Signal Boost: Series Reboot

Hello all,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks everybody! 🙂

Interview: Sahar

Today we’re joined by Sahar, who also goes by sinamonroll draws. Sahar is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. They write a lot of poetry and have started dabbling in prose. For visual art, they specialize in character art with lots of color and dynamic lighting. Sahar hopes to one day combine their visual art and writing into a webcomic. It’s very clear they’re a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Architecture Study
Architecture Study

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and a visual artist, specializing in character art. I love using a lot of colors and dynamic lighting in my art, and drawing and creating stories about diverse people in fantasy settings. For writing, I mainly write poetry, but dabble in prose. Sometime in the future, I plan to combine my drawing and writing skills to create a webcomic or graphic novel, but that’s a long way away.

What inspires you?

Over the past year, I’ve been super into reading webomics, gobbling up new ones whenever I can. I used to read a lot of regular books, but I hardly have time anymore and webcomics are my way of satiating that need for reading and imagination, while also getting to check out really cool art in the process. I also tend to be really inspired by TV shows I enjoy, like Steven Universe and Avatar, or music I listen to (especially musicals). Oddly enough, science and the natural world are also incredibly inspirational to me. I’ve always been super into science and physics and astronomy and things like that, and the weird stuff that exists out there is a huge inspiration when it comes to worldbuilding, fantasy creatures, and even poetry that I make.

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

I don’t actually want to be an artist, at least not professionally, when I get older. I have been interested in writing and creating fictional worlds ever since I can remember, and towards the end of middle school, which was a pretty tough time in my life, I took up drawing as a means for me to escape the reality I was in. Today, it still serves that purpose, as well as just being something that’s incredibly fun for me to do. While like I said I do want to make a webcomic someday, I don’t necessarily plan on making writing or drawing a full time job, just because I’m more interested in studying physics and engineering.

Liya Character Design
Liya Character Design

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 really that I know! I’ve been told that I have a unique use of lighting and color, but I wouldn’t really say I do. In my writing, I like taking existing clichés/metaphors/phrases and upending them, but I don’t know how successful I am at doing so.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I think the most important thing for artists in any field is to know your limits, and then challenge them. Constantly. Practicing your craft is incredibly important, but what’s even more important in my opinion is practicing efficiently – learning where you need improvement and actively working in those areas to achieve that improvement.

Reo Character Art
Reo Character Art

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

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

It’s not really been in my field, but I’ve encountered my share of ace-exclusionists or just general queerphobes on social media, as you do. I was forcibly outed to my mom and we’ve come a long way, but at first she was very confused and put off by it.

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

That it’s just, like, a “neutral” identity that goes away in the presence of another identity. Like homoromantic aces are “just gay” or heteroromantic aces are “just straight.” It’s really frustrating because it feels like asexuality is just being entirely ignored and shoved aside, like it’s not a valid identity in and of itself. Also the idea that it’s “just a phase” or something that can be easily fixed by “finding the right person” or taking medicine or whatever.

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

You’re not alone! It’s okay to want or not want sex and romance, it’s okay to identify as whatever you feel most comfortable with and it’s okay to change your identity if you feel like you need to. You’re not broken or wrong or weird.

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

I have a Tumblr (https://sinamonroll-draws.tumblr.com/) and an Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/sinamonroll.draws/), where you can follow me or message me for commissions. I also have a Redbubble (https://www.redbubble.com/people/sinamonroll) if you’re interested in purchasing my art.

SU Screencap Redraw
SU Screencap Redraw

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

Interview: Gigi

Today we’re joined by Gigi. Gigi is a phenomenal and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. She writes a bit of poetry and she also has a running fan comic set in the Kirby universe. When she’s not writing, Gigi does a bit of visual art. She mostly does fanart, but she also does self-portraiture and some abstract drawings. It’s very clear that she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I like to write mostly, and I’ve started with fanfiction. Ever since late 2010 I’ve worked on a fan comic called 20 Times Kirby, and my story with it is kinda funny. I started it just ’cause, literally, I had no expectations for it and I was only working on it due to boringness, but soon I grew attached to it, to a point where I actually started putting effort into it. The results are a pretty complex story with multiple characters, almost 1000 pages, and almost 7 years of work, with constant updates! In fact, the comic became more my own thing rather than just me exploring the Kirby universe; the elements of the series are there, but they aren’t extremely important. Looking back, this all is insane! But I love it; working on this comic is my passion. I even plan on rewriting it in the future, since I’ve made some mistakes in the past and I’d like to fix them.

I also like writing poems, both in English and in my first language (Brazilian Portuguese). They are literally about anything, and I write them when I suddenly feel inspired. I haven’t really published most of those, but I’m starting to think I should.

Another art thing I do is drawing, usually fan art, but sometimes self-portraits and some abstract drawings. Most of them end up as sketches only, however. I’ve also more recently started to learn to compose, but for now it’s mostly experimenting and trying to learn stuff.

What inspires you?

In general, videogames and music inspire me, but any kind of art may do the trick as well. When I see something that I can tell that was made with care and attention to detail, that motivates me to do something similar. Also, whenever I find something I really like in any kind of fiction, I try to make something similar to it happen in my stories, if possible of course.

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

Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a huge imagination and I would make countless stories in my head about literally everything. I would never write them down, however, apart for one or two Pokémon fanfictions I only drafted the beginning. Only when I started working in 20 Times Kirby, and got so attached to it, I stopped to think that maybe writing had be my secret passion all this time. That’s when I actually started to write stuff down, even if it’s just bullet points of a story. Seeing friends and other people do other art stuff like drawing motivated me to try these too, but writing will always be my main passion.

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 really I think? Although I do love giving a meaning to everything that happens in any story I work on, and connect all events whenever possible too.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up! Whatever the field of art you want to work with, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll be a master at it on your first tries, and this goes for everyone! I know that when you start, you already want to be very good like the artists you see around, but it’s actually a long road, and those people have travelled it. And you can do it too!

Also, don’t be afraid to rewrite stories, redraw drawings, remake your songs, and so on. If you think you can improve something you’ve already finished, you probably can, and you’ll learn more in the process!

Finally, don’t be afraid of criticism, it only helps, no matter how much it may hurt. Take it and try to learn with it, whoever commented about your work like that only wants to help you. However, if you notice someone commenting about your work only giving negative thoughts, looking like they aren’t trying to help, ignore them. Giving constructive criticism is one thing, giving hate is another, and learning the different between the two is very important.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. Well, at least I think I am; these are the labels I identify with right now.

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

Not really directly, and I guess this is more aro related, but I do notice that lots of people comment a lot about shipping and have gotten disappointed when I didn’t really do any real romance in my comic (yes, even in a Kirby fan comic). Honestly… I just ignore them for most part. I don’t avoid romance completely but I rarely use it, I don’t think this kind of stuff is mandatory in a story.

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

The misconception that Asexuality is just a “phase”, and that it will change when you “find the right person”. That’s like telling a straight person they are going through a phase, and will realize they are actually bi when they find the right person of a gender they claim to not be attracted to. It makes no real sense and it’s just trying to erase who we are.

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

First of all, no matter what others say, your orientation is valid. You are valid. Don’t let others tell you otherwise.

Also, feel free to explore labels, if you think one doesn’t fit you completely. If you asked me a year ago what my romantic orientation was, I would have told you grayromantic, not aromantic. That’s because it took me a while to truly identify as aromantic, and identifying as grayro for a while helped me do that. Really, you don’t have to pick a label once and never change it, change your labels whenever you feel it’s the right thing. These labels exist to help us find more about ourselves!

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

20 Times Kirby can be found here: http://www.smackjeeves.com/comicprofile.php?id=91583

I also have a Tumblr where I sometimes post art, although I haven’t done that in a while. Either way, you can find it here: http://gigithoughts.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art. If I ever get around to post my other art stuff, I’ll post about it in my Tumblr, but let’s see.

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

Signal Boost: “Centralia 2050″ Kickstarter

Hi everyone!

The ace author of Centralia 2050 is launching a Kickstarter to fund the first volume of the comic today! A female-led cyberpunk mystery written by an incredibly talented ace author, what’s not to love?

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Here’s the press release:

CENTRALIA 2050- Lonely, never alone

THE COMIC

CENTRALIA 2050 follows Midori, who wakes up lost amidst the hi-tech metropolis of Centralia. Without memories, her only connection to this place is a psychic link to a missing child.

With the help of her new friend(?) Grey, Midori sets off in search of answers– but soon finds that this pristine city has a sinister underside. What’s more, there’s something about these two that’s putting them in more danger than they realize…

The comic explores themes of isolation, trans-humanism, and technology’s effect on our lives, for better or worse.

Volume 1 of CENTRALIA 2050 contains chapters 1-3 and is the first installment of the comic. It features over 100 pages of stunning black and white artwork that captures the vastness, isolation, and mystery of Centralia as our protagonists navigate the dystopian city.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

CENTRALIA 2050 is the creation of storyboard and visual development artist Michelle Stanford. She emphasizes creating narratives with well-rounded, relatable female characters, having often felt alienated by the representation of women in media. She has been creating CENTRALIA 2050 since late 2014 and plans to eventually publish the comic as a graphic novel.

THE KICKSTARTER

Volume 1 of CENTRALIA 2050 contains chapters 1-3 and is the first installment of the cyberpunk mystery comic. The book is currently available for pre-order on Kickstarter.

You can follow updates and announcements about the comic on Michelle’s Facebook, Twitter, and Patreon.


I’m really looking forward to this comic and I hope a lot of you are as well.

So please, donate to the Kickstarter if you can. Signal boost if you can’t. Show Michelle some love 🙂

Thanks everyone!

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: Francesca Mylod-Ford

Today we’re joined by Francesca Mylod-Ford. Francesca is a wonderfully talented author who is currently working on a fantasy trilogy aimed at a YA demographic. It sounds like a fascinating story about life and death. Aside from writing, Francesca plans to study film and hopes to be a full-time film director in the future. She clearly has a very bright future ahead of her, 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 am currently writing a book trilogy called The Thanatology Series. I have finished the first installment (The Trials of Mr. Reaper) and am now coming to the end of the second novel, On Behalf of the Universe. The third book is in planning stages, and I will begin work on it soon. Although I am currently unpublished, I am seeking agents and if all else fails, I plan to self-publish the first book to gather interest, before sending it and its sequel to a new set of publishing houses.

The Thanatology Series is, to be blunt, a story about Death. It’s a fantasy novel, aimed at an adult and YA demographic. The story commences as a comedy, but as the book progresses, it turns to a darker narrative altogether, exploring the true nature of life and death … and where we go when we die.

Death – a harassed bureaucrat with a scythe – has only two desires: to be able to get on with his job, and for people to stop asking stupid questions. But life (or death) is never that simple for the Grim Reaper. From stubborn ghosts to the Demon Nicotine, everything in the universe seems to be out to get on Death’s nerves. The other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse have forgotten his birthday, the Seven Deadly Sins have proven to be incompetent beyond belief, and on top of everything else, Life is determined to be friends with him again. As Death continues to carry out his duty, he must consider this: What really happens when you die? And once Life is gone, what will happen to Death?

I am currently studying Film and Television Production, and in the future, I hope to be a full-time film director and write in my spare time.

What inspires you?

I have always preferred creative arts to academia, and being able to write and film allows me to express my creativity productively. One of the key things that inspires my writing is wanting to understand the universe around us; to take it apart and try to put it back together again. What if Death did have feelings? What if Life isn’t quite the way we imagine it to be? I think that the best part of writing (and filming, for that matter), is taking a trope and flipping it on its head.

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

As it happens, I never wanted to be an author. I thought that you had to write the way they taught us to in school: beginning, middle and end, carefully preceded and followed by meticulous planning. When I got older and began experimenting with my writing, I realised that structured writing belonged where I was taught it: in the classroom. Now, if anyone asks, I tell them that being a full-time author is my dream job choice.

My uncle is a director, and that’s pretty much what got me into the film business. From the day I first picked up a disposable camera to now, enrolled in film school, I have been falling down the magical rabbit hole of movies and film. One of my favourite aspects of film-making is the power to make simple ink and paper leap off the page and into real life. It’s like having a magic wand.

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?

In film, I have a very particular lighting style I like to use, but if I told you then I’d have to kill you! Seriously, though, most of what makes up my work is just pure, solid research. Nothing gets done without a bit of good-old fashioned book-bashing, I’m afraid.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice! It doesn’t matter what you’re making or how bad it is at first, the more you make, the better it gets. When I first started writing, it was absolutely awful. But now I write nearly every day, and my skill increases the more I practice. Be prepared to put the work in – research is a bitch but trust me, it’s so worth it in the long term. Finally, you need to learn to accept criticism. If you argue with everyone who tries to help improve it, it’ll just make you look like a bad sport. There’s nothing wrong with receiving pointers!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I have never experienced sexual or romantic attraction – I just prefer to have platonic relationships.

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

I have been asked how I can expect to write/direct sexual or romantic scenes if I have never experienced either. My answer is this: have you ever been shot? Fallen down a cliff? Had a concussion? If not, then you RESEARCH IT. I don’t experience sexual or romantic attraction, but I have plenty of friends who do, and I’ve seen more than my fair share of rom-coms. Research is the key to literally every artistic problem.

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

Since I’m quite sociable and enjoy making friends, people often have trouble understanding that I don’t want to seek any other kinds of relationships. Many people believe that asexual/aromantic people are antisocial, or that we’re closeted gay people (not true!). I’ve also had people tell me that it’s just “a phase” or that it’s a medical issue.

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

Seek out other asexuals! We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re always ready to talk to anyone who might be struggling. Although some members of the LGBT+ community may be somewhat exclusionary, the asexual/aromantic community is welcoming and friendly, and there’s always someone ready to talk about dragons. Don’t be shy about who you are, own your asexuality! And remember, it doesn’t define who you are: only you can do that. Stay ace, friends.

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

Feel free to check out my Tumblr (burnt-confetti), or my Twitter account (at burntconfetti). Hopefully when I’m published (or when I release my first film!) you’ll be able to see what I’ve been working on! Have a good one xx

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

Signal Boost: Asexual Author Giveaway

I was contacted by an ace author who requested a signal boost. Here’s the information:

Hi! I’m Jessica, my interview was posted here at Asexual Artists several weeks ago and I wanted to reach out again. From now until October 14th I’m hosting a giveaway. The full post is here, but if you buy and review my book Perfect World on Goodreads you’ll be entered for a chance to win prizes!

First prize: a short story with your favorite Perfect World character as the protagonist, and your choice of three writing books (books are over in the full post)

Second prize: the two remaining writing books

All you have to do is review! What exactly is Perfect World, though? I have, as my debut book, a psychological thriller with a Middle Eastern heteroromantic asexual protagonist named Farid 305. There’s tons of racial and LGBT+ diversity in all the other characters too; to be honest, there’s only like two white people. My story says the word asexual, it says the word trans, it says the word autistic, because I don’t want anyone to try and weasel my characters’ diversity out of them. For a story blurb:

A young government agent, Farid 305 is forced to learn and hide his utopia’s secret origins. While doing so, protecting his little sister from the truth about their world and souls, he struggles to avoid psychosis.

The full post also has links, but you can buy Perfect World in print, in ebook form, or for your kindle! For the physical and ebook form, please notice that the price is in Austrialian so it’ll be a bit lower if you’re from the USA.

Anyone from anywhere can enter! Please do, you’ll get fun prizes and review are not only awesome to get but they can also (especially for an unknown author like me) play a major role in if another publisher will take me on for my next books. Thank you!

~Jessica


So followers, go out and show Jessica some love!

Thank you! 🙂