lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)

Are you, though?

Spoiler: the answer is “no”.

tl;dr A blurb is a short text designed to give you an idea of what the book will be contain. Blurbs can be badly written. It is okay to criticise a blurb for being badly written or throwing up red flags. Also no marginalised people DON’T have to “read the book first”.

For a broad context (because I kept it reasonably broad): whenever marginalised groups even discuss potentially harmful content (never mind actively calling it out as harmful), there will be someone who does not share that marginalisation who pops up to say “You can’t criticise the book without reading it first!”

And, yeah, we can. Readers do it all the time, actually, even those claiming you can’t criticise a book without reading it start to finish. Making judgement values about the content of a book we haven’t read is part and parcel of how we decide what to read and whether to read that specific book. It’s what blurbs (and reviews) are for. That is their purpose.

Okay, no. A blurb’s purpose is to convince as many people as possible to pick up the book (and if they don’t like it, well… they’ve already paid for it now). But the way it does that is by telling people what the book is about and enticing them to make the judgement value “this book is worth my time and money”.

Anyway, here‘s a thread I did today.

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lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)
Aaaaand something I completely and utterly forgot to mention explicitly in my post about whether indies should invest in translation and feel is too important not to create a new post for it:Sometimes writers will have personal reasons to want their works translated. This is totally and absolutely a valid reason!

I focused the initial post on just the practicalities of it deciding whether or not a translation is worth it for you from a business perspective, but there are many non-business reasons why someone might want to translate a work into a different language.

These reasons are also reasons that you should take into account when making the decision about whether or not you’re happy to translate your works into or out of a language. There can be a tremendous emotional boon to translating your works into more languages.

I suspect this is a boon you’re most likely to see with multilingual authors who feel like they have to publish in English because market practicalities. That’s because these authors are, by and large, asked to set aside a large chunk of who they are in order to get their works out there in a way that is palatable to the majority.

You see it in the setting changes in books like HEX or The Dream Merchant. You see it in the way that, for example, a South-East Asian author may talk about how their work was rejected from a Western-based, English-language market because it was ‘too Asian’. When you’re not part of the majority (and in English-language/international publishing “the majority” is very much “white Americans”), there’s a tendency to expect people to conform to that majority and to hide away any traces of foreignness.

In these cases, translations can provide a lot of solace. Or just excitement that your story is available in a language that is important to you. You may not always be able to recoup the costs (which sucks), but it may well be worth it to fight back that tiny little bit against the linguistic and cultural dominance of English.

And that is totally valid! If these are reasons why you’d want to see your books translated, get them translated! <3 It does matter! Your voice matters.

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lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)

Due to some fairly unexpected (but good!) upcoming life changes, I’m far shorter on time than I’d anticipating being. As a result, 2016’s December posts will look a little, well, different from usual. I’ve already shared some of my highlight reads of the year. (If you missed it, you can read the 10 books I wanted to highlight this year here.) I’ve just about had time for a rather impromptu look at the way Yuri!!! On Ice has helped me with some anxiety-related issues and that’s been pretty much it.

So… This post is going to quickly cover 2016 for me and I apologise if it’s a little shorter than it could have been and if I forget things. I still need to write up the final Year of International Reading post and I still need to write the indie publications post that I’ve done the past couple of years and. Just. My head is spinning, even though I have a to do list, a plan, and the holiday season off from work. *flail*

Anyway! 2016. I feel like my general response to 2016 is “Let us not speak of it”, so thankfully that does help me out in this case. 2016 was, on an international level, absolutely horrendous and heart-breaking for just about everyone I know and a jillion people I don’t know. I sincerely hope that 2017 will be the polar opposite for all of us.

On a personal level, I’m still upset that I didn’t manage to finish DemiPrincess this year. I COULD HAVE DONE IT DAMN IT BRAIN. But I do have a much better and clearer idea of what I want to do with it and how I want to handle it and even if it’s not nearly as close to done as I’d like it to be, at least it’s still made a good chunk of progress.

I spent much of the year focusing on getting paperback versions of my longer works out rather than writing, actually. It took longer than I anticipated (maybe, at this point, I should just accept that I fail at estimating duration of anything creative), but they are all done. All of them! Every single novella-or-longer work that I’ve published to date is now available in print as well as ebook! WHOOHOO!

I’m super, super proud of myself for getting them done! And, though I admittedly didn’t finish DemiPrincess, I did finish up another short verse novel/poetry collection that’s a kind of retelling of Rapunzel that’s scheduled for release in January. GO ME.

Beyond that… I actually only remember all the world-shaking negativity. I lost sight of the non-fiction ideas I’d had for my Year of International reading and I think I may have failed from halfway through the year onward. Technically, I didn’t, but since the goal wasn’t so much “read more foreign authors” as it was “read less American authors”… Yeah.

However, I did learn that if you want to read books by non-Americans, you have to be highly alert to what you’re reading and buying because it’s incredibly easy to slip back into the US-dominant reading experience. This is not exactly new, of course. In fact, it’s somethig I expected, but still. Kinda bummed. Will still try to pay more attention because I just want to see some non-US reads on my pile.

On the plus side, it’s a great way to expand my reading genres to ones I’m normally to buried to read.

And… Yeah. That’s been my year. So let’s just end it with reiterating my proudest achievement:

I got all the works I wanted to publish in paperback as well as ebook published in both editions! WHOOT!

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lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)

ETA: Now with moar shiny linkses for your perusing convenience! May you find a fantastic read!

ETA2: Go check out Claudie Arseneault’s awesome list of five other indie ace rep recommendations! She’s WAY more awesome and better at reccing things than I am, so go look at her recommendations first. And so far, between us, we’ve covered… more or less the whole ace spectrum with our recommendations, I think? And we also showcase a nice selection of what’s on offer in SFF as a whole, so you’re sure to find something that you’ll enjoy!

So… Recently (as in earlier today), Tor.com reran an article about books starring asexual protagonists. As an ace spec reader and author, I found it a disappointing and discouraging read. While the article explicitly acknowledges that many ace spec authors pursue indie publishing, all of the books actually mentioned in the post are traditionally published, most are, as far as I know, not #ownvoices, and one of the characters highlighted isn’t actually the protagonist. Not to mention that the article only cites one (ONE!) indie ace spec author and then only to prove that we generally pursue indie publishing. And don’t mention the author’s books by title because, clearly, when you’re writing an article that is about (indie) asexual spectrum representation this is a wise and intelligent thing to do. If I’d written the article, I would totally have focused on mainstream, traditionally published authors after saying that asexual representation is more likely to be found in indie books too. I would absolutely have asked people to do my research for me and leave me research material in the comments. I would definitely not have reached out to the one (possibly two) ace spec authors on the list for hints on where to start looking for good asexual spectrum representation that I could highlight and showcase. And I would certainly have included a book that the asexual SFF comunity generally considers to be an example of negative representation. Definitely.

As I said, I found it a disappointing and discouraging read, especially since the post explicitly states Tor.com would love to spread the word about indie ace rep and it feels more like it’s paying lipservice to our existence. Treats us like a trend. So. Here’s another list of books with asexual protagonists that actually includes indie and/or asexual authors. It’s quickly compiled, my apologies, but as I’ll repeat nearer the end: one day I shall do a better post that is researched properly. Meanwhile, here are some books with ace rep to get you started all the same.

Disclaimer: I am SUPER SLOW at reading/acquiring all the books. A lot of these books are ones I only heard about this year, as I started to get more involved with the ace spec SFF community, and I’ve been focusing on other books for much of the year, so they are, by and large, books I haven’t yet read myself.

However, all of these books are, to the best my knowledge, well-known in and recommended by the ace spec SFF community, so while the representation in them may still be problematic for some of us or for reasons that have nothing to do with asexuality or aromanticism, enough of us liked the books that we’ve been recommending them in a positive light when it comes to asexual representation. (Drop me a comment if not!)

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lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)

Yesterday, I attended a job interview. I have anxiety, so a daylong trip that involves going to another country for a short interview is, well, let’s just say I spent most of today balancing needing to keep my sleep rhythm proper and needing to recuperate. I’m really glad that everyone I met was super nice to me because human kindness really helps me out. But even with human kindness the parts where I was travelling on my own were… not great.

I won’t go into all the details, but since it followed so closely on Yuri!!! On Ice episode 11 and because Yuuri’s anxiety has been on my mind a lot, it is something I’ve been thinking about and have been since I watched Yuuri’s flashback to last year’s Grand Prix Final where he failed. It also features VERY MILD spoilers for YOI episode 11.

Content Note: Descriptions of how anxiety manifests for me and related food issues as well as descriptions of how I talk about anxiety.

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lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)

Design Adventures: The first proof of Rapunzel, Rapunzel.

Welcome back to Design Adventures! Today we’re tackling Rapunzel, Rapunzel! This means sneak peeks and previews! OMG! This is so exciting! This’ll be the first sneak peek I’m giving people!

So, since it’s the first sneak peek and I need the practice, this is your friendly post reminder that the ebook of Rapunzel, Rapunzel is up for preorder right now! So go out and preorder it if you haven’t already! <3 (Or, you know, don’t if you’re not interested in it. That’s also an option.)

But let’s talk Rapunzel, Rapunzel!

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Design Adventures: Feather by Feather and Other Stories, Ebook & Print

Welcome to another Design Adventures, everyone! It’s been a while and I’ve kind of completely flubbed talking about the last draft of Feather by Feather and Other Stories, but, to be fair, I didn’t make too many changes.

The biggest changes are actually in the ebook edition and the print book edition, so… Let’s talk about those! Briefly, probably, but let’s talk about them all the same!

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lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)

Right. Now that I’m sort of functional and have caught up on much needed sleep after the weekend’s bout of sick, let me give you all the snippet that I’d wanted to give you earlier and did not have the brain to. Because I like it. And also because I’m actually having a lot of fun deliberately writing an ace spec character rather than because it’s the characters I generally lean to.

This is a relatively long snippet, though I’ve done my best to cut out most of Felicity’s unrelated musings. This, by the by, is the Bechdel Fail scene. It’s Sionen’s fault! Everything would have been perfectly fine, but the girl’s got priorities. *sigh*

Currently, I’m working in Fili’s pov rather than Felicity’s which seems to be slowing me down somewhat. (Yay, research I need to redo because my brain is a sieve? I did get past the point of research because it’s Plot Unrelated and more character building I can add later, so that’s good.) But yes, that is where I am. I think that, for the first book in the set, I’m about 30K from the end for this draft, so it’ll balloon up into the length I want in revision later. I’m so excited about that! It’s so much fun to work on this story and with these characters. And soon(ish), I’ll be able to move onto the second part! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! So much fun! (Wait. I need to come up with multiple book titles and a series title now. Aaaaaaah! This is one of the Hard To Title stories too. T_T Aaaaaaah!)

Anyway, I should get back to that. I’m still on track for daily targets, but still behind where I ideally wanted to be given the week.

But hey have Felicity struggling to understand what Sionen is on about. Also watch her hide her complete and utter confusion in grumpiness. This is set right after Felicity’s first nighly trip out of the castle, and she’s particularly excited to tell Sionen about it. Sionen has… rather different priorities because of course she does.

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lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)

Last night, I did a short(?) series of tweets discussing tips on how to write demisexual characters in your fiction. Those tweets have been storyfied here. WHOOHOO! The tweets focus on how to write demisexual protagonists, though it’s probably general enough to give you an idea on how to write any kind of demisexual. (That said, less screen space and no pov time makes it really hard to show a character as explicitly demisexual, so my recommendation would be that, if you want to include demi representation in your stories, make it a prominent character, so you have the space needed to explore how demisexuality works.)

And because I tend to write out longer tweet threads/storms like this before I start tweeting, here’s the original too. It’s slightly different at points because I do rephrase a little as I tweet, usually to allow for the character limit, but it’s effectively the same thing.

tl;dr best tip version: Let characters become firm friends first and then slowly layer in your demisexual character’s sexual attraction. Layer it. Also read the linked tumblr posts on how to avoid invalidating other ace spec sexualities and, when you’re looking for sensitivity readers don’t forget about the rest of the spectrum. Everyone will have something valuable to say about how you handle it!

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lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)

I imagine there’s a chance that people may be wondering where the posts are. After all, the summar hiatus has ended and very few posts outside of the scheduled ones have appeared since then. So where are they?

Well, the short answer is “I’m saving them all up”. I’m at a point where I’d like to give Patreon another try. I’ve got a reasonably good idea of how I want to set it up and what I want to do with it, so most of September has been poking that into shape. I’m really slow about it, because I’m horrid at coming up with puns and bemusing, catchy names for things.

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