Collaborating for LGBTQIA Youth

For anyone who has ever worked on a collaborative project, things typically go one of two ways-- fantastically or frustratingly. At the outset, most collaborative projects begin on an enthusiastic high of 'yes we can' and often run to the less exciting 'ruh roh, Houston we have a problem.' Having worked on numerous collaborative projects throughout my career, I am always a bit leery of jumping into a new one. Especially, now that I run my own business and only have to answer to myself most days.

But, I took the leap again. I jumped in with both feet. I haven't regretted a moment of it. Months and months of planning, organizing, and writing have been met with amazing success. And none of this would have been possible without the work of several people. Two people, in particular, West Thornhill and Amanda Corlies have worked tirelessly with me on the creative content. There is no way any one individual could do what we have been doing, and there is no way we could do this without the network of support we have in the background.

The project is a labor of love, and can be found by visiting The Ravens Crossing. In a nutshell, TRC is an online fictional sci-fi/fantasy series which is YA LGBTQIA friendly. Six stories are posted each week, Monday through Saturday. All of the content is free and for entertainment. This first season began in February and will run through the first week of July 2012. Season 2 begins late August of 2012. Each story line has a set of main characters and can be followed individually, or the whole universe of characters can be followed daily.

There is something for everyone at TRC. The stories are fast paced and addictive. We write in 1k word flash fiction, so it only takes a few minutes a day to keep up. Or, as some of our readers like to do they visit once a week and read everything in one gulp.

Our collaboration doesn't end just with The Ravens Crossing. We also collaborate with the YA LGBT Books group at Goodreads where we share exclusive content with the members of that group. We also are partnered in promoting The Make It Safe Project which provides books to LGBT Youth throughout North America.

The whole experience has been so much fun, that often, the work of it doesn't seem like work at all. The demanding schedule we have set is always met with enthusiasm, even the stuff I toss out to our team at 3:00am.

And the success of what we are doing is apparent. Within a few days we will hit 10,000 page views. Yes, real page views-- not just robot ones or web crawlers. Our visitors spend time looking around and reading several pages per visit. The most amazing part is that we've only been up and running for two months!

There is a need out there for young adults to find entertainment which speaks to them, with them, and not down at them. Our efforts to that end are working. We have amazing support from our team of volunteers who work behind the scenes, most of which are young adults themselves. Some of them still in high school. Their commitment to what we are doing is overwhelming and inspiring.

I hope more people will visit The Ravens Crossing and spread the word to other LGBT youth who might be in need of respite from the issues that often surround their lives. We want them to feel safe and accepted, unconditionally-- whether they are Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Queer/Questioning, Intersexed, or an Ally.

And if you feel inclined, please consider making a donation to The Make it Safe Project. The outreach provided to LGBT youth is dearly needed.