June 3rd, 2014

andrew potter

New Release: Gaysia, Adventures in the Queer East

Just in time for Pride celebrations in June, Cleis Press is both proud and happy to present Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East. Written by Benjamin Law: this travelogue features fresh, funny, and poignant adventures throughout the Asian continent. Discover the fascinating and complex LGBTQ communities that lie at the heart of the most populous region in the world. At once entertaining and moving, Gaysia is both a wild ride and a fascinating quest by a leading voice in Australian gay community.

Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East by Benjamin Law
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162778036X
ISBN-13: 978-1627780360
Amazon: Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East
Amazon Kindle: Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East

Benjamin Law considers himself pretty lucky to live in Australia: he can hold his boyfriend's hand in public and lobby his politicians to recognize same-sex marriage. But as the child of immigrants, he's also curious about how different life might have been had he grown up in Asia. So he sets off to meet his fellow Gaysians. Law takes his investigative duties seriously, going nude where required in Balinese sex resorts, sitting backstage for hours with Thai ladyboy beauty contestants, and trying Indian yoga classes designed to cure his homosexuality. The characters he meets — from Tokyo's celebrity drag queens to HIV-positive Burmese sex workers and Malaysian ex-gay Christian fundamentalists to Chinese gays and lesbians who marry each other to please their parents — all teach him something new about being queer in Asia. At once entertaining and moving, Gaysia is a wild ride and a fascinating quest by a leading Australian writer.



Benjamin Law

From the chapter “China”

Doock came from Henan province. Because of timing and geography, his parents weren’t subject to the one-child policy, so Doock had a little brother, whom I’ll call Leung. When Leung announced he was getting married, Doock’s parents were horri- fied, since it was traditional for the eldest sibling to marry first. To them, siblings getting married in the wrong order was shameful. It would have been enough to scandalise the entire village. When Doock’s mother heard that Leung was engaged to marry, she cried every day down the phone line, begging Doock to marry someone first. It was pretty intense. Doock’s main concern was his little brother. He didn’t want to make Leung wait forever, so he turned to his gay friends for advice.

‘What you need to do,’ they told him, ‘is marry a lesbian.’

Doock stared at them.

‘Well, what are your options?’ they said. ‘You can postpone it, but your younger brother’s already engaged. You don’t want to make him wait, so the only option is to just get married. Find a lesbian who wants the same arrangement as you. Everything will be fine.’

Doock and Eric were wary. They’d both heard bad stories – and even seen firsthand – how these sham weddings could get out of hand. At one, the gay groom had made the mistake of inviting his gay friends. They’d gotten completely smashed on booze and treated the whole thing like a joke. One of them had climbed onto the lazy Susan and asked another guy to spin him around and around, cackling and hooting while everyone looked on in horror.

In the end, though, Doock and Eric agreed with their friends. There wasn’t another option. They set up an account with Tianya.cn and started searching for lesbians.

As it turned out, finding lesbians for a fake wedding was a little like going on a game show to see who’s behind the mystery door. First up: Lesbian Couple #1! And what did these lesbians want? An official marriage certificate, shared property and a relatively wealthy husband! Looking back, Doock and Eric felt Lesbian Couple #1 were too aggressive in their demands. ‘The require- ments were more strict than if you were choosing a real husband,’ Doock said. Lesbian Couple #1 were quickly ruled out.

Lesbian Couple #2 weren’t interested in shared property, but did want a legally binding marriage certificate and children. For Eric and Doock, both of those things were out of the question, especially the kids. It was a shame, because Lesbian Couple #2 and the Baos got along really well and shared the same dry sense of humour. Lesbian Couple #2 wished the Baos the best and referred them on to Lesbian Couple #3.

‘Ah, the third couple,’ Doock said now, bowing his head.

‘One meeting determines a lifetime.’

Lesbian Couple #3 lived in Tianjin, China’s third biggest metropolis behind Shanghai and Beijing. Eric had already been scheduled to go to Tianjin for work, so Doock booked tickets to come along for the ride.

The Baos met the lesbian (I’ll call her Linda) and her girl- friend in a hotel lobby. Like the organisers of any decent crime, everyone thought it would be best to chat in a public place. Doock showed me a picture of Linda on his Nokia mobile phone. She was a handsome, bespectacled, broad-faced woman with a square jaw and a sensible haircut, dressed in a fuschia blouse.

‘She looks nice,’ I said, passing the phone back to Doock.
‘Very butch,’ Doock said, nodding.

Doock, Eric, Linda and her girlfriend broke the ice by talking about their hobbies, backgrounds and jobs, before moving on to their relationships. Linda and her partner, whom I’ll call Susan, had been together for a decade and were childhood sweethearts. Susan had already fake-married a gay guy in Beijing; now Linda’s parents were pressuring her to get married too. Though Doock and Linda barely knew each other, it was obvious that their needs matched up perfectly. That’s all it took. The marriage was on.

From there it was all amateur theatre, complete with wed- ding costumes and fudged lines. Doock explained Chinese parents didn’t care how couples had first met, but he and Linda concocted a story anyway, something about having a mutual friend. ‘If I forgot my lines,’ Doock said, ‘I’d look to Linda for help and she’d cover for me.’ It helped that Doock bore an uncanny resemblance to Linda’s late father. His future mother-in-law took an immediate shine to him.

There would be two weddings: one for Linda’s mother and another for Doock’s parents, since they lived so far from one another. The in-laws would never meet. For both weddings, neither Linda nor Susan invited anyone who knew they were lesbians. To be safe, Doock and Eric didn’t invite any of their gay friends either. The only people who knew the true identi- ties of the couples were the celebrants, who were actually actors the couples knew. No one could risk anything. None of this was about fun.

At the Tianjin wedding for Linda’s mother, Linda’s relatives gave Doock hóng-bau, traditional red paper packets stuffed with money that are given at Chinese weddings instead of gifts. Doock refrained from drinking, mainly because he didn’t want to get drunk, but also because he needed to drive. It made for a long evening. After the wedding was over, Doock drove his new mother-in-law back home, then drove with Linda to the entrance of Tianjin’s superhighway. Eric and Susan were waiting for them by the side of the road. The couples exchanged partners and Doock took all the hóng-bau money out of his trousers.

‘Here,’ he said to Linda and Susan. ‘This isn’t mine.’

Together, they drove to Doock’s home province of Henan and hired two hotel rooms: one for Doock and Linda; the other for Eric and Susan. In the middle of the night, under cover of darkness, the couples opened their doors, crept down the corridor and, giggling like high schoolers on camp, exchanged partners again.

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andrew potter

2014 Rainbow Awards Submission: Out Of Retirement

Lesbian Romantic Comedy
Out Of Retirement by Erica Lawson
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Affinity E-Book Press NZ; First edition (April 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1927282586
ISBN-13: 978-1927282588
Amazon: Out Of Retirement
Amazon Kindle: Out Of Retirement

Melanie Stokes was a doctor—a very good one, or so she hoped. She was calm and cool under pressure, and very little fazed her. Until… Caitlin Joseph ran a small retirement home for older women in need. The fact that everyone in the house was gay was a coincidence, although it did cut down the number of women agreeing to live there. Mel took up an offer to do some relief work for a local community center when their regular doctor was away on holidays. As soon as she arrived at the home she knew something was different about the place. Was it the little old lady chasing the paper boy down the street or the sign saying “Dykes Retirement Home”? But there was something about the place that also appealed to her. Sure, Caitlin was cute as a button, but it was more the fact that she took very good care of her charges, despite their rather bizarre behavior. The older women seized the opportunity to introduce a woman into Caitlin’s lonely life, using any means possible to keep Mel coming back. Their plans were boosted by the introduction of another woman into the house, who set hearts a fluttering and blood pressure rising. Now if she was a lesbian it would have been perfect…

Charities Donation program progress:
25$ Lancaster LGBT Center: http://www.centralpalgbtcenter.org/
25$ Odyssey Youth Center: www.odysseyyouth.org/
25$ YouthCare: www.youthcare.org/
30$ Covenant: www.covenanthouseno.org/
50$ Wes for Youth: wesforyouth.privacemail.com/
50$ Lambert House: www.lamberthouse.org/
50$ Ruth Ellis Center: http://www.ruthelliscenter.org/
50$ PFLAG: community.pflag.org/
75$ Inland Northwest LGBT Center: www.thelgbtcenter.org/
75$ CARE: careprogram.org/
100$ The Center Colorado: http://www.glbtcolorado.org/
105$ Moveable Feast: http://www.mfeast.org/
110$ Lambda Legal: www.lambdalegal.org/
150$ Point Foundation: www.pointfoundation.org/
160$ UCAN: www.ucanchicago.org/
180$ The Trevor Project: www.thetrevorproject.org/
313$ COLORS: www.colorsyouth.org/
317$ Galop: www.galop.org.uk/
425$ SAGE: giveto.sageusa.org/
437$ Lost-n-Found Youth: www.lost-n-found.org/
710$ Ali Forney Center: www.aliforneycenter.org/
747$ Other Funds
TOTAL: 4209$*

* more than 150$ is a direct donation from a supporter of the Rainbow Awards who isn't submitting; while some authors were more than generous, arriving to donate 5 times the suggested amount, being the submission fee a non mandatory and voluntary direct donation, we were struggling to raise the same amount as last year and there is who decided to cover part of it. I thank you for all you are doing, and if you wish to donate to the above links, please drop me a note with your donation and I will update the total.

2014 Rainbow Awards Guidelines: reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4162490.html

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andrew potter

UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet: Annabelle Jacobs

Starting from March up until June I will feature authors attending the UK GLBTQ Meet in Bristol (June 7 & 8, 2014: http://ukglbtfictionmeet.co.uk/2014-registration/2014-attendees/)

Today author is Annabelle Jacobs: Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with her husband, three rowdy children, and two cats.
An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They're usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.
Website: http://annabellejacobs.com/

Annabelle Jacobs is offering a copy of Not Quite Shakespeare to one commenter on this blog. You can comment on LJ or DW if you have an account (I will send a PM to the winner), if you don't have an account, please leave a comment on DW with a contact email.

Not Quite Shakespeare by Annabelle Jacobs
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Not Quite Shakespeare

Take a ride to Northern Scotland on the famous train, the Jacobite, and rediscover desire. Get lost in the Peace Maze in Northern Ireland during a downpour and let a handsome young redhead come to the rescue. Take a tour of historical Blackpool on the English coast and set the stage for the perfect romance. From England to the outer isles, the UK holds treasure troves of romance, history, intrigue, and—naturally—quirky British humor. Not Quite Shakespeare samples it all in fifteen stories.

A man in London makes an accidental confession of sexual need to a virtual stranger who happens to be his boss. An American revisits West Sussex and rekindles an old flame with a romp in the stables. A couple finds their perfect third while vacationing on a pig farm in Yorkshire. In the office, on the race track, or in the kitchen baking bread—romance in the UK is alive and well, and full of sweet surprise.

Stories Included:

Ninety-nine Problems by Becky Black
The Jacobite by Bette Browne
Illumination by Sam Evans
Wag, Not a Dog by Theo Fenraven
The Benefits of Hindsight by MA Ford
Apollo, Heathcliff, and Hercules by S.A. Garcia
Misadventures of Mislaid Men by Penny Hudson
Rough Tackle by Annabelle Jacobs
Bread and Butter Pudding by Jules Jones
First Contact by Rhidian Brenig Jones
Chanctonbury Ring by Sarah Madison
Tops Down, Bottoms Up by Jay Northcote
In the Doghouse by Chris Quinton
Wrong Number by Megan Reddaway
Best Vacation Ever by Rob Rosen

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4352963.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.