We’re living it up here in Vegas, and whether you’re with us or e-attending from afar, we’re sure your TBR pile is growing! Yesterday’s workshop LGBTQ+: Characters and Stories In Changing Times with authors Damon Suede, Heidi Cullinan, Amy Lane and Amy Jo Cousins made mention of so many great titles we must read, we had to share. We asked Damon to break it all down for us.
LGBT romance continues to make major inroads on genre bookshelves. With the rise of indie and niche publishing, more and more folks have started reading outside the box. In a sense, romance builds upon a lot of rock-ribbed traditions, but it’s never been old-fashioned despite critics, media and naysayers’ attempts to paint it so. Small wonder! Romance has traditionally pushed the margins on topics that people care passionately about: sexuality, feminism, justice, stereotypes, privacy, public expectations and personal responsibility. LGBT characters give authors a way to spin fresh takes on old tropes.
Passionate belief, intense conflict and bold action make for better stories.
For any readers interested in romance of a different stripe, all of the folks on our panel have written about a crazy range of subgenres and characters. Here’s a representative sampling from our books and other work we recommend:
Two Amy Jo Cousins reads you may enjoy are: Off Campus, assigned as roommates in off-campus housing, Tom and Reese end up crossing boundaries with each other while hiding out from the world. And The Girl Next Door, Steph and Cash were friends with benefits in college before she opted for more with a girlfriend. Now Steph and Cash are all grown up and Cash wants more than just benefits.
From Heidi Cullinan, New Adult fans should check out the Love Lessons novels, a college romance series set in the Midwest, featuring a cappella, Disney fetishes and Miyasaki film festivals. Love doesn’t come with a syllabus. (Including RT Top Pick! Lonely Hearts!) Cullinan also writes the Clockwork Love books- steampunk romances set in an alternate history Europe featuring tinkers, soldiers, spies, and airship pirates. Love, adventure, and a steaming good time.
RT reviewers are also big fans of Amy Lane, both her Winter Ball and The Bells of Times Square received RT Top Picks! And if you’re looking for some paranormal fun, why not try Lane’s Little Goddess Series — A plain gas station clerk with small hopes looks up one day and discovers the vampire of her dreams–and the elf who’s loved him for 150 years.
And as for Damon Suede reads, may we suggest Hot Head, a perennial gay romance bestseller about two best friends, firemen with the FDNY, trying to live and love in the aftermath of 9/11. While Pent Up is a dark romantic suspense set in a Park Avenue penthouse starring a bodyguard and a billionaire with plenty to hide and nowhere to turn. And we would be remiss not to mention Bad Idea, a pop culture romance about a comic book artist and a movie monster FX artist who conspire on an erotic comic about a sex demon (…itself adapted as Horn Gate, a paranormal novella best described as “Scooby Doo with boners.”)
And a few others:
The Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer (YA)
A Matter of Disagreement by EE Ottoman (Steampunk)
Widdershins by Jordan Hawk (historical fantasy)