Interview with Literary Agent Jennifer Johnson-Blalock!

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It’s been such a long time since I’ve interviewed a literary agent, so the opportunity to interview one as lovely as Jennifer is one I absolutely had to take! Check out her wisdom, scout her wishlist here, and above all, query her!

You acquire in such a wide variety of areas, from cookbooks to contemporary YA to law. What categories and genres feel the closest to your heart, and why?

I’m definitely a generalist! I’ve always read widely, and I think one of the joys of agenting is that you’re not constricted to a certain style or type of book. And it’s lovely to be able to send things out at the same time and not have to juggle editors—I’m going out in the next month or so with a women’s fiction, a YA, and a nonfiction project.

To answer your question, though, if I had to pick one category of my heart, it would have to be women’s fiction. I’ve been reading it for years; I devoured the Red Dress Ink imprint in the early 2000s. (Blogger’s Note: Me too!!) One of the reasons I read is to figure out who I am and what my place in the world is, and those are the books where I can most fully see myself. (And on a related note, I’d really like to find more diverse authors in this category so that a greater number of women can feel the same way.) But don’t stop sending me all the other good stuff, writers; I love it, too!

I never get to talk to anyone who works with cookbooks, but that was actually my first internship in publishing—the now-defunct (I think) little cookbook division at HarperCollins—so I have to ask about it. What kind of cuisine is your favorite to read about? To eat? To cook?

I think in the internet era, when we all just google “chicken goat cheese” or whatever we have in our fridges, a cookbook has to bring something extra to the table. (That was an unintentional pun that I’m intentionally leaving in place!) I really love cookbooks with a narrative component or themed cookbooks like Judith Jones’ THE PLEASURES OF COOKING FOR ONE, and my favorite sort of food books are memoirs with recipes like Molly Wizenberg’s A HOMEMADE LIFE.

On a trip to Italy once, my sister-in-law posed a question: if you could only eat either French food or Italian food for the rest of your life, which would you choose? I went French–I can’t live without my mother sauces and pommes frites. But I actually love to cook Italian food. The precision of baking is my favorite, but I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so pasta is my savory equivalent. You know I like you if I bust out my gnocchi rolling board.

I actually have yet to sign a cookbook author—if you’re reading this, cookbook writers, query me!—but I DID just sign an amazingly fun project from writer Lauren Koshere (@LaurenKoshere) called PIE-WORTHY: How to Bake Smart in Love that guides you through what to bake at various stages in a relationship and includes recipes. I’m thrilled to be working with her on that.

You have such a wide variety of professional experience outside publishing, too. How do those experiences contribute to how you do your agenting job, and what you particularly want to see in work submitted?

If I’d just worked in a PR firm, too, I think I’d be fully equipped to be a literary agent! In all seriousness, though, while it’s by no means necessary to go to law school to be an agent, I do think that I have a stronger than average grasp on contracts, licensing, and copyright issues, which has been a huge help as I’ve gotten started. And working as a high school English teacher 1) improved my editorial skills and 2) gave me a firmer foundation in YA lit (another category I love so hard—I actually started a YA for adults book club in Austin!). This is very much a learn-as-you-go sort of job, but I do think that my other career starts gave me a solid foundation on which to build.

In terms of how it affects what I like to see, as a teacher talking to teens every day, I became very aware of the gulf between what teens want to read and what some adults want teens to read. I actually think most YA writers are aware of this and write for teens themselves, but it seems like a bigger issue in MG. With the law, honestly, that was largely a misstep for me, and more than anything the experience has made me connect more with stories about people who are struggling to find their way or opting for a less obvious path in life.

Obviously we’re all familiar with some serious agent-querier horror stories, but let’s talk the fiip side – what are some best practices you wish all queriers abided by?

First of all, let me just say that most queriers are lovely. And I can imagine how difficult it must be for writers! There are many agents out there who have talked in depth about queries, but here are the highlights:

– Do your research—An agent’s submission guidelines are the bare minimum. I love when writers respond to my #MSWL or note something I said on Twitter. (Non-book things are fair game! I got a query in response to my complaining about bridal showers; I LOVED that.)

– SELL your book to me—Don’t just summarize. Figure out what what makes your book special and what the most compelling way to convey that is. Comp titles are your friends if you use them right.

– Be responsive–If I ask for pages and you can’t send them within a couple days for some reason, that’s totally fine, but I appreciate you letting me know. I get excited to see things when I request! And definitely pay attention to the format agents ask to see your work in.

– Be polite–Obviously! This is a professional communication. I will say, though, that I don’t think you need to reply to a form query rejection.

– Query only when your manuscript is ready and only when you know you want an agent—If you know it needs more revision, do that first. If you think you might want to self-pub, make that decision first—or later, but I shouldn’t be involved in it.

– Set guidelines if you get an offer–It’s incredibly helpful when you tell me you got an offer and plan to respond to it by X date. If I really need more time, I can ask for it, but I always flounder a little when I get an email that says essentially, “I got an offer, so let me know…”

Those are the basics, but here are a few for extra credit:

– Don’t change the subject line when you send requested material–Many of us use Gmail-based email, and if you change the subject line to say requested or what not, it moves it out of the conversation. Then, particularly if you’ve started an entirely new email, I have to dig through my inbox for your query to refresh my memory before I read. Which brings me to:

– Paste your query into the front of the manuscript—Then I don’t have to go back to my inbox at all, and I’m happy when I start reading!

– Use small paragraphs in your query letter–They’re easier to digest when I’m reading many queries in one sitting, and if I understand your work easily, I’m more apt to like it.

You used to curate YA content for Riffle. If you were doing that right now, what recent books would you absolutely have to include?

So many things. For those of you who have never checked out Riffle, it allows you to make lists of books, and part of my job was to come up with themed lists of YA titles. I don’t think I ever got to do a dance-themed list, which is a particular obsession of mine, and there are so many goodies to put on that now: TINY PRETTY THINGS (dying to read the sequel that just came out), POINTE, THE WALLS AROUND US…just to name a few. I’d also love to do a football list—FIRST & THEN would definitely be on it, and THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD gets bonus points because it could go on either of those two lists. And on a more serious note, I would definitely include a list on rape and sexual assault that would include, among others, ALL THE RAGE and EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR.

Anyone can see what you’re looking for right now on your site, but what’s something that you made you insta-request that you had no idea you were looking for until you saw it?

I requested a speculative fiction manuscript recently that I’m excited to read–I usually stick to the realistic world and leave speculative to my capable LDA colleagues who specialize in it. But this writer was responding to my MSWL request for books about happy couples, and the project just sounded fascinating. Though it’s important to follow agents’ guidelines, I think it’s also okay to take slight chances with queries particularly when responding to something an agent says she’s looking for. I’m really never unhappy about receiving a query; sometimes you truly don’t know until you see something.

Imagine you’ve just gotten a manuscript that looks amazing and you know you want to read it from start to finish. And whoa, you have an entire day free to do it! What’s your ideal reading setup? (Space, snacks, the works. Don’t skimp.)

Ah, the dream. When I really want to treat myself and focus in on a manuscript, I read in bed. I’m a little weird about my space division, and I normally make myself sit in a chair or at my desk if I’m working; bed is for sleeping only. But I have a very soft mattress and far more blankets than I need, so it’s very cozy.

I’d also change into what I call “play clothes”—not stuff you sleep in but not things you’d leave the house in on a normal day either; think, the ratty pair of sweatpants. Glasses, not contacts. Blinds open for the natural light. My “mellow” playlist in the background: Norah Jones, Sara Bareilles, Carole King, etc.

Definitely an oversized mug of tea in my favorite grey TYPEWRITER mug in the morning with a Kind bar or some such—I don’t like to waste time on meal prep when I’m in deep reading mode. Chex Mix and cherry Coke Zero (almost impossible to find in NYC, but a girl can dream) as the day wears on; eventually I’d break down and order a pizza. This actually sounds delightful; I’m going to implement this plan as soon as these moving boxes are gone.

And finally, tell us the coolest thing you’ve experienced in bookworld since starting work in publishing. 

EVERYTHING; I love being an insider! One of the best things, though, is on the nonfiction side. Whenever I see someone doing something cool in the world, I can email them to introduce myself and ask if they want to talk about writing a book. Oftentimes, nothing comes of this, but the conversations I’ve had have all been fascinating. And it’s just such a luxury to have greater access to talented people.

One of my clients, Jessica Luther, is a prominent sports journalist, and when I was reading a proposal for a colleague a couple weeks ago, her client cited Jessica (not knowing she was a client of mine) in one of the chapters. It just tickled me to get confirmation that I’m working with someone who’s an influencer, whose work matters to other people. It’s wonderful to feel that, as an agent, I’m helping to put good and important things into the world.

Johnson-Blalock HeadshotJennifer Johnson-Blalock joined Liza Dawson Associates as an associate agent in 2015, having previously interned at LDA in 2013 before working as an agent’s assistant at Trident Media Group. Jennifer graduated with honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in English and earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Before interning at LDA, she practiced entertainment law and taught high school English and debate. Follow her on Twitter @JJohnsonBlalock, and visit her website: www.jjohnsonblalock.com.

Dahlia’s Book Club: August 2016

Welcome to Dahlia’s book club, wherein I rec four books in each of five categories every month and hope that you read them. If you do, and you leave a link to a review for at least one of them in the comments, you’ll be entered to win one of three prizes every month – one entry per book. If you read and review* one in each and every category, you automatically win. The last weekday of the month is your last day to submit a review, and the length of the review does not matter, but it must be posted to Goodreads and Amazon or BN.com to be eligible for a prize. Simple enough, right?

If a title’s in blue, it means I haven’t read it yet either – let’s do it together, shall we?

*To enter to win a prize, your review must be new. To be eligible for the Five Reviews Insta-prize, up to two of your reviews can be old, as long as they’re on Amazon.

If you’re loving something you’re reading from the list, please share on hashtag #DahlBC!

YA Published Before This Year

YA Published This Year

Out This Month+

+Anything in this category is still due by end of month for that month’s prize, but these books will continue to make you eligible for an entry for the next month. If you reviewed one of July’s books in this category, link in the comments to be eligible to win this month!

2016 Debut

Non-YA

As for the prizes:

  1. An ARC of We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen (US only)
  2. A paperback of Wake the Hollow by Gaby Triana (US only)
  3. The ebook of your choice by Courtney Milan
  4. The ebook of your choice by Alyssa Cole
  5. An ARC of Thicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore (US only)
  6. A paperback of Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

T(w)en(ty) Books Set Outside The US

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Happy Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of the Broke and the Bookish! Love this topic and love these settings, so I maaaay have cheated a little. (But I did not do UK YA set in the UK or Oz YA set in Australia, FWIW.) (And, hilariously, in thinking of lesser-known titles I legitimately completely forgot about Anna/Isla and the Just One Day/Year duology.) ANYWAY, without further ado…!

The Conspiracy of Us and Map of Fates by Maggie Hall (France, Turkey, Greece, India)

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith (Japan)

Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo (Antarctica)

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed (Pakistan)

The Last Leaves Falling by Fox Benwell (Japan)

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles (Israel)

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (Central America)

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (Iran)

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis (Netherlands)

Sekret by Lindsay Smith (Russia)

Wanderlost by Jen Malone (Netherlands, France)

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae (Italy)

My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter (Greece)

Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn (Egypt)

Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel (England, France, India, Thailand)

The Violet Hour by Whitney A. Miller (China, Japan, Vietnam)

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan (Tanzania)

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman (India)

5-to-1 by Holly Bodger (India)

Stolen by Lucy Christopher (Australia)

Blog Tour: Stars So Sweet by Tara Dairman

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You guys know I’m not much of a Middle Grade reader, but there are a few authors for whom I happily make exceptions…like Tara Dairman and her series about a tween foodie named Gladys, the third book of which, Stars So Sweet, releases July 19th! One of the things I desperately look for in MG, to the shock of no one, is the presence of LGBTQ content, so I’m particularly excited to be hosting this guest post for the Stars So Sweet blog tour…and I’ll let Tara take it away from here!

Near the end of my new middle-grade book, STARS SO SWEET, a 12-year-old character admits to having a crush on a kid of the same gender. (I won’t say which character or gender here, since it’s kind of a spoiler.)

I remember the day I turned the first draft in to my editor. I took a deep breath before pressing send. I felt 100% right about the choice to include this twist in the book–it was something I’d always known about this character, and I felt that I’d written the pivotal scene well. But it hadn’t been in my proposed outline, and it had surprised a few of my beta readers. It might surprise my editor as well.

To her, and my publisher’s, credit, no one ever suggested I remove it. They asked me to shore up the narrative so that the “reveal” scene was better set up, and they told me to be prepared for backlash–for e-mails from offended readers, for the book possibly being censored in some places. But more likely, they said, the response would be too quiet to quantify. The book would simply not sell to some libraries and families; I’d never hear about why.

While my middle-grade series focuses primarily on foodie adventures and friendship, it touches on first crushes, too. THE STARS OF SUMMER (book 2) even has a first kiss. So in this third and final book, it would have felt disingenuous to me to hide this particular character’s feelings just because they were same-sex. It would have offended me to leave them out.

Advance copies of STARS SO SWEET have been out in the world for a few months now, and I’m pleased to report that pushback has been minimal so far. The couple of readers who have contacted me with concerns about this plot point have been polite and open to a frank dialogue. And I’ve heard from other readers in appreciation of the story line, too. I hope that both of these trends continue.

When I was growing up, “gay” was a playground slur, and there were virtually no gay characters in books for young readers. That’s not the world I want the next generation to come of age in. I want my readers to know that feelings like this character’s are normal and no big deal, and I want them to be able to read books in which that normalcy is reflected.

I deeply admire the YA and MG authors who are creating this literature for young readers, and with the publication of STARS SO SWEET, I’m proud to take my place among them.

Tara Dairman headshot

Tara Dairman is the author of the middle-grade foodie novel ALL FOUR STARS (Putnam/Penguin) which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and won a 2015 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. THE STARS OF SUMMER followed in 2015, and STARS SO SWEET (7/19/16) completes the series. Tara grew up in New York and holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world’s longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her family.

Website: http://taradairman.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaraDairman
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TaraDairmanAuthor
Instagram: http://instagram.com/allfourstars/

~*~*~

stars so sweet cover

As the summer winds down and Gladys Gatsby prepares to start middle school, she is nervous about juggling schoolwork and looming deadlines from her secret job as the New York Standard’s youngest restaurant critic. When her editor pushes for a face-to-face meeting to discuss more opportunities with the paper, Gladys knows she must finally come clean to her parents. But her perfectly planned reveal is put on hold when her parents arrive home with a surprise: her Aunt Lydia, one of the only adults who knows her secret, fresh off the plane from Paris. Gladys and Aunt Lydia try one last ruse to fool her editor at the Standard, but even with her aunt’s help, Gladys just can’t manage the drama of middle school and a secret life. It’s time for Gladys to be true to herself and honest with her friends and family, regardless of what those around her think.

Buy it: Penguin * Indiebound * Amazon * B&N * BAM * Indigo * Book Depository

 

Top Ten Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of The Broke and the Bookish! I’ve been super lax in my participation due to being busy with a billion other things, but this topic is so self-explanatory and so near and dear to my heart (*cough* especially since five out of my six books apply), I couldn’t pass it up. No explanations necessary, even! So I’m gonna get right down to it, in no particular order!

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu

Second Position by Katherine Locke

Over You by Amy Reed

Sekret by Lindsay Smith

Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by JC Lillis

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen

Dahlia’s Book Club: July 2016

Welcome to Dahlia’s book club, wherein I rec four books in each of five categories every month and hope that you read them. If you do, and you leave a link to a review for at least one of them in the comments, you’ll be entered to win one of three prizes every month – one entry per book. If you read and review* one in each and every category, you automatically win. The last weekday of the month is your last day to submit a review, and the length of the review does not matter, but it must be posted to Goodreads and Amazon or BN.com to be eligible for a prize. Simple enough, right?

If a title’s in blue, it means I haven’t read it yet either – let’s do it together, shall we?

*To enter to win a prize, your review must be new. To be eligible for the Five Reviews Insta-prize, up to two of your reviews can be old, as long as they’re on Amazon.

If you’re loving something you’re reading from the list, please share on hashtag #DahlBC!

YA Published Before This Year

YA Published This Year

Out This Month+

*Second in a series; reading the first book counts too

+Anything in this category is still due by end of month for that month’s prize, but these books will continue to make you eligible for an entry for the next month. If you reviewed one of June’s books in this category, link in the comments to be eligible to win this month!

2016 Debut

Non-YA

As for the prizes:

  1. A paperback of Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  2. A paperback of A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall (US only)
  3. A paperback of How We Fall by Kate Brauning
  4. An ARC of Afterward by Jen Mathieu (US only)

Samara’s Reading List Revealed!

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Thanks to all who participated in my contest for the release of Out on Good Behavior, and congrats to the winner, Alison! For those who didn’t get all of them and want the key, here’s Samara’s official reading list, paired with the quotes from the book:

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

She laughs. “It’s a really good book! Though it actually kind of destroyed me—it’s about a school shooting, told in real time from all these different perspectives, and honestly I probably would’ve just stayed in tonight, but after I finished, I felt like I needed to be around living, breathing people for an hour.”

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

Rainbow House is brimming over with people by the time I show up that night. Everyone who enters gets one of those “Hello, My Name Is” stickers, only these say, “Hello, My Pronouns Are.” I grab one and a purple Sharpie, scrawl on “She/Her,” and search my shirt for a stretch of fabric large enough to hold it. I end up sticking it just above the hem of my glittery halter, then go off in search of familiar faces. I don’t spot Abe or Sid right away, but I do accept an excited hug from Emily Strother, who’s wearing an “I Heart My Gonads” pin affixed to her sweater.

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

I can’t help smiling at that, and after a few moments, so does she. “I recommended a really good political one about a girl whose dad is running for president, but he was not amused. Might’ve been the hot-pink cover.”

Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul

“Lesbians?” I ask with a waggle of my eyebrows.

She tips her head to the side. “Let’s say…sexual orientation unclear. But I have my theories.”

“How are you so good at getting me interested in these?” I ask as I watch her tuck away the black hardcover.

Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler or About a Girl by Sarah McCarry

“Deal. I know just the book for you—lesbians right on the cover.”

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

“I think so, yeah. The writing is gorgeous, and it feels so artistic, I can totally see you loving it. It’s magical realism, and it has the most beautiful forbidden love story.” As she continues to gush about the book, I realize this is the most animated—maybe the most comfortable—I’ve seen her all weekend. Is it possible she’s more into books than me? Is booksexuality a thing?

Second Position by Katherine Locke

Her middle name is Jane. She doesn’t take coffee at all (see above); green tea is her caffeinated beverage of choice. Tea, period, is probably her favorite thing on earth, and lately she’s taken to drinking it with one orange teabag and one vanilla teabag, because she read it in a book she loved and thought it sounded delicious.

Black Iris by Leah Raeder

I glance at the book on the floor—is that flower on the cover supposed to look so vaginal?—and then back at Sam. She hasn’t so much as stirred since I walked in. Kissing her awake seems too presumptuous, so I kneel by the bed and lift her fingers to my lips instead. Her eyelids flutter open, revealing those gorgeous tiger eyes that melt me every time, and I say, “Hey.”

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

“How could I not ship us?”

“But, like, where do we rank? Do we beat Tim and Jenna?”

“You mean Taylor and Jonah?” She sighs. “Yes, Frankie, I ship us harder than Taylor and Jonah.”

The Conspiracy of Us and Map of Fates by Maggie Hall

“What about those books where you switched teams from one guy to the other in the middle? The one where you said the pink-covered book almost turned you bi.”

She contemplates for a minute. “I ship us harder than the girl with either guy,” she says carefully.

“But not more than if they were a threesome.”

“I mean…come on.”

So, that’s it! Hope you had fun figuring it out!

Out on Good Behavior Release Day (+Contest)!

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Out on Good Behavior is out today!! Probably on not such great behavior, if I’m being honest. But whatever, IT’S HERE. This is so bittersweet for me, because I’ve spent three years with the Radleigh girls and it sucks to say goodbye, but I’m so excited about the note I’m leaving them on. Out on Good Behavior is fun and fluffy and sexy and so rainbow-y, and it’s my first book that’s truly all about the romance. Sure, it’s a little light on plot, but I assure you, there is a lot of making out, so let’s call it even?

If you’d like to buy it, here, lemme make that easier for you! (And thank you!)

Amazon USB&N | iBooks | Smashwords |  Kobo

So, one thing you’ll notice in the book is that Samara’s a huge YA/NA fan, kiiiinda like her creator😉 But – and if you read Right of First Refusal, you’ll recognize this move (yes, it was All the Rage and Things We Can’t Forget/Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series) referenced there – she never calls the books she talks about by name. To that end, I’ve created a little contest:

All you have to do is email me a list of as many books as you can from Samara’s references by July 5th, and the winner (international!) will take home everything in this pic:

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(That’s a paperback of Out on Good Behavior, an “Art Supplies”-print pencil case; a signed Radleigh bookmark you can’t see even if you’re not visually impaired, because I haven’t learned how to block out the sun when I take pictures; lip balms printed with the covers of each of the Radleigh books; a pair of socks that say “Screwing up is part of the program”; three Radleigh University pins plus a fourth that says “The Path to Love Isn’t Always Straight”; a Girls’ Night Out fabric flask with a shot glass cap; and Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Bellys!)

Nothing else is required, though obviously sharing this post/release news/the LWaT sale etc. and of course reviewing the book are always appreciated!

Thank you so much for celebrating with me! xoxo

#TeaserTuesday: an Excerpt from Out on Good Behavior!

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Out on Good Behavior releases in one week, and I’ve been posting teasers on Instagram for a couple of months now, but for the very last #TeaserTuesday before release, I figured I’d share something a little longer…in the form of an excerpt!

OutonGoodBehavior72dpi(1)

We chat about nothing for a few minutes as the room fills in a little more, then sit back quietly as the concert begins. It’s not that bad, truthfully, and Andi’s pretty good as far as I can tell. Not that I’m terribly focused on the music. My eyes keep darting to our arms on the rest between us, how close they are to touching but not. It would be so easy to reach out and take her hand, to answer the question once and for all. It’s not like it’s a big deal—plenty of people are out at Radleigh. Hell, just in this room. Sure, sometimes it comes with its annoying shit, but this is a pretty open-minded, liberal campus; I can’t escape the thought that if she really were into me, she’d have made a move.

I try to think back to when I was a little baby queer, but the truth is, I can’t even remember a time before I knew I wasn’t just into guys. Sure, I juggled “Am I gay?” for a while, not because I wasn’t attracted to guys but because I didn’t know there were a plethora of options between the ends of the Kinsey scale, let alone between “boy” and “girl.” I definitely played around with different labels until I decided pansexual felt like the best fit. But thinking I was straight? Not part of my particular past.

Sidra is really the person I should be asking; she came out much more recently and would probably have more insight. But she’s also a Relationship Person, and she’d never get why all of this is weirding me out so much.

I don’t even really get why this is weirding me out so much.

Honestly, this is ridiculous; I get far too much ass for me to get this worked up about one girl. If she’s straight, whatever, and if she’s in the closet, that’s her prerogative. It’s obvious I’m exceptionally attracted to her, and maybe that’s mutual and maybe it isn’t, but I have expended way too much brainspace on this crush that I should be spending on—

A stocking-covered thigh rubs against mine, and I glance down to see that Samara’s crossed her legs, making her dress ride up quite a few inches. It’s also pressing her leg against mine, and there’s no way she doesn’t feel that. Instinctively I press back, just a little bit, and wait for her to move.

She doesn’t.

Okay then.

I’m not sure how long we sit like that, or at what point our limbs start inching even closer, but at some point during a flute solo, my fingertips brush soft, bare skin, sending a little tremor through my fingers. I let my gaze drop to our arms, and I can see hers is covered in goose bumps, but she doesn’t move.

It’s not the slightest bit cold in here.

With any other girl, this is where I’d push it—trace lines along the silky inside of her forearm, or drop my hand to massage her knee—but I strongly suspect doing that now would spook Samara, and that’s the last thing on earth I wanna do.

So I leave my thigh pressed to hers. I keep my fingertips resting lightly on her arm. And I sit through the longest fucking concert in the history of human existence.

~*~*~

Out on Good Behavior is available for preorder here!
Amazon USB&N | iBooks | Smashwords |  Kobo

Happy June Fun Times!

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Okay, I’m not that great at blog titles, but it’s June, which means Out on Good Behavior release month and Pride Month and so many good things! Here’s what’s up:

Last Will and Testament is on sale! For the month of June, you can get the first book in the Radleigh University series for only .99 at all etailers, so if you’ve been curious about my NA and haven’t picked it up yet, now’s the perfect time! And/or if you just felt like sharing the graphic below, that’s cool too😉

LWaT99cSale

 Amazon USB&N | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo

Out on Good Behavior releases on June 14! In case you’ve missed my Semi Suitable For Work teasers, here’s a personal favorite (of the ones that are SFW):

OoGBTeaser5

Amazon USB&N | iBooks | Smashwords |  Kobo

I’ll also have some guest posts and interviews popping up, so, stay turned to my Twitter to see where to find those😉

Also, make sure you’re up on my other site, LGBTQReads.com, where there’ll be a whole lot of stuff going on this month! Because duh, Pride. And speaking of which…

On June 22nd, if you’re in the NYC area, you can come say hi and talk books in person! I’ll be at McNally Jackson at 7 pm with Jenn Marie Thorne (The Inside of Out), Kenneth Logan (True Letters From a Fictional Life), and Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not) for a YA Pride panel. Their books are all great, so even if you’re totally sick of me, come see them!

I’ll also be celebrating two bookiversaries this month: the 24th marks the two-year anniversary since the release of Behind the Scenes, and the 30th will be one year since Under the Lights, so keep an eye out for some giveaways!

And, of course, keep an eye on B&N Teen Blog this month – you’ll see lots of posts by me, including a lot of suggestions of what to get on your TBR radar for the fall!

Have a fabulous Pride Month, and please sound if on the comments with what you’ll be reading this month, whether i can expect to see you at McNally, and whether you’re doing any LGBTQIAP+ reading challenges such as #ReadProud!

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