Interview: Anne Bashore and M.E. Wilson

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

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

We’re both Ace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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!

Signal Boost: IDGAF Shareable

(Shared on Tumblr originally. Please visit there to see the accompanying video)

IDGAF is currently having a Weekend Pitch Party. Here’s the information:

Hi guys!

So IDGAF has just entered be in Stareable’s weekend pitch party! Winning gives us a chance to be featured in their newsletter which gives us a chance at having even MORE exposure and donors. All you have to do to help us accomplish this is go to the link provided below and LIKE the video! If you plan to share it with other friends and family make sure they like the original video as well and not the post that you share it on. It’s the only way the votes can count!

https://www.facebook.com/stareable/videos/792613157592700/

We’d really appreciate you guys helping us do this! Thank you thank you thank you!

Please log onto Facebook, signal boost, and show this webseries some love.

Also, they extended their fundraising deadline, so you can still contribute to getting this webseries made. Here’s the IndieGogo link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/i-don-t-give-a-f-ck

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IDGAF Cake Poster

Signal Boost: IDGAF Webseries

Hello all!

A future interviewee has an IndieGoGo Campaign that just opened and is looking to raise funds for a comedy series, created by ace POC and featuring ace POC.

Here’s the description of the series from the campaign page:

“I Don’t Give a F*ck is a dramatic comedy web series that centers on the perspective of two women of color who are trying to figure out how to navigate life and relationships from an asexual and sex-positive lense. It is a show that will not only further the already lacking visibility of asexual characters in mainstream media, but highlight other sexual and romantic spectrums that are often not discussed candidly. Crowdfunding this series will create the opportunity for these stories to be told.”

It’s no secret that the ace community has a real problem when it comes to centering white narratives. What little coverage of asexuality is in the mainstream tends to focus entirely on white asexual people. The community needs to do a better job boosting the voices of ace POC and supporting their work. Supporting a series like this is so important and it helps examine asexuality through a more intersectional lens. Plus, the series just sounds awesome and funny in general. It’s definitely something I’m going to watch.

Bottom line: getting this series funded is super important! So go there, donate, and signal boost the hell out of them! They deserve it 🙂

The campaign link, again: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/i-don-t-give-a-f-ck#/

Thanks, everybody!

Signal Boost: Book Trailer

Hey everyone!

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

BOOK TRAILER

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

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

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

EBOOKS

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks everybody! 😀

Signal Boost: Series Reboot

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

Hello all,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks everybody! 🙂


 

Hi again, everybody!

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

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

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

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

Thanks everybody! 😀