“A passionate, alive, and original novel about love, race, and jazz in 1920s Harlem and Paris—a moving story of traveling far to find oneself.” —David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife

In a lyrical, captivating debut set against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and glittering Jazz Age Paris, Joe Okonkwo creates an evocative story of emotional and artistic awakening.

On a sweltering summer night in 1925, beauties in beaded dresses mingle with hepcats in dapper suits on the streets of Harlem. The air is thick with reefer smoke, and jazz pours out of speakeasy doorways. Ben Charles and his devoted wife, Angeline, are among the locals crammed into a basement club to hear jazz and drink bootleg liquor. For aspiring poet Ben, the swirling, heady rhythms are a revelation. So is Baby Back Johnston, an ambitious trumpet player who flashes a devilish grin and blasts jazz dynamite from his horn. Ben finds himself drawn to the trumpeter—and to Paris where Baby Back says everything is happening.

ON TOUR:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 @ 7pm
JOE OKONKWO IN CONVERSATION DAVID EBERSHOFF,  AUTHOR OF THE DANISH GIRL
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby Street
New York, NY

Thursday, July 7, 2016 @ 7pm
READING: JOE OKONKWO & KIA CORTHRON
KGB Bar
85 East 4th Street
New York, NY

Saturday, August 6
READING & SIGNING
OutWrite Festival, LGBT book festival
Washington, D.C.

 

Lambda Finalist Award Nominee

“At the heart of this capacious and suspenseful novel is the bond between two very different brothers, but its larger context is the Italian-American family: its values, loyalties and responsibilities. Tom Mendicino writes with honesty and compassion, and the reader can’t help but root for his endearing characters.” –Christopher Castellani, author of All This Talk of Love

Charlie Beresford and Kevin “KC” Conroy came of age in Tom Mendicino’s KC, At Bat and Travelin’ Man. Now they’re struggling with the realities of adulthood, in this powerfully honest story of unlikely friendship and enduring love.

At twenty-two, Charlie Beresford has a Dartmouth degree, an entry-level radio job, and a hunch that he’s already made one of the biggest mistakes of his life. It’s no wonder his old high-school crush, KC Conroy, is wary when they encounter each other again. Five years ago, Charlie callously discarded him after they shared an intense adolescent affair.

 

Lambda Finalist Award Nominee

Spanning the 1930s to the present day, James Driggers’ evocative Southern Gothic collection introduces the intriguing inhabitants of Morris, South Carolina–a small town where a mix of rich, poor, and in-between co-exist, grappling with desire, ambition, hope, and loneliness. . .

Amid a landscaped dotted with farms, trailers, and genteel homes, there lives a talented baker who desperately needs to win a cooking contest but must team up with a down-on-her-heels society matron to do it. . .the Bramble sisters, whose husbands tend to be short-lived and wealthy, but whose latest prospect arrives with complications. . .a widow who becomes dangerously obsessed with a snake-charming televangelist. . .and a lonely florist who will do anything for the sake of a ruthless local mechanic.

 

Robert Westfall’s life is falling apart—everywhere but in math class. That’s the one place where problems always have a solution. But in the world beyond high school, his father is terminally ill, his mother is squabbling with his interfering aunts, his boyfriend is unsupportive, and the career path that’s been planned for him feels less appealing by the day.

Robert’s math teacher, Andrew McNelin, watches his best student floundering, concerned but wary of crossing the line between professional and personal. Gradually, Andrew becomes Robert’s friend, then his confidante. As the year progresses, their relationship—in school and out of it—deepens and changes. And as hard as he tries to resist, Andrew knows that he and Robert are edging into territory that holds incalculable risks for both of them.

 

All it took to destroy Andy Nocera’s seemingly perfect life was an anonymous tryst at an Interstate rest area. Sentenced to probation and thrown out by his wife, he spends his week as a traveling salesman, and his weekends at his mother’s house where no questions are asked—and no explanations are offered.

To clear his record, the State of North Carolina requires Andy to complete one year of therapy without another arrest. He attends his sessions reluctantly at first, struggling to comprehend why he would risk everything. Answers don’t come easily, especially in the face of his mother’s sudden illness and his repeated failure to live as an openly gay man. But as Andy searches his past, he gets an opportunity to rescue another lost soul—and a chance at a future that is different in every way from the one he had envisioned..

 

When a car accident leaves photographer Burke Crenshaw in need of temporary full-time care, he finds himself back in the one place no forty-year-old chooses to be—his childhood bedroom. There, in the Vermont home where he grew up, Burke begins the long process of recuperation, and watches as his widowed father finds happiness in a new relationship that’s a constant reminder of everything Burke wants and lacks.

Exploring local history, Burke discovers an intriguing series of letters from a Civil War soldier to his fiancé. With the help of librarian Sam Guffrey, he begins to research a 125-year-old mystery that seems to be reaching into the present day. The more Burke delves into the past, the more he’s forced to confront the person he has become: the choices he made and those he avoided, his ideas of what it takes to be a successful gay man, his feelings about his mother’s death, and the suppressed tension that simmers between himself and his father.

 

* Lambda Literary Award Winner

“Compassionate, moving, funny, and wise, Blue Boy is one of the best debut novels I have read in years.” –David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl

Meet Kiran Sharma: lover of music, dance, and all things sensual; son of immigrants, social outcast, spiritual seeker. A boy who doesn’t quite understand his lot—until he realizes he’s a god…

As an only son, Kiran has obligations—to excel in his studies, to honor the deities, to find a nice Indian girl, and, above all, to make his mother and father proud—standard stuff for a boy of his background. If only Kiran had anything in common with the other Indian kids besides the color of his skin. They reject him at every turn, and his cretinous public schoolmates are no better. Cincinnati in the early 1990s isn’t exactly a hotbed of cultural diversity, and Kiran’s not-so-well-kept secrets don’t endear him to any group. Playing with dolls, choosing ballet over basketball, taking the annual talent show way too seriously. . .the very things that make Kiran who he is also make him the star of his own personal freak show. . .

 

ean Wolfe knows what men want. In his anthologies Aroused, Taboo, and Close Contact, he delivered smart, sophisticated tales of intensely erotic escapades. Now he goes one step further, with a collection of eight interconnected stories that explore the very nature of desire–how it shapes us, drives us, brings us together. . .and just how far we’re willing to go to satisfy it. . .

A teenage runaway gets an education in the ways of the street, and the heart, from a gorgeous young hustler in “Street Smart.” In “Head of the Class,” a college athlete who’s used his sexual talents to keep his grades up learns all about pleasure from one of his professors. The exclusive Kappa Lambda Phi fraternity includes a mind-blowing initiation that’s only the beginning of their debauchery in “Frat Frenzy.” And in “DudeSearch” two men who frequent an online site specializing in random hookups agree to meet–and are completely unprepared for the fireworks that explode between them. . .

 

From award-winning author Rob Byrnes comes a wickedly entertaining caper involving red-hot men, cold hard cash, and deliciously dirty deeds…

Two Partners In Crime

Grant and Chase are a fun-loving pair of small-time hustlers with no money, little patience, and lots of get-rich-quick schemes. If only they could pull off the perfect crime—“The Big One,” as Grant calls it—Chase could finally quit his job at the supermarket and the two could retire in style.

 

* Lambda Literary Award Winner

Ever since Mrs. Malloy assigned us the What I Want To Be When I Grow Up paper earlier that year in her 1st hour English, my mind had been made up. . . I, Bradley James Dayton, will be a famous actor someday!

Meet Bradley Dayton–a wickedly funny high school senior whose woefully uncool life always seems to be full of drama, even in the sorry little suburb of Hazel Park, Michigan. It’s 1987, the era of big hair, designer jeans, and Dirty Dancing. George Michael has “Faith” and Michael Jackson still has a nose. Brad, on the other hand, has a thing for acting, and while his friends are trying to get laid, Brad’s trying to land the lead in Okla-homo! and practicing the Jane Seymour monologue from Somewhere in Time.

 

Being black, the right kind of black, was difficult. It was like being in a cult—a secret society with rules as fluid as waves…

In the six years that Angela Wright has been with her fiancé Keith Redfield, her life has settled neatly into place. Keith, a professor of African-American history, has helped her become comfortable in her own skin. And Angela’s career at Désire magazine is thriving. She’s got nothing to worry about—or so she thinks…

Angela’s best friend Mae is always there to ground her, whether they’re joking about the importance of good hair or gossiping about their rival Tatiana Braithwaite—a milk chocolate Barbie with beauty, breeding, and an irritating knack for perfection. Mae reminds Angela how lucky she is to have found a successful, single brother. But when a chance meeting leaves Angela consumed with desire for an intriguing stranger, she impulsively decides to follow wherever it may lead—from outrageous underground sex parties to intimate encounters that are both torrid and tender.

 

Sometimes, it’s just easier to think I’m not the freak. I’m just in an alien world…Being Charles James Stewart, Jr., AKA Charlie the Second, means never “fitting in.” Tall, gangly and big-eared, he could be a poster boy for teenage geeks. An embarrassment to his parents (he’s not too crazy about them, either), Charlie is a virtual untouchable at his high school, where humiliation is practically an extracurricular activity. Charlie has tried to fit in, but all of his efforts fail on a glorious, monumental scale. He plays soccer—mainly to escape his home life—but isn’t accepted by his teammates who basically ignore him on the field. He still confuses the accelerator with the brake pedal and as a result, has not only failed his driving exam six times, but also almost killed himself and his driving instructor. He can’t work on his college essay without writing a searing tell-all. But what’s freaking Charlie out the most is that while his hormones are raging and his peers are pairing off, he remains alone with his fantasies.

 

Welcome To The Neighborhood

To outsiders, San Francisco is all one big city. But to those in the know, there is SoMa, South of Market, where sleek eateries are squeezed between bail bonds storefronts and high-priced lofts look out over still rough edges. It’s home to a generation of hipsters disillusioned by the dotcom bust, restless and searching for the next thrill, the next high, the next step too far. Sex, drugs, kink—you can find it anywhere in SoMa, if you know where to look. But first, you’ll need your tour guides. There’s Raphe, a writer torn between two worlds, belonging to neither. Lauren, the poor little rich girl living on the edge and pushing farther out. Mark, beautiful and cruel, who lives for games, the more extreme, the better. Baptiste, hot, smooth, and maybe as real as it gets. And Julie, both an object of desire and a pretty pawn to be played.

 

In this stunning novel, Andrew W.M. Beierle brings to life characters at once unthinkably foreign and utterly real. Frank and fearless, sexy and witty, First Person Plural is a masterfully rendered, powerfully imaginative work, as complex and as extraordinary as the bonds of love.

Owen and Porter Jamison are conjoined twins inhabiting one body with two heads, one torso, and two very different hearts. As children, they’re seen as a single entity—Owenandporter, or more often, Porterandowen. As they grow to adulthood, their differences become more pronounced: Porter is outgoing and charismatic while Owen is cerebral and artistic. When Porter becomes a high school jock hero, complete with cheerleader girlfriend, a greater distinction emerges, as Owen gradually comes to realize that he’s gay.

 

* Lambda Literary Award Winner

Marine biologist Ben Ransome understands the sea, especially the tiny, beautiful sea slugs he has studied and admired for most of his life. What Ben doesn’t understand are people, and now, one of the most important people in his life—his sixteen-year-old daughter, Caddie—is coming to live with him for the summer. But the sweet, happy child he remembers has been replaced by a wounded, angry stranger who resents everything about her father. Caddie is determined to act out in every way, leaving Ben feeling more alone than ever.

Hudson Jones has come to Monterey, California, to find the answers to all his questions. The young, ambitious graduate student believes he’s found a lost John Steinbeck novel called Changing Tides that seems to hint at the author’s love for his best friend, Ed “Doc” Ricketts. If he can prove it, his career will be made. And then, perhaps he can quiet the personal demons that haunt him. But first, he’ll need some local help in his research, and Ben just may be able to supply him with access to the information he needs.

 

I love the long distance run, when you feel like you’re about to die…and then you reach this place where you feel like there are no boundaries for you anywhere…

In many ways, Jason Peele is like any other teenager. He hits the books, hangs with his friends, flirts with girls, and omits the full truth of his life from his Aunt Audrey and Uncle Steve, who have raised him since his parents died. But there’s one way that Jason Peele is very different: when he dreams at night, it isn’t about girls; it’s about David Bowie. At sixteen-years-old, Jason is just beginning to understand that he might be gay.

The one place Jason feels comfortable is on the track where he can run fast and hard. He loves the feel of the wind at his back, of his legs propelling him furiously around, the roar of the crowd in his ears. But now, even his sanctuary feels threatening. It isn’t just the jerks who call him “faggot” in the locker room. A new guy has joined the team, and everything about him will challenge the way Jason sees life. From late-night showings of “La Cage Aux Folles” to reading Gandhi, he’s running a new race on an uncertain course, and only one thing’s for sure—his senior year is going to be unforgettable…

 

“Elegantly constructed, searingly honest, and impossible to put down.” –Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon, winner of the National Book Award

“There are moments when I suddenly realize that I’m a nice boy from Iowa who is entirely comfortable sitting in a room of freaks.”

So begins Patrick Moore’s unforgettable account of life as a crystal meth addict—a “tweaker.” Like a wild ride down Alice’s rabbit hole with a guide who is darkly funny and heartbreakingly honest, Tweaked chronicles a twenty-year trip that stretches from Moore’s lonely childhood in Iowa with his grandmother, Zelma—an alcoholic artist who, when loaded, turns frozen food into crafts projects —to the day he sits, naked, in a Los Angeles rental, hallucinating about psycho-robbers while talking to a possum he’s sure is God. Along the way, there are acid trips at the V.F.W., Dexetrim study halls with his Bad Girl Posse in the seventies, teeth-grinding nights of dancing and anonymous sex in New York City’s hottest eighties clubs, taking pictures of Andy Warhol, losing friends and lovers, and navigating a Byzantine underworld of cookers, users, club kids, dealers, and colorful characters as intense as the drug itself.

 

In Bourbon Street Blues and Jackson Square Jazz, Greg Herren introduced the wickedly naughty—and irrepressible—Scotty Bradley, who’s never met a drink he didn’t want, a decadence he could resist, or a hunky trick he won’t treat to a little bit of himself. Now, in Mardi Gras Mambo, Scotty’s back on the crowded, party-happy streets of New Orleans, getting ready for a Carnival he’ll never forget—if he lives through it…

It’s Carnival time in New Orleans, and Scotty Bradley, ex go-go boy turned private eye, is looking forward to relaxing with his boyfriends, Frank and Colin, and partying it up right. But nothing ever seems to work out the way Scotty wants it. Not only is it cold and rainy, ruining his elaborate costume plans, but former FBI agent Frank has “issues” with dropping a hit (or two, or four) of Ecstasy. Hello! Ecstasy at Mardi Gras is practically guaranteed in the Gay Bill of Rights! Fortunately, Frank gets over himself, the weather clears up, Scotty’s dealer, Misha, delivers the goods, and the boys are off to the races. And that’s when the real fun begins. After a night of partying, they come home to find the cops waiting for them. Misha has apparently been murdered and guess who was the last person to see him alive? Turns out his wheeling and dealing had gotten him in trouble with a lot of people—including the Russian mob. And those guys don’t play around.

 

* Lambda Literary Award Winner

Guess Who’s Coming Out?

Noah Abraham is back in New York tending to his ailing father while dealing with his writer’s block on a book about gay congressional staffers. What he needs is a break, and a night out with his stepmother, Tricia–the most down-to-earth Trophy Wife on Park Avenue–is just the thing, especially when she introduces Noah to the handsome Bart Gustafson. Bart is as charming, personable, and laid back as Noah is intense. He’s also the personal assistant to former film and television star Quinn Scott. The macho stud has been living in exile for years since running away with one of his ex-wife’s back-up dancers. . .a male back-up dancer. And just like that, Noah’s writing block is cured.

 

At the Mall of the Universe, you can get anything you want. Marc Jacobs shoes. Hugo Boss suits. Food. Drinks. Dry cleaning. A room at the five-star hotel or a lane at the bowling alley. Of course, some things are harder to come by. Just ask. . .

Vienna. She’s one beautiful sister who is not going to be dependent on any man ever again, thanks to her cheating, should-be-dead ex. When she’s not selling overpriced mascara to rich snobs, Vienna’s checking out the scenery. Not that she wants another man. Much. Good thing she can tell it all to. . .

Davii. The top hairdresser at CosmicTology is fast with a wickedly funny quip and with his shears. Nobody puts one over on Davii. But what he really craves is a nice guy to come home to. A guy who makes him want to be a better person. A guy who looks an awful lot like. . .

Derek. He never planned to become a kept man, but it’s hard to give up Belgian waffles delivered by room service. But no more. It’s time for New Derek–new life, new friends, new job. And who better to help him take those baby steps toward independence than. . .

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