Happy New Year, everyone! I wanted to finally update my blog. 2014 was definitely a tough year full of trials and tribulations, but I’m eager for this new year and hope it’ll be a year of finding equilibrium again. This post will recap some of the bad, some of the good, and some of what I look forward to. I hope everyone has an amazing year!
2014 – The Bad Stuff
I feel it puts the good into perspective to acknowledge the negative things that I’ve gone through with the attitude that I’ve worked past them. :)
Last year was a tough one, and it began quite early on in the year. In January, we lost our 20-month-old kitten, Dorian to Feline Infectious Peritonitis. It put all of us into a bit of a tailspin, and it was a struggle to get ourselves together again. Unfortunately, that was the first of a total of three cat deaths for 2014. The other two were Little Boy at the end of April and Mama Kitty at the beginning of December. Both of them died of old age. It’s been a very difficult year with our pets, many of whom are just getting up there on years, so nature is just catching up with them. We also had a scare right before Christmas with our 3-year-old black cat, Victor. He’s the one we took in around the same time last year when Dorian was sick. He needed emergency care to clear up his urethra, which had gotten blocked. He’s all right now, but the expensive care right before Christmas was a difficult monetary blow to the household. We love our Victor-kitty, though! It was definitely worth saving him.
My writing really suffered this year as everything else became more important (or, if not more important, then at least more pressing). I was poked into co-writing the trans* short story “The Best Thing on Eight Wheels” by the wonderful Kathleen Tudor. Without her prompting, I never would have finished the piece for the Sweethearts & Seduction anthology, but it was an amazing experience and my first trans* story. I then acted more as muse than co-author when S.L. Armstrong and I wrote “Of the Flesh” for the gay vampire anthology, Blood Embrace. And… that’s been it this year. It’s rather pathetic, I know, but I’ll be making more of an effort this coming year.
2014 was also a year of making a very difficult decision. With S.L. Armstrong’s (Saundra’s) health on the decline, we had to choose between keeping Storm Moon Press running strong and continuing our efforts with RainbowCon. In the end, RainbowCon won that proverbial battle, and we’ve decided to close SMP down to outside submissions, merely keeping the press around for existing books to see out their contracts. I’ve been making contact with all our authors since the decision was made, though, to make sure everyone who would rather have their rights back to shop the stories around to other presses or self-publish them has an opportunity to do just that. It isn’t their fault that we’re shutting the press down to a minimal operations level, so I’ve been doing what I can to get everyone where they’d like to be with their works. It’s been particularly stressful for me, since I’m the one at the press who’s in contact with all the authors individually, but I really want every author to get that one-on-one so they know every single work with us is important.
2014 – The Good Stuff
On the flip side of the coin, there were a few awesome things that went down last year, and those deserve to be celebrated!
The largest triumph of the year was RainbowCon. Saundra, Roger, and I created RainbowCon to be a time and place people could gather together to celebrate everything about QUILTBAG media. Our first ever conference was in April 2014, and while there were still some kinks to iron out (first time jitters ^_-), the event went on without any major hitches, and most of the attendees had a great time! That’s all you can ever really hope for as a con organizer, so we were all exhausted but incredibly gratified by the process. We’re already planning 2015’s event, and unlike 2014, where the conference was centered only around fiction, RainbowCon will expand to include comics, webcomics, television, movies, and more.
Following RainbowCon last year, we also adopted three kittens (two immediately: Joshua & Gray; one a month later: Daniel). In the wake of losing Dorian, they were such a comfort to us all, and they’re the sweetest things.
I’ve also had the good fortune to work on some amazing pieces of fiction this year, despite SMP cutting back so drastically at the tail end of the year. I was Saundra’s cheerleader through the process of her finishing Human Rights, which has gone on to be an amazing bestseller on all our third party vendors! I took a large part in putting out our Devout anthology, which showcases gay priest-kink (a personal kink I really enjoy reading), and it was a joy working with the authors involved, several of which are long-time favorites of mine. You know it’s going to be an awesome anthology when the team consists of Kathleen Tudor (aka D.K. Jernigan), Annabeth Leong, Ann Anderson, Angelia Sparrow, and the incomparable Cari Z. I’d definitely check out that anthology if you can! I’m also mid-proofread on Ren Thompson’s Dead Heat, and while post-apocalyptic zombie lesbian horror isn’t anywhere close to my usual fare, that book is worth looking out for the next few weeks as well. ;)
Lastly, a tiny little triumph of mine was actually reading not just one book all the way through, but three. I read The Hunger Games. I was skeptical of them at first but actually greatly enjoyed them. But it’s the first time in at least a year, if not two, that I’ve actually read a book cover to cover. That it was an entire trilogy just makes it even sweeter.
2015 – Looking Forward
So, there are several things I’m really looking forward to this coming year. I’m sure there will be ups and downs, challengers and triumphs, and unexpected events, but there are a few things I know I’ll get to enjoy, so here’s a little list!
- First Cruise Ever – My bosses at my day job (massage therapy) gifted me a two-night cruise to the Bahamas for two. So, in 2015, I’ll get to take my first ever cruise! I’ll be wisking Saundra away for a little vacation filled with awesome food, plenty of relaxation, and an afternoon spent in the Bahamas (hopefully NOT during hurricane season). What a wonderful treat that’ll be, especially now that Saundra and I have determined that our anniversary date is December 16th. We might have a unique asexual relationship that’s emotionally and intellectually deep, but it really works for us, and we’ll be able to celebrate together.
- Kittens Kittens Everywhere! – I mentioned Joshua, Gray, and Daniel earlier, but we believe Joshua is pregnant! Joshua and Gray were both supposed to be boy kittens, but when we picked them up, they were girls, so we keep using male pronouns and always say they’re our genderqueer kitties who deserve to have their life choices respected. XD Joshua should be giving birth to his kittens in January! Joshua is a black/white tuxedo kitty, and Daniel (who knocked him up) is orange and white, so we might get any combination of colors, too, which is super exciting!
- Visiting my Family – In February, I’ll be taking a trip back to my hometown, Flagstaff, Arizona. This’ll be my first trip back since my parents’ divorce, which’ll be a little weird, but I’ll get to see my mom’s new digs, spend some quality time with her, and then it’s off to California to spend time with extended family, including my two grandmas. It’ll also include spending my mom’s birthday at Disneyland. Bonus!
- RainbowCon 2015 – In July, we’ll be holding our second Rainbow Conference, and I’m already stoked. We have Alex Woolfson and Adam DeKraker as our guests of honor, and they’re the creator and illustrator of The Young Protectors, a web-comic featuring a gay protagonist and antagonist. It’s an awesome comic, and I can’t wait to have them and everyone else in Tampa for more panels, workshops, community, and fun! Now, if only I can get NOH8 to show up for a photoshoot. Fingers crossed! I’m working on it! I’ll also be talking to a bunch of local GSAs at the high school and college level to spread the word about the conference and also promote QUILTBAG awareness and get people to celebrate artistic diversity in their own circles!
It’s going to be a packed year at this rate, and the fun has only just begun. I apologize to everyone following the blog, since I totally fall off the wagon again and again. When you’re the marketing director of a press that is currently trying to close its doors, everything becomes much more important than your personal blog, y’know? Nevertheless, I’ll be making an effort to post a bit more often and perhaps write a little fanfiction or freebie flash fiction to keep my writerly juices flowing this year. It’s time to get back into writing after such a long hiatus. Saundra and I have more than enough ideas, just little oomph to get them down onto paper. Here’s to getting to a place during 2015 where that isn’t the case!
I hope you all will join me on along the way. Thanks for being here thus far. <3
(Also, my apologies for this one being a day late! Just pretend it’s Monday? :D?)
Oh, my. I’m just terrible at keeping my promises to you guys, aren’t I? Can you see me hanging my head in shame? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing.
It’s the end of June, and the last few months have been a complete whirlwind. In April, we had our first ever Rainbow Conference here in Tampa. The event when without any major hitches, which is a huge blessing with how hard everyone was working to keep everything enjoyable for the ~175 attendees that came out for the event. Geoffrey Knight was an amazing Guest of Honor, and really hit one out of the park by giving an opening speech on the fly for us that really spoke to uniting in the genre as supporters of GLBTQ fiction, and I felt like we were able to get topics out in front of people that really matter, in fiction and in life. We’re already planning the 2015 event, and it’s going to be awesome. The official charity is the Big Cat Rescue down here in Tampa, and we’re running with the Big Cat theme through several panels having to do with fiction, fandom, and television/film. We’re also having a themed Masquerade along with a Dinner + Drag Show and a field trip out to the Big Cat Rescue so some of the attendees can see the big cats up close and personal. I can’t wait!
If you’re curious about RainbowCon, definitely click the name there to go to the website. The entire schedule is up there along with a list of the authors already signed up. Registration is OPEN. I hope anyone interested in a 4-day conference filled with nothing but QUILTBAG-centric content will join us July of 2015! :D
In other news, a new anthology out through Storm Moon Press has a story I co-wrote with S.L. Armstrong! Blood Embrace brings together 4 stories taking a unique approach to vampires. Our story, “Of the Flesh”, centers around a priest who has been hunting down a particular vampire since his brother (and fellow man of the cloth) was turned and disappeared. It’s a religiously and sexually charged piece that I hope everyone enjoys. I gave the story prompt to Saundra (S.L. Armstrong), and she really went above and beyond, bringing all the themes that I’d envisioned to a wonderfully dark, moody piece with some edge. I fully give Saundra credit for this one, since she did a lot of the leg work getting it written. It might have originally been my idea, but she enhanced it and really delivered with wording that made me giddy as a schoolboy while we collaborated. Check it out along with D.K. Jernigan’s “Red Filter” story, which I had the pleasure of reading while it was being written. Fantastic story with psychic vamps and an artist who isn’t afraid to take charge when he realizes what is haunting his artistic haze. Highly recommended!
In yet other news, I just started a new massage job a couple weeks ago, and I’m going strong. After a while not being in the business, it’s great to return and feel like I’m doing some good and helping people manage their aches and pains.
At the moment, I’m organizing a promotion tour for RainbowCon, but Saundra and I will also get writing again soon on a short story to be included in the Devout anthology, which will be all about priest kink. We might have just written a priest with a vampire, but this new short will be a minister’s encounter with an angel, so it’ll be quite a different story. ;)
I hope everyone has a great July! With how busy I am at the moment, no promises for regular updates, but I’ll do my best!
Hey, everyone! I know it’s been a couple months since I last posted. Life has been more emotionally taxing since Dorian’s passing. Some days are better than others, and I know the grief is most severe for Saundra, who was, by far, the closest to Dorian. Basil and Victor (the latter being our newer black kitty we took in from the streets) have both taken on a couple of Dorian’s habits, which is really sweet, but it’s also kinda bittersweet. He’s missed every single day.
The last two months have been full of change. There’s been the ongoing adjustment of the household to being without Dorian, a lot of vet visits for the other pets, a new job for me (night shifts, make-up & heels required. GAH!), and finally writing a piece featuring a transman.
With the help of Kathleen Tudor/D.K. Jernigan, SMP put out a Valentine’s Day anthology pretty much at the last minute. The premise behind Sweethearts and Seduction is very simple: gay romance with a high fluff factor. Kathleen practically begged me to be part of the anthology, and though I had a vague idea in my head for a solo piece, it was incredibly difficult for me to write following Dorian’s passing. (Still is, truth be told.) She therefore tempted me by writing the opening to a story that she thought would be fun to co-write. This… was definitely a new thing for me. I’ve co-authored almost constantly as an author, having been pulled into writing and pretty much mentored by S.L. Armstrong (Saundra), but this was the first time I’d co-authored with anyone else. It was incredibly low stress and a lot of fun. Kathleen is pretty laid back, doesn’t mind improving some of what I write if it doesn’t strike quite the right tone, and when I was having difficulty, she was there to help. She also fully encouraged me to create Zane, my first transman character. He’s the love interest of Troy, a cis-gendered man who decides to propose to Zane even though it might put his roller rink business at risk. It’s a sweet story and was a welcome challenge for me, since I wanted to make Zane trans* without bashing the reader over the head or getting preachy.
Zane’s life in no way mirrors my own life, but there were certain elements of his character that I pulled from my own experience as a genderqueer individual. I did my best to keep him down to earth and focused on his own life rather than getting soapboxy about his state of being. This is a fluffy anthology, after all, so it wouldn’t have been appropriate for him to angst to that degree. I think he’d moved past that by the time we see him in “The Best Thing on Eight Wheels”. ;) Zane presents male and both binds and packs, though that isn’t spelled out in such plain terms in the short story. In my mind, he isn’t on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) because of a sensitivity to testosterone… but again, this isn’t explicitly stated in the short story. XD He’d happily get top surgery, but that’s an expense he can’t afford, especially with his partner’s business on the line. He has insecurities about his body and the way it still looks feminine in some ways, but he manages that with the support of family, friends, a loving partner, and someone whom I like to imagine is an excellent therapist. Do all trans* people need such things? Not necessarily, and many to varying degrees. But in my head, therapy and having a good support structure was the way he could deal with his transition at his own pace and doing only what he is comfortable doing.
So! I hope everyone checks out the Sweethearts and Seduction anthology. There are some really fun stories in it, and my personal favorite is Erik Moore’s “Sold!”, which has a fantastic mix of humor and seduction to it. Go check it out!
Coming up on the blog (soon-ish… I hope), I’ll be doing a random facts sort of meme, and I’m determined to write a post about underwear. No. Seriously. Underwear. You’ll see what I mean when I finally manage to get it written. It’s been bouncing around my brain since just before Christmas, so it’s long overdue. XD I hope everyone has a great St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow! Get your Irish on!