Dena Hankins - Author

GASS Gets Hot

by , on
September 13, 2014

My first event promoting Blue Water Dreams was a visit to the Gender Alliance of the South Sound (GASS). This is a vibrant, engaged group of trans* folk (though some would use other language) who welcomed me warmly. As I said in my previous post, I stayed with the group facilitators and they brought me to the meeting. People were already waiting, a half hour early, and kept streaming in until well after the start time. Almost 30 people were present by the time they gave me the floor.

I had thought I would have more time read than I ended up having, and cherry picked the excerpts that introduce the characters and give you a good sense of the book.  I enjoy reading sex scenes, so I did one of those…and it struck me in the middle that I was reading a cis woman and trans man having sex to a group that was almost completely trans feminine.  It really made the clit and wet and breast language stand out for me.  I could only hope that it would work for the listeners.

They certainly appeared rapt.  Many closed their eyes, facial clues reassuring me that they weren’t napping.  Others shifted in their chairs.  It can be hard to pinpoint the difference between the discomfort of some people in hearing explicit sex read aloud and the discomfort of listening to a type of sex that they don’t (but perhaps would like to) have.

The feedback between readings was slow but honest.  The group was big enough that I would have called on people to talk, had I know enough about them to be sure I wouldn’t make them uncomfortable.  It was like a big classroom!

The lone trans man in the group spoke up after I read a sex scene and expressed his feelings about hearing Oly’s experience of his body and sharing it with another person.  He has more gender dysphoria than Oly experiences and it made him envious.  Also, though, he was uncomfortable with the possibility that people may assume that Oly’s body image and way of relating to Lania (his sex partner and the co-star of the book) was somehow representational of the trans male experience.

I was so glad he brought this up.  I never thought that Oly would be “The Trans Man” or that his experiences and body image would represent any wide swathe of the trans experience (a far more various than homogenous thing in reality, though so often depicted in simplified fashions).  Oly is a particular person and when I wrote him doing, being, reacting, I questioned only what was realistic for him to do…not what a trans man would do.

My opportunity to specify this brought more people into the discussion.  We talked a bit about the dearth of positive, fun trans stories and how I’m hoping I’ve provided one.  I know that it’s necessary to have serious works dealing with the hardships and roadblocks common in trans lives, written by trans people or with such intimate knowledge that many people can see themselves and their own difficulties.

I also believe that it’s valuable to write stories where things go just a bit better than they usually do in real life.  Where a trans person is living without suffering for being trans, where the conflicts and challenges come from other spheres.  Books like this, books like mine, can emphasize the whole person, which includes a trans history or identity but is not defined solely by that.

What a wonderful opportunity to talk and think.  I learned a lot about my story and about the people who may read it.  I hope that those who purchased a copy read and enjoyed it!

Book Tour Hits Tacoma on September 12th

by , on
August 18, 2014

Dena Hankins will visit the Gender Alliance of the South Sound for a reading and discussion of her new Seattle-set queer/trans* romance, Blue Water Dreams.  She is touring the Pacific Northwest to promote her debut novel, published by Bold Strokes Books and available through major distributors.  The tour mixes readings, discussions, erotica reading workshops, and visits to groups for transgender people and their allies.

Publishers Weekly has this to say about Blue Water Dreams:  “Seattleites Lania Marchiol, a cisgender woman, and Oly Rasmussen, a transgender man, meet by chance and quickly bond over shared interests…and when Lania and Oly set their differences aside and embrace their sexual chemistry, the scenes are graceful, sure, and spicy.”

September 12, 2014, 7pm
Gender Alliance of the South Sound
Oasis Rainbow Center, 2215 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, WA

G.A.S.S. is open to all individuals who wish to learn more about their own unique inner self, and to meet and mingle with others who are likewise on this voyage of discovery. They welcome anyone upon the vast transgender spectrum as well as spouses, significant others, friends and family.

Other stops in the tour include Art of Loving in Vancouver, BC, the Gender Justice League and Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up in Seattle, WA, Orca Books in Olympia, WA, In Other Words Feminist Community Center in Portland, OR, and two events at Good Vibrations in San Francisco, CA, at their Polk Street location.

“I love these people,” says Dena.  “The characters in this queer/trans* romance are fierce, passionate folks struggling to balance magnetism and self-sufficiency, trying to love all the way to the core without losing themselves in the process.  You will be rooting for them to get it on and fall for each other.  I hope you read the book and fall for them too.”

Dena Hankins writes aboard her boat, wherever she has sailed it.  After eight years as a sex educator, she turned to writing dirty tales with far-flung settings and a queer/trans* romance novel, Blue Water Dreams.  Read more: www.denahankins.net.

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6 City Book Tour for Blue Water Dreams

by , on
August 12, 2014

I am touring the Pacific Northwest to promote my upcoming Seattle-set queer/trans* romance, Blue Water Dreams, published by Bold Strokes Books and available now for preorder.  The tour mixes book readings, discussions, erotica workshops, and visits to interested groups.  I am available for interviews and welcome requests for review copies.

Publishers Weekly has this to say about Blue Water Dreams:  “Seattleites Lania Marchiol, a cisgender woman, and Oly Rasmussen, a transgender man, meet by chance and quickly bond over shared interests…and when Lania and Oly set their differences aside and embrace their sexual chemistry, the scenes are graceful, sure, and spicy.”

Tacoma, WA:
Gender Alliance of the South Sound, Reading and Discussion, 9/12/14, 7pm

Vancouver, BC:
Art of Loving, Reading and Discussion, 9/15/14, 7:30pm

Seattle, WA:
Gender Justice League, Visit, 9/16/14, 7pm
Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up, Conference, 9/20/14, 10am

Olympia, WA:
Orca Books, Group Reading, 9/21/14, 3pm

Portland, OR
In Other Words Feminist Community Center, Erotica Workshop, 9/23/14, 6pm

San Francisco, CA:
Good Vibrations Polk Street, Group Reading, 9/29/14, 6:30pm
Good Vibrations Polk Street, Erotica Workshop, 9/30/14, 6:30pm

About me: Dena Hankins writes aboard her boat, wherever she has sailed it.  After eight years as a sex educator, she turned to writing dirty tales with far-flung settings and a queer/trans* romance novel, Blue Water Dreams, about magnetism and self-sufficiency.  Read more: www.denahankins.net.

Image from book cover