The labor activist and his passionate prince

Kaveh gazed up at him adoringly. “I thought I cared for you already, but when you spent all your money making sure everyone was fed, I fell in love all over again. My heart is completely consumed, and recreated to exist within you.”

“I’ll tend it well and keep it safe, here — with my own,” said Farzin, pulling Kaveh’s fingers to his own chest.


Love same-sex romance? Love justice? Love stories with dragons and shapeshifters and four queer characters including bisexuality? How about a fat gay nerd as the romantic lead? Check out Climbing the Date Palm, the sequel to The Second Mango. Available from Prizm Books as an eBook package, from Amazon Kindle or paperback, and in autographed paperback from Wild Iris Books here, if you’d like to help keep a locally-owned feminist/LGBTQ+ bookstore and safe space open.

Queen Shulamit is eager to help Kaveh, the youngest prince of a neighboring country, when his father throws his engineer boyfriend in jail for leading his workers in protest over underpaid wages. But if she can’t find a peaceful solution that will keep everybody happy, the two countries could wind up at war.

Graphite drawing by Erika Hammerschmidt.


About Shira

Queer Jewish feminist author
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13 Responses to The labor activist and his passionate prince

  1. J.L. Douglas says:

    ngl kaveh’s kind of a dreamboat here.


    • Shira says:

      This is probably the best/handsomest Kaveh picture. I’ve been holding on to it for over a year, probably… these boys told me their story in spring of 2012!

    • Shira says:

      I wrote Mango in the fall of 2011 and Date Palm in the spring/summer of 2012. Figs was summer to New Year’s Eve of 2013.

      There are passages that were written later, though — my editor has a knack for asking me to add things and flesh things out.

      • J.L. Douglas says:

        Interesting! So did you know it would be a series when you wrote the first one? Or did you just keep thinking of more stories?

        I would agree with your editor. I usually like short books, but I felt like Mango was too short because I got immersed in the world. Climbing the Date Palm was better, but I…kind of hope that Harvest of Ripe Figs is longer!

    • Shira says:

      I had no idea I was going to finish Mango. It astonished me when I realized that it was even a possibility. Nothing in my previous writing history indicated that I could write anything that long, about my own characters, and actually finish it! And I had the idea for the second one two months after finishing the first one — it’s not like I always had it in the back of my mind. But I had fallen in love with my characters–especially Isaac, and the Rivka/Isaac relationship–so I didn’t want to just leave them be. I mean, they’re almost my *fandom* now.

      Figs, sadly, is as short as Mango again. But it does feel complete to me, and it also comes with two free in-universe short stories (if you buy paperback — they’re in a separate eBook by themselves if you buy electronic.) If I have a fatal flaw that I don’t give enough detail, that may just be something editors and betas have to work with me on. I think I’m secretly afraid of accidentally writing My Immortal (that HP fanfic where she overdescribes everything because she was thirteen) so instead, I don’t describe *enough.*

      • J.L. Douglas says:

        I feel like this is one of those rare books where I could read 800 pages and still want more. (The closet comparison to this for me is probably the Inkheart series).

        I will definitely take free in-universe stories, though!

    • Shira says:

      So what you’re saying is that you want more Mangoverse novels? 😀

      The thing that happened with the short stories is that Prizm changed their length requirements for a print contract, so in order for Figs to go to print, I had to toss some other stuff in there. And an incredible thing happened. Rivka came through for me and gave me a 9,200 word adventure tale taking place during her ronin years… I wrote it in four days. I actually literally started it standing up with my laptop on the kitchen counter. I was in such a frenzy that I couldn’t sit down to write it.

      Rivka has never failed me. 🙂

      • J.L. Douglas says:

        More Mangoverse.


        Unless Harvest is, like, a very definitive end to the series, I will continue to want more Mangoverse.

        Heh, Rivka. She is bigger than gender and, now, silly word counts.

    • Shira says:

      Not only is Figs not any kind of “end”, but it leaves the door open in a very obvious way for something I am almost too intimidated to write (you’ll see.) Luckily, there are other things I could do for book four that wouldn’t be as scary.

      Rivka is such a superwoman. I am almost more proud of the Rivka one-shot than I am of the whole rest of the series. (Except the Simple Syrup chapter of book two and a certain chapter in book three involving Shulamit being Clever. And possibly the whole, um, gimmick with a certain middle-aged male character. Ahem.)

      • J.L. Douglas says:

        it leaves the door open in a very obvious way for something I am almost too intimidated to write (you’ll see.)


        I think you have a lot of characters in this story to be proud that you contributed to the world! Riv is kind of the mama of them all, but definitely there are a lot of others.

    • Shira says:

      No, it’s something completely different. Nothing bad, just, like, really intimidating to WRITE. Not “hard to write” as in, hard emotionally to write. Hard to write like, what if I told you that the sequel to Lunaside had to be that one of them grows up to be the first lesbian PM or whatever it is you guys have for a president? And you’re like “but… politics? National campaign drama? eep”

      Hence me being like “why don’t I write this other plot in the meantime la la la” 😛

      • J.L. Douglas says:

        Oh! Well, that’s a relief. I am not sure I could go on reading if you killed a member of the main cast.

        Right! GOT IT NOW

        (For what it’s worth, although I have considered what I would put into a sequel, NONE of the Lunaside cast is equipped to be elected to any office. Ever).

        Hence me being like “why don’t I write this other plot in the meantime la la la” 😛


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