Usually, I wouldn’t bother with a whole blog post in response to someone else’s blog post. It’s enough to share it on my social media and leave it at that. But these two posts have captured things I haven’t quite known how to express, and I wanted to say something about them. I didn’t want to leave random comments on their blogs because that made me feel slightly like a stalker or maybe just a super socially awkward person with boundary issues. Anyway, that aside, these are both terrific writers, and if you’re not reading them already, what the heck are you doing here on my blog instead? Shoo, shoo! Go read!
First up: Heidi Belleau on writing bisexual characters. Do Bi People Need You (Yes You!) To Write Us?
This is a great summary of my own current feelings on the matter. I’m really not bothered by non-bi-identified writers including bisexual characters. I think it’s great, when it’s done well. Heidi touches on some of my bigger issues (chiefly gatekeeping of bisexual characters and where they “belong” in m/m). But she really nails it with the tropes and the need to actively understand bisexuality and bi-identified people.
I sometimes worry that being bi, I have to “perfectly” represent us. Which is frigging hard. Like…I have to avoid any and all appearance of tropes or stereotypes or just plain “bad bi” characters because if I don’t, then I have no right to call out non-bi authors doing a cruddy job of it. I’ve seen us get blasted for things, like the reviewer who referred to one of my characters as a “perfectly PC feminist bisexual.” One of my own favorite authors had a review which suggested her bisexual character was a gay man with a “boob fetish,” and lots and lots of my fellow bi writers have had vile things thrown at them the minute they dare have on-page “heterosexual” sex. Meanwhile, non-bi-identified writers spew tropey garbage and get cheered for “representing” the B in LGBT. Thanks but no thanks.
Anyway, read all the way to the end to check out Heidi’s AWESOME list of bi writers. You can follow them on Twitter, and I will vouch personally for a good number of them as a reader.
Next: Hans Hirschi on his reading preferences. Books, books, books: what I read and why.
You really need to read the post before you read my response to it, but I’ll sum up: Basically it’s like he read my mind. I’m completely in favor of a good love story, and there are marvelous examples of well-written books that fall strictly along genre lines. But I, too, am looking for something different. I might not fall quite in parallel with Hans here—I don’t mind a sad ending, probably in part because I didn’t grow up looking for queer lit and only finding the depressing stuff, and in part because while I lived through the 1980s and 1990s, that era looked pretty different for me.
Still, I’m most drawn to books about interwoven relationships: family (by blood or by choosing), friendship, long-term partnership, parenting. I like authors who rebel against genre mandates and do their own thing. I like complex situations and stories which speak to social issues. I love when there’s more going on than what’s on the surface of the story. And yeah, I’ll admit that I like when things aren’t tied up in a neat little bow and everyone’s problems are solved on page—a hopeful ending more than a happy ending (though I’ll take the happily ever afters, too!).
A dear friend told me once that the best love stories start in the middle, and I think they’re right. I don’t mind the meet-cutes and the falling in love and the sweeping each other off their feet, but I want more out of my books. I want to know what happens when the fairy tale is over and patience wears thin and endless days of work and diapers and carpools and medical bills take a toll on a pair of no-longer-youthful lovers. Dear authors: if you write it, I’ll read it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on one or both of these topics. Leave a comment, and let’s see where the discussion leads us!
Meanwhile, don’t forget to stop by next week for my book launch party. I’ve got some fabulous guest posts and book reviews lined up as well as a giveaway linked to my virtual book tour. If you’re in the mood to join in with a guest post or author interview of your own, I still have some spaces. Hit me up in the “talk to me” tab above. You can pre-order An Act of Devotion below by clicking on the picture.
Adam Lansing has always relied on his charm to get by. Sure, he’s starting over—new school, new graduate assistant position—but he knows he won’t have any trouble working his magic on anyone he chooses.
Antonio “AJ” Mancuso is deep inside his own head. He’s cool, calm, and confident. But despite all the friends around him, he often feels like he straddles two worlds. Is there anyone who could love him for everything that defines him—past and present?
From the first time they meet, Adam is determined to get gorgeous AJ to notice him. But just as the heat is cranking up between them, Adam spots AJ with another man. Adam strikes back through a fling with an ex. But when he discovers the truth behind AJ’s behavior, he realizes that his magic won’t clean up for him this time.