I’m totally in love with Elle Kennedy and her Off Campus series. I even stalk her on Facebook. But I have to admit to a slight disappointment when Logan turned out not to be gay. And the two gay women were merely secondary characters.
See, Logan was off doing his own thing, so to speak, during most of the prior stories. The MCs of the other stories talked about his absence and how odd it was that he wasn’t saying what he was up to. They even said they would have no objection to his being gay, if that’s what he really wanted. At least there was that positive acceptance.
Another fun book, Runaway Vampire by Lynsay Sands, introduced a pair of lifemates, both male, and made them comfortable enough to demonstrate affection for each other in front of others. Yay! I really want to read the book that covers their meeting, because the vampire involved was not gay at the time. But finding a lifemate is a big deal to these immortals, so he gave it a try. And he liked it!
I look to fiction for a better world where each person is accepted as they are. The conflict in the story can come out of that or out of other elements in the lives of the main characters. But honestly, I know and interact with more gay and bi people every day than I read about in books.
Another issue I have is that often the lesbian women are so one dimensional and hard. The gay men are stuck in a stereotype of being obsessed with wardrobe coordinates and interior decorating. My best gay friend is a brewer, a welder, and a drummer. He’s been an animal trainer. Outside of a love for bow ties, he is not much into fashion.
A gay woman I know is an artist and an excellent customer service representative. She puts people at ease and helps them solve their own problems. Where are these people in fiction?
Guilty as charged, I don’t often write about non-hetero couples myself. In the Bowman’s Inn anthologies, Book One Spring, I did write a man who was denying his attractions to other men. He turned out to be the heroine’s ex-husband. He fell in with another man who turned out to be flipping businesses in the area and together they try to steal the Inn from Val and Mandy. Yes, he and his lover were the villains of the piece.
If I get back to my Regency series that needs lots of reworking, book two in that one features a hero is actually bisexual. But he doesn’t know that until he falls in love with the heroine. Until then, he has had one male lover in complete secrecy. Because the British tried to deny their own sexuality back then.
All Romance writers need to think about what we are writing and why. Do our stories help our readers understand one another better? Moving forward, that’s one of my goals. Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Thursday.