Welcome to GLBT RWA Chapter, Rainbow Romance Writers

Rainbow Romance WritersIf you missed the great awesome news: RWA has a new chapter, the Rainbow Romance Writers, a GLBT Romance chapter. WOO HOO! How awesome is that? Mazel tov!

I first heard the news from RWA President Diane Pershing at the Princeton romance conference, though she asked at the time that the announcement not be made until the final details had been filed – so I didn’t mention it then. There was, however, applause and squeeing at the time. No comment on who exactly was squeeing.

So while I was waiting for the official word from RWA, which went out 1 May, I bothered Jade Buchanan, the president of the Rainbow Romance Writers, and asked if she’d answer some nosy questions.

Her reply cracked me up: “I’m a little long-winded I know …which is slightly puzzling for someone who writes mainly novellas.” SNORT.

So behold: an interview!

(And can I tell you again at how damn excited I am that there’s a GLBT chapter in RWA now? HOLY SHIT that is awesome.)

In your stated goals, you write: “to be an advocate within the industry for our genre.” Can you expand on that? What specific topics immediately demand advocacy?

Jade: At the most basic level, we want to promote the authors who are writing GLBT romances on an even playing field. The world of e-publishing and small press publishing has been wonderful for a lot of our authors, while traditional mainstream presses have been closed to the majority of GLBT romances with a few exceptions. Running Press has a new experimental historical gay romance (non-erotic) line and there have been a handful of publishers who have either published GLBT romances for brand name authors or for authors who have GLBT characters in their existing series. A lot of our authors have also been refused reviews from large review bodies because of the GLBT content of their books. While we believe that every publisher and review site has the right to limit their books based on their target audience, we do want to be able to promote our authors and their books to the best of our ability.

We are also aware that as a chapter we represent all our member authors who write in the fields of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender romances. Some of these are more popular at the moment, but all four categories (as well as all types of cross-over stories) deserve to be discussed and will be treated equally by us as a chapter.

Do you plan to have a newsletter, e-newsletter, or conference? How about contests for published or unpublished writers?

Jade: We are currently hard at work on our first electronic newsletter, which will include craft articles and publishing news as well as interviews with our current members. Weíve discussed having a conference at some length and have also discussed the possibility of published and unpublished contests. I deal a lot with management systems in my day job and I believe that a slow and steady approach is best for an organization to sustain itself in the long run. A GLBT romance contest is something we want to have, maybe in the next year or two, but we are not ready for it yet. The same goes for a conference. Hopefully in the future! 

So far, no courses are listed on your website, but you’ve already created a space for them. If you were to offer online courses to your members, what topics do you think would be most important, or most appreciated? Who will you tap to teach them?

Jade: Two of the courses we have planned are on marketing and plotting. We also had a recent request for a class on writing short stories, which weíll consider. Weíre very lucky to have an amazing talent pool among our current members so we will initially tap interested members to teach courses and then branch out if needed. Weíll also consider virtually anything that our member authors would like to learn about, if itís feasible and if enough individuals are interested.

What issues or challenges face GLBT romance writers which most romance readers or the rest of the romance community might not know about? 

Jade: I think one of the biggest misconceptions about our group is that our authors only write gay romances. We actually have quite a number of individuals that write lesbian and bisexual romances and we also represent authors who focus on transgender romances, including those with either transvestites or transsexual characters.

Our current members come from all areas of the industry, both published and pre-published authors, as well as agents, editors, publishers and other industry professionals. Because we are so diverse, our members have all had quite different experiences within the romance community. One thing we almost all have in common is the need for a place to discuss our careers and our writing goals within an open and accepting environment. While some of our writers have had positive experiences at local or other special interest chapters when we reveal our GLBT focus, there are a lot of our members that have had very negative experiences. Some of our members have been ostracized from other chapters and a lot of members have had to deal with stereotypes and negativity. We’re dedicated to providing all our members with a comfortable place to gather and discuss issues!

Would you personally – not speaking as president but as an author if that is a more appropriate perspective – want a GLBT category in the RITAs as part of RWAs annual recognition of romance novels? Or do you prefer that the sex/gender of the protagonists is not specified, and ultimately may include GLBT protagonists?

Jade: Speaking personally, and not as a RRW representative, I would prefer that GLBT titles not be considered as a separate category, but rather be welcomed within whatever category the book fits. It’s always been my belief that a great story is a great story because of the plotting, characterization, world-building, etc. and not the gender or sex of the protagonists. One of the reasons we decided to form this chapter was to give a voice to our genre and hopefully show that we represent a number of very talented individuals that are no different than any other group of romance writers out there. At the end of the day, we all write about love!


Thanks to Jade for her time, and congratulations to the new chapter. For more information about the chapter or to inquire about membership, visit them online at RainbowRomanceWriters.com.

 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Cat Marsters says:

    Fantastic news, and another step in the right direction from the RWA.  But I’m wondering about the title of the chapter, and I remember the difficulties faced by the RWA’s erotic chapter when it formed a few years ago.  Part of the deal was that the word ‘erotic’ shouldn’t appear in the title, which is why it was named Passionate Ink.  Has the same thing happened here?  Are we allowed to include gay romance so long as we don’t have to use the G word?

  2. 2
    CourtneyLee says:

    As a junkie for GLBT romance and a sometime writer of it, I was thrilled to red about this on the Fiction With Friction blog a few days ago. I have several friends in a local RWA chapter and they’ve never quite gotten that the MF pairing is not the only combination that can produce a worthy lovestory.

  3. 3
    MeggieMacGroovie says:

    Equality=Sexy

    I hope this chapter has a ton of success!

    *would66 (Depends. What’s a 66?)

  4. 4
    Leslie H says:

    Congrats to RWA and to the new Chapter!

    Rock on Y’all!

  5. 5
    Sarah Frantz says:

    @Cat Masters, I think it’s more an issue that “G” doesn’t cover it all. And GLBT is unwieldy. And do you add the Q or not? What order to you put the letters in. I was NOT involved in choosing the name, I hasten to add, but I think “Rainbow” covers more ground.

  6. 6

    Exciting news!  Congratulations to all who are involved!

  7. 7
    Mary K Chelton says:

    It is about time!

  8. 8
    Monica Burns says:

    My congratulations and warm welcome into the RWA fold to Jade and the other members of RWA’s newest special interest chapter. As a member of Passionate Ink, I know the hard work involved in getting a new chapter started. Kudos to RWA for being open-minded and accepting of this new chapter and its goals.

  9. 9

    Great interview! I really think RWA has a lot to offer pubbed and pre-pubbed authors of GLBT romance, so I’m thrilled we’re all coming together in such a positive way. And Jade, I loved your answer about the inclusion of a GLBT category in the Ritas. Love is love is love, no segregation into a separate category required!

  10. 10

    I think one of the biggest misconceptions about our group is that our authors only write gay romances. We actually have quite a number of individuals that write lesbian and bisexual romances and we also represent authors who focus on transgender romances, including those with either transvestites or transsexual characters.

    I admit, when I looked at your bookshelf I jumped to that conclusion myself, because the L and femaleB parts of LGBT often have little or no presence in many online venues for discussion, review and even publishing, despite the use of the LGBT banner.

    The discussion over my initial assumption got quite rancorous, because yes, it was a hasty judment based on a first glance at your site. But I have spoken to a number of others (mostly readers) who jumped to the same conclusion, because the general invisibility of f/f(/m) is something that’s fairly pervasive in the online romance community. Many readers and writers of L and fB have come to expect that LGBT doesn’t necessarily mean them. That isn’t RRW’s fault, but there are things you can do to dispell the misconception that RRW is one of those venues.

    I’d really like to see an immediately visible presence of your f/f(/m) members—that doesn’t mean you should promo their books if there aren’t any, or over and above m/m books, but slash-tags next to the names on the members list would have been an instant and visible way to refute the misconception.

    It would also make it so people like me, who actively seek f/f and f/f/m books and authors, wouldn’t have to visit every author’s website and sift through their booklists for something we’ve come to expect might not be there. 

    It would be a visible reassurance that yes, they’re there, and yes, they’re represented.

    It’s always been my belief that a great story is a great story because of the plotting, characterization, world-building, etc. and not the gender or sex of the protagonists.

    Me too! I read romance across the board, and it would be absolutely fantastic if RWA moved toward embracing love and sexuality in all its forms. I hope RRW can be an equal and effective advocate for all permutations of LGBT.  I wish you the best of luck. :)

  11. 11
    Karmyn says:

    While I am not a reader of m/m romances, I would be open to f/f romances. I think this new group is good for the RWA. Romance readers are a diverse group and deserve to be represented,

  12. 12
    ttthomas says:

    I’d really like to see an immediately visible presence of your f/f(/m) members…but slash-tags next to the names on the members list would have been an instant and visible way to refute the misconception.

    As a charter member of the Rainbow Romance Writers who is about 95% finished with an historical f/f romance, I’d have to say that I really would not want a slash tag next to my name in order to offset a misconception. I hear what you’re saying, but I, for one, do not want to be, essentially, “sub-tagged” as anything. I’m in the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter of the Romance Writers of America. That, really, ought to be enough said. I think the day that we have to put slash tags next to our names to offset anyone’s misconception that Rainbow Romance Writers chapter is not inclusive is the day we might need to embiggen the font on our website that speaks to our goals. The first goal noted says that it is a goal “to promote excellence in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender romances.” That’s enough for me.

  13. 13
    AgTigress says:

    This is an interesting and admirable development. Congratulations to the RWA, and good wishes to all the writers involved.

  14. 14
    Betsy says:

    Yessss!  SO happy there’s an LGBT chapter now.  Hallelujah.

  15. 15

    I’m in the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter of the Romance Writers of America. That, really, ought to be enough said.

    Maybe more f/f(/m) graphics on the site, then? At the moment, the graphics on the homepage are male (or m/m if you include the ad), all the books on the bookshelf are either m/m or trans, and the only f/f graphic is on the resource page (and it’s not even overtly lesbian—it could easily be a picture of two BFFs, lol). I’m just looking for something to counter a general lack of visibilty and difficulty finding f/f(/m) that sometimes happens elsewhere online, from publisher’s sites to review venues.

    I’ve been sites flying the LGBT banner, where they’ve even had mission statements that were inclusive of all permutations of LGBT, but L/fB/T content constituted less than 1% of the material there. So it’s a misconception that’s based in part by the experience of readers and authors who’ve encountered it elsewhere.

    Plus, for authors like you who don’t want to be limited, they could simply put “all subgenres” rather than a slashtag.

  16. 16
    Sage Othomas says:

    Jade—you are far from long winded!!!

    All I can say is it’s about time!  In this day and age—we needed this.  The energy within this newly founded group is beyond amazing… I believe with all my heart that RRW will truly be a success and set the standard for how diveristy and openmindedness can indeed, combine harmonilosly with disimular people working for the greater good—love is love, no matter how you make it!

  17. 17
    Claudia says:

    This ought to make for some interesting RWR letters in the next few months.  If I renew RWA, I’ll join RRW just to support them.

  18. 18
    LDH says:

    YAY!!!!

    I fall a little bit more in love with the romance genre every day.

  19. 19
    Jessa Slade says:

    Equality=Sexy

    And Sexy=Sexy. Flavor it as you will. How nice to see everyone finding their place at the table.

  20. 20

    First of all, ttthomas, I love that you use “embiggen.” Such a cromulent word!

    Kirsten, I find this such a strange request. I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve ever seen an RWA chapter’s website so harshly criticized. I don’t assume that because the Hearts Through History website has two crossed swords and a Celtic love knot on their homepage, that they would be opposed to members who write Westerns. (What? no cowboy hats? I’m outta here!) :-)

    I’m so happy to see this chapter take form, and I’m excited to see where it goes.

  21. 21

    Thanks for your support and the lovely interview, Sarah! I had fun answering your questions :)

    I appreciate the lovely words of support from all of the comments, thank you!! Rainbow Romance Writers is definitely still in the beginning stages as a chapter and we certainly appreciate hearing suggestions for improvement. We have a lot of different things planned, and we will be unveiling them in the near future now that we’re officially part of RWA. 

    A lot of work went into starting this up, and I’m very thankful to Sara Bell, Kimberly Gardner, JL Langley, Jet Mykles and Laura Baumbach for helping me get through the past few months. We also have a wonderful group of members that I can’t wait to get to know better :)

  22. 22

    Kirsten, I find this such a strange request. I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve ever seen an RWA chapter’s website so harshly criticized.

    Well, if you’d ever gone looking for reviews for f/f or f/f/m romance, and found an LGBT review site with a mission statement almost exactly word for word what RRW’s is, and then discovered that f/f(/m) and trans reviews comprised less than one percent of their content, you might not find it so strange.

    That’s not RRW’s fault, or even necessarily the fault of the review site in question (because they can’t really force their reviewers to read books they don’t want to, and to be honest, I wouldn’t want my f/f or f/f/m romance reviewed by someone who didn’t enjoy those kinds of books). But it can leave you with an impression that “LGBT” isn’t always going to indicate, in practical terms, the full diversity inherent in the tag.

    I’m not really trying to be critical (because, as I’ve said, it’s not their fault that the LGBT tag doesn’t always reflect equal representation—willingness, sure, but it still might not be there, for whatever reason), just making suggestions for how they can more effectively dispell, on first viewing of their site, a misconception they admit already exists.

  23. 23
    Ally Blue says:

    Wonderful interview, Sarah and Jade! I am proud to be a charter member of the new chapter. Our group is one of the most diverse, interesting and supportive you’ll find anywhere. This has been a long time coming and I’m just tickled to death to see it finallly happening, and to see all the love and support from the romance community :D

  24. 24
    Iron Lesbian #2 says:

    I volunteer to review.  MMMMMMM, lesbians.  Romance novels that reflect my reality more fully, won’t that be lovely.

  25. 25

    Caution, brief thread hijack ahead:

    @Iron Lesbian:

    You could always write a guest review for Loving Venus- Loving Mars. We’re still really small, and we don’t only review lesbian romance, but welcome f/f in all permutations, and we’re catering to a female readership that crosses the Kinsey Scale.

    Email me if you’re interested. :)

    /thread hijack

  26. 26

    I’d posit that the needs of reviewers/readers are vastly different than the needs of writers who might benefit from the chapter’s existence/programs/etc. If I were going to judge the quality of my first RWA chapter by their cheesy graphic designs (flamingos kissing?) I’d be in real trouble! And yet they taught me everything I needed to know to get published.

    I saw nothing on the site that indicated that a writer of lesbian romance would be unwelcome. If anything, quite the opposite, as I’ve been writing a lesbian romance into my latest WIP and was toying with the idea of joining myself.

  27. 27
    Jo Leigh says:

    Wonderful news!  I’ll go check out the website, can’t wait to see how this chapter grows.

  28. 28
    ttthomas says:

    First of all, ttthomas, I love that you use “embiggen.” Such a cromulent word!

    Why yes, yes it is—-thank you for noticing. I can’t, in good conscience, take credit, though, as I am a sub-species, as it were, of Crombec, although a warbler of words more than song. Some have suggested I can be a Cormullion, but I’m sure we both know how utterly yesterday that trope is. Still, if I absolutely had to put a sub-genre slash status on it, I’d probably be fine with c/c.  ;-)

  29. 29
    ttthomas says:

    First of all, ttthomas, I love that you use “embiggen.” Such a cromulent word!

    Why yes, yes it is—-thank you for noticing. I can’t, in good conscience, take credit, though, as I am a sub-species, as it were, of Crombec, although a warbler of words more than song. Some have suggested I can be a Cormullion, but I’m sure we both know how utterly yesterday that trope is. Still, if I absolutely had to put a sub-genre slash status on it, I’d probably be fine with c/c.  ;-)

  30. 30
    ttthomas says:

    Though it may bear repeating, I swear I didn’t say it twice. Btw, yes, thank you to the Smart Bitches for the coverage. It really means a lot.

Comments are closed.

↑ Back to Top