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.


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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.


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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

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Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

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People Like Us by Dana Mele

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Countdown to a New Year, December 21: Candysse Miller, Publisher at Interlude Press

Countdown to a New Year, December 21: Candysse Miller, Publisher at Interlude Press

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!**

LOOKING FORWARD: 2018 AT INTERLUDE PRESS

It’s that time of year when people take stock of their lives. Do we need change as we start a new year? Is it time for a resolution? Maybe we just need to make a list of goals, benchmarks for a new season. In that spirit, we thought we’d spill some details about what’s around the bend for the first half of 2018 at Interlude Press.

For those of you who don’t know us yet, IP is a small press dedicated to publishing top quality fiction featuring main characters that identify as LGBTQIA. We’re a young company, and we like to approach our work from unconventional angles.

As we look forward to the six months leading up to our anniversary, we see a publication calendar that balances new voices, old favorites, and a lot of great fiction.

2018 begins with a final nod to a series that began as a fandom phenomenon: Zane Riley’s Go Your Own Way. The first two installments of this series (Go Your Own Way and With or Without You) originated as enormously popular fanworks that Zane rewrote from the ground-up for his books. When It’s Time is the final coda of the new adult love story of Lennox, a tough and brash kid whose life takes an unexpected turn after he meets and falls for high school baseball player Will.  

Valentine’s week will mark the debut for the writing team of Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sterick with Snowsisters from our YA imprint Duet Books. A story of friendship, love and coming of age set in a week-long writers’ camp for girls, Snowsisters is being hailed as “a wonderful, important debut” by a New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult (Small Great Things) and “thoroughly satisfying” by Kirkus Reviews.

In March, we’ll be revisiting Taylor Brooke’s soulmate contemporary romance Camellia Clock Cycle series with Curved Horizonin which the women from Brooke’s IP debut, Fortitude Smashed meet their soulmates and the original couple’s relationship is put to the test.

March also features the return of Michelle Osgood with Moon Illusion, the third installment in her popular shifter series, The Better to Kiss You With. In Moon Illusion, she concentrates on Nathan and Cole, who must juggle a fracture in their relationship with a mysterious death.

In April, award-winning adult and YA author Mia Kerick joins IP with The Weekend Bucket List from Duet Books. Determined to experience the wild side of teenage life, high school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy set out to check off items on their bucket list in the 48 hours before graduation. When dropout Eli Stanley joins them, they all face new questions about love and friendship.

Jude Sierra follows up her Kirkus Reviews best-of-2016 nod for Idlewild in May with A Tiny Piece of Something Greater. After moving to Key Largo to make a fresh start, Reid Watsford meets Joaquim, a dive shop intern looking for adventure. As their relationship develops, they both must learn how to navigate Reid’s secrets, and a past he can’t quite escape.

And in the final stretch leading up to our fourth anniversary, we will feature books from authors both new and familiar. The month starts with Julian Winters’ YA debut,  Running With Lions. Set in the world of high school soccer, it is the story of how a star goalie must reconcile with an estranged childhood friend for the good of the team, only to find that there is more to his former friend than soccer skills.

Finally, we will celebrate our fourth anniversary in late June with one of our original launch authors. Amazon bestseller Lilah Suzanne returns with Jilted, a romantic comedy about two men left at the alter when their respective exes run off together, and whether taking a fake honeymoon together can result in a second chance at love.

There’s plenty more to look forward to in 2018! Follow us @InterludePress as we reveal covers and announce summer and fall titles.


Candysse Miller, Director of Marketing & Communications at Interlude Press, is a former journalist and media industry veteran, guiding communications programs that have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, and every major U.S. television network. She is a native of Los Angeles and bleeds Dodger Blue.

Learn more about her and Interlude press at: www.interludepress.com.


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My Brother’s Husband by Genoroh Tagame

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Countdown to a New Year, December 20: Megan Erickson

Countdown to a New Year, December 20: Megan Erickson

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!**

Goals (not resolutions!) for 2018

I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, mainly because it feels so…set in stone. The definition of resolution is the firm decision to do or not do something. And as soon as someone tells me to do something or not to do something, I balk. Because I’m immature. To me a resolution is like lobbing a life preserver into the sea and asking me to swim to it. If I don’t make it, I drown. Since I hate swimming, this is altogether a terrible and daunting thing.

Goals on the other hand—are much less intimidating. Rather than asking me to swim or I drown, goals are like little life preservers on the way to dry land where I can rest before moving on. To me, success is 75% mentality, so even the act of giving myself goals rather than resolutions is a huge help.

So, with that said, I figured I’d lay out some goals I have for 2018. It’s a little scary because now you all are reading these and will know if I fail, but oh well. Maybe I just rested longer on a life preserver than I was supposed to. I’ll make it to land eventually!

1) Be more active. This job is so sedentary. I sit in my bed, or at my desk, or on the couch and write. Sometimes I mix it up and go to Starbucks. But either way, I’m on my butt and I’m not moving. It’s not healthy. This Christmas, my husband and I are treating ourselves to a treadmill, so that’s going to be step one in taking better care of myself. Step two is finally making those doctor appointments I’ve been putting off. Baby steps!

2) Slow down. These past couple of years, I set myself up with back-to-back deadlines. At first, I loved it. But by mid-year in 2017, I was burnt out. I’ve been taking time off now and my mental health is so much better for it. So I’m making sure I don’t schedule myself out of a happy life in the future.

3) Get back to enjoying promotion. I used to love to promote my books! It was one of my favorite things. Lately, it’s felt like a chore. So my goal for 2018 is to get back to enjoying it. Treat every book differently and come up with a unique way to promote it rather than fall back on the same thing over and over. First up is Zero Hour, which releases the end of January, and is about a team of hackers. I’m going to do a live-tweet re-watch of the movie Hackers, because that movie is ridiculously fun. There’s no way that will feel like a chore.

4) Clean my house. Honestly my house is a disaster because I’m a disaster. I need to get it organized so that my brain feels clearer. I’m going to set up a nice little schedule for myself so it seems less daunting. I can do this!

5) Call my friends (okay maybe text). Our lives are busy. We have kids and jobs and all of that, but I can’t let that get in the way of my valued friendships. They matter and enrich my life.

6) Set nights aside for my kids. I spend a lot of time after they get home from school and in the evening on my computer and I need to stop. Put down the laptop. Social media can wait. Emails can wait. Focus on my kids and give them more attention. Also I’m tired of listening to them watch toy unboxing videos on YouTube.

7) Speaking of social media… cool it. I need to spend less time on social media. It’s not even that I’m posting a lot. I’m reading my Twitter feed and checking my FB timeline. This is not necessary! Half the time, it raises my blood pressure. I want to be clued in to what’s going on in the world, but I don’t need to be plugged in 24/7. I would like to set aside several working hours while the kids are at school where I close out of all social media and focus on getting my daily word count. Maybe on my treadmill desk, haha.

8) Pet my cats more. I actually have zero problems with this and pet my cats a lot, but they deserve it because they are soft and improve the quality of my life 100%. So yeah, extra cuddles in 2018.

9) Keep records of my expenses as I go so it’s not such a big task at tax time. I actually am not sure I will do this, but hey it’s a goal.

10) Be happy. If I feel myself slipping into an anxious hole, seek help immediately, reach out to friends, do what I have to do to keep my head above water. Indulge in the simple things that bring me joy.

What are your goals? Any similar to mine?


Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better.

Her next release is Zero Hour, book one of the Wired and Dangerous series, which releases January 30 with Grand Central Publishing/Forever.

Connect with Megan: Web | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh + swag trading cards

a place called No Homeland by Kai Cheng Thom

A Very, Very Bad Thing by Jeffery Self

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My Brother’s Husband by Genoroh Tagame

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

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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

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Binge on Books Top Books of 2017: Madison’s Favorites

Madison’s top reads of the year

Cannot believe 2017 went by so quickly. 2/3 of my top books this year have been read within the last month. But overall it was a great year for the book community.
In no particular order…
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Binge on Books Top Books of 2017: Edwin’s Favorites

Edwin‘s top reads of the year

As designated Chief SFF Nerd at Binge On Books, it feels appropriate for my top 4 reads of the year to also be in the SFF genres. So what follows are the four science fiction and fantasy novels I read and enjoyed the most, in no particular order.  Before I get to that, though, I should mention some books in the contemporary queer romance genre I enjoyed very much this year. Some honorable mentions, if you will: Kim Fielding’s Love is Heartless, Roan Parrish’s Small Change, and Liz Jacobs’ Abroad: part 1 are all wonderful books and well worth your time.  I should also add that there are 2 or 3 other books it was really hard to leave off the list.  2017 has not been a good year, but it has had some damn good books.  Now on to the main event. Read More

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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.


 

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Urban Fantasy Buddy Review: The Year of the Knife by G.D. Penman

The Year of the Knife by G. D. Penman

Published by: Meerkat Press

Format: mobi

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mystery

Order at: Publisher | Amazon | B&N

Reviewed by: Edwin & Alex

What to Expect: Fun, ambitious, mostly successful queer urban fantasy featuring a kickass heroine, tons of magic, and an alternative history of the good ol’ US of A. Read More

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The Romance of Fan Fiction, part 3 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. 


For us Fanfictioners (Fanficers? anficionados?) the road to publishing fiction or writing original fiction looks different. I mentioned in my last blog post how some of our published fiction began as fanfiction or was conceptualized as fanfiction and reworked as original fiction. Sometimes that fiction was previously published as fanfiction and then changed. This is where many beautiful, well crafted and beloved books in our genre come from. One of my favorite things about this sort of transition is the idea that authors love a story enough to know that it will work better as original fiction.

For many of us, fanfiction came first, and it became a comfort zone. Fanfiction readers are wonderful: in fandom the feedback you get is positive, helpful, and comes from a place of love for a common interest. This is how many of us learn to write and craft – through the feedback we get in those spaces. Fandom is much more immediately interactive than publishing spaces. In fact, this is one of the hardest aspects of transition to publishes spaces for us – the distance from your readers.

Fanfiction readers and authors love to imagine their characters in completely different scenarios than the source material (for example, as I discussed last time, the time I gave a character wings as a part of a writing challenge). It is in these spaces that authors often realize that the characters they’ve written don’t necessarily fit the characters in the show, book, game, etc.

Jordan Brock once responded to a simple prompt from a reader in the BBC Sherlock fandom: John is CanadianIn 18 days she completed a 98,000 word story in which so many things were different than the source material she decided to rework it. Through NaNoWriMo participation, Jordan was contacted by Sourcebooks about publication. This book received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and yet she told me that she “was nervous about revealing the origin of the story, especially when it got starred reviews in places like Publishers Weekly. I worried that people wouldn’t take me seriously as an author if they learned I got my start in fanfic.”

This narrative isn’t unusual – for many of us, the potential stigma or judgement makes it challenging to know if we should address our fanfiction roots. And yet, many of us are award winning, critically acclaimed and successful authors.

For some authors, learning to write through fanfiction made it initially hard to envision an original work. Lynn Charles spoke of this: “…all three of my published novels were at least conceptualized as fanfiction, but never were finished or made it off of my computer into the ether of the internet.” For Charles and other authors, that transition, support, and encouragement came from publishers who understood the potential and quality being created within fandom. “The transition from fanfic to novel happened through…Interlude Press and their initial commitment to giving quality fanfiction authors a chance to publish original novels.”

For some, reimagining of fanfiction to original fiction didn’t initially work, or weren’t workable. And yet that attempt, that work in recreating, helped them learn how to craft original characters and hone the skills necessary for writing original novels. Amy Stilgenbauer’s first attempt at an original novel was a rework of a Sailor Moon story which she knew, in the end, wouldn’t work. Although she published poetry going forward, it took her a while to transition to original published fiction. Community was a big part of this transition. “I switched to creating my own original work when I lost contact with fandom friends for a while and felt weird writing it without them. I had to create new worlds out necessity, but I still brought the skills honed in fandom forward with me.”

This is not to say that all authors who have written fanfiction and original fiction took these paths, or that their trajectory was from fanfiction to published work: some authors did them concurrently. Sometimes, for those who have made that transition, it is accompanied by anxiety or worry that our roots might somehow lessen our accomplishments, skills, value of our work, etc. But all of these authors are gifted, with readers who will attest to how wonderful their books are.


About the authors:

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


Jordan Brock is the author of Change of Address, published by Riptide Publishing. She currently publishes fanfiction under the name Kryptaria. She has written in many fandoms, including Dungeons to Dragons, World of Warcraft and Sherlock.


Amy Stilgenbaur is an archivist by day, writer by night. She has published 2 novels, The Legend of League Park independently and Sideshow with Interlude Pres, as well as having published a number of poems and short stories. Additionally, she is a professional ghost writer covering various subjects from history to abstract mathematics. I wrote in the Sailor Moon, Harry Potter, and Newsies fandoms.


Lynn Charles is the author of Chef’s TableBlack DustBeneath the Stars as well as the short story, Shelved, in the upcoming holiday anthology If the Fates Allow. She wrote in the Backstreet Boys and Glee fandoms.


 

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