In GLBT fiction, authors often find themselves face to face with a cumbersome beast I have dubbed the elephant. What is this tusked creature? To put it bluntly, the elephant is hate. From discrimination to disgust, the elephant is inescapable for all in the GLBT community. Sadly, it is a part of every day life. Yep, the elephant and its dung stink up our worlds. The question of the moment is: should it stink up our escapist fiction?

There is no easy answer.

While romance and erotica fiction often thrive in their absurd, wonderful distance from “regular” life, our characters must have at least a foothold in the “real world.” So how much of the real world and its pachyderms do we let in?

In other words, the question is: to ignore or to challenge the elephant?

Personally, I prefer to samba.

Let’s face it folks, if life didn’t stink, rose-scented pathways would lose their appeal. We authors of romance and erotica would have nowhere to lead our faithful readers. The Pied Piper can’t just walk circles around the square. How boring. How useless. So, we’ve got to let in at least some of the stink for our rosy words and worlds to entice readers to follow.

Ignoring the elephant is out.

Do we challenge the elephant? Yes, but I think we need to be sneaky. If we have our characters stand there in front of a stampede with elephant guns cocked and loaded on their shoulders, there’s going to be a hell of a lot less time for sex and loving. We’ve got to remember our genre… and we’ve got to outthink it. Hearts and flowers, penises and pussies are all well and good; in fact they are our bread and butter. So, I say, lather it on, baby! Don’t stray from the demands of our genre, invoke them. Lure the elephant into our playground then…

Samba!

In my first novel, Forever Bound, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” idiotic beast was let in to keep my two heroes apart. Oh yes, the elephant got a good number of tusked shots in, but in the end did the pachyderm win? Of course not. My boys did. Love did. One might ask if the elephant was slain? Sadly, no. That “real world” stuff can be a real kicker. But do you know what? That DADT elephant sure as hell never looked stupider. Sure, it may have been just a kick in the beast’s big toe, but the creep’s going to remember me; he’s going to wince and one day he’s going to stumble and Whammo! The guys with the elephant guns can move in for the kill.

Delusions of grandeur? Maybe. But take it from a person who knows, if you’ve got to have delusions those are the kind to have.

In Taken, my second novel which will published in the next few weeks, I purposefully left the playground gate closed. There was no elephant, per se. There was only his dung. Dabbed behind the ears of my villain, the stink was a perfect trail to follow (or was it the perfect red herring?) Either way, I sambaed my ass off.

In my next novel Barbarian, I just may invite into the yard an elephant of a different color.

The point is: elephant shit is the perfect fertilizer for our roses. Let the pachyderms in!

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