I'll be at Bent-con next weekend. I have three panels, so far. One of them is a repeat of the panel I did at this year's Yaoicon on localizing manga for the Digital Manga Guild (DMG). It's a fun panel about the process of translating, editing and lettering a manga goes through before it's released in the US. There is a lot of controversy on the internet about the guild and how its workers are treated. There is also some debate about DMG titles and how much the original mangaka have to do with it. I take on all of those issues. In the end, I hope to attract talented people who love manga into joining the Guild.
The other panel is Yaoi 101 and It's Impact on Japanese Pop Culture. That's a long and lofty title for what will likely be one really naughty panel. I've got lots of bishie images and even some video clips. This panel will introduce yoai and its history to a room full of gay men who look at the genre sideways. I'll also discuss how it has evolved from its 'plot what plot' origins and how it is having a real impact on pop culture in Japan. I will have lots of snippets of the rampant fanservice offered in current anime. It will be a fun panel that is also quite flame war worthy. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have found it interesting. I'll share all the images and snippets I use in the blog next week. If any of my gentle readers are in town, come on by. It's a very cool convention with a lot of great guests. Check it out on the web page.
Book ReviewSaying Goodbye at Ocean Isle by Kimberly Hunter
What would you do when you finally had to let them go?
And what would you do if you were given a second chance at love?
For Laine Abernathy and Sean Pike, losing their lovers in tragic accidents was devastating. But over a year later, Laine has realized that holding on to the past is futile. Sean’s not ready yet to say goodbye. Deep inside, he knows he should. Unfortunately, the mind is willing but the heart isn’t.
Through grief and sadness, the two form a bond that develops into much more over the course of a month long stay at Ocean Isle Beach.
Then a night of passion sends Sean running. Thinking he’d pushed too hard, Laine returns to his life, disappointed and down. He’d shared something with Sean he never thought to have again.
Three months later, Laine receives a text. “Meet me at Ocean Isle. Need to say goodbye.”
Is his chance for happiness gone before it even begins? Or will two broken hearts finally be mended? There’s only one way to find out...
I must confess that I read this book with grave misgivings. I'm not one for romantic tragedy. I don't read for catharsis. After I've had that 'good cry,' I end up ticked off for being made to cry. However, Saying Goodbye at Ocean Isle is far more complex than the typical tear jerker and more brave. This book looks at what happens after a perfect union of soul mates is brutally ended when the survivor has to choose whether to go on with life or follow into death. Kimberly Hunter manages to take on a potentially depressing topic with a deft touch. She manages to economically render and fully realize two very different couples complete with family histories early in the book. Blaine and Sean's love stories with their partners are miraculous. The loss of their life mates is incredibly poignant and painful. It's hard to believe that either man is willing or able to really move on. That journey is intense and wrought with suspense and really, really hot. Talk about sexual tension! As a reader, I felt guilty about the lusty thoughts about men who've endured such tragedy. Not that those feelings kept me from wanting to read more. That conflict was nerve wracking. And then there was the question of whether the intense, mutual longing would be acted upon. Would either man be able to grab that second chance at real happiness? Saying Goodbye at Ocean Isle is an amazing ride that manages a great deal of moving and exciting drama in a very short span. And that was a good thing. I don't think I could have survived a longer roller coaster ride.
Next week – The Con report and a Manga review!