Civil War & Stucky: Why Good Representation Helps All Our Narratives

I am not even going to lie: I am Stucky-shipping filth.
For those who have no idea what I just wrote, this means that in the steaming dumpster I call a brain, I take a great deal of satisfaction from seeing a romantic timbre to the relationship between Steve Rogers (portrayed by Chris Evans) and Bucky (portrayed by Sebastian Stan) in the MCU. Lots of folks have myriad feelings about this, but at the end of the day, I don’t really give a damn. My fandom, my dumpster fire.
But why do I do this? Why is this so important to me, enough to make me watch with hawk-like raptness any interaction between those characters, just waiting to pounce on the slightest indication of that romantic relationship, however super-heroics-fraught it may be?

GaymerX Debriefing

The Queer as a Three-Sided Die (Qd3) Panel
I’m on the plane home from the fantastic GaymerX, writing this in my phone’s note-taking app.
More than any other convention I’ve ever been to, this convention was about the people. Lots of people, in a bewildering variety, from all over the place.
From the trim-and-put-together Aussie Liam to the fabulously fey Raine to the handsome trio of beard-and-mohawk’d lads in the audience of several of our panels. From the adorable Lauren to David Gaider (whom I sat next to in the Coming Out in the Game Industry panel and did my best to not fanboy at) to the amazing Tanya (whom I just wanted to follow around, puppy-dog like because I loved both her voice and the things she said with it), I met amazing people sitting at panels with us.
And the good folk who ran the event, certainly. Brian who made things happen all around him, a tornado in reverse, leaving order and effectiveness in his wake. The irrepressible Tim, who ran the Tabletop portion of things and was an amazing host and organizer (and does a HELL of a Toydarian accent!). And certainly the volunteer staff, those Sprites who were everywhere working hard to make the show run smoothly. Of them, special thanks goes to David, a winningly-smiling Sprite who ran out to grab me a meal when my body was just not having any more.
And this is why we do this. Human beings build connections in two main ways: shared interests and shared experiences.  Is it any wonder we form such strong bonds at our myriad geek-gatherings, then, that provide us the opportunity for both?
We played and ran games, we spoke on panels about diversity and justice and coming out and the very gods themselves, we founds wonderful things and worthy projects in the exhibition hall, we deepened bonds with friends old and new.
I had a great deal of fun, and I can’t wait for next year. GX4, you can’t get here soon enough for me. 🙂

Is Sacred Band a story for me?


A good friend of mine recently asked me an interesting question. Knowing that my novel Sacred Band is about a team of queer superheroes, he was wondering if there was anything in the book “for him.”
To be brutally honest, I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer that.
I mean, on one hand, it’s a story about superheroes solving a problem no one else wants to and fighting bad guys along the way. I’m biased enough to think it’s an interesting story, with good characters, and a likeable enough plot that anyone who does like supers could pick it up and enjoy it.
But on the other hand? It’s a queer story, about queer characters, and it doesn’t hesitate to be or balk at being exactly that, without apologies. Characters experience attractions that are same-sex, folks discuss the ways in which identity and orientation impact their experience, and we see some of the problems that face a small team of queer supers determined to be heroes in a world that claims to protect everyone but often leaves “those types” out in the cold.
Thinking about it, there are certainly straight characters in the story, but none of them are major characters. Does that limit the reach of my story? Does it reduce the “accessibility” of my novel? It’s a distinct possibility.
But the way I see it is this: I’ve been reading fiction involving straight, cisgendered males for nigh on three decades now. And I’ve loved those stories, even though their growing-up stories were not mine, their stories of self-discovery were not mine, and their stories of love, romance, and relationships were not mine.
Maybe it’s naive to think that if I’m able to connect with stories that never reflected me in their pages, my story can connect with readers who do not find themselves in its pages.
Buy Sacred Band here!

GaymerX Games & Panels


 
I’ve been invited to be one of the “Bosses of Honor” for the GaymerX Convention in San Jose in December, and I have to admit, I’m rather looking forward to it! My schedule looks a little something like this:
Friday
Coming Out in the Game Industry: 1pm – 2pm. A panel that looks at some of the experiences some folks in the gaming industry have had with coming out while in it, and some of the issues we still face.
Saturday
To Catch a Flown Crow (A Song of Ice & Fire Roleplaying): 10am – 2pm. Two groups meet north of the Wall: a small band of wildlings and a small patrol of rangers. Both discover they have a common aim: to bring to justice a turncloak Night’s Watch Ranger, so they join forces to do just that.
Queer as a Three-Sided Die: 3pm – 4pm. The well-loved gaymer panel that a handful of industry folks do every year at GenCon is coming to GaymerX! Looks at history of queerness in tabletop roleplaying, and covers advice on introducing such into your campaigns.
Queering Divinities: Diversifying Your Fantasy Religion: 6pm – 7pm. A panel that looks at fantasy deific pantheons, and how to introduce or emphasize queerness in both the identities of the gods and in the structures of their faiths.
Sunday
GM Skills for Immersive Roleplay: 10am – 1pm. A workshop-style presentation intended to arm GMs in the process of providing opportunities for more in-depth roleplaying in their games.

Preparations for GamExpo

It’s been a while since I’ve been back to San Antonio, and I have to admit I’m looking forward to it. It looks like I’ll be part of a handful of panels while there, and I’m going to see if I can arrange an impromptu reading of a chunk of Sacred Band while I’m there.

Inaugural Blog Post

Hello, world. This is the beginning of my author’s blog. Though I know contemporary wisdom up to two years ago said an author basically had no chance of success without a blog, but now says that there’s no hope of using a blog to gain writerly success unless you started like five years ago, I’m not terribly worried about all of that.
I’m blogging for me, because that’s the only way I’m going to give enough of a damn to do stuff like this. I need a place where I can ramble on in longer form than my Facebook allows, where I can talk some about my book long after anyone is interested in still listening to me throw around ideas, track word count, and all the rest of that, you know?
So here we go.
Progress: Sacred Band