My Asexual WIPs

It is Asexual (Ace) Awareness Week!

To celebrate, I’m going to talk a bit about my ace guys and why I’m writing them.

I currently have two novels in progress with asexual characters. The first one, tentatively named Trustfall, is a contemporary romance and features an asexual submissive gay man entering his first serious Dom/sub relationship. He is willing to have sex with his Dom to please him and to gain relief from sexual arousal (which, even without sexual attraction, CAN happen). This novel will portray a kinky relationship without sex. It is important to acknowledge that kink isn’t inherently sexual, and aceness doesn’t preclude kink.

The second, No Wrong Man (again, title may change), features an asexual man who does not have sex. Ever. This one is urban fantasy. Magic is real and commonplace, and the relationship between the ace guy and his boyfriend entails toys, masturbation, and (consensual) magical mind games, but never physical sex. This one ends up with polyamory, which will be fun and difficult to write.

To me, it is vital to have asexual characters appear in fiction. Since realizing my own asexuality, I’ve been incredibly motivated to write ace characters. It turns out I’ve been writing ace characters all along but never knew it. Those guys who just “don’t care about sex” or “haven’t had sex in years”… Turns out they’re ace. There are characters in other fiction who “don’t have sex” or whatever, but they’re rarely/never labeled asexual–whether because the writers don’t know the term exists/don’t understand it, or because the writers just don’t want to assign that term to a character, I don’t know. Maybe the author knows the character is ace but can’t figure out how to work that into the plot/dialogue. Maybe the author doesn’t know asexuality exists. Whatever the reason for the scarcity of ace characters, I don’t like it and I want it to change.

Romance–the genre I assign myself to–is often very sex-focused, as if a healthy sex life is the absolute most important part of every single relationship. That is not true. Everyone’s needs and desires vary, and I want to portray functional relationships that don’t hinge on sexual attraction. I want other people to portray them, too. I think realizing I’m asexual saved me from a potential huge mistake in my life, and I hope by writing ace characters I can help others reach the realization that being sexually attracted to a person isn’t the ultimate goal to aspire to in life.

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A Ray of Sunshine

THINGS have been happening in my brain and in my life lately, and I’m going to babble a little bit here about how I plan to proceed.

I created a Ko-fi and a Patreon (links at end of this post). I changed my name. I am starting a vlog. I changed my logo and kind of re-branded my entire online existence.

When I first got started online, less than a year ago, I was just trying to find a writing community and accept myself as a straight female writer of gay romance. I’ve been marketing myself as a “m/m romance writer and reader” on all my social media and such. But over the past six months, I have learned a number of things that form the basis for my new online presence:

  1. I’m not straight. Don’t ask me what I am. I don’t know.
  2. I’m asexual.
  3. I’m not exactly “female.” I’m some degree of non-binary. I go with “female-ish.” Technical term, there.
  4. THERE ARE SO MANY GENDER IDENTITIES AND ORIENTATIONS THAT I DID NOT EVEN KNOW ABOUT. I WANT TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THEM.
  5. Anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses are insanely prevalent. You don’t realize it IRL much because people don’t talk about it as openly as they do online.

So with those things in mind, I re-branded. I’m now Leigh M. Lorien, queer romance author–I am both a queer author, and an author of queer romance, so the tagline can be read both ways.

My most popular blog post so far has been the one I wrote about depression. So many people said “Thank you for writing this.” It crushed my heart. I am both glad I am not alone, and so very sad that so many other people feel the way I feel. It’s awful.

I want to do more of that, though. More of the things that people need. I want to address things that so many people feel, but perhaps cannot put into words.

That being said, I’m not going to blindside you all with sudden shouting about issues and cisnormativity and heteronormativity and all of that. That’s not my thing. That’s not me. No one fucking knows what those words mean, anyway.

I’m just going to talk. I’m not going to lecture or argue. I’m going to pick a topic–a book, a feeling, an event, something–and ramble and swear and get excited about it, because I am an excitable person. I am, hopefully, going to make you laugh. I’m going to create “adventure recap” videos for my patrons–I posted the first one publicly on my YouTube channel (video at the end of the post).

I just wanna be a goddamn ray of sunshine, you guys.  Remember my post from waaaaaaaaaaaay back ’round election time when I said Let’s Not Talk About Politics? Let’s focus on being lights.

That’s my goal. I just want to be a fucking sunbeam. I am a depressed and anxious mess but I am going to keep fucking going and I’m going to keep creating and I’m going to keep sharing, because people need voices who are willing to talk about the tough things.

My Patreon

My Ko-fi

Baby Steps! – Publication Update

Exciting news on the publication front! A few months ago I entered a flash fiction contest for queer scifi (contest info here).  My piece, “Green Burial,” has been selected for inclusion in the anthology to be published later this year!

Official contest winners have not been announced, so I may or may not hear more on this, but even if I don’t, I’m happy! This is small, but it’s publication, right?! This counts! I’m going to be published!

WOOHOO!

I told myself ages ago that when I got something accepted for publication, I’d get myself a new tattoo to celebrate/congratulate myself. I was thinking it would be, you know, a book publication and that I would make money from it, but flash fiction in an anthology is good too!

I’ve been craving a new tattoo, and since it is Pride month and I write queer fiction, I’m going to get a rainbow. I’m excited.

As for the rest of my publication journey, I am revising a short story (Jigs and Reels, if you want to browse my snippets from a few months ago – first lines here) and hoping to have it out to publishers by the end of the month. I’m thinking Nine Star might be my first shot. As soon as it’s out to publishers, I’m moving on to revising Trustfall, my D/s novel with an asexual MC.

On the backburner is a scifi novel tentatively called Dark Lies, which has been in my head for years and years but not as a romance. I need to rework it. I realized a few months ago that the love interest is trans, and realized last week that the MC is aro/ace, so that will be incredibly difficult and torturous FUN to write. I never realized how much I relied on sex scenes to keep plot moving until I wrote a whole novel without any. I love a challenge, though!

Also on the backburner, an entirely new novel idea which will end up being polyamorous, with one asexual partner. That one would be urban fantasy. Something about a curse and a cop on a magic-law-enforcement task force. I’d write this one in third person, I think, which I haven’t done in ages but with three MCs it’ll be hard to do in first.

One of those two will end up being my NaNoWriMo novel for November, unless I get an infinitely better idea before then. Both will require significant worldbuilding, which is not my strong suit, so I’m not planning to dive in to them in any hurry.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with my writing! Hopefully I’ll have more news in the coming months.

author announcement

Rainbow Snippets – 5/6/17 – Trustfall

Hello friends! I’m still plugging away at this draft. It is so difficult. I love the characters but I feel like I have no idea where I’m going. I think I’m trying to fit too much into one book. And you know what that means? I MIGHT HAVE TO WRITE A SEQUEL. But I’m not even done with the first draft of the first book! Gah!!! (I certainly love these boys enough to write a sequel with them, though. They’re a lot of fun)

Anyway, picking up where we left off last week (well I skipped like one line for the sake of keeping this at 6… or 7).  Saul and Alex have just met, they’ve realized Saul’s sister Hannah has been talking both of them up to each other, and… here we are.




“Can you grab me a pen and paper?” I asked. If nothing else, he was cute, and it had been a long, long time since I’d been alone with a cute guy. Hannah was certain he was single, and I was reasonably certain he was gay. He stepped away, back to the desk, and grabbed a pen and a sheet of blank paper from the printer. “Write this down,” I said, when he offered them to me. I dictated my phone number and home address. “Tomorrow night at 6, if you’re free.”




Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!). Visit the group for links to more snippets from LGBT works! While you’re over there, shoot me a friend request!

Writing #OwnVoices – You Are Enough

I’m asexual. I wrote about this just a couple months ago when I realized it for the first time in my 10+ years of adulthood. Since then, I have joined the #ownvoices movement by starting to write a novel with an asexual gay man as a main character.

Let me tell you: It is hard. It is really, really difficult for me, despite being asexual myself. The temptation to put these guys into a regular old sexual relationship is strong. It’d be a lot easier to write. Despite not being sexually motivated or driven myself, writing sex is natural because it is everywhere, and I know it is expected, and a lot of readers live for the sex scenes.

Writing anything is hard. Writing gay men as a straight[ish] female[ish…person] is hard. Writing romance with a character who is not driven by sexual desire is a hard. Put all this together and add a heaping dose of crippling self-doubt on top, and it’s a miracle I’ve put a single word on the page.

“Self doubt?” you say. “Why are you drowning in self doubt? This should be easy. You’re asexual. You’re writing an asexual character. That’s like being a writer and writing about a writer. Right?”

Except I only realized I’m asexual like two months ago, and only decided to apply/embrace the label several weeks later. All in all, I’ve considered myself a part of the asexual community for like, maybe 5 weeks now. So who the fuck am I to write an asexual character? I have no idea what I’m talking about. Right? What if I accidentally write bad rep? Even though I am ace, and I have been ace forever, I could easily write something that offends someone else. I could write it wrong. The internet is a terrifying place. There are a lot of outspoken, aggressive people on every side of every issue (especially on Twitter, where I spend most of my time). What if I write this asexual character based on my own personal feelings and experiences, and someone comes along and says “He’s not asexual.”

But he’s based on me! And I am! Does that mean I’m not?!

What if I write this #ownvoices book and someone comes along and shits on me for it because I’m not repping enough? I’m not outspoken enough? I’m not… I don’t know what, but what if I’m doing it wrong?

TAKING RISKS IS TERRIFYING.

Somebody save me.

Do you see my issue?

And then, while I was musing over this hang-up I’m struggling with, here came Ana Mardoll with a miraculously well-time tweet thread:

If you could just pardon me for a moment, I’ll be in the corner, sobbing.

misha crying

Okay. Better now.

So this is what it boils down to, kids: You are enough, and the world needs your voice. No one is more enough-y than you. No one can write a marginalized character better than a marginalized person, and no one can tell you that your feelings and experiences disqualify you for the group you feel you belong to. There has been a lot of hate flying around lately–transphobia and biphobia, erasure of all sorts. There is no better time than now for writing #ownvoices, and there is no better person than you.

So I’m going to go on writing my asexual gay man, and if he wants to have sex, he will. And if he doesn’t, he won’t. He’ll find his boyfriend attractive, he will be infatuated and in love and make flirty comments and sexual jokes, and if anyone reads about him someday and says that his relationship is unrealistic, I’ll give them a great big middle finger, because I am an asexual person, and I have sex, get crushes, flirt, and make a hell of a lot of sexual jokes. Those things do not disqualify me from the a-spec. I am asexual enough to write an asexual character, even if I just realized it a few weeks ago. It’s my identity and no one will take it away from me.

(If you want snippets and lines from Alex and his asexual D/s adventures, you can follow me on Twitter. I post quite frequently.)

Rainbow Snippets 4/22/17 – New Story!

Hi everyone! I missed the last couple weeks of snippetting due to, well, frankly, a horrible period of self-doubt.

I started a new novel at the beginning of April, and it involves BDSM, which is something I don’t have much experience with. And one of the MCs is asexual, which is something I do have personal experience with, but that’s making it oddly more difficult to write because it’s personal.

Anyway, it took me a few weeks to decide that I don’t hate it and I’m fairly sure I’m going to finish it at this point (29,000 words later…), so I’ll start sharing. I don’t even have a working title yet. Goodness. These are the opening six lines.




I spotted Alex immediately based on Hannah’s description. Tall, with light brown hair styled in that “just woke up” intentional mess. Or maybe it was actually just a mess. A purple t-shirt and track pants did nothing to disguise his impressive musculature. As he chatted with a woman at the desk, his smile was quick and frequent. Yeah, I could see why my sister had wanted me to come ogle him.




Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!). Visit the group for links to more snippets from LGBT works! While you’re over there, shoot me a friend request!