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As Serious As I Get…

September 1, 2010

As most of you are well aware of, I write GLBT romance with elements of humor and suspense, and do so with pride and confidence. My concentration lies among the premises of M/M and f2M stories, though I have been known to weave a few bi and F/F tales as well. With that being said, there is nothing in the world I love more than writing in my preferred genre.

There isn’t much I would change within the writing world of GLBT itself. A damn good book is a damn good book, regardless of who, what, when, or why it was written. But, not everyone holds with that philosophy. Especially the judgmental and the bigoted.

Instead of finding five things I wish more of in GLBT romance, I find myself focused on the five things I wish reflected on GLBT in all its different genres.

In other words, I wish all the editors, writers, publishers, booksellers, contests throwers, literature award givers and anyone else related to the book industry would get an attitude adjustment and stop treating the GLBT (on the whole) like a redheaded step-child. These so called professionals need to buck-up and get a healthy dose of diversified reality.

We are here.
Some writers are NOT queer.
The closets are empty or at least organized.
Our stories are ready to be put on the shelves in public libraries, mall bookstores and in the homes of readers.

Yes, that means not every damn GLBT fictional story (romantic or not) is gonna be classified as erotica. We have queer young adults, children who live with transgendered parents and great homosexual historical figures no matter how much society has tried to change the fact.

Before I go off on a different tangent, here are my top 5 things I wish GLBT romance (and GLBT writing on the whole) had more of.

1. The recognition it deserves:
With the onslaught of e-publishing, books once considered too risky to be caught purchasing at the local GLBT bookstore or the nearest Barnes and Nobles can now be discreetly ordered as an e-book and read by a plethora of electronic gadgets.

With that being said, the doors have opened wide, introducing straight readers and closeted queers to some prime GLBT fiction. These stories are using major gay characters anyone can identify/sympathize with in a variety of plots rivaling anything remotely heterosexual.

So, why is it so damn hard to find mortar bookstores who will actually have more than a shelf of nothing but non-fiction gender studies that are such dry reading you need eye drops? Why do sales managers (or print publishers at conventions) snicker behind your back when you walk away after requesting them to ‘beef up’ the GLBT fiction section? Why are NYC old school boys not taking GLBT fiction seriously? Why isn’t there more exposure in magazines such as Romantic Times? Why aren’t there more agents getting the word out there that they handle GLBT fiction?

GLBT fiction has come a long way. It is powerful, strong and here to stay. Get with the program, people.

2. More honest ‘stereotypes:
Yes. You read that right. All this ‘political correct’ crap has this writer’s balls in a vice. And I don’t like it.

It is a fact of life. There are fags. There are fairies. There are limp-wristed and lisping flamers, as well as all the images one associates with the butch-dykes, femmies, leather daddies, Teddy Bears, Cubs, Twinks, and a multitude of other stereotypes. Just as there are the same who profess to be these labels, yet look like Mr. Wall Street or Ms. Universe.

The thing is, we all need to grow up here. Remember sticks and stones will break one’s bones, but names will never hurt you? Yeah, names hurt, but I wear big boy pants now. I would rather be called a fag lover than to get queer bashed outside the football stadium because I don’t meet the status quo of the politically correct image of a GLBT person.

Stereotypes will never go away, because they are a part of real life. It is up to us, as writers, to help show the diversity of these people – and how can we if we get nailed every time we pen a typical stereotype? I mean, it’s crazy. They exist whether or not they are written or talked about. Lighten up, people!

3. A diversity of employment opportunities among the characters:
Okay, I don’t know about you, but with my taste of reality in the world, not only is there a multicultural exchange, but the employment opportunities for GLBT folks are unlimited. Unfortunately, in GLBT fiction it seems to be stuck in the same circles. Lawyers. Doctors. Police. Cowboys. Military. Porn stars. Rent Boys.

Hmmm. Nice. However, what about the mailman? The oil change guy? The clerk at 7-11? The librarian? The Geek Squad? The janitor? The sales rep? The Department of Motor Vehicles employee? The waitress down at Granny’s home cooking? As a matter of fact, what about Granny herself?

I know, someone will post and say, “Well, I just read a story about a queer video store clerk last week, so phffft on you.” Okay. That’s one ringie-dingie. But, in the overall range of GLBT fiction, you have to admit the majority of the stories center around the same boring careers.

Let’s allow some alternative career opportunities for our GLBT characters, shall we?  Consider it personal growth and job security in these economically, depressing times.

4. A visable presence in the public libraries:
I guess this beef could go along with the complaint of the lack of GLBT fiction in brick and mortar stores. Yet, I do feel this is on a different playing field. The lack of GLBT fiction in our public libraries.

Get this. I recently go into a small town library. It’s nice, in a well kept building, up-to-date computer system, many new books, community rooms, money for summer reading programs, etc. I check out the GLBT non-fiction. One book. There is nothing for GLBT fiction.

I speak to the director of the library. I offered to donate $3,000 to the library to start a GLBT fiction section. I even promise to supply them with a list of the top 50 GLBT best selling fiction as a starting point. She said no – they couldn’t accept a donation like that because any and all money would be put in an account and dispersed among the regularly needed programs in the library.

Not to be undermined, I offered to take that same $3,000 and BUY the GLBT fiction books myself, then donate the collection to the library just so they could have some works for the GLBT community in and out of the closet.

Do you know what she said?

They would gladly take the books, and turn around to sell them for a dollar at the ‘friends of the library’ book sale – so they can use the money to get what the public ‘really wants.’

I can’t see, how a library, which is funded by the state and the government, can operate with a clear prejudice towards the GLBT community and get away with it.  If this were the African-American studies, or the Christianity section, they would not take this lying down. A ruckus would be heard for sure!

Yet, our libraries, here in the USA are getting away with legalized GLBT banishment, in the name of ‘budgeting programs. Once again some super GLBT fiction of all genres is being tossed aside, and great GLBT authors go unrecognized.

5. More opportunities for contests:
LISTEN UP  ~ RWA and other contest officials! GLBT romances (or other fictional works) do NOT have to be erotic! STOP lumping us under this heading. If you want to categorize us, place us under GLBT and go onward.

I am so tired of reading through the contest rules and regulations, sending in my masterworks only to find I’ve been disqualified because it was a GLBT story. “BUT, it wasn’t erotic.” No matter. If it has two of the same sex hugging and kissing or even batting eyes at each other, it is lumped as erotic.

The erotic contest folks will look at a ‘sweet’ or plain vanilla, fade-to-dark bedroom door closed scene – and laugh their butts off.

And if you are a straight person writing GLBT fiction, Lambda will totally dismiss you as an annoying fruit fly.

It’s a no win situation.

I would like to suggest, in all fairness, those associated with the Lambda (the organization who recognizes gay writers and gay publishing) after all the years they allowed straight people to receive awards only to pull that plug out two years ago, stating “Our award celebrates GLBT people, not writing” perhaps this backwards way of thinking is walking a tight rope named reverse prejudice? Maybe they should think about adding a catagory that looks at the writing of the book and not what the author does in bed?

And what about the people who run story contests make it CLEAR if they will accept GLBT/alternative lifestyle stories. In this day and age, it is ridiculous to find out your story has been rejected because someone is too prudish to admit GLBT fiction (romantic and otherwise) does exists and, no matter how much one tries to ignore it, it will not go away.  Just like me.

44 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2010 9:54 am

    Bravo! Very well done. I had no idea libraries would do such a thing! I have not read a lot of GLBT fiction, but the one series I did I really loved – and yes, it was not erotic or erotica, just like you said.

    The story was well written and really spoke to me, it had nothing to do with his sexual preference, it was a sub-plot/addition in the story (and he was a writer, who also was a vampire, which is what drew me in).

    I have no idea what can be done to change things. You have certainly gone the gamut with trying to make things right. Is it possible that some GLBT fiction is on the shelves, just not on its own shelf? I really think the series I read is available at my library, but since I bought them myself I’m not sure — but I can attest to that it was on the mystery shelf and not someplace separate.

    Has anyone else read Dean James’ Simon Kirby series? I loved it no matter what “label” it has.

    • george allwynn permalink*
      September 1, 2010 7:57 pm

      From what I’ve discovered (and I am far from a private detective) – the libraries have no problem with gay minor characters.

      However, when a book is ‘woven’ into regular fiction that sports gay main characters, people complain. When the gay card is played, the books get pulled.

      The Troy Library in Michigan told me that, when I looked for several ‘cozy mysteries’ (including the recommendation from you regarding Dean James.) Missing from the Mystery section was Queens Park (a Detective Lane series) and over 21 cozy mysteries by Mark Scott Zurbo (who is well known for the Stonewall Inn Mysteries – featuring Tom and Scott, and Paul Turner.)

      Also admitting to not taking gay fiction were several smaller libraries, who stated if they accepted GLBT, their main contributors would stop donating to the library and they would be out of a job.

      Sad but true.

  2. September 1, 2010 10:32 am

    Hear hear! *wild applause* I shall cross post this as wide as I can.

    • george allwynn permalink*
      September 1, 2010 8:00 pm

      Hi Erastes,

      Thank you so much! My heart nearly gave out to see your read my comment!

      Writers like you, Alex Beecroft, Lee Rowan and Charlie Cochran and many others are wonderful examples of authors who write damn good historical fiction – but your works aren’t gracing the shelves because it’s GLBT.

      It is a shame how much people are missing out on.

  3. September 1, 2010 11:05 am

    Very well said. On the contests, I had a rejection in a contest and low points, because my hero, wore a cowboy hat and this particular judge didn’t like cowboy hats. She stated it, I protested, and was basically ignored. So as you can see prejudice in contests are what a judge personally likes or doesn’t. Which is ridiculous especially if they do take “ALL GENRES,” even where I dare say, a hero wears a cowboy hat.

    • george allwynn permalink*
      September 1, 2010 8:06 pm


      You handled yourself well – you are not up on manslaughter charges!

      If that had happened to me – over a hat mind you, I would have blown more than a gasket.

      Contest judges are like editors/publishers. It’s all a gamble. You may get rejected because someone doesn’t like the name “Lee” (reminds them of a butt head boyfriend.) Or maybe you had the nerve to locate your story in the state of Ohio, and the editor is a Michigan fan. You can never tell.

      But you are right. All genres are ALL genres and I for one, am tired of my GLBT being sent back because of someone being homophobic and NOT because I missed read the word “ALL.”

  4. September 1, 2010 11:50 am

    Great post. You raise some points I wasn’t aware of. What I hear mostly here are complaints about the libraries allowing porn to be viewed by computer, or maybe that is just California. I’m guessing you would get a different reaction here, but maybe not. I will have to ask my librarian writer-friend.

    I think it’s fair to label things so readers buy what they want. But I look forward to reading things that transcend the sex, even if the sex is prevalent (depending on the genre), and focuses on the character. Readers want to have fun and learn something too. When I read a historical, I sometimes have no clue as to what the history of that time or region is beforehand. When I’m done with that book, I want to feel like I learned a bit about life during that time/place.

    As we’ve said before, the character and the relationship is key for me. Let’s face it, everyone does sex to their own personal tastes, slot A/B sort of thing. I can see the love developing on screen between the two characters in True Blood. The touching and blushing and eye flirting, I really enjoy. God forbid there would be someone to tell me I “shouldn’t”, and that doesn’t make me gay.

    Writers like you will help bring this to the forefront. Keep on keeping on, my friend.

    • george allwynn permalink*
      September 1, 2010 8:15 pm

      Thank you, my Wednesday Partner!

      I also believe in clearly labeling the reader content. Not because I have any thing against a certain genre (well, I try to stay away from hard core true crime – not my bottle of choice) but because I prefer to read things that interest me.

      I’d rather spend money on a book knowing there’s a good possibility I will like the content, then to be surprise and say – it ends up with the main character dying. Or ends up being one of those continuing sagas (which I don’t care for.)

      Label the books what they are – GLBT fiction – and get them out on the shelves. Let the consumer make up their minds whether they want to read it or not.

      I really hate it when the Ole’ Boy’s Publishing Houses in NYC or the cardboard tastes of booksellers interfere with me expanding my mind and my reading pleasure.

      Dictatorship starts out with limiting access to books, you know.

  5. September 1, 2010 12:14 pm

    Well I wrote a story about a queer chef, so phfft on you! LOL J/K

    As always, you are correct and insightful. Especially the stereotype part. *SO* many writers shy away from it, using claims like “I want to make my characters REAL!” Um…okay, but have you been to the gay bars in your area? If not, you should, especially if the writer is *not* queer in any way. Spend some time with queer folk. Like the picture says, some stereotypes exist for a reason. ::flaps my wrist at you:: Of course, not for me, honey. ::kissy face::

    • george allwynn permalink*
      September 1, 2010 8:28 pm

      DC –

      I’ve read a couple of gay chef stories and enjoyed the change of pace from the normal ‘career choices’.

      I totally agree with you – you want real? Go to a gay bar! Go to a Pride festival! You see all sorts – stereotypes included!

      On one hand, I can understand the good intentions of wanting to limit the writing of stereotypes. Not too long ago, many of us were raised by ‘Archie Bunker’ type dads. Enlightening people that there were more than the effeminate gay male and the dic token dyke on a bike – not to mention the transsexuals who struggled with no commodity, trying to look passible as the opposite sex and failing – began as a way to make sure future generations didn’t fall into the same pattern as categorizing people.

      Yet, there comes a time when the pendulum has swung to far. At what point is it okay to mention the drag queens? Only if they are first class, and do it as a job? Only if they are straight and do it as a hobby? What about the drag queens that wear prom dresses and have hairy chests and beards? (Yes people – there is a division of those types – wonderful chaps. But do they get any serious recognition? What makes them less of a person than say – um, RuPaul?)

      As writers, we could help balance this all out – if we were left alone to do our job instead of being slung over the coals in the name of being ‘politically correct’.

  6. September 1, 2010 1:30 pm

    I am so with you on the “lighten up” part. I want more flamers and drag-queens and fun. I’m tired of “Straight-acting GWM atheist seeks same.”

    Val at Obsidian Bookshelf did a list of her m/m reading by job:

    Also? Romatic Times is pretty up front that they only consider heterosexual romance. They aren’t changing any time soon. And they have been known to change their bylaws to avoid including gay material.

    • September 2, 2010 3:13 pm

      And that is so sad, considering love is love, no matter how you make it. Hence, the decision to forego the Romantic Times.

      And in my humble opinion, it makes for a bad business decision on their part. But what do I know?

      If RT’s is basing their decision on catering to the readership that holds the ‘same sex is wrong’ philosophy, they need to look at the generation of readers and writers coming up.

      You know, the ones holding the future purse strings? They were raised with a diversified spoon in their mouths.

      Also, who has the most disposable income at their fingers? The young adults who are still living at home, have a job/allowance and the GLBT population with a two income/no children. Coupled with the fact that these two factions are about the most diverse minded species of the planet — Romantic Time’s choice to ignore this exploding growth in romance is clearly stupid.

      On that note – is there anything out there Romantic Times Review wise – that isn’t afraid of GLBT or M/M romances?

      If so, drop me a line at

  7. Kate permalink
    September 1, 2010 2:03 pm

    As a future librarian, reading your experience made me wince. Diversity on the shelves is such a key issue and especially when there’s already so much great stuff out there, but it feels like you have to search for it. Thank you for articulating this issue so well. I came here from a tweet from Storm Moon Press.

    • September 2, 2010 3:25 pm

      Thanks Kate

      And I’m not saying every library is like that. Yet, living in the Metro area (Detroit) you would think the libraries would be a bit more liberal. Yet, with all the cut backs and library closures, maybe the lack of GLBT genre fiction is justified.

      In the 17 years I lived and researched in the area, I saw leaps and bounds in the metaphysical books and the new age books to the point where they rival Christian books. Yet, in the same library, very little growth in the GLBT sections, though the non fiction did have some newer titles regarding coming out, marriage equality, adoption and as a parent, accepting your homosexual child.

      I recently moved away from there, and am living in on the west side of the state. It has been the last couple months that I’ve really run into the bigotry within the library system.

      I can honestly accept the excuse that it’s not in the budget.

      What I can’t get my mind to grasp is offering to pay for brand new books, to fulfill a need that is definitely lacking in the community – only to be told the library would hand them over to the used book sales and resell them for a buck to purchase what the library felt was more appropriate.

      BTW – Kate, thanks for stating where you came from. I never have heard of Storm Moon Press. Gonna check them out!

      When you become a librarian, just keep in mind the GLBT genre fiction plight! Some fights are won by small steps – one person at a time. Your library may make the difference to somebody’s life!

      • September 2, 2010 4:01 pm

        I’m actually at the University of Michigan’s School of Information working on my degree and it just bothers me that a library would turn down books. This summer I’ve been working with the America Reads tutoring program, helping them work on their library and its a pleasure to see how they work to make sure their tutors see themselves in the books. As a genre reader, I love coming across well written relationships and so keep searching for those books so that I can make sure the library I’m at is a safe place for everyone. Public libraries can become so caught up in not just budget but the community’s ideals that they worry. The same things happens to a lot of public schools too, they fear a challenge so much that they don’t put books that might be helpful on the shelves. I hope that I can make some changes when I’m in a library.

        Storm Moon Press is a new press that focuses on GLBT fiction and it was started by a friend of mine. Their site is at and well worth a look. They just recently published their first book.

  8. September 1, 2010 3:39 pm


    Libraries. Sigh.

    Many librarians are fierce upholders of equality. Many are closet censors. And most small towns have right-wing religious gangs who terrorize any public institution that dares to suggest we exist. (Bigger towns have them, too, but there’s a chance of balance from folks requesting glbt.) I’ve seen a number of glbt mysteries–Scoppetone, Stevenson, et al, in mystery sections, and some SF/fantasy. I don’t know why these genres fly under the radar, unless the censors don’t credit them as worth reading.

    I think a small, all-volunteer library in Guelph, Ontario may be one way to go–Out On the Shelf has a fanatastic selection of books and videos, and it’s a private, nonprofit venture. I’ve donated my books.. and OOTS keeps them to loan out. A private subscription library is another possibility, if someone had space to house it and keep it open even a few hours a week.

    It’s a damned shame the public libraries don’t pay more attention, but there are ways around it.

    RWA and Lambda…. Kind of cancel each other out, and I don’t think either of them is run by people with the guts to admit a mistake and fix it. Elisa Rolle’s Rainbow Awards are a good alternative and the judging process is good, but that run-off popular vote at the end skews toward the last few letters in the alphabet; in one case, a book won that was never put up against more than two other books in successive eliminations, when most other books were up against four others. There are the Preditors & Editors polls, which include glbt, but again, that’s popular vote so one or two big-publisher books can dominate a category.

    The ‘erotica’ issue? Is solely to keep kids from finding out there’s an alternative to one-man-one-woman. THINK of the CHILLLLLDREN! And since the conventional romance organizations are larded with Ladies who want to Protect the Sanctity of Marriage, it’ll be a cold day in Waikiki when they admit we can love, honor, and cherish too. I think a new, inclusive organization is needed, and wish somebody who likes organizing would start one because I do not want to.

    I love your rainbow Ho tai.

    • September 2, 2010 3:48 pm

      You know, starting a small, GLBT library is an interesting idea. I won’t be able to do it under my current living conditions, but it is something to look into when the time comes to move again (after all, I’m not gonna live the rest of my life in a studio apartment with a dog, cat and a malnourished rescued kitten forever…)

      I agree with you on Lambda and RWA, and I do participate in Elisa Rolle’s awards (currently there is a poll for GLBT romance covers on her site - ) I would love to see more of these things offered to our GLBTQ community.

      Last, I totally agree with you – I too, wish somebody who likes organizing to start a new conventional romance organization that is open minded, diversified and living in this century.

      • September 3, 2010 6:09 pm

        Last, I totally agree with you – I too, wish somebody who likes organizing to start a new conventional romance organization that is open minded, diversified and living in this century.

        Well, there is the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK… Charlie Cochrane’s a member and there wasn’t so much as a lifted eyebrow at the meetings she’s attended. If the RWA can have overseas members, I wonder if RNA would allow colonials in their ranks!

  9. September 1, 2010 4:28 pm

    Great post. Will Facebook it. 🙂

    • September 2, 2010 3:40 pm

      Thank you, my Persian Prince!

      A high compliment from someone I admire much. I look forward to the day where we don’t have to worry about issues like this…

  10. September 1, 2010 6:20 pm

    This? Is bloody brilliant.

    You have basically summed up all I have come to feel about the topic. I would feel silly posting a blog entry just to parrot back what you’ve said, which I hope comes as a compliment. ^_-

    You can bet I’ll be retweeting this and sharing it where I can!

    Wonderful post, and I’m so depressed your library wouldn’t start a GLBT section. I’ll have to contact mine to see if they’re the same way. Now I’m just downright curious.

    ~K. Piet

    • September 2, 2010 3:39 pm

      K Piet,

      I take that as a high compliment! (am beaming as I type along!) I too, am curious as to what your library has to say.

  11. September 1, 2010 7:21 pm

    George, I just walked in the door on a major high, and found this post. Thanks so much, you make so many excellent points!

    • george allwynn permalink*
      September 1, 2010 8:36 pm

      Hey Belinda!

      I am glad to make your day!

      Do me a favor…, don’t forget this post.

      NOT because of me (and my lousy spelling and grammar when I get excited), but because GLBT genre fiction is bigger than me – and so much more.

      And I’m telling you – there are some GLBT authors who just blow me away. Their ideas, their plots, their characters! All being lost because of bigoted policies.

      ALL GLBT genre fiction authors deserve the same chance as their heterosexual counterparts. That means having their print books clearly labeled on the bookstore and library shelves, so readers can make up their own minds what they want to read.

      Have a great evening and once again thank you for your kind words. Your short post made me smile!

  12. September 1, 2010 7:36 pm

    As I sit here planning my winter writing schedule, several of your points are well-aimed, George. (grin) Thanks for helping me make those choices.

    • September 2, 2010 3:38 pm

      You’re more than welcome, Lena!

      Just another service I offer while I procrastinate writing on my own WIP… (*grin)

  13. September 1, 2010 8:23 pm

    George, if you continue at this pace, we’re going to have to get a larger server for the traffic or something! How many hits is the record for this blog, C.J., because George is “fixin’ to blow right past it!”
    In all seriousness, my friend, congratulations on a well-written and well-received post. You’ve set the bar very high. You can’t see it, but I’m bowing now. I am!

    • george allwynn permalink*
      September 1, 2010 8:41 pm

      (*LOL) Thanks, James, but I wouldn’t be worried about the larger service just for me. The topic was just one that hit close to the old home plate.

      Besides, on a whole, it ain’t me. It’s the combination of all the great authors here. People keep tuning in because of all the combined talent. Hump day is just an easy day to remember!

      And you don’t ever have to worry about bowing to me, Jimmy. There is only One worthy to bow to, and your soul already knows Him!

      How’s that next book coming along?

      • September 4, 2010 4:28 pm

        Happy long weekend, my friend. Sorry I haven’t answered your question, but the server was still down. Ha! Not really, just super busy.
        The second book just needs two very small research items to be double-checked and perhaps one final walk-through before being handed off to publisher. It has been safely sitting inside the proverbial can while I do PR this year. At some point this year I will have to clear my desk and begin writing book three. I like blogging too much, so perhaps I’ll be forced to quit my day-job! 😉

  14. Thom permalink
    September 1, 2010 9:32 pm


    Another thought provoking post. Yes, I agree. A good book is a good book, no matter what the genre or the main character(s). And I understand the point about having a GLBT section in the library or bookstore, but wouldn’t it be nice to just go to (for example) the Sci/Fi section and have to look through EVERY book in order to find one that sounds like a good one? Might be a pain in the neck, but wouldn’t it be nice to be PART of the mainstream and not separated from all of the other books just because they had a GLBT slant? Just a thought. Keep up the good work.


    • September 1, 2010 10:39 pm


      You know, I KNEW someone would bring Main stream up. (That, or someone speaking out against labels who don’t want to be read because (or in light of) the fact their books are marked “GLBT fiction.”

      My thoughts on this are not perfect. Heck, I’m certifiable crazy, so no one of importance would take me serious. (*sigh) I guess I’ll have to leave that wonderful thought to those who are much smarter and more patient than I.

      I just want to get the books out on the shelves and sort through the aftermath later. Once Joe Q Public tasted what GLBT genre fiction authors have to offer, I would be more than willing to bet there would be a light at the end of the tunnel for future collaborations such as what you have suggested.

  15. September 2, 2010 6:09 am

    Great post, George! Wonderful points!

    The Barnes & Noble in Little Rock keeps moving the pitifully small GLBT section. Evidently they expanded the Christian section and needed the room in the middle of the store so GLBT went to the back. Then across the main aisle. If they move it again, it’ll probably be outside… Unfortunately, B&N is the only bookstore near me that even carries romance or GLBT. Kind of hard to boycott the only source. Sometimes I really hate living in the bible belt.

    And the different professions thing is an issue in straight romantic fiction also. Seems those lawyers, doctors, police, cowboys and military sell better in straight romance. As does “alpha males”. Most publishers aren’t secure enough to move outside the norm that far, not even some of the erotic ones. Although porn stars and rent boys I haven’t seen in mainstream romance yet. *cackle*

    Oh, and I wrote a gay baker so pfffttt! LOL

    P.S. Are you going to RomantiCon again this year? I’ll be there. Hope to see you again!

  16. September 2, 2010 6:20 am

    Hi George,

    what a brilliant post! I couldn’t have said it better. You made all of the points that have continuously annoyed me since I’ve started studying this genre and, more recently, been published in it. Thank you for making those points, even if the professions of my heroes do vary more – for exactly the reason you have stated! 😉

    Very well done!

  17. September 2, 2010 6:47 am

    Hey George/Basil/Oliver

    What a great post!!!

    I especially identified with Point number 2 about stereotypes. As I said in “Mardi Gras” we should be celebrating diversity not fearing it. And that goes for both within and outside the GLBT community.

    Good point about the jobs. Do journalists and online bloggers count?

    The library thing also struck a chord. While doing research for Mardi Gras I checked out all the titles in the non-fiction section. I figured, where would young gays (male or female) go if they wanted to learn more about their sexuality. Forget the library. Mind you there was shelf after shelf about real life murderers.

    And lumping all books with same sex protagonists as erotica is a hoot. If they’re worried about sullying the mind with sex that might offend, have they ever read any of the current regency romances (m/f)? I didn’t realize they had such daring sex back in those days. Pages and pages they go on for in graphic detail, but two guys kissing?!? Ban it. Burn it or better yet sell it for a $1. LOL.

    The problem is, it’s the same everywhere!

    • September 2, 2010 4:08 pm

      AB – really? You have this problem in Australia too? Wow. Who would have thunk? Seriously – I was under the impression you were all more open minded than the prudish Americans!

      Mardi Gras is one of those genre fiction books that both straights and queers should read. Yet like so many others, it won’t reach half it’s potential under the current circumstances that we can’t get the books on the shelves.

      That’s why I embrace the e-publishing world and all it’s shoot offs. At least there is a chance stories like Mardi Gras will make it into the hands of others.

      And the library? Same thing with the Borders Bookstore at the Oakland Mall near Troy, Michigan. You have six or seven full rows of True Crime and Ghastly murders, and get this — three books – on Lesbian only – for the GLBTQ section (or gender studies), before it goes on to philosophy.

      Hello? What happened to the men? The Bi? The Trans? The Questioning? What happened to hot topic affecting the GLBTQ populace? Marriage Equality? Adoption? Youth? Coming out and it’s affect on families? Religion and gayness? Test tube babies? AIDS? Come on! Even if they didn’t have GLBTQ genre fiction, where were the rest of the books?

      Oh – and it wasn’t because the books sold. I went into that book store weekly, complained to the manager weekly – and the same three books stayed there for over six months!

      I don’t know what the shelf (which was a very bottom one) looks like now. I haven’t been in there since June. (I moved two hours away.) Now, I’m in an area where there are 5 book stores I can go to (45 minutes in either direction) and they all have at least 3-4 rows of GLBT books (mostly non fiction, few genre fiction.)

      At least there isn’t a layer of dust on them.

  18. Charlie Cochrane permalink
    September 2, 2010 6:53 am

    Hear hear. I agree on all points (expecially on the stereotype one – people are people!)

    Fondest regards


    • September 2, 2010 3:50 pm

      Hey Charlie!

      Thank you for your post! You have made my decade! (for those of you who don’t know, I love Charlie’s Cambridge Mysteries Series so much, I pimped it for all I could!)

  19. September 2, 2010 10:34 am

    ICARUS Magazine offered a $200 prize contest for gay male fantasy story – and guess how few entries we received. It’s pitiful. So, it’s not like prizes and contests aren’t being offered. Just no one cares.

    • Thom permalink
      September 5, 2010 6:59 pm

      The magazine sounds great, Steve, but not myself nor anyone I know has ever head of it. Has it been advertised?

  20. September 2, 2010 3:19 pm

    Affaire de Coeur accept LGBT books for review. The only trouble is that they want the MSS four MONTHS in advance, which obviously is a problem for many small publishers.

    • September 2, 2010 3:51 pm


      Thank you for including that information – and yeah, that kind of time frame does make it hard on small publishers.

  21. September 3, 2010 2:40 pm

    Hi George, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… This place is an education and you’ve delivered another great post in that spirit. Respect!! My own view is that a good story is a good story; and if that requires GLBT charaterisations, then so be it – stand proud. 🙂

  22. September 3, 2010 9:29 pm

    Wow – I always like to read the comments before I post mine, but this is just … so many. Excellent work, George. I’m outraged that the librarian said that! I’m also shocked that bookstores are lacking! Just yesterday I was looking through the schedule of a writing conference and remember thinking to myself “gosh, everyone wants romance/errotica/GLBT”. It wasn’t until I read this post that I realized you’re right. Every time I see GLBT, it’s coupled with romance/erotica publishers. No. Where. Else. And it’s always online (epublishers).

    I really don’t get it. In my opinion, labeling it GLBT as a sub-genre of romance/erotica is fine because … well … some people have that uh .. intention … in mind when looking for an erotic novel. However, if you’re just looking for a good Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Fiction, what the heck difference does the characters’ sexual orientation make? I really see no reason to have to label it as GLBT if it’s not romance/erotica.

    That’s my two cents anyway. Great post 🙂


  1. Erastes » Blog Archive » The Red-headed stepchild. Hear hear.

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