Important Information Regarding the ’90s Coming of Age series (Pictures of You & You Are Not Me)

For a long time now, I’ve been trying to figure out how I wanted to make this post and what I wanted to say and disclose. And for an equally long time I’ve put it off. Mainly because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone and I kept hoping for some kind of change that would make it unnecessary. But, truly, it’s been necessary from the get-go because that’s how publishing works.

When I made my initial projections regarding the release dates for We Can Be Good (Bk 3) and We Make It Real (Bk 4), I operated on a central assumption based in prior experience: that the first two books would pay for themselves. See, as long as I’ve been self-publishing I’ve never had a book not pay for the cost of creating it. I’ve had books earn more or less profit, but I’ve never failed to cover my expenses. So, when I set aside the money to publish the four book series, I went with $5,000, thinking that would be more than enough. I was wrong.

See, it’s a rule for me that each book carry itself. It becomes dangerous to my business for me to allow for a situation where Peter pays for Paul. At least during this stage of my career. Maybe when I have many more books out and a steady back catalog income coming in I could take that risk. But at this juncture, I just can’t. It would only take a few books that didn’t sell with a profit for me to have no capital to work with at all.

So, back to Pictures of You & You Are Not Me. They’ve been so well received by readers who took the leap and reviewers that it may come as a surprise for many to hear that they have barely covered even half of their expenses. I put $3,600 into those books (editing, covers, formatting, marketing) and as of the other morning they had earned $1,900. Not each, but both of them together.

Perhaps it’s crass to be giving you guys actual numbers, but I want you to understand that this isn’t a case of the books not earning enough to satisfy me. I never thought they’d make that much of a profit because they are a little out of the box. But rather these books just aren’t carrying their weight financially. This at a time when my day job is precarious and my book sales are down by 1/3 across the board last year.


Well, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get the rest of the ’90s Coming of Age story. I am DEFINITELY writing the next two books. What it does mean is that I need to bend my rules and allow for Peter to pay for Paul. But I need to do that on future books, not past ones. The plan has to change because the outcome didn’t work out the way I’d initially assumed it would. (Humbling? You bet!) I simply don’t have the leeway financially right now to take another $3,600 hit with the hopes it will pay off eventually. (And I do believe these books will pay off eventually! It may take time, but as a back catalog piece, they are going to be a good asset, in my opinion.)

It means that I have to publish at least one, if not two, books that make a decent profit so I can save up that $3,600 with the idea that it won’t be coming back to me quickly. I don’t know that my next releases will provide that profit. I have no idea, frankly, what will sell and what won’t. It’s always a bit of a mystery.

But here are a few things I do know:

  1. I love this series. I’ve been working on it off and on for fourteen years and I won’t let it go until it’s finished.
  2. I will not take fourteen years to finish the back half of it! LOL!
  3. I WILL put We Can Be Good out in 2017 for sure. If I can, I’ll also do We Make It Real, but I can’t know if it will be 2017 or 2018 at this point.

I want to apologize to everyone who is eagerly awaiting Peter’s next adventure. I am sad to know that I’m disappointing you and a little embarrassed to know that there is no way out of it. At this point, even if some crazy generous weirdo (LOL) were to fund the cost of the edits, etc, I’m so far down the path of trying to get this next unrelated release out that I’d need to do that first.

Again, I’m so sorry to let everyone down. I’m not giving up, though. I’m still enthusiastic af for the books and for Peter and for his story! I’m still invested 100% and that’s part of the reason I’m slowing the timing of releases down, too. Obviously, I could forgo editing, etc, to lower costs. But I can’t ask you guys to accept lower quality books for the last two. I’ve waited this long to put his story out, and I’m not going to send sub-par follow-ups into the world.

I hesitate to call ’90s Coming of Age series a failure, but this Winston Churchill quote does sum up how I feel about the future of the books. I refuse to lose enthusiasm for the books and I refuse to quit on them.

In the meantime, I’m serving up some hot, slow-burn omegaverse for my next release (hopefully in late Feb or early March). I hope you’ll join me for that wild ride! Sending love to all my readers out in the world! Every last one of you makes the difficulties worth it! Every review, every bit of feedback, every email and FB like and Twitter reply.

You make it real, you make it fun, and you make it worthwhile. ❤

ETA: At the urging of a reader, I’ve updated my Patreon site with some goals regarding audiobooks and getting these next two books released. You can become a patron (and access some extras!) by clicking here:


Day Job Is Tenuous But the Future Can Be Bright – What’s Happening, Leta?

I have a (wonderful, flexible) day job because I don’t make nearly enough money as a writer to pay my family’s bills. My employer has been sick for 2+ years now and his income has been cut drastically. Obviously, this affects me. It’s a very small business with just me and one other employee. The last time I talked with my employer about my job he said, “I will continue to pay you as long as I can. But I have no idea how long that will be. You need to get ready for that eventuality.”

My current day job allows for a lot of flexibility in my time which has let me write as many books as I have. Since 2013, I’ve put out what amounts to seventeen books. Guys, that’s a lot of books. And I’m nowhere near to earning enough that I don’t need the money from my day job. In fact, book sales were down by 1/3 this year over last and I’m not sure how to reverse that trend. That is, frankly, almost beside the point, though. Book sales go up and down, and there’s nothing I can do about that. All I can control is the making of books and what I spend my time on.

In the face of possibly losing my day job soon, I am determined to be proactive and get ahead of the situation before there is a crisis. I believe in my writing and my readers. I’m not a lazy person. I put a lot of time and effort into my work. I think the number of book releases I’ve had while carrying on a day job and being a good mom shows that. I work hard and harder and more and longer and yet without my day job my family would be in a crisis situation very quickly.

Which brings me to Patreon.

This video explains it better than I ever could. Please take a moment to watch.

“Patreon is for creators who love their communities and the communities who love those creators back.”

I love that line.

Don’t get me wrong! You can love me and my books a whole lot without being part of Patreon and I totally feel that love. More than feel it, I appreciate you deeply and thank you from the bottom of my heart for that love, devotion, and your readership. I get that not all readers can afford to give even a little bit more and I want you to know that I will continue to put out high quality books for you! Patreon won’t affect that at all.

Also, I want to be clear, EVERY SINGLE NEW COMPLETED STORY OR BOOK I WRITE THAT STARTS ON PATREON WILL EVENTUALLY GO OUT INTO THE WORLD FOR ANY READER TO ENJOY. The only difference would be that Patreon subscribers will have early access. I am not offering exclusive content in that way. For example, if I wrote a short story tied into the Wake Up Married universe and put it on Patreon first, I would eventually release it on Amazon, B&N, etc, or put it up free on my blog. Every reader will have access to every new story.

But I also know there are some readers out there who are passionate about some of the books I’ve written, who feel like those characters are friends or family, and who want to be part of seeing new books be built from the ground floor up, and who want and are able to help me do that for a living instead of looking for another day job.

So you’ve figured out that readers would make a monthly pledge to my Patreon account in exchange for more access to what I do. But what’s in Patreon for you as a reader exactly?

I have long known that some readers what more information and access than other readers. Many are happy to pay for a finished book, read it, and be done, but others want more information. What happened to the characters next? What other books do I have coming out? What does it look like behind the scenes of being an author? Not to mention, I’ve always had a lot more to say about my creative process and my books than I’ve taken the time to write up. Mainly because I haven’t thought that was a very good use of my time when I have bills to pay and a sick boss.

But Patreon offers a chance to change that for us! Readers who want more can get more and writers who want to share more can do that without fearing that it’s time taken away from something that will help pay the bills. Throughout time artists and writers have depended on the fans of their work to help support them. Today is no different. Patron acknowledges that and I can’t say how much I appreciate this opportunity the creators of the platform have given us.

Again, readers who don’t want to participate or can’t, I promise that you will still get quality books! Have no fear! I appreciate you and everything you are. Thank you for being readers and fans of my work! Patron or not!

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you’re curious about what I’m doing on my Patreon account, click below and have a look! (Even though it says “Become a patron”, you don’t have to do that just to have a look!) On Friday, I’ll begin posting chapters of my current WIP for all pledges at $5 and up! I’m excited to see how that process goes.

Thank you for reading this and considering contributing!


Taking Stock of My Year: 2016 Accomplishments & 2017 Goals

It’s time to take stock of what I’ve accomplished in the last year and what I’d like to do in the next one. I live in a perpetual state of feeling like I’ve never accomplished enough. So sometimes it’s healthy for me to take a minute to say, “Look, you did these things. There’s actual proof!”

In 2016, I published the following books:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00075]
Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00075]
Will & Patrick Meet the Mob
Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00050]
Angel Undone

Pictures of You
You Are Not Me

In 2016, I had the following books released as translations:

saison entrainement
Saison d’entrainement: Entrainement tome 1

Centre d’entrainement: Entrainement Tome 2
Überraschend … verheiratet!
Training Season: La stagione dell’allenamento
Un fiume in piena

The year has had its blessings and its troubles. I think the most surprising thing I’ve discovered is that I need to create two new pen names in order to work on non-Leta Blake brand ideas. In the end, I think it will serve me well to have three brands to allow my creativity to flow, but in the meantime it will bring on some lean times.

Which brings me to my 2017 Goals…

1) AUDIO: I’d like to explore audio and after much thought I’ve decided that Will & Patrick Wake Up Married is probably the way to go. The length of each installment is less than my usual book and so, hopefully, it would be more affordable to produce. I haven’t even begun to look into it, but intend to do so starting in January.

2) 90s COMING OF AGE BOOKS 3 & 4: I intend to finish the 90’s Coming of Age series in 2017. They are tentatively called We Can Be Good and We Make It Real.

3) M/F SERIAL: I want to start putting out the M/F serial I mentioned above. I have planned out twenty installments, but I’d like to get that down to ten, and put out three to five of them next year.

4) DARK EROTICA PEN NAME: Books published under this name won’t be “Leta Blake brand”. I intend to put out two (or possibly four) books under this name next year, depending on how things go.

5) A CHRISTMAS BOOK: I have three ideas and whichever one jumps me hardest will get my attention.

6) A LETA BLAKE BRAND BOOK: I’m waffling here. I’m torn between a Will & Patrick sequel, a heist book I’ve wanted to do forever, the Gareth/Lowell book from Smoky Mountain Dreams universe, and a book about Varun from Will & Patrick’s universe. But I’m already pushing the limits of my abilities with these goals, so I will just say that I’ve got to make a choice on this rather soon. It’s important to me that I get a stand alone Leta Blake brand book out this year.

It’s my belief that 2017 will be a building year for me. It will be a lot of work and expense with potentially little profit. It will probably feel a lot like the uphill part of the roller coaster, and I hope it only takes one year to get to the top of it. It’d be nice to experience a fun ride down before I start building again. Because that’s life, isn’t it? You go up that hill and then whoosh, it’s over in a flash, and you do more work to get up the next hill, and whoosh. There’s always hard work to earn the rush. I can promise there will be books to show for the work. I truly hope readers will enjoy them.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all the readers out there, all across the world, who’ve made my writing career thus far so wonderful. You’ve allowed me to write books that move me and I’ve loved hearing that they also moved you. Thank you for your trust. I know you invest money and time whenever you read one of my books. It’s an honor to be granted those precious hours of your life.

Thank you and blessings.

What to expect from the ‘90s Coming of Age series by Leta Blake? Is this series for me? #comingsoon #gay

The Sunsphere! Icon of Knoxville!
The Sunsphere! Icon of Knoxville!


What to expect from the ‘90s Coming of Age series by Leta Blake? Is this series for me?

Hello, readers! I’m thrilled to announce a new four book series to be released beginning in September 2016 and ending in April 2017.

Set in Knoxville, TN, during 1990-1992 and focusing on the life and loves of one character, Peter Mandel, this series has lived in my heart and mind for the last fourteen years. It’s finally ready to be released into the world and, let me tell you, this character is near and dear to me. I’ve long called him the character of my heart and so he will be forever.

I wanted to provide some clarity, though, on what you as a reader can expect from this group of books. There are a few things these books are not and many things that they are.

First, these books are NOT ROMANCE GENRE BOOKS. While I adore romance books and plan to write many more in my life, and while there is quite a lot of sex and romance within the storyline of the ‘90s Coming of Age series, it does not qualify for the romance label for several reasons.

Most importantly, it doesn’t hit the anticipated romance storytelling beats. In any given romance book, an individual reader can be relatively sure of a few certainties in terms of the story. While I guarantee no main character death, many other ‘rules’ of romance are not held to and therefore I can’t guarantee a reader a romance genre reading experience.

So what kind of book series is it then, Leta?

It most fits a Coming of Age description, hence the series title. Peter is young, only eighteen when we meet him, and on a journey of self-discovery. He wants to love and be loved, he wants to be true to himself, and he doesn’t always make good choices. In fact, if a bad choice can be made? Peter’s right there making it. But usually with the best of intentions, even if sometimes those intentions are selfish ones.

What can I expect from this series, then?

You can expect to find:

  1. a cast of characters advance readers have called achingly real
  2. new adult levels of sexual interactions
  3. teenage angst and twisted love
  4. a portrayal of the Knoxville, TN I remember from my late teens and early twenties
  5. music references from the time period
  6. an exploration of how the best intentions can lead to painful situations
  7. so much more

I’m so excited (and slightly lightheaded) to finally be able to introduce you all to Peter. I’m hoping that this blog post will allow you to determine if these are books for you. I understand if they aren’t and I’m so grateful if they are.

It’s a journey. And Peter’s worth following on it (in my humble opinion) and I hope you come with us.

Thanks for your readership past, present, and into the future! You make this career possible and I can’t thank you enough.




Growing up gay isn’t easy. Growing up gay in Knoxville, Tennessee is even harder. 

Eighteen-year-old Peter Mandel, a private school senior—class of 1990—is passionate about photography. Peter doesn’t have many friends, preferring to shoot pictures from behind the scenes to keep his homosexuality secret.

Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly new guy who doesn’t do labels, but does want to do Peter. Hardly able to believe gorgeous Adam would want geeky, skinny him of all people, Peter’s swept away on a journey of first love and sexual discovery. But as their mutual web of lies spins tighter and tighter, can Peter find the confidence he needs to make the right choices? And will his crush on Daniel, a college acquaintance, open a new path?

Join Peter in the first of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

This new series by Leta Blake is gay fiction with romantic elements.

Book 1 of 4. 

Warning! These books contain aspects of: New Adult fiction, ‘90s gay life, small city homosexual experiences, Southern biases, sexual exploration, romance, homophobia, bisexuality, and twisted-up young love. Oh, and a guaranteed happy ending for the main character by the end of Book 4.



Leta Blake’s Writing/Publishing Plans for 2016: ALL THE BOOKS! #amwriting #2016

The Sunsphere. Icon of Knoxville, the setting of the 90s Coming of Age series.
The Sunsphere. Icon of Knoxville, the setting of the 90s Coming of Age series.

As I sit in the lobby of our local ice skating rink, waiting while kiddo and her pal skate, I’m being forced to listen to the most uncool playlist of 80s pop songs I’ve heard in a long time. I think my mother did Jazzercise to most of these, though, and so I have a certain fondness for them despite not really feeling the need to ever hear any of them again

I brought my laptop with me with the intention of getting some writing done, only to realize that I don’t have access to my Dropbox from here. Poor planning on my part. So, instead, I’m going to finally type up my writing plans/goals for 2016. Yes, that’s me burying the lede again. I’m good at that.

Wake Up Married serial. Episodes 4-6 will be released in the early months of this year. Pre-orders are available already for Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings and Will & Patrick Meet the Mob. The final installment, Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending, is not available for pre-order yet, but it has a Goodreads page. We are doing our best to be as timely as possible with them. Each installment of this serial is between 30,000 and 40,000 words in length.

I’m excited by the reception these episodes have received already despite the general consensus that serials aren’t most readers’ favorite way to receive their story. I do think the serialized format fits this particular storyline, though, and these guys. I’m excited to wrap it up and have the entire set out there for readers


How to Steal a Heart. A stand-alone art heist novel inspired by the movie How to Steal a Million. This book has been building in my head for about four years now. I’ve read tons of books about art thieves, art heists, art con artists, etc, and I feel like I’m ready to finally tackle it. I’m pretty excited for this one! I hope to have it out early in the summer, but it might take a backseat to the next items on this list if necessary, because they are where the bulk of my writing/publishing plans rest for this year. My goal for release is May or June 2016. But if I can’t make that due date, then we’re looking at Spring 2017 instead.

The next set of releases are books made up of pieces of my heart. Their titles are: Pictures of You, You Are Not Me, You Make It Real, and Never Tear Us Apart. Also known as The 90s Coming of Age series.

I started writing these books back before I knew I shouldn’t.

Yep, I started them in 2004, when writing a book set in 1991 didn’t seem like I was writing about a different world altogether. I wrote what I knew and mixed it with what I didn’t know, because that was the advice we’re all given to start. I wrote about a time before 9/11 when a non-practicing Jewish boy in Knoxville, Tennessee could be in love with a non-practicing Arab boy from “all over the world” and the issue of religion/race is the least important problem they face.

I wrote about emotional abuse. I wrote about being in the closet. I wrote about beards. I wrote about a world where first love doesn’t always mean last love. (But it’s me so there is a happy ending for the main character.) I wrote about a world where AIDS was still tearing down any sense of safety gay men might have ever created for themselves. I wrote about graduating high school and going to college. I wrote about all kinds of things that don’t fit what anyone expects from me as a writer or from novels in this genre because I didn’t know any better.

But my beta readers tell me they love these characters and this world. They tell me I have to put the books out. And to be honest, these books have taken up space in my head long enough. If I don’t publish them and let them be free, if I don’t let them go out in the world to face readers who will love them and hate them and whatever other reception they get, then I’ll feel like I let them down. I don’t want to do that. I want them to have their chance. So, yes, Peter, Adam, Leslie, Daniel, Minty, Renee, and all the rest will be out this fall. Releases expected as follows:

August: Pictures of You
September: You Are Not Me
October: You Make It Real
November: Never Tear Us Apart
December/January 2017: Box Sets of the above books

Middle Grade Christmas Book: I promised my ten year old daughter to write a Middle Grade book for her, and I intend to keep that promise. Her present for next Christmas will be the book she and I planned/plotted together. I’ll release it under another name, obviously, but I’ll let my readers here know about it when I put it out.

My last tentatively planned book of 2016, one that I’d love to release in December if possible, is an unnamed Christmas story. I honestly have my doubts that I’ll get it done in time, and if I don’t feel like it’s going to happen, I’ll probably shift my focus from it to the Mail Order Bride story that I hope to have out in early 2017. We’ll see how it goes. I always like to bite off a bit more than I can chew. It keeps me constantly striving. I have a terror of being lazy, so planning for more than I can accomplish is one way I keep myself from slacking off too much.


These are the books I’m looking at putting out for 2016. I hope you’re as excited by this list as I am and I hope you can make room in your heart to give the 90s Coming of Age series a try even if it’s different from what you might otherwise expect from me. 🙂 Here’s to a publication packed year!


“The brunet”, “the blond”, and “the younger man” are ruining your books! And here’s why! #epithets #makeitstop

I DNFed two books this week because I couldn’t deal with the authors’ wild overuse of epithets. One was self-published and the other was published by a press, so this isn’t just a self-pub thing. Authors, beta readers, editors, please, for the love of all that is holy, understand that epithets are unnecessary about 99% of the time. Every single time you use one, ask yourself, “Is this necessary?” I promise that the answer is nearly always no.

I googled looking for an explanation so that I wouldn’t have to actually write up everything myself. I found one on Tumblr that I’ll share here. Yes, it’s about fan fiction, but, dudes, this applies to all writing. Published work is actually expected to be held to a higher standard than fanfic most of the time, am I right?

GO READ THE ENTIRE POST but I am going to just cut and paste in some screen caps of the most important parts.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 08.38.53

Do you look at your mother and think, “The dark haired woman made waffles for my breakfast.” NO. You think, “Mom is making me some awesome waffles because she is awesome.” Do you look at your best friend and think, “The accountant walks toward me with purpose.” NO. You think, “Jake strides toward me purposefully.” Do you look at your wife/husband/lover and think, “The brown-eyed artist smiles and laughs at my joke.” NO. You think, “Jamie smiles and laughs at my joke.” Do you look at your friend from Iceland and say, “The Icelander chewed her food viciously.” NO. You think, “Ragna chewed her food like she was starving.” OR WHATEVER.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 08.42.47

Yes, it’s dehumanizing. It’s also the exact opposite of intimate. If you’re writing a romance, and you’re coming up to a pivotal scene that’s supposed to show physical and emotional intimacy, nothing is as distancing as, “The blond man licked the tip of my cock and I moaned.” The blond man? Unless this is a trick and your character doesn’t know his name, those words have no business in a love scene. That is not intimate. That is not connected. That’s not romance.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 08.47.43

Yes. All of this. It’s harder and you’ve got to work for clarity, but it’s so much better to come up with well-structured sentences that make the subjects the pronouns are referencing abundantly clear without resorting to the use of epithets between lovers or friends. Or even acquaintances who definitely know each other’s names.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 08.50.00

Yes, but keep in mind that the use of the epithet should always have something to do with the action. So, in a love scene, for example, there’s really no reason for one lover to call the other “the sheriff” in his head. “The sheriff fondled Darren’s nipples and whispered, ‘I love you,’ in his ear.” Nope. NOPE. Not intimate. Not sexy. And not how actual human beings think. I swear to God, you have never ever ever been in bed with your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband and thought, “The department store manager licked his lips and dove down for a kiss.” Not even a single time.

So please, please, please stop doing it in your books. I want to actually enjoy and finish the books I pay for. I want to stop thinking, “Why did the press get 60% of their royalties and let this book go to print like this?” I want to stop thinking, “This self-pubber needs stronger beta readers and a friggin’ editor.” I want to be all like, “YES, I LOVED THIS BOOK! LET ME GIVE YOU MORE MONEY FOR ANOTHER ONE!”

And that’s all I’ve got to say about this today. I just had to get it off my chest. Thank you.


In the midst of a hectic day preparing for Thanksgiving with friends and family, I want to pause and express my love and gratitude to:

1) READERS: I almost wrote “my readers”, and while I do love y’all especially, in reality I’m just grateful for all readers, every last person out there who enjoys picking up a book and immersing themselves in a tale spun by one of us wacky writers. Thank you for going on the journeys with our characters, for falling in love alongside them, for crying with them, for helping them live outside of the writer’s mind. Thank you, also, for trusting us with your hard-earned money, for trusting that the trip will be worth it, so that we can afford to write more stories for you. Thank you, readers! You make our hearts sing and make our work worthwhile.

2) Beta-readers: These special first readers get extra buckets of gratitude for making sure we don’t embarrass ourselves too badly, for telling us the ugly truths about our babies (books) and forcing us to reevaluate them with new eyes. Thank you for taking precious time away from your family, friends, work, job, and life to read our books (sometimes more than once) with a critical eye and then writing out (sometimes long) emails about how they can be better. Thank you for fighting for our books. You’re our heroes.

3) Editors: Thank you for trying to fix every last wrong thing in our books and for making our books your own babies, too. Thank you for forcing us into the harder edits that we might otherwise resist. We’d be a mess without you!

4) Reviewers: Thank you for loving books so much you tell the world about them! Thank you for doing your best to spread the word about the books you love and for being honest about the books you don’t. Thank you for spending time away from your family, friends, and life to run blogs, promote our books, post on Goodreads/FB/Twitter with so much enthusiasm. Where would we be with you guys? You do so much for all of us authors! Thank you forever!

5) Family and Friends: Thank you for listening to us talk endlessly about made up people. Thank you for giving us the time to write the books, for not making us feel guilty about how often we spend our free hours in a fantasy land, and thank you for understanding piled up dishes, and laundry, and missed appointments. Thank you for holding our hands when books bomb, and for jumping up and down with us when books do well, and for reading books that you might otherwise not just because we wrote them. Thank you for your love, your support, your cheerleading, and your tether to reality.

Thank you! You make our world go ’round!

Diverse Voices Series: Showcasing Diversity Within the LGBTQ Community

I’m over at Writer Unboxed today talking about the importance of LGBTQ representation in books.



Why is diversity important to Leta? In her words:

In the wake of the United States’ Supreme Court’s decision on Marriage Equality, it’s obvious that true change is on its way for LGBTQ rights. However, it would be premature to think that enough change has been accomplished and it’s a smooth road from here. We still have a long way to go before true emotional equality is achieved. Recently a child came out to his 6th grade teacher and she related to me that despite the child having accepting parents and peers, there were still layers of rejection: “It’s fine. Just don’t talk to me about the dudes you like.” “It’s okay, but don’t tell your grandma.” Breaking down these more subtle barriers and giving kids a future to look forward to are key goals if we truly want to impact the quality of the future lives of LGBTQ kids and adults.

Learn more about Leta and her works on her website, and by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

Diverse Voices Series: Showcasing Diversity Within the LGBTQ Community

Read the post at Diverse Voices Series: Showcasing Diversity Within the LGBTQ Community.

Leta Blake Will Be Attending RainbowCon|July 16-19, 2015 – Celebrating Artistic Diversity!

Screenshot 2015-06-22 at 4.02.37 PM

I’m going to be attending Rainbow Con this July! If you’re in the Tampa area, come out and see me!

I’ll be sitting and speaking on the following panels:

Collaborations in Writing, Thursday, July 16, 2pm
Taboos in Fiction and Fandom, Friday, July 17, 11am
Tropes: Subverting, Averting, and Inverting, Friday, July 17, 4pm
Author Signing, Saturday, July 18, 10am
#ItsGonnaBeFun #BeThere #LoveIt

Take a walk on the wild side!

The Second Annual Rainbow Conference (RainbowCon) is coming up this July at the Holiday Inn Westshore by Tampa International Airport in Florida. It’s an exciting event centered around QUILTBAG (Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans*, Bisexual, Asexual, and Gay/Genderqueer) multimedia. This includes fiction, fanfiction, non-fiction, television, movies, stage, music, comics, fan art, and anything else involving QUILTBAG media. For 2015 and 2016, we’re being hosted by the lovely Holiday Inn Westshore in Tampa, Florida!”

via RainbowCon – Celebrating Artistic Diversity!.

Upcoming Releases Babble and Waffling On Release Dates

Imma go home and read my book set in the middle of summer in the South. That’ll take the chill outta my bones!

So I had a great email correspondence today that puts another book on my plate for 2015. I’m pretty excited about that and hopefully all will progress smoothly there. This all led to me getting out my Spreadsheet of Doom (nipped from Aleksander Voinov’s spreadsheet he shared once), which lists out all of my Works In Progress and most of my story ideas. This was helpful because now I know what order I need to be working on things (again).

First, and most importantly, I have to finish the Training Season sequel. Despite still being utterly terrified of it, I’m seeing it as an exercise in bravery and giddily diving into the fear, so I feel pretty okay about the chances of me actually getting it done this spring as promised. Secondly, I’m going to work on a joint writing project with Indra Vaughn starting in March. And thirdly I must begin the first draft of the fourth and final book in the upcoming ’90s Coming of Age series. And it’s that series that I’d like to talk about now.

So, when Smoky Mountain Dreams came out, I got a lot of surprised feedback from readers who said they had no idea I had a new book in the hopper, much less being released. I suppose I am publicly rather quiet about my books when I’m working on them. That comes from that veil of terror I was speaking of before. I am so absorbed in trying to keep the car on the road despite the fog before me and the demons of self-doubt flinging themselves at my windshield constantly that I get a bit superstitious about discussing the stories in public.

[By the way, as a long and winding aside, Aleksander Voinov wrote a great blog post recently about limiting beliefs and I think that it really helped me get a grip on some of my own. I’m not sure they aren’t still utterly terrifying, but naming them is interesting and has helped. For example, one of my limiting beliefs is that each book must be better than the last. You can imagine how completely that can paralyze a person, right? Especially when you have people telling you, “Oh, I liked this one, but it wasn’t as good as the other one you wrote.” And especially when that sentiment is expressed about completely different books, so it’s not even consistently the same one whose bar I feel compelled to exceed! LOL! Oh, what a maddening and limiting belief to have. So I vow to just write each book to be the best I can give it and not try to make it as good as some other book I’ve already written. Because I wrote that book already. And this new book will be as good as it is and that’s that. ]

Um, back to the ’90s Coming of Age story. So, I started this series 10 years ago now. I wrote a big, long, huge, and very flawed book. I realized when trying to fix those flaws that it would work better as a series of books, one bleeding right into the next. There are no cliff-hangers, but nothing is ultimately and finally resolved until the end of the fourth book. The series follows a boy named Peter (oh, Peter! my heart! I love you so much!) over the course of his senior year in high school and his freshman year in college. It trails him through very bad choices, very good choices, into the path of lies and out of it, and through the highs and lows of first love, and first hurt, and loss, and recovery. It’s with him while he grows up into a man. Not a perfect man, but a man. It’s a Coming of Age series with heavy romance in it because, well, he mainly grows up through the choices he makes around love and sex and romance. And yes, it’s set in Knoxville during the 1990s.

So, here’s the thing. I’m putting the first book in the series out in September. It is set September through May of Peter’s senior year in high school. The second book is set in the summer, June – August, and if I go with my current release plan, it would come out in November. And that? Bugs me. And that’s my question. Would it bug anyone else? Because THEN if I continue with the plan, a book that is set September – Christmas would come out in February, which just seems all kinds of wrong. And then at the end we’d catch up again, kinda, and release a book set Jan – May in April or so, which seems okay.

But…am I the only one totally weirded out by releasing a book in the “wrong” season? For example, Smoky Mountain Dreams. I couldn’t have released it in June! That would’ve been so weird!

And yet because these books don’t have hard endings to them, but rather soft pauses, I feel like making a reader wait six months to find out what happens next isn’t a great idea either.

Help me Obi Wan Readership, you’re my own hope! 🙂 But seriously, what should I do? Thoughts? Opinions?