Friday, May 29, 2020

The Parker Inheritance - A Middle Grade Mystery (with an LGBTQ main kid character)



The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.

So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?

Add your review of "The Parker Inheritance" in comments!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs - Middle Grade about Loss, and Family, and Love... and "the world's best bad dog"



A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Connor

It’s a life-altering New Year for thirteen-year-old Lydia when she uproots to a Connecticut farm to live with her aunt following her mother’s death.

Aunt Brat and her jovial wife, Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord, Elloroy, are welcoming—and a little quirky. Lydia’s struggle for a sense of belonging in her new family is highlighted when the women adopt a big yellow dog just days after the girl’s arrival.

Wasn’t one rescue enough?

Lydia is not a dog person—and this one is trouble! He is mistrustful and slinky. He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past.

Meanwhile, Lydia doesn’t want to be difficult—and she does not mean to keep secrets—but there are things she’s not telling...

Like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important...

And why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger...

And why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past—but at what cost?

Add your review of "A Home for Goddesses and Dogs" in comments!

PS - thanks to the unknown commenter on this blog's The Middle Grade Bookshelf post for the heads-up on this one!

Monday, May 25, 2020

My Latest TikTok Video Celebrates Christine Jorgensen!

Christine Jorgensen became world famous in 1952 for transitioning her body to match who she knew herself to be.


@leewind Christine Jorgensen became world famous in 1952 for transitioning her body to match who she knew herself to be. ##transpride ##gaypride ##lgbtq
♬ This Is Me - Alan Walker Relift (From "The Greatest Showman") - Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble


Knowing our Queer history is so empowering! (And I love this song from The Greatest Showman soundtrack.)

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

Friday, May 22, 2020

True Letters from a Fictional Life - Soccer, A Sort-Of Girlfriend, A Secret Crush, And Letters That Are The Only Place James Gets To Be Himself



True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student, and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world—letters he never intends to send—he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s his friend, a boy, who lingers in his thoughts.

James’s secret letters are his safe space—but his truth can’t stay hidden for long. Will he come clean to his parents, his teammates, and himself, or is he destined to live a life of fiction?

Add your review of "True Letters from a Fictional Life" in comments!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Fascinators - Teenage Sam Deals With Magic and Being Gay In His Small, Conservative Town



The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos

Living in a small town where magic is frowned upon, Sam needs his friends James and Delia—and their time together in their school's magic club—to see him through to graduation.

But as soon as senior year starts, little cracks in their group begin to show. Sam may or may not be in love with James. Delia is growing more frustrated with their amateur magic club. And James reveals that he got mixed up with some sketchy magickers over the summer, putting a target on all their backs.

With so many fault lines threatening to derail his hopes for the year, Sam is forced to face the fact that the very love of magic that brought his group together is now tearing them apart—and there are some problems that no amount of magic can fix.

Check out this Q&A with the Andrew in Publishers Weekly, where he speaks about what it was like to bring magic to a small town like the one he grew up in, and imagining, "what it would have looked like if a person was out, but still dealing with the pressures of a conservative, religious town."

Add your review of "The Fascinators" in comments!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Gay Tribal Elder with Dr. Donald Kilhefner - a New Podcast About Intergenerational Queer Community

Don Kilhefner is a mentor and elder in my life, and he's launched a new podcast that deserves the spotlight:



Gay Tribal Elder

This blog is really all about Youth (books, culture, politics, all with LGBTQ kids and teens in mind) - but, as Don so rightly understands and shares, we need Adults to be there for Youth. And Elders to be there for Adults and Youth. And, in a way I'm still learning about, we need to know our Ancestors are there for us at every stage of our lives. Until, I suppose, we become ancestors, too.

It's heady, and important, and Don is the perfect intergenerational guide for the journey. I hope you'll listen, and share, and continue to grow along with me.

You can listen to the first episode here.

And if you'd like to be added to Don's newsletter, you can email him at donkilhefner (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.

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

Friday, May 15, 2020

Friend and Ally and Daughter of Two Moms Susan Yeagley On One Thing That Could Make Our World Better

With Mother's Day just past, this post by the wonderful Susan Yeagley is well-worth watching.



She's so right!

We're cheering you on, Susan.

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Psionics series - A YA Science Fiction Series with a Lesbian Main Character in Book 1 and a Nonbinary Main Character in Books 2-4


I am the Storm (The Psionics Book One) by Tash McAdam

Keep your head down. Don't look anyone in the eye. Never even think about technology if one of those ghostly, grey cars is sliding silently down the road. They'll see the thoughts inside you, if you let them.

Sam's a technopath, able to control electronic signals and manipulate technology with his mind. And so, ever since childhood, his life has been a carefully constructed web of lies, meant to keep his Talent hidden, his powers a secret. But the Institute wants those unusual powers, and will do anything to get a hold of him and turn him into one of their mindless slaves.

Sam slips up once. Just once, but that's enough. Now the Institute is after him in full force. Soldiers, telekinetics, and mind readers, all gunning just for him.

Newly qualified soldier, Serena, doesn't even know she's chasing a person, all she knows is that she has to find whatever the Institute is after before they do. But tracking an unknown entity through an unfamiliar city, with inaccurate intelligence, unexpected storms, and Gav Belias, people's hero of the Watch, on the prowl, will she even survive? Will she get to Sam before the Institute does? His special skills could provide the rebellion with an incredible advantage, but not if they can't get out of the city, and over the huge wall that stands between them and freedom.

We are the Catalyst (The Psionics Book Two)

Kidnapped and imprisoned, telepathic children are forced to gather military intelligence. Repeatedly stripped of their memories, they live in ignorance of the world above. You can't tell anyone a secret if you don't remember it. It's not child abuse if no one knows you exist.

Epsilon 17 appears to be just another mindless tool, empty of thought. But it's a lie. The carefully constructed shell she hides behind protects her from their mind wipes. One day she will destroy the Institute. All she needs is a chance.

That chance could be Toby, if he doesn't die first. He should never have left the safety of the suburbs, but cornered in an alley by a gang, he's out of options. Of course, if he realized he had superpowers, he probably wouldn't have been so worried. Unfortunately, they come at the cost of a finger, and his old life. Injured and panicked, he would have stayed on the dirty ground until the Institute came for him, if it wasn't for Serena. Name-taking, ass-kicking Serena. She can punch through walls and practically fly, surely she can keep him safe...

But the Institute is sending Epsilon 17 to hunt him down, and she's never lost a trail.

Can ARC, the mysterious group Serena works for, protect him? He has to get his powers in order, fast. It's time for Toby to stand up for himself. An underground war is raging, and Toby's just been drafted.

They Are the Tide (The Psionics Book Three)

After escaping from two very different prisons, Toby and Epsilon 17 finally have a chance to live for themselves. Helping to build a new city in the wake of the destruction of the Institute should be all they're worrying about, but Epsilon 17 has a horrific secret that's getting harder and harder to hide. Cassandra isn't dead, she's locked up in the deepest, darkest corner of E17's mind. Pushing E17 to the brink of madness, Cassandra is determined to take over E17 entirely and destroy the rebellion.

Can Epsilon 17 overcome their hidden enemy and learn to trust the people around them? Unwilling to wait for Cassandra to force their hand, Epsilon 17 decides to take control: to go to a city where the Institute still holds sway, and try to destroy them once and for all. Toby, forbidden from joining the mission, has to find his own path forward. Their connection is as strong as ever, but the distance between them keeps growing.

This is the Circle (The Psionics Book Four)

In the middle of two wars, including one that they didn't want and didn't ask for, the Psionics of ARC struggle to turn back the Eaters. The Institute is still waiting for an opportunity to regain control of the city, but right now there are more pressing concerns. Outside the Wall, chaos reigns, and the slums are overrun. Citizens and dwells alike are panicked and rioting. Cassandra hides in Epsilon 17's body, convincing those closest to her that everything is normal as she pieces together plans to escape in the confusion.

But when the Eaters take her, Thea manages to regain control. The tables have turned. Now she has to pretend to be Cassandra to survive--but fortunately her time in the Institute prepared her well. If she tries to flee, she'll be killed, but if she stays with the cannibal hordes she's bound to be discovered. Escape seems impossible, but help--and friendship--comes from an unlikely source.

Toby and Serena have their hands full fighting the invading Eaters and trying to track down leads on where Thea could be. Cut off from his twin, Toby's relationships with ARC deepen and grow, but he's consumed by his guilt and his need to find Thea.

The cannibal threat looms ever closer, and with one of their best weapons either lost or disabled, ARC has to decide what their priorities are. Should they try to kill her, or save her?

Add your review of any of all of the books in The Psionics series in comments!

Monday, May 11, 2020

The May 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter - Queer History Really Is Everywhere... Even On TikTok!

Hi Community!

Here's my May 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter:



The Transcript:

**
Hi Community! I'm Lee Wind. It's May, 2020, day 50-something of sheltering-in-place here in California, and I hope you and yours are well.

I'm doing a different kind of eNewsletter because everything feels different, and that feels right.

I wanted to share with you something really cool that I've been doing that came about from taking a personal branding workshop with Jeniffer Thompson. This was through my day job at IBPA. And I had this insight, taking the class, that while my blog, and the books that I write are really directed at kids and teens, my social media has always been about reaching other adults, and sort of the allies of LGBTQ teens.

And I really challenged myself on that, and I thought, 'hmm. Maybe I should be thinking about doing some sort of outreach, via social media to my actual readers, to teens.'

So when I told my teenage daughter that I was thinking about getting a TikTok account, her response was, "Oh, no! Please promise me it won't be you dancing!"

I assured her it would not be me dancing. And so we put together - with the help of my daughter and husband as sort of a family project - I put together my first five TikTok videos, which use really fun famous songs that kids are really into now, to do little snippets, little pieces of Queer history.

So, here's an example. Here's the very first one I did, on Abraham Lincoln being in love with Joshua Fry Speed.

[play Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Fry Speed TikTok video, which you can see and read more about here: https://www.leewind.org/2020/03/my-first-tiktok-video-celebrates-love.html]

So I was really excited, because after doing that, I realized that I really was starting to reach teenagers directly, these kids that have these TikTok accounts. So, then, I was very excited and I wanted to do the next one:

[play Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok TikTok video, which you can see and read more about here: https://www.leewind.org/2020/03/eleanor-roosevelt-and-lorena-hickok-2.html]

Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok - that's a story not a lot of people know. But what's so exciting to me is that even if they don't come back to my blog, even if they don't read my books, there are that many more kids - hundreds and hundreds of teenagers - now know that, well, at least somebody thinks that Eleanor Roosevelt was in love with Lorena Hickok. That's really exciting!

So then I did William Shakespeare!

[play William Shakespeare "Bi Pride" TikTok video, which you can see and read more about here: https://www.leewind.org/2020/04/william-shakespeare-bi-pride-3-keys-to.html]

And then the Pharaoh Hatshepsut!

[play Hatshepsut TikTok video, which you can see and read more about here: https://www.leewind.org/2020/04/the-latest-tiktok-1-key-to-unlock.html]

And then, Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach. So everybody knows Mahatma Gandhi, but hardly anybody knows that the love of his life was this German Jewish architect, Hermann Kallenbach.

[play Gandhi and Kallenbach TikTok video, which you can see and read more about here: https://www.leewind.org/2020/04/mohandas-gandhi-and-hermann-kallenbach.html]

When I was a kid, Hirschfeld was this man who did these amazing caricatures of Broadway stars, and he would do them in the New York Times. And he would always put a number next to his signature, and it would signify how many hidden "Nina"s – Nina was his daughter's name – and he would hide her name in the drawings. It was really fun, and it was something I really enjoyed.

So as a sort of homage to that, in every TikTok video, I'm including a certain number of keys to unlock the hidden history, unlock the secrets. So that's been really fun, too. And hopefully will bring some of those viewers on TikTok and Instagram over and have them come to my blog, and maybe become more interested in learning more... where I have books and stuff that they can read! Anyway, it's been very fun.

What's really exciting is to think that between TikTok and Instagram, over 3,700 viewers have seen these stories, these little 15 second things that let them know that, yes, Lincoln was in love with another man, and so was Gandhi, and Eleanor Roosevelt was in love with Lorena Hickok, and William Shakespeare was in love with a guy and a girl, and the Pharaoh Hatshepsut changed their gender - how they presented their gender - over the course of 22 years of ruling Egypt. These are really empowering stories, and they're just encapsulated in these fun 15 second animations, live animations, and that is just really, really satisfying.

So, if you have teens in your life, please let them know.

[TikTok link: https://www.tiktok.com/@leewind]

And I hope you and yours stay well and safe,

and until next time,

the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you.

Thanks.
Bye,


**

Stay safe,
Lee

Friday, May 8, 2020

Want to Be An Ally to the Disability Community? First Step, Let's Listen To Them and Respect How They Identify

I do want to be an ally, and to empower allyship across and amongst queer and other marginalized identities.

My friend Karol (author of the amazing Schneider Family Book Award-winning YA novel Cursed) and I recently discussed this, and she shared this article by Ryan Theodosia with me, How person-first language isolates disabled people.



I was really struck by this line,

"When deciding how to treat disabled people, the disabled people’s opinions should always outweigh those of able-bodied people."

Yes. That makes total sense.

And wanting to do the right thing and having the information to actually do the right thing are distinct. I've used the phrase "people with disabilities" before, not knowing any of this. I won't use that expression going forward, to respect my disabled friends and their community.

I encourage you to read the full piece here.

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

Stay safe,
Lee

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Blood Sport - Jason, A Trans Male Teen, Tries To Solve His Sister's Mysterious Death



Blood Sport by Tash McAdam

Jason is sure his sister, Becca, was murdered, but he's the only one who thinks so. After finding a photograph Becca kept hidden, he decides to infiltrate a boxing gym to prove that she didn't die accidentally. As a transgender kid, Jason's been fighting for as long as he can remember, and those skills are going to come in handy as he investigates. Quickly invited into the inner circle, Jason must balance newfound friendships with the burning hate that drives him. Jason soon feels torn between two worlds, determined to discover what happened to his sister but struggling with the fact that this is the first time he's ever felt like he belonged somewhere.

This #OwnVoices novel got a starred review from School Library Journal, who called it "a rip-roaring read..." Add your review of "Blood Sport" in comments!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Camp Brave Trails Campers Tell Us: "What Do LGBTQ+ Youth Need Right Now"

Love this post from Camp Brave Trails Instagram.


Love Camp Brave Trails.

Love our LGBTQAI2+ Teens.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
Stay safe,
Lee

Friday, May 1, 2020

Nature's Pride Flag - Quarantine Edition

Walking in my Los Angeles neighborhood, this past week, Spring has sprung. So many birds. So many flowers! Such a great balance to all the stress and uncertainty of this global pandemic.

So I challenged myself to focus on the colors, and see if I could put together a diversity pride flag...

Black

Brown

Red

Orange


Yellow

Green

Blue

Purple



And here they are, all together...



Flower Pride!

Stay safe, and don't forget the beauty in our world... including YOU!

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Man Up - A High School Senior on the Baseball Team is Outed as Gay and Has To, Well, "Man Up"



Man Up by Kim Oclon

With David’s final baseball season starting and college plans still up on the air, he begins senior year on edge. But when his baseball coach wants to know if David is gay, he is left speechless. No one was supposed to notice the hallway glances at Tyler, a star on the boys track team, or their rides home together. In a school where his friends are turning their backs on him, he finds a new set of allies, that he didn’t know roamed the high school halls. Although he was forced out of the closet before he thought he was ready, what happens next is up to him. David can either cower in the corner or man up.

Bonus points to the author for, as a high school teacher, founding her school's first Gay-Straight Alliance. 

Add your review of "Man Up" in comments!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Mohandas Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach were Soul Mates - 4 Keys to Unlock Their Hidden History in this week's TikTok!

Finding out that Mahatma Gandhi was in love with another man - a German Jewish architect named Hermann Kallenbach - rocked my world...


@leewind Mohandas Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach were soul mates! ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##queer ##historybuff ##gaypride ##love ##lgbtq 4 keys
♬ Bloom - Troye Sivan


Four Keys...

1)
Soul Mates

And it's not just me, or the Pulitzer-prize winning biographer Joseph Lelyveld who said it... Gandhi himself said it!

One of the letters Mohandas wrote Hermann in 1914 included this line,
"We can therefore but go forward as far forward as our legs will carry us and no farther and still be together, one soul and two bodies."

2)
Upper House and Lower House

These were nicknames Mohandas and Hermann used in their letters to each other. Mohandas was "Upper House" and Hermann was "Lower House."

3)
The love contract

Gandhi had trained in England as a lawyer, and on July 29, 1911 he wrote up a contract between him and Hermann, pledging

"...more love and yet more love between the two houses ~ such love as, they hope, the world has not seen."

Hermann signed the contract.

4)
More than a footnote in history. 

If Gandhi was in love with another guy, a Jewish guy at that, does it help us understand his giant breakthrough better? That Mohandas Gandhi was the one who wrote in 1911 in his "Triumph of Satyagraha",
"Let people's religions be different... You worship facing one way and I worship facing the other. Why should I become your enemy for that reason? We all belong to the human race; we all wear the same skin; we hail from the same land."

This was a giant step forward in humanity's compassion towards others with different religious beliefs. Could it be more than co-incidental that Mohandas loved Hermann while he had this insight? I think so.

There's so much of our LGBTQ heritage to discover! Queer history really is everywhere.

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

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Confusion of Laurel Graham - A Teen Girl Deals With a Mystery Bird, a Beloved Grandmother in a Coma, a Contest... And another Teen Girl in Her Way (Who She Might Be Falling For).



The Confusion of Laurel Graham by Adrienne Kisner

Seventeen-year-old Laurel Graham has a singular, all-consuming ambition in this life: become the most renowned nature photographer and birder in the world. The first step to birding domination is to win the junior nature photographer contest run by prominent Fauna magazine. Winning runs in her blood—her beloved activist and nature-loving grandmother placed when she was a girl.

One day Gran drags Laurel out on a birding expedition where the pair hear a mysterious call that even Gran can’t identify. The pair vow to find out what it is together, but soon after, Gran is involved in a horrible car accident.

Now that Gran is in a coma, so much of Laurel's world is rocked. Her gran's house is being sold, developers are coming in to destroy the nature sanctuary she treasures, and she still can't seem to identify the mystery bird.

Laurel’s confusion isn’t just a group of warblers—it’s about what means the most to her, and what she’s willing to do to fight to save it. Maybe--just maybe-if she can find the mystery bird, it will save her gran, the conservatory land, and herself.

What's queer about it? As explained on the ALA Rainbow list website, "standing in her way is the girl she suspects sabotaged her earlier photos – and Laurel just might be falling for her."

Add your review of "The Confusion of Laurel Graham" in comments!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Alien: Echo - A YA Science Fiction/Horror novel with a teen lesbian romance in the "Alien" Universe



Alien: Echo by Mira Grant

Olivia and her twin sister Viola have been dragged around the universe for as long as they can remember. Their parents, both xenobiologists, are always in high demand for their research into obscure alien biology.

Just settled on a new colony world, they discover an alien threat unlike anything they’ve ever seen. And suddenly the sisters’ world is ripped apart.

On the run from terrifying aliens, Olivia’s knowledge of xenobiology and determination to protect her sister are her only weapons as the colony collapses into chaos. But then a shocking family secret bursts open—one that’s as horrifying to Olivia as the aliens surrounding them.

The creatures infiltrate the rich wildlife on this untouched colony world—and quickly start adapting. Olivia’s going to have to adapt, too, if she’s going to survive...

What's queer about it? As explained on the ALA's Rainbow Book List website, the alien invasion happens just when "Olivia hosts a party for her sort-of girlfriend, Kora."

Add your review of "Alien: Echo" in comments!

Monday, April 20, 2020

The April 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter - Our World Is So Different Than Just a Month Ago, and So Is This Shout Out to The Power of Art

Hello, Community!

I hope you and yours are well and safe.

Here's this month's video newsletter -- I also hope it brings some light to you.



Watch by clicking above or using this link here: https://youtu.be/nq6ok3OVYf0

***
Here's the transcript:

Hi Community, I'm Lee Wind. It's April 2020, and what a different world we're in than just a month ago. This has been a really dark and challenging time, and art – in the midst of that – I think can bring us a lot of light. And remind us of joy, and gratitude. I want to share with you a piece of art that's come into my life that's brought me a lot of joy, and I hope it brings some joy to you, too.

This is inspired by my novel, "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill." My brother John is an artist, John Wind, and he created a limited edition work of art.

This is the base, it's a sculpture, it's a wooden bell jar base, and John took actual, two, five-dollar bills and cut them out. And this is a disco base on top of the other base for the sculpture to rest on. So we're going to build it like a cooking show, okay? So I'm going to set that right there.

And then here is the statue of Abraham Lincoln that John embellished with jewelry. He has a jewelry company and he then adds jewelry to make these amazing portraits of people, like Abraham Lincoln.

And it's embellished with all this really, really cool stuff. There's so much to explore, I'm just going to share some highlights...

There's the rainbow tie - a shout-out to the Gay community.

There's "L" for Lincoln.

There's George Washington.

There's a shout-out to Lincoln being a lawyer with the scales of justice.

He loved animals so there's an owl, a dog bone, there's a kitty cat playing with a ball.

There are the initials for Abraham and Joshua, "A" and "J".

The whole thing is signed, on the back of this, with their initials and a heart in-between it.

And then coolest, coolest, there's the number 16, because Lincoln was the 16th President. And a disco ball, oh, a good luck penny, because, Hey! It's good luck. Lincoln is good luck!

So the entire amazing sculpture goes on top of the disco ball. Things get jujed just a little bit to make sure that things aren't covered... The little Aquarius symbol, I know there's a rainbow heart and we want to make sure we see that, and then there's a ball jar. And John said to me, "Make sure you don't get fingerprints on the bell jar!" So, the bell jar goes over it, like so...

Ta-dah!

Art, inspired by another piece of art.

This is a happy moment. I'm so glad I got to share it with you.

Please, stay safe.

And if you're wanting to be inspired, go for some art.

Until next time,

***

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

P.S. You can learn more about my brother John Wind's amazing art here: https://www.johnywind.com/, and his jewelry here: https://johnwind.com/

Friday, April 17, 2020

Death Prefers Blondes - A Teen Socialite and her Crew of Drag Queens Have To Pull Off Their Biggest Heist Ever In This Thriller



Death Prefers Blondes By Caleb Roehrig

Teenage socialite Margo Manning leads a dangerous double life. By day, she dodges the paparazzi while soaking up California sunshine. By night, however, she dodges security cameras and armed guards, pulling off high-stakes cat burglaries with a team of flamboyant young men. In and out of disguise, she’s in all the headlines.

But then Margo’s personal life takes a sudden, dark turn, and a job to end all jobs lands her crew in deadly peril. Overnight, everything she’s ever counted on is put at risk. Backs against the wall, the resourceful thieves must draw on their special skills to survive. But can one rebel heiress and four kickboxing drag queens withstand the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune? Or will a mounting sea of troubles end them—for good?

Add your review of "Death Prefers Blondes" in comments!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

I'm Interviewed on the BookBaby Podcast!

The April 6 edition of "BookBaby Spotlight" is a 45 minute interview with, well, me!



BookBaby's Sam Sedam and I talk about a whole range of issues, including the early impact of COVID-19 on indie publishing, my perspective as the director of marketing and programming at the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and my own writing and publishing journey and mission to empower kids and teens.

It's a great conversation, and I hope you'll enjoy it! You can listen to the episode here.

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

Monday, April 13, 2020

The Latest TikTok - 1 Key To Unlock The Hidden History of the Pharaoh Hatshepsut

I'm excited to continue this series on TikTok with this 15 second celebration of Hatshepsut!


@leewind Over 22 years of ruling Egypt, Hatshepsut transitioned their public persona from female to male. ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##queer ##historybuff ##pride
♬ Me Too part 2 - Meghan Trainor


The Key

The remarkable thing is that these three statues are ALL Hatshepsut. At the beginning of their reign, as regent for their 2 year old nephew, Hatshepsut was portrayed publicly as a woman. Seven years into their rule, they declared themself KING (senior Co-King, technically), and not daughter of their father but son of their father. There was a period of time where Hatshepsut's gender transitioned to an in-between state, both in terms of dress and body shape (men's clothes, no shirt, and not quite breasts or bare chest, in the center sculpture). And then, towards the end of their 22-year rule, Hatshepsut was portrayed completely as a man, with a man's physique and a beard!

I loved learning about Hatshepsut, and think how empowering it must be for gender-queer, gender non-conforming, and trans kids today to know that thousands of years ago (Hatshepsut ruled Egypt from 1479 BCE-1458 BCE) the ruler of Egypt completely transitioned their public display of gender over two decades!

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

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Prom: A Novel Based on the Hit Broadway Musical - Emma Wants To Take Her Girlfriend To Their High School Prom. Enter Two Broadway Stars To "Help"



The Prom: A Novel Based on the Hit Broadway Musical by Saundra Mitchell, Bob Martin, Chad Beguelin, Matthew Sklar

Seventeen-year-old Emma Nolan wants only one thing before she graduates: to dance with her girlfriend at the senior prom. But in her small town of Edgewater, Indiana, that's like asking for the moon.

Alyssa Greene is her high school's "it" girl: popular, head of the student council, and daughter of the PTA president. She also has a secret. She's been dating Emma for the last year and a half.

When word gets out that Emma plans to bring a girl as her date, it stirs a community-wide uproar that spirals out of control. Now, the PTA, led by Alyssa's mother, is threatening to cancel the prom altogether.

Enter Barry Glickman and Dee Dee Allen, two Broadway stars who decide to take up the cause and get a little publicity along the way. But when they arrive in Indiana to fight on Emma's behalf, their good intentions go quickly south.

Between Emma facing the fray head-on, Alyssa wavering about coming out, and Barry and Dee Dee basking in all the attention, it's the perfect prom storm. Only when this unlikely group comes together do they realize that love is always worth fighting for.

Add your review of "The Prom: A Novel Based on the Hit Broadway Musical" in comments!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Summer of a Thousand Pies - A Middle Grade Book About a Girl Who Finds Home With Her Estranged Lesbian Aunt (and Then Has To Fight To Save It)



Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway
When Cady Bennett is sent to live with the aunt she didn’t even know she had in the quaint mountain town of Julian, she isn’t sure what to expect. Cady isn’t used to stability, after growing up homeless in San Diego with her dad.

Now she’s staying in her mother’s old room, exploring the countryside filled with apple orchards and pie shops, making friends, and working in Aunt Shell’s own pie shop—and soon, Cady starts to feel like she belongs.

Then she finds out that Aunt Shell’s shop is failing. Saving the business and protecting the first place she’s ever really felt safe will take everything she's learned and the help of all her new friends. But are there some things even the perfect pie just can’t fix?

Add your review of "Summer of a Thousand Pies" in comments!

Monday, April 6, 2020

William Shakespeare Bi Pride! 3 Keys to Unlock His Hidden Queer History

The latest TikTok, all about William Shakespeare, has three keys, revealed below...


@leewind William Shakespeare Bi Pride! ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##queer ##historybuff ##bisexual ##lgbtq ##pride ##love ##gaypride 3 keys to unlock.
♬ Everyone Is Gay - A Great Big World


Henry VIII and Homophobic British Law (Key 1)

In 1553, under King Henry VIII, a new law made a guy loving another guy a crime punishable by death. It was the law of the land during William Shakespeare's life (He was born in 1564.)

Sonnet 144 (Key 2)

Most of the time, when students learn about Shakespeare, no one mentions the Sonnets. There's debate about whether or not they are autobiographical—I think they are. Sonnet 144 is the clearest about Shakespeare having romantic interest in both a man and a woman. It starts with these lines:

Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still;
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman color'd ill.

There are 154 of these love poems, 28 addressed to a "dark lady" and the other 126 addressed to "a man right fair."

Some of the most famous lines of Shakespeare, like this opening to Sonnet 18,

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;

were lines he wrote to this guy he loved.

Mr. W.H. (Key 3)

The identity of the guy Shakespeare loved isn't known. The Sonnets, when they were published, were dedicated to a "Mr. W.H." and historians don't agree on who that was. But it's fascinating (and empowering) to know the Bard of Avon was a guy who was Bi.

Queer Pride!

Queer History really is Everywhere.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you. Stay safe,
Lee

Friday, April 3, 2020

Nate Expectations - Our Middle School Hero Returns from Broadway to High School in Jankburg, PA, Where He Has To Figure Out How To Come Out As His Awesome, Show-Loving, Gay Self



Nate Expectations By Tim Federle

When the news hits that E.T.: The Musical wasn’t nominated for a single Tony Award—not one!—the show closes, leaving Nate both out of luck and out of a job. And while Nate’s cast mates are eager to move on (the boy he understudies already landed a role on a TV show!), Nate knows it’s back to square one, also known as Jankburg, Pennsylvania. Where horror (read: high school) awaits.

Desperate to turn his life from flop to fabulous, Nate takes on a huge freshman English project with his BFF, Libby: he’s going to make a musical out of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. (What could possibly go…right?) But when Nate’s New York crush ghosts him, and his grades start to slip, he finds the only thing harder than being on Broadway is being a freshman — especially when you’ve got a secret you’re desperate to sing out about.

Add your review of "Nate Expectations" in comments!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain - Grief, Sexuality, and Poetry: Avery Tries to Figure It All Out



I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain By Will Walton

How do you deal with a hole in your life?

Do you turn to poets and pop songs?

Do you dream?

Do you try on love just to see how it fits?

Do you grieve?

If you're Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what's happened--and is happening--to you.

Add your review of "I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain" in comments!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok - 2 Keys to Unlock Their Hidden Love Story in the TikTok Video

When I was a kid, I loved studying the Al Hirschfeld drawings of Broadway celebrities for the hidden "Nina"s - the number by his signature let you know how many times he'd tucked his daughter's name in the line drawings that so artfully captured the personalities of these actors.

With a nod of appreciation to Hirschfeld, I've tucked two keys into this week's TikTokVideo that's all about celebrating the love between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. Watch for the keys, and then scroll below to unlock the hidden stories behind each...





@leewind Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok! ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##queer ##historybuff ##lesbian ##bisexual ##lgbt ##pride ##love ##gaypride ##lgbtpride ##lgbtq
♬ Physical - Dua Lipa



The first key is the ring:


Lorena gave Eleanor a diamond and sapphire ring as a gift for Christmas in 1932. In a letter to Lorena from the White House on March 7, 1933, Eleanor wrote:

"Your ring is a great comfort. I look at it & think she does love me, or I wouldn't be wearing it!"

The second key is "Mrs. Doaks":



Mrs. Doaks is the codename both Eleanor and Lorena had come up with for Eleanor—if she were not the First Lady of the United States, not married to the President, not world-famous. If she were just Eleanor, and Lorena was just Lorena, and they could be together without the external world getting in their way.

Hope you enjoyed playing along!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you. Stay safe,
Lee

Source for the stories behind both keys: Roger Streitmatter, Ed., Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok (New York: The Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 1998), 20, footnote 17, and 119-222.

Friday, March 27, 2020

King and the Dragonflies - A Middle Grade Novel About a Boy Mourning His Brother and Learning How To Be His Authentic, Truest Self: He's Gay



King and the Dragonflies By Kacen Callender


Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.

It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. "You don't want anyone to think you're gay too, do you?"

But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King's friendship with Sandy is reignited, he's forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother's death.

Add your review of "King and the Dragonflies" in comments!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

My First TikTok Video Celebrates the Love Between Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Fry Speed!

Hi Everyone,

First, I hope you and yours are well.

Second, I'm excited to share this!



@leewind What if you knew a secret from history that could change the world? Abraham Lincoln & Joshua Fry Spped! ##queer ##historybuff
♬ Boys - Lizzo


Of course, if you're curious about Abraham and Joshua, and all the historical evidence that they were in love, you can check out my award-winning YA novel, Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill.

It's all about a teen today discovering this secret from history... and deciding to use it to change the world. It's available in eBook and digital audio, as well as print editions.

Stay Safe,
Lee

p.s. Giant thanks to my husband and our teen daughter for their help pulling this off!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Feeling Stressed? Nature Helps... Some Waves From The Beach In Los Angeles To Share

Hi Community,

Many of us are stressed out right now, with the health crisis and social distancing and school closures and working from home and stay-at-home orders...

But nature is still here for us.

I walked down to the beach yesterday and recorded this – for me and for you.

39 seconds of calm.




Here's that direct link: https://youtu.be/cl9UQLANd9U

I sat, and listened. I listened, and watched. I remembered to breathe.

Stay safe, and remember we're all human. And in being present for each other, we have to take care of ourselves, too.

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

Friday, March 20, 2020

Nico Waltenbury - A College Senior - Opens Up About Coming Out and Wanting To Be The Role Model He Needed



This article, Grappling With Gay: Making Space For Self-Discovery, published last week in the The University of Western Ontario's student newspaper, The Gazette, was very poignant.

In it, Nico Waltenbury opens up about his difficult coming-out process, and what he now realizes:

I didn’t come out because I was ready or because I was sure; I came out because it was too painful to stay in the closet alone any longer.

and

Today, I can’t help but regret the opportunities I missed to be a role model in the LGBTQ2+ community on campus — to be someone who younger students could look to as out and proud, sending a signal that our campus was a safe place to be their authentic selves.

He writes that the article,

"is my last-ditch attempt to be an openly gay role model in my final months on Western's campus."

And I think it's more than that. By being his proud, authentic self, Nico is a role model far beyond the campus of his own college.

Read the full piece here.

And thanks, Nico. This standing up is how the world changes for the better.

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


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

"We Set the Dark on Fire" and "We Unleash the Merciless Storm" - A Dystopian Fantasy Series Where A Teen Girl Has To Decide To Fight the System and Risk Love With Another Girl, Or Keep Her Life of Privilege



We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.

Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.

And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.

Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?


We Unleash the Merciless Storm

Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.

Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers. She spent years undercover, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of a civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.

There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart—or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?

Add your review of "We Set the Dark on Fire" and/or "We Unleash the Merciless Storm" in comments!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Not In Our Town Spotlights Increase in Anti-Asian Discrimination And Suggests 3 Things We All Can Do: "The only way to defeat hate is to overwhelmingly reject it at every occurrence."



In the face of Coronavirus fears, there's been a scapegoating and lashing out at Asian people, based in fear and prejudice. Not in Our Town's Theresa Riley quoted the CDC:

"Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem. We can fight stigma and help not hurt others by providing social support. We can communicate the facts that being Chinese or Asian American does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19."

The Not in Our Town Article goes on to suggest three things we all can do to make it better:

Three Key Ways to Stop Discrimination and Racial Attacks

The only way to defeat hate is to overwhelmingly reject it at every occurrence.

1. Share the Story: Alert your community if you are targeted or if you hear about an attack or a threat. Find or create a positive action supporting those who are targeted.

2. Spread Solidarity: Make a powerful force against discrimination and hate. As those who are targeted lead the way, diverse groups of people stand up together to show that an attack on one is an attack on all.

3. Show up for Support: Physically show up to be with people who have been targeted. Organize rallies, vigils, teach ins, community town halls, film screenings, dinners. Send cards, letters, artwork. But don’t stop there. We walk together, get to know each other and get through the hard work of dealing with racism, bigotry, and the everyday ignorance and intolerance that keeps us separated. As we do this we are practicing and building an unstoppable force against hate.

Read the full article here. It includes "stories of how communities are experiencing and responding to anti-Asian discrimination because of the coronavirus."

Let's do our part to make things better, not worse. With compassion for all those impacted by this disease, and support for our Asian friends, neighbors, and community members.

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

Friday, March 13, 2020

How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom - a Prom-Posal Gone Wrong, a Gay Crush, and Some Fake Dating Add Up In This Teen Rom-Com



How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom by S. J. Goslee

Nolan Grant is sixteen, gay, and very, very single.

He's never had a boyfriend, or even been kissed. It's not like Penn Valley is exactly brimming with prospects. Nolan plans to ride out the rest of his junior year drawing narwhals, working at the greenhouse, and avoiding anything that involves an ounce of school spirit.

Unfortunately for him, his adoptive big sister has other ideas. Ideas that involve too-tight pants, a baggie full of purple glitter, and worst of all: a Junior-Senior prom ticket.

Add your review of "How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom" in comments!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses #1) - Fantasy, Adventure, and Gay Teen Romance Launch a New Series from Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu!



The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses #1) by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand before the cult can cause any more damage. Demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.

Add your review of "The Red Scrolls of Magic" in comments!

Monday, March 9, 2020

The March 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter!

Here's the latest!



Click this link: https://youtu.be/OJuXl9VHyTg or above to watch my March 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter. It's under four minutes...

Here's the transcript:

Hi Community,
I’m Lee Wind, and this is my Video Newsletter, for March 2020. It's all about Updating, Informing, and hopefully Inspiring YOU.

Queer History is Everywhere!

This month, the word bittersweet is really exciting to me, because it was invented by Sappho. She was this famous poet, back 2,600 years ago on the island of Lesbos, and she wrote a lot about her love for other women, and sometimes about how that love was bittersweet.

The word in Greek is Glukupikron, but it actually translated the other way, it was"sweet" and then "bitter," in English we made it bittersweet, but sweet and then bitter is actually more evocative. Anyway, it's super-inspiring. Queer History really is everywhere!

Lee Wind Author Update

This month I'm working on a new picture book manuscript (maybe about Sappho),
and a new YA novel,
and also the edits for the middle grade nonfiction book coming out from Lerner in May 2021, THE QUEER HISTORY PROJECT: NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? DISCOVER HIDDEN LIVES AND SECRET LOVES.

Stay tuned!

Readers Say

Boo over on Audible gave "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" 5 stars, writing:

Super Book - Highly Recommended!
A new author for me. I choose this audiobook because it was narrated by one of my favorite narrators. [Michael Crouch, who did an amazing job!] I was caught up in the story immediately after starting to listen. I found it difficult to stop listening and was anxious to continue the next day. You must read or listen to this book!
Thanks, Boo!

Events

Later this month, on March 21 I'm going to be in Pheonix Arizona for “Indie Author Spring Training” event, **UPDATE: March 21, 2020 4:22pm Pacific - this section has been removed in the revised video, above, as all these events have been cancelled due to the current health crisis .**

And then at the beginning of April (3-4) I'm going to be part of the team for IBPA putting on Publishing University 2020. I'm the director of marketing and programming for the Independent Book Publishers Association (that's my day job), and we're putting on this great conference for indie publishers.

And then, I just found out that I'm going to be moderating a panel of YA authors at the LA Times Festival of Books on Sunday April 19. And that's really exciting because it's with Amy Spalding, Lauren Myracle, Zan Romanoff, and Cynthia Kadohata. I'm really excited about that - looking forward to reading all of their new books.

If you're going to be at any of those events, say "Hi!"

Reading In, Writing Out

This month I'm reading "Rick" by Alex Gino. It's a companion novel to "George," that was such a huge success and was so great.

In this book, Rick is just about to start 6th grade, middle school, and in the first chapter, there's this incredible exchange (from page 5 of the ARC):

     "Diane." Dad put a heavy hand on rick's shoulder. "Rick's about to start middle school. Whole new worlds are opening up for him. Girls..."

     "Or boys," added Mom.
I'm so excited about this book!
Thank you Alex, I can't wait to read the whole thing!

Inspiration

This month I'm really resonating with this moment from taking a course with Beth Kephart and Laurie Halse Anderson at the New York Winter SCBWI conference. It was all about scenes and memoir, and Laurie Halse Anderson at one point said, 

You don’t want to write from here (points to head)
You want to write from here (points to gut)
Your gut.

And that's just really opened things up for me. And I'm really grateful for her kindness and her words of wisdom.

Want more?
Check out I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read? at leewind.org

Until then, the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you.
Thanks!

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Lost Coast (Hardcover) By Amy Rose Capetta - A Teen Girl Finds A Coven of Queer Teen Witches... And A Deadly Magic



The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta

Danny didn’t know what she was looking for when she and her mother spread out a map and Danny put her finger down on Tempest, California. What she finds are the Grays: a group of friends who throw around words like queer and witch like they’re ordinary and everyday, when they feel like an earthquake to Danny. But Danny didn’t just find the Grays. They cast a spell that pulled her halfway across the country, because she has something they need. She’s the only one who can bring back Imogen, the most powerful of the Grays, missing since the summer night she wandered into the woods alone.

But before she can find Imogen, Danny finds a dead boy with a redwood branch through his heart. Something is very wrong amidst the trees and fog of the Lost Coast, and whatever it is, it can kill.

Add your review of "The Lost Coast" in comments!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Brave Face - A memoir: How I Survived Growing Up, Coming Out, and Depression by Shaun David Hutchinson



Brave Face: A Memoir: How I Survived Growing Up, Coming Out, and Depression by Shaun David Hutchinson

“I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.”

Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabulary to understand and accept who he was and how he fit into a community in which he couldn’t see himself. The voice of depression told him that he would never be loved or wanted, while powerful and hurtful messages from society told him that being gay meant love and happiness weren’t for him.

A million moments large and small over the years all came together to convince Shaun that he couldn’t keep going, that he had no future. And so he followed through on trying to make that a reality.

Thankfully Shaun survived, and over time, came to embrace how grateful he is and how to find self-acceptance. In this courageous and deeply honest memoir, Shaun takes readers through the journey of what brought him to the edge, and what has helped him truly believe that it does get better.

Add your review of "Brave Face" in comments!

Monday, March 2, 2020

"Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" is Chosen for the Brentwood School Faculty and Staff Equity and Inclusion Book Club

I'm really excited about this!

My YA novel, going to be read by the faculty and stuff at a K-12 independent school in Los Angeles!

I love book clubs!

And how cool is it for a school to have an "equity and inclusion" book club? Very!

And I love the idea of their faculty and staff talking about my book after they've read it, and getting to chat with them—as the author—should be really fun!

Feeling grateful right now...

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