Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Crapmansion Ponderings

*  Nothing is more likely to convince me that we're living through the end times than listening as Mate watches The Soup.

*  It's so much easier to let my hair go naturally gray when I don't see anyone but my family, who already knows I'm old.  (I'm buying hair dye tomorrow.  SWEAR.)

*  If I've heard a book/movie/restaurant/TV show pimped ad nauseum, it usually has to be the second coming of the fifth peen to impress me.  (This book/movie/restaurant/ TV show did NOT impress me.)

* After spending the last six months writing 350K of raw, ripping, angst and pain, in full length technicolor band-aid colors, switching it up to a short, light-hearted novella is a real mindfuck.  I find that some of my previous angst/pain has seeped in.  Sorry!  So sorry!  I'll try to clean up that ooze by my Christmas novella.

*  Some visual cues are subjectives.  My sweet little reminder of the fragility of life and lost innocence can be someone else's serial killer mask from A Cabin in the Woods.  (This is important to remember when you're trying to sell books and picking out a cover.)

*  Chicken's cat is the sweetest little avian serial killer in the world.  As long as she's here.

*  Mate really is a superhero.  Especially when it's his turn to teach Chicken to drive.

*  The sun that the children run around for exercise in the pool in is the flaming orb that sucks the ever-loving life out of me.

*  Family television time would be a great time for me to knit.  If there was anywhere in the living room left for me to perch.  And if I liked whatever Mate was watching.  (Hint: True Lies is a really irritating monument to James Cameron on his third divorce.)

*  The words "yarn sale" still have the power to make my heart beat faster and my palms sweat and money just FLY the hell out of my wallet.  It's nice to know the magic is still there.

*  I keep trying to remake my image, but people STILL won't let me hire the supermodel with the uber-intellectual glasses.  But GUYS, she'd be such a better me than I am!

*  Seriously-- I'm thinking about updating my dragon and my sales banners and my swag.  I want crisp!  I want clean!  I want solid identity points!  I want… *sob*  Someone with more experience than I have…

*  I'm also thinking about how to market Beneath the Stain. It's hard to think about that stuff.  My wheels turn REALLY slowly.

*  And speaking of wheels… and things I know little about… believe it or not, the story I'm working on right now is part of an anthology about a cookbook.  Amber Kell, Marie Sexton, Mary Calmes, and RJ Scott are part of it, and I'm really excited about this idea!  The, uhm, bad news is that cooking is not necessarily my strong suit.  Beet porridge is going to figure large.  I don't expect anybody to make it… but then, I didn't expect anyone to knit the Stanley Scarf, either.

*  And somebody is knitting the Chain Mail Scarf from Blackbird!  I'm so excited to hear that!  WHEEEE!!!

*  The family has lived in each other's back pockets for two weeks.  Things are getting dire.  We'd cut each other for the last Oreo-- I shit you not!

*  Speaking of which… Peanut Butter Cup Oreos.  Should be outlawed.

*  Pulling a T-shirt out of the clean laundry pile that you've been wanting to wear for a MONTH?  Is like winning the lottery.  I'm telling you, it's the simple things.

*  The little kids have learned how to knit using looms.  They are SO EXCITED.  Today, they asked me if they were knitting with alpaca fur.  I told them that EVEN BETTER, they are knitting with DEAD DINOSAURS.  It's BETTER than alpaca and sheep fur, because it's TOUGHER and less fragile.  Which is why we keep it in the garage instead of the house like the other, more delicate yarn.  Weren't they LUCKY to be knitting with the dead dinosaurs?  (Stop laughing!  They totally bought it!  And it's sort of the truth.  Shhhh….)

*  And Zoomboy is doing laundry now.  "Mom!  What are we doing today?"  "Uhm, I dunno.  Laundry?"  "AWESOME!  I'll go get a load!"  I am… well grateful, actually.  I am also not expecting this to last.  But I'll be doing it a lot until it goes away.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A little o' this, a little o' that, a little o' @#$%!

Mostly just chilling with Chicken and chewing the fat…

Seriously-- fun stuff going, but nothing earth shattering.

Does Johnnie look thrilled?  He should!  Rhys Ford gave my Boobie Hamster a shout-out at The Novel Approach, while pimping Tequila Mockingbird-- a book I personally can't wait to read, btw.  (I shall pimp it on July 6th's *kermit flail* Monday-- which reminds me, peeps, if you have a new release, hit me!)

This is exciting to me, as is the release of Behind the Curtain  on audio!  Speaking of audiobooks, I'm getting sort of a collection going, don't I?  The first three books of Promises, the Talker novellas, the first three Johnnies novellas-- Going Up, The Locker Room, A Solid Core of Alpha, Clear Water,… I'm sort of excited about how big the audio program is getting!

And in other news?  Well, I finished Black John.  Oh my God-- can I just say, I'm working on a short novella right now, something cute, and sweet, and fun, and adorable, and all the angst I've been writing is leeching into my happy happy!  I"m hoping it's all gone by the time I get to the Christmas novella, cause I'm sayin'… I need some happy in my head!


I've been thinking about a random comment somebody made-- which is dangerous.  It's something I haven't been able to get out of my mind, because it's one of my favorite subjects, and that means I've blogged about it before.

But I don't remember when.

It's about swearing.

I've written an Amy's Lane on the difference between porn and romance, and I've written one on how you can build a world based on what you say when you stub your toe,  but I don't remember if I've written any Amy's Lane columns on why I like to swear.  And why it doesn't mean you're stupid.

The thing is, like anything else in our language, swearing has an origin and a purpose.  Being able to manipulate swear words is just as important as being able to manipulate multi-syllabic latinate words--in fact, since the latinate words tend to obscure emotional punch, and a well-placed swear word can double it, it's wise not to underestimate the impact of a well-chosen blasphemy.

And the cool thing about swear words is that they're versatile.  I once grabbed the attention of a really recalcitrant freshman class by getting them to dissect the sentence "Fuck the fucking fucker who fucking fucked me."

It's sort of enlightening:

"Fuck (verb present tense) the fucking (adjective) fucker (noun) who fucking (adverb) fucked (verb past tense) me."

So, if you need to really nail a moment with something that shocks, something that surprises, something that can titillate, something that implies obscenity, something that implies violence, something that can fit in any part of a sentence you want to emphasize…

Well, it's a possibility.

It's not the only possibility-- and it's always wise to think about cutting down on something, especially if you're using it for effect.

But here's the thing.  In the past, swear words have implied a certain decadence, a lack of morality or decency.  Girls didn't swear-- girls were too good to swear.  Gentlemen didn't swear-- unless really put to the test by their uppity women.  But the pushing of the sexual envelope has also pushed the language envelope, and why not?  Most of our best, most verboten swearwords are closely linked to our absolute terror of human sexuality-- in particular, the empowerment of female sexuality.

Erotic romance did it first--used the "big bad words" to make a sex scene hotter, and that opened the door. M/M romance (and NO, gay romance is NOT ALWAYS erotic romance!) has taken that freedom to use the "big bad" words and do something even more courageous than make us hot.

They've made it real.

Kurt Vonnegut once published a letter he'd written to a school district who burned his work.  (I love this letter-- I base a lot of my blogging technique on the flawless showing-not-telling displayed within.) In this letter he defends a sentence in Slaughterhouse Five by saying, "A soldier swears.  Soldiers use coarse language." (I paraphrased.)  And I grew up with people swearing around me-- I loved those forbidden words.  The minute I was old enough, I embraced them-- those words gave me power over the male dominated conversations I was frequently privy too. To me, the world in which men and woman both swore was a world of verbal and social equality, and when I started writing the Little Goddess books, I embraced the holy fuck out of that.  When I wrote The Bitter Moon saga, I created an entire world, social class, prejudice, religion, belief system, family tradition, and mood, based purely on blasphemies--most of which can be freely repeated in any setting.  ("Triane's purple tits" is, perhaps, the one exception.)

When I switched to strictly M/M, I created characters who spoke the way the men around me swore.  Walking into my school staff room was an experience in swear-word submersion.  The one way I kept my head above water when I was there was swearing as well as or better than the men in the room.  I knew I was done with that bullshit when I didn't feel like swearing in that room anymore.

So I know how powerful swearwords can be-- and I am a firm believer in using them.

George Carlin once spoke about his childhood, and he talked about the nun who singled him out because he swore like a sailor fucking a trucker.  She understood that the ability to manipulate profanity to create humor required a specific, important type of intelligence, and, he freely admitted, she was one of the reasons he made it out of school.

So, no.  I can't be shamed by people who don't like my language.  I don't foresee ever a time when I don't look at a swearword for it's potential to create emotion and power in a situation.  I have taught my children the value of time and place, but I have never taught them that swear words are evil, or that they diminish their people-hood in any way.

Even our blasphemies define who we are; denying that part of us fucks us up by definition.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Outbreak Monkey and the skinny on our Little Goddess


  Don't you just LOVE THEM?

So, the Outbreak Monkey tattoo is sort of a story point in my upcoming book, Beneath the Stain, and I actually commissioned a friend of Chicken's to make me a tattoo to put on the cover.  It's beautiful, and Chicken knows good work when she sees it!  I think this monkey is going to go all sorts of places…  T-shirts, yarn bags, backstage passes… I think this monkey is gonna go real far…
*happy sigh*  

*snaps back to business*

Okay, so…

Some of you may noticed that it's pretty hard to buy any of the original Little Goddess series on e-book.  

There's a reason for that.  

See, I was planning to write Quickening this summer, but, well, it was hard.  I have grown used to having people help me with production-- better minds than mine working on editing, and suggestions for covers and a louder voice in marketing.  I know some people have done amazing things in self-publishing in the past ten years, since I released Vulnerable, and I'm really excited for those people.  But I spent six years self-pubbing, when it got pretty much zero respect, and I have got to say, I love writing-- I would definitely do it for free (and I have!) but I am really happy with a publishing company.  I was reluctant to leave the safety of my friends to venture out on my own.  

Well, back in April, Dreamspinner announced its plan to create another imprint called DSP Productions.  I loved the idea of this imprint--it's for genres that are not necessarily M/M romance, and are not necessarily romance at all--but that's certainly allowed.  The idea is, for established M/M writers to have somewhere to publish their other stories--somewhere their name recognition matters, but where girl parts are allowed, and urban fantasy or thrillers or historicals without romance is encouraged.  Their initial plan was to start small-- and to go to their writers whom they knew had titles that would already fit the bill.

The Little Goddess fit the bill.  In fact, Dreamspinner had already published the three linking novellas to her, and Lynn and Elizabeth had already read them.  Elizabeth didn't think they worked well for Dreamspinner Press, but given they had a thread of M/M running through them, she thought they worked very well for DSP Productions.  And Lynn has confessed to a little crush on Bracken which makes me very proud.  (Lynn has a thing for surly assholes with a heart of good.  I love that about her.)  Anyway, we were at lunch, and they asked me if I would be interested in publishing The Little Goddess with them, instead of independently.  

If I could write Quickening in the winter, so it could be published next September.

If I could write for and with my friends who already loved my world and my ideas and wanted to help me make the story better, instead of going it alone.

I sort of burst into tears. 

Oh hell yes.  

I so wanted to not publish alone anymore.  

Now, I know that lots of people are moving from publishing with indie presses to going it alone.  All sorts of people are taking their name recognition on the road--and I'm rooting for them.  I think it's great that the means are in place, and independent publishers no longer have to rely on places like iUniverse (which, I'd like to say, made a bundle off of me and offered me jack in return) to get their work out and to be known.  I've always maintained that self-publishing has a great place in the future of literature-- and a lot of my heroes have done it (Walt Whitman, William Blake) and a lot of my heroes were screwed over when they didn't (Edgar Allan Poe).

And I've done it too, and it allowed me to build my name, and it allowed a lot of people to fall in love with Cory when they ordinarily might not have.  I'm not slamming it, by any means.

But I'm really not ready to go back to it.  

I love writing for my people.  I love writing for my editors and my publisher and the people who love what I've done already and want to see what I'll do next.  

And I'm going to love writing Quickening.  Not just for me, because I've needed to write this book for so long, but for my fans who've been waiting so patiently.  

And for my people, for the new imprint, for a new idea about how to change the face of publishing and how to make urban fantasy as all inclusive as it's always wanted to be.  

So there you go.  It's happening-- Quickening is happening, and expect new covers and new edits on the rest of the series starting in February.  And get ready to hold your ears…

Cause I'm not done with the SQUEEEEEEEEEEing!!!!!!  for a long, long time!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

But Tony Stark has MONEY… and he's Iron Man.

Okay, so about two weeks ago, after the NPR interview, I was sitting in front of my computer trying to get some shit done.  And by "shit" I mean Black John, and by "done" I mean finish the fucking book (which is, thank Goddess, finished!) before the world of despair, drug use, and cynicism I'd created actually swallowed me whole.  (Seriously-- my submission letter started with, "Hey, Elizabeth, remember how in Dex in Blue I created a seriously irredeemable character and thought, 'Whew, I'm glad I don't have to deal with that asshole again!'?  Well guess who my new protagonist is!")  So, well, I was… I was elsewhere at this point in time.  It was hot outside, cool inside, I had my soda, my pleasant buzz from the NPR interview, and I was good to frickin' go.

And I got a phone call, from the leader of the kids' dance studio, asking for help.  She needed an extra backstage mom, someone "Calm, competent, who could sort of take care of things," to jump in and lend a hand.

Well, yeah.  First thing I asked, right?  "And I'm the first person who came to mind?"

Apparently so-- yeah, surprise to me too!

Anyway, asking me at that juncture was a little like asking Tony Stark to remember a dinner appointment when he's either eyeballs deep in a project, or off fighting aliens.  He'll say yes with all the intentions in the world, but when it's time to execute the plan, he's just not quite what people thought he would be, because, well, he's Tony Stark.

So I am like, problem child of the backstage moms.

I am bossy.  I am not the principle mom, but I still give orders.  Even if I'm ordering the principle mom's kid, I order.

I think outside the box in an environment where the box is sacred.  I played Simon Says with the kids the other day, because the kids were bored shitless.  One little girl not playing got her hand stepped on. Apparently (I don't remember this-- it might not have been me, but it might have, because, hello, Tony Stark) asked her if it was bleeding, or broken, and if she was okay.  She said she was.

And her father became upset because there was no giant bandage and hue and cry, and we are now banned from Simon Says.

I need my phone.  Seriously.  Need my phone.  I had two business dialogs tonight, on my phone, during quiet moments.  I kept contact with my husband, who was working as a security officer, on my phone.  I am not on vacation.  Phone is necessary.  Need.  

We are not supposed to have our phones.  *smirk*

So, here I am, the full bloom of adulthood, and I am experiencing that same surge of rebellion I showed when I was teaching.

And I am reminded that the one consistent subtext of pretty much all of my work is that authority is unreliable as a rule, and to be watched closely as a guideline.

Holy crap.  I am a bad influence around children. I'm an icon of rebellion.  

Like Tony Stark, but, you know.  Not a genius.  And broke.  And, you know.

He's Iron Man.


We went to my parents' house the other day-- the little kids stayed the night and played in the pool.  When I came to pick them up, I saw my parents had managed to accrue a hummingbird.  He built a nest in their wrought iron moose (you were wondering what that was, weren't you?) and when people (like me) don't spazz her out, she flies back and forth among my stepmom's flowers.

And I'm sort of reminded of MacBeth-- when tender-hearted old Duncan sees the birds at MacBeth's and says, "Look, the temple-haunting martlet is here!  This bird only hangs out in good places!"  Of course, Duncan was blind, and those birds were ravens, (according to MacBeth) and they were croaking his doom, but I'd like to think the my parents are nicer than MacBeth.  Because they got themselves a hummingbird.  Cause he thinks their place is cool.

And I am literally falling asleep typing this-- and tomorrow is going to be harder.  So, uhm, enjoy the hummingbird, and remember-- Tony Stark's blog is way cooler than mine, and probably monetized.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Happiness Oh!

So, when I check to see if I have blog comments I also check to see how many hits I get on a post, and yeah-- the last post was something of a record breaker.

This post will not be.

In fact, if I get over 90 hits, I shall have officially told more people about my wedding anniversary than actually attended my wedding.

Mate and I moved in together for a year before we got married--and together, we grossed not quite $13,000, and even in the late 80's, that's not a lot of money.  Our wedding was… well, a community endeavor to say the least.

We held it in the park by my parent's house, where, about four and a half years prior, my dad and stepmom were married.  (They'd lived together for eight years before the wedding-- something about not wanting to get married because people thought they should and wanting to prove they were getting married because they wanted to.  Which, in my forties, I totally understand.)  Because it was June, it was 104 degrees that day, and I was wearing a satin dress with a tulle overlay.  I remember almost thug-jumping my stepbrother for his glass of punch.

In fact, Mate and I were the most dressed up people there.

The bridesmaids wore sundresses-- we bought them the fabric, they had somebody make them, and the pattern was one of those classic patterns, A-line, ruched straps, full-ish skirt, in a pretty flowered print.  I remember that after I had Chicken, my stepmom had enough of that fabric to make her a little baby dress out of the same fabric-- she wore it to a bridesmaid's wedding.  The groomsmen wore off-white slacks, an off-white shirt, green suspenders and a green bow tie.  I remember that somebody had to tell me I should get my bridesmaids a gift--I think my stepmom picked them out for me and said, "Here--you need to give them these."

But there was so much we didn't know.

See, at 21, Mate and I were the first to get married.

I had no idea what people were supposed to do or get or have during weddings.  What did I know?  My stepmom made dresses for my stepsister and I when she got married.  I still have that dress (nobody I know could fit in it now) but it was just such a lovely green brocade fabric, I couldn't stop touching it.  For my parents' wedding, they had a party in the park-- one of their presents was a matched set of live turkeys that we called Thanksgiving and Christmas, because that's when we ate them.

I remember that a lot of the pre-wedding drama was because I had difficulty balancing work, school, and wedding planning-- and cars that broke down and money I didn't have and an inability to ask my parents for more than they gave us.  Mate and I were still a little raw from "If you're going to move out with him, we're not paying for school!" and that line of what to ask for and what we needed to bring to the table ourselves is always such a weird one.  We wanted to bring it all ourselves, but, well, did I mention we had nothing to bring?

That being said-- my stepmom's friend made the cake (which I took for granted then--I am ashamed of that) and her friend's husband took the pictures (ditto) and the day before the wedding, I showed up at my parents' house and worked with my grandparents and relatives--most of whom are no longer with us now-- and we all sliced cold cuts and made cheese trays and vegetable trays that we put in the refrigerator and brought to the park in coolers.

The day of the wedding the bridesmaids and I all gathered at my friend's parent's house and stressed about getting ready.  I remember that I was helping all of them getting ready, and suddenly I was running late.  I almost hit a squirrel driving my AMC Pacer from Julie's house to the park-- I drove myself to my own wedding, go figure!  My 'hairstyle' consisted of wearing it, dry and down on my back--because I never wore my hair down.  In all of the pictures, it's HUGE-- just a giant writhing red mass, with a little crown of synthetic flowers.  (Oh yes-- my friend's mom did the flowers--synthetic, most of them, although I think my own bouquet was real.)  Remember, this was the 80's, so the whole "virginal white" dress was still a thing, and I was obviously not a virgin, so I went with off white.  I figured it was just as well-- I look sort of awful in white-- ecru was obviously the way to go.  But I remember pulling into the parking lot of the park running late, and running into Mate's aunt and grandmother as I dashed to the trailer where my dress sat.

"I almost hit a squirrel."

Yeah.  I'm more articulate now.

My dad walked me down the aisle, to Mate, who wore his mullet (!!!) back in a ponytail, and who insisted on wearing the full off-white tux with tails.  He weighed about 140 lbs-- I think there was more tux than boy, but God, he was so pretty.

I was supposed to be the English major, so I picked out poems for us to read.  I could not have picked out worse poetry if I'd been five, flipping through my literature book with a crayon-- I didn't know what in the hell any of it meant at that time, how could I?  I was an infant.  But that's okay-- during the ceremony there was a baja-cut Volkswagen bug that cruised up and down King Rd. about sixty-zillion times-- I think they were laughing at us, getting married under the big tree in the corner of the park while their glass-pack muffler rattled through our vows. Fuckers.  That's okay-- nobody heard the badly picked poetry and nobody heard my voice shake or saw Mate's hands, clammily, shakily entwined with mine.

Our sound system was a boom box, and it played Journey's "Open Arms" as I walked down the aisle and "Faithfully" as we walked back up.

And there we were.  The first marriage of our peer group.  So many mistakes.  So many mistakes.  Our honeymoon was a well documented disaster-- three cases of food poisoning, two tires replaced at half our spending money, freezing to death on the floor of a two-man tent because the ocean in June isn't warm. It was all we could afford, but, well, we had more better sex on our own bed when we got home to our shitty apartment.  (Although we were lucky the bed was not stolen as, at some point in time, the bedding and our books and the change from our car and our stereo were. It was not a great apartment, oh no it was not.)

But for better or worse (mostly better), richer or poorer (mostly poorer), in sickness and in health (mostly health) we were married.

The two of us completed our education but we never did things the way we were supposed to, and finances are just not our strong point.  (As one of my bridesmaids and I recently discussed, I still can't spend money for shit, but she can strangle a dime.)  Our partnership, our house, even our children, are unconventional and special--in fact, sometimes I think the best reason for having children was that we actually have other human beings that speak our language.  Seriously--until the past few years, wherein I discovered other writers, I was pretty sure Mate and I were all alone in our madness.  I don't know whether it comforts him as much as it comforts me, but it is a comfort to know that, as we progress what has become a true partnership, that we are not alone.  Not just as people in a rather diverse society, but as believers.

Both of us came from divorce--both of us came from two couples that, Goddess as my witness, never should have been in the same room together, much less produced progeny.  (Did I mention Mate's father didn't make the wedding?  His mom said she couldn't be there if he was there, so he said he was going to be there and then at the last moment sent a ginormous bouquet of flowers instead.  I'd never been so angry at two adults in my life.)

But somehow, we still believed in love.

Somehow, through some great years and some really shitty ones, we still believe in love.  And children.  And doing what makes you happy even if nobody else gets that.

And each other.  We believe in each other.

And in simplicity.  Our wedding was simple.  And for all but one of the last fifteen years, our anniversary has been a thing that happened in, under, around and through the kids' dance recital, which is a two week, all encompassing event that swallows our lives.

But, you know, it's the 25th such occasion for us, and although neither of us can believe it's been that long or that we're really that old, I thought it was a moment to remark upon.

We were going to plan a party.  We swore would.  There was going to be dancing and catering and pie, and all of the organization and finery that we didn't make happen at our wedding.  I even looked into booking a planner and a we checked out community centers and had a dance list planned out and…

And life happened.

Because in 25 years, that hasn't changed-- we're still better at real life than big occasions.

And we're still better with each other than anyone else in the world.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

To Thine Own Self Be True...

And This Above All, To Thine Own Self Be True…  Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3

Everybody knows that quote, right?  I mean everybody knows that quote.  But only a small percentage of people who know that quote (a much larger percentage if you read my blog!) know that these words are the most mischaracterized quotation in history.  Polonius wasn't advising his son (as many rebellious teenagers believe) to "be true to himself" to "just be himself" or to "follow his own star" or whatever.  Polonius was telling his son to twist his backbone into a pretzel so that he didn't alienate anybody and would thereby become a consummate liar and politician.

Context is everything.

In a recent article, a number of well known M/M authors including myself were all asked why we, as straight women, wrote M/M romance, and what did we think about claims of misogyny in this genre.

Our answers were, at best, grossly mischaracterized.

But before I get to that, I think I should talk about why I do write M/M romance, and how I do characterize women in all of my fiction, and why M/M is so appealing to me and to a lot of women.  Now, what I'm about to say is going to feel like a re-tread for many of you-- you've heard me say this in interviews and panels, and you've spoken to me in person or on the net, or, better yet, you've read my blog when I've been sounding off on this stuff.

So why do I write M/M.

Well, I don't just write M/M.  I started out writing urban fantasy, and I loved doing that.  I loved writing romance from a female's perspective, and even though it was menage and fantasy, I felt like I'd created a believable, flawed, interesting heroine who was easy to root for and fun to watch grow.

I still feel that way.

But while I still love that heroine--and have been looking for a way to publish another story about her-- I was upset by some of the things said about her.  "She's so vulgar, swearing all the time."  But the guys swore all the time.  "She's such a bitch, going out and fighting like that." But the guys fought for her. "How can the men stand her, giving orders all the time!"  But she was the leader-- Adrian and Bracken weren't leaders.  And she's the warrior-- Green wasn't a fighter.

Oh hell.  How can women still think like this about other women?

But they do.

Now, at the same time I was writing about Lady Cory, I was also writing an M/M romance into her story--in fact, several of them.  Enough so that when presented with an opportunity to write M/M romance full time, I had a fantastic cast of characters screaming in my brain, all clamoring to be let out.

Now people ask me why I like M/M, and when I reply, I give the same answer I gave when I wrote my Lady Cory, with her no-bullshit swagger and her ability to take charge and her terrifying vulnerability:

Because equality is dead sexy.

It was dead sexy between Cory and Green or Cory and Adrian, and it was dead sexy between Adrian and Green.

But writing a Cory in anything but urban fantasy or fantasy is all but impossible-- at least without serious critical repercussions, it is.

See, when I was teaching English, and I taught heroic archetypes, when the textbooks were talking about what made a tragic or a romantic or a Gothic or an epic hero, the writers used the words "noble birth".  I didn't like that term-- Americans don't go for that, and the American Romantic hero often didn't have it, so it just confused the kids anyway-- so I changed the term to "social heft."

And that term-- "social heft"-- makes all the difference in what kind of heroine you're writing.

The fact is, in an urban fantasy world or a fantasy world, heroines can have equal social heft with heroes, and they can look their heroes in the eyes and be taken as dead equals in any circumstance, because the rules of the fantasy world can give them that.  

The same cannot be said for the rules of the modern world.  Look at rape statistics.  Look at wage statistics.  Listen to men talk on the street.  We do not yet have the same social heft--and female heroic archetypes are, by necessity, very different because of that.  (I did NOT SAY lesser-- just different-- and that's another article.)

Does that mean I'm not in an equal partnership myself?


But I'm in an unusual one-- I know that for certain.  The other day I listened to two women talk about how one woman's daughter-in-law didn't pack a lunch for her son, because she was lazy, and how she agreed she needed to give up her job or work less hours to care for her children and her husband.

Yes.  That still happens.

Now, when my husband made much more money than I did, it made sense for me to do that.  We both agreed.  It only made sense.  But now that we're equal wage earners?  He doesn't let me freak out about the house.  He spends as much time caring for the children as I do.  Why?  Because we both agree that we're equals-- not just as wage earners, but as life-partners.  If I ever make enough money for him to quit his job or take fewer hours to take care of the kids, we're both all over that.  

Now imagine if I tried to write that female character into a romance.  Or that male character.  Selling that partnership to an agent or a publisher would probably get me kicked out of the romance department and right into literary fiction--but that's not what I want to write!

The fact that these partnerships exist in real life does not make them literarily acceptable.  Listen to women talk about their partners, and look at divorce stats for women making more money.

Social heft matters in a partnership based in equality--and Mate and I are the exception more than the rule.

So back to misogyny and M/M romance.  I write flawed female characters.  I write women with questionable pasts and promiscuous sexual histories.  I write women who have done their best with their children but it hasn't been good enough, and women who haven't been able to overcome the prejudices of the past to embrace their children.  I also write strong women, and kind women and women who are good mothers and women who are good mothers to their own children but not so nice to their children's partners and women who have gotten abortions and women who have kept the children of their abusers and…

Women very much like the men I write, actually.

Because when I'm writing the male partnership, nobody ever questions that I'm writing two people with equal social heft.  In fact, even when social situation and education makes that impossible, the world insists that it should be, because hey, they're both men.  And given that equality, and the fact that my men are flawed, I am given license to write women who are flawed, and this makes me happy.  I can write real live people.  Or at least people who are real to me.

Now I still get flack, and much of it is almost amusing.  I frequently talk about a book in which two female characters make exactly the same mistakes as one of the male MC's--but they are criticized for being weak and I am criticized for writing weak women.

I don't have the time or emotional reserves to reply to every one of those reviews with the response that I wrote equally flawed human beings-- but it was the reviewer's choice to vilify the women and adulate the man.  But it's true.

So how do I write women-- how do I feel about women in M/M romance?

The same way I feel and write about the men.

We are all flawed, fucked up walking disasters-- male, female, gay, straight, bi, trans, or gender fluid.  We all hurt people on accident and sometimes on purpose and we all crave human connection and we all try so very hard to find redemption and purpose in those human connections and in that ephemeral, amorphous concept of love.

So back to being grossly mischaracterized in an article about misogyny-- some pundit (who probably thought he was being clever) said (and I paraphrase) "Words will tell--taken out of context or not."

Well, A. Context is everything, and B.?

These are my words.  If you're going to attack me, my genre, and my characterization of gay men or straight women or anybody else I create in my own fictional worlds, these are the words I will stand by.

Everything else is hearsay, and I will ignore it.

(And I'd like to thank all of the people who spoke up on FB and other places-- I was almost embarrassed to publish this post because it felt like the people who mattered had already said, unequivocally and without reservation, that my fiction and online presence had essentially refuted everything about the original article that spawned this.  But, well, I'd already written it by then.  And it was a very pretty post ;-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Books of a Personal Nature

Hey all-- I know it's not *kermit flail Monday* but I'm going to pimp a friend's book here first off anyway.

See, I've made my personal life public for more than eight years.  At first, it was on the assumption that nobody was listening, and after several painful moments proving that wasn't true, I started to edit those personal revelations to something a little more public friendly--but you've all heard my mantra.  All writing is personal, even when it's edited to not expose quite as of your privates as you'd intended.

So I've talked--a lot--about what inspires my books, and you know that's personal too.  You know that Truth in the Dark has a lot of meaning for me, as does Clear Water, The Locker Room, Chase in Shadow, and Christmas Kitsch.  Hell-- all of my work has a grain, a kernel, of something that's personal to me, and that's the thing I build around when I write.  It's all personal.

So this book, A Heart for Robbie, is very personal to J.P. Barnaby.

My children are my inspiration for my best work, and the best of me.  In this case, J.P.'s child did not survive to love beta fish or wear silly costumes or say inspiring, amusing things.  But that does not mean that her child inspired her any less to write something loving and real about someone who changed her life.  People often come to me and thank me for writing a happy ever after for people they know who did not get their own.  (This is especially heartbreaking when they're thanking me for Chase.)  In this case, J.P. wrote a happy ever after for her own child, for her own world, and to me, that is just such a hopeful thing.  I've also said, again and again, that romance writers don't deal in sex, they deal in hope.  This book is a tremendous dose of hope, and I'm proud of my friend for having written it.

Here's a look at A Heart for Robbie:

Waiting for someone else’s child to die so yours can live is the worst kind of Hell.

Celebrated Young Adult author Julian Holmes pits the heroic characters in his Black Heart series against all different kinds of monsters. But when a critical heart defect threatens his son’s life, he finds he has no champion. No amount of books, classes, or practice can prepare Julian for the fight to save his beautiful son’s life.

Suddenly there are hospitals, transplant lists, and the nightmare of insurance red tape to navigate. In the midst of his trouble, Julian meets Simon Phelps, the insurance coordinator for Robbie’s case. Simon lives so deep in the closet he might never find his way out, but he dreams of exactly what Julian has. Then one night, drunken need and desperation brings them together, and a new fight begins.


Okay--when you're all done wiping your eyes, some other stuff that happened...

I loved this experience.  I want to do moar and moar and moar!  (Cue evil laugh here!)  And moar and moar and moar!

For one thing, the CPR station was arctic-cold, and since it was a bazillion degrees outside, that was particularly nice.  For another, I got asked questions about my favorite subject, and Kim got to answer in between times so I got a break.  I obviously needed one, because some of the questions took me off guard-- the numbers one about broke my little pea brain, and the assumption that "most of the books didn't go beyond kissing" also sort of broke me.  But if you look at the write up before the audio link, they took some of the material I sent them and condensed it very nicely-- makes me look verra good, and that's always nice.
We also got to talk to the band while we waited, and that was sort of relaxing and lovely.  You should listen to their audio link-- they were awesome!  Kim and I took pictures of each other in the green room, and that was sort of fun-- we look nervous, I think, but excited, and she sounded marvelous during the show!

Over all, I don't think I *heerk*ed too badly, so we're calling it a win!

And when I got home, my kids were like, "Mom!  Mom!  Dad let us listen to you on the radio!  We heard you!"  And then (and this blew my mind) an old friend from teaching looked me up and got in touch.  She'd heard me on the radio and then looked up my website to make sure it was me!  I had no idea my voice was that distinctive, but, you know, that was sort of cool!

And then it was over.  So sad, too bad, you have to go back to your regularly scheduled life of watching the kids play video games and dress up as bees now.

Well, in Zoomboy's defense, there was a very cool documentary on the beasties, and he wished to be a part of that.  More power to him.  Bee-sties unite!  (Do you like his stance?  He and I had a "Ninja-off" in the middle of Michael's when we went to buy uber cheap water noodles.  My form is almost as good as his.)

And in other news, I was all set to not be anybody for recital this year.  Yes, I tried, but I was gone when Joanna (the dance teacher) was taking calls for backstage moms.  So I was not expecting to get a call yesterday asking me to fill in for another mom last night and help for other moms during the rest of rehearsal.  (I think that's what she asked me.  I was pretty confused by the time I showed up last night, half-assed, half-prepared, and really not with my head in the game.  I like to think I helped, but I forgot that sometimes little kids need their laces double-knotted and they forget which foot their shoes go on.  Duh!  (They weren't much younger than Squish, though… sue me!  She's very independent, and I'm spoiled!)
Anyway, I'm sure the other stage moms were like this:

But hey-- you can't sneeze at a warm body.  Or, well, you could, but it's not particularly polite.

Anyway-- I"m off to finish Black John, and I could not be happier about this.  Parts of this book were so hard to write, and yanno? I'm tired of sad.  I can't wait to write happy.  It's a good thing John's HEA is coming, and that my next two projects are short, feel-good novellas.  YAY!  

But of course, first I have to finish and edit John.  

Which is where I'll leave you-- the thought of me editing with llama face.  I know.  That's attractive.  Enjoy.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Okay-- so, once upon a time, when Amy was in high school, with a very different name and a huge aspiration to be an English teacher and parents who flat out told her she would never make it because she was, in their words, a "Space Cowboy", an amazing thing happened.

Amy discovered theater.

And for junior high, high school, and junior college, she acted her little heart out.

Except Amy, even when skinny, did not have the face or the body for stage, and she certainly didn't have the confidence to overcome the frizzy red hair and freckles, at least not for any length of time.

However, she did have a certain ability with character roles-- I'm pretty sure it came from being 5'10" tall with tons of red hair and a certain caustic sensibility.  So, yeah, she had a reputation as a theater kid, and a band kid, and, toward the end of her senior year, was getting a teeny wee bit of confidence, and that was very exciting.

So, when the handsome, kind, smart captain of the football team said, "Oh YES!  I need to make up a scene in drama-- I'll pick Amy to do improv with me!" it seemed like a social godsend!  Oh my God!  This was my big break!  I was going to make up some social points, and I was going to look good in front of my peers, and now, right before graduation, I was finally not going to be such a shy loser anymore. 

Did I mention he was handsome?

And he had a great smile.

And he smelled soooooo good?

And that all of my hormones RUSHED to assure me of these things, right when we went to rehearse?


So Amy, poor Amy, all she could do with her big chance to be charming and funny and play to her long cultivated strengths with the captain of the football team, was…


Seriously.  *heeeeerkkk!!!*  *giggle*  *haaahahahaaa*  Uhm, okay, let's start again.  Wait.  What was my… *heeeeeeerrkkkkk!!!*

Oh dear God.

You get the picture, right?

Amy, spazzing?  All elbows, knees, nose (it's a beauty!) and frizzy red hair?  And freckles-- let us not forget the freckles.




Okay, so Kim Fielding heard an interview on Beth Ruyak's Insight a couple of months back.

Apparently, it got very boring.

And Kim e-mailed the producer and said, "Hey-- Amy Lane and I could do better than that!"

And so on Monday, we get to go on the radio and prove it.

Now, when I first heard about this, I was sort of excited.  Wow!  An interview!  Hey-- I've done some of those, right? Pod-casts, G-chats, Fireside Chats, panels-- I'm an old hand at this, right?

And then Mate said the magic words.

N. P. R.

Oh yeah.  I'm like, "Local radio!"  and Mate's like, "No, dear, it's really (((N)))(((℗)))))(((®))))"

And suddenly it occurs to me.  I've heard of N.P.R..  I mean, I know what that is!  LOTS of people listen to NPR.  I mean… uhm… lots of people.

And I've even heard of Beth Ruyak!  Wait-- oh my God, isn't she the one who does the Olympics?  Wow, she's an institution in Sacramento journalism!



Holy.  Flipping.  Wow.

Now, I admit, I have a lot more confidence than I did, say, nearly 30 years ago.  I'm smarter, stronger, and more able to hold my own.  Hell-- I"m way more confident than I was even five years ago.  The me that I am now could totally take the me that I was when I first started this blog, and that was eight years ago.

So, I should be able to stand up with the handsome quarterback and deliver a line or two, right?

Oh Goddes.

I hope so.

Cause there's a lot more than a small class of drama students who are going to hear me go *HEEEERRRK* if I'm wrong!

So Kim Fielding and I are going to be on Public Radio, Insight, with Beth Ruyak, Monday, June 9th, at 9 a.m. (with a bunch of other segments, I am sure.)  And if I go *heeerk*  apparently, you can hear it again at 8 p.m., and then, my complete spazz out will be cached, so you can go back and hear it forever.  

Oh baby-- let's just not blow it, shall we?


And in other news?

Chicken sent me this picture with "She's adorable, isn't she?"

It took me half a conversation to figure out that there's a rat in the picture, and Chicken wasn't talking about herself in third person.

I mostly blame Chicken for this.  Of course I think she's adorable.  She also burps daisies and farts rainbows, as do all my children and no you cannot tell me otherwise!  

But yes, the rat is pretty cute too.  Apparently she was being really sweet this night-- the morning started when the RA's came knocking on Chicken's door.  Now other students would be hiding bongs and beer cans, but not Chicken.

She had to hide her Bon Bon.  (The rat's name.)

Yup.  Adorable.


And tonight, we did a new thing.  We went to a professional (minor league equivalent, I think) soccer game in Sacramento, and I learned a new thing.

You know how the British always make fun of Americans for saying "soccer" instead of "football"?  Well, apparently "soccer" is a Britishism.  The Brits created the Association of Football in 1860, when they were trying to standardize the rules.  They then exported those rules and called it "Asoc"-- and then "Asoccer"… and then Americans kept "soccer" to differentiate it from football, just like the British kept it football do differentiate it from rugby.

And you know what?

None of that justifies playing it in 104 degree heat.  Holy jebus.

But it was still fun to watch.


 Okay-- here's a vintage photo I've got of Tab Hunter and either Rudolph Nuryev or Anthony Perkins.  And I sort of fell in love with it, not just because, hullo, hot and happy menz, but also because there's sort of an innocence about it-- a pained, joy.  They are happy and at ease in this picture.  There is no studio, no closet, and not even any sex, which you assume they saved for all of the times the camera was off.  Just a very plain sort of domesticity.

The fact that it was kept under lock and key, pressed against their hearts until it burned?

Gives it poignancy.

Yes… I shall have to do something with this.


And see the dog here?  Hiding?

If I blow it on Monday and do the *heeeeerkkk!!!*?

Yeah.   That's gonna be me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Okay, so I'm sitting at my computer and the following happens...

(*For those of you who saw this first bit on FB already, scroll down-- I've got more stuff below it:-)

Okay… so I'm sitting at my computer and the following happens…


...An Altoid's box is plunked right next to my computer by my sober-eyed Zoomboy. 

"What is that?"

"Greg. My fish."


"Well I wasn't going to bring the whole tank out here!"

"Well I would have brought it!"


"Please tell me the mints aren't still in there with him."

"No. I took them out."


"And be careful. There's a lot of water still in there."


"Okay." He dumps the water. "Can we bury him now?"


"I'll go dig the hole."

As he disappears, Squish comes in.

"Where's the fish?"

"In the Altoid's box on the counter."

"Where? Oooh… let me look!"

Zoomboy comes back in with the shovel. "Is it cold out there?"

"Put on a shirt."

A few minutes later: "Mom, I don't know where to dig in the flowerbed. There might be dead rats or cats that I don't know where they are."

So I'd like to apologize to anyone who saw me digging a hole in my flowerbed while wearing my pajamas and no bra. I promise I'll harness the girls shortly, but in the meantime, everybody say a brief prayer for Greg the fish. He was a good fish,a quiet fish, a fish who knew how to swim in his aquarium and make that work for him. He lived for a year and a half, which is a long time for the fish of a boy who got him on his ninth birthday.

Rest in Peace, Greg. You owe me a box of Altoids and my dignity… and… oh gees… somebody let the dog back in!

(BTW-- the death of Greg the Fish happened not two hours after a conversation with Elizabeth on how proud we were that I'd had a fish survive longer than a minute and a half. Gees, tell one story at a dinner table about how you once replaced your daughter's entire tank because you'd been throwing food on dead fish for a week while she was at camp, and nobody will give you a break, will they?)

… The kids, fresh from buying not one but two new bettas (the better for one betta  to see the other, fan his fins and go, "Holy shit! It's a fish!", thus extending his life by at least a year) start running back and forth from Zoomboy's room and back.  

"And mom, we're putting this thing in this bowl, and this thing in this bowl and…"

And so on, until my eyes are closing (well, lack of sleep had something to do with that) and I'm all but snoozing at my keyboard.  

I go to take a nap, and when I wake up, the television is still not on.

"You guys didn't watch SpongeBob?" I ask, because that's usually what happens during the hot part of the afternoon when the AC cannot combat the brutal sun on the television/kitchen side of the house. 

"No," says Squish.  "We were watching the fish!"

Had they not just gotten out of school, and probably cooked their little noggins with all of the outside activities that the school put on in the last three days in the heat, I'd worry about those kids.

...I find out I've been quoted on Booklist Online!



… I realize I've trained the dog to jump up onto my body at the count of three.  Usually it's at one and a half-- little bastard can't count for shit!


… (And this is a long one-- are you ready?)  I realize that I have accidentally spawned the horror that is THIS ARTICLE.   And I only wish I was kidding.  If you read the article, you will see the author say that she was inspired by "a commenter" from another article who said that "the only thing that differentiates romance from literary fiction is nothing more or less than the idea that love is redemptive."  She links back to my comment on her other article-- the article in which she lamented the fact that women didn't seem to be reading women, and then completely neglected to mention romantic fiction, which is 25% of ALL FICTION published-- when that industry is primarily written, edited, published, and promoted by women.

She was very proud of this-- she replied to my comment with a bright eyed post saying I'd inspired her to gather together an entire other article!

*deep breath*

Forgive her Goddess-- she knows not what she does.

I have seen romance dismissed before-- I have, before I was forced to defend my place in the world, been one of the dismissers.  But having your job ripped away from you because the powers-that-be believe you're writing "porn" makes you evaluate who you are, what you are doing, and whether or not you are using your abilities to their fullest.  Is romance the most I could be writing?  Am I underselling myself by not writing literary fiction?  I mean… it's only romance, right?  

*laughs quietly to self*

You all know the answer to this-- most of you who've followed me for any length of time will know what I'm going to say before I say it.  But, like "the albatross" at the end of Serenity, some people like to hear it repeated.  

Poetry is more important than history or philosophy.

Now that links to two other posts in which I've discussed this idea before, but, well, old posts.  I need to revisit.

Right now, as I type, I'm listening to the Jon Stewart show, and an Egyptian emissary is discussing the inhumanity of the regime.  It makes me want to cry.  It makes me ill.  It makes me angry.  

I want to scream at the screen, because treating people humanely seems to be so very basic, and it's constantly ignored. 

But it's easy for me to sit in my kitchen and ignore that.  It's news.  After a while, we just have to let the news roll off our back or we can't function.

But what if I'm reading a book, and the hero/heroine is in Egypt.  What if he/she is being tortured.  What if, while understanding the political complexities, I'm also understanding what it feels like to be a real, living, breathing human being in that place.  

Well, if nothing else, I might be voting or donating or even writing for that cause.  

Because that's what the power of poetry-- emotional fiction-- does for us.  It allows us to fully empathize with another human being, to take their part, to live their lives.  

And that's why romance is important-- and not in the "It's escapists literature" way that this article implies.  (States openly.)  

Romance allows us to be somebody else-- and becoming somebody else is the only way to change who we are.

It's often been said that artists and writers are the vanguard of social change, and it would be easy to assume that writers like Charles Dickens, Harper Lee, George Orwell, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mary Wollstonecraft, Ayn Rand, Aldous Huxley, Richard Wright, Eli Wiesel, Sandra Cisneros, or Henry David Thoreau have a corner on that market.  Those writers, you may argue, talked about things that were real.  They talked about social structure, they talked about civil rights, they talked about oppression, they talked about the effects of the mass government on the individual.  Those authors aren't romance authors--romance really has no place among them.

Except Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice took Mary Wollstonecraft's ideas and made them human.  George Orwell, Ayn Rand, and Aldous Huxley took ideas they'd talked about in article after essay and gave those ideas a face.  (Even if you don't like Ayn Rand, you have to admit that the only reason her work has lasted as long as it has is because we were fascinated with that face.) Harriet Beecher Stowe and Harper Lee took the world of Richard Wright and made it relevant for the societal class that was as far removed from the oppressed black man as possible.  Charles Dickens took his travails in debtors prison and made them real for people who would never go without.  Eli Wiesel and Sandra Cisneros didn't only give the Jewish and Hispanic communities artists to identify with, they gave the other ethnic communities a way to identify with what they perceived as outsiders.  And these ideas-- these lofty, important ideas about the human condition and government and how we conduct our lives with meaning--have everything to do with romance.

Romance is not just the primary expression of family and the optimism of redemptive love in literature, it is the ultimate expression of civil rights. One of womankind's  first demands as equals in this world was the right to marry for love instead of to be treated as chattel, and that was what Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft wrote about.  One of the major conflicts in the works of Jane Austen was the right of a woman to interact equally with a man and not to be judged as an ornament. When Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harper Lee, and Richard Wright wanted to show a society gone horribly awry, they showed what the rules and the oppression did not just to the black men in their novels, but to the entire family who gathered around the men. Charles Dickens showed how horribly romance could go when poverty and social class were allowed to intervene.  The primary relationships that were destroyed by the oppressive governments in the world of Huxley, Orwell, and Rand were the romantic and family relationships. Cisneros and Wiesel show us the family unit, impacted by war, impacted by culture, impacted by the inhumanity that humans inflict on each other-- in the very personal units of the growing individual and the family.

  If the purview of literary and speculative fiction is to show us what is wrong with the "world", the purview of romantic fiction is to show us how the "world" affects human beings with faces and flaws in a very specific, individual way.  

Now yes-- some romance is escapism, and gloriously done, may it live forever.  But even in the most glorious escapist romance there is a noble and important subtext:

The family unit is important.  Two individuals falling in love in spite of the obstacles the world has set before them is important.  The belief that redemptive love can save the individual is important.  

Yes, men dismiss this idea-- particularly literary men who point to the artists I've listed above--and say, "But a simple 60-120K work of pulp fiction will never recreate the social impact of a Dickens or a Wright or a Cisneros."

They don't understand that it already has.

When I was teaching, my readers, often girls but not always, would devour romance by the bucketload.  And when we ate lunch together or talked during lulls in class, they would repeatedly ask me questions about what they read:

Why do some authors make the women act so silly?  Why do the male authors always kill somebody off at the end, do they think that makes them literary?  Are there really relationships where women can claim equality?  Don't the men leave when the women make more money?  Why would this character go back to school in her thirties? How come the character is always a loner?  How come the girls don't put out immediately, isn't that what we're supposed to do?  The men never hit the women in these books even when they're mouthy-- is that realistic?  Did they really have sex before marriage back then?  But those people are our parents' age!  Do men really marry girls when they have other men's children?

The questions went on and on and on.  Some of them are disturbing-- many of them are disturbing--and some of them should be a warning to some authors to take their craft more seriously, but all of them pointed to one thing.

These girls, living in a depressed socio-economic area, with often confusing (at best!) choices of gender and family expectations to choose from, were looking at these romance books as a blueprint for their own behavior as they entered into adulthood.   They wanted to know if they could be strong, independent, educated women like the ones they read about.  They wanted to know if those relationships are real.

What could possibly be more important to a successful economy and an educated populace than women--and men--who believe that one half of our population should have the same rights as human beings as the other half?  Yes, the school curriculum suggested all of those other canonical writers, and we the teachers taught those books as we taught critical thinking and language skills.  And our growing citizens took those critical thinking and language skills and applied them to a topic of personal interest to them: What kind of person can I be, and what kind of personal future can I have when I reach maturity.

And the romantic relationship is one of the key pivotal relationships.  

They wanted a blueprint.  And the romances they read-- the ones with strong, educated, powerful and equal partners who weren't too stupid to live (a fortunately dying trope)-- were that blueprint.  And the adults who read those same books-- the divorced teachers (there was a terrifying number of them)-- were reading those books for hope.  They hoped that the jungian choice of companionship vs. loneliness had not yet passed them by, and that they, too, could find a relationship in which they could be the strong, educated, powerful and equal romantic partner, who could find someone who would love them for exactly that.

This is our youth.  This is our adult citizenry.  These are the educated and the self-educating.  And they are turning to romance to see if society has a place for personal happiness.

They are turning to romantic fiction for hope.  

There is nothing trivial in that.  That concept is not subservient in the the arena of human rights.  The people being imprisoned and tortured in Egypt want nothing more than to walk down the street with the people they care about, and to be allowed to be strong, educated, and equal.  The LGBTQ community wants nothing more than to have equal civil rights with their heterosexual friends and family, and to walk down the street with the people they care about, and to be allowed to be strong, educated, and equal.  The people crusading for the environment or against gun laws or for a change in government fear that these issues will affect the health of their loved ones, or their partners, or children, and when they speak against their government they have faith that they are strong, educated, and equal, and that their families will be respected.

God(ess) may have created Adam and Steve-- and more power to her if she did--but she did not create a parent and a child, or a president and an advisee, or a pair of platonic friends.  God(ess) created romantic partners who were equals, and who made mistakes and forged a life together.  That is (whether we're Christian or not) one of our society's first stories, one of our touchstone mythologies as humans.  

And, ultimately, it is a romance.  

And romance is important.

So I appreciated the writer of the article.  I appreciate that she used my comment and tried to address the thing I said in there.  But I will stand by my literature, and I will stand by my genre.  There is more going on here than the mating rituals of the 21st American denizens, and more going on in the genre than guilt free fantasy escapism.  

You just need the eyes of a world citizen to see it.