I have loved romance novels all my life, and love has always threaded itself, like incense, into every fantasy and science fiction story I've written. But for the longest time I didn't allow myself to consider writing a romance novel of my own. Until I did.
The result was Thief of Songs, a novel that ended up on the Tiptree Award's Long list. Set in a secondary fantasy world with four human sexes (male, female, hermaphrodite, and neuter), it's the story of an imperial composer and the music en inadvertently stole while touring the highlands conquered hundreds of years ago by ens birth country. Dancer's kingdom is unfairly privileged: all the magic in the world runs into the bowl of its lowest point and collects there, and using that magic its armies annexed the entire continent. So you can imagine the issues that arise when one of those conquered sons comes to the capital... and finds himself in love, irrevocably and inexorably, with a foreigner, a hermaphrodite... and God help him, a musician of such genius he couldn't help but adore en.
Those issues were not solvable in a single book. Last year I took them forward into a new book, Cantor for Pearls, where Amet--our highland man--continues to struggle with his ambivalence while navigating the wholly unfamiliar relationship to him possible between man and neuter. This is an unabashed asexual romance, with sea serpents. (This book also made the Tiptree Long List!)
These are romances the way I like to read them. They're low conflict, because I don't like high drama and plot interrupting the relationship's development. They're slow-burn resolutions, in that I don't think some issues can be resolved in a single book. They struggle with multiculturalism, imperialism, the mistakes people make when they can't get what they need, and the mistakes they make when they do. They're unabashedly lyrical, because I love prose that falls over itself with music. The love scenes are lit just enough for you to know things are happening and to hear the necessary conversations, but not explicit enough that you could reproduce them, shot-by-shot, in an NC-17 movie. And there is magic, and art, and yes, aliens. The sea serpents won't be the last of them.
Next year, I hope to complete this set by writing about how Amet, Dancer, and Always Falling meet their fourth and final lover, the woman who will bear their children. And after that... well, there are a couple more loose ends I'd like to see to involving some secondary characters you've told me you'd love to see more of.
But one of those loose ends is the fact that these books exist only as e-books. This Kickstarter will hopefully address that by giving me the capital to get the print editions made. I want them to be lovely, because the books deserve it. So... let's see how that goes, shall we?
Our basic rewards are a wallpaper (see above!), the e-books (with additional/deluxe commentary), and the print editions. If the money keeps rolling, maybe we can discuss bookmarks and postcards, stickers or patches of the various kingdoms' emblems, jewelry, even audiobooks and other high-price items.
Risks and challenges
As much as possible I've streamlined this one so it takes very little by way of work. I've gotten very good at packing and shipping things!
I think the biggest risks are:
1. I get hyper and start throwing in prizes and things that I shouldn't because I like running myself to ragged shreds doing stuff;
2. I get too perfectionist about the things and fuss them to death over millimeter differences in whitespace only I am going to care about.
I think I'll be able to handle #2 since I've done ten of these Kickstarters before. It's #1 you all are going to have to help me with. Sit on me if I start gibbering about something that sounds impossible, please?Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (14 days)