notes and corrections

So you may have noticed that I won a RITA yesterday, or at about 4 o’clock this morning, my time. In the acceptance speech that I hastily threw together on Friday in the full expectation that nobody would ever actually need to read or hear it I said that my book would have been either the first or second LGBTQ+ novel to win a RITA and that if it was the first, this was awesome, and if it was the second then that was even more awesome. Courtney Milan has since pointed out that For Real and Him were not, in fact, the joint-first LGBTQ+ novels to win a RITA and that the distinction, in fact, goes to Tiffany Reisz’s The Saint, which won best erotic romance in 2015.

And she’s right, and I’m genuinely thankful that she pointed this out. Obviously, I don’t really get to decide how people interpret anything I write, but when I wrote the acceptance speech I never expected anyone to give, my intent was to say that I would be happier to be the second LGBTQ+ novel to win a RITA than to be the first. I am, therefore, even happier to realise that I’m the third (or joint-second or whatever). And I am actually pretty embarrassed that an LGBTQ+ novel managed to win a RITA in 2015 without my, or as far as I can tell anybody else in the LGBTQ+ romance community, noticing.

So the first thing I want to do is to give a genuine, if somewhat belated, shoutout to Tiffany Reisz: like I said (or Courtney said on my behalf) I passionately believe in the power of romance to empower people regardless of their sexuality and reaching a large mainstream audience and getting a RITA with a series about three polyamorous bisexuals is fucking enormous. And I honestly can’t believe I haven’t noticed before. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even see it mentioned when there was that was huge debate about bisexual romance earlier this year.

And while my primary goal with this post is to admit to my own mistakes and explore my own failure to recognise the success of a fellow LGBTQ+ romance writer I do want to take a moment to think about why this book’s triumph at last year’s RITAs wasn’t celebrated as the milestone it was back in 2015.

Tricky Language Issues

The problem here is partly caused by my choice of the phrase “LGBTQ+ romance novel” rather than “m/m romance novel.” For Real and Him are (and I am really pretty darn sure on this one) the first two m/m novels to win a RITA. Because I am a believer in the value of romance across the LGBTQ+ spectrum I have a tendency to unthinkingly describe the sorts of book I write as LGBTQ+ rather than m/m (partly for the very simple reason that I’ve written f/f and books with genderqueer protagonists so the term wouldn’t be accurate for the whole of my body of work). Unfortunately, with hindsight, I think this is one of those situations where an attempt to use inclusive language can actually be inadvertently erasing. By using the more general term LGBTQ+ when the more specific term m/m would have been more accurate I unintentionally minimised the contribution of an earlier LGBTQ+ novel because it was marketed as het.

I think this a genuine problem with sensitive language in general. For example, I’m often made quite uncomfortable by use of the term “equal marriage” to describe same sex marriage. I mean, obviously there are a great many reasons why equal marriage is a better term than gay marriage (not least because not everyone in a same sex relationship identifies as gay) but there’s always a part of me which is concerned that it isn’t appropriate to label as “equal” a legal framework that still almost by definition privileges some relationships over others. After all, I’m sure there are people in polyamorous relationships who would like their love to be legally recognised and who don’t necessarily feel they’ve achieved equality in the current system.

And for that matter, LGBTQ+ has issues as a term because it implies the inclusion of groups of people who are often, in reality, excluded by the mainstream LGBTQ+ community. And, bringing this back to publishing, it’s especially problematic in romance because very often LGBTQ+ is used to basically mean m/m. And part of me says that the use of inclusive language is a necessary precursor to genuine inclusion, but part of me says that it can be used as a smokescreen to disguise to absence of that inclusion. And my poor word choice at the RITAs is a good example of this. I instinctively used the more general term and, in so doing, betrayed my own failure to recognise the achievement of a writer of non-m/m LGBTQ+ romance.

That Darned Bi-Erasure Again

If I should take anything as a lesson in humility it’s having to apologise for overlooking a bisexual romance only a couple months after I wrote a really long blog post about bi-erasure in which I reminded myself that I have to do better with this shit.

As an old university friend would put it, this is a reason not an excuse but quite simply I didn’t mention The Saint in my RITA acceptance speech because it hadn’t registered with me as an LGBTQ+ romance, and it hadn’t registered with me as an LGBTQ+ romance because it wasn’t marketed as one. And, actually, this overlaps very strongly with the language issues I was talking about earlier. There is such a strong tendency for the LGBTQ+ romance community to view LGBTQ+ and m/m as synonymous that we often ignore romances with LGBTQ+ protagonists that aren’t targeted at our very m/m focused corner of the market.

I’ve always been really bothered by the fact that LGBTQ+ romance is categorised by pairing rather than by sexuality of protagonist. This seems to be an expectation of the genre (and I’ve talked a lot about not liking to see LGBTQ+ treated as a subgenre before) but that convention is inherently bi-erasing. A person doesn’t stop being stop being bisexual just because they’re in a same sex or opposite sex relationship. And, obviously, this winds up being a bit of a double edged sword. Part of the reason The Saint passed me by is that it’s published by Harlequin and Harlequin, as far as I’m aware at time of writing, doesn’t solicit LGBTQ+ romance. And so we wind up with the troubling situation where the capacity of bisexual characters to be represented in “het” romance causes them to be overlooked by the LGBTQ+ romance community. Frankly, this isn’t okay and I’m genuinely annoyed at myself that I essentially fell into exactly the same trap that I have criticised the wider genre for falling into: defining an LGBTQ+ romance as necessarily involving a same sex relationship.

tl;dr

On Saturday I said in my RITA acceptance that For Real and Him were the first LGBTQ+ novels to win RITAs. It has since been pointed out that they weren’t – The Saint was. I should not have made that mistake, I will pay more attention in future. Genuine serious and belated congratulations to Tiffany Reisz. That was an actual milestone and I should have celebrated it last year. And I very much regret that I didn’t.

romancelandia

39 Responses to notes and corrections

  1. Sara Beth says:

    Well done, Alexis <3 lovely post

  2. Ann says:

    Five gold stars for this post. If half of today’s population were even a quarter as self-aware as you are, I think we’d have about a tenth of the problems we do. You give me hope. Carry on! 🙂

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you for the kind words. Honestly, I’m never sure what’s self-aware and what’s just naval gazing but I do my best 🙂

      • ancientreader says:

        I also like to keep an eye on passing ships.

        (Seriously, though: good on you for this thoughtful post. I just read “For Real” — first of your books to cross my radar — and now I’m fangirling the hell out of you.)

  3. Gillian says:

    Gracious and sensitive as always. You are a class act, Mr. Hall.

  4. Lennan Adams says:

    Hugs and congratulations. This is a really great post, honestly very thought provoking… You are the best. 🙂

  5. Pam/Peejakers says:

    Very well said my friend 🙂 Although at this point I begin to despair that you will *ever* actually manage to take a holiday without ending up having to write a blog post in the middle of it! 😉

    You’ve made some very interesting points here. What kills me is, I’ve read *several* books of Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series, and though I haven’t yet read The Saint I was well aware that nearly *all* major characters in the series have had both opposite sex and same sex experiences during various parts of the series. I didn’t recall that The Saint had won a RITA last year. It’s possible I knew it at the time, but if it registered to me at the time, that this was in fact LGBTQ+ literary history, it certainly didn’t stick with me, which is a little disturbing. The fact that this series and this author never seem to come up when people discuss LGBTQ+ romance, or queer romance, or for that matter m/m romance (because in at least two of the books I’ve read thus far, The Prince and The Angel, male/male relationships are central to the plot) has passed through my mind from time to time, yet it somehow bounced off. It was like, vaguely noticing but not really paying attention to something odd floating by on the river & being kind of like, hmm, that’s strange. And then simply thinking no more about it!

    I mean, after reading this, I realize it *is* due to a combination of marketing & the fact that the relationship at the hub of the series is Soren and Nora, a cis man and a cis woman. But it’s so weird that our brains seem to accept these stories as het simply because, well, we’re being sort of subliminally told they are by the marketing. Despite (in my case) being perfectly aware of evidence to the contrary! It’s like we just ignore the discrepancy. I just find this so bizarre, it’s sort of . . . double-think in action.

    It also strikes me as ironic that, basically these books were mainstreamed. And, at least on the surface, it seems like what ultimately what we hope for? That one day all romance will be seen simply as romance, all love simply seen as love, without setting certain things aside as “other”. Yet at the same time, it seems that when this happens only with *some* books, at the same time LGBTQ+ marginalization is still a very real thing, not only in literature but in life, this actually isn’t a good. It kind of has the same effect as when white people want to view the world in a “color-blind” manner, at the same time that racism is very much alive and well. Instead of being inclusive, it’s actually erasing.

    Your points about problems with sensitive or inclusive language are really interesting too. But I will stop here, as I think I’m basically just paraphrasing everything you’ve said & repeating it back to you 😛

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I agree that it’s weird and I do think it’s in large part a consequence of he problematic way that LGBTQ+ has become a marketing category rather than a statement about identity. Basically the reason we accept The Original Sinners series as het is that, whatever else it may be, its definitely het as well, in the sense that it’s primarily about an opposite sex relationship. The fact it also counts as LGBTQ+ because that opposite sex relationship is between two bisexuals doesn’t sit well with the needs of the market to clearly categorise books into subgenres.

      Tangentially I wonder is part of the problem with bi representation in LGBTQ+ romance is that, as a label, bisexual is unusual in that describes an identity but not (for want of a better word) a specific pairing. The marketing reality is that a lot of LGBTQ+ romance readers are specifically looking for a book about a man and a man or a woman and a woman (or, more rarely, a book with trans* or genderqueer characters). It is, I think, less common for an LGBTQ+ romance reader to be looking for a book about a bisexual character with no strong preference for that character’s gender or the gender of their eventual partner. Which isn’t to say it never happens and, of course, there are actually a lot of readers who are specifically are looking for bisexual protagonists but I don’t think the genre definitions and categorisations are constructed around those people.

  6. Ellie says:

    Thank you very much for this post! I have been thinking about this a lot lately and wanted to raise it as a question in group but couldn’t find the best way to phrase it.
    As a reader who reads books which are diverse in every possible way, I’m not too worried how the specific book is marketed/labeled (though I do understand and value the importance of these labels if we want to see real change in the publishing industry in terms of diverse books).
    As a book reviewer I’m much more sensitive to these issues, I admit. As a white straight female reviewer I feel the need to be extra careful when talking books and using labels that I are not my own. I try not to offend anyone when discussing a book, so I often struggle to find the most appropriate terms to use. I find LGBTQ+ romance or queer romance as the best one to describe a story where one/both protagonists are queer regardless of the romance relationship explored in the particular book.
    How do you label a story when the romance is between two men and one of them is bi (and happy about it)? Does it matter if he has on-page sex/relationship with a woman or not? Same goes for a story where the romance is between a man and a woman and the woman is bi and there is on-page sex with another woman – is this queer or het romance?

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I think you sort of answer your own question actually – or at least you seem to come to the same conclusion that I would theoretically come to, even if I sometimes fail to put it into practice. A book qualifies as LGBTQ+ if one or both of the characters identifies as LGBTQ+ (if I wanted to hedge slightly, I might add, ‘and doesn’t get cured and it’s presented as a normal, important part of their identity, not an obstacle to be overcome or a quirk to be forgiven’).

      Of course, from a reviewing perspective that gets problematic because you obviously have some obligation to provide information that would be useful to readers and a lot of readers do care primarily about what the pairing is, rather than about how the characters articulate their own sexualities. But then, in this world of tagging and flagging it’s pretty much trivial to label something as, say, “m/m, bi protagonist, no m/f content”. Or “m/f, bi heroine, some f/f content.”

      I think for me the cases that are more trouble are the really straight forward ones. Theoretically I am completely happy with the idea that an m/f story about a bisexual woman and a heterosexual man still counts as LGBTQ+ romance. And I think it’s quite important to recognise that it still counts. But I’m not 100% sure I’d be sure to pitch a book about a bisexual woman and heterosexual man to an LGBTQ+ publisher or imprint. But I could be entirely wrong about that – I haven’t tried.

      • Ellie says:

        Part of the issue for me is that authors pitch/market their books in one way and then readers/reviewers read it differently.
        I try to write the kind of reviews I want to read – with focus on the romance and the characters and writing and not so much on the kind of pairing. There are enough of those kind of reviews for the readers that care about such things.

  7. Stephanie says:

    I’m not sure if there’s comfort in numbers but you clearly weren’t alone in making the assumption that you were the first. Also you were saying that you would actually prefer to be the second LGBTQ winner anyway so it’s not so bad It’s actually ironic that marketing a book as het in order to reach a wider audience actually meant that it was largely ignored by the LGBTQ and M/M one. As an aside my gateway book into m/m fiction was a het romance with a bisexual relationship in it. Until I read this I had never thought of reading about same sex relationships but it led me to look for more and I discovered the world of M/M. I’m not sure I would have even looked if I hadn’t been introduced to this almost by accident and it was confusing at first to find more books covering this theme because I had no idea that M/M even existed as a genre. So your achievement in having won a RITA for an openly LGBTQ and/or M/M book is a first whichever way you look at it.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Honestly, I’m not really concerned about being first or not. Ultimately I think it was important that a book with a bisexual protagonist won a RITA last year, it’s important that two books featuring explicitly same-sex relationships won this year, but I think what’s even more important is that books across the LGBTQ+ spectrum continue to be represented on the short list and in the award ceremony every year from now on.

      To be slightly facetious for a moment, the battle is not going to be over until an f/f wins best inspirational.

      • I’m reading through this comment thread and as a bi woman married to a woman, I just wanted to say I laughed out loud with delight at this: “the battle is not going to be over until an f/f wins best inspirational.”

        Yes please and thank you! <3

  8. KJ Charles says:

    Tiffany Reisz has said herself that THE SAINT concentrates on the m/f relationship of its bi characters and that anyone who hadn’t read the series might well not have realised the characters were bi. Which obviously doesn’t make it less of a bi romance, since it *is* part of a series. But given the–looking for a polite word–the hidebound nature of the RITA selections of the past, I’m not entirely surprised to learn that her winning book could very easily have been read in isolation as het. (I’m going off the author’s comments here, I haven’t read it. Also, that’s entirely a crit of the RITAs, not the author, who’s written a hugely inclusive series and made it mainstream. Spectacular work.)

    I think what changed this year is that nobody could fail to see that FOR REAL and HIM are queer romances, as very many of us evidently failed to see with THE SAINT. And I don’t think it in any way detracts from Reisz’s achievement in writing a huge-selling series with bi and pan characters, and in winning a RITA, if we *also* celebrate the first victories for visibly, unignorably queer romance as a big step further forward.

    • EE Ottoman says:

      I really second what KJ said here. Especially “I think what changed this year is that nobody could fail to see that FOR REAL and HIM are queer romances, as very many of us evidently failed to see with THE SAINT. And I don’t think it in any way detracts from Reisz’s achievement in writing a huge-selling series with bi and pan characters, and in winning a RITA, if we *also* celebrate the first victories for visibly, unignorably queer romance as a big step further forward.”

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I think, for me, what’s important here is what the awards say about the RITA process, rather than what it says about me or Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy or, for that matter, Tiffany Reisz.

      I did actually read The Saint last night to see what I’d missed and while I definitely picked up on the queer elements (Nora explicitly says she likes sleeping with women, and a lot of the language about Kingsley specifically reads as suggesting bisexuality if you’re keyed in to that kind of thing – like the ‘I prefer snails and oysters’ scene in Spartacus) and I absolutely believe that the LGBTQ+ community should have made more of the book at the time I can see where Reisz is coming from when she says that she thought people could easily miss the queer elements if they weren’t familiar with the rest of the series.

      So I think if we’re viewing RITA winners as bellwethers for the way the RWA is thinking about romance I do agree that there is an important difference (and a difference worth celebrating) between last year, when the judges awarded best erotic romance to a book that features legitimate queer elements which some of them may have missed and this year when they awarded best erotic romance AND best medium length contemporary to books that unambiguously centralised same sex relationships.

      And obviously it’s also important to remember that both of these events are very much first steps. I mean, when you get right down to it and in no way diminishing the impact of The Saint, Him or, for that matter, For Real we’ve essentially seen a progression from books about LGBTQ+ people can win awards as long as they’re about opposite sex relationships to books about LGBTQ+ people can win awards as long as they’re about cis-gendered men. And while that’s real and important progress, it’s a world away from where I’d like the genre to be.

      • EE Ottoman says:

        Obviously I am so excited and happy for you. I think having three gay and bi books win RITAs back to back is not insignificant progress at all. I think there RWA was two years ago to where it is now is a huge leap forward. However I am really super worried about hitting that “we’ve accepted m/m what more do you want from us?” wall.

        • Alexis Hall says:

          Yeah, I feel pretty much the same. Given that we’re only about a decade from a campaign to change RWA’s definition of a romance to one that featured a central love story between a man and a woman, getting to the point where three RITAs have gone to LGBTQ+ books in two years is genuinely huge. But a tiny part of me is concerned that either we’ll plateau here and it’ll be cis m/m or cis bi-characters marketed as het from here until doomsday. Or else we’ll actually backslide and when six years from now someone complains that there aren’t queer novels represented in the RITAs people we say “hey remember 2016 where two of them won in one year.”

  9. Kasia BB says:

    Congratulations, Alexis. It is a very cool and happy occurrence. I enjoyed this post– it reminds me of the discussion he had in Group about subgenres and romance branding (for lack of a better term). While it would be good to have all LGBTQ+ romances ultimately categorised as simply ROMANCE, I fear it could also mean these books would become less visible and more often overlooked by readers of this subgenre (for the lack of a better term.)

    • Alexis Hall says:

      This is genuinely the problem and there isn’t a right answer. I think the problem is particularly thorny in romance because I actually can see a legitimate reason for some readers to care about the genders of the protagonists. If nothing else and, not wishing step well over my bounds, I know that there are some women who read m/m because their experience with heterosexual sex is sufficiently negative that they are not comfortable reading about it. And m/m provides them with a safe space in which to explore their sexualities. So there obviously is value for some people in categorising books by pairing.

  10. Rain Merton says:

    It feels facile to just write “What KJ said,” but it’s true for me as well. I had read three of Reisz’s White Years Series, apart from The Saint. I had known and rejoiced last year when Reisz won the Rita, because her writing is exquisite, and her books so complex with all kinds of queerness and humanity. However, maybe for all the reasons you outlined so well above, I still thought, before the awards this weekend that if For Real won, it would be an historic event.
    So, please, do allow yourself to enjoy this exceptional feat for your wonderful book that has touched so many of us so deeply. I’m delighted that the award will also entail a larger audience for it, and thus more people will get to know your writing in all its sophistication and righteous politics.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you for the kind words 🙂

      I think, for what it’s worth, the people who pointed out that Tiffany Reisz was the first person to win a RITA for an LGBTQ+ novel were doing it not to minimise the importance of this year’s awards (and, again, I should stress what makes me happy about this year’s RITAs is so much that I won as that two books centralising same sex relationships won) but to highlight that I had inadvertently categorised a book about two bisexual people as “not LGBTQ+” which I am very embarrassed to have done because it is all kinds of problematic.

  11. mlynpeters says:

    I cannot say things any better than Rain, CJ, EE and Kasia combined. You have accomplished & earned a place of note…. Well deserved – CONGRATULATIONS ! We as readers have been blessed by your story .

  12. Hi Alexis,

    All your words here are so lovely and I appreciate the kind comments. I truly will never understand why the Original Sinners series rarely comes up in discussions of LGBT books. Possibly because it’s published by Harlequin. Maybe because it came out during the 50 Shades hugeness and was labeled and marketed as “BDSM” and not LGBT. But I am bisexual and I write bisexual characters and love stories. The main love story is not M/F in the Original Sinners. It’s a poly romance that ends with all my heroes in poly relationships. My main hero Søren has a male and female OTP and my heroine has a male dom and a male sub OTP and one female lover/client (she’s a dominatrix). But either the Harlequin label, the fact the books are published by a mainstream fiction imprint at that, or who knows what but they don’t seem to register with even the people who read them as LGBT. In a way, that’s a good thing because it means that even my vastly straight and vanilla readers see the books simply as what they are–erotic romances with human beings in love with each other which is what I as a bisexual woman want readers to see them as. You want all readers to see your books as love stories for them, no matter what their sexuality. Love is love is love, a wise man once said.
    Any who, your post is kind and I appreciate the clarification. I’m not asking for any extra trophies because THE SAINT had bisexual characters. But it is nice that people are acknowledging the series and it’s place in LGBT fiction and my own place in the LGBT community. THE KING which is the sequel to THE SAINT won a Lambda Literary Award in 2015 for Best Gay Erotica. I had hoped the would help me reach more LGBT readers. Maybe this discussion will as well. The proudest moment of my writing career was a signing a copy of my book THE ANGEL for a mom buying it for her daughter who had the courage to come out to her and her family after reading my books. I’m sure your books have had similar responses. It’s nice to know we’re all in this together.

    Peace and Rainbows,
    Tiffany Reisz

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I’ve actually read THE SIREN, which I enjoyed very much, and as I said above I read THE SAINT last night as I somewhat shamefacedly realised I missed it. I think what struck me when I read THE SIREN was that it was sort of like the beginning a paranormal series, except was the world-building was emotional and sexual. So clearly there was a lot of depth to be untangled but a lot of it was setting up for what was to come. Although I definitely recognised that it wasn’t in any way heteronormative … so I have no idea why I failed to mentally categorise it as LGBTQ+ 🙁

      The more I think about it, the more I think there is a problematic division between what we call LGBTQ+ romance (which is has sort of evolved out of m/m) and the LGBTQ+ element within mainstream romance. I think part of it comes from the tendency of pretty much all subcultures to overstate their remit. Most Star Wars fans aren’t part of Star Wars fandom, most people who watch wrestling aren’t part of the IWC, and I suspect that the subculture that calls itself the LGBTQ+ romance community has to some extent overestimated the extent to which it represents the totality of LGBTQ+ romance. There are books about same sex relationships in JR Ward’s Dark Brotherhood series, for example, but they tend not to get categorised as part of LGBTQ+ romance either. Again, I think partly rooted in the uncomfortable status of sexuality as a marketing label. It’s almost as if LGBTQ+ romance has come to mean something other than romance about LGBTQ+ people, and that makes me kind of uncomfortable.

      All of which said, thank you so much for commenting. I’m really glad your books are reaching such a wide audience, including LGBTQ+ people. Again, I’m so sorry I didn’t properly recognise this in my RITA acceptance speech.

  13. I forgot the P.S. on my comment, Alexis.

    P.S. HUGE congrats on your win. Definitely historic and worth celebrating by all freedom-loving readers and writers!

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you so much <3

      As I said above, I read The Saint last night and loved it, and I'm so glad it won its category last year 🙂

      • You’re so sweet. I’m glad you enjoyed THE SAINT. In THE SIREN Nora does have sex with a woman but I really think readers saw that as BDSM and not LGBT which is odd since there’s a lot of intersections between the two communities–I’m one of those intersections. Anyway, you’ve been more than gracious and I hope that people can get back to celebrate THIS YEAR’S wins and not worry about last year so much. I’m just happy THE SAINT has so many readers who love it. And thrilled they have new books like FOR REAL to dig into and love as well.

  14. Elke says:

    Hm… took me a few attempts and conversations with myself whether I should even write something or not. In the end, I decided to do so because:

    Congratulations! Having come through in a busy, crowded market even, with immense competition, being among the last ones standing and taking home one of the coveted awards… heck, that’s reason to celebrate! While I have read your blog post, and skimmed some of the responses, understanding the importance of the matter, I’d love to quote (from memory!) from Robyn Carr’s acceptance speech for winning her lifetime achievement award on Saturday: It all starts with a great story.

    And so it goes… it starts with Laurie, it really does because he’s the first to appear in For Real but not for long, because as soon as Toby steps onto the plate, things will never be the same. For neither of them. So, thank you Alexis for having written an amazing story touching many people beyond boundaries and putting all labels aside. – So, I hope you truly find the time to let it sink in, find the joy in celebrating it and continue…

    Oh… and some other comment in Robyn Carr’s speech made me really want to say something here: When was the last time a book fascinated you that much that you couldn’t keep it to yourself but wanted to tell the world about it? (Again… that’s just my take-away from what she said).

    Bottom line – it’s a huge accomplishment no matter what. First, second, third… most importantly are the stories being told and the quality in which they are told. And THAT has been rightfully acknowledged. Last year and this year. If things go well, it’ll continue, as long as there are writers telling these beautifully touching stories!

    xo

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you so much for commenting and, of course, you’re absolutely right that the thing to celebrate are the stories being told, whoever they might be about. I definitely don’t feel that any of this dented my celebration – as I said in the speech, I will be genuinely be happier the more representation there is and I’m glad that the existence of Tiffany’s book has been pointed out to me.

      I’m delighted that FOR REAL worked for you and, apparently, has worked for some other people as well 🙂

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  16. Darla Sharp says:

    Would love to echo what so many people have already stated here–FOR REAL’s win is a huge win! I’m ecstatic and so happy for you–CONGRATULATIONS on FOR REAL winning a RITA!!! GASP! This is a huge breakthrough and great moving forward, but, all gender politics and the RITA politics aside for a tiny moment: TOBY and LAURIE!!! A fantastic love story and a HEA–ROMANCE for the WIN!!!

    P.S. I love you!

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