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Friday, June 13, 2014

Company At Vastine's....Welcome, Charley Descoteaux!

Greetings, Sugars!

Today it's my pleasure to welcome another fellow Dreamspinner author, Charley Descoteaux, who calls herself "out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o." She says she thinks that last part is pretty cool and you know what? So do I! 

Charley is a cool gal, and I thoroughly love what she's sharing with us today---her thoughts on bi-sexuals in fiction. I found this interesting because, before her her visit, I reckon I have to admit I haven't come across many fiction romance stories centering on bi-sexual characters. 

So, Charley, I'm looking forward to your thoughts, and I'll let you have the floor to introduce yourself and share your feelings on bi-sexuality in fiction.

Thanks for letting me visit your lovely blog, Vastine! 

When I started writing male-male romance I didn’t want to let my characters identify as anything other than gay. It made me uncomfortable to think of readers judging bisexual characters negatively for being interested in women along with the men they pursued (or were pursued by) in my stories. I was afraid those stories would be labeled gay-for-you, which probably would’ve tempted me to find another genre to focus on.

I got over it pretty quickly. 

Now, I’m more concerned with telling an honest story, a story nobody else can tell in quite the same way. And, to a lesser degree, combating bisexual erasure. My stories aren’t intended to be political—my goal is to tell a good story that reflects my worldview, a story that rings true to what I feel and think and what I’ve seen around me.

Bisexuals exist. From Aleister Crowley to Freddie Mercury to Alan Cumming, it’s been proven that bisexual men exist. The truth is, their stories are different than those of gay men (or straight men, for that matter). Bisexuals, regardless of gender identity, often have a harder time coming out—and staying out—for many reasons. To come out as bisexual immediately turns one into a teacher (what does bisexual really mean?) or a whipping post (so you mean you hate trans people?) or even a liar (if the one you come out to listens to a particular “LGBT activist” whose name I refuse to use).

My character Joe Prescott in Not the Doctor was out as bisexual in college but after being married to his wife for many years he hadn’t thought about it much. They fell in love, so they got married—he didn’t have affairs with men or angst over the lack of man-on-man sex in his life. He was just a regular bisexual guy, married to a woman. In a way, Not the Doctor is Joe’s reawakening, how he leaves the closet society constructed around him after he married his wife—with the help of his persistent neighbor.

A moment of distraction on a lonely highway leaves middle-aged widower Joe Prescott with a broken arm and in need of surgery. He’s no stranger to long hours spent alone in his apartment, but until his arm heals, independence will be a luxury. Joe is used to helping others and doesn’t realize the strength it takes to accept a helping hand, especially from the neighbor he's had a crush on since he moved in.

Kai Hosino, “retired” chef, lives with his elderly Aunt Tilly so they can help each other navigate life with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Kai is drawn to the silver fox next door, but his painful history of falling for straight men makes him hesitant to take a chance.

In this excerpt, the guys are in Joe’s bathroom and Kai has just changed the dressing on his arm.

The footstool put Kai’s face a little above my elbow. If I pulled his head closer it would rest against my solar plexus. My body started to tremble as he removed the last of the dressings covering the place where young Doctor Austin had— 

Never mind what he’d actually done. He fixed it; that’s all I needed to know. 

“This looks great.” 


He tilted his head, first to one side and then to the other, his black curls swaying with each motion. “Yeah. Your doc did a great job.” 

His warm fingertips touched my arm in a place I couldn’t see, and he warned me the cleaning might feel uncomfortable but shouldn’t hurt. Before I’d finished processing the difference between discomfort and pain he’d applied a large gauze pad to my arm and stood. He turned on the water in the tub. I didn’t even get the chance to check out his ass while his back was turned, and he was telling me to stand up. 

“You good, Joey?” He held my left elbow in a firm but not tight grip. 

“I think my mom stopped calling me Joey when I was eight.” I smiled and stood. Kai slipped his other hand under my arm. Relief that my arm wasn’t infected or worse made me a little giddy. 

“You don’t like Joey? You don’t seem much like a Joe to me.” His gentle fingers found the waistband of my flannel sleep pants. He eased them down to midthigh and then gave them a little push to the floor. I tried to remember what he’d called me before but couldn’t. Was that funny or pathetic or cause for alarm

Kai gripped the side of the tub, carefully bent at the waist, and then skimmed his fingers across the surface of the water. 

“Here.” His damp fingers curled around my hand. “Rest your hand on my shoulder and step in. Step in all the way before you think about sitting, okay?” 

The production number that was getting me into the tub and sitting in the water without causing either of us pain took up every bit of coherence I possessed. Once I smiled up at Kai, pride in my silly accomplishment fueling what felt like a ridiculous grin—that’s when the full weight of my situation became clear. Kai undressed me. I was naked. 

“Why don’t I seem like a Joe?” 

Kai smiled and pulled the footstool close to the tub. He piled towels on the tub’s edge and then guided my bad arm to rest on them. He took a washcloth from the basket on the toilet tank and slipped it into the water beside my knee. “Ah, you know, it’s such a serious name.” He slowly drew the washcloth up over my chest and shoulders. “Joe Friday—just the facts—I know you deal in facts all the time, but there’s more to you than that.” 

And that quickly became a problem. That fast, there was more to one part of me than there should’ve been.

Buy Not the Doctor:


Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough.  In exchange, they let her sleep once in a while. Every guy deserves a beautiful love story even, or maybe especially, the ones who would usually be in the supporting cast. Home is Portland, Oregon, where the weather is like your favorite hard-case writing buddy who won’t let you get away with taking too many days off, and in some places you can be as weird as you are without fear.  As an out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o, she thinks that last part is pretty cool.

Rattle my cages—I’d love to hear from you!

* * * * 

Thank you, Charley! Your book sounds wonderful and the excerpt was mighty sexy and quite a nice tease! 

Well, darlings, you heard Charley! C'mon by and visit and rattle her cage and share your thoughts with her!


cdescoteauxwrites.com said...

Thanks again for having me, Vastine! *hugs*

Jamie Lake said...

This was wonderful to read, Charley! Thank you for the excerpt. Do you think you'll write more novels with bi-sexual characters now?