“Cleis Press has been at the forefront of LGBT publishing since 1980 and continues to give voice to queer writers of all genres.” —EDGE Media
Valentine's Day from Cleis Press
Thursday, Feb. 13th - 7:30pm
Books Inc. in the Castro
2275 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
I asked to Felice Picano, Lewis DeSimone and Rob Rosen the same question: the Vday you will never forget?
Felice: For Valentine’s Day, in our middle school homeroom we were each assigned one
card to give to one classmate, evenly divided between boys and girls, so that no one would be ignored. After that one, we could make and give as many others as we wished. The newest and most unusual student in our class of smart, snappy, quick-thinking New York teens was Franklin. He was from Tennessee, relocated mid-year because both parents were high powered scientists now working at a Long Island laboratory. Franklin was slow thinking, slow moving and slow speaking. He was considerate and polite. He was a Southern gentleman in the making. That Valentine’s Day I was popular and I received a bunch of cards. To my surprise, I received one from Franklin. I thanked all the girls, then after we’d been let out for the day, I saw Franklin alone, as usual, and walked with him. I thanked him for the card, saying it was kind of unusual for one boy to give another boy a Valentine’s Day, wasn’t it? He then quietly explained to me that the holiday was to honor St. Valentine, a Christian martyr who was known to have had an especially close Roman Centurion friend. And so to Franklin’s way of thinking, mine was the only authentic card given in class that day. I looked it up and he was right. We became friends for the next year and a half, until his parents relocated again and their son with them. Franklin will always be my first real Valentine.
Lewis: Happy Valentine’s Days are all alike. The images blur together in my memory: Did I give or receive the fancy chocolates? Were the roses red or white? Did we drink Champagne between bouts of making love?
My therapist said it was normal. We’d been struggling in the way new couples do, as the independent way of life rebels against the demands of love, and a week before the most romantic holiday on the calendar, we decided to take a break. It was Chad’s idea: things were moving too quickly, and he was afraid of losing himself in the relationship. He needed to reconnect with who he was as an individual. I didn’t need the time off: I was already lost.
So our plans for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner went to waste, and I spent my days alone—going to the movies, working on my novel, taking long walks through the byways of San Francisco, reconnecting with old friends I had neglected for love. More to the point, I reconnected with myself. I realized that there was more to me than a relationship. So when he called and told me that he missed me, that life was better with me in it, it was my head as well as my heart that welcomed him back.
We had our Valentine’s Day a week late that year. He came over with the roses. We drank the Champagne. We made love. The insanity of romance—losing myself in love—was over. And I didn’t miss it. The love had grown deeper for being tested. I had learned to be my own valentine first, and that made all the difference.
Rob: Ironically, my worst Valentine’s, at least dinner-wise, proved to be the most life-changing. See, it was our first Valentine’s together, me and my now-husband, Kenny. I took him to my absolutely favorite restaurant, a local Indian place. That night, they veered from the standard menu and had a prix fixe one instead. In other words, none of my favorite dishes were listed. In fact, the food turned out to be awful, the service just as bad, and it was to be the last time that Kenny ever agreed to go with me there. So, yes, and with a heavy sob, nix Rob’s favorite restaurant.
Now jump ahead more than several years later—because that’s how long it took for me to wear Kenny down¬—and we found ourselves back at this particular Indian restaurant. Phew, the food and the service were just as amazing as I’d remembered it. And so, from there on out, it became our favorite restaurant. In fact, when Kenny and I got married, they were the first place we asked to host our wedding reception, so that we could share our favorite place with our favorite people in the world, our family and friends.
Best Gay Romance 2014 by R.D. Cochrane and Timothy J. Lambert
Series: Best Gay Romance
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press (February 18, 2014)
Amazon: Best Gay Romance 2014
Amazon Kindle: Best Gay Romance 2014
Tales of love and lust in contemporary gay culture, Best Gay Romance 2014 is a Valentine to readers and a wonderful reminder of how love can begin — at the grocery store, the gym, the library, or even on the world wide web. Real romances with relatable characters, each of the stories in this collection represents a facet of the oh-so-human heart.
Best Gay Erotica 2014 by Larry Duplechan and Joe Mannetti
Series: Best Gay Erotica
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press (January 7, 2014)
Amazon: Best Gay Erotica 2014
Amazon Kindle: Best Gay Erotica 2014
Come get your nasty on! With Best Gay Erotica 2014, lauded literati Larry Duplechan continues the grand Labonté tradition of serving up steaming man-on-man sex stories of the highest literary quality. Sometimes rough and always ready, Best Gay Erotica 2014, is filled with stories of rough riders, silver fox studs, and hustlers, as well as coming out and coming of age youth. Watch an all-too-willing “sub” hung from the ceiling and treated to a gang-spanking with a sweet ending in “The Piñata Conquest” by Boot LS. Huck Pilgrim lets you hear a cocky young shop-lifter whimper and beg as he endures the meaty punishment exacted by a muscle-daddy mall cop in “Five Finger Discount”. With guest judge Joe Mannetti (former erotic-video performer and Mr. International Daddy Bear) picking this crop of stories, you’ll agree — he knows “hot” when he sees it. Pick up Best Gay Erotica 2014, but be sure to keep one hand free.
Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction by Timothy J. Lambert and R.D. Cochrane
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press (January 7, 2014)
Amazon: Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction
Amazon Kindle: Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction
In the age of online dating, one night hook-ups, and getting dumped via text, it seems like romance has left the building. Best-selling authors and die-hard romantics, Timothy Lambert and R.D. Cochrane are back with a follow-up to their critically acclaimed Fool for Love, one of Insight Out Bookclub's bestselling titles ever, with a collection of gay romance that incites love (and lust) in readers everywhere.
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