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,

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,


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:

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,