Sam and Jo are with us today on Putting the “B” in LGBTQ… plus we have a very special cover reveal for Sam’s upcoming novel Out of the Shade. So excited!!!
Putting the “B” in LGBTQ
Sam: When I first started reading the MM Romance genre, there were very few MCs who were explicitly stated as being bisexual. As a woman who was trying to find my own identity--and which, if any, label fit--it was life-changing for me to read about characters who weren’t straight.
Jo: You’re right! Bisexuality IMHO isn’t represented often enough in romance. Although, I now find it strange that my introduction to the gay romance genre was through bisexual characters.
Sam: Me too! And it meant everything to me. I came out publicly as bisexual at GayRomLit last year during an author panel with TJ Klune and Abi Roux. What the hell was I thinking, right? Talk about going big or going home. I’m a very private person and making that information public was a difficult choice. Ultimately, I made the decision to come out there because I knew it was a safe space, and I hoped that me telling part of my story could help someone else. But I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and friends. And I also couldn’t have done it without the support of the entire MM Romance community. I’m amazed at how much awareness and representation of bisexual people has increased since I started reading MM five years ago.
Jo: So brave and love ya so much! It was a great panel and I was impressed with the conversation it got going among the crowd. I’m curious though….Have you added to that representation of bisexual characters?
Sam: You know that I have a spreadsheet that actually tracks all important info such as this, right? Adam Azzi from Where Wishes Go is bi, as are six of my (and our co-written) other MCs. How about you?
Jo: Ah yes, pain in the the ass Miah. I have another character who is a pain in the ass, although not to the extreme as Miah. In my upcoming novel Essence of the Challenge, Marco is bisexual. He torments poor Zander who is straight. Which brings me to another question for ya. If Zander falls for Marco, is he really straight?
Sam: Bringing out the tough questions, huh? Well, in personal experience and from friends I’ve talked to, sexuality is fluid--and for some understanding their sexuality and evolving with it is a very fluid situation. Some people don’t want labels at all. Some of us need labels.
Jo: I hate labels personally. I’m Jo--just Jo--but I do get why some try to fit everyone in pretty little boxes. In the follow-up to EoC Zander struggles with labels. Because he views himself as straight, it’s difficult to come to terms with falling for a man.
Sam: But that’s the beauty of this genre, right? We can explore all of those differing experiences and learn from them.
Jo: Writing it made me ask myself (since I identify as straight) would I do the same thing? I mean to fall for a guy, but be part of a menage which included another female. Would I be able to see her through his eyes? If I loved him and grew to love her would my identity change? Would it become fluid as you say? Evolve?
Sam: It’s fascinating to wonder about--and I think part of the reason why fiction is so compelling. We get to live in these worlds that allow us to think about alternate scenarios, but also gives us shared experiences that may become defining moments for us personally.
Jo: Speaking of which, what about writing Out of the Shade? Did you find it easier to write about a character who is bi?
Sam: I started writing Out of the Shade when I was out to less than a handful of people--so yeah, Jesse’s journey was a way for me to explore the coming out process for sure. And I’m so happy to introduce you to Jesse Solomona soon! My newest MM contemporary romance releases in May 2016, and it features Jesse--a bisexual man coming to terms with his own truth.
Jo: OH OH OH I’ve been waiting for this book since we met! Show them the cover! DO IT!
Sam: Can’t say no to you, boo :) So I guess we’ll reveal the cover here today!
Jo: YAY!! And don’t forget the blurb.
Sam: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got this! Now you tell us, what characters would you want to read more about? Or are there characters who helped you understand yourself better? Comment below to win ebooks from Jo and me!
Jo: Yeah, yeah, yeah, as you say. Now can we get to the cover?
Sam: As you wish :)
Out of the Shade
OUT OF THE SHADE RELEASES MAY 2016!
Jesse Solomona has always tried to be the perfect straight guy—ex-college football player, a cocky salesman capable of drinking more than he did in his fraternity days, and an expert at one-night-stands. That he hooks up with just as many men as he does women is a secret Jesse’s been hiding for years, fearful of losing his family and tight group of friends. He’s a Kensington boy—a group of guys that met playing soccer as kids, and somehow all ended up back in the same town they grew up in. They, and his family, are the only things that still matter in his otherwise soul-sucking life.
Chuck Dunn, a tattooed and pierced sports photographer, has refused to step back into the closet since he was disowned by his family, but he keeps choosing men who can’t fully be with him. Finally free from a long-term relationship he should’ve ended years ago, he rejects a sketchy assignment and quits his high-profile gig in favor of getting back to the art of sports photography—documenting a local boxing club that works with at-risk teenagers. He may not have the same swagger anymore, but he’s working to be happy with who he is.
When Chuck joins one of the Kensington boys’ community center sports leagues, Jesse’s self-imposed rules are systematically demolished. But there’s one barrier Jesse can’t find the strength to break through—coming out to the other Kensington boys. Chuck knows hooking up with Jesse is a bad idea. Falling for him even worse. But he can’t stay away.
Chuck is damaged by his past. Jesse is frightened about his future. But, together, they may just be able to come out of the shade.
Meet Sam McAuley
Sam sleeps little, reads a lot. Happiest in a foreign country. Twitchy when not mentally in motion. Send her a picture and a song and she's bound to write a story about it. And yes, that's an invitation.
Meet Jo Peterson
SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can't cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.
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::: And the winner is……. LISA ……. CONGRATULATIONS! :::