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From Phyllida's Desk

Review of Nora Olsen's Maxine Wore Black

Maxine Wore BlackMaxine Wore Black by Nora Olsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It takes a gifted writer like Nora Olsen to pull off a mash-up like this. From the reviews so far, it appears that Daphne du Maurier's timeless classic Rebecca (1938) has reached its sell-by date. Too bad, because if you haven't read it (or even heard of it) and are unfamiliar with its iconic gothic plot, you're not going to get Maxine.  Read More 
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An Earl Like I

(with apologies to Grace Burrowes and Anita Loos)

"Good morning, brother! ... Dare I hope that you, like I, are coming home from a night on the town?" (The Heir, by Grace Burrowes. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Casablanca, c2010, p. 85)

"Are you talking to me?" the earl of Westhaven said.

"I don't see anyone else in the road," said his brother, Valentine.  Read More 
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Reading and Performance, April 6, 2014

New York City offers amazing opportunities for writers and artists, even as prices are forcing many of us out and as bookstores are closing. A new queer bookstore opened earlier this year with the tongue-in-cheek name of Bureau of General Services--Queer Division. Located on the real Lower East Side of Manhattan, at 83A Hester St., BGSQD shares its space with a performance group called CAGE.  Read More 
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Best Bi Short Stories

http://kck.st/1bMPj7B

Back in 2006, when the self-published Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander was a few months old and I was working on a new novel, bisexual activist Sheela Lambert had the idea for an anthology of bisexual-themed short stories.  Read More 
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Rears and Vices

In the last JASNA-NY (Jane Austen Society of North America, New York region) discussion group, the topic was deceptively simple: What character do you identify with? Only Elizabeth Bennet was off limits, considered too obvious a choice--unnecessarily as it turned out.

The runaway favorite was  Read More 
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Review of Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner

Bi: Notes for a Bisexual RevolutionBi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a terrific book, one that goes far beyond most of what has been published on bisexuality and bisexual activism--which is not to belittle the great work that has preceded it. It's a book that could not have been written until now, when the definition of bisexual is expanding to be more inclusive, and when the concept of bisexuality is moving beyond the limited idea of attraction to "both" sexes. Because this is nonfiction, and political, I will not be discussing the writing style, except to say I think Eisner did an excellent job of writing clearly and avoiding jargon. I am giving the book four stars, not five, because I think there is one substantive flaw in Eisner's approach, which I'll discuss at the end of my review. Read More 
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Over to the Dark Side

That's where I've gone.

A week after my righteous denunciation of the siege-warfare scenarios in Angry Birds, I am knocking down ever more complex buildings and killing regiments of green disembodied pigs.

So what changed me from a sensitive recruit into a battle-hardened veteran? I guess the first thing was getting to the next  Read More 
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Rooting For the Pigs

I was a latecomer to Angry Birds, as to so much of modern digital experience. Just this week, after barreling through season 3 of The Walking Dead and feeling a certain zombie-like resistance to resuming "normal life" (whatever that is) I decided to revisit the free game lurking untouched on my Kindle Fire mini-tablet. Seventy-two hours and countless levels later, I have a confession: I'm rooting for the pigs.  Read More 
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Rediscovered Georgette Heyer Treasure

The Great Roxhythe (TGR), Georgette Heyer's second published novel, is an astonishing work of historical fiction, with two unconventional love stories at its center.  Read More 
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Author's Note from Phyllida

Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander began life as a Regency romance novel. The first regencies, written by Georgette Heyer in the 1930s and 40s, are comedies of manners that take place in Great Britain between 1811 and 1820, when the future King George IV acted as Prince Regent because his father, George III, had become incapacitated. Heyer’s prototypes established a popular subgenre of the historical romance: witty, lighthearted love stories among members of the wealthy and leisured upper classes, while the darkness of world conflict occurs mostly offstage in the final years and aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars.  Read More 
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