Welcome to the Sparkle Party! This week marks the one year anniversary of my debut novel, The Dark Wife‘s publication. (If you’re just tuning in, The Dark Wife is a YA, lesbian retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth.) My life has changed drastically in one year, and I owe everything to the little novel that could, and to the incredible people who have supported it. This week is in celebration of that fact~
A year ago today, I published my first novel, The Dark Wife. This past week has been very reflective for me…it’s not everyday that a lifelong dream you’ve worked ceaselessly on your entire life (hence the term LIFELONG dream XD) comes true, and when it does…that’s not something to be taken lightly. So I’ve been celebrating in quiet ways, filled with gratitude.
A year ago, I put out a novel that I really believed in. It was a crazy move on my part. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was six years old, writing stories about unicorns with rainbows manes (SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE). An author’s first novel makes or breaks them, and I’d written a retelling of a myth, and I’d retold it in a pretty drastic way, and I was completely unapologetic about reclaiming something that was traditionally straight and deeply unfeminist as…you know. Lesbian and feminist. AND SELF PUBLISHED? Radical stuff! Crazy stuff! What was I thinking stuff!
But I believed in the novel. I believed in the fact that people wanted a story like this. I believed, wholeheartedly, that young women who love other women deserve stories that celebrate them, which has–and always will be–the driving force behind my stories, why I write for hours every single day, why I do everything that I do.
So, I went out on a limb, and I put out The Dark Wife.
And one year later, I am a self employed, full-time lesbian author of lesbian stories.
I’m a really optimistic and happy person. I’m not going to stand here and point fingers at all of the people who told me, once upon a time, that writing lesbian stuff was going to get me absolutely nowhere, that my stuff would never be seen, try writing something straight. I might, for one teeny, tiny moment take a little bow and grin a saucy little grin, but that’s about it. Because this has never been about the people who thought the world wanted nothing but straight stories.
All of this has been about you.
If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you’re one (or more) of a couple of things. Because this is who my readers are:
– The queer young woman who just came out to her mom.
– The straight woman who loves reading a good story about love and courage and kick-ass ladies.
– The gay man who collects and loves good love stories.
– The straight man who respects lesbian relationships as he respects all relationships and enjoys a good story.
– The gay boy who enjoys queer stories, no matter the protagonist.
– The trans woman who loves queer stories.
– The trans man who supports queer storytellers.
– The bi mother-of-four who said “fuck yes,” when she saw a story about two ladies in love.
– The bi man who believes that love is beautiful no matter what.
– The poly chick who shared the story with her family.
I have the most diverse, beautiful readership in the cosmos, and every fucking day, I wake up and say a resounding thank you to the universe for all of the queer, lesbian, straight, gay, bi, poly people who have believed in my work. I am supported by a vast array of awesome folks who know and understand the importance of the lesbian novel reaching a vast audience, building empathy and giving queer kids the stories that they’re asking for.
Self publishing a lesbian YA book is not easy. Actually, it’s really effing difficult. This past year, I faced more prejudice and anger and bigotry and ignorance than I’d care to elaborate on, and being a lesbian myself, some days it was so hard, dealing with all of that ignorance directed at me, my story, who I am which was all tangled up in the novel, too, that I almost gave up. You have to have the thickest skin in the world to be a minority and publish a book where the minority is the main character in a world that’s still growing and evolving to be something more than tolerant to minorities. Something like accepting. Embracing.
But, as it turns out, the ignorance was always trumped by the excitement, the bigotry was always steamrolled by the support. My fans are some of the most supporting, enduring and big-hearted people in the entire world, and every time I thought I couldn’t take one more comment about lesbians and how “I’ll-never-read-a-book-because-it-has-teh-gayness-in-it,” I would receive an email that told me how much someone had loved The Dark Wife, that it had made a difference. And I kept going.
The voices are still out there. In a lot of circles, it’s still crazycakes that I’m making a living writing books about young ladies who love other young ladies, who kick butt and take names. Don’t I know that lesbian books don’t sell? Don’t I know that women only want to read about gay guys? Don’t I know that the straight world is really uncomfortable with lesbians? (<–all things that have been said to me multiple times.)
No. I don't know. Because it's not true. I've proven it. Straight women who are open-minded love reading a good love story, no matter who it's about. The open-minded, straight world is not uncomfortable with lesbians. And lesbian books do sell. Because the world is desperate for stories that show the variety of life, that tell different perspectives, that have been needed and wanted and asked for.
This is my dream come true, and I’m not going to stop saying thank you. Thank you for believing in me, and my work. Thank you for supporting me, for wanting lesbian stories, for proving to the world that they were wanted and needed. Thank you for responding so positively and wonderfully and excitedly about a novel I put my heart into. Thank you for continuing to buy my work, for continuing to spread the word, for loaning my novel to your friends and your friends’ friends. Thank you for the countless emails telling me how much you loved it, and tweets and re-tweets. Thank you for the encouragement and the big-heartedness and the resounding yes that you have given this little novel that could.
I will never stop telling stories. This is my passion, my dream, my joy, and it has changed my life–through you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. ❤
The Dark Wife is a finalist for the Golden Crown Literary Award in both Debut and Speculative Fiction, and the first two audio chapters were nominated for a Parsec Award. It has been produced, through fan support, as a free audiobook, and continues to be downloaded many, many times daily as as a free PDF. It can be purchased…
The Dark Wife: The Audio Book Begins!
Thanks to the amazing fans of The Dark Wife, our Kickstarter to create the FREE audio book of the ENTIRE novel was a resounding success. 🙂 ❤ As promised, we are pleased to present the VERY first installment of The Dark Wife in audio form! The installments will come roughly bi-weekly until the novel has been completed, and all parts of the novel will be available to download for FREE. ❤
The AMAZING Hugh of The Way of the Buffalo Podcast produced, mixed and did all sorts of other fanciness to it to make it sound as amazing as it does (and hosts it <3!), and the illustrious Veronica Giguere provided the beautiful vocal talent.
I’ve created a dedicated page for the audio book production, and will be adding each installment there as the story progresses! ❤
Excited about my stories? That makes me pretty stoked (and thanks!). 🙂 Keep up to date with my upcoming releases, by signing up for my mailing list to stay abreast of all updates. You can also add me on Twitter! ❤