Friday, September 21, 2018

A Livestream Book Launch Party on October 2, 2018

You're invited!



Please join me on Tuesday October 2, 2018 over at facebook live - I'm LeeWind on Facebook - during a time you can hopefully make work:

9am - 10am Pacific / Noon-1pm Eastern
and
Noon-1pm Pacific / 3pm-4pm Eastern

I'll explain all about how the community can come together with the goal of getting "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" to hit the Amazon Kindle bestseller list. (It's a big goal, but let's go for it!)

There will also be a special announcement about the audiobook of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill"!

Stay tuned, and thanks for your support.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
Lee


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Beulah Land - a Teen in the Missouri Ozarks struggles with just being herself: a girl who likes other girls.



Beulah Land by Nancy Stewart

Seventeen-year-old Vi Sinclair’s roots run deep in the Missouri Ozarks, where, in some areas, it can still be plenty dangerous to be a girl who likes girls. Her greatest wish is to become a veterinarian like her boss, Claire Campbell. Fitting in at school wouldn’t be so bad, either. Only one obstacle stands in the way: She may not live long enough to see her wishes fulfilled.

With help from her only friend, Junior, Vi unravels a mystery that puts her in conflict with a vicious tormentor, a dog fight syndicate, and her own mother. Vi’s experience galvanizes her strength and veracity as she overcomes the paradox of mountain life, in which, even today, customs and mores seem timeless, and where a person can wake up dead simply because of being who she is.

This book was a Foreword Indies Award Finalist. Add your review of "Beulah Land" in comments!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Snow Sisters - Two very different girls meet at a week-long writing conference, and find the same thing... Love.



Snow Sisters by Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick

High school students—Soph, who attends private school in Manhattan, and Tess, a public school student who lives on a dairy farm in New Hampshire—are thrown together as roommates at a week-long writing conference. As they get to know each other and the other young women, both Soph and Tess discover unexpected truths about friendship, their craft, and how to hold fast to their convictions while opening their hearts to love.

Add your review of "Snow Sisters" in comments!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Lee's "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" Book Tour: September and October 2018 events!

Hello, community!

We're 22 days from the official launch of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill," and there's lots shaping up...



Here's a current view of some of the events ahead!

September 2018

25th - "Get Balanced with Dr. Marissa Pei" Talk Radio show - Lee booked as featured guest.

October 2018

Oct 1st - Lambda LitFest Los Angeles "Crowdfunding Queer Lit" panel and reading - online. Register here.

Oct 2nd - Publish Day!

Oct 3rd - Star Style Radio Show with Cynthia Brian - Lee booked as featured guest. Listen here.

Oct 6th - InD'Scribe Con and Book Festival - Meet and Greet with the author! Lee will be signing copies of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" from 1:30pm-4:30pm at this Indie Author and Readers event at the Burbank Marriott Convention Center, Burbank, California.


Oct 12th -

Pasadena Fall Art Night - YA Gets Queer Panel and Reading
7-8:30pm
Join authors Brandy Colbert (Stonewall Award Winner for Little and Lion, C.B. Lee (Sidekick Squad series), and Lee Wind (Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill) for a discussion about intersectionality, the lines between reality/fiction/fantasy, ally-ship, and much more. Following the panel and audience Q&A, Brandy, C.B., and Lee will read selections from their books and then be available for signing and a meet-and-greet with readers. Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena, California.

Queer Kid Lit Hangout
8:30-10pm
Do you write and/or illustrate LGBTQ characters, content, or themes for kids, tweens, or teens? Join us for an evening of great conversation with your creative community! Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena, California.

Oct 13th -
10:30am - 11:30am
West Hollywood Library Teen Read Week Event: "Meet Lee Wind, Author of Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" West Hollywood Room. West Hollywood Public Library, West Hollywood, California.

1:00pm - 2:00pm
San Gabriel Valley Pride: Authors Tent. 
Pasadena's Central Park. Pasadena, California.

7:00pm - 10:00pm
Launch Party at Highways. Santa Monica, California

Oct 20th
Models of Pride.
Present "Discover our LGBTQ History" and give out 450 free copies of Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill from the Camp Brave Trails booth. Cal State LA, Los Angeles, California.

There's lots more in the works, and I hope you'll be able to join in the fun—either at one of the online or in-person events!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
Lee



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

West Hollywood Public Library: My Teen Reads Week Event on October 13, 2018

My thanks to Adult and Teen Services Librarian Dione Surdez for enjoying "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" so much that she invited me to be the Teen Read Week finale event at the West Hollywood public library!



If you're in the West Hollywood area, I hope you can join in the fun!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
Lee

Monday, September 10, 2018

Pasadena Fall Art Night 2018 - YA Gets Queer Panel and Reading and Queer Kit Lit Hangout

Friday October 12, 2018 is going to be awesome!

Join me at Pasadena Fall Art Night for two back-to-back events:

YA Gets Queer Panel and Reading

7:00pm-8:30pm

Join authors Brandy Colbert (Stonewall Award Winner for Little and Lion, C.B. Lee (Sidekick Squad series), and Lee Wind (Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill) for a discussion about intersectionality, the lines between reality/fiction/fantasy, ally-ship, and much more. Following the panel and audience Q&A, Brandy, C.B., and Lee will read selections from their books and then be available for signing and a meet-and-greet with readers. Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena, California.

Brandy Colbert

Brandy's amazing book, "Little & Lion"

C.B. Lee

The first book in C.B. Lee's kick-ass Sidekick series

Me!

My debut novel, in amazing company!


Queer Kid Lit Hangout

8:30pm-10:00pm

Do you write and/or illustrate LGBTQ characters, content, or themes for kids, tweens, or teens? Join us for an evening of great conversation with your creative community! Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena, California.

If you're in the Pasadena area, or can make the drive, I hope you'll join us for the panel and the hangout afterwards!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
Lee

Friday, September 7, 2018

My Lambda LitFest Los Angeles 2018 Panel: CROWDFUNDING QUEER LIT: A PANEL AND READING



I'm really excited about this community curated event that happens the night before "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" publishes! Crowdfunding Queer Lit: A Panel and Reading

On October 1, 2018 from 7:00PM - 8:30PM Pacific Time. Here's the panel description:

Curious about crowdfunding? From teen novels to graphic novellas to poetry, our diverse Queer stories are being published and promoted using crowdfunding. Learn how these authors and publishers harnessed the power of their communities, hear excerpts of their crowd-funded creations, and get inspired about crowdfunding your next project.

I'll be moderating, and also speaking about my experience crowdfunding "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill." The other two panelists are:


Tobi Harper is Deputy Director of Red Hen Press, Founder and Editor of Quill (a queer publishing series), Publisher of The Los Angeles Review, and Instructor for the UCLA Extension Publishing and Editing program. Tobi is a Queer speaker, event curator, literary warrior, tech wiz, and headed a Kickstarter project to help fund the publication of HANGING ON OUR BONES and a reprint of LOVE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO DO THE FEELING by legendary Queer poet, Judy Grahn.


Tee Franklin is a Queer disabled Black woman who writes comics: The Outfit (Nailbiter #27), A Blazin’ (in the Ignatz award winning Elements Anthology), Tears (in the Eisner-winning and New York Times Best Selling Love is Love), and Inclusive Press’ Queer romance graphic novella, BINGO LOVE. Franklin won the 2017 Queer Press Grant for Bingo Love and raised almost $60k for this graphic novella via Kickstarter. She fights for inclusion in comics, no matter the risks, as she hopes that the next generation of marginalized comic creators won’t have to put up with what’s been happening for the past 75+ years.

This online event is FREE, hosted by the awesome nonprofit where I work, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). You can register here.

I hope you'll help spread the word, and join us!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Seafarer's Kiss - a Lesbian Merfolk/Human Love... and Adventure



The Seafarer's Kiss by Julia Ember

Having long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk's fortress. But when Ersel's childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier's brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she's known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she's come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

Add your review of "The Seafarer's Kiss" in comments!

Monday, September 3, 2018

GRRRLS On The Side - Tabitha Find Her People, and a Girl She Likes, in the 1990s Punk Rock Scene



GRRRLS On The Side By Carrie Pack

The year is 1994, and alternative is in. But not for alternative girl Tabitha Denton; she hates her life. She is uninterested in boys, lonely, and sidelined by former friends at her suburban high school. When she picks up a zine at a punk concert, she finds an escape--an advertisement for a Riot Grrrl meetup.

At the meeting, Tabitha finds girls who are more like her and a place to belong. But just as Tabitha is settling in with her new friends and beginning to think she understands herself, eighteen-year-old Jackie Hardwick walks into a meeting and changes her world forever. The out-and-proud Jackie is unlike anyone Tabitha has ever known. As her feelings for Jackie grow, Tabitha begins to learn more about herself and the racial injustices of the punk scene, but to be with Jackie, she must also come to grips with her own privilege and stand up for what's right.

"GRRRLS On The Side" was a 2017 Bronze Foreword Indies Award Winner for Young Adult Fiction. Add your review of the novel in comments!

Friday, August 31, 2018

I have a new literary agent... Marietta Zacker!

Marietta Zacker, Amazing Agent


Back in March of 2015, Marietta Zacker was one of the first agents to request to be interviewed for my series on diversity (agents looking for more diversity, that is).

In the middle of the interview, she said,

“If you’re marginalized and reading this, I can assure you … I want to see your work. I know I’m not the only one and I recognize that each of us can only represent a small number of clients to begin with, but don’t let the hurdles and barriers stop you. If you have a story to tell and you do so from the heart, you will find your champions.”

I was so taken by that last line that I responded,

“I want that on a T-shirt:

‘If you have a story to tell and you do so from the heart, you will find your champions.’

Yeah!”

About a week later, I got a package in the mail from Marietta. It was a T-shirt, with that amazing quote on the front, and the url for this blog on the back!


Here's a close up:


I'm proud, and humbled, and so excited to announce that Marietta Zacker, of the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency,  is now MY champion. Officially.

Hurray!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The 57 Bus - A True Story of Two Teenagers [one who identifies as Agender] and the Crime That Changed Their Lives



The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

"The 57 Bus" won the Stonewall Book Award—Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children's & Young Adult Literature Award and was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. 

The motivating questions for author Dashka Slater? “What does it mean to be agender and how should we think about a teenager who commits a bias crime?” Read the full article about Dashka and this nonfiction book for teens at Kirkus Reviews here.

Add your review of "The 57 Bus" in comments!

Monday, August 27, 2018

The BookLife Prize gives "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" an AMAZING Assessment, calling it "engaging, utterly enjoyable" and "riveting" and scoring it 9.75 out of 10!



Here's a link, and the full text of the assessment:

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill
Lee Wind, author

BookLife Prize - 2018
Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.75 out of 10
Assessment:

Plot: Wind's engaging, utterly enjoyable tale of teen self-discovery is riveting both for its well-structured, historically-based plot and its emotional honesty. Snappily paced and filled with insightful details, the story turns heteronormative culture on its head as Wyatt, the thoroughly likable protagonist, takes on a battle for historical truth that leaves his small-town neighbors clutching their pearls.

Prose: Wind’s polished prose is filled with laugh-out-loud moments, often thanks to the author’s ability to zero in on the perfect descriptive detail. But it is the dialogue that shines brightest, capturing both the insult-laden banter of teens and the awkward sincerity of the adults struggling to manage them.

Originality: In taking on this slice of Civil War-era history, Wind brings historical material into contemporary relevance in a unique and original way. The use of social media posts and transcriptions provides even more freshness and present-day appeal to the story.

Character Development: Wind provides an accurate portrayal of the coping mechanisms, unwieldy emotions, and ultimately the inner triumph of a teen struggling to make the world ready for him to come out of the closet. A resonant and admirably crafted work.

Date Submitted: August 02, 2018


I'm so pleased about this, and hope it will help my book reach—and empower—more LGBTQ and Allied Teens!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Not Your Villain - The Superhero Series Starring a Bi Main Character Continues with Book Two!



Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad #2) by C.B. Lee

Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants and, if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he's got it covered. But that was before he became the country's most wanted villain.

After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes' League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess [the bi star of Book One, Not Your Sidekick], Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges.

Add your review of "Not Your Villain" in comments!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

This Week In Texas Gives "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" 4.5 out of 5 Stars, calling it "thought-provoking," "well-written," and "heartfelt"

It's exciting to see this first consumer website review from Steve Pardue, publisher of the adult-audience LGBTQ website "This Week In Texas."

A screen shot from my phone of the review!

The full review text reads:

I enjoyed this book very much. Every young LGBT person should read this thought-provoking, heartfelt, informative novel, as well as any adult who enjoys a well-written story that mixes interesting historical facts with coming of age innocence. Lee Wind has done a terrific job with his first novel and I look forward to reading many more.

That's a rave!

You can see the full review on the This Week In Texas website. Be aware that it's a site for adults, with ads that are not intended for young people.

Feeling grateful that this will help more people find out about "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill," and be empowered by it!
Lee

Monday, August 20, 2018

Jim Averbeck on his new picture book, "TREVOR" - In which a canary befriends a lemon, and how that friendship changes everything.



Trevor by Jim Averbeck, Illustrated by Amy Hevron

Trevor is a lonely yellow canary looking for a friend.

He stretches his wings the width of his boring cage and notices the tree outside stretching its branch. And on the end of that branch? Another canary! But he’s so shy and quiet.

Trevor knows just how to make him feel comfortable.

Reading Trevor I found myself really moved. Goosebumps, people. Goosebumps. I reached out to my friend Jim, the author, to find out more about this remarkably resonant combination of his words, Amy's pictures, and every reader's emotions.

Here's our interview:

Lee: One thing I found very moving was that Trevor has the power to open his cage all along, and when he decides to leave his cage he just pecks and the gate pops open. Reading that, as a Gay man, it felt like a powerful coming out metaphor. Was it?

Jim: That’s very insightful, Lee. I teach a class at Storyteller Academy on writing picture books. One of the things I emphasize above all others is making sure your work has an emotional core. I suggest that there are two components to this core. One is a connection to the emotional world of children. The other is a connection to your own adult feelings. You connect to the child’s world because the story is about and for them. You connect to your adult feelings because they are more immediately memorable and accessible to you and can infuse the story with the authenticity and drive you want it to have. It’s like childhood emotion is the engine and adult emotion is the fuel.

That’s what happened in the case of TREVOR. I set out to write a story about a lonely canary who makes overtures of friendship to a lemon he believes is another bird. I connected it to the child’s world by thinking of Trevor as that socially isolated child on the playground who takes a chance at making a friend. When I went to connect to my adult emotions to fuel the story, I realized the most analogous and recent experience I had to this little bird’s was when I was in the Peace Corps in Cameroon and knew it was time I "came out". I was thousands of miles from my home and my support network, among people I hadn’t known for long, in an environment that was foreign to me. I was desperate to find someone to talk to about what I was feeling. Fortunately, I found many new friends with willing ears and open hearts. So as I developed the story of Trevor, I realized that my experience of coming out was metaphorically showing up in the story.

When I discussed the emotional underpinning of the story with the book's editor, Neal Porter, I think he was genuinely moved by it and saw the connection immediately. I think the resulting editorial direction made a book that is deeper and more poignant for it. We wondered if the underlying experience that fueled the story should be brought more to the forefront. It was an interesting question because, in the end, the gay experience is both unique and universal. We opted to focus on the universal emotions - loneliness, friendship, trust - but I gave a nod to the unique experience in the wording of the dedication.

Lee: That duality, of a child’s and adult’s emotions, brings up another lovely piece of the story: how even the child reader knows that Trevor’s first, very quiet friend isn’t another canary, but actually a lemon. I imagine it’s one of the things children having the story read to them love best, especially as Trevor is so sweet about it. Their duet, where “"the lemon sang the silences.” is such a lovingly told, charming, and poignant note. Tell us about the decision to have children know more than Trevor.

Jim: I do a lot of school visits and in one of them I teach how to write a suspenseful scene. I put an emphasis on dramatic irony, where the reader knows something that the characters in the scene do not. So I guess it is just one of the tools in my writing toolkit. I never really made an active decision to have the reader know that Trevor’s friend is a lemon when Trevor does not. All the comedy in the story stems from that fact though. I guess the tragedy does too, since the relationship is doomed from the start. I think maybe the one-sided nature of the relationship is what some people identify with and find so moving. We’ve all been there.

Lee: You've packed a lot of emotion into a modest word count. Can you tell us about your writing/revision process for this picture book text?

Jim: At Christmas time, my critique group The Revisionaries, sets aside all the work we have been doing during the year and does something we call “The Assignment.” Basically we take a short, vague phrase and use it as a story prompt. We have two weeks to write the story. TREVOR was the result of this tradition. If this sounds familiar it’s because I’ve had a lot of luck selling stories created during The Assignment. I think this is the fourth one. In the case of TREVOR, the prompt was “sour fruit.” Part of my method for The Assignment is a process I call Inquiry and Synthesis, where I ask questions and look for connections in the answers. In this way I connected lemons to canaries and had the idea for a canary mistaking a lemon for another canary. The story came out pretty much the same as the published story. However, the first draft had a girl character, Trevor’s owner. When the lemon fell from the nest, Trevor followed. The text read “but the lemon had found a new friend.” That new friend was the girl. So the first draft had an element of betrayal to it. The last scene was Trevor flying away with new friends and the girl opening a lemonade stand. Punishment for the lemon's betrayal, I guess. Fortunately I found the true heart of the story and the lemon now enjoys a finer fate.

Lee: You’ve also created picture books where you’ve done both the words and the illustrations. Are there insights from the illustration side of the creative process that you bring to the table on a project like this where you’re the writer and not the illustrator?

Jim: Probably the biggest insight I apply when someone else is illustrating is “the illustrator brings enormous skills to the visual side of the storytelling, so trust them and give them plenty of space to tell their own story.” I try to just stay out of the illustrator’s way. That said, if there are visual aspects that are essential to the story, I am sure to discuss them with the editor. Working with Amy Hevron (the illustrator) and Neal Porter (the editor) was a dream, in this case. There was one essential aspect of the story that I did talk to Neal about: that Trevor was a canary! It isn’t obvious from the text and the initial art sample was a beautiful cobalt budgie that Amy had created at Neal’s request. The blue bird and yellow lemon were such a beautiful combination that I offered to change the text, which contained onomatopoeic canary song, to align with the blue parakeet in the sample art. Neal suddenly understood that Trevor was a canary and took that back to Amy. Turns out Amy is sort of a bird fan and had thought, based on the birdsong in the text, that Trevor was a canary. So she was happy to create a new, yellow character.

Lee: What advice do you have for other writers who are working on their picture book manuscripts?

Jim: Spend most of your time developing the character’s emotional story, rather than on language or rhyme or, god forbid, “teaching a lesson.” Emotion is what will make people love your book.

Lee: Thanks so much for sharing about this beautiful picture book, Jim! And congratulations.

Jim: Thanks Lee. I am very grateful for this opportunity to talk about an aspect of TREVOR that is likely to be overlooked, but that was so important to me as I wrote it.


Add your review of "Trevor" in comments!