2013 Rainbow Awards – Celebrating Quality LGBT Fiction / Non-Fiction

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For the second year I have signed on to be a Juror to review submitted novels considered for the 2013 Rainbow Awards hosted each year by Elisa Rolle. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience last year, reading a bevy of fine novels written by both new and seasoned writers. So, when the opportunity came around again this year, I couldn’t pass up the chance – and I must say, judging by the first three novels I’ve read so far, the field is stronger than ever!

Being a Juror for the Rainbow Awards has also introduced me to writers and genres I may not have otherwise chosen on my own, such as “Ink” by Isabelle Rowan, a novel which I wrote a review last year saying “Isabelle Rowan” has created a very gratifying m/m love story and thriller…a novel  between opposite men, unlikely lovers – men destined to meet in this lifetime (and perhaps the next.). I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, not to mention the incredible cover. Another pleasant surprise was newcomer, Rob Kaufman’s “One Last Lie“, of which I wrote “…Kaufman has created a “must-read” novel for anyone searching for a kick-ass psychological thriller with a strong romantic theme…”

Other novels I read were “Where Nerves End” by L. A. Witt, “Handle With Care” by Josephine Myles, “Servitude” by Rebecca Cohen and “Spice And Smoke” by Suleikha Snyder.

If you are an author with a new novel and want to submit your entry(ies) for the 2013 Rainbow Awards, the deadline is fast approaching;

Deadline to submit: September 5, 2013.

A shortlist of up to five finalist for each category will be announced no later than Oct 15, 2013

Winners will be announced on December 8, 2013

The 2013 Elisa Rolle Rainbow Awards are an annual contest celebrating outstanding work in LGBT fiction and nonfiction. Hosted and owned by blogger Elisa Rolle, the contest is open to all authors of work containing LGBT fictional characters and work chronicling the true stories of LGBT persons.  For this the contest’s fifth year, some new rules have been instigated, and a new partner has emerged to assist Elisa. The Rainbow Romance Writers, a chapter of the Romance Writers of America, will partner with Elisa in the management and coordination of this contest. Despite RRW’s status as a chapter for romance writers, their participation in no way changes the Rainbow Awards and do not make them exclusively a romance contest. One need not be a member of RRW or RWA to participate in this contest.

Form more information and to find complete submission guidelines, please visit the following websites:

http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3455751.html

http://www.elisarolle.com/rainbowawards/rainbow_awards_2013.html

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What Writing GLBTQ Literature Means To Me: Rainbow Blog Hop

What writing GLBTQ literature means to me.

When I heard of the opportunity to participate in the highly anticipated RAINBOW BLOG HOP, hosted by Rainbow Book Reviews August 24-26, 2012, in honor of launching the Rainbow Book Reviews website (http://www.rainbowbookreviews.com/index.php), I jumped at the chance to participate with fellow writers. Below is information posted via the website in the “about us” section for those unfamiliar with the new GLBTQ book review site:

“Rainbow Book Reviews is a site dedicated to GLBTQ-related books, reviews, and authors who write about topics of interest to us and our friends.

We have a wide range of activities for you to check and participate in, if you wish. Feedback is always welcome. We publish new releases on a daily basis, have a team of reviewers who try to help you understand what to expect from a book, we publish monthly author interviews, and have author pages with in-depth information. You can also find out about the many great publishers who publish GLBTQ-related books.

We want to make sure the site offers what YOU (the reader!) want to see, so please contact us with any ideas or feedback at info@rainbowbookreviews.com. For individual staff members, please see the overview below.”

As a participant in the RBH, I was given the task to describe what writing GLBTQ literature means to me. Right off the bat (does this date me?) I am asked to reveal my thoughts about referencing very complicated questions. I will be as totally honest and forthwith in order that you – the reader – may glean some sense of what makes me tick; why I write at all.

I have been writing stories most of my life, beginning around age seven or eight, I’m not really sure. What I do know, however, is the person who first influenced my writing and encouraged me to further explore my “active imagination”, my beloved grandmother, who I affectionately named “Mana” when very young. It was my attempt at mimicking my mother who called her mother, Momma. When she readied for bed each night, I would sit on the side of her bed reciting the stories I had dreamed up – she never once questioned the reasons or motivation driving my need to create make-believe, fictitious imagery of people or animals of whom became characters of my words. I’d jot a few pages longhand on paper while at school during lunch or recess to read to Mana during our nightly ritual. Those times spent with my grandmother are my most treasured memories even today after having lost my best friend three years ago at the young age of seventy-nine years old.

So, getting back to what writing gay literature means to me: at first glance, it’s an opportunity to share ideas, historical or current happenings of circumstance. My earlier pre-teen stories covered popular genres of the day based largely upon what I was reading at the time (I was a voracious reader in elementary school – even winning the coveted “top reader” award each year at the local library during summer break) or had watched on television, which influenced my imagination. I remember the one book and movie that was the catalyst pushing me to start writing my first story: To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, originally published in 1960 (my birth year) and adapted to screen in 1962 (starring Mary Badham and the legendary Gregory Peck), the novel won the Pulitzer Prize and the movie earned Gregory Peck an Oscar for his supreme performance. I didn’t see the movie until I was older (my mother had worried the film was too “heavy” for a young, impressionable boy) and read the book as an assignment for school. I knew then I wanted to write stories. In fact, my first quasi-serious attempt putting pencil to paper was a hysterical fantasy titled “The Ship”, about a pirate ghost ship off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. I even named the main character of the story Atticus, the same as Gregory Peck’s character.

At second glance during my formative years, many stories flowed from my pencil, encouraged both by my grandmother and teachers in school. Born and raised in the south of Georgia, USA, my family could not afford to purchase books for me (I come from a blue-collar family that worked in the cotton mills on the Chattahoochee river) so I lived in the school library checking out as many books as allowed. I read everything from fiction to non-fiction, biographies, and history. I couldn’t get enough. I wrote fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and thriller stories during those years and always wrote for the love of telling a story, which I shared with my family and some teachers. My favorite memories of grade school were each spring when English or History class teachers would read books to us the final week of school. One mesmerizing novel I recall was titled “Island Of The Blue Dolphins”, by Scott, O’Dell, about a young Nicolero Indian girl stranded on an island off the coast of California for eighteen years. The story remains with me even today; the power of the written word is unmatched.

I didn’t realize I was “gay” until later in my teens (this was the late ‘70s), so writing gay stories wasn’t yet a priority. Majoring in English when I went off to college was a no-brainer, even minoring in Broadcasting (go figure!). While seeking my undergraduate degree, I wrote fictional stories for the campus newspaper, often turning them into serials that had attracted a decent readership. I finally came out during my second year in college, and my writing began to steer toward gay characters in the main roles, considered risky in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s here in the south. The first homoerotic novel I ever read is “Good Times/Bad Times” by James Kirkwood. The novel detailed the close relationship between two young men in boarding school and affected me deeply, and I began seeking out other gay-themed novels since finally realizing they even existed, perusing the bookstore’s shelves for hours on end, simply too embarrassed to ask the store clerks for assistance.

I came across the cover of a paperback novel featuring a cute young man sitting on the bench in what appeared to be a high school locker-room. The book was none other than the groundbreaking classic, “The Front Runner”, by Patricia Nell Warren. That novel became the catalyst for my writing gay-themed stories. Going forward, I devoured every novel I came across written by Ms. Warren, even moving on to other gay-centric novels. So important to me during those early years of adolescents, my emerging sexuality, was in reading fictional stories that resembled people like me, what I was all about, or could become. I relied on these stories for self-discovery, unable to speak to my parents or other family members about my being gay.

Fast forward thirty years and third glance; I have been writing stories for several years that have always featured a gay protagonist, concentrating mainly in the mystery/suspense, thriller genres, many with romantic tendencies. But, it wasn’t until as recently as 2008 that I began to submit my stories for publication. Though frightened and unsure, I wanted to share my writing with others besides my family and friends. I am a gay author and I write stories of mystery/suspense and romance novels where the main characters are gay. I don’t feel this fact defines or limit my characters, but more often provides excellent opportunities for exciting plots. Many diverse writers have influenced my written style, such as David Baldacci, John Grisham, and Michael Crichton, along with the groundbreaking gay novelists Patricia Nell Warren, Michael Nava, and Felice Picano. Some of my current favorites and influencers are gay mystery writers Greg Herren, David Lennon, and John Morgan Wilson – and many more.

Finally, writing GLBTQ literature means being true to the gay culture, to create realistic, (in my case, fictional) characters that represent the gay community correctly. Knowing some readers just coming to terms with their sexuality might be reading my stories, I research meticulously to ensure accuracy and strive to present positive role models within my writing even as my characters face bigotry and intolerance, dating, falling in love…and usually, murder! My characters must grow through challenges and experience, be representative of the gay community, whether negative or positive and not all my stories end with a HEA.

I will continue to write as long as I enjoy creating stories, and I am happy to be able to share my writing with others. Recently, I released an erotic thriller, False Evidence: Murder Most Deadly 1 – the first novella of a two-part murder-mystery. I am currently writing a gay, murder-mystery, police-procedural, featuring closeted Atlanta Homicide Detective, Kendall Parker, which I hope to get published sometime in 2013. I am also a Juror for the 2012 GLBT Rainbow Awards sponsored by Elisa Rolle, (http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/tag/rainbow%20awards%202012), which I am greatly enjoying.

Links to my titles:

Amazon Purchase Link:

LYD :

PRIZES, PRIZES, PRIZES!

Click on the link below to read more about prizes and give-aways for the Rainbow Book Reviews Blog Hop:

http://rainbowbookreviews.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/the-rainbow-book-reviews-blog-hop-is-here/

In celebration, of the Rainbow Blog Hop, I am giving away two (2) copies of my latest novella, False Evidence. Just respond with your name to be entered into a random drawing set for Saturday, Sept 1, 2012.

I would love to hear your thoughts and what reading/writing GLBTQ literature means to you!

 

What I’m currently reading for 2012 GLBT Rainbow Awards

This is the second novel I’m reading as juror for the 2012 GLBT Rainbow Awards

http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/tag/rainbow%20awards%202012

One Last Lie

One Last Lie

Blurb:
Philip and Jonathan have had the perfect life together for ten years – fulfilling every dream except that of having a child. Along comes Angela, Philip’s college friend who apparently conquered her old demons of obesity and manic-depression.

After reacquainting and becoming good friends, the three decide to have a child together through artificial insemination of Jonathan’s sperm.

From that point, Philip and Jonathan’s idyllic life begins to unravel. Angela’s mask of deceit gradually slips as her pregnancy awakens psychological and physical problems, leaving Philip and Jonathan regretting ever allowing her into their lives.

Told from an elderly Jonathan’s hospital bed, Angela’s tangled web unwinds into heartbreak, deception, legal battles, and finally murder – with a surprise ending no one could have ever imagined

I Am a Juror for the 2012 GLBT Rainbow Awards!!

I’m a 2012 GLBT Rainbow Awards juror!!!

I’m so excited!

http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/tag/rainbow%20awards%202012

Eligibility for 2012 GLBT Rainbow Awards:

The book must be published between September 2011 and August 2012 (both months included).
– Self-published books are eligible (print on demand publishers, like Lulu.com and Smashwords, are included in the “self-published” umbrella).

Ebook editions of previously published print books are not eligible. First time print book editions of previously published ebooks are eligible. A book that has been republished by a different publisher after its initial publication is not eligible. A book that was previously self-published by the author, and then republished by a publisher after its initial publication is eligible.