5 Days To Go! Let’s Fund Crows on Heartstrings!

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WE’RE 85% FUNDED AND NEED ONE MORE PUSH TO GET FUNDED IN THE NEXT FIVE DAYS!

CLICK HERE TO PLEDGE!

We only have FIVE DAYS! We can do this with your help!

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Crows on Heartstrings is a fully illustrated anthology of short stories. We have a little something for everyone, no matter what your gender, sexuality, or color, we have something for you. We are proud to say that we are mostly created by, for and about lgbtqa+ folks. It’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before. We are also comprised of 23 women, and 3 men, so READ WOMEN!

The project is in its last FIVE DAYS on kickstarter and we need all of your support to bring our dream to life! please pledge if you can, and spread the word. thank you for everything, guys. we would not have made it this far without you!

 

Here are some of our contributors:

@aegisdea @aubreymeeksart @pannan-art @sonialiao @maxwickstrom @weatherfox @alisabishop @heavenlyeros @dodtt @spectre-draws @thevioletknight @shutterbones @artofpan

@theconstantvoice

What Crows on Heartstrings NEEDS:

We need FUNDING. We need your pledges to make this a reality. If you can pledge even just five dollars if you can, and tell five friends personally to pledge as well, we can do this! We want to give you the characters you want to read. Please help us make this inclusive book written and illustrated by 23 women, and 3 men, some or most of us LGBT+ writers and artists.  Come on! We can do it!

CLICK HERE TO PLEDGE!

We only have FIVE DAYS! We can do this with your help!

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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)

Book Review: Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

25322449I need to tell you first and foremost how much I adored this book. Alice Oseman is a goddess. Solitaire was gorgeous, and her second book, Radio Silence is even better.

So what do you need from a good book? Juicy Romance? Strong Female leads who never miss a beat? Is that what you really need? Because you won’t find it here and I promise you, this book gave me more ‘feels’ than anything I’ve read this year.

I definitely commend Alice Oseman for keeping her cast of characters diverse in sexuality, gender, and ethnicity. That’s just normal, isn’t it? Alice Oseman has a way with making the ordinary extraordinary, doesn’t she? And she doesn’t have to whitewash her characters to do it. Alice showed her mostly non white, entirely LGBTQIA+ characters as normal people, being normal– And guess what? That’s because everyone is normal regardless of these labels, and everyone can carry a novel if the character is fleshed out enough. And no, (for you more conservative readers) it doesn’t mean anyone is shoving an agenda down your throat.

So let’s move on then: Moral of the first section, Alice is inclusive of all people in this book.

Aled Last. I love Aled. He is a sweet and snuggly boy (Alice has said he doesn’t necessarily label himself according to gender, though he was born a boy)  I don’t love him because he needs saving, or because he is in love with the female protagonist, because arguably, neither is true. I love him because he is Aled, and he is remarkable. It is so easy to feel a connection to Aled, … and all the characters for that matter.

But what about the strong female lead? Well. Frances is strong, and female. But the trope we’re all tired of is that women have to be infallible to be strong. I love Alice Oseman because she keeps writing incredibly complex women, even in her minor characters, and you cannot tell me they’re not strong women. They’re real women, girls, people going through things, and she treats her beautifully flawed women the same way we treat cis white male characters… and you know what? I love them, I love her characters. It’s what makes everything so profound and resounding about her plots. Her women aren’t assassins or damsels, they’re just girls, which is what we need.

There had to be one thing right? It’s spoilery. So stop reading if you want to read this book.

Aled is in a complicated relationship with Daniel/Dae Sung. And the realness is a little bit too uncomfortable here because I worry about Daniel influencing Aled to dress in ways he wouldn’t normally do himself. I wondered if Daniel was a little too controlling, though, again, they seem to be in a real relationship with real everyday problems, and I’m hoping it’s something they can eventually get over.

Anyway, please read this book. I give it all my approval. Alice Oseman is doing what we all should be doing, writing real characters who are inclusive of all ethnicities, gender, and sexuality without stereotyping, or defining anyone by one trait.

 

 

My Relationship with Books

I was nominated by a good friend, Beverley Lee to answer some questions about myself and books. I am supposed to nominate others to answer new questions, but I’m late in the game so I’ll just answer what Beverley has asked:

  1. Your favorite author is going to call you for a once in a lifetime chance to talk. You can only ask them one question. Who is the author and what is the question? Why?
    1. JK Rowling. Can you please write a series on the second generation in HP… for obvious reasons.
  2. Which fictional character would you want as a friend, and why?
    1. Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicle. Or more specifically, Kote. I would want to be someone who knew the whole story, of Kvothe, and I would want to be the one who got him to play his damn lute again. I’d want to be the friend who got him being the sarcastic pain in the ass he once was, so I could be a bit selfish and experience it for myself, and so he would just freaking smile again.
  3. List three books you’ve read more than three times.
    1. More than three? Doesn’t happen.
  4. Who would you say is your greatest writing influence in terms of your own style?
    1. I would need to finish a manuscript to figure that out.  I’m definitely a bit flowery. So there’s that.
  5. What are you working on at the minute?
    1. A contemporary fiction manuscript about a boy in a band who must learn when to let go of the family he’s been dealt, and how to embrace the family he chooses for himself.  … And Crows on Heartstrings, a collection of 13 illustrated short stories about doomed love.
  6. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
    1. Bill Skarsgård
  7. How important is a book cover to you? Would it influence you over the back blurb?
    1. YES SO IMPORTANT. I will collect books just because the cover art is pretty.
  8. If you could live in one fictional world, where would you live?
    1. Hogwarts
  9. Do you let other people borrow your books?
    1. Yes, but I bite my fingernails the whole time they’re out. I also check pages for bends and smudges even if I like cracking spines myself.
  10. Books have some of the most wonderful quotes among them. Which is one of your favorite quotes, and why does it resonate with you?
    1. I can’t name one off the top of my head. I would have to pick a favorite book to pick a favorite quote and I just love so many books with all my heart that I can’t do that.

Book Review: Trick – Natalia Jaster

26594092We need to talk about Trick by Natalia Jaster. It was simply the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

There is a rule amongst his kind: A jester doesn’t lie.

In the kingdom of Whimtany, Poet is renowned. He’s young and pretty, a lover of men and women. He performs for the court, kisses like a scoundrel, and mocks with a silver tongue.

Yet allow him this: It’s only the most cunning, most manipulative soul who can play the fool. For Poet guards a secret. One the Crown would shackle him for. One that he’ll risk everything to protect.

Alas, it will take more than clever words to deceive Princess Briar. Convinced that he’s juggling lies as well as verse, this righteous nuisance of a girl is determined to expose him.

But not all falsehoods are fiendish. Poet’s secret is delicate, binding the jester to the princess in an unlikely alliance . . . and kindling a breathless attraction, as alluring as it is forbidden.

It was all too easy to hang onto every word Poet and Briar spun. I could not put this book down and I wanted to much to savor it. I wanted it to last forever.

Now for the spoilery bits.

Natalia Jaster’s blurb about Trick had me just as tricked about Poet as all of Whimtany. While he enraptured me, and kept me just as painfully interested in him as he did his Sweet Thorn, Briar, it wasn’t until we learned about his sweet secret, everything changed.

I don’t want to go right out and say it, because if you haven’t read this glorious book, I want you to stay surprised.

Beyond the beautiful craft of Jaster’s writing, a very important message about humanity and the cruelty of it pokes its head from the pages. This story is so much more than a tense love story about a boy and a girl who judge each other too quickly.

Never have I read a book which spoke so truly about the many facets of love and it’s different faces.

I can only dream that Natalia Jaster would contribute something to Crows on Heartstrings, because this story was everything anyone needs to know about love. Love of country, love of family and friends, romance. This book had everything. I only wish I could craft my characters the way Natalia Jaster crafted this masterpiece.

My rating: YOU’D BETTER GO BUY THIS BOOK NOW

🙂

 

Book Review: A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia Gray

17234658 I started reading this book weeks ago and I wrote it off because I was in the middle of the longest book hangover of my life.

THANK THE UNIVERSE I PICKED THIS UP AGAIN!

I don’t know if we should rely on bratty reader, Meeks, who thought the beginning wasn’t very interesting.

I was annoyed about the way the character dealt with her art, being a Fine Arts major myself, but I got over it. I was also very angry because, and this is a spoiler, I loved Paul. I thought of him as this misunderstood Loki villain, and I HATED that Marguerite kept talking to me about how much Theo liked her. I wasn’t interested and put the book down.

Just to recap what the story is about, I’ll quote goodreads page:

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.”

The characters were easy enough to fall in love with. I don’t really know who Marguerite is outside of this firebird stuff, an artist, an outsider in her own family, but more than that I don’t really know.

I wish I knew why both Theo and Paul were in love with her. I think the emotional plot’s pacing was off in this book a tad. I wanted to feel Marguerite and Paul fall in love in Russia (Dimensional Travel) but I felt that was rushed.  But once she fell in love with Paul, I felt a bit of her struggle, and I did feel her love for him, and his pent up love for her as well.

The final world lacked the world building of the Russian world. The Russian world I could see so clearly because I had reference points and feelings and emotions. But with the final world, I don’t even know if I’m sure I know what it looks like. I’m going with underwater space station for now.

Aside from all that, the pacing of the action plot was terrific. I felt like I was piecing together the clues ad Marguerite did, which was refreshing and exciting. I felt engaged, like I was working this out with them.

Honestly, for me, the pros of this book outweigh my nitpicky cons. I recommend this one.

Book Review: Attachments- Rainbow Rowell

10600010I was going to review The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, but I want to re read it because I feel like I loved it so much, I rushed right through it.

So my second option, for the moment, is Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell. I love Rainbow Rowell. I find her writing light and engrossing and real. Attachments, I feel, needs some more love. I see people raving over Fangril (Rightfully so) And the upcoming Carry On, (I’m so excited!) But nothing really for Attachments.

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure about it. It’s set pre-Y2k in an office featuring people a bit older than my own age. (how boring, people my own age!) It’s a bit slow going in the beginning. Lincoln, the spying IT guy, was a bit difficult for me to really care about at first. But, as the characters embarked on their arcs, I became enraptured.  I felt like nerdy but burly Lincoln’s sister, (but a good one, his real sister sucked) just wanting to push him and tell him “I know you’re in love with the girl who’s email you’re stalking, so go talk to her! She saw you! She likes you! Go talk to her you idiot!”

The girls in the story were hilarious. I found myself connecting with them on various levels despite only being able to read their emails. I guess that’s why I didn’t feel too creeped out by Lincoln feeling like he knew them. I FELT LIKE I KNEW THEM. Good Job Rainbow Rowell!

Anyway, without getting too spoilery, the hype around Y2k, this earth shattering event, set the theme for the character’s personal events. I thought it was clever, and frustrating, and all around a good read.

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss Series – Stephanie Perkins

Okay, so this review is featuring a little bit of fan art I did of Isla and Josh.

I started the Anna and the French Kiss series because I needed something light to read. I needed something completely different from The Kingkiller Chronicles because man, did Kvothe leave me with a severe book hangover.

Anyway, I love this series for what it is. It’s just about falling in love, plain and simple. Stephanie Perkins makes you really feel it.

With Anna and Étienne, it was enough to get me hooked. Sweet, light, a bit infuriating, and enough of a break for them each to find themselves at the end. Perfect.

What I liked about Lola and Cricket, might not make sense at first: Lola annoyed me at times, but in a way that I found so true to how it feels to be in love and a teenager and confused. I don’t ever think there was a time I was annoyed with her where she wasn’t annoyed with herself. Isn’t that beautiful?
Cricket was an adorable little muffin and I couldn’t wait to see how he did up against dickhead Max.

With that being said, wow did I LOVE Josh and Isla.

I maybe had a bit of a crush on Josh because of the artist in New York thing (hello, I’m an artist from New York, if you didn’t know.)  I liked how they had much in common though they didn’t realize it. They both needed to find themselves. I identified with Josh because he left his country to find a place that was his. I felt sad because he didn’t find it right away. I thought their struggles were real. But I love the message the most. In all the books, it’s about finding yourself and not letting the person you’re with become you. Relationships are about sharing and coming together as two whole people to make a better union. If that’s what teenagers are reading about love these days, then let’s all thank Stephanie Perkins. None of her girls or boys changed things about them for  the sake of a relationship, and that’s important. They only enhanced themselves toward a better self.

If that’s not enough to hook you, then let me also say, that Stephanie Perkins does not drop the ball on her subplots. All secondary and even tertiary characters have interesting arcs.

Finally, I want to assure you, that you will not miss out on the story lines of your favorites. Stephanie Perkins really layers on the finale and ties everything up in a nice neat box for us so we know exactly where everyone is and where they are going at the end.

(Though I drew the fanart, the characters are ©Stephanie Perkins and the poses are from found imagery 🙂

Book Review- The Child Thief

9780061671340I just need to use my blog as an outlet right now to discuss the genius of Brom and how darkly satisfying The Child Thief is!

I’ve yet to finish the book, but it’s the type of book I hate to put down. I sulk all day at work because each minute here is a minute I’m not fighting the Flesh-eaters with Peter and Sekeu.

Right now I’m mesmerized by finding my favorite Lost Boys and Girls like Nibs or Slightly in Redbone and Cubby in Danny, Wendy in Wendlyn, and having a dark and realistic, sometimes urban story as to how they fell into ranks with Peter.

I’ll review this when I’m finished, and maybe make a point to review books I read, since I’m reading so much.  I just had to get my fangirly squeals out.

I’m loving this.

Meeks