So we’re on the plane, somewhere over Western New Mexico or possibly Eastern Arizona. It’s a rough, dry, hardscrabble landscape, carved out of the history of a few billion years of changing climate and calamity and times of flood and drought.
We’re returning home from GRL – Gay Romance Literature for the uninitiated – a great con full of amazing, beautiful and supportive people who love books and the queer community.
It’s the first GRL since one of its founding members, Ethan Day, passed away suddenly after the 2018 con in Virginia. It’s bittersweet for me for another reason too… it may be my last.
As regular readers of this column know, I am shifting my focus. I fell into MM romance almost by accident. I was looking to get published, and there was a very active publishing scene in queer romance, especially gay romance. Hey, I was a writer, and I was gay, so I figured “How hard could it be?”
Oh, poor naïve younger Scott.
There are some amazing writers of queer romance – men, women, transgender, and nb/gender fluid – folks who know how to wring emotion out of a scene, to make the relationship the plot and tell a beautiful and compelling story.
But it’s never been my first writing love.
Sci fi and fantasy were my mothers’ milk, almost literally. My mom was a sci fi book club member, and I started on her shelves in her library room early, reading The Lord of the Rings in third grade. I was raised on Asimov and Clarke and McCaffrey, and by junior high I knew I wanted to write.
And so I did. I’ve done some amazing things in the last few years – not one but two trilogies, and over 35 works published. Still, commercial success has eluded me, and it’s in part because I have been shoehorning myself into something that was never a perfect fit.
So in 2020, I am charting a new path into the rocky shoals of mainstream sci fi and fantasy. Don’t worry – my queer characters are coming along for the ride. But my plan is to really stake it all on writing the kind of fiction I have always loved and been most passionate about, and to attend cons and make connections with readers who love them as much as I do. Hopefully I’ll find more fertile ground than the high desert we’re passing over now.
And GRL? Who knows? We’ve tossed around the idea of attending in our industry support capacity with Other Worlds Ink, so you may still see us around in our old haunts
For now, though, I am excited about this new direction, and hope y’all will come along with me.
For my writer friends, what’s your next chapter?