Some Quick Thoughts

It’s been an interesting week.

Sufficiently Advanced Magic is easily my most successful book to date in terms of how rapidly it’s selling. I’m very proud of that.

It’s got some great reviews.

It’s also got some bad ones. That’s understandable, but a couple in particular have frustrated me – because they’re attacking the book for having a LGBT character.

I won’t apologize for that. Far from it, in fact. I wish I’d done more with it; I didn’t put in as much content on the subject as I wish I had. I should have explored it in more detail to make it feel more authentic and help the characters be more accessible to LGBT readers who might be interested.

I’ll try to learn from this experience and include more LGBT content in my future books. People of all genders and sexual orientations deserve positive representation.

56 thoughts on “Some Quick Thoughts

  1. Brett, thanks for the link. That’s very similar to my own situation. My intent was definitely to be low-key about it since the character’s sexuality is not integral to the plot, but I think some people will definitely find it upsetting regardless of which approach is taken.

  2. I picked up this book on Amazon after only reading the summary. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it had LGBT content since besides Urban Paranormal and Fantasy, LGBTQ fiction is my preferred genre. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the story plays out and I can’t wait to purchase and read the next book in the series to find out more about the Attunement systems and the other spires, as well as seeing more LGBTQ content! (^_^)
    Sincerely,
    Andre’

  3. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the LGBT content! I’m already looking forward to writing more of it – as well as all the other fun stuff, of course – for the next book. ^_^

    Best,
    -Andrew

  4. Loved the book, didn’t too much care for the LGBT aspects, but they were understated enough I didn’t mind them. That said, it’s your story to tell as you like, but I’m afraid if you start shoe-horning more into the next stories just for the sake of having more, I won’t be choosing to follow. No, I’m not homophobic, I don’t hate people who have those attractions, but as much as I enjoy your writing, it’s not a subject I care for. In case you like feed back from fans with different points of view…

  5. Hello Kobin,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the book, and I appreciate your feedback.

    Some of my characters happen to prefer people of the same sex – or just don’t care about the sex of their romantic interests. I’m not going to change that.

    This means that you’ll still end up seeing more LGBT content here and there. There are also characters that prefer the opposite sex, so hopefully you’ll enjoy that content more.

    I don’t intend for romance to be the primary focus of my books in general. It’s just one type of relationship that I intend to explore. That said, there definitely will still be some scenes with LGBT romantic content here and there.

    If just having LGBT content in the story hurts your interest, I hope you still find elements you enjoy in the story. If not, there are plenty of other great novels out there and I hope you find ones that cater to your own interests.

    Best,
    -Andrew

    1. I feel that I must echo Kobin’s sentiment. I also don’t prefer to read about LGBT relationships and since you intend to include them in your future books, I will need to hold off on reading those future books. When I read a book, I of course visualize the character’s, the scenes, etc. Since LGBT interactions are not ones I wish to visualize, I will sadly need to stick to only book one, which was an excellent read.

      1. Hello Dan,

        Even if you don’t read my own books in the future, I appreciate that you were willing to give Sufficiently Advanced Magic a shot.

        I would encourage you to consider reading other books with LGBT content in the future and challenge yourself – there are a lot of great books out there that have LGBT characters, and I think you’re doing yourself a disservice if you exclude anything that has any hint of that sort of content.

        That is, of course, entirely up to you. Everyone has things they like and dislike in fiction, and I understand that people have different comfort levels with styles of relationships that differ from their own.

        Thank you again for reading the book.

  6. I just finished “Sufficiently Advanced Magic (SAM),” and was visiting your blog to learn more about the sequel. The book was a fun read, and I gave it four stars on Amazon.

    Thanks for including a LGBTQ character. How surprising as most authors are not that courageous, and for the main character to be, well that was great. It’s fun to have a character of my sexual orientation. Corin’s reaction to being asked to be ball was very realistic too.

    I’m looking forward to reading your other books, and especially to the SAM sequel.

    I can’t say that I noticed excessive use of dashes in SAM; sometimes editors have to complain about something. I’m sure they said Hemingway was too laconic.

    Thank you for the good book and thank you for the LGBTQ character.

  7. Noel,

    Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you appreciated the inclusion of an LGBT character, and that you felt Corin’s reaction was realistic. I’m glad I kept that scene in the book, and I’m looking forward to writing the aftermath in the sequel.

    I’m also glad my overuse of dashes didn’t bother you too much. =D

    Best,
    -Andrew

  8. I find the LGBT themes in the book very subtle, i don’t see how anyone would find it worth complaint

    so the LGBT characters are Corin, Jin and Keras? right?

    i think Corin is only slightly Bi ( Mostly because i ship him with Marissa) his reactions show that his is really open minded (or that their society is open minded), but his reaction at the end of the book made me think he never had any attraction or feelings for Jin

    Jin seems he could be Gay or Bi

    Keras sounded Gay, but it could be he is really sexually open.

    The book was great, but the Attunement cliffhanger for one year will kill me.

  9. Keizero,

    I agree that they were definitely pretty subtle in the first book, but I guess that was enough that some people were upset.

    Thus far, those are the only characters I’ve called out as being LGBT. There may be others.

    Corin is asexual, but he’s panromatic, meaning he can be romantically attracted to anyone regardless of their sex or gender. Even more specifically, he tends toward being sapioromantic, meaning that he’s most interested in people who he finds intellectually stimulating.

    Marissa is absolutely a valid ship for Corin; the chemistry between the two of them was deliberate. I won’t say if that ship will ever sail, but I agree that they make a good pair option.

    I don’t want to say too much about the details of the interests of other characters since they haven’t been clearly addressed in the story yet.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the book. I’ll try to get the sequel out earlier if I can do so without hurting the quality. =)

    Best,
    -Andrew

    1. Greetings! First, your book here is not the normal genre I read, BUT….you got my attention. At the very least I finished the book, which is more than I can say for the other book I read today. 40% through, I just quit and deleted it from my library. Just a bad story. I might be straight as an arrow, but I also have an open mind. Don’t let the people with the closed minds stop you, please.

      So, I don’t have any problem at all with the LGBT content, wish more authors had the courage to do it. It adds more dimension to the story for one thing, and is a bit more realistic in this day and age…..(sorry for the cliche there). You have inticated that Corrin is, well, lets say unsure about his sexuality? Well, nothing wrong with him going both ways right…I mean its a better ballgame if you can switch hit? I agree with previous post about Marissa though. I got the impression at some point in the story that she has the hots for him, but I also got something else at some point, and I can’t figure out where it happened. Mostly it’s like a voice whispered in my ear ” She’s his Guardian….” and I said,”well hell I know that…..”wait…I did know that….how the hell did I know that? lol Really I think she might have a bad case of “I’m the one meant to protect you-ism”….lol. She might be the right ship indeed, could she not also end up being his retainer? Also, seems he’s screwed now for a date to the ball, he could ask Derrek right? Anyway, I actually really love the world build here, and the structure you built for magic. Attunements? hell yeah, where can I get one of those? Well written story and I love pretty much all the characters. one thing though…..I’m really hoping that at some point something is going to happen to Corrin that will really raise his power and abilities.(maybe it already has, that unknown attunement he just received?)
      I would like to see him change the way people (read that as “the world”) see Enchanters…and most of all, I want something to happen that will cause his father to have to eat a very large plate of crow, followed by an ample serving of humble pie.

      Nice work, really nice, Gonna hit amazon and grab one of your other books and see what’s what. Even if I don’t like that story, I will be reading the next in this series, really want to see where you take this. Thanks for holding my attention and granting me a really great ride.

    2. A bit late on this topic… but Corin seemed not very interested is physical contact or sex, going so far as to mention that fact numerous times. As I read the Jin interaction, I read Corin to be more gender neutral, he liked Jin, trusted him, found him attractive, “why not go to the dance”. To me it was more him considering an aspect of growing up he hadn’t considered before and gender wasn’t a defining consideration.

  10. Greetings Michael!

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Corin is absolutely still figuring things out. He’s a teenager with minimal romantic experience, so he’s certainly got some room to learn and grow.

    As for who he’ll ask to the ball, if anyone, I’d rather not spoil anything. =)

    I’m glad you enjoy the setting. I love building worlds and magic systems, so I’m very happy you enjoyed the attunements.

    He’s definitely going to get more powerful over the course of the story. The new attunement is a part of that, but I don’t want to say too much and ruin the fun.

    Hope you end up enjoying the other books, and I appreciate the support either way!

    Best,
    -Andrew

  11. Just finished, and really enjoyed, “Sufficiently Advanced Magic”. Looking forward to the next one… my soul make the sound of absolute suffering when I saw 2018 though 🙂

    LGBT elements in a book are neither a plus or minus to me when handled well. Only a negative when handled “poorly”. Sometimes it feels like its just a checkbox to have such elements and they can be easily overplayed or stereotyped. To me, the elements in your book blended in seamlessly into the story.

    After reading a whole mess of urban fantasy lately that devolved from sex being part of life to being the only thing that drives all the main characters and the predominant theme of the book, I really liked having an asexual lead. When I realized Corin was essentially heading off to college, I had worries the book would become more about their sex lives than anything else.

    Anyway, good book and looking forward to the next.

  12. Robert,

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the book!

    You can rest assured this series won’t devolve into a whole bunch of sex for the reason you mentioned. =D

    Best,
    -Andrew

  13. Salutations,
    I just finished SAM! I enjoyed the book immensely, being a dnd/anime/fantasy junkie I found the gaming/magic/tower elements you included really refreshing as a ‘read’ rather than a ‘watch’ or ‘play’……and I may have just used my entire forward slash allotment there…but on to the meat of the message:

    I saw your post, and in the face of those bad remarks, I really wanted to echo some of the other comments about your handling of Corin’s love life:

    Thank you.

    Corin is a delightful breath of fresh air, and I find his outlook and encounters ring far truer to me than most any given awkward teen romance in fiction. I enjoy seeing Corin establish new connections in tune with the thoughtful, witty, and introverted character I read him to be. Not being sexual fits him to a tee, and it’s fun to watch him puzzle his way through being outside his head with people. I’ll admit though, being incidentally LGBT-oriented myself, I was warmly (like, warm and fuzzy) surprised at your inclusion and handling of Jin and Corin’s date invite – that is to say that the scenario happened at all, and that it wasn’t made into a big deal in the book (beyond Corin’s own rather charming mental gear change; Corin being ‘asked out’ by anyone). It’s the kind of situation I wish I’d read more of as a misunderstood melodramatic misanthropic teenager, and I still hope to see more of its kind in the genres I love – so again, thank you.

    Looking forward to reading how things play out for Corin and company,

    Nick

  14. Nick,

    I’m really glad to hear that my writing resonated with you, both in terms of enjoying the gaming style and how I handled romance in the story.

    I truly hope that I can have a positive impact on the lives of others, teenagers or otherwise.

    Thank you, your response has brightened my day.

    Best,
    -Andrew

  15. Jin was a bit of a surprise and disappointment but not because of the same sex aspect. I saw Corin as almost asexual- he describes himself as simply having no interest. Not liking or wanting to be touched, etc…ect..

    To me Marissa seemed like a great potential relationship (not because if sexual orientation) because they could grow together, especially after her early experiences. They both seem a bit damaged had a past they would need to overcome to be able to have a real relationship. That and he was attracted by her strength and ability, not looks. Also, I’m a sucker for breaking class, race, and cultural barriers.

    That said, this book no more requires a “LGBT” tag than it does a “Romance” tag- A romantic scene does not make a book a Romance and neither does a innocent same sex attraction/exploration scene make a book LGBT.

    IMHO write the full gamut of the often confusing, conflicted, human experience-

    1. Hey there,

      Thanks for the comment!

      Corin is, in fact, asexual – but he’s not aromantic. He’s not fully aware of this distinction himself yet; he’s still a teenager who is learning about his own interests. Thus, he could potentially have romantic engagements, he simply wouldn’t be interested in sex.

      There are a lot of people who saw chemistry between Marissa and Corin for the same reasons you did. I’m not saying I’m going to do anything with that in the future, but it’s not off the table. They’re skill teenagers; Jin asking Corin out on a date isn’t likely to be the only romantic involvement he has in his lifetime.

      Agree with you about the tags completely. There’s not enough content for me to justify the LGBT tag, at least in the first book.

      Definitely planning to write a lot about the human experience in general, although I think tackling *all* of it might be a bit too ambitious. We have a lot going on. =D

      Best,
      -Andrew

  16. Ok you got me…. “any” rather than all…

    Reading my post, I realized that I jumped right into the topic with saying. Fun book to read, which I enjoyed

    Also disappointed was too strong a term- it’s not what I actually felt, more surprised. Perhaps because of the young lady he was avoiding from before his father pulled him out if school- I assumed some awkward romance attempt by one of them. I now realize that was binary thinking, this or that. Rather than focusing on the attributes he might find intriguing- funny, now matter how progressive we think we are, we often default to gender preferences as the first.

    Have a great day.

    1. I’m glad you ended up enjoying the book overall.

      It’s very easy to slip into binary thinking. Many fantasy novels encourage this sort of thinking, too, with clear good vs. evil and that sort of thing.

      I’ll clarify the whole thing with the girl he’s been avoiding soon enough – that’s a pretty significant plot point, and a lot of people read it the same way you did. It’s been interesting to see how many people came to that conclusion.

      Thanks for the discussion, I appreciate it.

      Best,
      -Andrew

      1. I bet she is the little sister of someone who betrothed to his brother or something!

  17. I absolutely love that Corin is ace and Jin was okay with it. I feel like it’s so hard to get decent books with asexual characters because it always ends up being trivialized or “changed” because they’ve found their “one true love”. Corin not liking to be touched and just not thinking about romance really added that extra dimension to his character for me. I could really relate to him, and that made the book so much better.
    Jin-Corin is definitely my OTP though. I don’t think I’ve shipped anyone this hard, ever. When Jin asked Corin to the ball, my heart just about exploded. Thank you so much for that.
    I mean, Marissa is nice and all, but SHE didn’t ask Corin to the ball. And Jin always manages to be next to/supporting Corin. I really hope they “kiss and make-up” eventually (haha, see what i did there?).
    As for Cecily, I thought there would be some past related to his father there. Like, they were both molested or something equally horrible. But that’s probably just me. Looking forward to how that turns out though.
    Enough from me. I wish you all the best with your writing endeavors. Of course, that would be to my and any other of your readers’ benefit because we’d have more books to read available sooner. Nonetheless, please don’t break your hands. (I assume you don’t type with your elbows…)

    P.S. The flirting between Derek and Keras was such a nice note to end the book on. BUT. THE. TWIST! I don’t think i would have seen that coming in a million years…
    Anyways, it made for an interesting cocktail of emotions to remember the book by.

    1. It means a lot to me that you enjoy the Corin/Jin pairing so much! Thanks so much for the reply.

      There will definitely be follow up on the whole relationship in the next book. I won’t say anything about if the ship will sail, but it will be addressed.

      I won’t say anything more about Cecily except that you’ll get more of an idea of what’s going on there in the sequel, too.

      I’m glad you were amused by the Keras/Derek banter. =D I suspect they’ll be a popular ship, too, regardless of whether or not they get together in canon.

      Glad you liked the twist ending, too.

      Anyway, you’re welcome, and thanks again for the reply.

      I’ll try to keep my hands intact!

      Best,
      -Andrew

    1. Definitely not in it for the money. If I wanted consistent income, I’d have taken a higher position in the gaming industry rather than focusing on books.

  18. So, I read and really liked the book (discovered through amazon unlimited). One of the things I liked about it was the LGBT main character. Not because I can identify with him, but because it was a refreshing change of pace from the normal. And seriously, kudos for being the first author that I know of to have a LGBT main character in a fantasy book. I almost wrote about it and how I thought it was great but was worried about it attracting negative attention.

    1. I’m glad you liked the book, as well as the main character!

      There are definitely some other LGBT main characters out there, but I’m glad to be contributing, since they’re very rare by comparison.

      The book has definitely gotten a fair amount of negative attention due to the LGBT elements, but it’s worth it to me to be inclusive.

      Hope you’ll read the next one when it comes out!

  19. Thanks for writing Sufficiently Advanced Magic as I enjoyed it immensely!

    Now, to the whole Bi/Homosexual aspect to the book the only real problem I had with it was that it was more of a surprise than anything else… almost misleading in a way. So I can see why some people would take issue with that whether they are homophobic or not, it certainly made me pause while reading the book. I paused mainly because I was surprised and it made wonder if I should keep reading because authors usually bomb the romance angle in books regardless of the genders involved, unless its a romance or G.R.R.Martin novel and they usually just go overboard in those cases ( 😛 ). I kept reading because I really liked the novel up to that point and I wanted moar! But people do like to read about (or with) a MC that is similar to them irregardless(?) of other characters or relationships in the book.

    To be honest, I bet if people knew ahead of time that the MC was bi would have toned down the response from *most* people. There is no pleasing everyone! 😛

    Goodluck in your writing

    1. Hi Roger,

      Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad you generally enjoyed the book.

      I understand being surprised, but I don’t feel there was anything misleading in the text. Certainly there was nothing deliberately so; Corin’s preferences were not intended to be a “twist”. The reveal was treated as ordinary because it is intended to come across as ordinary and not a big deal, which is appropriate for the culture the story takes place in.

      To be clear, Corin is not homosexual or bisexual. He’s asexual, but he’s not aromantic. As a teenager, he’s not exactly clear on all this yet himself, which is something that he’s going to need to figure out as the story progresses – but it’s not something I consider a major part of the plot.

      Consequently, that’s why there’s no LGBT tag on the book – I don’t feel there’s enough LGBT content to justify that, in my opinion, and I wouldn’t want a LGBT reader to pick it up expecting a LGBT romance and be disappointed by the light amount.

      You’re absolutely right that there’s no pleasing everyone, and I’m glad you liked the book in spite of your surprise at the protagonist’s preferences. I hope we reach a point where a character can prefer any sex (or no sex) without it being a “twist” or “reveal”.

      Best,
      -Andrew

  20. Andrew, am currently listening to Sufficiently Advanced Magic and had no idea it had LGBTQIA content as I try to go into books blind without reading the summary – thank you so much for presenting a positive LGBTQIA character in fantasy fiction. I’m so tired of being represented as the villain or a single paragraph token character who never appears again – hopefully this will show young LGBTQIA people they don’t have to be entirely unrepresented in mainstream fiction. Also love the setting, magic system as characters!

    Thank you!

    1. I’m glad to hear you were pleasantly surprised by the LGBTQIA content!

      I find representation to be very important, and I’m glad to do what I can to contribute.

      I hope you end up enjoying the rest of the book!

      Best,
      -Andrew

  21. Hello Andrew,
    as many other here i just finished SAM and really liked it. I really looking forward to hear the second “Audiobook” to come out. Sadly in my language there are not much “RPG”/”Game” like storys so im lucky to try yours out.

    To be honest, the LGBT parts are nothing i like to read/hear, because it is not my way of thinking and feeling. I even don´t “read” storys with female MP because i dont like to see storys that feel strange to me. I´m maybe in your perspective to simple minded. Theres no way i can prove you wrong. In short. I stoped hearing as the date between Jin and Corin where arranget.

    It is indeed very importend that there is content for people who like LGBT. And to be honest, is just a normal, other than mine, but normal! way of sexuality.

    For the Twist… i finished it anyway because the world, your humor, the asexuality (that dont bother me in any way, i rather have nothing than even a bad hetero part… and to be honest… i don´t have read many good sex parts in books anyway… i like it when its as less as possible because its to often akward) and especially your attunements. I love shounen (who have thougt so..) and you a little bit promised something like that (that he will become more powerfull) so i can´t let the secont book unheard… or so…

    The LGBT parts in this book are so light that even i could ignored them. I feel lucky that the parts where so light. I would be very sad if i have`t missed souch a good book because of that. I have perceived that the second book will not be so light… i hope it will still be not toooo much of it so it´ll be able for me to hear it.

    Thank you very much
    Heiko

    PS. for the real twist…. it get me good. Haven´t see it coming so i appreciate it.

    1. I’m glad you finished the book even if you didn’t like that particular scene. I hope that you can find a way to empathize with the characters in future books even if they don’t have the same sexuality that you do.

      Thanks for reading the book, I’m glad you liked most of it.

  22. Thank you for being honest about your intent. It allows individuals who are keen on reading a LGBT book to know that they may find the content they desire in your future publications.

  23. Sir. I am currently reading SAM and must say that I was enjoying the book more than any book I’ve read in recent history. And then shocker, the homosexual element was introduced. I have read other series with homosexual characters and never really enjoyed the way it was thrust into the limelight, kind of forced into the reader. I love the interaction between a man and a woman. That romance is one of the reasons I read.

    That being said, this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to write a review because of it. Here is the issue: this series has the potential of being one of my favorite fantasy series of all time. It is right now (40% of book one) running along side Brent Weeks Night angle Trilogy and that is incredible company to be in. I so hope this LBGT theme doesn’t distract and or detract from this series. Please realize that you have fans that are not LGBT and we have value too.

    I advocate for Lgbt community. I am extremely liberal in my views. Live and let live. But I have trouble reading a book from the perspective of a gay character. I guess some would say I have growing to do there. I am the guy that fiercely fights for gay rights but would be deeply disappointed if my children turn out to be homosexual.

    I love the world you have created Andrew. I love the magic system and I love the intelligence of Corrin. I honestly was enjoying the lack of love interest for him. I believe that he hasn’t met his true interest yet. His visions seem to hint at a much grander love interest with the goddess or someone from one of the other provinces. The main conflict hasn’t even been revealed imo. At this point, he is just scrambling to get acquainted with magic and demonstrating that his craftiness is as effective as the more widely accepted powers. Perhaps this is one of the underlying themes of your series: to assume is to be proven wrong; or, to have prejudice is to miss out on something worthwhile? Just rambling at this point. I will carry on and read the rest of this book regardless. I hope that the series continues to develop as needed and the homosexual themes do not become the dominant theme simply to appease one of your reader groups. If it is needed, so be it. But my fear is that because so many in the LBGT community need representation and have embraced this book and your introduction of a possible gay bi main character…then you will feel compelled to push him all the way there to appease them.

    1. There will continue to be LGBT+ content in my books. I’m sorry that detracts from the experience for you, but I’m not going to change elements of the setting (or the preferences of the characters) because they make some people uncomfortable.

      I would also hope that for liberal readers like yourself, maybe reading about a society where LGBT+ people aren’t as overtly persecuted might help you consider why you have your own biases, and if those biases are fair. I had a hard time reading about LGBT+ relationships myself when I was younger, because I’d internalized a lot of what popular culture, religious groups, and political groups had told me – and it took me many years to work through those biases.

      I would have not enjoyed reading about Corin and Jin’s relationship when I was younger, and to me, that’s a big part of why it’s important. I want people who have biases like I myself did to be able to read that and question their own views.

      I also want people who are used to being persecuted for their own sexualities (or, in Corin’s case, lack thereof) to have examples in literature they can read and enjoy. There are *very* few asexual protagonists, and I’ve seen how important representation can be to marginalized groups.

      If it’s simply that you’d like to see some heterosexual relationships in addition to LGBT+ ones, well, there will be some of those in there (including with the narrators of other books in the same universe). For example, I’ll be writing a book from Keras’ perspective in the future, and it’s likely that most (or all) of his love interests will be female.

      That all being said, romance will never be the primary driving force behind any of these books. In terms of relationships, this series is much more about the bonds between friends than romance.

      1. Currently listening to On the Shoulders of Titans. I have no issue with LBGT themes in a book however you really shoehorned “they, them” issues into the book in chapter 4. I felt like it really interrupted the flow of the story. The previous mention of “they” (in a previous chapter) worked perfectly and added just enough explanation to add to the world you created and I found it ended in a richer world to imagine. I found Corin to be a unique character that I enjoyed, until his instinctive correction.
        Chapter 4 just left me feeling like you were trying to include an agenda instead of focusing on writing a very engaging book.
        My advice as a book fanatic, unwanted or not, is to keep the LGBT theme explanations brief so that it feels like a normal and natural part of the world (just as you did when Corin realised Sheridan should be referred to as They).

      2. There are a couple reasons that I presented Sheridan’s gender with a greater degree of context in this book.

        First, there were a number of people who, while reading Sufficiently Advanced Magic, didn’t understand how it could be such a minor detail that Corin was willing to go to a ball with someone of the same sex. When I first published SAM, I thought it would be understandable from context within the story that the culture reflected the worship of Selys (a female deity with a preference for women), and that Selys’ visages would also influence their culture. This was, unfortunately, not clear enough for many readers to understand, and I felt it was worthwhile to explain some of the ways in which Aspectism (the local variant of Selys worship) impacted their society and culture.

        Second, in any book where I have used they/them pronouns without a clear explanation in the text, a number of readers have simply assumed it was a grammatical error. While using “they” as a singular has a long precedent in the English language, many people are not acclimated to that usage. Providing an explanation in-story helped to clarify this to readers who are not familiar with the usage.

        For example, in Six Sacred Swords, there is no in-story explanation of the use of “they”. Even having read On the Shoulders of Titans, many of my beta readers were still confused at the use of “they” pronouns for characters without an identifiable gender. In that book’s case, I’ve added a note to the intro to explain the usage before the story even begins, but I suspect people will still have problems with it.

        Basically: If you don’t include much explanation, people will complain about being “blindsided” by LGBT+ content or simply misunderstand it. If you *do* include an explanation, there will be people who feel like I’m being “preachy” or “shoehorning it in”.

        I don’t believe there’s a way to include LGBT+ content without someone having a problem with it. I’m not going to claim my execution was perfect in any of these cases, and I’ll continue to strive to improve, but I’m not going to stop including LGBT+ characters or integrating them into the world building of the setting.

    2. I am sure catering to the 1.6% (gay population according to the CDC) will alianate more than 1.6% that dislike it.

  24. Just listened to the audiobook of the first one. I loved it. It was one of the only books I have left a review for on goodreads and I have suggested it to all of my friends. I’m actually just starting the second one and am stoked to see the development of the story and characters.

    Corin is me. I am obsessed with this character. He approaches the magic system in the same way I see myself approaching it if I were to have an attunement. I love hearing his thoughts on everything and how interested he is in the mechanics of the world around him.

    When I was first reading, I got the hunch that Corin was asexual, but I figured it was too good to be true. Then sure enough, he gets all twitterpated when Jin asks him to the dance and I thought “Oh darn. Here it goes again. Another potential asexual character turns out to be gay.” I have nothing against gay characters, but as an asexual living in a world of sexuals, it’s easy to feel left behind or misunderstood when every character you read about ends up finding someone eventually. Sexuals often assume that asexuals just haven’t found the right person yet and that maybe they just need to explore other avenues (like try out men instead of women) and then surely they will find someone. Even in the show Sense8, which was directed by a transgender woman, they tried extremely hard to represent all sides of the LBGT community really well, but as an asexual I felt completely forgotten.

    Reading here, however, that Corin is ace makes me SO happy. I thought he would end up being gay and so I just moved on, but now I am completely elated. I know sexuality can be fluid, so I get that anything can happen, but I’m really hoping that Corin STAYS asexual. Meaning, I’m kind of hoping he doesn’t “finally meet that special someone” and fall in love, but rather his life ahead of him is focused on relationships in general and forming meaningful bonds in ways that work for him.

    There is an ocean of almost exclusively asexual experiences that sexuals that I would love to see him go through. Like the frustration of seeing everyone around him finding someone and feel a bit left behind or unneeded and having to learn how to cope with that. Or maybe having people very interested in him, and him trying to make it work but understanding that something is not working in him that seems to work naturally in others. Or after he understands what he is, he apologetically tells them he’s asexual but they don’t understand it and try to pressure him into trying something out with them and the ensuing anxiety and confusion that results is difficult for him. Or maybe see him get irritated at his friends because of their attempts to get him to admit that he is gay, but in their attempts to support him, they end up just frustrating him because they can’t seem to wrap their minds around the idea that he just isn’t attracted to anyone. “Corin, we love you and you can tell us anything! It’s okay if you’re gay.” “I’ve told you already, that’s not it…” “Okay, well, just know that we don’t care, and we love you no matter who you love.” “I get it. I just don’t think you guys get that I’m not hiding anything.”

    Again, I don’t know what will happen with Corin, and it is your story. If you feel that Corin’s path is different than these, I am excited to see what that will be. I just feel like I am Corin’s spirit animal and this is maybe the first time I’ve felt any hope at seeing a character that I can finally relate with on a sexual level (or lack thereof).

    Wow, didn’t mean to write that much… sorry. I just love this and I am excited to see what happens, that’s all.

    1. Thanks for the heartfelt comment. I absolutely see where you’re coming from. I understand how rare it is to see asexuality represented in fantasy, and I’m glad that you were able to empathize with the character.

      I really appreciate your suggestions, and I’ll see if I can incorporate some of those suggestions in ways that make sense for the setting. There are some similar things in book 2 already, and I’m curious what you’ll think of that.

      I definitely intend for Corin to remain asexual, and I intend to make it clear that there’s nothing wrong with that. I do want to make sure it’s clear that I make a distinction between asexual and aromantic, though, and he may have romantic interests that are not sexual in nature. (These are still going to be minor elements, but I think asexual characters who aren’t aromantic are important to represent, too.)

      I will most likely have some characters that are both aromantic and asexual in the future, too.

      Thanks again, and I hope you end up enjoying the rest of the series!

  25. I love your book! I’m glad I ordered it on Amazon and I have the next book coming in the mail!
    For me it has rivalled some of the great books that I have read, Eragon, Amulet of Samarkans, etc. It even came close to being my favorite book, Name of the wind!
    I shipped Corin and Jin before Jin asked Corin to the ball and the feeling I got from their relationship is inexplicably exuberating!
    I have resolved to put more LGBTQ+ characters in my D&D sessions.

    Thank you so much for writing this book and keep it up!

    1. A couple quick things.

      First off, studies regarding the % of the population that is LGBT+ are very likely to be under representing the actual population, since many LGBT+ people still live in fear of the very real discrimination that occurs toward them, and reporting their LGBT+ status may not be safe. In addition, others may simply be unaware of their LGBT+ status or in denial of it due to cultural and religious values, etc.

      Second, LGBT+ people are vastly under represented in the media, and when they are represented, it’s typically in either minor or villainous roles. by having LGBT+ protagonists, I can provide representation to a portion of the population that rarely sees themselves depicted as heroes, which is far more important than simply adding more of the same types of (typically straight white male) protagonists that exist all over the place.

      Third, I still write non-LGBT+ characters as well. These people get represented, too. It’s not exclusionary to have some characters that are straight/cis/etc. and some characters that are not.

      Fourth, if someone is offended by the inclusion of LGBT+ characters and chooses not to read my books because those characters exist within them, that’s completely up to them.

      I have no interest in catering to bigotry of any kind, and I will continue to be inclusive in my works.

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