Category Archives: Crossover Genres

Slash is nothing new- Arthurian romance and tragedy

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Slash is nothing new- Arthurian romance and tragedy

The Arthurian legends came about because of an interesting fusion of Southern French cultural values and Celtic/Welsh legends mixed in with a vernacular history of Wales after the fall of Rome, all stewed together in the interesting melting-pot of late 11th century Brittany. French and English writers in the 12th century added onto that inheritance from the folk culture of Brittany/Wales, creating the first true novels in Western literature.

A character called Galehaut shows up in the early versions, especially in the anonymously-written Lancelot-Grail, but he is increasingly sanitized, and then completely erased from later versions of the story.

Galehaut is the Lord of the Stranger’s Isles. He is the son of a great king and a giantess. This only gives him a small advantage in height and strength, and does not show otherwise, although he has conquered more than thirty other kingdoms since taking the crown.

When the story starts he has begun the invasion of Camelot, and he sees Lancelot fighting incognito on the battlefield. Immediately, Galehaut stops the war to find out who this knight is. It is, in fact, love at first sight. He realizes that Lancelot cannot love him, but he abandons everything to be beside him, even acting as chaperone when the great knight and the queen go on romantic assignations. Foolishly, Arthur believes that having a third party along will stop any improper relations.

Lancelot is beloved and desired by all. Arthur, when asked by Galehaut what he would do for his companion, says that he would share anything with Lancelot, except, of course, the queen. Making himself into the ultimate patsy. One of the other knights, by the name of Gauvain (who was a womanizer in the medieval literature) then says, ‘If God were to give me all the health I desire, I would want to be the fairest damsel in the world, in robust good health, as long as he loved me above all others, just as I would love him’.

If anyone reading the story had somehow missed the erotic gay subtext up until then… they probably got it after that one.

In the end, though, Galehaut does what all tragic heroes do… he hears that the one he loves above all has died (even though Lancelot is still fine), and wastes away until he is dead himself. Lancelot doesn’t spend a lot of time mourning this fact, and instead devotes himself completely to Guinevere, which of course hastens the downfall of the kingdom. You really have to wonder if Camelot would have done better if Lancelot had decided to go for Galehaut instead… Then Arthur would have had two legendary knights at his disposal when trouble came, instead of none.

After Arthur is gravely wounded, Guinevere goes to a convent and becomes a nun, telling Lancelot that she will never see him again. Lancelot goes to a monastery. When Lancelot dies he asks to be buried beside his truest friend and companion… Galehaut. Not Guinevere.

Galehaut eventually gets the moral and physical victory, although at great cost to himself. However, if you look at it, nobody really had a great time- not Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, Lancelot, or any of the cast and crew of Camelot.

The funny thing is, medieval writers spent a LOT of time saying ‘Oh, these knights love each other MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD! But, they’re not gay. NO!’

I wonder if then, as now, there was a tendency to ship your favourite characters. It seems to be built right into the literature.

The picture featured here shows Lancelot and Guinevere kissing across Galehaut’s lap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Brittany

http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/TourArtGen.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galehaut

And, for your listening pleasure- Mordred’s Lullaby, by the ever-talented Heather Dale

Elves and Coffee with Anna Zabo – plus a giveaway!

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CONTEST NOW CLOSED AND WINNERS ANNOUNCED HERE

Crossposted from kayberrisford.com

I’m thrilled to welcome to the site, Anna Zabo! Anna’s Loose Id novel, m/m paranormal Close Quarter, was published last week. Not only is she offering one lucky commenter/emailer a free copy of Close Quarter she’s blogging about a couple of things very close to my heart…

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Two things have a tendency to show up in my fiction: Coffee and elves. Well, not necessarily elves, but beings along those lines—beautiful, immortal, and magical beings. My debut m/m paranormal romance Close Quarter features a fae and quite a bit of coffee. I could wax on about coffee, but that’s not as much fun as fae.

I like exploring the edges of ageless living—and the pitfalls, because it can’t be all fun and games, and even powerful beings have their limitations.

Silas quint is a forest fae. He’s also a vampire hunter and he’s been sent to destroy a flock of vampires on a transatlantic cruise. And now he’s stuck in the middle of the ocean, away from his element. He’s not happy with the situation.

Then, a rather brash American named Rhys upends a tray of drinks all over him. He’d be downright cranky if Rhys weren’t so very interesting and quite beautiful… for a human.

Rhys sees right through Silas’s fae glamour. Which is a bit of an issue, since Rhys also notices that no one else sees the things Silas does. Like feel him up at one of the ship’s bars. Silas might not be able to tap into his elemental energy, but his libido works just fine.

In this excerpt Silas has invited Rhys to dinner to tell him what he really is, since he can’t hide the odd happenings. Rhys doesn’t take the news so well, at first.

Excerpt:

Rhys cleared his throat. “Silas? What are you doing to me?”

Silas answered with the truth. “Nothing.”

“Then what are you doing to everyone else?”

He couldn’t help but smile at that. “Merely showing them what they wish to see.”

Rhys laughed. “What are you, then? Some sort of magician?”

“No, not a magician.” He picked up his glass and drained the last of his scotch. Set it back down. “I’m one of the fae.”

Once more, Rhys went taut with shock. “Fae. You mean like a fairy?”

“Well, I don’t have wings. Nor do I fly about trailing pixie dust.” Silas stroked his thumb over the top of Rhys’s hand. “And I am a bit longer than five inches.”

Color drained from Rhys’s cheeks. “You’re serious.”

“Very.”

Rhys opened his mouth to speak again, disbelief clearly etched on his face. Fortunately the food arrived, providing Silas with a respite from questions.

He did have to give up Rhys’s hand to eat. Pity, that. He missed the touch of Rhys’s skin. Best to leave him be, for a time. He knew from having watched the man this past hour or so that Rhys needed to work things through in his mind.

Dinner conversation was nonexistent until Rhys spoke again. “Um, I’m not your servant for the next seven years, am I?” There was a clip to Rhys’s voice that was hard to interpret. Sarcasm, perhaps.

“Thomas the Rhymer. You know your classic tales.” Impressive, though Silas suppressed a shudder. Seven years bound to another’s will? He would not wish that on anyone. He had lived that, for far more years than seven.

Silas toyed with one of the shrimp on his plate. Rhys had gained back the color in his face, and splotches of red marred his neck. “No. I cannot bend your will to me. There is no Elfland beyond a river of blood to which I can take you. I am as much of this world as you.”

“I suppose that’s good. I’m not sure I’m ready to believe in magical worlds beyond this one.” He looked up at Silas. “What do you really look like?”

There was that clip again. Silas set his fork down. “You see me as I truly am. You ask why no one else reacts to me. To everyone else, I am not quite as arresting.”

He seemed to mull that over for a time. “So whatever you’re doing doesn’t work on me.”

“It doesn’t seem to, no.”

“Why not?”

Silas studied him. Oh, there was skepticism there. Perhaps anger as well. And why not? But the creeping awareness of truth lurked deep inside the man. “That’s what I’m trying to find out.”

HE HAS TO be lying. Rhys repeated that over and over in his head. Silas had to be lying, because the truth was impossible. Fae? Did Silas think him an idiot? Play with the ignorant rich boy’s mind for some kink? This had gone too far.

He latched on to the anger. Fae? No way in hell. “That’s a convenient dodge.”

Silas shrugged. “It’s the truth.”

What an asshole. “You don’t know what makes me so superspecial as to see through your illusions?”

“Glamour,” Silas said. A touch of annoyance crept into his voice. “And I have an idea but no proof.”

“You’re so full of shit.”

Finally the anger Rhys had witnessed that afternoon spread over Silas’s expression. “Am I?” It was every ounce a challenge.

“Yes.” Rhys pushed back his chair. Kissing a guy was one thing; people could ignore that. He took a deep breath and then shouted as loudly as he could. “Hey! Everyone! This guy says he’s a fucking fairy!”

The conversations in the room didn’t even dip. No one turned. Dishes clinked; servers moved. It was as if nothing had happened at all.

Oh hell. Rhys felt his whole body grow warm. He looked down at Silas.

“Are you through?”

Rhys sank to his chair. “Holy shit.”

A quirk of a dark smile formed in the lips of the man—the fae—on the other side of the table.

“That can’t be real. You can’t be…” Oh fuck. Silas’s looks, his passion and strength, that no one else on this entire ship wanted to jump the man—as crazy as it sounded, the explanation fit. Except maybe—

“I’m not being punked, am I?”

Lines of consternation appeared on Silas’s forehead. “I don’t even know what that means.”

Oh. “Tricked. Pranked.”

“No.” Silas rose and towered over the table. “Do you require more proof?”

He was afraid to say yes. Afraid to say no as well. “What are you going to do?”

“I haven’t decided.” He rounded the table and looked down at Rhys. “Truth is, I could lay you out on the table, strip you naked, and fuck you senseless, and no one would bat an eye. In the end, our waitress would simply come over and offer us dessert.”

Rhys’s mouth went dry. His whole body felt like fire. “You’re not going to…” Silas knelt.

“No.” Silas grasped the leg of Rhys’s chair and pulled it sideways. “The china’s too nice to simply push to the floor. I have another idea.” He reached for Rhys’s belt and unbuckled it.

His objective became blindingly obvious.

“Silas!” Rhys hissed his name. “You can’t!”

“I can. I will.” Silas looked up. “Unless you tell me to stop.”

Scroll on for more info, and a chance to WIN a copy of Close Quarter

Blurb: On a transatlantic cruise to New York, sculptor Rhys Matherton struggles to piece his life back together after losing his mother, inheriting a fortune, and finding out his father isn’t his father after all. He spills a tray of drinks on a handsome stranger, then he finds himself up against a wall getting the best hand-job he’s ever had. And for the first time in his life, he feels whole.

Rhys enjoys the company of Silas Quint, but for the eerie way no one pays attention to them even while they kiss in a crowded bar. Silas explains he’s a forest fae able to glamor the room around them—and more importantly, that he’s on the cruise to hunt vampires. Rhys thinks Silas is full of it, until he discovers vampires are real, and he’s part of the main course.

Silas Quint can’t be distracted by a human lover, even one as lovely as Rhys. Stuck in the middle of the ocean, he has barely enough of energy to hunt the vampires he’s been sent to destroy. Rhys is full of the one thing Silas needs needs most—the element of living plants. Only sucking energy from Rhys would make Silas as soulless as the creatures he hunts. How can he keep Rhys safe, without becoming like the very monsters he hunts?

Buy it now :)

If you would like to win a copy of Close Quarter, please leave your email in the comments, spelling it out to e.g. katy2222@gmail.com would be katy2222 at gmail dot com.

Alternatively, email me at kayberrisford@yahoo.co.uk, with “Anna Contest” in the title line and you will be entered. No emails will be retained for any other purpose, and the winner will be chosen by random selection software and announced on kayberrisford.com by 1st December.

All commenters and entries to contests over the next month will also be entered in a draw to win a copy of my new m/m paranormal, Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone and a $15 Loose Id voucher.

Thank you :)

Bio: Anna Zabo writes erotic paranormal romance and fantasy. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think. A lover of all things fae, she finds the wonderful and the magical amid the steel and iron of her city.

You can find her online at annazabo.com, on Facebook, and on twitter as @amergina, where you will also find her other not-so-secret identity.

Crossing the Line

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Do You Cross The Line? By Alex Beecroft

Here’s a topic that’s on my mind at the moment – crossovers and crossing genres. As an author I hold my hands up and confess to being a serial monogamistas far as inspiration goes. That means, if I’m fired by enthusiasm for the 18th Century, I’ll spend five or more years writing stories set in the 18th Century. And that’s great, isn’t it, because people will get used to the idea that if you pick up an Alex Beecroft book, it’ll be set somewhere around the 1750s and will probably involve sailing ships. I’ve got this branding thing sorted.

The trouble is that eventually my happy little butterfly of a writer’s mind decides its got all the juice out of the celandine of historical fiction, and flits off to the bluebell of fantasy instead, where it hopes to suck up enough sugar to last another half decade. But butterflies are flighty things, and who knows how long that will last before it’s off to the daisy of contemporaries or the purple flowering loosestrife of gothic murder mystery? And as if that wasn’t bad enough, who knows when it will cycle round to historical again and set in for a five book series set in the stone age?

From my point of view as an author, I love the fact that I can write about what takes my fancy at any time, and I’m rather pleased to know that if one obsession peters out, I can find another one. It’s much preferable, from my POV, for me to be writing from love and enthusiasm than it would be if I felt compelled to write more of the same over and over because that was what was expected of me. I think that writing something simply because I felt I ought to would make my life not worth living, and it would also lead to the slow but inevitable descent of my stories into lifeless rubbish.

At the risk of being a little controversial, I can’t help feeling sometimes that that’s what happened to the later volumes of Harry Potter, or the Anita Blake novels – the authors got fed up of churning the same thing out and lost interest, and it showed.

But I can’t help wondering what readers think of that. I, for example, know that I will read anything at all written by Ursula LeGuin, no matter what the genre, but I will only read CJ Cherryh’s Science Fiction and not her fantasy.  What about you? Will you follow an author whose work you enjoy across genres? Or do you think “oh, I wish she would stop messing about with werewolf cop romps in Barbados, and get back to her 12th Century gardening detective novels.” Does the butterfly author risk losing everything every time they try something new?

And since I’m talking about crossing lines, lets talk about crossovers too. Here I’m on even more personal territory. I’ve realised that while I love historical romance and I love fantasy and mystery, what I’d like most would be to write historical fantasy romance. Maybe even historical fantasy mystery romance. The book I had most of a blast writing was The Wages of Sin – a historical ghost story murder mystery m/m romance.

Even my new Fantasy novels, Under the Hill: Bomber’s Moon and Under the Hill: Dogfighters have a strong streak of World War II in amongst the elves and the contemporary romance. I’m trying to have my cake and eat it – trying to amalgamate all the genres I like into every story.

But again – lots of doubts. Does, say, a historical fantasy appeal to both historical and fantasy fans, or does the presence of fantasy put off the historical fans, and the presence of history put off the fantasy ones, so it ends up appealing to neither?

These are the questions that are keeping me up recently, and I don’t have any answers. What do you think? Is it a good thing if authors jump genres? Should they change pseudonym if they do to avoid confusion? Is it a good thing to amalgamate genres, or should the genres be like noble gasses and resolutely refuse to be made into compounds? And if you like the idea of crossovers, what would you like to see crossed over with what, and why?

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Alex Beecroft was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She studied English and Philosophy before accepting employment with the Crown Court where she worked for a number of years. Now a stay-at-home mum and full time author, Alex lives with her husband and two daughters in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.

Alex is only intermittently present in the real world.She has lead a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800 year old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.

You can find me at http://alexbeecroft.com or http://alex-beecroft.livejournal.com I talk more on LJ