The first time I heard of Storm Moon Press, I was browsing their calls for submissions and saw one for post apocalyptic bisexual stories. I loved the idea. They specified the apocalypse had to be plausible, which was even better. I write science fiction, but I didn’t think I had a zombie story in me.
My subconscious started churning. A day or so later, I went to see a band play in Providence and Thicker than Blood, my first SMP publication, was born. It turns out there weren’t enough acceptable submissions to make a full post-apocalyptic anthology come to fruition, but SMP asked to publish my story as a stand-alone e-book, and I was thrilled.
I have a passion for reading and writing gay male erotica and romance, and it’s the majority of what I write. But as a bisexual woman, I get a special thrill out of writing bisexual characters. I’ve been a bisexual activist in a small way, and I still hear about all the ways bisexuality is stereotyped or rendered invisible. Bisexual visibility is important to me, and writing bisexual characters has its own special challenges.
In writing non-erotic fiction, indicating a character is bisexual can be a tricky business. Having them mention an ex of a different gender than the one they’re currently interested in can be misinterpreted; having a character proclaim their bisexuality too self-assuredly and openly can seem contrived to the reader. With erotica or romance, it’s easy enough to pair the person with people of more than one gender or have them engage in a threesome, but then you risk playing into the stereotypes of bisexuals as promiscuous and untrustworthy.
In Thicker than Blood, the main male character, David, is young and inexperienced. He’s excited to grasp at the new experiences that come his way, and I don’t think it was out of character at all for him to be interested in more than one partner. Writing Ayanna, the main female bisexual character, was more complicated. I played with stereotypes by giving her deeper motives that contextualize her apparent promiscuity.
I don’t know if there’s another publisher out there where a science fiction story featuring bisexual characters and nanotechology that’s sexually transmitted would find a home, but it did at Storm Moon Press. I don’t know another place where I could write bisexual male and female characters, gay male characters, and lesbian characters and have all my efforts welcomed. I haven’t had any trans* characters come clawing out of my subconscious and demand I tell their stories yet, but I know when the day comes, I can approach SMP with those stories, too.
With their commitment to publishing a wide variety of voices from the QUILTBAG community, Storm Moon Press provides a place where bisexual and trans* characters can be presented to the world as fully realized human beings and fully erotic beings, not as stereotypes. It’s an honor to me to be one of their writers, doing my small part to increase the number of bisexual authors in the world, and I wouldn’t be here if Storm Moon Press hadn’t shown me such support and encouragement.
Avery Vanderlyle lives in Boston with a partner, hangs out in the bisexual community, writes as a hobby, and plays with cats. During the day, she works in the software industry. Reading fanfiction is a guilty pleasure of hers; it’s one of the few places where bisexual characters are a regular feature (even if they rarely identify as such). She can also be found playing Role Playing Games and attending a local science fiction convention or two.
This post is part of Storm Moon Press’ 4th Anniversary Blog Tour! Thank you for joining us, and please take a moment to enter our blog-tour-wide giveaway! The prize is receiving an ebook each month from SMP for 12 months! We hope to see you around the Internet and at RainbowCon in 2014! Happy New Year!