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text 2014-10-03 17:26
Dear Author/Jane Litte Defense Fund

To donate: http://www.gofundme.com/da-defensefund

 

If you are not familiar with the case and why it is so important you support DA in this fight, please go to Twitter and check out the hash tag #notchilled

 

For more references on the fund:

http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/the-dear-author-jane-litte-legal-defense-fund

 

 

 

 

 

Source: www.gofundme.com/da-defensefund
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text 2014-01-21 06:13
Fight for Your Rights: Civil Rights in Romance Novels--LGBT Addition!
Shards of Honour (Vorkosigan Saga, #1) - Lois McMaster Bujold
Painted Faces - L.H. Cosway
All Through the Night: A Troubleshooter Christmas (Troubleshooters #12) - Suzanne Brockmann
War Games - K.S. Augustin
Almost Like Being in Love - Steve Kluger
The Dark Tide (The Adrien English Mysteries) (Volume 5) - Josh Lanyon
Ash - Malinda Lo
Southern Discomfort - Rita Mae Brown
The Dom Project - Heloise Belleau,Solace Ames
Replicant - Dani Worth

Its MLK Day!

 

Lots of people think that the romance genre is all fluff. I am sad for them. Yep, we have fluff and we love it but we also have so much more.

 

Like much of popular art, Romance Novels are an excellent barometer of cultural feelings that both enforce social norms and work to transform them. 

 

In this post, I want to spend some time (turned out to be most of an afternoon and evening lol) thinking about the Civil and Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people and gender in Romance.

 

In other posts, I will examine more areas of human rights in Romance but on this MLK Day and with wonderful work to restore the amazing Bayard Rustin and his labors at Dr. King's side to the annuals of history through the Freedom Award and the documentary Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, I will focus my attention on the right to love who we love and be who we are across the multifaceted spectrum that is gender.  

 

I'll also recommend some great love stories along the way and in a list that are sometimes made even greater because of they sit in this rainbowed world and show love of all kinds.

 

I recently gave a five star review to LH Cosway's Painted Faces. 5 star reviews don't come easily from me despite my run of lucky reading of late. The hero is a straight drag queen. He is such an Alpha and also so much more. I love and sigh for him giddily. He is in my top ten on Team Sexy.  But I digress... 

 

Something I wrote in the review about the what most people say first about Painted Faces keeps coming back to my mind as I think about the topic of gay rights and gender in Romance. 

 

"This book most famously weaves in of gender roles and sexuality to the romance. However, this book is so much more and gender and sexuality are really central to any great love story but because of our hero's profession and his hetroexuality these elements of all erotic relationships are thrown in wonderful sharp relief." 

 

What I am thinking about here, also, is how subversive romance novels have always been and how much the politics of love, sexuality, and gender have been fought across the pages of these perfectly accessible books.  This is not a new thought in the world but one that is fun to ponder. Fun for a word nerd like me, anyway! (And yeah, its obnoxious to quote myself but whatever. Its late and this is the idea italicized below is the one I feel like nerding out on completely. So, there. lol)

 

Gender and sexuality are really central to any great love story. In all my favorite couples in RL and in Romance Land, each person is fully seen by their partner, their ever changing swirl of gender roles is worked out or in process in that coupledom, and what one likes in bed (or against the wall, on a horse, under the table at a wedding--whatever works) is gifted. 

 

This is as true for me in straight romances as it is for those of a different persuasion.

 

Think of how this dynamic works in your own real life love stories and those of your family and friends as well.

 

(Okay. You don't have to but I will when I am bored and stuck in traffic and then I will be having fun instead of wanting to ram SUVS that tell us the exact number of kids they have to kidnap and their names under turtles and other weirdness, drivers flicking out ash out their windows in this drought, and people on their non hands free cell phones who don't know how to stick that sucker in their bra or get one of those thingies my non bra sporting love has on his dashboard.) 

 

In MF Romance, see the broad shoulder killer Dee-Ann and her love is food Chef mate in Big Bad Beast (The Pride Series) by Shelly Laurenston, the very shy and submissive, Gabe, of Charlotte Stein's deeply erotic Control, the gender reversed world where men are nurturers of Wen Spencer's A Brother's Price, the dandy in The Famous Heroine by Mary BaloghTo Seduce A Sinner's Melissande and Jasper (he of the emasculating PTSD and she having experienced good sex making sure she gets some from him and not something fit for "a lady") by Elizabeth Hoyt, and the I just need touch hero of Mary Ann RiversThe Story Guy to name just a few excellent books that do this dance of pushing of gender and sexual restrictions in MF romance.

 

There are many more I could name but I am trying to finish this post before MLK Day is over on the West Coast of the US lol. 

 

Even those old bodice rippers and long haired Fabios with the cut away covers have something important to say about these issues if you read carefully. Kind of like Pro Wresting and Main Stream Porn have all sorts of revelations to be observed about well anything that they hyperbolizes. (Again, I wander. lol, Damn, these all are some great books and deserve their own list!) 

 

So, back on the main path of this post!

 

We can trace the change of thought around homosexuality in particular from the Homosexual as Villain in 1980's and 1990's Historical Romance and the I discovered my spouse was gay themed Contemporary Romances

 

to the stereotypical or underdeveloped or simply sketched background players but largely positive images of the LGBT community like Amanda Quick's Deception where we have a pair of women lovers creating a mystery and conflict (not so simple really) and the heroine's beloved aunts and the abundance of gay men in Rock Chick series by Kristin Ashley (some more layers than others)

 

to complex portrayals of gay characters as carefully crafted secondary characters like in Pamela Morsi's Simple Jess and Susanne Brockman's Jules who finally gets his man in All Through the Night: A Troubleshooter Christmas, and some of Kristen Ashley's gay fellows as well. 

 

to fully developed Romance Novels with LGBT heroines and heroes in the Main Character spot like the BDB Series superstar Lover at Last By JR Ward,  the SFR War Games by K.S. Augustin, the hugely popular MM series Cut & Run (Cut & Run, #1) by by Madeleine Urban, and the oh so funny Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger,

 

to queer writers writing well received Romances about queer people such as Salt Fish Girl: A Novel by Larissa Lai and The Dark Tide (The Adrien English Mysteries) by Josh Lanyon 

 

to what I think of as the often overblown but epochal turn towards massive cultural change---the mass consumption and commodification of what once was on the fringes in the booming MM sub genre which leans hard into erotica and erotic romance just as same sex marriage is slowing approved State by State and Country by Country.  See the endless and very happy Goodreads lists for recommendations. :)  

 

(I mean overblown like New Adult is and BDSM is--really, really really popular beyond all good sense where writers come into the genre with a plan to actually make money as a writer (not that that's is a bad thing lol) but still the flood of the market brings with it gems appearing here and there--See my Twilight Rant connected to Vampire Romance as another example. It is just easier to say Overblown. )

 

Some things I noticed as I was writing this post---

 

The main stream writers doing MM usually thread these couples over several books or feature the love story in a multi cast universe. 

 

There is a lot of interesting goings on in YA. Check out The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth and Ash by Malinda Lo.  I love this blog post on same sex kissing on YA book Covers by Lo. 

 

While lesbian characters have winning best seller ways in literary fiction, memoir and Women's/Gender Studies (Rita Mae Brown, Jeannette Winterson, Alice Walker, Sarah Waters, Cherie Moraga and on and on)  FF Romance has yet to show the same success as MM Romance or the FF literary or theory treats. I have, in fact, read most of what would be considered the canon of lesbian lit and theory but very little FF romance actually. Jodi Picoult, who I might say is more Women's fiction, has Sing You Home for a main stream book with an FF romance so we have some movement on this front.  Smart Bitches GS vs STA has a lot of great recs for FF Romance. I have a goal to expand my FF Romance reading this year. 

 

The transgendered are just appearing like stars in the distance. Bright and Strong. Here is another set of recs on those. Southern Discomfort by Rita Mae Brown, which is mentioned, is a wonderful read with romantic elements. 

 

Bisexuals outside some excellent menage and erotic romance are thin on the ground. Here are some: How to Raise an Honest Rabbit (Knitting Series) by Amy LaneKinked (Hello, sexy Harpy) by Thea Harrison, CRASH by  Pepper Pace, and Replicant (The Kithran Regenesis) by Dani Worth. Check out this  A Wonkomance Interview with Solace Ames and Heloise Belleau that discusses the bisexual Asian tattooed hottie lead in their The Dom Project (LA Doms). Can't wait to read this one. 

 

We have much to look forward to in how Romance evolves to both reflect and influence world views.

 

More reading on the topic? You know you want to!

 

Here is a pretty cool interview with Kate Douglas about what LGBT romance is doing for the genre. Romance Authors Explain Why Writing LGBT Romance Is Refreshing.

 

Her is an engaging Dear Author Opinion piece on MM writing in romance and the Lambda Awards.

 

Here is a great discussion led by Hedi Below Zero called Queer Romance Blog Hop about/by queer writers of queer romance.

 

And, in case you still haven't had enough...

 

Here are some more great books to add to your TBR that may have only hints of these issues or full on conversations that I haven't mentioned yet. 

 

1. Packing Heat by Kele Moon 

2. Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James

3. Never a Gentleman by Eileen Dreyer

4. When You Dare (Edge of Honor) by Lori Foster

5. Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman

6. Far Too Human by Anitra Lynn McLeod 

7. Laid Bare (A Brown Family Novel) by Lauren Dane

8. The Last Rogue by Deborah Simmons

 9. Untamed by Anna Cowan

10. Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga)  Lois McMaster Bujold 

 

Here is my Goodreads lists that asks for you recommendations on Civil Rights in Romance: Fight for Your Rights: Civil Rights in Romance Novels

 

Due to Goodreads server issues and spammer problems, I have only one book on there. But I am sure we can all remedy that! 

 

 

 

 

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review 2013-03-11 00:00
Little Jane Silver - Adira Rotstein http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/557956514
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review 2009-04-23 00:00
Jane Addams, Little Lame Girl (Childhood of Famous Americans)
Jane Addams, Little Lame Girl (Childhood... Jane Addams, Little Lame Girl (Childhood of Famous Americans) - Jean Brown Wagoner I found this book in my grandmother's house when I was 10 or 11 (it originally belonged to my father or his sister, I think).

I loved it and re-read it until it was falling apart. This is the book that got me so interested in the social sciences, public policy, urban society, women's history, etc.
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review 2008-06-23 00:00
Sneaker Hill
Sneaker Hill - Jane Little,Nancy Grossman Inventive magical journey complete with intrepid cousins, talking owls, evil witches and an army of rats. Plus much, much more. The plot sweeps airily along with no surprises but one enjoys the journey a good deal.
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