Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Rainbow Reader Very Best of 2013 Awards

Today is December 24, 2013—Christmas Eve. 

One of the most sacred days in Christendom, this inheritance of Jewish tradition is rooted firmly in the biblical story of Creation:

"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
         - Genesis 1:5 (King James Version)

Nations, cultures, and religions around the globe celebrate Christmas Eve in vastly different ways. For instance, in Iceland, the six week long Christmas celebration is called Jól, and its formally announced by the tolling of bells across the countryside on December 24th. 

The traditional Icelandic Christmas is framed around 13 Santa-type figures. Known as Yule Lads—a different one comes every night for 13 days to knock on the windows of children, and bring them presents. They are joined by their mother, Grýla, part troll and part animal. She is responsible for teaching all the naughty children good lessons. This non-traditional family is then completed by a fashion-conscious Yule Cat who eats any person who has not received an article of clothing as a gift.

Rumor has it that the legendary character of Miranda Priestly, from The Devil Wears Prada, was based on the Icelandic Yule Cat.

Here in good, old Winston-Salem, North Carolina, we listen to Christmas Carols, eat stollen for breakfast, and debate how early is too early to start pouring the good wine.

We like to think this tradition is based loosely on the Moravian Lovefeast.

So, once again, in an effort to clear my calendar such that I may properly get “in the holiday spirit” (i.e., ebrius funditus,) I hereby declare:

Yea verily, another year is officially gearing down, flipping on it’s bright yellow turn signal, and aiming its scrunched up little nose towards the exit ramp for Auld Lang Syne.

And as the year careens around the late December cloverleaf of festivities, I want to take you back through The Rainbow Reader reviews, and bestow the Very Best of 2013 Awards.

However, before we jump into the good stuff, I want to mention that in the last twelve months, TRR had the honor and privilege of reviewing 17 books; and was fortunate enough to post Guest Reviews by the ruby-red, sparkly peep toe slingback Louboutin wearing Michelle Brooks, and the fabulous and feisty Jeanne Barrett Magill.  In April, TRR welcomed it’s 100,000th visitor, and in May I authored the epic diatribe, The Lesfic Boomtown Foretold: A Cautionary Tale by Salem West. In June, I was honored to moderate two panels and participate in another at the annual Golden Crown Literary Conference in Dallas. And, in November, I had the distinct honor of publishing the novel, Hoosier Daddy: A Heartland Romance, with my wife and co-author, Ann McMan.

Not a bad run for a twitchy little dyke in transition lenses, eh?

But seriously, as a reviewer, my most solemn goal is to cover the full spectrum of lesbian literature, such that authors have an expanding platform to showcase their work, and readers can consistently find books and stories that they love.  To that end, in 2013 TRR took on a few mainstream books, an interactive app, fantastika, a Halloween romance collection, an audio book, and a handful of humor, romance, social commentary, and period works of fiction.

Heck, I even reviewed books about space pirates, and a chess savant in a box just to cover as many Lesfic bases as possible.

But, I will admit that 2013 was a very hectic year for me, and I didn't get to read and review as many books as I had hoped. However, with 2014, I'm committing to the authors, publishers, and readers to blog on a more regular schedule and kick things up a notch or two in the process.

Much as I do every year, I want to extend special and sincere thanks to each and every one of my Victims (i.e., the brave and valiant authors and their publishers) for having the guts, grit, and determination to make your work available.  It takes an amazing amount of talent to write a book, and it takes a constitution of steel to voluntarily become vulnerable to a world of readers and reviewers, and our myriad, sketchy opinions.  

I also want to thank you, The Readers, for stopping by to read my reviews.  Many of you have left comments on this blog, which I appreciate.  Many others have sent me emails or contacted me on Facebook, and I want to thank each of you for letting me know what you think and what you’d like me to talk about next.

So, with no further ado, I present The Rainbow Reader’s Very Best of 2013 Awards

Book Title
All That Lies Within
Lynn Ames
Phoenix Rising Press
The Gloria Swanson I'm Ready For My Close-up Award
Beyond the Pale
Elana Dykewomon
Open Road Media
The ILGWU Uprising of 20,000 Award for Taking It To The Man
Family Jewels
Kate Christie
Bella Books'
The Alexandre Dumas La Tulipe Noire Award for Twenty-Something Dyke Drama on the Streets of Antwerp
Carla Tomaso
Carma Publishing
The Joan Crawford Reanimated Mother of the Year Award
In Between
Jane Hoppen
Bold Strokes Books
The Inaugural Julia Child Freshness Is Essential Award for Making All The Difference
Letters Never Sent
Sandra Moran
Bedazzled Ink Publishing
The F. Lee Bailey Award for Most Lawsuits Generated by a Debut Novel Set in Kansas
Spoon & the Moon
Marie Davis/Margaret Hult
Wickedly Sisters/Davis Studio, LLC
The California Milk Processor Board's Got Milk Award for Best Bovine She-Bop
Starting From Scratch
Georgia Beers
Brisk Press/Dogear Audio
The Nina Totenberg Award for Clearest Enunciation During a Foyer Sex Sceene
Step Into the Wind
Bev Prescott
Blue Feather Publishing
The Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom Award for Angst Wrestling in an Eco-Friendly Environment
Tactical Pursuit
Lynette Mae
Regal Crest Enterprises
The Cagney and Lacey Award for Romantic Excellence in a Heart-Pounding Cop Story
The Daughter Star
Jane Bigelow
Candlemark & Gleam
The Iain M. Banks Consider Phleabus Award for Deft Handling of Culture Wars in a Lesbian Novel
The Edge of Rebellion
Andi Marquette
Bedazzled Ink Publishing
The Vernor Vinge Award for Best Use of Zooming Space Ships With That Go “Pew! Pew! Pew!”
The Ghost and the Machine
Bennie Lawrence
Bedazzled Ink Publishing
The Boris Spassky Leningrad Variation for White in the Nimzo-Indian Award for Best Opening Move From a Box
The Passion of Alice
Stephanie Grant
Bantam Books
The Mel Gibson Award for Innovative Use of Biblical Metaphors
The Pyramid Waltz
Barbara Ann Wright
Bold Strokes Books
The  Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve Award for Sexiest Beast in a Land Far, Far Away
When The Clock Strikes Thirteen
Ylva Publishing
The Things That Go Bump & Grind In The Night Award
Women Float
Maureen Foley
CCCLaP Publishing
The Neptune's Daughter Award for Esther Williams Envy

Well, that's it for TRR in 2013—here’s wishing each and every one of you a safe, happy, healthy, and festive holiday season, and a 2014 full of joy, love, peace, laughter, and wonder!

And, as always, thanks for stopping by The Rainbow Reader.