Because of You

Not only are these the words that make up the title of one of my favorite Kelly Clarkson songs, but they are also inspired by Michelle Williams’s epic Emmy speech. I am a sucker for awards shows, and it’s moments like Williams’s big win that make me such a fan. If you didn’t get a chance to see her speech, here you go:

This speech ties into a really great surprise I had on the interwebs a couple weeks ago seeing that the author name on my book, WHOBERT WHOVER, had been changed to Jason June on all sites where my book was listed for sale.

Then I logged onto my Author Portal at Simon & Schuster and was greeted by this:

The name on my whole account had been changed, meaning the magical fairy of acceptance and love who changed my name for WHOBERT online had to be at S&S too.

So all this ties into Michelle Williams’s speech where she calls on companies to help out underrepresented voices when they let those companies know what they need to succeed because someday they might say thank you for helping them succeed *because* of their workplace. This is totally one of those moments. I want to give a huge thank you to Simon & Schuster, and especially my editor Karen Wojtyla, for not batting an eye when I said I wanted to change my author name to reflect my genderqueer identity. Instead I heard a resounding “YES”, and felt loved and embraced and like S&S wanted me to succeed. I know a lot of the time in the book world it can seem like the business part and the publishing part and the authoring part are all so separate, but it was the most uplifting experience when all these parts came together to rally behind me in a moment that really mattered in my life. Here’s to that continuing to happen for writers of all backgrounds in the years to come.

JAY’S GAY AGENDA

OMG, where have I been?!

I was holed away in my house writing for the past few months. Most notably, I had one of those THIS IS THE ONE Aha Moments where a gay YA rom-com came to me almost fully fleshed out. I could hear the characters, see them, and I knew I had to tell their story.

Cut to me in a cave, blinded by light having just now emerged after I sent that YA manuscript to my agent yesterday morning.

I adore this YA so much, y’all. It’s called JAY’S GAY AGENDA. I posted a Twitter thread about it that you can read here. The main point of the thread is that I LOVE THIS STORY WITH ALL MY HEART, but it may be an impossible dream to get this manuscript published. It’s set in Fall 2020, and many publishers already have their Fall 2020 lists full. But I’m so going to try and make this happen.

JAY follows the title character, the only out student at a rural high school, as he finally gets to experience his gay firsts when his mom moves his family to the big city his senior year. It’s full of crushes and kisses and mishaps and mistakes. It’s the story of finding balance between romance and friendship.

But why 2020? 2020 will be a very intense year with the presidential election. Something that always makes me cringe during campaigns is that the LGBTQ community is used as a tool by politicians of both parties to get votes. It’s unsettling when your sexuality is constantly politicized, and I imagine many teens in the LGBTQ community will be stressed because of this. I hope JAY can be an escape for these readers, a reminder that a world exists in which they don’t have to be someone else’s tool, but a person who gets to experience love and lust and all the things that come with that.

If this doesn’t work out, I’m still so happy that Jay’s story came to me. You hear a lot in the writing world that no writing is wasted. JAY has already given me so much. It was so uplifting to write, remembering the excitement that comes with all those firsts. It also opened in me this huge passion for YA, and more ideas are starting to pour out of me.

So I may be heading back into the writing cave soon! But in the meantime, I’ll be posting a bit more about the journey of JAY and some firsts of my own I experienced while writing it.

xoxo,

Jas

Spreading the Love

I am so unbelievably excited to be able to sing this from the rooftops! I get to have a book out about my favorite topic of all time: LOVE! And the amazing Lori Richmond is going to illustrate! Here’s the PW announcement:

PORCUPINE CUPID is all about a plucky porcupine who fancies himself a matchmaker. I cannot wait to see this book come to life! It’s been a long time comin’. We sold this back in December 2015, and we’ve been waiting for just the right illustrator to sign on. I could not be happier that Lori joined the PORCUPINE team. We’ve been critique group partners for years, and I had no idea she was reached out to to potentially illustrate. Lori is super good at keeping a secret!

Can’t wait for a little more love to be in the world in December 2020 when PORCUPINE CUPID hits bookstores!