New year, new changes, and it could be good or bad. Which is like the start to any year, of course. I’m choosing, in spite of my fears and probably a little trauma left over from 2016, to remain optimistic.
My new year came with little sleep, cranky children, and something to mull over when I was going through my amazon reviews, and stumbled on someone’s criticism regarding my book, Inhumanity.
Normally I don’t address reviews in public. It’s the mark of an Author Behaving Badly, because everyone is entitled to their opinion, and buying a book on amazon affords them the right to state it in the review section. That person has an opinion–it differs from mine, it’s fairly offensive, but I’m not here to change their mind.
But it made me realise there is something important I need to do–as a writer of LGBT+ Fiction and Romance, and a member of the LGBT+ community myself.
I need to make sure my readers understand that more than I’m here for royalties, and more than I’m here for entertainment and fantasy, I’m here for my community. I have a fairly small, quiet presence in social media, so I certainly don’t make waves when it comes to being an advocate for equality, but it doesn’t change how important those things are to me. I donate regularly to LGBT+ causes, I do what I can in my social media and in real life, to ensure I’m a safe space for all members of the LGBT+ community, and I do my best raising my children with those same morals and values.
I can’t guarantee my amazon review page will be a safe space. I can’t guarantee that a trans person who is searching for trans characters in books, won’t stumble on a transphobic review set on invalidating their gender. Believe me, if I had some measure of control, if I had even the ability to put the review under a cut with a transphobia warning so it might prevent someone being hurt or triggered by reading those words, I would. But I don’t.
What I can do, is openly state here that I will not put warnings on my books when they contain a trans character. Trans people do not need to come with warnings to alert the world to their presence–whether it’s in real life, or in fiction. In my m/m romance, if the character is trans, it changes nothing. It is still m/m romance. In my f/f romance, if the character is trans, it’s still f/f romance. It’s as simple as that.
I don’t really have much to say beyond that. This is who I am, this is what I write, and I’m not going to fight for readers who would prefer it the other way round.
On a happier note, I’ll be writing again soon. I have several books coming up from my back-log, and a wonderful new editor who is working her fingers to the bone to ensure the best quality work goes to print. I’m not sure about new release dates just yet. We are getting ready to move into a new house, and until that happens, everything is still on hold.
But I’m excited about what’s to come for 2017. The sequel to Inhumanity will likely be first, and I am hoping to finish that trilogy by the end of the year. I do have a series of stand-alone novels as well, and I’ve been kicking around the idea of a sequel to Verismo, but it remains to be seen whether or not Nicky and Cedric have any more story to tell.
I will be keeping everyone posted, though.
I hope everyone had a calm, relaxing holiday season, and I hope this year brings the best for us. We certainly deserve it.
Thanks for reading, and see you all again near the end of the month.