Originallyfrom Love Byte Reviews
Decades ago when I first decided to take myself seriously as a writer I would write in different genres, but always tried to have the romance between a male and a female.
The adventurous were always fun to write, but I felt so awkward trying to write straight characters. Several manuscripts are in a drawer half-finished because it took me a long time to figure out that my main characters usually were just like me, not straight.
The minute I came out suddenly all my characters did too. Though one thing I did not figure on is that same feeling that I had when I first came out to my family and friends whenever I tell someone I’m a writer. The usual question that follows is “Oh? What do you write?”
Without any shame, I tell them I write Steampunk romances and culinary mysteries with queer characters. Though unlike my family and friends, I never know how a stranger will react to the aspect of me writing science fiction and fantasy novels where being a same-sex couple is the norm and not the exception.
I must admit it’s a pleasant surprise and the support has been phenomenal. In baring a part of myself each day I am humbled by the kindness of others and their eagerness to share my work with their own friends and family.
When I decided to create the Steampunk romantic novella series RIVETED I decided to include that kindness in my work. In my Steampunk world being gay is not an issue, but class rank is still on the table, but with a tweak. In CINDERFELLA I chose to make it a M/M Cinderella tale with a Steampunk twist.
The place in which my two lovers meet is still at a Ball held at the town mansion, but it’s not just your ordinary fancy dress party. It’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream themed ball. I cannot tell you how much fun it was to tap into the hidden romantic side of myself and try to give the reader a night to remember. With my “prince” Simon Leatherby and our cinderfella, Ash, meeting under the stars in a garden labyrinth by chance sets the scene to enchant. Here’s an excerpt:
Though they both had gotten lost in the labyrinth, they found their way out without the least bit of trouble. The labyrinth’s exit deposited them towards the lake behind the Summerly Mansion where miniature boats floated across the dark waters. The flickering candles atop each tiny boat glowed and lit the width of the lake.
“Let us make one!” Ashland said, pulling Simon towards the water.
Servants offered help to the guests wishing to make the tiny steamboats.
Ashland and Simon worked by the glow of the almost full moon and the luminaries scattered along the grounds. Simon was attempting to adjust the metal coil tubing when Ash found himself staring at the beautiful man who had occupied the serene moments in his mind during the past week. This man had been only a dream, and now, for tonight, that dream had come true. Simon looked back at him and slowly lifted his chin until their noses were only inches apart.
“I think we are ready?” he said studying his face with those rich brown eyes.
They watched their boat float away, a light upon the water following its own course.
A bell sounded in a stand of cherry trees. Ashland caught Simon by the arm when the guests left the water’s edge to follow the servants up the hill and towards the mansion.
When they were alone Ash looked at Simon and said, “Let’s go swimmin’”
Simon looked back towards the house. “What about the other guests?”
“They can join too,” Ash said with a grin.
Ash removed his borrowed clothing and gingerly placed each item on the post until he was in his undergarments.
“This’ll be our secret. I won’t tell your boss if you don’t tell mine.”
Simon smiled. “Pinky swear.” Ash offered his little finger.
Simon hooked his own pinky with Ashland’s and within minutes was standing near the water. Ashland turned his back and removed his skivvies plunging in to the cool dark water. Simon soon followed, treading water as Ash circled him.
“Are you a rebel perhaps?” Simon asked, his face inches from Ash, his eyes serious.
“When will I ever come to this house again? Shouldn’t I make the most of it?” The fire glow from a passing boat illuminated their faces.
“Who am I to argue with a gentleman?”
“No one’s ever called me that before.”
“I only say what I see,” Simon replied and slid a hand around Ash’s waist.
There is something to be said about baring yourself to total strangers. It’s a freedom that coming out can do and I keep coming out one book at a time.