Hi, I am Andi Lea, a gender studies scholar, LGBTQ activist, and an author of LGBTQ fiction. Many thanks to Amanda Young for giving me this opportunity to share a project I am collaborating on with fellow authors West Thornhill and Amanda Corlies.
As fans of adult male/male and LBGTQ romance it’s not too hard to find something to read. A little internet browsing and some research will net quite a big catch. So, where do our teens and young adults go to find LGBTQ fiction? We’ve all read about authors who have had to make changes to their young adult LGBTQ couples to fit a mainstream audience. We’ve all been dismayed at the lack of HEA’s and HFN’s for those young adult characters. And, no doubt, we all agree it’s frustrating.
The audience is out there, seeking any nugget of young adult LGBTQ fiction available. Those nuggets are few and far between, and often relegated to secondary characters who never achieve a happily anything. All too often, mainstream stories are heavy with issues and lack the romantic escapism that the adult genres offer.
Several independent authors and small publishers are doing what they can to fill that young adult LGBTQ romance niche. As the parent of a queer young adult, my experience in helping locate those books has required patience and a great deal of searching. In the last two years or so, finding those books has become less of a challenge, and I am relieved. Finally, my young adult is finding HEA’s and HFN’s, but there is room for more, a lot more.
Last year, a group of collaborators worked for many months to develop a continuing online serial, focused on LGBTQIA couples. Born from those early discussions is the free web series, The Ravens Crossing. Months of planning, story development, website building, and volunteer hours have brought this project to the internet. There is a solid cast of main characters and a supporting cast of secondary characters. The Ravens Crossing is set in a fictional neighborhood in Iowa City, IA. Placement of the fictional suburb was crucial to the overall mission of promoting a positive, diverse community.
The Ravens Crossing (TRC) has partnered with YA LGBT Books at Goodreads, offering behind the scenes peeks of the series and exclusive members only content. The Ravens Crossing is also a supporter of The Make it Safe Project which provides YA LGBTQ books to school libraries and community centers who do not have the funds or support for purchasing YA LGBTQ literature.
TRC launched in February 2012 and is reaching out to the LGBT community to raise awareness and help spread the word about YA fiction that is diverse and accepting. Everyone working on the project donates their time and effort. We have a variety of ages involved in the project, from high school kids to concerned adults, and parents.
Currently, new stories post six days a week, Monday through Saturday. The stories are written flash fiction style of 1,000 words or less. Each story line can stand alone and also works within the overall continuity of TRC universe. The first season of TRC runs through July 7, 2012. On Sundays we post teasers, upcoming events, and eventually we would like to interview/profile other YA LGBTQ authors. We have several related projects in development as the site continues to grow and gain an audience. We will also be offering college internships in the fall of 2012 to students who are interested in gaining experience in social justice, gender studies, website development, marketing, or editing.
We are reaching out to our peers to spread the word among their own communities. If you or someone you know might be interested in getting involved, please contact us at theravenscrossing dot gmail dot com. Or use our contact form on The Ravens Crossing website. We are looking for feedback, YA LGBTQ authors to interview, and news of interest to the YA LGBTQ community. And we are more than happy to answer any questions or address any concerns.
Visit TRC and learn more: