Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Special Message from RWA's Newest Chapter: Rainbow Romance Writers

I'm Jade Buchanan and I'm the very lucky (or insane, depending on who you're talking to) President of the Rainbow Romance Writers, RWA's newest special interest chapter. A lot of very hard work, by a group of dedicated individuals, went into the formation of this chapter so I've brought along my support system today! Kimberly Gardner is our wonderful Secretary and Sara Bell is my right hand and the best Vice President you could ask for. Finally, JL Langley is the Treasurer who keeps us all honest.
We certainly appreciate the opportunity to blog about our chapter and discuss some of the issues surrounding our formation as well as where we would like to go in the future. 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!
Kimberly Gardner: The tag-line on our site says, "Rainbow romance, where all lovers are welcome." In my mind, and in the minds of our members, that can be expanded to "where all romance writers are welcome." As Jade said, it's all about the falling in love. Everyone falls in love. And all those stories deserve to be told. That's what we're doing.
Sara Bell: Speaking of members, the diversity of our membership astounds me. We run the gambit from the multi-published to the pre-published; those who are with major New York houses and those who are with start-up e-publishers. We have agents, editors, and publishers on the associate member side, PRO and PAN members on the general side. Some of us have one book out, and some have ten or twenty.
JL Langley: Thanks for the lovely intro, Madam President. I just wanted to add that we are not only for writers of GLBT romance but anyone with an interest in GLBT romance. We have a nice array of writers of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Romance and we have one or two authors who write transgendered romances, although I hope to see more in our future. We even have a few GLBT writers who write in non-GLBT genres. It's wonderful to see how much support we have garnered so far and I really look forward to the months and years to come.
Jade Buchanan: I can't tell you how excited I am to see where we can go in the coming months and years. I'm a firm believer that a slow and steady approach is best to sustain an organization in the long run, but we do have a number of items that we would like to work on in the short term. We have a few courses that are planned for the future, and we will have our first newsletter coming out in June. It will contain articles about the craft of writing, as well as interviews with our members and some of the leading publishers who are promoting GLBT romances in the industry.
Kimberly Gardner: One of our goals as a chapter, and we feel very strongly about this, is advocating for our members. For many years writers of LGBT romance have been attending conferences, hoping for the chance to network and promote the genre they love, only to be pushed aside and sometimes even met with outright discrimination, having their promo materials called offensive and their books rejected for review by some of the leading review magazines while their ad dollars were just as good as any other writer's to those same publications. It's injustices like these, and others I won't get into here, that we hope to address as an advocacy group.
But it's so much more than that. I've been hearing from so many of our members (and we are over fifty members strong as of this writing) how hungry they are for the chance to network with like minded writers, others who love the genre as much as they do and want to see it gain acceptance in the larger romance-writing community.

Sara Bell: It's our hope as RRW establishes itself to integrate our author's titles into the mainstream. We want to bridge the divide that exists between GLBT romance and the rest of the romance genre. A great story is a great story. We want to be eligible for the same contests, reviews, markets, and accolades as every other romance writer in America. We're also working on a database of publishers friendly to GLBT romance so our authors won't have far to search when it comes time to sell their work.
JL Langley: It's my hope we can do all those things and more. I must admit I long to see bigger GLBT sections in the chain bookstores. More than that I'd love to see a GLBT Romance section, not just a GLBT fiction section encompassing everything from Mystery, Erotica and Romance to Drama in a single small bottom shelf in the very back corner of the bookstores, hidden away like something taboo or perverted. I know it's not going to change overnight but with the growing acceptance and popularity of GLBT romance I think we have a promising start. It's my sincerest hope that the formation of the chapter is just the beginning.

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Blogger Shayla Kersten said...

Yay! Our board rocks! Great post!

I've been through the set up of a new chapter with RWA so I know how hard it is to get the paperwork right. The RRW board did it in record time!

I look forward to a long association with the members of RRW.

Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 10:53:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jade Buchanan said...

I wanted to thank The Knight Agency and Deidre for letting us talk about our chapter! The past week has been amazing for us and we are truly appreciative of all the support we've gotten.

Thanks, Shayla! Personally, I think our members rock :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 11:26:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Sage OThomas said...

I totally agree with JL Langley -- the GLBT sections in chain bookstores needs to be bigger -- and have more fiction.

This happens to be a pet peeve of mine -- so bear with me.

I scout out bookstores all over, comparing them. I live in the metro Detroit area, and in a 50 mile radius, the most space I have seen used for GLBT is like 3 shelves -- and it is mostly non-fic.

Sometimes, the areas are not easy to find or not clearly marked. Asking a clerk is nearly impossible, because of the strange, dumfounded looks (or lears) I get. On my own, I usually find the books anywhere between womens studies and the African/American section. And normally, they are on the last bottom shelves (with the exception of two bookstores -- Barnes and Nobles in Royal Oak and Borders in Birmingham). At least there -- they have a full section, top to bottom, clearly marked GLBT section. And in the Borders in Birmingham, I actually got to purchase print m/m romance books from Loose ID, MLR, and Samian publishing (infact, I bought them all out!)

And as much as I would love to see more gay romance in the GLBT section, I would equally love it to be in the regular romance section. To me, that would be a step in the right direction.

Well, maybe someday -- after all, with RRW being offical, we have a fighting chance to change the mindset of the within.

Besides, with 10% of the country offering leagalized gay marriages, anything is possible if we just keep at it!

Sorry -- got long winded here! Writing GLBT romance is a personal passion for me, and it is hard to hold back my enthusiasm!

Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 12:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jia Gayles said...

Hey Shayla, Jade and Sage (all really cool names BTW)!

TKA is more than happy to have Romance Rainbow Writers guest blogging today! We are so enthusiastic about this new group and can't wait to see it take off :)!

Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 4:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Adriana said...

Well done, all! A lot of work has clearly gone into establishing this chapter and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. I especially like the commitment to slow and steady work, work that endures over the long haul. Great vision!

Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 10:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger lbgregg said...

This is such an exciting thing to be part of. Thanks for all your hard work!


Friday, May 8, 2009 at 4:19:00 PM EDT  

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