Excerpt Reveal: You’ll Be Fine by Jen Michalski

Today on the site, we have an excerpt from Jen Michalski’s upcoming women’s fic You’ll Be Fine, which releases from NineStar Press on August 2nd! Here’s the story:

After Alex’s mother dies of an accidental overdose, Alex takes leave from her job as a writer for a lifestyle magazine to return home to Maryland and join her brother Owen, a study in failure to launch, in sorting out their mother’s whimsical, often self-destructive, life.

While home, Alex plans to profile Juliette Sprigg, an Eastern Shore restaurant owner and celebrity chef in the making who Alex secretly dated in high school. And when Alex enlists the help of Carolyn, the editor of the local newspaper, in finding a photographer for the article’s photo shoot, Alex struggles with the deepening, tender relationship that blossoms between them as well.

To complicate matters, Alex and Owen’s “Aunt” Johanna, who has transitioned to a woman, offers to come from Seattle to help with arrangements, and all hell breaks loose when she announces she is actually Alex and Owen’s long-estranged father. Can Alex accept her mother and father for who they are, rather than who she hoped they would be? And can Alex apply the same philosophy to herself?

And here’s the excerpt!

The last time she’d seen Juliette was high school graduation. They hadn’t spoken for weeks, and their last names—Sprigg and Maas—ensured they’d be nowhere near each other in the audience of graduating seniors. Alex had told Owen and her mother to meet her in the parking lot after the ceremony. She had no intention of lingering in the high school gym, drinking fruit punch and eating sheet cake emblazoned with GO SENIORS and CONGRATULATIONS with the other kids who’d treated her like she was some highly contagious lesbian fungus.

She’d gotten through the first row of cars and spotted her mother in the fourth row, near the exit, leaning against their Subaru. Her mother wore Ray Bans and a black fedora, her arms crossed like she was the third Blues Brother or had materialized from some mid-80s new wave music video. As Alex raised her hand to wave to her, she felt another hand on her shoulder.

“Alex.” It was Juliette’s mother, Barbara Sprigg. She wore a floral print dress with a ruffled collar. A small crucifix hugged her thick neck. Her hair was red like Juliette’s but her face ruddier, plastered with freckles. She smiled. “You’re in a hurry! Congratulations!”

“Thanks.” Alex glanced over Mrs. Sprigg’s shoulder, saw Juliette, still in her graduation gown, lagging behind with her father and little sister. “My mom is taking us out to dinner.”

“Oh, I won’t keep you.” Mrs. Sprigg said, clasping Alex’s forearm as she did so. “You haven’t been by the house for a long time—Juliette says you’ve been so busy getting ready for Swarthmore. I’m sure your mother is so proud.”

“Uh huh.” Alex nodded. “I know Juliette is excited to go to Eastern Shore State.”

“Well, she’s⎯” Mrs. Sprigg glanced over her shoulder, “never been much of the academic type. I’m just glad I taught her to bake.”

“It’s a shame they didn’t let you guys supply the cakes.” Juliette’s mother ran a bake shop in town. Even now, she smelled faintly of sugar and frosting.

“Well, they wanted some asinine discount,” Mrs. Sprigg snorted. “Because Juliette is a student. Fine, but a 50% discount?”

“It was very nice to talk to you.” Alex tugged her arm away gently. “But I’ve got to go.”

“Is everything okay at home now, dear?” Mrs. Sprigg looked in the direction of the Subaru.

“Yes, why?” Alex glanced at Juliette again, her dark red hair, the few strands that stuck to her lip gloss. Alex wondered if the lip gloss smelled like mint, or strawberry. She wondered how Juliette’s hair would feel splayed between her fingers at that moment.

“Okay. I’m glad.” Mrs. Sprigg nodded, and Alex wondered what Juliette had told her. There was a lot, she thought, she could tell Mrs. Sprigg about Juliette.

They embraced, a half, light, back-patting hug, their cheeks brushing.

“Stay away from my daughter,” Mrs. Sprigg murmured into Alex’s ear. Then, as if nothing happened, Mrs. Sprigg waved vigorously and went to join the rest of the Spriggs. Stunned, Alex watched them walk toward their Buick. Before they reached it, Juliette turned her head, her mouth parted, her eyes searching Alex’s. Alex wondered, for a moment, if she had been too hasty, too harsh, to Juliette, if there was something salvageable between them.

No, she decided. Her life after high school would be awesome, and she wouldn’t remember Juliette any more than their high school mascot or her mom’s boyfriend Lewis. She held up her hand to Juliette, as if to wave. Instead, she gave her the finger and joined Owen and her mother at the other side of the parking lot.

“Did you just flip someone off?” Her mother lowered her sunglasses. Her hazel eyes bored into Alex with an unwavering intensity of a gamma ray. “At graduation?”

“It was Juliette,” Alex murmured, shaking her head. In her new life, she would be more mature. She felt fears in her eyes. “I shouldn’t have. I just—”

“Are you kidding?” Her mother grabbed Alex by the shoulders and looked up at her. She grinned. Alex noted her mother had borrowed her lipstick. “I’m more proud of that than your stupid diploma.”

Her mother pulled a pack of Benson & Hedges out of her dark cotton blazer with the rolled-up sleeves and tapped out a cigarette.

“Smoke?” She held out the pack to Alex. “You’re almost eighteen.”

Alex shook her head. “I don’t want lung cancer.”

“Your choice.” Her mother shrugged, lighting hers. She took a drag, then exhaled with a flourish. “Welcome to adulthood.”

Jen Michalski is the author of three novels, The Summer She Was Under Water, The Tide King (both Black Lawrence Press), and You’ll Be Fine (NineStar Press), a couplet of novellas entitled Could You Be With Her Now (Dzanc Books), and three collections of fiction. Her work has appeared in more than 100 publications, including Poets & Writers, The Washington Post, and the Literary Hub, and she’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize six times. She lives in Carlsbad, California, with her partner and dog.

Writing Fiction From Loss: a Guest Post by A New Life Author Randi Triant

Today on the site, please welcome Randi Triant, author of the recently released A New Life, to talk about writing fiction from loss. First, here’s more on the book:

58231463. sy475 Where her sister’s life ends, hers begins.

Tibbie Dyer, an impulsive, forty-three-year-old journalist, fears there is more to the story when Sandy, her gay, older sister, drowns in a boating accident off Cape Cod. As Tibbie hunts down the four survivors, she must confront her own sexuality and strained relationship with Sandy as she finds out whether it was an accident or murder. Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the secrets behind what happened, but also in the damaged lives of everyone else involved.

Luke Blackmore, Sandy’s sexually harassing boss and the boat’s owner, remains at the Manhattan publishing company where Sandy worked. But Penelope Blackmore, Luke’s manipulative daughter and ex-vice president, has fled mysteriously to a deserted mill town with Hayden Pierce, Sandy’s photographer ex-girlfriend. Myles Small, the publisher’s former graphic designer, with his bad stammer and coke habit, is barely surviving in a rundown train boxcar near the accident scene. One by one, Tibbie ferrets out what these survivors are hiding until the shocking conclusion of what it costs her to learn the truth about her sister—and herself.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

***

And here’s the post!

No one can survive life without tragedy. Some of us even get more than our fair share. Thirty-four years ago, I got mine. I answered my telephone to be told that my eldest brother had died in a boating accident in upstate New York. He drowned, but there were five survivors. I knew at once it would be the defining moment of my life. Yet, how to write about it?

I needed distance before I put pen to paper, so I waited a few years before I wrote a memoir piece about it and my ensuing insomnia and fear of water called “Swimming to Sleep.” It was published in a glossy literary magazine out of the South and was a finalist in a literary competition. I thought that was the end of it.

But it wasn’t.

The fact that there were survivors kept me up at night. My brother had died trying to swim for help when the boat capsized. I began to wonder how the five survivors were able to go on with their lives in the aftermath. What those lives were like.

Then, I realized I wanted to write a story about that. About the what if. That’s the question that fiction (as opposed to memoir) deals with. What if I found those survivors? What would I do then? I didn’t want to do it myself, but I could imagine someone—a fictional character—doing it. My recently released LGBTQ mystery, A New Life, does just that. Tibbie Dyer, an impulsive, forty-three-year-old journalist, fears there is more to the story when Sandy, her gay, older sister, drowns in a boating accident off Cape Cod. As Tibbie hunts down the four survivors, she must confront her own sexuality and strained relationship with Sandy as she finds out whether it was an accident or murder.

I began by asking the question that writers ask themselves when they start a story: That happens and then what? And then? Unlike my own relationship with my brother, I decided that Tibbie’s relationship with Sandy would be fractured for years before the accident, after Sandy came out as a lesbian. But I didn’t want to write a coming out story. Or did I?

At first, I was more interested in delving into the question of how we deal with loss so differently from each other, especially if we are estranged from the person we lose. After someone we love dies, some of us return to our lives, bevering away, within a few days. Others take years, even decades to fully enter life again. Some of us dull the pain of loss with alcohol and drugs. Others decide to train for a marathon. All of that is fodder for characters in fiction.

And what about fictionalizing the different types of guilt we feel after someone we know (or love) dies, especially after an accident? From “I should’ve told her how much I loved her” to “I wish we hadn’t had that argument the last time I saw her.” The different shades of guilt can be as plentiful as our good memories. All of this is to say that loss can be incredibly rich material for developing a character.

I always begin my novels or short stories by writing out character sketches. I want to know not only my characters’ favorite color, but also what motivates them. What has wounded them in the past. What they love. What they fear. Who or what they’ve lost. As I began writing such sketches for Tibbie and Sandy and the other four characters in what would become A New Life, I kept asking myself these questions:  How did Sandy’s death change them? What do they feel guilty about in connection with the accident? Because that’s what loss is: gut-wrenching change and guilt.

By the time I finished Tibbie’s sketch, however, I realized I’d been wrong: this was indeed her coming out story, fraught with guilt from her estrangement from her sister. I’d never come out to my brother. I thought I’d have plenty of time for that, but I wouldn’t. As a character, however, Tibbie doesn’t stand in for the me that never was. Her journey discovering her sexuality is all her own.

In the end, the persistent question of “what if” propelled the story along. What if Tibbie tracked everyone down? Would she have any kind of resolution that would allow her to go on without her sister, with her new life? Decades after my brother died, I have at least an imagined answer.

***

Randi Triant is the author of the novels The Treehouse, selected as an AfterEllen.com ultimate summer read, and A New Life. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in literary journals and magazines, including two anthologies of writing about HIV/AIDS, Art & Understanding: Literature from the First Twenty Years of A & U and Fingernails Across the Blackboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS from the Black Diaspora. She lives with her wife in Massachusetts.

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore

Step aside, because today on the site we have an utter icon, doing iconic things! Like publishing a beautiful romance between two neuroatypical nonbinary Mexican teens! Anna-Marie McLemore’s Lakelore releases March 8, 2022 from Feiwel & Friends! Here’s the story:

“Lovely and deep, colourful and creeping, perfect magic.”
#1 New York Times best-selling author E. K. Johnston

In this young adult novel by award-winning author Anna-Marie McLemore, two non-binary teens are pulled into a magical world under a lake – but can they keep their worlds above water intact?

Everyone who lives near the lake knows the stories about the world underneath it, an ethereal landscape rumored to be half-air, half-water. But Bastián Silvano and Lore Garcia are the only ones who’ve been there. Bastián grew up both above the lake and in the otherworldly space beneath it. Lore’s only seen the world under the lake once, but that one encounter changed their life and their fate.

Then the lines between air and water begin to blur. The world under the lake drifts above the surface. If Bastián and Lore don’t want it bringing their secrets to the surface with it, they have to stop it, and to do that, they have to work together. There’s just one problem: Bastián and Lore haven’t spoken in seven years, and working together means trusting each other with the very things they’re trying to hide.

And here’s the beautiful, affirming cover, illustrated by Carolina Rodriguez Fuenmayor and designed by Liz Dresner!

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Anna-Marie McLemore (they/them) grew up hearing la llorona in the Santa Ana winds, and now writes books as queer, Latinx, and nonbinary as they are. They are the author of The Weight of Feathers, a 2016 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist; Stonewall Honor Book When the Moon Was Ours, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature; Wild Beauty, a Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist best book of 2017; Blanca & Roja, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time; Dark and Deepest Red, a Winter 2020 Indie Next List title; The Mirror Season, a Junior Library Guild Selection; and the forthcoming Lakelore (March 8, 2022) and Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix (Fall 2022). Find them online at annamariemclemore.com and on Twitter at @LaAnnaMarie.

 

New June eBooks for Under $5!

Sing Anyway by Anita Kelly ($2.99, contemporary f/nb romance)

Tryst Six Venom by Penelope Douglas ($2.99, contemporary f/f romance)

Heartmates by Marcus Herzig ($3.99, contemporary m/m YA romance)

Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa ($3.99, contemporary m/m YA romance)

Catch and Cradle by Katia Rose ($3.99, contemporary f/f NA romance)

Dare to Live, Dare to Love by Nicole C. Moon ($3.99, contemporary bi m/bi f romance)

Subtle Blood by KJ Charles ($3.99, Book 3 in the Will Darling Adventures)

Exclusive Cover + Excerpt Reveal: I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson

I am absolutely flailing to get to reveal for you today the cover and a fabulous excerpt for Kosoko Jackson’s upcoming gay rom-com, I’m So (Not) Over You, which releases from Berkley on February 22, 2022! You may already know Kosoko from his gay YA time travel romance, Yesterday is History, but this is his first foray into Adult and I am ridiculously hyped. Check out this fauxmantic second-chance story and you’ll get get the hype too!

It’s been months since aspiring journalist Kian Andrews has heard from his ex-boyfriend, Hudson Rivers, but an urgent text has them meeting at a café. Maybe Hudson wants to profusely apologize for the breakup. Or confess his undying love. . . But no, Hudson has a favor to ask—he wants Kian to pretend to be his boyfriend while his parents are in town, and Kian reluctantly agrees.

The dinner doesn’t go exactly as planned, and suddenly Kian is Hudson’s plus one to Georgia’s wedding of the season. Hudson comes from a wealthy family where reputation is everything, and he really can’t afford another mistake. If Kian goes, he’ll help Hudson preserve appearances and get the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in media. This could be the big career break Kian needs.

But their fake relationship is starting to feel like it might be more than a means to an end, and it’s time for both men to fact-check their feelings.

And here’s the super shippable cover, illustrated by Adriana Bellet with art direction by Colleen Reinhart!

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

But wait, there’s more! Yeah, we’ve got an excerpt, so read on!

***

            “…and that’s when I threw the drink on his face.”

A day and a half later, I’m far away from Hudson on the other side of town, sitting at a table meant for four but housing five people at The Patriot. It’s not often me and my brother Jamal get together; he’s too busy at Harvard triple-majoring in god knows what right now. Something impressive that’ll make him a capitalist shill, I’m sure.

But a monthly dinner has been on the books since he started at the Ivy almost two years ago, and we’ve only done it a half a dozen times. Maybe it’s fate, or that brotherly connection people rave about, after the mess with Hudson, we find a way to make it work.

“I’m sorry, you need to start from the beginning,” Divya says, tilting her drink back, downing the remainder of her Dark and Stormy. “Again.”

I take three swigs of water to fend off a hangover tomorrow, and to buy me some time. As if some god will pity me, and a drunk clown will burst into the bar, distract everyone, and I won’t have to repeat myself again.

But there’s no such luck because I, Kian Andrews, am not that lucky.

“He asked me to pretend to be his boyfriend. Said his parents are coming in from out of town, and he never told them we broke up and…” I take a deep breath and speak on the exhale, “…he needs me to cover for him.”

I repeat it to the table for the fourth time. The table consisting of Jamal, my brother, who brought his best friend Emily with him, plus Divya, who, and I quote, is simply obsessed with Jamal, so of course, she tagged along. And being the secret bleeding-heart Jamal is, Emily’s boyfriend Todd, an entrepreneur trying to start a brewery that specializes in using flowers as the flavor base (aka broke), is here for the free food.

“That’s insane,” Divya mutters.

“He’s bold,” Jamal chimes in.

“Or crazy—wait, we don’t use that word anymore, right?” Todd asks.

“It’s ableist, babe. Well? What did you say?” Emily asks, leaning forward with earnest. She’s an English major. Romantic misfires interest her far more than they should.

“Of course, he said no,” Divya scoffs at Emily, like it was the most ridiculous thing she could have possibly said. “Right?”

“Mhm.”

Which isn’t entirely accurate. Sure, I didn’t actually say the words, but throwing your coffee on a guy is just like saying no, right? Hudson is a smart guy; he got the message. And even if he didn’t, it doesn’t matter. I’ve officially blocked him on all platforms – again.

And I’ve been forbidden from returning to The Watering Hole—worth it.

“As you should have,” Jamal adds. He flags down the bartender from our spot, and through some secret code, orders us more drinks. Unlike me, Jamal has natural charisma. People like him—no—they adore him whenever they first meet. Making friends? Easy. Finding a posse? Easy. I feel, as the older, more awkward brother, I should be teaching him things when, in fact, it’s often the other way around.

“I wouldn’t have gone to see him in the first place,” Todd, Emily’s blonde, muscular Instagram Influencer-esque boyfriend adds while sipping his frothy IPA. “You can’t be friends with your ex.”

“Woah,” Divya chimes in, looking up from her phone. “I’m the president of the ‘I Hate Hudson Club,’ but that? False.”

“Look, I hate siding with a White Man, but I think Todd’s right,” Jamal adds.

Thank you,” Todd chimes in.

“Don’t get too excited, Colonizer,” Jamal replies. “I just don’t think it’s possible. There’s too much baggage there. You two dated for what? Two years?”

“Year and a half,” I correct.

“Three if you include the overly dramatic and excessively long pining period,” Divya adds.

“No one considers that,” I remind her.

“I do and I’m somebody, so it matters,” Divya cheekily winks.

“See? That’s a long time,” Emily adds, chin still in her hand like she’s watching her favorite reboot of Pride and Prejudice.

“Right. And in gay years? That’s what? Two years?” Divya asks.

“Four,” Jamal and I say at the same time.

“I’m just saying; there are roots between you two. And to ask you to pretend to date him? That’s cruel,” Jamal closes.

Preorder: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

***

Kosoko Jackson is a digital media specialist, focusing on digital storytelling, email, social and SMS marketing, and a freelance political journalist. Occasionally, his personal essays and short stories have been featured on Medium, Thought Catalog, The Advocate, and some literary magazines. When not writing YA novels that champion holistic representation of black queer youth across genres, he can be found obsessing over movies, drinking his (umpteenth) London Fog, or spending far too much time on Twitter.

June 2021 Deal Announcements

Adult Fiction

World Fantasy Award winner Emily Tesh‘s SOME DESPERATE GLORY, her debut novel, pitched as Vorkosigan meets GIDEON THE NINTH set in a world reminiscent of Mass Effect, in which a young soldier trains to avenge the murder of Earth at the hands of an all-powerful, reality-shaping alien weapon, before discovering she might have to take everything into her own hands, to Ruoxi Chen at Tor.com, in a good deal, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal, for publication in for hardcover in fall 2022, by Kurestin Armada at Root Literary (NA).

Campiello Prize winner Viola Di Grado‘s BLUE HUNGER, an erotic novel tinged with Gothic horror and urban pop—a story of obsessive love between a young Italian woman who is mourning her twin brother and a young Chinese woman who shows her Shanghai’s illicit and abandoned side, to be translated from the Italian by recent NEA translation fellowship recipient Jamie Richards, to Callie Garnett at Bloomsbury, for publication in 2023, by Sandra Pareja at Massie & McQuilkin (NA).

Author of The Hotel Tito Ivana Bodrozic’s SONS, DAUGHTERS, the story of great complexity that depicts a wrenching love between a transgender man and a woman, a demanding love between a mother and a daughter; with all characters deeply marked and wounded by the patriarchy in each owns way; also a story of breaking through and liberation of the mind, family, society through one’s body, and about the power of narration, to Dan Simon at Seven Stories, for publication in fall 2023, by Diana Matulic at Corto Literary Agency (world English).

Claudia Cravens’s RED, a genre-bending queer feminist Western pitched as True Grit meets Sarah Waters, following a young woman’s transformation from forlorn orphan to successful prostitute to revenge-seeking gunfighter, exploring desire, loyalty, power, and chosen family, to Katy Nishimoto at Dial Press, in a major deal, at auction, by Alexa Stark at Trident Media Group (NA).

Winner of the Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award and finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans Fiction Imogen Binnie’s NEVADA, previously published in 2013, following a terminally self-aware trans woman living in New York City who, when her life falls apart, embarks on an eventful cross-country road trip, to Jackson Howard at MCD/FSG, for publication in fall 2022, by Julia Masnik at Watkins Loomis (world).

Longlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize Ashton Noone‘s SUBURBAN ANIMALS, an #OwnVoices queer suspense thriller, where a woman on the run from a violent ex finds herself thrust back into a troubling mystery that haunts the town of her youth, to Luisa Cruz Smith at Scarlet, in a nice deal, in an exclusive submission, for publication in spring 2022, by Penelope Burns at Gelfman Schneider/ICM (world).

Coeditor of literary journal The Hunger and author of two poetry books Erin Slaughter’s A MANUAL FOR HOW TO LOVE US, a debut story collection pitched as reminiscent of Alissa Nutting and Samantha Hunt, about the animalistic nature of women’s grief, which queers the domestic and honors the feral and fantastic ways women embrace their wild to claim control, to Emma Kupor at Harper Perennial, for publication in 2022, by Cassie Mannes Murray at Howland Literary (world).

Children’s Fiction

Terry Benton‘s ALEX WISE VS. THE END OF THE WORLD, in which a 12-year-old is reeling from his best friend abandoning him, after he told his friend that he’s gay, and must save his sister and the world when his sister is possessed by the spirit of one of the four horsemen—evil former gods from a parallel world determined to bring forth the apocalypse—all while learning to love himself and accept that he is enough just as he is, to Liesa Abrams at Labyrinth Road, in a significant deal, at auction, in a three-book deal, for publication in fall 2023, by Patrice Caldwell at New Leaf Literary & Media (world English).

Author of QUEER, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE and RAINBOW REVOLUTIONARIES Sarah Prager’s picture book KIND LIKE MARSHA: LEARNING FROM LGBTQ+ LEADERS, introducing young children to important and inspiring historical figures in the queer community, along with empowering them with strong attributes, such as kindness, resilience, thoughtfulness, and more, illustrated by Cheryl “Ras” Thuesday, to Julie Matysik at Running Press Kids, for publication in May 2022, by Carrie Howland at Howland Literary (world).

Veronica Park Anderson’s BLOOD CITY ROLLERS, pitched as a tween Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Roller Girl, a humorous and queer graphic novel following a talented ice skater recruited into an underground roller derby league as the “human jammer” on an otherwise all-vampire team who are hiding out in an abandoned mall, illustrated by Tatiana Hill, to Liesa Abrams at Labyrinth Road, for publication in summer 2023, by Mandy Hubbard at Emerald City Literary Agency for the author, and by Moe Ferrara at BookEnds for the illustrator (world English).

Young Adult Fiction

Alyson Derrick and NYT-bestselling coauthor of FIVE FEET APART Rachael Lippincott‘s SHE GETS THE GIRL, a LGBTQ+ romance in which two college freshmen who are total opposites set out to help each other get the girls of their dreams to fall for them, but as they do they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling for each other, to Alexa Pastor at Simon & Schuster Children’s, for publication in spring 2022, by Emily van Beek at Folio Literary Management (world).

Author of HOT DOG GIRL Jennifer Dugan’s MELT WITH YOU, a queer rom-com about two girls on a summer road trip in an ice cream truck, to Stephanie Pitts at Putnam Children’s, for publication in summer 2022, by Brooks Sherman, formerly at Janklow & Nesbit. Dugan is now represented by Sara Crowe at Pippin Properties (world English).

Author of A WICKED MAGIC Sasha Laurens’s YOUNGBLOOD, when a teen vampire transfers into an elite vampire boarding school, she is drawn into a dark conspiracy at the heart of Vampirdom, and she suddenly finds herself falling for her roommate, Kat’s childhood friend and the school’s only out student, to Ruta Rimas at Razorbill, in a nice deal, in an exclusive submission, for publication in summer 2022, by Stephanie Kim at New Leaf Literary & Media (world English).

Actress Asha Bromfield‘s SONGS OF IRIE, set in ’70s Jamaica in the midst of devastating political turmoil, following two girls who must navigate their opposing upbringings as they fall in love and choose between the futures decided for them and the futures they desire, to Sara Goodman at Wednesday Books, for publication in spring 2023, by Emily van Beek at Folio Literary Management (NA).

Non-Fiction

Manuel Betancourt’s THE MALE GAZED, a narrative that uses film and television to examine queer men’s complex and often conflicted relationship with masculinity, mingling personal anecdotes with cultural history and gender theory to offer an exploration of desire, intimacy, and homoeroticism, to Alicia Kroell at Catapult, by Michael Bourret at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (NA).

Former radio host and Daily Show correspondent Frank DeCaro’s DISCO AT 50, a celebration of the musical phenomenon that brought LGBTQ and BIPOC cultures into the pop mainstream in its 1970s heyday and its continued influence on current music, to Ellen Nidy at Rizzoli USA, by Rica Allannic at David Black Literary Agency (world).

BBC journalist William Lee Adams’s WILD DANCES, a memoir of a queer, Vietnamese American boy from Georgia who survives an unconventional childhood to become the world’s most recognized Eurovision blogger, diving into notions of belonging, identity, how our origins and passions shape us, and the powerful joy, and surprising importance, of the song contest itself, to Alessandra Bastagli at Astra House, in a pre-empt, for publication in spring 2023, by Will Lippincott and Max Edwards at Aevitas Creative Management UK (world).

Queer Kid Stuff host, activist, and TED speaker Lindz Amer’s THE RADICAL NOTION OF QUEER JOY: THE IMPORTANCE OF TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT GENDER AND SEXUALITY, a guidebook for progressive adults who want to create queer-positive spaces for today’s kids but don’t know how, to Sylvan Creekmore at St. Martin’s, for publication in fall 2022, by Claire Draper at The Bent Agency (world).

Global trans rights advocate, model, TV host, and producer Geena Rocero‘s OPEN THE LIGHT, about a young femme born in Manila who grew up to become the highest-earning and most successful trans pageant queen in the Philippines and ultimately one of the most visible and prolific trans women of color in the world, and the persistence, grit, and love that paved her road to self-acceptance, to Katy Nishimoto at Dial, at auction, by Jon Michael Darga at Aevitas Creative Management (world).

Author/illustrator of the 2020 YALSA finalist THE GREAT NIJINSKY Lynn Curlee‘s THE OTHER PANDEMIC: AN AIDS MEMOIR, an illustrated account of coming of age during the gay liberation movement in New York City and living through the AIDS pandemic, losing multiple friends and his life partner, to Yolanda Scott at Charlesbridge Teen, for publication in spring 2023, by Liz Nealon at Great Dog Literary (world).

Journalist Andrew Sampson‘s TOMMY SEXTON: COMIC GENIUS, QUEER REVOLUTIONARY, a biography of Newfoundland icon Tommy Sexton, a groundbreaking gay comedian and founding member of CODCO, to Bruce Walsh at House of Anansi, with Michelle MacAleese editing, for publication in fall 2023 (world).

 

Exclusive Cover Reveal: The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson

Historical YA is maybe the slowest-growing of all queer YA genres, so when we get a new one, and when it looks this good, it is exciting. Thus, I am thrilled to be sharing the cover for Kip Wilson’s upcoming The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin, releasing March 29, 2022 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, on the site today! Here’s the story:

After her eighteenth birthday, Hilde, an orphan in 1930s Berlin, goes out into the world hoping to find her place. She comes up short, at least until she stumbles into Café Lila, a vibrant cabaret full of love and music, and meets Rosa, the club’s waitress and performer, whom she can’t take her eyes off of. There, Hilde starts to find her voice and embrace her blossoming feelings for Rosa.

But Berlin is in turmoil. Between elections, protests in the streets, and the growing unrest in Café Lila itself, Hilde will have to decide what’s best for her future . . . and what it means to love a place that will soon be changed forever.

And here’s the appropriately “dazzling” (but really though!!) cover, designed by Samira Iravani with art by Ana Novaes!

Preorder: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

***

(c) Roseanne Samson

Kip Wilson is the author of WHITE ROSE, which won the Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature. Kip holds a Ph.D. in German Literature and was the Poetry Editor of the Young Adult Review Network (YARN) for five years before joining Voyage in 2020. She lives in Boston, MA. Find her online at www.kipwilsonwrites.com, on Twitter @kiperoo, and on Instagram @kipwilsonwrites.

Fave Five: Books with Young Teen Protagonists

Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow (13)

Hazel’s Theory of Evolution and Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow (13)

Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton (14)

Anything Could Happen by Will Walton (14)

Boy Meets Hamster by Birdie Milano (14)

Bonus: Coming in 2022, Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass (13) and In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington (13)

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Unexpected Goals by Kelly Farmer

Today I am excited to share the cover for book two in Kelly Farmer’s Out on the Ice series, Unexpected Goals, which releases from Carina Press on November 2, 2021! Here’s the story behind this enemies-to-lovers hockey romance between two on-ice rivals:

If you can’t play nice, play hockey

Canadian goalie Maisy Goode is wary of American Jen Donato and her dirty playing. She’s been on the receiving end of Jen’s aggressive style and doesn’t like it one bit. Now that they’re on the same women’s pro team, keeping her eyes off Jen is a struggle.

Jen signed up to win it all with the Boston Ice. Her very public clashes with their hot goalie aren’t going to derail her championship plans. Jen’s a professional. But there’s just something about Maisy that gets under her skin.

The media loves the tension, but the more time Maisy and Jen are forced to spend together, the more they discover what’s between them isn’t entirely hostile.

At all.

Banter turns into flirting, and flirting turns into more. The closer they get to the playoffs, the more pressure weighs on the team—and the couple. Maisy needs Jen’s support. Jen needs to know Maisy’s all in. And it all needs to get sorted out before the season—and their relationship—closes out.

And here’s the freaking adorable cover, designed by John Kicksee of Kix by Design!

Preorder: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple Books | Google Play | BookBub

Kelly Farmer (she/her) has been writing romance novels since junior high. In those days, they featured high school quarterbacks named Brad who drove Corvettes and gals with names like Desireé because her own name was rather plain. Her stories since then have ranged from historical and contemporary male/female romances to light women’s fiction to LGBTQ+ romance. One theme remains the same: everyone deserves to have a happy ending.

Kelly’s debut novel, Out on the Ice, was released by Carina Press during a global pandemic. This is very on-brand for her long and winding journey toward publication. She is a past president of Chicago-North Romance Writers and is also a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association.

When not writing, she enjoys being outside in nature, quoting from Eighties movies, listening to all kinds of music, and petting every dog she comes in contact with. All of these show up in her books. She also watches a lot of documentaries to satisfy her hunger for random bits of trivia. Kelly lives in the Chicago area, where she swears every winter is her last one there.
To connect with Kelly, talk about current TV binges, and share photos of your adorable pets, please head over to:

http://www.KellyFarmerAuthor.com/
http://www.Facebook.com/KellyFarmerAuthor
http://www.Twitter.com/KellyFarmerAuth

Fave Five: Gay Beach Reads

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick

Little Village series by ‘Nathan Burgoine

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon

Bonus: Coming September 7, 2021, The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun; October 12, The Other Man by Farhad J. Dadyburjor; and in  2022, I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson and Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky