Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Jumping the Turnstile
My boys won!
Everett and Reid will find new fans, thanks to the fun, exciting, and only briefly nerve-wracking 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards. My "couch-jumping" moment was when I saw a big slide of my book cover on the screen at the CUNY auditorium. I impulsively leapt over the "peanut gallery" bannister. My cell phone, pen, comb, and dignity may have been flung on the aisle, but fellow author Wayne Hoffman alerted me to the spill, and I raced down the steps to receive a Lambda Literary Award for Every Time I Think of You.
I can barely recall what I said. I named a few mentors who've passed (Stan Leventhal), forgot more (David B. Feinberg, George Stambolian), and gave a shout-out to living authors like Michael Nava (who took me to SF Giants games during a frustrating under-employed period) Felice Picano (my first blurber, with whom I shared a lovely dinner that included several nice folks and fellow authors after sequential two nights of readings in Philadelphia at Giovanni's Room the previous weekend).
Writers like them looked at my early scribbling and were encouraging. They each said, in a polite way, "No, you're not ready to be published." Unfortunately through the next several years, or, now, I think, fortunately, so did dozens of editors and publishers. Sure, I got published: short stories, decades of journalism. Writing is what made me a better writer. There's really no other way.
Twenty-something years later, a novel I impulsively cranked out last year (with three nearly complete ones on deck!), one that would not leave my mind and heart, one that almost wrote itself... this book won a lovely HEAVY glass (or Lucite?) award in the shape of a book.
I could have jumped a subway turnstile on my jaunt back to my hotel, but I simply walked the streets of New York, my former home. At the after-party, I got a bit tipsy, didn't even get to wave at dozens of people whose work I adore. But I did get to have brief enthusiastic talks with Felice Picano and Wayne Hoffman (photo, left and right), Gay Romance co-finalists like the sweet Jay Bell, the ebullient Eden Winters, Barry Brennessel, and others. At the party, Lady Bunny cranked out retro tunes as if it were still the early 90s, as I shouted shared gossip with author-editor Ron Suresha (who accepted an award for another writer).
Through my Philadelphia and New York City visit, I got to make new friends, meet Facebook writer colleagues in 3D, and hang out with several pals, including one ex-New Yorker turned ex-San Franciscan, who showed me the New New York's fabulous "South Riverside Park." But one of my favorite post-Awards moments was hanging out with author John Weir on the stylish outdoor Astroturf "lawn" at the OUT NYC Hotel (see photo).
Write-ups on the event include the Lambda Literary Foundation's excellent blog, The Wall Street Journal, The Advocate, The SF Examiner, AfterEllen.com, The Velvet Roper, my wonderful Gay Games peeps and their blog, Band of Thebes, and the Oklahoma Gayly, which focuses on feisty self-published author R.E. Bradshaw. JL Merrow's write-up is particularly kind.
Here's co-nominee Jay Bell's guest-blog account of the Lammies on JesseWave.
And GLBTQ.com, a gay history website where I contributed a few short essays, even included a link to my book's trailer, with an adaptation of the title song performed by Eric Himan.
Here's a nice feature on the Lammies by prolific editor-author Michael Luongo for Gay City News, which includes this amusing bit:
"A particularly emotional response came from Jim Provenzano, whose book "Every Time I Think of You” won in the Gay Romance category. He bounded out of his seat, trotted to the stage, and was red-faced and ebullient in accepting his award."
(Actually, I had a sunburn from a day in Philly's Fairmount Park.)
There will be more coverage elsewhere, even on a few naughty blogs that simply list the winners. But even that helps get the word out about all these great books, including the talented finalists.
So, yay for queer books! And yay for those who supported Every Time I Think of You, including my Kickstarter sequel campaign supporters, The Bay Area Reporter's Scott Wazlowski and Michael Yamashita, who helped immensely with my hotel accommodations, and Scott King, who who helped me get my work there done in advance of this trip, but most of all my editor and dear pal Stephen LeBlanc.
So, come to my next readings, including Tuesday, June 18, when GuyWriters hosts myself and authors Lewis DeSimone and Michael Alenyikov at GLBT History Museum; and Tuesday, June 26 at Books Inc on Market Street with Rob Rosen and Alvin Orloff.
But most important, to thousands of readers, my work is once again (or for the first time) seen, and known. So, buy books, people! Do it online, but better, from independent bookstores.
And soon, I'll get those neat shiny stickers for the cover.