and then someone told me “Roving Pack” is their new “Stone Butch Blues”….

This has been a pretty exciting week for Roving Pack. On Monday I got the very last of the initial pre-orders sent out!  I’ve been getting lots of questions about how folks can get the book now, The short answer is that very soon it will be up on all the big box online places where books are sold, and your local indie bookstores will start carrying it, but I also am (and will continue) to sell the book directly myself from the website.  There’s a little banner on the side where you can click the “buy now” button, which will direct you to pay pal.  Ultimately I still make the most money on this book (which I financed completely out of pocket) by selling myself, so if you’re not going to buy from your local queer/feminist/indie bookstore (have I mentioned recently how much I love my indie bookstores?!) and you want a copy of the book, then please purchase directly from me : )

The very best part about having gotten all the pre-orders mailed out is that they have started arriving!  Every day I’ve been getting messages from folks who have had the novel in their mailbox, or who received it last week and are already finished reading!  This is the kind of feedback that authors live for.  I was really fortunate not to write Roving Pack in a bubble, I had an incredible editor that I worked closely with at every stage, and also a number of preliminary readers who read various early drafts and chunks of the book and left me feeling pretty confident that I was on the right track. Still though, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like hearing what readers in the community who spent their money to support this novel actually think of it.

I’ve received so many messages publically on twitter and facebook, as well as private messages and emails from community members about what Roving Pack has meant to them.  I’ve been told that it’s “like candy” and impossible to put down, I’ve had people tell me how “hooked” they are on the novel from the first few pages. These are folks from across the country (international orders your books are working their way around the globe to you, I promise!) from different parts of the community, including folks who are self admitted not big readers!!!!!! Oh! And the very first review in the press came out this week at VelvetPark!!!

I’ve talked in my blogs before about how one of the ways I am most able to understand my complicated and paradoxical self is through taking in other narratives. Seeing myself, my life, and my community reflected back from the pages of a book is VITAL to me on an individual level, and it’s the driving force behind my creative work. With Kicked Out and now with Roving Pack I wanted to create a book where people like me, like the queer kids I grew up with could see ourselves maybe for the first time reflected back from the pages of a book.  This morning I awoke to another incredible message from a reader telling me how much the book already meant to him.  He wrote on my facebook:

“Holy fuck, I must say that in general, I never get to see my life / viewpoint / identity reflected anywhere in the world. Ever – queer lit does not represent me or my past. But Sassafras Lowrey‘s novel Roving Pack is definitely fucking amazing, moving, intuitive….This is my new Stone Butch Blues. If your queer cultural identity is like mine, you have to. Or if you want to begin to know me, you have to.”

That review absolutely slayed me. Goddamn. Every nuanced piece of it is still sinking in. for me.  The first person I dated, a butch, a daddy told me to read Stone Butch Blues. I read it the first time on an airplane moving to the south be his boy. That book chewed me up, broke me down, and made me see a little piece of who I thought I was, who I thought my people were come to life on the pages I held in my trembling hands. It was one of the first books where I saw any part of myself reflected, and it remains to this day one of the most important books to me.

The idea that Roving Pack has the potential to do that to a reader, that its stories could be their “new Stone Butch Blues”…… I don’t even know how to put into words what that means.  As an author, I never had the confidence to * aspire * to that, the idea that my work *has * made someone feel that seen/represented is heavy/intense/humbling (words are failing me big time here) and very much still sinking in.