First, I want to thank Lisa for having me back again so soon!
Second, I want to explain that first thing. Charli Green is my YA pseudonym, but the name Charley Descoteaux is probably more familiar around here. Not everyone does it this way, but I’m keeping my YA separate from my ERom. If I’m lucky enough to have readers under 18, they probably don’t need my help to find erotic romance. Charley talks about Charli’s YA on my main blog (FB, etc.), but it doesn’t go the other way—sort of like a heart valve.
Okay, now that that’s taken care of…
That’s when I first wrote the story that’s releasing today in Harmony Ink’s First Time for Everything anthology. The story is called “It’s Not Our Fault” and is my very first YA credit—the first piece of fiction published under my YA pseudonym, Charli Green.
I went back to writing YA because I wanted to write with a female voice sometimes, but couldn’t resist dusting this story off and sending it to Harmony Ink. It’s from the POV of a seventeen year old boy, but Jordan’s a pretty cool boy so that’s okay. Not cool as in “part of the in crowd” but cool enough to follow his heart when it takes him someplace he never thought he’d go. Which is exactly where I was ten years ago.
My daughter was halfway through her senior year of high school when I started writing “It’s Not Our Fault”, and she had just come out as trans. I was preoccupied with gender identity and expression, back when it seemed like nobody was even thinking about it. If anyone was talking about it, I didn’t know them. So I did what writers do, and wrote about it.
Not long ago I saw a picture on Facebook with the caption: Be the person you needed when you were younger. When I was a kid I never saw myself in fiction, and neither did my daughter. That’s not why I’m writing stories about genderqueer and questioning and bisexual young people, but it is why I’m submitting them to publishers. I hope you enjoy this one, and all of the stories in the First Time for Everything anthology!
What letter of the QUILTBAG spectrum would you like to read about next? Since I write both YA and ERom, anything goes. A random commenter will get a copy of the anthology—US residents have their choice of a signed paperback or ebook, and the INT crowd can have the instant gratification of an ebook!
Comments must be time/date stamped by Midnight Pacific Time on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, to qualify. One winner will be selected at random on Wednesday, the 10th, and notified via email for prize delivery.
In a couple of weeks I’ll be at GRNW—if you’re there too, say hello! I’ll have swag and books, and will always make room for an extra chair at the table.
It’s Not Our Fault by Charli Green
Blurb: Jordan Pond graduated from high school a year early. He didn’t know he’d have three weeks to fill before his first day of classes at the community college. He also didn’t know that during those seemingly endless weeks he’d have an awkward painful experience at Powell’s City of Books that might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to him, even if it causes him to question everything he thought he knew about himself.
Excerpt: I saw her as I got up to leave, holding a bottle of berry-flavored tea in one many-ringed hand and chewing on her pinkie fingernail. She stood at the bakery counter, trying to decide between a cinnamon roll and a muffin. Eventually, she used the time-tested “eeny-meeny-miney-mo” method. At first I thought she might’ve been a boy, which still would’ve been cool but in a different way. Anyone wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt with that sign safety-pinned to the back over black jeans and heavy black boots had to be cool, but a girl… I had to know her. The sign was a square of black fabric with lettering in white Olde English script, each word capitalized with a flourish, like you’d expect the first letter of every chapter in a first-edition Dickens novel to look. The solitary sentence read: It’s Not Our Fault Your Children Masturbate.
She chose the cinnamon roll, and even though she wasn’t a tiny little person (from my vantage point behind a line of people waiting for their lunch orders, she looked taller than me) it was so big it didn’t fit in her palm. The icing glistened under the store’s fluorescent lights, like her lips. I wasn’t hungry anymore, but as I watched her pay for her food and sit at the table in the exact center of the dining area, I realized I was going to stay. I got an organic soda and sat at the counter. With a newspaper open in front of me, I felt free to savor every detail of her. Her hair, the yellow of a yellow crayon, fell like a fountain around her head, perfectly chin-length, framing her angelic face. She wore just enough black eye makeup without going overboard, and her silver banglebracelets and rings caught the light as she brought bites of cinnamon roll to her pink lips. It wasn’t easy to keep from staring at her. She ate her roll with a knife and fork and as far as I could tell didn’t leave one crumb, even on the napkin she used as a plate. She wasn’t what you’d call classically beautiful, but she had a magnetic attitude that shouted, yes, you want to know me; yes, you’d be lucky to know me.
And I did want to know her. I also thought I could fall for her, so I wasn’t sure if I should talk to her. Too scary, the thought of chasing such a cool and confident girl. Failure, royally crashing and burning, was my norm where girls were concerned. I did want to know what kind of underwear she wore, what color sheets she slept on, and if it’s true that you know a real blonde when you see one intimately. The chances of any of that happening were nonexistent. Twice while she was eating she looked up, coincidentally right at me, but I kept my head down like I was absorbed in the sports section and everything was cool. I hung around while she ate her cinnamon roll, and when she left I followed her.
Out on the street, it was easy to stay close without getting caught. I didn’t want her to think I was a stalker or anything. I kept my distance, watching the back of her head, hypnotized by the heavy swing of her hair, so I didn’t notice where she was going until she went into the green entrance of Powell’s City of Books. I thought I’d have a joygasm when she stopped to browse in the sci-fi section, but I managed to maintain my composure and settled in to browse there too. How was I going to get up the nerve to talk to her, a goddess, a goth, sci-fi, masturbating goddess?
I’m not worthy.
Author Bio: Charli Green grew up on Star Trek and Star Wars, back when all television was free. Which was a good thing, otherwise she never would’ve seen any of it. She grew up in subsidized housing in the San Francisco Bay Area and since then has worked as a pusher of various (legal) products, arranged a lot of flowers, wrangled many words, and made more sandwiches than any human would dare count—occasionally all in one day, and sometimes even for money.
Charli has survived droughts, earthquakes, floods, and over a decade living in an area affectionately known (in her strange little world) as Portland’s middle finger, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.