Hello and welcome to my little corner of the Hop Against Homophobia, Bi-and Transphobia. Today (May 17th) is International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-Phobia and Transphobia. Check out the website and read about the movement here.
WordPress is quirky about linky lists, but you can click here to go to the main hop page and view the links of all the other participants (117 at last look. Woohoo!) And everyone one of them is giving away prizes- double woohoo! My prize info and instructions are at the end of this post.
Can’t believe it’s been one year since I last participated in the Hop against Homophobia, which happened to coincide pretty closely with the release of my first m/m erotic fantasy, Touch of Salar. What an eye-opening, awareness-raising year it has been. I didn’t charge into the realm of gay romance with idea of being a crusader- I just wanted to write about the stories of love between men that came unbidden (and sometimes unwanted) into my head. I realized pretty quickly that my right to write whatever I wanted was intimately tied to the gay rights movement and that if I wanted to create literary worlds where everyone was free to love whomever they wanted, I’d best get on board with the fight to make this world safe for the exact same thing. No more waving from the sidelines but jumping in and adding my voice to the growing symphony of writers, readers and everyone else demanding fairness and equality.
Easier said than done, as many of you have probably experienced in different ways and on many different levels of difficulty. My personal road to being “out” pales in comparison to the gay men and women who’ve struggled against rejection for the most of their lives. I’m straight, but I’ve got this dirty little secret. I get turned on by two men having sex. Gasp! For a good chunk of my life I really believed I was the only straight woman on the planet with this “problem”. I thought something was wrong with me and went through periods of trying to repress or deny the stories, but they just kept coming. I even felt guilty about wanting to write male protagonists. I’m a liberated woman, right? I should want to write about strong heroines and champion womens’ causes, so I stuffed the erotic images away and focused on writing women in a series of bland, SEXLESS novels.
No surprise my stories lacked passion, right? No surprise my life lacked passion. No surprise my stories didn’t sell.
Then one fine day I discovered that women writing gay romance was a thing. Like, a really big thing. I was not alone! And very quickly, I was envious! Realization to publication took about six months. I’ve got twenty years of stories back-uped and ready to see the light of day, people. This has been the most productive and satisfying year of my writing my life.
But, and here’s the catch, I’m now writing not only erotica, but gay erotica. At first I explained it to my friends as a sort of experiment, a way to shrug off the yoke of traditional white old men in suits New York publishing and get something out there. Kind of a joke, you know? Bu the joke was on me. I was so excited about finally getting to write what I wanted I didn’t see the irony of going from deep-dark-secret to Published Novel That Anyone Can Read, Including My Mother, in such a short space of time.
And so here’s my confession; I didn’t tell my family what I was doing until recently. I fear rejection, you see, and still do. I know there are people in my extended family who will shun me as word trickles out. And the pain, and the fear, in a small but intense way, becomes real. When I look at the courage of all the homosexual, bisexual, transexual, gender fluid people standing up and being counted, and being oh-so-vulnerable, I am amazed, awestruck and more than a little befuddled by my own reticence.
Freedom turns out to be intoxicating. It is worth fighting for and taking risks, and I commend everyone who has ever faced their fear, large or small, and let their true voice be heard.
Prize time! I’ll be giving away a copy of my first novel, Touch of Salar, an erotic m/m fantasy, to celebrate it’s one year anniversary and this hop! To enter, just leave a comment with your email. I’ll draw a random winner on the day after the hop (May 25th) and notify them via email. And as an added incentive, I’ll donate a dollar for every comment I get to Old Growth Northwest, a Seattle-based group supporting a diverse literary ecosystem.