2013 Rainbow List Announced… and Guess What’s on it?

Nothing to make me go “eeeeee!!!” on a rainy January morning like seeing in my Google Reader that the Rainbow List blog has a new post — and it’s for the long-anticipated annual Rainbow List!

The Rainbow List is compiled by American Library Association’s Gay and Lesbian Round Table. The committee takes nominations for LGBTQ-themed books published in the previous 18 months that are written for young readers, compiles their list of recommendations, and names a Top Ten.

Guess what book is on the Top Ten list with nine other fabulous titles, that added a few extra E’s to my “eeeeee!!!”?

  • *Bigelow, Lisa Jenn. Starting From Here. 2012. 292p. Amazon Children’s Publishing, $16.99 (9780761462330). Grades 9 & Up.
  • *Cronn-Mills, Kristin. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. 2012. 288p. Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., $9.99 (9780738732510). Grades 8 & Up.
  • *Danforth, Emily M. The Miseducation of Cameron Post. 2012. 480p. Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062020567). Grades 9 & Up.
  • *King, A.S. Ask the Passengers. 2012. 304p. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316194686). Grades 9 & Up.
  • *Lo, Malinda. Adaptation. 2012. 400p. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316197960). Grades 9 & Up.
  • *Miller, Madeline. The Song of Achilles. 2012. 384p. HarperCollins, $25.99 (9780062060617). Grades 9 & Up.
  • *Moon, Sarah, editor. The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves. 2012. 288p. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780545399326). Grades 6 & Up.
  • *Rice-Gonzalez, Charles. Chulito: a Novel. 2011. 275p. Magnus Books, $14.95 (9781936833030). Grades 10 & Up.
  • *Saenz, Benjamin Alire. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. 2012. 368p. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (9781442408920). Grades 9-12.
  • *Telgemeier, Raina. Drama. 2012. 240p. Scholastic Graphix, $23.99 (9780545326988). Grades 6 & Up.

I’ve read Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Ask the Passengers, Adaptation, and Drama and can attest to their wonderfulness. I look forward to reading the others!

Other personal favorites of mine from the list include Kiss the Morning Star, by Elissa Janine Hoole (fellow 2012 debut author!); 37 Things I Love (In No Particular Order), by Kekla Magoon; and Gone, Gone, Gone, by Hannah Moskowitz. I still haven’t yet read Personal Effects, by another of my fellow 2012 debut authors, E.M. Kokie, but from all I’ve heard I’m going to love it.

Each year I find the Rainbow List a great source for staying up with LGBTQ-themed lit for kids and teens. For Starting from Here to be so honored is, well… an honor!

Check out the 2013 Rainbow List here.

Busy, Busy Month

It’s been a busy month for me, book-wise: five events over 29 days!

The Book Cellar, an independent bookstore and cafe in Lincoln Square, hosted my Chicago launch. I read a selection to a crowded room, answered questions, and signed books. So many friends and coworkers (and my brother) came out to support me, and many even brought friends and significant others of their own. The room was totally full of love — which didn’t stop my hands from shaking as I read and signed books, but hey. It was my first time.

Reading at Book Cellar

You can’t see my shaking hands from here. (Photo courtesy of A. Horton.)

Q & A

Q & A after the reading. (Photo courtesy of B. Bigelow.)

Stanley Manley and Me

Me and my favorite plastic surfer guy, Stanley Manley. Oh, and my friend R., too. (Photo courtesy of R. Bezalel.)

My Kalamazoo launch was hosted by Bookbug, a lovely indie with a focus on children’s and YA books. Again, there was quite a crowd. My parents were there, not to mention old and new friends, church mentors, friends of my parents, parents of my friends, my childhood pastor, and even my first and second grade teachers! I got over my nerves and read at a calmer pace and didn’t have so much “shaky hand” this time around. There was a long line for book signing, but fortunately Mom made a delicious assortment of cookies for people to enjoy.

Me and My Parents

Mom, me, and Dad at Bookbug. (Photo courtesy of J. Freeman.)

On the ides of November, I presented to my local SCBWI network. I’ve been going to meetings off and on since about 2006 and have found them to be a great source of support, networking, and information. I simply shared my publication journey, from second grade — when I first developed an interest in writing — to the present. I didn’t sugarcoat it, either. I talked about the good stuff, but I talked about the challenges and downright frustrations, too. Afterward, people told me they appreciated my honesty. I wanted to talk about my less-than-perfect path in large part because it hasn’t really been easy for any of us in the group — and I think it can be more inspiring to hear about someone who has been where we are, instead of only hearing about the overnight successes.

The last two events I put together with some of my fellow debut YA authors in the Apocalypsies group: Heather Anastasiu, Anne Greenwood Brown, Laura Ellen, Elissa Janine Hoole, E. M. Kokie, and J. A. Souders. The first was a panel discussion and signing at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville. We didn’t have a huge crowd, but we got some great questions, and it was fun to hear each other’s responses and chat with the attendees. The next night we did a group signing at the Barnes & Noble at East Towne Mall in Madison. We didn’t get a ton of customers, but it was still fun getting to know each other better and talking with the customers.

Apocalypsies at Anderson's

Me, J. A. Souders, Elissa Janine Hoole, Laura Ellen, Heather Anastasiu, E. M. Kokie, and Anne Greenwood Brown at Anderson’s Bookshop. (Photo courtesy of E. Hoole.)

Signing at Barnes & Noble

Me, E. M. Kokie, and Laura Ellen signing stock at Barnes and Noble. (Photo courtesy of E. Hoole.)

Next up, I’ve got two events with teen groups at the Chicago Public Library — and then I get to breathe until 2012! I wouldn’t trade this part of the process for anything, though. It has been “ups” all the way.

YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes: October Edition

YAmazing Race

It’s that time again… time for the Apocalpysies’ YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes — a blog tour featuring over 50 debut young adult and middle grade authors and your chance to win great prizes!

Thanks for visiting this final stop on the “Egg a House” leg of the tour. (If you’ve come here first, be sure to start from the beginning for a full explanation of the rules!) Now, I’d like to introduce you to my book:


A young adult novel from Amazon Children’s Publishing
(formerly Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books)
ISBN 13: 9780761462330
Order books: Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Download e-books: Kindle

Sixteen-year-old Colby Bingham’s heart has been broken too many times. Her mother is dead, her truck driver father is always away, and her almost girlfriend just dumped her for a guy. When an injured stray dog lands at her feet, she decides to care for it, against her better judgment. But new connections mean new opportunities for heartbreak. Terrified of another loss, Colby bolts at the first sign of trouble, managing to alienate her best friend, her father, the cute girl pursuing her, and even her dog’s vet, who’s taken Colby under her wing. Colby can’t start over, but can she learn how to move on?

Bonus Prize

In addition to grand prize drawing, all visitors who comment on this post will be entered into a prize drawing for a signed copy of Starting from Here!

And now… off you go to the finish line. Remember, you’ve got until Monday, October 29, at noon EST, to finish. Thanks again for stopping by!

ETA: The YAMazing Race with MGnificent Prizes is now over. The random number generator has spoken, and Commenter #27, Precious, is the winner of the signed copy of Starting from Here. Thanks, everyone, for your interest in my book. I hope you get a chance to read it!