Real life is currently extremely busy, due in large part to a madcap deadline we're all chasing at the day job (and regulatory requirements - I'm not going into any kind of detail, but things are a bit frantic at the moment). It's definitely the kind of frantic where a slotted-in free day is necessary to preserve sanity (and catch up with important stuff). My to-do list is a good 40 items long, and people are starting to send me reminders about stuff, so I'm way behind on most of them, too.
Anyway. Writing's so slow you could say it's not happening (no, not even the 500 words "minimum" I've set myself at the start of the year). Real life has swallowed that, too, but I'm pretty optimistic still - the Muse is plotting in the background.
One day, I want to blog at length about women in m/m fiction and reader responses to female characters. (I can use only the women in my stories, since I know them best, and get the responses pretty much directly). I'm not sure today is the day to do it; it's contentious like hell, and actually somewhat disturbing. I do hope I haven't created an "evil ex-wife" - the character that a huge amount of m/m writers seem to fall back onto when they need a villain and a knife-wielding maniac who jumps out of the bushes just as the two male lovers are about to set off into the sunset.
Then, there's Katya of Special Forces, a character who has my readers split about 70:30 in favour of hating her bones. (Amazing that Katya gets off far worse than Vadim, who's objectively committed far worse crimes than she has - and the one thing they did both, Vadim did with intent to kill and actually inflicted some serious injury, too).
I'm not sure how I feel about a number of reviewers hating Donata and wishing her dead so Stefano is free for Silvio. That sounds oddly like a gay relationship is somehow "better" than a heterosexual one - or is the "die, bitch die!" reflex somehow natural and conditioned into readers? Have readers read so many stories where the "old relationship" dies with the death of the previous partner that they expect it? Has it become a trope, a cliche, an expected turn of events, even "the way to do it"? (Yep, several people seem to expect Donata's death in part 5 - far more than those who expect either/or Silvio's or Stefano's death.)
I find that puzzling. As a bisexual writer, the "kill the woman!" reflex feels somewhat disturbing. I've been in love with women - gut-wrenchingly so. My best friends and business partners are women. It's entirely possible that I'll fall in love again with a woman. Just because a person is female doesn't make them "lesser" or "evil" or an "obstacle" in the context of fiction - not even m/m fiction (and how odd that women writers and women readers pour so much hatred out on women... but that ties into a different theory which I want to develop at some point in peace and quiet).
Katya had a number of hardcore haters, too, with people desiring the most gruesome deaths for her; how odd that her racist, rapist, genocidal husband gets off pretty much scott-free. Apparently the worst thing a woman can commit in m/m fiction is to love one of the main characters and have any claims over him.
That is an aspect of m/m fiction I will never understand - and I don't feel much like indulging the "kill the bitch!" reflex. I'm not doing it. I'm not killing any of these strong-hearted, courageous, tough women. Not one.