Why I Will Not Be Entering the Lambda Awards This Year

“Lambda Literary nurtures and advocates for LGBTQ writers, elevating the impact of their words to create community, preserve our legacies, and affirm the value of our stories and our lives.”

This year, Lambda Literary has decided that there will no longer be separate Gay Mystery and Lesbian Mystery categories and there will instead be a single LGBTQ mystery category. Their claim is that they have “expanded the category.” That is absurd since they have, in fact, limited the amount of exposure available to LGBTQ mystery writers. Historically, there have been two winners and between ten and sixteen finalists. Now there will be one winner and five to eight finalists. Simple math tells you they have not expanded the category. In today’s world we need to call their statement what it is: a lie.

If Lambda Literary’s true goal were to increase the amount of exposure available to BTQ mystery writers, they have failed. To increase that exposure, they should have created either one group category for them or separate B, T and Q categories, similar to what they have done in Fiction, Poetry and Non-Fiction. By asking B, T and Q mysteries to compete in a category that will likely start out at sixty-seventy entries actually decreases the amount of exposure they and all LGBTQ mystery writers will get.

Certainly, any award is political, and for that reason should not be given too much credence. The criteria for what makes a “best” book often changes from year to year and from award committee to award committee. Having been a finalist for the Lambda Award eleven times in two different categories, and winning three of those times, I have given the criteria some thought. These are the things a committee may (or may not) consider: literary merit, how well a book fits the genre (both elements in the case of an award like best gay mystery) and, overall career of the writer. Unfortunately, the LGBTQ mystery committee will now, in addition, have to consider the category of the award itself. Have too many lesbian mysteries won in the last few years? Too many gay mysteries? Not enough Q? If there are no Bi mysteries for five years does the first to enter automatically win? Lambda Literary has succeeded in making this award more political and therefore devalued it.

All of this is particularly disheartening at a time when major publishing continues to completely ignore the majority LGBTQ mysteries. I’m currently reading Ann Cleve’s The Long Call which features a gay protagonist. The back cover is full of endorsements from other big mystery writers. Not one of them is a gay mystery writer. The reason for that is that there are no big gay mystery writers. They’re not allowed. The only writers allowed by big publishing to take on gay mystery are people like Ann Cleves and James Patterson—both presumably heterosexual. Clearly, this is not the time for Lambda Literary to diminish the value of LGBTQ mysteries.

Indeed, in looking at their award list it seems that Lambda Literary treats all genre work in this shabby manner – except romance which for some reason is still allowed its separate categories. Certainly, this is justifiable if there are simply too few entries to justify separate categories but as I’ve stated, that is not true of mystery which, I believe, always equals romance in number of entries.

You’ll note that I’ve begun with the Lambda Literary mission statement. A move like this runs completely counter to this statement. It does not nurture nor advocate for LGBTQ mystery writers, it does not elevate the impact of our words, it does not create community—in fact will likely prove to be divisive, or preserve our legacies, nor does it affirm the value of our stories or our lives. For those reasons I will not be submitting to the Lambda Awards this year.

Hidden Treasures is now an audiobook!

 

It’s about a dress. A valuable blue sequined dress worn by a famed actress in a film from the 1940s. For some reason, everyone thinks video store owner Noah Valentine has it. Which might not be a big deal, except that it’s connected to the murder of a prominent Hollywood costumer.

In the second of the Pinx Video Mysteries, Noah attempts to solve the mystery of the dress. To do so, he must confront a legendary film icon Wilma Wanderly, hunky police detective Javier O’Shea, the dowager queen of Watts, and a couple of bitter ex-friends.

Narrated by Jack Meloche

GET IT or AUDIBLE

Also available in ebook, paperback and at kindle unlimited.

Femme is on sale this week for 99 cents.

 

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Queeny cocktail waiter Lionel wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player, and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.

Finalist for the 2016 Lambda Award in Gay Romance

Starred review at Publisher’s Weekly

Runner-up 2016 Rainbow Awards Gay Romantic Comedy

GET IT HERE!

 

Also available in paperback, audio and at Kindle Unlimited.

 

 

Night Drop is now an audiobook!

 

It’s 1992 and Los Angeles is burning. Noah Valentine, the owner of Pinx Video in Silver Lake, notices the fires have taken their toll on fellow shopkeeper Guy Peterson’s camera shop. After the riots end, he decides to stop by Guy’s apartment to pick up his overdue videos, only to find Guy’s family dividing up his belongings. He died in the camera store fire—or did he? Noah and his downstairs neighbors begin to suspect something else might have happened to Guy Peterson. Something truly sinister.

The first in a new series from Lambda Award-winner Marshall Thornton, Night Drop strikes a lighter tone than the Boystown Mysteries, while bringing Silver Lake of the early 1990s to life.

Winner, 2017 Lambda Award Gay Mystery

Narrated by Jack Meloche

GET IT AT AMAZON

or AUDIBLE

Presale for The Less Than Spectacular Times of Henry Milch has begun!

Less than spectacular times of HM ebook

 

A new mystery series from the award-winning author of the Boystown and Pinx Mystery series.

Things have not been going well for Henry Milch. After a Saturday night clubbing in his beloved West Hollywood, he took one pill too many and ended up banished to northern lower Michigan to live on a farm with his ultra-conservative grandmother. It was that or rehab. While working a part-time job for the local land conservancy he stumbles across a dead body in the snow—as if things couldn’t get worse. But then things take a turn for the better, there’s a reward for information leading the man’s killer. All Henry has to do is find the murderer, claim the reward and he can go back to his real life in L.A.

Get it here!

Boystown 13: Fade Out Coming January 28th, 2020

The Lambda Award-winning Boystown Mystery series comes to a close with Boystown 13: Fade Out. When a box containing a woman’s corpse shows up at his doorstep, Private Investigator Nick Nowak finds himself accused of murder. The police are convinced it’s Rita Lindquist—a woman who once shot Nick. Their case is thin, but they and the state’s attorney are determined to prosecute him. Recent events have left Nick emotionally gutted and he’s not even sure he wants to fight back. But when he’s mysteriously bailed out of jail, he can’t help by try to solve the mysteries in front of him. Who posted his bond? Why is the state’s attorney trying to railroad him? And what’s the real identity of the girl in the box?

Get it here!

Boystown Mysteries 10th Anniversary!

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The Boystown Mysteries are all $3.99 each, all month, all territories!

The Lambda Award-winning Boystown Mysteries detail the cases of former police officer-turned-private investigator Nick Nowak. Set in Chicago and covering the period between 1981 and 1985, the twelve books of the series follow Nick as he struggles with memories of his abrupt departure from the CPD and the end of his long-term relationship with librarian Daniel Laverty. He moves through a series of casual tricks until he meets homicide detective Bert Harker with whom he begins a tentative relationship.

As cynical and difficult as the city he calls home, Nick doggedly pursues his cases and often solves them out of sheer stubbornness. He relies on help from a charming cast of characters, who provide clues and comfort in equal measure. Beyond the mobsters and murderers, Nick encounters a larger villain looming on the horizon. A villain who begins striking down Nick’s friends and lovers, bringing the freewheeling fun of the early eighties to an end.

Also available at Kindle Unlimited and in paperback.

BUY IT HERE!

Code Name: Liberty is now out!

In the summer of 1980, the news is full of the upcoming election and the hostage crisis in Iran but Patrick Henry Burke is not paying any attention. He’s met a Persian prince and his head is full of romance. All of that changes though when a sexy CIA agent, Gary Walker, approaches him and asks that he spy on the prince and his father. They’re attempting to prevent the hostages from being released to guarantee Carter won’t win the presidency in hopes that the Reagan administration will be grateful enough to assist the prince’s father in becoming the new Shah of Iran. As Patrick gathers information about an impending illegal weapons deal, he struggles to understand who might be lying to him and who might be telling the truth.

“…a riveting read…” Nathan Bay, author Young Forever

“Romance, heartbreak and edge-of-your-seat suspense all interweaved in an intriguing, superbly written plot.” Brad Shreve, author A Body in a Bathhouse

BUY IT HERE!

 

Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries is on sale this week!

Boystown 1 Cover 2nd Edition2

12 books, 6 Lambda finalists, 2 prequels, 1 Lambda Award…
the book that started it all is on sale this week for 99¢!

Finalist for the Lambda Award in Gay Mystery, Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries takes place in Chicago during the early 1980s. Haunted by his abrupt departure from the Chicago Police Department and the end of his relationship with librarian Daniel Laverty, Nick Nowak is a beat cop-turned-dogged private investigator. In this first book of the best-selling series, Nick works through three cases: a seemingly simple missing persons search, an arson investigation, and a suicide that turns out to be anything but. While working the cases, Nick moves through a series of casual relationships until he meets homicide Detective Bert Harker and begins a tentative relationship.

Buy Here

Offer available in US and UK only.
Also available in paperback, audio and on Kindle Unlimited.

Rewind is now out!

REWIND Ebook

Valentine’s Day, 1993. After years of being single, Noah is finally ready to date again. Unfortunately, things don’t end too well. After spending their first night together, he wakes up covered in blood—next to his very dead date. Already convinced Noah has an abnormal attraction to murder, Detective Wellesley believes it has tipped over to actually killing someone. That leaves Noah and his friends having to prove his innocence. Meanwhile, Marc and Louis have gone on The Drinking Man’s Diet…let the hangovers ensue.

Available in ebook, paperback and on Kindle Unlimited.