Special thanks to Leontine from Leontine's Book Realm for the super header.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Mumbling - Continental Europe

I've decided to start something new here. I'm going to try every Monday or every other Monday depending how lazy busy I am, to talk about themes I like in m/m. I'm kind of totally stealing Kassa's "What I Like" idea, but I might talk about a character type (i.e. guys with blond hair or firemen - yum, or it could be a trope like "hooker with a heart of gold" or  or it could be something generic like "books that make me cry"). There are lots of things I love in the books I read so I thought I'd be able to share some books that I enjoy (and why) and maybe get some ideas from others for books they enjoy.

So my first theme is Europe.
European men, with the accents. *le sigh* :-) (I'm leaving British men out today because there are for more examples of them for another post - today is Continental Europe.) Accents are part of the appeal for me. I confess to having a fondness for accents. I lived in Europe for three years. I was in Prague in the Czech Republic for one and Warsaw in Poland for two, so I do appreciate an accent. I also worked with many people in Europe for several years so I'm sure it didn't hurt my slight accent fetish.

European men are different as well. Well, European women too of course. There is a novelty to people from another country when you live in North America. US and Canadian men are basically the same except for the whole hockey thing, but European culture can be so different that they seem exotic to me. I know writing European characters can be difficult because of the language issues. Since 99% of the market for m/m romance likely speaks English as a first language, having two Italians in a relationship speaking English would seem weird to me, so I think most of the time it's one European and one English speaker, but that's okay, I still like it.

So what are some stories I've enjoyed with Europeans, not including British guys?

The Mistletoe series by Serena Yeats has a Swedish character Magnus, and books 2 and 3 have a lot of information about Sweden and living there although book 1 takes place in the US.

White Flag by Thom Lane is set in France and while the writing style is not really to my taste you can't beat the book for the atmosphere of barging down canals and rivers in France. For that alone it's worth it.

Bus Stop by Pepper Espinoza is set in Rome where an ex-pat American finds love in the rain with a sexy Italian. (My only niggle here, no lube, ever. Ouch)

The Game in Spain by Lydia Nyx is set in Madrid. I'm not 100% sure all three guys are Spanish but they have Spanish names and the setting is great.

Just for fun, on the yaoi side, A Foreign Love Affair by Ayano Yamane has a Japanese man whose wife abandons him more or less on their wedding day, hooking up with an Italian guy. I enjoyed this one and I love the author/artist's style.

I'm sure there are more. I'm pretty sure there may be another Thom Lane set in France and maybe some with Greek characters somewhere? Perhaps in an anthology here or there the European hotties are hiding. Let me know of any sexy European guys that you have enjoyed in m/m and share the love.

And of course a great song from the musical Legally Blonde which is a very fun musical we saw on Broadway.


27 comments:

Jenre said...

Some good choices here, Tam. I loved White Flag and Bus Stop was also a good read.

I also liked the paranormal story Fool's Errand by Chris Quinton which is set in Spain in the future and has two Spanish characters as the heroes.

I'm reading Dark Designs by Luisa Prieto at the moment and one of the characters in that is Italian (or rather he was in a past life - it's a bit complicated, lol!). The way Italian words blend into his vocabulary is rather well done and delightful.

Tam said...

I'll have to check those out Jen. I have Dark Designs I think. Of course many old vampires in books are Italian (what is it about vamps and Italy?). :-)

Lily said...

I really enjoyed the Mistletoe series and also read and liked Bus Stop and The Game in Spain. Haven't read the others though.

Looking forward to more Monday "what I like" posts. Have a great day! :)

Tam said...

You might like White Flag Lily. It didn't seem to resonate with me but with Kassa and Jen loving it lately maybe I need to give it another whirl. Maybe I wasn't in the right place. Not sure. I do remember the vivid setting though.

Have a great week.

Josephine Myles said...

Damn! And there was me thinking I'd written the very first m/m novel set on the canal! LOL

Actually, that sounds like just the sort of book I'd really enjoy reading. I'll buy it ASAP :)

I have to admit, I haven't read any of those you've mentioned, and I haven't read many m/m stories with European characters. There was a beautiful m/m/m story by Lenore Black in the Necking anthology, set in Spain and with two Spanish characters. Also, her contribution to the I Do Two! anthology was set in a vinyard with a sexy Frenchman.

Tam said...

Ooop. Sorry to burst your bubble Jo. Maybe your's is the first on an English canal?

Oh, I vaguely remember that story with the Spanish guys, I'll have to go back and have a look. (As I sat here contemplating, I remember. Barclona, flamenco guitarist and dancer(?) I'd been to Barcelona so it was a happy story for me. :-) ). I might have the Frenchman too. Well, the story, not the actual guy. That would be a treat though wouldn't it? ;-)

Janna said...

I've only read Bus Stop and enjoyed that one.
Uhm my memory has left me I'm afraid, so no other titles from me...
Although I know I've yet to read the first m/m title set in the Netherlands.

Tam said...

Ah, perhaps you should write it Janna. :-)

Janna said...

Lol! That's so not one of my talents. :) Maybe you should write it, Tam! If you need to do some research you're welcome to stay at my place. ;D

Tam said...

My character would eat lots of cheese, walking by the canal sniffing tulips. :-)

Eyre said...

I do like the characters with European accents, probably because they're exotic and I don't really know if they're wrong. I have trouble with authors who try to create southern accents. So often, they go way overboard, and that just ticks me off.

Janna said...

Wearing wooden shoes and enjoying the view of the windmills... :)

Tam said...

That's a good point Eyre. When you know a subject well it's much more difficult to be forgiving. I think writing accents is difficult and best left to people's imaginations.

Of course Janna, how could I forget wooden shoes. LOL Actually I have been to Amsterdam and to the beach by train. So I'm not completely clueless but there was a lot of cheese and canals. :-)

Janna said...

True, we love cheese and Amsterdam is practically one big canal. It's also a place loved by gays, so there's definitely a good story in it for you. :) Can I be your beta reader? ;D

Chris said...

I'm partway through Light & Water by M King - it's set in Venice. One of the characters is Italian and the other is British.

I remember liking White Flag.

Tam said...

How timely then Chris. Thanks for the tip. I just had a thought. Seems to me there was another books somewhere about a masked ball in Venice. Is it part of the mask series at AA? Hmmm. Might have been older though. Not sure there was an Italian in the story necessarily.

Okay, I thought there were more with Italy. Yesterday's Dreams by Vivien Dean at AA, Night Train to New Orleans by Carolina Valdez has an Italian diamond courier (and a vampire), Revealing the Past by TA Chase has an Italian. These are all at AA. So when people are looking for diversity from bland white North American seems you can find plenty of hot Italians at AA, those weren't even all of them.

K. Z. Snow said...

What a great idea, Tam!

The first romance novel I ever wrote had a Polish hero -- an orchestra conductor. It was never published, though. I'd love to see a romance set in Poland, or anywhere in eastern Europe for that matter.

Tam said...

Well, Warsaw is not so romantic but Prague is a very romantic city and would be a great backdrop for a romance. Definitely fun to see settings that are unusual but I understand it's a challenge if you've never been there to fake it because those who have are just waiting to tell you that you got it wrong. :-)

Kassa said...

Oh great post! I love foreign m/m stories - so exotic - but they tend to fall into either tourist information with gads and gads of info or a vague sense of detail without really identifying the area.

However I've read several on your list and I agree, they're beautifully done!

Polt said...

Your hottie of the day, Tam...ohmyGOD! wowza.....

I was with a guy in Toronto once that looked a lot like this guy. Cept the Toronto guy was wearing a Toronto Raptors sweatshirt and jeans. Still......

HUGS....

Polt said...

PLUS, about this: "US and Canadian men are basically the same except for the whole hockey thing," I like what the Kids In The Hall said about this in a skit:

"No, I'm Canadian. That's like an American, but with better health care and no gun."

Teehee...

HUGS.....

Tam said...

I agree Kassa. Having it turn into a Lonely Planet guide to gay sex in exotic places is annoying. :-) But many are able to find just the right mix of location and relationship which is a bonus.

Tam said...

Well, thank god he wasn't wearing a one-armed hoodie Polt. That's really just too precious. :-) I'm curious how this guy intends to keep his jeans up when he steps off that chair. Oh wait, he doesn't.

LOL Yeah, that's Canadians. :-)

Lis said...

Well hell it ate my comment!

Anyways, great idea Tam! I might borrow/steal/grab your idea and dow something similar! ;-)

It would be nice to see more books set outside the US!

Tam said...

The internet is being stupid today for me too. Please do. I love to see what other people like and get ideas. There are books out there with all kinds of themes and topics, sometimes you just have to focus to find them.

Ingrid said...

The Geoffrey Knight novels are partly set in European countries and with European man.

Tam for flamenco dancers and guitar players you are better headed of to Sevilla :) Barcelona is for tourists

Tam said...

Mmm. I was only to Barcelona for a Information and Communication Technology trade show. Unfortunately I saw no flamenco dancers at all. *sad face*

I forgot about the Geoffrey Knight novels. They have heros from around the globe.