#FallinLove with Fairytales, Day One!

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Welcome to the Fall in Love with Fairytales blog tour!

If you would like to win an enormous grand prize consisting of a Kindle, gift certificates, and author swag, visit each day’s post(s) and follow Rafflecopter instructions for prize entries. For more information, please visit:

How do you like your fairy tales? I enjoy mine slightly scrambled.

I was first introduced to re-envisioning fairy tales with Politically Correct Bedtime Tales and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. At first, I wasn’t sure how to take the books. The first one was clearly satire, but was it mean-spirited? Three Little Pigs felt like (to be melodramatic) an attempted murderer making excuses. I admired the wit and humor, but it felt wrong.

Later, Wicked became an international sensation. I never saw the musical, except for clips I could find on Youtube, but I read the book. While I could have done without the bestiality, I was captivated by an adolescent Elphaba struggling to gain acceptance despite her green skin and inability to bathe.

And when Once Upon a Time appeared, I was amazed at a grown-up television show focusing on fairy tales. All of my old favorites appeared in a new form. While I didn’t agree with some of the portrayals, they gave new life to fairy tales many adults considered childish.

However, my dearest wish has not yet materialized: a retelling of Rapunzel’s story from Mother Gothel’s point of view. I love Tangled and couldn’t wait to write Mother Gothel taming Rapunzel with the famous hairbrush. I was disappointed to receive “Our Lady’s Child” instead, but I found immense pleasure in re-writing the Virgin Mary as a queen kinkster. (I assume I’ll have a nice, toasty afterlife.) When I received The Snow Queen for my second fairy tale, I couldn’t wait to incorporate elements of Frozen with the original story. Isn’t everything better with flying icicle magic?

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Taliasman, my first Beyond Fairytale, is the story of a downtrodden girl who has been taught she has no value. Her constant refrain is, “If I had been born a boy.” Its sequel, Taliaschild, will debut with a sneak peek at Sci Spanks June 12-14. You’ll find quite a few Beyond Fairytales authors joining the Sci Spanks fun, so please come and join us!

In the next two weeks, you will find posts from the authors behind the Beyond Fairytales series. We have spaceships, cowboys, owls, princesses, princes, and geese. If you like M/F, M/M, F/F, or ménage, you’ll find at least one of each. Each one is unique and indescribably naughty.

If you’ve gobbled up all of the collections already, be sure to check out the Beyond Fairytales blog for new releases and additional books.

Tomorrow, please look for posts from V.s. Morgan and Melissa Shirley.

For your convenience, here is a handy-dandy worksheet with daily schedule, blog stops, and space to keep track of surprise words.

Or you can use this plain text version if it is better for you.

audio Taliasman headphones

Best of all, Taliasman is now available as an audiobook on Audible and Amazon! It will be on iTunes very soon.

Here is the surprise word for today:

Ana button May 23

(I’m assuming there are amazing spanking androids on these spaceships. Jessica Subject promises me this is so. She will share her androids but not her aliens.)

To earn entries toward a FABULOUS grand prize, follow this link to use Rafflecopter.

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Red Book of Grown-Up Fairytales

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Blue Book of Grown-Up Fairytales

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Green Book of Grown-Up Fairytales

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Gold Book of Grown-Up Fairytales (Recommended Read on ARe!)

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Church of the Wooden Spoon

Church of the Wooden Spoon

So. I believe in lighting candles rather than cursing the darkness. In my dismay at the new laws allowing people to refuse service based on religious beliefs (which, as far as I can tell, do not exempt emergency service providers such as EMTs or firefighters), I felt dispirited. Disappointed. Sad for what this might mean for the future of our society.

I could complain about the laws, or I could do something instead. I may not have the legal or political clout to do something that way, but I’m a writer. I enjoy humor. So…in response to this law, I have founded a Church of the Wooden Spoon. I created it as a joke and added two people because Facebook doesn’t allow a group without members.

Within a few hours, the requests for membership starting coming in! So far, we are thirty-eight members strong and still growing. Find us on Facebook and ask to join! The first New Member Class will conclude at the end of today.

What? I’m not any crazier than the people passing these laws. 😀

So far, we have a few rules:

Rules of the Church of the Wooden Spoon (will be updated as necessary):

1. ‪#‎CabbageIsSexy‬
2. We are not celibate.
3. Traditional theology dictates that the edges of the wooden spoon must be rounded. However, a special task force is preparing a study on whether angled spoons (formerly known as spatulas and therefore heretics) may be accepted.
4. Wooden Spoon means WOODEN SPOON. No metal spoons, no spatulas, no silicone!
5. It is our sincere religious belief that the Wooden Spoon forbids us to have any business dealings with homophobes. Therefore, as a protected class under US law, we may refuse to serve homophobes in our daily lives.

We even have two prayers. One was composed in Latin by Emily Tilton:

O coclear fidele, tuum auxilium devote rogamus hodie, ut nates illorum qui flagellationem desiderent!

 

You’ll have to ask Emily what it means. 🙂

The prayer I composed is in English:

O Magnificent Spoon of Wonder
We give thanks to you and strive to honor you
Guide us and protect us, O Spoon,
That we may live in the glory of your ways.

Please don’t ask about the angled spoon debacle. We’re all reeling from the internal conflict. What? You insist on knowing? Okay, okay. Here is the public statement:

It is NOT true that the Church of the Wooden Spoon has splintered into a protest church, the Church of the Wooden Spatula. We at the Church of the Wooden Spoon are working hard to reach out to these lost sheep and bring them back into the fold.

I have commissioned a task force to prepare a statement on the Church of the Wooden Spoon’s position on the shape of the wooden spoon and whether angled edges will be accepted as orthodox.

Please, in times of founding a new church it is easy to get lost in divisive rhetoric. Let’s not get distracted by the little details and instead focus on the glory that is the Wooden Spoon.

We are a new church, and this was an enormous blow. The less said, the better. Even worse, we’re getting reports of publicly expressing love for riding crops, getting seduced by a traveling salesman to love an angled wooden spoon, and *gasp* attending the church of the SILICONE spoon!

The Holy Mistress is not pleased.

If you want to win a wooden spoon of your own, plus an autographed set of cooking chopsticks, visit Jessica Subject’s blog for a post on Hyunkyung Han’s Top 5 Favorite Spanking Implements!

Plus, check out this wonderful 5-star review for Living in Sin by Amy at Inked Rainbow Reads!

 

Ana’s Advent Calendar, Day 10: Creating Something Good, Part 1

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Today is part one of a series on Something Good, a coalition formed to provide Kindles and ebooks to LGBT homeless youth. Look for part two on Friday.

 

CHOOSING WHICH STORY TO TELL

 

I meant to tell you the story of an interview and give you a professional account of someone else’s work.

 

I meant to ignore my work and that of the Something Good crew, in favor of highlighting everything happening at the homeless shelter for LGBT youth.

 

I meant to tell someone else’s story.

 

Instead, today (and Friday, for part two), I will tell you mine.

 

My story, and the story of 30 authors, readers, editors and publishers who raised $4,000 in 25 days.

 

The story of a woman who lives on a tight salary and medical bills, but she donated the money she budgets for pleasure each month. Her pleasure is to give to others.

 

The story of another woman who gave a donation without blinking an eye, and then offered to give again when travel funding fell through.

 

The story of a publisher that said, “Here’s money. And books. Oh, and more money. We’ll give you more, if you need it.” No questions asked.

 

The story of another publisher that said, “How much do you need? How can I get it to you?” And got it to me within hours, despite preparing for an international trip the next morning.

 

It’s a story of sacrifices, small and big. It’s a story of widow’s mites and huge numbers, truckloads of books and donations one by one.

 

It’s a story of love.

 

THIRTEEN DOLLARS

 

Last year for Giving Tuesday, I asked for suggestions how people could make a difference. Of the ones I received, two concerned homeless LGBT youth.

 

 

I didn’t think anything more about LNF until October of this year when I visited Atlanta for an author conference. After engraving 260 wooden spoons for party favors, I remembered LNF. Since I was going to Atlanta anyway, why not stop by the center and pick up promotional materials? Since I was going to pick up promotional materials anyway, why not set out a tip jar at the conference and take donations for LNF?

 

Loaded down with a container full of flyers and postcards, I set up a pretty red-and-white dish and peddled my spoons. In exchange for the days upon days of engraving spoons and the hours at the book signing, I received a cool $13 in cash.

 

Thirteen dollars. The flyers I gave out cost more! Although the conference was stellar (and I made new friends I hope to keep for life), I felt both embarrassed and disappointed. This was it? Sure, I’d spread awareness of the center. Sure, I’d handed out flyers and talked up the program. Sure, I garnered interest. But…thirteen dollars?

 

69 LGBT AUTHORS

 

I headed home, and the frustrated desire burrowed until it emerged in new form. What if I tried to fundraise, but to do it for real this time? What if I got together a bunch of author friends to each donate a dollar and purchase a basic, black-and-white Kindle? I knew far more than 69 LGBT authors, and we could surely each donate a dollar plus a book or two. We could give LNF a library contained in an ereader!

 

I’m Ana. I have a million ideas a day, and most of them serve to distract from real work. This idea, however, took root. I mentioned it to a few other authors who immediately jumped on the idea. After asking and receiving my permission, B. Snow posted the idea on her Facebook and received an avalanche of support.

 

Still not quite believing, I made some tentative inquiries. Would LNF be interested? I placed the call.

 

“We don’t say no to anything,” the answer came, quick with disparagement. “But do we need technology that will depreciate the second it arrives? No. Cash is king. We don’t need a thousand dollars in Kindles; we need a thousand dollars in cash. You should give us money toward our renovation in the spring. We need four hundred thousand dollars for that, not books the kids won’t even read.”

 

I hung up the phone and doodled on my notepad. It was a silly idea. I should abandon the plan. And yet…I remembered the laundry list of authors signing up to join the project. “What can we give?” they asked. “It’s a great idea!”

 

Maybe the kids at LNF didn’t read, but wasn’t that the point? As an author, I wanted to encourage reading. As an LGBT author, I wanted to offer something I never had as a child: a book about a girl who loved a girl.

 

I KISSED A GIRL

 

At the ripe old age of thirteen, I had my first crush. (Call me a late developer.) “Emily” was one year older and, in my opinion, everything I wanted to be. I cursed the bad luck of being a lowly seventh grader to her lofty eighth. I wanted to share classes, sit next to her, and be her best friend. At age thirteen, I had no concept of female-female interactions except for friendship, and I wanted it with an intensity that scared me.

 

Instead, I only got to see Emily once a week for chamber orchestra rehearsal. As serious violinists (we both wanted to become orchestra teachers), we never exchanged more than a few comments about the music. Up bow here, accent here, split this long note into two bows. I watched from afar, envious of the easy laughter she shared with friends.

 

I wouldn’t understand until many years later just why I longed to stroke her hair, sit at her feet, and listen to her play. When I read Prelude by Madeleine L’engle (a worthy read for anyone), my heart broke for Katherine the pianist who was reprimanded for leading her best friend Sarah astray. Sexuality was never mentioned outright, but their friendship was viewed by school authorities as deviant. Dangerous.

 

When I was in college and my church’s national headquarters launched a study on its position regarding sexuality, I asked my parents what they thought.

 

My cousin “Samantha” was a lesbian, they told me. But they didn’t say “lesbian,” a dirty word. They said “gay,” in all of the hushed tones of a funeral attendant. Her “roommate” and “best friend” was more than a friend.

 

“How did Samantha and she meet?” I asked my aunt at our next family gathering, wanting to be supportive without taking a stand.

 

My aunt rolled her eyes. “Oh, gay people like to hang out with other gay people, so I’m sure they met at some gay person thing.”

 

Those weren’t her exact words, but it was the tone. She might have been discussing buying marijuana or cocaine. (I am sure no heterosexual people like to hang out with other heterosexual people.)

 

Later, after a woman told me I was beautiful and things happened, I talked with my pastor. Was homosexuality a sin?

 

“Yes,” he answered. “But it’s no more a sin than anything else we do. We all sin. If we were pushed to make a statement, we might wish that someone who is homosexual not practice homosexuality, but we are in no position to judge. We are all sinners. If we start judging, then do we throw divorcees out of the church?”

 

“I had a woman come onto me, too,” another pastor told me. “She lit candles and set a gorgeous room, and it was so uncomfortable.”

 

I had moved back home to care for my cancer-stricken father, an event so traumatic that I gave up writing fiction for the next decade and a half. (I wrote about it in one of my most popular posts, Elegy of a Fiction Writer.) Faced with the prospect of losing my father, I set aside all personal needs in favor of baking cookies, washing laundry, cleaning house, and managing the many and complex needs associated with chemotherapy and radiation.

 

When I mentioned the “incident” to a friend or two, they were horrified. “You’re a Christian!” they told me. “You didn’t see anything wrong with kissing a woman?”

 

We did more than kiss. But that’s a story for another day.

 

WHY WE GIVE

 

 

What the employee at LNF didn’t understand (when he wanted cash rather than book donations) is that people don’t throw money into a black hole. Selfish as it may be, we need something tangible. I need something tangible. If not, why give?

 

We give because we have needs inside of us. Maybe it’s the need to feel we are a good person, that we are making a difference, or that we have helped someone who could have been us at a different stage in life. We give what we wish we could have had when we were in a similar situation, or we give because no one gave to us when we needed it most. Sometimes that giving means writing a check or dropping money into a bucket. For others, it may be volunteering time, energy, and skills. As someone who has spearheaded many philanthropic efforts, I knew enough about human nature to discount this false idea of “a thousand dollars in cash is better than a thousand dollars in Kindles.” For one thing, a cash drive would collect perhaps one-tenth of a fundraiser to buy something tangible. If I put all of my resources into it, I might be able to raise one hundred dollars in cash. Would that help as much as ten times that amount in books and e-readers? More importantly, would such an effort be worth my time?

 

Who said giving is selfless? Not me. We give to make a difference, to change the world, and to find a new reason to believe in humanity. We spend our time and money because we need to hope that tomorrow will be worth living for ourselves and our children. When we feel crushed by loneliness or hopelessness, we give because sometimes the only way to find goodness in this world is to create it ourselves.

 

Something Good almost died the day it was conceived, until I talked to a woman who changed everything. Sue, the manager of the drop-in center, jumped at the offer. “We’ll take care of the details,” she promised. “It’s a wonderful project.”

 

She told me about Heidi*, a former resident who had fought to turn her life around, graduated from the program, and beat the odds. Then, a truck hit Heidi and hospitalized her for months. Some days she can sit up in a wheelchair; other days, the pain is too great. Through it all, Sue told me, Heidi kept the Kindle given to her by Elizabeth North of Dreamspinner Press last year. It was her connection to friends and family…until someone stole it. At that point, I resolved to get Heidi a new Kindle if it were the last thing I accomplished.

 

Over the next six weeks, I had a daily phone date with Amazon technical support and a nightmare’s worth of spreadsheets, emails, text messages, and consultations. People came forward to contribute, spread the word, and get new authors to donate their books. When the first plans to visit Atlanta fell through, I received enough offers to fund five trips to deliver the Kindles. In the end, Less Than Three Press paid my way and I asked everyone else to save money for the spring.

 

People apologized as they sent five, ten, fifteen, twenty dollars. “I’m sorry I can’t give more,” they said.

 

“Do you understand what you’ve done?” I asked. “You’ve taken this tiny idea and turned it into a reality.”

 

People told me that my idea mattered, that my work mattered, and that we could make a difference. They contacted me behind the scenes because they were too shy to go public. “Can you take this?” they asked, not wanting to be named in public. “I was kicked out by my parents for coming out. I know where they’ve been.”

 

“Thank you for giving us something we can actually do,” said another. “I always wanted to do something but didn’t know what.”

 

People don’t want to give cash to a yawning money need. They want to walk away at the end of the day, knowing that they changed the life of one individual. Even if it’s something small and temporary, they want to make a difference.

 

On Friday, for part two of this series, I’ll tell you how we made that difference.

 

(For more information about Something Good, please visit the blog here. We are in the process of expanding the program to include donations to three more LGBT homeless shelters across the US.)

*Name and identifying details have been changed to protect privacy. Both Sue and Heidi have given consent for this story.

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow Con recap

F/F kink fiction does have a place at author conferences. *picks my jaw off the floor* Yes. This past weekend at Rainbow Con (shout out to S.L and Roger Armstrong, K. Piet, and all the wonderful folks at Storm Moon Press) was filled with camaraderie, conversation, cookies, and kink.

Prize winners!

Chocolate roses: Sarah Hart, Kathleen Tudor, Ann Anderson, and (one more name I can’t remember at the moment)

“I’m a sexy girl” sign: London Calling

“Don’t lean” sign: H.L. Holston

Happy fun gift bags: Dean Prech and Becky Condit

Kinky fun gift bag: Jamie Fessenden

5-book F/F gift basket from Blushing Books (donated by the same): Sue Brown

$50 gift certificate to Blushing Books (donated by the same): Angel Martinez

 

 

Some of my favorite Rainbow Con moments include:

  • Alex Carreras stopping by my table Friday morning to ask, “Am I the only one who hasn’t tasted your cookies yet?” He paused, realized what he’d said, and added, “That wasn’t a euphemism, by the way.” It became a running joke to ask whether people had tasted my cookies and to assure them that it wasn’t a euphemism. In order to fully appreciate this moment, you should know that Alex has a dapper, gentlemanly demeanor. He wouldn’t look out of place at an art show or the ballet, and his demeanor made his joke even funnier.
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  • Adrian Smith saying it had been amusing to watch the play-by-play of the Great Cookie Baking the day before the con. So great to meet you in person, Adrian! Thanks for giving me the nudge to go to my first author con.
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  • Allison Cassatta (sitting at the table next to me in the Author Alley) jumping up to embrace Rick as she squealed, “You got MIRA! My kindred spirit!” after taking my quiz. Allison, you were the best Author Alley “roomie” ever.
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  • Kathleen Tudor shouting “I love spanking Anastasia!” to get my attention, before realizing what she’d said. “There was supposed to be a comma before your name,” she added. Too late. 🙂 The weekend was FULL of Kathleen quotes, but I don’t want to embarrass her.
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  • Getting to see some F/F spanking action! No, it didn’t involve me (except as a spectator).
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  • Being dubbed the “Spanking Queen” and called upon to deliver a birthday spanking to Becky Condit. (No, I didn’t do it.)
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  • Chatting with S.L., Roger, Kris, and Kathleen (as well as many others) in the con suite. What an amazing gift! They’d put together an enormous (and fantastic) buffet of snacks to keep busy congoers fed while running from one panel to another. All offered free of charge as a labor of love. Bless you.
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  • Speaking of Becky Condit, how fun to celebrate her birthday! What a wonderful review site she has, Mrs Condit and Friends.
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  • Watching David Berger try to get his jello shot out of the plastic cup. Saundra Armstrong had put a lot of vodka into the shots, so everyone’s reaction was hilarious. David said, “I just licked it, and my tongue went numb!” Of course, I put the quote (out of context) on my Facebook and Twitter. Becky Condit asked, “What’s he doing with the spicy lube?”
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  • The hilariously inappropriately titled F/F fiction panel, and watching others (especially Kathleen) try to get me to say the title. In all seriousness, the discussion was wonderful and a highlight of the weekend.
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  • Putting up quotes of the day on my Facebook and Twitter and enjoying the laughter and conversations that followed.
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  • Meeting the neat folks from Less Than Three, Dreamspinner, Storm Moon, JMS Books, and Rooster and Pig publishers. You were all wonderful!
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  • Getting London Calling’s Twitter ID confused and laughing about it together. Her Superman costume! Also, her gracious help moving all of my bags (hundreds of cookies, pieces of candy, and all of my promotional materials). I’d nearly broken my back lugging bag after bag of supplies, and then Little Miss Chipper came along to save the day. Mwah, London! May all of your rocks never be kryptonite.
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  • Accidentally tagging the wrong Susan Lee when I gave a shout out to Boys in our Books, a fabulous review site. Susan, Lisa A, Scott Burkett, (apologies because I am not sure of the last name) gave wonderful information about blog tours.
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  • Shae Connor’s hilariously inappropriate comments that she tried to blame on the jello shots.
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  • Watching Amanda Ching’s reaction to the vodka-laced blue jello as it seared her mouth.
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  • Hearing and seeing people burst into laughter as they took my “Who is your inner spankee?” quiz. Unexpected side effect: Administering the quiz gave me a shortcut to getting to know people. When I’d say, “You’re Leila!” or “You’re Kat!” and read the character description, more often than not people would respond by saying, “That sounds like me!” One person said this was the most accurate personality quiz she’d ever taken. Most popular answer: Freiya of Freiya’s Stand. Least popular answer: Clissa of Becoming Clissine
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  • People asking, “What’s the deal with the wooden spoon?” Oh, how I LOVED answering that! 😀
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  • The F/F fiction panel was the highlight of the con. Not just the discussion itself (which was terrific), but that Saundra and Roger prioritized the panel–to the point that Roger chose that session (out of his extremely busy schedule running the con) to attend. The audience was wonderful, the panelists (Kathleen Tudor, Adrian Smith, Allison Cassatta, and yours truly) fit together well. I give Saundra and Roger huge props for creating a much-needed space for readers and authors of F/F fiction.
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  • Terrific topics for the panels, ranging from religion in genre fiction to the “Man Panel” (male perspective regarding M/M fiction). Author etiquette, marketing, self-publishing, contracts, YA, paranormal…you name it, Rainbow Con had it. Really well-thought-out array of topics. *grateful applause*
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  • The amazing generosity and kindness of the guest of honor, Geoffrey Knight, and each of the guest authors. Geoff sat at my author table, took my quiz, and talked to me about my books. My hat off to you, Geoff.
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  • Sue Brown’s discussion on the “Misogyny in Fiction” panel. It would have been easy to dismiss my point (that fiction needs strong female characters not dependent on men) as irrelevant to her M/M writing, but instead she talked about her main characters’ love and respect for the women in their lives. Then Sue said that meeting *me* was a highlight of her weekend. Likewise, Sue. I was honored to meet you.
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  • Getting to meet Jeff Adams (of JMS Books) in person and thank him for supporting Love Spanks. We’ll get to have his support for Sci Spanks in June, too! Hurrah!
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  • Participating in the “Rape: Not a laughing matter” panel under the capable hosting of Angel Martinez.
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  • Meeting Vicktor Alexander and hearing his thoughts on writing, reading, and publishing.
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  • A wonderful post-con dinner with David Berger, Cari Z (finally got to meet Caitlin Ricci’s writing partner and the woman behind the green tea F/F spanking story!), and Cari’s husband.
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  • Meeting Carole Cummings and her daughter. You two were a delight to have at my table, and I wish you both the very best.
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  • Meeting Caethes Faron. What a sweet woman!
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  • Teasing Carolyn Gray about my wooden spoons and watching her blush! I was mean to tease you, Carolyn, but you were too cute. I couldn’t help myself.
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  • Feeling comfortable as Anastasia Vitsky, author of F/F spanking fiction. Not having to apologize for who I am, soothe offended egos of those who find F/F spanking fiction offensive, or cater to a crowd that tolerates F/F while wishing for M/F. I love every single one of my readers, and I love my M/F readers just as much as anyone else. You are cherished, I promise. But, still, there is something special about hearing, “You write F/F? Wow! It’s so hard to find F/F! I have to tell my sister/daughter/niece/neighbor/cousin!”

I know I am forgetting names. I’ve tried to put down as many as I can without turning this into a list (boring!). Megan Derr, Sarah Hart, Ashlyn Daube, Rory Ni Coileain, Kade Boehme, Isabella Carter, Jackson Cordd, Sklyar Cates, Jamie Fessenden, Rhys Ford, Anel Viz, Kassa, Lexi Ander, Stephen del Mar, and so many others…if you stopped by my table this past weekend, I’m sending you an enormous virtual treat (peppermint brownie, peanut butter oatmeal bar, gingersnap, peanut butter cookie, or oatmeal butterscotch chocolate chip cookie). Thank you for sitting down, taking my quiz, chatting with me, and letting me get to know you. My life is enriched from the experience, and I will never forget you.

Thank you, organizers of Rainbow Con, for giving me (and many others) a weekend of acceptance, fellowship, and support. It means more than you can ever know.

See you all at Rainbow Con 2015.

 

What if heterosexuality were a crime? Introducing BASTIA (Fall of 2013)

Many of my readers are new to the F/F genre, and I often hear the following comments:

  • I don’t like F/F.
  • F/F makes me uncomfortable, but since your stories are largely about friendship they are easier to read.
  • The idea of F/F makes me uneasy.

These comments are often followed by, “But I like your stories.” I truly appreciate the compliment, and in many cases I take pride that my stories have helped to change some people’s assumptions that stories of female relationships must always center around sex. Kat and Natalie lie in a curious zone of not-quite-lovers-but-more-than-friends. Only with Simple Gifts have I branched out into a fully developed romance. Part of the reason for this reticence (although only a part) is that I did not want to deal with anti-LGBT backlash. I want to write stories of people who love each other, not political statements about sexuality.

A side note: I have given M/F a try (and the second installment of The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, affectionately known as “Vennie”, should be coming out soon), and I enjoy exploring the old-fashioned dynamics of a DD couple. I enjoy a lovely M/F relationship just as much as the next person, but there is something so tender, so intimate, and so precious about the love between two women.

In my journey of publishing, submitting cover art requests, sending books out for review, and interacting with other authors and readers I have returned to the same paradox again and again:

People feel comfortable telling me that F/F is not their thing, but the same people find it offensive when I say that M/F is not mine.

As a writer, I have puzzled over this many times. Certainly, M/F is the majority. In many religions and societies, M/F is the only morally correct mode of living. When I fill out cover art request forms that ask me to describe my “hero and heroine”, I understand this is a case of majority dominance rather than prejudice.

Yet I struggle to explain why things like these matter. When the basic fabric of our lives is built on the assumption that only relationships between men and women need to be acknowledged, how does that limit our perspectives? Our capacity to understand viewpoints that are not of the majority?

Out of this curiosity, I asked myself these questions:

What if LGBT were “normal” and heterosexuality were not?

What if heterosexuality were, in fact, not just abnormal but a crime to be prosecuted and punished by the state government and religion?

What would this world look like? What small changes would be made to protect the state’s mandate of same-sex relationships? What if children were taught, from the time they could first talk, that the state’s religious deity decreed all men should create families with other men, and all women should create families with other women?

What if a college girl, born and bred to be married to another young girl from a powerful family, discovered she had feelings for the male friend she had previously considered a brother?

In Bastia, a series premiering this fall with Becoming Clissine, a girl named Clissa finds out the unspeakable:

She loves a boy.

And her world will never be the same again.