I’m getting back into writing as I slowly get over this flu, so NaNoWriMo has officially started (late) in my house. Thank you to everyone who has sent get well wishes and other kind messages. I always appreciate your support.
But first, here’s an update on SPFBO 5. I’m continuing to read and review books from the competition, some of them with LGBT characters and other books that just caught my interest. You’ll usually see reviews posted from me on Fridays. I’m also tracking all the books from the LGBT list through the competition on my original post. As you can see, as of today, five of the LGBT books have been chosen as semi-finalists! I hope at least one will go on to the finals. Two of them are books I’ve read and reviewed, Seraphina’s Lament and Snowspelled. In particular, Seraphina’s Lament is one of the best books I’ve read this year and it had a major impact on me. It deserves to go far in this competition.
Onto today’s writing excerpt from my Nano project, The Reluctant Witch. I’ve introduced you to Brie already, the main character. Among my beta readers, though, the most popular character is her best friend, Damian. I’m not ashamed to admit that Damian is based on my favorite character from the movie Mean Girls. He has long been an inspiration to be yourself, even if you are “almost too gay to function.”
But I didn’t want to copy the exact same person, so my Damian is pansexual and fluid in his gender presentation. He uses male pronouns but he feels comfortable wearing clothes across the spectrum. You can see this demonstrated on the first day of school when he finds a way to stand out in the boring school uniform by putting his own twist on the fashion (while still keeping to the dress code). I know more than one person who did this in Santa Cruz, so I thought it fit with the setting.
Another note: I set this book in Santa Cruz because I wanted to share a lot of the weirdness of my hometown. If you don’t know Santa Cruz, you’re in for a wild ride. Trust me when I say that I’m not exaggerating anything that I’m presenting in this book (maybe not even the magic, because SC is an enchanted place). Small Town Witch had little bits of Boulder Creek in it, but this time, we are going full Slug. (Banana Slug, that is. Banana Slugs are the official mascot of my alma mater, UC Santa Cruz!)
He pushed passed a group of girls and stopped in front of me with a dramatic pose, one hand on his hip and the other straight up in the air with a flourish. Talk about standing out! Despite being over six feet tall, he wore a plaid skirt, feminine-cut blazer and blouse, white knee socks, and black patent leather Mary Janes. Everything was tailored to fit his broad figure. His shoulder-length hair was dyed bright blue with a purple streak and pulled into two pigtails with purple bows, his makeup was done tastefully, and he even had a monogrammed handkerchief folded in his breast pocket. He elevated the school girl aesthetic to a whole new level.
He pursed his lips and frowned at me. “I thought we agreed if I wore a skirt the first day, you would wear pants.”
I folded my arms over my chest. “My parents were there when I changed into the uniform, and Mama Rosa wanted a picture of me in the skirt.” I glanced around. “Besides, almost all the girls are wearing skirts. I didn’t want to stand out.”
“That’s the whole point,” Damian groaned. “We don’t know anyone else here, so we have to make a big first impression.”
“You’re doing enough of that for both of us.” I looked down. “You even shaved your legs?”
“Waxed.” Damian twirled around, showing off his smooth skin. “All part of the spa treatment, which you could have had, too.”
The skirt lifted a little too far as he twirled, and I threw up my hands to block my vision before I got an eyeful. “Whoa, dude, no one wants to see that.”
A group of boys whistled. Damian winked and blew them a kiss.
“Someone likes how I look,” he taunted me. He linked his arm through mine and tugged me along with the others. “It’s too late for you to change, so you’ll have to make it up to me later. C’mon, let’s hurry before all the good seats are taken.”
Oh, no. “Making it up” would probably involve something even wilder than gender-swapping our uniforms. I’d have to talk to him about my plan to stay invisible this year.