What is CHOSEN and why should I care about it?

T.J., you say aloud to your screen, I’ve seen you mention this queer fantasy book series, Chosen, approximately 1,000 times per post, but what is it? What is it about? What would the characters look like if someone spent valuable writing time creating avatars of them via an online fantasy avatar creator? I MUST KNOW.

Well, my inquisitive friends, look no further. This is the post for you.

What is Chosen?

Chosen is a book series that asks the question, “What if there was a fantasy story that featured 99% female characters, most of whom are queer people of color, but it was also, like, interesting and good and stuff?” <–(official tagline)

I’m a huge fan of fantasy, but the fantasy I grew up with generally involved straight white dudes (or straight white elves, or straight white dwarves, etc.) getting to do cool stuff while the women were there either as background characters, romantic/lustful objects for the aforementioned dudes, or as the requisite Tough Female Characters who were generally overly sexualized and ended up being defeated (or romanced, or both) by the main character dudes, anyway.

Queer storylines were pretty much non-existent, and while you would often get a token brown character thrown in somewhere along the way, it was always the exception rather than the rule. And you know what’s really awesome about creating a whole new fantasy world of your very own? You can decide what’s normal, so in the fantasy world of Chosen, normal involves a pantheon of queer goddesses, an abundance of non-white folks, and a general acceptance of queer relationships, trans people, non-binary people, etc.

What is Chosen about?

Here is Kaine, thinking about how he’d rather be off reading a book than dealing with anyone of the “people” persuasion.

Okay, so check this out. There’s this seventeen-year-old guy named Kaine, and his mom wakes him up in the middle of the night and basically says, “Yo, we gotta go. We’re leaving this house and we’re going across the country because people are after us, and by the way, your dad’s either missing or dead and I can’t tell you what happened to him because SECRETS, but hurry up and pack some stuff because we need to leave, like, yesterday.”

So, Kaine and his mom high-tail it out of there just as the Royal Guard show up, and while Kaine’s mom doesn’t explain anything, Kaine assumes the Guard are there for him, because oh, hey, turns out he has a glowing red mark that shows up on his skin sometimes and gives him cool powers, and by the way, the holy text that everyone here believes in? It says the Marked are abominations who stole their powers from the gods, and stealing powers from the gods = bad, so you should probably kill any of the Marked you happen to come across.

Kaine doesn’t want to stick around and get murdered, so he and his mom flee to the other side of the country and end up in the Godly Lands, which is a super conservative area that is probably not a great place for someone with a mark to be.

“It’s the last place they’ll look for us!” Kaine’s mother says, while Kaine quietly hyperventilates in the background.

Anyway, it turns out that they’re actually in the Godly Lands of all places because Kaine’s mother has some friends there, and those friends are two awesome ladies who are also somehow involved in whatever Secret Business Kaine’s parents were doing that made his father disappear and necessitated the hasty midnight escape. When Kaine learns that his father is actually alive but is being held as a prisoner of the queen for Reasons, he decides that his only choice is to master his powers enough so he can go bust into the palace and rescue his dad. Kaine has some help from the people he meets along the way, which brings us to…

The Characters

Kaine Ikarra: Seventeen years old, aspiring mage, professional introvert, transgender. Grumpy Cat in human form. Perfect afternoon: A cup of tea, a good book, and no other humans in the vicinity.
Nicholas Defrin: Seventeen years old, daughter of Luca and Elisabeth. Athlete, farmhand, people person. Determined to befriend Kaine despite his lack of interest in this whole “people” thing. Has trouble sleeping for Mysterious Reasons. Ex-girlfriend to Silas.
Elisabeth Defrin: Mother to Nicholas, wife to Luca. Head of the town council, fan of sweets, cheerful badass. Touches your hand gently when talking to you. Fighting the good fight on the town council trying to keep the Marked people in town alive.
Luca Defrin: Mother to Nicholas, wife to Elisabeth, mentor to Kaine. Marked. Teacher, academic, badass mage. Puts on a cloak sometimes and uses her magic to save Marked people in trouble. Personal Quote: “Tea is always necessary.”
Hema Ikarra: Mother to Kaine. Warm-hearted healer with the mouth of a sailor. Enjoys earth tones, pockets, and mussing Kaine’s hair. Professional winner of arguments. Believer in tough love and bone-crushing hugs.
Silas Phelps: Seventeen years old, queen of the school, Nicholas’ former girlfriend who is still salty about the breakup. Wants to befriend Kaine but also wants to beat him up, kind of? Mother wants to kill all the Marked, which might prove awkward if Silas and Kaine become BFFs.

Well, T.J., you say aloud again for some reason, I’m sold. Where can I read this masterpiece of queer fiction? Where can I submit my inevitable fanart and fanfiction and assemble my Chosen-inspired playlist?

Sadly, I must inform you that Chosen is not yet available to buy, though I can at least offer the small, twinkling hope that the manuscript for the first volume, The Cloaked Man, has been completed!

(Oh, you thought we were going to get through this post without a single gif? Silly reader.)

It’s been through its first few rounds of editing and should hopefully be ready to be sent out in search of an amenable publisher in the not-too-distant future. If said amenable publisher cannot be found, I am a-okay with self-publishing this sucker, so it will end up available for public consumption one way or another — fear not.

I can also tell you the mad plans I have for this series, namely that there will be five books (!!) that will take place in different times periods but will still, refreshingly, actually be relevant to one another.

Book 1: Kaine POV, The Present Day
Book 2: Luca POV, age 16 or 17, twenty-some years before The Present Day
Book 3: Kaine POV, The Present Day
Book 4: Luca POV, moving us steadily closer to The Present Day
Book 5: DRAMATIC FINALE, The Present Day

And that’s Chosen.

Anyone who’s still with me at this point, I thank you for your attention and I hope that I’ve managed to instill in you at least a little of the excitement I have for this project. Hopefully the next thing I post about it will be instructions on precisely where you can buy the first book of the series (and details of the inevitable multi-million dollar movie deal), but I hope this will be enough to tide you over for now. <3

Until next time, friends.

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