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!

Granny Chosen One Short Story Submissions Still Open

granny chosen one
Get out of my way. I got a world to save.

We are still accepting submissions for our Tumblr-Twist short story anthology, working title “Granny Chosen One”. We want fantasy stories that take on common genre tropes and twist them into something completely unexpected.

This anthology is inspired by the many Tumblr posts proposing stories about granny chosen one going off to save the world with her knitting bag and attendant, tiny dragons guarding hoards of pennies, and other twists on the “usual” fantasy stories. And those are the stories we want to see.

Submissions deadline Nov 30th. For more information, check out the original call for submissions.

National Coming Out Day: For Everyone Who Is Out (And Everyone Who Isn’t)

We are grateful for the door. For the door that is open so we can walk through and change the world. The door that is closed so we can remain safe when we need safety.

On this day, of all days, we hold the door open for those who wish to walk through. And we guard the door for those who do not wish to be found.

On this day, we wish for all of us:
The self-knowledge to choose the path that is best.
The confidence to walk our chosen path with surety.
The friends to hold us when we need to rest.

And the courage to tell anyone who doesn’t like our path to fuck off.

Looking for a Something Different to Read? Check the Cover

So you want to find something different to read. Maybe romance is your thing but your tired of endless vampire romance novels that blend together in your head. Dark brooding guy, face of an angel, woman whose always wanted a little excitement in her life gets more than she bargained for, you could probably recite the generic vampire romance in your sleep, right? Or how about military sci-fi? You don’t even need to read the book to know there will be a tough NCO, desk jockey brass causing problems, a wet-behind the ears lieutenant, and the one good officer just trying to do their job and keep their men (and women) alive.

You know there is some original, genre breaking fiction buried among the stuff that you’ve read a hundred times over. But how do you find it?

The truth is publishers want you to be able to find those books. We want them to be recognizable and obviously outside the trend. So for the next couple weeks we’ll be sharing our take on how to find the original fiction you are looking for.

Look at the Cover

Ryk Spoor’s new book, Princess Holy Aura is coming out in December. The cover has a man doing the classic “Superman” reveal, except instead of an “s” we see a picture of an anime-style girl. That cover tells your right away that there is a “reveal” in the book that reminds the cover-artist or author is something from anime. Even if you aren’t familiar with anime, the different art style tells you that there is probably something different about this book. If you ARE familiar with anime, you have a decent chance putting the girl and the title together and coming up with “mahuo shojou”.

Which leaves the question of who the man is and how he fits in. (You can read the blurb and find out.)

We all know the saying “don’t just a book by it’s cover.” What most people don’t know is the saying was from the 1800s, long before images on covers were a thing. What it originally meant was “just because the printer did a bad job making the cover doesn’t mean the author did a bad job writing the book.” These days a lot of thought goes into cover images. Authors, publishers, and cover artists all want the cover image to tell readers something about the story.

So if you are scrolling through the urban fantasy section on Amazon and all the covers seem to be blurring together, the cover that stands out from the pack probably represents a book that doesn’t fit with the usual “urban fantasy” expectations. In other words, it’s something different.

Want to see more original, genre-breaking fiction? Support Cuil Press and help us bring something new into the world of publishing.

No More NonCon Soulmate Romance

We get it. Folks love soulmate romance. And with good reason. Many of us struggle with connection, intimacy, and feeling like we belong. So the idea that there is someone out there who is our perfect match, who will love us just as we are, who may have been literally made for us, is like water in the desert for our hurt and lonely hearts. (Bonus if they have enough money to solve all our problems with a wave of their checkbook.)

But This Is a Trope that NEEDS to Be Broken

Often, author’s use ‘soulmates’ as a way to force two characters together.

soulmate romance
Soulmate romance often removes characters’ agency, like a magical roofie.

Jane wants nothing to do with John. He is overbearing, controlling, intimidating, and, ok, sexy as hell, but so are a lot of people. But Jane can’t leave John because there is a mystic bond between them that makes her love him and want to spend the rest of her life with him even though he has completely destroyed her life and dictates her every action.

Folks, this here isn’t romance, it’s Stockholm Syndrome.

(Okay, not really. But you get the point.)

Obviously, this is an extreme example—though if you are a paranormal romance reader we bet you can figure out where the example came from. It’s that damn popular.

But any version of “I can’t choose to not be with this person because soulmates” has serious over- and undertones of abuse and rape. If you can’t choose to walk away from a relationship than you can’t choose to be in a relationship.

Soulmates can be a fun trope, but if you are going to send us soulmate fiction, make sure it’s consensual. Characters bound together with a mystical tie should still be able to walk away if they want, should respect each other’s boundaries, and should end up together because they choose to, not because they are robbed of their agency.

Bonus idea

Also, there is at least one tradition that says people can have up to 6 million soul mates. So if you want, you can totally have a non-monogamous soulmate romance, ’kay? Think outside that box.

Hey, #diversebooks Fans–Let’s Talk #ownvoices

Hey folks, today we’re going to talk about #ownvoices, the hashtag created by Corinne Duyvis as a way to mark books written by authors who share a diverse identity with their characters.

It’s about a year and a half since Duyvis suggested #ownvoices. It never reached the trending viralness of #weneeddiversebooks, but it’s been growing in popularity as more and more people find it and fall in love. And there is a lot to fall in love with.

Why #OwnVoices?

See, it’s important for authors—all authors to be inclusive in their writing. But it’s hard to write “from the inside” an experience you’ve never had. Someone who has fibromyalgia is going to know things about living with and managing chronic pain that would never occur to someone who is able bodied. And research can only take you so far. If we want our books to be reflective of people’s real experiences, well, they need to be written by people with those experiences.

This doesn’t mean that someone who is able bodied should never write a character with fibromyalgia or that a white author should never write a black character. Our fiction should be as diverse as our world, unless this is a good reason to NOT make it diverse. But if a book is about being black, it should not be written by a white author. If a book is about the experience of being trans, only a trans author can do it justice. And even when a book is not about an identity, the perspective of an author who shares that identity adds depth to the characters.

At Cuil Press, We Love #OwnVoices

Which is why our first several books will be #ownvoices. Not all our books will be #ownvoices, we are open to all inclusive sff and romance. But there is a special place in our slush pile for #ownvoices.

So if you are interested in reading more #ownvoices fiction stay tuned—we got it coming!