Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - Mason Thomas

We're verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry excited to have this author make his debut here at the pony paddock! Come squee along with us as Mason Thomas shares something pretty special that happened recently!

Take it away, Mason!

Last month, I was invited to participate in the 2017 Carl Sandburg Award Gala, a fundraising event for the Chicago Public Library. The organization honors two outstanding authors with the award, but also invites local Chicago authors to attend and be a part of the celebration by eating dinner with the guests at each of the donor tables. This year included a record number of eighty different authors. It was a thrill to be introduced by Bill Curtis as I walked on stage, with my face bigger than a house on the jumbotron screen behind me. I will certainly never forget the feeling of standing up there among some insanely gifted writers, like Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggars and Scott Turow, and I was trying hard not to go all fan girl.

But the real honor for me happened later in the evening. It was moment I didn’t see coming.

After our literary promenade across the stage, I joined my proud husband at table number 81. The guests that populated our table were lovely and erudite, exactly what you would expect from people that donate to the public library. Grudgingly thrust into being the topic of the conversation, I fielded their kind and thoughtful questions about my writing throughout dinner. They were ardently curious--gay speculative fiction was a new and unexpected animal for them.

Across from me was a teenaged girl who smiled steadily my way. She was clearly having a delightful time, and I attributed her joy to her parents including her in this beautiful and swanky event. I tried to engage with her from time to time, but she was so far from me it was nearly impossible to carry on any conversation.

Once plates were cleared away, I began signing copies of my book for the guests. The young girl circled around and asked if I would sign one for her.

As I scribbled my name, she said over the music, “I want to thank you for writing what you write. Because…well, obviously I’m a gay teen, and it’s really hard to find fantasy books that that have gay characters.”

Of course, there was nothing “obvious” about her. She was a teenaged girl, awkward and adorable in that way that only teenaged girls can be, but nothing about her broadcasted her sexuality. She was just a kid that liked to read and was hungry for someone like herself on the page.

My hand froze halfway through my signature and I fumbled out a clumsy “thank you.” A heartbeat later, I recovered enough to ask her what she liked to read. Immediately, she rattled off some of her favorite books, and the conversation that followed was electric. It may have lasted only a minute or two, but I remember it only as a dizzying whirlwind. I riffled out at her the publishers that focus on gay characters, and authors she must look up. She took it all in with a wide euphoric grin.

Hugging my book to her chest, she waved to me as she left with her parents, and I heard her father say to her “I am so proud of you.”

My husband leaned against my shoulder and said, “That is why you were here tonight.”
He was right. I was there to provide her the opportunity to feel pride in who she was and feel the courage to express it freely and openly.

In the solitary confinement of my office, it is hard to envision my work existing out there in the hands of readers. But like or not, my words will have an impact. My ideas will have an impact. And the gravity of that responsibility should never be overlooked or discounted. The night of the gala was a sharp reminder of that, and it is humbling to realize that for young readers looking to find others like themselves on the pages of a book, I am an ambassador.

For that young girl, I was an emissary of gay speculative literature. I represented a doorway into a whole universe of stories that include diverse people like herself. And while I spoke openly and unapologetically about my gay characters that live in a fantasy world, I was also a kind of validation that she can too embrace self-acceptance and authenticity of self. To be that for her at that moment was the true honor for me that evening.

Thank you to Mason Thomas for sharing. A reminder on why inclusiveness is needed in all facets of life including the fiction we read.

Mason Thomas began his writing journey at the age of thirteen when his personal hero, Isaac Asimov, took the time to respond to a letter he wrote him. He’s been writing stories every since. Today, he is ecstatic and grateful that there is a place at the speculative table for stories with strong gay protagonists. Mason, by all accounts, is still a nerdy teenager, although his hairline and waistline indicate otherwise. When his fingers are not pounding furiously at a keyboard, they can usually be found holding a video game controller, plucking away at an electric guitar, or shaking a twenty-sided die during a role playing game. Mason will take any opportunity to play dress up, whether through cosplay, Halloween or a visit to a Renaissance Faire. He pays the bills by daring middle school students to actually like school and encouraging them to make a mess in his science classroom. He lives in Chicago with his endlessly patient husband, who has tolerated his geeky nonsense for eighteen years, and two unruly cats who graciously allow Mason and his husband to share the same space with them.

See Mason Thomas' latest...

Auraq Greystone, once a military officer with a promising future, exists on the fringe of society. Accused of murder, Auraq is on the run from the ax—until two fugitives crash into his solitary life. One is a young man named Kane. The glowing marks on his arm pulse with an otherworldly power, and they have made him the target of a sinister organization called the Order of the Jackal. When the old man protecting Kane dies in an ambush, Auraq swears an oath to take his place.

But the runes are far more significant than they realize. They are a message from the shadow realm, a dark memory of the past—one holding evidence of a bloody massacre and its savage architect; one that will shake the kingdom to its foundation. Risking arrest and execution, Auraq fights to get Kane to the capital city where the cryptic marking can be unlocked. And with assassins close on their trail, Auraq might never get the chance to show Kane what’s in his heart—or the way their journey together has changed him.

The Shadow Mark is an epic tale of magic, murder, conspiracy, betrayal, and—for the two men tasked with unraveling the mystery—love and redemption.

Mason Thomas is giving away a signed paperback of either Lords of Davenia titles: Lord Mouse OR The Shadow Mark! And you know what we thought of the books HERE ICYMI

Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (EST) on 11/20/17. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner!

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway HERE! It ends 12/1/17!


  1. That was such a great story about the banquet. Now I HAVE to check out your writing :-). - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. It is wonderful that young people today (and really all of us) have such a diversity of stories to read.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story with us. So glad as a reader that she (and all readers) can connect to stories in one way or another.

  4. I enjoyed both books!! It'll be nice to have a shiny paperback of that title on my shelf ^^. Thanks for the giveaway chance