Gotta Have Pride June was Pride Month, and while I’m loathe to use Pride to sell stuff — if a queer writer can’t hawk books containing queer characters in the 30 days we even pretend to like queer stuff, then when can I hawk my books?
Book Birthday — Times Two June 1 marked the anniversary of two of my books: my debut Bounty published on June 1, 2015, and one year later, I published Behind the Badge, book three in the series. This month is pivotal in my being an indie author, and I’d appreciate some help in the celebration (even though, yes, June is over).
Pretty…Pretty Good This month, I reviewed two must-reads: The Heartbeat of a Million Dreams by Halo Scot and Dreadknot, book eight in S.E. Anderson’s hilarious Starstruck series. They’re both five-star books, and you should have them on your shelf. Or e-reader.
Writers are People, and Sometimes, People Suck I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone, but maybe in light of everything we now know about people like Joss Whedon and J.K. Rowling, maybe it’s time we stop putting creative people up on pedestals.
Like, buy my books, read my books, enjoy my books. But don’t make me out to be anything more than a good writer.
Okay, book TikTok, what do you all do for content? Cause…I got nuthin’. 🤷♂️😬 #WritingCommunity
— J.D. Cunegan – BLACK LIVES MATTER 🏳️🌈🏁 (@JD_Cunegan) June 27, 2022
Far be it for me to be all “buy stuff!” during Pride Month. Because there are far too many companies out there who just make their logo all rainbow-fied on June 1 and pander their asses off to get the less straight among us to part with our money.
But then I remembered…duh, I’m LBGT myself! I oscillate between bisexual and pansexual, and there are times when I consider myself asexual as well (because sexuality is fluid and frustrating and occasionally stupid)…to say nothing of all the LGBT representation I have in my books. So, if I can’t hawk my wares during Pride Month, when can I?
Below is a breakdown of the LGBT rep in my books (both my current library and one of my WIPs). Note that for the most part, I don’t write LGBT stories (as in, my characters’ queerness is not the story itself). Those stories are important and have a place, but it’s also important to write stories in which LGBT characters simply exist. Because that reflects real life. LGBT people exist.
Jill Andersen Series My police procedural/superhero series features multiple LGBT characters, starting with protagonist Jill Andersen. The war veteran/homicide cop/superhero is also decidedly ace, and I make that point explicitly clear on multiple occasions (because representation doesn’t count if it’s simply hinted at or thrown in after the fact–right, JK?).
There is also M/M romance in the series, between Ramon and Jorge; they’re engaged when the series starts, and in Behind the Mask (book four), they get married. I’ll never be confused for the romantic sort, but it’s important to show queer relationships that just…exist. See two paragraphs up for a refresher.
In Behind the Mask (book three), I introduced Mitch, an open trans woman. I won’t say too much more here, because that would venture into spoiler territory, but rest assured that Mitch has a huge role in Bitter End (book six, coming soon), where her story undergoes a massive shift.
Notna Dr. Jack Corbett, the protagonist of Notna (or…co-protagonist, depending on your point of view), is a bisexual Black man. Though his sexuality has no bearing on the story, and his bisexuality is only referenced once in a humorous way, I felt it important that there be a bi male presence, particularly one who isn’t white. Because too often, bi means white and female and cis (it seems like to some, a character’s queerness is only viewed through the lens of a heterosexual man’s lustful gaze…but that’s a different essay for a different day).
Also…yes, Jack is in a romantic relationship with a cis woman. He’s still bi.
Summertime, Assassins, and Other Skullduggeries (in-progress) The closest thing I’ll probably ever write to a true love story, protagonist Summer Rhoades and sometimes-antagonist Lola Haskins are assassins. And lesbians. And former lovers. In fact, the last time they saw each other, it was at gunpoint and there’s a ton of angst there. But in a way, things develop into a will-they-or-won’t-they-(again) kind of back-and-forth as the book progresses and as Summer tries to keep from dying.
And hey, if you like HEAs (Happily Ever After, for the uninitiated)…this might be your book. Because I typically don’t do HEAs. But for this book, I’ll make an exception. Because honestly, aren’t we all tired of seeing queer romance that ends with one person dead? Especially if they’re lesbians?
(Glaring at you, The 100 and Atomic Blonde and too many other examples to count…)
About J.D. Cunegan J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books and art, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.