M/M Escapist Fiction Can Actually Change The World (Hop Against Homophobia 2015)

HAHABT 2015

Raythe Reign gleefully publishes dramatic escapist fantasy.  Because of this, what we do may not seem all that significant.It’s genre fiction — or in the words of so many snobs, “that trash.”

We don’t talk about real-world serious business.  For example, none of our characters will ever contemplate suicide for being gay, or get HIV, or get gay-bashed for coming out.

Instead, we have dragon shapeshifters, vampires, sorcerers, demons, space soldiers, and weapon-wielding badasses.

All of our main characters are impossibly beautiful and awesome.  And unapologetic about who they desire and love.  Raythe Reign heroes don’t hate themselves for wanting their own gender.  (For being the Devil incarnate, on the other hand…)

We publish what we want to read.

Our stories are meant to be a refuge far from everyday cares and worries.  We want to give readers a place to go where everything is going to work out in the end, no matter how bad things look.

But as we learn more about why we do this, we realize there’s far more to in than providing mental escapes.  As those who would ban books know, ideas in fiction can persuade far better than all the anti-hate material in the world.  This is because fiction creates empathy, and empathy is the natural enemy of bigotry.

“Your heroes just happen to be gay…”

A number of readers have told us how refreshing it is to have male adventure heroes who just happen to desire other men.  By creating stories where being gay simply isn’t a problem, even though we didn’t set out to be activists, we may be a small part of the solution.  Or so our readers tell us.

At the end of the day, we put out what entertains us, but what we like is everyday acceptance of the whole spectrum of sexual orientation.  To us, it’s simply part of a character.  The same way they happen to be a werewolf.

Leave a comment below — tell us what works of fiction created the strongest empathy in you.

After the comments close, we’ll randomly choose someone who will receive Merman Books 1-5 in PDF, ePub, or Mobi formats.  If you’re already a Raythe Reign Member, the alternate prize is Book 1 of The Merman in paperback.

Visit the other participants’ posts here.

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65 Responses to M/M Escapist Fiction Can Actually Change The World (Hop Against Homophobia 2015)

  1. Sabrena May 17, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    So far, either Abyss or Cursed.

    • admin May 17, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

      Oh, you are so sweet! You don’t have to pick something from us, but we appreciate it!

      • Sabrena May 17, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

        That’s just M/M btw, I used to read a lot of SM F/F fics.

  2. Keith May 17, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    I’ve always loved the fact that in Raythe stories, being gay is normal and accepted and no one raises an eyebrow about it. As it should be in the real world too.

    There are also a lot of great stories who tackle the issue of gay homophobia in our society, with the heroes having to struggle to be accepted or accept themselves! And I’m sure they contribute to make people think about our society, and make them want to change it for the better. But it’s very refreshing to read a story that is similar to any hetero SF ou fantasy story, with action and monsters and magic, and the two heroes who end up happily ever after in the end just happen to be two guys. A story where being gay is so NORMAL, that anyone reading it would never consider for one second that there are some people who think it’s not.

    Thanks for the link Raythe, there’s a ton of m/m authors in there it seems! I might discover some I’ll like!!! =)

    • admin May 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

      There are great stories about that. I didn’t want to write that because I’ve lived that and, honestly, writing for me is as much as an escape as reading is for other people. I wanted the angst to be about whether one is the Devil and not whether one will be kicked out of their house or reviled by their family and society. But I applaud all those authors that have dealt with that. It paved the way for me to write my very escapist stuff.

  3. Crissy M May 17, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    One of the biggest so far–one that has stuck with me for years–is T.A. Webb’s Second Chances. The story is heartbreaking and powerful. It’s a friends to lovers story, a story of loss, and a story of new beginnings–all while finding one’s self. It’s beautiful. 🙂

    • admin May 17, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

      Oh, my, this sounds very well written (though not my speed) because I hate heartbreaking books! Though awesome that you recommend it.

  4. Zwankima May 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    I don’t think that any of the stories created any empathy in me to be honest. I have several homosexual friends and a quite a few family members. I was raised in such a way that seeing Uncle George and Uncle Robert together was as normal as grandma and grandpa.

    • admin May 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

      And that’s freaking awesome! Your life normalized it!

  5. Makayla May 17, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    In all the stories that I have been able to read I personally love how the main characters aren’t insecure about being homosexual but instead are worried about other things. Like being the devil, or being a weird vampire hybrid, or being in love with your dad, or becoming a werewolf that wants to rape and then eat people. You know important things.
    After all it shouldn’t matter who you love just that you love them.

    • admin May 17, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

      After all it shouldn’t matter who you love just that you love them.

      That is beautiful.

  6. ilona May 17, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

    I honestly can’t think of any book that has resounded with me on the subject of sexual preference. There again I tend to read most stories for the vampire/werewolf/space pilot aspect rather than those that make an issue of sexuality.

    That being said I do enjoy reading the stories here, because the sexuality is taken for granted and does not take up a chunk of the story in the way a lot of them do. After all there isn’t a lot of that introspection in straight stories and I like that it is the same in the stories here.

    • admin May 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

      I think it may be the cumulation in a lot of ways for some people to come to see things as “normal” “as they’ve always been” and finally as “acceptable”. Once you’re seeing it out there, you realize that other people like it or final it normal and suddenly you’re not the first and that’s easier.

      I think though that those books that have dealt with the issues that gay people have (though honestly all of us are discriminated against in one form or another so these topics aren’t really just about people who are gay) done a great service, suddenly making it not about being gay but about vampires who are, by the way, gay has a different and perhaps more normalizing impact. It’s a theory anyways.

  7. chance0220 May 17, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

    I will honestly say my two favorite books as of now are Cursed because of the parody of beauty and the beast I’ve read in it. As well as sanctuary because everyone in my own opinion needs someone who would stand by them for anything.

    • admin May 17, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

      I really like the idea that everybody needs somebody that will stand by them, because its so true. You have one person do that and the world is a beautiful place.

  8. Toni Whitmire May 17, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

    I don’t have a preference because I believe every story should be judged on its own merit.

    • admin May 17, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

      I don’t know that I have favorite stories either as so many of them have something to offer me.

  9. EmeraldSerpent May 17, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    As a transgender I really love that Raythe gives me an escape. I am not really welcome in my gay community because of my body but I read the stories on here and it gives me the peace of mind that I really need. I immerse myself in the beautifully written stories and dream of a day when I meet my Prince Charming. Until then I happily enjoy this fiction. have hope for my future.

    • admin May 17, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

      It’s always tough when within a discriminated group one is discriminated. The head it hurts with the wrongness of that. I’m glad you have one place at least (and I sincerely hope others) where you can feel accepted. You certainly are welcome and accepted here!

  10. Hallivell May 17, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    The Abyss was the story that made me like main-characters with shaved heads haha, somehow I couldn’t make it look beautiful in my head until Anarion showed me just how right it was. My favorite story with gay characters? On this site it’s been the Abyss, until someone started writing The Ghost Half (hot!). Didn’t realize I had such a vampire-fetish until I wrote it down just now! Works by authors like Lyn gala, Megan derr and Aleksandr Voinov are some that just have to be read, also Mary Calmes is a guilty pleasure – I think many here would like her, she has a certain style that to some can become repetitive, but when you need a goodie with action, love and a happy ending? It’s just right. That’s actually what I feel about this site as well – I can expect something real nice out of every novel.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:06 am #

      When I told Mathia to I’ve Anarion a shaved head, I had to send a picture! Mathia wasn’t quite convinced that he would be hot. But Mathia is a genius and can make anyone hot to trot.

      Thank you so much for your suggestions for reading!

  11. Jkerstetter May 17, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

    This is my absolute favorite genre! It has all the fantasy action and suspense combined with amazing interactions between characters. The writing in these books is, in my opinion, way better than anything found in a typical fantasy or gay section. You’re books are completely phenominal and I love them all!!

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:06 am #

      You are adorable! And making me blush! Thank you so much!

  12. laurie May 17, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

    After all it shouldn’t matter who you love just that you love them.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:08 am #

      AMEN!

  13. TaurusMagus May 17, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

    This website has always helped me cope with my difficult life when i was much younger being gay, and now I always am a subscriber to this beautiful libary of fiction that has always soothed me. This place is a sanctumn for me and always has been. It doesnt and should not matter that the characters happen to be gay the whole story and its constructs matter more and how the characters adapt.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:09 am #

      My goodness! Such kind words. I’m so very glad we gave you any sort of comfort at all.

  14. George Gauthier May 18, 2015 at 12:03 am #

    I write gay erotica myself, but I never though it could reach a straight audience and generate empathy. Thanks for expressing that comforting thought.

    I have long considered my erotica to be public health measure to the gay community since reading erotica is one of the safest forms of gay sex. The safest form is wet dreams, next comes writing such stories, and third reading them. The reason writing is safer than reading is that an author has to keep both hands on the keyboard as he writes while a reader can get through the story one-handed, if you take my meaning.

    • Erica Pike May 19, 2015 at 11:04 pm #

      I’m still laughing. That is one epic comment ^.^ I’ve never considered gay erotica to be a public health measure, haha.

      To Raythe Reign, I’m not taking part in any giveaways this year, so please don’t add my name, but thank you for being a part of this hop!

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:10 am #

      George, you might be surprised, but A LOT of readers of gay erotica are STRAIGHT women (we love everybody, but this is a fact out there) so you’re writing for straight readers as well as gay readers whether you realized it or not.

  15. wiccacat18 May 18, 2015 at 1:44 am #

    Many times it is empathy that drives the want to read your stories. As someone that has been a friend to those that have been bashed on because of parts of who they are I wish for nothing more then the change that can be found in your stories. Being gay is not a sin but a great and wonderful blessing. I started reading Dark Earth and it was the first of your stories and it gave me a way to clam my self. Your stories aren’t about empathy but it can up left those of us that have it to feel like the world can change. Your stories may not make me have empathy but the give me something stronger, Hope.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:12 am #

      Your words and so many others are just so touching that I don’t know what to say. Feeling that you aren’t alone is huge. At least, its been that way to me. Reading stories where gay people are PEOPLE helped me feel less freak-like. If I could help you in any way like that I so appreciate it.

  16. Catelyn May 18, 2015 at 5:04 am #

    Drama actually inspires more empathy from me than fantasy…but I’d still rather read fantasy

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:12 am #

      Drama likely makes you feel things more “overtly” rather than fantasy. We don’t realize how we absorb what’s “normal” by our entertainment.

  17. H.B. May 18, 2015 at 5:12 am #

    The Wish by Eden Winters made me cry…actually most of the books I read by this author has inspired some strong emotions in me.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:13 am #

      Good to know!

  18. Hilde May 18, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    raythe Reign was my first experience with the M / M genre, I just started reading because I love fairies and vampires and werewolves and the like, but I fell in love with the genre.
    Since then I have read many stories in the genre, but the RaytheReign stories are still some of my favorites. mainly because being gay is just part of the heroes caracter and not the plot of the whole story.

    I also love the “Whyborne & Griffin” and “SPECTR” series from Jordan L. Hawk. even though being gay is an issue in the “Whyborne & Griffin” series, it’s a historical set in the late 1800, but the real problems for the heroes are gouls, necromancers and evil cults and the like.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:13 am #

      I’ve seen both of those series on Amazon. I need to find out if there are audiobooks of them, because I “read” by “listening” now on my drive to and from the day job. I’ll definitely check them out.

      Thank you for the kind words!

  19. Ivan May 18, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    😉 I’m New Here Still Reading My First Story it’s wow I can’t find a word

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:14 am #

      I hope you are enjoying yourself!

  20. Akiraki May 18, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    I know that I didn’t make it for the Hop but I still wish to post that when I read a book from RR it helps me remember that M/F stories and heroes aren’t all that’s in the world. I’ve become tired of the one male hero with half a dozen females going after him or just the opposite with the one female.
    I was browsing a blog on day and came across one person’s entry saying that all hero are these people who have perfect bodies and perfect counterparts. This was stated by a person who wished their heroes were more like them.
    RR, in my opinion, has done just that by making his character(s) ,though sometimes overly beautiful, more human than a good ninety percent of fictional heroes are.
    I truly hope this person someday finds the RR site and be able to see the hard work of making a character truly believable, though I have long ago abandoned the blog site I read their words on.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:16 am #

      You are not late at all! We may, in fact have a present in store for everyone!

      Beauty is INSIDE. I have many stories where the outside is important, but honestly if that’s all their was then people would HATE the characters. They have to be beautiful inside, too, which includes (surprise!) some ugliness. It makes them relatable. So glad you’re enjoying the site!

  21. Elizabeth Cooley May 18, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

    I like Betrayal Knows My Name. Luka’s complete devotion to Yuki, even after she was reincarnated as a boy, is just heartwarming. Granted, no love scenes, but that doesn’t make everything.M/M (or really any kind of relationship) is about the love after all, not just the physical.

    I also enjoy your The Dark Earth. It is the first of your stories that I have read but I can relate with the characters and after getting the first volume, I had to get the others. I kinda wish I had the money to continue past the 6th volume, but I will have to wait until after I am not saving for something big. You leave me wanting to read more of your works… and sharing with my friends who normally wouldn’t read these things. However, none of them complained and they tell me how they “Awww” at parts.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:17 am #

      I like to think that a really good story is a really good story. M/M, M/F doesn’t matter. And, in fact, I have been honored to find out that this is true. You can rely upon m/m as a “genre” (though it isn’t), but having a solid story with it makes it accessible to everyone if they’ll give it a chance.

  22. Cornelia May 18, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Roan in Infected by Andrea Speed. His love for Paris was Heartbreaking.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:18 am #

      Cool … wait, you said heartbreaking right?

  23. Shirley Ann Speakman May 18, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

    I haven’t visited your site before it looks great! I started reading M/M book in 2006 I found the books had more emotion and of course different kinds of conflict. There have been many books I’ve loved over the years an early book I still love to this day was “Second Sight” It was a beautiful story of finding love losing it and then of course love triumphs in the end!

    ShirleyAnn(at)speakman40(dot)freeserve(dot)co(dot)uk

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:18 am #

      Welcome! We hope you check it us out. Glad to hear about new stories that are really good.

  24. Trix May 19, 2015 at 3:24 am #

    Damon Suede’s HOT HEAD is so touching…its emphasis on finding one’s own family and its exploration of Griff and Dante’s alienation and eventual acceptance of themselves (and each other), not to mention its exceptionally humane take on 9/11, has me awestruck!

    vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:18 am #

      Excellent to know!

  25. Art Greylace May 19, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    I don’t know what inspired empathy- I like to think it just comes naturally, but I expect it’s because I’ve been reading for so long, and reading so many different things.

    The only book I remember reading that actually exposed an issue, rather than just seeming to reinforce old ideas, was ‘A mango-shaped space’ – and that’s because synaesthesia is a rarer form of anomaly than most.

    Probably the books that developed my empathy would be Harry Potter though, just ’cause they caught me at the right age.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:19 am #

      A Mango-Shaped Space sounds incredibly deep! I am not at all so talented to put something like that together. Harry Potter is … yeah, I so get you.

  26. evilrubberduckie May 19, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    Hey, my name is Laura. Just wanted that out there 🙂

    It’s so strange to read a story where the characters act exactly like a heterosexual couple, even though they are gay. Most of the stories written here are based in one way or another, on Earth. It’s weird to be reading about Journeying into the Dark Earth in the “Dark Earth” series and then come upon the characters mentioning words like “Chicago” or “McDonald’s.” Personally, it throws me off my game. I KNOW these things, and there they are. Yet the characters act nothing like the people that surround me everyday. Nothing like the jaded Gay community members(and supporters) who are fighting for equal rights, who are sometimes afraid to love or to do what they want. These characters, act NORMAL about it. Like these problems never existed. Makes you realize just how abnormal and idiotic this fight is. Rather then a person worrying about his/her inner demons, they are forced to recon with dealing with society and their negative impressions on their sexual preference. It’s unfair, and unjust. These stories, whether done purposely or not, give us a glimpse in a future where these problems are not problems. Where ACTUAL issues have to be faced, where character development is built not on fighting for your human rights, but fighting for your right to LIVE.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:20 am #

      THIS is exactly what we are going for. There’s POWER to making it “NORMAL”.

  27. Regina May 19, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

    Putting it out there that I love Raythe and everything it stands for. I came across the site years ago but have never been able to become a member. I still fully support what goes on here and am really happy there’s a place people can come to to read these kinds of stories. My origins for the love of the M X M genre come from Yaoi, the japanese variation of M X M Graphic novels, comics, and books but I support this kind of love in both fiction and reality. Keep on keeping on Raythe I hope it never ends. <3

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:21 am #

      Thank you so much! I sincerely hope that someday you can join, but if not that’s okay too. I love comics as well, which is why we’re going to be starting yet another one on the site. Art in all forms is just awesome.

  28. Merrique May 20, 2015 at 3:35 am #

    I grew up with a sister who happened to be born a man. She always liked men so that would have made her gay from the outside. I was lucky to be raised in the way that sexuality and gender where what they were and that was that and that was just normal. It was only when I went to school that I realized not everyone thinks t,hat way. I was particularly happy one day, I think it was 1996 since it was Show and Tell. My sister was my show and tell, and hoo-eee nothing was easy after that. I got the s**t beat out of me several times and bullied until high school graduation just for having the wonderful sister I had who was so happy to be truly in love. I can only wonder how hard things were for her. I don’t live in some redneck state, Cali actually, I just happened to be in class with a popular girl who was raised to think this was all devil’s work and wrong and believed it could be beaten out of someone and made my life hell. I don’t believe in churches or such that say love is wrong. I want things to change. Not just for homosexuals, but for everyone. People are people and all deserve respect and decency no matter what. I’m hoping that people can read and learn to accept all others. I do believe that the media and fiction can change the world for the better. It’s all about portrayal and being able to feel for others. It’s a long road but with a show of solidarity we can improve on gay rights, women’s and men’s rights (I’m seeing way too many women hitting on men and men not being able to defend themselves out of fear of legal troubles. Victimization doesn’t know gender and abusers come in all shapes), religious freedom, freedom of religion and human rights. I love your work. And I believe in conjunction with the voices of others, it can reach so many people for the better!

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:22 am #

      Respect and tolerance are so often overlooked as supreme virtues, but they really are. Everything good can grow from these two things. I feel for you and commend you for your support of your sibling!

  29. Shay May 20, 2015 at 4:16 am #

    I grew up in the deeper part of the south – not the “men sit around and spit tobacco on the porch” part, but fairly close to it. Gay people were kind of the endangered species – you never saw more than one or two around, and that was if they actually chose to come out – and they were (I thought) goggled at from afar like you would a rare zoo animal. There was also the whole slew of comments from the passive-aggressive “bless their hearts” to outright gay bashing.

    I went to college across the state, and another world opened up to me. It was really startling. I found tumblr, huffpost, facebook. I found some really good humorous gay fiction by Twisted Hilarity that made me laugh and made gay romance not seem so stigmatized. So, yes, sites like RR and yaoifix have given me empathy. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not I actually agree with it, it’s that people – gay, straight, bi, or anything else – should be able to connect with someone on the level that a long relationship and a marriage gives.

    • admin May 20, 2015 at 4:24 am #

      RR was certainly not the first m/m serial site and I’m so glad you gave a shout out to twisted hilarity! Things are changing fast (THANK GOODNESS) though not fast enough. Making gay people a “part” of “us” rather than “them” is hugely important. The more exposure you have to others the less other they seem. Lovely words here, Shay!

  30. Zima101 May 21, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

    I think one of my favorite M/M works of fiction is a comic called Husbands, which is based on this one TV show. I really loved it because while reading it, it made the idea of a homosexual relationship seem so natural. There was no poking fun at them, everyone was pretty gay and it was just so normal to be gay. I wish society was like that in general. Just love who you want and be who you want without hiding it. It just makes you crave for a LGBTQ society to be considered a norm.

  31. Lee Todd May 22, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    I adore the Temptation series by Ella Frank…..I can “see” Tate and Logan as real…love them so much

    leetee2007(at)hotmail(dot)com

  32. Ashi May 22, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

    I would really love to say that it was one of RR stories that created the strongest empathy in me, but I don’t want to lie c: Though if I have to choose something then it would certainly be Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”. The relationship of Gimli and Legolas was seriously heartwaring. But if everybody can accept a dwarf and an elf becoming friends, why can’t they also accept two human beings just being together?

    To be honest, I didn’t even know that something like “homophobia” existed till I moved to a bigger city and got a stable internet connection.
    Before the move we lived in a small village, where everything that wasn’t harmful to another person was acceptable. There was this one gay couple that all the grandmas cooed over, because “you two look so cute together, dearies, we’re waiting for the wedding invitations!”. Even the priest sometimes jokingly asked them when are they going to finally come to him and choose a date for the big day.
    Then we moved and I felt like we lived in a different world instead of just a different city, especially when I spent a few weeks in my new school. Gay bashing was the normal thing here. Calling people “gay” when you intended to offend them was normal here. Making a trans woman politician pay a fine for hanging pride flags on the building of her own office *is* normal here. They built a giant rainbow construction in the centre of my country’s capital but the “homophobes” still burn it every chance they get…
    I don’t understand. I seriously can’t understand people that hate others because they like different things. After all – would it be okay if I beat somebody just because they like the color orange, even though I think it’s hideous?

  33. bn100 May 24, 2015 at 2:56 am #

    can’t think of any

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  34. Sherry S. May 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    I have so many m/m books that I love so I can’t just pick one.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

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