Friday, August 24, 2012

Rainbow Blog Hop: What writing LGBTQ fiction means to me

UPDATE! WE HAVE A WINNER!
I'm pleased to announce that Mark Gunnells is the winner of the signed copy of Caregiver. Mark, I will be in touch via e-mail about getting your prize to you. Didn't win? Hope you'll consider buying your own copy at one of the links below.

The Rainbow Bloghop is here!

Stop by the Blog and find out what it’s all about – there’s a ton of giveaways, both from authors themselves (more than 70 have signed up!) but from over 40 prizes from publishers as well. The blog, run by Rainbow Book Reviews, is also handing out four $25 book vouchers.

So you have everything to gain and a lot to lose by not checking it out. Read my post below to see how you can win a free copy of my AIDS-era love story, CAREGIVER, then check out the other posts by clicking the link at the top of this blog.


What does writing gay fiction mean to me?

I didn't always write gay fiction, especially not romantic gay fiction. When I was first published, now more than twenty years ago, I was a horror writer and was in print through the good graces of a mainstream house (Dell). Obsessed, Penance, and A Face without a Heart were all horror, albeit often revolving around horror that happened in the real world.

That penchant for things that go bump in the night was always there, even as I began, much later, to focus exclusively on gay characters. Books like IM, A Demon Inside, The Blue Moon Cafe, Blood Sacrifice, and Deadly Vision caused Unzipped Magazine to call me "the Stephen King of gay horror." It was a title I was proud of, since I had read King since I was a boy.

The reason I switched in later years to writing about gay people exclusively was because I wanted to dramatize and, at the same time, bring to life the realities of gay people, people who were, essentially, just like me. And, on the other hand, vastly different in so many ways. Being gay was something I thought deserved to be incorporated in literature and many of my works have focused on themes common to the gay experience--coming out (Out on the Net), AIDS (Caregiver, NEG UB2), hate crimes (Bashed), and online hookups (IM). For better or worse, I knew that many gay people had experienced these things and I wanted to put up a mirror that would reflect those experiences in compelling and revealing ways.

But as I explored those topical areas, I realized I wanted to delve into something that wasn't so "topical" and was, in fact, the fodder for a whole millennium of artistic works in just about every medium: love.

The realization that I could tell stories about real gay people, their hunger for connection and acceptance, became a mission, one that continues to this day. Although I am still intrigued by the dark side of things, I am now writing more about what brings people together, what sets them apart, and, often, how they are reunited. It's a timeless theme and one that I've found offers more room for creative expression than any other--at least for me.

Writing about love is universal. Gay, straight, whatever stripe we are, most of us hunger for that one connection where someone puts us above all others and that's why I write love stories.

It's also why I write gay stories. I want to show that universality--love--that links people of all sexual orientations.

To win a free, autographed copy of CAREGIVER, simply leave a comment below and include your e-mail address so I can notify the winner. 
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27 comments:

  1. As a gay writer myself, I am also interested in exploring gay characters in a way that shows a univerality of certain themes and desires.

    markgunnells74@gmail.com

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  2. Please count me in for this. Caregiver is an amazing book, it might even be my most favorite book ever.
    andreagrendahlATgmailDOTcom

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  3. i like reading about gay characters even though i am straight. i find such stories are really intriguing

    i really liked 'a demon inside' by you. made for great reading

    parisfan_ca@yahoo.com

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  4. I adored Caregiver and will hunt you down myself at GRL later this year, so you can skip me for the prize.

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  5. You better, Zahra. I am looking forward to meeting you.

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  6. I've been looking forward to getting Caregiver. Definitely count me in for this one :)

    kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

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  7. My passion in life is reading - and I have been at it for more years than I am willing to admit. I will let you know though - since I started enjoying the m/m genre, I find it amazing that most writers in this genre can make the stories feel more connected - realistic - more so that just the romances I have read before. I like all, but am really enjoying this genre at present even when it is on the dark side. Thanks for all the stories.
    cinders1964@hotmail.com

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  8. I've enjoyed a variety of fiction genres over the years, including Christian romance, gay erotica, gay murder mystery, and more recently culinary murder mystery (in which the cook doubles as a sleuth).

    But what I haven't seen and long for is a combination of gay & Christian fiction. I know many LGBT Christians, yet I've seen only one gay Christian fiction book. I'd like to find much more of this & encourage others to consider writing more.

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  9. I am an avid reader and m/m stories--romance especially, but also mysteries--are a big part of what I read. It would be fantastic having an autographed copy of "Caregiver"; I've got the ebook, but books I really love I have in both electronic and print formats.
    Have I mentioned I love books and reading? :)

    k-kozakewich@shaw.ca

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  10. I've enjoyed many of your stories. Would love to have a copy of Caregiver. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    lkbherring64(at)gmail(dot)com

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  11. Rick, I've loved many of your stories. Mute Witness and Bashed I think are my favorites so far. I'm glad you decided to focus upon stories with gay characters, although at some point I will probably go back and find some of your earlier work. jeffaerno@gmail.com

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  12. Your reasons to write gay literature brought me back to to my college days. There were many gays in the areas I volunteered--the newspaper the radio station. We would end up discussing why gay lit could or could not make the NY times best seller list. Gore Vidal had written The City and the Pillar nearly forty years before, and it was the only piece we all could name that gained more notoriety than popularity with the mainstream public. We all agreed that interesting characters, no matter what the gender, could make a great story--but that does not mean the larger audience would read it. Year later, when I started writing again, those conversations came back to me. Now, in memory of those long ago conversations, I strive to write interesting characters in a good story for a good read. My interesting characters just so happen to be gay.
    Thanks for the blog hop opportunity! I hope to meet you at GRL.

    Venona Keyes

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  13. Hi, Rick. I'm not brave enough to read horror, but I'd love to enter for the drawing for Caregiver. :-) Thanks for joining the hop!
    madisonparklove@gmail.com

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  14. Great post Rick - thanks for pointing me to it in MLRP group. I love hearing everyone's reasons and yours, obviously, are different from mine. Fascinating. Thanks

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  15. Love that you've always been aware of the visibility your books would bring into the reality of just being gay. That's very cool, and how you've moved on to something even more universal. Good luck with all that, and it's cool to know you're writing.

    h.jade.raine@gmail.com

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  16. Fascinating look into your background and the kinds of stories you write--thank you for sharing this with us!

    akasarahmadison at gmail dot com

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  17. I enjoyed the post, Rick; it was a great read.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

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  18. I love how your books focus on real issues and topics in society and the heart. Glad you joined the Rainbow hop :c)

    Tempe
    tempeste.oriley@gmail.com

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  19. I think that Caregiver would find a very comfortable home on my nook so count me in please.

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  20. Hi Rick
    I enjoyed reading your post. Ihave "Caregiver" and loved it. So don't enter me for the book I only want to be enter for the Blog Hop if that makes sense!!!

    ShirleyAnn@speakman40.freeserve.co.uk

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  21. Always enjoy your posts, Rick! Thanks for joining the hop!
    seritzko AT verizon DOT net

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  22. Thanks for participating in the hop!
    Lillywriting@gmail.com

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  23. Thanks so much for sharing! I loved Bashed and I can't wait to read Caregiver. I will definitely be checking out some of your other books too. :)

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  24. Hi. Great post. Thanks for being in The Blog Hop. I get to meet new authors. I mean new to me. ;)

    Chris
    ceagles48218@yahoo.com

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  25. Very nice post.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  26. I'm enjoying all the different answers everyone is giving to the same question. Thanks for participating :)

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

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