reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
When I asked my friends to name their favorites, I didn't give them much rules, if not they pick a book read in 2015...
A.B. Gayle: It is not easy to keep the momentum and interest up in a series, but it is a testament to John Wilthsire's skill that Enduring Night, book seven of his More Heat than the Sun series, was as good as, if not better than the rest. A tongue in cheek action packed first half is followed by fighting a force threatening to split them up that needs different tactics.
Enduring Night (More Heat than The Sun #7) by John Wiltshire
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (October 22, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608209946
ISBN-13: 978-1608209941
Amazon: Enduring Night (More Heat than The Sun #7)
Amazon Kindle: Enduring Night (More Heat than The Sun #7)
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. Nikolas has always liked art. You'd have thought that Ben and Nikolas would have learnt that their romantic holidays inevitably end up as disasters. A short break on the polar ice sees them trapped in a nightmare of murder and deceit. Neither of them, however, foresees the long-term impact that endless winter has on their relationship. They return with a metaphorical darkness that threatens everything they have created together. Desperate and fearing for Nikolas's life, Ben makes a bargain with a surprising ally. For the first time, Nikolas meets an enemy more powerful than he is. But fortunately, not as sneaky...

A.B. Gayle: Unlike many authors, I have not been writing stories all my life. Instead I've been living life. My travels have taken me from the fjords of Norway to the southern tip of New Zealand. In between, I've worked in so many different towns I've lost count. I've shoveled shit in cow yards, mustered sheep, been polite to customers, traded insults with politicians. Sometimes I need to be forgiven as I get confused as to who needs what where. Now living in Sydney, Australia, I finally have time to allow my real life experiences to morph with my fertile imagination in order to create fiction which I hope my readers will enjoy. I do value feedback on my writing, both negative and positive. Be warned though, if you are impolite or unconstructive, who knows, you may just end up as a character in one of my books.
Amelia (Rainbow Awards Jury): 'How To Be Both' by Ali Smith -- beautifully written, imaginative, innovative.
How to be both: A Novel by Ali Smith
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (October 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307275256
ISBN-13: 978-0307275257
Amazon: How to be both: A novel
Amazon Kindle: How to be both: A novel
Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith’s novels are like nothing else. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. It’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a Renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real—and all life’s givens get given a second chance.
Amy Lane: My favorite read this year was The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by K.J. Charles. I adored this book which hearkened back to the days of Victorian England, and the poignancy of two men investigating to the best of their abilities. The irony--and hope--at the end undid me, and I have spent lots of fruitless--if wonderful time--imagining the ending that I'm sure we all wanted for our heroes. I did not realize until recently that parts of this book were released independently, as individual adventures, and that knowledge only made me love it more. It's like Sherlock Holmes, paranormal style, and I cannot praise it enough.
The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles
Paperback: 234 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (September 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619229676
ISBN-13: 978-1619229679
Amazon: The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal
Amazon Kindle: The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal
A story too secret, too terrifying-and too shockingly intimate-for Victorian eyes. A note to the Editor Dear Henry, I have been Simon Feximal's companion, assistant and chronicler for twenty years now, and during that time my Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-Hunter have spread the reputation of this most accomplished of ghost-hunters far and wide. You have asked me often for the tale of our first meeting, and how my association with Feximal came about. I have always declined, because it is a story too private to be truthfully recounted, and a memory too precious to be falsified. But none knows better than I that stories must be told. So here is it, Henry, a full and accurate account of how I met Simon Feximal, which I shall leave with my solicitor to pass to you after my death. I dare say it may not be quite what you expect. Robert Caldwell September 1914 Warning: Contains a foul-tempered Victorian ghost-hunter, a journalist who's too curious for his own good, villainy, horror, butterflies, unusual body modifications, and a lot of tampering with the occult.

Amy Lane: Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance--and if you accidentally make eye contact, she'll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She'll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
Andrew J. Peters: I hope the author won't mind me saying that Chipman's African Adventure is a real diamond in the rough. It's long, meandering, and at times off-the-rails absurd. But within that dense, psychodelic jungle of a narrative is one heck of a fun story about a mild-mannered Australian civil servant finding himself in the most unlikely of locations. An inspired cast of misfit characters, many moments of wild and brilliant stream-of-consciousness writing, and a richly imagined setting that swallows you into the story. Reading this crazy book was time well-spent.
Chipman's African Adventure by Jim Anderson
Paperback: 454 pages
Publisher: Valentine Press (March 19, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0994224400
ISBN-13: 978-0994224408
Amazon: Chipman's African Adventure
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Chipman's African Adventure by Jim Anderson is a psycho adventure - a blackly comic tale set in the imagined country of Bomzawe in West Africa in 1972.. It also contains a tender gay love story. Though essentially satirical, some people may find the ribald sexuality confronting. Chipman Smith is still in the closet when he arrives at the Hornbill Palace Hotel at Tlula Leisure Beach , but he is well and truly out of it by the time he leaves. Or is he? Mr. Smith will never be the same again, and neither will you, after reading Chipman's African Adventure.This blackly comic tale, set in an imagined West African country, balances throughout on the edge of laughter. Crescendos of absurdity and high camp drama supplant and transcend each other with accelerating speed. Fledgling lawyer Chipman longs for true love. Will he find it with Zach Shaler, the Nebraskan cowboy with Peace Corps dreams, with Drift, the mamba snake catcher, even though Drift is seriously obsessed with Toffee, his intoxicatingly beautiful girlfriend, or with neither? Chipman hopes he has nothing but a drinking problem when he arrives from Sydney. To his horror he finds himself dragged into the bizarre re-birthing rituals of Dr Starry Sanguini, a drug-crazed Australian psychotherapist with a shady past. These rituals rapidly metamorphose into psychedelic theatrical extravaganza. Chipman emerges in one piece, but is he more clear sighted than before or just a slave to Sanguini as guru and ringmaster? Chipman is a benighted but endearing hero, confronted by many moral and ethical dilemmas. His naivety and goodwill are offset by a shrewdness of intellect and an ability not only to observe but to participate in the beauty, brutality and seething sexual shenanigans of his seedy post-colonial environment. The satire is savage and so is the civil war which inevitably comes, but there is an unexpected and underlying tenderness shown in Chipman's dealings with Sanguini's troupe of international outlaws and generational refugees. It would be easy for a psycho adventure like this to fall into caricature. Instead, the protagonists have a depth of characterisation which makes it all touchingly down to earth and real. Not everyone escapes alive, sane or uncompromised from Tlula Leisure Beach. You will never guess the end.

Andrew J. Peters: Andrew J. Peters is the author of the Werecat series and two books for young adults: The Seventh Pleiade and Banished Sons of Poseidon. He grew up in Amherst, New York, studied psychology at Cornell University, and has spent most of his career as a social worker and an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Andrew has written short fiction for many publications and has been a contributing writer for The Good Men Project, YA Highway, GayYA, La Bloga, and Layers of Thought among other media. While writing, Andrew is an administrator at Adelphi University's School of Social Work. He lives in New York City with his husband Genaro and their cat Chloë.
Anne Barwell: The 'Last Grand Master' by Andrew Q. Gordon reminds me of why I love reading fantasy series. This book, which is book 1 in the 'Champion of the Gods' series takes the time to set up a realistic world populated by intriguing characters, but doesn't slow the story down in doing so. It's not just the two leads - Farrell and Miceral - who are three dimensional, but the supporting characters who are interesting in their own right. Very imaginative. I got sucked into this story very quickly, and became invested in the characters within a few pages. I'm glad their story isn't over yet, because it means I have more to look forward to.
The Last Grand Master by Andrew Q. Gordon
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1623802911
ISBN-13: 978-1623802912
Amazon: The Last Grand Master
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Champion of the Gods: Book One
In a war that shook the earth, the Six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, god of evil. For the three thousand years since, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity.
But then a new wizard unleashes the power of Neldin. Meglar, wizard king of Zargon, uses dark magic to create an army of creatures to carry out his master's will.
One by one, the sovereign realms fall. Soon the only wizard who can stop Meglar is Grand Master Farrell, the Prince of Haven, the hidden home of refugees. An untried wizard, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar-or it could destroy the world.
While helping Nerti, queen of the unicorns, Farrell saves Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen to be Farrell's mate. But Farrell approaches love with caution, and before he can decide how to proceed, Meglar invades a neighboring kingdom. Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Farrell pushes himself to the limit as he and Miceral fight not only to stop Meglar but for their very survival.

Anne Barwell: Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning. She works in a library, is an avid reader and watcher of a wide range of genres, and is constantly on the look out for more hours in her day.
Augusta Li: Family of Lies: Sebastian by Sam Argent and Bad Magic by Evelyn Elliott. Both superb fantasy books with great characterization, sexy, and with some humour to balance out the adventure.
Family of Lies: Sebastian by Sam Argent
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 18, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632166801
ISBN-13: 978-1632166807
Amazon: Family of Lies: Sebastian
Amazon Kindle: Family of Lies: Sebastian
Sebastian Orwell did the only thing a smart wizard could do when he stumbled upon the wounded Crown Prince: he healed him and dumped him in a tavern where he could continue not being Sebastian's problem. Unfortunately, the prince isn’t content with being alive, and he hunts Sebastian down to thank him personally. Not only is Sebastian stuck with the prince's unwanted affections, he's also confronted by growing evidence linking the assassination attempt to someone from his father's past.
Lord Orwell is a lot of things: thief, liar, drunk, and all around horrible father, but Sebastian knows he's no murderer. In order to prove it, Sebastian has to keep the prince alive long enough to discover the truth—a task made considerably harder because the idiot prince prefers wooing Sebastian over securing his own survival. On top of everything, Sebastian needs to save the day without revealing his magical powers and the real reason he hides his appearance.
Sebastian had no intention of playing the hero, but whoever is stirring up shit in his country will pay for destroying his quiet life.

Bad Magic by Evelyn Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (October 28, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Bad Magic
Morality is relative. At least that’s what young sorcerer Regis Teller convinces himself. He’s done what he must to survive: working for a witch since he was nine, helping her throw the kingdom into anarchy, and taking his only comfort in her mysterious son, Crow. And soon, Regis is going to commit his first murder.
A do-gooder named Jonathan White has information the witch needs, and it’s Regis’s job to get that information and slit Jonathan’s throat. But then Regis actually meets Jonathan. And Jonathan is perfect—a hero with a passion for justice and little regard for civility.
Lucky for Regis, Jonathan has a weakness for attractive men. Lucky for Jonathan, Regis is fast developing a conscience and a heart. But for Regis, keeping both of them alive at their adventure’s end means breaking a magical oath and surviving his ruthless boss—all without telling Jonathan the truth. Falling in love is never easy, especially when everyone involved is lying through their teeth.

August Li: August (Gus) Li is a creator of fantasy worlds. When not writing, he enjoys drawing, illustration, costuming and cosplay, and making things in general. He lives near Philadelphia with two cats and too many ball-jointed dolls. He loves to travel and is trying to see as much of the world as possible. Other hobbies include reading (of course), tattoos, and playing video games.
B.A. Brock: "Blue on Black" by Carole Cummings. The writing and plot and characters were superb, and the novel strikes some familiar vibes, à la Steven King's "Dark Tower" series, in that it's a bit steampunk, a bit horror, and a bit psychological thriller. There's also an element of fantastic realism, or magic.
Blue on Black by Carole Cummings
Paperback: 380 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications (June 16, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632169495
ISBN-13: 978-1632169495
Amazon: Blue on Black
Amazon Kindle: Blue on Black
Kimolijah Adani―Class 2 gridTech, beloved brother, most promising student the Academy's ever had the privilege of calling their own, genius mechanical gridstream engineer, brilliantly pioneering inventor... and dead man. But that's what happens when a whiz kid messes with dynamic crystals and, apparently, comes to the attention of Baron Petra Stanslo. Killed for his revolutionary designs, Kimolijah Adani had been set to change the world with his impossible train that runs on nothing more than gridstream locked in a crystal. Technically it shouldn't even be possible, but there is no doubt it works.
Bas is convinced the notoriously covetous and corrupt Stanslo had something to do with Kimolijah Adani's tragic and suspicious end. A Directorate Tracker, Bas has finally managed to catch the scent of Kimolijah Adani's killer, and it leads right into Stanslo's little desert barony. For almost three years, Bas has tried to find a way into Stanslo's Bridge, and when he finally makes it, shock is too small a word for what―or, rather, whom―he finds there.

B.A. Brock: B. A. Brock has lived most of his life in the Pacific Northwest, with a couple years in Oklahoma. He graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in 2007 at Portland State University--which he mostly uses to contemplate how we can achieve a civilization more closely aligned with Star Trek. During a round of Dungeons and Dragons, he discovered a desire to write out some scenes from his character's story. Those scenes became an obsession, that obsession led to writing classes, and an author was born. When not writing, Brock spends his time reading/reviewing novels, training for marathons, hanging out with his dog, and bemoaning the fact that the world has yet to make a decent gluten free donut.
Carlos T. Mock: Call Me Home by Megan Kruse. This is a beautiful tale told in three voices: Lydia speaks from the first person point of view, and Jackson and Amy speak from the third person point of view. The timetable is not linear, but the writer purposely reveals the details of their lives as needed. The struggles of physical/mental abuse are shown by each voice as they perceive them and add up to the tragedy that is domestic abuse. The gay theme is masterfully told by both Amy and Jackson. At one point Amy goes to Seattle to participate in an LGBT rally because she wants the best for her son: "She wanted every promise that lit from these hopeful tongues, the warm and waiting streets they marched on. She wanted him to have what was owed to him, for the world to crack open for him. She did not want for him to feel the poor, small life that was already around him for a minute longer, when all of this was here, waiting." There is also the relationship between Lydia and Jackson. more like siblings they are twins. They feel each other's presence even when they are apart: "...if Jackson lives as though he never knew us at all - it doesn't matter. I'll remember it for us, I thought; I will remember all of it; I will leave nothing out. I didn't know why it was important, but it was." The character development is outstanding. They pop out of the page and speak to you. After a few pages you can't help but feel their pain. This is the best novel I've read this year! At its heart, this is a novel about family, our choices and how we come to live with them, what it means to be queer in the rural West, and the changing idea of home and family.
Call Me Home by Megan Kruse
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: Hawthorne Books (March 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0990437000
ISBN-13: 978-0990437000
Amazon: Call Me Home
Call Me Home has an epic scope in the tradition of Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves or Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and braids the stories of a family in three distinct voices: Amy, who leaves her Texas home at 19 to start a new life with a man she barely knows, and her two children, Jackson and Lydia, who are rocked by their parents’ abusive relationship. When Amy is forced to bargain for the safety of one child over the other, she must retrace the steps in the life she has chosen. Jackson, 18 and made visible by his sexuality, leaves home and eventually finds work on a construction crew in the Idaho mountains, where he begins a potentially ruinous affair with Don, the married foreman of his crew. Lydia, his 12-year-old sister, returns with her mother to Texas, struggling to understand what she perceives to be her mother’s selfishness. At its heart, this is a novel about family, our choices and how we come to live with them, what it means to be queer in the rural West, and the changing idea of home.

Carlos T. Mock: Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to a middle class family. Grew up in the San Francisco/Santa María suburb of San Juan and attended Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola prep school where upon graduation escaped to The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Then proceeded to attend the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan where he obtained a Doctor in Medicine degree in 1980. After an internship in New Orleans and a four-year obstetrics and Gynecology residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago he went to work in the private practice in the Chicago suburbs until 1996.Currently shares life in Chicago with his life partner, Bill Rattan, and their dog Tiffany. Very active in the GLBT community by having served on the board of two organizations; Equality Illinois and Orgullo en Acción. He contributes columns regularly to Windy City Times in Chicago, Ambiente Magazine in Miami, Camp Newspaper in Kansas City. He's had several OP-Ed published at the Chicago Tribune. Inducted in the Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame in October 18th, 2007.
Charlie Cochrane: At the Gate (Jay Lewis Taylor), from anthology Pride of Poppies. I'd like to pick a short story - At the Gate - in the Anthology Pride of Poppies. In my reading notes I used one word for it: stunning. It's the sort of story that made me think, "Well, I might as well give up writing because I could never produce anything this good". You can almost smell the sea and feel the roll of the ship as you read it.
Chris Quinton: My favourite book of 2015 is an anthology - A Pride of Poppies from Manifold Press. Quite apart from the sheer quality of the writing across all the entries, and the eye-catching cover, every one of the stories brought something memorable to the reading. Poignant, gut-wrenching, uplifting, all of them wonderful portrayals of the human spirit, of people not only coping with the ravages of the First World War, but also the difficult life of homosexuals in the early 20th century.
A Pride of Poppies: Modern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War
Paperback: 202 pages
Publisher: Manifold Press (April 29, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 190831284X
ISBN-13: 978-1908312846
Amazon: A Pride of Poppies: Modern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War
Amazon Kindle: A Pride of Poppies: Modern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War
Ten authors - in thirteen stories - explore the experiences of GLBTQI people during World War I. In what ways were their lives the same as or different from those of other people? A London pub, an English village, a shell-hole on the Front, the outskirts of Thai Nguyen city, a ship in heavy weather off Zeebrugge, a civilian internment camp … Loves and griefs that must remain unspoken, unexpected freedoms, the tensions between individuality and duty, and every now and then the relief of recognition. You’ll find both heartaches and joys in this astonishing range of thought-provoking stories.

Charlie Cochrane: As Charlie Cochrane couldn't be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne. Charlie's Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Chris Quinton: Chris started creating stories not long after she mastered joined-up writing, somewhat to the bemusement of her parents and her English teachers. But she received plenty of encouragement. Her dad gave her an already old Everest typewriter when she was about ten, and it was probably the best gift she'd ever received - until the inventions of the home-computer and the worldwide web. Chris's reading and writing interests range from historical, mystery, and paranormal, to science-fiction and fantasy, mostly in the male/male genre. She also writes male/female novels in the name of Chris Power, see http://chrispower.me.uk. She refuses to be pigeon-holed and intends to uphold the long and honourable tradition of the Eccentric Brit to the best of her ability. In her spare time [hah!] she embroiders, quilts and knits. In the past she has been a part-time and unpaid amateur archaeologist, and a 15th century re-enactor. She currently lives in a small and ancient city in the south-west of the United Kingdom, sharing her usually chaotic home with an extended family, two large dogs, fancy mice, sundry goldfish and a young frilled dragon (Australian lizard) aka Trogdorina.
Charlie David: I’d like to pick The 10 Year Plan by JC Calciano as my favorite book this year. As an audio book narrator I’m in the lucky position of getting to read lots of great M/M romance. This year my favorite book was The 10 Year Plan by JC Calciano. It stood out for me because of the comedy as well as a very relatable scenario of negotiating feelings for a best friend that sometimes get confusing. It has all the elements of a great romantic comedy and the characters were so fun to give voice to. In a year of some really good books, this is my top pick.
The 10 Year Plan by JC Calciano
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 7, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1517314844
ISBN-13: 978-1517314842
Amazon: The 10 Year Plan
Amazon Kindle: The 10 Year Plan
Back when… Best friends Myles and Brody are total opposites: Myles believes in true love and happily ever after; Brody believes in hot guys and lots of happy endings. But after Myles has a particularly bad date, they make a plan that, if they haven’t found true love in 10 years they’ll become a couple. 10 years later… Nothing has changed. Myles is still a hopeless romantic looking for Mr. Right and Brody is still on the hunt for Mr. Right Now – both still alone. When they realize it’s almost time to make good on the promise they made to each other a decade earlier, both friends scramble to do whatever it takes to avoid their fate: to be a couple! The search for each other’s perfect partner is on! But maybe the man of their dreams is too close to see… This book also contains special extra content, including: * Myles’ Favorite Recipes * Images From the Movie The 10 Year Plan.

Charlie David: Charlie David has been a host for E! Television, NBC, OutTV, LOGO, here! TV, Pink TV, EGO, Fine Living and Life Network on such shows as FYE!, SpyTV, Crash Test Mommy and his travel series Bump! which now airs in over 10 countries worldwide. He has appeared as musical guest on VH1, BBC, CBS's The Early Show, and dozens of radio shows. Charlie's writing has been published by Instinct, National Youth Ambassador, Adventure Women, Outlooks and BoyCrazy! magazines and AfterElton.com. The latter culminated in a guest appearance on NBC's The Other Half with Dick Clark, Danny Bonaduce, and Mario Lopez. In 2009 he had his first two novels, Mulligans and Boy Midflight, published by Palari Publishing. The Cold Reading Series in Vancouver awarded Charlie 'Best Feature Screenplay' for Mulligans and 'Best Short Screenplay' for Narcissus. In 2005 Out Magazine recognized Charlie in the 'Out 100' at their gala in New York. In 2007 the Philadelphia Film Society awarded Charlie with their Rising Star Award. In 2008 the Festival del Sol in Gran Canaria awarded their Best Male Actor Award to Charlie and the male cast of A Four Letter Word. Formerly in a rock band... okay, actually it was a boy band, Charlie opened for Destiny's Child, Pink, Snoop Dogg, Rick Springfield and Black Eyed Peas. Having enjoyed life on the road with music and modeling contracts across North America and Europe, Charlie is now focused on film and TV with recent roles in the films, A Four Letter Word and Kiss the Bride, and on ABC's Ugly Betty, Bravo!'s Godiva's, Showtime's Reefer Madness, Sundance Channel's award winning Terminal City and starring in a 4th season of here! Network's Dante's Cove. Charlie is co-owner of CTM International Enterprises Inc., a Canadian Talent Agency representing over 100 actors for film, television and commercials. In 2007 he started Border2Border Entertainment Inc., a production company whose first project was the film, Mulligans. He is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts and currently resides in various hotel rooms around the globe.
David-Elijah Nahmod: I suggest Blind: A Memoir and Midday Dreams for this year's Favorite Books round-up? Both were written by openly gay, totally blind author Belo Cipriani. I strongly recommend Blind: A Memoir and Midday Dreams, both by Belo Miguel Cipriani. Belo was fully sighted until age 26 when a vicious assault, which includes numerous kicks to his head, left him totally blind. Belo is openly gay--so were his attackers! In Blind: A Memoir Belo recalls his beating and his rehabilitation. Midday Dreams is, in part, a gay love story set in 1940s Portugal. Since losing his sight, Belo has become a teacher and a journalist who writes about employment and disability issues. He has served as a Grand Marshal in the 2015 San Francisco Pride Parade and was named Best Disability Advocate for 2015 by SF Weekly. He was also named an Agent of Change by Huffington Post. He is also the official spokesperson for Guide Dogs For the Blind. Belo has been an inspiration to disabled people around the world--there is life after disability.
Blind: A Memoir by Belo Miguel Cipriani
Paperback: 186 pages
Publisher: Wheatmark (June 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1604945559
ISBN-13: 978-1604945553
Amazon: Blind: A Memoir
Amazon Kindle: Blind: A Memoir
Imagine if the most severe physical pain and sorrow in your life were inflicted by the people you trusted most. In the spring of 2007, Belo Cipriani was beaten and robbed of his sight at the hands of his childhood friends. Blind: A Memoir chronicles the two years immediately following the assault. At the age of twenty-six, Belo found himself learning to walk, cook, and date in the dark. Armed with visual memory and his newly developed senses, Belo shows readers what the blind see. He narrates the recondite world of the blind, where microwaves, watches, and computers talk, and where guide dogs guard as well as lead.

Midday Dreams by Belo Miguel Cipriani
Publisher: Ugly Dog Digital (September 30, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Midday Dreams
Belo Cipriani (Blind: A Memoir) returns with a magical short story that whisks readers away to another time, another place.
In the lyrical “Midday Dreams,” Cipriani takes his readers to a lush, tropical island that isn't the paradise it might appear to be. There, the devout Izabel learns to open her heart love those who don't live and believe as she does.
Infused with prophetic dreams and magical realism, “Midday Dreams” will surely find its way into your heart.

David-Elijah Nahmod: David-Elijah Nahmod is a film critic and reporter in San Francisco. His articles appear regularly in The Bay Area Reporter and SF Weekly. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter. He is currently doing a monthly column in South Florida Gay News titled “If You Could Read My Mind: A PTSD Diary.”
Denise Dechene (Rainbow Awards Jury): Trying to pick a favorite is a hard thing. So many great books. But I have to say that one really stood out to me- Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan. It tackles mental illness and autism. Makes you see their struggles to just live their lives. One of the sayings in the book is “It’s like Elwood Blues says; everybody needs somebody to love. I’m an everybody. I get somebody.” It educates you, entertains you, and inspires you. I truly believe this book should be read by everyone. As she says in the book “There is no normal, not really. Not a right and a wrong way to be. But there is belonging”
Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt #1) by Heidi Cullinan
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (April 7, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619227118
ISBN-13: 978-1619227118
Amazon: Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt #1)
Amazon Kindle: Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt #1)
Normal is just a setting on the dryer. The Roosevelt, Book 1 High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it's time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey-and he's autistic. But Jeremey doesn't judge him for that. He's too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don't believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby. As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle. Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.
E.J. Russell: I read so many wonderful books this year, but just recently, I read Prosperity by Alexis Hall, so it’s front-and-center in my mind. I got completely immersed in the world, fascinated by all the complicated, flawed, and colorful characters. Plus the way Hall uses language…imagery that’s jaw-droppingly (as in literally, and more than once) beautiful.
Prosperity by Alexis Hall
Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (June 20, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626491771
ISBN-13: 978-1626491779
Amazon: Prosperity
Amazon Kindle: Prosperity
A breathtaking tale of passion and adventure in the untamed skies!
Prosperity, 1863: a lawless skytown where varlets, chancers, and ne’er-do-wells risk everything to chase a fortune in the clouds, and where a Gaslight guttersnipe named Piccadilly is about to cheat the wrong man. This mistake will endanger his life . . . and his heart.
Thrill! As our hero battles dreadful kraken above Prosperity. Gasp! As the miracles of clockwork engineering allow a dead man to wreak his vengeance upon the living. Marvel! At the aerial escapades of the aethership, Shadowless.
Beware! The licentious and unchristian example set by the opium-addled navigatress, Miss Grey. Disapprove Strongly! Of the utter moral iniquity of the dastardly crime prince, Milord. Swoon! At the dashing skycaptain, Byron Kae. Swoon Again! At the tormented clergyman, Ruben Crowe.
This volume (available in print, and for the first time on mechanical book-reading devices) contains the complete original text of Piccadilly’s memoirs as first serialised in All the Year Round. Some passages may prove unsettling to unmarried gentlemen of a sensitive disposition.

E.J. Russell: E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she's spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer and business intelligence consultant. She returned to her childhood love of writing fiction after her twin sons learned to drive and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class. Her daily commute now consists of walking from one side of her office to the other -- from left-brain day job to right-brain author cave -- where she's perfected the fine art of typing with a cat draped across her wrists and a dog attached to her hip. E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her husband, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
Eden Winters: Although it's a short and not a full novel, the book I read this year that's really stuck with me is Falling Awake by Kage Alan. Such a haunting story, and though this isn't a typical m/m romance, the love story hits you right in the heart. Memorable characters, cultural legends come to life, and above all two souls forever destined to be together. I'm tearing up now just recalling the main characters' bond, not only with each other, but with the friends who travel the way with them. The tale is dark at times, but with a definite light at the end of the tunnel.
Falling Awake by Kage Alan
Paperback: 84 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (August 24, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1517025516
ISBN-13: 978-1517025519
Amazon: Falling Awake
Amazon Kindle: Falling Awake
Imagine waking up in a place you can’t remember, with a face you don’t recognize, and a name that may not be your own printed on a ticket in your back pocket. And of the five people you meet during the next few hours, four of them hold clues to your past, present, and two possible futures. The outcome of the encounter will determine your soul’s fate, and the only way out of the nightmare may be through falling awake.

Eden Winters: You will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of "Hey, y'all!" in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs! Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world's record for curriculum changes to the point that she's never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit. She's trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as "What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?" In the process of her adventures she has written fourteen m/m romance novels, has won several Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches. When not putting characters in dangerous situations she's a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist. Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and the backs of motorcycles.
Felice Picano: Stories by Lewis Ellingham is a book of poetry, of mini-dramas, of very short and even shorter stories, and an altogether wonderful look by a perceptive observer and brilliant vvriter of the current state of the city of San Francisco today from someone who had lived there decades. Loves it, and yet sees all of its many different facets.
Stories by Lewis Ellingham
Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/lewis-ellingham/stories/paperback/product-22082250.html
Collection of stories/proems from Lewis Ellingham's life in San Francisco

Felice Picano: Felice Picano, poet, novelist, playwright, critic and publisher, was a founding member of the Violet Quill, a pioneering group of gay male writers in the 1980s. Recipient of many awards and citations, he received the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 2010, and the City of West Hollywood’s Rainbow Award and Citation in 2013.
Feliz Faber: My favorite book of 2015 was For Real by Alexis Hall. The emotionality, the depth and the sheer brilliance of the writing took my breath away. An awesome read and a wonderful, poignant romance.
Kaje Harper: I read some wonderful stories in 2015, but the one that had me turning around and reading it again right away was "For Real" by Alexis Hall. BDSM, but with much more focus on the psychology, the needs of the two men and the balance of the relationship, than any mechanics of the physical side. Not that there aren't excellent sexual episodes in it, but there are no formal scenes here, no careful planning and stylized progression. Just two men, one older, one younger; one experienced in the scene, one completely new to it; one broken by losing love through no fault of his own, one urgently seeking something he's never had... and the young, inexperienced guy is the Dom. This worked for me on so many levels. The writing is excellent. (If you haven't tried this author yet, and were daunted by the accent or the steampunk of other stories, try this one.) The men are imperfect, physically as well as in their very human emotions and psychology. The progression through the relationship is organic, not formalized, moving in very believable fits and starts. There are wonderful moments and painful moments and I read it in one breathless evening, then went back to the beginning.
For Real by Alexis Hall
Paperback: 362 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (February 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626492808
ISBN-13: 978-1626492806
Amazon: For Real
Amazon Kindle: For Real
Laurence Dalziel, a thirty-seven year old trauma surgeon, is worn down and washed up. And for him the BDSM scene especially is all played out. He’s tired of pantomiming submission, and he’s long since given up looking for more than hollow release.
Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.
Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. He doesn’t know how he ended up where he is or where he’s meant to be going. But he knows, with all the terrible certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie.
He wants Laurie on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love. But while Laurie will surrender his body to Toby’s desires, he won’t surrender his heart. Because whatever they have, however right it feels, he knows it can’t last. Toby has to live his own life, and Laurie has to let him.
It can’t be for real.

Feliz Faber: Reader, writer, translator. “Small things are what matter: The first cup of coffee in the morning. Starting a new book on a rainy Sunday. Laying awake at night and hearing my family's breaths around me. Meeting with friends and talking about everything and nothing for hours on end. Wording the perfect phrase. Starting a new story. Typing the word "end". That's bliss.”

Kaje Harper: Kaje Harper grew up in Montreal and spent her teen years writing. But as life got busy, the stories began to just live in her head. The characters grew, met, endured, loved, but rarely made it to paper. Serious authorship got sidetracked by ventures into psychology, teaching, and a biomedical career. And by the challenges of raising children. When the kids were more independent, her husband gave her a computer she didn't have to share. She began putting words down in print, just for fun. Hours of fun. Lots of hours of fun. The stories began piling up, and her husband suggested it was time to try to publish one. MLR Press accepted her first book, Life Lessons, which was released in May 2011. Kaje now has several novels and short stories in print. She currently lives in Minnesota with a creative teenager, a crazy little omnivorous white dog, and a remarkably patient spouse.
Giselle Renarde: My pick is Janet Mock's autobiography, Redefining Realness. There was a lot of hype around this book, and I'd been disappointed by more than a few New York Times bestsellers when I jumped in, but I love Janet Mock (she's really nice on Twitter!) and her memoir proved eloquent, moving, and human. Believe the hype! This is a book that well deserves the praise it receives.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Atria Books; Reprint edition (December 2, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476709130
ISBN-13: 978-1476709130
Amazon: Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
Amazon Kindle: Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community—and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.
With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.

Giselle Renarde: Giselle Renarde is a queer Canadian, contributor to more than 100 short story anthologies, and award-winning author of dozens of electronic and print books, including Anonymous, Audrey & Lawrence, Ondine, Nanny State, and the Wedding Heat series. Giselle lives across from a park with two bilingual cats who sleep on her head. Ms. Renarde's anthology My Mistress' Thighs: Erotic Transgender Fiction and Poetry received an Honourable Mention in the 2011 Rainbow Awards, and her trans lesbian romance The Red Satin Collection took top prize in the same category in 2012. She is a contributor to Tristan Taormino's Lambda Award-winning book Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, as well as such notable anthologies as Best Women's Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bondage Erotica, and Best Lesbian Romance.
Jaime Maddox: My favorite book this year was Ann Aptaker's Tarnished Gold. It's a work of historical fiction, my favorite genre, and is a page turner from the first chapter. The heroine takes on crooked cops and the mob, wears a tux as she escorts ones woman about town even while mentally undressing countless others! Cantor Gold is a woman brave (or foolish) enough to be herself in a time when it was dangerous to do so. Either way, she's a hero(ine).
Tarnished Gold (Cantor Gold Crime) by Ann Aptaker
Series: Cantor Gold Crime
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (September 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626394261
ISBN-13: 978-1626394261
Amazon: Tarnished Gold (Cantor Gold Crime)
Amazon Kindle: Tarnished Gold (Cantor Gold Crime)
New York City, 1950. Cantor Gold, art smuggler and dapper dyke-about-town, hunts for a missing masterpiece she’s risked her life to bring through the port of New York. She must outsmart the Law that wants to jail her; outrun the dockside gangsters who would let her take the fall for murder; and outplay a shady art dealer, his lover, and a beautiful curator who toys with Cantor’s passion. Through it all, Cantor must stay out of the gunsights of a killer who’s knocking off rivals for the missing masterpiece—and stay alive to solve the mystery of her stolen love: Sophie de la Luna y Sol.
A Cantor Gold Crime Novel.

Jaime Maddox: Jaime Maddox spends her mornings practicing medicine, her afternoons playing mom, and nights writing fiction for Bold Strokes Books. Her debut novel Agnes earned her the Alice B Lavender Certificate, and she followed up with three other works: The Common Thread, Bouncing and Deadly Medicine. She loves her native Pocono Mountains, and of her books are set, at least partially, in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She still lives there, with her partner Carolyn, and their eleven year old twins, Jamison and Max, but escapes on occasion for a little diversion. In an effort to keep her blood pressure high, she plays golf. She lowers it again by hanging out with her family, yoga, reading and baking.
Jess Faraday: My favorite LGBT book this year was Girls in Ice Houses by Linda Morgenstein. It was such a quirky, unpredictable story with complicated, sharp-edged characters I was never quite sure about. At the same time, it was impossible to put down. Characters and events were distorted to the cutting edge of unbelievability--and slapstick at times--and yet were fully realized and three-dimensional. A truly tremendous feat on the part of the author. I loved every minute of it.
Girls in Ice Houses by Linda Morgenstein
Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises, LLC (November 25, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161929222X
ISBN-13: 978-1619292222
Amazon: Girls in Ice Houses
Amazon Kindle: Girls in Ice Houses
Maxie Wolfe is becoming a notorious female paparazzo, a dubious goal that reflects her flight from the past. One scorching night, outside the Bad Mama Supper Club, Maxie scuffles with Fisher Jacobs, female sports agent. They're both arrested and sentenced to anger-management classes. Things go from bad to worse for the pair in Hollywood, until they flee to Fisher's family in Minnesota. Once there, Maxie begins to bond with the Jacobs family and to use her talent to take photos that aren't ugly celebrity exposes. Reluctantly, she uncovers startling secrets about the Jacobs family. Girls in Ice Houses is a thoughtful yet humorous exploration of complex family dynamics, and the nature of art and creativity.

Jess Faraday: Jess Faraday is the author of the Ira Adler Mysteries, the Stein & Vincent Adventures, and the steampunk thriller The Left Hand of Justice. She also edits a series of mystery anthologies for Elm Books, including Death on a Cold Night and Death and the Detective. Her work has been shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award, and has received Honorable Mention in the Speak Its Name Book of the Year and Rainbow Award competitions. She lives in the western United States with her family and a small zoo.
Jim Provenzano: My favorite of 2015, Katie Gilmartin’s Blackmail, My Love. Set in 1950s San Francisco, Gilmartin’s intriguing tale involves a lesbian searching for answers in a secretive gay world of the 1950s. She incorporates real bars and people of the time, as well as a stylish noir prose flair. An accomplished visual artist, Gilmartin’s illustrations add to its unique appeal. I also took pleasure in seeing Gilmartin win the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Mystery earlier this year in New York; well deserved!
Blackmail, My Love: A Murder Mystery by Katie Gilmartin
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press; proof edition (November 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627780645
ISBN-13: 978-1627780643
Amazon: Blackmail, My Love: A Murder Mystery
Amazon Kindle: Blackmail, My Love: A Murder Mystery
Josie O'Conner travels to San Francisco in 1951 to locate her gay brother, a private eye investigating a blackmail ring targeting lesbians and gay men. Jimmy's friends claim that just before he disappeared he became a rat, informing the cops on the bar community. Josie adopts Jimmy's trousers and wingtips, to clear his name, halt the blackmailers, and exact justice for too many queer corpses. Along the way she rubs shoulders with a sultry chanteuse running a dyke tavern called Pandora's Box, gets intimate with a red-headed madam operating a brothel from the Police Personnel Department, and conspires with the star of Finocchio's, a dive so disreputable it's off limits to servicemen — so every man in uniform pays a visit.
Blackmail, My Love is an illustrated murder mystery deeply steeped in San Francisco's queer history, as established academic and first-time novelist Katie Gilmartin's diverse set of characters negotiate the risks of same-sex desire in a dangerous era. Set in such legendary locations as the Black Cat Cafe, the Fillmore, the Beat movement's North Beach, and the Tenderloin, Blackmail, My Love is a singular, stunning introduction to a new author and to gay noir.

Jim Provenzano: Jim Provenzano is the author of the Lambda Literary Award winner (Gay Romance) 'Every Time I Think of You,' and its sequel 'Message of Love' (a Lambda Literary Award Finalist - Gay Romance), the novels 'PINS,' 'Monkey Suits,' 'Cyclizen,' the stage adaptation of 'PINS,' as well as numerous published short stories and freelance articles. The curator of 'Sporting Life,' the world's first gay athletics exhibit, he also wrote the syndicated Sports Complex column for ten years. A journalist in LGBT media for more than two decades, he lives in San Francisco.
JL Merrow: For my favourite LGBT book of 2015, I'd like to pick Humbug, by Joanna Chambers. It's a delightful little book, and really put me in the Christmas spirit. It's an updating of an old seasonal favourite, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, but it's not a slavish, formulaic re-hash of the old story. Another book I read in 2015 was Val McDermid's updated version of Northanger Abbey, and like McDermid, Chambers has absolutely nailed a thoroughly modern story, populated by modern characters, that's nonetheless entirely true to the redemptive, warm-hearted spirit of the original. And the icing on the top? That cover for Humbug is absolutely glorious, and fits the story perfectly.
Humbug by Joanna Chambers
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Amazon Kindle: Humbug
Quin Flint is unimpressed when his gorgeous colleague, Rob Paget, asks for extra time off at Christmas. As far as Quin is concerned, Christmas is a giant waste of time. Quin's on the fast track to partnership, and the season of goodwill is just getting in the way of his next big project. But when Quin's boss, Marley, confiscates his phone and makes him take an unscheduled day off, Quin finds himself being forced to confront his regrets, past and present, and think about the sort of future he really wants…and who he wants it with.

Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Grove Press (April 14, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802123805
ISBN-13: 978-0802123800
Amazon: Northanger Abbey
Amazon Kindle: Northanger Abbey
Now in paperback, Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey is an updated take on Jane Austen’s classic novel about a young woman whose visit to the stately home of a well-to-do acquaintance stirs her most macabre imaginings. A homeschooled minister’s daughter in the quaint, sheltered Piddle Valley in Dorset, Cat Morland loses herself in novels (and, of course, her smartphone) and is sure there is a glamorous adventure awaiting her beyond the valley’s narrow horizon. So imagine her delight when her neighbors, the Allens, invite her to attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh as their guest. Cat quickly begins to take Edinburgh by storm and is taken into the bosom of the Thorpe family, particularly by eldest daughter Bella. And then she meets handsome Henry Tilney, who lives at the beautiful and forbidding Northanger Abbey. Cat is entranced by Henry and his charming sister Eleanor, but she can’t help but wonder if everything about them is as perfect as it seems. Maybe she has just been reading too many novels?

JL Merrow: JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. JL Merrow is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Jordan Castillo Price: I would pick Kim Fielding's Astounding! as my favorite book of 2015. The protagonist is a SF/Fantasy editor, and I had just edited a fantasy anthology, so the book really spoke to me! It was subtle and sweet and full of wonder.
Astounding! By Kim Fielding
Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 26, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634762207
ISBN-13: 978-1634762205
Amazon: Astounding!
Amazon Kindle: Astounding!
Carter Evans is founder and editor-in-chief of Astounding!―a formerly popular spec fiction magazine currently in its death throes. Not only can he do nothing to save it, but stuck in a rathole apartment with few interpersonal connections, he can’t seem to do much to rescue his future either. And certainly all the booze isn’t helping. He snaps when he receives yet another terrible story submission from the mysterious writer J. Harper―and in a drunken haze, Carter sends Harper a rejection letter he soon regrets.
J. Harper turns out to be John Harper, a sweet man who resembles a ’50s movie star and claims to be an extraterrestrial. Despite John’s delusions, Carter’s apology quickly turns into something more as the two lonely men find a powerful connection. Inexplicably drawn to John, Carter invites him along on a road trip. But as they travel, Carter is in for some big surprises, some major heartbreak… and just maybe the promise of a good future after all.

Jordan Castillo Price: Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, "light as a feather, stiff as a board," girls with tattoos and boys in eyeliner. Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who's plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made...one client at a time.
Kate McMurray: My favorite LGBT book of the year was A Fashionable Indulgence by K.J. Charles, which features a character who doesn’t know he’s descended from a wealthy family suddenly thrust into high society, and coached by a dandy obsessed with high-quality garments. It’s well-researched and a delightful read.
A Fashionable Indulgence (A Society of Gentlemen Novel #1) by KJ Charles
Publisher: Loveswept (August 11, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: A Fashionable Indulgence (A Society of Gentlemen Novel #1)
In the first novel of an explosive new series from K. J. Charles, a young gentleman and his elegant mentor fight for love in a world of wealth, power, and manipulation.
When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.
After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.

Kate McMurray: Kate McMurray is an award-winning author of gay romance and an unabashed romance fan. When she's not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with base­ball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Kate Pavelle: One of my favorites last year was Anna Zabo’s “Just Business.” The characters have complex histories, one coming from an abusive BDSM relationship and the other from a restrictive Jewish orthodox background. They both have to learn to trust the other, but in different way. Their dynamic is seething hot, their angst is painful to read, and the resolution comes to a happy ending that made this book a frequent comfort read.
Just Business by Anna Zabo
Publisher: InterMix (June 16, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Just Business
From the thriling new author of Takeover, a steamy new novel about having all the control—and losing it…
Justin White may not look like an up and coming corporate superstar, but his new boss knows he has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed. Now he just has to convince his company’s CFO, Eli Ovadia. Unfortunately, Justin can’t seem to keep his cool around the domineering Eli—and soon he finds himself taking their heat from the boardroom into the bedroom….
Still haunted by a tragic accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli has a need to be in control. But his desire for Justin makes him want to lose that control—and push them both far beyond their limits. But will his need to dominate Justin drive him away—or will Eli find a way to be the man he needs for both of them?

Kate Pavelle: She learned to use a gas mask in first grade. She fired her first AK47 in her sixth grade civil defense class. Her first dog was a wolf hybrid stolen from the Czechoslovak border guard, and her eccentric father blew out the windows of their house with a stun grenade. On purpose. Unlike his chemical explosions, which were always by accident. Kate Pavelle's high-stakes, high-adrenaline childhood leaves her searching for the next exciting thing. Martial arts and travel and rock climbing. Horses and cookies and toxic mushrooms. Medieval combat and children and brain-tanning deer hide in the driveway. Her quest resonates through her mystery thrillers and romances, matched only by her drive to share the fun with her readers. Kate once knew the hunger of being a political refugee and the terror of being pursued by government agents. Now that she knows lasting love and contentment, she imbues her characters with her own struggle for survival, excellence, and world domination. Only the dead bodies are imaginary.
KJ Charles: The Trojan Project by John T Fuller and Richard Rider. This is a spectacularly good collection of stories, many though not all gay romance.(Which is to say, it's all gay fiction but not everything has a HEA.) A few of the stories are creepy, fantastic, or even horror; all of them are fabulous, and the pure romances include some of the loveliest stuff I've read in ages. Gorgeous, touching characters and beautifully written. This is by turns funny, sexy, scary and swoony, and even if you don't normally do short stories, you want this. I am...confused by the cover; this book is a seriously classy piece of work and I recommend it wholeheartedly. One of the absolute best of the year for me.
The Trojan Project by John T Fuller and Richard Rider
Publisher: Lulu.com (November 2, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: The Trojan Project
Written by John T. Fuller (When the Music Stops) and Richard Rider (The Stockholm Syndrome trilogy and Captured Shadows), The Trojan Project is a collection of twelve original stories of gay romance.
A couple move into a new home with that unsettling feeling of being watched; a young man who rescues an antique mannequin from a skip gets more than he bargained for; a lonely campsite worker finally gets up the courage to make a move on the man he admires; an over-privileged student gets more than the standard treatment when he's recruited into a secret society; Andersen, Rimbaud and Verlaine as you've never seen them before – plus fairies, vampires, rockstars, and a surprise appearance from Pip Valentine.
From historical to horror, poetry to porn, there's something to whet every appetite.
We just hope that you like sausage.

KJ Charles: KJ Charles is a writer and editor living in London. She has a serious reading habit, two kids, a cat, a blog, and several books coming out. Somehow.
L.M. Somerton: Building Bonds by Morticia Knight. There's something innately sexy about a carpenter. I think it's the ability to bring beauty from the wood, shape it and mould it until it realises its potential. That's exactly what happens to Kyle in this book, the first in Morticia's 'Kiss of Leather' series. Kyle is uncertain, new to the scene and he's been burned by an ex. He's the perfect sub character for me - vulnerable, shy, but with hidden passion that hasn't yet found release. Gavin is a really sexy Dom and just as he breaks down Kyle's walls, Kyle does the same for him without even knowing that's what he's doing. The characterisation in the book is great, the story pulled me along in one sitting and I'll definitely be going back for the rest of the series.
Building Bonds (Kiss of Leather) by Morticia Knight
Series: Kiss of Leather
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Pride Publishing (August 11, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1784307122
ISBN-13: 978-1784307127
Amazon: Building Bonds (Kiss of Leather)
Amazon Kindle: Building Bonds (Kiss of Leather)
Kyle’s a natural sub who builds dungeon furniture, yet has no interest in BDSM. It takes a hunky Dom to show him just what he’s been missing.
After Kyle’s partner of five years leaves him for another man on the night of their housewarming party, the shy, early-thirties carpenter needs to do a major reassessment of his life in addition to raising some serious cash. With no one to help him pay the lease on his Los Angeles condo, he worries how he’ll survive. His best friend sets up a meeting with one of the Doms and partners at Kiss of Leather, a gay BDSM club being built as a premier destination for those who want the best of the best.
Master Gavin not only wants the best—he demands it. When he meets Kyle, he assumes that part of the builder’s reticence to share anything personal with him must be due to his experiences with an abusive former Master. Not one to back down from a challenge, Gavin determines to break through the walls surrounding the beautiful man he can’t get out of his mind. He’s hopeful that once he convinces Kyle to sign an initial contract, Kyle might be the first sub to open up his heart.
Misunderstandings and accusations almost destroy everything between them before they have a real chance to begin. However, the true obstacle becomes not only whether Kyle will embrace BDSM as a lifestyle, but also whether he can handle a full-time D/s relationship with a big, bad, scary Dom who’s as sexy as hell.

L.M. Somerton: I live in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. I started writing to fill time between jobs and am now firmly and unashamedly addicted. I love the English weather, especially the rain, and adore a thunderstorm. I love good food, warm company and a crackling fire. I'm fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and my stories contain some subtle (and not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM. L M Somerton's first book, The Portrait, was the winner of the 2012 National Leather Association: International, Pauline Reage Award for Best Novel.
Larry Duplechan: Tattooed Teardrops, by D Rashad Battle. Battle is a new and intriguing voice in Black queer fiction, and in Tattooed Teardrops he serves up a 21st Century MSM romance with a headful of dreadlocks, a Southern drawl and a hip-hop soundtrack.
Tattooed Teardrops by D Rashad Battle
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (September 25, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1516894723
ISBN-13: 978-1516894727
Amazon: Tattooed Teardrops
Amazon Kindle: Tattooed Teardrops
Muse Atwood and Tempest Monroe have been friends since junior high school. Thick as thieves, some might say. They even decided to go into business together and open In Your Skin Tattoos, which has seen nothing but success since its doors opened five years ago. When the tall, sexy and troublesome "Trap" walks into the shop one spring afternoon, their lives are changed forever. Muse has to decide between the loyalty for his best friend or his lust-turned-love for Trap, who won't take no for an answer. Tattooed Teardrops is a story of betrayal, love, lust and most of all forgiveness. Some pains heal but this one is permanent.

Larry Duplechan: Larry Duplechan is the author of five novels, including Blackbird (considered the first modern Black "coming-out" novel) and the Lambda Literary Award-winning Got 'til it's Gone. His hobbies include singing, playing the ukulele, reading show business biographies, and pursuing his ongoing quest to forestall the physical aging process and build truly outstanding pecs. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband of 38 years and a 17 pound Chartreux cat named Mr. Blue.
Lee Lynch: Backcast by Ann McMann -This novel is literate, sensitive to our issues, funny and her characters ring so true of lesbians everywhere.
Backcast by Ann McMann
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bywater Books (December 8, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612940633
ISBN-13: 978-1612940632
Amazon: Backcast
Amazon Kindle: Backcast
When sculptor and author Barb Davis is given an NEA grant to pair original feminist sculptures with searing first-person essays on transitions in women's lives, she organizes a two week writing retreat with twelve of the best, brightest, and most notorious lesbian authors in the business. But in between regularly scheduled happy hours and writing sessions, the women enter a tournament bass fishing competition, receive life coaching from a wise-cracking fish named Phoebe, and uncover a subterranean world of secrets and desires that is as varied and elusive as the fish that swim in the waters of Lake Champlain.
Set on the beautiful shores of Vermont's Lake Champlain, Backcast is richly populated with an expansive cast of endearing and outrageous characters who battle writer's block, quirky locals, personal demons, unexpected attractions, and even each other during their two-week residency. For Barb and each of her twelve writers, the stakes in this fast-moving story are high, but its emotional and romantic payoffs are slow and sweet.
Filled with equal parts laugh-out-loud humor and breathtaking pathos, Backcast serves up a sometimes irreverent, sometimes sobering look at the hidden lives of women, and how they laugh, love, lose, and blunder through their own search for meaning.

Lee Lynch: Lee Lynch published her first lesbian fiction in "The Ladder" in the 1960s. Naiad Press issued Toothpick House, Old Dyke Tales, and more. Her novel The Swashbuckler was presented in NYC as a play scripted by Sarah Schulman. New Victoria Publishers brought out Rafferty Street, the last book of Lynch's Morton River Valley Trilogy. Lee's backlist is becoming available in electronic format from Bold Strokes Books. Her newest novels are Beggar of Love and The Raid. Her recent short stories can be found in Romantic Interludes, Women In Uniform, and at www.readtheselips.com. Her reviews and feature articles have appeared in such publications as The San Francisco Chronicle, The Advocate, and The Lambda Book Report. Lynch's syndicated column, "The Amazon Trail," runs in venues such as boldstrokesbooks.com, Erie Gay News, Letters From Camp Rehoboth, Diversity Rules, Keystone Alliance, Epocholips and On Top Magazine. Lee Lynch was honored by the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) as the first recipient (for The Swashbuckler) and namesake of The Lee Lynch Classics Award, which will honor outstanding works in Lesbian Fiction published before awards and honors were given. She also is a recipient of the Alice B. Reader Award for Lesbian Fiction; the James Duggins Mid-Career Author Award, which honors LGBT mid-career novelists of extraordinary talent and service to the LGBT community; and was inducted into the Saints and Sinners Literary Hall of Fame. In 2010, Beggar of Love received the GCLS Ann Bannon Readers' Choice Award and the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Bronze Award in Gay/Lesbian Fiction. Lee's most recent novel 'THE RAID' was a winner in 2012 General Fiction from The Golden Crown Literary Society. She has twice been nominated for Lambda Literary Awards and her novel Sweet Creek was a GCLS award finalist. Lee lives in coastal Oregon with her wife, 2 kitties and wee dog.
Leona Carver: My favourite book in 2015 was Astrid Amara's Song of the Navigator. This novel was just all around perfect. I loved the characters, the writing style, the plot, the romance, the setting, the darkness, and the happy ending... Everything about it. I've rarely been so satisfied when I've finished a book, or more eager for the next one.
Song of the Navigator by Astrid Amara
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (May 26, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161922951X
ISBN-13: 978-1619229518
Amazon: Song of the Navigator
Amazon Kindle: Song of the Navigator
Worst Possible Birthday: Being sold into slavery by none other than your lover. Tover Duke's rare ability to move anything instantly across light-years of space makes him a powerful, valuable asset to the Harmony Corporation, and a rock star among the people of the colonies. His life is luxurious. Safe. Routine. He has his pick of casual hookups passing through Dadelus-Kaku Station. His one brush with danger of any kind-the only bright spot in his otherwise boring life-is Cruz Arcadio, a dark-haired, hard-bodied engineer whose physical prowess hints he's something much more. When a terrorist abducts Tover, hurling him into a world of torture, exploitation and betrayal, it's with shattering disbelief that he realizes his kidnapper is none other than Cruz. As Tover struggles to find the courage to escape his bondage, he begins to understand the only way to free his body, his mind-and his heart-is to trust the one man who showed him that everything about his once-perfect life was a lie. Warning: This story contains descriptions of extreme violence and assault. It also contains graphic sexual depictions. It also has a lot of birds. And pirate movies from the future. And romance.

Leona Carver: Leona Carver lurks in a Canadian basement with a cat and an aerospace engineer, one of whom helps with the science while the other scratches at the window to get out. She writes novels and short stories with a penchant for genre mash-ups—because fairy tales need space stations, historical romance needs steam powered cyborgs, merpeople should wear mecha, and all of the aforementioned need a little love. Or a lot of love. When Leona isn’t banging her head against her keyboard, she prepares for the post-apocalypse by running, kickboxing, reviving ancient dances and recipes, and training her hand-eye coordination with joysticks and a D-pad.
Lex Valentine: As usual, there is never just one book that I would call my favorite of the year. This year the ones I couldn’t stop re-reading were:
The Boy With the Painful Tattoo – Josh Lanyon – Seeing the relationship between Kit and JX taken to the next level was awesome! And totally worth the wait.
Fit To Be Tied – Mary Calmes – I can never get enough Miro and Ian. Book 2 gives us more of the interesting and frightening villain Craig Hartley and takes us deeper into Miro and Ian’s heads and relationship. Hugely satisfying read that leaves you wanting more Miro and Ian!
The World As He Sees It – AM Arthur – The best, most unique hero ever! You cannot help but root for Tristan, not just because he’s such an unusual and unlikely hero but because he’s just so perfectly drawn that you can see and feel everything he does and it breaks your heart.
Reckoning – Angel & the Assassin 4 – Fyn Alexander – Angel and his Daddy never disappoint and this long awaited sequel delves deeper into why these two are together with a satisfying result.
And last but not least, the Will & Patrick Wake Up Married series by Leta Blake. Funny, heartwarming and amazing. With three of the six series “episodes” out already, I find myself eagerly awaiting the next one because watching these two men fall for each other is such a guilty treat!
The Boy With the Painful Tattoo (Holmes & Moriarity #3) by Josh Lanyon
Series: Holmes & Moriarity
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: JustJoshin (October 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937909506
ISBN-13: 978-1937909505
Amazon: The Boy With the Painful Tattoo (Holmes & Moriarity #3)
Amazon Kindle: The Boy With the Painful Tattoo (Holmes & Moriarity #3)
It’s moving day at Chez Holmes. Somehow, against Kit’s better instincts, he and J.X. are setting up house together. But while J.X. is off at a mystery fiction convention, Kit unpacks a crate that should contain old china. It doesn’t. Within the mounds of Styrofoam popcorn is a dead body. A very dead body. There goes the neighborhood.

Fit To Be Tied (Marshals #2) by Mary Calmes
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 18, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634764870
ISBN-13: 978-1634764872
Amazon: Fit To Be Tied (Marshals #2)
Amazon Kindle: Fit To Be Tied (Marshals #2)
Deputy US Marshals Miro Jones and Ian Doyle are now partners on and off the job: Miro’s calm professionalism provides an ideal balance to Ian’s passion and quick temper. In a job where one misstep can be the difference between life and death, trust means everything. But every relationship has growing pains, and sometimes Miro stews about where he stands with his fiery lover. Could the heartstrings that so recently tied them together be in danger of unraveling?
Those new bonds are constantly challenged by family intrusions, well-intentioned friends, their personal insecurities, and their dangerous careers―including a trial by fire when an old case of Miro’s comes back to haunt them. It might just be enough to make Ian rethink his decision to let himself be tied down, and Miro can only hope the links they’ve forged will be strong enough to hold.

The World As He Sees It (Perspectives) by AM Arthur
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (October 20, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619231964
ISBN-13: 978-1619231962
Amazon: The World As He Sees It (Perspectives)
Amazon Kindle: The World As He Sees It (Perspectives)
Love knows no limits...but fear could keep them from seeing it. Perspectives, Book 2 Gabe lives a double life. As Gabriel Henson, he works multiple jobs to support his remorseless, alcoholic mother. As Tony Ryder, he does internet porn for extra cash and regular safe sex without complications. Yet when he encounters a scared young man freaking out in a night club, he's compelled to reach out. Ever since then, the memory of that young man has haunted him. Tristan Lavelle lives his life thirty minutes at a time. After a traumatic brain injury three years ago, he gets through his day recording his life in spiral notebooks and sticky note reminders. A month after Tristan's embarrassingly public meltdown, another chance meeting with Gabe sparks a warm, emotionally fulfilling email relationship. Both men crave more, but fear of the next step stands between them. Until Tristan gets the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial that could improve his memory-if the side effects don't kill him. But for Tristan, the possibility of a real life with Gabe is worth any risk... Warning: Contains two damaged but lovable heroes, secret-keeping friends with good intentions, and an abundance of inappropriate food innuendo.

Reckoning (Angel & the Assassin #4) by Fyn Alexander
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (September 28, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Reckoning (Angel & the Assassin #4)
Kael Saunders, MI6 specialist operative and leather Daddy, has been living with Angel Button, his sub, for two years in a loving D/s relationship. Angel has been waiting for the time when he too can join MI6, knowing that his sniper skills make him a valuable asset to the organization. Kael loves to kill, it gives him an adrenalin rush, but Angel is certain his Daddy only eliminates those who pose a threat to national security, which is what Angel wants to do. Naive and idealistic, Angel wants to make the world a better place.
Angel’s beliefs are sorely tested a few days later, leaving him unsure if he wants to be an MI6 agent after all. When Kael is given an assignment in Cornwall, he takes Angel with him so they can have a weekend away. Angel finds out about the mission and the target and is left wondering if his Daddy is really the hero Angel thinks he is, placing their relationship in jeopardy.

Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths
Publisher: Leta Blake Books (October 26, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Will & Patrick Wake Up Married (Wake Up Married #1)
Join the fun in this vibrant first installment of the new romantic comedy serial by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths!
After a drunken night of hot sex in Vegas, strangers Will Patterson and Dr. Patrick McCloud wake up married. A quickie divorce is the most obvious way out—unless you’re the heir of a staunchly Catholic mafia boss with a draconian position on the sanctity of marriage.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Will and Patrick don't like it, or each other, but they have to make the best of it until they can find another way out of their marriage. To ensure the trust fund Will's charitable foundation relies on isn't revoked by his mobster grandfather, he and Patrick travel to Will’s hometown of Healing, South Dakota, posing as a newlywed couple in the throes of true love at first sight.
Complicating their scheme are Will’s unresolved feelings for his all-too-recent ex-boyfriend Ryan, and Patrick’s desire to get back to the only thing that really matters to him in life: neurosurgery. Will they fool everyone? Or will the mafia get wind that their marriage is a fake? Throw their simmering attraction into the mix and all bets are off!

Lex Valentine: Like most authors, Lex has been writing ever since she could hold a pencil. A few years ago, when she posted snippets of her work on her personal blog Sunlight Sucks, author Jennifer Leeland encouraged her to submit her writing to publishers. That led to her first contract in October 2008. Now an award winning, multi-published PAN author, Lex is a member of Romance Writers of America active in the PASIC, Rainbow Romance Writers, and Orange County chapters. Her publishers include: Loose Id, Ellora's Cave, Jupiter Gardens Press (formerly Pink Petal Books), MLR Press, and Liquid Silver Books. She is published in both ebook and print. Born and raised in Salinas, California, Lex moved to Southern California in 1992. She lives in a rugged canyon in Orange County with Rott, her long haired tattooed significant other. She loves loud music, builds her own computers, and has a propensity for having very weird vivid dreams about Nikki Sixx. Lex works full-time at a cemetery as the network administrator.
Lorraine Lesar: I would like to nominate Drama Queen by Joe Cosentino (June 2015). Most probably the funniest book I have read in my long history of reading. It was absolutely hilarious, it held the vibe of an old fashioned "English Farce" with a modern twist. The authors observational skills hit like a tsunami, totally unexpected and devilishly cunning in his execution - the result? belly-ache laughter at loud, it should carry a health warning "do not read in a public place, the author is not responsible if warning is unheeded".
Drama Queen: A Nicky and Noah Mystery by Joe Cosentino
Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (June 12, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590214676
ISBN-13: 978-1590214671
Amazon: Drama Queen: A Nicky and Noah Mystery
Amazon Kindle: Drama Queen: A Nicky and Noah Mystery
It could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky's huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant...and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino's fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

Lorraine Lesar: Reading is my escapism, I love it. I like sharing my thoughts on books, so that other readers can see what they are getting for their hard earned cash. I don't always leave a review, only when I have something to say. I try to see the positives in every book, even when they are "not my cup of tea" as I believe that authors spend months if not years, writing their masterpieces and it must be soul destroying for them, if they do not get positive and great reviews. Having said that, I will give a low star rating if I feel it's warranted. I work hard and even though my family have now flown the nest (and I have my first grandson), I am involved in their lives offering support and a lot of child-minding hours, so as I said, reading is my escapism!
M.A. Church: Wolves of Black Pine (The Wolfkin Saga Book 1) by SJ Himes is my selection for the favorite book list of 2015. I really like this book because it had a totally new twist on the shifter lore. The author also described the settings in the book so eloquently you can almost see it. :)
Wolves of Black Pine (The Wolfkin Saga #1) by SJ Himes
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Amazon Kindle: Wolves of Black Pine (The Wolfkin Saga #1)
An ancient civilization long hidden from humanity is on the brink of chaos and war. Peaceful for thousands of years, the wolfkin clans are mysteriously losing packmates, kidnapped and killed by unknown foes.
The nightmare begins with an ambush by humans at a gathering of their kind, and lives are lost. Among them is Luca, youngest grandson of the two most powerful wolves in the Northern Clans. Thought long dead and gone, he is forced into a half-life, hidden in the far northern wilds of Canada and cut off from his kind. Those who raised him have no idea the creature they harbor in their midst, and name him Ghost. He begins to lose himself over the long years, and though he barely recalls his true name, the one wolf he never forgets is Kane.
Kane, Heir to the wolfkin clan Black Pine, is charged with hunting down the traitors who betrayed their kind to the humans. Years fly by, and more wolves are dying. He refuses to give up, and he vows to never again fail another of their kind, as he failed young Luca years before. His heart tells him Luca lives, but his mind tells him that it's foolish hope, his guilt eating him alive.
Fate and magic change the course of their lives, and the two wolves long separated by the years find their paths intertwining. Though the gift of their reunion doesn't come without price. Faced by the consequences of their growing love, and the goddess-forged bond between them, Kane and Ghost are besieged on all sides. Enemies are coming for their blood, and without the steadfast loyalty and love of family and friends, they may not be safe from the very people they fight to protect.

M.A. Church: My published name is MA Church. I write m/m romance stories that tend to have nonhuman characters. I believe in HEA and my stories have that; but there may be a few bumps in the road before they get there.
Megan Derr: Hurt by Lila Bruce. This was a highly engaging book. The misunderstanding trope is one of the hardest to pull off, and this author did it splendidly. I loved all the characters and relationships, the romance was sweet, real, and so much fun to cheer for. Couldn’t put the book down, it was a truly excellent read.
Hurt by Lila Bruce
Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 25, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1508611408
ISBN-13: 978-1508611400
Amazon: Hurt
Amazon Kindle: Hurt
When it comes to matters of the heart, Nicole Landers has made some wrong choices. But now Nicole, one of the top real estate agents in Chattanooga, thinks she’s finally made the right one in Jamie Tate. Despite a serious Johnny Cash obsession and a tendency to shy away from long-term commitment, Jamie seems to be the perfect choice. Jamie is kind, loving and especially nice to Nicole’s elderly grandmother. Now all Nicole has to do is convince the attractive police detective that it's time to take things to the next level. Jamie is crazy in love with Nicole and ready to move their relationship forward. Jamie decides it’s finally time to sell her home and move in together—something that Nicole has been talking about doing for months. Knowing that Nicole believes her to be commitment-shy, Jamie thinks it might be fun to surprise her with the move. However, things take on an ironic twist when an old friend Jamie hasn’t seen in years comes by to look at the house, setting into motion a series of events that leaves more than just Nicole and Jamie’s relationship in jeopardy.

Megan Derr: Megan is a long time resident of m/m fiction, and keeps herself busy reading, writing, and publishing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she's not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her cats, or watch movies (especially all things James Bond). She loves to hear from readers, and can be found all around the internet.
Paul Alan Fahey: one of the best gay/bio/memoirs I read this year is Turkey Street, Jack and Liam Move to Bodrum by Jack Scott. It’s a fast read, brimming with atmosphere, interesting characters, and wonderful central ones. Sophisticated dialogue that’s fast and funny.”
Turkey Street, Jack and Liam Move to Bodrum by Jack Scott
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: Springtime Books (May 18, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 099323772X
ISBN-13: 978-0993237720
Amazon: Turkey Street, Jack and Liam Move to Bodrum
Amazon Kindle: Turkey Street, Jack and Liam Move to Bodrum
Six months into their Turkish affair, Jack and Liam, a gay couple from London, took lodgings in the oldest ward of Bodrum Town. If they wanted to shy away from the curtain-twitchers, they couldn't have chosen a worse position. Their terrace overlooked Turkey Street like the balcony of Buckingham Palace and the middle-aged infidels stuck out like a couple of drunks at a temperance meeting. Against all the odds, the boys from the Smoke were welcomed into the fold by a feisty mix of eccentric locals and a select group of trailblazing expats, irresistible ladies with racy pasts and plucky presents. Hop aboard Jack's rainbow gulet as he navigates the choppy waters of a town on the march and a national resurgence not seen since Suleiman the Magnificent was at the gates of Vienna. Grab your deckchair for a whirlwind tour of love and duty, passion and betrayal, broken hearts and broken bones, dirty politics and the dawn of a new Ottoman era.

Paul Alan Fahey: Paul Alan Fahey lives and writes on the California Central Coast. He is the editor of the 2013 Rainbow Award winning nonfiction anthology, THE OTHER MAN: 21 Writers Speak Candidly About Sex, Love, Infidelity, & Moving On. He has written several LGBT themed novellas, including the 2012 Rainbow Award winner, THE VIEW FROM 16 PODWALE STREET, WHEN THE RIGHT ONE COMES ALONG, BOYS WILL BE BOYS, and YOUR MOTHER SHOULD KNOW. Paul is the author of the LOVERS & LIARS gay wartime romance series, featuring the novellas: BOMBER'S MOON, WEEP NOT FOR THE PAST, A MANX TALE, and the short story, A CHRISTMAS IN KENT.
Raine O'Tierney: When Skies Have Fallen by Debbie McGowan. When Skies Have Fallen is probably the most stunning book I've ever read. It fundamentally broke and then rebuilt me. I walked away from reading it with a wholly better understanding not only of what LGBT people went through during the mid-twentieth century, but also how those trials translate into modern society. Beautiful.
When Skies Have Fallen by Debbie McGowan
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing (July 8, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1910635502
ISBN-13: 978-1910635506
Amazon: When Skies Have Fallen
Amazon Kindle: When Skies Have Fallen
For many in war-torn 1944, love blossoms in the dance hall, and airman Arty Clarke is no exception. He's a thinker and a dreamer; however, it's not the beautiful, talented dancer in his arms-his best friend Jean-who inspires his dreams. For when his gaze meets that of Technical Sergeant Jim Johnson, Arty dares to imagine a different dance. Their love is forbidden, by both the armed forces and the law, but with Jean's cunning and support, Arty and Jim try to bridge the distance between them and find true love despite the danger and a life-threatening disaster that could destroy Arty's dreams for good. Can the pair stand strong together, no matter how many skies have fallen?

Raine O'Tierney: Raine O'Tierney is an always-writing, boundlessly enthusiastic, exclamation point addict! (!!!) She is known for declaring every day "the best day EVER!" and every thing her "all-time FAVORITE!" Raine spends her days working as a library lady, fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom. Frequently changing genres, Raine always tries to imbue her stories with what she calls "The Sweetness" of which there are five Fs (first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-type endings, and... friskiness?). After twenty plus years of writing and dreaming, a decade spent working on M/M, and a year of being a lionheart, Raine is so pleased to finally be a published author! She loves to discuss writing, point-and-click adventure games, and which kind of dachshunds are the best kind of dachshunds!
Sally (Rainbow Awards Jury): My Futanari Stepsister by James Oenemal. This may be an odd, over-the-top, inclusion in this year's list, but I cannot think of another story that was so imaginative, so erotic, and so narratively playful. It's kinky and taboo, but also self-aware. Just a heck of a lot of gender-bending fun.
My Futanari Stepsister by James Oenemal
Publication Date: August 6, 2015
Amazon Kindle: My Futanari Stepsister
Daniel has just finished high school. He has ten weeks of holidays to kill before he can move to college and away from his bitch of a stepsister, Chloe.
While their parents are away, Chloe brings over a few of her closest friends for a movie night, and to make amends for being nasty to Daniel during the evening (and for not leaving him any pizza) they’re about to give Daniel an education he’ll never forget.
Kylie, the apparent leader of the group, and 'the one with the cutest dimples', leads Daniel through a smorgasbord of lessons on how to satisfy a "real" woman. His test subjects include:
Alice: blonde, bubbly, and completely uninhibited,
Sarah: a buxom yet shy beauty,
Ella: Daniel's exotic, raven-haired crush,
and of course: mean, evil-eyed Chloe.
He's about to enter a strange and wonderful world.
Sarah Madison: My favorite book for 2015 was The Gilded Scarab by Anna Butler. If you haven't read Anna's work yet, you're missing out. She is a phenomenal world-builder, and the master of political intrigue. Her Rafe Lancaster is a charming rascal and his narrative drives the story well. I'm not the only one who feels this way: The Gilded Scarab was nominated for the RT 2015 Reviewer's Choice awards in the Steampunk category.
Susan Laine: My favorite read of 2015 was undeniably The Gilded Scarab by Anna Butler. Here's in short what I thought of it: "The Gilded Scarab by Anna Butler was my favorite book of 2015. Part of this story reads like steampunk Starbucks coffee wars. I loved every bit of this story taking place in the complex steampunk world of the Britannic Imperium. The way everything from writing and plot to characters and sex scenes is handled, it is all absolutely captivating. I give this superbly woven tale top marks and my highest recommendations. I can't wait for the next book in the series."
The Gilded Scarab by Anna Butler
Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 16, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632167727
ISBN-13: 978-1632167729
Amazon: The Gilded Scarab
Amazon Kindle: The Gilded Scarab
When Captain Rafe Lancaster is invalided out of the Britannic Imperium’s Aero Corps after crashing his aerofighter during the Second Boer War, his eyesight is damaged permanently, and his career as a fighter pilot is over. Returning to Londinium in late November 1899, he’s lost the skies he loved, has no place in a society ruled by an elite oligarchy of powerful Houses, and is hard up, homeless, and in desperate need of a new direction in life.
Everything changes when he buys a coffeehouse near the Britannic Imperium Museum in Bloomsbury, the haunt of Aegyptologists. For the first time in years, Rafe is free to be himself. In a city powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston, and where powerful men use House assassins to target their rivals, Rafe must navigate dangerous politics, deal with a jealous and possessive ex-lover, learn to make the best coffee in Londinium, and fend off murder and kidnap attempts before he can find happiness with the man he loves.

Sarah Madison: Sarah Madison has a big dog, a big horse, too many cats and a patient boyfriend. She writes because it is cheaper than therapy. If you've made it to this point, hopefully you are seeking Sarah Madison, Amazon bestseller and award-winning author of m/m romance, adventure, and suspense stories and not Sarah Madison, the actress, or Sarah Madison, the cardiovascular surgeon, or even Sarah Madison, the author of non-fiction historical texts. (Because if you were looking for them, ooops! Big surprise!) What kinds of stories do I like to write? I write primarily about m/m relationships. I like to write long, plotty stories with a lot of angst, bright splashes of humor, a little drama, some action (sex or otherwise), and for the most part, I believe in happy endings.

Susan Laine: I live in Finland, northern Europe. By training, I'm an anthropologist, and by profession, an author of erotic romance, mostly of the LGBT subgenre. Little things to know about me: Apart from reading and writing my passions include saunas and swimming, walking and slalom, music and science. Some of my more annoying habits, picked up since teenage years, include singing along to pop music off-tune, drooling over men's sports (swimming and the like, where they're mostly nude), and devouring stacks of chocolate when no one is looking (but everybody knows). My favorite season is autumn, and my fave time of the year is Christmas. I'm pretty family-oriented, and I'm going to spoil my two baby nieces.
Scott Alexander Hess: Jonathan Harper, Daydreamers. A stark sharply written debut collection of stories featuring hapless losers and hopeful youths that stirs the soul with subtly and heart.
Daydreamers: Stories by Jonathan Harper
Paperback: 164 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (March 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590212967
ISBN-13: 978-1590212967
Amazon: Daydreamers: Stories
Amazon Kindle: Daydreamers: Stories
Ne'er-do-wells, prodigal sons, and young men without so much as a clue to their present state of mind let alone their futures are waiting to be met in the stories within Daydreamers, Jonathan Harper s debut collection. But these men are not Walter Mittys everyday life refuses to allow them languor. Whether it be the roll of the dice in a Dungeons & Dragons game played in a hostile, rural bar, the lure of body modification and being suspended in front of a crowd, or discovering a body on the beach, the rough edges of each young man cannot help but be noticed, even admired. And once a young man is admired, he needs to decide whether or not to awaken from his daydreams.

Scott Alexander Hess: Scott Alexander Hess earned his MFA in creative writing from The New School. He blogs for The Huffington Post and his writing has appeared in Genre Magazine, The Fix, and elsewhere. Hess co-wrote Tom in America, an award winning short film starring Sally Kirkland and Burt Young. The Butcher's Sons is his third novel. His work has been translated into German. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Hess now lives in Manhattan, New York.
SJ Himes: Nighttime Wishes (Make A Wish Book 1) by MA Church. This book is one of my favorites reads for 2015 due to its sheer fearlessness. MA takes a fringe, almost taboo element of mm eroticism in having our hero be a tentacle alpha male from another world—and making me LOVE it, and him. There’s no shame, no embarrassment, no shying away from the assumed deviance to be found in getting off on having a lover with tentacles, and she weaves a well-thought out plot and adds truly original elements to her tale. She’s a sci-fi fan after my own leanings, and Nighttime Wishes is the embodiment of every hidden kink I carry in my heart..
Nighttime Wishes (Make A Wish #1) by MA Church
Publisher: All Romance eBooks, LLC (September 9, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Nighttime Wishes (Make A Wish #1)
When you wish upon a star… it comes true in ways you never expected.
Ziang, a tentacled warrior from the planet Maz’Rar, has come to Earth to claim his most precious prize and start a new life. When an unforeseen accident results in a crash landing, his plan for a quick removal of the human Shawn lays in a twisted ruin at his feet, much like his shuttlecraft. If that isn’t enough, the FBI is sniffing around.
Confronted by the very same alien who observed him since he wished on a shooting star as a child, Shawn finds his initial inability to communicate with Ziang leads to misunderstanding and fear. Forced to hide until rescue arrives, tensions mount. Shawn learns of Ziang’s intentions of taking him as a mate. Ziang, on the other hand, is completely befuddled at Shawn’s less than stellar response to said taking.
As they wait, a spark ignites. Turns out humans and Maz’Rarians are very compatible—tentacles and all. Shawn falls for the big alien he jokingly calls E.T. Now he must decide if he’s willing to throw away all he knows to travel the stars with Ziang.

SJ Himes: I'm a thirty something bisexual cisgendered woman with way too big an imagination, but that comes in handy when I'm writing. I have been writing since I was a child, when I took a four page assignment on what I was going to do on summer vacation and turned it into a 100 page fantasy epic all written by hand...in crayons. No joke. I work a day job, but I can't share for who, since the Old Man isn't as liberated as the people who read my books. I'm married, I have furbabies, and I live with loved ones. I adore a certain show about a British consulting detective and his grumpy army doctor, and that spawned an addiction to Johnlock fanfiction, which then evolved into me writing it. Gawd, that's embarrassing. Put this down in the TMI section of my Bio, okay? I enjoy martial arts, movies where things blow up, and I wish I lived in a Marvel movie. I live in the beautiful and lonely Berkshire County in Massachusetts, and I see way more wildlife than I care to on a daily basis (bears!). My perfect day is reading surrounded by friends and family who don't think it's odd I want to hang out but not talk, and my favorite scent of all time is a cool fall evening with leaves burning....less a scent, and more of an experience. My writing is focused on gay and lesbian people, who are more than interesting side characters that hang out with the heterosexual MCs. My wish for the future is that when people ask me what I do for a living, I can say, "I write gay romance," and NOT get weird looks. The sequel to Wolves of Black Pine will be released in December 2015, titled "Wolf of the Northern Star". If you're feeling brave, I also write under my pen name of Revella Hawthorne, and write fanfiction on Fanfiction.net as Revella, for a certain British consulting detective and his army doctor. My erotica, Bred For Love:The Prince's Consort, is available now..
Stathis Orphanos: I have been rereading Christopher Isherwood's novels, via split and dog eared early paperbacks, the only editions I kept from my 500 plus fully-signed Christopher Isherwood Collection that The Library of Congress purchased a couple of years ago. What a pleasure it is to encounter Chris' vivid characters again and to revisit his Berlin in Goodbye to Berlin and The Last of Mr. Norris. It's an homage to the endurance of those novels that Cabaret is revived as a Broadway blockbuster every five years or so. It was an honor to have known him, photographed him, and to have him - expressed through his generosity and affection - consider me a friend.
Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: New Directions (September 27, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0811220249
ISBN-13: 978-0811220248
Amazon: Goodbye to Berlin
Amazon Kindle: Goodbye to Berlin
Isherwood's classic story of Berlin in the 1930s - and the inspiration for Cabaret - now in a stand-alone edition.
First published in 1934, Goodbye to Berlin has been popularized on stage and screen by Julie Harris in I Am a Camera and Liza Minelli in Cabaret. Isherwood magnificently captures 1931 Berlin: charming, with its avenues and cafés; marvelously grotesque, with its nightlife and dreamers; dangerous, with its vice and intrigue; powerful and seedy, with its mobs and millionaires ― this was the period when Hitler was beginning his move to power. Goodbye to Berlin is inhabited by a wealth of characters: the unforgettable and “divinely decadent”Sally Bowles; plump Frau¨lein Schroeder, who considers reducing her Bu¨steto relieve her heart palpitations; Peter and Otto, a gay couple struggling to come to terms with their relationship; and the distinguished and doomed Jewish family, the Landauers.

Stathis Orphanos: Stathis Orphanos has photographed many of today's top cultural and entertainment figures, including over one hundred authors such as Erskine Caldwell, John Cheever, Graham Greene, John Irving, Christopher Isherwood, Norman Mailer, Sir Stephen Spender, William Styron, John Updike, Gore Vidal, and Nobel laureates Odysseus Elytis of Greece and Naguib Mahfouz of Egypt. His portraits of famous artists and photographers include Don Bachardy, Leonard Baskin, Paul Cadmus, Horst P. Horst, David Hockney, Elaine De Kooning, Larry Rivers, and the legendary Greek painter and designer (for Maria Callas opera productions) Yannis Tsarouchis. His show business portraits feature directors George Cukor, Jules Dassin, Costa Gavras, Jose Quintero, John Schlesinger, Roger Vadim, actresses Claire Bloom, Julie Harris, Lizabeth Scott, Melina Mercouri (former Minister of Culture of Greece), and "New Breed" actors such as Maxwell Caulfield and Esai Morales.
Tobias Oliver: A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale. I love Patrick Gale’s writing and was very excited to read his latest novel, A Place Called Winter. This beautiful book didn’t disappoint and had me gripped from the first to the last page. It tells the story of one man’s exile from the privilege and luxury of upper-class Edwardian England, due to the discovery of a homosexual affair, to the harsh realities and privations of life as a Canadian settler. Above all it is a heart-breaking voyage of self-discovery as Harry Cane learns that not only can love blossom in even the coldest of climates but sadly also that love sometimes comes at the highest possible price. This is a particularly personal book because Gale takes his inspiration from his own family history. The depth of this profound emotional attachment and honestly shines out from every page. It is a reminder of the centuries of untold gay stories that were all too often brushed under the family carpet. A Place Called Winter made me cry and gave me plenty of food for thought, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 22, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1455594083
ISBN-13: 978-1455594085
Amazon: A Place Called Winter
Amazon Kindle: A Place Called Winter
A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence - until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything.
Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.
In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. It is a novel of secrets, sexuality and, ultimately, of great love.

Tobias Oliver: Tobias Oliver studied Drama at the University of Sheffield. He was part of the Theatre Society: he held the post of Social Secretary, arranged club nights to raise funds (even doing the odd bit of DJing) and acted in as many productions as he could. He also co-presented a show on Forge FM and wrote the (very) occasional article for the student magazine. He is now Marketing Director of Mr Bugg Presents, a theatre company his husband, composer Matthew Bugg, and he set up with producer Keith Arrowsmith.
Ulysses G. Dietz: Ginn Hale, Champion of the Scarlet Wolf, #1 and #2…the two books are the second half of a four-book series, but they stand alone (however, they must be read together!). In the world of contemporary epic fantasy, Ginn Hale is, in my opinion, a master. Not only does she write with an elegance and a passion that sucks the reader into the intense, complicated plots, but she creates worlds of startling beauty and characters of great power and compassion—and humor. Frankly, Hale’s a better writer than Tolkien.
Champion of the Scarlet Wolf by Ginn Hale
Series: Champion of the Scarlet Wolf
Paperback: 454 pages
Publisher: Blind Eye Books (October 6, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935560328
ISBN-13: 978-1935560326
Amazon: Champion of the Scarlet Wolf #1
Amazon Kindle: Champion of the Scarlet Wolf #1
Five years after abandoning the Sagrada Acedemy, Elezar Grunito has become infamous in the sanctified circles of noble dueling rings for his brutal temper and lethal blade. Men and women of all ranks gather to cheer and jeer, none of them knowing Elezar’s true purpose. But a violent death outside the ring marks Elezar as a wanted man and sends him into hiding in the far northern wilds of Labara. There, creatures of myth and witchcraft―long since driven from Cadeleon―lurk in dark woods and prowl the winding streets. Soldiers and priests alike fear the return of witch-queens and even demons. Elezar soon learns that magic takes many forms, some too alluring to resist, others too terrible to endure. But just as he begins to find his place in this strange new country, the past he left behind along with his school days returns to challenge him once again.

Ulysses G. Dietz: Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave it to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator for thirty-two years, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice's landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia is his second novel. Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his partner of 37 years and their two teenaged children. By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents' idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother is the President's last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant's Tomb in New York City.
Vicktor Alexander: It was hard for me to choose just one book that was my "favorite" book of this year. There were sooo many that I enjoyed. So many that I read and wanted to go back and read again: Mary Calmes' "Forging the Future," Amy Lane's "Behind the Stain", AE Via's "Defined By Deceit", Tara Lain's "Canning The Center," but there was one book that I read that resonated with me so strongly, not just as a reader, and not just as a gay man, but as a black man, and that is: The Butterfly King by Edmond Manning. I was able to read it for the Rainbow Awards and read it twice before submitting my score because of the affect it had on me. Edmond's ability to admit an uncomfortable and unpopular truth, to show the gritty, dark, violent, ugly, side of racism, prejudice, and even self-hatred because of outside opinions and how those things can prevent us from becoming our powerful true selves, greatly touched me. The book reminded me of Maya Angelou's poem "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings". In particular the lines:
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
And the words I expressed in my review of the book for the Rainbow Awards are so true: While I did not cry throughout the telling of this story, the Author's Note at the end, coupled with the dedication and these passages: he’s still a man, subject to the arrows and heartaches of men everywhere. That I understand. Being a gay man—I relate to those issues as well. But existing as a black man in a white-centric culture, he brings unique heartaches which I may never fully comprehend, despite my best intentions. “You call it black history and don’t you see how that distances us, acting like this was our private moment, when in fact, you were there. You were there. It’s our history. Our fucking history together.” "One day a woman came over and told me how impressed she was with my reading, my stack of books. She gushed over me. I loved it. I thought she could see something in me, special. That night, when I told mom about it, bragging about myself, she asked if the lady was white. I told her, yes. I was shocked my mother would guess that. I knew there were black people and white people and other colors, too, but I didn’t know what that meant. My mom explained the lady wasn’t impressed, she was surprised. She was surprised to see a young black boy reading so ravenously..." -made me choke up. Because it was the acknowledgment of it, things I have experienced, thoughts I have had but not wanted or been able to express because I AM a gay, black man and people are uncomfortable when these wounds are ripped open and revealed for all to see, it was the sympathy and the compassion by someone who can only imagine what it means to be a "bronze man", a black man, in this time, in this country that brought tears to my eyes.
The Butterfly King (The Lost and Founds #3) by Edmond Manning
Series: The Lost and Founds
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Pickwick Ink Press; 1st edition (September 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 098909796X
ISBN-13: 978-0989097963
Amazon: The Butterfly King (The Lost and Founds #3)
Amazon Kindle: The Butterfly King (The Lost and Founds #3)
Terrance Altham doesn’t know why he’s been arrested. He’s committed no crime and the cops aren’t talking. Sadly, the man sharing his holding cell talks too much. Known only as Ghost, he is a young grifter, apparently familiar enough with this police station to convince Terrance a break out is possible, and pushy enough to leave Terrance no choice but to follow Ghost into the underbelly of New York City. Terrified by the unjust imprisonment and the possibility of a life behind bars, Terrance searches for proof of his innocence while Ghost seeks the elusive Butterfly King. But neither man seems in control of the weekend’s direction and the consequences of mistakes are life-changing. As Ghost’s manipulations come to an explosive head, each man must decide amid danger and street violence what kind of man will triumph, lost or found? Narrator Vin Vanbly (a.k.a Ghost) returns in the most revealing King Weekend yet, where he faces the dark side of his dangerous manipulations, and learns missteps can be deadly. Vin must confront sinister dealings from his past—and a future promising disaster—as he waltzes Terrance across Manhattan in spring, searching for the elusive and charismatic, Butterfly King.

Vicktor Alexander: Vicktor "Vic" Alexander wrote his first story at the age of ten and hasn't stopped writing since. He loves reading about anything and everything and is a proud member of the little known U.N. group (Undercover Nerds) because while he lives, eats, breathes, and sleeps sports, he also breathes history and science fiction and grew up a Trekkie. But don't ask him about Dungeons & Dragons, because he has no idea how to play that game. When it comes to writing he loves everything from paranormal to contemporary to fantasy to historical and is known not only for being the Epilogue King but also for writing stories that cross lines and boundaries that he doesn't know are there. Vic is a proud father of two daughters one of whom watches over him from Heaven with his deceased partner Christopher. Vic is a proud trans* and gay man, and when he is not writing, he is hanging out with his friends, or being distracted by videos of John Barrowman, Scott Hoying, and Shemar Moore. Vicktor has published numerous bestselling novels and has a WIP list that makes him exhausted just thinking about. He knows that he will be still be writing about hot men falling in love with each other, long after he is living in an assisted living facility, flirting with the hot, male nurses.
Z. Allora: I chose Thursday Euclid's Asher Beauregard Attempts to Give a Damn. (He better hurry the HELL up and write the next book!!!) While Thursday Euclid is no stranger to the hot rocker sub-genre this is his first solo novel and it's incredible. I could ramble about Thursday's writing talent or the fact he studied Creole to make sure Asher's voice was authentic but I'm going to focus on the characters. Asher is raw angst combined with a profound need and his broken parts will smash your heart into ten million pieces. I was afraid the empty parts of his soul could never be filled in with anything but hurt and loss until Leo... Thursday has given us a special kind of perfection I've rarely found. There were so many wonderful books of 2015 but Asher and Leo stole my heart. Asher Beauregard Attempts to Give a Damn is my favorite book of 2015.
Asher Beauregard Attempts to Give a Damn by Thursday Euclid
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (June 15, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Asher Beauregard Attempts to Give a Damn
With a sold-out tour looming and intense media attention on their every move, the Artificial Hearts are the hottest rock act in the world. It's just a matter of time until newfound fame illuminates a past Asher Beauregard would rather leave in the shadows. When he meets Leo Harpstedt, the irresistible frontman for the opening act, undeniable chemistry draws them together, but Asher’s secrecy and emotional scars keep Leo at a safe distance.
Posh and well-adjusted despite the blue hair, Englishman Leo comes from a world that Asher, a Louisiana-born high school dropout, can't imagine, never mind inhabit, but as first the Artificial Hearts' manager and then the tour throw them together, the tension between them grows uncontrollable. Leo's seeming confusion about his sexuality and Asher's refusal to let go of the persona and be vulnerable threaten to destroy the tender friendship they've built living and working together.
With help from his drag queen stylist, lesbian sound tech, and a lead guitarist with secrets of his own, can Asher overcome the public revelation of his deepest secrets and seize this chance at love?

Z. Allora: Z. Allora thinks everyone deserves a happy ending, and she makes sure they get one. Her stories are about love and romance and are tied together with erotic sex. She utilizes her time overseas and travels to bring you to places you've yet to visit. She introduces you to cultures you've yet to explore. But with every word she writes she tries to convey love is love. Why do you write Gay Erotic Romance? I've been told it's because on the inside I'm a gay horny teenaged boy who needs to write about hot sex and rainbows with happily ever afters. And while that's true, I think many of us have scars on our sexual identities. Writing erotica allows me to explore and write about the healing power of sex on our sexuality. (And it's freaking hot...) I also believe in the importance of allowing readers to have characters to identify with that happen to be gay. It helps promotes equality. Love is love...
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
When I asked my friends to name their favorites, I didn't give them much rules, if not they pick a book read in 2014... The result is various and awesome, and I'm surprised to say, I didn't know most of the books, but me myself found a lot of inspiration for future reads in the list. Hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

In alphabetical order, here are the Favorite LGBT Books of 2014:

A Forbidden Rumspringa (Gay Amish Romance 1) by Keira Andrews:When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything? In a world where every detail of life--down to the width of a hat brim--is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he'll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else--something he can't name. Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can't put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community. Now that they've found each other, are they willing to lose it all?
Heidi Cullinan: I read A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews. Probably my favorite read of the year, largely because I was very nervous about it yet ended up loving it. Also I now have a shirt that says “I Survived the Forbidden Rumspringa of 2014.” I wear that shirt a lot.
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren't enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her family. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state's LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage. I'm happy to friend you here, and will try to answer all questions eventually, but due to a high volume of authors spamming this account with "events," I can't be on Goodreads as much as I'd like these days, and replies to PMs will possibly take months. You can always email me or talk to me via the forum on my website.

A Suitable Replacement by Megan Derr: After three years abroad on an arduous expedition, Maximilian is happy to be home, where he can pursue his private studies in peace and enjoy not living in a dusty tent. He is also glad he has arrived in time to attend his twin sister's wedding in a few months, and to finally meet her fiancé, Kelcey. Instead he arrives home to be accosted by his sister's furious fiancé, who wants to know where she has run off to and why. When they confirm the wedding is most definitely canceled, Max has no choice but to fulfill the runaway clause in the marriage contract: he must find Kelcey a new spouse. And if that was not enough to manage, there is also the matter of the people his sister angered when she vanished ...
Cira Arana: "A Suitable Replacement" by Megan Derr - Regency-flavoured maderr at her very best.
Rainbow Awards judge

Abroad: An Expatriate's Diaries 1950-1959 by Harriet Sohmers Zwerling: Hers is the most authentic voice I’ve heard from the expat fifties. She brings to life a seminal decade in literary and sexual history, one that she and her fellow expats, coming home, passed on to the next generation of Americans who thought that they had invented the Sexual Revolution. This is an essential book. And a damn good story as well!
Edward Field: my pick of the year is ABROAD, AN EXPATRIATE'S DIARIES 1950-1959 by Harriet Sohmers Zwerling (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014). Her notable sexual playmates included Susan Sontag and Maria Irene Fornes, plus a thousand anonymous bedmates, and she brings back a post-war decade when everyone who was anyone was in Paris, probably to escape the grimness of a U.S. obsessed with its cold-war-inspired HUAC witchhunt.
Edward Field is the author of The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag, and Other Intimate Literary Portraits of the Bohemian Era. He recently appeared on Prairie Home Companion (Dec. 6, 2014). He is working on his new book of poems.

All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes: Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones has a reputation for being calm and collected under fire. These traits serve him well with his hotshot partner, Ian Doyle, the kind of guy who can start a fight in an empty room. In the past three years of their life-and-death job, they've gone from strangers to professional coworkers to devoted teammates and best friends. Miro’s cultivated blind faith in the man who has his back… faith and something more. As a marshal and a soldier, Ian’s expected to lead. But the power and control that brings Ian success and fulfillment in the field isn't working anywhere else. Ian’s always resisted all kinds of tied down, but having no home—and no one to come home to—is slowly eating him up inside. Over time, Ian has grudgingly accepted that going anywhere without his partner simply doesn't work. Now Miro just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn't being tied down at all.
Lex Valentine: I have a hard time choosing what I think was the best book I read this year. It’s truly a toss up between Eli Easton’s The Mating of Michael and Mary Calmes’ All Kinds of Tied Down. I guess All Kinds of Tied Down edges it out a little though because not only did it have a great friends to lover cop story it had a great secondary story with the two young gay witnesses the main characters protect. I find myself rereading that book almost as much as I reread Mary’s Floodgates, which is probably my favorite of her books.
Lex Valentine writes M/M across genres from contemporary to urban fantasy. A native of Northern California, Lex now lives in Southern California with her tattooed husband and a bunch of cats she collectively calls “babies.” She works for a 100+ year old cemetery, builds her own computers, and is honored to be the only LGBT author in RWA’s historic first anthology, Premiere.

Almost Mine by Eden Winters: A perfect life. A perfect home. A perfect husband. Gone in an instant. Ian’s world turned upside down the day Travis walked out without so much as a word, or even a backward glance, leaving a lonely Ian to wonder why. Their son implores him, “Please go see Dad.” Two years of hurt leaves Ian ready to confront the man who’d broken his heart, but what if everything he’d believed about their failed romance turned out to be wrong? What if the biggest problem in Ian’s marriage was…Ian?
Feliz Faber: My favorite book of 2014 was Almost Mine by Eden Winters. I've read many fabulous books in 2014, but none that touched me deeper, none that went more to my heart than this little novella. It is as sad and bittersweet as it is optimistic and uplifting, it is simple without being simplistic, and it's just a beautiful story.
Reader, writer, translator. Small things are what matter: The first cup of coffee in the morning. Starting a new book on a rainy Sunday. Laying awake at night and hearing my family's breaths around me. Meeting with friends and talking about everything and nothing for hours on end. Wording the perfect phrase. Starting a new story. Typing the word "end". That's bliss.

Another Place in Time: A Collection of Historical Short Stories: Welcome to another place in time...where one can be swept away into lands and eras long forgotten. Included in this anthology:
"Office Romance" by Tamara Allen
"Introducing Mr. Winterbourne" by Joanna Chambers
"The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh" by KJ Charles
"Unfair in Love and War" by Kaje Harper
"Carousel" by Jordan L. Hawk
"Deliverance" by Aleksandr Voinov
Along with a foreword written by Alex Beecroft, enjoy these original short stories that make up "Another Place in Time". All proceeds from the purchase of this anthology will be donated to AllOut.org in celebration of LGBT History Month, October 2014.
Sara Alva: I'm going to cheat and pick an anthology: Another Place in Time, a collection of historical short stories from many fantastic authors. I often have a craving to read and learn about experiences very different from my own, and historicals fulfill that need. I enjoyed all the stories but particularly wanted to mention "Office Romance" by Tamara Allen and "Unfair in Love and War" by Kaje Harper. Like all her stories, Allen's "Office Romance" has that sweet, slow burn that makes the romance that much more fulfilling. Foster and Casey are living their ordinary lives as the story unfolds, but it's Allen's magic that transports us to another time and allows their story to be extraordinary. "Unfair in Love and War" by Kaje Harper is a story that evokes so much emotion in so few pages...I'll have to break from trying to sound mature here and just say that I bawled. I don't want to spoil any moments, so I'm going to cut myself off and just recommend that everyone read it, even if they're not into historicals (as well as the rest of the anthology, which gives all proceeds to AllOut.org).
Sara Alva is a former small-town girl currently living in big-city LA with a husband, two cats, and an avocado tree. She recently discovered— after a year in her house— that she also has a fig tree in her backyard, which might mean she needs to get out more. But sometimes the stories waiting to be told demand more attention, and when she puts fingers to keyboard, it’s usually to write about journeys of self-discovery, heartache, personal growth, friendship and love. When she isn’t writing, she’s teaching or dancing.

Antidote (Don't Book 2) by Jack L. Pyke: “No head games, no tests. Just us, Jack.” Videos of Jack having sex with a man who brutally mutilated teenagers for fun should have stayed dead and buried, just like the man who filmed them. So when footage of Jack’s past starts showing up on internet port sites, Jack’s whole world is again turned on its head. At first, the videos merely unsettle Jack’s fire-and-ice world of Gray Raoul’s BDSM kink and Jan Richards’ gentle, vanilla touch. But when the videos of teenaged Jack get more extreme, even Gray becomes suspicious, leaving Jack isolated from the protection of the Masters’ Circle. Jack soon finds himself at the mercy of a group of men set on altering Jack’s perceptions of BDSM as brutally as possible. Jack’s sex life is now on camera for a whole new audience, and the only thing he has left to lose is himself.
Jane Siveyer: I choose Antidote by Jack L Pyke. I approached Antidote with some trepidation because BDSM and threesome relationships aren't really my thing . I sat down with a large glass of wine and thought to myself, 'Here goes.' That said, I could not put it down and found myself thinking about the characters and their lives during the days that followed. In fact I'm still thinking about them now, particularly Jack and Gray, and how their earlier interactions - referred to in all three books: Don't, Antidote and Breakdown - panned out; how their relationship developed both within the expectations of the Masters Circle and out. The story grabbed me by the throat and pulled me into the world the author had created. Characters were complex, with dual aspects to their personalities, not always making the right choices or doing what the reader wants them to so they will get their happy ever after. Antidote is not an easy read by any means. The author does not pull her punches with the details of the dark world two of the main characters found themselves embroiled in nor with the emotional backlash following their trauma. This is the most riveting book I have read in a long time and I was on the edge of my seat at times with the tension of the plot line.
Jane Siveyer is a teacher who works in the UK. She discovered the world of m/m fiction 10 years ago when she stumbled across Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy fan fiction during a Google search into something completely unrelated. Since then she had read avidly, both fan fiction and original work, beta read for online authors and has dabbled in writing her own short stories before becoming a Rainbow Awards judge.

Anyone But You by KG MacGregor: An underground pipeline has ruptured, spilling oily sludge into Minnesota’s pristine Lake Bunyan. Taking the media’s heat for Nations Oil is Corporate Communications Director Cathryn Mack, an old pro when it comes to spinning the facts in her company’s favor. Stuck in Duluth to handle the press during eight weeks of cleanup, she finds a silver lining when Stacie Pilardi pops up on SappHere, a mobile app that seeks out nearby lesbians. Stacie is smart, funny, sexy as hell, and wants a longterm relationship as much as Cathryn—which is to say, not at all. A perfect arrangement, until they realize they’re rivals—Stacie is head of the Clean Energy Action Network, in town to protest the greed and recklessness of oil companies and the havoc they wreak on the environment. It’s best for everyone involved if they end this, and that’s exactly what they intend to do. Eventually...
Diane Marina: It was hard to pick just one book for the entire year, so I'm choosing two very different books. The first is the newest by one of my favorite authors, KG MacGregor, Anyone But You. I buy KG's books without reading the synopsis, because I trust that the story will always be good. I was worried when I read the plot for this one, but I loved this. I think what I loved about the characters was that they had such different backgrounds and despite the fact that they barely knew each other, they fell in love and knew that they were right for each other.
Diane Marina lives in the US. She is the author of several short stories, as well as a full-length novel, How Still My Love. When not writing, she spends her time reading, hiking, running, and traveling. When she's not traveling, she's dreaming of all of the places she'd like to visit.

Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities by Lyn Gala: Ondry and Liam have settled into a good life, but their trading is still tied up with humans, and humans are always messy. When political changes at the human base lead Ondry to attempt a difficult trade, the pair find themselves entangled in human affairs. Liam wants to help the people he left and the worlds being torn apart. He also wants to serve Ondry with not only the pleasures of the nest but also by bringing human profits. Ondry has no hope of understanding human psychology in general; he only knows that he will hold onto his palteia with the last breath in his body...and he'd like to keep his status and his wealth too. Unfortunately, new humans bring new conflicts and he is not sure how to protect Liam. He does know one thing that humans seem to constantly forget--that the peaceful Rownt are predators, and when their families are threatened, Rownt become deadly killers. Liam is his family, and Ondry will protect him with his last breath… assuming that he can recognize the dangers in time to do so.
Megan Derr: My favorite part of this book (this series) is how much effort Gala puts into the world-building, the different cultures and how they clash, how they see the world, priorities, etc. I love love how hard Ondry and Liam work at being together, how much they’ve overcome and continue to overcome just to be together. Gala writes some of the most engaging sci-fi I’ve ever read (and this year has become one of my absolute favorite writers). I really look forward to the continuation of the series.
Megan is a long time resident of m/m fiction, and keeps herself busy reading, writing, and publishing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she's not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her cats, or watch movies (especially all things James Bond). She loves to hear from readers, and can be found all around the internet.

At Her Feet by Rebekah Weatherspoon: During a night of Web surfing for celeb gossip and masturbatory material, digital marketing producer Suzanne Kim stumbles across an intriguing thread while checking her profile on kinklife.com. Suzanne isn’t exactly looking, but the request for a very specific type of submissive from the attractive mistress, Mami-P, is hard to resist. Though the two hit it off during their first online conversation, Suzanne never imagines how strong their real life attraction and compatibility will be. After a few missteps in training, trust, and communication, Suzanne finds a deep love with her mistress, Pilar. Overworked and overstressed in her daily life, Suzanne comes to crave their relationship for the visceral escape it provides, but before they can make the ultimate commitment, someone from Suzanne’s professional life threatens to disrupt their perfectly balanced bliss.
Sheree L. Greer: "At Her Feet" by Rebekah Weatherspoon -- unlike anything I've ever read. A story about sex, fetishes, and role playing that catches you off guard by how quickly you begin to relate to the main character. Love's trappings are the same whether you crave ball gags or walks on the beach!
A Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native, Sheree L. Greer has been published in Hair Trigger, The Windy City Times, Reservoir, Fictionary, The Windy City Queer Anthology: Dispatches from the Third Coast, and Best Lesbian Romance 2012. She has performed her work across selected venues in Milwaukee, New York, Miami, Chicago, and Tampa, where she hosts Oral Fixation, the only LGBTQ Open Mic series in Tampa Bay. She earned her MFA at Columbia College Chicago and currently teaches writing and literature at St. Petersburg College. Sheree, an Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund grantee, completed a VONA residency at University of Miami and self-published a short story collection, Once and Future Lovers. While her obsessions constantly rotate and evolve, Sheree has an undying love for hot sauces, red wines, and crunchy tacos. She plays less-than-mediocre electric guitar but makes nearly-perfect guacamole.

Avalanche by Xena Semikina: This is a novel about friendship, maybe in its unusual, extreme form. The two main characters, Mike and Nick, meet in the Alps on a scientific expedition. They become very close, but struggle to place their relationship in the context of their lives. They fear that the bond between them will not survive outside their research hut, and that the outside world will present challenges impossible to overcome. But then a tragic accident changes their lives forever... This story is an investigation into the nature of ties between people, the limits of loyalty and the power of conventions.
Grigory Ryzhakov: I would very much recommend Avalanche, a very special book by a London author Xena Semikina, exploring an obsessive bond between two straight men evolving into a love.
Grigory (a.k.a Grisha) Ryzhakov grew up in the Russian Far East, bathing in the icy waters of Seas of Okhotsk and Japan and playing hide-and-seek in the snowdrifts that carpeted his native town of Korsakov. He later travelled thousands of miles to vibrant London, on the way collecting his MSc degree in biochemistry at Moscow State and PhD in molecular biology at Cambridge University. Meanwhile, Grigory has been ceaselessly creating poems, songs and prose until eventually he wrote his debut novel "Mr Right & Mr Wrong". "Usher Syndrome" was his first published story, also adapted for the stage and performed at London's Barons Court Theatre in 2010.

Barring Complications by Blythe Rippon: It's an open secret that the newest justice on the Supreme Court is a lesbian. So when the Court decides to hear a case about gay marriage, Justice Victoria Willoughby must navigate the press, sway at least one of her conservative colleagues, and confront her own fraught feelings about coming out. ­­ Just when she decides she's up to the challenge,­­ she learns that the very brilliant, very out Genevieve Fornier will be lead counsel on the case. Genevieve isn't sure which is causing her more sleepless nights: the prospect of losing the case, or the thought of who will be sitting on the bench when she argues it.
Diane Marina: It took me awhile to get into the book. I normally don't like flashbacks, but the flashbacks are what drew me in and got me interested. These characters were fascinating and I couldn't wait for them to get together. I judge a good book by whether it makes me think about it once I'm finished with it, and this book made me do just that. I hope there's a sequel!
Diane Marina lives in the US. She is the author of several short stories, as well as a full-length novel, How Still My Love. When not writing, she spends her time reading, hiking, running, and traveling. When she's not traveling, she's dreaming of all of the places she'd like to visit.

Behind the Curtain by Amy Lane: Dawson Barnes recognizes his world is very small and very charmed. Running his community college theater like a petty god, he and his best friend, Benji know they'll succeed as stage techs after graduation. His father adores him, Benji would die for him, and Dawson never doubted the safety net of his family, even when life hit him below the belt. But nothing prepared him for falling on Jared Emory's head. Aloof dance superstar Jared is a sweet, vulnerable man and Dawson's life suits him like a fitted ballet slipper. They forge a long-distance romance from their love of the theater and the magic of Denny's. At first it's perfect: Dawson gets periodic visits and nookie from a gorgeous man who “gets” him—and Jared gets respite from the ultra-competitive world of dancing that almost consumed him. That is until Jared shows up sick and desperate and Dawson finally sees the distance between them concealed painful things Jared kept inside.
Cira Arana: If I had to pick one, I'd probably chose "Behind the Curtain" by Amy Lane. I enjoyed reading it tremendously. It's a wonderful story about love in all its variations. A story of healing. The characters were wonderful, and the writing just sucked me in. A very well-written book but more than that, it's the kind of book I read for comfort. The kind where, after reading the ebook, I went and ordered the paperback because I need to have it on my shelf, to be able to take it down at any one point, to browse through while lying in bed with a migrane. It's a very satisfying book all around.
Rainbow Awards judge

Bitter Eden: A Novel by Tatamkhulu Afrika: ONE OF NPR'S GREAT READS OF 2014. A modern classic being introduced to the United States for the first time, Tatamkhulu Afrika's autobiographical novel illuminating the profound and incomparable bonds forged between prisoners of war. Bitter Eden is based on Tatamkhulu Afrika’s own capture in North Africa and his experiences as a prisoner of war during World War II in Italy and Germany. This frank and beautifully wrought novel deals with three men who must negotiate the emotions that are brought to the surface by the physical closeness of survival in the male-only camps. The complex rituals of camp life and the strange loyalties and deep bonds among the men are heartbreakingly depicted. Bitter Eden is a tender, bitter, deeply felt book of lives inexorably changed, and of a war whose ending does not bring peace.
Elliott Mackle: Bitter Eden: A Novel, by Tatamkhulu Afrika (Picador, 2014 in the United States) Publisher's blurb: "This frank and beautifully written novel draws heavily on the author's World War II experiences as a captive in North Africa and a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany. Three men who see themselves as "straight" must negotiate the emotions that are brought to the surface by the physical closeness of survival in the male-only camps. The complex rituals of camp life and the strange loyalties and deep bonds between the men are compellingly depicted in this tender, bitter, powerful tale of lives inexorably changed and a war whose ending does not bring peace." This semi-autobiographical historical novel so thoroughly engaged me that, upon finishing it, I turned back to page one and read it again.
Elliott Mackle, author of The Capain Harding Trilogy and The Caloosa Club Mysteries. The latter series will include the forthcoming "Sunset Island."

Blurred Lines edited by Kathleen Tudor: A growing phenomenon in the queer community is rejecting the strict confines of the gender binary. The need to be 'all boy' or 'all girl' all the time—or to feel like one or the other at all—is a restriction on free gender expression. What does it look like when someone blazes their own path through gender roles? Wearing, saying, and doing what they want, even when it causes confusion or discomfort to others? It takes a strong personality to defy societal norms, and this collection brings together several of them. In "Werebears and Water", Rayce and his boyfriend, Vince, take a break from their busy college lives to visit a WereCon, where they hope to meet others like themselves. Most of the attendees are players and posers, but when a sexy spitfire of a girl named Maia comes to share their room after a hotel mix-up, they will find that she's everything they were looking for... and everything they didn't even know they were looking for.
Sally Bend: The only challenge is picking just one book. :) Blurred Lines edited by Kathleen Tudor was one of the most positive, inclusive, delightful collections I have had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. Erotic and well-told, they were all positive in their blurring of gender lines. Just such a wonderful collection of authors and stories.
Rainbow Awards judge

Bright Lights of Summer by Lynn Ames: It's March, 1941. Captain America appears in a comic book for the very first time. New York City receives 18.1 inches of snow, its 3rd largest snowfall in history. In Holland, the Nazi occupiers forbid Jews to own businesses. In Poland, Heinrich Himmler inspects Auschwitz. World War II is raging in Europe, but America has yet to enter the fray. And in Phoenix, Arizona, a 16-year-old scrap of a girl named Theodora "Dizzy" Hosler, takes the field to try out for the World Champion P.B.S.W. Ramblers softball team. Set against the backdrop of perhaps the most dramatic time in US history, comes the story of Diz and Frannie, two women fueled by an unquenchable passion for the game of softball and feelings for each other that go far beyond the bounds of friendship. Will their love for the game bring them closer together or tear them apart?
Patricia Nell Warren: My pick is the novel "Bright Lights of Summer," by Lynn Ames (Phoenix Rising Press, 2014). I picked this book because of my ongoing interest in LGBT sports. Invented in Chicago in 1887, women's softball is quintessentially American -- one of those sports revealing a long-time lesbian presence, and deserving of more attention than it has gotten from writers. This novel blends an evolving love story with detail and atmosphere of the 1940s state of this sport.
Patricia Nell Warren grew up on a historic ranch in Montana, spent many years working in the New York media, and has lived and traveled extensively in Europe. She now resides in Los Angeles County, where she writes both best-selling fiction and provocative political commentary. While her earlier works came out from establishment publishers like William Morrow and Random House/Ballantine, today Wildcat Press is her own independent award-winning publishing company and imprint, founded in 1994. Warren is best known for her landmark gay-themed novel THE FRONT RUNNER, In June 2011, she published her 10th book title -- namely MY WEST: PERSONAL WRITINGS ON THE AMERICAN, an anthology of her writings about her native region over 50 years. Her developing book tour will take her all over the U.S. Warren has also been politically active for decades. In 2007, she ran for city-council office in West Hollywood, CA, and lost, but appreciated the insight into politics that she gained.

Byron and Greek Love: Homophobia in 19th Century England by Louis Crompton: Making use of previously unpublished letters from the poet and his circle, Louis Crompton traces Byron's many homoerotic involvements. He argues that Byron's homosexuality was a motive for his first journey to Greece and his later ostracism and exile from England, and an important source for the mood of proud alienation that colors his serious poetry. Byron and Greek Love is at once a fascinating biography and an incisive social commentary; its far-reaching implications for the social and cultural history of early 19th-century England have been widely acclaimed. Original hardback edition was published by University of California Press (1985).
Julie Bozza: My favourite LGBT-themed book that I read this year was ‘Byron and Greek Love: Homophobia in 19th Century England ’ by Louis Crompton. This is a very readable book about not only Lord Byron and his sexuality, but also about Jeremy Bentham and the period more generally. A fascinating mix of biography and social history! Highly recommended.
I was born in England, and lived most of my life in Australia before returning to the UK a few years ago; my dual nationality means that I am often a bit too cheeky, but will always apologise for it. I have been writing fiction for almost thirty years, mostly for the enjoyment of myself and my friends, but writing is my love and my vocation so of course that’s where my dreams and ambitions are. In the meantime, technical writing helps to pay the mortgage, while I also have fun with web design, photography, reading, watching movies and television, knitting, and imbibing espresso.

Calvin's Head by David Swatling: Life in Amsterdam isn't all windmills and tulips when you're homeless. Jason Dekker lives in a jeep with his dog, Calvin, on the outskirts of the city. A thesis on Van Gogh brought him to the Netherlands, and the love of Dutch artist Willy Hart convinced him to stay. But Willy is gone and Dekker is on the brink of a total meltdown. On a summer morning in the park, Calvin sniffs out the victim of a grisly murder. Dekker sees the opportunity for a risky strategy that might solve their problems. Unfortunately, it puts them directly in the sights of the calculating stone-cold killer, Gadget. Their paths are destined to collide, but nothing goes according to plan when they end up together in an attic sex-dungeon. Identities shift and events careen out of control, much to the bewilderment of one ever-watchful canine. Oscar Wilde wrote that each man kills the thing he loves. He didn't mean it literally. Or did he?
Stacia Seaman: (Disclaimer: I was an editor for this book.) I loved the writing style, the original storytelling, and the setting (the Netherlands and France). This book was creepy in the best possible way.
Stacia Seaman has edited numerous award-winning titles, and with co-editor Radclyffe won a Lambda Literary Award for Erotic Interludes 2: Stolen Moments; an Independent Publishers Awards silver medal and a Golden Crown Literary Award for Erotic Interludes 4: Extreme Passions; an Independent Publishers Awards gold medal and a Golden Crown Literary award for Erotic Interludes 5: Road Games; the 2010 Rainbow Award of Excellence in the Short/Novella category for Romantic Interludes 2: Secrets, and a Golden Crown Literary Award for Women of the Dark Streets. Their most recent anthology is Amor and More: Love Everafter, and Myth and Magic: Queer Fairy Tales will be out for Christmas. She has short stories in several anthologies. She also has essays in Visible: A Femmethology (Homofactus Press, 2009) and Second Person Queer (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009).

Camellia by Cari Z and Caitlin Ricci: Danny doesn't expect much to come from the interview she has lined up through her modelling agency, who told her only that it involved tea and a kink convention. She thinks it won't be much more than wearing some strange outfit, sitting around, and getting easy money that she desperately needs. What she gets instead is Lucy, a formidable woman in riding boots and a corset, who makes Danny want to please her without saying a word. By the end of the interview, Danny is convinced that her new job isn't going to be anywhere near as easy as she first believed. Can Danny make the woman determined to keep her at the end of her riding crop let her into her heart as well as her bed?
Lori Toland: It was a delicious read. I see there is a #1 by the name and I'm really hoping there will be more in the series. Yay!
CEO by day, erotic romance writer by night, Lori Toland somehow finds time to play video games and watch movies while taking care of her cats and husband. I'm also a secret cat.

Champion of the Scarlet Wolf, book 1 & 2, by Ginn Hale: Five years after abandoning the Sagrada Acedemy, Elezar Grunito has become infamous in the sanctified circles of noble dueling rings for his brutal temper and lethal blade. Men and women of all ranks gather to cheer and jeer, none of them knowing Elezar’s true purpose. But a violent death outside the ring marks Elezar as a wanted man and sends him into hiding in the far northern wilds of Labara. There, creatures of myth and witchcraft—long since driven from Cadeleon—lurk in dark woods and prowl the winding streets. Soldiers and priests alike fear the return of witch-queens and even demons. Elezar soon learns that magic takes many forms, some too alluring to resist, others too terrible to endure. But just as he begins to find his place in this strange new country, the past he left behind along with his school days returns to challenge him once again.
Lou Harper: Champion of the Scarlet Wolf, book 1 & 2, Ginn Hale spins tales, creates new worlds, and populates them with fascinating characters like nobody else. I fell in love with her writing with Wicked Gentlemen, and I'm still in love--deeply and madly.
Under a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. There was never a time when stories weren't romping around in her head. She is currently embroiled in a ruinous romance with adjectives. In her free time Lou stalks deviant words and feral narratives. Lou's favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings. Lou has misspent most of her life in parts of Europe and the US, but is now firmly settled in Los Angeles and worships the sun. However, she thinks the ocean smells funny. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk.

Christmas at Leo's by Gillibran Brown: The fifth instalment in the ‘Memoirs of a Houseboy’ series. I wasn’t looking forward to spending Christmas as part of a house party at Leo’s place to begin with. The booze ban by my boyfriends had taken the lustre right off the party season for me. What’s Christmas without a flagon of ale or a classy glass of fancy fizz? Boring! A visit to my mother, on the day before Christmas Eve, did nothing to lift my mood. It triggered a welter of memories and emotions that made Christmas seem even less appealing. Stuff the season of goodwill. I just wanted to be left alone to brood. I wasn’t given the choice. I was spending Christmas at Leo’s, whether I liked it or not. It proved to be eventful in its own way.
Mariana Arias: My favorite new book is Christmas at Leo's by Gillibran Brown. Although there is some debate whether he is just a character or a real person; his books are entertaining, thought provoking, engaging and emotional. I find Gilli special and in need of a hug/love. This book in particular, was deeply emotional and really shows so much complexity in being human. I loved that Gilli doesn't pretend to be other than what he is and I appreciate his honesty.
Rainbow Awards judge

Deadfall by David Lennon: Thirteen years after a serial killer stalked the streets and forests of a small Massachusetts town, the last near-victim returns hoping to rebuild his life after recovering from a coma. As Danny Tyler pieces together fragments of lost memory, however, he begins to realize that not only was his childhood very different than he thought at the time, but the wrong man might be in jail for the murders. Part mystery and part meditation on the nature of perception and memory, DEADFALL explores the dynamics of family and relationships in the aftermath of tragedy.
Drewey Wayne Gunn: The only BGLT book I have read that was first published in 2014 is David Lennon's Deadfall. I recommend it highly -- a departure for the writer: part psychological study of a dysfunctional family, part murder mystery.
Drewey Wayne Gunn is professor emeritus at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where he taught for twenty-eight years. He has a quarterly column, GunnShots, for Lambda Literary online and has served for eight years as one of the judges for the Lambda Literary Award for best gay mystery. He is also a regular contributor to the e-journal Reviewing the Evidence.

Desire at Dawn by Fiona Zedde: Recently turned from human to vampire, Kylie wants nothing to do with her new life or with the clan that claims her. She certainly wants nothing to do with her mother, Belle, who is completely infatuated with her vampire wife and clan leader. To escape her unwanted existence, Kylie befriends a human, Olivia, who has been abandoned by her family. But unknown to Kylie, someone is watching her. An enemy has targeted her as the perfect way to destroy her clan. While battling this enemy, Kylie also grapples with the surprising desires she feels for the human. Desires that she’d once seen as wicked and wrong. Fighting for her life, Kylie must confront both the assassins and the beast within her that would do anything to keep her loved ones safe.
Sheree L. Greer: "Desire at Dawn" by Fiona Zedde -- vampires, sex, mortality, and mommy-daughter issues. What's not to love? A wonderful second book in Zedde's Desire Vampire Series.
A Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native, Sheree L. Greer has been published in Hair Trigger, The Windy City Times, Reservoir, Fictionary, The Windy City Queer Anthology: Dispatches from the Third Coast, and Best Lesbian Romance 2012. She has performed her work across selected venues in Milwaukee, New York, Miami, Chicago, and Tampa, where she hosts Oral Fixation, the only LGBTQ Open Mic series in Tampa Bay. She earned her MFA at Columbia College Chicago and currently teaches writing and literature at St. Petersburg College. Sheree, an Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund grantee, completed a VONA residency at University of Miami and self-published a short story collection, Once and Future Lovers. While her obsessions constantly rotate and evolve, Sheree has an undying love for hot sauces, red wines, and crunchy tacos. She plays less-than-mediocre electric guitar but makes nearly-perfect guacamole.

Dissonance by Lisa Lenard-Cook: When Anna Kramer, a Los Alamos piano teacher, inherits the journals and scores of composer Hana Weissova, she is mystified by this bequest from a woman she does not know. Hana’s music, however, soon begins to uncover forgotten emotions, while her journals, which begin in 1945 after she is released from a concentration camp, slowly reveal decades-old secrets that Anna and her family have kept buried. Dissonance is a quiet and dramatic novel that offers great emotional urgency and wisdom. It is bold in its scale, placing readers at different eras—in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt and in the scientific world of Los Alamos, New Mexico. With extraordinary sensitivity, the author unfolds the story of a woman musician inheriting the “score” of another woman’s life, reconciling its themes of self-discovery with the processes of self-discovery in her own life, and, finally, freeing imprisoned memory.
Catherine Ryan Hyde: I really think an outstanding LGBT pick for 2014 is Dissonance, a novel by Lisa Lenard-Cook. It was first published quite a few years ago by the University of New Mexico Press, but rereleased in 2014 by the Santa Fe Writer's Project, and I was fortunate enough to read it for a second time in honor of its second publication. I think what I like best about Dissonance is that it's literary in the very best sense of the word. People often sling that term about as an insult, but this book is enough (in my opinion) to restore the good name of literary fiction.
I'm the author of 24 published and forthcoming books. My newest releases are Where We Belong, Don’t Let Me Go, Walk Me Home, When I Found You, When You Were Older and Second Hand Heart. Forthcoming is Take Me With You (June '14) and a young readers' edition of Pay It Forward (8-12). Newer novels are Becoming Chloe, Jumpstart the World, Love in the Present Tense, The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, Chasing Windmills The Day I Killed James, and Diary of a Witness. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List. Jumpstart the World was chosen as a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards, received a third place Rainbow Award for Young Adult/Coming of Age Fiction and a tie for first place in Bisexual/Transgender Fiction. Love in the Present Tense enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the national bestseller list, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year Award.

Educating Simon by Robin Reardon: Everything sixteen-year-old Simon Fitzroy-Hunt loves is in England. There's his school, his boyfriend, his cat, and especially Oxford University, which Simon plans to attend just as his beloved late father planned. But all of Simon's certainties come crashing down when his mother remarries and drags him to Boston with her. Furious and unforgiving, Simon finds plenty to resent in America. His stepsister, Persie, is overindulged by her father and struggling with Asperger syndrome. And Simon's school project--coaching a young student for the national Spelling Bee--hits a complication when eleven-year-old Toby makes a confession: there's a girl trapped inside his body, and her name is Kay. Helping Kay find her way begins changing Simon too, opening him to different perspectives, revealing a strength that's gone untapped until now. And as the life he's known and the future he envisioned slip further away each day, he realizes he can either lose his direction entirely or forge a new--and perhaps even better--path.
Brent Hartinger: One of my favorite LGBT novels of the year was EDUCATING SIMON by Robin Reardon. I loved the main character, Simon Fitzroy-Hunt. He's a perfectly-realized character -- extreme, but never exaggerated; flawed, but always relatable. It's an excellent book.
Brent Hartinger's first novel, GEOGRAPHY CLUB, was recently adapted as a feature film. His latest, THE THING I DIDN'T KNOW I DIDN'T KNOW, is out now.

Enlightened series (Provoked, Beguiled, and Enlightened) by Joanna Chambers: Five months ago, David Lauriston was badly hurt helping his friend Elizabeth escape her violent husband. Since then, David has been living with his lover, Lord Murdo Balfour, while he recuperates. Despite the pain of his injuries, David’s time with Murdo has been the happiest of his life. The only things that trouble him are Murdo’s occasional bouts of preoccupation, and the fact that one day soon, David will have to return to his legal practice in Edinburgh. That day comes too soon when David’s friend and mentor takes to his deathbed, and David finds himself agreeing to take on a private mission in London. Murdo is at his side in the journey, but a shocking revelation by Murdo’s ruthless father leaves David questioning everything they’ve shared. As tensions mount and the stakes grow higher, David and Murdo are forced to ask themselves how far they’re prepared to go—and how much they’re prepared to give up—to stay together.
Z.A. Maxfield: There were so many book I loved this year it’s hard to pick just one. One highlight was the "Enlightened” series by Joanna Chambers, Provoked, Beguiled, and Enlightened. All three books were compelling, emotional, and richly detailed. I enjoyed them very, very much.
Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four manages to find time for a writing career, she'll answer, "It's amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework." Her published books include Crossing Borders, Epic award finalist St. Nacho's, Drawn Together, Physical Therapy, Blue Fire, Fugitive Color, and Jacob's Ladder from Loose Id, The Long Way Home, from Aspen Mountain Press, ePistols at Dawn from Samhain Publishing, and Notturno, Stirring Up Trouble, and Vigil from MLR Press.

Every Drop of My Love by Jane Davitt: Steve is a human donor, making a living by allowing dying vampires to feed from him. Then he meets North, a vampire sun-damaged and terribly scarred but very much alive. As North feeds from Steve they become friends with a strong attraction building. Once healed, North makes Steve an offer he doesn't want to refuse; let North hunt him through the city before being brought back to North's home to fulfill every fantasy Steve's shared with him. It's going well until a mugger threatens Steve's life and North intervenes, creating an unbreakable bond between the two of them that threatens to ruin what they'd begun to build.
Susan Laine: I checked my list of books I'd read this year, and I found only one 5+ book (thanks to Goodreads for keeping my book list alive). The book is Every Drop of My Love by Jane Davitt by Torquere Press. I read it in January 2014, though I think it was published some time in 2013. Why did I like it? Every Drop of My Love was certainly no Twilight, and, oh my, did I like it! In fact, in this almost terrifying tale of dark love, vampires really are cold predators, dangerous and to fear. And yet… these vampires are individuals, with different stories, some tragic, some sad. This tale was new, invigorating, even frightening. There’s a dark BDSM element to the play between the vampire North and his blood donor Steve, the play almost akin to torture, but mostly only hinted at. I liked this one a lot, as it didn't offer clear solutions, quick answers, or sugary sweet endings. In fact, at the end, anything could happen. This one left me wondering, kind of amazed too, and the story stayed with me for a long while.
I'm an award-winning author of LGBT erotic romance, and I write for Dreamspinner Press, Siren Publishing, and Evernight Publishing. I'm a Finn, and I like books, pop music, chocolate, saunas, and the seasons in Finland.

Everything I Know by Josh Lanyon: Connor loves teaching. He loves working with kids, he loves feeling like he’s making a difference. And the kids—and parents—seem to love him. Until the afternoon he makes a small error in judgment, and an angry father’s thoughtless comments start the kind of rumor that destroys careers. And lives. Everything Connor thought he knew about himself and his world is now in doubt. But sometimes help comes from the most unexpected direction.
Eve: My pick.... I am torn. I'd say, Josh Lanyon's novella "Everything I Know" won hands down in novella category. He's such a master in saying so much in just a few sentences.
Rainbow Awards judge

Family Connections (The Connelly Chronicles 1) by NJ Nielsen: Ray and Viv realise love isn’t always what they expect it to be, but learning to deal with the road ahead can be worth the heartache. Thrown into circumstances beyond their imaginations, Ray Connelly and Christopher ‘Viv’ Vivvens must step beyond their personal lifestyles to survive the future. What started out as a small white lie about being boyfriends soon becomes more than they bargained for, especially when family and friends decide to interfere in their lives. However, when tragedy strikes, Ray and Viv must step up and become parents, too. Along the way, they welcome nine children of varying ages, but there is plenty of love to go around. Ray and Viv realise love isn’t always what they expect. Sometimes it’s downright hard. They also learn that dealing with life’s obstacles can be worth the heartache. In doing so, the couple discover how strong they are together. When everything is running smoothly, an ex comes along to ruin their happily ever after.
Lydia: I read A LOT, and always come across several books that become “favorites”. It’s hard to pick one over the other but, if I had to choice just one from the past year, I suppose it would have to be Family Connections by NJ Nielsen. This book was republished this year through Totally Bound Books. I absolutely loved this story. While it does have main characters with which the story revolves around, Family Connections is more like an ensemble piece, as the secondary characters are just as important as Ray and Viv. I loved the way the author pulled me into the story and the many twists and turns that kept me turning the pages. Family Connections is the first book in a series and I can’t wait until the next book comes out.
Rainbow Awards judge

Fear (The Copper Horse 1) by K.A. Merikan: London, 1907, twenty years into the zombie Plague. Reuben is a baker living in the slums of London, sharing a room with his father and an extended family of cockroaches. Poor, uneducated, and repressing all his sexual desires, he leads a life of misery, only sometimes sprinkled with gin and a rough tumble in a filthy back alley. But when he is abducted into Bylondon to be the slave of a wealthy crime family member named Erik Dal, his values are put to the test. His new master is obsessed with all things equestrian, and Reuben soon learns that if he obeys and performs well as Erik's horse, he might just get everything he yearns for: pampering, foods he never even dreamed of, and shameless sex with a demonically handsome young man in leather riding boots. As Copper, Erik's treasured dun stallion, Reuben must submit to his new master's obscene fancy of possessing another man completely. That is, if he yearns for treats and not the lick of a riding crop.
Tami Veldura: I read and loved Fear (The Copper Horse #1) by K.A. Merikan at the beginning of the year. All of my favorite tropes: non-con, dub-con, pet-kink, 24/7 lifestyle, and the occasional zombie, hurt-comfort of the most insane variety with a poignant ending, post-apocalyptic, just awesome in every way.
Tami Veldura is a writer, reader, lover and artist. She currently resides in San Marcos, CA. She writes science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, and GLBTQ fiction. Tami can host blog tours and interviews for any artist, writer, or publishing professional. She is also available for hire as a freelance editor of complete fiction stories of any length.

Fighting Instinct (L'Ange Book 2) by Mary Calmes: Only a privileged few know L’Ange’s head of security Arman de Soto is a shifter, and even fewer know he’s been systematically killing off a pack of werewolves. The reason for this vengeance is a secret Arman trusts with no one, quite the opposite of his obvious longtime pursuit of the château’s overseer, Linus Hobbes. Despite Arman’s reputation as a loner, the only thing he needs to complete his life is Linus. Predator and prey just don’t mix—but Arman won’t give him up. Linus has lived alone for more than seven years, sheltered at L’Ange under an assumed name and hiding secrets of his own, including his terrifying attraction to the most dangerous man he’s ever met. Arman knows Linus should be afraid of the predator stalking him, but Linus is still drawn to him like a moth to a flame, no matter how much he tries to deny his instincts.
Mallory Hytrek: I loved Mary Calmes' latest, Fighting Instinct. I always love her characterization and way with words, but this one was amazing, as her characters were so very different from her usual fare. It was clever, hot, but with a dark and unique twist that made it a favorite this year.
Rainbow Awards judge

Fuerte: a Journey continued by Marcelino Rosas: In Afuera, Roberto Salas came of age by discovering his sexuality, dealing with his family, finding first love and forming deep friendships. Now on his own in a new city, Roberto hopes for a fresh start. But new beginnings bring new challenges; work, school, and sex compete for his time. How will he juggle them all when life throws him some unexpected curve balls? "Fuerte: A Journey Continued", delves into Roberto's discovery that being a young adult in Los Angeles, away from everything he knows, is far crazier than anything his past has prepared him for.
Marcelino Rosas: Fuerte: a Journey continued by Marcelino Rosas. It's the sexy sequel to "Afuera: A young Latino's journey." It's a great read and it's sure to keep you warm during the holidays.
My name is Marcelino Rosas I'm 24 years old and my general goal in life is to make a positive contribution to the world and achieve anything and everything I set my mind to. I am an international male model and I’ve been very fortunate to have my work published throughout Europe, Australia, and also here in the USA. Please refer to the "Awards" section of my profile which lists my achievements to date. Since modeling is such a great passion of mine, I aim to continue on this road of success, continuously challenging myself to be the best I can be and never settling for second best. As a model, physical fitness and a healthy life style is important to me, and I've also set myself high goals for what I want to achieve in the gym and how I want to sculpt my physique. I've always been active in the sporting circles, particularly soccer and played at club level. My latest passion is cycling and I'm training for a triathlon sometime in the future.

Gabriel's City by Laylah Hunter: For spoiled young aristocrat Colin Harwood, the port city of Casmile is a buffet of easy pleasures. But when he steps into a pub brawl to help a dangerously outnumbered young man, he is drawn into the seedy underbelly of the city the young man calls home. Gabriel is a cutpurse and a knife for hire, practically an urban legend. His vision of Casmile is touched by a strange combination of faith and madness, driven by fairytale logic and a capacity for love that he often must suppress to survive. He’s always worked alone, but when a dashing dragon who calls himself Colin saves him in a bar fight, he pulls Colin into his world. Gabriel’s city is nothing like the refined, socialite existence that bored Colin senseless. Colin finds adventure and excitement there—and maybe even love. But with his layers of finery stripped away, nothing remains to protect him from poverty or danger—except Gabriel.
Rachel Haimowitz: My book of the year was Gabriel's City by Laylah Hunter--an underappreciated gem that defies categorization, written by a nearly new author (this is their first published novel, but they've had several shorts published) with astonishing talent. It's part historical adventure, part fantasy (but there's no magic or magical races--just a fantasy-type setting), part YA (but don't let that turn you off if YA's not your thing; you won't even notice it), and very much a coming-of-age love story between a spoiled young aristocrat who gets his eyes roughly opened to the world and a mentally ill homeless boy who's made a reputation for himself as the city's most terrifying criminal.
M/M erotic romance author, freelance writer and editor, sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, proudly pervish.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew A. Smith: "In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend, Robby, have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.
This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.
Funny, intense, complex, and brave, Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from testicle-dissolving genetically modified corn to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America in this groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner."
J.M. Snyder: My pick would be Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew A. Smith. Though not marketed as LGBT, the main character struggles with his sexuality and attraction to his gay best friend throughout the story. It's a YA apocalyptic tale that is seriously one of the best books I've read all year.
An author of gay erotic/romantic fiction, J.M. Snyder began in self-publishing and worked with Amber Allure, Aspen Mountain, eXcessica, and Torquere Presses. Snyder's highly erotic short gay fiction has been published online at Amazon Shorts, Eros Monthly, Ruthie's Club, and Tit-Elation, as well as in anthologies by Alyson Books, Aspen Mountain, Cleis Press, eXcessica Publishing, Lethe Press, and Ravenous Romance. In 2010, Snyder founded JMS Books LLC, a royalty-paying queer small press that publishes in both electronic and print format.

Ham: Slices of a Life: Essays and Stories by Sam Harris: In a collection of personal essays that are “both rip-roaringly funny and sentimental, drawing natural (and justified) comparisons to David Sedaris and David Rakoff” (Esquire), longtime recording artist and actor Sam Harris recounts stories of friendship, love, celebrity, and growing up and getting sober. In sixteen brilliantly observed true stories, Sam Harris emerges as a natural humorist in league with David Sedaris, Chelsea Handler, Carrie Fisher, and Steve Martin, but with a voice uniquely his own. Praised by the Chicago Sun-Times for his “manic, witty commentary,” and with a storytelling talent The New York Times calls “New Yorker– worthy,” he puts a comedic spin on full-disclosure episodes from his own colorful life.
Larry Duplechan: A witty, moving memoir that made me laugh a lot, and occasionally cry.
Larry Duplechan is the author of five novels, including Blackbird (considered the first modern Black "coming-out" novel) and the Lambda Literary Award-winning Got 'til it's Gone. His hobbies include singing, playing the ukulele, reading show business biographies, and pursuing his ongoing quest to forestall the physical aging process and build truly outstanding pecs. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband of 38 years and a 17 pound Chartreux cat named Mr. Blue.

Hunted by Liz Powell: As a professional footballer it looks like Adam Hunter has it all, but when the secret of his affair with midfielder Louie Jackson begins to leak out he’s plunged into the depths of misery – prompting a desperate series of manoeuvres to conceal the truth. Injured, distrusted by his team-mates and plagued by personal tragedy, Adam goes from hero to zero – and by the time Louie’s transferred to a German side he’s running out of reasons to stay alive. If there’s any way back from the brink of suicide, it isn’t clear to him at the moment...
Eve: In terms of full-length novel, I'd have to say Liz Powell's "Hunted" is one of the few books that stayed in my mind long after I finish it. I love the refreshing/realistic approach it took about gay sportsmen, at the same time, a highly emotional and suspenseful read. Not to mention, it is also a very apt subject to tackle this year with several top sportsmen coming out.
Rainbow Awards judge

Imogene's Eloise: Inspired by a true-love story by Marguerite Quantaine: Witty and endearing, jubilant and insightful, Imogene’s Eloise traces the unpredictable journey of a young woman living alone amid the political unrest and social taboos of Manhattan during the 1960s and early 70s, oblivious to her own feelings and those of others until being smitten by the sight of a stranger in town for the weekend whose name and number she’s prevented from getting. In trying to appear calm, she downs a glass of gin she’s mistaken for ice water, awakening the next morning in a fog — but determined to find that one person in a city of millions before time runs out. On a fast paced track towards an ending you can’t possibly imagine, Imogene’s Eloise (inspired by a true story) is certain to erase any doubt you might harbor in the existence of love at first sight and forever fortify your faith in happily ever after.
Fay Jacobs: Aside from Elisa's marvelous encyclopedia of gay lives, my favorite is Imogen's Eloise by Margeurite Quantaine. Published in fall 2014, it's a stunningly written romance, set in 1970s Greenwich Village with all the passion of the time and all the history, too. Great writer, great romance, great read!
Fay is a native New Yorker, who spent 30 years working in journalism and public relations. Her first book, As I Lay Frying a Rehoboth Beach Memoir (2004) is in its 3rd printing. Her second, Fried & True Tales from Rehoboth Beach won the 2008 National Womens Press Association Book of the Year for humor. Fay is the publisher of A&M Books a small feminist press. Fay has contributed The Advocate, Baltimore Sun, Delaware Beach Life, Sussex Weekly and the Wilmington News Journal. "

Jericho by Ann McMan: Librarian Syd Murphy flees the carnage of a failed marriage by accepting an eighteen-month position in Jericho-a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Her plans to hide out and heal her wounds fall by the wayside as she gets drawn into the daily lives of the quirky locals. She becomes fast friends with Maddie Stevenson, the enigmatic physician who has returned to the backcountry community to take over her late father's medical practice. Together they learn that life and love can have as many twists and turns as a country road.
Anne Barwell: It's difficult to chose my favourite book as there were many I enjoyed so I'm choosing a favourite instead. Jericho by Ann McMann. I was recommended this book by a friend, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters are three dimensional, and banter is great, and quite literary - something which appeals to me as a reader. Loved also the fact that Syd is a librarian. The relationship which begins as a friendship is realistic, as is both characters' realisation that it's more than that. Also loved the 'supporting' characters who were also well fleshed out and believable. It's not a fast read, but I stayed up many a late night savouring more of it. It makes me happy that there is a sequel - which is now on my reserve list at the library.
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning. In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as "too many." These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of "spare time" is really just a myth.

Junction X by Erastes: Set in the very English suburbia of 1962 where everyone has tidy front gardens and lace curtains, Junction X is the story of Edward Johnson, who ostensibly has the perfect life: A beautiful house, a great job, an attractive wife and two well-mannered children. The trouble is he's been lying to himself all of his life. And first love, when it does come, hits him and hits him hard. Who is the object of his passion? The teenaged son of the new neighbours. Edward's world is about to go to hell. "Both a haunting tale of sexual obsession and a stunning portrait of an ordinary man caught up in the throes of an illicit love and teetering on the brink of self-destruction, told with pinpoint psychological insight and mouth-watering prose, this is a splendid example of the storyteller's art, reminiscent of James Baldwin." - Victor J. Banis, author of The Man from C.A.M.P.
Suki Fleet: My choice is Junction X by Erastes. It's not a new story but it's the most affecting story I've read this year. A truly brilliant and devastating story about love. I read this a few weeks ago and I still feel deeply affected by it now. Stories like this are why I read. The author manages to garner my sympathy for the actions of the main character while at the same time I find myself hating him for what he does. Absolutely compelling.
Suki Fleet grew up on a boat and as a small child spent a lot of time travelling at sea with her family. She has always wanted to be a writer. As a kid she told ghost stories to scare people, but stories about romance were the ones that inspired her to sit down and write. She doesn't think she can ever stop writing them.

Lasting City: The Anatomy of Nostalgia by James McCourt: The darkly intense Irish-American family drama come alive like never before in this "virtuosic meta-memoir" (Publishers Weekly, starred review). “The blood-red of Manhattan, the brilliant green of an Irish-American wake, the blue-rinsed divas of the opera and the bathhouse alike” (Michael Gorra) are hypnotically rendered in this “astoundingly smart book” (John Waters). With some of the most lyrical cadences in recent literature, the legendary James McCourt animates twentieth-century New York through a “kaleidoscope of sharp-edged, brilliantly colored memories” (J. D. McClatchy) and with “dynamic prose and high-brow erudition that has gone the way of the dodo” (Publishers Weekly). Braiding a nostalgic portrait of the eternal city with a boy’s funny, guttersnipe precocity and outrageous coming-of-age in the 1940s and 1950s, McCourt revisits the fantasy city of his youth.
Vincent Virga: NOW: admittedly I am biased BUT, for me, the book of the year is Jimmy McCourt's LASTING CITY. Burroughs said there are two kinds of gay men: Pale Faces and Savages. Jimmy is a SAVAGE. His book scared all the Pale Faces of this world (most with any power married with kids), including the New York Times: they did not review it after reviewing ALL his other books; and in spite of stupendously positive reviews everywhere reviews appeared: PW starred; Kirkus starred; Booklist rave; G&LR rave, it was not even nominated by the shameful Pale Faces at Lambda Book Awards. Crazy to find a majority of modern gay men adopting the mores of the same-as-you suburban 70s who, as one said in an Advocate interview: "We prefer malls to museums." In spite of them all, the SAVAGES are the ones who will be remembered for it has always been thus....
Vincent Virga has been called "America's foremost picture editor." He has researched, edited, and designed picture sections for more than 150 books, including Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States and the full-length photo essay The Eighties: Images of America. He is also the author of A Comfortable Corner. He is working on a third novel, Theatricals.

Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire: Loving a total stranger can be very hard work sometimes. How do you love someone who exists entirely in the shadows? How do you love a man who describes himself as dead? How do you get that ghost to love you back? Ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider falls in love with his enigmatic married boss Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, but Nikolas is living a lie. A lie so profound that when the shadows are lifted, Ben realises he's in love with a very dangerous stranger. Ben has to choose between Nikolas and safety, but sometimes danger comes in a very seductive package.
A.B. Gayle: Mine was "Love is a Stranger" and everything else by John Wiltshire. He has had six books published this year since May and all are great. The writing craft is good, the characterisation excellent and the plots all held me spellbound.
Unlike many authors, I haven't been writing stories all my life. I've been too busy living life. My travels took me from the fjords of Norway to the southern tip of New Zealand. In between, I've worked in so many different towns I've lost count. I've shoveled cow shit, mustered sheep, been polite to customers, traded insults with politicians and need to be forgiven on occasions when I get confused as to who needs what where. Now that I'm settled in Sydney, Australia, my real-life experiences can morph with my fertile imagination and create fiction which I hope readers will enjoy. My philosophy on posting reviews is to recommend books I like which I think other people may not read and state why I like them. These are only the tip of the iceberg of books I read. If I do post a negative review, it's because there is some craft aspect (usually) that, to me, prevents the book from reaching its full potential.

Love Me As I Am: gay men reflect on their lives by Ade Adeniji, Darren Brady & Francois Lubbe: ‘Love Me As I Am’ is an anthology documenting the biographies and letters of 24 gay men as they reflect on the childhood experiences that shaped their lives. In sharing their life stories these men, coming from all walks of life, give the reader a bird’s eye view of the key moments that bear upon the lives of many gay men. The book speaks hard truths, and echoes a prevailing message of hope, which holds the promise of reaching much further than the gay community and has the potential to leave a lasting impression on every reader — irrespective of his or her sexual orientation. As the world slowly transforms into a more tolerant and accepting place we all can play a small part in making a big difference… One book at a time.
Tobias Oliver: At the end of the year I was lucky enough to attend one of the amazing weekend self-development workshops for gay men called ‘The Quest’. The aim of these weekends is to explore and better understand the challenges of growing up as a gay man in today’s society. As part of the workshop you are asked to write a letter to your 16 year-old self. ‘Love Me As I Am’ is an anthology of such letters written by 24 gay men, alongside their life stories, as they reflect on the childhood experiences that shaped their lives. The letters reveal experiences of men from all walks of life. Experiences that may or may not mirror our own but nevertheless allow us to recognise the shared struggle to live with courage and integrity in a sadly, all-too-often hostile society. But this book is not just a fascinating insight into the lives of others, it is above all a powerful, brutally honest and profoundly moving testament to the resilience of the human spirit. It reminds us that however hard things may have been or still are, there is always hope and that it does get better.
Tobias Oliver grew up in London and read English with Drama at the University of Sheffield. He went on to study Text and Performance at RADA and King’s College London. After 20 years working in the arts and major events industries he became Marketing Director of Mr. Bugg Presents, a music theatre company his husband, composer Matthew Bugg, and he set up with producer Keith Arrowsmith. They have taken their critically acclaimed production, Miss Nightingale – the musical written by Matthew, on two hugely successful tours of the UK, including a run in London’s West End.

Mary Ann in Autumn by Armistead Maupin: Following the success of his New York Times bestseller Michael Tolliver Lives, Armistead Maupin’s Mary Ann in Autumn is a touching portrait of friendship, family, and fresh starts, as the City by the Bay welcomes back Mary Ann Singleton, the beloved Tales of the City heroine who started it all. A new chapter begins in the lives of both Mary Ann and Michael “Mouse” Tolliver when she returns to San Francisco to rejoin her oldest friend after years in New York City…the reunion that fans of Maupin’s beloved Tales of the City series have been awaiting for years.
John Glines: I know and love the characters. The plot is terrific. It's another gem in the Tales of the City series.
John Glines (born October 11, 1933 in Santa Maria, California) is an American playwright and producer. Glines graduated from Yale in 1955 with a BA in drama. As a writer in children’s television, he worked for seven years on Captain Kangaroo and for four years on Sesame Street. His play In The Desert Of My Soul was anthologized in Best Short Plays Of 1976. His musical Gulp!, written with Stephen Greco and Robin Jones, had a lengthy off-off-Broadway run in 1977. His plays written for, and originally produced by The Glines, the non-profit organization for gay arts which he co-founded in 1976 with Barry Laine and Jerry Tobin, include On Tina Tuna Walk, In Her Own Words, Men Of Manhattan, Chicken Delight , Body And Soul Murder In Disguise, Key West, and Heavenly Days. Glines won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award in 1983 as producer of Torch Song Trilogy. In his acceptance speech for the Tony, he was the first person ever to acknowledge his same-sex lover on a major awards show.

Muscling Through by JL Merrow: The bigger they come, the harder they fall... in love. Cambridge art professor Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed—literally and figuratively. And, the next morning, he can’t rest until he offers an apology to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant. Larry's intrigued to find there's more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry's class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair. Is it physical? Oh, yes, it’s deliciously physical, and so much more—which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.
Cira Arana: "Muscling Through" by JL Merrow, for its unique and adorable narrator.
Rainbow Awards judge

Mustang Hill by Rolf and Ranger: An online series that's unlikely ever to be published, but it deserves be better known, and I reread it *twice* this year. This is a 2010 novel, because the current novel in the series is a work-in-progress.
Dusk Peterson: The most moving of the stories in the lengthy Falls Chance Ranch series, this novel takes a gay polyamorous domestic-discipline family that lives on a modern Western ranch, and places them in the aftermath of an American national crisis. The reader is offered images of healing from grief, detailed descriptions of cowboy life and corporate life, a psycho-spiritual journey that touches upon Native American heritages, and an absorbing tale of the protagonist's continuing quest to come to terms with his personal limitations and strengths. I know of no other novel like this in m/m literature.
Honored in the Rainbow Awards, Dusk Peterson writes historical speculative fiction, including lgbtq novels. Suspense plays an important role in many of the tales; the conflict in those tales is both external and internal. Peterson's stories are often placed in dark settings, such as prisons or wartime locations. The mood of the stories, however, is not one of unrelieved gloominess: romance, friendship, and faithful service are recurring themes. Visit duskpeterson.com for e-books and free fiction.

My Favorite Uncle by Marshall Thornton: Martin Dixon's carefully-constructed, peaceful life is turned upside down when his super Christian eighteen-year-old nephew Carter shows up unexpectedly on his doorstep and announces he's gay. Martin's first impulse is to send him back to his parents. But when he discovers that Carter has been in a mental hospital to cure his gay-ness he realizes he's stuck with the boy. Unfortunately, the two get on each other's nerves, each driving the other to distraction. Independently, however, they each arrive at the same conclusion. The other would be much less annoying if he only had... a boyfriend.
Jess Faraday: ONLY ONE ?????? =) My favorite LGBT book this year was My Favorite Uncle by Marshall Thornton. I enjoyed his extremely gritty Boystown mysteries, and was delighted to find that the author can do comedy with an equally deft hand. But although there were some slapstick moments, the heart of the story turned out to be about family--both the family you choose and the one you don't. An absolutely delightful read.
Jess Faraday is the author of the Ira Adler series (including the Lambda-shortlisted Affair of the Porcelain Dog), the steampunk thriller The Left Hand of Justice, three book translations, a handful of short stories, and numerous nonfiction articles. She also moonlights as the mystery editor for Elm Books. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona (B.A.) and UCLA (M.A.). Since then, she has earned her daily bread in a number of questionable ways, including translation, lexicography, copyediting, teaching high school Russian, and hawking shoes to the overprivileged offspring of Los Angeles-area B-listers. She is currently at work on her fourth novel, Fool’s Gold, a mystery set in Victorian London and the American west.

My Happy Days In Hell by György Faludy: My Happy Days in Hell (1962) is Gyorgy Faludy's grimly beautiful autobiography of his battle to survive tyranny and oppression. Fleeing Hungary in 1938 as the German army approaches, acclaimed poet Faludy journeys to Paris, where he finds a lover but merely a cursory asylum. When the French capitulate to the Nazis, Faludy travels to North Africa, then on to America, where he volunteers for military service. Missing his homeland and determined to do the right thing, he returns - only to be imprisoned, tortured, and slowly starved, eventually becoming one of only twenty-one survivors of his camp.
Ross Eliot: My Happy Life in Hell by George Faludy (1962) This memoir runs rife with themes that resonate throughout my own memoir about a queer European who didn't fit prevailing LGTBQ stereotypes. A brilliant poet, Faludy found himself at odds with every early 20th century Hungarian political ideology, from nationalists to fascists and communists. Never a completely sympathetic character, at one point he speculated with his male lover about murdering their wives, but couldn't follow through, though claiming the other man did. It's a complex and fascinating adventure story, but never a comfortable one.
Ross Eliot is a writer and commercial fisherman based in Portland, Oregon and Sitka, Alaska. He is best known as publisher and editor of the critically acclaimed counterculture gun politics magazine American Gun Culture Report from 2006-2011. He has been featured on National Public Radio and Restore the Republic Radio as well as in periodicals including the Oregonian, Portland Mercury, The Sovereign, Street Roots and Skanner newspapers. Ross Eliot served as keynote speaker at the 2010 Liberal Gun Club Annual Convention in Chicago and has also testified before the Portland City Council on Second Amendment issues. January of 2014 saw the unveiling of Babette: The Many Lives, Two Deaths and Double Kidnapping of Dr. Ellsworth, Ross Eliot’s first book.

Names Can Never Hurt Me by Wade Kelly: What if sexuality wasn’t a definable thing and labels merely got in the way? Nick Jones can’t remember a time when he wasn’t part of the in crowd. Everywhere he goes, he stands out as the best looking guy in the room, and women practically fall into bed with him. Then, after kissing Corey on a dare led to much more and on many occasions, Nick’s “screw anything” reputation escalated, but he didn’t care. When Nick meets RC at the restaurant where he works, it throws his whole life out of whack. Overweight, always sweaty, gay, and hairy like a bear, RC lives up to his dubbed nickname “Scruffy Dude.” He seems Nick’s complete opposite, but Nick can’t get him out of his head. Because of peer-pressure and his fears about defining his sexuality, Nick struggles with stepping out of his comfort zone and caring about someone different than himself. If he’s lucky, somewhere between arrogance and ignorance, Nick might find out what it means to be an adult, but if he’s wrong, he could lose everything.
Jeff Adams: I've thought about this book a lot since I've read it. Not only do I think the writing is excellent, but it's messages are so relevant in the world today where society rushes to put a label on everything and tends to tear down anything that doesn't fit their own likes. Wade wrote a thoughtful book on the subject, and gave us a great romantic story as well.
Jeff Adams caught the writing bug in middle school and finally became a novelist with the Hat Trick series, which will conclude in 2015. He’s also written a number of m/m romance shorts, including the recent re-release of Rivals. Jeff and his husband, Will, left the hustle and bustle of New York City to return to the more peaceful lifestyle of Humboldt County, California, during the summer of 2014, which allows more time for him to write. Extending his love of hockey beyond novels, Jeff covers the Detroit Red Wings, as well reviews books that feature LGBT hockey players, for PuckBuddys.com.

Nothing Special by AE Via: Detective Cashel 'Cash' Godfrey is big, tattooed and angry so people typically keep their distance. He's fresh out of the police academy, however, no one is looking to partner with the six foot four beast with a huge chip on his shoulder and an inability to trust. When Cash scans the orientation room he wasn't expecting to find sexy hazel eyes locked onto him. Eyes of the handsome Detective Leonidis 'Leo' Day. Leo is charming, witty, hilariously sarcastic and the only one that can make Cash smile. He’s proud, out and one bad-ass detective. Together Cash and Leo become the most revered and successful narcotics detectives Atlanta’s ever seen. Able to communicate and understand each other, without even having to voice it, they quickly climb up the promotional ranks. When Cash saves Leo's life in a raid that turns deadly, Leo begins to see something in the big man that no one else does…something special. But Leo fears he'll never break through the impenetrable wall that protects Cash's heart.
Vicktor Alexander: I would have to say that my favorite book for 2014 is AE Via's Nothing Special. I stumbled upon it when I went to buy some new books and was instantly hooked on the characters of God and Day. These two characters, so manly, so hardcore and butch, and yet with this vulnerability that only the other seems to be able to see and delve into. And the sex? Hop-dogee! It is liable to melt your Kindle. Everything was pulled out of me, anger, lust, anticipation, humor, romance, I ran the gamut of emotions and feels. This was hard and raunchy and got me hooked on the series and the author, immediately.
Vicktor Alexander “Vic” wrote his first story at the age of 10 about his youngest sister and her destruction of the world…with her breath. Much to his youngest sister’s dismay the story was a hit and became the first story of a series all dealing with the planets that were destroyed by his siblings and their strange quirks and body odors. Vic now enjoys writing about shifters, humanoids, cowboys, firemen, rent boys, fairies, elves, dancers, doctors, Doms, Subs, and anything else that catches his fancy, all sexy men falling in love with each other and having lots of naughty, dirty, man-on-man sex. Author of the best-selling series, The Tate Pack, Vic is a huge fan of the “happily-ever-after” ending. But while his characters all ride off into the proverbial sunset, all sexually satisfied and in love, they all bear the scars of fighting for that love, just like in real life.

Now and Yesterday by Stephen Greco: In the three decades since Peter first moved into his Brooklyn apartment, almost every facet of his life has changed. Once a broke, ambitious poet, Peter is now a successful advertising executive. He's grateful for everything the years have given him--wealth, friends, security. But he's conscious too of what time has taken in return, and a busy stream of invitations doesn't dull the ache that remains since he lost the love of his life. Will is a young, aspiring journalist hungry for everything New York has to offer--culture, sophistication, adventure. When he moonlights as a bartender at one of Peter's parties, the two strike up a tentative friendship that soon becomes more important than either expected. In Peter, Will sees the ease and confidence he strives for, while Peter is suddenly aware of just how lonely his life has become. But forging a connection means navigating very different sets of experience and expectations, as each decides how to make a place for himself in the world--and who to share it with.
Victor Bumbalo: It's a unique exploration of two generations of gay men. It's wise, witty, and insightful..
Victor Bumbalo is an award-winning playwright whose plays have been produced worldwide. He graduated from the Masters Program in Theater at Bennington College. Coming to New York City, Bumbalo became immersed in the Off- and Off-Off Broadway theater scene. He directed the American premiere of Mrozek’s The Enchanted Night and became the artistic director of the Soul and Latin Theater, one of the first successful street theaters. Their productions toured the streets of New York for four consecutive summers. But as a gay man, he felt the need to put the lives of gay people on the stage. He wrote Kitchen Duty, produced by John Glines. Then came Niagara Falls, a comedy about a working-class family’s reaction to their gay son and his lover arriving unexpectedly for his sister’s wedding. This play has enjoyed a long life, playing in both mainstream and alternative theaters. In the 1980s he received two MacDowell Fellowships and a Yaddo and Helene Wurlitzer Residency.

Objects in the Rearview Mirror (Memoirs of the Human Wraiths) by F.E. Feeley, Jr.: Memoirs of the Human Wraiths. Their new home on Frederick Street in Clay Center, Kansas, was supposed to give writer Jonathan David and his husband, clinical psychologist Dr. Eddie Dorman, an opportunity to enjoy married life. Jonathan has just released his first major bestseller, and he hopes to finally escape his traumatic past and find the quiet existence he has always craved. Eddie has taken a job at the Kansas State University psychology department, and they intend to begin anew. They have barely settled in when the nightmare begins. Noises, disembodied voices, and mysterious apparitions make Jonathan’s life hell. Part of the house has decided to bare its teeth, show its jagged edges, and bring back the worst of Jonathan’s past. At first, Eddie cannot perceive the spectral events and fears for his husband’s sanity. When he’s also affected by the haunting, he’s unsure of what to do but refuses to be beaten. Together, they seek a way to fight the forces trying to tear them apart.
Ulysses G. Dietz: I might go on about Harper Fox, my favorite author ever. But I need to put aside my traditional favorites and applaud my favorite new authors this year: F. E. Feeley, Jr. (Fred) and Edmond Manning. These two authors are new to the world of gay fiction, and have both created wonderful, captivating novels that are literate, compelling, different and emotionally powerful. I’ve discovered lots of great books this year (over 150 and still counting); but I have to salute new voices in our world.
Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave it to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator for thirty-two years, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia is his second novel. Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of 37 years and their two teenaged children. By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother is the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.

Pissing In A River by Lorrie Sprecher: Amanda moves to London with nothing but her guitar and her collection of punk music as the soundtrack to her every move. With the company of a few friendly voices in her head, she looks for—and finds—a best friend and new lover. She forms a band, Lesbian Raincoat, and completely rewrites the story of her life. In this irreverently funny yet profound novel, Amanda risks deportation, recalls the fervor of AIDS activism in the United States, connects to the class struggle of punk, and finds redemption in love. But she also must confront her own mental illness, her lover's rape, and the violence of post-9/11 politics. Pissing in a River captures the glee and turbulence of surviving the cacophony of modern life. Lorrie Sprecher is the author of Sister Safety Pin and Anxiety Attack. She was a member of ACT UP/DC, has a PhD in English and American literature, and resides with her dog Kurt in Syracuse, New York. The punk song "It's a Heteronormative World, No!," recorded by her band Sugar Rat, appears on a compilation put out by Riot Grrrl Berlin.
Sassafras Lowrey: My top pick for the best new book of 2014 is Lorrie Sprecher's "Pissing In A River." This punk dyke novel is political and provocative chronicling queer activism in a post 9/11 world. Sprecher doesn't shy away from the uncomfortable she's written a fun and thoughtful novel that explores the intimate and community response to sexual assault, homophobia and seamlessly includes an intimate portrayal of anxiety and other mental illnesses with a punk rock soundtrack.
Sassafras Lowrey is a straight-edge queer punk who grew up to become the 2013 winner of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. Hir books—Kicked Out, Roving Pack, and Leather Ever After—have been honoured by organizations ranging from the National Leather Association to the American Library Association. Sassafras lives and writes in Brooklyn with hir partner and five furry beasts. Hir next novel Lost Boi will be released from Arsenal Pulp Press in Spring 2015.

Pretty Boy Dead by Jon Michaelsen: A murdered male stripper. A missing go-go dancer. A city councilman on the hook. Can Atlanta homicide detective Sergeant Kendall Parker solve the heinous crime and remain safely behind the closet door? When the body of a young man is found in a popular midtown park, police and local media are quick to pin the brutal killing on a homeless gay kid with AIDS. But homicide detective Sgt. Kendall Parker isn't so convinced, even when the suspect is accused of assaulting another police detective with a deadly weapon. City leaders want the murder solved yesterday and jump at the chance to pin the crime on the drug-craving teen. It's an election year, so remaining in office is their top priority, even at the sacrifice of the young man. Sgt. Parker isn't so persuaded and is determined to prove Hopper's innocence, despite the protest of his colleagues, and threatening the deep secret Parker has carefully hidden from his comrades for years.
Ryan Field: my pick is "Pretty Boy Dead" by Jon Michaelsen. I don't read much mystery or suspense for lack of time, but when I do I'm usually very picky about them. I knew the minute I started reading "Pretty Boy Dead" I was going to like it. I liked the writing as much as I liked the story, and I really did feel the author put a great deal of work into this story. It really showed.
Ryan Field is a gay fiction writer who has worked in many areas of publishing for the past 20 years. He's the author of the bestselling "Virgin Billionaire" series and the short story, "Down the Basement," which was included in the Lambda Award winning anthology titled "Best Gay Erotica 2009." Though not always, he sometimes writes gay parodies of *straight* mainstream fiction/films in the same way straight fiction and Hollywood has been parodying gay men for years, without apology. He also writes hetero romances with pen names, and has edited several short story anthologies. He has a long list of publishing credits that include over 84 works of lgbt fiction, some with pen names in various sub-genres.

Rebound by Lynette Mae: Women's basketball star Conner Maguire has the world by the tail. She's at the top of her game, in demand, and life is good. One day the unthinkable happens and her world is ripped apart. That split second event forces Conner to re-evaluate her entire existence. Shawn Tyler, a beautiful warrior with a shattered heart and incomparable spirit may be the key to conquering her fears, if Conner can open her heart enough to see the world from a new perspective. "Life has its own playbook and the rules can change on a dime."
Jody Klaire: There were so many great books, Nudge from Sandra Moran, Balefire by Barrett and Hoosier Daddy by Ann McMan and Salem West (all fellow Bedazzled Ink ladies) and of course Midnight Moon by Gerri Hill. My pick however has to be Rebound by Lynette Mae. Her book really touched me (and I know nothing much about basketball) but Conner has to be one of the coolest characters I've ever met. Everything about the story really spoke to me, as it follows her journey from a WNBA star to starting over as in Wheelchair Basketball. It inspired me, it lifted me and it drove me to go out and get involved myself (in a less painful sport!) It is a book that comes from the soul and one that, in turn, made me fall in love with it. What a story, what a message, what an author!
When Jody started writing novels, she had been composing, arranging and performing music (and lyrics) for fifteen years but becoming an author had never been something she aspired to. However, the moment that she began to compose the story for her first novel, she was hooked. Jody has been many things from Police officer to Singer/songwriter and tries to use her experiences in life to evoke vivid pictures. She aspires for her characters to touch the hearts of the reader. “If the author does their job well, then you get the pleasure of meeting a life-long friend.” Jody lives with a host of furry friends: her golden retriever puppy (lovingly called McFang) and several gerbils. She loves writing, sport, music, art and teaching herself new subjects and she also tends to like cake a fair bit too... The Above and Beyond Series - The Empath - (Book 1) - **Runner up in the Rainbow Awards 2014 & honorable mention.** The Black Wolf Chronicles - Fractured - (Book 1) is out Dec/Jan 2014/15

Red Caps: New Fairy Tales for Out of the Ordinary Readers by Steve Berman: Red Caps might be a rock band. Or they might be something more sinister, a fey source of sounds that are but the backdrop to thrills and misadventures. These thirteen stories provide readers jaded by the traditional, Old World fairy tales with tempting new stories that will entice bored readers from their suburban ennui. Closets are waiting to be explored. Escape from work camp leads to a dangerous encounter on a wet road. That high school year book is magical and might be mocking you...or helping you find love. And isn't love one of the central premises of the fairy tale? These teenage boys and girls need not fear that their love has no worth, because Steve Berman has written for them princesses who love maidens and adorkable students who have wondrous and smart boyfriends. Readers can be assured that, if the tale does not end happily, it ends most memorably.
Jeff Mann: I loved Steve Berman's Red Caps: New Fairy Tales for Out of the Ordinary Readers. It was an amazingly varied, imaginative, and moving collection of YA speculative short fiction.
Jeff Mann’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in many publications, including Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Laurel Review and The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide. He has published three award-winning poetry chapbooks, Bliss, Mountain Fireflies, and Flint Shards from Sussex; two full-length books of poetry, Bones Washed with Wine and On the Tongue; a collection of personal essays, Edge: Travels of an Appalachian Leather Bear; a book of poetry and memoir, Loving Mountains, Loving Men; and a short fiction volume, A History of Barbed Wire, which won a Lambda Literary Award. He teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Refuse by Elliott DeLine: Dean, a 22-year old female-to-male-transsexual, is no LGBT poster boy. Unemployed, depressed, mid-transition, friendless, and still living in the upstairs bedroom of his parents’ house in a conservative suburb, he can think of little to do but write his memoir. In the third person, he tells the tale of his would-be love affair with his college roommate, Colin, another trans man with a girlfriend and a successful indie rock band. The plot is interrupted intermittently by Dean’s first person commentary, often criticizing middle-class conformity—but also the queer counterculture from which he feels equally alienated. He is obsessed with Morrissey of The Smiths and wants nothing in life other than the same level of fame. As his far-fetched dreams become a foreseeable reality, he must decide between honesty and belonging, conformity or isolation, community or self.
Christopher Hawthorne Moss: I will name a transgender book because that is terribly important to me. Elliott DeLine’s two novels, I KNOW VERY WELL WHERE I GOT MY NAME and REFUSE are as true to what it means to be a transman as any I have read, including my own.
Kit wrote his first short story when he was seven years old. When summer camp friend Laura and he started their florid medieval saga they called "The Story" Kit became a regular writer, with mostly wry humorous stories written with like-minded friends. Kit had a stint writing copy for web sites, and he published a nonfiction work in 1991 titles LOVING THE GODDESS WITHIN. Kit had been participating in a collaborative writing group called Ghostletters on Yahoogroups, at one point starting to rewrite "The Story" from an adult perspective. He realized he had a novel in all these tales and published it as AN INVOLUNTARY KING which he published independently in 2008. It was such a successful experience he decided to make historical novel writing a career. Since that book he has continued to write stories, articles, reviews, and more novels, most recently with GLBT themes. He is devoted to using historical fiction to solve the erasure of GLBT history.

Return on Investment by Aleksandr Voinov: Martin David, an eager but inexperienced financial analyst, is the newest member of the investment team at Skeiron Capital Partners in London. His boss is an avowed financial genius, but he’s also overbearing and intense. Despite his erratic behaviour, Martin can’t help being drawn to him both professionally and personally. Too bad his boss doesn’t seem to feel the same. In a firm where pedigree and connections mean far more than Martin’s newly-minted business degree, Martin feels desperately inadequate—at least until he meets the enigmatic investment manager Alec Berger, who promises to help Martin establish himself in the financial community. Martin is so charmed by Alec’s sophistication and wit that he gives him data that should have stayed confidential. Then the financial crisis hits. Banks burn, companies teeter on the brink, and Skeiron’s survival is at stake.
Elin Gregory: I have read some AMAZING books this year and I'm really torn about which to mention but I have chosen one that was both stunning and unusual. That book is Return on Investment by Aleksandr Voinov, a financial thriller set in London at the time of the 2008 banking crisis. Frighteningly intelligent, but still a little naive, Martin David, our protagonist works in the City, that part of London where the financial transactions are made and where telephone numbers < mortgage repayments. Martin is hungry – for success, to prove himself, to acquire the things he needs to be SEEN as a success, but most of all for the approval of his boss. In order to get these things Martin is prepared to do pretty much anything it takes. Radix malorum est cupiditas – money is the root of all evil – and this book reflects that while showing how easy it was to fall into the traps that wiped out livelihoods and ruined portfolios. I found the financial aspects as fascinating as the plot concerning the shifting allegiances within the financial community. No, this ISN'T a romance in the usual sense. If I had to categorise it, it would be as a coming of age story as Martin matures and decides what is REALLY important to him. Absolutely a Five Star Read. I loved it!
Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and works in a museum in a castle built on the edge of a Roman fort! In addition to museuming and writing historical adventure stories, Elin enjoys betaing other authors work and blogging about their books when they are published. She is also the newest member of the UK Meet organising team. Is it 2015 yet?

Secrets of Neverwood by Libby Drew, Diana Copland and GB Lindsey: "Three foster brothers are called home to Neverwood, the stately Pacific Northwest mansion of their youth. They have nothing in common but a promise to Audrey, the woman they all called mother—that upon her death, they would restore the house and preserve it as a home for troubled boys. But going home is never easy. Cal struggles to recover from past heartbreak, while Danny fears his mistakes are too big to overcome. Devon believes he may never break down the barriers that separate him from honest emotion. On the path to brotherhood, they discover the old mansion holds more than dusty furniture and secret passageways. Audrey's spirit still walks its halls, intent on guiding ""her boys"" toward true love, and an old mystery stirs up a new danger—one that could cost the men far more than just the house. Secrets of Neverwood includes:
One Door Closes by G.B. Lindsey
The Growing Season by Diana Copland
The Lost Year by Libby Drew"
Indra Vaughn: I'd like to nominate The Secrets of Neverwood by Libby Drew, Diana Copland and GB Lindsey. The stories of the three foster brothers, what they went through and how they, and the house that was so important to all three of them, find their peace is absolutely beautiful. I've read this book three times this year, and I'm sure I'll read it again. Absolutely amazing.
In 2008 Indra Vaughn packed up everything but the kitchen sink... no, that’s a lie. She left everything behind apart from her books and moved from Belgium to Michigan. She now lives in the suburbs of Detroit with her dog who thinks he's a toddler. Indra’s professional background is in Nursing and Chinese Medicine, but she prefers to spend time making up stories about mysterious men and their unrequited love.

She Ain't Heavy, She's My Mother by Bryan Batt: Gayle Batt is the kind of lady who throws elegant cocktail parties while wearing layers of silk chiffon, dripping pearls, and eight months’ pregnant. She is the kind of woman who says “anyhoo” and calls everyone “Dahlin’” or a special pet name. With hair, makeup, and nails always done to perfection, she triumphs rather than crumbles when infidelity, alcoholism, cancer, or any form of adversity attempts to shatter her family. Endearing and enduring, Gayle is a big-hearted, strong-willed true Southern belle—and she taught her son everything he knows about being a man. In She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother, Bryan Batt, the actor who plays Sal Romano on the Emmy, Golden Globe, and Peabody Award–winning Mad Men, chronicles his life—and his mother’s supportive presence in it.
Christopher Logan: A light, frisky read of a book is "She Ain't Heavy, She's My Mother" by Bryan Batt. Bryan is best known for his turns on Broadway and his role as Darius in the gay Classic film "Jeffrey" ( which I think should be 'required viewing' for the younger gays )
Christopher Logan was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and studied acting as The Stella Adler Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood, California. He has appeared in over 40 television shows and films and currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia where he produces events and books to raise funding for independent film.

Sheep's Clothing by Elin Gregory: Meet Darren Murchison: self-employed plumber and reluctant werewolf…
Charlie Cochrane: Beautifully British, fantastically funny, quirkily romantic, an inventive story which didn't just make me laugh and smile, but also featured one of the most exciting fight scenes I've read in a while. Can't recommend it highly enough.
As Charlie Cochrane couldn't be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR, Riptide and Lethe.

Shirewode (The Wode 2) by J. Tullos Hennig: The King of the Shire Wode. That is what they will call you. Years ago, a pagan commoner named Rob of Loxley befriended Gamelyn Boundys, a nobleman's son, against seemingly insurmountable odds-and with horrific consequences. His home razed by order of the Church, Rob was left for dead, believing his sister, Marion, and his lover, Gamelyn, had perished. But Gamelyn yet lives. Guilt-ridden by his unwitting betrayal of Loxley, one of the last bastions of the Old Religion, Gamelyn rides off to seek absolution in the Holy Land. Rob vanishes into the greenwode and emerges as leader of a tight-knit band of outcasts who revolt against the powers that be. When the two lovers meet again, it will be in a brutal, blindfolded game of foxes and hounds that pits Templar assassin against Heathen outlaw. Yet the past cannot be denied, and when Rob discovers Marion is also still alive, the game turns.
Christopher Hawthorne Moss: I have loved Robin Hood stories since I was about four, and that’s 59 years ago, and her books are easily the best interpretation and delivery of any books on the subject in all possible categories. Her understanding of the ancient tale, her nuanced characters, her awareness of the myths of the era, her sense of drama, and her simple loving touch with the characters is easily the very best. I consider myself a bit of an expert on these stories, and I heard one familiar treatment after another in her books, and for that I will be eternally grateful to her.
Kit wrote his first short story when he was seven years old. When summer camp friend Laura and he started their florid medieval saga they called "The Story" Kit became a regular writer, with mostly wry humorous stories written with like-minded friends. Kit had a stint writing copy for web sites, and he published a nonfiction work in 1991 titles LOVING THE GODDESS WITHIN. Kit had been participating in a collaborative writing group called Ghostletters on Yahoogroups, at one point starting to rewrite "The Story" from an adult perspective. He realized he had a novel in all these tales and published it as AN INVOLUNTARY KING which he published independently in 2008. It was such a successful experience he decided to make historical novel writing a career. Since that book he has continued to write stories, articles, reviews, and more novels, most recently with GLBT themes. He is devoted to using historical fiction to solve the erasure of GLBT history.

Skin Deep Magic: Short Fiction by Craig Laurance Gidney: Magic is more than skin-deep. It hides in the folds of a haunted quilt and illuminates the secret histories of Negro memorabilia. Magic reveals the destiny of a great storyteller and emanates from a sculpture by an obscure Harlem Renaissance artist. Magic lurks in the basement of an inner-city apartment building and flourishes in a city park. Magic is more than skin-deep; it shimmers in the ten stories in this collection.
Sandra McDonald: My favorite book of the year was Skin Deep Magic by Craig Laurance Gidney. Craig is a top-notch writer exploring poignant themes of race, gender and sexuality, and this collection of fiction showcases his imagination and interests.
Sandra McDonald's transgender collection Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories won a Lambda Literary Award. Her newest work is the memoir Hollywood Loves Me: From Navy Lieutenant to Hollywood Assistant.
Felice Picano: I'd like to recommend Craig Laurance Gidney;s collection of short stories titled Skin Deep Magic published by Rebel Satori Press in 2014. These are wonderful, fanciful, fantastic stories in their nature and yet oh so real in the truths they convey. My favorite's are "Mauve's Quilt" Zora's Destiny" and "Death and the Two Maidens," but they are all intriguing and fresh and totally individual. "Lyes" is probably the funniest of the lot. It had me and my friends howling with recognition and laughter!
Felice Picano (born 1944) is an American writer, publisher, and critic who has encouraged the development of gay literature in the United States. He has received the Ferro-Grumley Award and Gay Times of England Award for best gay novel and the Syndicated Fiction/PEN Award for best short story, as well as the Jane Chambers Play Award in 1985. He was a finalist for the first Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was nominated for five Lambda Literary Awards. He received the Lambda Literary Foundation's Pioneer Award in 2010, and the City of West Hollywood's Rainbow Award and Citation in 2013.

Snow on Spirit Bridge by Freddy MacKay: Alone in Japan, Finni is struggling against the constant distrust, avoidance, and xenophobia he experiences every day. He misses home. He misses his family. Nightmares come all too frequently because of the stress, and well, Christmas is just not Christmas in Japan. Not how he understands it. Distressed by how miserable Finni is, his roommate, Mamoru, offers to be Finni's family for Christmas. Little does he know how much one agreement would change everything between them, because both of them kept secrets neither ever dreamed were true.
Lexi Ander: My pick would be Snow on Spirit Bridge by Freddy MacKay. Everything that I've ever read by Freddie has so much heart and soul, but I have to say that Snow on Spirit Bridge exceed all my expectations. This multifaceted story has depth and beauty. The characters are expertly crafted, the story they tell is rich and full of color. Once I began reading, I was ensnared until the very end. Highly Recommended.
Lexi has always been an avid reader and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her 80 pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.

Spencer by J.P. Barnaby: It’s been nearly five years since Aaron woke up in the hospital so broken, he couldn’t stand the sight of his own face. The flashbacks no longer dominate his life, but he’s still unable to find intimacy with his lover, Spencer Thomas. With time, patience, and the support of his family, his therapist, and his loving partner, Aaron has figured out how to live again. The problem is, Spencer hasn’t. His life has been on hold as he waits for the day he and Aaron can have a normal relationship. Hoping to move things forward for them both, he takes a job as a programmer in downtown Chicago, leaving Aaron alone. Reeling in the wake of Spencer’s absence, Aaron receives another shock when his attackers are caught. Now, he must testify and verbalize his worst nightmare. Publicly reliving his trauma without Spencer at his side destroys his precarious control. But he finds someone who can understand and empathize in Jordan, who watched his brother cut down in a school shooting.
Shae Connor: It’s so hard to single out one book when I’ve read so many good ones, but the first title that came to mind was Spencer by J.P. Barnaby. I was already a fan of her work, but I felt as if her already excellent writing took a leap forward with this book. The cover blurb from The Novel Approach describes it as “an emotionally articulate novel,” and I agree completely. As both a reader and a writer, I love being in a position to experience and enjoy a favorite author’s growth.
Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she works for the government by day and reads and writes about people falling in love by night. She's been making up stories for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should start writing them down. Now, she usually has far too many stories in progress, but when she does manage to tear herself away from her laptop, she enjoys running, hiking, cooking, and traveling, not necessarily in that order.

Spymistress: The True Story of the Greatest Female Secret Agent of World War II by William Stevenson: She was beautiful. She was ruthless. She had a steel trap for a mind and a will of iron. Born Vera Maria Rosenberg in Bucharest, she became Vera Atkins, legendary spy and holder of the Legion of Honor. Recruited by William Stevenson—the spymaster who would later come to be known as “Intrepid”—when she was only twenty-three, Vera spent much of the 1930s running countless perilous espionage missions. When war was declared in 1939, her fierce intelligence, blunt manner, personal courage, and knowledge of several languages quickly propelled her to the leadership echelon of the highly secretive Special Operations Executive (SOE), a covert intelligence agency formed by, and reporting to, Winston Churchill. She recruited and trained several hundred agents, including dozens of women, whose objectives were to penetrate deep behind enemy lines.
Fran Heckrotte: I wish the list included stories about strong women. I've been focused on Vera Atkins and the SOE of WWII this year and read some great books. If you ever get a hankering to read about some amazing very real women, check out Spymistress, the Life of Vera Atkins or Flames in the Fields.
Rainbow Awards judge

Strain by Amelia Gormley: In a world with little hope and no rules, the only thing they have to lose is themselves. Rhys Cooper is a dead man. Cut off from the world since childhood, he’s finally exposed to the lethal virus that wiped out most of the human race. Now his only hope for survival is infection by another strain that might provide immunity. But it’s sexually transmitted, and the degradation he feels at submitting to the entire squad of soldiers that rescued him eclipses any potential for pleasure—except with Darius, the squadron’s respected, capable leader. Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little humanity. He’s spent a decade putting plague victims out of their misery and escorting survivors to a safe haven he can never enjoy. He’d rather help Rhys live than put him down, so when Rhys can’t reconcile himself to doing what’s necessary to survive, Darius is forced to save Rhys in spite of himself. But with each passing day, it looks less and less likely that Rhys can be saved.
AJ Rose: Hard to choose just one, but mine would be Strain by Amelia Gormley. There are a lot of books I got into, enjoyed, and some I recommended, but this one sticks out because it was brave. Different. And it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire length of the book. It wasn't formulaic and it left me thinking long after I finished. I loved it.
I talk to imaginary people, speak of events that didn't happen. I tell lies. Also known as fiction, of the gay erotic variety.

The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye: Jake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it, he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it's prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man. Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves. Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: the girls are starting their own lives and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick.
Cardeno C.: Blinding Light by Renae Kaye is a heartwarming read with wonderful characters in a captivating and erotic romance. Highly recommend!
Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

The Boy with the Painful Tattoo by Josh Lanyon: It’s moving day at Chez Holmes. Somehow, against Kit’s better instincts, he and J.X. are setting up house together. But while J.X. is off at a mystery fiction convention, Kit unpacks a crate that should contain old china. It doesn’t. Within the mounds of Styrofoam popcorn is a dead body. A very dead body. There goes the neighborhood.
Amy Lane: Holmes & Moriarity series by Josh Lanyon, in particular, The Boy with the Painful Tattoo-- I like the way the romance is wound subtly throughout the story in these books, and the way Kit Holmes is not exactly hero material, but he always seems to come through.
Amy Lane dodges an EDJ, mothers four children, and writes the occasional book. She, her brood, and her beloved mate, Mack, live in a crumbling mortgage in Citrus Heights, California, which is riddled with spiders, cats, and more than its share of fancy and weirdness. Feel free to visit her at www.greenshill.com orwww.writerslane.blogspot.com, where she will ride the buzz of receiving your e-mail until her head swells and she can no longer leave the house.

The Butterfly King (The Lost and Founds Book 3) by Edmond Manning: Terrance Altham doesn’t know why he’s been arrested. He’s committed no crime and the cops aren’t talking. Sadly, the man sharing his holding cell talks too much. Known only as Ghost, he is a young grifter, apparently familiar enough with this police station to convince Terrance a break out is possible, and pushy enough to leave Terrance no choice but to follow Ghost into the underbelly of New York City. Terrified by the unjust imprisonment and the possibility of a life behind bars, Terrance searches for proof of his innocence while Ghost seeks the elusive Butterfly King. But neither man seems in control of the weekend’s direction and the consequences of mistakes are life-changing. As Ghost’s manipulations come to an explosive head, each man must decide amid danger and street violence what kind of man will triumph, lost or found?
Ulysses G. Dietz: I might go on about Harper Fox, my favorite author ever. But I need to put aside my traditional favorites and applaud my favorite new authors this year: F. E. Feeley, Jr. (Fred) and Edmond Manning. These two authors are new to the world of gay fiction, and have both created wonderful, captivating novels that are literate, compelling, different and emotionally powerful. I’ve discovered lots of great books this year (over 150 and still counting); but I have to salute new voices in our world.
Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave it to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator for thirty-two years, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia is his second novel. Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of 37 years and their two teenaged children. By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother is the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.

The City of Palaces by Michael Nava: In the years before the Mexican Revolution, Mexico is ruled by a tiny elite that apes European culture, grows rich from foreign investment, and prizes racial purity. The vast majority of Mexicans, who are native or of mixed native and Spanish blood, are politically powerless and slowly starving to death. Presiding over this corrupt system is Don Porfirio Díaz, the ruthless and inscrutable president of the Republic. Against this backdrop, The City of Palaces opens in a Mexico City jail with the meeting of Miguel Sarmiento and Alicia Gavilán. Miguel is a principled young doctor, only recently returned from Europe but wracked by guilt for a crime he committed as a medical student ten years earlier. Alicia is the spinster daughter of an aristocratic family. Disfigured by smallpox, she has devoted herself to working with the city’s destitute. This unlikely pair—he a scientist and atheist and she a committed Christian—will marry.
Christopher Bram: My favorite new novel this year is City of Palaces by Michael Nava. Set in Mexico City on the eve of the Mexican Revolution, it follows a heroic husband and wife, a doctor and aristocrat, with a gay son. This is the first volume of a tetralogy that promises to be a Mexican-American War and Peace. I am completely involved in the lives of these people and can't wait for the next volumes.
Bram grew up in Kempsville, Virginia. After graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1974 (B.A. in English), he moved to New York City four years later. There, he met his lifelong partner, documentary filmmaker Draper Shreeve. Bram's novel Father of Frankenstein, about film director James Whale, was made into the movie Gods and Monsters starring Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser. Bill Condon adapted the screenplay and directed. Condon won an Academy Award for his adaptation. In 2001, Bram was a Guggenheim Fellow. In 2003, he received the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. He currently resides in New York.

The Days of Anna Madrigal: A Novel (Tales of the City Book 9) by Armistead Maupin: The Days of Anna Madrigal, the suspenseful, comic, and touching ninth novel in Armistead Maupin’s bestselling “Tales of the City” series, follows one of modern literature’s most unforgettable and enduring characters—Anna Madrigal, the legendary transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane—as she embarks on a road trip that will take her deep into her past. Now ninety-two, and committed to the notion of “leaving like a lady,” Mrs. Madrigal has seemingly found peace with her “logical family” in San Francisco: her devoted young caretaker Jake Greenleaf; her former tenant Brian Hawkins and his daughter Shawna; and Michael Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton, who have known and loved Anna for nearly four decades. Some members of Anna’s family are bound for the otherworldly landscape of Burning Man, the art community in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert where 60,000 revelers gather to construct a city designed to last only one week.
Rick R. Reed: My favorite LGBT book of the year would be THE DAYS OF ANNA MADRIGAL, by Armistead Maupin. I have been a fan of the TALES OF THE CITY books since I began reading them back in the early 1980s. It just gets sweeter, more profound, funnier, and more poignant as it goes along.
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint." Rick lives in Seattle with his partner and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."

The Heracian Affair by Liv Olteano: Even years after Rizzo Berg’s lover and Dom died in combat, the memories torment him. Following a particularly disappointing date, Rizzo goes to sleep in his apartment only to wake up on a spaceship with tall, gorgeous, alien Captain Conrad D’Ollet of Heracia, a man so deliciously dominant Rizzo’s knees turn to jelly. Apparently the Heracians need help, and Rizzo is a humanitarian through and through. Spending more time around Conrad is totally not one of the reasons he wants to lend a hand. Soon Rizzo finds himself completely conquered and blissfully owned. But neither he nor Conrad is willing to risk his heart, let go of the past, and dare to believe in a future that won’t end in catastrophe.
Chris T. Kat: that's a hard choice to pick only one book. Since a lot of people will probably pick Charlie Cochet and Josh Lanyon's books, I'll have to go with a book written by Liv Olteano: "The Heracian Affair". It was published in 2013 but I only discoverd Liv's book this year. As for the reason why it's a favorite book: I loved the main character, Riz, because of his snarky attitude and humor. The world building in this story was complex and very interesting and the relationship between Riz and Conrad was adorable. There were lots of fun and also sexy moments.
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, together with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there's any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks, or crafts.

The Lee Shore by Rose Macaulay: During the first week of Peter Margerison's first term at school, Urquhart suddenly stepped, a radiant figure on the heroic scale, out of the kaleidoscopic maze of bemusing lights and colours that was Peter's vision of his new life. Peter, seeing Urquhart in authority on the football field, asked, "Who is it?" and was told, "Urquhart, of course," with the implication "Who else could it be?" "Oh," Peter said, and blushed. Then he was told, "Standing right in Urquhart's way like that! Urquhart doesn't want to be stared at by all the silly little kids in the lower-fourth." But Urquhart was, as a matter of fact, probably used to it. So that was Urquhart. Peter Margerison hugged secretly his two pieces of knowledge; so secret they were, and so enormous, that he swelled visibly with them; there seemed some danger that they might even burst him. That great man was Urquhart. Urquhart was that great man.
Drewey Wayne Gunn: The "2014" book that continues to linger longest in my mind, although republished this year in one of those series devoted to making available out-of-copyright works, first came out in 1912: Rose Macaulay's The Lee Shore. I discovered it while finishing up research for my Gay Novels of Britain, Ireland, and the Commonwealth, 1881-1981: A Reader's Guide. Richard Burton mentioned it in passing in one of his introductions for Gay Men's Press, but otherwise I have never seen it discussed in surveys of our literary heritage. It is an amazing book, set in London and various parts of Italy near the beginning of the last century, populated with vivid characters rich and poor. To put the novel into some perspective: it came out the year after Lawrence published The White Peacock and the year before Forster began Maurice, and it bears comparison to both. I think one reason I like it so much is that Peter Margerison, its hero, is such bumbling failure, somewhat like the hero of Forster's The Longest Journey, who yet manages, unlike Forster's Rickie, to be happy. He is in love with a straight friend, he has problems accepting that his brother is not only a fraud but using him for his own gain, he allows himself to be trapped into a marriage with a woman who too is using him, and he misses that two very presentable men are in love with him. Yet by refusing ever to become discouraged and by remaining faithful to his many good qualities, Peter ultimately finds contentment with his son, a stray dog, and an Italian vagabond, so that the ending is, surprisingly, upbeat. The novel really deserves to be better known than it is, the kind of work to be savored while sipping a fine vintage wine.
Drewey Wayne Gunn is professor emeritus at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where he taught for twenty-eight years. He has a quarterly column, GunnShots, for Lambda Literary online and has served for eight years as one of the judges for the Lambda Literary Award for best gay mystery. He is also a regular contributor to the e-journal Reviewing the Evidence.

The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles: A lord in danger. A magician in turmoil. A snowball in hell. A Charm of Magpies, Book 1. Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn’t expect it to turn up angry. Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude…and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual. Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn’t the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it—they’re both going to die.
Alex Beecroft: My pick for the year would be The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles. The marriage of historical and fantasy is completely my thing anyway, and it's handled with such flare. The characterization is deft, the prose is beautiful, the pace is breathtaking and it's just enormous fun.
Spaceships and galaxy spanning empires, conversations with angels, viking villages, haunted mansions and forbidden love in the Age of Sail... I love a good strong plot in an exotic setting, with characters you can admire, and a happy ending. If you make a venn diagram of genres, including historical, fantasy, gay romance and mystery, I occupy the space in the middle where they overlap.

The Mating of Michael by Eli Easton: Everyone admires Michael Lamont for being a nurse, but his part-time work as a gay sex surrogate not only raises eyebrows, it's cost him relationships. Michael is small, beautiful, and dedicated to working with people who need him. But what he really wants is a love of his own. He spends most of his time reading science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author and long-time crush, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise. James Gallway’s life is slowly but inexorably sliding downhill. He wrote a best-selling science fiction novel at the tender age of eighteen, while bedridden with complications of polio. But by twenty-eight, he's lost his inspiration and his will to live. His sales from his J.C. Guise books have been in decline for years. Wheelchair bound, James has isolated himself, convinced he is unlovable. When he is forced to do a book signing and meets Michael Lamont, he can’t believe a guy who looks like Michael could be interested in a man like him.
Lex Valentine: I have a hard time choosing what I think was the best book I read this year. It’s truly a toss up between Eli Easton’s The Mating of Michael and Mary Calmes’ All Kinds of Tied Down. The Mating of Michael was such a touching story and the character of Michael is one of those who sticks in your head for a long time to come.
Lex Valentine writes M/M across genres from contemporary to urban fantasy. A native of Northern California, Lex now lives in Southern California with her tattooed husband and a bunch of cats she collectively calls “babies.” She works for a 100+ year old cemetery, builds her own computers, and is honored to be the only LGBT author in RWA’s historic first anthology, Premiere.

The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South edited by Douglas Ray: In The Queer South, Douglas Ray has assembled over 60 queer-identified voices exploring their experiences of the American South in nonfiction and poetry. From hilarious to heartbreaking, anxious to angry, religious to reluctant, contemplative to celebratory, this anthology expands our ideas of what it means to be queer and what it means to represent the land south of the Mason-Dixon.
Kelly McQuain: My GLBTQ reading pick of the year is editor Douglas Ray’s The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South, published by Sibling Rivalry Press out of Arkansas. Full disclaimer: I have two poems in the collection. But don’t read it for me; the work overall is a fine mix of poetry and provocative essays from stellar authors (Dorothy Allison, Matthew Hittinger, D. Gilson, Jeff Mann, Valerie Wetlaufer, and more) who question what it is to be a southerner in the 21st century. It’s a must-read for anyone who was raised there or lives there, especially if he or she is still coming to terms with the joys and strictures of a southern past.
Kelly McQuain is a writer, artist and college professor living in Philadelphia. He grew up in West Virginia surrounded by the wooded mountains of Monongahela National Forest. His family back home still live on a dirt road bearing the McQuain name. He is the author of VELVET RODEO, which won the 2013 Bloom Chapbook Prize, judged by poet C. Dale Young. The collection includes poems published in several national journals, including “Scrape the Velvet from Your Antlers”, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the journal Kestrel.

The Summer We Got Free by Mia McKenzie: At one time a wild young girl and a brilliant artist, Ava Delaney changes dramatically after a violent event that rocks her entire family. Once loved and respected in their community and in their church, they are ostracized by their neighbors, led by their church leader, and a seventeen-year feud between the Delaneys and the church ensues. Ava and her family are displaced from the community even as they continue to live within it, trapped inside their creaky, shadowy old house. When a mysterious woman arrives unexpectedly for a visit, her presence stirs up the past and ghosts and other restless things begin to emerge. And something is reignited in Ava: the indifferent woman she has become begins to give way to the wild girl, and the passionate artist, she used to be. But not without a struggle that threatens her well-being and, ultimately, her life. Winner of the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction.
Sheree L. Greer: "The Summer We Got Free" by Mia McKenzie -- a novel about the secrets, shame, and guilt that stem from denying your true self. A slow start, but so worth it once the story finds its groove.
A Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native, Sheree L. Greer has been published in Hair Trigger, The Windy City Times, Reservoir, Fictionary, The Windy City Queer Anthology: Dispatches from the Third Coast, and Best Lesbian Romance 2012. She has performed her work across selected venues in Milwaukee, New York, Miami, Chicago, and Tampa, where she hosts Oral Fixation, the only LGBTQ Open Mic series in Tampa Bay. She earned her MFA at Columbia College Chicago and currently teaches writing and literature at St. Petersburg College. Sheree, an Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund grantee, completed a VONA residency at University of Miami and self-published a short story collection, Once and Future Lovers. While her obsessions constantly rotate and evolve, Sheree has an undying love for hot sauces, red wines, and crunchy tacos. She plays less-than-mediocre electric guitar but makes nearly-perfect guacamole.

The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know by Brent Hartinger: "I guess this was what they meant by a loss of innocence. Who knew?" Russel Middlebrook is twenty-three years old, gay, and living in trendy Seattle, but life isn't keeping up with the hype. Most of his friends have a direction in life—either ruthlessly pursuing their careers or passionately embracing their own aimlessness. But Russel is stuck in place. All he knows is that crappy jobs, horrible dates, and pointless hook-ups just aren't cutting it anymore. What's the secret? What does everyone else know that he doesn't? Enter Kevin, Russel's perfect high school boyfriend. Could rekindling an old flame be the thing Russel needs to get his life back on track? Or maybe the answer lies in a new friend, an eccentric screenwriter named Vernie Rose, who seems plenty wise. Or what the hell? Maybe Russel will find some answers by joining his best friend Gunnar's crazy search for the legendary Bigfoot!
Robin Reardon: My pick would be Brent Hartinger's The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know. Hartinger uses his light-hearted voice to sneak up on readers with lessons we all need to learn. Russel is a fun, contemporary version of the classic Everyman.
A number of people have asked me why I write novels about gay teens. It's a good question. If I told you I'd had an answer for them right away, that would be fiction. I had to think about it. And there is more than one reason. For one thing, I hate injustice. While there are other groups of people I could write about who are treated unjustly, the cognitive disconnect I see around the issue of homosexuality is both fascinating and infuriating to me. Logically, rationally, if you read any current events at all, you see that science is coming up with proof after proof that this orientation is a normal, naturally occurring phenomenon - not just in people, either, but in over 1,500 different animal species. So far! So the disconnect is coming from someplace outside of reason. Outside of reality. Which puts it into fascinating areas, irresistible to an author: psychology, social conditioning, religious extremism - juicy territory. Teens of any orientation are going through a precarious time of life.

Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt: The death of his wife four years earlier left Travis Bennett a shell of the man he used to be. With his dog by his side, Travis raises his three children, manages his business, and works as a ranch hand. But every day, every minute, is an aching emptiness. Wesley Ryan has fond memories of the small Ozark town of El Dorado Springs. Seeing it as a safe place to put his failed relationships behind him, Wesley moves into his grandparents’ old home and takes over the local veterinary clinic. An early morning visit from Travis and his dog stirs feelings that Wesley seeks to push away—the last thing he needs is to fall for a man with baggage and three kids as part of the package. Life, it seems, has other plans.
Diana Copland: I loved this book so much. Travis is a widowed father of three who has stopped caring about himself after the loss of his beloved wife, and lives now only for his kids. Wesley is a vet, come to town to take over another vets practice. The two could not be less alike. Travis is a ranch hand, down to earth and stoic. He recognized his attraction to men and acted on it in college, but once he married he never did it again and the fact he ever did is a closely guarded secret. Wesley is definitely 'out', and not ashamed of it. They seem like the least likely couple, ever. And yet, they work, and the story works, because of Witt's own great big, warm heart, and his inherent understanding of the nature of grief and what it takes to recover from it. Populated with a wonderful cast of secondary characters, 'Then the Stars Fall' is one of my favorite books, ever.
Diana Copland began writing in the seventh grade, when she shamelessly combined elements of Jane Eyre and Dark Shadows to produce an overwrought gothic tale that earned her an A- in creative writing, thanks entirely to the generosity of her teacher. She wrote for pure enjoyment for the next three decades before discovering LiveJournal and a wonderful group of supportive fanfiction writers, who after gifting her with a "Best New Author" Award encouraged her to try her hand at original gay fiction. Born and raised in southern California, Diana moved to the Pacific Northwest after losing a beloved spouse to AIDS in 1995. She lives in eastern Washington near her two wonderful adult children and her surprisingly supportive parents.

Think of England by KJ Charles: Lie back and think of England... England, 1904. Two years ago, Captain Archie Curtis lost his friends, fingers, and future to a terrible military accident. Alone, purposeless and angry, Curtis is determined to discover if he and his comrades were the victims of fate, or of sabotage. Curtis’s search takes him to an isolated, ultra-modern country house, where he meets and instantly clashes with fellow guest Daniel da Silva. Effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer, the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts. As events unfold, Curtis realizes that Daniel has his own secret intentions. And there’s something else they share—a mounting sexual tension that leaves Curtis reeling. As the house party’s elegant facade cracks to reveal treachery, blackmail and murder, Curtis finds himself needing clever, dark-eyed Daniel as he has never needed a man before…"
Kaje Harper: There were a lot of good books, but I'm going to make an impossible choice (skipping over ""Shaking the Sugar Tree"", ""Mark Cooper Versus America"", ""Enlightened"", ""Stories Beneath Our Skin"", ""Assimilation, Love and Other Human Oddities"", and many more) and go for ""Think of England"" by K.J. Charles. I loved both the main characters in this historical tale of spies and betrayal, manners and appearances. This author's forte is clearly in creating interesting and appealing men with a gift for snark and banter. Archie Curtis is bluff and almost slow, and has a very conventional viewpoint about how women and military men and public school colleagues should act. Da Silva is slippery and clever and mocking, and their attraction starts slowly. But gradually, as the two men find themselves more and more aware of each other's virtues, so does the reader. I ended up cheering for them, helped along by great lines, like:
Grayling looked uncomfortable. ""Holt's awfully good.""
Holt gave a modest shrug. ""I can hold my own.""
""I dare say you have to,"" murmured da Silva.
This book is more a combination of drawing-room drama and action-adventure than real mystery. The culprits are revealed early, but getting them to justice isn't a simple thing in that isolated big estate. The true joy of the book is in the unfolding of the main characters and their relationship. And I was delighted to hear that this is only the first book in a series for these two men.
"I live in Minnesota (where the two seasons are snow removal and road-repair, and the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it is so beautiful you can't breathe for gazing at it). I have been writing for longer than I care to admit, and currently am focused on writing m/m romance. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. This was the first thing I had submitted anywhere and I was thrilled when it was accepted. There are now three free short stories, and three more novels in the Life Lessons series. My free Smashwords book was the first thing that actually released - I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed.

This Is Not a Love Story (Love Story Universe) by Suki Fleet: When fifteen-year-old Romeo's mother leaves one day and doesn't return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him. Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough. This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy).
Gene Gant: I have two LGBT-themed books that were my favorites of 2014. I liked them both equally, but for different reasons. MC Lee's You Don't Know Jack featured a strong yet vulnerable character caught up in a plot of intrigue and adventure that kept me on the edge of my seat as I read. Suki Fleet's This Is Not a Love Story featured two very sympathetic characters who immediately captured my interest and held it until the very end.
Gene Gant grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. He lives in a quiet, rural community outside the city.

Tinseltown by William J. Mann: The Day of the Locust meets The Devil in the White City and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in this juicy, untold Hollywood story: an addictive true tale of ambition, scandal, intrigue, murder, and the creation of the modern film industry. By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America’s new favorite pastime, and one of the nation’s largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence. Yet Hollywood’s glittering ascendency was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies—including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now. In a fiendishly involving narrative, bestselling Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of the enigmatic Taylor and the diverse cast that surrounded him.
Owen Keehnen: Subtitled Murder, Morphine and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood, this book more than lives up to its title. Centering around the scandalous murder of director William Desmond Taylor in 1920 with a supporting cast of A list stars of the time, this expose of the silent era is a brilliant rendering of time and place. Gay literary maestro William Mann’s exacting narrative manages to capture an era when parties were wilder, film stars were gods, and money was as plentiful as bootleg booze. Part true crime, part Hollywood history, and part character study, Mann manages to not only tell a great story, but also to breathe life into it for a vibrancy and vividness that makes this an unforgettable read. Egos. Passion. Power. Decadence. Art. I never wanted this book to end. Brilliant by any standards and a must-have gem for fans of Hollywood and especially silent film aficionados. I loved every engrossing moment I spent reading it. Bravo!
Owen Keehnen is the author of the novels Young Digby Swank, The Sand Bar, Doorway Unto Darkness, as well as several ebook M/M romances. His non-fiction books include Leatherman: The Legend of Chuck Renslow, Jim Flint: The Boy From Peoria, Vernita Gray: From Woodstock to the White House, and We're Here, We're Queer. His fiction and non-fiction pieces have appeared in dozens of periodicals and anthologies worldwide. He lives in Chicago with his partner Carl and two spoiled dogs.

We're Working On It by Richard Norway: Cory Anderson is 15 years old and living on the streets. His father has rejected him and turned him out because he is gay. Richard Mathews is 50 years old, and his life is a mess. His business has grown and is now self-perpetuating and did not need him any longer. Richard hasn’t made a decision about his life for years. Cory and Richard’s lives were in ruins, but something amazing happened. They met.
Richard Summerbell: Shortly after my own book was posted on Amazon, I looked at the site and saw that there were icons there for other books that people who'd looked at my page had looked at, plus books that other buyers of my book had bought. One book that always appeared on these lists in Canada and the U.S. was 'We're Working On It,' by Richard Norway, published by the author and copyrighted 2012. There was some similarity of theme with my book: Norway's book features gay teens as central characters just as mine does. Whereas mine rockets the teens off into unimaginably bizarre science-fiction, though, his is resoundingly true to earthly, American life - though it does have its elements of wish-fulfillment. It features an aging, single gay guy, Richard Mathews, father of a grown and long-departed daughter, who unexpectedly stumbles upon a 15-year-old gay 'throwaway,' a boy who has been violently packed out of the house by his late mother's alcoholic former boyfriend. The book then looks into Richard's chaste and discreet efforts to re-find purpose in his life by rescuing Cory, the boy, legally giving him shelter, and guiding him through the crises of gay youth. I'm sure there is a good market for the dreams of older gay guys who'd like to reconnect with gay youth in a civilized way. Many, perhaps, would love to help one or more of today's semi-liberated, semi-alienated boys deal with the savage modern world, while sublimating any sexual attraction they may still feel for members of that distant age-group. Norway plays on these dreams simply but with orchestral credibility. His story rings true until the end, and the writing is deftly paced. There seems to be a whole genre of books along these lines: uplifting gay teen novels featuring real-life problems and uncomplicated, storytelling text - the gay teen equivalent of the Zane Grey western. I'm glad I started my exploration with Norway's novel - I like his style, his characters, and his discernment. Recommended for those who aren't afraid to have someone playing ever-so-modern Sam Smith love-songs on their gay heartstrings.
Richard C. Summerbell (born 29 June 1956) is a Canadian mycologist, author and award-winning songwriter. He was editor in chief of an international scientific journal in mycology from 2000 to 2004. In the 1970s and 80s, he was a gay activist and an early commentator on (then) controversial topics such as AIDS and promiscuity and attitudes to homosexuality in organized religion. Born in Brooks, Alberta, Summerbell trained as a botanist, receiving his master's degree from the University of British Columbia and his doctorate degree from the University of Toronto. He has lived with his partner, Ross Fraser, since 1978 and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

You Don't Know Jack by MC Lee: Jack has never known an ordinary life. “The Center,” a shadowy organization with its own hidden agenda, has been his home, his school, and his job. Under the command of a man he knows only as his guardian, Jack has trained relentlessly in order to carry out the Center’s secret missions. In the three years since he turned thirteen, he’s been given more and more complex assignments, rarely questioning the reasons behind each operation. Now, going by the name Jack Carlisle, his orders are to go to Maine and befriend high school track star Leo McCormack. Jack finds Leo easy to like, and soon the like becomes something more. He knows he shouldn’t act on his attraction—it’s against all the rules. However, Leo wants Jack in his life as much as Jack wants Leo, and soon the two begin a relationship. Jack gets a sweet taste of real life, but when the mission ends the fallout could be disastrous--and not just because Leo’s father is the target of the operation.
Gene Gant: I have two LGBT-themed books that were my favorites of 2014. I liked them both equally, but for different reasons. MC Lee's You Don't Know Jack featured a strong yet vulnerable character caught up in a plot of intrigue and adventure that kept me on the edge of my seat as I read. Suki Fleet's This Is Not a Love Story featured two very sympathetic characters who immediately captured my interest and held it until the very end.
Gene Gant grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. He lives in a quiet, rural community outside the city.
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
Here we are back in December with my very personal challenge for 2014. I though to post the 2013 Gay Romance Challenge before the holiday, so that if you want to use it for your Christmas shopping, you are in time in doing so! BIG CONGRATS to Kindle Alexander for having 3 books in the first 10 positions!

This is the third year I'm doing the Challenge, and on the contrary of 2011 (when I complete all my challenge: http://www.elisarolle.com/ramblings/gay_romance_2011.html), for the 2012 books I still have 20 of them to read (www.elisarolle.com/ramblings/gay_romance_2012.html) BUT I will read them, trust me, I'm like a diesel, starting low but then gaining speed :-). This list (2013) and the previous (2011 and 2012) are an yearly average of the monthly bestsellers list in Gay Fiction as per this Amazon link: Bestsellers in Gay Fiction. At today I read only 18 out of 100 books, so this year challenge is REALLY challenging.

These are the 2013 results, and to determine the 100 books I simply considered all books that appeared at least once in the monthly Bestsellers list and gave them a rate equal to their position; if a book appeared more than once they received a bonus point for each time they made the list and their position is the average position plus the bonus. So this is the final list (in bold the books I read with link to the review):

1) Texas Pride by Kindle Alexander
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BVQD4ZA/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3818565.html
2) The Nine-Inch Cure for the Blues by Keegan Kenned
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B385ZP8/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3795261.html
3) His Roommate's Pleasure by Lana McGregor
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CC68G7Y/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3871495.html
4) Wide Awake by Kade Boehme
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B5P2476/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3523837.html
5) The Current Between Us by Kindle Alexander
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DG9L4B6/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3905471.html
6) Double Full (A Nice Guys Series) by Kindle Alexander
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FPRACEC/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3963245.html
7) Way Off Plan by Alexa Land
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AQP65GW/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3829519.html
8) Collide (Blackcreek Series) by Riley Hart
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GK9L2XO/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3977019.html
9) Blind Faith (Blind Faith 1) by N.R. Walker
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B9I13DA/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3862398.html
10) Shock & Awe (Sidewinder) by Abigail Roux
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1626490562/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:




Read more... )
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
December is the right month for doing lists ;-) and so I though to post the 2012 Gay Romance Challenge result a little earlier, so that if you want to use it for your Christmas shopping, you are in time in doing so! BIG CONGRATS to Damon Suede and Jay Bell sharing for the second year in a row first and second position with Hot Head and Something Like Summer!!!

This is the second year I'm doing the Challenge, and I can proudly said that I have read ALL books in 2011 List (the first 100 Best Selling Gay Romances of 2011, you can find the list here: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1483615.html). This list and the previous one is an yearly average of the monthly bestsellers list in Gay Romance as per this Amazon link: Bestsellers in Gay Romance. At today but I read 45 out of 100 books, not bad, but less than last year :-( Real life took his toll this year.

These are the 2012 results, and to determine the 100 books I simply considered all books that appeared at least once in the monthly Bestsellers list and gave them a rate equal to their position; of course if a book appeared more than once they received a bonus point for each time they made the list and their position is the average position plus the bonus. So this is the final list (in bold the books I read with link to the review):

1) Hot Head by Damon Suede
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00564ACK8/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1327655.html
2) Something Like Summer by Jay Bell
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004I6DKPY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1233202.html
3) Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00741MBZU/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1539387.html
4) A Marked Man (Assassin/Shifter) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006WBJDLI/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:



5) Alaska, with Love (Assassin/Shifter) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00739XOCM/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
6) Latakia by JF Smith
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006I2RN9U/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1560467.html
7) Ty Hard (Willow Springs Ranch) by Laura Harner
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GRDWC0/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
8) Shane and Trey (Enemies to Lovers) by Anyta Sunday
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0070FDJPG/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
9) Trinity Bound (Redwood Pack) by Carrie Ann Ryan
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007PH8GU2/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
10) Redemption by Olivia Duncan Craig
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007QERCAO/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1615184.html



books from 11 to 100 )

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Last January I started my Gay Romance Challenge. It was an almost impossible task, and indeed I didn't manage to read all the books that appeared in the last twelve months in the Bestsellers List for Gay Romance on Amazon (here is the link to the list: Bestsellers in Gay Romance) but I read many of them. 67 out of 100 books! not bad, isn't it?

This is the 2011 result, and to determine the 100 books I simply considered all books that appeared at least once in the Bestsellers list and gave them a rate equal to their position; of course if a book appeared more than once they received a bonus point for each time they made the list and their position is the average position plus the bonus. So this is the final list (in bold the books I read with link to the review):

1) Something Like Summer by Jay Bell
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004I6DKPY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1233202.html
2) Hot Head by Damon Suede
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00564ACK8/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1327655.html
3) The Locker Room by Amy Lane
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004XNNEKS/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1285667.html
4) Where He Ends and I Begin (Home Series) by Cardeno C.
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0054RACL6/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1379306.html
5) Breaking Cover (Life Lessons) by Kaje Harper
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/160820409X/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1439020.html

6) What's Done in The Dark (Volume II) by Solae Dehvine
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004VS728U/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
7) Without Reservations: With or Without, Book 1 by J. L. Langley
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000WCWVSA/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: Read Before LJ
8) Duck! by Kim Dare
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0040GJDGC/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1202226.html
9) Shying Away by Kate Sherwood
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004W4ME7W/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1289553.html

10) Mark's Not Gay [Brac Pack 11] by Lynn Hagen
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0053HEMZY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:

books from 11 to 100 )

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