Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Flesh and Bone - a lonely teen guy struggles to find love in his life



Flesh and Bone by William Alton

When Bill's father leaves and he and his mother move far away to live with her parents, his whole world implodes. His grandparents are cold and distant, his mom is distant both physically and emotionally as she deals with her own struggles, and his dad is just gone. Bill explores his sexuality with multiple partners as he searches for love and compassion and turns to drugs and alcohol to dull the pain of loneliness.

Add your review of "Flesh and Bone" in comments!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Boomerang - A boy runs away at 12 and returns at 17, to save the guy he loves... but things get more complicated than he expected



Boomerang by Helene Dunbar

Michael Sterling disappeared from his Maine town five years ago. Everyone assumed he was kidnapped. The truth is worse--he ran away and found the life he always dreamed of.

Now, at seventeen, he's Sean Woodhouse. And he's come "home," to the last place he wants to ever be, to claim the small inheritance his grandparents promised him when he graduated high school, all so he can save Trip, the boy he developed an intense and complicated relationship with while he was away.

Sean has changed, but so has his old town and everyone in it. And knowing who he is and where he belongs is more confusing than ever. As his careful plans begin to crumble, so does everything he's believed about his idyllic other life.

Add your review of "Boomerang" in comments!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Check out this article about a bookstore's response to censorship of a gay-themed book at a school book fair



The book: The Best Man
The author: Newbery Medalist Richard Peck
The bookstore: Avid Bookshop
The bookstore's owner: Janet Geddis

From Richard's article on the incident in Publishers Weekly, Hey, Hide that Book!

"After a book fair manager showed The Best Man to a student, the manager overheard a parent ask, “Is this what we’re teaching our children?” The head of the school then instructed that The Best Man be hidden—put in a box so that no child could accidentally find it.

But there is a supple strength in independent book stores, and Avid is a very independent book store. Its owner, Janet Geddis, made the well-timed decision to withdraw from the school’s book fair. Such a decision may not be unprecedented, but the act of packing up and leaving the book fair of a school that caves to the first complaining parent made enough noise on the net that the head of the school sent a letter to parents."

Read the full article here.

Cheers to Janet for the courage to do the right thing.
Cheers to Richard, for writing this middle grade book featuring a gay marriage, and letting us know about this censorship.
And, finally, cheers to the store selling 150 copies of "The Best Man" in the book's first week!

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Best Man - a middle grade story about a boy who's best man at the wedding of his uncle and teacher. Oh, and it's a gay wedding!


The Best Man by Richard Peck

"Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of the best are his grandpa, the great architect; his dad, the great vintage car customizer,; and his uncle Paul, who is just plain great. These are the three he wants to be. Along the way he finds a fourth—Mr. McLeod, a teacher. In fact, the first male teacher in the history of the school.

But now here comes middle school and puberty. Change. Archer wonders how much change has to happen before his voice does. He doesn’t see too far ahead, so every day or so a startling revelation breaks over him. Then a really big one when he’s the best man at the wedding of two of his role models."

Featured on lots of "Best Books of 2016" lists (including Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the New York Times), "The Best Man" also was a Boston Globe Horn Honor Book! 

Add your review of "The Best Man" in comments!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Autoboyography - Two teen guys from different worlds (one liberal and progressive, one conservative and religious) fall in love in a High School writing class




Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Three years ago, Tanner Scott's family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High's prestigious Seminar--where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester--Tanner can't resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

Add your review of "Autoboyography" in comments!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Thanks to the Students and Faculty at Pasadena City College!

Yesterday I got to be an author for the whole morning! I presented to YA Author and Assistant Professor of English Kathy Kottaras' Children's and YA Literature class, telling the students about my journey as a blogger, writer/author and now, crowd-funded publisher.

I even got to read to them a section from the proof of my ARC for "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill," which I got Tuesday! That was a thrill, reading the book from an actual BOOK, to a live, engaged, interested audience.
Me, doing my first actual READING!

I answered questions, and talked with them about revision, research, my book bible, and they were super-attentive and awesome throughout.
Kathy Kottaras (far left), and Me (center), with students.

And then, I got to talk with the college's Queer Alliance, joining them for their lunchtime meeting. It was so wonderful to be a guest at a group that I wish I had had when I was in college. From the moment Victor hung up the Gay Pride Rainbow Flag on the classroom door, it felt like home - a supportive, queer and allied community. My community.

I got to tell the story behind the story, read a bit from my book again, and answer questions. The hour went by so quickly! My thanks to Melissa, Mary, Victor, Crystal, and Jeff for hosting me, and to everyone who attended.


It was a great author experience, and I'm so grateful to share my story. Extra gratitude to Kathy for the invitation, and for making this happen.

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

Lee


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The First Twenty - A Dystopian Future, and a Lesbian Teen Romance that forces a choice: Love or Survival?



The First Twenty by Jennifer Lavoie

Humanity was nearly wiped out when a series of global disasters struck, but pockets of survivors have managed to thrive and are starting to rebuild society. Peyton lives with others in what used to be a factory. When her adopted father is murdered by Scavengers, she is determined to bring justice to those who took him away from her. She didn't count on meeting Nixie.

Nixie is one of the few people born with the ability to dowse for water with her body. In a world where safe water is hard to come by, she's a valuable tool to her people. When she's taken by Peyton, they'll do anything to get her back. As the tension between the groups reaches critical max, Peyton is forced to make a decision: give up the girl she's learned to love, or risk the lives of those she's responsible for.

Add your review of "The First Twenty" in comments!

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Fine Bromance - A Trans Teen and an Asexual Teen navigate friendship, identities, and a mystery



A Fine Bromance by Christopher Hawthorne Moss

Robby is a senior in high school when he meets new student Andy. Robby's never experienced sexual attraction, and while that doesn't change, something about Andy makes him feel relaxed, and it turns out they have a lot in common. Neither of them fits in very well, and Robby soon learns through the school's bullies that Andy is a transboy. Sticking together makes life better for both of them.

Then some of Robby's Aunt Ivy's jewelry turns up missing, and Robby and Andy must investigate to discover who's to blame.

Add your review of "A Fine Bromance" in comments!

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Star Host - Science Fiction with a Gay Teen Romance




The Star Host by F. T. Lukens

Ren grew up listening to his mother tell stories about the Star Hosts – a mythical group of people possessed by the power of the stars. The stories were the most exciting part of Ren’s life, and he often dreamed about leaving his backwater planet and finding his place among the neighboring drifts. When Ren is captured by soldiers and taken from his home, he must remain inconspicuous while plotting his escape. It’s a challenge since the general of the Baron’s army is convinced Ren is something out of one of his mother’s stories.

He finds companionship in the occupant of the cell next to his, a drifter named Asher. A member of the Phoenix Corps, Asher is mysterious, charming, and exactly the person Ren needs to anchor him as his sudden technopathic ability threatens to consume him. Ren doesn’t mean to become attached, but after a daring escape, a trek across the planet, and an eventful ride on a merchant ship, Asher is the only thing that reminds Ren of home. Together, they must warn the drifts of the Baron’s plans, master Ren’s growing power, and try to save their friends while navigating the growing attraction between them.

Add your review of "The Star Host" in comments!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I'm on the radio, on the Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio show on the Voice America Kids Network!



Being interviewed for this week's program by the show's teen hosts Brigitte Jia and Joven Hundal was really fun—and we had a great conversation!

The program is heard in 132 countries, and you can listen to the episode here: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/106851/the-gift-of-diversity

My thanks to producer and Be The Star You Are founder and executive director Cynthia Brian for this amazing opportunity!

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

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Unintentional Time Traveler - A Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary, Trans Teen Adventure



The Unintentional Time Traveler by Everett Maroon

Fifteen-year-old Jack Bishop has mad skills with cars and engines, but knows he’ll never get a driver’s license because of his epilepsy. Agreeing to participate in an experimental clinical trial to find new treatments for his disease, he finds himself in a completely different body—that of a girl his age, Jacqueline, who defies the expectations of her era. Since his seizures usually give him spazzed out visions, Jack presumes this is a hallucination. Feeling fearless, he steals a horse, expecting that at any moment he’ll wake back up in the clinical trial lab. When that doesn't happen, Jacqueline falls unexpectedly in love, even as the town in the past becomes swallowed in a fight for its survival. Jack/Jacqueline is caught between two lives and epochs, and must find a way to save everyone around him as well as himself. And all the while, he is losing time, even if he is getting out of algebra class.

You can read an interview with the author, who speaks about being a trans author writing a trans YA novel, here at gayya.org. Add your review of "The Unintentional Time Traveler" in comments!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Inspiration Image: Behind The Scenes of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill"

Part of the research I did for the novel was visiting The Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands, California. In one of their display cases, there was a poster-sized image of some Civil War-Era soldiers, mugging for the camera.

As I studied their faces, one of them seemed... I don't know, like he had some secret between him and whoever was taking the photo. Some intimacy that couldn't be revealed in front of the others, but was captured in this photograph.

I couldn't get it out of my mind... what if that soldier was Gay? And what if this photo was in my main character's B and B? And what if this 150-year old image of a maybe-Gay soldier was the only person Wyatt felt he could be real with?

That became Wyatt's soldier...

There was no information in the display case about the photo, but I asked the curator, and they said they thought it was from one of a handful of books in their collection. I spent the afternoon flipping through photo books of the Civil War until I found the source photo... And the big reveal about who the men in the photo are! (No spoilers, you'll have to read the novel to find out.)

I've arranged with the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia, to have permission to share the photo both in the published book and here online. From their Cook Collection, here's the photo of Wyatt's soldier (second row from the bottom, right side):

Cook Collection, The Valentine


It's an image that helped me better understand my main character and inspired so much about the novel—I'm really happy to share it with you.

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

An Online Movement Helps Out The Feminist/LGBTQ "Common Language Bookstore" in Ann Arbor, Michigan

I thought this story was great!

On April 16, Dadrielle posted on Tumblr
"I saw a sad facebook post from the gay bookstore back in Ann Arbor where I used to live about how they hadn’t sold any books that day so I went on their online store and bought a couple, and while you don’t get #deals like elsewhere online, I’d love it if y’all would consider buying your next gay book from them instead of like, Amazon."
What happened next?



From the store's Facebook post just two days later:

At last count we had 211 online orders over the last couple of days. We generally have a handful of online orders PER MONTH. And many days our in store sales are 3-5 books. In other words, this deluge is significantly more than we sell in a month. We are literally brought to tears by this outpouring.

...

Our staff is three people and one dog. And while the dog is, perhaps, the world's sweetest dog, he's not much help in this task. The lack of opposable thumbs is a big hindrance to many bookstore tasks.

Mind you, we are not complaining. Having a surge which overwhelms our current resources is a great problem to have. Heartfelt thanks.

As I take a short break from fulfilling orders I wanted to share a few thoughts.

This is transformative.

We will be able to pay some bills which will steady the ship for a longer voyage. In our wildest dreams this surge would continue, we'd hire more people to handle the load, and the world would have a thriving honest-to-god queer bookstore.

But even if it doesn't continue at this truly astonishing rate, having a regular flow on online orders would give the store a level of security we haven't seen in a long time.

All of you did this. You made it happen. And you can be a part of making that dream come true. In fact, you can be the most important part of making that dream come true. You can be an ambassador.

It was, after all, an ambassador who made this happen.

When a friend talks about getting a book, steer them to us. Our mission is to create a safe space for LGBT people, a resource for a community, a place of equality for women, a place where black lives truly matter, a place where your gender is what you say it is, not what anyone else says it is.

If this is your mission as well, join us.

And on April 20, they posted:

Somewhere around 700 online orders in.

How awesome is that? The community coming together in this way, to give new life and possiblities to this safe space.

Beautiful. Because our world needs a "thriving honest-to-god queer bookstore" — really, we need LOTS of them, in every community!

Thanks to Dadrielle, Kaila Hale-Stern's article at The Mary Sue, Shelf Awareness (where I heard about it), the Common Language Bookstore, and of course, our community!

Lee

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic - A Gay Teen Has To Keep The Real World From Finding The World of Myths and Magic



The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic by F. T. Lukens

Desperate to pay for college, Bridger Whitt is willing to overlook the peculiarities of his new job—entering via the roof, the weird stacks of old books and even older scrolls, the seemingly incorporeal voices he hears from time to time—but it's pretty hard to ignore being pulled under Lake Michigan by... mermaids? Worse yet, this happens in front of his new crush, Leo, the dreamy football star who just moved to town.

Fantastic.

When he discovers his eccentric employer Pavel Chudinov is an intermediary between the human world and its myths, Bridger is plunged into a world of pixies, werewolves, and Sasquatch. The realm of myths and magic is growing increasingly unstable, and it is up to Bridger to ascertain the cause of the chaos, eliminate the problem, and help his boss keep the real world from finding the world of myths.

This novel won a 2018 Gold IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for best Teen Fiction from an Indie Publisher. Add your review of "The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic" in comments!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill: Chapter 33, Epilogue, and Author's Note

In Chapter Thirty-Two, a staged trial of Wax-Lincoln with hundreds of Civil War reenactment soldiers is where Wyatt, Von Lawson, and Jonathon have their final showdown. Mackenzie and Martin are there, too, and with cameras running, it's the turning point for how Wyatt feels about himself and what kind of world they all want to be a part of. Now the parade Wyatt's pinned all his hopes on is about to happen... but will anyone show up?

Want to start reading from the beginning? Click here for chapters One and Two.

To read about why I'm serializing my entire YA novel for free on this blog, click here.

Thoughts? Reactions? #queerasafivedollarbill / #qaafdb fan art? Share them as comments here or on social media (facebook, twitter, or instagram.)

Okay community, here's Chapter Thirty-Three!

* *


* *
Chapter 33
Saturday, February 14

Roooaarrr! Roaaar! Raaarrrrrrrr! The motorcycles got everyone’s attention. It was a great way to start a parade.
            Dykes on Bikes blasted into Union Square ahead of their pickup. Wyatt’s dad drove, and, with Lincoln hats tall on their heads, Wyatt, Martin, Becca, Mackenzie, and Jonathon rode in the back. Mackenzie had changed into a white gi, and Jonathon into a red polo shirt.
Wyatt and Martin handed over Lincoln hats to a cluster of three older women who waved and asked for them.
When they’d pulled out the broken arbor, Betty had overheard Wyatt ask his dad if, without making Mackenzie pay for it, they could just keep giving out the hats for free—everyone was so excited to get them. She’d called it “very clever promotional marketing.” Turned out she worked in PR. Wyatt’s dad gave his okay.
“You’re welcome!” Wyatt waved at the women, who thanked them and giggled at how they looked in the stovepipe hats.
            At least one hundred soldiers from earlier were marching behind them in Lincoln hats. As they passed Sandee’s Liquor and Candy Mart, the square opened up before them. It was less than an hour and a half later, but now it was packed, and more people were crossing down from where traffic had been diverted onto Second Street. Usually they said two thousand people attended Lincolnville’s annual parade, but Wyatt thought this seemed double last year’s crowd.
            Amid all the craziness, he had his first chance to talk to Martin. “I thought you left.”
            Martin shook his head. “We didn’t know about Von Lawson’s plan. But the mayor told everyone the parade wasn’t happening, and John Stevens’s producer wouldn’t listen to my emails or get on the phone. But I knew we had to document this with the right people. So we drove down to San Francisco. Mom and I talked to John himself, convinced him, and got his crew to drive back with us.”
            “But, you didn’t even call. Or answer my text!”
            “Mom doesn’t let me have my phone on when I’m driving. And . . . I didn’t want to tell you, in case it didn’t work out. Even when they agreed to come, we weren’t sure we’d make it in time.” Martin lowered his head. “I got my first speeding ticket.”
            He didn’t leave. He did all of it—even drove over the speed limit—for me.              
Behind them, drums and cowbells started up. Ba ba ba Bap—Bap Bap Bap—Ba ba BOP! Ba ba ba Bap—Bap Bap Bap—Ba ba BAHH!
            The rhythm got people cheering.
“I’m really glad you’re here,” Wyatt shouted over the noise.
“Me, too,” Martin said, then winked at Wyatt. “Nice shirt, by the way.”
Wyatt felt this crazy rush, and he couldn’t even try to return the wink. He just shouted, “You’re not getting it back.”
Martin laughed, and Wyatt joined in.
Wyatt’s dad made the turn onto Lincoln Boulevard. They’d moved a section of the stage next to the road, and Wyatt’s mom stood on it with her clipboard and microphone. As they rolled past, she ad-libbed the new parade addition: “Civil War–reenactment soldiers who support equality!”
Wyatt’s eye caught a movement by the library door. It was Mr. Clifton, closing the big entry door, shutting himself inside.
Wyatt just felt sad for him as they rolled forward.
His mom’s voice bounced off the library, amplified on speakers they’d set up all around Union Square.
“The Asian Pacific Islander Women’s Color Guard!”
“The Eugene County African American Equality and Justice Society!”
Wyatt spotted Mr. Guzman and his girlfriend with the pink hair in the crowd. Mr. Guzman gave Wyatt a thumbs-up. Wyatt waved back. He was so glad his old teacher got to see this. All of this.
Wyatt’s mom and the parade behind them kept going as they handed out Lincoln hats.
“The Corvallis Valley High School Gay-Straight Alliance!”
“The Society for Progressive Islam, Salem Chapter!”
In the front row of spectators, Rhonda looked out from behind her video camera and blew them a kiss. Martin grinned at his mom and Frisbeed her a hat. She snagged it midair.
“The Lake Medford Fire Department!”
“Northwest Disability Rights!”
Jonah from Pies and Pool and his girlfriend ran up to get two hats from Wyatt. Jonah insisted on shaking Wyatt’s hand. “Great job, man. Great job!” he shouted over the cheers.
Dykes on Bikes and their pickup led the parade past the Log Cabin. The buses were gone, and they kept passing out hats to the people five and seven deep on the sidewalks and parkway. The stores were open along Fifth and Johnson streets, busy with customers. Mr. Woo even waved to them, all friendly, as people browsed the costumes on his outdoor racks and talked about which photo packages they should get.
The parade finished just a block from their B and B. Wyatt’s dad stopped the truck and leaned out the window as they all jumped down. “You kids go catch the rest of the parade.”
“I’ve got to find the dojo.” Mackenzie waved bye as she headed up Sixth Street to where the parade groups were lined up on Hayes.
Wyatt checked with his dad. “You sure?”
“Go!” His dad chuckled. “I have a lot of cooking to do. Have fun!”
“Thanks!” Wyatt ran up Grant Street, Martin at his side. In three blocks, they made a right, and there were even more people in Union Square now. Wyatt’s mom kept announcing the entries:
“The Albany Art Museum’s Jewish Film Festival!”
“The Multnomah County Women’s Rights Project!”
Wyatt took Martin’s hand, partly to not lose him, and partly because he just wanted to. And he could!
It looked like everyone had shown. Forty-one parade entries in all. Forty-three, with Mackenzie’s dojo and the soldiers. It was a record, and twelve more than had signed up to march in the old version of the parade.
“The Pacific School for the Deaf!”
“Gresham’s Sci-Fi, Anime, and Comic Con!”
Making their way through to the stage where Wyatt’s mom was, they passed a young guy with curled fingers walking with crutches on his arms. He was all happy, chatting with a Latina girl with a Mohawk. For the first time, Wyatt really looked at the crowd. Under the Lincoln hats sprinkled everywhere, they were a mix of farmers and city folk, students from Oregon State and the University of Oregon, old people and kids, disabled and abled, straight and Gay, and probably Bi and Trans, too. They were Black and White and Asian and every color—and everyone was in great spirits, celebrating equality.
            Lincoln’s idea. King’s idea. And, for this parade, Wyatt’s idea, too!
            “From Ashland, the Oregon Theater Festival Players!”
“Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays, PFLAG Philomath!”
They’d just broken through to Lincoln Boulevard when Wyatt’s mom announced, “The Corvallis Yoshukai Karate and Martial Arts Center!”
Wyatt cheered for Mackenzie, Martin at his side. Mackenzie and twenty-five other teens and kids whipped their nunchucks through the air in perfect unison with a black belt counting out in Japanese, “Ich, ni, sahn!” Mackenzie grinned at Wyatt and Martin as she marched past, nunchucks flying.
The parade kept coming. “Western Oregon Atheists!”
            “The Gay Veterans Association, Pacific Northwest Chapter!”
            Then Wyatt’s mom announced, “And a last-minute addition: please welcome our very own mayor, Kelly Rails, and her husband, high school coach and country music star Bryan Rails!”
            Wyatt dropped Martin’s hand. The people around them applauded Jonathon’s parents sitting on the trunk of Coach Rails’s open convertible. Principal Jackson was driving, and Mayor Rails, dressed in jeans and a USA flag T-shirt, waved to everyone like she was the Queen of America.
            Martin snorted and leaned into Wyatt’s ear. “Just watch. She’ll be all over the news as a ‘champion of equality.’”
            Wyatt scowled. “She’s just doing it because it’s popular, and she’s probably figured out a way to make money, or get reelected, because of it.”
            “It’s a good thing, Wyatt. Doesn’t matter why she’s doing it.” Martin’s hand swept the parade and crowd around them. “You’ve already changed this part of the world.”
            Martin was right. Wyatt wasn’t going to let anyone ruin this.
            Wyatt’s mom announced the final parade entry, now number forty-four. “The First Metropolitan Church of Portland’s gospel choir!”
            All fifty choir members, in their gold-and-red robes, tambourines shaking and arms raised, started singing, “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last. . . .”
            Their voices rose up and filled the square, and Wyatt’s chest swelled with the words.
            Martin was smiling at him. “We did it, didn’t we?”
            His lips were beautiful.
            He was beautiful.
            “Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day!” Wyatt said.
            “Is it?” The light sparkled in Martin’s eyes. He knew, all right.
            “And . . . I’m going to kiss you for you, you know?” Wyatt told him.
            “Yeah. I know,” Martin said, moving in toward him. “Me, too.”
            And with thousands of people around them, and the singing lifting them all, Wyatt leaned in to touch his lips to Martin’s. Wyatt could feel Martin’s biceps graze the sides of his Super G T-shirt as they pulled each other close. Wyatt kissed him, and Martin kissed him back. He tasted like spice . . . and cinnamon.
            Free at last.
            How long can I make this kiss last?
            A sigh escaped Wyatt, and it was the big finale. No birds, or chipmunks, or little people. But music, inside as well as out.
            And goose bumps.
            And this feeling in Wyatt’s chest. His throat. His lips.
            Glowing. He was glowing.
            He was standing there, in front of the whole world, and he was kissing Martin.
            His first real kiss.
            And Wyatt was, finally, himself.
            Everyone around them was singing, and Wyatt pulled back to look at Martin. Friends, and more. Much more.
And in that instant, Wyatt knew. He didn’t have to go anywhere else to be himself. He’d found it right there. Elysium.
Ninth grade had been a war. And he’d won.
From his heart, Wyatt started singing along. Martin joined in, and their fingers and voices wove together and rose with the others to the sky. “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I am free. At. Last!”



* *


* *

Epilogue

National Survey Results for the Week Ending Saturday, June 27
Von Lawson Productions

Sample: 1,000 US citizens, statistically randomized
Results:
Do you think Abraham Lincoln was romantically involved with Joshua Speed?
No:                  47%     (unchanged for the last 5 weeks)
Yes:                 47%     (unchanged for the last 5 weeks)
Undecided:      6%       (unchanged for the last 5 weeks)
* *
“Two Lovers”
Music by Irving Gordon
New Lyrics by Martin Sykes

For Wyatt

            Two lovers on their way,
            One wore blue and one wore gray
            No one knew that they were Gay
            All on a beautiful morning
           
            War was hell, they had their share
            One felt hope and one, despair
            Cannonballs tore through the air
            All on a beautiful morning

War was hell, they made it through
Didn’t care if the whole world knew
A kiss between gray and blue
All on a beautiful mo-r-ning!
* *

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill Blog

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill
Blog Post: Sunday, June 6, 10:32 a.m.

Lincoln’s Rainbow
Bed & Breakfast
Invites you to celebrate LGBTQ Pride with us
in beautiful Lincolnville, Oregon!
with
Civil War–Era Suppers with Gregory
Tours with Mackenzie
Music with Martin
Hikes with Wyatt
           
Book early—we have only a handful of room nights still available!

And if you fall in love with our town like we have,
Elizabeth Yarrow Real Estate can help you find a place to call home.

If you’re in town the weekend of June 28, the Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce and the Straight for Equality: Rails for Governor campaign will be sponsoring a block party for local businesses, the community, and visiting friends opposite the Log Cabin on Johnson and Fifth. The chamber has distributed Gay Pride Rainbow Flag stickers, which you’ll see in nearly all of the storefronts in town.


And that Sunday, the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Nora Roberts (our new town librarian) is hosting a party installing Joshua Fry Speed: Lincoln’s Most Intimate Friend on permanent display in the Lincolnville Public Library. You’ll have to ask first, and put on white gloves to touch it, since it’s now a Reference: Special Collections book, but anybody who wants to can read it.

* *


* *

Endnotes for Epilogue


The “Two Brothers” Civil War song that Martin wrote new lyrics for is credited to Irving Gordon. A version with the original lyrics is included in Smithsonian Folkways’ Songs of the Civil War album here: http://www.folkways.si.edu/songs-of-the-civil-war/american-folk-historical-song/music/album/smithsonian.

* *


Author’s Note

Dear Reader,
            Wyatt, Martin, Mackenzie, and Jonathon are fictional characters, but the evidence that convinces Wyatt that Abraham Lincoln loved Joshua Fry Speed is part of American history, and every historical quote used in this story is true. (And every direct quote by Abraham Lincoln is in bold. Check out the Endnotes section that follows each chapter.)
            While historians will continue to argue over whether Lincoln was Gay, or Bi, or straight, each one of us can read the letters, look at the evidence, and make our own decision.
            To me, it’s very clear that Abraham and Joshua were in love. Had I known, when I was growing up, that Abraham Lincoln loved another guy, it would have completely changed how I felt about myself—and maybe made my coming out as a Gay young man easier.
            I hope my fictional story of Wyatt and his friends, and the true story of Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Fry Speed, will inspire you to be authentic, too!
            This is my debut book, and I’d love to hear what you think. You can write me at authorleewind (at) gmail (dot) com, leave a comment on this blog post, or reach out on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. You’ll find all the links at my website: www.leewind.org.
            And now you have the power—to share this secret from history, and to help make this book a success. If you’re willing, I’d love a review of Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill wherever you read reviews. Reviews, and word of mouth, can make all the difference. So thank you. And please know that, for me, your having read this book means the world.
            The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
                                                            Lee
                                                            Los Angeles, California