The Problem of the Impossibly Broken Hero

While all of us love a good romance, I’ve come to the conclusion that we read them for different reasons. One reason is no better than another, but I'm going to suggest that it's important for an author to be aware of what basic reason they seek to serve when setting out to write a romance. Through that authorial choice, we extend an invitation to a reader as to how we expect them to enter…

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Agency, and the Problem of the Passive Protagonist

Okay—you have a brand-new book by a new-to-you author, and you’ve been itching to dive into it. Finally you have enough peace and quiet to start. The strong writing draws you into the story world right away. As we expected to, we learn that Brad, the hero, is a good guy. We like him. We’ve learned his dog shelter is in deep financial trouble, and we’ve seen his devoted kindness to the rescue dogs. He…

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Olympic Medal Reality Check, 2016

"US Exceeds all Expectations in Rio" crows a headline here in the US today. Um, maybe not so much. This is my second Summer Olympics to offer a different way of looking at Olympic glory. This post is not a commentary or criticism of the training, dedication, sweat, pain, and success of the  individual athletes themselves. Every bit of praise to them, each one, even if their post-competition behavior was reprehensible. Each one earned her/his…

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Letter to a New Generation of Gate Keepers

Letter to a new Generation of Gate Keepers I’m writing this letter to you in the fervent hope that you will come to believe something. If you don’t believe it now because it seems too crazy or impractical, I ask that you put the idea aside gently, making room for the possibility of believing it at some time in the future. This idea is the single most important thing that I can give you. When…

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Letter to a new Generation of Gate Keepers I’m writing this letter to you in the fervent hope that you will come to believe something. If you don’t believe it now because it seems too crazy or impractical, I ask that you put the idea aside gently, making room for the possibility of believing it at some time in the future. This idea is the single most important thing that I can give you. When…

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About Who Writes MM Romance

Fellow author Jamie Fessenden wrote a very thoughtful post on his blog recently, about women writing M/M romance, which you can find —here—. It’s well worth reading and thinking about. This is an issue that has arisen on discussion loops and author blogs for years, often in some combination of complaint, disrespect, snark and defiance. Recent posts on the topic are less strident, I’m grateful to see. I really appreciate Jamie’s approach, since it offers…

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Essential differences in a gay Hero’s Journey — Part Two

So -- picking up from Part One: a straight hero grows up in an automatic level of belonging—whether it’s the idyllic Shire, or some other culture in which the hero belongs to an identifiable majority—that a gay one does not. But there’s a great and powerful gift inside the pain of not belonging: it sets him free. The gay hero does not owe the same psychic allegiance to the heteronormative world and its cultural conventions…

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Essential differences in a gay Hero’s Journey – Part One

I'm developing materials for an online course to be presented this October under the aegis of the Florida Romance Writers, focusing on the differences in the Hero's Journey for a gay protagonist. I've been fascinated by the Hero's Journey since I read Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces as a teenager. It wasn't until decades later--after I came out--that I became sensitive to the heteronormative overlays in the Journey as it was usually described. At…

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Crossing the River

In 2006, I wrote this short short story as my entry in a contest called “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”. The story had to turn around this photo. It’s odd, I felt awkward writing to a visual prompt, but the story took no more than a couple of days to write. I still like it, so I’ve dusted it off for your reading entertainment.   Crossing the River By spring the pain had…

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Heraclitus

A man's character is his fate. This is the epigraph in Traveling Light, and has become an essential part of the way I see and experience the world. Sometimes this quote is translated as, "A man's character is his doom." I believe that's technically more accurate, but the word "doom" in English has implications that aren't so inescapably negative in Greek.

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