Come celebrate with us!

The much-anticipated The Pointless Rules of English and How to Follow Them is dropping into the world next week, and we’d love you to join us for the launch – and its one-week birthday!

On Saturday 15th September, join both authors in London at the Poetry Cafe from 3pm to 6pm. You can buy your copy of the book, hot off the press, and hang out with other grammar lovers. Entry is completely free, and food and drink will be available to purchase. We’d love for you to click ‘Going’ on our Facebook event so we know we’re bringing enough books!

On Saturday 22nd September, Lindsey Williams will be celebrating the book’s one-week birthday at the Crompton’s Bar and Tea Lounge at The Britannia Hotel Manchester from 3pm to 6pm. If you didn’t get the book in London, now’s your chance. Some snacks will be provided, and food and drink will be available for purchase. Please let us know if you’ll be there by clicking ‘Going’ on this Facebook event.

Also on Saturday 22nd September, M. Amelia Eikli will be celebrating the book’s one-week birthday at The Stable creative hub in Weston-super-Mare from 12pm to 3pm.  If you didn’t get the book in London, and you aren’t going to Manchester, this is your moment! Please let us know if you’ll be there by clicking ‘Going’ on this Facebook event.

We hope to see you at one of the parties!

Ink & Locket Press

Our grammar book has a release date!

Have you ever wanted to know more about grammar and effective writing? Well, you’re in luck, because the book about exactly that will be with you September 15th!

Since our first update, it has undergone a name change, but The Pointless Rules of English is almost ready for your bookshelves.

This book is a collaboration between author, translator and writing coach M. Amelia Eikli, and editor and reluctant internet person Lindsey Williams. They’ll take you through the history of the English language, tell you all you need to know about grammar, and give you some great tips on improving your own writing – from quick lessons on building strong sentences to a whole section dedicated to writing inclusively.

Join the party

Coming up, we’ve got a livestream where the authors will talk about the book and answer your questions (date to come!), and not one, not two, but three release parties.

On Saturday 15 September, join us in London for the launch celebrations.

On Saturday 22 September, Amelia will celebrate in Bristol while Lindsey celebrates in Manchester.

Details of all three parties to be confirmed soon, so watch this space.

We hope you’re as excited as we are to see this book out in the world.

Amelia and Antonica
Ink & Locket Press

Presenting: The Unlock-it Guide to Grammar and Better Writing!

We are excited to announce the first of our upcoming Unlock-it series of non-fiction books:

Ink & Locket Press is proud to present
The Unlock-it Guide to Grammar and Better Writing!

Your friend in all things grammar

The book will be released on 12 June, available as an ebook and paperback. It aims to be an approachable yet detailed introduction to grammar and a helpful guide to better writing. It will offer easy ways to improve your writing, a guide to academic essays and papers, and a whole chapter on inclusive writing.

That’s right! In addition to clearing up once and for all when (and why) you should use ‘who’ and ‘whom’, the guide will provide tips on how to write inclusive copy, how to deal with teachers who won’t let you use ‘they’ as a singular pronoun, and why writing ‘trans*’ is more than just a matter of punctuation.

Meet the writers

This book is a creative collaboration between Lindsey Williams and M Amelia Eikli.

Lindsey Williams is a magazine editor and linguist living in London. She is also an active “internet person” who regularly tweets about food, books, social justice and happy dogs over at @pottermoosh. Does the username sound familiar? You may know her from her YouTube channel, where you can get a sneak preview of her love for language.

M Amelia Eikli is one half of the team behind Ink & Locket Press, a linguist, and a passionate creative-writing instructor. If you want a taste of her voice, you can find her over at her newly launched writing hub, Storywelling or on Twitter. She has been on just about every side of the publishing industry and has a passion for language that borders on the dangerous.

Are there any topics you hope the Unlock-it guide will cover? Let us know in the comments below!

Final 33 hours of Kickstarting!

Our most wonderful WARRIOR anthology has, as we write this, 33 hours left on Kickstarter, and we’ve been interviewed for a Norwegian LGBT magazine!

The campaign has already surpassed our wildest expectations; our stretch goal of donating free writing course spots to young underrepresented voices has already secured 20 young writers a place! 20! And we still have time to go!

It’s not too late to get in on the action: You can support the project by visiting the Kickstarter, buying a book for yourself or someone you love, donating a single pound to the cause for some instant karma, or by letting people in your network know about the campaign.

We are so grateful for all your help in making this campaign fly! You are all golden.

Author interview: Claudie Arseneault

When Claudie Arseneault saw our call for submissions for WARRIOR, she wanted to write about LGBTQIA characters who weren’t romantically involved. In her story Seida the Fairy-Troll, the main character is a lesbian and her best friend is aromantic and asexual.

Claudie Arseneault, author of Seida the Fairy-Troll

Claudie Arseneault, author of Seida the Fairy-Troll

‘Their respective queerness isn’t important to the plot itself,’ Claudie says. ‘It’s more a case of LGBTQIA characters starring in their own stories.

When we sat down to plan WARRIOR, we knew we didn’t want all the stories to focus on romance. In many people’s minds, being queer is still something entirely sexual rather than a small part of a larger identity, and this is often how queer characters are represented. But, as rare as it is to find non-romantic LGBTQIA characters in media, it’s far rarer to find characters who don’t feel romantic or sexual attraction at all. And this is exactly why they’re important, according to Claudie.

‘I really wish there had been any kind of asexual or aromantic representation during my youth. Mainstream storytelling taught me that only robots didn’t have desire and that only villains didn’t love. No wonder I found myself rooting for the bad guys so often! No one should have to go through their formative years thinking they’re broken or condemned to tragedy.’

If Claudie could go back in time and give her 15-year-old self the perfect short story, she says it would have to be a tale featuring an ‘aromantic, asexual science girl who solves mysteries based on Québec’s folklore with her winged cat companion’. Besides this sounding like an awesome story, Claudie says a clear aromantic and asexual protagonist could have saved her ‘some serious sads’.

"Fairies are meant to fly—to zip around, looping and twisting, buzz-buzz, look at my pretty shimmering wings, or something." - Seida the Fairy-Troll by Claudie Arseneault

“Fairies are meant to fly—to zip around, looping and twisting, buzz-buzz, look at my pretty shimmering wings, or something.” – Seida the Fairy-Troll by Claudie Arseneault

She was attracted to the WARRIOR project because it looked fun: ‘I loved how the call allowed a wide range of stories. I’m a novel-writer by nature, but calls like these are enough to make me set aside the longer form and enjoy myself with shorts.

‘I love being in projects with other writers and editors,’ she adds. ‘Being edited by a skilled editor is always such a joy. You learn a lot from it.’

In addition to writing novels like her post-apocalyptic Viral Airwaves, Claudie is passionate about squids and all other cephalopods, and is a freelance editor. Last year, she edited an anthology of dragon-filled solarpunk short stories with writer and friend Brenda J Pierson. And we are really lucky, because Claudie has offered her editorial skills to you through our Kickstarter!

For the £50 “Warrior of the mighty pen” perk, Claudie will help you with your sci-fi/fantasy short story! In addition to her feedback and guidance, you will receive the WARRIOR anthology as an ebook – for inspiration purposes.

WARRIOR, a collection of LGBTQIA short stories

If you want to support WARRIOR and read Claudie Arseneault’s story, check out our Kickstarter campaign.

You can read more about Claudie on her website, check out her novels on Goodreads and connect with her on Twitter.

Author interview: Natalie Cannon

One of the writers set to debut her fiction writing in WARRIOR is Natalie Cannon. She is currently working towards earning her Creative Writing MFA at Fairleigh Dickinson University, as well as ‘gaying everything up and smashing the patriarchy’. That’s our kind of writer!

Natalie Cannon, author of Howl

Natalie Cannon, author of Howl

Natalie’s story, Howl, started out as a dream. She dreamt she was a werewolf and woke up with sore legs after an intense rooftop chase. She stored the images in her head and the idea eventually ended up as Sherlock fanfiction. From there, it was transformed into an original work, one day when she needed a last-minute short story for a Creative Writing class, before finally making its way into the WARRIOR anthology. What a journey!

But Natalie’s way into this anthology began even earlier.

‘I’ve been a huge sucker for ladies in armour since the age of twelve,’ she says. ‘A question that twelve-year-old me grabbed on to was whether I wanted to be Joan of Arc or meet Joan of Arc and, since I’m Catholic, I settled on making her my guardian saint. Moving forward, I wrote almost exclusively LGBTQIA stories. The WARRIOR project is a perfect intersection of my interests – although the armour has turned into werewolf fuzz.’

"I'm boneless and floating and nothing is real, not even Rafe, not even the fire." – Howl by Natalie Cannon

“I’m boneless and floating and nothing is real, not even Rafe, not even the fire.” – Howl by Natalie Cannon

Neither of the main characters in her story are meant to be read as straight; one is a lesbian, the other a genderfluid pansexual. As with the other stories in WARRIOR, though, the gender and sexuality of the characters are not the main focus of the plot. Natalie thinks it is important that young people can find stories about characters with different identities and experiences than what is considered the default.

‘Being a teenager is like being trapped in a time-warped identity crisis while someone screech-sings creepy opera in the background,’ she says. ‘It’s a time when life experience is low, but knowledge level is very high. Teens and young adults are searching for life’s possibilities in a dizzy panoply of choices, testing to see what they can and can’t do, trying to decide who they want to be. It’s not only important, but also a responsibility for those older to show them every possibility and encourage exploration. Stories do this.’

Although this will be Natalie’s first published short story, she has previously had three poems in print.

‘They were about the frustrations of studying history, a weird painting that got the Gilligan’s Island theme song stuck in my head and metaphorically setting myself on fire,’ she says.

WARRIOR, a collection of LGBTQIA short stories

If you want to buy WARRIOR and read Natalie Cannon’s story, or donate copies of the book to your local school or library, remember to check out our Kickstarter campaign.

You can connect with Natalie on her Twitter (and possibly pester her for copies of her poetry).

On representative writing, and an update

It’s time for an update on what’s been going on at Ink & Locket Press.

Next week, we will be announcing our upcoming short-story collection, which is all about warriors and has an LGBTQ+ focus! You’ll start to see some author profiles of our contributors popping up on the blog, and we’ll be sharing some of the experiences we’ve had throughout the project.

We will also be announcing our two upcoming picture books. Both of them feature children with queer parents, but the stories could not be more different. We can’t wait to share them with you!

On top of this, our next call for submissions is right around the corner. Our next short-story collection and picture books will have a focus on disability, and we are excited to see where your stories take you! Own-voices narratives are, as always, strongly sought after. Just remember our motto: diversity shouldn’t be plot, just reality.

And on to a task of ‘representative writing’ that many seem to forget…

The way we see it, if you’re writing representatively, you have a job to do. Your job starts out like this: take an inventory of the stereotypes and presumptions you hold. You might not know you have some of them before the inventory, and most probably, you won’t know about all of them afterwards. Inventorying sucks like that: even after you think you’ve caught them all, there are probably stacks more hidden away in closets that you’ve missed. You might not be trying hard enough to find them, or you might not want to find them—hell, if someone points to the closet and says “you have a ton more in there, man”, you might be offended at the insinuation that you’re hiding them away!—but the fact is, that closet probably exists, and it’s just going to make your job harder. So open the door now, and round up what you can.

Your next task for the day is to file those stereotypes and assumptions away somewhere with a big ‘warning’ sign hanging over the cabinet. The next time you’re writing representatively—or, in fact, writing at all—interrogate the contents of that filing cabinet. If your main character is of colour but she’s been tokenised, turned into the “sassy, big-bootied African queen” without agency while the rest of your characters have more fully developed personalities: you’re not doing your job.

You are not doing your job if the only underrepresented character in your story is a gay woman who gets killed off in the first scene, while the straight people go on fighting. You are not doing your job if all your successful characters have some form of disability but at the same time, you describe all of them as skinny, beautiful and fair-skinned, while all your bad guys are described as overweight and grotesque-looking. That’s not what representative fiction is about for us!

"If you're writing representatively, you have a job to do." Blog post: On representative writing, and an update

[Image: Text reads, “If you’re writing representatively, you have a job to do.”]

At Ink & Locket Press, we want exciting, engaging stories in which the good guys can be fat and fine with that. We want non-magical black women rescuing the damsels in distress. We want bad guys that aren’t the only characters of colour in the whole story, and mentally ill bad guys who are bad not because they’re ‘broken’, but because they’re, well, bad.

We want you to actively examine your writing to see your own subconscious bias. Of course, we do not mean that every character should represent some sort of minority or underrepresented group—not unless that’s what you’re going for. But as a representative writer, whatever that means to you, it’s part of your job to make sure your work is not negatively contributing to dominant cultural presumptions. We know you can do better than that!

This is just one small part of our job as representative writers (or editors, or artists, or filmmakers…), but we believe it’s a part that can’t be overlooked.

Antonica Jones, head editor

But aren’t you discriminating against…?

This question pops up with high frequency, and is almost exclusively finished with some combination of the following words: straight, white, people and men. Somehow, our focus on diversity in fiction is often perceived as harmful and discriminatory. Harmful towards the freedom of speech; discriminatory to those whose stories we do not aim to publish.

When I grew up, I recognised myself in every book I read. I read about families like mine (mum and dad, brother, sister) who looked like me (white, blue eyes, two arms, two legs), who celebrated the holidays I celebrated (Christmas, Easter, summer vacation), and did the things I liked to do. My family is a book-loving one, and by the time I was 12, I knew I could become just about everything, do just about everything, and that I was normal and fine and interesting. I only had to find myself a prince, and life would be grand. None of my childhood books prepared me for the idea that I might fall in love with a princess.

If I have children, they will very rarely see families like their own (two mommies) in their books. And if they are born with a disability, or lose a limb, or struggle with mental health, or are of colour, most of the heroes they will find in their books, and in the wider media they consume, will not look like them.

Ink & Locket Press seeks to publish against the traditional publishing bias. The traditional bias leans towards publishing and highlighting stories by and about men (especially white men), straight people doing ‘straight things’ and white people doing ‘white things’. We are not seeking to eliminate or change these stories. A large portion of the market wants these stories and should have easy access to them.

But we’re working towards everyone having easy access to stories they can identify with, and towards every voice with a story getting the opportunity to be heard. We are not here to discriminate against male authors. Male authors who are queer, who are of colour, who are trans or who have a disability—you are all welcome to submit to us. Likewise, we do not discriminate against straight authors, nor white authors: we just want stories that focus on other things.

"But aren't you discriminating against…?"

[Image: Text reads “but aren’t you discriminating against…?”]

When it comes down to it, though, we are not even discriminating against straight, white men who write stories about straight, white men. We are just not actively striving to tell those stories. Those stories are already being told, have been told for hundreds of years, will be told for hundreds to come, and every big publishing house in the world will consider those submissions with a favourable bias. And we will gladly read them, and support the authors, and participate in good literary debates about their works and legacy. Those stories and authors are simply not our focus.

We want every child to grow up knowing they can become just about anything, do just about anything, and that they are good, and fine, and interesting.

Where is the harm in that?

Amelia, managing director