Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hop for Visibility, Awareness and Equality

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia,Transphobia, and Biphobia. To mark this important day in the fight against hate, I’m participating once again in the (formerly) HAHAB blog hop. While I enjoyed participating and supporting those dealing with homophobes and bigots, this is the first year that I’ve felt personally impacted by this.

As followers of my blog may remember from previous years, I define as asexual, a rare and misunderstood sexual identity. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tried to explain what it means, which led to this blog post in 2013. I’m not going to write about that again, since I think I did a pretty awesome job of it already. Today, in keeping with the theme this year, I want to talk about the visibility and awareness of asexuality.

Since my post back in 2013, I’ve noticed that asexuality is becoming more and more recognized. I’ve met and befriended several other people who either identify as being asexual, know someone who is asexual, or know about asexuality in general, even if they did not personally know someone who identified as such. I’ve found that I’m not having to explain as often as I used to when my sexual orientation comes up, and it’s nice to see how asexuality is becoming more visible.

So what’s the next step in increasing visibility and awareness? Books. The books we write, read, review, buy, and share. We are part of a community that prides itself on being inclusive and supportive, yet I’ve noticed that there aren’t a whole lot of books with asexual characters, much less main asexual characters.
I was at a convention two years ago speaking with a gay romance author about how I wanted to see more people like me being represented in novels. He agreed with me, yet told me that while he would love to write an asexual character, he wouldn’t because an asexual character wouldn’t sell. He told me that people wanted tons of sex scenes and wouldn’t buy a book with a main asexual character. When I raised the question in a panel later, I received similar responses such as this.

Needless to say, I was not only upset by this, but a bit angry as well. I knew these authors weren’t trying to insult me, they were just telling the truth as they saw it. Nevertheless, I felt like they were telling me that those who were asexual didn’t matter as much as others in the LGBT community because we weren’t sexy enough to be marketable. Like the world would end if an author published a book that didn’t contain explicit sex scenes. Like we couldn’t have romances that people would like to read. Like we didn’t really belong.

Why had no one wanted to write about the challenges of a relationship between someone who was asexual and someone who wasn’t? What if you had a werewolf who discovered his mate, only to find out that he couldn’t just seduce him into bed because his sexy, manly wiles didn’t really work on his mate? Why had no one written about the confusion and complications behind a character discovering that he or she was asexual? Why hadn’t anyone dug into this gold mine of potential stories?

Since then, I’ve found books with asexual characters. However, these have been few and far between, and many only had secondary characters who were asexual, or they had main characters who were asexual but didn’t focus on romance at all. Several authors have also told me they were either considering writing novels with main asexual characters or they had novels coming out with secondary asexual characters.  

While I’m glad that authors are willing to take the plunge and write asexual characters, I want to see people talking about this. Readers, let authors know you would be willing to buy books with characters with varied sexual backgrounds. Reviewers, be open to reading and sharing books with asexual characters (and for those of you who are sharing, please keep doing so!). Authors, there are readers out there who would be interested in these kinds of books.

I will buy books with asexual characters. I will buy books that focus more on the plot and the romance rather than the sex. I’ve been meeting and hearing from more and more people who will buy those books as well. There is a market for this, and more importantly, a need. It’s time to bring us in under the umbrella.

After all, we want happily ever afters too.

This year, instead of just giving away one prize, I've decided to give away 12. You see, when I find books that I like, I go and buy a second copy to either gift to someone or give away as a prize. And sometimes, I buy a copy forgetting that I already own a book, or that I've won it, etc. So I went through my list and chose some of my favorite books to give away to 12 lucky winners. Here are my 10 choices for M/M novels:

Called to Mate by Lynn Tyler - Amazon     |     ARe
Chaos Unchained by James Cox - Amazon     |     ARe
Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino - Amazon     |     ARe
Inherit the Sky by Ariel Tachna - Amazon     |     ARe
Jaynell’s Wolf by Amber Kell - Amazon     |     ARe
Love the Sinner by Avril Ashton - Amazon     |     ARe
Mannies Incorporated by Sean Michaels - Amazon     |     ARe
Old Loyalty, New Love by Mary Calmes -  Amazon     |     ARe
On Thin Ice by Jessica Lee - Amazon     |     ARe
Starling by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese - Amazon     |     ARe

And for those who enjoy M/M/F:
Felicity Jones by Dee Dawning - Amazon     |     ARe
Magic of Three by Jenna Castille - Amazon     |     ARe

To enter, just leave a comment and include the name of the book you'd like to win and your email. That's it! At the end of the hop, I'll do some fancy ordering and random generating (random.org is my friend in this) to find our 12 winners. Oh, and you have to have an ARe account as that will be where I am gifting all the ebooks. Other than that, easy peasy!

I hope you enjoyed my long post (yes, I did get a bit on my soapbox for this) and are having a great time hopping along and raising awareness about everyone under the QUILTBAG umbrella. To keep on going, click here to visit the other participating blogs.


  1. I love books with ace characters! I'm on the ace spectrum, and so is my daughter. One of my friends wrote an ace f/f romance, if you're interested. It's called Endless Days of Summer by Stacy O'Steen. I loved it. :)

    Short version: YES to more ace MCs, especially in romance!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, it's always nice to meet others like me. Also, thanks so much for letting me know, I will definitely have to check out Endless Days of Summer.

  2. A great list of books. Thanks for the post on asexuality. I also identify as asexual so am glad to see the post to spread awareness.

    If I was lucky enough to win I think I'll go with Chaos Unchained by James Cox.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    1. I'm always happy to spread awareness, and I'm glad you liked the post. Thanks for participating!

  3. Ooh, they all look good. But how about On Thin Ice by Jessica Lee? Fingers crossed.

    1. They are all good books. Btw, Jessica Lee has her book Bloodlines available for free right now as well in case you're interested in that.

  4. I'm always interested in stories about, or by, asexual people. One of my best friends is ace as well!

    I'd be happy to win anything but Mannies Incorporated sounds particularly nice!

    1. Thanks so much for your support, it means a lot. And Mannies Incorporated is an awesome book, as are pretty much all of Sean Michael's books that I've read.

    2. Hi, I need your email address in order to send you your prize. Can you please add it or send me an email?

  5. I did not know about asexuality till I read Blue Steel Chain by Alex Beecroft. I really liked it, and it opened my eyes to a new reality.
    Thank you for such an interesting post. If I won, I would love Old Loyalty, New Love by Mary Calmes. I have both an ARE and Amazon accounts ;)

    1. I haven't heard of that book, I will have to check it out. Thanks for letting me know. And I'm glad you liked the post and that it achieved its purpose.

  6. I love-love-love this post so much. You made me almost as happy as being given a whole clutch of fire-lizards would make me. Heh.
    I'm interested in writing about Ace characters. Please send me a pm on Facebook, or an email (cherienoelauthor at gmail) but don't enter me into your giveaway, please. Oh, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. :)
    Cherie Noel, Hop Admin

    1. Lol, I'm glad you enjoyed the post so much. I'm glad to hear that you're interested in writing ace characters, and I will definitely send you an email.

  7. Angela
    Thanks for participating in this blog hop and for sharing this post with us. Also thank you for the giveaway chance, if i'm Lucky enough to win i would choose Love the Sinner by Avril Ashton.


    1. You're welcome, thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hey Emily,
    nice meeting you! I've been trying to find asexual readers for a while now, but on Goodreads I didn't have much chance! ;)
    I've decided I'll be writing more asexuals in my stories (even though on my fantasy world they don't talk about sexual orientations, so I guess I'll just have to write them as such) and the publisher's page (www.unicornproductionsbooks.com) will soon reflecting this. I'm preparing buttons for all the books! ;)
    Thank you for your post!

    1. That's awesome, I will keep my eye out for them. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Thanks for this post and for raising awareness about asexuality. Wasn't that familiar with it, until I read both of your posts.

    If I was lucky enough to win, I'd love Inherit the Sky. Thanks for the chance!


    1. I'm glad you read my posts and that they helped you expand your knowledge.

  10. nice of you to participate

    Inherit the Sky

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  11. Hi, Emily!
    I am proud to be hopping with you! ^~^
    I'm in the process of editing my first full-length novel to be published by Less Than Three Press.
    It's a post-apocalyptic romance, and its main characters are an agender person and a demiromantic asexual person. I'm really excited about sharing this story! :D
    I will reach out to you as time gets closer if you're interested.
    Thanks for this great post! <3
    xo, A.V.

    1. This sounds like such an awesome story, definitely keep me in the loop about it. I loved your post too. Thanks so much for stopping by!