My daughter, Caitlyn Jenner, and Laverne Cox

“Transgender is beautiful.” – Laverne Cox

gendermom

As the mother of a young transgender child, my response to Caitlyn Jenner’s headline-grabbing announcement is a visceral one. Yes, I’m kind of put off by the hype. No, I’m not a big fan of celebrity culture or reality television. But when I look at the cover of Vanity Fair, and read the news articles that respectfully use Jenner’s new name and female pronouns, I’m overwhelmed by this new state of affairs, and by a world that might just be ready to accept my daughter. And that knocks me off my feet with awe and gratitude.

I called my friend Alice, a member of our support group whose trans daughter is a few years older than mine. “Did you see it?” I said. She knew what I was talking about.

“Of course,” she said. I could hear her shaking her head over the phone, as overcome as I was…

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Cover Reveal! SWEET MADNESS by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie

Good morning, lovelies. We’re going to start the day today with a cover reveal for Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie’s SWEET MADNESS!

Here’s a bit about it:

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty one.

Who was Lizzie Borden? A confused young woman, or a cold-hearted killer? For generations, people all over the world have wondered how Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, met their gruesome deaths. Lizzie, Andrew’s younger daughter, was charged, but a jury took only 90 minutes to find her not guilty. In this retelling, the family maid, Bridget Sullivan, shines a compassionate light on a young woman oppressed by her cheap father and her ambitious stepmother. Was Lizzie mad, or was she driven to madness?

Let’s reveal this cover!

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Almost there . . .

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Here it is!

Oooooo I like it. What do you think?

Don’t forget to add SWEET MADNESS on Goodreads. You can also preorder it on Amazon!

You can follow Trisha and Lindsay on Twitter, too!

Cover Reveal! THE ONE THING by Marci Lyn Curtis

Hello, lovelies! It is time for the glorious unveiling of the awesome cover of a brilliant book by an amazing person. I met Marci after I received my offer from Kathleen and asked to talk to some of her clients. Marci gave me all sorts of insight into what working with Kathleen is like, and helped me make the decision to join the Marsal Lyon family! I’m really excited to help with her cover reveal. Here’s a bit about her!

Marci Curtis grew up in Northern California, where she went to college and met an amazing guy in a military uniform. Two college-aged kids and one dachshund later, she lives in Maryland, where she laughs too loudly and eats peanut butter off spoons.

marci lyn

Marci, my agency sister and author extraordinaire.

Yep, she’s great. Her debut, THE ONE THING, comes out from Disney-Hyperion on September 8th, 2015. Here’s the blurb:

A soaring tale of life and love, of sacrifice and renewal, and learning to see people as they really are.

Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

When Maggie first meets Ben, she thinks she can add crazy to her list of problems. But the precocious ten-year-old isn’t a hallucination. Maggie can actually see him. She immediately befriends the kid, desperate for any chance to see again.

It turns out Ben’s older brother is Mason Milton, the ridiculously hot lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band. Music is the first thing that has made Maggie feel alive since losing her sight. But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.

WOW. I definitely just added that to my TBR. (You too. Go ahead.)

Anyway, what about that cover? Ready to check it out?

Me too.

😀

Here it is!

TOT final cover (2)

AND last but not least, Marci has put together a Rafflecopter giveaway. Don’t forget to connect with her on Twitter, too!

Cover Reveal! NEVER NEVER by Brianna Shrum

Well, hi! Today, one of my brilliant friends has a brilliant cover for her brilliant book, and I get to show it to you. But first, a blurb:

NEVER NEVER by Brianna Shrum

James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

That sounds like I need to read it. Want to see the cover?

 

 

 

 

 

(It’s a good one.)

 

 

 

 

 

Are you sure?

 

 

 

 

 

Positive?

 

 

 

 

 

A little further . . .

 

 

 

 

 

Okay.

 

 

 

 

 

Almost . . .

 

 

 

 

 

Here you go!

NeverNeverFinal (1)

You can add NEVER NEVER to GoodReads right here!

Don’t forget to check out Brianna Shrum on Twitter. I’m rather fond of her. 😀

 

CALL SIGN KARMA by Jamie Rae

I’m happy my first post of 2015 is supporting a fellow author and her new book! Everybody welcome Jamie Rae, and check out this awesome excerpt from her novel, CALL SIGN KARMA.

calls sign karma

Love in the no-fly zone…

Distraught over the loss of her brother in a fighter jet accident, Tinklee Pinkerton decides to follow in his footsteps—and prove the tragedy wasn’t his fault. But when she’s chosen as the first woman to fly the Air Force’s F-35, her plan for a life that revolves around work is thrown off course by a handsome, mysterious stranger…

Thanks to Locke’s seductive British accent, sweet nature, and one too many beers, Tink is soon inspired to throw caution to the wind—and herself into his arms. She thinks maybe love can heal after all—until she discovers Locke is her superior officer. Tink has no problem risking her life in the air, but with everything on the line, is she brave enough to risk her heart on the ground?

Excerpt:

There was zero chance of survival—for either of us.

The thought caused my insides to twist as I stood, paralyzed staring at the blazing inferno. I watched in shocked horror from the window of the control tower as the jet-fueled flames fed on his body, still strapped inside of the cockpit.

Tonight the distant flames were from a bonfire that danced happily in celebration of a holiday, but their flames were close enough to ignite the memories. Memories that still fueled my nightmares. A familiar chill skated down my spine.

I slammed down the beer bottle on the table next to me and looked away from the flames. Sweet honey lager splashed out and onto the cover of my tablet that sat on the edge of the table.

The tablet called to me. I couldn’t help but reach for it. My shaking hand nearly knocked over the beer bottles that surrounded it. My index finger hovered over the screen. The damn arrow glowed as if challenging me to touch it.

Go ahead Tink, watch me one more time.

I swallowed the boulder-sized lump in the back of my throat as I accepted the dare. My finger tapped the start button and instantly dropped me in the middle of the nightmare that had consumed and wrecked my life.

“Altitude. Altitude. Pull up. Pull up.” The unemotional, mechanical female voice of the jet’s warning system rang out.

Her words rattled in my head like a pinball looking for its escape. I studied the altimeter screaming toward two thousand feet.

“Pull up,” her empty voice commanded. Each time she repeated those words, my stomach lurched. That voice, that command, still haunted me.

I squeezed my eyes closed unable to stop from reliving that day in the tower and how her robotic tone had sent everyone into a panic. I stood frozen, unable to do a damn thing as the jet continued its nosedive.

My own weight crushed me as if I were being pushed down by the forces of a hard turn in the cockpit. I gasped for oxygen, my lungs rebelling as the image of the jet pitched down. I began counting between breaths to keep from passing out the way they had taught us in pilot training.

Three.

The sound of calm breaths from video filled the air. The ground rushed closer as the jet blitzed toward fifteen hundred feet.

“Pull up,” the voice repeated. “Pull up.”

Two.

I leaned forward and my lips parted as if I were going to retch, but nothing spilled out. I forced each breath to prevent me from blacking out like Colin. His calm, sleeplike breaths seeped from the tablet’s speakers, haunting me in its wavelike rhythm. I held the tablet tight in my hands. The breaths were the last sound that I’d ever hear from him.

“Pull up! Pull up!”

A giant green arrow flashed across the video. It acted as a forewarning of the jet’s impending impact. My entire body shuddered as adrenaline thrust through my veins.

I wanted to choke the aloofness from her tone. To the jet’s warning system it was just another jet. To me, it was my world coming to an end. She may as well have tacked the word ‘idiot’ onto her feeble attempt of a warning.

The military Humvees scrambled on the screen like cockroaches escaping the light. I was paralyzed. I couldn’t do anything to prevent it from happening then. Why did I still hope I could stop it now?

“Pull up!”

I closed my eyes.

It was too late.

“Pull up!”

One.

I opened my eyes. The ground rush on the display was exactly how they described it in pilot training; the world blossomed as earth ripped through to meet you in the cockpit.

Her vacant voice instructing him to pull up was the last thing to ring out right before my life shattered. Everything exploded into a bright blinding haze on the screen with a blaring detonation. The blood cooled in my veins.

I flipped the tablet cover and traced my still trembling finger along the lines of the worn material. I had stolen the video from my father’s files the night after the funeral. I had watched it a thousand times, each time reliving the horrors of that day.

But tonight, once was enough.

Tonight, I had to figure out how the hell I was going to climb into the cockpit and fly the jet that killed my brother.

About Jamie Rae:

Jamie Rae

JAMIE RAE is a New Adult and Young Adult author. She writes with one goal in mind – to create stories with a positive message that will stay with the reader long after they’ve finished reading.

Jamie is an avid reader and loves discovering stories with a great hook. She will not eat, sleep, or speak until she reaches the end. The Harry Potter years weren’t pretty! Convinced that her Hogwarts letter was lost in the mail, she keeps a watchful eye for owls hoping her children will have better luck.

In her other life, Jamie Rae creates smiles to last a lifetime as an orthodontist, keeps her heart overflowing with love as a mother of three and has perfected the art of nomadic living as a military spouse and Air Force veteran. Jamie has a passion for critters of all shapes and sizes and you can often find her sneaking them into her own home or volunteering for rescues. Connect with her on Twitter!

Like what you read? You can buy CALL SIGN KARMA here:

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/call-sign-karma-jamie-rae/1120657536?ean=9781616506711

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Call-Sign-Karma-Jamie-Rae-ebook/dp/B00OZUMI7O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419799396&sr=8-1&keywords=call+sign+karma

 

 

Being Transgender, the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, and other ways you can help

It’s no secret that I’m a loudmouth regarding social justice, equality, and especially transgender rights. I talk about it, I tweet about it, I write novels about it. I’ve tried to convey with clarity what it’s like to be any hue of transgender in a binary society—mostly in reference to myself, I think, but I don’t think we’ve discussed the day-to-day stuff. I’m not talking about the flag-waving, law-making, book-writing, battle-fighting part. I want to talk about the “hey, I’m trying to live in this body” part.

I read an article this morning about a male-to-female transgender teacher. She called her transition a relief from “never-ending incorrectness” and I thought something like “wow, this is wildly relevant” because it is. Living in a body that doesn’t feel like your own, even when you’re not thinking about it, is a constant state of dysphoria. Incorrectness. The steady and unshakable feeling that something isn’t right. And it’s not just any something—it’s your body. It’s this thing you grew, that you’re irrevocably tied to, that you’re supposed to be one with, right? But you don’t, never have, and you can’t escape it.

It’s being unable to vocalize your discomfort, too, because it doesn’t make sense to anyone around you. You are literally trapped inside your own head and a meat suit that prevents anyone from seeing you and acknowledging a base level of your identity. Pause. Try to imagine it.

Aside, here, for a second, because I can’t speak to everyone’s experience of being trans* and I know there are plenty of transgender and nonbinary people out there who feel content and don’t want to change their bodies. That’s phenomenal. More power to them, honestly.

But reassignment surgery is important to some people. Everyone on the planet cares on some level that their external appearance matches their internal identity, whether we’re talking hair, makeup, clothing, surgery, or something else. And it’s important to my partner, which is why we’re here.

Top surgery, which is a surgery female-to-male transgender individuals can get to change a female-looking chest into a male one, is expensive. Think, buying a new car expensive. My partner is ftm transgender, and we’d like to fund his top surgery by next year so he can start feeling at home in his own skin. Thus, the Itty Bitty Titty Committee is formed.

If you’re feeling giving this holiday season, you can make a donation right here: Bye bye, Boobies! 

If you can’t donate, but you’d like to help, please share this page with everyone you know. It is so, so important. Thank you.

#PitchWars Mentor Bio Blog Hop!

PitchWars Button

Yes, it’s true. I’m a #PitchWars mentor this year.

Why I’m awesome:

I write in several different genres. I have stuff in the works from YA contemporary to NA fantasy to adult science fiction. I read like this too. I like to think it gives me a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.

I’m represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary. She’s the coolest person ever.

I’m really active on Twitter. I talk a lot with agents, and I know what many of them are looking for.

I love contests (clearly), but I signed with Kathleen the old fashioned way: by clawing my way out of the trenches. I know that feel. I can talk you off a ledge like a pro. I’ve also learned the long and hard way what turns agents off in pitches and pages.

If I don’t pick you, I’ll tell you why. If I do pick you, I’ll give you big picture notes and in-line edits.

I’m extremely competitive.

I’m a martial arts instructor.

I’m like nine kinds of queer.

I have worn a dress made out of watermelon rind.

My favorite books:

  • The UGLIES series by Scott Westerfeld. I could go on and on and on about this series. I adore the character development, the voice, the writing, the plot. But one thing that really grabs me is how this series touches on so many things relevant to today’s world (beauty-obsessed society, the environment, personal identity, manipulative government, etc.) without beating you over the head with them.
  • BOND OF BLOOD and its companions by Diane Whiteside (the Texas Vampire novels). While I don’t have an urge to read about any more vampires (and I’m not accepting adult manuscripts in this contest), I love the strong, developed characters and compelling plots besides the sex/romance in these books. There is no fluff. And the love interests are on even footing.
  • The WATER trilogy by Kara Dalkey. This series is like the prequel to Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table. It’s super cool. It offers a good look at society and social classes, and the effects of a corrupt government on individual lives. Also, it has an ambitious, multi-faceted, powerful (if flawed) female lead.

What I’m looking for:

  • YA contemporary, fantasy, and sci-fi
  • QUILTBAG main characters.
  • Sex positive manuscripts
  • All kinds of diversity.
  • Romance – as the plot or a subplot, but it’s gotta be there. Forbidden romance is my favorite.
  • Voice, voice, voice–yours, and the main character’s. I like to be up close and personal with the storytellers.
  • Freshness. Surprise me!
  • Tough choices. Your MC is damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
  • Dark stuff. Show me the true nature of evil.

What I don’t want to see:

  • Anything that’s not young adult.
  • Whitewashed, straightwashed, ciswashed, same old same old.
  • Token characters. Let’s get beyond the cliched stereotypes with diversity. Give me FACETS.
  • People who are only diverse in appearance. “Oh, this mentor wanted diversity . . . I’ll just change this side-character’s skin color real quick . . .”
  • Work that’s obviously derivative. I don’t want to read a fantasy that copied Paolini who copied Tolkien. Or a contemporary watered down version of Sarah Dessen. Or a watered down version of ANYTHING.
  • Books about  religion
  • Mysteries and thrillers aren’t my fave.

That’s it. Let’s win this thing.

For submission guidelines, go to:

www.brenda-drake.com

And I suppose you can check out these other mentors too. ;D

1. Kes Trester
2. Jennifer Blackwood
3. Elizabeth Briggs
4. Joy McCullough-Carranza
5. Brent Taylor
6. Stephanie Garber
7. Veronica Bartles
8. Dannie Morin
9. S.K. Falls
10. Jason Nelson
11. Charlie Holmberg
12. Sarah Henning
13. Gail Nall
14. Dionne McCulloch
15. Natasha Neagle
16. Amy Reichert
17. E.M. Caines
18. Brianna Shrum
19. Emily Martin
20. Rae Chang
21. Dan Koboldt
22. N.K. Traver
23. Renée Ahdieh
24. Karma Brown
25. L.S. Murphy
26. Stephanie Scott
27. Erica Chapman
28. Lori Goldstein
29. Sarah Guillory
30. Marieke Nijkamp
31. Juliana Brandt
32. Michelle Hauck
33. Ben Brooks
34. Sarah Nicolas
35. Ricki Schultz
36. Rachel Lynn Solomon
37. Naomi Hughes
38. Maggie Hall
39. Brooks Benjamin
40. K.T. Hanna
41. Stacey Trombley
42. Stephanie Wass
43. Kelly Loy Gilbert
44. Molly Lee
45. Trisha Leigh
46. Eden Plantz
47. Diana Gallagher
48. Brighton Walsh
49. Virgina Boecker
50. Jaime Loren
51. Julie Sondra Decker
52. Kristen Strassel
53. Shana Silver
54. Jaye Robin Brown
55. Sharon Johnston
56. Ronni Arno Blaisdell
57. Mina Vaughn
58. Mónica Bustamante Wagner
59. Fiona McLaren
60. Lauren Spieller
61. Lindsay Currie
62. Meredith McCardle
63. Whitney Fletcher
64. Jessie Devine
65. Cat Scully
66. Kate Karyus Quinn
67. Jessie Humphries
68. Trisha Leaver
69. Evelyn Ehrlich
70. Stacey Lee
71. Jami Nord
72. Kara Leigh Miller
73. Rebecca Yarros
74. Cole Gibsen
75. Cecily White (MG) Wishlist Pending…

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