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Tiny Ghost Newsletter: Celebrating Women in Fiction!

Tiny Ghost Press Newsletter 2.0, Issue #3, April 2, 2024



Hi Tiny Ghost fam!


Well, we meant to have this edition out at the end of March but a long weekend called our names and so we've taken a second to get this instalment of the Tiny Ghost newsletter out. Still we have a lot to talk about, a recap on the last month, a celebration of women in fiction, particularly YA, and even more.


Seeing as March was women's history month and we're gearing up for the release of our sapphic fight club novel Girls Night by I.S. Belle we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate women in fiction and especially the women who have changed the YA landscape for good. In this week's featured article we take a look at some of the heroines of YA and celebrate all they've come to represent.



But first I wanted to highlight some of the exciting announcements we made this month.


First up we announced that we would be once again teaming up with Against The Stars author Christopher Hartland to publish his next YA offering, a queer romance in which the half-human/half-angel son of death must travel to earth and turn up with a begrudging human warlock to discover who stole death's keys and inadvertently turned the human race immortal. Featuring autistic representation, this book takes a look at what makes us human and what it means to live. We cannot wait to bring you more details about this book, including what is sure to be an astounding cover reveal and for you to read Christopher's newest heart breaker in Spring of 2026.


And secondly we were so overwhelmed by the reaction to the cover reveal for our upcoming December release, Keep It In The Dark by Justin Arnold, a supernatural romance that challenges the institutions that would relegate queer love to the shadows. We think the cover speaks for itself so here it is again...



March was an exciting month for us but we're looking ahead to April and the release of Girls Night eagerly. We can't wait for you to meet the girls of Sterling High and enter the ring.


We hope you enjoy this week's newsletter and had a great March! We'll see you next month.


Stay scary...


Josh xxx


YA Women Who Inspire!


As March closes out, here at Tiny Ghost Press HQ we’ve given the newsletter over to celebrate International Women's Month, with a view to honor some of the inspiring female characters from the world of young adult literature. These characters have captivated readers' hearts and minds, empowered them with their courage, resilience, and unique journeys.

1. Bella Swan – Twilight by Stephanie Meyer: Bella Swan is an iconic figure in YA lit. Known for her relatable grumpiness, unwavering loyalty and clumsy feet – Through the series, Bella shows strength, courage and the power of self-discovery through found family, in the form of vampires.

2. Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Katniss is a symbol of resistance and hope in a dystopian world. Her determination, resourcefulness, and unwavering resolve to protect her loved ones has inspired readers to stand up for what they believe in, and fight against injustice. Is it any wonder that Gen-Z are standing up against oppression with literary influencers like Katniss as role models.

3. Riley Grishin – Monstersona by Chloe Spencer: In Monstersona, Riley Grishin navigates the challenges of being a teenage girl left to her own devices while in crisis! She tackles monsters both figurative and very literal and does so with snark, bite, and resilience, all while taking care of her beloved pooch Tigger. She’s a bi-con (bisexual icon) and an inspiration.

4. Lyra Belacqua – His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman: Lyra’s journey is one quite literally out of this world! Lyra challenges societal norms, is curious, brave and has a fearless resolve strong enough to challenge death, even! She is an inspiration with her ability to confront powerful adversaries allowing readers to question authority and embrace their individuality. What a gal!

5. The girls of Girls Night by I.S.Belle – Introduces a quartet of women all inspiring in their own right! Dive into the world of Alex, the gossip queen who longs to be seen, Tulsi, the cheerleader who is sick of cutting people on her sharp heart, Clementine, the new kid who can't escape the violence inside, and Sunju, the wallflower who is tired of keeping quiet as they navigate the complexities of friendship, identity and belonging. These are four girls who can pack a punch and who you'll fall in love with this April when Girls Night jumps into the ring.


This International Women's Month,let us celebrate the strength, resilience, and empowerment embodied by these remarkable female characters. May their stories continue to inspire and uplift readers around the world.


Happy reading folkx!


Tiny Ghost Author Deep Dive


We're asking our authors some probing questions to get to know them a little better!

This week, to celebrate Women's History month and to celebrate the release of her upcoming novel, we spoke with author of Girls Night I.S. Belle!


TGP: Hi I.S! Can you introduce yourself and give us a little information about your upcomig release?

I.S. Belle: Hi! I’m I.S. Belle, I write LGBT romance, paranormal and horror young adult books. I work in a bookstore in New Zealand (if your local bookstore allows dogs - please bring them in!). GIRLS NIGHT is a sapphic YA about an unlikely group of friends who start a fight club in their all-girls school!

TGP: Where can our readers find you?

I.S. Belle: I can be found on TikTok @i.s.belle_writes and on Instagram @isbelleauthor. If you sign up to my newsletter on my website (isbelleauthor.com), you can get my spooky sapphic novella BABYLOVE for free!

TGP: What is your favorite scary movie?

I.S. Belle: Crimson Peak. It’s so atmospheric and delicious and there’s always something more to chew on. It’s also the only movie that made me excited about costume design.

TGP: What has your publishing journey been like?

I.S. Belle: I never know how to answer this question, we’d be here all day if I went through the whole thing. Short version: I got a couple dozen things in New Zealand literary journals, I got a Masters in Creative Writing, I self-published several LGBT YA books, and then I submitted GIRLS NIGHT to TGP. And here we are!

TGP: When did you first have the idea for GIRLS NIGHT?

I.S. Belle: Oh god. I wrote the first draft of this book when I was 18, which is 9 years ago now (yikes!). It was probably how I get all my book ideas - I was watching/reading something and I thought, ‘man, wouldn’t it be interesting if XYZ?’ So I imagine I was watching Fight Club and thought to myself, “This. But teenage girls who actually act on the homoerotic tension.”

TGP: As spoiler-free as possible, what is your favorite part of the book?

I.S. Belle: Probably a scene after the climax, where the tension is falling and the girls finally get to come down from all that adrenaline. There’s a very sweet scene involving two girls and an electric razor.

TGP: What’s your favorite line from one of your books ?

I.S. Belle: “Both boys shared the common and incorrect belief that history was something that happened in another building, instead of a long hallway they were trapped inside,” from ZOMBABE.

TGP: Were there any moments or experiences in your life that inspired a part of your book?

I.S. Belle: Oooh. I suppose the excruciating everyday of being a teenage girl inspired Girls Night. Gotta love that simmering anger with no socially acceptable way to express it.

TGP: How has your life changed since becoming a writer and getting published?

I.S. Belle: I’m writing more than ever. It makes it feel more real, rather than a dedicated hobby that will one day turn into a career.

TGP: When did you realize you wanted to become a writer, and what were some of the books that made you want to become a writer?

I.S. Belle: I have the deeply boring answer of “I always knew!” But I can’t change it. I knew since I could hold a pen. I’ve never doubted that I would write books. Being a published author would always happen, it was just a question of when. Which might make me sound conceited, but I ALSO always knew that you don’t have to be the best writer in the world to get published, you just have to be decent at writing, lucky, and very stubborn. I’m decent and I’m very stubborn, and I’m lucky enough to get this.

Some books that made me want to become a writer - hmm. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, I always go back to that when I look at crafting relationships in my books. No one can remember what happens in those books, but they LOVE the characters. That’s what I want in my books - the plot is secondary. The characters are all. I think this comes through in the friend group in GIRLS NIGHT - those girls love each other so deeply, just like the Raven Cycle gang.

TGP: What are some things that inspire your writing?

I.S. Belle: 90% of the time it’s other media. Watching/reading something and getting a brain worm that burrows in and won’t let go. Sometimes I’ll see a particular relationship dynamic and go, “Okay, I’m going to come up with an entire plot just to create my own characters who have a dynamic like this.”

TGP: Tell us a little bit about your writing process.

I.S. Belle: Ahhh. The process. I try to get it over with as fast as possible. First thing in the morning, then I have the rest of my day to live my life. My minimum wordcount is one thousand words every day. Every day! Christmases, birthdays, road trips when you’re stuck in a motel room with your beloved friends who won’t shut up! Do I recommend this to other writers? God, no. Take a break, dude. Break out of that capitalist mindset.

Not me, though. I’m different and special. I MUST be productive every single day (including sick days, like an insane person) or the writing furies will peck out my eyes. Do I recommend this to other writers? No. Do I recommend it to anyone, doing anything? No. For the love of god, people, go live your lives. Your WIP will be there when you get back.

Unless you’re me. Then keep going.

TGP: What’s your favorite spot to write, and do you have a go-to writing snack?

I.S. Belle: My favorite writing spot is my desk in my bedroom! One day I might have an office - I keep hearing stuff about not turning your bedroom into your space for Everything, though while I’m renting it’s kind of all I’ve got - but for now I have a nice desk in my room. Re: writing snacks, my writing snack desires are deep and ever-changing. This week I’ve been snacking on zucchini fritters with yogurt dip. Not very snacky since they take a while to prepare. I’m sure I’ll go off them in a week and it’ll be on to the next thing. But until then, zucchinis are in season and I love those fritters.

TGP: Your book has a very diverse main cast. How important to you is inclusion and diversity in books?

I.S. Belle: We need diverse and inclusive books out there. The human experience is so wide, and fiction should reflect that.

TGP: Which of the Girl Night girls would you not wanna mess with and if you had to fight one of them who would it be?

I.S. Belle: Quentin. Clementine is the most skilled; Tulsi’s vicious, but she’s more bark than bite. Quentin is all bite. She’s the true wild card, and she will do anything to take you down, even if she hurts herself in the process.

TGP: As a dog lover do you have any furry friends/Tiny Ghost Pets?

I.S. Belle: My flat communally owns a cat, the lovely Rosalina! She’s very chatty and boisterous and keeps pulling off her damn collars. We’ve been through four in the first year of owning her. She wants to be free! She wants to stop wearing a bell and kill birds to her heart’s desire! Unfortunately, none of us want that, so she keeps getting re-collared.

TGP: Do you have any tips for fighting writer’s block and what do you do when you’re stumped?

I.S. Belle: Find what’s blocking you, take that bit out, then keep going. Failing that, switch to another project until you figure out what to do with the first project. Repeat until everything is done.

TGP: What’s your favorite genre to read, watch, and write about?

I.S. Belle: People come into my bookshop going, “Well, they just read ALL genres, so I don’t know what to get them.” Give me a customer who’s happy with any detective-centered mystery and I can shove a bunch of recommendations in their faces. But those ‘all genres’ customers are so tricky - and I’m one of them!

I guess I’ve been reading a lot of spooky queer YA, and I’ve been really loving media with horror elements. Not always straight horror - weirdly enough, I don’t actually want to be scared when I consume horror, I want to be disturbed and entranced. I love it when horror illuminates everything else around it, especially what characters will do for each other.

TGP: What do you look for in a book you read (or any media you consume) and how do you bring those elements into your writing?

I.S. Belle: Deep relationships. Kill-or-die-for-you friendships. You can sell me on all sorts of genres if the characters will go to the ends of the earth for each other. Like I was talking about in the previous question, I want to see characters who know each other on a primal level, characters with bone-deep bonds, and I want to see them do shit for each other to demonstrate this. Whether that’s killing someone for their best friend or, like, baking something from the character’s childhood when they’re homesick. Re: how I bring those elements out when I’m writing, I like to focus on a bunch of tiny things and let them snowball into something huge.

TGP: What in your mind makes a good book?

I.S. Belle: Oh God. I read something the other day that said good writing on a sentence level doesn’t make a good book, it’s the plot/characters that do it. I think there’s some truth in that. But I don’t have a straight answer for you - I work in a bookshop, I see people buy books that I consider ‘bad’ - like, on so many levels; craft, character, themes (or the LACK of themes) - but a lot of people enjoy ‘em, so those books have to be doing something right! Intriguing premise, pacing that makes you always want to turn the page, prose that’s very accessible, etc.

TGP: Who is your favorite character that you’ve written so far?

I.S. Belle: It’s a character from an upcoming book, but I’m not talking about that book yet, so I’m going to say Tulsi from Girls Night! I love writing characters who put up a prickly shield to distract from the fact that they’re total softies behind it. It was a great joy to watch Tulsi slowly take off all her armor for her girls.

TGP: Who would you fan-cast to play some of the characters in your book(s)?

I.S. Belle: I’m not gonna lie to you, TGP. I don’t have a very solid vision of my characters while I’m writing. I have a very fuzzy idea of what they look like and that’s it. So I don’t really do fancasts. If I ever tell you I have a fancast, I’m lying. It’s something I Googled in a panic right before answering the question.

TGP: How important to you is queer representation in books?

Man, you know me. I love queer rep. It’s been so joyous watching queer characters become more and more popular in books over the past decade.


Thanks, I.S. that was really fun!


You can preorder I.S Belle's Girls Night now wherever books are sold and join the fight on April 16 when the book is released.



Culture We've Enjoyed This Month!


A monthly breakdown of the culture the Tiny Ghost Team has been enjoying and inspired by this month.


Books: If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Your Lonely Nights Are Over by Adam Sass



Films: American Fiction

Wicked Little Letters

Dune: Part Two

Aliens



TV: Avatar: The Last Airbender (live action remake)

Attack on Titan

Seinfeld

Demon Slayer



Music: Eternal Sunshine by Ariana Grande

Cowboy Carter by Beyonce



Podcasts: Straightio Lab

Dr. Gameshow

Exploration: Live!




Your Burning Questions Answered!


Each week we'll answer one of your burning questions. Whether you want to know a little more about how we work as a publisher, the books we publish, or just want to know when your favorite werewolves are returning, we've got you covered.


Q: How do I submit my novel for publication with Tiny Ghost Press?


A: If you have a novel you think would be a great fit for Tiny Ghost Press we'd love to read it. We're looking for books that are undoubtably queer, for young adults, with a spooky twist. If that sounds like your novel you can submit it to us by emailing the first three chapters of your manuscript, a one page synopsis, along with a cover letter telling us a little bit about your book and yourself, to submissions@tinyghostpress.com. For more information you can check out our submissions guidlines on the submissions page of our website, here. Or check out our previous blog posts all about submiting to us. We can't wait to read your novel!


If you have a question you'd like answered sound off in the comments or send us an email at info@tinyghostpress.com


Tips from Tony the Tiny Ghost!


Writer's block can be a serious problem when you're trying to come up with an idea or write an amazing novel. There's nothing worse than sitting down to write and having nothing come out. Sometimes it's tough to find the time or motivation to sit down in the first place. In that case, here is some advice from Tony the tiny ghost, to help combat writer's block.


-Give yourself a break! These days we're all working hard and trying to up our productivity, but nothing kill creatively like burn out. So don't stress it, take a breather, step away from that blank manuscript and let your creative well be replenished.

-Go for walks and explore new places. A bit of fresh air and an exciting new location will do wonders for fostering the spark of creativity.

-Read a lot! There's nothing to get you inspired like reading the work of other writers. Sometimes reading close to the subject, genre, or age group you're trying to write is helpful, sometimes stepping away and reading something completely different is even more helpful. Get out there and see what other people are up to.

-Skip that tricky scene! Has a difficult scene got you stumped? Move on to a part of your novel that is more exciting to you. Maybe something will open up to help you when you come back to that tricky scene, and in the meantime you'll still be making progress.

-Have fun! If you're having fun writing chances are the reader will enjoy reading. So if you're feeling stump approach your work with a sense of play and discover what way of approaching the scene is the most enjoyable for you.


I hope this help you get out of the dead letter office and back on the path to completing your masterpiece.


All my scares!


Tony


P.s. Boo!


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