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Manga and Romance Blog Hop




How does someone like me, who thinks of herself as somewhat cynical about romance in Real Life, come to be writing romance, and m/m romance at that?

Taking part in this blog hop has made me sit and think about this, putting the thoughts that I haven't really put into words, per se, down 'on paper'.

Deep down I do believe in romance, that there's a happily ever after, and a soul mate out there for everyone. It's just that some never find that right person. Writing and reading is my 'downtime' from reality, so for the most part I want my happy ever afters (HEA) or at least happy for nows (HFN) to be a part of it.

There's too much nasty stuff going on in the world without wanting to dwell on it in what I read as well. I'd prefer to read and write about someone who does find their 'missing piece' or 'other half', but that doesn't mean I won't put them through hell first before they get their happy ending. Anything worth anything is worth fighting for, right?

I also find it far more interesting to read about someone going through obstacles or a bad experience who has someone who cares about what happens to them – it makes me feel more invested to care about them and what happens next.

Romance isn't just about the 'I love yous' and the like, it's being prepared to do what it takes to keep the other person safe, actions speaking far more than words, although putting those feelings into words are important too. Exploring how these men grow both individually and together is also a big part of it. I want to see how their relationship impacts on each of them as a person, for that realisation that they don't want to go back to being alone, that their life is better with the person they love, and that they'd do whatever it takes to be the best they can for them, and to keep them safe.

Okay, so maybe I'm not as much of a cynic as I thought I was...although in saying that, not everything I read does have a happy ending, so perhaps it's the hope of one which is the important thing, or the moments of happiness these characters share – the journey rather than the destination?

Why m/m? I must admit I hadn't read a lot of romance until I found slash online, followed closely by manga and anime. In writing two men together, I get to explore their relationship without the female/male 'roles' getting in the way, or the preconceptions that come with those gender roles. On a shallower note, the visuals are rather appealing too ;)

They're also the characters who 'turn up', want their story told, and annoy me until I write it for them. For some reason they never seem satisfied with a get together story, but then want more and more. Apparently, I'm told, that's what sequels and series are for. :P

As a reader, I read gay romance for the same reasons as I write it. It makes sense that we write what we want to read. It's why I started writing these stories in the first place. Sometimes I'm in the mood for something lighter and feel good, other times I want something more angsty, and full of whumping (hurt/comfort). Likewise, I'll settle down some evenings with a novel, other times with a manga, just as with other genres, sometimes I'm more in the mood for a graphic novel.

I love reading manga, and have done ever since a friend gave me a copy of Desire by Maki Kazumi and Yukine Honami, nearly seven years ago and said "read this, you'll love it." I did, and being a true friend, she then sent me more to feed the addiction as did another friend who decided there were manga out there I had to read. I now have 2 double stacked shelves on my bookcase full of manga, which is impressive considering I didn't find a reasonably priced overseas source for them until a couple of years ago.

Sometimes I like having the pictures to go with stories, rather than having to use my imagination. It's one of the reasons I enjoy a well written manga, although the artwork can make or break it for me, but even taking that into account there's still plenty of good stories and artwork out there to keep me happy. The stories are not always sweet, sometimes they're angsty and like anime, there's not always a guarantee of a happy ending – Yes, Winter, Cicada I'm looking at you – but that's life, and part of how it goes.

If it reaches out and touches me, no matter the ending, and I find myself caring what happens to the characters within its pages, and they care about each other, it's done what it's meant to do, and I find myself wanting more, because I'm greedy that way.

But no matter how I get my fix, either with romance or yaoi manga, the constant with both of them is that I need more hours in the day and I'm never ever going to catch up completely with everything I want to read or write.

^+^



To be in to win an ebook copy from my backlist, leave a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts on manga and romance :) This will also enter you in the Grand Prize and don't forget to check out the Scavenger Hunt too.

Also don't forget to check out the other yaoi and m/m romance authors and fans taking part in the hop. You can find them here

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Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
nighttempest.blogspot.com
Jun. 23rd, 2012 01:05 am (UTC)
Winter Cicada
I usually avoid mangas without an HEA, and I knew going into Winter Cicada that it was about the love they shared while they could. *But* the story was so well done that I couldn't put it down, even knowing what was coming. I still to this day can't pick that book up without wanting to cry. Call me sensitive or whatever you want, but I refuse to. LOL.

Thanks for sharing your perspective on M/M romance. I enjoyed visiting. :)

~Night

NightTempestBlog@gmail.com
anne_barwell
Jun. 28th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Winter Cicada
I didn't know it wasn't going to be a HEA when I watched Winter Cicada. I went through a lot of tissues watching it, but I loved the storyline and the characters so it was worth it. So sad though.

Thanks for visiting. :)
http://openid.aol.com/vitajex
Jun. 23rd, 2012 02:19 am (UTC)
I definitely need an HEA or at least an HFN too...I guess m/m and yaoi still have an element of being an escapist treat for me, and I don't think a downbeat ending makes a plot more meaningful. But it's all about characters first for me, so whatever their story dictates, I'll understand the need for.

vitajex(at)aol(dot)com
anne_barwell
Jun. 28th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
I prefer a HEA or at least a HFN but same as you, it's all about the characters for me, and sometimes those endings don't work. But in saying that I'd like to think of them being happy and having at least the hope of a future together.
paranoidpen
Jun. 23rd, 2012 04:25 am (UTC)
I've always been like that too. In both reading and writing.
People would see me reading and go 'you like that'?
Apparently it's the idealist in me.

I for one, though when I first started writing m/m or romance in general, had a rather cynical view about love.
Maybe writing let me live it, or at least keep the small tiny dim hope alive that the world isn't such a deep dark place.

Then again, it's late after a long work day and this is just off the top of my tired head.

There is the fact that I have a rather hard time writing girls... ;p
anne_barwell
Jun. 28th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
What you're saying makes a lot of sense especially about keeping the small tiny dim hope alive.

I think we all need that somewhere, whether it's in a small corner of reality or in our reading and writing.
paranoidpen
Jul. 28th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
[nods] And to keep that small bit alive you must keep yourself constantly exposed to these stories or writing.
Lou Sylvre
Jun. 23rd, 2012 07:09 am (UTC)
Unsuspected addictions
I had no idea you were that into Manga (yaoi)! As I've said, I know so little about the genre, but I am interested. I think you sort of hit on one of the areas I find difficult going in--I love words. I like to read "word intensive" fiction. It seems words are sparse in Manga. Am I right about that? You and I totally agree on wanting an HEA after trials and troubles. I used to read different things... literary or horror novels that had bleak endings. It's realistic, in a way, but as I've gotten older I just don't have tolerance for investing so much (for readers invest a lot), and having it come out bad in the end. We also agree on needing more time. Definititely. More. Time. Thanks for posting, Anne.
anne_barwell
Jun. 28th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Unsuspected addictions
*grins* I've been into manga for a long time and anime even longer. There's still dialogue and words in manga, beautiful dialogue and words within a relationship often, but instead of having to use words to describe, or use your imagination to visualise it's there for you. But in saying that the style of artwork can make or break for me. I like my guys to look like guys and some of the ukes in manga just don't.

I'm also a huge comics fan from way back so it wasn't that much of a transition for me - and I still read comics too.

I'm more into happy endings these days for the reasons you've said, although I've seen a few movies of late with downbeat endings I've enjoyed. Or read a few books - like Counterpoint which made me cry - but not sure I could do that to 'my' guys. Or whether they'd let me.
Yvette Ganoe
Jun. 23rd, 2012 12:39 pm (UTC)
I am new to Yaoi and manga but have my interest peaked thanks to this blog hop!
Yvette
yratpatrol@aol.com
anne_barwell
Jun. 28th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
Always happy to help peak interest :)
(Anonymous)
Jun. 23rd, 2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
I love that in MM romance the way the character interact is a surprise, I found that in MF romance there seems t be more of a formula and fewer interesting dynamics. Once I read my first I was hooked! I haven't read much manga but i have a feeling this hop will change that!

Lillywriting@gmail.com
anne_barwell
Jun. 28th, 2012 10:56 pm (UTC)
One of the things about M/M that I love is not having to deal with the gender stereotyping. I was hooked when I read my first one too!

I enjoy reading manga as I like a mix of styles in my diet.
(Deleted comment)
anne_barwell
Jul. 2nd, 2012 06:40 am (UTC)
Oh, I hadn't known that tokyopop had shut down! I'm a little more out of the manga loop than I used to be. Only so many hours in the day :( I'm with you in that I haven't watched or read nearly as much as I've wanted, both with manga/anime and regular books.

Earthian is one I've heard of. I think I have the fansubbed anime somewhere - one of a long list of things to watch.

My list is so long I wonder if I'm ever going to get the end of it - and yet I keep adding to it.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 24th, 2012 08:26 am (UTC)
I love both romance and manga. I'm similar to you, I'm a cynic with real-life romance. That's why I love stories with HEAs or at least HFNs. I like to imagine that stuff like that can happen in real life. One of the reasons I love manga is because I'm a visual person. I like visualizing scenes and to see them the way the writer intended just makes it that much better. I've always been a comics fan as well, so for me it was similar territory.

Emily W.
tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com
anne_barwell
Jul. 2nd, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
I found there wasn't much of a leap from comics to manga - I was still reading about characters I wanted to learn more about and with the visuals to go with it.

Imagination is a good thing - somedays it's what keeps us going.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 24th, 2012 12:14 pm (UTC)
You sound about like me, cynical, but still believing. Lost who I believe to be my soul mate many years ago, but I still remember.

~Amy

lina7391(at)hotmail(dot)com
anne_barwell
Jul. 2nd, 2012 09:37 pm (UTC)
That sums it up nicely - cynical but still believing. Thank you :)
bl0226
Jun. 24th, 2012 12:27 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed your 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
anne_barwell
Jul. 2nd, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed the post. I haven't read any of Junjo Romantica but I've seen the first season of the anime. I've heard of 'The Finders' - it's on my TBR list.
ericapike
Jun. 24th, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
I need my HEA's and HFN's too. I feel so cheated if there isn't one, whether it's in m/m romance or yaoi.

Erica
eripike at gmail dot com
anne_barwell
Jul. 2nd, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. Even if it's bittersweet I still want some hope in there, or that they've at least had a HFN moment.
e_noble
Jun. 24th, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks for a great post and for giving me the first Yaoi rec's and showing me the way...LOL
anne_barwell
Jul. 2nd, 2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
*grins* Always happy to help someone to the darkside.
Ana Bosch
Jun. 24th, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
I have to admit I'm relieved to hear another romance writer admit to being a cynic about romance in real life, because I'm the same way, to a fault. I enjoy giving my characters happiness through romance, but the only love affair I've ever had is with my work.

I do enjoy both HEA and bittersweet stories, though. I've always had a love for bittersweet stories that are told with a sense of beauty and artistry, and I feel like I'm missing something if I don't occasionally read something bittersweet.

Ana Bosch (ana -AT- bob-artist -DOT- com)
anne_barwell
Jun. 26th, 2012 07:03 am (UTC)
Congratulations! You've won.

I'll be in touch via email to arrange your prize.

Glad to know it's not just me who is cynical about romance in real life. I like a mix of HEA and bittersweet - too much of one or the other can be too much at times.
Manda Krowhop
Jun. 25th, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
"I need more hours in the day - never ever going to catch up with everything I want to read"
Story of my life. Well. My life for now. I recently 'discovered' mxm fiction/fantasy BOOKS, rather than managa/anime/fanfictions. I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner that such a thing not only could exist, but does. In stacks. But now that I have discovered it, I find myself neglecting my yaoi. It's really difficult to find a balance in my entertainment, I usually do one or the other for a week/month, and then switch, it seems. I am sure there are all sorts of Freudian interpretations of that, something about commitment issues... but bah. What do they know. Great post, and looking forward to reading some of your stuff!
anne_barwell
Jul. 2nd, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
Re: "I need more hours in the day - never ever going to catch up with everything I want to read"
Thanks. I was like you - didn't know m/m existed until a few years ago at least not in the degree it really does. I was limited to library shelves and what was available locally and getting very frustrated by the lack of it. Yay for the internet and for publishers such as Dreamspinner who are making it much more readily available.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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