The Romance of Fan Fiction, part 2 by Jude Sierra

Hello all! Happiest of Novembers to everyone. This month we wanted to welcome Jude Sierra for two exciting reasons: first for a very first look at her upcoming novel and second, for a four part series she wrote for Binge On Books. Jude will be spending the month of November discussing the intersections between some of her favorite things: fanfiction, romance novels, and authors you know who play in both sandboxes! Jude will be talking with some of your favorite romance authors throughout the month about their fanfiction to original fiction publication stories and just how important fan communities have been to them.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, there’s one more order of business. It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a new novel by Jude, and we’re excited to announce the details of her upcoming novel, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater.

Blurb: Reid Watsford has struggled with his cyclothemia his whole life. When his grandmother offers him a place to stay at her condo in Key Largo, he decides to leave Wisconsin, his ex, and his family to try to make a fresh start. There he meets Joaquim, a Brazilian wanderer who came to the US looking for adventure, and ended up an intern at the Key Largo Dive Shop. When Reid signs up for his introductory dive classes, it seems an adventure has come to Joaquim—but Reid has a lot of secrets, and a past he can’t quite escape. As their relationship deepens, so do Reid’s complications, something they both must learn to navigate—on their own and with each other.

Coming from Interlude Press on May 17th, 2018. 


The Romance of Fanfiction, part 2 by Jude Sierra

Whether it is lore, or underground knowledge; a passing references those of us who have been there and done that will get – many of us recognize our own. When it comes to the ties between fanfiction authors and romance novelists, truthfully, I just thought everyone knew. The whole thing was rather normalized by dialogue within fan communities. I come from an independent publisher (Interlude Press) whose roots were in fandom and who branched out from there. I mention this because Interlude, like many others, recognized the quality and depth of writing and artistry in fan works.

It’s that artistry I really want to focus on here. Whether it’s in the community feedback or in sheer opportunity to write (a lot!) there’s a level skill building for authors that creates transitional opportunities and maturity when moving from one space (fanfiction) to another (published fiction). Every author I spoke to for this article touched on this. For example, Avon Gale (Scoring Chances) described the ways in which fandom taught her to write characters: “When you’re constrained by someone else’s character you really put a lot of thought into every little thing your character does, from actions to voice…inner dialogue, you name it.” Much like Avon, I found that the practice of trying to fit my own stories to existing characters was an instrumental piece of learning how craft.

Fanfiction allows writers to stretch given information in unique new directions. How can we take a high school kid and put him in a world where people have wings? How can we make that a story about how the divisions between those with wings and those without represents class hierarchy, restricts or allows for access to resources, speaks to how social constructs affect our everyday lives…and want readers to care? (Yes, this is a thing I tried to do, thanks Glee!) Fanfiction authors ask devoted fans to take their internal concept and love for a character, plot or story into a voyage that amounts to an incredible leap of faith. To do so, authors have to be able to ground this crazy voyage in something fundamental. I particularly enjoyed fanfiction crafting when the stories that we are given create contradictory moments – how can we stitch together pieces that make no sense or actively contradict each other and make the reader believe them? (I’m looking at you Marvel)

When I spoke with Suzey Ingold (Speakeasy), something that jumped out at me was this – the idea that having characters given to you doesn’t provide a “shortcut”; similarly, having a plot already provided won’t either. Like some of the authors I spoke to (E.M. Ben Shaul, Amy Stilgenbauer, Racheline Maltese), Ingold had experience writing prior to coming to fandom – in her case, in theater and for the screen – but didn’t believe in her ability to write descriptive prose or narrative. Writing fanfiction not only helped her realize she could, but gave her the space to practice and hone those skills. When E.M. Ben Shaul (Flying Without a Net) described her journey from a day job as a technical writer at a software company to published author, fanfiction also came before original fiction: “I started writing fan fiction because…I realized at one point that I had forgotten how to write anything other than short, declarative, action-verb sentences; bulleted lists, and numbered steps. I had forgotten how to write dialogue that sounds like how real people talk.” Importantly, it was in writing fanfiction and skill building – and passion for writing and character – that the main characters for her novel came to her.

For many authors of both fan and published works, the genesis of an original character can be traced to initial interest in writing something in fanfiction. Often, the thing we want to write just doesn’t fit. Loving a story or a unique take on a character enough to see it through – outside of what often becomes a lovey comfort zone with existing readership – is a testament, in my opinion, to craft. Knowing when you’ve stretched something as far as it can go; recognizing when a character demands a unique world and voice; believing in a story enough to take a risk – these are skills we’ve learn through careful attention to character as well as story and world building.


Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother who  began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”. Jude began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007. In 2011Jude was introduced to the Glee fan community began writing fanfiction, where her stories garnered thousands of readers.

Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews.  Her novels include Hush,  What it Takes,  and Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her upcoming novel, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater will be available in May of 2018.

Social Media Links: Website Twitter Goodreads Facebook


E.M. Ben Shaul is the author of Flying Without a Net, which was published in 2016 by Interlude Press. 

Suzey Ingold is the author of The Willow Weeps for Us, part of the Summer Love Anthology, Speakeasy (Interlude Press), and An Open Letter to the Men that Frighten Me, part of Issue 2 F Word (404 Ink)

Avon Gale is the author of the Scoring Chances series as well as numerous published novels and novellas. She is also co-writing the Hat Trick series with Piper Vaughn and co-wrote Heart of the Steal with Roan Parrish. 


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Author Chat with Binge on Books: Holly Black

Hello and welcome to Author Chat, an intimate and light-hearted books inspired podcast with Judith from Binge on Books interviewing your favorite authors!

Who’s on deck today? HOLLY BLACK!

Yes, that Holly Black. Author of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Darkest Part of the Forest, The Magesterium Series with Cassandra Clare, The Spiderwick Chronicles with Tony DiTerlizzi, and up next, The Cruel Prince

She joins Judith to chat all things books, co-writing, what she does when she’s not writing, and teases from upcoming projects!



Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her upcoming new fantasy series starting with Cruel Prince. She has been a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

Connect with Holly: Website | Twitter

Get the books from the podcast:

Ellen Kushner‘s Swordpoint

N.K. Jemison‘s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Nancy Collins‘ Sunglasses After Dark

Poppy Z. Brite‘s Lost Souls

Anne Rice‘s Interview with the Vampire

KJ Charles’ Charm of Magpies series

Roan Parrish’s In the Middle of Somewhere series

Amy Jo Cousins’ Bend or Break series


Judith is the curator of Binge on Books as well as a columnist for Teen Vogue and USA Today. You can hear more of her in Author Chat  and What’s On My Kindle? as well as her reviews on the site.

Get in touch with her on Twitter or send her an email (she loves email!) at judith@bingeonbooks.com.


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Authors in Audio: The Personality Test

Hello! And welcome back to Authors in Audio, a podcast special at Binge on Books which features authors Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali answering reader questions in audio! Today these two are doing something…a bit different!

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As Santino let me know: “instead of doing reader questions we gave each other personality tests about our love lives and sex lives based on symbols. It’s LONG.”

So sit back, relax, and get ready to test your personality along with Santino and Karen… Read More

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Authors in Audio: Karen Stivali and Santino Hassell talk books + holiday stuff

 

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Hello! And welcome back to Authors in Audio, a podcast special at Binge on Books which features authors Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali answering reader questions in audio! Today these two are talking first dirty books and things they’ve experienced that should be made into books plus holiday bonus rounds!
***Week 6 Caveat: the authors had a great deal of technical difficulty in recording this podcast and that accounts for the disjointed and uneven sound quality.***

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Authors in Audio on 11/28: Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali talk (more) sex!

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Hello! And welcome back to Authors in Audio, a podcast special at Binge on Books which features authors Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali answering reader questions in audio! You asked and they answered and through the end of the year, this new series of Authors in Audio will captivate you.
Today they’re focusing on…more sex! As Santino described it to me: “This one has sex related questions (whether we have to be in a certain mood to write a sex scene, dirtiest questions we’ve been asked, if we can write sex scenes in public, etc)”.

Read More

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Authors in Audio on 11/1: Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali talk sex!

Hello! And welcome back to Authors in Audio, a podcast special at Binge on Books which features authors Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali answering reader questions in audio! You asked and they answered and through the end of the year, this new series of Authors in Audio will captivate you!

Today’s theme: SEX and it covers questions about everything from positions to lube.

So sit back, relax, and get ready for Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali in…Authors in Audio, 2016 Week 3!


 

 


author photo Karen Stivali 2015

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.

Connect with Karen in all the places: 

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Website

Pinterest  |  Goodreads

You can hear Karen and writing pal, Santino Hassell, in audio in earlier recordings of their podcast series, Authors in Audio!


Santino Hassell

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino: 

Web | Facebook | Twitter

Patreon | Goodreads | Amazon

You can hear Santino and writing pal, Karen Stivali, in audio in earlier recordings of their podcast series, Authors in Audio!


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Authors in Audio on 10/17: Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali talk it all!

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Hello! And welcome back to Authors in Audio, a podcast special at Binge on Books which features authors Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali answering reader questions in audio! You asked and they answered and through the end of the year, this new series of Authors in Audio will captivate you!

So sit back, relax, and get ready for Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali in…Authors in Audio, 2016 Week 2!



author photo Karen Stivali 2015

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.

Connect with Karen in all the places: 

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Website

Pinterest  |  Goodreads

You can hear Karen and writing pal, Santino Hassell, in audio in earlier recordings of their podcast series, Authors in Audio!


Santino Hassell

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino: 

Web | Facebook | Twitter

Patreon | Goodreads | Amazon

You can hear Santino and writing pal, Karen Stivali, in audio in earlier recordings of their podcast series, Authors in Audio!


 

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Author Chat with Binge on Books: Sarah J. Maas, Part 2

author chat 2Hello and welcome to Author Chat, an intimate and light-hearted books inspired podcast with Judith from Binge on Books interviewing your favorite authors!

Who’s up today, you ask? That’s right! You guessed it! It’s Sarah J. Maas in Part 2 of our 2-part podcast!

Sarah stopped by Binge on Books to talk favorite books, her writing, upcoming projects, who she’d most love to write a book with, what’s going on with the next ACOTAR book (yes!) and so much more! It was so much in fact, Author Chat with Sarah J. Maas will be a 2-part series. Part 1 features Sarah talking her publishing journey and giving us some hilarious answers to a down and dirty lightning round Q&A. Take a listen to it here. Part 2 features more in depth reader questions and runs the gamut of what’s going on in her world (and yes, she talks Catwoman, ACOTAR, what historical novels you need to read, and so much more!).

So sit back, relax, and get ready for: Author Chat with Binge on Books featuring Sarah J. Maas, Part 2!


 


 

No time to listen but want to read what Sarah’s reading? Here are some highlights of things we discussed:

Top 3 Authors

Sharon Shinn

Melina Marchetta

Tamora Pierce

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Books She Loves:

Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series

C.S. Pacat’s Captive Prince Series

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Books/Writers We Convinced Each Other to Buy:

Historical romance writer, Sarah MacLean – her Scotsmen are to die for!

Historical romance writer, Meredith Duran – Duke of Shadows is a must!

Romance writer, Sherry Thomas – Lady Sherlock Holmes series. No need to say more!

…AND SO MANY MORE! Listen in for all the great reads!

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sjm2Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as a USA Today and international bestselling author. Sarah wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in thirty-five languages. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass novel, will release on September 6th, 2016.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Get in touch with Sarah via Twitter or her website!

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Judith is the curator of Binge on Books as well as an upcoming contributor to USA Today and past Publicity Manager for Queer Romance Month. You can hear more of her in Author Chat  andWhat’s On My Kindle? as well as her reviews on the site.

Get in touch with her on Twitter or send her an email (she loves email!) at judith@bingeonbooks.com.

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Authors in Audio on 10/3: Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali are back!

karen-and-santino-a-in-a-for-b-on-b-long-versionHello! And welcome back to Authors in Audio, a podcast special at Binge on Books which features authors Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali answering reader questions in audio! You asked and they answered and through the end of the year, this new series of Authors in Audio will captivate you!

It’s just as zany, just as hilarious, just as real as the first go-round. So sit back, relax, and get ready for Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali in…Authors in Audio, 2016 Week 1!



 

Santino HassellSantino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino: 

Web | Facebook | Twitter

Patreon | Goodreads | Amazon

You can hear Santino and writing pal, Karen Stivali, in audio in the first podcast series of Authors in Audio!


author photo Karen Stivali 2015

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.

Connect with Karen in all the places: 

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Website

Pinterest  |  Goodreads

You can hear Karen and writing pal, Santino Hassell, in audio in the first podcast series of Authors in Audio!


 

 

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Hockey Double Shot: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen and Empty Net by Avon Gale

Hey guys, it’s almost hockey season! I say that with excitement, despite the fact that I’m a Bruins fan and they’re probably going to be terrible this year. Sigh. Anyway, if you just can’t wait until October, or if you just like a good sports romance for the romance, not the sport, here are two hockey romances you can read now!

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rookie moveRookie Move by Sarina Bowen

This book features Leo Trevi, a pro hockey players with the Brooklyn Bruisers, and his high school girlfriend Georgia. They were each other’s’ first love, and nobody else has measured up since. Leo is traded to the Bruisers, where he has to come face to face with Georgia (and her father, the coach, who hates Leo’s guts) and all they left behind. Georgia is dealing with trying to keep up after a new promotion and doesn’t have time to be distracted by the long-lost love of her life.

One thing I found refreshing about this book is that, while the event that pulls Leo and Georgia apart is her rape in senior year of high school, the rape itself is never described. The aftermath of Georgia’s assault has echoed through both of their lives, but it’s never dramatized or treated as the only defining event in her life. It’s a choice you don’t often see, and I appreciated the choice the author made.

As always, Bowen does a fantastic job weaving in hockey details with the romance. I also really liked that, even though this was a workplace romance, both Leo and Georgia take their jobs very seriously. They both come to the decision individually that their jobs are more important than the romance, and that never really wavers. They both take pride in their work and are ambitious — there is never the sense that her job is less important than his because she works in PR rather than being on the ice, and her personal ambitions are central to the plot. (I loved the Mark Zuckerberg-like character who owns the team, and I really hope he gets his own book.)

This was a really hard book for me to review. Sarina Bowen is an author who knows how to hit my id hard with tropes and relationships I love. She writes interesting, vibrant characters who have complicated histories, and she should be a  very uncomplicated auto-buy for me. That said, she takes a weird turn into misogyny in almost every book. It’s usually brief, but it’s like, “gorgeous ride, beautiful scenery, CAR CRASH, ok, back on the road, gorgeous ride, beautiful scenery..” She has written an incredibly powerful book about slut-shaming (The Shameless Hour) and then, in other books, she has female characters roll their eyes at other female characters for being shallow or “puck bunnies.” There’s always a moment where the heroine is “not like those other girls” and it really grates.

I think it grates so much because I otherwise love her damn books. I know that when I pick up a Sarina Bowen book, I won’t be able to put it down until it’s done. I know that she’ll have characters that feel full and real. I just wish she would never write anyone’s ex-girlfriend ever again.

divider-horizon-lineempty_net_final-1Empty Net by Avon Gale

Avon Gale’s Scoring Chances series shows a different side of professional hockey: the less-glamorous, lower-paying minor hockey world of the ECHL. The first three books can be read as standalones, but Empty Net doesn’t make nearly as much sense if you haven’t read the third book (Power Play) as it continues pretty directly from the end of that.

This book is all about the drama! Like Sarina Bowen’s book, I couldn’t put it down once I started. However, I definitely think this is going to be the kind of book people will either love or hate. It’s very much a soap opera, with enemies-to-lovers, eating disorders and abusive parents and a hero with a past as a prostitute. Oh, and did I mention that one of the heroes is a virgin? This book is packed with so many tropes, it’s bound to be somebody’s catnip.

The things I loved about this book: good hockey and good therapy. Gale does a great job writing the game, showing a side of pro sports that’s rarely depicted anywhere…the life of struggling minor-league player. She also does a terrific job writing Laurent’s therapist and depicts therapy sessions fairly realistically. Therapy done badly is a huge pet peeve of mine.

The relationship is sweet and mutually supportive, but the book is ultimately all about Laurent and his journey, discovering his sexuality, (he’s demisexual and a virgin) gettiIfng healthy, and freeing himself from his father. Gale’s books deal with difficult subjects but somehow always feel safe, in the way where you know everything is going to be all good at the end.

If you’re in the mood for deep dive into the trope deep end, this is an excellently-written book for you.

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ErinErin is a full time contributor to Binge on Books. She is a voracious reader and reviewer who has been been reading romances since she stole them from under her neighbor’s mom’s bed while she was at work. You can read all her reviews here.

Connect with Erin on Twitter: @booksandjoe

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