m/m graphic novel appreciation series: a guest post by mary calmes

Awesomesauce author Mary Calmes; she of A Matter of Time series fame tasted by me here, is the next guest blogger in my m/m yaoi and graphic novel appreciation series.

I will be meeting Mary at Yaoi-Con. *chair bouncing* I am so fangirl-squeey excited!


Yummy Goodness

Two hot men together has always been my idea of yummy goodness, just the biggest turn on ever. One of the first stories I ever wrote had two knights who were best friends and traveled around together. I was twelve, and there were no women in the story and my family asked where the heck the damsels in distress were. Sorry, no girl-cooties needed or wanted, just the boys was hotter. As I got older and discovered Yaoi, it was like finding heaven.

Everyone is gorgeous in yaoi, there is clearly the big, strong handsome alpha guy, or seme, and the other guy, even more beautiful than the first, the uke, with big eyes and feminine features who is pursued, sometimes relentlessly, by the stoic, smaller eyed, seme. There are definitely yaoi influences in my own writing and the cover for my first book from Dreamspinner Press, Change of Heart, done by the amazing Anne Cain, is clearly done in the “yaoi” style.

As there are good in bad in all things, in yaoi one of the reoccurring themes that I don’t care for is the non-consensual sex that is later forgiven because the uke finds that he has feelings for the seme and so it’s all water under the bridge. I get that love conquers all, but there is often crying and lots of begging to stop that is hard for the reader to move past. I find that my favorite yaoi books don’t have that piece in them but there are still those that I will admit do have it that I still love. Here is a list of some of my favorites:

The Crimson Spell Volumes 1 & 2 by Ayano Yamane. The story is amazing and so is the artwork. Also, A Foreign Love Affair by the same author. The second story in that volume with the professor and his matchmaker is charming.

Love Control Volume 1 & 2 by Ai Hasukawa. This story has two very well matched men, both in business, one a developer/manager and the other an interior designer. They are thrown together at work and sparks fly. Their relationship actually has to navigate normal waters to find success and there is no non-con anywhere in either book.

Wild Rock by Kazuza Takashima has a nice story where the prettier Yuen thinks he is fooling the more masculine Emba into falling for him so that their two tribes can co-exist in peace. Man’s Best Friend by the same author has Ukyo finding a dog that, when he gets excited, turns into a very hot guy with cute ears and a tail. It sounds weird but when you read it, it just works. The second story called Summer’s Here Again has Kasumi in it who has “thee” most beautiful hair you have ever seen bar none. They all have great hair but his is a masterpiece. There’s also a third story about a goldfish that turns into a really feminine looking boy. It’s all a pleasure to look at.

Hinako Takanaga sucked me in as her illustrations are stunning and the stories are well developed and involved. She started with You Will Fall In Love, moved to You Will Drown In Love and has recently released You Will Drown In Love 2. She has others, The Devil’s Secret about an incubus seducing a priest that has some of the prettiest demons I have ever seen. I just finished Liberty Liberty which has no sex in it at all and had a nice story. Her men are all fragile delicate perfection, even the semes.

U Don’t Know Me by Rakun is also beautifully illustrated but does have the seme attacking his uke, here because Yoojin thinks that Seyun has been sleeping around already and that he won’t really hurt him. Little does he know that his friend is a virgin. But he is forgiven and all ends well.

I have many, many more shelves of yaoi in my house but these are my favorites, the ones I will schlep to Yaoi-Con in hopes of getting them signed.


Thanks Mare!

So, do any of Mary’s favourites tempt you?

About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
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16 Responses to m/m graphic novel appreciation series: a guest post by mary calmes

  1. Tam says:

    Some great recommendations Mary. I only read Crimson Spell recently and totally fell in love with it. Want. More. Now. 🙂

    You Will Fall in Love and You Will Drown in Love were two recent ones that also passed through my house that I really enjoyed. I'd like to read the third one as they were quite good.

    I also loved U Don't Know Me.

    I can live with the dub-con (non-con sometimes) as long as it doesn't go on forever. A couple of “no no no … arrggh yes” are okay, but when it goes on for months and months it gets annoying. Mostly because the guy just refuses to admit he likes it. Get over it already. (I am thin on the patience front.)

    Will definitely look for some of the other ones you recommended and maybe we'll meet in SF. 🙂

    Oh and I think on the blurbs for your books it should say “written by awsomesauce author Mary Calmes”. LOL

  2. Eyre says:

    Who wouldn't be tempted by those covers?

    I agree with Tam about the book blurbs, 🙂

  3. Chris says:

    I'm bookmarking these posts so that when I'm in a yaoi mood, I'll have a place to start! Thanks, Mary!

  4. Kris says:

    LOL, Tam. You were like me. I was nodding along while I was reading Mary's post.

    I need to get my hands on Love Control. That looks like something I will really enjoy. Oh, and Wild Rock looks like a total hoot. 🙂

    Thanks again, awesomesauce author Mary Calmes! 😉

  5. Mary Calmes says:

    I think from now on Awesomesauce will have to go on my books. I'm liking it a lot.

    Tam, I can handle the non-con in small doses like at the beginning of U Don't Know Me especially because later we find out that if Seyun wanted to kick Yoojin's ass he could have. And I hope to see you in SF!

    Eyre, You should see the cover for Rose of the Rhine by Megumi Minami, that's pretty.

    Chris, glad I could offer some suggestions. Wild Rock is really fun. Emba is hot.

    Kris, get Love Control, you will like Kei, he's such a pain in the ass and love Takashi who learns that what started as fun and games for him ends up being anything but. And the whole they're both grown-ups thing is nice.

    Thanks again for letting me be here, it was awesomesauce.

  6. The ones that tempt me are the Crimson Spell books and the series from Hinako Takanaga. Ah hell, they ALL tempt me! *grin*
    Great post and like Chris I'm going to bookmark it. 🙂

  7. Kris says:

    Mary, I read Wild Rock yesterday. It was great. I loved the dads' stories. That was terrific too.

    I will definitely give Love Control a read. One of the reasons why I liked Embracing Love so much was because it featured older characters who worked at the relationship so this one really appeals for its similar theme.

  8. orannia says:

    Fantastic post Mary – thank you so much! I can't wait to read Crimson Spell – the cover looks gorgeous – and I also love the look of Wild Rock!

    Oh, and slightly OT, but…Mary are you planning to write any sequels to Change of Heart? I found the world-building fascinating so am so hoping you say yes 🙂 *madly crossing fingers*

  9. Mary Calmes says:


    You're gonna enjoy Love Control, I've re-read it tons of times and Love Control 2 has a new couple in it as the secondary story. Weren't the illustrations in Wild Rock gorgeous?

    🙂 Mare

  10. Mary Calmes says:

    You will love Crimson Spell both 1 & 2 and end up being just as in love with Vald & Havi as I am. And yes to your question, I am about a chapter away from finishing my sequel to Change of Heart.

    🙂 Mary

  11. Kris says:

    Mary: I think I was mesmerised by the hair in Wild Rock. LOL. Gorgeous artwork.

    I've now read Love Control. It was terrific as was the story of the second couple.

    Since you're on a roll, Mare, tell me what else you would recommend. 🙂

  12. Mary Calmes says:

    Did you read A Foreign Love Affair by Yamane yet, it's awesome. And Two of Hearts by Kano Miyamoto is really different, it shows an entire relationship progressing over a few years. Also Shy Intentions by Syouko Takaku. Both that one and Two of Hearts are departures, they are about relationships that span long time periods. Both are sweeter, with real life sort of ups and downs. They don't have the same level of illustration but the stories are rich. For fun you can't beat Ruff Love which has a cheesy title and pets who come back as men to be able to talk and be with former owners only to realize that those men are gone but their ancestors are alive. You'll see, it's good. Kirishima is the author of Ruff Love. You're gonna fall in love with Shiba, he's adorable.

    🙂 Mare

  13. Kris says:

    A Foreign Love Affair (I picked up this one the last time you made recs on the blog 🙂 ) and Shy Intentions I've both read. Two of Hearts looks like something right up my alley and Ruff Love looks like sheer fun.

    Thanks again Mare! 😀

  14. Fantastic post, Mary! I have to agree with all your recommendations, they are all great stories. The only one i have yet to read is U Don't Know Me, but i guess i'll have to get it sooner than i thought.

    I know it bothers some readers, but i don't have a problem with non/dub-con in yaoi. Though it drives me nuts after a few books, and the uke is still not able to admit he enjoys it.


  15. Adara says:

    It's absolutely no wonder now why I like Change of Heart so much. (It's currently my 2nd favorite M/M story, and definitely my favorite M/M paranormal story, shifter or otherwise.) My roots in M/M are through yaoi, and that's why I love Logan's character so much. But I also love the world-building in Change of Heart. It's such a unique shifter universe that I couldn't help but fall in love with it. I would ADORE to see a continuation of Jin and Logan's story.

    Crimson Spell is also one of my favorite yaoi of all time, and I agree on the artwork. She can make even tentacles super sexy.

  16. urbanscrappy says:

    As soon as I saw the cover of Change of Heart, it screamed yaoi to me. I buy every yaoi release as soon as it's published in English (a very expensive habit) and I've enjoyed all the titles you've mentioned.

    One of my all-time favourite series is Love Mode by Shimizu Yuki, which is filled with many different couples for all different tastes as well as one of my favourite ever OTPs.

    U don't know me is superb and is definitely one of my favourite one volume titles.

    Another favourite (and still going after 14 volumes) is Junjou Romantica by Nakamura Shungiku, which is funny and hot.

    I'm only a recent discoverer of Mary Calmes's stories but I have to say that I love them as much as I love yaoi.

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