Annabeth Albert on Diversity in Military Romance
We love Annabeth Albert's Out of Uniform series — the covers alone! — and when she offered to come on the RT blog to share her favorite diverse military romances, well, we obviously wanted to know more! Her latest, Wheels Up, will be out next week. In the meantime, prepare your TBR list! Take it away, Annabeth.
Ever since I started reading romance as a teenager, I’ve always loved military romance. I love the uniforms, the heroism, the loyalty and selflessness. I started with the paperback category romances featuring dashing soldiers and branched out into longer standalone romantic suspense and contemporary romance titles. But it wasn’t until 2006 when I read Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series and met the iconic character of Jules, an FBI agent who is openly gay and who gets his own HEA later in the series that my eyes were opened to the possibility of more diversity within the military romance subgenre. Brockmann is probably my biggest influence, and I loved how she brought in main characters of differing ethnicities, sexualities and physical and mental challenges. In the coming years, I started seeking out more and more military romance, especially diverse titles and discovered amazing writers like LA Witt and SE Jakes.
A decade later, when I set out to write my Out of Uniform series, I knew that I wanted to reflect the current state of military life post-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and post-9/11. We have service people of differing sexualities, gender identities and ethnic backgrounds, and telling their stories matters. I wanted to reflect the challenges and triumphs of family life and service for our LGBTQ service people, and I love finding other titles that also do that. Military romance is such an amazing subgenre because you have the intrinsic heroism of the heroes and heroines, combined with the high stakes and high passion. As a reader, I love both the more suspenseful military romance titles where lives are on the line and the quieter titles where military characters are dealing with challenges on the homefront or as they readjust to civilian life.
Here are a few of my favorite LGBTQ+ military romances (Note: I tried to include as wide a selection as I could across the rainbow. I’d especially love to see more trans, ace, and female/female representation in military romance):
"When Tony Met Adam," Suzanne Brockmann. I loved Jules and Robin’s storyline so much, but Tony and Adam’s short novella is utterly delightful and is something I’ve re-read probably a dozen times. And it stands alone super well—the perfect afternoon treat!
LA Witt’s Anchor Point series — LA Witt is probably the biggest name in LGBTQ military romance and with good reason. This series from Riptide features a wide range of pairings and military jobs. I also love all her backlist including General Misconduct and her Skin Deep series, which pairs Navy heroes with tattoo artist co-heroes and features great bisexual representation as well.
SE Jake’s entire backlist — Very worthy of inclusion on this list. I particularly enjoyed the Men of Honor series.
Night Call by Radclyffe —This and Radclyffe’s Honor series were the first f/f romantic suspense titles I read, and I adore the strong women at the heart of these books.
Megan O’Brien’s Battle Scars — This is another fabulous f/f romance with a military heroine and a great coming-home plotline with really realistic PTSD discussion.
Change of Address by Jordan S. Brock — I read this in a single sitting recently. Great PTSD and brain injury characterization, and the abundant food depictions made me super hungry. Bisexual co-hero too!
AM Arthur’s Fractured Hymns — This is a really lovely, angst-filled romance featuring a former military hero searching for his place in the world following an accident.
Semper Fi by Keira Andrews — Historical military m/m is like the holy grail for me and this book absolutely delivered with a heart-rending tale that managed to pull off a very uplifting resolution.
The Farther He Runs by Lynda Aicher — I love the whole Kick series and this book, which stands alone well, features two marine brothers at arms who have been harboring secret feelings for years.
Chaos Station by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen — Finally, we have the future of military romance—sci fi military romance—and this series has it all: action, passion, great world building.
I know my list is probably missing some very beloved titles—if you’ve got favorites, please share in the comments!
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