I don’t often talk about why I write male/male romance. It’s a bit of a convoluted subject for me. I suppose the best way I can explain it is to connect my journey as a writer with my discoveries about my sexuality. Looking back, I always assumed I would end up married to a man, have children with him and be happy with the existence I was taught was “normal” growing up. But I’ve always been attracted to women. Even as a little girl, though I dismissed it then as just acknowledging that other girls are “pretty.” As I got older, I realized there was more to my feelings with regards to some women. I’m not a fan of labels, but for those who are, they would consider me bisexual. I’ve never considered coming out, because as far as I am concerned, to my friends I am an open book and always have been.

Being able to talk about it is still something of an issue for me. When I spend time with members of the GLBT community in my hometown, I get the impression everyone either assumes I’m a lesbian or a hetero supporter of the community. I don’t correct anyone’s assumptions, because I often feel like I’m being nitpicky in emphasizing that I’m attracted to the person and not their parts. I suppose part of it is the stigma that comes with bisexuality. The urging to “pick a side” or the idea that I’m only claiming it because I’m at an experimental time in my life and
I’ll settle down with a man once I get it out of my system.

So, I don’t talk about it. Not frequently, anyway. A few years ago, I started to get involved with my local GLBT community. First, I attended a Rally for Equality. The outpouring of love and community support I felt that day moved something inside me and I wanted more. Later that year, I volunteered for the Queer Power March. I think that experience cemented something for me. I had been so cut off from the people around me, from the
sense of belonging I could have, without knowing it. In the years that have followed, I’ve volunteered for my local Pride organization and that sense of belonging and community has only grown stronger.

When I wrote and published my first gay romance novel, I still felt a little cut off from my community, though I was just becoming aware how much I was missing. I began talking to people online, spending more time with community members outside of big yearly events, getting to know how people were different from media portrayals of marches and rallies. I began to embrace individuals rather than ideas. I put what I’ve learned and what I love into my stories.

The last few years have been a revelation for me. Connecting with people in a way that I couldn’t before, I have come to appreciate my community as a source of love and support. I have come to feel the way we rally to each other’s sides – in spirit if not in person. When the It Gets Better Project began, I cried over each video, because that was the kind of outreach I wish I’d had when I was younger. I had the feeling it would be a valuable resource for years to come.

When Kaje Harper told me she had a group of Young Adult stories and was toying with the idea of putting them into book form under her other pen name, I was excited. I’ve been touched by her work so many times and I had the same sense I got from It Gets Better – that the full scope of what could be accomplished would be so much bigger than either of us imagined. So, I urged her to publish it. I found a collection of her stories in the Young Adult GLBT Books Group at Goodreads and formatted them into an ebook-ready doc, hoping she would take it seriously as something that would be rather than could be.

Then, I waited.

A few months later, she contacted me to tell me the book was a go. She’d rewritten several of the stories and added new ones to round out the collection. When Kaje emailed me the draft of the ebook, I sat down to read the stories and something came over me. I smiled. I laughed. I cried. And I got a good feeling. The feeling that people reading these stories would be touched, would feel loved, would know there was a bigger message, a greater purpose, a worldwide community that loved them, just because. As we worked on editing the stories and getting the book ready for publication, that sense we were doing something greater than merely putting out a collection of short stories grew until the book took its final shape.

Rainbow Briefs is finally ready.

It has felt like a long time coming. From April 14th, when I first suggested it, until November 2nd . It feels like a lifetime. I don’t know if everyone will get what I get from reading these stories. I don’t know if everyone will feel
the love and support behind the words, the meaning behind the broader messages, but I hope someone does. If just one person feels more loved, more accepted, more hope for a brighter future, all of the work we put into the book will be worth it.

I find it difficult to put into words just how much this collection of stories means to me, but I hope you’ve gotten a sense of it today. I am so proud to have been a part of publishing Rainbow Briefs and I’m ecstatic that I get to share it with you. The best part of all? The ebook is free. Go to your local retailer – Amazon*, All Romance Ebooks, Smashwords, Goodreads, and others – and download the book. Share the links with your friends, your family, someone you know could use an uplifting message. Help us bring this gift to the community. And please, leave a review. Let the author know how much you appreciate her effort. I, for one, will not be able to thank her enough.

*A note. Because the book cannot be listed as free on Amazon, it will be 99 cents until enough people vote that it’s available for free elsewhere. All author proceeds from the sales will be donated to The Trevor Project. There is also a paperback version of Rainbow Briefs available on Amazon and CreateSpace. The author will not be taking a commission from those sales.