Just One Of The Boys: Gender and the Modern Girl

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Although I mostly review books that explore gender through body swaps and magical changes, I also find it fascinating when authors explore gender through the roles a character plays and the ways society treats them.  Such is the case with teen age Alice Bell, who loved hockey more than anything and hopes to keep playing by joining the all-boy’s Chicago Falcons, where the level of play is high enough that professional scouts regularly visit to look for professional prospects.

Through a k-drama series of events, she ends up joining the team as a boy named Al.

Having dedicated her life to the sport, Alice wants to play with and against the best, to have a chance to prove herself.   In the world of hockey, her identity trends pretty much dude, with her concerns being sports, eating whole pizzas and winning.   She barely even sees the other players as having any sexual identity, other than the star player Hayden Trembley, who much to her horror she finds herself crushing on.

Now, where this story gets interesting and I feel reflects the reality of many women today, young and not so young, is how embarrassed she feels whenever she feels or is forced to act in traditionally feminine.  In addition to her hockey, for example, her mother insists she participate in some figure skating, and she hates the dresses and the make-up, wondering what her hockey playing team mates would think if they saw her in a sparkly little dress and fake eyelashes.

She relates to Trembley dude to dude, repressing her romantic feelings because, yes, she is pretending to be a boy, but also because he is her team mate, and she feels that getting close to him romantically would be bad for the team, and also, I feel, because since her relationship with him is based on her being a dude, she worries what will happen if she acts or looks feminine.  In fact, she has to work to hide her femininity: the way she sits, talks and uses her hands.

It’s all good fun, but I also feel reflects the lives of contemporary girls who shift and morph from competing as athletes to getting all dolled up for the home coming dance, or who pretty much dress like dudes most of the time– hoodies and jeans and sneakers– but then feel the need to dress “girly” for certain occasions, or maybe when they want to get the attention of certain guys.

This story deals with all that, and it even offers a resolution, though I won’t what.  It is also at heart a very modern rom com, and a fun read.  Check it out!

Thoughts: My Lord, My Lady

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I love it when authors from other genres choose to write a gender bender, and so I was quite excited to stumble upon a body-swapping romance from New York Times best selling author of romance novels Katherine Ashe.

Lady Corrina, an intelligent, well-read young woman, has intellectual ambitions, largely stifled by her sex.  lord Ian Chance loves horses, drinking and bedding women.  Naturally, Corrina thinks she despises Ian, though they have known each other all their lives.  Of course, it does seem the lady doth protest too much.

Enter a magic statue which causes them to switch bodies.  Ian wakes up in a room so feminine it makes him want to puke, only to look down and become more horrified to discover  he now has a woman’s shape.  The situation only gets more nightmarish when he realized he has become Corrina.  Corrina, meanwhile, finds herself equally horrified to be in his body.   They communicate, trying to figure out what to do, and decide they will have to live each other’s lives as long as they are trapped in their new bodies.

There are some very fun gender swapped moments.  Ian complaining of his corsets and being forced to spend his nights at salons.  Corrina getting a thrill as she is finally allowed entrance to the exclusive men’s clubs she has been barred from, and then being surprised to find the men she’d thought so shallow are actually intelligent and fun.

Ian suddenly finds himself constrained and limited, having to worry constantly about his reputation, and when a man besmears it Ian finds himself standing behind Corrina while she punches the man to protect Ian’s honor.

We do get some sexual tension between the two as well, but alas their is no physical consumation until they are back in their own bodies.  All in all, this is a very fun read, one that derives its enjoyment mainly from being a traditional romance with all the expected beats, but where we get to see a man in the woman’s role, and a woman in the man’s.  I say– read on!

Caught up in The Shattered Isles!

Taylor Galen Kadee

I am getting a lot of writing done on Brother Bewitched II, and for me that means my thoughts and even dreams are filled with my characters and their struggles and mistakes and triumphs and fears!  Scenes keep coming to me, and my biggest challenge it to write, write write while the visions are still clear in my mind.

It’s so fun seeing them all again, catching up with Serren and Pattenia, Bucket and Danalia, Nemeria and Asryn!  They keep surprising me, and I hope that fun and surprise will come through to my readers.

So, for now, here’s a possible cover concept for the second book.  I would love your feedback!

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Check out all my stuff at Amazon.com

Brother Bewitched II: Begins!

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I am excited to announce that I have begun the sequel to my YA Fantasy novel Brother Bewitched!   For those who haven’t read it– and if you haven’t, why not?  Brother Bewitched is a gender bending fantasy novel I describe as Game of Thrones meets Freaky Friday.

Reviewers called it “Perhaps the best book in this genre” and “My favorite book of the year!”

I have actually been writing this book in my head ever since the first edition came out last summer, but now the keys are clacking and the scenes and the story are taking shape on paper.   What can you expect in book two?  Here are just some overviews without giving away any major spoilers:

Open War!

The House of Ansey, which ended the first book in revolt against the rule of Pattenia Denae, the Girl King, will musters its armies and navy, seeking all-out war to throw down Pattenia and the followers of the goddess Progenita.  More diabolically, Ansey and their allies among the priests of Maxis have spies and assassins everywhere, and they seek to turn all in the kingdom against Pattenia.

Who can she trust?  Who might betray her?

Pattenia seized the crown, and now as she turns 18 she must lead her nation to war even as she tries to build a relationship with Asryn, the man she loves.

Serrenina

Once the crown prince of The Shattered Isles, Prince Serren, now Princess Serrenina, finds himself sidelined as the war looms.  Having faced misogynistic violence and discrimination after his transformation into a woman, he now has to figure out what to do with his life and how to make a future for himself.  Will he find some way to regain his manhood and even his crown? Or will he find some other path to power?  Serren does not know who he is anymore, or what he might become.

Intrigue!  Magic!  Gods and goddesses!  Look for it by this summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway! Tweet to Earn Chance for Free Book!

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https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/617e82253d99af0b

Enter now for a chance to win a free copy of It Girl!  What?  I am so excited about this book and so hoping people get a chance to read it I am even going to give some copies away for FREE!!!!!

Tweet it up, people!  The world wants your tweets, and I want to give you my book!  It’s a glorious day!!!!

 

My Runway: Body Swap Gender Bending Fun!

Check out my Gender Bending YA Fantasy Novel, Brother Bewitched!

My Runway on Netflix

What is it to be a male?  A female?  How closely does anyone really adhere to the stereotypes?  No nation explores these ideas with as much creativity and vigor as Korea, and My Runway, now available on Netflix, does a wonderful job exploring these questions while also having a lot of fun.

In the series, a guy and a girl swap bodies.  Been done before, right?  But the choices here make it more interesting from the start.  The male, Jae Boem, is the world’s top male model, and very much a spoiled princess.  Arrogant, haughty, and superior, he swans around like the the world is beneath him, disrespects others and is perfectly confident in his beauty.

The female, Na Jin Wook, is a high-school student with bad grades who dreams of being a model and refuses to listen when people tell her she is too short.  Spunky and full of pep, she believes that she can succeed through hard work despite her unfavorable genetics.

They swap bodies and suddenly Jae Boem finds himself the cute but imperfect girl, physically over-powered by another high-school girl and dragged into a mundane life.  Meanwhile,  Na Jin Wook finds herself sharing a house with a bunch of super hot guys, including a male model she has been crushing on from afar.

Of course, there are romantic complications and lots of drama.  The types are all mixed up, too, with guys who obsess over designer fashion and hair, aggressive girls and a lot of mixing and matching of gender types that reflect reality more than most shows.

I don’t want to say much more because it is all fun and a lot of that fun comes from surprise, but if you are interested in gender identity and what makes us who we are, check out this fun and super-well-acted and written series!

Second Nature: Sneaky Good!

 

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Amazon

How would a man and a woman from our world change if they found themselves in an upside down world where women had all the privilege and men faced constant objectification?  Would they?  Are we who we are, or the products of our environments?

Amanda (Collette Wolfe) and Brett (Sam Huntington) into a world where traditional gender identity and roles are reversed.  Women are aggressive and emotionally stunted, while men are passive and sensitive.  At first, each character just finds it weird, and they search for a magic mirror which can switch them back to their own world.

But, as times passes, Amanda (notice the irony of her name?) finds she likes living in a  world where the deck is stacked in her favor.  She is now the boss at her company, and is considered a shoe-in to win her race for mayor simply because he opponent is a man.  Meanwhile, the constant barrage of sexism Brett faces wears on him, and he finds himself become more emotional and insecure in response to the way he is treated.

For a time, the movie has fun playing with the flipped world.  Amanda loves telling her male subordinates to go and get pedicures on the company, slapping men on the butt and going to Peckers, where the wait staff consists entirely of men in tiny little shorts, their outfits clearly patterned on Hooters.  Brett, meanwhile, finds he can’t go into a bar without being pestered by aggressive women, who bombard him with lame come on lines, grope him and try to get him to kiss other guys for their amusement.

Amanda also begins to confront the way the stereotypes cut both ways.  A friend asks her is she’s a lesbian because she has been “acting like a boy” and she starts to feel that winning the election just because she is a woman negates the achievement.  Ultimately, she decides that the gender flipped world is just as bad as her own, and that she is against privilege and discrimination in any form.  Did I make the sound a little too noble?  It doesn’t come across that way in the film.  It just came across as a human being who was tempted to become the thing she hated and refused.

One of the nicer moments in the film involves a scene between Amanda and Brett when they are driving together after being stuck in upside down world for a week.  Brett is frazzled, demoralized, insecure, and he complains about the way he is treated in this world.   Amanda says something like,  “Only here a week, and look at what it’s done to you.”

“Don’t,”  Brett says.  ‘This is all an exaggeration of the way things are in our world.”

“It really isn’t,” Amanda says, and she is speaking to all those who have not faced objectification.

This is a good watch.  Collette is especially fun as she finds herself on top and for a time just kind of becomes a callous dude reveling in the privilege.  She doesn’t come across as vengeful or bitter or any other stereotype, and in fact pretty much seems like the female version of a bro– content and amused and happy to have it all easy due to her sex.  Sam does well showing how his character is demoralized by the sexism.   Watch it!

Working in the genre

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My Author Page

I am asking the questions today.  You know, THE questions? Who am I as a writer?  What am I?  And, if i can’t figure that out, how am i ever supposed to target the right agent?

I wonder if I am really a YA author.  Sometimes, when I look at the books that have come out of me so far, Brother Bewitched and Brain Biters,  I shake my head and think–  I don’t know that any teens would want to read this stuff.

In both books my characters are teens, and the stories are told through their eyes.  I am not some adult lecturing them about their lives, or pounding them with cliches they are old enough to know are just things adults say to hide their lack of real wisdom.

But maybe my books are too cold?   The characters not passionate enough?  Maybe I am dealing with things in a way that is alien or foreign to younger readers?

Maybe I am just too weird for any normal teen to relate to?

I have to confess, I did not read a lot of the books aimed at YA readers when I was of the age.   I wanted to be older and more serious, and so instead of reading Robert Cormier I read Stephen King.   Now, I later read Robert Cormier, and I felt like I had really missed the boat not reading him earlier, but even as a YA kid I didn’t think I was a YA kid.

So, maybe my books will never sell well to YA readers (or anyone else).   You know what?  I am going to keep writing anyway.   When I published my first book many years ago, (not YA and under a different pen name) I told myself I would be happy if one person read it and related.   It ended up selling about 300 copies, and I waited anxiously day after day, hoping one of those readers would submit a review.  Surely, one of them would be my reader, the one I imagined would read the book and know he or she wasn’t alone.  Someone else felt and thought the same things!

Well, that very first review came, an d it was terrible.  The person HATED my book, and they hated it so much they felt compelled to tell the WHOLE WORLD how much they hated it.

I felt destroyed, and for several days I moped around, thinking I would never write again.  Then, something amazing happened: a second reviewer posted a review directly refuting the first, defending my little book and praising it.

I can’t tell you how great it felt, because this was my one reader, and not only had they related, but had related so strongly they felt angry when someone attacked our book.

Since then, I have gotten good and bad reviews, and weird reviews that made no sense.  And as I reach the end of the essay, I realize that I still don’t know what kind of writer I am, or if my books are “really” YA books, as in really, really YA books.

But it doesn’t matter.   I write and write, and someone out there gets enjoyment from my work, and feels less alone, and so I do, too!

 

 

 

 

 

Free Books!

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Hello, everybody!  In case you haven’t seen it yet, I am running a sweepstakes and giving away print copies of my new book, Brain Biters!  It’s a YA paranormal thriller with danger, romance and body swapping fun!  Click on the link to enter!  It’s free!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/4f4aff294908a097

Check out the Brain Biters page on Amazon!   Links below!