So for the Rainbow Book Reviews Blog Hop, the topic of my post has to be about "what writing GLBTQ literature means to me."
Growing up, I didn't have access to any GLBTQ material. I had no computer, no Internet, and the closest library was over forty-five minutes away by car.
My friends enjoyed reading those "bodice-ripper" type romances, with damsels in distress with heaving bosoms, and the dark, brooding warriors with throbbing rods of love who rescued them, often by force.
That was all well and good for them, but for me? I had nothing in common with those characters whatsoever. I couldn't identify with the women, and I couldn't identify with the men. For years I scoured the local bookstore, trying in vain to find something I could sink my teeth into. To find a story featuring someone like me - a queer trans guy.
Fast forward to 2007. I've completed my first book, and I'm having trouble finding an agent to market it, because it contains... ::GASP:: a bisexual character. I wanted him to be a gay character, but my husband and I figured that, if I wanted any shot at publication, he'd have to be bi at the most. I have a three inch thick stack of rejection letters from agents for my bisexual romance. One agent finally did pick me up, but she turned out to be a scam artist.
I mentally thrashed about and gnashed my teeth until I found "Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander," which was marketed as a bisexual romance. This book was all over the shelves at my local Barnes and Noble. Success! I'd finally found something I could read and enjoy. Er...not so much. It's a nice book, with some fine writing, but not what I was looking for. Ultimately, I wanted a gay "bodice-ripper."
I was lamenting to my husband one night, and he suggested I try to find gay porn books. Not quite what I was looking for, he knew, but maybe it would be a start. So I went to my computer, and I typed in "male-male sex book."
And what did I find??? "Discreet Young Gentleman" by MJ Pearson. Oh. My. God!!!! Even the *cover* was reminiscent of those other novels. I was in love. I bought it immediately, and devoured it. I read it over and over again. And then it hit me - this was a PUBLISHED book. Someone had PUBLISHED it. And maybe...maybe...maybe they'd publish me, too!!
I wrote voraciously. I wrote story after story. Gay men. Bi men. Lesbians. Trans characters. While I didn't get published by the same place, I did end up finally getting published in the tail end of 2009.
So what does it mean to me? It means, in a small part, acceptance. It means not being alone. The GLBTQ romance industry is alive and thriving, and that's because people want to read this stuff. And that means I'm not alone in my love for it. It means breaking stereotypes - showing characters who are outside what people think is "typical" for gay people. It means showing other people that we exist. We laugh, we cry, we love. Just. Like. Them.
I take my spot in this industry very seriously. I *love* my spot in this industry. I'm proud to be a part of it. Sure, there are times when I shake my head in disbelief and wonder what's happening around me, but for the most part, I love it. This is exactly where I belong.
Okay, so now that you've suffered through my rant, here's what you really came for:
For my offering today, I'm giving away a free pdf copy of the winner's choice of one of my books. To enter, just leave a comment below, telling me what you like about GLBTQ romance. Don't forget to include your e-mail.
****PLEASE BE AWARE: I write GLBTQ romance. GLBTQ stands for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer. This means my works feature same sex relationships AND same sex sexual acts. If winning that kind of a book isn't your cup of tea, kindly pass on to the next blog in the hop and leave the spot open for someone else. Thank you.****