Fall Projects 2016

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Hello all,

It’s been a while since I updated you all on the projects I’m working on. Sadly, it’s been a bit slow going because of grad school. It will probably continue to be a bit slow going as time progresses.

With that in mind, I have to say that I probably won’t do NaNoWriMo this year. Sadly, I will be mired in schoolwork during November, which will make it pretty much impossible to complete NaNoWriMo this year.

But on to other things.

I have several projects that I’m working on!

First, I submitted one of my short stories, 15 000 words, to Less Than Three Press for their anthology call Hearts of Steel. I wrote about knights on an alien planet trying to save someone from the death jungle that covers the entire planet. It was fun to write, less fun to edit, and nerve-wracking to submit. I haven’t yet received a response, but I have to wait a few weeks to hear back from them.

I wrote another short for a charity anthology that I was invited to be part of. I’m not sure how secret it is, so I’ll stay hushed about it for now. But it’s 7 000 words long, just a teensy one, so it was finished quite quickly.

I have a few different stories on the go right now. I foolishly started an enemy-to-lover story in which the main characters are forced to marry against their will. I think it will be fun to write, but I’ve only got about 8 000 words in. I’ll tell you all how that one goes. 

I’m also working on doing research for a greenpunk story set in an alternate Victorian London in which green technology became important rather than industry. That’s just the backdrop though, the real story is about a trans woman detective who is trying to catch a serial killer who is murdering prostitutes. This one is a lot more developed than the other one, mostly because I spend a lot of time thinking about it. Murder mysteries are hard to plot out though. This is a hard one to write on, because it’s so complex.

I’m working on the sequel to my ace aro dragon story still. It’s also slow going because I seem to have hit a wall, which is probably why I’m working on the other two more than this one. The first book is great, it’s all contained, it sets up everything, but now I’m floundering in the middle. I hope I’ll be able to fix it soon.

That’s it for now, I’m deeply mired in numerous projects as well as grad school. Hopefully I’ll get some time to write in between assignments.

Anyone working on anything interesting right now? Feel free to comment!

Magic and Mayhem release date!

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Hello everyone,

Today is the release date for the Magic and Mayhem charity anthology which benefits the Gay Romance Northwest meet-up!

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The anthology includes my short story Charmed by Chance, which is a cute little story about a cyborg who meets a mage and is instantly smitten. I’m really excited about this story because it features a genderqueer character and a bisexual character. It’s supposed to be short and sweet, so I hope it delivers! 

You can buy the anthology on Amazon or on Smashwords.

Cyborg characters

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I’m writing this blog post because in just a few days, my story Charmed by Chance is coming out in the GRNW charity anthology Magic and Mayhem.

The theme of the anthology was based off the character matching game from past GRNW meet-ups. The pairings for the stories in the anthology were to be either mage/cyborg or soldier/tattoo artist.

So, spoilers, but I chose the pairing of mage/cyborg.

The reason I wanted to talk about cyborg characters is that I find them very interesting. I’ve written characters with cybernetic enhancements before, but not exactly in this way. In this story, my character has a prosthetic arm which he finds himself without the use of as the plot moves forward.

It brings me to this: technically, a cyborg can be counted as a character with disabilities. I haven’t really written a disabled character before. My other character, who is technically a cyborg, is mostly cybernetically enhanced, and those enhancements are used in the line of duty. He doesn’t find himself without the use of his enhancements, and can’t really be separated from them anyway.

My character Merritt, on the other hand, does find himself without the abilities that the arm brought him. He’s back to the point at which he lost his arm in the first place, which shows that cyborgs can only count on their enhancements to a certain point.

I don’t think most people think of cyborg characters as disabled, because their enhancements are superior to the flesh and bone that humans are born with. The enhancements that they are given put some of their abilities ahead of a normal person’s. I think that people don’t like to think of a physically disabled person’s abilities as superior to a person without them.

I tried to explore the idea of characters with cybernetic enhancements in sync with a character with a physical disability. I hope that I did it well in spite of the shortness of the story.

Any thoughts on cybernetic enhancements, cyborgs, or physical disabilities? Feel free to voice them in the comments!

Charmed by Chance

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Hello everyone!

I’m really excited, because my short story Charmed by Chance is coming out in September! September 6th, 2016 to be exact, for the Gay Romance Northwest charity anthology Magic and Mayhem, which can be preordered here.

Look, here’s the cover!

MagicMayhem

 

There are going to be seven other authors who wrote stories for the anthology, as well as essays from past conferences. The theme for the anthology was either the pairing of mage/cyborg or soldier/tattoo artist, which were the character match pairings from previous years at the GRNW meet-up. It should be a great anthology. Here’s the line-up for the anthology:

STORIES:

“Broken Art,” by Dev Bentham
“Caroline’s Heart,” by Austin Chant
“Demonica,” by Megan Derr
“The Hollow History of Professor Perfectus,” by Ginn Hale
“Fade to Black,” by Josh Lanyon
“Charmed By Chance,” by Alex Powell
“Sun, Moon, and Stars,” by E.J. Russell
“Slack Tide,” by Karelia Stetz-Waters

ESSAYS:

“Romance for the Rest of Us,” by Jessica Blat
“Sad Queer Characters and the Revolution of Joy,” by Austin Chant
“Dear Rose,” by Rose Christo
“How to Get LGBT Romance Books Into Libraries” by Marlene Harris
“So What is “Character-Type Love Match” Anyway?” by Nicole Kimberling
“My Road to Romance,” by Susan Lee
“To My Future Self,” by E.E. Ottoman
“What I’ve Learned,” by Jordan Castillo Price
“Dear Len,” by Radclyffe
“A Letter to My Former Self,” by Rick R. Reed
“Five Things We Learned Running A Queer Romance Event (and the One Thing We Still Need to Do)” by Tracy Timmons-Gray

That’s all I wanted to announce! Have a good day everybody!

All the King’s Men Cover Reveal!

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Hello everyone!

I have a couple of announcements to make.

The first is, I just received my cover for All the King’s Men, and I am super excited about it! Check it out! All the King’s Men will be released July 27th, 2016 from Less Than Three Press.

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As usual, Less Than Three Press has done an excellent job, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. All the King’s Men is long enough to have print copies, so I will be getting four amazing author copies in the mail in the future with this amazing cover. I love having physical copies of my work.

The other announcement is that my story that I wrote for the Gay Romance Northwest Magic and Mayhem charity anthology has been accepted! I don’t have a title yet, so I’ll have to brainstorm one up. I’m also very excited that my short story was accepted, because that means I will be an Attending Author for GRNW 2016.

Other than that, I’m still working on the sequel to Far Patrol. I haven’t gotten my editing mitts on for Far Patrol yet, but I’ll probably be working on it over the next few months. I really need to plan out the series arc for this, which I’m finding challenging. I haven’t written a series before, so it’s certainly an interesting learning curve.

I accidentally started writing on a story that’s been kicking around in my head which is about a trans lesbian detective named Louisa and a bisexual prostitute named Maggie who are trying to solve the murder of Maggie’s best friend Beth. I say “accidentally” because I haven’t started world-building or planning out the story arc yet. It just couldn’t be contained. Oh well, now I have to go print out a map of Victorian London. I’m going to make the world greenpunk, which means that this world’s Britain started using sustainable green energy instead of steam and coal power.

Anyway, that is what I’m doing right now. I hope you’re all doing well on your current projects, whatever they may be.

Nothing Like Author Copies

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I just received my author copies for the Damsels in Distress collection!

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This is always one of the most exciting parts of getting published, at least for me. I just like having the physical manifestation of my work. There are lots of things one can do with author copies, especially since the writer usually receives at least two copies.

I don’t know what I will do with the extra copy I received. I have a shelf dedicated to my author copies, although there are only six so far. Those ones are mine, and I sort of collect them in a dragon-esque way, like a hoard.

The fun thing about writing for a collection is that you get a physical copy of your work, and OTHER people’s work as well. I’m already anticipating reading everyone else’s stories.

I have received five different anthologies of work so far. I find a different thing to do with all of them.

Three of them are in a library of queer books in Vancouver, because I donated them. If you live in Vancouver, QMUNITY has them.

One of them is at a friend’s house, because they wanted to read all the trans and genderqueer stories in the Geek Out collection.

To be honest, that’s probably what will happen to the second one too. That’s the fun thing about being a queer author of queer books with queer friends: everyone wants to read your stuff.

Anyway, that was just me gloating over my author copies. Sorry about that, but it’s the one thing I don’t mind showing off.

The Nightwitches

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I’m still talking about some of the research I did for writing Sky Knights, which is being released on March 25th.

My last post didn’t really touch on the actions of the Night Witches, because I wanted to save it all for this one.

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Let me tell you about the Night Witches, or the Nachthexen, as they were known in German. The Germans named them such, because their planes coming in for a bombing run sounded like the whooshing of a broomstick. The Germans were terrified by these nightly assaults, as well they should be.

Marina Raskova

Marina Raskova

The 588th Night Bomber Regiment was one of three all-female air regiments in the Soviet Union’s 4th Air Army. All three regiments were created because of Marina Raskova, who used her influence with Stalin to convince him to allow their creation. The formation commander was Major Yevdokia Bershanskaya, an experienced pilot.

In October of 1943, the 588th was renamed the 46th Taman Guard Night Bombers Aviation Regiment, in recognition of their victories over the Taman peninsula.

Pilots in front of the Polikarpov PO2 biplane

Pilots in front of the Polikarpov PO2 biplane

The Nightwitches flew tiny little wooden biplanes that were meant to be used as crop-dusters or for training. They were very slow, but had a few very notable advantages. One of which was that the highest speed of the Polikarpov PO-2 was still slower than the stalling speed of both the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, the two German planes in most use. Another was that they could absorb quite a large amount of damage before going down.

There were a couple downsides. One, the plane could only carry two people, and the cockpit was open. Another was that the Polikarpov PO-2 didn’t have any navigation equipment, radar, radio, or even parachutes. It could only hold six bombs at a time.

Nadezhda Popova

Nadezhda Popova

The Nightwitches used a certain tactic against the Germans that was not only very effective in hitting bombing targets, but also in terrifying their enemies. This tactic was to cut or idle the engines of their plane, swoop in without the sound of their engine to give them away, drop their bombs, and then restart their engines in mid-flight. So the only warning that the Germans would get of their enemy’s incoming bombs was a swooshing noise before incendiary death came down upon them.

One of the most highly decorated members of the Nightwitches was Nadezhda Popova, the leader of the 2nd Women’s Regiment, who was given the distinction of the Hero of the Soviet Union, the Gold Star medal, the Order of Lenin, and three Orders of the Red Star. She made a total of 852 sorties over the course of the war. She was shot down three times, but was never badly wounded. Once, she made a supply run to drop food, water, and medical supplies to trapped forces and nearly didn’t make it back. On her return, she found her plane riddled with bullets, including her helmet, and her map! She survived the war, and lived to the ripe old age of 91.

Yevgeniya Rudneva

Yevgeniya Rudneva

Another of the Nightwitches was a navigator named Yevgeniya Rudneva, who was also decorated with the Hero of the Soviet Union. She was a third year university student studying mechanics and mathematics at Moscow State University when the war broke out. She was also a member of the Astronomical-Geodesical Society and Head of the Solar Department. She wrote to the head of the Astronomy department to tell him she was defending the honour of the university, as the Germans had dropped bombs on the university faculty building. She and her pilot were taken down by flak on her 645th combat mission.

These are just two examples of members of the Nightwitches, one pilot and one navigator, just like my characters Dounia and Ira.

I found out while researching that in 2001, there were plans to make a movie about the Nightwitches that fell through because American studios didn’t think it was feasible to market a movie in which the Nazi advance was halted by a bunch of teenage girls. It’s no wonder that women’s history is mostly forgotten if their stories aren’t told alongside men’s.

But I’m here to tell you that it did happen, and those ladies were pretty heroic.

My upcoming release of Sky Knights, starring my lesbian aviators Ira and Dounia, is to be released in just a few days. You can still preorder and save 15%.

Geek Out Blog Tour finished!

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Hello everyone! As promised, the whole Geek Out Blog Tour is here with all the links to every post. Check them all out, some of our blog tour stops still have giveaways going on! Not all of these are blog tour stops, actually, some are just blog posts by the authors about their books, but I thought I’d include them as part of the post so that everyone can find out more about this awesome collection.

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Alex Powell

Geek Out Blog Tour

Why Unicorns

Love Rampage Release Date

Love Rampage Blog Tour

Cecil Wilde

They is Awkward, but Important

Available for Preorder – Defying Convention

Alden Lila Reedy

Geek Out Collection – Alden Lila Reedy’s Manifest

J.K. Pendragon

Guest Post and Giveaway

Release Day: Double Take aka “Oops, I’m Dating Twins”

Kinks and Content Warnings

Caitlin Ricci

Writing Trans Characters

Guest Post and Giveaway

Francis Gideon

Geek Out Collection Tour – Sext-based Adventures

Guest Post and Giveaway

Alessandra Ebulu

Guestpost – Of Anime and the Baeci

Alison Evans

Knowing the Words

The Geek Out Collection is now available with Less Than Three Press!

Love Rampage release date

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Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for!

At least, I’ve been anxiously awaiting today for at least a month. Today is the release date for Love Rampage!

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As any author can tell you, waiting for a release date is like being on pins and needles for the entire day. Is my book doing well? Do people like it? What if my book actually sucks and no one noticed until now, but the readers will?

Luckily, I have a little reassurance.

First of all, I’m not alone! I’ve got seven other lovely authors who also have their stories coming out today in the Geek Out anthology. I’ve gotten to know a few of them pretty well, because right now, there’s a wonderful blog tour going on!

Check out Smoocher’s Voice, World of Diversity, and Love Bytes over the next few days for a chance to read about the books available and for a chance to enter a giveaway!

Blog Tour Schedule:

January 22nd: Alex Powell

January 23rd: Cecil Wilde

January 27th: Alison Evans

January 28th: Alden Lila Reedy

January 29th: Francis Gideon

January 31st: J.K. Pendragon

February 6th: Caitlin Ricci

February 7th: Francis Gideon

February 8th: Alessandra Ebulu

We have an awesome author chat coming up soon with Rainbow Gold Reviews, so I’ll tell you about that later!

I’d also like to share with you one of the great reviews that my book has already received! I’m actually really pleased with this review, because the reviewer definitely understood exactly what I was trying to do with the story.

So here it is! Bending the Bookshelf gave me an amazing review!

So that’s it everyone. Love Rampage is out today with Less Than Three Press, and it’s a book I’m particularly proud of. This is also the first book I’ve taken a really big role in trying to promote, so let’s see how that goes!

Why Unicorns?

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Hey all!

I’m doing a couple of stops on my blog dedicated to Love Rampage, which is being released on the 28th of January.

So some of you may be wondering: Why Unicorns?

First of all: I love unicorns

Second of all: my friend Laurence also loves unicorns, and he told me to write a story about a girl who was obsessed with unicorns. I have an inkling he might have been joking, but I have been known to write on ridiculous prompts before. I’ve dedicated this story to him, mostly because it was his prompt that got me writing this.

Before you ask: no, unicorn is not some sort of euphemism for something else. I really do mean that there is an actual unicorn in this story, and when I say “rampage,” I really do mean that literally.

Unicorns are magical creatures of myth that have been depicted by humans since antiquity. Most people think of unicorns as beings of purity, uncorrupted. They are usually depicted as having an affinity for virgins. In some tales, they can purify water or heal people with their powers.

I wanted to use the symbol of the unicorn to represent the purity of Maira’s love for Carol. Her worry that Carol will not love her because she is trans is something that she must overcome. She has to learn that her love is just as valid as anyone else’s.

Her love is pure, but I am not trying to suggest that either of these girls must be a virgin because of the presence of the unicorn. People may read it that way as they want, but the idea that one should remain pure of body, or that virginity will make one pure is something that I don’t want to spread. I do not agree with virgin idealization or with slut shaming, or with shaming anybody about their level of sexual experience.

Some people might say, “But Alex, those girls are just teenagers, they shouldn’t be having sex at their age!” Too bad. Some teenagers have sex, and that is the truth.

I also think of unicorns as creatures of adventure. Unicorns are untamed magical creatures, and I like to think that they would only approach those that are pure of heart and have good intentions. Maira certainly discovers what it is like to go on an adventure with the unicorn in this story!

And for anyone who used to love The Unicorns of Balinor series, or The Last Unicorn, or even The Black Unicorn by Tanith Lee, Maira might just be a girl after your own heart.

Thank you Laurence, for this idea, and for many others before it!

This is one of the stops on my blog tour for Love Rampage, so leave a comment below and your email address for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate with Less Than Three Press!