Age 50 is turning out really head-spinny so far. I’m not used to the notion of having two titles with my name on them out at the same time. Nothing Without Us and The Stealth Lovers were published on the same day (or maybe a day apart, depending on the online shop). That’s kind of awesome, but I’m trying to navigate how to promote them both, because they both mean so much to me, for different reasons.
Nothing Without Us (Talia C. Johnson and lil’ ol me, Editors-in-Chief) was the fruition of my dream to gather stories with disabled protagonists, written by disabled authors. It’s a really important work because there are just not enough of these own-voices stories. And we merged the fantastical with the realistic, so its really multi-genre. I simply love these stories and how the authors are so excited—not only about their own work, but also about the other stories as well. We’ve built this little Spoonie community, and it’s delightfully supportive.
Last weekend at Can*Con 2019, Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction —Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (Editor-in-Chief, Nonfiction), Dominik Parisien (Editor-in-Chief, Fiction)—won the Prix Aurora Award for Best Related Work. I nearly sobbed at their acceptance speech because it reflected my feelings as well. There’s something magical when disabled, Deaf, and neurodiverse folks lift each other up. That’s also what we’re doing with Nothing Without Us. It’s a good feeling to be on this path.
And then there’s The Stealth Lovers, the book I really wanted to write so much. Fans truly loved Xax and Viv in Life in the ’Cosm, and even I wanted to know about their origin story. TSL was challenging for me in a really good way. I took the cheeky and sassy warriors from the first book and went on an adventure to make us all learn how they became the military pairing known as The Stealth. That meant world-building their warrior world, military structure, and putting them in adventures where they’d outdo themselves. I even studied ranking systems on Earth, so I could figure out how to create one for Dragal. But other than the world building, I wanted to take two late teens and watch them grow up together.
Xax and Viv are #RelationshipGoals to me. Yes, when they’re older they snipe and such, but their love knows no bounds. It was fun to develop their friendship as it evolved, and to show how their bond made them practically invincible and totally resilient.
What was important to me was representation, since the stars and prominent side characters identify as LGBTQIA. Sensitivity editors to the rescue!!! I had two official sensitivity editors, and several of my beta readers identify as queer. I’ll admit, I was petrified to write this story because I was afraid I’d mess up, but my dear friend and author Jamieson Wolf said (as I was having a panic attack), “Don’t worry, honey. Write the story you want to write. And if something is not correct, we’ll tell you!”
That helped. And I got excellent feedback from my editors and beta folks, too. (Thank you times a bajillionty.)
So far, I’ve had one book launch for Nothing Without Us and one for The Stealth Lovers (as part of a multi-author launch). It’s fun to hear that they are both selling at events as well. In late November, I’ll be in Toronto doing a launch of both books. Editor Me and Author Me will have to be on their A-game!
But this is not a competition within myself. I shall do my best to promote both works lovingly. They’re my babies. And I feel pretty proud and blessed, I must say.
Once again, I heartily thank all of you who have supported these works and encouraged me. Readers and author buds are precious humans. You rock!
Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also teamed up with Kohenet Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the Nothing Without Us anthology in an attempt to take over the world. Narf.