Work In Progress: Interview with Sheela Lambert and the Bi Books Awards

When I offered to help out at the recent Bi Writers Association annual book awards in NYC, I was asked if I could stop and get fives for seed money. Most people were going to bring Twenties, after all, for a $15 cover charge. Easy enough!

But, along with the fives, my teller knowingly whispered that she had over $100 in two dollar bills. My wife and I are famous for using two dollar bills, because they quite often make people stop and smile. But I was especially pleased because on was my way to a Bi-Event and what could be more appropriate than a bi-dollar bill, right?

Of course, someone looks into the money box and they see the $2 bills and they questioned it. “Are those real?”

Yes, they're real. And they're fabulous.

Yes, they’re real. And they’re fabulous.

I said, “Of course, they are. We’ve been printing them since the bicentennial. I figured that they were perfect since–”

“I don’t think we should use them. People aren’t going to think they’re real.”

Well, to me, that makes the two dollar bill even more appropriate for bisexuals.

For one thing, people constantly forget that we both exist. (My friend Sean who came to help set up had forgotten that I was Bi, despite my knowing him for more than a decade and discussing stories with gay werewolves in explicit details).

Secondly, people either think the two dollar  bill is a rare unicorn of some sort (Oh, honey, you better keep that, it’s valuable) or they are in denial of its authenticity (do you have any real money?).

And of course, there’s no place in the cash register drawer for bisexuals two dollar bills. Despite many studies that show the bisexual exists in as great or greater numbers than homosexuals, most people just don’t have a neat category for us that they can put you in. Like the two, we might be accepted, but we are put under the cash drawer with all the other awkward bills and coupons.

So, I try to handle this like I handle all of life’s teaching moments: Sorry, not sorry, that I made you think.

Of course, this isn’t a rant. I found the moment ironic and noteworthy in an allegorical way. I just took the twos back and said I’d hold them in reserves. And since we were selling bottled water for a $1 a pop, we did indeed the twos. And a few singles.

And then quarters because I only brought five singles.

This was my first time at the Bi-Writer’s Awards. I’d only just heard about it because my own book, The Goat, had just come out and I was looking for ways to promote it. I had entered it, but it hadn’t won. I knew why and the fault was largely that neither character identified as Bi. Also, the sadism and abuse might not have helped.

Also, I was impressed by Sheela Lambert, who I had met and interviewed some months before this. Regular readers (Mom?) will recall that this was my first transcribed interview since my days with David Kraft’s Comics Interview. Transcribing proved embarrassingly painful for me.

I got to meet many peeps and listen to some great poetry and not a little great erotica. I’ve always loved hearing women read erotica aloud, especially the funny bits. All of the speakers were females this year, something noteworthy enough that Sheela awkwardly announced at one point that the guys had better step up (well, it was an awkward moment for me that seemed to last three times longer than it needed to, but I hadn’t asked the women in the audience how they felt about it).

Still, it was a good reminder that I should submit my next book, Cold Blood, to the awards. Brooklyn Blackie is bi, after all. The only problem is, Brooklyn never uses the word “Bisexual.” In the 40’s, Bisexual was used in the same way that we might use Intersexed. Plus, he’s got mixed feelings about his sexuality, so not exactly a sunshiney role model, but we’ll see how it works.

So… you ask, where’s the Work in Progress? Well, I’m trying to write the introduction to the previously mentioned Sheela Lambert interview for Underground Book Reviews and I just had to get the 2 dollar bill story out of my head.

Done.

Now, enjoy the pictures of the event itself and go out buy the winners’ and the finalists’ books while I type out a proper introduction to the driving force behind the BiWriters Association!

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Winners & Finalist List: Books of 2016

{Winners are bolded}

Non-Fiction

  • Advice from a Wild Deuce: The Best of Ask Tiggy by Tiggy Upland, Jennifer L. Bonardi
  • The Changing Dynamics of Bisexual Men’s Lives: Social Research Perspectives by Eric Anderson and Mark McCormack, Springer
  • Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men: Bi Men By Women by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Lexington Books 

Memoir/Biography         

  • A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicolson; Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan
  • Virginia Woolf by Ira Nadel, London: Reaktion Books/ Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press

Fiction

  • Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert, Persevero Press
  • The Regulars by Georgia Clark, Emily Bestler Books/Atria/Simon & Schuster
  • Vow of Celibacy by Erin Judge, Rare Bird Books

Romance

  • Change of Address by Jordan Brock, Riptide Publishing
  • Lovers Leap by JL Merrow, Riptide Publishing
  • Misinformation by Keelan Ellis, Dreamspinner Press
  • Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler, self-published
  • Rock N Soul by Lauren Sattersby, Riptide Publishing
  • Stuck Landing by Lauren Gallagher, Riptide Publishing
  • What Remains by Garrett Leigh, Riptide Publishing

Erotic Fiction

  • 24/7 by J A Rock, Riptide Publishing
  • The Best Laid Plans by Lauren Gallagher, Samhain Publishing
  • Club Trega by Nicole Wood, Riverdale Avenue Books
  • The Man on Top of the World by Vanessa Clark, Bold Strokes Books

Speculative Fiction  [Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror/Etc.]

  • An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows, Angry Robot
  • Enchanted Soles edited by Sasha L. Miller, Less Than Three Press
  • For the Clan by Archer Kay Leah, Less Than Three Press
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova, Sourcebooks Fire
  • Necrotech by KC Alexander, Angry Robot
  • The Painted Crown by Megan Derr, Less Than Three Press

Teen/Young Adult Fiction

  • Caught Inside by Jamie Deacon, Beaten Track Publishing
  • Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry, Delacorte Press / Random House Children’s Books
  • Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee, Duet/Interlude Press
  • Obscura Burning by Suzanne van Rooyen, Harmony Ink/Dreamspinner Press
  • Order in the Court by Casey Lawrence, Harmony Ink Press/Dreamspinner Press
  • Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler, Self Published
  • The Sum of these Things by Emily O’Beirne, Ylva Publishing

Mystery

  • Assassins: Discord by Erica Cameron, Triton Books/Riptide Publishing
  • Order in the Court by Casey Lawrence, Harmony Ink Press/Dreamspinner Press

Poetry

  • The Body’s Alphabet by Ann Tweedy, Headmistress Press
  • Nec(Romantic) by Cathleen Chambless, The Gorilla Press

Graphic Novel/Memoir

  • ALPHABET: The LGBTQAIU Creators from Prism Comics edited by Jon Macy and Tara Madison Avery, Stacked Deck Press
  • Primahood: Magenta by Tyler Cohen, Stacked Deck Press / J.T. Avery Pacific

Anthology

  • ALPHABET: The LGBTQAIU Creators from Prism Comics edited by Jon Macy and Tara Madison Avery, Stacked Deck Press
  • Enchanted Soles edited by Sasha L. Miller, Less Than Three Press

Publisher of the Year

  • Dreamspinner Press
  • Less Than Three Press
  • Riptide Publishing

Bi Writer of the Year

  • Advice from a Wild Deuce: The Best of Ask Tiggy by Tiggy Upland, Jennifer L. Bonardi 

  • The Best Laid Plans by Lauren Gallagher, Samhain Publishing

  • The Body’s Alphabet by Ann Tweedy, Headmistress Press

  • Obscura Burning by Suzanne van Rooyen, Harmony Ink/Dreamspinner Press

  • Vow of Celibacy by Erin Judge, Rare Bird Books

  • What Remains by Garrett Leigh, Riptide Publishing

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