Thanks to EREC
for bringing this to my attention. Apparently Affaire de Coeur had much promotional material removed
from the "goody room" at the Romance Writers of America conference. It turns out that many other people also had promotional stuff removed completely and no-one knew where it had vanished to. And, surprise, surprise, this is what AdC say about the people whose material was missing "Among this group were the alternative lifestyle authors as well as some of the other groups who might not walk the traditional path."
Hmmmm. Perhaps one or two instances of purloined (hell, lets call a spade a spade shall we?) STOLEN material could be put down to catty behaviour of one author who dislikes another (and yes, amazing as it is to hear, this sort of thing goes on!!*gasp*) but on this scale? I don't think so. I am therefore swayed to AdC's supposition that RWA were censoring the displays because heaven forbid that the Romance industry gets to find out the insidious lie that Romance is not limited to WASP heterosexuals. "I'm convinced it is done by parties who feel that they have the right to edit and control what all participants see."
AdC reports that action had been taken in their case the next day, but it's not good enough, imo.
I'm sure we all remember Laura Baumbach's experience at the Romantic Times
convention last year when her promotional poster and all of her promo was "confiscated" (sorry, STOLEN) by the Hyatt or Romantic Times because it "offended the public" (where the public should not have been anyway.) The poster of a half clad man (on his own) was no more offensive (less so, in my eyes) than the biceps bulging half naked men on most hetero authors' covers.
So we are one year on and it looks like nothing much has changed, in fact it's got worse, as it appears that it's not just gay literature that's being targeted here.
I was going to blog yesterday about the RWA award results
because once again - not only is there still no category for GBLTQ Romance (or heaven forbid the revolting phrase "alternative lifestyles" - because one chooses to be gay. Or black) but there are still no writers getting into the finals. Is this because people aren't entering? It's hard to tell; I know that Laura Baumbach attended and someone from my flist, but can't remember who? I'm told that some of the finalists (and perhaps the winners) had some ménage-a-trois aspects but.. well, don't get me started. Please. I've nothing against MaT, believe me, but - well. Just don't get me started.
I admit that I haven't joined the RWA. Partly because of obvious reasons - I don't live in America for a start and I haven't been on holiday for more than 10 years, let alone have the spare cash to be able to jaunt to the States once a year. But I (and I know this is a concern of several of my peers) think that if I WERE to join, I would likely be completely ignored? I'm not saying for one minute
that my books would win any awards on their merit, but would they even be given a chance or would they immediately be discarded, unread, unjudged simply because of their subject material? Probably.
But then again - how can we raise the profile within the very organisation that should be opening its mind to more than WASP het sex, if we DON'T join en masse, and if we don't start pushing ourselves forward in large numbers? It's a real dilemma (for me, at any rate). I feel a little impotent being over here in Blighty (where we have nothing at ALL along the lines of these conferences, our "literary festivals" are generally invite only and only big writers get invited. There aren't even many literary festivals where you can rent a table for promo). I admire Laura greatly because she continues to pay her own money on expensive adverts in Romantic Times despite the fact they refuse to review her books, and she continues to go to these conferences despite that m/m is considered beyond the pale and impossible anyway because - as a wit said earlier - "a human and tiger can have a romance but two men can't."
Perhaps, then as The Macaronis
and The Brit Writers
have discussed, it's time for US to organise something in Britain. Some kind of authors' conference where ANYONE
was welcome, no matter what genre they write. Something along the lines of the American template - a room with writers to sign and giveaway goodies, and a bit of a knees up in the evening. Hell, we we could even have some awards, although who the hell would want to judge them, I don't know.
It would be scary to do - but a lot of these conferences start very small - I read recently that one had started up and the first year it had 20 people arrive and now it takes 100's of applications every year.