Friday Favourites with Xan West


My guest today is the author of queer stories Xan West. Read on if you are curious to get to know Xan better and to learn more about their short story Tenderness included in the Queerly Loving Anthology vol. 2 which was just released. Xan also shared a short excerpt from the story which you can read the end of this post. 

PS: Don't miss Xan's recommendations for favourite contemporary romances with bi MCs. They have never stirred me wrong re good books. Make sure also to check their book review site - Corey's Book Corner

Meet Xan 

1. Favourite place: I love libraries and bookstores. One of the ways I treat myself is to include a trip to the library in with my errands. My favorite library these days is the central branch of the Berkeley Public library.

2. Favourite food and drink: These days I’m all about licorice tea as far as hot beverages go. For cold, I am favoring Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi. Foodwise, I have been over the moon recently for full sour garlicky pickles, everything bagel with lox and cream cheese, and smoked almonds.

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song: I love showtunes with all my heart, and when I sing, that’s usually what I’m singing. I have a soft spot in my heart for soul, particularly Otis Redding, and for jazz standards (I love Ella Fitzgerald). I also have a deep love for particular artists and bands that cross musical influences and genres, like Leonard Cohen, Candye Kane, Nina Simone, and The Shondes.

4. Favourite movie/TV series: Picking a favorite movie is impossible. Top 12 movie musicals:
·         Victor/Victoria
·         Fiddler on the Roof
·         Guys and Dolls
·         Funny Girl
·         My Fair Lady
·         Singin in the Rain
·         Dreamgirls
·         Hello Dolly
·         Cabaret
·         A Chorus Line
·         Yentl
·         Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby: I don’t think of writing as a hobby, more like a vocation. Reading is close to that as well, but is a bit more like a hobby. I like puzzles, that would be more like a true hobby. And I like playing solitaire.

6. Favourite books (feel free to list as many as you want; all-time favourites or newly released ones; grouped by sub/genre or other criteria)

Okay this is simply not a fair question. Top 15 fave contemporary romances with bi MCs (as the MC of the story I discuss in the next question is bi).
·         The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle
·         Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman
·         So Sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon
·         Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
·         Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai
·         A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde
·         Tactical Submission by Ada Maria Soto
·         The Boss by Abigail Barnette
·         The Submission Gift by Solace Ames
·         Team Phison by Chace Verity
·         Sated by Rebekah Weatherspoon
·         The Love Song of Sawyer Bell by Avon Gale
·         To Seek and To Find by Tamryn Eradani
·         F*THS by GL Thomas
·         Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

7. Please introduce your latest/upcoming release (what inspired you to write, what can the readers expect from it, etc.)

My story “Tenderness” just came out 2/15 in the anthology Queerly Loving Vol 2, edited by G Benson and Astrid Ohletz. It has a special place in my heart as an autistic writer, as it’s also the first published piece I’ve written that centers an autistic character. (I have a novel and a novella WIP with autistic MCs, but they aren’t finished yet!)

I wrote Tenderness at a time in my life when I was struggling, and had reached out for help, and gotten a tremendous amount of support. I wanted to capture that feeling of, it’s okay to fall apart, we’ve got you, you aren’t alone, and put it in story form, focused on showing what queer chosen family love can be like. The spark of the story came from a conversation with a close friend, about bi representation and the things that are rarely shown.

I put those two things together and wrote a story centering a Jewish fat bisexual autistic femme with chronic pain (Judith has chronic migraines), who has just been dumped by her lesbian girlfriend right as the story begins. Judith falls apart, has a migraine flare, and a meltdown, and struggles to deal with what this breakup means, both the ways it devastates her and the ways it frees her. She does not do this alone; instead you see her getting supported by her genderqueer BFF Shiloh, and then later on by her queer chosen family. You get to see her surrounded by love and support, from people who let her be where she is at, hold space for her as she falls apart, and help her figure out her next steps. It’s a story intended to be full of comfort and hope, the kind of coziness that comes from being surrounded by a loving queer chosen family that sees you and honors who you are.

Book Description

In part two of Queerly Loving, our authors bring you short stories with characters across the fantastic queer spectrum, with endings that will leave you warm and smiling. Trans love interests, demisexual characters trying to find their way in the world, bisexual characters dealing with a heartbreak in the best way, and lesbians on escapades.

Dragons roar into life, dystopian futures unfold, mermaids enjoy space voyages, and modern-day adventures will curl your toes and make you cheer. There are first kisses, friends that are like kin, and aromantic characters discovering their place among a queer-normative family.

Get ready for your queer adventure.

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Purchase links: Publisher / Kindle / Paperback

Author Bio and Links 

Xan West is the nom de plume of Corey Alexander, an autistic queer fat Jewish genderqueer writer and community activist with multiple disabilities (including chronic migraines, like Judith in Tenderness). Xan adores vulnerable tops; strong, supportive bottoms; red meat; long winding conversations about power, privilege, and community; showtunes; and cool, dark, quiet rooms with comfortable beds. Their recent collection of queer kink erotica, Show Yourself To Me, is out from Go Deeper Press, and has been described by M. Christian as “a book that changes what erotica can and should be.” Xan is currently working on Meet Cutes, a lighthearted polyamorous butch/femme/genderqueer butch kinky romance novella centering autistic and disabled Jewish queers, a couple of whom have cameos in Tenderness. Xan also has a queer kinky polyamorous romance novel in the works, Shocking Violet, which centers disabled characters, many of whom are trans and non-binary, and includes a cameo from Shiloh, who appears in Tenderness.

Excerpt from Tenderness

Shiloh had been giving Judith massages to help her migraines since they’d met. In fact, it was how they met.

Gideon had brought Shiloh to where Judith was hiding out in his bedroom and said, “This is Shiloh and ze is really good at massages. How about you let zir try to ease your migraine, so maybe you can rejoin the seder?” Before that moment, Judith had never tried massage for her migraines. Maybe Shiloh’s big hands knew what to do, because it actually had helped. The migraine hadn’t disappeared, but had faded enough that she was able to return to the table.

Touch was intense today. Judith’s body had retreated into a shell and Shiloh was making the shell walls thinner with the massage. It was almost too much to have zir hands on her, but when ze started to work the tightness in her neck, it hurt in a way that was easier to manage than the rest of zir touch. Like her body welcomed the sharpness. It made her more clear-headed, this pain. She was trembling, though. That was a new thing to manage. Shiloh ran zir palms down her hair and everything felt so huge all of a sudden, she had to wrap her arms around herself she was shaking so much. Then the tears started.

Shiloh led her to the couch, and wrapped her in zir arms. Judith was mid-sized, rarely the smaller one, but Shiloh was much broader, fatter, and taller than her, and she felt wonderfully engulfed. She could not stop shaking, or sobbing, safe in the circle of zir arms. She rode the wave of it all the way through, her head on Shiloh’s chest as ze murmured softly. Afterwards, Judith was exhausted. She scooted down to lie on the couch with her head against Shiloh’s furry thigh, zir hand stroking her back. Ze began to sing, softly, and she let herself drift to the sound of “Try a Little Tenderness” in Shiloh’s raspy sweet voice.

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  1. I LOVE some of those recommendations .. some I haven't heard off *runs to goodreads*

    1. Corey always has great recs on variety of topics in romance.


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