From Louise Wise

Monday 27 May 2024

Cozy Fantasy books are the perfect place to find positive masculinity #cozy #postivemasculinity

 Guarding Gus: A Cozy Fantasy of Heartwarming Heroes and Positive Masculinity

Cozy fantasy and wholesome masculinity (sometimes called positive masculinity) go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Like fish and chips. Like Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool. 

Cozy mysteries have been around for over 20 years, but cozy fantasy sprung up only three years ago with Travis Baldree’s, Legends and Lattes. Couple this new genre with the rise in positive masculinity and you have a perfect outlet for heartwarming stories featuring male characters who express their genuine emotions, open up about their vulnerabilities and fears, and take the time to stop and enjoy life. 

The same way that readers find solace and joy in cozy fantasy, they can also find surprising lessons about positive masculinity in the pages of Guarding Gus, a cozy adventure that aims to provide a beacon for how men can use positive masculinity to strengthen bonds and deepen their connections.

(For our purposes, “male/men” refers to people who identify as male, people with masculine energy, people who express male attributes in personality, dress, hobbies, and style. This post is inclusive of transmen, intersex, two-spirit, gender-fluid peoples. What’s in your pants is not the only qualifier of maleness.)

 An Excerpt Illustrating Positive Masculinity in Guarding Gus by Karryn Nagel

Nico was smiling broadly, and Gus’s tongue was lolling out of his mouth. Both of them were looking at Brant with a mixture of admiration, friendship, and pride.

“I have something to talk to you about, too,” Nico said simply.

As Brant listened intently to Nico share about his transition, his mind was crowded with questions about the process of what it must be like to realize that you are not really a girl, but a boy — a man, he corrected himself silently. He wasn’t sure what was okay to ask, and he didn’t want to offend his new friend. He considered where his questions were coming from and found that they were mostly about wanting details that felt very private to ask a relative stranger. He filed most of his questions under “none of his business” and landed on the most important one of all, the one that had to be answered.

“How can I support you?” he asked Nico, who had finished speaking and was now looking at Gus, listening actively from Nico’s lap.

Nico felt his heart constrict at the clear nonjudgement in that one sentence. He considered the response when he told his family; his abuelita had stood up from the table and walked off to her room. His mother and father had both shifted uncomfortably, and his father finally spoke and said, “Sure, whatever, son,” placing a disapproving emphasis on the last word. Just weeks prior, his father had been saying that this was a phase that would pass, while his mother looked on sorrowfully.

A determined glint came into her eye, and she winked at Nico before rising from the table. Nico could hear her say down the hall, “Come with me, mi amor, and we are going to have a talk about your new son.”

His mother had also placed an emphasis on the last word, but this had some protective bite to it. It gave Nico’s heart a tiny flame of happiness in the echo of darkness.

Listening to Brant’s question had given Nico the same flame, this time a little stronger. He didn’t know this man, he didn’t know his troubles. Hell, he was barely figuring out his new and truest self, and this new friend had a better sense of “live and let live” than his own father. He slumped in his seat, feeling relief cascade over him in waterfall waves. He felt he had crossed a canyon by simply lifting his feet and was soaring across.

“I appreciate that, man. I really do. I tell you what. Why don’t we watch each other’s backs?” Nico said, smiling and scratching Gus’s head at the same time.

“Deal,” said Brant, smiling back.

Cozy fantasy and positive masculinity share something essential in common. Society needs a place of solace and warmth, a place of rest and simple pleasures, and both this new genre and this new behavior provides it. And the best thing about it? You’ve got nothing to lose by checking it out. 

Buy the book!

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