LGBT Authors to Read and Support: A Good End to Pride Month

Hey all, Pride Month is just about over, but before it ends we want to share with you a few amazing LGBT authors you might not have heard of. Pick up a new book and stretch Pride Month out a bit longer!

1) Shira Glassman writes sweet romances and YA fantasy with LGBT characters.For something truly queer (or perhaps cuil), her Second Mango series is LGBT Jewish fantasy. Definitely not something you see very often.

2) Rachel Eliason writes trans coming of age stories based on her own experice, and as R.J. Eliason writes sff novels and serials. Jess recommends folks check out The Best Boy Ever Made because “Everyone needs a Grandma Becca sometimes.”

3) Octavia Butler is…. no, we aren’t getting our lists mixed up. Yes, that Octavia Butler… Well, it’s not our fault you never read her biography, now is it?

Seriously, we hesitated to include Butler because of just how over recommended she is in lists of black sff authors. But she belongs on this list too, and it’s time she got some recognition as one of the first LGBT sff best sellers.

4) Kaelan Rhywiol writes queer spec-fic romance. Ilavani is an especially out there (in a good way) series, that breaks pretty much all the tropes. Be sure to check it out.

5) Jacquelin Koyanagi is (one day!) going to write the sequel to Ascension, and when she does Jess will disappear and not return until she has devoured it. Until then, her science-fantasy queer romance is out there for anyone who is up for this level of awesome.

What are your rec’s for LGBT authors? Leave them in the comments for other folks to find!

5 Stim Apps We Love

Hello, Beings!

Today the members of Cuil Press would like to give you the gift of stim apps that we enjoy.

What Are Stim Apps?

Most people outside of neurotypical communities aren’t familiar with ‘stims’. Autistic people (and we at Cuil Press are all autistic) stim a lot. But everyone stims sometimes.

Stims are repetitive motions or behaviors that help self regulate. They make you feel better when you do them. Many autistic people describe their stims as ‘soothing’ or ‘comforting.’

Many apps, especially game apps, involve the kind of repetitive behavior that make them wonderful stims.

Today, we are sharing five stim apps we love. There will be a description, link and personal review for each one. We hope these splendid apps help you as much as they’ve helped us.

1. Blendoku

Per Amazon’s description of the app, “Blendoku is a puzzle game that will challenge your ability to distinguish and arrange colors. The game is based on actual color principles and exercises taught in art schools around the world.”

I love the varying color palettes and intensity of the colors themselves. I also like how although the game has timed levels, you do not have to complete them to enjoy all that the game offers – that includes the reward puzzles!

Blendoku is available on iTunes and Google Play.

2. Shoot Bubble Deluxe

There are many variations of this game. Most are based on Puzzle Bobble’s arcade game (released by Taito in 1994) so the description of this one might sound familiar. Per Wikipedia’s gameplay description; “The goal of the game is to clear the playing field by forming groups of three or more like-colored marbles.” and there are varying levels of intensity and the game itself. Michón Neal of Cuil Press publishing is a big fan of City Games LLC’ s “Shoot Bubble Deluxe”! “I am addicted to shoot bubble. It has this delicious crunchy sound and it’s one of the few games I’ll have the sound on for. It’s very colorful, too. Who doesn’t like shiny colorful balls and knocking them out of place?” – Michón Neal

Variation Bubble Shooter is available on a grand total of 6 platforms! You can find it on iOS, Mac OS, Android, Flash, Palm OS, Pocket PC. If you search on Google or your devices App Store; You’ll find the right pick for you soon after!

This game is available in many variations on all platforms, you can download Shoot Bubble Deluxe on Android by clicking the following link.

3. Flow Free

Next up is “Flow Free”. I’ll let Michón do the talking for this gem. In ze’s words, “It’s almost like Snake, in that you draw lines across and together, but with colors. Basically, it’s a color match puzzle: two dots of several different colors (blue, red, green, yellow, orange, in really great shades) that you must figure out how to connect. The really nice thing is that the app background color default is black. The puzzles are by size such as 3×3 blocks to 7×7 etc. and it’s a rather quiet game, not too much noise or images to distract you.”. What about the gameplay experience? “It’s really calming. It features a very nice dark background with vibrant colors. Everything in the game is smooth!”

Flow Free is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon App Store and Microsoft.

4. Ice Cream Jump

This game is highly underrated! Ice Cream Jump has been a favorite of mines for a few years. Whether you play it on an Android or Apple device, fun and free of glitches! This game reminds me of old school SEGA! Catching coins and avoiding the bad guy(s) with the classic power-ups included. Not too complex to follow nor extremely stressful even though the goal is to beat your previous score. The sound effects, power-ups, backgrounds, “costumes” and scene keeps the mood light the entire duration of the game – even when you “lose” the crowd cheers.

This app is available on iTunes and Google Play.

5. Interlocked

And last but not least, we’d like to recommend “Interlocked”. This game is a bit complicated but the company behind it (“Armor Games”) explained it pretty darn well. To keep it simple; “Each level, you’re given a unique 3D puzzle consisting of blocks that hold each other together.” – Armor Games Inc. This is another one of Michón’s favorites and I see why. As ze put it; “It’s really visually pleasing. You just untangling different shapes. It’s just wonderful.”!

This app is available on iTunes.

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The Bargain by Jess Mahler is now available!

We are happy to announce that The Bargain by Jess Mahler is now available!

The Bargain

the bargain cover

It was supposed to be a straightforward sacrifice. After their mother was killed by Lord Oeloff, Mattin swore to do anything to protect his sister. When the fae lord came for her, Mattin traded his life and freedom to Oeloff’s enemy for the promise of his sister’s safety. He thought he was prepared for anything. Anything except what he actually found…

It was supposed to be a political gambit. Struggling against Oeloff’s latest ploy, Jahlene found an unforeseen opening in the arrival of the bitter Mattin. Bringing the stranger into her household was a risk. Trusting him was a bigger one. To protect her family, Jahlene bargained with him. She never guessed how it would end…

Sometimes, what starts as a bargain, becomes something more.

The Bargain is a #fantasy thriller exploring themes of family, betrayal, trauma, and sacrifice. It is an “own voices” book for polyamory, kink, and PTSD.

 

Amazon

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Kobo

The Bargain by Jess Mahler – Cover Reveal

It is now 2018 and we’re only 10 days away from the release of The Bargain by Jess Mahler. Read below to learn more about Jess Mahler, The Bargain and receive the first look at the cover.

First off, here’s the cover!

The Bargain Cover

 

the bargain cover
                                                                   The Bargain – Summary

The Bargain, by Jess Mahler, is a fantasy thriller set in a world where fae, powered by pain-fed magic, rule over the humans they once conquered.

For Mattin, it was a straightforward sacrifice to save his sister. For Countess Jahlene, another political gambit to protect her family. For both of them, it became something they never expected.

The Bargain was previously released as Glamourhai, this is an updated and enhanced edition. There is a sample of The Bargain available now. Click here for more information.

Jess Mahler – Author Bio

As a child, Jess was taken from her family and turned into a marionette. Bluff, stubbornness, and Valdemar enabled her to survive long enough to eventually cut her strings and, like Pinocchio, set out into the world to discover what it meant to be human.

She discovered her family, polyamory, and eventually herself. Part of discovering herself was discovering that she had within her the wellsprings of fantasy that had once helped her survive. So she started writing. And soon her life filled with fae, werewolves, and TVtropes.

In the middle of inventing parallel worlds and fantastical beasts, she lost her family again, joined a polyam quad, watched it disintegrate around her ears, spent some time networking, fell in love with and subdued a disabled demon, partly raised four children, and wrote a surprisingly popular essay on the value of gold toe-socks in polyam relationships.

Surprise!

We have another treat for you; Jess’ short story titled His Innocent Victim is free for the next two weeks. His Innocent Victim is set 500 years before The Bargain and starts the story of Falthro and Dannel. Falthro is also a character in The Bargain. However, like some characters, he didn’t like his relatively small role and insisted on having his own story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Call for Tumblr-Twist Submissions

fantasy short story call for submissions
Only the Chosen of the gods can stop the invaders

The deadline for our Tumblr-Twist anthology is Dec 15th, aka one week from today!

If you have a story that puts a “twist” on a common fantasy trope, we’d love to see it.

A note for spoonie authors: if you are a couple days behind completing your submission, you can send us your unfinished submission on the 15th with a note about why you couldn’t meet deadline.  If we like what we see we’ll let you know and help you get your manuscript cleaned up and ready for publication.

More info here.

An Autistic Parent’s Reaction to To Siri: Impact > Intent

If you aren’t part of the autistic community online, you probably missed the many discussions over the past week about the autistic mommy memoir “To Siri with Love.” Discussions which spawned the hashtag #BoycottToSiri

Other people have done a great job breaking down the many, many problems with this book. Kaelan Rhywiol’s Storify of her live tweeting while reading the book is the most detailed break down I’ve found, but prepare to be highly disturbed and possibly triggered. Here’s a review of how this book came to explode on autistic twitter. You can check out #BoycottToSiri for more discussion and info.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. Not really. I want to talk not about why the book itself is bad, but about why it’s not “just” a book.

Defenders of the Indefensible

It’s not the book itself that really disturbed me. It’s the number of people defending it. The number of people who read it and gave it 5 stars as a loving account of being an autistic mommy and how they “don’t feel alone anymore.” It’s the realization that this isn’t just one woman being a horrible person, but thousands, perhaps millions, of allistic (ie, not autistic) people who think of autistic people this way.

Now I’m lucky. I can, most of the time, pass as neurotypical. Lately, I have been increasingly unwilling to pass, because it comes at a high cost to me. I am no longer willing to pay that cost for the comfort and convenience of other people. Still, most of the time, if I need to, I can.

But not everyone can. In fact, I have reason to believe that not all my kids will be able to. And this is the world I am sending them out into. A world full of people who question their ability to think. Their ability to have empathy. Their ability to have relationships and jobs. That people will treat them not as people but as inconveniences and robots. At best as pets who maybe likable and sweet but you can’t trust them to take care of themselves and not pee on the carpet.

There are several funny stories of being autistic in public that my family tells. But those stories… they aren’t very funny right now. See, the funny thing about them has always been neurotypical’s reactions to us. And now I’m wondering… who do I know, who do I interact with regularly, thinks this way? Who thinks being autistic makes me and people in my family unfit parents? Who questions if we can think. Who might see me one day, non-verbal and pounding a table in frustration, and instead of giving me space and offering help, calls 911 because I’m obviously “low functioning” and shouldn’t be allowed out on my own? (90% of the time “low functioning” means “can’t pass as neurotypical. The other 10% it means “we don’t want to bother giving the accommodation you’d need to function in society”.)

That’s one of the “funniest” things about the defenders of this book. They insist that those of us critiquing it and criticizing it have no idea what it is like to be “low functioning” based on the words we share online. It never occurs to them that if they met us in person, they’d think we are “low functioning” too.

But it occurs to me. And it scares me.

Impact > Intent

This book isn’t just a memoir sharing one (abusive, narcissistic, disgusting) person’s experience and views. It is actively harmful to autistic people. It tells that we are are not safe among allistics, that we have no place in your world unless we can pretend to be like you. it increases anxiety contributes to depression, and triggers PTSD from past run-ins with autism mommies. And makes the world we live in–not really your world, but OUR world less accessible to us, with every person who reads it and thinks it tells the truth of our existence.

This book, and others like it, are why we say #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs.

#BoycottToSiri

(And if you parent to an autistic kid, here’s something much better for you to read.)

This is a personal piece by Jess Mahler. The rest of Cuil Press firmly supports and endorses the opinions and position shared here.

Jess Mahler is Supporting Autistic Women’s Network

As part of the Paying Forward Program, Jess Mahler has chosen to donate 10% of her royalties from The Bargain to the Autism Women’s Network.

Cuil Press will match her donation with 10% of our net profits from book sales also going to AWN.

Autism Women’s Network

Autism Women’s Network is a non-profit organization offering support and resources to autistic women, autistic people who at anytime identified as women, and non-binary autists.

Learn more about them here.

The Bargain

The Bargain is a fantasy thriller set in an original world. It explores themes of family, sacrifice, identity, and trauma recovery.

What would you sacrifice to save someone you love?

 

On Running a Business While Spoony

Folks who’ve been following us for a while will have noticed that we have periods where we go silent for a while. Our Twitter account is unattended, Facebook is silent, and the blog just stalls out. We haven’t gone quiet on Mastodon yet, but sooner or later it’ll happen.

This is part of the hazard of running a business while spoony. Sometimes we don’t have the spoons for everything that needs doing. And that doesn’t just apply to social media.

We plan for this. We add a buffer zone when we are setting schedules and deadlines. We plan for tasks to take longer than we really expect them to. We prioritize tasks so that stuff we absolutely need to get done, gets done first.

To anyone who is used to “regular” businesses, our way of doing things is confusing and “unprofessional.” But–and it’s a big “but”–at least so far, it’s worked.

We’ve met our deadlines or found ways to work around them as needed. We ran a reasonably successful crowdfunding campaign, we made our deadline on the thunderclap for the crowdfunding campaign, we made deadline on editing and designing The Bargain in time to get it out to reviewers.

And we did it without sacrificing anything in quality of the work we were doing.

Running a business while spoony is hard. But by working with our spooniness, instead of against it, we’ve managed.

So sometimes you won’t see us around for a while. Sometimes we’ve had to prioritize something behind the scenes so the blog and social media will dry up for a while.

But we’re always here. Always doing what we can. Always making sure the books get made and sent out to reviewers and the authors are in the loop and everything that needs to happen so that you get more awesome books.

If you are a spoony author whose worried about working under deadline–we understand, and we’re happy to work with you.

If you are spoony and thinking of starting a business–you can do it! It’s hard, but it’s worth it. Start with learning everything you can about running a business, hit up the SBA, talk to your local chamber of commerce. And find partners you can trust.