More and more in my life, I've found myself walking a path toward love. No, not that kind of love you dirty-minded... well, not just that kind.
Ahem. Anyway, love. I've become that friend who you hate to have around when you bitch about things because she always seems to try to find the good in the people you're gossiping about or the other side of the story. That peacenik hippie chick who says, "I know it's so frustrating to get cut off like that, but what if the driver was lost and her GPS was being evil and didn't tell her in advance that she had to exit and she was trying to get to the bedside of her terminally ill grandmother?" (What? I'm a writer. Imagination comes with the job!)
It's not that I've chosen to be the irritating hippie chick that no one wants to talk to, but walking the path of love is a hard one, and it demands it. It demands that I look into the faces of everyone around me, from those I already hold close to me to those who wrong me, hurt me, or simply walk a baffling different path, and find a way to love them, too. Even if they were probably just being a rush-hour asshole. (Okay, I have my moments...)
I take that love with me wherever I go, including into my fictional worlds, not by creating syrupy sweet romances or plotless tales where everyone is just a little too nice to everyone else (I'm going for realism, not utopia), but by finding those things that are outside of myself and embracing them. Once, I was asked by another writer how lesbians have sex. My baffled reply was, "write about people having sex, and just make sure any penises in the room are detachable?" And that is the attitude I try to carry forth into my writing. I don't write about gay men in love. I write about two people in love who both happen to be men.
I create diversity in my fiction and a little extra loving understanding in my heart by trying to respectfully bring to life characters that are outside my personal experience. I have written characters who are people of color, something which I will never be able to experience first-hand. I write about characters of sexualities and genders other than my own, not as fetish objects but as humans first. My trans* characters have been celebrated as nuanced and real—far more than the sum of their parts, pun intended—and I believe that this is because I don't write about trans* people... I write about people. And sometimes, those people are not cis-gendered.
Gift of Self in the Milk & Cookies & Handcuffs anthology from Storm Moon. It was my desire to take one of my personal squicks (needles) and turn it into something erotic that turned into the searing hot Needles, forthcoming in Kinky Couples from Cleis Press.
Hearts of the Hunted, which celebrates women, love, strength, courage, and superpowers (who doesn't love super powers???) And likewise, it was a joy to write A Bargain, a tale of a man and his octopus-merman lover, for the forthcoming Tall, Dark, and Wriggly anthology from Storm Moon. (Yeah, tentacles, another squick for me, but somehow an exciting writerly journey!) I celebrate diversity. I love people. I love the mission that Storm Moon has invited me to join to spread those loves all over the world. And I love you, too. Thanks for reading and for celebrating along with me.
Kathleen Tudor is a writer, and editor who sometimes walks on the wild side. She can be contacted at PolyKathleen@gmail.com, and watch out for news of new releases as well as hot stories on her website, KathleenTudor.com. Her works through Storm Moon Press can be found as both Kathleen Tudor and her alter-ego, D.K. Jernigan.
This post is part of Storm Moon Press' 4th Anniversary Blog Tour! Thank you for joining us, and please take a moment to enter both Kathleen Tudor's giveaway for Hearts of the Hunted as well as our blog-tour-wide giveaway! The prize is receiving an ebook each month from SMP for 12 months! We hope to see you around the Internet and at RainbowCon in 2014! Happy New Year!