Some of you may remember that, during the summer of 2015 (when gay marriage was legalized, amazingly!!!!), I attended Lambda Literary's retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. I not only had a wonderful time, wrote up a storm, and made some hecka cool queer writer friends, I also learned so, SO much about the writing and editing processes. (I was supposed to learn about publishing, too, but I got so into the writing bits that I just sneakily worked on my stories during those lectures. I won't do that this year, though, I promise!!!)
It was my experience at Lambda that really motivated me to seriously bukcle down and write a hopefully-publishable young-adult novel with a queer protagonist; I'm now on the tenth draft (I know, I need to stop soon) of "The Things I Borrowed," about Chloe, a lesbian high school sophomore returning to the real-world after surviving cancer. While in the hospital, Chloe began falling for Zendeya, the older sister of Chloe's fellow cancer patient, seven-year-old Drake, who passes away. And now Chloe and Zendeya are both trying to learn to cary on living ... in similarly-and-differently painful ways. It's a kind of "Can their fragile, fraught love defy the complexities of life?" story. Also, Chloe's omnisexual, male-identified, adorable bestie, Jairus, may or may not be in love with her; it's unclearz. (I know, right? I don't know where I get this stuff, either.) Anyway, after one more summer cleanup, THAT book's almost ready to be shopped out (I hope).
The new, still-unfinished manuscript I'm planning to bring to Lambda THIS year is the book I always wanted to read as a teen but could never find: about a girl who's both blind and gender-blind (but lesbian-leaning), dealing with everything from the joys of girlcrushes, piano competitions, and AP classes, to the issues of clueless non-disabled parents, teachers, and randoms, sexual assault, and--the hardest lesson of all--figuring out which friendships are real enough to believe in and step into.
This book--tentatively titled "That Elusive One Percent," but affectionately nicknamed "blindiebook"--is, at once, the hardest, most vulnerable thing I've ever written, AND, probably, the most important and needed and true thing I'll ever write (once I get it just the way I want it). And because this book is so raw and so close to home, I need help with it. Like, SO much help! I need Lambda: a new flock of Lambda sheep! Baaaaaaa!
Which is why I was so delighted to learn that Emily M. Danforth, fantastic authoress of the mind-blowing "The Miseducation Of Cameron Post," is the author leading Lambda's Young Adult cohort this summer. And I'm lucky enough to return to Los Angeles for another magical week of queer-space writing and rainbow author-bonding!!!
Now, let me say, right off the (blind) bat, that I'm BEYOND aware of the fact that there are WAY better things to donate to than my being able to jet off to L.A. and write for a while. Seriously, I mean that. Also, I'm privileged enough to have a job and to be able to justify this expense by reminding myself that I don't have a car or pay for gas and junk.
That said, if you feel so compelled to donate toward my room, board, and the costs of the retreat, I will (a) be forever grateful, AND (b) legit put you in my acknows when and if anything of mine ever gets published.
Every little bit helps, but I'll feel just as grateful for bank as I will for "Have a good time!"s and virtual hugs. Truly. If you've read this far, thank you! And thank you for being my friend and being you! And whatever you do ... keep reading! AND writing, if you're into that!