a touch novel

On moonlit night,

when sky is bright,

look to the ground and see,

what faerie feet have left on path,

a circle round and wee.

But keep afar,

from grassy scar,

that circles near the tree,

for if you tred,

or dance instead,

you never shall be free.

-

A rhyme Freya heard many times as a child from her mother as they passed the ring of mushrooms that envelop the largest oak in the park.

But it’s just an old wive’s tale- a fairy story, right?

Well, she’s about to find out that some tales are more real than expected.

Touch of Fae is an upcoming fantasy otome game about a girl who falls through a fairy ring and discovers a world beyond. Realising she is of both worlds, she has to make some tough choices and find out just which world she connects to more.

Love Interests

- 3 individual love interest routes

- 4 endings for each route (Bad end, Fae End, Human End, True Love End)

- Main character’s personality dependant on choices made by you

- Original art for all BGs, GUI, CGs, and sprites

- Character customisation!

- CG Gallery (CGs in the gallery will show the default character, as I have no idea how to code it otherwise! But CGs in-game will show custom character)

So, I’m finally getting to announce my new project I’ll be working on! I’m really excited to start it, and have been working on it since the end of last year. It’s still a way off from completion yet, but I thought I would show what I have so far.

It is indeed about faeries. Partly because I have always been interested in them, but also partly because I had the real urge to draw characters with bright hair and big ears.

And yes, there is going to be a character customisation feature in this VN! It’s something I’ve really wanted to add, and I’m finally pushing myself to do it. Unfortunately, that does mean CGs will take much, much more work, but I really hope it will pay off. Also, I imagine it will mean the game will have quite a large file size!

It will be commercial, though I’m still not sure on pricing yet, as I’m hoping I might be able to offer the routes individually and in a bundle. So, I will do my best to work that out! First thing I will be concentrating on is getting the demo up together, which I will release at the same time as Steam Greenlight (fingers crossed for that!).


Once again, I am a one-woman team on this project, so things will progress steadily but probably slower than most!



I would love to hear your first thoughts on this! Or, if you have any questions then please let me know- just send me a message, I always enjoy hearing from you guys! :)


I’ll be posting updates regularly, so keep an eye out!

Gay Romance Novels Are Not Queer Romance Novels

I touched on this in a previous post about the way sex is written in gay romance novels, but I would like to expand upon my thoughts here.

Gay romance novels are not very queer, are they?

This isn’t entirely surprising as they aren’t written for queer audiences and so aren’t beholden to to get it right in any significant way. Yet, I think that there is a kind of implicit obligation to get it right when you’re writing about groups of people and when your writing forms the bedrock of many people’s perception of those groups of people. Good writing has at its core a kind of truth, a kind of honesty based in reality that gives the illusion of fiction substance. We are comfortable going off on flights of fancy with the writer because the writer has given us a solid launching ground, a rooting in reality and in how things really are. I don’t expect perfect politics or ideology or narratives that are uncomplicated and tidy. I expect the mess. The mess is where the reality is. The mess is what drives the story forward. The mess keeps things interesting and makes the characters real.

In a romance novel, there is an expectation that when two characters’ eyes meet, there is significance behind that gaze. In a romance novel, we know that the two characters who occupy the most space on the page and in the story are destined to fall into each other’s arms after some amount of trouble put in their way. In romance novels, the sex is always clean and wonderful and mind-blowing and mutually satisfying. At the center of every romance novel is a puzzle that is presented to us already solved. We know how it will end. The joy of the novel is to come to understand how it is that we will arrive at that solution. The success of a novel is not measured in how closely it mimics the laws of reality or the rules of society, but rather how close it brings us to the lives of its characters. I do not appeal to authors for plausibility (though, my tastes do in fact run a bit on the mundane side), and instead I find myself wanting to come closer to the humanity of the people who inhabit a story.

Yet, I cannot help but to be disappointed at how incredibly un-queer gay romance novels about men in love are. To the point of fetishism, straight men are placed at the center of these stories. Straight men whose sexuality is softened and made mutable by a sultry gaze from men who have been feminized to the point of homophobic caricature. And then, following a steamy sexual encounter, these newly sexually fluid men are immediately stamped gay. Suddenly, we’re made privy to their long history of same-sex attraction, their long-delayed self-identification as gay. They were really gay all along, see—the glove has merely been inverted. Consider also that gay men in these novels in no way engage with their sexuality. They exist in a world of benevolent neutrality, as if living in the eye of an enormous gay hurricane. They vacillate between flamboyant pride as a plot device and stoic, self-loathing concealment. There are no nuanced conversations of masculinity, of male privilege, of straight-passing, of the politics of the closet, of trans* men, of non-binary men, of asexual men, and on and on and on. The gay men in gay romance novels have been stripped of the real vocabulary that exists for navigating the world as a queer person. They are functionally and utterly illiterate in their own identity politics.

Gay romance novels have depoliticized gay sex to an impressive degree, but what to make of this in an era where gay sex, queer sex, is political? To say nothing of the sex itself (which I will get to in moment, holy God), the space around gay sex in these novels is a sterile field. It’s all a crisp dichotomy made understandable for outsiders. Tops. Bottoms. Vers. And why is it that the top is always the masculine one (often, recently initiated to the ways of gay sex, tall and bumbling and tan) and the bottom is always the fem (cunning, beautiful but manly, long and lithe and hard like a saber) as if there didn’t exist infinite possibilities between those two? And why are their bodies always hard and strong? Why are their bodies facsimiles of one another, and why is it that they reflect the same masc, white body types that we see on magazines? The queer body is a political entity. The queer body is radical. And yet, in novels about men who certainly might identify as queer if not for the emptying, cleansing effects of the straight gaze that dominates these stories, the queer body has been rendered neuter of its political potential? I see nothing of my sex or my body in these novels. I am too round, too soft, too brown, too heady, too dour to be loved, sexually.

The sex itself has also been rendered apolitical and unqueer. The hair is in all of the right places. The femme is always hairless, lanky, and nubile. He has tender lips. He kisses hungrily and opens himself up to be taken, to be fulfilled. The man, the butch, the lumberjack, pounds into this hairless, nubile entity. Sex between men opens in these writers a potential space for violence, and they eagerly supply it. Line after line of vicious, ugly sex unfolds. Sex in these novels is either penetrative or the lead-up to penetration. A gay romance novel without anal penetration is not considered complete. And I wonder why that is.

Gay men, queer men, engage in sex in a variety of ways. In fact, the difficulty in preparing for anal sex often makes it prohibitive. Or, the actual pain of it makes it unpleasant. Anal sex is not the end-all, be-all of queer sex between men and male-identified bodies. Oral sex is not a cheap, half-hearted way to get someone off. For some gay men, it forms the entirety of their sexual repertoire. Oral sex is more than just “circling my tongue around the ridges of his head” and “swallowed the whole length.” The rush through oral sex in these novels tells me that it holds a different space for these authors than it does for the gay men I know.

But back to anal sex—the very lack of preparation that characters perform for it tells me that these novels are unqueer. Cleaning yourself out, preparing to take another person’s body into yours. The hunger to be fucked. The desire to be close to another person even if you don’t like them or like the sensation of being penetrated. The war that goes on within you right before. That single, terrifying moment right before they take the plunge and enter you. The conflict some men face. How masculinity interacts with anal penetration is complex. And yet it is missing in these novels. The sex in gay romance novels is heterosexual insert sex with a gay varnish, and there’s no getting around it.

And what of romance? What of the love that sits at the center of every romance novel? In gay romance novels, it takes the shape of a pair, their masculinity in careful, tenuous balance. Yet, queer love often does not look like this at all. Queer love is multi-peopled, multi-faceted, shifting, changing, thriving. Queer love, which has always had to exist at the fringes of society, is mutable and quicksilver. It’s impossible to pin down. And yet, gifted with a boundless canvas of possibility, this is where writers go the most conservative. It’s baffling to me that novels about gay men, there isn’t even a whisper of a conversation of different styles of relationships. Instead, the characters often show their fear of how potential outside forces could cheapen the bond they share. “I’m not a player,” they declare. “I only want serious relationships,” another says, as if this were a virtue.

Gay men date. It’s a fact. They date. They test the waters. They find themselves in a variety of different relationships with other queer men at any given time. Yet, this is conspicuously absent in gay romance novels. There is no kissing of the frogs. There is no buffet of beauties to sample. Instead, all other pretenders to the romance throne are often written with derision. In fact, the romantic rivals in gay romance novels tend to be women or men who are written like women. They are written as bubble gum-popping, hair-twirling bimbos, empty of emotion outside of lust and spite. It amazes me that any editor could give a pass to such bad writing, such hateful, sexist writing.

The lack of dating and the compulsory pairing aside, again, this is where the depoliticizing of queer love shines most obviously in gay romance novels. I think that this is the source of shallowness that I feel when I read these novels. That the characters aren’t engaging with their identity and their bodies and what it means for them to engage romantically and sexually with another person. Not every queer person has a Ph.D. in gender and queer studies, but there is a kind of emotional vocabulary available to queer people as they try to work through their relationships. Yet in these novels, it’s all so tidy, it’s all so neat. I love you. You love me. That’s it. No one ever stops to question why it is that you’ve fallen for the masc guy or why the masc guy who is newly gay (not bi or sexually fluid) has fallen for a thinly disguised female substitute character.

It all feels very artificial.

I am not saying that gay romance novels have to be a realistic in order to be good. I don’t think that’s true. What I do think is that if gay romance novels are going to be about gay men, queer men, then they ought to endeavor to render a more genuine portrait of the ways we live and fall in love. There’s more to it than lube and using three fingers to loosen someone up. There are nuances to queer life that you can’t glean from watching gay-for-pay porn on Tumblr—images that themselves are subject to larger social forces.

If you can’t do the work, then perhaps you should change the names and transform your gay romance novel into the heterosexual love story it so desperately wants to be.

Library books, September 2016.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Why yes, that IS my first CoHo book. Looking forward to reading these!

tappity-tap replied to your post “tappity-tap replied to your post “Although he didn’t say it, he…”

Also I know the author said they weren’t going to write the confession or proposal scenes but adding in Renji’s comment about how Rukia’s face was redder than when he asked her to marry him was such a lovely detail? Honestly that was enough to paint a picture as to how it went. I love it when authors can say so much with so little.

This is exactly what I thought too! I honestly wasn’t expecting this and I was so surprised and touched by this sentence ;_; It was so casually written and actually, I think that was even better than including the proposal scene in the novel. I mean, we all have our headcanons about this moment (probably the same with their first confession/kiss). In this way we can all keep our headcanons, but still this very important moment was touched by the novel. And just like you said, this was such a little but informative detail so we probably all can picture it. 

Gosh, and besides, I know this may be redundant, but I don’t know, when I read his comment it felt like another smack in the face “damn this is real. he really asked her to marry him”. Thats the same feeling that still hits me from time to time,  when I think “holy shit Renji and Rukia really had a child”, even when already seven months have passed since they became canon. ;_;

A random thing to note about the TFA novelization is that Kylo Ren is actually touching Rey’s face when he’s trying to read her mind with the Force.

The movie had Ren with his hand hovering over her like this:

and this:

But then you get to the book and it’s just:

Shutting down and belting his lightsaber, Ren contemplated his immobile captive. Reaching up slowly, he touched her face.

She knew that trying to resist him physically would not only be useless but would likely result in unpleasantness of a kind she preferred not to imagine. So she remained motionless and silent, her arms at her sides, as his hand rose toward her face. He touched her again, as he had in the forest on Takodana.

His hand pulled sharply away from her cheek as if her skin had suddenly turned white-hot.

amazon.com
Description for Chris Colfer's "Stranger Than Fanfiction"
This title will be released on February 14, 2017.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer comes a funny, heartbreaking, unforgettable novel about friendship and fame.

Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television Wiz Kids. When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked that he actually takes them up on it. Chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of a lifetime–but along the way they discover that the star they love has deep secrets he’s been keeping. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship.

In this touching novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer takes us on a journey full of laughter, tears, and life-changing memories.

The maddening part was, Eleanor wanted Park to touch her again. She wanted him to touch her constantly. Even if it led to Park deciding that she was way too much like a walrus to remain his girlfriend… That’s how good it felt.
—  Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
5

Contrary to what I initially reported back during coverage of Fatal Fury 3, today’s game, Garou: Mark of the Wolves truly is the finale of the series. It was an easy mistake to make. Apart from the presence of Terry Bogard and the resemblance of some of these fighters to their older Fatal Fury inspirations, the game doesn’t feel much like a Fatal Fury title to me, and that’s okay. Gone is the foreground/background shifting mechanic, which was always an awkward (albeit novel) touch. The fighting in general, which uses the more standard (for the Neo Geo) four-button layout, feels more comfortable to me. There’s an astounding number of different techniques and tricks you can pull off in the game, far more than I would ever have time to master. Suffice it to say that, despite the small roster of fighters–twelve playable out of fourteen total–there’s a huge amount of depth to the game.

But what blows me away about Garou are the visuals. You’ll never mistake this for a Capcom fighter; the resolution and color depth just isn’t on par with later CPS2 titles, to say nothing of the CPS3 hardware that had brought forth Street Fighter III in 1997. Yet, somehow, Garou manages to look gorgeous. The backgrounds are usually lush and detailed; visual effects like smoke, attack trails and impact marks from sucessful attacks abound; and the characters are among some of the most smoothly animated that I’ve ever seen in a 2D fighting game. They move with supreme fluidity and the characters and moves that are meant to be fast really feel fast without any sign of frame-skip cheating. It’s another one of those games that I get as much enjoyment out of watching as I do from playing.