Will Rivka and her dragon be able to save the prince’s boyfriend?

 

The prince smiled slightly. “Save him…” Then he started to faint again. 

Rivka grabbed him by both shoulders. “Wake up,” she demanded. His eyes rolled open, but she wasn’t sure if he was there. “Do you love him?” 

“Yes. More… more than life.” 

Rivka tightened her grip on him and stared into his eyes. “You have to love life as much as you love him, do you hear me? Because if you don’t live to tell me where he is, or how I can rescue him, he’ll die. So try harder.” 

 

Riv at the bedside of Kaveh

Come along for the ride in Climbing the Date Palm, the sequel to The Second Mango. Labor rights, shapeshifters, and more baklava than you could eat in a week!

Drawing by Becca Schauer.

 

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Aviva and the baklava

Aviva, the working-class, bisexual chef turned royal mistress, as drawn by Jane Dominguez. Here we see her in a scene from Climbing the Date Palm in which she works all night by herself to accomplish a seemingly impossible task just to ensure that her sweetheart, who is a lesbian, will be able to produce an heir to the throne without ever having to sleep with a dude.

baklava-drawing-flat

 

 

 

 

Climbing the Date Palm is the sequel to The Second Mango. Guaranteed to contain canon femslash and supportive relationships between female characters!

JD-Aviva and the 1500 pieces of baklava

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Hypnotizing Chickens: lesbian novel with family, romance, and happy ending

“Just hand me my walker, child.”
“I think it’s funny that you still call me ‘child’.”
“If I can remember when you was a child and I wasn’t a child myself at the time, then you’re a child.”

Hypnotizing Chickens by Julia Watts is a lesbian romance novel that is so much more than that. Chrys, the heroine, is at one of those lifetime crossroads where you have to sit down and think about which parts of your past you’re going to take into your future. When her doctor girlfriend of six years dumps her for a nurse half her age, and her aging, ailing grandmother fires her aide for stealing her pain pills, the broken pieces of life come together to send Chrys home for the summer to take care of Nanny. The romance that ensues is with Nanny’s physical therapist, the divorced mother Dee, but the romance is only one part of the very complete package that isChickens.

Author Julia Watts does a phenomenal job of bringing rural Kentucky to life, as well as all those family moments I know all too well — octogenarian grandparents needing help in bathrooms designed for people without mobility problems, loved ones who say ‘friend’ when they mean partner or spouse because they’re trying their hardest but still have to meet you where they are, and food you remember from childhood. This isn’t just a book about two women meeting and falling in love. It’s a book about a woman looking for the next direction her life will take; it’s a book about family and how even when they’re frustrating there is still sometimes a whole gallon of love to go around; it’s a book about having the pride not to be ashamed of things that have meaning to you or where you came from even if someone you care about is looking on them with disdain.

This story has probably been done before, with straight people. Dumped woman goes home to the couuuuntry to lick her wounds, eat some greasy food, and find true love. But I want this story for us. I love seeing stories where lesbians and bisexual women have families, friends, and a community, instead of just being isolated into stories where we only exist in order to get into romances. That’s why I wish this book was a movie. I can hear the twangy country soundtrack now — with all female vocalists, of course! — and I can see the gorgeous vistas of the countryside in my mind.

This isn’t a book free from any reference to homophobia, but it’s dealt with realistically, and it never takes over the story. I won’t promise you’ll like Chrys’s family — her father is, as she describes it, one of those hypocritical right-wingers who vote for people who wind up hurting them economically — but she likes them, and they like her. And you can see they’re making an effort.

I want this book to do well. When I was looking up the author this morning I found out she’d written “La Belle Rose”, one of the two stories I liked in the Once Upon a Dyke anthology. I’d check that one out, too, if you have time.

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Blessed Twice by Lynn Galli: lesbian love story between college professors

Blessed Twice is a novel about a widowed lesbian, Briony, and her shy colleague coming together in their academic workplace after the main character realizes she’s ready to start dating again.

It begins at the wedding of two of Briony’s friends, and for a while the first chapter read like an all-female version of the opening chapters of The Hobbit as the author introduced all of Briony’s lesbian clique at once.  But then I was launched into the aftermath of the wedding as Briony comes home to an empty house and decides to pack up the rest of her dead wife’s stuff, and I was moved nearly to tears.

Everything to do with Briony’s loss and healing—the physical objects that carry special meaning, the part where her young son recognizes that she’s acting like her old self, the raw fear when he asks if he can go rock-climbing (which was how his other mom died)—was very well executed by the author.

This is a good novel if you want a place to mentally hang out where lesbians never have anything bad happen to them that’s “lesbian-specific.” In other words, nobody’s parents kicked them out; there is sexual assault both attempted (and thwarted) and past (not described) but neither case happened specifically because of lesbophobia. Even the main antagonist is pretty much just a sexist jerk who’s jealous of Briony professionally, not a specifically lesbophobic jerk. It also has a happy ending and a very solid loving relationship that I believed in.

I do have to say, the love interest, with her childhood sexual traumas leading to extreme inability to participate in sexual intimacy until Briony’s patience and love lets her overcome it, reminded me of this trope. Many people who identify as asexual already have people saying, “No, you’re not – you’re just [like this character].” She’s an obvious example of the thing people think asexual people are, when in fact many are not, and until other types of asexual people get as much visibility as this one narrative, they’ll be swept under the rug and mistaken for her. That being said, what this character goes through is a real phenomenon, and those who have survived such experiences may find it meaningful to see how happy of an ending this character gets.

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Guest Post: Shira Glassman on Climbing the Date Palm and The Second Mango

Shira:

I was invited to post on Racheline and Erin’s blog to talk a little bit about how bisexuality influences the plot and characterizations in my new book. Come check it out!

Originally posted on Avian30:

Another guest post today, this time from Shira Glassman, focusing on some of the bisexual characters in her latest novel, Climbing the Date Palm, the sequel to her book The Second Mango. Both are YA romances that cover the full LGBTQ spectrum and are available from Prizm Books (the YA imprint of Torquere Press) as well as major retailers online and off.

Also, I must note, that in addition to the many other forms of representation present in these books, one of the main characters has celiac disease (just like me!).

 Shira Glassman writes:

I’ve never understood why it’s so hard for some people to believe in the existence of bisexuality.

After all, climbingthedatepalm-1my ravenousness when I see a salad bar doesn’t negate my special relationship with rotisserie chicken or lambchops. People are allowed to like more than one type of food, and if I sit…

View original 633 more words

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The bi characters in Date Palm

 

An excerpt of Climbing the Date Palm, the sequel to The Second Mango, featuring its two bisexual characters. Chef Aviva calls out Prince Kaveh’s casual misogyny while teaching him the fundamentals of culinary knife work, and then they commiserate over the similarities and differences in their experiences with biphobia.
onions

 

“I’d much rather be in here, learning honest toil. Before I walked through that door, I felt completely useless, like a forlorn… I don’t know, a captured maiden in a legend.”

Aviva lifted a sunny face to his and asked serenely, “So feeling useless makes you a woman?”

“I didn’t mean it like that. I—” He picked up the knife again.

“Now we’re going to cut across,” she said in a low voice, wanting to make it clear she wasn’t finished with the other conversation. She began to demonstrate, and he followed her lead.

“Okay, so some real women aren’t like that. But women in legends — somehow in stories, it’s always—”

Piles of neatly diced onions gathered in the wake of their knives.

“Yes, women in stories. Here’s another onion.” She plunked it unceremoniously next to his pile of translucent white squares. “Tell me, Highness, the people like us in stories. What are they like?”

Kaveh grimaced, and he stared off into space for a moment. “Maybe you’ve made your point.”

“Then stick your point into that onion skin and keep going!” She flashed him a sparkling grin and fished another onion off the pile for herself.

“Why do they hate us?” Kaveh’s words fell from slack lips, and the rest of him was drooping morosely. “What’s the point? I’ve done nothing wrong.”

“They don’t hate me. They just like me for the wrong reasons.” There was a rare hint of sadness in her voice.

 

Available on Kindle | eBook package from publisher (4 formats) | Paperback from feminist bookstore | Paperback from Amazon

Illustration by Erin Ptah

 

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Trans Bodies, Trans Selves

Last night I went to an absolutely brilliant talk hosted by Wild Iris Books. Trans activist and scholar Peter Cava is a fantastic speaker with the perfect mix of instruction and emotional authenticity. Their presentation was interesting, captivating, and had no dead weight/filler/”I love the sound of my own voice.”

I was also exceptionally impressed by their diplomacy and grace. Members of the audience didn’t always agree with each other and Mx. Cava handled each scenario/conflict with such poise that afterwards I was making comments to the bookstore’s owner, Erica, that we need them in politics or even as the US’s first trans president.

Mx. Cava came to Gainesville to educate us about a new resource for trans people, namely, the book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, and also to open up a discussion about the ways they helped their native Broward County (FL) adapt its policies and in what ways Gainesville’s trans community can help keep itself more safe from cis violence.

While in college, Mx. Cava was the spearhead of what turned into a huge movement to make FAU safer for trans students by making a map of all the gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. More recently, they served as an advisor in their home county about how to address issues of trans homelessness.

Another issue that is important to Mx. Cava is making sure trans folk have the resources and knowledge needed to be able to activate already existing laws to help them. Many of the existing anti-discrimination laws are not enforced, or are even being used against trans safety (“We can’t have a trans homeless shelter because it violates our antidiscrimination policy!” — true story from Broward) so more work is needed so that people are held accountable for violating the existing laws.

The Gainesville trans community is highly concerned about personal safety, with one person pointing out that simply existing in public was like being in a war zone. With Mx. Cava leading the discussion, they decided to work on creating a phone network so that trans people can call for a ride if they feel unsafe or at risk for attack.

After the discussion, Mx. Cava shared with me some wishes for how trans women should be written as characters by cis women like me. We should abandon the “victims and villains” dichotomy (their exact wording) and instead work on creating likeable, empowered characters.

Peter Cava’s website

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