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.

Laughing

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.

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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.

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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

A Shard of Sea and Bone - Final Cover - Front Cover Preview

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! 🙂

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:

SereFromtheGreen.Ebook

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.

Cheerleaders from Planet X [Lyssa Chiavari]

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.

Phoenix Descending Curse of the Phoenix [Dorothy Dreyer]

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.

Ballad of the Beanstalk [Amy McNulty]

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!

Signal Boost: The Blood Prince

Hi everyone!

I have a very exciting signal boost today. An ace author has just released her first novel and it sounds fantastic! Marie Blanchet was interviewed on this site a while back (WordPress & Tumblr) has just released The Blood Prince, the first in a fantasy trilogy entitled the Scale Hearts trilogy. It has an aro-ace main character and dragons! What more could you want? 🙂

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Cover

Here’s what Marie has to say about it:

“Until two years ago, Rainbow was ruled by dragumens. Now, there’s a human Empress on the throne, and she rules with an iron fist. Breaking promises after promises, she controls the people with lies, taxes, and murder. Everywhere in the land, rebellion is brewing. Gangav, the fallen dragumen prince who wants nothing more than revenge, rallies humans and dragumens to his cause. Sasha, his best friend and fiercest supporter, is eager to help him and is spoiling for a fight. Alexander on the other hand never wanted to be a part of it, but finds himself with no other choice when tragedy strikes home, bringing the cruelty of the empress to his doorstep. When news of a spy amongst their ranks turns everything on its head and the sudden outbreak of a new illness threatens the safety of the rebels, the three of them must find a way to relocate their camp before they are discovered, or the rebellion may very well end before it even begins. The first book in the “Scale Hearts” trilogy, “The Blood Prince” is a story about dragons and rebellions, but also about inner strength and figuring out your place in the world.

It might interest readers of you blog to know that the main character Sasha is aromantic in the book, and has somewhat of a journey of self-discovery while working for the rebellion. Being ace but not aro myself, I have consulted with several aromantic betas to make sure that Sasha and her storyline was handled with care. 

The book can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Prince-Scale-Hearts/dp/177511970X/

And here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/760868

I designed everything in the book, from the cover to several character illustrations inside to the page layout and the map.”

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Map

Seriously, Blanchet’s artwork is absolutely beautiful:

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Alex
Anzuu
Anzuu
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Gangav
Sasha
Sasha

So if you love fantasy and ace characters, this is definitely a book you want to pick up (and review and recommend).

Thanks, everybody!