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Book Review: OMG Queer edited by Radclyffe & Katerine Lynch

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Reviews2 Comments
The kind people at Publishers Group UK sent me a copy of OMG Queer to read, then review and I’m so glad they did as once I started reading I found it difficult to put down.

OMG Queer is an anthology of short fiction stories written by queer (gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, questioning and intersex) young people. Stories are the oldest form of communication to share hopes, fears, dreams, fantasies and these stories share all of these and so much more.

I’d like to tell you a little about each story as the cover of the book doesn’t do justice to the stories contained within.

Jelson by Brenna Harvey
Jelson made me rethink the whole gender identity issue. Jelson is intersex character who fluctuates between being a boy and a girl. It’s cleverly written switching between he and she as Jelson changes gender. It is revealed that he doesn’t want to be a boy or girl but exist in that space in-between, a space that up until this story I didn’t even realise existed. This story reminded me that often we don’t know what other people think about themselves or what they think of ourselves. A fantastic start to the book.

The Tea Bowl by Justine F. Lane
A beautifully written story about unrequited love. A lesbian English Tutor teaching in Japan falls in love with a soon-to-graduate student.

The Piano Player by Thomas Graziano
The story starts with Will at his grandma’s funeral. In the corner he notices an attractive piano player who plays his grandma’s favourite song. He thinks nothing more of it until a few weeks later on college campus he hears someone playing the piano. Will is a romantic gay man whose never been kissed. Will realises the guy playing the piano on campus is the same guy who played at his grandma’s funeral: Wesley.

I smiled reading that Will had made a pact with his straight female friend to marry each other if neither of them had met Mr. Right by the age of forty; as it’s something I think most gay men have done – I certainly have. I smiled again when Will checks social networking sites to try and work out Wesley’s gay or not. Something I’ll admit to doing.

Will gets his kiss and Wesley appreciates his love of his piano playing. This story is written in pieces that are brilliantly intertwined together. The story pulled out my romantic side that we all have. After reading this story I felt inexplicably happy; when I thought about why I discovered that this story had filled my heart with hope of meeting Mr. Right one day.

Crystal Crisis by A.J. Slater
Ryan is the only out lesbian girl in a homophobic school. Nobody talks to her apart from popular Crystal who shares one class with her. They bonded over Crystal having a regular ‘crisis,’ she never has a pen to do her homework with and always asking Ryan if she can borrow one. This story flips between the past – their last day at school; and the present – Ryan coming back to the small town to visit with her girlfriend.

In the past Ryan describes borrowing Crystal a pen and talking to her before some of the other students start name-calling Ryan. Crystal stands up for Ryan, and it quickly escalates into the other students viciously attacking Ryan and Crystal. By the end of the assault Ryan has stopped breathing and Crystal has to do CPR in order to save her life. Afterwards in front of the Head Teacher Ryan remains silent out of fear, something she’s never been able to forgive herself for. The Head Teacher decides that Ryan and Crystal have enough credits to graduate early, seemingly wanting to sweep the whole issue under the metaphorical carpet. They both declare their love for one another and leave school on that day. Ryan going off to study filmmaking and Crystal going off traveling in Europe.

In the present Ryan bumps into Crystal in the pharmacy when she see’s a woman rummaging in her bag for a pen. Ryan offers her a pen and they speak. Crystal is now a School Counsellor so that no one will ever have to experience what they did and she’s followed Ryan’s successful career as a filmmaker. Ryan apologies for her silence after the attack and Crystal explains that she was never angry and understood why she was silent. Then they are met by their respective female partners and the four of them walk off together. As they walk off Ryan and Crystal are talking about redeveloping their friendship but encompassing their new partners as well. Ryan finally forgives herself for her silence following the homophobic attack, after holding on to guilt for so many years.

A Tale of Modern Magic by Olivia Dziwak
This is a reflective story about a Polish lesbian who volunteers for her schools Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) in Canada. One night while volunteering at a World AID’s Day Event she meets Jane a pretty girl who also volunteers for the GSA and they decide to date. What makes the story truly remarkable is the description of what the Polish girl feels about the other and how she feels about the prospect of dating her. I found this story to be incredibly emotionally touching.

Indulge Me by Ashley Bartlett
An overly confident, borderline arrogant twenty year old Bartender is the main character in this story that is essentially about the chase. The Bartender see’s an older woman and the chase commences, the older woman playing hard to get. Eventually as expected the bartender gets her prey and they have a night of passion.

After this night the Bartender doesn’t see the older women for a while and the reader begins to question which of them was really the prey? When they finally do catch up the Bartender reflects realising that all she wanted to do was flirt with an attractive woman, she wasn’t ready for more. The outwardly confident Bartender transforms into someone whose more real, a woman who has insecurities just like everyone else.

Ignite the Sky by Julie R. Sanchez
Grace is on her knees picking up some chewing gum in her local shop when she meets Callie. Grace feels a presence above her slowly looking up taking in gorgeous Callie in front of her. Callie introduces herself and a friendship develops between them. Callie wants to feel alive and Grace comes to understand the importance of this through her adventures with Callie. Written in a diary style by Grace, it is discovered that Callie is bisexual. Callie likes girls and boys but it is about the person, they both talk about how they feel and the story ends with them admitting they both love one another.

A Round Trip by Warren Smith III
This is my favourite story in OMG Queer. Writer Ethan is on train the train to the city for work when he see’s a sign that reads Follow Your Passion. Ethan thinks to himself if only it was that easy. Then Zack sits opposite him and they quickly get talking, they even share one of those comfortable silences that usually only people who know each other well share.

Ethan doesn’t need to take the train the next day as he’s off work, but he can’t stop thinking about Zack so makes an excuse to himself for his need to take the train to the city again. This reminded me of the excitement of meeting someone new unexpectedly, which hasn’t happened to me in a long time. Zack gets on the train and sits opposite him. Zack invites Ethan to the city, as if he’s a visitor that’s never been. Ethan accepts and plays along pretending to fascinated by everything Zack’s points out.

They have a genuinely fantastic time together, exploring the city, shopping, then on to a Night Club with Ethan realising that Zak is his passion. The brilliance of this story is in the expression of how Ethan feels which is portrayed through the writing. Warren Smith III, should be really proud of this impressive piece of literature he’s created. After the story I was inexplicably happy. I was fizzling with excitement for Ethan, yet at the same time had a longing for a similar experience.

Butch Fatale by Kirsty Logan
Butch Fatale is a story essentially about friendship. The underlying message in the story appears to be that friendship and a relationship are both important. Keep both your friends and your lover close to you always.

Pool of Sorrow by Sam Sommer
It’s the Summer of ’62 and twelve year old A.J. is alone – all of his friend have gone away for the summer. Teddy is fourteen years old and one of the “big kids.” Usually A.J. and Teddy wouldn’t interact, but with everyone away they begin to and a friendship develops.

One day as routine A.J. goes to look for Teddy but he can’t find him until he hears someone sobbing and crying in Teddy’s shed. It’s Teddy and he explains that his dad used to help him set up the pool every summer before he died. Teddy asks A.J not to tell anyone that he was upset and asks A.J. to help him set up the pool, which they do together. Then Teddy suggest playing “the game.” Teddy throws a pirate key into the pool right in front of A.J, dives under to get it and rises so that they are touching torso’s.

“The game” progresses to Teddy’s bedroom were they have their first sexual exploratory experience together. The story is well written with the right level of sexual intimacy for the ages of the main characters. I related to the story as I had a similar sexual exploratory experience as a teen; and I can imagine many other people would relate to the story for the same reason.

My Lips by Joseph Aviv
My Lips is a descriptive story about growing up, starting at two years old up to the age of nineteen. It uses the main characters lips, events and the relationship with family members to describe what it’s like growing up gay. The main character as a child moves his lips often, but when he starts to realise he’s gay he becomes silent. He uses silence as his protection. He’s very family orientated and when he comes out as gay to his family, they accept him. Slowly his lips start to move again as his finds his voice once again.

Fighting for Lies by Aimee Lukes
Billie and Alaina are good friends. Billie likes Alaina and one evening they kiss. Alaina shares her internalised homophobia expressing that what they have done is “wrong” and that it’s symptom of a “sickness.” Alaina has also heard whispers that homosexuality is normal. This story switches perspectives between the two main characters, ending with Billie explaining to Alaina that she has tried to make everyone else happy and that all it has done is make her miserable. This story was the only one in OMG Queer that felt as if it had been cut short.

There Was a Knocking on the Door by Andrew Arslan
There Was a Knocking on the Door is set in New York and is a coming out story. A son tells his Muslim father he’s gay to his fathers reaction “I can’t believe this.” His father had always preached about treating everyone fairly and he can’t believe his fathers reaction to him sharing his sexuality. He goes to his room burring his face in his pillow, regretting coming out.

Then he hears his mother shouting at his father in the bathroom. He goes to see what’s going on only to discover that his father was about to take an overdose of medication when his mother walked in on him. His mother instructs him to go back to his room, which he does. Then the story ends with a knocking on his bedroom door from his father. The traumatic story appeared to end on a low, with the reader hoping the main character and his father can reconnect on common ground.

My Aahana by Ariana Montoya
Jo attends a all-girl boarding school and isn’t happy that she’s going to have to share her room with a new student. Jo also worries that her secret, the fact she likes women maybe exposed. But then the new student Aahana arrives. Jo is instantly captivated by this beautiful Indian girl and a friendship starts to develop between them.

One day Aahana receives a call from her father. He tells Aahana that she must go home to India and marry the son of her grandma’s friend or her father won’t receive the inheritance that he needs. Jo is crushed. Despite Aahana not returning Jo’s feelings in the way she would like, she doesn’t want to loose this amazing woman. As Jo says goodbye to Aahana at the airport she thinks about telling her how she feels, but decides against it as it would change nothing. Jo and Aahana make eye contact and Jo senses that Aahana always knew how she felt about her.

First Time by Archer Darke
First time is about lesbian couple Grace and Hayden’s first time having sex. It is a very graphic, which I found too much for me as a gay man.

Hella Nervous by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Tracy is a sporty, confident and butch girl who is attracted to Oksana a shy, quiet and reserved girl. Tracy can’t stop ogling Oksana and eventually invites her back to hers after school. Tracy is thrilled when Oksana accepts and once at home makes her intentions clear. They begin to hook-up with Tracy a confident lover and Oksana being slightly awkward. As the hook-up relationship develops they learn more about each other.

One day after hooking-up Oksana asks what Tracy wants. Oksana asks if Tracy wants more than “fooling around.” Tracy had never considered what she wants but realises that she really likes Oksana and wants to be her girlfriend. They agree to date and the story ends wonderfully with Oksana coming out at school as Tracy girlfriend. There are a few shocked class-mates but you get the idea that with Tracy around Oksana will be OK.

Chili Powder by Anna Meadows
A bisexual girl moves to a new town and a new school. This foreign girl struggles to adapt to this new school and make friends. So she sits alone in the shade of a tree to eat her dinner. Everyday she has an orange that she sprinkles Chili Powder on to add to the taste of the otherwise bland fruit.

One day while sitting under the tree a boy with no Adams apple, small hands and feet sits down beside her. This use of language implies that this boy is trans although it never states it. Initially she’s shocked but they begin to speak and one day she kisses him hoping he’ll want more in the future.

Graduation by Brighton Bennett
It’s the last night before Graduation at University for Rachel, Emmerson and their year group. As Freshers they’d got into a relationship together, but it didn’t work out. They reflect on their relationship and feelings for one another at a party, before deciding to go back to Emmerson’s for one last night of loving intimacy before going on to lead separate lives. This story is the perfect end to OMG Queer as is about marking the end of something but looking forward to what will come next.

Considering OMG Queer as a whole, the use of first person in the majority of the stories made them feel very personal and at times intimate. All but one of the stories felt the perfect length and covered a wide range of themes that queer people will relate with. I did notice that the majority of the contributors wrote lesbian stories. This caused me to ask myself Where are the gay youth writers? Perhaps when my writing develops some more along with my writers voice, I might try to write some fictional short stories with a gay theme.

I enjoyed reading OMG Queer so much that it has earned a place on my bookshelf of favourite books; the books on this self have effected me emotionally, influenced who I am and are books that I’ll read again and again. OMG Queer is simply a must read for any queer person.

I could only find the e-book of OMG Queer on Amazon which was disappointing as I prefer real books. So if you want the e-book click any link on this review, or if you prefer a paperback copy you can order it on Waterstones.

Review soon,


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TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 10

By Amazon, Reviews, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

In Episode 10 – the final of the series we learn more about The Blessing. I previously described The Blessing as a cavity deep down in the earth that goes from one side of the world (Shanghai) to the other side of the world (Buenos Aires). Through the dialogue between Jack, Gwen, Oswald, Rex, Esther and the people working for the three families we learn that those who look into the cavity see their soul. We learn that rather than being extraterrestrial (what normally Torchwood deals with) it’s been on the planet since the begining of time. That it has a symbiotic relationship with the animals on the planet (including humans) and is just trying to be kind. The episode makes you think – You what???
And unfortunately that isn’t the only disappointing point of the Episode.

We discover that the three families want to have ultimate power over the human race – to decide who lives and who dies. We learn that the family used Jack’s blood to find The Blessing and then used his blood to cause this cavity that has a symbiotic-link to humans to make everyone immortal. Jack quickly susses out that as the last moral man in the world if he puts his blood into the cavity it will make everyone mortal again. But there’s one problem – the blood needs to be put in at both Shanghai and Buenos Aires and we know that Rex and Esther’s supply of Jack’s blood was blown up in the last Episode (see TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 9). Somewhat predictability Rex has Jack’s blood in his body.

Gwen prepares to shoot Jack. The families shoot Esther and tell Rex if he ends the Miracle she will die. But again somewhat predictably Jack gets shot by Gwen and dies (but we know he’ll be ok) and Rex rips off his bandage on his chest sending blood into the cavity.

The next scene was probably the best scene of the episode. “They called it the last breath.” All those people who should have died take one last breath before dieing. Jack comes back to life (no surprise), Rex gets good medical treatment and recovers. They attend Esther’s funeral and Charlotte (the CIA mole) stands next to them. On the way out Rex discovers that Charlotte is the CIA mole via his PDA and she shoots him. But Rex recovers and heals like Jack is – perhaps Jack isn’t the only immortal one any more (boringly predictable)? Charlotte gets apprehended and taken into custody.

For me there were a lot of loose ends that where never tied up. Who were the people at the beginning of the series that went to Gwen’s and Rhys’ house pretending to be lost? Who were the people watching Gwen when she was deported to Wales? What did the UK government and Unit do to investigate? Lots of little loose ends. The storyline started off well but in the last two episodes became completely predictable. The positives are that the actors (in the majority) were good, that it had some good action scenes and early on in the series it had lots of twists and turns in the story keeping you guessing as to what had caused Miracle Day.

I’ve reviewed the entire Torchwood: Miracle Day series and you can read each episode’s review here:

  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 1
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 2
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 3
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 4
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 5
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 6
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 7
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 8
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 9
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 10
  • Write soon,


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    TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 9

    By Amazon, Reviews, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

    Episode 9 jumps forward from the last episode. Gwen’s back in Wales, living with her mum and her dad whose stashed in the basement so the government don’t take him away as a Category 1. Gwen’s making her living by breaking into pharmacies, stealing pain killers and selling them on the black market. Captain Jack is being nursed back to health by Esther somewhere in Wales. While Jack’s recovering he’s having his blood drained as it seems to be a threat to the three families.

    Meanwhile Rex is in America still working for the CIA. He’s finally starting to suspect someone in the CIA department is working for the three families. I say finally because for an intelligence agency they aren’t that intelligent (Rex included).

    Oswald Danes escapes from America and arrives at Gwen’s house seeking help. Rhys lets him in as he’s disguised as a shopping delivery guy (albeit poorly I might add) and Rhys is distracted by the baby. Gwen gets in touch with Jack and they grill him for information with Oswald the slimy survivor type tries to make a deal with Jack. If you remember, in Episode 8 (see TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 8) Oswald was made a Category Zero which would have meant instant incineration if caught. The government raid Gwen’s house and find her father – taking him for incineration. Jack asks Gwen what she’d like to do, but her father being taken makes her more determined to end this Miracle.

    Jilly (the PR Agent) is now working for the families and is introduced to The Blessing. It’s a cavity deep down in the earth that goes from one side of the world (Shanghai) to the other side of the world (Buenos Aires).

    The Torchwood group discover that there’s something going on in both Shanghai and Buenos Aires and decide to investigate. Jack, Gwen and Oswald going to Shanghai and Rex and Esther going to Buenos Aires to investigate. Rex and Esther take Jack’s blood as the families seem to see Jack as a threat.

    Jack’s still recovering from the gun-shot wound he got in Episode 8 bleeds in Shanghai and something unusual happens – a drop of his blood moves of it’s own accord. The group follow the blood and that’s how they find the three families facility with The Blessing inside. Gwen phones Rex and Esther and let’s them know how to find The Blessing. But Rex and Esther have already identified where the facility is and have called in the troops. Esther puts the blood on the army truck with the troops and then it’s is blown up. Luckily Rex and Esther are not on the army truck. Meanwhile back in the CIA the big CIA boss identifies the mole working for the three families, but not before Charlotte (the mole) sets off a bomb in the department and escapes, getting away with it.

    Both of the Torchwood teams end the episode entering the facilities and being met by people who work for the families.

    You can read previous Episode reviews I’ve wrote here:

  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 1
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 2
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 3
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 4
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 5
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 6
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 7
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 8
  • Write soon,


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    TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 8

    By Amazon, Reviews, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

    Episode 8 starts with Jack, Gwen, Rex and Esther being driven to a Mansion to be introduced to Angelo. Jack is expecting Angelo to be like he remembers him. So when Jack enters the room to see a old man in a hospital bed strapped to various machines on a raised platform, Jacks shocked and slightly saddened.

    The woman who brought them reveals that Angelo is her grand father. She reveals that Angelo never stopped following Jack and never stopped loving him despite having a family. She explains that Angelo kept himself alive for this long by natural means, giving the example of how he kept his temperature two degrees below normal. She adds that Angelo dedicated his life to trying to achieve immortality.

    Jack asks the woman why Angelo never came to find him. The woman explains that Angelo was ashamed that he had aged, knowing that Jack hadn’t. The woman explains that Angelo (her grand father) had asked her to protect him and that Jack isn’t the only immortal on this planet. In nature, she explains Jelly Fish can regenerate cells meaning there are Jelly Fish on the planet that have been around for thousands of years. Finally the woman reveals the names of three families behind Miracle Day. Esther searches the Torchwood database but it reveals no such families – obviously they’re good at hiding themselves.

    Then the CIA storm the Mansion after tracing Rex’s phone call to Dr. Vera’s family. Rex’s corrupt boss, working for the families leads the storm. Surely Rex wouldn’t be so stupid as to make a call to lead the CIA to them?

    Your right, Rex’s CIA boss takes Rex into a side room where Rex gets him to confess. But Rex is wearing the Torchwood contact lenses and transmitting to every video screen available. A big boss of the CIA turns up and sees it all. The big boss has Rex’s boss arrested and takes control. Meanwhile Angelo dies as Jack speaks to the unconscious old man. But how can he die? No body has died since Miracle Day? Jack doesn’t believe it at first, but a quick check of Angelo’s pulse leads to Jack screaming for help.

    Rex’s corrupt CIA boss triggers a bomb that explodes the car he’s put in with Angelo’s grand daughter. The big CIA boss takes control and tells Torchwood that they are working for them. He deports Gwen back to Wales. Then he says that none of the others are leaving the house until they work out how Angelo died. Esther works out that there’s something under the raised platform of the floor. Jack encourages Esther not to tell the big CIA boss, but she does. It’s alien technology from when the Torchwood Insitute was blown up and Angelo had used it to protect himself from Phi Cop’s and the families morphic field which is causing Miracle Day.

    While all this is going on Oswald Danes is annoying Jilly Kitzinger and making more and more demands of her. One of his demands: “get me a girl.” You can tell with Jilly’s reaction that she is disgusted with this request. Oswald thinks he has all the cards, he thinks people love him. Jilly gets a new assistant who she instructs to get Oswald a girl.

    Jilly has a stiff drink and knows that she wont have to put up with Oswald for much longer as the government are looking to pass a Category Zero law for all those people who have committed major crimes, allowing them to be taken to the incinerators. Oswald finds this out and he hits Jilly after she says “No Oswald, television loves you. Not the people.” Jilly’s assistant then gets shot with the man who shots her revealing that she’s a CIA agent. The man gives Jilly a plane ticket, tells her she’s being promoted and that she’s being offered a job with the families.

    Back at the Mansion Jack convinces Esther and Rex to help him to escape. But while attempting to escape Jack get’s shot and Esther drives away with Jack bleeding, unsure where to go or what to do next. I found it odd that they were still introducing and even killing off new characters with only two episodes to go. Introducing the big boss of the CIA and Angelo’s grand daughter for example.

    In this episode there was a large emphasis on narrative and giving information to the auidance. I couldn’t help but think that perhaps some of this information could have been given earlier in the series? A criticism of the series for me is that too many characters and introduced and got rid of before we can decide whether we like them or not and that often their motives are far too apparent. There’s conflicting motives in these “quick characters” and it leads to you thinking – Not another new character that I wont be able to remember the name of or what their transparent intentions are.

    That brings Episode 8 to an end. You can read previous Episode reviews I’ve wrote here:

  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 1
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 2
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 3
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 4
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 5
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 6
  • TV – Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 7
  • Write soon,


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