On the Shelf for July 2019

On the Shelf for July 2019 on The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast. Your monthly update on what the Lesbian Historic Motif Project has been doing.

Episode 36a with Heather Rose Jones

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[Music] this is Heather Rose Jones with a lesbian historic motif podcast this weekly podcast looks at lesbian themes in history and literature and historic research into gender and sexuality we talk about current historical fiction with queer female characters including fantastic versions of the past and have interviews with authors who write those stories and in months when we have a fifth show we’re proud to present new original lesbian historical fiction for your enjoyment welcome to on the shelf for july 2019 summer is here time for lazy afternoons reading in the hammock and then panicking about whether we have enough time to finish all the projects we wanted to complete in 2019 my july is looking fairly laid back but I’ve rested up from the last scheduled crunch and it’s time to start new projects I want to start off with an apology to the author of last week’s story I had one of those brain errors and used a shortened version of the title for Katherine lund off story buy her pen she conquers I fixed it in all the online text but the recording refers to the story simply as by her pen it was entirely my error and I’m sorry for any confusion but speaking of the fiction series one of my new projects is planning for the 2020 fiction series this time I want to do a lot of advance publicity to keep it in people’s awareness so expect a cheerleading session every month through the end of the year there’s a minor change this time around in the pay rate the standard I set when I started the series was that I’d pay the professional rate set by the science fiction and fantasy writers of America of which I am a member as Sofala is raising their standard from six cents a word to eight cents a word I’ll be following suit this means that previously my uh per word limit of five thousand words paid three hundred dollars now it will pay four hundred dollars in case anyone is wondering the lesbian historic motif podcast is not a money-making venture when I buy stories and paint narrator’s it comes out of my own pocket currently someday the blog and podcast may have a large enough audience to make it self sufficient but I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for and I want the fiction series to be able to attract the best stories available that means meeting professional standards for pay I’m going to experiment with another change to the fiction series this year just as my author interviews and the new book listings include works with fantasy elements mixed into the history in 2020 the LH MP fiction series will be open to stories about queer women in history that can include fantasy elements the stories still need to be rooted in a specific actual time in place and the fantasy elements shouldn’t be treated as a free wild card to write modern stories with historic window-dressing but I want to give writers a little more elbow room to play around in those historic settings the fall version of the call for submissions is on the website and will provide additional guidance on this point and of course purely historic stories are still very welcome I’m not the only person looking for story submissions Molly Llewellyn of the website by bookish babe posted a call for submissions that listeners might be interested in she says I’m currently putting together an anthology of fictional short stories reimagining the lives of real LGBTQ plus women from history you can find more submission rules and important info in the announcement post I’ve linked to the announcement in the show notes she provides a wish list of historic figures that she’d love to see stories about to provide writers with inspiration check out the link in the show notes to see that wish list and get inspiration for stories you might consider writing the deadline is November 5th 2019 and the maximum word count for submissions is 2500 words the pay rate isn’t listed on the call and the editor says it won’t be set until they line up a publisher last month on the lesbian historic motif project blog we covered precious and adored an edited collection of letters that give evidence for a romantic relationship between rose Cleveland who served as first lady for her brother u.s. President Grover Cleveland and her longtime friend Evangeline Simpson whipple I also reviewed the book for the lesbian review this was followed up by a series of publications that either were relevant to my paper on medieval cross-dressing narratives or that I picked up at the conference where I present the paper or that I’m reading for an expanded published version of the paper many of these naturally revolve around themes of cross-dressing or gender identity first we have a butchie’s bilingual edition of the romance of eda and olive then a paper on socially licensed cross-dressing among 13th century Ashkenazi Jews by Lena Roose Victoria Bloods book the unspeakable gender and sexuality in medieval literature wasn’t quite as fascinating as I’d hoped though only because of my specific interests I found Susan Morrison’s a medieval woman’s companion to be a bit too lightweight for my purposes although it put me on the track of another interesting primary source mentioned among my new acquisitions Sandra lowers to rise beyond their sex has some interesting thoughts on the legends of early cross-dressing Saints and I have another slot in the July schedule that I haven’t filled yet I don’t have any new book purchases for the project but I’ve turned up some interesting material online one is an edition of the early 13th century Greek historian Nicholas Choni Attis who appears to be the source of a description of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and her ladies wearing masculine clothing bowl accompanying the Second Crusade this is one of those anecdotes that I’ve been seeing mentioned time and again in surveys of medieval cross-dressing stories but for the first time I found to mention that included a specific source I also spotted a link on the website medievalists dotnet for an article titled how far did medieval society recognize lesbianism in this period by Katherine Titusville it’s a very brief overview and the content will be familiar to readers of the lesbian historic motif project but it might be worth bookmarking to point people to for an introduction to the topic there was a book announcement on one of my academic mailing lists for the forthcoming guide trans and genderqueer subjects in medieval hi geography coming out next year with an advance offering of the books suggested guidelines for terminology and language use around discussing potentially trans or queer subjects in historical writing the authors have asked people to share these guidelines so I may be discussing them on the blog if it seems appropriate and we’ll link to the document in the show notes for those who might be interested this month’s author guests will be KJ Charles talking about her recent Edwardian country house murder mystery proper English this month’s essay will be on the topic of single women and what the academic field of single women studies he has to say to the study of queer women in history and especially for identifying life structures that are friendly to lesbian historical fiction because of course the single in the phrase single women only means single with respect to relationships with men and many of the historic context in which single whim existed and even thrived have a lot of potential when developing lesbian plots the lesbian talk show relies on support the support of you our listeners the support of those who like and review our show on their favorite podcast app the support of our patrons on patreon and the support of our sponsors we hope you’ll continue to enjoy and support the lesbian talk show time for the recent new and forthcoming lesbian relevant historical fiction list we’ll start by catching up on some may publications that weren’t mentioned previously the first one is a bit more mythological than strictly historical Amazon’s the sanctuary of the mascara self-published by Layla hideth the cover copy doesn’t mention same-sex dynamics but it turned up in my Amazon search as it were and so I’m willing to take the chance I suspect you’ll find a bit more Hollywood history than the actual past but it might be a fun read in a decadent world dominated by privileged men kyla a rebel who has stolen ancient tablets gets arrested by the militia freed by two cunning and audacious strangers the young woman leaves her clan behind and embarks for the island of thymus Kyra the last vestige of the Amazon civilization thus opened the doors of a quest that could change her destiny forever the second book also sits more on the historic fantasy side with a clearer steampunk flavor 20 hours to Charlestown Madame Elvira’s magnificent excursions is self-published by Charlotte Henley babe an airship madam risks her woman’s spine Network for economic influence across continental North America despite rogue operatives a shadow enemy and betrayal by the one closest to her in an alternate history of North America where the revolt failed and European super powers have colonies in the mid-1800s Elvira’s star and her life partner of Zulia Dahomey run a mile-high brothel in an airship shaped like an elephant only the most wealthy and powerful can access her services and she provides them information that they could not easily obtain elsewhere from well-trained spies as their escorts after some 20 years of this business Alvira learns of a new technology found in the new nation of Texas recently seceded from Mexico this technology would allow her airships access to California so she is working to obtain agreements between British America Florida New France the first nations Confederacy Liberia and Mexico to cooperate in trade rather than continuing to threaten war however the malvert undetected agency has been working to infiltrate her network of businesses apparently funded by some anonymous person or persons she has an operative in their organization but when another of their agents asks her for sanctuary she sees an opportunity to debrief him now she just needs to get the straight-laced Texican to work with her despite his moral opposition to her work and to make an alliance with the pirate queen of Liberia a nation of former enslaved people natives and pirates but Alvira has personal issues that concern her partner Julia and these have to be resolved to get the colonial ambassadors to Charlestown for their official meeting about recognizing Texas can she root out the secrets held by her clients manager who do and deliver all the colonial ambassadors to Charlestown in time to prevent an international incident or will she lose it all including the love of her life III need to take a face to breathe here for a moment that’s quite a lot going on in that book the June books start off with a new release from manifold press between boat and shore by Rihanna and grande if I had to guess from the blurb it looks like a Neolithic murder mystery which is certainly a combination I’ve never seen before I’m looking forward to reading this one life in otter village is governed by the changing seasons and the will of the goddess Trevi is held in high regard by her community guided by the goddess the village plants the harvests and trains with this neighbors but when strangers arrive by boat in the midst of a storm on the same day the village leader is found murdered it brings a time of change for trevi drew and the other villagers trevi and drew must work out who killed Peck ooh while the village listens to the goddess to guide them to a new leader and trevi must listen to her heart about the visitor el Duques the women of dolphine by tempe anderson from nine star press looks like it might fall in the paranormal romance genre possibly with some crosstime elements when Cassie’s family moves into a decrepit house New Orleans the only upside is her new best friend Jim is witty attractive and sure not to abandon Cassie after all she’s been confined to the old house since her murder in the 60s as their connection becomes romantic Cassy must keep more and more secrets from her religious community which hates ghosts almost as much as it hates gays even if the relationship prevails over volatile parents and brutal conversion therapy it may not outlast time there are also supernatural elements in Jules Landry’s self-published the tattooed witch the cover copy leaves me wondering a little about the historic grounding but if you like stories of secret which cults in the Middle Ages this might be your thing the tattooed which is a young adult historical fantasy that chronicles a summer of Emperor James a young farm girl in 15th century England amber finds herself sent to the city to ask the Duke for aid on behalf of her village needing protection from their Lord who is over taxing them to the point of starvation after being denied help panicked and desperate a twist of fate places amber face to face with a young witch in trouble the enigmatic Freya Montaigne despite witchcraft being outlawed by the Catholic Inquisition ember makes the bull’ decision to help Freya which ultimately leads a group of young witches back to her village throughout the course of the summer amber becomes increasingly mesmerised by the witches world as she begins to delve into witchcraft herself she also finds herself trying to understand her feelings for the wild and dangerous Freya throughout the weeks amber embarks on a series of adventures with her new friends continually dodges the increasingly suspicious Inquisitor Esperanza and prepares to defend her village from the Barons personal army July brings quite a varied assortment of settings Betty Hawkins tackles a fairly straightforward mid 20th century romance Ian in my heart from Bella books it’s the summer of 1958 and amateur guitarist songwriter Alice Johnson feels like a stranger in her small southern town everyone knows her business and is pushing her to settle down and marry like all young women are supposed to do only Alice’s love of music provides an escape from the stifling expectations of family and society one night Alice hears the mesmerizing voice of up-and-coming country singer Dorothy long and is immediately entranced Dorothy becomes Alice’s muse inspiring her to write songs for Dorothy even though she never imagined that Dorothy will hear them but then she meets one of Dorothy’s band members who takes a liking to her and brings her to Dorothy’s room for an impromptu audition Dorothy is so impressed by Alice’s talent that she invites her to join the band and Alice is so overcome by Dorothy’s talent and beauty that she says yes in a heartbeat Alice is soon caught up in the whirlwind of a tour and the unexpected desire she feels sharing a hotel room with her idol Alice believes that music be the food of love but is Ellis setting herself up for a feast or a famine if you like the Jazz era with international celebrities and the frenetic precarious era between the two world wars you might try this complex story delayed rays of a star a novel by Amanda Lee Co published by nan a to lease at a chance encounter at a Berlin soiree in 1928 the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captures three very different women together in one frame up-and-coming German actress Marlena Dietrich who would wind her way into Hollywood as one of its lasting icons Anna May Wong the world’s first chinese-american star playing for bit parts while dreaming of breaking away from her father’s modest laundry and Lena riefenstahl whose work as a director would first make her famous than infamous from this curious point of intersection delayed rays of a star lets loose the trajectories of these women’s lives from vimar Berlin to LA Chinatown from a seaside resort in East Germany to a luxury apartment on the shops of these a the different settings they inhabit are as richly textured as the roles they play siren Mews predator or lover each one a carefully calibrated performance and in the orbit of each star lives secondary players a Chinese immigrant housemaid a German soldier on leave from North Africa a pompous Hollywood director whose voices and viewpoints reveal the legacy each woman left in her own time as well as in ours world war ii is also the setting for lynn ames secrets well kept from phoenix rising press it’s March 1943 World War two rages across the globe and 25 year-old Nora Lindstrom is about to take a huge leap of faith one of the few women in the male-dominated field of physics she travels to an undisclosed destination to undertake a vital top-secret project that the government insists could help the Allies win the war at 18 Mary Trask is ready to put high school and the boy who wants to marry her in her rear view mirror but what alternative could the future hold for the dyslexic daughter of a train conductor when a cousin in Tennessee provides Mary with a cryptic job opportunity she jumps at the chance to rewrite her life Nora and Mary are drawn together under impossible circumstances as the fate of the world hangs in the balance they famed solace in their love for each other but in a place where secrecy is paramount the relationship is forever changed by the consequences of Secrets well-kept and this is a prequel to her book chain reactions we finished up July with a couple more paranormal stories the first looks like a classic Edwardian era gothic novel the haunting of Heather Hearst Hall self-published by sebastian novel Heather Hurst Hall Cumberland England 1892 American heiress KITT Morgan is heartbroken at the wedding of her dearest school friend at her lowest moment she is rescued from her Agony’s by the mysterious and alluring Alexandra Cranbrook sister of a visiting English baronet Alexandra is beautiful charming and effortless leap to Guilin KITT cannot help but fall in love with her when Sir Vivian Cranbrook proposes marriage it seems natural for KITT to accept if only to live with the woman she’s desperately loves but the Cranbrook ancestral home of Heather first Hall is not all it seems the Attic is forbidden strange scratching noises echo from within the walls Wraith stalk the corridors by night and worst of all Alexandra’s love has turned to scorn still kids determined to earn her happily ever after and save the Cranbrook from the horrors of Heather Hearst Hall if only she could know Alexandra loved her in return I don’t always include vampire stories as historic if the historic elements are simply the vampires a story across the centuries but don’t play a major role in the action of the current book but in the vampires relic a gothic paranormal romance self-published by Gillian st. Kevin the setting of the story is the Victorian era so it fits my criteria does a vampire ever really die actresses Hester Wilson and Kitty O’Hara have taken some strange gigs in their careers but the latest is something else the aptly named Lord Cross has hired them to investigate the disappearance of latent as Secretary Kitty’s convinced this opportunity will secure their fortunes Hester’s not sure the more she hears about Layton the more skeptical she becomes it’s the 1870s after all who in their right mind believes in vampires let alone voluntarily hunts them countess go Harry Vonda Disick Effie is beautiful charming secretive and cursed wherever she goes sickness and dead bodies follow cross believes she has a hand in Layton’s disappearance but when Hester takes a position in ventas household she discovers a woman fighting the cruel legacy of her late husband and this desperate struggle wins Hester’s admiration even as her strange Beauty casts an almost hypnotic spell as Vanda victim or vampire Ken Hester discovered the truths in time to save Layton and what will it take to end the vampires legacy for good and that’s it for the recent and forthcoming books I’ve been able to find if you have or know of a book coming out in the near future or a recent one that I’ve missed the features queer women in historic settings drop me a note either by email or on social media I know there are books that I miss don’t let it be yours so what have I been reading since last month there have been a couple of novels and collections that don’t fit into the category of queer women in history specifically Stephenie burgesses delightful y-8 Regency fantasy cat incorrigible an AC wises collection the kissing booth girl and other stories which is full of queer characters but it’s more fantasy sci-fi and horror than historical I started on the collection sword and sonnet organized around the theme battle poets which I’m fairly certain has content that fits the podcasts themes but I don’t seem to have been on the right headspace for the collection and I put it down after the first couple stories i similarly bounced off of gabriel gold’s b’s lesbian regency the caretakers daughter without finishing it but i greatly enjoyed benny Lawrence’s story of chess playing automatons in the 19th century the ghost in the machine although the book comes with strong content warnings for sexual and psychological abuse I’m currently reading Theodora goss’s European travel for the monstrous gentlewoman the second book in her historical fantasy series about the Athena club a household of women drawn from the fantastic literature of the late 19th century I’ve been assured by trusted sources that the second volume in this series has queer content though I’m finding the story a bit slow going and it’s a very long story of that what have you enjoyed recently in the field of lesbian relevant historical fiction I don’t have an ask staff a question again this month and at this point I think I’m gonna drop it as a regular podcast feature due to lack of listener interest if there are features or types of information you’d like to hear about in the lesbian historic motif podcast or if you simply want to let us know that you enjoy the show we always enjoy feedback in whatever form of social media you prefer [Music] I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the lesbian historic motif podcast if you want to follow up on anything we’ve covered see the show notes for links and to contact me with questions book announcements or topic suggestions if you enjoyed this podcast please read it and subscribe on itunes stitcher or pod bean and consider supporting our patreon and if you’re on facebook check out the lesbian talk show chat group [Music]