Age Differences and Unlikely Relationships

Today is the second part of my lovely guest blog series, brought to you by the duo of Racheline and Erin:

Like many of our stories, “Adjunct Hell” is, among other things, an age difference story. Our interest in writing relationships with age differences comes from a lot of different places. Sometimes, it’s just fun (and sexy) to write stories about a young adult discovering relationships and sexuality with someone with more experience. Other times, the age difference creeps into the story less overtly, so that we can each have a character we relate to since, as co-writers, there is a sixteen-year age difference between us.

Increasingly, however, I’ve begun to suspect that the reason we write age difference so much is because of some of the realities of being queer people. For me, as someone who grew up in New York City in the 70s and 80s and was active in protests related to AIDS funding in the 80s and 90s, I am always conscious of the hole in the gay community created by AIDS. That hole has been and continues to be devastating.

One of its consequences is an interruption of how our cultural history gets transmitted. With arguably much of an entire generation missing, relationships with significant age gaps are likely more common. They’re also a way to navigate that hole, and ensure the continuity of culture and community. This isn’t something I have the statistics on, but it certainly feels truthful to me in terms of the relationships I see amongst my friends and peers.

The other reality is that same-sex relationships come with less structural inequality. When you’re not worried about the sexism in our culture coming home to your relationship, it can make other forms of power imbalances — including big age differences — easier to navigate.

For us “Adjunct Hell” was a way to look at how different power dynamics interact. By writing about an older student and a young professor we got to examine the power dynamics that we all deal with in whatever relationships we engage in from a queer and complex perspective.

Social media links:
Joint Blog:
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Racheline’s Twitter:
Erin’s Goodreads:
Racheline’s Goodreads:

Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae are also authors of the following series:
Love in Los Angeles:
Love’s Labours:

Excerpt from “Adjunct Hell”:
“So apparently your classmates have a betting pool going,” Carl says as soon as Phil picks up the phone.


“Yes. About whether and when the old dude with the crush is going to get with the professor.”

Phil makes a strangled noise. It takes Carl a moment to realize he’s laughing.

“It’s not funny!” Carl protests.

“It’s funny.”

“I’m still waiting on my boss to tell me whether or not my colleagues hate me and whether I, you know, still have a job. The last thing I need is rumors about me and a student…” Carl trails off in despair.

“It’s a school. Do you have any idea how many rumors are flying around? Or how many professors are banging their students?”

Carl collapses face down on his bed and makes a pitiful noise into the phone.

“Look, I know this is making you crazy,” Phil says soothingly. “But whatever it is has been done, and if they wanted you gone, you’d know. There is also absolutely nothing you can do about it right now. So,” he says, and Carl can just picture him settling more comfortably in his bed, in which they have not spent nearly enough time together. “Tell me about the rest of your day.”

Young Love, Old Hearts
A Supposed Crimes Anthology
Editor: C. E. Case

Stories by: A. M. Leibowitz, Adrian J. Smith, Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese, Geonn Cannon, Helena Maeve, Kassandra Lea, Lela E. Buis, Ralph Greco Jr., & Stacy O’Steen

Everyone hears “He’s too young for you.” “She’s too old for you.” Not between these pages. This anthology crosses the age gap with nine enchanting stories of cross-generational relationships. Some are sweet, some are sexy, some are heartbreaking. One is downright murderous. The protagonists are gay men or women searching for true love or trying out what’s right in front of them.


Verso and Recto by Geonn Cannon

Discovering their mutual love of reading leads a literature student and her professor to take a step neither of them expected.

A Blizzard’s Blow by Adrian J. Smith

Lollie dashes from the house in the middle of a blizzard in search of something she’s not sure she’ll find, but she hopes to never again see the same cold, blank stare Kimberley gave her.

Slice by Ralph Greco Jr.

When Germane relinquishes her more-than-slight kinky relationship with Lila to begin a new one with younger A.J., she finds a flirty, fun and wholly different “Slice” of life opening up for her.

That December by Lela E. Buis

Celia finds that older women and the politics of genetic engineering aren’t what they seem.


The Arrangement by Helena Maeve

When he is summoned into his Dom’s study after a mutually satisfying scene, Cyril knows he’s in for something worse than the play they normally get up to.

New York Minute by Stacy O’Steen

Stuck in his depressing hometown for far too long, Colton jumps at the chance to return to his beloved New York City. But when some odd coincidences click into place, he needs to find the truth hidden in the lies.

The Artist as an Old Man by A. M. Leibowitz

1985 is a big year for Kenny Anderson. Sent to interview artist Aaron Rubenstein, making a grand reappearance after a three-year absence, Kenny digs beneath the surface to understand Aaron’s life—and maybe his own.

Adjunct Hell by Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese

Phil may be in his 50s, but he’s still a student, and the fact that Carl—who’s barely 30—is dating him would bad enough even if Carl wasn’t waiting for good news from the tenure committee.

Say You Do by Kassandra Lea

Keegan Bancroft is hoping to avoid a complete meltdown before his date. But there’s something he really wants to ask Richard.

Buy Links:
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About the Publisher

Supposed Crimes, LLC publishes fiction and poetry primarily featuring lesbian characters and themes. The focus is on genre fiction–Westerns, Science Fiction, Horror, Action–rather than just romance. That’s how we set ourselves apart from our competitors. Our characters happen to love women and kick ass.

“Supposed crimes” refers to the idea that homosexuality is outlawed, and that our authors are being subversive by writing. As times change this becomes more tongue-in-cheek, but can still apply broadly to our culture. Christians writing lesbians and men writing lesbians are also subversive ideas in this industry, and we promote people bending the rules.

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About torntreasure

I'm a 32 year writer and optician. I am loud and out-spoken and I do not lie or sugar coat things. I love to write; I love to read. I like eyeballs. I want to be an artist. I want to paint the world with my words and make you glasses so you can see it! Ha ha!

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