Category: Other People’s Creations

Guest Excerpt: Orbit by Leigh Hellman

Posted November 29, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Orbit by Leigh Hellman

Hi, everyone. A few days ago, author Leigh Hellman visited the blog to write a fantastic guest post about their debut release, Orbit, a new adult science fiction novel! Today, I’m upping the book celebrations by sharing an excerpt with you all!

As always, let me give you the plot synopsis first! Author bio goes at the end this time! Because I’m mean like that. But go read this awesomeness!

Orbit by Leigh HellmanCiaan Gennett isn’t green, despite the brand of light hair that betrays her heritage: an Earth mother. A mother she remembers but doesn’t know, who left one day and never came back. Ciaan’s as metal as her home planet—cold and hard and full of so many cracks she’s trying to ignore that she doesn’t have time to wonder about questions that don’t get answers.

After one too many run-ins with the law, Ciaan finds herself sentenced to probation at a port facility and given an ultimatum: Prove that your potential is worth believing in. With help from her best friend Tidoris, Ciaan stays away from trouble—and trouble stays away from her. But when a routine refueling turns into a revelation, Ciaan and Tidoris find themselves forced into an alliance with an Earth captain of questionable morality and his stoic, artificially-grown first officer. Their escalating resistance against bureaucratic cover-ups begins unraveling a history of human monstrosity and an ugly truth that Ciaan isn’t so sure she wants to discover.

Now they all must decide how far they are willing to dig into humanity’s dark desperation—and what they are willing to do about what digs back.

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Excerpt content warnings: bullying, threat/promise of physical violence Read More

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Guest Post: Writing to a Mirror by Leigh Hellman

Posted November 27, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Orbit by Leigh Hellman

Hey, everyone! I’m really stoked to say that I’m hosting another guest post today! This time, it’s a guest post by debut author Leigh Hellman. Leigh is here to discuss their book, Orbit. Specifically, the long road this book undertook to getting written and the way it intersects with queerness.

I can only speak for myself when I say that I’m absolutely thrilled to have books where somewhat older people first start to explore and embrace their queerness because that’s honestly not something I see often and I think these are incredibly important stories.

Let me give you the plot synopsis and a brief biography of Leigh first!

Orbit by Leigh HellmanCiaan Gennett isn’t green, despite the brand of light hair that betrays her heritage: an Earth mother. A mother she remembers but doesn’t know, who left one day and never came back. Ciaan’s as metal as her home planet—cold and hard and full of so many cracks she’s trying to ignore that she doesn’t have time to wonder about questions that don’t get answers.

After one too many run-ins with the law, Ciaan finds herself sentenced to probation at a port facility and given an ultimatum: Prove that your potential is worth believing in. With help from her best friend Tidoris, Ciaan stays away from trouble—and trouble stays away from her. But when a routine refueling turns into a revelation, Ciaan and Tidoris find themselves forced into an alliance with an Earth captain of questionable morality and his stoic, artificially-grown first officer. Their escalating resistance against bureaucratic cover-ups begins unraveling a history of human monstrosity and an ugly truth that Ciaan isn’t so sure she wants to discover.

Now they all must decide how far they are willing to dig into humanity’s dark desperation—and what they are willing to do about what digs back.

*

Leigh Hellman is a queer/asexual and genderqueer writer, originally from the western suburbs of Chicago, and a graduate of the MA Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After gaining the ever-lucrative BA in English, they spent five years living and teaching in South Korea before returning to their native Midwest.

Leigh’s short fiction and creative nonfiction work has been featured in Hippocampus Magazine, VIDA Review, and Fulbright Korea Infusion Magazine. Their critical and journalistic work has been featured in the American Book Review, the Gwangju News magazine, and the Windy City Times. Their first novel, Orbit, is a new adult speculative fiction story now available through Snowy Wings Publishing. They also have a historical fantasy piece included in the SWP anthology, Magic at Midnight.

Leigh is a strong advocate for full-day breakfast menus, all varieties of dark chocolate, building a wardrobe based primarily on bad puns, and bathing in the tears of their enemies.

Welcome, Leigh!

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Guest Post: Writing an Asexual Dominant by Nicole Field

Posted October 23, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Hey, everyone! Earlier this month, author Nicole Field released From the Same Star featuring an asexual love interest, Steve, and today Nicole is here to talk a little bit about the book! In honour of Asexual Awareness Week, Nicole will be talking specifically about asexuality and the way that it relates to Steve’s BDSM play. There’ll also be a short excerpt at the end!

From the Same Star is the second book in Nicole’s Kismet series, following One Last Drop. One Last Drop focuses on other characters, so you don’t have to read that before diving into this one! Both are slice-of-life f/f romances with some BDSM elements but no explicit content.

Let me give you the plot description for From the Same Star and a short biography of Nicole, and then I’ll hand the blog over.

From the Same Star (Kismet #2) by Nicole FieldIn the aftermath of her mother’s death, Angela struggles to recover and re-enter the world. When she meets Steve, who works in the café across the street, she feels able to take a step out of her grief-filled home. With Steve, she hopes to do D/s as a way to take a break from the pain consuming her, but discovers that in doing kink, you bring all of who you are with you, including grief.

Then Steve’s best friend is in a tragic car accident, and winds up in a coma, and Angela longs to offer support to Steve, as well as receive it.

*

Nicole writes across the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. She lives in Melbourne with one of her partners, two cats, a whole lot of books and a bottomless cup of tea.

Co-creator of Queer Writers Chat and reviewer for Just Love: Queer Book Reviews. Also likes tea, crochet and Gilmore Girls.

 

Welcome Nicole!

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Writing an Asexual Dominant by Nicole Field

First off, thanks to Lynn for hosting me during asexuality week.

I’m here to talk about my recent novel release, From the Same Star, and the asexual love interest of that novel – Steve.

When I conceived of the character of Steve, there were several things that I wanted to get across. Firstly: Although she is dominant by nature, she’s also an everyday person. She’s a waitress. She has long-standing friendships.

And she’s also on the asexuality spectrum.

To me, being on that spectrum was an integral part of Steve’s story, and the wider story that I wanted to tell. So much of the BDSM fiction out there is about the kinds of situations that are going to get one hot under the collar.

That’s not the intention of From the Same Star. This novel is not erotica. It’s a story about two people, and friendship, and healing, and BDSM.

Secondly: I wanted to show not just that Steve is an everyday person, but that she is human. I find the impression in media that dominants can’t be vulnerable to be very harmful. It’s an unrealistic expectation that might be okay in a fantasy narrative setting, but not something that’s so much set in the contemporary, real world as From the Same Star is.

Like One Last Drop before it, From the Same Star is a slice-of-life, f/f, slow burn romance novel with BDSM elements at its core. The dynamic that occurs between Steve and Angela is able to go a lot deeper than the one in One Last Drop because both Steve and Angela are more experienced in BDSM.

That doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. They do. And they also talk through their mistakes and manage to resolve them.

Steve’s sexuality doesn’t prevent any of that. Its presence only defines the direction that their dynamic will and won’t take in the story.

I’ve included a small snippet here:

“In the interests of good communication,” Steve said, once they were sitting in Steve’s room, both of them still holding hands, “I’m on the asexual spectrum. I don’t really have sex.”

Angela’s mouth opened in a silent ‘O’ of surprise. She didn’t exactly know what to say to that.

Steve went on. “I sometimes have sex, but it’s not often, and it’s not the point of my BDSM play.”

“But… kissing?” Angela found her voice again.

“The kissing in the living room…?”

“That was okay,” Steve said. She grinned. “More than okay, actually. After everything during the movie, I would have asked for it if you hadn’t.”

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Thank you so much for visiting, Nicole!

From the Same Star is available in paperback and ebook. You can buy the paperback here via Amazon (or find it any other retailer!) and the ebooks are available via the publisher’s web store as well as the usual eretailers.

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Cover Reveal: Life Within Parole Volume 2 by RoAnna Sylver

Posted October 1, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Life Within Parole Volume 2 by RoAnna Sylver

Life Within Parole Volume 2 by RoAnna Sylver

Coming October 11th, 2018

Preoder today!

Today I’m helping to spread the unveiling of Life Within Parole Volume 2 by awesome author, and fellow Kraken Collective member, RoAnna Sylver! I’ve already shared the cover above, so let me share the description as well!

Parole is full of danger—and secrets.

The deepest of them make up intricately interconnected stories. Damaged survivors finding each other, stitching their lives together in the harshest of places, forging precious bonds amidst the flames. Gradually growing trust, love, and understanding between found families. But there’s no escaping this place, its deadly realities, or its predators. A brutal capture. A hellish withdrawal and fragile recovery. A harrowing escape. A breakneck sprint across a haunted, poisoned wasteland.

Life and death, trust and betrayal, choking smoke and breaths of fresh air—all of these are just part of life within Parole.

* * *

Volume 2 contains ten new Chameleon Moon short stories, and while many stand alone, they’re best enjoyed between Books 1 and 2.

The book also comes with detailed content warnings at the start of the book, so you can easily look those up before purchasing by using Amazon’s Look Inside function.

Having read a few of the stories already, I can confirm that you definitely want to read this after having read at least the first book in the series, Chameleon Moon, because a lot of these stories will rely on you knowing who the characters are. (They’re still delightful if you have no clue, but trust me. It’ll help.)

I’m really excited to see RoAnna release another volume of these stories. Her Chameleon Moon setting is a big, warm hug. Which I know, I know. Isn’t what you’d expect from a dystopian setting, but these are stories about marginalised people surviving and thriving in a hostile world and it’s glorious.

So go and check it out! And if you haven’t read Chameleon Moon before, go check that out first! I heartily recommend it. <3

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Guest Interview: Ceillie Simkiss on Learning Curves

Posted August 11, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Today I’m interviewing Ceillie Simkiss about her debut novella, Learning Curves, a sweet sapphic contemporary romance that comes out August 16th, 2018. Learning Curves is a delightful and diverse novella. I reviewed it earlier this week too, if you’d like my thoughts on it.

Disclaimer: I read an early draft of this novella and Ceillie is a friend. I’m super-excited for everyone to meet Cora and Elena. They’re just so lovely together and we need so much more f/f romance out there. <3

Without further ado, let me give you the book’s description and we’ll hop straight to the interview!

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Book Talk: Learning Curves

Posted August 6, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Learning CurvesLearning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss
Pages: 91

Elena Mendez has always been career-first; with only two semesters of law school to go, her dream of working as a family lawyer for children is finally within reach. She can't afford distractions. She doesn't have time for love. 

And she has no idea how much her life will change, the day she lends her notes to Cora McLaughlin. 

A freelance writer and MBA student, Cora is just as career-driven as Elena. But over weeks in the library together, they discover that as strong as they are apart, they're stronger together. Through snowstorms and stolen moments, through loneliness and companionship, the two learn they can weather anything as long as they have each other--even a surprise visit from Elena's family. 

From solitude to sweetness, there's nothing like falling in love. College may be strict...but when it comes to love, Cora and Elena are ahead of the learning curve.

Doesn’t that description sound adorable? This is a super-sweet contemporary f/f novella in the vein of Shira Glassman’s Knit One, Girl Two, so if you liked that definitely check this upcoming novella out!

I just have no words for how adorable Elena and Cora are together. They’re just perfect and I wish this had been longer so we’d had more of a chance to spend time getting to know them and watching them learn about each other.

One of my favourite things about the book is probably Elena’s family and how close they are. I have a large extended family too and it was really nice to see the dynamics between everyone, even if only briefly.

I love the way that Elena and Cora prioritise good communication skills, explicitly putting off conversations they know they’re in no headspace to have at that time. They work together really well and it’s just such a wholesome story.

It’s very low-conflict, so don’t go into this expecting high drama, but for me at least that’s part of why I enjoyed it so much. It’s just about seeing two people living their lives and working out how to make a life together work out.

Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a good, fluffy read! Christmas features heavily, but I can absolutely see it as a comfy summer read too. It’s just that happy-making and filled with sunshine. <3

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Book Talk: Help Wanted

Posted July 31, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Help WantedHelp Wanted by J. Emery
Series: Ashveil Academy #1
Pages: 60

Em is confused about a lot of things: who she is, what she wants, how she’s going to pass Alchemy when she’s awful at it. The one thing she’s not confused about is how much she wants to buy her best friend (and college roommate) the best birthday present ever. Luckily the local magic supply shop is hiring. 

Her plan to get a job there would be working perfectly if not for her coworker Phineas who is in turns aggravating and endearingly awkward. She’s not sure if she wants to date him or wants to be him. The more time they spend together the more she thinks it may be both. 

Help Wanted is an 18,000 word novella with a gender and sexuality questioning f/m romance. It is the first in a new series about students at a contemporary magic college. 

Surprise book talk time! Today I’m talking about Help Wanted by J. Emery. I was going to do a proper ramble, but my equipment wasn’t cooperating (read: the ground loop is back and this time it’s so bad my voice gets eaten by the noise reduction too). So a good old-fashioned written talk it is!

CW: descriptions of gender dysphoria

Disclaimer: J. is a twitter friend of mine and I received a copy of this novella for a review.

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Guest Interview: Claudie Arseneault on Baker Thief

Posted June 8, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Wow, it’s been a while since I did one of these, but today I’m interviewing Claudie Arseneault to talk about her upcoming new superhero NA story centring aromantic characters and non-romantic relationships, Baker Thief. It’ll release on June 26th, 2018, so that’s not too long a wait now. It’s delightful!

Disclaimer: I edited Baker Thief and am biased not just because Claudie is a dear friend but because I edited the book. I just love it bits and bits and I can’t wait for you all to meet Claire, Adèle and everyone else. Baker Thief has been one of my favourite books of 2017, and I couldn’t talk about it, and I fully expect it to be one of my favourite books this year as well, and now I can talk about it. WHOOT!

So, without further ado, let me give you the description and we’ll hop on over to the interview.

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Book Talk: Labyrinth Lost

Posted April 4, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Labyrinth LostLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Pages: 324

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation...and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can't trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland...

Labyrinth Lost is just absolutely gorgeous. It’s fast-paced, lush, gripping… I read it through in about a single sitting. I loved Los Lagos and that one twist. That one twist, OMG! (You’ll know it when you get to it. I loved the way that upended my emotions.)

I loved Alex and Rishi. Nova… a little less. I did appreciate that the narrative didn’t read like much of a love triangle to me and yet still managed to very clearly convey that Alex is bisexual. (Just maybe not biromantic.) Watching Alex grow into her own and come to accept her powers (with the help of her family) was great. Watching Rishi just dash after her friend and attempt to help was wonderful too. I loved the background story of Los Lagos and the way Córdova plays with myths and legends whilst keeping the narrative firmly rooted in its Latinx inspirations and its setting.

Alex and Rishi are just precious together. They’re adorable and I loved that we got to see so much of them together. I wasn’t expecting Rishi to play as big a part as she did and I loved that. I also loved how important family was to Alex and the narrative as a whole.

It was just a really great read and I’m looking forward to the next book!

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Asexuality in R.J. Anderson’s Quicksilver

Posted April 1, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Miscellaneous, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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4,469 words of moar literary essayage, including quotes, end notes and works cited. I should probably stop calling them not-essays at some point.

Asexuality in R.J. Anderson’s Quicksilver

In 2013, shortly after I discovered asexuality, one book jumped out at me: Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson. Anderson spoke frequently and prominently about the asexual representation in the narrative during interviews and blog posts. At the time, though it stood out to me, I never picked it up because the first book, Ultraviolet, didn’t appeal to me at all and, in time, I forgot it existed.

Until recently when I decided to look more closely at asexual representation in traditionally published books. This brief essay will look at the way that Anderson included asexual representation in the narrative of Quicksilver and discuss the ways in which Anderson avoids or attempts to avoid certain common pitfalls when writers, especially those who are allosexual[1], include asexual representation.

First, a brief note: I highly, highly recommend readers interested in reading Quicksilver start with Ultraviolet. The narrative frequently alludes to events in Ultraviolet so it can be read as a standalone, but it takes about 3/4ths of the book before those events are truly clear to readers who haven’t read Ultraviolet.

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