This came up…

Question and Answer. I received a (probably unintentionally) loaded question in comments on my most recent chapter of Lord Mettlebright’s Man. It really kicked my brain into overdrive, and by the time I finished answering, I figured I’d bring it out of comments & make a blog post of it. If only because there’s a teaser tucked in there. So with all due respect, I’m reposting the question & my answer here:

So, when are you going to write an LGBTQ character that’s a normal person? Not in love with a married man, or these two who are basically siblings.

My goodness. What a loaded question. I’ve given it a ponder.

  1. Define “normal.” Do you mean a human without reaver powers who fits somewhere within the LGBTQ+ spectrum? Because … that’s Jacques. And I am most definitely writing him.
  2. Jacques is not “in love with a married man.” Argent was his first love, a boyhood crush that began long before Tsumiko was on the scene. And that devotion has been changing shape. I wouldn’t say Jacques has been “in love” for a while now. Patience.
  3. Cat and Canary aren’t “basically siblings.” They’re childhood friends, unrelated by blood. And feline culture doesn’t conform to … much of anything. I’m sure we’ll brush up against it more in future books & stories. But it’s safe to say you shouldn’t try to interpret Amaranthine behavior by human standards. Leads to all kinds of trouble.
  4. This is largely an aside, but … I am having a hard time coming up with ANY “normal person” in the Saga & Songs, regardless of their orientation. The series is usually stashed in the “paranormal romance” and “urban fantasy” categories, and my characters tend to be exceptional … or at least exceptions. ::twinkle::
  5. Provided you’ll consider a Kith-kin as a “normal person,” Kip’s heart belongs to another male. And Melissa Armstrong has two mothers. A pair of kick-ass battlers who are a Big Deal in the new lineup of reaver-exclusive extreme sports in America. You may recall that the enclave where they’re from is in California. Oh, heyyy, isn’t that where Bk5 is set?
  6. While I may know the sexual orientation of my cast (in much the same way I know their eye color and taste in shoes), I don’t think that orientation alone defines a person. But it shapes their choices, and that’s where things get interesting. At least for me.

As the Saga continues, I can’t promise you much in the way of “normal,” but there are interesting choices ahead. For everyone. Including Jacques.

18 thoughts on “This came up…

  1. To be honest, I really like that you write so many relationships that are so nuanced and *don’t* become romantic in any way, regardless of orientation. That you find ways to show so much demonstrative affection that doesn’t *have* to mean more than “I love you, I care for you, you are mine.” It’s refreshing to see the spectrum of what *friendship* can look like. And that it’s just as lasting, binding, special as a romance. Even moreso in some/many cases. I love the various ways you show how people love without it having to be “I’m attracted to you.” Because people are more than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve said it before & I’ll probably be saying it forever. When I “ship around,” I don’t always mean a romantic relationship. There’s kinship, friendship, mentorship, and partnership all tangled together in my stories. They’re ties that bind. For sure.


  2. I adore and admire your Amaranthine, aspiring to find the same depths in my own characters. (Get it? Four “A”s in an effort to honour dragons) I’ve been a GM for four years. Your characters are so beautifully organic and intertwined. No one is defined by merely one aspect of themselves, and seeing sexual interest accepted in such a casual manner by the cast is such a relief.
    Thank you for creating a fathomless/boundless world. Each time I turn the page I enjoy searching for and recalling all of the nuance in Amaranthine, Reaver, Human, and In-Between culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ngh. Now I feel like I’m guilty of fishing for compliments. ::laugh::

      Thank you for liking my stories for what they are. That’s pretty huge, if you think about it.


  3. I don’t know. Kikuko seems pretty normal to me. But mostly, I just love how real all your characters are to me. They are complex and nuanced, even those who seem at the time to be minor characters. I will admit, however, that I’m rooting for Jacques to meet a special someone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You write your stories they way you need to. We are the readers not the storyteller. I can choose to read or not read but I don’t have the right to tell you or demand you write a story a certain way. Write your story and I will enjoy the tale or not but it will still be your hard work and vision. If I don’t like it I can write my own story. Since I like yours better guess what I am going to do? Remember normal is just what is average. You don’t write average stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I don’t think that was the question’s intent.

      Me? I’m quite guilty of upending expectations. If there’s one thing I’ve learned (in fandom and out), you can’t please everyone. So I may as well please myself. ::twinkle::


  5. I knew you were going to focus on the word ‘normal’. I should’ve chosen a different word to express myself. Firstly I should apologize for taking my frustrations out on you, and being rude. I wasn’t in the best mood because of various things, and that’s no excuse for it. I really do appreciate and respect you, your work, your characters and stories. I’ve loved your fanfics for a long time, and I’ve picked up every one of your Amaranthine novels and songs so far, so I’m not some rando tossing hate. I didn’t write it as ‘hate’. (You’ve written a lot of nuanced and wonderful friendships and connections in the not ‘yaoi’ category and otherwise that I have read and enjoyed over the years. Sesshoumaru and Miroku specifically come to mind.)

    I myself am aromantic, (A person that does not experience romantic attraction. Like an asexual person does not experience sexual attraction. They are two separate things. You can be both, or one or the other.) so I’ve always had problems wrapping my head, and my lack, around romance as a whole. Because I’m human, or because how it can feels as if media as a whole holds romance as the be all end all over everything. (Not you, your characters/stories specifically.) Whatever the reason, I still want romance, I want to understand it and experience it. If not for myself then for fictional characters that I know and love or learn to love as I learn more about them. So I interpret things wrong, or different than what may be intended and that’s not on anyone else, writer, author or anyone. Also it isn’t your job, isn’t up to you, to write what /I/ might want to see. I never meant, and shouldn’t’ve implied that you should.

    Instead of ‘normal’ I could have chosen a different word, I don’t know what word exactly, I’m not great at making meanings and words and such flow. I intended ‘normal’ to mean regular, I guess. As opposed to. Not anything to do with the ‘reaver’ or ‘inhuman’ qualities of people. I always prefer reading about inhuman or fantasy people in fiction! (and yes, Kith-kin are people.) Not what I unintentionally misinterpreted as ‘basically siblings’ and ‘in love with a married man’. So no, orientation does not define a person, any person, real or fictional, and I need to step back and continue reading what comes as it comes.

    Thank you for answering, and explaining, loaded and rude as my question was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, my dear. I didn’t think for one moment that your question was hateful. Apologies on my side. It’s never fair to pick apart someone’s words and quibble over semantics. I’m not being defensive, and your question didn’t upset me. As I mentioned, you made me ponder. Because your question is worth answering. I hope in facing its nuances, I haven’t hurt you.

      My honest impression was that you weren’t feeling represented. Or that I hadn’t yet provided a relatable character. If you squint (or at least in hindsight), you’ll find that I’ve incorporated both ace and aro cast members. That’ll become clearer when they step to the fore. (Again, patience!) And since I’m really a big softie, the romances will continue to flourish, each in their own unique way.

      Thank you for caring about these characters. And for the abundant compliments you folded into your longer response. I hope you’ll continue to trust my stories. May they ring true.


  6. You haven’t hurt me, and I’ll do my best to remember my patience (and that there is a person on the other side of this screen) and to trust Forthy~

    Liked by 1 person

    • In-story, Pennythwaite states outright that he and Wyn don’t have a romantic relationship.

      Couldn’t really say what Daroo & Charles might do as time passes. Though maybe you’ll learn a little more if/when we revisit the Cooper family. ::cough::


  7. “And feline culture doesn’t conform to … much of anything. “
    This made me laugh out loud. If a feline were to deign to offer an opinion, it would probably agree with that statement!
    I enjoy the way you write and the subjects you choose to write about. Thank-you for the many hours of pleasure you’ve provided. I am entirely grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Since it came up I have had thoughts about this myself. While I appreciate the nuances of the different relationships, when you compare the same sex vs opposite sex pairings I have noticed a difference in how they are portrayed. In the series all the same sex pairings, despite the physical closeness, appear to be sexless but not the opposite sex couples. While non-sexual life partners are a real and valid thing, when all the relationships come across this way for the same sex couples but not opposite sex it leans very close to harmful tropes in media where characters sexualities are ambiguous, or they are allowed to be gay as long as they never have sex in order to avoid censors, or queerbaiting. While I understand the expicit stating of sexuality/romantic interest may be irrelevent in the characters’ world, its not in ours, and that is who representation is for. All of your characters at this stage, barring Melissa’s mums (who we havent met yet) have left me asking “are they gay together or are they just cuddle friends?”. Also I can’t think of one occurance where there is an all, or mostly, female snuggle party, while the boys are always up in each others business, but that isnt the point I was trying to make here. As a member of the LGBT+ community its all just a bit too vague to feel like true representaion.
    In saying that I really do love your books and think you’re a great writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you.

      1) This series playfully borrows scenarios and settings from my fandom tales, all of which are het. So it’s been interesting to balance my hopes for the series with the challenge I set myself.

      2) My stories rarely focus on sex. I prefer to explore smaller intimacies. This doesn’t diminish any person’s sexuality, regardless of their orientation. Perhaps I value restraint?

      3) Thinking back, I’d say the mares have been the most “up in each others business.” Myla Thunderhoof’s attentions to Fira, for instance. I haven’t provided myself many other opportunities (as yet), but that’s the beauty of the Songs of the Amaranthine. More freedom to explore.

      4) Honestly, I’m not out to “represent” anyone. I’m telling each story as it unfolds. Will there be more LGBTQ+ cast members? Yes. Will they (le gasp) be titular? Again, yes. Because I’m queerbaiting? No. But bear in mind, it’s a long-established fact (from my earliest fandom days) that I am a tease with slow burn tendencies. I don’t rely on sex to establish intimacy. If that’s “all just a bit too vague,” then I will probably always leave you restless for more.

      All I can really do is allow my characters stay true to themselves. And do my best to give them good stories.

      Thank you for speaking up! You’ve given me more to ponder. ::glomp::


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