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 365/260

“The Stone of Sacrifice” by Jeff Mann from The Touch of the Sea (Lethe Press, 2012). Edited by Steve Berman.

American Ewan McDonald has come to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides to do research, work on some writing, and get in touch with his ancestors. He has no idea what that last will entail. Oh, and he’s also looking to get beyond his “long, intense affair with Thom”, a recurring motif in the author’s work.

Behind the place Ewan has rented for the summer, out on the beach, is the center stone of what once was a sacred circle. He has a few beers, pours a libation for the approaching solstice, and settles at the base of the stone, exhausted from his journey. When he stirs awake a little while later he thinks he sees a man bobbing about in the ocean, but once he blinks the image is gone. He convinces himself he was only imagining it.

Until, that is, the young man turns up at the base of the standing stone, weak as a kitten, apparently half-drowned. Ewan never seems to make the connection the reader does, that his encounters with the younger man, Johnny, always follow slumber (or at least efforts to sleep that he thinks were unsuccessful). Were they, though? Is anything that happens between the two real, or are all of Ewan’s interactions with the handsome stranger merely lucid dreams? It’s true Johnny completes him in a way only a being crafted by the psyche can. Then again, this is a tale about myth and magic, so who can say for sure?

Short stories 365/1

Taking a cue from author ‘Nathan Burgoine (who was inspired by author/editor Becky Cochrane), I am going to attempt an extremely ambitious project. Namely, I am going to try to review a short story a day for one year. Or maybe mostly short stories, as I’ve also read an awful lot of novels recently that I haven’t gotten around to reviewing.

Regardless, my selections are almost all guaranteed to come from ebooks, as that is what I have purchased, damn near exclusively, since I received a Kindle Fire from my dad as a Christmas gift in 2011. I absolutely love having a wide selection of reading materials – as well as my own works-in-progress – with me at all times. And yes, I do mean at all times. I read at my breaks and at lunch, and most nights before bed, and on many weekend days, all day.

The thing that I especially love about ebooks, though, is that they don’t take up physical space (at least not detectable amounts). This is important because our house is full. No, really, it looks like this (over the bedroom door):

bookshelf over bedroom door and this (at the top of the stairwell):

bookshelf over stairs

and so on and so on because the floor-to-ceiling shelves in the living room, and kneewall shelves lining the eaves in our half-story upper floor just weren’t enough. There are, of course, also crates of books stacked as tall as me in the “storage room”, plus cardboard boxes of books in the eaves, and random stacks scattered around the house, for instance on the kitchen table. Ebooks? Oh yeah, baby. Bring ‘em on. Non-dimensional pocket? Huzzah!

My story selections are also going to come mainly from ebooks because my taste for short stories is a recent phenomenon. Until a scandalously short time ago I would have told you I did not like short stories, and so I didn’t read short stories, except the ones I’d been forced to wade through for the Honors English and Creative Writing courses I took throughout my academic career. My feeling on the subject was that if the characters and situation of a story caught my imagination, I wanted an entire book about them, and if they didn’t…well, in that case even a short story was too long an amount of time to spend with them.

Thankfully, I had the wisdom to realize that the problem was with me, that I was failing to understand the medium. So I began reading two things at once: the short stories listed as the world’s best examples of the form, and books about how to write them.

Soon, I began to see the light. I then started reading contemporary short stories by people whose long form work I admire (Keith Snyder’s “Dead Gray”, published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, blew my mind at that point because I saw how perfect was its construction). I began reading the short stories within the genre in which I have always written: LGBT. The variety, level of craft, and sheer volume of what I found amazed me. I have been devouring anthologies ever since, as if they are going to be outlawed. Which, given the subject matter, could happen. After all, we live in a nation in which secret midnight sessions of Congress push through Draconian laws, and a world in which Vladimir Putin has either begun channeling the ghost of Adolf Hitler or he really does have de Fuhrer’s head in a jar and is acting on his dark commands.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that after reading many fantastic stories I tried my hand at writing some. My story “Thou Shalt Not Lie” came out May 23rd in Saints & Sinners 2013: New Fiction from the Festival (Bold Strokes Books) and “There’s No Question It’s Love” will be released February 11th in Best Gay Romance 2014 (Cleis Press). I can hardly believe that my work now appears alongside some of the very same people whose words and worlds have blown me away. I view this as a victory on two levels. First of all, it’s an indication that I told my stories well. Just as importantly, though, it is also my way of nailing my theses to the church door. I’ve said it for decades and I have always meant it: if the jack-booted thugs start rounding up “queers” they’d damned well better take me, too.

All that said, the question then becomes – where to start with these reviews? I think I know exactly where. At the Tenth Anniversary of the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans I was a bit star-struck by Jeff Mann, and thrilled when my friend Dennis Milam Bensie (author of One Gay American and Shorn: Toys to Men) offered to introduce us. I stammered something about loving his work, and he was very gracious. No doubt he was also more than a little confused, because I blathered about identifying with some of the recurring elements in his work, and how I’d been struck with the notion “Why didn’t I think to write about that?” while reading his story “Demon Seed”, included in the very first Saints & Sinners anthology in 2010 (Queer Mojo). Just this morning, in researching the contributors to Best Gay Romance 2014 whose names and work were not already familiar to me, I ran across someone else’s account of approaching Mr. Mann (that’s fun to write) at an event and saying something eerily-similar to him. It made me feel better to know he must get that kind of thing all the time. Of course he does.

“Demon Seed” is the first story of his that knocked my socks off because it is the first by him that I read. Like all of his stories that I have encountered so far, it involves Appalachia, bear culture, and BDSM, elements which must encompass his version of Write What You Know because they emerge time and again in his writing. As you might imagine, these elements do not also directly inform my worldview. So why did I feel such a strong association with this story? Why the stammering about it as I shook his hand? Because he also draws heavily on Eastern and Western mystic traditions, most notably the life and work of Aleister Crowley. I have read no less than six biographies of the man (…the mage, the mystic. Sorry, Thelemic in-joke, couldn’t resist). At points in my life I have tried my best to abide by Crowley’s commandment to “invoke often”. (Yes, I am an atheist, but I also was raised Roman Catholic, am a Romantic, and have an extremely vivid imagination.)

I tell you, while reading “Demon Seed” I was kicking myself for not having drawn on that aspect of my history. Though this story did not ultimately go that direction, I thought it was going to dive full-on into the science fiction realm, and that brings up another revelation I had recently, thanks to Steve Berman and his venture, Lethe Press. Where before I would have said “I’ll pass” to speculative fiction not about vampires, I now find myself asking “Why did I ever think I didn’t like spec fiction?”

“Demon Seed” starts off normally enough: two guys meet in a gym in Virginia and there is a mutual attraction. One wears a pentagram and the other comments favorably upon it. Soon they are enjoying strong cups of coffee and deep conversation about Magick. Does it get any better than that? Why yes, actually. Yes, it does. The author then throws in seduction, treachery, and deceit. I feel the mixed emotions the main character wrestles with – his desire, his fear, his torment, his anguish. I relish his momentary victories. Before you know it, though – Bang! – we’re cresting the top of the story roller coaster, and there’s nothing to do but hang on tight.

At the conclusion I was left reeling, so jealous of the author’s talent and of his boldness on the page that I could spit, but that emotion cooled quickly, and became a keen admiration for his work. Since that day I’ve known that if I pick up a book (tap on a title?) and see Jeff Mann’s name in the Table of Contents, no matter what else the volume contains it will be worth the price of admission. I haven’t been wrong yet.

The other reason ebook devices rock? You have a bookstore at your fingertips. I know, I know. I, too, feel we must find a way to keep physical bookstores, and independent booksellers, and libraries in existence. They are sacred space. They are church. But admit it – how cool is it that you, dear reader, don’t have to wait to read the short story I just talked about, if you own an e-reader? Did you get a device as a gift, or buy one for yourself? If so, you can read this story right now, in less a minute. You don’t even have to leave your chair.

What are you waiting for?