An Interview on YA Cafe!

Today, I was lucky enough to be interviewed on The YA Cafe podcast with Laura Moe! It was a great conversation about Island of Exiles, writing, asexuality, death rituals, speculative fiction, the popularity of dystopia, and more. Not necessarily in that order.

You can listen to the hour-long podcast here!

Thank you, Laura, for a great conversation!

Amazing news from Kirkus!


This is amazing! Kirkus has not only given Island Of Exiles a 🌟STARRED🌟 review, they have made it one of their indie books of the month for April! Thank you, Kirkus!

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A progress update.


Crossing a project off my to-do list is always a relief. First pass edits on #DreamWarSaga 3 are finally finished! It’s been a long road with this book, and it’s not even close to over, but it’s worth it to get the chance to come one book closer to the end of my debut series. Even if that end doesn’t happen until 5 or 6 years after the series began.

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Island of Exiles is here!

I am so happy to say that Island of Exiles, the first installment of The Ryogan Chronicles, is officially out in the world!

Although there are certain similarities in how different books are brought into the world, there is also a lot that changes from release to release. For me, Island of Exiles has been different from the beginning.

When she bought the book, Kate Brauning pushed me past what I thought the story was about, giving me the chance to reexamine the story to add layers and complications. Entangled Teen went above and beyond to support me and the release of this title. I was able to collect blurbs from some great authors, all of whom raved about the story. Then, I found out that not only would my book be a Junior Library Guild selection (a big effing deal, in case you hadn’t heard of them), it would also be found worthy of a Kirkus STAR. ?

? “Readers won’t be able to put this book down, as the excitement begins from the first page and only grows from there. Cameron expertly blends worldbuilding and intriguing characters with page-turning action scenes and a story that builds in tension and complexity. The novel’s commitment to diversity adds new dimensions to the story, as the cast is entirely nonwhite, and the clan recognizes nonbinary gender identities and complex sexual orientations. The lexicon of unique terms and concepts may be intimidating to some readers, but the vocabulary adds fantastic texture to the world without distracting from the plot. This is rare gem of a book that has a lot to offer readers, including magic, action, and intrigue on the edge of a knife. A fresh, original series starter, bolstered by a dynamic protagonist and a welcome sense of depth.” ?

The response today has continued the trend. The love from readers and reviewers has been utterly fantastic, and for the first time in my writing career, I was able to find copies of my new release at my local Barnes & Noble. Not only that, I met a teen reader and she walked away with the first ever signed copy of the novel! There’s no better way to cap off a release day than that.

Also, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who posted “in the wild” pictures of Island of Exiles today! It’s one thing to know theoretically that a book is out in the world, and it’s something entirely different to actually see proof. These posts helped make this release day especially spectacular! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

Want quote graphics, inspiration boards, and fun extras? Visit the Island of Exiles page on this site.

In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.

On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.

But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.

To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.

Buy it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-Million | IndieBound

Add this book on Goodreads.

Want to try before you buy? You can! Entangled Teen is posting several chapters of Island of Exiles on Wattpad, one a day until February 20th!

Coming Up Aces – Feb 2017

One of the things I’m passionate about is asexuality education and awareness. Many people still don’t know much about this section of the orientation spectrum—one categorized by a lack of sexual attraction to anyone regardless of gender or appearance.

I’ve talked about asexuality in interviews and written essays on the subject (Don’t Erase the Aces || Identity, Spectrums, and Labels), but I also like being able to answer specific questions both about the orientation and about writing asexual-spectrum characters. I want to teach people more about this facet of my own life and the lives of so many others. Hopefully, with greater understanding will come both empathy and acceptance from the world at large. And a lot more accurate and respectful representation in books and media.

Without further ado, welcome to the first ever Coming Up Aces.

Dianna asked: How common is it for asexual people to also be aromantic?

Quickly, for those who don’t know, there’s a difference between romantic and sexual attraction, and an individual’s place on those two orientation spectrums don’t necessarily match. For example, someone could be panromantic-homosexual, heteromantic-pansexual, homoromantic-homosexual, or any other combination.

In the same way people who are asexual don’t experience sexual attraction to anyone, aromantic individuals don’t experience romantic attraction. This isn’t to say they don’t feel love. They can and do love deeply, but only in the way we love family and friends.

Now to the question. It’s a good one, but I unfortunately don’t have an answer.

The statistics we have about correlative relationships like this one exist either because of large psychosocial or sexuality studies or massive survey data sets which researchers have taken the time to dig through and analyze. Technically, asexuals were noted in Alfred Kinsey’s original research in 1948, but his team simply noted the existence of group “X,” those who experienced “no socio-sexual contacts or reactions,” and left it at that. It wasn’t until nearly fifty years later that someone dug deeper.

A survey in 1994 of over 18,000 citizens of the United Kingdom once again pointed out the existence of Kinsey’s group X. In this survey, 1.05% of the respondents answered a question about attraction by saying they had never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all. However, it wasn’t until 2004 that Canadian researchers Dr. Tony Bogaert took a closer look at this segment of the survey data, looking for other correlations and information hidden in the responses. Since then, there have been a few more studies, but most have been small scale and none—that I am aware of (if you know of one, please let me know!)—have specifically looked at or even included a comprehensive analysis of the difference between romantic and sexual orientation identities in individuals.

Without any evidence one way or the other, I must say that it wouldn’t surprise me to learn there’s a higher percentage of people on the asexual spectrum who also identify as aromantic. I’ve certainly met far more aromantic-asexuals than aromantic-anything elses. It shouldn’t be assumed, however, that asexuals are automatically aromantic. I’m not, and neither are most of the asexual-spectrum people I know. If you’re not sure, ask! Most of the ace-spectrum people I know are willing to answer simple questions.

Have a question for Coming Up Aces? Submit it here.

It’s a STAR!

It’s hard to believe, but Kirkus not only loved Island of Exiles, they gave it a STARRED REVIEW! Look at all the wonderful things they said about my wonderful book baby!

KIRKUS REVIEW

Cameron (Assassins: Nemesis, 2017, etc.) tells a YA fantasy tale about a “nyshin”—a warrior, mage, and hunter—on a desert island rife with danger.

Khya is no stranger to hardship. Life on the island of Shiara is inhospitable at best, and as a nyshin, these burdens fall especially heavily on her. Nevertheless, she’s always been able to depend on her clan and the fact that everyone in it works for the good of the many. But everything changes when they threaten to take from her the one thing she can’t give up: her brother, Yorri. Her worries are understandable as her sibling approaches a rite of passage that will determine the course of his life, but the greatest dangers facing her are ones that she can’t even imagine. As storms rage across the island and enemies probe the clan’s borders, a conspiracy begins to unfold that will test everything Khya has ever known. Not knowing who to trust, she must rely on strange bedfellows: Sanii, a member of the servant class and the love of Yorri’s life; and Tessen, Khya’s sometime-friend, sometime-archrival, and possibly something more. But most of all, she must depend on herself, casting aside faith, duty, and honor for the strength of love and family. Readers won’t be able to put this book down, as the excitement begins from the first page and only grows from there. Cameron expertly blends worldbuilding and intriguing characters with page-turning action scenes and a story that builds in tension and complexity. The novel’s commitment to diversity adds new dimensions to the story, as the cast is entirely nonwhite, and the clan recognizes nonbinary gender identities and complex sexual orientations. The lexicon of unique terms and concepts may be intimidating to some readers, but the vocabulary adds fantastic texture to the world without distracting from the plot. This is rare gem of a book that has a lot to offer readers, including magic, action, and intrigue on the edge of a knife.

A fresh, original series starter, bolstered by a dynamic protagonist and a welcome sense of depth.

We’re at the three week mark, y’all!

We’re inching ever closer to the Island Of Exiles release day! Only three weeks left now! 

My first countdown thread was all about  why I’m so excited to be releasing a fantasy novel.

Next, I talked about how one character became the anchor for my worldbuilding & revisions.

My third thread delved into how desire, kinks, power dynamics, and monogamy are perceived in Itagami.

I talked about magic last week and how it’s woven into the fabric of Itagamin society.

Today we jump back to sex and society, specifically orientation, gender, family, polyamory, and normalization.

While the word “bisexual” isn’t used in the book, I make it clear in character actions that this is a common and accepted orientation. It is, in fact, the most commonly claimed orientation in the clan. The whole spectrum of orientations exists, but bi or pan is “normal.” I make a point of the characters’ sexuality in the book partially to prove a point–that an accepting society can exist.

It’s strange to me that there are people who think accepting–NOT just tolerating–others’ choices would destroy the world. Normalization of acceptance has to happen to combat this, and currently, the easiest method is proof of concept media.

What do I mean by “proof of concept media”? Books, movies, TV, music, & art displaying cities & societies NOT destroyed by difference. Sagen sy Itagami isn’t a utopia by any means, but Island Of Exiles is definitely a proof of concept novel.
No one is ever shamed for their sexuality or their libido. Teased by their friends, sure. Taunted or mocked? Nope.

There is no word for slut or whore in Itagamin. There isn’t even a word for promiscuous. On the other hand, no one is ever laughed at or bullied for NOT having sex either. Ushimo is their word for asexuality.

All this is taught AND practiced. Children learn it alongside a very important reminder: Attraction is instinct. Action is a choice.

Consent is a crucial concept in this culture; you’re not allowed to even casually touch someone else without it. There are backstory reasons for the strictness of this societal law, but I never get a chance to go into them in the book. I can tell you it’s a separate story from the why behind the shape of families within Itagami, specifically the LACK of any family unit.

To explain that, I have to start with babies. Actually, I have to start with the making of babies.

Procreation is majorly restricted in Itagamin society. Pregnancies have to be pre-approved, partially due to population size concerns. It’s an isolated island with a southern Nevada-like landscape. Droughts could decimate a clan too large to sustain itself. Originally, it was partially due to of this restriction that the leaders of Itagami allowed & encouraged both bisexuality & polyamory. It was in NO way because of this restriction or population control that Itagamin leaders decimated the family unit. The saying about needing a village to raise a child? It’s taken pretty literally in Sagen sy Itagami.

When a baby is born, the parents go back to work and the baby is brought to one of the city’s four nurseries. Some parents keep track of their blood-born child’s progress, others don’t. Neither course is considered “right.” The nurseries are watched over by yonin caretakers. At age 5, kids move into a dormitory and begin their training.

One point of interest? Although citizens can’t escape their class once they reach adulthood, all children are considered equal. Children, no matter who their parents are, are given completely equal training and opportunities. Kids are trained with all weapons and then allowed to pick one they become expert at. They’re also taught the theories of magic. Everyone is taught theory so they’ll recognize it when they develop theirs. So they’ll know what to do when their own power appears. Also, the caretakers, teachers, training masters, and eventual commanding officers usually don’t know who a citizen’s parents are.

All children belong to the clan. Not everyone deals directly with the city’s youngest residents, but all are invested in the next generation. Every citizen in the clan would die to protect the city’s children.

At 16, everyone faces the herynshi, an incredibly difficult trial that determines the rest of their lives. The skill with weapons and magic they display in the herynshi is how the leaders place them in one of the three citizen classes.The classes are–

Nyshin: Warrior mages; leaders/fighters
Ahdo: Guardian mages; city guards/soldiers
Yonin: Non-mages; service/farming/mining

Sometimes romantic/sexual bonds form within training classes, but it’s more common for deeper bonds to form between citizens. Once placed, citizens can’t escape their class, but within it, relationship possibilities are both open and encouraged.

As I mentioned in a previous thread, marriage is rare in Itagami. Most people enter & leave relationships as needs change. Often there isn’t an official “relationship” at all. A fair number of Itagamin citizens choose to keep to short-term encounters instead. The most important thing is the safety of the whole clan, so it tends to create a city-wide bond rather than individual ones.

“The safety of the clan comes before our lives” is a mantra drilled into Itagamin children basically from birth. They take it seriously.

What I love about this society is how, within a class, it’s VERY equal. Excepting of procreation, there are no gender roles. There are three sexes–male, female, and ebet. Positions of power are relatively evenly spread between all three. Relationships between any combination of sexes–or any number of people–raises exactly zero eyebrows. Only someone’s skill with weapons and their prowess with magic impact their social standing.

All of these details were added on purpose. I worked hard to create a society that’s equal in a lot of ways our culture isn’t. Basically, all this talk is a lot of detail mainly to say one thing: Shiara isn’t exactly an island you’d want to live on, but I tried to make Itagami a society you’d want to live in despite that.

Buy it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-Million | IndieBound

Add this book on Goodreads.

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