Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - Wes Kennedy

Please welcome up and coming author Wes Kennedy who's here to talk about something near and dear to her heart.

As an anxiety-ridden voluntary shut-in, I'm a big media buff. If it can be consumed through my eyes, chances are I will be there to consume it, or at least know enough about it to navigate vague conversations on the internet with strangers.

I'm also a huge fan and proponent of fanfiction. I love the freedom and autonomy fanfiction gives to fans. Most notably, fanfiction has given a choice to queer fans to see themselves represented in their own characters (because Fuck the Canon, Old Man™). My whole reason for being where I am right now is due to fanfiction.

I've talked about it before, but I'm a glutton for humiliation so: Back in the Day, I was a major Yu-Gi-Oh! fan. No lie, I owned a duel disk and a once made a pillow with Yami Bakura's face on it. I could show you a picture of it, but then I'd have to kill you.

As the sheltered daughter of a gospel singer patriarch and a woman so innocent she still doesn't understand the true meaning of O.P.P., liking Japanese animation about Egyptian gods playing children's card games was the weirdest thing about me. In retrospect, it isn't that weird. And, in retrospect, it's still pretty fucking weird.

Anyway, my love for a 4Kids show imported from Japan is what lead to my first sexual awakening. While innocently scouring the internet for YGO-related content, I stumbled upon was a portal into a world I'd never heard of before: fans of things creating original stories for those things. Up until then my only experience with fandom was the 4Kids YGO board where I broke down into tears not once, but twice over arguments regarding Mai Valentine's deck strength.

I searched through with wide-eyes. It didn't take long for me to catch on, and soon I was looking over my shoulder as I searched for fanfiction of my favorite, and only, OTP (though I didn't know it was called that at the time): Mai Valentine/Jounouchi Katsuya. Up popped a list of hundreds of original stories involving the two. I was excited. I was overwhelmed. I was terrified my parents would be home soon.

I avoided all the smutty stuff (Modern Me: Ha!) and went straight for the stuff labeled 'fluffy.' I indulged in sweet romance of my two favorite characters on my favorite thing, knowing I would never get this level of detail and focus in the actual show. It was good. I was happy. I had found this secret thing buried in the corners of the internet I could come to at any time.

One day while scrolling through fluffy Mai/Jou fics I found something amiss. Right there in the smack of it all, was a fic labeled Kaib/Jou. My brain short-circuited as I tried to understand. My only knowledge of anything like that had come from going to my small, tightly-knit Southern Baptist church. In otherwise, the word BAD flashed like warning lights around the link. Turn back! it begged.

So I scrolled past it… and then scrolled back to it and clicked before I could change my mind.
Before I continue to recount the entirety of my awkward, repressed childhood that cultivated many of the mental health issues that plague me today, let me summarize: That one fic opened me up to a world of non-heterosexual fiction. I read more fanfiction of male/male and female/female characters. I found yaoi manga and became a reluctant fujoshi. My life revolved around escapism, and it just so happened that more often than not, that escapism was super gay.

Early on, fanfiction was the only way I could safely consume queer stories of people I identified with. Logo was blocked at home, and the closest to representation I ever got starting in middle school was Marco Del Rossi on Degrassi (and watching him get gay bashed scared the absolute shit out of me). I still got all of my books from the library, and living in a small town of less than 2,000 people meant not having many LGBTQ+ options.

In fanfiction, I saw queer couples be happy and safe and in love. I read stories where teens like me projected their own fears and problems on the characters for us to relate to. I realized my own queerness through fanfiction and the doors it opened. Hell, I started my original fiction path from writing fanfiction for over five years.

And while the world is slowly getting more and more progressive with regards to queer identity, fanfiction still has a place. Trans teens are finding their most accessible representation through fanfiction written about characters they identify by other trans teens.

These days I'm quietly obsessive, and a little less, uh, [noises of strangled despair]. Sure, I'll still stay up until 2 AM to spend ridiculous amounts of money on rare manga at discounted prices on June's website, but I also take a more active roll in my own queer identity. I'm part of a local DFW-based BL group that marries the fun of queer fandom with legitimate queer media issues. I support Texas-based LGBTQ+ organizations. Right now for school I'm creating an LGBTQ+ Book Talk representation for teens.

I still write fanfiction, though original stories have caused it to take a backseat. I've got a million and one plot bunnies to choose from and I'm going to run with them all before I'm done. A-Kon 28 (and more!) will see four panels from my group about queer issues in fandom and The Discourse™.

I go to anime conventions across Texas and present panels on my favorite things. I watch anime and TV shows and read manga all in the comfort of my little sanctuary. I'm happy—as happy as someone like me can be—and it's such a mindfuck to think that if I hadn't found that fic all those years ago, I might have stayed isolated and lonely and confused. Yikes

Slash fandom has earned its reputation as an all-out jerkfest for cis white straight dudes getting it on (cough), but I owe so much to it. I want to see the variety of the queer spectrum reflected in all media—MM especially!—but until then fic has got me. Bring me your tired, your poor, your hurt/comfort Thorki fic. Show me your asexual Steve Rogers headcanons. Give me your trans Junkrat meta. Maybe you'll teach me something new. Maybe we can bond. I want to read it all.

About the author

Wes Kennedy is a queer fiction author and starving graduate student from the great state of Texas. She loves libraries, hot wings, Pepsi, Blaxploitation, and comics. An anxious perpetual sleeper with a penchant for self-deprecating humor, Wes has a soft spot for writing comedies, forbidden love, and nerdy queers. When not writing, she enjoys touring various anime and sci-fi conventions across Texas, reading and writing fanfiction, yelling about sports, and watching TV shows religiously.

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

We'd like to thank Wes for helping us celebrate. Check out our tag team review of Wes' debut here. Make sure to leave a comment about fanfic or whatever.

Wes is hosting an awesome giveaway! One lucky winner will win a $10 Amazon gift card + To Terminator, With Love ebook! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (Eastern time) on 11/20/16. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner! 

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Trivia Question

Name the book wherein the main character exchanges a weekend with a stranger to keep a painting created by his deceased lover. (worth 20 pts)

Don't forget to tag @BMBReviews on Twitter as well as the author and your answer to be entered to win DSP credits!

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway here!


  1. Thank you for the post and giveaway!

  2. Thank you for the post, Wes. I don't read much fanfiction; my friends told me a couple of Merthur stories she liked which drew me to read also. But I'm really too lazy to browse around, especially when the stories are still ongoing. Mostly, I only listen to my friends talking about their favorite fanfictions. ;-)

  3. I must recognise some of my favourite stories are fanfic, but I always get to them through recommendations. There are so many stories around that it is difficult to find the ones you may like. But some of them are so good!
    Thank you for the interesting post and the giveaway, Wes!

  4. Angela:
    Thank you for this post. I love fanfiction, it somehow got me in to reading m/m romance but because i read m/m romance i don't read fanfiction as often anymore. My favorite is CSI (Gil/Nick) fanfiction.

  5. Thank you for the chance and awesome post! It was nice to meet you! !

  6. Thank you for your post. I wholeheartedly agree that fanfiction still has its place. I admit that I come late to it, and I have a 'strange' stance over fanfiction which will take full page to explain. In short, I only have very few fandoms that I love. But I found that the representation in fanfiction as well as their trope/theme to be at times more comforting than MM. I feel like I get more satisfaction reading about asexual Steve Rogers or asexual Merlin fanfic compared to asexual characters in original MM

  7. Thanks for the post. I will have to check your books because you're a new author to me.

  8. Thanks for the post! I haven't read a lot of fanfic, but I do have a soft sport for Merthur stories.

  9. I always love hockey fanfic, because the sport is so slashy, and anyone who watches it should realize that it's based on love and camaraderie between teammates so much more than fights between opponents!


  10. Great post and I have to admit I've never read Fanfiction sorry!

  11. Welcome and I must say you are new to me . So I must go on a quest to discover your writing.

  12. hi Wes :)
    I don't read much fanfic as my kindle is bulging with unread stories lol

  13. Thanks for the post. I have to admit though I haven't read Fanfiction. I also was a huge fan of Yu-Gi-Yo.

  14. Thank you for sharing this post with us.

  15. I don't read much fanfic anymore either, but it was definitely my gateway to m/m as well. Thanks for the post & giveaway. And the introduction to a new author!

  16. I don't really read fan fic. I just don't really have the time for it and am not sure where there would be a good place to read some.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.