Motivation who? | Behind the scenes

Hello, I’m Rogan and… Well. It’s been a while! Welcome back. To those people who still follow me, and still support me, I appreciate y’all SO much!! Today, I wanted to talk a little about behind the scenes, both in terms of YouTube and personal life, just to update you on what’s been going on with me.

By the way, if you’re a Patron, you will already have all of this info, with more details too. Just so you know, link below!

First, I want to repeat something I’ve said before on this channel. I’ve gotten a couple comments here and there, either public or in private messages, saying in a rude way, “Hey, why don’t you post anymore?” Or “You should post more/less of this or that.” To be blunt, I owe my audience nothing. This is my platform, and I will do what I want with it. I will post what content I want to make, when I want to or am able to. I want to be clear, I do appreciate when people say they like this particular content and would like to see more, or give me some ideas, but when it’s said in a way that demands I do more or less, no. I do try to be conscious of whether I’m posting a lot of one type of content, but sometimes that’s just how it happens. You are not required to watch all of my content, just what you’re interested in. If you don’t like what I’m doing, you don’t have to watch or subscribe. That’s all. Moving on.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much this year, it’s been pretty busy work wise and personally. At the start of the year, my partner and I celebrated our one-year anniversary at Tillamook. I was involved in a Short Play Festival, and it’s supposed to be streaming at some point. I’ll share that once it’s available! Then there was some quiet before traveling a lot for work, that was TIRING but a lot of fun. My partner’s family came visiting for a while at the start of summer, and I met them for the first time. It went well, I think! Interpreting work has been fairly quiet, but that feels pretty typical for the summer, and it should start picking up again once people are done with vacations and such. In July, I had something happening every weekend, and most of it was the whole weekend! July was also my birthday month, so I was just enjoying that before leaving my twenties. I went camping twice in one month, which was enjoyable but whew. Both trips were with large groups, which was fun but not exactly fully relaxing. I think I need to do a camping trip where it’s like MAX five people or something. I also participated in two online streams for D&D – a charity stream in March with Games for Change, and a one-shot in July with Role D5 for Disability Pride Month. Both were with great groups, and fantastic interpreters! They’re both available online to watch, I will add the links at the end of this post. Another big thing that you may have noticed if you’re a long-time follower, I have a sleeve tattoo now! I realized that even though I started it in April, it wasn’t visible in my last video yet because my shirt sleeve covered it. I will make a video giving you a tour of this sleeve, and show the other two I have. Speaking of making videos…

Let’s talk YouTube. This year so far, I’ve posted only three videos – a big book wrap up, an overview of the OGL and some RPGs, and an announcement/TBR for the Queer Lit Readathon. They’ll all be linked below. I’ve obviously fallen very behind on my book wrap ups, and I’m figuring out how to best approach it because trying to wrap up all of the books I’ve read so far this year is just asking for trouble. I might just do my favorites, and list the rest. Let me know if you have any thoughts on that.

Generally speaking, I’m not entirely sure why I’ve haven’t been posting videos. Sure, I’ve been busy, but I’ve also had plenty of time to work on videos. My first thought goes to motivation, because sometimes I think about the process of making a video and go, ooh, I don’t know if I have the mental energy for that. I will say part of that is I script most of my videos now, so that’s an extra step I do before turning on a camera. The reason for that is in the end, scripts take out a lot of mental load when I’m editing the final video, and doing captions. When I’m editing, I know which take I was happy with and I can just jump to and cut that take. I won’t have to watch everything and piece together what I was happy with, and figure out what was “bad.” Then when I go into captioning, I only have to do minor tweaks to the English, rather than translating from scratch. This may sound odd, but I do somewhat think in both ASL and English when I type my scripts. If I type a sentence in English, my brain will be also thinking about how I sign it, and if it’s clunky in either language, it gets cut or edited. If I’m doing a list, I’ll be visualizing it in ASL first, and figuring out how I would write it to be clear in English. So yeah, it might be a little extra work upfront, but when it all comes together, I feel like that makes it easier for my workflow. It’s just getting over that first hurdle of having a script to use!

Another thing I think I sometimes get stuck on is what to make next, because I do have a whole list of ideas! Some of them are just a long process, so I put them off. Some of them are the same category as a recent video, so I save it to spread out a bit. Then I just end up with things that I do want to do, just not right now or don’t have the right material for. Eh, the life of a content creator. I will say that I have been doing this for nine years now, as of this month. Not consistently, obviously, but I started in 2014 while in college, and it’s certainly changed a lot since! It’ll definitely keep changing. I started this out as a vlog style channel, then it slowly transitioned into educational content. Now it’s mostly books and geeky things, with a sprinkling of education. I am always open to hearing what people would like to see me talk about, it is helpful! Of course, there’s no guarantee I will make a video, and if that’s the case, I might reply to the comment instead. It all depends.

Alright, I think that’s all I wanted to talk about today. I just wanted to say hey and give you some idea of where I’ve been this past year, and some insight into what YouTube is like for me right now. Let me know if you have any questions or just want to chat about something in the comments! Thank you for still being here, I appreciate y’all. Bye.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Links mentioned
D&D Streams – Games for Change Part 1:
Part 2:
Role D5:

YouTube videos this year
Second half of 2022 books:
OGL and alternative RPGS:
Queer Lit Readathon Announcement/TBR:

Round 11 Announcement and TBR | Queer Lit Readathon

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. This is my very belated announcement, because ADHD. I’ll also tell you what books I plan to read in this month! This is round 11, and the sixth year of doing this. As always, Kathy and I are co-hosting this and as always, we have a guest co-host. This round, it’s Rachel of ReadsWithRachel! Go check her out, and each of us have our own announcement videos if you want to see those too.

If you are interested in being a co-host in the future, our criteria are that you yourself are queer and you caption your videos, because accessibility is important. It’s so many more people than just deaf people that benefit from them, so please caption! Get in touch with us through @queer_lit across all socials.

This year, it will be happening the whole month of June. Even more time to read all the queer books! As we do every round, we have sixteen challenges for you to choose from. We have a beautiful bingo board of all the challenges. [insert graphic] This is just for fun, and perhaps to help you narrow down what to read. You can do a bingo, a X, whatever. You are allowed to use one book for multiple challenges. But really, if you read anything queer, you’ve participated in this. I like to try for a full blackout of the board, same as Kathy, but that’s just us. Of course, all of these must have a queer main character or revolve around queer topics. I’ll go through the challenges rapid fire, then do my TBR separately.

  • Banned Books.
  • Group Read. This round, we have two to choose from. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson and Finna by Nino Cipri.
  • Trans Joy.
  • ???: Choose Your Own Category. It can be anything you want! Let us know what that is, and it may end up as a future category on the board.
  • M-Spec. This stands for multi-attraction spectrum, which includes bi, pan, omni, and any sexuality that has attraction to more than one gender.
  • History. It’s up to you how to interpret this – historical fiction, memoir, non-fiction history, etc.
  • Host Recommendation.
  • Memoir.
  • Crime. This can go a lot of ways, like the History prompt! It can be non-fiction, or many other genres that overlap with crime.
  • Nonbinary Author or MC.
  • Intersectional. In the context of this readathon, it means queer and any other marginalized identity.
  • Folklore.
  • Continued. This can mean continuing a series you already started, or reading more books by the same author, or more on a specific subject.
  • Short Stories. It can be either a single short story, or a whole collection of them.
  • Sapphic.
  • Queer Friends.

There are sure to be a few challenges you’ll love! If you have trouble finding books that fit any of these challenges, we have a massive document of all previous recommendations that I’ll link below. Also, we are currently posting recommendations from each host on our Instagram, @queer_lit, for each challenge. Now, for what I hope to read this month! Many of these books will overlap, so I’m just going to say what I’m specifically choosing them for.

  • Of course, I’m going to read one of the Group Reads, and I’m going with Finna, since I haven’t read it yet. It’ll also hit Host Rec.
  • I pre-ordered and absolutely want to read it sooner than later, Ander and Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa. This will hit Trans Joy and Intersectional.
  • Self-Made Boys is written by Anna-Marie McLemore, a Nonbinary Author, and it’s a retelling, which is my Choose Category.
  • I loved Last Night at the Telegraph Club, so I’m going to read A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo, and it’ll cover History and Sapphic.
  • I really want to read Being Seen by Elsa Sjunneson, which is a Memoir, and Sjunneson is bisexual and DeafBlind.
  • I love everything that Becky Chambers writes, so I’ll be reading The Galaxy, and the Ground Within which is number four in the Wayfarers series. That will hit Continued, and it’ll also cover Queer Friends.
  • Then for Short Stories, I’ll be reading Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder, which is the third anthology of the Out trio, all futuristic short stories from queer YA authors.
  • This Is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves, a bisexual Mexican-American writer, and a story about M-Spec attraction.
  • Finally, I’ll be reading The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon to cover Crime and Folklore. It might not be the most conventional way to cover those prompts, but I think they work. If not, I have a whole month to read something else!

The final challenge I haven’t mentioned is Banned Books. The majority of the books on this list have already been banned, and if they aren’t already, they’re likely to be. I want to make a couple of honorable mentions for what else I might reach for during this month. I would like to read another of McLemore’s books, Lakelore, and I would also love to re-read All Boys Aren’t Blue. I have a few other queer books that overlap or don’t fit into these prompts as well. I often manage to get my list down to seven books or so, but since we have a whole month, I decided to be more lax. Also, I wanted to try and stay within the books I already own, because I really need to read more of my own rather than borrowing from the library! As of now, the only book I’ll be borrowing is Finna, which is not bad! I know I am very privileged to be able to own so many, but I also am on a book buying ban for the most part, soooo.

See anything you like? Let me know! All of the hosts are posting our TBRs today, so those will be linked below for you! When you post anything related to this readathon, you can tag us on Instagram and Twitter using @queer_lit and use the hashtag #QueerLitRead. I know this is a lot of information in one post, which is why you can find all of this information PLUS a FAQ here: Be sure to go check out Kathy and Rachel for their videos! We have a group on GoodReads and an official reading challenge on StoryGraph. Both will be linked below for you to join if you want to do that. We also have a Discord server, so that’s there if you want! That’s all I have for this post, and I hope to see you joining us!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon (I recently updated my tiers, so please take a look!) or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

OGL and alternative RPGs | TTRPGs

CW: brief mention of HP

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome! For those who aren’t involved with the TTRPG community, January was a wild time for us. The first half of this video, I’m going to attempt to give you an abbreviated rundown of what happened, because it was a lot. The second half will be giving some suggestions for other RPGs that are NOT D&D, because there are so many out there!

First, all of the abbreviations! D&D is obviously Dungeons & Dragons, the tabletop role playing game – which is abbreviated as TTRPG. Wizards of the Coast, the current owner of D&D and D&D Beyond, the online gaming tool, is usually abbreviated as WotC or simply Wizards. They’re owned by Hasbro, yes that Hasbro. The whole wild ride started because of the OGL, the Open Gaming License, which is what allows game developers to modify, copy, and redistribute some of the content. Basically, make stuff for D&D using D&D branding. I know this is a lot for people who aren’t part of the community, so I will try my best to keep it as streamlined as possible!

People have been using the same OGL for many years, and Wizards planned an update. An updated draft, so they claim, was leaked in early January 2023. Most of the changes were things that would earn more money for Wizards from the third party creators and companies. Of course, that sparked a major backlash from the community. There were concerns from the community about the potential of Wizards taking ownership of independently created content, taking a large percentage of any profits from live streams, published adventures, and other things. As a way to show their displeasure, several hashtags were started, #OpenDND being one of the largest, and many canceled their D&D Beyond subscriptions. This is a rare show of unity from such a large and varied community. It was so big that Wizards canceled their original plan and pushed back the release date. They did eventually issue a statement that was very broad, and just angered the community more, both for its delay (just over a week later) and for its blame-shifting. There was also a personal apology from Kyle Brink, executive producer of D&D. He attempted to reassure the community that their content was safe, and announced a survey to get feedback about the new OGL.

After over 15,000 responses, mostly negative, Wizards finally stepped down. They announced that they would leave the OGL as is, and making the whole SRD (System Reference Document, basically all the system rules and mechanics) available under Creative Commons. This is huge, because once something is in Creative Commons, it can’t be taken back or revoked. Now people can choose to continue using either the original OGL or the SRD for the rest of time. This applies only to the current OGL and SRD. Wizards is likely to create new ones for the next edition of D&D. When that happens, people will have to decide if they want to switch to a new edition, or continue using the “old” one.

However, many people are saying too little too late. Wizards waited for too long to make a response, and when they did, it was very questionable. Other large competitors in the TTRPG space also stepped up and said they would be releasing their own system or offering up other options to D&D. WotC’s largest competitor is Paizo, another TTRPG publisher well known for Pathfinder and Starfinder. They led the charge for creating a new license called Open RPG Creative License or ORC for short. No one company will own it, and it will be open to anyone who wants to join and use it. It will essentially be the OGL, but not controlled by any company. A law firm will be responsible for the stewardship of it, to ensure it will always be safe against any nullification or removal of rights.

That was a lot! I hope it was clear enough, but if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. I also want to point you in the direction of Linda Codega. They did a fantastic job of reporting this whole situation as it unfolded. I’ll leave some links below to some of their articles, and their Twitter. 

What does this mean for me? I will probably still play D&D with my home group, and I do have video of my first ever one-shot that I DMed. Would there be an interest in seeing clips or the entire thing? Let me know! Before this whole OGL thing, I’d already played some other systems, and was already curious about running other systems. Now, since there’s been a lot of interest generated for other options that aren’t D&D, that’s pushed me to be more active about looking into options. I want to go through a few that I’ve played or seen that I would love to play eventually.

Starting with Pathfinder and Starfinder, which I already mentioned! This is probably the system closest to D&D in terms of fantasy, style, mechanics, and so on. Pathfinder is a modified version of an older edition of D&D, and adds many options to various classes, plus more abilities for the core roles. It also made some changes and created some more balance in terms of hit points, spells, maneuvers, etc. At some times, Pathfinder was able to outsell D&D itself! But in general, it’s consistently ranked second to D&D in terms of sales. Starfinder is basically Pathfinder, but sci-fi, science fantasy. Content is meant to be easily shared between the two, Starfinder is just more futuristic. It draws a lot of inspiration from franchises like Star Wars or Alien, but is set in the same universe as Pathfinder’s materials is, in the distant future. I have not yet played Pathfinder, but hopefully that will happen soon!

Another popular series of TTRPGs is World of Darkness, which has multiple systems, but the best known is probably Vampire: The Masquerade. VTM is a game of personal and political horror. You play as a vampire, struggling for survival and supremacy. There’s multiple clans people are in, you have to bite people to keep going, and fight for your survival in a cruel, cruel world. I’ve played this before, and I would absolutely play it again! World of Darkness also has other systems where you can play a werewolf, wraith, mage, and others.

One system that I’m very interested in is Kids on Bikes. It’s a very simple system that uses a full set of six dice. You assign each dice an attribute and roll that specific dice when asked for an attribute. The system calls back to the 80s, the adventure films and coming-of-age stories of the era. You typically play as kids in small towns trying to solve big mysteries. They also have a spin-off called Kids on Brooms, which is a more magical version, where you’re kids in a magical school with classes and such. I first learned about these systems when I watched Misfits and Magic from Dimension 20. I LOVED that season, because it’s basically a satire of Harry Potter. It makes fun of how so many of the things in this world make no sense, and they use common sense to solve problems. It’s fantastic! I am looking into learning this system and potentially running it.

The last system I’ll share for today is Spire. I’ve played this only once before, but would love to play it again! In this system, you play as one of the revolutionary dark elves fighting against the high elves who rule the towering city of Spire. This is a brutal game, and you will suffer from bodily or psychological harm, from oppressors or rivals. But if you’re willing to do what it takes, you could potentially push Spire over the edge into full-on rebellion. When I played this, my character barely made it through! This is interesting to play because it uses only d10s, and the mechanics are a little different. Bonds are very important in this, so you have to have some form of relationship with the other characters to have good success in this game. I would play again, and maybe even run a game.

I hope you learned about some new systems today! I have played several more that I didn’t mention today, and I’d love to talk more about them, and maybe in more detail than I did today. I’ve linked all the TTRPGs I mentioned today in the description below. If there are any systems you think I should check out, let me know in the comments and why! Also, let me know if you’re interested in seeing clips or whatnot from my first time DMing. Of course, feel free to share any other thoughts or questions you have. I want to hear from y’all! Bye.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.


Linda Codega:


 – First article about the OGL:

 – Paizo’s ORC announcement:

 – WotC response after a week:

 – Community response:

 – D&D goes into CC:

 – Opinion – Burned up goodwill:

 – OGL update scrapped:

 – A summary in slide form:



World of Darkness:

Kids on Bikes:


Second half of 2022 books | BookTube

Hello I’m Rogan and welcome back! Alright, I’m [checks wrist] about six months behind on wrapping up the books I’ve read. So today, I’m going to get through all of it as quick as I can. I’ll be doing just a few sentences for each, and if there’s any that you’re curious to know more about, comment below and I’ll do a deeper dive in a Title Talks. December will get its own post, I read quite a bit this month! This post is going to be long anyway, so let’s get right into it.

Starting off with July, I read 13 books. Two of those were graphic novels, three of those were children’s books. I did film a whole wrap up for this, but never got around to editing it. It would be long, so I’m going to do this instead! Most of the books this month were eARCs, so there are full typed reviews on my Goodreads account if you want to check that out.

The Adventure Zone Volume 1 and 2. This is a graphic novel adaptation of a podcast by the same name, and it’s a D&D actual play. The McElroy brothers are playing with their dad, one of the brothers DMs. The novels tell it as the adventurers going on their journey with the DM occasionally popping in, being the voice of God. It’s full of fun hijinks and wild choices by chaotic players. The first volume is a classic dungeon crawl, and the second one is a play on Murder on the Orient Express. I’ve been told that this is a pretty faithful adaption to the podcast, and I’d say this is a good read if you enjoy D&D in any way.

Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse. This is the sequel to Black Sun, which I absolutely loved and I obviously can’t say much about this because of it being a sequel. I did really enjoy this, and liked how Roanhorse continued to build out the world, adding more layers of politics and intrigue. We saw more of the world outside of Tova, the main city, and learned more about legends and history of other cultures. I also appreciated that Roanhorse had all levels of society, so to speak, in this. There are characters in the highest echelons of society, those who are in the middle, and those who are in the lowest that run mobs and the such. I look forward to the next book!

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. An epic telling the stories of five generations of an Indigenous Chicano family while they strive for life in the American West before and after the white man arrived. We mostly follow Luz “Little Light” Lopez, the seer of her generation and keeper of stories. She gets visions of her ancestors and homeland, of all the violence enacted upon indigenous peoples for generations. — I thought this was a good book, but looking back, I don’t remember a lot of details. This may be because I’d read a lot of books around the same time and didn’t let the story sit long enough to stick. I did rate this four stars, I still think this is good! I just wish it’d focused more on Luz and her story, the history around that era, rather than pushing romantic interests. Neither of them were interesting to me, and I was far more interested in the history and the layering of that with her story.

I read three children’s books from The Surdists, which is a deaf imprint. The books are called Deaf Artist Ancestors, De’VIA Ancestors, and ABC Portraits of Deaf Ancestors. I will be making a longer post about these three books, but in short: these all have history about our community and certain ancestors who had a big impact on our community. Deaf Artist Ancestors is about contributors to deaf art in general, De’VIA Ancestors is about people who gave a lot to the start of the De’VIA movement specifically, and ABC Portraits covers a wide range of deaf people across history.

Queerly Beloved by Susie Dumond. This is a cute sapphic romance about Amy, who works at a Christian bakery called The Daily Bread by day and is a “good straight woman,” but works at a queer bar by night. A person that just moved to Tulsa stops by the bakery, and Amy immediately clocks Charley as a new queer in town. Amy also gets asked to step in last minute for a bridesmaid who backed out, and she discovers that it’s something that she actually enjoys. She gets outed and fired at the bakery, so she decides to go all-in on the bridesmaid business. This causes tension between her and her friends, which forces her to rethink who she is and how to stay true to herself. — I did enjoy this very fluffy read, despite its issues. It felt like it was happening during 2019 because of the language they used, but it’s actually set in the 2010s, before equal marriage was legalized in 2015. There was a gay couple in there that had barely any dimensionality, it felt like they were one person and there just to support Amy through her journey. The romance between Amy and Charley was barely there, their attraction felt very surface-level. The romance was really a subplot, the story was very focused on Amy and her life. Amy does go through some good growth, from very self-centered and people-pleasing to more aware of herself and how she affects people around her. I really liked the chosen family in this, and just wish we had more of them! This is a good read when you don’t want to think too hard about things.

The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado and illustrated by Dani. In a small Pennsylvanian town called Shudder-to-Think, the residents are plagued with a mysterious illness that shows up out of nowhere, leaving them with missing hours. El and Octavia wake up in a movie theater to discover they’re the latest victims. They start to investigate and try to find the core cause of this illness and start to uncover some horrifying stories and far more darkness in the town than they imagined. They have to keep the town safe, and protect the world from the monsters that live there. — The description has to stay vague, because this is a graphic novel and it’s a fairly quick read. But I will say this, WOW. This is SO good. I mean, it was written by Machado, which is an amazing writer. If you haven’t already, I would recommend reading her short story collection, Her Bodies and Other Parties. Back to this one, it is extremely dark so I would encourage looking up trigger warnings beforehand. There’s quite a bit of body horror, goriness, allusions to sexual assault, and more. This packed a very powerful story in a small thing, and I would say definitely read this if you’re able.

The Lifestyle by Taylor Hahn. Georgina has the perfect life, until she walks in on her husband having sex with a junior associate. She’s not about to lose this perfect life, so she decides that swinging is what will save their marriage. Georgina also brings in her friends and their partners to fix their problems too. She eventually realizes that it wasn’t what she was looking for. — I really didn’t like this, which is a bummer because it’s not often you see swinging in books, and it being the main focus. I did not like Georgina at all, she had a bad attitude about her own life and was very paternalistic to her friends. And I didn’t like that she immediately turned to swinging to fix her relationship. If you have problems, they’ll only be swept under the rug until they can’t be ignored anymore or just cause more issues. From the description, I expected a much more smutty book, but this was boring and the sex scenes had barely any spice. The language used in this also felt kind of sexist and very objectifying. I think the writing was good, just not great content.

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian. Marian Hayes just shot the Duke, her husband. Not the plan, but now she has to disappear for a while, and the only person she can ask is the man who’s been blackmailing her. Rob Brooks, the blackmailer, was doing it only to get some money so he could disappear, but grew to like Marian through the banter they carried on with letters. When she shows up asking for help, he can’t say no and takes charge. General crime and debauchery happens on their travels, but the past catches up then they have to decide what’s next. — I loved these two chaotic people, and they’re both bisexual! I really enjoyed the portions where we got to see the letters, and the shift from blackmail to banter to nearly love letters. There wasn’t much actual crime in this, just some stealing and blackmail. And one murder of a pretty horrible person. I really liked the sexual dynamics in this, there was a lot of talk about consent and bodily autonomy. This has some pretty unusual things during sexy times, which I appreciated. I didn’t realize that this is the second book in a series, but this runs almost parallel with the first book, so there’s not too much to be missed.

The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach. The city of Hainak is alive: everything’s made from plants and fancy biotech. Yat Jyn-Hok is a former thief turned cop, and recently got demoted because of her “lifestyle choices,” read: homophobic superiors. She gets murdered just as she finds a dead body, but was brought back to life and now has a new ability to manipulate life. She joins a pirate crew that has others with similar abilities, and discovers there’s a plot to destroy the whole city. It becomes a race against time to stop it from happening. — I absolutely loved this! Such incredible detail and worldbuilding, I wanted to just dive into all the nerdy details. We don’t learn what exactly made Hainak turn to biotech, but that wasn’t a bad thing. This is absolutely queer, but the politics of the city lean conservative because of a very powerful religious group. This felt like the author was trying to fit a lot of ideas into one book, and I wish it had been spread out a little because this is the first of a series. Regardless, I definitely enjoyed this and would recommend it for sci-fi fans.

Ana on the Edge by AJ Sass. Ana loves figure skating, but hates skirts and dresses with a passion. She tries to put up with it for skating. Ana starts helping out with a skating class to cover some costs, and meets Hayden, a new student who forces her to rethink how she views gender and look at her own identity. There’s a major skating competition coming up, and she has to decide if she’ll be a princess or be true to herself. — I enjoyed this story about a young teen trying to figure out what feels right once confronted with the fact that there are options other than the standard boy/girl. The book ends with Ana still figuring out herself, and the book makes it clear that it’s okay to not know exactly who you are.

That’s the 13 books I read in July! In August, I read five books and two of them were graphic novels.

But before we get into August books, a short ad break! If you want to support this channel with money, I have a few ways you can do that. First, since y’all are likely watching this on YouTube, here’s a tip. I know ads are annoying, but they do help a little bit. If you let them play all the way through, I get paid more than if you skip it immediately. But I completely understand if you aren’t feeling it or if the ad is one of those ridiculous five-, ten-minute ones. It’s much appreciated! Another option is Patreon, which is monthly, and you can choose how much you want to spend. You get access to different things, depending on what tier you sign up at. If you don’t want to or aren’t able to commit to monthly payments, I also have ko-fi which is the equivalent to a tip jar or buying me a small coffee. If you aren’t able to contribute financially at all, that’s alright! Even just sharing my content with your friends or retweeting helps. That’s it, back to August books!

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd. Nell Young’s whole life is cartography, and her father is a legend in the field. They haven’t spoken for years, since her father fired her and destroyed her reputation after arguing over an old gas station highway map. One day, he’s found dead in his office, and she finds that same map hidden in his desk. She can’t resist investigating and discovers that it’s very valuable and rare because a mysterious collector has been hunting them down and destroying them, along with anyone who gets in the way. She starts out on a dangerous journey to find out why and she’ll discover dark family secrets along the way. — I enjoyed this a lot, the way the magic worked in this was certainly unique! It reminds me a bit of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and all the mystery of that. I do feel like the villain, so to say, was a little overblown, but I still enjoyed it.

The Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule. Set long before the Clone Wars, Jedi are at their peak in the High Republic. The Republic is extending their reach to the farthest stars, helping worlds flourish, and peace reigns across the galaxy. A shocking catastrophe happens and tears a ship apart in hyperspace, shooting shrapnel across a whole system and threatening millions of lives. The scope is so big even the Jedi are pushed to their limit. As they battle against this calamity, something deadly grows beyond, in the darkness and waiting. — I grew up on Star Wars, so I’m definitely biased but I really enjoyed reading this. I love seeing anything beyond the stories of the characters we’ve learned a lot about in the main Star Wars canon, seeing a variety of Jedi and philosophies under one larger umbrella. If you enjoy Star Wars or sci-fi, this is very good.

Heartwood: Non-binary Tales of Sylvan Fantasy edited by Joamette Gil. An anthology of comics that are entirely nonbinary, and created by all cartoonists who are some nonbinary gender. All of these stories are tied to the forest – tales of caution, adventure, rites of passage, and discovery. — I really liked the wide range of comic styles and stories. There were some I liked more than others of course, but overall this was a fantastic collection of queer stories.

Cosmoknights by Hannah Templer. Pan had a small life – working in her dad’s body shop, sneaking out to dance with her friend Tara, watching the skies for ships. Tara is also a princess, and that didn’t matter until one day, she had to say goodbye forever. Years later, off-world gladiators show up and Pan decides to run off with them, and she discovers amazing secrets of her world. Along with the possibility of tearing it all down. — I really enjoyed this neo-medieval world where we’re very much in the future, but there’s still medieval traditions like jousting. Except jousting is done in the air and in mech-suits. The art in this is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s VERY queer. I mean, you just have to look at the cover alone! Definitely recommend, and I can’t wait for the next installment in this series.

Heckin’ Lewd: Trans and Nonbinary Erotica edited by MX Nillin. A collection of erotic stories from trans and nonbinary gender diverse writers, this book celebrates queerness and nonconformity in all forms. The stories certainly cover a wide range of genres, from fantasy with summoning a demon to sci-fi with seedy back-alley trips. Some of these stories were very good, some of them were…questionable. I’m all for gender fuckery but the way it’s viewed in some of these stories put me off a little.

That’s all for August! I read six in September, two of them graphic novels. I started and finished this month strong with fantastic books.

Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White. I will make a Title Talks about this one, it’s just SO good and not what I expected from a YA book at all. Prepare to die. His kingdom is near. Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is currently on the run from the fundamentalist cult that unleashed a virus that killed most of the world’s population. The cult turned him into a bioweapon, and while he’s trying to find a safe place, he gets cornered by monsters created during the destruction. Benji gets rescued by a group of teens from the Acheson LGBTQ+ Center and is welcomed into their group. There are a lot of secrets happening, and the world is still burning. — This was an absolutely incredible read, and SO gory. Much gorier than I was expecting for a YA book, but it is marketed as a dystopian horror. I loved every character in this book, even the bad ones. It was all so well written, and it felt all very fleshed out. I LOVE the concept of the center, teens that were trapped there when the outbreak happened and banding together to survive. That’s what we queer people have always done, and always will. I absolutely recommend this, but with so many trigger warnings! Look them up beforehand, because whew, this book does not hold back.

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas. Teo is a lowly Jade, and the odds of him getting selected to compete in the Trials are so small, it’s laughable. He doesn’t mind, because that means he won’t have to fight for being the Champion or having the honor of placing last and being sacrificed to replenish Sol’s power to keep the evil Obsidian gods at bay for the next ten years. Teo’s more worried about others who are Golds that he cares for…until he gets selected along with another Jade. Now they have to compete against Golds who have trained their whole lives for this. — I’m telling you, anything that Thomas writes, I will enjoy. I will eventually do a Title Talks or a full Instagram post for this, it’s so good. This has a whole pantheon of Mexican inspired gods and mythos that Thomas created. The trials in this will make people immediately think Hunger Games, but it’s nothing like that. I don’t want to explain too much, because that was part of what I really enjoyed, learning things as I went. I also really enjoyed all of the little mentions of accessibility, like people signing for the one deaf character, the equipment during the trials having built-in tools to include everyone. I 100% recommend this if you enjoy fantasy, especially with a completely new mythology and unique gods.

I’m Not in Love by Mia Kerick. Remi is in his last year of art college, savoring it before he’s expected to take over the family business empire, which he’s not looking forward to. He’s also avoiding creating any attachments to people because of past trauma, but a model in one of his classes upends that. Remi only plans to sleep with Tristan, but as they get to know each other beyond just their looks, they have a hard time keeping up those walls. — I didn’t really like this for a good quarter of the book, mainly because of Remi and his better-than-you attitude, but he does go through some growth eventually after interacting with down-to-earth Tristan and unlearning his behaviors from growing up in a wealthy family. I really liked Tristan and his family, they’re adorable. The push and pull of their relationship was painful at times because so much could’ve been solved by pretty basic communication. Overall, this book was okay for me.

Next, I read Vol 3 and 4 of The Adventure Zone. Volume 3 centers around a very dangerous competition, battle wagon racing, and Volume 4 has them answering a distress call coming from a floating laboratory that’s slowly turning into pink crystal, and they have to stop it before it crashes and Midases the whole planet. Like I said earlier, I really enjoy this group and the wild adventures they get themselves into!

The final book for September is Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. This is another book in the Wayfarers universe, and all of the books in this series can stand on their own. In this story, we learn about the Exodus Fleet, a living relic of Old Earth. It’s where many humans are from, but few have seen it, apart from those who are still living on it. Humanity has been accepted into the galactic community, but those who still reside on the fleet fear for the loss of their way of life. There are three main perspectives in this: an older woman who chose to stay when her brother left and worries about her future in the Fleet, a young apprentice who wants change but doesn’t know where to find it, and a newcomer who just wants a place to belong. A disaster happens to the Fleet, and they have to question their way of life. — Chambers is so good at worldbuilding in fairly short books, I always enjoy reading her stories. These books are all stand-alone, but they also do so much to enrich each other if you read them all. I loved seeing the possibilities of what it would look if generational ships were still running but not completely necessary anymore, what cultural behaviors would arise from that. I also appreciated that Chambers very specifically wrote the Fleet to be designed in a way that there would be no castes, no privileged jobs or locations on the ship, which is certainly important in long-term survival but also moving away from colonial structures. If you’ve read any of Chambers’ books or enjoy sci-fi, absolutely read this.

We’re nearly there! October was a very busy month for me, so I read only two books.

First was The Art of Feefal by Linnea Kikuchi. This is a Kickstarter I backed, because I follow this person on Instagram, and I LOVE the art style. The book is the artist going through her art journey from a child to the artist she is today, talking about her thought and artistic process in creating some of her pieces. I’ll definitely be referring to this again! I also got some cool perks as a backer. [insert perks] This is really something that would appeal to other artists or those who love learning more about individual artists.

Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality by Julia Shaw. Written by a bisexual psychologist and bestselling author, Shaw studies the science of sexuality. This book looks at the science and culture of attraction beyond the binary, including the Kinsey scale, asylum seekers fighting for recognition of their identity, and so much more. There’s research, but there’s also some drawn from her personal experiences. — I enjoyed reading this, and far, far more than the one written by Savin-Williams. This one actually comes from a place of personal understanding, and looks at the complexities that come from cultural influences alongside science and research. It’s also very readable, for me it didn’t get too bogged down in technical terms. Is it the best book ever written? No, but it’s certainly one of the better ones that I’ve read on bisexuality.

Now, onto the last month and the last book for this post! I read only one book in November, so we’re just about done.

Make it a Double: From Wretched to Wondrous: Tales of One Woman’s Lifelong Discovery of Whisky by Shelley Sackier. Her first taste of whisky almost put her off it forever, until she met Scotland and its passionate people. She develops a deep curiosity and passion for whisky, diving deep into this world dominated by men. Shelley has to fight through assumptions and prejudice, but becomes very knowledgeable, writing and working within this industry. — I didn’t know much about whisky before reading this, and now I know quite a bit! I really enjoyed Shelley’s humor and storytelling style, it’s very relatable while being very informative. She tells us about all the different types, processes of making it, the culture around whisky, how the industry has always been and how it’s changing today, and some tips and resources for people who are interested in diving deeper and learning more. If you have any interest at all in whisky, and the history behind it, I would recommend this great read.

At long last, that’s all of the books I’ve read from July to November. I considered including December, but knew this post was already pretty long, and I may have read over 20 individual things in December alone, so… December is getting its own post! If you actually made it all the way through this post, I appreciate you. That’s all for today, leave in the comments whatever you’re reading right now and how you’re liking it.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

D&D: Reroll

[fades into Rogan signing, clearly a Zoom recording] Mountains everywhere, huge mountains rising up in the sky. Moving over a dense forest, there’s a river, a big one. At a distance, it looks small, but as we get closer, you can see it’s a really wide and slow-flowing river. Moving in more, you see a little town, a really cute small town…

[cuts to a woman with very curly black hair] I’m Emerson. I’m small, tiny. It’s easy for me to hide and sneak around, steal things. I enjoy stealing, because–

[cuts to a person with shorter hair wearing a beanie] I’m Ziggy. My real name is Zilbus, but don’t call me that. Call me Ziggy, okay? I’m barely 3 feet tall, but I am handsome. BIG flirt, just saying.

[cuts to a woman with shoulder-length brown hair] Hi, I’m Holynn. I’m a half-elf. I’m an intelligent person, but for me to think clearly, I drink. I’m a really clumsy person.

[cuts to a person with short wavy hair] Hello, I’m Tudar. My sign name is this, because I have long hair, and I always have my nose in books. My head is always bent over, my hair falling down, and I’m always pushing it back.

[Rogan’s usual intro plays, triangles appearing and disappearing, eventually combining to make a R]

[pauses then zooms in] So. [zooms in] Things have changed. [zooms out] Let’s talk about it! I’m Rogan and welcome back! The past couple months have been wild for multiple reasons. I had an increased workload, and just a lot happening in general. A couple cool projects too, which I’ll talk about a little later in this post!

As you’ve seen, things have changed quite a bit since my video talking about D&D and the Deaf community. That video was posted over a year and half ago, and thanks to that video, I’ve gotten several great opportunities! I joined the Discord for Deaf Tabletop Gaming Online, and have played in several RPG systems with them, such as Spire, Mörk Borg, Troika!, and some others. I really enjoy learning what other systems are out there, and these are fun people to play with. There are a couple livestreams that I’m in (but they’re a year old at this point). A friend of mine reached out and asked if I’d like to join their D&D group, which I did! We played several sessions together, which was a lot of fun. I’ll always have a soft spot for my first character, a wood elf paladin with ridiculously high dex. It didn’t take me long to start DMing, as you saw from the beginning of this video. Those clips were from my first ever time DMing, and I was doing a homebrewed one-shot with a group of four players, three newbies and one experienced player. That one-shot turned into a kind of West Marches campaign, which is essentially a bunch of one-shots chained together into a longer story. I also started another campaign with the same group of players that is somewhat inspired by the universe of Studio Ghibli, but that one is currently on hold for a bit. We were on hold in general for a while there, *ahem* several months, but we just got back into it and wrapped up a big combat! I have been talking with people about potentially GMing more one-shots for people who are curious and want to give D&D or other systems a try before diving in as a GM themselves. I would love to figure out a way to get my games streamed, but that is a bit challenging since my group plays in-person now. We also don’t have a consistent schedule as of now, so that’s another thing! If you have any questions about this, let me know in the comments!

I want to talk a bit more about D&D in general. Since I made the other video, I’ve been keeping an eye out for more actual plays to check out. But not much has changed. The huge majority of them are very audio reliant, and are available only as podcasts. Transcripts are available for some of them, which is great, but those lose a lot of the nuance you can get from video, like body language, facial expressions, reactions to what people say/do, physical acting in addition to talking, and so on. And then those who DO have video often aren’t captioned at all (not even auto captions, which suck anyway). This is where accessibility in the streaming world is difficult. For signers who want to play or stream, we HAVE to have good quality video to be understood. Our video sizes have to stay at a certain size so we’re still visible and understandable, which usually means the map, if there’s one, has to be kept at a smaller size. Hearing people can just listen and not worry too much about video quality or size. Another restriction that comes along with that is if we want to record a game, we have to make sure we have enough space to save a lot of data from video recordings. We also have to make sure we capture the whole screen, not just the map (which Zoom will do if the screen is shared). Point is, signers have several more hurdles to figure out if we want to stream a game compared to people who do just audio, or don’t care too much about video. And for me personally, I want to have any content I create be as accessible as possible, which means adding captions at the very least. Which can take forever, especially with RPG sessions that can be hours long, because we don’t have the luxury of using auto captions. If I were to take the extra step and add voiceovers, that’s a whole another set of things to figure out.

But it’s not all annoyances! I LOVE seeing and playing D&D with sign language. I feel like it opens up the game to more cinematic storytelling, because by the nature of sign language, we tend to tell stories more visually rather than word by word. It is something that I still need to work on, shifting into storytelling mode or doing characters, but that’s what I’m excited about and love about this game. It’s a great opportunity to practice acting if that’s something you’re into. My home group is all deaf, and we all use ASL. DTGO, which I mentioned earlier, is also all done in ASL and has many public streamed games (not captioned or voiced). It’s also a great way to exercise your improv skills, especially as the GM, having to roll with whatever the players throw at you. They’ve certainly been tested with my home group! One of my favorite things is giving my players some information, and watching them figure out what to do with that information. I just love how creative they can be, there’s truly nothing like collaborative storytelling.

Speaking of telling stories with other people, I got asked to take part in a VERY cool project that I had to keep quiet about for a couple months, but I can yell about it now! For those who are in the D&D community, you will immediately recognize how this is a big deal. So for those who aren’t, a quick overview. Many people play D&D by using D&D Beyond, which is like *the* online tool for playing D&D 5th edition. It has all the source books, digital tools for creating characters, encounters, campaigns, etc. They are now managed by Wizards of the Coast, which is a publisher of games that specializes in roleplaying games, trading cards, digital games, mainly in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. D&D Beyond also creates original content, like interviews, content previews, and streams. In October, I was asked if I would be interested in taking part of a one-shot spotlighting disabled players and characters. Uh, [zooms in] yeah! [zooms out] To be asked by DDB in the first place was incredible, and they said it was because they’d seen my previous video about D&D, which goes to show you need to put things out there if you really want them! After many emails and a couple Zoom calls, everything got set up for two filming days. I was definitely nervous but SO excited. This was the first time I’d played with all hearing people, and of course they had ASL interpreters there. It was a blast working with them! This was also my first time playing a level 8 character, and the DM let us run wild in character creation. So I really went all in on the dragon theme, making a level 5 draconic sorcerer that multiclassed into a level 3 drakewarden ranger. I love Caelus SO much, LOOK AT THEM.

Can you guess the inspiration behind the look? [wink] Lauren Walsh is so good, I love all the art that they made! The first part of Galesong is already out, and the second part, where things get really wild, comes out today! There will also be some behind the scenes coming out this Saturday. I will have all the links below when they’re available! I have to tell y’all, when I found out we’d be playing with Aabria Iyengar and Sam de Leve, I just left my body. They’re both great people, and I will admit I’m an Aabria stan. I love seeing her play, and she’s an amazing DM as well! It was so much fun playing with them, and I think our party is pretty fantastic. I also have to hype up our DM, Makenzie De Armas. She is SO cool, and I loved the story she put together for our party. Dragons are just awesome, and I’m glad we got to play with that in this story. If I get the opportunity to play with everyone again, I’m absolutely jumping on it!

To close, I want to quickly mention that I did an interview with Matt Yancik for Roleplayer with a Thousand Faces. We chatted all about D&D, and also some about my personal life, how I relate to D&D, some linguistics, and a lot of different topics. It was a fun interview, it’s captioned AND interpreted by the fantastic Mark Weissglass. I really appreciate him pushing through the whole two hours! Next time, I’m going to make sure he has a team! There’s a bunch of links for you to check out if you want. Let me know in the comments if you want to see more D&D content from me, what you would like to see, and all that. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out Galesong! Bye!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

The sound of power | Deaf Awareness Month

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. Recently, Daily Moth did a video about a situation that inspired this video. I won’t go into details of that situation, and I’m going to be speaking broadly here. Today, I just wanted to do a brief video that’s more of a reminder than anything really.

For a long, long time, hearing people have taken roles that would best suited with a deaf person in that role or job. This would include teaching ASL, acting in a deaf or signing role, or being on a board or admin of a deaf organization or school. And it’s their hearing privilege that allows them to take these roles and positions. To be clear, these jobs are often taken by hearing people who barely sign or don’t know how to sign at all. This is nothing new, this has been happening for as long as there have been deaf roles in media.

To hearing people who DO know sign. Interpreters, CODAs, anyone related to deaf people, or anyone who has ties with the deaf community. You have a lot more privilege than deaf people or signers. More often than not, the people in power are hearing and will consciously or unconsciously believe, support and bond with the person who they can communicate with directly, which is almost always the hearing person, over the person with whom they can’t. It’s your responsibility to be aware of your power in these situations. If it’s appropriate, always defer to the deaf person and make it clear that you should not be considered for this role. Use your privilege to pave the way towards better representation of deaf people in everything.

When a hearing person is chosen over a deaf person, we often hear the rebuttal that it’s because “they [the deaf person] is not qualified.” Often in these cases, what looks like a lack of qualifications is really a reflection of how many more barriers we have to overcome in hearing society, often to the point of never having the opportunity to even try. This disparity is another place where privilege comes into play. People who have speaking ability and choose to use it are often favored over those who don’t.

And this privilege when taken advantage of, yes might lead to roles being taken from deaf actors but can also extend into far more serious situations in which deaf people are given the short end of the stick. 

A group of deaf people and one hearing person goes to a restaurant together and the hearing person is the only one who decides to speak. Who is the server going to turn to from now on?

A cop shows up to domestic dispute between a hearing and deaf couple. Who is the cop most likely to believe?

A hearing family member goes to the hospital with a deaf patient. Who is the doctor most likely to side with when it comes to making decisions?

Hearing and speaking privilege goes beyond taking roles for a tv commercial. For some of us deaf people, it can come at a great cost. Don’t forget that.

Please feel free to comment below your thoughts, but keep it civil and no putting down anyone.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Deaf Education and my experience | Deaf Awareness Month

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome! For those who don’t know, September is Deaf Awareness Month, and for the past few years (except 2021) I’ve done a few videos specifically for this month. I have a few things that I hope to get out this month but there will also be some completely unrelated things like my book wrap ups that I’m catching up on. Today, I want to talk about Deaf education in general, and to answer a viewer who was curious about my education journey if you will. I’m sure there’s several of you who want to know this too! I’ll start off with a broad overview of what Deaf education can look like. I want to emphasize that it will be VERY broad, and I will be glossing over a lot of details and nuance. It’s just not possible to fit everything into one video and it’s not my area of in-depth knowledge either. Then I’ll go into a bit of detail on my personal education. I’ll put time codes if people are wanting to skip to certain parts. Let’s get into it!

For K-12 schooling, there’s two ways that Deaf people tend to identify themselves: Deaf school or mainstream. Deaf schools are generally very similar in how they’re run – all the faculty sign, and all the staff should also know sign, all the students are deaf and have varying levels of signing skill, and may or may not live in dorms at the school. Some are large enough that they have full-time residents that go home on the weekends and holidays. This tends to be in large states where it’s hours’ drive to the deaf school from most of the state. There are some deaf schools that are too small to have dorms, so the students are commuters. And I do mean commuters, some kids will end up riding the bus for two hours one way every day. If the students live close enough to the deaf school, they’ll use the bus daily, but if they live further out, they tend to live at the school. Generally, the students will stay at the deaf school for all their classes, but sometimes they might be sent to a nearby public school for specific classes that the deaf school doesn’t offer. I think that’s a fairly decent, if broad, explanation of what a deaf school can look like. Let’s talk about mainstream schools now.

I’ve been saying mainstream without explaining what it means, but I think it’s pretty clear at this point what it means. Generally it’s a word used by the deaf community to refer to any school that’s majority-hearing, which can mean public or private schools. The sign even changes based on the person’s experience, whether they went to a school that had a deaf program which meant they weren’t the only deaf person or if they were the only one in the whole school, which is signed this way, [stream-1]. I also want to add that if it’s a single person, the index finger will always go *under* the full hand because that’s basically what it is, a deaf person being alone and disappearing in a crowd of people. Mainstreamed kids will have hugely varying experiences! Some go through school completely alone with no interpreters, no accommodations. Some will be the lone student and have one interpreter that stays with them from kindergarten all the way to graduation. (This is not ideal, interpreters should be switched out every few years so the skill and knowledge grows with the student.) Some will attend a school that has a deaf program, meaning there might be a classroom set aside for all the deaf students and they take classes in there. It might be all of their classes, or just one or two classes. They might be taking all their classes with hearing students. Usually, schools that have a deaf program will be good at providing whatever accessibility individual students need, but that’s not a guarantee. 

There’s obviously a lot of little differences that I’m not touching on for both types, but if I did, we’d be here all day! I’m going to briefly touch on college before talking about my personal education.

People tend to know about Gallaudet University, which is a university specifically founded for deaf people, and the only one of its kind. Gallaudet is very much a liberal arts college, and it’s partially funded with federal money. There’s Rochester Institute of Technology, which is the second largest concentration of deaf students in the US. Technically, it’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, or NTID for short. I tend to just say RIT because NTID is part of their campus, classes are provided through RIT systems, and so on. The only difference is that all deaf students at RIT pay a reduced tuition through NTID, because of federal money. Then there’s several others that have smaller, but still sizable deaf student populations such as California State University, Northridge (CSUN), SouthWest College for the Deaf (SWCD), Lamar University, and Western Oregon University (WOU). These colleges tend to be very good with providing accessibility for their deaf students. Deaf people in general, when they’re deciding on where to go for college, will gravitate to Gallaudet and RIT. That’s purely because of their size and reputation, and going to school to one of those theoretically will be less difficult than going to some mainstream college where they’ve never worked with a deaf student before.

If I missed any colleges, leave them in the comments! Okay, moving on. I’ll talk about my education now, from preschool all the way to college and a little beyond.

I started out at age three at a day deaf school that’s now called Northwest School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, based near Seattle. They use SEE as their primary mode of communication, and they heavily encourage sim-comming which is signing and speaking at the same time. I went to that school until the end of third grade, and I also went to a mainstream school nearby for a few classes. My parents decided to transfer me to a mainstream school closer to home, because my commute was usually at least two hours one way, and I often slept on the ride both ways. It just so happened that the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH for short) program was moving at the same time, so we all were new students at this school. I was very lucky to be going to this program, because it was fairly big for a DHH program. I had multiple interpreters throughout 4th grade to graduation, and when I was in middle and high school, the interpreters were assigned based on classes and their skills, not based on the student. This is fantastic, because interpreters who may struggle with interpreting math don’t have to and interpret for classes they’d do better in. I took Spanish for two years, and we lucked out that one of our interpreters at the time spoke fluent Spanish, so they were assigned to that class. For the most part, my mainstream school experience was great and I’m very lucky in that. I did have to fight to take some classes, such as Spanish, because they said I could get that foreign language requirement waived on the basis of being deaf. I didn’t want to have that waived, so had to work to convince them to let me take it. I was also the first fully mainstreamed deaf student at that school. They’d had only one other deaf student before me, and they took only electives with hearing students, did the rest of their classes in the deaf classroom. So the school assumed it’d be the same situation for other deaf students, which is a very common issue with systems like public schools, vocational rehabilitation offices, and the such. That’s a tangent we’re not going to touch today.

After graduating high school, I went to college at Rochester Institute of Technology for four years, including some summer courses. For a long time, I thought I’d go to Gallaudet because it was the only school I knew of that provided accessibility. But then in my senior year, RIT had a recruiter that came to our school because there was a large number of students graduating soon. If that recruiter hadn’t come, I probably wouldn’t have gone to RIT. I’m very happy about that decision, because… I have nothing against being a Gallaudet student, but I knew I wanted a school that was a mixed environment. And what I was more interested in at the time was tech-related, which RIT has better programs for. I started out as a photography major because I was interested in becoming a teacher for film and photo in public schools. After two years, I realized that wasn’t where my passion was, so changed majors to one that I created myself. RIT has what they call School of Individualized Studies, and many other colleges have something similar. This is essentially where you can pick and choose your classes to create a major in some area of study that isn’t available, or you want to study more than one thing and not do a double major. I called it Leadership, and took various classes in management, hospitality, business, psychology. I was wanting to work in student/campus life, because that really shaped my experience at RIT. It took me a while to realize, but if I hadn’t joined clubs as soon as I got to RIT, I probably wouldn’t have stayed at RIT. They really made a big impact on my college experience, and I’m very grateful for that. I would encourage checking out the clubs at your school and finding one that’s a good fit for you. I did some electives and basic required classes online via my local community college during the summers, because I’d changed majors and this was at the same time RIT switched from quarters to semesters. You don’t have to graduate “on time,” I just pushed to finish at my anticipated graduation time, because I was approaching my limit of non-stop schooling.

Immediately after graduating from RIT, I went abroad! Again, I know I am very privileged and lucky to be able to manage going abroad for a year of school. I went to an international leadership program for deaf youth, called Frontrunners. I learned about this program through a person who I worked with at a summer camp, and as soon as I knew what it was all about, I knew I had to make it happen. The program is based in Denmark, but nowhere near Copenhagen! It’s about three hours away, in a very rural area of Denmark. The topics covered things like linguistics in sign language versus vocal language, education of deaf people, media, and quite a lot of variety. We also had a bunch of guest speakers from all over the world, and we had a couple of class trips. It was an absolutely fantastic experience that certainly had its ups and downs. I would absolutely go back and do it again, but maybe with some tweaks to make it an overall better experience.

Once Frontrunners wrapped, I came back to the US and haven’t done any formal education since then, apart from attending conferences and taking training for being a Deaf interpreter. So I think that about covers all of my personal education experience. 

If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer! I can only speak from my experience and things I’ve learned from my friends, so I might not have all the answers. Of course, ask about whatever you want to know about. It doesn’t have to be specific to this post. That’s all for today, bye!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

June Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Hello, I’m Rogan and I’m back! I’ve been gone for various reasons, but I think I should be getting back to it. No promises as always though. Let’s get right into my wrap up of June books! This month, I read ten books and seven of them were for the Queer Lit Readathon in the first full week of June. I’ll go through those first, then the other three books I read. Spoiler alert, they were all queer.

The Big Book of Bisexual Trials and Errors by Elizabeth Beier. This is a graphic memoir of Elizabeth figuring out life after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend and exploring dating and being with women for the first time. She explores self-image as she relearns what she’s attracted to, what she attracts to herself, and the complexity of life and sexuality. — I enjoyed this quick read, it’s humorous at times and shows the wide variety of people out there to explore with. Not much I can say beyond that description, but it was good!

Spellhacker by MK England. Diz and her three best friends live in Kyrkarta, where magic, or maz as they call it, was once everywhere and easily accessible. Until a big earthquake hit, and unleashed a pocket of magical plague that killed thousands. Immediately, a corporation stepped in to give aid and seize control of maz, making it very expensive. Diz and her friends can’t afford it, don’t like corporate power, and need money, so they run a very illegal gig siphoning maz from this company which pays off very well. Until one day, they discover a new strain while on their last heist and this could mean the worst or the best as they discover a conspiracy and work to unravel it. — I immensely enjoyed this VERY queer book. The main character is queer, mainly sapphic, and has a nonbinary love interest. There’s a bi secondary character, lesbian bakery owner, and elderly science husbands. From first glance, the description may make it seem like a fantasy, and it is but it also has quite a bit of science and tech thrown into the mix. I really enjoyed the magic system in this, the fact that not everyone is able to use it, but there’s no resentment or obvious hate towards others who are able to. There’s some who have a natural innate ability to pull maz from the air and not need any assistance to manipulate it, and there’s some called techwitches who can manipulate the maz with some help from tech built into their bodies. Also, the fact that maz comes in various strains, such as terraz, magnaz, firaz, and others. You have to pull the right strain to do what you’re aiming to do, and you can weave various strains together to do more complex things. That’s the other thing, you don’t just grab maz and things happen. You have to essentially weave the maz into a shape to accomplish what you want. It’s not like anything I’ve seen before, and I really enjoyed that aspect. The crew in this were all wonderful, I loved each one of them. I have to admit, Diz got on my nerves the most but that’s likely because she’s the first perspective person telling this story and we saw her innermost thoughts. I was very frustrated with her inability to just *tell* her friends that she was afraid of losing them once they went off to school. I get it, it’s not an easy thing to say, but if these are your best friends, you should be able to have those kinds of conversations without fear of repercussions. In fact, a large part of this story hinges on that simple thing, her not telling her friends she wants them to stay together. It builds stakes, I know that, but it bothered me a little more than I’d like. However! I did really enjoy this book despite those things, I read it very quickly and would read it again.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. Jam grew up in the city of Lucille, where children are told all monsters are gone, destroyed by the angels. She believed it… Until she met Pet, all feathers, horned, with sharp claws, climbing out of her mother’s painting with a drop of Jam’s blood. Pet tells her that they’re here only to hunt monsters, and needs Jam’s help. Pet’s mere presence forces Jam to take another look at her reality and start questioning what she’s been told by the adults. She must decide if she’ll continue thinking there’s no monsters, or help Pet uncover the truth. — Akwaeke Emezi does it again! I was blown away by how rich this little book is, they have an incredible skill for packing a lot of story into a short space. I want to add a couple things that I didn’t say in the synopsis. Jam is a Black trans girl, and this world is one where it was immediately accepted without question. Her best friend is a boy, and there’s no weird pressure for them to be dating or even have romantic interest in each other. Jam also uses sign language, because she is selectively non-vocal and doesn’t always use her voice. I love how all of the people in this story were just very accepting of Jam’s not speaking and didn’t treat her any differently for it. This is amazing, but once Pet shows up, it has an intense undercurrent to everything. Pet is not a gentle creature, they’re a coiled spring of violence ready to destroy any monsters they find. It’s never explicitly said, but it does allude to child abuse, and there is a pretty gruesome scene near the end, so be aware of that. I absolutely enjoyed this book, and will always read Emezi’s work! I know there’s a prequel of sorts to this, Bitter, which follows Jam’s mother when she’s a teen. I will be picking that up when I can!

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. This is a world very similar to our own, except for some significant differences. Myths, legends, monsters, magic. All of these, Indigenous and not, have shaped how people live in the US. Some are very simple and everyday, like being able to create a small orb of light, or travel across the world through fungi rings. Others… not so much. There are vampires, werewolves, and more gruesome horrors hidden behind a perfect facade. Elatsoe has the ability to raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill that comes from her Lipan Apache family, and she always has Kirby, her ghost dog, with her. Her cousin died, and the circumstances around the death make her suspicious. She decides to investigate, along with her friend Jay, who has fey ancestry. During their investigation into the town of Willowbee, they start finding things that suggest at a very dark history, and a very dangerous man. — There were a few minor pacing issues, but I LOVED this. Elatsoe is 17, and I definitely would say this reads more middle grade than YA, but I enjoyed it very much regardless. I loved how Badger wove in the slight differences that would come of having various legends and myths be real. Like how rings of fungi become a standard form of transport, rigorously controlled of course. How school had various classes on magic, creatures of myth, and so on. It did feel a little thrown in there at times to speed up world building, but it was minor for me. Elatsoe herself is Lipan Apache like I said earlier, and she’s also asexual. These are identities that the author also has, which is very cool. I would have loved to see more story about Elatsoe’s abilities, and her family lore. There was some tangent with Jay’s sister which didn’t really feel necessary for this story. But overall, I really enjoyed this and rated it very high.

(Including this because my blog posts act as a transcript as well.) Hey there! I’m trying something new for longer videos, a mid-video ad break of sorts? I’m just going to use this to say hey, if you want to support this channel with money, I have a few ways you can do that. First, since y’all are likely watching this on YouTube, here’s a tip. I know ads are annoying, but they do help a little bit. If you let them play all the way through, I get paid more than if you skip it immediately. But I completely understand if you aren’t feeling it or if the ad is one of those ridiculous five-, ten-minute ones. It’s much appreciated! Another option is Patreon, which is monthly, and you can choose how much you want to spend. You get access to different things, depending on what tier you sign up at. If you don’t want to or aren’t able to commit to monthly payments, I also have ko-fi which is the equivalent to a tip jar or buying me a small coffee. This is a bit newer, I have a small online store where you can buy some of my art as prints or stickers. I will be adding to it over time, but if you ever see any of my art that isn’t available as a print or sticker yet, let me know and I can make that happen! Links to everything will be below, of course. If you aren’t able to contribute financially at all, that’s alright! Even just sharing my content with your friends or retweeting helps. Alright, back to the video!

Water/Tongue by mai c. doan. A writing project by doan shortly after her grandmother’s suicide, she tries to give voice to her loss and remember memories with and from her family. It’s a book of poetry that explores Vietnamese history and culture, while also grappling with gendered and cultural violence, racism, and colonialism. — The synopsis on GoodReads is very long, and I don’t know if I see all of that in this book. But again, I struggle to connect with poetry. It’s just not something that’s my thing, and that’s fine. I did like parts of this book, and gave it a good rating. I don’t know if I understood enough of this to give a recommendation or not, so I won’t. If poetry is your thing, I’d say go read the reviews and decide from there, don’t ask me anything!

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember. Ersel is a nineteen-year-old mermaid who lives underneath an ice shelf with her clan. She’s always wondered what’s beyond the shelf, but doesn’t dare venture too far in fear of their cruel and brutal king. One day she rescues Ragna, a shield-maiden who got shipwrecked and is stranded on the glacier. They’re wary of each other at first, but as they learn more, they slowly become friends. But then Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he’s angry and forces her to make a choice: say goodbye to Ragna forever this instant or be pulled before the king for his brutal justice. Ersel won’t just accept her fate, so she decides to seek help from Loki, the god of tricksters. They strike a deal, but things don’t go how Ersel wanted. She gets exiled from her home, the only one she’s ever known. Loki taunts her because they did do what Ersel asked, just not in the way she wanted. To survive and hopefully be reunited with Ragna, Ersel must try and outsmart Loki. — I really loved this Little Mermaid retelling, because it took the story in a direction that I wasn’t expecting but pleasantly surprised by. It also weaves in Norse mythology by using Loki, which I love and makes complete sense. The original tale is vague on where it’s set, but it’s likely to be in the Scandinavia region, because that’s where the author is from. Ersel is already an outcast of sorts, then she gets exiled because of her wants being at odds of what’s expected from all the merpeople. This is a very familiar feeling to queer people, people who don’t quite fit in the mainstream, people who dream beyond the expected. I enjoyed all of the little details of what life would look like under an ice shelf, in the deep ocean, and the structure of the merpeople. There’s a lot of information in this, but I loved it all.

Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert W. Fieseler. The title says it all. This is historical nonfiction about the largest mass murder of queer people up until the Pulse shooting happened. A fire happened in a New Orleans bar frequented by queer people, and this bar had very limited exits, a lot of factors combined to make this a very tragic and horrible event in queer history. This book goes into what the community was like before this fire happened, the vibrant and thriving life of queer people, despite the oppression at the time. It also goes into detail on how the city handled the fire, the response to it afterward from both straight and queer people, how it rallied some people to fight for their rights and how it made some people want to go back to the shadows and stay comfortable there. I don’t want to go into too much detail, because I think this is truly an incredible book, and deserves to be read. It is very heavy though, and it does get a little graphic at times with the descriptions during the fire, but I think it’s very worth it if you are able to read this.

That’s all of the books I read for the Queer Lit Readathon! I sadly didn’t hit a blackout bingo board this round, because Ana on the Edge didn’t come in time which was going to cover the queer sports square, and I ran out of time to read something else. But it was still a good round, so I’ll take it! Now for the rest of the books I read this month.

Boys Come First by Aaron Foley. Three Black queer men grew up in Detroit and each have their own relationship with the city. Dominick left for lucrative advertising work in NYC, but after a sudden layoff from the start up he invested so much in and a bad breakup with his cheating ex, he moves back to figure out his next step. He does *not* want to still be single and unmarried by 35, but that’s quickly approaching. Troy, Dom’s best friend, has never left Michigan because he loves teaching the kids there, and he may be a little idealistic, really believing his school will always do what’s best for the kids. He’s struggling to hold onto his boyfriend who has his own struggles, has conflict with his dad who’s never happy with him and what he’s done. Then there’s Remy, a good friend who is a real estate agent who had a meteoric rise from nothing to rich and well-known. Remy is trying to decide between trying to make it work with a long-distance lover who’s constantly traveling, or a local man who’s not quite Mr. Right. He also has a high-stakes deal that could cause serious problems in his friendship with Troy. The three men are navigating friendship, love, while also dealing with life as Black queer men in a city that’s rapidly changing. — I just love how unapologetically Black this story is, and it allows the characters to be imperfect while not putting them down. It also touches on the different experiences Black people can have, from extremely successful as a real estate agent, to moderately as a teacher but with limited ability. And even how their experiences of being queer is different. Remy mostly keeps his queerness very separate from being an agent, because it’ll impact his ability to make contracts and deals. From what I recall, Troy mostly keeps it separate from his teaching because schools can be not so great about teachers being openly queer. Dom isn’t loud about it, but he’s not hush-hush about it either. I enjoyed the dynamics between the three of them, and seeing them work through things together. A couple of minor things that I didn’t particularly like. This book’s chapters are broken up into the perspectives of the three men. Dom and Troy are written in third, and Remy is written in first, which was an interesting choice, and a little unusual for me. It sometimes took me out briefly, but that’s a very minor thing. There are some sections where it feels a little dragging on, but it doesn’t last long so it wasn’t too much of an issue for me. The three men can sometimes seem very similar and it can sometimes take a second to figure out who’s speaking between Dom and Troy. This isn’t a problem for me, but it might be for others. But honestly, the book was really well-written for the most part, and all of that was enough for me to ignore the minor issues. I really enjoyed reading this.

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain. Albert has worked for the Royal Mail for decades, and he loves his job. Delivering mail to the same people every day, getting small glimpses into their lives, while being able to keep himself at a distance from everyone. His whole routine is shaken one day when he’s told that he’ll be forced into retirement once he turns 65, due to company policy. Albert starts thinking about what’s next, what he’ll have to do once he isn’t delivering mail all day. This leads to him reminiscing about his past, and the one who got away when he was a teen. It’s been decades, but he starts thinking about a plan to find the boy he lost and see if there’s any chance at a reunion and rekindling the old flames. Albert goes on a journey through the queer community, learning about how things have changed since he was a teen and how to be out and proud. — I really enjoyed this! It’s rare we have queer stories that center an older main character, especially one in their sixties. It was wonderful to see this old gay man rediscovering the queer community, and having his mind opened to how different lives are for queer people nowadays compared to his childhood. Back then, it was more or less a death sentence or exile from everything they knew. It’s also about a man who’s realizing that if he opened up just a little bit, he’d find people who really do care about him and want nothing but the best for him. His neighbors that he saw on his route, his co-workers, even random strangers that he just met. It’s very heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time. It is predictable, and can drag on a little in some parts, but I would absolutely recommend this book.

Bad Gays: A Homosexual History by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller. Bad not as in badass and sexy, but Bad as in dastardly criminals and villains. This is part revisionist history, part historical biography. The big question of this book is what can we learn from the queer villains in our past that influenced history in big ways and how they helped and/or hurt the queer community. The book talks about the following people: Hadrian, Pietro Aretino, James VI and I, Frederick the Great, Jack Saul, Roger Casement, Lawrence of Arabia, the Bad Gays of Weimar Berlin, Margaret Mead, J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn, Yukio Mishima, Philip Johnson, Ronnie Kray, and Tim Fortuyn. There are military leaders, mob bosses, sex workers, politicians, architects, and others from many walks of life. This book shows that queerness has been around for a long time, and only became more defined in the nineteenth century, that interpretation being a big part of historical conflict. Queer villains get the center stage! — I knew this book was about criminals and bad people, but wow. Some of these people were truly horrible. I still enjoyed reading this very much, and if you love learning more about history and the more hidden parts of it, this is definitely a fantastic read. There’s not much else I can say, other than more about the people in this book, but I would really recommend reading this. This is also based on a podcast by the same name, so if podcasts are your thing, you can listen to it instead!

And that’s all of the ten books I read in June! What are your thoughts on these books? What’s your current read? Let me know!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

May Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Hello and welcome to my May books! I read eight books, and the majority of what I read this month are graphic novels, so I’ll be going through them fairly quick today. Let’s just get right into it.

The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart. January Cole has her hands full with running security at a hotel. This isn’t your ordinary hotel though. Walk through at any time and you might see Romans, people dressed for a safari into the jungle, or Renaissance finery. This is the Paradox Hotel, where ultra-rich tourists come to visit different time periods in the past, and where time sometimes slips, causing the clocks to run backwards or ghosts wandering the halls. These aren’t Cole’s main concerns though. Right now, there are some high-profile guests that just arrived to start bidding on time-travel because it’s becoming privatized, and there’s a corpse only she can see in one of the rooms. She’s sure that this isn’t a coincidence, and she’s also seeing things happen to these guests that she’s able to stop. Cole is Unstuck, which means she experiences time slips. This is a handy ability to have, but it could eventually destroy her grip on reality and herself. — I really enjoyed reading this, with all of its timey-wimey happenings! January is definitely quite the character. She can be very abrasive and pushes people away, and she’s not entirely likable. However, you can see that she really cares about her job, about the people she works with and their safety. Cole really does not care for the rich snobs that come through the hotel, but will do her job, give them the respect they deserve (which isn’t very much most of the time). I mentioned her being called Unstuck. This is a side effect of being a time travel agent, riding the flow repeatedly and causing her mind to perceive time differently. Sometimes, she’ll relive past memories as if she was experiencing them in the present. Sometimes, she’ll hear snippets of conversations in empty rooms, either ones that haven’t happened yet or already happened. She occasionally sees flashes of future events, like someone pulling a gun out on her and shooting to kill. We also see her struggling with the fairly recent loss of her love, and that bleeds into her work and treatment of others. Cole is lesbian, there’s a nonbinary person of color on staff and I love them so much. There is a LOT that happens in this story because of all the slippery time, and a mystery woven into this, on top of political posturing, on top of a whole bunch of other things. I enjoyed this, but it’s certainly not for everyone.

How to be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess. A graphic memoir, Burgess tells their story of figuring out their identity throughout school, college, work, with relationships, at the same time as navigating their mental health. Growing up, they just assumed that sex was a scary new thing that they’d grow into, but it continued well into adulthood. They meet others like them, and finally figure out their identity, and learn how to navigate it in a sex-obsessed culture. — This was a great and short graphic novel, very heartwarming. I liked that while this was obviously specifically about the experience of Burgess, they also included brief descriptions of various ways ace relationships can look like, covered other parts of the spectrum. I thought this was a really well done representation of the asexual experience, which is difficult to find. 

Cyclopedia Exotica by Aminder Dhaliwal. This is a world where cyclops exist, and this is almost a slice of life comic, the cyclops creating metaphors for race, sexuality, gender, and disability. We see them struggle with interracial relationships, representation in media, xenophobia, and all the other daily struggles that humans face. — This is a very quick read, and it started as a series on Instagram. This is actually where I first learned about this, I’d always seen a strip here and there, then I happened to see the book at the library. It’s very wide-ranging in what topics it covers, which has its pros and cons. I enjoy it and would love to read more.

Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir by Bishakh Som. This is the memoir of a trans artist, but it’s told in a unique way. The story takes us through her life as she sees herself. She uses a cis woman character to tell her own life story, and the character almost becomes her own person through the process. We don’t really see the transition process but we do see the author’s struggle with identity as she hits a time in her life where she’s not happy with what she’s doing, and needs to change. Reading the author’s note, she started drawing these comics well before she transitioned, and drew them with a cis woman. It took her a long time to understand why she made that choice, which is so fascinating to me. Queer journeys are so varied and sometimes they’re very convoluted, but when we arrive—or rather, get to a place where we’re more sure of ourselves—it’s all worth the queer joy we find.

As the Crow Flies by Melaine Gillman. Charlie, a Black queer teenager, has been dropped off at a Christian all-girls youth camp, and she’s the only Black person there. As camp starts, Charlie gets increasingly uncomfortable with the religious aspect and the heavy-handed brand of feminism that seems very focused on cis white women. — There’s not much to say without just telling the whole story. There is a trans girl, and possibly some other queer campers but that isn’t clear. All of the queerness in this was very subtle, Charlie being attracted to women, and the trans girl’s coming out to Charlie. I understood it all, but I suspect that’s because I’m queer myself, and understand the very subtle codes people use to test the waters with other people. The target audience is middle grade or YA, and while I’m not saying they’re not smart enough, I am saying that if you’re not very exposed to the queer experience, that could go right over your head. It seemed like Charlie had recently lost someone important to her, but that part was very vague and confusing. This had an abrupt end which confused me, and while I was looking for some information about the author, I discovered that this is actually not the complete thing and it’s still ongoing. So hopefully, the further volumes will clear things up, but I think it could’ve been tightened up and had a quicker story pace. This was written by the same author that wrote Stage Dreams, a lesbian and trans Western graphic novel which I enjoyed. For this one, I’m not so sure. I just had too many questions at the end, a lot of plot things that are either left hanging or not wrapped up to my satisfaction. It’s fine, and I do really enjoy the nature illustrations.

Firefly: The Sting written by Delilah S. Dawson, illustrated by Pius Bak. Saffron, an enigmatic rogue who has caused nothing but misery for the crew of the Serenity, shows up while the women are having a spa day and recruits them to do a big heist. — Firefly is an early 2000s TV show that ran for only one season, and got canceled before it finished. It’s a sci-fi space Western story set 500 years in the future after a big civil war, focusing on a small spaceship crew that will take any job as long as it puts food on the table. The graphic novels expand on the stories of the crew. I really love the show, and was so sad that I found it well after it was canceled. There’s a cult following today, and it still continues to be popular at cons and such.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood by Melissa Wagner. This is a cute small book that pulls various quotes of life lessons from the show—how to practice kindness, self care, and empathy—pairing them with gorgeous illustrations of the various characters from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, the visitors to it, and Mr. Rogers himself. That’s pretty much the book, it was an extremely quick read but it was a good nostalgic trip even though I never really watched the show that much growing up.

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall. Viola Caroll came back from the war more true to herself, but to achieve that, she had to let herself be presumed dead. In doing so, she lost her wealth, title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood. She keeps her distance after the war, thinking it’s the best for everyone. However, Gracewood has taken the loss very hard. He’s retreated into his own grief, drinking and taking drugs for his pain but also to dull the loss of Viola. On a visit to the Gracewood estate, Viola sees this and barely recognizes the man before her. She decides she has to try and bring Gracewood back to himself, perhaps at risk of discovery and everything she’s built, but perhaps giving rise to something new and impossible. — I want to be clear, Viola is a trans woman. She was raised with Gracewood, and took the opportunity to transition and reimagine herself as her true self once she found out she was presumed dead. I really, really enjoyed this Regency-era historical romance. Viola’s transness does impact the story, but it nearly never becomes the main focus. The fact that she’s a woman and has to live by all of society’s rules takes precedence, especially when she’s around Gracewood and there’s a whole new dynamic that they have to navigate. There is so much queer longing in this, Gracewood for his old friend, and for Viola. It goes the other way as well, with Viola realizing that her feelings for Gracewood have evolved into something that she didn’t have a name for before. Gracewood did have an initial struggle upon learning who Viola was, but quickly accepted her as who she was. The few other characters that know about Viola’s transness have their own relationship to it, but they all accept and support her. Viola is definitely haunted by her past, coming face to face with all of the things she used to do that she can’t now that she’s a “proper” lady, learning how to navigate society as a lady’s companion. Alexis Hall is a fantastic author, and I think he did a great job with all the banter. I didn’t connect it until later, but he’s also the author of Boyfriend Material, which I also enjoyed very much! If you enjoy historical fiction, especially one set in Regency-era society, I would absolutely recommend this.

That’s it for what I read during May. I anticipate June being a BIG wrap up, since as of filming this video, I’ve already read five books. That’s in part because of Queer Lit Readathon, which is ongoing as I film this. But I also got approved for SO many eARCs that are publishing this month, and nearly all of them are queer, so I’m going to do my best to get through as many as I can! That’s all for today, comment whatever below, and I’ll see you soon. Happy Pride month!

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