poetry

Golden Crown Literary Society 2018 Award Finalists

For the past 14 years, the Golden Crown Literary Society has hosted “The Goldies”, literary awards for lesbian literature in sixteen genres and five special categories. Winners will be announced on July 7th at the awards ceremony in Las Vegas. I’m excited to see so many novels that I’ve enjoyed (as well many more piled atop my TBR shelf) over the past year appear as finalists.

For more information on how books are nominated and considered, head on over to Golden Crown’s website. Click on any title below to learn more about each nominee.

Genre Categories

 

 Anthology/Collections (Fiction)

 

 


Conference Call
, Ann Roberts (ed.), Bella Books

Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars, S. Renee Bess and Lee Lynch (Story Collectors), Flashpoint Publications

 

Combined Non-Fiction

 

 


Fried & Convicted: Rehoboth Beach Uncorked
 by Fay Jacobs, Bywater Books

Grief Map by Sarah Hahn Campbell, Brain Mill Press

 

 Contemporary Romance (Short Novels)

 

 


Bait and Switch
 by Blythe H. Warren, Bella Books

Echo Point by Virginia Hale, Bella Books
Fake it till You Make It by M. Ullrich, Bold Strokes Books
Forget Me Not by Kris Bryant, Bold Strokes Books
Highland Fling by Anna Larner, Bold Strokes Books
Pausing by Renee Mackenzie, Affinity Rainbow Publications
Unbridled by Fox Brison, Bold Fox Publishing
Unexpected by Jenny Frame, Bold Strokes Books

 

Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length Novels)

 

 


Ask, Tell
 by E. J. Noyes, Bella Books

The Butterfly Whisperer by Lisa Moreau, Bold Strokes Books
Delay of Game by Tracey Richardson, Bella Books
Love After Hours: A Rivers Community Romance by Radclyffe, Bold Strokes Books
Nantucket Rose by CF Frizzell, Bold Strokes Books
Night Voice by CF Frizzell, Bold Strokes Books
Right Here, Right Now by Georgia Beers, Bold Strokes Books
Sidebar by Carsen Taite, Bold Strokes Books
What Matters Most by Georgia Beers, Brisk Press
Wishing on a Dream by Julie Cannon, Bold Strokes Books

 

Contemporary Romance (Long Novels)

 

 


Casting Lacey
 by Elle Spencer, Self-Published

Crescent City Confidential by Aurora Rey, Bold Strokes Books
Edge of Glory by Rachel Spangler, Bywater Books
Perfect Rhythm by Jae, Ylva Publishing
Rock and a Hard Place by Andrea Bramhall, Ylva Publishing
The Secret Pond by Gerri Hill, Bella Books
Vacationland by Susan X Meagher, Brisk Press
Who’d Have Thought by G Benson, Ylva Publishing
 

Debut Novel

 

 


Bend
 by Nancy J. Hedin, Anglerfish Press an imprint of Riptide Publishing

Falling into Her by Erin Zak, Bold Strokes Books
Frame by Frame by CJ Murphy, Desert Palm Press
Just Beyond the Shining River by Lynnette Beers, Regal Crest Enterprises
Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu, Soho Press
The Road to Wings by Julie Tizard, Bold Strokes Books
The Square Donut by Lauren Crane, Backyard Bird Publishing
The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera, Tor/Forge Books
The Winter Loon by Lori Henriksen, Cougar Creek Books
 

Erotica

 

 


Her Best Friend’s
 Sister
by Meghan O’Brien, Bold Strokes Books

Party Favors by Jaime Clevenger, Bella Books
This Foreign Affair by Harper Bliss, Ladylit Publishing
 

General Fiction

 

 


Bend
 by Nancy J. Hedin, Anglerfish Press an imprint of Riptide Publishing

Bitterroot Queen by Jove Belle, Dirt Road Books
Changing Perspectives by Jen Silver, Affinity Rainbow Publications
Goldenrod by Ann McMan, Bywater Books
The Price of Cash by Ashley Bartlett, Bold Strokes Books
 

Historical Fiction

 

The Ada Decades by Paula Martinac, Bywater Books
Crossing the Wide Forever by Missouri Vaun, Bold Strokes Books
The Sniper’s Kiss by Justine Saracen, Bold Strokes Books
The Winter Loon by Lori Henriksen, Cougar Creek Books

 
Mystery/Thriller

 

 

A Quiet Death by Cari Hunter, Bold Strokes Books
Forsaken Trust: A Luce Hansen Thriller by Meredith Doench, Bold Strokes Books
Genuine Gold by Ann Aptaker, Bold Strokes Books
The Girl on the Edge of Summer by J. M. Redmann, Bold Strokes Books
Lethal Care by Claire McNab with Katherine V. Forrest, Bella Books       
Taken In by Erica Abbott, Bella Books
 

Paranormal/Horror

 

 

Five Moons Rising by Lise MacTague, Bella Books
Little Dip – Garoul Series Book V by Gill McKnight, Dirt Road Books

 
Poetry

 

 

The Girls with Stone Faces by Arleen Paré, Brick Books
Hanging on Our Own Bones by Judy Grahn, Arktoi Books
Walking Through Turquoise by Laurie MacFayden, Frontenac House Ltd.

 
Romantic Suspense/Intrigue


A More Perfect Union
 by Carsen Taite, Bold Strokes Books

Heart Stop by Radclyffe, Bold Strokes Books
Into Thin Air by Jeannie Levig, Bold Strokes Books
Letter of the Law by Carsen Taite, Bold Strokes Books
Lucy’s Chance by Jackie D, Bold Strokes Books
Mine to Keep by Wendy Hudson, Ylva Publishing
Moment of Weakness by KG MacGregor, Bella Books
The Road to Wings by Julie Tizard, Bold Strokes Books
The Scholarship by Jaime Maddox, Bold Strokes Books
 

Science Fiction/Fantasy


Ardulum: Second
 Don
by J.S. Fields, Ninestar Press

The End by Roselle Graskey and Cheyne Curry, Bossy Pants Books
Erased by Robbi McCoy, Bella Books
Fury’s Choice by Brey Willows, Bold Strokes Books
House of Fate by Barbara Ann Wright, Bold Strokes Books
Phoenix Rising by Rebecca Harwell, Bold Strokes Books
Seoul Circuit by Tamara Boyens, Supposed Crimes
Shattered by Lee Winter, Ylva Publishing
Spark by Catherine Friend, Bold Strokes Books

 

Young Adult


Girls Like Me
 by Nina Packebush, Bedazzled Ink Publishing

Sovereign by April Daniels, Diversion Books
The Square Donut by Lauren Crane, Backyard Bird Publishing

 

Special Categories

 

Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award

 

An Outsider Inside by R.J. Samuel, Self-Published
Edge of Glory by Rachel Spangler, Bywater Books
Goldenrod by Ann McMan, Bywater Books
Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars, S. Renee Bess and Lee Lynch (Story Collectors), Flashpoint Publications
Perfect Rhythm by Jae, Ylva Publishing
Right Here, Right Now by Georgia Beers, Bold Strokes Books
Sappho’s Bar and Grill by Bonnie J. Morris, Bywater Books
Strawberry Summer by Melissa Brayden, Bold Strokes Books
Time’s Rainbow: Writing Ourselves Back into American History, Lori L. Lake & Christopher Hawthorne Moss (eds.), Launch Point Press

Directors’ Award – TBD

Lee Lynch Classic Award – TBD

Tee Corine Award for Outstanding Cover Art


The Ada Decades, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Bywater Books
An Outsider Inside, Ann McMan, Treehouse Studio, Self-Published
Buried Heart, Melody Pond, Bold Strokes Books
Close to Home, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Bywater Books
Edge of Glory, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Bywater Books
Goldenrod, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Bywater Books
On a LARP, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Bywater Books
Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Flashpoint Publications

Trailblazer Award – TBD
 

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2017 Goldie Awards’ finalists

The Golden Crown Literary Society announced finalists for its fiction and nonfiction 16 categories. GCLS will announce the winners sometime between July 5-9 at its annual conference. Since it’s still April, National Poetry Month, I’m featuring the poetry collections that have earned nominations. All of these poets and most of the publishers are new to me, so I’m pretty jazzed! They represent a range of experiences, styles, and themes.

Also: I’ve been looking for poetry collections by queer female-identified poets who grew up in and/or reside in rural areas of the Pacific Northwest. If you know of any, please let me know in the comments below.

Acquired Community by Jane Byers

Acquired Community by Jane Byers
Publisher: Dagger Editions, Caitlin Press
2016

“Jane Byers’ Acquired Community is both a collection of narrative poems about seminal moments in North American lesbian and gay history, mostly post-World War II, and a series of first person poems that act as a touchstone to compare the narrator’s coming out experience within the larger context of the gay liberation movement.” (via Jane Byers Poetry)


In and Out of Love

In and Out of Love by Shelley Thrasher
Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing
2016

“Lammy-nominated novelist, editor, and college professor Shelley Thrasher, who grew up in a small, conservative town in East Texas, was a late bloomer. Her first published poetry collection, In and Out of Love, chronicles personal ups and downs during the 1980s and ’90s, when she came out. Most of these 150 brief, haiku-like poems feature images that speak for themselves, influenced by poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, with whom she studied writing.

The first poems portray the crushes and lovers the author was involved with during this period of her life. In part two, they express the longing for something she didn’t understand. Section three chronicles the painful rough spots she encountered during her journey of accepting herself as a lesbian. And the final section celebrates being in love with the woman she has now been joined with for twenty-five adventurous years.” (via Sapphire Books)


Night Ringing by Laura Foley

Night Ringing by Laura Foley
Publisher: Headmistress Press
January 2016

“Poet Laura Foley’s strong fifth collection, Night Ringing, ruminates on romance and family via autobiographical free verse.” (via LauraDaviesFoley.com)


Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes by Cheryl Dumesnil

Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes by Cheryl Dumesnil
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
November 2016

“The poems in Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes are survival songs, the tunes you whistle while walking through the Valley of Shadows, to keep your fears at bay and your spirit awake.” (via University of Pittsburgh)


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SPLIT by Denise Benavides
Publisher: Kórima Press
December 2016

“Denise Benavides’ debut collection Split  is a dedication to motherlessness and abandon—to a nightly killing and rebirths. At its worst, it is all teeth masticating through the body in an attempt to interrogate and cut out what no longer serves the Self. It is a collection not meant for the weak, but for those willing to walk through what haunts them the most.” (via Kórima Press)


The Body's Alphabet by Ann Tweedy

The Body’s Alphabet by Ann Tweedy
Publisher: Headmistress Press
2016

Katrina Vandenberg: “… This is a book about finding homes for ourselves—homes for our adult selves, even as complex memories of our childhood homes still live inside us; homes for our bodies; homes in the natural world. …” (via Headmistress Press)


The Off Season Jen Levitt

The Off-Season by Jen Levitt
Publisher: Four Way Books
2016

“The poems in The Off-Season are populated with things—‘90s TV shows, mix-tapes, crosstown buses, winter beaches—signifiers that trace a trajectory from girlhood to adulthood and bring to the surface feelings and desires that ordinarily stay hidden. We witness the strangeness of modern life, relive our own adolescent awkwardness and listen in on conversations with dead poets, TV characters, family members and intimates. With humor, fierceness and generosity, The Off-Season grapples with the question of how to be in the world.” (via Four Way Books)

Torn from the Ear of Night by Jimmie Margaret Gilliam

Torn from the Ear of Night by Jimmie Margaret Gilliam
Publisher: White Pine Press
2016

Joan Murray describes it as a “balance between the child’s immediacy of experience and the adult’s analytical recollection” set in the Appalachian hills. (via Goodreads)

Categories: awards, lgbt, poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

National Poetry Month 2017

It’s that wonderful time of year when the literary spotlight shines on poetry! Happy National Poetry Month (NPM)! Throughout the month of April, I’ll highlight poetry collections. For most of my life I’ve said that I wasn’t a “poetry person”. I hadn’t felt a strong need for or connection with it. As a kid, though, I loved my grandfather’s well-worn copy of Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne and the humorous verse of Shel Silverstein.

Lately, however, events in my life have created an opening for the particular rhythms and voices reflected in poetry. I’m currently reading “When the Chant Comes” by Kay Ulanday Barrett. What about you?

Poem in Your Pocket Day is on Thursday, April 27!  Check out Poets.org for tons of good stuff, including “30 Ways to Celebrate“!

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2016

Other ways you can spiffy up your life with poetry:

  • Write a poem on a slip of paper & make a poet-tree (I put one up last year at work with a bowl of paper birds & leaves, plus twine, for people to write poems on.)
  • Sprinkle it into cards you give family, friends, coworkers, etc.
  • Get cozy with a volume from your local library or bookstore.
  • Seek it out on Tumblr & Twitter.

Short list of LGBTQ2IA poetry resources online:

Publishers & Associations (incomplete, please let me know who to add in the comments below)

Categories: poetry | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

No Inaugural Flowers

Earlier today, as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed (after watching a bunch of Obama and Biden videos on YouTube this morning), I came across a couple posts mentioning how Trump did not have a poet at his *cough* inauguration. Presidents since JFK have invited poets to speak (although none of them have been of the Republican Presidents) at their inaugurations. I’m far from surprised that someone who revels in being a Philistine would not deviate from his party predecessors. 

Poetry is for everyone. Silly, serious, high, low, it speaks to our lives no matter where or who we are. I say 2017 is a year that deserves a flood of poetry. I sprawled on my living room floor this morning, surrounded by wonderful volumes and I felt a little bit better.

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), a lauded US poet of the 20th century, would have shone brightly on an any President’s inauguration day. She was a consummate perfectionist, so while I would have loved to hear her read, I can’t imagine her completing (and feeling satisfied with) a new poem in a short period of time. A couple of years ago, I stumbled across Reaching for the Moon, a biopic on her relationship with Lota de Macedo Soares (1910-1967), a Brazilian architect. The film is based on Carmen L. Oliveira’s Rare and Commonplace Flowers: The Story of Elizabeth Bishop and Lota de Macedo Soares. An English translation was published by Rutgers University Press in 2002.

Your library may not have it, but ask if they’ll do an ILL (interlibrary loan) for it. You will hopefully be surprised that your library has not only the means, but the badass and coolness to go through with the request. The film is available on Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, and Vudu.

Poems is a collection of Bishop’s previously published poetry. It includes Questions of Travel (1965), dedicated to de Macedo Soares. “Shampoo” (p.82) is one of my favorites because of the transformation (or rather, the revelation) of the ordinary into the extraordinary. Beautiful reminders to slow down.

The shooting stars in your black hair
in bright formation
are flocking where,
so straight, so soon?
—Come, let me wash it in this big tin basin,
battered and shiny like the moon.

You can borrow this book from your local public library, as well as purchase it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your neighborhood bookstore.

Categories: history, lgbt, poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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.

Join the discussion on Goodreads!

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

Check out my review of “You’re The Most Beautiful Thing That Happened” by Arisa White at The Lesbrary

Arisa White’s newest poetry collection, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, plumbs the depths of what it means to exist in the world as queer, female, a person of color, and beyond. She undresses a multitude of topics, including race, family, and relationships. The collection offers tender, tumultuous, and light moments. In the introduction, […]

via Julie Thompson reviews You’re The Most Beautiful Thing That Happened by Arisa White — The Lesbrary

Categories: lgbt, poetry | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month (NPM)!  I found some great books last week on the free books cart outside of the Gay City library.  One of them is a collection of poems, Unstrung Heart by Robbi Sommers.  Fitting that on the first day of NPM I stumbled upon a volume of poetry.  I haven’t had a chance to read through all of the poems yet.  It’s exciting whenever I discover an author new to me!

unstrung heart poetry cover

From the back cover of Unstrung Heart:

With her brilliant palette of poetry and prose, Robbi captures the delicate play of colors and light that illuminate our deepest hopes and fears.  In intimate brushstrokes, she highlights and shades the real-life experiences that tear us apart…and make us whole.

Poem in Your Pocket Day is on Thursday, April 21!  Check out Poets.org for tons of good stuff!

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2016

Empty tissue boxes make great containers for folded poems ^^

Other ways you can spiffy up your life with poetry:

  • Write a poem on a slip of paper & make a poet-tree (I put one up at work with a bowl of paper birds & leaves, plus twine, for people to write poems on.)
  • Sprinkle it into cards you give family, friends, coworkers, etc.
  • Get cozy with a volume from your local library or bookstore.

There’s also a lot of fantastic poetry online.  A simple search, using the phrase “lgbt poetry”, yields a wealth of links.  Here is a short list to get your started:

 

 

Categories: poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!

It’s the perfect day to spend with an old friend.  In my case, this would be Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne (or more specifically, Binker, the closest I came to an imaginary friend as a child).  Binker was also the first time I felt drawn to poetry.  Thank you, grandpa, for letting me keep your book!  It’s important to remember that not every poem that is considered noteworthy or amazing will resonate the same way with all people.  For children, you risk turning them off poetry completely if you don’t think of what they might enjoy.

Children’s Poetry (a few sites to peruse):

Binkerb

Hello, Stranger!

Or satisfy your need for a random encounter online, try one of the sites below:

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Random Happy (photo credit: Westport Timberland Library)

Can’t Decide on Just One?

Excellent! Shove a pocket compilation or a few printed single poems into your pocket(s) and share the love!

Max and Emily

Categories: poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Transforming the Conversation

beyond-magentafreakboyI am JWanting in ArabicThe days of Anna MadrigalTransparentChaz Bono memoir  <— Click on a book cover to learn more.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of books.  I am always looking for titles, both fiction and nonfiction, that give voice to the wide range of experiences people have as they find out who they are and try to live as their truest selves.

Supplemental Articles, Videos, and Websites

This is only a partial listing of materials available online and offline.  Please feel free to add an article, video, website, or other helpful information related to this post in the comments below.

*Note: The following websites were accessed on February 4, 2015

Author Interviews

Book Excerpts

Book Trailers & Other Related Videos

Search YouTube or other video sites and you’ll find a  mixture of official and fan made trailers related to the books in this post.  If you’re feeling inspired, create a book trailer of your own (and post a link to it in the comments) (:

Goodreads

Discussion Guides

Transgender Resources

Categories: fiction, lgbt, nonfiction, poetry, young adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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