Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Tale of Book Ressurection on Easter Sunday

People are often surprised that I always close my office for Good Friday and that I go to church on Easter Sunday.  Just because I am a sex positive feminist doesn't mean that I have has no spirituality.

I am a P.K. (preacher's kid).  The preacher is my mom, who was a feminist minster in the United Church of Christ who was part of that group of feminists that rewrote the Bible without pronouns.  She used to play Yoko Ono's Woman is the Nigger of the World while writing her Biblical term papers (and I will always love Yoko for that song and my mom for making it part of the soundtrack of my life).

So this year, I was excited that we, at Riverdale Avenue Books, were finally going to publish Blessed Assurance, a collection of prayers for the LGBT community. Coming of age in a progressive church family during a time of changing religious mores, I knew this book was sorely needed.  I was proud to be a part of it.

But the book was late again, and we would miss the Lenten season.  The book had been late a number of times, and I was growing disheartened.

I finally talked to the author (as the book had been acquired by another editor) and told her in no uncertain terms that I wanted this book and I wanted it NOW.  She explained that the reason she was so late on the book was that she actually thought it was two books - a prayer book and a workbook - and I said, "OK, then.  Let's do them both."

And she said, "Are you kidding me?"

So, we are now publishing two books - one for the Thanksgiving season and one for Lent next year.

And she said to me, "You are my Easter. This book project was dead to me and you have resurrected it."

I was almost moved to tears.

I don't get the chance to save a book very often.   Sure, I can sign up a book that means a lot to someone, or I can save a poorly written book from bad reviews with my super-powered editing, but breathing new life into a dead project - this was a first.

And during Holy Week!

She was my Easter too!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

RAB Publishes The Provocateur's Payback, An International Erotic Thriller

Riverdale Avenue Books’ Publishes The Provocateur’s Payback, an Acclaimed International LGBT thriller
“A fantastic portrait of decadence filled with wit.” — Vanity Fair (Spanish edition)

RIVERDALE, NEW YORK, March 27, 2015  -- Riverdale Avenue Books is pleased to announce the publication of The Provocateur’s Payback by Paco Munoz-Botas under the its LGBT Magnus imprint.  Previously published in Spain, the international thriller received rave reviews in Europe.

The Provocateur’s Payback, an erotic thriller of international intrigue, introduces a trio of memorable characters: Curro, disillusioned playboy who’s left the club scene behind in search of a new life purpose after losing his beloved dog; Dima, handsome martial arts champion who’s fled from goons in the Russian Mafia; and Eugenia, elegant super-model with stunning green eyes whom the witless gossips of Madrid society have long pegged as Curro’s ideal consort.
The action opens on a warm spring afternoon, as Curro’s driving his convertible sports car, heading back to Madrid from a country house weekend. His world is turned upside down when he hears a desperate plea: “Hurry, please! Quickly! Get going, they want to kill me.” Before Curro can protest, Dima’s flopped in to the passenger seat. Abandoning caution, Curro agreeably floors the gas with the mysterious stranger next to him.

The action speeds along from Curro’s apartment, where Dima finds safe haven to recover from the stab wounds he suffered that fateful night; to Madrid’s Royal Opera House, where Russian thugs stalk Dima; to a posh Madrid night spot where Dima meets Eugenia, and an instant attraction sparks between them. Curro, with his keen sense of sexual chemistry, detects a special link between them, even as he hopes that Dima might save a spark for him.

Praise for The Provocateur’s Payback
 “The most delirious gay thriller in the history of [the] Spanish novel.”—Eñe Literary Magazine
“One of the season’s literary surprises.”—Shangay Magazine  
“A fascinating story filled with humor, violence, and eroticism.”—El Cultural Magazine

About the Author

Paco Muñoz-Botas is a Spanish writer born in Madrid in 1956. He studied journalism, enjoys international travel, collecting art and resides in Madrid and Málaga, Spain. This is his first novel.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Just Pubbed Award-Winning Debut Short Story Collection Blue Talk and Love by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

Riverdale Avenue Books Publishes Award-Winning Debut Short
Story Collection

 Blue Talk and Love
Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

“Blue Talk and Love’s voice, despite material that seems frankly
contemporary, is paradoxically lyrical, nearly Faulknerian."  --Rick Moody, judge for the American Short Fiction Short Story Contest

Riverdale, NY – March 20, 2015 – Innovative hybrid publisher Riverdale Avenue Books announces the publication of the award-wining short story collection Blue Talk and Love by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan in its Magnus imprint. The collection has already received praise from Rick Moody, Cheryl Clarke, Samuel R. Delany, Darryl Pinckney, LaShonda Katrice Barnett and Jewelle Gomez.
Blue Talk and Love tells the stories of girls and women of color navigating the moods and mazes of urban daily life. Set in various enclaves of New York City — including the middle-class Hamilton Heights section of Harlem, the black queer social world of the West Village, the Spanish-speaking borderland between Harlem and Washington Heights, and historic Tin Pan Alley — the collection uses magic realism, historical fiction, satire and more to highlight young black women's inner lives.
The storylines range widely: a big-bodied teenage girl from Harlem discovers her sexuality in the midst of racial tensions at her Upper East Side school; four young women from Newark, New Jersey, are charged with assaulting the man who threatens to rape them; a pair of conjoined black female twins born into slavery, make their fame as stage performers in the Big City.  In each story, the characters push past what is expected of them, learning to celebrate their voices and their lives. 

Praise for Blue Talk and Love

“Mecca Jamilah Sullivan is a sharp social observer as well as a bold experimentalist. She has an arresting ear and a courageous heart. Her language races with her intelligence and humanity.”
---Darryl Pinckney, author of High Cotton and Out There: Mavericks of Black Fiction   

"Sullivan’s prose shocks, intrigues, and transports us through fourteen artful and unique stories.  And so do her rich and inimitable characters, most of them young black women struggling in a world they did not make but one they must confront, tear down, and remake.  Black girls matter and Sullivan shows us just how much."

-- Cheryl Clarke, author of Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women and Living as a Lesbian

"Mecca Jamilah Sullivan's debut collection of fiction dazzles with images, language and heart.  She slips inside her characters and renders their inner lives with painterly precision so with each story we enter a complete world drawn with brilliant color and raw emotion.  Yet it is the mystery of life itself which she evokes so strongly and that holds us fast."                                    
-- Jewelle Gomez, author The Gilda Stories
"In a prose as rich and sumptuous as brocade, these stories hit with the
the force of primal myths. They can be tender, they can be funny, and
they can shock. This is a book that grabs you low on the spinal
column and rattles your teeth together. Sullivan is a powerful and impressive
    --Samuel R. Delany, author of Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders 
“Mecca Jamilah Sullivan’s debut story collection is a remarkable work best described as elegiac blues… Blue Talk and Love stuns with subtle imagery, powerful linguistic energy, and chiseled, innovative control.”
 –LaShonda Katrice Barnett, author of Jam on the Vine
About the Author
Mecca Jamilah Sullivan is Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Born and raised in Harlem, New York, she received the Charles Johnson Fiction Award, the James Baldwin Memorial Playwriting Award, and honors from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mellon Foundation, and the Center for Fiction in New York City. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, Best New Writing, American Fiction, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, Feminist Studies, and elsewhere, and she is Associate Editor for Arts & Culture at The Feminist Wire.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Riverdale Avenue Books Publishes “The Glass Stiletto, A Kinky Cinderella Tale” to Tie-In with Disney Movie

"Ms. Kenley writes one sizzling Cinderella! Her sexy imagination improves a classic fairy tale.”--Ashlyn Chase, bestselling author of the Flirting With Fangs series

Riverdale, NY – March 12, 2015 – Innovative hybrid publisher Riverdale Avenue Books will publish The Glass Stiletto, A Kinky Fairy Tale by Rachel Kenley to tie-in with the world-wide release of the live action version of Disney’s Cinderella.
In this adult version of the classic fairy tale, Mariella isn’t sure she wants to actually marry the prince now that she has her freedom from her wicked stepfamily.  And the prince knows she is different than any other woman he has ever met, especially when she teaches him a thing or two about truly being free and letting go – while tied to her bed.  This femdom retelling is an enrapturing adult bedtime story.
“Riverdale Avenue Books’ Publisher Lori Perkins took a chance on The Glass Stiletto when I first submitted it to her and was the only publisher I'd met willing to consider a femdom novel,” explained romance author Rachel Kenley. “Even now, in most published BDSM stories, the hero is the dominant and the heroine finds her joy - and strength - in submission.  The heroines of fairy tales are always having such a tough time of it that I thought it was time for them to have the chance to be in charge, and Cinderella was the first to come to mind as a character who deserved a stronger role.”

Thursday, February 19, 2015

RAB's Dagger Imprint Announces New List and Pubs First Title, Fifty Shades of Grey Fedora

 Dagger Books, the new crime/mystery/thriller imprint from innovative hybrid publisher Riverdale Ave Books, is proud to announce its first list of titles, to be published in the coming months. In association with the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA), Dagger will launch with FIFTY SHADES OF GREY FEDORA, a take on sex within the private eye genre. Edited by award-winning author Robert J. Randisi, this anthology of original stories features such acclaimed authors as Sara Paretsky, John Lutz, Max Allan Collins, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Justin Scott, and 12 others. Pub date is February 18, 2015.

“I’m very excited to be part of this new line with my old friend, Joe Pittman,” Randisi said. “Here's hoping Dagger Books cuts through all the competition like a hot knife through butter.” Randisi will also pen a new mystery series for Dagger, which has committed to three books already.

Joseph Pittman, Editorial Director of Dagger, said, “Working again with Randisi is a thrill. He’s got tons of ideas, tons of writer friends, and he always has a new idea waiting in the wings. After publishing several anthologies throughout my career with the PWA, I’m happy to be reunited on such a cutting edge anthology. Dagger will be doing a lot of creative books. A unique point of view is what I’m looking for. Pun intended.”

“I am so thrilled to be working with Joe and his list of stellar authors in this new imprint. We believe that books are a consumable pleasure, and are excited to add mysteries and thrillers to our line,” said Publisher Lori Perkins.

Other authors filling out the Dagger list are a host of writers Pittman has worked with during previous editorial positions at NAL/Signet, Alyson Books, and Vantage Point. First-time authors will also be welcome on the developing list.

Neil S. Plakcy, the Lambda-nominated author of many books, said, “I’m excited to be launching a new series at the same time Joe Pittman is launching Dagger. I see great things in our future together.” Placky’s series revolves around a gay FBI agent, the first of which is titled THE NEXT ONE WILL KILL YOU.

Dagger’s list will be comprised of traditional cozy mysteries, such as suspense novelist and short story expert Christine Matthews’s new jewelry designer series, which begins with SAPPHIRES AREN’T FOREVER. “I'm so excited to be writing a new series for a new imprint and working with Joe Pittman is the cherry on top. This new wave of publishing is allowing writers to be more creative and readers more adventurous,” Matthews said.

Among other titles will be reissues of two books Pittman published at Vantage Point, Cathy Lubenski’s funny TRASHY CHIC and Charles Philipp Martin’s Hong Kong-set procedural, NEON PANIC. Dagger will also publish the next volume in each of those series. Another author he worked with, William Wells, whose FACE OF THE DEVIL is a chilling tale of suspense, said, “Dagger and its parent, Riverdale Avenue Books, are riding the new wave of publishing as eBooks are poised to outsell print in the U.S. and in other world markets, as they already do at Amazon, so it is especially pleasing for an author to be a part of that trend.”

Lubenski and Martin echo that sentiment. “Being included in the launch of Dagger, is an honor and a thrill. To quote Shakespeare: ‘O happy Dagger!’” Lubenski writes.

Martin said, “Joe has assembled a first-class lineup of mysteries and thrillers for Dagger's launch. I'm delighted to be part of it. We expect Dagger to be a formidable presence in digital crime publishing."

Rounding out the initial list is a first-novel by Patrick Lozito, whom Pittman worked with years ago at a bookstore. Lozito was always a fan of private eye novels and two reconnected after news of Dagger’s creation. The result is the period noir novel, I FOUGHT DELORES. Marcus Pelegrimas, a writer of both crime and westerns, will write a new series featuring a shadowy investigator named Marker. “Ebooks are stronger than ever. With hard hitting stories from talent that's ready to bring readers through the twisted, dark alleys of crime fiction, Dagger’s future is bright,” he said.

Finally, acclaimed crime writer Gary Phillips presents .44 CALIBER FUNK, an original anthology of crime stories that celebrate the black experience of the 1970s. "It's a blast to be doing a couple of anthologies with Dagger as the line launches. Us old dogs get a new lease in this digital frontier,” Phillips states.

Pittman, a novelist himself, promises other surprises to help enhance the 2015 list, and beyond. “I’m all about the voice. A truly talented writer can have me from the first line. I look forward to discovering more great books and fresh new writers. Lori Perkins and her team at Riverdale could not have been more accommodating as I set about acquiring this great list.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fifty Shades: The Movie Has Arrived

Here we go!

I went to a press screening of Fifty Shades of Grey last night and was pretty amazed - at how well they had transformed the material into a classic Hollywood romance with dark undertones, and how well cast the movie is.  Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan (from whom I kept on expecting a lapse into his native Irish accent and NEVER heard the slightest brogue once) have great screen chemistry. The seduction is movie-real enough. Dornan's damaged alpha is really good.  And Dakota plays Anastasia Steele with a lot more spunk (and no inner goddess) than the novel. So even in a crowd full of seasoned professionals, when the curtain closed at the end of the film, they asked, "that's it?"

This is going to be HUGE. Think How Stella Got Her Groove Back meets Twilight with a big dash of 9 1/2 Weeks. Expect it to put the bullet to Sniper.

My plus one, also a seasoned movie reviewer (actually I was her plus one), turned to me and said, "it's not my kink, but this was well done."  And it is, from the soundtrack to the clothing and all the book-related details.  BTW, the red room of pain is gorgeous.

If you love the books, you'll love the movie.  If you somehow hadn't read them yet, you'll be downloading them on your kindle tout suite.  And if you hated the books, you just might like the movie anyway.

But if you run out of Fifty Shades books to read, and don't want to reread them, we have a few titles for you.  First of all, you really should read NY Times best-selling author Marc Shapiro's unauthorized biography, The Secret Life of EL James  ( in which he literally gives you a step-by-step guide to how she wrote and marketing her book.  It's a fucking blue print.

Marc returned to the Fifty Shades well to write two riveting bios on Dakota Johnson ( and Jamie Dornan (, both of whom have surprisingly rich and varied pasts.

But if that's not enough, Jeffery Self made the #1 spot on the Amazon Gay & lesbian bestseller list with his 50 Shades of Gay, ( which retells the tale from a M/M perspective and sets it in Hollywood.  Funny and hot!!

And KT Grant, one of my favorite lesbian pop culture writers, brings us 50 Shades of Pink, which tells the story from a lesbian perspective set in the world of New York City publishing.

But wait, there's more!

We are launching a new mystery line this month, Dagger, and our first title is Fifty Shades of Grey Fedora, edited by the Private Eye Writers of America with new stories by the likes of Sara Paretsky, John Lutz, Parnell Hall and other big name authors.

And we also are offering a FREE sample of 50 erotic romance author in Beyond 50 featuring the works of Laura Antoniou, Cecilia Tan, Violet Blue and many others, which will be available on the RAB website, as well as Amazon, Banes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes, etc.

So enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Seattle Shades of Romance Conference Cancelled

Shades of Romance Conference Has Been Cancelled

Due to a lack of ticket sales, the Shades of Romance conference in Seattle, WA has been cancelled. Maria Stefanapolous, the organizer has promised to refund any tickets purchased.