Gay Romance is Objectionable

Via Fandom Wank, here’s a lovely story:

This last week I attended the yearly Romantic Times convention at the Houston Hyatt. I love the ability to meet face to face all the readers, authors, publishers, bookstore owners and all the other fascinating and intriguing people that come to this event each year. I even participated in the lovely and fun Faery Ball Ball this year with a whole host of fabulous authors. I go to RT to met people and to promote my work just like every other author there. It’s a wonderful networking event. I sent 6 boxes of promo items for myself and my ad group of M/M erotic romance and fiction group MANLOVEROMANCE.COM there this year.

The RT promo items I sent didn’t arrive until Thursday. I immediate put them up in the appropriate containers RT insisted we use while noting that hundreds of other promo was loose on the tables in violation of this rule. There was no table space left at this point and I refused to move other authors’ items to make room for my own so I utilized several very large boxes sitting at the end of one table. All my items were placed in six rough, manly, woven baskets. Items were disappearing before I got them all out. It was great. However…

By Thursday afternoon my promo was gone. I write gay erotic romance and fiction. I write in a RWA accepted genre. I’m at a romance conference. My writing wins awards. My books are on best selling lists on both Amazon and B&N. My work is good! I own a small press that print publishes only gay erotic romance and fiction, MLR Press. But I couldn’t find my promo and that of the other gay work I represent anywhere.

Sharon Murphy, RT staff arrived and told me Hyatt personnel had removed my things because businessmen (who should not have been in the conference areas to begin with) had complained about them. I found that hard to believe and said so.

Sandy went off to gather other promo that was far more risque than anything we had. While she was gone I began to object and Sharon asked me to come into a closed room. Sandy saw this occur and followed, not allowing anything to be said without a witness on my behalf to be present.

I wanted a better explanation. Sharon denied RT involvement but they certainly didn’t do anything to support an author attending their conference. Instead they willingly, immediately consented. I paid almost $500 registration to attend this conference and promo my work, $1325 to be part of a special promo event, and hundreds of dollars on flights and hotel expenses but my tame, tasteful promo was removed!

First Sharon tried to blame in on the promo being on boxes and not the table but I pointed out that EPIC promo replaced my promo and was currently still on the boxes, so the placement was NOT a legitimate issue.

Then she said it was thought that it was more risque that anyone else’s. Sandy produced other promo items that included a naked woman on her knees in front of a naked man, a woman with her naked buttocks pressed to a man’s naked groin and other items that had bared male chests, bared male thighs and such just like ours. None of our promo had male couples on it except a few bookmarks and since they are yaoi it hard to tell what the sex of the characters. The same bookmarks were not removed from further down the tables. So appearance wasn’t a legitimate issue.


4 thoughts on “Gay Romance is Objectionable

  1. And deep in the comments at the link, the Mouth of Romantic Times weighs in to loudly assure one and all that the issue clearly CAN’T be homophobia … why, some of her own best friends are gay.
    Wow. Color me convinced.
    With kind regards,
    Dog, etc.
    searching for home

  2. I’m sick to read this. I’m another romance author, of the pre-published variety. I was not at the RT conference, but I’ll be at the RWA conference next month. I’m just amazed that not only would the promotional materials be removed, but the excuse given was so obviously a lie. I’m thankful that the author’s friend was there to verify what happened and to point out the (much more objectionable and explicit) promotional materials left on the table.
    I can only offer my sincerest apology. This kind of homophobia makes the entire industry look bad. RT and their representatives owe an apology (and a refund,) to Fandom Wank.

  3. This sort of thing makes puffs of steam (or is it smoke?) come out of your ears, doesn’t it? I guess I’ve been lucky. My first nine (plus various reissues) were handled by publishers in the US and UK (GMP, Alyson and so forth), and then it all switched itself over to Internet-driven marketing after GMP closed, so I’ve had a comparatively smooth voyage over waters that could have been both stormy and murky. (I’m with DreamCraft now; I have my dot-com, my blog, and am at, plus numerous places around the web. I’m glad to say, it works.)
    Still, I’ve always halfway-wished I might have been represented at book conventions, and the big trade shows (such as Frankfurt, where gay books have been welcome for some time … Germany being Germany). But …
    In other locations, closer to home, way too often there’s a price to be paid — not merely in the flights, hotel bills, registrations and manufacture of promo items, but also in the STRESS factor, which can’t be (or hasn’t yet been) quantified in terms of dollars and cents … probably because it’d be so scary: “This incident cost me eight million dollars’ worth of wear and tear on my heart” … oooooh, dear.
    Best of luck with your endeavors in future: may this never happen again.
    Mel Keegan

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