Rainbow Book Fair: Saturday, March 29 in New York City!

I am thrilled to announce that I’ll be in New York City on Saturday, March 29th signing books with fellow Bold Strokes Books authors. I’ll be present at the table from 1-2 PM with Nora Olsen, author of the phenomenal YA book Swans & Klons. If you’re there, please stop by and say hello! You’ll be able to pick up a signed copy of Meeting Chance and some other great BSB books!

The Rainbow Book Fair is being held at the Holiday Inn Midtown from Noon to 6 PM. I promise it’s going to be a GREAT event. Last year I had a ton of fun and bought so many books from other authors!

See you there!

Postcrossing!

Hi everyone!

Thanks to a friend on Facebook, I’ve discovered a new thing! Well, it’s not really new, but it is new to me. It’s called postcrossing. This activity involves signing up on a website, for free, and sending postcards to people around the world. And the coolest part is getting postcards from others around the world!

I’ve been on a letter writing kick lately, so when this came to my attention, I had to do it. I LOVED getting postcards from friends as a kid. I haven’t gotten one in years, but I still remember being excited whenever one came in the mail. I loved sending them, too. Whenever my family went to Maine, I had such a hard time picking out the right postcard to send to friends and family back home.

So now that I’ve signed up and sent my first five postcards out, I can’t wait to see where mine come from! My first five went to Minnesota, Russia, Germany, Taiwan, and China. I even had a girl from Russia contact me for a direct swap which is sending them to each other without having to register them through the website, kind of like pen pals. So I just wrote hers out and will get stamps for it tomorrow or Tuesday.

Finding postcards in Connecticut is hard, though! Of course I forgot about museums selling them, but other than that, where else? Literally EVERYWHERE in Maine sells them. But Connecticut? I finally found some places with the help of my coworkers. The Town Hall in Manchester sells Manchester based cards, and Hallmarks do sell them as well. They’re for the state and local area. I’ll have to stop in at the Bristol Hallmark when I’m back in town. I also checked out the local stationery store right up the road from me and they have one for Vernon, which is exciting. I wish there was one for my apartment! It’s such a cool old building, it would make a great picture. Maybe I’ll create one and send that out and explain to everyone how I live in an old factory!

If you want to check this out for yourself – which I highly recommend – go to this website: Postcrossing. So far it’s been a lot of fun, and I’m eager to receive my first card! I would love to do this with my students and post the cards on the wall with a map pinned for their location! That would be cool.

Winter Olympics 2014

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the Olympics in Sochi this year, and I know I’m not the first to talk about them. I probably won’t do so as eloquently, but I figured I’d put my own thoughts down now for my own record, even if no one else reads it.

My friends are pretty divided right now. Some are boycotting the Olympics completely. Others, only the sponsors. Some not at all. I’m on the fence with a lot of things. I absolutely hate what’s happening in Russia to LGBT citizens. I hate what’s happening to the stray animals. But I can’t help but feel pride and admiration for all the athletes – especially those who are out as LGBT – who are going anyway to compete in the games.

I understand why some people are avoiding the Olympics completely. And I respect that. Part of me wants to. But the other part of me thinks of the LGBT athletes who have worked so hard to compete, and I want to support them. Even though the conditions there seem to be pretty terrible now, what with the unfinished hotels and lack of running water, part of me would want to be there in person supporting these athletes regardless of what country they came from.

And I’d probably be one of the people arrested and deported for saying something about LGBT rights and speaking up if I saw something negative.

During the Summer and Winter Olympics, I typically support the USA with a few random favorites scattered in other countries. For the Summer Olympics, my favorite sport is Tennis and I cheer for Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer all the way. Neither are American.

This year I’ve got my eyes on all of the openly LGBT athletes. I don’t care what country you come from. I don’t care what sport you’re competing in. I want them to know I’m here cheering for them, hoping for the best and hoping they take home a medal, because they have worked just as hard as anyone else to be there. And they DESERVE to be there. There may not be many who are out (in fact, from what I’ve seen online, only six are openly gay), but you can be sure there are many more who are, even if they aren’t out.

I am disappointed that New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup didn’t qualify, because I would have loved to have supported him as an openly gay athlete. But he didn’t, so instead I’ll focus on those who are:

Canadian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis

Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas

Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff

Dutch speed skater Irene Wüst

Dutch short track speed skater Sanne van Kerkhof

and Slovenian cross country skier Barbara Jezeršek.

Seems like it’s only the ladies who are out right now. Hopefully some men will join them as well. You can read more about them here. And if you know of any more, please, let me know. I’d love to support them.

And while we wait for the Olympics to begin, please, enjoy this lovely ad from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion.

Comfort Movie

We all know about comfort food, right? The kind of food that makes you think of good times, or just makes you feel really good. Macaroni and cheese, potatoes, and chicken noodle soup are usually on the list for most people. For me it’s definitely chicken noodle soup. In fact, I made a homemade batch today, replacing my usual potatoes with the egg noodles my mother always used when she made it for a REAL comfort feeling. It just makes me feel so much better when I’m down for the count.

But what about comfort movies? What’s a movie you always go to when you need something to cheer you up or make you feel better? Mine is To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. I’ve watched it four times in the last two days. I think I’ve watched it at least 500 times in my life, and that’s probably a low count. I watch it on repeat for days on end sometimes, especially when I’m sick.

So in that spirit, what’s your favorite comfort food and comfort movie?

YA Recommendations hosted on Women and Words

The other day – Tuesday really – I was approached by Jove Belle over at Women and Words to for a blog post on young adult fiction for middle school age girls coming out.

Now, I’ve read a lot of LGBT fiction, but it’s actually hard to find age appropriate lesbian fiction for middle school! I mean, there are tons of books out there, but so many have mature themes that not all readers are ready for.

But, thankfully I do have some books that fit the bill, and I was happy to provide a short list of six books for the website. And now I’m on the hunt for more books! I’d love to do a follow up guest blog!

You can read my recommendations over at Women and Words.

Book Review: Slash and Burn by Valerie Bronwen

The Angels and Demons Literary Weekend brings former New Orleans resident Winter Lovelace back to town from her gig as writer-in-residence at a prestigious women’s college in upstate New York. Winter desperately needs a break from the book she is struggling to finish, and hopes that this weekend will inspire her and trigger her creativity.

 But while waiting for a friend in a hotel courtyard, a body lands at her feet, and Winter is dragged into a baffling mystery quite against her will. The victim is a notorious “m/m romance” author who is also a homophobe, and the list of people who wanted her dead is quite extensive. Winter herself is considered a suspect! 

 To make matters worse, Winter’s ex shows up to cover the story for a local news station…an ex Winter had hoped she’d never see again.

Move over Stephanie Plum! (Okay, I probably shouldn’t say that as I’ve never read a Janet Evanovich book, but whatever, still move over) There’s a new detective (sort of, accidentally) in town! In this first novel by Valerie Bronwen, Tracy Norris comes to life on the page as a teacher and mystery writer of a best-selling series about Laura Lassiter. She’s also a best-selling lesbian romance author on the side under the penname Winter Lovelace. When she goes to New Orleans for a writing convention, little does she know she’s about to have a body land at her feet. Literally.

I loved this story. I wish there was another one right now because I wouldn’t even be writing this review now, I’d just immediately dig into it. Tracy is an unforgettable narrator with a sharp sense of humor. I found myself quite frequently either laughing or biting my lip from being too loud. I may have even snorted a few times.

Anyone who has ever been deeply involved in a fandom needs to read this book. There’s always that ONE PERSON who thinks they are the god of that world, and in this book you have Antinous Renault. From the first page I wanted to punch her face, and reading more about her just made me think of all the people I’d encountered in my various fandoms over the years.

Who needs to read this book? Quite frankly, everyone. Like mystery? Read it. Like reading about authors and their struggles? Read it. Like lesbian authors? Read it. Like m/m romance? Read it. Have no idea how crazy some writers can be? Read it. Ever in a fandom with the BNF that everyone loathed? Read it.

I can’t wait for the next Valerie Bronwen book. You can bet it will be preordered the minute there is a release date!

This book can be ordered from Bold Stokes Books right here.

Book Review: Souvenir Boys by David-Matthew Barnes

This collection of previously published and award-winning poems explores the themes of seduction, obsession, lust, desire, and unrequited love.

I’ve read David-Matthew Barnes before and I enjoy his young adult and adult fiction. This is the first poetry I’ve read of his, and I must say I enjoyed it. Each of the poems in this collection is very personal and tells a story. They’re written with different styles, and though they all have similar themes, it’s never redundant.

A few of the poems stood out to me and I highlighted them in the book. “Paper Boy” really resonated with me because I was a paper girl when I was younger, and I felt much the same way. The poem really captures that feeling of being alone and free and contemplating the future. I was twelve when I had my first paper route, and I remember biking along dreaming up what my life would be like, especially since I was “sophisticated” and had a job.

“Souvenir Boy,” where the title I assume comes from, stood out to me because of the last lines “Although we’ve come close, there are more than hot white seconds between us – there lies a lost country or two.”

“Look for Homer” felt so much like a fantasy to me, I wondered if this really happened. I got lost in the poem and placed myself there on Mylopotas Beach, and at the end I was sorry for the poem to end, and sorry for the poet to leave.

“Dear Mr. Sanchez” might be my favorite. I really loved the style this one was written in. As a letter, it’s so effective in getting the meaning across and translating the poets emotions to the readers. I’ve reread it several times and have started my own poem using this form now.

“Celebrity Skin” felt like another fantasy to me, and I wanted to drop the book and email the poet right away and ask if it was real and if it were, who the person in question was. It was deliciously scandalous, like something you’d read in a novel.

This book is currently only available as an ebook and can be purchased on Amazon here. Though I would like it to be known that I would purchase a print copy if this were to become available.

The Year In Review! Books

2013 was a great year for reading. Despite being busy at the beginning of the year at my new teaching job, and this fall starting grad school, I read a lot.

And by a lot I mean a RIDICULOUS amount of books. My goal on the Goodreads site was for 100 books. The same I’ve had for the last several years. Usually I beat the record by a few. Maybe a dozen at most. But this year I read 141 books.

Umm…when did I have time? Seriously? There was so much work I did, including an editing FRENZY of Meeting Chance in three days due to deadlines outside of the control of my editor.

So, let me take a look back, and take a trip down memory lane.

First book of the year: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Ahh! I remember this now! Wow, how long ago this was. I started the book on January 1 and finished it the next day. I started reading it because of the movie, and I was curious to see how the two matched up. I read the book first, and then received free tickets to see the preview of the film. Both excellent, even if different. What a great start to the year!

Last book of the year: Gardens Where No One Will See by T.C. Mill

An interesting story with a m/m romance at the center of the fantasy story. It was short and I think it would have been better as a longer novel, but still worth the read.

Adult books read: 53 (not including more mature manga)

Favorite: Letters from a Murder by John Matthews. I reviewed it here as well. I just really enjoyed it, despite there being no LGBT content, which is my typical fair. Either way, I can’t wait for a sequel because the characters are phenomenal.

Teen books read: 23 (although this might be a bit subjective, as some books might be considered younger readers)

Favorite: Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry. My students and I were waiting for this book since last year, and it did not disappoint. The last book in the Benny Imura series and it goes out with a bang. I was literally screaming and cheering at one point it was so crazy.

Children’s books read: 20

Favorite: 43 Old Cemetery Road: The Phantom of the Post Office by Kate Klise. I loved this book. As the fourth installment of the series, it was not only my favorite of the bunch, but my favorite children’s book of the year. Old and new characters, all of them great, and this book is all about writing letters and enjoying writing. Perfect!

Manga read: 44 (unless I miscounted by one)

Favorite: This is almost impossible, like the others. But I enjoyed every single Sailor Moon volume I read. I think of them, the best is Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon volume 12. Sure, it’s the last one, but it was great because I got to see some forms of the senshi that aren’t available in the anime. I also enjoyed seeing how things ended between Usagi and Mamoru, and the beginning of Chibi Usa. Ahh…my childhood.

Graphic Novels read: 5

Favorite: Even though there were only five, it was still really hard to choose. Each of them had their merit. Possibly Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge. I enjoyed the art and the way the narrator “draws” her own story. I also know that my students read it quite a few times each.

LGBT books read (adult and teen): 50

Favorites: I had to split it between adults and teens, and even then it’s pretty impossible to choose. Most of them were excellent. For adults, I think I’d have to say For Want of a Fiend by Barbara Ann Wright. It’s the sequel to The Pyramid Waltz, and I was waiting for it since I finished the first book! A review can be found on my site here.

For teens, another tough decision, but I’m going with Night Creatures by Jeremy Jordan King. I also reviewed this book on my site. And like the last book, it’s a sequel to a series I love. Technically it’s more New Adult than teen, but whatever. It’s still a great book that follows my favorite supporting character from the first book as the main character in this one.

Nonfiction books read: 7

Favorite: This might sound surprising, but this one is actually tough for me. I enjoyed all the nonfiction books I read, even if there weren’t many, and they were all vastly different. That said, I think the one that stuck with me the longest is Compact Houses: 50 Creative Floor Plans for Well-Designed Small Homes. I know, it probably sounds strange, but I actually did enjoy the book and read it cover to cover. I was given a copy to review on NetGalley and I became obsessed with it. I even found what I hope will be my future home in that book, and for that reason I must obtain a physical copy. The book has beautiful homes, each one unique. Not only are they compact in size, but they have wonderful, green features to make the housing more affordable. I learned a lot about lighting and space-saving designs as well, and have decided that my future home will have a central atrium and built in bookshelves.

 

The Year In Review! Movies

I don’t go out to the movies very often, but when I do, I make sure it’s awesome.

This year, I actually only went twice. The first time was at the beginning of the year to see Warm Bodies. I had gotten free advanced preview tickets from a friend of mine and took my two sisters with me. I’d read the book first, and then saw the movie. While they were both different, I loved them both. The movie was fun and definitely geared towards teens whereas the book was for adults. I did prefer the end of the book more, though, but I guess it would have been hard to pull off on the big screen. At least, in a way that made sense. You can see my review of it here.

 

 

Every Thanksgiving my family eats dinner together and then goes to see a movie. This year, despite my wanting to see Thor, my family chose Frozen, and I’m glad they did. I’ve reviewed it here. I liked it so much I went and bought the soundtrack the next day and have all of the songs memorized already! My little sister even got me a Frozen poster for Christmas. Haha, grow up? Never! But it really is a great movie and a great way to end the year. Disney is going to have a hard time topping this one, at least in my books.

The Year In Review!

Greetings!

Ahh, the end of 2013. It’s been a crazy year! To commemorate, over the next several days I’ll be making posts reviewing my year in books, my year in grad school, my first year living away from my parents house, and the release of my newest novel, Meeting Chance. I’m sure there will be some other good things as well, so keep an eye out!

For now, I go back to cleaning my apartment to end the year on a nice, clean note and start the year off right, and watching Muppet Christmas Carol.

See you soon!