Barbara L. Clanton
Barbara L. Clanton writes young adult fiction and children’s fiction. Her YA books main characters are lesbian high school students. Several of these books are set in the softball-themed world of The Clarksonville Series. Barb wants girls and young women to see themselves in positive lesbian coming out stories. She hopes her books will be safe harbors for young people coming out to themselves, their friends, family, and society.
Barb also pens a children’s series for Bedazzled Ink’s Dragonfeather Books imprint. Their Title IX girls’ sports series includes books demonstrating the opportunities now available for girls and women since the passing of the Title IX federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program.
Barb is a native New Yorker who, while still in school, played any sport she could find: softball, volleyball, basketball, and field hockey. During high school, she could even be found in the upstairs gym playing team handball with her friends. She played softball at Princeton University and was the captain her senior year. She has since left those "New York minutes" for the slower-paced palm-tree-filled life in Orlando, Florida. She currently teaches mathematics at a college preparatory school in the Orlando area and has coached softball and basketball in both New York and Florida.
A few more personal notes about Barb – she loves sports and was recently inducted into the ASANA’s (Amateur Sports Alliance of North America) Hall of Fame for her favorite sport. "Dr. Barb" also plays the bass guitar in a pop-rock band. Visit her website at www.BLClanton.com or email Barb at Barb@BLClanton.com, she’d love to hear from you.
Out Of Left Field: Marlee's Story
(Book 1 in the Clarksonville Series)
High school junior Marlee McAllister lives and breathes softball. She's the pitcher for the Clarksonville Cougars in the North Country of upstate New York. With the season opener approaching, Marlee and her best friend, Jeri D'Amico, go to scout their rivals, the East Valley Panthers. The Panthers star pitcher, Christy Loveland, took the All County pitching title the preceding year. It is a title Marlee covets. Marlee and Jeri settle in for the game but as the Panthers take the field, Marlee finds herself staring at Susie Torres, the Panther left fielder.
For reasons Marlee doesn't understand, she's drawn to Susie. Over the course of the next few weeks, Marlee and Susie will slowly act on their mutual attraction. But suddenly Susie pulls away without explanation and Marlee realizes it has to do with Christy. Susie won't explain the bond she and Christy share but whatever it is threatens Marlee's burgeoning relationship with Susie.
Struggling to maintain her grades, dealing with the ever-increasing estrangement from her best friend Jeri, and handling the pressures of the All County Pitching competition, Marlee also has to confront the bittersweet realities of what it might mean to be gay.
Tools Of Ignorance: Lisa's Story
(Book 2 in the Clarksonville Series)
Lisa Brown is the starting catcher for the Clarksonville Cougars High School softball team, and she has a major crush on her pitcher Marlee. Lisa continues to carry her torch for Marlee, even when Sam, a rival softball player, flirts sweetly. Lisa becomes more confused than ever when Tara, the first girl she ever kissed and the first girl who ever broke her heart, resurfaces. Since Marlee doesn't know Lisa's alive, should Lisa give up on her once and for all? Sam seems to have secrets of her own, but Lisa wonders if she should over look them and allow her fledging attraction grow for the pretty blonde or should she fan the tiny flame still burning in her heart for Tara? Lisa faces these problems and deals with society's tools of ignorance in her quest for love and acceptance.
Going, Going, Gone: Susie's Story
(Book 3 in the Clarksonville Series)
Susie Torres planned on spending most of the summer before her senior year of high school with her girlfriend, Marlee McAllister, but that's proving to be quite challenging because Marlee works at D'Amico's restaurant, and Susie babysits for Mrs. Johnson, her mother's boss. Susie hates the job, because she not only works like a slave, but gets paid like one. Susie is desperate to take her physical relationship with Marlee further, but she knows she has to go at Marlee's slower pace. Complicating things is the attention that a pretty blonde softball player from another team shows Marlee, and Susie falls into a funk when Marlee seems to enjoy it. On top of that, nothing she does seems to be good enough for her summer softball coach. Frustrated with life, Susie accidentally on purpose comes out to her mother. It would be an understatement to say that her mother didn't take it well. Can Susie deal with a girlfriend whose head has possibly been turned by another, an employer who treats her like dirt, a coach who doesn't respect her, and a mother who tells her she is unnatural? Can she get her life back on track before senior year starts?
Stealing Second: Sam's Story
(Book 4 in the Clarksonville Series)
Samantha Rose Payton likes girls, but her parents don't know that. And Sam would like to keep it that way, because her parents are ultra-conservative Republicans. They live in a mansion and have servants and chauffeurs, but instead of playing the part of a dutiful debutante who plays the violin and still has a nanny at age seventeen, Sam would rather watch ice-hockey on TV and play second base on her summer softball team. Having to hide her relationship with her girlfriend Lisa from her parents is becoming an agonizing struggle. Not only are her friends pressuring her to come out to her parents, they are also trying to convince her to attend a very public gay pride festival at the local college. At least she has her nanny Helene to confide in, but for how much longer? Sam is acutely aware that the time for Helene to move on may be fast approaching. And if that isn't enough, Sam's summer softball coach gives her no end of grief after an error-filled game and isn't afraid of making an example out of her. Will Sam remain the perfect princess her parents expect? Will her beloved nanny leave her forever? Will her girlfriend get fed up about being kept hidden? Will her friends continue to pressure her about coming out? Will Coach Greer make her life miserable? All of these questions are answered in Stealing Second: Sam's Story.
Out At Home
(Book 5 in the Clarksonville Series)
Marlee McAllister just wants to fit in. She didn't know she wasn't fitting in until Kate and Rita - the prettiest girls in the senior class - pointed it out. Even Marlee's grandmother declares that Marlee's too old for "this tomboy nonsense." All the other girls at school have long hair. Except Marlee. All the other girls wear something other than jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers to school every day. Except Marlee. All the other girls fit in. Except Marlee.
Marlee decides to grow out her short hair, buy femmy girly clothes, and pretend she has a boyfriend named Ronnie. Really, though? She has the most amazing girlfriend in Susie Torres. Susie is everything Marlee hoped for - sweet, sexy, kind, athletic, pretty. And best of all? She loves Marlee as much as Marlee loves her. Although their parents know about their relationship, not many other people do.
Marlee is out at home, but not to anyone else. And if anyone else finds out she's into girls, Kate and Rita especially, the entire school and her grandparents will know within a day. Life as she knows it will be over.
Out at Home is the story of Marlee McAllister's life-altering struggle to fit in.
Tools of the Devil
(Book 6 in the Clarksonville Series)
Seventeen-year-old Lisa Brown loved going to church. Oh sure, sometimes she'd rather sleep in, but she liked the calming and empowering strength of her faith. Sundays revitalized her spirit when she thanked God for the wonderful things in her life like her loving family and her amazing girlfriend, Samantha Rose. One day she hoped to marry Sam, have a house and yard, and have babies together. One day.
But then it happened. That fateful Sunday when the guest preacher stepped behind the pulpit and spoke four words that would change Lisa's world forever.
"Homosexuality is a sin," he said.
Had she heard him right? When her mother put a hand on her forearm, she knew she had. Every muscle in her body tensed, and she forgot to breathe.
What was happening?
The church she'd been baptized in, grown up in, and wanted to get married in had, in one instant, turned against her.
Still not quite believing what she'd heard, she mumbled, "Ignorance is a sin, Reverend." Never one to back down from a challenge, she scanned the congregation but didn't find a single soul who looked upset by his statement. Many were even nodding in agreement. She muttered under her breath, "Game on, people. Game on."
Art For Art's Sake: Meredith's Story
High school senior Meredith Bedford is a social outcast. Her family recently moved from the Catskill Mountains to the sprawling suburbs of Albany, the capital of New York State. Shy and self-conscious about her acne scars, she stays to herself and tries to remain invisible. Her twelve-year-old brother, Mikey, has Down Syndrome and she tries hard not to blame her troubles on him. Despite verbal and sometimes physical harassment, she survives because she has her art. She was selected to be part of the elite Advanced Placement art class and is quite good at capturing the emotions of her subjects in her portraits. Art is the one thing, besides her family, that helps her cope with her outcast status. One day, at a senior class meeting, she sees Dani Lassiter, president of the senior class, captain of the lacrosse team, and knows that she must paint this enigmatic young woman. One class period later, Dani manipulates things to have Meredith as her partner for a history project. Meredith is suspicious of Dani's motives, but takes a chance. And it pays off. Meredith slowly sheds her invisibility cloak and allows Dani in-a little at a time. They explore an old Victorian house for their history project and become close with Esther and Millie, the two older women who own the house and who've lived together for about forty years. But, when Dani reveals to Meredith that she is gay, Meredith simply can't deal with the news. How had she not known? What is it that won't allow her come to terms with this unexpected news? Will Meredith control her own homophobia or will she reject the one person who had taken a chance on her and made her feel human?
Quite An Undertaking: Devon's Story
Devon Raines, sixteen-year old journalism nerd, was happily minding her own business when wham, her life was turned upside down. She struggled with grief when her grandmother died from a sudden heart attack. But it was at her grandmother's wake that she locked eyes with the most beautiful black girl she'd ever seen. Rebecca Washington was the most beautiful girl she'd ever seen, period. Would this beautiful dancer freak out if she knew Devon was gay and attracted? Enter Jessie Crowler, Rebecca's basketball playing best friend. Or were they only friends? Devon tried to hide her attraction for the ebony dancer, but would fate allow Rebecca to look her way? Would Jessie get in the way? Would the difference in skin color keep them apart? All this adds up to quite an undertaking in Devon's formerly quiet existence.
Seventh grader Dina Jacobs feels like she’s landed on another planet when her family moves from Long Island, New York to Indiana. She tries out for the seventh grade volleyball team, and her new friend, Christine, introduces her to Olympic volleyball. Now Dina dreams of playing in the Olympics like her newfound idol, Logan Tom. Indiana doesn’t seem so bad after all until Dina’s Jewish faith crashes against her coach’s win-at-all-costs attitude. Miserable, Dina is torn between staying true to her religious customs or putting them aside to play the game she loves.
Sixth grader Mackenzie Kelly’s first love was soccer until her best friend talked her into playing summer softball. Now Mack is eager to be on her school’s softball team and dreams of playing in the Olympics with her idol, Cat Osterman. But first she needs to bring up her failing English grade to stay on the team. When she learns softball has been cut from the Olympics, she’s determined somehow to get it back into the Olympic Games so she can fulfill her dream.