Monday, 21 May 2012

Hop Against Homophobia Winner

Congratulations to Yvette who won my giveaway on the Hop Against Homophobia bloghop. Thanks to all who participated.

Many thanks to the organisers for the hop and to all the contributors. I cried and laughed, got angry and yelled. All in all, brilliant blogs.

I have decided to make a donation of £20 to The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. I wanted to find a charity that fitted the blog.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement is a UK-based international Charity which challenges homophobia and transphobia, especially within the Church and faith based organisations, as well as working to create and praying for an inclusive church.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Hop Against Homophobia: Welcome to my consulting room, Mr Bigot.

Welcome to my Hop Against Homophobia post. Please take off your shoes, leave your self-righteous anger and prejudices at the door - there's a peg over there - and step inside Sue's world. Why don't we spend a few minutes looking at why my faith is being battered from the inside thanks to an increase in homophobia from my church leaders.

I am a M/M romance writer. I am bisexual. I am Christian. Hear me roar!

Up to fairly recently, each of these aspects of my life have jogged along side-by-side, sometimes overlapping. My sexuality and my religion has affected my books. I write about the effect of a married man unable or unwilling to cope with a gay relationship in Nothing Ever Happens and the destructive effect of religious homophobia in Morning Report and Compete Faith.

I am used to dealing with some atheists dismissing the 'sky fairy' and calling Christians irrational and insane. I am used to some gay people's hatred of all Christians. A perusal of any of the religious posts in Pink News will give you an indication of the attitudes towards Christians. It hasn't mattered. My faith was secure - until recently. Now I feel bruised and battered by my own church because I have one simple belief.

Marriage is for all
Not gay marriage. Not straight marriage. Marriage.

How I laughed (I am being sarcastic you understand) at the behaviour of the Christian Right in America. At their oft-repeated "God said... marriage is between a man and a woman." God also said a whole lot of other things. You ignore those. Do I really have to waste my time spelling them out again? 

But I honestly thought my church in the UK was more evolved than that. After all, the Anglican church managed the ordination of women as priests and that isn't in the Bible. Hah! The second our Government starts looking at civil marriage equality proposals our church leaders start displaying homophobic behaviour worthy of the fundies. 

EDIT because I saw this today: 

"Dr Sentamu argues, it is not appropriate for the state to change social attitudes, “reassure” or meet the “emotional needs” of citizens; it should only “remedy injustice” if it is operating discriminatory systems."

Gay marriage: Roman Catholic archbishops step up fight

"Last week Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said the 
"grotesque" plans would "shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world" if implemented"

"the Church has been bitterly divided over the role of its homosexual clergy, he said it held a clear position that marriage is between a man and a woman and would not consider changing this stance."

So we have the Catholic church encouraging school children to join their campaign against equal marriage, church leaders declaring the sanctity of marriage is undermined, and that Christians are being bullied into accepting equal marriage legislation. 

Eh? Bullied? Please tell me where the Government is enforcing its rule on the Church?

I am an Anglican, and we managed to change the rules so that women could become priests. However, any parish or bishop that does not want a woman priest is not forced to accept them. Equal marriage legislation is for civil ceremonies, not church ceremonies so please explain to me how it affects the church, how it is grotesque?

Is this homophobia? After all, the Church would say they are not being irrational - their prejudices are led by the Bible. These days isn't the over-used and misunderstood phrase hate the sin, love the sinner? Yeah, that's bollocks too.

Well yes. It is homophobia. And worse, perpetrated by church leaders who have a chance to show what inclusiveness actually means. What happens to love thy neighbour? Love thy neighbour, unless they are gay?

In my eyes, the greatest commandment has got lost in the need to stagnate. You can pander to a dying belief, or you can be brave and stand up for ALL your flock. Not just the sheep at the back.

Leave a comment (on my blog) for either Nothing Ever Happens or Morning Report or Complete Faith. Run back to look at the other hoppers

EDIT! Blogger is being a pain and letting me reply to one comment an hour. I will respond though.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Action or Ignore?

I've mentioned before that I'm normally very passive about politics. I'm a Brit and generally centre (Lib Dems), and it's usually hard to remove the fence pole from my behind. I'm an apathetic voter. I vote because I believe you have no right to complain if you don't, but I'm not active in understanding all the issues. The last time a British politician came along that engendered any strong feeling was Margaret Thatcher. She was a bit like Marmite - you either loved her or hated her.

For the first time in my life I am actively interested in the rights of equality. I've never considered myself homophobic. I've had gay friends since I was a teen, worked with openly gay people all my life. But up to now I haven't thought much about equality, and I've not done anything about it. I've been apathetic as usual. Even realising that I wasn't as straight as I thought I was did nothing to get me off the fence post.

This quote, however, made my brain cells tick over. David Gaider's (from Bioware) response to a "straight, male gamer".

"And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want."

I've thought about this for some time. Maybe I'm as bad/worse than the homophobes. Saying nothing in support is just as bad as the opposing people. At least the haters are showing their true colours. What am I doing?

I write about gay men. I actively write about religious homophobia in Morning Report and Complete Faith. Nothing Ever Happens has my main character bodily and mentally scarred by his religious upbringing. More people read them than know me. Am I doing my part? Am I doing enough?

I can lobby my MP, sign petitions, highlight injustices on my sites. Marches aren't on my agenda - hate crowds and bad back.

I have read some within the community saying that straights (I'm not, but lets not split hairs) should keep their nose out. Sorry, I don't believe that now. You can be self-righteous about it, or you can understand that not all people of privilege are homophobes and that some want to add their voice to support yours. Not drown it. Just add to it.

I share my working life now with many gay, bi, and trans men and women. There are many with a world of pain inflicted on them by a society that likes the world just the way it is. I don't want to be part of that society any longer. The fence post is removed.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Buy My Books!

Buy my books! 

There I've said it. At the end of the day that it what I want you to do. I love talking to you, making friends with you, but ultimately, I want you to buy my books. Royalties means money in the bank, money in the bank means the bills are paid and Sue's family doesn't starve.

Does it offend you to be asked so bluntly? Should I say "Please buy my books?" Does that come over as begging? "Please, sir. May I have some more?" 

The reason I am rambling about this is the way that we advertise our books varies considerably. Those of us who are ebook authors don't have the benefit of a shop where you can pick the book up, feel it, read a bit (put it down and walk away...).

What I want to know is what makes you buy a book? Particularly from an author you don't know. After all, it's your hard earned cash that we're asking you to part with. 

Be honest here.What makes you look at a book when you're skimming through Amazon/ARe etc., or a publisher's site? Is it the cover? Is it the promise of something free? Do you read the blurbs?
What attracts your attention?

For me, it's the cover every time. If the book has a naff cover I probably won't look at it. Shallow yes, but honest. If somebody says buy my books I'll probably take a look because they've attracted my attention.

If an author posts their links without permission on my Facebook site, I'll never look at them again. But that is because it's my wall, my business. I love promoting authors, but they are polite enough to ask.

Marketing ourselves is an essential part of being an author. We arrange blogs, interviews, reviews; anything to promote our books. But in the end what we want is for people to buy them. 

So, I am asking...what makes you buy a book; a review, an advertising campaign, the author's winning personality *g*?

Friday, 11 May 2012

And that's why they call it the blues

I've been on the low side this past couple of weeks. I stayed away from my blog so I didn't infect you all with the blues.  Today was made much happier by the receipt of a care package from my friend, Sharon, in America. My daughter snaffled the maple syrup, but the chocolate is all mine. Mine I tell you (demonic laugh).

Friday, 4 May 2012

Men of May Bloghop

Welcome to the Men of May Bloghop where we celebrate men in all their glory (as if we don't do enough of that already). Please visit all my fellow hoppers as they celebrate the wonder that is man.

I’m the youngest of a large family, with four brother and two sisters.  My brothers are substantially older than me, so that as this stage in our lives, they have retired, whilst I am wondering whether I can make writing my final career. I won’t put details or pictures of my family on the internet, but I hope that the pictures I include show you just how amazing I think my brothers are.

One of the disadvantages to having such older siblings is that by the time I was old enough to know them, they were settled down, two of them with families. In my teenage eyes, boring, boring , boring.

Boring? One of my brothers was a fireman on a steam train in the last few years of steam. Can you imagine doing every little boy's dream job? Okay, I'm going back a bit. Now of course, kids want to be game designers.

Another brother who I thought never went anywhere - ever - at all - hitchiked around Africa. Boring? Heck, how many people can say they've done that? I've only ever been on a package holiday.

My other two brothers were both in the armed services in the days of the Cold War; the Navy and the RAF. For the first part of my life they were away most of the time which is why they didn't really impinge on my consciousness until they had left the services and settled down. My brothers have travelled the world. That is more than I have done.

No, my brother wasn't a pilot - but planes - come on. I love planes.

What I am trying to say here is that it's taken me a long time to realize what amazing men I have in my family. I could have shown you fabulous pictures of mancandy. Instead, I wanted to show you how amazing the men in our lives are already.

I have a giveaway today. A copy of either Stolen Dreams or Complete Faith can be yours.

My fellow hoppers are as follows

Michael Mandrake                      
Cassandre Dayne                        
CR Guiliano                                
Dawns Reading Nook                 
Angel Martinez          
Sue Brown                                  
Sara York                                   
Wendy & Mollie Books       
Kiki Howell Authors by Authors  
Kharisma Rhayne                        
Desi Moon                                  
Patricia Logan Naughty Passions 
Hayley B. James                          
Jaxx Steele                                  
SJD Peterson                              
S.L. Danielson                            
Avril Ashton                               
Suzzana C. Ryan                        
Elizabeth Black                          
Blood, Lust, and Erotica            
Melissa Keir                              
Tara Lain Erotic Romance         
Bethany Cross                           
Lisa Worrall                              
Lavinia Lewis                             
Nya Rawlins                              
Megan Slayer                            
J.R. Loveless                             
Christopher Craven                    
Delina Silverfox                          
The Naughty Pages of Phoenix   
Talon PS                                    
Brandie Buckwine