October is officially Queer Romance Month!
The romance novel is the foundation of the publishing world. It's the money-maker, producing bestsellers that keep the entire book industry afloat. Why? Because although frequently belittled, our stories -- about finding connection and love in this crazy, noisy, too-often lonely world -- are universal, and universally loved.
Romance novels come in all shapes and sizes: hardcover, trade and mass market paperback, ebook, audiobook. (In the time it's taken you to read this, thousands, world-wide, have been purchased.)
The genre itself is vast, covering ground from books that are sweetly demure to those that are full-power orgasmically sexy. Romance stretches across a huge timeline, too, from historicals to contemporary romantic thrillers to futuristic paranormals. But all romance novels, without fail, deliver the genre's guaranteed HEA or happily ever after.
That's really the only rule. As an author, you can't kill everyone off (at least not the two main lovers) at the end and call your book a romance.
Over the past dozen or so years, the romance genre has begun to embrace LGBTQ equality. Because let's face it, love is love, and everyone deserves a chance to find their reflection in a book with a happy ending. (Euphemism intentional!)
Yes, I said "the romance genre has begun to embrace," instead of "those of us who care about LGBTQ equality grabbed the romance genre by the throat and demanded acceptance," but we're talking about love here.
And while there's still lots of acceptance left to throttle out of the genre, we've come pretty freaking far -- at least since my first romance novel was published back in 1993. When I got revision notes for that book, my editor told me that no, the minor character of the town sheriff could not be an openly gay man, because romance readers wouldn't like that.
She was wrong.
Romance readers not only want the town sheriff to be gay, they want him to be the book's hero and win the heart of his Mr. Right, or even his Mr. Right-Now. And have a lot of hot sex along the way.
October is Queer Romance Month.
Join the conversation at http://www.queerromancemonth.com