A diverse cast of lesbian, bi, and trans women, on both sides of the bars and through the centuries, find life-changing moments of love, hope, fear, excitement, passion, desperation, and inspiration.
Prison. The very word sends shivers of fear through the soul. A place of gloom and shadows, where freedom is taken, humanity is lost. A place of cruelty and pain, of claustrophobia, soul-searching, and waiting. A place where guilt and innocence fade away, identity is transformed, and the voice that cries in the darkness is no longer heard. One aspect of human existence that has endured through the centuries: incarceration, implied guilt, punishment.
But when all is lost, so much can be gained. It is in prison that the colors of freedom become sharper and brighter, more alluring because they are distant. It is here that impossible relationships become reasonable, that hopes are kindled by a word or a glance. It is where senses are heightened, as alert to danger as to love, to fear as to passion. It is where everything is at once ordered and disordered—and queer is only relative.
Functional alcoholic Kiana Lewis is looking for a way out. Running away from the memories of her mother's horrific death and her own dead-end existence, she decides to crash her ex-lover's New Orleans wedding and put a stop to the whole thing. She arrives in the Big Easy to reclaim her old love, and hopefully, reclaim her own life.
Her plans are disrupted when she meets Genevieve Durand, a seductive and spiritual New Orleans native who challenges Kiana's skewed sense of resolve and control. Spending time with Genevieve, just like drinking, offers Kiana moments of escape. But unlike the numbing effect of alcohol, the intoxicating Genevieve makes Kiana feel and think about things she'd rather not, like the death of her mother and the destructive ways she uses to cope.
On the brink of losing it all, Kiana must decide if she will reach for the next drink or if she'll reach beyond herself to finally slay the demons driving her since childhood.
Before she can alert her uber-capable wife, Treat, a trio of lady octogenarians appropriates the rest home van to rescue Mac, embarking on an adventure that makes national news. But Morgan knows something they don't: Mac is taking orders from her mom's ghost, trying to make good on a promise he made years ago. Worried sick, Morgan sets out on the 126-mile drive from Fresno to Santa Cruz, praying she finds Mac before he hurts himselfor worse. The chase is on, but the mission becomes one of more than miles; Morgan must also undertake a journey of the heart.
It's summer in Paris, 1972. Frenchwoman Eva Laroche wants to pass her bar exams and get a good job as a trial attorney, but she's working as a tour guide to pay off debts. American beauty Brigitte Green wants to find a new home in Paris and forget her past that haunts her with vivid waking dreams. Though the beauty of Paris and the magic of its rich feminist culture draw them ever closer, a secret from Brigitte's past life threatens to destroy their chance for a future together. Can their fragile love flourish in the City of Light?
Meredith Moser served as an Army nurse in Vietnam. She went to Saigon in 1967 looking to help those in need. She didn't expect to meet the love of her life along the way. Forty-seven years later, a summer vacation with her granddaughter, Jordan Gonzalez, puts Meredith on a collision course with someone from her past and sends Jordan on a journey toward an uncertain future.
When Meredith comes face-to-face with Natalie Robinson, a woman whose heart she once broke, can a love once lost be regained? When Jordan meets Natalie's niece Tatum, wheelchair-bound as a result of injuries she suffered when her Marine unit came under fire in Afghanistan, will her anti-war beliefs prevent her from falling in love?
Antonia Forrester, an English nurse, is nearly killed while trying to save soldiers fleeing at Dunkirk. Embittered, she returns to occupied Brussels as a British spy to foment resistance to the Nazis. She works with urban partisans who sabotage deportation efforts and execute collaborators, before résistante leader Sandrine Toussaint accepts her into the Comet Line, an operation to rescue downed Allied pilots. After capture and then escape from a deportation train headed for Auschwitz, the women join the Maquis fighting in the Ardenne Forests. Passion is the glowing ember that warms them amidst the winter carnage until London radio transmits the news they've waited for. Huddled in the darkness, they hear the coded message, "the long sobs of the violins" signaling that the Allied Invasion is about to begin.
By Jaime Maddox
Sandy Parker left and never looked back after Hurricane Agnes washed her childhood home into the Susquehanna River. Her lover, Jeannie Bennett, died in the flood, and although Sandy went on to live an extraordinary life, she regrets that she never really said good-bye. Now, Sandy returns to bury her grandmother and finally find closure with Jeannie. Instead, she uncovers secrets long buried in the debris of the flood, secrets that at least one person is willing to kill to protect. Will Sandy discover the truth that will change her life forever, or will a murderer put another Parker in the grave?
Vivian Cooper and the DiGiovanni twins have been through hell and back. And they're still broke and on the run. Life's a bitch like that.
Cooper and the twins are together again. This time with Reese and Ryan's fathers in tow. All they have to do is get their money back. But they dig up more than they bargained for in Vegas. And that chick who ripped them off in Mexico doesn't want to give up the gold. Plus the DiGiovanni family is probably still after them. And maybe the cops. This whole stealing the money and running thing is hard.
Even if they manage to get the money and get away, can they stay hidden? Cooper's sins have to catch up at some point. Will Reese and Ryan still be her salvation?
Final novel in the Dirty Trilogy
Sylvia Ramirez believes in marriage, two people bound together forever in love. Jules Marvin is a contented polyamorist and has no plans to change. She enjoys her freedom and has no interest in monogamy. Everything changes when they meet in the summer when marriage equality came to California. As Proposition 8 threatens to take away everything Sylvia's worked for, she fights her attraction to Jules. Jules is intrigued and impressed by Sylvia's passion for justice, but she's certain she's not ready for a one-on-one relationship. They're polar opposites in everything. And as San Francisco's queers fight Proposition 8, everything Sylvia and Jules assume is true is called into question.
By Fiona Zedde
Some mornings, Sara Chambers wakes in bed next to her girlfriend and her girlfriend's lover wondering how she ended up there. Beautiful, successful, and a force to be reckoned with at her Atlanta law firm, Sara is still powerless in her attraction to the rebellious and reckless, Rille Thompson.
As college girlfriends, Sara and Rille's relationship had been incendiary, burning away Sara's innocence and self-respect even as it widened her world beyond her wildest imagination. Now, almost twenty years later, Rille still pushes Sara beyond her limits, bringing a third lover into their bed and domestic lives when their monogamy gets stale. The hold Rille has over Sara--and their new lover--becomes as powerful as it is dangerous. Can Sara pull herself free in time, or will her life turn to cinders in the wake of Rille's powerful flame?
An anthology of short fiction featuring the finalist selections from the 2013 Saints + Sinners Literary Festival.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Introduction by Felice Picano
- What Took You So Long? by Vince Sgambati
- It Only Occurred to Me Later by Anne Laughlin
- Bruno's Last Supper by Jeff Lindemann
- The Favor of a Reply by Joe Landrum
- Thou Shalt Not Lie by N.S. Beranek
- In a Chamber of My Heart by Sandra Gail Lambert
- Mountainview by James Russell
- Looking for Philip by George E. Jordan
- Bucky and the Woods Cop by Jim Stewart
- Silver Pumps and a Loose Nut by J.R. Greenwell
- Stained Glass by Karis Walsh
- Sky Blue by 'Nathan Burgoine
What if Sodom and Gomorrah, those synonyms for debauchery, were in fact perfect societies? What if the avenging angels were genocidal terrorists, and the "one righteous man" who escaped the annihilation was a murderous fanatic and the rapist of his own daughters? Justice is a long time coming, but finally the serene waters of the Red Sea give up the secret of a millennia-old lie. While surrendering to biblical wantonness with a film actress, sculptor Joanna Boleyn, discovers that righteousness can conceal its own depravity, that art tells more truth than scripture, and that challenging authority can be mortally dangerous.
By Jess Faraday
Starvation and disease haunt the streets of 1820s Paris, while supernatural terror stalks the night. The once-famous police force is a shambles, its elite Bureau of Supernatural Investigations disbanded. Only Detective Inspector Elise Corbeau remains, spared by a shadowy protector for a purpose not even she knows.
When charismatic cult leader Hermine Boucher is kidnapped, all fingers point to her ex-lover, inventor Maria Kalderash. But the further Inspector Corbeau investigates, the more suspects she turns up, until finally, the finger is pointing right back at the Paris Police.
Navigating a web of betrayal, hidden agendas, and shifting alliances, Corbeau must protect the innocent, bring the corrupt to justice, and escape the ever-growing list of people who want to see her at the bottom of the Seine. If she can do it, she just might save her job. And she may even find true love.
By Lee Lynch
From Toothpick House to The Raid, Lee Lynch has given us our most heart-touching stories of lesbian life. Join her again in Morton River Valley when Texan Paris Collins comes to town and gets to know the characters from the acclaimed Morton River Valley trilogy.
Paris Collins changes jobs and homes every two years. Always, she leaves behind an astonished lover who refused to believe that Paris would move on. Now she's taken a job in a dying New England industrial town where she meets Peg Jacob, a tempting local from an old Yankee family. Paris gets caught up in protecting the town from environmental threats and education budget cuts. And in protecting an angry gay kid from an impoverished, frightened and angry town. Does she also want to protect herself from Peg Jacob?
Jacqueline "Jaq" Bergeron—New Orleanian, suffragist, freethinker—drove an ambulance on the battlefields of Europe during the Great War. She returns home and finds herself isolated in rural East Texas, keeping house for her war-hero husband as she awaits his promised divorce and plans her escape. But then she meets Molly.
Molly Russell lives for her music, which sustains her as she cares for her son and husband, and suffers her mother-in-law. When she meets Jaq, a world she never imagined opens to hera world entirely out of reach.
With the storm of war still raging in Europe and other battles to be fought at home, can two women bound by the land and family ties find the freedom to love and build a life together?
By Lee Lynch
Before Stonewall, having a drink with friends or your girl could mean jail.
In 1961, The Old Town Tavern is more than just a gay bar. It's a home to strangers who have become family. Murph, the dapper unschooled storyteller. Rockie Solomon, the gentle, generous observer. Lisa Jelane, in all her lonely dignity. Gorgeous Paul, so fragile, and his twin (straight?) sister Cissy. Deej, the angry innocent. Norman, plump and queenly lover of a college professor who's happiest in schoolmarm drag. Harry Van Epps, police officer, and old Dr. Everett, "family" physician. They drink, they dance, they fall in lust and in love. They don't even know who the enemy is, only that it is powerful enough to order the all-too-willing vice squad to destroy the bar and their lives.
Would these women and men still have family, a job, a place to live after...The Raid?
This was how it was done then, this was the gay life, and this is the resilient gay will.
When Barbara Phillips arrives in Bluefield, Virginia, to begin her medical residency, she thinks she is headed for an uneventful few years filled with work in an obscure little town where no one knows her—which is exactly what she wants.
Everything changes when she enters Nicky's diner and begins a journey that will last a lifetime as she falls in love against her better judgment and best-laid plans. The free-spirited Nicky later attends the 1963 March on Washington and impulsively and anonymously sleeps with a man in hopes of getting pregnant and starting a family with Barbara. When Nicky gives birth to Paul, her sister steps in to adopt Paul for his own "protection."
Nicky, Barbara, and Paul escape Bluefield and make a life in upstate New York, only returning to Bluefield years later upon hearing of the death of Nicky's sister. As their journey comes full circle, Barbara, Paul, and Nicky find their return to Bluefield is the catalyst for facing family secrets and forging family ties.