sassafras

Updates!

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Sep 062017
 

I’ve gotten behind on my posting this summer, but I haven’t been slacking in the writing department! I’ve finished revisions on  my next novel Foam and have started to query it. I’ve also been writing a lot of articles, and thinking a lot about my future writing goals, and sustainability of the kind of writing I want to do.

I’ve been selected to be a mentor in the AWP writer to writer program this fall so expect updates about that! Next month i’ll be on the road to Utica College in upstate New York, and then to Los Angeles to give the Keynote at the EDGY conference for providers working with LGBTQ youth!

I’ve been keeping up with my book a week reading – check out what I’ve been reading by friending me on Goodreads.com

I have of course still been actively posting micro-blogs and updates daily on my social media: facebook/twitter/tumblr/instagram! follow me there (you’ll also get to see lots of pictures of my adorable dogs)!

Jul 072017
 

It’s no secret I love social media – and defying all logic, my favorite of the social media platforms has always been facebook.  I had been seeing friends post about new policies where Facebook was blocking people or pulling content that used the word “dyke” as reclaimed and empowering identity language. I continued posting on my facebook like normal, and woke up this morning to discover that not only had a post I’d made yesterday sharing the newest Dykes To Watch Out For classic lesbian comic had been pulled for “violating community standards” but my profile had also been put on a 24 hour hold, and I’ve been reminded/threatened that repeat “offenses” could get my profile deleted.

Because there has been doubt that this is happening, I took screenshots:

 

 


Jun 062017
 

Yikes ! It’s already June! May was a very busy month for me! If you follow me on social media you know that I have been writing a new novel for the better part of the last year. I had mapped out a writing schedule that would have me finish my first draft in mid September. Things were going really well with that writing schedule, they went so well that I actually blew past all my deadlines and finished my first complete draft in may! The novel’s (working) title is “Foam” and it’s all about: starting over, failure, loss, mermaids, systems, queerness, and discovery. I’m really excited with how it’s coming together. When i  finish a first draft there is huge weight that lifts off my shoulders, there is one beautiful moment where i can hold onto the idea of what that. Ok will become and everything feels quite real….. though now comes the hard work of rewriting! I hope to finish that by mid-Summer!

Started the month reading at the NYC finalist reading with ‘A Little Queermas Carol.’  I’m so thrilled this novella is a FINALIST, and it was so much fun to get the chance to read alongside so many fantastic local authors whose books are finalists this year as well. 

In May I turned 33 (don’t worry, I’m also still  just a big 5 year old)! I had a Steven universe themed birthday party in the middle of a huge rainstorm! Are you watching Steven universe? I had a few friends over, and we did party crafts and ate an awesome multi-layer cake my partner baked! I also made a permanent commitment to my love of my little pony- with this tattoo !

photo right after the artist finished - so it's super raw and swollen

photo right after the artist finished – so it’s super raw and swollen

I had articles appear this month in

BlogPaws

the Bark

Dogster

Curve

Cosmonauts Avenue

In May I got the chance to have dinner with the scoring author Jenni Fagan who was visiting NYC! She’s doing a lot of work right now exploring truth telling, and we had some great conversations over plates of vegetarian food in the west village. We’ve known each other on Twitter and have read each other’s novels, it was such a treat to connect with another gritt lit author.

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My puppy Sirius is getting huge. She’s learning lots of things- going on lots of adventure and at 19 weeks old earned her novice trick dog title! Training dogs is my oldest passions I’m not brilliant at it but I love it. Looking forward to talking more classes with her.

I did pretty well on my book a week reading goal in May. My favorite book that I read last month was “the Education Of Will” – it’s a great memoir of a dog trainer whose work I’ve really admired for years. Friend me on goodreads! I’m always looking for new books to read https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/7295681

After some medical scares with my special little old man, the whole pack is doing really well, and my youngest baby dog  at just 19 weeks old earned her Novice Trick Dog Title! I”m really looking forward to lots of adventures with my pups! 18425244_10211833367565780_6063886484864933653_n

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Looking Ahead to June:

Hoping to have more articles published, and have been throwing a lot of literary spaghetti at metaphorical walls! I’m  booking some out of town/touring events for the fall/for next year. I intentionally  haven’t toured on the last couple of years, but I’m opening up again to it which feels good

The Lambda Literary Awards are only a week away!!!! These awards really are one of the highlights of my year! I adore the ceremony and the chance to be in a room that is all together to celebrate queer books!!!! 

p.s. I LOVE connecting with readers, and I now have a PO Box! Reader letters are one of the highlights of my week! I got a lot of amazing letters in the month of may! What to write me?  Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 8.50.11 PM

April!

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Apr 302017
 

I can’t believe that April is already over! It was a quick month for me – that of course included Easter – one of my favorite holidays. It was the first holiday my family spent in our new house, and contrary to my worries, the Easter Bunny had no problem finding us! 17952925_10211556445282896_7586546313444033969_n

This month I wrote my regular column at Curve Magazine, a story about giant dogs for Dogester and then a featured piece on Huffington Post about being a Queer Little! I was anxious about that story- and it did generate a fair amount of hateful comments, including some trolls coming to visit my twitter account. THAT SAID writing this little piece felt really important to me to help raise awareness and dispel myths about littles and Big/little Caregiver/little BDSM/leather dynamics. Trolls aside I’ve gotten wonderful sweet letters/messages/comments from littles who felt embarrassed about their identities,  or who are closeted – hearing that my article helped them to feel a little less alone made all the hateful comments worth it!

SassafrasThis month I found my dress for the Lambda Literary Awards in June. I’m super excited that A Little Queermas Carol is a Finalist. Of all my books, this is probably the least read one it’s such a niche of a niche of a niche book – but I love the way that i’ve been able to connect to a very special core readership for me.  I’m obviously excited to see how this book will do in the awards, but I”m also really trying to  focus on writing this new novel. I just finished a draft of chapter 23, I’ve got another 11 go go. I”m writing about a chapter a week at this point – and have been for a couple of months now. I’m enjoying this novel a lot, and in

april I feel like I really hit my stride with the book where Im really connecting to the characters, and they are connecting to me.18121440_10211626217307153_6774510955749098295_o

A lot of my time in April has been wrapped up in socializing and training and loving on our new giant puppy Sirius. She’s now 4 months old, graduated from puppy school, learned a whole collection of tricks, and just having a great time learning and growing – oh boy is she growing!!! I love how she has fit into our pack, and how much fun she and Charlotte have together every day! April’s weather has started warming up here in Brooklyn, and that’s meant a lot of time in our backyard – i’m pretty convinced all i want to do this summer is finish writing my new novel while hanging out in a sundress, in my backyard with my dogs in our baby pool, eating my partner’s awesome veggie fake meat BBQ! 

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Favorite thing i watched this month: Steven Universe – I’m newly obsessed, completely obsessed. Have you watched it yet??? It’s ridiculously queer and so many important lessons and engaging stories. I also was excited that season 7 of My Little Pony started!

Favorite thing I read this month: I’m still keeping up with my book a week reading schedule – and two of the books this month were AMAZING.  “Love Is Love: a comic book anthology to benefit the survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting” edited by Marc Andreyko and “The Sunlight Pilgrims” by Jenni Fagan were not only the best books I read this year, but also the best books I’ve read this year so far. Friend me on goodreads so you can follow along with what i’m reading – and so you can see what i’m reading!

May!
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May is my birthday! I’ll be turning 33 which is exciting and strange and amazing all at once. I’ll be reading at the NYC Lambda Literary Awards Finalist Reading on May 4th (this Thursday!) if you’re local to NYC I hope you’ll come out to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art to celebrate the local NYC finalists!  https://www.facebook.com/events/600696180065455/ I also have some staycations planned from my muggle job- I’m looking forward to adventures with my partner and our dogs, little projects around the house, and hopefully a lot of writing!

Apr 012017
 

Whoa! Busy busy month! Biggest news of all which if you follow my social media pages you’ve been inundated with — my partner and I brought home a new baby-a Newfoundland puppy named Sirius! The whole family is smitten with her, and she’s definitely been keeping us BUSY this month as we adjust to new (puppy) parent life. Sleep? What’s that?!

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I did jokingly say in an email with my publisher that the new (reduced) sleep schedule is giving me lots of time to write! I got quite a lot of writing done this month. A couple of different articles for Dogster, an article for the bark, and my curve magazine column. I also managed a short story submission to an anthology, and have been holding steady with my writing goals on the new novel. My writing goal is to finish a (draft) chapter a week- which if I stay on target will mean i’ll easily finish this early draft of the novel before the end of the year!

I read several books in march which I chronicled on goodreads as usual and as you’ll see I didn’t LOVE any of them. At least with reading a book a week there are always more books to read, and even books I don’t love, or even like, there is usually something that I can take with me from the book.

This month I also officials made the difficult decision that Leather Ever After will at this time remain out of print. When its publisher Ravenous Romance decided to drop the title (without notice) back in December I immediately started talking to other erotica publishers to see who might be interested in acquiring the title. The amazing news was that there WAS interest, the challenge for me was having to really examine how much attention I was going to be able to give to this project. The anthology is amazing, and contains some of my favorite writers in the kink/leather world — yet the thought of putting in the work necessary to get the book back into print which would mean a full editorial overhaul because of editing issues the first time the book was published was daunting for me. As a full-time writer, with a full-time stressful muggle job, a family, and only 24 hours in the day  a not insignificant significant number of which I need to spend sleeping there just didn’t feel like a reasonable way to make this book happen. The hardest part was telling the contributors, all writers whose work I love that I was going to shelve the book. Leather Ever After has in many ways always been a little “unloved” amongst my books, if I’m being honest I never promoted it well, and I was dreading the reality of needing to start prioritizing it. This has NOTHING to do with the amazing writers who shared their passions, kinks, and talent in its pages. Something interesting for me in this process that really became clear is that you can’t make yourself love a book-as much as you might feel a responsibility to it.

The real issue for me came down to that (and I feel like such a bad leather queer saying this) I don’t really like erotica. I don’t read it, and I don’t enjoy writing it. It’s not that I’m a prude, and it isn’t even (I don’t think — and i’ve spent a lot of time examining this) about my being asexual-ish identified. I think when I said on social media that my literary passions just didn’t include erotica people were concerned I was changing what I was writing more broadly which just isn’t the case at all. I’m deeply committed to writing queer fiction with solidly leather themes – I just don’t want to write about sex or erotica. I’m interested in writing about queer families, queer relationships and dynamics and less about the sexual application that may or may not be taking place, or if I’m going to write a sex scene in a novel or story then I want it to be intentionally a part of the plot, as apposed to sex for the sake of arousing the reader (not that there is anything wrong with that-, just not what i’m interested in doing!) Does any of this make sense? I hope so. Sometimes I feel the more I write, the more I understand my own literary style the more of a niche niche niche writer I feel – but so long as readers tell me they like what I’m doing, and as long as I love the stories I’m writing I’m going to assume that I’m on the right track

Speaking of…. The BIG literary news in March for me was that A Little Queermas Carol was named a 17308809_10211240860993486_2174869918662583801_nLambda Literary Award FINALIST! The novella is up in the category of Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror – it’s a big category with some really incredible books – including my good friend Michael Thomas Ford’s “Lilly.”  I wrote A little Queermas Carol very much with the mindset that this novella was that it was a book I was writing for a very specific niche of my readers-not for publishers, not for judges. This is a book that is in and of itself a niche within a niche within a niche. It’s a novella, a christmas book, a queer book, a leather book, and a book centering ageplayers/littles. When the list of Lambda Finalists were announced, I was SHOCKED to see this book on the list. I actually think it’s one of the strongest things I’ve ever written, but I didn’t know if folks outside of this little niche community would read it – I AM SO EXCITED THAT I WAS WRONG!

The Lammy’s (this year: June 12th in NYC) are one of my favorite times of the year — it’s a whole exciting event that is organized around celebrating the best of queer books!!! What more could I want?!  I just ordered my dress, and regardless of what book wins, being a finalist is  TREMENDOUS honor and I can’t wait to go celebrate all the books!

April is going to bring a lot more puppy adventures for my family, and hopefully a lot of writing. I’ve been updating my weekly writing progress on Facebook every Sunday which is a fun way to help hold myself accountable to keeping up with the writing that I want to be doing, especially now that I’m serious about trying to finish this new novel.

Mar 142017
 

17308809_10211240860993486_2174869918662583801_nhere is a “blizzard” in NYC today, there is a new puppy in my family, AND this morning I got the news that my novella “A Little Queermas Carol” was named a Lambda Literary Award FINALIST for the SF/Fantasy/Horror category!!!!!!!!!  This little book really was a labor of love, it’s a book whose audience is in some ways a niche of a niche. As  a queer/leather/little writer it feels amazing to have this book recognized as a finalist for the Lammys!

All of this year’s finalists are fantastic! I’m so honored to be in such incredible company!

 

I didn’t actually post a February update blog #oops I’ve been doing lots of micro blogging on facebook/twitter/instagram/tumblr  including a weekly writing update for what i’ve been working on with my newest novel that just reached 20k words, articles that get published etc. It’s been a fun way to be transparent about what I’m working on

SiriusI’ve also been posting TONS of pictures of this new muffin – an 11 week old Newfoundland puppy that joined our family last week. Our whole family is smitten with her – and she’s keeping us super busy! My social media pages are FILLED with even more cute animal pictures than normal

xoxoxo

Feb 112017
 

#AWP17

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Wow – so I’m on an Amtrak train right now heading home to NYC from DC and the 50th annual AWP. This was my first time attending AWP and I had a lot of concerns going into the conference about how well I would (or wouldn’t ) fit in but I was on a fantastic panel “Bringing LGBTQ Folk Forms Into Our Literature” with Tom Cho and Michelle Tea, Derrick Austin, and Adam Atkinson— so really how could I say no?! Our panel was fantastic – people were standing along all the walls, sitting on the floor wherever they could fit, I wish I had taken a picture to send to AWP since they put us in such a TINY room (evidently there is a history of this happening to queer panels).

I’ve never been to this big of a writing conference before. It was pretty awesome and overwhelming sO ultimately – I’m REALLY REALLY GLAD that I went. I feel like I learned a lot from the experience, had the chance to connect with queer authors I adore and almost never get the chance to see including my fantastic publisher Arsenal Pulp Press, met new writers who I found commonalities with – many of whom I’m now connected to on twitter/facebook/instagram/tumbr, and got to connect with some wonderful wonderful readers!  I also took a field trip to the national zoo to meet baby pandas (something I talked to basically everyone about all weekend).Will I go back? Maybe? I’m not sure – it’s EXPENSIVE and I didn’t fall in love the same way I did when I attended Saints  & Sinners the first time but this was a very fun experience  all (self doubt about how “literary” I am aside) it very much felt like getting the chance to play with the big kids. I’m sure that I will have LOTS of thoughts as I digest the experiences of the past few days but for now I did want to share the text of the paper I read

<3 <3 <3

In Zines I Trust: Queer Zines as the Foundation of my Literary Work

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I want to start by thanking QZAP the Queer Zine Archive Project for their amazing work cataloging and preserving queer zines, and providing me with most of the images in this power point which gives texture to zines as an art form.

I discovered zines- self produced publications, often photocopied utilizing mixed media pairing written word with cut/paste imagery  about two days before I wrote my first zine- which to me is one of the most beautiful parts zine writing -you simply are able to join in.  The first zine that I was part of writing was created by the Rural Oregon Queer Youth support group I was active in my senior year in high school. The story that I wrote was about kraft macaroni and cheese (my favorite food) and about coming out, being beaten by my mother and running away from home. Zines were the first place that I saw stories like mine reflected back at me- stories  of the kind of queerness: chosen family, kink, and gender fluidity that was flourishing in the youth centers I found and built family in. Zine culture, as I found it was filled with weirdos who were not waiting for an invitation to the literary party -they were telling their stories in all their messy, sometimes misspelled glory, and I wanted in.

 

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Zines were my literary foundation -I like to say that I have an MFA in zines. I don’t actually have an MFA though for a while, every couple of years I would panic, think I needed one, apply to grad school, get accepted and then turn them down . I am not traditionally trained as a writer, and have resisted all pressures to seek out that formal training. When I started out, my writing circle was made up of other homeless youth, survivors, and runaways. We wrote our stories for one another creating work by and for our little broken queer community – we showed each other our scars on photocopied pages, hosted zine releases in punk house basements and feminist bookstores – naming our truths, our secrets, our passions, our fears, and our dreams. I am the kind of author I am today because my writing was incubated in zine culture.

when I started writing Zines gave me control over the the way that stories were told, queer 2002lives/bodies/relationships could be presented without being sanitized. Zines are an ethic, and an aesthetic of truth telling without censorship- naming that the red editorial pen so often becomes a gatekeeper for marginalized voices. In zine community I found other gender freak weirdo writers who were doing gender our own ways. zines by their very nature gave space for fluidity, exploration and ownership over the process

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 3.02.13 PMA few years ago I was on tour at a college with my first novel I was talking with some students who told me how they were looking forward to finishing their graduate program so that they would be qualified to begin submitting poems and stories to anthologies. I was shocked. I had at time been published in dozens of anthologies- thanks to coming of age in zine community and it had never occurred to me that I needed a piece paper to tell me I was qualified to put writing out into the world. in zine publishing – you’re a writer if you say you are and the ethics of everyone has a story worth telling is empowering for young writers, especially marginalized voices.

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Zines and other independently published materials are  also deeply rooted in otherness and resistance. Through their photocopied pages, queer activist zinesters have mobilized, organized and empowered generations of queers around issues ranging from HIV/AIDS, to homonormativity, and feminism.This felt particularly salient for me in the early 2000’s Bush era, in a state that faced anti LGBTQ balot initatives, and it feels increasingly relevant today, as we all grapple with what it means to be queer authors in our current political climate. In so many ways zines continue to remind me that this is work that we know how to do.


In 2010 I made a jump into traditional publishing. I felt a little like a sellout but I had realized I wanted something different, not better, just different for my writing. My main reason for shifting my identity from a zinester to an author was about the reach and ready accessibility of my stories.  I wanted lonely queer kids in rural towns of be able to order my books on amazon (even though it’s evil) and for queer folks to be able to find my books on the shelves of their local library. Although I was committed to increasing access to my writing, i wasn’t interested in sacrificing the queerness of  the content in order to do that.

 

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My first book was an anthology titled Kicked Out. As an editor  I was committed to including the voices of currently homeless youth who might not be in positions to participate in an editorial process so I searched until I found a publisher ready to make that commitment with me. honestly I don’t think i knew how big my ask was. One of my favorite stories that we ultimately published really exemplifies why this was important to me and how it could contribute to queening language. The story was written in text speak and street slang. The author Etern!ty (with an exclamation point) was a young, black, homeless trans woman. she  submitted her story in 39 separate text messages that she wrote on her flip phone- when you had to hit the number five three times to get the letter L – remember those?

 

The aesthetics of zines have always attracted me, there  is something about the minimal or in some cases lack of editing that brings a sense of rawness to the text of zines that I’m really inspired by. I’ve certainly learned to appreciate a good edit when writing but I try to keep a raggedness to my text, and try to not overwork my writing.  the biggest compliment that i can get from a reader is to hear that for the first time they feel like someone has created queer characters that look and sound like them, there loved ones, play partners, friends, community etc. For me this is an ethic that comes  directly from queer zines- it’s about taking our stories and putting them onto the page unsanitized and untranslated. I’m not going to define for you want it means to be in a 24/7 Daddy/boy dynamic, or what the hanky code is, or what harry benjamin standard of care are and why they were oppressive to genderqueer folks. My readers knows this kind of insider terminology, and everyone else, has google.

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A foundation in zines gave me the confidence to build a literary career centering queerness and not feeling like I had any obligation  to submit to the wills of an editor if I didn’t agree with them. For example when my (now out of print) bdsm fairy tale anthology Leather Ever After was in production, I almost walked away from the book deal because the publisher decided they didn’t want to print gender neutral pronouns in stories (as authors had written them) because it might confuse or alienate straight readers…. I was reminded of this when a webmaster at this conference changed my pronoun from “ ze “ to “he” in my published bio for this panel without my knowledge. Thankfully  in response to some Twitter based pressure and support from the LGBT caucus,  AWP apologized and rectified the situation. In both these scenarios I “won,” but in part that was because I was both willing to to do some education about why they were wrong, but also I was totally prepared to pick up my book and go home. I have found as a queer author that when I  decide to play in mainstream literary worlds i need to be prepared  for this. the foundation i gained from years of writing zines, and having queer identities and pronouns normalized in those spaces  gave me the framework  to unapologetically expect this kind of representation everywhere.


Because I was a zinester,  my writing philosophy is very much  if they won’t publish it I will – and I’ll win awards.  My writing queers genres particularly in that as a leather person my fiction  often centers queer BDSM relationships and dynamics while not being erotica. I made the decision to self publish my first novel Roving Pack in part because publishers were concerned the content was too edgy. I then had no problem finding a home for my second novel in a traditional small press. My background as a zinester meant I knew that there was an audience for my work and so I wasn’t willing to accept “no” from publishers who thought I needed to “tone down” the leather- instead I was able to show the existence of that readership and  find the right literary home for my writing. My most recent novel Lost Boi – a queer/punk/leather retelling of Peter Pan  released from Arsenal Pulp Press in 2015 very much sits at  the intersection of my literary experience – keeping all of the queer kinky content, while  being able to have all the benefits of traditional publishing which meant wide distribution across North America and beyond.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 3.02.34 PMComing  from zine community and with books spanning both the traditional publishing and self publishing worlds-three books out from small presses, and two self published,  I hope that my work is able to break down some of the divisiveness between the self publishing and traditional publishing worlds. So often I’ve found zines and other forms of self publishing  are seen as being for writers not “good enough” to get a book deal- which  is not at all my experience. Ultimately there are benefits and challenges of both styles of publishing.  There are amazing benefits of traditional publishing but there are also tremendous drawbacks. In a world where Simon and Schuster is offering a  $250k advance to a transphobic gay white supremacist, as a queer author I have to ask myself if that’s even the kind of publishing world that I would even want to play in.

For me, writing queer books for queer readers is about building our worlds on the page – it’s about connecting to readers by writing our queer lives/families/relationships the way we have lived them. In this changing and terrifying political climate for queer writers – zine writing as a folk art form, and self publishing continues to be a relevant and important medium that can give us the opportunity to break down the barrier between the writer and the reader, to connect, mobilize and inspire.

January

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Feb 012017
 
I feel like anything I was going to say about what I’ve been writing in January is so much less important than  everything happening politically in the country and the ripple effect around the world. It’s scary, and overwhelming and I’m trying each day to find balance and clarity about what I can do to resist,  and stay sane, and functioning in this new and scary world.
I wrote my column for Curve magazine about how sometimes all you can do is just pet the dog 
I spent most of the month working on preparing to go down to DC for the AWP conference where I’ll be on a panel talking about the the influence zines have had on my writing. More info about the panel here . I’ve never been before – very curious to see what I end up thinking of it. I’m sure I’ll be posting LOTS on social media
I got the chance to participate in visual artist Ketch Wehr’s new Visual Resistance project pairing my words with his art. This is a short piece I wrote and posted online the day of the inauguration – it was really cool to see it illustrated today just in time to include here. The world is a scary place right now, and I believe  we’re all doing the very best we can <3
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Dec 312016
 

WHAT. A MONTH. no really, WHAT. A MONTH. I was going to write a whole fancy blog about the month, and closing out 2016 but…. it’s new years eve and I haven’t written that yet so here’s what i’ve got about this month  in list form…..

  • Christmas was AMAZING! It’s my all time favorite time of the year and full of so much little and leather magic in my family. Santa called me on the phone 4 times and sent me 2 videos, plus advent calendar tsum tsum boxes – and i was on the nice list. i LOVE santa!
  • I was a Semi-Finalist for the Saints & Sinners Short Fiction contest with my story “The Saint of Overlook Mountain.” The story did not move onto the next round though which was disappointing. That said I’m pretty excited about this story both for what it is as a shortish (almost 10,000 words) and the thought that maybe i would turn it into a novel? something to think about for the new year!
  • This month I released A Little Queermas Carol and got to personally send copies out to readers who ordered all over the world. I wrapped each one in festive wrapping paper because I wanted to send everyone a little bit of a gift. I’ve loved getting little messages all month from readers about what they thought!
  • My favorite book that I read this month has to be Jeanette Winterson’s new christmas book! I had no idea that she loved christmas as much as I do – I also got a little geeky love that we both released christmas books this year. I was given my copy and it is BEAUTIFUL cloth bound with silver art including a unicorn by a sweet sweet friend. I also finished the year reading a total of 96 books! This meant I surpassed my Goodreads goal of reading 50 books this year. woot! Check out what I read, and what I thought of those books here
  • Banal & Profane at Lambda is one of my favorite columns about writing because it really showcases a week in the life of authors.  So often in other places there is a lot of mysticism about how writers write, or what our lives look like. I like how this column breaks some of that down and was thrilled to get the chance to write it this December! I definitely tried tried for authenticity with mine and trying to depict all the different things that i am juggling as an author – hate mail, ridiculous schedules, muggle job,  etc. etc. check it out here
  • USA TODAY’s romance section covered the release of A Little Queermas Carol in this fun little interview! Check it out here
  • This month my partner and I bought a house. Ok so it’s been in the works for a couple of months but we closed mid-December and moved in a couple of days after Christmas. The house is a little further out in Brooklyn than we were before and has a lot more space and a backyard! It’s pretty amazing. I wrote an article at Dogster about it which is a short version of why we made this big move in large part for our dogs. Check that out here
  • Moving is INTENSE – it hits all of my anxious buttons and all my triggers about housing instability and homelessness. the move has so far (other than almost knocking my front tooth out) pretty smoothly. I started writing this sitting in the empty house waiting for the movers to bring all of our stuff (hiring movers is seriously worth EVERY penny) and now it’s new years eve and I’m finishing this post sitting at my desk in my 1/2 unpacked little land with glowing unicorn lights in my window of my very own little office surrounded by my toys and special things looking at our neighbors christmas lights!
  • Leather Ever After was dropped by its publisher – I found out from a reader which really sucked. I got this news actually on the first day of our move and so had little capacity other than to email all the contributors and be annoyed about it on social media. i have a lot of decisions to make about this book next year around how/if I will get it back in print. i’m giving myself until January to make any decisions about that. the book got an honorable mention in the leather writing awards and has some of the best writers in kink in it’s pages. There has been some interest from publishers so…. we’ll see- more coming soon!
  • I poked and poked and poked at the start of my new novel. One of my big goals for 2017 is to have a completed draft by the end of the year. knowing how I write that seems reasonable – and exciting. Before I got super busy with moving I was starting to hit my flow with this book – and the characters were beginning to really make sense to me. I’m looking forward to playing with them next year!
  • I HAVE A PO BOX!!! I love getting reader mail and have for years wanted to get a PO Box to simply that process and I FINALLY did it! I love that i have that little gold key on my keychain (with a cute elephant keycap on it) and I hope that you’ll fill my mailbox with letters! I’ll write back!

Sassafras Lowrey
PO Box 346
New York, NY 10276

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Also- here are 16 of my favorite things that happened in 2016 (not in any order) – many of which I already wrote about here over the past year.
1. Disney World
2. Being on a panel with Dorothy Allison at Saints & Sinners
3. Lost Boi being a Lammy Finalist
4. Wearing a punk princess dress to the lambda literary awards even though I lost
5. Buying our new house
6. Releasing a Little Queermas Carol
7. Meeting Stitch at Disney and showing him my tattoo
8. My minion Birthday cake Daddy baked me
9. Summer school with Charlotte
10. Swimming in Ptown with Mercury in his floaty
11. (Finally) getting promoted at my muggle job
12. Hillary Clinton
13. Charlotte playing in her new yard
14. Laughing and being silly with Daddy
15. Watching Kiss~Me and See Ya grow up
16. Seeing a real alligator in the bayou in New Orleans
Bonus:
17: all the books I read this year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

xoxoxo
Sassafras

November!

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It’s official my novella –  A Little Queermas Carol has released!!!! I’m so excited to share this book with the community, especially other littles and queers. I’ve always wanted a christmas story that was just for us – and clearly that meant I needed to write it myself! I’ve been so thrilled with the initial response to the project! You can order signed copies from me, as well as ebooks! It’s now available on all the bookstore sites as well

13900096_10209063222273879_5856216484147681029_nThe official release for the novella is this Friday, December 2nd here in NYC at Bluestockings Bookstore. I’ll be joined by the fabulous Laura Antiniou and Ashely Young! It’s going to be a very fun, very festive night. If you are in the NYC area I hope you’ll come join us! In light of the state of the world I almost canceled the release but, I believe right now we need queer books more than ever, and we also need joy, and fun. And so not just in spite of, but in many ways because of the horrific election results, we are moving forward with this night of queer holiday storytelling.

The very first review of A Little Queermas Carol ran the day after the election – right at a moment where I was creatively feeling very dark. The review highlighted for me some of the unintentional ways that this was exactly the project that I should be working on right now given the state of the world  http://www.cuntext.com/2016/reading-in-cuntext-little-queermas-carol/ my favorite quote from it might be: “we need our Daddies and our babygirls and our roommates and the rest of our chosen and queer and leather families: because family has always been how queer folks have built safety and refuge, because our families have also been the seed of our movements, and because our families are where we have space for imperfection and for resilience within that.”

Ive been doing a fair amount of writing this month and hope to be able to share more about where some of those stories have been placed soon,  but I also had a few pieces of writing get published:

Polaris Project released a new report  “Breaking Barriers: Improving Services for LGBTQ Human Trafficking Victims” https://polarisproject.org/blog/2016/11/16/staying-safe-new-resource-helps-lgbtq-youth-protect-themselves-human-trafficking  I was very surprised when a reader contacted me congratulating me on having writing in the report! Unknown to me they republished some writing that I had done for the Center For American Progress’ report “Seeking Shelter: The Experiences and Unmet Needs of LGBT Homeless Youth”  about the importance of youth created spaces for homeless LGBTQ youth, and the role that chosen/created family played in my own life https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/reports/2013/09/26/75746/seeking-shelter-the-experiences-and-unmet-needs-of-lgbt-homeless-youth/   Both organizations are doing great work that is totally worth checking out.

The November installment of my monthly queer pets column at Curve magazine focused on my dogs adorable halloween costumes,  gender norms, and what it’s like to be  queer people with furry kiddos. You can read Queer Pets/Queer Guardians here http://www.curvemag.com/Advice/Queer-Pets-Queer-Guardians-1603/

I did my first  interview for the release of “A Little Queermas Carol” this month as part of  author Lee Harrington’s podcast (during which I got to wear my grumpybear onsie – don’t all authors do interviews in their jammies? You can listen to our conversation here http://passionandsoul.libsyn.com/

I’m in the process of wrapping up my LGBT Fiction reading group I’ve been facilitating at The Center for Fiction – it’s unreal how fast the fall has gone – only one session left! It’s been really fun to have the chance to have conversations with the group about some great queer texts, especially during this political moment. Speaking of, I honestly don’t even know how to talk about the election here. It’s no secret I was/am a HUGE Hillary supporter. I’m pretty devastated by the election results. After I fell apart in a blanket fort, the pieces of me felt like they snapped back together and I remembered that we know how to do this. We have lived through governments that hated us. We know how to do this.

14915397_10210060192597514_8657375280120770158_nThankfully November also brought our much anticipated Disney World vacation – exactly what i needed . My Daddy and I went to Mickey’s Christmas Party, had lunch at the Beast’s castle, and breakfast with Pooh Bear and friends! We had ice cream every day, rode ALL THE RIDES, saw so many characters, i did autographs for the first time this trip- by far one of the highlights was getting to meet Stich who is one of my all time favorite characters.When I met Stitch I got to tell him how much I love him, and showed him my “still good ” tattoo that is in reference

I have slowly started  to write again and thinking solidly about what my next big project is going to be. Queermas Carol was a little indie side project so I don’t feel the need to take time off from writing like I did post the release of Lost Boi. I’ve been working on some short form pieces – one of which was just accepted into an anthology (more on that when I can go public with the news). and I’ve also been looking at the outline for a novel I completed a couple years ago and then shelved – parts of the story are pretty intriguing to me right now…….. more to come!

movies – i saw SO MANY MOVIES in November ok just two in the theater but for me that’s a lot. I can’t say enough good things both about Fantastic Beasts – it was much queerer than I expected, it’s also pretty much a Hufflepuff dream come true. i’m a Hufflepuff and it’s cool to see JK Rowling playing with her universe but outside of  Harry Potter era. Now lets talk Moana- ok so no secret i’m a HUGE disney fan but this film is incredible. i’ve been listening to the soundtrack [pretty nonstop since leaving the theater LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Truly Disney at their best. if you haven’t seen this one yet, you DEFINITELY need to get yourself to the theater!

I have been holding pretty steady with my goal of reading a book a week this month (minus the week we were in Disney World – but I was able to make up for that another week). Favorite book I read this month was probably Michelle Tea’s Blackwave. If you haven’t read this one yet you definitely should pick it up! Friend me on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3370128.Sassafras_Lowrey- I would love to see what you are reading! Reading a book a week means I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting things to read.

Did i mention i’m ready for christmas? Christmas! Christmas ! Christmas!  so so so ready!!! Daddy and I go to get our tree this weekend, and Santa called me on the PHONE and then he sent me special advent boxes and a letter! December is one of my favorite times of year – want to follow along with my very fun and little holiday adventures? Friend me on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/Instagram/Fetlife

xoxo

Sassafras