anthology

Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology

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Something witchy this way comes! This Saturday, April 29, Western Washington University will host its first Queer Con in Bellingham, Washington. My time-off has already been spoken for, so I won’t be able to attend. In lieu of gorging myself on panels and queer comics, I curled up with Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology. Collection editor Joamette Gil will be one of the event guests.

This collection is another powerful testament to community funded campaigns. Last year, the folks behind Power & Magic Press set about making this book a reality. Thanks to its success, you can now buy a print or digital copy. Fifteen black & white short stories reflect the creative contributions of seventeen women, demigirls, and bigender people of color. A handful of stories also have content warnings in the table of contents (ToC). It’s impossible for me to claim favorites; this magical gathering is all-around amazing.

“Her Gift” by Coco Candelario, reminds me of Kiki’s Delivery Service in both spirit and style. April, spunky delivery witch, is in love with her best friend, Pam, a baker with no magical powers (not in the traditional sense, anyways; her family confections are scrumdiddlyumptious!). They live in a world of “Gifted” = witches and “Ungifted” = non-magical folks. It’s an adorable, endearing story about love and friendship.

Veronica Agarwal’s “Fluid” follows Ramona/Ramon as they navigate a world in which limitations and expectations are assigned based on gender, much like our own (“Boys can’t be witches!”). The story shows affirmation and support coming when you least expect it (and need it most). “Fluid” is accompanied by a content warning in the ToC: Gender questioning, misgendering.

Imagine, if you will, a life in which you wake up every morning in a different place and time. Welcome to “The Shop that Never Stays” by Gabrielle Robinson and Hannah Lazarte. After stumbling upon a magic shop with just the ingredients needed, our witch is tethered to it. Who know how many days, months, or even years, have passed. Until…one day… I’m one of many who get caught up in the rote of life, sometimes feeling like it won’t be any other way, until an experience or a person steps through the door and rocks life off it’s hinges.

 There are so many stories that I have not highlighted here, but only because I want you to experience it for yourself! If you happen to attend Queer Con at WWU, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology edited by Joamette Gil
Published by Power & Magic Press
Publication date: January 2017

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Categories: anthology, comics, fantasy, friendship, lgbt, romance | 1 Comment

Reading Resolutions for 2017

 Oh, reading challenges. I love them, and yet, I fare better with the types of reading challenges that quantify, rather than qualify, my choices. For example, Goodreads only asks how many books I plan on finishing between January and December. That’s pretty straightforward, simple, and, in some ways, not that much of a challenge. I can set the bar at 5 books, if I wanted (I would wither away if I was only able to read five books in a year).

My excuses/reasons for failing to cross the finish line of the 2016 PopSugar challenge are many. I’m like that dog in the Pixar movie “Up”; I get distracted by every book that crosses my path. There are certainly not enough hours in the day for work, commuting, and my myriad of interests. I am also unable to read less than ten trillion books at a time. There is currently one book in my glove compartment of my car; an audiobook in my car’s disc drive and on my smartphone; Analog magazine on my phone for endless lines at the grocery store; eBooks on my Nook; and on and on.

I don’t give myself a hard time for not living up to my own reading standards. It’s supposed to be so many other things above and beyond a mere assignment. I will, however, craft mini challenges for myself that highlight voices and genres I haven’t spent much (if any) time with. And then there is the news… So long 2016!

How about you?

Categories: anthology, audiobooks, erotica, essay, family relationships, fantasy, fiction, friendship, historical fiction, history, Holiday, horror, lgbt, librarians, literary fiction, Memoirs & Autobiographies, nonfiction, novella, paranormal, poetry, primary sources, retellings, romance, romantic friendships, short stories, Uncategorized, young adult | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Holiday Romance

“Baby, it’s cold outside”, so let’s curl up in front the fire with a glass of holiday cheer and a pile of romances! I had a good time marathoning holiday romance movies with my mom the other week, but it would be nice if there was a LGBT version of the Hallmark Movie Channel. Or maybe there is and you would be a wonderful dear if you shared it in the comments below. In the meantime, here is a list of novels, novellas, and short stories that I hope will warm up your December with love, cheer, and hope. I haven’t read all of them yet and this list is by no means comprehensive, but I wanted to share the list I’ve compiled before the season is over. Please help make this list bigger and better by sharing titles (featuring queer women-identified protagonists falling in love with other queer women) I’ve left off, in the comment section below.

the-miracle-of-the-lights

The Miracle of the Lights
Cindy Rizzo
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-352-2 (mobi), 978-3-95533-353-9 (epub), 978-3-95533-354-6 (pdf)
Publication date: January 2015

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When her girlfriend, Tova, leaves their upstate New York Hasidic community to avoid an arranged marriage, eighteen-year-old Chava goes in search of her among the hundreds of homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City.  Once there, she faces the challenges of life on the street and must reconcile the insulated world she has known with the new and unfamiliar choices she confronts.  But nothing else matters—not the cold, the onset of an illness, or her brush with danger—nothing, except finding Tova. (Ylva Publishing)

 

unwrap-these-presents

One of the great things about this anthology is that 100% of the profits benefit organizations that help homeless LGBT youth in the UK and New York City.

Unwrap These Presents
Various Authors; Edited by Astrid Ohletz and R.G. Emanuelle
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-278-5 (mobi), 978-3-95533-279-2 (epub), 978-3-95533-280-8 (pdf)
Publication date: November 2014

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Twenty-three authors of lesbian fiction contributed holiday stories that give you snow, presents, plenty of food, Holiday cheer and nicely wrapped curvy women under the tree. (Ylva Publishing)

 

mama-knows

Mama Knows
Cheri Crystal
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-334-8 (mobi), 978-3-95533-335-5 (epub), 978-3-95533-336-2 (pdf)
Publication date: December 2014

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At thirty-five, Rue is settled in her life. She lives at home so she can look after her aging mother, works as a farmhand, and scores with more ladies than the cowboys she hangs with. Why would she search for a place of her own, a permanent job, or a long-term relationship when she already has everything she needs?

But then her mother buys her a trip on a chartered singles’ tour in Europe for Christmas to broaden her horizons. On a bus with a bunch of chatty breeders, Rue is prepared for boredom.

To her surprise, the local culture and history—and a feisty gal named Billie—capture her interest. As she and Billy share a heated encounter on the ferry to France, Rue begins to think that maybe, just maybe, Mama really knows best.

(Previously published in the anthology Unwrap these presents.) (Ylva Publishing)

the-gift

The Gift
Catherine Lane
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-306-5 (mobi), 978-3-95533-307-2 (epub), 978-3-95533-308-9 (pdf)
Publication date: November 2014

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On Christmas morning, Paige finds a mysterious gift for her wife under the tree. The card says it’s from Paige, but she has no recollection of buying it. Even more curious—strange noises are coming from other rooms in the house. Opening this gift changes everything in this lesbian romance. (Ylva Publishing)

 

chasing-a-brighter-blue

Chasing a Brighter Blue
Gerri Hill
Publisher: Bella Books

ISBNs: 9781594934698
Publication date: December 2015

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A Christmas wedding in Colorado? A two-week celebration with family and friends? Who does that?

Photojournalist Reagan Bryant has just returned from six month stint in Afghanistan. Haunted by the tragedy that ended her last assignment, she’s searching for some peace—something to end the guilt and chase the trauma away. Two weeks at the resort hotel owned by her future sister-in-law’s father seems like the perfect escape.

Shelby Sutton doesn’t trust women. They always seem more interested in her father’s money than in her. But at her sister’s request, she vows to make friends with Reagan, a woman whose sad and haunted eyes are nearly impossible to ignore.(Bella Books)

 

love-beneath-the-christmas-tree

Love Beneath the Christmas Tree
Jae
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs:978-3-95533-135-1 (mobi), 978-3-95533-136-8 (epub), 978-3-95533-137-5 (pdf)
Publication date: December 2013

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Three short stories that follow the lives of Rachel Lewis, self-confessed Christmas Grump,  and Lillian Coleman, the woman who makes her believe in the magic of Christmas again. (Ylva Publishing)

 

twist-of-the-magi

Twist of the Magi
Caren J. Werlinger
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-9960368-2-5
Publication date: November 2014

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Christmas is not looking very merry for Penny Havers – she won’t be seeing her family for the holidays; she hasn’t had a girlfriend in forever; she can’t get her stories published. When two young women are hired at the shop where she works, Penny begins to think her luck may have changed. Penny is about to learn that, when Christmas works its magic, what you hope for isn’t always what you get. (Ylva Publishing)

 

fresh-tracks-georgia-beers

Fresh Tracks
Georgia Beers
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

ISBN: 9781933110639e
Publication date: November 2006

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Seven women, seven days. A lot can happen. Childhood friends, new lovers, and old rivals share beginnings, endings, and the uncommon bonds of friendship in a story filled with romance and possibility. (Ylva Publishing)

 

houses

Gingerbread Hearts: Six Lesbian Christmas Stories
Various Authors
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-023-1 (mobi), 978-3-95533-022-4 (epub), 978-3-95533-024-8 (pdf)
Publication date: November 2012

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The anthology consists of four new and two republished, re-edited short stories. (Ylva Publishing)

 

all-i-want

All I want for Christmas
Clare Lydon
ISBN: 9781310614231
ASIN: B0178TUVEU
BN ID: 2940153512099

Publication date: October 2015

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Her ideal present under the tree would be a shiny new girlfriend, so Tori gives herself one month to find that special lady by December 25th. Christmas spells romance and she’s going to grab some. (Clare Lydon)

 

puprle-owl

Christmas Eve at the Purple Owl Café
Cora Buhlert
Publisher: Pegasus Pulp Publishing

ISBN
Publication date: December 2014

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After a massive row with her parents over intolerable relatives, Katie finds herself all alone for the holidays. So she heads for the one place in town where everyone is welcome on Christmas Eve, the legendary Purple Owl Café.

The Purple Owl Café has a chequered sixty-year history. These days it’s not just a place for good music and conversation, it also happens to be a lesbian bar.

Katie doesn’t mind, though so far her life was too busy for romance of any kind. But that’s about to change when Katie meets Jess at the Christmas Eve party at the Purple Owl Café… (PPP)

 

all in the seasoning

All in the Seasoning
Various Authors; Edited by Katherine V. Forrest
Publisher: Bywater Books

ISBN: 1932859330
Publication date: 2006

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Celebrate the holidays . . . lesbian style! Celebrate solstice with women journeying along California’s rugged north coast. With a firefighter on the job in New York City. Overlooking a plain, filled with waiting children, north of Los Angeles. Experience Thanksgiving with a lesbian border patrol agent along the Arizona-Mexico border. (Bywater Books)

 

the-bureau-of-holiday-affairs

The Bureau of Holiday Affairs
Andi Marquette
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-550-2 (mobi), 978-3-95533-551-9 (epub), 978-3-95533-552-6 (pdf)
Publication date: November 2015

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Executive Robin Preston has dedicated her life to climbing the corporate ladder, using whatever means necessary. In the shark-infested culture at Frost Enterprises, anything goes, and Robin is a master at the game.

On the verge of a major promotion, Robin receives a strange visit from Agent Elizabeth Tolson of the Bureau of Holiday Affairs, who informs Robin that, though Robin may be a lost cause, the Bureau has scheduled her for intervention. Robin will receive three visitors in the two weeks before Christmas, who will escort her on visits to her past, present, and future. (Ylva Publishing)

 

comfort-joy

Comfort and Joy
Karin Kallmaker
Publisher: Bella Books

ISBN: ss032e
Release date: December 2015

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Home from Afghanistan to surprise her mother, Milla doesn’t expect more than the best apple pie in the world and the bliss of unrationed hot showers. She’s not counting on futures—or meeting a woman like Tyna. Novella length romantic holiday story. (Bella Books)

 

christmas-kisses

Christmas Kisses: Five Merry Tales of Lesbian Lust
Various Authors
Publisher: Ladylit Publishing

ISBN: 978-988-14205-3-4
Publication date: December 2015

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’Tis the season to be… frisky. The Ladylit Fab Five have come together once more for a sizzling seasonal mini-anthology. Decorating the tree or working the holiday shift, at a family party or avoiding the shopping crowds, the ladies in these stories find reason to get merry in any circumstance.

Caution: This title contains graphic language and christmassy lesbian sex and is suitable for adults only. (Ladylit Publishing)

yours-for-the-asking

Yours for the Asking
Kenna White
Publisher: Bella Books

ISBN:1594931631
Publication date: 2009

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The responsible one. The steady, reliable one. Lauren Roberts has had her fill of it.

Running her bed-and-breakfast like clockwork and hosting her younger, glamorous, songbird sister for the holidays only underscores Lauren’s choice of order over risk. Kelly’s vibrant and impetuous nature doesn’t stick to anything—or any one woman—for long. That includes an old girlfriend of Lauren’s who was dazzled by Kelly, then dumped, shortly after Lauren stepped aside.

Old memories are sharply painful with Kelly under her roof. With the inn full, Lauren’s patience and control is stretched to the limit. When Kelly brings home Lauren’s friend Gaylin Hart, Lauren realizes Kelly has again laid claim to something she might well have wanted for herself. It looks like history might repeat itself—if Lauren lets it.(Bella Books)

 

do-you-feel-what-i-feel-a-holiday-anthology

Do You Feel What I Feel? A Holiday Anthology
Various Authors
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-546-5 (mobi), 978-3-95533-547-2 (epub), 978-3-95533-548-9 (pdf)
Publication date: October 2015

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Twelve lesbian fiction authors bring you a heartwarming collection of holiday-themed short stories.

From a tattoo artist hiding an origami angel in her lover’s desk to a seventy-year-old woman hesitating to accompany her partner to a family celebration on the first night of Hanukkah, this anthology will delight you with romantic holiday moments. (Ylva Publishing)

Categories: anthology, Holiday, romance, short stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solace: Writing, Refuge, & LGBTQ Women of Color

Adobe Photoshop PDF

How do you define solace and where do you give it, find it, take it, share it? Solace: Writing, Refuge, and LGBTQ Women of Color, from BLF Press, anthologizes the voices of thirteen LGBTQ women of color. In the preface, editors S. Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle share the impetus for and the importance of assembling this collection, especially in light of anti-LGBT legislation and violence in 2016. 

“As a community, where can we find solace from the microaggression and violence enacted upon us on a daily basis? How do we amass the hope that heals our wounds as we traverse a world that seeks to destroy or repress and suppress us, simply for daring to live our truth? Who dares to shield us from the constant barrage of hatred and disdain that we face in our communities, at our places of employment, in our own families and homes?” (Preface, x-xi)

The authors delve into how, why, and where they find solace and/or make solace for themselves. Broad experiences inform the expressions compiled here. The result is a beautiful, poignant blend of poetry, prose, and photographs. If you’re like me and enjoy the tactile pleasures of a physical copy, the velvety cover and technicolor images will most definitely deliver extra comfort and joy as you read.

In their respective essays, Almah Rice (“Remedios”) and Claudia Moss (“Solace in Words”) reflect on the life-giving sustenance found in the written word. Both writers use wonderful imagery to convey just how integral words are in their lives. Readers who find refuge in and draw inspiration from the world of words will find kindred spirits in Rice and Moss. 

“So I strapped a book’s spine to my own and grew taller, stronger. Yes, words hold me up and still do. Or, I can re-myth the scoliosis I was diagnosed with as a child as an attempt to curve around words, language my trellis.” (Rice, 90)

As we move through life, we are also faced with how we define solace can influence the world around us. Hala Aurangzeb’s piece, “Pummel”, confronts the abusive nature of its subject’s solace. In Eunice Sierra-Gonzalez’s poem “Queer Brown Girl”, solace is offered through shared experience.  

In Kendra N. Bryant’s “A Lesbian Teacher Tries to Teach Compassion”, she encourages her students to engage in critical thinking and discussion regarding race and sexual orientation. Despite the strong backlash against her intentions, she takes solace in the long view. 

“… I’m going to rest in the notion that people will come to understanding when it is time for them to understand.” (Bryant, 32)

Nik Nicholson, librecht baker, M. Shelly Conner, Sheila Tartaglia, Eliana Buenrostro, Mica Standing Soldier, Dr. Nubian Sun, and Imani Sims, contribute nuanced pieces that grow with each reading. They explore layers of solace found within multiple identities; transformation and perseverance; past and present; and beyond.

Solace: Writing, Refuge, & LGBTQ Women of Color encourages all of us to engage in meaningful contemplation and dialogue with ourselves and with each other.

Solace: Writing, Refuge, & LGBTQ Women of Color
Edited by S. Andrea Allen & Lauren Cherelle
Published by BLF Press
Scheduled Release Date: January 31, 2017
Presale: December 1, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9972439-6-3
ISBN (epub): 978-0-9972439-5-6

Available from BLF PressAmazon, and other retailers. Check with your local public library on how you can recommend titles for addition to the collection.

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Categories: anthology, essay, lgbt, nonfiction, poetry | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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