Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee (B, Vietnamese-Chinese)
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (T, Pakistani)
A Love That Disturbs by Medeia Sharif (L, Pakistani)
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (Q, Indian)
Today on the site, please welcome Calista Lynne to talk about her upcoming book, We Awaken, which is one of very few YAs featuring asexual main characters. This is one of the number one recommendation requests I get, so I’m excited to help bring awareness to this one, coming July 14 from Harmony Ink! And now, here’s Calista to share about it.
I never intended anyone to know that I published a book; that’s why I chose a pseudonym with care and stuck with it.
So of course the majority of my friends and my entire family are well aware that there’s a novel coming out with the back of my head as the author pic. When my parents first found out they were beyond excited. I got free chinese food out of the announcement which was all well and good. When they found out the topic of my novel was asexuality, though, the concept was met with a bit of confusion.
There were the usual “what’s that” and “that’s sad” remarks made when I explained it and my father decided I would forever be an author of “alternative sexualities.” Except asexuality isn’t alternative or a fad. It’s literally just a sexuality in addition to all the rest. As a society we have no luck. Individuals are degraded both for having sex and for expressing no sexual desire whatsoever. A Catch- 22. People laugh at asexuality because they don’t understand it, and as someone who is in constant need of validation to the point of annoyance, I understand how frustrating it feels to be a sexuality many people do not even know exists.
One in every one hundred people is asexual, which is no small number. Compare that with the size of your graduating class and you’ll probably get the point. Plenty of people hit puberty yet neither gender does it for them. Now there are layers and variations in asexuality, one of them being demisexuality. That’s when specific individuals, regardless of gender, get the demisexual in question going. No matter how gray someone’s asexuality is they oftentimes feel broken. So much media is dedicated to sex and the pursuit of it that not having these urges seems inhuman.
With this novel I hope to widen asexual discourse even if it’s only slightly. Maybe one teenager out there will pick it up and realize they aren’t the only one who feels this way. Because the utter confusion sucks, plain and simple. Personally, I’m still lost in regards to my own sexuality, but through writing my characters finding theirs, mine has become slightly clearer.
Now let me tell you a bit about the book. It’s titled We Awaken and is being released on July 14 but is now available for pre-order. There are two female asexual protagonists, one of which is a creator of good dreams. The genre is cheesy, young adult fantasy with a dash of romance because I don’t see any fault in happy endings. Here’s how the back of the book describes itself:
Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.
But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.
Pre-order it here so that I can afford coffee: https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/we-awaken-by-calista-lynne-399-b
It’s the final release day of Pride 2016, and what better way to honor it than by buying some rainbow-y new books?
Now, I skipped last week because there weren’t enough new releases to speak of, so I’m gonna use this post to give a shoutout to one that did come out on the 21st, namely Due Diligence by Anna Zabo, one of the only female m/m authors I’ve ever rec’d to me by gay male reader in the industry:
After Fazil Kurt breaks up with his girlfriend, a business trip to Seattle offers some much-needed time away. Sent by S.R. Anderson Consulting, Fazil is there to help audit Singularity Storage, a company they are trying to save. His first discovery is intriguing to say the least: One of Singularity’s engineers is Todd Douglas, Fazil’s first love.
He knows better than to get personally involved on a job like this. Back in high school, Todd broke Fazil’s heart more times than he could count, but both men have grown so much since then—and Fazil never could say no to Todd…
And now, for today’s releases! (Please note each title happens to have at least two POVs, one of which belongs to a non-hetero character.)
Whoever said being nice would get you to the top?
Certainly not Alexandra Miles. She isn’t nice, but she’s more than skilled at playing the part. She floats through the halls of Spencer High, effortlessly orchestrating the actions of everyone around her, making people bend to her whim without even noticing they’re doing it. She is the queen of Spencer High—and it’s time to make it official.
Alexandra has a goal, you see—Homecoming Queen. Her ambitions are far grander than her small town will allow, but homecoming is just the first step to achieving total domination. So when peppy, popular Erin Hewett moves to town and seems to have a real shot at the crown, Alexandra has to take action.
With the help of her trusted friend Sam, she devises her most devious plot yet. She’ll introduce an unexpected third competitor in the mix, one whose meteoric rise—and devastating fall—will destroy Erin’s chances once and for all. Alexandra can run a scheme like this in her sleep. What could possibly go wrong?
NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL.
And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who’s not exactly sober most of the time. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn’t care what anyone thinks.
Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents’ overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter — protect her from what, Agnes isn’t quite sure.
Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it’s the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else.
So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, with police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn’t hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo’s dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and — worst of all — confronting some ugly secrets.
For those of you who feel like you’ve already read every LGBTQIAP+ book in existence, not to worry – there’s plenty still to come! Every TBRainbow Alert will have a mix of five LGBTQIAP+ titles to make sure are on your radar, along with three reasons why you should know them. If you missed the first alert, you can check out those titles here. And now, a few more coming up in 2016!
Title: Fast Connection (July 11)
Authors: Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Genre/Category: Contemporary Romance
Rainbow details: m/m, both bi
Why put it on your radar?
1. This is the follow-up to Strong Signal, which was so hot my brain combusts just thinking about it.
2. Bi rep! In m/m!
3. Megan Erickson. Santino Hassell. Writing together. I mean, hi.
Title: Of Fire and Stars (November 22)
Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Genre/Category: YA Fantasy
Rainbow details: f/f – one lesbian, one bi
Why put it on your radar?
1. f/f Fantasy is one of the rarest things in YA, and if you’ve been desperately waiting for the answer to “What do I read after Ash?” Ta da!
2. Horses! If you are a horse person (as I know the author is), this book is seriously gonna be your jam.
3. Cute, hot, sexy…Coulthurst gets in all of it between Mare and Denna, and the thought of teen girls finally getting a romance this sweet between princess made me hug this book when I was done.
Title: A Darkly Beating Heart (October 4)
Author: Lindsay Smith
Genre/Category: YA Time-Travel Fantasy
Rainbow details: bi female MC
Why put it on your radar?
1. The code phrase for this book before it had an official title was “Angry Bisexual Japanese Revenge Fantasy.” If that’s not the best “Describe your book in 5 words” you’ve ever heard…
2. This is Smith’s first novel with a queer main character, but you may already know/love her from “City of Angels,” her contribution to A Tyranny of Petticoats, which featured a Native lesbian MC.
3. It’s so. Freaking. Good. Dark and brutal and raw and honest and compelling and page-turning and awesomely infused with Japanese culture/food/setting.
Title: Girl Mans Up (September 6)
Author: M-E Girard
Genre/Category: Contemporary YA
Rainbow details: butch lesbian MC
Why put it on your radar?
1. I honestly didn’t register how unheard this POV was in YA until I read the book, and I suspect it’ll be one lots will be grateful to finally see.
2. Gamer girls! Both the MC and LI!
3. I think this may also be the first Portuguese MC I’ve read in YA, and the book is heavily infused with culture and language.
Title: Not Your Sidekick (September 6)
Author: C.B. Lee
Genre/Category: YA Sci-Fi
Rainbow details: bi female MC
Why put it on your radar?
1. The main character is an intern. To a super villain. Like. Come on.
2. Queer girl of color by queer author of color! Queer girl of color by queer author of color!
3. I’ll just direct you back to that premise. I cannot imagine what else is needed here.
Excited to welcome Shira Glassman to the site today, to reveal the cover of her new collection of LGBTQ+ short fiction, set in her Mangoverse! If you’re reading this site, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with Shira, who’s a huge supporter of LGBTQIAP+ books (and f/f in particular), so, check out her brand new cover and please welcome her to share the info behind her new release!
Announcing a new collection of short LGBTQ+ fiction: Tales from Perach. These stories all stand alone but take place in and around the invented Florida-like tropical Jewish kingdom of my full-length Mangoverse novels. My world is a positive and affirming place for bi, trans, and gay/lesbian characters, where they can interact with fairies and dragons and royalty–or maybe just bumbling business contacts—just like cis/straight characters always have. Their lives aren’t always free of microaggressions, but when they’re there, they’re reduced to the minute status of a gnat that’s easily swatted away.
Here’s what you’ll get if you read:
“Your Name is Love”: An energetic royal guard takes her artist wife on a scavenger hunt around the city so she can stop having artist’s block about the lesbian graphic novel she’s supposed to make for the queen.
“No Whining”: A chef dithers over whether to switch wine sellers when hers is incompetent but the delivery girl is a trusted ally.
“Every Us” A prince with anxiety is comforted in the arms of his partner when he wakes up from a nightmare.
“Take Time to Stop and Eat the Roses”: A trans teenager and his girlfriend go on a midnight quest for flowers for her sister’s wedding.
“The Generous Princess” A royal family with two moms, two dads, and a dragon Zayde puts their own special twist on celebrating Purim.
Since this collection features several of the characters from The Olive Conspiracy, it’s included in the back of the paperback edition (expected September 2016), and if you buy the eBook from the publisher (it’s up for preorder now, with a July 20, 2016 release), the Tales from Perach eBook is included for free. What will its cover look like? Check out this gorgeous image from Torquere’s cover goddess Kris!
The Tales from Perach eBook will also be available for sale from third-party retailers like Amazon and Smashwords.
The building on the cover is a medieval Portuguese synagogue that you can read more about here.
Infinite thanks to Dahlia for having me on the blog!
If you want to learn more about the author and her books, you can find her here:
Using “classics” fairly loosely here, but whatevs!
Great by Sara J. Benincasa (Contemporary The Great Gatsby)
As I Descended by Robin Talley (Paranormal Macbeth)
Marian by Ella Lyons (Fantasy Robin Hood)
Beast by Brie Spangler (Contemporary Beauty and the Beast)
Ash by Malinda Lo (Fantasy Cinderella)
While most of books you’ll see on this site are strictly LGBTQIAP+ MC, I’m going a little outside that box for this post. (Not to worry; there’ll be plenty of posts on that too.) Most of these books do have at least one queer primary character too, but this is sort of a bigger-picture look, because these are the series that wouldn’t necessarily come up if you searched for LGBTQIAP+ YA fantasy, and, well, this is Under the Gaydar; what else do you think we do here but build your TBR list with stuff you didn’t know was actually bleeding rainbows?
(N.B.: every book listed is the first in the series, but that’s not necessarily the book with the greatest amount of Rainbow Rep.)
The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine – Not only is the premise of this book, about a girl who’s supposed to become a queen with massive powers and then just kinda…doesn’t, pretty epic on its own, but the main character is also quite besotted with her handmaiden. As per usual in Fantasy, the word “bisexual” isn’t used, but the differentiation of her feelings from simply being friendly is done clearly, and the guy she ends up with never feels like a romance she settled for. Next year will bring the sequel, The Cursed Queen, which according to the author similarly has a bi MC, this time with f/f endgame.
And I Darken by Kiersten White – This historical fantasy is one of my biggest obsessions of the year, and features two narrators: a bloodthirsty girl named Lada and her brother, a softer, more beautiful boy named Radu. Oh, and both are in love with Mehmed, the son of the sultan of the Ottoman Empire in which they’re effectively being held captive.
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey – The voice in this one alone could kill me, but one of the best things outside of the main character, macaron references, and NYC love is the amazing haters-to-lovers banter between Jasper and Dorian, two of the guys in her gang, who bring yet more wittiness to the series, along with some gayness and pansexuality.
The Young Elites by Marie Lu – One of my favorite fantasy series so far (two books down, one to come this fall) is all about villainy origins, but I’ll take a spin off on the queer romance that edges in through the cracks any day.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – I have to cop to that this is the one series on the list I haven’t started yet, but the absolutely glowing comments on varied representation in Shadow Scale, the second book in the duology, won’t allow me to leave it off the list until I do, especially since it’s the only mainstream-published fantasy I know of with trans representation.