Breathe, one … two … three …

No review today, folks – just a few thoughts after the announcement earlier this week of the finalists for the 22nd Lambda Literary Awards.

Here at Out in Print, Bill, Gavin, Wayne, Jim and I couldn’t be more pleased to have spotted the following wonderful books that made that list and posted praise on their behalf. In no particular order, they are:

            Sprout– Dale Peck

            Deflowered: My Life in the Pansy Division – Jon Ginoli

            The Vast Fields of Ordinary – Nick Burd

            Ties that Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences – Sarah Schulman

            In The Closet, Under The Bed – Lee Thomas

            Pumpkin Teeth – Tom Cardamone

            The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You – S. Bear Bergman

            Pop Salvation – Lance Reynald

            Shaming the Devil: Collected Short Stories – G. Winston James

            Murder in the Garden District – Greg Herren

            The First Risk – Charles Jensen

            The Rest of Our Lives – Dan Stone

            A Field Guide to Deception – Jill Malone

            This One’s Going to Last – Nairne Holtz

We applaud these authors as well as those who were nominated and not included in the list of finalists for whatever reason. Congratulations to you all for your hard work and the little bits of yourself you put into those pages.

These are terrific, important works and I remember each and every one I reviewed, as I’m sure my fellow contributors do. There is a certain, smug I-told-you-so feeling involved with being an early supporter of such fine literature but even more worthwhile is the knowledge that as we help promote these stories, we also remind people that a rich, diverse and incredibly creative culture thrives in the midst of – and perhaps even because of – the hatred and bigotry that surrounds us.

In 2004, my first short story, “Love, Sex and Death on the Daily Commute” was published by Greg Wharton and Ian Phillips in Law of Desire: Tales of Gay Male Lust and Obsession.Since then, I’ve appeared in a number of anthologies (including I Like It Like That: True Tales of Gay Male Desire, edited by Richard Labonte and Lawrence Schimel – also up for a Lammy this year) and been warmly accepted by my fellow writers in the queerlit community. I cherish these relationships and consider them among the most important in my life.

Thanks to their encouragement, advice and assistance, this year marks my first editing effort – a book of circus erotica (Tented: Gay Erotic Tales from Under the Big Top –coming this Spring from Lethe Press) as well as the launch of this website with my good friend, co-founder and all around techno-stud William Holden. Thanks are also due to Steve Berman for his suggestions and valuable input and Gavin Atlas, Wayne Courtois and Jameson Currier for their thought-provoking pieces. It’s truly an honor to know and work with you all.  

But at Out in Print, our biggest honor remains to serve our community by spreading the word – good and bad – about the words we produce. As we’ve said in our mission statement, we are passionate about our words, our stories and our truths, and if a culture is defined is by its literature, we are a marvelous one indeed.

But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Jerry Wheeler

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