Yesterday I promised to share some fun news with you guys today. We'll get to that in a second.
First, if you haven't yet donated to the Save Julie and the Fur People's House Project, get to it. See yesterday's entry for full details. The gist of it is that if you donate $50 or more you get a print from my friend Jim Lucio's amazing Polaroid portrait show AND a signed copy of my new novel, What We Remember. That's a damn good return for helping out a nice lady and her adopted animals, so get to it.
If you don't have $50 (and a lot of us don't right now) I'll make you a deal. Donate $25 and I'll send you a copy of my novel. You won't get one of Jim's prints, just my book, but it costs $24 anyway, so why not pick the book up and do a good deed at the same time.
To recap: Donate at least $50 and you get one of Jim's prints and a signed copy of my new novel. Donate at least $25 and you get a signed copy of my novel. Go to Jim's website for info on how to donate. Once you've done it, let me know and I'll send you a book. You can e-mail me at email@example.com with your address.
Now back to the good news. Last week I was at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans. This is an amazingly fun event, and you should all go next year (register for their e-mail list here). I went with my friend Melissa, and we ate ourselves round on beignets, crawfish, red beans and rice, and jambalaya. We also tried on masks at Maskarade, the coolest shop in the French Quarter.
Over the weekend I held a class on what it takes to make it as a full-time writer, and was on a couple of panels with some fun people including Ali Liebegott, Michele Karlsberg, and Greg Herren. In addition, I got to see a lot of friends I haven't seen in far too long, including Scott Heim, Michael Lowenthal (who received the James Duggins Mid-Career Author Award), Jeff Mann, Trebor Healey, and Jeffrey Round. Michael and I used to live not half a dozen blocks away from each other in Boston, but saw each other only three times in five years, all of them at the post office. I haven't seen him and Scott in eight years, and it was wonderful to spend some time with them. Now that Michael has finally joined me in the 40s, we were able to comiserate about expanding waistlines, receeding hairlines, and how much we hate Scott for still looking like he's 12.
On Saturday night Scott and I were the featured guests at a BBQ hosted by the NO/AIDS Task Force's re:Vision project. It was great fun meeting the guys who take part in this unique program and talk to them about writing and growing up gay (even if it made me feel ancient and withered). Big thanks to Tanner, Martin, and Josh for inviting us.
As if all this wasn't enough, the big surprise of the weekend was finding out that I was going to be inducted into the Saints & Sinners Hall of Fame. I didn't know about this until Melissa opened the festival program and said, "Look, it says here you're getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. It must be a printing error." I know, she's sweet.
So on Sunday, during the closing party, Michael Lowenthal got his award and I got a lovely plaque (that's me accepting it on the left). Also inducted were G. Winston James, Jess Wells, Radclyffe, and Jim Duggins. We join a list of some of my favorite writers, including Dorothy Allison, Stephen McCauley, Nancy Garden, Mark Doty, Jewelle Gomez, Jim Grimsley, and a bunch of other people whose work I love. Again, it makes me feel a little old, as to me it seems like I published my first book only a year or two ago. But if I have to be middle aged, at least I'm in good company.
Now that all the fun is over, I'm getting back to work on the next novel, which we've titled The Road Home. I'm really liking it so far, and I hope this enthusiasm continues, as it's rare for me to be excited this early in the process. It's helping that both my editor and agent wrote today to say they love the manuscript for my young adult novel, Z. I sent it in right before I left for Saints & Sinners, and was a little anxious about it. Now I can breathe a little easier about that.
Before you forget, go make those donations to the Save Julie and the Fur People's House Project. I'll be back with more fun and frolic later in the week.