Queer Summer Reading 2020 Bingo

As you might know, our challenge for QSR is for you to read four queer books in July and August. This year, we also want you to choose books by Black authors.

For those of you who like an extra challenge, for a couple years we’ve also offered bingo cards. We think they’re fun. We also like making three versions of our card so you can pick the arrangement you like the best. The prompts are the same on each, but the arrangement is different.

So here those are!

Now, the prompts:

  • Published before 2015

We’re super excited about new releases, but sometimes that makes us miss out on great backlist titles, so we’d like you to read a book that was first published before 2015 for this prompt. There are lots of great options there, and you might discover new to you series and authors!

  • Different format

This can be anything! Read a webcomic, a blog post, a patreon post (only from patreons you’re already subscribed to! Don’t sign up for this prompt and then cancel your subscription without paying creators. That’s not cool), a serial novel, even fan fiction. There’s lots of options, and you might discover something you love!

  • Queer YA

Read a Young Adult book!

  • Queer MG

Read a Middle Grade book! This is one of Laina’s favourite prompts!

  • Graphic Novel or Comic

Read a queer graphic novel or comic book!

  • Non-Fiction

There’s a lot of queer nonfiction out there that often gets overlooked. From poetry to biographies, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy.

  • Fantasy

Contemporary queer books are great, but they often overshadow the great queer books in other genres. Let’s have some fun with those!

  • Romance

Read a queer romance!

  • Horror

Queer horror is great and Laina is very excited about the expansion of this genre!

  • Mystery

This is another of Laina’s favourite queer genres.

  • Sci-Fi

Read a queer science fiction book!

  • Picture Book

There are many great queer book for even really little kids! See what’s out there!

  • Free Space

Read any queer book you want.

  • Adult

This particular prompt is especially calling out Laina who doesn’t read very many grown-up books.

  • Poetry

We know this technically is non-fiction but it’s also fun to have on its own.

  • Contemporary

Read a contemporary book!

  • Historical

Read a queer historical novel for this prompt!

  • Indie

We’re super excited to see more queer titles in traditional publishing, but there are so many great books outside of it, too. Supporting queer indie and self-published authors and reading unapologetically queer stories? Sounds like a win-win situation to us!

  • No Romance Arc for the MC

There’s a lot of great queer romance, but queerness doesn’t have to be romantic! So for this prompt, read something where the MC doesn’t have a romance arc.

  • Fat MC

Read a fat-positive queer story – one that has a fat MC whose body is not made into an Issue. Queer people come in all shapes and sizes!

  • Nonbinary MC

Read a story with a nonbinary main character – there are some really great ones!

  • Recommended to you

For this prompt, read a book that was recommended to you by a (queer) friend, librarian, blogger/Booktuber, or anyone who loves to talk about books! If you don’t have anyone to ask for book recs, use the #QueerSummerReading hashtag to recommend queer books you’ve loved and see which books others enjoyed.

  • Disabled MC

Read a story with a disabled main character!

  • Reread

We love reading new books, but sometimes reading a book more than once is really fun!

  • Buddy Read

This is a really fun prompt. Read the same book as a friend! (Safely, of course.)

That’s it for this year’s bingo prompts! As always, we encourage you to read as diversely as possible, and not just for the prompts that spell it out. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us at @queer_reads and we’ll be happy to help!

Remember that bingo is for fun, and don’t pressure yourself! Read as much (or as little) as you want to – we won’t be cross with you 😉

Enjoy your summer (or winter, depending on where you live) and happy reading,

Luce & Laina

Chat Reminder: Welcome Chat

Tomorow is our first chat of the summer! Be there or be square.*

Welcome Chat darker copy

To find your time, click here.

We’ll be tweeting from @queer_reads and remember you must use the hashtag #qsrchat for us to see your tweets!

*Don’t worry, I’m secretly very square and I’ll still be there.

Peace and popsicles,
Laina

Twitter Chat 2020 Schedule

Hello dearest readers! Are you excited for Queer Summer Reading? It’s getting closer and closer.

We’re working on a lot of stuff behind the scenes right now, but it’s time to announce one of our favourite things we do each year – Twitter chats! Click the link in the date to see when each chat will be for you!

 

July 3rdWelcome Chat

Come introduce yourself and get to know us a little!

July 10thChat with Camryn Garrett

Join our chat with Camryn Garrett, author of FULL DISCLOSURE!

July 17thChat with Caleb Roehrig

Join our chat with Caleb Roehrig, author of LAST SEEN LEAVING, WHITE RABBIT, DEATH PREFERS BLONDES, A WEREWOLF IN RIVERDAL, THE FELL OF DARK releasing July 14th, and more!

July 24thChat with Adiba Jaigirdar

Join our chat with Adiba Jaigirdar, author of THE HENNA WARS!

July 31stCheck In Chat

It’s the halfway point, so let’s check in and see how everyone is doing! This is a great time to exchange recs for prompts you’re struggling with as well.

August 7thChat with Rosiee Thor

Join us for a chat with Rosiee Thor, author of TANISHED ARE THE STARS!

August 14thChat with Kayla Ancrum

Join our chat with Kayla Ancrum, author of THE WICKER KING!

August 21stChat with Darcie Little Badger

Join our chat with Darcie Little Badger, author of ELATSOE, out August 25th!

August 28thWrap Up Chat

It’s the end of summer! Join us for our final chat of the year, and let us know how you did, and how your summer went!

So that’s our schedule this year! Hopefully you can join us for our chats and you have… the best possible summer you can have, considering… you know. Everything.

– Laina and Luce

It’s Almost Time for Queer Summer Reading 2020!! + Theme Annoucement

Hello people of the internet!

This year is weird and we all know it’s really weird. We don’t need to tell you that. Things are going to be very different this summer from a normal summer. But we’re still here, and we’re going to do our best to go on as best we can.

If you’re new here, and you have no idea who we are, Queer Summer Reading is an annual reading challenge that takes place in July and August. Every year, we challenge you to read four queer books a summer. Two in July, and two in August. Now, obviously, we have a few other things up our sleeves, but that is the base challenge.

If you want to learn more about who we are, check out our Contact page. For more about QSR itself, try our About QSR page.

Now, every year we have a theme because themes are fun and this year, there really was only one theme we could go with.

Drum roll please!

qsr hsh

The 2020 QSR theme is Home Sweet Home!

Stay tuned for announcements about bingo, Twitter chats, guest posts, author interviews, and more! If you would like to do something with us, as an author or as a reader or book blogger, please reach out to us on Twitter or through email. We’d love to work with you!

– Luce and Laina

Interview With Camryn Garrett

I believe this is our last interview of the summer, and we have the pleasure of welcoming Camryn Garrett for it!

TwoQ. Tell us a little about your writing and yourself!

A. This is menacingly vague, but I’ll try my best! I’ve been writing since I was around ten years old, when I first started writing and posting fanfiction onto fanfic.net (It really was a time.) When I was 13, I was selected as a TIME For Kids reporter, so I got to interview people like Kristen Bell, Warren Buffett, and RJ Palacio, which really gave me the confidence to keep writing. I think I started participating in NaNoWriMo the year before, so I’ve been writing full books since around twelve. I’ve also written at Huffington Post, MTV News, and Rookie Magazine. My debut novel, FULL DISCLOSURE, comes out this October 29th!

Q. What made you write the stories you did? What do they mean to you?

A. When I first started writing, I wrote white girls. This was back when I was like eleven or twelve. I wanted to write about white girls with nice hair and rich parents because they were the ones I saw in movies and TV. It’s actually interesting, because as I got more into the writing community, I saw more books about all sorts of people, like different genders and sexualities and nationalities and skin colors. It gave me the confidence to write about Black girls.

So it’s really important for me to write about girls like me, not only to get down my experiences and realize that I’m not the only one who has had them, but hopefully to inspire other people to write about people who look like them as well. It’s also really important for me to explore sexuality in my work. Black girls don’t really get to do that in stories. I’ve had a hard time working through my own sexuality, so my main character in FULL DISCLOSURE does, too.

Q. You’ve been involved with book!Twitter for several years. What’s it like seeing things from the other side? What’s been the biggest change?

A. There’s a ton of work involved in publishing, not just from the author, but from people working in marketing, editing, copyediting, etc. I never realized that before. I don’t regret calling out problematic books or anything, but I definitely think more about the system and the other people involved in it when I see things now. I also am trying not to get involved in things that just frustrate me and don’t seem like they’re going to lead to anything good, whereas before, I’d sort of jump into anything. Sometimes authors care about things that I don’t really care about, so I keep quiet about it. It’s weird.

Another big change is that a ton of authors are jumping ship and leaving Twitter, so they have accounts that are like “[author] update page.” It makes me sad, because I mostly enjoy Twitter and have so many great relationships from it. Everyone is moving to Instagram! I’m like “noooo,” I hate Insta! Come back!

Q. You’re currently in film school, and honestly I can’t wait to see the movies you’ll eventually make. What kind of stories do you want to tell through that medium?

A. OMG, this is so lovely to hear! Thank you so much for saying that. I really want to continue telling stories about Black women, but I think I’d like to tell more historical stories through film, and I already have some ideas. I really want to build a cannon of stories about Black women.

Q. What are some of your favourite tropes or themes to read in queer books? Are there any things you’d love to see in queer books in the future?

A. Oh, man. I love ALL OF THE TROPES. I think I like enemies to lovers the best, or like they don’t like each other and then they fall for each other. I also really like best friends to lovers. I feel that a lot, especially with f/f, because it can be confusing to figure out if you love her as a friend or as a girlfriend. I’ve had crushes on a lot of my close friends for this exact reason.

In the future, I want more m/m starring Black boys and written by Black men, so that the kids reading the books have authors like them to look up to, you know what I mean? Like I have Jacqueline Woodson. But I also want more f/f. There’s a lot out there, but I want it to get all of the attention, tons of attention, and I want more starring girls of color.

Q. Your book FULL DISCLOSURE comes out October 29th. What are you most looking forward to when it does?

A. I’m honestly so excited to go into a bookstore and see it on the shelf. I think I might actually cry when I do. I’m going to go to all the bookstores in my area and look for it, I think.

Q. FULL DISCLOSURE has a main character who’s HIV+. What drew you to that idea and what have been some of the challenges?images

A. So it’s sort of a long story, but the basics are: I used to be really obsessed with Angelina Jolie, to the point that I read every available article about her. People Magazine used to have their archive online and they had a cover story about her adopting her son Pax from Vietnam, and they mentioned that he was in an orphanage where most of the kids had HIV except for him. It was odd for me, because I remembered reading a story about Angelina’s daughter from Ethiopia getting hospitalized and Angelina said she didn’t care if she had HIV. So I guess I was wondering what changed and how parents took care of their kids with HIV.

That led me to a bunch of adoption blogs. I really knew nothing about HIV, but these parents were super chill about it. I remember one mom had a list of frequently asked questions and most of them were about disclosing and deciding whether or not to. But I also remember that a lot of these blogs were written by super Christian people. One of them was like, “Our daughter has nothing to worry about until it comes to sex, and she won’t be doing that until marriage,” and I thought that was a little unrealistic. But then I was wondering about being a really horny kid with HIV.

I think challenges are just really wanting to get this right. I’ve done a lot of research and have gotten excellent notes from some amazing sensitivity readers, but any mistakes are totally my fault.

Q. Which three things would you take with you if you were to go on an adventure?

A. OMG, this is random! I’d take RED, WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuinston, a magic bottle that magically refills with whatever drink you want, and my phone with a self-charging battery. Maybe that’s boring.

Q. Tell us something adventurous you did in the past year.

A. I went to college and lived alone in NYC for the first time! It was wild! I had to switch roommates halfway through! Sometimes I had no idea what I was doing! But now that I’m home for the summer, I miss it so badly.

Q. If you could go on a trip anywhere at all, where would you go and why? Would you go on a road trip, or backpacking, or a cruise, or something else?

A. Maybe this is random, but I’d like to go to Rhode Island. It’s close enough that I wouldn’t want to jump out of the car, but far enough that we’d get to see some nice scenery. I’ve heard it’s really nice there. I think I’d like to take a tour of the South, but like important locations of the Civil Rights Movement, if they do that.

Q. What’s your favourite recent queer read? What queer book are you looking forward to?

A. I recently read When Brooklyn Was Queer by Hugh Ryan. It’s a non-fiction book about the queer history of Brooklyn. It’s SO COOL. Like, there are queer love poems and there are trans people and people of color and Ryan discusses how both of these groups got specifically fucked over, but also how the queer community got dismantled in Brooklyn in general. He starts in the 1800s and ends in like the 1960s or 70s. I didn’t know so much queer history existed so close.

I’m really excited for How To Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters!

Q. What’s something you’ve always wanted to say in an interview but no one has ever asked?

A. No one has ever asked me to quote the ending of Jerry Maguire in an interview, but I’ve been trying to figure out when I can do it and call out my agent (call out sounds like she did something bad, but I mean in a really lovely way.)

SO: “I love everybody. I love my wife! Marcee! I love my kids. Tyson and my new baby. My older brother and my younger brother Tee Pee. You’re militant, but I love you. I love my teammates. The Cardinals finally came around. Wait, I’m forgetting somebody.”

(here’s the part I’m changing)

Brianne Johnson, my agent. You are my ambassador of kwan, man.

(I don’t know if she’s gonna get that reference, but I mean the movie is so great, so.)

Camryn Garrett was born and raised in New York. When she was thirteen, she was selected as a TIME for Kids reporter, where she interviewed celebrities like Warren Buffett and Kristen Bell. Her writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, MTV, and Rookie Magazine. In 2015, she was named as one of MTV’s 8 Inspiring Teens Using Social Media to Change the World and in 2019, she was named one of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 and a Glamour College Woman of the Year. Camryn is also interested in film and is a student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is a proud advocate of diverse stories and writers. You can find her on Twitter @dancingofpens, tweeting from a laptop named Stevie.

Preorder FULL DISCLOSURE on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! We can’t wait for FULL DISCLOSURE to come out!

– Laina

Interview with Em Ali

Hello wanderers! Today we have Em Ali with us for an interview!

Twitter conQ. Tell us a little about your writing and yourself!

A. My writing mainly deals with writing low-angst stories that deal more with the soft side of identity and romance. I am twenty-three years old and due to my anxiety and depression, I’ve always loved reading more fluffy pieces of romance than angsty ones.

Q. What made you write the stories you did? What do they mean to you?

A. Writing Soft on Soft was mainly about seeing two fat girls be in love. I wanted those cute moments, not ones full of exciting dates and high tension, but quiet moments. Like, domesticity is one of my favorite aspect of romance and relationships to explore. Whether it’s family working together to tidy up a space, make a meal, or lovers embarking on a night together dressed in PJs and making popcorn. That satisfies me. Graham’s Delicacies was more about exploring how dynamics work between entirely different couples.

Q. What are some of your favourite tropes or themes to read in queer books? Are there any things you’d love to see in queer books in the future?

A. I love friends-to-lovers, I love fake-relationships, the “oops there’s only one bed” trope. I see a lot of found family, which I adore.

Q. What drew you to writing romance?

A. Reading romance, basically. I was always interested in it. I’d read a lot of manga growing up, not necessarily shoujo manga, but anything that had a romantic subplot.

Q. You write fat positive romance. What are some of the things that are most challenging and most rewarding about that?

A. Nothing is challenging about writing fat positive romance. It’s rewarding when people see themselves reflected in June and Selena.

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Q. Both f/f and body positivity are underrepresented in romance. What would you like to see more of in that area?

A. F/F romance and body positive romance are there. They are underrated sure, but a lot of indie writers are doing the work. I want to see more people appreciate indie, and self-published work.

Q. Tell us one of your favourite experiences with someone who’s read your book.

A. Readers and authors should have some boundaries but since I was first a blogger on Twitter, I had some friends who sent me direct messages while reading Soft on Soft. I can’t pick a favorite, since all interactions make me happy.

Q. Which three things would you take with you if you were to go on an adventure?

A. Oh, I’d take a lot of books. I’m afraid I’m not much of an adventurer.

Q. Tell us something adventurous you did in the past year. 

A. I did try a new ice-cream flavor! I tried coconut and pineapple and I liked it. My most adventurous thing was self-publishing. It had a lot of bumps in the road but I enjoyed it.

Q. If you could go on a trip anywhere at all, where would you go and why? Would you go on a road trip, or backpacking, or a cruise, or something else?

A. I’ve never been to another country for anything beside religious reasons, so I’d like to go on a trip somewhere with a lot of touristy spots. I want to take loads of pictures and try eating new food.

Q. What’s your favourite recent queer read? 

A. My recent favorite queer read is Raze by Roan Parrish. It’s cis M/M contemporary romance dealing with insecurities, an age gap, and being a recovered user. I adored Raze.

Q. What’s something you always want to say in interviews but no one ever asks?

A. I’m afraid I don’t do a lot of interviews and the ones I’ve done so far have been so lovely.

Q. If you had to pick a world to live in from a story you’ve written, which one would it be and why?

A. Soft on Soft and Graham’s Delicacies are sort of connected. Graham’s is the location of June and Selena’s first date. I’d love to visit this place, grab something yummy to eat with my significant other.

Em Ali grew up on TV and K-pop like many in their generation.

Living in a secluded little island in the Middle East meant very little to do and a lot of time of nothing. At thirteen, they picked up their first book with the blessing of an older sister and has been in love with prose ever since.

Today, they spend the hours they’re not educating young minds proper English dreaming up and writing those fluffy hugs in the form of books.

They learned a lot about how to be a hermit and not interact with people, but they love to hear from readers! You can find Em on Twitter, Instagram, or their website, and support them on Patreon.

Make sure to keep checking in for more awesome queer content!

Luce

Interview with Cecil Wilde

Hello everyone! We have another interview for you today!

Cecil Wilde imageQ. Tell us a little about your writing and yourself!

A. Hello! My name is Cecil (they/them), I am a cute queer who writes stories about cute queers. I am approximately 50% caffeine by volume and one day I will be crushed by my TBR pile.

Q. What made you write the stories you did? What do they mean to you?

A. When I started, no one else was writing stories about people like me—at least, as far as I know. I’ve spent most of my life being excluded from lots of things in lots of ways, and realising that I could include myself—and lots of other people who’d probably felt the same way—made this feel like something worth doing.

Q. What are some of your favourite tropes or themes to read in queer books? Are there any things you’d love to see in queer books in the future?

A. Chosen family!!! I never get tired of seeing people with loved ones they’ve picked for themselves. But you know what I want to see, honestly? Books that are 100% completely normal and just like other books, except with queers in them. I don’t want the book or the story to have to be different to fit queer people in, I want the story-world to simply… have queers in it.

Q. What drew you to writing romance?A Boy Called Cin

A. Romance is about happiness, a happy ending is a necessary feature of a romance novel, and happy endings are a nice thing to have. Characters don’t get punished in romance—they learn a lesson that helps them grow as a person. Romance is a very healing genre.

Q. What do you think is the biggest challenge about writing romance as a queer author?

A. As far as actually writing goes, the pressure to somehow record the One True Queer Experience weighs heavy on me—and a lot of other authors, or so I’ve heard. For some people, a book I write might be their first or indeed only point of contact with, say, a genderqueer person. Striking a balance between writing something authentic and writing something that won’t leave that hypothetical person with a damaging impression is difficult.

Q. Tell us one of your favourite experiences with someone who’s read your books.

A. Semi-regularly someone will tell me one of my books was the first time they really felt like they’d seen themselves in fiction, and that means the world to me. I always make a very unflattering squeal.

Q. For queer readers who are new to the romance genre, what books would you recommend to them?

A. I’d recommend—earnestly—looking for books themselves that appeal to them. Romance is a particularly wonderful genre because it’s all about personal taste—do you like enemies-to-lovers? Do you like second chance romances? Do you like “oh no we’re trapped in a cabin and there’s only one bed”? It’s all out there. I can’t say generally “read this book”, because romance is about satisfying the id, and that’s a very individual thing.

Defying ConventionQ. Which three things would you take with you if you were to go on an adventure?

A. Oooh, what kind of adventure am I going on? I would take a notebook and pencil, which I will count as one thing. My phone comes everywhere with me and will thus also be making the trip. Can I take a friend? I would take a friend if I can, adventures are always more fun with someone to share them with.

Q. Tell us something adventurous you did in the past year.

A. I’ve started teaching myself how to draw and paint! I always wanted to, growing up, but I was good at more practical things like, y’know, writing, and therefore there was never a lot of time for visual art. I’m making time for it now.

Q. If you could go on a trip anywhere at all, where would you go and why? Would you go on a road trip, or backpacking, or a cruise, or something else?

A. Oh, anywhere at all, you say? Then I’m off to… Ankh-Morpork, and Gallifrey, and Rivendell, and Nilfgaard, and to Ancient Greece for a symposium and Rome to hear Caesar address the populace, and I’m swinging by Viking country to hitch a ride on a longship to go meet my ancestors in Ireland. And then I’ll grab my towel and thumb a lift on a spaceship. So uh. Something else, I suppose.

Q. What’s your favourite recent queer read?

A. It’s not my favourite book I’ve ever read, but remember what I was saying before about Perfectly Normal Books but with queers? I feel like The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue nailed what I mean by that. It’s not perfect but it is ultimately exactly the fun ride I wish there were hundreds of, I want to read a book with that kind of feeling every day of my life.

Q. What’s something you always want to say in interviews but no one ever asks?

A. I write all my notes in pencil because pen is too permanent.

Cecil Wilde is a writer and editor with a cat, a caffeine habit, and a glut of imaginary friends. You can hang out with them on twitter @softestpunk

Make sure to check back for more awesome queer content!

Luce

Interview with C.L. Polk

Hey wanderers! Today we’re excited to welcome C.L. Polk to the blog!

CL Polk Author LGQ. Tell us a little about your writing and yourself!

A. I live in southern Alberta and I write fantasy and I have a case of imposter syndrome that’s serious enough to make this question the most difficult one in the interview.

Q. What made you write the stories you did? What do they mean to you?

A. and here’s the second most difficult! But that’s because I don’t really have a deep reason. I came up with an idea, found it solid, and wrote it. I know I’m supposed to have a better answer than that, and I’m sorry. It’s just that if I overthink it or make it personal or acknowledge that what I’m writing is personal, then it becomes far too personal to share. So I compartmentalize my life and experiences away from my writing, because that’s the only way I’d ever show it to anyone.

Q. You write in the adult Fantasy genre. Something that seems to happen a lot with people perceived as women, and more so for people of colour than white people, is an assumption they’re writing YA despite all evidence to the contrary – one example of this being THE POPPY WAR. Have you dealt with this at all?

A. Not at all. I think it’s because Miles is a veteran and a doctor trained in surgery, and short of Doogie Howser, people don’t tend to assume physicians are teenagers. If someone is assuming that Witchmark is YA, they haven’t done it in front of me.

Q. What are some of your favourite tropes or themes to read in queer books? Are there any things you’d love to see in queer books in the future?

A. I am always super thrilled with stories where the queer character wins it all – they save the world, they get together with their sweetie, they find the family they’ve always needed. I also love worlds that model societies that don’t have queerphobia the way ours does, for that extra sense of escape.

Witchmark RD3 fixedbleeds new dressQ. Speaking of tropes and themes – let’s talk a little bit about worldbuilding. What was the process like creating WITCHMARK’s world?

A. It was a lot of thinking, and not so much with the writing things down. I knew some of the big points right away – the things I needed in order to create the situation I wanted, and the extra touches that came when I started thinking about the implications of my decisions.

I always knew that the city was going to be dominated by bicycle traffic. I also knew that I wanted a series of urban apple orchards. I knew that the geopolitics generally ran west to east, that it was bordered by a fjord to the north and a river and estuary to the south, and broad strokes of the political system—and I basically said, “that’s enough, I’ll figure out the details as I need them.”

Q. Laina is a big fan of Edwardian-set stories. Partly just because the fashion from that time period is just beautiful. Are there time periods you take inspiration from, aesthetically or otherwise?

A. I really enjoy the aesthetics of the turn of the 20th century, and it was an interesting time technologically. I knew I wanted electricity, telephones, and radio, so I centered on the postwar period for when I wanted to know if this particular advancement or that was plausible – or at least close enough to fudge. I couldn’t really go with a lot of Edwardian fashion, though, simply because the fashion of bicycling interferes with the fashion of long skirts with trains – I raised the hemlines to reflect the practicalities of travel.

Q. Tell us one of your favourite experiences with someone who’s read your book.

A. Oh gosh. I haven’t really had much contact with people who have read it. I’ve done one signing, and I just kind of threw the pages at the right people and ran away before they could say anything. I did just about die when I found out Anthony Rapp had read the book and given it a lovely review on Goodreads a few days ago—but I don’t think that’s exactly what you mean.

Q. Tell us something adventurous you did in the past year.

A. I did a lot of traveling. I’ve been to NYC twice in the past year, and both times for my NYC visits, I went looking for cute, cheap hotels to stay in, and I’m looking forward to my next visit and hotel experience. I really liked Pod 51, though the midtown location was far away from most stuff I wanted to do in town. The location of the Chelsea Inn was perfect for my second trip. The only problem? It’s a 5 story walk up. Guess what floor my room was on?

But I really love visiting New York and I hope I get another excuse to go back soon.

Q. You’re Canadian like Laina! (Have you ever pet a moose?) How do you think that has affected your writing journey? Challenges, benefits?

A. I don’t think it made that much of a difference. No wait, that’s not true, because never ever having to worry about getting sick or in an accident or needing to see a doctor or a specialist or getting surgery is a huge benefit. It gives me a lot of freedom that I often forget I have.

One thing it does is messes up my English. I use a lot of regionalisms and even Britishisms that I’m not the best at noticing, and so I have to be vigilant, and then it doesn’t really matter anyway because it’s still there. 41473380._sy475_

Q. What’s your favourite recent queer read? What queer book are you looking forward to?

A. I finished off A Memory Called Empire on the plane to Minneapolis not that long ago, and I really need Kellan Szpara’s Docile to be published so everyone can yell about capitalism and have feelings.

Q. What’s something you always want to say in interviews but no one ever asks?

A. I don’t think I’ve done enough interviews to have this experience? I liked the adventure question, though. I’ve never been asked that before.

Q. If you could go on a trip anywhere at all, where would you go and why? Would you go on a road trip, or backpacking, or a cruise, or something else?

A. I’ve been kind of wanting to go on a spa vacation. I recently discovered facials, manicures, and brow treatments and I love them, so the logical next step is to stay in a ritzy hotel and do spa treatments. Right? It makes sense to me, anyway

Q. You’ve had a long day of adventuring. When you settle down for the evening, what are you doing to unwind? Are you watching a movie or a tv show, listening to a musical or podcast, or something else?

A. If I’m not ready to go to sleep just yet, I’m probably chatting online. I love chats. I run a ton of them and they’re my #1 distraction. If I’m trying to sleep, I’m probably watching/listening to ASMR videos – I’ve been a tinglehead since I was a kid, and these videos just knock me out.

C.L. Polk is in a love triangle with fantasy and romance. After short story sales and contributing to the web serial Shadow Unit, she’s written fantasy and contemporary romance novels. She lives in southern Alberta and spends too much time on twitter.

Her debut novel Witchmark was nominated for a Nebula, a Locus, a Lambda, and the Prix Aurora Award in 2019. It has been translated into German, with French and Turkish translations upcoming. Her next novel, Stormsong, will release in February 2020.

Ms. Polk is represented by Caitlin McDonald of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

You can also sign up to her newsletter, or become a patron on Patreon.

Thanks for joining us today!

Laina

Guest Post: Queerplatonic Relationship Rec List

Hi wanderers!

We have an awesome guest post for you today, so please welcome Lisa to the blog!


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“Queerplatonic” is a word that was coined to describe close and/or committed relationships between individuals which are not romantic. The Aromantics wiki defines a queerplatonic relationship as: “one which is more intense and intimate than what most people regard as a friendship, not fitting the traditional romantic couple model or the traditional bounds of friendship. It can be characterized by a strong bond, affect, and emotional commitment not regarded by those involved as something beyond a friendship.”

Here are some recommendations for things to read with queerplatonic relationships in them.

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1. Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault

I was torn between recommending this and the Isandor series by the same author, but decided to go with The Baker Thief in the end. (You should read both though.)

The Baker Thief is urban fantasy meets crime meets coffeeshop AU. Arseneault plays with romance tropes in setting up the relationship between the main characters Claire/Claude, the bisexual aromantic bigender owner of a bakery called the Croissant-toi, and Adèle, a demisexual woman who is a police officer. I enjoyed the worldbuilding of the city of Val-de-Mer and magic as a source of energy, especially with industry depicted as literally soul-powered. The trope subversion in this book is a great example that non-romantic relationships can be depicted in a way that is just as, if not more, compelling than romance, and that there is a lot more to explore in this territory than most people – including writers – give it credit for. If you’d looking for a not-too-dark urban fantasy with amazing allosexual aromantic representation, I would recommend this!

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2. The Ice Princess’s Fair Illusion by Lynn E. O’Connacht

This is a short retelling of the fairytale King Thrushbeard. The book is all dialogue between Marian, the titular ice princess (actually: queen), who is aroace and just needs people to understand that, and Edel, an asexual lesbian princess, and it’s them telling each other the story about how they got together.

It’s an unusual format because it’s a “verse novel” and all dialogue, so you need to know that going in. I liked that Edel is sex-repulsed but Marian is not, and that they discuss queerplatonic relationships openly. Sometimes the conceit is a bit strained, but overall I found that it worked for me. This is one of those books where I got to the end and wanted to read and write all the fanfiction because there is such a rich world inside it, but because of the dialogue format, it’s often only hinted at.

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3. The Faerie Godmother’s Apprentice Wore Green by Nicky Kyle

This fantasy novella/short story about dragons and faerie godmothers plays with and subverts a lot of fantasy tropes, especially romance-related ones. It’s the kind of thing that makes me personally want to write lots of fanfiction based in the same universe.
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4. “Cucumber” by Penny Stirling

This is a poem that is free to read online.

I have read it a lot. It’s about a queerplatonic couple in a sword & sorcery world, but it’s also about the pressure that aromantic- and asexual-spectrum folks, or even those who are perfectly happy being close friends without a desire for a romantic or sexual relationship, face about their relationships in a world soaked with amatonormativity and erotonormativity. It’s short but it’s very healing and validating, I recommend giving it a shot if you’re arospec, especially if you’re also sex-repulsed.

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5. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

This book was written in 1990, before the word “queerplatonic” existed, but the relationship between Crowley and Aziraphale reads 100% like one to me. If you haven’t yet caught the Amazon Prime show, the basic idea is: an angel and a demon who have been living on earth since it was created, have been asked to bring about Armageddon. But they both like earth so much that they work together to prevent the world from getting destroyed.

Their relationship grows from a slightly reluctant partnership to a complicated friendship/frenemies situation to something I can only describe as a queerplatonic relationship, especially considering the ending. The book itself is wacky, witty urban fantasy and you sometimes just have to roll with the weirdness. It’s one of the most beloved fantasy novels for a reason!


Lisa is a genderqueer, aroace citizen of the world, based in London at the moment. When they’re not working sorting information and creating order out of chaos, they’re a book reviewer, writer, and aro/ace community activist. They’re especially into sci-fi and fantasy that explores and centres the stories of queer and other minority characters. In what’s left of their spare time, they enjoy making things out of yarn and spinning melodies and words to them. If you want to talk to them more, you can follow them on Twitter @ardyforshort.

Thanks again Lisa!

And we’ll see you all again very soon!

Laina

Interview with J. Emery

Hey wanderers!

We have another awesome interview to share with you today, so please welcome J. Emery to the blog!

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Q. Tell us a little about your writing and yourself!

A. I’m J. Emery. I’m pan and ace and mostly write fantasy though I’ve been slowly branching out into other genres. One day I might even make it to mystery. I’ve always wanted to write a cozy mystery series. In my free time outside of writing I usually go for horror movies (because I’m a huge chicken and I hate sleep) or video games.

Q. What made you write the stories you did? What do they mean to you?

A. I always feel like I should have a big sweeping tale about how I started writing but really I was just a quiet kid who started writing stories for fun and never stopped. Writing is what I do when I’m bored and need entertainment and it’s what I do when I have something on my mind and need to work it out. I’ve always gravitated to fantasy because of the freedom and even more so now that I’m writing queer characters. I like writing about them living their lives, going on quests, or learning magic, or whatever without having to explain their queerness. I can build a society where their queerness isn’t a source of conflict. It’s just accepted. And then I can spend more time writing about magical weapons and monsters which is a lot more fun anyway. I get a special thrill out of taking commonly used fantasy tropes and plots and putting aces in them.

Q. What are some of your favourite tropes or themes to read in queer books? Are there any things you’d love to see in queer books in the future?

A. Okay this is my favorite subject. I love tropes a lot and I build most of my stories around which ones I want to use next. My absolute favorite, forever, is enemies to friends/lovers. Whether it’s platonic or romantic doesn’t really matter, but I enjoy reading about people who got off to a bad start slowly coming around to a mutual understanding and building trust. Anyone who can write that well and make me believe it has my undying respect.

I’m also always here for books dealing with curses, fairy tales, or different takes on monsters. Oh and please give me more books about musicians. I have no musical talent whatsoever so I love reading about singers and musicians.

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Q. Which works would you say influence your writing the most?

A. I grew up on early YA fantasy books and all those teen thrillers in the ‘90s so that’s still kind of where my heart is. But Howl’s Moving Castle and Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones, the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, and Those Who Hunt The Night by Barbara Hambly had the biggest influence on the kind of fantasy worlds I wanted to write. And a brief nod to Castlevania (the Netflix one, not the games which I’m absolutely terrible at) for getting me back into vampires with its perfect mix of snark and action.

Q. How does the writing process work for you? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A. I am absolutely a pantser though I’ve become a little more regimented about it over the years. The only planning I do is in my head and even that is pretty loose. It’s less of an outline and more like the options in a choose your own adventure book. They shift around depending on the characters’ personalities and what the emotional arc of the book is doing at any given moment. I generally don’t write anything down except for character and place names and most of the time I don’t even know how books end until I’m 75% of the way through the first draft. My method usually horrifies people when I tell them about it.

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Q. Tell us one of your favourite experiences with someone who’s read your book.

A. Honestly, my favorite thing is anytime someone reads one of my books and tells me they enjoyed it. I love when readers are as enthusiastic as I am about my characters and stories.

Q. Which three things would you take with you if you were to go on an adventure?

A. Probably my phone because I get lost really easy and it has GPS (and my kindle app so I can still read books), a notebook and pen (those count as one thing) so I can write and doodle, and a bag of snacks. I get hungry really fast.

Q. Tell us something adventurous you did in the past year.

A. Self publishing An Offering of Plums and Help Wanted last year was probably the biggest leap I’ve made in a while. I did it at a time when I had serious doubts about whether I was cut out for writing so it was really an act of faith to put them out into the world.

Q. If you could go on a trip anywhere at all, where would you go and why? Would you go on a road trip, or backpacking, or a cruise, or something else?

A. I’ve always wanted to take a trip by train so I’m open to anything as long as that’s how I got there. I like watching the scenery changing outside the window.

Q. What’s your favourite recent queer read?

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A. Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L.C. Rosen was my favorite recent book. It was amazing and managed to be sex positive while still allowing space for asexuality which I really appreciated.

Q. What’s something you always want to say in interviews but no one ever asks?

A. I… don’t know if I have anything that I’ve ever wanted to say specifically. I can confirm that my username (mixeduppainter) is due to the fact that I was a working artist for a number of years. I don’t paint anymore but that doesn’t mean I won’t still judge people strongly when they get art techniques wrong in books and movies.

Q. If you had to pick a world to live in from a story you’ve written, which one would it be and why?

A. The world in Help Wanted would be easiest since it’s similar to the real world but with magic interwoven into society, but really I think I would rather live in the same time period as my shady vampire hunter Belar. It’s sort of a dark, gaslamp world with monsters everywhere but the clothing styles are fantastic and if I’m going to live in a book forever I might as well choose something different.

J. Emery has been slowly writing their way through every fantasy trope since they were little (some of them more than once). Maybe someday they’ll have covered them all. And also made them much more queer.

In their free time, they can be found gaming and documenting the whole thing on twitter at @mixeduppainter. Their ridiculous levels of terror over horror games are near legendary. Add their latest book, Forgotten Monster, on Goodreads, and preorder it on Amazon and everywhere else.

Remember to check back for more posts throughout the summer!

– Luce