Tag Archives: publishing

Ahem. Announcements and stuff

Guys, here I am. It’s been way too long. I think I was still wearing flannel the last time I posted. We’re stuck in what they’re calling a “heat dome” here in the Philly burbs, so no summer flannel for this butch. 

I’ve been busy, folks. I haven’t been ignoring you because you think Cindy was the best Brady ever. Everyone knows it was Jan. Or because you’re a Yankees fan.

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Maybe a crown AND a cape like professional wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler wore back in the day.

You’re looking at one of the newest authors to sign with Regal Crest, a powerhouse in the world of lesbian literature. I’m sure I’ll get a crown or velvet cape any day now, but it hasn’t arrived yet.

I just finished the manuscript for the new book.  

Remember when you were a kid and you were playing outside and the whiffle ball got stuck in the gutter or the kickball landed in the creek? You always got a do-over.

This book is a lot like that. I had a chance to go through the current version of Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender and make edits. Tighten it up. Really, that’s every writer’s dream–one more chance to edit. I know, we’re weird creatures. 

Plus, the second edition, which is being billed as an author’s cut, has added content. New stories I wrote this past year specifically for this project. You’ll get to learn more about Middle-age Butch when she was big butch on her college campus and didn’t even know it. And of course, the book will include more of the those butch-tastic tales everyone loves like the hunt for the perfect buzz cut and the time-honored tradition of the clandestine butch nod. If you turned your head just now, you missed it.

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My trophy looked like this except it was invisible.

Also, Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender was short listed for an award in creative nonfiction by the Golden Crown Literary Society. It didn’t win, but I still feel like a winner.

While I’m making announcements, I should mention that I’ve started my next book. The working title is Love Is Like Tiny Cheeseburgers: Essays from a Butch Romantic. Basically, it’s about me and W sitting in a tree and other stuff that makes your heart beat faster.

Hope you all feel like winners these days. Because you are. Big, beautiful winners. Now go hoist your invisible trophy over your head and shout out that you’re number 1!

* * *

Ok, I told you what’s new with me. What’s new with you? Share one new thing. A new movie, a new book, a new place you visited. Anything. Go.

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Cover girl

Hey guys, take a gander:

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a book!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a book!

Still scheduled for release on June 26.

You can find more information from my publisher Weasel Press, including the book synopsis, by scrolling down their Facebook feed.

Better yet, find them on Facebook, follow them, like the information about my book and share.  You know you want to.

While you’re there, check out their other publications and submission calls.

The post that had me stuck

Me

Me

This is the post that has me stuck.  This is the reason I haven’t posted in so long.  I’ve been working on this post for weeks.  I keep writing and editing, and I still can’t find the right words.  I’m angry.  I’m annoyed.  Although I can’t exactly put my finger on what’s bothering me so much. Remember the electronic memory game Simon from the 1970’s?  All of my buttons have been pushed, and I’m lit up red, green, blue and yellow.  This post isn’t perfect, but I need to let go so I can move forward.

* * *

Just when I was starting to get comfortable.  Just when I was starting to feel safe and accepted.  Just when I was starting to think I’m like everyone else.

I mean, same-sex marriage is now legal in Pennsylvania.  W and I took the plunge and got married in October.  Just like straight couples do.

I feel welcome in our small town.  I am warmly greeted at the veterinarian’s office, at the checkout line in the grocery store, at Kohl’s, at the local pizza place and ice cream shop.  Me, a girl, with too-short hair and too-long sideburns.

I never notice anyone giving me the cold shoulder.  No one ever shrieks or flees when I walk into a place of business, even when I’m having a bad hair day.  Just kidding! A butch never has a bad hair day.

It’s been years since anyone has shouted “faggot” or “dyke” in my direction from the safety of their moving cars.

I had been lulled into a sense safety and comfort much like a baby in one of those automated swings.  Silly, butch.

(Not real picture.)

(Not real picture.)

And then someone questioned the value of something I had written because of two reasons: I am a woman and a lesbian.  I will call this person Angel of the Bottomless Pit (not real name).

For a few seconds I felt smaller than usual, and my words felt lighter than usual.  And then I got mad.

It was a sneak attack.  I never saw it coming.

Now, I’m on a mission to get my book published.

I often think of the C.S. Lewis quote : “We read to know we are not alone.”

There is tremendous power in seeing your reflection in the pages of someone else’s book.

I remember tearing up feeling all emotional but not really crying reading Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon’s book Gender Failure earlier this year.  I never knew people wrote books for people like me.

I have committed to making a big push to find an agent or a publishing house to pick up my memoir. (If you know of anyone who might be interested, please let me know.)  If I don’t get any takers, I’ll self-publish in 2015.

I am now certain of the value of my story.

Of course, it is a story about being gay, being lesbian, being butch.  But there’s more.

If you have ever felt different, you will see yourself in the pages of my book.  If you have ever pretended to be someone you weren’t, you will see yourself in my book.  If you have ever thought there was something wrong with you but didn’t know what, you will see yourself in my book.  It is a book for outsiders, loners, those who march to the beat of their own drums.  And to the beat of Melissa Etheridge because M.E. rocks.

It is a book for anyone who has struggled with identity, shame, fear.  It is a book about finding oneself and shining brighter than you ever thought possible.  Bright as a gold button caught in the rays of the afternoon sun.

At it’s core, it’s a tale about being human.

I thought everyone would be able to relate to that.

Why my writing life is scary-awesome these days

I just found out that another one of my pieces has been accepted for publication.

Who’s awesome?  Me and this guy.

That means that I’m two for three, or batting .667.  That’s a monstrous number in baseball.  Not even the great Ted Williams ever hit much higher than .400.  (Notice that I didn’t add an asterisk.  That means that all writing was completed without steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.)

I forwarded the acceptance letter to W, who called to tell me how proud she is of me.  “Are you so excited?” she asked.

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Who’s scared?  Me and this guy.

“I’m hiding under the covers with the cat,” I told her.

She knew to let me be.  Actually, I wasn’t under the covers with the cat.  I was lying on top of them with the cat immobilized by fear.

I had told W last night that I need to start working on a query letter and book proposal.  I explained how everything is right there in my sights, almost in my grasp.

“That’s awesome,” she said.

“Scary-awesome,” I replied.

That pretty much sums up my feelings on moving forward with my writing.  It’s awesome to think that I’m close — closer than I’ve ever been — to realizing my bucket list goal of writing a book and having it published.

But scary, too.  Memoir is so very personal and soul-baring.  It’s like writing naked.  Or more accurately, it’s like writing naked about your naked self.  I am more prude than nudist, and therein lies the problem.

Crap, I should have just written about vampires.

Why rejection is good

When I was in middle school, I decided to try out for the girls’ basketball team.  When the day of tryouts came, I chickened out.  Instead of reporting to the gym, I got on the bus and went home.

“Oh, I thought I was picking you up at school?” my mom asked when I got home.

“I didn’t make the team,” I said.

“They had us line up shortest to tallest, and they cut the shortest people,” I explained.  “I still had time to make the bus.”

Of course, it wasn’t true.  My school was weird but not that weird.  I had just gotten cold feet.

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This girl did not go to my school.

My mom bought the story.  She didn’t know much about sports, so I guess a height-based cut for basketball players seemed logical.  She must have thought that I went to school with some freakishly tall girls because I have always been of average height.

I had wanted to play basketball but didn’t really know how.  I was a baseball kid, born and raised with a Rawlings glove on my left hand.

I played pick-up basketball with the guys down at the court at the bottom of the street.  There were usually five or six of us, and most of the time, we played half court.  We divided into two teams — shirts and skins.  Of course, I was always shirts.  I could play competitively with the guys.  It’s just that we played by pick-up rules and not official rules and that kept me from trying out for the school team.

xx

Bring it on.

I thought about basketball tryouts last week when I received my first official rejection letter.

I had submitted two chapters from my memoir for publication.  An on-line magazine turned me down because my piece didn’t fit with the editorial focus of their upcoming issue.  At least that’s what they said.

Here’s the weird part: I felt something close to excitement upon reading the rejection letter.  It made me feel like I was in the game, that I was trying and not lying to myself about being too busy or not ready or not good enough or too tired or too short or too whatever.

Rejection.  Who knew it could feel almost good?

What’s next?

Birthday cake with one candleThat was one of the prompts at my writing group today.  We were celebrating the one-year birthday of the group, so we did a lot of reflecting about the past and projecting about the future.  Birthdays are good for that kind of thing.

Here’s what I wrote:

In the next year, I want to keep at this writing thing.  I want to work toward developing a regular writing practice.  I say work “toward” a disciplined writing practice, because I don’t know that I will ever write every single day for an hour or between the hours of 8 and 10 Monday through Friday.  For me, part of the magic of writing is allowing myself to be enchanted by my muse, who is unpredictable and spontaneous with a touch of crazy and fantastic cleavage that always wins my attention.

Book dealI will finish my memoir and sell it to a small LGBT publisher.  I don’t plan on getting rich.  I will help sell my book by organizing book signings and participating in conferences.  I will travel to cool, gay-friendly places like Rehoboth, Del., and Provincetown, Mass., and attend Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival where I will dance in the moonlight with the Indigo Girls.

W says that I will be too busy for her when all of this happens.  I tell her that she can come with me.  This will be a grand adventure for both of us.

Butch Voices logoI tell a friend that my book will be so wildly popular and successful that I will be asked to attend the Butch Voices conference in California in two years and speak on a panel.

I inform W that she can go to this, too.  She smiles real big at the thought of being in a room packed with butch women.

My public speaking experience is limited.  As a college freshman, I gave an instructional speech on flossing.  And there was the dramatic reading class that I took, reciting lines from Neil Simon plays.

“Have you ever spoken on a panel?” my friend asks.

“No,” I reply.  “But I will.”