Creating this five-minute video somehow took all freaking morning (and beyond), but I’m fairly satisfied with the result, so I suppose all is well. :P In any case! A look at my ongoing LGBTQ+ fantasy series, Chosen, and the general state of queer and powerful ladies in media, accompanied by a great many gifs because a video of just my voice + a black screen would probably be less than scintillating.
Greetings, friends. Today I found myself faced with a truly monumental decision: Should I watch The Jeffersons marathon or the Supermarket Sweep marathon?
Sometimes life is hard.
In other news, I’ve been doing some work on Chosen (also knows as the LGBTQ fantasy epic I’ve been chipping away at since approximately the age of the dinosaurs), attempting to inject some more action and awesomeness into the book. It’s going pretty well so far, and I’ve also done another experimental gender-switch and transformed the main love interest, Nicholas, into a female character who is primarily attracted to women. This wasn’t something I planned, but it makes her romance with Kaine (biologically female but male by every other definition) all the more interesting and complex, and also ups the number of main female characters.
Long-time visitors will recall that I’ve been working on an LGBTQ+ fantasy novel called Chosen for approximately the last 17,000 years. Its main character, Kaine Ikarra, is a fifteen-year-old transgender boy who is struggling with magic, identity, and the fact that most of the people around town want very much to kill him. It’s tough being fifteen, man.
As I’ve mentioned before, this story started out during my teen years as a cookie-cutter White Dudes Doing Cool Stuff In A Fantasy Setting book, but it’s since evolved into a series that features mostly LGBT people of color doing even cooler stuff in a fantasy setting. Since this is a fantasy world entirely of my imagining, I can do what I want with it, such as making the dominant religion a pantheon of gods and goddesses, many of whom are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc., and this thus makes LGBT folks entirely normal and unstigmatized in this world. Likewise, the inclusion of a female chief goddess (and various other awesome females in the pantheon) encourages more gender equality, which means that gender roles in this society are far more equal, and that gives me the opportunity to have kickass ladies all over the place and not have that be at all weird.
The latest I Can Do What I Want aspect of the story has involved my going through the book and subtly altering what everyone is eating so they subscribe to a more plant-based diet. It’s not something you see often in fantasy books, I’m willing to bet, but given my own commitment to avoiding meat and animal products, I figured…why not? WHY NOT HAVE THEM ALL BE VEGAN. MUWAHAHAHAHA I’m drunk with godly writing power.
So. Chosen now features a transgender, pansexual, vegan person-of-color as its main character, and I am quite pleased about that. :D
So…yeah. It’s been a while.
To all those impatiently tapping their feet, looking at their watches, and saying, “What kind of time do you call this, then?” I can only offer the excuse that I’ve been buried under piles of crazed and lovable children, struggling to complete my MFA, and spending the rest of the time sleeping.
The good news, however, is that I’ve actually managed to complete my MFA with a Hermione-worthy GPA (insert smugness and general academic fatigue here), and my tenure as a teacher of preschoolers is wrapping up in favor of shifting gears to writing, editing, teaching, and (hopefully) recovering somewhat from my eternal and unceasing state of exhaustion.
In any case, because so very much has happened since my last update sometime in the Mesozoic Era, I offer you updates now in the form of a handy list:
Greetings, friends and tumbleweeds. As it seems my last post was in the bygone days of September 2016 (a simpler time), I thought it might be a fine plan to make another post just to assert the fact that I am still among the living (just not among the living who have time for frequent blog updates).
So, yes. I LIVE!
Not much else can be said of the last year or so, except that I’ve been working hard imparting knowledge and sarcasm to the two-year-olds in my class, making my way bit by bit through an MFA program so I might one day aspire to my dream job of Cool College Professor With Old-Timey Blazer (or Roger Radcliffe-style vest), and fighting off various bouts of bronchitis and other ailments granted to me by my lovable but germy students.
I’ve also, it must be said, been making incremental progress on my gay fantasy epic, Chosen, restructuring and rewriting and cramming as much glorious gay into the story as I possibly can. Lucas in Book Two, for example, now has two moms (both of the awesome variety), and his major love interest is a gangly, awkward guy from school instead of Random Pretty Girl #5. Lucas has always been bisexual in the land of subtext, but it’s nice to bring it firmly into the realm of the textual via a dorky/awkward school romance that simultaneously enriches his life and puts it in horrible danger. (That’s the way we do things in Chosen-land.)
And, of course, the main character in Book One is trans, which has been fascinating to explore from the perspective of a society where (a) being LGBTQ+ is no big deal due to the existence of queer gods and goddesses in their primary religion, and (b) magic exists, so it’s technically possible (though highly difficult/expensive) to alter one’s body to better align with gender identity.
So, yes. Life at present consists of work, school, and sporadic bursts of writing, hopefully culminating in eventual financial security + a finished and not-awful manuscript. And until then, I’ll try to check in here from time to time, hopefully with something interesting to say (though no guarantees on that front).
Until next time~~~~~!
Rereading Margaret Weis’ The Soulforge for the first time since my impressionable teenage days. I first happened upon the Dragonlance series when my high school boyfriend (who had the severe misfortune of dating someone who had not yet realized her general lack of interest in the male species) innocently lent me Dragons of Autumn Twilight one day. I’m sure he regretted it immediately afterwards, as our interactions from that point forward involved me begging for the next book in the series with the fevered intensity of an addict, and then ignoring him completely until I was ready for the next one.
I owe a lot to Dragonlance, really. Not only did it help me get through the angstiest of my angsty teen years, but it inspired me to start work on my own fantasy novel, starring a character who was initially and most creatively named “Raisius” and bore no uncertain resemblance to a certain bitter mage from the world of Krynn. Raisius later transformed into Kaine Ikarra of Chosen, and over the years grew into a character all his own, who – while retaining a certain amount of sarcasm and bitterness – is now about as far from Raistlin Majere as it’s possible to be. But without Dragonlance and The Soulforge, Kaine would never have had his start, and I might not have spent the last 65,000,000 years working on a story that is even now causing me daily struggles and occasional bursts of pride and satisfaction.
And I owe it all to my teen self’s mistaken belief in her own heterosexuality. Thanks, oblivious Teen!Me. You had a knack for doing exactly the wrong thing in almost every situation, but in this one case, you dun good. <3
Regarding The Soulforge, I will say that I’m very much enjoying reading it again, though it’s probably not the shining example of human literary achievement I once considered it to be. Raistlin, too, is a right unpleasant bastard much of the time, and it’s hard to remember why I idolized him so desperately as a teen. (Though I suspect it was because I secretly wished I could be more of a bastard myself. Plus, you know, magic.)
Anyway. Lots to do today, and as it’s actually cool enough outside that my sandals won’t melt the moment they touch the sidewalk, I’m looking forward to venturing into the world for a walk and a visit to the library. Exciting times, exciting times. Wishing you all a pleasant Sunday~~<3
Greetings, friends. As I have by now run out of ways to describe how very long it’s been since I last updated, I’ll just say that seasons have passed, babies have been born, aged, and turned into cranky old wrinkled people, and still this blog has been left to gather dust in its sad little corner of the interwebs. But never fear, for I am here now to update you on all the many, many fascinating things that have occurred since my last post.
Fascinating Things That Have Occurred Since My Last Post:
- I started watching The Andy Griffith Show on Netflix, then almost immediately stopped watching it as the sheer amount of quaint ole southern charm threatened to drown me in a syrupy, Yankee-eating river. Boredom led me back to Mayberry shortly thereafter, however, and I ended up watching five seasons in about as many days. No regrets, though I now find myself with the strangest urge to sit out on the porch I don’t have and sip sweet tea while strumming a gee-tar and sangin’.
- Work on Book I of Chosen (AKA, my frequently mentioned and inexplicably still unfinished gay fantasy epic) has been coming along decently well. I had a particularly impressive spurt of writing a little while back and was finally able to finish up a section I’ve been struggling with for months, which was nice. Of course, I’m now struggling with the next section, but at least the story’s moved forward a bit. I’ve also added another LGBTQ character of color, and my quest to diversify and gay-ify the Chosen world is progressing most satisfactorily. I hope to actually finish the bloody thing at some point in the nearish future, though it would probably be easier to do that if I’d stop binge-watching Andy Griffith and get down to work.
- Summer has come~~~~! And with it, unfortunately, has come the realization that my little shoebox apartment heats up to approximately 9,000 degrees when the sun hits it in the morning. Benny’s taken to napping in the bathtub to keep cool, and I myself have been doing a lot of lying on the floor with the fan trained on me and my pant legs rolled up high enough to scandalize all of Mayberry.
I’ve also, as it happens, resigned from my job and returned to the glamorous life of a poverty-stricken ESL Teacher and freelance editor. Nine months of a 4:30 AM wake-up time and four hour daily commute turned out to be too much for my fragile human frame, and I decided to choose life and health over the allure of sitting at a desk all day earning just barely enough to scrape by. It’s been exactly one week since my last day at my previous job, and I’m pleased to say that I no longer feel like death warmed over, and I’ve actually even experienced some positive emotions here and there instead of being in a constant state of exhaustion and misery.
Of course, I’m also shopping at The Dollar Store and washing clothes in the bathtub instead of going to the laundromat, but that seems a small price to pay for feeling vaguely human again. And allow me to mention, also, that if anyone needs any editing or proofreading work done, I am extremely available.
Here I come, ready to edit the crap out of anything you might have.
Anyway, my brain’s turned to early evening mush, so I think I’ll get back to the business of lying on the floor and watching the people of Mayberry chuckle good-naturedly as Barney Fife miraculously neglects to murder anyone in his immediate vicinity.