Apr 182014
 

I’m so thrilled to announce that Leather Ever After is a FINALIST for the National Leather Association- International Writing Awards in the Anthology Category!!!!  I’ve just emailed the fabulous Leather Ever After contributors with the great news. I’m so incredibly proud of this fun little book! Do you have your own copy? 

 

FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR 2013 NLA-I WRITING AWARDS

(Columbus, OH) — National Leather Association: International (NLA-I), a leading organization for activists in the pansexual SM/leather/fetish community, announced today the finalists for its annual writing awards. Named after activists and writers Geoff Mains, John Preston, Pauline Reage, Cynthia Slater, and the groundbreaking organization Samois, they are awarded annually to recognize excellence in writing and publishing about Leather, SM, bondage and fetishes.

The finalists for the Cynthia Slater Non-fiction Article Award are:

My tantric “awakening” turned me off sex by Janet Hardy appeared March 15 in Salon (www.salon.com)

“Feminist” Backlash Against BDSM by I.G. Frederick appeared in FEMALE FIRST onOctober 15 (www.femalefirst.co.uk)What Some Women Tops and Bottoms Have in Common by I.G. Fredrick  appearedOctober 12 in BDSM Book Reviews (www.bdsmbookreviews.com)

The finalists for the Geoff Mains Non-fiction Book Award are:

Tied for first place: The Artisan’s Book of Fetishcraft: Patterns and Instructions for Creating Professional Fetishwear, Restraints and Sensory Equipment by John Huxley (Greenery Press)

The Kinky Feminist by F.R.R. Mallory (self-published)

Biker Bar: Bikes, Beer, and Boys – a playful look at the roots of the leather bar byThom Magister (Perfectbound Press)

The finalists for the Pauline Reage Novel Award are:

The Killer Wore Leather by Laura Antoniou (Cleis Press)

The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Chris Bellows (Pink Flamingo Publications)

Tales from the Arena Playing for Keeps by Elizabeth Schechter (Smashwords)

House of Sable Locks  by L.M. Somerton (Total-E-Bound Publishing)

Dangerous Affairs: DANGEROUS SUBMISSION by Lori Toland (Loose Id LLC)

The finalists for the Samois Anthology Award are:

Hell On Wheels: Disabled Dominants, ed. Raven Kaldera (Alfred Press)

Kneeling In Spirit: Disabled Submissive, ed. Raven Kaldera (Alfred Press)

Leather Ever After: an anthology of kinky fairy tales, ed.  Sassafras Lowrey (Ravenous Publications)

No Safewords, ed.  Laura Antoniou (Cleis Press)

The finalists for the John Preston Short Story Award are:

Mr. Smith, Ms. Jones Will See You Now by D. L. King from the anthology Ageless Erotica, ed. Joan Price

Imperfect Journeys by Peter Masters, self-published

The winners will be announced at the National Leather Association’s Annual General Meeting, which will be held this fall, date to be announced.

For more information about the awards, please contact the award committee chair, pyxy, at nlai.awards@gmail.com

Apr 062014
 

Queers!!! Lambda Literary Foundation is asking us about what LGBTQ books saved our lives! They have started  crowd-sourced campaign to collect brief videos or photographs that spread the word about inspirational books, poems, graphic novels, or other life-changing pieces of literature with the world. Contributions will become part of the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards celebration and help build up their social media efforts to increase the visibility of queer writing both within and outside our community! More info here

I had such a hard time picking which books to talk about! but finally selected two very different but well loved books:

 

Mar 242014
 

I was tagged to be part of this writing process blog tour by the fantastic SJ Sindu whose work you should absolutely check out!

The way it works is that each week different authors answer the following questions about our writing practice and then tag others to participate the next week. So without further introduction, here we go!
What am I working on?

The big project I’m working on is my next novel Lost Boi which is a queer/punk/leather retelling of the Peter Pan story. I spent the last year working on writing/editing/revising the initial draft of the book. It’s gritty and challenging and I think the best thing I’ve ever written. Lost Boi and I are pretty hot and heavy with each other  (I identify really strongly with the idea of being in a romantic sort of relationship with my books as they are in progress) but Lost Boi and I have been taking a little time away from each other as its spent the last couple of months putting the moves on some beta readers. I’ve gotten amazing and helpful feedback on the  novel and am so excited to continue pushing it forward.

Besides Lost Boi I’ve always got a few things in the works- stories I’m submitting to anthologies, regular dog focused writing at Dogster.com, curating the Queer Book Diorama show (which isn’t truly writing but is related), and continuing to plant seeds for some of my longer term and future nonfiction projects about the creation of queer family.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m so honored and excited to be part of a really tremendous movement of queer and trans authors who are stretching the boundaries of gender, sexuality, and literary form all at the same time. I’m especially grateful to the LGBTQ authors who have paved the way for us to be writing these sorts of books, and am inspired every day by my queer literary community.

Why do I write what I do?

More than anything, I write the kinds of books and stories that I wanted most in my first years after coming out and being disowned when I was first trying my hand (and heart) at building queer families and figuring out the kind of relationship(s) that I wanted to have central in my life.  I write the kind of queer stories that I desperately needed, and the kinds of queer stories that I still crave and I write as a way to bring parts of queer communities to life on the page.

How does your writing process work?

My writing process while different for each project is consistent in that I’m pretty regularly writing and putting out new work, but it’s also extremely unstructured. I’m not the kind of writer who sits down to crank out morning pages or some other mandated time/length of regular writing. I tend to be most productive with my writing in busy places I wrote most of Roving Pack, and practically all of Lost Boi in transit on the NYC subway to and from my day job. I wrote chunks of Roving Pack on my iphone in the notes app which I would then copy into a word document, and after that novel released, I splurged on an ipad. Nearly all of Lost Boi was written on my ipad on the subway or in the bubble tea shop down the street from my day job on the occasional lunch break. Usually my writing starts with a single line, that’s stuck in my head demanding to get onto the page and the rest of the story grows from there.

To keep this chain going – here’s my (consensual — they wanted to be tagged!) tag-ees for the next week.

Katie Jean Shinkle is the author of one novel, Our Prayers After the Fire (Blue Square Press, forthcoming), and four chapbooks. She serves as the Associate Editor of Denver Quarterly. katiejeanshinkle.tumblr.com

Kelli Dunham (kellidunham.com) is everyone’s favorite ex­nun genderqueer nerd comic. Kelli was one of Velvet Park Magazine’s 25 Significant Queers of 2011 and was named to the 2012 Campus Pride Hotlist. Kelli was also given the The Fresh Fruit Festival Award for Distinction in stand­up comedy, although Kelli has never before or since been called distinguished. Kelli is a registered nurse and the author of five books of humorous non­fiction, including two children’s books being used by Sonlight conservative home schooling association in their science curriculum. Lesbian comedy godmother Kate Clinton called Kelli’s fifth book, Freak of Nurture, a collection of humorous essays published by Topside Press“laugh out loud outrageous storytelling.” The book also caused award­winning author Barbara Carellas to give Kelli the moniker “the David Sedaris of the genderqueer dyke world” Kelli has three released three comedy CDs: “I am NOT a 12 Year Old Boy” “Almost Pretty” and “Why Is the Fat One Always Angry” all which are on regular rotation on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s Rawdog Comedy Station and Pandora’s Margaret Cho Comedy Station. Her fourth CD, Trigger Warning, will be available this spring. Kelli was recently the expert on “What Is Normal” in Twist Magazine (known as Tiger Beat’s little sister magazine), on a page facing a full color poster of Justin Beiber. There isn’t even a ironic statement to match that, it’s just strangely true. freakofnurture.org

Mar 112014
 

I first met Toni Amato through his words. I was a crusty punk kid living in Portland, Oregon and some friends of mine had heard about a new book called ‘Pinned Down By Pronouns’ which he co-edited. I was the only person in my circle of friends with a credit card, so I purchased the book and was utterly smitten.  I had no idea that nearly 10 years later Toni would have become a dear friend, trusted colleague in queer story facilitation, an invaluable mentor in my own writing, and most important of all a beloved member of my chosen family.

I cannot speak highly enough about Toni and his work in the community.  There are few people I’ve met who truly walk what they speak, who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, and who truly commit themselves fully to those amongst us who are wounded, freaks, and other outsiders. Because of where I’m from and what i’ve survived trust isn’t something that comes easily to me. I can count on less than one hand the number of people in the world that I truly and completely trust.  Toni is one of those people.

Toni emotionally and professionally supported me as I edited Kicked Out, and he has been one of my most trusted editors and writing coaches. He helped me to fall in love with writing again when I had lost my words, and he was a vital editor and guide as I wrote Roving Pack. It is because of my work with Toni that Roving Pack exists.

The past couple of years have been hard for Toni he’s battled physical and mental health crisis. He’s in a rough place right now and in need of community support as he takes the season of Lent off of his work supporting the writing of marginalized queers and to focus inward on healing.  To help support him I’m having a special Roving Pack sale – 100% of the proceeds of e-books of Roving Pack purchased will go directly to Toni to support him during this time of healing!!!! Purchase Roving Pack or make your own donation to Toni directly through the Write Here Write Now site

Feb 212014
 

Yesterday I had the amazing surprise opportunity to meet CeCe McDonald!! It was a tremendous honor to have the chance to meet her, and then something truly unexpected happened.  Jac Gares  the filmmaker who is working with Laverne Cox and CeCe McDonald on their upcoming documentary just so happens to be the filmmaker who I worked when when Kicked Out and I were featured on In The Life a couple of years ago – tiny tiny queer world!!!

As we were talking I couldn’t believe it but CeCe recognized who I was!!! While she was locked up, CeCe had been sent a copy of Kicked Out (huge thanks to the Kicked Out reader who sent it her way!)  and she loved the book!!!! I was completely in shock –  lets be real, I still am in shock. Kicked Out began as such a tiny dream, and I’m still completely blown away by the tremendous community mobilization and energy that has and continues to surround this anthology.

HOLY SHIT CECE MCDONALD READ AND LOVED KICKED OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Feb 132014
 

I want to get back to more frequent blogging. It’s been interesting for me to see the ways the frequency of my blogging here comes in waves, how when I am at my busiest writing times my blogging tends to slow down. This most recent quietness here fits that trend I’ve been so busy writing on the book that all other writing has been on the back burner a little bit. 12 years ago this week I became homeless. It was fast and sudden and unexpected. One day I was living with my dog trainer who had helped me escape my mom, the next day she read my journal, realized I was a dyke and called my school to tell me she wouldn’t be picking me up that day, that I shouldn’t come “home” again. The days that followed were the inspiration for what became Kicked Out- and it’s incredible for me to look back at that time. I never could have imagined that 12 years later this would be my life, that I would have this incredible queer family, and an incredible community that includes all of you!

I mark the things that matter the most to me in blood and ink, being selected as the recipient of the emerging author award from the Lambda Literary Foundation and walking across the stage at the Lammys to receive the ward this year is one of the biggest honors, and most important things that has ever happened to me. I knew instantly when I got the award that I needed to make that moment physically part of me. I couldn’t get the tattoo right after the Lammys because it was summer and I had beach vacations planned, so this winter was the ideal time to make this experience permanently part of me.

Lost Boi, my new novel which is a queer/leather retelling of the Peter Pan story has captured me completely and has been a primary focus for me.  In December I sent out the first draft to a group of beta readers. It’s so important for me as a writer not to exist in a vacuum and to get feedback on my work, sending out early drafts is also a super vulnerable process especially since most of the content of Lost Boi was very raw and although I had talked through some of the plot points with people close to me, the story had never been read. I got some amazing and truly valuable feedback from readers and spent the month of January and the first part of February incorporating all of it into a reworking of the novel. This week I finished the rewrite and couldn’t be more pleased with how it has come together. I think that this new book is the best thing that I’ve ever written, its plot challenged me in new ways and I’m thrilled to see what the community thinks of it when it goes out into the world! I’m currently working on query materials and really look forward to seeing what the future holds for this novel.

Although my primary focus of my creative work has definitely been on Lost Boi, I’ve also been trying to do lots of other writing, I’ve had some work accepted into upcoming anthologies that I’m very excited about, and I also was invited to write a chapter on how to write about trans characters for an upcoming YA writers guide (more details on all of this very soon!). It was fun to work in short form again and reminded me how much anthologies have been an important part of my literary life both as a reader and as a writer. My little pink planner (I went back to a physical planner for 2014) is filled with deadlines for other anthologies whose calls for submission have captured my interest and sparked the idea of a story.   I’m hoping to find (and prioritize) the time/focus/inspiration to write and submit stories for at least some of these projects.

Outside of writing I’ve been keeping busy. The big project (other than writing Lost Boi) I’m working on right now is the Queer Book Diorama exhibit I’m co-curating Hugh Ryan! The book dioramas will be on display at the New York Public Library Jefferson Market branch in August/September. The exhibit is being supported by the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, and the Lambda Literary Foundation and is going to be an incredible time for the community to come together and explore together what queer books mean to us. So far Hugh and I have gotten proposals from all over the United States, Canada and even from several countries in Europe! Have you been impacted by a queer book?  Have you as a queer person had a powerful connection to a book?  Have you submitted your proposal yet???? More info here

I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways in which writing, activism and identity go together. Last week I was included in Marcie Bianco’s article  “Queer Writing and the Strictures of Identity Politics” on Lambda Literary exploring Queer literature as a genre and what it means to be a queer writer, or a writer who is queer (the former is more accurate for me, the later for some of my peers. It was a interesting conversation, and one that I was really honored to be included in. I know that this is just the beginning part of a larger conversation that Marcie (and others) are interested in having, and I’m really excited about continuing to participate from the perspective of someone whose goals are to write niche stories by/for queer audiences. Check out the full conversation here

Several months ago I recorded an interview with the Prairie Schooner’s radio show Air Schooner about writing and activism. The show which also included my buddy Kit Yan as well as essayist Katie Hogan is focused around queer activism within the written word, and the way that writing can be a form of activism. The interview came together super well and I’m so pleased when I see literary publications tackling the intersections of queer politics and creativity! Check out the episode here.

 

 
 

finding books!

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Jan 252014
 

A buddy of mine sent me this picture of Roving Pack in the Carnegie library in Pittsburg!!!!!!  and just this week someone else messaged me that they had found Roving Pack at the library in Oakland, California!!!! One thing I really really love is when folks message me on facebook or twitter letting me know that they’ve seen one of my books out in the world!  It’s one of the neatest feelings to really know that the book is really out in the world and that folks are finding it!  If you see Roving Pack, or Kicked Out or Leather Ever After  in a library or bookstore please tweet or facebook me about it!!!!

Jan 132014
 

Some of you might remember that over the summer I received an INCREDIBLE gift from a Roving Pack reader. Michelle Breannan of Michigan created a super detailed Roving Pack diorama, and sent it to me!  This started a big conversation on facebook amongst myself and many artists about the power of books, our relationship to them, and quite frankly how fun it would be to revisit and queer the process of book diorama making – an art which most of us have not experimented with since being assigned a “book in a box” report in elementary school!

These conversations quickly grew into a partnership between Hugh Ryan and myself to find a way to bring together a gallery of dioramas based on queer books, and created by queer artists exploring the power that books have had in their own formation of identity. Others were as excited about the idea as we are and the dream became a reality!

The Queer Book Diorama exhibit will take place September 2014 at the New York Public Library  Jefferson Market Branch, and is sponsored by the Lambda Literary Foundation and the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History!!!!!  Below is the call for art, please consider proposing a diorama, and please please  share the call with everyone in your community!

***

The Pop-Up Museum of Queer History is excited to announce the call for proposals for Queer Book Dioramas – an exhibit in partnership with The New York Public Library and Lambda Literary, co-curated by Pop-Up Founding Director Hugh Ryan and award-winning queer author Sassafras Lowrey.

This show will highlight the unique relationship between LGBTQ people and literature. For many in our community books are the first place where we see pieces of ourselves and our identities, making them critical to the process of identity formation. Books can be lifelines for LGBTQ people isolated by geographic area or other life circumstances. These dioramas will be displayed at the New York Public Library’s Jefferson Market Branch in  September 2014.

We are seeking:

Visual artists and community members interested in creating dioramas depicting any book that contributed to your formation of understanding of yourself as an LGBTQ person. We are seeking to create a community project that includes artists of all experience levels.

If you are interested in participating please send:

1) Title of book that contributed to your formation of LGBTQ identity, or has meaning to you as an LGBTQ person.

2) Brief description of what this book means to you/why you feel connected to it.

3) Description of the diorama you anticipate creating.

4) A little information about yourself, and (if you have them) any examples of previous artistic work, however, no previous experience or artistic training is necessary.

5) Your location (to help us determine shipping costs!)

We are currently seeking funding to stipend accepted artists and pay for shipping. Questions or concerns about the project should be sent to: QueerBookDiorama@gmail.com

                                   Click view a PDF version of the Call For Art: QueerDioramaCallForArt

 

Dec 312013
 

Hard to believe that 2013 is almost over. It’s been an incredible year for and in so many ways i feel like 2013 was a year so much came together for me in terms of both getting my work out into the world,  and understanding the directions that I’m moving in with  my writing. Kicked Out and Roving Pack both had amazing years and  I am ending the year looking back at 12 incredible months so much of was made possible because of the amazing community support I’ve received from all of you!

2013 Highlights! 

 

* The release of Leather Ever After: an anthology of kinky fairy tales!  This anthology is simply FUN. It was a project that came together really suddenly when the publisher approached me after a leather storytelling event I curated and Leather Ever After was a total blast to put together! The book features some of the best leather writers out there, and includes a foreword by the one and only Laura Antoniou!  It just got another great review and am so excited it’s out in the world!

* In 2013 my writing appeared in several other people’s projects! I have stories in Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey where I give my queer leather response to the kink book mainstream culture has decided represents us, and No Safewords: A Marketplace Fan Anthology  where I got the chance to play in Laura Antoniou’s sandbox and write a story based on The Marketplace – one of my favorite series! I had several of my tweets about gender  published in Kate Bornstein’s updated “My New Gender Workbook”  the first version of this book set me off on my big gender journeys about 11 years ago and so it was a tremendous honor to be part of Auntie Kate’s update to the book! I also have a story about creating queer family in Stay Solid! A Radical Handbook For Youth — this is a fantastic collection of perspectives ideal for giving to teens you know

* Keynoting the 10th annual Oregon Queer Youth Summit – 10 years ago I was a queer youth organizer in Portland, Oregon and was part of creating the programming at the very first Oregon Queer Youth Summit! It was a tremendous honor that this year the organizers came to me and asked me to deliver the keynote for the 10th annual Summit!!!

* NYC Pride Rally  -I was one of the performers at NYC’s Pride Kickoff Rally on the Pier the Friday of Pride weekend. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to take the stage and read a story about building family and homeless queer youth on that giant stage – I also had Lady GaGa open for me! (how often does anyone get to say that??)

* In May I traveled to New Orleans for the annual Saints & Sinners queer literary conference. I’ve heard such amazing things about the conference over the years it was an incredible opportunity to not only attend but sit on several panels about writing and publishing (read more about it here). The highlight of the weekend for sure  and having the chance to meet and learn from the incredible Dorothy Allison who has been my biggest role model in writing.

* The literary highlight of my year was attending the 25th annual Lambda Literary Awards and walking across that stage to accept a Berzon Emerging Writer Award!!! This award means more to me than just about any award I could achieve- to be recognized by my community of queer writers was beyond magical.

* Traveling to Atlanta with Roving Pack as part of the literary events sponsored by Atlanta Pride happening at Charis  my favorite feminist bookstore. I got to finally meet Alysia Angel one of my favorite femme writers and share a fun weekend of queer storytelling at the bookstore and kickoff pride week in Atlanta!

* finishing the first draft, and the initial edit for my next novel Lost Boi – a queer and punk retelling of the peter pan story. Last New Years I set the goal that by NYE 2013 I would finish the first draft of the book – I exceeded that goal finishing the draft in October, editing it in November and sending it off to beta readers for December!

*All of the amazing letters/notes/emails/tweets/comments I’ve gotten from readers all over the world telling me about how you liked or connected with one of my books or stories. <3 <3 <3

I’m really excited for 2014 and can’t believe it’s almost here! In 2014 I’ll be turning 30, my partner and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary together and hopefully I’ll be getting lots of writing and revising done! I have some exciting literary projects in the works for 2014 and can’t wait to begin sharing them with all of you! Happy New Year!!!

xoxoxoxoxo