I received several notes Friday from readers, all but one about my new release, Sudden Desire (and all complimentary, thank you!).
But one was from a reader who was upset that she’d read I’d written a menage book with more sexual contact between the men. Her beef was that “Triad was great. It had the girl as the focus and the boys were clearly straight.” and that if I write books where boyparts (my words not hers) touch, it would be making the men gay. There was some other stuff about agendas but that’s not really part of this post.
And I thought long and hard about how to respond. Because hey, she’s a reader, she has a right to her opinion of my books. She has a right to like certain kinds of books and to dislike other kinds of books. And I do have straight M/F books (more of those than menages) and books like Triad, where the sex is MFM (although in Triad there is a clear attraction between the two men). In the book she referenced, Thrice United, it’s still MFM most of the time but there is sexual contact between the two men. They’re all together in a relationship, bound in a magical sense as well as a romantic one. While Holly is the center of their attentions, there’s attraction between Nate and Rhett. (BTW, there’s MM boylovin in Vengeance Due and Tri Mates too although TM is MFM and Vengeance Due is a straight M/F romance and the MMF scene is between Lee, Alex and Aidan from Triad)
In the end, I decided to say what I feel, which is that romance is romance. Love is love. Sometimes it’s between a man and a woman, sometimes its a man and two women or two men and a woman or two men or two women – whatever. The issue isn’t the combination of pink parts to throbbing parts. The issue is connection. And so, for me as an author, I’m not going to shy away from MM scenes because I’m worried it may make my characters look gay. They’re bisexual, clearly. But in a bed, between the people, it’s about love and connection and depth of emotion and I’m hoping that the average reader isn’t thinking about sexual orientation at all.
And you know, okay so I’m gonna talk about agendas here after all – I’m going to write about people I care about. I want to write three dimensional characters who are interesting. Some are gay, some are straight, some are bi – my hope is that they’re all just people you want to read about. My agenda is that I plan to keep being bold when I can. My agenda is to not write any romance, ever, where the woman is a whiny, stupid twit who waits to be saved because she’s a girl and the hero is a man. She might wait to be saved because he’s got the expertise and she doesn’t, but she’s not going to be a handwringer and she’s not going to be called a whore by a character called Alpha but who is really just an asshole.
I’m sorry that I can’t appeal to everyone. I’d love it if everyone thought my books were peachy keen. But if I had to do that at the expense of writing the characters who want to be written, I’m not interested. My hope is that when you read one of my books you see a group of people on a journey together. The combination of body parts is something I hope is interesting and well written, but something less important than who they are to each other.