The Novel Approach welcomes author Sam Standish today to chat a bit about Making Men, his new novel from Wilde City Press. Enjoy the tease Sam’s offered, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win an e-copy of the book.
Get on Twitter, they said. A handsome author spent an entire dinner telling me. A blogger who I know knows what she’s talking about trumpeted it on Facebook: Get on Twitter! No excuses!
So I am now @MakingmenSam, because I wrote a homoerotic novel called Making Men. (I will shortly explain that title.) I began by following writers and readers of gay erotica and romance. Soon I was followed in turn not only by fellow writers but by purveyors of gay porn. I followed them back, and I reaped the harvest: an overwhelming collection of longer, thicker, harder, beefier, more ripped (and sometimes more PhotoShopped) bodies. Sometimes photos just of dicks. How many do I need? How many gifs of sucking and fucking and ejaculating? I hurriedly posted or retweeted the hunks I liked best—not for their dicks but usually for their smiles—and I moved on. That would get the minimal level of attention and keep me in the game. In the process, however, I betrayed myself and my book.
How? My book is not about well-hung hunks. It is, subtly, a paean to ordinary guys and how they are made, how they are realized, as men. If you’ve read the book, at first you might scratch your head. What’s so ordinary about guys who fuck as wildly and constantly as my characters do? But that’s the world I made for them. In my book, men live to fuck. I wanted the sexy thing about them to be their mix of ease, frankness, passion, endurance and emotional as well as physical nakedness. Looks? Well, they find one another beautiful. About their bodies I say little, though, except when those bodies are accomplishing sexual communion. Cocks and balls are worshipped for what they are, but size is not mentioned. The most memorable references to size come from characters who worry that they are “not big enough.” But we told how big they are. Those characters’ anxieties—and readers’ anxieties about them, perhaps—are resolved in other ways. What makes these men are not muscles or cocks, rather, there have a purity, an aspiration, a humility, and a tender and attentive caring that cause them to offer their bodies in a certain way. These men are made by and in acts of love. They are made by other men who love both themselves and their partners in copulation, fully and unself-consciously. As mentioned, these guys are humble. They revel in their masculinity, but they do not think they are hot stuff. Even as they fuck wildly, they bow to other things.
I made my men this way because I like to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. I get great pleasure from sexy regular guys. If you practice, finding those guys, and finding that quality in them, becomes easy. Capturing those guys and that quality is more difficult. Sexy regular guys almost by definition don’t know they are sexy. Get them to pose and they lose the heart-melting quality. They may acquire a veneer of defensiveness. I hate to spoil a whole category of photo for you, but have you ever thought about why guys are photographed with hard-ons? It would seem obvious. Hard is sexy, because the hard man in the picture is about to… What? Not actually give you anything. Just show you something. He only got hard to be photographed. He is not necessarily even excited. He has erected (deliberate word choice) a barrier to keep you out and maintain his solitary godliness. I’m much more into pictures—candid shots especially—of guys naked but soft. Their vulnerability and their potential, the thought of what their strong but vulnerable selves might do, excites me more than the hard-on, confident of the Pavlovian response it will get. (I will admit to liking one kind of hard-on pic—the pointing-straight-up-all-on-its-own kind.)
I find my regular guys online searching offbeat, amateur tumblrs like Naked Regular Guys, Regular Guys, Naked, neither of which is to be confused with the inferior, in my opinion, Regular Guys Naked (with no comma, and yes, those are three entirely different tumblrs, though these sites have crossover). There’s also Normal Guys, Guys of All Shapes & Sizes, Dorky and Fuzzy, the highly specialized Soft Cut Dick Only and many more. In short, someone else has this penchant for everyday guys caught in what at least seem like unguarded moments. Guys who are not professional show-offs.
Some of these tumblrs, being not rigorously moderated, have occasional professional photos of ripped and hung guys. Or guys who are one but not the other. (Big dicks are adorable on ordinary guys who are proud of them but don’t know quite what to do but stand there; small dicks on total studs are even more adorable.) And yes, along the way you will have to scroll past guys who are trying their best but are just not into it. But even they should have their day. And then there’s the sweet spot: the not-hunk, at ease, having fun, maybe caught unawares, maybe snapped by a boyfriend. Adorable reality. A naked young man jumping off a dock. Men with great big, super-sweet smiles who just happen not to be well-endowed. Men who maybe are well-endowed, but who would rather it make no difference. They are just enjoying their nakedness. They are caught adorably between exhibitionism and self-consciousness. Regular guys whose instinct is to smile, not sneer, for the camera.
I’d now like to share with you now is my own personal collection of mental snapshots of regular guys in regular but sexy moments. This is a challenge. The qualities of such pictures, actual or mental, are hard enough for a camera or a human eye to capture. Can their sexiness survive transmutation into words? Well, that was the challenge of Making Men, of writing any erotica. So here we go:
My friend Cal sprawled naked on the bed in my room playing strip poker. Cal is handsome but not so concerned with it. He does not see himself belonging to or upholding the show-offy obligations of a favored class of guys. To him, what’s in his heart is far more important. He suggested the strip poker to be close to me, I am certain. At the moment he’s not even thinking about being naked but about which cards he’ll play. He has a halfway erection and doesn’t care that I see. He trusts me. The swelling of his cock, stimulated by his nakedness and our closeness, is a pleasure he can enjoy with me there, though we will do nothing about it. He will soon win a hand and slip his BVDs back on.
All of crowding into my friend Dan’s room in college. For some reason, Dan is going to enact the initial steps of shooting up. Tying off the rubber hose, etc. maybe we’re all doing it and it’s his turn. Dan is a sweet, gentle, intelligent and accepting soul. I have never before thought of him as sexy, per se. He is not buffed. His face, while adorable, while it speaks of home to me, is not traditionally handsome. His pajama sleeve won’t roll up to allow him to tie the hose. So he takes off his pajama top. And suddenly, from out of nowhere, I could just melt. His big grin, the sudden stripping, the fact that his torso is not buffed. Suddenly not-so-sexy Dan is the man of my dreams. And I have to leave the room.
Finally, just the other day, a friend’s husband took such complete and tender and attentive care of their child for an entire afternoon that, even though dad and baby were present much of the time, I and my friend felt perfectly free to talk business and personal matters for as long as we liked. He was a wonder to watch, so thoughtful and absorbed, and though ordinary by magazine-cover standards, he was beautiful for that afternoon.
So there they are: some of my regular guys and how I experienced them. I hope you will read Making Men and experience some more guys just doing their best, enjoying their lives and they bodies and one another. And thank you, for allowing me to sound off a bit today.
Oh, and one more thing: everybody enter the giveaway!!
Blurb: Three passionate men. Tony and Kevin are older and have learned to give, body and soul, till it hurts. Into their lives comes another young man, wanting desperately to give and to take all he can. Together these three will reach heights they never imagined. And each will discover for himself where he has to go next. This is a tale of devotion and transcendence. A tale of young male bodies. A tale unlike any other you have ever read.
Excerpt: Tony whispered in the boy’s ear, “Easy,” and he pressed in again with his finger. The boy winced. That Tony caressed his hair and kissed him and said, “Easy,” made it worse. He should not feel pain, given such reassurance. Yet, why would the ritual include reassurance, if a greater pain were not to come?
“Now do me,” Tony said. “Lube me and finger me.”
With Tony still feeling his way inside him, the boy reached around and dug between his uncle’s cheeks with slick fingers and prodded at the man’s center. His finger sank in, and he felt the strength of Tony’s hole and the slick, shitty warmth inside of him.
“That’s right,” Tony said, crushing the boy close and holding his head as gently as he’d hold a newborn’s. “We’re in this together.” The boy’s heart swelled so that he abruptly put two fingers to the hilt into his uncle and did not care if the long moan that vibrated against his chest was pleasure or pain and did not care that, as Tony sank his own finger deeper, it caused as much pain as pleasure. At that moment, the pain became a pleasure, a gift of sensation. “You okay?” Tony asked.
“Yeah,” the boy promised sweetly, and they continued to snuggle and work each other’s messy insides.The boy thought of the length and girth and insistence of his uncle’s penis up inside him and the flood of seed. The desires of that organ were the touchstone of the boy’s life. Now he felt it closer and more demanding than ever.It pressed against him, insistent and blindly driven. How could he open enough to satisfy it? What would he have to give up? Would enduring pain suffice, or would something essential in his heart have to give way? For now, Tony seemed content to work his insides with a single finger, a tender, rhythmic gesture that felt like the most loving the
boy had ever known.
“You’re so sweet!” Tony panted. The boy enjoyed being spread; he held his leg high. He wished he could open right up the middle, so Tony could thrust that flesh column right up between his lungs and heart and lodge the seed there. For now, though, he concentrated his desire for his uncle into the two fingers being beseeched by Tony’s anus, clutching and unclutching like a heart beating with a sheer love of life. The boy shut his eyes and matched the rhythm of his fingers in Tony to Tony’s rhythm in him. He worked his way inside Tony to the exact location Tony had found in him. Thus, with a gasp, he felt the same love Tony bore was his to give to Tony. He pushed his finger deeper, seeking an even more tender part of his lover, a spot no man had truly touched yet. Maybe a part of Tony was still virginal, and the boy could deflower it. Maybe the idea was to be a virgin every time. Every time you did anything.
Tony took his nephew’s deeper probing as a cue to dig deeper in return. While the boy felt a breathtaking twinge, he accepted the sensation, and he rubbed his face on Tony’s shoulder and chest and whimpered.
Huskily Tony said, “Now, let’s try with my cock.”
Author Bio: SAM STANDISH lives on the edge of a dark forest by a mighty river. Making Men is his first novel.