pauses, guesses, Mister or Miss. First I lied,
next affirmed either, then tried neither,
masculinity no lasting unguent for my unease.
and sing to gooseflesh schools of abyss-deep’s
desire for bright bones and once-sunlit ships.
“Skin Ashore” in inkscrawl #8, June 2015
After a selkie’s skin is stolen.
Supralittoral I’m stranded: human, naked
you said you were untouched scree-skin covering rock-heart uncharitable
and of course even robots inevitably learn
what is this thing as they are humanised.
The first kiss is a fleeting duty
on my cheek burned and sooty.
“Zucchini” in Goblin Fruit Spring 2013, June 2013
A queerplatonic adventuring couple’s battle against assumptions.
Partners in life and adventure – not lovers,
nor colleagues, “just friends” or sisters.
“Walking the Wall of Papered Peaces” forthcoming in Capricious, October 2017
“Kin, Painted” in Lackington’s #7, July 2015
• reprinted in Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction (Goodreads; Book Depository; Amazon; Kindle; Smashwords)
• (my notes)
A middle child tries to fit in with their family and find their future while staying true to themself. (4,200 words)
What is it that Eldest Sister desires? A frame and future never perfectible due to inherited hypersensitivity, their semblance only possible through hard work, no matter what designs she might try to paint on her body.
For once that last dusk of buried dead ducks had ended we discussed what to do, and though diplomat pigeon was our planned decision, the sneaky penguin clan acceded not.
“Zenith’s Wake” in Mirror Dance, September 2014
• (my notes)
A mage and her lovers weather a plague creeping through the tropics. A story about disaster, grief, long-distance and stress-forged relationships, and homesickness. (9,400 words)
Between tears and languages, lacking a perfect recall and multiple voices, Agathe tries to share the magister’s creation.
“Tanith’s Sky” in Luna Station Quarterly, December 2013
• reprinted in The Best of Luna Station Quarterly: The First Five Years (Goodreads, Amazon; Createspace)
• (my notes)
The psychic died saving the world; the mathematician must live on. A story about grief, non-romantic love, gender, and maths. (6,000 words)
They all want to tell me their stolen–gifted–memories. And I listen to them all in some attempt at catharsis. Some of the memories are fights at which I cringe to recall, some cause the psychic to stare at me when my presentation differs too much from rumours or Tanith’s visions.
“Love over Glass, Skin Under Glass” in Aurealis #64, September 2013
• reprinted in Heiresses of Russ 2014 (Goodreads; Book Depository; Amazon; Kindle; Smashwords)
• reprinted and podcast at GlitterShip
The glass-smith and her apprentice: can they reconcile their own desires with the other’s? A story about relationships, discovering yourself, and glass. (3,800 words)
‘Please teach me your craft,’ she said and spoke of the wonderful works—conscious and inanimate both—she had heard of, the desire to heat and mould and blow she had cultivated, the services she could trade for the experience. The smith heard the fervour but saw that while the woman spoke of glass and mastery, it was the smith and not her work that was observed and caressed.
“She is, there–amongst the Mango Trees–a Flytrap Garden” in Verse Kraken #2, April 2014
Trying to impress her girlfriend’s parents and cope with summer bugs. (440 words)
She only guesses why on the sixth night she draws Venus flytraps on her arms
“The Missionary’s Dream Snare” in Liquid Imagination #11, December 2011
Of snares and lures. (500 words)
The missionary posted to my college has a dream snare guarding her heart.
“The Secret at Long Canyon”
Of short-lived victories and crowns. (950 words)
To say that they had let their guard down was an understatement even larger than the danger they currently faced.
“Where is she?” they asked and cluttered around Kan, for none of them had been separated from their corpses until cremation.
On this, the longest day in the year, she begins to write.
It wasn’t the fact that the ship was conscious that bothered Elie.
Stunned, soon stenching, once-starry stencils staunchly stemmed the drawn demon tide
Tegan kills the King for the princess.
One of the interesting things is that there are many more ways to show different shades in blackwork than in cross stitch.
I’m currently redoing this design, so I’ll talk about the mistakes I made and how I’m rectifying them!
Nonfiction (Aromanticism and Asexuality)
Did You Mean “A Romantic”? in Strange Horizons, July 2016
Phil’s day repeats again and again, in order to win him Rita. Befriending the people of Punxsutawney and improving his skills and demeanor are just checkpoints to the goal of impressing and obtaining his romantic interest.
I wonder about all the aro characters whose curses would never be lifted because there is no true love’s kiss to save them.
Any single character you can think of: they can be on the aromantic spectrum. Any of them. All of them. All of the characters you think of can be on the aromantic spectrum (and/or the asexual spectrum!)!
Think about that. Our representation is so thin on the ground that your story, your character, your words has a good chance of being someone’s introduction to the asexuality and aromanticism spectra.
Do think about which character you’re making aro. Is it the robot, the alien, the vampire, the hideous monster, the serial killer, the sociopath, the immortal trapped in the body of a child, the weird loner, the old mentor who’s past their prime, the only disabled or mentally ill or chronically ill character, the only autistic character, the only character of colour, the only lower class character, the only trans character, the only character of any other marginalisation, the victim of childhood abuse, the friendless loner with no family, the evil villain?
If you want to be welcoming of asexuality- and aromantic-spectrum people, if you want to encourage ace and aro and demi and grey and wtf people to submit stories, to attend panels, to trust and support you, if you want to receive stories about characters who fall under the A, you cannot assume that “queer” will be encouraging to us.
For Asexual Awareness Week and Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week I recommend some ace/aro media on twitter. These are each week’s link collections.
So why are people, allos and ace alloros both, so happy to accept the erasure of Jughead’s aromanticism, touch-aversion, unwillingness to kiss or date? Why are they so quick to forget us, why are they so quick to erase our erasure, why are they so quick to elevate his asexuality over his aromanticism, why are they so quick to accept the hetwashing of a canon queer character when maintaining his asexuality is so important to them, when they would never go “well fuck you got mine” about a gay character being straightwashed?
I’m touch-averse, though not repulsed. I do not enjoy the vast majority physical contact, it does nothing for me, I have no desire to touch or be touched, I read about skin hunger and I’m just baffled.
Of course, attraction magic doesn’t need to be sexual or romantic in nature. It could be queerplatonic, platonic, romantic friendship, general limerence, familial, aesthetic, sensual, touch-based, fealty- or rivalry-inducing, overwhelming need to protect or entertain or impress, non-sexual kink, generalised feelings of intimacy.
Ace author spotlight in The Pack of Aces, April 2016
When I was a teen I tried to write characters who were like me. This was before I’d heard of asexuality or aromanticism. All of the characters were broken, like I obviously was, and they were all eventually fixed like I was told I would be. (Perhaps “they were all broken, and they were all eventually broken in” is better phrasing?)
I’ve been told I’m obviously a lesbian because I’m not interested in men; and then called homophobic when I said I’m also not interested in women.
If a character is talking about how they’ve never had a romantic relationship, they’ve never been in love, they’ve never been interested in dating—that’s more of an aro than an ace thing.
I couldn’t just be “not interested” (or “not interested in being interested”); I was forced to be “not interested yet“. I wasn’t doing/thinking the things a teenager should be doing: I was a wrong thing, I was faulty.
I didn’t know how to write an aroace without giving them a reason to be aroace. A traumatic, broken, pitiable reason. And then he was raped and then he stopped being aroace because he found the right person.
asexuality is a marker of non-humanness and inhumanness. Your alien isn’t quite alien enough? Make them asexual. Your psychopath or sociopath is a too sympathetic? Make them asexual. Your genius detective/scientist is too relatable? Make them asexual.
I was asked to be a zucchini by a person who is now my zucchini! Oh no vegetable word what does this all mean?!?