CategoryQuestions and answers

Neurodiversity in my books

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It seems a good time for an update on neurodiverse characters in my books (the last one was back in 2021.) April is one of the months celebrating neurodiversity (Autism Acceptance Month), and there was a recent extensive rec post on /r/romancebooks on Reddit for romances with neurodiverse characters.

As I did in 2021, we’re going to go at this by character (alphabetically by first name), since many relevant characters appear in multiple books. My goal with writing has always been to reflect a wide range of experiences of the world like me and many of my friends. And that includes people who don’t always get to be the ones on adventures or getting a happy ever after romance.

There are a number of other characters in my books you might reasonably read as neurodiverse. I’ve mentioned a few at the end of the post that Kiya and I have discussed back and forth, but some of this is in the eye of the beholder. Reader perception is important too!

Just want to explore some books? Here are all the titles that particularly feature a neurodiverse character.

You can also find more of a number of these characters in various of the extras I’ve written and shared.

Upon A Summer's Day displayed on a tablet in a sunset scene looking out across water to fields beyond, all of it glowing golden and sparkling with magic. The cover of Upon A Summer's Day shows a man in a suit silhouetted over a map of northern Wales in a muted green. He is gesturing, holding his cane in one hand, a cap on his head. Behind him is an astrological chart, with Jupiter and Saturn highlighted in the sign of Taurus.
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Age, characters, and time passing

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I got a great question on my Patreon post about what I was planning for 2024 over there, and I wanted to answer it somewhere more visible. (This post also contains the answer to “Will Claudio get his own romance?” and if so, when.)

wiedźma_florentyna asked in the comments whether magic extends life expectancy over what we would expect today (and mentions both Mistress of Birds and Richard still actively working at the age of 73.) And then what that means for some of my oldest characters who are bound to die eventually.

Short version: I don’t want to kill any of these characters I love due to old age, so I’m doing my best to avoid that.

The cover of Four Walls and a Heart has a bright red background with a blue door. Two men are silhouetted against the background, one of slighter build in a Victorian wheelchair, missing his lower left leg, the other standing and talking, one hand at his side. Both are wearing hats, and they are intently focused on each other. The cover is mounted in a frame, next to a globe and a cup of coffee.
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Happily ever after, no kids

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One of my romance spaces was talking about romances that don’t presume a child is necessary for the happily-ever-after of the romance. If you’ve read my work, obviously I’ve got a mix in here. I thought it might be interesting to talk about the variations. 

(I obviously think people can find happiness in a whole bunch of different configurations and life choices. My characters make a wide range of choices, both in the immediate aftermath of a book and further down the road.)

Cover of In The Cards displayed in a gleaming silver frame, with purple flowers on the right and a purple velvet high-heeled shoes.
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Fanfic and me

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I’ve had a couple of questions recently about how I feel about fanfic – so time for a post where I can lay it all out.

Short version: I love and approve of fanfic, but please don’t send me any fanfic (or related text, like ideas you’ve had for it) or otherwise directly wave it in front of my eyes. Sharing fan art, craft projects, and other forms of fannish goodness are all wonderful.

Read on for more of an explanation (and why I’m putting it this way.) 

Copy of Eclipse on a white cloth, with various small ritual items - sprig of rosemary, talisman, cards - beside it.
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What can you expect from this book?

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One of the reasons I’m excited about my website (and authorial wiki) updates is that they’re making it easier to share more about what you can expect from a given book. Time for me to talk about your options here, depending on what information you’re interested in, and whether you want to avoid certain kinds of spoilers.

Copy of Best Foot Forward lying on a wrinkled silk cloth, with a violin lying across it. The cover has a deep red background with map markings in a dull purple. Two men in silhouette stand, looking up at a point in the top left. An astrology chart with different symbols picked out takes up the left side of the image, with glowing stars curving up to the title.

Before we get into that, though, a general word about what you will and won’t find in my books.

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All the information you might want

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Hello, and welcome to my newly redesigned website! I wanted to take a moment to share some of what you can find now. I’ve also revamped and redesigned my authorial wiki, and this post also has more about what you can find there.

My goals

I’ve written an ever increasing number of books, and I have a lot more in mind. While you can absolutely still read almost all of them in any order you like, I wanted to make it easier to find the books you’re interested in.

Cover of Fool's Gold displayed on a tablet, set on a desk with a pink rose, a fountain pen, a jar of ink, and paper.

Here’s what the website and wiki now make possible. Read on for more specifics and a lot of links.

A way to follow characters or larger arcs across multiple books. Are you curious about a particular character? The wiki will let you find out all the places they appear, and which books are significant. Curious about the full arc of the books about the Carillons or the Edgartons or the Council? You can find lists and brief notes about each book in one place.

A way to find the books you’re most interested in (or avoid the books that aren’t your thing, or not right now). To make this easier, I’ve created tags, content notes, and a list of books with context that let you browse for those things you want to read.

A way to put books in order in different ways. With books reaching from 1882 to 1940 right now (and expecting more Victorian-era books to come, as well as books up through 1947 or so), timelines and internal chronological order start becoming a lot more useful.

A site that fits the feel of my books – and highlights my gorgeous covers. I love my covers so much. Augusta does an amazing job on them. I’m delighted to have a site that puts them front and centre. You’ll notice other details like the header font matching my cover font.

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Reviews and how they help

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Reviews are a fantastic way for readers to help out authors they want to support. But a lot of readers are nervous about what to write, where to share them, and what they ought to know about the process.

Here’s a little demystification to help. I’m focusing here obviously on books, but the same basic process can help with music, podcasts, and all sorts of other content out there. 

The short version: Leaving a brief (2-3 sentence) review of books you love wherever you get or talk about your books is a fabulous way to both help other readers and the author. They don’t need to be long or complicated to help.

The cover of Old As The Hills displayed on a tablet in front of a pine forest, dotted with firefly light. The cover of Old As The Hills has a man with a can and a woman silhouetted on a green ground with a map. She holds out her hand, he is putting something into it, forming a doorway between them. An astrological chart behind them shows the symbols for Venus, the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn highlighted behind a splash of glowing stars.

What kind of review are we talking about? 

When authors talk about reviews helping, what we mean is usually something simple.

We’re talking about a review of one to four sentences from a real human who read the book and wanted to share a couple of thoughts. You don’t need to be elaborate and you don’t need to include tons of details. Reviews like this help provide what gets called “social proof”, that real humans read the book and had a range of feelings about it. 

Detailed reviews and literary criticism are fantastic too – but they’re a completely different thing. Many people aren’t up for writing that (and certainly not about all the books or music or whatever else it was they enjoy).

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Lords & Ladies: A guide to the land magic

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Are you curious about the land magic? Carillon’s background? What it means to be a Lord in Albion?

Did you know there’s a new novella out? It’s my treat if you sign up for my newsletter. (Feel free to unsubscribe when you need to, of course. But I hope you’ll stick around, at least for an email or two that will let you get all the other treats I share with my newsletter subscribers.) 

A copy of Ancient Trust displayed on a tablet, surrounded by drinks on a drinking cabinet. A man holding a book and glass wearing a grey suit stands at the right of the image.

Ancient Trust is all about what happens when Geoffrey Carillon inherits the title on his brother’s death. It has quite a lot about the land magic customs at Ytene. It also led to some interesting questions from a reader. 

(I love reader questions. Sometimes I haven’t settled on my final answer about something. But I’ll let you know if you ask something I can’t answer yet. Or if you ask something that’s too much of a spoiler for something that’s coming out in the future.) 

The questions: 

It got me thinking, how do the Lords of Albion engage with the House of Lords? Is attending Westminster an additional responsibility for Carillion? Do Albion peerages result in having the right to sit in the House? And what about the women? How does the Land Magic recognise women?

These are great questions – and also some that I haven’t quite found the right place to get into text. Let’s take this one by one in an order that should help.

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Question answered! Character ages

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I got an email from a reader (hi!) asking a couple of questions, including this one: “In your romantic couples, the women seem to be consistently a little older (or a lot older) than the men. Was this a conscious choice, and if so, is there a reason for it?” 

The Fossil Door cover displayed on an ereader, surrounded by candles, dried plants, and a mug of tea. The cover has a man and woman in silhouette at the right, looking to the left, on a background of dark burgundy to golden yellow, with an inset smaller image of an illuminated manuscript in the right corner.
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