As our cultural pendulum swings hard towards “purity” and repressiveness, there’s a real, healing power in unashamed sex positivity. And one of our goals here at Microcosm is to publish books that normalize and celebrate that.
One of our favorite books in this vein is Vic Liu’s 2021 Bang: Masturbation for People of All Genders and Abilities. We love the book’s inclusiveness and its friendly design and tone that allows you to open it anywhere and learn something useful—whether about the history of sex toys, a guide to teaching your kids healthy attitudes and boundaries, or a reminder that you don’t need to feel shame in exploring and enjoying your body.
Even so, we were taken by surprise last fall when it became clear that we were about to sell through the first printing. We put our heads together with Vic and decided to create an expanded new edition instead of simply reprinting the original. Vic lined up some great new content from folks like sensuality teacher Ev’Yan Whitney, Scarleteen founder Heather Corinna, and sex worker and educator Elle Stanger, and the great adrienne maree brown, author of Emergent Strategy and Pleasure Activitism, agreed to write the foreword.
Please check out our Kickstarter project for the book and back it to pre-order a copy for yourself and one for a friend who needs a liberatory nudge towards self-love. Rewards include discounted copies of a number of our other consent-based sex education books and erotica, and enamel pins designed by Vic to show pride in self-love!
It’s time: We’re requesting stories for the seventh volume of feminist bicycle science fiction series Bikes in Space.
The fifth volume, Bikes Not Rockets, is funding on Kickstarter through August 8th. The sixth, with the working title Dragon Bike, is in edits. This seventh volume is scheduled to come out in early 2021.
For the first time we’re excited to welcome a guest editor to the series: Lydia Rogue, who stepped in to edit the most recent issue of the Taking the Lane zine, True Trans Bike Rebel, pitched the theme for this volume and we couldn’t resist.
Without further ado, here are the submission guidelines:
The theme for this issue is: trans and nonbinary characters and writers. Working title: The Great Trans-Universal Bike Ride
We’ve recently started the kickstarter project for the next issue of Taking the Lane: True Trans Rebel, and it’s got us thinking about all the cool stuff Microcosmonauts are working on right now beyond the books. From quilting to writing, conscious coffee to queer romance, and more.
Here’s some of the cool things we’re doing right now…
Jeri Cain Rossi has made our sales numbers blossom in her time here. This spring, she has a collab art show at xoBruno, featuring her quilting formed into amazing Japanese style boro bags.
Check it out until the end of the month and learn more at www.xobruno.com/blog/first-friday-with-jeri-cain-rossi
Cyn Marts, our publicity director who hooks folx up with our books and runs our giveaways, just launched a feminist wellness subscription box aimed at cannabis-enthusiasts. With accessories, tools, munchies, and featuring Microcosm books The Stoner Babes Coloring Book and The Feminist Weed Farmer. Learn more and join the babes at manic-pixie-stoner-babes.cratejoy.com or follower her on instagram @manicpixiestonerbabe.
Writer Cat Caperello has contributed to several EBP titles with creative flair, including Pedal Zombies. This month’s they’re running a kickstarter to bring their dream business to life: coffee with a conscious.
Check out this rad caffeine biz, Woke Coffee, at www.kickstarter.com/projects/wokecoffee/bring-the-woke-coffee-espresso-cart-to-north-portl
Administrative Assistant Trista Vercher has a lot of passion projects in the pipeline. From queer romance to mental health, their art is as rad as they are. Check out these sketches!
Follow them on twitter @Vercher_Ink.
Continuing his autism advocacy work, Joe Biel is working to build up more zines, resources, and websites for folks on the spectrum and the people that love and care for them.
You can learn more about upcoming zines like Proud to Be Retarded and Your Neurodiverse Friend and their calls for submissions at .
Jamae Sabangan, current intern and all around awesome, is working on a couple urban fantasy novels called Shift and Rain, both set in PDX and each following a twenty-something protagonist who’s racing against the sands of time. She also runs a website that shares ways to find joy and personal success in creativity. The site’s most recent ongoing project features multi-passionates and how they integrate their multi-layered interests into daily living.
Details on these, along with her other creative work, including a poetry series and fairy tale retellings, can be found at HintofJam.com.
Lydia Rogue, currently interning and guest-editing True Trans Bike Rebel, spends their time focused on creative writing!
“My job? Writing. Internship? Writing. School? Writing. Volunteer work? Writing. Relaxation? Writing.”
They’ve been focusing on their poetry, queer fiction, and writing about writing, as well as reviews of resources and solid advice on how to get your write on even when you’re broke af. You can catch their fiction and writing advice on their Patreon.
Kelsey Williams, who just finished up with our intern program, spends her time working on her book, started back in 2013. It’s a young adult fantasy book that features tortured souls and a world teetering between life and death, and another she turns to when having writer’s block for the other, which is contemporary fiction with tidbits of poetry and a bittersweet romance. When not writing and editing books, she’s writing on her blog– anything from book and film reviews to veganism topics to travel adventures. You can find her blog at http://www.emourly.com
And did we mention True Trans Rebels? This latest issue of Taking the Lane (#15) is the passion project of Elly Blue, guest edited by current intern Lydia Rogue and featuring Trista Vercher’s rad art of River the genderfluid Kitty.
The project is live at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ellyblue/true-trans-bike-rebel-taking-the-lane-15 and you can check out the video below.
Cannabis, currently only legal in about half of the US, is a dicey topic that tends to either get reactions of full-on support, disinterest, or disdain. We’ve been blown away by the initial support of the project (so many shares!) and disconcerted to see some backlash against the presence of cannabis themes in our catalog. So with just over 24 hours left in our Stoner Babes kickstarter project, I wanted to take a sec to talk about why we’re publishing it.
The more we learn about the science behind cannabis, and the racist history that brought it to where it is now in cultural mindsets, the more we see the stories of femme, marginalized, and differently-abled folks who use cannabis for positive change as important to share.
In this first take on that goal, Katie Guinn has presented a dreamy collection of self-identified “babes” beyond the stereotype of lazy, munchie-fueled stoners who are most often white, straight, cis, and male.
Personally, in my time in Portland I’ve found an incredible network of womxn who use cannabis as a tool for self-empowerment, self-improvement, and to stay healthier and happier. I’ve felt supported as a woman and a person of color, a stoner and a creative, flawed human being. So when The Stoner Babes Coloring Book was brought up as a possibility, here was a mission I was firmly behind: highlighting diverse stoners who successfully use cannabis as a power for good in their lives and communities. Yes, please!
And now, here with are, with one day left and less than $100 to go. We got this, babes!
-Cyn, Microcosm’s Resident Stoner Babe
Learn more about the work behind the book, and Katie’s thoughts on cannabis as empowerment, on the kickstarter page at Microcosm.Pub/SBK.
With our Spring 2017 Kickstarter project up and running (and going so well!) I thought I’d highlight a few other current projects that really caught our eyes. You might dig them, too.
From the Kickstarter: Stories of real women turned into fairy tales. Inspiring girls to follow their dreams.
Why we love it: It’s way past time that young girls were given the same types of heroes and choices as boys. Taking real-life stories of women who changed the world and turning them into the heroes of children’s picture books is fantastic, AND they donate a book for every book bought– how cool is that?
From the KS: “Recording non-airbrushed biographies is valuable, but what is most valuable is giving women the 5-10 minutes to be seen, heard and acknowledged. It is powerful experience on both ends of the lens. I am honored to be doing this project and grateful to the hundreds of women who have trusted me with their story. me&EVE is uniting women – one photo, one story and one woman at a time.”
Why we love it: Described as something like Humans of New York but with a full focus on women, we’re totally into this project that puts real women and their stories in front of the camera.
Harriet Tubman : Demon Slayer
From the KS: “A graphic novel based on the true life of the freedom fighter with genre liberties… Log Line: When slave owners can’t stop the formidable ninja warrior Harriet Tubman, they call on the help of Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, & Demons to stop her. Harriet Tubman must lead a family of slaves to freedom while battling an army of darkness.”
Why we love it: We love the idea of taking a historical hero and making her even more amazing while giving her even more credit. On top of that, who can say no to such a kick-ass hero, and the creative diversity implied by comparing it to Django Unchained, Buffy, and Fury Road?
From the KS: “Persephone died and was brought back to life by her friend Victoria. Now she can see the supernatural creatures hiding in plain sight. Persephone was about start her second year of college, when she was tragically killed in a hit and run. Luckily, her eccentric med-student roommate have found a way to “fix” her. She is now returned from the dead with only a few scars as proof it of the incident. ”
Why we love it: This looks like a progressive, body-positive, fun comic that blends a lot the things we like to see in graphic novels: well-developed diverse characters, a strong focus on women and people of color, and a blend of magical realism, humor, and teen angst.
From the KS: “Too often trans stories have been written from a cis perspective, with a cis reader in mind, addressing cis concerns about trans people rather than our own concerns. This is especially true when it comes to erotica: literature that deals necessarily with bodies, with our relationships to them, and with our relationships to one another.
Edited by Tobi Hill-Meyer and published by Instar Books, NERVE ENDINGS: THE NEW TRANS EROTIC features thirty writers connected to trans community telling thirty distinct stories about the erotic and our relationship to it.”
Why we love it: Excluding celebrities and big-news stories, trans voices are rarely heard, and have often been stifled instead of celebrated. Made by and for people in the trans community, this looks like it could be a great addition to the world of erotica and sexual expression.
The Tiny Mess
From the KS: “…a cookbook about people, places, small kitchens, and the delicious meals that come out of them. It is a whimsical hodgepodge of recipes, culinary adventure, medium-format photography, and, of course, petite and inspiring cooking spaces that prove constraints are nothing but an invitation for creativity.”
Why we love it: We’re big fans of small and sustainable living, so this independently made book is definitely up our alley. And check out those cute tea towel rewards!
From the KS: “Disfluency is a short film that follows a young woman through her daily life, from her passive usage of the phrase “I’m sorry,” to her being raped and the emotional aftermath. All the while, this habit of apologizing eerily stays with her throughout, begging the question: have we let rape become a cultural disfluency—an expected, almost unnoticeable interruption—in our culture?”
Why we love it: This is a tough, emotional topic that can really hit hard, and the project video is something like beautiful. Whether you’re able to support it or not, the video alone is some raw truth that is worth watching.
And, in case you haven’t check out our Spring project yet, here’s the project video, and check out our test run of Kickstarter Live tomorrow afternoon 2pm PST…
From everyone here at Microcosm to all of these fantastic creators, we wish you the best of luck, and wild success.