Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Meet me at ALA 2018!

The American Library Association's annual conference is in New Orleans, starting this Friday June 22 and running through Monday June 25, 2018.

I'll be there with IBPA (The Independent Book Publishers Association) in booth #3548. The booth will feature a cooperative book display with over 200 titles from IBPA's independent publisher members. We'll also have a book signing area, where our indie publisher members can bring their authors to sign and give away Advanced Reader Copies of their books to the attending librarians. It's a great opportunity for both authors and librarians to meet, and generates a lot of excitement about the books!

I'll be helping in the booth with all the other publisher signings, and (imaginary drumroll, please...) I'll also be signing ARCs of Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill!

The first 30 librarians in line on Saturday June 23rd at 4:30pm will get a free, signed Advanced Reader Copy of Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill, and I'll get to meet you!

If you're swinging by the booth outside that 4:30pm-5pm Saturday time slot, I'd still love to meet you, and I'll be happy to share one of my new Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill bookmarks!

Most of all, librarians are awesome, and I'm delighted to once again attend ALA - especially with ARCs of my debut novel!

Hope to see you in New Orleans...

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

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Quick And Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns - A queer language reference comic

A Quick And Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson

Archie, a snarky genderqueer artist, is tired of people not understanding gender neutral pronouns. Tristan, a cisgender dude, is looking for an easy way to introduce gender neutral pronouns to his increasingly diverse workplace. The longtime best friends team up in this short and fun comic guide that explains what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use them. They also include what to do if you make a mistake, and some tips-and-tricks for those who identify outside of the binary to keep themselves safe in this binary-centric world. A quick and easy resource for people who use they/them pronouns, and people who want to learn more!

This guide is simple and really useful.

Covering how it feels to be misgendered, how we're all going to make mistakes occasionally, and offering some examples of how to integrate this pronoun knowledge into regular life, this guide is a great introduction for cis-gendered folks, and also, I imagine, really affiriming for those who use gender-neutral pronouns, and identify as gender queer, gender fluid, trans, or queer.

Some interior panels, from the review copy supplied to me by Oni Press:

Add your review of "A Quick And Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns" in comments!

Friday, June 15, 2018

My article, "Find Your Tribe," is published in InD'Tale Magazine

The magazine cover

I'm really happy with this article in InD'Tale Magazine, a digital magazine that started focused on romance titles and has grown from there, whose mission is to help their readers "find the BEST books and authors in the world."

The article, "Find Your Tribe," is for authors, for publishers, and for readers, and I'm delighted to share what I've learned from wearing so many hats; my blogger hat, my author hat, and my director of marketing and programming for the Independent Book Publishers Association hat!

You can read the piece on pages 28-30 of the magazine, which is available for free here: 

Me, top left of the Contributor Page

The first page of my article!

There's lots more articles and book reviews in the magazine - you can subscribe (for free) here.

My thanks to InD'Tale's publisher, TJ Mackay, for the opportunity.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Texas town elects openly Gay Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano their mayor

I thought this news from last month was really cool.

“Stonewall happened because drag queens and a minority group stood up to animosity, and I had to go back in the closet [while in the Air Force] because of that same hatred,” [Bruno] told “I know what that was like, and it translates to today’s campaign. I’m not going to bow down. I am who I am. Accept me or not.”

The headline angle on how Bruno likes wearing heels felt sensationalized (the old stereotype that all gay men want to dress like/be women), but maybe that's my internalized sense of things being homophobic (and some internalized homophobia, too.) — maybe there's a generational shift happening here, and it's just a shrug - oh, he wore high heels to a Veterans Day parade. (Which, as a Veteran, is a pretty nice way of protesting the military's old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.)

Bottom line: the fact that Bruno was elected by his small Texas town is a moment of hope, and pride.

And, just because it's such good, happy news, here's a smiling photo of Mayor Lozano:

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

Running With Lions - A Gay Teen Soccer Team Romance

Running with Lions by Julian Winters

Bloomington High School Lions' star goalie Sebastian Hughes should be excited about his senior year: His teammates are amazing, and he's got a coach who doesn't ask anyone to hide their sexuality. But when his estranged childhood-best-friend Emir Shah shows up at summer training camp, Sebastian realizes the team's success may end up in the hands of the one guy who hates him. Determined to reconnect with Emir for the sake of the Lions, he sets out to regain Emir's trust. But to Sebastian's surprise, sweaty days on the pitch, wandering the town's streets, and bonding on the weekends spark more than just friendship between them.

Check out this piece on outsports where the book's author writes about how Robbie Rogers, the pro soccer player who came out as gay in 2013, inspired him to write this, his debut novel. 

Add your review of "Running with Lions" in comments!

Friday, June 8, 2018

A great web comic on the Gay Revolutionary War general, Von Steuben

Josh Trujillo and Levi Hastings created this awesome web comic about Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand Steuben. Check it out at The Nib here!

There's so much to love about this true story from history that usually doesn't get taught... but it is, now!

two glimpses of the story:

Go read the whole thing here!

I'm also happy to share that there's a Von Steuben moment in my own YA novel, "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill," and I'm thrilled that the true story of this Gay Revolutionary War General is also being told by Josh and Levi, and getting out in the world!

Knowing our LGBTQ history is empowering, for us all.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

"Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" is featured in Publishers Weekly!

I'm thrilled to share that in the May 28, 2018 edition of Publishers Weekly, in an editorial feature on LGBTQ Publishing, twelve teen titles releasing in 2018 were featured, including my debut YA novel!

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill in Publishers Weekly

The three-page piece is called "Reading List: Select 2018 Books with LGBTQ themes," and it was compiled by Carolyn Juris and Emma Kantor.

It reads:

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill
Lee Wind. Oct. Ages 14-up.
Wind, who blogs at I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?, raised $15,000 on Kickstarter to publish his debut novel, about a gay teen in a conservative town who discovers a historical secret: Abraham Lincoln was in love with another man.

And you, and the over 68,000 booksellers, publishers, public and academic librarians, wholesalers, distributors, educators, agents and writers who read each issue of PW, will find Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill right there on page 38, between Pulp by Robin Talley and Someday by David Levithan.

My book certainly has some nice company!

And here's a screen shot from the online version of the article, showing the book cover, too:

Find out more about Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill here.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Sewing The Rainbow - the story of the man who designed the Gay Pride Rainbow Flag: A Picture Book I Wish Had Been Read To Me When I Was A Little Kid

Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag by Gayle E. Pitman, Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

I'm a big fan of this sparkling picture book, that tells us about Gilbert's journey: from a childhood in a small, gray town in Kansas where he didn't fit in, to not fitting in while in the colorless military, to moving to San Francisco and finally being his authentic, sparkling self, creating an artistic career and life... and coming up with the iconic Gay Pride Rainbow Flag!

Today the Gay Pride Rainbow Flag that Gilbert designed is everywhere, even in the small town in Kansas where he grew up.

The kid-friendly message: This book shows that when you see a rainbow flag, you'll know it's okay to be your colorful self.

Here's a peek at the interior pages:

It's fun to see another picture book about our LGBTQ community's flag, and while Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag tells part of this same story, Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag is just as essential: History is only understood when we hear multiple voices and view it from multiple perspectives.

Includes a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" with more about Gilbert and the flag's history.

It's a perfect book to share with kids about LGBTQ pride, and absolutely a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid.

Add your review of "Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag" in comments!

Friday, June 1, 2018

18 Days - A Romantic Comedy Where a Teen Boy (Who Already Has a Girlfriend) Falls in Love With Another Boy

18 Days by Cory Blystone

Chad meets Joel. It's practically love at first sight. The only problem? Chad is dating Nikki, his girlfriend of two-and-a-half years.


What's a boy to do when he's in love with another boy but doesn't want to break his girlfriend's heart?

Follow Chad Walker's life after it is turned upside down on the first day of school his senior year at Ravenwood High. Over the next eighteen days, everything changes for this small town boy as he discovers himself, realizing that honesty is not always the easiest choice...

Add your review of "18 Days" in comments!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I'm at BookExpo!

As I say in my bio, one of my "Clark Kent" jobs is working for IBPA (the Independent Book Publishers Association) as their director of marketing and programming.

In that capacity, I'm excited to be attending Book Expo in New York City this week! I'll be leading an educational/networking session "How Do You Measure Success?" on Thursday May 31, 2018 (4:45pm in room 1E16, if you're attending BookExpo and want to join in the fun!)

Here's the session description:

Every publisher, big and small, wants to hit the best-seller lists and win the major awards. It can also be exciting, however, to consider additional definitions of success. How about reaching readers? Inspiring social change? Building the author's professional standing? Sending the book's creators on a book tour? Growing a tribe? Shining a light on a subject you're passionate about? And so many more...

Join your fellow publishers, big and small, in this fast-paced meet-and-greet networking event. We'll challenge and expand our mental models about why we publish our list of books - and even why we published a specific title. We'll find common ground and explore new territory in small groups that will keep shuffling - all in a game format that comes with bragging rights and new connections! Bring your business cards and a sense of adventure...

It should be a blast.

And if you're there, and our paths converge—make sure you say "hi!"

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

Monday, May 28, 2018

Desmond is Amazing - a 10-year-Old "Drag Kid"

This is amazing...

I love how:

supportive Desmond's parents are of him being him.

confident he is in loving what he's doing, and who he is.

it's a window into how drag can be empowering.

I'm also struck (as I always am when watching RuPaul's Drag Race) at the mentoring element of Drag, and how for earlier generations, drag has sometimes been a way of finding family when a drag performer's own family of origin wasn't on board... For Desmond, with parents who are so supportive, it's like he'll have two families.

And that's something to celebrate!

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

p.s. - thanks to my husband for sharing this with me, so I could share it with you...

Friday, May 25, 2018

Alan Cole Is Not a Coward - A Middle School Boy Has To Win A Contest Against His Brother... Or Be Outed To The World

Alan Cole Is Not a Coward by Eric Bell

Alan Cole can’t stand up to his cruel brother, Nathan. He can’t escape the wrath of his demanding father, who thinks he’s about as exceptional as a goldfish. And—scariest of all—he can’t let the cute boy across the cafeteria know he has a crush on him.

But when Nathan discovers Alan’s secret, his older brother announces a high-stakes round of Cole vs. Cole. Each brother must complete seven nearly impossible tasks; whoever finishes the most wins the game. If Alan doesn’t want to be outed to all of Evergreen Middle School, he’s got to become the most well-known kid in school, get his first kiss, and stand up to Dad. Alan’s determined to prove—to Nathan, to the world, to himself—that this goldfish can learn to swim.

May the best Cole win.

Add your review of "Alan Cole is Not a Coward" in comments!

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,