05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Saturday, April 30, 2016


I've been writing m/m erotic romance professionally for 16 years. I've seen a lot of changes in the romance community and publishing industry over that time. Most have been for the better; some were a long time coming, and others were not so good.  
My name is Laura Baumbach. I'm a life-long reader, a published romance author for sixteen years, and a publisher celebrating a successful decade in the romance business. 
At one point, my writing was published by six different romance epublishers with many of the titles put out in print from them as well. I've enjoyed a varied and exciting career that eventually led me to start my press, ManLove RomancePress aka MLR Press. We publish over 120 authors and have an editing staff of over thirty people, formatting department, social networking director, and a roster of talented artists for cover art.

It wasn't easy getting to the place I am today.  Fifteen years ago I started out fighting to break down of barriers that prevented m/m erotic romance from being even considered a part of the romance community. In the early days, I and others like me fought for equality within the community especially where contests and reviews were concerned.
We joined RWA, participated in the community, attended conferences – where we weren't always welcome, working from within to achieve real change. We paid the price of everything from public humiliation to personal snubbing. But we continued our labors.
Our hard-won success is measured by how accepted m/m erotic romance is today. How easily the newer writers to this category of romance take for granted that reviews are theirs for the asking, that entrance and winning of romance chapter writing contests, or entry into the RITAS, like their counterparts in heterosexual romance, is their expected right. They neither know nor care that those things were not available to others in this field a decade ago. They reap the fruits of previous m/m authors labors and pain without knowledge of the cost.
It's the way of the world. The new rarely appreciate the old.
But now it is time for the new to help carry the torch for m/m romance. To continue to assure equality and acceptance for their category of romance as a community united. Or to pick that torch up when it gets dropped. When discord and bickering split a community into fractions.

Let us never lose sight of the goal of every romance author writing commercial fiction for their readers. We write about love, romance, and happily-ever-afters. We need to bring that rush of effervescent emotion to our readers, to brighten their world for a few hours, and to give them characters to take to their dreams at night.

I like to think we are here to spread a little magic into the world. And if we, as m/m romance authors, manage to make a positive impact on increasing acceptance and tolerance of one another (no matter what letter of the alphabet represents our true selves) in the process, then I'm pretty sure I have the best damn job in the world.  ~ Laura

BIO: Laura Baumbach, Author, Owner/Publisher -- Laura is a graduate of Santa Ana College, Santa Ana, CA with a degree in Nursing. For thirty-four years she specialized in critical care and emergency trauma nursing. Now retired, Laura devotes herself full time to publishing and writing. She honed her business and people management skills as a hospital department head and supervisor which she puts to good use in the publishing industry. MLR Press was founded in January of 2007.

Laura is also a Romancing the Genres Alumnus. We are honored to have her back as a guest.


Sarah Raplee said...

"Let us never lose sight of the goal of every romance author writing commercial fiction for their readers. We write about love, romance, and happily-ever-afters."

Well said! It's wonderful to have you back for a visit, Laura!

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Thanks for being a pioneer, Laura.

Laura Baumbach said...

Thanks, Lynn and Sarah. It was great to drop by and thank you for allowng me to be a part of the celebration.

Judith Ashley said...

Laura, so glad you could guest with us while we celebrated LGBTQ romance! And, you are quite correct about the newer writers of today having no idea what you and the other trailblazers of M/M romance went through to create a paved path. I find that true in many other areas of our modern world. My granddaughters, for example, take many, many, many things for granted that weren't even an option for me 50 years ago. On the one hand, I'm grateful they don't have that struggle - on the other hand I worry that they won't or don't see the possibility of erosion to those gains.

Laura Baumbach said...

Judith, you are right. I fear things will backslide if authors don't stay aware of the climate. And I want them to understand how important it is for them to write for their readers. Our readers are our backbone and our end game. Our work is nothing without someone to read, share and enjoy it.

B. A. Binns said...

Hi Laura, nice to hear from you again. (BTW, I'm still hoping to see that Mexican Heat sequel someday.)