YA book

My books! Pride recommended reading!

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Wowzers! A huge thank you to Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) for putting both “Rainbow Boy” (Picture Books category) & “Still Stace: My Gay Christian Coming-of-Age Story” (Young Adult category) on their recommended reading list for Pride month 2021! (Four months today until Still Stace comes out!!)

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)!

STILL STACE releases in 5 months!

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Five months from now, my very own book STILL STACE will be published by Beaming Books!! Whoooo, it’s gonna fly by methinks. We have been getting some wonderful blurbs from some amazing authors (!!), and I just cannot wait to see what the next few months will bring.

Here’s a few sneak peeks of some of the many illustrations 😄 Spoiler alert: this book talks a lot about teen angst, being gay and struggling with how faith fits in. Pre-order your copy if that sounds like something you want to read about! https://www.beamingbooks.com/…/9781506469515/Still-Stace

Anyone else do “sword drills” at Bible camp??
I made sure to illustrate some (of the HUNDREDS) of Christian music albums I had. Anyone else have any of these? I still love a lot of this music!
This is drawn mostly from memory, based on the beloved Bible camp where I spent many summers. My story begins here. (Calvary Temple Youth Camp in the Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba)
This sketch of present-day me, is one of the first illustrations you see when you crack open Still Stace. But it was one of the last illustrations I did for the book, and it was very healing. Present-day me now knows visibility and fully embracing who I am is GOOD.

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!!

“Shipwreck Over Safety” Podcast

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Earlier in January, I taped an episode of the podcast “Shipwreck Over Safety” with Dallas Verity & Blair Roberts. We had a great conversation about art, deconstructing our faith and sexuality. If that interests you, give it a listen! Available below, and also on Spotify & Apple podcasts.

SheLoves Webinar and Video Workshop: Owning My Gay Christian Story

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Wow, what an incredible day today. I am buzzing with gratefulness after spending an hour sharing my story with this beautiful community at SheLoves. I felt celebrated, supported and safe. I could not have asked for anything more! This was also the same day I was meant to share the original workshop, so it felt extra liberating for me.

I really wanted it to be public and accessible for anyone afterwards, so they graciously agreed to post the entire webinar to Youtube here: (it’s just over an hour including the Q&A at the end)

If you just wanted to see the workshop itself (which is about 27 minutes), that video is here:

Owning My Gay Christian Story from Stacey Chomiak on Vimeo.

Please, if there is someone you know who needs to hear this, share this with them. I want us to keep talking, keep sharing, keep trying to love each other better. And please reach out if this touched you in some way! I would love to hear.

Thanks friends. I continue to be amazed at this life that I get to lead.

LGBTQ Workshop Event UPDATE – Partnering with SheLoves!

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Jan 22 UPDATE: GIVEAWAY! I’m going to sign a personalized Rainbow Boy for someone who comes tomorrow! I hope to see you there, grab your ticket before 10AM PST!

You may have seen my post about recording a video workshop telling my gay Christian story, for a Christian conference, and then them dropping the LGBTQ speakers. (Original story here.)

I am SO excited to share I have a NEW PARTNER to share my story – shelovesmagazine! This event will be open to EVERYONE whether you are in Canada or the US (or beyond!). So PLEASE friends all over, come join us Saturday, Jan 23 @ 10AM Pacific Time! We will all gather virtually, screen my video workshop and have a Q & A time after. I would LOVE to see some friendly virtual faces so it’s not just me alone in a Zoom room. 😀

Tickets are available on Eventbrite – fee is a sliding scale, so if things are tough, please don’t worry about paying anything and just come. More info is below.

About this Event

LIBERATION STORIES: Join us for a powerful personal story from Artist Stacey Chomiak on Owning Her Gay Christian Story (Plus Q & A)

WHAT: LIBERATION STORIES: Owning My Gay Christian Story, with Stacey Chomiak.

WHEN: Saturday, January 23 at 10am PST / 1pm EST / 6pm GMT

WHERE: Register on Eventbrite and hosted on Eventbrite.

COST: Tickets available at a sliding scale, starting from free through $20 plus fees. (Limited quantity.)

“For 13 years, I fought against my body and my heart and its innate desires,” says Stacey Chomiak, an artist in the animation industry. “I grew to hate them, because I was taught to do so. I believed my desires were bad and therefore I believed I was bad. I had to finally admit that I couldn’t pray my gay away any more than I could change the color of my eyes. I didn’t want to leave my faith, because Jesus and I had a very deep relationship.”

Join us for this powerful hour of Liberation Stories.

ABOUT SHELOVES:

SheLoves is a global sisterhood conversation on personal and collective liberation. We focus on deconstructing faith, practising allyship, antiracism, decolonization and the Jesus kind of feminism.

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!

“Dear Younger (gay) Me” Book Update

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MARCH 2020 UPDATE: We accepted a book deal from Beaming Books and it was announced on March 5, 2020! Details below:

https://staceychomiak.com/2020/03/24/announcing-a-dream-come-true/


My agent Claire and I have been working hard on this for the last few weeks, and hopefully soon I will have more news to share!

This project has just poured out of me, like a pitcher full of water finally being emptied. In my 18 years as an artist, I have never quite had that feeling before. Usually I struggle with getting what’s in my head onto the page/screen. I’m really excited to finish it, and for everyone to get the chance to read it! I have a lot more work [drawing] to do, but I feel so incredibly grateful to work on it every chance I get. Here are the latest illustrations I have done – they will make more sense with the text. 🙂

Stay tuned for the full story and publishing updates!