Posts Tagged ‘YA’

Go, Go, LGBTQ Ranger!

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

WARNING: This blog post contains SPOILERS for the 2017 movie Power Rangers. For a non-spoily review, check our my colleague, Kyle’s excellent review here!

Recently, there’s been some backlash from the LGBTQ community because a few sources like Hollywood Reporter and ABC News claimed that one scene in the new Power Rangers movie “breaks down barriers” when it comes to LGBTQ characters.

You can catch up on these stories here:

Hollywood Reporter

ABC News

And on some of the Twitter backlash here

 

First, let’s consider the scene:

Unable to morph into their armor, the Rangers hit upon the idea that they should “share their stories” so they can get to know one another and function better as a team. Seems legit. Each, except Kimberly, tells a sympathetic and realistic story about their struggles.

When Zack assumes that Trini must be having “boyfriend troubles,” Trini looks uncomfortable. “Girlfriend troubles?” Zack presses, and Trini noncommittally shrugs.

Okay. Yeah… Umm… It’s no wonder the LGBTQ community exploded in outrage over the claims that the entire movie is “breaking down barriers” or “pivotal” when 1. The moment is one part of one scene and 2. It’s pretty noncommittal.

But here’s the thing.

I agree that it’s naïve at best to think that one scene in ANY movie could ever break down all the barriers LGBTQ community faces, and I’m not here to say that the LGBTQ community shouldn’t be outraged over such a wild claim. We should.

But I want to step away from that for a second because all that outrage clouds what that scene actually DOES do—and that’s to normalize a young woman’s struggle and journey to find her sexuality.

Because when Trini tacitly admits to liking girls, the other Rangers don’t freak. They don’t look at Trini sideways. No one bats an eyelash, except Zack, whose eyelash batting is more in the camp of wow, that sounds really hard than OMG, you’re gaaaaaay? You don’t LOOK gay! Even the other female characters don’t freak out. There’s no ridiculousness about the gay agenda, Big Gay, or the fear of being magically transformed into a lesbian.

And that is so utterly refreshing.

Instead, the other teens see Trini’s struggle as totally normal. Not freakish. Not an abomination or against the will of [insert name of Cosmic Nice Guy here].

So while the scene is in no way “groundbreaking” or “barrier-breaking,” it has merit for an entirely different reason.

It treats finding one’s sexual identity as a natural, albeit difficult but totally normal part of life—no more or less earth-shattering than the fact that Zack struggling to take care of his sick mom or Jason struggling to fix his relationship with his dad.

To me, that’s telling that maybe one day, being gay or lesbian or bi won’t have to be such a huge deal. And to me, that’s a big part of what the LGBTQ community is really seeking—acceptance for who we are.

As always, thank you for reading!

~GIE

 

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Why Write Lesbian Heroes?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

I’ve been asked a lot lately why I write lesbian heroes. The answer seems simple: I’m gay and I’m part of the LGBTQ community. Makes sense, right? But the more I get asked this question, the more I think that answer really is too simple.

It’s easy to say “Well, I’m gay,” and just leave it at that. But here’s the thing: Growing up, I never had any heroes who were like me.

Growing up, my favorite heroines were Princess Leia, Buffy, Sarah Connor, Eowyn.

I was a huge Star Wars fan. Epic fantasy has always been in my blood, and I was super excited to see a badass space princess alongside Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. Princess Leia was out there saving the galaxy (and oftentimes, her male sidekicks). She was powerful, both on and off the battlefield, she was smart and sassy and spoke her mind, she was capable, and she didn’t settle for anything less than justice. She was a princess, but she wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. In short, she rocked.

Then there was Buffy. I’m dating myself a little here because I’m referring to the movie starring Kristy Swanson (though Sarah MG’s Buffy was also tres cool). Who could forget the Buffster, half girly-girl/half badass slayer? She fought hard, loved harder, and pretty much smashed the patriarchy. She, too, rocked.

Sarah Connor. Who could forget Linda Hamilton’s transformation from plucky, determined heroine to gun-toting, muscle-bound babe? She threw down with Arnie and never gave up. Also, she totally Terminated that mofo.

Then there was Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings. She fought alongside all the fiercest warriors in Middle Earth. She singlehandedly slew the Witch-King of Angmar when no man could even touch him. She even dressed as a man. Then she married one.

And there it was.

I loved Princess Leia and Buffy and Sarah Connor and Eowyn, but at the end of the day, they went all went home with men. In many ways, they were very much like me. But they weren’t like me. Not completely.

Growing up gay, I was disappointed every time my favorite heroine ended up with a man. It seemed like everyone in my life was straight–from my real-life heroes right down to my fictional heroes. If the people I admired most were all straight, who was I to be gay?

So that, my pretties, is why I write lesbian heroes. So young gay women don’t ever have to ask that question.

Thank you for reading!

 

~GIE

 

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GIE’s Review: Of Fire and Stars

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

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COVER REVEAL: Moribund!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Check out the gorgeous cover for MORIBUND! It’s the first book in my CIRCUIT FAE series, an urban fantasy romance featuring the Fae and teenage girls falling in love. I’m super psyched, and I can’t wait to share it with all you pretties!

High school sophomore Syl Skye is an ordinary girl. At least, she’s trying to be. School photographer and all-around geek, she introverts hard and keeps her crush on sexy-hot glam-Goth star Euphoria on the down-low. But when a freak accident Awakens her slumbering power, Syl is forced to accept a destiny she never wanted—as the last sleeper-princess of the fair Fae.

Instantly, her introverted world shatters, and she’s thrust into an ancient war between the fair Fae and the dark Fae—a war she wants no part of. But when the dark Fae harness the killing magic in technology to enslave the city and then choose the school as their battleground, what’s a girl to do?

Fight like hell. But Awakening her sleeper-princess powers is no easy task.

Syl’s only chance lies with her secret crush, Euphoria, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. But then, Syl discovers that Euphoria is really a dark Circuit Fae sent to destroy her. Worse, the more they fight, the more Syl Awakens, and the more their attraction grows. With mean girls and magic and dark Fae trying to kill her, it’ll take more than just “clap if you believe in fairies” to save Syl’s bacon—not to mention, her heart.

MORIBUND is currently available for pre-order on AmazonB&NiBooks, and Kobo.

 

 

 

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Posted in Circuit Fae, Genevieve | 2 Comments »


Circuit Fae: Moribund on Pinterest!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

In preparation for writing Circuit Fae: Moribund, Christina asked that I do some Pinterest boards with inspirations for Moribund’s different characters. I’d never been a big Pinterest user before, but like many people first dipping a toe into the wonderful world of Pinterest, I was instantly hooked.

I fell down the rabbit hole of Pinterest! I whipped up boards for Moribund’s heroines, Syl Skye and Rouen Rivoche as well as for the bad guys, Agravaine and Fiann Fee. And you know what? Those pics really helped.

I printed them out and put them up near my desktop while I wrote. They really conveyed the attitude and inspiration of the characters, and they stayed there the entire time I was working on Moribund. I have new pictures for Circuit Fae 2 up right now.

I’ve kept the boards a secret for a long time, but now I’m excited to share them with you! I’ve opened them up to the public. Check them out here!

As for other Pinterest boards, I’m also an avid Bullet Journal fan, so you can see my BuJo board. In addition, I have an “I Ship It” board for all my fantasy ships, a Celtic knotwork board for the Irish girl in me, and a few others under construction.

As always, thank you for reading!

Best,

~GIE

 

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Top 5 Mistakes in YA

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

As a writer, I’ve tackled many different genres from romance to science fiction to urban fantasy, but until a few years ago, I’d always steered clear of YA. It was a genre I felt I knew a lot about as a reader, but very little as a writer.

Strangely though, YA kept pulling me back. On those days when I felt down or like the world was just too dark, it was always those YA books I turned to. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Chronicles of Prydain. A lot of chronicles there! Even the grade-school books pulled me back from the edge of darkness. Blanche the Blue-Nosed Witch was one of my favorites, about a young witch with a blue nose trying to fit in with the elite group of witches in Scurry #8.

But as much as I leaned on YA, I never thought I would end up writing it. And then one day, I was in a critique group—the last of my MFA—and the YA writers there told me I’d written the beginning chapter of…you guessed it—a YA. “The voice!” they said. “This is exactly what a teenage girl struggles with.” The instructor, a YA author herself, confirmed that the story would be a great YA, and so off I went on my merry way, to write in a genre I knew so little about.

As you can imagine, I made mistakes. Boy, did I made mistakes! Writing YA, as it turns out, was every bit as hard as I’d thought it would be. It’s a daunting task, to be sure, so I’m here to pass along my Top 5 Mistakes and how I corrected them.

I made them so you don’t have to.

1. Not Reading in the Genre

I’ll list this first since it was my biggest mistake. How could I expect to write YA when I didn’t have a good grasp on it? I had no knowledge of how to portray believable young adults, and yet I wanted actual young adults to read my book. Fat. Chance.

            How I Corrected It

FaceBook and Goodreads were my saviors here. I friended people who I knew were YA fans, and I asked them what was good. I joined YA groups and engaged in conversation. I asked specific questions and asked for specific recommendations (e.g., solid female characters, non-heteronormative, etc) and I said thank you for their time and answers.

In addition, I searched Goodreads for LGBT YA and came up with a list there. I looked at other people’s reading lists. Then, I went out and bought a Kindle Paperwhite, which is ONLY for e-reading, and I began downloading samples. I read and read and read. I am still reading.

Find me here on GoodReads

            TL;DR

  • Friend other YA fans/Join YA groups on FaceBook
  • Ask for specific recommendations
  • Be polite and say thank you
  • Check Goodreads for lists of YA books
  • Read, read, read.

2. Whiny Heroine

Okay, this one was hard to admit. My heroine, while she kicked a lot of butt, kind of whined about it the entire way. That wasn’t my intent, of course. I intended to create a layered character who had real problems and needed real solutions. The problem was, like many people in real life, she complained but had no plan to change anything. This made her unlikable and a complete Miss WhinyPants

            How I Corrected It

I started to read like a writer. That is, I read, analyzing what the authors I liked did. I went back to the heroines I liked. They, too, had real problems. And sometimes they did whine a little bit. I’ll emphasize the a little bit here. But whine or not, they always had a plan. And they always picked themselves up no matter how down and out they were. They were go-getters, not stay-here-and-whiners.

When I went to my manuscript, I did two things. First, I made sure the heroine’s plight was sympathetic. To do that, I made it universal. This is because while very few people can identify with the physical and mental hardships Frodo suffers in Mordor, everyone can identify with fear of failure, fear of letting down our friends, the fear and pain of loss. That’s where to put your focus. On your hero’s very basic internal needs, wants, and desires.

Second, I allowed my characters 1-2 lines max to whine and feel sorry for themselves, and then I made them realize they’re being completely Miss WhinyPants and they need to get up and move forward. These two techniques in conjunction made it so the character was both relatable and likable. Because, it’s easy to like someone who, when faced with failure, picks herself up, dusts herself off, and tries tries again.

TL;DR

  • Read like a writer

  • Analyze how other authors make their heroines likable

  • Do that thing

  • Make the heroine’s plight universal

  • Make sure she has a plan

3. The Stakes Weren’t Evident

While this error happens a lot to writers in every genre, I’m listing it because it came out of my preconceived notions of what YA is.

 I made the mistake of thinking that YA had to somehow be “fluffier” than fiction for adults. Boy, was I wrong! Once I started reading in the genre, I discovered that a lot of YA tackles some serious material—drugs, abuse, rape, teen pregnancy, coming out, transitioning, suicide, loss. Let’s be honest, it’s darn tough to be a teen and pre-teen in today’s world. Kids have a lot of pressures these days, and watching heroes and heroines tackle those challenges in fiction is affirming. We need more stories like this. I’m a firm believer that most young adults would rather hear terrible truths than pretty lies.

            How I Corrected It

I stopped making it fluffy. I let my heroine get hurt. And I showed how she’s stronger for recovering, for never giving up. I let her feel pain, and I let her react to it, but I was conscious that she should be proactive and have agency and consistently adjust to the curve balls that life threw at her.

            TL;DR

  • Stop making it fluffy

  • Let your hero get hurt

  • Have your hero make continual adjustments and keep going

4. Purple Prose

Oh, holy cats, this is my weakness in, like, everything. My first draft was seriously waxing poetic—a lot of ten-cent words and imagery, which was beautiful but extremely distancing. In YA, that just wasn’t the voice that would capture my target audience.

For the most part, YA readers want to be in the hero’s head, which means a lot of internal dialogue, a lot of close POV. The problem with that is, purple prose by its very nature is very distancing.

            How I Corrected It

First, I changed the verb tense to first person present tense. Now I know a lot of people don’t like this tense, but you really can’t beat it for immediacy and being in the mind of the POV character. And, honestly? It changed everything. It gave me more immediacy and more of a feeling of being connected to the heroine.

By no means am I advocating for anyone to change their verb tense. Do what works for you is what I’m saying. In my case, it was first-person present tense.

Second, I went for short, punchier prose with a healthy dose of snark and wit, and you know what? It worked. The characters’ voices suddenly worked because they sounded authentic.

            TL;DR

  • Don’t clutter your story with long descriptions and overwrought text

  • Stay in the heroine’s mind and let the reader know what she thinks about all of this.

5. Wrong Age Group

So, when I first began writing YA, I thought that young adults wanted to read about other young adults their age. It seemed so elementary, right? Again, I was completely wrong. So very completely wrong. What I learned was that young adults tend to read “up.” That is, thirteen year olds want to read about fifteen and sixteen year olds. Someone once said to me, “Well, you looked up to your big brother, right?” And then it all made sense.

            How I Corrected It

I changed the ages of my protagonists to suit my target audience. In Circuit Fae, I made the primary heroine, Syl Skye, fifteen and a high school sophomore. I’m hoping younger adults see her as someone cool to look up to!

            TL;DR

  • Young adults like to read “up.”

  • Make your heroine a few years older than your target audience

And that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are any number of “big mistakes” you can make, but these are my five biggies—the Top 5 Biggest Mistakes I Made So You Don’t Have To.

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As always, thank you for reading!

~GIE

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