BEREFT releases on February 26, 2013. A book release party will be held in Washington, DC on Sunday, March 3rd at my friend Thomas Drymon’s studio, Doris-Mae. More information is here.
I got the go-ahead from the publisher to post these blurbs for BEREFT.
The YA anthology from Tiny Satchel Press, FROM WHERE WE SIT: Black Writers Write Black Youth (ed. Victoria A. Brownworth) won a 2012 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, which celebrates Youthful Curiosity, Discovery and Learning through Books and Learning.The book won the Silver medal in the Young Adult Fiction – Historical/ Cultural Category. (My stories, “Circus Boy Without A Safety Net” and “Bereft” are featured in this book).
Congratulations to Tiny Satchel Press, Victoria A. Brownworth, and all the other authors!
I’ve been given permission by my publisher Tiny Satchel Press to share the mock-up of the cover of my forthcoming YA novella. The design cover is by Christopher Bauer.
Editor and author extraordinaire Scott Heim invited me to contribute an essay to the book THE FIRST TIME I HEARD…COCTEAU TWINS, which is a part of a series about music geekery, written both by writers and musicians.
I’m chuffed to appear in the book with David Narcizo (Throwing Muses); Ian Masters (Pale Saints); pianist and Cocteau Twins collaborator Harold Budd; band collaborator and live guitarist Lincoln Fong; Pete Fijalkowski (Adorable); Anka Wolbert (Clan of Xymox); Sean “Grasshopper” Mackowiak (Mercury Rev); Meredith Meyer; Mark Van Hoen (Locust, Seefeel); Paul Anderson (Tram); Paul Elam (Fieldhead); Rebecca Coseboom (Halou, Stripmall Architecture); Michael Cottone (The Green Kingdom); Sarah Jaffe; Antony Ryan (Isan); Dean Garcia (Curve); Kurt Feldman (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart); Erik Blood; Annie Barker; John Loring (Fleeting Joys); Guy Fixsen (Laika and co-engineer for My Bloody Valentine); Emily Elhaj (Implodes); Carlo Van Putten (The Convent, White Rose Transmission); Eric Quach (thisquietarmy); Ryan Policky (A Shoreline Dream); Matthew Kelly (The Autumns); Steve Elkins (The Autumns); Ryan Lum (Lovespirals); Michael Savage (The Fauns); Amman Abbasi (The Abbasi Brothers); Eric Loveland Heath; Ben Mullins (Midwest Product); Keith Canisius; Michael McCabe and David Read (Coldharbourstores); and writers like Emily Franklin, Alistair McCartney; Tony Leuzzi; and Sommer Browning.
It’s an ebook, available both on Kindle and Nook, and soon to appear in iBooks….
Author Tom Cardamone gave a terrific review of Sea, Swallow Me on Amazon.com. In his words:
Anyone who caught Kara Walker’s retrospective at the Whitney was immediately challenged to think about race and art. Her surreal silhouettes carved meaning out of every room. Regardless if the viewer came away with a positive or negative impression, it was obvious that existing concepts had been broken, challenged, expanded and, as someone who was blown away by the show, I would add rightfully so. I discovered the same powerful intonations within Craig Gidney’s collection, Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories.
In the opening tale, The Safety of Thorns, the trappings of the plantation meld into the realm of myth and discovery with strong poetic imagery, yet the characters rise from up off the page with a stark realism. A slave boy is given a powerful elixir by a devil, but still has to find the strength he needs to grapple with reality from within. Equally impressive stories follow. It would be easy for the casual reader/reviewer to exclaim delight at discovering a gay black writer introducing gay black characters into the otherwise lamely heterosexual elf-white worlds of fantasy, but I found the author’s pallet much more assured than that; like Walker, his art is not only arresting, subversive and naturally erotic, it stretches boundaries and genuinely puts the speculative back in speculative fiction. Importantly, the stories are as engaging as challenging; no one will close the book thinking they’ve been slipped a thesis a’ la latter-day Delany.
The three best stories, the aforementioned The Safety of Thorns, the titular Sea, Swallow Me, and A Bird of Ice, respectively open, support the middle, and (nearly) close the book. Sea, Swallow Me allows the reader to swim within some spectacular writing and nearly drown in a feeling of otherness. A Bird of Ice takes place within the snowy confines of an ancient Japanese monastery. A young monk is courted by a member of the fairy folk and ends up confronting much more than the homoerotic awakenings of adolescence. Not that the remaining stories are by any means filler. The few pieces I suspected of being early work still possessed all of the strengths exhibited in the best work. All offered a diversity of setting and theme, making the book one of constant exploration. In fact, when not paying close enough attention while reading the story Strange Alphabets, I thought I’d caught the author making that obnoxious freshman blunder of naming a character after a beloved writer: Rimbaud. I was genuinely thrilled to realize my mistake as the story concerns the train-bound sexual (and quite sticky at that) adventures of the actual poet, a nice historical twist, which, like the exceptionally short Magpie Sisters, keeps the book off-balance. Meaning it surprises. This is not your comfortable Renaissance Fair of modern fantasy and that’s a good thing. Hell, it’s startlingly refreshing.
Fantasy is seriously lacking in gay fiction written by gay men. Funny, that in writing this review I was initially hesitant to bring up race, for fear that by implication I would give potential readers the impression that in some way the polemic (as if that’s somehow inherent to discussions of equality) shapes or invades these stories. Not so. The artist Kara Walker deftly works in black and white with obvious, evocative success. Craig Gidney wields a vivid rainbow of promise.
A quick note: Cardamone’s forthcoming book of speculative fiction, Pumpkin Teeth, is simply brilliant. I highly recommend it!
Finally, one of my pieces, Strange Alphabets, will be featured in the forthcoming Best Gay Stories 2009, ed. Steve Berman.
Sea, Swallow Me has just been announced as a finalist in the Sci-Fi/ Fantasy/ Horror category for the Lambda Literary Awards. I feel honored to be nomimated along with such stiff competition:
- The Archer’s Heart, Astrid Amara, Blind Eye Books
- The Magician and the Fool, Barth Anderson, Bantam Del Rey
- Wilde Stories 2008, Steve Berman, Lethe Press
- Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories, Craig Gidney, Lethe Press
- Turnskin, Nicole Kimberling, Blind Eye Books
Sea, Swallow Me was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award (“Lammie”) in the gay debut fiction category. It faces some tough competition, but it’s an honor to be nominated at all, first time out of the gate.
Bookspot Central, where I occasionally post book reviews, is running a Sea, Swallow Me contest. Information about the contest is here.