Bi Book Awards & New Patreon Story!

CropperCapture[19]

Click here for full flier
Tickets $15 in advance or at the door
Westbeth Community Room, 55 Bethune St. W. of Washington St., NYC

I am so excited to be packing off for a couple of days to go to the Bisexual Book Awards! I’ve been honored with the opportunity to do a short reading from Ariah. If you’re going to be in New York on June 3rd, I’d love to see you! RSVP, and come by the Bisexual Book Awards!

Not able to make it? No worries! A new short story is coming–and not only is it set in Aerdh (the fantasy universe Ariah was set in) but it features characters from Ariah! It will be released via my Patreon on June 12. There’s a sneak peek and some info up over here about that.

ARIAH is a finalist for the Bisexual Book Awards!

Ariah_FrontCoverOnly

Exciting news! Ariah is on the shortlist for the Bisexual Book Awards in the Speculative Fiction category! I’m super-thrilled simply to be nominated (no, really, I mean that)–especially because of the fine company I’m in!* Seriously, there’s about a half dozen other finalists that are very high up on my TBR pile right now. Are you looking for some bisexual books to read? You might want to check out the list of finalists!

OK HERE’S SOME MORE NEWS:

In celebration, I’m going to release an Ariah-related short story via Patreon in April! So…if that’s of any interest to you, then yay!

*Including but not limited to Shira Glassman, Hannah Moskowitz, and Lidia Yuknavitch.

2015: Year in Review (Thoughts & Such)

All things considered, I had a pretty good year writing-wise. Here are some highlights:

Ariah got published.
This was my book, you know? I’d worked on it forever, subbed it forever, and then it was out there.

I learned so much about book marketing on the fly with Ariah. I sent so many review requests. I did at least twenty guest spots on far-flung blogs (anywhere that would have me). I ran a ton of giveaways. Ultimately, I think, it’s mostly about getting a book in the hands of the right reviewer at the right time.

Really, for indie books (and I think even for traditionally published books) the strongest marketing tool is word of mouth. Patience has been my biggest obstacle, honestly, but I’m slowly gaining a readership.

I broke out of my shell as a writer and made some lovely writer friends.
I started using Twitter in earnest this year, and it was a great decision for me. Twitter, plus blogging, means a ton of connection to other writers. And I went to my very first con this year–Sirens was awesome! I got to meet some writer friends in the flesh, which was so cool!

I tend to write in isolation, but I still need a community. I love to talk about process and books and technique and what I’m writing and why I’m writing it. My partners quickly get fatigued on my subjects, so twitter is an excellent outlet for this.

I got vocal about diversity in publishing.
It was inevitable. I’ve always been passionate about social justice, so the intersection between writing and social justice was bound to pop up at some point. I think about this stuff a lot, in both my own writing and in others, and doing the disrupting publishing roundups every week or so has been eye-opening and informative.

This year I’ve also been explicitly reading and reviewing books with an eye towards diversity (you can see notes on diversity in the book reviews here and a call for diverse books in my review policy here). This, too, has been eye-opening and informative. I’ve spent a lot of time this past year thinking about what I can do, as a person with multiple privileges and marginalizations, to make publishing more diverse from within. What is it ethical for me to be writing about? When should I step back and simply promote voices? When am I taking up space inadvertently? Heavy, important questions.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sanders Signs New Series With Zharmae!

(download PDF of press release)

B R Sanders Signs New Fantasy Series With Zharmae!
A Tale of Rebellion promises action, romance, and more elves!

DENVER, CO. 7 Oct. 2015 — Following on the critical success of their novel Ariah, the Zharmae Publishing Press has signed B R Sanders once again! Set in the same rich and diverse fantasy universe as Ariah, this series explores new corners of that world, new tensions and new characters.

About A Tale of Rebellion
The humans of Elothnin went west, hungry for wheat and space, but the elves were already there. When the humans burned the elves’ homes, the elves rebelled. For forty long years the rebellion smoldered, but the elves have been beaten back into the gnarled forest, forced to rely on guerrilla tactics and strange bedfellows.

Rethnali has only ever known the rebellion. Born and bred to it, raised by a great elvish general and now a captain herself, Rethnali’s whole life is ruthlessness and strategy. Over the course of four books, Rethnali’s will is tested. Some friendships fray and tatter; surprising new ones blossom. She puts herself and her soldiers in danger over and over again, all in the name of winning back the lands stolen from her people. Sacrifice–what will she sacrifice to see this rebellion through to its end? And who will she be once all those sacrifices have been made?

BRSanders_HeadshotAbout B R Sanders
B R Sanders is a genderqueer writer who lives and works in Denver, CO, with their family and two cats. Outside of writing, B has worked as a research psychologist, a labor organizer and a K-12 public education data specialist. B’s previous novels, both set in the fantasy universe of Aerdh, are Resistance and Ariah.

B is social!
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter

About The Zharmae Publishing PressZH_web_logo
The Zharmae Publishing Press is a Pacific Northwest based Independent Publisher. We
aim to deliver stories with depth, that cut to the heart, and appeal to everyone, from Science Fiction to Memoirs and everything in between.

Zharmae is social!
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

# # #

Writing ARIAH: A Closer Look at the Titular Character

Ariah is the pasty one in the center, FYI

Amazon | Goodreads

Given that Ariah hit some new folks radars thanks to spotlights thrown by the wonderful and talented Foz Meadows and Liz Bourke, I thought it might be talented to post some writerly behind-the-scenes type things here on how the book came to be. I haven’t really done that since before its launch, anyway, though if you’re interested, you can find all of those posts here.

Ariah Lirat’Mochai is a funny story. The book wasn’t supposed to be about him. It was supposed to be about his mentor, Dirva. Ariah was supposed to be the reader’s lens into Dirva, the way Nick Carraway narrates The Great Gatsby though the book isn’t actually his story. I maintain that Dirva is an interesting character in and of himself, but Ariah quickly took over the narrative. No passive viewpoint character here, no, Ariah demanded to tell his own story while Dirva’s maudlin arc played out in the shadows, seen sometimes and hidden at other times. I went with it. What else can you do but surrender to a first draft?

I have always loved Ariah’s voice. It came fully formed, of its own accord. He overthinks, he questions and second guesses, he is uncertain, but at his core, Ariah is a man who has a moral center. Not, particularly, a sense of self, but a firm moral center. And this makes him very interesting to write, because for him:

The truth was a slippery thing that, perhaps, did indeed slide between categories.

He spends a lot of time and energy trying to parse what he should say and what he should not, and when, and why. Some of this is to do with his magic–being an shaper, which is somewhat like an empath–he essentially eavesdrops on other people’s emotional states. They may be trying to cover, putting on a game face, that he sees right through without realizing he’s even seeing through it. So, because he’s so accidentally observant, he’s very careful. Ariah tries to weigh everything before he speaks. He doesn’t always get it right, but he tries to, which means there are so many thoughts running through his mind at any given moment as he tries to process everything at once.

On top of this is the complication of his empathic magic, and the way it interacts with his shifting sense of self. Early in the book, it becomes clear that he needs some sense of stability to keep himself together:

Ambivalence tends to drive me to self-sabotage. I do not do well with internal conflict; I do not do well when I am unmoored.

But it also becomes clear that for Ariah, paradoxically, coming to terms with a shifting sense of self provides the greatest sense of stability:

It’s like you’ve got two hearts inside you: yours and theirs. To learn a litany, you have to learn to be yourself and not yourself at the same time.

It’s only by understanding the way he is deeply shaped by the people he is around and loves that he can keep that dangerous ambivalence at bay. The only way Ariah can find to silence that awful internal conflict is, shockingly, but accepting that there is no single ineffable Ariah–there is the Ariah that brought to the surface by Sorcha, and the Ariah that is brought to the surface by Shayat and the Ariah that is brought to the surface by Halaavi, and none is more real or true than the other.

Ariah, like all the characters I’ve written, is deeply similar to me and deeply dissimilar to me. He is like me in that I tend to get immediately and terribly overwhelmed by the information I receive from others. I pay far too much attention by accident to people’s postures, their tone of voice, their word choice, their clothing, everything, and then I have to process it, and it’s exhausting, so very exhausting. He’s unlike me in that he strives for harmony and politeness. I don’t. But this idea of reconciliation between all these different versions of oneself, this idea that all the different sides and presentations of oneself are harmonious, are in sync, are a network of related ‘yous’ all made possible by the strength and depth of your relationships with other people, that is a thought I don’t think I would have had without writing this book. I wouldn’t have made that insight, which I find profoundly uplifting, without having stumbled upon Ariah’s voice and letting him take the story’s direction. I’m glad I did.



Want posts like this delivered to your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter!

Guest Post over at Inkblots from the Inkstained Succubus!

inkstainedsuccubuslogo

Hi friends!

The fine folks at Inkstained Succubus, who published both my novel Resistance and my novelette Matters of Scale, have published an essay of mine crowing about why Diversity in Secondary World Fantasy is important and some of the ways in which I’ve sought to make that happen in my own works. Stop by and check it out if you’re interested!

-B

Roundup: August 3-9, 2015

1/1 cats agree: you should read ARIAH

1/1 cats agree: you should read ARIAH

Upcoming!

  • Mark your calendars! I’ll be discussing how to build a stronger and more diverse audience through blogging on the next episode of Radio Z this Sunday, 8/16, at 4pm PST.

Wanderings on the Internet

Writing Update

  • 1,500 more words went into The Search, too, which brings us up to 83K total so far. Sorcha and Shayat have been reunited after a separation. Both have some secrets to reveal to the other.

Want posts like this delivered to your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter!

Thanks for the ships, Melville!

click through for source

click through for source

Despite my landlubber life, I’ve always had a fascination with books about the sea. Maybe that’s part of why I love Melville so much.

It’s not surprising, then, that one of the earliest inventions of the world of Aerdh were the pirates. I’m certainly not the first person to write about a spec fic pirate  society, and I won’t be the last. The pirates of Aerdh figure heavily in the plot of The Search, the follow-up to Ariah that I’m currently writing.

For someone who loves worldbuilding, pirates are inherently fascinating. What does it mean to create a society that is inherently a society of outcasts? What sort of mores do they hold? For a society to survive, it has to last more than a generation, which means that children must be born and raised into it. What are the people indigenous to that way of life like? How do they see the world? How do they justify that their culture is, by definition, parasitic–for them to prosper, they must prey on other cultures. And what about the economies that spring up in the pirates’ wake? What are the moral grey zones there?

I’ve written about the pirates before, most notably in Cargo. One of the major secondary characters in The Search is a pirate king–defining the scope of his influence and how he wields it is enlightening. The Search is building out pirate culture above and beyond what was seen in Cargo, and I’m having a wonderful time exploring it.

Beyond the idea of the pirates themselves, with their potential for outlaw justice and redemptive arcs and sanctuary for marginalized individuals, there are the ships. Melville, in his books, used the microcosm that is life on a ship to great effect. I think I was always taken with that, with the way that ship life pens you in with a very limited number of people in a very proscribed amount of space. Ships are truly tiny little worlds of their own drifting through the maw of pure natural force.

Such a strange thing, and such a raw thing, and how could you not then forge such deep relationships with your crew? How could they not become your family? No one ever has neutral feelings about family. You only ever love them dearly or hate the sight of your family. Imagine spending all that time working a ship with someone you can’t stand, who annoys the shit out of you, but you know your life is basically in their hands. It’s maddening. The psychology of ships is insane. So, I keep coming back to them in my writing.

Want posts like this delivered to your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter!