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Good Mourning

Open Call for Asexual Romance Anthology

33 posts in this topic

http://goodmourningpublishing.com/call.html'>http://goodmourningpublishing.com/call.html

"The Heart of Aces" is to be an anthology of short romantic fiction in which one of the love interests is asexual. All gender pairings, genre, and content rating are accepted for this book. The word limit is 15,000 word maximum.

Authors will retain the copyright to their work, receive $30.00 for accepted works, and receive a free paperback copy of the book upon publication. The submission deadline is May 31, 2012.

Please see http://goodmourningpublishing.com for more info.

Thank you!

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I'm not sure how I feel about your chosen title. Subversive generally comes with a negative connotation and 'A Subversive Sexuality' sounds a little too much like we're a group with some political agenda related to our way of going about relationships. Considering we already have people accusing us of (and groups actively using asexuality to push) an antisexual agenda, I don't think this is something I want to be involved in despite my desire to increase visibility.

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I'm not sure how I feel about your chosen title. Subversive generally comes with a negative connotation and 'A Subversive Sexuality' sounds a little too much like we're a group with some political agenda related to our way of going about relationships. Considering we already have people accusing us of (and groups actively using asexuality to push) an antisexual agenda, I don't think this is something I want to be involved in despite my desire to increase visibility.

The possible negative connotation didn't occur to me and I don't want that to be where some people's brains go. My desire is to present asexuality in a positive, romantic light. On reflection I'm willing to reconsider the title, does anyone have any suggestions?

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Naming things has never been my strength, unfortunately. I'd like to see something that puts emphasis on the fact that we're not broken or deficient somehow, but I don't know how that could be portrayed in a title.

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"Love: A Particolour Weave"

"Sex in a Kaleidoscope"

Don't have any stories for you, but I hope someone does. Interesting project!

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"Love: A Particolour Weave"

"Sex in a Kaleidoscope"

Don't have any stories for you, but I hope someone does. Interesting project!

Thanks for the title ideas! I've added them to the pile. Still pondering the name change. If anyone else has suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Thanks!

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This is an interesting project. If I have the time I'll write something.

Can't think of a title-suggestion right now, but will post here again if I think of one.

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This seems like the coolest thing ever!

I am getting a copy, without a doubt!

Any news on a release date?

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This seems like the coolest thing ever!

I am getting a copy, without a doubt!

Any news on a release date?

If all goes to schedule, August-ish?

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Too many brain storms sessions later, the new title is:

"The Heart of Aces"

Thank you The Great WTF for steering me in the right direction!

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Ace of Hearts might be a more fun title and very pun-worthy, but I kind of like that.

If I can break my romantic mental block (I usually avoid romance like the plague because I hate the genre and it's tendency to eat plots) I might send something your way.

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(I usually avoid romance like the plague because I hate the genre and it's tendency to eat plots)

lol I totally understand what you mean!

I hope you can break your romantic mental block! :D

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sounds like something i could help with, i love writeing and did write a asexual romance fiction story,

but i never published it cause i could never find a publisher, i might send u a copy of it

who knows ill dig it out

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Awesome newbornheart! I hope to read your manuscipt soon! :)

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Hey, lemme know if you start doing pre-orders, or when you have an official date, if you will.

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Hey, lemme know if you start doing pre-orders, or when you have an official date, if you will.

As soon as I have a date, I'll post it! As long as everything stays on track the book should be released in August.

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Yay! I can't wait!

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I was considering this, but having seen the cover, I'm really not sure (it's here, for those interested: http://goodmourningpublishing.com/call.html). I'm just not sure I want to submit a story about romance without sexual attraction, to an anthology with a cover which seems to suggest a lot of real stereotypes - the boredom in bed, the lack of passion, the women as focus (male asexuals are a thing...) and also, the really white theme. It may not be deliberate, but I'm not so keen on the whole purity vibe that it's giving off - it's playing up to the whole 'asexual people are innocent, naive and chaste' thing, which, whilst it may be true for some, isn't something I'd want to submit work to. That's just my thoughts of course, though I've seen a similar response over on tumblr.

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The photo we at GMP chose for the cover of The Heart of Aces was chosen carefully and with much consideration. Our staff is more than half asexual and so this project is being seen to with much care and importance. We assure you our selection was not made lightly and although there has been some negative feedback on the cover, there has also been some great feedback.

The thought process that went into the selection of the cover art was as follows:

As with every one of our books, our goal is to make the subject more visible and for accurate representations to give those who are otherwise uneducated a non-argumentative entry into the issue of equality. That being the context, we knew our wider audience would be those who might not have even heard of asexuality.

We wanted to convey that this was, in fact, a sexuality and not a political statement or religious decision so a sexual image was

needed.

This particular image was chosen not only because of the talented photographer and models but because it's interpretation caused a discussion of fluidity of asexual expressions within our staff; if it got us, who are asexual, talking then it would be sure to get those of other sexualities talking.

The consensus was that the placement of the girls on the made bed, seemingly not yet actively using it, speaks to the misunderstanding of what asexuals do in their romantic lives.

The nightwear indicates that the girls are in a sexual mindset but the difference of clothing styles and their looking different directions indicates a different and individual identification for them, even within their sexuality. The hand holding meant to us their willingness for compromise and understanding and a deeper companionship than sex alone could give.

We understand that some people are upset that both models are white and I'd like to assure you that wasn't our intention; on our list of priorities racial diversity is high. This cover having two white models was accepted only because the quality of work and symbolism was too good for us to disregard.

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Whilst I can definately see the intent behind it once pointed out, I mainly worry that that level of symbolism won't necessarily be picked up by people who don't already know about asexuality. Obviously this is just one person's criticism, and I totally get that you'll probably still use the cover, I just thought it might be worth mentioning some of the reasons I won't be submitting to it - I hope it does well regardless, mind.

Also, having just showed it to my (non-asexual) boyfriend to ask what he thought it would be about, he said 'lesbian porn'. That's sort of why the cover worries me, since he even knows that 'ace' refers to asexuals, and still kinda just didn't get it. Oh, and via tumblr - the cover has already been appearing on erotica/porn sites (not sure if you'd be aware of this): http://vladdraculea.tumblr.com/post/21342740664/nextstepcake-writingfromfactorx

The photo we at GMP chose for the cover of The Heart of Aces was chosen carefully and with much consideration. Our staff is more than half asexual and so this project is being seen to with much care and importance. We assure you our selection was not made lightly and although there has been some negative feedback on the cover, there has also been some great feedback.

This definately makes me worry less about the content inside the book.

We wanted to convey that this was, in fact, a sexuality and not a political statement or religious decision so a sexual image was

needed.

The thing with this is I think a romantic but non-sexual image (two people holding hands in a place other than on a bed, two people hugging, etc...) could have conveyed the same message without the necessarily sexual implications (which seem strange in an asexual anthology)

This particular image was chosen not only because of the talented photographer and models but because it's interpretation caused a discussion of fluidity of asexual expressions within our staff; if it got us, who are asexual, talking then it would be sure to get those of other sexualities talking.

I guess the problem I have with that is that, whereas for those of us who are asexual, we understand the concept to begin a discussion with, people who lack that won't necessarily discuss it from the same place - the cover doesn't give much of a hint of the concept at all. This may be fixed by the variety of stories inside, but the cover still really seems out of place to me.

The consensus was that the placement of the girls on the made bed, seemingly not yet actively using it, speaks to the misunderstanding of what asexuals do in their romantic lives.

Whilst I get the point it's trying to make, I really worry that this will only be conveyed to those with a knowledge of asexuality - instead, potentially confirming those misunderstandings for those who don't.

The nightwear indicates that the girls are in a sexual mindset but the difference of clothing styles and their looking different directions indicates a different and individual identification for them, even within their sexuality. The hand holding meant to us their willingness for compromise and understanding and a deeper companionship than sex alone could give.

Again, whilst with the symbolism explained I get this, it really doesn't look that way on a first impression. Honestly? They look bored. As for the clothing, the 'sexual mindset' is something I'm confused about when used to describe asexuals. I'm the first to say that asexuals can and do compromise about sex (I'm one of them!) but I still wouldn't describe myself as ever having a sexual mindset.

Good luck with the project either way, I just thought I'd convey some of mine (and others over on tumblr's) concerns.

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Thank you for all your input and thoughts beyondweird, I truly appreciate your point of view. I understand your stance on the cover and I’m sorry you won’t be part of this project but I wish you luck in your future ventures.

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Ok, so I'd like to preface this with the acknowledgement that overall, I actually really like this project, and I would love to support it -it's only the choice of cover image that I object to. The rest of the project actually seems like a really cool idea and one that promises to help remedy the serious dearth of fiction that has good representations of asexuality. Which is all the more reason that I want it to have a cover that will do the project justice.

----

So I've been discussing this more on tumblr, but I have to say that Beyondweird is certainly not the only one with serious reservations about the use of this cover - in fact, it seems that most of the tumblr ace community is rather up in arms about it, with good reason - a cover like this sends incredibly problematic messages.

(to see the tumblr discussion, look here: http://nextstepcake.tumblr.com/post/21340633110/writingfromfactorx-nextstepcake ; if you scroll down you can see links to other discussion. There's been a lot of really excellent discussion already of what exactly it is that makes this so problematic, so I encourage anyone interested to give it a read - most of what I have to say here is drawn from the conversations on tumblr)

I personally also have serious concerns about the message that this sends. I appreciate your explanation of the reasons it was chosen, but I can't really agree with all of them. And moreover, in the end what you intended is moot - the people who will be seeing this cover and making judgements about the contents from it without out knowing anything about what your intent might have been, and they aren't going to see it in the same way.

And what they are going to see is two scantily clad skinny white girls in very sexualised poses, awkwardly holding hands in a rather forced position looking absolutely bored. They don't look they're in love - to be blunt, they look like bored softcore lesbian porn actresses.

What kind of message does this send? It sends the message that asexuals are bored in bed and have no interest in emotion or romance or other people at all - they don't even bother to look each other! Furthermore, it positions asexuals (asexual women specifically) as objects to be fetishized, which is incredibly dehumanizing.

Even from a marketing perspective this doesn't make sense. People who are looking for asexual romance will see the cover, think "porn" and not be interested. People who are looking for porn will see the cover, think "lesbians!" then read the description and be disapointed and not interested. Basically, this cover doesn't convey anything about the content of the book - there is no indication of anything to do with asexuality or romance even. It makes no sense.

As people heavily involved in the project, who already know what it is, you may be able to read something about asexuality into the image - but for someone who doesn't know anything about it yet and who just sees it in a store, their first though will be, as mentioned before, "lesbian porn".

And as for the reasoning behind it, I'm a little iffy on the logic here. (spoilered for length)

The thought process that went into the selection of the cover art was as follows:

As with every one of our books, our goal is to make the subject more visible and for accurate representations to give those who are otherwise uneducated a non-argumentative entry into the issue of equality. That being the context, we knew our wider audience would be those who might not have even heard of asexuality.

um, accurate representations? I'm sorry, but most asexuals I know don't spend all their time wearing sexy lingerie and looking bored while looking like pin-up girls.

We wanted to convey that this was, in fact, a sexuality and not a political statement or religious decision so a sexual image was

needed.

Ok, first of all, making it a sexual picture does nothing to deter the idea that asexuality is religious or politicized (and for what it's worth, asexuality by merely existing becomes politicized - that's unavoidable). However, what it does do is de-legitimize asexuality - by saying that the only time asexuality is acceptable is when it's...not asexual. I fail to see how making it a "sexual image" (read: objectifying and fetishizing asexual women for mainstream audiences) is necessary. Do you think you could elaborate on the reasoning behind this? It seems you had one, but just from this it is not apparent.

This particular image was chosen not only because of the talented photographer and models but because it's interpretation caused a discussion of fluidity of asexual expressions within our staff; if it got us, who are asexual, talking then it would be sure to get those of other sexualities talking.

Ok, but the thing is that you already knew a lot about what asexuality is and is not, so you were able to more citically discuss the stereotypes and imagery around it - but the average consumer will not. They will have no background with which to compare this, and will assume it is the only expression, which is incredibly incorrect.

The consensus was that the placement of the girls on the made bed, seemingly not yet actively using it, speaks to the misunderstanding of what asexuals do in their romantic lives.

if anything I feel like all it does is recreate those very understandings by giving off the image that asexuality is just about being bored in bed, as they appear to be. In addition, their apparent complete lack of interest in each other just furthers the misconception that asexuals are unable to feel emotion or have relationships.

The nightwear indicates that the girls are in a sexual mindset but the difference of clothing styles and their looking different directions indicates a different and individual identification for them, even within their sexuality. The hand holding meant to us their willingness for compromise and understanding and a deeper companionship than sex alone could give.

Ok, so I get the impression (though it may be incorrect) that the one on the right is supposed to be more sexual, and the one on the left more asexual? Except honestly, to me, they are both still in sexy lingerie, only the one on the left is somewhat infantilized, while the one on the right seems to be mostly there to show of her boobs - a rather harsh analysis, but frankly that is what most people will see. And the problem is that the hand-holding has no symbolism for me because it looks so forced - it doesn't look like they're holding hands because they like each other, it looks like it's because the director told them to. And furthermore, the fact that they even avoid looking at each other conveys the exact opposite of understanding or companionship. Also, if the point is to show differences, why are they both wearing rather similar sexy lingerie? Why not, say, pajama pants and a t-shirt- that would provide a much greater contrast.

We understand that some people are upset that both models are white and I'd like to assure you that wasn't our intention; on our list of priorities racial diversity is high. This cover having two white models was accepted only because the quality of work and symbolism was too good for us to disregard.

I'm sorry, but I find that to be a rather lame excuse - I don;t know what options you were working with, but if this is so much better than the rest that it overrides the blatant white-washing, that's a sign that you might want to start looking at better sources - perhaps try making a new image to suit the topic, instead of using pre-made stock?

However, I do know that the name of the anthology was previously changed when it was problematic, which was an excellent response - I hope that you will consider doing the same with the cover, because unfortunately as it stands the current cover is already alienating the largest segment of consumers and contributors. This is still a really cool project, even if it's off to a rock start, and I don't want to see it collapse just because of something like this - I honestly think this was mostly just a case of not realizing the problematic implications that this could have, but now that they've been pointed out I do encourage you to consider them. The general concept for this project is amazing - there was just an unfortunate choice of covers, but that is something that can perhaps be changed?

Anyway, I know I started off kind of antagonistic, which I apologize for, but I do like this idea and I don't want it to be bogged down by such a problematic image. Because, other than having a problematic cover, this is really a good project - there's a complete lack of good stories about asexual romance, so this project is an excellent precedent. I just want to make it clear that my objections to the cover image do not apply to the rest of the project, which I actually am in favor of.

----

As for the cover, I do have a couple things that I think would be good to see:

  • first of all, I would kind of like it if they looked a bit happier, or more into each other - smiling is ok! And it's ok for them to be closer. They can cuddle or snuggle or lean on each other, and they can look at each other.
  • also, a common theme in asexual but romantic relationships is the ability to bond over activities other than sex. Perhaps it would be possible to focus on one of those? It could be cuddling, or tea, or playing a board game, or anything really - but that would create a focal point and action instead of having a sort of bored, stagnant look.
  • Also, it might be interesting to wait for submissions and perhaps base the cover more directly on the story?
  • Or, since the anthology is taking submissions anyway, what about asking for submissions of photography or other art for the cover?

There's a lot of cool possible alternatives.

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As far as I can tell, nearly every single asexual who's seen this book cover has hated it, just hated it. Which is why I just can't understand *why* you're claiming the cover is just so good that it's worth disregarding the chance to stop perpetuating a world of covers solely of white people for the sake of a 'symbolic' composition that is apparently giving off unintended impressions, most of them negative.

Because almost no asexual *likes* this cover; and if they're not liking it, not wanting to submit stories to it, why would they want to *buy* it? I just think this cover is going to turn off a lot of potential readers. And that means you're not making the best decision for us as writers. You have the chance to get early feedback and make adjustments to maximize the quality of the publication.

The anthology idea is exciting; the execution is discouraging.

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The general consensus over on Tumblr is that no one wants anything to do with these people and their anthology because they seem to be completely clueless about asexuality (cf. "President Morrissey"). The previously linked thread exposes what's gone on there...

However, there does seem to be a general appetite for an asexual fiction anthology that's produced by actual asexuals, instead of by people who think that softcore lesbian porn somehow implies asexuality. To that end, there's been a call to just do it ourselves. Anyone interested in helping to drive that effort?

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Add another one to blatant dislike of the cover art. It looks like the cover for a lesbian relationship help book, not a romance anthology.

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I also don't like the cover. Perhaps a better image would be of them cuddling, fully clothed, staring into each other's eyes.

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I like the idea of a contrasting image, maybe the two if them slow dancing under a soft light, gazing into each other's eyes with a sort of nightclub background with people dancing more provocatively around them. There is symbolism there and a contrast to give some idea of what the book's contents might be.

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The general consensus over on Tumblr is that no one wants anything to do with these people and their anthology because they seem to be completely clueless about asexuality (cf. "President Morrissey"). The previously linked thread exposes what's gone on there...

However, there does seem to be a general appetite for an asexual fiction anthology that's produced by actual asexuals, instead of by people who think that softcore lesbian porn somehow implies asexuality. To that end, there's been a call to just do it ourselves. Anyone interested in helping to drive that effort?

I would like to recommend against condemning the publishers yet. Tt's true that they chose a bad cover, but I do believe it was well intentioned (if a bit naive), so I would wait and see how they respond first. When it was pointed out that the previous title (a subversive sexuality) was problematic, it was eventually changed. For the most part, from what I have seen, the editors have actually been fairly receptive about suggestions from the community.

I would also like to point out that christyleighstewart on tumblr does not actually speak for the editors of the anthology - although they are involved with the group and do blogging and publicity for them, they do not seem to have editorial control over the book in any way. So while they have proven themselves to be not at all receptive to feedback from the asexual community, their words should not be taken to represent the will of all the people involved. Please, do not condemn the entire project because one person who was peripherally involved turned out to be a hater.

Imstead, I would ask people to hold off judgement on the anthology until a more official response is given - their voice in this has so far been rather poorly represented, on tumblr at least.

--

Nonetheless, I do encourage you to pursue other possibilities as well - honestly, the more stuff that gets out there, the better. I noticed plans are starting to progress, so I encourage you to start another thread for more info when details begin to settle.

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As someone on tumblr has said that apparently suggestions and criticism will be dealt with on AVEN and tumblr comments aren't going to be noticed unless they're either posted here on AVEN or sent directly to the publisher, I thought I might as well cross-post my tumblr post about the cover here:

First impressions upon seeing this cover?

Person on the left looks like they want to escape and is biding their time, gazing into the distance to scope out the prospects elsewhere. If we get a bit into symbolism here, they’re wearing much more cloth compared to the other model, indicating that they’re less willing to expose themselves to the other person.

Person on the right looks like they dominate the relationship, with their steady gaze into the camera and their tight grip on the other’s hand. Not to mention that the placement of their hand in front shows that they are probably leading the other around. Have you ever tried to drag another person around with your hand placed behind? It’s hella uncomfortable.

I won’t talk about whether or not they look like they love each other, but I will talk about how it looks like their relationship issues, as opposed to what they value about the relationship, are at the forefront of their minds and overshadowing any intimacy between them. They’re not even looking at one another!

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