Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"I hope that 'Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill' becomes a bestseller" - Lyn Miller Lachmann Shouts Out To My Novel in her Blog Post, "Rebellious Books"!

This essay, and the very kind things Lyn says about "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill", were really amazing!


courageous small presses and individual writers publishing themselves will be the source of most stories of resistance in the future, and that reviewers, educators, librarians, and book buyers need to take a far more open-minded attitude toward these upstarts.


While many look down on self-published books as inferior in terms of writing and production quality, I found Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill to be superior on both counts.


One of the key tasks of allies is to amplify marginalized voices not only by broadcasting those voices on social media but also by creating original works such as reviews and blog posts in support. Amplification often has more effect when it comes from someone who can introduce own voices work to the outsider’s community. This is especially true when a marginalized author has been shut out of mainstream publishing and has had to go it alone to have their voice heard. And it is even more true today, when a would-be dictator and his collaborators seek to erase transgender people who have also lived in every society in every period of history. I hope that Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill becomes a bestseller and have been heartened by the reaction I’ve received so far to my review on The Pirate Tree. I hope it encourages others to explore the hidden histories and bring those stories to all of us.

Thank you, Lyn!

You can read the full piece here.

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


Monday, October 29, 2018

The Prince and The Dressmaker - A Graphic Novel about a Prince with a Secret Life: An Alter-Ego Named "Lady Crystallia"

The Prince and The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances—one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend?

Add your review of "The Prince and The Dressmaker" in comments!

Friday, October 26, 2018

There's an article on me and "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" in my local newspaper: "Palisadian Author Pens Historical Deep Dive"

This is very cool!

Here's the text of the article:

Palisadian Author Pens Historical Deep Dive

“What if you knew a secret from history that could change the world?”

Palisadian Lee Wind poses that striking question on the front cover of his debut novel, “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill.” As we all know, pictured on the $5 bill is 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. This particular secret concerns the possibility that he was in love with close friend, Joshua Fry Speed, as alluded to in their written correspondence.

“I went to the library and read ‘The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln,’” Wind said on the phone with the Palisadian-Post, adding that he related to the sentiments expressed by Lincoln in his affectionate letters to another man.

The impetus for this research expedition and subsequent literary pursuit was the fact that Wind said he was troubled by the false façade of history that school children are taught: Everybody important was white, male and cis-gender.

Not only is that simply not true, Wind recognized, but it’s so wildly inaccurate that it’s actually providing a disservice to the youth of today whom are navigating their sexuality with trepidation.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Wind felt compelled to “introduce the idea that history is complicated and people are complicated.”

Crowd-funded on Kickstarter in six days, “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” follows 15-year-old Wyatt as he steers through the “treacherous waters of his sexuality.” Providing an authentic voice, he was written as a version of Wind himself. “Wyatt is a lot braver than I was—he comes out at 15, I didn’t come out until I was in my 20s,” Wind admitted.

Among the supporting characters is an African-American attorney with an openly gay son, who, like any “diverse” character on screen, shouldn’t stand out for being unusual, but in this day and age still does.

“The book is a tool for empowerment for kids, not just LGBTQ+ kids,” Wind emphasized. “Every reader is faced with the same question [that Wyatt happens upon].” It’s already a semi-finalist in the BookLife annual writing contest.

In addition to Wind’s literary activities, he is the director of marketing and programming at the Independent Book Publishers Association and the official blogger for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Wind’s role is to “help empower the voices of independent publishers,” reinforced by his profound belief that books should be judged on the quality of the writing, not who the publisher is. “That’s my Clark Kent job,” Wind said with a laugh, clarifying that his superhero job is writing stories inspired by our untold history.

Spare moments in Wind’s schedule are spent working on his personal blog, “I’m Here, I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?” which serves over two million readers.

Toward the end of our chat, Wind noted that there are countless examples of historical figures who lived outside traditional gender boundaries. Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok could be jumping off points for challenging research that can only result in the reward of accurate knowledge.

“The resistance that people have to diversity might be because people are worried about losing their seat at the table,” Lee hypothesized. “So, let’s get a bigger table and add more chairs.”

Visit to learn more about Wind and his new book.

My thanks to Reporter Trilby Beresford, and the editorial staff at the Palisadian-Post for this very kind coverage! It's so exciting that more people will find out about this secret from history, and my book!

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Pirate Tree Reviews "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill", calling it "engaging and thought-provoking" as well as "honest, powerful, and well-written"!

This review by Lyn Miller Lachmann was amazing, and this part especially got me:

"I expect that countless teens and adults will appreciate Wind’s courage and the generosity of his supporters who made this book possible."

It's so amazing to have my book out in the world, being read! Because that makes it OUR book. And that's wonderful.

Read the full review at the Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children's Literature blog here.

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

Monday, October 22, 2018

Discover LGBTQ History Handouts

Hello community!

I had a great time presenting my "Discover LGBTQ History" workshop at Models of Pride this weekend, and the room at Cal State Los Angeles was packed with over 70 LGBTQ and Allied Teens -- in fact, I didn't have enough of these handouts to go around...

As promised, here they are! Click here to download them.

For more information, you can email me at leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com.

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

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Scary Time - a brilliant song performed by the artist, Lynzy Lab


Amplifying as an ally to women everywhere...

Share it, raise our collective voices, and VOTE on November 6, 2018.

Thanks to Lynzy Lab for the brilliant message and catchy song!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Just Julian - the other side of the "Romeo For Real" Gay Teen Coming Out Story

Just Julian by Markus Harwood-Jones

After years of bullying at school, 19-year-old Julian is depressed. He sees a glimmer of hope after meeting the similarly out-of-place Romeo at a party and sharing a kiss with him. The only problem: Romeo has always identified as straight and he hangs out with a group of intolerant guys. But as the two begin to fall in love, Julian finds strength he never knew he had.

When Romeo’s old friends come after the couple, a vicious fight puts both Julian and Romeo in the hospital. The two boys decide to take a stand for their right for respect.

The companion novel to the author's "Romeo for Real." 

Add your review of "Just Julian" in comments!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Photos from My Amazing Book Launch Party Weekend!

What a wonderful launch weekend here in Los Angeles!

Friday night in Pasadena:

Signage at Pasadena's Art Night!
scenes from a panel - left to right: Brandy Colbert, me (!), and C.B. Lee

More scenes from a panel

Each of us with our queer YA books!

What a great conversation!
Just one of the amazing posters celebrating LGBTQ athletes that filled the teen room at the Pasadena Public Library

Saturday morning in West Hollywood:

The West Hollywood Library event, with their YA librarian Dione Surdez

scenes from a signing
new friends

tried and true friends

Mid-day in Pasadena:

The San Gabriel Valley Pride authors tent

More signing fun

books for all!

The evening event in Santa Monica:
Waiting backstage while I was introduced

Me on stage at Highways


The evening's mascot

Celebrating with good friends!

Thanks to all my family, friends, and community that joined in the celebration, and to everyone who send good vibes!

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

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Today's My Book Launch Celebration - All Day, All Over L.A.!

Hello Community!

It has been a quite a journey to get to this amazing moment, and I'm hoping you can join me at one or more of these events today, Saturday October 13, 2018, to celebrate the publication of my debut teen novel, "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill".

The day will start at 10:30am-11:30am in West Hollywood, with a Teen Reads Week event at the West Hollywood County Public Library's West Hollywood Room. I'll talk a bit, read from the book, answer questions, and do a signing. Address: West Hollywood County Library, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90064.

Then at 1:00pm - 2:00pm in Pasadena I'll be part of the San Gabriel Valley Pride celebration with a time slot at the author's tent, where I'll once again talk a bit, read from the book, answer questions, and do a signing. Address: Pasadena Central Park, 275 S. Raymond Aveneu, Pasadena, CA 91105

The day's big finale is at 7:00pm-10:00pm, with a Party at Highways in Santa Monica. We have the entire theater for a talk, reading, Q&A, signing... and a BIG DANCE PARTY! There will be fruit, and desserts, and sparkling apple cider to toast to this book that is heading out into the world to make a difference in LGBTQ teen lives. Address: Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404.

If you're local, or are in Los Angeles, I'd love to see you!

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


Friday, October 12, 2018

Tonight is Pasadena Art Night! Join Brandy Colbert, C.B. Lee, and Me for a YA panel and reading at the Pasadena Public Library - Central!

More details here:

Brandy's "Little and Lion" won the Stonewall award and is amazing, and C.B. now has two books in her kick-ass Bi heroine series! It's going to be a great discussion.

And then, after the panel and reading, there's going to be a Queer Kid Lit Hangout - a change to gather with the community of folks writing and illustrating works for kids and teens with LGBTQ characters and themes.

We hope you can join us!

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Romeo for Real - A Gay Teen Struggles with Coming Out

Romeo For Real by Markus Harwood-Jones

On the surface, Romeo has it all: success on the basketball court, a group of friends, and the beautiful Rosie. Deep down he knows something is missing: all he feels for Rosie is friendship. Everything changes when he shares a kiss with openly gay Julian at a party. Despite their obvious attraction, Romeo is less sure of himself than ever, and leaves without even telling Julian his name.

With Rosie’s support, Romeo begins exploring his sexuality—and ends up running into Julian again. Realizing how little he knows about other sexual orientations and gender identities, Romeo begins to see the world in a whole new light, and he and Julian begin to fall in love. But his homophobic friends and family can’t accept him as gay. After a violent confrontation with one of his old friends, Romeo becomes determined to prove that his love for Julian is real and right.

Add your review of "Romeo for Real" in comments!

Monday, October 8, 2018

"Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" Makes It Into The Semi-Finals Round of the BookLife Prize!

More book news from launch week to share...

On October 1st, the top five middle grade and young adult books were selected as "semi-finalists" in Publishers Weekly's BookLife Prize...

"The mission of the BookLife Prize is to discover, cultivate, support, and celebrate great works of unpublished or self-published writing by independent authors."

I'm thrilled and very honored that "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" is being celebrated as a "great work," and I'm excited to see what happens next in the competition.

Thanks for being part of the adventure,

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Launch Week Saturday News: My Guest Blog Post At Cynsations!

Cynthia Leitich Smith is iconic in our world of Children's Literature. So the opportunity to tell the story behind the story of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" at her famous Cynsations blog is an incredible way to spread the word not just about my debut novel, but also about the secret from history that sparked it all!

I'm very grateful.

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

Friday, October 5, 2018

The "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" Audiobook Sampler

**UPDATE: As of December 7, 2018, The Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill audiobook is available wherever digital audiobooks are sold. (And if your library offers digital audiobooks, they may have it as well. If not, asking them to carry it really helps!) Thanks, Lee**

I'm so excited about the audiobook currently in production—here's a sneak peek, or listen, of the first two chapters.

The amazing narration is by Michael Crouch (who also did the audiobook for Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda), and the theme music is inspired by the Civil War-era song "Two Brothers" by Irving Gordon, arranged and performed by Doug Pettibone.

The audiobook will be available this November 2018!

Thanks for an amazing launch week, all.

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

Thursday, October 4, 2018

An Amazing Shout Out to "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" in the Santa Monica Daily Press

Continuing a wonderful launch week, my friend David Pisarra has a column in this local Southern California paper, and what he wrote this week about my debut book is remarkable:

Reading this young adult novel one feels the angst and anguish Wyatt faced when disclosing world shattering information, both about Lincoln, and himself. This novel is one of the seminal books of this year, and will be for decades. It is the modern gay version of “Are you there god? It’s me Margaret”. It should be mandatory reading in history, government and English classes as a way to open minds, reduce homophobia, improve the self-esteem of LGBTQ teens and start dialogues about sex and sexuality in health classes. —David Pisarra

Click here to read the whole piece.

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

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

I'm on the Radio LIVE at 4:17pm Pacific Today, on the Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!® show with host Cynthia Brian

So looking forward to being on Cynthia's show!

Listen here:

I'm very grateful for this opportunity to spread the word about "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" — and the amazing secret from history that inspired it — to listeners of the Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!® show on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel!

What a launch week!

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

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

It's Launch Day for "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill!"

Join me over at Facebook Live today:

It's a virtual party in two parts,

From 9am-10am Pacific

And then

From Noon-1pm Pacific

In those two hours, with an eBook price drop (from $6.99 down to $2.99) and a super-special offer to get a FREE AUDIOBOOK of the novel, we’ll see if we can get Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill to hit the Amazon eBook bestseller list!

I’ll answer questions, and share some cool things that have been happening with the book (including the in-production audiobook), and we’ll all cheer as we join together to empower LGBTQ and Allied Teens!

Hope to see you online...

Oh, and Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill is officially available TODAY, everywhere books are sold! Yay!

To get your FREE audiobook, buy your copy of Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill today, October 2, 2018, between 9am-10am Pacific or between Noon-1pm Pacific here:

take a screen shot of your receipt/transaction, and facebook message, twitter message, or email me at leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com. Make sure to include your email so I can send you the digital audiobook files in November!

And thank you!

Here's the first virtual launch party recording!

And here's the second virtual launch party recording!

And perhaps most amazing of all, on launch day (Oct 2, 2018) "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" hit the top 15 of Amazon's New Releases in Teen & YA Gay & Lesbian Fiction!

Thank you all!

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

Monday, October 1, 2018

Tonight's Free "Crowdfunding Queer Lit" Panel is Online at 7pm Pacific

UPDATE Nov 14, 2018: Here's the recording:

Join me, Tee Franklin, and Tobi Harper for a great discussion about crowdfunding LGBTQ Literature.

From teen novels to graphic novellas to poetry, our diverse Queer stories are being published and promoted using crowdfunding. Learn how these authors and publishers harnessed the power of their communities, hear excerpts of their crowd-funded creations, and get inspired about crowdfunding your next project.

Register for the free online event here.

Hope to see you there!