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Tag Archives: Anna Martin

10.01.2014

Anna Takes Over - Ponderi…

Posted in Uncategorized

I love how everything to do with Solitude sounds very dramatic. Even the title of this post.

It’s been a few weeks now since Solitude was released and I’ve had chance to sit back, look at what people have been saying about it, and generally just reflect on what is a very non-standard romance novel.

I think when we were writing it, Tia and I knew that we’d possibly ruffle some feathers with this book. Liam and Gael are potentially controversial characters with unusual jobs and fairly progressive attitudes. We didn’t hold back with the plot and threw everything at those boys.

The main problems people seem to have are around the HIV storyline and Liam’s hooking, which is pretty much exactly what I expected! I wanted to address these points, if I may.

I don’t think either of the boys’ attitude towards HIV infection is blasé. Liam is very aware of the implications of a positive test result – it would impact his life, his career, his main source of income. It was this fear, for his livelihood, that provoked Liam into running away from LA and his life there. So he knows the risks.

There’s a scene in the book where the boys engage in ‘docking’ – a sexual practice where an uncircumcised man slides his foreskin over the head of a circumcised man’s cock. There’s a brief discussion around this as to whether Gael is at any risk of HIV infection from this activity, since Liam’s status is technically unknown at this time, and they decide to do it anyway.

I did a lot of research into HIV for this novel, including whether there was any chance Gael could contract the disease from this. (This article has more, if you’re interested http://www.thebody.com/h/docking-risk-of-getting-HIV.html) The views of the professionals are, the risks are negligible. Even if Liam were positive (and he isn’t) there’s absolutely no recorded evidence of someone contracting HIV this way. Now, I know for some readers, the fact that there’s any risk at all means they shouldn’t do it.

But I can’t help but think that the boys put themselves at far greater risk by their day jobs than by this one act.

Which leads me neatly on to Liam hooking.

One of the main things that changes for Liam over the course of the novel is he realizes that sex and making love are two different things. Though he has had a lot of sex in his life – a LOT – he’s never been with a partner and made love. Gael changes that for him.

By the end of the novel Liam knows he can fuck and be fucked by other guys, and still go home to his partner and make love. The physical act might be the same, but the intention behind it is completely different. Sex isn’t just sex any more.

I’m proud that I can say I was part of a novel that opens up these kinds of discussions. HIV isn’t a death sentence for people in the western world today, and we need to start breaking down some of the stigma around people who are positive, who can and do live full and happy lives regardless of their status. Of course porn studios and prostitutes need to ensure sex workers are protected against the risk of infection – it’s still a serious disease – but the only way we can start to address the issue of HIV is to talk about it.

If I could go back and change anything about the novel, would I? No. Not at all. I know there are things people don’t like about it and I’m okay with that. But Solitude has a message, and watering it down for the sake of popularity just isn’t the Anna Martin way. ;)

08.02.2014

What's Up?

Posted in Releases

That’s the question. Well, first of all, as many of you who might read this know, I suffer from depression that is always there. Depending on a number of things, sometimes extremely random ones, I can do pretty well for a time, then pretty damn unwell the next instant.

None of this is new to me. I’ve suffered from anything from “mild” to “not-quite-suicidal” depression for most of my adult life. That’s more than a decade now. There was a time, around 2006-2010 when I felt much better and at times considered myself depression free. I’m not sure if I was, if I’m completely honest, but I was better. That’s the keyword here. With how my mental health is, “better” is a thing to aspire to be. “Healed” or “depression free”… No, I don’t much believe in those.

All that said, the last year has been pretty rough on me. The last six months even more so. There have been times when I’ve been seriously scared of my condition and how it has ups and downs and random spin-arounds. But hey, I’m still here!

For me personally—and I assume this might go for lot of writers/creative people with depression—my mental health is very connected to my creative outlet. Writing, for me, is always the thing that makes me feel better. Worthy. Even good. But when I’m depressed, the joy of writing is sucked out and my creativity dwindles, and I feel more depressed because I’m not writing, and then I can’t write because I feel like crap…. Endless cycle. Endless.

This summer I had my medication adjusted. New things and old things are being tried out, to see if something would help. To add to my condition, I have (somewhat mild) ADHD. And issues with falling asleep. Both of those mean additional medication. For me, no depression medication has ever really helped long term. None. And I have tried probably over a dozen different ones over the years. This time we went back to basics and back to serotonin which is pretty much as basic as you can get. It’s never worked before.

This time, it seems to be working. A little. How do I know this? I have ideas. I’m writing a little bit. I feel creative bursts that were missing for months and months. I have stories fading in and out of my mind like I had last year when things were better.

So I’m writing. It might take time, but dear deity I’m writing. When my favorite season, autumn, arrives soon, I expect to feel much better anyway. I’m one of those weird people who get worse in springtime and better in the fall, instead the more usual other way around. Light, for me, is worse than darkness.

All that said, the Fifty Questions with Tia thing is on hold until I find a personal assistant who works for free books and virtual hugs and cookies OR when I feel “better enough” to do it more regularly again. It seems silly to post those sporadically when it’s a series.

For a lot of this year I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have anything but Mirage out. All year. But then I wrote Solitude with Anna Martin, and I wrote a little short story for an anthology over at Wilde City, and so there are two things that are out soon. There’s also the little freebie I wrote for the M/M Romance group’s event on Goodreads. There are stories out, just not so many. I’m trying to tell myself I haven’t failed and that I won’t. That I might just be getting better again. But we’ll see. Time will tell.

You can find Solitude here and the Bedtime Stories anthology here. I hope you enjoy them both.

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