International Day Against Homophobia

It occurred to me that probably most people reading my blog are probably on the same page with me. Which gave me pause when I started trying to think of what to write here. I could tell the story I’m sure I’ve told before about how one of my best friends was afraid to come out to me because of some bone-headed thing I’d said without thinking when we were sixteen—if anything that story shows the power of words.

But then I started thinking about my dad.

On paper, he’s accepting of everyone. He was something of a civil rights activist in his youth, kept a poster of Martin Luther King in his office, didn’t tolerate prejudice in the house. One of his retirement hobbies is teaching leadership classes to Boy Scouts (he and my youngest brother were both Eagle Scouts) and he’s made some noise about the ban on gay scouts (he’s vehemently against it). He’s religious but attends a church that welcomes gay members.

In practice, though, he used to say off-hand things that showed he wasn’t really comfortable with gay people. When my youngest brother was in high school, his best friend was a lesbian. I think it’s a credit to how my parents raised us that this never fazed my brother at all. But my dad told me later that he was surprised to find himself so uncomfortable with this girl. Still he, at least, was aware that this was his problem, not the girl’s. He told me that it took some effort, but he got over himself and was careful to never say anything to the girl that might imply he was anything but totally supportive. But I think it took him some soul-searching to work out why this girl bothered him.

So maybe it does sometimes take knowing an LGBT person to recognize our own biases and confront them.

And I could tell you about my friend who is half of a binational couple exiled from the US because of the Defense of Marriage Act. I could tell you about my cousin who died of AIDS in the early 90s. I could tell you about a teacher I had who was run out of the school shortly after the GSA he tried to create was shut down by the school board. I could tell you about my lesbian friend who has to lie to her grandparents about why she doesn’t have a boyfriend. There are examples of homophobia everywhere. But I don’t have to tell you that.

I think the best thing we can do is to keep the conversation going. So I’m talking.

updates! roundups! things! exclamation points!

First, here’s where I’ve been on the webz this week:

I was interviewed by Joyfully Jay (and she gave Out in the Field 4.5 stars).

I helped Kerry Freeman celebrate baseball week on her blog with an excerpt.

Second, the rambly part!

Things have been a little crazy at the House McMurray over the last couple of weeks.

To start with, friends of mine got married last weekend. It was a gorgeous wedding, right here in Brooklyn, and I could not be happier for the couple, who a) I had a hand in getting together (in that I organized and ran the event at which they met, so I take credit) and b) are so clearly completely in love with each other, I cried like a baby during the ceremony. So that’s my little secret, I guess. I cry at weddings. I’m not ashamed! (This is probably not a very big surprise, since I write romance novels. Obviously some part of me likes this sort of thing.)

Anyway, I hosted some out-of-town friends who came to the wedding, so my apartment got a little crowded for a couple of days there—not that I minded one bit, and I like having people around, but entertaining guests is not conducive to other kinds of work.

And work, I has it. My non-writing work, especially the stuff I do freelance, has exploded lately. Which is great! I like the work and I like the extra income! But between the extra work and pimping out Matt and Iggy promoting Out in the Field, I’ve had zero time for my own writing. It’s frustrating. I want to write so badly I’m itchy.

I sometimes think it’s hokey when writers say they need to write, but it’s totally true. Writing has become one of my main emotional outlets, and not even in a “I write my feeeelings” kind of way (although I also do that sometimes) but more because it’s such an escape for me, a way to spend time in someone else’s universe or do something else with my surplus anxiety or emotion. So not having time for writing over the last week or so has been rough. It got to the point where I opened a Word doc on my lunch break yesterday and just started typing. So we’ll see how that goes.

Some of my surplus anxiety has gone into keeping an eye on how Out in the Field is being received. Really well, for the most part! Much better than I expected! I was thinking the book would land and the five people I knew who were both baseball and m/m romance fans would read it, and I’d bide my time until the contemporary romance I have coming out this fall is published. But then suddenly lots of people were talking about it! The reception to Out in the Field has been fantastic and humbling.

And, yeah, I totally saw that review on the big famous website, and it’s okay. If nothing else, there was a little bump in my Amazon rankings for a couple of days. Which is to say, I totally support the right of anyone to say things about books on the Internet, even if those things are not glowing praise of things I have written. Actually, it’s probably good to have a balance of opinions; readers seem to be skeptical when everything is all five stars and glitter. (I don’t really review on the Internet, unless you count my silly “I liked this book!” posts on Goodreads. But I do have opinions!)

(See, this is what happens when I can’t write otherwise. I vomit up everything on my blog.)

I’ve got a couple of things lined up for the summer, but otherwise, this is basically the end of the Out in the Field blog tour. Sad! You still have about 36 hours to enter to win a copy!