I say LGBT, but it can be narrowed down to the specific area of the gay romance genre. I’m not out in the community at large; I haven’t visited LGBT centers or shelters, etc. My experience is limited. Those I have met have been through a common interest literature.
I use the term “literature,” but I have met people who have called it crap. (That was 3 yrs ago, and she wrote historical lit and could not get published. I think she was jealous.) I also know people who would not consider it worthy of printing. What I have also noticed through my 5 years as a published author is that the genre is changing. It is becoming more plot oriented, less graphic, more serious, and more authors are daring enough to stand up and take action for human rights to end bullying and make a difference in the world, instead of focusing on making a fast buck because they are popular. Some even donate MUCH of their proceeds to homeless LGBT youth organzations.
A recent article by Rolling Stone cited an increase of 40% homeless youth who came out as LGBT once NY passed the same-sex marriage law. Maybe kids in NY grew bolder and saw that things were legalized so they took a step and confessed who they were. AND THEY GOT KICKED OUT. The article focused on religious families, but I bet there are a good number of “non religious” who kick their kids out too. WHY? Because people are afraid of what they don’t understand.
I had a friend who told me she “learned a lot more about Christ’s love having a gay son, than if he’d been straight.” (end quote). This was an amazing woman who could literally see God everywhere. She’d say, “A God thing happened to me today.” She had such a strong faith and an overly kind heart, but I was thankful to have known her before she died a few years back from cancer. We need more people like that. She loved even when others treated her family SO poorly. (She had a gay son, remember.) She didn’t abandon him. She loved him and grew closer to him when so many others would have rather “kicked him out” because he was “an abomination.”
What does this have to do with me? I was going to title this “Living in paranoia and fear,” but this morning I changed my attitude after a few messages from people made me think differently.
I’m going to GRL in October. It’s in Chicago. My son’s senior night soccer thing is the 15th so I had to change my flight plans in order to be there for him. (It is a big deal for him.) The earliest flight we could get lands at 6:58 am Thursday morning. Already I was stressed about that but my flight plan coordinator told me not to worry. Then I found out the supporting author signing in on Thursday morning. Argh. More to worry about. Then GRL has the 3rd party bookseller thing going on so I changed my plans, no more selling there but pre-orders. And I’ll bring books to get signed not getting anything there. Okay. But there is a stamp-in procedure so they know who has to pay for books. Oh my. I didn’t think I’d have enough time for all that when I get IN at 7, but I still have to get to the hotel.
Well, guess what, so many people offered to help me. Some even said, “Ship your stuff to me and I’ll get it stamped for you.” Michael offered to help me. And so did J.P., Jeff, and Lynn, and that was all basically today. I was given a phone number (no saying whose) and told when I get there, text, and this person would even set up my stuff for me! OH MY GOSH!
What I’ve learned, is how much of a family this community of writers, readers, and fans is. So close-nit. Yes, people get upset with one another and they do unkind things sometimes, but generally I have only seen kindness overflowing.
BIGGEST example, when Eric was having surgery in December and his Crack Crew asked for financial donations to help with costs. (Brain surgery is expensive) They hoped for $10,000. In about 9 months it now stands at $81,145 . That is incredible. I’d have to look at a post or two of mine to see when it hit like 70k but it was a while ago. I will guesstimate that over 60k came in in just a couple months. 2 months! That is extremely generous and kind.
Why does this shock me?
Because I have a friend who is also trying to raise money because of a serious and incurable illness. His family has raised about $20k in maybe 3 months.
People might look down their noses and call our writing crap, but the love and support this community gives one of its own is OUTSTANDING and over the top. You all did it for Eric in HUGE ways and you continue to help and encourage him and TJ.
And for me, you all have been wonderful and supportive in little ways and I am forever grateful.
Thank you for loving me and caring for me and offering so much help. If I need it, I will definitely CALL, or text!
And thank you Tina for your sweet message. Matt R for the funny stickers. And Beth for your hugs. Jason and Matt for the fun conversation the other night. And so many others :)