Jun. 16th, 2013

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Close Quarter by Anna Zabo
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (November 13, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Close Quarter

On a transatlantic cruise to New York, sculptor Rhys Matherton struggles to piece his life back together after losing his mother, inheriting a fortune, and finding out his father isn't his father after all. He spills a tray of drinks on a handsome stranger, then he finds himself up against a wall getting the best hand-job he’s ever had. And for the first time in his life, he feels whole.

Rhys enjoys the company of Silas Quint, but for the eerie way no one pays attention to them even while they kiss in a crowded bar. Silas explains he's a forest fae able to glamor the room around them--and more importantly, that he's on the cruise to hunt vampires. Rhys thinks Silas is full of it, until he discovers vampires are real, and he’s part of their main course.

Silas Quint can’t be distracted by a human lover, even one as lovely as Rhys. Stuck in the middle of the ocean, he has barely enough of energy to hunt the vampires he’s been sent to destroy. Rhys is full of the one thing Silas needs needs most--the element of living plants. Only sucking energy from Rhys would make Silas as soulless as the creatures he hunts. How can he keep Rhys safe, without becoming like the very monsters he hunts?
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Nicholas Ray (August 7, 1911 - June 16, 1979) was an American film director best known for the movie Rebel Without a Cause.

Ray is also appreciated by a smaller audience of cinephiles for a large number of narrative features produced between 1947 and 1963 including Bigger Than Life, Johnny Guitar, They Live by Night, and In a Lonely Place, as well as an experimental work produced throughout the 1970s titled We Can't Go Home Again, which was unfinished at the time of Ray's death from lung cancer. Ray's compositions within the CinemaScope frame and use of color are particularly well-regarded. Ray was an important influence on the French New Wave, with Jean-Luc Godard famously writing in a review of Bitter Victory, "cinema is Nicholas Ray."

He was born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle in Galesville, Wisconsin. In his early years, he went to school and did a brief stint at the University of Chicago: here he was exposed to the media world through radio. Here he also met two men who inspired his move to films: Frank Lloyd Wright and dramatist Thornton Wilder, then a professor. Ray received a Taliesin Fellowship from Wright to study under him as an apprentice.

Ray directed his first and only Broadway production, the Duke Ellington musical Beggar's Holiday, in 1946. One year later, he directed his first film, They Live by Night. It wasn't released for two years because of the chaotic conditions surrounding Howard Hughes' takeover of RKO Pictures. An almost impressionistic take on film noir, it was notable for its extreme empathy for society’s young outsiders (a recurring motif in Ray’s films). Its subject matter, two young lovers running from the law, had an influence on the sporadically popular movie sub-genre often called 'love on the run'. (Other examples are Gun Crazy, Bonnie and Clyde, Badlands, and Robert Altman’s 1974 remake of They Live by Night, Thieves Like Us.)

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Ray
Rebel Without a Cause, the most famous of hundreds of delinquent films, made the teen rebel into a national hero. Nicholas Ray directed the 1955 film and also wrote the story, which was originally adapted for the screen by Irving Shulman. James Dean was iconic as misunderstood teen Jim Stark. Jim’s two relationships in the film are with Judy, an unhappy young woman played by Natalie Wood, and Plato, a troubled gay teen played by Sal Mineo. Ray was clear in establishing Plato’s sexuality: the teen keeps a photograph of actor Alan Ladd in his school locker and is obviously in love with Jim. In one unfilmed version of the script, Jim and Plato kiss. Mineo would later claim that he was “proud to play the first gay teenager in films.” Ray consciously used sexually ambiguous images—all of the young men in the film look like Hollywood versions of the Physique models—to enhance the film’s sexual and emotional appeal. Rebel and other films were successfully mainstreaming an iconic homosexual type, barely concealed, to a huge audience who remained unaware of its origins.
Rebel Without a Cause resonated with audiences then, and still does today, because it addresses questions of conformity. Historically, when faced with a cultural mandate of conformity, Americans have found escape by becoming enthralled with rebels such as Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, and John Dillinger. The concerns of Rebel Without a Cause emerged from cultural tensions over conformity and rebellion that can be seen in some of the professional psychological and sociological literature. Psychoanalyst Robert J. Lindner wrote several best-selling books arguing that conformity, which he called “adjustment,” is “a mendacious idea, biologically false, philosophically untenable, and psychologically harmful.” He claimed that rebellion against conformity is the only salvation for the human race. He also made the radical case, in a forty-five-page argument, that homosexuality is a form of sexual and cultural resistance to society’s mandate to conform. Lindner admired the homophile groups and agreed that laws biased against homosexuals had to be changed, but maintained that homosexuality was a misguided and pathological response to America’s culture of profound sexual repression. Lindner’s work is emblematic of how conflicted progressive ideas about conformity and rebellion in relationship to homosexuality were at this time.
[...]
The new ideas about masculinity that emerged from homosexual culture were reinforced by the homosexual influence in the film industry. Actors such as Hudson, Nader, and Hunter “helped set the style and tone of masculinity for a generation,” even as their homosexuality and relationships were open knowledge within the industry.34 Not coincidently, Rebel, a film with tremendous impact on American culture, had roots in nontraditional sexual cultures. Nicholas Ray, who was married four times, was sexually involved with both women and men for most of his life. James Dean and Sal Mineo were both primarily homosexual. Jack Simmons, allegedly Dean’s boyfriend at the time, played one of the gang members. The film industry was tolerant of nonheterosexual behaviors as long as they were not publicized, and most actors were able to be successfully closeted while having great influence on the popular, heterosexual imagination. This was true of Tryon, Perkins, Dean, and Clift. Teen heartthrobs Guy Madison and Rory Calhoun had a long-term affair.35 Many homosexuals had marriages of convenience. Hudson was married to Phyllis Gates, who was his agent’s secretary and a lesbian, for a short period of time to please his fan base and the studio executives. --Bronski, Michael (2011-05-10). A Queer History of the United States (Revisioning American History). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.
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Ellen Bass (born 1947, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American poet and co-author of The Courage to Heal.

She grew up in Margate City, NJ, where her parents owned a liquor store. She attended Goucher College, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1968 with her bachelor’s degree. She pursued a master’s degree at Boston University, where she studied with Anne Sexton, and graduated in 1970. From 1970–1974, Bass worked as an administrator at Project Place, a social service center in Boston. She currently is teaching in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University in Oregon and has been teaching Writing About Our Lives workshops since 1974 in Santa Cruz, California.

Her poems have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including The Atlantic Monthly, Ms., The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and Field. Much of her earlier writing is confessional poetry.

Her nonfiction books include I Never Told Anyone, Free Your Mind, and The Courage to Heal, which has sold over a million copies and has been translated into twelve languages. Free Your Mind is the definitive practical guide for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth -- and their families, teachers, counselors and friends. For too long, gay youth have wanted to be themselves and to feel good about it, but most have been isolated, afraid, harassed, or worse. Their very existence has been ignored, whispered about, or swept under the rug.

She lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she has taught poetry and creative writing since 1974.

She was awarded the Elliston Book Award for Poetry from the University of Cincinnati, Nimrod/Hardman’s Pablo Neruda Prize, The Missouri Review’s Larry Levis Award, the Greensboro Poetry Prize, the New Letters Poetry Prize, the Chautauqua Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and a fellowship from the California Arts Council.

The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) was named a Notable Book of 2007 by the San Francisco Chronicle and Mules of Love (BOA Editions, 2002) won the 2002 Lambda Literary Award for Poetry.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Bass

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Emmanuel Moire (born in Le Mans on 16 June 1979) is a French singer and an eclectic artist who has released three albums (Là) où je pars (2006), L'Équilibre (2009) and Le chemin (2013). He sings and plays the piano, with a hundred tunes to his credit. Moire came out as gay in the French LGBT magazine Têtu in October 2009. In that interview he said, "I hope to live a normal discreet life. I am at peace with myself."

At 21 years of age, Emmanuel was selected to take part in the 16th meeting of Astaffort, a training course for songwriters and performers. Between 2004 and 2007, he portrayed Louis XIV in the successful musical Le Roi Soleil, whose cast included Christophe Maé and Merwan Rim.

Emmanuel Moire released his first solo album, titled Là où je pars, on 13 November 2006. With British pop influences, the first album paid special attention to the melodies even more than the emotions. The piano, vocals and beautiful guitar segments led the listener to a place where love, sufferings and the small joys of the life all mixed. On his Facebook site, Emmanuel said his first album was "about the universal topics which I wanted to treat in a personal way. The role of an artist, it is to invite people into his universe, to give all that he has in him so that each one finds his own story there." "This album is the fruit of a lot of collaboration. I wanted it to represent me so that people could discover me, musically, there." "It is easy to see that this album is a reunion of those close to me at Astaffort. Those, who for several years, share in the same hopes and dreams: Claire Joseph, Yann Guillon, Benoît Poher, Davide Esposito, Christophe Beucher..." The first single from the album was "Le Sourire".

His second album, titled L'Équilibre was released in April 2009, and includes songs such as "Adulte et Sexy" and "Sans dire un mot" which were made into music videos. "Sois Tranquille" is a very personal song for the artist. In an interview by Deborah Laurent for 7sur7, the artist said: "The music was already written when my brother passed away. I wanted to speak about my brother, of his uncommon greatness. I lost my brother on 28 January. I just said to myself that it was not necessary for me to speak, because I was going to speak about my suffering. I wanted it to be more positive, a homage, some thing more spiritual. Therefore, I 'lent' my voice to my brother."



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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuel_Moire

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Joseph "Joe" McElderry (born 16 June 1991) is an English singer and songwriter. He won the sixth series of the ITV show The X Factor in 2009. His first single "The Climb" reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Charts. He was also crowned the winner of the second series of Popstar to Operastar, two years later in 2011. To date he has released four albums - two of them reaching the UK top three. He is the first winner of The X Factor to release a fourth album. On 30 July 2010, McElderry announced on his official website that he is gay. The gay charity Stonewall has listed McElderry as a gay role model.

Born in South Shields, England, McElderry is the only child of Jim and Eileen (née Joyce) McElderry. The couple separated when McElderry was a child. He was raised in a small flat on Tyneside.

McElderry attended Harton Technology College in Lisle Road, South Shields, before joining South Tyneside College to study AS level school qualifications, and Newcastle College to study performing arts. He was the Pride of South Tyneside's Young Performer of the Year in 2008. He studied for BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts (Advanced Performance) at Newcastle College Performance Academy and in 2010 graduated with triple distinction. He took the role of 'Danny Zuko' in Grease performed at Harton Technology College.

In January 2010, he participated in the Helping Haiti charity single, a cover of "Everybody Hurts" arranged by Simon Cowell in order to raise money for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. McElderry took part in the Great North Run half marathon 13.1 mile race on 19 September 2010 raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust, which he is also an ambassador for. He performed at The Ray of Sunshine charity concert on 11 March 2011. Two days later, he performed at Theatre Royal in Newcastle to help raise money for Josie's Dragonfly trust. He also took part in a Comic Relief campaign, where celebrities and prolific Twitter users auctioned off the chance to be followed by a star, it raised £560. McElderry performed on 13 July 2011 at the Newcastle Teenage Cancer Trust Unit, the acoustic set was streamed live to all other Teenage Cancer Trust units across the country as well as on the website. He ran the Great North Run again in 2011 and 2012, supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust, finishing in 1 hour and 42 minutes in 2011 and his personal best so far in 2012, 1 hour 36 minutes. The singer was put up for auction on QVC in aid of charity and eventually sold for £6,350, the shopping channel set up the auction in the name of Breast Cancer Care. On Sunday 11 March 2012, Joe played a secret acoustic gig to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust at London's iconic 100 Club venue, accompanied by Scottish musician Michael Sweeney on piano and vocals. He performed at the Sunday for Sammy benefit concert in 2012.



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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_McElderry

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Thomas Loren "Tom" Lenk (born June 16, 1976) is an American stage and television actor best known for his recurring role as Andrew Wells in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel. Lenk is openly gay.

Lenk was born in Camarillo, California, the son of Pam, a teacher, and Fred Lenk, a tuba player, high school music teacher, and school district computer network administrator. He attended Adolfo Camarillo High School. He graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts.

Lenk has appeared in episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (27 episodes), Angel, NBC's Joey, House, Six Feet Under, Eli Stone and How I Met Your Mother. He has also had small parts in the films Date Movie, The Number 23, and Transformers. Lenk appeared in the Web series Border Patrol, which premiered in June 2008 on Atom.com. In 2009 Lenk appeared as a guest star on Nip/Tuck.

Besides acting, Lenk is a singer and playwright. He has toured with the European cast of Grease and has written three plays. Lenk took over the role of Franz in the Broadway musical Rock of Ages as of September 14, 2009, having originated the role in the Las Vegas and Los Angeles productions in 2006. Lenk frequently posts video blogs of himself on YouTube summing up his latest experiences on Broadway, the videos are usually called 'Tom's Broadway Blogs'.

He appeared in commercials for Pepsi Max and, in late 2012, in television ads for QuickBooks. Lenk also appeared in an episode of Psych that poked fun at Buffy the Vampire Slayer (original Buffy actress Kristy Swanson appears in the episode).

Lenk performed in the June, 2012 edition of Don't Tell My Mother! (Live Storytelling), a monthly showcase in which authors, screenwriters, actors and comedians share true stories they would never want their mothers to know. In 2013, Lenk joined the upcoming Lifetime series Witches of East End as Hudson Rafferty.



Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Lenk

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I did wonder why the author chose to set her story in an alternative world, since, as far as historical details go, this novel is 100% an accurate early XIX century America setting. At first, knowing it was a fantasy, I was expecting for some steampunk element to make its appearance, but nope, the setting remained true to its chosen period. Nevertheless, this is a fantasy/horror romance, and so there are paranormal elements, but the feeling was more of some gothic horror novel of the same period of the chosen setting, like the author wanted to maintain “coherence” even when introducing the paranormal twist.

I liked both characters, they seemed destined from the beginning to become one of those notorious pairs, like Sherlock and Holmes to give you the idea. Professor Percival Whyborne, who knows 13 language and is an expert of Ancient Egypt, but has never left his New England small town of Widdershins, is for sure the perfect epitome of someone who will become the skilled detective; on the other hand ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty would be perfect on the role of the cynic man of world, who has seen too much and too soon, but instead the author managed to make him a brooding character, with shadows in his past, but still able to feel and love, to be tender and to almost vow Percival out of his shell.

Aside from the characters what makes this novel good was also the setting, the fantastical city of Widdershins, perfect gothic setting for the novel, but also alive in a way that made me want to do some research to understand if it was really all from the imagination of the author; it felt so true and well planned that I did wonder if the author took inspiration from an existing New England town.

Just this month, the second installment in the series is out, and I’m sure this will become a favorite appointment with the historical/paranormal romance lovers.

Amazon: Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin) (Volume 1)
Amazon Kindle: Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin) (Volume 1)
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1482528150
ISBN-13: 978-1482528152

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Highland Vampire Vengeance by J.P. Bowie
Publisher: MLR Press
Amazon Kindle: Highland Vampire Vengeance

The world is about to be taken over by an ancient race bent on the destruction of all human life---only supernatural beings will be spared. Aeden and Lyall MacKay, vampire brothers, living in a world that now accepts vampires exist, find themselves leading the challenge to the Ancient's mad scheme. When the small town of Aberglen, Scotland, is threatened by marauding winged creatures, police inspector Alistair MacFarlane is more than keen to enlist the MacKay brothers' help. Alistair has been in love with Aeden ever since their first meeting, but Aeden, despite his attraction to Alistair, is reluctant to take a mortal lover. Their lives are inescapably entwined when the threat of worldwide destruction becomes imminent and humans and vampires must fight alongside each other to overcome the Ancients' devastating Doomsday machine. Despite the danger that surrounds them, new relationships based on love and trust are forged. But is the combined force of mortal and immortal enough to defeat the seemingly unstoppable power of the Ancients and their bloodthirsty allies?

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