Oh, It’s Tuesday: SPECIAL DELIVERY by Heidi Cullinan [Book 40 of 2010]

Well, as you might have noticed if you follow Fierce and Nerdy in real time, today’s post is hours late. Long story, but I basically had a writing deadline and woke up this morning to discover I had used all the time I had left on my travel internet — yes, I have travel internet — I don’t like to risk being w/o internet. Don’t judge me. Well, this normally wouldn’t be a problem, but unfortunately, AT&T isn’t able to get around to setting up our snazzy cable/phone/internet package until Thursday, so basically I’ve been going a bit crazy all day. Luckily, tomorrow is December 1st, so my travel internet will be back in effect. Until then, here are my thoughts on SPECIAL DELIVERY by Heidi Cullinan.

Why I Decided To Read It: Long story short, someone suggested the website Dear Author to me as a place where people with good taste review romance novels. I was surprised to see that they had a m/m romance section, a genre I had been hearing a lot about but had yet to read, and this was the first A-grade review that I saw, so I downloaded it on to my iPad.

What it’s About: A young college guy, living in Iowa, loses his mother to cancer (or was it diabetes? Sadly, I can’t remember). Her dying wish is that he finds a nice guy to settle down and have sweet, loving sex with. The only thing is he likes to be used and humiliated, which dredges up a lot of conflicted feelings and shame. But when he meets a older, hot truck driver that’s into BDSM, he risks his heart and ethical code to go on the road with him for one summer.

What Makes It Different: Well, I’ve read novels with two gay male leads, but I’ve never read one that tackled BDSM in a really romantic way.

What I Loved: I found the central conflict just fascinating, b/c basically we’re dealing with two leads who love BDSM, but who are afraid that the other will judge him for it. At the same time, they’re getting to know each other and developing a real romance. I made the mistake of picking this up and deciding to read one chapter the day before a big trip. I read all morning, then every single time I had a free moment, and then I read late into the night, because I just had to see how it would all end. So yeah, this got read in less than 24 hours. Trust when I say it’s a page turner.

What I Didn’t Like: Much like TRUE BLOOD, a few of the sex scenes felt gratuitous. Toward the end, it was like, “Oh, another sex scene?” and I had to resist the urge to skip over a few of them.

Writing Lessons Learned:

Sex needs an arc, too. Though I felt that a few of the sex scenes were extraneous, for the most part Cullinan does a fantastic job of building the sex. First the two leads of have hot but relatively normal sex, but then it builds to the big … ahem … climax. It reminded me that sex is even hotter when it works organically with the story and gets bigger and bigger.

Inner-Conflict is awesome. My next women’s fiction book has a character who struggles with the issue of who she really is and who she really wants to be. I think conflict between characters is great, but a strong inner-conflict can really give your character the layers she or he needs to read authentic.

Write What You Like. I think the relatively new field of m/m romances, which are for the most part written by women for women proves that if you’re interested in a certain subject — even if the world at large tells you that you shouldn’t be — then others will be, too. So write what you want, no matter how out there it seems. There’s an audience waiting for you.

To Whom Would I Recommend This Book: Women, People Who Want An Introduction To World of M/M Romance Novels, People Who Are Looking To Read Something A Little Different, Gay Iowans, Truck Drivers.

Click on the book to download the book at Amazon!