August 22nd, 2011

andrew potter

Greetings from South Beach, Miami Beach

South Beach, also nicknamed SoBe, is a neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach, Florida, United States. It is the area south of Indian Creek and encompasses roughly the southernmost 23 blocks of the main barrier island that separates the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay. (Picture: Lummus Park)

This area was the first section of Miami Beach to be developed, starting in the 1910s, thanks to the development efforts of Carl G. Fisher, the Lummus Brothers, and John S. Collins, the latter whose construction of the Collins Bridge provided the first vital land link between mainland Miami and the beaches.

The area has gone through numerous artificial and natural changes over the years, including a booming regional economy, increased tourism, and the 1926 hurricane, which destroyed much of the area. As of 2010, about 33,834 residents live in South Beach.

South Beach started as farmland. In 1870, Henry and Charles Lum purchased 165 acres (67 ha) for coconut farming. Charles Lum built the first house on the beach in 1886. In 1894, the Lum brothers left the island, leaving control of the plantation to John Collins, who came to South Beach two years later to survey the land. He used the land for farming purposes, discovering fresh water and extending his parcel from 14th Street to 67th in 1907.

In 1912, Miami businessmen the Lummus Brothers acquired 400 acres (160 ha) of Collins' land in an effort to build an oceanfront city of modest single family residences. In 1913 Collins started construction of a bridge from Miami to Miami Beach. Although some local residents invested in the bridge, Collins ran short of money before he could complete it.

Lincoln Road

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South Beach, how fun!! On South Beach there is obviously Lincoln Road that can't be missed. A good, consistently good, not overpriced restaurant is Balan's. Balan’s (1022 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach) is always good, not over priced, Good for people watching, and good for either breakfast or dinner.

If you go into the city, our favorite restaurant is a Miami establishment that only the locals know about it, Hy Vong (3458 Southwest 8th Street, Miami). It is an all night experience, no reservations and sometimes people wait for some time. Go either at 6:00 PM sharp or after 9:00, especially on Fri and Saturday. Thursday night seems to have a lesbian crowd that goes there.

If you go south of 5th, you will find a ton of really good, pricier, restaurants, bars etc. So much to see and do in Miami!.

Remember that nearly every place on the beach includes tip to your bill (although it is not always clear they do unless you look).

Tapas & Tintos (wine) is on 448 Espanola Way, Miami Beach, I don't know how busy they may be on a Sunday night or whether or not they have their live music Sunday but the street is adorable and worth seeing. If you don't feel like that restaurant, you can walk north a few blocks and be right on Lincoln road or walk east a couple of blocks and be right on Collins Ave again where there are tons of options. It is sometimes hit and miss on both price and quality.

Haulover Beach is the largest nude beach in US. (10800 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour, This place is a lot of fun and you might want to skip everything else and go to it. It is very mixed with all ages, sizes and sexual orientations. The "gay" area is on the North side of the beach. It would be quite hopping on a Sunday afternoon.

Good bars (these are all mixed bars): Sky Bar (, 1901 Collins Ave. Miami Beach), Cameo Nightclub (1445 Washington avenue, Miami Beach), Mansion Nightclub (, 1235 Washington Ave, Miami Beach), Mokai Lounge (, 235 23rd Street, Miami Beach), Social Miami at Sagamore (, 1671 Collins Ave, Miami Beach), Blue Door At the Delano Hotel (, 1685 Collins Ave, Miami Beach), Blue Martini (, 900 S Miami Ave, Miami), The Forge (41st Street, Miami Beach), SET (320 Lincoln Rd, Miami), Nikki Beach (, 1 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach).

Gay Clubs: Twist (Washington avenue), Score (Lincoln Road), Mova (near Lincoln Road on Michigan). –Ken Kimball
When I moved to Miami in 1986, I hung out a lot on South Beach. It was always a fascinating place, constantly changing. You had the contrast of the old Art Deco buildings, often fading and run down, against the beauty of the ocean. Gradually people began buying up old hotels and renovating them, and chefs opening cool restaurants, and then fascinating quirky stores opening.

I wanted to set a book there for a long time. Finally, with, I had that chance. But there were still so many more stories that could be told. I wrote a few short stories that built off that setting, and then, one day I was walking past a gym just off Lincoln Road. Through the big plate glass windows I could see lots of handsome, muscled guys working out.

I wondered what it would feel like to live on Miami Beach and see that kind of thing every day, and long to be (or have sex with) one of those guys. That was the first genesis of The Guardian Angel of South Beach.

I wrote a short story around this idea and submitted it for an anthology. The editor rejected it, and I don't blame her; there was too much plot for such a short piece. I went back and expanded it, teasing out the relationship that develops between the protagonist and a very cute barista. So it's both a story about coming to accept yourself, as well as a sexy romance. --Neil Plakcy
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andrew potter

Event: A Reading with Justin Crockett Elzie

Date: 08/24/2011
Time: 5:30 pm
Place: Giovanni's Room
At 12th & Pine Streets in Philly's "Gayborhood" in Center City
345 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Justin Crockett Elzie is the author of Playing by the Rules (Rebel Satori, $16.95 pb).
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Queer Mojo (A Rebel Satori Imprint) (November 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608640426
ISBN-13: 978-1608640423
Amazon: Playing By the Rules
Amazon Kindle: Playing By the Rules

A memoir by the first Marine to be kicked out of the military under “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Later reinstated, Justin became the first Marine to challenge Don't Ask, Don't Tell with a Federal Court Case and went on to serve four years openly gay.

He takes you on a journey of self-discovery from his early years growing up on a farm in Wyoming to joining the Marine Corps and finding an underground gay subculture within the military. Wanting to make a difference, he came out publicly as a gay Marine on ABC Evening World News in January 1993. He was described by his superiors as an exemplary Marine with two meritorious promotions, being named Marine of the Year and having served as an American Embassy Guard. After coming out he was recommended for promotion and served as a Platoon Sergeant in charge of Marines on a ship and in the field. He testified at the Senate Hearings opposite General Schwarzkopf, participated in the MTV show Free Your Mind and was photographed by Richard Avedon for The New Yorker. His story appeared on ABC, CNN, NPR, and in The New York Times.

He recently finished acting school in New York City and in November 2010 he was one of thirteen veterans who chained themselves to the White House fence pushing for repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
andrew potter

Bark at the Moon by Julia Davies

I read this novella like a test-drive for this author, to understand if she was able to write a Gay Paranormal romance. I think she passed the test.

The plot is quite ordinary, there are no fireworks or sudden turns, but it was nice for once to sit down and relax with an ordinary “extraordinary” (it’s a paranormal) story: Ret is a enforcerer for a pack of werewolves living in an English small town (that is probably the oddity, usually shapeshifter romance are not set in England, even if, actually, one of the most famous werewolves story is in London…); Andy is the new guy in town, an human, but he is also Ret’s mate.

When Ret smells his partner, he has no doubt he will have the man; and since both of them are adult, consentient, and gay, Ret simply waits for Andy out of the pub where Andy is working and takes him home, just like that, simply, good and nice. Trouble is that, even if their night together was good, Andy feels something is not “ordinary”, and Ret, again without much drama, tells him the true, not only Ret is a werewolf, but Andy is living in a town where most of the man he knows are… a little too much for poor Andy to digest in one shot, and that is probably the only “drama” you will find in this novella, but again, it was a “right” drama, rightly fitting the feeling and the development the plot has had until then.

It seems I’m complaining the plot was too simple, but it’s not like that. I think the author is using a solid basis of the paranormal romance rules, and she put them together in a nicely way. Bark at the Moon maybe is not “sparkling”, but it’s for sure better than many other first attempt I read, and Julia Davies has at least won a chance from me to read her second, and longer, novel always set in this same universe.

Amazon Kindle: Bark at the Moon
Publisher: Phaze Books (January 4, 2011)

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

In the Spotlight: Ronald L. Donaghe

The Book: Set in a small town in the middle of nowhere in the mid-1960s, Common Sons not only anticipates the coming gay revolution, but delineates its fields of battle in churches, schools and society, pitting fathers against sons, straight teens against gay teens, and self-hatred against self-respect. From the opening scene (where a reckless bout of drinking at a dance ends in a very public kiss between two teenage boys), the citizens of the small town of Common, New Mexico, become aware of the homosexuality in their midst. The two boys are unable to deal with their struggle in private as the story of their public kiss spreads through the small town. Some seek to destroy the relationship between the two boys, while others seek to destroy the two boys themselves. Common Sons is a moving tale of self-discovery, love and finding the courage to come out and come to grips with truth in the face of hatred and adversity. Reading some novels is like meeting somebody at a cocktail party, enjoying the chat and never seeing them again. Other novels become like friends whose company is enjoyed over and over. Such a book, for me, is Common Sons. --Patricia Nell Warren, author of The Front Runner

Amazon: Common Sons: Common Threads in the Life
Amazon Kindle: Common Sons: Common Threads in the Life
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: iUniverse (June 27, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0595097081
ISBN-13: 978-0595097081

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The Author: "I grew up in the house(s) my father built. He and my paternal grandfather built the first house in Deming, New Mexico, when I was about four years old. It was made of adobe bricks. At the time, my father was a carpenter and worked on a large crew that built one of Deming's largest 1950s subdivisions. Then when I was about seven, we moved out into the country to a farm that my father owned. He had been renting it out and working in town. So he took up farming, and I took up residence with my three sisters. When I was fourteen, my parents had another son and then a year later, another daughter.

So I grew up in a large family, did chores on the farm, went to a country school of about 110 children from first grade to eighth grade. We had an eighth grade graduation ceremony. Then I went to high school in Deming, where I took "college prep" courses. I also "came out of the closet" to myself in high school, mainly because I had a crush on a boy there my age. I dated girls and was one of the "popular" students among the girls, though among the student body as a whole, I was also kind of an odd-ball, though I didn't realize it. A friend and I formed Deming High's first chess club, and it is still going almost 40 years later!

Went to college at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where I studied English and majored in education. Came out of the closet to others and, for about six months frequented the gay bars in El Paso, Texas, 45 south of Las Cruces. There, I had a couple of stormy, youthful affairs, and then in 1970, like taking a wrong turn into the Twilight Zone, I married a woman I had barely met. Within another six months, I realized my horrible mistake and joined the Air Force during the waning days of Vietnam.

During my short time in the Air Force, I came out again, this time to everybody in my flight (in the Army, it's called "company"), met a fellow airman and went into a 14 year relationship with him. I finished my bachelor's at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Later, I returned to Las Cruces, went in and out of the bookstore business, went to graduate school at New Mexico State, where I majored in technical writing and computer science.

Got a job as a technical writer in 1980, broke up with my male lover in 1986, worked all over the U.S., and my first novel, Common Sons, was published in 1989.

I've basically been a writer of fiction ever since, while also maintaining my day job as a technical writer. Writing, my husband Cliff, my two cats and—did I say writing?—is my life. I'm enjoying every moment of it, too."

Top 100 Gay Novels List (*)

External Link to the Top100 Gay Novels List (simple - without photos)

External Link to the Top 100 Gay Novels List (wanted - with photos)

*only one title per author, only print books released after January 1, 2000.

Note: I remember to my friends that guest reviews of the above listed books (the top 100 Gay Novels) are welcome, just send them to me and I will post with full credits to the reviewer.

Other titles not in the top 100 list:
andrew potter

Top 100 Gay Novel: Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

This is yet another of those Young Adult novels I was a little scared to read; in this case, for how shallow it could sound, it was also the cover that worried me, I had a “bad” feeling. And again I was wrong. Sure, Geography Club is not really about the romance, even if there is a teen romance in it, it’s more about the growth of all the characters, but it’s not a dramatic story, on the contrary, it has even a somewhat light and happy mood, like the reader is able to see that everything will be find for Russel and his friends.

Russel is a gay kid; for a kid living in a small town he is pretty smart, and even if he has never had any sexual experience, he lives his being gay in the net, attending chats where he is able to talk with other boys his same age and with his same trouble. But an online friend and a real friend are completely different, and it arrives a moment when Russel needs the physical presence of someone… yes, I think it was also arrived the moment when Russel wanted a boyfriend, but more than that he needed to feel he was not alone.

Russel jumps to the chance of meeting another teenager from one of the chats, and he is surprised, and pleased, when he finds out is Kevin, one of the most popular kids at school. But Russel is young, and yes, his best characteristic is that he is real, so no perfect at all; as soon as he finds out about Kevin, he wants to gossip with his friends, and so he talks with Min, his best girlfriend, and to his surprise Min comes out to him as bisexual, and then Min brings on Terese who brings on Ike… and an impromptu club is born.

As I said, no one of the above kids are heroes, and no one wants the burden of being the gay kid at school; they decide to misguide their gay club for a Geography Club, so boring no one will want to join. But after the first session when everyone was able to share their experience, they discover that being gay is not enough of a reason to be together, and their club to survive need to have a reason to be. Again, no much courage among these boys and girls, and surprise surprise, for once the hero of the novel, Russel, is not an hero at all, on the contrary he is actually the one who will behave in the worst way against another kid. That will be the moment for Russel to grow, to realize that being the cool kid and having a cool boyfriend is not actually possible in small town high school; he has to make a choice, and this is probably the most “dramatic” event of all the novel: as you can see, yes, for a 16 years old that can be pretty life changing decision, but it’s not the end of the world.

I liked Russel, in good and bad he was who he was supposed to be: a teenager, with his trouble and his dreams, and with all the life in front of him to realize them.

Amazon: Geography Club (The Russel Middlebrook Series)
Amazon Kindle: Geography Club (The Russel Middlebrook Series)
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (February 17, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060012234
ISBN-13: 978-0060012236

Brent Hartinger's In the Spotlight post:

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

One Night by R.J. Scott

Liam and Micah are not your ordinary guys, they are living the life of the beautiful and rich, and their trouble is not how to arrive at the end of the month; but even if they have not material issue, feelings are all another matter. Micah is comfortable with him being gay, so much that is own relatives, two beloved sisters and a brother-in-law, are able to joke with him about that, but deep down Micah is lonely, he would like a very normal, very ordinary family like his parents had, like his sister has. Like in an old fashioned movie, Micah, the owner of a vineyard, would like to pass his land to his own heirs, but to do that he needs a family.

Liam is the very wealthy, very sad second son of an old money stock; I didn’t actually understand if his best girlfriend was aware or not Liam was gay, or if she was aware or not that she was dying, in a way or the other, Liam married Janelle, Janelle had a daughter and she died, leaving Liam a single father of a wonderful baby; maybe since the first marriage of convenience was not a total loss, Liam is now willing to marry a second time, this time with the future wife well aware she is embarking in a chaste marriage since Liam is gay. Few weeks to the event, Liam has cold feet, and asks for a week of freedom, a week he will use to re-evaluate his life.

While Micah is in the posh hotel with the full intent to find a guy and spend one week of debauchery, Liam maybe had not that idea at first, but as soon as he meets Micah, he changes plans. True Micah is not for one night stand, he goes more for romance and courtship and that is the end for their plans: Micah wants more from Liam, and Liam is not sure he is able to give him that.

There is a trend in romance for novels that make you dream; sure you are of the working class, you will never have the change to spend time in the hotels you read about in these stories, but nevertheless, you don’t want to read about how difficult is to pay the next bill, or the difficulties you will face if you fall in love for someone who lives on the other side of the country… you want to read of Micah and Liam’s trouble, trouble that will be solved in an heartbeat, as soon as Liam will find the courage to finally be the man he wants to be. Micah and Liam will not be touched by the ugliness of the world, and the happily every after will be there, waiting for them.

Buy Here

Amazon Kindle: One Night
Publisher: Silver Publishing (July 8, 2011)

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle