Check it out!!!! The incredible Mollena Williams who is a contributor to Leather Ever After was interviewed in the NY Times and they photographed her at our NYC Release event!!! You can see my tattooed arm in the right corner of the photo, and LEATHER EVER AFTER GOT MENTIONED!!!!
Ok so I’ve been seeing this TNBT (The Next Big Thing) making its rounds in the blogosphere and since I’ve been procrastinating actually getting significant writing done on my next big thing today, I thought I’d play along and tell all of you a little bit about what I’m working on next
What is your working title of your book (or story)?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This book has been formulating in my head for the last year or so. Right as I was beginning to wrap things up with Roving Pack and preparing to send it to press, the ideas for this new book started to come to me. I’m really interested in what it means to grow up, all the ways that can look, and the costs associated with doing so. Over the past few months the characters and plot have really solidified for me, and it’s been a delightful challenge to begin bringing them to life on paper.
What genre does your book fall under?
Fiction, really really queer fiction
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh goodness! I have NO IDEA.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A gutterpunk retelling of Peter Pan that is dark, gritty and full of unexpected discoveries.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? (if this applies – otherwise, make up another question to answer!)
This is a very good question. Two of my books have been released through small presses, and one through my own imprint. I’m very open to working with the right publisher so long as the content of the novel doesn’t have to be tamed down to meet marketing concerns, and if the right publisher doesn’t come along? I’ve got my own imprint and will gladly birth this book into the world myself.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I have set the goal of having a first full draft of the manuscript by New Years Eve 2013…. wish me luck, and bring me bubble tea, please!
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This novel will be a very logical book to follow Roving Pack.
It’s hard to believe that the NYC release of Leather Ever After was almost a week ago! Last Wednesday definitely goes down on the list of best gigs I’ve had the honor to organize, and I couldn’t have asked for a better night to bring this anthology out into the world! Leading up to the event I decided I wanted to do something nice for the contributors who were participating, and I embroidered handkerchiefs for each of the readers that connected to their story. Can you figure out what stories they correspond to? You’ll have to read the book to figure it all out! Thankfully the contributors all thought my crafting was sweet – Lee Harrington even started flagging with his new hanky!
The reading itself was absolutely fantastic. Bluestockings bookstore was PACKED PACKED PACKED which was especially amazing since it was a wednesday night! We had a great audience who were ready to hear some great stories. The NYC release event which was sponsored by Lesbian Sex Mafia featured readings from Laura Antiniou, Karen Taylor, Mollena Williams, Lee Harrington, DL King and Hosha- talk about a KNOCK OUT LINEUP! I feel so lucky as an editor that these folks are amongst the contributors and that they were willing to come out and do a release event. Finding a date this crew could all be together was tricky (which is how we ended up with a release event on a Wednesday night) but the NYC release event really was (ready for it? ) a fairy tale come true
One of the first things that stands out to people about Kicked Out are the hauntingly gorgeous photographs by Samantha Box that are scattered through the anthology. Sam is based in NYC and has continued to photograph LGBTQ homeless youth building a body of work she calls the “Invisible Project.” I am thrilled to announce that she and I in partnership with BGSQD (a new popup queer bookstore) will be joining forces for an event this month!
Sam’s work is up in a gallery show at the bookstore this month, and on February 17th I’ll be there talking about Kicked Out and doing a reading from my new novel Roving Pack which is about homeless queer youth. I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Sam, and to help highlight her incredible photography. This event is also a particularly exciting opportunity for me to be able to combine my work with Kicked Out and Roving Pack , to in some ways put them in conversation with eachother, and most importantly utilize them to continue dialogue and awareness raising within queer community about the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness!
I’m sick on my couch with a fever trying to beat this nasty bug that has laid me flat for most of the weekend. I debated if I would write this blog post at all, but I can’t allow myself to let today pass without mentioning what it means to me, especially as outside a cold cold pacific northwest kind of rain is falling. I think most of us kicked out folks, most of us who have runaway, been thrown away, or escaped in someway have a date that sticks in our mind, one that we watch creep closer on the calendar each year. For me it’s February 11th. There are other days, one in September when I left my birth mother’s home, but that one tends to impact me less.
On Monday February 11th 2002 my entire world changed. My dog trainer who was my first attempt at building my own family, and who I had been living with for six months since leaving my birth mother’s home called me at school and told me never to come back to her home. She had read my carefully hidden journal and discovered that I was queer. I never had a chance to explain myself, though really I don’t think there was anything I could have said. She gave me 72 hour to rehome my dogs, I was homeless, no job, no car, 17 years old.
I had no options. Within 24 hours I went from Sunday at an agility trial – the last time I would compete, to Monday where I was
homeless and worst of all dog less. I have a few pictures from those years and amongst the few bits of my past that moved from a leaking storage barn and then with me from punk house to punk house was a VHS tape of some recorded runs – mostly from very early competitions. A couple years ago a dear friend who’s also a filmmaker offered to try to digitize the VHS- and it worked (I’d been afraid it was too damaged to save). Here is a short clip from some early novice runs of Snickers and I – this is the first time I’ve ever publicly shown any of this footage:
“Did you know that a pack will fight to the death to protect one of its own? They will forgo escape routes to stay behind. They do not leave, no matter the pain. The ultimate trust. They will never give up until their bodies fail. Perhaps I was human after all. I’d saved myself, but failed my pack….” – Kicked Out
I have a strange relationship to February 11th. It’s both the day that the rural dog agility trainer girl that I was died, and the day that the queer activist was born. Within days I would find my mission to work in queer communities that I hadn’t even known existed. This year, as every year on this day I take stock of how far I’ve come what I have made of myself and what I hope to accomplish in the year to come. This year has brought the release of Roving Pack which in so many feels like the ideal follow-up to my first book Kicked Out and the perfect book to release as my first solo title, there is of course too the release of Leather Ever After. This year brought touring Roving Pack through Europe-something sitting alone and broken a decade ago I never could have imagined would be something I would have accomplished.
This year has also brought with it some special full circle kinds of growth. In the last few months I have “come out” about the work that I am doing with dogs, owning again that working with them is one of my oldest passions, and that I’m ready to take it back after having it ripped from me a decade ago. Charlotte has been a HUGE inspiration, and I’ve written before how I believe that Snickers brought her into my life for this very purpose, and now as always I’m determined to do that little guy right, to make him proud.
Since the beginning of the year I have been assisting with a local dog agility class, taught by the kind of world-class trainer my agility obsessed teenage self could never have imagined I would ever have the opportunity to meet, let alone work with. I’m beyond thrilled that I had this kind of opportunity come into my life, and am excited to continue this path. Since adopting Charlotte a year and a half ago I’ve been upping my training game, getting really into teaching her tricks, completing Trick Dog Titles and owning to myself, friends, and chosen family that long term I’m interested in training. I’ve also in the past few months taken the first steps to bring that old dream to life. As mentioned above I’m assisting with local classes and I’m also working to complete my Trick Dog Instructor certification. I’m not sure where this path will lead me, but it feels good to be putting effort and energy in the direction and to be recapturing stolen dreams.
A few months after I lost my dogs I tattooed a paw print for each of them onto my right bicep. A few months after that on the back of my left calf I had inked into me an elite level course map surrounded by the words “I could have missed the pain, but I’d of had to miss the dance” a Garth Brooks quote that has taken 11 years to feel completely true. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t still hard, but I also have made peace with the loss. There were years where thinking of training was simply too painful, and as much as I hate to admit it there are some wounds that for me time has been able to if not heal then solidly scar over.
February 11th is a day that I doubt will ever pass without my noticing. It’s a day where I am perhaps a bit more tender, where I am more gentle with myself, where I hold my dogs a little tighter, tell each member of my chosen family that I love them one extra time. It is because of dogs that I learned how to build chosen families in the first place, and a more than a decade later what I know most of all is that I am not alone. It’s been 11 years since I ran at my last trial, 11 years since I lost my boys, 11 years since I sat more alone than I had ever been in the dark on a strange couch too afraid to sleep not knowing if I could survive the night, or the day that would follow without them. 11 years since I promised myself, promised them that if we couldn’t be together that I would tell our story, that I would survive, that I would do whatever I could to do work in the world that would make it right so that others wouldn’t be separated the way we had been. I’m my own biggest critic, but even I believe that I’ve done those dogs proud, that I’m doing right by their memories
It’s been a great few days for Leather Ever After! The anthology had its first reading at the West Coast Bound conference on Sunday (hoping to get one of the authors who was part of the reading to do a little blog post about it!), the NYC release is now only a week away (2/13 at Bluestockings – sponsored by Lesbian Sex Mafia) AND AND AND last night the very first review of Leather Ever After came out!!! Check it out!
“I live the kind of queer life I’ve always dreamed of…We are able to hone and focus our relationship on what is best about who we are to each other.”
Some of you might have seen that Sinclair Sexsmith has been doing a series of interviews on their site Sugar Butch about different perspectives and experiences with poly relationships. I participated, and my mini interview went up this weekend. check it out!