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  • Felt Tips Now In Print

    Felt Tips Cover

    That’s right folks, the Felt Tips Office-Supply Erotica anthology, featuring my short story What Is It, Suzie? along with stories by over 40 other amazing authors, is now available in print!

    Edited by the inimitable Tiffany Reisz, other of the Original Sinners novels, all proceeds from the sale of Felt Tips goes to charity, providing kids with much needed school supplies. So go ahead, let this unique and exciting volume grace your shelves (or nightstands) and remember: it’s for the children.



  • Happy Third T-Day!

    It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole three years already since I started on T. At the same time it’s hard to believe it’s only been three years. I’m starting to feel like I’ve always been this person, that I’ve always been Eric and that my previous life was some kind of bizarre dream.

    More than that, it’s hard to imagine that I was ever not a writer. I began to take my writing seriously back in November 2010, and I’ve been pulled deeper and deeper ever since. I’m still slogging through Fallen Things with my critique group and am sending chapters out to beta readers at the same time, and this process has improved my writing incredibly.

    One thing that made a huge difference was writing the first draft of the second book in the series, Hidden Things. I got to know my characters so much better; when I went back to editing Fallen Things, I had a much clearer idea of what I was doing with them. My view of the story is so clear, in fact, that I have to completely rewrite just about everything from this point on because I can now see how far off my first (and second) draft was. This is amazing. This is incredible. This is what gets me up in the morning (and often keeps me up at night). This, even more than a name and an affirmation of gender, is Who I Am.

    That said, it’s great to take the chance to look back over the past year and all the things I’ve accomplished. For the first time since I went to college, I have a job that’s lasted more than three months. Even more, it’s a full time job that still gives me plenty of time to write, which is an amazing thing. I started as a desk clerk at a small motel almost a year ago, and I have no plans of leaving any time soon. After a few years without stable employment, having a steady income and a schedule I can count on is a luxury I don’t want to lose. The fact that I genuinely enjoy the work itself helps a great deal, of course.

    And now–because if I don’t stop I’ll blather on forever about my writing–it’s time for progress photos:

    Feb26-2010

     

    I’m not even sure what to say about this one anymore. It’s like looking at a stranger; it’s hard to imagine being this person now.

    Feb26-2011_2

     

    A wee bit of scruff on the chin, desperately in need of a haircut, and still way too much in love with the filters in Vignette when taking pictures with my phone. It’s still incredible how much of a difference a year makes.

    Feb26-2012

     

    Still in desperate need of a haircut, but at least I’ve ditched the earrings now… I almost wonder why I held on to them as long as I did. The beard’s gone from ‘scruffy’ to ‘respectable’ and is still one of the things I’m most pleased with.

    Feb26-2013

     

    And here I am today. I finally got a haircut! And new glasses! (One of two pairs I bought recently; the others are simple, squarish, black frames.) And I finally stopped taking my picture in the bathroom! (Yes, that is a Dalek on my living room wall.) Bow ties are still cool, and my beard has gained a photographically-visible presence!

    And that, as they say, is that. Until next year.



  • Felt Tips is Here!

    This is an incredibly exciting day for me because today I have become an author. That’s right. I have been a writer for years now by simple virtue of putting ideas out in words, but today I can officially call myself a published author.

    Felt Tips CoverFelt Tips, the office supply erotica anthology (and second kinkiest thing I’ve done for charity), is out today.

    That’s right, you can read my short story, What Is It, Suzie? along with short stories by 43 other incredibly talented writers, including our infamous editor and author of the Original Sinners series, Tiffany Reisz. All the proceeds go to charity, providing kids with much needed school supplies.

    You can get the Felt Tips ebook today at Smashwords or at Barns & Noble for $4.99US. (Other stores coming soon, and print edition forthcoming in 2013.) So click, buy, support a great charity, and above all, enjoy ;)

    Edit: now available at Amazon (US)!



  • A Birthday and a Time Capsule

    Ten years ago, a 16-year-old me decided to put together a time capsule.

    Time Capsule

    I held on to it all this time, through five moves, and never lost or got rid of it. For ten years, I never opened it, though the stickers sealing it closed had peeled away from the box within the first year, clinging only to the lid. It was important to 16-year-old me, so I did as I promised her: I neither lost it nor peeked at it.

    Today, 26-year-old me opened the box, and this is what came out:

    Time Capsule: Opened!

    It was incredible to see what I’d thought was important enough to put away, and to realize that the one thing I thought I remembered putting in there wasn’t in there at all. (Apparently I’d changed my mind about the Teepee-shaped clay incense burner.)

    There were, of course, a few trinkets:

    Trinkets

    I’ve had that ‘E’ for as long as I can remember. When I put it in that box, it stood for ‘Emily’. Now, of course, it stands for ‘Eric’, though I couldn’t have known that then.

    All I really remember about that elephant is that it was very important to me. As for where it came from or who gave it to me, I have no idea any more.

    I made the little beaded sandal and ball, which means this was after I’d left Girl Guides for Junior Achievement.

    My love of pens and ink even then should have been an indication that I would become a writer, but I was still convinced that I would be an Artist; painting, drawing, or something visual were the only options I saw for myself back then.

    In fact, I’d left a small sketch book of mine to prove it:

    Two Houses and a Tree
    An Animated Still Life
    A Celtic Knot Griffin

    There were several more, of course, but that would have been far too many for one post. I’d wondered where some of these had gotten to, actually. I knew I had drawn more Celtic knot pictures than I could find in my portfolios!

    A few other creations of mine made it into the time capsule:

    Tissue Paper Flowers and Calligraphy

    Again, how did I not know I was a writer? The ‘E’, of course, stood for myself. I’m not sure if the ‘A’ was just because it was the first letter of the alphabet, or if it stood for someone else… and I’m hesitant to speculate as that could embarrass a few people.

    I’d actually forgotten that I used to make tissue-paper flowers, which is a bit impressive since I used to make a lot of them.

    And finally, I’d included a picture of myself:

    Emily

    I had a hard time deciding how to title this one, actually. I was still her, in a way, but there’s a good reason a lot of these reflections include the words: ‘I’d forgotten’ or ‘I don’t remember’. I was 16. That’s a hard age for anyone, but I had the extra confusion of suspecting that puberty wasn’t going the way I expected, but having no idea why that was or how to express that feeling. I checked out a bit, emotionally. I dealt with it by not dealing with it–or much of anything else.

    In the end though, if I were to go back ten years and ask myself my name, I would have responded, “Emily.” As such, this is, in fact, a picture of her.

    After looking back, it’s time for me to look forward. I will make another time capsule (but this time I’ll include a letter so I know what I was thinking) and look ahead at the next ten years. Here’s to the 36-year-old me, whoever he may be!



  • My Interview With Fellow Felt Tips Writer Jenny Lyn

    I’d like to take a quick break from my irregularly scheduled blog to direct you towards my Felt Tips interview with Jenny Lyn, posted here on her blog. She’s doing interviews with all the anthology contributors between now (well, from a little before now) and the release date December 12, 2012. I encourage you to go back and read the other interviews, and to keep up with future instalments. I know I will be!

    Felt Tips is a charity anthology of office-supply themed erotica conceived of and edited by the incomparable Tiffany Reisz.



  • Building Bridges Part 3: Employment

    In some ways it feels like just yesterday that I started at Alberta Job Corps, and in others it feels like I’ve been there forever. Job Corps was always meant to be a short-term program and there I was, coming up on my third month and wondering if maybe there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t find work and wasn’t even getting any call-backs.

    Today, that changed. Today I was offered a job as a hotel desk clerk, and I took it.

    It’s a good opportunity for me. Full-time, decent wage, benefits after three months, and above all, work that I’ll find rewarding while still giving me time for my writing and studies. I’ll get to interact with new and different people every day and let’s face it, service feeds me. Why else would I be looking at ministry?

    The one downside: the shift I’ll be working includes Sundays. This means I won’t be able to continue as an assistant youth church leader and I won’t be able to attend my regular church as often. I had to think hard about it, do some soul searching–and talk my minister’s ear off a little–but I finally decided that this was an opportunity I needed to take. I had to realize that this does not represent a step back in my faith journey, only a detour.

    The way I see it, if I take a chance on something and it falls through, then it wasn’t meant for me. By that token working at the registry wasn’t where I was meant to be right now, and that’s fine. But if I have an opportunity and I don’t take it? That’s on me. It’s up to me to take what I’m given, and I’m done with letting things pass me by because I’m afraid or because it’s inconvenient.

    I have to work Sundays? All right. I can’t help lead the youth church, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be involved in my church in other ways. For example, there’s still bible study on Monday nights where I can keep in touch with my minister. I can still worship, even if that means going to the Wednesday service at another church. I can still study; after all, no one’s taking my books away from me just because I got a new job(and I’d like to see them try.) In fact, this way I’ll be better able to afford going back to school in the evenings which is a step forward in the long run.

    Today, I cleaned out my locker at Job Corps. Tomorrow, I start my new life as a hotel desk clerk. And for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have solid ground under my feet.



  • Happy Second T-Day!

    It has been two years today since I started stabbing myself in the leg, and a year since I started this website. It has also been a year of incredible change and growth; in fact, I’m beginning to wonder if there is any other kind.

    I’ll start at the end for the moment, and note that I seem to be collecting milestones for February 26th. Two years ago I started on testosterone, a year ago I started this blog, and today I became a full, adult member of Campbell-Stone United Church. I was baptised into this church when I was 16 I believe, and I’ve been something of a member-by-association through my mom since I returned to the church during Advent in 2010, but I felt that it was time to stand up and become a member in my own right.

    Becoming a member is an incredible experience. Standing up in front of the congregation to proclaim my faith and commitment to the church, and having them give me their acceptance and support… I felt a very really connection in that moment. It’s one of the many steps in my life bringing me closer to God, and confirming for me that I am on my right path. This is where I belong.

    Not only have I grown a lot in my faith journey, but I’ve also grown a lot as a writer and as a person. I’m invested in my writing more strongly than ever as I put my first novel, Fallen Things, through the ‘critique machine’ with my writing group, A Bitch Of Writers. I have learned so much about my writing process and how to give a good critique, it’s incredible! I can already see the difference it’s made as I edit based on these critiques; I have description now! Mostly. It’s also been brought to my attention that some of my writing technique it well-geared towards script writing, so in my over-scheduled insanity, I’ve decided to do Script Frenzy this April. That should be interesting to say the least.

    I’ve also had to take a long, hard look at my direction in life. Having a better idea of who I am and where I want to go means I’m a lot less satisfied with ‘survival jobs’ in retail or labour while I work on my writing and look at paying off previous student loans before going to school again. Right now I’m working through Alberta Job Corps to try to find something interesting that I’m even marginally qualified for. It’s been a good, if frustrating, experience for me. While I’m glad to have the support while I work out my career path, it’s also a little disheartening to still be there over a month later while most of my hire-mates have moved on and a new batch of hires is coming into the system. Still, I’ve gained valuable job search skills, and am going full-ahead with a new strategy starting tomorrow.

    Last but not least, after two years on T my transition have become more of a background concern… for the most part. Twice in the past year drug shortages have affected my ability to fill my prescription. The first time I was lucky and only had a delay of one week before my pharmacy started getting Delatestyl in again. This time however, I’ve had to switch to AndroGel for the time being, or do without entirely. Word on the street is that Depo-Testosterone, which would be a preferable alternative for me, will be available February 29th… or possibly March 7th (see comments.) All in all, it’s hard to find reliable information on this.

    But enough of that doom and gloom. It’s time for progress photos!

    Woah, who's that kid?

    Me two years ago… I think the only thing that’s really the same any more is my glasses. And I can’t help thinking how round my head was…

    Bow ties are cool.

    Yep, bow ties are still cool. At this point, I was just starting to get enough scruff on my chin to contemplate growing a beard. In fact, I think I did start growing one shortly after this picture was taken. I was still holding onto the earrings, though…

    Suave as ever

    I… always seem to need a haircut when I do these, don’t I? In fact, not much has changed between this picture and the last. The only real difference is that I’ve taken out the earrings and grown a beard. It would feel incredibly weird now not to have a beard. I know; I shaved it off briefly around Hallowe’en for my Tesla costume, and quite frankly, my chin felt naked.

    So that’s my Year In Review, and there’s still a lot I didn’t really get around to mentioning. I’ve been busy, very busy, and if things keep going the way they are, this next year will be even busier. I’m looking forward to it.



  • Building Bridges Part 2: Alberta Job Corps

    The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father… wait, no, that’s the Psi Corps. Totally different.

    About a month ago, I mentioned having an interview for a paid work training program in this post. That program is Alberta Job Corps, and as you can probably guess, I got in. I started work on Friday the 13th, which is ironic because this is the best luck I’ve had with work in a long time.

    I’ll admit, the first two days were like being dumped in a snake pit of anxiety. Orientation days are always tough, sitting there with no idea what to really expect while some facilitator hands out booklets and goes on about procedures and requirements. Add to that the people who feel like they’re being forced to be there being as disruptive as humanly possible, and it’s no surprise I left the building shaking like a leaf at the end of the day. I was there to learn and improve; I wasn’t sure I could handle it if I had to push past all that negativity each time.

    But the third day? It was like magic.

    For the work experience aspect, we had a choice between painting and carpentry. I chose carpentry because I wanted to work with my hands and maybe learn some new skills, so on the third day I found myself in the wood shop doing tool orientation. The change from the class room to the shop along with the separation from the Negative Nellies made a huge difference. What’s more, some of those who I’d marked as ‘trouble’ in orientation were a lot happier and more relaxed once they started doing something. So was I, for that matter.

    Over the next little while, we got to know our workers and we got to know each other. There was a sense of optimism growing in us as we saw ourselves doing something worthwhile and learned more about what we really wanted to do and how we could actually get there. Hearing good news about an opportunity for one of our co-workers, or seeing them develop some skills in the shop they didn’t even know they had made us all feel excited and happy for them.

    And it doesn’t just begin and end in the shop. Yesterday and today I was in the career assessment workshop, which will be continuing next week. Here we’re looking at our interests and skills to find jobs that suit us as well as looking at what what sort of challenges and issues we have when it comes to not only finding but keeping a job.

    Once again, I was surprised at how open and receptive everyone was to the class. The facilitators kept the atmosphere positive and constructive, and we all felt comfortable sharing honestly about our experiences and the troubles we’ve had both in the workforce and in life. For the first time, we recognized that we were not alone. How we got there might be different, but we were all there for the same reason. We were all having trouble, and we were all trying to change. I may never have done jail time, and my classmate may not be trying to rebuild after a major identity shift, but we all want something more, and something more satisfying, than a string of going-nowhere survival jobs.

    At Job Corps, I’m getting the support I need to move ahead in life. I get up every morning and go to a wage-earning job that helps me discover what I really want to be doing and gives me the skills to get there. Right now, this is exactly what I need.

    Trust the Corps.



  • Where I’ve Been, and Where I’m Going

    I may be a little late to the New Year party, but I still think this is the ideal time for a look back at what’s happened in 2011–especially during those months of silence on this blog–and to look forward to what I have planned for 2012: The Year Where Things Happen.

    A lot happened for me last year. My career and employment prospects went up and down like a mad rollercoaser; my trans history began to be just that, a history, rather than a daily struggle; writing became central to my life, giving my a greater drive and purpose; I began to face and manage my ADHD which brought focus to my drive.

    I also found God, or maybe He found me. Either way, I’ve been delving into my theology like never before, finding that if I can ignore the vocal factions of fundamentalist bigots calling themselves Christians, there’s actually a solid and powerful message of acceptance in the faith itself. It’s made me question my beliefs about a lot of things, but rather than changing my values, it’s strengthened those I already held dear, principally: love each other.

    2011 was a year of discovery, a year of finding out who I am and what I want to do with my life. 2012 will be a year of action. It will be the year where I put myself out there and Make Things Happen.

    I’ve been working on my novel, Fallen Things, for over a year now. In the next few months I’ll be putting on a final push to polish it up and get it out the door. It’s being cranked through the Critique Machine with my group, A Bitch Of Writers. And if you’ll take a peek at my friend Danni’s blog, you’ll notice a little counter on the side bar. I’m participating in her Epic Year of Querying, and therefore have no choice but to get Fallen Things out to agents.

    I’m also putting together a portfolio on this site, showcasing my cartography and graphic design work. I’ll be adding to it over the next few weeks, but until then you can check out the land of Felsirq.

    Also in the next week or so, I’ll release the details of an experimental publishing project that’s just waiting to be funded and developed. If this goes well, and I have every intention that it will, I’ll be able to devote more time to my creative aspirations, and write a book in a way I’ve never written, or seen a book written, before.

    2012 is the year to take risks, make mistakes, and create something glorious along the way. I plan to do all of the above, and lucky you, you get a front row seat to it all.

    Any grand plans for 2012? Who else is jumping in feet first, and damn the torpedoes? The year is young; let us bask in the glow of optimism and Make Things Happen!



  • A Strange Kind Of Limbo

    I feel like I’ve entered some kind of writer’s limbo.

    As some of you may already know since I proclaimed it over Twitter, on Saturday, I finished the first draft of my novel at 71k. I finished it, saved it, and shuffled a few copies around into new folders… and stared at my screen thinking, Now what?

    Then I had a nap. To celebrate.

    I wasn’t sure I believed it when people said to let it sit for a while before jumping into the editing stage, but looking at the state of my mind right now I know I can’t risk touching it just yet. My brain is over-full with this thing to the point that everything has been pointing back to the novel for over a month. Songs, conversations, TV shows, other stories… everything has been about the novel, even when it has nothing to do with it. At the same time, my brain feels absolutely and completely empty. I’m used to having my WIP open and having something I need to write in it, even if I’m doing anything but writing (it’s happened a few times.) I’ve gotten to this point where I know I can’t work on this piece yet, but I’m too foggy-headed to think of anything else.

    So now what can I do? Well, I can do some writing on one of my other projects, or start up a little something new just for fun. Or I can actually take some time off to focus on getting a job like I’ve been meaning to for the past little (long) while. Or maybe get some of the rest of this website up and running. So it looks like I have a few things I can do after all, some way to break out of this limbo and poke my head into the ‘real’ world for a little while.

    As long as I’m not messing around in that bloody novel. At least, not just yet.