illustrated memoir

Love for “Still Stace”.

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Six weeks from this Tuesday, Still Stace will be out into the world.

It feels like a dream slowly coming true. (It IS!) I’ve been working quietly in my office for what feels like a LONG time, and now it’s slowly getting into people’s hands. WHOA. I’m trying to savour each exciting thing that happens – like these amazing endorsements, and even a Kirkus review! Excuse me while I dance out my excitement in my office by myself. 😀 I am SO grateful.

I got my STILL STACE ARC!

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OKAY.

I didn’t even know this was coming, and when the kids helped me pull it out of the packaging (amid a flurry of screams), my heart skipped a beat!! (Or seven.)

I have been working on this for two years saying, “This is gonna be a book!” And now I’m holding it saying, “THIS IS A BOOK.”

This is my Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of STILL STACE from the publisher, and it’s got little mistakes and quirks that won’t be in the final. (Also the final will be hard copy!) But WHOOBOY I’m still gonna cradle it like it’s my third baby. Just over 4 months to go! It’s so cool seeing all my illustrations on PAPER, sheesh capeesh.

It’s Pride month & my story couldn’t be any gayer, so pre-order yours today! (Seriously tho, pls pre-order – it helps the publishers know how well it will do!) Reminder, our target audience is teens ages 13-18 (but adults can read YA books too)!

COVER REVEAL – “Still Stace”

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Friends!!

I am SO EXCITED to finally share the updated and official cover for my YA illustrated memoir, “Still Stace”!! I feel like I have been sitting on this for years! (It’s been a few weeks. I no longer understand time post-quarantine.)

Beaming Books is publishing my book on October 19th, 2021. It is available everywhere for pre-order, (click here fellow Canadians!) but please try to order from local bookstores wherever possible! I still honestly can’t process that this will be an actual freaking hard cover book in mere months.

The younger me who I wrote & drew this for is positively overflowing with excitement, and she won’t stop high-fiving me. (AND I AM HERE FOR IT.) When this releases in October, I will probably have the biggest vulnerability hangover of my life. But if it helps one person to feel less alone, it will all be worth it.

Massive thanks to my small but mighty circle of supporters, cheerers, laughers, criers, huggers, walkers, venters, texters, Zoomers…. and of course my incredible wife Tams, who is undoubtedly one of the strongest driving forces behind me being able to (and having the courage to) get this accomplished. What a SURREAL DREAM come TRUE.

Please share this with anyone who may need it! I’m so grateful for everyone who has helped or encouraged me along this road. None of you will be forgotten, I promise. Countdown to October 19th!!

Getting unstuck.

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The manuscript for my YA memoir, “Still Stace” is DONE. I can’t believe the metamorphosis this story has undergone since my very first pitch (and I am so grateful for my editor!)

The version I originally pitched in Feb 2019 (which got me my agent) was about 1200 words. I envisioned it as a picture book. Now, as a YA illustrated memoir, it’s over 43,000 words! I never planned to write so much, or so honestly, about reconciling my sexuality and my faith – but I am so grateful for this opportunity.

Now that the writing is done, the hard part begins. THE. DRAWING. It’s one thing to write about tough and vulnerable experiences – now I gotta draw them. This weekend I sat down to start my roughs for the first chapters, and felt the familiar spiral of doubt hit me. How can I do this? Am I good enough to do this? …I can’t do this.

I got stuck. This happens to me when I am working on something I feel a lot of importance behind. The only recipe that works to get unstuck, is:

1 – get outside, preferably on my bike, stare at the mountains, sweat, lip sync some amazing music

2 – come home and create a piece of art with no expectations or judgement

Here’s what I created to get unstuck. And it worked – I drew most of yesterday and got the first section of roughs done! (Sometimes it’s a combination of letting go, and just being kinder with ourselves.)

This is my fav street in Maple Ridge to bike down, and I loved how the late summer evening light was hitting these trees. I had to draw it. 🙂

This series of images came from listening to the lyrics of  “Be Alright” by @dantebowe and @amandalindseycook. I have found great encouragement from it, I hope you connect with it too!

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT!

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Friends, I can’t believe I get to announce this dream come true. If you don’t mind indulging me, I will give you a quick timeline of how I got here:

I have always wanted to do a project combining my art and faith journey as a gay Christian. In late 2018 I thought of doing a kids book so that my kids, and other kids, could read it. I called it “Dear Younger (gay) Me”.

Nov 2018 – I had a call with Jennifer Knapp (childhood icon!) about an unrelated project we were going to collaborate on, and I brought up my book idea. She encouraged me to do it.

Feb 2019 – I started sketching storyboards & writing on the train to and from work. I was shocked at how quickly it all came pouring out of me. I reached out to Rachel Held Evans. (I wrote a guest post for her blog in 2014 and had kept in contact with her.) She wrote me back saying: “What a beautiful book, Stacey! I’m happy to share far and wide. Thank you for making this.”

May 2019 – I sent out my book idea on a whim to see if I could get an agent to represent me. Within four hours of sending it out, and to my total shock, I had two offers of representation. I signed with The Bent Agency in NYC a few days later.

July 2019 – My agent Claire sent out a formal book proposal to a bunch of editors and we wait. (I am learning publishing is a slow game!) Claire helps me evolve and expand my story from a kids book to a YA illustrated novel.

Oct 2019 – We are approached by Beaming Books who are very interested.

Nov 2019 – Beaming Books sends Claire a book offer to publish! Claire goes back and forth to negotiate the terms as I vibrate with excitement in the corner.

Feb 5, 2020I officially sign the book deal with Beaming Books!! They start a discussion about changing the name of the book to be more suitable for a YA audience. They land on “Still Stace: My Gay Christian Coming of Age Story (An Illustrated Memoir)”.

March 5, 2020 it is officially announced in Publishers Marketplace (above image) I can fiiiiiiiinnnnnnally share this with you all!!

I am beyond grateful for this opportunity. I am trying to do my best writing and drawing for the privilege to be able to represent a voice for the gay Christian community, and for younger me. ALL. THE. FEELS.

Children’s Bookshelf also shared my book deal in their list (below), and I still can’t believe this is happening. But it’s been a long road, so I’m going to celebrate each milestone! (In a perfect coincidence, I was having a dance party with the kids when the tweet came in! 😆) Click image for link.

 

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Stay tuned for updates as I continue to work on it!