Fave Five: Ace MCs in SFF

Happy Ace Awareness Week!

We Awaken by Calista Lynne

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Maguire

To Terminator, With Love by Wes Kennedy

Quicksilver by RJ Anderson

Fourth World by Lyssa Chiavari

Bonus, coming in 2017: Assassins: Nemesis by Erica Cameron and 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

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New Releases: October 24-31, 2016

Finishing out October, here’s what should be on your rainbow radar for the rest of the month!

Interborough by Santino Hassell (24th)

30364774The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.

Buy it: Amazon * ARe * B&N * kobo * Riptide

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith (25th)

27414389A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.

Buy it: Indiebound * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Chapters * The Book Depository

Boy Robot by Simon Curtis (25th)

28498236There once was a boy who was made, not created.

In a single night, Isaak’s life changed forever.

His adoptive parents were killed, a mysterious girl saved him from a team of soldiers, and he learned of his own dark and destructive origin.

An origin he doesn’t want to believe, but one he cannot deny.

Isaak is a Robot: a government-made synthetic human, produced as a weapon and now hunted, marked for termination.

He and the Robots can only find asylum with the Underground—a secret network of Robots and humans working together to ensure a coexistent future.

To be protected by the Underground, Isaak will have to make it there first. But with a deadly military force tasked to find him at any cost, his odds are less than favorable.

Now Isaak must decide whether to hold on to his humanity and face possible death…or to embrace his true nature in order to survive, at the risk of becoming the weapon he was made to be.

Buy it: Amazon * B&N

Hold Me by Courtney Milan (25th)

24348034Eighteen months ago, Maria Lopez felt an unexpected spark with Jay, a hot, tattooed, motorcycle-riding bad boy who checked off every item on her fantasy list. But “too good to be true” never ends well. So when he asked for her number, she walked away.

When she runs into him again, she discovers that Jay is a different kind of trouble than she’s imagined. He’s a demanding, driven genius, and once he’s set his sights on something, he does not give up. Now that their paths have crossed once more, he’s not going to let her get away until he knows exactly what’s on her fantasy list…and he figures out how to make her embrace it.

Buy it: amazon | amazon uk | iBooks | kobo | google 

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant (31st)

32146161After graduation, Kieran expected to go straight into a career of flipping burgers—only to be offered the internship of his dreams at a political campaign. But the pressure of being an out trans man in the workplace quickly sucks the joy out of things, as does Seth, the humorless campaign strategist who watches his every move.

Soon, the only upside to the job is that Seth has a painful crush on their painfully straight boss, and Kieran has a front row seat to the drama. But when Seth proves to be as respectful and supportive as he is prickly, Kieran develops an awkward crush of his own—one which Seth is far too prim and proper to ever reciprocate.

Buy it: Nine Star Press * Amazon

Hotline by Quinn Anderson (31st)

30828044Zack never intended to become a phone sex operator, but with half a college degree and a smart mouth, his options were limited. It helps that he has a knack for thinking on his feet and a willingness to roll with whatever his clients throw at him. Sure, he gets his fair share of creeps and unconventional requests, but it pays the bills, and he’s in no danger of breaking his one rule: never fall for a client.

Until a man named “John” starts calling, and Zack finds himself interested in more than a paycheck. It’s not just that John has money, or that his rumbling baritone drives Zack wild. He’s everything Zack isn’t: educated, poised, and in total control of his life.

A twist of fate brings them face-to-face, and now that they’ve seen each other—and spent an unforgettable night together—they can’t go back to the way things were. A sex worker and a trust fund brat . . . It’s like Romeo and Juliet, but with less stabbing and slightly fewer dick jokes. Hopefully they can pull off a more successful ending

Buy it: Amazon

Guest post: Speaking of Us by Rachel Davidson Leigh

hold-900px-front-tumblrLuke Aday knew that his sister’s death was imminent—she had been under hospice care for months—but that didn’t make her death any easier on him or their family. He returns to school three days after the funeral to a changed world; his best friends welcome him back with open arms, but it isn’t the same. But when a charismatic new student, Eddie Sankawulo, tries to welcome Luke to his own school, something life-changing happens: In a moment of frustration, Luke runs into an empty classroom, hurls his backpack against the wall—and the backpack never lands. Luke Aday has just discovered that he can stop time.

*****

The first time it happened, I thought the conversation was a fluke. I was at a backyard party, loose after hours talking, eating, and laughing with people I had known for years. I was happy and relaxed, so I told someone I was writing a book. “It’s LGBTQ YA,” I said quietly, and my voice actually shook.

I didn’t think that happened in real life.

The fear, to be clear, had nothing to do with queerness or writing for young adults; these facts remain points of unproblematic pride. I love writing queer YA for myself, for teen readers, and for the teen reader I used to be. I wasn’t freaked out about the subject matter or the audience; it was the investment in creative writing. For years, I hardly talked about what I, euphemistically, called, “my hobby.” Some of my closest friends didn’t know that I wrote outside of work until I—probably too casually—mentioned that I had a novel coming out in a matter of months. It’s not an ideal publicity model, but it’s all I have.

For a long time, I wasn’t ready to be a writer-in-public. I didn’t know how to answer well-meaning questions about my work when I could hardly push past the imposter syndrome to write it in the first place. I didn’t want to answer questions at all, and maybe that’s why I was unprepared for that first day.

When I shared, I didn’t get questions; I got answers.

More than that, I got stories.

When I told that first friend what Hold was about— grief, queer community, and identity— she lit up and told me about her three-year journey of coming to identify as a bisexual woman. This is a person I have known for more than six years. We are circle-of-trust level close and I had no idea, not because either one of us felt uncomfortable talking about sexuality, but because, as she put it, “it just didn’t come up.”

I’d like to say that we had a deep and nuanced conversation about the nature of bisexual invisibility, but we mostly spent an hour grinning at each other and flailing about all the things we didn’t know we had in common. Then we traded AO3 accounts. It was delightful and I thought of the day as a marvelous accident, until it happened again, and then again. At this point, I’ve stopped counting the number of times that a friend or acquaintance responded to learning about the book with some version of, “Oh my God, you too?” and then the inevitable, “Wait, you didn’t already know about me?”

No. I didn’t know, but writing Hold opened the door to those conversations and they were so excited to share.

Several friends in long-term relationships talked to me at length about identifying as bisexual, pansexual, or queer, and how they knew some people assumed they were gay, lesbian, or straight. They responded to bisexual characters in the book but also to me as a bi author. Readers of early drafts of Hold also talked to me about their own asexuality, PTSD, and the  intersections between disability and race in their lives. For one reader, a note about pacing turned into paragraphs in the margins about the stigma around mental illness, so we dropped the book talk and traded life stories long after we should have gone to bed.

Conversations about Hold became the gift that wouldn’t stop giving, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that in most cases the lack of disclosure had nothing to do with shame or fear. Instead, I heard over and over than it had simply never “felt like the right time.” Most of the people who spoke to me were happy to talk about their identities, but that didn’t mean they knew how to start the conversation. One friend said she felt “exhausted” at the thought of fighting expectations just to exist in public.

I nodded. I’ve been there. Sometimes I’m still there.

Bringing up the book created an opportunity, nothing more and nothing less. It created a space for recognition that my friends didn’t have to make for themselves, and I love the fact that the specific book is, essentially, beside the point. I could talk about how much I love Not Your Sidekick or Radical or Labyrinth Lost. I could gush about someone else’s review of an LGBTQ book or talk about the guidelines on Disability in Kidlit, and I’d still offer one more chance for someone to be seen. As authors, bloggers, and readers, we constantly create opportunities for recognition. A book creates an opportunity for a blogger, who creates an opportunity for another author or reader, and the conversations multiply. This is our gift, our superpower. We hold up the stories we love and give someone the chance to say, “Really? Me too.”

*****

rdl_hrRachel Davidson Leigh is a teacher, a writer and an avid fan of young adult LGBTQ fiction. Her hobbies include overanalyzing television shows and playing matchmaker with book recommendations. Currently, she lives in Wisconsin with her family and two neurotic little dogs. Hold is her debut novel. Her short story “Beautiful Monsters” was featured in Summer Love, a collection of short stories published by Duet Books, the young adult imprint of Interlude Press.

Hold will be published by Duet Books on October 20, 2016. Connect with author Rachel Davidson Leigh at racheldavidsonleigh.com; on Twitter @rdavidsonleigh; and on Facebook at facebook.com/rdavidsonleigh/

Buy it:

Interlude Press Web Store: store.interludepress.com
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2dAWKMo
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hold-rachel-davidson-leigh/1124079244?ean=2940153117676
Apple iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hold/id1148322903?mt=11
All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hold-2058760-145.html?referrer=55feb862851f8
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/648932
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/hold-7
Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/978-1-945053-11-5&aff=interludepress

Guest Post: Aging, Romance, and Sexuality in Extrahumans, by Susan Jane Bigelow

extrahumans4_extrahumansfrontcover-1Being “The Sampler” isn’t easy. As the weakest member of the Extrahuman Union, Jill is overlooked by just about everyone. After all, no one cares about an Extrahuman who possesses every possible superpower, but can barely use any of them. Jill is a nobody, on the run and out of a job, with no home and barely any friends to her name.

To make ends meet, Jill turns back to one of her favorite jobs: stealing. When her latest job goes terribly wrong, Jill is left with a mysterious alien artifact–one that starts whispers to her, unlocks impossible powers, and shows her incredible things.

Now Jill is on a quest for answers that will take her from the high mountains of Valen to the depths of interstellar space; from a bizarre prison planet where old friends and enemies are held captive, to the roots of St. Val’s mysterious letters and decade-spanning plans. The fate of her friends, her world, a vanished alien species, and the entire Confederation will rest on Jill’s shoulders.

Extrahumans is a tale of superpowers and long-forgotten mysteries, and the fourth and final book in the critically acclaimed Extrahuman Union series

“Come for the superheroes, stay for the characters and world-building.” — A Fantastical Librarian

Buy it: Amazon US * Amazon UK * Smashwords

*****

Warning! This post totally contains spoilers for Extrahumans, so if you’re not in to that sort of thing, stay away! Otherwise, onward:

I didn’t start off this book intending for there to be a romantic relationship of any kind between the two main characters, Penny Silverwing and Jill Silver. Really! I was thinking at the very beginning that this would be a novel focusing on friendship between women.

And then the characters started bouncing off of one another in a way that suggested there was definitely more there, and, well, I decided to roll with it. The relationship grew so naturally, and seemed so right for both characters, that it wasn’t until much later that I realized I’d been writing a same-sex romance between two women who aren’t young—Jill is 38, Penny 51. And that really doesn’t happen much, anywhere.

Women over the age of 35 almost never get to be the heroes in fiction, much less have romantic lives and real character development. I love reading stories with young women as protagonists, but as I head for 40 I feel like I want to see more about women my age that isn’t pigeonholed into the usual stereotypes. I always think of Paladin of Souls and Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, both by Lois McMaster Bujold, as incredibly satisfying examples of books with older women as protagonists.

It’s also rare to see stories featuring LGBT people—bisexuals especially—who aren’t young, as well. And yet these relationships happen all the time. I remember reading a book of true stories by women about the relationships they’d entered with other women after the age of 40, often after having been married to a man for a long time.

Again, I didn’t set out to do this, though I did want to write about both of them aging. The story takes place at a certain time, and the characters are all a certain age. Jill is established as bisexual in The Spark, but it’s one of those blink-and-you-miss-it moments that doesn’t get followed up on in the rest of the novel. As for Penny, her own romantic priorities are largely subsumed between her quest to find her son and get past her relationship with Sky Ranger. By the time the story in this book begins, though, both are ready for something new.

They’re ready to find one another. And I’m so glad they do.

*****

About the author

susan-janeSusan Jane Bigelow is a fiction writer, political columnist, and librarian. She mainly writes science fiction and fantasy novels. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange HorizonsApex Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine’s “Queers Destroy Science Fiction” issue, and the Lambda Award-winning “The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard,” among others. She lives with her wife in northern Connecticut, and is probably currently at the bottom of a pile of cats.

Visit her website The Extrahuman Union.

About the artist

Kirbi Fagan is an award-winning, Detroit based cover illustrator who specializes in YA and MG fiction, fantasy and comics. Her illustrations are known for their magic themes, nostalgic mood, bright colors, and powerful characters. She received her bachelor’s degree in Illustration from Kendall College of Art and Design. Kirbi’s work has been acknowledged by organizations such as Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, ImagineFX, Art Order and the International Writers & Illustrators of the Future.

Visit her website www.kirbiillustrations.com

 

 

New Releases: October 18-20, 2016

*waves from where she’s offline for yet another Jewish holiday and wishes these authors a very happy book birthday week in absentia!* *yes, it’s a day early to be posting this, but that’s because we’ve got great guest posts for a couple of these books going up over the next two days!*

Tattoo Atlas, by Tim Floreen (18th)

28954166A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.

Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over.

Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?

Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers…Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends.

But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists that he’s innocent, that he’s cured, but Rem doesn’t know what to believe. Is someone else responsible for this new murder, or is Franklin fated to stay a monster forever? And can Rem find out the answer to this question before the killer, whoever it is, comes after him too?

Buy it: Amazon * B&N

Extrahumans, by Susan Jane Bigelow

extrahumans4_extrahumansfrontcover-1

Being “The Sampler” isn’t easy. As the weakest member of the Extrahuman Union, Jill is overlooked by just about everyone. After all, no one cares about an Extrahuman who possesses every possible superpower, but can barely use any of them. Jill is a nobody, on the run and out of a job, with no home and barely any friends to her name.

To make ends meet, Jill turns back to one of her favorite jobs: stealing. When her latest job goes terribly wrong, Jill is left with a mysterious alien artifact–one that starts whispers to her, unlocks impossible powers, and shows her incredible things.

Now Jill is on a quest for answers that will take her from the high mountains of Valen to the depths of interstellar space; from a bizarre prison planet where old friends and enemies are held captive, to the roots of St. Val’s mysterious letters and decade-spanning plans. The fate of her friends, her world, a vanished alien species, and the entire Confederation will rest on Jill’s shoulders.

Extrahumans is a tale of superpowers and long-forgotten mysteries, and the fourth and final book in the critically acclaimed Extrahuman Union series

Buy it: Amazon US * Amazon UK * Smashwords

Here’s the Thing, by Emily O’Beirne (19th)

heres-the-thingIt’s only for a year. That’s what sixteen-year-old Zel keeps telling herself after moving to Sydney for her dad’s work. She’ll just wait it out until she gets back to New York and Prim, her epic crush/best friend, and the unfinished subway project. Even if Prim hasn’t spoken to her since that day on Coney Island.

But Zel soon finds life in Sydney won’t let her hide. There’s her art teacher, who keeps forcing her to dig deeper. There’s the band of sweet, strange misfits her cousin has forced her to join for a Drama project. And then there’s the curiosity that is the always-late Stella.

As she waits for Prim to explain her radio silence and she begins to forge new friendships, Zel feels strung between two worlds. Finally, she must figure out how to move on while leaving no one behind.

Buy it: Amazon * B&N

Hold, by Rachel Davidson Leigh (20th)

31211256Luke Aday knew that his sister’s death was imminent—she had been under hospice care for months—but that didn’t make her death any easier on him or their family. He returns to school three days after the funeral to a changed world; his best friends welcome him back with open arms, but it isn’t the same. But when a charismatic new student, Eddie Sankawulo, tries to welcome Luke to his own school, something life-changing happens: In a moment of frustration, Luke runs into an empty classroom, hurls his backpack against the wall—and the backpack never lands.

Luke Aday has just discovered that he can stop time.

 Buy it: Amazon * Interlude * B&N * iBooks * Kobo

Fave Five: Contemporary f/f YA with Sex on the Page

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Style by Chelsea M. Cameron

Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler

Cherry by Lindsey Rosin

Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen

Bonus: Coming in 2017, Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley and How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

New Releases: October 11, 2016

Normally I don’t do a New Releases post when there are this few books releasing that day, but hello, it’s NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY, so how can I possibly let the blog go dark?

My Boyfriend’s Back, by Elliot Cooper

31929255After losing both of his parents, Academy of Magecraft student Steven Durant doesn’t want to see anyone else lose a loved one before their time. Traditional resurrection methods, however, only create mindless, flesh-hungry zombies; they’re no cure for death. He’s certain his unique brand of necromancy—using alchemy and blood magic—is the only answer.

When his boyfriend, Dax Everhart, has a fatal accident, Steven sees no choice but to use his experimental Lazarus Elixir. Dax comes back wrong, but the more humans he consumes, the more human he becomes.

With the help of his best friends, his ghostly aunt, and her living doll homunculus, Steven fights to regain normalcy and repair his shattered relationship with Dax. But with Dax openly embracing his monstrous nature, Steven shoulders the guilt of assisting in a murder spree that could lead the mundane and magical police right to their door.

Buy it: Nine Star Press

Beast, by Brie Spangler

25167846Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.

Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?

Buy it: Amazon * B&N

Backlist Book of the Month: George by Alex Gino

The truth is, I kind of take for granted that everyone’s read this fabulous Stonewall Award-winning MG about a trans girl named Melissa, by the wonderful Alex Gino, but I have to make sure just in case you haven’t, right? And we all want to put our support toward LGBTQIAP+ MG to make sure we get more of it, right? So, if you haven’t fallen in love with this one yet, make this month the month you do! (And yes I realize this isn’t technically a backlist book for the author, but the feature just means a book is more than a year old, so!)

24612624

BE WHO YOU ARE.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

To quote from the author’s website on where to buy:

Laurel Bookstore is your most reliable source for signed  copies of GEORGE. GEORGE can also be bought at your favorite book retailer. Independent bookstores like Powell’s, Books Inc, Oblong Books & Music would be glad to help you out or use Indie Bound to find an independent bookstore near you. GEORGE is also available at iBooks, Google Play, or Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

Books with Trans MCs for Five Bucks or Less

Continuing on with the theme of helping you find solid LGBTQIAP+ lit on a budget, check out these ten books with trans MCs that are under five bucks:

Abstract colorful background with wave, illustration for design

Endless Forever by E.M. Lindsey ($0.99)

Eitan’s Chord by Shira Glassman ($0.99)

Portside by Elyan Smith ($0.99)

Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans ($1.99)

A Matter of Disagreement by E.E. Ottoman ($2.99)

Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde ($2.99)

Roller Girl by Vanessa North ($3.99)

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant ($3.99)*

Bumbling into Body Hair: Tales of an Accident-Prone Transsexual by Everett Maroon ($4.00)

Documenting Light by E.E. Ottoman ($4.99)

The Queer and the Restless by Kris Ripper ($4.99)*

Finding Your Feet by Cass Lennox ($4.99)*

The Unintentional Time Traveler by Everett Maroon ($5.00)

Bonus (Trans LI): The City War by Sam Starbuck ($2.99)

Bonus (LGBT and Two-Spirit Anthology): Love Beyond, Body, Space, and Time ed. by Hope Nicholson ($5.00)

*Priced for preorder; links are to publisher’s site

Queering up your shelf, one rec at a time!