Hola and a big smushy WELCOME to our LGBTQ event which is here for the month of May. We have reviews, Guest Posts, Top Ten List and lots and lots of prizes all with a LGBT theme. The posts will be indexed on the side and I do hope you hop through … I have been so lucky this year!
Today, we have the wonderful Alyssa Cole talking about a sentiment that, unfortunately, I’ve heard expressed way too often. Way too often have I heard characters described as “token” or “fashionable” when, really, they are reflections of our society as a whole. She is also giving away two eBooks to commenters … comment to enter!
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There’s a weird strain of thought that crops up in my Facebook feed or twitter timeline every now and then, despite my careful curation, that makes me want to go Kanye caps lock rant on the offender. Apparently, when some people hear of yet another romance novel with LGBTQ characters, they conclude that the author must be including these characters to be “politically correct” or to follow a trend. Absurd.
But what other reason could there be to include LGBTQ characters in your story? Well, maybe the simple fact that it reflects reality. I’m a cis het woman, but writing books in which there are no gay, lesbian, or other sexualities seems just as weird to me as writing a book without a variety of races and cultures. I grew up in and around New York City, and the many, many different types of people crammed into those five boroughs—imagining life without people of all stripe is beyond me!
Salomeh Jones is a Brooklyn high school teacher whose attempt to aid an abused student ruins her career and puts her life in jeopardy. Julian Tamali is a special agent hot on the trail of the Albanian mafia boss responsible for a slew of crimes, including the death of Julian’s family. When Julian finds a connection between the mafia boss and the disgraced school teacher, he sets into motion a series of events that will change their lives forever.
A night of pleasure throws them into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who has kidnapped Salomeh’s student and is possibly providing weapons to terrorists. Caught in a web of passion, danger, and betrayal, Julian and Salomeh must stop the mafia boss or forfeit their chance at redemption–and their lives.
In my first novel, Eagle’s Heart, the hero’s FBI partner Miranda Yates is a lesbian, in addition to being a kick-ass agent. As Yates is a secondary character, I didn’t have to say anything about her sexuality, but that seemed disingenuous. While strangers don’t need to know what we do in the bedroom, our sexuality can affect our views of the world and our place in it.
When I started Radio Silence, the first book in the Off the Grid series, the first thing I was sure about was her relationship with her best friend John, who happened to be gay. And because I loved John and wanted him to have a HEA of his own, I made him the hero of the next book, Signal Boost. Although people can attribute writing diverse characters to some nefarious liberal agenda, I think it’s best to Occam’s razor that argument. Sometimes the simplest reason is the best one, and the fact that our world is very diverse should be quite simple to comprehend.
When technology stopped working, the world as they knew it ended.
In a secluded cabin, John and his loved ones have survived. He should feel grateful. But his family is in his face 24/7, he has to watch his best friend, Arden, and brother, Gabriel, flaunt their love, and as a techie in a Luddite world he’s pretty much useless. The cabin is brimming with people, but he feels utterly alone.
Until he catches Mr. Tall, Blond and Gorgeous raiding their garden. Mykhail is an astrophysics student, he makes John’s gaydar ping like crazy and he thinks he knows what caused the devastation. He’s on a journey to his university to find answers, and John invites himself along. Partly to get out of the house, and partly because he can’t let Mykhail go without acting on the mutual attraction that’s so obvious even John’s mom is playing matchmaker.
The closer they get to campus, the more Mykhail lets down his walls. But with answers come secrets both devastating and deadly, and before they can save the world, they’ll have to save themselves.
I’ll give away one copy of Eagle’s Heart and one copy of Signal Boost to two commenters. Am I the only one who has heard this weird sentiment about LGBTQ characters in romance novels? What do you think when you come across it?
About the Author
Alyssa Cole is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who recently traded fast-paced life in NYC for island-paced life in the Caribbean.
Radio Silence and Signal Boost, the first two books in her post-apocalyptic New Adult trilogy from Carina Press, were released earlier this year. Book 3, Mixed Signals, is on the way. Alyssa also writes multicultural historical romance, and her next release, a novella in The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, will be released on June 1.