The AMAZING authors, Sara York, Vicktor Alexander, Z. Allora, Kimberly Gardner, Corvus Alyse, Ethan Stone, & Theo Fenraven, stop by RGR to talk about what they want the readers to know about their transgender romance. So I would like to give a BIG Thank You to all of them for taking the time out to help shed a little more light about transgender romance. Plus we have an excerpt from ‘Transparency‘ by Ethan Stone & Sara York. Lets give a big RGR Welcome to them all.
Thank you Rainbow Gold Reviews for letting us stop at your site on our Transgender* Romance Writers Blog hop. It’s rather impressive how many transgender* romance books your reviewers have read.
If you’ve been following us you know this hop isn’t about selling books, it’s about raising awareness. I’ve quoted horrifying statistics but it all comes down to this: YOU can make a difference. YOU can help turn those numbers around.
You can stand up against transphobia. Sometimes this means being intolerant of slurs or correcting misinformation. Other times it might mean just reaching out to let someone whose struggling know you’re supportive. You can use the pronouns that the individual wishes you to use. You can raise accepting children who don’t bully or call names. You can vote for candidates who promote equality. (There’s a ton of things you can do to stop transphobia but these are things you can do without even leaving your realm.)
We want to encourage your participation in this hop so please comment or ask us questions for a chance to win:
1 of 2 $20 Amazon gift cards
1 of 1 $20 online retailers B&N, ARE, or Amazon
1 of 1 $15 gift card
1 e-book copy of Groom of Convenience
1 e-book copy of Illusions & Dreams
1 e-book copy of Transgression
The winners will be picked on March 9th. We will be notified you by e-mail.
Here’s the question our transgender* romance writers answered: What’s the one thing you want your readers to know about your transgender* romance?
Sara York: Transgender romances may seem too far out there, but I hope the reader is willing to give the story a chance.
Theo Fenraven: Ultimately, it’s a story about people and how they come to terms with themselves, each other, and the world around them.
Vicktor Alexander: Read the Author’s Note! LOL. No, I’m joking. Although they really should. It explains a lot of the book and the world in there. I set it in the Regency time period because that was a time period when the gender lines were so clearly drawn in the sand but were slowly starting to shift in the sand. Any further back and I would have been a little more limited (though I am going to be writing a spin-off series set in the Medieval time period), but I wrote the series set in the Regency time period because things in England were shifting. Not only in the minds of the gentry, but all of the world. It would take time, but slowly and surely we would see change. I also didn’t want to set it in America because if I had it would have had to be a whole lot darker and filled with more angst than what it is (hello? Slavery? Jim Crow? Civil War?) and while I will eventually bring the series to America, I didn’t want to do it until later.
Z. Allora: Gender is one small part of what makes up a person. Love is love and people are people.
Kimberly Gardner: I think the most important thing I try to do in every romance is to show that everyone falls in love. And that gender identity and sexual orientation are aspects of the total person.
Corvus Alyse: I want people to read a story, and not immediately put a label on it. I don’t want it to be known as a trans* story. I would rather it be known as a great story that just happens to have a trans* character who is also awesome!
Ethan Stone: It’s just a love story between two gay men who really enjoy sex.
Theo Fenraven: Some readers told me reading Transgression gave them a greater understanding of what it means to be trans*. I’m gender fluid, and I’ve run up against brick walls when telling people what that means. The more you know, the less frightening or alien it seems.
Charlie is the quintessential bear. Big, muscular and hairy. But that isn’t the type of men he’s attracted to. He is drawn to men like Taylor—short, smooth, and sexy. Taylor is Charlie’s idea of the perfect twink. But there’s something about Taylor Charlie doesn’t know.
Taylor is unsure about a lot of things, but when he sees Charlie, he instantly knows he wants him. The only issue standing in his way is how Taylor views his own masculinity. He’s afraid that Charlie will leave once he knows the secret Taylor wants to keep hidden. Can he be transparent with Charlie and allow him to look behind the image he’s so carefully constructed?
Excerpt from Transparency
by Ethan Stone and Sara York
((It occurs at the end of Taylor and Charlie’s first date.))
All too soon they were back at Taylor’s place and Charlie shot him a look that melted Taylor’s underwear. Charlie didn’t waste any time in getting out of the car and coming around to open Taylor’s door. His knees were weak and he leaned against Charlie, praying for some sort of reprieve. He didn’t want this to end. Any other man, he would have patted him on the back and said he’d had a nice time, but Charlie was too good to let go. Nice, good-looking, sexy, strong—any positive adjective Taylor thought of could be used to describe Charlie. This date—this man was all too good to be true.
Everything was going great as they entered his building. Taylor had a plan and he knew he could talk fast enough to explain to Charlie why he didn’t want to actually fuck, or undress below the waist, but then he heard a sound that stilled his heart. Clunky shoes clomping down the hardwood stairs, their loud voices ringing out made him wish he’d told Charlie to go home. He tried to hurry Charlie to the door, and almost made it, but his key wouldn’t fit in the hole.
“Look at that, the freak has a man.” The high-pitched squeal of Elizabeth’s voice hit him. She’d known Taylor for a long time, long enough to remember when Taylor was Lisa Marie, named after none other than the King’s daughter. Of course, Elizabeth hadn’t wasted any time telling her roommates about Taylor’s past. Had he known Elizabeth lived in this building, he never would have moved in. He still had three months on the lease, and he didn’t have the funds available to break it, so he was stuck in this dump, hearing their taunts, and living with the pain of their teasing every time he saw the group.
His shoulders sagged and tears sprang to his eyes. He felt Charlie straighten beside him. The last thing Taylor wanted was a confrontation. Elizabeth and her friends wouldn’t hesitate to spill the truth, leaving Charlie just as disgusted as all of the other people who didn’t want to listen to his truth.
Fucking tranny was followed close by pussy boy, then girly freak, and all the other derogatory expressions used to describe what others thought he was. The words cut deep, leaving raw gaping holes in the armor that protected him against the depression demons. His shoulders curled in as he worked the key into the lock.
“I’ve had enough of this,” Charlie growled.
Taylor froze, fearful Charlie was going to leave, or worse hit him, but Charlie’s murderous glare wasn’t turned in his direction. The man was going to stand up for Taylor against the bullies. But the fight wasn’t worth it. Elizabeth, and her friends were heading out the door, probably going to a bar or somewhere else, Taylor didn’t care as long as they left him alone. Maybe the group heading away so quickly had a bit to do with Charlie’s muscle, or the angry scowl that even had Taylor frightened.
“Please don’t,” Taylor begged as he grasped Charlie’s shirt and tugged him toward the door and away from the jerks.
“They can’t get away with taking to you like that. Someone needs to teach them a lesson.”
“Please, please, please just let it go. Don’t engage them.” He didn’t want Charlie to fight for him only to be disappointed once he realized what those idiots were saying was true—well, true if you were a narrow-minded prick.
“I can shut them up.” Charlie turned to Taylor, his eyes still full of menace and anger. For one brief second Taylor wanted this man to protect him from the hurt, but he had to deal with the words in a calm and reasonable manner, drawing no more attention to him than necessary. Fighting every asshole who questioned his identity wasn’t realistic. Letting anger rule would set him back, and he’d never be comfortable with who he was.
“Please just come inside,” Taylor begged.
Miraculously, Charlie followed him in. Taylor shut the door, but he still heard the laughter and stinging barbs. He turned the lock, wishing the world would go away. Unable to face Charlie, Taylor braced himself with one hand on the door, and let the tears trail down his cheek. The taunts from his brother and parents filtered through his mind. He was crying like a girl, just more proof he’d never be a man. He’d heard the damning evidence time and time again, and Elizabeth and her friends reminded him with their mean words that he couldn’t hide from the truth.
Charlie’s hand on his shoulder was an unwelcome reminder that falling apart wasn’t an option—yet. He still had to deal with the truth, even if it meant Charlie would pound him. He hoped Charlie wouldn’t beat him, but he guessed he deserved any pain heaped upon him. Going on a date before telling Charlie he was a transman wasn’t fair. But he’d never be given a chance at a real relationship if he led with candor, allowing every potential date to know about his change. That’s why he went to the bookstore. He guessed Pleasures was out now that Charlie knew.
“Hey, babe, come here. Don’t let their words get you down.”
“Didn’t you hear what they said?” Taylor spit out, wishing Charlie would end this instead of drawing out his shame.
“They were just jerks. They probably treat all twinks like shit, calling them names and telling them they’re girly. You’re cute, but a man. That much is obvious.”
Taylor spun around and stared openmouthed at Charlie, wondering if he was full of shit or oblivious. “Didn’t you hear them?”
“What, they’re just jerks. Don’t listen to them.”
“Oh fuck, you didn’t hear their words, did you?”
Charlie threw up his arms and Taylor flinched, wondering when the first blow was going to come. But Charlie never hit him, instead he ran one beefy paw over his beard before sighing heavily.
“Okay, I have a bit of a processing issue. I didn’t hear everything they were saying. I kind of have to listen closely, and sometimes if I’m excited, I can’t hear anything. I’m not stupid, I just don’t concentrate well.”
Taylor heaved in a few breaths before sliding down the door, wrapping his arms around his knees, hugging them close. Charlie knelt in front of him and lifted his hand, his touch gentle, not at all what Taylor expected.
“Don’t cry, let me hold you. I can help you forget what they said.”
Charlie’s words sounded nice, but they had the opposite effect on Taylor. He couldn’t hide the truth from Charlie any longer. The fear was too much and if Charlie walked out or punched him, he’d take it. Charlie was too nice and Taylor owed him that much.
He opened his mouth but the words stayed inside, his fear too great to speak. Then Charlie sat on the floor and pulled Taylor into his lap. The strong arms gave him the courage to speak, and if he was in Charlie’s arms, the guy wouldn’t be able to hit him.
“They weren’t just words, it was the truth. I’m transgender.”
Charlie stilled and even stopped breathing. Taylor waited a second before continuing.
“From as early as I can remember, I knew something was wrong. I’m supposed to be a man. I don’t know why I was born a girl. Every Barbie, every dress, the long hair, all of it, I knew it was wrong. When my breasts developed, I felt so betrayed. I prayed every night, asking for this thing to go away, but I couldn’t live the lie any longer. When I had my first operation, the one where they took my breasts and gave me a flat chest, I finally felt like I was me. This is me.” Taylor crawled off of Charlie’s lap and stood, his gaze unable to meet Charlie’s. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have a penis, and I never will. You can leave now. I’m sorry I made you go out with me and didn’t tell you.”
Taylor waited for Charlie to move, to do anything, but he stayed still, almost as though he was frozen in time. Going out on a date with this man had been wrong. To think he’d be able to have a normal life, too presumptuous. All he wanted was to be accepted as a gay man. Was that too much to ask for?
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