What did it feel like to write a demisexual character in an erotic romance? By Kaelan Rhwiol

What did it feel like to write a demisexual character in an erotic romance?
By Kaelan Rhwiol

Asexuals aren’t interested in sex or are repulsed by it, right? Well, yes and no.

Many asexuals have little interest in sex, or they may lack sexual desire. Some asexuals lack attraction, meaning they may experience sexual desire but lack attraction to others. The asexual spectrum is incredibly broad and varied. There are so many ways people experience being asexual, but there aren’t a metric ton of fiction books exploring those individual realities.

Sex very much repulses some of us, and anyone talking about asexuality needs to know that aces like that exist. People also need to know that my kind of ace exists, too.

That for some of us, we can and do have sex for a lot of different reasons. As many varied reasons as there are individual aces; including wanting to please our partners because it pleases us to do so, to wanting to have children, to experiencing connection, to enjoyment. Some of us, given the right circumstances, can and do enjoy the act itself, really. We’re still asexual.

Have I blown your mind yet?

And what in the world does this have to do with the book I have releasing today? My BLOODBOUND?

A couple of years ago, after figuring out that I’m demisexual, I did what I usually do and looked around for fiction books, ideally in my favorite genres of romance and SFF that featured demisexual main characters.

I didn’t find many. In fact, I only found three. Three books and two of them were self-pubbed, so not well known. Thankfully there are more now, but at the time I felt that I needed to write a book in order to see someone like me on the page.

A gray-ace who very much identifies as asexual who happens to be in a happy relationship and who enjoys sex. One who, for all intents and purposes was a sex-repulsed ace until I wasn’t. Until I needed to start identifying as a gray-ace instead. I wrote all of that into BLOODBOUND.

So what did it feel like to write that?

It was hard, very hard. I’ve been known to liken it to scraping the main character, Rhian, out of my soul with a sharp blade and then bleeding her onto the page. Because a lot of the time it felt exactly like that. I had to relive a lot of relationships where I wish I hadn’t gotten sexual with people, and that wasn’t pleasant. I also had to examine a lot of my feelings and experiences from a semi-impartial writer’s viewpoint. So yeah, it wasn’t easy.

I write almost exclusively own voices work, meaning that my characters share parts of my marginalizations’. Most are queer or mentally ill; some are kinky, some are mixed-race or non-binary, some are autistic or have survived a lot of trauma, some experience the pain of a sibling’s death, but they’re all parts of me. I find I do my best writing when I’m passionate about the subject, and for me, lived experience gives me a unique perspective into a lot of intersectionally marginalized identities.

I’m used to the experience of writing bits of myself and my life into my work. So I expected writing BLOODBOUND to be similar, hard, but not too hard, easier in fact than writing things I’m not. 

It didn’t turn out that way. Rhian, my demisexual assassin, is the most of me that I’ve ever put on the page before and BLOODBOUND was the hardest book I’ve ever written. Rhian exposes the most personal aspects of myself in a lot of ways, the parts that I feel are most likely to be the worst reviewed, and the most hated parts. Why do I feel that? Because demisexuality is still so misunderstood, so unknown, and aces, in general, get a lot of hatred to start with. Demis tend to be the red-headed step-children of the asexual spectrum in my experience.

During the writing of it, I felt like I had to be so very careful with concepts and word choices, and at times I questioned what the hell I was doing writing an ace character who enjoys sex of all things, in an erotic romance!

But why not? Why shouldn’t people like me be able to see ourselves on the page as well? Why shouldn’t people who used to be sex-repulsed, like me, or who just never had any interest or understanding for it, (me at other times in my life) have that experience, that reality, to read? I think we should; I think we need to have that, as much as any other marginalized identity needs to see themselves. It’s imperative for us to have mirror books. Those books that we can see ourselves in.

So no matter how worried I am, or how afraid I am that people won’t connect with this very profoundly personal part of myself, shared through the vehicle of my main character, I still wrote and shared it. I needed to. Even if it hurts.

I’ve worried, all along, from the time I had the idea all the way up through writing, submission, acceptance, cover design and editing that demisexual readers will hate my book. It can only show my experience of being demisexual, which may be remarkably different from other demis. It has had four demisexual sensitivity readers, so hopefully, we’ve caught any issues there may be with representation, but it can’t represent all of us, because I’m only one person. Maybe it can let some of us see ourselves though, and that was my goal in writing it.

To let some of us see ourselves.

About Blood-Bound
Rhian is content in her life. As a pwca, a Welsh shapeshifter, she is bound to the Dark God Arawn as an assassin. So when he assigns her as ambassador to oversee Ontario for him, it’s a shock.

Her new job? To find out who murdered her predecessor and bring them to justice, as well as to oversee the otherkin and clean up their messes before the humans find them—all to preserve the illusion that magic and supernatural creatures do not exist.

The problem? One of the otherkin she’s supposed to oversee is her estranged husband, Kai, the only person Rhian never regretted having sex with, and the only one she can’t forgive.

Buy Links:  Blood-Bound from the publisher | Amazon | Indigo for Kobo | Barnes and Noble for Nook. And you can add it to your Goodreads TBR shelf here and read some reviews.

Plus, the first chapter and a giveaway are here on the Erotica for All blog!

If you’d like to read more about the author, you can find out a lot about xem on xyr website. Social Media for Kaelan on: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Kaelan was born and raised in upstate NY, in the Adirondack mountains.
Xie started writing when xie turned 11 and hasn’t ever stopped as evidenced by the massive amount of notebooks and digital files of xyr writing xie has hanging around.

Xie identifies as queer, because xie fits many of the letters of the QUILTBAG/LGBTQQIP2SAA acronyms.

Kaelan holds a B.A in bioanthropology/forensic chemistry and an MST in education/world history. Xie loved University, so holds minors in English, Literary Fiction, Creative Writing, Linguistics, Graphic Design, Folklore, Medieval History, and Modern Dance.

Xyr hobbies include reading, spinning wool with a spinning wheel, cooking, knitting, sewing and making jewelry.

Xie currently lives in Southern Ontario, Canada with xyr partner of 20 years, their two kids, three cats who put meaning to the phrase ‘foot fetishist’, and a grumpy rescue chinchilla.

The best place to connect with Kaelan is on Twitter, where xie spends way too much time.

 

*FREE BOOKS WITH ASEXUAL CHARACTERS 

For more details about these books check out the FuckYeahAsexual master list 

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Social Justice—what now?

Satire is an interesting beast.

When The Colbert Report was on most people understood that it was all satire. Airing on Comedy Central proved it was a joke.

But these days, it seems like a lot of people get news from these sort of shows, and there’s more than ever.  I remember when The Colbert Report had a running “gag” that he couldn’t see color. I’m not going to get into why color blindness is bad if you don’t know I’d check out MTV’s video on the matter.  The point is, if you aren’t in on the joke, satire can support what you are making fun of.

As movements and societal trends grow the misuse of those successful tactics also grows. Thus more satire is often created. Which cycles back to the problem of satire supporting what you don’t want.

This phenomenon has a name: Poe’s law. Which follows, “without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, parodies of extreme views will be mistaken by some readers as sincere expressions of the parodied views.”

The story it was named when Nathan Poe wrote an article and then added a winky face at the end and a commenter replied, “Good thing you included the winky. Otherwise people might think you are serious.” When watching comedy favored news you at least have tone as an indicator of intent. But when you read this article or tweet the writer can’t control what tone your inner voice uses. This becomes a real problem when speaking to an online audience.

It’s not that social justice has run amok and therefore should be tossed out. It isn’t that people have become too politically correct, or too easily offended. It’s that we all learn at different rates and times. My experience of working daily with certain activist groups means I’ll see things that it could take months for you to see, or years for someone who doesn’t spend their life on the internet. And you could learn just as many new and different things in some other circle. This isn’t to fault anyone. Merely point out that we aren’t more divided than ever, we are more interconnected than ever.

“A wise man knows that he knows nothing.” I heard that as a kid, and as I think about the internet and interconnectivity, the age of the quote stands out to me. Socrates first said it in B.C. times. Just consider for a moment how nearing timeless that philosophy was.

If we want progress we have to build on the past. But, each person has to learn from a starting point of zero. So jokes and methodology will get misused or misunderstood. We mustn’t think that a minority group is just now speaking out, when in reality they have been fighting the whole time. Far too often nothing gets done because we are missing the frame of reference. But maybe we don’t have to know everything if we can simply admit we don’t.

Nemesis Series Review 1 & 2!

Today I’m reviewing two books! Dreadnought and Sovereign both by April Daniels. Here’s a quick overview of the series before I give you my thoughts on each.

About The Book: Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero.

Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

Dreadnought

That’s it, that’s my whole blackout poetry inspired review for Dreadnought. Kidding! This book shines by interweaving own voice experiences with a world where a kid picks up the mantle of a famous superhero. It also has the worst bad guys in any story I’ve seen in a very long time. There’s nothing redeemable about them, but since their motivations are so every day I found myself rooting for their downfall even harder.

sovereign

Dreadnought is back! I normally care most about the plot in sequels since when continuing a story the story is a really important factor. But here, I cared more about how Dreadnought was doing. And that answer makes up the majority of the book. It’s also nice that book 2 showed more community issues giving us a bigger picture of both the superhero and transgender world. There were several lines in this book that were simply brilliant and I stopped to think only a thoughtful author like April Daniel could have pulled them off. Villians continue to be the ~worst~ but to my delight, we also get another trans superhero, Kinetiq, who I love dearly.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’m pretty happy how this book ended and I’ll be among the first to nervously and hopefully read a book 3 when we get it.

As a series, I give these two ★★★★½ ! I’d suggest this series for anywho who has ever even vaguely enjoyed superheroes, burnt out on the “trend” or not this story has something unique and powerful to offer.

May is Aces!

This month I decided to add some of my favorite writers to the collection!
A short collection of poems that touch on finding yourself while in the spaces between toxic people and emotionally abusive lovers.

 

A Word And A Bullet
Colt, Janie, and Damien were planning a weekend at Zed Games when the real apocalypse canceled their trip. Now the planet is trying to kill them. Evacuation by plane is less than successful. The Piper goes down. They survive, stranded somewhere up the East Coast with all the gear they could ask for but no idea where to go, and natural disasters erupting in every direction.

 

When Mab learns of a geologically stable place in Canada, she leaves Portland behind. Vet, the world’s dumbest remaining dog, goes with her, and while they try to navigate the wilderness, mountains become volcanoes. Strangers become bandits. Mab wasn’t prepared for this, but she writes the book on how to improvise in case of apocalypse.

 

Also featured this month is an aro ace moon phase inspired cross stitch from Sarah M. Carter! You can see more awesome works at Carter Threads!

 

Thank you to everyone who’s helped make The Little Free Library possible, and I updated the patreon’s goals with things I’d love to do in the future here.

March’s haul for the Little Free Library!

Striking a perfect balance between heartfelt emotions and spot-on humor, this debut features a pop-culture enthusiast protagonist with an unforgettable voice sure to resonate with readers.

This book has ace puns on the cover, and set in college which is great to see some complementary ace stories with older characters. If that and the beautiful cover was enough to convince me.

 

The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s New York Times bestselling intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

This book isn’t very personal in regards to non-Star Wars things, but it does tell you a lot about her life on set and in the fandom. I think it’s a great book because it’s such a good reminder that there is a person beyond the icon.

 

A troubled girl confronts her personal demons in this time-travel thriller alternating between present day and 19th century Japan.
I originally picked this up because it was set in Japan, and featured a depressed bisexual character. I think this combination of representation in a character is both very common in reality, but far more rare in fiction.

October’s Little Free Library Picks!

Thought I’d throw in a Star Wars coloring book and an R2D2 model kit for kids or stressed out adults along with this month’s patreon supported books which are:

How to Be You by Jeffrey Marsh

This book is about how to finally give up on feeling bad about ourselves and discover the best person we can be.

An interactive experience, How to Be You invites you to make the book your own through activities such as coloring in charts, answering questions about how you do the things you do, and discovering patterns in your lives that may be holding you back. Through Jeffrey’s own story of “growing up fabulous in a small farming town”–along with the stories of hero/ines who have transcended the stereotypes of race, age, and gender–you will discover that you are not alone, can deepen your relationship with yourself, and find the courage to take a leap that will change your life.

Their tweets are such a breath of fresh hopeful air I knew I just had to add this book to the collection for anyone who needed it.

The Memory Book by Lara Avery 

They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I’ll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I’m writing to remember.

Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way–not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I saw the design and was instantly curious, so when it came out on paperback I grabbed a copy! Also, the typography is realistic and intriguing from what I’ve seen so far.

The End of Protest by Micah White

Is protest broken? Micah White, co-creator of Occupy Wall Street, thinks so. Disruptive tactics have failed to halt the rise of Donald Trump in the upcoming US presidential election. Movements ranging from Black Lives Matter to environmentalism are leaving activists frustrated. Meanwhile, recent years have witnessed the largest protests in human history. Yet these mass mobilizations no longer change society. Now activism is at a crossroads: innovation or irrelevance.

In The End of Protest Micah White heralds the future of activism. Drawing on his unique experience with Occupy Wall Street, a contagious protest that spread to eighty-two countries, White articulates a unified theory of revolution and eight principles of tactical innovation that are destined to catalyze the next generation of social movements.

I can’t think of any book more timely to America’s mass involvement while those in power give us new and horrific headline s daily.

Little Free Library is a book exchange program in your front yard. Take a book or leave a book at any of the 50,000 micro-libraries in the world.  You can also help sponsor my Read Box here!