Welcome to author Tara Lain and the Tackling the Tight End blog tour. We’re pleased to have Tara with us today to chat about the latest book in the Long Pass Chronicles series, and she’s also offering a $25 Gift Card giveaway, so be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget to enter for a chance to win.
Writing the Two Spirit
Hi everyone! I’m Tara Lain and I’m so happy to welcome you to the release of my new novel, Tackling the Tight End. In this romance, I introduce my first Native American hero, Raven Nez, the tight end for a major Los Angeles university football team. When I created the idea for this book, I knew only a small amount about the Native concept of the two spirit. I can’t claim to be any kind of expert now, but I do know that when I delved into this idea, I was floored, and what started as hardly more than a term became one of the central ideas of my book.
The two-spirit practice in Native culture was not universal, but was surprisingly widespread. It was also not monolithic in practice, so anything that is said about it can be proved false in another tribe. Still, many Native tribes believed that among them were born the two spirit, people who didn’t fall into the usual gender or sexual constructs of male and female. These people weren’t oddballs who didn’t fit in. They were another category of human, often revered in the tribes, advisors to the chiefs, shamans or wise people. Those who took the two spirit as their partners were not homosexual or heterosexual. The two spirit were neither male nor female so they defied that categorization. The two spirit, whether they were born with male or female or intersex genitalia, were often given jobs that spanned the usual responsibilities of the two genders – “males” practicing arts and healing such as traditional females did, and “females” riding as war chiefs. In some tribes, discovering you had a child who was two spirit was considered a special blessing.
That is the thing that so impacted me when I was writing Tackling the Tight End. While LGBT people in western culture may be appreciated for their extraordinary talents as artists, musicians, entertainers, writers, scientists and businessmen, there is no cultural construct whereby they are appreciated BECAUSE they are gay or lesbian. Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is seldom if ever considered something that is desirable in and of itself – except in the sense that LGBT people are proud of who they are. The idea of the two spirit changes the cultural norm and elevates the pride to a societal reality. It has the potential to make LGBT children recognize that they’ve received an extraordinary blessing – not just a difference to embrace. That’s a line of thought I follow in Tackling the Tight End. I hope you enjoy it.
Blurb: Everyone wants the best for SCU student and tight end, Raven Nez—and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem. Raven really wants to work with gay kids, and while he loves his tribe and likes football, his visions for the future don’t mesh with theirs. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. But the filmmaker is Dennis Hascomb, a guy with so much to hide and a life so ugly it’s beyond Raven’s understanding. Still he’s drawn to Dennis’s pain and incredible ability to survive. Captivated by Raven’s stories of the two-spirited and by the amazing joy of finally having a friend, Dennis knows he has to break free from everything he’s ever been taught was good—but that’s a struggle that could kill him and Raven, too. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth”? A future for the serpent and the raven?
About the Author: Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her bestselling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soulmate husband and her soulmate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”.
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