Sometimes the world sucks, and I think it’s never going to change. I stomp around and say, “People are why we can’t have nice things.” Then something cool happens. And I think maybe people aren’t so impossible after all.
Every year the Romance Writers of America give out their trademarked RITA award for best romance books. The books are judged by other romance writers in a bunch of different categories, kind of like the Oscars, but no one has ever taken out an ad that I know of that says “For your RITA consideration.” The one which I’ve always thought of as equivalent to the “Best Picture” award is in the category “Long Contemporary.”
Let me give you a little background of some personal experience with the Romance Writers of America. It was founded in the 1980s in Texas. About ten years ago, some members were outraged enough by the mere existence of happy-ever-afters happening for poly couples that those members tried to have the whole group vote on the definition of romance as one man, one woman. Sound familiar to anyone? A bunch of big-name authors came out against that stupidity and it never came to pass. But I’m sure you can imagine the resistance when gay romance started gaining steam. In fact, four years ago, a local chapter of RWA tried to say gay romance couldn’t be entered in their local contest. Initially, appealing to the mothership got us nowhere. Then pressure built through social media and they ended up canceling their contest.
So here we are in 2015. The finalist for the RITAs were announced today. And in that big, heavy duty category, the “Best Picture” of romance novels, is Fever Pitch, by Heidi Cullinan. Yup. A big ol’ gay romance waving at us from the top of the heap. For good reason, it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I could not put that book down. If you haven’t read it, go do that. It’s totally awesome.
I am so excited and thrilled for Heidi. I’m going to be at the awards ceremony jumping to my feet and cheering when she wins. And I’m so proud of the changes our books have been able to make on the world. An awesome love story can really do that.
What a wonderful world.
(Note for Heidi: You made Walter proud. Note for everyone: you’ll get this if you go read the book. Go, do that. )
ETA: Holy crap! Gay romance is all over the RITA finalist list! YAY! Four books and counting.
I love the TV show Empire. Not only is it the awesome family soap opera I’ve been hoping for in prime time, but right from the beginning, there was nothing coy about Jamal’s sexuality and it being shown on the screen. Over the past week, there’s been discussion about whether or not Jussie Smollett, who is awesome as Jamal, is publicly out or not. As of this morning, he’s out.
Coming out is an endless process, unless you are going to surround yourself with a limited number of people for the rest of your life. Every time we do it, we are doing something that is both powerful and (at least for me in some situations) a little scary. When I, who presents as very feminine, say my wife in a casual way to a server in a restaurant, a clerk at a store, a doctor, a nurse, a colleague, a friend, I open myself up to a real risk. There are people who want to be able to refuse to give me the same service as someone not gay, and even without open hostility, there are plenty of ways for people to exhibit their disgust at “my lifestyle choices.”
Being locked inside with nothing to do but write has always been my dream job. I love it. I love it even more when the words and stories are flying at me like they are right now. So who knew there would finally come a winter where I was sick of being trapped in my oh-my-god-so-desperate-I-cleaned-it office?
It’s hit. I’m done. I love winter. I do, but I’m tired of it. Tired of the cold and the ice and the wind that makes walking outside impossible. Lucky for me, I have an invitation to go out in the world and talk about creating characters. So it’s like playing with imaginary friends outside! YAY!
Saturday, March 7, I’m going to be giving a presentation on characterization to the Central New York Romance Writers at the Northern Adirondack Public Library at North Syracuse, 100 Trolley Barn Lane, N. Syracuse, NY.
The presentation is from 2-4, but I’m planning to stick around afterward to chat with people and would love to meet any readers or fellow hermits sick of the weather who want to show up. I’ll have books, swag and even a gift or two if you make the voyage out into the cold. No purchase necessary to partake in a little respite from hermiting! I promise to stay at the library until at least 4:20. If you think you might stop by, please email or comment.