a book about a girl

i just remembered how in elementary my school would do book fairs sometimes and the class would sit in the library and listen to the librarian tell us about all the different books and whenever she would start talking about “girl books” she would make all the boys cover up their ears so they couldn’t hear her talk about it & vice versa

other ya characters: this guy…he’s so dark and mysterious, the way he just hurts everyone around him…including me. i’ve cried so much since i’ve met him, but no no he’s just misunderstood, you don’t understand him! and sure i’ve only known him for 2 days and he has a million secrets, but i’d forfeit my life for his

inej ghafa: kaz is a literal piece of crap. he treats everyone badly, and though he’s never treated me horribly, i still won’t give in unless he shows me he can be more than all of this. until then i’ll be out saving the world because my goals are obviously more important than a relationship

the princess stayed in the tower and read books about better girls, where their hands learned how to hold swords, where they rode in on horses. i gave her books as often as i could. she devoured them.

her princes saw her and pretended to be scared off by dragons. got too lost in the thicket. didn’t want to handle it.

“tell me what it’s like, out there,” she whispers to me for the millionth time. i take her from The Throne into her bed, tucking her in and making sure her feet are covered. 

“boring without you” i say as always, “but i did bring back a great story.”

i tell her about how the stars change beyond the equator. how there are places it looks like there are twin suns. how the desert crawls into you but so does snow. i talk about the taste of fruit and promise to bring her back some. she falls asleep while i murmur about rivers, and then in the morning i bring her from bed to Throne, even though she can do it on her own. sometimes she likes help, is all, and i’m happy to give it. 

she doesn’t want help getting dressed. the men come for me, blindfold masters i have almost befriended. the path we take away from her is always different, carefully manufactured so i don’t know exactly where she’s located. after all, a lady might get ideas about things.

they let me go in the queen’s room. i report findings, ask for fruit in the next week’s supplies, am told not to spoil the princess, that she must be kind and waifish and wanting when the prince comes. i spend an hour suggesting that fruit might turn the blood sweeter and am allowed six oranges.

in the next week, she marvels over them. turns them in her calloused hands. smells them. holds them until she can’t control her curiosity, devours them. i bring her books about rivers. i bring her books about deserts. 

“when is our birthday?” she asks me tonight. i’m knitting her a scarf for it.

“soon,” i tell her, “i’ll come by.”

she rolls onto one side, looks up at me in the dimming light. “I’m glad they chose you to be mine,” she says, and i drop a stitch. my heart sings against the inside of my wrists. i blow out a candle so she can’t see the blush and i can’t see her lips. i know what she means, i say. i know what she means.

it’s twenty-three for both of us. i bring her a cake we both eat, her on her throne and me on the floor. i am in the middle of laughing when she falls silent in the still night. “nobody else ever comes for me,” she whispers. i say nothing.

we have more cake, we go to sleep. i don’t know if she knows i’m awake, but i hear her crying.

the men come, the men take me. the one that smells like cedar always laughs at my jokes. the queen half-hates me because i remind her of “that nasty thing” they forced on their daughter. 

“the left wheel needs oil,” i mention, “she’s having trouble turning again.”

the queen’s nose goes up. she never reacts when i mention her daughter’s wheelchair by name - doesn’t find it funny we call it a throne, thinks it’s well enough to leave alone.

“well, she’ll have a prince in this next month coming for her,” says the queen, “i’ve arranged it all,” says the queen, “he’s … had the situation explained to him first this time. i thought it would be best,” says the queen. “we’re paying him…. quite a lot for his effort,” says the queen.

situation. she means that her daughter can’t walk very far. she means the situation of towers. i excuse myself. i find my girl books about turning down marriage. i’m not sure why. it’s all she’s ever wanted.

they blindfold me and take me. cedar laughs at my jokes. the sawdust one is here this time, even he chuckles at a few. we ride horses through places i’ll never see clearly. 

“so according to the queen this is the last time i’m needed, huh?” i ask them as they walk me blindly up too many stairs for my girl to make it down, “i’m sorry i never made your acquaintance.”

cedar laughs. he takes off my blindfold and for a second, lets me see his face. “it’s been an honor,” he says, shaking my hand, “you’ve been a perfect lady.”

i spend the day with my princess pretending i am not peeling apart from my bones. i just want her to be happy. to get to come home. 

it’s late. “do you think in a past life i was a mermaid?” she asks.

“almost definitely,” i tell her. 

it’s quiet for a while after. “what if,” she whispers, “i don’t want to leave?”

i sit up and look at her from across the room. 

“it’s just,” she says, “i have you here and all the books i need and nobody makes me walk too long and i don’t feel like… like i’m wrong here.”

i want to tell her she’s never been wrong. that she’s always fit into my heart like a puzzle piece. that, more importantly, the leadership i see in her glows like a fire - that, no matter her body, she’s always been kind and gentle and smart and sweet. a princess that could bring a nation to her feet and do so lovingly.

“it will be okay,” i say, “there’s more fruit to discover.”

she doesn’t say anything. i think i’ve ruined something by accident, but i don’t know what. i don’t really sleep. i don’t say anything when the men come take me.

the world outside without her is boring. no mermaids. i put my hand in a river once a day, just thinking about her. 

two weeks later i am awoken by my name, and a voice i recognize perfectly. cedar stands above me in the darkness. “i know two things in this world,” he says to me, “and one of them is about love.”

this time we make the trip without blindfolds. i see the squalor they keep her in. i see the waste surrounding her castle, the terrible place she’s in. rage fuels my footsteps even when they start flagging. 

the prince is already there. he has dropped her twice, cedar tells me. i am already running up the stairs even though i can barely breathe. i hear her crying through the door and i don’t need to get ready - the fire that starts in me burns so brightly.

i roar inside. turn dragon and beat back prince with girl made rage. the bruises on her body turn me into giant snake. i eat the man alive, or at least i chase him from the place, never to be seen again. later i will hear a rumor about a demon that stole the princess from him.

she cries into my arms. i take her down every single stair. i hear her murmur her thanks into my hair and then i kiss her, because i can’t handle it, because i have places to show her and she has my heart to lead.

my house isn’t much but it’s near a river. she likes putting her hands into it. i take her places when she is able, and otherwise i bring the places back. we read books together. cedar no longer works for the queen, but he’d rather live with the man of sawdust making tiny wooden figurines.

i lie in bed next to her, stroking her soft hair. “do you think i was a centaur in a past life?” she asks.

“definitely,” i tell her, and kiss her, gently. she holds my face and pulls herself closer to me.

“will i be a good queen? i mean, in this life?”

“i’m certain of it,” i reply. i can hear the truth ring in it. the bone-deep certainty.

she’s quiet for a moment. “you saved me,” she whispers, “and usually we’d end up married. but…”

i don’t know how to answer that. i feel ice down my spine suddenly.

“i’m not demanding, is all,” her voice shakes, “i’m asking this time. for you to choose me. for me to be yours, i mean. and for you to be mine. permanently.”

the next birthday we celebrate, we are both queens.

2

she’s a handsome woman // panic! at the disco

y’all: i’m not gonna watch the trc show if [x] and [y] and [z]

me, with my popcorn already popped: ……………………………

4

Happy Blackout Day! My name is Sophia and I’m a scifi writer! I have two books on amazon. One is a scifi mystery about a black girl named Cosmo. My second book is a short romance story about black love in space!

Also sometimes I tweet things.

Powerpuff Girls #25, Powerpuff Girls & “Superman” vs Mojo Jojo pinup by John Byrne. 2002.

John was asked if it was true he did a commission of The Powerpuff Girls and this was his reply:

T'wasn’t a commission, t'was a pinup.

And an unfortunate illustration of just how f**ked up DC can be sometimes.

Hearing that I was a fan of the Powerpuff Girls, the editor of their book contacted me about doing a pinup. I said Sure! and suggested a scene of them dreaming about “realistic” versions of themselves teaming with Superman as the Professor read them a Superman comic as a bedtime story. This was approved, and drawn – and then the Higher Ups at DC got a look at it, and killed it, saying that the Powerpuff Girls office did not have the “rights” to use Superman.

Think about that.

The image was altered and saw print as the pinup seen above.

Do you know what the most popular book among WWII GIs was?

Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which was printed in a special military edition, went into reprints, and was the most requested book by soldiers. Smith got thousands of fan letters from GIs. And it’s a book by a woman, entirely about the experiences of a teenage girl.

So I don’t ever want to hear about how boys won’t read books about girls, or how we need more “boy books” in YA, ever again, thanks.

  • Hollywood: Fuck diversity. We gotta cast popular white actors in our thing so that we can make a ton of money!
  • Me: This book about a homeless kid, a black dwarf, a deaf elf, a muslim girl, and a genderfluid trans person has been the number one selling children's book in the country for five weeks straight....
  • Hollywood: Nope. More Johnny Depp.

Lame adaptations and sequels are always like, “how can Mina go back to her stifling Victorian marriage after her experience with the dark, seductive Dracula??”

Meanwhile, Mina marries her best friend, who she’s known since they were children, who she share common interests with, they build a home together, work as partners, make immense sacrifices for each other, support each other through their traumas.

Guys, a marriage isn’t stifling and restrictive just because two people… get along, I guess?

‘Many of the books that did feature Asian children were centered around cultural themes like Chinatown, Chinese New Year, or Chinese characters—which was great, but I was really looking for books that followed just the story about a really cool and awesome child that just happened to be Asian,’ Zhang explained in a video about his project.

please write more lgbt characters in books that aren’t specifically about sexuality (although we need more of those, too).

i just want to be able to pick up a book and see two girls falling in love while trying to battle a corrupt government, while trying to defeat this one evil dude, while time travelling. i don’t want ‘lgbt’ to be a genre of its own, you know? i want genre books with main characters who just happen to be lgbt. i want this so much. 

As a gay woman, I just really wish I could read more stories about women in love with other women. I wish I had grown up being able to go to the bookstore and pick out a book about a girl who falls in love with another girl and it being completely okay. I still need books like that. Fluffy lesbian stories along with heartbreaking ones, ones that are complicated and gut-wrenching and real. I want to open books that I can see myself in, that I can relate to on a different level.

Because honestly, the endless mountain of straight-person fiction isn’t really cutting it for me anymore. 

i want to make a list of movies/books/etc where a major plot point is “mom helps daughter kill a man who hurt her, or at the very least helps her hide the body” but in general that is never what the actual plot is about, so it’s huge spoilers, which is ACTUALLY KINDA WEIRD now that i am thinking about it. with dad movies it’s the whole plot of the things, SOMEONE HURT HIS DAUGHTER AND NOW THEY’RE GONNA PAY

but i read a book once that was entirely about a girl going back to her hometown after twenty years and trying to reconcile with her mother after The Incident. then they finally reveal 80% of the way through the book that The Incident was that protag thought she’d killed her date rapist and had been scared to come back because she’d somehow made it twenty years without consequences, but actually she’d only seriously injured her date rapist. protag’s mom had found the guy while looking for her wayward daughter, realized what happened, and ran him over with her truck and buried the body under her garden. she never said anything because of Mom Code.

there was no indication at any point prior to this that this was a book about a murder. it was a heartwarming coming-of-age story about a woman entering her middle years learning to better understand her mother. that just happened to include covering up a murder. protag thought her mom was just an obsessive gardener.

Hey, so, remember how I wrote a book about an autistic girl who fights demons?

This one?

Well, it got featured in an author friend’s Best of British showcase and it’s currently sitting at #26 in YA urban fantasy on Amazon.

Unlike Lady Ruth - which is always in the steampunk #20 because not that many people write steampunk - HUNT is almost never close to the top #20!

So, if you haven’t picked it up, now would be the best time because it might actually get somewhere in the genre chart.

Oh, and for anyone who doesn’t know, it’s free!

So, here’s the download link! Go get your awesome urban fantasy book!

What? You’re still not convinced? Okay fine, more reasons:

  • It’s an #OwnVoices title
  • It’s the first book in a long-running series, so there is plenty to catch up on if you like it
  • The main character is also bisexual
  • Every single review from an autistic person is positive
  • (Ableists and biphobes are another story and are why I want to bleach my eyes…)
  • The main character gets attacked by a demon and finds out she has magic powers!
  • And one of her teachers turns out to be a ghost who was sent to help her out
  • She’s just, like, possessing someone
  • And there’s a new kid at school and he’s all mysterious
  • Bonus points if you figure out where that’s going
  • And the MC gets a crush on him but she’s all angst central and all I DON’T HAVE FEELINGS FEELINGS ARE STUPID
  • But then it’s like, no, you have to use your feelings to learn how to use your magic
  • And it’s like a whole thing about emotional maturity and friendships and MAGIC FRIENDSHIP SWORDS
  • Okay, I’m saying too much
  • Just go read it! It’s free!
SHE IS

honey jars full of sunlight,
vines that wrap the walls.
summer days, half-naked,
plastered to hardwood floors.

willow trees and giant oaks.
strawberries and peaches.
freckles and whiskey eyes,
kissed by noon sun.

iced tea with lemon,
novels in the garden.
sun-bright smiles,
as wind disturbed pages.

bright golden hours,
sunrise through the window.
a china cup of tea,
held by sun-soft hands.

home.