November 9th, 2013

andrew potter

Jay B. Laws (1958 - November 9, 1992)

Jay B. Laws passed away on Nov. 9, 1992, at age 34.

Author and playwright, he won awards for his play A Night for Colored Glass and his first novel, Steam.
Laws died tragically early, having only two or three published works to his credit. Steam ranks among the most brilliant horror novels of all time and, certainly wins the blue ribbon as the finest gay horror novel ever written. Eerie and disturbing, Laws’ haunted bath house serves as a personification of the early AIDS epidemic and, even today, is practically guaranteed to send chills up and down your spine. --Hal Bodner
Jay B. Laws only managed to publish two novels before he became an AIDS casualty in the early 90’s; it is heartbreaking to even think about the incredible work he could have produced had he not been taken so young. Steam, his first novel, is set in San Francisco while AIDS ravages the community there, and is centered around a haunted bathhouse. Everything in this book resonates, even twenty years later; the characters are realistic and heartbreaking, the story itself is a nail-biter, and Laws’ use of language extraordinary. He managed one more novel before he became too sick (the equally sublime The Unfinished), and was well on his way to becoming the gay Stephen King. Rest in peace, Jay, and thank you for sharing your extraordinary gifts with us. --Greg Herren
My reading in those days (1991) consistently turned to Picano, Rechy, White, Holleran, etc. Took a chance on an unknown, Jay B. Laws...the cover of the book, "Steam" brightly sensuous and foreboding at the same time. The storytelling was brilliant, frighteningly believable, a horror story that still, even after all these years occasionally haunts...darkly. --George Seaton
Steam was the winner of a first novel contest sponsored by Alyson Books (back when founder Sasha Alyson ran it); he chose the staff of A Different Light Bookstore in San Francisco, which I then managed, as "readers" for the contest; we considered 15, maybe 20 submissions - word of such contests didn't spread as widely, in those pre-Internet days, as it would now - and, pretty unanimously, settled on Jay's work. We knew that the story was set in SF, which contributed to the staff's enthusiasm, but we didn't know that the author was a local, who visited the bookstore often, a charming, funny fellow who exhibited none of the haunted, haunting emotions of his two fine novels. --Richard Labonte
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andrew potter

Lynn Hall (born born November 9, 1937)

Born November 9, 1937, Lynn Hall grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and Des Moines and spent her childhood escaping into the horse and dog books from her local library. After having a variety of jobs such as dog trainer, secretary and ad agency writer, she found herself writing the same sort of horse and dog stories she had loved as a child.

She has become a highly prolific and award winning author. Many of her stories are unusual, some with a supernatural element, others exploring complex and weighty issues not normally tackled in the sphere of the pony book. Many of her pony stories are also aimed at older teenagers, making them ideal reads for the adult pony book reader. As such, romance and adult issues are often part of her stories.

Source: http://lynnhall.ponymadbooklovers.co.uk/
If I had not come across Lynn Hall‘s book when I was struggling to define my own sexuality, I might not have survived to write this essay of my own experiences. In it I had Ward Alexander and the knowledge that there was someone else like me in the world; I wasn‘t the only one. Would my experience have been different if the original ending had united Tom and Ward? Not necessarily, but it would have shown me that men could commit to one another in romantic relationships built on love, trust and mutual respect. If I could return and tell my teenage self what I know now, I‘d assure him that the isolation and social ostracizing that he‘d experienced helped him become the person, and the artist, that he is today. I‘d tell him to have enough confidence to look his tormentors in the eye and say, ―I‘m gay, so what?‖ and disempower their accusations. I have told this much of my story to my youngest brother, who is coming to terms with his own sexuality. It is both a challenge and an honor to assist him where I can while allowing him the space to learn on his own.

I am astounded at how much has changed since the early 80s when I‘d first read Sticks and Stones. Literature plays such a minor role in our community now, when it used to be the primary means of uniting and informing our community. I grew up in the brief span between pulp fiction and the representation of gays and lesbians in the media at large, and certainly before the Internet allowed us to connect in ways we‘d never dreamed of. Despite those advances, kids continue to struggle with their own questions and suffer the cruelty of their peers. Gay kids are still three times more likely to attempt suicide, develop substance abuse, and run away from home. It is up to us as a community to present positive role models in young adult literature so they know they are not alone, and that there are many ways for them to grow into gay adults. --Sean Meriwether, The Lost Library: Gay Fiction Rediscovered
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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards pre-party and 7th anniversary (Day 9)

November 2013 marks the 7th anniversary since I opened my first journal (and yes, I have an itch, but I will scratch it!), on LJ, and the 5th anniversary of the Rainbow Awards. So, of course I decided for a big bash party. 187 authors, all of them in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, have donated or an ebook, or a print book, and I will use them for a Treasure Hunt. Every day, for all November, I will post 6 excerpts (a random page of the book). No reference to title, or author, or publisher. You have to match it with the book ;-) comment on the blog (do not leave anonymous comments, if you post as anonymous, leave a contact email (comments are screened)), you can comment 1 time for more matchings (you can even try for all 6 books if you like, so 6 chances to win every day). Until the end I will not say which matching is right, so you will have ALL month to try. No limit on how many books you can win, the more you try the better chance you have to win. End of November, among the right matchings, I will draw the winners. So now? let the game start!

Be aware that these previous excerpts: 11, 23, 25, 31, have not yet been matched, so if you go back there is good chance to win them!

The books are (Author - Title - Format of prize):

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Previous Post: http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3920486.html

Today excerpts are:

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