October is here which pretty much for me is just the month known as Halloween!! and that means pumpkins and knee socks and hoodies! Autumn in NYC is one of my favorite times of year!
Summer is over! I mean it’s still a sauna here in NYC but I’m convinced that the end of August means the end of summer! This past month has been hot, and good, and super busy! I saw these pumpkins being unloaded in Chinatown earlier this week, so autumn better hurry up and get here!
In August I finished editing my novella A Little Queermas Carol and got print proofs in the mail! They look awesome other than that I sent the WRONG version of the manuscript to be laid out! I feel like a total idiot, but it did give me a chance to do one more deep edit on the project. Thankfully the person doing my layout still has time to work on it and the novella will be relaid out in time to not have any impact on the release date!!! Woot!
I’m really excited about getting to share this project with all of you – it’s quirky, queer and fun! I’m especially excited that it centers ageplay/littles within the queer/little story without being erotic! Keep checking back for pre-order information – I expect to open that up in early October!
SAVE THE DATE
I’m thrilled to announce that the NYC lease of A Little Queermas Carol will happen at Bluestockings Bookstore: Friday, December 2nd 7pm
Info about fantastic guest readers coming very soon!!!
The election is on all of our minds, so this month my pet column at Curve Magazine was all about how to get your cats & dogs ready and decked out in Hillary gear check it out! I also had the chance to write an article for The Center For Fiction’s “Author Picks” series – mine was a roundup of Top Queer Fiction! I have a few more articles I’ve been working on this month that should be releasing this autumn that I’ll be sure to post on my facebook/twitter when they get published!
I’m going to be facilitating a LGBTQ FICTION reading group at The Center For Fiction starting mid-September. I believe there are still a couple of open slots! If you’re interested, all the registration information can be found here
I’m still keeping up with my book a week reading goal for the year and tracking my progress over on Good Reads! I met my initial goal of reading 50 books this year and read a pretty solid mix of things this month. Definitely on the bottom of the list would’ve the new Harry Potter. Such a disappointment. Favorite things read this month were pretty eclectic. “Princess Celestia and the Summer of Royal Waves” was excellent (as has the second half of my little pony season 6), I also really enjoyed “Another Brooklyn” by Jacqueline Woodson and “Here Comes The Sun” by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn. This week I’ve been stretching a little out of my comfort zone and giving suicide squad graphic novels a chance even though they are way too violent for me, because all my little leather buddies are obsessed.
I went and saw Ghostbusters in the theater and am pretty obsessed! WHO YA GONNA CALL?!?? the characters of Holtzman and Abby in particular really spoke to me. I think Abby is totally under appreciated in the way that fatnes and femmeness gets devalued. She’s totally rad – and I really can sympathize with her takeout issues! Give that ghostbuster a reasonable ratio of soup to wonton!
Besides sending the novella off to layout the big news from August was that my little dog Mercury celebrated his 14th birthday in August! He’s been my sidekick since he was 6 weeks old so this birthday felt like a big milestone! He celebrated with a meat cake!
I’m getting ready to log off the internet for a few days (well except for uploading cute pictures of my dogs to Instagram) to hang out in the mountains of upstate New York. I’ve been pushing myself hard this month to get a lot of different writing done, and I’m very much looking forward to a break with my family!
COMING CHRISTMAS 2016!
Please check back for pre-order info coming soon!
Marley was dead. Unable to cope, Ebe wields their politics as a excuse to deny their desire for a Leather family. Trauma and imagination come to life through visions of drag queens and dolls, while Leather Daddies bake holiday cookies in this tender queer reimagined Christmas tale.
Like the best Christmas gifts, Sassafras Lowrey’s fantasia of a story is delightful, heartfelt, and exactly what you were hoping for, even if you didn’t know it. Ze has created the perfect queer holiday stocking stuffer for everyone on your list, whether they’re naughty, nice, or something in between.”
—Michael Thomas Ford, author of Suicide Notes and Lily
This week AWP announced what panels have been accepted for the 2017 conference, and the panel I am included on “Bringing LGBTQ Folk Forms into Our Literature” (so honored to have been asked to be part of this!!!) was accepted!
I’ve never been to AWP before – for whatever reason (probably a whole lot of internalized imposter syndrome) I’ve always considered it to be a space that’s out of my league, or kinda just in a different stadium than the one I play (write?) in! So here I am humming “playing with the big boys now” from the prince of Egypt movie (because that’s how I manage my self doubt!) and planning my trip down to the conference in February!
I had thought about just going down for the day of my panel, but the conference registration costs the same regardless of if I go for one day, or the whole conference soooooo I’m going to go for the whole experience. Daddy booked my hotel last night (because that kind of thing totally overwhelms me) since shockingly to me hotels close to the conference were already booking up! Daddy also reminded me there are pandas at the DC zoo, so I definitely am going to need to take a little field trip from AWP to visit some pandas!!!!
Have you ever been to AWP? I would love to hear from other queer writers about what your experience has been like, and any suggestions you have for making the most out of the conference would be very welcome! All of the accepted workshops look AMAZING- it definitely seems like the challenge will be deciding what to attend!!!
Is it already August?! I don’t know how this happened, but it means we’re closer to the autumn (and getting closer to our trip to Disney World) so i’m not complaining!
What was I up to in July???
- Last week a reader sent me this AWESOME picture from Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon! If you see my books out in the world please send/tweet/instragram pictures @ me!!! One of my favorite things is seeing my books out in the world!
I took intentional time off from writing big projects after the release of Lost Boi to let myself have the opportunity to enjoy the process of releasing that book. I’ve played around with different book-length projects but what really stuck was a project that took me a little bit by surprise! I ended up creatively falling in love with a novella (i’ve never written one of these before!) titled “A little Queermas Carol.” It’s a queer/leather/christmas story- and I’m so excited to be able to share it with readers THIS CHRISTMAS season! I got the manuscript back from my copyeditor and am working on final edits of the novella now. I’m also working with the amazing KD Diamond (who did the cover art for Roving Pack) to design the cover for the novella. I got to see the preliminary sketch this week and thrilled with it! Stay tuned for more novella news in the upcoming months!
I’m going to be reading as part of The Hustle event at WORD Bookstore on June 10th! THE HUSTLE is a free every-other-month series that invites writers to discuss the hours they keep, the habits that support their work, how they pay the bills, how they read & write, the importance of community and much more. I’ve also been told there are donuts!
This fall i’ll be facilitating a LGBT Fiction reading group at The Center For Fiction here in NYC! It’s going to be really fun! Click here for more info about the class here as well as information about how to register!
Sure, I’m sad/disappointed to have lost last night, but YOU: the queer freaks, genderf*cks, perverts, littles, punks, and runaways and your love for, and commitment to my books means more than any award ever could! so really, I kinda feel like the biggest winner after all even w/o the plexiglass trophy <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
+ my publisher is the sweetest
also my partner Kestryl and I looked fabulous on the red carpet, and I had an amazing night hanging out with some of my favorite queer authors!
HUGE congratulations to all the authors whose books were finalists and to the winners!
Is it already May?! I completely failed at writing and posting my April blog oops!!!!! Well, better late than never I suppose. April was amazing and super busy.
The month started with an AMAZING trip to New Orleans to attend and present at the Saints & Sinners Queer Literary Conference where I was on a panel about the future of queerness WITH Dorothy Allison who is basically my femme hero, moderated a panel on writing as activism and read from Lost Boi. I also got to attend a bunch of interesting workshops – including a master class with Dorothy Allison.
I don’t really enjoy conferences in general – I think I’m too much of an introvert for them, but Saints & Sinners is one that I make an exception for! This was my second time going and while I would love to see the conference be able to continue to grow and diversity the conference attendees it is really the only place where you can sit in a room full of LGBTQ authors and talk craft and identity. I live tweeted most of the conference and you can check out my experiences of panels and workshop on Twitter under the hashtag #SAS16
I feel like I left this years conference really inspired to keep thinking about what kinds of stories I’m most interested in telling and how I can make that happen.
Check out this cute picture of us together!!!
I also got some fun vacation time in New Orleans after the conference with my partner. We stayed In a super cute hotel with a tiny balcony in a grapefruit tree! During the conference I tried to write out there just because it felt so Romantic – alas I just write my best on the subway here in NYC but it was beautiful. We did a lot of tourist sight seeing kinds of things-cemetery tour, ghost tour (yes I really saw a ghost) on a swamp tour where we got to see the bayou which is an ecosystem unlike anything I’ve ever seem! For sure a highlight of that for me was getting to see a real live gator! Did you know they eat marshmallows?! It was like seeing a living dinosaur! It wasn’t until I looked back at my photos that I realized just how big that gator was too! New Orleans was Definitely the kind of vacation fun I was in need of to rejuvenate a little from the stress of my muggle job. Also, we went to this SUPER creepy park called “Storybook Land” that was recommended by a fellow queer leather person and OMG SO CREEPY!!! Totally the kind of place that nightmares are born aka i LOVED it!
I ended April with a long-weekend self imposed staycation writing retreat. It was really productive and I was able to finish writing the first draft of the queer, leather christmas novella that I’ve been playing around with for the past few months. I got the first draft finished and now getting to do my favorite thing – edit/revise! This first edit I’m working on now is really about insuring consistency. I made a little table for myself to track names/pronouns/pets/flagging – y’know the literary priorities, at least for me. This was a fun little project – not sure where it will live yet, stay tuned!
Alas I kinda gave up on my Neko Atsume cats but I have been keeping up with my Goodreads reading challenge of finishing a book a week! My favorite book I read in April actually kept me company on the flights to/from New Orleans and is Meliza Banales’ “Life Is Wonderful People Are Terrific” this book is a finalist for the Lammys this year and is super rad on so many levels – definitely suggest everyone check it out! In random pop culture news – Did I already mention how good Zootopia was? Seriously, if you haven’t seen that movie you should!!! I also really enjoyed The Jungle Book – it was visually stunning, and also REALLY scary! I actually jumped and shrieked at one point in the movie! I’m of course a sucker for all things Disney but these two are definitely stand out films that I recommend.
I’m getting SOOOOOOOOOO excited about the Lambda Literary Awards. I’ve got my fancy dress all picked out! The awards are the highlight of my literary year – the chance to be in the same room with so many incredible queer authors is pretty dreamy, and it’s overwhelming and thrilling to have Lost Boi as a finalist this year alongside so many super fabulous queer books! Last week I get to join some of the awesome local to NYC Lammy finalists for a reading at the Leslie Lohan Museum
Besides working on my novella, I’ve been keeping busy writing pieces for Curve Magazine and Dogster! I will have more articles in both of those publications coming in May including fun dogproduct reviews, and my take on trending topics in canine news! Want to stay updated on What I’m writing ? Follow me on Twitter /Facebook – I try to always share things out there plus a whole lot of pictures of my furry kiddos, and photos from little adventures I go on which this spring has involved lots of trips to see cherry blossoms and my local zoo!
I spoke this morning at the press conference with National LGBTQ Task Force and True Colors Fund for the launch of the new “At The Intersections: A Collaborative Resource on LGBTQ Youth Homelessness ” Report. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to author the section on “Redefining Families” which addresses the important role queer families play in the lives of homeless LGBTQ youth, and how essential it is for service providers to understand and respect those created families. The section I wrote also included the story of awesome homeless queer youth advocate Independence Taylor.
Below is the transcript of my statement this morning on the conference call discussing the importance of intersectionality when talking about LGBTQ youth homelessness, the important role that The Task Force’s first report which was excerpted in Kicked Out played with grounding LGBTQ youth homelessness as an epidemic!
Sassafras Lowrey on “At The Intersections: A Collaborative Resource on LGBTQ Youth Homelessness” True Colors Fund & National LGBTQ Task Force Press Conference April 26, 2016 :
My name is Sassafras Lowrey and I am a queer author based in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up in Oregon and when I was in high school I ran away from home after the physical abuse intensified when I came out, and then a couple months later I was kicked out by the adult friends whose home I fled to when they discovered I was queer, leaving me no choice but to couch surf in my semi-rural community. I survived because I created queer family with other homeless kids whose lives mirrored my own. I built my own family, creating a family that amongst other things taught me how to navigate social service systems as an out and proud queer person. The creation and ongoing support of that queer family is what not only helped me to survive, but is what inspired me to dedicate my life writing and advocacy work on behalf of current and former homeless LGBTQ youth.
My literary work has predominately been framed around centering the importance of queer families that we as LGBTQ people create, and so I was thrilled when I was invited to write the section on “Redefining Families.” For this powerful new report.
I believe that it is not only important, but essential to approach all areas of work with homeless LGBTQ youth from an intersectional lens. Too often, I have heard people say “LGBTQ youth homelessness doesn’t happen in my community” or “here is THE best practice that should be employed when working with homeless LGBTQ youth” both are dangerous limiting statements. We know that LGBTQ youth homelessness is an epidemic that impacts ALL communities across our country. As such, if we are going to talk about LGBTQ youth homelessness, and the experiences, and needs of youth who are currently running away or being thrown out of their homes and communities, we must be committed to naming that this experience happens in every community, but we also cannot assume LGBTQ homeless youth to be a monolithic group of young people, or that solutions to ending the epidemic can take a one-sized-fits all approach. For example, my needs as a white, semi-rural, runaway genderqueer identified teen in the early 2000s looked very different than some of my peers who were genderqueer and cisgender youth of color living on the streets in the city where I moved to while couch surfing, AND all of our needs and experiences looked different than those of youth today. As we are talking about LGBTQ youth homelessness, we must remain aware of, and attentive to, the ways in which homelessness intersects with racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, abilism, and sexism impact the lives of individual homeless youth.
In 2010 i edited the two-time American Library Association Honored and Lambda Literary Award finalist, Kicked Out Anthology – this book brought together current an former homeless LGBTQ youth ranging in age from youth who were currently street homeless at the time of publication, to individuals who had been forced to leave home as teenagers pre-Stonewall, as well as the perspective of advocates and policy leaders. Kicked Out was the first book of its kind, born directly from my frustration of not being able to find any books that spoke directly and in the words of survivors to the experience of being runaway, throwaway, kicked our queer youth. I was thrilled that the National LGBTQ Task Force agreed to allow me to excerpt a portion of their groundbreaking report “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness” into the anthology. This excerpt provided my readers which have included countless college students, service providers, and most importantly to me youth who are experiencing homelessness and looking for connection, a nuanced understanding of the scope and scale of the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness that is needed in order to understand this is not something that just happens to the occasional youth, but as a crisis impacting our entire country. The report supported us in framing queer youth homelessness as the epidemic that it is.
I believe the strength in this new resource guide is the way it provides a focus on the importance of intersectionality when talking about issues facing homeless LGBTQ youth, and more importantly the way it queers service provision by highlighting and prioritizing the needs of youth voices, framing the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness as a core issue facing the LGBTQ community as a whole, recognizing that current and formerly homeless LGBTQ youth are our current and future movement leaders, and prioritizing the need to create space for us to be out about our experience of homelessness.
In the section I authored on “Redefining Families” , I focused on the lifesaving role that created families play in the lives of homeless queer youth. An embodiment of LGBTQ youth resilience is creation of our own families. It is essential that service providers respect youths’ definitions of family, and who they consider family in the same ways they understand the importance of respecting the chosen names and pronouns of any youth. To NOT respect chosen families is to reinact the same identity rejection many homeless LGBTQ youth have experienced from their biological families. Queer kinship networks, and created families in all of their diverse forms are frequently a primary source of support for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, and those queer families take many forms. Some, but not all mirror “traditional” family structures using terms like brother, mother, uncle, or daughter for example. Service providers should talk with youth about what their queer families mean to them!
The highlight of writing this section on redefining family was the chance to incorporate a current youths story. Independence, a homeless a-gender teen in California shares in their own words what creating queer family has meant to them, and I want to end this morning with their words “If you haven’t tried to pull in a homeless queer youth into your life or community, now is the time. We need everybody to help get us support and to allow us to grow.… Pull us in and give us love and support and we will flourish.”
March has been a really exciting and fantastic month! Without a doubt the most exciting thing that happened this month has been learning that Lost Boi is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards!!! I’m so thrilled that Lost Boi has been recognized in this way, and I’m really looking forward to being at the awards here in NYC on June 6th! I’ve already got my dress picked out!
Earlier this month I had the fantastic opportunity to hang out with some Georgetown students who are in NYC on an alternative queer spring break!!! We talked queer literature, activism, identity politics, and of course, favorite Disney characters!!!!!
Also this month I learned about this fabulous indie queer artist Jem Eli was so inspired by reading Lost Boi that they wrote and recorded a SONG inspired by the novel! This is by far one of the coolest things that I’ve ever heard – and such an incredible honor to have had something I wrote inspire art that someone else is creating! The song is so amazing, and such a beautiful reinterpretation of the book! You can listen to the song below, read all the lyrics here and purchase a copy – it’s also going to be included on a new indie queer album.
I wrote several articles for Dogster.com this month – one of which went dog world viral. That was a new experience for me, filled with complicated feelings especially as the comments went wild as people started saying really cruel and unfounded things about my family. Biggest lesson of all something I already know but sometimes have a hard time following – don’t. read. the. comments.
Right now I’m getting ready to fly down to New Orleans this week for the Saints & Sinners queer literary festival! I’m going to be moderating a panel on writing as activism, reading from Lost Boi and on a panel about the future of queer culture and writing! I really think it’s going to be a fantastic weekend, and I’m really looking forward to hanging out with so many other queer authors!
Ok i’m off to figure out how many dresses I can fit into my suitcase!