In honor of Pride month, I thought I'd write a post on my favorite fiction focused on gay characters. I primarily listen to and read urban fantasy/paranormal romance, though I sometimes read regular gay romance. There is a large niche market of fiction for the boys. One of the reasons this is so heavily focused on the gay romance niche is because of the distinct lack of gay male characters in the mainstream fiction market -- in urban fantasy market I've only seen a female protagonist or two who was bi or lesbian, while there are no gay male protagonists that I'm aware of. The first six are available on audiobook through Amazon or Audible, which is my preferred shopping site. I've put the writers I felt had the strongest stories and writing at the top, but the ones down the list are fine, especially if you can ignore some of the idiosyncrasies and enjoy the heat. I'll warn you right now, there may be spoilers, so don't read this if that bothers you. Here's my list.
1) One of my go-to writers is Josh Lanyon. His Adrien English Mysteries series is sexy and interesting. It plays on some clichés, such as the masculine tough-guy love interest who is a cop, but this is about as good as the writing gets in the gay fiction market and I love it.
2) Another go-to for me is J. L. Langley's With or Without series. With Caution and With Abandon are particular favorites. The writing isn't quote where Lanyon's is, but it is still at the top of my list. This is paranormal romance. The main characters are all werewolves. The first book, Without Reservation is cute and the character Keaton Reynolds is spunky. With Caution, however, deals with issues of domestic abuse and homophobia in a way that gets pretty serious.
3) Tanya Huff's The Smoke Series is another very well written urban fantasy series. These books are great, though I don't go back to them as often because the romance involves a lot of unrequited love that takes too long to get to the juicy stuff. I've had enough unrequited love in my life and it gives me anxiety. But the characters are interesting, the second book is particularly good. Again, it plays on the stereotype of the strong - and blond - love interest with the protagonist being more of a little-brother type. This is a spinoff of another series that was made into a TV series in Canada but works as a standalone series and has at least one subsequent short story set a few years after the series that gives you the romance I was waiting for.
4) Though the writing isn't at the literary level of Lanyon, Huff, or even Langley, another one of my go-to's is Mary Calmes. My two favorites of hers are Change of Heart and Timing. The first book is, again, paranormal romance about panther shapeshifters. The second is not paranormal but still romance, and gets plenty steamy. The love interest Rand Holloway is a sexy cowboy and makes me hot.
5) Worth noting is Patricia Briggs. Her Mercedes Thompson Series has a secondary character, another gay cowboy named Warren, who is gay together with a divorce lawyer Kyle. There's no steamy stuff here, but she has a short story focused on Warren and Kyle in the anthology Down These Strange Streets. This short story isn't romance, per se, but has some tender moments and deals with relationship issues. And zombies and witches. And, of course, Warren is a werewolf.
6) Mercedes Lackey's The Last Herald-Mage Series is a must for anyone into historical fantasy. There isn't much romance in this, but it is a treasure.
7) Cardeno C.'s books Wake Me Up Inside and Until Forever Comes are well worth the read or listen, too. These paranormal romances are what I've just finished listening to on audiobook and have surprisingly strong writing, interesting characters, and steamy love scenes, all while having good story arcs and a few plot twists that kept me interested. Or maybe I was too hot for Zev to pay attention to much else. Worth the price, especially on Kindle.
8) Ally Blue's Bay city Paranormal Investigations series is another paranormal romance series I enjoyed very much. I haven't gone back and reread these recently, so don't remember how steamy they are, but I found these to be enjoyable and with solid enough writing and well plotted story arcs that I feel they are strong entries here.
9) K. A. Mitchell's Chasing Smoke is another mid-level romance, not paranormal, that I enjoyed. As is standard fare, it has a blond conflicted cop. It is relatively well written, and enjoyable, especially if you like a brooding and conflicted rough-edged guy who discovers he truly can love.
10) The prolific Stormy Glenn has a number of steamy paranormal romances I go to when I want juice. Stomry Glenn knows how to bring the heat. It's amusing stuff and fun. My favorites are her Wolf Creek Pack Series, and the tie-in Tri-Omega Series. Woo! Tri-omegas, by the way, need two mates to have relations with on a frequent basis in order to stay sane. This is all werewolf stuff, with a few exceptions that deal with vampires. It is beaucoup erotique! (I know that's not necessary great French.)
11) V. B. Kildaire's Desire for Dearborne is a great book for those of you who like historical romance. Definitely a worthwhile read on a cold winter's night.
12) The Holland Brothers Series by Tony Griffin is another go-to for the steamy paranormal romance. If you like a good dominant/submissive relationship between protagonists, this is a great series for you. Again, werewolves. In case you haven't picked it up, I've got a werewolf thing. Not so into vampires. I think it's the blood thing.
13) Another really fun series is the Lost Shifters by Stephani Hecht. There are a number of books in this series, I think about 12 or 13. A lot of fun. This mostly centers of feline shifters, though avian shifters and werewolves do make appearances.
14) Kirby Crow's Scarlet and the White Wolf Series is fun and is epic fantasy, so more historical/fantastical and not contemporary. Lots of romance. It's been a while since I read them so I don't remember how steamy they are, but they are worth the read.
I have others in my collection, though these are the ones I actually have read and found worth noting. I believe these are all available on Amazon.com, and most have Kindle versions, which don't cost much. Hope you enjoy!!!