The Winner’s Circle – 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards and HAHAT giveaway

The 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards were held last night in New York City. The level of craft is always astonishing, and waiting to see who will win always nerve-wracking, but this year it was even more so. Several of my friends and two of three of my publishers were up for awards, often competing against one another, and in one case, against themselves.



Here are the nominees and winners:



Best Bi Short Stories: Bisexual Fiction, Sheela Lambert, editor, Gressive Press, an imprint of Circlet Press

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin, Ron J. Suresha, Lethe Press

Finder of Lost Objects, Susie Hara, Ithuriel’s Spear

Give It to Me, Ana Castillo, The Feminist Press

She of the Mountains, Vivek Shraya, Arsenal Pulp Press



Fire Shut Up In My Bones, Charles M. Blow, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Not My Father’s Son, Alan Cumming, HarperCollins Publishers/Dey Street Books

Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men, Robyn Ochs & H. Sharif Williams, editors, Bisexual Resource Center



Bears of Winter, Jerry Wheeler,Bear Bones Books an imprint of Lethe Press

Incubus Tales, Hushicho, Circlet Press

The King, Tiffany Reisz, MIRA Books

Leather Spirit Stallion, Raven Kaldera, Circlet Press

The Thief Taker, William Holden, Bold Strokes Books



All I Love and Know, Judith Frank, HarperCollins/William Morrow

Barracuda, Christos Tsiolkas, Hogarth

Bitter Eden: A Novel, Tatamkhulu Afrika, Macmillan/Picador USA

The City of Palaces, Michael Nava, University of Wisconsin Press

I Loved You More, Tom Spanbauer, Hawthorne Books

Little Reef and Other Stories, Michael Carroll, Terrace Books, an imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press

Next to Nothing: Stories, Keith Banner, Lethe Press

Souljah, John R Gordon, Angelica Entertainments Ltd/Team Angelica Publishing



Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival, Sean Strub, Scribner

Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance, Brent Phillips, University Press of Kentucky

Closets, Combat and Coming Out:  Coming Of Age As A Gay Man In The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Army, Rob Smith, Blue Beacon Books by Regal Crest

Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris, Edmund White, Bloomsbury

Letter to Jimmy, Alain Mabanckou, translated by Sara Meli Ansari, Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press

The Prince of Los Cocuyos, Richard Blanco, HarperCollins/Ecco – TIE

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, John Lahr, W. W. Norton & Company – TIE

Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe, Philip Gefter, W. W. Norton & Company/Liveright



Blackmail, My Love: A Murder Mystery, Katie Gilmartin, Cleis Press

Boystown 6: From the Ashes, Marshall Thornton, MLR

Calvin’s Head, David Swatling, Bold Strokes Books

DeadFall, David Lennon, BlueSpike Publishing

Fair Game, Josh Lanyon, Carina Press

A Gathering Storm, Jameson Currier, Chelsea Station Editions

Moon Over Tangier, Janice Law, Open Road Media

The Next, Rafe Haze, Wilde City Press



[insert] boy, Danez Smith, YesYes Books

Clean, David J. Daniels, Four Way Books

Don’t Go Back To Sleep, Timothy Liu, Saturnalia Books

ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness, CAConrad, Wave Books

The New Testament, Jericho Brown, Copper Canyon Press

Prelude to Bruise, Saeed Jones, Coffee House Press

This Life Now, Michael Broder, A Midsummer Night’s Press

This Way to the Sugar, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Write Bloody Publishing



The Companion, Lloyd A. Meeker, Dreamspinner Press

Everything’s Coming Up Roses: Four Tales of M/M Romance, Barry Lowe, Lydian Press

Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction, Timothy Lambert and R.D. Cochrane,Cleis Press*

Like They Always Been Free, Georgina Li, Queer Young Cowboys*

Message of Love, Jim Provenzano, Myrmidude Press/CreateSpace

The Passion of Sergius & Bacchus, A Novel of Truth, David Reddish, DoorQ Publishing

Pulling Leather, L.C. Chase, Riptide Publishing (1)

Salvation: A Novel of the Civil War, Jeff Mann, Bear Bones Books, an imprint of Lethe Press



All You Can Eat. A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica and Romance, Andi Marquette and R.G. Emanuelle, Ylva Publishing

Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire, Cheyenne Blue, Ladylit Publishing

Lesbian Sex Bible, Diana Cage, Quiver Books



Adult Onset, Ann-Marie Macdonald, Tin House Books

Last Words of Montmartre, Qiu Miaojin, Translated by Ari Larissa Heinrich, New York Review Books

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, Francine Prose, Harper Collins/Harper

Miracle Girls, MB Caschetta, Engine Books

New York 1, Tel Aviv 0, Shelly Oria, FSG Originals / Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Palace Blues, Brandy T. Wilson, Spinsters Ink

The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters, Riverhead Books, Penguin Random House

Yabo, Alexis De Veaux, RedBone Press



Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith, Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks, with Barbara Smith, SUNY Press

Cease – a memoir of love, loss and desire, Lynette Loeppky, Oolichan Books

Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger, Kelly Cogswell, The University of Minnesota Press

The End of Eve, Ariel Gore, Hawthorne Books

Under This Beautiful Dome: A Senator, A Journalist, and the Politics of Gay Love in America, Terry Mutchler, Seal Press



The Acquittal, Anne Laughlin, Bold Strokes Books

Done to Death, Charles Atkins, Severn House Publishers

The Old Deep and Dark-A Jane Lawless Mystery, Ellen Hart, Minotaur Books

Slash and Burn, Valerie Bronwen, Bold Strokes Books

UnCatholic Conduct, Stevie Mikayne, Bold Strokes Books



Haiti Glass, Lenelle Moïse, City Lights/Sister Spit

Janey’s Arcadia, Rachel Zolf, Coach House Books

Last Psalm at Sea Level, Meg Day, Barrow Street Press

Like a Begger, Ellen Bass, Copper Canyon Press

MxT, Sina Queyras, Coach House Books

Mysterious Acts by My People, Valerie Wetlaufer, Sibling Rivalry Press

Only Ride, Megan Volpert, Sibling Rivalry Press

Termination Dust, Susanna Mishler, Red Hen Press/Boreal



Christmas Crush, Kate McLachlan, Regal Crest

The Farmer’s Daughter, Robbi McCoy, Bella Books

The Heat of Angels, Lisa Girolami, Bold Strokes Books

Jolt, Kris Bryant, Bold Strokes Books

Nightingale, Andrea Bramhall, Bold Strokes Books

Seneca Falls, Jesse J. Thoma, Bold Strokes Books

Tangled Roots, Marianne K. Martin, Bywater Books

That Certain Something, Clare Ashton, Breezy Tree Press



Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call, Charles Stephens and Steven G. Fullwood, Vintage Entity Press

A Family by Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships, Bruce Gillespie, TouchWood Editions

Outer Voices Inner Lives, Mark McNease and Stephen Dolainski, editors, MadeMark Publishing

The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South, Douglas Ray, editor, Sibling Rivalry Press

Understanding and Teaching US Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History, Leila J. Rupp & Susan K. Freeman, University of Wisconsin Press



Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, Susan Kuklin, Candlewick Press

Double Exposure, Bridget Birdsall, Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing

Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, Tim Federle, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before, Karelia Stetz-Waters, Ooligan Press

Lies We Tell Ourselves, Robin Talley, Harlequin Teen

Pukawiss the Outcast, Jay Jordan Hawke, Dreamspinner Press/Harmony Ink Press

This is Not a Love Story, Suki Fleet, Dreamspinner Press/Harmony Ink Press

When Everything Feels like the Movies, Raziel Reid, Arsenal Pulp Press



Death in Venice, California, Vinton Rafe McCabe, The Permanent Press

Kill Marguerite and Other Stories, Megan Milks, Emergency Press

A Map of Everything, Elizabeth Earley, Jaded Ibis Press

The Music Teacher, Bob Sennett, Lethe Press

Nochita, Dia Felix, City Lights/Sister Spit

Part the Hawser, Limn the Sea, Dan Lopez, Chelsea Station Editions

Unaccompanied Minors, Alden Jones, New American Press

The Walk-In Closet, Abdi Nazemian, Curtis Brown Unlimited



The Beast of Times, Adelina Anthony, Kórima Press

Bootycandy, Robert O’Hara, Samuel French

A Kid Like Jake, Daniel Pearle, Dramatists Play Service

The Whale, Samuel D. Hunter, Samuel French

Wolves, Steve Yockey, Samuel French



100 Crushes, Elisha Lim, Koyama Press

Band Vs. Band Comix Volume 1, Kathleen Jacques, Paper Heart Comix

Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag, A.K. Summers, Soft Skull, an imprint of Counterpoint

Second Avenue Caper, Joyce Brabner; Art by Mark Zingarelli, Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Snackies, Nick Sumida, Youth in Decline



An American Queer: The Amazon Trail, Lee Lynch, Bold Strokes Books

Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS, Martin Duberman, The New Press

The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality, Julie Sondra Decker, Skyhorse Publishing/Carrel Books

Nevirapine and the Quest to End Pediatric AIDS, Rebecca J. Anderson, McFarland

Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor, Hilton Als, Ann Temkin, Claudia Carson, Robert Gober, Paulina Pobocha, Christian Scheidemann, The Museum of Modern Art

Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to A Clockwork Orange, How a Generation of Pop Rebels Broke All the Taboos, Robert Hofler, It Books/HarperCollins

The Transgender Archives: Foundations for the Future, Aaron H Devor, University of Victoria Libraries

The Up Stairs Lounge Arson: Thirty-Two Deaths in a New Orleans Gay Bar, June 24, 1973, Clayton Delery-Edwards, McFarland



Afterparty, Daryl Gregory, Tor Books

Bitter Waters, Chaz Brenchley, Lethe Press

Butcher’s Road, Lee Thomas, Lethe Press

Child of a Hidden Sea, A. M. Dellamonica, Tor Books

Full Fathom Five, Max Gladstone, Tor Books

FutureDyke, Lea Daley, Bella Books

Skin Deep Magic, Craig Laurance Gidney, Rebel Satori Press



After Love: Queer Intimacy and Erotic Economies in Post-Soviet Cuba, Noelle M. Stout, Duke University Press

Charity & Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America, Rachel Hope Cleves, Oxford University Press

Delectable Negro: Human Consumption and Homoeroticism within US Slave Culture, Vincent Woodard, Ed. Justin A. Joyce and Dwight McBride, New York University Press

Queen for a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela, Marcia Ochoa, Duke University Press

The Queerness of Native American Literature, Lisa Tatonetti, The University of Minnesota Press

Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings, Juana Maria Rodriguez, New York University Press

The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, Susan S. Lanser, University of Chicago Press

Under Bright Lights: Gay Manila and the Global Scene, Bobby Benedicto, University of Minnesota Press



Everything Must Go, La JohnJoseph, ITNA PRESS

For Today I Am a Boy, Kim Fu, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Moving Forward Sideways like a Crab, Shani Mootoo, Doubleday Canada

Revolutionary: A Novel, Alex Myers, Simon and Schuster

A Safe Girl To Love, Casey Plett, Topside Press


Transgender Non-Fiction

Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man, Thomas Page McBee, City Lights/Sister Spit

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More, Janet Mock, Atria Books

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community, Laura Erickson-Schroth, Oxford University Press


– See more at:


HAHAT Giveaway


The winner of the Hop Against Homophobia giveaway is….


Kimberly Lynn Workman


Congratulations! You’ve won a copy of Speaking Out: LGBTQ Youth Stand Up*, edited by Steve Berman (Bold Strokes Books, 2011). I have sent an email with further details.


*Reviewed on this blog as part of last year’s Short Stories 365 Review a Day project.


Short Stories 365/189

“Notes of the Founders” by Georgina Li from Like They Always Been Free (Queer Young Cowboys, 2014).

I was leaning this way before reading this piece but am now convinced that, at heart, this author is a novelist. The second longest story in the collection, coming in at forty pages, this is a fully realized world with an interesting history not only of several characters but of the colony they inhabit. I don’t see any reason why the key events which are mentioned here in brief couldn’t be rendered in long form. I feel the same way about several of the pieces in this book, actually. These must be fragments of novels. They must be.

This is the story of the founders of a moon colony appropriately named New Sagan: Niko Miya and Peter Miller. It is told to us through journal entries as well as remembrances by Niko’s granddaughter. It’s a love story at heart, and here I’m not just talking about the magnetic pull between Niko and Peter but also about the way the colony itself is portrayed. This is a love song to the human race’s potential. Nothing is ever made of the fact that Niko and Peter are two men, aside from the fact that they had to resort to using a surrogate to bear their three children, and that, as scientists, they’d hoped for some other solution to that problem. (It is hinted that perhaps they found some measure of work-around, just as it’s hinted that the “Dome skin” that protects the colony, and which was their creation, is possibly alive.) I love that their sexual orientation is a non-issue, just as their (I’m assuming from their names) differing races is a non-issue. The only thing that matters to the members of the New Sagan colony is love and the right to self-determination. We can only hope that this fictional future comes to pass.

Short Stories 365/188

“Like They Always Been Free” by Georgina Li from Like They Always Been Free (Queer Young Cowboys, 2014).

The titular story of the collection, this entry could not come at a better time, immediately after the unrelenting harshness of life in the midst of civil war. Here we’re on another planet, and while things have certainly been tough for the main character, Kinger, it’s a fight he has a hope of winning. He fought back at his oppressors while on a slave transport ship, killed a guard, and won a small victory. In that moment, too, he had a very brief interaction with a character he thinks of afterward as Boy.

The memory of Boy haunts Kinger during subsequent years, while he’s hiding in the Underground. He feels sure that Boy’s beauty, most notably his luminescent blue skin, has kept him from the hard life of mining that the other slaves were facing. Not that it means he got away easy; the sort of slavery Boy no doubt was headed to is one Kinger’s had a taste of, at the hands of cruel guards.

I really didn’t expect a happy ending to this story, and was pleasantly surprised to discover it has one.

Short Stories 365/187

“Goddamn Right” by Georgina Li from Like They Always Been Free (Queer Young Cowboys, 2014).

Loeb and Whit live in a United States that has split into warring factions, the Redeemers and the Resistance. They belong to the latter group, and they work to move people and supplies through the tunnels beneath major cities, doing their part to assist in the effort to take back the nation. The story is chilling because at times it seems the growing divide in this country really could devolve into actual war. And, of course, this sort of thing does go on, is going on right now, in other parts of the world. I liked the story, but it is much bleaker than, say, Ethan and Lucas’ plight in “Spill Your Troubles on Me, Love”. There the problem seemed to be with them, their personal demons. They had somewhat of a grasp on a bad situation, and help seemed not so far away, if only they would decide to seek it. Here the whole world is madness, bullets are flying, and Loeb, perhaps because he is a soldier, or perhaps because Whit is half out of it with fever, comes across as much more reserved than Ethan.

Short Stories 365/186

“Shark Bait” by Georgina Li from Like They Always Been Free (Queer Young Cowboys, 2014).

I’m going to call this next piece a novella, although at 60 pages it’s a little short for that.

Conner is a surfer dude with a secret: he’s also a shark. I’d never considered the idea of were-sharks before, and if anyone had proposed the idea I probably would have thought it too weird, but it totally works. It’s an interesting and different concept that’s also sexy as hell, at least as rendered by this author.

By night, under the full moon’s pull, Conner shifts into his other form and hunts. He hunts by day as well, only in a decidedly more human fashion. At the start of the story he’s just caught the scent of new prey in the person of Rafael.

Rafael isn’t some timid mouse-like man. They circle one another, and seem well-matched. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Rafael to be on to Conner’s secret, or have one of his own, but that never materialized. There was a lot made of a local shark tournament, and what a threat it posed to Conner. Perhaps more could be have been made of it. But don’t get me wrong. While I’d love to see this expanded into a novel with some greater conflict, I really enjoyed it as is. I especially liked the great job the author did of making it clear at every turn that Conner is not fully human. His shark was always just below the surface, infusing the story with tension. I also liked that he wasn’t at odds with it, ala Louis and vampirism. And, of course, I liked the interplay between Conner and Rafael, which never felt redundant or gratuitous. (FYI, this story is not safe for work, inasmuch as you will be loath to put it down again when your break is up.)

Short Stories 365/185

“A Sort of Faerie Tale” by Georgina Li from Like They Always Been Free (Young Queer Cowboys, 2014).

The author points out, deep into this tale, that it is “one not meant for children”. That’s because a white hot sexuality fuels it, underneath the lyrical prose and classic fairytale set-up. It’s most welcome. And, truth be told, most of Greek and Roman mythology, the Bible, and the works of the brothers Grimm also are inappropriate for children, though with the last it’s because they are too violent. Only the Greek and Roman gods experienced the sort of passion felt by the heroes of this story, in addition to violence.

Janos and Oren come from different non-human species, wolf and faerie, respectively. Growing up, each heard the myth that explains why peace exists between the two groups. It’s because, once every great while, both moons of their world rise on the same night, and the resultant lunar pull draws two individuals, one from each species, together. The way the story has always been told it is a wolf prince and a faerie princess who are inextricably bound together on the night of the double moons. Neither Janos nor Oren has ever liked the tale. Janos is attracted to other males in his pack, but sometimes to human males as well, and Oren feels likewise, only about faerie and human males. Each believes he has no use for the story of his ancestors, until the night of the two moons reveals that just because something has always happened a certain way does not mean it can never happen any other way, and myths and fairy tales are for everyone.

Short Stories 365/184

“Blood Sugar Sex Magic” by Georgina Li from Like They Always Been Free (Queer Young Cowboys, 2014).

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the first two stories in this collection because I reviewed “Closer to the Sky” as part of Best Gay Romance 2013 (Short Stories 365/15), and “Spill Your Troubles On Me, Love” (Short Stories 365/50) from Best Gay Romance 2014, published by Cleis Press. I, too, have a story in BGR 2014, which makes us “anthology mates”. Full disclosure: I received a copy of this collection from the author.

This is a really interesting piece because it’s told in third person present tense. I’ve loved stories told this way ever since I read Alice Hoffman’s Blue Diary. There was more distance between the reader and the characters of that book than there is here, with James. The tight focus the author places on objects James encounters, mostly signs, coupled with the unique language of his thoughts, has the effect of drawing you in so deep that it feels, truly, like being inside the character’s head, rather than being told a story.

Be warned, this isn’t a story with a traditional plot. It takes the reader to a few choice locales frequented by James, introduces the two guys he interacts with the most, and explains, by showing, why it is that he ends up with one and not the other.