Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review :Not Safe for Work by Ingela Bohm

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of  5  ★★★★★

Not Safe For Work coverJakob is turning 34 and his best friend, Leo, isn’t there to help him celebrate. He’s gone to a software conference in London to unveil his revolutionary new software. This program gathers info from a PC and calculates the truth, filing in the blanks so a person doesn’t have to do more than give it the basics, and it will compose the rest of a thesis, story, or other document for the user.

Jakob is close to finishing his own work on his dissertation for his PhD. His doctoral thesis is on the slash fiction phenomenon from a linguistic perspective. But that isn’t foremost in his mind on his birthday—he has other priorities to focus on, especially when he receives an odd text message from Leo which leads him to start reading an unbelievable NSFW story penned by him to Leo! It’s on both Tumblr and Facebook and is quickly being picked up and reposted by users all over the world. The story is erotic and apparently establishes him and Leo as a couple, something that will be a shock to all of their friends and acquaintances who believe them both to be straight. Wait! They are straight. Or aren’t they?

The explosion of stories, which now have gone viral on multiple social media sites, causes Jakob to doubt his own reality. And, to top off the worst birthday ever, it looks like his advisor, a well-known professor who pioneered research on the slash fiction phenomena, has also seen the stories. The biggest problem is the writing style is Jakob’s, and when confronted, he finds it impossible to deny that the stories are completely untrue because of a tiny grain of truth in each. But the professor offers Jakob an exclusive research deal which would allow Jakob to go to London and confront Leo whom Jakob thinks is really behind the whole mess.

In the meantime, Leo, who truly loves Jakob but knows his love is unrequited, has no idea of the scope of the media explosion. Or so he says.  When the two finally meet and compare notes, It seems unbelievable that anyone could have possibly have had enough knowledge about them to write these stories, all of which seem to be based on true events, but with distorted facts.

While in London with Leo, Jakob gives in to his underlying sexual desires, desires that he only recently came to realize, and despite Jakob’s supposed heterosexual identity, they have sex. Unfortunately, when it’s done, instead of remaining behind with Leo, Jakob says something stupid and hurtful and then leaves after completely breaking Leo’s heart.

The story is quite brilliantly executed. The author took reality and stretched it and then twisted it, smoothed it out, and stretched it again to the point where I thought I might never be able to figure out which end was up, but she came through in the end and provided a plausible explanation for the whole mess. But did the guys really get together, or was it a dream? And do they have a HEA, or is it in the reader’s imagination?

This is an absolutely unique plot. Be sure to have fully functioning brain cells before you start to read this story because you are going to need them. I love the twist on RPS— real person slash fiction—a phenomena created by this generation. Instead of telling the story from the perspective of the fans or authors of the fiction, this story is about the characters, the real life men who are affected by the social media explosion as their love story becomes viral. The more it’s denied, the more it appears to be true. Of course, the author does throw in a few dream sequences just to keep readers on their toes. So, as I said, be sure you are fully functional before you start this one.

I highly recommend this to those who enjoy something completely different. Toss in some GFY and some first time virginal scenes, and you’ve got the recipe for a story you won’t be able to put down.

~~~~~

Cover Art by Ingela Bohm shows the silhouette of two men standing face to face against a red-lighted background. The pound sign before the title, written as # Not Safe for Work in bright yellow print, depicts the tag for which those interested in a slash fiction story would search on social media. Very cleverly done.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published July 7th 2015 by Smashwords Edition (first published July 6th 2015)
ISBN139781311809865
edition language English

Early Bird Book Chat: Ingela Boehm on Four Centuries of Gay Love and Not Safe For Work (guest post)

Standard

Not Safe For Work cover

Not Safe For Work by Ingela Boehm
Released July 6, 2015

Sales Links:   All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

We are pleased to have Ingela Boehm here today to talk a little about her latest release and blog about “Four Centuries of Gay Love”.

Four Centuries of Gay Love by Ingela Boehm

With the release of Not Safe For Work, my exploration of gay love now spans four centuries. Of course, there are many advantages to sticking to one genre – historical or contemporary – but I’m just too curious and too easily bored for that. I want every book to feel fresh to me, and one way of doing that is to jump between different eras.

It also gives rise to an interesting question: what is different about being in love nowadays compared to earlier times? Of course I can only speculate. In Rival Poet, I looked at how a same-sex romance might develop in a time when homosexuality wasn’t even an extant term. Back then, ‘sodomy’ was regarded as a kind of nymphomania: sodomites were so oversexed that women weren’t enough for them, they had to have men too. It was also a capital offence, which meant that you could be hanged for it. Luckily, the authorities tended to turn a blind eye as long as you were discreet.

My main character, Will Shakespeare, conceals his attraction to fellow poet Kit Marlowe because he fears for his life and reputation. The only one who guesses what’s going on – Will’s best friend Richard Burbage – accepts him for what he is, but would rather not know the particulars of his love life. Will is extremely lucky to have such an accepting friend, and he keeps the secret from everyone else.

Then again, maybe Will is a bit too careful. In the theater world, love between men is more or less an open secret.

In the 1970’s, which is the period for my ongoing series about rock band Pax, things have changed. Not long before 1975, when the first book begins, a law was passed in the UK that made it legal for gay people over 21 to make love. While many people still regarded it as a sickness, others embraced it and battled for equal rights. In the Pax series, Jamie and Michael learn to walk the tightrope of those shifting attitudes at the same time that they work on their musical career – a difficult task even without the added tension of being in love with the wrong person.

Finally, in my latest release Not Safe For Work, I take a look at how a gay relationship might develop today, when much of life takes place on social media. In the book, Jakob and Leo live in a world where public opinion has changed so much that homosexuality is seen as everyday and completely undramatic. Of course, their road to love is still not bump free: because what happens if everyone believes that you’re in a relationship with your best friend when you’re really not? How do you deny the rumors if people around you are not only fine with it, but they root for you? What if they would even be disappointed if you told them it wasn’t true?

Through social media, Jakob’s most private self is laid out for the world to see. It would be bad enough if only his closest friends were fooled by the prank, but the stories about him and Leo go viral and garner a cult following of young women who perpetuate their fake love story by writing their own ‘fics.’ It becomes a global phenomenon, and it’s all a lie – or maybe it’s not? Maybe that’s what’s most terrifying of all: that there might be a grain of truth in those stories. Even as Jakob realizes that he must deny that there’s anything going on between him and Leo, something holds him back. And although the stories disgust him, he’s unable to stop reading them.

So the characters in Not Safe For Work should really be able to date without problem, but it’s the author’s job to throw a spanner in the works. I like to torture my men, to make them struggle with their identities – and not only their sexuality. If I were asked to summarize my writing with one word, I would say ‘self-acceptance.’ In upcoming works, my characters face issues like class privilege, body image, guilt, prejudice and social exclusion.

That said, I do believe Jakob is the one I treat the worst. His battle is fought in the public eye, when he would really need a vacation on a desert island to digest what’s happening.

Oh well. I didn’t give him that. But I did give him Leo, and that has to be some small comfort.

~ Ingela Boehm

 

Not Safe For Work cover

Blurb for Not Safe For Work…

It’s Jakob’s birthday, and boy is he getting a surprise. His friend Leo has written a sexy blog about the two of them — all untrue, of course. Or is it? Identity hijacked, fake love life laid out for the world to see, Jakob is devastated. He should deny it all, but he can’t stop reading. Soon, he’ll have to confront Leo, but he’s afraid — can there be a tiny grain of truth in those stories?

About Author Ingela Boehm:

Ingela Bohm is a sucker for music and words, and whenever the two go together, she’s on board for the long haul. Every story she tries her hand at turns into a love story at some point, but that’s just her sentimental nature making itself known. She occasionally pretends to be a human being (as long as there are no dogs present), and she spends an obscene amount of time in front of really well-made TV series, trying to riddle out how the hell the bastards do it. Her current projects include part three of the Pax Cymrica series, a twisted, darker story called Mindfuck, and a vampire dystopia.  Currently lives in

You can contact/follow Ingela at:  Goodreads Author Page | Website | Twitter