Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Casting Couch: John and Alfie from False Colors by Alex Beecroft, an Age of Sail m/m romance.

I like to pick an actor to embody each of my characters before I get very far on in writing them. It helps me to solidify what starts out as a very vague impression of how they look into a much more concrete picture.

With False Colors, naturally the writing was all done before it got a front cover, so while I’m extremely lucky, because the lads on the front cover of the book are very close to how I imagined, they aren’t the models I was originally using. If you’re interested, these are the actors I would have chosen to play the characters, if I’d had the choice. Having said that, I actually think John from the cover art is completely perfect. Alfie could do to look a little more roguish and charming.

So, in my imaginary blockbuster movie edition of ‘False Colors’, these are the actors I would cast for the parts:

Alfie – Damian O’Hare

clip_image002

John could not wrench his gaze away from Donwell’s face. Limned with gold, it was perfectly nondescript; round, pleasant, and completely lacking in self-conscious guilt. Donwell’s mouth quirked up at one side into a slow, charming smile.

John – Simon Woods

clip_image004

Cavendish gave another of those small smiles that stretched the skin over his cheekbones. He had lost a great deal of weight since the pirate incident, and had not been exactly heavy before that. If he was a skeleton, however, he was a very elegant one.

As usual, the hair colours are wrong, but that can always be fixed!

 

Alex Beecroft

False Colors is due out on April 13th 2009 from Running Press, a subsidiary of Perseus Books.

Read Full Post »

INTERVIEW WITH PIETER VAN LEYDEN FROM ‘CANE’

By Stevie Woods

 cane485.jpg

 

He arrived at last; I couldn’t help but wonder what had delayed him.  Probably discussing last minute plans for Spinnaker, after all he was due to leave the plantation the next day to take ship for New Orleans.  And he didn’t plan to return.  He was taking a huge step leaving the plantation in the hands of his trusted manager to ease the running of the place into the hands of his slaves – ex-slaves in fact, not than anyone else knew that yet.

 

“Welcome, Mr Van Leyden, please take a seat.”  He was a handsome young man if I do say so myself.  Shame he didn’t smile enough, he looked quite beautiful then.

 

“Thank you, but please call me Pieter.  Mr Van Leyden was my father.” He gave me a small smile and his face lit up.  He must have read my mind.

 

“Strange you should mention your father, Pieter.  He is one of the main subjects of our…talk.”

 

“My father, but why?  He has been dead for three years now.”

 

“Yes, but he had a profound impact on your life, more I think than a father would normally have on his son.”

 

He frowned, looking decidedly uncomfortable.  “In what manner?” he asked carefully.

 

“Come, sir.  It is no secret from me.  He drove you from your home, forbidding you to return while he lived.  And he sold your lover and his family to parts unknown.  It can’t be pleasant to hate your own father.”

 

He gasped looking decidedly shocked, but I held his gaze and abruptly he looked away.  Quietly he said, “I tried hard not to hate him, he couldn’t help the way he felt about me, about what he considered me to be. He said he had no time for religion but deep down he believed in the bible. I understand how terribly hurt he was by my confession that I was in love with a man. But what he did to Joss and his family – that was unforgivable.”

 

“What did you expect?” I asked harshly.  “He discovered his only son, his pride and joy, was a sodomite and if that wasn’t bad enough it was with one of his own slaves to boot.  If he considered his son an abomination, what opinion would he have of a being he thought of as less than a man?  He probably thought selling him was a lighter punishment than banishing you from your home, from the future you should have had.”

 

Pieter shot to his feet.  “Joss is not less than a man.  He is the equal of …” His voice trailed off.  You notice of course that he leapt to Joss’ defence, not a word about himself.  He went on more calmly, “You probably don’t understand, any more than my father did.”

 

Softly I told him, “Of course I understand, that’s why I created you the way I did, in the hope you could help others to comprehend.”

 

He looked at me, wide-eyed. 

 

“I know things have been very hard for you, but have a little patience, Pieter. Your life is about to change again. Things will be looking up for you soon.  Just wait until you get to Louisiana.”

 

 

Available from Torquere Press:

http://www.torquerebooks.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=71&products_id=442

 

My website:  http://www.geocities.com/steviewds

 

Read Full Post »

Interviews with Oscar Wilde

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Speaking of interviews, I was just Googling for Oscar Wilde and found a variety of interviews ranging from real interviews given by him (available on subscription only), to interviews with those who played him, to interviews with fictionalized versions of him. This, by Mark Simpson gave me a laugh and also made me pause for thought.

“Greek to Me”

But I think I agreed more with Stephen Fry’s interview on ‘mini reviews’ or Salon Entertainment. I wonder if Wilde would have been pleased to know that he turned even his life into art; perhaps his greatest work of art? Despite what Mark Simpson says, I can’t help feeling that he would.

Read Full Post »

Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: (Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century), by John Boswell.

Available at Amazon.com for $17.25

Author bio: John Boswell (1947-94) was the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History at Yale University and the author of The Royal Treasure, The Kindness of Strangers, and Same-Sex Unions in Pre-modern Europe.

Contents:

1. Introduction

2. Definitions

3. Rome: The Foundation

4. The Scriptures

5. Christians and Social Change

6. Theological Traditions

7. The Early Middle Ages

8. The Urban Revival

9. The Triumph of Ganymede: Gay Literature of the High Middle Ages

10. Social Change: Making Enemies

11. Intellectual Change: Men, Beasts, and “Nature”

12. Conclusions

Review:

This is rightly called ‘a truly ground-breaking work’. For the first time in the debate over homosexuality, John Boswell has gone back to the sources and combed through an immense amount of writings by Latin, Greek and Early Medieval authors to find out what they really had to say. And it turns out that the picture is nothing like what we expected. As is often the case when human beings are involved, everything is much more complicated than it initially seemed.

Even in the society where we think we have the gay relationship pinned down to a socially acceptable model – the ‘classic’ Greek relationship of older lover with younger beloved – Boswell unearths numerous exceptions which disprove the rule.

That complication persists and increases when Christianity enters the picture. At this early date, in the process of formation, Christianity is being influenced by many different, conflicting, strands of thought, and – of course – is reflecting a society in Rome quite unlike our own. But Boswell picks these influences apart and shows that though Christianity took on board a Stoic distain for earthly pleasures, a Manichean distrust of the flesh and various other philosophies which valued chastity over sexuality, none of these sources are particularly homophobic. They are against sexual pleasure in any form. In contrast, at the same time, abbots, bishops and saints were writing love poetry to their same sex ‘friends’ which would later go on to form the seed of the medieval courtly love tradition.

Boswell acknowledges that there is no way of knowing whether sex featured in these passionate friendships, but he points out that the society of the time made no distinction between passionate friendships which did include sex, and those which did not. And he casually drops into the text the mention that gay marriage was legal and well known in Western society up until 342ad, while there were forms of Church liturgy for uniting a same sex couple in a forerunner of civil partnership. He follows the ups and downs of society’s tolerance through the fall of Rome to the rise of Medieval Europe, and draws interesting parallels between the fate of homosexuals and the fate of the Jews.

But it is hopeless to try and write a summary of what is a densely researched book, covering over a thousand years of social flux, and explaining the attitudes of ages which did not have the same conceptual framework as our own, let alone the same words. Better to read the book itself, taking it slowly to let it all sink in. Boswell’s style is pleasant, and the astonishing material makes for a compelling read, but it is heavy going, particularly while wading through footnotes in Latin and Greek. It could not be more worth it, however. Suffice it to say that this is an eye-opening book, a must read for anyone thinking of setting their work in antiquity, and a recommended read for everyone who did not know that our own age’s tolerance is part of a long tradition.  It’s a warning too that it’s possible to have such tolerance and then to lose it so thoroughly that even the memory of it is wiped out.  Something we should bear in mind if we’re ever inclined to grow complacent.

Read Full Post »