Guest Post: Nicole Field on Polyamory in Queer Fiction

I’m excited to welcome Nichole Field to the blog today to talk about the representation of polyamory in fiction and her Shadows of Melbourne series, book two, REVELRY, out December 26, 2018 from Less Than Three Press. Welcome, Nicole!

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Nicole writes across the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. She lives in Melbourne with one of her partners, two cats, a whole lot of books and a bottomless cup of tea.

Also likes tea, crochet and Gilmore Girls.

Find Nicole online: WEBSITE TWITTER


Honestly, I love any opportunity to wax on about polyamory. It was something I realised I was passionate about around the time that I realised there was very little representation in books or other media. In my own life, I’ve often felt like I’m absent a blueprint with regards to how to live a polyamorous life. I genuinely hope that the polyamorous relationships I represent in my novels helps other people with those kinds of questions.

I’ve written before about choosing to my speculative fiction series ‘Shadows of Melbourne’ (Changing Loyalties and Revelryhere. In short, I wanted to do two main things:

1. Subvert the love triangle trope so that the main character didn’t have to ‘choose’ between the two love interests.

2. I didn’t like that two males were always offered as love interests, and made the decision to make one of them female.

What I haven’t written extensively about is the way writing a polyamorous relationship freed me up to not just give a happily ever after to my main character with one love interest, but to also manage a slower burn romance with the other. 

By the end of Changing Loyalties, Dahlia and Bianca have begun a casual relationship with one another. Dahlia and Elliott, on the other hand, experience a moment that leads Dahlia to no longer know where she stands with Elliott.

This is important as, with many small publishers, they require a happily ever after. However, with spec fic and other serialised drama, I’ve found that readers often prefer there to be a more drawn out will-they-won’t-they relationship. (A really good example of this is Cole McCade’s ‘Criminal Intensions’ series, here.)

Bringing polyamory into my stories, I’ve managed to run both kinds of romance in my serialised spec fic.

Writing Revelry, I found I had the base of a relationship I could build on and deepen with Bianca and Dahlia. They don’t always get things right, and they come from two completely different worlds, but they both find a lot to appreciate in the other, and so trust and camaraderie grow.

Dahlia and Elliott, on the other hand, have known each other a lot longer but have only recently begun to look at each other with a romantic interest in mind. One of the things I can already say I’m looking forward to bringing in from my own life and experience is the way that lessons learned in one relationship can be useful when applied to another.

For example, although the scenario of different worlds that Elliott and Dahlia is different, they do still come from different worlds. Elliott is a demisexual vampire. Dahlia is human, and very definitely allosexual. Elliott is also far older than Dahlia, although this is something Dahlia is used to with exclusion of the werewolves who populate her life and these books.


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Dahlia's family is in tatters after the death of the alpha of the Melbourne pack. Luca has been given the role in his place, she and Annabelle can barely manage to be in the same room together, and Dennis is still at large. And wherever he's hiding, he's making new werewolves at a terrifying rate.

All Dahlia wants is a moment to catch her breath. Her relationship with Bianca is new and fragile, she can't decide whether she'd like to end up in Research or Magic within the secret society of the Sisterhood... and then there's Elliot, who brings an entirely new set of complications.

Preorder your copy here:

Less Than Three Press Barnes & Noble Amazon

PUBLISHING NEWS!!!

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When I first took the leap from writing fanfic to writing my own characters and worlds, this weird little thing with the working title Light started sprouting weeds in my brain. Since then, this little book I started because I wanted to see queer characters in more than just the role of the Sassy Gay Friend has undergone complete rewrites until it wasn't even recognizable anymore. It taught me a ton about characters, about voice, about writing, about writing QUEER CHARACTERS where being queer wasn't an issue. It taught me about writing the books I always wanted to read.

I am beyond thrilled to announce that my Gay Firefly with magic debut science fiction novel EMPIRE OF LIGHT will be published by NineStar Press.

I couldn't be more excited to be working with their team to get Damian, Aris, Raeyn, and the rest of the crew out into the world.

I can't wait for you all to meet these characters! It's going to be a BOOK, everyone! Thank you to all who have been along on this wild ride and thank you for supporting queer books everywhere!

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Cheers and rainbow explosions. Watch this space for updates, tales from the editing trenches, previews, giveaways and release info!

Alex

Join the #PitProm Party on August 25th!

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18768241_429748504074995_4973611821492774354_o I'm excited to be one of the mentors in this year's #PitProm pitch contest which will pit pitches from unagented science fiction and fantasy writers against each other for a chance to be mentored by industry pros for a week until pitches are posted on the #PitProm website for agents and editors to see.

What you'll need to enter:

  • a 140-character Twitter pitch, including the #PitProm hashtag

  • your query

  • the first 10 pages of your completed and edited manuscript

The submissions window opens on August 24th at midnight CST and closes on August 25th at midnight. Of the first 200 entries, 10 fantasy and 10 science fiction pitches will be chosen by our Royal Advisors, Eli Celata (Court Fantasy) and Kadee Carder (Court Science Fiction). Mentors then pick their two favorite pitches and will mentor writers for one week until revised pitches, queries, and first ten pages will be posted on the #PitProm website. Agents and editors will vote for their favorite pitches, which will be crowned #PitProm King/Queen.

Find more info on the #PitProm website and follow the hashtag on Twitter!

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I'm super stoked to be part of Court Sci-Fi and here are some of the top things on my wishlist in no particular order:

  • Queer main characters and #ownvoices stories
  • An intersectional and diverse cast of characters
  • Romance? Yes, please! The more complicated, the better!
  • I'm a huge fan of enemies to lovers and found families!
  • Give me the voicey things!

And finally, here's some science fiction I really love.

Books:

  • Taya Huff's CONFEDERATION series
  • Kameron Hurley's GOD'S WAR series
  • Jeff Somers' AVERY CATES series
  • Mira Grant's NEWSFLESH series
  • Nnedi Okorafor's BINTI novellas
  • Becky Chambers' THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET
  • Cindy Pon's WANT

TV:

  • Firefly
  • Doctor Who
  • Torchwood
  • Killjoys
  • The Expanse
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Cowboy Bebop

Movies:

  • Star Wars (duh! And yes, I may be starting something here, but The Force Awakens is my favorite. So. Much. Love.)
  • Star Trek (also include among TV, but yes, it's okay to like both!)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Titan A. E.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Matrix

So, yes, if your pitch fits my wishlist or is reminiscent of ideas or characters in any of my favorite SF, I'd love to see it. I'm super excited to see tons of great pitches coming in, so be sure to keep up with the #PitProm hashtag and let me know if you have any questions.

Join the party and may the best Court win!

My #DiverseAThon TBR January 22-29, 2017

I love reading challenges and #DiverseAThon has been one of my favorites. This upcoming DiverseAThon goes from January 22 - 29, 2017 and is aimed at reading a wider range of diverse authors. Because I clearly like to commit to these things last minute, and my goal is to read at least 150 books this year, here is my TBR for the next week. Apparently my theme for this #DiverseAThon is queer and blue. I am not complaining.

HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME by Adam Silvera

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When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

I can't wait to read this book. MORE HAPPY THAN NOT broke me in the best of ways and I am anticipating many tears with Adam Silvera's second book, but that doesn't put a dampener on my enthusiasm--quite the opposite.

WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore

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To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

I have been excited to read this ever since mentions of it first came up in my Twitter feeds. The prose of this looks gorgeous and I finally was able to pick it up during last year's Siren's conference. I'm looking forward to lots of magical realism and even more magical prose.

OF FIRE AND STARS by Audrey Coulthurst

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Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile kingdoms. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a land where magic is forbidden.

Now Denna has to learn the ways of her new kingdom while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine, sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, they discover there is more to one another than they thought—and soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

A subversively queer take on a princess story? Fighting princesses and girl kissing? Sign me up. I received this in last month's Owl Crate and have been looking forward to read this ever since. We need more epic fantasy for teens and adults alike that feature trope subversion and girl-kissing, so I'm ridiculously anticipating this one!

THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K. Le Guin

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A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world,The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.

This will be a re-read for me, but since Penguin released this lovely hardcover edition I figured the time is now. THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS was first recommended to me when I first started to ask about queer science fiction and fantasy recommendations. I picked up my first raggedy and well-loved copy at a used bookstore and it has been one of my favorite books of all time ever since. THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS taught me so much about gender and how to write it, not just in science fiction and fantasy, but in general, and it will always have that special place in my heart filled with that kind of sense of wonder you feel when you realize, "Wait, people write like this? Does that mean can write like this?" It certainly was educational and empowering for me. I can't wait to revisit it. If you haven't read it yet, what are you still waiting for?

So, that's my TBR for this week's #DiverseAThon. All blue and all queer. Only one of these things is a coincidence. I'll be sure to keep you updated on my thoughts both on Twitter and on Goodreads. If you are joining #DiverseAThon, please let me know, so we can exchange thoughts and book recs! That's the point of it after all.

Happy Reading!

Alex