Sunlight Sucks

Welcome to Sunlight Sucks, erotic romance author Lex Valentine’s blog. This has been Lex’s blog since before Lex was Lex, back in the days when she was just Winter, blogging here and writing in an online serial story called The...
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Growling Cows

I can’t believe that in the Memorial Day madness of having to go to work, I forgot to post last Monday. Yeesh. I’m a dork. But yeah, I do work on Memorial Day. I have for the last 13 years because my company puts on a big Memorial Day event. I ate something my stomach didn’t agree with at the event (been having health issues related to my stomach lately) and spent the next two days in bed in agony. Meh. I’m better now and staying away from a lot of foods I used to eat.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering about the odd title of my post. Rott came in the house the other night and said the cows were growling. Well, I grew up across the street from a dairy. I’d never heard a cow growl before. Here in the canyon, the cows come up to our fence, thrust their heads over and munch our plants and grass. I often hear them mooing and lowing. I think the growling Rott refers to is lowing. However, to his city boy eyes the cows look mean and they sound like they are growling.

I realized it’s all perception.

Perception has been the thorn in my side this week. Luckily, not a bad thorn. More a resigned eyerolling type of thorn. And no, it’s not the growling cows that pricked me. It’s Goodreads reviews or maybe it’s just reviews in general and it’s just the Goodreads ones that stuck their thorny selves into my hide.

Here’s the deal: I wrote a FREE story for the M/M Goodreads group. Someone decided to attach the stories to the author profiles so people could click on them and review them. There are two reviews on my story where the readers obviously have very different perceptions of my story than I have. They didn’t trash the story, but their comments were slightly sarcastic and showed that they weren’t happy with how I wrote the story. Mostly, they weren’t happy with it because they just didn’t see things the way I see things.

Let me break it down for you a little. First, they complained about the realism of my story because one hero doesn’t realize the other hero is the son of famous parents. Their take on this was that in the age of the internet, Daren should have known who Taylor really was. My take on this is that I don’t fucking know what KK Downing of Judas Priest’s son looks like. A lot of famous people have kids whose faces aren’t known to the public and whom you might not find if you Google them. And my character doesn’t have a reason to Google the man he’s in love with. Not everyone is into Googling the people they know. And this is a family where the famous father doesn’t want his kids in the limelight, doesn’t want them in the music business and wants him to be an attorney! A father like that isn’t going to let the press take photos of his kids. And that is exactly who my character’s father is.

Next item, the reviewers complained about how callous Daren was with his fuck buddy Wes. Well, for one, have you ever seen how unsentimental men can be about a fuck? I mean, even straight guys can be that way. I said straight up that Wes was with Daren solely as a fuck buddy. Daren wasn’t using Wes without Wes’s consent. Wes puts himself out there as a fuck buddy. I clearly said so when I said Wes flitted from man to man like a butterfly in a garden. Daren at least likes Wes as a friend. Yes, he was using him for the occasional blow job without much reciprocity, but that’s how Wes arranged the relationship. It wasn’t Daren doing something that was hurtful to Wes.

You know, a man read this story before I turned it in. A GAY MAN read the story. He didn’t see anything wrong in the way I portrayed the men and their motivations. In fact, he reminded me that men don’t use as many words as women when they talk about themselves and their relationships. He reminded me that men aren’t always as sentimental as women and can compartmentalize sex. We also had a discussion about a certain set of female readers who expect all gay romances to be as flowery and emotion baring as het romances when in reality a lot of men – including gay ones – just don’t talk like that or explain themselves that way. So whose perception of reality is actually skewed here?

The third item that they didn’t like was how Daren and Taylor react when they finally reveal they’re in love with each other. After five years, they felt the two men should be swooning over each other. In the story Daren pinches himself hard to make sure he’s not dreaming, but overall, both men are relieved everything’s going to be okay. They’re eager to get to bed. They aren’t into a long discussion of feelings right then. You love me? Great, I love you too. Can we fuck now and talk later cause I’ve had a boner for you for five years?

It’s a humorous scene which is how I intended it. So in this instance, there is a little literary license taken because the scene is meant to be funny not all that reality based. But again, a GAY MAN read this and didn’t find it to be out of the ordinary at all. Men downplay their emotions a lot and use humor to cover. So once again, the two readers have a different perception of reality than me and my gay male beta reader (who is an author as well.)

So I guess they heard growling cows. Meh. It happens. What can you do? ;)

How about a Marcus so I can get myself off to work?

Such a fun photo! Well, that’s my perception anyway. LOL Have a great Monday!

 

10 Responses to “Growling Cows”

  1. Winter says:

    The story is called Entangled. You can find it on the M/M Goodreads group. I don’t think this link will work for you if you’re not a member of the group.

    http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/882553-lex-valentine-entangled-5-29

    Here’s a link to Entangled’s reviews.

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13699777-entangled

    Overall, the reviews on this story are good. And the women’s reviews weren’t bad reviews. They just weren’t good reviews either and the only bone I had to pick was what I talked about in the post. These women have their opinion of the story and other people have a different opinion. I have reasons why my story reads as it does and I explain them here in this post for anyone who doesn’t get it. Whether it changes your perception of the story or not is strictly up to you.

    You may still see Daren as “flippant” while the rest of us see the scene as humorous and see Daren as bringing a little levity to the situation because it’s a happy moment. He doesn’t really want to sit there and bemoan his years of unrequited love and be overly emotional. He wants to go to bed with Taylor and cement the fact that they’re going to be together. It’s a guy thing and more than one man has told me it’s spot on. Female perceptions obviously vary widely on this.

    And for those whose hearts were breaking over Stone giving up Daren because he knew Daren had a crush on Taylor. C’mon. I think half of us in this world have done that. It’s heartbreaking in the moment but years later? Not heartbreaking anymore. He’s over it. He was over it a long time before Taylor and Daren get together. And he realized then that Daren wasn’t the love of his life. There is no need for anyone to be heartbroken over Stone giving up Daren 5 years in the past.

    The more I think about Wes the more I think about why he’s turned himself into a fuck buddy. HE’S the one people should be heartbroken for. And not because of Daren either. He used Daren as much as Daren used him and they ARE friends. The person in Wes’s past who turned him into a guy who has no relationships and offers himself to all his friends as a fuck buddy is the bad guy here…maybe. I don’t know his story yet or why he hurt Wes. Maybe he’s not a bad guy. But I seriously think Wes does what he does A) because his heart belongs to someone else even if that person broke him and his heart and B) because he has a problem being alone even though he can’t be in a relationship. Being the fuck buddy of half a dozen guys ensures you rarely have to spend an evening alone thinking about your past.

    Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting. If you read Entangled, I hope you get it or if you don’t, I hope you at least understand my explanations here.

  2. Winter says:

    The story is called Entangled. You can find it on the M/M Goodreads group. I don’t think this link will work for you if you’re not a member of the group.

    http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/882553-lex-valentine-entangled-5-29

    Here’s a link to Entangled’s reviews.

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13699777-entangled

    Overall, the reviews on this story are good. And the women’s reviews weren’t bad reviews. They just weren’t good reviews either and the only bone I had to pick was what I talked about in the post. These women have their opinion of the story and other people have a different opinion. I have reasons why my story reads as it does and I explain them here in this post for anyone who doesn’t get it. Whether it changes your perception of the story or not is strictly up to you.

    You may still see Daren as “flippant” while the rest of us see the scene as humorous and see Daren as bringing a little levity to the situation because it’s a happy moment. He doesn’t really want to sit there and bemoan his years of unrequited love and be overly emotional. He wants to go to bed with Taylor and cement the fact that they’re going to be together. It’s a guy thing and more than one man has told me it’s spot on. Female perceptions obviously vary widely on this.

    And for those whose hearts were breaking over Stone giving up Daren because he knew Daren had a crush on Taylor. C’mon. I think half of us in this world have done that. It’s heartbreaking in the moment but years later? Not heartbreaking anymore. He’s over it. He was over it a long time before Taylor and Daren get together. And he realized then that Daren wasn’t the love of his life. There is no need for anyone to be heartbroken over Stone giving up Daren 5 years in the past.

    The more I think about Wes the more I think about why he’s turned himself into a fuck buddy. HE’S the one people should be heartbroken for. And not because of Daren either. He used Daren as much as Daren used him and they ARE friends. The person in Wes’s past who turned him into a guy who has no relationships and offers himself to all his friends as a fuck buddy is the bad guy here…maybe. I don’t know his story yet or why he hurt Wes. Maybe he’s not a bad guy. But I seriously think Wes does what he does A) because his heart belongs to someone else even if that person broke him and his heart and B) because he has a problem being alone even though he can’t be in a relationship. Being the fuck buddy of half a dozen guys ensures you rarely have to spend an evening alone thinking about your past.

    Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting. If you read Entangled, I hope you get it or if you don’t, I hope you at least understand my explanations here.

  3. Jaime Samms says:

    So A) I actually served lunch to Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria, twice, without recognizing them, and famous people never come this far north of everything that is good and decent in the entertainment world. So the fact he didn’t know who the son of a famous guy was? Not so far fetched at all.

    and B) I’ve had reviews on my books where one reader praised the very element in a book another reader trashed, so yeah. Perception really is everything.

  4. Jaime Samms says:

    So A) I actually served lunch to Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria, twice, without recognizing them, and famous people never come this far north of everything that is good and decent in the entertainment world. So the fact he didn’t know who the son of a famous guy was? Not so far fetched at all.

    and B) I’ve had reviews on my books where one reader praised the very element in a book another reader trashed, so yeah. Perception really is everything.

  5. I can totally get that he didn’t know that the person he was sleeping with was the son of a famous person. I don’t google people unless they’re authors and I want to know more about their books, what the actor, who’s been suggested for a part in a TV Show or Movie I like, looks like or well that’s about it.

    I didn’t know Kate Hudson was Goldie Hawn’s daughter or who the kids are of famous people unless they do something or are acting in something. Other than that, I could care less.

    So, to me it’s totally realistic even in the age of the internet to not know who’s kid it is you’re sleeping with. Not everyone googles people they’ve just met.

  6. I can totally get that he didn’t know that the person he was sleeping with was the son of a famous person. I don’t google people unless they’re authors and I want to know more about their books, what the actor, who’s been suggested for a part in a TV Show or Movie I like, looks like or well that’s about it.

    I didn’t know Kate Hudson was Goldie Hawn’s daughter or who the kids are of famous people unless they do something or are acting in something. Other than that, I could care less.

    So, to me it’s totally realistic even in the age of the internet to not know who’s kid it is you’re sleeping with. Not everyone googles people they’ve just met.

  7. I was informed over the weekend that no gay man would ever read my M/M fiction because, as the person I was speaking to put it, “I’m a lesbian, and I wouldn’t read lesbian fiction written by a straight person or a man, so I don’t believe gay men would ever read anything written by a straight woman.” That was just one of many generalizations about gay men that she included in our conversation, because according to her it’s her culture so she knows everything about it and I know nothing. (Yes, she said that).

    I also had someone on Goodreads strongly imply that Tobias in my novel Salad on the Side is a rapist because he–the Alpha of a pack–slept with one of the low-ranking females in the pack (in the past) and “treats her badly.” Even though the story made it clear that unmated alphas are *expected* to sleep with the unmated females in their packs, and that Tobias was punishing the woman for breaking pack law.

    In other words, there are always people who will find fault with things just because they can, whether they know what they’re talking about or not…

  8. I was informed over the weekend that no gay man would ever read my M/M fiction because, as the person I was speaking to put it, “I’m a lesbian, and I wouldn’t read lesbian fiction written by a straight person or a man, so I don’t believe gay men would ever read anything written by a straight woman.” That was just one of many generalizations about gay men that she included in our conversation, because according to her it’s her culture so she knows everything about it and I know nothing. (Yes, she said that).

    I also had someone on Goodreads strongly imply that Tobias in my novel Salad on the Side is a rapist because he–the Alpha of a pack–slept with one of the low-ranking females in the pack (in the past) and “treats her badly.” Even though the story made it clear that unmated alphas are *expected* to sleep with the unmated females in their packs, and that Tobias was punishing the woman for breaking pack law.

    In other words, there are always people who will find fault with things just because they can, whether they know what they’re talking about or not…

  9. I love to write man speak, because they don’t use flowery expressions and go on and on about things. They just state stuff and they are clueless about what you want them to say or talk about. Easy. Woman speak is harder. And I’m a woman.

    As for the perception thing. It’s so true. I have a friend who wrote a western. A really good western historical. Her hero was a gunslinger of Spanish American decent. She submitted the book to a contest. And one of the judges said she thought her hero was a sadomasochist. The the guy hadn’t shot anyone in the scene, hadn’t abused anyone, hadn’t flipped out a whip and tried to torture anyone. Just riden up on a horse and threatened the bad guys. I read the scene then the comments and I was like “Where the hell did she get this stuff?”

    So yeah perception can be a dandy thing.
    You should have put a link to your story so we could go to it and comment on our perceptions about it. Just a suggestion.

    Write on,
    Teresa J. Reasor

  10. I love to write man speak, because they don’t use flowery expressions and go on and on about things. They just state stuff and they are clueless about what you want them to say or talk about. Easy. Woman speak is harder. And I’m a woman.

    As for the perception thing. It’s so true. I have a friend who wrote a western. A really good western historical. Her hero was a gunslinger of Spanish American decent. She submitted the book to a contest. And one of the judges said she thought her hero was a sadomasochist. The the guy hadn’t shot anyone in the scene, hadn’t abused anyone, hadn’t flipped out a whip and tried to torture anyone. Just riden up on a horse and threatened the bad guys. I read the scene then the comments and I was like “Where the hell did she get this stuff?”

    So yeah perception can be a dandy thing.
    You should have put a link to your story so we could go to it and comment on our perceptions about it. Just a suggestion.

    Write on,
    Teresa J. Reasor