As some readers may already know, Robin and I are queer. Both of us are pansexual, and I identify as genderfluid. Thus, our stories are filled with queer characters.
In The Grasp of Time, among our named characters, there are:
one gay man
and a celibate, aromantic psychopath no one should try to get close to
Many of our characters are gender non-conforming, yet still cisgender, however one character is genderfluid, another is non-binary. That’s six heterosexuals to twelve queer people. Because if we can’t put representation into our own stories, what’s the point?
In future books, there will be asexual characters, openly transgender characters, and people who don’t fit into neat categories in the least (Khraesch certainly doesn’t). As with everything, I have a spreadsheet for this.
In Cress and the Medicine Show, three trickster gods (from or through Africa) assist a young woman in her escape from slavery. Because this novelette touches on the violent reality of slavery, it is not intended for small children, despite what the art would imply.
This story came from a dream that led to extensive research to bring it to the page. Though I put the words together, and worked toward accuracy and with respect, this story isn’t mine. My ancestors weren’t forced to come to the Americas as slaves. I didn’t grow up fighting against systemic racism just to exist. I’ve benefited from white privilege, and believe in individual reparations. That’s why, throughout February and every February thereafter, any royalties earned from this book in any format* will be donated to Black Lives Matter–100%. Throughout the rest of the year, 50% of royalties will also be applied to BLM or local organizations that support PoC in my area (the Greater Seattle Area).
In addition, if you’re an educator working with high school-aged teens or young adults in college and wish to see if this story would support your curriculum, I’ll happily send you a .pdf. You only need send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Free Copy of Cress.” You’ll be given a teacher-specific copy that includes permission to print for the purposes of education.
If you’d prefer to not purchase the book, but would rather donate directly to Black Lives Matter, you can donate here. Another excellent way to offer individual reparations is through Reparations started by Natasha Marin.
Thank you to the people who fought (and all too frequently died) for equal rights, and those who continue to lead the path toward equality. I wish to acknowledge some of my heroes from childhood through now, many of whom fought to do the work they loved and faced violence and ridicule, or fought at the forefront of human rights issues, usually at grave danger to themselves:
*Full Disclosure: on Amazon, I earn $1 for every Kindle copy of Cress sold, and $2.20 for every print copy. On Barnes & Noble, I receive 40% of the sale price on the Nook version, and $0.75 per print copy. During February 100% of these royalties will be donated to Black Lives Matter as soon as the payments are distributed to my bank account.
**Not a real person, but one of my favorite superheroes. I look forward to seeing more comics featuring her, and children cosplaying her.
When going through the final editorial pass before handing The Grasp of Time to our editor, I found myself brought to tears over WildFeather (a.k.a. Aeri). Not over some tragedy in her future, but of her in those early moments, when Eila meets her for the first time.
Since the whole series is mapped out to some extent (the first four books are in some stage of completion, and the last four have their basic structures in place), I know far more about her than I did when we first played out those introductory scenes. Seeing the whole situation from Aeri’s point of view in those moments broke my heart because her words carry so much more weight now than they did when we’d only begun to meet these characters ourselves.
She’s one of my favorites in this series. Always will be. And if you’ve read The Grasp of Time already and loved her, then I have good news. You’ll see her again in Seal Breaker, and several of the other books in the series.
In case I haven’t talked about it enough, The Grasp of Time, launched on November 18th, and is available in print, Kindle, and Nook formats. Better yet? Robin and I now have a site intended to entice new readers, and satisfy current ones, regarding the Amakai series, of which TGoT is the first book.
It currently has fresh content, including a few glossaries, some random trivia, art, and neat links to our amazing team who made the first book’s launch possible.
While I’ll continue to make announcements here about progress on the series (along with my other work), the majority of the information specific to the series, including soundtracks, book trailers, artwork, and so forth, will be found there. And unlike Satyr’s Garden, the Amakai Series web site is one both Robin and I will continue to update together.