It has been a tough year where too many of us have been under near constant threat. New violations found in news feeds sometimes daily, ICE raids in our neighbors, hate speech in what had been safe spaces…
I made a vow this year to resist not just the policies by marching, writing letter and organizing actions but to support the world I want and to make safe, welcoming and healing spaces whenever and where ever I can.
Here in Romanceland, this has meant I have supported several Patreons so that I can help blogs, projects, and podcasts I love continue to do wonderful work. I am far, far, far from made of money but I figure if I pledge $1 a month I am letting the creator know I value their work and lending them a little strength when the going gets tough. This monetary way of lending support isn’t possible for everyone but if it is possible for you consider investing in a project that makes the world brighter.
Here are the projects I am supporting this year:
WOCInRomance, a place to promote Women of Color in romance fiction. This blog/movement is trans inclusive and open to gender fluid and non-binary authors as well. I love to finding books using this website and am so excited about the work to get grants for authors to pay for amazing covers. Covers matter, a lot. And Rebekah is a stellar human.
The podcast is all about romance and the people who read, write, and love it. It is a weekly show with author interviews, reader conversations, group chats with the writers at Smart Bitches Trashy Books, and general mayhem, all focused on romance, sexuality, literature, history, alpha males, 12th century romantic ballads – you know, typical romance nerd bait. I listen every week! The Bitches are the best and each week is a joyous celebration and sometimes a much needed critique of our community.
The Ripped Bodice is the only exclusively romance bookstore in the Northern Hemisphere. It is a long drive for me to visit but I have been there (in LA) for some book signings. All the events at the store have been great and the art installation are amazing. I had a local romance used bookstore in my town. I loved it so. I am still grieving from when it went under in the recession. I want this one to thrive.
The podcast is for readers and writers of gay romance fiction. If you can read it, write it, watch it or listen to it, we’ll talk about it. New episodes are released every Monday on all major podcast outlets as well as a video version on YouTube. Episodes feature interviews with authors and others involved in creating gay romance fiction, contributors who provide their latest reading recommendations, as well as our take on books, movies, music and more. This is my newest find. Jeff and Will are cheerful, funny, and great hosts. I get to spend time with writers I love and discover new writers too.
This year, I also made a goal to increase my reading of romance with people of color in the lead or written by people of color. Also, you have likely noticed that I have been reading a lot of LGBTQA+ romance too. I have found so many new to me authors and all kinds of need to be told stories.
I get my books via ARCs and the library but I have made it a point to apply my book budget (hahaha budget) to supporting the kind of characters and writers we need much more of in Romanceland.
Look for lists of my Best Reads of POC Romance Leads and Writers of 2017 and my Best LBBTQA+ Romance Novels of 2017 soon!
Speaking of the library… I love mine. I hope you are a member of yours as well. The e book catalogue of Overdrive is available on many library websites makes me crazy happy. I use the Search feature all the time and I recommend books when my library doesn’t have it. I especially recommend the diverse romances for purchase that I would love everyone to be able access and enjoy. Most library have a version of this feature for print books as well.
Recommending books with diverse characters and by diverse authors doesn’t cost anything and when I am angry, sad, scared or overwhelmed (or all of these feelings at once) I go to the website and HIT that recommend button. It makes me feel better and I feel even better when my library notifies me they bought the book.
So, onward, fight, resist, love. Happy 2018!