Hop For Visibility, Awareness and Equality

HAPHOBIAUMBRELLA2016

Thank you for stopping by my corner of the Hop for Visibility, Awareness & Equality.  Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biophobia and I hope you continue the hop to share, learn, empathize, cry, laugh, enjoy and celebrate. And now, on to my post and giveaway~

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For reasons unbeknownst to me, I get a new headline story from the Washington Post every time I open my Kindle. The last time this happened the insistent little icon declared, “Is it time for a Gay hero?” The fact that this icon appeared side-by side with my freshly downloaded copy of “Hexbreaker” by Jordan Hawk made me chuckle. “Well, duh!” was my initial response.

Hexbreaker_400x600

Gay hero, you say? Interesting concept.

 

And then I thought of how in their insightful and cutting edge way, mainstream corporate America has once again jumped on the bandwagon after the parade is over and the band has gone home to snuggle. Of course, being steeped in the culture of gay romance literature, I probably have a different perspective than corporate America.

So now I’ve changed my answer to “Yes, it is time.” Not just in romance lit land, but in mainstream media, big budget Hollywood and direct-to-your-screen TV. And furthermore, the gay hero’s sexuality should be a non-issue. Okay, okay, that’s a lot to ask for at this point, but if they’re going to offer us an inch, we really should insist on a mile. I love Amazon’s Transparent, but the main character’s sexuality (and that of his offspring) is at the heart of the story. That’s great. Now how about we have a cop, superhero, PI, whatever, who is gay and nobody gives a damn?

As a professional fantasist, I’ve long believed in the importance of story. In dark times, a vision of a world of visibility, awareness and equality that does not yet exist can be a balm to the soul of the marginalized. In times of change and progress, it can be a guiding light. In times when a question like “Is it time for a Gay hero?” draws a “well, duh” from most people, it can be a celebration.

I’ve always written stories featuring gay heroes, but only in the past few years have my stories been published. I have many, many pioneers and forward-thinking writers who came before me to thank for this, for although I wrote those stories, naturally and without consideration of markets, I never expected them to be accepted – much less read – by anyone. In my mind, the worlds I created where the hero really could be gay and out without consequence were fantasy. I don’t suppose I was alone in that pessimistic view.

I wrote these stories for myself and they gave me great comfort. Always, in times of stress, I turned to these romances, set in worlds I envisioned where the question “is it time for a gay hero?” would get nothing more than a quizzical look, because sexuality was not an issue, nothing to judge nor condemn anyone for. Certainly nothing to stop anyone from being heroic, or others from enjoying the tales of their heroism.

And yes, I fantasized about those stories making it to the big screen, because, let’s admit it, don’t we all dream about who’d be cast as our characters? And now, while still a fantasy for this writer, the dream is at least possible, even if the story isn’t tragic, or filled with ‘fighting the dominant paradigm’ angst and strife. Imagine, a blockbuster movie featuring our favorite gay hero could just be a rollicking good time.

Here’s a fun question; which book or series featuring a gay/lesbian/bi/trans hero would you love to see made in to a major motion picture or TV series?

Post your answer in the comment section for a chance to win your choice of my past releases. Coincidentally, they all feature not one, but two gay heroes! You can check out the books on the sidebar. I’ll randomly select a winner after the hop is over from everyone who comments, so please leave a contact email.

And now,  click here to hop on!

(Sorry I can’t get  the linky list to appear here. I think it’s a WordPress thing, but it might just be me. 🙂

 

 

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Hop Against Homophobia

HAHABT 2015

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.

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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.

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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.

Goals Met, Winner Selected!

After applying the rigorous, highly scientific method of writing out all the names of all the commenters on my HAHAT post, cutting them out, dumping the name slips into scientifically approved vessel of a hat and shaking said hat vigorously, the winner of my HAHAT prize drawing has been selected! Skeeter Lee is the lucky recipient of a $10 gift certificate to Loose Id! Also, because my goal of ten comments was easily-breezily met, I’ll be donating $25 to GLAAD! Yeah!

Thanks to the organizers of the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia. I was truly impressed by all the heartfelt, wonderfully written and powerful articles. I think the links will stay live for awhile if you’d like to go check them out. The quality of the contributors was high and has inspired me to delve deeper and reach higher next year.

The people who really need to read these articles probably won’t stop by a hop against homophobia, but I fervently hope that by banding together to share our experience, strength and hope, we’ve sent some powerful, hate-kicking love out into the universe. In recovery we say that we’re only as sick as our secrets, and society’s long attempt to deny and repress the existence of our LGBTQ citizens has done much more harm than good. Opportunities like this one to share our stories banishes the secrets, lies and shame and shows us that we are all human, all struggling, all trying to be happy and make the most of this human experience. To that I say, yeah, us! Never let your voice be silenced.

HAHAT 2014