Interview: Harmony

Today we’re joined by Harmony. Harmony is an awesome up and coming author who is currently working on the first novel in a series. She prefers to write science fiction and fantasy stories. When she’s not writing, Harmony enjoys singing and dancing. It’s clear she’s a passionate 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’m primarily a fiction writer, although I do sing and dance. Most of my stories are fantasy, sci-fi, or have supernatural elements to them. Currently, I’m working on the first book in a series based on fairy tales. It’s been hard for me to find the time to write, but I’ve been making progress little by little.

What inspires you?

I like to ask myself a lot of “what if” questions, and see where my imagination takes me. I also use little bits and pieces that I like from other stories. Some ideas can come at random times, which is why I usually have my phone on hand to jot down ideas. One of my stories was inspired by a title that I randomly came up with while thinking about a cartoon character!

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

I’ve always been a reader, and since I was little, I’ve made up stories. When I was younger, my mom swore I would be a writer, and even though I insisted she was wrong, here I am now! I really started writing in elementary school, when we had to write short stories for class. I came up with a book about a girl who adopted a dog that turns out to be a cursed human girl. I won a small writing contest with that story, and that inspired me to keep writing.

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 have any common mark in my stories, but every writer has their own individual voice that you can sometimes identify. I like to be very descriptive in characters’ appearances and the background.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing and developing your art, no matter what other people say. There’s no one else who knows your art like you do. It might seem hard, but if you take a few minutes every day, you can create something beautiful.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, though I use it as the umbrella term, since I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum.

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

There’s not really any prejudice so much as ignorance about asexuality. I’ve read a lot of books, and it’s been mentioned once or twice, at most. Most fiction books for anyone over thirteen have some sort of “oh, that person’s so hot” moment. I’ve heard of some books with a canon ace character, but I’ve never read any. Personally, I try to keep my characters diverse, but there’s barely any romance, and no sex in my stories, so their sexualities aren’t very important to the story.

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

I’ve only talked to a few close people about asexuality, and they’re accepting, but the most common misconception is that I’m too young to know. I live in a city, so more people do know a little about it, at least.

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

You know yourself better than anyone, and only you truly know what you’re feeling. Other people’s ignorance doesn’t change that. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not broken, and you are not alone.

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

I don’t have anything published … yet. But I occasionally post parts of stories based on writing prompts on my Tumblr, at demonfairyprincess. You can also find me on Wattpad, sgeheart24. (I named my account a while ago, when I had just gotten into the School for Good and Evil series. I’m a fan, so sue me.) I only have part of an old fanfic there, but I plan to eventually post some original stories.

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

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.

https://kbimages1-a.akamaihd.net/cffe8770-fc75-427f-a107-99a1a7a983f9/353/569/90/False/let-me-fly-free-1.jpg

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: Amy

Today we’re joined by Amy. Amy is a wonderful writer who specializes in poetry and is currently working on a novel. She has also dabbled in short stories and nonfiction. She plays around with different forms and genres of poetry. Amy also enjoys writing in a variety of genres when it comes to prose. She’s clearly a dedicated and talented author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Thanatos Hear Me
Thanatos Hear Me

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer. I write mostly poems, and I’m working on a novel, which will hopefully be finished in a few years, as well as short stories, and one-off pieces. I write in lots of genres, mainly fantasy, occasionally sci-fi, with some non-fiction thrown in every so often to mix it up. The poetry I write varies between rhyming and not rhyming, and basically wanders across all the poetry structures like iambic pentameter that we all learnt about in school.

What inspires you?

Whenever I read something really good, I sometimes have to stop and let my world shift for a few moments afterwards – I’m sure lots of people have felt the subtle shift in their thinking that happens after reading an amazing piece of work. The idea that that could someday be me – that I could change people just with my words, is mostly what keeps me going.

In more prosaic, day-to-day terms? Anything? Bits of books I’ve read, things I’ve heard or seen, random thoughts that get stuck in my head and won’t leave – all of this gets added to the mixing bowl, and sometimes art comes back out. I mostly draw from my own experiences with poetry, and my prose pieces tend to be more imaginative, drawing on things I’ve read or heard about.

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

I have honestly wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. I’ve still got the first story I ever wrote, in shaky I’ve-just-learnt-how-to-write handwriting (it was about a girl that made friends with a spider, if you’re interested), and I’ve been writing ever since. It feels like something I was made to do – like I’ve always had that urge to tell stories, and I always will. The idea that this was something I could make money from (not that I am yet), and that this was something I could devote my life to, was an epiphany for me.

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 in particular. My work tends to include a lot of me in it – a lot of what I think and feel gets included, so someone who knows me pretty well could probably pinpoint what was my work, but there’s nothing specific. Greek and Roman mythology sometimes gets a mention, just because I’m really interested in it, but nothing that I would say is consistent across all my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone tell you not to do it. If you want to create something, create it. It doesn’t matter if you never show it to anyone, or if everyone you show it to thinks it’s terrible – you’re still an artist. And also, you’ve got to love it. Even if my writing never gets any recognition – if I never get published – I won’t ever stop writing, because I couldn’t imagine not doing it. If you want your art to take you somewhere, if you want to make money, or a career, from it, you’ve got to put a lot of hours into it, and trust me, that is so much easier when you can enjoy it.

This
This

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as completely asexual, although not aromantic. Absolutely no sexual attraction to anyone, but I would like a romantic relationship.

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

I wouldn’t say I encounter a lot of prejudice. I do get a lot of ignorance from people around me, and I have a very sarcastic sense of humour, so a lot of people would probably think I was joking if I mentioned it. I haven’t talked to many other writers about it, as I’m a kind of private person, but it does seem to me that asexuality is not widely known at all, or represented in novels, which could be caused by ignorance or prejudice, really.

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

That it precludes a romantic relationship, and also that an asexual person would have to have been traumatized by something, or that they would be completely cold-hearted. People think it’s caused by something, not that it’s just part of who a person is.

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

I would say that you can choose what to label yourself. And that you don’t have to decide instantly. It took me ages to realise that I was asexual, and even longer to be comfortable using the term – and that was just in my head. I’m still cautious of telling people about it.

Also that it’s no one’s business how you identify yourself as. You’re not hurting anyone, you’re not doing something wrong – if they don’t like it, that’s their problem. Be okay with yourself as you are. You’ve discovered something new about yourself that is hard to discover (how do you figure out if you lack something? Took me ages). Be proud of yourself!

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

I do have a Tumblr blog – ifthisislifewheresthemanual – and an AO3 account Coruscant, but I do post infrequently, I’m afraid. Hopefully, in about a year, I’ll have a book published that you can all rush to read!

To Be Afraid
To be Afraid

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

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? 🙂

1. cover1
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.”

2. map
Map

Seriously, Blanchet’s artwork is absolutely beautiful:

alex
Alex
Anzuu
Anzuu
gangav
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!

Interview: Dreachie

Today we’re joined by Dreachie. Dreachie is a phenomenal visual artist who works with digital mediums. She’s an illustrator and her work has a very dreamy appearance and feel to it. Most of her drawings fall into the fantasy genre. There’s an amazing attention to detail that pulls the viewer in and holds their attention, as you’ll soon see. It’s clear Dreachie is an incredibly talented and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Meet the artist new
Meet the Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital artist and I focus into creating dreamy & fantasy illustrations but I also love to draw original characters, girls and try to evoke some sort of feeling to people through my art.

Now I’m trying to work on my own project about things that make people happy even though I still don’t have a name for it.

It’s basically a collection of things my followers and people have told me that make them happy and that I want to transform from words into illustrations, as a reminder to people that even in bad days or how bad things seem to be, there are always things that make us happy, even the smallest thing can bring a smile to someone.

2. Heavenly 2
Heavenly

What inspires you?

Ahh, I’m mostly inspired by things that happen in dreams. When you wake up from a dream and the first thing you do is write them down, or well draw them… But I don’t know how many people do that but I like to write down my dreams even as weird they might be, they are very inspiring and you are creating worlds in those dreams as well.

But of course, being inspired by other simple things such as the colours of the sky, aesthetic boards and that book you read not long time ago, as long as they seem… unusual!

3. Star sketch girl
Star Sketch Girl

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

Since I was a little kid and my parents gave me my first paper and crayons, I’ve always enjoyed drawing, oh and paint the walls of the kitchen with my brother!

But you know when you get the common question at school of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and as a kid saying you wanted to be an artist, people wouldn’t actually take you serious haha.

Way back when I was 10 years I discovered, like many, Deviantart and the many amazing artists and art but it wasn’t until I was 16 that I actually started to take art more serious, to actually become an artist and after having to drop school at my senior year that I had more time to practice my art and things actually started to change and improve! So yeah, I’ve always wanted to be an artist!

8. maybe tears
Maybe Tears

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 like to include to all my drawings, no matter the character’s race, colour, alien or human, or rock… some sparkling/starry freckles, plus some details in the eyelashes. But it’s not just that, I love to play with vibrant colours, sparkles and add a lot of “dreamy vibes” in my art!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Don’t be afraid about drawing and calling yourself an artist, even if you feel your art isn’t good enough, you are creating things! You are an artist!

2. It’s alright to make mistakes, I don’t mean just in the art field but in general and in life. We all learn from mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes help us to improve and get better at something or be a better person with someone. We are all here to learn but still to be kind!

3. Young aspiring artists; please learn the fundamentals of art if you want to make art as a living one day! Trust me, fundamentals are the bases for you to develop an art style and will make your art-life much easier.

4. Making art that people can relate to. Helps you create a connection and bond with your audience. Either something personal or an advice, which happened to me during my Timeskip drawing, I didn’t expect many people to actually relate to it!

And basically; have fun! Even if you feel like worrying about the numbers in your followers, likes, reblogs, etc. You are here to have fun and enjoy art.

4. timeskip
Time Skip

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual ♥   I’m sex-repulsed and actually not interested in that at all. And kids? I have my cats already haha

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

I have, mostly within my family and two friends I don’t talk to anymore irl. I told them about me being asexual, and they answer with the common thing of;

“You just haven’t found the right person yet”, “You’ll change your mind when you meet someone”, “Its only time what you need” etc.

Mostly it’s my mom and my older brother in the family whom says that, talk about “how much I’m missing in life”, but life isn’t all about sex! And tbh I gave up trying to explain things to them because they simply wouldn’t understand or try to.

I decided to let them think whatever they want, what matters is how I feel and what I know; and I know I’m asexual and that there is nothing wrong with it, it’s how I feel.

7. Garden
Garden

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

OHH boi, I once in a conversation got told: Do you reproduce by asexual reproduction?? Is that normal? That isn’t real!”

But really, there’s a lot of misconception about asexuality. Being asexual doesn’t mean that you are repulsed or hate to be touched, like a hug or a poke, etc. It’s… it’s not… I really don’t know where that came from and people think asexuals are that.

That “You can’t find love-a partner while being asexual”, this whole statement is wrong, being asexual doesn’t make it impossible for someone to find love, and it’s not a disability.

6. red girluuhh
Red Girluuhh

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

There’s no rush for you to find your orientation or label yourself. Take your time, make your research and just know how you feel. I’m really not the best to ask this I think, but just know how you feel. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are wrong, you are never alone.

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

These are some places where you can find my art / some helpful art tips and tutorials, or even supporting my art:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/dreachie
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/dreachie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dreachie
Also to find the rest of my art and links, they are all listed here! https://linktr.ee/dreachie

5. Fairy
Fairy

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

Interview: Cipher

Today we’re joined by Cipher. Cipher is a wonderful writer and digital artist who specializes in fantasy and supernatural stories. She’s currently working on a couple different stories at the moment, all of which sound absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cipher does some digital art, mostly character design. It’s very obvious that she’s a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. rheet1ttt
Rheet

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m primarily a hobbyist writer, but I draw stuff on occasion, usually when I have an exam coming up or an assignment due. I tend to write stuff geared more towards fantasy or supernatural, as I love a story with something magical in it.

My current WIP is about a pretty gold merman, pirates, and fairies (in the background). The main character is of Middle-Eastern ethnicity, and is asexual! His merman boyfriend is whatever the merman equivalent of pansexual is, and one of two primary antagonists specifically a sex-repulsed asexual man. The story features characters of many different nationalities (as far as I can make that happen with a fantasy world) such as African, British (Scottish and English), Irish, Indian, Middle-Eastern, Caribbean, and French! It deals with some potentially triggering themes at times, but it’s also a story about accepting people for who they are, and accepting that your first impression of someone may not be that accurate. Also pirates!

I also have a vampire story planned, which will contain a single father main character with a tiny child because why not! I have a secret “other account” that I use to write self-indulgent fanfiction because I have to entertain myself SOMEHOW. My niche tends to be more in writing gay romantic relationships or very close platonic friendships with a kind of found-family vibe.

Any art I draw tends to be really ridiculous and silly, or it’ll be art for my own stories or someone else’s.

2. Felix2
Felix

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me. My own experiences and emotions, music, my friends, other content I view. Sometimes I just really want to indulge in a particular thing, and if I can’t find it out there, I write it myself! With the merman story, I kind of inspired myself? I had originally written a short series of novels which I wanted to do a spin-off for. And I was getting really into merpeople at the time, so I wanted to include one in this spin-off. The merman character I created and his human boyfriend wound up being way more interesting than what I was already writing, so I scrapped the spin-off and started telling their story instead! I have specific songs I listen to for this story, and I also tend to watch YouTube videos (check out Stella the Siren!) of people in costumes swimming around as merpeople.

One of the big themes in this story is being trapped somewhere and not being able to leave, even though logically, it should be easy. Another theme is prejudice, another is acceptance (or the lack thereof, in some cases). I drew these themes heavily from my own life, and I feel that in some roundabout way, some of the themes in this story are an accurate metaphor for the experiences some people have with their asexuality. This wasn’t my intention when writing it, but this has wound up being the result.

3. Iris
Iris

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

I can remember wanting to be a writer when I was younger. I had big dreams of wanting to be a best-selling author like J. K. Rowling, I wanted to be famous for it, I wanted to earn lots of money! And it was primarily the Harry Potter books that got me interested in that. My first story ever was a (badly) illustrated retelling of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (ha, I’ve come full circle!). As I grew up, I made friends with similar interests. We all wanted to be writers, we all liked to draw. Since then, I’ve decided I actually NEVER want to be published as I’m content with sharing my works for free online where I can interact with readers on a more personal level. And my digital art is really just a hobby. I’d love to develop my skill enough to do graphic novels or webcomics, maybe open up a Patreon. But again, it’s nothing I want to pursue professionally.

4. Penelope1
Penelope

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?

Not that I know of? I guess when I write, I throw a lot of myself and my own emotions into the writing, and I NEVER intend for this to happen. It can sometimes make me feel very exposed when posting a new chapter, as I realise (though readers may not) that some of my deepest emotions and thoughts are out there for everyone to see.

5. azandkaensfinal1222
Az and Kaens

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Of course it’s important to improve your craft, whatever it may be. But NEVER let anyone tell you that your work is “cliché” or “unoriginal”. Guess what? NOTHING is original. Everything has been done before in some way at some point. What matters is that you have fun creating it, is that you enjoy what you do. You should have fun coming up with plots or ideas for drawings, you should have fun creating characters and giving them tragic backstories or smart mouths or the perfect physique, or whatever else it is that people like to make fun of others for. Indulge in yourself. When people constantly criticize you, and make you feel like you aren’t good enough to the point where you no longer want to create your art, THEY are in the wrong. You can’t please everyone. I once had someone complain that my 18-year-old Middle-Easter male character’s facial hair made him look less cute, and she would rather he didn’t have it. Like, I’m sorry my boy doesn’t fit your ideal “uke” aesthetic. My best friend drew a picture of him with a full giant beard and moustache as retaliation for me 😀

So first and foremost, make sure YOU are happy with what you create. Create primarily for yourself and not for others. Constructive or polite criticism, take it with a polite smile and a “thank you”, but learn to recognize when someone is genuinely just being mean. Remember that everyone advances at different speeds, and not everyone is perfect at everything.

Never let anyone, not even yourself, make your art less fun for you.

Some more writing-specific advice! In my opinion, a story is made up of three components. Writing, characters, and plot. Ideally, you want at least two of these things to be good to make for a story people will like! But in my experience, good characters are what work! They could be walking down the stairs for breakfast in the morning, but if your characterization is strong and done well, people will care about it. Pay special attention to your characters and creating them, and showing who they are in your writing, and giving them reasons for doing the things they do. Plot can be whatever you want it to be. Writing improves with time. Read a lot (professionally published works, really terribly-written fanfictions, the works!). Learn what you like in another’s style and what you don’t like. Utilize and borrow these things in order to refine your own craft.

Be kind to yourself! You’re creating art!

8. 64287995-256-k202908
Book Cover drawn by limey-art (on Tumblr), text added by shirokaneki (on Tumblr)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, panromantic.

6. azzwefgth
Az

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

Not that I can think of. A fellow writer did once tell me that she really “didn’t get all that crap”, however given her own upbringing and where she’s from, it didn’t bother me too much. I also had a rather rude person leave a comment on my story about sex in the story’s future, and when I explained there would be none because my main character is asexual (and his love interest is half FISH), she became very blasé, laughed about asexuality, kind of implied she didn’t think it was a real thing. I offered to explain it in more depth to her, and how it specifically affects this main character versus the sex-repulsed villain, but she never responded xD

Most of the ignorance tends to stem from people simply not knowing what asexuality is – they’ve either never heard of it, or they have misconceptions about what it is. And that’s fine, because I myself knew nothing about it until only a year or two ago. The best way I deal with THAT is to tell them that it’s okay if they don’t know or understand. I give a little explanation, and offer to go more in depth with them if they want, or I offer to point them to resources. Most people I’ve encountered have been very pleasant about it. Those who aren’t, just don’t talk to them. And remember to use that block button if necessary!

7. Slade
Slade

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

The most common one I’ve personally encountered is that people assume I’m afraid of sex. They assume this is the case, and they think I say I’m asexual so I either won’t have to have sex, or it’s an excuse so I don’t have to admit I’m afraid. Generally speaking, this is not the case at all. I’ve also had people think I don’t want sex, or “there must be something wrong” with me because “everyone wants sex!”. And finally, my number one FAVOURITE – “you just haven’t met the right person yet! That will change when you meet The One!” You know what, maybe it WILL change if I meet The One. Maybe I’m specifically demi-sexual. Maybe I just haven’t met my type yet. But for someone to try to invalidate my current sexuality like that is NOT okay. I never have felt, nor do I think I ever WILL feel sexual attraction. This, however, does NOT prevent me from having relationships, from having sex (physically, thoughts, “alone time”, etc) or from living a perfectly fulfilling life.

9. Az & Kae (Anni)
Az and Kae (drawn by fairygodpiggy on Tumblr)

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

That honestly depends on why they are struggling. The main thing to remember, I think, is that you know yourself best. If you think you’re asexual, call yourself asexual. If it’s dangerous for you to “come out” you are under NO obligation to do so. Ace positivity is everywhere on the internet, which is fantastic! However, you are no less ace if you choose not to participate or contribute, or if you choose never to talk about it. Your pride doesn’t have to be loud. You are no less ace if you only SOMETIMES feel ace, or if you used to not be, but now you are. There are resources out there where you can find a more specific term for your sexuality if you wish, but if you think you are ace, then that is what you are and no one can tell you any differently. There is nothing WRONG with you. Hundreds of thousands of us have thought the same thing. “I must be straight by default” or “I don’t understand why she’d cheat on him” or “sex isn’t that great”.

Asexuality is such a broad spectrum that of course everybody has different experiences. Different circumstances, different emotions, different actions, etc. Just because you’re not like another asexual person, that doesn’t mean you are less asexual. You can absolutely know if you’re ace whether you’ve had sex or not. I knew from about age 11 or 12 that I was ace, I just didn’t know the term for it at the time.

And for those of you who, like me for a while, wished you WEREN’T asexual, I have this to say: you are who you are. You feel what you feel. I hope you can come to accept yourself and realise that there is nothing wrong with being asexual. There are people out there who love and support you, and fellow ace people like myself are always here to chat should you need it ❤ Remember, the world in general still doesn’t understand a lot about asexuality. We’re still trying to get them to figure out that being gay is a real and normal thing! For many of us, being ace isn’t always easy. But we’ll get there. Just have pride in who you are, avoid Ace Discourse, and live your life!

10. Az (Limey)
Az drawn by limey-art (on Tumblr)

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

You can find my writing here on Wattpad as well as an artbook that I update sometimes: https://www.wattpad.com/user/Ciphertext

I’m also on Tumblr where I sometimes post art, but mostly I reblog fandom stuff, memes, and Vine compilations: https://ciphertext-x.tumblr.com/

11. the future
The Future, drawn by roboticspacecase (on Tumblr)

Thank you, Cipher, 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! 😀