On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.
But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say “I do”?
Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was aright they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.
To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself—and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.
Someday, by B.G. Thomas
Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day. “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.
He and Dalton become best friends—and then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton’s very conservative family can’t accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won’t marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “Commitment Ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?
So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life.
Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth
Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him.
Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.
What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.
Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio’s side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.
Destined, by Jamie Fessenden
When Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, they have no idea they’ll be dating six years later. In fact, they quickly forget each other’s names. But although fate continues to throw them together, the timing is never quite right. Finally they’re both single and realize they want to be together… but now they can’t find each other! With determination and the help of mutual friends, Jay and Wallace can finally pursue the relationship they’ve both wanted for so long.
It’s only the beginning of the battles they’ll face to build a life together.
From disapproving family members all the way to the state legislature, Jay and Wallace’s road to happily ever after is littered with obstacles. But they’ve come too far to give up the fight.
Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy
Living as an open, loving gay couple in the rural South isn’t easy—even today.
When Jeordi and Tom move in together and come out to their families, Jeordi’s family does not take the news especially well. When yelling doesn’t work, they send in one sibling after another to try to separate the couple. When that fails, they call out their pastor to help Jeordi see the error of his ways. But Jeordi’s love for Tom is greater than anything they throw at them.
When an accident sends Jeordi to the hospital, his family goes too far when they try to keep Tom from visiting his partner. Jeordi and Tom are determined to do everything in their power to gain legal protection so this can never happen again. But when a bigoted county clerk refuses to issue them a marriage license, Jeordi decides a big, bold effort is called for, which is precisely what he sets in moVon so no one can ever separate him from Tom again.
I absolutely adored this anthology. All of the stories are wonderfully written with amazing emotions. I loved how they each brought their own life experiences with fighting for marriage equality and molded their stories to show those experiences. This anthology is a must read for romance readers.
Four and a half
Flames by J. Scott Coatsworth
This story was wonderful. I loved the emotion throughout and how Gio and Alex work to bring Gio out of his coma. The way Alex realized his love may not have been enough was so devastating. You could feel it with him. I really enjoyed the flash backs with Alex telling Gio the stories of their past. They were so sweet and it was great seeing how their relationship progressed. I wondered how the tension between Gio’s mother and Alex would be resolved but it was so beautiful. The ending was perfect for these two. I so want more Gio and Alex. They’re two characters I couldn’t get enough of.
Four and a half
Jeordi and Tom by Michael Murphy
I really enjoyed this story. The story was a little quick despite the length. I felt like there was too much packed into the smaller space. However I liked the premise and how Jeordi and Tom worked to overcome the obstacles in their way. The way both Jeordi and Tom were willing to do whatever it took for their love to be secure and both of them safe was truly admirable and made for some very cute scenes. I liked their trip to get things worked out and finalized. Though I felt like the ending was too easy. Just, bam! Everything is fine and almost all of their problems are solved. It made the ending a bit unbelievable in my opinion. I do want to see more of Tom and Jeordi though. I want to see them further in their life and how they pay the kindness forward.
Destined by Jamie Fessenden
This story was so sweet. I really enjoyed the narrative style. The way the omniscient point of view is written I could tell it was omniscient the entire time. It felt like a true narrator. I loved Wallace and Jay. They were so perfect together. The way they both took care of each other and just wanted to live a simple life together. Their journey to meet each other and start dating was such a pleasure to read. I was rooting for them right from the beginning. When they finally got together I cheered. I liked getting to see their relationship progress to a point where you can really tell it’s a full and complete happy ending. I know the point of the story is weddings so I got to see that. But the story went further and showed how these two live and love and are most definitely happy together forever after.
Four and a half
Someday by B.G. Thomas
This story wound up being not what I expected but a total joy to read. Lucas and Dalton had such a rich history. Their friendship was wonderful and you could tell Lucas loved Dalton from early on. My heart broke for Lucas a little bit with how he was treated a few times when he was younger. But Dalton took care of Lucas. I kind of want to see Etienne get his own story. Poor guy lost but he seemed sweet enough. The story reads like a YA for most of it. It wound up being a pleasant surprise. However some readers won’t like the sex content between younger characters. It was written believably for the the age of the characters. I loved the ending. It was so perfect for these two. Dalton proved his love and that he was listening to what Lucas wanted all along. You can tell they’re going to be together for many decades to come.
Alex from J. Scott Coatsworth’s Flames stops by today. He talks about the hardest thing he’s had to overcome that he didn’t expect to be an issue. His issue winds up being kind of a big one but he doesn’t realize it right away. Read and enjoy!
Growing up, my mom was my role model. When she and my father divorced, it was just the two of us together alone for years—we didn’t need anyone. She worked for the State Department, and she did okay. I was always so proud of her.
I didn’t realize until much later the damage losing my father did to my heart.
Gio was the perfect guy for me. He’s super smart – I mean, he’s an astronomer at the University of Arizona, for godsakes! And he’s cute. Young Italians almost always are.
And he knows me like nobody else.
I mean, yeah, I know him in the biblical sense. But it’s way deeper than that between us. He knows when I’m sad, even when I try to hide it. When I can’t take it anymore, somehow he knows that too, and he slips up behind me and just holds me until things are okay again.
So why don’t I want to marry him?
It’s my damage.
When we’re kids, we’re like sponges, soaking up the world around us. Languages are easy for us when we’re little. The Europeans know this—that’s how the Italians like Gio end up speaking English, French, and Spanish in addition to their native tongue.
But we also soak up relationships.
My Mom didn’t need anyone else. That worked out better that way for her, and I thought it did for me, too. Husbands hurt you. Husbands leave.
And as a gay guy, why did I need to buy into the whole patriarchy bullshit, anyway? Why couldn’t we make our own new traditions?
So when Gio wanted to talk about marriage… okay, I was an asshole about it. I can admit it. But… damage.
Sometimes you don’t see your own damage until someone slices you open and lays it bare.
I’m working on it.
Destined by Jamie Fessenden
Doug had seemed terrific when Jay first met him. He was funny, attentive, good in bed, and Jay’s family thought he was great. At family gatherings, that is—not in bed. They were living together in short order.
But after two years, things weren’t going so well. They’d moved to Dover, which allowed Jay to get back in touch with some of his college friends, but their relationship seemed to grow rockier by the day. They fought constantly, though Jay was never really sure what they were fighting about. They just didn’t… fit anymore.
But still he tried. Jay was nothing if not stubborn.
His ties to the pagan/Wiccan world had long ago faded away, since Doug thought that stuff was weird and creepy. In fact, his ties to anything outside the tech industry had pretty much withered to nothing. He worked long hours, during which he thought about nothing but computers and switches and routers. It paid well, and raises were frequent, so he was caught up in the game his coworkers played—pushing for promotions or transfers every six months to a year in order to get salary increases. Like his coworkers, he had an E*TRADE account and spent time between support calls attempting to build a stock portfolio. He had the sense not to gamble the small amount of savings he had, but it was a fun game to play.
But he was unsatisfied. He couldn’t quite put a finger on why until one Saturday, when he was sitting at Café on the Corner and his friend, Steve, happened by. Steve had been part of the medieval reenactment group Jay hung out with in college, and apparently he was still involved with them.
“Michaelmas is coming up,” Steve pointed out, referring to one of the large feasts the group “put on every year. “It’s going to be at the Unitarian Church. You should come.”
Jay couldn’t see that happening. He no longer had any of his medieval “garb,” and Doug was likely to turn his nose up at the idea of hanging out with a bunch of reenactors all day.
Jay said diplomatically, “I’ll think about it.”
“Well, at least stop by the monthly Wiccan group. Julie’s usually there, and Mark. A whole bunch of the old crowd. That’s tomorrow. Same place.”
It would be nice to see some of them. And Doug was working on Sunday. “That might be fun.”
“Are you still writing?”
He wasn’t. Jay had written a lot of science fiction stories in college, and he’d talked about getting published one day. But that, like everything else he’d enjoyed in those days, seemed like nothing more than a dream he’d once had, barely remembered.
This conversation was getting depressing.
“So,” he asked, trying to change the subject, “do you still sing?”
Steve grinned with excitement. “Yeah, man! My band is putting together our second CD. It’s gonna be awesome!”
The more he talked about his life, the more it became clear Steve was barely scraping by financially. But he was doing what he loved, and he seemed just as happy with his life as he’d been in college. Jay, on the other hand, had plenty of money. He had a career now, a boyfriend, a new car, and a nice apartment. He’d thought he was doing okay, but now he realized exactly why he’d been feeling so uneasy. His life had veered off course. In just five years, he’d lost touch with everything that had been fun and creative in himself. He was no longer Jay.
And he missed himself.
About The Authors:
B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of more than a decade and their fabulous little dog. He is lucky enough to have a lovely daughter as well as many extraordinary friends. He has a great passion for life.
B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction, and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to literature conventions his entire adult life where he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was a child; it is where he finds his joy.
In the nineties, he wrote for gay magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. Gay men are what he knows best, after all—since he grew out of being a “practicing” homosexual long ago. He submitted a story and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days. Since then the stories have poured out of him. “It’s like I’m somehow making up for a lifetime’s worth of stories!”
“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”
J. Scott Coatsworth
Scott has been writing since elementary school. After leaving writing for twenty years, Mark, his husband, told him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
Mark and Scott have been together for twenty four years. They met at the Pacific Center, an LGBT center in Berkeley, California, in 1992. They dated for two weeks, and then Scott moved in with Mark, and the rest is history. They run their own business together, study Italian, and are almost never found apart.
Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple of short pieces in his high school’s literary magazine, but it wasn’t until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie published his first novella in 2010, and has since published over twenty other novels and novellas.
After legally marrying in 2010, buying a house together, and getting a dog, Jamie and Erich have settled down to life in the country, surrounded by wild turkeys, deer, and the occasional coyote. A few years ago, Jamie was able to quit the tech support job that gave him insanely high blood pressure. He now writes full-time… and feels much better.
Michael Murphy met his husband Dan thirty-four years ago during a Sunday service at MCC in Washington, DC when a hot, smart man sat down beside him. Due to a shortage of hymnals they had to share. The touch of one hand on the other in that moment was electric. Sparks flew that day. Though neither had planned it, they spent the day together followed by the night. From that day, for more than three decades they’ve rarely been separated, each finding in the other their soul mate.
In the District of Columbia, where they lived, marriage became possible in early March 2010. The minute it happened they were in line to get a marriage license, only to be stumped because the license required the name of the person who was going to marry them. There was such a sudden rush of same sex couples wanting to get married that the office already had a two-month backlog before an appointment could be secured. Since they weren’t at all convinced that the Congress wasn’t going to step in and do something stupid to take away this right, they started calling everywhere to find someone who would marry them. It might be legal, but finding someone to marry them was proving to be a challenge.
When an article appeared in the newspaper telling of a small, local United Methodist Church that had decided to go against general church policy because marriage equality mattered deeply to them, a conversation started. After a series of emails and phone calls, suddenly they were seated with two retired UMC ministers who were willing to risk it all to do the right thing. A few days later, license in hand, surrounded by a handful of friends and their best dog, Shadow, they were finally legally married.
J. Scott Coatsworth