Book Buzz: October 2010
Author: John Morgan Wilson
October 3, 2010
The unrelated September suicides in the U.S. of at least three boys—aged 13 to 15, which are all linked to anti-gay bullying at school—adds special importance to Stuart Biegel’s The Right to Be Out: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in America’s Public Schools (University of Minnesota Press).
It’s worth noting that by month’s end, an 18-year-old college student also took his life after Internet exposure via secret web cam during a gay sexual encounter in his dorm room.
Jan Donley explores related issues in her new young adult novel The Side Door (Spinsters Ink), which speaks to the “fatal silence around adolescent sexual orientation and gender identity.” To help the cause, Jan launched her book with an event to benefit the Greater Boston area PFLAG (www.pflag.org). Bay Windows, “New England’s Largest GLBT Newspaper,” covered the event.
Also timely is Justing Elzie’s autobiography, Playing By the Rules, out from Rebel Satori Press (www.rebelsatori.com) next month. In the book, Elzie recounts his personal story as the first Marine to be discharged (and later reinstated) under the U.S. military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, and his years as an openly gay Marine and civil rights activist. Iconic gay activist David Mixner contributed a foreword.
Julia Serano’s essay “Performance Piece” from the new book Gender Outlaws (Seal Press), edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman, has been excerpted on the online magazine Jezebel. Julia has also posted a number of video and audio recordings of her performances on her website. Here’s the direct link.
Justin Spring’s Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) is getting lots of attention, including a piece in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. For another perspective, Jack Fritscher, a longtime friend of Steward’s (AKA Phil Andros), reviews the book in the Bay Area Reporter.
Robert Jaquay interviewed Bella author and editorial director Karin Kallmaker for MyQmunity Book Talk), covering a wide range of topics including the role that romance novels play in the lives of lesbian readers and the research and inspiration for her novel (Above Temptation), which Jaquay reviewed.
Debut author Amy Briant prepared for the advance release of her romantic thriller Shadow Point, coming from Bella Books in December, by creating the music for a pictorial introduction to the story in her new video trailer.
Lethe Press publisher Steve Berman will serve as a judge for the first round selection of the Cybil Awards (Children and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards) in the young adult speculative fiction category.
Charlie Cochrane’s Encore! Encore!, a collection of two short stories and one novella “set in the showbiz world of drag queens and cross dressers,” got a “four kisses” review on the Michele & Jeff blog.
A note on the aforementioned Michele & Jeff blog: It’s slogan is “Author Interviews, Book Reviews, and More” but it’s very inclusive, featuring many gay titles. Michele is author and grandmother Michele Montgomery (River of Tears); Jeff is openly gay writer Jeff Erno (Puppy Love).
This month, Ruth Perkinson (http://ruthperkinson.net) will be featured on “The Rainbow Minute” on Richmond, Virginia’s WRIR 97.3, spotlighting her books and social themes, including Breaking Spirit Bridge, a Lambda Literary Award finalist in the Lesbian Fiction category. There will be three WRIR airings on October 12, as well as a podcast on This Way Out, the international LGBTQ radio magazine.
James Magruder’s (www.jamesmagruder.com) play, Dunkler-Related Disorders, “a corrosive comedy about food, sex, and intergenerational sin,” is getting workshop readings at Baltimore’s Centerstage, October 7-10. Meanwhile, his article about stage actor Danny Scheie appears in the upcoming season preview issue of American Theatre.
Robin Reardon’s (www.robinreardon.com) “The Case for Acceptance: An Open Letter to Humanity,” her multi-discipline argument “to remove any rational objection to homosexuality,” is now available as a free PDF. Robin’s latest novel, A Question of Manhood, a coming-of-age tale about a teenage boy who has lost his gay brother to the Vietnam War, is just out from Kensington.
Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla’s (www.GhalibDhalla.com) novel, The Two Krishnas, due out soon in the U.S. from Alyson Books, will be published by HarperCollins Publishers India in April as The Exiles.
Circlet Press is running a free gay fiction serial, “Chocolatiers of the High Winds” by H.B. Kurtzwilde, the author of several GLBT genre romances. This time out, she crafts the Victorian era coming-of-age tale of a young heir who must rebuild his father’s airship and chocolate trade while involved with a schoolmate at a time when homosexual relations can be severely punished. Editorial director Cecilia Tan calls it “alternate history in a steampunk universe.” The serial will run free each Monday on Circlet. Here’s the direct link to the first chapter.
Bold Strokes Books (www.boldstrokesbooks.com) has announced several acquisitions, all due out next year: Ashley Bartlett’s lesbian romance, Sex and Skateboards; Melissa Brayden’s new romance, Waiting in the Wings; Speaking Out, a YA anthology edited by Steve Berman; and L.T. Marie’s new lesbian romance, Three Days.
Ted Bacino, author of The Shakespeare Conspiracy, has added a video about the gay novel to his website and also inked a film deal with Movie Hall of Fame, Inc.
Bella Books (www.bellabooks.com) has acquired reprint rights for Claire McNab’s (http://clairemcnab.com/) sixteen Inspector Carol Ashton and five Intelligence Agent Denise Cleever mysteries, marking the first digital format editions for the two series, which have each produced Lammy finalists in the Lesbian Mystery category. Bella will also publish a new and seventeenth Carol Ashton tale to conclude the series.
A&M Books publisher Fay Jacobs won the Bronze Award from the 2010 International Regional Magazines Association for her article “The Gaying of Rehoboth.” It first appeared in Delaware Beach Life and traced the long history of the gay community in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Fay’s latest nonfiction book, For Frying Out Loud – Rehoboth Beach Diaries, is due out next month.
Henry Alley’s novel, Precincts of Light (Inkwater Press), set in 1992 amid Oregon’s Measure Nine political upheaval over the gay marriage issue, got a positive review in the Eugene Weekly.
Alex Marcoux (http://www.alexmarcoux.com/) has sold the reprint and digital rights for her mystery/paranormal investigations Back to Salem and A Matter of Degrees as well as Facades, a Lammy finalist thriller/romance, to Bella Books.
Out poet Jeffrey Beam, author of Gospel Earth (“a big book of little poems”) was interviewed by Frank Stasio on National Public Radio’s “The State of Things.” It’s archived here: http://wunc.org/tsot/archive/. Stasio’s previous radio interview with Jeff regarding an earlier collection, The Beautiful Tendons, is archived here: http://wunc.org/tsot/archive/sot0925ab08.mp3/view
Fiction writer Lucy Jane Bledsoe (http://www.lucyjanebledsoe.com) was also interviewed on National Public Radio – “Here on Earth: Radio without Borders” – and you can listen here: http://www.wpr.org/hereonearth/archive_100915k.cfm. Meanwhile, Lucy’s latest novel, The Big Bang Symphony, has been selected as a featured book in the Northern California Independent Booksellers’ Holiday Catalogue.
Neil Plakcy’s Mahu series (www.mahubooks.com), a two-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for best gay mystery, moves to MLR Press, with new digital editions of the first four books (Mahu, Mahu Surfer,Mahu Fire and Mahu Vice) due out soon. The series will continue with Mahu Blood in March.
Lesbian fiction writers Catherine Friend (www.catherinefriend.com) and Georgia Beers (www.georgiabeers.com) were recently at the Dog Ear Audio studios to record the audio book versions of Catherine’s humorous – some say hilarious – memoir, Hit By A Farm, and Georgia’s lesbian romance,Starting From Scratch.
Writing as Beyonce Holes, Adam Lowe is serializing his British Bent columns at
http://www.beyonceholes.com, with the originals available in the downloadable PDF version of the magazine here: http://mag.bent.com.
Finally: Nothing new here, except that I’m finally reading Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming Pool Library and reveling in his remarkable command of language and unique way of expressing gay identity and gay sexuality; felt the same way about his The Line of Beauty, which won the 2004 Booker Prize. To my mind, they’re gay classics both.
That’s all the Book Buzz for now. So, go read a book!