Please join us in welcoming author JL Merrow to The Novel Approach today, on the tour for Out!, the newest release in the Shamwell Tales series. Enjoy JL’s guest post, and be sure to pay special attention to the prompt question. Your answer in the comments section will enter you for a chance to win a couple of great prizes. Read on and good luck!
Rarer Than Unicorns
Hi, I’m JL Merrow and I’m chuffed to be here today as part of the Out! blog tour.
Today, I’d like to talk about invisibility.
Q: What’s the difference between bi people and unicorns?
A: You can see unicorns on movies and tv.
Did you know that September 23rd every year is Bisexual Visibility Day?
Did you notice when it happened a few months ago?
It’s telling that when I searched for free images to accompany this post on stock photo sites, entering bisexual/ity or bi pride into the search bar, the results were almost uniformly rainbow-coloured.
And yes, bisexuality is part of the whole glorious queer spectrum, but it’s a part that often gets forgotten. A guy in a relationship with a guy is generally assumed to be gay. Ditto a girl with a girl. It’s human nature to want to put labels on things, to categorise them and fit them into boxes.
But what if you don’t fit the box everyone wants to put you in?
There are many things I love about Joss Whedon’s iconic TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer*, not least the depiction of Willow and Tara’s loving same-sex relationship. However, the explicit erasure of Willow’s bisexuality (she dated guys for years) isn’t one of them.
“Hello, gay now.” – Willow, BTVS S5 Ep11
And yes, sexuality can be fluid. But moments like this in popular media just reinforce misconceptions that bi people are either undecided, or just too scared to come out as “properly” gay.
Here’s Patrick from Out!, who identifies as bi, trying to explain the issue to a mate:
Patrick laughed. “Bisexuals really are invisible as far as you’re concerned, aren’t they, mate?”
Rory made a helpless gesture that nearly had him spilling his pint. “Well, it’s a bit confusing, innit? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I got no problem with people being gay, and obviously I got no problem with people being straight, but bisexuals, I just don’t get it. Why can’t they just pick one and stick with it?”
He was a good bloke at heart, Rory was. Just not very up on issues and stuff. “They do,” Patrick said patiently. “Then when that one goes tits up, they pick another one and stick with it. Just like anyone else, except they’re a bit more open-minded about who they go out with. It’s not that difficult a concept, mate. It’s not even that uncommon. I’ve been out with girls in my time.”
“Yeah?” Rory looked at him doubtfully. “You sure it wasn’t just a phase?”
Things are getting better with the coming out as bi of celebrities like Anna Paquin, Drew Barrymore, Evan Rachel Wood and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. However, it’s interesting that there seem to be a lot more female bi celebrities than male. Some studies have seemed to indicate bisexuality is more common in women than in men—or is it just that in our society it’s easier for a woman to come out as bi?
Although I did find this link which made me smile: Famous Male Bisexuals Who Aren’t David Bowie
Whatever the truth, there’s still a long way to go before all the mistaken assumptions about bisexuals will be completely eroded away. So I’ll leave you with at least one fact you can trust:
*BTVS had a marked effect on my subconscious, which is the only reason I can give for the romantic leads in my free short story, Good Breeding, being named Giles and Oz.
No, this wasn’t intentional.
Yes, I had a proper D’oh! moment when it was pointed out to me! 😉
Question: What’s your favourite bisexual fact? 😉
Prizes! I’m offering a prize of an ebook of the winner’s choice from my backlist to one lucky commenter at EVERY stop on the tour, plus a grand prize of a signed paperback copy of Played!, the second Shamwell Tale, which was the first one to feature Patrick from Out! I’m happy to ship worldwide, and I’ll throw in some small goodies as well. 🙂
Blurb: All the world’s a stage…but real-life lessons are hidden in the heart.
The Shamwell Tales, Book 2
Though Tristan must join his family’s New York firm at summer’s end—no more farting around on stage, as his father so bluntly puts it—he can’t resist when Shamwell’s local amateur dramatics society begs him to take a role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The bonus: giving private acting lessons to a local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances. Not only is Con delicious, there’s fifty pounds riding on Tristan getting him in his bed.
A late-diagnosed dyslexic, Con’s never dared to act, convinced he’d never be able to learn his lines. But with Tristan’s help, he takes the chance. Trouble is, the last time Con fell for a guy, he ended up getting his heart broken. And with Tristan due to leave the country soon, Con is determined not to start anything that’s bound to finish badly.
Just as Tristan thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes. And the curtain may have fallen forever on their chance for happiness.
Warning: Contains a surfeit of Bottoms and asses, together with enough mangled quotations to have the Bard of Avon gyrating in his grave.
Blurb: When the costs are added up, will love land in the black?
The Shamwell Tales, Book 3
Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet—at least, the small part of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Divorced when he could no longer deny his sexuality, he’s sworn off his workaholic ways and moved to Shamwell with his headstrong teen daughter to give her a stable home environment.
His resolve to put his love life on hold is severely tested when he joins a local organization and meets a lively yet intense young man who tempts him closer to the closet threshold.
Patrick Owen is an out-and-proud charity worker with strong principles—and a newly discovered weakness for an older man. One snag: Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter, and Patrick will be damned if he’s going to start a relationship with a lie.
Between Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and a camp, flirtatious ex-colleague who wants Mark for himself, Patrick wonders if they’ll ever be on the same romantic page. And when Mark’s former career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, it could be the one stumbling block they can’t get past.
Warning: Contains historically inaccurate Spartan costumes, mangled movie quotes, dubious mathematical logic and a three-legged pub crawl.
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards finalists.
JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
The Fine Print:
*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law