Interview: Anne Bashore and M.E. Wilson

Today we’re joined by Anne Bashore and M.E. Wilson. Anne and M.E. (who also goes by Liz) are two phenomenal indie authors who have just released the first novel in their trilogy entitled The Portal Series. The two main characters are both a-spec as both Anne and Liz are interested in creating literature that gives aces the chances to see themselves in fiction. It’s very clear they’re dedicated artists, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

We’re writers, currently working on a trilogy called The Portal Series. Our protag, Daphne Seidler, and her romantic interest are A-spec. Our purpose in writing this series is to create Ace-centered literature that allows Aces to see themselves portrayed in fiction, and portrayed in a positive light. The focus of the novels aren’t the sexualities of either character, as we also very much wanted this to be entertaining. Aces don’t need a swamp of sad literature focusing on how alienating and terrible the experience can be — we need literature that shows us as human, and as capable as anyone else is of being happy.

What inspires you?

We draw our inspiration from a lot of places — if you asked us for an exhaustive list of the things that have inspired just The Paris Portal, it would be quite long. If you mean what gives us the drive to work through our novels, it’s each other and our desire to do things better, for ourselves, and for other Aces.

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

Liz has always wanted to be a writer — they’ve been telling stories for almost as long as they can remember. The first one that they really started to write would have been probably around sixth grade. It was never finished, and suffice to say, it was terrible — it involved griffon races, bequeathed princesses, and escaping said betrothal, and that was the entire concept.

Anne’s interest in writing started in 8th grade, when her first creative writing assignment ended up being 22k words. Surprise, it was about French people.

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?

We don’t, currently — at this point, we don’t have a body of work large enough at this time to have a signature, and our next project after The Portal Series is still very much in the planning stages.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Liz: Get to work, but be gentle with yourself. Burn your fictional bridges and don’t look back. Ashes make for great soil — use it to your advantage. Find people who support you in every aspect of yourself, and who support your work. Anyone who doesn’t want to support you isn’t worth your efforts, but don’t forget to be supporting of others, too.

Anne: Don’t delete anything, as you never know what you’ll be able to pick and choose from later. And frankly, it’s always fun to reflect on how far you’ve come further down the road. However, also don’t hold onto anything too tightly. Let your characters and projects breathe and grow. Trust me, it’ll be much more rewarding in the long run. Sometimes it will surprise even you!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

We’re both Ace.

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

We probably aren’t big enough to attract a lot of attention quite yet, but there’s always the common sort of discussion about how asexuality isn’t real or how Ace-spec individuals aren’t a part of the larger Community.

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

That it’s just a matter of not finding the right person or that it’s a choice — that I’m not making enough effort to find what I want. That if I engage in sexual activity of any kind I can’t be asexual.

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

Liz: Be patient with yourself, be gentle with yourself. Anyone who doesn’t support you with whatever identity you have, whether you’re questioning or kind of certain, super certain, or anywhere in between, isn’t worth investing in. Even if you find out you aren’t Ace later, that’s okay. Life isn’t about being stable, being stagnant. Everyone will have their constants, but you are in a state of constant change. Also, people used to think that uteri wandered around the bodies of those that housed them, so if you don’t understand yourself, you’re in decent company.

Anne: It doesn’t hurt to ask questions, do research, read experiences, investigate. You’re better prepared to understand and educate others the more you know yourself. Also, don’t forget you’re part of a society that, for the most part, is just becoming aware of and educated about the whole spectrum. You probably will meet people who don’t know anything–but you telling them your experience is valuable in teaching everyone else around you. If you don’t feel comfortable telling a soul, that’s okay, too. Even if you don’t want to put a label on it, or you don’t have a neat and tidy “name” for it, do what makes you comfortable. That’s the bottom line.

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

We’re available on most social media sites at BWAuthors (Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Ko-Fi, Patreaon), and we’re always happy to answer questions wherever you find us! Our first of book, The Paris Portal, is currently available on Amazon, and the first three chapters are available for free on Wattpad.

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

Interview: Casey Ashwood

Today we’re joined by Casey Ashwood. Casey is a wonderful author who recently just published his first ace book. While he mostly writes M/M gay romances, Casey is hoping to bring more ace characters into the romance genre. It’s a great and important goal. Casey is an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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“Chase the Ace” book

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an indie gay (M/M) romance author. I focus a lot on the relationship between characters and how they experience intimacy. My stories tend to have contemporary settings and are on more of the light and fluffy side. My work does contain adult content because most romance readers very much expect to see sexy times in their stories.

Although my catalogue currently mostly contains books featuring gay cis men as main characters, I want to branch out and write more genders and sexualities. It’s tricky to market anything that isn’t gay cis men romance, but I’m hoping the audience will one day be more open to other representations of the LGBTQIA+ community.

I recently published my first ace novel, which I’d love to get more attention for! It’s called Chase the Ace and can be found here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078BQ14Y5 I really enjoyed writing it and have gotten positive feedback from it so far. If I can get the novel enough attention, I’d love to turn it into a series. We definitely need more ace representation.

What inspires you?

The main drive behind writing what I do is the hope that I can put out some positive representations of the community, especially as someone that is LGBTQIA+ myself. I also want to challenge how a lot of mainstream LGBT romance stories are written. For example, a lot of books really hone in on homophobic themes. While I also have to include such themes sometimes just to sell my books, I try not to make it my main focus. Many of us face that kind of stuff in real life on a daily basis—the last thing we want is to read it in our books.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and have written stories since I was a very young child. I always have words in my head and stories in my heart, as corny as that sounds. Although I’ve bounced around awhile to make ends meet, I’ve finally been able to focus on being an author as my career. I hope to be able to keep it that way!

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 latest story, Chase the Ace, for those of us that are ace, the title is pretty self-explanatory. However, the phrase is also the name of a card game. I have a Newfoundland background, and the game is particularly popular as a lottery of sorts. The jackpots can become very high!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I don’t think I can offer anything that hasn’t already been said before. All I can say is just work at your craft and give it your all. Some days will always be more productive than others, so make sure you take care of yourself (both mentally and physically). On the days that you’re not feeling so productive, try not to beat yourself up over it. There’s always tomorrow.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as ace, and have for a good few years now. I can’t 100% say that I’m not demisexual, but I feel much more contented to simply use asexual as it is.

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

I haven’t come across any outright ace prejudice or ignorance in my field yet because I tend to just chug along and do my own thing. However, it’s very annoying to feel as though I have to write steamy scenes in my stories just to ensure it sells. I’d love to be able to showcase more that you can have a deeply loving, meaningful, and committed relationship without sex.

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

The most common misconception I’ve come across is the usual “you just haven’t found the right one” sort of thing. I’m in my thirties now, though, so I don’t hear variations of it quite as often anymore.

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

You don’t have to choose one label and stick with it your entire lives. Be fluid. Experiment. If something doesn’t sit well with you, try something else. Changing labels doesn’t make you a fraud. You’re just human, and we’re all wondrously intricate.

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

People can learn more about my work through:

My Amazon product page: https://www.amazon.com/Casey-Ashwood/e/B01B4V13HW
My email newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bMA8ir
My email address: caseyashwood@gmail.com
My Tumblr: https://caseyashwood.tumblr.com
My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caseyashwood

Thank you very much for your time!

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

Signal Boost: Book Trailer

Hey everyone!

I have a super awesome book trailer and an announcement concerning the eBooks of my series.

BOOK TRAILER

A while back, I interviewed a fantastic up and coming filmmaker for this site, Britty Lea. I was struck by her creativity and just the fascinating visuals in her short films. I remained in touch with her (she even moderated this blog for a bit). Recently, she started doing some freelancing and mentioned wanting to get into book trailers. I can’t even begin to describe my excitement at hearing this and soon commissioned her.

And man alive, did Britty deliver! Check it out:

If you’re interested in commissioning Britty, and I cannot recommend her work highly enough, check out her personal site (https://www.brittylea.com/) or her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/brittyleafilm/). She’s a phenomenal filmmaker.

EBOOKS

I’m going to try not to swear, but no promises 🙂

Like numerous indie authors, I was selling the eBooks of my series through a site called Pronoun (which was part of MacMillan Publishing). MacMillan, without any sort of warning, decided to shut down Pronoun permanently. Thereby screwing numerous indies.

A week into marketing and I lost my rankings, which are important to indie authors, because of this. I’ve been forced to move my eBooks onto Kindle. For the foreseeable future, they’ll only be available on Kindle (I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience). The paperback distribution will be unaffected and still widely available.

However, this is a setback and a really frustrating one. People, I really, really need support in the form of reviews and signal boosts. And, of course, I need people to buy my books.

If you’re interested in physical copies, after Sunday, they’ll be available on my Square Store for convention prices (which are a little cheaper than online distributors and the money goes directly to me).

Thanks everybody! 😀