Category Archives: erotica

“In the Ring” by James Lear— Corruption, Power and Passion

Lear, James. “In the Ring: A Dan Stagg Novel”, Cleis Press, 2018.

Corruption, Power and Passion

Amos Lassen

Most of you know that I do not read much erotica but I never miss a James Lear tale because he rises over what I call “trashy porn. Lear writes literary smut. Not only does he arouse the reader sexually but also literarily so if you have not read him than I suggest you do. “In the Ring” is a volume in his Dan Stagg series and here Stagg becomes involved in a world of concealed identities, double agents (some of whom are quite beautiful) and as the tile of this review says corruption, power, and passion.

The world thinks that Stagg is dead having been killed in Baghdad by a bomb. Now with a new identity and high-tech gadgets, our tough Marine officer goes deep undercover (and under covers) to penetrate an extreme right-wing group of terrorists. While he is on loan from the CIA and MI6, Stagg goes to England to investigate a corrupt boxing promoter and “his stable of vulnerable, sexually compliant, young athletes.” Stagg has no idea yet of what fun and muscle awaits him.

Using the disguise of a martial arts instructor, Stagg is soon drawn into a dark world of blackmail, prostitution, and pornography; a world where sex and money are always available. He needs to be able to hide who he really is to fulfill the mission. On the other hand he might find this to be a new life if he works for Alan Vaughan, the mastermind behind this terrorist plot.

The more involved Stagg becomes the greater the erotic, romantic and deadly adventures become his. He actually faces the politics and the criminal activity that lies beneath the seductive cover of the life he is forced to pursue. It does not seem to be a bad life at all but he needs a good deal of willpower to keep him from drowning in it.

James Lear really knows how to tell a story and he knows just how much erotica is necessary to keep us reading.

“For the Love of Samuel” by R.P. Andrews— An Erotic Romance

Andrews, R.P. “For The Love of Samuel”, ADS, 2018.

An Erotic Romance

Amos Lassen

It is 2012 and Billy Veleber in a 51-year-old New Yorker and a gay male who is growing older and hating it. His ex, Mitch, a meth head is out of the picture, Then there was Gus, who is an aging gay male like Billy but who is no longer in the picture. Billy is given the chance to return to the days of his youth through magic and he jumps at the chance. Not if I would tell you how this comes about, I would spoil the read for you so just bear with me.

Billy gets the chance to become 21, through the magical dog tag of a long dead Civil War soldier, Samuel Evans. Now as a young man, he lives Manhattan and relocates to Fort Lauderdale where no one knows anything about him. It is there that he meets Dare who becomes the love of his life and together they pursue a “get rich quick” scheme that pulls them together but that also has the power to break them apart. There is a “small” problem in that Billy is not who he seems to be to Dare.

I am not a big reader of gay erotica (or erotica of any kind) but when I do read it, I usually rely on recommendations. This was not the case here as I was already familiar with R.P. Andrews’ writing having reviewed him in the past.

I have always thought that if erotica is to read true, there must be a story into which the sex scenes fit and that is what “Samuel” has. We gain some background about the Civil War. I read that Andrews is a Civil War buff and so I am sure that he did his research well in order to write this book. He learned that dog tags (an important part of this story) came into being with the Civil War and this gave him the chance to give some historical background to his story. Andrews discovered that Walt Whitman

had been a volunteer nurse at the Armory Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he cared for injured and dying Union soldiers during the war and he very nicely uses that as part of his story. We not only get hot erotica but a bit of gay history (although disguised).

There have been countless stories about the quest for youth and everlasting life making it difficult to find a new way to approach it and write about it. Here is where Andrew succeeds. He takes the facts that he has learned and converts them into fantasy and he gives us a very sexy story. It seems that there were certain dog tags that contained the life force of their long dead owners and when the tags were transferred to a new owner, the person returned to the age Samuel was when he lost his life.

When the story opens, we see that Billy is beset by bad luck. Gus who was his lover at that time had a stroke leaving him almost helpless and ending his wonderful career as a neurosurgeon. Billy’s work was lost to bankruptcy and Billy had to find a new job.

Desperate Billy heads to Chicago hoping to find a job and comfortable surroundings for Gus. He also has the idea of resurrecting his romance with Mitch who has become a victim of the meth epidemic happening among gay men. From there it was off to Florida and a new life as a new person.

We meet some very hot men who have some very hot sex but the reader must be ready to read fast because the novel is fast paced. I actually heard, and thoroughly enjoyed the audio version that made it all seem very real (and very sexy). However, it is not only the sex that keeps the story moving. Writer Andrews tells a good story in wonderful prose and we are very aware of how much he studied the Civil War to be able to write this.

There are a lot of characters and the story changes directions a few times keeping us alert. This is one of those books that will stay with me for quite a while.

“Porn Diaries” by Bruce LaBruce and edited by Marco Siedelmann— Ahead of his Time

LaBruce, Bruce. “Porn Diaries: How to Succeed in Hardcore Without Really Trying”, (edited by Marco Siedelmann), Editions Moustache, 2016.

Ahead of His Time

Amos Lassen

I am a total Bruce LaBruce fan and I doubt I will ever forget my reaction to the first of his movies that I saw way back when. I was completely engrossed in the honest way he showed gay life and while his films might be considered outlandish and over the top by some, I will always argue for the merit I see in them. LaBruce has dared to go where others will not consider and while there are those who see pornography here, there are also those of us who see beauty. Known as The Advocate for Fagdom, there seem to be no boundaries and LaBruce constantly pushes our buttons allowing us to see a side of gay life that we do not often see on screen. LaBruce is one of the main people in the New Queer Cinema, a group of filmmakers that do not shy away from the reality of life.

LaBruce began his career in Toronto in the 1980s with queer punk fanzines and Super 8 short films, eventually moving into the international independent movie scene, LaBruce was already writing and taking photographs. He wrote for established gay magazines such as “Honcho” and “Inches” and also often supplied them with photographs. This book is the first time that we have his collected thoughts that includes his very “thought-provoking, political, opinionated and cleverly-pointed articles about pornography”.  The book is loaded with photographs and includes a conversation between LaBruce and gay porn legend Peter Berlin as well as numerous essays, articles, stories, and three shooting diaries, for “Skin Flick”, “The Raspberry Reich” and “L.A. Zombie”.

LaBruce tells us that he never had the intention of being a pornographer, “I considered my early Super 8 short films and my first three feature films as art films with sexually explicit content; but as I gained a reputation as a pornographer, as did my producer Jurgen Brüning, we decided to start making ‘real’ porn…. I started making narrative, art films with porn actors and making two versions; softcore and hardcore,” and there are two versions each of “Skin Flick”, “L.A. Zombie”, and “The Raspberry Reich”.

LaBruce describes how porn actors struggle with scripts and we learn that LaBruce is like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain… he pulls it back to reveal the reality of porn filmmaking. He shares that he likes to push the boundary and try to make porn as much like a narrative feature as possible.

LaBruce also shares some of the challenges of indie filmmaking and these include patience, hard work and endless tweaking. “I have a strange drive that compels me to make films, even though I find it enormously challenging; if I don’t make a feature after a certain period of time, I start to get depressed and anxious.” He loves the feedback he gets from people especially those who tell me him how his films have influenced or inspired them. LaBruce sees porn as an unconscious acting out that goes against the regulations of society. The free love that we see in his films ties into LaBruce’s own personal philosophy of love. He is “militantly anti-monogamy” and is in an open marriage because he says that falls in love with other people all the time.

This book provides context to his work in a conversational manner, making the reader feel as though he is actually having a conversation with LaBruce. I can vouch for that having had a phone chat with him after he released “Gerontophilia”. In that chat, I realized how much I missed in the film and who could be better to tell me than the director and screenwriter (with Daniel Allen Cox) himself. I then re-watched the film and it was almost completely different.

“FLOWER”— Sex and Intimacy Among Five Guys


Sex and Intimacy Among Five Guys

Amos Lassen

Queer filmmaker Matt Lambert is known for his unusual, visionary films and “Flower” is by far his most explicit work yet. It is about celebrating sex positivity and dismantling the shame that surrounds gay sex. We see five young guys having sex and the sex they share is infused it with a sense of intimacy, sweetness and honesty. It intercuts the men having a bit of a sex-fuelled party with a very sensual erotic session the next morning. Things take an unexpected turn when the men start lip-syncing to Pansy Division’s 90s tune, “Flower” and this includes using an erect penis as a microphone which adds an unusual but rather fun, punk edge to the end of the film.

Lambert feels that adding a sense of connection and humanity to porn is important because many learn about their sexuality through porn. Often what we have is demeaning and dehumanizing. This tries to correct that.


You can watch the movie here:

“While My Wife’s Away” by James Lear— A Journey to Self-Discovery

Lear, James. “While My Wife’s Away”, Cleis Press, 2017. July 11, 2017

A Journey to Self-Discovery

Amos Lassen

James Lear is a literary pornographer and that is not a term that I give away easily. I have reviewed all of his books and find that he just keeps getting better even though I rarely read gay erotic writing. I believe it was about ten years ago that I was first introduced to Lear (when I was one of Cleis Press’s regular reviewers before the company was sold). He knows how to create a situation that he make erotic in very few words and I can safely say that he has written some of the best and some of the hottest gay prose that I have ever read.

He does the same in his new book, “While My Wife’s Away” and just the title reeks of eroticism and sexy thoughts. Try to remember your first time with a married straight man (so many of us have done this) and see if it doesn’t rank with some of your most erotic experiences. Here we meet Joe Heath who seems to be a typical (“typical” is a word that bothers me because I am not sure that such a thing exists anymore) straight married man, living with his wife and two teenage children. He commutes to work, plays sports and enjoys beer but there are some things about Joe that very few people know and those that do have been his sexual partners. No one really knows that his marriage is sliding as is his relationship with his wife. They sleep in separate bedrooms and really have stayed together for their kids. only staying together until the kids have left home. Something else that others do not know is that Joe wants to have sex with another man.

When a chance meeting with a trainer at his gym occurs, it sets Joe off as a series of other sexual encounters with men. In fact, Joe has all kinds of encounters from casual to serious to dangerous. This is way James Lear goes to town. It did not take long before Joe began living a double and dishonest life (as far as his family is concerned). Joe earns for his family by day and becomes a sexual adventurer by night. His hunting ground is the internet where he can find whatever he wants.

Now you may ask where is the literary aspect of James Lear’s work. I see it in Joe’s self-discovery of who he really is. While he is not the kind of guy that I would want to call a friend, I cheer him on as he learns abut himself and we can only hope that self-acceptance will follow. Lear is a sophisticated writer whose pornography is also sophisticated and there is a profundity in this novel (and I will let you discover that yourselves). Yes, the prose is sexually stimulating but it is also, to a degree, intellectually stimulating. There is an inner psychological drama here and we see this clearly when we look at the lies that Joe need to use in order to be himself. Joe faces himself when dealing with what he considers to be personal need and not morality or the lack of it. He is not happy in a marriage that has run its course but we do not know who gets the blame for this.

This is in no way a romance—it is hard erotica with no emotions and no hanging around for coffee in the morning. While the sex is plentiful, it is not gratuitous in that they contribute to the growth of Joe’s character. It took the accident at the gym and the attentions of the trainer Adrian for Joe to realize what had been missing in his life. When Adrian helps him at the gym, Joe becomes aroused and this is where his journey begins. He sets out on a quest from which, in all probability, there will be no return. If he does not go about it in the right way he could destroy himself and everyone involved with him.

The novel just ends and it leaves us with several unanswered questions making me think that we have not seen the last of Joe.


“Wicked Frat Boy Ways” by Todd Gregory— Love, Seduction and Emotions

Gregory, Todd. “Wicked Frat Boy Ways”, Bold Strokes Books, 2017.

Love, Seduction and Emotions

Amos Lassen

Todd Gregory is a name we associate with gay erotic writing and while we have not heard from him in quite a while, he is back with new novel. Set on the campus of Polk State, we meet seniors Brandon Benson and Phil Connor, fraternity brothers who play a game of seduction yet they do not think about the damage they cause and so not understand that they are playing with others’ emotions until it is too late. The sex scenes are graphic but I had a rough time remembering who was who because of the way the story is told and the number of characters that we meet. In fact, each chapter is the perspective of a different person.

I had the impression that held together the friendship between Phil and Brandon friendship was their daring each other. Something was missing about how they were so close. Phil is the president of his fraternity, and the two figured that this would allow for a lot of fun with the pledges and new members. What they did not understand was that sex is not a game and that could be consequences for their thoughtless actions. I found nothing in either of their personalities that made me feel anything positive about them but I suspect that is what the author wanted.

I also felt that setting gay erotica in a fraternity was a but if a stretch even though there are gay fraternity brothers even though sexuality in the house was acceptable and there were a few gay men who were members. Again, this could be deliberate as if to say that there are gay people everywhere. Having been a gay fraternity man myself, I remember well how difficult it was to be so but then it was at a different time in history.

It is always difficult to read about main characters that are despicable. Not only are they difficult to find ways to identify with them, they are responsible for dealing with others’ lives. Yet, for some reason I was fascinated by them and they certainly kept me reading. I was totally blindsided by the ending and so after I finished reading the book, I sat quietly for an hour letting what I had just finished sink in. As I wrote, I realized that the problems I had with the book were actually set ups so that we could get a different perspective of gay life even if it is one that does not please the average reader and I understood that this was the true genius of the writer’s work.











29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced

29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced

 Awards Ceremony: Monday, June 12, 2017 in New York City   

 Note: The number of finalists in a category is determined by the number of submissions in that category. Those marked with an asterisk have been reviewed here at

 Lesbian Fiction

  • *A Thin Bright Line, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, University of Wisconsin Press
  • Another Brooklyn, Jacqueline Woodson, Amistad
  • Bull & Other Stories, Kathy Anderson, Autumn House Press
  • The Day After Death, Lynn C. Miller, University of New Mexico Press
  • Here Comes the Sun, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Liveright Publishing Corporation
  • Pretend I’m Your Friend, MB Caschetta, Engine Books
  • Tears in the Grass, Lynda A. Archer, Dundurn
  • They May Not Mean To, But They Do, Cathleen Schine, Sarah Crichton Books

Gay Fiction

  • *The Angel of History, Rabih Alameddine, Atlantic Monthly Press
  • *Black Deutschland, Darryl Pinckney, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • *The Cosmopolitans, Sarah Schulman, The Feminist Press
  • *Hide, Matthew Griffin, Bloomsbury USA
  • *Jazz Moon, Joe Okonkwo, Kensington Books
  • *Moonstone, Sjón, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • *The Rope Swing, Jonathan Corcoran, Vandalia Press
  • *What Belongs To You, Garth Greenwell, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Bisexual Fiction

  • *Beautiful Gravity, Martin Hyatt, Antibookclub
  • Marrow Island, Alexis M. Smith, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Mouth to Mouth, Abigail Child, EOAGH
  • When Watched, Leopoldine Core, Penguin Books

Transgender Fiction

  • Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir, Kai Cheng Thom, Metonymy Press
  • If I Was Your Girl, Meredith Russo, Flatiron Books
  • Small Beauty, jia qing wilson-yang, Metonymy Press

LGBTQ Nonfiction

  • *Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility and the Duty of Repair, Sarah Schulman, Arsenal Pulp Press
  • *Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York, Donald Albrecht, Skira Rizzoli
  • Ghost Faces: Hollywood and Post-Millennial Masculinity, David Greven, State University of New York Press
  • *How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS, David France, Knopf
  • *Pride & Joy: Taking the Streets of New York City, Jurek Wajdowicz, The New Press
  • Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Duke University Press Books
  • *The Estrangement Principle, Ariel Goldberg, Nightboat Books
  • The Feminist Bookstore Movement: Lesbian Antiracism and Feminist Accountability, Kristen Hogan, Duke University Press Books

Bisexual Nonfiction

  • Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me, Ana Castillo, The Feminist Press
  • The Body’s Alphabet, Ann Tweedy, Headmistress Press
  • I Have Devoted My Life to the Clitoris, Elizabeth Hall, Tarpaulin Sky Press
  • Women in Relationships With Bisexual Men: Bi Men By Women, Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli and Sara Lubowitz, Lexington Books

Transgender Nonfiction

  • *Life Beyond My Body: A Transgender Journey to Manhood in China, Lei Ming, Transgress Press
  • *Outside the XY: Black and Brown Queer Masculinity, Morgan Mann Willis, Riverdale Avenue Books
  • Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism, Julia Serano, Switch Hitter Press
  • Trunky (Transgender Junky): A Memoir, Samuel Peterson, Transgress Press
  • You Only Live Twice: Sex, Death and Transition, Chase Joynt and Mike Hoolbloom, Coach House Books

Lesbian Poetry

  • Bestiary, Donika Kelly, Graywolf Press
  • Complete Works of Pat Parker, edited by Julie R. Enszer, Sinister Wisdom/A Midsummer Night’s Press
  • Journal of Ugly Sites, Stacy Szymaszek, Fence Books
  • Night, Etel Adnan, Nightboat Books
  • play dead, francine j. harris, Alice James Books
  • Swarm Queen’s Crown, Stephanie Adams-Santos, Fathom Books
  • The Old Philosopher, Vi Khi Nao, Nightboat Books
  • You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, Arisa White, Augury Books

Gay Poetry

  • DIG, Bryan Borland, Stillhouse Press
  • Night Sky with Exit Wounds, Ocean Vuong, Copper Canyon Press
  • Primer, Aaron Smith, University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Rapture, Sjohnna McCray, Graywolf Press
  • The Halo, C. Dale Young, Four Way Books
  • The Taxidermist’s Cut, Rajiv Mohabir, Four Way Books
  • Thief in the Interior, Phillip B. Williams, Alice James Books
  • Trouble the Water, Derrick Austin, BOA

Transgender Poetry

  • even this page is white, Vivek Shraya, Arsenal Pulp Press
  • The Romance of Siam: A Pocket Guide, Jai Arun Ravine, Timeless, Infinite Light
  • Reacquainted with Life, Kokumo, Topside Press
  • Safe Space, Jos Charles, Ahsahta Press
  • Sympathetic Little Monster, Cameron Awkward-Rich, Ricochet Editions

Lesbian Mystery

  • Blood Money Murder, Jessie Chandler, Bella Books
  • Bury Me When I’m Dead, Cheryl A. Head, Bywater Books
  • Collide-O-Scope, Andrea Bramhall, Ylva Publishing
  • Final Cut, Lynn Ames, Phoenix Rising Press
  • Pathogen, Jessica L. Webb, Bold Strokes Books
  • Requiem for Immortals, Lee Winter, Ylva Publishing
  • Under Contract, Jennifer L. Jordan, Clover Valley Press
  • Walk-in, T.L. Hart, Bella Books

Gay Mystery

  • Bitter Legacy by Dal Maclean, Blind Eye Books
  • Homo Superiors by L. A. Fields, Lethe Press
  • Lay Your Sleeping Head by Michael Nava, Korima Press
  • Nights in Berlin by Janice Law, Head of Zeus
  • Speakers of the Dead: A Walt Whitman Mystery by J. Aaron Sanders, Plume

Lesbian Memoir/Biography

  • *A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain, Christina Crosby, NYU Press
  • A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder, Ma-Nee Chacaby, University of Manitoba Press
  • *Im Just a Person, Tig Notaro, Ecco
  • *Indomitable: The Life of Barbara Grier, Joanne Passet, Bella Books
  • The Wind Is Spirit: The Life, Love and Legacy of Audre Lorde, Gloria I. Joseph, PhD, Villarosa Media

Gay Memoir/Biography

  • *Books For Living, Will Schwalbe, Knopf
  • *Boy Erased, Garrard Conley, Riverhead Books
  • *Capsid: A Love Song, Joseph Osmundson, Indolent Books
  • *Cursed Legacy: The Tragic Life of Klaus Mann, Frederic Spotts, Yale University Press
  • *Lust & Wonder, Augusten Burroughs, St. Martin’s Press
  • *One Man Show: The Life and Art of Bernard Perlin, Michael Schreiber, Bruno Gmuender Books
  • *Proxies, Brian Blanchfield, Nightboat Books
  • *When We Rise, Cleve Jones, Hachette Books


Lesbian Romance

  • The Scorpion’s Empress, Yoshiyuki Ly, Solstice Publishing
  • Coils, Barbara Ann Wright, Bold Strokes Books
  • Finding Lizzie, Karma Kingsley, NineStar Press
  • Little Lies, Lila Bruce, Self-Published
  • Lost in the Starlight, Kiki Archer, K.A. Books
  • *Loving Eleanor, Susan Wittig Albert, Persevero Press
  • *Perfect Pairing, Rachel Spangler, Bywater Books
  • *The Liberators of Willow Run, Marianne K. Martin, Bywater Books

Gay Romance

  • Into the Blue, Pene Henson, Interlude Press
  • Pansies, Alexis Hall, Riptide Publishing
  • *Femme, Marshall Thornton, Kenmore Books
  • Rank, Richard Compson Sater, Bold Strokes Books
  • *Country, Jeff Mann, Lethe Press
  • Adulting 101, Lisa Henry, Riptide Publishing
  • Rented Heart, Garrett Leigh, Riptide Publishing
  • Caught Inside, Jamie Deacon, Beaten Track Publishing

LGBTQ Anthology

  • ALPHABET: The LGBTQAIU Creators from Prism Comics, Jon Macy and Tara Madison Avery, Editors Stacked Deck Press
  • *Building Fires in the Snow: A Collection of Alaska LGBTQ Short Fiction and Poetry, Martha Amore and Lucian Childs, Editors, University of Alaska Press / Snowy Owl Books Imprint
  • *No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies, E. Patrick Johnson, Duke University Press Books
  • *The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care, Zena Sharman, Arsenal Pulp Press
  • *Queer, David J. Getsy, MIT Press

LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult

  • Beast, Brie Spangler, Alfred A. Knopf
  • Girl Mans Up, M.E. Girard, Harper Teen
  • Gravity, Juliann Rich, Bold Stroke Books
  • Highly Illogical Behavior, John Corey Whaley, Dial Books
  • Not Your Sidekick, C.B. Lee, Duet
  • Our Chemical Hearts, Krystal Sutherland, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
  • *Symptoms of Being Human, Jeff Garvin, Balzer + Bray
  • The Midnight Star, Marie Lu, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers


  • Barbecue/Bootycandy, Robert O’Hara, Theatre Communications Group
  • Freda and Jem’s Best of the Week, Lois Fine, Playwrights Canada Press
  • Perfect Arrangement, Topher Payne, Samuel French, Inc.

LGBTQ Erotica

  • Camp Rewind, Meghan O’Brien, Bold Strokes Books
  • Roped In, Marie Sexton and L.A. Witt, Amber Quill
  • Steel and Promise, Alexa Black, Bold Strokes Books
  • Soul to Keep, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Bold Strokes Books
  • Skyscraper, Scott Alexander Hess, Unzipped Books

LGBTQ Graphic Novels

  • Active Voice The Comic Collection: The Real Life Adventures Of An Asian-American, Lesbian, Feminist, Activist And Her Friends, Written by P. Kristen Enos with Heidi Ho; Illustrated by Derek Chua, Leesamarie Croal, Casandra Grullon, Beth Varni, Dan Parent, Furia Press
  • *The Case of Alan Turing: The Extraordinary and Tragic Story of the Legendary Codebreaker, Eric Liberge and Arnaud Delalande, Translated by David Homel, Arsenal Pulp Press
  • Wuvable Oaf: Blood & Metal, Ed Luce, Fantagraphics Books


  • *All Good Children, Dayna Ingram, Lethe Press
  • The Devourers, Indra Das, Del Rey
  • *Irish Black, David Lennon, Blue Spike Publishing
  • Kissing Booth Girl, A.C. Wise, Lethe Press
  • *Lily, Michael Thomas Ford, illustrated by Staven Andersen, Lethe Press
  • A Little Queermas Carol, Sassafras Lowrey, PoMo Freakshow
  • Style of Attack Report, By Ras Mashramani, Rasheedah Phillips, Alex Smith, and M. Eighteen Téllez, Metropolarity
  • Will Do Magic for Small Change, Andrea Hairston, Aqueduct Press

LGBTQ Studies

  • Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two Spirit Memory, Qwo-Li Driskill, University of Arizona Press
  • *Homintern, Gregory Woods, Yale University Press
  • Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community, Andrew J. Jolivette, University of Washington Press
  • Melodrama: An Aesthetics of Impossibility, Jonathan Goldberg, Duke University Press
  • Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men From The March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis, Kevin Mumford, University of North Carolina Press
  • *Out in the Periphery: Latin America’s Gay Rights Revolution, Omar G. Encarnación, Oxford University Press
  • *Queer Clout: Chicago and the Rise of Gay Politics, Timothy Stewart-Winter, University of Pennsylvania Press
  • Sex Museums: The Politics and Performance of Display, Jennifer Tyburczy, University of Chicago Press

“Homoerotic Tales” by David Holly— Twenty-eight Stories

homoerotic tales cover

Holly, David. “Homoerotic Tales”, David Holly’s Gay Romances, 2016.

Twenty-Eight Stories

Amos Lassen

I was just about to give up on gay erotic fiction since it has been a long time since I have read something that knocked me out. But then I received a copy of David Holly’s “Homoerotic Tales” and my mind was changed instantly. The stories collected here are about gay sex among men (duh!). They cover the spectrum of erotica and some are “explicit, comical, erotic, lascivious, enthralling, lewd, mouth-watering, shameless, scandalous, indecent, dirty, smutty, naughty, ribald, and rude”. I have, of late, maintained that thee are really two kinds of erotica—trash and literary smut. David Holly writes literary smut. In fact, on page six, Holly informs us that his stories are explicit and erotic. I have always felt that in order for erotica to really succeed, it has to rely n more than just being erotic. We need characters we can identify with and stories that are so far fetched, they just could not be. Holly obviously believes that as well as his stories are more than just cheap sex related in a tawdry manner. I even liked some of the characters and the plot lines (strike that word “even”—it sounds forced).

I have a problem with collections like these when it comes time to sit down and write a review. I suppose the best way to do this would be to same something about each of the stories but the that review would go on forever. I can say that I like the book but that in effect means nothing if I cannot say what I like about it. I could describe the erotica but that could get me censored. I could commend the author on a great imagination but the stories might be based on his own personal experience (and if these stories really happened to Holly, he is a very lucky man with a permanent erection. The best I can say is to tell you to get a copy and then see for yourself.

“The Sun Goes Down” by James Lear— … And So Does Vince

the sun goes down

Lear, James. “The Sun Goes Down”, Cleis Press, 2016.

… And So Does Vince

Amos Lassen

In a pitch to say alive after the sale of the business and something of a disastrous reorganization, Cleis Press has released a new book by one of its most popular writers, James Lear. Lear is one of my favorite literary smut (an endearing term for erotica) writers and as usual, we get a fine and very sexy read.

We meet Mitch Mitchell who needs a vacation and is determined to make the most of his trip to the Mediterranean island of Gozo. However, unlike Mitchell, death takes no vacations and Mitch finds himself investigating what happened to a young, gay lance corporal. The police have classified it as a suicide but the dead man’s boyfriend claims it was murder. Mitch suspects that some kind of gay cover-up is taking place and gets to work on an investigation that leads him into a maze of lies, false identities and secret sex.

Mitchell, himself has quite an active sex life and he shares his sexual adventures with us and provides many details. What we do not know at first is that in dealing with the loss of Vince, the love of his life, we see that the is trying to hide how he feels by engaging in a full and active sex life.

Mitch was invited to the island of Gozo and he assumed that the reason was that an old friend wanted him for sex. However, he soon finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation. Yet Mitch always seems able to find sexual satisfaction on the job.

This is actually the fourth volume in the Mitch Mitchell series and while you do not have to read the prior books to enjoy this. However, if you have read them then you already know something about Mitch and his sexual proclivities. He is an American doctor who thinks of himself as some kind of detective who loves sex. He loves mysteries and man sex just about the same.

On the island there are plenty of willing and able-bodied men but Mitch soon learns that everything is not all sunshine and men. The novel comes at us from two directions— the sexual and the mysterious. Mitch is a bit subdued because of the loss of Vince as well as Lover Boy Morgan. When gay men begin turning up dead, Mitch realizes that this is really a serious business and he is determined to find out who is responsible. Combing mystery and erotica, James Lear gives us another great novel. Clear you day before you begin reading because you will not be able to stop.

“Coming to Grief” by Dale Chase— A Bit of Erotica

coming to grief

Chase, Dale. “Coming to Grief”, Wilde City Books, 2016.

A Bit of Erotica

Amos Lassen

Laz Kincaid is grieving over having to shoot a horse when he meets Johnny Anglim on the road to Cheyenne. Johnny is taken with Laz from the moment they meet and eventually the two get it on. However, Laz remains somewhat cold and distant even though the two men have been intimate. When they finally get to Cheyenne, Johnny meets

Deputy Wade Rowley who warns Johnny about Laz and claims that he is only one who can break through to him. Johnny understand this to mean that Wade is the other man in Laz’s life by the refuses to let him go and understands that there could be trouble.

Dale Chase has set her book in the Wild West and if you have read her other books, you know that she often does. I am fairly sure that this is because of the kind of men that live there. This is en emotional love story where sex is the focal point and Chase really knows how to write sex scenes and she does that once again here. I do find, however, that the story is secondary to the sex that we read about.

It seems to me that there is a lot less erotica being written these days but Chase has her readers that wait for her books. Have a look at this one— I am sure you will not be disappointed.