It was in the second month(s) that I realized exactly what we might be in for.
Project Unicorn: A Lesbian YA Extravaganza! was admittedly an absolutely crazy idea in the beginning. A fiction project of two stories a week–free to read and available online–for an entire year, all YA with lesbian heroines that seeks to address the near nonexistence of lesbian main characters in young adult fiction by giving them their own stories. All written by me and my wife, author Jennifer Diemer.
Okay, I thought. Two short stories a week, plus an extra one by each of us for the eZines that will come out at the end of the month. That’s a lot of stories, but we can handle that, right? That’s an extra short story a week Jenn and I have to write. PIECE OF CAKE!
Hah. Hah. Haaaaaaah. ;D
I’m a naturally VERY ENTHUSIASTIC PERSON and I naturally (and historically!) LOVE to bite off far more than I can chew and then somehow, miraculously, pull it all off. IT IS MY SUPERPOWER, but once–just once!–I’d like to think of ALL of the ramifications before I launch myself headlong into something.
See, the thing is that Jenn and I are full-time authors and Etsy artisans. This means that we make our entire living by writing, and if we don’t write? Yup. No living. In the first month of Project Unicorn, we put Project Unicorn first. We chose to write those stories over working on other things–including manuscripts, novellas and other short story collections (and over updating our Etsy shop). This meant that our entire output went drastically down, and we made a lot less in that first month. Bills, unfortunately, aren’t sympathetic when your excuse is WE ARE WORKING ON A FICTION PROJECT FOR LESBIAN GIRLS BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO STORIES. It’s the truth, and it’s one of the most important and driving forces in my life…but putting Project Unicorn first had become unsustainable.
You guys saw what happened next. Instead of taking one month, the second month of Project Unicorn–this month!–took three. It was painful that it took that long, and we were still not-very-much masters of juggling paid writing with the free Project Unicorn stories. But we worked at it–we worked on Project Unicorn stories anyway, even when a piece of paid fiction needed to be completed. It was nerve-wracking, choosing Project Unicorn over our paid work, because we’d seen what that got us the first month. We pulled all-nighters and spent FAR MORE TIME hashing out story plots, characters and story scheduling than any two ladies should, but we actually got ahead for once.
This upcoming month–the third month of Project Unicorn–has been worked on ahead of time. FOR THE FIRST TIME there are stories already written and scheduled and ready to go for December. I’m as shocked as you are. ;D This was made possible through a whole HELL of a lot of tenacity and caffeine and tea, but we’re hoping that by having a backlog of stories, Project Unicorn will become more sustainable for us in the coming months. ❤
Through this all, you guys have been incredibly supportive. I know I've not opened up about how difficult this has been for us, but when stories weren't on time or pushed back, you understood with a lot of grace and compassion. You've spread the word so much, and you continue to do so–Project Unicorn is a useless endeavor unless people actually read these stories, and people are.
So here’s to this past month(s), and here’s to the third one, going forward. ❤
And here are all of the stories of the second month, in order. Enjoy. ❤
All of these stories, plus two never-before-published stories, have been gathered together into an eZine–show your support of Project Unicorn by purchasing one!
Project Unicorn, September/October/November: The Monstrous Sea
1. Bluebottles by Jennifer Diemer (Magic Realism)
After spending several heartbroken, landlocked months away, Ramie returns to the sea and is inspired to follow a trail of bioluminescent creatures.
2. A History of Drowning by Sarah Diemer (Paranormal)
A girl with dark eyes and a strange, white dress follows Carrie over a series of small tragedies.
3. Melusine by Sarah Diemer (Paranormal)
Melusine bears an ancestral curse–when water touches her, she becomes a monster that no one must ever see…but when Mel risks everything to rescue a girl from drowning, the family’s dark secret changes her forever.
4. No Bigger Than the Moon by Sarah Diemer (Horror)
Anne would do anything for Kylie. But when Kylie’s brother changes into a bloodthirsty monster, she goes too far in asking Anne for help…
5. Pearls Enough by Jennifer Diemer (Fantasy)
Portia, recently orphaned, feels constrained in her older sister’s house and finds herself longing for a sea-change…and a mermaid’s kiss.
6. In the Garden I Did Not Sin by Sarah Diemer (Dark Fantasy)
When Meno, the daughter of Eve, watches her mother–the first woman–die, she journeys back to that thing which Eve loved most, the Garden of Eden. But she didn’t expect to meet a stranger there…
7. Two Salt Feet by Sarah Diemer (Paranormal)
You can buy anything at the meat market…even a mermaid. Sam’s errand for her mom takes a turn for the strange when she accidentally rescues a mermaid who would rather not end up on someone’s plate.
8. Daughter of Blue by Sarah Diemer (Magic Realism)
At the urging of her friend Jess, Leila–a Wiccan–casts a spell to attract love into her life. A strange dream involving a being from the sea then seems to seal the spell…
Project Unicorn is written by:
Sarah Diemer is an award-winning author of lesbian young adult (YA), speculative fiction. Her debut novel, The Dark Wife, the YA, lesbian retelling of the Persephone myth won the 2012 Golden Crown Literary Award for Speculative Fiction, and was nominated for a Parsec Award (first two chapters of the audiobook). She writes her lesbian adult fiction under the pen name Elora Bishop, including the Sappho’s Fables: Lesbian Fairy Tales series, which she co-writes with her wife, author Jennifer Diemer.
How can I support the project?
At the end of each month, Project Unicorn has eight new short stories that have been posted for free. We gather each month’s set of short stories, and publish them in an eZine, available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Each eZine not only includes the previously published short stories, but two longer stories never before published and available only in the eZine. (Print volumes will come out quarterly–details on that coming soon!)
If you love what we’re doing with Project Unicorn, the two greatest things you can do to support it is to talk about it on your social network, blog or web site, and purchase each eZine as it comes out. Project Unicorn is a very large undertaking, but we’re deeply dedicated to giving queer-girls stories they can identify with. Thank you so much for being supportive, and please consider purchasing an eZine to help us continue with this project! ❤ (You can also show your support by buying our other books, or simply donating to buy the authors a cup of tea. <3)
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