Giving F/F a Chance ~ Anastasia Vitsky: Outside the Margins

Join us as Anastasia Vitsky goes Outside the Margins.

Anastasia_Vitsky_OTMGiving F/F a Chance

You might love M/M, but have you ever given F/F a chance? If you have, you already know the positives. If you haven’t, and even if you have, let me tell you about the wealth of F/F reading available to readers today.

 One of the unique joys and challenges of my writing career has been serving as a de facto ambassador for fiction depicting love between women. I’ve written countless articles and guest posts on the particular nuances, requirements, and benefits of reading F/F or what some call lesfic. Still, I find myself in a pleasant but puzzling situation.

Many of my readers come to F/F through me. They are M/F or M/M readers and authors, and they have never considered reading F/F. Or perhaps they have read one or two stories, dismissed it as too explicit, not explicit enough, or lacking in male body parts.

Time after time, I hear the same response from new readers:

“I never gave F/F a chance before you.”

Since I write books that include spanking, dominance/submission, and sensuality rather than the typical explicit sex associated with F/F, I can understand readers’ confusion. I’ve had publishers tell me that they don’t accept F/F because it doesn’t sell well, and at the same time they express confusion at what constitutes F/F as a genre.

How can people reject something if they don’t know what it is? Today, I’d like to persuade you to give F/F a chance. How? Let me give you a few resources, all absolutely free. Money back guarantee.

This beginners’ guide to lesfic, written by Nancy Heredia as part of Ana’s Advent Calendar, is a wonderful place to begin. She tells the story of her personal journey toward F/F, and she suggests starter reading.

The first book of lesbian fiction I ever read was Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden, a sweet young adult novel about a high school girl who falls in love with another girl. The characters are clichéd, the plot is predictable, and the drama is drawn in stark lines that leave little hope for happiness. And yet, this book holds a special place in my heart. It was the first story to show me that loving another girl might be all right.

As an adult, one of the first lesfic books to touch me was When Women Were Warriors by Catherine M. Wilson. She offers the entire first book for web browser reading on the website or free download from Amazon. As part of Something Good, a project that I recently organized to bring $40,000 of Kindles and ebooks to homeless LGBT youth (and for which Prism was a financial supporter), I had the honor of making all three books of the Warrior series available for the homeless youth. Catherine told me that these were exactly the kids she wanted to reach in writing these books.

(By the way, you can still donate non-erotic LGBT ebooks or money toward the Kindles for Something Good.)

The difficulty in trying to read stories about women loving women is that the genre can mean several different types of reading. These include:

Lesfic: Nonfiction or fiction that stays close to the lives of real women who identify as lesbians. This is typically written for a lesbian audience in a female-centric environment and can focus on everyday life. Traditionalists will not include bisexual, transgender, transsexual, questioning, or asexual stories and especially will not include stories written by men.

F/F romance that may or may not include explicit sexual content but focuses on the love between women.

Erotica: Explicit, hard-core fiction that emphasizes provocative sexual acts, often performed for the viewing pleasure of straight men and women. This is viewed with suspicion and disparagement by readers and writers of lesfic as defined here.

Please note that I use these labels for convenience purposes only. Others will have different names or categories, but this is what I have found representative.

Politics run rampant, as they do in any marginalized group. Some readers will loudly disparage any many who attempts to write romance between women. Some female authors will hide their sexuality for fear of being exposed as bisexual, straight, or transgender or transsexual.

But if you are new to F/F fiction, there’s no need to get involved in that. There are two fantastic and free events coming up that will offer you exposure to F/F fiction of all genres and heat levels.

The first, KT Grant’s Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event, will debut on January 11th. I have the honor of launching the event with a post on changing how we think about fiction by and about women. I’ll also offer a prize drawing, so be sure to stop by!

The second, Love Spanks, will run February 6-8. You can find information on Governing Ana on how to find the nearly 20 free stories representing a variety of authors, genres, heat levels, and target audiences. Even better, commenting on each story will earn you prize entries. If you comment on every story by the end of the event, you’ll earn a free copy of the Love Spanks 2015 anthology that will include extended versions of the stories. Find me on Facebook if you’d like an invitation to the party.

If you can’t wait that long, I have some more free F/F for you. I’m currently offering a serial, or story told one chapter at a time, that appears each day on my blog. If you visit the main page of my blog, you’ll find links to the 9 free stories available. As long as I continue to receive a strong response, I’ll continue to post new stories. I write sweet, soulful romance that emphasizes love, deep connections, and finding out more about our true selves.

With all this available to you, what are you waiting for? Jump on the F/F bandwagon, grab a free story (or ten), and find something you like!

Happy reading! Which F/F will you read next? If you like it, please let the author know. We live for feedback from our readers.

Love and spanks,

Anastasia Vitsky

~ Anastasia Vitsky

About Anastasia Vitsky

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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28 thoughts on “Giving F/F a Chance ~ Anastasia Vitsky: Outside the Margins

  1. Terrific information, Ana. You know I love your lesbian romances, though I’m a lesbian erotica author and publisher. You provide that erotic quality through the ever-rising tension within your characters’ emotional interactions. In other words, you’re one big tease! I do think there is the perception that lesbian erotic fiction is written by and for the straight world — and much of it is. Nothing wrong with that if readers are enjoying it. But there are what I think are better stories by and for lesbians and bisexual women, and these have a different sensibility. As a publisher, I can usually spot a story written by a woman who’s been there and someone (man or woman) who’s imagining or really just transcribing a porn film. Despite that femslash is overlooked by many publishers, there are still dedicated lesbian presses. We definitely need more erotic fiction. Oh…and romance, I guess 😉

    • One big tease! Aw, that is such a sweet compliment. 😀 Formula writing has its place, and it’s beloved for many reasons. Sometimes we *want* a nice, safe escape to take our minds off the bad things in our world. The problem is that we need other kinds of writing, too…writing that makes us uncomfortable, questions our beliefs, and forces us to re-examine what we have taken for granted. Yes, even those d*mn romances. Hehe.

      I have no problem with people writing, reading, or viewing their fantasies. The issue is when this fantasy (catering to straight people who enjoy dynamics that speak more to straight issues than LGBT) becomes confused with actual real life, and people find it appropriate to ask questions about sex, positions, use of sexual aids, or whatever people think is okay to ask about two women who love each other. We are taught to view women as objects of straight male desire, and this disrupts our ability to relate to each other as full human beings. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I also know you get it.

      Some men and straight women write wonderful F/F, and I salute them. As you say, it’s a different sensibility. But we need to stay accountable to the stories told about real women who love real women, and honor these stories as well.

      Always love hearing from you.

  2. I have read one f/f book, The Gravity Between Us by Kim Zimmerman. it was a new adult-ish book and i didn’t enjoy it that much.
    i recently purchased another one, an adult audiobook from audible, Thirteen Hours by Meghan O’Brien. I have yet to listen to it but it looks interesting.

  3. I have read 1 f/f novel, it was written by a friend, I definitey prefer her m/m stories, good plot though (YA fantasy).
    I have never read m/f romance, but Goodreads informs me that I have read close to 1700 m/m books

    • I hope you’ll be willing to give F/F a try. There’s a whole world available for you, and right now a good deal of it is free. Between KT Grant’s event and Love Spanks, you’ll get to sample writing by approximately 50 authors of F/F. If you can’t find one you like, I’ll be surprised. 🙂

    • Wonderful, Laurie! I love open minds. If you find anything that you like, or if you want more recommendations, please find me on FB, Twitter (@AnastasiaVitsky), or email (ana_stasia2007@yahoo.com). I hope to see you soon!

  4. I’ll definitely be checking out the events and the free stories. I did my first F/F story last year. After writing M/M for several years I’d been missing writing women as the lead POV characters and early in the year I had the passing thought “I wonder if I could write F/F?” At once a couple of characters started waving their arms shouting “Pick me! Pick me!” So I gave it a go, and did a shortish story around 18,000 words, which was published by JMS Books in October. Now I have plans for longer ones, because I enjoyed writing it and want to do more. I’m still doing my M/M stuff, but it’s fun to explore new territory.

  5. Ana, you are awesome for, well, it feels like this post is starting something, ya know? I’ve read a few books in which one of the main story arcs involved an f/f relationship (don’t ask me titles, I’m horrible at remembering them, book, song, anything LOL) and they were all good. It’s just exciting to me that this will help open even more doors in even more ways, because I think it will. Even if someone who reads this may not read a story themselves, they will undoubtedly know someone to whom they can point out this post and broaden their reading horizons, too.
    Thank you so much for the resources and I’m gona have to check out your serial. 😀

    Excellent post!

    • Aw, thank you Lirtle! As we can see just from this small sampling of responses, the range will vary. Some people will refuse to go outside of their preferred range, while others will remain indifferent, and some will give it a try. I always say…did you like broccoli the first time you tried it? It takes an average of ten times tasting a new food to find out if you like it, but most people don’t keep at it that long. Now, some things ARE hopeless. I’ve hated coffee all my life, and becoming an adult has not changed that. After many years, I can grudgingly accept a hint of coffee flavor in my ice cream or hard candy, but that’s it. I admit defeat on that one. There are other things I choose not to like (such as sparkly vampires), because I don’t like them and don’t have to.

      When it comes to women and stories about women, however, it’s an unfortunate decision (in many aspects) when people choose to disregard them. Yes, no one HAS to like F/F. But wouldn’t this be a sad world if we never went outside of our tiny postage stamp? As I said in the post, it is my joy to match people with F/F they will like. Often, it means finding the right tone, genre, heat level, and/or premise. Love Spanks has converted more than a few readers who were sure they wouldn’t like any F/F but mine. Some people like the sweet stories because explicit sex between women makes them uncomfortable. Others might prefer explicit stories because they like it steamy.

      I have not read much M/M, but I absolutely love the stories of Fabian Black. They are loving, tender, and sweet. Do I prefer M/M? Nope, but I respect it as a genre and cultivate friendships with those who read and write it. (I’m here on Prism, after all! Hehe.) I’ve even started a project called 25 for 25 that will include 25 M/M authors trying to read F/F, and either me reading 25 M/M books or recruiting up to 25 F/F authors to help me read them.

      Ha, you got me going! Anyway, I’m thrilled you are interested. Drop me a note if you do stop by my blog, so I can give you a hug. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm!

  6. Hahaha gotta love when the idea juices start flowing. 😀

    That’s a very interesting and cool idea about the reading switcheroo. I’m betting you could find others to help on your side of the equation LOL

    And I kinda can’t explain the why of my excitement except that there’s only good that can come from widening the reading possibilities for people.

    Lol @ coffee. I’m not a hot drink person (except tea) but anything with cold + coffee is fab: ice cream, iced mocha, pumpkin spiced latte…. now I want one.

    • Hehe, I hereby donate ALL of my lifetime cold coffee drink supply to you.

      Believe it or not, the difficult part has been finding F/F authors willing to read M/M. F/F is so marginalized within the LGBT community, and M/M so lionized, that I’m encountering a good deal of resistance and suspicion. I have nearly all the M/M authors I need (but am always open to adding more!), so if nothing I’ll read the 25 books. 😀

      Nessa Warin, head of YA for Harmony Ink, wrote this fabulous post on why we need lesbians in fiction. She’s talking about YA, but it applies across the board: http://kbgbabbles.com/2014/01/the-importance-of-lesbians-in-young-adult-fiction-from-harmony-ink-press.html Worth a read and representative of the great posts to come for this year’s Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event hosted by KT Grant.

      I’m not silly or egotistical enough to think everyone will become a dedicated fan of F/F, but I always wonder…why do people shun it? Because they can, sure. Because they think they’re entitled to disregard it because it’s not their favorite, sure. But I think it speaks to a deeper truth about how women are marginalized in our society in ways that we are too uncomfortable to acknowledge. It’s the same reason that masculine homosexuality is a threat and affront to patriarchal notions of masculinity (and therefore must be sanctioned, persecuted, and shamed), while female homosexuality is either a display of hot girl-on-girl action for straight (especially male) viewing pleasure…or completely unremarkable. Yes, we always have the choice to ignore women and women’s stories…but what are the costs to our society if we do so? What are the costs to our young women, our little girls, and our newly adult women? What are the costs to widowed and divorced women?

      *cough* Not that I have any opinion about it, of course! I love your excitement. Thank you so much for being willing to give it a go.

  7. I started reading historical m/f in high school and slowly moved from there. I fell in love with m/m over time and in the last couple years found f/f. I have to admit that I didn’t know it was out there for the longest time. I wish I had found it earlier, it would have been great finding stories to help me see a world that I belonged in.

    Now I read anything and everything and am always scouring the book pages for more F/F authors. The love and story lines are not that different then a M/f or m/m story. Might I even go as far to say sometimes f/f is more sensual.

    I look forward to the day f/f gets treated as equals with the other genres.

    I am thankful for these amazing authors who dare to write what they like even if society is saying no thank you.

    • Bless you, Sheri, and thank you for your contribution to the discussion. I agree that we can find a wealth of stories in all areas, and we are enriched by being open to new types. I wish we had more readers like you.

      I, too, look forward to the day when F/F is treated as equal to M/M and M/F, and no one feels the need to use the words “ick” “ew” and “squicky” when describing the love between women.

      Thank you for reminding me why I do what I do.

  8. I read about anything. with 6 sisters – well, yeah, let’s just say at least one is a little different in her approach to sex, and even with the additional acceptance that exists now, I don’t see her getting “married”. but maybe she just likes something like serial monogamy…
    I find that as I age, I care less about explicity, and more about emotion, less about gender and more about gentility.

    • She’s not the only one who may like serial monogamy. Finding a lifelong relationship is hard for many. It’s hard to find someone who can be our life partner.

      I agree about emotion and tenderness. It’s what makes the stories (real and fictional) important.

  9. In my personal opinion, and as a reviewer, there is magic in F/F as there is in M/M, M/F and any multiple combinations you can find. The greatness of literature is in the abundance of different worlds to be explored.
    Anyone is in their right to like or dislike any genre as long as it’s been given a shot. And giving it a shot is not a favor to th great writers out there, such as Ana, but to oneself actually.

    F/F gives lesbians and bisexuals women the possibility of immersing themselves in a world they recognize. But it also gives straight people the chance of discovering something different and understanding something that might be foreign. And it gives other lgbtq+ people something other that what they know to explore. But mostly, it gives everyone who enjoys literature another world to get lost into; characters and stories that are amazing and shouldn’t be dismissed just because of the sexual orientation of the players involved.

    Also, dismissing it just because you’ve read ONE book you didn’t like would be a tremendous lost. Imagine if you’d have dismissed young adult because you didn’t like Twighlight and see all that you would have missed. Pick up the first book you’ve read and imagine you didn’t like it and see all the other books in its genre that you would have missed just by not trying.

    My first F/F was Ana’s Becoming Clissine, and let me tell you, I haven’t regretted any F/F I’ve read since then. Even the ones I didn’t particularly liked.

    • Wow, JC, what an eloquent and thoughtful reply. I agree that it’s a shame and a tremendous loss to write off an entire genre based on one half-hearted reading. Anyone can do what he or she wants, but it’s like choosing to drop out of college after the first day because it wasn’t fun enough…and then telling other people who obtain college degrees that they should not do so.

      I agree also about the gift to m/m and m/f readers. We often think of F/F as a benefit to F/F readers (deservedly so), but one of the greatest compliments I’ve received is that Becoming Clissine helped a heterosexual woman understand what it would feel like to be raised to hate herself as a heterosexual. She took the chance to open her mind, and we were both changed because of it. Can people opt out of doing so because it doesn’t tickle their taste buds? Sure. But as you say, what a loss. Maybe people hate my books–that’s fair game. But there are so many F/F authors out there with so much to offer.

      People argue for the inclusion of m/m and the acceptance of m/m, and yet f/f is excluded. We *say* “queer” or “LGBT(TQIA)*, but so often this means gay male. We all lose when this happens. If we truly stand for diversity in fiction, as is Prism’s motto, we will open our minds to something that isn’t exactly what makes us feel comfortable…and everyone grows from it.

      Thank you, JC, and bless you.

      • Yeah, Anna, I was feeling very eloquent yesterday. Now, not so much.
        I just wanted to say that the changing of the world and its views take time, and have to start somewhere. It always took us women a little bit longer to get whatever men got. So, maybe, it starts with gay men and then moves to lesbians and bisexuals. Maybe it will just take a little longer. I’m hopeful anyway… 🙂

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