I have watched this film three times now, and it gets better at each viewing.
Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is a feast for the senses – an erotic buffet filled to the brim with symbolism, intellect and culture.
But most of all, innocence.
Call Me By Your Name is the story of 17 year-old Elio’s sudden infatuation with 24 year-old graduate student, Oliver, one of a succession of yearly summer visitors brought to the beautiful Italian villa by his father to help with paperwork and for the chosen student’s own intellectual and spiritual enrichment. It is based on the book of the same name by André Aciman, which I read before viewing the film. In this case, the movie exceeded the promise of the book – which in itself was wonderful – by immersing the viewer in the lush Italian summer that Aciman writes about and by selecting Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer as the two lead actors.
Their chemistry is palpable from the moment they first meet through the tentative attempts at flirting and seduction, through to the final moments at the train station when Oliver has to leave. Chalamet was deservedly nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor. Somehow, he is able to show every emotion and thought that crosses Elio’s mind as he tries to figure Oliver out and decipher his own confusing feelings of attraction.
This is one of the most mature films I’ve ever had the privilege to watch. It is a story in which sex is as natural as breathing, as wonderful a part of growing up as anything else, where nothing is shameful about embracing one’s desires and enjoying the fruit of life. The peaches that ripen in Anella’s orchard are as full of promise and as sweet as Elio. They are innocent but sensual in their own right, just like him.
As Elio and Oliver bicycle through the Italian countryside growing ever more aware of their mutual attraction, the viewer is treated to such a natural growth of love and longing that it becomes a part of the landscape.
The house in which Elio lives and where Oliver stays for the summer is a character in itself. Like Elio’s parents, the ancient villa is always welcoming, doors open wide to the sunshine, balconies overlooking vast expanses of grass and trees. But there are hidden passages and secret rooms too, where only the most loyal companions are taken. Elio’s private escape above back of the kitchen, where he brings Marzia to wile away the hours until his tryst with Oliver, is also the room where he has intimate relations with a ripe peach and later cries in Oliver’s arms over the fact that Oliver must soon leave.
This film is a celebration of summertime, first love, sexual exploration of all kinds — opposite sex, same sex, solitary sex with a peach — beauty and desire. It is also a celebration of how a parent can let their child become an adult by sitting back and letting that child explore the world on his/her own terms. By understanding that sexuality is a natural part of living and that putting barriers around who we’re allowed to fall in love with or engage with sexually is a losing game, and why would we want to play it anyway?
I woke in the darkness and remembered that I’d had the nurses take my son to watch and feed in the night so I could sleep. Since my husband had gone home to look after our two-year old daughter, I was on my own this time.
I had slept. I had slept beautifully and deeply and now, even though it was barely past six am, I missed my baby boy. My semi-private room still had no other resident, so I didn’t have to worry about disturbing anyone as I got up carefully, noting the twinge of my incision and the dull ache in my belly from the previous morning’s scheduled surgery.
I’d opted for a planned c-section this time, since our daughter’s birth had turned into an outright emergency when she’d become firmly wedged in the birth canal. They’d had to use a “T” cut to get her out, so my uterus and cervix had been greatly compromised and it had taken long weeks — months — in fact, to fully recover. I didn’t want to go through that again, and did NOT want to risk an internal rupture during another attempted delivery.
So, at shortly past the scheduled appointment time, our beautiful son had been taken out of me during a peaceful procedure so different from the only one I’d experienced before. My husband had stayed for a few hours afterward to help me with, and enjoy, our new addition, and my parents had brought our daughter in to meet her baby brother after lunch. Then daughter and husband went home and I was left alone with our baby.
When my daughter had been born, finally, after two days of latent labour at home and another day of active labour at the hospital and then the emergency c-section, my husband stayed awake most of the night sitting in an armchair at the foot of my hospital bed – where I slept getting significant doses of antibiotics and morphine through the IV – holding our new baby girl in his arms to keep her from fussing. They finally brought him a cot to sleep in and he was able to put her in the bassinet and get some manner of sleep in the early morning hours. We hadn’t yet learned that it would have been okay to entrust her to the care of the nurses for six-eight hours.
This time, with our second child, when one of the nurses asked at around eight pm if I’d like her to take the baby to the nurse’s station for the night, I nodded and thanked her profusely for that relief. She asked if I’d like him fed if he woke and I said yes to that also. This time, I wasn’t worried at all that it would affect his breastfeeding latch and I also new that my milk would come in quicker if I was well-rested and relaxed the next day.
Now I couldn’t wait to see my son again and I made my way carefully along the quiet halls to the “nursery”, which wasn’t an official spot at all since the staunch breastfeeding proponents had made most women feel guilty about spending any time apart from their new babies. But the compassionate nurses realized that some mother’s would still happily exchange a good night’s sleep for the “hardship” of letting their babies have a bit of formula and be cared for by professionals for one or two nights.
When I got to the small gathering of bassinets – there were three other babies there – the nurse on duty matched my wristband with my son’s and let me wheel him back to my room. Even though I was sore, I felt euphoric and exited that the birth had gone well, my son was utterly perfect in every way, and our small family was finally complete.
I positioned the bassinet next to my bed and looked down at the tiny sleeping face, feeling the powerful emotions rise inside. Carefully so as not to strain my incision, and gently so as to not wake him, I carefully lifted him into the crook of my arm and climbed slowly onto the bed, pulling the warm blankets over my lap as I sat propped against the pillows and gazed out the large window of my peaceful hospital room.
The sun had started to rise and the sky glowed multiple shades of purple and yellow, the snow on the roofed houses reflecting a soft blue. I held the brand new life in my arms and alternately gazed at his beautiful sleeping face and at the new, old world outside.
My thirteen year-old daughter somewhat bashfully introduced me to this game. She thought she might get in trouble for inappropriate Youtube watching but when I sat down with her and watched Markiplier hook up with Craig at the campsite, and then googled some great articles about the game, I was reassured about its mostly PG content.
It actually is a really sweet and hilarious game. In fact, I had been looking for something to do as an audience participation game at an event I was helping with at the recent Romancing the Capital convention in Kanata. When I found this game it just seemed perfect for a low key guided play for a bunch of readers of romance, since the whole point of the game is to form a romantic attachment to one of the many cute Dads. Also, a majority of the attendees at RTC are moms, and they would certainly get the parental humour and touching moments between the central character (the Dad you are playing as) and his 17 year-old daughter, Amanda. The fact that you play as a gay Dad looking for love just helps be bring an LGBTQ+ angle to the event. Since I’m already helping represent LGBTQ+ content at RTC, it seemed perfect.
I was a little concerned about how many people would actually show up to my table to play, since other games going on at the same time were Dirty Pictionary and Sex Toy Pinata. Turns out I had a full crowd and only had to compete with the noise. Overall it was a success and I was able to introduce a bunch of people to this very fun game. There were lots of giggles and appreciation of the hot Dads we got to meet. And laughs over the fumbling attempts at engagement that our Dad, Alfred, put forth to get with the sexy and loveable Craig (my favourite Dream Daddy).
Now, while I was preparing this game for a limited-time group-play (i.e., getting my character, Alfred, to the right place to get closer to Craig), and promoting in the RTC group what a wholesome and positive game it was, a buzz about a secret dark ending for one of the characters started emerging online. I knew we had no chance of getting near any secret ending at the event so I wasn’t concerned, but I did investigate. Honestly, if this secret ending exists, it really doesn’t bother me and actually makes the game more interesting.
Besides, the evil guy is the very conservative-looking and creepy Christian character named Joseph, which seems very satisfying to someone who has a deep distrust of overly religious people. Even my daughter picked up on his creepy vibes right away. I’m glad she knows at such a young age that people who display an inordinate amount of involvement in any particular religion cannot be trusted, lol.
I had to learn it the hard way, but that’s another post.
If you weren’t able to attend my reading last night at Romancing the Capital (there were many events going on) I’ve got them here!
Reading/excerpt #1, fromBeyond the Edge (Book 1 in The James Lucas Trilogy):
“So dance with me…”
He started moving and, by God if, once he forgot about everyone else, he wasn’t a natural. I knew the boy could move, he’d fucked me crazy. He just needed a way to let go and apparently my command did the trick.
We moved together to the beat of the music, rocking our hips and flirting with each other, sweating and smiling and having fun.
Then the band started to play a slow, sultry number so I took Sebastian’s wrist, spinning him around, and took his other wrist so that his arms crossed in front of him. Then I pulled him back against me, making him move with me. I swayed my hips, pressing my hard-on against his leather-clad ass and holding his hands to his sides. His head lolled back against my shoulder, his eyes closed, and he swayed with me, pushing back against my erection. Heaven. The scent of him, the feel of his body against mine, everything swirled together into a hazy fog of happiness. I felt euphoric, aroused, and so excited by this beautiful boy and the possibilities ahead of us.
“Let’s get out of here,” I said in his ear, flicking my tongue against the lobe.
He turned his head, nodding. I let go of his wrists and in a moment we were kissing, sharing our passion with each other and the entire dance floor. My fingers wove into his hair, holding him still as I kissed those perfect lips, hungrily feasting on him until I couldn’t take anymore. His hands clutched my shirt and I could feel his need, not to mention my own. We had to go… I wrenched myself away from him. Some guys smiled at the two of us knowingly but I didn’t even care as I twined my fingers with his, holding his gaze and said, breathlessly, “My place?” As soon as we stepped out of the bar and headed down the steps, Sebastian said, “We could go to my place, if you want? It’s closer.”
“Sold,” I said, grabbing his hand and lacing my fingers with his.
He squeezed my hand, hard, as we stepped onto the sidewalk. “How fast can you walk?” He sounded breathless already.
“Watch me,” I said, pulling him along. We kept stopping to grope each other as we climbed the stairs to Sebastian’s apartment. By the time we actually got the door open and moved inside, I’d gotten his jacket off and was unbuttoning his white shirt.
“Tate…” he moaned, kissing me frantically and helping me with his shirt. “Oh…fuck!…I wanna…I wanna…fuck…you…” He breathed out between kisses.
I groaned, ripping the last button from his shirt as I wrenched it off him, pushing him backward into his room. I was desperate, so horny and wild for him. I shoved him roughly down onto his bed and started to strip. He nodded, his eyes like two blue coals, staring at me from under hooded lids. He lay back, taking his pants down and off and his cock rose, thick and red, before me.
“Well, goddammit…” I murmured, tossing my shirt on the floor and pulling my own pants off. “…If you think you can do the job,” I teased him, grinning.
He laughed. “Get over here…”
And I was on him. We struggled together, naked and both achingly hard and eager. He pressed me down on the bed beneath him, covering me with his muscular body, rubbing his erection against my own.
“Oh my God…” He looked down at me, blond hair falling in front of his eyes. He shook it out of them. “I want to fuck you so hard, Tate, so fucking long and so fucking hard…”
I arched my back, pushing myself up to him. “Then do it…do it now…”
I will have hard copies of this book and the other two books in The James Lucas Trilogy at the book signing on Saturday (2-4).
Reading/Excerpt #2, from The Loft – Book One:
As soon as we arrived home James took us upstairs. It had been ages since we’d been in the loft. We’d been enjoying the more informal aspect of being intimate in other spaces without the formality of the dedicated play space. But I think all three of us were glad to be here again.
“Sebastian, leave your clothes on. Tate, strip.”
Oh. So that’s how it’s gonna be.
I slowly removed my clothes while James and Sebastian watched. If we’d been in the bedroom I’d have asked them if they wanted to put on some music since I was obviously performing for their benefit, but not here. There was a certain protocol to be followed in this space where James had absolute control and a very low tolerance for flippant remarks. I’d best keep quiet and do as told.
“Sebastian, stand in the middle of the room, please, facing the cross.”
“Yes, Sir.” Sebastian, still in his church clothes—white cotton dress shirt, black pants and leather loafers—obeyed.
James approached me. “You, my friend, are going up there,” he said, nodding at the wooden beams of the St. Andrew’s Cross on the wall.
“Yes, Sir. Whatever you wish …” I said, determined to be the perfect little sub today. I’d beat Oliver at his own game.
James smiled. “Good boy.”
He positioned me facing outward, my wrists and ankles in the cuffs so that I stood spread-eagled and vulnerable. Walking over to the cabinet he said, “You know I haven’t forgotten your little outburst at the library.”
He returned carrying a ball gag and a cock ring. He snapped the ring into place and stroked me quickly to an erection. “That will help keep you ready. Open your mouth.”
He placed the ball between my teeth and fastened the strap behind my head. Then he took my chin very roughly and made me look at him.
“That was quite the display of unwarranted jealousy. So today I’m gagging you and you’re going to watch me play with another man.”
Since the other man in this case was Sebastian I only felt jealous in the sense of wanting to be included in the fun. Being bound naked and helpless while they enjoyed each other would be very frustrating but I suppose I deserved it.
I murmured “Uh huh,” behind the gag as James kissed the corner of my mouth.
He backed up, admiring his handiwork, then turned to Sebastian. “Don’t move,” he said as he walked around behind him.
Sebastian stared at me with his lips open slightly but remained motionless.
James pressed himself close against Sebastian from behind and began to unbutton the blond man’s shirt, occasionally sliding a hand underneath the crisp cotton to fondle Sebastian’s bare skin. He took his damn time, every now and then glancing my way and slowly working at another button. Very, very gradually Sebastian’s shirt came undone. As James leisurely undid the second to last button I noticed smudges of red on the pale skin of Sebastian’s abdomen. My first alarmed thought was that it was blood, but it wasn’t the right color. Soon I could see that the red smudge was a letter.
What the hell had James done? Flashbacks to a particular personal debasement with a tube of red lipstick came to mind.
James popped the final button and the sides of Sebastian’s white shirt fell away. They both stared at me as I read what James had written on Sebastian’s belly, just above his happy trail and the low-hanging band of his dress pants.
Property of James L. and Tate M.
I felt a jolt in my groin. I think I moaned.
James must have applied this mark of ownership in his distinctive cursive scrawl before Sebastian dressed for church this morning and while Sebastian sang in his fancy clothes and choir robes, his angelic voice reaching spiritual heights, only he and James knew of this private debasement.
My heart beat loud in my chest.
Sebastian stared at me with fire in his blue eyes and slowly smiled.
Several years ago I stumbled upon the photography of Mr. Thomas Synnamon. I say stumbled upon but really it was an honest head-over-heels flip out when I saw this initial image from his Leather and Lace 2011 calendar:
Now, I happen to have a thing for androgyny. I also have a thing for men’s forearms. And another thing for men’s asses. Not to mention for leather, gloves and garter belts (The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a formative film for me).
I believe I nearly had a spontaneous orgasm when I saw the above shot. Then I had to find out who the photographer was. Which led me to discover that there was an entire calendar of these sorts of images.
Now a muscled hunky young guy in leather is one thing, but a muscled hunky young guy in leather with a tiny bit of white lace peeking out? That is a whole other ball game, my friend. That plays with my fluid idea of gender in a very, very fun way.
I searched up these images again because I am currently writing a gender bending scene in The Loft – Book Three, where James and Tate dress Sebastian in lacy lingerie. I needed inspiration and I remembered where I could get it.
I don’t think the calendar is still around, but luckily I was able to find the post at BeautifulMag featuring this outstanding work of Synnamon’s. I had a look at his website which has some stunning photos of mostly naked men, but he seems, sadly, to be focusing on conventional gender representation now. Which I suppose is where the money is so I don’t blame him at all.
But I find his work here to be personally so downright perfect, it’s as if he consulted me before each shoot to find out exactly what I’d want each model to wear. I would have enjoyed dressing these guys up in all the girly lace that looks anything but girly on them.
The only thing this photo shoot didn’t address was my boot fetish, but I can easily imagine all these models wearing docs or dirty work boots so it’s a win all around.
Now if I could only get Michael Stokes onside to create something like this in his studio…
I’ve seen some really stunning author websites recently so I decided mine needed a bit of an overhaul. The previous layout was very cluttered with a ton of menu items. I found another free WordPress theme that looked much cleaner and changed my menu to a more streamlined format.
Had my cute IT guy working on it all day:
Please check it out! I have free erotica to read plus extra write-ups on leather pup role play and affiliate website recommendations.
There will be a book launch for my latest novel, A Numinous Light (Book III in the James Lucas Trilogy), on Sunday, May 3rd, 11:00am, at The Royal Oak at Kent and Slater in Ottawa. Mr. Leather Ottawa 2015, Keven Allen, was nice enough to let me have it as part of the monthly Leather Brunch.
Please join me for brunch and purchase a signed copy of my latest book for $20! I hope to speak briefly about my writing journey and what brought me into the world of kinky gay BDSM in the first place.
When we heard about an upcoming Romance Writer/Reader Conference in our home town of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, fellow gay romance author, Nathan Burgoine, and I exchanged several Facebook messages back and forth deciding whether or not to attempt to break into a largely hetero-normative romance arena. It didn’t take us long to decide to team up and register, requesting a joint table at the book fair which organizer Eve Langlais was great about granting us.
I’m used to marketing my books to the kinky leather/fetish community here in Ottawa, so was rather intimidated about bringing my particular brand of erotica to the conference. But if my writing journey has taught me anything at all, it is to avoid making assumptions and just put myself out there.
So, bright and early on Friday morning, after throwing together school lunches for my two kids and charging my husband to get them off to school before he went to work, I picked up Nathan for the drive to Kanata. His wonderful husband, Dan, was kind enough to map out a route that would avoid the morning rush hour traffic and for that I am immeasurably grateful! We pulled into the hotel parking lot at exactly 8:59 after a 25 minute journey which could easily have been 45 or 50 minutes if we’d gone a different way. Nathan was a wonderful driving companion, metaphorically holding my hand as I maneuvered the Queensway for the first time in about five years. It wasn’t as bad as I remembered but I did stay in the slow lane driving right at the 100km/hour speed limit.
When we arrived at the hotel we quickly found the conference on the second floor, met Eve, received our badges and gigantic swag bags, then quickly decided to sit in on the Historical Romance panel before we were due for our own panel on LGBT romance in the same room. It was great fun to listen to authors Tina Christopher, Claire Delacroix, Reece Butler and Sharon Page discuss the techniques and complexities of writing historical romance. Their casual and relaxed comportment put me at ease and made my upcoming appearance on a panel seem less intimidating. Plus there was Tina’s totally awesome steampunk costume and her lovely British accent which made me feel at home (my father hails from London, England).
Next, we were up. I grabbed a glass of water and sat at the table with my buddy Nathan and the delightful Kayleigh Malcolm. We hadn’t even designated a moderator so I bumbled through an ad hoc introduction, forgetting to say who we all were. Luckily my co-panelists reminded me and we each introduced ourselves. After that it’s a bit of a blur. I do remember Kayleigh’s quick wit and Nathan’s wonderful description of the bizarre controversy between MM romance and Gay literature. As a woman who writes gay erotica I appreciate his inclusive views on the matter. I remember that our audience wasn’t shy about asking questions and I felt relatively comfortable speaking about writing graphic BDSM erotica about gay men.
Our allotted time passed quickly and when it was over, both Nathan and I were starving and thirsty so we decided to have lunch at Milestones. We had a lovely chat and parted, Nathan to return to the conference and me to return to my home in south Ottawa. I had worked on Wednesday and Thursday evening so wanted to be at home for my kids and husband that evening, even though I had to miss out on the dinner and dance at RTC.
Saturday morning I headed out to Kanata, again hitting light traffic and making it in about a half hour. I had hoped to get there in time for the start of Nathan’s event, Same Love, Same Romance, but had to sneak in halfway through. I came to provide moral support but it turned out he didn’t need it. He was surrounded by supportive women – readers and authors – who listened intently to his take on writing good gay romance and those aspects that do make it somewhat different from straight romance even though the main love story is the same.
I had to leave before it had finished in order to attend my next event. I found the Algonquin ballroom in time for Kali Willows‘ Speed Date an Author. I had signed up for this because it seemed an exercise in brilliance to think of setting up an author meet and greet like a speed dating event. It proved to be just that once things got organized and readers started rotating along a line of thirty or more authors. Because of the small size of the room compared to the amount of humanity inside it, the din was enormous and we had to shout to be heard, but it was nonetheless very rewarding to be able to describe my books to so many different readers in such a short time period! And kudos to those readers who concealed their shock when I told them I basically write romantic BDSM porn about gay men. I could tell that some were not entirely comfortable with this subject matter, but everyone was very gracious about it. Luckily I had the Ottawa setting to discuss as a fall back to put my companions at ease.
I was extremely surprised but pleased by the number of people who praised the covers of the books in The James Lucas Trilogy. One of my main goals in writing this series was to present, as accurately as possible, the story of three kinky gay men navigating an alternative poly relationship. To be able to have on the covers an actual kinky gay leather man who resides in Ottawa, the series’ setting, is a dream come true. Mr. Michael Tattersall, Mr. Leather Ottawa 2010, was kind enough to pose for three local photographers (Fernando Farfan, Stéphanie Amesse, Paul Thompson) on three different occasions in order to fulfill my desire 🙂 He is as kind and compassionate in person as he is smoking hot sexy on the covers.
After the speed dating, I was lucky enough to find Ellie Macdonald sitting in the hotel restaurant and she graciously allowed me to join her. While we ate we discussed Jane Austen and period romance which is what Ellie specializes in. We spoke about how to put a new, original spin on a common theme and from what Ellie was saying, it looks like she’s done just that. I look forward to checking out her books!
After lunch, I wandered back upstairs only to find my friend Nathan again surrounded by adoring women. These included Reece Butler and Kadian Tracy who were in the midst of a heated discussion of cleavage or lack thereof which was hilarious and apparently quite informative to our resident gay author. I could tell that Nathan had found his way into the hearts of these women with his humble disposition and clever wit.
Soon it was time to set up for the book fair. Nathan had his books and materials with him already so we stashed those and he kindly offered to accompany me to my car and help carry my stuff. Honestly, I’m so used to my husband doing these things for me and hadn’t expected anyone else to offer. I was really touched. I know my husband would have been right there helping me if he didn’t have our two kids to look after back in Ottawa. And to tell you the truth, I’d kind of made fun of how enormous the green swag bags were the day before, but boy did mine come in handy when I needed to transport a box of books and other things!
Since Nathan has done this a few times before and also worked in a bookstore for many years, he set up his side of our table with finesse. I struggled a bit more with my display but he kindly gave me some advice which I was happy to take. It was very satisfying to be able to line up all three books from The James Lucas Trilogy on the table in front of me. I was also extremely honoured when bestselling author Opal Carew actually sought me out to say hi. We know each other through a mutual friend and in fact it was Opal who indirectly inspired me to begin writing erotica for publication. Nathan and I were a bit astonished at the amount of books and swag at many of the other tables but decided we weren’t here to compete with anyone and settled in to have a great time.
The book fair was extremely well attended by both registered participants and the public. Nothing quite prepared me for the joy I felt when two separate people gathered up all three books from my trilogy for purchase! I also sold a few copies of Beyond the Edge (book 1) and The Cross and the Trinity (book 2). Nathan had a lineup at his side of our table a few times and sold out of almost everything. I call that a smashing success!
Nathan and I were thrilled to be able to bring a different kind of romance to RTC 2015 and will definitely be back for RTC 2016! We were both very pleased with the fact that nobody had anything negative to say about gay romance/erotica except that it wasn’t their particular cup of tea while many were extremely enthusiastic about it.
And next year I’m staying overnight in the hotel so I can party with you all.