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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event: Jill Sorenson's F/F Wishlist



Hello friends! I’m so glad KT/KB invited me to participate in her event. I’ve seen several wishlists posted recently. Mine was inspired by Riveted by Meljean Brook. I dug it out of my TBR after seeing a post called Lesbian Allies at Romance Novels for Feminists. Brook does a fantastic job with disability, characters of color, and female sexuality. While I was reading, I kept wishing for a lesbian subplot. Or an entire romance of this caliber, devoted to two women. I’d love to find a lesbian story written by a sensitive, innovative author with a deft hand for female characterization.     

Here are some other things I’m hoping for in 2013:

Sexy, modern contemporaries. Earlier this year I read a sensual scene between two women sharing a bran muffin in bed. Some lesbian fiction is like bran: sort of dry and mature and healthy. It doesn’t attract a younger audience.

Better writing and editing. Always.

Equality. I don’t want to read a lesbian romance that mirrors the tropes I dislike in m/f. I’m not talking about how traditionally feminine (or not) the characters are. When one heroine is much older, more dominant, or more powerful, I worry about a lack of balance in the relationship.

Stronger conflicts. I’m all for tension and angst. If there’s no obstacle to overcome or issue to work out, I get bored.

More lesbian characters in mainstream romance. Why are gay men the only queer folks on the radar? Give me a bisexual heroine, a lesbian subplot, or a ménage romance with two women instead of two men.

Things I could do without:

Vampires and werewolves. Paranormal isn’t my favorite.

Kink. Edited to remove comments on kink at Jill's request. I’ve also read several f/f stories with incestuous undertones. DO NOT WANT.

Erotica mislabeled as romance.

Ménage stories about married couples having a casual hookup. When the third person is portrayed as an empty sex object, I’ll pass. 

“Gay & Lesbian” or GLBT categories with no lesbians. When did GLBT become shorthand for Gay Male? I’m tired of searching through hundreds of m/m titles for nothing.

So there’s my wishlist and my anti-wishlist. What’s on yours?

Bio: Jill Sorenson writes sexy romantic suspense for Harlequin and Bantam Dell. Two of her novels, Crash Into Me and Set the Dark on Fire, have been excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. After earning a degree in literature and a bilingual teaching credential from California State University, Jill decided teaching wasn’t her cup of tea. She started writing one day while her firstborn was taking a nap and hasn’t stopped since. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two young daughters.

You can find Jill at her website or on Twitter @jillsorenson.

 Jill's latest release, Aftershock is now available from HQN


9 comments:

Teresa Wymore said...

Thanks Jill! I agree with you 100%....except I still like werewolves and vampires :-)

Jolie du Pre said...

Okay, well I'm an erotica writer who LOVES paranormal. So a lot of what you don't like I probably do. I would like to see more bisexual characters. Bisexual characters are largely ignored.

Rebekah said...

That's a great list, Jill. :)

Gale Haut said...

A friend of mine (a regular reader here who can't post a comment) would like clarification on something said here that's really bugging:

Why is there a need to specify that "non-hetero" kink is outside your comfort zone, rather than merely specifying the type of kink that you have a problem with? Or, if it's the lesbian nature of the kink that is the core issue here, why do you think it's appropriate to bring this up in the context of a Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event (in other words, why do you think it's a good idea to specify that it's LESBIAN kink you have a problem with rather than kink generally in a forum that's supposed to be lesbian-friendly).

She said...

Great list. I am always upset when books have not been edited and proofread. That is just lazy. I like vampires though, not so much wolf shifters. And regardless of what type of romance I read, if I don't like it in one genre, I don't want to see it in other genres.

Jill Sorenson said...

Hi Gale,

Thanks for asking, and for letting me know my comment bugged. Sorry about that. I specified non-hetero kink because I read a bit of kink in m/f (bdsm mostly) and I'm okay with it, depending on the execution. I've never read a kinky f/f story that I liked. I don't know if you're heard the placeholder theory, but it's the idea that romance readers fall in love with the hero and "become" the heroine. I do this in my reading to some extent. I think it's why I don't read m/m--I don't want to "become" a man. With lesbian or f/f, I can often relate to either heroine. For some reason, the idea of being dominated by another woman (or dominating one) does not appeal to me. I've enjoyed romances with dominant men, however. Maybe bdsm and other kinks are something I can go along with under a more familiar hetero backdrop.

As far as incest, that would be a turn off in any pairing.

So yes, bdsm is something that I prefer not to read about in lesbian or f/f specifically. I don't know if it's the lesbian nature of the kink, as you mentioned, or if I have a discomfort with dominant women. Actually, I've read and enjoyed a female dom story, so that's not it. I think it's just that, as a straight person, reading about lesbian sex is already not my usual thing. Adding kink to it pushes me out of my comfort zone.

With romance and erotica, I have to relate to the characters to become immersed in the story. It's often called the placeholder theory

Jill Sorenson said...

Oops, I meant to delete that last line. Anyway, I hope this clarifies my stance. If not, maybe you can help me understand where I've gone wrong.

Gale Haut said...

Okay, this is me talking.

I have to agree with her that it's a little odd and perhaps unexpectedly heteronormative to bring it up given the point in having a "Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event." It's not really the best time to point out a preference for hetero kink when you are supposed to be celebrating the awesomeness of lesbian fiction.

I'm really hopeful that there's a miscommunication or semantical error of some sort.

*shrug*

Jill Sorenson said...

Let me try this again. I consulted with two friends who both basically said I'm in the wrong here. I'm really, really sorry. It wasn't my intention to offend you or your friend. I didn't mean to imply that gay = kink or that kink is bad. I brought it up because I read two well-written stories recently with surprise incest vibes, and that unsettled me. I always have trouble finding quality lesbian and f/f romance and I thought my list might generate some recs.

I will think about this and try not to make the same mistake again. Thanks, Gale, for bringing it to my attention. I would have never known I hurt or offended anyone otherwise.