Monday, July 31, 2017

Timekeeper - Steampunk YA With A Gay Romance!

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

"Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.
And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.
But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever."

You can read this interview with the author, where she talks about developing the magical systems of Timekeeper's world, and how few fantasy books have gay heroes. Add your review of "Timekeeper" - the first of a planned triology - in comments!

Friday, July 28, 2017

An Infatuation - Will A 10 Year High School Reunion Re-Ignite The Gay Romance They Had (Even though they're both now married, one to a Man, and one to a Woman?)

An Infatuation by Joe Cosentino

With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario?

Add your review of this Novella, "An Infatuation," in comments!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The House On Fremont Drive - Nate's A Gay Teen. With A Ghost Above His Room. A Boyfriend. And Parents Who Don't Have A Clue.

The House on Fremont Drive by Jere' M. Fishback

Eighteen year-old Nate Ziegler has problems. A dead boy's ghost dwells in the crawl space above Nate's walk-in closet; the ghost won't leave Nate alone. Nate's cross-country teammate is an astrology freak; he wants to recruit Nate as his disciple. Nate's new boyfriend is an emotional mess; he's a victim of physical and psychological abuse. And Nate's parents don't even know Nate is gay. How will he deal with it all?

Add your review of "The House on Fremont Drive" in comments!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Words Inspiring Me Right Now

"Don't let them colonize your imagination. And write." - Lucy Jane Bledsoe at the first Lambda Lit Fest in Los Angeles, March 11, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

Driving Lessons: Sophomore Year - Abbey is back, and this time, she's not confused about liking girls!

Driving Lessons: Sophomore Year by Annameekee Hesik

Abbey Brooks has recovered from her end-of-freshman-year heartbreak and has vowed that this year, her sophomore year at Gila High, will be different in every way. Her to-do list: get her driver’s license, come out to her mom, get (and keep) a girlfriend, and survive another year of basketball. As always, though, nothing goes according to plan. Who will be there for her as her plans start to unravel? Who will bring her back to life after another round of heartache and betrayal? These remain a mystery–even to Abbey.

But one thing is for sure, she’s not confused about who she is. And that is going to make all the difference this time.

This is the second book in the series. Check out my interview with Annameekee on the release of Book #1, "The You Know Who Girls."

And add your review of "Driving Lessons: Sophomore Year" in comments!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On a LARP - A Teen Lesbian Mystery in the World of Live Action Role Playing Games

On a LARP by Stefani Deoul

Question: Do any of you know the truly scary part about being seventeen?

Answer: Your brain doesn't actually know, understand or care what it can't do; and, while this sounds great in theory, in my particular case, my under-developed brain apparently didn't know I couldn't fly.

So I jumped . . .
And I plummeted . . .

And I promise you, if I somehow manage to survive this act of immature-brain-encased-in-unbelievable-stupidity, I will gladly tell you exactly how I got here.

Which for the record, is chasing a dark-web killer through the middle of a live action role-playing game, better known as a LARP.

Join brainiac Sid Rubin and her posse, Jimmy, Imani, Vikram, and Ari as they join forces with Detective Robert "Tsarno the Barno" Tsarnowsky and his partner, Detective "Goddess" Emma Macdonald, and become embroiled in a virtual world of clues that will lead them to a very real, very deadly, very steampunk'd world of murder and mayhem.

Add your review of "On a LARP" in comments!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit - A Lesbian Teen, Religious Excess, and Human Obsession

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette is adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God's elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts. At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves.

Add your review of "Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit" in comments!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis - Homophbia, Corporate Responsibility, and A Young Woman Who Falls In Love With Someone Who Defies Gender Boundaries

Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis by Ali Smith

Imogen and Anthea, sisters that are opposites, work together at Pure, a creative agency attempting to “bottle imagination, politics, and nature” in the form of a new Scottish bottled-water business with global aspirations. Anthea, somewhat flighty and bored with the office environment, becomes enamored of a female “interventionist protest artist” nicknamed Iphisol, whose billboard-size corporate slurs around town are the bane of Pure’s existence. And when Anthea and Iphisol meet, it’s a match made in heaven.

Okay, for those like me that didn't know this off the top of our heads, "The myth of Iphis is one of the happier of Ovid's metamorphoses: the girl raised as a boy to avoid her father's wrath falls in love with another girl, upon which her gender is changed by the sympathetic goddess Isis to enable them to marry." -That's from the book's review in The Independent.

This book was recommended for teens by the Scottish Book Trust. Add your review of "Girl Meets Boy" in comments!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Trumpet - Colman, An Adopted Teen, Finds Out His Famous (And Now Deceased) Father's Gender Was More Complicated Than Colman Knew

Trumpet by Jackie Kay

The death of legendary jazz trumpeter Joss Moody exposes an extraordinary secret, one that enrages his adopted son, Colman, leading him to collude with a tabloid journalist. Besieged by the press, his widow Millie flees to a remote Scottish village, where she seeks solace in memories of their marriage. The reminiscences of those who knew Joss Moody render a moving portrait of a shared life founded on an intricate lie, one that preserved a rare, unconditional love.

This book was recommended for teens by the Scottish Book Trust, which is how I found out about it. Add your review of "Trumpet" in comments.

The Lantern Bearers - A Young Man Becomes a Male Composer's Muse... But When The Love Runs Out, Things Turn Violent

The Lantern Bearers by Ronald Frame
Sent away from home for the first time, Neil Pritchard spends the long summer of 1962 with his Aunt Nessie in claustrophobic Auchendrennan on the Solway Firth, a seascape of fast tides and sinking sands. Eager for a pastime to fill the long dull days, Neil sings for Euan Bone, a young Scottish composer whose star is rising fast. Becoming Bone's muse, Neil spends afternoons at the composer's home, hours that become the focus of his adolescent dreams. Inevitably, though, he finds himself expelled from the Eden, a betrayal which will have devastating consequences.

Asked thirty-five years later to write Bone's biography, Neil is tempted to reveal the whereabouts of the composer's lost last work, The Lantern Bearers, but this revelation would have to expose the truth of his own involvement in the violence of love's blind vengeance.

This book was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, named the Scottish Book of the Year, and cited by the American Library Association (Barbara Gittings Honor Awards.) It was recommended for teen readers by The Scottish Book Trust

Add your review of "The Lantern Bearers" in comments!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Orphan Blade - a YA Graphic Novel Adventure With LGBTQ Characters

Orphan Blade by M. Nicholas Almand and Jake Myler

Hadashi is a boy with simple dreams, but his life changes when a horrific accident maims his hand. Unable to hold a sword, he's kicked out of his dojo home. But the Orphan Blade is no ordinary sword. When Hadashi comes across the abandoned blade, he finds that not only is he able to wield it--the sword seems to be wielding him! He's not the only one interested in the Orphan Blade, though, and his ownership draws the attention of the Five Fingers of Death--a deadly group of mercenaries who have their own magical and deadly weapons.

Add your review of "Orphan Blade" in comments!

Friday, July 7, 2017

It's Here! #LA17SCBWI! The 2017 SCBWI Summer Conference!

*tosses biodegradable confetti*

There's so much great stuff in store over the next four days, but here are some highlights that I'm really jazzed about:

Friday's LGBTQ + Allies Q&A Social
7:30pm - 8:30pm
Once again I'll host this warm and friendly gathering, with special conference faculty guests! If you're writing and/or illustrating content for kids with LGBTQ characters and themes, this is the place to find your tribe-within-the-tribe.

Saturday's Diversity Social
12:30pm - 2:00pm
Putting together the engine of SCBWI and the diversity fuel of #WeNeedDiverseBooks, let's tune up our ride, work as a team, and break some speed records on achieving more diversity in children's and teen literature!

Four days with my fellow children's book writers and illustrators and agents and editors and publishers and art directors and industry peeps!

Getting Inspired
All those keynotes! All those craft sessions! All those panels!
I can't wait.

I'm honored to be leading SCBWI Team Blog in live-blogging the conference at and updating social media (for me, mainly twitter) with the hashtag #LA17SCBWI.

Here's the full team:

Thanks for letting me share!

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

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

An Interview with Sona Charaipotra, SCBWI Guest Team Blogger for the Summer #LA17SCBWI Conference

Filling in for SCBWI Team Blogger Martha Brockenbrough for this 2017 SCBWI Summer Conference, is journalist and author Sona Charaipotra!

Author Sona Charaipotra

Here's our interview:

Lee: Welcome, Sona!

Sona: Thank you! Hello to my SCBWI LA attendees! So pleased to be in your presence this year.

Lee: Please share a bit about you, and what's been your journey as a children's content creator.

Sona: I’m Sona Charaipotra, the co-author of the dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces, co-written with Dhonielle Clayton. Dhonielle and I met in the MFA Writing for Children program at the New School, and bonded over the fact that we rarely saw ourselves represented on the page (or screen!) as kids and teens. To change that, together we co-founded CAKE Literary, a boutique book packager with a decidedly diverse bent – we create fun, delicious, page-turnery books for kids and teens with real, organic diversity to them. Our latest is title is The Gauntlet, by Karuna Riazi.

I also have a Masters in screenwriting from NYU – and my thesis script there was developed for the big screen by MTV Films – so I’m a huge believer in three act structure, in screenplays and in fiction.

Lee: Tell us about your blogging/social media/online background. What do you use, what do you love, and why?

Sona: Before I did the New School program and met Dhonielle, my day job was interviewing celebrities – from Hilary Duff to Priyanka Chopra. I was a writer at People, an editor at the dearly departed TeenPeople, and have since contributed to MSN TV,, TeenVogue, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times and other publications. I frequently write about books for,, and the BN Teen blog.

Lee: Now we want to hear about your journey so far with SCBWI!

Sona: I’ve been an SCBWI member for years – and I’ve been to the NYC conference and local events before. But this is my first LA conference. I’ve heard it’s intense, in the best way. Looking forward to meeting so many amazing people. Definitely join us at the WNDB Diversity Social if you can!

Lee: Yes! I'll be there, too. What project(s) are you currently working on?

Sona: The next book Dhonielle and I have coming out is called The Rumor Game – and it’s juicy and delicious! It’s due summer 2019 from Disney. I have a lot of other things cooking (that I’m super-excited about!!!), but I can’t talk about them just yet. As for CAKE, look for our next one, Love Sugar Magic, by Anna Meriano, via Walden/Harper in February 2018.

Lee: Can you tell us about your involvement with #WeNeedDiverseBooks?

Sona: The values of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement go hand in hand with those Dhonielle and I promote through CAKE, so we’ve both volunteered with the non-profit organization since 2014. I’m proud to serve as the head of content for WNDB – and we’ll be launching a new initiative to elevate diverse voices this fall. Look for our website relaunch at later this summer!

Lee: The top three things you're looking forward to about #LA17SCBWI are:

Sona: LEARNING! I’ve been in publishing now for five years, but I feel like when it comes to writing and publishing, you never stop learning.

CONNECTING! Kids’ book people are the best people. I’m such an introvert (so introduce yourself!), but I can’t wait to meet you guys.

SHARING! Need diverse book recs? I’ve got tons! Ask me what you should read next!

Lee: Thank you so much, Sona! We're delighted you'll be joining us!

Sona: So excited! See you soon!

Find Sona on Twitter @sona_c, and on the web at

You can find out more about The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 2017 Summer Conference here.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Maybe we need a new flag for this Fourth of July

I'm feeling a bit less proud of the USA these days, what with our President (for now) Trump always choosing the most selfish, the most bratty, the most prejudiced path forward on seemingly everything.

Then, my friend Karol told me about how Philadelphia Pride came up with a new rainbow pride flag for their observance this year, adding two new stripes to recognize people of color... and they didn't put them at the bottom! People of color (finally) have top billing:

The new Gay Pride Flag

As a white gay man who tries to be an ally for everyone else who is other-ed, I love this!

And it got me thinking. In this political climate where the statement "Black Lives Matter" – a response to the multiple, ongoing killings of innocent people of color by police – is seen as an insult to fragile white people, where a fragile ego-ed white president of privilege can't see that anyone's life matters besides his own family and friends, maybe we need a new flag for our country.

A flag for the resistance.

A flag I can cheer for this Fourth of July, when I'm not feeling much like cheering for my country that feels like it has gone off the rails...

A flag for LGBTQ people, and people of color, for disabled people, and for the 99%, for journalists, and for activists, for environmentalists, and for immigrants, for everyone who is being other-ed, and for awesome straight white people who care about others and are our allies, we are the majority. And this is a democracy. And we will make this right!

Proudly may it wave.

As President Obama (remember those good old days?) likes to quote Martin Luther King, Jr., "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” And at this moment in history, President (for now) Trump is refracting that arc, trying to force it back towards injustice... But he won't be President forever. (Can we impeach this guy already?) And then we will get this country back on the rails. And we can all help bend that arc once again towards justice. We will get there.

This new flag is a reminder of that. To me. And maybe, to you, too.

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