My take on women writing MM Romance

Good Article. Yet, I think there is a generation gap here. I didn’t have access to anything ‘gay’ growing up. Nothing. It was a pejorative term – frequently used against me and made my life hell.
Even if I could find something that was gay affiliated, I wouldn’t have touched it with a ten-foot pole lest I get caught with it.
I like romance just fine. I just don’t like romance as the plot. People are human and human beings have human interactions but romance throws everything out of the window to focus solely on the H.E.A.
If I could go back before The Haunting of Timber Manor and choose to be affiliated with m/m romance or gay fiction I would have chosen the latter due mostly because I don’t write in nor do my books belong in this genre. My fans might criss-cross between m/m and gay fiction but the worlds are decidedly different.
However, they are often viewed through the same lens.
When I published When Heaven Strikes I made it clear that this book was not romance.
Almost every review, save for a few that ‘got’ what I was doing, said otherwise.
I do have romantic scenes because I think it’s important for people to read that and understand that gay people do make love (I once had someone tell me she couldn’t’ see what gay men do as lovemaking) and it’s as affirming as heterosexual sex.
This happens because regardless of what you put out it’s viewed through that lens. Those optics, those romance rules, are superimposed on anything with the word ‘gay’ in it and the comments are oftentimes unpleasant to read as Jamie pointed out “Not enough sex”.
Think about it this way. I love my husband. We’ve been together seven years and will be married five this August. in our home, it’s just me and him. We’re a couple. We cook. We talk. We binge watch shows. We take the dog to the vet. We argue we fight, and we make up (which, yes, often includes sex).
However, we’re part of a greater whole of society. We do not exist in a vacuum and when you get into a same-sex relationship, it’s both liberating and somewhat difficult to navigate the real world.
Saying, “I do,” is like typing “The End” on your manuscript because now, the work starts. Maintaining a relationship, regardless if it’s heterosexual or homosexual, is hard work. Shit gets real especially as time marches on.
I’ve tossed shade on m/m romance over people who’ve either made a joke of gay relationships, who’ve been ignorant of gay issues, exploitive, or downright shit individuals looking to make a few bucks off a hot genre.
Yet the thing is, m/m romance has given some people happy endings that gay fiction didn’t necessarily give it’s own due mostly to the amount of negativity in their world at the time. Romance is still a noble thing.
Yet it often times is a victim of its own myopic worldview. While gay fiction should in no way go back to the way things were in the past it would be nice to see m/m evolve into something more than what it is now – a catch-all for all things ‘gay.’
It just shouldn’t.

Don’t you worry, we know exactly why m/m romance don’t listen to us.

 

joshua-stitt-502811-unsplash

 

So, I guess riptide – who got its chops busted for some pretty racist shit including having a website dedicated to a series of books where slaves are bought and sold – is nominated for the bisexual book awards.
Furthermore, another nominee wrote a blog about why Cisgendered men aren’t listened to by those who write m/m.

Look, you can talk all the shit you want. You can get mad when gay people voice their opinions about the books you write. You can run gay men through the mud and talk mad shit about us on a blog that you later on delete but here’s the thing.

You ready for it?

If you have to defend yourself that hard for the stuff that you write – if you have to come out swinging on blog posts and come at gay people (or people at all like that) then you know your shit is busted.

You’re not getting mad because gay men are trying to correct you – you’re painting a picture of gay men being bad because their complaints could potentially affect your bottom line.

You found a cash cow and you’re making money off of it.

It isn’t about you loving romance and finding sex hot – we know Y’all are some freakneaks. Welcome to Club ‘Mo. We don’t have a beef with that. Do your thing.

((And this isn’t really addressed to most writers. It’s addressed to the few and they know who they are.))

It’s about potentially losing some money because the shit you are writing isn’t really reflective of the lives gay men lead or the sex that they have. Sometimes, like Riptide, you get really offensive and downright derogatory but it sells. It sells well. And the worse it is, the better off you are.

You’re being oppressed.

That’s true.

But in this position, you’re sort of like the bakers who were sued by the lesbian couple and raised a bunch of money from your friends because a judge ordered you to pay restitution for discrimination.

That judge oppressed them, in a manner of speaking, by refusing to let them off the hook for being a bigot.

And that’s what you are – a bigot.

But the worst kind of bigot. A bigot that doesn’t like other bigots.

You released something sketchy, a gay person said something negative about it. You write a blog about how evil they are and that’s a marketing strategy. Sales go up. You win. The gay person is shut down.

If they’re a fellow writer – then they’re ostracized.

But that’s a hollow win, isn’t it? Don’t you feel empty at the end of the day knowing that you’ve done damage to someone?

If cisgendered gay men were all that bad – you wouldn’t be writing about them.

But there is money in them thar hills!

Gay men are oppressed to the extreme – but because they have a penis, and are male, they’re caught up in a negative feedback loop.

There really isn’t any remedy for them. They’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. One part of society doesn’t want them because of their sexuality and the other side dismisses them because they’re men.

There’s zero maneuvering room but to remain quiet and submissive less they received backlash for speaking up…ohmygod does that sound familiar or what?

We can’t sue you for being a shitty writer. We can’t sue you for ranty blogs, racist ass bullshit about people of color, bi-erasure,  or posts about how gay men should shut up (good luck with that). But we can say without reproach that the books you write aren’t gay at all.

And you are no ally.

You’re essentially exploiting a diamond mine with forced labor from the locals who weren’t strong enough to resist you taking their resources.

Congrats.

You’re the oppressor and this is exploitation.

And instead of stealing resources you’ve stolen someone’s dignity.

Human nature and capitalism for the win.

P.S. This doesn’t mean you win.  It doesn’t matter who began this book genre. Gay lives don’t belong solely to you. Period. That would be called slavery.

Evangelical Survivor (National Poetry Month)

alejandro-alvarez-150154-unsplash

 

The creeping sad and delightful darkness
sweeps through the gate of my mind
twisting swirling bits of memory
and pushes back the iron gates with a bang

through many dangerous toils and snares
I delighted in the part of me that made me human
as I lay a pagan sacrifice to baal
with the dagger of salvation protruding from my chest

on a marble altar with a weeping angel above me
her face shrouded in cement hands
I stared heavenward with amazing grace on my lips
when my hands falling off the altar,
brushed the licking touch of hell with my finger tips

I am a child of the night
born in equal measure light and dark
the profane and the most holy
possessed by demons and angels clashing
drawing perfect harmonies from my throat
that sound like a roll of thunder raging
with rain and wind and lightning crashing

Heaven has a special place for us
a grace given by God to those whose servants betrayed him
whose salvation was purchased along Dante’s journey
for how can a benevolent God cast someone down
who’d been nailed to the cross without a thought of mercy?

I am the reason for the thousand years of weeping, with milestones about your neck
me and children like me as revelation tumbles from our lips
when the prophet Daniel and John the Revelator speaks with our voices,telling our stories
of shadrack, meshack, and abendigo cast into the fiery furnace
but saved when the image of the fourth man appeared to walk us home.

All the way home leading the parade of his Rock n Roll children
singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
Our cold and broken Hallelujah

Growing older (National Poetry Month)

dylan-mcleod-564443-unsplash

unsplash-logoDylan McLeod

It’s 12:20 in the morning
I trace my tongue over a broken tooth
my back hurts from too much work
and my eyes are grainy and tired
I’ve turned another year older
a few more laugh lines around my eyes
a few more frown lines upon my brow

and yet, I am not the only one
I can see the age in my husband’s face
the sharper look of a man in his thirties
the youthful fat now melted away
leaving a refined brow
and sharper eyes

New questions parade in my mind
things I used to never think of
am I aging gracefully?
What does that mean?
Am I living a good life?
What does THAT mean?

I shall close my eyes soon
and sleep the rest of the night away
and know that in younger days I could stay up til dawn
caffeine and nicotine and a pretty face

Yet, I think those days are gone
and my beauty, and my mind, and my body
need their rest
for I am one year older than last year
but I really feel this year
deep in my bones

 

If only I…(National Poetry Month)

demetrius-washington-626606-unsplash

 

unsplash-logoDemetrius Washington

 

If only I had leaned into that touch
that September morning before you left
the sheets pooling at your hips
my body sore from the night prior

I had lain awake all night
your head on my chest wishing
for the morning to refuse to break across the sky
leaving us naked and bathed in darkness

I saw the hurt in your eyes
at the sudden sullenness in my gaze
as I bit down on a thousand words
of panic at the back of my throat

I loved you
with your careless hair and your soft grey eyes
and your warm body and your powerful back
the shape of your lips that kissed me
and the submissiveness

If only I’d taken care
to dress with you and walk you down
the flight of stairs to my door
and kissed you once more before sending you away
into the morning sun

You had another life
was it a job? A home? A wife?
you wouldn’t say and I didn’t ask
when we met at the airport bar

I didn’t care then
but I do care now
if only I’d listened to the voice that warned me
somewhere underneath my second
bourbon and seven
when I saw the tie you were wearing and smiled

You were here on business for a month
and you were my lover as well
and we worked til daybreak often
laughing and drinking and lovemaking

Do you want me to come back?
No, I didn’t want you to leave
If only I’d said that
I wouldn’t be left here with only the smell
of your body on my bedclothes

Til the end of my days (National Poetry Month)

james-bold-597598-unsplash

unsplash-logoJames Bold

 

IT was more than just where I lay
staring up at the ceiling of stars above my head
In your love, I had found a rose garden
white blooms as far as I could see
and there I thought I had come to the river
to drink and dance and sing

but the more I loved you
the less steady I was on my feet
until the citrus scent threw me over
and I fell backward into the briars of emersion

In exquisite pain, I lay here
my clothes were torn and my hands wounded
tangled in a miserable mess
as the vines wrapped right around me

It was then I realized the danger I was in
and it was then I realized water didn’t feed them
and to my horror, I didn’t care
as I watch a crimson drop of my own blood
fall to the ground and disappear

It was then I realized how much Pain I was in
and it was then I realized how little I cared
for I would lay here dying til the end of my days
in your garden under the stars above

Til the end of my days

Because I fell in love with you again (National Poetry Month)

lubov-birina-579146-unsplash

 

 

unsplash-logoLubov’ Birina

 

Because you came to me
in the night
knocking on my door
gentle raps, barely taps
but enough to send me to the door,
wrapping myself in a robe as I went

There you stood
windswept hair, leather jacket, and doe eyes
smelling of Burberry cologne and nervousness
while the thunder rolled in the pitch dark
and lightning flashed
because the mother nature was conspiring

I’d missed you for weeks, it seemed
Maybe it was a lifetime or two
the warmth of your voice
the way my name tumbled from your lips

I thought you’d never come back
and because of the wind I shivered
and retreated back through my doorway
before you stepped inside

before I could speak
you wrapped your arms around me
I wanted to cry, I wanted to laugh
because I missed you – I wanted to freeze time

My hands reached up the million miles
to your sweet face and held it
and felt you tremble under my touch
because of your bashfulness I kissed your temples

I could smell the sweetness of your sweat
the hunger in your touch
and when our mouths collided for the first time
I tasted the whisky you’d drank embolden you

It was two a.m but I didn’t care
I took you by the hand and led you upstairs
our hearts pounding away with each step
because of anticipation, I shivered again

But this time you covered me
somewhere in the middle of the night
you made me call out your name
and I did so, willingly
because somewhere in the middle of the night
I fell in love with you, again

Healing Childhood Hurt (National Poetry Month)

kat-j-525336-unsplash

unsplash-logoKat J

Childhood hurts

How does one get over a childhood hurt
that is the poem that you gave to me
and I would love to tell you it’s in prayers, in psalms
in the melody of your favorite song,

I would like to say it’s in the whisper of your lover
in the softness of his touch,
in the morning walks with your thoughts
or on your ride to work

I would like to say you can find it in creativeness
wrap it up in art and sell it to the highest bidder
or write it down in words to be sold
on Amazon- well, before it’s pirated, anyway

I would like to say it’s in therapy
‘over it’ comes in a drug called Fukitol
take two (with food)
and call me in the morning

Yet here’s the thing
I’ve learned in 37 years
of asking myself the same thing
that you asked me

How do you get over a childhood hurt?
The answer is simple
You don’t.
That hurt you will take to your grave

Now, before we get despondent
before we throw in the towel
and cry ourselves to sleep
let me offer you some solace

I’ve traced my pen
across my scars and bled out on the page
I’ve wept, and winced
and cried and lamented over how bad it still hurt

I’ve purged the infection, over and over in my art
and while the scar remains
I lift it up for the world to see
and find that others have wounds like mine

We connect.

And it’s there in that moment
this bizarre realization
that the thing I once despised
I am grateful for

You never get over it, no
but you can get through it
and you can use it
instead of letting it use you

 

Sounds of Spring (National Poetry Month)

studio-dekorasyon-5272-unsplash

 

unsplash-logoStudio Dekorasyon

 

I wake up in the morning
drifting sunlight through my window
grackles chatting up the neighbors
somewhere on another lawn

Fan above me whirling
nestled deep in cover warmly
lawnmowers buzzing pleasantly,
underneath the morning sun

I sit up, bones a’crackin’
reach for the ceiling I feel my back poppin’
I toss the covers aside and stand
and slip on the clothes from the night before

Dog leash in one hand,
sneaker-clad feet slap the pavement
puppy dog rushes to do his business
pulling his sleep addled master along

Noseeums float lazy
in the shadows where sunlight isn’t reaching
neighbors walk to their cars quickly
coffee cups and car keys clenched in their hands

The smells of the dewdrops rise
along with Star of Jasmine on the air
I put earbuds in my ears
and stretch my legs for a good long walk

Journey in my ears blaring
Steve Perry singing clearly
about the wheel in the sky always turning
that’s the sound of my springtime morning

 

 

When she broke free from the clouds (National Poetry Month)

a-l-117993-unsplash

unsplash-logoA. L.

 

I can see it so clearly, now
in the silver current of the river
I remember a woman so vibrant
a living prism
that shattered light into a multitude of colors
when the sun broke free of the clouds

She was an artist, you see
her world was of red, and blue, and sea foam green
and bring them together in harmony
like Monet, Michelangelo, Divinci
when she could break free of the clouds

She understood the collective unconscious
it spoke to her, as it speaks to all
who sing the words, write the script, dance the dance
with the flick of her wrist should conjure images
when her mind was free of the clouds

Yet, the sky was often overcast
a mesocyclone dulled her afternoon
and faded the pallet so richly hers
and brought storms with wind, and rain, and hail
the clouds cast shadows she could not break away from

There is a certain weakness artists share
a flaw of sorts in our matrix
an unquenchable desire to connect
and the ability to hear all of humanity
so when a strong guiding light shines it can distract us
but all that glitters is not gold
and though the clouds may gather, it does not mean rain

We are artists because God is an artist
no longer do you fragment the light
that comes from the firmament
and though your brushes may lay still
you are the light that burns forever
they day you broke free of the clouds