Dec. 7th, 2013

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José Donoso Yáñez (October 5, 1924–December 7, 1996) was a Chilean writer. He lived most of his life in Chile, although he spent many years in self-imposed exile in Mexico, the United States (Iowa) and mainly Spain. Although he had left his country in the sixties for personal reasons, after 1973 he said his exile was also a form of protest against the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. He returned to Chile in 1981 and lived there until his death.

Donoso is the author of a number of remarkable stories and novels, which contributed greatly to the Latin American literary boom. The term 'Boom' was coined in his 1972 essay Historia personal del "boom". His best known works include the novels Coronación, El lugar sin límites (The Place Without Limits) and El obsceno pájaro de la noche (The Obscene Bird of Night). His works deal with a number of themes, including sexuality, the duplicity of identity, psychology, and a sense of dark humor.

After his death, his personal papers at the University of Iowa revealed his homosexuality; a revelation that caused a certain controversy in Chile.


Further Readings )
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Luke Striffler (born December 7) was born and raised in New York, USA and trained in London at The Central School of Speech and Drama. Professional Credits: Avenue Q (UK TOUR) Edward Brooks (EastEnders) Thom (The Morning After) (Short) and Noctropia (Hampstead Theatre). He is currently on the cast of Hairspray, the UK Tour, in the role of Link Larkin.

Joshua Berg (born 1992) is originally from Luton, England. He is a 2010 graduate of the 3-year Musical Theatre programme at Laine Theatre Arts, London. Last year he made his theatrical debut as Titus in Sonia Friedman’s production of the Shakespeare comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, which starred David Tennant and Catherine Tate.

Joshua also starred in a film short, "The Morning After", as Harry, a young man who, one morning after a drunken night out, awakens to discover a naked man, Thom, in his bed. Thom is played by Luke, who is Joshua's boyfriend in real life. You can watch "The Morning After" here:

The Morning After a drunken night out Harry's (Joshua Berg) world is turned upside down when as he awakens to discover a naked man, Thom (Luke Striffler), in his bed. stunned and confused he tries to make sense of his repressed desires. In an attempt to re-assert his heterosexuality he revisits an old lover, Lucy (Juliet Lundholm), but finds little comfort from the encounter. Harry is left to make a decision: to follow his set path and return to his doting girlfriend Jess (Jane Alice), or attempt to understand his own wants and desires.....

Luke Striffler was born and raised in New York and trained in London at The Central School of Speech and Drama. He is currently on the cast of Hairspray, the UK Tour. Joshua Berg is originally from Luton, England. He is a 2010 graduate of the 3-year Musical Theatre programme at Laine Theatre Arts, London. Last year he made his theatrical debut as Titus in Sonia Friedman’s production of the Shakespeare comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, which starred David Tennant and Catherine Tate.


More LGBT Couples at my website:, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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Reinaldo Arenas (July 16, 1943 – December 7, 1990) was a Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright who despite his early sympathy for the 1959 revolution, grew critical of and then rebelled against the Cuban government.

Arenas was born in the countryside, in the northern part of the Province of Oriente, Cuba, and later moved to the city of Holguín. In 1963, he moved to Havana to enroll in the School of Planification and, later, in the Faculty of Letters at the Universidad de La Habana, where he studied philosophy and literature without completing a degree. The following year, he began working at the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí. While there, his talent was noticed and he was awarded prizes at Cirilo Villaverde National Competition held by UNEAC (National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists). His Hallucinations was awarded "first Honorable Mention" in 1966 although, as the judges could find no better entry, no First Prize was awarded that year.

His writings and openly gay lifestyle were, by 1967, bringing him into conflict with the Communist government. He left the Biblioteca Nacional and became an editor for the Cuban Book Institute until 1968. From 1968 to 1974 he was a journalist and editor for the literary magazine La Gaceta de Cuba. In 1973, he was sent to prison after being charged and convicted of 'ideological deviation' and for publishing abroad without official consent. He escaped from prison and tried to leave Cuba by launching himself from the shore on a tire inner tube. The attempt failed and he was rearrested near Lenin Park and imprisoned at the notorious El Morro Castle alongside murderers and rapists. He survived by helping the inmates to write letters to wives and lovers. He was able to collect enough paper this way to continue his writing. However, his attempts to smuggle his work out of prison were discovered and he was severely punished. Threatened with death, he was forced to renounce his work and was released in 1976. In 1980, as part of the Mariel Boatlift, he fled to the United States. He came on the boat San Lazaro captained by Cuban immigrant Roberto Aguero.

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Due to my delicate state of health and to the terrible depression it causes me not to be able to continue writing and struggling for the freedom of Cuba, I am ending my life. . . . I want to encourage the Cuban people out of the country as well as on the Island to continue fighting for freedom. . . Cuba will be free. I already am.

Further Readings )
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Mark A. Roeder has written and published some two dozen novels in his Gay Youth Chronicles, a continuing series not only for gay youth, but readers of all ages and sexual orientations. Since the age of fifteen, Roeder has been turning out articles, columns, and novels, but for the last several years has dedicated his life to writing heart-warming stories about gay youth. He currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana.

Further Readings:

A Better Place by Mark A. Roeder
Paperback: 394 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 31, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 145657390X
ISBN-13: 978-1456573904
Amazon: A Better Place
Amazon Kindle: A Better Place

A Better Place is the story of two boys from two completely different worlds struggling to find themselves amongst a whirlwind of confusion. Will the strength they find in each other be enough to overcome the hatred and abuse of others? The unlikely pair struggle through friendship and heartbreaks, betrayal and hardships, to find the deepest desire of their hearts. Casper, the poorest boy in school, goes through life as the “invisible boy,” and Brendan, the captain of the high school varsity football team, has it all; muscles, money, fame, and popularity. So, when Brendan takes an interest in Casper, their friendship goes in a direction that no one would have ever guessed. The two boys share nothing on the surface, but underlying each boy’s reputation lies a yearning to be free, a yearning to find a better place.

More Spotlights at my website:, My Lists/Gay Novels
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And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. Into This River I Drown (Kyle Thompson)

Runners Up:

2. Coming Home (Anne Cain) / A Knitter in His Natural Habitat (Catt Ford)
3. The Boys and the Bees (Catt Ford)
4. Mingled Destines of Crocodiles and Men (Amy Morrison)
5. After the End (Brooke Albrecht)
6. Boys of Summer (Reese Dante) / Aaron (AngstyG) / For Men Like Us (Anne Cain)
7. Fire (Paul Richmond) / Plan B (Ronaldo Gutierrez)
8. Texas Pride (Reese Dante)
9. Gravedigger's Brawl (Reese Dante)
10. Lion and the Crow (Eli Easton) / 3 (DWS Photography)
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And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. Evolution (Paul Richmond)

Runners Up:

2. Stealing the Wind (Anne Cain)
3. Falling for Rain (Paul Richmond)
4. Crow and Firefly (Shobana Appavu) / Venetian Masks (Shobana Appavu)
5. Ice and Embers (Anne Cain) / Secret Chemistry (Anne Cain) / Blood Red Butterfly (Faith L.)
6. The Actor and the Earl (Anne Cain)
7. Out of the Blackness (SJL Graphics)
8. Hour of the Lotus (Anne Cain) / Bound Forget Me Knot (Shobana Appavu)
9. Calling Dr Laura (Nicole J. Georges)
10. Bonds of Death (Shobana Appavu) / Gravemen (Aisha Akeju)
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And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. Laura Antoniou - The Killer Wore Leather

This is the best mystery - the best novel - I've read in ages. The plot is developed flawlessly. What more can I say? I never can guess the murderer in murder mysteries (and don't spend much time on trying to do so), but the natural development of the case against the actual killer was wonderful, and actually left me guessing until the killer's confession. (Chuck)
My absolute favorite and one of the best books I read this year. This book has everything I love: wit, a world of characters, each of them unique, a great setting. While I was reading, I felt like I was at the movies, the words creating images before my eyes and I, a spectator full of wonder. It conquered me. (Emanuela)
Well, this one was interesting. I'm not a huge fan of mysteries and don't read them much and surely don't recall reading any story set in THAT kind of environment. It was clear that the author knows what she's writing about – something so many books lack... (Caroline)

Runners Up:

2. Vincent Meis - Down in Cuba
3. Julian Griffith - Love Continuance and Increasing
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And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. J. Tullos Hennig – GreenWode

Only someone absolutely wedded to contemporary m/m fiction would fail to find this series less-than-interesting. This is pure gold. Magnificent. Nothing more need be said. This is the Star Wars of all the m/m fiction I’ve read to this point. Destined to become a classic if there’s any justice in the world. (Chuck)
Excellent re-take on the story of Robin Hood. Engaging, excellent, and touched very closely on my own fantasy-horror writing area of expertise. (Myranda)
Wonderful world building and tension. I’ll go back and read this one again and again. (Amberly)

Runners Up:

1. Jill Braden - The Devil's Concubine
2. Jill Shultz - Angel on the Ropes
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And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1 (tie) Amy Lane - Dex in Blue

I really enjoyed this book. It's fast paced and keeps you entertained and wanting to know more about each character. Amy writes in such way that you feel as you know or want to know her characters. The setting is wonderful and the plot phenomenal! Well done! (Zeoanne)
This is a different Amy Lane, but yet the same. She’s shown she can move me with devastation, fear, anger, hurt, love, grief. Now she’s shown me, reminded me, there are quiet joys in life again too. (T.A. Webb)
Well written, the setting is very detailed, the characters fully formed and the plot quite compelling. (Jane)

1 (tie) Rick R. Reed - Raining Men

Having read Chasers by the author, I found myself very taken with one of the secondary characters, Bobby. And when i saw that Bobby had his own story to share with us, I was elated. Chasers for me was an emotional ride and Raining Men out did that. Bobby IS as real as real gets and Rick Reed captures his emotions and his view like no one else could. (Michele)
Through Mr. Reed’s eyes/pen (keyboard) we get a feel of what goes on in Bobby's head, his cravings, the uncontrollable desires that drive him. This is a very enjoyable story with likeable characters. (Zeoanne)
Loved this story so I'm giving it a full score. Fleshed out characters, including secondary characters; a difficult and believable journey of overcoming addiction and healing; a setting I cared enough about (Chicago) that that had me visiting Google maps to see the locations the characters were frequenting; and I really liked the fact that there were several false starts before the MC found love. This was a really engrossing and engaging story. (Jane)

Runners Up:

2. Larry Benjamin - Damaged Angels
3. Brad Boney - The Return
4. George Seaton - Saving Skylar Hand
5. Jamie Fessenden - By That Sin Fell The Angels / S.A. McAuley - Crack the Darkest Sky Wide Open
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And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. Amy Lane - Racing for the Sun

Nice and steady. The buildup towards the finale is great. Lots of emotional charge. I actually know someone who is planning on doing this exact thing when they get out of the military (though it's with their wife), so the story is entirely plausible. (Sar)
It feels like Amy Lane really stepped out of her comfort zone with this book. Despite her reputation for angst, Racing for the Sun is much darker than her usual work, with stunning results. It's a story about two damaged men finding solace together, protecting each other, and fighting each other's demons. The writing beautifully captures the pureness of the love between Ace and Sonny. (Natalie)

Runners Up:

2. Amy Lane - Mourning Heaven / Ryan Loveless - Ethan Who Loved Carter
3. Taylor V. Donovan - Disasterology 101
4. Carter Quinn - Out of the Blackness
5. Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton - Second Hand
6. Anyta Sunday - Taboo For You
7. Alexis Hall - Glitterland
8. Julie Bozza - The Apothecary's Garden
9. Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid - Double Black
10. Lane Hayes - Better Than Good
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And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. Kim Fielding – Brute

I was very invested in the characters, and they were two of the most unlikely main characters I've seen. After Brute made his wish I was very worried about the price. (Jason)
A wonderful edition to any high-fantasy LGBT novel collection. (Natalie)
An involving page-turner of a book, with an unusual, intriguing, endearing main character, and a plot that made the book difficult to put down. I really enjoyed this exploration of a real hero and a pure love. Excellent work. (Julie)

Runners Up:

2. Eric Arvin - Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men / Kaje Harper - Nor Iron Bars A Cage
3. Angel Martinez & Freddy MacKay - The Horns and Halos
4. Vaughn R. Demont - Community Service
5. Megan Derr - Black Magic / Tali Spencer - Thick as Thieves


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