Multiple heart shapes on a purple background

Asexual in love pt. 2: what is love and how do I even?

This is a followon from ‘Asexual in love pt 1’, and marks part two of my exploration of love without sex. There will be more parts. At this point I’m honestly not sure how many. Let’s see where this ride takes us.

 

Love is one of those sneaky, slippery concepts. Most people would tell you they know what it is, but ask someone to define it and things get a lot more complicated.

Case in point: I would have said I have a pretty good handle on what love is – after all, I’ve been in love with the same person for twelve years. And yet in my world, love and sex have nothing to do with each other. It’s still maddeningly strange to me to realise that some people think them inseparable.

What does it even mean to love, or to be in love? How can we be so confused about this?

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Writing updates: Mother of Invention available to the public & The Miller’s Daughter in audio form!

I’m having a long and nail-biting wait on a few different writing-related fronts at the moment, but at last one of them has borne fruit: this morning I woke up to the winners’ announcements for the 2018 Remastered Words Audio Anthology – and the thrilling news that The Miller’s Daughter has come second!

What does that mean? Only that my story’s going to become part of a professionally narrated audiobook!

This is super cool news, and I can’t wait to see (well, hear) how it turns out. The first step is for it to go off to the editor, so the version that gets recorded may differ a bit from the one on the website (which already differs greatly from the version that won the ASFF Amateur Writer’s Award – such is the evolution of a tale). I’ll let you know when the 2018 audio anthology comes out.

Meanwhile, I’m pleased to announce that Mother of Invention is now for sale to the general public in paperback and ebook forms. If you missed out before, this is your chance to get your eyeballs on it and find out why the final line of my story ‘Arguing With People on the Internet’ made Lauren E. Mitchell squeal with evil delight (I got to watch them read it live in my living room, and it was an absolute treat).

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On a purple background, two birds made out of thumbprints hesitantly touch beaks

Asexual in love pt. 1: what does it mean for a relationship when you don’t want sex?

Recently, I’ve found myself in conversations with two different friends – one old, one new – both of whom had been identifying as demisexual and both of whom were coming around to the idea that they might actually be at the far end of the asexual spectrum, like me.

That in and of itself wasn’t a big surprise – exploring your sexuality can be a lifelong process, and it’s never too late to grow in your understanding of what your body wants or doesn’t want. What shocked me in both cases was the reason they had been holding on to the label of demisexual long after beginning to suspect it didn’t fit them: they thought being asexual would mean the end of any hope for love.

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Four puffins on a rock

This week I learned: animals in ultraviolet

Just a quick one this week, as it’s been a very busy week (some of the busyness might be leading to interesting things, but nothing confirmed enough yet to post about).

Some people might choose to celebrate the end of a long week by getting down at the disco. Not really my scene of choice (though I do love a dance!), but here are some party animals who look great under a bit of UV lighting.

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A dark wall containing several identical doors

Writing a compelling, character-driven climax

It’s one of the most common pieces of advice for would-be writers: read widely, read often. Less often appended is: read thoughtfully. But that’s what it means, really. As a writer, you’re no longer just reading to be entertained – you’re reading to learn from those further along the journey than you are, studying the work of skilled craftsmen to find out how to better your own craft.

This kind of detective work is one of the best things about my own endless journey towards being a better writer: analysing fiction that appeals to me and discovering clues to improving my own fiction. Sometimes it’s a work of concentration and deep thought; sometimes, like this morning, the pieces just fall into place and suddenly I can see a picture I didn’t even know was there. This morning’s epiphany: the element that ties together the climactic moments of so many of my favourite character-driven short stories.

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Wafting haze on a black background

This week I learned: unlikely heroes

This week, I learned about how two of the most prosaic of products have turned out to have entirely unexpected benefits. Find out why scientists and nursing instructors are big fans of prank farts, and how tootsie roll candies may have actually saved lives in the Korean War.

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Mother of Invention book cover, and first page of Arguing with People on the Internet

Mother of Invention: it’s here!

After a postal mishap and a full month of nigh-unbearable anticipation, Mother of Invention – the first really-truly actual book to carry a story of mine – is finally here in my hands, and I couldn’t be more excited!

The cover art by the super-talented Likhain is even more chock-full of glorious details seen up close; I swear everything she creates is like a song for my eyeballs. And I can still barely believe all the clever, talented, wonderful authors and spec fic superstars my first really truly published story is appearing alongside: Seanan McGuire, Cat Sparks, Bogi Takács (I am seriously in love with every story of eirs I read)Ambelin Kwaymullina, Nisi Shawl, Octavia Cade, Stephanie Lai, and so many more. I am thrilled and humbled and just a little bit terrified to be counted among them.

If you already have your own copy of Mother of Invention, I hope you’re enjoying it and I promise to stop frothing at the mouth with envy now. If you weren’t a Kickstarter backer and don’t have a copy of this fabulous book, it will be available to the general public in September. In the meantime, you can sign up on Twelfth Planet Press’s website to be notified when they open for preorders.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a couch to curl up on and some reading to do.

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A half-formed sandcastle

Inspiration paralysis and how to get past it

I’ve been in a writing drought for the last week or two. Not through lack of inspiration, much to my relief, but simply through lack of time and – which is just as important thought less often discussed – lack of mental and emotional resources to spare for it.

This week, though, I’m finally back in the saddle with plans for a brand new story. I have themes and characters and a general shape, and it’s all brimming with potential. And so I find myself confronting the single most hair-tearingly difficult challenge of writing: actually putting words down.

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NeoSensory vest

This week I learned: rewiring our senses

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “How do I know the colour I call purple is actually the same colour someone else sees when they look at purple things”?

I’ve long been fascinated by the ways different animals – and different people – live in different sensory worlds. As it turns out, we already know that not everyone sees colour the same way – how do you explain the difference between red and green to someone who’s red-green colourblind? Is the dress blue or white? – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the different sensory worlds we can live in.

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Rescue worker airlifting someone into a helicopter

OK

One of the books recommended to me as part of my fiction-writing journey was Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It’s a book I have mixed feelings about (though I think that’s less of a reflection on the book, and more on the lessons I need/ed to learn not being the ones it was trying to teach me), but one moment in it that got me thinking was a short diatribe about the word “OK”.

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