I just realized something (as I am still writing). PDS8 is showing a friendship between a totally straight man and a man so gay he'd make RuPaul jealous. (I can't use names here for reasons.)
The gay man openly flirts with the straight man, and the straight guy LOVES it. It flatters him, and his wife thinks it's hysterical. Oppositely, the straight man treats the gay guy like any of his other male friends, calling him 'buddy' and making fun of his lack of virtue.
It made me think tonight, why can't more straight men be this way? Know that not all gay/bi men want to screw them, and just be friends, because there is NOTHING different about a gay guy in the typical male friend group, except they'll probably have better personal grooming?
If my books can achieve anything, I hope it's showing that LGBT+ people are actually normal human beings. There is no gay agenda. I don't need my books put in a separate category just because some secondary characters aren't straight and I show two men in a healthy friendship (as well as two men in a healthy, sweet relationship).
I want the world who might not normally expose themselves to LGBT+ characters voluntarily to see that LGBT-inclusive books are no different than anything else they've read.
Readers loved my characters Brighton and Mark, as well as Mahon and George, in the PDSeries. My female MC, Angelica, will be shown with a woman in the past in PDS6. And none of those characters' sexualities changed the fact that they're great characters.
However, I did receive a review from a bigot saying that having two LGBT+ couples in one book was "unrealistic". Recently, in a book I co-wrote with Faith Marlow, a reader said he "gave up" because there were too many POC and LGBT+ characters, that the boxed set (Sigils & Spells) had a "leftist agenda".
It's 2018, it's high time that we stop needing to label our "normal" books to "warn" people that there are LGBT+ people in them.
In my next book, The Coven Princess, I am going to have LGBT+ characters all around, because, SHOCKER, LGBT+ exist. One in five people identify as LGBT+. That means there area lot of us out there. (I'm bisexual, BTW, so this is personal to me.)
I'm very proud to be with a publisher who not only has a LGBT+ imprint, but who doesn't mind that I experiment with my characters in the non-LGBT+ imprint. I'm not forced to put my characters in a box.
One day, I hope that LGBT+ people in real life no longer need to fit themselves into boxes for others' ignorance. The first step to that is to make our art (books, TV, film, etc.) more inclusive.
Okay, stepping off my soapbox now.