When I fist read one of his books, I was shocked. I was maybe a little naive on the whole man on man romance, and his novels were a mix of erotica and romance, explicit erotica, something I was not used to. I even remember another author/reviewer asking me who the hell was this woman writing such unbelievable gay romances, and I told her, "actually I'm pretty sure Bobby is a man". I didn't know Bobby at the time, but deep inside I was sure he was a man, since the way he approached gay romance was too true to be only writing. But actually it didn't matter if he was a man or a woman since the love in his novels was without genre. Bobby talked about marriage, family, and religion, always letting his bigger than world persona into his books. Believe me, I'm crying while writing this post, since I can already feel that I will miss Bobby, I will miss him so much.
Johnny Miles sent me a PM, but I asked him if I can repost this since, well, it's so much Bobby that it made me cry all over again:
"Buona sera bella. Come stai? I'm so sorry for your sorrow.Thank you Johnny, for this wonderful memory of Bobby.
I first met Bobby Michaels many years ago when I was a massage therapist at a local clinic in Fort Lauderdale. They had a program that specialized in treating HIV patients with peripheral neuropathy and although I'd never worked with HIV patients before, it was an eye-opening experience.
One of the other things they offered, from time to time, was non-traditional therapies. One of these was a creative visualization session, combined with a form of meditation/self-hypnosis. I figured I'd stay and watch to see if there was anything I could incorporate into my massages with my clients.
In walks Bobby Michaels, a bit of a tornado upon first entering. All I could think of was, THIS is the guy that's going to help all these people calm down? But, after lighting incense, starting up his meditative music, as well as setting up some crystals around the place -- which took about 10 minutes -- it was like glimpsing into the life of a totally different person. And damned if he hadn't done exactly what he set out to do! Everyone, including those of us who worked there, were very comfortable, relaxed and felt like we'd just woken up from a wonderful love-in type of dream.
Since then, I've only seen him a few times. However, and I believe anyone who knew him more than I did, would agree that no matter what, he was always incontrovertibly Bobby; one of the more unique and genuine people I've ever met.
Rest in peace, Bobby. I hope you're having the orgy of a lifetime!"
I don't think Kate Steele, Bobby's friend, will mind if I repost the wonderful entry she did for Bobby on his yahoo group:
"I'm sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but at approximately 3 a.m. on Sunday, October 30th, Bobby Michaels, passed away.Yes, Kate, Bobby will be always remembered. And missed. And loved. Goodbye dear Bobby, I didn't have the chance to meet you face to face in this life, I hope to be able to meet you somewhere else, I will come and say ciao.
As you all know, several years ago Bobby had a stroke and that, coupled with numerous other health issues finally became too much for him.
I was blessed to be able to speak with him last night one final time. He was at home having been, just a few days earlier, released from a care facility where he spent several weeks after a severe fall in which he broke his shoulder.
We talked about his current condition, how he was managing etc. We also talked about you, his readers, and he wanted me to get in touch with you all and to tell you he was feeling okay. Even with everything he was going through, he thought about you all often and would tell me how lucky he was to have such wonderful readers and friends.
You all meant the world to him.
I want to add my personal thanks to you all for loving Bobby's work. It meant so much to him to know he was bringing you all such pleasure with his stories. It made him so happy to know that he was able to make you laugh and cry and yes, definitely get horny.
Bobby, as you can imagine, was always quite frank when it came to sex, but he was sincerely delighted that he was able to touch your hearts, emotions and imaginations as well.
Saying all this makes me feel better because even though this is a sad day, I will remember Bobby as a man who lived an extraordinary life. I've never known a person who was able to cram so much into one lifetime. Believe me, while he was able, he didn't waste a minute of it.
Thank you all, God Bless, and please send your Blessings and Prayers up into the Heavens for our dear, dear friend. He will be missed, but always remembered.
Dawn / Kate Steele"
If you haven't read Bobby's books, it would a wonderful farewell to him if you can do that now. To help you browsing his world here some links:
Red Heart Bowl: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/44094.html
Jock Dorm 1: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/299918.html
Jock Dorm 2: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/56054.html
Jock Dorm 3: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/924075.html
The Veteran: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/93540.html
Second Time Around: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/119113.html
For the Love of the Corps: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/186061.html
Rock Paper Scissors: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/210855.html
Weekend Leave: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/428246.html
My Interview with Bobby:
1) Do you realize that you are a bit of an earthquake in the romance genre? Women who read M/M romance, I think they are still naivee, they like to read about manlove, but I think they face the genre with a woman attitude, instead you have a very male and explicit style.
I didn’t realize it at first, though I should have. The Editor In Chief of my publisher said in their acceptance letter for my first book that I had a unique voice and style. I had read a lot of romance novels but I just figured that they weren’t explicit because of censorship by the publishers. After all, except for porn novels I never saw a book that was sexually explicit. However, I started writing romance for other gay Males, and trust me when I tell you, they want the sex EXPLICIT!
I do think that oftentimes women do approach male/ male romance from too feminine a perspective. Guys like their sex down and dirty. They don’t want it pretty and tidied up.
2) Since you are published by Loose Id, I think you have a wide share of female readers. What do you think of that? Are you happy? And have you changed your writing style in comparison to the stories you publish on Nifty to meet a woman's taste?
I have always had women readers, even on Nifty. At least a third of my RimPig Yahoo group are women. And that was true long before I was published. Except for leaving out sex acts such as watersports I have not changed my style at all for Loose Id. I didn’t see any reason to. I was attracting women as readers already.
3) I know you have also a wide share of male readers. How they react to the romance part of your stories? Do they like it? Do they suffer it or do you think they want and need it?
I still have saved on my computer my favorite e-mail from a reader. It says, “I have a hard on and I’m crying. What do I do now?”
Personally I think that all Males, gay straight or bi, want and need romance. Even on Nifty, I have readers who tell me that they skip the sex scenes entirely to read the story.
4) Everytime I read one of your books, I "feel" you. I think you put a lot of you in your stories: Gay marriage, Coming of age for gay teens, Don't ask, don't tell policy, Desire to be parents for gay couple... are they all your first hand experiences? And do you want to give also a message writing your books?
Not all of them are. I never had children, nor did I ever serve in the military. I try to incorporate in each of my books an issue that I feel strongly about. And, yes, my books are full of messages. Mostly about l the intensity and beauty of male love. But also about social issues that I feel are important, like the issue of testicular cancer in Jock Dorm: Drew and Vince.
5) In the past few months there was a bit of controversy on M/M romance authors being male or female. I know you are a man (Am I right?). Do you think that a female author can rightly write a male perspective in a romance? Or do you think that only a man can do that? And do you think there is difference from a gay romance written by a woman or by a man? If yes, in which way they are different?
First of all, yes, I am male. A point my Editor In Chief likes to point out on a frequent basis. If a female author couldn’t write from this perspective of a male, Rhett Butler would have had a hell of a time. I do think that a lot of female authors (and I’m gonna get in trouble here) are like most females and don’t know Males as well as they think they do. If you asked 100 men if they understood women, you would get the answer, “NO!” From 99 of them and the one who said “Yes” would be delusional. However, if you ask 100 women if they understand men, you’d get 99 who answer “Yes” and they’d all be delusional. Women think they understand men, which is why I think there are so many divorces.
The biggest difference that I found in gay romance written by women is that the sex is nowhere near raunchy enough and that oftentimes it is too delayed in the book. Women like a long, slow build up to sex that men see no reason for. Males are entirely orgasm oriented. To a guy, the thought is, “if I’m not getting off what’s the use of all this work?”
A lot of this comes from a guy’s experience of going through puberty with the almost constant demand from his growing body to orgasm. From the women I’ve talked to over my life, that is not a female experience.
From Bobby's website:
Bobby Michaels lives in Fort Lauderdale with hundreds – Nay! Thousands – of gorgeous, muscular men (most of them Marines) running around in his mind. Some are memories of sexual encounters, some are the characters from his many Nifty stories and Loose Id novels and some are characters from novels waiting to be written. So, though he lives alone, he is never lonely.
Bobby has been many things in his life. An actor, director, nightclub singer, professional female impersonator, a monk and, for 29 years, a social worker and grant administrator for local government. His government career ended in 2007 when a stroke caused the loss of the use of his left arm so that now all his writing is done by dictation through a voice recognition program called Dragonspeak.
But, through it all Bobby has been first and foremost a writer beginning his career writing stories for trashy romance magazines in the 1960s along with stories and poetry through the rest of his life. From the time he was five years old, Bobby has always dreamed of actually holding in his hands a book with his name on it as the author.
An avid reader, Bobby’s Kindle has hundreds of books in it. Most of them are male/male romances because he loves reading them almost more than he likes writing them.
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