For the past couple of months I’ve been writing a weekly column over at Dogster. The content of the column is mostly little stories about life with my dogs interspersed with training advice . This past week though I focused on my oldest dog Mercury and our experience of coming together shortly after I had been kicked out, and the past 11 years that we’ve spent together (his birthday was last week). The piece has been successful, and much to my surprise late last night I saw that it has been pickedup and reposted by Huffington Post!
It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through August! It’s been a great summer Kestryl and I had an amazing time up in Ptown relaxing with our dogs. I’ve been picking away at some new writing, and just last weekend via SKYPE I joined a queer femme book group in Montreal to talk about Roving Pack! Next month I’ll be joining the youth at SMYRC in Portland Oregon (the queer youth center where I grew up) to disuss Roving Pack! Has your book group read the novel? I’d love to be part of your next meeting to talk about the book!
If your’e interested in my canine focused writing this summer I started writing a weekly column over at Dogster.com – it’s been a blast talking about my life with dogs as well as offering some general training advice to readers. I also have a story in the Fall print issue of The Bark magazine. I’ve read the magazine for over a decade and written for them online, but this is my first time being in print with them so when the issue arrived in my mailbox I was stoked. The story I wrote is about canine yoga!
It’s still Summer here in NYC but I’m already thinking about the fall and how exciting it will be. Crown Heights is the Brooklyn neighborhood that I call home and we’re getting our very own bookstore!!!! The shop will be opening in September and I’m organizing the first queer reading ever to happen at the bookstore. It will be on September 28th at 7pm so if you’re in the NYC area you should definitely join us – it’s an amazing lineup of readers: Cristy C. Road, Chavisa Woods, Mario Alberto Zambrano, Me! Check out the FB event page and RSVP please!
Then, the next weekend I’m going to be flying down to Atlanta to be part of the Atlanta Pride festivities!!! I’m super excited because Atlanta is definitely a beloved city of mine – and Charis Feminist Bookstore where I’ll be reading is one of my all time favorite shops anywhere in the country. I’m going to be part of an awesome reading happening called “The Tears on Her Face Are From Laughter” on Saturday October 5th which will be featuring readings from: my buddy (and Leather Ever After contributor) Alysia Angel and Julie Marie for an evening of storytelling, poetry, and tales of queer triumph! I’m really looking forward to being back in Atlanta, this time with Roving Pack! Please tell anyone you know in the area to stop by the bookstore
Autumn is one of my favorite seasons, I’m so looking forward to feeling the weather begin to cool, and the start of holiday seasons. Also, I can’t wait to go apple picking and for our annual trip to the pumpkin patch
A few months ago I shared with you some pictures from an amazing Roving Pack reader named Michelle Brennan who had felt so connected to the novel that she made a “book in a box” style diorama of the novel! I had completely forgotten about the book in a box reports that so many of us created in elementary school and was over the moon with the idea that someone was bringing them back, and using it as a medium to represent really queer books!!! Michelle sent me some early photos of the diorama, which I shared on the block and was completely smitten. Now though, I have to admit though, that was NOTHING compared to the magic that arrived in the mail last night!!!!
Michelle, the amazing queer artist who is behind the creation of the Roving Pack diorama is also an amazing tease – she wanted me to be surprised by the final piece so when she finished the diorama she didn’t send me any pictures. I couldn’t believe it when I opened the box and removed all the packing peanuts. She captured everything about Roving Pack so brilliantly.
When I was writing Roving Pack I never ever could have imagined the outpouring of support and connection I would see from the community. This was a story that I knew needed to be written, needed to get out into the world. I hoped that perhaps it would connect with a few people, but I had no way of knowing that it would be so well received, that people would write me beautiful letters telling me how much they needed this book. Messages, emails, letters and other communication from folks around the world who have felt connected in some way to Roving Pack is without a doubt the most meaningful praise/award/recognition I could receive and I really believe that I have the best readers ever.
The detail that Michelle packed into this this diorama is impeccable, I can’t imagine how many times
Michelle must have read Roving Pack to be able to capture everything from the main character’s tattoos, to the details of the apartment – floggers on the wall, the infamous black sheets, the little books that come off the bookshelf, which are all the titles of books that a queer kid might have had in the early 2000′s, the zine on the floor that can be paged through, everything is just amazing. When I first opened the box, I think I sat on the floor with the diorama for a good 20 minutes just looking at every single little detail and keep returning to it. To have someone make such amazing art, based on my art???? I can’t think of a higher compliment!
Here’s the thing, Michelle is also in a major battle against cancer right now and needs help from the community because we live in a society where people have to crowd source to survive the financial fallout of a major illness. Do you have a couple of bucks (or more!) to throw her way? Michelle is an amazing member of our queer community and we need to help her and her family gets through this difficult time without having to worry about how the bills are going to be paid.
This week has been pretty exciting on the policy front for LGBTQ homeless youth. Re. Gwen Moore (D-Wis) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis)- who is one of six openly gay members of the US House, have have introduced a beill into the House to support LGBTQ homeless youth! The bill hopes to amend the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act known as the Runaway & Homeless Youth Act. The Act is up for reauthorization this year and these two representatives want to make it LGBTQ inclusive.
If the act passes with the inclusive amendments, it will require that any homeless shelters that receive federal funds will not be able to discriminate against LGBT youth! The bill will also mandate that the Family & Youth Service Bureau at the Department of Health & Human Services would compile comprehensive data on the pervasiveness of LGBTQ youth homelessness.
More info available here
I’m always excited by anything related to Queer Books – so I’m very excited to be part of the 5th annual Rainbow Awards for LGBT Fiction and Non-Fiction. Both Roving Pack and Leather Ever After have been nominated for consideration ::fingers crossed:: but I’ve also been selected to be part of the final round Jury (obviously in a category that neither of my books are in!!!)! I’m super honored to be judging books this fall in the very final round! As a queer author very committed to queer literary communities it’s exciting for me to see another venue to support our work, and to be able to support it.
Are you an author or publisher with a book that released between September 1 2012 and August, 31 2013 if so there’s still time for you to submit your book for consideration! Nominations must be received no later than September 5th!
The 2013 Elisa Rolle Rainbow Awards are an annual contest celebrating outstanding work in LGBT fiction and nonfiction. Hosted and owned by blogger Elisa Rolle, the contest is open to all authors of work containing LGBT fictional characters and work chronicling the true stories of LGBT persons. For this the contest’s fifth year, some new rules have been instigated, and a new partner has emerged to assist Elisa. The Rainbow Romance Writers, a chapter of the Romance Writers of America, will partner with Elisa in the management and coordination of this contest. Despite RRW’s status as a chapter for romance writers, their participation in no way changes the Rainbow Awards and do not make them exclusively a romance contest. One need not be a member of RRW or RWA to participate in this contest.
You can read all about the eligibility guidelines, and how to submit books for consideration, and the nonprofits benefiting from the awards here