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, I have a wonderful release day post from Annabeth Albert. She is talking about LGBT books where setting is important for the story-line and she is giving away a copy of the first of her Portland Heat Series, Served Hot (which I recommend) to one commentor.
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Setting matters in every single work of fiction, from short stories to full-length novels, and in romance, particularly, setting can both help and hinder the growing relationship. With the changing climate for LGBT rights both across the United States and around the world, setting is absolutely vital for an LGBT romance and the conflicts that drive the story.
Choosing a setting in the rural American south is vastly different than choosing to place a story in a vibrant metropolitan community with a rich LGBT culture. There’s a certain disconnect when the setting doesn’t appear to fit the particular plotline, particularly as it pertains to societal attitudes and changing levels of acceptance. Likewise, setting has to fit the characters and their experiences.
Sometimes the story determines where the setting has to take place or limits the range of choices, but other times, setting drives the stories that are possible. And that’s what I tried to do with my Portland Heat series. The whole series is really a love letter to a city I adore and our regional culture, but that same region drove the possible directions of the stories as well. For example, Portland as a whole is really progressive and pro-gay rights, and I wanted to convey the utter normalcy of LGBT couples in that setting.
But within that setting, my characters do have different backgrounds and come from different places, and how the setting impacts them is a big part of the series too. In SERVED HOT, David is new to the city, and his adjustment from a rural, more conservative life to the vibrancy of Portland is a big part of the story. In contrast, in DELIVERED FAST, Lance is a native Portland resident, and his attitudes really reflect the culture of the city. Each character has unique conflicts consistent with his own background and beliefs, and for me as a writer, creating those conflicts is really exciting.
Interested in trying some LGBT Romance where setting really matters? Here are five recommendations:
–Dev Bentham’s DRIVING INTO THE SUN. The characters are journeying from Chicago, a big, progressive city to the Pacific Northwest, and the contrast between the big cities and the small towns and Indian reservations that they pass through really beautifully shows Bentham’s strength at setting-as-character and also shows the changing landscape in the United States, one state at a time.
–Renae Kaye’s THE SHEARING GUN. The rural Australian outback defines this book, provides the conflicts, and ultimately the resolution, and the descriptions of setting are a hallmark of Kaye’s effortlessly chatty prose.
–Kiera Andrews’s FORBIDDEN RUMSPRINGA. This series really sets up beautiful contrasts in setting between rural America, the Amish way of life, and later on in A CLEAN BREAK and especially book A WAY HOME, we see contrasts between rural and urban ways of life, and the constant struggle for finding the way of life that best suits a particular person or couple.
–A.M. Arthur’s COST OF REPAIRS. This whole series really captures the changing fabric of small town America—the dichotomy between more conservative ideals and more progressive beliefs in places steeped in tradition comes across through the whole series as the smaller community shows itself to be a fairly progressive place, indicative of the new America.
–Josephine Myle’s SCREWING THE SYSTEM. All of her books are so very British, in the best way possible, but this particular title is noteworthy for how it deals with class issues—while all taking place in the same town, the setting differs greatly between the wealthy and poor sides of town. Her settings always have a vibrancy to them, the sort that makes you want to get a passport, and she deals with class differences as it applies to LGBT issues very well.
What are your favorite LGBT Romances that handle setting particularly well?
Portland, Oregon, aka Hotlandia, where the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are ready to serve everything piping hot, fresh, and ready to go—like the hard-working, hard-bodied men behind the counters—with no reservations…
Sure, Chris O’Neal has problems. His restaurant is still co-owned by his ex. His flannel-and-tattoos style is making him accidentally trendy. He can’t remember the last time he went out and had fun. But he’s not lonely, he’s driven. And the hot bakery delivery boy is not his problem, no matter how sweet his buns.
Chris is old enough to know Lance Degrassi’s sculpted good looks and clever double entendres spell nothing but trouble. Lance is still in college—he should be hitting the clubs and the books, chasing guys his own age, not pursuing some gruff motorcycle-riding workaholic. Especially when he’ll be leaving for grad school in a few months. But Lance keeps hanging around, lending a hand, charming Chris to distraction. Maybe some steaming hot no-strings indulgence won’t hurt.
Then again, maybe it will…
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.
Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency
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