Questions #2

I love the questions you’re asking, so keep them coming! Today we have two questions from ‘Nathan, who asks:

Okay, I have a two-part question: Have you bumped into much negative feedback for writing LGBTQ characters? (and, the second part, to make it a less negative topic) What have been the best moments of having written LGBTQ characters?

Writing LGBTQ characters has been fantastic. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’ve honestly not had much negative feedback from the writing portion. I did have some issues with starting a GSA at the first school I worked at, but it was concerns on the part of an administration that wasn’t sure just how the GSA would benefit the school or students.

My biggest concern was with how my family–mostly my grandparents–would react. They come from a generation where being gay is just unheard of. Growing up, I found myself butting heads with my grandfather on many issues…a lot. It’s just who I am and it’s how he was raised. But even my grandfather has done me proud.

Book signing other viewWhen Andy Squared first came out, I had to explain what it was about. Of course my grandparents wanted to read it, but I did worry. I didn’t know how they would take it. I didn’t write it for them, obviously, but as my grandparents, I still wanted their approval. But I wasn’t sure if it would happen. When I had my book release party at the Bristol Public Library, they came. I couldn’t have been more nervous when I was standing at the podium reading from the book. At my feet I had my former students, and my grandfather sat right in front of me. When I opened the floor to questions and his hand went up, I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. But he surprised me. Rather than asking about Ryder and Andy’s sexuality and some, ahem, scenes, he commented on the style of writing and how he could picture being with the boys as they rode horses.

Book Singing with students at my feetAfterwards, he admitted he hadn’t finished the book yet, but that he was enjoying it. And when he finally did finish it, he told me how it had changed his mind on LGBT people.

I cried.

Then he surprised me again. He and my grandmother read the newspaper, and they enjoy columns like Ask Amy and such. In one, a mother had asked about her teenager being gay, and what books to read to help her understand, etc.

My grandfather wrote to the columnist and explained how his opinion had changed after reading Andy Squared, and how he realized how difficult LGBT teens have it when their family doesn’t accept them. I still have the email he sent me somewhere.

I cried again.

I guess you could say that was also one of the best moments of having written LGBTQ characters. Even though my books are primarily for teens, having a 70+ year old man read the book and change his opinion was pretty spectacular.

Readers have also contacted me from all over. My first ever reader email was from a young man in Costa Rica who had to order the book from the US and have it shipped to him. Another was from a young fan who reached out to me on Facebook, telling me he was going to come out to his family. I kept in touch with him for several months after that, checking in to see how he was doing. I also recently had a reader FROM upstate New York contact me, thrilled to see his part of the state represented with gay teens!

So the best moments are definitely when readers reach out to me to talk. I love that. I will always respond to readers, so please, don’t be afraid to reach out!

The First Twenty – are you ready for it?

The First Twenty coverIt’s just about a month for the release of The First Twenty and I’m getting excited! The author copies came in and they are BEAUTIFUL! I mean really, look at that cover! Stunning.

This book is my longest at 233 pages, and it looks great! I can’t wait to see what readers think!

If you read it, be sure to let me know what you think! I love getting feedback from my readers, and I would love to link to your review on my page.

Book Review: Swans & Klons by Nora Olsen

What does it take to survive in a world built on lies?

Sixteen-year-old Rubric loves her pampered life in the Academy dormitory. She’s dating Salmon Jo, a brilliant and unpredictable   girl.   In their all-female world, non-human slaves called Klons do all the work. But when Rubric and Salmon Jo break into the laboratory where human and Klon babies   are   grown in vats, they uncover a terrifying secret that tears their idyllic world apart.

Their friends won’t believe them, and their teachers won’t help them. The Doctors who rule Society want to silence Rubric and   Salmon   Jo. The two girls must flee for their lives. As they face the unthinkable, the only thing they have left to believe in is their love for each other.

Imagine a world where men do not exist. Women not only run society, but they ARE society. As in the only members. In the distant future, male children are born with something wrong with them that ultimately causes them to become what the women call “Cretinous Males.” They are physically and mentally weaker to a large degree, making them giant children essentially. In this future society, women do not even give birth anymore. All children are created and raised in giant tubes until they are able to be born. And in order for humans to have a more meaningful life free from menial labor, Klons are created.

This book has a wonderful plot that takes readers on a journey of self-discovery, and shows what happens when the basic principal you have been taught all your life turns out to be a lie. Rubric and Salmon Jo do not find anything wrong with their world until they see something that makes them question just how Klons and Humans are created. They begin to wonder, what makes someone human? Even though this book is set in the distant future, it is a plausible world and when you consider genetic engineering that is done, and the creation of highly advanced AI, you have to wonder what DOES make someone human? What does it mean to be human?

I can easily see this as the first in a series, because the book leaves off at a place that could be the end, but also the beginning of another grand adventure. I’d love to see more of Rubric, Dream, Salmon Jo, and everyone else. There is a lot of potential here with what the author could do.

This book will be available from Bold Strokes Books on May 1, 2013. You can preorder your copy here.

Meeting Chance – coming October 14, 2013!!

It’s official! Bold Strokes Books has given me the release date for my next novel, Meeting Chance. Take a look at the lovely cover art! I really like the colors and the silhouette in the background.
Release Date: October 14, 2013
More information as it becomes available! (Including the official blurb once it’s posted!)