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,

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,

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:

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,

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.


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,

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,

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: 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!


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!


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

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

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,