Interview: Elizabeth Wambheim

Today we’re joined by Elizabeth Wambheim. Elizabeth is a phenomenal author who writes novels, novellas, and short stories. All her work features ace protagonists (how awesome is that!?) and it mostly falls in the fantasy genre. She has already written an ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. She has also written a novel about the relationship between a male shepherd and a Viking woman. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate and creative individual who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Author Image

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am the author of a small (so far!) body of published works that feature asexual protagonists and asexual relationships. My biggest work so far has been a novel titled More Than Enough which is a gay/ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. My first piece was a novella titled Wolves in the Fold about a male shepherd and a female Viking navigating a relationship as well as language barriers. I love writing fantasy; reworking fairy tales; and establishing soft, supportive relationships between characters.

What inspires you?

Just about everything! Books, movies, television shows, video games, and even music can be a source of inspiration. If something catches at my attention, I file it away for use somewhere. My first story in high school had an ensemble casts because I loved the friendship/team dynamics between the four to eight main characters in the Tales series of video games.

Real-world relationships are also inspiring; if I notice an interesting dynamic between two people (be they friends, family, or coworkers), I’ll make a mental note of it and it might wind up as the building block of a fictional relationship. I also make use of personal experiences: I like to be able to step inside my characters and describe the way their emotions affect them physically. The easiest way for me to do that is to write from a place of understanding—where do my experiences overlap with this character’s? If I haven’t gone through exactly what they have, what comes close? What did it feel like to be there? After really good days and really bad days, I take a lot of notes about what happened and how I felt.

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

I’ve been writing since elementary school, but it was mostly something I did for fun. I took Creative Writing classes all through high school and majored in English in college. After I graduated, I realized there weren’t many fictional partnerships that reflected my preferences or my experiences. I found the undercurrent of sexual tension between would-be romantic partners to be alienating and sometimes uncomfortable. So I started writing the stories I wanted to read.

While my writing is not what I want to depend on for a living, it is a vital part of my life. I love the puzzle of crafting a story from scraps of lived experience and fictional inspirations. Writing also helps me validate who I am and how I feel; it’s a privilege to know that my stories help other people, too.

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 love mythological and literary symbolism, so there are almost always elements of that in my stories, such as a scar used as a symbol of a character’s triumph over adversity or an oblique reference to the “eating of the pomegranate seeds” in the Hades/Persephone myth.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re the only person in the world uniquely positioned to produce the work that 100% appeals to you in form and content. Work on what makes you happy.

Conversely, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing or you find that you’re bored with the piece, then take a break and don’t feel bad about taking a break. You’re a human being, not a machine! Treat yourself kindly and you’ll come back to the work when you’re ready.

2. wolves-in-the-fold-cover-redo

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and sex-repulsed as hell. I’ll say that I’m biromantic, but my take on romantic love is best described by that Pepe Silvia screenshot from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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

I’ve worked in public libraries for the last three years, and I haven’t experienced any prejudice from any of my coworkers, thankfully! But I’m also not really open at work (either about being ace or about being bi), so that might be part of it.

The only issue I’ve had has been that I have a really hard time shelving titles in the romance section. The covers make me kind of queasy (no one on them is wearing nearly enough clothes), so I just avoid working in that section as much as possible.

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

On a general level: it’s a phase and something we’ll grow out of, or that there’s something inherently childish about it as an orientation.

On a personal level: being asexual means that I’m inherently not interested in (or incapable of having) a committed partnership with another person.

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

Where you are and how you’re feeling is okay! Give yourself space to figure out how who you are and how you feel. Don’t let anyone convince you that your truth isn’t a valid truth.

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

https://ewambheim.wordpress.com/ is the hub for my published work. I have one short story there that you can read for free as a PDF, and it also includes links to the Amazon pages for Wolves in the Fold and More Than Enough.

https://ajumbleofpages.tumblr.com/ is the Tumblr I use for sharing writing updates.

Please also check out the Goodreads page for More Than Enough: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36327532-more-than-enough

Folx have left some very kind and heartfelt reviews there and on its Amazon page!

3. more-than-enough-cover

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

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!

Signal Boost: Another eBook Sale

Hello all!

As you all know, I’ll be speaking on a panel at C2E2 this weekend (more information found here and here). To celebrate, I’ve decided to have an eBook sale on the first two books of my series.

From April 5th – 9th, the eBook of Sere from the Green will be FREE and Through Storm and Night will be 0.99!

If you’re a fan of fantasy starring strong queer women (including adoptees, written by an adoptee) or you know anyone who is, please check out my books. And consider leaving a review. Being an indie author, I’m relying heavily on word of mouth and signal boosts 🙂

Here’s some more information on the books:

Sere from the Green

SereFromtheGreen.Ebook

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.

Buy here

Through Storm and Night

ThroughStormAndNight.Ebook

The Meadows is home to the guardians, a race of beings similar to the deities in ancient mythology. They watch over the Earth from their serene lands, keeping everything in check. For millennia, it has been peaceful. However, in the beginning, there was a great war. A war with Chaos, a war that is still remembered in the legends of the guardians and shape shifters.

Months have passed since Isis’, a shape shifter/guardian hybrid and member of the prophesied Four, narrow escape from the Obsidian Manor. The Four still haven’t found answers about the mysterious Coop and their search for the Key has yielded nothing but more questions. When an old alliance is reforged, the Four are thrown into another mystery. Who are the strange shape shifters known only as the “glowing-eyes” and what is their connection to the odd symbol and vanishing bodies?

Buy here

Once again, this sale runs from April 5th – 9th.

I hope those of you who already have books are enjoying them and thanks for picking them up 🙂

Thank you so much everybody!

Interview: Katy L. Wood

Today we’re joined by Katy L. Wood. Katy is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who is from Colorado. She recently debuted her webcomic, which features two asexual main characters. Katy combines her visual art with her writing, frequently drawing character art and cover art. Her webcomic, Gunpowder & Pine, sounds like an incredibly intriguing mystery story. It’s clear that she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Gunpowder and Pine_Part 1 Cover
Gunpowder and Pine, Part 1 Cover

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hi! I’m an author and illustrator, so a lot of my art is very interwoven with the stories I write. I do single illustrations, webcomics, novels, cover art, and character art regularly. My work is mostly digital, but I also do a little traditional work here and there, mostly pen and ink, watercolor, and marker. I’ve had work featured in the Society of Illustrators in New York, I have one self-published book, and I have a webcomic (with two asexual protagonists!) that just started posting!

What inspires you?

I was born and raised in Colorado, a fourth generation native of the state, and I come from a HUGE family. I grew up with so many stories about settling the mountains and growing up off the beaten track, and I grew up a bit off the track as well. It really fostered a sense of adventure and exploration in me, and I try and pack as much of that into my work as possible.

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

It always seemed like the only possibility for me. I’ve always told stories and done art, so making a career out of it was the natural way to go. Admittedly I’m still working on the actual “making money” part, but who isn’t?

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?

Hmmmm… not INTENTIONALLY. People tell me all the time that I have a style, but I don’t see it (which I think is true for most artists, you’re the last one to ever see your style). I do have one character that is in nearly all my novels, though. His name is Kala and he’s my oldest OC, and I always manage to sneak him in somehow. He’ll just be a random café worker or voice on the radio in someone’s car or something. He accidentally became important in one of my projects, though, and now he’s actually got scenes. Whoops.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make friends. Make all the friends. It doesn’t matter how good your portfolio/novel is, your chances of getting your work out there in the world are 1,000 times better if you have a good network to help you out. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people you admire, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talk to people and keep in touch.

Bellewood Promo Image
Bellewood Promo Image

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual with probably a dash of bi-romantic leaning towards women. Small dash, though. If all I ever end up with is a bunch of cats I’m okay with that.

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

I think the biggest issue I’ve seen is in publishing for novels. The industry has gotten a lot better about allowing queer content, but they still have A LOT of catching up to do. Some people in the industry are stuck in some very old grooves and the refuse to get out of them. At the same time, there’s tons of awesome, forward-thinking people that are fighting incredibly hard to change the system, and those are the people I seek out.

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

That the community doesn’t experience homophobia. I, thankfully, haven’t (in relation to asexuality, anyways). But it does happen to so many people and it can be incredibly harmful both mentally and physically.

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

You’re awesome. You deserve to be happy and secure in who you are and how you love other people, and if those other people can’t accept that it is okay to let them go.

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

My website (which includes my newsletter!), Webtoons where you can read my webcomic, my Tumblr, and my Patreon.

Thanks so much for having me!

Vivian's Kitchen Test Illustration
Vivian’s Kitchen Test Illustration

Thank you, Katy, 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! 😀

Signal Boost: Series Reboot

(I couldn’t figure out how to reblog in a cleaner way on WordPress, so I’m just copying and pasting this)

Hello all,

I meant to post this earlier, but I kept getting nervous and losing my nerve. I’m really bad at self-promotion 🙂

As most of you probably know, I’m an author (I write a series entitled The Shape Shifter Chronicles). You’re probably also aware of how my career started: with an emotionally abusive acephobic writing mentor, who tore me down completely. As a result, I had no confidence in my ability as an author and I had to hide my ace characters for my own safety. When I got into self-publishing, I released an error-ridden problematic version of my first manuscript. When I went to conventions, it was like carrying around the novel form of the Scarlet Letter: it was not my voice, not my story. I dreamed of the day when I would be given a second chance to re-release my first novel as the story I had always intended it to be.

Then, I was given the opportunity to do just that by Snowy Wings Publishing. I would be able to get my manuscripts professionally edited, have the covers redesigned, and finally reclaim my voice and my story. The Shape Shifter Chronicles is being rebooted. It is truly a dream come true.

I mean, just look at these gorgeous covers designed by Najla Qamber (Najla Qamber Designs). Those are my characters, my wonderful badass characters! There they are 😀

Originally, the series was going to be a summer release, but then the nightmare with my local community college happened (which further destroyed my confidence. Turns out regularly referring to a person with a learning disability with heinous ableist slurs doesn’t exactly do wonders for their mental health. Go figure). I had to recover from that and it set me behind schedule. Snowy Wings Publishing was awesome and I was allowed to push back my release date to Halloween.

And now Halloween is just around the corner and my anxiety is through the roof. I put so much work into in this reboot and I’m really proud of how it came out. I really want people to enjoy it (I know some of you have already started reading or read the first version of this series and I’m hoping you’ll check out the reboot too).

Marketing is super tough for Indies, especially when you need a certain number of reviews for various services. I’m really doing a lot of trial-and-error when it comes to marketing and therefore, I’m dependent on word-of-mouth at the moment. Reviews help a great deal, so does signal boosting. Adding my series on GoodReads (first novel here, and I think you can find the rest by clicking my name) is a great help as well. If you have a blog or podcast or something, I’m available for interviews.

I’ve received a great deal of help from Lyssa Chiavari, including her setting up my Pronoun page, where you can pre-order all the eBook versions of my book.

Signed editions of the paperbacks will likely be available via my Square store in mid-November (you also get convention prices, which are a little cheaper than from the big online stores).

The series is going to be released on October 31st. I’ll probably reblog or repost this next Sunday. Hope you don’t mind.

I’m incredibly nervous about this (seriously, kind words are very welcomed and very appreciated). I pour so much into Asexual Artists and am way better at promoting this site (and all the amazing artists I’ve interviewed) than I am at promoting my own work. I really need to get better at that because that’s my source of income.

Anyhow, I’m hoping some of you check out my series! It’s four openly queer women saving the world! And having fun while doing so!

Thanks everybody! 🙂


 

Hi again, everybody!

My series reboot is being released this Tuesday. (In 2 freaking days!)

Not going to lie, I am SO nervous and freaked out right now. I poured so much time and work into this reboot (and, as mentioned before, had to deal with a whole lot of other bullshit while doing so). I’m really, really proud of how it came out and I hope readers enjoy it too.

Thank you so much to all of you who left just the kindest words and comments and sent the most wonderful messages 🙂 I really appreciate it.

Anyhow, I hope all of you check out my series and enjoy it ❤

Thanks everybody! 😀

Signal Boost: Series Reboot

Hello all,

I meant to post this earlier, but I kept getting nervous and losing my nerve. I’m really bad at self-promotion 🙂

As most of you probably know, I’m an author (I write a series entitled The Shape Shifter Chronicles). You’re probably also aware of how my career started: with an emotionally abusive acephobic writing mentor, who tore me down completely. As a result, I had no confidence in my ability as an author and I had to hide my ace characters for my own safety. When I got into self-publishing, I released an error-ridden problematic version of my first manuscript. When I went to conventions, it was like carrying around the novel form of the Scarlet Letter: it was not my voice, not my story. I dreamed of the day when I would be given a second chance to re-release my first novel as the story I had always intended it to be.

Then, I was given the opportunity to do just that by Snowy Wings Publishing. I would be able to get my manuscripts professionally edited, have the covers redesigned, and finally reclaim my voice and my story. The Shape Shifter Chronicles is being rebooted. It is truly a dream come true.

I mean, just look at these gorgeous covers designed by Najla Qamber (Najla Qamber Designs). Those are my characters, my wonderful badass characters! There they are 😀

Originally, the series was going to be a summer release, but then the nightmare with my local community college happened (which further destroyed my confidence. Turns out regularly referring to a person with a learning disability with heinous ableist slurs doesn’t exactly do wonders for their mental health. Go figure). I had to recover from that and it set me behind schedule. Snowy Wings Publishing was awesome and I was allowed to push back my release date to Halloween.

And now Halloween is just around the corner and my anxiety is through the roof. I put so much work into in this reboot and I’m really proud of how it came out. I really want people to enjoy it (I know some of you have already started reading or read the first version of this series and I’m hoping you’ll check out the reboot too).

Marketing is super tough for Indies, especially when you need a certain number of reviews for various services. I’m really doing a lot of trial-and-error when it comes to marketing and therefore, I’m dependent on word-of-mouth at the moment. Reviews help a great deal, so does signal boosting. Adding my series on GoodReads (first novel here, and I think you can find the rest by clicking my name) is a great help as well. If you have a blog or podcast or something, I’m available for interviews.

I’ve received a great deal of help from Lyssa Chiavari, including her setting up my Pronoun page, where you can pre-order all the eBook versions of my book.

Signed editions of the paperbacks will likely be available via my Square store in mid-November (you also get convention prices, which are a little cheaper than from the big online stores).

The series is going to be released on October 31st. I’ll probably reblog or repost this next Sunday. Hope you don’t mind.

I’m incredibly nervous about this (seriously, kind words are very welcomed and very appreciated). I pour so much into Asexual Artists and am way better at promoting this site (and all the amazing artists I’ve interviewed) than I am at promoting my own work. I really need to get better at that because that’s my source of income.

Anyhow, I’m hoping some of you check out my series! It’s four openly queer women saving the world! And having fun while doing so!

Thanks everybody! 🙂