In praise of the never straight: Cheryl Clarke

In praise of the Cheryl Clarke! Her landmark poetry and activism inspired generations.

the wrong bathroom

“I name myself “lesbian” because this culture oppresses, silences, and destroys lesbians, even lesbians who don’t call themselves “lesbians.” I name myself “lesbian” because I want to be visible to other black lesbians. I name myself “lesbian” because I do not subscribe to predatory/institutionalized heterosexuality. I name myself lesbian because I want to be with women (and they don’t all have to call themselves “lesbians”). I name myself “lesbian” because it is part of my vision. I name myself lesbian because being woman-identified has kept me sane. I call myself “Black,” too, because Black is my perspective, my aesthetic, my politics, my vision, my sanity.”

(“New Notes on Lesbianism” (1983)  in The Days of Good Looks: The Prose and Poetry of Cheryl Clarke, 1980 to 2005)

Cheryl-Smiling.jpg.scaled500

“I am calling upon bulldaggers, dykes, faggots, feminist femmes, fierce sissies, and other outrageous progressive queers to have a major multicultural sexual liberation…

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Find of the day: Baby werewolf fiction

editor’s note: Like a pearl diver swimming in a quagmire, I cannon-balled into the miasma of internet fiction. But what a gem I found for you! They say Love is all it takes to make a family.  But in this short story, sound-proofing, creative babysitters, a rolodex of activist dykes, and a varied supply of baby werewolf chew toys give Love a helping, and sometimes hilarious, hand. 

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illustration by MARCOS CHIN

 

“How could you not be a basket case?” I stared out the window. “You’re in mourning and there’s a rabid frigging monster in your basement.”

A faint “Aroo” trickled from the speaker.

“So? You think you’re such a catch?”

The Cage by A.M. DELLAMONICA

complete story at http://www.tor.com/stories/2010/07/the-cage

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Books nominated for the “Goldie” awards

Golden Crown Literary Society is an association and annual conference for lesbian writers and readers. They also sponsor literary awards known as the “Goldies” for the best of lesbian publishing in a given year.

The conference came to Portland, Oregon this year. (I am blogging this from the first night ice cream social of said conference.)

Below is a list of “Goldie” finalists. I will add links to excerpts from the novels and update with notable encounters, observations, quotes etc from the conference.

Ann Bannon Popular Choice

TITLE AUTHOR PUBLISHER
 All That Lies Within  Lynn Ames  Phoenix Rising Press
 Broken Trails  D Jordan Redhawk  Bella Books
 Does She Love You?  Rachel Spangler  Bold Strokes Books
 Etched in Shadows  KG MacGregor  Bella Books
 Every Second Counts  D. Jackson Leigh  Bold Strokes Books
 Give Me A Reason  Lyn Gardner  Self Published
 High Desert  Katherine V. Forrest  Spinsters Ink
 Letters Never Sent  Sandra Moran  Bedazzled Ink
 The Tropic of Hunter  Cheyne Curry  Blue Feather Books

Anthology/Collection (Fiction)

TITLE AUTHOR PUBLISHER
Amor and More: Love Ever After Radclyffeand Stacia Seaman (eds) Bold Strokes Books
Best Lesbian Romance Radclyffe (ed) Cleis Press
Beyond the Trail Jae Ylva Publishing
Dykin’ 2: Short Stories Neledi Tafari Lion-Hearted Press
Odyssey of the Butterfly Fran Heckrotte Novel Ideas Publishing, LLC
Survival Skills Jean Ryan Ashland Creek Press
Three Ann McMan Bedazzled Ink
When the Clock Strikes Thirteen Lois Cloreac Hart, L.T. Smith,
Emma Weimann, Erzabet Bishop,
Joan Arling, Diana Marina, R.G. Emanuelle
Ylva Publishing

 

Debut Author

TITLE AUTHOR  PUBLISHER
A Venomous Cocktail Jody Valley Bella Books
Angel’s Touch Siri Caldwell Bella Books
Exception to the Rule Cindy Rizzo Self-published
Hell’s Belle Marie Castle Bella Books
In Between Jane Hoppen Bold Strokes Books
Laughing Down the Moon Eva Indigo Bella Books
Laughter in the Wind SL Harris Bella Books
Like Jazz Heather Blackmore Bold Strokes Books
Saving Morgan MB Panichi Bella Books

Dramatic/General Fiction

TITLE AUTHOR PUBLISHER
In This Small Spot Caren J. Werlinger Corgyn Publishing
Leap Z Egloff Bywater Books
Letters Never Sent Sandra Moran Bedazzled Ink
Picking Up The Pieces Brenda Adcock Regal Crest Enterprises
Remember Me Syd Parker Syd Parker Books
Step Into The Wind Bev Prescott Blue Feather Books
The Reunion Susan X Meagher Brisk Press
Waiting for Harper Lee Lea Daley Bella Books

Erotica

TITLE AUTHOR PUBLISHER
At Her Feet Rebekah Weatherspoon Bold Strokes Books
Coming Together: Girl on Girl Leigh Ellwood (ed) Coming Together
Gospel Nat Burns Regal Crest Enterprises
Hot Line Alison Grey Ylva Publishing
Nocturnes JD Glass Affinity Ebook Press NZ Ltd
Provenance Debra Hyde Coliloquy, LLC
Switching Gears Rhavensfyre Sapphire Books Publishing
Wild Girls, Wild Nights:
True Lesbian Sex Stories
Sacchi Green Cleis Press

Historical Fiction

TITLE  AUTHOR  PUBLISHER
A Delicate Refusal T.T. Thomas Bon View Publishing
Fervent Charity Paulette Callen Ylva Publishing
Murder and the Hurdy Gurdy Girl Kate McLachlan Regal Crest Enterprises
Passion for Vengeance Patty G. Henderson Blanca Rosa Publishing
Reflected Passion Erica Lawson Blue Feather Books
She’s Gone Santa Fe Maida Tilchen Savvy Press
Silver Wings H.P. Munro H.P. Munro
The Legend of Pope Joan, Part 2. Athens Rachel Dax Self-Published

Mystery/Thriller

TITLE AUTHOR PUBLISHER
A Venomous Cocktail Jody Valley Bella Books
Battle Axe Carsen Taite Bold Strokes Books
Jump the Gun:
Book 4 in The Gun Series
Lori L. Lake Regal Crest Enterprises
Point of Betrayal Ann Roberts Bella Books
The Killer Wore Leather Laura Antoniou Cleis Press
Turning the Tide Jenna Rae Bella Books
Weeping Walls Gerri Hill Bella Books
Yellow Vengeance Liz Bugg Insomniac Press

Paranormal/Horror

TITLE AUTHOR PUBLISHER
 Back to Blue  Dillon Watson  Bella Books
 Hell’s Belle  Marie Castle  Bella Books
 The Awakening: Book One in the
Sisters of Spirits Trilogy
 Yvonne Heidt  Bold Strokes Books
 The Horde  Linda Kay Silva  Sapphire Books Publishing
 The Lone Hunt  L.L. Rand  Bold Strokes Books
 The Rarest Rose  I. Beacham  Bold Strokes Books
 True Nature  Jae  Ylva Publishing
 Under the Midnight Cloak  S.Y. Thompson  Regal Crest Enterprises

Poetry

TITLE AUTHOR PUBLISHER
 Chopper! Chopper!  Veronica Reyes  Red Hen Press
 fur(l) parachute  Shannon Maguire  BookThug
 Light Light  Julie Joosten  BookThug
 Midnight Musings  Shawn Blackhawk  Regal Crest Enterprises
 Roses Read  Various, edited by Beth Mitchum  UltraVioletLove Publishing
 The Finely Human Experience  Monique Finley  UltraVioletLove Publishing
 The Immaculate Chaos of Being  Kathleen Wheeler  KatWheelerBooks
 Sisterhood  Julie R. Enszer  Sibling Rivalry Press

Romantic Suspense/Intrigue/Adventure

TITLE AUTHOR PUBLISHER
Code of Honor Radclyffe Bold Strokes Books
Desolation Point Cari Hunter Bold Strokes Books
Exit Wounds VK Powell Bold Strokes Books
First Down JJ Greene Bella Books
Mountain Rescue: The Ascent Sky Croft Regal Crest Enterprises
Rush Carsen Taite Bold Strokes Books
The Gemini Deception Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou Bold Strokes Books
Web of Obsessions Diane Wood Bella Books

Science Fiction/Fantasy

TITLE AUTHOR  PUBLISHER 
Deep Deception Cathy Pegau Carina Press (Harlequin Enterprises)
Fractured Futures S.Y. Thompson Regal Crest Enterprises
In the Midst of Tribulation Mary Griggs Bella Books
Magical Echo Linda Kay Silva Sapphire Books Publishing
Saving Morgan MB Panichi Bella Books
Shell Game Benny Lawrence Bedazzled Ink
The Edge of Rebellion Andi Marquette Bedazzled Ink
To Sleep Paula Offutt Regal Crest Enterprises

Traditional Contemporary Romance

TITLE AUTHOR  PUBLISHER 
Broken Trails D Jordan Redhawk Bella Books
Cut to the Chase Lisa Girolami Bold Strokes Books
Etched in Shadows KG MacGregor Bella Books
Every Second Counts D. Jackson Leigh Bold Strokes Books
Homestead Radclyffe Bold Strokes Books
I Remember Julie Cannon Bold Strokes Books
One Fine Day Erica Abbott Bella Books
Sea Glass Inn Karis Walsh Bold Strokes Books

Young Adult

TITLE AUTHOR PUBLISHER 
 Laughter in the Wind  SL Harris  Bella Books
 Orphan Maker  D Jordan Redhawk  Bella Books
 Secret City  Julia Watts  Bella Books
 Secret Lies  Amy Dunne  Bold Strokes Books
 Stealing Second: Sam’s Story
(Book Four in the Clarksonville Series)
 Barbara L. Clanton  Regal Crest Enterprises
 Swans & Klons  Nora Olsen  Bold Strokes Books
 The Road To Her  KE Payne  Bold Strokes Books
 The Second Mango  Shira Glassman  Prizm Books

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Lesbianic Authors in Portland OR July 9-13

G. L. Morrison

ChiaroscuroKissesFront

Lesbianic Authors, author-itative lesbians. Whatever you wanna call ’em. They’ve arrived. (Except for those of us who were already here. We were ahead of the curve.)

The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS)  holds an annual conference for writers and readers. Last year was the first I had heard of it. This year is the first I’ve attended. The fact that they are literally bringing the conference to me was definitely a plus.

If you’re a fan of lesbian writers (and I am!) it’s a party with a celebrity guest list. If you’re a writer (that too!) it’s an opportunity to network, to swap tips, conversation and spit (wait no, that’s a different party) with your sheroes.  And maybe sell a few books and enjoy knowing that the people you love reading are reading you!

Book Fair. Autograph sessions. An Author auction. Karin Kallmaker.  Anne Bannon. Katherine Forrest. And ice cream.

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Alternate Visions: Some Musings on Diversity in SF

Vandana Singh’s essay on travel, otherness and the need for diversity in speculative fiction becomes essential reading when you consider the links included. Linking to articles such as Nisi Shawl’s “Transracial Writing for the Sincere”, Jim Hines “Diversity, Appropriation and Writing the Other” and Samuel Delany’s “Escaping Ethnocentricity” creates an educational journey for every writer. And every reader. If you stay on the train for the next article, the next station stop, you’ll find sign-posts to new brilliant destinations; travelogues filled with writerly advice and possibilities and hope.

Antariksh Yatra

I was recently in the remote Alaskan town of Barrow for an academic project.  Barrow is profoundly different from any place I have been: at 71.3 N latitude, it perches at the edge of the Arctic Ocean.  During April, when I visited, the ocean is frozen as far as you can see.  The tundra is white and flat, and there is no vegetation.  Most of the people who live there are Inupiat Eskimos.  It is as far removed as you can imagine from Delhi, where I grew up, or for that matter, Boston, near which city I now reside.

I was wandering through the bright hallways of Ilisagvik college in Barrow, looking for someone with whom I hoped to speak, when I found an efficient young administrative assistant.  She assured me she would find the person I was seeking, and took my name down.  As is usual in…

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I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia

 

Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West

Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West

“I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it would lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is just really a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan’t make you love me any the more by giving myself away like this —But oh my dear, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defences. And I don’t really resent it.”
― Vita Sackville-West, from a letter written to Virginia Woolf

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PSA: Your Default Narrative Settings Are Not Apolitical

Foz Meadow’s advice for writers and readers is worth repeating.

shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows

Victorian Women SmokingImage taken from tumblr.

Recently, SFF author Tansy Rayner Roberts wrote an excellent post debunking the idea that women did nothing interesting or useful throughout history, and that trying to write fictional stories based on this premise of feminine insignificance is therefore both inaccurate and offensive. To quote:

“History is not a long series of centuries in which men did all the interesting/important things and women stayed home and twiddled their thumbs in between pushing out babies, making soup and dying in childbirth.

History is actually a long series of centuries of men writing down what they thought was important and interesting, and FORGETTING TO WRITE ABOUT WOMEN. It’s also a long series of centuries of women’s work and women’s writing being actively denigrated by men. Writings were destroyed, contributions were downplayed, and women were actively oppressed against, absolutely.

But the forgetting part is vitally important. Most historians and…

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