Greetings, Kittens! Today it is my great pleasure to bring to you How We Began, a six author anthology covering the sweet beginnings of new relationships wherever they fall on the rainbow spectrum. As always lovelies, we begin with the blurb.
A glance, a gesture, an unexpected offer of help from a stranger…or from a good friend.
A smile across a counter at a coffee shop or video store.
A secret revealed in a song from another place and time. Or in a love ballad crooned at a high school dance.
In this anthology of never-before-published sweet LGBTQ+ stories, six authors explore the beginnings of love between young and new adult couples.
All proceeds will support The Trevor Project’s work with crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.
What I Loved: The main characters cover the spectrum, from bisexual dragons, to trans pop stars, to gay knitting prison volunteers on the autism spectrum. This anthology was lovely and varied and made me want more from every story.
Each character was allowed to stumble and bumble in love, as well as run in blind fear. Figuring out who you are and finding the courage to live that truth is a clumsy, terrifying, life-saving process, and when it happens on the cusp of new love those things are magnified. The characters were given the chance to feel all of those things and come out the other side better for the journey and I cared about each and every one.
What I Liked: The variety of genres in this anthology was refreshing. From a futurist tech world, to a dragon high fantasy, to a coffee shop contemporary, we see love in all its settings and hope each world is a little better for having our protagonists in it.
Each story is sweet. Although I write open-door sex in all of my stories, I think it’s important to have QUILTBAG stories that are solely about those every day moments of emotion we’re often denied in mainstream media. This is especially important for YA and New Adult audiences who frequently struggle with defining their personhood outside of the pressures of sex and sexual expression.
What I Tolerated: That it’s an anthology. There isn’t a single story where I don’t want to know more. Each story ends in a good place, but I wasn’t ready to let go with any of them. It’s a great problem to have.
I would have loved to have just one polyamorous story out of six. That said, if I have to read about monosexuals, I want them to be these types of characters, including this kind of variation.
What Made Me Cringe: Not a single thing! This is an entirely cringe-free anthology. For that I wholeheartedly thank Alexis Hall (TruNorth), Delphine Dryden (Unexpected Dragons), Vanessa North (A Song For Sweater Boy), Amy Jo Albinak (The Taste Of Coffee And Cream), Annabeth Albert (First In Line), Geonn Cannon (Extinction Level Events).
Final Verdict: Read it! Remind yourself of all the fluttering, stuttering steps you took back in the day when you dreamed of holding hands with your first real crush. Delight in the anticipation of stepping out into the big wide world and becoming whoever you want to be. Celebrate the freedom of escaping those that will never know you and creating a new sense of family all your own. And it’s all for charity too? You can’t go wrong!
Title: How We Began
Editor: Edie Danford
Publisher: Pink Kayak Press