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!

Interview: Mies Nestor M

Today we’re joined by Mies Nestor M. Mies is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in drawing characters, both their own and fanart. They started out doing mostly traditional art, but have recently started doing digital. They have an incredible amount of talent. The amount of detail in their drawings is extraordinary, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

a family photo
A Family Photo

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a cartoon artist on Instagram. I did majorly traditional art in the past but due to minimal amount of space in college dorms for art supplies, I have only really been doing digital art mainly for the last few months. I enjoy making both fan art and art of my own characters. Making characters is one of my favorite things about drawing. I don’t write about them a lot, but I am very passionate about making unique and diverse characters, though I laugh to myself that most of them are asexual.

What inspires you?

I have always been a fan of cartoons and anime, mostly shows that are peaceful and revolve around characters and character relations, but mostly in the way of friendships and family. Within the last year I’ve really gotten into Dungeons and Dragons and I’m very inspired by both the campaigns I am in as well as the ones I watch online. I feel like the parties that are made in those games show great and loving friendships that are different from usual media.

Fate
Fate

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

I actually hated drawing when I was young. I had a very “if I’m not good at it now I’m not going to do it” mentality. I always enjoyed cartoons and the like and eventually got around to drawing. I also had ideas for characters and I couldn’t help but want to draw them.

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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’m a sucker for symbolism and wordplay. I tend to have characters wear joke t-shirts as well as have color codes for certain characters of my own. It’s nothing too big, but I love having little callouts to certain aspects of a character

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing. It’s an oldie but a goodie. Anything you want to do will take time to get good at. Surround yourself with people to share your art with too. There’s nothing that makes me want to draw more than my friends telling me they enjoy my stuff.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a Aromantic Asexual. I have never had any attraction I guess haha.

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

I’ve only really had an audience of younger artists following me, so I’ve never had any pushes to do anything I’m uncomfortable with in my art, thankfully. As well as that, my art style is rather cutesy and “innocent”, so I’ve never gotten any inappropriate comments or questions. I’ve talked about my identity on livestreams, but everyone has been fairly kind.

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Momhouse

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

Offline, I’ve definitely gotten a lot of the “you’ll find the right person one day” stuff. I rarely explicitly state my identity, but I often say “I’m not interested in dating/sex” and gotten quite a few confused and, while well-meaning, demeaning responses. People seem to expect everyone to experience attraction, and get confused and act sorry when you express that you don’t.

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Persona Glasses

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

What you’re feeling is normal, and there are people out there just like you.You don’t need to follow everyone’s expectations of what you should be and take all the time you need to figure out how you identify and you are always allowed to change whatever labels you use if you find a new one that fits better or figure something out about yourself. That doesn’t mean you were faking it or wrong, figuring out yourself is a process and it’s okay to take your time.

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

I post on Instagram! My main account is ShadowGingerdapple and I talk about my own characters on ShadowOCdapple. If you want to find me on Tumblr I’m at ShadowSnowdapple!

Radiant Soul
Radiant Soul

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

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! 😀

Interview: Michelle

Today we’re joined by Michelle. Michelle is the phenomenal artist and creator behind the comic Centralia 2050, a “female-led cyberpunk mystery comic with themes of isolation, oppression, and transhumanism.” The comic has a variety of diverse characters and Michelle puts a lot of importance on creating ace-friendly material. Michelle is soon going to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first volume of the comic, which I’ll post a signal boost for in about a week (so keep an eye out for that). Michelle is an incredibly talented and passionate 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’m a storyboard and comic artist, currently working on my original cyberpunk mystery comic Centralia 2050. Right now, the comic is just starting its 4th chapter, with a volume 1 book in the works. I also work as an artist doing live-action storyboards for commercials and music videos. Now and then, I like doing watercolour painting, too.

What inspires you?

Usually the people around me. Each person I get to know inspires me with their unique life story, their struggles, their aspirations. A lot of that gets subconsciously channeled into the stories I write and the characters I create.

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

I’ve always been drawn toward telling stories, and drawing is the easiest way for me to get my ideas out. I’m not great with words, so it’s often easier for me to just show what’s in my head. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I thought about pursuing art professionally, though I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted. Eventually comics and storyboarding became the most natural path to satisfy my love for storytelling.

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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?

Nothing I’m aware of! I’m not great at noticing those little trends in my art, honestly. Like, I couldn’t tell you what my style is or any direct visual inspirations. I just draw what looks right to me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Perfection is the enemy of finished. A lot of young artists hide their work because they feel it’s not good enough to share, but the world can’t know about you if you hide everything you create. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, and have a constructive attitude towards failure. I think that’s a quality that every successful artist must possess.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteromantic ace.

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

In my field, no. I don’t typically make my orientation known, largely because it only invites a lot of awkward questions. Of course there’s going to be ignorant people in the artist community, but I’ve been fortunate to not have to deal with any of them personally in my career.

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

That I’m ace because my partner is lousy in bed. It sucks, because I’m inclined to not “out” him as having an ace girlfriend– I don’t want to potentially embarrass him. When you tell people you’re ace and in a relationship, they want to know how that works. It’s different for every couple, and I don’t think it should be anyone else’s business.

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

Find ace-friendly communities online. I didn’t even know what to call myself until I was in my mid-20s, and it caused me a lot of grief. I hear a lot of aces say they thought they were “broken”, and I absolutely felt that way before I realized asexuality was a thing. I felt a lot better when I started reading about other people’s experiences and having the validation that I wasn’t a broken person.

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

You can read Centralia 2050 at centralia2050.com. There is also a Kickstarter for the first volume of the comic, which you can find at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michelledraws/70043576?ref=355027&token=8e80ddd4. (Kickstarter will be live on October 15th)

I’m Art of Michelle Stanford on Facebook, at michellestanfordart on Instagram, and at Michelledrawz on Twitter.

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

Interview: Eileen Gonzalez

Today we’re joined by Eileen Gonzalez. Eileen is a phenomenal author who hasn’t met a genre she doesn’t like. She has had stories published in magazines and also does self-publishing. While she specializes in fiction, Eileen has a great passion for diverse characters and LGBTQ+ characters. It’s apparent from her interview that she has a great love of the written word. 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 write all kinds of fiction.  I haven’t been able to settle on a genre.  It’s like my version of Pokémon—gotta try ‘em all.  For me, diversity is more important than the specific genre.  I like writing about LGBT characters and characters of color.

At the moment my pet projects include Proper Ladies, a comedic novel about a group of proto-superheroines in 1914, and the Spring Break Sleuths series, about a group of college friends who solve mysteries together over spring break.

What inspires you?

Everything.  It’s a little annoying sometimes.  Every time I watch or read or play something, my brain goes, “I wanna do something like this!”  Not all of those ideas are any good, of course, but at least I never run out of stuff to work on!

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

Not quite always. Just since second grade.  I seem to remember we were given a creative writing assignment, and then all of a sudden the proverbial light switch went off and I realized I loved to write.

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?

It’s a very rare day indeed when I’m not writing about LGBT characters.  The most recent exception I can think of is Alice Jung from my short story “Like Knights of Old” (soon to be appearing in the first issue of Wizards in Space magazine!), and even then, Alice is also one of the main characters of “Proper Ladies,” which features a lesbian couple.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There is so much advice out there about how to write, what to write, when to write, etc. that a lot of it ends up contradicting itself.  Feel free to pick and choose the bits of advice that work for you.  As long as you’re having fun and are satisfied with your work (or at least as satisfied as any creative person can be with their work), you’re doing it right.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic asexual

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

Nothing directed specifically at me, but just being on the internet and being exposed to various media means that I inevitably run into the usual stuff about how asexuals don’t belong in the queer/LGBT community, or how romantic and sexual feelings are what “make us human.”  I try not to let it get to me, but it’s hard sometimes.  Writing helps—I get to create bunches and bunches of diverse and open-minded characters.

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

Probably what I mentioned earlier about how sex “makes us human” or is “something we all share,” which basically negates our very existence.  The fact that the pursuit of romance and/or sex seems to be the cornerstone for 90% of all the books and movies ever made doesn’t help.

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

There are jerks and idiots out there.  Each time you meet one, you may be struck by the urge to punch them.  Do not do this.  Instead, go find something that isn’t so punchable and spend some time with it.  A pet.  A friend, online or in person.  A video game. A fanfiction.  Whatever makes you happy.  You’re a nice, normal person who deserves to be happy.

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

I post about it on Tumblr sometimes, but my website — gonzalezwithaz.com — is the most reliable place.  There’s links to all my work (the short stories are free!) as well as regular updates about upcoming writing projects.

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

Interview: Mirror

Today we’re joined by Mirror. Mirror is an amazing up and coming writer who specializes in blending sci-fi and fantasy. Her work features a lot of diverse characters and sounds really fantastic. She’s obviously an incredibly enthusiastic writer and her work sounds fantastic. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is writing. I love to write, and I have ever since I was a young girl. I specialize in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, most of the time blending the two with some Catholic undertones for good measure.

What inspires you?

This may sound a tiny bit cliché, but space itself inspires me. I look out into the the universe, and I need to write. The emptiness of space, trying to imagine the reality of a star soundlessly burning for billions of years in the near infinite void of space…it inspires me. My religion, too, gives me a lot to write about, especially angels.

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

All my English classes as a school kid fostered my interest, but before I decided to pursue writing, I wanted to be an astronomer.

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?

Dragons are always in my stories in some form or fashion. For me, they symbolize infinity.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t put yourself in a box. Everyone always told me that I had to write about certain things because I’m an African American woman. They’re wrong. Your only limit is your imagination.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a bi-romantic asexual

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

Not in my field, luckily.

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

Most people I’ve encountered just don’t think that it’s possible to even be asexual, so overcoming that disbelief is the hardest part.

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

My advice would be to stay true to yourself. I know that sounds way corny, but it’s true. I didn’t accept my orientation until I was married and had two young kids, and when I tell you that I haven’t encountered anything so difficult in my life, believe it. There is a great amount of pain in being yourself around those who don’t like certain aspects of who you are, but what hurts infinitely more is betraying yourself to make someone else happy. Don’t do it.

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

If you find yourself interested in stars that turn into dragons and travel through space or in angels who come down from heaven to help humans (mainly POC) fight evil, then check out my blog timelordmirror on Tumblr.

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

Signal Boost: Shining Ascension

Hello all!

I’m here with a very special signal boost. Two artists (Darcie Little Badger, writer, and T. Hueston, visual artist) recently launched an absolutely stunning webcomic entitled Shining Ascension. If you’re not reading, you totally should be. I have been following it and I really can’t put into words just how good it is. The artwork is phenomenal and the story is engaging. All the characters are people of color and the protagonist is asexual!

Official website: http://shiningascension.com/

First page (cover) of the webcomic itself: http://shiningascension.com/comic/issue-1-cover/

Darcie and T. are among my favorite artists who I’ve interviewed for this site. Their talents compliment each other beautifully and this webcomic is truly a work of art: diversity, strong characters, and a gripping storyline? What more could you possibly want?

According to the FAQ, there will eventually be a printed edition of this comic (and the possibility of signed copies).  This is definitely the kind of project that I will make room for on my “Ace Shelf.”

What are you waiting for? Click on those links and support the hell out of this project! 🙂

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