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Archive for September, 2011

Black Blade Blues is a Spectrum Awards – Best Novel Nominee

It appears that Black Blade Blues has been  nominated for the Spectrum Award for Best Novel published in the previous year.

I think this is awesome.  You should check out the list of other nominees as well.  Lots of good books there.

 

 

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Those darn fan letters (or, you know. Emails)

I posted a while back about becoming a writer, and how important it was to put myself out there in a way that would change people’s lives.  Then, surprise, surprise, some of you started sending me letters telling me that I’d succeeded.

Some of them have been wonderful, and some have been heart-wrenching.

For the record.  I’m married and straight.  My main character in the Sarah Beauhall series is a young lesbian.  Yes, I understand why some people are perplexed when they find out a guy wrote these books.  Yes, I understand the difficulty of writing a young, capable gay woman when I’m a straight guy twenty years her senior.

It’s work, hard work.  I research and spend a HUGE amount of time thinking and rethinking Sarah’s reactions.  I double and triple check my assumptions and my world view.  I don’t know any other way to go about it.

And many of you have let me know I’ve hit the mark.  Sarah is a wonderful character.  I love writing about her and the world she lives in.

There are some people out there who don’t like the books because there is too much of this, or not enough of that.  That’s cool.  We’re all individuals with our own tastes and world-view.  If we all loved the same things, the place would get pretty damn boring.

But some of you seem to love these books as much as I do, and for you I want to say: thank you.

I’ve had stories of teachers who shared my books with students who are dealing with their own sexuality. One young woman carried Black Blade Blues around like a shield, only returning it to the teacher after reading it several times, and because the school year was ending.  My book, my words were so powerful to her, she did not want to give them up.

Some who have written to me to express how reading Sarah’s story has given them the courage to come out to their parents and friends.  While others have told me how they now understand a friend or family member better for having read about Sarah’s life and struggles.

I’ve had readers tell me that my stories have shaken them out of their way of thinking and made them look at the world around them in a whole new way.  That’s powerful folks.  We all need our assumptions challenged.

One reader let me know that he was not a reader at all.  That he only found my book because his Sargent basically dragged him onto a B&N.  This guy was bored, wandering around waiting to leave.  Luckily, in his wandering around he saw the cover for Honeyed Words and stopped in his tracks.  “Hot chick, fast bike… and a sword.”  The next thing he knew, he was six chapters into the book and his Sargent was dragging him OUT of the bookstore instead of the other way around.  He got back to his base and was sixteen chapters into the book when he realized that Honeyed Words was book 2 in the series.  Back to B&N he went to fetch Black Blade Blues.

He consumed those two books, totally floored by what he read.  He thanked me for showing him he could be a reader, and told me he was taking my two books with him when he shipped out to Afghanistan.

That took the wind out of me.  I did that, I wrote a story that had that big an impact on this person’s life.

And the woman who told me of an isolationist movement in the gay community.  How some women had finally had enough with men and their violence and their BS that they’d stopped associating with them in any quarter.  This woman has been out for a long time, comfortable in her life-style and her friends.  Unfortunately there were some men in her life that had been not so kind.  She found no reason to even associate with men any longer, cutting herself off from old friends and the potential for new pain.

But she read Black Blade Blues and had to reassess.  She told me that if a man could write a young lesbian with this much care and detail, that maybe there was hope for my gender after all.

That’s a mighty thing right there.  Pause a moment and consider the power here.  It stops me in my tracks just thinking about it.

I know writers who are paralyzed by fear, both of success and of failure.  Many can’t overcome the voices of doubt they hear, or the overwhelming work involved in getting stories and novels published.  I understand all of those fears and trials.  I’ve been doing this a long time.

This life-changing stuff, however.  That I just wasn’t prepared for.  I’m very much humbled and amazed that these people would share such personal stories (these are but a few).  The depth of pain, and the transformative power of my young character’s struggles has been amazing.

I snatched that brass ring.  I fully understand this.  I can walk into bookstores and find books with my name on them sitting next to people I’ve long admired and loved.  My hard work and constant practice has earned me that right.

But I get to carry these stories with me along with the dragons and strong, young heroines.  I get the knowledge that I changed some people doing what I love.

And that, my friends, is worth the whole shooting match.  Tolerance and love.  Care and consideration.  That’s all we want.  That’s the glue that holds us together.

I get asked how it is to write Sarah, and I just smile.  It’s the hardest thing I do, and the reward is beyond my wildest imagination.

A thousand times, thank you.

 

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Haircuts and personal image

Okay, I got a haircut today.  I really needed it.  I rarely think about my hair, honestly.  It’s curly beyond anything I could ever do with it, so I don’t do anything.  I towel dry it after my shower and it does what it does.

When I was twelve, I finally realized that if I didn’t wash my hair, people would notice (thanks 9th grade girl with the attitude for pointing that out to me in front of the whole bus, especially the cute girl I couldn’t work up the nerve to talk to yet.  You rock.)  But, I also realized that it was going to be a huge shrubbery no matter what I did.

It wasn’t until I was 19 that I actually got a short haircut.  In high school, when I got out of the shower, I could reach around my back and grab my hair.  It was a good distance below my collar.  But, once it tried, poof, big and shrub like.

Now I try to keep it cut fairly short.  I get lots of compliments on the curls, and even have people come up to me and ask if they can feel my hair.  It’s a little strange.

It’s not until I can really tell it’s shrubbing again, that I remember to go get it cut.  It’s usually longer than six weeks, and the women where I get my haircut think it’s funny.  Did I also mention that my hair is fairly thick?  It’s not uncommon for the other stylists to comment on just how much hair ends up on the floor when I’m done.

 

So, here’s a few pictures for those of you who are curious.  Some of you asked, or I wouldn’t have even thought about this. :)

 

On my way to get my haircut

 

 

Home from my haircut (thanks to my daughter)

 

New haircut (in my office after a shower)

 

I’m not a fan of my own picture.  Reminds me how out-of-shape I still am.  I want to know why writing doesn’t burn more calories?  Totally not fair.  Or coding, for that point.  If I build a database with four terabytes of data, that should be worth an occasional soda or cupcake.  Just saying.

But, as Dean Wesley Smith said so eloquently.  “Fair’s in August.”  Everything else is work and effort.  Alas and alack.

More rowing machine, less sugar.

Maybe I’ll start posting more pictures.  Doubtful, but it could happen.

 

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Uruz

The wild ox; strength and power.

Ansuz

Creativity; words, music, and art.

Othala

The troll cross; wealth and prosperity.

Sowilo

The sun; energy, honor, guidance.

Fehu

Personally earned or lucky wealth and prosperity.

Jera

The harvest; patience and promise.

Raidho

The chariot; journey and travel.

Note: This is not the real book cover.