News! The Fairy Gift Re-release – New Cover – #Trans wins Best LGBT Memoir/Biography at Rainbow Awards!

Hello everyone! Long time, no blog! I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful holiday season! I was actually down with a bad cold for most of the holidays, so I didn’t get much celebrating done. I did go and see The Shape of Water, which was excellent and filled the fishman-romance-shaped hole in my heart.

This blog post is just to share a couple different pieces of exciting news! First up, The Fairy Gift has been picked up for re-release by Less Than Three Press! A new, lightly polished second edition will be available for purchase on January 24th, and is has a new cover!

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It’s so pretty! @.@ If you haven’t read The Fairy Gift, it was my first published book, and it’s a fun, sexy fairy tale about a plain young man who receives seductive powers from a fairy and is dragged into a world of magic and romance. And brothels. If you’re up for a light, tropey read, check it out! Pre-order here.

The other exciting news is that the trans memoir anthology I contributed to, #Trans did really well at this year’s Rainbow Awards! It tied for first place in the LGBT Memoir/Anthology category, and got second place in Best Transgender Book. Here’s what they had to say about it:

1) Trans was somewhat painful to read – not by any fault of the author but as a collection of difficult and heartfelt stories it was heart wrenching, but I felt it was a book that needed to be written and will be loved by many.
2) I rather like that each piece was allowed to create it’s own setting. The diversity of the pieces was part of the power of the book. The voice of each essay allowed me to glimpse into different worlds and gave me a clearer understanding of many things.
3) #Trans brings use collection of genuine stories from transgender and non-binary writers who share their heartfelt experiences and insightful thoughts on identity formation and how it has been impacted by technology, film, literature, social media, and music. Well written and edited, this is a must read for youth and adults.
4) #Trans is by turns academic, thoughtful, and provocative, providing insights and deconstruction of what it means to occupy a body in space and time… and how the internet has made it more possible than ever to find the others asking those same questions.
5) Thought provoking and informative, well written and edited, I really loved this book. It sparked quite a few family discussions! 
This was a total departure for me, but I’m really happy with how the anthology came out, and super proud of how well-received it’s been. Evelyn did an amazing job with it!
Well, I think that’s everything. I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year, and gets to read lots of excellent books. As usual, here is a picture of my cat being cute this Christmas:
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Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

Sea Lover is Now Available!

Today is the day! Sea Lover is now available on the LT3 website, and available for download if you pre-ordered!

I’m really excited for this book, and really thrilled that it’s been getting some positive reviews, because I truly wrote it just as the kind of book that I wanted to read. There’s no huge world-threatening conflict or angsty misunderstandings or anything like that. It’s mostly just two characters spending time together and falling in love. While I could happily spend a whole book just reading about characters talking and hanging out and getting to know each other, I was worried that it might not interest other people, so I’m really pleasantly surprised by the response so far.

The main character of Sea Lover is also a trans man who is post-transition. And in the first draft, I actually had his transness be more of a big deal, including a big revelation to his friends and resulting angst about that. But I came to realise that while that is a perfectly valid storyline for some trans stories, it wasn’t for this story and this character. Ian is a person who has transitioned and moved on, the way a lot of trans people do, and I think it was most true to his character to have that be the extent of it. While a lot of trans people are activists and continue to be open and vocal about their experiences throughout their lives, there are just as many trans people who want to transition and then leave that behind them and continue living a quiet, private life. Ian is one of those people, and I hope that maybe some trans readers can identify with him, and perhaps see something to look forward to, if they’re in the midst of a stressful transition.

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled enough. ^-^ Please check out the blurb and link below if you’re interested. Right now, Sea Lover is only $2.39 to buy!

Thanks for reading!


SeaLover

Ian is happy with his life in a remote Canadian fishing town, where he has only the sea and his fishing crew for company. People say being alone is terrible, but he’s never had any problems with it.

Then his peaceful life is thrown into upheaval when he finds an injured merman washed up on the shore. With no idea what else to do, Ian takes the merman home and nurses him back to health.

But as he helps S’mika heal, a bond begins to form, and Ian starts to wonder if maybe there is more to life than being alone…

Buy Now from LT3!
Amazon
Smashwords
Add on Goodreads

All The News! Cover Reveal, Tattoo, Print Copies etc….

Hello, everyone! Long time, no blog! I’ve been taking it easy, enjoying my new place, intermittently battling the great depression beast, as you do. I haven’t been writing at all, something I hope will change soon, but I have been editing and preparing for a couple of new releases, as well as preparing for GRNW in September! So, to that end, I have a bunch of stuff to share with you guys! Hold on, lemme get my camera.

Okay, so first off, these babies arrived:

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They are gorgeous, and I wish I could bring them with me to GRNW, but they don’t come out until November! *pout* But I think I’m going to see about maybe doing an advance giveaway possibly maybe. We’ll see. Anyway, next up is these!

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Please ignore the typo on the back. Oh great, now you can’t because I drew attention to it. Go me. I seriously can’t believe I didn’t notice that but… ah well, what can you do? Nobody’s perfect. They are still glorious and rainbow, and I’ll probably be handing them out at GRNW (with candy bribes attached!)

ALSO, I’m going to be on a panel at GRNW! It’ll be Trans Authors on Characters, Stories and Industry. We have an amazing line-up of trans authors, and it should be a pretty great panel! I’ll also be at the book fair selling books and just hanging out, if you want to come and talk to me!

So JUNIOR HERO BLUES is coming out November 7th (go pre-order!) but I also have another romance novella coming out sometime after that! No blurb or release date yet, but I just got the cover, so I have to show it off! It’s by the wonderful Aisha Akeju who like, takes images directly out of my brain and turns them into covers (she is obviously a witch) and this one is no different!

SeaLover

Perfect, right? Sea Lover is a fairly low-key, sweet romance between a seal-merman and a reclusive fisherman who finds him on the beach. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I can’t wait to share more!

And finally, in personal matters, I finally got a new tattoo!

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Taking pictures of your right arm with your left hand: surprisingly difficult. Anyway, it’s based off of the designs at Newgrange, and I couldn’t be more in love with how it came out. The placement, the size, even the fact that it looks like it was drawn by a human, and not a machine, are all exactly what I wanted. I actually didn’t know the exact placement I wanted going in, so I let the artist (Deborah at Unicus Studios) decide how it would look best, and she came up with this kind of off-centre position that I think looks so great and organic.

This one hurt like a mother-fucker too. Inside arm, and she had to start with a thin line and then go over it multiple times to thicken them. Ouch. It’s still quite tender and sore today, but it seems to be healing well. You can tell in the picture it’s still at that awkward healing, slightly swollen stage, but I’ll post photo updates on my twitter  to show how it comes out!

Thanks everyone for reading! 2016 has been an awesome year so far, and I hope it continues that way. Stay tuned for more info about Sea Lover, and a Junior Hero Blues giveaway.

Oh, and one more thing. No blog post is complete without this face:

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She loves the camera.

J.K. Pendragon’s Witchy Giveaway!

~GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. THANKS EVERYONE!~

Hello everyone! Welcome to my giveaway to celebrate the release of my new f/f fantasy novella Witch, Cat and Cobb which comes out October 14th! I’m going to be giving away a collection of fun Halloween-themed goodies plus a free copy of the Witch, Cat and Cobb ebook!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment with your email address on this post. You can also get multiple entries by sharing (or reblogging, retweeting etc.) this post on any social media platform you like! Just leave a comment with a link to the place(s) where you shared it (your twitter, tumblr page, facebook etc.) and your username on that platform so that I can see and add your entries.

Have a look at the photos and list of giveaway items below and please leave a comment and share!

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Giveaway Includes:

-One free copy of the Witch, Cat and Cobb ebook, any format
-Spiced Elixer ‘Liquorice and Snake Weed’ mason jar candle
-Wood Craft ‘Cracklin’ Fire’ candle
-Halloween-themed mug with adorable owls
-Set of handmade aluminum earrings
-Light up paper lantern
-Orange glass candle holder
-Witch’s hat with headband
-Ceramic witch’s hut figurine
-Halloween socks. They are very cute and have pumpkins on them.

Here are a few more pictures of the goods:


Finally, here’s the cover and blurb for Witch, Cat and Cobb:

WitchCatCobb

Witch, Cat and Cobb
Available: October 14th, 2015
Wordcount: 20,000
Price: $3.39
Genre: Fairy Tale, Lesbian, Trans

Destined for an arranged marriage she wants nothing to do with, Princess Breanwynne decides that the only option for escape is to run away. Upon the announcement of this plan, her trusted pet cat reveals he can talk by asking that she take him along. Listening to his suggestion to venture into the lair of the Swamp Witch proves to be a very bad idea, but Breanwynne would rather face a witch any day than be forced to marry a prince.

Pre-order Here!


Limit one comment entry per person, but you can share as many times and in as many places as you like! The draw ends October 14th, which is when WC&C comes out, and that’ll give me time to ship it to you hopefully in time for Halloween! You must be willing to provide me with a mailing address by email to enter obviously, too.

Thanks for reading, and good luck everyone!

GRNW is Happening!

Hi all! As I’m writing this, Alex Powell is driving down from Prince George to stay the night here, and then tomorrow we are heading down to Seattle for Gay Romance Northwest!

If you haven’t heard of it, GRNW is a convention and book festival open to everyone! On Friday night there will be a reading at the Hugo House, and then on Saturday there will be the conference and panels at the Seattle Public Library, followed by a Bookfest where you can meet authors, pick up swag and buy books. There will also be a bunch of books being given away!

I’m going to be on a panel called Celebrating and Elevating Underrepresented Characters in Queer Romance Fiction. My co-panelist all seem really cool, and I think it’ll be a great discussion! Then I’ll have a table at the bookfest, where I’ll be selling paperbacks. If you want copies of Geek Out, The Fairy Gift, To Summon Nightmares or Ink & Flowers to add to your collection, this is your chance! Also please feel free to come and talk to me, I promise I don’t bite, and I’m reasonably friendly. ^-^ I’ll also probably be furiously tweeting the whole time, so you can follow me @JKPendragon to keep updated on what’s happening.

We’re going to be in Seattle for a few days, so if there’s anything you think I should check out while I’m down there, please let me know in the comments!

Finally, since this post is a little short, I’m going to include and excerpt from Witch, Cat and Cobb, my f/f fantasy novella coming out in October. Please enjoy, and I hope to see you in Seattle this weekend!


I awoke to yelling outside my window. Disconcerted for a moment, I threw the blanket off and tripped over a pile of broken wands, then climbed up onto the tower of books under the windowsill to poke my head out, squinting in the bright sunshine.

It was the witch who was shouting. She was wearing a purple nightgown with the sleeves shoved up and wielding a broomstick at some invisible foe in the garden.

“I said out! You’ve ruined my cabbages with your bloody little swords! Try sticking each other with them sometime!”

“Is everything alright?” I shouted, and the witch looked up at me, her eyes wide and her hair a mess.

“Does it look alright?” she shouted back, and whacked her broom against the ground once more. I could have imagined it, but I thought I heard tiny, high-pitched squealing as she did so. “No!” she yelled at the ground. “I don’t want to hear about property titles!”

I pulled my head back in the window and looked around the room. The cobwebs and clouds of dust that I had kicked up in my scramble to the window would have looked pretty illuminated by the morning light were they not so disgusting. I thought about shouting out the window that the room was filthy, but thought better of it, as the witch obviously had enough on her plate that morning. Instead I hauled myself over to the door and went into the bathroom.

I figured out how to use the facilities by snapping my fingers fairly quickly, and spent a few minutes trying to salvage the mess that was my newly short hair in the mirror before giving up and heading out into the kitchen. The witch was there. She had changed into a very nice black and blue dress and had tamed her hair considerably, and she was currently pouring tea into a small shallow bowl for Fen to drink.

“Good morning,” she said evenly as I entered. “Please, sit. Tea.”

They sounded more like orders than suggestions, so I merely nodded and sat quietly at the table as she poured me a tankard of tea. I looked around at the kitchen, noticing that most of the counters, shelves and even the table we were sitting at had been molded from the same pale-orange clay used to make the walls of the house.

“Did you make this place?” I asked as the witch poured herself a mug of tea and sat across from me.

She nodded. “I’ve never been much of an architect, I’m afraid, but it stays together alright.”

“It’s not very elvish,” I commented.

The witch stared at me over the brim of her cup. Her eyes were a deep purple and her brows sharp and intimidating. “No,” she said. “I suppose it isn’t.”

Fen sneezed into his tea.

“Don’t expect to be the beneficiary of my hospitality for long, cat,” said the witch, giving him a sharp glare before returning her gaze to me. “And I’m not in the business of providing free room and board either. What is it you intend to do with yourself now that you’ve run away from all your responsibilities?”

“I don’t know,” I admitted, taking a sip of the tea. It was a rich black blend with a hint of sweetness to it. “I didn’t assume I’d stay away forever. Just until the Saishen Prince is married to someone else.”

“You’re engaged to the elf prince?”

“Yes.” I rested my chin on my fist. “It’s supposedly a long overdue political move. My father was supposed to marry the Saishen princess twenty years ago, but she disappeared.”

“I know that much,” said the witch. She stood, taking the black teapot from the fireplace and pouring a large dollop of it into her cauldron. “I do go into town occasionally. But I haven’t been in a few months, so your engagement must have been fairly recent. Hmm.” She leaned over the cauldron and sniffed, before making a critical face and turning to the table to sift through the herbs.

I took another sip of tea and crossed my arms. “They eventually gave up on the princess, and my father married my mother, and then he died only a few years later. Maybe an alliance between Priia and Saishen just isn’t to be.”

The witch selected what looked like a bay leaf and dropped it into the cauldron, prompting a display of pink and green sparks and a loud bang, followed by a poof of grey smoke. “So dramatic.” She coughed, waving the smoke away with her long sleeves. “So, you expect me to allow you to stay here, free of charge, for however many months it takes them to decide that you are dead and marry the Saishen prince off to someone else. Then what, you’ll return to the castle and marry whatever prince they pick out for you next? What’s so bad about the elf prince?”

“She doesn’t want to marry a prince at all,” said Fen from under the table where he’d taken cover from the smoke. “She’s dreaming of a princess.”

“Shut up, Fen!” I snapped. “She doesn’t have to be a princess.”

“Right,” said Fen. “You would have married that serving girl if she hadn’t run off with the duke.”

I scowled at him. “I liked you better when you didn’t talk.”

“And as for you,” said the witch. “Fen, is it now? Silly name. Who chose it?”

“I did,” I said quietly.

The witch looked stricken for a moment. “Oh. Well, it’s an alright name for a cat, I suppose.” She turned back to Fen. “You want to be human? What will you do for me?” She took a step towards Fen, who cowered under the table.

“What do you expect me to do for you?” he squawked. “I’m a cat! Very little in the way of things cats can do, actually. You’d be surprised.”

“Pest control,” said the witch.


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Witch, Cat and Cobb comes out October 14th from Less Than Three Press! You an pre-order it here and save 15%.

Thanks for reading, and hope to see some of you soon!

Update: Personal Stuff, GRNW and Witch, Cat and Cobb

Hey guys, remember when I was blogging every week? *gun fingers* Yeah… so much for that.

Well, I thought I’d post an update, about what’s going on with me and writing news and such. First off, the reason I’ve stopped blogging. I have a tendency to burn out. I push myself too hard, and suddenly I’m unable to do anything for months. I think that’s what happened here. As most of my readers probably know, I do struggle with depression, and that can sometimes affect my productivity. In this case, it was happening so slowly that I didn’t notice how bad it had gotten until I started disassociating. I would have episodes where I felt completely disconnected and like my brain was malfunctioning. Those episodes scared me enough that I decided to see my doctor about them.

I talked with him for a little bit, and then I asked him if I could try out anti-depressants. He didn’t push me into it or anything, it was my decision. For a long time I was really afraid of taking medication. I was sort of afraid that it would change me as a person. I’d gotten used to living with depression, the idea of existing without it seemed scary. But the real big reason I think I resisted going on medication for so long was our cultural perception of anti-depressants.

On a whole, I think people see anti-depressants as a sort of crutch. Like something people take to make them artificially happy, that’s ultimately bad for them. People without depression find it hard to understand how someone can’t just choose to be happy. How positive thinking and healthy living can’t just solve everyone’s problems. But the truth is, there are some people who just need medication. People with diabetes need medicine for it, people with low iron need supplements. Many transgender people need hormone replacement therapy. They have a medical condition that causes their body to not produce a certain chemical that they need, so they supplement it with medication. Most people can understand this, but when it comes to someone’s brain being low on a chemical and needing a supplement, suddenly they don’t like the idea. (As a side note, there actually are people that don’t even like the idea of sick people taking the medication they need, which many chronically ill people can attest to, but that’s a topic for another blog post.)

And it’s true that depression and anxiety can sometimes be caused by outside sources, and sometimes it’s better to treat it without medication, but honestly, I tried for years to alter my lifestyle, get rid of stressors, get to a point in my life where I was honestly happy. And I was… or I would have been, if it wasn’t for my depression. So that, combined with the fact that depression runs in my family, led me to the conclusion that my depression was not caused by my lifestyle, but by  a lack of chemicals in my brain. So I decided to try anti-depressants, and see if they worked.

Guess what. They did. I’ve been on cipralex for a couple of months now, and I’m definitely feeling better. I still have down days, but they’re interspersed with days where I just feel happy. Not happy about anything, just a sort of satisfied, peaceful relief at the lack of constant sadness and despair. On top of that, my anxiety is loads better. I actually do feel like a different person, but in a good way. Suddenly I’m not scared of things the way I used to be. I can talk about personal things, casually discuss LGBT issues with people without panicking and shaking. And it’s big picture stuff too. I’m thinking about medically transitioning. Something I never before considered, because the idea of talking to medical professionals, and explaining the changes in my body to acquaintances used to fill me with terror. Now it feels like something I can handle.

What else? My energy levels are up. I’m not constantly sore. Instead of needing to spend days in bed to recover from work, I can actually go out and do stuff on my days off. I’ve got ideas about starting an etsy shop. And hey, I’m writing again. Not a lot. I seem to go through phases where I write 6K a week, and then stop entirely for a couple of months and slowly get back into it. I’m hoping that if I continue to improve and get more energy and motivation, I can become more consistent and productive. Until then, I’m happy to produce what I can, and write and publish books on my own time.

So… that’s the first topic covered… this post is gonna be a doozy. I’ll try to keep the rest pretty short. The big news (that’s not really news at this point) is that I’m going to be attending Gay Romance Northwest this year!

I’ll be travelling down with my good friend and fellow LGBT author Alex Powell, along with my supportive boyfriend. Unfortunately the LT3 Press crew aren’t going to be able to make it this year, but I have a bunch of paperbacks en route to me, which I’ll be bringing along to sell. I’ll have copies of The Fairy Gift, Ink & Flowers, To Summon Nightmares and Geek Out for purchase. On top of that, I’m also going to be on a panel (yikes!) although I’m not sure which one quite yet. I’ll announce it on twitter as soon as I find out.

I’m so excited (and significantly less anxious) to meet some of the readers and fellow authors that I’ve known online for years and never gotten the chance to meet in person. If you’re going to be in Seattle in September, please drop by, and if you see me, please feel free to come and talk to me! I’ll do my best to be friendly and non-intimidating.

And finally, with this blog post nearing 1K, I have to remind everyone that my darling f/f fantasy, Witch, Cat and Cobb is available for pre-order, and release day is October 14th!

I’m really, really excited about this story. It’s funny, light-hearted, and I basically just let loose with my love of Harry Potter and Diana Wynne Jones.  I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I’m super excited to share it with readers. The release date is right around Halloween too, so I’ve got all sorts of witchy giveaway ideas brewing. Anyway, have a look at the official blurb and cover, and please consider pre-ordering if runaway princesses, talking cats and grumpy swamp witches seem like your cup of tea. (Also, trans characters, yay!)

WitchCatCobb

Witch, Cat and Cobb

Available: October 14th, 2015
Wordcount: 20,000
Price: $3.39
Genre: Fairy Tale, Lesbian, Trans

Destined for an arranged marriage she wants nothing to do with, Princess Breanwynne decides that the only option for escape is to run away. Upon the announcement of this plan, her trusted pet cat reveals he can talk by asking that she take him along. Listening to his suggestion to venture into the lair of the Swamp Witch proves to be a very bad idea, but Breanwynne would rather face a witch any day than be forced to marry a prince.

Pre-order Here!

Thanks for reading! And thank you to my readers for putting up with my absence and silence while I work on recovering and building up my strength. I hope to have more content (of both the book and blog variety) soon. Thanks guys! Have a picture of my cat!

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Witch, Cat and Cobb Cover Reveal! + Giveaway

I know, I should probably wait until I have a release date and a blurb and all that jazz, but I just couldn’t wait to show this off!

Check it out!

WitchCatCobb

Tada!

Isn’t it amazing?? It’s by Aisha Akeju, who also did the covers for Ink & Flowers, Geek Out and Double Take. I’m so consistently impressed by her skills, especially her uncanny ability to create covers that fit the stories so perfectly. This one is no exception!

With a cover like this, I don’t even feel like I need to explain the story too much. Suffice it to say, there’s magic, elves, a talking cat, and a princess and a witch who fall in love. I’m just so excited for this story, and thrilled with the cover! ^-^

To celebrate, I’m  giving away a $15 gift card for LT3’s book market! Leave a comment with your email address by the end of May to win!

Update: Giveaway has ended. Congrats Lore Graham!

Thanks for reading! Oh, I almost forgot, this month I’m Less Than Three Press’s featured author! You can save 20% off all my ebooks using the code PENDRAGON in LT3’s book market! Check out my books here!

Cheers, and don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered!

LT3’s Flash Sale: The Deets

Vector Graphic Design Button and Labels Template. Color paint sp

Less Than Three Press is having their sixth anniversary! There are three things happening:

  • 20% off all their books! (25% off paperbacks)
  • A raffle! For every book you buy in April, you’ll be entered to win a prize! The grand prize is a Kindle Fire, and then there’s books and gift cards as well.

And finally, the flash sale, which is what I’m here to tell you about today! Each day of April there will be a new book on for 50% off. I’m not allowed to tell you when all the books are going to be available, but Sasha has promised not to smite me if I tell you that:

Touch of Mistletoe

A Touch of Mistletoe will be 50% off April 2nd! It’s a cute collection of Christmas stories about people falling in love with the help of mistletoe. What do you mean you don’t want to read about Christmas in April? Of course you do.

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Geek Out (the whole collection!) will be 50% off April 8th! This collection is absolutely fantastic and like, groundbreaking and stuff. It features a whole bunch of diverse stories about trans (including genderqueer) characters, and a lot of the authors are trans too, which is awesome. Just a really great collection of stories that I wholeheartedly recommend.

and….

To Summon Nightmares

To Summon Nightmares will be 50% off April 12th! This is a pretty good book, if I do say so myself. ^-^ It’s gotten some pretty awesome reviews, including one by KJ Charles (which I’m still squeeing about, lemme tell you.) It’s creepy and dark, but also full of magic and an adorable trans main character, and basically you should read it. But like, don’t let me tell you what to do.

*

If you follow me on my twitter or tumblr, I’ll be squawking about them closer to the dates too, to remind you. Also follow LT3’s twitter, facebook and tumblr to keep up with all the other flash sales! (Wow that was a lot of links. This blogging thing is hard, guys.)

Aaaand I think that’s it! Thanks for reading. Go forth and buy many books!

But first, look at this picture of my cat:

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Non-Consent, Shame and Female Sexuality

(Trigger warning for discussion of rape and dysphoria in this post.)

I’m completely ridiculous and can’t figure out how to embed a storify on here, so I’m just going to link to it. Go ahead and read: https://storify.com/7sigma/noelle-on-50-shades-of-grey

I wanted to talk about this. The truth is, while we all seem to get a kick out of bashing Fifty Shades of Grey for its abuse and lack of consent, we never seem to want to talk about the fact that it is far from the only romance novel to contain these themes. The romance genre has a long history of “bodice rippers” (I know, I said it.) Stories about women being manipulated or forced into marrying and/or having sex with a man they harbour secret desires for but don’t initially consent to. It’s problematic as fuck. But far more useful than bashing women for what they like, I think, would be to examine why exactly they do like it. In this case, I think Noelle and Christina hit the nail on the head. Fantasies about being forced into sex are common in large part because they allow women to fantasize about sex without having the feel guilty about their sexuality.

And I want to state here that I’m coming at this from a partial outsiders perspective, because I’m not a woman. I’m a genderqueer individual, so I’m not a man or a woman. But I was raised and socialized female, and so I grew up experiencing the shame and demonization of my anatomy and sexuality in ways that almost all women do. Did you know that it’s incredibly common for women to experience intense feelings of shame and guilt after masturbating? It’s embedded in our culture for women to feel bad for everything, for speaking up, for taking up space, for having sex, and yes, for enjoying it. “Sorry” is one of the words I say most often while having sex, and I know I’m not alone in that.

“By fantasizing about non-consent women can relinquish responsibility, and guilt, for their sexual desires.”

Women are taught to feel bad for wanting sex. It’s hard to enjoy yourself when you’re feeling guilty. In reality, being raped is a horrible experience, but in a fantasy where you secretly want it, but don’t have to deal with the guilt of admitting that you do, it can be an escape.

That makes me uncomfortable. I think it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I’s easier to bash the surface aspects of 50SOG like the bad writing, the cases of the author behaving badly, and the way it’s been lauded as a how-to manual for sex, rather than talk about the fact that it, and a lot of other erotica out there are catering to a demand. A demand that our society has created by telling women that they are not allowed to initiate or want sex without feeling guilty about it.

And this actually crosses directly into the M/M romance genre as well. M/M romance and fan-fiction are much more popular than their F/F counterparts, and a lot of their appeal is, again, an escape for women. Reading about sex without having to associate with the body parts that we’ve been socialized to be terrified of and disgusted with is a huge relief. That’s why I’m also kind of wary when people bash women and call them misogynistic for not wanting to read stories with female sexuality in them.

Yes, it’s a problem when women are so disgusted by their own anatomy that they can’t even get off reading about it. It’s a problem when women can only get off to stories about them being forced into sex. It’s misogyny plain and simple. But it’s not women’s fault that they’ve been socialized like this. And I don’t want to stand around and bash women for wanting to use fiction to escape their oppression for a short while. That’s one of the reasons we have fiction. To escape reality.

But fiction also helps us view our reality more critically when we look back at it. It’s a long road, unlearning that disgust for female sexuality that we’ve grown up with. I’m not there yet. And it certainly doesn’t help that I feel guilty for preferring to read and write stories about men. But I do want to change it. I don’t like that I’m a bisexual person who can’t properly appreciate female sexuality. I want to push myself to appreciate women. I want to learn to stop saying sorry.

I’m also angry that society has done this to me. I’m angry that I can’t even tell how bad my dysphoria is, because I don’t know how much of the disconnect I feel to my body is intrinsic to me, and how much of it I’ve been taught. I’m angry that I feel guilty. And that I feel guilty for being guilty. It’s a never ending cycle.

So what do we do? I’m making an effort to read and write more F/F, even if it makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m forcing myself to give female characters a chance, to give them the same attention and love that I do male characters. But I’m also going to keep letting myself escape into male sexuality, and I’m not going to judge women who escape into non-consent fantasies. I just think it’s important to be critical, and understand why we’re feeling this way. Because that’s the first step to changing it.

In closing, here’s a fantastic, older post by E.E. Ottoman that delves into the topic of female sexuality and lesbian romance in more depth. Required reading IMO, as it put me on the path to being critical of the internalized shame I feel about female sexuality.

As always, thanks for reading! I’d love to hear opinions in the comments.

SEAN BEEEEEEEE!!!!!–ahem, I mean: My Thoughts on Jupiter Ascending

So my reaction to this movie was pretty similar to a lot of other reviewers’. Basically: “It was so awful, BUT I LOVED IT.” There were so many things wrong with the movie, but it somehow managed to keep me riveted and genuinely enjoying it for the duration, and I’m not sure why.

Things wrong with this movie:

  • The romance is AWFUL. We’re supposed to believe that the characters have fallen in love with each other, in fact large parts of the plot depend on this, but like… it would be literally impossible for the characters to fall in love because they don’t know anything about each other because there’s nothing to know?
    • Seriously, who are these people? I know nothing about them. I mean, I know that Jupiter is an immigrant maid and Caine is a disgraced soldier, but their personalities? Interests? Hopes and dreams? What do they do in their spare time? What do they think about… about anything? I got nothing.
    • And it’s really, really not that hard to write a convincing romance, and flesh out the characters at the same time. All you have to do is take out five minutes of explosions, and add five minutes of the characters talking quietly, sharing some intimate details about each other while looking into each others’ eyes, because that’s how people fall in love!!
  • The Wachowskis don’t have time for your “show don’t tell” bullshit. There are things happening! More things are happening! Explosions! Aliens! We can’t possibly slow down long enough to explain all this stuff to you by showing. Listen up while this character explains everything in quick soundbites, because that’s all we got time for. More things!
  • Jupiter has no agency. I’m sorry, she doesn’t. She is dragged around, manipulated, she falls a lot, and is caught by Caine. She makes one very big decision at the end, but other than that, she’s basically a pawn.

HOWEVER:

  • It kind of works? Jupiter is kind of every 14-year-old’s wish fulfillment. She gets to leave her boring, monotonous life and discovers that she’s a SPACE PRINCESS and omg everyone is paying attention to her and she gets to wear pretty dresses and go toe-to-toe with clever sparring diplomat-types. And there’s a mysterious, brooding guy with his shirt off a lot, and he’s a little scary and she probably shouldn’t be into him, but she is anyway, and no one can tell her no. Oh, and she gets a fancy glowing tattoo that shows that she’s a princess. SO COOL.
  • The breakneck “this is the way it is, okay ACTION!” actually kind of works too? You kind of feel like you’ve already been here, like either you’ve already been introduced to this world, and the soundbites are just for the newbies, or else like this is just the way things are, and you should know about it because, um, you live here.
  • Sean Bean is an alien bee guy, but also inexplicably northern (probably because “lots of planets have a north” x) He’s part bee, guys! SEAN BEE!
  • Eddie Redmayne. I seriously can’t. He’s an ancient space capitalist with a tortured, evilpast, and I TOTALLY BOUGHT IT. I can’t even argue about this.
  • There’s a space-ship with a plucky crew a la Firefly, and I’m not sure where they came from or why they’re helping Jupiter, but the captain is a badass black lady and I’m totally down.
  • This film is BEAUTIFUL. It just is, it’s glorious. Rich sumptuous colours, lots of burnished golds and hardwoods, and then giant cathedral-looking factories on Jupiter (the planet) and a gorgeous planet that looks like Rivendell in space, and really cool, well-thought out space-ship designs, and the 3D is EXCELLENT. I actually flinched from something coming towards me at one point, because I’d forgotten I was wearing the glasses.
  • The plot is actually really good too. A lot of people complain about it being predictable and/or confusing, but I really, really enjoyed it, and thought it was well done.

I mean, I could go on about it for ages, but the fact is, even though there were glaring issues with the film, I really did enjoy it. And I wonder if that says something about what we think a film needs to have to be a “good film” and whether or not it’s true. I wonder if it says something about our review culture that we can fill in a check box like, “this film did this wrong and this wrong and this wrong and therefore it’s a bad film” but it’s really not?

Or maybe movies lately have just been so bad that the bar is set really low. I don’t know. All I know is that I got genuine enjoyment out of this movie, despite my being able to tell, theoretically, that it was a “bad movie.” And I think that’s really interesting.

Also, the space-scapes are awesome.