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The Queen Is Dead; Long Live The Queen

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In 2006, I got a cat. She was the runt of the litter, the tiniest little thing.

When I went to pick her up from “Cathy” (the fake name I use to refer to the worst person I’ve ever met, who I’ve written about before), she said, “Now the other kittens can come downstairs.”

In a litter of four, the smallest one had been afraid to try the stairs. And she’d made sure her littermates weren’t going to try them, either.

I have a very strong belief in the importance and power of names. For example, if you ask me if I want to pet your German Shepherd, Loki, the answer is going to be absolutely not and I’m sorry about your furniture. You thought it was funny to name your Great Dane “Tiny,” but now that he thinks he’s Chihuahua-sized and wants to sit in your lap it’s not so clever, is it? Our children named our dog Coraline; she runs away at night. We once had a pair of kittens we named Fred and George. J.K. wrote that final book and bam, Fred died of a saddle embolism, the avada kedavra of the cat world. Names are important, so when Cathy handed me this kitten and said, “Her name is Deidre,” I was like fuck that. In mythology, Deidre brought sorrow to everyone she loved and I wasn’t keen to invite that energy into the house.

Turns out, I didn’t get a choice in what to name the cat. I brought the hissing, crying baby home and took her to my office, a room away from everything where she could slowly get used to her surroundings. I put her down, showed her where the litter box was, put food and water nearby, all while she growled and raised the hair on her back and lurked under my desk. I decided to back off, to go into the living room and give her space. I sat down and turned on the television and…

mew.

It was an angry mew, too. The tiny little kitten was standing in my hallway, loudly yowling for attention. I stood and she turned to go back to the office. I sat back down. She turned around again and angry-mewed.

She didn’t want me to interact with her, but she wanted me to keep trying.

After thirty minutes of confused groveling on my part, she strutted out from beneath my desk to wander around the house and complain loudly about everything she didn’t like. The television, for example, was scary and confusing. It had to go. The toilet was dangerous, so the bathroom door had to be closed. And there was something just wrong about where I’d put my beer on the coffee table. It looked better on the floor. When it came time to sleep, I put her on the end of the bed and got in, careful not to disturb her.

But I’d gotten it all wrong! She didn’t belong at the end of the bed like a common dog. She belonged on my pillow, on the top of my head, in my hair.

That went on for roughly her entire life. And even from that first night, my hair was never clean enough. Just washed it? Smells like shampoo. Needs to smell like cat breath. Came home from the bar back in 2006 when people could still smoke inside? Oh, my foolish, naughty human. But it was that first night, those first disparaging mews that let me know how unworthy was I to stand in her presence that I realized I would never, ever be good enough to be on a first-name basis with this cat.

So, we called her Her Majesty.

At the vet, they would say, “Oh, hello Her Majesty,” and I would sheepishly explain that it wasn’t her name, but her title, so the appropriate address was Your Majesty.

During my very last phone call with the vet, he said, “I’m calling about…Her Majesty? Is that right?” I confirmed and he muttered to himself, “That’s about right.”

Despite being in the very last hours of her life, she still demanded royal treatment.

Because of her small size, Her Majesty couldn’t be spayed before she went into heat the first time. Despite every precaution, she managed to slip past us, out the door, and it was all over. She became a teen mom to a brood of half-Maine Coon kittens from the intact tom that wandered the neighborhood. We never did manage to get him into family court.

As the birth approached, the vet told us to make a quiet, safe place for her, away from the main living areas, where she could go and be alone and feel safe. That’s what cats do, they explained. I was to check on her, but not too often, as cats often sneak off to give birth on their own, and if I disturbed her too much she might move somewhere I wouldn’t be able to monitor her.

Though Her Majesty thoroughly enjoyed lazing in the nesting box we arranged for her in my office (easily the least chaotic room in our home), when the time for the royal litter arrived she demanded a change of venue.

She preferred to give birth on the floor of my four-year-old’s toy closet. You know. Where anyone would want to be totally vulnerable.

I tried to move her, but after the third time, I gave up. I let her go into the closet and resigned myself to weeks of nail-biting terror as I tried to protect precious, delicate new lives from an affectionate pre-schooler. I brought the towels and blanket from the nesting box and got her all good and ready to ruin our floor. Then, I turned the light off and left the door half-open and resigned myself to a long, nervous wait. I knew I couldn’t disturb her further, so I turned the tv off and switched to a book.

Her Majesty came back to the living room, meowing furiously. Her cute little mew had lasted all of three weeks before it had turned into the most pissed-off sound any animal has ever made. But now, it was mad and in a hurry. She forced me to sit with her in the closet while she labored. I had to be completely motionless. If I shifted even a little bit, she would bite me. If I tried to leave, she would try to follow me.

So I had to sit and watch what was objectively the grossest thing I’ve ever seen. And I used to take people to the morgue.

She had five beautiful kittens, the care of which she found tedious at best. Our Springer Spaniel, Tucker, was selected to be the royal nanny. He didn’t apply for the job. He did not want it or anything to do with the kittens, who sent him into a state of trembling, farting terror. Which I understood; imagine you’re a dog who lives with a mean cat, and suddenly the cat multiplies. That’s a new and terrifying power. But day after day, when the kittens were finished nursing, Her Majesty brought the kittens to Tucker, who would lay motionless but for the panicked flicking of his eyelids as he signaled to us in morse code for help. And she went off and did whatever she wanted to.

The dining room window is Her Majesty’s window. As in, only Her Majesty is allowed to look through that window. If you don’t obey, you get a scratch.

When offering Her Majesty catnip or treats, one does not simply shake an amount onto the floor and call the task done. Nay, one must wait until the offering has been inspected and is indeed sufficient. Her Majesty decides what is enough.

My husband once asked why I let Her Majesty kiss me by booping her nose on my mouth. “We are best friends!” I shrieked in outrage. “I was her labor coach!” I don’t think my family truly understood why I loved Her Majesty so much because, despite their best efforts, she treated them all like garbage. She adored the kids…when they were little. Once they turned ten, she lost all interest. Though she loved to use my husband as furniture while he slept, she spent much of her time with him glaring accusingly. He referred to her as Lady Cuntington. She never referred to him, at all.

Her Majesty could talk. At least, I talked to her and she made noises back and that was enough conversation for me. We talked about a lot of stuff. Once, I tried to explain lizards to her until she walked out of the room. Another time, I asked her why the fuck she wasn’t helping while I tried to chase a bat out of the house. She stood up, stretched, made a big show of yawning, and moved to a different position to go back to sleep. Her Majesty did not catch mice. And she found the movie Cats offensive.

This was her default facial expression:

Her Majesty is a fluffy tiger cat who looks both offended and bored. She's laying in a recliner covered in claw marks, in our clean laundry.

Her Majesty died on March 30, 2021, after a sudden decline in her health. On Thursday, she walked with a little hitch in her giddyup, but nothing serious. I thought I’d keep an eye on it and call the vet. She came into my room that night and slept on my head, for the first time in a long time. Friday, she was sleepy and not interested in her food. I called the vet and took the earliest appointment they had on Monday. But Her Majesty got worse. She went from not being interested in her food to not being interested in treats by Saturday night. Sunday, she sat quietly by herself all day long. I held her in my lap and Mr. Jen offered her some chicken broth to get her to eat, but she turned her head away.

She still wanted the water bowl refreshed and the surface of the food undented. And she still wanted to be offered treats. So she could decline them.

After a night at the cat hospital, I got the call. Her Majesty’s white cell count and blood sugar were through the roof. She’d been diabetic, but we hadn’t noticed the symptoms. Her dry skin, I chalked up to the fact that she’d always had acne, to the point that she’d been on steroids and antibiotics for it on and off through her adult years. As a senior cat, she put on weight. Diabetic cats lose weight. There was never a noticeable increase in her thirst, but because we have dogs, there are multiple sources of water in the house, so it’s possible that she could have increased her intake. Because she’d been hospitalized several times for a bladder issue that required surgery, I always checked the litter box to make sure she was peeing, and everything seemed like normal cat pee in usual amounts. By the time her symptoms were noticeable, it was Thursday, and it was too late.

I guess I should feel like I failed her for not seeing it. At the same time, I can’t say for sure that she wanted me to know. She’d never been shy about telling anyone anything. Maybe she just decided that she had graced me with her presence for fifteen years, and that was more than enough for an undeserving mortal like me.

It was just me and her in the room after the vet gave Her Majesty the euthanasia shots. I kissed her nose and held her and petted her. I played “God Save The Queen,” the real version, not the cool punk rock version, on my phone as she died. When I came home, I announced somberly to the dogs, “London Bridge is Down.” I bought her an urn that I hope she would find befitting of the life she lived and the legacy she left behind:

The urn is in the style of an ancient egyptian coptic jar with Bast's head on it.

She has been entombed among the crystals and house plants on my desk, all of which she absolutely lived to fuck with. Hence the dirt on the table.

I couldn’t bear to clean it up.

The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp, Chapter Seven

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Need to catch up?

State Of The Trout: Fits and Bursts and Bits and Pieces

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The year of Chaotic Creativity is…really quite something, so far. It might seem from the lack of recent posts here that I haven’t been doing much. Boy. Howdy.

Once I accepted two very important things, my creativity exploded. Those two things: my brain doesn’t work on a schedule and I’m not a failure if I don’t finish something every single day. As a result, I’ve been chugging along, putting bits and pieces into both blog business and the following things:

  • a children’s book
  • two small-town romances
  • a massive fantasy novel/world
  • learning to draw furry art
  • figuring out how to rap and writing a diss track about the haters
  • planning out twenty episodes of a comedy podcast I’d like to launch this year
  • designing things to put on t-shirts and other merch
  • a stream-of-consciousness memoir

Now, will any of this pan out? Who the hell knows? I’m using the patchwork approach to my blog and my Patreon and multiple other projects that must be released this year, like Queen of Hell (the sequel to Nightmare Born) and In The Blood (the first of hopefully many monster-fucking books I’ll release as Jennifer Morningstar), so I feel like please expect everything to come in fits and bursts and let’s see how this approach works going forward. But I can honestly say that this is the most creatively fulfilled and positive I’ve felt in a really, really long time. The other day, I wrote so much by hand that I ran out a whole brand new ink pen.

Also, you know those afghans people crochet or knit that have colors based on the temperature every day? And then at the end of the year, it’s like, here’s my blanket that shows what the weather has been like?

I made one of those, but different.

This is my pain blanket on the last day of January:

A wavy-stripe afghan of many colors, stretched out on a table.

Every day, I keep track of the pain that I’m in and assign it a level based on the standard numerical pain scale. I would show you a physical example of which colors correspond to which pain level, but I spilled coffee on my bujo page where I’d made this lovely layout with pieces of the yarn and their colors and the dye lot. We’re gonna just settle on this.

2 – dark blue
3 – less bright teal
4 – bluish-white
5 – surgical scrubs green
6 – light brown/gray
7 – very light green
8 – darker brown
9 – obnoxiously bright teal
10 – obnoxiously bright sky blue

There is no 0 or 1 because I have not had a 0 or 1 day since 2009 and it would be a waste of yarn.

This will be the only time I’ll be able to show it to you spread out on a table. This section is actually about 50″ wide, so you’re only seeing a very small bit of it. When it’s done and blocked, it’ll be big enough for a queen-sized bed (if I did the math right). I started off with an actual blanket pattern, then I was like, nah, I’ll just do row after row of shells. It’s easier for watching tv and not paying attention, it will look the same on both sides, and it will catch up faster when I have days I can’t work on it. One row for each day, Pima cotton because if I’m spending a year on it, so I  want it to be sturdy.

And at the end of the year, when all is said and done, I’ll have a fine blanket to snuggle up in and a cool visual reminder that I’m not a superhuman who is choosing to fail at life. I am a disabled person who has to fight through tons and tons and tons of pain and if you consult that there chart for January, I’m finding out that I’m in worse shape than I thought.

Buffy/Angel Recaps are ending. After the events of the weekend, I can no longer pretend that separating the art from the artist is possible for me in this case. When I watch the show now, all I see are abused and traumatized young women. I’m so pissed off at Joss Whedon for abusing actors that the fandom had come to love as their real, human selves. I can’t watch my “friends” anymore knowing they were in such a terrible situation. It doesn’t feel right. I know this is disappointing and it sucks, but as more and more about Joss has leaked out over the years, the reality was getting harder and harder to overcome.

Finally, I bring you the gossip that you deserve: I know I said I was never, ever, ever going to give her publicity again, but I thought this was definitely petty enough to post. Jamie McGuire, writer of the infamous “cum-burping gutter slut” line, now has an OnlyFans.

 

Jamie McGuire's OnlyFans page, which features a header photo collage of her in a black bustier and circa 2007 Lindsay Lohan makeup making sexy faces (including biting her lip). Her userpic is her in a skimpy red bikini and some kind of baseball hat

But it’s only for stuff about her books. Nothing dirty. Just stuff about her books. And art. The cleavage and bikini and fuck-me-face and “Single Mom” on a website mostly used to sell adult content is just how you make it in the books and art world.

Look. I don’t care if someone has an OnlyFans account, okay? Maybe I’ll set up an OnlyFans account and it will just be me staring vacantly into the camera while I eat eggs. And I don’t know what kind of content she has on there. It might be nudes and I not paying ten dollars to look at freckly middle-aged caucasian skin. I’m just not into it, okay? I’ve got literally yards of my own. But even if she’s on there spreading beaver, fine. She has the right to do that. Not my beaver, not my business.

What is my business is that a woman who has made it her life’s mission to call other women sluts and whores and even ran for office as a misogynist piece of GOP anti-choice trash has her cups runnething over on a site associated with sex work. I don’t care if someone gets their tits out on the internet for profit. I do care if someone gets their tits out for profit while maintaining that only sluts and whores lose their virginities or whatever the fuck she was trying to get across in her pointless books. The constant hypocrisy that rolls like a tide of sewage onto the medical-waste-strewn beach of the Christian conservative thought process never ceases to disgust me.

Bonus, she’s taking a vacation right now. In Jamaica, a country with hit-or-miss medical care facilities. During the pandemic.

And you know she’s probably a fucking anti-masker.

Counting Lambs

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Around August of 2020, my dreams became very small.

Maybe it’s the quarantine. The world has become very small. Can a brain run out of things to process?

It could be my stress levels.

For whatever reason, my dreams have become very small.

And I have become very aware.

There are places I can go to in my dreams. The same ones, over and over, cobbled together in a city that is at once Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, the French Quarter, downtown Las Vegas, and New York City all at once. There’s a lake. There’s a place that’s a cross between Disney World and various video games; last night, I spent quite a bit of time in a farming simulation that was also my high school and a community theater performance. Along with the familiar locations of my high school (often mixed with my middle school) and the community theater that is a jumble of both theaters I volunteer at, I can attend a nightmare mashup of the churches I attended as a child. There’s always a funeral going on! I can also go on vacation with my friends, ride jet skis, visit my grandparents’ lake house, or simply stroll the streets of my own village, which isn’t an exact replica but does contain the most anxiety-inducing grocery store ever designed.

Or the shopping mall.

It is every shopping mall and none. It is a closed-down mall, a 1980s throwback mall, a glitzy Detroit suburb mall, all in the same enormous building (one side of which is a second-run discount movie theater, another, a seedy strip mall).

Because I am lucid in these dreams, but still obviously dreaming, I occasionally treat myself.

But because I am lucid in these dreams, but somehow still awake, I occasionally treat myself. I wake up the next morning, confused as to why there are notifications that Wish has received my payment.

The first time this happened, I panicked, until I saw that I’d only spent three dollars on a charming little ring instead of eleven dollars for a set of ten crack pipes.

I don’t know why those always pop up in my recommendations.

The second time it happened, I’d spent twelve dollars, total. Nothing alarming. I’ve done this five times since August and as it turns out, I’m just as cheap in my dreams as I am in real life. Otherwise, I would have to seek some kind of treatment.

Most of the time, what I buy in my dream is nothing like what shows up in my mailbox. One night, I bought a huge potted plant and tickets to a Billy Joel concert. Waking in a panic, I found that all I’d ordered was a correction tape that prints little owls over your mistakes. Total cost: $3.87 after shipping.

Other times, I’ll dream of buying something adjacent to the product I’m actually sleep-buying. Nail polish in the night becomes an eyeliner/eyeshadow combo in the morn. Brass knuckles become a silicone mold for casting self-defense keychains from resin. They make sense. But none of them have been literal.

Until now.

We’ve come through a lot of words here to get to my point: I have literally had a dream come true.

It is a hoodie. And it is beautiful.

A hoodie draped over the back of my computer chair. It is printed with a huge image of Mariah Carey. As in, like a photo of Mariah Carey is the print of the entire fabric.

The Year of Chaotic Creation Update!

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I said I would do it. And now it’s here.

It’s the year of Chaotic Creation. And my, what a year it has been.

Ah, I see it is the 13th of January.

[insert the endless shriek of a thousand souls withering in the icy grasp of a godless universe]

How have I passed the time so far? What have I created, aside from the very, very brief animation above?

I made fan art of my own characters. I started out with Iris, from Nightmare Born:

I drew Iris as a cartoon character, basically head and shoulders. She has red curly hair, anime eyes, and she's wearing a purple and pink shirt. She's outlined in purple.

She’s outlined in purple because that color is a theme in the book.

I tried to cartoon-ify Sophie from The Boss, too, but I forgot her shoes and, as Bronwyn Green noted, it looks like Sophie is aware of the oversight:

I drew Sophie with a big head, long neck, pink dress, and...no shoes.

Please note, I left plenty of room to do shoes and even a shadow on the ground but I was like, eh, fuck it, good enough.

Look, I’m just getting the hang of digital art, okay? I’ve never used a Wacom tablet before and although I am an eternal child, I am also an old. I’ll get better. I’ve even got plans for what I’m doing with this skill when I do get better!

I’ve also started learning some very, very, very basic game design. Will I ever make a game? Who the fuck knows. But it will be nice to know how they work.

“But Jenny,” you may be saying to yourself, “What about your Patreon posts and other posts here?” You’re probably not saying that because you’ve been following this blog and you’re so much nicer to me than I could ever possibly be, but never fear, it’s been lurking in the back of my mind. I’ve been working on those things, as well, but my brain has been pretty overwhelmed with the violent insurrection and the whole civil war thing we have going on of late, so I can only do a little at a time. But you know what? I’m actually very, very, very proud of what I’m getting done, even if it’s not a huge word count every single day.

I hope you’re all staying happy, healthy, and not-seditious. If you aren’t already subscribed to my YouTube channel, it might be worth your while; I’ll be uploading some content soon (internet issues have made uploading anything a total nightmare) and it’s gaming oriented, so if you’re into The WitcherStardew Valley, or Graveyard Keeper, smash that notification button or however the kids are saying shit these days.

2021: The Year Of Chaotic Creation

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Here’s what I’m doing in 2021. If it sounds good to you, do it, too. I think after the hell year of 2020 and the fact that there really isn’t a ton of light at the end of the tunnel yet, we all need something to get us off the couch and away from doom scrolling and binge-watching, and generally just wandering around in a stupor. We might not be able to get out of the house, but we can get into our heads.

In 2021, I am creating chaotically. And when I say it’s gonna be chaos…it’s gonna be chaos. Because I realized that there is a) no reason that all of my creative energy needs to go into either secret projects I don’t show anyone for fear of feeling “monetized” or projects that are extremely monetized and b) I’m my own boss and I can do literally whatever I want.

Obviously, I’ve got the recaps I’m going to keep doing because I like doing those (although Buffy is getting harder to get on board with; Joss Whedon makes my skin crawl and he’s basically destroyed my love for the show). I’m going to devote more time to The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp, because I’m enjoying that, too.

But you know what else I enjoy? LITERALLY EVERYTHING.

If you stood in my office and you saw all the stuff in here, you’d be like, “This person has never finished a craft project in her life.” I have so many hobbies that in the past, I’ve had to actively participate in community craft fairs to be able to afford more supplies. I’m like some Dickensian urchin warming himself in a doorway, begging passers by, “Please, sir, just a drop of gouache?”

Here are all the things I like…do:

  • knitting
  • crochet
  • community theater
  • oil and acrylic paintings
  • painting and designing custom ouija boards
  • decorating miniature rooms in an unfinished wooden castle for no reason
  • play a little bit of a lot of different instruments, badly
  • sing
  • game
  • crafting theatrical props
  • writing thoughts about metaphysical stuff and rarely posting to a hobby blog
  • epoxy resin pieces
  • watercolor
  • counted cross-stitch
  • illustrating a children’s book I made up
  • bullet journaling
  • coloring in those adult coloring books which is a misleading name because there aren’t any bewbs.
  • soap making
  • needle felting
  • fanfic
  • writing screenplays/teleplays of my own work
  • So much weird mixed medium stuff

Writing is such a very small percentage of what comes out of my head. While I sometimes post art on Instagram, I generally keep it under my hat because I am a writer, you see, and there is only ONE THING I AM ALLOWED TO BE.

Everyone told me that when I turned forty, I would no longer give any fucks. Any at all. And surprisingly, the area hardest hit was my perception of myself and how I’d pigeon-holed myself. Not a single fuck left. I don’t need to keep a side hobby blog for my witchy-poo nonsense. There’s no reason I’m not allowed to put that here. And there’s no reason I’m not allowed to put my art here when it’s not a mental health update or something. And if I want to make a YouTube video of me singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of a green screen scrolling a constant loop of kittens barfing in the background? There’s no reason I shouldn’t put it on this blog.

It’s my blog.

Also, the description of what my company, Trout Nation Inc., does is very vague and I’m the sole shareholder. I’ve also heard that blogs are “dead,” so if I’m one of the last villagers in this abandoned valley, I’m gonna take this in a real, real strange direction.

I know, Business Centaurs aren’t strange enough.

I guess what I’m saying is, plan on seeing a bunch of random stuff next year, as I allow my creative self to do whatever it fucking feels like and I just vomit it in here and on my YouTube channel. If you decide to do the same thing, let’s call it a Chaotic Creation Challenge, and you wanna post stuff to your blog or your social media, put a link in the comments to share. I don’t care if you come back to this post in July like, “Just built the largest card house I’ve ever achieved,” everyone is going to be psyched for you.

Because I’m the President-King of Trout Nation and I decree that we all have to be psyched for each other.

I’m not saying that 2021 is gonna be our best year. I’m definitely not setting goals in stone; we’ve seen how well that’s worked out progressively every year since 2016. But I am saying that 2020 took a lot of stuff from us and it’s time to create in the face of destruction, if that does, in fact, make you feel more hopeful.

If it doesn’t, then I invite you to take the Miserable Bastard Challenge, which is like the Chaotic Creation thing but just staying super cynical and angry. I fully support anyone who just cannot fucking trust 2021.

THE FINAL BOSS BOOK! Title change, cover reveal, and release date!

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READERS! IT’S HAPPENING! IT’S REALLY HAPPENING!

While I had planned to announce The Daughter‘s release date and reveal the cover last week, it just felt…wrong. And I didn’t know why. This is going to be the very last time I’m with Sophie. While I’ve been writing other books, as well, Sophie has been my main focus, my work wife, since I started writing the serialized version of The Boss in…was it 2013? I can’t remember. Either way, for the better part of a decade.

It was difficult to decide on a cover. I kept staring at it, going, “the title just doesn’t look right. None of this looks right. Is that even how ‘daughter’ is spelled? It looks so…wrong.”

I realized that out of all the titles in the series, none of them, not a single one, had referred to Sophie. For example:

  • The Boss referred to Neil.
  • The Girlfriend referred to Valerie.
  • The Bride was Emma.
  • The Ex was Stephen.
  • Obviously, Olivia is The Baby.
  • The Sister referred to Molly
  • The Boyfriend was El-Mudad

Sophie has never had top billing. When you read The Daughter, it’ll be clear who it refers to. But that person isn’t Sophie.

So, without further ado, the title and the cover for the final book in The Boss series will be (already ruined for you by the social media preview):

My Favorite Adult High Fantasy Romances/High Fantasy With Romantic Elements

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Over on Patreon, I’m running a Jealous Patrons Book Club feature where you can subscribe to recaps or discussion posts for A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I will refrain from putting my opinion on the book here, as that’s not what this post is about.

Instead, this post is about amazing High-Fantasy Romances or High-Fantasy with strong romantic elements that I have read and loved. There are titles on here you might recognize, but overall I feel like these books didn’t get the attention they deserved. You’re gonna see one and go, “Jenny, come on. You really think that one didn’t get enough attention?”

Yes. I think that even the most popular of these should be far more celebrated than they are, even if the only thing left is to declare an international day of appreciation and/or building a statue beneath which the author’s heart and brain will be entombed upon their death, that we may all be grateful to be so close to their most important parts.

That got grim.

Anyway, jam these in your eye holes or your earholes or the tips of your fingers. Which ever way you choose to read (though I’m not sure which formats all of these books are available in, to be perfectly frank). Oh, and I’ve excluded YA High Fantasy from the list because honestly, my list would be like, SUSAN DENNARD OKAY THAT’S ALL YOU NEED LOCK YOURSELF IN A ROOM AND READ EVERYTHING SHE’S WRITTEN, COOL?

These might also seem old, in terms of release. All but one of them are, indeed, decades old. But High Fantasy Romance has been something of a disappointment for me for the past few years. There was such a huge boom in the 00’s in the subgenre, but it feels like its’ petered out a bit. There was also a substantial rise in YA Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy/High Fantasy, so it did feel for a while like publishers went, “And the girly elf books go over here!” and I kind of wandered away from the genre and into books about WWII because congratulations, I’m your dad! But I’m always taking recommendations. Send them my way (and the way of everyone else) in the comments.