barbara grier

RIP, Barbara Grier


Barbara Grier founded a publishing house that published books for and about lesbians. She was a pioneer when no one else was taking lesbian literature seriously. I have a fondness for all LGBT things that happened during this time because I was a child with a photographic memory and I remember them well.

Barbara Grier passed away recently. You can read more about it here.

I remember Naiad Press with fondness. When I first started submitting stories and novels to publishers and small presses there weren’t many choices for LGBT writers. This was before the Internet, before e-mail took off, long before snarky romance review blogs existed, and when we were still submitting in hard copy.

I once submitted a lesbian story to Naiad and they rejected me. I was very young, probably too young to have the audacity to write a novel let alone submit one to a publisher. The rejection letter I received was from Barbara Grier and she told me she liked the writing but thought I should focus on gay male fiction instead of lesbian fiction. It was probably the nicest rejection letter I ever received. And I took her advice.

Ms. Grier once said this, with regard to the books she published “about lesbians who love lesbians, where the girl is not just going through a phase.”

It’s been said Ms. Grier felt this way because all the lesbian themed romance novels she read growing up were focused on women who fooled around with other women, but always wound up with a man in the end…this, so publishers thought at the time, was the only way to achieve the happily-ever-after ending.

I love this, when someone has a serious, valid reason for doing what they do. It’s why I decided to write gay themed novels based loosely on storylines about straight lovers. I grew tired of reading and watching stories about straight people falling in love and living happily-ever-after, and just as tired of gay literature that was too artsy and ridden with dark, depressing storylines like “Brokeback Mountain.”