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Heights of Passion: stories for older men & younger lovers

Heights of Passion (Stories for Older Men & Younger Lovers #1) - Don Schecter If you equate "passion" with "sex" you will be disappointed when you realize the stories in "Heights of Passion" are about people, situations, relationships not what they get up to in the bedroom or other places where they conjugate, and I'm not talking verbs here.The secondary title is "stories for older men & younger lovers". As I often do *winks*, I contacted Don Schecter and we had some interesting email chats about why he wrote and self-published these tales. He answered:I wrote because I had things I wanted to say, and I was annoyed at the gay material out there, most of which I found boring, poorly written, or unintelligible. Sex is part of my story, not the reason for my stories. Stories need to make a point to be satisfying, imho. I was also driven by the fact that I had no one to ask when I was young, and I have found that even with the internet at their disposal, there are still young gays out there who haven't asked the right questions of someone with experience.I won't give details of every story just a couple of glimpses to give an idea.Told mainly from the viewpoint of Miles a long term friend, "The Queens Party" tells the tale of an annual party for close gay friends of the mature-aged Augustus, known to his friends as Augie:Augie’s fixed idea of sex was to masturbate himself in Miles’s living room, fully dressed, with no one touching him. To top it off, Augie didn’t kiss, either.Augie had reluctantly extended an invitation to four young friends of a friend. I loved this description of their arrival:The four youths insinuated themselves into different parts of the room and introduced themselves smoothly. Foreign accents and rhythms began to spark the conversations, and relaxed laughter, an unusual sound up to then, was heard. Augie sensed the change but was unable to pinpoint its cause. Miles noticed many calling cards emerge from pockets and exchange hands, many pens taking down numbers. The boys were a success, their full heads of hair riding high like colorful islands on a thinning gray sea.It is obvious that Don is an observer of people, interested in what makes them tick. Each story is quite different in tone and content, ranging from the amusing to the tragic and at times there is a little of both.The collection of stories is an interesting contrast to the other one I'm reading by Ken Shakin "Real Men Ride Horses". Both are obviously drawn on characters and experiences the men have experienced. They come at the subject from totally different directions which is to be expected from two men who come from totally different backgrounds.How's this for another view of things:"Heights of Passion" tells of a gay editor having to read a story about a heterosexual couple: As an editor who was gay, he had no trouble with the hetero-sex that filled the pages he read; on the contrary he felt especially qualified for his job because he was gay. He possessed all the male capacities to rape, plunder, and pillage; while at the same time he knew what it was like to be taken by a man, and to succumb to one, as so many fictional heroines were fond of doing. But this story was beyond his ken because he was invited to feel the moisture Derek elicited from Barbara’s sex, and to taste her secretions. When Seymour stopped being able to distance himself from the descriptive passages, nausea overtook him. Such was the power of Hardwick’s skewed prose.I'd always had my suspicions about "gritty" reality and they were answered in a couple of the stories - not m/m romance fodder *winks*, I fear.The one that sold the book for me (and if I hadn't given it five stars already I would have bumped it up) was "You Got Male".The story is a series of emails and MS - not every exchange between the two is included, in fact the ones that aren't spelled out and just referred back to are as intriguing as the ones that are.It starts off with the interaction between "Youngstud" and "Olderone". This one had me really thinking, and it has the greatest twist. The whole set up is all so believable, and even may be rooted in fact, but even if it wasn't, you can just picture the whole scenario from words that do little to actually tell you what's going on, but give you enough clues to let your mind paint in the rest. Poignant and very well written.But then comes the second part which tells of the interaction between a psychologist and the same olderman. After some hot graphic sexual postings there's this interesting insight into online sex banter:As to your professional question about why men fall in love over the internet, I think that transference and counter-transference play a big part in online attraction. The feelings that arise are toward our imaginary visualization of whom the other person is and whom we’d like them to be. Sometimes these images are quite accurate and sometimes not. A lot depends on the ability of the “imaginer” to assess people quickly and accurately, and both must be as honest about themselves as possible.Which turns out to be quite ironic but I won't spoil the three part story for you. Worth reading.In fact as a female writing gay romances, I found the book a useful research tool into how real men think and act as opposed to the stereotypes which are creeping in to m/m romance.If you're tiring of the same old, same old, read "Heights of Passion"; its glimpses of reality are touching.The book is only available as paperback and Kindle from Amazon but Acrobat reader copies can be obtained direct from the author at http://www.donschecter.com.To quote the author's site: Each story is designed to intrigue. Enjoy...