Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Halloween Wish...

Wouldn't it be great if Halloween* was the only day of the year when we wore masks and hid who we really are?

Here's wishing that for the other 364.25 days it takes our planet to go around the sun, you get to be your authentic self.

And that every day, we each do what we can to help everyone else be their authentic selves, too!

Making that wish come true will make Halloween all the more fun, and it will make our world such a better place.

Have fun and be safe!

*Feel free to substitute Purim or your own dress-up-as-someone-else holiday that you celebrate in your country! Here in the U.S.A., it's pretty much Halloween.

ps - I found the mask image here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Episode Two of "KID LIT With Lisa Loeb" Goes Live - And It's "Creepy, Wacky... And True!"

Episode Two, featured on the KID LIT website

I'm very excited that episode two of the public radio program about children's and teen literature that I'm producing, writing, and participating as on-air contributor for is now playing on stations across the country!

You can listen to it right now, by visiting

Here's the episode synopsis:

“KID LIT with Lisa Loeb” dives into the world of weird non-fiction for children. We meet a scuba diving cat, an agent from the Creepy Intelligence Agency, an Extraterrestrial named Ethel, and face questions that rate you from normal to one-of-a-kind weird… which turns out is pretty normal, too!

“KID LIT with Lisa Loeb” is a new public radio program directed at grown-ups celebrating books for kids of all ages. Three in-depth interviews with the authors and editors from National Geographic Kids anchor the show:  Robin Terry (ULTIMATE WEIRD BUT TRUE 2), Becky Baines (THAT’S CREEPY!) and author Mark Shulman (ARE YOU “NORMAL”? 2.)

Plus: Technology to tell a story from history, a plane load of teenage Beauty Queens crash into our diversity spotlight, and what would you do if your favorite park was covered with trash? Maybe something Emeraldalicious?

All in all, it’s an episode that plumbs the creepiest, wackiest non-fiction to entertain, inform, and get listeners to believe that it really is CREEPY, WACKY… AND TRUE!

Hosted by Grammy-nominated singer and author Lisa Loeb, and produced by Peabody award-winner Ben Manilla, along with children’s literature expert Lee Wind, M.Ed., “KID LIT” features books across various age groups and genres to highlight the latest in children’s literature.

For this episode, I'm delighted to interview editor Becky Baines (about the very Halloween-appropriate THAT'S CREEPY) and shine our diversity spotlight on Libba Bray's Young Adult novel, BEAUTY QUEENS.

I hope you give it a listen!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Vuto - A Story about a completely unprepared U.S. Peace Corps worker in Malawi (she has two dads)

Vuto by A.J. Walkley

Vuto is only 17 when her third child dies, mere days after birth.

Malawian tradition prevents men from considering a child their own until it has survived for two weeks. Frustrated at not being able to speak to her husband, Solomon, about all three of the children she’s had to bury alone, Vuto forces him to acknowledge the dead baby. Her rejection of tradition causes Solomon and the village elders to banish Vuto from the only home she’s ever known. She seeks refuge in the hut of U.S. Peace Corps volunteer Samantha Brennan, where Solomon discovers his wife has not left as she was told.

When Solomon arrives in the night to attack Vuto, Samantha disregards her oath to remain uninvolved in village politics and interjects herself into the center of the conflict, defending Vuto and killing Solomon in the process.

The women go on the run from Vuto’s village and the Peace Corps, encountering physical, ethical and cultural struggles along the way.

This novel is told from the perspectives of Vuto, Samantha and two other Peace Corps volunteers.

Mentioned several times throughout the novel, Samantha's parents are gay male life partners who adopted Sam when she was a baby. She credits some of her idealism from being raised in an open-minded, liberal, LGBT-headed family.

This indie published book was funded by the author's successful kickstarter campaign.  A.J. has also written about being bisexual and in the Peace Corps in Malawi at the Huffington Post. Add your review of "Vuto" in comments!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Vows: Mr. Duckett and Dr. Jones - A Love Story From the New York Times

This piece from the "Vows" section of the New York Times by Samantha Stark, about Lewis Duckett and Billy Jones, their 46 year relationship, adopting a baby, becoming grandparents and now, finally, getting married, was so moving.

It was also really interesting how they "wrote coded letters to each other during Dr. Jones’s deployment in Vietnam."

Watch. Share. Discuss.

Friday, October 25, 2013

It's Asexual Awareness Week!

Okay, I admit it. I knew very little about the Asexual community (and Asexuality) prior to this week.

But thanks to Shelby and Tiny Dinosaur and the information over at the Asexual Awareness Week website, I feel better equipped to stand up as an ally for people who identify as Asexual.

Check out this video:

Asexuality Awareness Week's "Asexuality 101" is a great resource

Tiny Dinosaur did a tumblr slideshow about Asexuality. Here's a taste:

And I think what Tiny Dinosaur is pointing out above is true of everyone. If you are aware of who you are and that there is a community of others like you, you're less sad, feel less alone, you know you're not broken and you're not confused.

You're just free to be your authentic self.  And isn't that what we're all working towards? A world where each of us can be our authentic selves?

Check out the Asexual Awareness Week website, and stand up as an ally to the Asexual community!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lesbians 101 - A Wonderful Comic Series That Answers Some Basic (And Important) Questions

Lesbians 101 by A. Stiffler & K. Copeland

I think this comic series on lesbians is wonderful - with honest and non-judgmental answers to questions the author and illustrator have been asked.

Lesson 1 is "Why Do All Lesbians Look The Same?"

Lesson 2 is "Which One Is the 'Man' In The Relationship?"

Lesson 3 is "Do Lesbians Have Sex? How?" (Be aware this lesson includes images of erotic items, but the comic is not itself erotic.)

Lesson 4 is "Why Do Lesbians Hate Men?"

Lesson 5 is "What is 'Lesbian Bed Death' and Why Do Lesbians Get It?"

Lesson 6 is "Isn't Lesbianism Just a Phase?"

Lesson 7 is "Who Is A Lesbian, Really?"
Here's what Lesson 1 looks like:

The comics are free and available at the creators' wesbite here.  Add your review of "Lesbians 101" in comments!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Sneak Peek At The KidLitCon 2013 Schedule - I'll Be Speaking!

I'm really excited about the 7th Annual Kidlitosphere Conference in Austin, Texas!

On Friday November 8 and Saturday November 9, 2013, it will be a conference of in-person networking and idea-sharing with formerly just-online friends.

It promises to be mind-expanding.

Blog- and twitter-exploding.

With vital information and even more-vital connection.
 And, even though they haven't announced the full schedule yet, I did get permission to share with you that I'll be giving a Breakout presentation:

Diversity In Kid Lit: Nurture More, Blog More, Get More

Here's the description:

In this 50 minute keynote full of exercises and interactive activities, blogger Lee Wind, M.Ed., highlights how we're all so diverse - as individuals, as a community of bloggers, and as humans on our Earth. But books for kids and teens have a long way to go to match that diversity.

How can we be allies and UPstanders for those different than ourselves? How can we harness the power of books as both mirrors and windows? Find out how we, as bloggers, can claim our power to nurture more diversity, blog more diversity, and ultimately get more diversity in children's and teen literature.
Here's a photo of me giving another keynote, this one at the SCBWI-Los Angeles' Writers Days 2013. Because I don't have a traveling-forward-through-time photo of me in Austin for this post. Come to think of it, I'll ask Rita Crayon Huang (my friend and shutterbug) to work on that. Thanks, Rita.

Over at Kidlitosphere Central, they just posted some of the bloggers who will be attending, and the list is full of great folks and blogs to explore...

  1. Allie Jones of In Bed with Books
  2. Camille Powell of BookMoot
  3. Charlotte Taylor of Charlotte’s Library
  4. Chris Barton of Bartography
  5. Holly of Book Harbinger
  6. Jen Bigheart of  I Read Banned Books
  7. Jen Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page
  8. Jennifer Donovan of 5 Minutes for Books
  9. Julia Garza of January Day
  10. Katy Manck of BooksYALove
  11. Kelly Jensen of STACKED
  12. Lee Wind of I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read?
  13. Leila Roy of Bookshelves of Doom
  14. Maria Burel of Once Upon A Story
  15. Maureen Kearney of Confessions of a Bibliovore and Kid Tested, Librarian Approved
  16. Melissa Fox of Book Nut
  17. Pam Coughlan of MotherReader
  18. Paula Willey of Pink Me
  19. Rosemond Cates of Big Hair and Books
  20. Sarah Stevenson of Finding Wonderland
  21. Sheila Ruth of Wands and Worlds

Time's running out to register yourself and join in the fun!

Fellow bloggers of children's and teen lit, I hope to see you in Austin at #kidlitcon13!


***UPDATE October 23, 2013 at 8:28pm - The Schedule is UP here!***

And I'll also be part of the

Kidlit Blogging Roundtable: Our Past, Present, and Future

moderated by Sarah Stevenson of Finding Wonderland: On this panel, Jen Bigheart, Lee Wind, and others will discuss how blogging has changed over the years in the Kidlitosphere as a whole—different approaches to blogging, varying participation levels, etc.; what this might mean for the future of the community; and how bloggers and authors/illustrators and others in the kidlit community can best continue to leverage blogging for the benefit of all, and keep it relevant and fun.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Being Emily - A Transgender Teen Comes Out About Who They Truly Are

Being Emily by Rachel Gold

At sixteen, Emily feels like the ultimate outsider – although Emily’s brain knows she’s female, her body was born male. This is the year she knows she has to start talking about who she really is.

They say that whoever you are it’s okay, you were born that way. Those words don’t comfort Emily, because she was born Christopher and her insides know that her outsides are all wrong.

They say that it gets better, be who are you and it’ll be fine. For Emily, telling her parents who she really is means a therapist who insists Christopher is normal and Emily is sick. Telling her girlfriend means lectures about how God doesn’t make that kind of mistake.

Emily desperately wants high school in her small Minnesota town to get better. She wants to be the woman she knows is inside, but it’s not until a substitute therapist and a girl named Natalie come into her life that she believes she has a chance of actually Being Emily.

This book was a finalist for the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction. Add your review of "Being Emily" in comments!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sissy Goodwin Stands Out - And Stands Up - In Wyoming, the - as he puts it - "Mississippi of the West"

This story by John M. Glionna in the Los Angeles Times, of a 67-year-old college science instructor who is married to a woman, has two adult children, and lives his life as his authentic self - as a man in a dress - is inspiring.

About the struggle to live in Wyoming - Sissy said,

"When someone doesn't meet their expectations of what a man should be like, they run him out of town," he says. "I wasn't going to go."
How about the courage it must take to be his authentic self, wearing skirts and blouses in public since 1972?

How about the courage to embrace - and defang - the slur used against him and claim it as his new name?

Pretty inspiring, right?

Cheers for Sissy!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Empowering Diversity Is Universal

So it turns out that the issue of diversity - and how best to embrace that diversity - is not just an issue in schools.

Nonprofits, religious groups and businesses face many of the same underlying issues of having a culture that needs to aim higher than tolerance of differences. A culture that needs to aim higher than acceptance. The goal should be where we're understanding the strengths - and challenges - of those different than us so we can truly CELEBRATE diversity.

I'm really excited that my business-focused article, "7 Ways To Empower Diversity Where You Work," is the Cover Story in Office Pro Magazine this month! (Executive Edition 2013, vol 73/no 6)

It got the cover!

Love the graphic design!

I'm so happy with the pull-out quote: "The glue that holds together my family (my husband, myself and our daughter) is love - the same love that holds together you and your family."
It's on their website!

My article covers things companies - and each of us - can do to empower diversity where we are every day.

What I think is so fascinating is that while the implementation is specific to each school or company or community organization, the principles of what makes diversity work are universal.

If you get a chance to pick up a copy or click on the International Association of Administrative Professionals website, I'd be delighted if you check my article out.

My thanks to OfficePro Editor Emily Allen for seeing the universality in my work to empower diversity and asking me to write this article!

And if you'd like to know more about the diversity work I'm doing in the corporate/organizational world, check out

Thanks for letting me share my good news,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gold In The Clouds - A Gay Teen Fairy Tale Inspired From "Jack And The Beanstalk"

Gold In The Clouds by Hayden Thorne

After his fifteenth birthday, Blythe Midwinter finds himself in a bit of a pickle. It’s high time for him to be a productive member of his family, taking up work he detests in order for his older sister, Molly, to follow her dreams of success as a talented baker. Though the three orphaned Midwinter siblings -- Molly, Bertie, and Blythe -- are lucky enough to work, they still earn only enough to keep themselves clothed and fed. Blythe desperately wishes for more, and it doesn’t help that his best and only friend, Jack Wicket, refuses hard, honest work in favor of good luck as the only means for quick success and instant riches.

Blythe’s dreams of a better life get more desperate when he attracts the attention of another boy, the youngest son of a rebellious old artist, whose family rises well above Blythe’s in wealth and station. Embarrassment and shame muddle Blythe’s perceptions of luck, work, and the promise of love -- that is, until Jack Wicket’s foolish decision to exchange his beloved cow for a handful of magic beans forces Blythe to look past castles in the clouds and understand what it is that truly measures a man’s worth.

Add your review of "Gold In The Clouds" in comments!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

When Romeo Kissed Mercutio - A Gay Teen Romance

When Romeo Kissed Mercutio by Kathy Sutcliffe

Alex Hunt, a senior in high school in the small town of Rotorua, New Zealand, has his world turned upside down when a new neighbour, Piers Yzel, moves in next door. Piers is cool, lonely and has similar interests to Alex, unlike his cheating girlfriend Shonnie who has retreated back across the Tasman to Australia.

My thanks to blog reader Graeme for the heads-up on this title. Add your review of "When Romeo Kissed Mercutio" in comments!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Sin Warriors - Historical Fiction Based On The 1950s purge of Gay people from Florida's Universities

The Sin Warriors by Julian E. Farris

Fifty years ago, three hundred teachers and students in Florida vanished. No storm troopers. No mass graves. Who were they? Just wasted lives from blackmail, coercion, entrapment--tactics of state senator Charlie Johns and his covert investigations of homosexuals in Florida's universities. The Sin Warriors is a novel inspired by those actual events.

David Ashton has struggled for self-acceptance and identity his entire life. David's estrangement from a dysfunctional family childhood, his sexual awakening and bonding with his gay professor places them in the crosshairs of state senator Billy Sloat, an ambitious, country politician obsessed with ridding the university of subversives--homosexuals, blacks, alleged communists--on the heels of the McCarthy hearings during the mid-fifties. But who is Sloat actually, and where does his hatred and contempt come from? From a backwoods childhood in North Florida to his reign as a powerful senator, Sloat intends to destroy the new life David has built for himself in college, and questions are raised: What is family? Whom should we love? What price do we pay to defend our country and our integrity? Which is more enduring fear or love? 

Add your review of "The Sin Warriors" in comments!

Monday, October 14, 2013

This Thursday (October 17) Is Spirit Day - Wear Purple To Stand Against Bullying And Show Your Support of LGBTQ Youth

Why Purple?

It's the color on the rainbow pride flag that symbolizes "SPIRIT"

Find out more about Spirit Day at GLAAD's site here.

I'll be wearing purple this Thursday.  How about you?


Friday, October 11, 2013

To Celebrate National Coming Out Day: "Golden Blond and Jet Black" - A Lesbian Teen Love Story Fan Fiction Video You've Got To Watch!

It's a mashup of Rapunzel from Tangled and Mavis from Hotel Transylvania, plus two of the guys from Rise of the Guardians playing their Dads.

Check it out!

My thanks to Angie for sharing this with me, so I can share it with all of you.


And for those of you in the U.S.A., Happy National Coming Out Day!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Openly Straight - An Out Gay Teen At A New School Tries To Not Be "The Gay" Kid... But It's Hard To Be Openly Straight

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He's won skiing prizes. He likes to write.

And, oh yeah, he's gay. He's been out since 8th grade, and he isn't teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

So when he transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn't even know that love is possible.

Add your review of "Openly Straight" in comments!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Read This, I Dare You!" My Panel at the Los Angeles Public Library's Teen Book Fest 2013

I'm really looking forward to this!

To give you a taste of what we'll be covering, there's a great panel preview blog post up at LAPL including interviews with all of us book blogging panelists

Alethea Allarey,
Alyson Beecher,
Thuy Lam,
Maggie Park,
and me!

If you're in Los Angeles this Saturday October 12, 2013 at noon, I hope you join us for a great discussion.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Life As A Myth - It's 1969. Nick gets a High School image make-over, and then falls for another guy

My Life As A Myth by Huston Piner

1969 freshman Nick Horton has problems. He suffers bouts of depression, he’s a high school social outcast, and he doesn’t understand why he’s just not attracted to girls. So when a series of misunderstandings label him a troublemaker, he’s delighted to have Jesse Gaston and his gang befriend him. Nick just wants to explore his attraction to Bobby Warren, but Jesse promises to give him a new image and soon transforms the shy loser into an anti-establishment student hero.

Thanks to his new reputation, Nick finds himself besieged by would-be girlfriends and expectations that he live up to his public image. As Jesse’s PR campaign becomes more and more outrageous, Nick’s road quickly becomes littered with ridiculous misadventures and unexpected psychedelic explorations. Meanwhile he struggles to understand his emerging romance with Bobby while dealing with the Vietnam War’s continuing impact on his family and the dangerous goings-on at school.

Nick’s freshman year is a remarkable journey of struggle with his unwanted reputation and his deepening passion for Bobby. Can he accept who he really is and the meaning of his love for Bobby? Is a world still reeling from the sexual revolution, Acid Rock, and the illicit pleasures of underage drinking and marijuana ready to accept two boys in love? Will Nick and Bobby’s love survive or will the world’s prejudices drive them apart?

Add your review of "My Life As A Myth" in comments!

Monday, October 7, 2013

National Coming Out Day is this Friday, October 11! What are you (and your GSA) Doing To Celebrate?

National Coming Out Day is, at heart, a celebration of being authentically YOU, whoever you are.

And while being our authentic selves should be something we feel we can do every day, not everyone feels safe enough to be honest about who they are. Yet.

So let's consider what each of us can do to make our circles - our friends, the other people in our schools and neighborhoods and lives - know that we are safe people.

Let's stand up as allies - for ourselves and for everyone different from us, too!

As the Human Rights Campaign puts it at the top of their Coming Out Resources webpage,

Whether you're lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or an ally, be proud of who you are and your support for LGBT equality this Coming Out Day!

And I'd add to that - "and every day!"

So this week, as an individual or with your GSA, take some action to let others know you're an LGBTQ ally.

And if you are part of the LGBTQ rainbow, if you do feel safe, be OUT and AUTHENTIC about who you are. It will transform your life for the better, and it will transform our world as well.

As Harvey Milk said so eloquently,

With Pride,

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's LGBTQ History Month!

I love October.

Once again, Equality Forum is celebrating LGBTQ History Month by highlighting 31 LGBTQ icons - one for every day of the month.

Check out the links and resources and downloadable pdfs on each of the icons as they roll out through the month. And don't miss their great archive of icons - they've been doing this since 2006!

It's a wonderful resource, and I'll be clicking back again and again.  Hope you will, too.

Feel the pride!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Twin Lives Twisted: Gay Romance and Some Swashbuckling Action

Twin Lives Twisted by Shannon Mulroy

Twin lives torn apart by murder and envy; twin lives blighted by slavery; twin lives lived in the shadow of the whip.

When Rekeir is given to Captain Terrahe, master of the merchant vessel Gold’s Confidence, he begins more than a sea voyage: his journey will take him from the depths of mankind’s depravity to the heights of love—the kind of passionate love that only two men can share.

House slave Reon is willed to Evari, a cold but thoughtful diplomat in the service of a foreign king. Will love light a spark between master and slave or are they doomed to sorrow when Reon is called to set right the injustice of his past?

For twin brothers Rekeir and Reon freedom is but a distant memory; enslaved since childhood they set out on a perilous path that will lead to liberty or death.

Add your review of "Twin Lives Twisted" in comments!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Freeing - A college-age story of how knowing who you are and accepting who you are come at different prices

Freeing by E.K. Blair

Jase Kinrick grew up in your typical, all-American household. But after the death of his sister, his parents shut down, forcing him to deal with everything life throws his way alone. Terrified of the person he’s discovering himself to be, Jase has his way with every willing girl to try and rid himself of what he fears he is—gay.
Escaping California and moving to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, Jase frees himself to the reality that he likes men. Never staying with any guy long enough to get to know them, he doesn’t realize that he’s still hiding from who he is until he meets Mark. Scared of having real feelings for another guy stirs up the questions and fears he’s fought hard to bury.

To strip away the barriers to the heart of what is real, and to be okay with what lies underneath, will be Jase’s moment of truth. But he’ll need Mark to lead him there.

Published by the author, this is a companion novel to "Fading, cited as a USA Today Bestseller.

Add your review of "Freeing" in comments!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Case of Nikki Pagan - Three Teen Lives Collide... in the Hospital (With An Intersex Character)

The Case Of Nikki Pagan by Rachel Eliason

When Jason’s pickup tires first begin sliding across the gravel of the country road, he is still his small town’s high school prize running back and one of the school’s “A-list” popular kids. He is looking forward to one more year of high school and then, he hopes, being picked up by a Big Ten team. But after the Jaws of Life tear him from the wreckage of his drunk-driving accident, he wakes up post-surgery in the University of Iowa Hospital’s long-term pediatric ward, wondering if he will ever walk again.

Bobby McGin only wants one thing out of life, to be a normal teen with normal friends. But when your last-possible round of chemo fails to stem the spread of the tumors ravaging your body’s soft tissue, it’s hard to be normal.

Nikki Pagan is the glue that holds the two boys together. She is a bright and precocious fifteen-year-old girl. Why is she on the long-term ward? Why won’t she talk about what is wrong with her? And why is it so important she follow “the rules for being Nikki”?

This book was published by the author. Add your review of "The Case of Nikki Pagan" in comments!