inspiration

STILL STACE Instagram LIVE TOUR

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This week for the launch of #StillStace (which officially publishes TOMORROW!!!) – I’m going to have some fun Instagram LIVE conversations with some awesome peeps! Jump over to my Instagram @chomiaks to join in – times posted either the day of or evening before!

Unboxing STILL STACE.

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WHOAAAAAAAAA.

I’ve been waiting a LONG time for this day. To open the author copies of MY FREAKING OWN BOOK. That I wrote and drew and how is this real.

It’s a box of literal dreams that I unpacked and my heart is a-BLAZING. Tams and I waited til the kids were in bed, and then did a cheesy photo shoot because I’m gonna SAVOUR every MOMENT of this magical journey I find myself on.

I brought out the original scribbly and beat up hard copy I made two years ago, (originally titled “Dear Younger (Gay) Me”) held together with clips. Also my kids coloured all over it (bonus). This Version 2.0 is WAY. BETTER. Kudos to Beaming Books for putting out such a beautiful and quality book. They have been such an amazing team to work with, especially my editor Naomi.

I may or may not (MAY) carry around a copy of my own book everywhere I go like it’s my third child CUZ IT KINDA IS. Get ready world, it’s comin’ at ya in less than two weeks. Send me your copy if ya get one!

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)!

Rain on me.

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Covid-fatigue is hitting everyone. I feel it all around me. This has been hard, hasn’t it friends?

Lately I have tried to allow this discomfort and fear and anxiety dust off the buried treasures within myself. I think there are extremely important lessons about life, and ourselves, that we can only learn in these types of seasons. I’m learning to be grateful for small things, to slow down and listen to my own voice, and how to show up for my family.

On Sunday I took a quick break from working on the sketches for “Still Stace” (pant, pant, there are 89 sketches now!) to go on my bike.

When I left it was sunny. Halfway through my ride, it clouded over and absolutely down poured rain. I pulled over, looked up at the sky and let it soak me. It felt renewing. I maintain that it’s one of the privileges to being alive.

There are days when we need to run and seek shelter from the rain. And then there are days when we open our arms, and invite the rain to wash over us.

Sending love, friends.

A new day is coming.

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I know, I know – I’m Canadian… BUT that doesn’t mean I wasn’t dancing in my kitchen at the Biden/Harris victory announcement yesterday!! Us Canadians are used to constantly living America-adjacent, and while political decisions don’t DIRECTLY affect us, they definitely affect us down the line.

And even though I’m not American, I love a lot of Americans. And yes, I’m a self-appointed emotional-support-Canadian. It’s been scary as hell watching what has been happening with this (lack of) leadership, especially for our LGBTQ friends and friends of colour. Yesterday felt like SUCH an influx of hope for a change! FINALLY.

But let’s focus on something amazing about yesterday: KAMALA. It was a historical day for all women! We all stand on the shoulders of so many great women who brought us to this moment. (I see you, Stacey Abrams!) Kamala becoming VP has opened the door for so many more women in leadership in our future. It’s about damn time.

I had to draw this in celebration!

Get ready for a new day, friends. It is coming.

Beauty in barns.

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I love being an artist.

If I wasn’t an artist, I’d be a musician, a horse trainer, or a backup dancer for P!nk. (I’ll settle for kitchen dance parties with my kids for now.)

Being an artist allows me to observe the world differently. It encourages me to see beauty in all things, to learn as much as I can, and to keep growing. I hope I always stay curious, because this world is overwhelmingly fascinating.

I bike past this old barn almost every day, and I smile as I pass, admiring the weathered paint and rich textures it displays. I love thinking about the history of it. But it’s not enough to admire it, I had to finally spend some time painting it. It’s my way of truly appreciating something.

A day after posting this to social media, I was contacted by the woman who grew up at this farm. She recognized her barn right away, and she asked to purchase a copy of the print to put in her house. She said it made her incredibly happy.

As I said, I love being an artist. 🙂

My Octopus Teacher.

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Wow.

Have you seen this stunning film?

Wow.

I have always been enraptured by the beauty and mystery of everything under water. The impossibly saturated colours of all that swims, the astounding design of the creatures. I have always felt more connected to my own life, somehow, when I’m under water. Which is why I love swimming so much. Time seems to slow, things become clearer. Watching this film, it made me catch my breath. And yes, I cried (a lot) over an octopus.

What a profound reminder that life is precious, breathtaking and utterly fascinating. (Like COME ON, that pile of shells it made as a disguise?!) We are all truly connected – human and creature. After many months of feeling heavy and sad with *everything* going on, this film provided a fresh breath of curiosity and hope.

I had to put some of my inspiration into a quick sketch.

If you want to learn more, watch the film and visit Sea Change Project. We have to work hard to protect all of this beauty, like all our lives depend on it. (They do.)

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!

Queer colouring pages!

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I did something fun with OutChristian – an awesome organization that works to connect LGBTQ people of faith!

They asked me if I would want to design & draw some queer-themed colouring pages, to remind us all that we will once again be able to gather with friends in our communities. Of course, I never say no to drawing for a queer Christian cause!

They’ve done a great job of making the pages downloadable on their website, but I will post them below as well. ALSO. Even if you’re straight (or of a different or no faith), I think you could still have fun colouring these! 😀

Hang in there, friends. Sending love to all!

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