Exclusive Cover Reveal: Awakenings by Claudie Arseneault

Today on the site, I’m delighted to reveal the cover for author and AroAce Database creator Claudie Arseneault’s upcoming fantasy, Awakenings, which is now up on Kickstarter! (Link below cover.) Here’s a little more on the story:

Innkeep, hunter, blacksmith, nurse—Horace has apprenticed for every clan in the domed city of Trenaze, and they’ve all rejected em. Too hare-brained. Too talkative. Too slow. Ever the optimist, e has joined Trenaze’s guards to be mentored. Horace has high hopes to earn eir place during eir trial at the Great Market. That is, until the glowing shards haunting the world break through the city’s protective dome, fused together in a single, monstrous amalgam of Fragments.

Armed with a sword, a shield, and far too little training, Horace doubts eir ability to defend the market-goers. But eir last stand is interrupted by a mysterious elven figure who can dissipate the Fragments with a single, strange sentence: your story is my story.

From the moment it is uttered, Horace knows the sentences holds true for em, too—and when the elf collapses in the middle of the market, e carries them to safety, to recover away from the panicked crowd and inevitable questions from eir fellow guards. It could cost em eir apprenticeship—eir last chance to find eir place in eir home city—but Horace cannot resist the pull of this mystery elf and the call of a new friend.

Aliyah has but one desire: to leave Trenaze’s safe boundaries and find the forest that haunts their dreams. After an afternoon of board games in their quiet, sharp-witted company, Horace is ready to follow, confronting Fragments and other dangers of the road to understand what happened that day, hear Aliyah’s laugh again and finally feel like e belongs.

And now, finally, the wonderful cover designed and illustrated by Eva I.!

Awakenings is the first of a series of cozy fantasy adventure novellas, and a love letter to board games and JRPGs. It will be running on Kickstarter starting October 10, so hit the follow button if you want to chip in and help make it a reality!


Claudie Arseneault is an easily-enthused aromantic and asexual writer with a never-ending cycle of obsessions but an enduring love for all things cephalopod and fantasy (together or not!). She writes stories that centre platonic relationships and loves large casts and single-city settings, the most notable of which are the City of Spires series (2017-2023) and Baker Thief (2018).

In addition to her own fiction, Claudie has co-edited Common Bonds (2021), an anthology of aromantic speculative short stories. She is a founding member of The Kraken Collective, an alliance of self-publishing SFF authors, and the creator of the Aromantic and Asexual Characters Database.

Fave Five: New Queer YA Horror with Female MCs

For queer YA horror recs from 2022, click here.

She is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran

You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron

This Delicious Death by Kayla Cottingham

The Narrow by Kate Alice Marshall

Monstrous by Jessica Lewis

Bonus: For a whole anthology full, check out Night of the Living Queers ed. by Alex Brown and Shelly Page

Double Bonus: The Last Girls Standing by Jennifer Dugan is maybe more psych thriller than Horror, but check it out anyway