Were LGBTQs Ever Fully Equal to Other Humans?

Ron Fritsch stopped by with a question. His book, Promised Valley Rebellion was selected by readers as A 2014 LGBT Book Gem. ~ B.

Historians seem to have found LGBTQs almost everywhere they’ve looked. When public figures such as the former president of Iran claim LGBTQs don’t appear in their part of the world, the overwhelming response is ridicule.

Promised Valley RebellionBut can we find a time when and a place where LGBTQs were fully equal to the other humans they lived with? In the Western world we often look to ancient Greece and Rome for acceptance of LGBTQs. But when we confront the details, we find something other than acceptance and equality.

The Greeks favored men having sex with adolescent boys. When the boy grew up, the relationship was supposed to end (although it might’ve continued behind closed doors). The Romans approved free male citizens having sex with slaves, prostitutes, or other males having no social standing. Clearly, neither the Greece nor the Rome of antiquity is the LGBTQ utopia we’re looking for. [Read more…]

Sighs Too Deep for Words

Welcome William Jack Sibley to the blog with a quick spotlight on his book, Sighs Too Deep for Words, nominated by readers as a 2014 LGBT Boom Gem.
Sighs Too Deep for WordsI won’t bore you, dear reader, with the details of how I went from New York publisher Kensington producing my first novel “ANY KIND OF LUCK” to then doing the second one entirely by myself except to say that Kensington wanted a repeat “serial” of the first book and I, after ultra brief consideration, graciously declined.  I’d already said what I’d wanted to say on the subject.  I waited nine months for Dutton to then determine if I was worthy enough for their illustrious imprint (I wasn’t!).  And then it was off to the salt mine hell of small, Indie publishing houses. I had to pull the book from one persistently mendacious publisher, got dropped by another for daring to question their imperial supremacy (and such unmitigated joy all for virtually zero money.) I finally ended up sticking the galleys in my desk drawer and sternly ignored the muffled whimpering emanating forthwith for several years before having a head-slapping, V8 moment. Self-publish and be damned! [Read more…]

Why Gay YA?

Welcome Chris O’Guinn to the blog. Readers chose his novel, Fearless as a 2014 LGBT Book Gem.

Fearless - Chris O'GuinnIt’s quite an honor to have my book, Fearless, be counted among the Hidden Gems on this list. I am very grateful to Brandon for giving me the chance to introduce people to this story. Of everything I have written, this one is closest to me personally. And given the reaction of my wonderful readers, it seems to be striking a chord with people all over the world.

One of the most common and most interesting questions I get is, “Why do you write gay YA?” I like this question because the answer is so layered. It gets at the core of what I really want to accomplish with my books. [Read more…]

The Cool Part of His Pillow

Welcome Rodney T Ross to the blog. His novel, The Cool Part of His Pillow was nominated by readers as a 2014 LGBT Book Gem.  I asked him to stop by and tell us a little about himself and the book. ~ B.


Rodney T. RossThe adage is absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I might add to that: A little distance, too.

It’s been well over a year since publication of The Cool Part of His Pillow (TCPohP).

Only now, impregnation and labor behind me, can I address its birth without excessive tears and gastrointestinal distress.

I circulated the manuscript to what mainstream publishers still accept unsolicited work –- approximately zero -– and literary agents. Many indicated they had enough LGBTQ-inclined authors. Like an aspiring career politician, I would apparently have to wait for someone to die to be installed. My favorite rejection was to what I thought was a succinct plot summary and my best three chapters. [Read more…]

Naked in the Rain

Welcome Eowyn Wood to the blog. Her award-winning novel, Naked in the Rain was nominated by readers as a 2014 LGBT Book Gem

Naked in the Rain - Eowyn WoodMy novel Naked in the Rain and its sequel Afterglow tackle the controversial topic of underage prostitution, along with drug addiction, homelessness and… music. It is not all dark and dreary. I hope readers find beauty and humor generously sprinkled throughout both novels.

People ask me, why write about two boys who run away and become prostitutes? The answer is, I don’t really know! Some people attribute it to my “day job” working at Cascade AIDS Project, a non-profit AIDS service organization. While it’s true CAP has exposed me to people with a lot of different life experiences, the story was in my head long before I began working there. [Read more…]

Make Do and Mend

Welcome Adam Fitzroy to the blog, his book, Make Do and Mend was chosen by readers as an LGBT Book Gem.  ‘Book Gems’ are those books which readers thought so fantastic, they wanted other readers to know about them. 

MAKE DO AND MENDSome authors prepare meticulously when they begin to write a new book, knowing in detail from the outset precisely what will happen to whom and in what order.  Personally, I find this approach dampens creativity, and I prefer to take the journey alongside the characters; I will usually know something about the people and their story arc before I start a book, but the way it develops can often surprise me.  It’s also usually the case that I have to wait until I’ve finished a book before I can look back on it objectively and say with any hope of certainty exactly what the story is about! [Read more…]

The Boy with the Yellow Socks

The Boy with the Yellow SocksI was a boy of twelve the summer I looked out my bedroom window and saw my father standing in the front yard and my friend, who lived across the street, come toward him in a staggering walk that made me think he was going to fall with each step. My friend was a sixty-something bachelor, and many an afternoon I’d sat in his kitchen drinking lemonade and listening to him tell stories from his boyhood that always made me laugh. Finally, swaying on unsure feet, my friend stood before my father. “George,” he said in a drunken slur, “I want you to know I love that boy of yours. He’s the sweetest, nicest…” I didn’t hear the rest because I’d ducked down and covered my ears and said aloud, “Those are the wrong things to say to my dad!” I knew my friend was making a terrible mistake by the way my father had tucked his chin to his chest, the signal he was not pleased. In a short while the door to my bedroom opened, and I didn’t look, pretending to be searching for something in my desk. My father said, “No more going over to his house.” I remember all too well the squeezing in my chest, and, when I didn’t respond, I remember the way my father raised his voice to say, “Did you hear me?” It was then that I uttered one of the most painful words I’ve ever uttered. “Yes,” I said. [Read more…]

There’s Something About Albert

Julie Bozza on the blog today talking about her novel, The Definitive Albert J Sterne. Enjoy! ~B.

Albert-v1-front-200Brandon kindly asked me if I’d care to write something about my novel The Definitive Albert J Sterne, and I was very pleased to accept. But then it took me weeks to decide what to write. Inevitably, though, there was only one answer to that. A (mostly discreet) baring of my heart and soul was called for, because that was what was involved in writing Albert. My bared heart and soul.

Maybe all first novels are like that. Albert isn’t autobiographical in any literal sense. But that’s me, in words on the page, in all my essentials.

The me at the time was 29 years old, a married public servant with a mortgage, living just outside Australia’s capital city Canberra. Well, at least we had that small detail in common, I suppose: Albert lived just outside the United States’ capital city Washington.

He was brilliant at what he did, but had no social graces. At all. I like to think I had one or two – graces, that is. I wasn’t brilliant. He was barely tolerated, while I hope I was at least liked… He would think me rather pathetic for even thinking that. I love him dearly. [Read more…]

Book Gems come from all sorts of places

Welcome Heather Domin to the blog. She’s here to talk to us about another Hidden Book Gem I found while wandering the internet. ~B

Allegiance - Heather DominStories come from all sorts of places – this one came from a newsboy cap.

I get most of my ideas from images, usually a random visual that pops up in my head and spins itself first into a character, then into a premise. Back in 2004 (dear lord, I just realized that was 10 years ago) I was watching an interview with an actor I had a crush on; he was wearing a gray newsboy cap, and I said jokingly to my roommate that he looked like an Irish terrorist. It was a throwaway comment (and not even a clever one), but over the next few days the image kept coming back to me, like a montage in a movie trailer: not a terrorist but a hero, running through smoky streets, dodging gunfire, trying to rescue someone he loved. Thus Adam Elliott (and his gray cap) was born. William developed just as quickly – I knew I wanted a cinematic drama with lots of danger and a love story to match, and what could be more dangerous in 1920s Dublin than falling in love with another man who’s secretly working for the Crown? I’m a sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope. I wanted Adam and William to be two sides of the same coin, two people who had been through similar traumas but reacted to them in a very different ways. I decided to tell the story from William’s point of view so the reader could experience Adam along with him, but it didn’t take long to realize that it was William’s story I was really telling. The outline came together pretty quickly, and everything took off from there. There was so much to explore: history, culture, religion, class, love, loss, fate…. plus, you know, beautiful men with accents angsting all over the place while wearing (or not wearing) period clothes. Because newsboy cap. [Read more…]

How I Accidentally Fell Into Writing

Welcome John T. Fuller to the blog. John has the distinction to be the first author we’re bringing to you this year for the Hidden Gems blog series. In a nutshell, this series of posts is about helping you find books that you may not have found, but that others have raved about.  They come from all facets of LGBTQ lit, so if you know of a book that you think needs to be spotlighted, let us know. I hope you’ll enjoy the blog series! Now, everyone say welcome to John. ~B

When the Music Stops - John T. FullerWhen Brandon approached me and asked if I’d like to take part in his 2014 guest blog theme of ‘Hidden Gems’ I was very honoured and incredibly surprised to be contacted by such a prolific and respected author. Just as surprised, in fact, as I’ve been at how my debut (and currently only!) novella When the Music Stops has been received by readers.

You see, I never really intended it to be published. I’ve written on and off as a hobby for most of my adult life, everything from erotica to horror, historical to sci-fi, but none of it ever saw the light of day – in fact a lot of it never even got finished. It was always just a hobby to me, a nice creative outlet when I came home from the (depressingly factual) desk-job. When I wrote When the Music Stops it was the longest piece I’d written to date and I wasn’t thinking about an audience or what readers might think – possibly this was a good thing, as I’d perhaps not have tackled such an emotive and divisive subject if I’d been worried about how it would be received. [Read more…]