Category: author

Interview: RoAnna Sylver

Today we’re joined by RoAnna Sylver, RoAnna is a phenomenal author, who has authored such books as Chameleon Moon and Stake Sauce. One is a hopeful dystopia involving superheroes and the other involves punk vampires, which sounds awesome. When they’re not writing, RoAnna enjoys visual art and does a lot of digital painting. They have painted most of their own cover art and hope to get into coloring work for comics, including webcomics. It’s clear they’re an incredibly passionate artist with a great drive, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

Hi there! So, most people probably know me by my writing; I
write the Chameleon Moon and Stake Sauce series,
hopeful-superhero-dystopian and queer-punk-vampire books, respectively. But I’m
also an artist, I design and paint the majority of my own covers, and I’d
really like to talk more about visual art for a change.

I love digital painting, and find (most of it) really
relaxing and soothing, which is very helpful for when my brain goes into
nonverbal mode or I’m just feeling burnt out on talking/writing. Which is
pretty often.

I’m definitely going to continue painting my own book covers
for as long as I can, and have done commissions for a few people too. I love
them, and keep meaning to do more. I’d also love to get some work as a colorist
for comics (including webcomics) because I find coloring especially relaxing
(and I’m good at it darn it!).

One other cool thing, on the subject of ace stuff
specifically, I recently had a journal-type article Thing published in The Asexual, about how important
representation in mainstream stuff is (and how much I love Todd Chavez from Bojack Horseman). So check that out if
you’d like!

What inspires you?

So much. Music, bits of conversation I overhear, people just
living their lives. But most of all I think is reading or watching movies and
seeing what I’d do differently. Usually, that means “less marginalized people
die, and more get to be the heroes.” If that sounds like fix-fic, that’s
because it is! I used to write so much fanfiction before I started my own
stuff. I STILL DO, but I also used to. (Thanks, Mitch Hedberg!)

Honestly, I hate when people crap on fanworks so much, both
art and writing, because not only are they a great starting point (I’ve written
more than one thing as essentially fanfiction AUs. I doubt anyone will ever
guess which~), but they’re entirely valid works on their own. And they inspire
the hell out of me, both writing my own and reading others’.

Also, it’s not as popular to say, but… spite is a hell of
a motivator. Wanting to prove people wrong who’ve said I can’t do something, or
people like me (queer, disabled, etc.) don’t belong in publishing/the art
industry/life. Knowing bigoted assholes hate what I’m doing is an incredible
accelerant. Just warms the cockles of my heart, it does.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I joke that I just have a lot of emotions and I need
different ways of letting them out—writing, drawing, singing—or I’ll explode.
And I’m actually only about 30% joking about that, really. I am blessed/cursed
with glorious and overwhelming feels, and if I don’t have an outlet for them, I
tend to get paralyzed with…over-feeling. I need to express them like releasing
internal pressure with a steam valve.

Unfortunately, I also tend to go nonverbal on a pretty
regular basis from any number of reasons (illness flares, pain, various brain
weird nonsense) so sometimes I’m physically incapable of writing. But I still
have emotion I need to express, or else the pressure just builds up anyway. It
doesn’t care that I don’t have words. That’s when the drawing or singing comes
in—when writing brain shuts down, art or music brain takes over.

So yeah I guess I have always wanted, and needed, to
be an artist.

I used to be a much more physical one, though. I have a
degree in dramatic performance and used to do a ton of musical theatre. Nothing
comes close to being on stage, and I was convinced that was it for me, that was
why I was here and what I was supposed to do with my life. But then I got hit
with several debilitating health conditions at once, and never really
recovered. I haven’t been on stage in years, and probably will never again. But
that’s okay. I still have writing and art, and on an extremely good day,
music. Expression is still the most important thing in my life. Without it, I
wouldn’t have one.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

For my writing, the Themes are definitely found family,
queer and disabled people kicking ass, and trauma healing… the ‘secret
symbols’ tend to be really nerdy references. Usually Star Trek and/or Greek myth. Go figure.

For art, I don’t really have a watermark or anything, though
I’ll usually sign a major work. Trademark-wise though, I love the idea of
making digital art look as traditional as possible, so if you look at something
and think it’s an actual watercolor and not a digital one, I’ve done my job
right~

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

For commissions, figure out about how long it takes you to
do a thing. Timing yourself/logging time is good. Then find out the minimum
wage for your state and charge *at least* that per hour.

I saw a really good tweet a while ago saying you should
charge at least 3x minimum wage for commissioned art, because 1) it’s your time
and energy, 2) art is a specialized skill that you’re applying to this
individual request, not a standard product, and 3) you’re your own boss here
and paying for your own materials/food/life.

I don’t know if I could ever do that, but I’m sticking to At
Least Minimum Wage for myself. I still feel a lot of guilt (as I do asking for
money ever even if I’ve worked for it) but honestly, selling your stuff for
super cheap really does devalue the whole market and cheats both you and other
artists out of hard earned cash. I know it’s different when you’re just
starting out and trying to get established, but really, once you are… your
efforts are worth so much more than the bare minimum, but that’s a place
to start.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Biromantic ace, and definitely on the aro spectrum too. It
took me a long time to figure this out, in all its
maybe-seemingly-contradictory glory. I’ve never really experienced sexual
attraction to a (real) person. (“Real” because there are some fictional
characters who could get ittttt) But I’m romantically attracted to women,
agender, and nonbinary people… but like I said, definitely aro-spec too, so
this happens much less than you’d think. Polyamorous too; I have queerplatonic
partners as well as one romo partner~

In short, “potentially attracted to a lot of people on
paper, but not in practice!”  It’s one of
those “sounds very complicated, is actually very simple” things. Except for
when it actually is very complicated. (What the hell is attraction? I don’t
know it.)

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

…Never so much as during Pride Month. It’s really sad, but
entirely true. Usually I manage to stay away from the Ace Discourse and keep it
to a dull roar in the background of my life, but whenever the spotlight is on
The Queer Community in general, that ugly particular head rears once again, and
it’s very hard to avoid.

But there’s social media Discourse (harmful on its own) and
then there’s creative field prejudice or ignorance, and that’s arguably even
more annoying and damaging. Luckily, most of mine has been confined to the
occasional shitty comment about my work. I generally don’t read reviews, but
sometimes someone will point one out to me that’s particularly… not bad in a
‘didn’t like the book’ sense (I don’t care about those, for real), but a ‘wow,
this is a dangerous and bigoted viewpoint actually.’

When people “can’t relate” to asexual (and aromantic, and
neurodivergent, disabled, any other marginalization) characters, that tells me
right there that I’m not going to be able to trust them. If someone slams a
book or marginalized character for displaying characteristics of their
marginalization (mentally ill people will act mentally ill; ace people will act
ace), and dislike them specifically for what makes them them… that’s a Red
Flag right there.

I don’t really “handle” that. I don’t comment (and you
shouldn’t either, ever), but I take notice of who said the bigoted thing, and
remember. Then I keep writing.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Oh lord, the aro/ace conflation thing. Where people think
“asexual” means “aromantic,” and “aromantic” means “what is that, I don’t know
what that is, how is that even a thing.” You can absolutely be asexual without
being aro, or aro without ace, or a blend of the two that fluctuates over time
and you have no interest in categorizing.

The most common individual misconceptions are definitely the
“unfeeling, inhuman, dead/lifeless, passionless, robotic, forever alone” ones,
because surely it’s romantic love and sex that makes us human, not anything
else. Nope, that’s it, that’s the most important “universal” experience. Ever
notice how it’s usually the same people who scream “don’t reduce our identities
to one thing/define us by that!” Who then go on to do exactly that for others?
There’s a lot of TERF overlap here too.

I have to say though, the special poison aimed at allo
aromantic people is really something else; apparently just by being sexually
but not romantically attracted to someone, you’re a horrible abuser/predator.
(This is, of course, not true, and there are such things as attractions and
bonds that are not romantic. The small-minded tunnel vision is exhausting.)

So yeah, there’s a lot, and I have absolutely no interest in
getting involved in Discourse of any kind anymore. No spoons left for that at
all.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

There’s nothing wrong with you, first off. You might feel
like there is, and people might decide to be gigantic asshats and say that
there is, but there isn’t. There isn’t, regardless of how you end up identifying,
even if that’s not ace at all. Try different identities out like clothes until
you find one that fits. If none do, keep trying, or throw them out. It’s your
“body,” and your identity and life. Use what serves you and makes you happy,
not what someone else wants you to.

You’ll know when it’s right. When I finally hit on exactly
what my gender and attraction type was, it felt like releasing every clenched
muscle all at once. My constant, constant anxiety was silent for once,
the panic in my head finally shut up. It was the absence of
strain and exhaustion and tension and fear that was shocking. I hope it feels
like that for you. The cessation of pain is a hell of a drug, and we don’t get
it nearly enough.

Also, you’re totally queer if you want to be. If someone
says you aren’t because you’re ace or aro, that person is not your friend. You
don’t HAVE to identify as queer, the way some nonbinary people don’t identify
as transgender, but you absolutely can, and screw anyone who says otherwise.
(Or don’t. Especially if you’re sex-repulsed. *weak rimshot*)

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I have an Artstation portfolio over here (if you need a
colorist and/or inker, talk to me!) – https://www.artstation.com/roannasylver

All of my books are on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/RoAnna-Sylver/e/B00OI321DO

And most are available through other places like B&N and
Kobo, which you can find at their universal links at my Draft2Digital page – https://books2read.com/ap/RWk0PR/RoAnna-Sylver

But by far the best place to support me is my Patreon. For
as little as $1 a month, you can get Tons of Chameleon
Moon
bonus content—advance
stories, art, lots of stuff—and exclusive looks at what I’m doing next (Like my
upcoming interactive fiction portal-fantasy romance, Dawnfall for Choice of Games)!
And also make me a little more secure as a disabled creator. patreon.com/RoAnnaSylver

Stake Sauce/Death Masquerade also
has one over here, for if you enjoy monthly fiction about queer vampires! patreon.com/ModulatingFrequencies

Also, if you want to say hi on Twitter, I’m at RoAnnaSylver!

Thank you, RoAnna, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Isis E. Prosser

Today we’re joined by Isis E. Prosser. Isis is a phenomenal writer and jewelry maker who I met at Indy PopCon. I was blown away by the gorgeous jewelry she made and then she told me about the web novel she was working on entitled Lamenting City (chapters are posted on her main blog: https://lairofthestormdragon.com/). Not only does it sound positively fascinating, but it’s an ownvoices work. The main character of the series is an ace lesbian named Axel and there are also two minor asexual characters. I highly recommend checking it out. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a writer and a jewelry maker. When it comes to my
writing, I tend to focus on humour and emotions, lots of humour and emotions.
Sometimes I write purely humourous stories and sometimes I write purely
emotional (whether angsty or uplifting) stories. Longer stories tend to swing
between both extremes and I like to think the more I write, the better I become
at blending the two together. I write a mix of fanfiction and original stuff,
and I’m also not the greatest at updating either in a timely fashion (sorry!),
but I am trying and getting better at that.

My jewelry is something I also do with my mom (she’s my
teacher!) and currently I’m focusing on Pride jewelry and fandom jewelry
(currently, Harry Potter-inspired
pieces with some My Little Pony:
Friendship is Magic
-inspired pieces coming…. eventually). I’m very new to
this craft.

In the future I’d like to make video games, too. I’ve
written scenarios/concepts and dabbled a little in RPG Maker over the years,
but haven’t yet finished a thing. Maybe one day soon I’ll have something to
show. In the meantime it’s likely the characters of those ideas will be
introduced in short stories or novels.

I’m very passionate about storytelling in general.

What inspires you?

Many, many things! From real life experiences to other
fiction, and to the beauty of the natural world and that of architecture, as
well as mythology (Egyptian mythology is my fave). I’ve also been inspired by vivid
dreams I’ve had. And my inspirations tend to shine through in my work, whether
original or fanfiction. For example, my current web novel project, Lamenting City, was initially inspired
by a dream I had that came about when I was marathoning every Zoids anime with a friend. The dream
introduced me to Axel and offered a tantalizing glimpse of her world, and
afterwards I knew I had to write it. And often times I’ll have scenes or entire
stories inspired by music I listen to.

When it comes to jewelry, I tend to find inspiration looking
at gemstones or browsing jewelry supply shops. Sometimes I also get inspiration
from media, hence the Harry Potter bracelets.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve wanted to be writer for as long as I can remember. I’m
not entirely sure where it started, but I know it did start in some form with
kid me’s obsession with Beatrix Potter’s stories and later stuff like OT Star Wars and Disney’s Gargoyles. I would also read a lot and
then read some more, and the more I read, the more I wanted to write.

As time went on, I also noticed more and more that there
weren’t a lot of characters like me in fiction. There weren’t a lot of diverse
characters and author voices in general. So, a lot of my writing is me creating
the stories and characters I wanted to see, and to give myself a voice.

With jewelry, I played around with plastic beads as a child
but then the hobby faded for many years. Earlier this year I got interested in
it again after looking at pride jewelry and deciding I could make the types of
bracelets I wanted… and then a lightbulb turned on and I realized that, hey, if
I wanted jewelry like this, other LGBTQIANP+ folks might want it, too. And then
my love for fandom made me start slowly getting into making fandom jewelry as
well.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

Well, looking at my writing as of 2015, dream and nightmare sequences seem to be a pretty
big thing. They appeared in my (currently unposted) Metroid fic that I wrote
for my first NaNoWriMo (2015), appeared again in my Camp NaNoWriMo project, a Legend of Spyro fanfic (I haven’t yet
posted the chapter with the first dream sequence however), and then they’ve
appeared in every NaNo project since…

I find dream and nightmare sequences really fun to write.
They’re a good way to explore the character’s mind without having to worry
about realism or even my own canon.

In general, I like to use dreams/nightmares to introduce
concepts and foreshadowing in ways that (hopefully) aren’t immediately obvious.

With my jewelry, it’s a bit hard to say since it’s all so
new to me. But I like to add a touch of whimsy to everything I create!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

To not be discouraged, and to get your art out there. It can
be very daunting, yeah, I’ve been there (and in many ways still am), but your
voice is needed. Perhaps some people won’t get your story, but for the people
who do, it could mean the world.

Understand that you have room to grow, but to also be you.
Improve and become the best you.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Homoromantic/demiromantic asexual. Also sex-repulsed.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

More times than I’d like to count, especially offline. I try
to clarify things for people who simply don’t know, but find it’s easier on my
mental health to avoid actually prejudiced people who are unlikely to change
their mind. Sometimes both of those things are easier said than done.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The most common seem to be “Asexuals are incapable of love
in any form” and “Asexuals can’t have sex/be sex positive”. Trying to correct
either misconception isn’t usually a fun time for me, especially the latter
(where being a sex-repulsed ace with no intention of having sex gets thrown
back in my face as if it’s some kind of gotcha).

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

That you’re not broken, and that you’re ace enough.  You’re loveable and amazing as you are, and
there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

My main home of operation is on my website/blog: https://lairofthestormdragon.com/

There I post short stories, chapters of Lamenting City, and blog posts where I yell about video games and
music.

And while there’s not as much content as I’d like (I’m
working on it!), you can find my newer fanfiction on AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/MetroidReploid/profile

I will be updating my Legend
of Spyro
fic (well, the first one) soon and will be adding a Metroid fic and a Star Wars fic at some point this year. I like many fandoms!

And you can check out my jewelry here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StormDragonsWares

More designs coming soon!

Thank you, Isis, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Sayle Owen

Today we’re joined by Sayle (pronounced
Say-lee) Owen. Sayle is a phenomenal author who is just starting out. She has already accomplished quite a lot. Sayle has won several awards and has completed two novels and two novellas. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate author with a very bright future ahead of her, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My “art” is the words, specifically in English. Currently,
I’ve got several Scholastic Awards to my name (three of them Silver Keys), and
have completed four (with a fifth to be finished by July) books, three novellas
and two full-length novels. The two novels are called Elemental and Tamer,
132,000 and 51,000 words respectively. The two complete novellas, The Vanished Princesses and The Silver Flame, are both around 20,000
words. The fifth book, a novella, is not yet complete and nameless, but I
estimate it will also be around 20,000 words. All of those books (in addition
to lots of other uncompleted ones) are part of one extended universe I call the
Elemental Spiral (with Elemental and
its sequel being the main series and the other books being side stories). And
since this interview is about Ace creators, I feel it appropriate to mention
that the two lead protagonists of Elemental,
Selene and Klaus, are both ace themselves (though I didn’t realize that until
over a year after it was finished, as I discovered my own aceness after it was
completed and it wasn’t until I was editing Elemental
I realized it. Additionally, I’ve written a handful of short stories and poetry
that I’m willing to share.

What inspires you?

The entire world around me. Literally, anything I see, hear,
or do may become a part of a story. But specifically, Tamora Peirce is
literally my writing hero. She is a goddess among writers and I adore her work
to no end (and may or may not own every book she’s ever written).

What got you interested
in your field?  Have you always wanted to
be an artist?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since second grade, when I first
read the Harry Potter series.
However, it wasn’t until my freshman year of high school (after discovering
Tamora Peirce, with the addition of having the most amazing Honors English
teacher) that I became serious about my desire to be an author by actually
starting to write. My draw to it is a couple of reasons. Mainly, I love
creating something that is different from my reality. Being able to control the
details (control being used loosely, as characters really do have a mind of
their own) and craft stories to entertain others (and myself) is such a
wonderful feeling.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I honestly work with a lot of color symbolism in Elemental, specifically with the colors
of silver, gold, and other colors like bronze, copper, and violet. I do have
one symbol, a specific kind of six-pointed star (with a very set pattern to
create it) where each point has a certain element it represents—air, water,
fire, earth, spirit, and soul. Additionally, I like working with different
kinds of magic within my universe of the Elemental Spiral.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It won’t be easy. There will be times when you can crank out
thing after thing and then it will be followed by a month of inactivity. But
don’t give up. If you’ve got a lot of WIPs, choose the one that is most
important and stick with it. Sure, start other things to get them out of your
head, but keep going back to the one. There’s very little that is more
satisfying than finishing something that took you two and a half years to complete
(*cough*Elemental*cough*). It’s so
worth it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

As far as I can tell, 100% ace. Not necessarily repulsed,
but just totally not interested. Of course, I could be grey-ace, but I’ve never
found a guy who would make that come to light. So until then, if it ever
happens, I’m Ace to the max.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

My dad and stepmother don’t believe it’s a thing, and the
few times I’ve tried to bring it up its lead to long conversations (read: them
talking at me) about how it’s natural to have a sex drive and how I shouldn’t
be emotionally cutting myself off and whatnot. But I just stopped bringing it
up. It’s not like being ace really affects anything (not that I’m straight,
highly religious, conservative, that fact that I love writing) other than
making me come off as more mature than other people my age. I’m comfortable in
my asexuality, and my parents (though my mom does know and just doesn’t care
much) not believing it’s real or of the devil or whatever doesn’t really change
that. It’s all about having confidence that you know yourself better than
anyone else.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

People seem to keep confusing it with Aromantisicm. Like, I
can still feel plenty of emotional/romantic attraction, but I have to explain
the difference between love and lust a lot. Like dude, I’m ace, not aro.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Don’t feel obligated. You are the one who decides what your
orientation is. In the long run, the only reason it matters is so you can feel
more comfortable with yourself. For me, I discovered that I was ace literally
the day before my senior year of high school (Labor Day 2017). I heard someone
talking about it and (writer that I am) decided to research it. Suddenly, a lot
of things about myself made sense—how I thought/acted growing up, the lack of
caring about sex most teens seem to think about, etc. It’s not an obligation to
figure it out. Sure, it’s nice having a name for things, but if you think
you’re ace or not, it’s up to you.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

Unfortunately, I don’t have anything truly published yet (I
want to complete more of the Elemental
Spiral
before I try and publish it), I do have a website. It’s a portfolio
thing I made for freshman Honors English and have kept up since then. Please
note that it does need a pretty major redo in design for my things from last
year, but a good majority of my stuff (school English portfolios, a list of my
scholastic award winning pieces), save things from the Elemental Spiral, can be found there. Hopefully, I’ll get the Elemental Spiral published…eventually. http://sayleowen.wixsite.com/writing-portfolio.

Thank you, Sayle, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Chimney

Today we’re joined by Chimney. Chimney is a wonderful poet from Germany. He writes mostly for a hobby and his poetry tends to focus on emotions. Chimney mainly writes in German though he has translated some of his poetry into English. It’s clear he’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am a writer and
poet. I write a lot of poems about love and being heartbroken by love, but also
other stuff. In my writings I concentrate a lot on the emotional side, like how
the characters feel, why they feel that way. I want the reader to understand my
characters and feel with them. I really want to have this transparency in my
stories and poems.

My poems
especially are very personal. And I try to throw as much emotions and pain as
possible in them, that’s why it often hurts
to read them, because their pure emotions.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by
a lot of stuff, actually. Obviously I get inspired by real life experiences,
but music is one of those things that inspires and influences me the most. When
I listen to songs there are always popping up some lines and ideas in my head.
But I also get inspired by other people or artist who achieved something in
their life. Seeing them getting from bottom to almost the top inspires me and
gives me the courage to try my best. And even if I don’t made it there will be
always people who I can inspire and that’s it what keeps me going forward.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

Honestly at first
I hated writing poems, because I never was able to rhyme something good. So I
first started with writing stories, because some guy in my class wrote a very
funny story and I wanted to write something funny as well xD. But after finally
starting to rite I realized how much fun this is to me. I love creating
stories, telling  stories and share them
with others. Being an artist was never my main goal. It was and unfortunately
still is one of my greatest hobbies. But I really hope that it someday will be
more than just this little hobby of mine.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not that I’m
aware of. I try to change my still very often and I like to experiment a lot.
Especially with my poems. I often change the metre and sometimes even use
different languages.

But more like
snippets or a few specific words. Other than that all I can say is that my
writings are full of emotions.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I would say:
“Have the courage to post your art online!“ Why? Because there will always be
at least one person that will like it. Art is very important and it can help
people, inspire people etc.

So it doesn’t matter how
insecure you feel about your stuff, there will be people who supports you and
by sharing it you can grow. Be open-minded accept critique and advice, so that
you can grow.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as quoiromantic
asexual. And I think more on the sex-repulsed side.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Yes I did, from
one person actually. Who actually very radical and I don’t want to explain the
details. They said horrible things to me. First I tried to have a real in-depth
conversation with them about it, but after that didn’t worked I broke contact
with them, because in the end it was better for my mental health.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

From what I’ve
heard most people think that asexuality = anti-sexuality. Like that we’re all
against sex and everything that has something to do with it. Which is just not
right.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Seriously, the
most important part is that you accept yourself how you are and that you
understand that you’re fine, lovable and not broken by being asexual. The
sexuality is just one small part of you and what really matters is your
personality. I can understand that finding out that you’re ace can be
frightening, but when someone really likes or loves, they will do it because of
your personality, because you make them smile and give them a reason to stay
strong.

You’re all valid.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

So for my German
fellas you can always read my work right here: https://www.fanfiktion.de/u/Chimney

For the others I
suggest you to follow me on my Tumblr where I’m planning on releasing little
English poems and snippets: megahyperchickenwing.tumblr.com (yes, that is my name)

Thank you, Chimney, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Signal Boost: A Shard of Sea and Bone

Hello all!

No interview scheduled for today. Instead, we have a signal boost.
L.J. Engelmeier has just released the first novel in her series. I already signal boosted a giveaway, the winner of which was announced on Twitter.

But now there are links to the eBook and paperback:

Paperback 

eBook 

Summary:
“The Infinity. Sea of Seas. A multiverse teeming with life and magic.
Long have two species, humans and demons, subjugated one another within
it, all while living beneath the might of hierarchies designed to
protect them. Long have their masses worshipped elected deities—the
Guardians—who serve the dimensions as saints, mercenaries, and officers
of the law. The Guardians are believed to be indomitable, but now, one
by one, they’re being murdered. When three of them turn up dead—eyes and
hearts ripped out, seemingly by their own hands—seven very different
people are thrust into the mystery surrounding their deaths, a mystery
that spans from the icy mountains of Lutana all the way to the dunes of
Khajal and to the slaughtered bay city of Lindennacht. Any hope of
uncovering the culprit behind the Guardian murders now rests with those
seven people: a street-fighting princess, an illiterate ex-slave, a
libertine potioneer, a reluctant heir, a former royal dancer, a clan’s
queen, and a gunslinging spellcaster with nothing to lose.”

So go out there and show L.J. some love! Get a copy of her book, leave a nice review, etc.

Thanks, everybody!

Interview: Allyssa

Today we’re joined by Allyssa. Allyssa is a wonderful author and visual artist. For writing, she specializes in realistic fiction with plenty of LGBT+ characters. In visual art, she does drawing and painting, both in abstract and realistic styles. It’s clear she’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I usually write, paint, and draw. My writing is typically
from the point of view of a girl facing deep personal issues or mental health
issues. I would classify my writing as realistic fiction. I write characters that
are LGBTQ+ and are not considered the norm by society. My paintings are usually
either abstract or realistic people. My drawings tend to stay on the side
realistic portraits of women.

What inspires you?

People that inspire are Dodie Clark and Luna Lovegood. I
love how they are unabashedly different and true to themselves. Dodie’s music
is so full of heart and soul and emotion that I can’t help but feel inspired
from it. The state of the world also inspires my writing and themes for my
paintings. My art typically has undertones and themes of despair and how messed
up the word is. On the other side of things, the beauty and complexity of
humanity and nature never ceases to amaze me. My own issues with mental health
and my poetic sort of view of the world helps me with using my words, choosing
colors and shapes, and writing the darker parts of stories. My personal
experiences with mental health gives me the ability to portray mental health in
a more realistic way.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I first got into writing when I read the book Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.
It was written so beautifully and held so much emotion and creativity that I
wanted to make something as wonderful. Family members, my older sister and my
aunt, also influenced me with their art. I think I have always wanted to be an
artist, especially when I look back and see how I was more content making
something as a child rather than letting it disappear once playtime was over.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

Something that I always include in my writing is a character
that is LGBTQ+, neurodivergent, or defies gender roles. My paintings and
drawings are also almost always a portrait of a young adult woman that has some
kind of physical flaw.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Though I am a young aspiring writer myself, my advice to
others like me is to write what you love to write and to write something with
feeling. Write what you feel passionate about and that you feel could make an
impact on someone, even if it’s just one person, and if that one person is
yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as noviromantic asexual. I have never had a crush
on anyone and did not want to have sex with anyone now or in the future. My
romantic orientation is complicated and a mixture of many different romantic
orientations. Some of the basics are hetero and demi romantic. Most parts of my
romantic orientation seem contradicting to each other and is hard to describe,
so I use novi. Majority of my romantic orientation is part of the aromantic
spectrum.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I haven’t encountered any prejudice, but that’s mostly
because I haven’t told anyone besides my two closest and open-minded friends. I
don’t hide the way I feel. When the topic of sexual orientation comes up and
anyone asks me, I just say that I’m not attracted to anyone in that way. No one
has had an issue with that so far, though I have only used the word asexual to
describe myself to the two friends.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The most common misconception I’ve seen is that it is cut
and clean, that you either don’t feel any sexual or romantic attraction or you
do. This is something that my struggles with accepting the labeling I use fed
on.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

I advise anyone who is struggling with their asexuality to
not be afraid of the terms and slang used. You can identify however you feel
suits you. Once I found a community and people that didn’t criticize my
orientation, I felt so much happier and comfortable with myself. Know that you
don’t have to use terms you don’t feel comfortable using to please the people
around you. Your orientation is for you, not other people. Orientation is
fluid, and it’s not your obligation to make other people feel comfortable with
who you are.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

You can find me on Tumblr. I have two separate accounts. I
post my writing and artwork on this account. My other account is mostly quotes, art,
fandom, and other things I enjoy and inspire me. You can find that account here.

Thank you, Allyssa, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Kristen

Today we’re joined by Kristen. Kristen is a phenomenal author who self-publishes a series with her partner under the name Riley S. Keene. She enjoys writing speculative fiction: fantasy and horror mostly. In fact, the series they’re working on is LGBTQIA+ fantasy and it sounds fantastic from the summary. It’s clear that Kristen is a passionate and dedicated author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My art of choice is writing—specifically LGBTQA+ and POC
positive speculative fiction, including Fantasy, LitRPG, and Horror. I have
been writing speculative fiction for way more years than I’d like to admit
(somewhere upwards of 25 by now), but I only got serious about it in the last
five years. Before I got serious about writing, I was an artist who took way
too much influence from anime and manga.

What inspires you?

My biggest inspiration for Fantasy and LitRPG are table top
games, like Dungeons and Dragons, Vampire the Masquerade, and Savage Worlds. I also take a lot of
inspiration from video games, including Horizon
Zero Dawn
, the Final Fantasy
series, and MMOs like Final Fantasy XI
and World of Warcraft. I’m also
greatly inspired by books, including the Dragonlance
series, the first Fantasy books that showed me people could enjoy accessible
Fantasy that didn’t need to copy Tolkien’s style.

For Horror, my biggest inspiration is my own anxiety.
Thanks, brain. Maybe also the 80s and 90s horror movies I grew up with (before
jump scares became the norm) and the work of Ania Ahlborn and Richard Laymon.

Lately though, my biggest inspiration has been knowing that
self-publishing gives me a platform to share my words with others, to influence
and inspire them, just like others have influenced and inspired me.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I was always a creative child. As far back as I can remember,
I read books, played with art supplies, and enjoyed the Steno notebooks and
typewriters that my grandmother had in her attic from her time as a secretary.

When I graduated from college, I decided to pursue art as a
source of income (how I got into Engineering Marketing from Graphic Design is
anyone’s guess) so I focused on writing for the fun stuff. I studied and
studied and, you guessed it, studied some more. I have nearly a hundred how-to
writing self-help books that I’ve collected over the last ten years, and all of
them have helped me hone my craft. Or, you know, gather dust. Whichever.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

Nearly all of my stories feature a broken religion and/or
government. I was born and raised in a very strict religion (purposefully not
named to avoid upsetting anyone) and when I grew into an adult, much to the
anger of my family, I renounced my religion to focus on the one religion that
spoke to me as a person—Wiccan. I’ve since transitioned to just general
Agnosticism. But it was the flaws in that first religion, the leaders and the
way the believes were applied only when convenient, that made me realize that
organized religion is a perfect vehicle for everything terrible I could do on
large scale in Fantasy worlds.

All of my stories also feature LGBTQA+ and POC characters in
worlds that don’t discriminate against them.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

My biggest advice to young, aspiring artists is to stop
listening to anyone who tells you that you aren’t good enough. A lot of people
in the world want to share negative thoughts, especially about the creation of
art. With the internet—specifically crowdfunding and online marketplaces—there
has never been a better time to become a creator. It doesn’t matter if you are
writing, painting, filming, singing…you can share your art with the world. Be
sure you are producing as professional of a product as possible, but nothing
has to be perfect. And anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to crush your
dreams just like someone else crushed theirs. Break the cycle. Make your art.
Be happy.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a biromantic gray asexual cis woman. This is
kind of new to me, as I always identified as bisexual and it wasn’t until the
last year or so that I realized I am actually asexual. I am happily married to
a wonderful, supportive cis straight man.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Absolutely. I’ve gotten feedback from readers that they
don’t understand how a conventionally attractive character could be
uninterested in sex. They always assume the character has suffered some sort of
sexual assault or other trauma…which always elicits a sigh of exhaustion from
me.

I haven’t yet had anyone come after ME specifically as an
ace creator, but there is always a first for everything, right?

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That the assault and trauma I’ve suffered has anything to do
with my asexuality. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of soul searching and
questioning about my views on sex. I’ve come to realize is that sexual assault
is a much smaller factor than people really realize. But it still becomes the
first question out of anyone’s mouth when I explain to them my thoughts on sex
and sexuality.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

The biggest thing that helped me come to terms with my
orientation was research. I read a lot of articles and thought pieces and a lot
(a lot a lot) of ace-positive blogs. I spoke to other ace individuals about
their experiences, and then also talked to a lot of my bisexual and pansexual
friends about their experiences with sex and thoughts on sexuality. It was at
that point, that I realized I was a lot more like my ace friends than I was my
bi friends. And a loooot of stuff made a looooot of sense.

Main takeaway I got from all of my research though was
this—no one’s sexuality is set in stone. It can change, adapt, and be fluid.
Just like gender. So be you, ignore the naysayers, and as long as you aren’t
hurting yourself or others, do you. Or not, if that’s your thing.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I publish my books under a pen name, since I work with my
partner. That pen name is Riley S. Keene, and you can find our work on Amazon (only for
right now, sorry, KU is just so good for authors starting out!) or you can just
find out more about us on our website at www.rileyskeene.com.
We’re also on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook at RileySKeene. Our
Tumblr just has a lot of aesthetic/character inspo stuff with some light
self-promo mixed in, Twitter is where I get to be my queer little self, and
Facebook is all business all the time.

I’d love it if we could hang out sometime!

Thank you, Kristen, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Snig

Today we’re joined by Snig. Snig is a phenomenal poet who has recently come out as asexual. They write a lot of blank-verse poetry and most of it has to do with emotions. They have a book out titled Girl Behind Scars, which is definitely worth checking out. It’s clear they’re a passionate author with an admirable dedication, as you’ll see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer/poet on WordPress.

A lot of my work is blank verse poetry
usually relating to my emotional status at the time. But more so than often you
can find me also ranting about some topic that has caught my eye, or just
random thoughts that go along in my head. Ya, I’m pretty much all over the
place when it comes to writing.

What inspires you?

To be honest, too many things inspire
me. It can be a conversation I’ve had with someone, my mental illnesses, the
people around me, a meme I saw online that made me feel a certain one. But I
think at the crux of all of them is the fact that they evoked a raw, undeniable
urge to write about them.

What got you interested in your field?
 Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always written. Even as kid,
penning my thoughts down on paper provided me with more clarity than anything
else could have. So that’s where it all started I guess, a need for little me
to understand the world around her, and so I would write down every perspective
or thought I could about something that had caught my eye. If I couldn’t
understand how I truly felt about someone or something, I’d write about them.

Do you have any kind of special or
unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be
willing to reveal?

I don’t think I have any unique
signature, symbol or feature that I include in my work.

What advice would you give young
aspiring artists?

Art has very little to do with success
and more to do with how it personally makes you feel and that’s what make
someone a true artist. So no matter what art form you choose to pursue or do as
a hobby, always keep it true to yourself and your perspective on life. Success
will follow.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace
prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

In my field? Not really, but that’s
probably because my sexuality isn’t something that’s ever brought up in my
discussion with people. However, I have encountered people in daily life that
do think me identifying as an asexual, is just a typical “women” thing because
apparently women aren’t sexual beings. A thought process which is just
appalling.

What’s the most common misconception
about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it means we will never have sex or
enjoy sex. Nah bruh, it just means I don’t have to deal with panties in a twist
just from seeing someone particularly attractive.

Also people who confuse it with asexual
reproduction and then say “oh so one day you’re just going to split into two”,
not funny guys, not funny.

What advice would you give to any
asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You aren’t broken. I know in the hyper
sexualised world that we live in it can feel that way, but you aren’t broken.
You are just as valid an orientation as someone who is gay or lesbian, and even
though the LGBTQ+ community may sometimes also treat us as broken, there are
many of us out there who exist and will always be willing to help you out. You
are queer and you are here.

Finally, where can people find out more
about your work?

As of now most of my work is on my
WordPress blog, Semblance of Normality.
https://justanotherdepressedsoul.wordpress.com/

But I’ve also had a poem be published
in a collective anthropology called Girl
Behind Scars

https://www.amazon.in/Girl-Behind-Scars-about-Writing/dp/B078WQJSDX.

Thank you, Snig, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Ashley

Today we’re joined by Ashley. Ashley is a wonderful visual artist and writer who enjoys drawing mostly original characters from her books. When she’s not drawing, Ashley loves to write thrillers and fantasy. It’s clear she’s a very passionate artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I love to draw and write. I love drawing people, primarily my
book characters. I write many different genres, but the biggest ones are
fantasy and thriller.

What inspires you?

My passion for writing inspires me the most. I want to make
a difference with my work by including many types of characters. My goal is for
my readers to be able to find themselves in my work, or see their specific
traits represented. This goal is what inspires me to keep writing and to keep
putting faces to my characters.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

When I was younger, being an artist had never occurred to
me. Later, however, I began to love to read, and I soon realized how many
different types of people can be represented through fiction. As for drawing,
my love for animation is what sparked that interest. So, I guess you could say
I became interested because of books and cartoons.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

The closest thing to a symbol I can think of would be in my
writing: I always try to include a little piece of myself into any one of my
characters. It can be anything from a personality trait, a sexuality or gender
identity, or even traits I wish I had.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

My advice for aspiring artists is to always keep going. Keep
pushing forward and doing what you love. It also takes time to improve, but as
long as you keep going, you’ll see yourself getting better and better. Believe
in yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m demiromantic asexual, but I might be biromantic as well.
Not entirely sure on that front.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I haven’t, mainly because I’m not out to anyone besides my
close friends and a few family members.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That just because we experience no sexual attraction, it
means we are never willing to do anything sexual.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

It may take time to get used to your identity, and that’s
totally okay. Also, never let anyone tell you your sexuality isn’t real; you
are valid.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I have a Wattpad where I post my books, however I’m mostly
drafting right now. My username is PandoraOfficial.

Thank you, Ashley, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Signal Boost: A Shard of Sea and Bone

Hi all!

Today we’ve got a special signal boost. An author I interviewed some time ago,

L.J. Engelmeier, is releasing her first book soon (see her interview here:
Tumblr & WordPress). It sounds like a fascinating read and she’s also offering a giveaway.

Here’s the information:

This is it, Oliver thought. This is how the world ends. In
blood and darkness. To the call of a wolf.

In a world of unlimited dimensions, there are many dark
crevices for evil to fester and hide.

The Infinity. Sea of Seas. A multiverse teeming with life
and magic. Long have two species, humans and demons, subjugated one another
within it, all while living beneath the might of hierarchies designed to
protect them. Long have their masses worshipped elected deities—the
Guardians—who serve the dimensions as saints, mercenaries, and officers of the
law.

The Guardians are believed to be indomitable, but now, one
by one, they’re being murdered.

When three of them turn up dead—eyes and hearts ripped out,
seemingly by their own hands—seven very different people are thrust into the
mystery surrounding their deaths, a mystery that spans from the icy mountains
of Lutana all the way to the dunes of Khajal and to the slaughtered bay city of
Lindennacht.

Any hope of uncovering the culprit behind the Guardian
murders now rests with these seven people: a street-fighting princess, an
illiterate ex-slave, a libertine potioneer, a reluctant heir, a former royal
dancer, a clan’s queen, and a gunslinging spellcaster with nothing to lose.

Join the worlds of the Infinity in this 534-paged first
novel of the “Death of the
Multiverse Saga,” available May 30th on Amazon in paperback for $14.79
and on Kindle for $5.99. Preorder the eBook now, and enter
the giveaway here
!

L.J. Engelmeier, granddaughter of a mortician, grew
up in a household where death was dinner table conversation. She knows a hilarious
story about a homeless man’s head that lived in a bag in the funeral home’s
garage. A runner-up for the 2016 SIU Carbondale Literary & Art Award
in Poetry, a recipient of a Silver Honorable Mention in the L. Ron
Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, and a shortlisted poet in the March 2017
Creative Writing Ink poetry contest, Engelmeier has published
in Grassroots, Schlock! Webzine, Aphotic Realm, Whatever Our
Souls, and is very excited to release her first novel “A Shard of Sea and Bone”! Follow her on Twitter (at LJEngelmeier) or check out her
website at ofrustandshadows.wordpress.com.

I just want to give a quick shout and say thank you to
everyone who has made and will make this book a success! It’s ten years in the
making. I had a great time writing it over the last year, making its cover, and
marketing it. It’s an adult dark fantasy inspired by writers like Clive Barker,
George R.R. Martin, and Leigh Bardugo and hosts an array of orientations and
POC. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it!


It sounds like a fantastic read. So go out there and pick up a copy, leave a nice review, show Engelmeier some love.

Thanks, everyone!