see. And if there’s a heaven, it’ll be his face I’ll want to see. He tattooed me, named me anew and so has stayed with me forever.

K. L. Noone: Ember and Serenity

Here’s something a little different for the zine, but no less delightful. I’ll leave K. L. to explain all!

“Hello, all! This is something perhaps a bit different—it’s the opening scene of a work in progress, in fact! I’ve been poking at this one, on and off, for a while now; it’ll be a full-length novel eventually, high fantasy m/m romance, stand-alone, beginning in a library, with the theft of a book…and also a kiss.

I’ve been very much enjoying the writing of it so far, so I wanted to share the opening scene—I think it works fairly well as a first-meeting story, and obviously there’s more to come, but it’s a good (I hope!) intro to King’s librarian Ember and his book-thief, whose name, by the way, is Serenity…which is somewhat ironic, considering how much he’s about to, er, disrupt Ember’s peaceful night…”


Pic credit: Henry Be on

Emberly Lyon, reshelving the third volume of Gruyere’s History of Empire, startled a book-thief in the back room of the King’s library at half-past three in the morning.

Ember, one hand still clutching leatherbound pages, blinked at the intruder in lantern-light. The book-thief recovered from surprise first, and demanded, “What are you even doing here?”

“I was—” Instinctive guilt—he’d always been capable of losing time in a book, about which Chance teased him mercilessly, in the way of younger brothers—lost out to baffled anger. “I’m the King’s librarian! What are you doing?”

“I don’t suppose you’d believe I wanted to borrow a novel of seafaring navigation, shipwreck, and improbable feats of adventure?” The book-thief had a voice that laughed: wind over water, copper chimes in arched doorways, melody in sunshine. Ember couldn’t see much of him in library shadow, only the glance of a single dark-lantern’s rays across slender build, petite height, dark hair.

And that laughter. Beckoning.

He glared. “No one’s allowed in here after hours. No one’s allowed in here without my permission. And you’re stealing that!” Book-walls spiraled upward around them, a supportive tower sketched in silken grey, gilt-lettered spines, curious hollow spaces. He and Chance had been filling in those gaps as best they could for the past three years; the late King Brassen hadn’t cared much for reading. Every volume, and not only those in the more valuable back room, was his friend. “Put it back.”

“I’m afraid I can’t. A commission, you see.” Light as chatter across a ballroom, casual as a rowing-party on the Sweetwater; but this river glinted with robbery and danger. The book-thief had quite sensibly worn dark grey and green, fitted and shadowy under a hood; he wasn’t tall, and his voice sounded cheerful and irritatingly blithe, caught red-handed. Literature-handed. Mid-narrative. “Did you say you were the King’s librarian? The King’s librarian is—” He stopped.

“Yes,” Ember agreed, “you were saying?” and shifted weight, ever so slightly.

He and Chance did, in some ways, look alike—the tilt of eyes, that straight Lyon nose, the expressions on his half-brother’s face that Ember had glimpsed on his own in a mirror—but most people never saw that. Never saw past the height, the shoulders, and his skin, midway between King Brassen’s aged tawny gold and the shimmering onyx of the Araly dancer who’d caught the lion’s eye. Chance had the late Queen’s fairness and got sunburnt under rainclouds. Ember had waited in his chambers with aloe creams for years, after Brassen ordered his only legitimate son to keep up on all-day hunts.

His book-thief must be new to Lyonheart. Any person in the city’s market would’ve known. The King’s librarian was the King’s bastard older brother, and at a glance they did not resemble each other.

Ember tended to get stares in that market less because of his coloring specifically—though that was a part of it; traders came by from the Southern Continent often enough to be unusual but not singularly so—but because he loomed. Couldn’t help it. Their father’s muscles.

“The King’s librarian is someone who spends his days indoors with books, I was going to say.” Pale eyes flickered over him. Up and down. Lingering, Ember realized with a shock of thrilled outrage, on his shoulders, waist, below his waist. He couldn’t tell what color those eyes were under the hood, only that they danced in a ray of lamplight. “You, on the other hand, should be rescuing virgins and valiantly slaying monsters in perilous forests. Have you seen your arms, lately?”

That tone was either genuinely honest admiration or outrageous flattery; Ember choked on unexpected absurd laughter. “I’m preventing a crime, aren’t I? Put it back, please.”

“Do you know how difficult it was to break in here? You’ve actually got decent wards up. How’d you manage that?”

“Valiant monster-slayer secrets. Learned in a perilous forest. How did you—stop that!” His thief had begun inching toward the rear—and open, he noticed—window. Lyonheart sprawled sleepily outside, dreaming with the restlessness of an island city-state in the hours before dawn. Morning marketers and broadsheet-vendors and primrose-sellers would be stirring soon, bakeries opening, the drifting scents of strong tea and hot pies and fish-hauls and the clatter of early voices like a hundred melodies at once. Beyond darkened windows the sea lapped at shore, purring, wine-hued.

A few streets down from the palace, etched in black-on-night along the harbor’s curve, he could make out the shabby old spires of the dilapidated Magicians’ College next to the taller newer symmetry of the University. He thought, as he always thought, home; and memories of creaky voices and dusty spellbooks and patched-up robes warmed his bones.

“Sorry. I thought you said I could go. I’m certain I heard that.”

His thief was having fun. Teasing. That laughter again. Ember narrowed eyes at him, stalked closer, and demanded, “How’d you get in?”

“Through the window. And I’d quite like to get out again, so if you’d not mind, I’m trying to borrow a book from your library, which I believe you’ve opened to all visitors—”

“Borrow implies that you’ll bring it back. Visitors come in during open hours.” He put a hand on the book in question; his thief had been attempting to tuck it into a bag. An antique volume. One of Flint’s histories of magic in Lyonheart, volume one, all the way back to the Crossing and the First Kings. The copy itself was fairly old, but they had older; it did not have a jeweled cover, though it did have real gold leaf in illuminated capitals. “Visitors check in at the front gate. So I know who’s in the house.”

“You enjoy knowing who’s here?” His book-thief had dark hair, black or brown; he’d tied it up, but stray waves were escaping. “You enjoy knowing who gets to…come…into your library?”

Young, Ember thought; not a boy, but youthful enough to be reckless, to dare consequences, to twirl on a tightrope. To laugh.

Despite the book between them, they were close enough to touch. Close enough for heat in the night.

And that night crackled: awake and conscious of every sense in a way he was not sure he remembered ever having been. The closest might’ve been the time Chance had come down with summer fever and almost died and not died, opening exhausted eyes and finally seeing him; this was not that emotion but nearly so, a kind of stunned relieved recognition, a quickening to life, the leap of joy in his veins.

His book-thief’s lips had parted, soundless now, gazing up. He’d had to tip his head back to do so; and they stood framed by fourteenth-century political discourses for a moment, caught out of time.

The young man went up on tiptoes, sudden and sweet, and kissed him. A thief’s kiss, a bandit’s kiss, dazzling as sunrise and as audacious.

The young man tasted like cherries, and possessed bones as light as a bird’s, no weight at all against him, and had soft bouncy hair; Ember knew this because apparently his hands had slid into it, pushing back that hood. The book was trapped between them. It held heartbeats and pressed edges into his chest.

The young man drew back, laughed briefly—wondering, as if surprised—and kissed him again, deeper this time, tongue sneaking out to explore, to lick, to drink him in. Ember made a noise, or one of them did, and pulled him closer and met playfulness with strength; his thief outright moaned, shameless, and actually leaned into him, eyes closing.

Warmth flooded through the library, and hummed in his blood, in that welcoming response where their bodies met.

Chilly air rampaged in. Emptiness. No more lips on his. Ember blinked, panted, fought for equilibrium. One hand on the bookshelf.

“I’m really very sorry,” his thief said from the window, perched on the sill like the nightingale he might’ve been, lightweight and song-voiced, “that was—that was—well, you’re not anything I expected. From the King’s librarian. Good night, my valiant monster-slayer.”

He vanished. Out of sight. Doubtless with a rope, a ladder, a daring swing across kitchen-gardens and courtyards. Ember hadn’t recovered enough to go after him.

The young man had taken the book, too. Of course he had. A book, a kiss, Ember’s ability to think about anything other than that kiss. Neatly stolen.

The palace—Lyon House to everyone besides the most particular; it’d been Brassen’s great-grandfather who’d called it a palace, and it wore the name rather sheepishly—opened onto the public square. That laughter, that quickness, would be long gone.

Ember stared at the night. He caught himself lifting a hand to his lips; and then he laughed a little, too, astonished.

Jay Mountney: Last Christmas

We couldn’t let Christmas go by without a Christmas themed story, now could we? So here’s a sweet-yet-sad little tale from Jay Mountney, obviously inspired by the old George Michael Christmas song. You can find details of all Jay’s books and stories at her website – do check them out and maybe treat yourself to a last-minute stocking-filler or two!

The zine will be taking a short break over the festive season to let all our contributors a well-earned rest. You can picture us lying on sofas, stuffed with turkey and chocolates, or zonked out of our brains on Prosecco or artisan gin. We’ll be back in the new year, suitably refreshed, with more m/m stories for your reading delectation.

In the meantime, Happy Christmas from the RoM/Mantic Reads team! And over to you, Jay…


Pic credit: Jay Mountney

Last Christmas…

I remember it as clearly as yesterday, and you’re lying when you say it all passed in an alcoholic blur because of your new job and celebrating and so on. We were living together so it would have been a bit hard to fool me that much. Most of the time you were sober and a bit morose about having to move, to leave, even though you were pleased with the new status and even more with the new pay package.

I gave you my heart…

…right after the office party, on the way to the station. You were grumbling about having to pretend we weren’t together and I suggested we should stop pretending, let the world know, get married (it’s legal now, after all) and let the office busybodies have their nine days’ wonder, shock and salacious gossip. I said I would come to London with you, find a job somewhere, somehow, so that we could be together. We stopped under one of those huge streetlights on the station approach and you kissed me right there in public. Well, OK, there weren’t many public around and the ones there were were wrapped up in their own thoughts and destinations. But you kissed me without looking over your shoulder and I remember the sleet glistening on your hair under the light, the fiery coldness of your lips and the way my heart sang. Then you held my hand till we had to leave loose and run helter-skelter for the last train, laughing.

Neither of us had had that much to drink. We never did at those office things, too scared, I suppose, of giving ourselves away. So instead I gave my heart away and when we got home we fucked, or rather made love, till almost dawn.

The very next day…

It was Christmas Eve and we went into the village to buy a tree. We thought they might be cheaper, with less than twenty-four hours to go. We found a really nice little tree outside the supermarket, with a huge ‘reduced’ sign on it and we were just going to go in when Anna, that new girl from the typing pool, came past. We hadn’t known she lived in the same suburban village as us; she’d left the party early and of course we normally travelled in by car so we wouldn’t have run across her. She looked surprised then asked if we were together, with one of those smirking, knowing looks that some people seem to find appropriate. I was just saying yes, proud and dizzily happy when you said no, we were just flatmates. I felt the bottom drop out of my world.

We didn’t even decorate the tree and it just stood there all dark and bare till I threw it out on New Year’s Eve, tired of the needles dropping on the carpet, dry and spiked like my thoughts.

You left on the Sunday night and you tossed me your keys without a care in the world.

This year…

I was surprised to see you, pleased for you to hear about the promotion and the return up north, but not impressed that you seemed to think I’d just have been waiting all year, like some kind of doll you can throw into a box and take out again when it suits you. You were never that great a ‘catch’ despite the inflated salary. I could always have found someone else but we were good together or at least I thought we were. You didn’t. Obviously.

…someone special.

He’s already asked me privately and he’s arranged this romantic public proposal under the mistletoe at his mum’s house. They know, too, so there won’t be any outcry, just lots of people pleased for us. He’s really dependable, and not bad-looking. I’m going to be happy.

But sometimes, very privately, I just wish it was last Christmas all over again.

Jeff Baker: Five TV Shows that could have gone M/M

UNITED STATES – JULY 09: THE ODD COUPLE – “Generic” 1970-1975 Tony Randall, Jack Klugman (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

An earlier article on this site speculated about movies that could have gone M/M. So here’s my speculation about five TV series which could have gone M/M (or come close!) I’ve stuck with shows I saw first-run as well as shows that aren’t in production anymore.

The Odd Couple (1970)

Tony Randall and Jack Klugman used to play up the notion that Felix and Oscar were Gay during rehearsals to freak out the network censors and so they would be able to get away with other stuff in the scripts. Tony Randall claimed there was an episode they were going to do where Oscar is writing a story on a closeted athlete and Felix reads some of it and misunderstands (imagine that! A misunderstanding on a sitcom!) and thinks Oscar is Gay. (“Oscar Gay? He can’t be gay! I’m the one they should think is gay!” was supposedly one of Felix’s lines in a script Tony Randall called one of the funniest he had ever read.)

Felix and Oscar as a Gay couple? No, they really would have driven each other crazy…

The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970)

No real speculation here except that the pilot script broadly hinted that Murray might be Gay. Watch the first episode; see how Gavin MacLeod plays Murray with maybe a hint or two that he’s not all that straight. In later scripts, that would be replaced with his unrequited crush on Mary Richards, and who can blame him?

Murray and Ted? Yuuuuuuuk!

Batman (1966)

Holy Heterosexuality! I’ve mentioned before that Burt Ward in that skimpy Robin outfit made me sit up and take notice when I was about six years old! I wouldn’t be the first to speculate about the possibilities of a not-that-platonic relationship between Batman and Robin (remember, Ward was 25 when he did the show!) But the 60s Batman was too square to act on any such desire if he had desires for anything but crime fighting. Others have noted how the various incarnations of B&R feature a lot of bondage with our heroes squirming and sweating. And they have gone into how single-mindedly Batman obsesses with his mission above all else.

Happy Days (1974)

Yeah, yeah, guy in a leather jacket who’s reeeeealllly close to his best friend! Ayyyyyyy! Seriously, while Richie and Fonzie had a serious bromance going there was no hint of anything other than heterosexuality on this nostalgia piece about life in an idealized 1950s America. While homosexuality was one issue the series never addressed, the show had one big Gay template LGBT viewers can identify with; Fonzie, the Cunninghams and their friends were what we would today call “Chosen Family.” And they had a serious emotional bond. Yeah, love was all around on that show too. Anyway, I can’t be the only guy who noticed how cute Anson Williams was.

Dawson’s Creek (1998)

Yeah, this teen drama actually did have a Gay character (Jack McPhee, played by Kerr Smith) but the show toyed with the fans hinting at something more than friendship between Dawson and best buddy Pacey. Maybe they just needed a push?

And one that almost did:

That 70s Show (1998)

The first-season episode “Eric’s Buddy” introduced us to Buddy Morgan, a not spoiled rich kid who hits on (and kisses) Eric Foreman. Series creators said at the time that Buddy was intended to be a possible “love interest” for Eric, but conservative reaction torpedoed that idea, as did Gay viewer’s reaction to Eric’s panic at being kissed by a guy. (Maybe he panicked at the sudden realization that he wasn’t as straight as he thought?) Buddy Morgan was never seen again, but the actor, one Joseph Gordon-Levitt has done all right for himself. He has said that he was proud of having been involved in the first M/M kiss on a scripted show on network television. 

So, those are my picks! How about yours?

I’d love to know!

Happy viewing!


Meet the Contributors #2: Addison Albright

This week it’s the turn of Addison Albright, with some really fun answers to our tricksy questions (I am so there on the plot bunny!). Addison had this lovely story featured in the zine a few weeks ago. Here’s what makes her tick in real life.


When did you start writing?

Way back in 2008 with my earliest works published by the now-defunct Torquere Press. Then I had a book published at the (also) now-defunct Loose ID in 2009. I took a break after that until 2016 when I started writing again with JMS Books, where I’ve published both new stories and rewrites of those earlier books.

What comes first, the plot or characters?

You’d think this would be an easy question to answer, but it gets kind of complicated. Often both evolve together as the idea germinates to such a degree it’s hard to remember which came first for a particular story. That said, I think the spark of the plot idea probably comes first for most of mine, but since I’m a pantser turned plantser, the characters end up driving at least the details of much of the story. For a spinoff like To Love and To Cherish, one MC existed as a side character in a previous story long before I thought up a fresh story for him.

Which of your books were the most enjoyable?

I’m interpreting this as enjoyable to write as opposed to my favorite among my own books (although this is in the running for that, too). I’m going to go with To Love and To Cherish because at the time I was more full-on “pantser” (rather than “plantser” which is how I would label myself these days), and I had no idea what I was going to do to poor Nash when I started writing what I thought was going to simply be a marriage of convenience story. I hadn’t come up with a plan for the “drama” yet when it hit me…how much fun would it be, in a story where two men jaded by love have decided on a marriage of convenience, to toss in a case of amnesia, rebooting the memory of one of them back to before the incident that had soured him on the idea of love, so of course he assumes his current engagement must be a love match, right? What else would it be? So yeah, I had so much fun coming up with the rest of that book!

How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?

I wish I could say I was overwhelmed with ideas, but they don’t come that easy to me. I’m in thinking mode batting around possibilities in my head now, but I keep getting sidetracked by thinking up “what if” scenarios for characters in some of my favorite books. But, what I’m trying to work out is a possible spinoff for a couple side characters in my Plans Trilogy. Same world, different MCs. (Heh, so in this case, the answer to which came first, the plot or the characters would definitely be the characters).

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading The Cooking Mage and the Parchment Prankster, Part 1, a wonderfully creative and humorous fantasy by Eric Alan Westfall, who’s both an amazing author and a wonderful person I’ve been fortunate enough to have met several times. I’m also listening to 2001: A Space Odyssey in audiobook format.

How many bookshelves are in your house?

Two. Years back I had…I forget if it was six or seven of them, all jam packed full, plus an additional two packed full of children’s books. When it came time to downsize, I faced some difficult choices, but in the end kept a variety of favorites I would want to reread, and books I swear I plan to read…someday. I’ve since weeded out a few more and occasionally add to it. These days, my first reads tend to be in ebook format, but if something becomes a solid favorite, I’ll buy the physical book, too.

What superpower would you have and why?

Teleportation. Think of how this would open the world to wanna-be travelers who otherwise couldn’t afford to be globe trotters. Spend a day abroad without travel or lodging costs! Plus, seems like a convenient way to get out of a tight spot. Here in the real world, though, I can see potential drawbacks in the form of governments wanting to eliminate me and the spy risk I represent (hmm…plot bunny?) and/or being accused of insider trading if I do better than one might expect in the stock market (gotta admit, teleporting into boardroom closets to do that might be tempting) and/or becoming a suspect in unsolved crimes. Clearly great care would have to be taken to keep my superpower secret, which sadly, would have an undesirable effect on its recreational benefits. On second though, maybe I should go with something like being able to read minds (but only if I can turn it off and on at will and direct it with precision).

Where can readers purchase your books?

Readers can purchase my books at JMS Books ( and at distributors everywhere (! Note, all of my stories (though not necessarily all of the books…some of the collections are excluded) are in Kindle Unlimited. They’re not in via KDP so they’re not tied to that pesky exclusivity deal and are also available at all the usual retailers.

Welcome to our brand new zine!

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.