Writing

Introducing Flowers and Flourishing

If you’re part of my newsletter (see the menu on the top bar if you want to join) or like to check out my works in progress page, you’ve probably seen me mention Flowers and Flourishing, which is going to be a newsletter freebie for all of my subscribers and will be going out in early 2023 (I’m hoping for January, but we’ll see). My plan is to launch this book as a freebie first, and eventually, I may add a few more short stories along the way (also free to subscribers). Once I have those, I will package them into a larger work that will be something like Flowers and Flourishing and Other Stories from the Paranormal Society, which will be available for purchase at online retailers. I do not have a timeline for that yet because I haven’t written or conceived of the other short stories, except for Flowers and Flourishing and one idea I have brewing about the origin of two side characters in The Reanimator’s Heart.

But I digress. So what you’re probably wondering is what is Flowers and Flourishing about. Below is a little aesthetic board I created for Louisa and Agatha and beneath that, the blurb.

The plan had been simple: arrange a marriage of convenience with her best friend, get him a position at the Paranormal Society, and get the hell out of California, but even the best laid plans go awry. What Louisa Galvan never accounted for was Felipe being transferred to Manhattan or finding a woman like Agatha Pfeiffer.

Agatha hadn’t asked to be a plantmancer. Her dream had always been to become a professional artist, but after hours sweltering in the Paranormal Society’s greenhouses, painting is impossible. In exchange for time off, Agatha is expected to convince Louisa to stay at the Manhattan Branch, but she quickly finds her reasons are wholly selfish.

As their feelings grow, Louisa realizes she has two choices: continue to hide or reach for a life she never knew was possible and convince Agatha to come with her. But Agatha and Louisa aren’t the only ones conspiring. Can Louisa convince Agatha that she deserves the life of her dreams or will their love wither on the vine?


As you have probably guessed, Flowers and Flourishing is a sapphic story set about twenty years before the events of The Reanimator’s Heart and Kinship and Kindness. It is the story of how Felipe’s lavender marriage wife, Louisa, came to meet and fall in love with her partner Agatha. Louisa is a cis lesbian who happens to be a jaguar shifter while Agatha is a bi trans woman who is a plantmancer. It’s a pretty low blood pressure novella with some steamy moments and nods to the queer artists of the past. I hope you’ll join my newsletter and stick around for this novella when it releases in January.

Writing

The Truth About Critique Groups

Before I get started, I want to make it clear that I believe writing critique groups can be a fantastic resource for bettering your craft if you’re in a group with the right people and dynamic. The key word is if. I should also specify what I mean by critique group. Other names for this might be a beta reading group or workshop group. I use these in my creative writing classes and participated in them in graduate school while getting my MFA in creative writing. Overall, I really enjoyed getting feedback on my work and I find my students get some valuable input regarding their pieces, but outside of a scholastic setting (and inside it if your professor isn’t actively working to keep it from going toxic), they can be very hit or miss. I have put rules in place in my classes to maintain order and keep the participants in my workshops happy, or at least, I try to keep them from leaving workshop dissatisfied. Here are some factors you may want to keep in mind if you are trying to create a workshop group of your own:

Find people close in skill or career level.

The problem with critique groups is that, ultimately, someone always get screwed over if the group dynamic isn’t perfect. To have a successful critique group, you need to have people who are of a very similar level in terms of skill. This means skill as a writer and skill as an editor. Sometimes you have someone who is a better editor than writer, which means they can be a very useful feedback partner, but if you have people of very different skill levels, the lower members of the group might feel like the feedback they get is harsh (especially compared to the feedback others are getting) and the higher members will get useless feedback that strokes the ego but doesn’t really improve their work. As much as I love a good ego pat in a workshop group, it’s demoralizing when week after week, you get told, “great job!” and nothing more. The highest people aren’t getting anything out of it. The lower people are made to feel bad if they aren’t accustomed to feedback or the other members are harsh/rude/not focusing on big picture issues. Often a lower writer will get a shit ton of knitpicky feedback, which is overwhelming but not useful if what they really need to focus on are big picture issues like character development or pacing. The people in the middle who are all close in terms of skill level or are in a place where they’re upwardly mobile with their skills gain the most from the group.

Be selective and expect change.

At some point, people will come and go from the group. That is just a fact of life, but as people outgrow the group or stop writing due to whatever reason, the group will change, and you will need to be careful about maintaining the dynamic within the group. It sucks because many of us in writing groups become friends or start to depend on people within those groups to give good feedback. At the same time, if you are in a group and find you aren’t getting anything out of it, don’t be guilt tripped into staying. The whole point of a group like this is that everyone should benefit. If you find you’re giving good feedback and getting nothing or if you find that your personalities aren’t meshing, leaving is probably for the best. For those creating a workshop group, I highly suggest being at least semi selective. You want people who are of similar skill levels, so you might want to ask to see their work and/or have them give feedback on a piece. I wouldn’t focus on grammar and such, as that is an easy fix, but check if their level of craft would meld well with the rest of the group. Some might think this is being elitist or exclusionary, but in order for a group like this to work, you can’t have a brand new writer stumbling into a group of seasoned writers where they are completely out of their depth and vice versa.

Rules, rules, rules.

The other issue is that you really need some sort of mediation or rules to keep the group structured. What I’ve seen happen online is that there’s one eager person who posts A LOT of material and asks for feedback while others post less often. Resentment grows for the frequent poster and the responses to their work dwindles, especially if they aren’t as eager to give feedback. Basically, the give-and-take balance needs to be maintained. With a workshop in a class, it’s fairly easy to maintain that balance because workshops happen at regular intervals, everyone [hypothetically] posts their work to their group, and those group members [hypothetically] respond to everyone within the group. There’s equal give-and-take and a fairly standardized amount of work that can be submitted. This keeps one person from completely overwhelming the group or being the only one giving feedback all the time. My suggestion would be to make subgroups if the group is decently large (keeping groups to 4 or less people) or create some sort of posting schedule with page limits to keep one person from monopolizing the group. Trust me when I say that in grad school, the person who handed in 10 pages when the limit was 5 got many a resentful eye roll during class. Don’t be that person. You also need admins to enforce the rules fairly and maintain some semblance of order. Toss out those who don’t pull their weight or repeatedly break the rules.

Use virtual meetings apps for workshops.

Something that I am very adamant about with my students is that they give feedback face-to-face or at least voice-to-voice. The problem with leaving feedback without explaining it aloud is tone. It is so easy to get bent out of shape because you think someone is being harsh when they don’t intend to. On top of that, people are less predisposed to casual nastiness if they know they have to say it to the person’s face. I have gotten myself in trouble as college student because I posted feedback to a classmate that they took issue with. I was too blunt and they took it more harshly than I intended. Face-to-face allows for tone or clarification along side written or in-text feedback. I have used Google Meets with my students, which has worked well, and I would imagine something like Discord would work as well. If you are able, I would suggest setting a time that works well for the group and holding it at the same time at regular intervals.

Don’t be an asshole.

I stress to my students that criticism really means constructive feedback, not strictly negative feedback. Constructive feedback instructs the person on what needs to be fixed, is specific, and possibly suggests how to fix it. If you just say, “it sucked,” or “I hate this character,” or “I liked it,” that isn’t helpful at all. Don’t be the person who is needlessly harsh to others. As someone on Twitter once said, “When you’re brutally honest, people remember the brutality, not the honesty.” Make sure your feedback is helpful and coming from a place of instruction and wanting the person to better themselves. How would you feel if someone gave your best friend that feedback? Would you be mad for them? I know we all think we can dish it and take it, but consider if you would be pissed hearing your bestie get the feedback you’re giving others. If you find someone in your group is giving feedback that is harsh (but not offensive), have a discussion to correct them. It might be difficult if they struggle with tone as some people do, but if they can give extra explanation/context with their feedback, it may smooth things over.

At the same time, expect to get criticized.

The inverse of the previous issue is that some people cannot handle getting non-positive feedback. If you’re one of those people who is easily wounded by criticism, don’t join a critique group unless you are purposely working to modulate those feelings. Otherwise, you’re going to resent the people in your group or tank your mental health if you take every bit of criticism as evidence your work sucks. The best writer still has room for growth, and if you join a writing group, you should expect that others might point out where you need to work on your craft. Positive feedback only isn’t going to help you grow. That’s just a fact of learning. I think it’s important to be told what you’re good at, but too much only grows the ego. I find people who reject all feedback as a personal attack particularly annoying in a workshop group, usually because they’re very willing to critique others (hypocritical) or all their feedback is praise (useless). They’re usually the hardest to correct. If you see yourself in this description or take personal offense, you may want to work on your ability to take feedback before you start asking for it. It only gets worse once strangers on the internet read your work.

Those are my tips for how to best deal with a workshop group. If you’re starting your own, please consider the logistics ahead of time, if you’re able to put in the time and effort required, and if the people you invite to join are as committed as you are.

Monthly Review

October 2022 Wrap-Up Post

Most of October was taken up with release day preparations and anxiety for The Reanimator’s Heart. I was super hyped about it, but I’m not going to lie, it sort of stole my attention and ability to focus because I was constantly worried about something going wrong or forgetting something important. Overall though, the month went very well, and I want to thank everyone who preordered, reviewed, or shared the posts for TRH on social media. You all are awesome. Anywho, let’s check out the goals I made last month for October and how we did.

  • Have a good launch for The Reanimator’s Heart (aka release ebook and paperback and maybe hit my stretch goal for my preorders)
  • Start prepping the weekly notes for my spring classes as they are both new *laugh sob*
  • Writing goal
    • Minimum goal: 10,000 words
    • Normal goal: 12,500 words
    • Stretch goal: 15,000 words
  • Read 8 books
  • Blog weekly and put out my monthly newsletter
  • Enjoy doing fall/Halloween stuff

Books

My goal for October was to read 8 books, and I read 11 books.

  1. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren– 4 stars, a memoir about being a woman in STEM while dealing with mental illness and life. Very interesting, especially if you’re into trees/plant science. It was as much about her life as it was about the science she studies.
  2. Saga Vol 9 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples– 4 stars, rereading in preparation for volume 10’s release
  3. Saga Vol 10 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples– 4 stars, definitely worth the wait, though the body count is getting high. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series and how things change/grow going forward.
  4. Three Kings by Freydís Moon– 5 stars, I had the honor of reading this book in order to blurb it. It is a M/M/M book featuring a trans main character, his husband, and a selkie that washes up by their lighthouse. Lots of magic and coziness to balance the sensuality.
  5. Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu– 4 stars, I read this as research for “Flowers and Flourishing” and greatly enjoyed it. Definitely has those sapphic vibes, even if Carmilla is a vampire who just wants to drain poor oblivious Laura. Highly recommend for vampire lovers.
  6. Obsidian Island by Arden Powell– 4 stars, a shipwreck, four castaways, and a lush island that is more than it seems, completely with a creepy tree, tropical birds, and giant bugs
  7. Lore Olympus Vol 3 by Rachel Smythe– 4 stars, Hades and Persephone are lovely messes, and I really enjoyed this volume as we got to see more of how the underworld works and the fits and starts of these two figuring out what they want.
  8. Temporary by Hilary Leichter– 3 stars (more like a 2.5), this was recommended by a friend and I didn’t love it. It’s just sort of the pretentious yet empty lit fic I would have read in my MFA program. There were moments where it had something going, then the author moved on and it disintegrated. Is it trying to be funny? Is it trying to be profound? I don’t think the author even knows, but it was short, so I finished it.
  9. Daniel Cabot Puts Down Roots (#3) by Cat Sebastian– 5 stars, a music reviewer (ADHD-er) falls into the life of an autistic doctor and their lives meld together seamlessly that only they don’t seem to realize they’re in a relationship. It was absolutely lovely, especially the bits about community and family (found and blood)
  10. Into the Riverlands (#3) by Nghi Vo– 4 stars, Chih (a cleric who records history) runs into a group of martial artists who are more than what they seem. Once again, the narratives in a narrative and unfolding of Vo’s layered plots held me rapt.
  11. Exodus 20:3 by Freydís Moon– 4 stars, a trans man is trying to get his life together only to find himself rehabbing a church with a man who happens to be a monstrous yet attractive Biblical-style angel

Admin/Behind-the-Scenes Stuff

  • Made quite a few graphics for The Reanimator’s Heart, including ones for reviews and blurbs from Magen Cubed and Cat Sebastian (they both are awesome)
  • Posted weekly on social media until release day
  • Blurbed my first book as an author (Three Kings)! Blurbing is when an author gives another author a marketing tagline they can use on their books or social media. I was very excited to blurb for an author I really like and respect.
  • Revised my paperback for The Reanimator’s Heart and released it
  • Contacted my narrator about doing the audiobook for The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Got a commission of Oliver and Felipe from Kay Fine. You can see it here. I’ll add it to the art page soon. As an FYI this is not cannon in book 1, but it will be in a future book (not spoilery)
  • One of my ARC readers is also an AMAZING artist, and she made fan art of Oliver and Felipe that is absolutely mind blowing. Definitely follow OblivionsDream on IG, Twitter, or Tumblr. You can see the picture here.
  • My partner and I split the cost of a cheaper tablet in hopes that I can get into digital art again (after like 15+ years of not doing it) and to do some writing away from the computer.
  • Turns out that I’m only teaching one new class next semester, which is a bit of a relief in terms of prep workload. Sadly, it isn’t the one I was super hyped about, but I didn’t start the prep for it yet this month.
  • Gazed longingly at the beautiful trees in my backyard and the farm behind it. Highly recommend this activity if you want to just mainline pretty colors and fall coziness while still void staring.
  • Sadly, the extent of my Halloween activities has been buying a Spooky Vibes Only shirt that has the agender flag colors from On Trend Tshirts on Etsy.
  • The launch/release of The Reanimator’s Heart– My baby is out in the world! I want to thank everyone who bought it, reviewed it, shared posts, etc. You all have been absolutely amazing and supportive of my weird little book. At some point, I might do a whole post about this book’s release because it went really well, like REALLY well. Like so well it freaks me out a little. My stretch goal for preorders felt like I was really dreaming when I made it, and I blew past it in the last week or two.

Blogs Posted


Writing

It has been a rough month for me in terms of grading and anxiety, which means writing is hard. A lot of the anxiety stemmed from The Reanimator’s Heart coming out, so for the past week, I’ve been sort of a mess. I wish I could say that was the only reason I’ve been a mess, but I felt like crap the first week of the month too. Luckily, I think I have caught up or will be able to. I only hit my 10k goal, but at least I hit it and am content with that.

  • Week 1- 710 words total, 2/2 days written, 355 words/day
  • Week 2- 345 words total, 1/7 days written, 49 words/day
  • Week 3- 2145 words total, 5/7 days written, 306 words/day
  • Week 4- 2050 words total, 5/7 days written, 293 words/day
  • Week 5 + the 31st- 4750 words total, 5/8 days written, 596 words/day

Hopes for November

Something I am really looking forward to next month is the lessening of my workload with my freshman writing class. The last big paper comes in during the first week, which means it’s all downhill from there. October was the month of giant papers (*laugh sob*), so this should give my brain a little more breathing room. That and The Reanimator’s Heart being out.

  • Read 8 books
  • Blog weekly and put out the monthly newsletter
  • Keep marketing The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Word count goals for “Flowers and Flourishing”
    • Minimum- 10k
    • Intermediate- 12.5k
    • Stretch- 15k
  • Shop for majority of the Christmas presents
  • Actually work on that spring class’s lesson plans
  • Do something relaxing- not sure what exactly but video games, drawing, crafts count
The Reanimator's Heart

One Day Until The Reanimator’s Heart

As of when this post is dropping, there is ONE MORE DAY until The Reanimtor’s Heart releases!

cover by Crowglass Design

In case you haven’t heard about The Reanimator’s Heart, here is the blurb:

A reluctant necromancer, a man killed before his time, and the crime that brings them together.

Felipe Galvan’s life as an investigator for the Paranormal Society has been spent running into danger. Returning home from his latest case, Felipe struggles with the sudden quiet of his life until a mysterious death puts him in the path of the enigmatic Oliver Barlow.
Oliver has two secrets. One, he has been in love with the charming Felipe Galvan for years. Two, he is a necromancer, but to keep the sensible life he’s built as a medical examiner, he must hide his powers. That is until Oliver finds Felipe murdered and accidentally brings him back from the dead.
But Felipe refuses to die again until he and Oliver catch his killer. Together, Felipe and Oliver embark on an investigation to uncover a plot centuries in the making. As they close in on his killer, one thing is certain: if they don’t stop them, Felipe won’t be the last to die.

You can also see what others are saying about it:

The Reanimator’s Heart is my eighth novel, and it is a sort of tie-in to Kinship and Kindness as both series center around characters working in the New York Paranormal Society. The content warnings for The Reanimator’s Heart are on my specific book page for on my website as well as on the Goodreads listing (and inside the ebook/paperback).

Speaking of the paperback, that is available to order on Amazon and will disseminate to wider distribution in the coming weeks. You can also buy/preorder the ebook at all major retailers through this link and it will be delivered to your device on the 25th.

I am super excited about this book, which is sort of Pushing Daisies meets Sleepy Hollow but with MM romance.

If you pick up a copy, I hope you will leave a review! They really help authors like me out in terms of visibility and credibility.

Writing

Why I’m [Still] an Indie Author

For most of my life, I’ve wanted to be a writer, and I have been. If you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and words flow out into story or poetry or screenplay form, you’re a writer. I never had dreams of being a traditionally published writer, at least not in the sense of doing book tours. I just wanted to be able to hold my book in my hands and know other people are reading it. Not long ago, I showed one of my friends my proof copy of The Reanimator’s Heart, and they said something along the lines of “It’s a shame no traditional publisher has snapped you up yet.”

It sort of took me aback because I haven’t had the desire to be traditionally published in a long time. I haven’t even tried because, frankly, I don’t want to. There’s a multitude of reasons as to why I haven’t tried to be traditionally published after self-publishing seven, almost eight books. I think a lot of people see self-publishing as a sort of last resort or desperation route, but for a lot of us, this is the way we have purposely chosen to go and will continue to go. If you’re curious as to why I have decided to forgo the traditional route, here are some reasons:

  1. Traditional publishing is imploding/turning into a monopoly. If you follow book Twitter or have read business news, you might have seen how the big 5 has become the big 4 and is inching toward the big 3. This is terrible for competition, editors, diversity, agents, and of course, authors. The whole trial regarding the merger has further soured my feelings toward publishing as the administrators are acting like they have no idea how the industry works, which could be them playing dumb or actual ignorance on their part. Neither of which fills me with hope. On top of this, smaller publishers or imprints get gobbled up or shut down in order to funnel money into the larger publishers.
  2. Advances are getting smaller and more spread out. Is the money in traditional publishing worth it? If I was able to not work between books, yeah. At this point, most writers are making less than money than they did ten years ago in terms of advances. They tend to be smaller and have gone from being in three parts to five parts, which means you get less money over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, bills do not wait for your five part advance. At this point, my monthly growing income from my books is more reliable, and in the future, the hope is that my monthly income will be enough to live off. The sad fact is that traditional publishing is also becoming less livable.
  3. Publishing with a small press can be a good way to screw yourself over. The biggest issue is they tend to implode. We saw this happen a lot during the mid 2010s with queer romance publishers. They started to fold, stopped paying authors, ghosted them, and then wouldn’t give them their rights back. I saw this happen to multiple people. The other issue is that some smaller presses don’t do a very good job. Someone I know published with a university press and the book cover was horrible. I am not a stellar graphic artist, and I could have done better. They looked like they were made in paint by someone who gave zero shits. I cannot imagine they did any marketing for these books, yet they still collected this author’s royalties and did them no favors by giving them an unmarketable product with a genre-ambivalent cover. Being set up for failure by someone else in order to be recognized as “traditionally published” by the establishment feels pointless.
  4. My book lives and dies by my choices if I self-publish. The big takeaway here is my choices. I pick the cover, I make the blurb, I market the book, etc. I don’t have to worry about someone else picking a hideously ugly cover or doing no marketing for my book. If the market changes, I can buy a new cover for my book, I can alter the blurb at a moment’s notice, and I can set up ads for my books whenever I want. I don’t have to have my marketing blessed by authorities, and best of all, I can rant about whatever I’m working on because I don’t have an NDA stopping me. Do traditional publishers have a longer reach in terms of marketing? Sometimes, but with new authors who aren’t being promoted as they next big thing, not really. Publishers are getting cheaper and cheaper with marketing and small presses don’t do a whole lot in that regard.
  5. The immediacy of self-publishing and lack of gatekeeping. I can literally finish proofing my book and slap it online as soon as I’m done. I don’t have to wait 1-2 years for it to trickle through the system and that’s after potentially waiting years for an agent to think I’m worthy of their time. Everything in self-publishing is on my schedule, and if I need to take longer due to unforeseen circumstances, I can. Part of why I initially started self-publishing was to avoid the gatekeeping in traditional publishing. Back in 2014, publishers were trying to straight-wash queer media, and while that’s less common in 2022, we definitely still see certain marginalized stories get pushed to the sidelines or not get marketing. If I want to write a trans character or an autistic characters, no one can tell me the character makes the book unmarketable.

I could go on about more minute reasons, but these are probably the top five reasons as to why I’ve decided to continue self-publishing and not really look at traditional publishing. It just isn’t worth the time and energy investment when I can do a lot of the same things myself and reap the benefits without having to pay a middle man. Plus, self-publishing is a viable option in terms of being able to live off your writing. Nothing is a guarantee, but it’s something to work toward, especially after seeing other self-published authors find success.

Personal Life

On Classroom Accommodations

A post online the other day brought up something that hits on two major intersections in my life: teaching and being neurodivergent. The post talked about how professors/teachers need to stop treating students’ accommodations as charity they allow them to have and something that allows a marginalized person to participate more fully in the class/discussion/college community.

If you don’t know what accommodations are, they’re often things like giving a student with ADHD more time in class for tests or allowing a diabetic student to eat in class if their blood sugar is low. In order for students to receive accommodations in class, there are often a lot of hoops they have to jump through, such as having a diagnosis, getting a doctor to write up the accommodation, having the school approve it, having it passed out to the professors and signed off on, AND the professor still can sort of shrug it off. The student can always complain to academic affairs or whatever office deals with IEPs/accommodations, but that requires energy and cooperation from the office with no promise that the professor will ultimately cooperate or not hold it against the student for pushing back.

Something I instituted in my class this semester is a self-diagnosis policy. Often students who are autistic or have ADHD struggle to get a diagnosis as an adult or find getting a diagnosis could actually work against them (I have avoided an official autism diagnosis because you can be denied organ transplants among other things. Look it up; it’s an awful, ableist policy centered around “quality of life”). Since my classes are writing-focused, there aren’t tests, which makes allowing for extra time or other accommodations easier (no dealing with the Academic Support Center, etc.), but I have had students with anxiety, migraines, stomach issues, etc. who end up missing class more than the average student. My policy is now that as long as you keep up with your work and give me a heads-up, we’re good.

There’s some professor out there who is going, “But if I let one do that, they’ll all do that!” Shockingly, they don’t. They really, really don’t. I have had students reach out to me due to extenuating circumstances or medical issues, and so far, they always keep up with their work. The rest of the class continues on as is. Those who need it, use it. Those who don’t, don’t. If you’re not sure why this matters for quality of life, let me tell you the story of why I stopped going to a professional to get my hair cut.

As a little background, I have eczema crop up all over my body. In the past, before I started taking a biologic, it was severe, and it’s aggravated by chemicals, fragrances, etc. to the point that I only use one kind of shampoo. I also have sensory problems where things most people take for granted REALLY bother me. People touching my head or face is not a fun experience. The hair dryer is hell as it is hot, loud, but the stop and start of it just frays my nerves after while. Even a hairbrush running across my scalp bothers me if I’m stressed enough.

My aunt was going to one hairdresser who was younger and very nice. I asked my aunt to ask her if I could come to the salon with a wet head, so she didn’t have to wash my hair (aka avoid the shampoo and copious head touching). She agreed, and I went. Everything went great. My hair looked nice, and she even asked if I wanted my hair dried or left damp the second time I visited her, and from then on, we just left it damp to dry naturally. I have straight hair that dries quickly, so it looks fine after. Avoiding having my hair washed and dried made getting a haircut far less stressful. I actually didn’t hate it, though the talking throughout was less than ideal but doable.

The problem came up with my preferred hairdresser switched days and salons, and I couldn’t see her. I was desperate for a haircut before the semester started that year, so I booked an appointment with someone my other aunt used in the same salon. Big mistake. She ran roughshod over my needs. I came with a wet head, and she made me get my hair washed. I protested, and she just ushered me over the shampoo girl anyway. It caught me by such surprise that I just sort of blanked instead of fighting it further. Everything went downhill from there. My head already was itching. I told her what I wanted and showed her pictures, and she went rogue because a different length would “look better with my face.” I asked if she could not blow dry my hair, and she ignored me again. By the time I left, I was ready to cry. I was angry and frustrated that she ignored things she could have easily accommodated and completely overstimulated me. It’s been several years, and I haven’t gone back to get my hair professionally cut for fear that any accommodation I ask for will be treated like I’m being dramatic.

I keep this trip to the salon in mind when students tell me they’re struggling with something or need something to help them succeed. It isn’t “special” treatment, it’s creating equity in the classroom by leveling the playing field and removing barriers that would hinder a students’ ability to function. By ignoring an accommodation, at best, you’re making things harder than they have to be. At worst, you are actively harming your student. The hairdryer made me more overstimulated, making it harder to get through the haircut experience. The shampoo full of fragrances I didn’t want them to use actively harmed my skin, and I got an eczema flare on my scalp and neck the next day.

Something other teachers might want to consider when a students asks for an official or unofficial accommodation is that not every disability or illness is visible or consistent. I have IBS. Luckily it’s IBS-C, which doesn’t interfere too much with my life. Imagine having IBS-D and telling your professor you can’t come to a workshop class because you’re in the middle of a flare (aka frequent bathroom trips) but you will send in your feedback to your groupmates in hopes of getting credit. And your professor fires back, you look fine most of the time and to get credit, you have to be present bodily. Should your student have to disclose that they are worried about shitting themselves in class in order for you to let them do their work remotely? On the neurodivergent side of things, I don’t tell everyone I’m neurodivergent because people have some weird assumptions they will apply to you. If you say you’re autistic, people will treat you differently if they don’t know you and what you’re capable of. Students shouldn’t have to make themselves vulnerable and open to potential ridicule or ableism by disclosing specifics.

As we head into the middle of the semester, I want you to think about what your reaction to reading this was. My fear is always that someone says, “If they can’t handle it, they shouldn’t be here.” Why shouldn’t they? Why shouldn’t an autistic student or a chronically ill student be at school? What about their condition precludes them from accessing a good education? What makes their education less worthy than that of their neurotypical or non-chronically ill peer? The bootstrap attitude is ableist bullshit, and if you’re reaction was to question the student’s value or fitness, I hope you will seek out chronically ill or neurodivergent authors to work on yourself because you really don’t belong in a classroom if you’re going to actively hinder your students. To those who want to better support their students, I hope you will allow for unofficial accommodations in your future classrooms.

Monthly Review

September 2022 Wrap-Up Post

September was a shockingly productive month. One of those months where I’m super convinced I forgot something very important because I got so much done and nothing seems to have gone wrong. I’m always suspicious when things go well. Let’s take a look at the goals I made in August for September and see how I did.

  • Maintain my mental health and a decent work-life balance while grading/teaching
  • Make my goals for quarter 4
  • Writing goal of 10k/12k/14k of “Flowers and Flourishing”
  • Deal with any last minute book BS that comes up for The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Blog weekly and put out my monthly newsletter
  • Maybe make another book trailer/Tiktok for The Reanimator’s Heart (<– didn’t happen)
  • Read 8 books

Books

My goal was to read 8 books this month, and I read 9 books in September.

  1. Home Grown Talent (#2) by Joanna Chambers and Sally Malcolm- 4 stars, a gardener and a model turned TV personality team up for a weekly gardening segment where flirting for the camera turns to something more
  2. Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim- 5 stars, a matchmaker returns home to save her new career while dealing with a toxic mother and a gaggle of lovely and complex older gentlemen who need to be matched
  3. Saga (#8) by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples- 4 stars, rereading before volume 10 drops
  4. Self-Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore- 4 stars, a queer and trans retelling of The Great Gatsby where everyone manages to get a happy ending
  5. Imperfect Illusions (#1) by Vanora Lawless- 4 stars, set during WWI, two gay men with magic struggle to maintain their connection and safety during the war as they’re used as weapons
  6. Monstress (#7) by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda- 4 stars, things are getting dicey for our heroine, but her little fox comes to the rescue once more
  7. Lay Me Down in Ivy by Stefanie Simpson- 3 stars, an interesting Victorian-flavored erotica with a fem dom MC and a cinnamon roll male MC, could have used more characterization overall
  8. Monotone Blue by Nagabe- 4 stars, a studious reptile person arrives at a new school and starts to bond with a lazy cat person. A cute MM young adult romance story that I wish would continue and does talk briefly about some heavier subjects
  9. A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger- 4 stars, a wonderful story with lots of Indigenous lore where a human girl and a snake-shifter from another realm team up to save his frog friend and her grandmother.

Admin/Behind-the-Scenes Stuff

  • Proofed the audiobook of Kinship and Kindness
  • Paid narrator for the audiobook
  • Released the audiobook of Kinship and Kindness (see blog post in next section for links/info)
  • Fixed proof copy of The Reanimator’s Heart, so now it is ready to go
  • Made more marketing graphics for The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Set up my goals for Q4 and have reset my kanban board
  • Got my omicron booster/flu shot
  • Touching base with my job about my classes next semester (required some logistical work)
  • Started teaching my writing classes for the semester
  • Have been continuously in grading hell, but I don’t feel like I’m drowning in work. That’s as good as the balance gets at this point.
  • Visited friends for dinner (we all are fastidious maskers on campus), which was really lovely and has helped my brain a bit
  • Worked on plotting “Flowers and Flourishing” and wrote act one
  • May have made a Pinterest board for the next Reanimator book, even though it isn’t in line to be written next, but I like creating a vibe while it marinates

Blogs Posted


Writing

I ended up writing a bit less than I hoped this month. My initial low goal was 10k words (as in 11.5k total), and I ended up only writing to 10k (9.5k words). I really shouldn’t be shocked though because the first act always takes me the longest to get through. Now that I’m getting into act II, I’m hoping that it will move quicker, and I’ll have an easier time balancing my grading and my writing as I’ll be more accustomed to my schedule.

  • Week 1 (4 days)- 720 words (missed 2 days)
  • Week 2- 2600 words (missed 4 days)
  • Week 3- 1800 words (missed 2 days)
  • Week 4- 600 words (missed 6 days)
  • Week 5 (5 days)- 2500 words (missed 2 days)

Hopes for October

  • Have a good launch for The Reanimator’s Heart (aka release ebook and paperback and maybe hit my stretch goal for my preorders)
  • Start prepping the weekly notes for my spring classes as they are both new *laugh sob*
  • Writing goal
    • Minimum goal: 10,000 words
    • Normal goal: 12,500 words
    • Stretch goal: 15,000 words
  • Read 8 books
  • Blog weekly and put out my monthly newsletter
  • Enjoy doing fall/Halloween stuff
Uncategorized

🌈 2022 October Queer Releases 🌈

The Reanimator’s Heart is on this list along with many others! Stop by to restock your TBR piles!

QueerBookdom

Nota Bene: an asterisk (*) is added near the titles to mean that the book DOES NOT feature queer characters on page (to my knowledge), but the author is queer and therefore still in need of our support as those book are intrinsically queer (or at leastIthink so, everyone else is absolutely free to feel otherwise).

I try to be as inclusive as I possibly can, so my monthly release posts will always include books by non-queer authors who feature queer main characters or prominent queer secondary characters, as well as books by queer authors with or without representation as I wrote above.



Title Author/Editor Category/Genre Publication Date
The Woodcutter and the Snow Prince Ian Eagleton & Davide Ortu (Illustrator) Picture Book 01-10-2022
Bite Me! (You Know I Like It) Fae Quinn Adult/Fantasy 01-10-2022
Death’s Bloom Lily Mayne Adult/Horror 03-10-2022
Last Night in Brighton Massoud Hayoun Adult/Contemporary 04-10-2022

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The Reanimator's Heart

The Reanimator’s Heart Preview 2

It is officially less than a month until The Reanimator’s Heart (The Reanimator Mysteries #1) releases in ebook and paperback form (October 25th!). You can read the prologue and chapter 1 in a previous blog post. Today, I wanted to share with you chapter two. Do you need to have read the prologue and chapter 1? No. You can definitely read this one independently. Hopefully this will whet your appetite until it releases in a month.

I’m also super excited because so far the reviews that have come from early readers have been very positive. If you’re interested, you can preorder it here at your favorite ebook retailer. Paperbacks will be available closer to launch day.


Chapter Two: Masks

Felipe stared out the window of his apartment at the back of the Paranormal Society, though he wasn’t truly looking. He had been back for nearly three days, and while he slept through most of the first day, he should have unpacked his bags by now. But he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He had used this apartment as a landing ground between trips and investigations for years, yet it never truly felt like home. At the other hotels and safehouses, he never unpacked. Why should he here? But it was his. His name was on the door, his extra clothing hung in the wardrobe, his daughter’s picture and their family portrait sat on the dresser. Putting the teacup of sherry he had been nursing on the windowsill, Felipe snatched up the last picture they had taken as a family.

It had only been taken two years ago, but he looked so much younger to his eyes. There was no stripe of grey near his temples to mar the sweep of walnut brown. Louisa had told him it made him look distinguished, but his father was sixty and had less grey and it made him feel old. Now, he had dark circles and more lines at the corners of his eyes. Beside him in the photograph was his daughter. Teresa had been seventeen when they had had their picture taken. Where there once was an unsure girl, Teresa had now grown into a woman with plenty of ideas and opinions and a whole future unfolding before her. She was studying at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women now. One day, she would go on to study design in Europe and have her work in the best department stores, he was sure of it. While he was in town, he should take the train to visit her.

He sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face. He should visit Louisa, too. She and her partner, Agatha, always knew how to snap him out of these grey moods. Vibrant, clever Louisa who never seemed to change in all the years they had known each other. She had, of course, but it always was in ways that made her more herself. Louisa grew out and up like a tree, stronger and better, while he felt the years creep over him like a fungus. With Teresa out of the house, Louisa had taken up new causes and spent more time at the gallery with Agatha. Felipe was happy for Louisa and Agatha finally having more alone time together. After all, his and Louisa’s reciprocal proclivities had drawn them together into their marriage of convenience in the first place, but it had been a long time since he had that sort of steady companionship.

Even without all the women in his life, he should be happy to be back in Manhattan. The city had everything he could possibly want: a wealth of entertainment, food he couldn’t find anywhere else in the country, the best tailors and department stores, a community of men who shared his tastes, yet he still felt hollow and alone. So unbearably alone.

At the solid rap of a knuckle on the door to his rooms, Felipe pulled himself together and put on his usual devil-may-care expression. The look fell off his face when he came eye-to-eye with Oliver Barlow. When he told Miss Jones he was looking for Barlow, he had never expected him to actually come. Barlow rarely came up to the society’s main rooms, except to eat, and almost never paid visits. Hell, he barely opened the door of his lab. In previous trips, Felipe had knocked but received no answer despite hearing the other man moving around inside. It wasn’t the worst outcome as Oliver Barlow had the worst effect on him, yet the other man didn’t seem to notice. Barlow wasn’t beautiful in the way most men were, but he was arresting. His skin was deathly pale, to the point that Felipe had thought him ill when they first met, which was only compounded by his severe black hair and grey eyes. He reminded Felipe of a drawing done in charcoal, all hues of black and white, which carried to his clothing, as he always wore the same nearly black suit and grey tie. The most color came from Barlow’s shapely mouth, which hung agape for a brief second before it snapped shut and the solemn, stiff man he presented to the world reappeared.

Behind him, Gwen Jones stood watching them with interest. Felipe often wondered if Miss Jones had taken to Barlow for the contrast alone. He was all stillness while she was all motion. She was full of warmth with her copper skin and vibrantly patterned dresses while Barlow exuded a sepulchral air befitting his job. She flashed Barlow a grin before slipping down the hall. He stared at her longingly as she mouthed, “You’ll be fine,” before he turned back to meet Felipe’s gaze.

“Gwen— Miss Jones said you wanted to speak to me.”

“Yes, please, come in.”

Barlow hovered in the doorway a moment too long, and for a second, Felipe thought he might book until he seemed to force himself to dart inside as if he didn’t trust himself to slow down. Closing the door behind them, Felipe turned to the tea service he had forgotten on the sideboard. Beneath the garish cozy, the pot remained warm. As he poured some tea into his remaining sherry, he watched Barlow from the corner of his eye. He stood in the center of the room with his hands clasped behind his back, but his gaze slipped over the furniture and hearth, lingering on the closed door on the far side of the room. Felipe thought Barlow lived at the Paranormal Society as well, though he could never figure out which room was his.

“Would you like some tea?”

Barlow hesitated again. “Yes, thank you.” He added in clipped tones, “One sugar and a finger of cream, please.”

“A finger? You don’t hear that often with tea. I have sherry if you’d prefer it.”

Crinkling his nose, he shook his head. “No, thank you. Tea is fine.”

Felipe poured him a cup, careful to follow Barlow’s specifications with the man’s grey eyes boring into him. He must have done it correctly as a ghost of a smile appeared when Barlow saw the color of his drink.

“Please have a seat.”

Trepidation flickered over the medical examiner’s face, disappearing as quickly as it came. Taking the chair across from Felipe, Oliver Barlow sat ramrod straight with his ankles crossed and looked as if he wanted to be anywhere but in Felipe’s sitting room. Better to get it over with.

“You probably know I recently returned from a trip out west with Inspector Monroe. While we were in California, we were asked to visit the estate of an anatomist of some renown who recently passed. The old man was into some esoteric things, but I came across a few specimens I thought you might be interested in.” Felipe’s lips quirked into a smile at the flash of interest that stole across Barlow’s features. “I have no idea if they’re what his records say they are, but I thought they might be of interest to you. I wanted to let you have a look before one of the junior archivists gets their hands on it and it disappears. You know how the archivists are.”

From behind the armchair, Felipe carefully hefted the crate and placed it between them. Barlow’s eyes widened as he abandoned his tea on the armrest. He stared at the box with a reverence that belied the grossness of its contents.

As Barlow reached for the nearest jar, he snatched his hand back. “I should probably look at these later, downstairs.”

“You can look now if you want. I brought them back with you in mind.”

“You thought of me?” Barlow asked, his gaze solely on the specimens, but Felipe swallowed hard at the way he said it. The way Barlow’s voice became huskier, softer, when his attention was focused on things he liked went straight to his groin. The voice he used when prattling with Miss Jones was so different from what he used with the rest of them, but in the quiet of the sitting room with a box of specimens before him, Felipe thought he glimpsed the man underneath all the irreproachable tidiness and polite austerity.

Of course I thought of you, Felipe wanted to say, but instead, he sat in the armchair across from him and watched Barlow slip from the chair to kneel before the box. “As I mentioned, the man who owned the house had passed and his family wanted the Paranormal Society to collect anything they thought might be dangerous or useful. It isn’t all paranormal, but I figured you might know what they are and do something with them. Dissect them, maybe? Or add notes for the archives? They probably would have been thrown out otherwise. His daughter wasn’t particularly thrilled by the collection.”

Inside sat nearly a dozen specimens pickled in unknown fluid or alcohol. A few boasted disembodied tissue, limbs, or whole organs while the rest were from animals or sea creatures. A wax model of a werewolf in mid transformation laid at the bottom beside a pile of notebooks filled with anatomical and life drawings. Or that’s what Felipe could surmise from his quick perusal. Looking at the more realistic drawings turned his stomach. He had seen enough things during investigations for his mind to fill in the horrific blanks.

“Some of these are new to me, but I already have a few of the more typical specimens. That isn’t a problem, though. You can’t have too many preserved hearts,” Barlow said, holding up a jar where a crusty, fist-sized heart sat serenely in cloudy, amber liquid.

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“I have a few in my personal collection already, but they’re all different. They usually look the same from the outside, but inside they might be thicker or scarred or clogged with oil. You wouldn’t always know that by looking at them. When you’ve seen one heart, you really haven’t seen them all.”

“And this is why you’re good at your job. You’re always willing to look beyond the obvious.”

Barlow’s ears and cheeks pinkened. Dropping the notebook he held in his other hand, he sat back on his heels and looked up at Felipe as if for the first time. “I never even asked how your trip was. That was incredibly rude of me.”

“It’s fine.” Felipe batted the thought away with a wave of his hand. “Honestly, I’m tired of talking about it. Everyone just wants to hear a good story, not the truth. I’ve retold the story at least five times. It’s hard to remember all the embellishments I added to make it interesting at this point.”

“You could tell me. The true version, that is.”

Staring at him for a long moment, Felipe nearly did. Oliver Barlow, strange as he was, wouldn’t ask for more than Felipe could give. He had never asked him to regale him with tales of monsters and saving the day. Barlow knew what the monsters looked like when he and the other investigators finished with them and what they could do to an unsuspecting victim. Felipe shook his head. The sherry must be loosening his tongue.

Instead, he put on his most affable smile and took another long sip of sherry-laced tea. “No one wants to hear about paperwork and estate sales. Tell me about your work instead. What have you been up to?”

“Nothing too arcane.” It didn’t seem like Barlow was going to elaborate, but when Felipe gave him a pointed look, he continued, “An investigator brought in a man they thought was mauled by a werewolf today. It turned out that his pet tigers tried to eat him.”

Gaping at him, Felipe laughed. “Is this a normal day for you?”

“Not really. Why?”

“Because you said it so casually, ‘Oh, he was eaten by his tigers,’ like it’s completely normal for that to happen.”

Oliver flipped through the leather tome in his lap without raising his gaze as he replied, “Stranger things have happened. Werewolf prejudice is all too common when, in reality, foolishness is the most common killer.”

“How did you figure out it was a tiger?”

Slowly putting the book and jars back in the crate, Barlow shifted back on his heels. Felipe watched as the other man seemed to slowly stiffen. The warm interest in his features had been replaced by something tight and bland. A lock falling tightly into place.

When Barlow spoke again, his voice had taken on a clipped, clinical quality. “The claw and teeth marks didn’t match a wolf. And the man owned two pet tigers, so that was the logical conclusion. I should really let you get back to whatever you were doing. I have a report to write about Mr. Henderson.”

Standing, Barlow returned his nearly full teacup to the tray and hefted the box into his arms as if it were nothing. Felipe wanted to say something. He wanted to ask him to stay and to tell him more about his cases, but there was a purposefulness and finality to Barlow’s movements that made that feel futile. Instead, he opened the door for him.

“Thank you for bringing these back for me, Inspector Galvan. I’ll make sure they make their way to the archives when I’m done with them.”

With a final nod of goodbye, Barlow briskly took off down the hall. Felipe stood watching his retreating back until he disappeared around the corner. Returning to the empty apartment, Felipe wished he knew what he said to make him leave.

***

Unlocking the laboratory door with the box balanced on his knee, Oliver barreled inside before he could drop it. The moment he put it down, he sank to his knees with his back pressed against the hard wall. His breath came in a panicked rush. Why did Galvan have to ask about how he knew? It had been going so well. “Well” being a very relative term, but Oliver had had many conversations go catastrophically wrong, and that certainly wasn’t one of them. But Galvan had to ask about the one thing he couldn’t discuss. When Oliver turned up at the New York Paranormal Society after being dismissed from Howard Hospital, they had been hesitant to take him on. On one hand, a doctor with extensive dissection experience and a tie to the paranormal meant they would have someone who could do forensic investigations without running out of the building screaming. Taking on a necromancer, on the other hand, was far less attractive.

From a young age, he had made certain his abilities were only a footnote on his record. The few who knew when he was hired worried they had made a mistake putting a necromancer in charge of a room full of dead bodies. Imagine the havoc he could have caused, but he made sure to downplay his abilities. After all, he could barely make a bone dance. Mostly because he didn’t try hard in front of them, but they didn’t need to know that. The less he said, the better. They couldn’t know that his methods were often as scientific as they were direct. His employers liked results and little mess, and as long as he gave them both, they rarely asked for specifics. But Galvan asked questions. Friendly questions any normal person would ask, but Oliver couldn’t answer like a normal person. If Galvan knew he could wake the dead, he would never think of him the same way again. He wouldn’t trust him, he wouldn’t bring him specimens from far-flung assignments, and he certainly wouldn’t take tea with him in his rooms.

Oliver pressed his eyes with the heels of his hands. Why couldn’t he have been born with telekinesis like Gwen? Hell, if he had been born a werewolf, his life would have been easier. People were afraid of them, but that fear faded. The fear of someone who could manipulate the dead, potentially manipulate them one day, always remained. He could never forget that. Releasing a tremulous breath, Oliver shook out his hands and rubbed his face. Keeping Galvan at arm’s length was the most sensible solution. He had done it for years, and he would keep doing it. At least Galvan would probably be heading out on another mission soon, so all he had to do was hide away in the lab for a few more days, a fortnight at most, until he was gone.

Picking up the box of specimens, Oliver had gotten as far as the supply closet when a heavy knock sounded on the lab door. “Just a minute!”

At least no one but Gwen would barge in. Oliver smoothed his hair and the front of his clothing before making sure his face was set. He cast his gaze over the laboratory tables and floor one more time for anything he missed with Mr. Henderson and opened the door. Head Inspector Williams stood on the other side, his military bearing obvious even after years on land. Despite being past sixty and having a wooden leg, he was always the one to come all the way down to the basement to fetch Oliver when he needed something. Sometimes Oliver wondered if that was because Head Inspector Williams liked to stay active or because those under him refused to venture to the morgue.

“Mr. Barlow,” he said by way of greeting as he walked past Oliver into the laboratory’s anteroom. Once Oliver shut the door, he continued, “Have you gotten the chance to take a look at Hezekiah Henderson’s body yet?”

“Yes, sir. I don’t believe the cause of death to be paranormal. The bites look to have come from a wild cat, not a wolf or demon, as far as I can tell. They don’t appear to have human influence in terms of placement, so I would rule out a shifter.”

The older man nodded thoughtfully as he walked toward the shelf where Oliver kept his medical texts. Oliver tried not to flinch as the head inspector picked up a wax model of an eye and twirled the wooden stand between his hands. “I expect your report will be ready soon, so I can pass it on to the investigators.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good.” When he put the model back with a thunk, Oliver’s shoulders relaxed a fraction. “Now, I need you to go out to the Corpus Christi Monastery in the West Bronx. A nun died, and the sisters suspect foul play— of the magical kind.”

Oliver frowned; it wasn’t often he was called out to the scene of a crime. “Why isn’t the body coming here?”

“The sisters aren’t comfortable with one of their own being brought to the Paranormal Society. They’re already going against their better judgement calling us in to take a look just in case.”

“Do you know why they suspect it’s something paranormal?”

“No idea, but you know how those types are, a superstitious lot.” As Oliver opened his mouth again, the head inspector held up his hand. “Save the rest of your questions for the nuns, Barlow.”

“Then, I’ll get my bags and leave within the hour, sir.”

 “As much as I appreciate your expediency, Mr. Barlow, you might want to wait for your companions. That way you only have to take one steamer.”

“Companions?”

“I’m sending you out with Newman and Galvan. They’re Catholic and less,” he made a vague gesture at Oliver’s person, “so they’ll smooth things over for you. It’s for the best that they go in first. The nuns are already jumpy.”

And you’ll make it worse. Oliver clenched his fist behind his back even as he nodded in agreement. “Yes, sir. I’ll meet them upstairs shortly, then.”

“Good. I knew you would be reasonable.” Head Inspector Williams took a step toward the door to leave but turned and said, “If you could clear this matter up quickly, I’d appreciate it. No dog and pony show if it isn’t necessary. Not everyone needs to be sliced and diced, you understand?”

“Yes, sir,” he replied tightly.

When the head inspector left, Oliver stood very still watching the shut door. For his entire life, he had heard the same thing: too brusque, too to the point, too honest, too you, too much. He could make himself as small as possible and they would still say it; they still did. Sighing silently, he gathered all the things he would need into a gladstone bag and prepared himself mentally for the ride to the West Bronx. His hopes of avoiding Galvan were dashed, but luckily, the man would probably not want to talk to him anyway after how he bolted. Locking the laboratory door behind him, Oliver eyed the plaque that read, Oliver Barlow, Medical Examiner. It should have read, Oliver Barlow, unsuitable, as always.


If you’re excited to read The Reanimator’s Heart, you can preorder your ebook copy at all major retailers by clicking this link.

Kinship and Kindness

The Kinship and Kindness Audiobook is Live!

the audiobook cover for Kinship and Kindness by Kara Jorgensen

I’d like to interrupt your regularly scheduled scrolling because the audiobook of Kinship and Kindness is live! This book is one of my absolute favorites with a stress-baking werewolf leading a delegation in his father’s place and a fox shifter trying to get support for his shifter union back in NYC. The book came out in 2020, but I was really hoping to find a trans narrator since my main character, Bennett, is a trans man and I did! Jack R R Evans did an amazing job bringing Bennett, Theo, and everyone else to life. While proofing the audiobook, I was completely enraptured, and I am not the best at focusing while listening to audiobooks, but I was hooked.

Currently, Kinship and Kindness is available on Audible and Amazon, but it will be coming to iTunes as well. In the beginning of 2023, I’m also hoping to take it wide, so we will see.

For now, you can grab a copy at Audible or Amazon.