I was hoping to do a lot of artwork this month for Doodles and Dreams. I did do quite a few drawings, but ended up burning out in the end. A big problem to start was I attempted to keep up with two different instagram accounts. BIG MISTAKE. The drawings weren’t taking very long but they were draining especially after having a summer home with the kids.
Both my kids will be in school full time starting tomorrow morning! I’m so happy about this. I’ve had a hectic schedule these past couple of weeks with the gradual entry my kindergartener had these past two weeks. I guess it’s less painful for the kiddos but it’s a lot of work for a parent.
The thing that really killed everything was those fires! I live just south of Vancouver. We had at least a week ranking with the worst air quality in the world for the week of the 13th. My joints were burning all week. If that wasn’t enough I possibly have CFS. Which means I’m tired all the time. It does make sense with how I’m feeling all the time. I’m not upset, but I’m also not happy when my body doesn’t want to do anything!
So my plan is to just put out the Doodles & Dreams art prompts out for next month. Since there are a lot of people looking for an alternative to Inktober maybe more people will join me! I’m going to try to keep it to 1 piece a day so I don’t burn myself out. I hope some of you will join me, too! Tag your art with #doodledreams
Lots more books this week. I keep thinking I’m getting close to the end of the list, but there are just so many books! I’m not complaining. This week is books for older audiences. Next week will be books that are picture books – young adult.
The Chimera Code by Wayne Santos
EVERYTHING’S FOR HIRE. EVEN MAGIC.
If you need something done, Cloke’s one of the best; a mercenary with some unusual talents and an attitude to match.But when she’s hired by a virtual construct to destroy the other copies of himself, and the down payment is a new magical skill, she knows this job is going to be a league harder than anything she’s ever done.
“A full-throttle magical cyberpunk superhero thriller” – Peter McLean
Wayne’s Website: https://www.waynesantos.com/
Seven Settings by Watt Morgan
It’s been a year since they graduated high school, and to celebrate their reunion, eight old friends take off to a cabin by the lake. And despite threatening omens from the locals, the party must go on. Until, one by one, the friends begin dying off in horrible ways. Are they the victims of a science experiment–one with the potential to destroy the fabric of reality itself? Will they be able to survive at the hands of the masked Hazmat? Or will they succumb to their own stoned and drunken idiocy? Prepare to simultaneously laugh and cringe with this comedy-horror novella.
Watt’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheWattMorgan
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084FQGV4Z
From Ashes to Magic (A Supernatural Beings Anthology Book 1)
It’s when they creep out of the shadows that you should beware. The good ones will hold your hand when you’re having a nightmare; the bad ones BECOME your nightmare, seeping into your very soul and burrowing in the darkness until they’ve completely taken over.
Ten authors. Ten stories. Many supernatural beings you’ve come to know and love.
Once you plunge into these pages, you won’t want to leave.
Mikki Noble’s Website: https://www.mikkinoble.com/
Jennifer C. Covin’s Website: https://twitter.com/JennWritesVamps
Nita Pan’s Website: https://nitapanwrites.com/
Melony Paradise’s Books: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melony-paradise
Adi Denner’s Website: https://adidenner.com/
Abby Paul’s Website: https://twitter.com/APaulWrites
Carmen Adam’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Carmen-Adams/e/B07ZXL2GWY/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_7
Ryen Lesli’s Website: https://ryenlesli.com/
Evelyn Chartres’ Website: http://evelynchartres.com/
Ari Meghlen’s Website: https://arimeghlen.co.uk/
The Jealousy of Jalice (A Disaster of Dokojin Book 1) by Jesse Nolan Bailey
The Realms have split apart, the Stones of Elation have been hidden, and warnings of dokojin drift among the tribes.
The land and its people are corrupted. The Sachem, chief of the Unified Tribes, is to blame.
It is this conviction that drives Annilasia and Delilee to risk their lives. Afraid of the aether magic he wields, they enact a subtler scheme: kidnap his wife. In her place, Delilee will pretend to be the chieftess and spy on the Sachem.
Unaware of this plot against her husband, Jalice is whisked away by Annilasia. Pleading with her captor proves futile, and she rejects Annilasia’s delusional accusations against the chief. After all, the Sachem has brought peace to the land.
Yet a dangerous truth hides in Jalice’s past. As she and Annilasia flee through a forest of insidious threats, they must confront the evil plaguing the tribes and the events that unleashed it.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085BCZDT5
Jesse’s Weblinks: https://linktr.ee/JesseNBailey
Buried Alive: A Story of Hate and Acceptance by A. James
This remarkable true story of adolescent sexual abuse, survival and triumph offers realistic hope to all victims of abuse – both for recovery, and for a fulfilling life no longer defined by an abusive past. The author’s courageous struggle to achieve insight and awareness, and eventually see justice done, points a way for others to overcome childhood trauma and victimisation.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088TJSRWF
A. James’ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajames_buriedalive/
The Ups and Downs of Norman Drudge by Iain Dalgleish
A story of loneliness, friendship, love and a library.
Twenty-five year old Gemma Davies lives alone in her flat in Ealing where she likes to read and watch old movies. On weekdays, she works at the local library and on Saturdays works at the nearby charity shop.
Her only friend is recently widowed Mrs Dawson, a seventy-something-year-old pensioner who visits every Thursday on Gemma’s day off when they put the world to rights, drink tea from china cups, watch an old film or visit the nearby duck pond.
Sitting in Gemma’s kitchen window, they become obsessed with a neighbour whose life seems to involve just looking out onto the street while drinking tea and eating biscuits. They nickname him ‘Norman Drudge.’
When the local council decides that the library has to close, Gemma and Mrs Dawson hatch a plan to save it.
Meanwhile, Gemma finds herself falling for the local shopkeeper, Mr Patel.
Elowyn of Avalon: Tales of Avalon: Chronicles of a Forgotten Land by Wallace R. Hanson
Elowyn is an ordinary girl: studious, bright, and pious, an asset to her community and a willing volunteer to join the Youth of Promise, an elite group of ecclesiastical students. She leaves for her education and is trailed by her headstrong sister Windine, who is punished for her transgression with a secret quest in the Mother Land south of Avalon. Both sisters experience a swift and brutal crisis of faith due to corrupt leadership, aggrandized world views, and an introduction to a society and people they had been sheltered from. Elowyn finds herself gifted with enormous power she did not know she had within her and embarks on a worldwide ministry to inform the human race of their own divinity outside of the rule of heaven. Danger stirs in the west as Avalon’s sister country Atlantis mounts an attack on heaven itself led by Nimrod the Mighty Hunter, whose affront to the deities may mean the destruction of the entire world.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087RC7LB6
Wallace’s Website: http://www.wallacehanson.com/
Atonement (Heaven Sent Book 1) by JL Rothstein
To Hell, this world is fractured and faithless, perfectly ripe for the picking. Sent by Heaven, Guardians defend against a malevolent onslaught of demonic intrusion. For hundreds of years the nine siblings of the O’Mara family have been engaged in this merciless battle, fighting to protect the souls of all humanity.
Heaven and Hell have been waging this infernal war bound only by the rules of a contentious accord. On the anniversary of her husband Gabriel’s disappearance, Genevieve O’Mara’s lingering sorrow manifests into a murderous rage unfurled upon a demon. Vengeance is coming, not just for Genevieve, but for all those she loves.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B088JZQ9LN/
JL’s Website: https://www.jlrothstein.com/
The Adulterer's Trial by Sam Anthony
Everyone has a secret. How much would you pay to keep yours?
Lee wakes from a coma to find himself on trial for double homicide.
His lover is dead. His wife is dead. His lawyer is hot! His girlfriend is jealous.
And, to make matters worse, the Alphabet Killer remains at large.
Find out what ensues in this the fourth instalment of The Adulterer Series.
Buy the Book
Sam’s Website: https://samanthony.net/
The Beloved Fire: The Beloved Series: Book 1 by Chelsii Klein
Mikayla has been stalked by the supernatural all her life. They’ve waited patiently for her 21st birthday. When her one night of freedom goes wrong. Purgatory is where she is taken and she soon discovers the real identities of the dream walking twins, Blake and James. They aren’t her only problem. In her new captive realm she discovers the very real existence of Angels, Demons, and the Magical.
Purgatory, a mansion filled with endless hallways and doors leading into any souls greatest nightmares, is ran by one irritatingly handsome Anock, Prince of Hell. Finding a way out may not be her only problem once she discovers why the supernatural is after her soul. She will have to put attractions aside if she’s to make it through this game. The world she never knew existed now lays at her feet. However; Purgatory is just the beginning.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086H54JXY/
Chelsii’s Website: https://www.authorchelsiiklein.com/
I’m getting really close to finishing up the images for this cat comic I’m working on. Just need a few more hours I hope. I’m hoping to finish the 3 I’m working on. I’ll have to finish the other two in my portfolio as well, but I’m happy I’m almost there!
I’m currently reading A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown. I just summarized the story for a friend so I’ll post it here. There is a minor spoiler in the text about an event that happens within the first few chapters. I’ve whited these areas out.
It’s from two perspectives. A magical being takes Malik’s sister as his prisoner. Malik enters a deal with a magical being to save his sister. The deal is to kill Karina who is the Crown Princess of Ziran.
Karina’s mother is murdered and Karina wants to bring her back using dark magic (which could end up with her killing Malik). She also has to contend with her council who seems to be working against her and undermining everything she does. She has to hide her mother’s death and deal with a unknown traitor.
Malik is chosen by a goddess to enter the Solstasia competition. This gives Malik a way to get to Karina, but everything gets more complicated when the two meet and start having feelings for one another.
I’m almost done with this story and I’m so excited to find out how it’s all resolved!
More Fun Stuff:
My son was asking for math worksheets to do over the summer. He loves math. I remembered my friend Evelyn B Christensen does some wonderful puzzle books for kids. She has logic, math, word and other puzzles in her books. Evelyn has all kinds of puzzles on her website for kids to do and sample sheets from each of her books. There is lots to for free on her site that will keep kids busy for hours. I printed up a bunch of sheets to see what my son likes so I know which books to order for him! http://evelynchristensen.com/index.html
I have switched the book day to Friday. I moved it so I can use Wednesday as a permanent update day to talk about what I’m doing, what I’m reading and any fun writing/illustration events (or any other fun stuff I find). You can see the update here: https://www.daniduck.com/wednesday-updates/ There is a big list of books I’ve been reading there!
Kidlit books are included at the bottom. I have done my best finding illustrator websites. I believe these are the correct websites for each book’s illustrator. In some cases it was difficult to determine if the illustrator (though having the same name) was definitely the illustrator for the book mentioned. If you see any mistakes please let me know and I’ll fix them!
The Balance Between Life and Death by Elizabeth Holland
The balance between life and death can be precarious. Ana Adams wakes up every morning, goes to work and comes home at night to her dog. That doesn’t mean she’s living. After suffering the worst pain imaginable Ana is trying to make it through each day. The smile on her face means nothing, all that matters is the turmoil that is going on inside her head.
As Ana learns to open up to others and embarks on a new relationship she finds that letting life in is harder than she anticipated. Perhaps she’s moved too fast and needs to focus on healing before opening herself up to more pain and disappointment.
Will Ana learn her lesson or will it be too late for her?
This novella focuses on the importance of putting your mental health first.
A reminder that you never know what someone is hiding beneath their smile.
Buy The Book:
It’s FREE on #KindleUnlimited
Harbinger by Olga Gibbs
“I am Uriel: The Harbinger of Chaos, The Keeper of the Gates, The Begetter of Life, The Dam of The Ends, and I’m coming to take what is mine!”
The clash with Baza and his angels had demonstrated to Ariel that Earth (Apkallu) is not the safe heaven she hoped it would be, and it is only a matter of time before she is hunted and dead.
The only way to survive is to accept her destiny and to fight back.
But upon her return to Uras, Ariel is rejected in her own domain and has to suppress the revolt against her reign. The angels refuse her and her lead, abandoning her and Uras in favour of another ruler.
She knows that without an army of followers she won’t stand a chance against Baza or Mik’hael, so now she needs to go into the most unexpected places to find it.
Halo: The stage is set. The armies are in their positions. However, what Ariel had gathered hardly can be called an “army”, maybe a mob at a push, but it’s all she has. This handful of the fallen is her only chance for survival in the final battle. The pages of the final book of the “Celestial Creatures” are full of betrayal, power struggle, heartache and fulfilling one’s destiny: becoming the feared archangel, the sole ruler of Heaven.
Buy the Books: https://books2read.com/u/bx8n1l
Author’s Website: https://www.olgagibbs.com/
I Know You by Louise Mullins
A mother’s world falls apart the day the police come knocking to tell her that her son is dead. Murdered, apparently without motive, outside a fast food restaurant. But when a witness comes forward, Honour realises her beloved son had a secret life beyond anything she imagined...
Author’s Website: https://www.louisemullinsauthor.com/
Red Moon by Sein Ares (Author), Big Bann Studio (Illustrator), Michele Sagan (Editor)
Have you ever imagined, the End of Man?
A world where Magic is life and Demons thrive?
Have you ever imagined, if it would be a better world?
I know I did, until the Red Moon.
Ice fell like rain, waves eclipsed the skies and death upon death.
All the while, Gods silent.
Then Saisho jumped into the pit, and a ripple began.
The First Hellbrids walked, and the ripple flourished.
Ten thousand years passed, and the ripple faded away.
Until the Red Moon again, and Chaos began,
The ripple again, and an Era began,
With the world echoing again,
“Those who sin die by the way they sinned!”
Illustrator’s Website: https://www.facebook.com/bigbannstudio/
Five Sisters by Stephanie Campisi illustrated by Maddi Andronic
When a great white oak gifts an old man a branch imbued with magic, he carves five wooden matryoshka dolls, “each smaller than the last.” The wooden dolls take on a life of their own as they frolic from one season to the next, bringing the old man and his wife a joy they had always longed for. Beautiful verse and stunning, traditional illustrations full of woodland creatures and playfully painted matryoshka dolls explore a tale of heartache, hope, and love.
Author’s Website: http://www.stephaniecampisi.com/
Illustrator’s Website: https://madiandronic.com/
Piglette by Katelyn Aronson Illustrated by Ava Byrne
Will a pristine piglet find perfection in Paris?
Piglette can be a bit particular by her siblings’ standards. She always wants everything to be perfect. While her many brothers and sisters like rolling in the mud, Piglette prefers pampering in a mud bath. While her siblings eat slop, Piglette prefers pastries. But what she’s most passionate about is flowers. She loves to smell the lilies and lilacs in the pasture. So Piglette decides her precise nose is destined for the perfume shops of Paris!
But Piglette soon realizes that there’s nothing more precious than the pleasant scents of home, and she finds a way to bring a little Parisian perfection back where she belongs. Debut author Kateyln Aronson and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Eva Byrne have created an unforgettable, playful piglet who stays true to herself and the message that home is where the heart is.
Buy the Book: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/622563/piglette-by-katelyn-aronson-illustrated-by-eva-byrne/
Author’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/MademoiselleK8
Illustrator’s Info: https://thebrightagency.com/uk/illustration/artists/eva-byrne
My Breakfast With Jesus by Tina Cho Illustrated by Guy Wolek
Children around the world share Jesus’ love through their different breakfasts, inspired by the iconic moment in the Bible when Jesus makes breakfast for the disciples on the beach.
Buy the Book: https://www.tinamcho.com/my-breakfast-with-jesus.html
Author’s Website: https://www.tinamcho.com/
Illustrator’s Website: https://guywolek.com/home
The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho illustrated by Jess X. Snow
A breathtaking picture book featuring a Korean girl and her haenyeo (free diving) grandmother about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world.
Buy the Book: https://www.tinamcho.com/the-ocean-calls.html
Illustrator Website: http://www.jessxsnow.com/filter/illustration
Five Minutes Alfie by Lily Mae Walters illustrated by Jack Foster
Alfie snuggles down in bed,
dreams still in his little head.
He dreams he’s a king going out for a ride.
“A dragon sleeps in front of the gate,” they cried.
How will they succeed in waking him up?
By helping each other and lots of luck.
Author’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/LilyMaeWalters1
Things have been so busy for me lately. I keep thinking that I was going to be able to make time to put up a list of new books this week and I failed. I have less involved things this coming week, so I will be able to pick back on the list next week.
Website building or consultation:
3 pieces of promotional material:
Thanks so much with your participation in Spring into Writing!
I will attempt to contact you both shortly. You will have 1 month to pick up your prize after notification and 6 months to use your prize.
The winner of Kaitlyn Sanchez’s prize A CRITIQUE is:
Congratulations! You will be contacted soon about your prize.
I had so wanted to do a Black only book release post today to support Black Lives Matter. Unfortunately, I didn’t responses to my Tweets yet (I’m still going to try). It’s expected because it took me some time to get responses to my author posts. If you are Black you can still comment here and hopefully I can get several people for a dedicated post. https://twitter.com/DaniDuck/status/1267504987367587847
Even if I’ve already posted your work please feel free to submit you book again for a second post!
I do have some Black authors below, and am also including other POC to the list. I may have missed a few people, so feel free to let me know if I missed you!
Books for Grown-Ups
Dragonborn by Whitney Rines
Five Amaranthine coveting godhood commit horrific actions against mortals and the world they share and are granted twisted versions of their desire.
Dragonborn follows the story of Fayet and his own journey to humanity, by watching mortals over time. He eventually falls for a mortal woman named Ayshir and assuming a mortal shell builds a family and home with her.
However, the events preceding their union and the ones that that follow after, slowly bring a darkness that threatens to destroy his family.
Buy Dragonborn and preview Whitney’s Other Books: https://www.whitneyrines.com/publications
This is My America by Kim Johnson
Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?
Preorder the Book:
Kim’s Website: https://www.kcjohnsonwrites.com/
I Should Have Worn A Curtain by Samyra Alexander
This quick read follows one woman’s struggle to accept her childhood trauma, face her relationship with food with honesty and bravery, and overcome an illness that has kept her silent too long.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088KBYT6C
Folow Samyra: https://twitter.com/SamyraTell
Island Seas by V.E. WilchCombe
Can 12yr old Michael Jones survive the night alone on Lightning Cay? It belongs to them, everyone knows this! Island myths and legends come to life in my new fantasy novella.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084LL15MD
V.E. Wilchcombe’s Website: https://starbeam88.wixsite.com/mysite-4
Calculated Murder by H.G Ahedi
In New York, Roumoult Cranston is infamously known for his keen interest in bizarre cases. So, when Garner Moss, a millionaire playboy is murdered by rich ex model, he is not intrigued. Fate intervenes when Roumoult becomes a prime suspect who was not only at the crime scene but also benefits from the dead man’s will.
With only seven suspects, including Roumoult, who killed Garner Moss might be a simple question to answer, but why? When motives like jealously, revenge, lust, money, power do not apply, the quest to answer this question will open a Pandora box because, in the case of the Calculated Murder, the living and the dead tread on dangerous terrain.
Buy the Book: amazon.com/H.G-Ahedi/e/B0
H.G’s Ahedi’s Website: https://harbeerahedi.wordpress.com/hedi
Older by Emily Schaubeck
A collection of poetry and prose for the lost and broken hearted. As everyone is on their journey to healing as I am.
Follow Emily: https://twitter.com/EmilySchaubeck
Not Your American Girl by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Lauren and her best friend, Tara, have always done absolutely everything together. So when they don’t have any classes together in sixth grade, it’s disastrous. The solution? Trying out for the school play. Lauren, who loves to sing, wonders if maybe, just maybe, she will be the star instead of Tara this time.
But when the show is cast, Lauren lands in the ensemble, while Tara scores the lead role. Their teacher explains: Lauren just doesn’t look the part of the all-American girl. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the everygirl star from Pleasant Valley, USA?
From amidst the ensemble, Lauren tries to support her best friend. But when she can’t bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again?
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VVTB9Q2
Madelyn’s Website: http://www.madelynrosenberg.com/
Wendy’s Website: http://wendyshang.com
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna artists. In a fight to prove who is the best, their lives become more tangled, but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush, especially since Flávia seems to like her back.
As the competition heats up, Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance.
Buy The Book & Adiba’s Website: https://adibajaigirdar.com/the-henna-wars
Adiba’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/adiba_j
The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho Illustrated by Jess X. Snow
Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea–generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts.
Tina’s Website: https://www.tinamcho.com/
Jess’ Website: http://www.jessxsnow.com/
Thank you so much for participating in Spring into Writing this year! This was only the second year for the event. I have a survey you can fill out if you’d like: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CCTXW3Q
Here is a badge for anyone who wants an “I Won” badge. If you did any writing at all this month, congratulations you won Spring into Writing!
You have until next Monday (June 8th) to enter for the following 3 prizes
1. A critique with Kaitlyn Sanchez of your work.
2. Website building help from Dani:
The third prize is 3 pieces of promotional material for your book!
If you have a book coming out soon you might need help with making post cards, bookmarks, posters, book plates ect. I will do the set up and design for these with simple art if wanted. (If you have a different business I can help with that as well).*
To enter: Comment below to tell me how you liked Spring into Writing!
Please comment on as many posts as possible!
*If you would rather me help you set up a website I can do that. Prize winner must contact me 30 days after winning. Prize must be redeemed within 6 months after prize is announced.
While writing this intro for Robin Stevenson I can’t help but hear the song, “Rainbow Connection” in my head. It’s not just because I’m listening to the song while I’m writing. Robin just gives me all the warm feeling I get when I hear the song.
I wish that I had Robin’s books when I was a kid. I also wish that my parents and the world would have been supportive in me reading such books. It’s wonderful knowing that not alone in this world. I love that feeling and I know that Robin’s books will help our and future generations feel this way as well!
Robin’s Website: https://robinstevenson.com/
Hello! Hope you are all doing okay and finding support and ways to cope during this strange pandemic spring. Despite having lots of time due to cancelled tours, launches and events, I’ve been finding writing rather difficult lately…so I was glad to get an email from Dani asking me if I would share something about why I love writing about LGBTQ+ characters and themes in my books.
Over the last few years, I seem to have become known for writing LGBTQ+ books. My first non-fiction book, PRIDE: CELEBRATING DIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY (https://robinstevenson.com/books/pride-celebrating-diversity-and-community/), came out in 2016 and was a Stonewall Honor book. Many of my novels include LGBTQ+ characters and several, including INFERNO (https://robinstevenson.com/books/inferno/) and UNDER THREAT (https://robinstevenson.com/books/under-threat-2/), have been selected for the ALA Rainbow List. My board book PRIDE COLORS (https://robinstevenson.com/books/pride-colors/) is currently a Lambda Literary Award finalist, my picture book GHOST’S JOURNEY: A REFUGEE STORY (https://robinstevenson.com/books/ghosts-journey-a-refugee-story/) tells the story of two gay men and their cat, and this spring I launched a second, expanded edition of my original Pride book: It is called PRIDE: THE CELEBRATION AND THE STRUGGLE (https://robinstevenson.com/books/pride-the-celebration-and-the-struggle/).
(I was also going to launch my latest– and very queer– YA novel, WHEN YOU GET THE CHANCE (https://robinstevenson.com/books/when-you-get-the-chance/) , co-written with Tom Ryan, but due to the pandemic it will now be delayed until spring 2021).
So…why LGBTQ+ books? Well, when I wrote my first novel fifteen years ago, I drew heavily on my own experiences and memories of being a queer teen. Of course, that was a long time ago—I was in high school in the 1980s. It wasn’t a great time for queer teens: we didn’t talk about LGBTQ+ identities, we didn’t have books about LGBTQ+ characters, and many of us didn’t even have the language that might have made it so much easier to talk about these subjects, to understand our own identities, and to find community.
So my first novel, OUT OF ORDER (https://robinstevenson.com/books/out-of-order/), came from that place and those memories. It is about a bisexual teen, Sophie, who is just beginning to figure out who she is and how she wants to be in the world. After it was published in 2007, I began hearing from readers who related so strongly to Sophie—and I began realizing how important this kind of representation was. The following year, my novel BIG GUY (https://robinstevenson.com/books/big-guy/) came out. It was about a gay teen boy, and again I received emails from readers to whom this novel really mattered. One young gay man told me that he read it over and over– and that it helped him to understand and accept himself.
And of course, it isn’t just important for LGBTQIA+ kids and teens to see LGBTQ+ characters in books: I think all children, parents and teachers need these books. For young people who don’t know a lot about LGBTQ+ people, books can help them learn, have empathy, and hopefully care more about issues of human rights. Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are still common, and they hurt people—and I think books can be an important part of working to change that.
Although I started out writing for teens, I have begun writing LGBTQ+ books for much younger kids as well. Things are getting better but when I visit schools and talk to students, I still meet many who are afraid that if they come out as gay, or bi, or lesbian, or trans, that their parents won’t support them, or will be angry or disappointed. So I think kids need to hear from the people that love them that it is okay for them to be themselves and to love who they love. Our teens and our older kids need to hear that, of course—but there is no age that is too young to begin giving your kids that message. So I wrote my board book, PRIDE COLORS (https://robinstevenson.com/books/pride-colors/), for the very youngest kids–babies and toddlers. I hope it gives parents an easy way to tell their children that it is okay for them to be who they are, love who they love, and that they will always be accepted and adored.
My picture book, GHOST’S JOURNEY: A REFUGEE STORY (https://robinstevenson.com/books/ghosts-journey-a-refugee-story/) , is for slightly older kids. It tells the story of two gay men, Rainer and Eka, who fled Indonesia and came to Canada as refugees—along with their cat, Ghost. It is based on a true story and the illustrations are created from Rainer’s photographs. I wrote it to raise awareness of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people around the world, and my hope is that it can be used in classrooms as a gentle introduction to human rights issues. All my royalties from this book go to support LGBTQ+ refugees—I am hoping it will raise funds as well as awareness!
Writing about LGBTQ+ history and rights has strengthened my own connections to the queer community. It has led to so many conversations with queer young people, peers and elders; taught me more about my community’s past and its ongoing struggles; made me part of a wonderfully supportive group of queer writers; and connected me with other LGBTQ+ people around the world. And of course, all of that makes it even more likely that my future books will include LGBTQ+ characters…because my writing reflects the world I live in.
I am curious about the stories and books that will come out of this current period in our lives. How will the pandemic and all we are experiencing filter into our writing? For myself, I am returning to a long neglected and half written mystery novel this week and am hoping that the words will start to flow again…wish me luck! For those of you that are also finding writing challenging this spring, I hope you will be gentle with yourselves and do what you need to do to cope. The words will come eventually. They always do.
The winner of the $25 gift card is Tonnye Williams Fletcher!
A Look at the Week May 10th - 19th:
Monday, May 11th: The hilarious Henry L. Hertz talks about writing Humor. This is not a how to be funny post. It’s an in depth look at the different ways you can write humor. http://www.henryherz.com/
Wednesday, May 13th: Intisar Khanani is all about mighty girls in magical worlds. She’s here to talk about the strength and equality in being female.: http://booksbyintisar.com/
Thursday May 14th: Helena Ku Rhee talks about our wonderful world. She finds excitement in everything and writes about it. You’ll learn how you can see the world in a very magical way: http://helenakrhee.com/
Friday, May 15th: Renee La Tulippe talks about writing and creating books in a fantastic interview. Find out the mistakes writers often make, and learn all about the rhyming classes that Renee teaches. This is a must for those wanting to write in rhyme! https://www.reneelatulippe.com/
Saturday May 16th: A Look At the Week May 17th-23rd.
There may be more surprises later this week. Keep checking back (or look in your mail) for more fun!