Cactus Heart seeks new and original poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photography & art for Issue #10 (e-Issue) and #10.5 (print), both due out in December.
We want spiny writing & art—sharp, relentless, coursing with energy and able to thrive in the harshest of places, all while maintaining a vulnerable, succulent interior. Send us your prickly little hearts; make us swoon.
Online submission deadline: mid-November
More info: cactusheartpress.com
Full guidelines: cactusheartpress.submittable.com
‘Law and the Gay Rights Story: The Long Search for Equal Justice in a Divided Democracy’ by Walter Frank
For many American LGBTQs, June 26, 2013 was a day in which everything changed. On that date, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a stunning 5-4 decision, ruled in United States v. Windsor that restricting the federal interpretation of “marriage” and “spouse” to only heterosexual unions, as specified in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. Since that momentous ruling, the legal landscape for LGBTQs has undergone a tectonic shift, with district, state, and federal courts from around the country almost uniformly ruling in favor of gays and lesbians by upending state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.
Of course, and not surprisingly, it has not always been this way. In fact, a mere 60-odd years ago, the law offered zero protections for homosexuals, who were routinely subjected to arrest, harassment, being dismissed or fired from their jobs, and public condemnation. It is at this point in American history that Walter Frank begins his book Law and the Gay Rights Story, which provides an illuminating overview of the often-contentious intersection between American jurisprudence and the gay rights movement. Drawing on an impressive number of landmark legal rulings, the majority of which were in response to gays’ and lesbians’ inexorable emergence and visibility in society, Frank ably traces the process in which “American law codified in many ways the moral attitudes of the time” and, only until very recently, “offered little protection against society’s prejudices.”
Throughout Law and the Gay Rights Story, Frank attempts to fashion a linear historical narrative out of these rulings and findings, though at times his temporal points of reference get jumbled, particularly when he discusses multiple legal cases or adjudications that build on (or overturn) earlier legislation. As well, Frank occasionally omits details that would add some much-needed context. For instance, in the discussion about violence and bullying of gays, he talks about Patterson v. Hudson Area Schools, which involved a brutal school bullying, but he only devotes a single paragraph and precious few details about the case, leaving the reader wishing he would have said much, much more.
That being said, Frank does an especially admirable job of parsing legalese into understandable and readable prose. He is also adept at putting a human face on these legal cases, sometimes with very amusing results. Take for example Frank’s discussion of curriculum issues in his “Public School Struggle” chapter in which he shows that the fight over California’s Proposition 8 began, ironically, in Massachusetts. In January 2005, kindergartner Jacob Parker brought home the picture book Who’s in a Family? which illustrated various family combinations including ones with two moms or two dads. Parker’s parents filed suit in federal district court, arguing that the books “amounted to an attempt an indoctrination that violated their and their children’s right to the free exercise of religion“ as well as violating their “rights as parents to direct the upbringing of their children,” and they sought an injunction requiring the schools to allow children to opt out of presentations that embraced, affirmed, or celebrated “views of human sexuality, gender identity, and marriage constructs.”
Unsurprisingly, the court was not persuaded and instead offered a unintentionally humorous, if pointed, rejoinder reminding the parents that their autonomy was not undermined, nor would exposure to these materials “automatically and irreversibly prevent the parents from raising Jacob in the religious belief that gay marriage is immoral” (Parker v. Hurley, 100). The case and the resulting ruling generated immediate controversy among social conservatives who, as Frank remarks, felt besieged by a society that increasingly supported what they viewed as immoral relationships, and subsequently deployed it in the anti-same-sex marriage campaign for Proposition 8.
Indeed, Frank is at his strongest when writing about the legal fights over same-sex marriage, even though it seems apparent that even he (at least when writing this book) did not anticipate the unprecedented speed in which courts were ruling and marriage bans were falling. Instead, Frank strives to take a pragmatic, balanced view of arguments for and against same-sex marriage (as, in fact, he does with all the major issues covered in the book), acknowledging issues of federalism, potential consequences, and what it truly means to be a democracy. Taken as a whole, Law and the Gay Rights Story serves as an important complement to other recent explorations of how gays and lesbians have helped change the American legal landscape.
Law and the Gay Rights Story: The Long Search for Equal Justice in a Divided Democracy
By Walter Frank
Rutgers University Press
Hardcover, 9780813568713, 237 pp.
Caitlin Moran's semi-autobiographical novel is an earnestly written look at a young woman's self-reinvention. How to Build a Girl tackles class, gender and sexuality with both humor and sincerity.
Editor Ily Goyanes is looking for lesbian-centered paranormal, mystery, romance, erotica, and/or fantasy short stories.
Editor: Ily Goyanes is a widely-published and award-winning author, editor, and journalist. Girls Who Score: Hot Lesbian Erotica, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, was Goyanes’ first full-length anthology and won a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2013. She has also served as a judge for the Lambda Literary Awards and as a mentor for the GCLS writers’ program. Tweet her @realily.
Title: Lizzie’s Bedtime Stories: Valentine’s Day
Editor: Ily Goyanes
Publisher: Liz McMullen Show Publications
Deadline: November 1, 2014
Payment & Rights: $30 and two copies of the published book upon publication. Contributors retain the rights to their work.
Valentine’s Day stirs up all kinds of feelings; in fact, it’s difficult to find someone who has absolutely no opinion on the saccharine holiday. With that in mind, Liz McMullen Show Publications is putting forth a collection to satisfy all cravings to be released in time for Valentine’s Day 2015.
I’m looking for short stories of all kinds, paranormal, mystery, romance, erotica, fantasy, and so on. Genre is open, but theme is focused on a single word…appetite.
What do you hunger for? What do your characters need? Power, respect, admiration, romance, adventure, or maybe a quick roll in the hay? Appetite can take many forms; don’t be afraid to satisfy yours by exploring the various forms the human (or not so human?) appetite can take.
Stories without an erotic or romantic element must contain at least one lesbian MC. If your appetite takes your characters on a moonlit stroll or under the sheets, the union must be Sapphic. Where you take your tale from there is up to you.
Previously unpublished work only
Desired length is 3,000 — 4,000 words (exceptions made for exceptional work)
Multiple submissions okay, simultaneous submissions not okay
Use a standard font such as Times New Roman … no funny business
Size does matter … 12 pt. is perfect
Double-space, por favor.
Include your contact information in both the document and body of the email.
If you’re on the down low, include your pseudonym in your contact information.
Send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org as an attachment in Word format (.doc). In the subject line, include ‘appetite antho,’ the title of your story, and your last name. Subject line should look like this: Appetite antho/Hungry Like a Wolf/Gonzalez. If you have any questions, please direct them towards the same email address.
Hard deadline is November 1, 2014, but the sooner you submit, the better you’ll feel. If you have not received a response by December 1, please feel free to query me at the email address above.
The new book by Matt Bai explores the political resonance of Gary Hart, whose presidential ambitions were dashed when he revealed he had an affair.
Dunham says when she started writing HBO's Girls, she was drawn to characters with "a bit of a Zelda Fitzgerald lost, broken woman quality." Her new essay collection is called Not That Kind of Girl.
A night before the winner's declared, the writers shortlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize read their works. Listen here first. Also: Thomas Pynchon might soon be coming to the big screen.
YA author Lauren Oliver's debut adult novel features an old mansion occupied by dysfunctional characters, both living and dead. Oliver fits these seemingly disparate lives together like a puzzle ring.
Richard Blanco, who read "One Today" at Obama's inauguration in 2013, explores the collision of sexual, artistic and cultural identity in his new memoir about his childhood in Miami.
NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks to novelist Sarah Waters about her latest book, The Paying Guests. It's a historical novel and a lesbian love story, with a courtroom drama mixed in.
NPR's Linda Wertheimer speaks to Stephen Johnson about his new book and TV series, How We Got to Now. He looks at six innovations that he thinks shaped the modern world.
A Gathering Storm by Jameson Currier is the story of a hate crime. In a small, unnamed university town in the American South, on a Monday night in September, a gay college student named Danny meets two other men in a local bar; after they leave, they drive Danny to a remote spot, beat him, tie him to a fence, and leave him to die. Once he is discovered—after suffering exposure outdoors overnight—and taken to a local hospital, word of the hate crime spreads, and the residents of the town and university suddenly find themselves at the center of a media frenzy, as the news quickly reverberates beyond the local community.
The novel begins with the actual committing of the hate crime, and then it intertwines two different stories: the first is the effects of the crime on the people of the community over the course of the following week, and the second retells the events of Danny’s last day alive. So, as we read Currier’s novel, we simultaneously learn Danny’s story and also see how Danny’s story changes over the course of the week: we witness the myth making of the community, news media, and outsiders as they come to grips with the tragedy, and/or use it to further their own agendas.
Currier notes in his introduction that the novel was initially inspired by the events of Matthew Shepard’s slaying in Laramie, WY, in October 1998, and further informed by subsequent hate crimes committed against gay men, but his novel should not be viewed as merely a dry or sensational retelling of these crimes. In the unfolding of the subsequent events, Currier includes the individual stories of Danny’s family, Danny’s friends, the perpetrators, fellow university students, even people who had never met Danny but are still affected by the crime: exactly the kind of details that seldom make it into news reports or talk show sound bites. Currier’s approach allows us to learn not only the immediate effects of the crime on the community, but also the dormant seeds that led to the crime in the first place. Moreover, as often happens when a crime of this magnitude is committed in a small, close-knit community, the social fabric begins to unravel and the dark secrets lurking behind the congenial facade of small-town life begin to surface.
The novel was first drafted over a decade ago, and we can see the impact of technology, especially the dizzying speed whereby news of the hate crime spreads first throughout the town and university, and from there across the country. But if the novel were written now, that speed would be positively blinding, as we would no doubt see the effects of social media: #universitystudentdanny or #hatecrimevictim would likely be trending on Twitter, or videos of the mutilated body might be posted online, taken by the bikers who discovered Danny, to become viral. One wonders if the result would be the compression of a week’s worth of events into a couple of days, followed by the blinding speed whereby the event then disappears from the local and national consciousness.
Currier’s novel is a grim one, but it is not purely a story of human cruelty. Currier weaves throughout strands of outrage, courage, uncertainty, denial, doubt—all typical human responses to tragedy. Currier’s focus on individual stories also underscores that change begins at the individual level before it can happen to a group. The positive change that occurs as a result of the tragedy starts with individual people, and initially is small in scope, but results in larger changes near novel’s end, thus justifying the novel’s end on a note of hope.
A Gathering Storm
By Jameson Currier
Chelsea Station Edition
Paperback, 9781937627201, 350 pp.
Director David Cronenberg's debut work of fiction is not for the faint of heart. Consumed follows two journalists as they chase stories of cannibalism, backroom surgeries, self-mutilation and murder.
So now we need to see if we can fund 2015.
It's simple really: we have 300 subscribers; if each person resubscribes and gets 2 other people to resubscribes we will have it!
So click on the link below to help us reach out goal and to see some fabulous rewards as well!
Hope to see you all in 2015!
The Rad Dad Collective
The Big Brick Review is a new nonfiction online journal that seeks personal essays which build on the narrative of our lives, finding new insight to old struggles…old insight to new struggles…and all shades-of-gray in between.
Now accepting submissions for the first annual essay contest; judges include Lammy award winning authors Alison Smith and Georgia Beers.
For 2015, the contest theme is loosely based on the concept of ‘building.’ Creative interpretation welcomed. Essays must be narrative non-fiction (that is, they must explore a truth of a human experience as interpreted/experienced by the author) and will be judged on overall strength of writing, compelling content/theme, and interesting style/voice. Maximum length 2000 words.
Deadline for contest submission is Feb 17, 2015. See here for more details.
BannedFiction Press is now seeking submissions for all of our categories.
We are a new publisher, but we are not a vanity or subsidy press. We are a full service, royalty paying publisher. We pay you. You do not pay us.
We specialize in “kink/taboo” fiction, GLBTQ, and other exciting areas of erotica and romance. Simply check our submissions page for the keywords we target.
At this time, we welcome submissions from all authors, both established published authors, as well as new authors.
Please read through our blog to learn more about us. And we look forward to hearing from you soon and receiving your manuscripts!
Submit your manuscripts here.
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Pick up a banned book. Look for the scenes and language that once made people blush. Do those sections still have the power to make you gasp?
If you yearn for thoughtful, truth-filled, and honest writing about US racism that is sharp and righteous, read Colorlines. ColorLines exemplifies progressive journalism with a racial justice lens. From 2004 through 2010, Daisy Hernández helped build Colorlines. Working as a writer and editor, Hernández, with a team of activist journalists, migrated the print magazine from its quarterly publication to its current incarnation as a powerful online news journal characterized by incisive analysis. If you care about racial justice news, subscribe to the Colorlines feed.
If you want an intimate account of the experience of being a bisexual woman of color committed to racial justice, read Hernández’s new memoir, A Cup of Water Under My Bed. A Cup of Water Under My Bed weaves stories organized into three sections: growing up as the child of immigrants in New Jersey, experiencing sexuality with power and peril, and living race amid US racism in the twenty-first century.
A Cup of Water Under My Bed is organized thematically more than chronologically, and it gains its power through poetic language. For example, to convey the nuances of sexuality, Hernández describes finding consonance with a lover as “he’s a prose poem; I’m a vignette.” Even though “he doesn’t look anything like me,” he “feels like me.” Hernández deploys metaphoric language with care to render the world in which she lives. Her chapter about money, race, and power, “Only Rico’s Have Credit,” is beautiful, and one of the few clear-eyed analyses about credit and money told from the perspective of a young woman.
One of the most powerful elements in A Cup of Water Under My Bed is the second section on sexuality. Hernández talks about sexuality with grace; her deft hand with language, imagery, and emotion create an internal world that is both intimate and achingly beautiful. Describing what she learned about sex as a teenager, Hernández writes:
My best friend and I spend our teenage summers reading Judith Krantz novels and watching porn videos from her father’s collection. We see that women can have sex in swimming pools and hotel rooms and even on a spaceship. They can do it with different men and with each other. I observe this, analyze it, and come to my final conclusion: sex is good.
Hernández’s writing about sexuality is some of the finest that I have read recently. She describes bisexuality “as if I am learning that I can shift my weight from one leg to the other, that I have a second leg. Kissing women is like discovering a new limb.” She holds firmly to bisexuality without shame, uncertainty or concern—even in the face of lesbian skepticism. She maps the space of transgender identities as a bisexual femme partnering with trans* lovers in ways that are fresh and interesting.
While she greets her bisexuality with glee, her family does not. Hernández struggles with her mother and her beloved tias (aunts): “it is hard, I imagine for people who have not experienced this to understand the weight of that silence and how the absence of language can feel like a death.”
Written in the tradition of great feminist memoirs, like Audre Lorde’s Zami and Minnie Bruce Pratt’s S/HE, while nodding, particularly in the first section, to Sandra Cisneros’s extraordinary House on Mango Street, Hernández’s A Cup of Water Under My Bed explores race, gender, and sexuality with beauty and grace. Mapping hybrid spaces, Hernández explores what it means to be a Latina through multiple ethnicities (her mother is Colombian and her father is Cuban), multiple religious traditions, and with multiple sexual desires.
Where Colorlines is righteous and direct in helping readers think about race in the United States in new ways, A Cup of Water Under My Bed is lyrical and understated. If Hernández’s A Cup of Water Under My Bed and Alexis De Veaux’s recent hybrid novel, Yabo, are any indication, there is a flowering of feminist, queer of color writing happening right now. Hernández holds questions of race and justice at the center of this book, but never sacrifices beauty. Ultimately, that combination is what makes A Cup of Water Under My Bed haunting and powerful. Pick up this book for both its pleasures and provocations.
A Cup of Water Under My Bed
By Daisy Hernández
Paperback, 9780807014486, 185 pp.
"It's only 10 or 15 pages," he says, "but still you got to get it right." Theroux's new collection, Mr. Bones, tells stories of the odd person out.
Alaya Dawn Johnson's latest is about senior at a Washington, D.C. prep school in the midst of a global pandemic. This book offers a chilling glimpse of a dystopia that could be just around the corner.