I happened to be looking up my publications today, just to get a complete list, and of course I started with Equilibrium. It was my first ever published novel--for any of my pen names or genres.* It all began because I was having a rough year, or couple of years, I guess, and I had been writing strictly horror and dark fantasy--with queer protags, obvs. My best friend, Tara, said to me, "Why don't you write something for me?" Because I guess she didn't like me giving her nightmares or whatever--can you imagine? Some friends had gotten me into romance as a genre (I've always been into romance in general) a few years previous, and so I said, "Yeah, I can totally do that."
And Equilibrium was born. Because superpowers + a character for Tara (Sam is totally Tara's) + fast and hot romance sounded like an awesome idea to me. So five years ago, on August 23, 2011 Loose Id was cool enough to publish it, and the surprising saga of Superpowered Love began.
It's been a wild ride, lemme tell you. Oh, the things I didn't know back then. I made mistakes with Equilibrium, but I'm still really proud of it and think fondly of Sam and Hansen. I knew before I finished it that I had a lot more to do in their weird little world, and I'm also kinda proud it's still going. I'm near to finishing Superpowered Love Book 8 now. Book 8. How even.
So now, I want to reflect on things I've learned since that first, wonderful experience with Equilibrium. Because, hey, it's a blog. That's what they're for, right?
Thing 1: Say the words. Bisexual, trans, asexual, queerplatonic, whatever it is, say it outright. Not only is it empowering to read, but not seeing it there looks like pussyfooting around or hedging bets--and is hurtful. My own specific experience with this relates to "bisexual"... mainly because I was unaware of the gross and bi/pan-erasing "gay for you" trope when I started out writing romance, but that's a whole other thing.
Thing 2: Write it, because someone out there needs it as much as I do. Everyone knows that m/m romance, particularly when it relates to cisgender dudes, is the most popular when it comes to LGBTQIA romance. People have discussed this extensively. When I started out, I was afraid that adding in f/f stories to a series that had primarily been m/m would piss people off. I mean, it probably does... but they're not the ones I wrote it for. I wrote it for the ones like me.
Thing 3: Don't be afraid, just be diligent. So many of my very, very first books contained... so many white, cisgendered protags. There is absolutely no excuse for it. I've tried hard to do better, and I know I'm going to fuck up now and then, but I also know that if and when I get told, I will listen and ask (when appropriate) and I will do better still. And I will work super, super hard not to fuck up, in the mean time.
Thing 4: People are great. Writers tend to burrow, seeing as many of us are introverts and derive our
powers from the dark energy from alone-time. But being around book people, writers, readers, publishers, editors, whatever, be it in virtual or meatspace--it's great. The vast majority of people I've met on this wild ride are so supportive and open-minded, and so many of them have become true friends. People are all right, after all.
Thing 5: Hard work pays off. At least in this field, it does. It took me a long time to go from nothing published, to a few shorts, to enough novels that I sometimes forget my own count. It's not luck, though. It's working hard, striving to be better, accepting help, learning from mistakes, and pushing through obstacles. Sometimes it hasn't been possible, due to health or family or whatever, but when it was I worked, and that paid off. Good to know, because sometimes, you have to wonder, right?
Okay, five years, five things. Maybe after ten years I'll be back with five more... okay, no, I'll never remember to do that. It's a nice thought, though!
You know what, if you read through all that, you deserve a prize. Leave a comment here with a way to reach you--or retweet/reblog it so I can see--and I'll give away a print copy of Equilibrium/Riot Boy to someone at the end of Friday, August 26. Because hey, that's my birthday... and I'm a lot older than 5... ♥
*KV Taylor sold Scripped first, but it was published later, so Equilibrium gets the prize~