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Books to Watch Out For publishes monthly e-letters celebrating books on various topics. Each issue includes new book announcements, brief reviews, commentary, news and, yes, good book gossip.

The Lesbian Edition
covers both lesbian books and the whole range of books lesbians like to read. It covers news of both the women in print movement and mainstream publishing. Written and compiled by Carol Seajay.
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The Gay Men's Edition
announces and reviews new books by and about gay men as well as other books of interest and gay publishing news. Written and compiled by Richard Labonté.
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More Books for Women
covers the finest in thinking women's reading, plus mysteries, non-sexist children's books, and news from women's publishing. Written by the owners and staff at Women & Children First, and friends.
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Finding BTWOF
BTWOF is published by Carol Seajay and Books To Watch Out For.
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Send books for review consideration for the Gay Men's Edition directly to Richard Labonté at
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The Gay Men's Edition

— this issue sponsored by —

Alyson Books

The publisher of
Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For
by Alison Bechdel

Book 11 in the Dykes to Watch Out For series finds Alison Bechdel's beloved cast of characters discovering that nothing but change is constant in our multihued terror-alert-system world.

Volume 3 Number 3

By Richard Labonté

BTWOF’s Spring-Cleaning Books To Watch Out For Edition

This issue of the Gay Men’s Edition of Books to Watch Out For is all about books to watch out for: it’s mostly a roundup of forthcoming books from gay and gay-busy presses. The words come from assorted sources. Sometimes the publishers sent catalog copy, sometimes I wrote descriptions for the books, and in a couple of cases editors (Don Weise for Carroll & Graf, and Andrew McBeth for Green Candy) wrote descriptions specifically for this issue. For the past few years, the annual booksellers convention (BookExpo America, or BEA) has featured a panel in which top editors tout their favorite forthcoming titles, and there’s a bit of that boosterism here; Spring and Fall, Publishers Weekly publishes a new announcements issue — so there’s some of that as well. One major publisher missing: Alyson Books; I hope to get a copy of their new-books catalog for the next issue. Meanwhile, the months ahead promise interesting reading: more than 70 books are profiled from a baker’s dozen of publishers.

My thanks for notes wishing me variations on “get well soon” — I’ve almost done just that. With the next edition of BTWOF/GM, I’ll be back to a more regular diet of my own book reviews (with apologies to the authors and publicists and publishers who have sent books for my consideration), plus another in my series of ongoing interviews with queer-interest publishers, perhaps some guest reviews, and more links to items of interest.

Before Brokeback, There Was A Book Called Native

With the release of Brokeback Mountain on DVD so soon after it “Crashed” at the Oscars, those cowpokes are generating plenty of buzz — for example, the movie tie-in edition of the original New Yorker short story (with the rather clunky title Brokeback Mountain: Now a Major Motion Picture, Scribner, $9.95), the book containing the screenplay of the story (Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay, by Annie Proulx, Larry McMurtry, & Diane Ossana, Scribner, $26) and Close Range: Wyoming Stories (Scribner, $14), where the story was collected with other work by Proulx, are all on most gay bookstore bestseller lists (see three bestseller links below).

And the film’s impact led the online entertainment site AfterElton — which pays a lot of attention to books, possibly because it’s now edited by novelist Michael Jensen — to survey three cowboy/rural-related books.

“The colossal impact of Brokeback Mountain, both as a short story and as a film, has aroused gay interests in all things related to what might be called “frontier,” “cowboy,” and “western” culture. Citified gays are expressing a newly found interest in heartland life. Country-born gays are re-exploring their rural roots. Although the literary story of Brokeback has risen to become our most powerful and popular ‘gay frontier’ tale to date, it was not the first,” notes Robert Urban, as he reviews Jensen’s own novel, Frontiers (Pocket Books, $19.95); Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest, edited by Will Fellows (University of Wisconsin, $19.95) — which, according to the publisher, was used for inspiration and background reading for the co-stars of the movie; and Queer Cowboys and Other Erotic Male Friendships in Nineteenth-Century American Literature, by Chris Packard (Palgrave MacMillan, $12.95), about which McMurtry himself says: “A searching and original study. Chris Packard has managed to tease out evidence of same-sex attraction in places where one would not have expected to find it.”

Fine books, all of them. But there’s a novel that deserves to be touted far more, that’s more in tune with the Proulx story than these three, and that really did come first (at least as a work of literature, as opposed to those one-handed copies of paperback porn featuring raunch out in the barn). That would be Native (Plume, out of print), by William Haywood Henderson, a 1993 novel about cowboys, Wyoming, and homophobia. I haven’t read it since it came out, but I’ve been planning to savor it again since Brokeback-mania broke out—though, alas, it’s out of print. Here’s a description:

Blue Parker is a twenty-three-year-old ranch foreman in a Wyoming mountain town, high in a valley between the Wind River Range and the Absarokas. He treasures the immense solitude of the mountains, yet he begins to yearn for the love of a kindred spirit. When he hires a new ranch hand, Sam, his longing seems about to be fulfilled. But then Gilbert, a Native American from the nearby reservation, passes through town and dances his way among the men, drawing Blue and Sam into his struggles to reclaim ancient customs that have been subverted or destroyed. With a sure sense of place and a keen sensitivity to the unspoken yet unbearable tensions that shape its characters, this superb debut novel offers a subtle portrait of three men caught between past and present, in a majestic landscape that transcends both loneliness and love.

Henderson has written only two more novels, one of them certainly as exquisite as Native, the other (just released) sounding so. His second, The Rest of the Earth (Plume, also out of print), published in 1997, is set in the same harsh Wyoming of lonely hills and hard landscapes, telling the story of a Civil War veteran who travels west from New England to Wyoming, via San Francisco, to find himself — it’s a much more interior work than Native, with a brief homoerotic interlude between the wanderer and the young son of a ranch owner. Annie Proulx praised it highly: “William Henderson writes some of the most evocative and transcendently beautiful prose in contemporary American literature. The Rest of the Earth is a work of art more like a series of paintings than the traditional novel. The high and remote Wyoming landscape — obdurate, dangerous, violently beautiful — is the great presence in it. Against slant rock and the long view we catch sight of a drift of characters whose lives brush against each other, blow away like smoke.”

This year brings Augusta Locke (Viking, $24, April), also set in Wyoming at the dawn of the 20th century. Here’s a synopsis: Henderson’s new novel tells of one woman’s troubled yet spirited life as she raises her daughter in the deserts and lonely ranges of Wyoming. Born in Minnesota in 1903, Augusta “Gussie” Locke moves with her mother to Colorado as a teenager. Distressed by her mother’s new husband, a man who wants to transform Augusta into an obedient daughter, Augusta runs off into the mountains, where a one-night stand with a young volunteer for the Great War leaves her pregnant. She heads north into Wyoming, and with her infant daughter Anne constantly in tow, she works a long series of grueling jobs, from road crew and ranching to hauling supplies to the oil and mineral crews of the Great Divide Basin. As the years pass, Augusta wanders throughout Wyoming, abandoning people and places, being abandoned herself. Eventually, alone again, she settles in a remote cabin in the Wind River Valley, until years later her grandson and great-granddaughter seek to discover the woman behind the family myth.

Henderson’s work garners Hallelulah reviews, but he’s a pretty low-profile writer. His first two novels are gems worth mining used bookstores for, and his just-released third is one I’m anxious to get to.
Author info:
Brokeback best-selling at Outwrite:

And on Lambda Rising’s “Buzzin’ Dozen” list:

And at Equal Writes, Long Beach:

13 Publishers & 77 Books

Here is a sampling of what our publishers will be bringing us in the next few months.

Cleis Press:
Hot, Best, Trucker Erotica + A Queer Agatha

Hot Gay Erotica, edited by Richard Labonté
For readers who crave stories of uninhibited, unrepentant sex between men, Hot Gay Erotica delivers 18 searing stories collected by Richard Labonté, editor of the Best Gay Erotica series. Scott Pomfret, coauthor of the “Romentics” series of gay romance novels, contributes “The Competitor,” in which a hunky athlete unexpectedly meets his match at the gym. Sean Meriwether’s “Knives and Roses” recounts an encounter with rough trade — with a shocking surprise ending. In Cat Tailor’s rollicking “Delta Boys,” four randy soldiers back from the front lines live out their fantasies in a sleazy motel room. Other contributors include Jaime Cortez, Doug Harrison, and Jonathan Asche. (Apr., $14.95, 1-57344-239-9)

The Back Passage, by James Lear
A seaside village, an English country house, a family of wealthy eccentrics and their equally peculiar servants, a determined detective — all the ingredients are here for a cozy Agatha Christie–style whodunit. But wait — Edward “Mitch” Mitchell is no Hercule Poirot, and The Back Passage is no Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Mitch is a handsome, insatiable 22-year-old hunk who never lets a clue stand in the way of a steamy encounter, whether it’s with the local constabulary, the house secretary, or his schoolchum and fellow athlete Boy Morgan, who becomes his Watson when they’re not busy boffing each other. This is a hilarious mystery by a major new talent. (I wrote a blurb for the back cover, part of which reads: “Lear’s lusty homage to a classic whodunit format is wonderfully witty, mordantly mysterious, and enthusiastically, unabashedly erotic.“) (May, $13.95, 1-57344-243-7)

Cowboys: Gay Erotic Tales, edited by Tom Graham
Saddle up and go for a long, hot ride. There's nothing in this world like a sexy cowboy...mounting another cowboy. This collection of gay erotic fiction offers up stories of devious cattle rustlers seducing naive farm hands; dangerous outlaws breaking in small-town deputies; young, hung buckaroos wrangling each other; and duels not on the streets but between the sheets. These maverick writers take readers on a hot and heavy, no-holds-barred trip through the Old West to the New West, where "ramrod," "six-shooter," and "hog-tied" take on entirely new meanings. (June, $14.95, 1-57344-241-0)

Arts and Letters, by Edmund White
In these 39 lively essays and profiles, best-selling novelist and biographer Edmund White draws on his wide reading and his sly good humor to illuminate some of the most influential writers, artists, and cultural icons of the past century, among them, Marcel Proust, Catherine Deneuve, George Eliot, Andy Warhol, André Gide, David Geffen, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Whether he’s praising Nabokov’s sensuality, critiquing Elton John’s walk (“as though he’s a wind-up doll that’s been overwound and sent heading for the top of the stairs”), or describing serendipitous moments in his seven-year-long research into the life of Genet, White is unfailingly observant, erudite, and entertaining. (Aug., $15.95, 1-57344-248-8, new in trade paper)

Truckers: True Gay Erotica, edited by Johnny Hansen
For some gay men, life on the road conjures up images of blue-collar joes traveling from town to town in their big 18-wheelers, pulling into all-night diners, gas stations, cheap motels, and highway rest stops for food, rest, companionship — and sex. Editor Johnny Hansen has assembled 19 true stories of men who deliver much more than what’s back in the trailer for this first-ever collection of erotic trucker tales. In one story, a four-way pileup in a highway men’s room gives new meaning to the word “convoy.” In another, a 19-year-old experiences first love — and lust — on a cross-country tour with a strapping Mack driver. (Aug., $14.95, 1-57344-249-6)

Best Gay Erotica 2007, edited by Richard Labonté, selected by Timothy J. Lambert
Not much to say about this one yet — the deadline for submissions is a few days away as I put this edition of BTWOF/GM together, so neither Cleis nor I can list any contributors. But there will be the usual mix of skilled porn artiste veterans and a number of fine newcomers — more information to come sometime in July, and the book is out in November. ($14.95, 1-57344-260-7)

Best Gay Romance, edited by Tom Graham
This one is also still in production — look for the softer side of gay love. (Dec., $14.95, 1-57344-262-3)

And there are some girl books that boys with any good literary sense ought to read: one is a literary classic with autobiographical overtones, one is a lesbian pulp classic with pioneering bravada, one is a graphic novel triumph, and one is (another) lesbian classic reprint.

Olivia, by Dorothy Strachey (writing as “Olivia”), introduction by Regina Marler
Dorothy Strachey’s classic Olivia captures the awakening passions of an English adolescent sent away for a year to a small finishing school outside Paris. The innocent but watchful Olivia develops an infatuation for her headmistress, Mlle. Julie, and through this screen of love observes the tense romance between Mlle. Julie and the other head of the school, Mlle. Cara, in its final months. Although not strictly autobiographical, Olivia draws on the author’s experiences at finishing schools run by the charismatic Mlle. Marie Souvestre, whose influence lived on through former students like Natalie Barney and Eleanor Roosevelt. Olivia was dedicated to the memory of Strachey’s friend Virginia Woolf and published to acclaim in 1949. “Perfectly captures the breathless excitement of adolescent passion and forbidden love”—Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith and now The Nightwatch. (May, $13.95, 1-57344-242-9)

Three Women, by March Hastings
Phil Carlson’s marriage proposal is 18-year-old Paula’s ticket out of the tenement and dingy life with her alcoholic father. But the dream dissolves the moment Paula meets Byrne, Phil’s wealthy aunt. Byrne, an artist who lives in Greenwich Village, is bewitched by Paula’s crush on her and daringly allows it to blossom, despite the dark secret that forever ties her to another woman. (July, $12.95, 1-57344-245-3)

Jokes and the Unconscious, by Daphne Gottlieb, illustrated by Diane DiMassa
Heard the one about the dying father? In this graphic novel by slam poet Daphne Gottlieb and Hothead Paisan creator Diane DiMassa, a 19-year-old woman named Sasha loses her father to cancer and takes a job in the hospital where he had worked as a doctor. Moving from room to room with her clipboard of forms, Sasha encounters the insane, the suicidal, and the brave — then returns to her office to look up all her friends’ and enemies’ medical records. Taking its title from Freud’s Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, Gottlieb and DiMassa’s first collaboration is both moving and darkly funny. Where comedy meets chemo, where mirth meets mortality, Jokes and the Unconscious explores the murky terrain of grief, memory, humor, and sexual escape. (Aug., $17.95, 1-57344-250-X)
Author info:
An interview with DiMassa:

The Illusionist, by Françoise Mallet-Joris, introduction by Terry Castle
Bored and lonely, 15-year-old Hélène decides to pay a visit to her father’s mistress. Within days, she is captivated by Tamara, a Russian émigré whose arts of enchantment include lingering kisses, sudden dismissals, and savage, rapturous reunions. As long as she submits to Tamara, Hélène is permitted to stay near her: reading forbidden novels, meeting Tamara’s bohemian friends, and learning more “refinements of depravity” than the gossiping matrons of her provincial French town could imagine existed. Flemish writer Françoise Mallet-Joris was twenty in 1951 when her first novel, Le Rempart des Beguines — published in English as The Illusionist — created a sensation in France. This contemplative, beautifully written book, with its dark undercurrents of desire, has its origins in Madame Bovary and the novels of Colette, and was a precursor to Françoise Sagan’s similarly themed Bonjour Tristesse. The author now lives in San Francisco. (Sept., $14.95, 1-57344-253-4)

Green Candy Press:
Boy Trouble and Fabulously Gay

Izzy and Eve: An Erotic Thriller, by Neal Drinnan
Publishers Weekly called the author's Glove Puppet "a searingly perceptive narrative." Gay Izzy is an erotic cartoonist; his best pal Eve makes exotic jewelry and works as a receptionist in a whorehouse. She collects clippings of unsolved murders of women and has flashes of psychic ability, and he’s an aging party boy who’s been getting more and more into metaphysical reading and exploring heightened states of mind through SM sex clubs and a drug called SILT that’s permeated the gay community. SILT causes a "shift," which takes one to a different reality. When gay men start disappearing without a trace, and Izzy joins the ranks of the missing, Eve embarks on a mission beyond anything she’s over dreamed or imagined. Part edgy thriller, part ghost story, Izzy and Eve is a witty and unsettling joyride through Drinnan’s acid-etched world.
Author info:

The Book of Boy Trouble: Gay Boy Comics with a New Attitude, edited by Robert Kirby and David Kelly
From its first photocopied edition in 1994, Boy Trouble: Gay Boy Comics with a New Attitude emphasized personal stories and viewpoints outside the mainstream, with subject matter that ranged from sex, love, and longing to porn, drugs, and punk rock. The Book of Boy Trouble compiles the greatest hits from the zine’s first ten years, including favorites like Michael Fahy’s "Valentine’s Day Love Poem," Andy Hartzell’s "Dinner at Achmed’s," and Anonymous Boy’s "The Non-adventures of Wayne," plus 24 pages of spanking new work from both regular contributors and up-and-coming talents.
Author info:

50 Ways of Saying Fabulous, by Graeme Aitken
“If I knew fifty ways of saying fabulous, I’d use them all to praise this charming novel.”—Edmund White
Twelve-year-old Billy loves food and Lost in Space. As the only son on a remote farm in New Zealand, he’s forced into farm chores that aren’t just abhorrent, but that leave him little time to indulge his theatrical bent. He gets by with the help of his tomboy cousin, Lou, and a rich fantasy life. The arrival of two outsiders — the freaky, pimply Roy and the sexy David Cassidy look-alike Jamie — changes everything. Billy is drawn to both Roy and Jamie, testing his friendships and loyalties in the process. Funny and engaging, this tale of a gay awakening resonates with anyone who endured an awkward adolescence. Billy struggles with his sexual identity, but also with his weight, in achingly familiar attempts to diet and camouflage his girth. Capturing the period when the adult world begins to impinge on the child’s, the book narrates the agonies of early adolescence with wit and tenderness.
The novel was made into a film in 2004:

Original Youth: The Real Story of Edmund White's Boyhood, by Keith Fleming
"With his insider's knowledge, analysis, and insight, Keith Fleming substantially raises the criterion by which gay literary criticism must now be judged."—The Advocate
It isn't often that a memoirist gets the biographic treatment, but the story of Edmund White's youth was too dramatic to resist. In this bracing true-life tale, Keith Fleming, White's nephew whom he adopted, captures a particularly unusual childhood. Forced to be a confidante to his unhinged mother, terrified and attracted to his imperious father, the teenage White became a Buddhist, a cruiser of hustlers and married men, and an FBI drug informant on his way to ultimate fame. Drawing on personal knowledge, letters, and extensive interviews with those closest to "Eddie," Fleming neither exploits his subject nor sugarcoats him. Original Youth is a rich portrait of a complex subject and a child who managed to survive and flourish against all odds. (New in trade paper)

Carroll & Graf:
Lost Vidal, Our Judy, & Pioneering Daughters

The History of Swimming: A Memoir, by Kim Powers
A harrowing and emotionally moving account of the author’s frantic search for his twin gay brother Tim — his best friend, his greatest enemy — who disappears from Manhattan one weekend. This has a marvelous blurb from Diane Sawyer and contains some of the best AIDS writing I’ve read in ages. (Sept.)

Clouds and Eclipses: Collected Stories of Gore Vidal
Vidal’s short stories in one volume, including his long-lost story “Clouds and Eclipses,” a fictionalized account from the life of Tennessee Williams’ minister-grandfather. The story goes that the grandfather was being blackmailed for an indiscretion with a boy, so Vidal turned the boy into a girl in “Clouds and Eclipses.” He showed the story to Tennessee back in the 50s, who read it, was aghast, and said it couldn’t be published. Vidal asked why not, the grandfather was dead. “But Edwina is not,” Tennessee replied, referring to his mother, better known to the world as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. So Vidal filed away the story and forgot about it until last year when it was discovered among his papers at Harvard. (Sept.)

From Boys to Men: Stories of Growing Up Gay, edited by Ted Gideonse & Robert Williams
Personal essays by lauded young writers like Alexander Chee (Edinburgh), Aaron Hamburger (Faith for Beginners), Karl Soehnlein (The World of Normal Boys), Trebor Healey (Through It Came Bright Colors), and Tom Dolby (The Trouble Boy), among others. (Sept.)

The Man That Got Away: A Memoir of Judy Garland, Rock Hudson, and the End of Old Hollywood, by John Carlyle
Judy Garland's gay lover tells all in this memoir detailing the last ten years of her life, his ups and downs in the movies, and the star-studded decline of Hollywood. Every now and then a Hollywood book comes along that I can’t put down. Last year, it was The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson. This year it’s The Man Who Got Away. John was a handsome young actor who came out to Hollywood but never made it. Lucky for us, he met plenty of stars, most notably Garland on the set of A Star is Born. If you’re a Garland fan, you’ll be crazy about it. John’s recollections of even small details like the chalkboard in Garland’s kitchen that had the words Obey Mama written in big letters make the book a delight. Truly a candid but adoring behind-the-scenes look at the star's life. If you’re not a Garland fan, there’s plenty else to love, including fabulous stories of Montgomery Clift staggering around drunk, Raymond Burr picking up Marines, Leonard Bernstein drooling over hustlers, Rock Hudson being shown how to get rid of crabs, Mae West auditioning him at her home, Dorothy Parker passed out in the bushes, and on and on. The Man Who Got Away is also beautifully written and often very moving. John is one of those rare actors who not only knows how to write very well but who also has a terrific sense of humor about the movie business. This book is a real gem. (Oct.)

Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement, by Marcia Gallo
The first and a definitive account of the Daughters of Bilitis, the pioneering lesbian rights movement of the 1950s that evolved over the next two decades into a national organization that counted more than a dozen chapters — and in the process, laid the foundation for today's lesbian rights movement. I’m so thrilled to be doing this book. Believe it or not, no one has ever devoted a book to DOB (what exactly are they doing in Queer Studies anyway? How has a book on DOB or for that matter, a book devoted to the Mattachine Society not yet been done?). Marcia stepped up and really delivered. With the help of DOB founders Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, she interviewed dozens of former members, many of whom spoke on record for the first time. This came to me through Martin Duberman, who raved about it. Blanche Wiesen Cook has also praised the book highly. Publishing books like this one is the reason I love my job. I should add that this is also Marcia’s first book. (Oct.)

Here’s What We’ll Say: A Memoir of Growing Up, Coming Out, and the U.S. Air Force, by Reichen Lehmkuhl
Amazing Race millionaire turned TV talk show host Reichen Lehmkuhl takes us deep inside the life of a gay Cadet in the U.S. Air Force Academy. Readers who enjoyed Major Conflict and Secrets of a Marine Porn Star won’t want to miss this. Plus, Reichen is drop-dead gorgeous. If you don’t believe me, go to his website: (Oct.)

A Separate Reality, by Robert Marshall
A portrait of the young artist in the 1970s, this debut novel tells the story of a sensitive twelve-year-old boy striving to transcend reality and find his true self in Phoenix, Arizona. A beautiful book that has endorsements from Chris Bram and Lynne Tillman. I published an excerpt in Fresh Men 2. Just exquisite writing. (Oct.)

The House Beautiful, by Allison Burnett
Allison Burnett, a PEN Center USA award finalist for his debut novel Christopher (Broadway Books), returns with this sequel to the hilarious misadventures of the gay curmudgeon B.K. Troop. Anyone who read Allison’s first book will be excited to hear the sequel has arrived. Very Patrick Dennis. (Oct.)
Author info:

Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison, by T.J. Parsell
Written by one of the leading spokespeople in a movement to end prison rape, Fish is the highly personal, real life story of a teenager's struggle to survive prison rape and come to terms with his sexuality. Here’s a book that I so completely believe in that I can’t tell you how proud I am to publish it. In gay culture prison rape is either not talked about or is turned into a joke. Thankfully, T.J. has the intelligence and courage to tell his story openly and honestly. You can’t read this book and ever think about prisons in the same way again. (Nov.)

Baby Remember My Name: An Anthology of New Queer Girl Writing, edited by Michelle Tea
Michelle Tea, most recently the author of Rose of No Man’s Land, gathers new work by twenty-two of the most outstanding emerging voices in queer girl writing. I love Michelle so much, and there’s no one out there who’s better plugged into the queer girl circuit than her. These are all young, mostly first-time writers, so I’m so pleased to help introduce their work to the world. We need new lesbian voices in literature like crazy. (Nov.)

The IHOP Papers, by Ali Liebegott
In this hilariously heartfelt debut novel, Francesca, a disgruntled nineteen-year-old lesbian IHOP waitress, tries desperately to pull together the pieces of her young, scattered life. More than a coming-of-age story, The IHOP Papers is a comic portrait of a young virgin's survival and self-discovery on the IHOP late shift. I can’t remember the last time I read a gay or lesbian novel that’s laugh-out-loud funny. Books like Rubyfruit Jungle or Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket, Diary of a Lost Boy come to mind. It’s more than just gags, though; IHOP Papers is about real people struggling to get through life. The book is already one of my in-house favorites among the Avalon staff. (Nov.)

Blood and Silver: Erotic Stories, by Patrick Califia
A new collection of erotic fiction — including three never-before-published stories. Patrick is one of my all-time favorite sex writers — I’ll read anything he writes — so I’m honored to be working with him on this. (Dec.)

Suspect Thoughts Press:
The First Project Queer Lit Winners

And the winners of the First Project Queer Lit contest are....Origami Striptease by Peggy Munson and Supervillainz by Alicia E. Goranson.

Origami Striptease, by Peggy Munson
Origami Striptease is a lyrical love story between a writer and an enigmatic wanderer named Jack. The speaker of the novel is a feisty journalist of tell-all erotica who seduces borderland boys — trannies, butches, and daddies — and doesn't know how quickly she will inhabit the margins she writes about. Written mostly in iambic prose, Origami Striptease takes the reader on a wild ride into lost igloos, snow globes, sinister cakewalks, and a land of paper moose. Rebecca Brown says: “I was intoxicated by the prose of this book in which love, sex, illness, writing, girls, and boys who are girls roil around in a steamy, bubbly drunk-making stew. Munson is a stylist extraordinaire and the story she tells here will leave you wide-eyed, spent, unnerved. You have been warned.”(At the printer, $16.95, 0-9763411-9-0)
Read an excerpt:

Supervillainz, by Alicia E. Goranson
Rump-smacking good action-adventure trans fiction that boots transgender literature out of the classroom and into the streets. A hard-edged tale of passion, revenge, and low-rent apartments, Supervillainz has romance, car chases, brutal superheroes, epic battles in dyke bars, and a climax that will have you reaching for the tissues. Charlie Anders says: “Alicia Goranson’s superpowers include searing vision, a powerful voice, and the ability to leap over genre boundaries.” (At the printer, $16.95, 0-9763411-8-2)
Read an excerpt:

A Scarecrow’s Bible, by Martin Hyatt
In a house trailer in rural Mississippi, Gary, a married Vietnam veteran, addicted to drugs, haunted by memories of the past, is on the brink of collapse. Just when he thinks the dream of another life is over, the unspeakable happens. He falls in love with a frail, ghostly younger man who reminds him of youth, beauty, and the possibility of a life beyond the prison he has created for himself. A Scarecrow's Bible is about what happens when love occurs at the most unexpected moment. It is the story of how working-class men and women in a small town adapt to changes that somehow seem impossible. It is a novel of hope and transformation that challenges our ideas about diversity and social change, breaking your heart all the way. Edmund White says: “Lyrical and anguished, this is a stunning first novel about the despair of addiction and the hope provided by love. The writing is so skillful it’s hard to believe that this is a debut. Hallucinated scenes from the past enter into the dreamlike present to create a tapestry of pain and solace. If this is a gay novel it’s unlike any other I’ve ever read.” (At the printer now, $16.95, 0-9763411-4-X)
Read an excerpt:
Hyatt in Blithe House:

Sweet Son of Pan: Poems of Ribaldry and Wonder, by Trebor Healey, with a foreword by Gavin Geoffrey Dillard
Sweet Son of Pan is a collection of erotic poetry, infused with joy, play, and wisdom. It expresses both the silliness and the sacredness of gay sexuality, as well as the limitlessness of sexual expression. It’s like sex — fun, accessible and ecstatic, totally egalitarian — poetry for priapean people! (May, $12.95, 0-9771582-1-7)
Read "Milarepa" at Lodestar Quarterly:
Read "The Busboy at Busters" at Ashé Journal:

35 Cents, by Matty Lee
35 Cents is the story of a straight, young, white boy growing up and coming of age as he hustles his way both through the gay community and the juvenile-detention system of South Florida in the late 1980s. It's also the amount he made when he turned his first trick at 13. "This memoir cuts through the crap with all the wild, touching, erotic insanity of the truth."—Todd Haynes, director of Poison and Far From Heaven. (May)

The Forgotten Ones, by Douglas Ferguson
Calling all gods! The Great God Convention is on once more — and this time there's word of a second coming. But nobody wants Jesus or his gal pal Mary Magdalene around. Watch the old gang assemble in Vancouver and see the cosmic sparks fly. "Douglas Ferguson's wonderful book is a trippy, erudite romp through space, time, religion, myth, and (perhaps best of all) Vancouver. Ferguson leaves few divine myths unexplored and unexploded; this is a novel of brilliant blasphemy, lovingly rendered."—Marshall Moore, author of Black Shapes in a Darkened Room. (June)

A History of Barbed Wire, by Jeff Mann, foreword by Patrick Califia
From the author of Edge and Loving Mountains, Loving Men. In intense, lyrical language, Jeff Mann's short stories give us an array of tormented characters: adulterous lovers, a kidnapper and his handsome victim, the sadistic ghost of a Confederate soldier, a yearning forestry student, an eager masochist, and a hairy biker. Mann's background in literature and mythology gives these stories a richness of allusion unusual in contemporary erotic fiction. (July)

Wetting the Appetite, by Blake C. Aarens, foreword by Carol Queen
Wetting the Appetite is a literate sexual smorgasbord, with something for everyone between its pages. Anonymous straight sex bumps up against the first encounter between two men who will inevitably become lovers, while dykes on bikes give way to a graphic fantasy of star fucking. This collection is filled with sticky stories that chronicle the wide range of sexual passions and attempts to feed the hunger of the human animal for variety — even if that means a vampire or a truly alien extraterrestrial. (July)

Butch Is a Noun, by S. Bear Bergman
An irreverent, tender, funny, difficult, sexy narrative, Butch Is a Noun tackles growing up and coming out butch, wrestling and embracing it, and then wrestling with it some more. Stark stories of life on the margins and of being embraced by community; rough moments and tender moments and delicious occasions of both; from girls' clothes to men's underwear and what lies beyond, Butch Is a Noun chronicles the pleasures and dangers of living life outside the gender binary. "A smart, heart-filled, humorous and touching piece about life as a gender outlaw in today's world"—Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw. (Sept.)

Sodom & Me: Queers on Fundamentalism, edited by Greg Wharton and Ian Philips
With the success of the Lambda Literary Award-winning I Do/I Don't: Queers on Marriage, Suspect Thoughts Press has launched the "Queers on" series. Like its predecessor, Sodom & Me: Queers on Fundamentalism includes essays, poems, short stories, novel excerpts, performance piece excerpts, cut-ups, epigrams, zingers, comedy monologues, sermons, rants, diatribes, and jeremiads, from an amazing and incredibly diverse group of authors, poets, and activists. Queer Muslims, Jews, Christians, Two-Spirits, pagans, Buddhists, atheists, and agnostics write about how we can make our way - even stay alive - in a world where, to the majority, we are the children of the damned: the children of Sodom and Gomorrah (that's several billion believers right there) - or the cultural equivalent. (Oct.)

Roulette, by Adrian Brooks
A crazy page-turner that sends up the worst of America while celebrating the best of it — destined to make an amazing movie — Roulette is a joyous and iconoclastic tale of outsiders taking on the established and corrupt power figures in a David-and-Goliath tale about love and commitment to community. As the novel unfolds and the resonance of a small outpost named Roulette moves from being a matter of local significance to an issue commanding national attention during a presidential election, something quixotic but magical about the nature of America is revealed.
(Adrian, who was involved with the legendary Angels of Light performance group, akin to the Cockettes, is the author of the 1980 mass market novel The Glass Arcade, worth buying used: it's a Nazi brothel/teenage innocent novel with gothic overtones.) (Nov.)

And from Three Roads Press (“An alternative to the Conventional”), a new imprint of Suspect Thoughts Press:

Some Phantom/No Time Flat, two novellas by Stephen Beachy
From the author of the acclaimed novels The Whistling Song and Distortion. “Some Phantom” and “No Time Flat” are linked novellas that explore themes of isolation, madness, identity, and mystery. In “Some Phantom” an unnamed woman arrives in a strange city, fleeing a violent relationship in her past. ”No Time Flat” follows Wade, a young boy who grows up on the American plains in an isolated existence with his elderly parents, as he makes his way through a childhood of playground shootings and mysterious strangers. "Stephen Beachy is a complete visionary, a sorcerer, a secret weapon. I'm going to plead with everyone I know: read this book. Read it, and gasp, marvel, rage, weep, and applaud."—Scott Heim, author of Mysterious Skin. (Sept.)

And from She Devil Press (“Furiously feminist fiction, and not”), another new imprint of Suspect Thoughts Press:

V, by Jennifer Natalya Fink
From the author of Burn, V is based on a story the author's Brazilian-Jewish grandmother tells, a story aimed at explaining why she left São Paulo, Brazil, shortly after World War II. Like most family myths, the story changes every time she tells it; however, it always involves a monkey, a gun, a hat, a man, and, implicitly, a girl: the author's grandmother. In the grandmother's rendition, sometimes the monkey shoots the hat off the man; other times, the man shoots the hat off the monkey. The story always concludes with the same line: "And then I knew: I had to leave." (Oct.)

Girl on a Stick, by Kathleen Bryson
From the author of Mush. A floating blue apparition of the Virgin Mary. That's what Clementine Logan, jaded American, sees from the window of her No. 38 bus in London. This is the first in a series of alarming religious visions, triggered by her new relationship with fellow foreigner Per, a green-eyed Norwegian undergraduate. Set against a backdrop of gritty East London streets and post/pop-everything academia, the relationship with Per grows more twisted, the miracles grow weirder, and soon something's gotta snap. "Sassy, clever, bright, dark, true, and, most importantly, alive. A huge book, and full of goodness."—Ali Smith, author Hotel World and The Accidental. (Nov.)

Kensington Books:
Epic Queer History & A Tweaker’s Tale Told

All American Boy, by William J. Mann
“Would you come home, Walter? Please?” With these desperate words from the mysterious, distant mother he hasn’t seen in ten years, Wally Day finds his carefully constructed world falling in on itself. For years, the handsome actor has made denial his own particular art form — from his stalled career to his emotionless embrace of the hard-edged boys who regularly traipse through his bedroom. But now, faced with this sudden intrusion from his past, Wally must confront the reasons he left his hometown of Brown’s Mill in a cloud of anger, shame, and guilt. He must look face-to-face upon the ghosts of his past: his mother, whom he once loved more than anyone else in the world; his abusive father, who never looked at Wally without contempt and suspicion; the life-affirming Miss Aletha, whose love had given Wally refuge; and most of all, Zandy — the man whose memory still haunts him, whose love for Wally had been called a crime. (May, $16, 0-7582-0329-2, new in trade paper)

Confessions of a Casanova, by Chris Kenry
Tony doesn’t mean to fall in and out of love so easily; it’s just a habit. Of course, loving so many men also has unfortunate side effects: ex-boyfriends. But habits can change: Tony’s mad whirl of a life slows as he realizes he may have found The One. With the clock ticking, the master of flirt and woo and conquer and abandon may be ready to settle down. (June, $15, 0-7582-0436-1, new in trade paper)

Full Circle, by Michael Thomas Ford
From my Publishers Weekly review: “This tale of adolescent lust, unrequited love, fumbled friendship, and eventual domestic contentment arcs across five decades: Ned and Jack, best friends since they were Eisenhower-era toddlers, and high school boyfriends soon after John F. Kennedy's assassination, have been estranged for years when the imminent death — heart attack, not AIDS — of Andy, the man they both tricked with in college draws them back together. The trio's lives, recounted in lengthy flashbacks, intertwine somewhat melodramatically through the years: Ned and Andy serve together in Vietnam in the 60s; Ned shares a Castro-neighborhood apartment with Jack and Andy in the sex-drenched San Francisco 70s; charismatic Andy selfishly seduces Ned's porn-film-director lover; and all three meet again in New York — as AIDS ravages the gay community through the 80s — before an accretion of heartbreak and bitterness drive them apart. The characters' many brushes with homosexual history — Harvey Milk trolling for votes in gay bars, the debut of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City as a daily newspaper column, the unfurling of the first Rainbow Flag, the sexual energy of early ACT UP meetings — will resonate with gay readers, and serve as a mini-history lesson for any straight readers who might come across it.” It used to be that PW reviews were written with a specific audience in mind: bookstore managers and buyers looking for a bit more guidance than catalogue copy in determining whether to order a book at all (in general bookstores, at least); in the past few years, though, the audience has broadened to include Amazon and Barnes & Noble users, and often the PW review is the first pre-pub one they can read. So the reviews are an almost formulaic blend of plot summary and concise critique — all of which is to say that, to get this review down to the 220-235 word limit, I had to trim a lot of my exuberance. Ford’s third novel is a real departure from Last Summer and Looking For It, and reminded me a lot of Felice Picano’s popular Like People in History. (June, $23, 0-7582-1057-4)

Tweaked: A Crystal Memoir, by Patrick Moore
There are moments when I suddenly realize that I’m a nice boy from Iowa who is entirely comfortable sitting in a room of freaks.”
So begins Patrick Moore’s unforgettable account of life as a crystal meth addict — a “tweaker.” Like a wild ride down Alice’s rabbit hole with a guide who is darkly funny and heartbreakingly honest, Tweaked chronicles a twenty-year trip that stretches from Moore’s lonely childhood in Iowa with his grandmother, Zelma — an alcoholic artist who, when loaded, turns frozen food into crafts projects — to the day he sits, naked, in a Los Angeles rental, hallucinating about psycho-robbers while talking to a possum he’s sure is God. Along the way, there are teeth-grinding nights of dancing and anonymous sex in New York City’s hottest eighties clubs, taking pictures of Andy Warhol, and navigating a Byzantine underworld of cookers, users, club kids, dealers, and colorful characters as intense as the drug itself, all encountered on the road from crystal meth hell to eventual sobriety. Candid, gripping, and ultimately triumphant, Tweaked is that rarest of memoirs — a tale so vivid and personal in the telling it feels like fiction, but every word is true. (June, $15, 0-7582-1265-8)

The Brothers Bishop, by Bart Yates
Tommy and Nathan Bishop are as different as two brothers can be. Carefree and careless, Tommy is the golden boy who takes men into his bed with a seductive smile and turns them out just as quickly. No one can resist him — and no one can control him, either. That salient point certainly isn’t lost on his brother. Nathan is all about control. At thirty-one, he is as dark and complicated as Tommy is light and easy, and he is bitter beyond his years. While Tommy left for the excitement of New York City, Nathan has stayed behind, teaching high school English in their provincial hometown, surrounded by the reminders of their ruined family history and the legacy of anger that runs through him like a scar. Now, Tommy has come home to the family cottage by the sea for the summer, bringing his unstable, sexual powder keg of an entourage — and the distant echoes of his family’s tumultuous past — with him. Tommy and his lover Philip are teetering on the brink of disaster, while their married friends, Camille and Kyle, perfect their steps in a dance of denial, each partner pulling Nathan deeper into the fray. And when one of Nathan’s troubled students, Simon, begins visiting the house, the slow fuse is lit on a highly combustible mix. (June, $15, 0-7582-0912-6, new in trade paper)

Bound in Flesh, by David Thomas Lord
Death is only the beginning... Art critic Jean-Luc “Jack” Courbet and aspiring actor and model Claude Halloran have a wicked secret, one that has cost many their lives: they are vampires. Jack was transformed a century ago by his stepfather and he himself turned his lover Claude into a creature of the night. From New York to Paris to Las Vegas they roam the nightclubs and streets, prowling for the men who will satisfy their desires and their hunger, and creating legions of followers who worship them — even beyond the grave. But one of their creations is not so helpless. In ex-cop Mike O’Donald, Jack has mistakenly created a new type of vampire, one with a thirst for revenge — and a powerful ally who can teach him the secrets of Tantric sex magic. As flesh and fantasy become inseparable, Jack and Claude’s fiendishly depraved empire terrorizes Sin City, and only Mike, with his new powers, stands a chance of saving the helpless from a fate far worse than death... From the author of Bound in Blood. (Aug., $14, 1-57566-765-7)

And, from Citadel Books, a Kensington imprint:

Heartbreaker: A Memoir of Judy Garland, by John Meyer
It’s the year of dueling memoirs by men who slept with Judy — though Meyer’s book was actually published in 1982, while the Carroll & Graf book mentioned above — The Man That Got Away: A Memoir of Judy Garland, Rock Hudson, and the End of Old Hollywood, by John Carlyle — is an original. Says Kensington of this one: “This penetrating memoir reveals two months in the last year of Judy Garland’s life, as told by the songwriter who was her intimate at the time. Much more than a kiss-and-tell, this compassionate diary paints a candid portrait of a legendary entertainer whose will to glamour and talent flickered in the shadow of Ritalin, vodka, and a self-destructive impulse... and of the man who loved her and tried to help.” Comes with a CD of rehearsal music. (May, $24.95, 0-8065-2754-4)

Manic D Press:
A Poet’s Resolve & Tender ‘Tough Love’

Gutted, by Justin Chin
While trying to make sense of this ever-churning, terror-filled world, poet Justin Chin found himself traveling repeatedly home to Southeast Asia — a region unnerved and raging with SARS and the Avian Flu — to help care for his father who had suddenly been declared terminally ill with cancer. In addition to his father's illness, Chin was managing his own health and medical annoyances and preparing for a looming U.S. citizenship test. At the beginning of this difficult period, Chin quietly vowed not to speak publicly about his troubles until they had been suitably resolved. These poems mark the end of that resolution. Gutted is a document of growing older - a massively moving work of grief, loss, comfort, illness, and resolve - imbued with Chin's unique screwy perspective, ever-defective grace, and scabrous humor. (May, $13.95, 1-933149-07-8)

Tough Love: High School Confidential, by Abby Denson
Originally serialized in XY magazine, Tough Love is a teen romance and coming-out story about a shy boy named Brian and the relationships he develops with Chris, the boy he likes, and Julie, the girl who befriends him. Inspired by shounen-ai manga, Tough Love is socially relevant, fun, and a bit of a soap opera. Great for high school students, parents, teachers, and their friends. “Abby Denson's teen romance has the simplicity and heart of a secret love note on lined composition paper."—Howard Cruse, author of Stuck Rubber Baby. (June, $12.95, 1-933149-08-6)

Seventh Window Publications:
Full Spectrum of Romance

Two Boys in Love, by Lawrence Schimel
The stories in Lawrence Schimel's latest collection show the full spectrum of romance between men, from the piercing joys of love at first sight to the tempered passions of men who have been together in a relationship for many years. From the sunny beaches of Barcelona to Christmastime in New York City, from couples who experiment with a threesome to a Cinderella fairy tale about a gay teen who finally finds love at the prom, these funny, quirky, sexy, and romantic stories are always original. And regardless of their setting, they give an honest depiction of gay lives and romance — a mix of insecurities, apprehensions, and, yes, blissful interludes — which show that love is more than just sex and that commitment doesn’t always have to be only about monogamy. Two Boys in Love is further proof that nobody understands gay hearts (and bodies) better than Lawrence. ($14.95, 0-9717089-4-0, May)

Soft Skull Press:
A Priest’s Story & A Son’s Short Sad Life

Juicy Mother, Number Two: How They Met, by Jennifer Camper
In a genre especially known for being dominated by straight white men, Juicy Mother is an alternative to alternative comix. The collection places emphasis on the voices least represented in the comic world. As such, the stories within are exceptionally exuberant and carefree; they are a celebration. Contributors include: Alison Bechdel, Jennifer Camper, Tristan Cowen, Howard Cruse, Diane DiMassa, Kris Dresen, Jamaica Dyer, Michael Fahy, Leanne Franson, Justin Hall, Joan Hilty, G.B. Jones, David Kelly, Robert Kirby, Sara Rojo Pérez, Karen Platt, Carlo Quispe, Mikhaela Reid, Lawrence Schimel, Ariel Schrag, Robert Triptow, Ivan Velez, Jr., Stephen Winter. (Released in Feb.)
Editor info:

Going to Heaven, by Elizabeth Adams
It may be a uniquely American success story: who would have thought that the son of tobacco sharecroppers in Kentucky could become an Episcopal bishop? No one could have predicted that this boy, born poor, ill, and given little chance of survival, would in fact be elected and ordained 56 years later as the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Church, finding himself at the center of unprecedented positive and negative reaction in the religious world and beyond. Gene Robinson’s life is a story of one man’s journey into his own “otherness,” of courage found and integrity retained, and of the emergence of a ministry that speaks to countless people who believe in a Gospel of love and inclusion, and want the church to reflect that vision. Through a lively text based on extensive interviews with Bishop Robinson, his closest associates, family, colleagues, and observers, and illustrated with photographs from all phases of his life, this book paints a portrait of Bishop Robinson not as a symbol but a human being who is, as he puts it, “neither the angel nor the devil some would make me out to be.” (June, $14.95, 1-933368-22-5)

Cursed from Birth: The Short, Unhappy Life of William S. Burroughs Jr.., by David Ohle
Born in 1947 to the writer William S. Burroughs and his common-law wife Joan Vollmer, William S. Burroughs, Jr. (known as Billy Jr.), would later describe himself as "your cursed-from-birth son." This biography, partially drawn from Burroughs’ last unpublished novel, is a testimony to the difficulty of living in the turbulent wake of a famous father. Raised by his paternal grandparents in Palm Beach after his mother was killed by his father in a shooting accident, Billy saw his father become suddenly famous for Naked Lunch just as he became a teenager. His short life was defined by creating trouble to catch the attention of his father, mourning the death of his mother, descending into alcoholism and drug addiction, and reckoning with it all by beginning his own literary endeavors. Originally scheduled for publication in May 2001 by Grove/Atlantic, Cursed from Birth was withdrawn for legal reasons, and the galleys that were distributed now sell on eBay for hundreds of dollars. (Aug, $13.95, 1-933368-38-1)

That's Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, edited by Matt Bernstein Sycamore
This second edition of “a fistful of rocks to throw at the glass house of Gaylandia” includes seven new essays: about the Gay Liberation Front in the 70s; a piece from the ACT UP Oral History Project; a conversation between former members of the George Jackson Brigade (70s radicals); an essay about rural working class queer youth in Massachusetts; an essay on New Orleans; and a piece about the Drop The Debt/STOP AIDS action in New York. (Nov., $17.95, 1-932360-56-5)

Akashic Books:
Zines Then, Blogs Now — Extraordinary Talent

Userlands: New Fiction from the Blogging Underground, edited by Dennis Cooper
Says Cooper: "In the early '90s, I edited an anthology called Discontents (Amethyst Press, 1994) that documented the amazing creativity of the young writers and artists involved in the then-exploding queer zine phenomenon. The book, now considered a classic, is currently being taught in numerous universities and features a number of new writers who have since gone on to be well-known and important figures: David Sedaris, Dale Peck, Dorothy Allison, Scott Heim, Eileen Myles, and others. With the advent of the Internet, the energy and talent that produced the zine movement gradually moved online, and that same vitality now fuels the similarly grassroots if higher-tech phenomenon of blogging. The blog has provided a new kind of forum for new writers to disseminate their work and form mutually interested and supportive communities outside the major publishing industry, whose conservatism and biases toward university-trained fiction writers is well known. This anthology intends to bring to light some of the new fiction writers who are using the Internet's labyrinthine array of blogs and personal web pages to expose, test, and develop their work. The contributors range in age from sixteen to early forties. They are gay, straight, and in some cases still searching for their identities. Their fiction ranges in character from adventurous literary works to pieces that are astonishingly emotional, sexual, and/or personally revealing. What unifies them is their extraordinary talent, their daring and highly individualistic approaches to composing fiction, and the breathtaking freshness, charge, and skill of their prose. Somewhere in this anthology's collection of mostly unknown, exciting voices are the next important writers of English language fiction." (Jan. ’07, $16.95, 1-933354-15-1)
Read how Userlands came together in the January-March archives:

Arsenal Pulp Press:
Avoiding Toxins & A Black Gay Classic

ManBug, by George K. Ilsley
The first novel by Ilsley, whose first story collection, Random Acts of Hatred, was published to acclaim in 2003. Told in dreamlike fragments, ManBug unfolds as a love story between Sebastian, an entomologist with Asperger’s Syndrome (similar to autism), and Tom, a spiritual bisexual who may or may not be recruiting Sebastian for a cult. They explore the world through their relationship, seeking meaning and value in themselves through the other. They also try to avoid the inevitable toxins around them, both real and imagined — like bugs avoiding insecticide — while asking the question, 'Just how much poison can any of us absorb?' ManBug is a beguiling, tragicomic novel about beauty, horror, desire, and what lurks just beneath the skin. (Apr., $15.95, 1-55152-203-9)
An interview with Ilsley (below a fun one with fellow Vancouver resident Michael V. Smith):

Blackbird, by Larry Duplechan, foreword by Michael Nava
First published by St. Martin's Press in 1986, Blackbird is a funny, moving, coming-of-age novel about growing up black and gay in southern California. The lead character, Johnnie Ray Rousseau, is a high school student upset over losing the lead role in the school staging of Romeo and Juliet. As if that weren't enough, his best friend has been beaten badly by his father, and his girlfriend is pressuring him to have sex for the first time. All the while, he's intrigued by Marshall MacNeill, whom he meets at an audition and is surely the sexiest man to walk God's green earth — at least according to Johnnie Ray. This novel of adolescent awakening is as fresh and heartfelt as it was when first published. (May, $15.95, 1-55152-202-0)
Author info:

Harrington Park Press:
Scholarly Studies & Fine New Fiction

Skip Macalester, by J. E. Robinson
Privileged, precocious, and not yet 16, Skip Macalester is discovering secrets and surprises about practically everyone he knows; he has a lot to learn about life, love, and just where he fits in an extended, upper-class African American family that's full of success, secrets—and surprises. J. E. Robinson's first novel is a unique coming-of-age story that follows Skip through his junior year at Milton High as he uncovers hidden truths about himself, his family, and even his teachers. With his best friend, protector, and would-be lover Drew at his side, Skip loses his innocence to the harsh realities of interracial romance, class issues, clergy abuse, and infidelity. “Novelist Robinson understands teen angst and ennui, but he also understands teen idealism, teen energy, teen family relationships, and teen wit. The novel is also sensuous to a degree that I've not seen in a long while. Skip Macalester reminds us of the intensity of adolescent senses, including the feel, taste, and smell of teen spirit.”—Thomas Long, editor, Harrington Gay Men’s Literary Quarterly. (Apr., $19.95, 1-56023-576-4)

Going Down in La-La Land, by Andy Zeffer
Going Down in La-La Land is a candid, sexy, and outrageously funny look at what an actor can — and will — do to survive in Hollywood. Young, ambitious, and gay, Adam Zeller arrives from New York with the looks and talent to become a star but soon finds himself lost in a seamy (and steamy) underworld of gay porn and male prostitution, dealing with down-and-out directors, washed up starlets, crystal meth addicts, and the pretty boy Hollywood “A” list. Struggling to find his way back to the yellow brick road of stardom, he gets a first-hand education on the X-rated film industry, finds out what really goes on in the town's top talent agencies, and peeks inside the closet of one of America's most beloved TV stars. (Apr., $16.95, 1-56023-597-7)
Author info:

A Gay Couple’s Journey Through Surrogacy: Intended Fathers by Michael Menichiello
A deeply personal account of the trials and tribulations of the surrogacy journey. (Apr., $14.95, 0-7890-2820-4)

Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures, edited by Peggy J. Kleinplat & Charles Moser
A book that dispels the myths about those who prefer to go beyond "vanilla" sex. (Apr., $39.95, 1-56023-640-Xl)

Sex and the Sacred: Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth, by Daniel A. Helminiak
An examination of the spiritual dimension of human sexuality, by the author of the decade-spanning bestseller What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, from Alamo Square Press. (Apr., $19.95, 1-56023-342-7)

Barebacking: Psychosocial and Public Health Approaches, edited by Perry N. Halkitis (May, $29.95, 0-7890-2174-8)

Bringing Lesbian and Gay Rights into the Mainstream: Twenty Years of Progress, by Steve Endean, founder of Human Rights Commission (May, $29.95, 1-56023-526-8)

Eros: A Memoir of Bisexuality and Transculturism, by Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio (June, $19.95, 1-56023-572-1)

Chemistry, by Lewis DeSimone
Two passionate gay lovers are torn apart by mental illness. “Chemistry is about attraction and repulsion — finding new love and nursing broken hearts. This wonderful, touching gay novel, set in the age of Prozac and AIDS, offers readers real characters they will care about and think about long after the story ends.”—Gary M. Kramer, author, Independent Queer Cinema: Reviews and Interviews. (July, $19.95, 1-56023-559-4)
The author’s blog:

Seventy Times Seven, by Salvatore Sapienza
A call to religious life is never easy — especially when you're 27 and gorgeous! “Jesus instructed us to forgive those who have wronged us seventy times seven times,” Brother Vito Fortunato teaches the boys in his high school religion class, but it's Vito himself who has the most trouble with forgiveness: trying to forgive the Church, the gay community, and most of all, himself. Just a few months from his final vows as a Brother in the Catholic Church, Vito finds himself at a crossroads, torn between his spirituality and his sexuality as a fully out and proud gay man. Will a summer of volunteer work at an AIDS center in San Francisco — and a love affair with Gabriel, a recently divorced landscaper — help Vito decide his calling — and his future? (Summer, $17.95, 1-56023-599-3)
Author info:

Friends, Lovers, and Roses, by Vernon Clay
Three gay couples travel from lust to love — with a few stops along the way. Smart, sassy, and full of surprises, Friends, Lovers, and Roses follows three gay African American couples (and their Puerto Rican confidant) through the twists and turns of building (and sometimes, destroying) relationships. Their stories — funny one moment, frightening the next — reveal the hard truths about the journey from lust to love and about the choices we make along the way. This fast-moving romantic drama swings from intense to inspiring and back again in a heartbeat as David, Allen, Stephen, Jamal, Sarafina, Dominique (and Damien) struggle with the things we do — and don't do — for love. (Summer, $ 22.95, 1-56023-562-4)

Virginia Bedfellows, by Gavin Morris
Two men living as lovers in eighteenth-century America face fear, prejudice... and death. Banished from England and forced to work as indentured servants in Colonial Virginia, Lance Morley and Adam Bradley share a secret that could cost them their lives. As Virginia Bedfellows, they find love, passion, and pleasure on the Ashley Landing plantation, building a life together that's immoral in the eyes of society and criminal in the eyes of the law. Their unbreakable bond — and the friendships they form with kindred spirits in nearby Williamsburg and far away Philadelphia — help them face down fear, prejudice, and the constant threat that their secret will be exposed. (Summer, $16.95, 1-56023-588-8)

The Cure for Sodomy, by Ken Shakin
One day on the unforgiving streets of New York City, you pass by an old man, a homeless bum, filthy and obviously more than a little crazy. A victim of electroshock therapy, he claims. The cure for being gay. In a moment of small compassion, you invite him for a cup of coffee. He begins to tell you his story, how he cruised through life, dancing the night away. And suddenly you realize he could be you, in a few years. Ken Shakin, author of Love Sucks (1997), walks the thin line between journalism and fiction, blending history and gossip into woven prose. (Summer, $16.95, 1-56023-565-9)
Author info:

Independent Queer Cinema: Reviews and Interviews, by Gary M. Kramer
Film critic Gary M. Kramer has always looked to films as a mirror to see how gay and lesbian life is represented. Independent Queer Cinema collects 100 of Kramer's reviews and interviews (from 1999 to 2004) that celebrate the latest “queer wave” of actors, writers, and directors. These are films and filmmakers to be discovered and discussed — from the independent American hit Kissing Jessica Stein and the provocative foreign gem Come Undone, to tantalizing insights from Stephen Fry and Tilda Swinton. Independent Queer Cinema is a valuable reference guide as well as an entertaining compilation of Kramer's astute reviews and interviews. (Summer, $22.95, 1-56023-343-5)

Palari Publishing:
All The Pretty Boys, Losing It At Sea

Summer Cruising, by Dave Benbow
Sweeping romance and steamy sex are the daily activities for the hunky passengers of the RMS Princess Diana, as they set sail on a rollicking all-gay cruise through the sun-drenched Mediterranean and its stunning ports of call. But this idyllic holiday abruptly ends when a calculating psychopath sets in motion a dastardly plan to send the luxurious liner to the bottom of the sea. Soon daring escapes, personal sacrifices, and heart-pounding rescues replace romance, and the men of the Diana struggle to survive the sinking ship and each other. (June, $14.95, 1-92866-207-2)
Author info:

GLB Publishers:
Cowboys & Indians & Samurai & Schoolboys

Beautiful Dreamers, by Chris Kent
“Beautiful Dreamers is not a tawdry tale of young victims lured into destructive relationships: the young students of Bruce Academy are usually the sexual aggressors. Kent depicts in unapologetic terms a world with changing boundaries, where some adolescent boys choose to dally with mature men; the jailbait are in control and they play a dangerous game with each other and their older lovers. This is uncertain territory that may create some degree of controversy.”—David Chapman. (Apr., $15.95, 1-879194-60-0)
An excerpt:

Island Mambo, by Robert Burdette Sweet
Two couples meet in the jungle for intrigue and bisexual mysteries. (Apr., $15.95, 1-879194-58-9)
An excerpt:

Sensuous Mates: Two Novellas, by Bill Lee
This one is forthcoming; here’s a blurb I wrote for the back cover: “The wide-open plains and mountains of cattle country Montana and the rigid, ritual-bound world of Japan's samurai traditions come together with sizzling sensuality in this collection of well-crafted erotica, just the right thing for readers who want to be aroused by context and character as much as by the sexy bits. Montana Mates melds Brokeback Mountain and Song of the Loon to tell the story of cowboys — and Indians — reveling in their physicality and opening up to their romanticism. The Inseparable Samurais is the intense gay tale we wish Yukio Mishima had written. Together, these novellas are torrid and touching by equal measure.”

'Netting Around:
Happy Birthday Howl & E. Lynn Harris Muses

The Saints & Sinners Festival, rising above the floodwaters of Katrina, is shaping up just fine for May 12-14, with literati and glitterati like Jake Shears, Michelle Tea, Martin Pousson, Achy Obejas, Steven Saylor, Patricia Nell Warren, Emanuel Xavier, Radclyffe, Charlie Anders, S. Bear Bergman, Randy Boyd, Dan Boyle, Poppy Z. Brite, Becky Cochrane, Timothy J. Lambert, Jim Gladstone, Charles Flowers, Carol Seajay, and oh-so-many more on hand to chatter gladly about queer books and things. For a current schedule, registration info, and other details:

“It's no stretch to argue that without Howl's graphic celebrations of homosexuality, gay literature as we know it might not have evolved. By the same token, Ginsberg's ardent antiestablishment stance laid the groundwork for both the upheavals of the 1960s and the marketing juggernaut we call ‘youth culture’ today,” writes David L. Ulin in his Los Angeles Times review of The Poem That Changed America: "Howl" Fifty Years Later, edited by Jason Shinder (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30).
The full review:

Hear Ginsberg read Howl — the full experience is an hour and 12 minutes, but Ginsberg comes around the 40th minute and reads for about an half hour. Where the reading was recorded is not known, according to the Internet Archives source. Anne Waldman reads first, followed by Ginsberg. “I don't read (Howl) often because it's too much of a bravura piece," says Ginsberg by way of introduction, "and I don't want to get hung up on it."
waldman_ and_allen_ginsberg/naropa_anne_waldman

A new online journal is looking for contributions on the very short side: “Issue #2: Little Did They Know... features short short prose work by Sarah Blackman, Richard Grayson, Travis Jeppesen, Michael Martone, Ashley McWaters, and Alissa Nutting,” writes editor C. Bard Cole. “Theme for Issue #3 (deadline May 31) is A Season In Heck. That's right, in Heck. After that, we'll have Issue #4, Three Cheers for Reality. Each issue features six short prose works by writers of varied backgrounds — poets, fiction writers, and whoever else can write short, intense prose. If you are interested in submitting written work, art, or if you just wanna shoot the breeze, write me at Or if you're feeling formal.”

With Mark Doty as poetry judge and Ali Smith and Michael Arditti judging short stories, Chroma magazine has launched an International Queer Writing Competition — with “big cash prizes” for the three winners, and publication in the magazine, says editor Shaun Levin. “We’re also looking for submissions for our next two issues: Competition and Island. Issue 4 of Chroma, just released, is all about Cinema.
For info:

GLB Publishers is now publishing (as e-books) “humorous short stories by men and women on their coming out,” reports publisher Bill Warner. “There may also be a version for transsexuals if we receive appropriate short stories.” As well, the Gay History Writers Project — sponsored by GLB — has also opened a new site devoted to the writing of Richard Amory (The Song of the Loon), which includes, for downloading, one of Amory’s later novels, Frost ($8, several formats).
Info on coming out stories:
Richard Amory:

Planning a trip to Edinburgh? Check out a new series of walking-tour guides prepared by lesbian novelist Ellen Galford, telling the story of 500 years of gay culture in Scotland's capital, from persecution to liberation.

After turning out a book a year for almost a decade, E. Lynn Harris slipped back into severe depression, took a break from writing, and developed — to his surprise — a love of teaching (writing and, ahem, cheerleading). As he gets ready to tour in May for the release of his new novel, I Say A Little Prayer, he reflects for on the trap of entitlement, on critics who dismiss his writing as trash, and on getting back his groove:

“A heterosexual grandmother of five writes a detailed novel about gay men battling love, lymphoma and homophobia” — read the story of how Brenda Webster got inside the skins of gay men for her historical romance, The Beheading Game (Wings Press, $22.95). Reading every book by Edmund White helped, reports Katherine Volin in The Washington Blade:

“The church plays a damnation role — hell and damnation — in the lives of young gay people,” says Benn Setfrey, author of the self-published book Don't Shoot! I'm Coming Out: How to "Man-Up" & Set Heterosexuals "Straight" ($22 paper from the author), a self-help book for gay African American men and boys. “Many black gay men fear going to church on Sundays because you never know if that's going to be the day that homosexuality and sin comes up.'' And former pro football player David Kopay endorses the book: ''He's fabulous,'' said Kopay, who played in the National Football League from 1964 to 1972. "He's saying things that should have been said a while ago and he's putting himself on the line. When I first read his manuscript, I said, 'Wow!'"
The full story:
Setfrey upfront: "Our street sissy quota has been met. You do not have to be effeminate to be gay. It's gotten so bad even Little Richard is starting to look butch."
Author info:

The Bruce Benderson Interview: The Outrageous and Acclaimed Author on His Newest Book, Why He Loves Portland, and His Fishnet Underwear: Evan James talks with the author about his new memoir, The Romanian, drawn from his love affair with a straight-identified male prostitute:

“Getting lost in Carol Seajay's neighborhood is sort of sweet. Her Noe Valley enclave is tucked in with winter fog that mutes the bright paint jobs on the Victorians and refreshes the yards full of flowering bushes and spiky trees. But as peaceful as it is to be adrift in her hood, I'd rather be lost in her house. The woman's got books,” writes Michelle Tea in her February Bay Guardian column about Books To Watch Out For...

There don't seem to be any all-queer panels at the gargantuan Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 29-30, but there are plenty of homos scattered around: mystery author John Morgan Wilson (Rhapsody in Blood); book designer and novelist Chip Kidd (The Cheese Monkeys) in conversation with L.A. Times critic Charles Solomon; editor Susie Bright (Best American Erotica series), novelist Dennis Cooper (The Sluts, God. Jr.), and performance artist Karen Finley on a panel called "Pushing the Envelope" (joined, weirdly, by late-night talk show host Craig Ferguson); and David Ebershoff (The Rose City), as one of the "editors who write," on Saturday ("Dr." Laura Schlesinger is also paired that day with right-wing lesbian Tammy Bruce, worth a hiss or three). On Sunday: poet Eloise Klein Healy (Passing); novelist Joe Keenan (My Lucky Star); and humorist David Rakoff (Don't Get Too Comfortable) — and, I'm sure some others of the lavender hue.
For panel times, places, and participants:

Dear BTWOF: Feedback On The Lammys

I love your last issue of BTWOF with all of the Lammy info. How great it is for it all to be out in the open. And, as always, it's great to hear your personal thoughts.
—Greg Wharton (publisher, Suspect Thoughts Press)

Your comprehensive explanation was fantastic — so very accountable and accessible. So thanks for that. I think everyone will be really pleased and it will certainly salve some bruised egos! I've been thinking back to my own parts in selection processes and know that it really only takes one advocate or detractor to make a difference, so it's easy to imagine that I didn't have an advocate this year, or had a detractor! Unlike a few years ago, when I suspect I owe my nomination to a literary fairy godfather!
—Andy Quan (author, Six Positions)

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for drawing back the veil from the Lammy finalist selection process. As an author, it always seemed as if the "mullahs" simply made a rather specious decree that was more relevant to what *should have been read* rather than what was actually read and discussed and had any depth of market impact. As with any effort on the part of others that awards distinction, there is always that sense for an author of being condescended to by a panel of arbitrary tastemakers. In truth, your article and discussion of the process in BTWOF was personally very illuminating and appreciated. As a Lammy judge (Biography for this and the past three years), I was always — and remain — very grateful for the winnowing the finalist committee did and could only imagine the hard work it took to arrive at the corresponding consensus. As an author, well... my feelings are somewhat more complex... I would be lying if I told you that not making the list didn't evoke a long conversation with myself about exactly what it is I'm trying to accomplish with my work. The result of that conversation is the conviction that I must follow my own instincts and be loyal to my creative intuition. I labor under some pretty tough expectations of myself; ultimately I have to answer to that. Lammy nods have to be beside the point. So, it's back to work for me. I have so much opportunity and latitude to make the most of my imagination right now. I have the responsibility to make some significant contributions. Your support in the selection process was a huge validation for me, Richard, not only in what I have written, but what I need to write.
—Jay Quinn (author, Back Where He Started, The Good Neighbor)

...every year there's some books that I think should make the list and some that I think are bad picks. But taste is a personal thing and despite the disappointment over Andy's book missing out and the lack of a category for Speeding I'm just happy that they've managed to keep the awards going. Great to see Suspect Thoughts getting so many nominations — and there are some really great books nominated.
—Andrew McBeth (publisher, Green Candy)

I enjoyed your latest BTWOF column regarding the current gay publishing scene. That observation about all the new venues for gay books isn't said enough. Which leads me to wonder whether there are more gay books being published today than back in the 1990s. It seems like there would have to be. I do at least 20 a year, which must be about the number Stonewall Inn used to do. Surely, Bella and Bold Strokes are making up for the Naiad numbers... All of this is to say, I don't know why this healthy publishing scenario isn't commented on more. Thank you for being the one to do it.
—Don Weise (editor, Carroll & Graf)

As usual, I find BTWOF really invaluable — it has become, alas, one of the few real connecting tissues in the gay book world. We need more. But I'm so glad you're doing this... I saw the notice about Pat Giles's death; I remember Pat so well from A Different Light in NY, and knew him slightly even before. I put up a memorial notice on the website... He was a really charming, sweet guy — and part of that sadness of that little piece of my past, when ADL was in Chelsea, and there was more to that area than attitude, boy stores with deafening music, and exorbitant rents — which are now driving the queers out.
—Perry Brass (author, Substance of God, and more from Belhue Press)

Richard can be reached at, at 613.264.5409, or at 7-A Drummond St W, Perth, ON K7H 2J3 Canada. Books for review, author news, interesting links — all appreciated.

© 2006 Books to Watch Out For
Graphics © Judy Horacek