YA authors are recommending other YA books in this BuzzFeed list of The Best YA Books To Gift This Holiday Season, According To YA Authors. Some of the queer books mentioned are The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake, Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins, The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta, and You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson.
‘All About Love’ is both accurate in a metaphorical sense and the name of this group right here. My favorite part of this promotion, aside from that all titles are LGBTQ+ romance, is that I know all the novels are LGBTQ+ romance, so I don’t have to try to figure out how many of them are queer by myself. Because the answer: they’re all queer! Hooray.
It looks like this group is mostly contemporary romance and supernatural romance. The promo runs until Sept. 19. And I’m not saying that the coffee shop gay romance I included in the group is actually also available for free, but I’m strongly alluding to the possibility. Or saying it outright after all because it’s free here.
Here are some of the titles that caught my eye.
This is also a coffee shop romance so that’s cool. And also means I have told you relevant information, so now I can go on to gush about how freaking cool this cover is. It’s good as hell. Even the tagline is good, and the cover is so pretty and so is the pretty boy on the cover.
Why not? This isn’t something I typically write about or rec. Curve-ball! I enjoy how the cover screams ‘classic bodice ripper.’
I mentioned this author in a newsletter recently. From what I know of the series, there’s multiple gay characters generally acting in terrible but dramatically interesting ways.
Hey, Jay Argent also writes young adult books like I do. This is one that’s on my list of books to read.
This mood board could speak for itself and I think I’m mostly going to let it. Except to say, hi, this is a mood board for the character Lydia from One Little Word. If you have questions, please refer to the image below. It’s literally all there.
I have nothing in common with Lydia, except that we both happen to be attracted to women, except she’s only attracted to women and I’m not, so maybe that doesn’t count. She’s one of the easiest characters to write even though we aren’t alike at all. Maybe it helps that she hates everything.
Lydia Smith could be a girl on a poster, beautiful and unattainable in a sweater that hugged her cleavage. Her black hair would get caught in the wind for a few seconds and whip around her face, making her look like a model. She smoked on top of the backrest of a bench, her legs hanging down on the seat. She had a free period and never spent it inside in a classroom when she could be a rebel instead.
We get it, you’re cool. That doesn’t mean you need to wreck your health with cigarettes or sit outside even though the weather’s getting cold
With the volume off and the TV recording Dispatches from Elsewhere, the show makes no sense. I also had zero idea what it was about beforehand. When I saw some of it on mute, my best guess was the show involves something about dolphin mind control and acid trips. Starring Sally Field and Jason Segel.
Watching from the beginning with the sound on helps… a little. It mostly still makes no sense and I still couldn’t really tell you what it’s about. People are playing what might be a game? I don’t love shows with big mysteries because they rarely get solved, but I’m loving the hell out of this one. The show is hilarious and quirky, and while I have no idea what’s happening, it’s great.
And it’s very, very pretty. I almost never notice visual details so that is the most explanation I can offer. Art is heavily involved and basically every scene is lovely. The music is also really good, and I think that’s important too, though I can’t tell you why. Everything is maybe important and it’s a show about people/art/music I think???? If I had to guess, the show is about making connections to anything you can make connections to, including people, art, and music.
There’s one part I wanted to share. At the beginning, the show promises to give you a quick character rundown before getting to the action without wasting time… it then spends the whole episode exploring the character anyway because it’s the show’s version of saying what the character needs like the song in Wizard of Oz. Which I thought was cool and really easy to see… once Jason Segel explained it.
So anyway, at the beginning, they say this is Peter or Fredwynn or Clara. Imagine them as you. And then there’s a few details to make the character relatable to the audience. I really love how this is done, super good storytelling disguised as lazy storytelling.
This is Simone. Think of her as you.
So that part is just like all the others, her intro is the same. Yet it’s still not something you hear everyday, openly inviting people to relate to a trans girl. It’s a small moment but one I absolutely adore.
What should I title this post? I asked myself while looking at the image, which was literally all that I had on the page. Hey, my brain pointed out, that’s almost a Ke$ha song. Then, upon invoking her name, glitter rained down on me and unicorns were also there or something.
Bonus Ke$ha thoughts!
Anyway, I have to talk about Ke$ha. Guess what? I like Ke$ha. Does she still do the dollar sign in her name? I wanna say no but that’s a hard habit to break. Also, I have to say the same Kesha fact I say literally every time she’s brought up, which is that she’s really smart! Because you can be the patron saint of partying and hangovers and still have a brain, so that’s inspirational or something.
Once, I went to one of her concerts and what I remember is a giant pear costume and a giant penis costume. Along with a mother of some grade schoolers a few rows ahead of my group, who gave up at the point the giant penis entered the stage and she promptly took her children somewhere more family-friendly.
I don’t remember the context for the giant pear. And the context for the giant penis was that I was at a Ke$ha concert.
This is my favorite song of hers, entirely because it is very fun to do the ‘rrrrr” parts of tigerrr or Budweiserrr.
The Original Point
Sharing an image quote from One Little Word is what I originally set out to do, so I should probably do that now.
True story, the app I have for making these graphics is just for my phone where the screen is obviously much smaller. So everything looked fine there but now I don’t think I centered the text right. The important thing is I tried.
Ryan is an embarrassing nerd who likes Luke, and he would really like all of this to not be true, but he’s in a gay romantic comedy, so he doesn’t get his wish. Here are more of his feelings on the matter:
Previously on One Little Word, a totally straight boy and a not-at-all straight boy kissed each other to convince a teacher they’re dating, because a series of contrivances made this necessary. And now everything is awkward.
Only one of them knew the kiss was coming, which is part of the problem because the surprised boy can barely handle stuff he’s expecting when it comes to this fake dating arrangement. And also the two boys like each other, which is most of the problem. One boy doesn’t think mutual affection is possible and the other one doesn’t even know about his crush on a conscious level.
Because I feel like it would be annoying and boring if I posted the same summary every time, I instead make something up when necessary. So I’m not sure if that summation is confusing, but it at least sets up this deleted scene from One Little Word very well.
Side note: If for some reason I had to sum up One Little Word in five words, then “And now everything is awkward.” would work really well.
I could face Luke. Definitely. If he even showed up.
I sat at our usual table in the library in the corner farthest away from the librarian. The table was crammed in between shelves that housed history tomes no one ever touched.
I tried not to worry over whether Luke would be here or not. We usually met in the library and goofed around more than studied, but he hadn’t shown up the last few times after our kiss.
We were friends, I reminded myself. My attraction wasn’t real. Or it was, but it was also chemical. I understood that. I could get past that.
Dopamine production increases with attraction and makes the body loopy. Butterflies appear, feelings become more intense, and dopamine triggers similar responses to what crack cocaine creates.
Seriously, love was a drug, and it needed to be freaking outlawed so I would avoid overdosing and totally embarrassing myself.
I used my science brain whenever I could to make the mess of my life more palatable. There was herd mentality, which was why I was reduced to the sidelines of school. And survival of the fittest, so I hoped I never broke a bone again because I definitely wasn’t very fit.
Not like Luke.
While a little delirious and in a lot of pain, I possessed vague memories of him catching me when the loft floor collapsed. I remembered being pressed against his solid chest. Or maybe I’d dreamed about it so much it seemed like a memory now: those arms cradling me and holding me up.
Shit. Dealing with my insane crush seemed difficult enough when no one noticed me. Now everyone had seen me and the most popular guy in school making out.
I felt like an exhibit in a zoo as people kept staring at me. Normally, I’d have some witty comeback to make them blush and look away, but I was too lost in my own thoughts.
How should we handle this? Was there a way to handle this where I could still have Luke as a friend? Doubtful.
I’d been working myself into knots about this mess all day. Just when I was ready to let myself relax because Luke wouldn’t show up, there he was.
He looked as delectable as I remembered.
Dropping down in the seat next, he pretended everything was normal and he hadn’t been keeping his distance. I couldn’t blame him. I blamed Lydia, not that she noticed or cared about any of my frosty looks at lunch.
Had I been aware Luke was going to kiss me to avoid Mrs. Sharp’s wrath, I would have talked him out of it. I knew it would cause him to freak out, but he hadn’t consulted me. Lydia had somehow convinced him not to. She wanted Luke obviously and he wanted her too. Everyone knew that, so why was hurting me a necessary step in the process?
I tried to conceal a dreamy sigh as I got to drink in the sight of Luke up close once again. His blonde hair looked soft as ever, and I thought it was getting a bit longer. He wore a blue, long-sleeved shirt that stretched over his broad shoulders. He looked frantic but still smiled at me. I went lightheaded for a second. He looked so good and the dimples hadn’t even made an appearance.
I was gonna do the talky talk talking thing here, but this is a pretty good sized scene, so I’ll just get to it. Porcupines! (Sorry, I couldn’t completely do the whole serious, professional thing. That would be too weird.)
This is from One Little Lie, and it’s a deleted scene.
Relevant information: Luke is dating a boy and wants to figure out his sexuality but most of his feelings about this are “oh god, oh god, oh god.” He goes to his friend Zach, known bisexual and avoider of feelings, for help.
My sister said she thought I was a boring straight guy once. I was certainly interesting now; my dilemma was multifaceted. I had no idea what I was. I didn’t think and maybe didn’t want to be gay, but what if I was? Things had never felt this good, this intense before.
That’s what I thought about after leaving Ryan’s house.
Then there was the other part, which was maybe worse. Maybe things didn’t feel so intense and crazy and wonderful because Ryan was a guy. Maybe it felt that way because my feelings for Ryan were more than I’d ever had for anyone else, maybe it was lo-
Nope. No. Too scary.
I’m the good guy, I’d always been the good boyfriend. I held doors open, paid for dinner, tried to listen, bought flowers, all of it. I executed all the right moves on the outside, but it never felt like this on the inside.
I’d said I love you before and I had thought I meant it at the time, but it didn’t feel like this. Real, intense. Consuming. Was I gay? Did it matter that I still liked girls?
I wasn’t the type to do awkward or self-doubting and now there was a lot of that in my life. Ryan and I were each other’s first boyfriends. Though he’d been on a few dates with Zach and had definitely been attracted to other guys. Maybe Ryan was special to me, but I wasn’t special to him.
What a not fun thought.
That was only one of the reasons I couldn’t share with Ryan when he offered last night. Mainly, I wanted to go into his house and do anything that involved being undressed and not talking. Also because I didn’t want all of my fond, serious thoughts to spill out. And also because… it just didn’t feel right unloading all this stuff on him.
Lydia had her own soul searching to go through, so I turned to Zach. The easiest way to get Zach to cooperate was to tell him exactly what you wanted and make it clear that you would leave him alone after you got it. This wasn’t baseball. No warm up. No beating around the bush. Direct.
When it was time for our next away game, I clapped him on the shoulder and sat down next to him on the bus. “Prepare yourself for a serious conversation,” I informed him.
“Thanks for the warning.” He moved to get up. “But you didn’t inform me in writing at least three days in advance so—”
“Okay, but I want to talk about BEING GAY AND QUEER SHIT,” I raised my voice. “Whoever sits next to me will have that to look forward to.” Suddenly there were no free seats for Zach. “Come on, we can do this quickly.”
He sat back down but complained, “I don’t want to hold your hand through this. Can’t you talk to your actual boyfriend about this?”
“I’ll tell him once I figure it out.” He did it on his own.
Okay, this was what I was talking about earlier. The big reason I couldn’t let him help me. Not only did he figure it out on his own, my addition only made things more complicated. I opened my stupid big mouth and told people he was gay.
I didn’t really know him at the time. I didn’t know about being in the closet or outing people. It was an accident. I just… After that, I didn’t want to put this on him. I could do this myself.
Mostly. I told Zach, “I’m talking to you whether you like it or not.”
He idly glanced out the window, but I doubted he’d make a break for it. “Fine.”
Deep, deep down he was really a good person. You just had to get through all the bullshit first. Zach liked to present himself a certain way and his family weren’t really the type to have serious, intense conversations. My parents freaking loved talking. I just didn’t think they’d want to listen to anything I had to say at the moment.
I didn’t say anything for a few moments. “So,” Zach said after a tense silence, “Are you gonna start talking then, or what?”
“Right, right.” Okay. I wanted this. “I bought some time. With the Lydia thing. But I still don’t know.” There.
He didn’t say anything. I just expressed my doubts in such an eloquent and articulate manner and he had nothing to say?
“Okay, so this is supposed to be a conversation,” I explained.
“I’m aware,” Zach said cooly. That was all he said.
“It’s your turn to talk,” I prompted. Maybe I should jump out the window instead.
He shrugged. “I don’t know what you want me to say to that.”
Oh dear god. “Help me,” I ordered. Or maybe begged. “How do I even decide? It’s like a big decision. Straight or gay.”
“You’re acting like there’s no other options.” He rolled his eyes. “Like being bi, for instance.”
“Yeah, I guess.” I shrugged.
Zach said he liked guys and girls. That was an option, hypothetically. I couldn’t imagine it any more than I could being gay; maybe I liked it even less for some reason.
It wasn’t that simple, was it? To just say, oh, I like both and there, problem solved. That was awfully convenient. How long could that last for? Wasn’t it just putting off the inevitable? I couldn’t decide if that’s what I wanted to do or not.
“Please don’t let this inflate your ego more,” I told Zach, “But you make it look really easy.”
“I’ve known I was gay for a while now,” he said simply. He used gay and bi interchangeably sometimes, but how was I supposed to know if that was what he was doing this time? Then, seeing that I was clearly about to ask if he was gay now, he added, “I’m still bi, but I don’t have a problem with either term.”
Gay had become something of a catch all term, but it didn’t feel like it to me. If I called myself gay out loud, that meant I liked men and men only. Zach didn’t agree. Not that there was anything wrong with being gay, obviously. It just wasn’t me.
Zach sighed and his tone wasn’t exactly gentler, but for him it was almost warm and fuzzy as he continued, “You suddenly found yourself in a… situation.” Instead of boyfriend, I would have to refer to Ryan as my situation later; he’d get a kick out of that. “It might take time to figure everything out.”
I thought about that. How much time did I get? Did I have to become gay after my transitional period was over? When should I expect my membership card in the mail and how did I go about returning it?
Still, it wasn’t bad advice. This was new to me. I got a little time at least. All I could come up with to say in response was, “Wow, you sound so wise and rational.”
“I know,” Zach shuddered. “I don’t like it.”
Well, that didn’t really help. But I guess it was reassuring. I felt really dumb, but I hadn’t been dealing with this for that long, that was true. But Zach had known he was gay for a while now?
“I don’t think I’ve seen you go after a guy besides Ryan,” I noted.
“Oh god, we are not talking about that,” he said firmly.
I sighed. This was probably as good as our conversation would get, so I deemed Zach’s best friend duties over with and reached into my backpack. “Hey, I brought snacks.”
Zach smiled. Now some of the guys looked jealous, which made his smile grow. Zach liked envy even more than dessert. Ryan made cookies for the road. We ate them all ourselves but shared with Joey too. Apparently, I owed him for always telling him things he didn’t want to know.
This is part of a continuing thing I do called More on Mondays. Where I post extra scenes, hence the more, on every other Monday, hence the Mondays.
As I start reading Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey, it occurs to me that this would have been a really good book to read before Halloween. This observation really doesn’t help me because I can’t go back in time, so let this be a lesson to you.
What that lesson is? I have no idea.
This is a quote from the book. I would add more context, except that I ‘m not sure what to add. True story!
No victory was worthwhile unless it cost you something. Unless you grew from it.
Today in, I should probably find something to talk about, there’s an actress who was totally around before Twilight. She’s been in other things, guys, don’t worry about Twilight.
Do I sound defensive? My friends don’t like Kristen Stewart, so maybe I’m a little defensive. Not sure I need to make this part clear, but when I say my friends, I mean my straight friends.
While I definitely wouldn’t rule out that I’d talk about Kirsten Stewart for no reason, I have a reason.
Kristen Stewart really wants to play a gay superhero, which is a strange coincidence because I really want her to play a gay superhero. We have so much in common! Kristen Stewart is my new bestie.
I have friends that hate her and I always defend her, though sometimes my argument is “gay” as in, she’s gay. So. That’s in her favor. My friends never seem to accept that as enough.
Why do I feel the need to always write out Kristen Stewart instead of just using her first or last name? No idea. Kristen Stewart,
Everything has remakes these days and I’m not one to lament that and wonder why nobody comes up with anything new anymore, but it is a little bizarre that more and more remakes have remakes. I’m not sure how well this translates to me saying I’m excited about the new Charlie’s Angels thing, but I am excited about the new Charlie’s Angels thing.
Finally, Stewart (Kristen) talked about how she wanted to play a gay superhero and how people told her, hey, you should be less gay if you wanna be in a superhero movie at an interview with Anthony Mackie. People are jerks. But not Anthony Mackie.
This isn’t related to anything, but I’ve seen one Marvel movie, Iron Man. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything Anthony Mackie is in, but I like him. The Falcon was the first mainstream African American comic book hero, and I’m still not exactly sure how, but I also thought his character was the first gay black superhero. And, uh, apparently he’s not?
I have almost no interaction with the huge Marvel cinematic world or the fandom, so I was able to think this for years. Sometimes I’m still like, that guy is gay and then I remember, oh right, that’s not true.
Also, I maybe saw some or all of the Twilight movies. I can’t actually remember. I maybe liked them. In my defense, I was drunk, which is maybe why I can’t remember which ones I’ve seen.
There’s a part in One Little Lie where there’s a Very Gay Double Date, and I had fun writing it, which is probably why there’s so much of it. Here’s a deleted scene.
Things to know: Ryan and Luke are dating. So are Lydia and Alicia. They’re in the car, heading to a gay club.
Lydia and I had our differences, but I’d never loved her more. Her bad attitude and attempt to ruin our night meant that I wasn’t the one doing anything stupid. I was actually kinda relaxed. It was hard not to be. I got to sit in the front because my boyfriend was driving. That was one of those little, totally insignificant things I never thought I’d get to do in high school; the kind of thing I wanted because I didn’t think I could have. Gotta say, it wasn’t bad.
The scenery outside was miles of boring, flat farmland, so I looked at Luke instead. Orange light spilled in the car then faded and the shadows played across his face. He occasionally took my hand and held it while he drove. Totally unsafe but I couldn’t protest. I was too busy being happy and soaking up this moment in case the first double date nerves came back.
“Um, Ryan,” came Alicia’s voice from the backseat, “Did you want any of our beverages? Because now is the time as, uh, we’ve almost drank them all.” ‘We’ was more like Lydia but I didn’t call her on it and declined a drink.
I got high on life. Which sounded lame, but I just didn’t drink very often. I had poor reflexes and an inability to keep my thoughts to myself at the best of times, so I didn’t need help from alcohol to make a fool of myself.
“It’s okay, you can drink,” Luke told me.
I eyed him. “You’re just saying that so you can take advantage of me,” I accused. Though if that was the case, why was I objecting? He could totally get me drunk and take advantage of me.
He rolled his eyes. “I mean it; you’re a fun drunk.” Maybe I was warming up to alcohol.
I turned around to look at the girls and perhaps ask for some of the alcohol, but Lydia had her head tipped back as she drained the rest of the liquid. The long, pale line of her neck didn’t do anything for me, but it distracted Alicia enough that she didn’t notice my gaze. Huh. How did that work? She liked the way Lydia looked but didn’t want to do anything about it?
Well, probably. You didn’t have to want to hump something to appreciate its aesthetic value, otherwise museums and art galleries would be really weird.
I turned back to Luke. “No, if you’re not drinking I won’t either. Solidarity boo.”
Luke’s hand went from the wheel to land on my thigh, squeezing once and then pulling away. That moment was way better than booze.