Monthly Archives: November 2016

25Nov/16

Steve Berman

November 25, 2016

It gives us great pleasure to announce Steve Berman as the guest on episode 086: Unconvicted Criminal Accomplice!

This week Steve Berman joins the podcast to talk about his writing, establishing and running Lethe Press, gay publishing, and he shares a special holiday coupon code for listeners!

SPECIAL BLACK FRIDAY PROMO

Go to Lethepressbooks.com and use “WROTEPODCAST” (all caps, sans quotes) and receive 33% off your purchases from the Lethe Press online bookstore now (11.25) to 12.10.16!

Follow and support Steve’s work:

Bio:

Steve is a writer. He mostly writes queer speculative fiction (fantasy, horror, surreal and quirky) for teens and adults.
He’s also an editor. He adores short stories and has edited a fair number of acclaimed anthologies.
He established and owns Lethe Press, one of the larger LGBT presses in the nation.
He lives in New Jersey, the only part of the United States that has an official devil.

 

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19Nov/16

Review of At Danceteria And Other Stories by Philip Dean Walker

philipdeanwalker

Listen to Philip Dean Walker’s show and find out more about his work here!

REVIEW

This is an audacious collection, set in the 1970’s and 80’s, featuring the rich and famous, dead or still alive. Audacious because the events are (probably) fiction, featuring real life celebrities (Freddie Mercury, Princess Diana, Halston, Liza Minnelli, to name just a few.) These affectionate and mischievous tales are moving, visceral and funny all at once, leaving the reader feeling as if they’ve been sand-blasted with fabulousness. Sparkly, yet sore as hell.

There is a distinct cool 1970’s/hot 1980’s vibe shimmering through this book, flamboyant characters coming to vibrant life, the drugs, the partying, the sex, the smart talk. Yet the whole thing is overshadowed by the spectre of AIDS. Death, dawning realisation, partying before someone turns the lights out, it is all here, in an incredible group of stories, the like of which I will never forget.

To find out more about each story, read below. Or don’t, and just read the book instead. It’s wonderful. And four weeks after reading it, still as clear as crystal. Damn you, Philip Dean Walker for getting inside my head!

By Halston is one night in the life of the fashion designer and his muse Liza Minnelli as they Hoover cocaine like Tony Montana before the launch of a new fashion collection (for JC Penney…) and party the night away at Studio 54. The crisp dialogue and insights into an outwardly glamorous world are pin sharp. Walker has studied these people and loves them, for all their faults and insecurities. Halston’s ultimate destiny is hinted at in one chillingly mundane observation, that he has “always preferred black rough trade.” He draws Halston as generous, egotistical, colourful, insecure, talented. Simply, he is Halston. By Halston.

Don’t Stop Me Now. Four besties, Freddie (Mercury,) Kenny (Everett,) Cleo (Rocos,) and Diana (Spencer,) a fantasy foursome if ever there was one, enjoy ribald humour and a night at a drag show.  This was hugely enjoyable yet so poignant, considering that all but one are now dead. I grew up with Freddie and Kenny. I watched Lady Di turn into Princess Diana. When they fell, one by one, it was as if a piece of my own history had died with them. So reading this gleeful tale of “what ifs” with the four of them having good times, going to a drag club, was wonderful. Diana dressing as a drag king might be implausible, but the way it was written, you could easily imagine it happening. As she strips herself of her “Princess” persona, a drag queen dresses up in her image, reminding her that the world needed Princess Diana. Nothing could stop her now.

In Charlie Movie Star, Rock Hudson is at the White House, a guest of Nancy and Ronald Reagan. Although he’s aware of the new virus circulating around the gay community, he feels remote from it, first inviting a younger staffer back to his room. Fast forward to Tracks nightclub, and he meets another man called Gus. In 2016, we know he’s playing with fire. Every fibre in me wanted to call out across the decades, “beware!” But he doesn’t, and we know what happened next.

The Boy Who Lived Next To The Boy Next Door deals with AIDS head-on, as the narrator (we never learn his name) observes people in his community dropping like flies with what he calls HGF (Hot Guy Flu.) For a while, it seems as if people actually want to get this new virus, because it is seen as a badge of their desirability. That is, until the first not-so-hot guy falls ill. From then on, no-one is safe. This is meant to hit hard, and it does. The beautiful ballet dancer cutting his own face to make himself ugly and protect himself against HGF is especially shocking; a sobering reminder of those terrible dark years.

Sequins At Midnight is one night in the life of Sylvester, disco king at the height of his fame. One fabulous night, with his adoring fans before him, among them is Jason, waiting for him to sing his favourite song. As Sylvester toys with him from the stage, he thinks about his life so far, and we are given glimpses into his private persona, from when he is growing up to what brings him to this night. AIDS hasn’t yet struck, but it is waiting in the wings. We know this, yet Sylvester doesn’t. He is thinking about his life, from the brutal realisation that he is gay, to his famous friends who adore him. Yet he also knows full well, no-one gets a show for free. There are no refunds at the door….

Jackie and Jerry and The Anvil A somewhat sombre tale. Jerry Torre (The Marble Faun) takes Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis to The Anvil, a notorious leather bar, after she insists he escort her for a night out. The idea of the fragrant Ms. Onassis in such a sweaty place, smelling of ass and leather, is a mischievous one, yet it turns slightly melancholy as Jackie O recalls a lost love, and it seems that life can be lonely living with so many riches, yet so little excitement. Meanwhile, Little Edie Beale seethes with resentment on the sidelines, thinking her cousin is so lucky to be in the position she’s gained….

At Danceteria, Keith Haring is celebrating his 26th birthday. Madonna is on stage, singing just for him. Life looks good, but talking to friends, he sees the undercurrents threatening the stability of his life. “Something is fucking happening here.” Five words that spread a chill throughout the sweaty club. Keith escapes the noise and craziness and goes up into the roof of the club. With a couple of Sharpies he begins to draw. He’s drawing his future, and what he thinks is the future of his community. He leaves an indelible mark, to show that once, he was there.

This is a brilliant, acid-tipped spear of a collection. Not to be missed.

 

 

18Nov/16

Philip Dean Walker

November 18, 2016

It gives us great pleasure to announce Philip Dean Walker as the guest on episode 084: Bars Are Where Our History Happened!

This week author Philip Dean Walker shares with us the importance of our gathering places, his new book, and the urgent need to tell and record our stories.

Follow and support Phil’s work:

Bio:

Philip Dean Walker is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in literary journals such as Big Lucks, Collective Fallout, Jonathan, Glitterwolf Magazine, The Newer York, Driftwood Press, Lunch Review, and Carbon Culture Review. His short story “Three-Sink Sink” was named as a finalist for the 2013 Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction from The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review and appears in the anthology Pay for Play (Bold Strokes Books). He holds a B.A. in American Literature from Middlebury College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Fiction) from American University. He lives in Washington, D.C. This is his first book. 

 

This Podcast Episode is
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15Nov/16

Spotlight: Start the Conversation

keepcalmIt feels like the angry people of the world are trying to re-introduce isolationism and fear. This problem isn’t unique to the recent election in the US – this feeling is popping up in Europe too. We’ve come together as a panel of voices to explore what is happening, what we can do in the short term, what some long range goals need to be, and to share resources we know to be available to help you if you’re feeling like the world just got darker. Take a deep breath, we’re going to get through this.

Click here to listen to this episode:

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Panelist Bios:

Kate Aaron
Born in Liverpool, Kate Aaron is a bestselling author of the #1 LGBT romances What He Wants, Ace, The Slave, and other works.
She holds a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature, and an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture, and is an outspoken advocate for equal rights.
Kate swapped the North West for the Midwest in October 2015 and married award-winning author AJ Rose.
http://kateaaron.com

AJ Rose
AJ Rose is a passionate puzzle wrapped in a rose-colored enigma. She’s very quiet about the fact she’s an award winning author, and she loves to make radio announcers cobble together bios just to see what they’ll say. When she’s not staring at a word count, she’s got her sleeves rolled up and is ready to fight for the rights of all individuals – whether immigrant, Muslim, People of Color, LGBTQ – she will not go quietly into the dark closet.
https://ajrosewrites.wordpress.com

Dr. Redfern Jon Barrett
Born in the north of England, REDFERN JON BARRETT is a writer and polyamory rights campaigner. Armed with a doctorate in literature from Swansea University, they are author to novels The Giddy Death of the Gays & the Strange Demise of Straights (finalist for the 2016 Bisexual Book Awards) and Forget Yourself, as well as having contributed to publications including Guernica Daily, PinkNews, Van Winkle’s, and Strange Horizons on topics ranging from 18th century nonmonogamy to 23rd century science fiction.
http://www.redjon.com

F.E. Feeley Jr.
F.E. Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and lived there for twenty years before joining the military. He is a veteran of the US Armed Services; having done a tour in support of Operation Iraq Freedom in 2002-2003. After that, he turned college student, pursuing a degree in political science. He now lives in Southeast Texas where he is married to the love of his life, John, and where they raise their 1½ year old German shepherd, Kaiser.
http://soulfultroubadourdotcom.wordpress.com

Related News:

Read and Weep Trumps Reported Nominees for Cabinet Posts

http://billmoyers.com/story/farewell-america/

http://www.joemygod.com/2016/11/09/nazi-site-celebrates-their-glorious-leader-we-did-this-and-now-were-going-to-kick-those-monkeys-out/

SFGate: America Humiliated

http://www.reuters.com/article/usa-lgbt-trump-idUSL1N1DA31U

http://whywereafraid.com

11Nov/16

2nd Annual GRL Roundup

November 11, 2016

It gives us great pleasure to announce J Scott Coatsworth and Angel Martinez as the guests on episode 083: The 2nd Annual GRL Roundup!

This week J. Scott Coatsworth (Moderator of Queer SciFi) and Angel Martinez (of Mischief Corner Books) join us to talk about their recent experiences at GRL!

Connect with and support J. Scott Coatsworth:

Connect with and support Angel Martinez:

Bio:

J. Scott Coatsworth has written more than a dozen short stories. He also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Angel Martinez writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes. She’s also one of the founders of Mischief Corner Books (http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com), who give voice to LGBTQ fiction by publishing a diverse range of genres and topics.

 

This Podcast Episode is
AVAILABLE NOW!
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Or on Soundcloud:

02Nov/16

Review of Of Paradise & Purgatory by Stephen del Mar

Stephen del Mar has visited us a couple of times on WROTE. To listen to his interview and find out more about his latest work, follow this link. Episode 048: Digital Disruption, Baby!

REVIEW

para It’s no secret that I love Stephen del Mar’s work. He captures the whole Floridian landscape and way of life incredibly well, and it feels almost like I’m there when I read one of his books, sipping sangria and sunbathing on the Gulf Of Mexico.

Of Paradise & Purgatory moves the action to Arizona, another of my favourite US destinations. It’s all here; the heat and dust, and big skies and hot cowboys in leather chaps. The creak of saddles and the smell of sweat… Victor Cruz returns to Paradise, the town where he grew up, to bury his estranged father. The tagline reads “going home can be hell, even when it’s Paradise” and it’s a good description. Victor is gradually sucked into all the friends and family dynamics and politics, and is soon regretting his return.

As ever, there is a large cast of characters, all expertly and lovingly-drawn. There are references to Bennett Bay and its own characters, and everything is woven together with a bit of political intrigue, some magical realism, and a large dose of angst.

Victor is unapologetic, not very likeable at first, but he grew on me. I liked his honesty, the fact that he did not want the complications of a romance, that he had the courage to miss his father’s funeral even under the weight of expectation, that he snared a much younger man and was upfront with him. He was prickly about the subject of his dad, and the fact that everyone else thought the man was so wonderful when all Victor could remember was the beatings. The way he learned more about himself as time went on, and stuck to his guns with forcing others to see the truth, made me respect him even more. Yes, he came over as self-pitying at times, but that only made him more human.

The book was a colourful mix, with a café bomb and Day Of The Dead celebrations off-setting the apple-pie family imagery. There was a hint of corporate intrigue, possibly explored further on in the series, that could have been clarified more. And the magical realism was the only bit of the book that I felt uneasy with. Until then, I had not picked up any markers that it was on the cards (other than the synopsis.) The seasoning, as the author describes it, was added a little heavily towards the end, and felt slightly uneven.

But it’s a small quibble, as this is a book about Victor Cruz, and how he learns to accept both himself and the kindness of those around him. The feel is different to Stephen del Mar’s other books, in that it takes on a more serious, literary tone, but don’t let that put you off. This is great fun, a book about family, love, sex and friendship dynamics that punches way above its weight.