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.



The Cleanse

There are few things in life that give me more joy than Anjelica Huston. Her poise, her aura, her soul-searching looks. So if anything comes out with her in it, I have to watch it. Which is what led me to THE CLEANSE.

This movie is twacked, y’all. There’s no other way to describe it. But it’s twacked in the absolute best way. It follows a guy named Paul as he signs up for a cleanse retreat in which a very specific, very disgusting juice is brewed up for each participant that must be consumed in a day. Successful chugging of said juice results in vomiting up your demons, literally. Here’s what Paul spewed out:

First of all, I love things that are so ugly they’re cute. Cleanse vomit baby demons fall into that category. Second of all, this movie reminded me so much of the writing process it’s silly. Paul is trying to rid himself of the negativity that plagues his life to the point that he has to physically manifest it into the world. It’s just like when you’ve got that idea for a story in your head and you MUST get it onto paper. That obsessive clacking on the keyboard is just like Paul’s determined chugging. When you hit Print and hold your manuscript for the first time is just like when Paul picks up his little demon shmoop and has a sense of pride that it came out of him. Paul’s varying emotions regarding the little chunk mirrored those times when you’re loving your story one minute then thinking you’re the most terrible writer in the world the next. There were so many similarities to the writing process that I’m going to start calling my WIPs my demons. But here’s hoping that no one describes my writing as “so ugly it’s cute.”