True Colors Open House

I should probably be in bed right now – okay I DEFINITELY should be in bed right now – but I can’t. I’m too excited! Tonight (as in yesterday) I went to an Open House for True Colors in Hartford, a group that works with LGBT youth. It was for those interested in volunteering, mentoring, and fostering.

I’ve been wanting to get involved for years now, but I never could manage to get around to it. I even filled out the application – twice – but never sent it in. Life got the best of me.

But last week at the retreat (post on that later) I thought about it again and was like yeah, YEAH I’m going to do it.

And then I got the email about the open house. Before I could chicken out, I sent Amber an email saying I’d be there.


Everyone I met was amazing. I was nervous at first going in, but that faded so fast. I love the space. It’s so positive and welcoming I was completely at ease. What an amazing place for youth to go to! I donated copies of each of my books to their library. And then I saw the library. It’s nice, but they had it arranged by color. And it needs to be fixed. I volunteered.

Okay, more like literally FLAILED at the opportunity to fix it.

What can I say? I love books. And I love organizing them. And they have BOXES to be sorted and omg I want to go tomorrow and start! D:

Focus, Jen.

So I also might be doing something with a writer’s workshop and Paul mentioned a book club and I may have flailed a little at that, too. Also putting together something for the conference in March which I was supposed to do last year…but again life got in the way of that.

Really I can’t wait to get my volunteer application in. I’m so freaking excited to start. Why did I wait this long to do it? I’m so energized I can hardly sit still! And I should be in bed!

Sleep is for the weak.

For more information about True Colors, you can visit their website here. 

And because it’s important, if you’d like to volunteer or donate to True Colors, follow this link directly for more information! Every little bit helps!

Tristant and Elijah – OFFICIALLY RELEASED!

So excited! Tristant and Elijah has officially been released everywhere and so far the reviews are great! Head on over to the reviews section of the page to see more, but here’s a few excerpts!

I truly loved the supportive role that Tristant played for Elijah in his journey. Elijah’s anguish, and Tristant’s empathy and kindness are palpable. These two are really tender boys–and I’m glad that they found each other. – Veronica from V’s Reads


I found the story to be relevant and one we can all relate to. Many of us have had the experience of having a crush on someone we cannot have. – Amos Lassen


Have you read Tristant and Elijah? Let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you!


#bookaday – Day 12: I pretend to have read it

Ouch. Really? You’re asking me to divulge this one? Well, about four months ago I would have said Pride and Prejudice, but I have since read it for college and enjoy the heck out of it. So I can officially check that one off.

I also can’t say Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov because I’m blunt about that one. I’ve TRIED to read it, but it squicks me out too much and I’m honest about it. No shame in that one.

So I guess maybe…

HUH. I honestly don’t know! I’m scanning my shelves and racking my brain for this one, and I’m not sure! I don’t lie about any of the books I own, and all the ones I read in school or were supposed to have read in school I don’t lie about. I’ve attempted but never finished Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli, and I was honest about that one because it’s the most boring book in the history of books.

I guess maybe I haven’t said I’ve read this one so much as lied about it by omission? People have asked me if I’ve read The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, and while I don’t exactly say I have or haven’t, my usual answer is “I own it.” Does that count as pretending to have read it? I swear it’s on my list. Maybe I’ll get to it this summer… but I really do own it! I bought it at Borders before I worked there. That’s how long ago I got it… and how long it’s been sitting on my shelf.

So yeah. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. If you ask me if I’ve read it, I’ll likely answer “I own it.” But no, I haven’t read it.


#bookaday – Day 11: Secondhand bookshop gem

I feel like some of these topics are redundant, at least for me. Some of these posts could be answered with the same books. Probably most of them could.

As I look around my room, it’s hard to pick out one secondhand bookshop gem. I mean, there was my best bargain, the four dollar signed Anne Rice book. Or the multiple hardcover copies of Aristoi that I found.

Maybe it’s all the manga that I found at The Book Barn. Manga, as any reader can attest to, is expensive. Terribly so. RIDICULOUSLY so. And The Book Barn used to have it priced at the fairly high four dollars. I say high because it’s a paperback and most paperbacks are a dollar. Now they range from one to four dollars.

While this might not be a gem to most people, it is to me because I collect manga. So it’s not only helped my budget, but it’s expanded my collection quite a bit! And there’s nothing better than full bookshelves.

#bookaday – Day 10: Reminds me of someone I love

So I know I stopped following the schedule, but things got busy for me and then things went downhill for a while, but I still like the idea and I’m going to finish this! Maybe I’ll post a few a day or something.

What book reminds me of someone I love?

I really don’t know. The first one that comes to mind is a Barbie collector’s book that my great grandma gave me the Christmas after she died. I guess they knew she might not make it, so my grandmother bought gifts for her to give. I collected Barbie dolls and the book meant a lot to me because it was the last gift from her and she was my favorite person in the world. Still is.

I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. Not sure why, but I suppose she’s around. 🙂

#bookaday – Day 9: Film or TV tie-in

Not quite sure how to answer this one. Do I own them? Yes. Are they talking about books that came before movies, movies that came before books and have products based on them, or books that came before movies that I then bought the movie cover versions for?

Maybe I’ll just answer all those questions to cover my bases…

Book with a movie cover that I bought: Maurice by E.M. Forster. I love the book and wanted my own copy, and it was the only one I found – ever – at the Book Barn, so I bought it. Now of course there is another cover for the book that’s snazzy, but I like my cover just fine.

Movie with book tie-ins: Transformers. I bought all the books for the movies as they came out: the prequel to the film and the novel version of the film. Why? Bumblebee, duh.

Book that became a movie that I own the original cover of the book for and not the movie tie-in cover: Cloud Atlas. The book and the movie are SO DIFFERENT in how they’re told. Bawled my eyes out through the film.

Also Warm Bodies. The movie is okay but the book is SO, SO FAR SUPERIOR. It’s so different, too. Very different endings and the book is NOT meant for teens like the movie sort of is. I wish the film had followed the book more closely. It’s hysterically amazing with such a great ending. And the father really gets what’s coming to him in the book…

#bookaday: Day 8 – Have more than one copy

I first encountered Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams in Ocean State Job Lot many years ago while camping with my family. I wanted something to read, and I browsed the cheap paperback books. I found this book, and since it was Scifi, I figured I’d give it a try.

It took me a while to get started since I was also “writing.” It was a rainy day at the campground, I remember, and we had a pop up camper. I settled into my bunk, and got started.

And have never looked back.

Aristoi was the first book I ever read with a gay relationship. It was completely revolutionary to me, especially since it had not only a gay relationship, but a bisexual main character, and even male pregnancy. I found it utterly fascinating. I was intrigued. And hooked.

The elite characters of the book have multiple personalities known as daimons that, within the book, have side conversations while the action of the book goes on around them. I loved that.

I now own three copies of the book: my original paperback, and two hardcover books. One a first edition, the other a scifi bookclub book. All three are on my shelf right now in the apartment. And every time I go to the Book Barn and find a used copy, I buy it. Because hey. You never know when you might need another!

It’s also now available on the Kindle, and you can purchase the book here. 

#bookaday – Day 7: Forgot I owned it

This happens a lot. There is no one book that I “forgot I owned.” I go to bookstores to pick something up and then get home to find out I have it already.

And since I have over 500 manga in my collection, I had to create a list on my phone to keep from buying duplicates. But if I forget to update the list, then… well, I’ve bought duplicates before.

What about you?

Short entry today, sorry! Brace on my right arm for carpal tunnel. 🙁 tough to type.

#bookaday – Day 6: The one I always give as a gift

Another difficult one. I always give books as gifts, and I try to tailor it to that person. If they’re a big reader, it’s to what they either haven’t read, or what they should read. If they’re not a big reader, I try to find something engaging for them that fits their interests. And again, it also depends on their age.

I wish this one said “The one I always recommend,” because there are definite titles for that one!

I guess for this, the book that I’ve given most recently as a gift – and a few times – would have to be The Culling by Steven dos Santos. I loved the book so much I pretty much demand everyone read it. Conversations from my side are pretty much like this:

Did you read The Hunger Games? Yes? Read this. It’s better.

Did you read The Hunger Games? No? Good. Read this. It’s better.

Do you like dystopian literature? Yes? Good. Read this. It’s perfect.

Do you like dystopian literature? No? Read this. You will now.

Do you want a book with an LGBT main character? Yes? Perfect, you’ll love Lucky. Read this.

Do you want a book with an LGBT main character? No? Well you should, so read this. You’ll love Lucky.

Do you like books that make you sob your face off? Yes? For the love of God, read this. Students have cried in my class reading it.

Do you like books that make you sob your face off? No? Well, read this. You’ll change your mind.

#bookaday – Day 5: Doesn’t belong to me

A book that doesn’t belong to me? For a moment I thought I didn’t have one, but I do! My coworker just let me borrow a book that looks like it’ll be interesting. She’s a Social Studies teacher and she teaches a Holocaust based class for the eighth graders. I teach a literature circle unit on Holocaust themed books, and I expressed interest in quite a few. She loaned me this one and said it was intense but good. It’s on my shelf right now to read this summer, actually.

It’s not really a true story, but it seems fascinating. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed “Hansel” and “Gretel.” They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called “witch” by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children.

Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, Louise Murphy’s haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children. The True Story of Hansel and Gretal tells a resonant, riveting story.
I love retellings of fairy tales and myths, so this is intriguing. The idea that the “witch” isn’t evil like she always is in the tales paints a different picture.