Dec. 27th, 2013

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What most surprised me of this historical romance was the “unromantic” perception of the main characters, and bear in mind I’m saying it in a positive way and I will explain why: this is a western romance set in 1864 in the then wild territory of Montana; while one of the men had the chance to live in the city, the other grew up in a sheep ranch where he still is and probably will ever be, and has never once left his home. Red knows he is an inverted, he has always known, but to him, that means he loves sex with men; at the time it was already difficult for a man to understand what love means towards a woman, most of the time marriage was a convenience and completed with the first available woman, loves towards a man is not a possible concept. On the other side Henry was raised by missionary parents, he knows he doesn’t want to marry a woman, but again, the concept of a family with another man is not something he is considering. So no, there aren’t romantic feelings between Red and Henry, and till the end, love is something that maybe is becoming tangible between them, in their own way to approach it, but it’s not what drives them together. Sex, passion, that is the protruding force, and what they both understand, being experienced like Red or naïve like Henry. I found this approach believable and very much in line with the time.

And now, the second “unromantic” element: Red and Henry are not exclusive. Actually Henry is, more or less, but basically cause he hasn’t the same sexual drive as Red, while on the other side, Red is willing to renounce to have sex with other men, but only if Henry is able to fulfill his needs, and Henry isn’t. Again, not a romantic concept, but probably a very true approach to the matter.

Is it believable that not only two men like Red and Henry meet and fall in love, but also that they are living in a place where Red is able to go and find willing recreational partners? I think so, cause, it’s pretty much similar to what happened in real life with George Merrill and Edward Carpenter: this is one of my favorite real life romances, Carpenter, English socialist poet, philosopher, anthologist, and early gay activist met and fall in love for Merrill, a working class man. It was England, not Montana, but again it was the meeting of two very different souls, who mated for life, 37 years, and the two died little more than one year apart from each other. That was love, not question, but historic records attest Merrill and Carpenter weren’t sexually exclusive; nevertheless, no one is possibly questioning their love for each other.

Publisher: Manifold Press (September 27, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Montana Red

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Announcing the 2013 Preditors & Editors Annual Readers Poll!

I just wanted to let you know this year's poll is underway! It's at

as usual.

Vote for your favorite book, short story, author, artwork, artist, forum, workshop...-- there are three dozen categories honoring all genres and all aspects of writing and publishing.

As in past years, every voter is registered in a drawing for gifts from our sponsors. Sponsor ReAnimus Press is also conducting a drawing for a free kindle that may interest you (the link is on the voting pages).

So please come share with us what great works you've read this year, what authors, publishers, editors, artists and the like you feel are worth recognition!

With best wishes for the holidays,

--Andrew Burt, P&E Readers Poll Votemaster

Last year I was under Review Sites and always did well :-)
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Aidan Chambers (born 27 December 1934) is a British author of children's and young-adult novels. He won both the British Carnegie Medal and the American Printz Award for Postcards from No Man's Land (1999). For his "lasting contribution to children's literature" he won the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2002.

Born near Chester-le-Street, County Durham in 1934, Chambers was an only child, and a poor scholar; considered "slow" by his teachers, he did not learn to read fluently until the age of nine. After two years in the Royal Navy as part of his National Service, Chambers trained as a teacher and taught for three years at Westcliff High School in Southend on Sea before joining an Anglican monastery in Stroud, Gloucestershire in 1960. His young-adult novel Now I Know (1987) is based partly on his experiences as a monk.

His first plays, including Johnny Salter (1966), The Car and The Chicken Run (1968), were published while he was a teacher at Archway School in Stroud.

Chambers left the monastery in 1967 and a year later became a freelance writer. His works include the "Dance sequence" of six novels (1978 to 2005): Breaktime, Dance on My Grave, Now I Know, The Toll Bridge, Postcards from No Man's Land and This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn. He and his wife, Nancy, founded Thimble Press and the magazine Signal to promote literature for children and young adults. They were awarded the Eleanor Farjeon Award for outstanding services to children's books in 1982. From 2003 to 2006 he was President of the School Library Association.

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Hervé Guibert (14 December 1955 - 27 December 1991) was a French writer and photographer. The author of numerous novels and autobiographical studies, he played a considerable role in changing French public attitudes to AIDS. He was a close friend of Michel Foucault.

Guibert was born in Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, to a middle-class family and spent his early years in Paris, moving to La Rochelle from 1970 to 1973. After working as a filmmaker and actor, he turned to photography and journalism. In 1978, he successfully applied for a job at France's prestigious evening paper Le Monde and published his second book, Les aventures singulières (published by Éditions de minuit). In 1984, Guibert shared a César Award for best screenplay with Patrice Chéreau for L'homme blessé. Guibert had met Chéreau in the 1970s during his theatrical years.

Guibert's writing style was inspired by the French writer Jean Genet. Three of his lovers occupied an important place in his life and work: Thierry Jouno, director of an institute for the blind whom he met in 1976, and which led to his novel Des aveugles; Michel Foucault, whom he met in 1977; and Vincent M., a teenager of fifteen who inspired his novel Fou de Vincent. (Picture: Michel Foucault)

In January 1988 Guibert was diagnosed with AIDS. From then on, he worked at recording what was left of his life. In June the following year, he married Christine, who was also HIV+, the partner of Thierry Jouno, so that his royalty income would eventually pass to her and her two children. In 1990, Guibert publicly revealed his HIV status in his roman à clef À l'ami qui ne m'a pas sauvé la vie (published in English as To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life). Guibert immediately found himself the focus of media attention, featured in newspapers and appearing on several television talk shows.

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Joseph Mantello (born 27 December 1962) is an American actor and director best known for his work on Broadway productions of Wicked, Take Me Out and Assassins, as well as earlier in his career being one of the original Broadway cast of Angels in America. Mantello directed The Ritz, his sixth production with playwright Terrence McNally, in 2007.

Mantello was born in Rockford, Illinois and studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts; he started the Edge Theater in New York City with actress Mary-Louise Parker and writer Peter Hedges. He is a member of the Naked Angels theater company and an associate artist at the Roundabout Theatre Company.

Mantello began his theatrical career as an actor in Keith Curran's Walking the Dead and Paula Vogel's The Baltimore Waltz. On the transition from acting to directing, Mantello said, "I think I've become a better actor since I started directing, although some people might disagree. Since I've been removed from the process I see things that actors fall into. Now there's a part of me that's removed from the process and can stand back."

Mantello directs a variety of theatre works, as the New York Times noted: "Very few American directors -- Jack O'Brien (director) and Mike Nichols come to mind -- successfully jump genres and styles the way Mr. Mantello does, moving from a two-hander like Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune to the huge canvas of a mainstream musical comedy like Wicked, from downtown stand-up (The Santaland Diaries) to contemporary opera (Dead Man Walking) to political performance art (The Vagina Monologues)."

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Joseph F. Beam (December 30, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – December 27, 1988 in Philadelphia) was an African-American gay rights activist and author who worked to foster greater acceptance of gay life in the black community by relating the gay experience with the struggle for civil rights in the United States.

His father Sun Beam worked as a bank security guard in Philadelphia. His mother, Dorothy, became a wage earner while still an adolescent, and attended evening classes to obtain her high school diploma. She later earned a college degree in elementary education and a master's degree from Temple University. She worked for more than twenty years as a teacher and guidance counselor in the Philadelphia school system.

Baptised a Catholic, the young Beam studied mainly in parochial schools, including the Malvern Preparatory School, St. Thomas More High School and Franklin College, a small liberal arts college founded by American Baptists in Franklin, Indiana (20 miles south of Indianapolis). An only child, his boyhood was difficult and solitary; he was often the only non-white pupil in his classes. Later, at Franklin College, he was influenced by the civil rights and the Black Power movements, and played an active role in the local Black Student Union. Also, as a member of the Franklin Independent Men, he helped organize several conferences on campus and was active in college journalism and radio programming. After graduation in 1976, Beam remained in the Midwest, enrolling first in a Master's Degree program in communications and then working as a waiter in Ames, Iowa. He returned to Philadelphia in 1979.

Giovanni's Room in the Center City District in Philadelphia was one of the main bookstores and contact points for lesbians and gays in the 1970s and 1980s. Beam, himself gay, became well acquainted with local and national gay figures and institutions while employed there in the early 1980s. His articles and short stories began appearing around the same time in numerous gay newspapers and magazines, including Au Courant, Blackheart, Changing Men, Gay Community News, Philadelphia Gay News, The Advocate, New York Native, Body Politic and the Windy City Times. The Lesbian and Gay Press Association awarded him a certificate for outstanding achievement by a minority journalist in 1984. The following year, he was hired as a consultant by the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the American Friends Service Committee. He joined the Executive Committee of the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays in 1985, and became the editor of their new journal Black/Out.

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The most frightening thing of this near future story is that, what the author tells us is not something so impossible that it couldn’t happen.

Nikolai Sidorov, Nick, was born in Australia but from Russian parents, and when he was 20 years old he was expelled by his home country for a stupid misdemeanor. At the time the country was starting to fear there wasn’t enough food reserve for the “real” Australian, and Nick wasn’t considered as one. No matter that Nick didn’t know anything else than Australia, didn’t speak Russian or that he was studying to become an architect, that he had friends, and family, there, he wasn’t a citizen.

Now he is back for the funeral of one of his best friends from the past, but not only the country has changed, also his remaining friends have, above all Daniel, the boy he had a crush at the time.

This wasn’t a comforting story, it was unsetting, a little frightening, and in the end, bittersweet; it doesn’t give you answers, on the contrary, it opens questions, some of them you are even scared to have an answer to. Good tension and short sketched but deep and interesting characters, I think it would be good to see them fully developed into a novel.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (March 12, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Coming Home (Under the Southern Cross)

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