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Felice Picano

Felice Picano is considered a founder of modern gay literature.  With the other members of the Violet Quill Club, he founded the SeaHorse Press and Gay Presses of New York.  -- from Saints & Sinners

  • 20th Century Un-limited (April 2013 release)
    The 20th Century is over and done with and nothing can be changed. Or is it? Felice Picano’s two short novels take delicious what-if peeks at outwitting Time’s (seemingly) unbending Arrow.

    In Ingoldsby, a handsome graduate student finds himself caretaking a Midwestern architectural treasure in which not everything or everyone is what they seem—or when they seem either! But a sexy newcomer challenges him to change all that, for himself, and for a gay youth way out of his own time.

    In Wonder City of the West, a man too young in spirit to be at retirement age takes a leap back to Golden Age Hollywood. He encounters youth, friendship, a movie star lover, and talents he never knew he possessed. But as he succeeds beyond his dreams, he must ask—is he merely a tool for a shadowy group with a far larger purpose?

    Provocative, mind-bending, sensual, and entertaining, 20th Century Unlimited is an unexpected addition to an established body of work by an author unafraid to confound and surpass expectations.

  • Fred in Love (2004)
    In the early 1970s, when he was still an aspiring, unpublished writer, Felice Picano began a remarkable relationship with an extraordinary animal: a days-old kitten slated for euthanasia who refused to perish. Rescued, named, and trained, Fred became an extraordinarily intelligent companion, ally, teacher, and constant wonder to the author as he began his ascent through the Bohemian circles of Greenwich Village, among musicians, actors, curious characters, and even the famous British actress in hiding right next door.

    But when an acquaintance brought his female cat to be serviced by Fred, an entire new set of experiences opened up for the cat-and for Picano, who'd never had the nerve to befriend her owner, his ideal man. The course of love seldom runs straight for cats or for men, and this time would prove (hilariously) no different.

    This is another of Picano's distinguished portraits of a vanished era, when a new gay domain was solidifying only a few years after the Stonewall Riots, and the still nascent gay literary world that Picano would help invent was just a conception. Fred in Love is a charming, nostalgic, funny, gossipy, involving, and ultimately enlightening story about how we learn and grow, and how we love-whether the object of our affection is a cat or another human being. It's sure to take its place next to Picano's now classic literary memoirs Ambidextrous: The Secret Lives of Children, Men Who Loved Me: A Memoir in the Form of a Novel , and A House on the Ocean, a House on the Bay.

  • Onyx (2001)
    Contemporary dramatic/comedy of gay life.

  • The New York Years: Stories (2000)
    The New York Years: An Asian Minor/ and slashed to Ribbons in Defense of Love reprinted as two books in one

  • Looking Glass Lives (1998)
    Contemporary & Historical psychological/occult thriller.

  • The Book of Lies (1998) -- Finalist 1998 Lambda Literary Book Award in Fiction.

  • Bright, ambitious, and handsome, Ross Ohrenstedt is a high flier in the fashionable field of queer studies. He has just taken a prestigious university position in Los Angeles and has been appointed to oversee the collection of papers and works of a leading light of the gay literary salon known as the Purple Circle. Ross stumbles across a "lost" work by an unknown author and his quest to identify the mystery writer and achieve the glory of scholastic tenure unveils increasingly bizarre and unbalanced facts about a group of writers who in the 1970s and 1980s broke new ground in the creation of a gay literary sensibility. But the dark truth contained within The Book of Lies is even more startling. With biting wit and a lush sense of place and character, Felice Picano's daring novel is at once a stylish mystery, a comical roman à clef, and a wicked send-up of the new Ivory Tower.

  • Dryland's End (1995) - Finalist, 1995 Lambda Literary Award for Science/Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
    Set five thousand years in the future, Dryland's End takes place in a fabulous techno-empire ruled by intelligent, powerful women. But military rivalries, religious fanaticism and economic competition threaten to destroy the empire from within just as a rebellion also threatens human exi stence throughout the galaxy.

  • Like People in History (1995) -- Winner 1995 Ferro-Grumley Award for Best Gay Male Fiction (U.S.); Winner 1995 Gay Times of England Award for Best Gay Fiction (UK); Winner Le Figaro Literraire Award for Best Foreign Fiction (France); Finalist 1995 Lambda Literary Award for Fiction
    Cousins Roger and Alistair become lifelong friends when they meet as boys in 1954. They discover their homosexuality and their lives intersect against the backdrop of 20th-century gay culture, from the beachboy surfer days of the 1960s, to Greenwich Village AIDS activism in the 1990s.

  • To the Seventh Power (1990)
    Contemporary psychological/Sci-Fi thriller.

  • House of Cards (1984)
    Drama of contemporary bigamy.

  • Slashed to Ribbons in Defense of Love and Other Stories (1983)
    Gay stories of contemporary life.

  • An Asian Minor: The True Story of Ganymede (1981)
    Comic novella on mythological theme.

  • Late in the Season (1981)
    A telling novel about gay life after Stonewall, Late in the Season is one of the finest novels in the long career of one of the founding members of the Violet Quill Club. Set on Fire Island in late September, this is the story of an unlikely pair of friends—a gay composer in his late thirties and an eighteen-year-old schoolgirl—both of whom are trying to make sense of their complicated lives. But much more than this, it is a compelling portrait of a magical time and place, after the Stonewall riots opened up so many possibilities and before AIDS forever changed the face of the gay world.

  • The Lure (1977)
    Psychological thriller set in New York gay world. Noel Cummings is about to change irrevocably. After witnessing a brutal murder, Noel is recruited by the police to assist as a lure for the killer-at-large. Undercover, Noel moves deeper and deeper into the freneticism of Manhattan's gay highlife...

    This was the first gay novel to be taken by major book club.

  • The Mesmerist (1977)
    Psychological thriller set in the US West, circa 1900.

  • Eyes (1976)
    Psychological thriller/love story.

  • Smart As the Devil (1975) -- Finalist for P.E.N./Hemingway Award for First Fiction
    Psychological/occult thriller.

Gay Studies
  • Fourth Ambientes: Latino/a Writing Today, co-edited by Felice Picano and Lazaro Lima (2011) -- Finalist 2011 Lambda Book Award in Gay Mens' Studies
    As the U.S. Latino population grows rapidly, and as the LGBTQ Latino community becomes more visible and a more crucial part of our literary and artistic heritage, there is an increasing demand for literature that successfully highlights these diverse lives. Edited by Lázaro Lima and Felice Picano, Ambientes is a revolutionary collection of fiction featuring stories by established authors as well as emerging voices that present a collective portrait of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience in America today. With a preface by Picano and an introduction by Lima that sets the stage for understanding Latino literary and cultural history, this is the first anthology to cross cultural and regional borders by offering a wide variety of urban, rural, East Coast, West Coast, and midwestern perspectives on Latina and Latino queers from different walks of life. Stories range from sensual pieces to comical romances and from inner-city dramas fueled by street language to portraits of gay domesticity, making this a much-needed collection for many different kinds of readers. The stories in this collection reflect a vibrant and creative community and redefine received notions of “gay” and “lesbian.”
Memoirs & Nonfiction
  • The Bombay Trunk (2002)
    Full length murder mystery/black comedy/psychological thriller.

  • Immortal  (1986)
    Play with music; based on An Asian Minor.

  • One O'Clock Jump (1985)
    One act black comedy.

Poetry and Anthologies
Short Stories
  • Twelve O'Clock Tales (2011)
    Twelve O’Clock Tales is the fourth collection of short fiction by legendary novelist and memoirist, Felice Picano (The Lure, Like People in History, True Stories). A personal homage to the storytellers of his youth, Edgar Allen Poe, E.F. Benson, and H. P. Lovecraft, as well as his acquaintances, Arthur C. Clarke and Harlan Ellison. Eleven dark tales, eerie, bizarre, and dreamlike, the tales will thrill and disturb, discomfort and titillate, enthrall and leave you wondering. Picano ranges across time and space, from tribal West Africa to the American heartland, to a lab in Venezuela, and a California Highway fifteen years from now. His characters range from a teen accident survivor with a secret, to a far-future scholar forced to travel to a galactic backwater, to a retired L.A. cop who dabbles in astrology, and a peasant girl in B.C.E. Israel encountering the strangest of strangers. The eleven tales include brand new stories and acknowledged Picano masterworks collected here for the first time.

  • Contemporary Gay Romances (2010)
    Contemporary Gay Romances is the third collection of short fiction by legendary novelist and memoirist, Felice Picano (The Lure, Like People in History, Ambidextrous). It is also his most diverse in terms of the times, places, themes, characters and situations he writes about. Filled with the unexpected, the true, and the amazing, Contemporary Gay Romances moves with ease from gas-lit, upper class London, to a future, climate-altered Bay Area; from semi-rural Florida to Southern California beaches, to an extrasolar planet where people have surprising existences. His characters range from ordinary American suburban housewives to extraordinary children, from grieving young geologists and memory-haunted middle aged men, to British Midlands soccer stars and 22nd Century war heroes. Picano subtitled this collection of stylish, unique, and moving works “Tragic, Comic, Mystic & Horrific,” and they are all that and more. The ten tales include prize winners as well as stories published here for the first time, and are as different from any standard “romances” as you can get, but they will linger in the mind and memory.

  • True Stories: Portraits from My Past (2010) -- Winner 2010 Rainbow Award for Non-fiction
    From author Felice Picano, co-founder of the path breaking Violet Quill Club, comes a new collection of memoirs, many of which have never appeared in print. Picano presents sweet and sometimes controversial anecdotes of his precocious childhood, odd, funny, and often disturbing encounters from before he found his calling as a writer and later as one of the first GLBT publishers. Throughout are his delightful encounters and surprising relationships with the one-of-a-kind and the famous-including Tennessee Williams, W.H. Auden, Charles Henri Ford, Bette Midler, and Diana Vreeland.
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