Category: books

Interview: Anne Hawley

Today we’re joined by Anne Hawley. Anne is a phenomenal novelist and editor who writes queer-themed historical fiction. She has a novel entitled Restraint, which features an ace secondary character. Anne is currently working on a new historical novel that features an ace protagonist, which is exciting (we need more historical fiction featuring aces). It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate writer who loves what she does, 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 write novels featuring queer characters in historical
settings, exploring issues of identity and acceptance. I’m also a Story Grid
Certified fiction editor, helping other writers shape their novels and
screenplays.

What inspires you?

People’s individual search for wholeness and
self-acceptance. The search for meaning. My stories revolve around people on
spiritual journeys, and my editing work is focused on helping writers find and
tell the story that’s in their heart to tell.

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

I’ve been writing since I could read. I started my first
novel when I was nine. I was inspired by fantasy novels and wanted to create my
own worlds.

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 always name something after a notable feature in my
hometown of Portland, Oregon USA

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

If you’ll permit me to change the question, I’d like to say
something to aspiring artists who may not have started young, or aren’t young
anymore. Ageism is real and insidious in our culture, and it has a huge
silencing power. Just as the dominant culture would still prefer it if you were
allosexual and cisgendered (though thank goodness that’s changing), it would
like you to be silent and invisible if you’re not young. If you have a story to
tell, tell it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Aromantic asexual. I think “autochor” is probably a term
that applies to me.

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

There’s not much ace representation yet in fiction, and as a
person who came to the identity late in life, I’m still working to change my
own ingrained belief that “nobody” wants to read stories without sexual
tension, or about individuals who are fulfilled without romance.

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

That asexual people don’t really exist, and that people in
my age group who claim that sexual identity are simply resigned to being “too
old” for love or sex–or that we’re some sort of holdover from an earlier and
more prudish, sex-negative era. We aren’t.

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

Many, many people in older age groups like mine have never
even heard of asexuality. If you’re like me, hearing about it at a late age
might create a real internal struggle, especially if you’ve given a lot of
energy over the years trying to conform to old cultural standards of “normal”
sexuality.

It helps to read as much as you can about all the nuances in
the spectrum of asexuality, and realize that it’s okay to try on different
names and labels. It might take a while to feel at home with one or another of
them. But you might also find, as I did, that little by little embracing
asexuality solves so many mysteries of your life.

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

https://annehawley.net

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

Interview: Casye Erins

Today we’re joined by Casye Erins. Casye is a phenomenal writer, actress, and podcaster. They mainly act on stage and in film. They’re currently focused mainly on stage and are currently rehearsing for an upcoming production. Aside from writing and acting, Casye also has a podcast called This is Lit, which discuses books. 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 am a writer and actress. I do both stage and film work,
but right now I’m focused on the stage. Currently, I’m writing on a one-person
musical to debut at next year’s Fringe Festival. I also do immersion theatre
and local community theatre. I just finished a production of the musical
version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame
and started rehearsals for Shrek: The
Musical
. My most recent project is a podcast called This is Lit where my co-host and I drink and talk about our
favorite books.

What inspires you?

Music is definitely an inspiration for me, which is why I
love musicals so much. I also find a lot of writing inspiration in my real-life
experiences and the experiences of those around me. The one-person show I’m
currently writing could probably be described as “artistically embellished
autobiography.” I believe people are most impacted by stories that are rooted
in authentic feeling.

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

I learned to read at a very young age and have been writing
my own stories ever since. My first performance experiences were also very
young; church plays and the like. I always knew I wanted to be an actor, and I
always loved writing, but it wasn’t until I was a little older that I realized that
I could write my own material. Seeing creators like Lin Manuel-Miranda (Hamilton, In The Heights) and Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) who didn’t wait around for parts that they
could play really inspired me to start working on my own material.

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 know that I do. As an actor, unless you’re A-list,
it’s hard to cultivate a specific type or characteristic that people associate
with your performance, mainly because you can’t afford to say no to parts that
don’t necessarily fit.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Two things. Number one: just keep working at it. I’ve been a
performer for the better part of two decades and still don’t make my full-time
living at it. If you want to have a job in the arts, you’ve got to be willing
to grind. The other advice, which kind of goes hand-in-hand with the first
piece is: if you’re able, create your own content. If you are an actor who
can’t find roles that fit you, write your own. If you’re a pianist that can’t
find an orchestra that jives with your personal style, compose your own sonata
and try to find a way to perform it. Take the initiative and you’ll be rewarded.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as biromantic asexual.

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

I haven’t experienced active prejudice in my field, mostly
because I’m very selective about who I’m completely out to. Most of my
colleagues are aware I’m bi, but not that I’m ace, because I don’t trust that
it would go over well. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of roles for asexual
characters that I’ve encountered, which I ascribe mostly to ignorance. It would
be nice to be able to play a character who is actually ace sometime in the
future though! I have hopes that it will start happening more frequently.

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

I’ve come across a lot of misconceptions, but I’d have to
say the most common is that asexuals are “frigid” or incapable of love. It’s a
very dehumanizing concept. Non-aro aces can still want and find romance, and
aroace people can still feel platonic or fraternal love for their friends and
family.

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

Honestly, it’s hard. I struggle with it sometimes too, and
that’s after almost a decade of identifying this way, and while having a very
accepting and understanding partner (who is allo!). It’s okay to struggle with
your orientation, or to have doubts. But be gentle with yourself and surround
yourself with a community of people who love and care about you, and those
doubts will get less frequent over time.

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

Since acting is kind of impermanent (unless it’s on film),
I’ll encourage you to check out my podcast at www.litliteraturepodcast.com.
You can also follow me on Twitter at casyeerins
or under the same username on Instagram.

Thank you, Casye, 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!

Signal Boost: Another Book Trailer

Hello all!

April was an incredibly rough month for me and it just seemed to drag on. It was one of those months where almost everything went wrong and I was just miserable (I’m still having difficulty wrapping my head around my late friend’s passing). There was a bright spot though: I was able to collaborate with Britty Lea again to make another book trailer, this one for the 2nd book in my series.

The trailer for Through Storm and Night debuted yesterday:

I love the spookiness and I’m just super happy with how it came out (and one of my dear, dear friends, Robyn Byrd, did some of the voice over).

Britty and I have already scheduled a brainstorming session to plan the trailer for From the Ashes. I’m looking forward to that.

I know some authors follow this site. If you’re looking for a badass ace filmmaker to make a super cool trailer for your book, I really recommend Britty. She’s fantastic.
If you’re interested in commissioning Britty, check out her personal site (https://www.brittylea.com/) or her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/brittyleafilm/).

And, of course, if you’re interested in helping out an indie ace author, you can always pick up a copy of my books. More information can be found at my personal website (https://laurenjankowski.com/) or my publisher’s, Snowy Wings Publishing, site (https://www.snowywingspublishing.com/).

I just wanted to share this because I’m super proud of it and I really appreciate the kindness of the artists and followers this site has. You all are amazing 🙂

Thank you, everybody!

Plan for this Week

Hello all!

Well, C2E2 was a blast. I got to hang out with a lot of really good friends. The panel went okay, though I wasn’t exactly … pleased that another panelist on the panel basically put me in a position where I was forced to reveal I have a learning disability. There’s really no excuse for that.

However, meeting and talking to so many wonderful asexual identifying artists more than made up for that small bit of unpleasantness. I really can’t say this enough: I love meeting and talking with asexual artists. All of you are so wonderful and generous with your time and I love hearing you talk about your projects 😀

I hope some of the artists who attended the panel contact me because I want to feature you on this site and share your awesomeness with all the other aces out there.

Okay, so as fun as the convention was, it was also exhausting. I’m completely worn out, people. I need today to recharge my batteries so to speak. My apologies.

Later tonight, I’m going to write up a small signal boost for Kai, who could really use some support at the moment (if you’re so inclined, please visit his YouCaring page and donate if you can: https://www.youcaring.com/kaicollart-1160920). That post will go up tomorrow.

I have no interviews scheduled, so I’ll post another call for interviews on Wednesday.

The Kindle eBooks of my first two novels are still on sale through today (Sere from the Green & Through Storm and Night)

Thanks, everybody! 🙂

Regular

not-poignant:

So I know it can be hard to find good original m/m specifically by category. Some publishers offer tagging systems and some don’t.

QueerRomanceInk is a database (free for readers) that allows you to search original published m/m by a lot of different categories, including orientations like asexual and non-binary, tropes and potential trigger warnings. It’s very fandom friendly re: search parameters.

It’s gaining momentum in the m/m world and will be very helpful given so much quality m/m is actually self-published these days and therefore very hard to find (especially given the implosion of Riptide Publishing in the meantime).

But it’ll only get better if folks check it out! So if you’re someone who is interested in having a place to have a to-be-read and favourite authors list, get notifications for books on sale and new books by fave authors, and don’t want the entrenched drama that is GoodReads, I highly recommend you check it out!

ace-artemis-fanartist: Happy Asexual Awarenes…

ace-artemis-fanartist:

Happy Asexual Awareness Week! Here are some canon a-spec ladies of lit.

Felicity Montague: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Author confirmation.

Ling Chan: The Diviners.

Sandrilene Fa Toran: Circle of Magic. Author confirmation.

Nancy: Every Heart a Doorway.

Keladry of Mindelan: Protector of the Small. Author confirmation. Aro-rep.

Natalie Oscott: The Tropic of Serpents.

anassarhenisch: Let’s Talk About Love – Clair…

anassarhenisch:

Let’s Talk About Love – Claire Kann

In brief: Alice is going to rock this summer. She’s living with friends, has a sweet job, and has just been dumped for being ace, so the universe owes her. Then she meets the new guy at work, who inspires Feelings™, and she has a lot to think about.

Thoughts: If you remember my review of Tash Hearts Tolstoy from last week, you’ll know that I’ve basically been on a quest to find the ace character who’s like me. I think I’ve finally found her! Alice and I don’t totally line up—mostly because she’s been way more impacted by acephobia than me—but guys… the way she describes it, the way she perceives attractiveness, the things she does or doesn’t notice because of her ace-ness… it jives. It jives hard.

So yeah, ace rep level: very high! Apart from that, this was fun. Alice is great and her POV is a blast. The romance is pretty adorable too, and her reactions to it are believable, from the shy and awkward start to the more serious discussions later. (Be warned: this is very much a romance novel.) All of her worries about what her attraction means for her orientation and how Takashi, the love interest, will take it are again realistic and well-handled, and she’s still very ace at the end, don’t worry.

The side plots, of Alice dealing with friendships, realizing how her actions affect people, and fending off her parents’ demands for law school, are equally good and well-handled. Even though I’ve rated things higher already this year, this is the book I had the most fun reading, and the book I read the fastest.

But. This also has its flaws, which is why it isn’t an 8. The biggest is probably the length. It could’ve done with another 50 pages, even, so that some of the big decisions and climactic moments didn’t feel quite so rushed. The other is Takashi. I get that he’s meant to be the Perfect Guy but he’s a little too perfect, for me. He hits too many romance tropes a little too well (he’s a gentleman, an athlete, good with kids, a cook…) and didn’t have quite enough flaws to balance that out. His final “I love you” speech, though, man. Good stuff.

Let’s Talk About Love is generally strong in the diversity department (Black, Japanese, Latina, Filipino, queer) and, as I’ve already said, fast and fun and cute. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a good teen romance, even if they’re not asexual themselves.

Warnings: Acephobia, mostly in the first chapter but also in Alice’s backstory. Parents with Expectations. Several anti-Black micro-aggressions.

7/10

AMAZING Resource Alert: Queer Books for Teens …

profeminist:

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http://queerbooksforteens.com/

LOOK AT ALL THE FILTERS YOU CAN SEARCH BY:

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http://queerbooksforteens.com/

Signal Boost: Special eBook Sale

Hello all!

I hope you don’t mind a small personal signal boost. A few authors from my publisher, Snowy Wings Publishing, were invited by another publishing collective to participate in an eBook sale (in the hopes of boosting our rankings a little, since we were all hurt by the Pronoun shutdown). I am also part of the sale.

I am so proud to be part of Snowy Wings (I seriously can’t believe I’m part of this collective with such a talented group of authors). Not all the authors taking part in this sale are ace, but every book has queer characters. And they’re all incredibly good and highly, highly recommended.

Anyhow, from January 26th – February 1st, you can get the following eBooks on Amazon for 99 cents:

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Sere from the Green by Lauren Jankowski (me!):
There is a race that lives among humans, unbeknownst to them, called
shape shifters, those that can shift from human to animal at will. Many
protect the innocent on Earth and act as the eyes and ears of the
guardians, divine beings similar to gods in ancient myths.

Isis
is a woman who lives a normal life until the day she photographs a
murder scene for her job. When the body disappears from her photographs,
Isis is determined to solve the mystery. Her investigation uncovers
answers about her own past and sets her on a journey that will change
her life forever.

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Cheerleaders from Planet X by Lyssa Chiavari (my friend and fellow ace author): Laura Clark thought she was just your average college freshman—until the
day she saw a cheerleader on a skateboard get into a superhuman brawl
with a lightning-wielding stranger in a trenchcoat. And the weirdest
thing of all? Nobody else saw it happen. Nobody, that is, except the
beautiful but standoffish Shailene, one of the mysterious (and possibly
super-powered) cheerleaders from Laura’s rival school, Bayview
University.

When girls start disappearing all over the City,
Laura suddenly realizes that she may have seen more than she should. And
if she wants to keep from disappearing herself, she needs to find some
answers. But though Laura can’t shake the feeling that they’re somehow
connected, Shailene is more than a little reluctant to share her
secrets. With strange, bug-like creatures and a sinister man in a dark
coat stalking her every step, Laura will have to uncover the truth fast
if she wants to survive.

The fate of the planet just might hang in the balance.

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Phoenix Descending:
Curse of the Phoenix

by

Dorothy Dreyer

(a ridiculously talented author who I featured on my personal website: read here): Who must she become in order to survive?

Since the outbreak of
the phoenix fever in Drothidia, Tori Kagari has already lost one family
member to the fatal disease. Now, with the fever threatening to wipe out
her entire family, she must go against everything she believes in order
to save them—even if that means making a deal with the enemy.

When
Tori agrees to join forces with the unscrupulous Khadulians, she must
take on a false identity in order to infiltrate the queendom of Avarell
and fulfill her part of the bargain, all while under the watchful eye of
the unforgiving Queen’s Guard. But time is running out, and every lie,
theft, and abduction she is forced to carry out may not be enough to
free her family or herself from death.

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Let Me Fly Free by Mary Fan (a really phenomenal author who is a treat to read and should be on everyone’s shelves):
Fire fears nothing. And Elaia is about to show her world that she doesn’t, either.

Like
the rest of her kind, fire nymph Elaia is bound to her homeland, a
forest whose borders were closed centuries earlier in a peace agreement
between the humans and the enchanted creatures of the Terrestrial Realm.

But her heart is as restless as the flames she casts, and she secretly yearns to defy that order.

When
a mysterious threat creeps into the forest, an invisible beast that
leaves a trail of death in its wake, Elaia is determined to fight back
and protect her people. But first she must learn what the beast is … and
the answers lie beyond the borders of her land.

Defeating this
evil means she’ll have to go outside the rules, but she’ll do anything
to find the answers she seeks—even if leaving her homeland means not
only breaking the law, but risking her own life.

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Ballad of the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty (another fantastic author who should be on everyone’s bookshelves):
As her fingers move across the strings of her family’s heirloom harp,
sixteen-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn’t dwell on the recent
passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold
everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives
Clarion life. She doesn’t think about how her friends treat her like a
feeble, brittle thing to be protected. She doesn’t worry about how to
tell the elegant Elena, her best friend and first love, that she doesn’t
want to be her sweetheart anymore. She becomes the melody and loses
herself in the song.

When Mack, a lord’s dashing young son, rides
into town so his father and Elena’s can arrange a marriage between the
two youth, Clarion finds herself falling in love with a boy for the
first time. Drawn to Clarion’s music, Mack puts Clarion and Elena’s
relationship to the test, but he soon vanishes by climbing up a giant
beanstalk that only Clarion has seen. When even the town witch won’t
help, Clarion is determined to rescue Mack herself and prove once and
for all that she doesn’t need protecting. But while she fancied herself a
savior, she couldn’t have imagined the enormous world of danger that
awaits her in the kingdom of the clouds.

A prequel to the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the true story behind the magical singing harp.

I cannot state enough the quality of books from the authors in my collective. So if you believe in supporting indie authors and diverse characters, please grab a copy of these books and leave a nice review (seriously, I cannot state enough how vital word of mouth is to indie authors).

On a personal note, I hope a few of you are enjoying my novels 🙂

Again: this particular eBook sale is running from January 26th – February 1st.

Thank you, everybody!