What I Would Tell a New Author by Phoenix Blackwood – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Phoenix Blackwood will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Write your truth. Whether it’s fantasy, sci-fi, or contemporary, there’s a truth inside you waiting to be set free. You can have fun with it, it doesn’t always have to be serious or somber – it can be a truth filled with joy, a truth filled with justice. Whatever feels good to you, that’s what you should write. Don’t write things for the sake of forcing yourself into a box of genre or write away important things for the sake of pleasing other people. If you feel like something really belongs, keep it. If you feel like it might ruffle a few feathers, good. All the best writing has the potential to do so. That’s not to say to completely disregard the opinions of beta readers and editors. No, it just means to write what’s truly inside of you, clawing to be set free.

Your truth can bring you closer to your readers, make them feel seen. It can turn out to be the most important book someone’s ever read in their life, even if only a few read it. If you’re in it for the sheer numbers, you’re going to be disappointed, regardless of how successful you are. There’s always going to be a bigger number, more money that could be made. What’s important is that you get your message across. If you’re too bogged down with writing what you think people will want to read, you’re going to come up with something that you dislike in the end, feeling no connection with it.

Connect with your characters, your story. That’s the most beautiful part of writing, the connection. With the readers, with yourself, with your values. The right people will find your story, and it’ll mean the world to them. My favorite books aren’t all best sellers, in fact, a lot of them are indie. Most of them deserve better recognition, but unfortunately a lot of the best books are gems hidden in a sea of media. Let yourself shine as that gem.

From the outside, Alex has a perfect life. She has a partner who loves her, gets good grades in school, excels at most sports, and has a big heart. From the inside, Alex’s life is anything but perfect. She hasn’t spoken to her father in years. She’s hiding the fact that her once-best-friend now-romantic-partner Theo is trans and nonbinary from her homophobic mother. Bullies are harassing her and Theo at school, taunting and shoving. It’s all becoming too much for Alex to bear.

Things take a surprising turn when Alex’s mother discovers her relationship with Theo. After Alex is thrown out of her house and taken in by Theo’s foster family, Alex can live honestly. For a while, things start to feel manageable. Alex finds a new group of friends. She navigates what “family” means beyond her mother and sister. She even considers forgiving her mother’s past mistakes. But forgiveness requires honesty. Secrets Alex’s mother has been keeping are surfacing, trying to bind Alex to misery. As Alex learns the full truth of her mother’s past mistakes, she will need the love of her chosen family and friends to gently bind her life into a shape that keeps her whole.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I sat on my bed and pulled Theo down to my level, kissing them on the forehead. They sat down with me and kissed me on the lips until they were leaning over me and my hands were wrapped around the back of their neck, pulling them closer. They were so soft, always so tender. I focused all my attention on the kiss, so much so that I didn’t hear the small squeak of my door opening. Theo pulled away suddenly, jarring me and forcing me to look in the direction of their gaze.

Leah had opened the door. She stood there with her mouth open, her face frozen in wonder and confusion. She’d known Theo since we’d become friends, I bet she had never imagined finding us kissing when she opened my door.

Theo and I looked at each other in horror. The secret was out, how were we going to get her to keep quiet? We should’ve been more careful. We’d gotten too comfortable.

I signed for Leah to come sit between us on the bed. My face got hot as she sat and tears brimmed in my eyes. My mom could never, ever find out – Leah knowing was so dangerous. She looked up at me with wide eyes and signed, “Boyfriend?”

Theo must’ve seen the panic rising up in me, because they took over. They gently rested one hand on her shoulder to get her attention and then explained, “We love each other. I’m not a boy, but I’m still her partner. I’m like a boyfriend, just minus the boy part.”

Walking through the threshold of Theo’s house was like a weight lifting off my shoulders, all the tension of home and school falling away. This was what home was supposed to feel like. I flopped down on the couch and Theo joined me a couple minutes later with two mugs of tea, handing me one. I leaned into them as they wrapped an arm around my shoulders after turning the television on to the latest show we’d been binging. This felt so safe, so calm. A feeling I rarely got in my own home. Always on edge, an internal dissonance telling me that I wasn’t good enough. Here, I was everything I was supposed to be.

We watched television until Seth–Theo’s brother–made his way down the stairs and started rummaging through the kitchen to start dinner. The house was quickly filled with smells that made my mouth water – meat searing in a pan, vegetables being chopped, pasta water boiling. I sat in the scents until I couldn’t take it any longer and my stomach growled, causing me to get up and make my way into the kitchen.

Seth shot me a sly smile. “Probably another ten minutes.”

I pouted, staring at the food and willing it to cook faster.

About the Author:Born and raised in New England, Phoenix has always been a creative – whether it’s painting or writing. From a very young age, Phoenix has envisioned and created characters, writing them into existence and exploring them through visual arts. Having graduated to first-time short story author, Phoenix is embarking on a journey towards novel writing as they finally bring characters they’ve known for years into the world. Phoenix is neurodiverse and intersex and hopes to bring more representation to both topics with their writing. They believe in creating relatable characters that people can find themselves in and empathize with.

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