A month from today I’ll be standing in Bluestockings, my home bookstore for the NYC release of Roving Pack! I’ve talked a lot over the years in my blog about my commitment to independent bookstores – I very much am where I am today as a writer because of the support they’ve given me over the years from the time that I was a crusty zinester, up through today. It’s independent bookstores that consistently stock and re-order my book(s), and not only that it’s the amazing folks who work and volunteer there that over and over again recommend my work to their customers. I believe that every author should be cultivating a relationship with as many independent bookstores as they can, and I hope that everyone can have a bookstore that they consider to be their literary home base.
I think I might still be a little in shock about the NYC release event, and thus the official release being so close! I have no idea what I’m going to wear, and I haven’t quite decided what parts of the novel I’m going to read – I’m simultaneously deciding what part of the book I’ll be reading while in Europe on tour in November because I need to send the text off to be translated into German for the Berlin stop (I’ve never seen my words translated into another language and am *super * excited about this). I’m just so grateful for the community’s support of me and Roving Pack and am bursting at the seams with excitement about being so close to sharing it with all of you!
This past weekend I sat in the middle of my living room signing all the copies I had of Roving Pack and preparing them to be mailed out to everyone who pre-ordered copies. As I mentioned last week the pre-ordering was so successful that I actually had to put in another bulk order of books to meet the demand. I’m still overwhelmed by that. Sure, Kicked Out has been successful (completely beyond my wildest dreams) but I really wasn’t sure that anyone was going to want to read this novel. The support and excitement of the community for Roving Pack still is blowing my mind.
I came home last night to a note from my super telling me that I had four big boxes downstairs waiting for me – that’s my shipment of books. I’ll be able to pick them up later this morning and be able to finish filling the last of the orders! Yesterday I carried two large bags of packages to the post office and sent off batch #1 of Roving Pack. I’ll be back at the post office with batch #2 later his morning! I love that I’ve been able to be so hands on at every stage of distributing these pre-ordered copies and I cannot WAIT to hear what you all think once you read the book.
Also over the weekend while Brooklyn was under a tornado warning, and I was preparing copies of the book to be sent, I got an email from my tattoo artist that he’d had a cancelation and could get me in for some work I’d been talking to him about. One of the pieces (the other one I’m working on a separate blog about) is all about commemorating the release of Roving Pack, and what this book means to me. I knew from early on that I’d be getting a tattoo for this book – tattoos are not only one of the main ways that I reclaim/claim my body, but are also a key way that I mark important times/experiences/accomplishments/people for myself. When I saw Katie Diamond’s cover art for the first time last winter I knew that part of it would be tattooed into me.
Over the course of editing and preparing Roving Pack for publication I fell more and more in love with the little pair of boots from the back cover and just knew they were the best way to mark this book, and I certainly wasn’t sad about having the symbolism of boots permanently placed on my skin . I planned to tattoo the boots on the back of my right forearm – the top of my forearm is a large feather quill pen that I got after the release of Kicked Out and was about not only that book, but about following my dream to really be an author. On the inside of my forearm are my two trans tattoos from my boi days – a fairly large trans symbol at my wrist, and stars with circles and squares inside which have a complicated story attached about genderqueerness. I’d initially planned that the boots wouldn’t be very big, but then my artist and I noticed that at a slightly larger size they puzzle pieced almost perfectly in with my existing work and I was sold on going bigger. Sometimes things just unexpectedly work out that way. Not only was that true for this tattoo, but it’s been so true for the birthing of Roving Pack in just about every way.
I’m looking at a pile of envelopes that need to be tapped up before the post office opens this morning so I should probably wrap this post up. If you pre-ordered your books should be arriving soon, and if you’re in NYC I hope that I’ll see you a month from tonight at Bluestockings!
OCTOBER 12, 2012
Bluestockings Bookstore – 172 Allen St. NYC
Please join us at the official NYC release event for “Roving Pack” to celebrate the publication of this highly anticipated debut novel by Sassafras Lowrey (editor of Kicked Out)
About Roving Pack:
‘Roving Pack’ the debute novel by award winning queer author Sassafras Lowrey is set in an underground world of homeless queer teens. Readers follow the daily life of Click, a straight-edge transgender kid searching for community, identity, and connection amidst chaos. As the stories unfold, we meet a pack of newly sober gender rebels creating art, families and drama in dilapidated punk houses across Portland, Oregon circa 2002. Roving Pack offers fast-paced in-your-face accounts of leather, sex, hormones, house parties, and protests. But, when gender fluidity takes an unexpected turn, the pack is sent reeling.
What folks are saying about Roving Pack:
“Bittersweet, engrossing, richly textured and redolent of truth – a harrowing but incredibly rewarding read.”
S. Bear Bergman
Butch is a Noun, The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You
“Roving Pack is a rough and tumble, tender-hearted novel that grips you in its teeth and won’t let go. A satisfying debut by a writer to watch.”
Holding Still For As Long As Possible, Bottle Rocket Hearts
“ Remember that time in your life when you had just escaped the terror of childhood to create your own path in the world, maybe a queer path of chosen family, desire and love and lust and intimacy on your own terms, remember all the joyful pains and painful joys you were discovering? Roving Pack nails that bold and precarious time with a precision so rare it’s almost claustrophobic in its intimacy. It’s about a specific culture and place and moment – transmasculine queer punk kids in Portland in the early-2000s – but it’s also about the transition to self-actualization in all of our lives, and the scary and heartbreaking reality that often the pack mentality required for belonging in our new communities leaves us stranded. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a book that explores the intoxication and viciousness of peer pressure in queer lives with such candor. Goddamn this book is brave — I can’t wait to see the havoc it wreaks.”
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? That’s Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, Nobody Passes
“Sassafras Lowrey is so much more than one or the other anything. Ze is for sure a vital voice of hir generation, expressing as ze does, many mutually exclusive points of view on politically and emotionally live wire subjects. So, much to my delight, I find hir work filled with mischief, mayhem, and multiple meanings.”
My Gender Workbook, 101 Alternatives To Suicide for Teens Freaks and Other Outlaws, Gender Outlaws: The Next Genderation
“Sassafras Lowery brings us a tale of gender defiance, in a universe struggling to be defiant. Roving Pack introduces us to the whirlwind queer subcultures of Portland, OR in 2002; and the dizzying effects of fighting against the world at war,and the gender binary. Lowery takes us on a journey through dilapidated punk houses, sexual revelation, donut-filled dumpsters, cluttered bedrooms, and the ever-changing struggle to embrace your gender identity, through your own definitions.”
CRISTY C. ROAD
Bad Habits, Spit & Passion
“Fucking A. Sassafras Lowrey takes ‘queer punk’ to a whole new level of insidious drama. Roving Pack cracks out the microscope to examine this Portland-based scene circa 2002 – whether or not the rest of the world can take it. My guess? Hella no!”
Author of The Dirt Chronicles and Mosh Pit
“An outsider among outsiders, Roving Pack’s deeply innocent and delightfully freaky narrator Click discovers that the expansive wisdom of heart beats the narrow logic of the pack. Lowrey’s novel champions a risky queerness that resists commodification.”
Anna Joy Springer author of The Vicious Red Relic, Love