The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember (B, f/f)
Love Rising by Piper Vaughn (m/m)
Sea Lover by J.K. Pendragon (T, m/m)
Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner (f/f)
Moon-Bright Tides by RoAnna Sylver (f/f)
So thrilled to have author Claudie Arseneault back on the site today, this time to talk about one of her own books, the upcoming Baker Thief!
Adèle has only one goal: catch the purple-haired thief who broke into her home and stole her exocore, thus proving herself to her new police team. Little does she know, her thief is also the local baker.
Claire owns the Croissant-toi, but while her days are filled with pastries and customers, her nights are dedicated to stealing exocores. These new red gems are heralded as the energy of the future, but she knows the truth: they are made of witches’ souls.
When her twin—a powerful witch and prime exocore material—disappears, Claire redoubles in her efforts to investigate. She keeps running into Adèle, however, and whether or not she can save her sister might depend on their conflicted, unstable, but deepening relationship.
Baker Thief is the first in a fantasy series which centers non-romantic relationships and stars a bigender aromantic protagonist. Those who love enemies-to-“lovers” and superheroes will love this story!
And now, the cover!
Even better, the full jacket!
Some thoughts on the cover from Claudie Arseneault:
I have been sitting on this cover for months now, and I am still every bit as in love with it as when I first saw it. Perhaps because I set it as my computer screen and stare at it every day. I love the superhero feel of Claire watching over the city, I love the strong and full colours (yes, purple, people who know me will not be surprised one bit), I love the simplicity of the lines. Normally I am drawn to covers that don’t have the protagonists on it, but for this it felt important to have it. And I love that Claire is there, front and center, with flabby arms and thick thighs, and that she feels centered and powerful. This is her story, moreso than any other of my books have been one character’s story, and it feels right. Working with Laya on this cover has been a charm—full of difficult decisions, for sure, but that is a sign of the many great options I had. I’m glad to be sharing at last, and I hope you love it as much as I do!
Claudie Arseneault is an asexual and aromantic-spectrum writer hailing from the very-French Québec City. Claudie is best known for the Aromantic and Asexual Characters Database and for her body of work, which features several ace and aro characters. She has written both science-fiction (Viral Airwaves) and fantasy (the City of Spires trilogy) and edited an anthology of amazing solarpunk dragon stories (Wings of Renewal).
You can find Claudie on Twitter @clh2oars and her website!
Excited to have Nicole Field on the blog today, with an excerpt from her brand-new paranormal romance, Changing Loyalties, which kicks off the Shadows of Melbourne series and just happens to feature a beautifully named main character 😉 Come check it out!
When Dahlia finds the body of her father, a werewolf brutally murdered and left to die alone, she’s left with more questions and grief than answers. But who or what killed him remains unknown, and it soon becomes clear her father isn’t the killer’s only target.
Adding to the growing pile of mysteries in her life is the new job—for a company that seems to be run by the kind of people who have no qualms about murdering werewolves. Even more frustrating, Dahlia’s new boss, Bianca, is curt and rude—and far more intriguing than seems fair.
And now, here’s the excerpt!
Bianca watched Dahlia go, exhaling slowly even as she unclasped her hands. Were she her direct employer, she might have suggested Dahlia be let go of right then. But Personal Documentation was hardly a normal company, and Bianca found she admired Dahlia’s spunk.
Besides, she wouldn’t need to let Dahlia go if Dahlia simply chose not to come back again for her next shift.
But Bianca had a feeling that wasn’t going to happen. She’d seen a certain curiosity in Dahlia’s eyes. Certainly there had been the hunger for knowledge that so many people who came through induction experienced, but Bianca also thought she saw a thirst for power. Maybe that had been just her wish to verbally overpower Bianca, but she was pretty sure there was something else driving that. There’d been violent reactions before when people found out that Personal Documentation was a front for the Sisterhood, but this one had seemed personal.
It was so different from the previous two times she’d talked to her. The first time, Dahlia had seemed no different to any other bubbly intern. Bianca had already known she had the job, so that interview held little interest. The phone conversation hadn’t been enough to give Bianca much of an idea of who Dahlia was beyond that.
A smile tugged at her lips. She was already looking forward to the possibility of a second round. In whatever form it took. Provided she showed up again, she definitely wanted to get to know this kickass girl better.
Bianca looked down at the time as it read in the bottom corner of her screen. Less than three hours and she would find out if there was at least an immediate future here for Dahlia.
Three hours later, Dahlia looked less fuming and paler. Bianca frowned. Surely the knowledge that other people outside of her own close knit group knew about the supernatural elements in this world wasn’t something that had shaken her up so thoroughly. The conversation they’d had in Bianca’s office couldn’t have left her this upset?
“Are you all right?”
Dahlia looked up at her, as though surprised Bianca would care. “I’m here, aren’t I?”
“You are.” Bianca looked her up and down. “Based on what you said this morning, I wasn’t sure.” The words were a calculated attempt to pull her out of herself.
Dahlia narrowed her eyes, but she didn’t rise to the bait. “Maybe I’ve decided that the resources here could be useful to me.”
“Of course you did,” Bianca said, taking the seat beside Dahlia. “That’s how we all start here.”
“Even you?” Dahlia sounded unconvinced.
Bianca couldn’t help but laugh at that. “Especially me.”
Dahlia just looked stunned at the sight of Bianca laughing. Bianca just smiled, biting her lip at the corner as she contemplated Dahlia. “Do you really think I’m a complete monster?”
“Well,” Dahlia said. “Maybe not a complete one.”
“That’s something,” Bianca said, with another laugh.
The laughter did seem to be doing its part to relax Dahlia slightly. Very slightly. “Come with me,” Bianca said on a whim.
Again, Dahlia suddenly looked distrusting. “Where?”
Bianca rolled her eyes. “We’re in the middle of the city. I suspect anywhere is more fun than here. Besides, I don’t think sitting in front of a computer screen is exactly what you need today.”
Nicole writes across the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. She lives in Melbourne with her fiancee, two cats, and a bottomless cup of tea. She likes candles, incense and Gilmore Girls.
The next subset of Webcomics About Women In Love recs
I grouped this batch by…broadly similar coloring styles. By which I mean, the name of the aesthetic was too literally accurate to pass up. Though it does imply tropes and themes that don’t necessarily fit them all, so definitely read the summaries before deciding what to check out or pass on.
Today’s theme: Webcomics about soft pastel lesbians!
(1) Always Human by walkingnorth
A story about nanobots, genetic engineering, and two girls falling in love. No matter how technology changes us, we’ll always be human.
Sci-fi romance, complete. In a future Australia, where high-tech modifications are used for everything from preventing diseases to restyling your hair, Austen (Chilean/Australian) never changes her appearance. It catches the eye of Sunati (mixed South Asian), who initially thinks she must be brave and iconoclastic. Turns out she just has an immune disorder and can’t use nanobots.
Sunati asks her out anyway, and ends up falling for the real Austen rather than the girl she’d built up in her imagination. The worldbuilding has neat high-tech touches — our heroines go on VR dates, there’s a ride in a space elevator — but the plot is slow and low-key, all about these normal human emotional struggles and school/job stresses.
(Note: pages have autoplay music.)
(2) Sundaze by HALE
Dahlia Liz, a floriculturist studying a new breed of aquatic plant, moves to the scenic coastal town of Sunsea. A town filled of sunshine, romance and surprises.
Slice-of-life with a touch of fantasy, ongoing. Dahlia moves into a new town and finds herself living next to Lori, a gorgeous singer-songwriter who is also hiding that she’s a secret mermaid. As you do.
Another slow and quiet plot — it’s suggested there will be mermaid drama in the future, but so far it’s just an undercurrent (…get it?) to small-town friend-making. And eventually girlfriend-making, although the characters are still in the “sure, she just sang a whole song about how inspirational I am and then explicitly told the audience it was dedicated to me, but I think she just wants to be friends” stage.
The art is so bright. You can feel the sunlight pouring out of every panel.
(3) Acethexis by Florence
Acethexis is an action/drama series about a non-binary person and an illegal android who are swept up into a life of crime in the eyes of their government.
Sci-fi drama, ongoing. Disaffected agender teen Ren sneaks out to a club and meets Lena, a runaway android programmed with emotions. That’s still the only “crime” in the story — that androids aren’t supposed to have feelings. But it was bad enough that her creator was either imprisoned or killed over it.
Well, she’s cute, and Ren is bored and reckless and not hurting for money, so they decide to help Lena change her appearance and skip town.
A sister comic to Always Human. They’re not actually in the same universe, but the authors are friends, and there’s a short interdimensional crossover.
(4) Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
The story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.
Cute fantasy, complete. Tea dragons are cat-sized, domesticated, adorable, and take a lot of effort to raise. A bunch of them are kept at the tea shop owned by Hesekiel and Erik, who are also taking care of a shy amnesiac girl named Minette. Young neighbor Greta stumbles into their lives.
This one’s a quick read, only 52 pages, with a delicate mostly-lineless art style. The girls aren’t quite old enough to be interested in romance proper, but I’m including it because the first-crush setup is there — and the shop owners are a full-fledged couple, so it’s clearly not a “same-sex romance, what is that??” kind of narrative.
(5) girly by Josh V.
The culmination of everything random, fluffy, and gay.
Wacky comedy, complete. Definitely the oddball on this list, but all the art is soft and pink, so I figured it was close enough.
Otra is a depressed and uninspired designer when the eccentric Winter barges into her life and declares that Otra is her new sidekick. Also, whacks her with a human-sized dildo. Which sets the tone for a lot of their exploits to come.
It’s the kind of comic where the town’s main superhero has a fist for a head, random elephants wander through the background, Winter has a half-sister who is half-clipart, and the vet has a mindreading machine for cats. So it’s really not hard for Winter and her puzzled new sidekick to get into ridiculous adventures, falling in love along the way.
Bonus: Winter is the daughter of Wendy and The Other Girl, the main f/f couple from the artist’s earlier comic Cutewendy. It’s even more random, and the art is way less polished, but well worth reading if you liked Girly.
Erin Ptah likes cats, magical girls, time travel, crossdressing, and webcomics. She’s the artist behind But I’m A Cat Person (featuring bi librarian Bianca) and Leif & Thorn (where Leif is into strong handsome people of all genders). Say hi on Twitter at @ErinPtah.
This YA about expectations, love, and friendship features bisexual and pansexual rep and releases on April 19! Here’s the scoop on The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick:
High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line—they’ve never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.
There’s a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another—feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?
And now, the cover!
Today on the site, we have an excerpt of the newly released gay NA When It’s Time by Zane Riley, the third book in the Go Your Own Way series! It just released yesterday, so check it out!
In the New Adult series that began with Go Your Own Way, Will Osbourne and Lennox McAvoy must now face the challenges of a long distance relationship that will determine their future. Despite the fulfillment of his childhood dream, Will is suffocating in too-loud, too-dirty, too-busy New York City. Lennox, who has always relied on Will for guidance, is thriving in Boston without him. As Lennox embraces his promising new life and rediscovers old family, Will searches for a future of his own that won’t tear them apart.
Lush green trees whipped past the car windows. Lennox McAvoy pressed his forehead against the glass and watched the hills rolling taller and wider. Early June had burned into a blazing July, only dampened by the storms that thundered on their side of the mountains. This summer hadn’t been very humid. The air wasn’t heavy and dry enough to crack his throat; the sunlight darkened his brown skin but didn’t burn until he peeled. The natural green that filled the world out here seemed to absorb the heat in a way cities and suburbs couldn’t.
Everyone else in the jeep had their windows down. Oyster had raised himself high enough to stick his head through the sunroof, but Lennox kept his window shut. Beside him, his boyfriend, Will Osborne gestured wildly as he spoke about his new college friends.
“We met during an Ice Breakers game. They wanted to meet up once we’re all on campus.”
“That’s great, honey,” Karen said. She tucked a strand of brown hair into her baseball cap.
Eastern High Varsity Baseball. The logo from their old high school flashed in the sunlight. He and Will had graduated almost two months ago now.
“Did you get to sit down with your advisor?”
“Yeah, my schedule’s set. Did you get yours done?” Will elbowed him.
Lennox glanced first at Will’s freckled face and neck, then at Will’s parents, Karen and Ben, in the front seat. Ben was driving, but their eyes met in the rearview mirror. He looked away. Overhead, Oyster barked into the jeep’s slipstream.
“Should have made you drive with that new license. Get some practice in.”
“Come on, spill. How was it, kid?”
“Fine,” Lennox said, but one word never cut it with Will or Karen.
“A lot of sitting around listening.”
“And your classes?”
“We pick them after we move in.”
Karen frowned. “That seems really late.”
Lennox slumped. “I don’t make the rules. They give us placement tests first.”
Will kissed his cheek for the seventh time since Lennox had hopped off the bus in New York City. “I’m sure it’s fine, Karen. Music majors are different, that’s all.”
“I guess that’s true. Did you play?”
Lennox shook his head. He hadn’t done anything musical during the day and a half he’d been at Berklee College of Music in Boston. The visit hadn’t been worth it. All day had been filled with lectures, smaller class discussions about life on campus, an exhausting campus tour, and then a brief social event to end the day. He’d hovered in the corner for five minutes before leaving.
“It was just a lot of talking,” Lennox said.
Will caught his eye. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for Lennox to realize this conversation wasn’t finished, not between them.
Zane Riley is a transgender writer who wrote his first work of fan fiction in the fourth grade. He is a recent transplant to Vancouver, Washington where he spends his time watching long-distance baseball games, hiking, and exploring the musical depths of the Internet. His first two novels, Go Your Own Way and With or Without You, were published by Interlude Press.
Webcomic recs, continued! This is the roundup I promised last time.
It can be hard to make it clear when a character’s supposed to be bi/pan. A lot of webcomics aren’t long enough or romance-focused enough to give the characters multiple love interests, and there’s not always an organic way to have people just announce their preferences — especially in fantasy universes where words like “bisexual” don’t exist. (To be fair, it wasn’t a word in our universe until the ’60s. And “pansexual” is even younger….)
Here’s a set of strips that do pull it off. For purposes of this list, it’s all in-text representation. If a character’s sexuality is specified by the author but has yet to be involved or even referenced in the strip, I’m leaving those for someone else to rec.
Today’s theme: Webcomics with explicitly bi/pan characters!
(1) Power Ballad by Molly Brooks
As personal assistant to an international pop star, Meera Verma has her hands full trying to keep the gorgeous and talented Carina Peterson primped, polished, and mostly on time. As personal assistant to a Los Angeles-based masked vigilante, Meera has her hands full trying to keep the mysterious and reckless Skeleton alive and out of trouble
Superhero adventure drama, complete. Full of competence kink, especially for Meera — she figures out Carina’s secret superhero identity within days of working for her, and Carina learns about this when Meera has her costume clandestinely repaired. Plus: funny, snappy dialogue; identity porn with regard to other characters; interweaving of faux social-media reactions whenever their adventures make the news.
Meera is openly into women from the beginning; Carina eventually comes out to her as bi, in a scene with a realistic mix of sweetness and awkwardness. They spend a lot of the strip having mutual crushes that they’re too awkward to confess, but it feels natural and organic with the plot, rather than dragged-out for drama. It helps that they’re busy with the overarching plot (a case about a fashion designer’s work being stolen).
…And then eventually they do get together, and finish working the case as girlfriends, and it’s all-around great.
(2) Girls With Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto
Slice of life adventures of best friends gregarious Jamie and cynical Hazel.
Comedy, complete (but currently doing full-color reruns of the original B&W strips). Mostly-realistic (there’s a talking cactus thrown in) stories about a bunch of struggling twentysomething artists/retail workers.
A lot of the cast is straight, notably Hazel, but there are a couple of lesbians in their friend circle from the beginning — like Thea, who gets married over the course of the strip. And then there’s Jamie, who identifies as straight for the first few years of the strip. Especially after one instance of f/f experimentation, where they part as friends but it doesn’t rock her world.
Some time after that, she meets Erin. Things get romantic. And intimate. And…stop just short of sex, because Erin’s on her own little arc of self-discovery, with “asexual” somewhere at the end.
Jamie’s sexuality is complicated — she struggles with pinning down the nuances of exactly what she’s into, and hesitates over all the terms her friends suggest to sum it up. (Worth noting: the phrase “biromantic heterosexual” wasn’t in wide circulation at the time.) I don’t remember if she ever settles on a single label, just that she does get back to a place of comfort and self-understanding over the whole thing. And none of this derails the writing or characterization, or undermines the strip’s ability to deliver regular punchlines.
(3) Oglaf by Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne
NC-17 fantasy comic. Better have a really open mind.
Sexy magical comedy, ongoing. Mostly-disconnected short arcs and strips, about a whole range of characters and situations. You can tell the authors have a generally healthy outlook about sex, even when the characters don’t. Sometimes pokes fun at fantasy tropes. Mostly NSFW. (To the point where, in the archives, the “safe” strips are the ones that are marked.)
The sample image here is from a short arc about the Snow Queen, who needs to have sex in order for winter to end, but every man who tries to satisfy her gets his relevant bits frozen off. At last, a female mercenary shows up with a strap-on. Which gives you some idea of the tone of the rest of the series.
To be clear, this isn’t an “all about sex, therefore everyone is bi” strip, it’s an “all about sex, and all sexualities are represented” strip. Obviously not for every reader! But if you like fun dumb sex jokes, this is the motherlode.
(4) Homestuck by Andrew Hussie
It’s a story about some kids who are friends over the internet. They decide to play a game together. There are major consequences.
Fantasy/gaming adventure, complete. Four human kids play a video game, which turns out to be an immersive-reality experience that destroys their universe, and they have to win the game in order to make a new one. They’re joined by a group of alien kids — the trolls — who played an earlier round of the game, the one that created our universe in the first placce.
It’s a huge, sprawling, ridiculously complex series. Includes animation, chatlogs, flashing images, and mini-games. If you’re just trying to get into webcomics, it might not be the easiest place to start. Or it might suck you in so hard that it ruins you for the rest of the genre. Could go either way, really.
Troll romance is…culturally complicated. (If you’ve picked up one thing about Homestuck by fandom osmosis, this is likely to be it.) The relevant point here is that they’re default-bi, which pays off in various relationships as the story goes on. There’s also at least one human whose romantic prospects include a male human and a female alien.
(If you look at both pre- and post-Scratch incarnations, at least. And this is the point where I hit the brakes on Trying To Explain Homestuck, because if I go any deeper into the backstory we’ll be here all day.)
(5) Skin Horse by Shaenon K. Garrity & Jeffrey C. Wells
The stated mission of Project “Skin Horse,” a federal Black Ops department located in the notoriously pointless Annex One complex, is to aid and asisst the U.S. population of nonhuman sapients. Any humans willing and able to work there may be presumed deeply weird.
Supernatural comedy, ongoing. A government support agency that focuses on robots, demons, talking animals, and various mad-science experiments. Tip, the team psychiatrist, is a hot crossdressing human. Unity is a multitalented multiracial zombie, and by “multiracial” I mean “stitched-together parts of humans from multiple races.” Sweetheart, the leader and administrator, is a talking dog. Their job isn’t easy, but by golly they work hard at it.
Tip has an uncanny ability to attract women — including, in one instance, a female alternate-dimension version of himself. He’s also had at least one fling with a guy, Artie, who was human-shaped at the time but is technically a sapient gerbil, and recently described himself as “straight-ish” (before going on to seduce a mixed-gender crowd). Sweetheart has had male love interests in the past, and more recently has gotten crushes on women. Including an ambiguous thing with Unity (or maybe it’s gone unambiguous? I don’t remember, it’s been a while), although Unity is generally mostly interested in brains.
The strip is a sequel to the completed Narbonic, about a mad scientist and her assistants. You don’t have to read it beforehand to follow anything, but if you like Skin Horse’s general ethos and sense of humor, or if you want Artie’s backstory, it’s worth adding to your list.
Erin Ptah likes cats, magical girls, time travel, crossdressing, and webcomics. She’s the artist behind But I’m A Cat Person (featuring bi librarian Bianca) and Leif & Thorn (where Leif is into strong handsome people of all genders). Say hi on Twitter at @ErinPtah.
Today on the site, Erin Ptah’s webcomics recs continue! If you missed her recs on webcomics with major non-binary characters, you can find them here. For magical lesbians, read on!
Another webcomic reclist! At first I was just going to do Comics About Women In Love, then the list got way longer than 5, and had to be narrowed down somehow. (And that’s just comics where they’re explicitly in-text wlw, after weeding out all the cases of “don’t know if this is going to the yuri place, but I’m shipping it really hard.”)
All of our heroines in this subset have some kind of supernatural powers. All of them want to get the girl. Some of them even pull it off.
Today’s theme: Webcomics about magical lesbians!
(Some explicitly identify as gay/lesbian on-panel, and with some I’m just extrapolating from the way they’re only ever shown being into women. Bi characters will get their due on a future reclist — stay tuned.)
(1) Lady of the Shard by gigi d.g.
A comic about an acolyte in love with the goddess she serves.
Sci-fi romantic drama, complete. People living throughout the Distant Stars revere the Radiant Goddess, who brought peace to the galaxy. An enthusiastic but easily-flustered acolyte accidentally causes her to manifest. (She recognizes this particular Acolyte as the one who sacrifices cute decorated pancakes at her altar.)
Their fluffy temple domesticity is interrupted by an ancient evil. It’s out to dethrone the Radiant Goddess, and mind-control her worshippers into serving it instead. You can see how this sets up the Acolyte to save the galaxy with the power of love.
A comic with a bunch of twists, none of which I predicted on the first run-through, although in retrospect they all make perfect sense. The style is minimalist — mostly pixel lineart figures on a field of black — and at first glance you wouldn’t think an artist can do much with it. Then you keep reading.
(2) Lovespells by Ryan and Sage
A comic featuring a super gay witch who falls in eventually-reciprocal love with a gay (and also asexual!) lady magic knight.
Fantasy romance, ongoing. Esther, the witch, has a lot of power but a fantasy health condition that keeps her from going on adventures. Maria, the knight, is a painfully earnest do-gooder who uses a lot of magic and wouldn’t mind a coach. Esther jumps to agree, mostly because she is thirsty as all get out, and Maria is too innocent to notice the ulterior motives.
The tone is upbeat and feel-good — the “about” page has a whole list of depressing themes that the authors assure us will not be involved — without being shallow or boring. Our heroines are charming, well-rounded, and downright fun to watch.
(3) Pizza Witch by Sarah Graley
Your Favourite Pizza Witch is about pizza! young love! falling in love with beautiful lactose intolerant babes and trying to woo them!! cat familiars?? and so much more!
Fantasy comedy, complete. Roxy is a witch who mostly uses her magic for pizza delivery, and gets a major crush on a customer…who can’t eat cheese. Will the power of love overcome their differences??
This one’s very short, so don’t expect a lot of depth. It’s just cute wacky fun.
(4) The Night Belongs To Us by L. R. Hale
Hank gets attacked by a werewolf. Ada saves her life. Hank then becomes a werewolf. Ada is a vampire. Hank discovers the underground society of vampires, werewolves and more. Ada sells weed for money, and is kind of a bounty hunter. Hank is a medical illustrator. Ada is complicated. Hank is attracted to Ada. Things get complicated.
Modern fantasy drama, ongoing. There’s a supernatural bureaucracy that handles new arrivals, and normally recently-turned werewolves get mentored by the wolf that bit them — but Hank was bitten by a murder-y creep, so her new sorta-friend Ada gets the job.
Slow-burn romance, on the back burner while they deal with conspiracies, kidnappings, and not always being around to feed Hank’s cat. There’s lovely attention to the practical details of surviving in the modern world as a horror-movie monster. (Bonus: sometimes this involves Ada being smuggled through broad daylight by turning into a bat and hiding in Hank’s cleavage.)
The strip has had some unexpected hiatuses, but it’s gotten back to regular updates. With any luck this means it’s not too much longer before we get a page where they kiss.
(5) Serenity Rose by Aaron Alexovich
Serenity Rose is small, shy, and sexually confused. She can also conjure monsters out of ectoplasm, hover 20,000 ft. in the air, and shapeshift anything she sees. Serenity Rose is a witch, one of only 57 the world over, a real supernatural oddity. And she lives in the glare of a small town that THRIVES on supernatural oddities….
Goth fantasy, complete. Sera grows up in a beautifully-rendered town that has a whole gimmick about horror, which means it’s not too disruptive when her emotional issues spawn ectoplasmic ghouls that slink off into the woods. But a teenage meltdown prompts her to hole up in a mansion on the edge of town, where she mostly stays until our story begins.
She does have a couple of loyal friends, and end up getting a mentor, in the form of a much more put-together witch/popstar she’d been admiring from afar. They’re all supportive as she wrestles with various issues, including a much-delayed reckoning with her sexuality.
The magic and the alternate-universe worldbuilding are absolutely fascinating, and the comic would be worth reading on that count alone — but also, the basic portrayal of confused young lesbian angst is more relatable than a lot of “realistic” series that comes to mind. One of the few webcomics where I’ve gone and spent money to get the print version.
Erin Ptah likes cats, magical girls, time travel, crossdressing, and webcomics. She’s the artist behind But I’m A Cat Person (where lesbian Sparrow just learned to teleport) and Leif & Thorn (where lesbian Ivy can wipe the floor with water mages twice her age). Say hi on Twitter at @ErinPtah.
A big ol’ fuck you to “inspiration porn” with an asexual protagonist who’s still unclear where she lands on the romantic spectrum while also grieving the loss of her best friend in their creepy Alaskan town. I love this book. A lot. You should read it.
Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.
Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.
Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…
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Fellow fans of the enemies-to-lovers trope, this one has got to be on your to-read list. The couple is a trans woman and a bi guy, both academics, and the combination science geekery, tons of heat, serious emphasis on the “enemies” part, and the fact that they’re simultaneously clicking really well in an epistolary romance of sorts is just…*happy sigh*
Jay na Thalang is a demanding, driven genius. He doesn’t know how to stop or even slow down. The instant he lays eyes on Maria Lopez, he knows that she is a sexy distraction he can’t afford. He’s done his best to keep her at arm’s length, and he’s succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
Maria has always been cautious. Now that her once-tiny, apocalypse-centered blog is hitting the mainstream, she’s even more careful about preserving her online anonymity. She hasn’t sent so much as a picture to the commenter she’s interacted with for eighteen months—not even after emails, hour-long chats, and a friendship that is slowly turning into more. Maybe one day, they’ll meet and see what happens.
But unbeknownst to them both, Jay is Maria’s commenter. They’ve already met. They already hate each other. And two determined enemies are about to discover that they’ve been secretly falling in love…
You can find an excerpt on the author’s site here.