Ask (March 24, 2009)


Want to know the status of a particular movie, TV show, or band? Wondering what a certain actress is up to these days? Send your entertainment-related questions to [email protected] — with your first name, city and country — and we’ll try to answer as many as we can.

Question: When will this years AfterEllen Hot 100 take place? I always enjoy participating in it, and totally have my top 10 waiting.

— Julieanna, London, UK

Answer: Voting for the Hot 100 opens this year on April 10, and the winners will be announced on May 11.

In addition to moving up the date of the Hot 100 by a month this year, we’re also going to include a few additional breakout categories in which readers can vote: 10 Hottest Women of Color, 10 Hottest Women Over 40, and 10 Hottest Out Lesbian/Bi Women. (You can vote for your favorite women in multiple categories, of course, and those women who end up ranking on more than one list will be noted.)

Last year’s Number One, Tina Fey, will likely face some serious competition from some of the women who’ve become favorites on over the last 12 months. I’m sure that I’m not the only one to have noticed that Rachel Maddow and Portia de Rossi have cast a spell, so to speak, on many AE readers.

Forget who’s hotter — I wonder which of these two would win in a physical smackdown (magical or otherwise)? I suspect Maddow could dole out a serious verbal lashing, but then de Rossi’s long hair tendrils could easily function as whips. It might be too close to call.

Question: When will Malinda Lo’s Ash be out?

— Sarah R

Answer: Former staffer Malinda Lo has been hard at work the last year or two on her first novel, Ash, a lesbian re-telling of the Cinderella story that will be published by Little, Brown in September 2009.

Here’s the description of the book from the jacket:

Pushed into indentured servitude for her stepmother in the City to pay off her father’s debts, Ash is consumed with grief. She misses her family and her happy life at the edge of the Wood where old magic used to linger in the air like fairy breath. Her only joy comes from the brief, stolen walks in the woods with the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean. Ash’s single, unspoken hope is that someday he might steal her away, as fairies are said to do.

But on the day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, from Kaisa she learns the art of the hunt, how to ride and track. Their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, but it grows and changes, and with it, Ash reawakens her capacity for love—and her desire to live.

Entrancing and romantic, Ash is an empowering retelling of Cinderella about choosing life and love over solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

The early reviews are good, with best-selling author Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries and Air head series) calling it, “A rich and darkly moving tale I couldn’t put down. Malinda Lo is an exciting and welcome new voice in YA.”

Julie Anne Peters, National Book Award finalist for Luna and author of Keeping You a Secret, describes it as, “Cinderella, gorgeously re-imagined, captivating and winsome. After you’ve fallen into the storytelling world of Malinda Lo, the truth of love will transcend the romantic ideal of fairy tales.”

Malinda is currently “writing a distant prequel to Ash (as in, set hundreds of years before Ash) for my publisher. Of course there are lesbians in it!” And to give us even more to look forward to, she tells us that “Sarah Pecora and I are tentatively planning a new batch of Lo Down vlogs, probably for later this year.”

To read more about Ash and Lo, check out Lo’s website,, and look for her monthly “Notes & Queries” column on

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