Tag Archives: fantasy

New article! Magic, history and queer romance

KJCharles-booksHello friends! I’ve found that I usually write up to 4 non-fiction articles a year these days, that’s a number that seems to balance well with my fiction writing, but in 2018 I got to write 5! I pitched this article right before basically being away from my computer for a month, heard back from the (wonderful) editor while I was traveling in China, had to postpone writing it because of, among other things, a death in the family, and eventually ended up writing it in the middle of (successfully!) doing NaNoWriMo for the first time. So, it’s been eventful around these parts!

Anyway, I’ve wanted to write about KJ Charles’ work for a long time for an SFF publication, because I’m tired of there being a brick wall between “SFF” and most “Romance”, especially when it comes to queer romance (which is also not exactly embraced by the mainstream Romance industry).

So, if you already know and love KJ Charles’ books I hope you enjoy my take on them, and if you’ve never heard of her before, I hope this serves as a good introduction!

In my experience, people who’ve read at least two of Charles’ books (she’s published about twenty of them) have a tendency to then read extensive swaths of her backlist. Her novels provide something rare in the literary market even today, in 2018: well-researched historical, fantastical fiction that features love stories between queer people.

Genres are flawed, porous constructs, and many stories live in between the established categories or straddle several of them, which doesn’t make a bookseller’s job very easy. The reason we recommend a book by saying “it’s X genre” is that it’s a shortcut to saying: “it’s the sort of thing you like.”

Read History, Queer Romance, and Fantasy Combine in the Work of KJ Charles on Tor.com.

New poem: “Only the Trees”

ARSENIKAJPGI’m very excited to announce that I have a new poem in the latest issue of Arsenika!

(I’ll always remember the publication history of this poem, because I nearly missed the acceptance notice for it /o\ It had gone to my junk folder and I saw it a week late, and might never have responded to it if I hadn’t accidentally checked the status on Arsenika’s website itself. KIDS, ALWAYS CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER.)

“Only the Trees” is kind of difficult to sum up, but I will say it’s one of my most explicitly romantic poems.

 

A storm blew down
the tree your bones
nourished, through the
roots. They cleaned
you from the dirt and
tore you away from
where I left you, lying
peaceful, reborn an
older creature, my
heart with you, a
piece of tissue and
blood, keeping you
warm.

Read the rest of “Only the Trees” >>

 

Book review: “The Drowning Eyes” by Emily Foster

thedrowningeyes-313x500

It’s been a busy couple of months, friends. Between posting Three Keys in the Desert in June, submitting a thesis draft in July, attending Nine Worlds in August (\o/ STILL TO WRITE A POST ABOUT THAT!) and now going abroad again in a week, it’s been.. a lot. A lot of really great things! But a lot nonetheless.

Which is why I’m especially pleased that I managed to squeeze in reading Emily Foster’s “The Drowning Eyes”, a novella I’d been wanting to get my hands on for a while, and review it for Strange Horizons.

Emily Foster’s debut novella is everything I like about modern fantasy. The world it builds is not a fictional Europe or a fictional North America; instead it’s set in a tropical climate, in the middle of an ocean, with many small islands dependent on the weather for trade and survival. The characters are a seafaring crew who don’t shy away from illegal work, people from the margins whose life philosophy is that money and happiness should be grabbed wherever they happen to be found. The cast is ethnically diverse and most of the action is centered on women, including older women, who occupy positions of authority within the small world a story of this length allows. All of this is refreshing and a pleasure to read and the reason I was excited to pick up the book in the first place.

And yet, as much as I wanted to fall in love with The Drowning Eyes, as much as I liked its setting and magical elements, as much I enjoyed its characters individually, there were a few structural problems that stood in the way of the book having true momentum. It’s not that the story isn’t enjoyable; it’s just that, considering its premise, it comes across as a little underwhelming.

Read the full review at Strange Horizons >>

 

#PrideMonth Giveaway winners announcement!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the giveaway! It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this, and despite the anxiety of not getting it right and various tech fails, it went much better than I was initially anticipating!

I’m especially grateful for everyone who signed up for my New Release Mailing List. It’s been kind of amazing to see people express interest in hearing from me about future projects.

Anyway, without further ado, the two winners of the giveaway are Julia and Mia. You’ve both gotten an email with a copy of The Running Bunny #8, so please let me know if gmail doesn’t deliver it within the next 24 hours.

Thank you, again, to everyone who participated, signal boosted and generally expressed support for the idea of me doing something like this. It’s definitely not the last time, so I’ll see you when I next have free stuff to give out!

Update on “The Princess and the Demon”

running_20bunny_20issue_20cover_20_238_400wSo, a while ago I updated to say that my short story The Princess and the Demon was featured in issue #8 of The Running Bunny, but you could only get the issue by singing up for Patreon.

I am very happy to announce that you can now get the issue at their online store, without the need to sign up for Patreon! 🙂

As a reminder: the story is a queer fantasy with a happy ending, and is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations by Ursula Grey. (A sample of the illustrations.)

You can get it here: Issue #8 of The Running Bunny >>

Short story: “The Princess and the Demon”

065de4_ca250c26526f42c7bfd08beae493f927 You can now, for the first time, read an original short story by me! With bonus awesome illustrations!

“The Princess and the Demon” is about 2700 words of feel-good, queer fantasy about, well, a princess and a demon.

It appears in issue #8 of The Running Bunny! Between now and January 31st you can get it at a discount by supporting the creators on Patreon. After January 31st you’ll be able to get it for slightly more at the digital store.

A preview of the amazing illustrations by Ursula Gray:

Review of “Sorcerer to the Crown” by Zen Cho

25855734I recently wrote a review of Zen Cho’s excellent debut novel “Sorcerer to the Crown”, for Strange Horizons.

“Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown is set in nineteenth-century London, where magical resources are scarce and only men of a certain standing are encouraged to practice sorcery. It tells the story of Zacharias Whyte, protégé of England’s premier magician, and Prunella Gentleman, the prodigy who can restore English magic to its former glory. Both essentially orphaned as babies, Zacharias and Prunella have grown up as outsiders in their home culture, and have had to navigate a social landscape that doesn’t quite know what to do with them. Zacharias was born to enslaved parents and purchased as an infant by the wealthy Englishman who would raise him as his son, and Prunella is the daughter of a British officer who came back from India with a daughter of mixed heritage and a bag of mysterious magical objects.”

Read the rest of the review at Strange Horizons >>