Interview: Elyse

Today we’re joined by Elyse. Elyse is a wonderful author who has just released a book called “Thaw,” which features a F/F romance between an asexual librarian and a bisexual supermodel. It’s the second book in her “Seasons of Love” quartet (published by Riptide Publishing). Elyse has such a wonderful love of writing, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer, which in some ways feels more like therapy than creating art. But putting words down on a page (or typing them on a screen) can be both cathartic and an expression of self, so I guess it counts as art! I’ve written over a dozen books so far, five of which will see the light of day in 2017. My most recent release is Thaw, which is an asexual romance between a librarian and a supermodel, and is absolutely the most personal thing I’ve ever written.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere. It’s a curse and a blessing! My first book, Whiteout, came from a dream. My current work-in-progress series came from a radio commercial. I tend to exist with one foot in reality and the other in fantasy, always thinking about the ways I wish the world was different!

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I first ‘published’ my Sailor Moon fan fiction online at age 12, but was writing stories about detectives or animal creatures as early as 8. I’m lucky that my family has always supported my writing, and encouraged me to spend time on my passions.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

There is a signature “Elyse” line that definitely appears in almost everything I write. I’m not going to say what it is, though! Maybe someone will notice someday and point it out 😀

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep at it. Never give up. It may seem like you’re not getting anywhere, that you’re not improving, but you *are*. I published my first book at age 30. Every single thing I wrote before then was just practice, and everything I write after will continue to help me grow as an artist.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual, and possibly gray-aromantic. It’s something that’s still evolving.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Oh, absolutely. Unfortunately, I don’t know many ace-spectrum folks who haven’t. I’ve had people flat-out tell me that my identity is “wrong” because “asexuality isn’t real, it’s just low libido”. I’ve had people tell me to “stop using made up words”. I’m not as vocal as some, which is in large part to protect myself from the aphobia out there, but I see it all the time and it hurts to know my friends and fellow aces are being attacked because of ignorance.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it’s just low libido. NOPE! People with low libidos can (and often do) still experience sexual attraction. Libido is physical; asexuality is an orientation, a lack of sexual attraction, and is not related to physical desires.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You are valid exactly as you are. Asexuality is a spectrum, and you are still ace no matter where you fall on that spectrum! If a word or identity doesn’t fit you exactly, you still have the right to use it if you want to. Identities are personal, and no one has the right to define yours for you!

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I’m on Twitter at ElyseSpringer, or my infrequently updated website, (http://elspringer.com/). I’m always happy to interact and chat, so feel free to tweet me or shoot me a message through my site!

Thank you, Elyse, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: AbsolXGuardian

Today we’re joined by AbsolXGuardian. AbsolXGuardian is a young aro-ace writer who specializes in fanfiction. She’s incredibly enthusiastic about her work and obviously loves to write, which always makes for a great interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction. My first posted fanfiction was a story exploring a headcanon for the Fire Emblem games. It is under the f/m section of AO3, but it wasn’t meant as a romantic story. It simply had a big focus on a pairing for plot reasons (a pairing that wasn’t canon to boot). My main focus is angst and canon compliant stories expanding the backstory or what happens after the end of the series. I have a fair amount of Gravity Falls one-shots posted. Gravity Falls is also fandom of my current long-fic After the War. All my fics are mainly just headcanons that got really out of hand. They’re also really sad.

What inspires you?

My main inspiration are other big writers on Tumblr. I just want to get my ideas out there and have other people enjoy them. I was first inspired to write Return to Ylisse by seeing The Apocryphal One’s Fire Emblem fanfictions. The only fic I can really point to having a big inspiration is After the War. A lot of the ideas of the protagonists coping with the events of the series are based on the much better Fisherman’s Knot. Lyrical music does influence the plot or a character’s thoughts a lot. I’ll just be listening to a song and think “Hey, this fits a lot of the idea I have for a fic.” Then another line will inspire me to change the story a bit. They also help me with getting into a character’s thought process a lot.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

When I was in third grade I wrote my first Pokemon fanfiction. It was your typical self-insert fic. I also started a couple of original stories that I still have saved on google drive. Once I got over my president and lawyer phase, I wanted to be a computer programmer with some published books on the side. Now a days, I’m more focused on being a computer programmer when I grow up rather than publishing books.

I first got reinterested in fanfiction last summer when I was hyper fixated on Fire Emblem. It was the summer and I had an idea (also a lot of free time). That was when I wrote most of the Return to Ylisse chapters. Once I got into the Gravity Falls fandom, I decided I wanted to write After the War. But wanted to finish what I started. So I finished up Return to Ylisse and started working on After the War. I’m forcing myself to order all my long fic ideas and eventually get to them. I have written some one-shots between After the War chapters.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

There’s no real special signature my fics have. Other than a lot of sadness, but that’s a common thing throughout all fandoms.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I mean, I’m kinda one myself, but I’ll give it a try.

Just keep at it. Treasure compliments. Use suggestions. But completely disregard the haters. Don’t let it go to your head.

Also if you’re experiencing a great emotion, just try to log off. Analyze what you are feeling. This will let you repurpose it in your writing. You (hopefully) won’t be experiencing anything as extreme as your characters, but you can exaggerate it. Try to do the same with other emotional scenes in books.

Oh and here’s a tip I got once that I’ve taken to heart. If you don’t know what your characters would say and you feel awkward writing it, so do your characters. Add in awkward pauses. “X didn’t know what to say, it was all just so overwhelming”

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

With fanfiction, the community of each fandom is a lot more important than the field as a whole. But with fanfiction as a whole, it may be the popularity of smut/romantic fics over gen fics. For someone that’s aro/ace, that’s hard to write, but also hard to empathize with as you read. I just deal with it by creating the content I want. I’ve never been directly questioned/harassed about my orientation, but that’s what I’ve seen.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

In general, just the misunderstanding with the dual meaning asexual has. For people who only learned the scientific meaning in school, it can be confusing to adapt. But it isn’t hard if the person is open minded.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You’re valid. Also anyone who is bothering you about not finding a partner with or without knowing your orientation is a jerk.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Other than my AO3 and FanFiction.net profiles, you can find me at my Tumblr blog: https://absolxguardian.tumblr.com/. It’s mostly just a mulit-fandom, but it’s the easiest way to contact me. I’d love to talk about my own fics, asexualitly/aromantism, my fandoms, or even read gen fics you send me and give feedback. Also I liveblog while I’m writing with the tag #writingwoes.

Thank you, AbsolXGuardian, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Kerstin

Today we’re joined by Kerstin. Kerstin is a phenomenal fanartist and visual artist. She writes a lot of fanfiction and cosplays as well. When she’s not writing, Kerstin enjoys drawing. She has been drawing and writing for years and has a great deal of passion for both, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m mostly a writer, especially a fanfiction writer nowadays. I started with original stories when I was about nine or ten years old and continued to write original works until I was maybe sixteen. I never lost interest in writing but somehow I barely ever finished anything because I didn’t have the drive to write without getting any feedback. That’s where fanfiction came in. It’s a great way to practise writing, explore different styles and genres and also get feedback from people who love the characters as much as I do.

Drawing has always been important to me, too. I’ve drawn for pretty much my entire life, anything from little doodles or abstract art to manga to attempts of realistic art. I mostly draw people, many original characters, but recently I’ve started using real people for references as well and tried myself in art studies.

Lastly, I also started cosplaying about four years ago. I don’t do it regularly but it’s a lot of fun, especially when you see other people’s reactions to your portrayal of their favourite character. I’ve made cosplays that were close to the originals as well as freeforms.

What inspires you?

Honestly, pretty much anything can inspire me. Photos, buildings I pass, sceneries I see while going for a walk, music, people or objects around me, characters I adore,… Occasionally I’m inspired works by other artists, especially when it comes to drawing – I just love Renaissance and Romantic art. In fanfiction it’s the canon characters mixed with headcanons, oftentimes also conversations with friends that give me ideas. I’m also a big fan of thrillers and medieval European literature and I try to combine these two types when I write.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Ever since I was a child I’ve been reading tons of books and soon started coming up with my own stories. It just fascinates me how words can create worlds and capture one’s imagination but everybody still has their own pictures in their mind while reading the exact same story or sees different things in the same painting. I love the emotions art can elicit. I’ve wanted to become an author for years now and just graduated in art history and German literature and I hope that it will help me pursue my dream.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t really have any signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep creating, no matter what field of art you like. You will get better, even if it might not seem like it occasionally. Practice is crucial, but so is having fun. Create what you’re interested in, not what you think you should create. Accept constructive criticism and don’t beat yourself up if you think your art isn’t getting any better. It is. You just need some time. And remember, no one will ever be able to create the exact same things you do – your art is one of a kind and you should be proud of it.

jensen jeffrey
Jensen Jeffrey

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as akoisexual and akoiromantic. Now and then I find some people attractive but it usually doesn’t last very long and if this attraction is ever reciprocated it just fades away.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

So far I haven’t since I only recently started including asexual characters in my writing and most people don’t even know I’m on the spectrum.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The misconception I get confronted with all the time is that people on the spectrum don’t ever have sex and can’t have functioning relationships because sex “is a crucial aspect to any romantic relationship”. People don’t seem to understand that sexual attraction and enjoying sex are two different things, that you could have sex even if you’re not physically attracted to that person and that there are people who make relationships work just fine without sex.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Personally, I was glad to find a term that describes me because I felt a little less alone, but it’s not the most important thing to find a label for yourself so if you’re unsure, that’s okay. You’re not strange, you’re not alone, and you’ll be fine. You might encounter individuals who won’t be able to understand your orientation but their opinion doesn’t matter. Find people who accept you the way you are. Try to stay true to yourself – I know it can be hard, but it’s okay to struggle and question your orientation, I still sometimes do that, too. Your orientation does not define what kind of person you are.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I occasionally post some of my artwork and cosplays on my Tumblr: http://crazy-walls.tumblr.com/

My fanfictions can be found on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/crazywalls

Thank you, Kerstin, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Kris

Today we’re joined by Kris. Kris is a phenomenal filmmaker who specializes in short films. She has done both narrative films and documentaries. Currently working on a feature length script as well as a webseries, Kris is an enthusiastic and dedicated filmmaker who has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a filmmaker. These days that is mostly writing and directing, though when friends have projects on the go sometimes I’ll produce or be director of photography. While most of my films are fiction, I do the occasional documentary when the right story presents itself. To date I’ve done exclusively shorts. I do really enjoy the medium of short film, the challenge of getting an audience hooked, engaged, and happy with the resolution all in 10-15 minutes is very satisfying to me. Lately though I’ve been branching out. I’ve got a feature length script that I’m working on, and also a 9-episode web series that I recently started to write. I also do a bit of photography, but that is much more as a hobby to entertain myself.

What inspires you?

Life. The world. When I first started taking photographs as a teenager it was all about looking at the light, looking at the world and thinking, “wow” and wanting to capture it. When I became a storyteller, it was sort of that, but with people. I love being out in the world – at a coffee shop, at a museum, at a park – and just watching people, listening to how they talk to each other, seeing what kinds of things make them go “wow.” I love playing the what’s your story game. Seeing someone, especially when they do something unexpected, and thinking who are you, and what’s going on with you that made you do that. And because I make fiction I can just make up an answer.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I always wanted to be behind a camera. I can remember the first time I ever took a photograph. It was with my Dad’s big heavy SLR shooting slide film. I still have that slide in a box in my attic. There was always art going on in my family when I was a kid, but I can’t draw so it started out as a way to make a picture. But then it became a way to capture a bit of the world and share it with people. And then I went from photography to video in college because it seemed like a better way to make a living.

I have always been creative, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say I always wanted to be an artist. I loved having a camera in my hands, I loved making things. But for 20 years the things I was making professionally I didn’t consider artistic. I was making training videos and other corporate/industrial stuff. But after a while I thought, I want to tell my own stories. I started doing film as a hobby. Getting my friends together and goofing off in my back yard, or making silly videos of my dog. The more I did it the better I got until I thought, you know maybe I could do this creative stuff for real. Now I’m a professor and it’s part of my job description to keep making films. It is possibly the coolest thing ever.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I went through many years where my dog would get a role, or at least a cameo in most of my films. Usually one of the extras would be walking her. She died while I was in film school though, so in my thesis film there’s just a photo of her. My new dog isn’t trained well enough yet, so for the time being it’s likely to still be pictures of Blue hiding among the set dressing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Ira Glass has the best advice, which is to make a lot of work, especially if you feel like the work you’re making isn’t good enough. It will never get good enough without a boatload of practice. And that’s true no matter what kind of art you do. Also, it’s important to get out in the world and have a life. My students often ask me if they should go to film school and I always tell them not right away. Go and experience a bit of life first because that’s what’s going to give you your stories to tell.

Sarah and Esther working on the step afternoon
Sarah and Esther working on the step afternoon

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I haven’t. On set we’re busy working and it would be unprofessional to be discussing our sex lives. And it’s really easy to be invisible as an asexual, which is both good and bad. I am unlikely to get harassed on the street because you can’t tell by looking. I’m not holding hands with the wrong person or whatever. People will assume you are like them until proven otherwise (about all sorts of things) so if I don’t bring it up it doesn’t come up.

Lately I’ve been realizing that invisibility is also bad. That it has a lot to do with why I spent decades trying to be something I’m not. Why it wasn’t obvious to me that there was nothing wrong with me. So I’ve started kind of coming out at work, identifying myself as a queer filmmaker. Universities tend to be supportive of that kind of thing though so nobody has given me a hard time about it. Maybe it would be better to battle the ignorance if I identified as an asexual filmmaker, but a) I don’t really have the energy to have to define it every time I say it, b) it’s not actually my colleagues’ business what flavor of not-straight I am, and c) I would really like to broaden the definition of queer film and queer filmmakers. We shouldn’t have to only tell coming out stories or dying of AIDS stories. I should be allowed to tell whatever stories I want and still be free to be myself.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The common problem is that it’s not a word your average straight person knows. We come so far down on the alphabet soup of the acronym that people give up trying to figure out what all the letters mean before they get to us. So if I use the word then I’ve got to explain it and then you get that little head tilt of “huh, I didn’t know that was a thing.” And if I don’t actively explain it then the misconception is she’s just single and eventually Mr. Right will come along and solve that problem. Or, among my sister and the rest of the lesbians in my home town, then Ms. Right will come along. But nobody ever thinks she’s single and that’s how she’s happy being.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

There is Nothing Wrong with you. Many people won’t get it, but they don’t have to. You just be you and they can figure themselves out. For me the best part of being asexual is that nobody else really has to get it. The only people who need to understand the details of my sex life are the people involved in it, which, by definition, is nobody. All the well-meaning but annoying people who insist that there is someone out there for you, you can feel free to ignore them. Unless you actually want that, some asexuals do and that’s fine, you be you. But be unapologetically you. You don’t owe anything to anyone else.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

If you’re interested in my work my company website (https://heronmedia.wordpress.com/ ) is the best place for that. New work has images and trailers, when things are on the festival circuit I keep that up to date on screening locations and times, and when they finish the festival run I put them up entirely.

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Thank you, Kris, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jordan S. Brock

Today we’re joined by Jordan S. Brock, who also goes by Kryptaria. Jordan is a wonderful author who specializes in queer romance. She writes both original work and fanfiction. Jordan is currently working on a book she describes as “a kinky m/m asexual romance.” She is obviously an incredibly passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve been writing all my life, though I spent forty-plus years trying and failing to muster the courage to submit to a publishing slush pile. For years, I read and wrote sci-fi/fantasy. Then I found fanfiction and fell in love with romance in fanfic — which is strange. I was never able to connect to mainstream romance, to the point where I could reasonably say I hated romance novels.

But romance in fanfic is a different creature altogether. As at earlgreytea68 says here [http://anauthorandherservicedog.tumblr.com/post/159134116719/on-fanfic-emotional-continuity]:

“[F]anfiction has nothing to do with using other people’s characters, it’s just a character-driven *genre* that is so character-driven that it can be more effective to use other people’s characters because then we can really get the impact of the storyteller’s message but I feel like it could also be not using other people’s characters, just a more character-driven story. Like, I feel like my original stuff–the novellas I have up on AO3, the draft I just finished–are probably really fanfiction, even though they’re original, because they’re hitting fanfic beats.”

This is the original fic I write. It’s marketed as romance, and the focus is on a happily-ever-after ending, but the romance is organic. It grows step-by-step, as true to the characters’ motivation as I can get, without heavy-handed external machinations to cram the characters together.

My first published romance novel, The Longest Night, is actually a nearly word-for-word copy of my Sherlock (BBC) fanfic, Northwest Passage [http://archiveofourown.org/works/531662/chapters/943040]. After I posted NWP, a senior editor at Sourcebooks contacted me on Twitter and asked if I’d be willing to scrub the fic and change it from m/m to m/f. After forty years of wanting to see my name in print, I agreed and signed a two-book contract.

Never let anyone say that fanfic isn’t real writing!

These days, though, I’m much happier to be writing queer romance. In October 2016, at Riptide Publishing released Change of Address [http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/change-of-address], an #ownvoices story about PTSD, a service dog, and a Jewish character — who, unlike me, is a fantastic cook. The sequel, tentatively titled Building Bridges, will be written as soon as my brain cooperates.

COA Book cover from Riptide

For now, I’m very excited to be working on a kinky asexual m/m romance. It’s an awesome challenge, writing an asexual character who’s sex-neutral (bordering on sex-repulsed) but also has a mile-wide dominant streak. He’s learned to navigate kinky spaces in various ways, both healthy and unhealthy, but he’s never found his happily ever after — until now, though it doesn’t come without a whole lot of stumbling blocks in the way. I hope to have the first draft done before May 2017 so the book can be released this year, but no guarantees. Real life keeps getting in the way!

What inspires you? What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always needed to write, for my own mental health. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between periods when I don’t write and times when I’m depressed or unhealthy.

As for inspiration, these days I look to the unusual romances: ones that sneak up on people from unexpected connections, ones that are realistic, ones that don’t fix the world or cure a character’s problems but that make life a little happier for everyone involved.

That’s what I love about queer romance. I’m not shoehorning or stereotyping my characters into “male” or “female” roles as they’ve become traditionally defined in the romance genre. I can let my characters develop as they will, without fear that an editor will redline a character because of breaking those gender-based molds.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Animals! I tend to sneak in animals, especially dogs or cats, wherever I can, because they’re so important in my own life. I have a service dog for PTSD — two, actually, since my senior service dog, Darian, has retired due to bad hips and I’m now working with Bucky, my service dog in training. Isn’t he gorgeous?

Bucky 39

In Change of Address, I gave Michael, who also has PTSD (from combat), a service dog named Kaylee. She’s a German Shepherd Dog who’s a mix, in temperament, of Bucky and Darian. She’s not perfect, but she’s the steady rock that Michael needs to anchor himself as he finds his way in the civilian world — and the reason that he and Josh eventually end up together.

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In my next book, one of the characters has an adopted greyhound. She offers her human unconditional love in exchange for long naps on the sofa. Really, what more could a person want? And I have plans for a golden retriever puppy to take a starring role in Building Bridges.

My fanfics, whether solo- or co-written, also tend to have pets of various types, whether it’s a pair of ferrets, a basket of kittens, or an over-dramatic saluki.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Remind yourself that art isn’t a zero-sum game. Other artists aren’t your competition — they’re your colleagues. Cheer their successes, because every successful artist brings new consumers into the fold, whether it’s a Big Name Fan writing a breakaway hit fanfic and bringing in new readers who eventually discover your fics or a New York Times bestselling author bringing new readers into the sub-genre in which you write. Yes, sometimes success is a matter of luck, of connections, of timing, but mostly success is a matter of talent and hard work.

Consume other art in your chosen field. If you’re a writer, read all the books you can in your genre — and a few in related genres. For example, I’ve learned a whole lot about writing humor in romance by reading historical m/f romances, even though I don’t think I’ll ever write a historical.

Study the market if you want to turn your art into a career. Learn the formulas and what made the big names successful. Study the fundamentals. Learn all the rules, whether grammar or color theory or whatever applies to your art. You can’t know which rules to break until you have a deep understanding of those rules.

Then feel free to break the rules. Be true to the art you create. You’ll find a market somewhere.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

These days, I come closest to identifying as autochorissexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’m fortunate that I haven’t, though I suspect that’s because I’m working with publishing professionals who are from all over the queer spectrum, including an ace senior editor.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Any sentence that includes the words “all aces” is bound to be 1) “commonly” believed or taken to be true and 2) actually flat-out wrong.

When it comes to my next book, I’m actually bracing for backlash from outside the ace community from people telling me I can’t write a kinky asexual character because “all aces” don’t like sex and therefore can’t be kinky.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

A few things:

  1. “All aces” don’t exist. Every asexual person is different. Sex-positive, sex-neutral, sex-repulsed. Kinky, vanilla, or none of the above. Masturbates or doesn’t. Experiences arousal under whatever circumstances or none at all.
  2. If someone tells you “you can’t be ace because…” or “you’re not a real ace because…” walk away and don’t look back. Nobody elected these gatekeepers, and nobody has a lock on knowing everything about asexuality — not even other aces. We all live in a continuous state of self-discovery, from the day we’re born until the day we die.
  3. And that means sometimes you change, whether from biology or circumstance or because you simply learned a new word that comes closer to resonating with who you really are inside. There was a time I identified as het, then bi, then pan, then gray-ace, then demi-ace, then back to gray-ace/aro. It took me something like 43 years to get where I am now, and that doesn’t mean it won’t change again. That’s okay!

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

These days, I tend to be most active on my Twitter, https://twitter.com/jordansbrock/ for original work or pictures of Bucky. I’m terrible at keeping up my website, jordansbrock.com, even though it’s a Tumblr. You’d think it’d be easy!

My Riptide Publishing author page will also have a link to all books I’ve released through them. http://riptidepublishing.com/authors/jordan-s-brock

For fanfic, my work is all available on AO3 at http://archiveofourown.org/users/Kryptaria/works and my Tumblr, at kryptaria, is full of inspirational pictures. These days, it’s mostly Marvel Cinematic Universe. I keep my James Bond stuff at kryptaria00Q and post random writing/service dog bits at anauthorandherservicedog.

Thank you, Jordan, for participating in this interview and this project. It is very much appreciated.

Signal Boost: “Albenzauber“

Hello all!

I’ve got a special signal boost today. Carmilla DeWinter is an author who did an interview with Asexual Artists a while back (Tumblr & WordPress). She’s got a new book out entitled Albenzauber. Carmilla is also going to be doing a reading on April 23rd in Mainz, Germany.

Here’s all the information about the book:

“Albenzauber” (Elven Charms) is about the elf Nives, who has raised her prince Cir in the human realm after saving him from a coup. When she accidentally uses the elven charm on a young human male, thus driving him out of his mind, she and Cir return home to find a cure. There they find out that the usurper, beautiful and power-hungry Noctuola, is preparing a war with the humans. Cir is determined to save his heritage and asks a seer for help: They will have to find a human being, neither man nor woman, who is immune to the elven charms. This seems highly unlikely, until they meet the androgynous human mage Heilika. Heilika does agree to help them, while forcing Nives to question everything she believes about herself.

You’ll meet two aces, one of them genderqueer with female pronouns, plus everything a sword and sorcery adventure needs.

Unfortunately, only available in German.

Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.de/Albenzauber-Carmilla-DeWinter-ebook/dp/B06Y5CLPQ1/

Albenzauber 1200pt

I’ll be reading an excerpt on Sunday, April 23rd, in Mainz, Germany. (Link for more info: https://carmilladewinter.com/2017/04/09/lesung-5/

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So if you’re in Germany, please go show a fellow ace some love!

Thanks, everybody!

Interview: Rayah

Today we’re joined by Rayah. Rayah is a wonderful writer who has written a few stories, including one for an anthology that’s soon to be released. Rayah works for a publishing house that specializes in LGBTQIA+ work. She has a great deal of passion and enthusiasm for writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer. I have been published with two short stories so far. One of the anthologies still hasn’t come out yet though. It’ll be out soon.

What inspires you?

My stories inspiration generally comes from real life experiences, and I kind of elaborate and imagination “what ifs” from there. I also draw inspiration from other writers and their works.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Well, I have my BA in English, and since a very early age I have been an avid reader. I’ve always been drawn in by stories and devoured them with enthusiasm … and I guess it was only natural after a while to want to write some of my own. Over the past year, I have started managing a small publishing house with my best friend. That’s given me more drive and motivation to pursue more published works.

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Those that know me can usually tell that I have a character that sort of like me within my stories. I can’t help it. I also write furry stuff sometimes. The publishing house that I manage has a large base of furry writers that we publish and work with. It’s by no means all that I do, but it’s what my currently published story falls under.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

For aspiring writers, I encourage you to be avid readers of the genres you are interested in. Explore others styles, learn the rules and norms of the writing through reading. It’s really the best way to learn.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as heteromantic asexual… and I’m also exploring the idea of polyamory.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not so much prejudice. Perhaps a bit of ignorance. There’s a lack of visibility for sure. It’s difficult for people who are not asexual to imagine it, and that also makes it hard to write it. Even as an asexual, I often struggle to know how to write an effective and complex asexual character. It’s definitely something that I feel like writers are still trying to figure out.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That I will never have a fulfilled relationship without sex or that I never will have sex. Neither are necessarily true.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Try to surround yourself with understanding people and friends if possible. I actually didn’t even realize what I was until a friend pointed out I could be demisexual (upon later research I learn I am actually asexual) … and after that conversation is when I did my research, and I realized that I wasn’t broken like I had always though. That felt liberating. I came out as asexual for the first time to the same best friend who suggested demisexuality. I knew he’d be a safe place to do that, and it really help me just to be open about it with him. It helped me to explore it by doing the research too. I also had the chance to go to a local pride event during this time of figuring out I was asexual, and even though I was too shy to talk to anyone, I saw individuals wearing ace colors and that made me feel less alone.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

They can find the book I am currently published in here… https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Deadly-Sins-Furry-Confessions/dp/1945247096/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491185017&sr=8-1&keywords=seven+deadly+sins+furry+confessions (This is a pretty dark and rated R book. My piece is not sexually explicit though, but beware if you are sex repulsed or you don’t like dark stuff. Not all of it is sexual in nature, but all of it is dark. This is not a book for everyone….)

For updates about my writing and my work they can follow me on Twitter at rayahbunny. I am working on some stuff that’s not quite as niche as this first work, and I am always editing and managing fun books through our publishing house, thurstonhowlpublications.com, so I am always involved in the writing and creating process.

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Thank you, Rayah, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.