Sunday, April 29, 2012

Short Story Review: The Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer

The Witch Sea is a marvellous mythological-fairytale short story from Sarah Diemer. It features a weary and desperate sea god trapped on land, a witch trapped in a difficult inheritance, and a seal girl with a loving heart, trapped by love. As a side note,  I had the hauntingly beautiful song, "Sedna" by Heather Dale, playing in my head the entire time I was reading (based on an Inuit sea goddess who made the creatures of the sea). I believe this may actually be my favourite of Sarah Diemer's works so far. She has also made it available for FREE on Smashwords and Amazon.

Long ago, the dread sea god Galo apparently decided to lead an army onto land to wipe out humanity, and came ashore, took human form, and called up his creatures behind him. Unfortunately for him, a local witch managed to step in, and cut off his access to the sea by weaving a silver net of magic across the bay. Any sea creature that comes through is transformed into a human by the god She maintained this for the rest of her life and passed the duty on to her daughter, and granddaughter. And now her descendant keeps a lonely siege in her lighthouse.

Book Review: L World by Taryn Rose

In L World by Taryn Rose, sparks fly between a recent divorcee and lawyer and the gorgeous girl who does her hair. But can they overcome the age difference, and can she come to terms with being gay? Can the over achieving lawyer stop working so hard and take time for romance? (Obvious spoiler: Yes. Yes she can).

This is escapist, fairly fluff romance; a standard F/F happily ever after, that suffers from a lack of decent editing (like so much of lesbian fiction), but is easy to read, and there's a believable attraction between our various characters. Don't read it for the sex, though; while there is perfectly good sex in this book, there's also very bad sex. But overall, it's more about the tentative-slash-passionate romance between Blake, an extremely workaholic finance-related lawyer, and the sexy young hairdresser Janie. The theme of the story starts out as angsting over sexual attraction, then acting on it, and later shifts into emotional coming out and commitment issues.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: Dead Kitties Don't Purr by Amber Green

Dead Kitties Don't Purr by Amber Green is a contemporary horror, about the crumbling of society into a more hellish dystopia under the onslaught of a dreadful zombie virus. But mostly, it's the first love, desperate romance and firsthand experience of one girl when one city starts to fall before the virus.

We follow the first romance and survival of Camie, as the wave of a zombie virus reaches her university, just after she falls in love (of course) and her life falls into chaos and into a state of siege. It was a pretty short book, and I wasn't too impressed with the first third, but by the end, I was really into it. The actual ending was a bit of a cop out though, with everything wrapping up suddenly in about a page.

This was both a very light and a pretty hard hitting story. I know that's a bit of a contradiction! Basically, the story was skimpy, the romance felt underdeveloped, but the horror was real, and what there was, held together very well. It also makes up about 20% of all existing lesbian zombie books and is part of the Lesbians vs. Zombies series being published by Noble Romance (which has more coming out, so there that proportion will decrease pretty sharply!). It would probably shine in an anthology, once the books in the series are all out (should there be one), or else read along with the other stories (which I haven't read yet).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Anthology Review: A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace and Other Stories by Catherine Lundoff

A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace and Other Stories by Catherine Lundoff is an anthology of short stories that I heartily recommend. An entertaining and varied collection that leans strongly towards the dashing and romantic adventure, but with plenty of drama, intrigue, and occasional twists of parody to keep it interesting.

A mixed bag of fantasy and historica, including Shakespeare, piracy, Regency society, and modern day urban fantasy, Catherine Lundoff has a talent for finding fascinating female figures in history and bringing them to life. We meet a delightful variety of characters; from mannish impersonators, to graceful ladies, to plump lovelies, to plain Regency orphans. Generally, the writing style is very similar within each genre, and markedly different between them. For the historical stories, romantic liberties have been taken, but she obviously did her research.

Catherine Lundoff has written many short stories and published two other anthologies (both erotica). She is also the editor of the recent and well received paranormal/fantasy anthologies, and has recieved several awards (mostly Golden Crown Literary Awards awards and Gaylactic Sectrum shortlists in the Short Fiction and Other Work categories). She also contributed a marvellous guest post to the Introducing Lesbian Fiction event, recommending her top five lesbian books for a beginner.

Book Review: Pennance by Clare Ashton

Pennance by Clare Ashton is a quiet rural mystery, set in rural Cornwall. A gentle, serious love story, it follows the recovery and gradual, growing love between two fragile women, and the protagonist's climb out of a pit of depression and guilt.

Rural England. A tiny village where everyone knows everyone else's business, with scattered outlying cottages and houses and manors, and mud and rain and skimpy sunshine and gossip, gardening and politeness and getting drunk down at the pub. Within the first couple of pages, I knew exactly where I was, somewhere in rural Devon or Cornwall, and the rest of the chapter just drew me further in.

Lucy, our protagonist, is the survivor of a car crash that took her new husband's life a year ago. She now lives in a state of utter misery, depression, guilt and paranoia, made worse by her mother in law's vendetta against the local garage, the increasing attentions of her brother in law Ben, and the fact that her dead husband was the darling of the village. She hides in her cottage away from the world, terrified of fire and cars and people. When Karen and her two children move in at the manor next to her cottage, she slowly finds an equally broken friend in gentle Karen, who is shattered from her divorce and struggling to raise her children alone. The two women bond over their shared pain, as well as Karen's adorable toddler, George.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lesbian Pulp Fiction Postcards

Strange Lovers Lesbian Pulp Postcard zazzle_postcard
 by Kivitasku

Lesbian pulp fiction was a weird and wacky genre in the mid-20th century, and it left us with some amazingly over the top vintage book covers to smirk, snort and stare at.

Like this selection of weird and wonderful lesbian pulp fiction postcards on Zazzle (all actually from books, except for the one on the right, which is original art from Kivitasku).

Lesbian Queen zazzle_postcardWorld Without Men - '60s lesbian pulp novel zazzle_postcardI Prefer Girls - 60s lesbian pulp novel zazzle_postcardL is for 'lesbian' zazzle_postcardThe Well Of Loneliness zazzle_postcardA Lesson in Love zazzle_postcardStrange Breed zazzle_postcardOdd Girl Out zazzle_postcardCity of Women zazzle_postcard

You may also be interested in:

Lesbian Posters on Zazzle and Amazon

Literary Muse by GoodLesbianBooks
Looking for a fun gift, or something to decorate your new, all lesbian, room? You're in luck! There are plenty of fantastically lesbian posters available, from modern art, to cartoon, to vintage photography.

You can browse the best ones from Zazzle and Amazon below.

If you're interested, you can also check out GoodLesbianBooks on Zazzle (and buy stuff from us! We'd like that!)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Book Review: Parting Shots by Caren Cro

Tierra del Fuego: Colony Ship: Parting Shots by Caren Cro is a science fiction novel about the lesbians on the first colony ship out of Earth in 2088.

It's the late 21st century and humanity is finally moving into space. The first colony ship is getting ready to go, and people everywhere are hoping to be on it. Not least because of the promise of children. However, the journey is overshadowed by the destruction of a survey ship, attempts to sabotage the ship's departure and mission, and a villainous power grab once the ship is underway.

I had trouble reading this book because my cat wouldn't get off it. I did get her to wink seductively for the camera, though. I also had trouble figuring out which bit was meant to be the title. It's the first book in the Tierra del Fuego, Colony Ship series, so that makes the title 'Parting Shots'. For convenience, anyway.

This was a book that present a perfect case study for the argument that 'science fiction is about exploring social issues of today's world'. From the handling of queer characters to the US running out of natural resources (did you know that fresh water is set to become one of the most limited resources soon?), to the enforced social change brought about by the dominance of *gasp* China (and Europe and the rest of the world), religious terrorism, the 'race to the stars', mainstreaming of animal rights and veganism, mass extinctions of species, and racism. Racism is still obviously a problem, and that, combined with the limits on children and new technology, is combined in a fantastic, thought provoking way that I don't think I've actually seen written about before, in a deliberate attempt to create a perfect, racism free, colony. Oh, everything about the colony ship is designed to be ideal in some way; from a democratic charter to meat being grown from tissues samples rather than killing the animals, to complete freedom of who gets to pair up with whom. Or quadruple up.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Gaylactic Spectrum Awards: Overview & Lesbian Recipients

If you're looking for some LGBT fantasy, science fiction, or horror, then the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards are a good place to look. They are smaller and more recent than the Lambda and Stonewall awards, but are a good place to look for fantasy and science fiction. They aren't just book awards, covering novels, single short stories and miscellaneous media such as television and film.

They tend to be less strict on the GLBTQ factor, much like the GLAAD awards, at least in the 'Other Work' category. While they have a standard Best Novel category every year, there are two more regular categories held when there are enough qualifying nominees, Best Short Fiction and Best Other Work.

Best Novel 
The main category, the Best Novel category is the most reliable, being awarded every year to a steady stream of gay, lesbian and genderqueer fantasy and scifi books.

The Gaylactic Spectrum Awards: Best Short Fiction & Other Work
Short Fiction Short stories published anywhere, whether alone or in a collection.
Other Work All other media, from anthologies to television.

Hall of Fame Inductees An award for works published before the awards began (pre-1998). This category was awarded from 1999-2003.
People's Choice Awarded to a single title based on popular vote, awarded from 1999-2001.
Best Comics/Graphic Novel This category only existed in 2003. All other years, graphic novels were included in 'Other Work'. For more graphic novel awards, see 

Lesbian Titles That Received Awards in All Categories

Gaylactic Spectrum Awards: Best Novel Winners & Finalists

The Gaylactic Spectrum Awards are dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, horror and a few less easily categorised books with LGBTQ themes.

The Best Novel category is the most consistent, being awarded every year (mostly for gay male or lesbian characters, rather than the rest of the spectrum) and includes a lot of good books. 

Other Awards from the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards (pending)
  • Best Other Work and Best Short Fiction winners and finalists

The Best Novel Winners and Finalists From 1999-2011

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

YA Book Review: Keeping You A Secret by Julie Anne Peters

Keeping You A Secret by Julie Anne Peters is a young adult novel about coming out and first love. It is engaging and upsetting and delightful, and entirely relevant.

Holland is a smart successful teen, who has fallen into a depressive rut, loves her boyfriend - but only as a friend, is being railroaded by her mother into overachieving, hates her weird, goth stepsister and is generally frustrated, when she is captivated by a new girl.

Cece is an out lesbian, whose mother doesn't really accept her, and left her last school in hopes of a more accepting one. She's brave and lovely and tries to start her own gay support group at the school - which is promptly shot down by the student council.

Holland and Cece (Cecilia) fall almost instantly in love, though it takes them a while to get around to admitting it. Holland, our protagonist, didn't even realise she was gay, while Cece was worrying over her mixed signals and then waiting for Holland to be ready. They spend a lot of time secretly stalking each other (from Holland's perspective, she doesn't learn about Cece's interest until later), going to class, and finally bonding, before falling into kissing and (implied) sexual relations.

The Alice B Readers Award

The Alice B award is a one-off honour awarded to significant, living writers in lesbian fiction, every year. It was named for Alice B. Toklas, the partner of Gertrude Stein, and begun in 2004 by the now deceased Roberta "Sandy" Sandburg.

For authors who are not yet 'significant' (for example, have only published one lesbian book), there are the lesser Alice B Lavender Certificates. The main awards are a good place to look for reliably lesbian authors, while the certificates highlight recent authors and books worth reading.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

YA Book Review: Hey, Dollface by Deborah Hautzig

Hey, Dollface  by Deborah Hautzig is a story about two girls who love each other, but aren't quite sure how. It's a lovely book and I recommend it to younger teens, from 10-16.

A small paperback that I've read half a dozen times growing up, it's a sweet and simple story about two girls hitting puberty who become the closest of friends. So close, that they overlap into the realm of the sexual - at least in the minds of those around them. I'd actually recommend it over Annie On My Mind [review] (though that one's good for older teens, with more sexual content and older protagonists, so actually, they'd complement each other pretty well).

Val and Chloe are both fifteen, in the same school in New York. Neither girl really likes their fancy school, and together they disappear to cemeteries and thrift shops, and become best friends. But they're both growing up, and shy Val is starting to get  feelings.

Chloe's parents are an mismatched pair; her father is very sick and quiet, and her mother is stressed, entitled and a little difficult to deal with. Val's family is pretty normal, Jewish, with a TV addict little brother, and a cello playing father, but not even her mother can answer all her questions about growing up, and sex. Which leaves talking it over with Chloe.