Friday, February 21, 2020

That’s Not What Happened - A Teen Girl Struggles With Speaking Up About The Truth Of A Mass Shooting... And Her Own Identity

That's Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger

It's been three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre. Three years since my best friend, Sarah, was killed in a bathroom stall during the mass shooting. Everyone knows Sarah's story--that she died proclaiming her faith.

But it's not true.

I know because I was with her when she died. I didn't say anything then, and people got hurt because of it. Now Sarah's parents are publishing a book about her, so this might be my last chance to set the record straight . . . but I'm not the only survivor with a story to tell about what did--and didn't--happen that day.

Except Sarah's martyrdom is important to a lot of people, people who don't take kindly to what I'm trying to do. And the more I learn, the less certain I am about what's right. I don't know what will be worse: the guilt of staying silent or the consequences of speaking up . . .

What's Queer about it? Amid everything else, the main character, Lee, has to come out to her friends as Asexual.

Add your review of "That's Not What Happened" in comments!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Last Bus to Everland - A Handsome Stranger Leads Brody to Magic, Adventure, and a place called "Everland"

Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron

Brody Fair feels like nobody gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and definitely not the girls in the projects set on making his life miserable. Then he meets Nico, an art student who takes Brody to Everland, a “knock-off Narnia" that opens its door at 11:21pm each Thursday for Nico and his band of present-day misfits and miscreants.

Here Brody finds [community] and a weekly respite from a world where he feels out of place. But when the doors to Everland begin to disappear, Brody is forced to make a decision: He can say goodbye to Everland and to Nico, or stay there and risk never seeing his family again. Will Nico take the last bus to Everland?
Add your review of "Last Bus to Everland" in comments!

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James - A Middle Grade Novel About A 12-Year-Old Girl With a New Heart, and a Second Chance To Live Her Dream Life (Which Maybe Doesn't Involve Kissing a Boy After All)

When Sunny St. James receives a new heart, she decides to set off on a "New Life Plan":
1) do awesome amazing things she could never do before;
2) find a new best friend; and
3) kiss a boy for the first time.

Her "New Life Plan" seems to be racing forward, but when she meets her new best friend Quinn, Sunny questions whether she really wants to kiss a boy at all. With the reemergence of her mother, Sunny begins a journey to becoming the new Sunny St. James.

Add your review of "The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James" in comments!

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Navigator’s Touch - a Sequel to the Lesbian Merfolk/Human Love and Adventure of "The Seafarer's Kiss"

The Navigator's Touch by Julia Ember

After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.

She petitions the Jarl in Skjordal for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?

It's the sequel to The Seafarer's Kiss. Add your review of "The Navigator's Touch" in comments!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday is Today, February 12 - Wouldn't It Be Nice To Celebrate The Legacy of His Loving Another Man, Too?

Oh, Abraham Lincoln.

He's on Mount Rushmore.

He's on the Penny.

He's on the Five-Dollar Bill.

And the letters he wrote Joshua Fry Speed makes it pretty clear that he loved Joshua.

Surprised? So was I, when I first heard of this, when I first read the letters.

And so is Wyatt, the 15 year-old main character of my YA novel, Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill.

But Wyatt has an idea - if he can tell the world that Abraham Lincoln - the 16th President of the United States - was gay, or bi, then maybe he can change the way people think about LGBTQ people. Maybe it's a secret from history that can change the world.

If you haven't read it yet, I hope you'll give it a chance.

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill is available in print, eBook, and Audiobook formats.

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

Monday, February 10, 2020

Coda and Chorus - A Dystopian Two-Book Series with a Bi Teen Guy Who Has To Save The World

Coda by Emma Trevayne

Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem—the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid.

Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and free will. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?

What's queer about it is that Anthem is Bi, and at the same time that he's in a relationship with a girl, Haven, he is also in a relationship with his male bandmate, Scope.


The dream is all white from a memory that is too real, and its melody has continued to haunt Alpha, even though she has moved as far away from temptation as possible. Eight years after she was exposed to her first and only addictive musical track from the Corp, Alpha has established a new life with a band of her own in a city that has given her the space she was seeking, Los Angeles.

However, it only takes one urgent call to bring Alpha back home to Anthem, the older brother who raised her as well as a revolution, and Omega, her twin brother whose contrasting personality makes her feel whole. As Alpha spends more time in the Web, she notices that the number of people who look sickly and addicted seems to be rising. With Anthem's health declining, Alpha and her friends will have to dig deeper into the mainframe than ever before in order to find the root of the Corp's re-emergence.

Add your review of "Coda" and/or "Chorus" in comments!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Are You Attending #NY20SCBWI? Join Me For the LGBTQ and Allies Social

The SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City is always wonderful, and one of my favorite things about it is this gathering of community within the community!

LGBTQ and Allies Social
Saturday February 8, 2020, 7:30pm-9pm
In Broadway (Conference Level)

Join me, special faculty guests, and your fellow conference attendees that are interested in writing and illustrating works for kids and teens that include LGBTQ characters and themes!

Hope to see you there.

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

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A Drawing of Rainbow Families Posted to Social Media Gets 26 Year-old Yulia Tsvetkova Prosecuted for "Pornography" and Violating Russia's "Gay Propaganda" Law

Illustration reading, "Family is where love is. Support LGBT+ families.” © 2019 Yulia Tsvetkova

The drawing seems so sweet. But images of love - our LGBTQ love - and the people who create and share them are being silenced by Russia's terrible "gay propaganda" law.

There's a petition to help Yulia over at AllOut. Here's the message of it:

When Yulja heard about a same-sex couple who had to flee Russia with their two adopted children after being targeted by the authorities, she drew a picture (see above – the text reads “Family is where love is. Support LGBT+ families.”) to show her solidarity.

After she shared this and other drawings promoting inclusivity on social media, the authorities brought trumped-up charges against her for violating the Russian "gay propaganda" law and distributing pornography, fined her 50,000 rubles (around 800 USD / 722 €), and put her under house arrest. She could face up to six years in prison.

She is not the first person to be targeted under the "gay propaganda" law. But with your help, she might be the last.

If enough people speak up, the charges might be dropped – and the "gay propaganda" law abolished once and for all.

Please consider signing Yulia's petition, run in conjunction with the Moscow Community Center. And spread the word. Images of our families should be celebrated, and not used to persecute people.

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

Monday, February 3, 2020

The February 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter

Happy February, Community!

Here's the latest...

Watch the under-five minute video by clicking the still frame above or by clicking here:


Hi Community, It’s February 2020

I’m Lee Wind, and this is my Video Newsletter, which is all about Updating, Informing, and hopefully Inspiring YOU.

Queer History is Everywhere!
So I was just in San Francisco at the GLBT History Museum there, and while a small space it's packed with really cool things, including Michael Cafee’s Fe Be’s Leather David, which I'd never seen before.

So in1966, this artist took a cast version of the statue of David, the famous one by Michelangelo, and he readjusted the arm - he kind of broke it at the elbow, and put the thumb in the jean's pocket, he put jeans on him, and a leather jacket, and this hat, and he made him kind of this gay, cruising leather daddy kind of icon.

I thought that was so cool, how he remixed history. And evidently, the statue was in this bar in San Francisco for years, and there are copies that have been made of the Leather David that are all over the world. And it was the first time I got to see it and I got really inspired because I love that reworking of history to make it something even more relevant for our Queer community. Fe Be's Leather David. Who knew? So cool. Queer History really is Everywhere!

Lee Wind Author Update

So this month, the exciting news is a new subtitle.

So the book that's coming out in May 2021 from Zest/Lerner,

the series title is:

The book title is:

And the new subtitle is:
Discover Hidden Lives and Secret Loves

Which I think really sums it up perfectly. So, keep a look out!

Readers Say

This month I'm going to feature a review from Goodreads. Rachel A. gave Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill 5 stars, writing:

Lee Wind’s clear writing and propulsive plot swoop us along on Wyatt’s journey as he navigates the flame wars, the anger of his parents, the bullying of his classmates and his feelings towards his new crush, Martin. I love the journey, I love the drama, I love the historical details and the sad, mysterious librarian. The journey is perilous, but the ending is creative and hopeful. One young boy makes a difference to himself, to his family and to his community. Well done.

Thanks, Rachel. It's always so gratifying to hear from readers that really got the book. And that it resonated with them, and that they're willing to share that with others to help spread the word.


So it's February, which means that I'm going to be on my way to New York City, for the SCBWI Winter Conference [Feb 7, 8, 9]. It's always a wonderful experience. I'll be blogging it once again, and hosting the LGBTQ Q&A which is a social sort of space safe gathering of the community within the larger community, and I can't wait!


Also, In March, I'm going to be in Arizona, in Phoenix, [March 21] at something called “Indie Author Spring Training” which is a new conference, and they asked me to be on faculty, and I'm looking forward to that.

So if I'm going to see you there, in New York or in Arizona, say "Hi!"

Reading In, Writing Out

This month I’m listening to the audiobook of “Infinity Son” by Adam Silvera…
It's the beginning of a new series, it's a fantasy.
Gritty New York City, a magical world where some people have powers - not everybody - and there are superheroes and there are supervillians, and there's two brothers who are swept up into the conflict – and one of them is gay! And I'm having a great time with it.


This month, the thing that is most inspiring to me is my friend Karol Ruth Silverstein’s book "Cursed" won the Schneider Family Book Award [for the best book for teens about the disability experience] from the American Library Association.

This is a HUGE deal, and it couldn't happen to a lovelier person or a better writer. The book is amazing, and now so many more people will get to read it.

Karol's story of hard work and perseverance, and her taking her own really challenging, painful onset of a disease in her childhood, as a teen, and her reworking it into this amazing #OwnVoices story that will touch so many hearts and impact so many people for the good... I just couldn't be happier for her.

Yay, Karol! And that's inspiration.

Want more? 

Check out I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read? at
Until then, the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you.


Friday, January 31, 2020

The Book of David (Anonymous Diaries) - A Fictional Teen Diary About a Star Football Player who Falls for the New Guy But Can't Risk Being Outed

The Book of David (Anonymous Diaries) by Anonymous

The author of this fictional diary began writing for a class assignment, but soon it became much more to him. As the star player of his high school football team, he faces a lot of pressure and expectation. Not to mention the secret that he’s harboring inside. The secret that could change everything.

And as David quickly learns, nothing stays secret forever.

His innermost thoughts and feelings are chronicled in the diary he left behind.

Add your review of "The Book of David" in comments!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

"When Lesbians Led the Women’s Suffrage Movement" - A Fascinating Article by Anya Jabour at The Conversation

When Lesbians Led the Women's Suffrage Movement

I knew about Jane Addams (and her life-long relationship with Mary Roset Smith), but the loving-other-women history of Sophonisba Breckinridge (whose "intimate relationship with Edith Abbott, dean of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, helped her pioneer the social work profession and promote social welfare policy") and Anna Howard Shaw (who "relied on her companion and secretary, Lucy E. Anthony – suffrage pioneer Susan B. Anthony’s niece") were new to me.

And they shouldn't be.

We should be teaching this history in schools!

At the 1911 meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the membership elected Jane Addams as first vice president and Sophonisba Breckinridge as second vice president.

The new officers joined a leadership team headed by Anna Howard Shaw, an ordained minister who served as NAWSA’s president from 1904 to 1915.

For the next year, women who loved other women held the top three positions in the nation’s largest feminist organization.
Further, Anya writes,

My research suggests that the personal lives of these suffrage leaders shaped their political agendas. Rather than emphasizing differences of gender, race, ethnicity and class, they advanced equal rights for all Americans.

I'm delighted to learn about them now.

Go read the full piece, and if you're intrigued, dig further. (The article's author just published a biography of Sophonisba Breckinridge.)

There's so much of our queer history to discover!

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

P.S. Shout-out to my friend Stuart who shared a reprint of this article on Towelroad me! 
I love learning about our LGBTQ history - read something that surprises you? Let me know, and I'll help spread the word!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Monster of the Week - A Gay Teen Has to Save the World of Myths and Magic (Again)

Monster of the Week (The Rules) by F.T. Lukens

It's the sequel to the quite awesome The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic!

Spring semester of Bridger Whitt’s senior year of high school is looking great. He has the perfect boyfriend, a stellar best friend, and an acceptance letter to college. He also has this incredible job as an assistant to Pavel Chudinov, an intermediary tasked with helping cryptids navigate the modern world. His days are filled with kisses, laughs, pixies, and the occasional unicorn. Life is awesome.

But as graduation draws near, Bridger’s perfect life begins to unravel. Uncertainties about his future surface, his estranged dad shows up out of nowhere, and, perhaps worst of all, a monster-hunting television show arrives in town to investigate the series of strange events from last fall. The show’s intrepid host will not be deterred, and Bridger finds himself trapped in a game of cat and mouse that could very well put the myth world at risk. Again.

Add your review of "Monster of the Week" in comments!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Who Is History Written For? The SAME Social Studies Textbooks in California and Texas Are Vastly Different

This investigative piece by Dana Goldstein in the Jan 12, 2020 edition of the New York Times is fascinating reading: TWO STATES. EIGHT TEXTBOOKS. TWO AMERICAN STORIES. American history textbooks can differ across the country, in ways that are shaded by partisan politics.

There are so many ways that textbooks shape the knowledge and prejudices of students - skewing perception and understanding to align with political agendas. In many cases it's silence in the Texas versions - not including the paragraph about post-WWII discrimination against African Americans in the housing market, not including language about gun control related to the Second Amendment, not including the information about Two-Spirit indigenous people that California students finally get to see.

Just think how powerful it is for a female-identified student to come across this:

"These policies only recognized male heads of families, disrupting some traditional societies in which females held leading roles."

And for a gender non-conforming student to come across this:

"The policies also refused to recognize the authority of "two-spirit", what today we might consider lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender Native Americans, who held special roles in some groups.

And consider how loud the silence is for those same students reading the Texas edition, where this language doesn't exists. Where this history is erased.

California and Texas have the same number of female students. The same percentage of gender-nonconforming young people. What's different is the history they're being taught (and how they're being shown whether they have a place at the table, or not.)

There's much more in the analysis, like the Texas version adding a critique of the quality of works produced in the Harlem Renaissance, and it all brings up the same issue: Nonfiction is not unbiased. History is shaped by those who record it, by what's included, and what's left out.

And when textbooks fail to include the stories of women, the stories of people of color, the stories of disabled people, and the stories of women who loved women, men who loved men, people who loved without regard to gender, and people who lived outside gender boundaries, we need to supplement that education as best we can, until all our communities' stories, all of our history, is included, too.

Because only then will everyone know that they have a place in history. A place at the table today. And that will let them know that they, too, can dream of a tomorrow without limits.

And not incidentally, that's what I hope to do with my writing.

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Truth Is - A 15-Year-Old Latina Dates A Trans Guy, Exploring Love, Identity, and Self-Worth

The Truth Is by NoNieqa Ramos

Fifteen-year-old Verdad doesn't think she has time for love. She's still struggling to process the recent death of her best friend, Blanca; dealing with the high expectations of her hardworking Puerto Rican mother and the absence of her remarried father; and keeping everyone at a distance. But when she meets Danny, a new guy at school--who happens to be trans--all bets are off. Verdad suddenly has to deal with her mother's disapproval of her relationship with Danny as well as her own prejudices and questions about her identity, and Danny himself, who is comfortable in his skin but keeping plenty of other secrets.

This novel was named one of the best YA Latinx books of 2019 by Remezcla and HipLatina. Add your review of "The Truth Is" in comments!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Infinity Son - YA Fantasy Where Two Brothers (One's Gay) Navigate an Alternate, Magical, and Violent New York

Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle #1) by Adam Silvera

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

Check out the interview with Adam in Publishers Weekly where he spoke about this new series.

What's Queer about it? Emil is Gay, there are significant Bi characters, and a lesbian relationship in there, too.

Add your review of "Infinity Son" in comments!