I was happy to see that my latest novel, Message of Love, was listed on the Boys in Our Books blog's Best of 2014.
The companion novel Every Time I Think of You, was also listed, since the reviewer gave both books a write-up, even though that was published in late 2011.
This keeps me going, along with my internal sense of tenacity, considering a few odd and unpleasant things that happened.
Another author outright stole my book title, and the mini-flame war on GoodReads proved that while (according to my book stats on that site), while 95% of readers liked or totally loved my recent books, a few vicious harpies went on the warpath when I dared to reply to an inane profanity-spewing post that wasn't even a review.
Capricious and catty alternated with glowing gushes of praise. You can enjoy a dozen delicious cupcakes, but if just one has a rat turd in it, you tend to remember that one more than others. Some wasted hours spent on GoodReads proved that my attackers do this day in and out to multiple other authors, and there's no pleasing a professional crank.
So, thanks to all my fans and readers, friends both real and virtual for their support. And to the 'rat turds' of the Interwebs, you've only inspired me to make more books that you'll dismiss or unfairly judge with a biased of heterosexist view.
By 'heterosexist,' I perhaps really mean 'heteronormative.' Since veering into the Romance category these past few years, I've been astounded by the large number of blandly similar titles that are in this category. And it's no surprise that a few negative reviews to my books ensued, because I didn't follow the strict template of the romance, especially not the strange requirements of a genre that purports to be about gay men, but closets the G-word with the veiled M/M.
In this subgenre, straight men can spontaneouly 'turn gay,' or become 'gay for you,' i.e. only have desires for one other man, and monogamy is mandatory. Two men can use the term 'clean' to avow their HIV-negative status, and an entire pandemic of AIDS deaths evaporate from these fictional worlds.
It's like the recent news about a ridiculous reality show on The Learning Channel about Mormon men who claim to be attracted to men, but aren't gay. And like some of the books in the 'M/M genre,' that's utter garbage.
While my own books, Message of Love in particular, are fiction, they're grounded in a real time and place, unlike many M/M books that are set in vague suburban towns with no name, where the outside gay community doesn't exist, all to serve the myopic perspective of a fantasy tale about two gay guys who behave in predictable ways for the genre, mostly to satisfy readers who have no experience with the joys and problems of being gay.
'But they're popular!' echoes the hivemind voice. Well, Big Macs are popular, but it doesn't make them filet mignon.
I bent the rules, structurally, syntactically, and sexually. I got critiques for not putting two pretty stock models on the covers, for not branding it with an image of a wheelchair.
Even so, I'm happy that most readers understood these variances from the template, and appreciated them. I'm thankful readers who can imagine Reid and Everett, the two main characters, without canned pseudo-porny marketing. I appreciate praise and cherish it more now, after all these years of writing.
But mostly, I appreciate the fact that if you're not ticking someone off, you're not doing your job right.