Where the Happily Ever Afters Are Always In Color

Welcome to the Queer Romance Blog Hop, where queer writers and readers of queer romance share their thoughts on the genre, as well as a few recommendations for books to read! Everyone participating in this blog hop identifies as queer and also reads and/or writes (or edits, or reviews!) queer romance. For our purposes, queer romance refers to books with:

1. LGBTQ+ main characters

2. In romantic relationships

3. That have a happy ending. (No Brokeback Mountain here, folks!)

It’s my turn on the fun party-go-round! Rebekah Weatherspoon, here. I write lesbian and bisexual erotic and paranormal romance for Bold Strokes Books. I like to focus on interracial/multicultural couples. It’s kinda my thing. :)

1. Let’s start off with the getting-to-know-you stuff: How do you identify, and what does that mean to you? Whatever level of detail you’re comfortable with, of course!

I identify as pansexual. I’ve seen a lot of definitions for the term, but for me pansexuality means I’m drawn to one’s  personality and not what’s going on in their pants.

2. What’s your preferred “flavour” of queer romance (e.g. trans*, f/f, m/m, menage with queer characters, etc.) Why?

As I mentioned above, I write lesbian and bisexual romance, with the characters’ happily ever after ending with two women together. Why? I enjoy writing about women. I find the sexual politics between men and women work their way into a great deal of our lives. It’s nice to focus on a relationship where men aren’t the focus.

3. Do you write/read/review? Do you think being queer affects your participation or platform in romancelandia?

I do read a lot and review as well. I suppose my being queer does affect my platform, but not my participation. I live as a queer person, so it’s going to inform all aspects of my life. As a writer of lesbian relationships my place in romancelandia is an interesting one. I find that lesbian romance has a smaller support system. Our readers are loyal and amazing and though I don’t think my voice as an author has been silenced by other authors, it is difficult to get reviewers and new readers to try my work. Lesbian romance doesn’t have to support that gay or m/m romance does.

4. What drew you to queer romance?

I started writing in the world of fanfiction. Twilight fanfiction to be exact. I wrote a few hetero pairings, but I wanted to explore some of the female characters who were left out in the wind. I wanted more of Rose and Leah and way more of Bella without Edward. I ended up writing a story about Bella and Alice and then another story about Bella and Leah. When I started working on my original stories I wanted to keep going with female pairings.

5. What do you love about queer romance in general, and/or your specific subgenre?

I just love romance in general. I tend to write fun playful characters, so when I write about two women together I can shift between a serious seductions to post coital conversations that take on the air of a slumber party.

6. What’s your pet peeve?

My pet peeve is the realities of LGBT representation and marketing in romanceland. I see LGBT/GLBT used to describe blogs, lists, even publishers, but what they really mean is a very specific kind of m/m. I think people should be free to read and enjoy whatever they want, but those four letters mean something very specific to me and I’d like to see those things represented equally.

7. What growth would you like to see in the genre, going forward? Any ideas on how to accomplish that?

I would like to see queer authors and characters marketed equally. I think publishers see LGBT works as a niche market so they treat those works as if they belong in a niche market and then say SEE THESE TITLES DON’T SELL AS MUCH. That’s because they don’t get the shelf space or the marketing pushes. My local B&N carries my titles nearly fifty yards away from the romance section. How are romance readers going to take a chance on them if they can’t even see them?

8. Do you seek out other queer authors when you read?

I do. :)

9. How do you feel, in general, about straight peoples’ participation in reading, writing, and reviewing queer romance?

I think straight people writing and reviewing queer characters and authors is great. I don’t like it when straight authors praise themselves for being inclusive and ignore queer authors who are also doing the work.

10. Rec us 3 titles in your chosen subgenre and tell us why you love them.

Such a Pretty Face by Gabrielle Goldsby – Plus-sized Latina finds love with a white contractor. Very sweet romance, with realistic family subplot.

The Collectors by Lesley Gowan – One of the best BDSM romance I’ve ever read. Newbie submissive matched with a super sexy Mistress and they actually fall in love.

The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin by Colette Moody. Two words. Lesbian. Pirates.

All said, I’d like to thank Heidi for putting this together! Happy Reading!

Thanks for reading and for following the tour! Be sure to use the links below to check out more great posts from our participants!

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5 Comments

  1. ttg says:

    Great piece!

    I think it’s super cool that your books are at B&N, but you’re 100% correct that poor placement/marketing of LGBT books, especially genre fiction, doesn’t help push sales, which then provide more fodder for those who say there is no market. It’s very frustrating.

    I don’t know what the best solution is for romance. Is it better to include everything under “Romance” and then have readers pick through the whole pile? (LGBT titles would be outnumbered, but this could help increase instances of people stumbling upon a title and trying something new.) Or is it better to have straight and LGBT sections under “Romance”, thus allowing those to quickly browse in the areas that they want to focus on? I wonder about that. I would prefer to try one of these methods rather than what the stores near me are doing now, which is not stocking LGBT romance at all. :(

    • NameBlaine D. Arden says:

      In an ideal world, using just the tag ‘romance’ would be great… but… in the world we live in now, you’d get too many readers complaining they didn’t get what they wanted. There are too many readers, I think, who don’t pay enough attention to the blurbs of the books (or even the covers), because the amount of ‘reviews’ you can find where readers complain about the kissing gays in the books are staggering sometimes.

      But it would be wonderful if we could have just one romance section (well… one romance, one erotic romance, and one erotica LOL)

  2. E.E. Ottoman says:

    Amazing post and answers!

    “I see LGBT/GLBT used to describe blogs, lists, even publishers, but what they really mean is a very specific kind of m/m. ”

    I think every single author doing this blog hop has mentioned how much they hate this at one time or another so obviously it is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

    I’ve just recently started writing lesbian romance and only have two titles out so far but I agree it doesn’t have the kind of structural support m/m romance does and I would love to see that change.

    Also Such a Pretty Face by Gabrielle Goldsby sounds great and I am really excited to read it now.

  3. Laylah says:

    Oooh, those look like great recs! It’s true, you can’t go wrong with lesbian pirates. I will have to give those a read. :)

    And so much yes to the frustration about LGBT usage in romancelandia. It’s… I suspect on some level it’s an attempt to claim legitimacy? “Look, this is work about a minority group, that gives it cultural value.” But to say LGBT and mean mainstream m/m is to erase a huge segment of the queer population, and that’s not something anybody should be patting themselves on the back for.

  4. I’m kind of glad/sad to see others latch on to the same statement that caught my attention:

    “I see LGBT/GLBT used to describe blogs, lists, even publishers, but what they really mean is a very specific kind of m/m. ”

    Looks like we’re all encountering this problem. Here’s a solid example: When I was promoting my transgender historical short The Public Life of Private Paulsen, a major “LGBT” yahoo group blasted me for posting “what is obviously a straight story” there.

    Yes. It is a straight story. The characters identify as straight. And one happens to be trans, and the story is very much about the politics and poetics of transgender-ness in the 1950s, and it’s marketed that way–as a transgender historical.

    Like you say, Rebekah, those letters MEAN SOMETHING.

    Great post.
    Giselle

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