Friday, January 18, 2019

"The Witch Boy" and "The Hidden Witch" - The First Two Books In a Wonderful and Smart Gender Non-Conforming Middle Grade Graphic Novel Series

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

Even magic has rules . . .

Everyone in Aster’s family is born with magic. Boys grow up to be shapeshifters; girls into witches. No exceptions.

But Aster can’t seem to get the hang of shapeshifting. Instead, he spends his time spying on the witchery lessons the girls are getting. He seems to have a knack for casting spells and wants to know more, but the only person he can share his growing gift with is Charlie, a girl from the non-magical side of town.

Then, during a night of shapeshifting practice, one of the boys goes missing. Aster knows he can search for the boy with the witchcraft he’s been secretly learning. Could breaking his family’s most important tradition save the day—or ruin everything?

The Hidden Witch

Aster and his family are adjusting to his unconventional talent for witchery; unlike the other boys in his family, he isn't a shapeshifter. He's taking classes with his grandmother and helping to keep an eye on his great-uncle whose corrupted magic wreaked havoc on the family.

Meanwhile, Aster's friend from the non-magical part of town, Charlie, is having problems of her own -- a curse has tried to attach itself to her. She runs to Aster and escapes it, but now the friends must find the source of the curse before more people -- normal and magical alike -- get hurt.

There's lots I loved about these—fast-paced, interesting magic world, well drawn, and most of all, the thoughtfulness of how strict gender roles can backfire on both people and society. 

What do you think? Add your review of "The Witch Boy" and/or "The Hidden Witch" in comments!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Safe - A Gay Teen Mystery - Was a gay student's death suicide, or murder? Kyle (also a gay teen) needs to find out.

Safe by Mark Zubro

Roger Cook is in the middle of his senior year when Kyle Davis, the most picked on kid in his high school, commits suicide. Roger agrees to write an article on Kyle for the school newspaper. As he gathers information, Roger realizes the dead boy was gay and may have been murdered. Gay himself, Roger wants to find out the truth, but this leads him to danger and the possibility of love. Roger opens himself to even greater risk while trying to make those around him safe.

Add your review of "Safe" in comments!

Monday, January 14, 2019

#QueerHistoryIsEverywhere - Play Along On Instagram! #queerasafivedollarbill

Have you ever noticed how Abraham Lincoln is everywhere?

Not just on the Mount Rushmore, and all those U.S. pennies and five-dollar bills, but on street signs,

Like this one, spotted in the Chesnut Hill neighborhood outside of Philadelphia!

On Schools,

Like Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, California

and even in the London airport!

Our gay friend Lincoln is everywhere!

As you may know, Abraham Lincoln's letters to Joshua Fry Speed—letters that make it pretty clear that Abraham loved Joshua—are the secret from history that inspired my debut YA novel, Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill.

So now, join me over on Instagram and let's tag both




Because reminders of men who loved men in history - specifically, Abraham and Joshua - are everywhere, and that's a great thing to point out!

It helps to counter the false narrative that the only people who mattered in history were straight, white, rich, cis-gendered, and able-bodied men.

And, it's a nice way to spread the word about this novel that's all about empowering LGBTQ teens and their allies!

Thanks for playing along,

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

Friday, January 11, 2019

No Holding Back - Gay Teen Romance on a Whirlwind Vacation in Europe

No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista
Everyone knows that Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston—everyone except Preston. Nathan has always accepted that Preston was too focused on his swim training to worry about love. But Preston is heading off to train for the Olympics soon, so if Nathan wants his chance at love, he has to speak up now. But saying “I love you” is surprisingly difficult, even for someone as confident as Nathan.

Maybe a whirlwind vacation in Europe could help? But . . . what if it doesn’t work out and he loses the best friend he’s ever had?

This is the second novel in the author's Dodge Cove trilogy (No Love Allowed, No Holding Back, and No Second Chances). Add your review of “No Holding Back” in comments!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Hurricane Child - Caroline, a 12 Year Old Black Girl on St. Thomas crushes on another girl, while being stalked by a spirit and trying to find her missing mother

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.

Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She's hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won't stop following her, and -- worst of all -- Caroline's mother left home one day and never came back.

But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend -- and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.

Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother -- before Caroline loses her forever.

This middle grade book received starred reviews from
Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist! Add your review of "Hurricane Child" in comments!

Monday, January 7, 2019

I'm doing the Writers Happiness Challenge! (Starting Today) If you're a writer too, I hope you'll join in...

My friend Lori Snyder, a writer herself and the leader of yoga and mediation sessions at the SCBWI Summer Conferences for many years, is once again leading her fellow writers on a "Writers Happiness Challenge."

As Lori explains on the signup page, the Writers Happiness Challenge takes five minutes a day, and is a

“series of curated daily exercises designed to help you expand your happiness, access flow states with greater ease, and create more space for and around your writing. It’s for all writers of any kind, and it’s free.

These exercises are not writing prompts in the traditional fashion. Some of them don’t even involve writing, though many of them do. They are happiness prompts written specifically for writers, designed to help create a baseline of happiness to lead to more creativity and innovation and a deeper joy around life and your writing.

You can do the challenge on your own, with your writers group, or with a writing buddy. It’s free and accessible to all.”
What does happiness have to do with writing? Lori shares,

“new studies are showing that the best emotional state for innovation and creativity is a state of high energy and positivity. In other words, it’s looking as though happiness fuels creativity more than any other emotion. Happiness does lots of other happy things, too. It makes us more able to see ourselves, our art, and our lives with more clarity, thus allowing us to see how and when we might fit in pockets of writing time. It reminds us what we care about most and how to make space for that. And, not least of all, it feels good.”

And Lori is absolutely a friend an ally to our LGBT community, so we can all feel welcome to be our true authentic selves in her Writers Happiness Community!

You can find out all the details and sign up here:

Here's to a happy and creatively fulfilling 2019 ahead!

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

Friday, December 21, 2018

10 Grateful Moments from 2018 and Filling the Well (I'll be back blogging on January 7, 2019)

Star photo by Mathias Krumbholz

What a year 2018 has been... Packed with Creative Highlights, One Lowlight, and So Much Possibility Ahead!

Here's my top ten creative moments from 2018, for which I am grateful:

Successfully crowdfunding my book!

Publishing that book as my debut YA novel, “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill”!

Getting some awesome trade and reader reviews!

Having my book named a BookLife Prize Semi-Finalist, making it one of Publishers Weekly's top five independently published middle grade and young adult titles of 2018!

Giving out over 500 copies (so far) of “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” to LGBTQ and Allied Teens!

Connecting with librarians at ALA's Annual Conference in New Orleans and beyond!

Launching my book here in Los Angeles and having so many friends and family be so supportive!

Leaning into the synergy of my day job at the Independent Book Publishers Association, yielding opportunities for me as an author publisher, and insights into providing better member services and benefits for our independent publisher and author publisher members.

Losing a dishonest agent (yuck! But so good to be move on from that once it was revealed!)

...and then signing with an honest and wonderful agent, Marietta Zacker of the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.

And throughout it all, my wonderful community was here for me. (We just passed 2.6 million page loads on this blog!)  Thank you!

Whew! So now, I'm taking a few weeks off of blogging and email, and I'll be filling the creative well, so 2019 can be engaging, fulfilling, and realize its potential!

I'll be back blogging on January 7, 2019. Until then, know that

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Merry Men - A Brilliant New Graphic Novel That Re-Visions The Legendary Robin Hood as a Gay Hero

Merry Men, written by Robert Rodi, Illustrated by Jackie Lewis, Colored by Marissa Louise and Shari Chankhamma, Lettered by Jon Cairns

Thirteenth-century England. Robert Godwinson, former lover of King Richard, lives with his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, away from the watchful eye of Prince John, who has outlawed homosexuality. Though isolated, the men live in peace—that is, until a stranger enters their camp seeking aid for a nearby town besieged by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert, nicknamed Robin, is reluctant to hlep, but equally eager to be rid of this perplexing stranger... and to put his formidable bow-and-arrow to use. It's Robin Hood like you've never seen him before, based on scholarly speculation about what's really behind the outlaw's legend.
The story was riveting for how it pulled all the pieces of the Robin Hood legend together with the homophobic history of England, including both gay, bi, and trans storylines and characters to root for. I'm a fan!

Some great interior pages to give you a taste:

There's even some bonus "Queer History of England" pages at the end!

Throughout, "Merry Men" is the euphemism for "men who love other men" and it's brilliant!

Add your review of "Merry Men" in comments!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Booklist calls "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" "Compelling," "Intriguing and Readable"!

I'm so delighted to have a Booklist review of my novel — by Michael Cart. (It was published in their September 15, 2018 issue, but I missed it and only just found out!)

Here's the awesome pull quote from the review:


I hope this helps convince many more librarians to bring "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" into their libraries to empower their young LGBTQ and Allied patrons.

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

Friday, December 14, 2018

P.S. I Miss You - A Book in Letters, Written by 11-Year-Old Evie to her sent-away-for-being-pregnant older sister... and in those letters, Evie writes about the crush she has on another girl

P.S. I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy

Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister, Cilla, away to stay with a distant great-aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. Forbidden from speaking to Cilla, Evie secretly sends her letters.

Evie writes about her family, torn apart and hurting. She writes about her life, empty without Cilla. And she writes about the new girl in school, June, who becomes her friend, and then maybe more than a friend.

Evie could really use some advice from Cilla. But Cilla isn’t writing back, and it’s time for Evie to take matters into her own hands.

Add your review of "P.S. I Miss You" in comments!

Monday, December 10, 2018

The GSA Reading Group Challenge for "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" – Win 10 Free Copies for your Students – Enter Now!

Good news!

Thanks to a generous donation, I have 90 paperback copies of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" to donate... and will be giving them to nine different high school Gay-Straight Alliance groups!

To enter, follow these steps:

1) Get ten members of your high school GSA to commit to reading "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" this 2018-2019 school year, and schedule a meeting when you'll discuss the book.

2) Have the GSA's faculty or parent advisor email me at
leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com
with the name of your school and mailing address.

3) Be one of the first eight* high school GSAs to contact me and you'll win the ten free copies! (I'll cover shipping costs inside the U.S. If you're an international school, you'll have to cover shipping.)

*Why eight? Because the Gay Straight Alliance at Pali High in Pacific Palisades, California, was the first group to get ten free copies!

Will your school's GSA be next? I hope so—good luck!

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

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Audiobook of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" is Available!

Hello Community,

I'm really excited about the audiobook version of my debut YA novel "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill." The book has been named a BookLife Award Semi-Finalist, making it one of Publishers Weekly's Top Five Independently Published Titles of 2018!

Wyatt is 15, and nobody in his homophobic small town of Lincolnville, Oregon, knows that he’s gay. Not even his best friend (and accidental girlfriend) Mackenzie. Then he discovers a secret from actual history: Abraham Lincoln was in love with another guy! Since everyone loves Lincoln, Wyatt’s sure that if the world knew about it, they would treat gay people differently, and it would solve everything about his life. So Wyatt outs Lincoln online, triggering a media firestorm that threatens to destroy everything he cares about - and he has to pretend more than ever that he’s straight.... Only then he meets Martin, who is openly gay and who just might be the guy Wyatt’s been hoping to find.

The audiobook includes a bonus interview with the author Lee Wind by multi-award-winning author Lesléa Newman. If you loved the movie Love, Simon and the audiobook Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, you're bound to love Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill - also narrated by Michael Crouch!

You can listen to the first two chapters here:

The "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" audiobook is now available at these online retailers:

Audible - -

Downpour -

The Audiobook Store - -

Google Play -

The audiobook will be available soon on Hoopla, Overdrive, Nook Audiobook, Sribd, and Barnes & Noble.

My thanks to Becky Parker Geist and the team at ProAudio Voices, and especially to narrator Michael Crouch for doing an incredible job bringing Wyatt and the whole story to life. And my gratitude extends as well to the legendary Lesléa Newman, who was so kind — she interviewed me for a special bonus section at the end of the audiobook!

Download the audiobook version of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill," and/or ask your library to carry it, and give it a listen. I hope you'll love it as much as I do!

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

You Know Me Well - A Teen Girl in Love with Another Girl. A Teen Boy in Love with Another Boy. And One Wild Night.

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Add your review of "You Know Me Well" in comments!

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza - A Crush on Another Girl, Miracles, and, Maybe, The End of The World

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

Sixteen-year-old Elena Mendoza is the product of a virgin birth.

This can be scientifically explained (it’s called parthenogenesis), but what can’t be explained is how Elena is able to heal Freddie, the girl she’s had a crush on for years, from a gunshot wound in a Starbucks parking lot. Or why the boy who shot Freddie, David Combs, disappeared from the same parking lot minutes later after getting sucked up into the clouds. What also can’t be explained are the talking girl on the front of a tampon box, or the reasons that David Combs shot Freddie in the first place.

As more unbelievable things occur, and Elena continues to perform miracles, the only remaining explanation is the least logical of all—that the world is actually coming to an end, and Elena is possibly the only one who can do something about it.

Add your review of "The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza" in comments!

Friday, November 30, 2018

"Ghosts and Ashes" and "Zenith Dreams" - Books 2 and 3 in F.T. Lukens' Gay Teen Science Fiction Series, Broken Moon

"Ghosts and Ashes" by F.T. Lukens

Three months have passed since the events of The Star Host, and Ren is living aboard the Star Stream under the watchful eyes of the Phoenix Corps. Plagued by vivid nightmares that ravage the ship in his sleep, he struggles to prove he isn’t a threat and fears he has traded one captor for another. His relationship with Asher, whose efforts to balance his personal loyalty to Ren with his professional duties to the Corps are failing, fractures.

Adrift without an anchor, Ren must return to his home planet of Erden if he has any chance of reversing his dangerous descent into madness. There, he hopes search for his missing brother and salvage his relationship with Asher. What he finds is knowledge that puts everyone’s allegiance to the test.

"Zenith Dreams"

In the Broken Moon series finale, Ren, a technopathic star host in search of his lost brother, wakes from life-threatening injuries to discover his love, Asher, has returned to his position with the Phoenix Corps. Aboard the private trading ship, the Star Stream, the crew informs Ren the draconian Corps leaders believe he's dead. No longer hunted for his powers, he has an opportunity to disappear, but Ren is determined to fix his mistakes. He convinces the crew to join him for one last dangerous mission: Find Asher, free his brother Liam, and escape the Corps' reach forever. But a war is brewing between two formidable armies, and Ren is drawn into the conflict. With friends by his side, Ren must make a choice, and it will affect the future of his found family--and the whole star cluster--forever.

Add your review of "Ghost and Ashes" and/or "Zenith Dreams" in comments! 

Read about book one in this series, "The Star Host" here.