One of my biggest author supporters from Day 1 of starting this blog has been Harper Miller. We rattle each other at times with our strong convictions, but it’s all love, and these are the kinds of people that I like to surround myself with. She challenges me in ways I don’t always want to consider, but in the end, I’m a better person for it.
That being said, Harper hit me up a few weeks ago with an idea that I hope will take off on this blog, and that is having a guest blogger. I was so on board with this, because I know she had some things on her mind that she wanted to speak on, and boy, does she bring it! So without further ado, I give you Harper Miller’s Monday Musing:
Is it homophobia, is it preference, it something else? Let’s discuss!
First, I’d like to thank Patrice for giving me a platform to open up dialogue and get a hearty discussion going. I’m all for open discourse and I hope you guys are too!
In November, I released the third story in my Kinky Connect Chronicles series, Entwined. Entwined was a story I was scared to write. Why? Hmm, well, in the IR genre, we do not see many stories with ménage aspects and readers can be very fickle. We see threesomes in Interracial Erotica sure, but that is a category where we do not expect a bevy of well-developed tales, just orifices gone wild! People are always surprised when I say that I write Interracial Erotica. Don’t be! The genre is changing.
“OMG, isn’t that the genre with all the sex? No plots, just nothing but sex?”
I’ve been a reader of Interracial Erotica/Romance for over three years now, and in that time, I’ve joined many reader forums. I can recall many comments made by some in regards to threesomes not being their cup of tea. The comments were usually split amongst three types of readers:
1. Readers who would not even consider the stories because they weren’t fans of a couple having a third person in the mix.
2. Readers who had never come across any good ménage stories but were open to expanding their reading horizons.
3. Readers who would only read ménage stories if they highlighted a specific couple dynamic.
Now you are probably wondering, “Harper, why would you write something so contentious if you know the audience in the genre is all over the place?”
My answer: Why not?
Readers say they want the IR genre to be full of originality and diverse storytelling. They want to lose themselves in the characters. From the feedback I’ve received from readers, I think most people enjoy my writing, but with Entwined, I have to say that I got a very rude awakening. People who were waving the equal representation and “diversity” flag were not interested reading a story that featured an F/F/M dynamic.
Now, I understand we all have our preferences. Everybody’s got their something.
Readers say they want mainstream Contemporary Romance to showcase more women of color however, when we have different types of stories about women of color being told, the judgment rolls in. Readers become upset when someone says they cannot identify with a black woman as a heroine, but when a story is written where a black bisexual woman is featured, then it is too much. TEW MUCH. Readers can’t identify.
But we can identify with having sex with aliens or shifters?
That’s okay because LOVERS OF ALL THINGS ménage will come through! Surely, those people would be supportive of such a story? Oh no, not so. You see my dynamic didn’t fit their interest. It’s ménage, but not the right kind. They’re more comfortable with an M/M/F read. Hmmm.
My point is, in this genre, we have too many double standards. There are preferences and then there are blatant double standards. And then there’s the homophobia aspect. We say we want diversity in our romance reads, but how many of us are sharing buy links of authors who write IR gay romance? How many of us are giving a fair shot to authors who write these types of stories? I get that romance has an escapism aspect and some readers prefer to put themselves in the shoes of the heroine, but if you’re a fan of love and IR romance, why not support the authors who write these tales as well? There’s a bunch out there! Romance is about a connection, two people finding each another regardless of obstacles and finding a way to make their relationship work. We want to be so engrossed in a tale, that we’re pissed off when it ends!
Avril Ashton, Shae Connor, Santino Hassell, Meg Amor, and Michael Mandrake, are just a few authors who are writing some engaging stories with IR gay couples. You should definitely spice up your e-reader and give them a chance!
Maybe I’m crazy for wanting to be inclusive and get everyone in the mix, but I’ve always said that I would write the types of stories I wish to see. I’m happy to say, Entwined has been my most successful book in the Kinky Connect Chronicles, so, a little controversy never hurt. Thanks to everyone who purchased a copy! Much appreciated.
You’ve read my thoughts, what are yours? Is it homophobia, is it preference, it something else? What do you consider to be a “diverse” read?
Ms. Miller definitely gave me some perspective with this post. Are my preferences actually prejudice? Or is it simply just a matter of I don’t roll that way? Personally, I haven’t featured any gay romance on this blog, not because I’m homophobic, which for the record, I most certainly AM NOT, but because this blog specializes in black woman romance. I haven’t found very many, if any, romances that feature black lesbians in a loving relationship. I know they’re out there, I just never took the time to really explore.
Now please. Let’s not turn this into a homophobic, religious debate because you cannot spit bible verses when you read and/or write about hetero couples doing the same shit and justify it because they are hetero.
Thank you Harper for the musing and the insight. You’ve definitely given me some food for thought and some new authors to discover. The Kink Connect Chronicles series is available now on Amazon. Check it out because there’s definitely something for everyone!
And if you’d like to become a guest blogger (and you don’t have to be an author), hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org. Til next Monday…