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Hey, folks! Check out my free comic on TGComics.com! It’s a fun little TG Story, and did I mention it’s free? This originally appeared on my Patreon a while back. For exclusive early access to all my TG Comics, Illustrated Stories and Fiction, join today: www.patreon.com/tgkadee
Allmyth: Nightmare Village! The deepest darkest fears are realized for all three characters. For Daisy Gates, an only child who grew up riding ponies, taking dance classes as an all-around girly girl, the nightmare begins when she finds herself transformed into a hulking, ax wielding warrior. Her friends need her to become a badass. Does she have what it takes?
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One of three college students drawn into the fantasy world of Allmyth: Nightmare Village, Ollie Kabat finds himself in the body a beautiful elven gunfighter. He’s a girl now, and Ollie has always been scared of the opposite sex. And guns. How will he handle his new life?
Coming May 2022 to my Patreon: www.patreon.com/tgkadee
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I love all forms of TG fiction ranging from Spells R Us and Bikini Beach to Robert Heinlein’s I Will Fear No Evil. However, I especially love TG fiction that has a great story at the center with rounded characters and dynamic relationships. Which brings me to Liam Slade and the new book, The Princess Awakening. This is a fun read with a lot of TG tropes and great characters. I enjoyed it so much I decided– I need to interview that author! So, without any additional ado, here are five questions with Liam Slade!
1. You have a new book out. The Princess Awakening. I was very struck by the relationships in the story. Can you talk some about your writing philosophy and the role relationships play in your storytelling?
Thank you! In my writing, there is often an interlocking relationship between the Tg/transformation themes and the relationship themes. Each one provides a window into examining the other, so the way I transform my characters is a way to look at how their relationships develop and change.
Plus — who doesn’t love a love story? Not everything I write is romantic or features a love interest but it recurs in my writing frequently, because it gives characters something to explore within themselves and with others, and to hopefully stir something in the readers.
2. I love a lot of the elements in your story– a guy becoming a princess, the fairytale setting. Can you talk about those motifs and why you find them fertile subjects for your writing?
I think the type of writing I do is very much indebted to fairy tales and mythology: transformations, revelations, things that make sense in a dreamlike imaginary way, so it was fun to look at our real world conceptions of that.
The main character of The Princess Awakening believes in a fairy tale version of love, and Prince Charming and all that, to the point where it affects her everyday life. Does that fairy tale — or anything like it — exist in reality? Maybe, but it’s a little messier. I think the message that I’m trying to convey with this story is to find the fairy tale that already exists in your life.
Some of the motifs you mention here are quite new toys for me — my writing has usually been grounded in everyday experiences, which usually do not involve putting on a tiara and an elegant gown, but the idea of dabbling in that world, particularly for bringing a person from “our” world to that one, appealed to me because of the chance to stretch myself. I think the key to approaching a new story idea is to look at where it intersects with the transformation you want to do. What is the difference between a prince and a princess? What is the difference between a California girl and European royalty? Once I realized all the ground this covers it became a very exciting thing to try to write.
Nearly every walk of life, every profession, every lifestyle, has gendered components to it, which is why I’ll never run out of things to write.
3. What is your approach to writing? Do you plan everything out, make it up as you go?
Well, it’s all made up at the end of the day, isn’t it? *laughs*
I think the best way to lay this out is in terms of a four step process I’ve recognized in my writing:
1: Inspiration. Inspiration can come from anywhere, whether it’s another work, an event in your life, or a thought you have while half-asleep. Sometimes you have to roll that initial inspiration around in your head like Katamari (do people remember Katamari?) and let it pick up other sources. In this case, I melded thoughts about royalty to ideas I’ve always had about reincarnation. In the case of my previous novel Kristi’s Mom, the inspiration was to do a TG story inspired by the Fountains of Wayne song “Stacy’s Mom.”
2: The Way In. Once you have the inspiration, then you tilt it around to see what is the most viable form. This is where I lock down the “big idea” of the writing, and how it is going to influence the rest of the story, because “reincarnation story about a princess” can have so many different forms. In this case, I wound up with a prince who was reincarnated as an average American girl, being brought back into his/her former world. When I sat down to write, I determined that this girl was awkward with boys, a dreamer who had something missing from her life, to offset the Prince who would be of course, charming, confident, and have it all. How could these two people be, essentially, the same person without knowing it? The contrast seemed more delicious than if the girl in question were more classically a Queen Bee or something.
In writing that out, I also found my way to her friend Lora, who as you know from reading the book is a very big part of the story. That helped form the shape of how the story was going to look and feel. Because of the main character’s fluctuating identity, I knew I couldn’t write the whole thing from her perspective, so Lora because our audience surrogate — a feature not often found in TG works!
3: Where It Goes. I almost always try to think of an ending early on in the writing process. My plot summaries usually feature a rundown of the setup (say, everything leading up to the titular “Awakening”) along with questions like “Can the new Princess adapt to her life? Will she find love and happiness in the old world?” along with an “In the end” statement that tells me just where I’m aiming. I’m not completely obligated to find myself there, and definitely locked into the particulars, but it helps guide the development of the story. I knew how our Princess would end up, and of course that it would involve a Royal Wedding, but I was not sure what gears would have to shift to get her there. In Kristi’s Mom, this is where I came up with the twist that shows up near the end of that story, and the end that followed it.
4: The Good Parts. This is where I fill in the middle, and admittedly, fly by the seat of my pants. I have to leave this long stretch of the story blank because that, to me, is the most exciting part of writing, as well as the most challenging. As you delve into a world, you may find that some idea you had isn’t working the way you envisioned, or that you came up with something that shifts the story abruptly, in the moment. Usually I have a loose agenda that I don’t even bother writing down: “I want there to be a moment like this, I want the characters to go here, and I want to explore this facet of the transformation at some point.” I have that flexibility built in to help stimulate my creative centre. In this particular story, there’s a key plot moment near the end that I didn’t know I was going to do, but when I came up with it, excited and frustrated me because I had given myself a real puzzle: “if this happens, I owe it to the reader to play out in a major way.” I’m still not sure I solved it correctly but part of the magic of writing is that the reader may not know I have doubts
4. Which artists have influenced you?
I don’t want to give him a big head, but Jason Seaver, who I first read at the Transplanted Life and later started the Trading Post where I wrote for many years, was the first writer I saw doing stuff that I wanted to see and do. He brought a real logic to his situations that made them feel like they were really happening and seemed to escape the bubble of “TG writing.” There are philosophies that he and I don’t share as writers, but having that contrast helped me define myself.
In the TG world, I read more bad than good. I am an incredibly tough audience to please and I have a very short attention span so it’s hard for me to find things that I like and want to emulate. Instead I read things that I don’t like and think to myself “Make sure not to do this.” That sounds shady and I’m certainly not going to name names, but I think we all have that to a degree.
I think the places where I find the most influence for my writing are in teen authors (such as David Levithan, who wrote Every Day) and romantic comedy authors like Jasmine Guillory (when I speak of romance, this is what I mean, not Harlequin bodice-rippers) — genres that are not really concerned with striving for purple prose, but where good straightforward storytelling helps serve winning characters and situations. These are stories that allow you to take their premises at face value and move forward instead of bogging down with details. That’s how I like to write my stories, so I look for good examples of that.
5. What’s next for Liam Slade?
Once I’ve made sure everyone has seen The Princess Awakening, I’m going to take a break and dial back. I’ve been working on one thing or another (or several things at once) for the last two years, including an intensive three-month power-writing session to realize this story. I need to relax a little bit for now. I have, however, promised an “Author’s Edition” of Kristi’s Mom (vanity project alert!” which would include alternate ending(s) and a sidestory set in between the pages. If you enjoyed that novel, please keep an eye out for that later this year.
On Twitter, I often make reference to an Excel spreadsheet where I have logged over 40 potential new projects, from free short fictions to novellas and novels to series of stories. I don’t expect to get all or even half of them done, but the top three or five are constantly rattling around my brain. I think in the next few months you’ll see some shorter works appear on my site, and then I may feel ready kick into gear for something big again. For my last two works — The Princess Awakening and Partsexchange — I think I stretched a little bit as far as what audiences hope to read. Whatever I choose to write next may be more in line with what I think people want, before going back to something more experimental that is “just for me.”
That said, you never know. The Princess Awakening jumped to the front of the line as the story that I had to write next, even as I had a few things already started. It could happen any day that the next must-write idea will pop into my head and get me back to my keyboard.
And I just want to say thanks to those who have read and enjoyed my workm encouraged me and given me positive notices as a writer! And also to the people who have given me one-star reviews, I’ll win you over next time
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @LiamSladeTF and to subscribe to my blog at liamslade.com for future updates!
What’s going on, folks? Just wanted to share that my novel, La Demoiselle Arthur is now available on Amazon, and if you have Kindle Unlimited you can read it for free! Otherwise, the story of King Arthur’s transformation into a beautiful maiden and his quest to capture a unicorn is on sale for only 3.99! I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t mention you can also get access to Arthur as well as other great stories for a mere $3 donation to my Patreon.
Here are all the links to read about Arthur’s adventures as a girl!
In which the mysterious Unknown Knight does join Arthur’s Quest!
Killmack’s hand had been raised above Arthur’s backside, ready to deliver another slap, but it froze in the air, midspank as a voice called out, “Unhand her, you brute.” Arthur, for his part, winced. While having the humiliation end was desirable, at the same time being the “her” in such a cliche, storybook rescue of a maiden was a new and equally unwelcome humiliation.
Killmack turned to see a stout knight adorned in pure white armoe, his face hidden behind a visored helm. What was not hidden was the way the edge of his steel blade flashed in the cool forest’s gloom.
Killmack shoved Arthur from his lap, sending him tumbling to the ground. ‘Ow!” Arthur wailed, as he slammed into the Earth.
“Villain!” The Unknown Knight growled, advancing.
In a quick movement it was little more than a blur, Killmak plucked one of the knives from his belt and hurled it at the Knight. It tumbled through the air, heading directly for the slit in his visor, but the Knight swung his mighty sword and batted the knife away, sending it to stick into a tree, pommel shaking. Killmack’s eyes went wide. Not only was this knight huge and physically powerful, but quick as lightning and skilled with his weapons. He looked down, thinking to grab Arthur and use her as a hostage, but she had already rolled to her feet and run to take a position behind the knight.
Throwing three more knives, Killmack turned and plunged into the forest. The Unknown Knight slapped them all away, then stood, staring at the space in the undergrowth where the man had vanished. “Do not let me see you again!”
“What are you doing? Go after him!” Arthur screamed. “He kidnapped me! He struck me!”
“I am here solely to protect you, er, um, milady. I am at your service. Yet, I cannot pursue your attacker without leaving you alone and undefended here in this dangerous wood.”
It must be noted that even a man such as Arthur, now with a maiden’s form and a girl’s heart, couldn’t not help but find himself flustered by the sound of this manly fellow offering protection, devotion. Indeed, his cheeks blushed slightly and he cast his eyes downward, overcome with this strange new feeling. “What is your name, brave knight?” Arthur asked, in a silvery voice. “That I may thank you?”
“I am the Unknown Knight.”
“My thanks, Unknown Knight. And how did you know I was here? Indeed, may I ask if you even know who I am?” Arthur did not relish the idea of this mysterious man knowing that the maiden he’d just rescued from a most ignoble spanking was actually Arthur, King, but he was unsure who the knight was, and even if he could trust the man. Indeed, Arthur was rapidly developing a maiden’s instinctive insecurity as to the intentions of the male population.
The Unknown Knight paused, scratching the bottom of his helm. “I choose not to reveal how I knew you were here. Further, I prefer to keep any knowledge I may possess as to your identity a secret.”
“Truly?” Arthur said. “And would you do me the honor of showing me your face?”
“We must move from this place,” The Unknown Knight said, changing the topic. “The Huntsman may have allies. I have your horse and your gear. I will serve as your protector, milady, and join you on your journey, if you will have me, of course.” With that the knight took Arthur’s hand, and began to lead him back toward the Huntsman’s cabin.
Arthur pulled his hand free. “Do not be too familiar,” Arthur said.
“Of course,” The Unknown Knight answered. “I beg your forgiveness.”
As the Knight led the way, Arthur took in his height, his frame. It was clear the man was disguising his voice, but Arthur sensed he knew the man. Indeed, Arthur was discovering another advantage of his new sex, as his woman’s intuition began to assess the situation. For one, he felt certain he could trust this man and need not fear for his virtue. And another, well, it would only be a matter of time before he knew this brave gentleman’s name! He was clearly a true knight, and there were few who matched this man in strength and skill.
As they made their way back to the clearing where the Knight had tied up their two horses, Arthur filled the Knight in on his quest. He mentioned only that he needed to capture a unicorn and was heading north to meet a druid he thought could help, but not why he needed to do such a thing.
The two rode north the rest of the day, a ride which took them out of the forest and into a country of rolling fields. As the sun set, it lit up the neat rows of wheat once more in a golden light, and little plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the chimneys of the little farmhouses that dotted the countryside. “Perhaps we should seek shelter from these good farm folk?” The Unknown Knight suggested.
“I prefer to travel in secret as much as possible,” Arthur answered. Then, plagued by a sudden new impulse to be polite and considerate, he added, “But I do thank you for your suggestion, good sir.” Arthur, it seems, was developing a maidenly sensitivity to the feeling of others he quite lacked as a man.
“I see a place that will suit us nicely, then.” The two were not at the top of a large hill that looked down on a wide valley, and as the man pointed, Arthur saw a burnt out barn on the edge of the settlement, in an isolated nook near a creek.
“That does look most excellent,” Arthur said.
They made their way down the hill, among a twisty series of disused trails, and then came to the remains of the barn, which amounted to little more than charred beams sticking up out of the earth. The sun had set by the time they’d arrived, but a big, bright moon had risen, casting all in wondrous silver light.
The Knight went about making a fire. Arthur, meanwhile, was delighted to find some hay left over that was still good, and he brought it to the horses, who happily munched, neighing with pleasure. Arthur smiled, petting their necks, and even found himself giving his horse a kiss behind the ear. As a knight himself and an avid horseman he had always appreciated a good, healthy steed of superior breeding, but he found himself now rather falling in love with this beautiful horse. A feeling many a girl can identify with, and few men! “You are so pretty,” he whispered. “Such a beauty!”
The Unknown Knight’s horse whinnied, and Arthur went over to show him some love as well. “Oh, you are, too! I love you both!”
What did I just say? What am I doing? The man Arthur had been backed away, terrified and ashamed of the feminine outpourings he’d just displayed, and had not even questioned. I feel I am becoming quite a damoiselle, Arthur thought, fretting over it. I must remember I am a man!”
A tidy little fire crackled merrily when he returned to the little camp they’d made, and the Unknown Knight sat there, propped on his bedroll. He’d laid out some jerky and dried fruit on a cloth next to Arthur’s bedroll. “Eat,” he said. “You need your strength.”
“Strength?” Arthur said, looking at his slender little arms. “I am afraid I am quite helpless. I thought I could defend myself, but that foul Huntsman quite easily overpowered me.” Famished, Arthur grabbed a piece of the jerky and began to munch on it.
“You are a slender and petite woman,” The Unknown Knight. “But perhaps not as helpless as you think.”
“What would you know,” Arthur answered, his mouth full of food, “being so big and strong? It seems women are not meant for lives of battle.” Even as the words left his mouth, Arthur remembered saying the very thing himself while still a man. It didn’t strike him as so simple and just now.
“And yet when I was a boy, I bested men twice my size.”
Arthur narrowed his eyes. Not only did the statement give him some hope for himself, but his woman’s intuition clicked all the little clues he’d gotten into place. He laughed, a sweet, woman’s laugh, full of pleasure at his discovery.
“Why do you find that humorous?”
“I am amused, Unknown Knight, because I have fathomed your true name!” Arthur said.
“Oh? And what is it?”
These chapters from Lady Arthur originally appeared months ago on my Patreon. There are many more as well as new chapters weekly, as well as another story, LIT RPG, currently running. Check it out and please consider supporting my work on Patreon!
One third of all men and women surveyed by Justin Lehmiller for his book, Tell Me What You Want, reported fantasizing about trading bodies with a member of the opposite sex. I found the number surprisingly high. I had often imagined the number much lower. And yet, thinking about how many mainstream movies and television shows and books and comic books have explored the body swapping theme, I suppose I should have imagined it much higher.
Tragically, there wasn’t any more depth to this question, and it left me wondering– did they fantasize about trading bodies with specific people– a lover, a crush? A celebrity? Or was it more abstract?
Though I would have liked more depth, I still found the number interesting. It also made me wonder how many people may have still been too embarrassed to admit to this fantasy.
Some other numbers: 25% of all men and women reported fantasizing about cross-dressing. 59% of women and 26% of men who identified as “heterosexual” fantasized about having sex with a member of the same sex. Both men and women fantasized about changing their own gender role, or the gender role of their partner. Men reported fantasies of being feminized, and women reported fantasies of feminizing their male partners and taking the dominant role.
No women reported fantasizing about being masculinized by a partner, but this makes perfect sense to me in that the masculine fantasies they have involve them seizing power and demanding dominance, so it is something they take and do not wait to be given.
As an author and a human being fascinated with gender fluidity, I read the book primarily out of curiosity as well as looking for potential inspiration. I didn’t love the author’s speculation on why people have these fantasies– he suggest that they mostly rise out of insecurity, which may in some cases be true, but I think often people’s personalities are simply more diverse and multi-faceted than the binary constructs of gender allow, and we simply have a multiplicity of needs and interests. Sometimes people need to be dominant; sometimes they long for the pleasure of surrender. Sometimes people who are deeply in love not only long to be near the person they love, but to be the person they love.
Just some musings. I thought my readers might find the numbers interesting, as I did. If you would like to read the book, you can find it on Amazon.
Pom Klementieff, who plays Karl’s female avatar.
Does role-playing change us, or simply reveal us?
In the recently released episode Striking Vipers, Black Mirror finally plunges into the murky world of online gender cross playing– and I do mean finally! In this episode, two college buddies enjoy playing a video fighting game much like Mortal Combat. They each have a favorite character. Danny always plays Lance, while his friend, Karl, prefers to play a female character named Roxette. Neither finds this problematic.
Until a fully immersive version of the game becomes available. In this new version, the players find themselves inhabiting the bodies of the characters they play– and even experience the physical sensations. Jumping into the game, Danny once more plays Lance, and Karl, Roxette. Karl jokes about what its like to have boobs, and the two start fighting. Soon, the sexual tension simmering beneath their play- fighting turns to making out, and eventually hot, steamy sex.
The show explores how this impacts them and their relationships, both with each other and their wives/lovers. They question whether they are really cheating, wonder if they are gay. Danny, in particular, struggles, as he is a married man with kids. His suburban life bores him. Is he living a lie?
Each man discovers he is more fluid than he imagined, but that their sexual attraction exists only online– at least the physical side. Karl rhapsodizes about how much he enjoys the female orgasm, but he can’t get that in real life. Meanwhile, it is interesting to me that Danny’s wife is named Theo, drawing the gender fluidity out further. I don’t want to give away the specific ending, but once the men have opened up Pandora’s Box, let’s just say there in no going back. I feel what the show suggests it is not so much that the online gender bending changes them, but simply allows them to express a part of themselves that was always repressed.
Most people, in my opinion, are many genders, but society works very hard to make us comform to a specific notion of biological gender. This episode there is a little girl and guy in everyone just waiting for a chance to get out.
Check it out on Netflix!
Love it! Go watch it right now! https://www.afkwebseries.com/home
AFK starts with the premise that a bunch of people who play an online role-playing game find themselves trapped in the game as their avatars. This, happily, leads to a lot of fun gender exploration that goes a little beyond the things we’ve seen before (TWSB).
In the world of the familiar, we do have a womanizing bro who finds himself trapped as a petite Asian “warrior princess” initially wearing a chain mail bikini. The actress who plays “him” does a great job depicting a guy in a naturalistic way, and the character is well-written– hiding his former gender out of shame, struggling to deal with male attention and sexual assault.
In addition, we have the less common female trapped as a male– and though she is not explored as fully, there are some very fun scenes dealing with her discomfort over having male anatomy.
Most interesting of all, though, is a character who refuses to reveal their real world biological gender, telling anyone who asks “none of your business.” This character does the most to challenge gender steretypes because it is very hard to guess what her identity is– in the game she is biologically female, but her attitude and mannerisms could belong to either a man of a woman– which is true in real life of many people. So, I find her the most fascinating.
The show is on a budget, but the love and care of the whole crew is evident in the work. In addition, if you have ever played a MORPG, the show is full of really fun little jokes about the gamer life and the culture inside these games. The identity explorations even getting into people discovering there are multiple versions of themselves inside the game (in the form of their other accounts.)
You can watch all episodes online! https://www.afkwebseries.com/home