Love is a many-gendered thing. 2015 has been another banner year for Suede in the the churning waters of gay romance and LGBT genre fiction. Bad Idea keeps rocking it, while I've spent most of the year finishing Pent Up, a new romantic suspense coming this fall from Dreamspinner Press.
More books are on the way, with Hard Head delayed but moving along at its own strange clip, and the oft-postponed steampunk novel two-thirds done...and more besides. 2014 was a helluva ride personally and professionally. Deep gratitude to everyone who made it so wonderful.
Want to know where Damon's headed? Check out the Events page for all the poop that's fit to scoop. The happiest endings come at the end of a road that is soft and rough...
Without Merrick: the father of gay romance
I started reminiscing about my early forays into queer fiction, I wrote a fan letter 25 years late to the author who taught me to love gay romance novels way back when I was a mere stripling... Gordon Merrick, inarguably the author of the first gay romantic bestseller in publishing history (Sixteen weeks on the New York Times list!). Take a walk down memory lane with my overview of some of the guiltiest of homoerotic pleasures.
Get your Suede on
People are getting geared up for GayRomLit! After a bunch of requests for promo items, I've built a simple store called Damon Suede Gear at CafePress which features all kinds of gay romance goodness... with my cover art, Suede slogans, and more... CafePress allows me to offer everything from simple Tshirts to thongs to shotglasses to customized Iphone cases. Feel free to have a poke around, and if you don't see something that you know you want, give me a heads up and I'll try to build it for you.
Mass Market M/M
So... the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention has become an annual must-attend, and now I've been heavily featured in a fabulous five-page article about the meteoric rise of gay romance in Romantic Times magazine. RT commands a print circulation of more than 75,000 readers and a genre presence that dwarfs most other outlets, so highlighting the appeal of same-sex love stories under their aegis will carry tremendous weight within the romance community.
A lot of the credit for this article goes to the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter and its networking efforts on the ground in Chicago, which introduced current gay romance to hundreds of new readers and opened discussion with untold "mainstream" outlets, including journalists, bloggers, distributors, librarians, and more. And though the primary focus falls on gay male romance, an accompanying piece parallels the explosion of lesbian romances as well.
Getting this kind of glowing mainstream coverage represents a tidal shift for LGBT romance. Naysayers swore it couldn't be done, and I'm thrilled to report they were flat-out wrong. Though accepted wisdom has been that authors of gay romance need to stick to our ghetto, this editorial is only one of many indications that our books are starting to come out in a big way.
The article highlights a bevy of homo romance folks including RRW chapter's 2012 president Heidi Cullinan, M/M legend Josh Lanyon, and Sarah Frantz, former head of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance. I'm deeply honored to be spotlighted and quoted alongside these heavy hitters. Many, many thanks to RT features editor Mala Bhattarcharjee for including my work in such a positive and persuasive piece on the rise and rise of gay romance fiction. Check it out here!
Professional Authors of LGBT Romance?
I'm a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Romance Writers. Why aren't you? Rainbow Romance Writers is the home of career-focused authors and industry professionals interested in promoting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender romances. If you write LGBT romance and you haven't joined, the RRW is up to all kinds of nifty shenanigans. As an active chapter of the Romance Writers of America, we push for research, awareness, and education in unexpected communities. We are changing minds, one heart at a time.
Back in 2011 Dreamspinner Press snapped up my first gay romance novel in less than 72 hours and since then the book took homo-romance by storm sitting at #1 on Amazon's gay romance list for six months. Hot Head is a contemporary love story about a Brooklyn firefighter who has fought forbidden feelings for his best friend since 9/11... until a gay porn site asks them to appear together, forcing him to face his suffocating terror and desire to protect the one person who matters.
Dreamspinner Press released Hot Head June 15th, 2011 in softcover and ebook, with the smash-hit audiobook recorded by Charlie David out in 2012. It's also been a bestseller in Spanish, Italian, and German! Check out a full description here along with an excerpt, reviews and more. Where there's smoke there's fire!
Sweet friction, hot fiction, no restrictions! There's no rest for the wicked... and I have all sorts of trouble brewing at the moment. Up next:
- Pent Up: a romantic suspense novel set on Park Avenue featuring a sweaty collision of blue collar and blue blood in very swanky surroundings.
- Nasty Habit: sequel to 2013's Bad Idea, this novel will focus on Kurt and Ziggy, two prickly geniuses conjuring up a sex demon videogame as they battle an impossible attraction to each other.
- Hard Head: Book Two in the "Head" series featuring Tommy Dobsky, a self-destructive paramedic first encountered in Hot Head... This book's release has been pushed back significantly but I promise it is deep in process!
"It's no trick loving somebody at their best. Love is loving them at their worst."
(The Real Thing - Tom Stoppard)