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Writing LGBTQ stories

August 23, 2012

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Welcome to this Rainbow blog hop. The organizers asked each of us to answer the question: what does writing LGBTQ fiction mean to me?

The first time I wrote a story in my head where two guys kissed, I think I was about fourteen. Being pretty naïve (and living in the days before the Internet) I had no idea where they would go from there, so I wrote a lot of fade-to-black. But the sex wasn’t the point then, and isn’t now. (Nice icing sometimes, but not the point.)

Why did I spend so much time back then writing romances in which there was no character I could identify with, stories that would never come true for me? Intensity. Drama. Emotion.

I didn’t do it to be a crusader, championing a cause. First and foremost, writing was and is fun. I get a kick out of creating interesting lives for characters a reader can relate to. I try to entertain, to take people out of themselves and into another world for a few minutes or a few hours. I love to write – there is pleasure and joy in putting the words on paper, and the world of LGBTQ fiction is my favorite playground.

But that also doesn’t mean I want to trivialize this world that I can describe but not share first hand.

I like emotion in books. I write about cops and werewolves, about men facing loss and change. My stories try to bring the reader into moments of intensity, when everything matters. And in writing LGBTQ characters, I can bring those particular challenges and difficulties to my guys. Being LGBTQ in today’s world comes with built-in stresses that straight characters don’t have to face. I like what it does to my stories. And let’s face it, I enjoy writing about two men trying to get through life together.

As much as I’m writing entertainment, a part of me does hope I’m also writing for the future. The more each of us reads about the variations of human experience, the more we see just how much we all have in common. I’d like to think that in a small way I’m contributing to growth, to change, writing for the time when my gay characters will not have the added burden of discrimination along with the romance standards of unfaithful lovers and car crashes and cancer scares… I want to see the time when “Coming out” and “Homophobia” are unusual tags for a story and not major ones. The difficulty of getting two guys to talk together and negotiate a relationship will still make a captivating story even when the outside pressures abate.

I write some Young Adult LGBTQ fiction in addition to the gay romance, using the pen name Kira Harp when I actually publish it. There, even more than the adult work, I hope that in addition to entertaining, my work is sending the message of acceptance and normality. I want a teen to read my stories and see, not the things that make LGBTQ youth different from straight kids, but the things that make them the same. I want gay kids who read my stories to feel represented and included in the wide spectrum of human experience.

I’ve had a few people read a story of mine as their first exposure to gay romance. Some of them have given my work one or two rating stars and a note that it was not for them (or occasionally something less polite.) Others have rated it higher and written about the commonality they found between the romance of John and Ryan, and a romance between John and Susan, or Ryan and Kate. And each of those new LGBT-fiction readers is an added joy for me as an author. I’m entertaining, and giving pleasure, and hey, I’m also changing a heart or two, here and there, one at a time. And that feels damned good. I intend to keep on doing it for as long as people care to read my work.

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If you’ve come this far, you deserve to hear about the giveaway. I’m giving away a book from my backlist, winner’s choice, each day. The cut-off is midnight Eastern time Fri, Sat, and Sun. I will select winners by the trusty names-in-a- hat method, and both post and email the winners. Good luck everyone, and enjoy the other blogs as you hop 🙂

The link back to Rainbow Hop Central is here – have fun.

ETA: I just got the cover for the next story I will have out – a 22K short story called Tumbling Dreams in the Olympics anthology Going For Gold from MLR press. The anthology releases next Friday August 31st.

Going For Gold cover

I’ll post with more details Monday.

53 Comments leave one →
  1. chellebe permalink
    August 23, 2012 11:14 pm

    Love your work Kaje….and I hop along! chellebe at comcast dot net

  2. Sue B permalink
    August 23, 2012 11:23 pm

    Thanks for this article Kaje. As a newbie to writing m/m fic I always find your posts an inspiration. Thank you for your wonderful insights xx

  3. August 24, 2012 1:55 am

    I love all of your writing and can’t wait for the next Life Lessons book – Mac and Tony are one of my favourite couples.

  4. Cathy Scotton permalink
    August 24, 2012 2:40 am

    Hi, I’ve bought both your current Life Lessons books through Amazon and can’t wait for Home Work to be available. I’d love to go in the draw for a free book.

  5. Jessica_klang permalink
    August 24, 2012 7:59 am

    I would like to enter for today’s giveaway!

    jessica_klang(at)hotmail(dot)com

  6. August 24, 2012 8:16 am

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on how your writing has influenced others. I’ve had people tell me that, too, and the feeling is both humbling and amazing. Your stories enrich others, and that matters. 😀

  7. andreanook permalink
    August 24, 2012 9:17 am

    I read Into Deep Waters and loved it, please count me in.

  8. August 24, 2012 9:38 am

    I love m/m fiction and am loving this blog hop, and discovering new, to me, authors. Thanks for including me in the draw 🙂

  9. Jbst permalink
    August 24, 2012 10:39 am

    I just purchased your two Life Lessons recently and TBR. Thank you for the contest!

    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

  10. laurie g permalink
    August 24, 2012 11:11 am

    i adored life lessons!

    great contest and count me in too!

    parisfan_ca@yahoo.com

  11. August 24, 2012 11:18 am

    You’re a brave pioneer! great to meet you on this hop!

  12. Hannah E. permalink
    August 24, 2012 11:40 am

    Ooh, cool. A giveaway! Please count me in.

  13. KimberlyFDR permalink
    August 24, 2012 12:01 pm

    I always love these blogs hops, getting to know new-to-me authors and a deeper understanding of my favorites 🙂

    kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

  14. Avalie permalink
    August 24, 2012 12:17 pm

    i would love to win one of your books – have most of them

  15. August 24, 2012 12:42 pm

    I love that you write young adult fiction. I’ve thought about it, not sure if I’d be good at it, but it’s a genre I support. Thank you for telling those stories to a very deserving audience.

  16. Josie permalink
    August 24, 2012 12:54 pm

    Great post, you give so much to the genre I can’t thank you enough.

    Josieb100@gmail.com

  17. Cindy permalink
    August 24, 2012 1:01 pm

    Thank goodness you can write – cause that gene skipped me. I received a triple dose of the reading gene – I LOVE to read. You keep writing, I’ll keep reading. Thanks for the stories!!

  18. Giselle permalink
    August 24, 2012 3:22 pm

    Love your books! Very interesting blog. Thanks!

  19. Marge C. permalink
    August 24, 2012 3:38 pm

    I love your writing and your characters and am looking forward to reading more of your stories.

    margec02 @ gmail. com

  20. Lisa permalink
    August 24, 2012 4:35 pm

    Great post! I enjoy reading your books and the emotions that go into them.

  21. August 24, 2012 5:05 pm

    I read Into Deep Water recently, and it was awesome. You rock!

    Count me in your giveaway.

    contact at mchoule dot com

  22. Cornelia permalink
    August 24, 2012 7:47 pm

    Love your books.Thanks for the hop.
    cvsimpkins@msn.com

  23. Terri H permalink
    August 24, 2012 8:04 pm

    I love everything you write. Thanks for this!

    terrihawk66@yahoo.com

  24. Trix permalink
    August 24, 2012 8:38 pm

    Great post–good to know that you write LGBTQ YA fiction too, I’m glad that market exists.

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

  25. August 24, 2012 9:30 pm

    Looking forward to “Home Work.” Loved your Love Is Always Write entries.

  26. monica permalink
    August 24, 2012 9:52 pm

    I enjoy reading your stories be it under Kaje or Kira and it is pretty sad that some who gave 1 or 2 stars based on your story characters.

    I too hope time a changing…the world goes around…where everyone of every religions would accept one as one is.

    Keep it up, Kaje! There’s no greatest joy than having your stories read at every corner of the world

    Between, thank you for being part of the Hop!

    monica

    • August 24, 2012 11:14 pm

      All the comments above were entered into the drawing for the first free book. Winner is comment #4 – Cathy Scotton.

      Thanks everyone for the great comments – I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my writing. If you decide to try either of my YA stories, the profits from both go to charity – from Intervention to The Trevor Project and from The Benefit of Ductwork to Lambda Legal. So you can do good with your purchases too. I loved being part of that charity line of stories from Featherweight Press.

      Anything after this will be in Saturday’s drawing. It’s great to see so many of you here, and so nice of you to comment with more than just a name. I hope you’re enjoying the other stops on the hop.

  27. August 25, 2012 1:10 am

    Hi, Kaje! I’m so glad you mentioned that you write YA under Kira Harp. I really enjoy reading YA novels. Just picked up The Benefit of Ductwork and am eager to give it a read. 🙂
    madisonparklove@gmail.com

    • August 25, 2012 8:59 am

      Great – I hope you enjoy it and the profits from that book all go to Lambda Legal.

  28. yganoe permalink
    August 25, 2012 5:30 am

    I have many of your books and would love to win another to add to my collection!
    Yvette
    yratpatrol@aol.com

  29. August 25, 2012 5:51 am

    Hah! I have Lies and Consequences listed as a “Favorite Gay Thriller” in the Book Bingo. I hear your writing is epic. Better not let me down 😛 Okay, I’m joking. But really, that’s the book I’m reading once that cat is called.

    Erica
    eripike at gmail dot com

    • August 25, 2012 8:58 am

      Hah- this one is more breathless than epic. It was my first self-pub book and I threw in everything but the kitchen sink into the plot. 🙂 However it’s free, and people seem to like it well enough. I hope you will too.

  30. Suze permalink
    August 25, 2012 10:25 am

    Hi Kaje. I love the depth you bring to your stories and hopefully they will work to educate more and more people. I’m looking forward to the third life lessons book coming out so i can read them all together!

  31. akasarahmadison permalink
    August 25, 2012 1:29 pm

    As much as I’m writing entertainment, a part of me does hope I’m also writing for the future.
    THIS. Yes!

    akasarahmadison at gmail dot com

  32. August 25, 2012 2:33 pm

    I enjoy reading your stories

    MFierydrgn@aol.com

  33. August 25, 2012 2:58 pm

    Hi, Kaje.

    I enjoyed the post; it was a great read. That cover is rockin’. I look forward in reading your works.

    Thanks,
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  34. Diane A permalink
    August 25, 2012 6:44 pm

    I love the story you gave on the writing, shows just how natural love is, thank you for sharing your stories with all of us!
    Looking forward to the Olympics anthology!

  35. Juliana permalink
    August 25, 2012 10:04 pm

    Thanks so much for participating in the hop! I like that you write about the changes in these men’s lives! I’ve already read all your books and can’t wait for what comes next! Keep up the wonderful writing!
    OceanAkers @ aol.com

    • August 25, 2012 11:02 pm

      The comments above this point were entered into the drawing for the Saturday free book. Today’s winner is Suze – I’ll email you soon to choose your book.

      Thanks again to the people who came by today. I appreciate you taking the time to stop and comment.

      Comments after this point will be put into the hat for the Sunday drawing.

  36. Penumbra permalink
    August 26, 2012 3:12 am

    I’m enjoying this blog hop and all the different answers everyone is giving to the same question. Thanks for participating 🙂

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

  37. Lyra L permalink
    August 26, 2012 5:38 am

    I love your stories and look forward to Home Work!

  38. yganoe permalink
    August 26, 2012 9:12 am

    Wonderful post! Count me in please.
    Yvette
    yratpatrol@aol.com

  39. August 26, 2012 9:34 am

    I’d love a chance to win one of your books, Kaje.
    It’s great to meet new authors via the hop. Wish I’d got here earlier, but better late than never…

    Sue
    corieltauviqueen at yahoo dot co dot uk

  40. Shirley Ann permalink
    August 26, 2012 11:05 am

    I enjoyed reading your comments. I’ve read your YA and your LGBTQ books they are all really good.
    Please enter me for the Contest
    ShirleyAnn@speakman40.freeserve.co.uk

  41. Nancy S permalink
    August 26, 2012 1:58 pm

    Thanks for a great post and a chance for one of your books. I have loved all I have read so far and have great expectations for the rest.

  42. August 26, 2012 3:28 pm

    Thanks for participating and sharing!

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

  43. August 26, 2012 3:30 pm

    Great article and of course I’d love to be entered to win 🙂

    ~Helen

  44. August 26, 2012 4:49 pm

    Love it, Kaje. All we can do is write the stories we have–and if someone new finds ’em, all the better. ❤

  45. Lilly permalink
    August 26, 2012 4:49 pm

    Thank you for posting! I love that you want to show the similarities between all different types of people, I also think we are really all the same, no matter who we love, or so many other things that seem like differences.

    Lilly
    Lillywriting@gmail.com

  46. August 26, 2012 4:53 pm

    Hi. Great post. Thanks for being on The Blog Hop.

    Chris
    ceagles48218@yahoo.com

  47. August 26, 2012 4:56 pm

    Almost missed your post! Thanks for joining the hop and sharing your thoughts. This hop has been very thought provoking.
    seritzko AT verizon DOT net

    • August 26, 2012 11:16 pm

      The comments above were entered into the drawing for the last free book, for Sunday, for the Rainbow blog hop. The winner is Sue Adams.

      Thanks to everyone for joining in this hop and stopping by to leave a comment.

      After this point you are welcome to comment if you wish, but the free book drawings are completed, and subsequent comments will not be eligible.

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