Welcome to Purple Books Publishing!

Purple Books Publishing illuminates the lives, history, and scholarship of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and our allies of all ages.

Divisons include: memoir and biography; history, academics, research and commentary; youth and young adult; and poetry, scripts and art books.

Portions of sales, both online and in print, are donated to various LGBT youth, aging, university, and health organizations. When your non-profit organization hosts a reading/book signing, proceeds from sales that day, both online and in person, go to directly to your group.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My 2012 Trip to Europe: Re-discovering History

My 2012 Trip to Europe: Re-discovering History

I went to Europe earlier this month. I'd never been there before and now I’m surprised about why that had never happened. So much history is around every bend, much of it affecting the U.S. and my personal life.

Kelly and I walked the streets of Paris for four days, seeing museums and artwork and places where heroes walked before us. At the Pere Lachaise cemetery, we visited the grave sites of Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas buried together, Jim Morrison, Colette, and so many more as well as the poignant memorials dedicated to the thousands of French Jews deported to Nazi death camps.

We climbed to the top of the Arch de Triomph at night and to the very high second platform of the Eiffel tower, 38 stories above ground. We ate amazing food, especially pastries and cheeses. In the Montmartre, we couldn't resist walked into the sex shops and the Moulin Rouge.

We boarded the Avalon river cruise ship Creativity and for Olivia eight day cruise during which we visited many small towns along the Seine. We visited Van Gogh’s last home and burial site in Auvers sur Oise, Giverny where Monet painted the gardens he created, and Rouen where Monet painted the  Cathedral de Notre-Dame. Also in Rouen we went to the St. Joan of Arc church where the 19 year old Joan was memorialized as the true hero she was, and we went into the La Couronne restaurant where Meryl Street as Julia ate her first lunch in France with her husband Paul in the film Julie and Julia.

At the Normandy Beaches, we were touched by the intense U.S. history along with the British, impressed by the ingenuity it took to create the apparatus to accommodate the landings...and deeply pained by the ages of the very young men. We visited the American cemetery where we were given roses to lay on grave sites. I found some young Jewish soldiers and placed stones on their markers along with the roses.

We flew to Munich after the cruise, thoroughly enjoying the openness and aliveness of the city. We spend much of the next day at Dachau, that place of tremendous horror and pain and death...even still, even after being sanitized, is still a reminder of what hate and intolerance will do, how it consumes the hater and destroys humanity. As a small child growing up in a Jewish family, I learned that if we forget, it will surely happen again. Sometimes I feel like our leaders have forgotten, that the growing visible hate in this country will lead to the kind of intolerance that kills masses of people.

Where is the love Jesus asks of one another? I know I need to keep an open mind and an open heart, but with the power of my pen and keyboard, I will continue to write, continue to seek freedom for our LGBT sisters and brothers, continue to create awareness as long as I’m able. I hope you'll commit to doing the same, lest we forget. This once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe helps me to remember....

Keep writing!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First chapters free!

I'm so excited about the books Purple Books is publishing that I decided to share the first chapters of our current completed books. All are available on Amazon and Kindle and most other e-formats.

The Dyke Diagnostic Manual by Mickey Eliason is a tongue-in-cheek book about lesbian relationships. Lesbian communities across the United States are threatened by a growing epidemic of dyke drama. Although often discussed in the lesbian press and in informal gatherings of lesbians, the full impact of dyke drama has not been thoroughly studied until recently. This contemporary research reveals the underlying etiology of this complex and multi-faceted phenomenon. Dyke drama is caused primarily by the presence and interaction of dyke diagnoses which are pathological conditions unique to lesbian individuals and communities. This is the first book dedicated to exploring these dyke diagnoses and ultimately eradicating them, thus reducing the harmful effects of dyke drama. Long live a healthy lesbian community!
The first chapter may be found here

The Mystery of Jessica Benson by C. K. Laurence. Jessica Benson is hot, beautiful, bisexual, and dead. Her life and death intersects the drama of a professional football team and the detectives who are on the case. The book takes place in Miami Beach, Florida. The author, C. K. Laurence, has been a student of crime activity and weaves an exciting story of mystery and intrigue, and creates an unexpected ending to a suspenseful adventure. Ms. Laurence is also a long-time rowdy Miami Dolphins football fan and uses her knowledge of football culture to develop a side-story that rings true in football culture. The book moves quickly from Miami Beach parties to the football field to the murder scene. Look out! The ending is a shocker! 
The first chapter may be found here

Sing, Meadowlark, Sing by Helen Ruth Schwartz. The Great Earthquake created a new island off of the coast of California which became a protected homeland for America's persecuted lesbian and gay citizens. Sing, Meadowlark, Sing intersects fantasy and feminist politics along with tender lesbian love stories. Set in the future, this book recounts the stories of both a young lesbian professional and an older lesbian prime minister of the Isle of Cali, and the challenges of returning to an America that is now officially openly hostile to lesbian and gay people. First chapter may be found here.

I look forward to hearing what you think!

Keep writing!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Workshops and Writing

I’ve been attending workshops at the Port Townsend, WA, Writers Conference. I love going to class. I love being a student and learning new things, especially about honing the craft of writing. One workshop is how to expand scenes, to make them pop and come alive. As writers we tell stories. Our descriptions must be available to our readers, rich but not schmaltzy. Oh, sometimes schmaltz works but mostly we must provide words that allow readers to “see” the story.

While I publish books, I’m still primarily a writer. The book on which I’m currently working excites me very much. The draft is so rough and yet when I read it, I can’t wait to get to the next part! It feels juicy, real, and yet unreal, too. It brings the past and the present together as it weaves an intergenerational tale of WWII, but in a different way than I’ve seen before. When it’s near completion I’ll put some on this blog for reader critique and input.

In the meantime, let me know on what you’re working.\

Keep writing!

Writing your book: Helpful Hint

That book is inside of you just begging to be let out! You want to write it but it's hard to find the time, the motivation, the desire to sit down and just do it. I felt that way about my memoir, The Purple Golf Cart. People told me for years that I need to write my story. I tried many times. And then I found my new best friend: the digital tape recorder! I recorded every time I took a walk or did some running or rode my bike to sit on the beach. I talked and talked, not in any order, just about things and people I remembered. After what I thought was enough, I transcribed my tapes into manuscript and printed it out. None of it was in any kind of order, of course, so I began to use scissors to cut chronological pieces and put them together. Once I got the order, I re-read what I had already written which immediately prompted more memories to be added.

So if you find you can't get started writing, try the recorder method. At least the story of your life will be captured. You deserve it.

And when you've finished your manuscript, publish it with Purple Distinctions, the LGBT self-publishing company! Your vision. Your voice. Your way.

Keep writing!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review: Coming Out in Faith

Purple Books cannot publish every book for and about LGBT communities, so we support our friends who also do this work. I met Susan Gore at the Expanding the Circle Conference in San Francisco last month and she graciously gave a copy of her book to me. I deeply appreciate that we're beginning to have these conversations around sexuality and spirituality, and Susan's book does it so well. I hope you'll read it.

Coming Out in Faith:
Voices of LGBT Unitarian Universalists
Edited by
Susan Gore and Keith Kron (2011)
Skinner House Books

This wonderful book is a collection of personal stories of LGBT people who are members of the Unitarian Church. By telling the stories of their pasts, they share their experiences, strengths, and hopes for their own futures as well as for all LGBT people. I especially liked that each chapter not only speaks of an individual’s journey but also includes both a current photo and one from when they were young. While the book is the compilation of stories of some Unitarian Universalists people, the messages are universal, uplifting, and incredibly sweet, bringing sexuality, gender identity, and spirituality. Coming Out in Faith includes a very helpful section on language and terminology as well as a glossary and several pages of resources. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Writing our histories: Listening to the elders

Today I enjoyed the privilege of literally sitting at the feet of Irene Weiss, an 80-something lesbian-feminist-separatist who shared her stories of the past and a new video about lesbians from the 1980s. Irene and I probably never met in the past, but we could have. She lived at the Pagoda, a lesbian retreat in Vilano Beach, FL, just north of St. Augustine. Irene and her partner lived there for 7 years and knew my old friend Rainbow Williams who I’d met just prior to my coming out in 1979, at Orlando NOW meeting. Irene and her partner also visited Gainesville where I went to college, had visited Barbara Deming on Sugarloaf Key just after I was there and just before Barbara passed, and Irene spent time in Jacksonville where I lived for a number of years.

My activism has always been "within" the mainstream. I believe that one of the powerful ways change happens is to work within the system to change the system. Irene's activism was way outside the mainstream, imbedded in the lesbian/feminist/separatist communities and actions. Both kinds of activism were important foundations for today’s young people, for paving the way for young LGBT people to feel a sense of freedom. Today’s young LGBT folk have an entirely different set of work to do before our civil rights are fully established, but they couldn’t do this work if Irene and myself and many others hadn’t done what we did in the many ways we did it "back in the day." I'm not a separatist like Irene but the goals for our various philosophies are the same: our freedom.

I wish our college age LGBT generation could see the film we saw today but I doubt they ever will. I don’t believe it speaks to them in a way they may find significant. It’s a sweet story of a particular generation of a particular community of particular women. A blurb on a radar screen that will sound only in some women’s studies classroom on some campus somewhere IF the film even gets released.

Regardless of whether or not young LGBT people see the film, I hope they will spend some time sitting at the feet of someone much older than they, listening to the stories of lives lived well and of freedom fought and found. Because one day, they will be that person, and they, in turn, will tell their stories to generations to come of days long gone but that changed the world….

Keep writing!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Purple Books Publishing and Purple Distinctions: A history

I have had the privilege of being a professor at UCLA and director of the LGBT Center at UCLA and at the University of Michigan, and I’ve been an activist for LGBT equality for over 30 years.

When I was young, I would search books in the school library for a reflection of myself as a lesbian though I didn’t know that word. I found nothing. After losing custody of my children when I came out in Florida, 1979, my world exploded with learning about my history, my culture, my story as part of the lesbian and gay community. Later, while at Michigan, I learned similar stories of bisexual and transgender people as well. Later still, at UCLA, I was able to design the new LGBT Center. I wanted it to include a library, a place where any person dealing with sexual orientation or gender identity issues could find themselves, could see reflections of their lives, their histories, their heroes.

I retired from higher education but still had the undying desire to help other LGBT people – like my son who is gay, like my granddaughters who are simply free thinkers –  find and write the stories of their lives.

Purple Books seeks quality literature for more traditional primary publication, and I enjoy reading the many manuscripts we receive every week. Of course not everyone has the gift of writing in a way that appeals to publishers…read sales.  We publishers put lots of money into getting a book to market, sometimes thousands before we see the first penny, IF we see that penny at all. It’s a marketing gamble but one I’m willing to take if a book is of the quality Purple Books believes will sell.

Not everyone, of course, has the gift of strong creative writing in a way that publishers, Purple Books included, are willing to take the financial chance, yet I want to help everyone see the dream of their book come true.  To that end, I created Purple Distinctions, a self-publishing concept that’s a bit different from the others. Purple Distinctions has several levels of packages an author may purchase, ranging from a very basic one-vendor e-book to a full-on print book and e-book with multiple vendors and designed full color covers. There are no other products. We won’t suck you in with more expensive services or gimmicks or things you don’t need. Wee simply produce your book, your vision, your way. The only expense to us you may elect is to purchase your print copy books from us at half the retail value. That’s it.

And I donate 10% of all the publishing income to various LGBT-serving organizations. To date , beneficiaries have been:

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Jacksonville, Florida, for their great work in providing scholarships to LGBT college students.. pflagjax.org

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Professionals for their work on college campuses . LGBTcampus.org

Vox Femina Los Angeles Women’s Chorus for their great lesbian-identified music. voxfeminala.org

Let me know what you think of this concept and then think about writing that work that’s been in your head for years. You can do it!

In the meantime, the story of this very young company continues. I hope you become a part of it.

Keep writing!