by Cameron D. James
M/M Erotic Romance/Contemporary
Champagne Books/Carnal Passions Imprint
Dustin likes the closet. It’s warm, comfy, and dark. Who needs to be out when you can get all the anonymous sex you want via the internet? And, besides, coming out is messy and gets you nowhere—certainly not a relationship. Real gay love is fiction.
When Dustin meets CollegeJock22 for a quick blow-and-go in the university library men’s room, everything he thought he knew crumbles. He can’t get that man out of his head and will do almost anything to have him. The only problem? CollegeJock22 is even more in the closet than Dustin. He’s in so deep he can’t even see the crack of light under the door.
Dustin doesn't believe in love. He believes in sex, hot anonymous sex with contacts he finds on the internet. Lust is fine, gay love doesn't exist, or that's what Dustin thinks. Things change for him after his first encounter with CollegeJock22, otherwise known as Kyle. Dustin can't stop thinking about him and wonders if he should initiate another meeting, despite usually only meeting a hook-up once and then onto the next one.
Fate steps in and Dustin discovers that Kyle is the new tutor that's been assigned to him. But Kyle makes it clear from the outset that he wants to keep their relationship strictly professional and does not want a repeat of what happened in the men's room. Dustin agrees, but he still can't stop thinking of the handsome student and seeks out some new contacts to try and forget Kyle.
Dustin finds the anonymous sex makes now him feel used and feeling as if something is missing, something he never thought he needed or thought he would ever find. He wants love, he wants commitment and he knows he won't find it in the closet and with one-off hook-ups. The problem is he wants Kyle, but can he convince Kyle to come out of the closet with him?
This was an interesting read and I loved the contrast between Dustin's internet hook-ups and the things he feels with Kyle. I found the explicit scenes between Dustin and the internet guys a bit of an uncomfortable read, but I think that was probably because as a reader we are in Dustin's head and know how uncomfortable Dustin found these incidents now. We're feeling his discomfort.
I did find it a little strange that Dustin, a student at a university in Toronto, in Canada, one of the very first countries to allow gay marriage, felt that gay love was something that didn't exist except in books or movies. Maybe he was just young and didn't realise love could come in any form, whether straight, gay or bi.
Some parts of the book were heart-wrenching, such as one scene where Dustin tries to kiss Kyle and it's that which scares him off completely, rather than anything sexual. It was a turning point for Dustin, after that he knows it's time to come out and face things with his friends, if they will still be his friends once they know the truth about him.
I think the author has done a good job of exploring how difficult it is to come out, even in this day and age. Some of the language is a bit coarser than what I've read before in M/M romances (but most of those were written by women, not gay men), but I don't think the author does it to shock, it is believable that this is how Dustin thinks of things. I think it would have worked better with a little less focus on the sex and more on Dustin discovering himself. But all in all an enjoyable read.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby
by Cameron D. James
How I Got Autumn Fire Published
My publishing journey was a little different than most, I would think.
I come from a background of science fiction writing and it was wearing me down. I have a great series of novels planned, but I needed to step away from it for a while. My partner and I were talking and I tentatively said I’d like to try m/m erotic romance. To my relief, he didn’t give me a funny look – he loved the idea!
But still, the question remained of how I was going to do this, having never read an erotic romance. I tried Googling various search terms, but as soon as you type in “gay” and “erotic,” no matter what the other search terms are, all you get are either dirty fan fiction or porn. So that wasn’t helpful.
My partner knew of a literary agent that almost exclusively handled erotic fiction. On a whim, I sent her a quirky email to ask about the genre – who to read, average word count, general tips and warnings, and things like that. I got a lovely reply back that, among other things, included a list of the authors she represents. I immediately read three books before planning mine.
Within days I had a dirty story forming in my head. I sat down with my partner and worked out the plot. A couple months later I had the manuscript done and finished!
I sent it to the agent for her consideration, but got rejected (but with a super helpful note that detailed why and how I can improve, all of which I incorporated into a revision).
In the meantime, I attended a writing convention that included a live-action slushpile, sort of an American Idol for writing. First pages from manuscripts were submitted anonymously and read aloud, and a panel of agents and publishers detailed why they would have rejected or accepted it. Four out of the five on the panel flat-out rejected my first page – but, really, that’s because none of them handle erotic fiction and the concept of a bathroom blowjob was making them visibly uncomfortable.
The one person that liked it, the publisher for Champagne Books, approached me afterwards. I knew her from a few conventions and she knew I was writing a dirty book – she had correctly guessed it was mine and told me it was excellent! Long story short, I was invited to submit to Champagne Books, I did, and I was almost immediately signed!
Autumn Fire is now published by Champagne’s erotic imprint, Carnal Passions, almost exactly one year after the publisher said she liked my work.
When Cameron D James isn’t writing gay erotic romance, he can be found studying for his Masters, working in his dull office job, or reading five books at once. But, really, you’re most likely to find him writing. He loves crafting hot, sexy, sweaty, throbbing scenes, interwoven with lust and deep emotions for an orgasmic whole. He writes out of a love of characters, wherever those characters may lead.
main blog: www.camerondjames.wordpress.com
smutty NSFW Tumblr: www.camerondjames.tumblr.com
Twitter: @Cameron_D_James (www.twitter.com/Cameron_D_James)