A reader’s perspective on finding the story that checks all the boxes
Last week I had the pleasure of Charlotte Demesko offering her thoughts and ideas on the LesFic genre (you can check out that blog here). I really enjoyed her insight as well as what she was looking for in her book choices. I totally agree with Charlotte that the LesFic genre is awesome and over the past 10 years the number of books to choose from, as well as authors, has increased tremendously. How lucky are we that we have such options available to us? Just think even 10 years ago, the number of titles and authors wasn’t what it is today. And tomorrow? It’s only going to get better both in quality and quantity.
What I especially liked about the answers that Charlotte provided was the one to the question: Is there any sub-genre in LesFic that you no longer read? With the selection of stories available, thanks to our amazing publishing houses and the indie authors, we no longer have to read every story. We can now be choosy about where we spend our money. And for all you young readers, when LesFic was first getting started, it was carried largely on the shoulders of Naiad Press which released one maybe two books a month. For avid readers, that was a long time to wait to reconnect with lesbian fiction. We had to start somewhere though, and to see how far we have come is just awesome.
But back to Charlotte and her answers. A quick list would be that she no longer reads Young Adult (YA), sports, anything with cruelty or violence. In a weird way this list made me laugh because I kept thinking, what is left?! For Charlotte that would be stories that feature an awkward in a non-crazy way character, Xena/Gabrielle is good, romance, and length as in long is the best. So what would be some recommendations?
I think I would have started with Leslie Murray’s Sharpshooter. It’s got romance, an awkward Gabrielle type who was just too smart for her age all her life and she just never fit in and it’s LONG! 582 pages in print. The downfall? It has one of the no longer read aspects in it-violence. But it is soooo good! Talk about full out adrenaline rush that is sure to make you lose sleep so you can finish just one more chapter- this is that story!
Or there is Shadows of Aggar by Chris Anne Wolfe that is 342 pages. It has some Xena/Gabrielle characters and Elana, the shadow, though pretty kick butt doesn’t seem totally confident in herself. That whole extra Blue Sight thing kind of sets her apart from the other shadows and what can be more awkward than not being part of the normal ones. Again, though, this story has a small amount of violence (not much in comparison to what we see in movies today) which might take it out of contention. This story is amazing though, in the world creation that Wolfe develops. It didn’t really hit me until they met, but Wolfe is so gifted with her writing that it’s almost like she creates two separate stories that crash together and when they do, they are so intricately woven together already that, well, it’s just awesome!
So moving away from violence how about LA Tucker’s The Light Fantastic as a contender? It is has romance between Xena and Gabrielle types. It has lots and lots of humor (though that wasn’t on the list who doesn’t like to laugh?). It has length with its 444 pages. And the local librarian directing the high school musical of Oklahoma!– that just sounds awkward right? And did I mention funny? A title that appears to have all the aspects of a perfect Charlotte choice. I wonder if she’s already read it?
I would think Jae’s Backwards To Oregon fits all the criteria as well. Luke, for me, definitely fits the awkward character type in a really sweet- crush worthy type of way. Besides have similar features to the Xena/Gabrielle characters, Luke and Nora have one of the sweetest romances I’ve ever read. I mean I’m talking Hollywood-movie-slow-burn type of romance that settles in your heart. And it’s long! 540 pages long!
What else though? What other LesFic titles have the length (series’ works), the awkward character without the YA, sports, cruelty and violence? What would be the first story you would recommend to Charlotte? Because I’m pretty sure she has read every one of the titles listed above and finding her a new story that checks all the boxes is going to be a fun LesFic challenge!