Eeeps, I feel like I’m back in school, forced to write an essay like “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.” When I hear about theme blog hogs, I am always “sure, I’ll do this!” then wait until the last minute and panic over how not to sound like a moron. Here is my ramble.
First off, I am behind the times. I call GLBTQ LGBT, wow, that looks like a password to me, but I guess the alphabet soup has shifted. I like LGBT since L is first. Hey, this old lesbian can have her preferences, correct? No matter that the initials say, let’s face it, anyone who chooses to write GLBTQ is already settling into, as my one publisher says, a “niche” area. When writers start writing niches inside the niche, like fantasy, or science fiction, the niche becomes narrow and even more selective.
The thing is, I did not choose to write GLBTQ stories. The writing chose me, which is a horrible cliché, but it is true. I started writing gay male romance when I was a teenager. My writing began using dudes from a band I adored back in 1975. Happily the band was a trio, which meant a three way was easy to write. Just add angst and away they went. These stories were penned like a Victorian writer, using initials, not names. “K— yanked on C—’s shaft.” Ouch!
My parents never questioned the endless scribbling in my black composition notebooks. “Oh, she’s writing, how creative.” Better to let my parents think that their weird daughter nurtured an obsessive “dear diary” tendency. At least I had the security of not having younger siblings sneaking around in my room. I left my notebooks on my bedside table in secure confidence.
As you can imagine, the hilarity I hammered out during those formative years is awful. Back then I wrote the male/male equivalent of “bodice rippers.” Endless kidnapping and seductions ruled the pages. Once I moved past the band boys, I started writing stories using all kinds of situations. Sword and sorcery stories, pirates— they tended to do the most kidnapping—, horror, and quite a few contemporaries flowed from my black Flair. I only wrote using the good old felt-tipped Flair. I hated regular ink pens. These stories need to be documented in black! And only in perfect bound, black composition books. Yeah, just call me an anal nutjob, well, in more ways than one.
Oodles of incest, twincest, torture, maiming, revenge, betrayal, sex (hilariously written) and true love haunted those pages. Of course the brooding and betrayed by his lover Prince Sebastian must fall in love with his manly pirate kidnapper. The manly pirate Ramon always cast aside his plans to ransom the fair prince and spirited the more than willing Sebastian away to the cliché island paradise hideaway.
To this day, I still puzzle over what writing those stories meant to me. Above and beyond, they represented dazzling escape from the mundane world. Instead of talking on the phone or watching TV or acting normal, I sat and wrote forbidden adventure, romance, drama and trauma. Damn, I hate to think what would have happened if I had a computer back in the day.
I continued writing my stories during my twenties. In 1988, when my partner and I purchased our first computer to help run our music magazine, I still hid my writing in my notebooks. Even when certain stories migrated to the computer, I kept other ones hidden in the notebooks. The stories I worked on via the computer were more logical, less sensational, more readable. The notebook stories turned even more violent and fantastical. I said this before; when the cliché Monty Python 20 ton weight crashes down on my head, whoever reads those stories will be in for a shock.
As the years passed, my partner kept wondering why I spent so much time writing if I insisted on hiding the words from the world. She meant well, but for me my male/male stories were mine. Back in high school, I had received scholarship offers for English and writing along with scholarships for pursuing my art. I selected art because I wanted to keep my writing for myself. I never wanted anyone else to see my stories, to reject them or to comment on those private words.
Which is why when I discovered fan fic in 2000, I danced in glee. Wait, people out there were writing in the same vein and putting it out there for the world to see? I dove in and splashed around in delight. People seemed to like my ideas.
This lead to me thinking well, could I sell my stories?
Which leads me to where I am now, published but writing outside of the norm.
Do I write GLBTQ stories because it is trendy? Hell no, namely because I don’t write classic GLBTQ stories. At this stage in my writing, my characters never gaze at their “straight” friends and wonder about spooning them. Surprise, I have already explored those options in my notebooks. Stories about married men “finding” themselves and realizing that they need to be set free to love another man rub along side the “straight” secret agent who falls in love with a call boy tale or the rough “straight” guitarist who falls for a drug-addicted Duke (ahh, I do like that story). Over the years, I have explored many classic gay male romance genres. As of now revisiting them does not work for me. Instead my characters embrace a strong sense of self in order to endure the other torments I plan to dump on them.
What can I say, I write my gay male romances because it’s a part of me. I have been writing these stories for over thirty-five years. That is scary. I can’t stop writing these tales of love, lust and longing. Writing them is ingrained in me. I am hotwired to write GLBTQ literature.
It’s in my blood. Why? Who knows? Why do people like to race cars or rock climb or run marathons? For the pleasure, for the love of the challenge? Yes.
Even in those malicious notebooks stories, after the kidnapping, the trauma and the drama, above all love rules the day. All right, there is one gory horror tale where possession and an ancient spirit haunting an old English manor leads to strangulation and suicide, but what the hell, they die screaming, “I love you,” as the cursed manor burns to the ground.
Hmm, I’m tempted to clean up that nasty puppy and float it out there.
Leave a comment with an email and one lucky person in the US, Canada or Mexico will receive a signed copy of Temptation of the Incubus. Outside of the cheap mailing area, I'll supply an ebook. Or who knows, I might just go hogwild and send the book anywhere.
You know we authors are capricious, unpredictable and goofy. Or maybe that's just me!