Stonewall Book award

Hi all,

Haven’t written in a while, but I’m coming back with amazing news…

My book has been nominated for a Stonewall book award!! I am absolutely over the moon.  I read an email from my publisher this morning saying Stonewall had been in touch.  They explained ‘the Stonewall Book Awards are given to books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.’

My publisher asked if I knew it was coming.  I had no idea, and that it what makes it all the more incredible that it has been picked up for consideration.

Its kept me smiling and warm and fuzzy inside all day.  I am absurdly proud of myself.

Thank you so, so much all of you for your support – look where you’ve got me!

 

 

 

 

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Facebook

I have had quite a productive day and build a page for ‘A Love Less Ordinary’ on Facebook…

http://www.facebook.com/ALoveLessOrdinary

Would love you to take a look, ‘like’ it, ‘friend’ it, make a comment, recommend the book etc, etc – go wild.

Thanks and hugs

Laura

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Sales slump

Dear all,

Its been a while.  Nothing has really been happening or anything worth posting as a blog.  Although we seem to have been having a very busy social calender in recent weekends, which is nice.

I am posting now as I have had a rather disappointing update on the sales of my book.   I am also not altogether sure I believe they are correct either.  I know that sounds big headed but  it is purely from emails I have had from people telling me they have bought and read the book, with some comment.

Obviously if you haven’t bought it already it would be great if you could, to help lift sales, and recommends would be good too.  But if you have bought the book I wonder if you could drop me a line if you purchased it from January – March and let me know if it  was on Kindle or paperback.

Sorry I have nothing more exciting or juice gossip to share at the moment.  Would love to hear from you all the same.

Lots of love for now

xx

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Advert

Hi all

I thought I would give you a sneak preview of the fruits of my labour, following my ‘post it note mayhem’ post.  That’s right I have submitted all my ideas and files to the printers and I now have a lovely gloss book advert.  This will feature in this years Sparkle Guide in Manchester, but who knows where else?

Let me know what you think…

Advert final

Lots of love

xx

 

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Post-it mayhem

I have spent the majority of my day slowly building a fortress of different coloured post-it notes around me; brain storming ideas.

It’s all good, there are things a plenty going on my end.  So I thought I’d give you a flurried update, as I know it has been all quiet on the eastern front recently. (I know its ‘western front’, but I live East London).

I have had my first cheque for sales of the book!!  Well banking internet transfer – in this modern world we live in. Very small amount, but big achievement and something to celebrate.  This payment was only for December’s sales and book sales seem to have picked up when I look at them on my Amazon ‘author central’ account.  There is now a advertisement banner on TVChixs (keep an eye out for it).  This seems to have co-incided with the pick up in sales, so I can’t help feel there’s a link there.

I met with a media student a few weeks back, looking to compile radio interviews with transgender people (and their SO’s), for her dissertation.  This was very interesting.

I have secured an advert in this years Sparkle guide. I had idea’s of grandeur at one point and wanted a stall in the park to sell millions (yeah right!) of copies of my book.  The stall itself is actually a very good price, but when you add up all the promotional materials I would have to have designed and printed to make the stall look descent, hotel and travel costs, food/drink etc – its a small fortune.  I know I am being a stick in the mud but we are saving up for our big South Africa trip this year in October and you can’t have everything.  I digress; part of the post-it note activity was to brain storm ideas for the advert which I can then give to my printers.

My most exciting success is that I have been asked to be a speaker at an inspirational speaking event run by an organization called All Ears.  This is the other part of the post-it note activity.  I need to speak for 15 minutes and need to compile an initial synopsis of what I intend to talk about to pass on to the organizers.  The event was originally expected to be in April, but now may be pushed back to June.  I will let you know details nearer the time if any of you want to come along.

Anyway I have been a busy bunny and it feels good.  So best get back to it.

Have a great weekend, lots of love

Laura

 

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A different voice (2)

Thank you for your comments on last week’s blog; ‘a different voice’. I’m glad you enjoyed it.  As promised last week I said I would bring you another woman’s story of her experience being in a relationship with a partner on the transgender spectrum. So here it is…

Vanessa’s story

I suppose you could say I’m in a complicated relationship.  Certainly it is unconventional.  You see, my boyfriend dresses as a woman.  Not all the time, nor does he wish to become a woman at any point, but ‘she’ is a definite and significant part of him.

I have known about this from the very beginning.  We met through an alternative lifestyle website.  He sent me a message, which was literate, funny and piqued my interest enough for me to want to reply, but I thought; ‘transvestite – hmmm, that’s weird.’  But reply I did, mostly in the interests of being polite.  Then he wrote back.  Before long I’d found someone I quite liked emailing, and wanted to know a bit more about.  Then one day he asked if he could call me on the phone.  It was a Saturday night when I wasn’t doing anything, so I said yes.  We talked for four hours.  He was interesting, funny, liked the same things I did.  During the course of the conversation, I asked about the TV thing, and he told me.  Then we became facebook friends, and there was a picture of the man.  He looked ok – just like any regular 40 something bloke really.  He had a motorbike, was a bit thin on top, and he was someone I thought I might want to get to know better.  Then I realised I had to actually think about his dressing, and what I really felt about it.  So I did.  Somewhat naively, I thought ‘it’s just dressing up – just a bloke wearing women’s clothes.’  I realised I was ok with it.  I mean, I love fancy dress as much as the next girl!

Then we met.  The regular guy walked down my garden path and into my house, and we got on really well.  Well enough for me to want to meet her.

I should describe her to you really.  She looks pretty great I can tell you!  She likes the goth look – all black clothes, dark hair, sultry make up.  When she walked into the room, I looked for the guy I’d met.  He was there, and yet he was different.  But boy (or girl?) did she look good!  So I got to know her.  Is she different?  Yes, in some ways, no, in others – I mean it’s the same person.  She doesn’t try to put on a silly feminine voice, but her mannerisms are different – more refined.  In a way, she’s more confident than him.  She’s more sensual, more – well, more feminine I suppose.

Now here we are 7 months later and I know pretty much all about him, and her.   I realise now how naive I was in the beginning.  It’s more than dressing up.  It’s a desire to be different, a middle finger up to conventionality.  It’s a release, an anathema to a rough week at work.  I don’t think of her as ‘just a guy dressing up’ – she’s her.  She’s my girlfriend.  It took me a long time to get my head around calling her that, I can tell you!  Because that’s one thing about going out with a T-girl – it’s a rollercoaster!  You have to be totally honest with yourself – brutally so, and with him and her too.  You have to confront the emotions you are feeling – good and bad, because left alone to fester, they can become divisive.  There was a moment when I realised I fancied her as much as I fancied him, and I thought ‘oh my god, am I a lesbian? All these years, have I got it wrong?’  It shook me, more than he realised.  But I know I’m not gay.  My boyfriend simply has a rather attractive feminine side.  Now, suddenly, I see why men make all that fuss about boobs!  I like spending time with her as much as I do with him.  I even miss her when I haven’t seen her for a while. 

However, in some ways she brings out the worst qualities in him – she can be vain, thoughtless and self-obsessive.  The transformation from him to her is a massively important process for him.  It fascinates me to watch the planning, care and attention to detail he puts in to making her look perfect, and I really want to help her achieve the look she wants.  Yet while she is metamorphosing, I might as well not exist.  She doesn’t appreciate that I spend the exact same amount of care and detail into my outfit as she puts into hers, and that can be upsetting.  I am waiting to hear her say “you look beautiful” as much as she is waiting to hear my appreciation for her.  We’re working on that – she knows how she can be, and she’s getting better! 

Then there’s the pressure of looking good.  Oh. My. God.  Her wardrobe is the size of a department store, and it all co-ordinates.  I mean come on – I’m nearly 40 and I still haven’t figured out how to get a co-ordinated wardrobe!  Her make up box rivals that of a make-up artist.  Sure, I like pretty sparkly colourful stuff, and I’m sure I even have a lipstick somewhere.  Foundation and a bit of mascara; that’s where it’s at day to day for me.  Personal grooming – the pressure to be hair free is relentless!  No more letting bits grow during the winter months because nothing is on show – oh no, girls have no hair (that’s what she thinks!)  So it all has to go, regularly.  It’s costing me a fortune in razor blades. 

But you know what? I wouldn’t change her for the world.  In some ways she’s brought out another side of me; she’s made me realise that I want to be more feminine sometimes too.  That when I make an effort, I actually feel really good about myself.  I even brought hair-straighteners and a pot of hair goo the other week!   I had to really – I mean she can put on whatever hair she wants, I need to be working some different styles here!

Mostly I like her because she is him.  I see him visibly relax when she appears.  How much she loves feeling feminine, sexy, attractive, and how that makes him feel. I want him to be everything he can be – happy, fulfilled, true to himself.  If she helps him with that, then I am more than willing to accept and embrace her.

So there you have it; my complicated relationship.  Only it’s not so complicated to me – I love him, and I love her.  Simple really.

This story is awesome, just awesome.  There are so many aspects that resonate with me; I could have written it – it’s even in my style!  I didn’t, and I am glad; because it gives me hope that there are other women out there who think as I do and recognise the benefits of a relationship with a trans woman.

If you have enjoyed both these stories and you are a woman in a relationship with someone on the transgender spectrum, please write to me with your experience.  I have found this such a rewarding and powerful exercise, I would love to publish more stories on my blog.

I look forward to hearing from you.

xx

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A different voice

You may remember a while back I asked for women to share their experiences of what it is   like for them being in a relationship with a transgender woman.  This was for the purpose of me approaching newspapers/magazines etc for potential articles for publicity for the book. (No success so far, but you know tenacious old me – I’m not giving up quite yet).

I promised those very special ladies that if they did not see their stories in print in national papers, they would at least see them published here.  So I will share one beautiful story this week and another next week.  It is all completely their words.

I hope it moves you as much as it did me;

Yvonne’s story

‘Zoe,’ or ‘Gillian’ back then, first came into my life when 3 months into my relationship with Ian he decided to tell me that he liked to dress.  This was after discussions about wanting an open, honest, no secrets chat.
 
A lot of people would have probably put their hands up, said “see you later”, and walked out the door but not me.  Yes for a few minutes I was shocked, but then I remember just saying “and?”  The look of Ian’s face was a mix of amazement and disbelief that I didn’t seem the slightest bit bothered.  It still makes me laugh now. The thing is I was bought up by my mum to be open minded and never judge a person based on what they wore or what they liked to do in their spare time (as long as it didn’t hurt anyone in the process).  At the end of the day it’s what’s inside a person that is the most valuable asset.  So when the revelation was set upon me these words rang out in my head and made me want to explore more.
 
The only thing I knew about ‘dressing’ was from watching TV shows with the likes of Dame Edna Everage and Danny La Rue when I was growing up, so I didn’t have a real idea of what it all meant – and back then you never saw a man dressed as a woman on the streets.  I then asked the two questions that I know a lot of people will ask when their partners open up; “are you gay?” and “do you want to be a woman full time?”  Thankfully the answer was “no” to both.  To this day I’m not sure what I would have done if Ian had said he wanted to transition, even now although I love and support him immensely I am not sure how I would handle it if he changed his mind.
 
It took me a few months of seeing little parts of ‘Gillian’ emerge; i.e. breasts, make-up, hair etc before I felt confident that I wanted the full thing.  I just remember being amazed at the final results, she looked so good.  Although I had to be honest and tell Ian that ‘Gillian’ didn’t suit him, so ‘Zoe’ took over and as a tribute to me he took on my middle name ‘Marie’.  I think it was a way of saying thank you for accepting this side of him.  In a way, and I don’t know why it made me feel like this, I felt honoured.  I never found it hard to accept the cross dressing, it just took a while to adapt to a new found experience.
 
I remember asking “why?”  The only answer I was given at the time was “it makes me feel good and I enjoy it”, I didn’t need any more explanation.
 
‘Zoe’ has been a wonderful part of my life for over 10 years now, and I couldn’t imagine my life being any different; going shopping without being moaned at is a bonus although I’m not so sure about the ever increasing pile of shoes and clothes!  It’s also nice when I try something on and I get an honest opinion on the way things look, and also get some accessory advice too.
 
You get a lot of empathy with having a transgendered partner.  After all they have the toughest part of life to deal with by dressing up and going out in public.  Even now you hear snide comments, see looks and hear sniggers and wish that people would join the 21st century.  After all you can accept the gay/lesbian community now so why not the transgendered community?  There’s not much difference really.
 
It’s nice when you give them the support they need to walk out of the door, to know that they will repay you in kind.  If I didn’t like something that ‘Zoe’ wore or didn’t want to see ‘Zoe’ then I know, with confidence, that I won’t get pouting or tantrums, it’s just accepted and understood.   It’s a 2 way door.
 
I have met an incredible bunch of people through the trans scene, many of which are very close friends.  They are far more open and honest that a lot of people I have met and are not ashamed of who they are.  Going on a lot of nights out has given me more confidence.  I used to shy away and feel very uncomfortable – never knowing what to say or do.   Now I can hold my head up, look people in the eye, smile and start a conversation!
 
Recently ‘Zoe’ came out to her work colleagues, friends and some family members with some amazing support.  I have even opened up to my mum – although I think she had an inkling already!
 
We now have a beautiful daughter who made her debut appearance at Sparkle 2012, and will continue to make her appearance every year.  This is to ensure she grows up not being kept in the dark, and knowing that this side of life is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. I believe that if every trans couple who had children took them to these kind of events it would eventually make a difference and change people’s perceptions.

Zoe and Yvonne’s daughter has such a beautiful temperament that you just know she is loved by a couple who are comfortable with who they are, and an inspiration.  I can also vouch they are great company on a night out!

 

 

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2012 in review

Happy New Year all.

Hope you enjoyed your celebrations over the festive season.  Did you enjoy it a little too much and like me are feeling heavier with all the excess food at this time of year.

I received a really cool report (well I thought it was cool) from Word Press about my blog stats for 2012, so I thought I’d share it with you.  It seems I have my work cut out for 2013 to keep it going.  I look forward to the journey with you ; )

Report follows…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Happy Christmas

Hi all,

I couldn’t help but give you all one last message before the big day.  I am such a massive fan of Christmas.  I love everything about it; wrapping presents, the decorations, wrapping up in scarfs, hats, gloves and boots before going out in the cold.  I love cooking for people (but that’s true all year).  Seeing all the friends and family I love over the Christmas and New Year season.  The magic and sparkle of it.  Especially the sparkle.  I am in essence a big kid when it comes to Christmas. I start looking forward to it even before the beginning of December.

Looking back on 2012 this has been an incredible year for me.  I am very, very proud of my success.  I started the year (February) embarking on a counseling course.  It was something I jumped into without much notice; which is very unlike me.  Its one of the best things that I have ever done.  It felt as thought I couldn’t possibly achieve more in one year…and then I achieved my dream.  I published a book.

There is still part of me that is waiting for it to feel completely real.  I am looking forward to 2013.  I need to really put some work into getting the book more publicity, more reviews on Amazon to help sales, maybe even try and get it stocked in a bookshop.

Have a wonderful Christmas, and I look forward to many more blogs with you next year.

Lots of love and Christmas sparkle.

Laura

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Letting things settle

Hi all,

Thank you to all of you who have been buying the book.  I hope you enjoyed it.

I have had some wonderful feedback and comments which have validated my whole reason for writing the book.  I always said if I could help just one person it would be worth it.  Well it seems that much of my musings have resonated with several of you who have read it.

Now is the time for action and I should be furiously sending copies off to various magazines, newspapers etc to try and get publicity.  However I feel a little exhausted with the whole thing.  I will bounce back, I know I will, but do feel a little guilty.  I have spent the last few years (whilst working long hours full time) working on the book and then also this year as you know studying the counselling course.  So a little break isn’t a bad thing.

Also with Christmas upon us I am certainly busy enough.  If I am being sensible as we are now only a few weeks away to the festive season, it actually isn’t a sensible time to be sending things off for publicity as they are likely to be overlooked.  The New Year is the way forward I think; with publications starting a fresh and looking for something new.  Thats my excuse and I a sticking to it.

The sales of the book are reported monthly, so I won’t know for a while how well we did in the first month of sales.  If they are exciting I will let you know.  In the mean time I hope you and yours have a lovely Christmas and New Year.

Lots of love

Laura

 

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