Doomed Love + CrazyGood International Artists = Bombass Short Story Anthology

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Hey Bloggers! I need to get real with you for a second.

We need more women writing stories.

We need more women being published.

We need more women making art.

We need to see more LGBT and POC characters carrying their own stories and NOT being killed off to further a cisthet white male character’s arc.

We need LGBTQIA+ Stories that are more than reducing characters to their sexualities.

We need to be able to read the characters whenever we want

We need to make all of these demands mainstream and we can do it. I promise you, we can do it. 

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WE NEED YOUR HELP

I curated a book of short stories called Crows on Heartstrings. It’s a book of doomed love stories. The stories aren’t all solely romance though, we include stories from Fantasy, Sci-fi, Period, and Contemporary genres.

We need your help on Kickstarter, so read on and decide if you would like to back us!

We have artists and writers from all over the world, sure, we have some heterosexual romance here, but we focused on being inclusive of ALL types of love.

With Crows on Heartstrings, you can read about:

Love between Asexual witches

A Faery Prince and an Elven Prince whose reason they can’t be together ISN’T that they’re gay and bisexual, respectively

Two ladies who break curses and together and fall deeply and wonderfully in love.

And SO MUCH MORE  ..The stories just keep going on!  We have 13 stories and 2 comics.

Our artists and writers include people you know form tumblr like @pannan-art @maxwickstrom @aegisdea @dodtt @heavenlyeros @artofpan @weatherfox @aubreymeeksart @shadowhimsy @gloriousmonsters @glitzandshadows @alzuna and so many more!

The only thing that we were super stringent about was that all the stories had to be doomed. So your favorite characters are going to suffer. I promise you they will. But the point here is that they will not suffer to be a plot device. Each character is his/her/their own person and we do not sacrifice them for the sake of a heteronormative person. Never. I promise you. The villains in these stories are who they are supposed to be and I am really confident you will love our book.

We need your help. We are a self published book and we need your support

Please check out our kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1439936295/crows-on-heartstrings-an-antholgy-of-doomed-love-s

If you pledge to get this book seen, you are telling the mainstream publishers that books like this shouldn’t have to be self published in order to be seen! Please support us, share this, our kickstarter, even if you can’t pledge! We need to share this book with you!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

 

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Crows on Heartstrings Sneak Peek #2 “Witch Child” by Lane Hansen, illustrated by Drei San Juan

 

Myrna is one of the witch children, said to be cursed by the sky demons with horrific powers. She’s capable of walking in the lightning storms that ravage her desert home and can speak with the mythic sand lions, but otherwise she has none of the powers witch children are said to have. She is hated and cursed by her village and blamed for any wrong that happens.

Her only friend is a strange boy named Jem, born during the same storm season as Myrna but not cursed with her powers to walk in the lightning.

When they are fourteen raiders come to their village and Jem is fatally wounded in the attack. Desperate, Myrna takes him to the sand lions for help.

Myrna did not remember the first time she stepped out into a lightning storm.

She did not remember how she got her scars; one at the base of her throat and the other on the bottom of her left foot. Sometimes it upset her to not remember feeling the lightning coursing through her body for the first time. Then again, the lightning was so much a part of her life that it was strange to imagine she had ever not known it.

She had been born during the season of sun, when normally the lightning storms were few and far between. Her parents thought they were safe. But the night her mother went into labor a storm tore across the bleeding land. She had tried to ignore the pain, as though that would stop the contractions, and begged Myrna to stay put a little while longer.

By morning the lightning was still razing the earth and Myrna was desperate to see.

Myrna never asked why her parents didn’t murder her, as the midwife had tried, as her grandmother had begged. She only knew that it was not love that had stayed their hand.

-Excerpt from “Witch Child” by Lane Hansen, illustrated by Drei San Juan

Like what you just read? Back us on Kickstarter by clicking here!

LGBT and Female Characters — How Crows on Heartstrings Wants Self Publishing To Change Everything

What is the difference between a female character and a male character in mainstream publishing? Well — that’s easy. The answer should be nothing.

It should be that male and female characters are both treated equally, but it doesn’t happen that way. Male characters are flawed but likeable. They struggle and are strong. Male characters are people. So what about female characters? It seems that today female characters are talked about in one of two ways, they are either the strong female lead or are a Mary Sue. 

The trend now in female characters is that they need to be strong in all aspects, fierce, undeniably unbeatable. Why can’t we see female characters the way we see male characters? Flawed and strong? Why are female characters so extreme? What happened to real women? Are we not interesting enough to make real characters?

But, tip the scale in either direction, and critics will tell you your female lead is obviously inspired by the author and therefore a Mary Sue, OR has no flaws to be seen and is too good at everything, and therefore, a Mary Sue.

What about characters of racial minority? Or LGBT Characters? What happens then?

Well, we simply do not have enough of those.

Why is it so hard to get good female characters, POC characters, and LGBT characters in stories? Does mainstream publishing not think they will sell? If that’s so, then we need to look to self publishers such as Natalia Jaster and J.C. Lillis for help.

Self publishing isn’t the same as it used to be. Sure, you can get some pretty sketchy e-books. A lot of them seem to be just first drafts of novels. But what we need to start doing, is to use self publishing, and fund self publishers, so that main stream publishers know what we want.

Diversity.

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If you agree with me up until this point, I have to share something with you. Crows on Heartstrings is a book of illustrated short stories, all centered around doomed love.

Our writers craft harrowing tales of families torn apart by entities unknown, lovers cursed by fairies, siblings fighting monsters, and more. No type of love is safe from our tragedies. Gay, straight, romantic, familial, friendly, no matter what your shape or color, we have something for you and we are coming for you. We also take our anti-discriminatory viewpoint and stretch it across genres. We have fantasy, sci-fi, supernatural, period, and contemporary pieces.

These aren’t just romances, they’re epic tales of doom. I can’t wait to steal your heart and shatter it a little!

And as if that isn’t enough, we have haunting imagery from only the most talented artists, just to twist the knife. Did you think we were done? Because we even have comics and poems, all doomed.

But it’s better to love and to have lost, isn’t it?

Crows on Heartstrings aims to treat it’s characters as the real, flawed, gritty characters we want.

Our gay characters do more than come out and suffer for it. Our women save the day in the real and complex ways that men do, and our POC characters do not die to enhance the arc of white male leads.

Crows on Heartstrings wants to show the world that stories can be marketable AND diverse.

We need to take what we want.

We need to create a demand for diversity in our books.

We need to write and appreciate characters who thrive or struggle in their own stories without depending on a cisgendered white male lead.

LGBT, Female, and POC characters are NOT plot devices. If you want to see all these things and more in your books and media, you must support small, self publishers where they offer it.

To learn more about Crows on Heartstrings and how you can help, pledge to our Kickstarter !

(article originally published on medium.com)

Crows on Heartstrings TEASER! Roses Grow for Mammet Men by Aubrey Meeks

What is it about?!

Elves and Faeries walk among humans in this urban fantasy set in New York City. The young, Elven clan leader, Daði Manfredsson, and Fae Prince, Mercurie Nightray have bigger things to worry about than integrating into human society.

But politics and love don’t mix, and soon, the two boys are slinging curses to sacrifice their love for control of the Hudson river trade routes.

Do the boys know love at all?

Can they work through true love and balance duty and desire? Or is it really as doomed as Crows on Heartstrings promises?

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“So, on this clear summer day, the tourists caught tall Dathi the elf in their pictures of the New York City Skyline and the Statue. It was like they’d never seen an elf before. Then again, Dath reminded himself, most people on this side of the ferry, the wrong side of the ferry, came from places like, the midwest, or the south, where Elves were still a bit of a myth.

He took the photo anyway. He put on a nice face for her to show her friends at book club. He smoothed his cornsilk plaits and his Rolling Stones t-shirt so whoever saw the image on her Facebook page thought something like, hey, that guy looks alright. Instead of whatever prejudiced bullshit they might say otherwise.

If Mercurie were here now. Dath chuckled to himself. If his boyfriend, my man, were there, the tourists might’ve gone home with slightly pornographic pictures of my Fairy boy and an Elf boy making out–And then they’d both be arrested for being a public nuisance. New Yorkers are liberal, but they’re not that liberal. Elves and Fae were still sort of taboo.”

-Excerpt from Roses Grow for Mammet Men by Aubrey Meeks

If you’re interested in Crows on Heartstrings, check out our kickstarter by clicking here!

(art by Ashley Feemster)

KICKSTART Crows on Heartstrings!

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Well! The time has come! Crows on Heartstrings needs YOUR HELP to get funded!
Follow the link to our Kickstarter page to donate!
We have 30 days to fund the project, starting on April 18th.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1439936295/crows-on-heartstrings-an-antholgy-of-doomed-love-s

If you want to know a little bit about the project, I’ll tell you! Becasue I LOVE this project.

Crows on Heartstrings is a collection of Short Stories which all revolve around a central theme– Doomed Love.

We represent love in all forms, Heterosexual couples, LGBTQ+ couples, familial love, and friendship. No matter what your shape or color, we have something for you, and we are coming for you!

We also take our anti-discriminatory viewpoint and stretch it across genres. We have fantasy, sci-fi, supernatural, period, and contemporary pieces.

These aren’t juse romances, they’re epic tales of doom. I can’t wait to steal your heart and shatter it a little!

Please support us! Our writers and artists come from across the globe. Coming together for this project was amazing on it’s own.

Don’t let our characters suffer for nothing! Pledge so we can share our book with you!

Thank you!

Book Review: The Making of Gabriel Davenport – Beverley Lee

41y4hndgmAL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I highly recommend this book to anyone with a taste for the supernatural. I grew up a very superstitious person and afraid of ghosts and demons, so naturally I gravitate to a good supernatural story, like this one.

This book was thrilling from front to back and filled with characters to love, hate, and be afraid of.
I thoroughly enjoyed Gabe and wished I could see more of him in the book.
Some characters I didn’t like, such as the twins, and Carver. Maybe they took too much time away from Gabe, or maybe they were actually just not my type of people. You’ll have to read to find out.
All I can say that despite my character preferences, the book was well written. It was extremely well written and I cannot wait to read what happens next.

I have an absolute soft spot for Moth. Beverley has made me absolutely fall in love with him and I think he might be my favorite of the book. He’s another one I can’t wait to see more of!

I don’t want to spoil anything, so if you like mystery and superstition, ghost hunts, and demons, this one is for you.

BUY IT HERE

Check Beverley out on WordPress,  Twitter, and Facebook!

Book Review: Wink Poppy Midnight – April Genevieve Tucholke

wink poppy midnightApril Genevieve Tucholke never fails to impress me. I am absolutely a fan. I picked this one up first because the cover is GORGEOUS, and second, because I read the Between series by Tucholke and it was incredible.

I have to admit, I was a little thrown off that these three weren’t elves. Wink, Poppy, and Midnight, are the main characters we follow through this story, and are really just high school kids.

I loved how the naming bought a bit of magic and mystery to the book. The whole thing was rather dream-like and even maybe a bit fairy tale, and yet we had some pretty normal characters.

Maybe there wasn’t magic in the book at all. Maybe it was more about how we want magic. Doesn’t everyone want magic?

I think the blaring point of this book is that no one is ever one thing. These characters are multifaceted and will keep you guessing until the very end.

I also enjoyed the strong theme of how outside influence can make you feel like something else entirely. There were strong themes dealing with identity, influence, and labeling.

The whole thing was great, full of incredible characters, and I urge you to read this so we can discuss it.

Commission Time!

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I’ve been sort of exploding with creativity lately. I’m working on books, curating, and now experimenting with my art.

For the past year, this seems to be where my art is taking me, abstract, watercolor, line work. It actually extends further than that to a painting on fabric elective I took in 2011.

I’m going to start taking my art more seriously now that I have a direction.

If you’re interested in my work, feel free to contact me at aubreymeeksart@gmail.com for commission rates and work for sale 🙂

21 Questions with Beverley Lee

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I have been waiting for this book for months now. It’s arriving today in the mail via Amazon and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!

Beverley Lee is one of the talented writers working on my upcoming curatorial project, Crows on Heartstrings. Now, she’s working on a series devoted to her mysterious boy, Gabriel Davenport.

I was lucky enough to sit down with Beverley Lee and ask her a few questions about The Making of Gabriel Davenport!

Welcome to an article highlighting all the reasons I am obsessed with Gabe and why you should be too!

 

 

  1. When was Gabriel born? (How long have you been working on his story?)
    • Gabriel started off in the summer of 2014 as the first 3,000 words of a short story competition (which I incidentally never entered) but something wasn’t quite right. I picked it up again in January 2015 and immediately knew what was wrong. Originally Gabriel was a girl, called Erin. Once I changed that, his story all fell into place.
  2. What is one thing you want us to know about your story
    • That even though the theme is dark, it is about the indomitable human spirit of courage and hope in seemingly hopeless situations.
  3. Will we get any fun ship names from this book? 
    • Maybe not in this book but most definitely in the sequel. And I’m not telling or it would give the game away 😉
  4. Will this be a standalone book or part of a series?
    • It’s the first in a trilogy which isn’t bad for something that started out as it did 🙂
  5. If Gabriel could give us any warnings before we read the book, what would he tell us?
    • That it’s very bleak in places. And that sometimes the things good people do don’t always matter.
  6. What was your favorite part of writing this book?
    • Developing the character relationships. It’s thrilling to take what you have created and watch them grow. Gabriel is my protagonist but there are other characters who are essential in his story and each one has their own tale to tell.
  7. What is Gabriel’s personality type?
    • He’s a INFP- A ‘Mediator. Yes, I’m nerdy enough to have done the personality test for him! I love that it fits him so well. If you didn’t know him you would say he was reserved, but you wouldn’t know about his inner flame. He is led by the purity of his intent, not by logic, something that gets him into sticky situations.
  8. Who are you most excited for us to meet?
    • Moth. The whole game changes when he appears.
  9. Who are you most worried about us meeting?
    • Moth. Which might sound odd but you’ll see when you read. He makes things ‘difficult’.
  10. What was the most daunting part of getting Gabriel published.
    • Believing in myself. Don’t let anyone tell you that self publishing is easy. There is SO much to think about and so many ways to take yourself down the wrong path. I’ve had to learn on my feet but hopefully won’t make the same mistakes next time!
  11. What would Gabriel think if he broke the fourth wall?
    • That I’m a sadist *laughs* I certainly put him through it but I hope he would realise that the story demanded it, and if I made it easy for him he wouldn’t be the character he is today.
  12. If Gabriel were a superhero, who would he be most like?
    • Spiderman. There’s a part in the book where he talks about how cool it would be to have the ability to fly – and I think Spiderman comes pretty close to that.
  13. What are the key themes you tackle in this book?
    • The struggle between darkness and light and our perceptions of it. And what happens when the line blurs in between.
  14. Who is your favorite character in this book?
    • Apart from Gabriel? 😉 I have a very soft spot for Noah. He’s loyal and supportive and amiable but this can lead to him being put upon. He’s the closest to me in this book.
  15. Do you think we will agree with your answer for number 14?
    • I’m not sure! I think you’ll like him. He has a wonderful back story too and has a huge impact on how things play out in part 1 of the book.
  16. If Gabriel met you in real life, would he like you? (By the end of the book)
    • By the end of the book? Definitely not…
  17. Can you tell us a bit about the plot?
    • This is a longer version of the back blurb. I can’t go into specifics as I don’t want to spoiler! In a house built on truth something lays hidden.

      Beth and Stu Davenport moved to the English hillside town of Meadowford Bridge to give their young son, Gabriel, an idyllic, rural childhood. But in a single evening, the Davenports’ dream is shattered by a hidden, ancient darkness– and their lives are forever changed.

      Years later, Gabriel Davenport, now a capable, curious young man, makes the ill-fated decision to go looking for answers about his mysterious past. As soon as he begins his quest, his life becomes a place of shadows. The people he loves and trusts are acting abnormally. The strange woman who lives upstairs is even more haunted than usual. Even his most trusted friend seems to be hiding something.

      As one fateful night deepens, and the line blurs between darkness and light, Gabriel must confront the terrible events that destroyed his family all those years ago. He is faced with a choice: continue living the life that was never his to begin with, or give himself over to a terrifying new reality more sinister than anything he’s ever known.

      The darkness is watching.

  18. What sort of genre is this?
    • It’s a dark fantasy, set in the present but with definite ties to the past.
  19. Did you always want to write this genre?
    • Definitely. I’ve always been in thrall to the darker side of fiction and I love incorporating supernatural twists into tight plots and character driven stories.
  20. Will you continue in this genre or will you venture out?
    • I’m very comfortable in this genre but if the right story kept nipping at my heels I would certainly run with it to see where it led me.
  21. Does Gabriel fit with the Crows on Heartstrings Theme? (Is he doomed or do we have hope?)
    • Ah, the tough one. I’m going to say both, because it’s true 😉

For more on Gabriel and Beverley, find her on twitter, @constantvoice

Book Review: Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

Let me preface this by saying I am a fan of Cassandra Clare and though this review is harsh, I respect her as a writer and will continue to read and buy her work.


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Lady Midnight, for me, was a war over Quality vs Quantity. Did we get a 600+ page book? Sure we did. Though as an aspiring writer, I cringed over the unclear plots and redundant description of clothes.

When I first started reading, I gave Cassandra Clare the benefit of the doubt because she had to reintroduce us to the world for the new series without a Clary or a Tessa, who were learning the world with us. But what ended up happening was anytime we learned something new, I felt like it was info-dumping. The narrator took us aside and dumped a Shadowhunter Textbook on our heads and then resumed the story.

The next worrying bit for me, was how much description of appearance there was. How many words are there for the Blackthorn verdigris eyes? I feel like Lady Midnight maybe should have been called Emma and Julian’s closet. I think I know every article of clothing they own.

I have a few bits I want answered but am hopeful will be answered later and are no just abandoned plot lines, like Julian’s sea-glass bracelet everyone stopped talking about halfway through the book.

I did like seeing cameos from the Shadowhunter Alums, but sometimes it just felt like a crutch. The climax of the story dragged on a bit too long and the resolution seemed redundant, mostly because the Alums came back.

We could talk about Emma going Will Herondale on Julian (spoiler, if you know what this means for love) And how at first I just thought Emma and Julian seemed like genderswapped Jace and Clary. (They grew into their own and became their own characters but it took a while for me to connect to them)
We could also talk about Mark being in the middle of an overlapping love triangle. (Though I don’t feel the bond between Cristina and Mark wasn’t enough to hold up an angle of a love triangle.
The betrayal seemed regurgitated…so many things seemed like a stitching of her own novels until they looked like a new one.

But let’s instead talk about what was great: Mark Blackthorn is a sly fox and he’s wonderful.
The forbidden love between Julian and Emma is so hot.
Necromancy!
Honestly, the major plot of the story, the introduction to Faerie was all great and creative and fresh. (though I hated the shadow market and how getting there was exactly like Diagon Alley)

I am excited about the return of Jem and Tessa.

And Kieran’s love story, my goodness. That boy is a tragic gem!

So overall, I liked the story, I don’t mind the love triangles, I just wish the writing was tighter and more precise. Also, Cassie, stop telling me about their clothes every five seconds!

But I’m still going to read the rest of her books and buy everything Cassandra Jean illustrates because I do love the world Cassie Clare creates.