Tag Archives: Smithsonian Heritage Month

SHHM Guest Author: Jude Sierra on A Time for Introspection

Hi friends! Scheduling is off (my fault) so we’re sliding in here with a post to ~close out Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month with guest Jude Sierra. Jude has been kindness itself, and provided us with a wonderful post I really hope you’ll check out. Also of note, Jude is a first time guest to ALBTALBS, so roll out the welcome mats!

A Time for Introspection

 

  • Recently some painful truths have come out about the publishing industry’s perception of our value and how that continues to hinder access and visibility for authors of color who write Romance. This is a time for introspection, and it seems very clear, some changes need to be made,” PoC Queer Romance Authors Community

 

What It Takes by Jude Sierra Book CoverIn March of 2018 something uplifting and inspiring took root in our Queer Romance Community: a movement to raise the voices and visibility of authors of color.

As a Latinx author, and as a writer and book blogger, I was very excited by the sudden swell of activism, communication and organization undertaken to create community resources connecting authors with artists, editors. From the start of my writing career I felt it was vital to represent diversity in my stories, both responsibly and honestly. Continue reading

SHHM Guest Author: Taylor V Donovan!

Hi friends! In a surprise to nobody, my life is in shambles, and I’ve neglected the blog. (Not exactly one of the best intros I’ve ever done, but I wanted to be honest and clear that this is entirely my fault, I dropped the ball, and Taylor was very patient and understanding.) Here at ALBTALBS we’re trucking along with the Smithsonian Heritage Months, and I’m very happy to welcome new guest Taylor V. Donovan. Taylor shared a really heartfelt and informative post, so I hope you read on! <3 And please give Taylor a warm welcome! 

Every year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrate the contributions, histories, and cultures of American citizens whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. This originated back in 1968. First it was only a week, then it was extended to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, a year before I graduated from high school. I was seventeen at the time. I was American, having been born and raised in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. Yet the first time I heard about Hispanic Heritage Month was around 2010, a full nine years after moving to New York, and it got me thinking about my own heritage and my country’s past. Continue reading

SHHM = Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month

Hi friends! It’s September 15th, which is the exact start of Hispanic Heritage Month! It runs from September 15-October 15. And at A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet (ALBTALBS) we post on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, so this is a perfect alignment.

If you’re new to ALBTALBS, SHM = the Smithsonian Heritage and/or History Months. We try to celebrate them annually, with more or less success. I think it’s always important to do something though. I do also want to note basically anyone is welcome to guest at any time. We just make a special effort to highlight the people of whatever particular group throughout the year.

We’ve got a few things in the air now, so if you can think of any Latinx romance readers or writers, please send them our way. And feel free to mention them (if they’re ok with it) in the comments.

In the meantime, feel free to check out Smithsonian Heritage/History Month posts from the past, and especially those from Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month!

SHM Pride Encore Guest: Sadie on Being Queer Enough

Hi friends! So, scheduling and craziness and look- things happen and it’s July but who wouldn’t want to revisit Pride? So that’s what we’re doing today with another delightful “guest” … only not, because Sadie is also a reviewer and formatter etc extraordinaire at ALBTALBS! <3 <3 But more seriously … I think so many of our Smithsonian Heritage Month posts are absolutely glorious, with so many people sharing such important parts of themselves, so I hope you take some time to read this post, and the others if you’ve missed them!

Sadie is a new reviewer on ALBTALBS and first time guest poster. Sadie is our final Pride guest for 2018! We hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s posts!

Being Queer Enough

When Rosa Diaz came out as bisexual on Brooklyn 99’s 100th episode, I felt this quiver deep in my belly. This glorious Latinix badass was one of us, and stood proud in her identity as a bisexual woman. I cried when I watched that episode. Cried even more when I learned that Stephanie Beatriz, the actress who plays Rosa, is bisexual. When I read her article in GQ I felt seen, acknowledged by someone who has never met me but who somehow knows my struggle just the same. Stephanie is so proud of her identity and so happy to be engaged to a heterosexual man who loves her deeply. She’s secure in her sexuality and in who she is. And she’s free to be out as queer. As bisexual. She embodies what so many people I know in the bisexual community want to feel – that they too are queer enough. Continue reading

SAPAHM Encore Guest Eilis Flynn Celebrates a Festival of Stars in a Year of Diversity

Hi friends! I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Eilis Flynn to ALBTALBS!! For once I didn’t include any of her other book covers because I think the focus is as it should be – on Festival of Stars and I hope you’ll find a new book to love. (I’m also super excited to have this little visit back to APAHM.) I love fairy tales and twisted fairy tales! <3 

Celebrating a festival of stars in a year of diversity

By Eilis Flynn

Like the fairy tales that kids in Western culture grow up reading and hearing about, the story of the festival of stars is one that kids all over Asia know. The annual meeting of the Weaver Princess and the Cowherder—that’s the version I knew when I was a kid growing up in Japan; you’ll find it under several different names—is a wonderful, tragic, yet hopeful love story, and I always wanted to adapt it to modern, American times. It goes like this: The princess and the cowherder meet one day, and fall in love. But because they neglect their duties in their devotion to each other, the Celestial King rules that they must be separated, with only one chance a year to get together. This is the “romance of the Milky Way,” the Tanabata, as the ancient Japanese poems refer to it, the Festival of Stars.

That kind of love is universal, and it speaks to us all, I figured. Right? So I wrote it.

When this book was originally published in 2007, it was the book of my heart, allowing me to retell the story of what I had always regarded as the ultimate romance, but set in the United States of contemporary times, taken from the Japanese folktales with which I had grown up. But I ran into a road block when I was told, and told again, that the majority of readers wouldn’t be able to relate to it because of its theme of biracialism and bigotry. Editors to whom I submitted it literally told me that Asians didn’t read (which surprised the heck out of me and possibly to the billion literate Asians out there) and thus would have no interest. In any case, when I did sell it, despite decent reviews the book sold poorly, so when I eventually got the rights to it back, I laid the book to rest, assuming it would never see the light of day again. Continue reading

SHM Pride Guest Author: Motzie Dapul on Creating the Content I Want to See in the World

We are so excited to have so many new guests to ALBTALBS for Pride month this year! Today author Motzie Dapul joins us with a beautiful post discussing two LGBTQ+ stories she has written. I’m a huge fan of romance and of comics, so when the two are combined you can’t pull me away! Please give Motzie a warm welcome! 

Creating the Content I Want to See in the World

It’s a bit odd to be talking about one’s own work when it comes to Pride, but a lot of great LGBTQ+ stories come from authors who, unable to find the kind of content they want to see in the world, create their own.

Start Here short story anthology edited by Ronald Lim and Brigitte Bautista book cover In the case of my own stories and comics, there was a list I found myself ticking off, of stories I’ve never seen in media, even in LGBTQ+ media, that I decided to create for myself. One of these things was the presence of the lesser known queer identities beyond lesbian and gay, which pushed me into writing a story between a pansexual woman and a non-binary person. Another of these things is something that’s becoming more frequently seen in media lately (in the year of our lord “20GayTeen”) is genre fiction with LGBTQ+ characters.

Which brings me to two of my works, putting F/F and F/NB fiction front and centre: Gorgeous, from the short story anthology Start Here: Short Stories of First Encounters, and BEHKomiks, a Filipino supernatural, urban-fantasy, action comics series centering on Filipino LGBTQ+ characters and their monstrous romantic partners. Continue reading

SHM Pride Guest Author: Alyssa Linn Palmer on Alberta’s GLBTQ2S+ History, and Me

We continue our Pride Month posts by welcoming another first time guest Alyssa Linn Palmer. I’m especially excited to welcome Alyssa because she’s Canadian, as am I, even though I live in the States these days. Welcome, Alyssa, it’s great to have you here!

Alberta’s GLBTQ2S+ History, and Me

Two young children on a tricycle, one on the seat, one on the handlebars

The author before she knew how life would change

There were times when I thought that nothing would ever change.

I knew I was bisexual from quite a young age, but until I was a teenager, I didn’t have the words to articulate it. And even then, given the homophobia prevalent in the early 1990s (the Calgary Pride Parade began in 1990 and some marchers wore paper bags over their heads so they wouldn’t be identified), those words stayed silent inside me. A few very close friends knew, but that was it.

One of the first things I remember about GLBTQ in the news was in 1991, when Alberta teacher Delwin Vriend was fired by a Christian college he worked at, just because he was gay. He tried to take his case to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, but he was turned away because at that time, sexual orientation wasn’t protected under the province’s human rights code. He sued the government and the commission, and won. And then on appeal, because the provincial government was staunchly anti-gay, the appeals court overturned the decision. Vriend took the case to the Supreme Court, and that court finally ruled in 1998 that governments could not exclude people from human rights legislation based on their sexual orientation. This change was “written in” to the province’s human rights legislation at the time. Continue reading

SHM Pride Guest: Adriana Herrera on Who Runs in Your Pride

Adriana Herrera is our second Pride guest for 2018 and a first time guest on ALBTALBS! Adriana is an author and one of the co-founders of the Queer Romance Authors of Color Community Page, an amazing resource for authors and readers alike. If you haven’t visited this website, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so! 

Who Runs in Your Pride?

“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde is one of my role models. She was a queer, black woman, and a poet, and I often look to her writings for comfort. I’ve been thinking about those words a lot in the past few weeks, and how they relate to this month when we celebrate Pride.

So what does that have to do with LGBTQIA+ romance?

In my opinion, a lot.  I love the idea of Pride. That the LGBTQIA+ community has fought and forged for space where we can march and celebrate who we are in our terms. I love that pride means, satisfaction, joy, fulfillment, and how for those of us who at times may have struggled with who we were, we can now we can come to celebrate our community, with pride.  I particularly love that pride is also the word for a pack of lions who run together. There is something so right and beautiful about the image of our community being able to running together, fiercely and proudly. Continue reading

SHM Pride Guest: Tamsen Parker on The Power of the Female Default

Hi friends! I’m super excited to welcome our first Pride guest author of 2018, Tamsen Parker! A new friend to ALBTALBS, so please welcome another first timer with a fabulous post!

The Power of the Female Default: Why I Love F/F Sports Romance

Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Parker Book CoverI went to an all girls high school, and one of the best things about being at an all-female school was that all the resources were devoted to us. Classrooms and the dedication of our teachers, but also both of the gyms, the theater, all of the squash courts and tennis courts, the classrooms, and the weight room were for women. They were women’s spaces that centered women’s effort and accomplishments.

The romance genre is also a space that centers women. As a genre that is written primarily by and for women, it centers the pleasure, agency, and voices of women in a way that most genres do not.

When the worlds of sports and romance combine, it can sometimes be jarring to find most of the books in the popular subgenre of sports romance dominated by male athletes, especially those hitting the tops of the charts. Which perhaps shouldn’t be surprising. The big money sports—both professional and at the college level—feature primarily men. That’s where the money and the media and the fame are weighted. But still… Isn’t this a space for women? Why do so few sports romances feature female athletes? Continue reading

SHM: Pride!

Hello my darlings! You might have questions. Lime! WTF are these letters? And abbreviations? I hope to always have new visitors to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet (ALBTALBS) – and of course old ones. [I SEE YOU, THE FEW LOVELY AMAZING PEOPLE WHO HAVE STUCK WITH ME, IN THIS DYING WORLD OF BLOGGING <3] … That’s literally a whole other topic though that I’m not trying to use to take over this subject.

OK! So! SHM = Smithsonian Heritage Month. Which as I addressed last year isn’t technically a Smithsonian or whatever month but, you know. When it’s important, it’s important.

It’s kind of crazy a little over a decade ago there were arguments in Romanceland whether or not M/M romances (and other LGBTQI+ stories) were romances or not. (Or whether or not erotic romance was romance … which I’m including to more show “yes it’s ridiculous people even tried to make these arguments.”)

ANYWAY! I know there is a very large and very active M/M romance community. One point I see a lot is “why say it’s LGBTQI+ romance if the only ones being discussed are M/M?” and I think that’s extremely valid, so this year I tried to focus on F/F romances, while of course also opening all of SHM to everybody. (As is how we operate.) … Am I even making sense?

I hope you also check out posts from last year, with a number of authors who not only are own voices, but also write a variety of LGBTQI+ romances.

I’m always interested in knowing also – do you have an LGBTQI+ romance authors to recommend? Have a favorite book? Is there an author I should try to have guest?

Thank you for joining us this month, and I hope you discover a number of wonderful new authors to read! <3 (As well as subjects to consider. I know so many of these SHM posts have hit me, and often made me shed a tear.)