Today I am so pleased to welcome Meraki P. Lyhne to Joyfully Jay. Meraki has come to talk to us about his latest release, Law of Beauty. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Meraki a big welcome!
Gender Equality and Diversity in Fiction
I still remember when I came up with the Cubi and how it went about. How the world building began. I actually had my son help me. He’s pretty good at brain storming. I toss something out there, and he asks questions. So, we sat on a mattress in front of the TV, two dogs and a kitten joining us, and binged a series. A surge of creativity made me pause the movie to scribble stuff down, their eyes being the first.
But I wanted to challenge myself. Push myself to write something I’d never written before. At this point, I’d only written three or four books in my debut series, Chronicles of an Earned, and I was at that state where I feared I’d never be able to come up with something awesome and original again.
To evolve, I had to push myself. And the plan was actually to write something dark. That didn’t really pan out other than striped asses and a few other slightly gory/harsh scenes. It did help me, as an author, learn what I really enjoy focusing on when writing, and human sexuality, buried in dogma, cultural levels of shame, body shaming etc. meant I had a lot of stuff to turn on its head to shake things up.
How we view subjects are often limited by the social behaviors acceptable in our immediate surroundings. There’s good and bad, and that’s about it. So if all we thought we knew to be a norm is put on its head, there are two outcomes: Cognitive dissonance kicks in, and we abandon this new thing that challenges our way of thinking, or we rearrange our perception of it and grow more tolerant to a diverse world.
Shaking things up and challenging the general dichotomy of good and evil through entertainment is the very reason I put my fingers to the keyboard every day now. And I challenge myself every time by picking something I don’t know a thing about or something I feel I need a better understanding of.
Incubi has become my niche like shifters are for some, cop stories for others, etc. I try to make as many different worlds and versions of that phenomenon as possible both under Meraki P. Lyhne, the light side, and Meraki P. Dark, the dark and seriously twisted side, where I finally managed to push myself to that level with a demonic incubus story.
But why incubus? Because sex is something ingrained in us. Even asexuals, but it’s ingrained through cultural expectations of them being sexual beings because…plumbing. Or whatever. There are so many aspects of our lives and cultures touched upon by sex, so when you poke at one aspect, a lot of other stuff needs to be looked at, too.
The Cubi allows for that on many levels, and I’m proud of the many reviews pointing out the place women and succubi have in that world. Women of power and strength and equal worth and no eew, women bits. Just a lot of hot MM sex with a lot of shaking up the trees of general understanding of all things pertaining sex.
I have the good fortune of being from one of the most secular countries in the world with a history setting women very high. The Vikings did that. Men and women were different, even transgender graves have been found where the individual’s perceived gender was respected. Being a man then was a title, not a thing between their legs. Men and women had different places in society, but only viewed through Christian understanding of gender’s places in a family will see the Viking woman’s place as secondary. Because a home was run by the woman, not the man. The woman was the one with the right to divorce her husband if he acted in a way that dishonored her. I was able to share that part of my culture in book #6 of the Cubi series, where I took the entire race back to the Viking age in Denmark.
Many of those philosophies have been a strong influence when I began building the Cubi world, and I love the series for allowing a different level of gender equality than the one I see society strive for today. It allows for equal worth where the differences are respected as such and aren’t set up to be elements for the genders to compete about being most “valuable.”
No matter what kind of incubus story I write, that will always be a part of it. Here, twinks can top big alphas, and it’ll be normal because a smaller man isn’t equated with automatic femininity or submissive mentality. Here, a masculine guy will wear makeup because it makes him feel sexy. And women are individuals, strong, weak, intelligent, gullible, hot-headed, submissive, leaders, you name it. As many different kinds as there are in real life, they are in my stories, too, but they will never be there solely to point out traits about a male character or his sexuality.
And yeah, I get very passionate about gender equality and diversity. Which is why I’m so passionate about incubus stories. It’s the perfect theme to shake that tree and old dogmas, stigmatizing both genders and leaving them in boxes that grow toxic masculinity and inhibit women’s freedom and autonomy.
The newest Royal of the Cubi race is the one with the heaviest burden to carry. That is the birthright of any new Royal. Armed with a story told by his closest ally and one of the oldest Royals alive, Daniel feels better equipped to face what’s coming. Theoretically, at least.
When inviting humans to his House to further cooperation between their races, Daniel is also forced to face the men who decided to try to eradicate his race. However hard he tries to live up to his position, he luckily has people around him who will support him as he stumbles his way toward being a competent King. One unwavering supporter is the old Viking King with an ax to bury. Or two, as it is.
Any young Kingdom needs a strong foundation, and it’s still settling as those who are to help support Daniel are finding their places and roles, too. And Daniel isn’t the only one stumbling.
Meraki P. Lyhne is a Danish author who mainly writes contemporary paranormal MM and MMM, some with a HEA, some with a HFN, and some with white-knuckling cliffhangers
Meraki has brought a choice of the first or last book in the Cubi series to give away to one lucky reader on his tour. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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