A Free Dreamer Review: Don’t Feed the Trolls by Erica Kudisch

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Gaming while female is enough to incur the wrath of the dude-bros, and they’ve come for me. Instead of fighting back, I’ve created an alternate account. Male name, male pronouns. And I’ve met this girl. I’ve always liked girls, and Laura’s adorable and smart and never gives up, and she likes me back. Or rather, she likes the man I’m pretending to be. But I can’t tell her I’m a woman without the mob coming after her too.
And besides: I might not be a woman, not really.
The truth is, I don’t know what I am anymore. I’ve spent my whole life being told how I’m supposed to act and what I’m supposed to be, but none of it feels right. And my lie is starting to feel truer than anything I’ve ever been.
There’s a convention coming up, but the closer it gets, the more I have to choose: lie or fight. But if I don’t stand my ground as a girl, am I letting the haters win?
Then again, those aren’t the only two ways to live.
Being a female gamer myself, I was immediately drawn to this book. Personally, I’ve never experienced discrimination in the gaming world because of my gender. But then I’ve never played MMORPGs like Daphne does (way too complicated for me – I’m a very casual gamer) and I tend to play male characters, given the choice.
If you haven’t guessed from the blurb and my opening: This book is full of gamers. MMORPGs play a major role throughout the story. Having never played games like that myself, some of the typical slang took some getting used to at first. I think it takes a gaming nerd to appreciate the work the author put into creating a realistic gaming world online as well as offline. That was absolutely brilliantly done and felt very realistic.
I loved how diversive this book was. There are so many gender identities, sexual orientations and ethnicities and it’s all portrayed as perfectly normal. Every supporting character had a distinctive and unique voice and I loved every one of them. The musketqueers, Daphnis’ roommates and best friends, will forever have a place in my heart. Their friendship and support was truly unconditional . It was easy to really feel their friendship. Those guys are the kind of friends anybody would love to have.
It was interesting to watch Daphnis’ struggle with their gender in comparison to their roommate Alain, who wasn’t cis either. But for Alain the whole gender identity was rather simple: “Ivy and she when I’m tucked, Alain and he when I’m not.” It seemed downright effortless compared to how much trouble Daphnis has with their gender identity. Certainly a very interesting contrast. While I know my way around the gaming community, I don’t know anything about what it feels like to question your gender identity. So while this seemed quite realistic as well, I can’t guarantee it actually is.
There are some minor things I wasn’t entirely happy about, however. First of all, I would have liked a little more depth overall. Be it Daphne starting to think about her gender identity or the love story, a little more detail would have been nice. As it was, the romance part of the story felt a little bit rushed. And I wasn’t entirely happy about the ending. The HEA just seemed a little too happy for me.
Overall, I absolutely loved “Don’t Feed the Trolls”. It’s a breath of fresh air. Just don’t expect an epic love story and focus more on the other parts.
“Don’t Feed the Trolls” made me think. About gaming, sexism, gender and all things related. Not many books manage that. It hit very close to home and I think I’ll view the gaming world differently from now on.
The cover by L.C. Chase is pretty cool. It definitely works for the story.
Sales Links
Book details:
ebook, 230 pages
Published April 1st 2017 by Riptide Publishing

RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Don’t Feed the Trolls by Erica Kudisch

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Don’t Feed the Trolls by Erica Kudisch
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here at Riptide Publishing

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Erica Kudisch here today talking about her latest novel, Don’t Feed the Trolls! Welcome, Erica!

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Hey nerds! Erica Kudisch here promoting my novel DON’T FEED THE TROLLS, a genderqueer romp through internet drama. And if you keep up with the blog tour and its bonus DLC, there’s a $50 prize package achievement for you to unlock. Have fun!

Process Meme

In the bygone days of LiveJournal, I used to fill out character questionnaires for my favorite fanfiction muses. I’ve carried over some parts of the process to my original work, and have a few go-to memes that help me stay on track when I’m developing my main and supporting characters. And one of my favorites that I designed is this version of the Physical Description questionnaire. It was specifically created to counter the height/width/measurements memes that were already out there, which are sometimes really limiting and unhelpful.

I’ve included the template here, for all you writers and readers who think it might help with your own project–and at a future stop on this tour, I’ll use it to introduce the Three Musketqueers, the central characters of DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. Happy writing!

Character Name:

Without giving precise measurements, how would you describe or draw this character’s height and build?

How does this character’s shape compare to other members of the cast? Can he share shoes or clothes with anyone? Does she get mistaken for any other characters when the lights are low? What kind of hiding places can zie share with hir comrades?

How would you describe or draw this character’s coloration?

How does this character’s coloration compare to other members of the cast? Are there any strong familial resemblances? Species differences?

How about your character’s style? Haircuts, clothes, grooming habits, facial hair: do these change over the course of your story?

What does the rest of your cast think of this character’s style? Swoon-worthy, cringe-worthy, or somewhere in between? Are there any budding makeover artists in the house?

What actors, living or dead, past or present, could play this character in the live-action version of your story? What, if anything, would they have to change about themselves to satisfy your artistic vision?

What are your favorite details about this character’s appearance?

About Don’t Feed the Trolls

Gaming while female is enough to incur the wrath of the dude-bros, and they’ve come for me. Instead of fighting back, I’ve created an alternate account. Male name, male pronouns. And I’ve met this girl. I’ve always liked girls, and Laura’s adorable and smart and never gives up, and she likes me back. Or rather, she likes the man I’m pretending to be. But I can’t tell her I’m a woman without the mob coming after her too.

And besides: I might not be a woman, not really.

The truth is, I don’t know what I am anymore. I’ve spent my whole life being told how I’m supposed to act and what I’m supposed to be, but none of it feels right. And my lie is starting to feel truer than anything I’ve ever been.

There’s a convention coming up, but the closer it gets, the more I have to choose: lie or fight. But if I don’t stand my ground as a girl, am I letting the haters win?

Then again, those aren’t the only two ways to live.

Available from Riptide Publishing

About Erica Kudisch

Erica Kudisch lives, writes, sings, and often trips over things in New York City. When not in pursuit of about five different creative vocations, none of which pay her nearly enough, you can usually find her pontificating about dead gay video games, shopping for thigh-high socks, and making her beleaguered characters wait forty thousand words before they get in the sack.

In addition to publishing novellas and short stories as fantastika-focused alter-ego Kaye Chazan (What Aelister Found Here and The Ashkenazi Candidate, both available at Candlemark & Gleam) Erica is responsible for the BDSM musical Dogboy & Justine, and serves as creative director and co-founder of Treble Entendre Productions.

She also has issues with authority. And curses too fucking much.

Connect with Erica:

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Don’t Feed the Trolls, one lucky winner will receive a $30 Riptide credit and a $20 Steam gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 8, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!