Queer YA Sports Romance Review: Running with Lions by Julian Winters

Running with Lions by Julian Winters

Published by: Duet, the YA imprint of Interlude Press

Format: ePub

Genre: YA/Sports Romance/LGBT+

Order at: Duet Books | Amazon

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: A summer of about a football/soccer captain who doesn’t know he’s a captain falling in love with a star who has no idea he’s a star and the team comprised of friends who sometimes forget how to be friends but all of whom eventually figure it out. And did I mention footie? If you loved Simon but wanted more social awareness, this one’s for you.

Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Guest Post: All the Queer Love Stories by Pene Henson

All the queer love stories

I value queer love stories. I’m here for a femme geek tripping up the stairs when she first sees her hot neighbour. I’m here for a bright-eyed city socialite trapped in a snowbound cabin with a gloriously competent hermit girl. I’m here for a fireman catching his breath to exchange flirty banter with a clothing designer or Olympic diving rivals growing to respect and then love one another. I’m here for a charmer of a non-binary person reconnecting with a love they thought they’d lost. I’m here for a trans guy realising the love he considered unrequited is so very not.  

Like many queer folk with a soft spot for a love story, I grew up on straight romance.

Harry’s romantic New Year’s Eve speech to Sally in When Harry Met Sally is a lesson in knowing someone and loving all of them. The ball players of Love and Basketball share a fierce respect and growing understanding. When Monica tells Quincy “I’ve been in love with you since I was eleven, and the shit won’t go away,” we feel every part of her pain and hope. In You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan’s Kathleen says “I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.” And we wanted it too. Even though we knew it all along.

Jane Austen, my oldest favourite, understands the small details of love and respect. Emma’s Mr. Knightley has known Emma all her life and chokes out “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more”; Captain Wentworth pens a desperately romantic and reverent letter to his long-ago love Anne in Persuasion.

There are thousands on thousands of moments of straight romance. The best of it becomes a benchmark for love in real life.

There’s value in having benchmarks. It’s important to believe that you’re worth the dazzling awe of new love. It’s a sheer joy to experience that stomach-flipping heart-pausing moment when all feelings are laid bare. Even the fluffiest romance can make a person happy, and when time’s been spent on character, when respect is given to reality, then that same fluffy romance can make the whole world better.

It’s not just the romancey side of romance (The kissing part my kid closes his ten-year-old eyes for). Love stories tend to be kind to their characters. The stories are full of tiny human observations about how people think and move and what they do when they’re happy or sad or successful or frustrated.  In them the ordinary becomes beautiful. Any dim view or grey room or commonplace person is suddenly bright and beautiful when a character is in love.  

But it’s tough, because most of these wonderful stories are heterosexual. You can’t just replace Billy Crystal with Cher in your imagination. You can’t just replace Sanaa Lathan with Anthony Mackie. (Though both those movies sound amazing). So many love stories are inherently not queer, and they give us queer folk the idea that we can’t ask for something that magical, or wonderful, or silly, or forever.

There’s sometimes this sense that queerness is just about sex. That queer romance is primarily about exploring sexuality and people’s fantasies. And sure, often that exploration is fabulous and important and for some people just plain hot. There’s value in sex.  

But I also want queer people to have touchstones for romance, to have all the huge sweet speeches, all the stomach twisting moments of new love. I want them to have the meet-cutes, the eyes-catching across a crowded room, the heart-flipping terrifying moments of falling head over heels for someone. I want the depth too, the rich characterisation and the big lives. I want the lonely hearts and the communities of queer folk laughing and living with one another. I want all the queer love stories. (I wish I could write all the queer love stories – But I’m going to have to leave the witty banter to other writers).  

Queer romance is about giving queer characters happiness, giving them a place in the everyday world, giving them communities and dreams, and giving them a happily ever after.

My hope is that queer people can see themselves reflected in that happiness.  That’s why I write queer love stories. They won’t change the world, except in all the ways they will.


About Pene Henson:

Pene Henson has gone from British boarding schools to New York City law firms. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is an intellectual property lawyer and published poet who is deeply immersed in the local LGBTQIA community. She spends her spare time watching sports and gazing at the ocean with her wife and two unexpectedly exceptional sons. She received the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance for her first novelInto the Blue (Interlude Press, 2016) about surfers growing up on the North Shore of Oahu. Storm Season, about two women trapped in a remote Australian cabin, was published in 2017. She had a short story about WNBA players going home for Christmas in If The Fates Allow (Interlude Press, 2017) an anthology of queer holiday stories.

Connect with Pene: www.penehenson.com or @penehenson on twitter.

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Fantasy Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

Roar by Cora Carmack

Published by: Tor Teen

Format: Ebook and Audiobook

Genre: Romance/Fantasy

Order at: Amazon | B&N

Reviewed by: Madison

What to Expect: An unlikely hero, conflicted villains, and a lot of secrets.

Plot:

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

Review:

I stumbled upon this book when looking for an audiobook for a long car ride. Following a week of the flu, this book has become my constant companion. I highly recommend for sick days and long car rides. First and foremost I love our heroine. Aurora is an unlikely heir. She doesn’t show a lick of magic to protect her kingdom and she is forced into hiding by her mother for the fear that someone may find out her secret. She is then arranged to marry with a brooding and dark prince named Cassius from the kingdom of Locke. Don’t get heart eyes on me yet. Carmack does an amazing job at stringing you along to trust this prince and then shatters your heart within the first few chapters. I am one of those readers who will always love the first romantic interest. It’s like I have some loyalty to them. This book was the exception.

Without giving too much away Aurora finds herself in the black market of magic and teams up with a group of magical hunters. What do they hunt? Storms. Aurora cleverly devises a plan to leave with them under the guise of her new identity, Roar. Roar is bold, unafraid, and relatable. The hunters are suspicious of her. This is not a “buddy buddy perfect friendship” kind of book. The relationships are complicated and they should be. Though this is set in a fictional world I found myself relating to a lot of the characters for their human flaws.

What you might not like/doesn’t work for you: There is nothing I truly disliked. If I had to pick one thing I wish when Aurora transitioned to Roar there was a bit more awkwardness to it. Sometimes she felt so strong. She was sheltered for years. There is a description in the book that her servants were changed out so often they only knew what herbs to put in her bath. I think in the beginning when she trusted Cassius that showed this naive girl. But I wish it carried a bit more into that transition. It’s not a huge thing because there were awkward and naive moments throughout.

What you will love: The story is completely original. If you are looking for some high fantasy that you feel like you haven’t read before, this is it!The world the author built was quite lush and dynamic.


Madison is our newest reviewer here at Binge on Books! When not working on her own first novel, she loves reading YA & Fantasy and listening to podcasts.

You can get in touch with her on Twitter: @MPMarkerWrites

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Fantasy Review: The Tree by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun

The Tree by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun

Published by: Night Shade Books

Format: eArc

Genre: Fantasy

Order at: Amazon | B & N | Kobo

Reviewed by: Edwin

What to Expect:  A unique portal fantasy/urban fantasy hybrid with a sprawling, wonderfully diverse cast, an exciting plot, and a remarkable amount of emotional resonance. Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Science Fiction Review: Blood Binds the Pack by Alex Wells

Blood Binds the Pack by Alex Wells

Published by: Angry Robot

Format: eARC

Genre: Science fiction

Order at: Publisher | Amazon | B&N 

Reviewed by: Edwin

What to Expect: Science fiction Wild West biker witches and lesbian unionists fomenting a proletarian revolution against an evil corporation. What’s not to like?

(Note: review contains spoilers for Book 1 of the series, Hunger Makes the Wolf (reviewed here, and some general discussion of plot elements in the first ¼ of this book) Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Countdown to a New Year, December 28: Jude Sierra

Countdown to a New Year, December 28: Jude Sierra

From December 20 through December 31, Binge on Books will be hosting a series of posts each day counting down to the new year. Joined by authors, publishers, and fellow bloggers, this series will focus on takeaways from 2017 and what we can look forward to in 2018. Think the biggest, longest, most book-filled reflection of the past year and the hopes and dreams for the new one all wrapped into one: that’s Binge on Books’ Countdown to a New Year. Come see what your favorite members of the book world have to say about the past year and what’s up next for them in the year to come!

**Plus every day in the countdown will feature prize packs of ARCs and book giveaways plus a final BIG giveaway of a Kindle Fire! Enter every day for a chance to win!**

When I reflect on 2017, it’s hard not to think of all of the things that have been weighing on us. As a country. As a community. In my life, as an educator and as a mother. Of the number of times I have cried and thought, how am I going to raise children in this world?

Do I want to walk into 2018 with these fears and worries? In a perfect world, I could blithely say I’d let them go. But I doubt the world will do the same just because an arbitrary date passes on a calendar. I many ways, I think we’re walking into harder days. And yet, in this struggle, there is tremendous potential.

The truth is that the only thing in my life I can control is me. My actions. My responses, my capacity to give love, understanding, understanding, and faith. Not my faith in a god or religion, but in people. In goodness, in strength and resilience, in the will to overcome.

Many of these things are moments that come from wellness practice in my own life. Every moment of my life – particularly a year such as this, with the additional strain of finishing my Masters and going right into a PhD – is geared toward making sure I am doing my best to manage my mental illness. To be successful, a good mother, a writer and student, a teacher and a human all at once.

I don’t know how much of a true or lasting impact I can have within our LGBT romance community – I write slow like a turtle, so I’m off and on people’s radars. But I am there from time to time, and I have a voice. I’ve spent this year crafting a story from my heart. I wrote A Tiny Piece of Something Greater while writing my thesis. I wrote a character, Reid, who lives with the same mental illness I do (cyclothemia). I wrote a story about a boy overcoming, managing, falling in love, and surviving. Learning through mistakes and missteps to thrive. I wrote things in that book that were so honest they cracked me open – I cried through the whole process of writing this book. I had anxiety attacks. I couldn’t sleep. I slept like a baby because of the catharsis. I wrote a beautiful story about resilience and spent a year practicing (or trying) to practice Reid’s fight and success. Not just because I was writing it, but because the world today calls for it.

2017 has been a really good year for *finally* seeing good MI representation in books. There’s been some fantastic #ownvoices stuff, but also, authors without mental illness doing their research. Getting sensitivity readers. Asking questions. And so importantly, not using MI as a plot device to move something else forward without understanding what our lives and struggles are. I am not a plot device. And while A Tiny Piece of Something Greater won’t be out until May of 2018, I think that there are takeaways from writing that book and getting ready to share it that dovetail with so much else happening this year that I’m going to pack up in little boxes and take with me. That I hope we can all take together.

We are resilient.

We are fighters.

We have experienced success.

We’re fighting through missteps.

We are waking up.

We are awake.


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


Enter to win one of 3 prize packs of books! 

Prize Pack #10:

The Thousandth Floor and The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

Prize Pack #11:

Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Ringer by Lauren Oliver

 Prize Pack #12:

Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

Nothing by Annie Barrows

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston

Enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter the other 12 giveaways featuring swag, ARCs, and Final copies of books by your favorites!

Prize Packs 1 – 3: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0341/

Prize Packs 4 – 6: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0342/

Prize Packs 7 – 9: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0343/

Grand Prize: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0345/


Please follow and like us:
1k+

Countdown to a New Year, December 23: Sheena, Owner of The Lesbian Review

Countdown to a New Year, December 23: Sheena, Owner of The Lesbian Review

From December 20 through December 31, Binge on Books will be hosting a series of posts each day counting down to the new year. Joined by authors, publishers, and fellow bloggers, this series will focus on takeaways from 2017 and what we can look forward to in 2018. Think the biggest, longest, most book-filled reflection of the past year and the hopes and dreams for the new one all wrapped into one: that’s Binge on Books’ Countdown to a New Year. Come see what your favorite members of the book world have to say about the past year and what’s up next for them in the year to come!

**Plus every day in the countdown will feature prize packs of ARCs and book giveaways plus a final BIG giveaway of a Kindle Fire! Enter every day for a chance to win!**

5 Great Things That Happened In Lesbian Fiction In 2017

This year has been a year of many things for the globe, some really scary, which is why I was totally ecstatic about these 5 great things that happened in lesbian fiction.

1. Diversity

For the first time, we are seeing authors and publishers actively looking for diversity in their lesbian fiction. Readers are calling for increased representation for women of colour, differently abled women, bisexual women and asexual women.

And while these books are not selling as well as the traditional white, lesbian leading lady does, I strongly believe that it will as the audience comes to recognise that diversity is the best thing that could happen to the sector.

The reason I say this is because with diversity comes a range of stories that you just cannot tell with white lesbian leading ladies. And diversity will ultimately crack open a whole host of exciting prospects for the sector.

2. Audiobooks

I believe that audiobooks are going to be huge. They are a convenient way for consumers to get their fiction fix while keeping busy with the 101 things that occupy our days.

To see the lesbian fiction section of Audible grow the way it has in the last year makes me a very happy woman.

3. Rise of The Incidental Lesbian

I coined the term incidental lesbian to describe a main character in fiction who just happens to be a lesbian.

Incidental lesbians occur in stories that do not depend on the main character being a lesbian, such as a thriller or mystery. Romance is an example of a story that does depend on her being a lesbian because if she weren’t she could not fall in love with the other lesbian, but solving a case does not rely on her sexuality.

There is a definite increase in the incidental lesbian and I hope to see that even more in the coming years. The more we see this kind of character the more chances that the story can hop across to mainstream fiction. And, let’s face it, we need way more incidental lesbians in the mainstream fiction world. But then again, my viewpoint is always that the world needs more lesbians.

4. Marketing Glory

A surprising but important occurrence in lesbian fiction has been an increase in authors taking a stab at promoting their books. We have had an increase in authors reaching out to us for reviews, there has been an increase in the number of authors promoting their work on social media and newsletters.

There have also been a handful of authors who are actively creating promotional platforms for the lesbian fiction sector.

I am thrilled.

Lesbian fiction is tiny in comparison to mainstream fiction and while the market is smaller, it is not nearly the size it should be relative to the amount of lesbians who read.

The problem is that so many lesbians have no idea that world class fiction representing them is just a mouse click away. The increase in marketing means that more women will discover this wonderful sector.

5. Fresh New Blood

Lesbian fiction was a little bit like a musty old attic for a while with a handful of big names putting out regular books, a couple of publishing houses doing their thing and a lot of mediocre rubbish making it onto the circuit.

Over the last couple of years we have seen a major dusting out as exciting new authors, new publishing houses and new voices push the sector to become better.

I can barely contain my excitement because this wave of fresh new blood in the industry has meant that world class books are being published.

To see such brilliance emerging from the tiny sphere of lesbian fiction is a most exciting thing for an avid reader like myself.

So, while the world is on the brink of massive change, I am sitting with my head buried in my kindle and wondering if it is even possible for the books of 2018 to be anywhere near as good as the books of 2017 were. And then I remember that I wondered that at the end of 2016 and was pleasantly surprised.


About Sheena: Sheena’s first love (other than her wife) is reading lesbian fiction, so in 2014 she started www.TheLesbianReview.com as a way to share books she loved. Little did she know it would turn into the largest review website in the sector, nor did she have an inkling that she would also start www.TheLesbianTalkShow.com a podcast channel with a variety of women focused shows including a couple of her own podcasts.

You can find The Lesbian Talk Show on iTunes, Podbean or Stitcher.

You can find The Lesbian Review on Facebook and Twitter.

Sheena is active on both platforms and you can also email her.


Enter to win one of 3 prize packs of books! 

Prize Pack #4:

Sparrow by Sarah Moon

Three Sides of A Heart anthology 

Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi

Prize Pack 5:

Meet Cute Anthology

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

All We Can Do is Wait by Richard Lawson

Prize Pack #6:

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

People Like Us by Dana Mele

Enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter the other 12 giveaways featuring swag, ARCs, and Final copies of books by your favorites!

Prize Packs 1 – 3: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0341/

Prize Packs 7 – 9: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0343/

Prize Packs 10 – 12: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0344/

Grand Prize: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0345/


Please follow and like us:
1k+

Countdown to a New Year, December 22: CB Lee

Countdown to a New Year, December 22: CB Lee

From December 20 through December 31, Binge on Books will be hosting a series of posts each day counting down to the new year. Joined by authors, publishers, and fellow bloggers, this series will focus on takeaways from 2017 and what we can look forward to in 2018. Think the biggest, longest, most book-filled reflection of the past year and the hopes and dreams for the new one all wrapped into one: that’s Binge on Books’ Countdown to a New Year. Come see what your favorite members of the book world have to say about the past year and what’s up next for them in the year to come!

**Plus every day in the countdown will feature prize packs of ARCs and book giveaways plus a final BIG giveaway of a Kindle Fire! Enter every day for a chance to win!**

2017 seems to at once have passed by in the blink of an eye and also to have dragged on, day by day, at a snail’s pace. Much of this is due to how I’ve woken up each morning to some new horror enacted by those in power and the fear that everyday, things are getting worse.

And yet this year I also saw everyday people who spoke out against injustice, people who took comfort in each other and what brings them joy, people who encouraged others to take care of themselves, people who looked after one another.

The book community is an amazing one– readers and writers and bloggers and people in publishing and people creating endlessly and the feeling of excitement and support and hope for things to get better– in publishing and in our world at large. It is in books and in this community that has gotten me through 2017 and gives me strength for 2018 and beyond.

A few things that helped me this year and I hope helps you:

Do something everyday that brings you joy. Whether it’s eating your favorite candy or rereading a favorite book, or even sitting and doing nothing for awhile. For the longest time I would always guilt myself about how little I’d gotten done that day, or how behind I am in my work or that I don’t need this extra piece of chocolate. I would also feel guilty about celebrating any achievements or accomplishments, especially in this year of bleak news, but it is so easy to get burnt out in the day-to-day barrage of calling reps and trying to navigate the day that celebrating any joy and sharing it can brighten not just your day, but a friend or a stranger’s.  I love seeing moments of joy in others, too, and definitely seeing amazing book news for friends have brightened my day so many times this year.

You don’t have to do it alone. One of the hardest things to do is to ask for help. For me, I know I am that worst at this, because I always thought it was a mark of personal failure if you didn’t know how to do something or couldn’t figure it out on your own. But whatever endeavor you’re going through, whether it’s writing a book or trying to tell a friend something important, asking someone for help or even just chatting about what you’re going through can be a huge support.

Turn mountains into molehills. One of the biggest things I learned while writing novels is that setting out to do one can be a huge, daunting task. “Just write a book,” I’ll tell myself, and it seems like this massive undertaking– and it is. But setting a huge goal like that can make it difficult to even start; what I’ve learned is that setting small goals like “write a romantic scene” or “write a discovery scene” or “let’s do some backstory on Emma here” are tasks that are bite-size and a clear sense of when you’ve accomplished them.  

Wishing you all the best in 2018!


CB Lee is a hiking enthusiast and the author of Not Your Sidekick and Not Your Villain. She likes cozy socks and you can find her on twitter at @author_cblee, Instagram at @cblee_cblee or visit her at http://cb-lee.com.


Enter to win one of 3 prize packs of books! 

Prize Pack #4:

Sparrow by Sarah Moon

Three Sides of A Heart anthology 

Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi

Prize Pack 5:

Meet Cute Anthology

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

All We Can Do is Wait by Richard Lawson

Prize Pack #6:

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

People Like Us by Dana Mele

Enter now!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Queer YA Mystery Review: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Format: mobi

Genre: Queer YA Mystery

Order at: Amazon | B&N | Publisher

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: Read this book for the own-voices insight a not-yet-out teenage boy gains as he navigates the deception his girlfriend and best friend created while trying to protect the status quo.  Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

The Romance of Fan Fiction, part 4 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 4

Why Fanfiction:

As I wrap up this blog series, I find that I could say so many more things about what a gift fanfiction and fan communities are and have been for me. Let’s be honest, that’s basically what I’ve done this past month: write a long winded love letter to the practice, but also in a way, to the authors whose work I love and who too have loved what fanfiction has given them.

When I interviewed authors, my final question was this: if you could tell the world one positive thing about fanfiction or fanfiction communities, what would it be? Community, friendship, learning experiences, cultural importance: these were just some of the answers I received.

Co-writers Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick, themselves authors of fanfiction, described other fan authors as, “incredibly dedicated. They spend hours and hours creating new stories, verses and series, for an audience that doesn’t even know their real names, let alone pay for their work.” This dedication and love for work and fictional worlds is what led Tom and Jen to their write own original fiction: one of the main characters in their soon to be released novel, Snowsisters, writes fanfiction and is active in online communities. Their example, and that of authors who described the doors opened to them through fanfiction, shows this – that fanfiction offers a world of opportunity and inspiration and future potential.

I’ll be honest and say that one of my favorite responses to my final question came from Racheline Maltese (Love in Los Angeles series, Tremontaine). “People who like stuff hang out and talk about it. I feel like that’s a really minor, bland statement, but that’s sort of my point. It’s like any other hobby, sometimes it’s where you meet your best friends.” In this series of blog posts, there were so many threads I could have explored; so many lovely things each author shared. At the end of the day, however, one of the most important things I’d love to see would be readers of this series walked away with this: it doesn’t always have to be complicated. Yes, sometimes it is complex. But it’s also just fun.

Writing fanfiction is often a breath of fresh air. It’s enjoyable and it’s a rollercoaster. It’s a unique experience shared with other people who just love a thing as much as you do. It’s filled with laughter and tears. I once wrote a story so filled with cute banter I woke my husband up laughing. For those of us in the Glee community, losing Corey Monteith was a tremendous blow. Writing about Finn was cathartic, it was healing, and it helped us feel like we weren’t alone. Writing fanfiction provides us with an outlet to love and remember a thing together, whether in joy, sorrow, and the millions of nuanced human experiences and emotions in between.

For many of us fanfiction has allowed us to see or place ourselves – our othered selves – within stories that often exclude us. For Taylor Brooke (Fortitude Smashed), fandom was a place to create a self-affirming, inclusive narrative. “I wanted to see more of the characters in certain fandom worlds and more importantly, I wanted to see them Queer. I wrote stories where characters were out and proud… because I was desperate to find myself in media.” So many of us want our queer bodies, our colored bodies, our real selves to be reflected in the world and in media. Fanfiction is a space where we get to do that.

There is often a practice of justification many of us fanfiction authors feel we must participate in in order to be taken seriously. I want to shelve that and redirect to the best of this world. The final message from authors interviewed then: here we learned to write. Here we had fun. Here we learned how to put ourselves into conversations that have marginalized or excluded us, giving ourselves affirming stories, love stories, queer and erotic stories – and with them, lifelong friendships and communities of love and support.

Personally, fanfiction and fandom have meant the absolute world to me. Without them I would never have this platform to even share these stories. I wouldn’t be published. More importantly, there would be huge parts of myself (my sexuality, my desire to connect with community stories and narratives, my intense love of fictional stories and characters) I would not understand. But whether big or small, lighthearted and simple or deeply personal, writing fanfiction has been life changing. I wouldn’t change a thing.


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


Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick are two friends who started a conversation in high school and years later are still talking. Together they write LGBTQIAP+ YA fiction, and blog about LGBTQAIP+ books at neverhaveieverbooks (@nhiebooks). Their upcoming novel, Snowsisters, will be coming in February of 2018.


Racheline Maltese is a hybrid author who has published in non-fiction, fanfiction and with various small, medium and big five presses. She has published several novels, novelas and short stories with fellow fan author Erin McRae. Their most recent work is the award winning A Queen from The North. They can be found at www.Avian30.com.


Taylor Brooke if a former special effects makeup professional and the author of the Camelia Clock series the first of which, Fortitude Smashed was published in 2017. The sequel, Curved Horizon will be released in March of 2018.


 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Please follow and like us:
1k+