Hello and happy Wednesday! My friend and fellow author Barbara Winkes is with us today. She has a new book out, The Interpretation of Love and the Truth. To celebrate, she’s giving away an ebook copy. To enter the drawing, simply leave a comment below. I’ll draw the winner this Friday, February 6.What an excellent Valentine’s present for someone, huh? And they chose to live Happily Ever After… by Barbara Winkes With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s a good time for this confession: I love happy endings, especially in lesbian fiction. There have been victories for marriage equality in several countries and states within a relatively short time, and those real life events reflect back on fiction, offer new storylines and possibilities. There are also warning voices, saying that we are focusing too much on marriage, that women are tricked by the idea of romantic love, and asking why can’t a single woman be happy? I believe choice makes all the difference: Marriage is a powerful archetype that, in my opinion, doesn’t belong to straight people alone, but to all humans. In real life, and in fiction. There are many other issues to tackle for our community, but every win in this one issue is meaningful, and it doesn’t mean that we forget all the others in favor married bliss. Yes, patriarchy has taunted and tricked women with its concept of love and romance, but it’s up to us to make ourselves aware, sort out what love means to us beyond patriarchy’s rigid ideas of gender roles. There’s a lot of good that will remain. I’m aware that many married LGBT couples have pragmatic issues on their mind as well, but without the binding emotion, why would we even care or stay together? In telling stories, we can pinpoint where we are now, a snapshot of the present. Contrary to the accusations from anti-gay groups and individuals, the goal was never to redefine marriage either, but to affirm a definition of marriage in which both partners are equal—no matter their gender. Straight allies, who are aware that no same-sex marriage in the world will have any impact on their relationship, usually reject the patriarchal definition as well. Wanting to be married is not the same as wanting to be straight, or “under the radar”. And of course single persons, LGBT or straight, can be happy. I just often feel that we have to catch up still: Straight women have been told they can’t be happy without a man—to see Angelina Jolie’s character in Taking Lives, or Sandra Bullock’s in Murder By Numbers without the obligatory male love interest, makes so much sense. However, lesbian, bi and transgender women have been told for a long time (and it continues today) that their love stories don’t matter, that they aren’t real. This might be only my opinion, but I’ll need a lot more HEAs, dramas and romantic comedies before I’m willing to give up one or two. It all comes back to choice, in determining your own life–and in having enough books to read. Happy Valentine’s Day and lots of love! There is enough for everyone.