Rainbow Awards: To Summon Nightmares wins Best Transgender Fiction!

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I am beyond thrilled to announce that To Summon Nightmares received the award for Best Transgender Fiction in the 2015 Rainbow Awards today! This is my first time winning any sort of award for my writing, and I’m so glad it could be for this book, which is so very special to me. ^_^

I don’t have much to say besides a big thank you to all the readers and judges, (I’m so glad you enjoyed my book!) thank you to my fab publishers, Less Than Three Press, and a huge congratulations to all the To Summon Nightmaresother winners and runners up, particularly Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz, for their very well deserved awards of Best Transgender Romance and Best Transgender Book for The Burnt Toast B&B.

I also can’t help but hope that one day the pool of transgender fiction will be so large and full of talented authors, I’ll have absolutely no chance whatsoever of winning this kind of award. ^-^ In the meantime, I’m just excited to be part of a growing genre, and to be doing my part to make trans people like myself more visible in all sorts of different stories. And I’m going to savor my win, because this is pretty darn exciting.

Love you all, and hope you’re having a wonderful week!

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Release Day!

*toots party horn*To Summon Nightmares

*throws confetti*

Today’s the day! To Summon Nightmares is now available to purchase from these fine retailers:

Less Than Three Press
Amazon
Smashwords
All Romance Ebooks
iTunes
Barnes & Noble

The winner of the giveaway has been chosen, congrats Rebecca! If you didn’t win, there are still a couple of other giveaways open here and here.

I’ve received some lovely advanced reviews which are incredibly appreciated. Check them out here and here.

*cue heartwarming music, designer dress and gold statuette* I just want to thank everyone who helped make this book a reality, from my betas and early readers, to the editors and designers who worked so hard on it. Thank you to Less Than Three Press for their commitment to publishing diverse queer books, because to be able to read and write books about people like myself is still a dream come true. Thank you to everyone who follows me and shares my rambly blog posts (more where those came from) and to everyone who took the time to message me telling me how much the story meant to them. Holy crap, those are the best messages in the world!

Seriously though, it’s a really amazing thing to be a part of this awesome community and to get to do what I love. And know that my sarcastic, brittle heart is dying a little inside me from all this sappiness. But it’s true, goddamit!

Anyway, a writer’s work is never done! I’ve got more books and blog posts and smut to get to writing. Stay tuned, love you all!

And, of course, because what would my blog be without a million and five pictures of my cat, here she is in all her glory:

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Giveaway! $25 Amazon Gift Card + Free Copy of To Summon Nightmares by J.K. Pendragon

Giveaway-Graphic

Hello everyone!

To Summon Nightmares comes out in less than two weeks, so I’ve decided to host a giveaway!

The Rules:

  • To enter just leave a comment on this post with your email address.
  • The draw closes at midnight Pacific Time on November 4th. The winner will be contacted and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

The Prize:

  • A $25 Amazon gift card, delivered to you by email, and a free copy of To Summon Nightmares in the format of your choice, including ebook or print.

To Summon NightmaresAbout To Summon Nightmares:

Three years ago, Cohen Brandwein was “Ireland’s Favorite Daughter”, a popular teenage author and internet celebrity. But ever since he came out publicly as trans, the media’s treatment of him has been less than golden, and these days, Cohen is desperate for escape.

When he inherits an old house in the country, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to escape the press and work on his new book. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in a small town murder mystery and falling for the primary suspect, a man whose reality makes Cohen’s fantasy books seem like child’s play…

Length: 53,000 words
Pairing: m/m, trans
Available: November 4th
Price: $5.99 (pre-order to save 15%)

Read an Excerpt
Buy Link

Good luck, everyone!


Update:

The giveaway is now over! Congratulations, Rebecca, and thanks for playing everyone!

1 Month Countdown! – My Fears about Publishing Trans Romance

To Summon Nightmares comes out in just over a month, and I’m filled with both excitement and trepidation.

I’m excited because I honestly believe that it’s a great book, and I can’t wait to share it with the world. It’s probably the best book I’ve ever written, and at the time of writing it, it definitely was. There was a flow to the writing that hadn’t been there before. I knew what I was doing, and although I ended up having to scrap and rewrite quite a bit, I felt confident in my ability to make it To Summon Nightmaresbetter, and to really write something good. I believe that confidence is one of the best tools that an author can have. To make the audience believe that you know what you’re doing, to make the audience trust you, is invaluable.

On top of that I’ve had a couple of people who read early versions go out of their way to tell me how much they liked it, and that it was one of their favourites.

It’s also a subject that is very personal to me, and writing stories with transgender characters is something that I feel is incredibly important. In this story, the fact that Cohen is transgender isn’t just a medical condition from his past (although I think stories that have trans characters without revolving around that fact are important too.) He’s in the midst of the turbulence of transition, dealing with issues of self and self-image, and wrestling with dysphoria. I wanted to get up close and personal with Cohen’s dysphoria, and much of it is lifted directly from my experiences. It’s a story about a turning point, and writing it mirrored and became a turning point in my own life as well.

So the trepidation I’m feeling is because I suspect very strongly that it’s not going to sell well. I shouldn’t care so much, I know. I should be happy if it reaches a few readers who really love it. And it really isn’t about money (although money would be nice, haha.) My last book, Ink & Flowers, did phenomenally well. But hey, it was a contemporary romance with conventionally attractive gay cis boys. That’s what sells. Paranormal fantasy with a chubby trans lead? Probably not so much. I know I’m getting ahead of myself here, and it might end up selling very well.  I’m mostly trying to prepare myself for disappointment. But I’ve read plenty of testimonials from authors who want to write more trans characters, but unfortunately they rely on writing for their income, and trans stories, they say, just don’t sell.

I want to become a successful author with a wide reach. But I don’t want to have to sacrifice writing stories that mean something to me. (Not that I&F didn’t mean something to me, because it did, but so does Nightmares.) So what do I do?  And I know I’m not the first author to lament this. But I do want to be able to retire from my day job eventually. And I don’t want to stop writing trans characters either. The only solution I can think of is just to keep writing really, really good trans stories, and hope they catch on!

Anyway, after all that, I don’t want to be a huge douchewaffle and start pressuring you to buy my book. Instead I think I’ll link to a few romance books about trans characters by authors who I would love to see more trans stories from. If you would too, consider supporting these books!

A Matter of Disagreement by E.E. Ottoman
Breaking Free by Cat Grant
Wallflower by Heidi Belleau
Static by L.A. Witt

If you know of more, please feel free to link in the comments! And of course, you can pre-order To Summon Nightmares here.

And this blog post is now over the recommended length of 500 words, and doesn’t contain anything close to the optimal quota of cat pictures. So I’ll leave you with a photo of my cat and no more words, and that’ll have to do! Cheers!

Girls go crazy 'bout a sharp dressed cat.

On Love and Bad Parents

I write a lot of dysfunctional families. It’s something I like to explore, because it’s something close to me, and because I find the ways in which parents spectacularly fail to understand and empathize with their children fascinating.

Here’s the thing. The overwhelming parental l love that most people feel upon having a child is one of the most powerful things in the word, but it’s also, unfortunately, quite shallow.  This might seem cynical (and I won’t be surprised if I get some comments to the effect of “you don’t understand because you’re not a parent!!”), but compared to the love between romantic partners and friends, which is based on mutual respect, understanding, and shared values, parental love doesn’t require anything except, well, having a child.

There’s a quote from a video by Joji Grey that’s always stuck with me:

If someone says that they love you, but they refuse to accept you for who you are, then they don’t really love you. They love the idea of you.

And I think this is all too common, especially in cases of queer children. Parents will refuse to believe that their child is actually gay, or grieve the loss of their transgender child, even when said child is right there in front of them. And it’s not a nice feeling, being the queer child of a grieving parent and realizing that they are rejecting you in favour of a person who doesn’t even exist.

I also don’t imagine it’s a nice thing to think, as a parent, that you don’t love your child for who they are so much as just because they are your child. And I’m not saying that this love can’t be used as the base from which to grow a strong, respectful, healthy relationship, just that a lot of the time it isn’t. Parents assume that the unconditional love they feel for their child is a solid alternative to an actual relationship. Or worse, they assume that their child must be a certain way, or they wouldn’t love them so much. 

Anyway, I wanted to challenge the idea that parental love (especially a mother’s love for her child) is intrinsically a a pure, good thing. It’s portrayed that way a lot, but it doesn’t really fit with what I’ve been talking about. As I said before, love is powerful yes, but it isn’t necessarily good. In To Summon Nightmares, one of the villains, Kathleen, is compelled to carry out increasingly horrible tasks so that her sick daughter will continue to receive treatment. She knows that what she’s doing is wrong, and she hates doing it, but she feels that she can’t help herself. That she loves her daughter too much to let her die. 

Obviously that’s a bit more extreme than a parent refusing to accept their child’s homosexuality, but the point I’m getting at here is that just because someone does something “out of love” or for what they believe will be the benefit of their child, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a morally good action. It’s no good to make sacrifices, or to do anything really, on another person’s behalf before first acquiring that person’s consent. And loving someone doesn’t automatically equal knowing what’s best for them.

I think these things are really important thing to remember, both for parents, and for children, many of who feel like they are obligated to accept their parents love, no matter how toxic that love might be.


Rusted Antique Door Knob

Three years ago, Cohen Brandwein was “Ireland’s Favorite Daughter”, a popular teenage author and internet celebrity. But ever since he came out publicly as trans, the media’s treatment of him has been less than golden, and these days, Cohen is desperate for escape.

When he inherits an old house in the country, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to escape the press and work on his new book. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in a small town murder mystery and falling for the primary suspect, a man whose reality makes Cohen’s fantasy books seem like child’s play…

Available November 5th from Less Than Three Press
Pre-order
Goodreads

Release Day!

Ink & Flowers is officially available for purchase! Release day is always exciting. ^-^ Click here to read an excerpt and here to read a lovely review from Prism Book Alliance.

Buy here!Image


The other thing that’s up today is the first part of To Summon Nightmares, my supernatural trans* romance that is currently running as a serial with Less Than Three Press:

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Three years ago, Cohen Brandwein was “Ireland’s Favorite Daughter”, a popular teenage author and internet celebrity. But ever since he came out publicly as trans, the media’s treatment of him has been less than golden, and these days, Cohen is desperate for escape.

When he inherits an old house in the country, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to escape the press and work on his new book. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in a small town murder mystery and falling for the primary suspect, a man whose reality makes Cohen’s fantasy books seem like child’s play…

So, to give a bit more info than the blurb does, Cohen meets Niall, a man who has been imprisoned by an organisation called the Guild for the last five years. The Guild are studying Niall and his (now-ex) boyfriend Jacky because of the powerful magic they acquired in a demon summoning gone wrong. Niall and Jacky are now on the run from the Guild, and pursued by a witch. Niall doesn’t want to be recaptured by the Guild, but he also doesn’t want Jacky to go through with his plan to summon something even worse than a demon in order to punish the people who have wronged him (spoiler: Jacky’s gone off the deep end a bit.)

In the middle of all this is Cohen, who just wants to get on with working on his new book in peace. But it wouldn’t be much of an adventure if I let that happen.

It’ll be updating every two weeks, available to anyone who has a serial subscription (which, btw, gives you access to all sorts of goodies. Check out LT3’s current serials here.)

The first chapter is available to read free though. Check it out!

It’ll also be coming out in ebook and print later this year. ^-^


 

One more thing! There are still a few active giveaways on Goodreads:

Comment to win a copy of Ink & Flowers

Comment to win a 3-month subscription to LT3’s serial fiction!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day everyone!