About The Lambda Awards and Women Who Write M/M Fiction

It’s no secret that I have…and will continue to do so…supported everyone who writes m/m fiction, including straight women authors. Or, for that matter, anyone who writes anything in lgbt fiction. I’ve become a huge fan of some (Michele Montgomery, EM Lynley), and my TBR list is growing daily.

I came across an interesting piece this evening on twitter about the topic, which I’m sharing now with this link.

This is the first time I’ve seen anyone attack the subject so openly, and whether you agree or not, it’s still worth reading.

Although I’ve been part of Lambda Award Winning Anthologies in past years, I didn’t submit anything to the Lambda awards this year, which is a first for me. But the main reason I didn’t submit was because they don’t allow authors to submit e-books, which is mainly what I write these days. Though all my books can be ordered on amazon as print books, it wound up costing me over a hundred bucks to submit two books last year. And I wasn’t feeling generous enough this year to spend that kind of money again. Believe it or not, we authors don’t get our print books for free. We do receive ARCs (review copies) for e-books, but not print.
Here is part of the blog post below in case you don’t feel like clicking over there:

The Stonewall Books Awards, given annually to the year’s best in children’s and teen literature involving the GLBT experience, were announced today at the closing of the American Library Association’s annual conference. Brian Katcher’s Almost Perfect, the story of a straight boy’s relationship with a transgender girl, was named the winner.
But the most interesting development may be this year’s decision by the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Awards Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table, which gives the award, to announce it at the same time as the ALA’s other prominent awards, which include the Newbery (given for outstanding children’s literature), the Printz (given for outstanding teen literature), and the Coretta Scott King (given for outstanding African American literature).
This decision has greatly increased the visibility of the Stonewall Awards (and, perhaps, their clout), and some are saying this is a direct response to last year’s decision by the Lambda Awards to restrict nominations only to books whose authors identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
At the time,
I argued that this was very ill-conceived — that the sexual orientation of an author was irrelevant to the quality of a book or the “truthfulness” of its voice, and that, for various reasons, this decision, however well-intentioned, was an unnecessary slap in the face of our strongly supportive straight-author allies.
My friend, heterosexual author Ellen Wittlinger,
makes this case particularly effectively here.
I also argued it would inevitably reduce the quality of the Lambda winners and end up reducing the overall clout of the awards themselves, something the increased visibility of the Stonewall Awards may be hastening, at least with regard to teen and children’s GLBT literature.

In Support of all the Women Writing M/M Fiction

I heard there’s been a slight uproar in the blogsphere about women who write m/m fiction. I’m not going into detail about that, but I do want to offer my support and my own thoughts. I like to keep it simple and to the point, without too many fifty cent words and pedantic analogies.

First, I’m all for anyone who wants to write m/m fiction. I don’t care what their gender is, with whom they sleep, or what their sexual preference is. This is partly because I’m not a fan of putting labels on people, and partly because I think good writers should be able to write on any topic, in any genre, and about anything if they work hard enough at it, regardless of their gender or sexual preference. I’m not a historical fan; it’s just not my genre. But I have written a few historicals and I know I can do it.

I also don’t like putting authors into boxes. As an openly gay male, I’ve been known to cross genres myself. I use pen names so I don’t confuse readers, but not because of my sexual preference. And this ludicrous thought process that just because I’m gay I have to only write m/m fiction passes me by completely. Hell, a good number of gay men and women wrote mainstream literary fiction long before there was even a genre called m/m fiction and they marketed their books and writings to the straight community and no one ever said a word. Hello: Tennessee Williams; Gertrude Stein.

And now, all of a sudden, I’m hearing that women authors who write m/m fiction are getting slammed and bashed all over the internet. And I don’t think that’s fair.

To be honest, when I first heard that so many straight women were writing (and reading) m/m romances, I was a little surprised. I’ve been writing lgbt fiction for almost twenty years and it just never occurred to me that straight women would be interested in writing gay romances. But then I read a few of their books and I liked what I was reading. G. A. Hauser dives right into her books with the kind of energy I look for in fiction. And the sweetest love story I read all year was written by a new author, Michele Montgomery.

Personally, I’ve been extremely annoyed with some of the things I’ve seen and read about straight women (or anyone who isn’t gay) writing m/m fiction, and I wanted to make it clear that I have always supported them, and will continue to support them. After all, as a gay man I’ve been fighting for equal rights all my life, and I’m certainly not going to discriminate against anyone else.