I’m generally an upbeat, positive person. Glass half-full and all that. I get angry and upset and have strong opinions about things, but at the end of the day, I try to see the bright side, the silver lining, try to end the day with a smile. So sometimes I think about commenting on whatever controversies are wending their ways through the Internet, but usually opt not to, both because I’d rather not wade into it and because I’d rather see the happier side of things.
I had the flu last week. I think I got hit with “con crud” from a weekend spent in close quarters with a lot of people plus my body sort of just shut down after a long period of stress and not enough sleep. I didn’t get out of bed for two days, for some taste of the severity of it. I consequently literally slept through all of last week’s Internet kerfuffles, and I think I’m probably better for it. Whenever some fight breaks out in the m/m community, I always feel disheartened and upset, mostly because the Mary Sunshine part of my personality asserts itself and says, “Stop fighting! We’re much better together!”
So, positive things! I got to meet Suzanne Brockmann this past weekend. I’ll just say it: she’s one of my idols. I love the Troubleshooters series; so much of it just works for me: her voice, the tightly-wove suspense, the complex plots, the interesting cast, the willingness to wade into political issues. (Also, my friends can tell you all about my fascination with sailors. Fleet Week is like Christmas for me. You put a hot guy in a crisp white uniform and… hello.) I think Brockmann is actually sort of inadvertently responsible for my getting into this biz at all; I read Hot Target shortly before I discovered m/m proper and was so excited to read about gay characters that I wanted more books with them and started writing my own.
At the time, I don’t think I really appreciated how revolutionary putting a gay pairing in a mainstream romance series was as an act. I was too busy enjoying the books on their own merits—the way that Jules and Robin’s arc is drawn out over several books is delicious, and when they finally get their HEA, you want to scream in triumph, it’s so good. (Not to gush, but…)
Anyway! Brockmann (or “Suz,” she told me I could call her Suz) was at a bookstore on Saturday, so I shored myself up with cold meds and went to see her. I was, needless to say, very excited. Happily, Suz is fun and friendly and enthusiastic in person. And we got to chat some about the Rainbow Romance Writers (of which we are both members) and gay romance and gay rights and so on.
We talked some about gay romance going mainstream. Suz is the author of a couple of m/m shorts that take place in the Troubleshooters universe, plus there’s the whole Robin/Jules arc in the books, and her new series, while primarily a het series, has a gay subplot. (I may have more to say to that later; I’m about 100 pages into Born to Darkness.) But that’s one of the things that Rainbow Romance Writers is doing—we want to take gay romance mainstream. We want it to be commercially available to everyone, we want to reach readers who don’t know m/m romance is a thing, we want to see our books in bookstores alongside all of the other romance on the shelves.
I think it’s an exciting time to be a writer in that way, because I feel like we’re really on the verge of something, of breaking through in a bigger way.
So it’s exciting to me that Suzanne Brockmann has a m/m ebook short coming out this summer. (I just read the story last night, actually, because I got a print copy on Saturday. It’s a Jules/Robin story that may or may not make sense without the context of the series, but it’s a really sweet addition to their story. And When Tony Met Adam came out a year ago, of course. That’s more of a standalone because Tony and Adam are relatively minor characters in the larger Troubleshooters universe.) She pointed out that the book will be published by Random House, which is kind of a Big Deal.
I believe this is important, not just from a sales POV, but because I’ve heard from readers who are excited to see gay lives portrayed positively and with happy endings in fiction, and, you know, love is love. It deserves a place in bookstores just as surely as het romances do.
I saw Suz again on Monday at Lady Jane’s Salon (that NYC’s romance reading series). There was a huge crowd, and, I would say, some enthusiasm for the m/m pairings in Suz’s books. So that’s a great thing to see. (The other readers on Monday were also so much fun that I bought their books as well. Everybody wins!)
So there’s your look-to-the-future, happy optimistic moment for the day!
Also! Be sure to check out this week’s Beat Your Winter Blues, in which I and some other authors talk about our favorite winter movies.