Eyes Open by Stevie Mikayne (plus a free ebook!)

Congratulations to Luca Hart! She’s the winner of this giveaway!

Happy Sunday! Today we have with us author Stevie Mikayne. She’s generously giving away an ebook copy of , so drop a comment in the space below to enter. We’ll draw the winner on 3/22/2020. 

Good luck!

This blog is on a deadline. I know I have to write it. It’s been on my mind for the past week, as news of Covid-19 dominates all news channels and people are longing for something – anything else—to read about. But I don’t know what to write. I feel the same flight/fight/freeze that I did when Jellicle Girl was released eight years ago: simultaneously thrilled that it had finally hit the shelves, and terrified that people would actually read it.

I think this is something we underestimate when we write from that ever-vaunted place of ‘what we know.’ Because sometimes we know a bit too much, a bit too keenly. And even though writing in the first place is therapeutic—healing even—letting other people read it afterwards is basically like cracking open your most fortified diary and inviting the world to peek inside.

[I’m writing this blog with my eyes closed because I don’t even want to look at the words. I’ve never done this before, by the way. I’m seriously impressed with my typing skills right now… but it’s helping.] (Callout?)

Jellicle Girl was my first novel. It was my baby, my edit-for-ten-drafts-and-still-hold-onto-it-because-it-has-to-be-perfect project. I waited, I edited, I signed a publishing contract, I went through editing again… and then it was released.

And I didn’t say a word about it. 

Author copies sat stacked on shelves and I’d relinquish one if someone directly asked me for it, but did I do any events? No. Did I promote it through live readings or interviews? No. Did I go on national television and radio, like I did years later for Emlyn and the Gremlin, getting all dressed up to meet the ladies of The Social and The Agenda? No… 

Big Fat Toke_Jellicle Girl

Basically, I pretended I hadn’t written it. Because issues like self-harm and parental neglect and therapy and internalized homophobia were still not things I wanted to talk about, even though I’d written about them. Knowing that people would open my book and know those things about me and my life – because we all know that an author’s first book is practically a memoir, no matter how fictiony it seems—was terrifying.

[I’ve opened my eyes now. I have to do a word count. I have a 500-word limit and I have no idea how close I am.]

I still don’t want to read the paragraphs above so I’m going to think about tea and cookies and remember how disappointed I was in the end that nobody was reading the book I was hiding… (right?!) until they were, and the reviews started coming in and I was elated and fulfilled, and then horrified and depressed—all in the same hour. So I buried myself in writing the UnCatholic Conduct series and promised never to write literary fiction again. 

And then Eight. Years. Passed. 

My wife and I had a baby. I became a professor. I saw that the youth today are still struggling so immensely with the same issues I wrote about as a teen in 90s Toronto. This administration was elected in the US and LGBTQ2 rights seemed on the brink of collapse. I knew Jellicle Girl needed a place in the world where it would do the job it was meant to do.

It’s not glossy – but neither is life. 

It’s just a raw, real, story about a girl who struggles with not feeling loved, or liked, or seen. And the loss of something she can never replace.

Growing up gay_Jellicle Girl

It’s a book that’s probably even more relevant today than it was back then, and so it’s being re-released to the space where it belonged in the first place: the hands of lesbian readers everywhere who deserve to see themselves reflected in a flawed character who stumbles her way through presumed heteronormativity to coming out, proving to everyone who still needs to hear it that, even if it’s shit right now, It (eventually) Gets Better.

I hope you read and enjoy, and write to me – because now I’m ready to talk about it. 


With love,

Stevie Mikayne  

2015-08-13 20.06.17

Stevie Mikayne is the author of Jellicle Girl, UnCatholic Conduct, and two other novels – as well as five books for children (writing as Steff F. Kneff). In addition to spending a lot of time on her two great loves in life: travelling and homeschooling her young daughter, she is a part-time professor of English. Stevie holds a PhD in creative writing from Lancaster University. 

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  1. I’m impressed by your blind-type-ability . I would love to read the story from miss Stevie.


  2. Thank you first for your shout out to the ones who paved the way. And second, for your bravery in writing this personal, potentially helpful and important book and lastly, for releasing it when the support it may provide to a struggling youth has become, sadly, even more necessary.


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