Feb. 12th, 2015

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Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy.

Lincoln grew up on the western frontier in Kentucky and Indiana. Largely self-educated, he became a lawyer in Illinois, a Whig Party leader, and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served from 1834 to 1846. Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1846, Lincoln promoted rapid modernization of the economy through banks, tariffs, and railroads. Because he had originally agreed not to run for a second term in Congress, and his opposition to the Mexican–American War was unpopular among Illinois voters, Lincoln returned to Springfield and resumed his successful law practice. Reentering politics in 1854, he became a leader in building the new Republican Party, which had a statewide majority in Illinois. In 1858, while taking part in a series of highly publicized debates with his opponent and rival, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln spoke out against the expansion of slavery, but lost the U.S. Senate race to Douglas.

In 1860 Lincoln secured the Republican Party presidential nomination as a moderate from a swing state. With very little support in the slaveholding states of the South, he swept the North and was elected president in 1860. His election prompted seven southern slave states to form the Confederate States of America before he was sworn into office. No compromise or reconciliation was found regarding slavery and secession.

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

Joshua Fry Speed (November 14, 1814 – May 29, 1882) was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln from his days in Springfield, Illinois, where Speed was a partner in a general store. Later, Speed was a farmer and a real estate investor in Kentucky, and also served one term in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1848. (P: Portrait of Joshua Fry Speed as a young man)

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the US, serving from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Joshua Fry Speed was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln from his days in Springfield, Illinois, where Speed was a partner in a general store. Speed revealed, “No two men were ever more intimate.” During Speed's absence, Lincoln confessed to him in a letter, “I shall be very lonesome without you.” Mutual friend William Herndon conceded that Abe “loved this man [Speed] more than anyone dead or living.”

Joshua Fry Speed was born at Farmington, the estate of the Speed family in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the fifth son of Judge John Speed and Lucy Gilmer Fry Speed, both of prominent slave-holding families.

Joshua Speed's father, Judge John Speed (May 17, 1772 – March 30, 1840) was born in Charlotte County, Virginia. John was first married to Abby Lemaster (d. July, 1807). They had four children, two of whom died in infancy.

Thomas Speed
Mary Speed (born 1800)
Eliza Speed (born 1805)
James Speed

John was then married to Lucy Gilmer Fry (March 23, 1788 – January 27, 1874). Lucy was born in Albemarle County, Virginia. They had eleven children.

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

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Shyam Selvadurai (born 12 February 1965) is a Sri Lankan Canadian novelist who wrote Funny Boy (1994), which won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and Cinnamon Gardens (1998). He currently lives in Toronto with his partner Andrew Champion.

Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka to a Sinhalese mother and a Tamil father—members of conflicting ethnic groups whose troubles form a major theme in his work. Ethnic riots in 1983 drove the family to emigrate to Canada when Selvadurai was nineteen. He studied creative and professional writing as part of a Bachelor of Fine Arts program at York University.

Selvadurai recounted an account of the discomfort he and his partner experienced during a period spent in Sri Lanka in 1997 in his essay "Coming Out" in Time Asia's special issue on the Asian diaspora in 2003.

In 2004, Selvadurai edited a collection of short stories: Story-Wallah: Short Fiction from South Asian Writers, which includes works by Salman Rushdie, Monica Ali, and Hanif Kureishi, among others. He published a young adult novel, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, in 2005. Swimming won the Lambda Literary Award in the Children's and Youth Literature category in 2006. He was a contributor to TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 1.

In 2013, he released a fourth novel, The Hungry Ghosts.

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

Further Readings:

Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai
Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: Tundra Books (August 14, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0887768342
ISBN-13: 978-0887768347
Amazon: Swimming in the Monsoon Sea
Amazon Kindle: Swimming in the Monsoon Sea

Nominated for the Governor General's Literary Awards 2005, (Children's Literature, Text) The setting is Sri Lanka, 1980, and it is the season of monsoons. Fourteen-year-old Amrith is caught up in the life of the cheerful, well-to-do household in which he is being raised by his vibrant Auntie Bundle and kindly Uncle Lucky. He tries not to think of his life “before,” when his doting mother was still alive. Amrith’s holiday plans seem unpromising: he wants to appear in his school’s production of Othello and he is learning to type at Uncle Lucky’s tropical fish business. Then, like an unexpected monsoon, his cousin arrives from Canada and Amrith’s ordered life is storm-tossed. He finds himself falling in love with the Canadian boy. Othello, with its powerful theme of disastrous jealousy, is the backdrop to the drama in which Amrith finds himself immersed. Shyam Selvadurai’s brilliant novels, Funny Boy and Cinnamon Gardens, have garnered him international acclaim. In this, his first young adult novel, he explores first love with clarity, humor, and compassion.

More Spotlights at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Lists/Gay Novels
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Jacqueline Woodson (b. 12 February 1963, in Columbus, Ohio) is an American author who writes books targeted at children and adolescents. She is best known for Miracle's Boys which won the Coretta Scott King Award in 2001 and her Newbery Honor titles After Tupac & D Foster, Feathers and Show Way. Her work is filled with strong African American themes, generally aimed at a young adult audience. She is an open lesbian with a lifelong partner and two children, a daughter named Toshi Georgianna and a son named Jackson-Leroi.

Jacqueline Amanda Woodson was born to Jack and Mary Ann Woodson on February 12, 1963. Although she was born in Columbus, Ohio she and her younger brother, who is biracial, grew up moving back and forth between South Carolina and Brooklyn, NY between 1968 and 1973 until her grandmother finally settled in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Her mother was not wealthy, but her grandparents were; she felt the economic differences each time she moved from one location to the other. She never felt that she truly belonged in either location, but began to define herself as "outside of the world" even before she reached her teens.

As is the case for many teens, her high school years were confusing. Although she dated a basketball player and had a clique of girls she belonged to, her sexuality was not conforming to the ideas of many of her classmates and she found herself questioning everything. Her political views were crushed when Nixon resigned and Ford was sworn in. The young writer felt that George McGovern should have been the new president, since he had lost the election to Nixon. When teachers couldn't give her acceptable answers to her questions she became a loner, sullen and looking for an outlet for her frustrations. She spent a lot of her time writing poems and songs that expressed her social and political disenchantment. Her college education includes receiving a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 1985 and studying creative writing at New School for Social Research (now New School University).

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacqueline_Woodson
Woodson's prose is like music in this sweet, gently told story of a 14-year-old girl's awakening to the possibility of being gay. The story itself is as lovely and honest as its prose.
Staggerlee, who has given herself the name of a strong and defiant black folk hero, is the daughter of a black father and a white mother. She learned the original Staggerlee's story from a film clip of the last show her vaudevillian grandparents did before they were killed by a bomb while taking part in a civil rights demonstration.
Although she loves solitude and takes long walks with her dog, Staggerlee also longs for friends. She feels that something sets her apart from other girls; is it possible she might be gay? She's still haunted by the memory of a girl she once kissed who later betrayed her. And now, as the book opens, she thinks about the summer before, when her cousin, Trout, came to visit...
That summer, as the two girls get to know each other, Staggerlee feels sure she's found a soulmate who shares her feeling of being different. She and Trout talk about that a little--Trout tells Staggerlee that she's been sent to stay with Staggerlee's family in order to learn how to "be a lady"--and Staggerlee senses that there's a "secret and shameful" feeling growing inside both of them. Later, Staggerlee tells Trout about her disturbing memory of kissing a girl, and Trout says she's kissed a girl, too. Staggerlee speaks of reading a book in which a woman who loved another woman killed herself, and they wonder what all of that means, what it would be like.
A friend of Trout's, Rachel, has called Trout a few times during the summer, and when Staggerlee says she's thought she's Trout's girlfriend, Trout laughs and explains that when Rachel calls she tells Trout about parties she's gone to and the boys who've liked her. Not long after that, she tells Staggerlee that Rachel's arranged a date for her when she's back home, and she's agreed to go, although she doesn't know why, and they talk a bit about having to lie about their true feelings. Staggerlee tells Trout that she doesn't know if she's gay, and Trout writes "Staggerlee and Trout were here today. Maybe they will and maybe they won't be gay" in the dirt.
Summer ends and Trout leaves. Staggeree, who's become more confident, begins to find other friends, and she and Trout continue their friendship via phone. But by the end of October, Trout has stopped calling and doesn't respond to the messages Staggerlee leaves on her answering machine. Finally a letter arrives, a long and loving letter, in which Trout tells Staggerlee that she has a boyfriend, but she wants to go on being close to Staggerlee, "even if we don't have the girl thing in common any more."
Staggerlee rereads the letter often as time goes by, and she thinks about her new friends and Trout and wonders who she and Trout both really were and are. And finally she concludes that "They were both waiting. Waiting for this moment, this season, these years to pass....Who would they become?"
The House You Pass on the Way is the second novel in this genre to show a very young main character openly wonderng about his or her sexual orientation, and the first one in which that character is a girl. The first, the late John Donovan's I'll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip, was published by Harper and Row way back in 1969. It's focused on a friendship between two young boys, and the ending, like the ending of The House You Pass on the Way, leaves open the possibility that the kids may or may not end up being gay, and through the characters concludes that either way, it's okay. Donovan's was an appropriate conclusion for a book in 1969 about very young teens, as, I think, is the conclusion of Woodson's beautiful and subtle book nearly thirty years later. --Nancy Garden
Jacqueline Woodson, 1992, by Robert Giard )

Further Readings )

More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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Salvatore "Sal" Mineo, Jr. (January 10, 1939 – February 12, 1976), was an American film and theatre actor, best known for his performance as John "Plato" Crawford opposite James Dean in the film Rebel Without a Cause. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor on two occasions; once for his role in Rebel Without a Cause, and also for his role as Dov Landau in Exodus. He became involved with many young women, including Jill Haworth, his co-star in "Exodus." But at some point in his 20s, he began to pursue men. Michaud said he convinced Haworth to open up for the first time about her relationship with Mineo. And he persuaded actor Courtney Burr III, the man with whom Mineo spent the last six years of his life, to share his recollections as well as personal diaries. Haworth later told author Michael Michaud that she thought Courtney Burr III was the "love of Mineo's life."

Mineo was born in The Bronx, the son of Sicilian coffin makers. His mother enrolled him in dancing and acting school at an early age. He had his first stage appearance in The Rose Tattoo (1951), a play by Tennessee Williams. He also played the young prince opposite Yul Brynner in the stage musical The King and I. Brynner took the opportunity to help Mineo better himself as an actor.

As a teenager, Mineo appeared on ABC's musical quiz program Jukebox Jury, which aired in the 1953-1954 season. Mineo made several television appearances before making his screen debut in 1955 in the Joseph Pevney film Six Bridges to Cross. He beat out Clint Eastwood to the role. Mineo had also successfully auditioned for a part in The Private War of Major Benson as a cadet colonel opposite Charlton Heston.


Sal Mineo was an American film and theatre actor, best known for his performance as John "Plato" Crawford opposite James Dean in the film Rebel Without a Cause. He became involved with many young women, including Jill Haworth, his co-star in "Exodus." Michaud convinced Haworth to open up for the first time about her relationship with Mineo. Haworth later told that she thought Courtney Burr III, the man with whom Mineo spent the last six years of his life,  was the "love of Mineo's life."


Harold Stevenson's The New Adam

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sal_Mineo
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 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 homsexual type, barely concealed, to a huge audience who remained unaware of its origins.
[...]
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. 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, alledegly 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. 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. --A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski
Further Readings )

More LGBT Couples at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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For the release of his 8th novel, Rob Rosen is giving away three PDF e-book copies to commenters on this blog.

Creature Comfort by Rob Rosen
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Fierce Publishing (January 10, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983767823
ISBN-13: 978-0983767824
Amazon: Creature Comfort
Amazon Kindle: Creature Comfort

Three hundred years into the apocalypse, centuries-old zombie queen, Creature Comfort, and the love of her afterlife, Dara Licked, leave their salt factory in Utah and find themselves beneath a gussied-up Lady Liberty, surrounded by a race of fabulous drag queens. Humanity (what’s left of it) is in dire trouble, attacked by unseen menacing forces, and only Creature can possibly save the day! Thus starts this hilarious tale of mystery and heart-pounding adventure, of friends old and new, of what it means to be alive and, most importantly, in love.
Do you believe in love after life? Because you certainly will after you’ve read Creature Comfort.

Excerpt )

About Rob Rosen: Author of the award-winning novels Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love, Divas Las Vegas, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, Queerwolf, Vamp and Queens of the Apocalypse, and editor of the anthologies Lust in Time, Men of the Manor, and Best Gay Erotica 2015.
www.therobrosen.com

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