The Novel Approach welcomes Lavinia Lewis today on the Blood Ties blog tour. Lavinia’s here today to chat about Positive Female Characters in M/M Romance, so enjoy her post and then be sure to enter the giveaways from both the author and Totally Bound Publishing (details below).
Positive Female Characters in M/M Romance
Hi everyone! I’d like to say a huge thank you to The Novel Approach for welcoming me as a guest on your wonderful blog today. And thanks to everyone who is taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this post and help me celebrate the release of my novel Blood Ties.To help me celebrate my release, I am giving away a free ebook copy of Blood Ties. Just leave a comment on the post to be entered into the competition (Contest deadline is one week from today). Good luck, everyone!
As everything in life seems to go in circles, so to do the talks that people have on social media with regards to M/M romance.
I’ve heard them all.
‘Should women be writing gay romance?’
‘Is the gay for you trope an insult to gay men?’
‘Is it wrong to have M/F sex scenes on page in gay romance novels?’
These are just some of the questions that crop up in M/M romance that people have strong opinions about. Another issue which I’ve seen mentioned repeatedly is the portrayal of women in M/M novels or more precisely, women portrayed as the villains in gay romance novels.
I must admit, I’ve read many M/M romance stories where the woman or women are the villains of the story or seem to be on the page solely as a plot device to cause tension between the male leads.
This bothers me.
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a feminist, but as a woman I absolutely believe in the empowerment of women in all areas of life and I like to see women portrayed in a positive way. So why do a lot of female authors feel the need to show women in such a bad light?
One issue which I’ve encountered when writing my own stories is the length of the book. The fashion these days especially with regards toeBooks is for them to be considerably shorter than most mainstream novels. I myself am guilty of having written many novellas and of course there are only so many characters you can introduce in thirty thousand words. That means there is little page space for superfluous characters ― each has to have a reason for being there.Each character has to have their own goals and motivations or there is no room for them on the page. So are they just the baddies of the stories by default because of the need for brevity?
I’m not so sure.
Personally, I enjoy reading about strong women. I also enjoy writing strong female characters and even in my novellas, I try to introduce women who are positive role models. That being said, I’m not totally naive. I know that sometimes in life just as in fiction women are the villains. I know a couple of women personally who fit that mold perfectly. But this is not the norm, nor should it be represented as such.
Now, I’m not saying that writing a woman that way is something I have never or would never do. In fact, I do have one story in which a woman is the villain of the story, but that’s one woman in twenty something books that I’ve had published and I must admit, I struggled to write her that way.
So is it just me who has an issue with the women in these stories or are there other readers out there who would like to see more positive female characters in M/M romance? What do you think of the women you read about in M/M romance novels? Do you like to read about women in these stories at all?
There are a couple of women in my latest release, Blood Ties who have important roles in the book. Neither woman is without their faults, however. They are real women, but by the end of the story, I would like to think that they prove themselves and each come into their own.
If you are not familiar with Blood Ties, book one in my Vanderguard Vampires trilogy, it charts the lives of Thomas Vanderguard, a vampire prince and his once human consort, Daniel Alexander. From falling in love through to Daniel’s transition into a vampire, you’ll see them navigate life’s ups and downs all while fighting a war against the Gemmelli family and their bloodthirsty, soulless vampire Drones.
Here’s the blurb for Blood Ties: Vampire prince Thomas Vanderguard has been alone for over two hundred years—ever since the death blow that killed his companion, Jacob. For centuries, Drones have sought to eradicate his family’s royal lineage so that a rival family may seize the throne and gain control of their territory. But Thomas’ self-imposed solitude comes to an end when Daniel Alexander walks into his life. After several months of refusal, Thomas finally gives in to Daniel’s request to change him into a vampire, even though he fears Daniel will meet the same fate as Jacob.
With a possible eternity of happiness stretching out in front of them, can Thomas keep his lover safe or is history about to repeat itself?
Excerpt from Blood Ties: Daniel slipped in the door behind Thomas then closed it behind him. The queen sat behind a mahogany desk near the window and looked up when they entered. A warm smile spread across her face. It slipped when she looked at Daniel, but there was no hostility in her expression, only curiosity and a modicum of surprise. Daniel was undoubtedly very different from how she had obviously imagined him to be. That was understandable. He was the opposite of Jacob.
“Mother, I’d like to introduce you to Daniel Alexander.”
She rose gracefully from her seat then rounded the desk. As she crossed the room, she was the embodiment of elegance and poise. At first glance she appeared calm and strong but Thomas could see beyond the façade she’d carefully constructed. She was as beautiful as ever, yet her movements were sluggish, a fact which likely wouldn’t be visible to the human eye. But Thomas could tell. He knew she was tired, weary even. She might have been an expert at hiding it from everyone else, but she couldn’t conceal it from him. When she stood in front of Daniel, she smiled and extended her hand. Daniel didn’t hesitate in reaching for it. To him, she probably appeared in the very height of her prime. At only eight hundred years old, she should have been. Thomas hadn’t admitted it aloud to anyone, but he was worried about her.
“Pleased to meet you,” Daniel greeted warmly. “Here, these are for you.”
When he handed over the bouquet, the queen’s mouth stretched into an even wider smile. Her eyes twinkled, creasing softly in the corners as she looked from the flowers to Daniel. Thomas suppressed a groan. He knew that look. He’d seen it in her eyes before. She was sizing up Daniel as a potential mate for Thomas.
“The pleasure is all mine,” she said smoothly. “Come sit with me, Daniel. Let’s get to know each other a little, shall we?”
If he’d thought he could have gotten away with it, Thomas would have grabbed Daniel and dragged him away. He didn’t need his mother interfering in his life. When the queen took hold of Daniel’s arm and led him through the room, Thomas decided to cut the meeting short at the first opportunity. He followed them to two brown leather Chesterfields that sat perpendicular to a wall of floor-to-ceiling bookcases. Books filled every shelf and many of the tomes were older than Thomas. The queen placed the bouquet on a tall side table then took a seat on the larger of the two sofas. She motioned for Daniel to sit beside her. Thomas rolled his eyes as he took a seat opposite.
“I haven’t seen you before, Daniel. Are you new in town?” the queen inquired. Her penetrating gaze flicked to Thomas and she smiled mischievously before returning her attention to Daniel. The playful expression was gone so quickly that Thomas wasn’t even certain it had been there at all.
Daniel nodded. “Yes, ma’am. I’ve only been here for a few weeks, but my parents grew up here and I was born here. They passed away a few years ago and I had a mind to see where they were from.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Death is a very sad event, yet it happens to us all, eventually. But please, less of the ma’am. I might be very old, but I don’t want to feel it. There’s no need for formalities. Call me Caterina.”
“Of course,” Daniel replied. “That’s a very pretty name.”
When he saw the faintest tint of a blush on his mother’s cheeks, Thomas’ mouth fell open. He couldn’t believe that Daniel had charmed her so quickly. Although he shouldn’t have been surprised—Daniel had won him over from their first meeting too. His warmth and openness was endearing. It would be enough to captivate anyone. Thomas had felt powerless in the face of all the goodness that shone from within Daniel. He sat back and listened to them make polite conversation, and through it all his mother’s smile became more animated.
The queen regaled Daniel with stories of her youth. Wars in Europe, important people she had known. Daniel listened with overt fascination.
“How long do you plan to stay in this wonderful little town of ours, Daniel?”
Wonderful little town?What the hell?
Because of the Drones, the town was a cesspit in which one took their life in their hands each time they ventured outside. It was time to get Daniel out of there before his mother sank her claws in any deeper. If she spent any more time with Daniel she’d have him moved into the palace. Thomas opened his mouth to interrupt, but he was just as interested in hearing the answer as his mother was.
Daniel glanced at Thomas before replying. “I haven’t decided yet, but I don’t have any family left out east so I’m not in any rush to head home.”
Well that’s it from me. I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my ramblings. If you’d like to find me on any of the social networking sites, you can find the addresses below.
Have a great day, everyone!
Like the sound of Blood Ties? Buy it here.
About Lavinia Lewis: Lavinia discovered reading at an early age and could always be found with her nose in a book. She loved getting lost in a fantasy world even then. When her parents bought her a typewriter for Christmas at aged eleven, her fate was sealed. She spent hours dreaming up characters and creating stories. Not a lot has changed. Now when she is not writing you can find her enjoying a new release e-book.
Lavinia has lived all over the UK but currently resides in London, England. She has travelled extensively to places including Africa, Asia, Australia, America and most of Europe. Although some of her books are set in Texas she has never visited the state but plans to spend time there in the near future.
She is an avid reader and her favourite authors include J L Langley, Carol Lynne, Chris Owen and Andrew Grey. Lavinia particularly loves supernatural fiction and her favourite authors in this genre include Kelly Armstrong, Keri Arthur and Charlaine Harris.
Although Lavinia is a huge fan of the romance genre, she will admit to reading anything and everything. She loves horror, a good thriller and if a book has the capacity to make her cry, well, all the better. One thing she does insist on in a book however, regardless of genre is a happy ending, so you will always find one in the books she writes.
If you would like to purchase a copy of Blood Ties, you can find it on my publisher’s website HERE
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Enter Totally Bound’s May blog tour competition for the chance to win an eBook of your choice! Not including boxsets or anthologies.