An excerpt from the 06/20/2014 interview with Bear Bones Books author Jeff Mann
by A.B. Gayle
My guest today is West Virginian author and poet, Jeff Mann.
Thanks for agreeing to be in my hotseat, Jeff. In some ways you make interviewing you easy because you have written so many great essays which cover most aspects of your life: “Edge: Travels of an Appalachian Leather Bear”, “Binding the god: ursine essays from the mountain south”, both available from Lethe Press and one published by Ohio University Press, “Loving Mountains, Loving Men.” But for those who haven’t read them, hopefully this interview will encapsulate who you are and what you write! However, I strongly urge people to read the above collections if they want to know more.
You describe yourself as being: a gay poet, into leather, vampires, paganism, and very thankful not to be normal, not to be average. You are also a proud Appalachian and an even prouder Bear.
Binding the God, by Jeff Mann, front cover
AB: Why do you like bears and being a bear?
JM: Since I hit puberty, I’ve been attracted to those great gifts of the god-sent chemical, testosterone: the mammalian secondary sex characteristics of mature men. Even when I’m lusting after men much younger than me, it’s what makes them look like men, not boys, that catches my eye. “The Holy Trinity of Beards, Body Hair, and Brawn,” as I call those traits in one of my essay collections, Binding the God. I’m a lover of what’s wild and what’s strong, so I’m attracted to beards and body hair because they’re physical reminders of the wild animals we are, and I’m attracted to brawn because it’s the embodiment of strength.
Bears also tend to resemble the country boys I grew up around, the kind of men I was first attracted to as I grew up in southern West Virginia, the kind of men I patterned my style of masculinity after, and the kind of men I still most powerfully desire. In Binding the God, I tell the story of how John and I went to a San Francisco bear bar, the Lone Star, and John pointed out how most of the guys there looked like they were from West Virginia.
AB: Do you ever wonder or despair about what is going to happen to these twinks (or boys) who have been admired and identified only by their cuteness?
JM: I had a friend in college—a former friend, I should emphasize, for we fell out nearly two decades ago—who was a charming twink with many admirers. Now he’s around fifty-eight, I’d gauge. I doubt that aging has been any fun for him. As much as I complain about aging, at least the concept of “Daddybear” gives me a way to feel desirable. Thank God for men with Daddy fetishes.
AB: Why can’t some readers accept difference? Is it because they project into the characters’ heads and everything relates to them instead of stepping into someone else’s shoes?
JM: Good question. For many of us who love to read, there are two types of books that especially enrich us: those books that we can strongly relate to because we have much in common with the characters, and those books that give us glimpses of lives very different from ours. For instance, I love Denise Giardina’s novels about the West Virginia coalfields, Storming Heaven and The Unquiet Earth, because they’re about mountain people and I’m a mountain person, but I also enjoy teaching the fiction of Zora Neale Hurston, because it focuses on black women in Florida. From Hurston, I’m able to learn how folks different from me lived their lives, at the same time that I’m discovering how much I have in common with those characters on deeper levels than race, region, or socioeconomic position.
Cub, a novel by Jeff Mann, front cover
Read the long, complete interview at:
Purgatory Audiobook cover
Ralph Seligman-Courtois was inspired by Hibernation and Other Poems by Bear Bards to contribute the following bear limericks, which he read at the Bear Bards reading during the Saints + Sinners literary festival in New Orleans in May 2014:
Hibernation, front cover
One day the cops stopped a gay bear.
They said it was because he was bare.
The bear said: “Not true!”
“And I’ll prove it to you”
“For I’m totally covered in hair!”
A sleuth is a gathering of bears,Where they settle all their affairs.
They discuss how they feel,
And prepare a grand meal.
And decide to combine various lairs.
A bear can be rough as can be,
Full of brawn and muscle is he.
His fur may be stinky,
But he still lifts his pinky,
while sipping his oolong tea.
Just ‘cause a bear is hirsute,
You shouldn’t think him a brute.
He might be as smitten,
By a sweet furry kitten,
As hearing a concert of flute.
— Ralph Seligman-Courtois
Thanks for sharing your poetry, Ralph!
Four poems copyright © Ralph Seligman-Courtois
More rave reviews of Jeff Mann’s novel, Cub
Cub, by Jeff Mann
Jeff Mann has written a book that is compulsively readable, … It triumphs in its presentation of characters that are so downright scarce in literature that I’m tempted to say this is the only instance. …
The book feels like more of a snapshot – the tensions of the bullying or family’s reactions are present but not particularly concentrated on – but Travis and Mike’s romance feels real and exciting. The passion is thrilling – both emotionally and sexually …
An excellent addition to my collection of gay lit, and given the, er, vividness of the sex scenes in the book, I might have to go take a gander at some of Mann’s explicitly erotica books. For research purposes, you understand.
Read the complete review at:
Cub by Jeff Mann ~ Review by Leisa
A most delightful and original book cover, plus a marvelous young adult story …
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Jeff Mann’s Cub is a charming young adult novel … Cub is such an unusual delight, and the cover art is absolutely priceless. Mann has written a book that young gay men who may feel they don’t “fit in” with popular gay culture can read and and enjoy. … I adored reading Cub. I highly recommend Jeff Mann’s Cub – read it, and you will adore it too!
Read the complete review at:
Chelsea Station Magazine
Cub by Jeff Mann, Reviewed by Keith Glaeske
[A] brilliant coming-of-age novel retells Travis’ life during the final year of high school, … This book is important for several reasons. … even among the expanding number of GLBT coming-of-age novels, Cub fills a very real gap. Moreover, Cub challenges the assumption that homosexuals exist only in urban areas, only belong to a certain class, and speak/act/dress only in a specific way. … a sensual feast. … a story well worth reading: GLBT people may be more visible now than during the ostensible setting of this novel (the early 1990s), but seldom are they presented in such a multi-faceted, complex way. Cub is for anyone who has ever felt the outsider—in short, for everybody.
Read the complete review at:
Cub by Jeff Mann
Reviewed by Angel Curtis
Finally, a young-adult romance that features Bears and their friends. Travis has, with the aid of his now-off-to-college friends, come out. Living on the West Virginia farm that is a part of him, he dreams of finding his one true love. But wait! Travis is no ordinary country boy. He is a Wiccan leather bear who is going to be true to himself, no matter what. Travis meets Mike; they fall for each other and then have to learn one of life’s meanest lessons together. Cub is another great read by Jeff Mann and another beautifully designed book by Bear Bones Books.
Great news! Cub will soon be out on audiobook!
a novel by Jeff Mann
read by Geoff Moonen
Estimated Length: 7.8 hours
We’re proud to present our
2014 Bear Booklist
Bear Bones Books 2014 catalog, front cover
Check them out and all our new releases in the 2014 Bear Bones Books booklist.
Bear Bones Books has released its third catalog of literature written by and for men of the bear community, featuring its new audiobooks – get your free PDF download or order a delivered paper copy now from Magcloud.
Bear Books Books 2014 Catalog
Catalogs available as a PDF download (free) or paper copies for delivery ($2.40 @).
2014 Bear Bones Books releases
Check them out and all our new releases in the 2014 BBB catalog — available as a free PDF download!
Cub, a novel by Jeff Mann, front cover
A charming, moving story of young hirsute love set in the Appalachian hills.
a novel by Jeff Mann
“Finally, a young-adult romance that features Bears and their friends. . . . Cub is another great read by Jeff Mann and another beautifully designed book by Bear Bones Books.” — OutSmart Magazine
Not every gay teen yearns for fashion and popular culture. Some boys are pure country folk and like the feel of flannel and the smell of the farm. And they’re neither lithe nor muscle-bound but stocky boys, the ones who develop hairy chests, arms, and faces years earlier than their peers.
One such young man is Travis Ferrell, shy among most of the other kids at school, but proud of his West Virginia roots. Seventeen-year-olds from opposite sides of the tracks, Travis and Mike start working out together in their senior year of high school and discover their intense mutual attraction for another, only to be confronted by the limitations of their individual options in life. They will come to understand that there is a word describing the kind of young men they are: Cubs.
Cub is a moving and engaging story of young hirsute love, and is a must-read for Jeff Mann fans.
- Cub, by Jeff Mann
- Bear Bones Books / Lethe Press ~ February 2014 ~ 226 pp., 6 x 9 inches
- Categories: Gay/Bi Men’s Fiction, Y/A Romance, Appalachian Literature, Novels
- ISBN-10: 1-59021-375-0 ~ ISBN-13: 978-1-59021-375-9 ~ Softcover: $18.00, Ebook: $8.99
Here are poems that celebrate the fantasies and realities of loving big men, hairy men, bear-like men. There is much to savor between these covers.” — Franklin Abbott
and Other Poems by Bear Bards
Ron J. Suresha, editor
Hibernation, front cover
In time for National Poetry Month 2014, Bear Bones Books proudly presents Hibernation, and Other Poems by Bear Bards, a smart, sexy, eclectic poetry collection by a veritable Who’s Who in Hirsute Gay and Bi Men’s Literature.
Predominantly in free verse, these wide-ranging poems address many aspects of contemporary (two-legged) bearish life: changing standards of masculinity, male romance and lust, maturing men’s body issues, and what it means to live and love within the worldwide bi and gay male bear community. The poems are alternately introspective, erotic, and amusing — but they’re all well-crafted glimpses of the bear experience.
This thoughtful, fun, and moving book features 100 poems by 40 esteemed authors from the U.S.A. and Canada. Poetry readers and Bear-lovers alike will rejoice in joining this confraternity of men in Hibernation, and Other Poems by Bear Bards, and find masculine comfort and thoughtful companionship.
David Bergman ~ Albert Skip Brushaber ~ Alfred C. Corn ~ Michael G. Cornelius ~ Wayne Courtois-Seligman ~ Bob “Brutus” Cunningham ~ Jameson Currier ~ Lewis DeSimone ~ Gavin Geoffrey Dillard ~ Charles Flowers ~ Jack Fritscher ~ John Genest ~ Scott Hightower ~ Charlie Hopwood ~ Daniel M. Jaffe ~ David Juhren ~ Owen Keehnen ~ Daniel Lewiston ~ Raymond Luczak ~ Ed Madden ~ Jeff Mann ~ Stephen Mead ~ Ron Mohring ~ Miguel M. Morales ~ Jay Neal ~ Felice Picano ~ C.D. Reade ~ Dennis Rhodes ~ Rocco Russo ~ Gregg Shapiro ~ Jordan M. Shu ~ Jay Starre ~ Jim Stewart ~ Dan Stone ~ Shawn Syms ~ Chris Vaccaro ~ Jeff Walt ~ Scott Wiggerman ~ Randy Wyatt ~ Emanuel Xavier
- Hibernation, and Other Poems by Bear Bards, edited by Ron J. Suresha
- Bear Bones Books ~ April 1, 2014 ~ Categories: Poetry, GLBTQ Literature
- ISBN: 978-1-59021-259-2 ~ eISBN: 1-59021-265-7
- 222 pp., 5 x 8 inches ~ Paperback: $18.00 ~ eBook: $8.99
Summer of the Stag God
by J.C Herneson
[cover art coming soon!]
the sequel to J.C Herneson’s book, Spring of the Stag God
The Stag God Chronicles
Having come into his power as one of the beast-gods of the orcish tribes, the Stag God Ashlan – once a simple human youth – finds his ascension has not gone unnoticed. Utilizing an innocent young man, Mathis, as a infernal double agent, the powerful faith of the human empire, the Church of Light, rises against him and his secretive brotherhood of human worshipers.
This sequel to Spring of the Stag God returns to the land of Khernia, and expands on that setting, introducing new characters and revisiting old ones, spinning an ever-growing body of sexy, man-on-man mythology with the primal antlered Stag God at its center.
- Summer of the Stag God, by J.C. Herneson
- Forthcoming July 2014
The sequel to Jeff Mann’s acclaimed Civil War novel, Purgatory
Salvation by Jeff Mann, front cover
a novel by Jeff Mann
Purgatory, by Jeff Mann
The American Civil War still threatens to tear the nation in twain. Private Ian Campbell betrayed his company and his duty because he fell in love with a handsome Yankee prisoner-of-war, Drew Conrad. Both men are on the run, desperate to reach Campbell’s family home in West Virginia, which may have escaped the conflict unscathed and offer them both peace and salvation from the cruelties and prejudices of men heightened by the conflict.
But the trek is dangerous. Both men are wounded, deserters, and their love for each other is viewed by so many as a crime against nature—hanging for any of these offenses threatens every moment they tarry to rest. They must rely on the kindness of strangers, but every household they enter seeking sanctuary for even a single night on a bed and scant provisions for hungry stomachs might betray them should the truth be discovered.
Acclaimed author Jeff Mann’s sequel to his beloved historical novel Purgatory will instill in readers an ardent expectation over Privates Campbell and Conrad’s fate.
- Salvation, a novel by Jeff Mann
- Forthcoming August 2014
- ISBN: 9781590214060 ~ softcover $20
- eISBN: 9781590210833 ~ ebook $9.99
- Bear Bones Books / Lethe Press
The Bears of Winter, front cover
The Bears of Winter
Hot & Hairy Fiction
Jerry L. Wheeler, editor
Bears don’t just hibernate in winter anymore. All year long you’ll find them in caves, surrounded by big screen plasma TVs, iPads, and the latest in technology. Even so, they venture out in the cold and ice for food, fun, and romance, and the stories in The Bears of Winter range far afield for their entertainment. And yours.
We have vampire bears, adventure bears, ice-harvesting bears, and Santa daddybears. Some are cute, some are cuddly, some will break your heart, and some will raise more than your spirits. But they’re all sexy, and they’re all between these covers. So come into our den and stay until Spring. Or longer.
The Bear Bones Books imprint of Lethe Press proudly announces The Bears of Winter, an anthology of Hot & Hairy Fiction edited by Jerry L. Wheeler with seventeen fur-raising stories by an outstanding collection of authors, forthcoming in November.
R.W. Clinger ~ Jeff Mann ~ ‘Nathan Burgoine ~ Frank Muse ~ Jeffrey Ricker ~ Max Vos ~ Jay Neal ~ Xavier Axelson ~ Roscoe Hudson ~ Daniel M. Jaffe ~ Dale Chase ~ Lewis DeSimone ~ Hank Edwards ~ Philip Williams ~ Charles Hopwood ~ Nathan Sims
- The Bears of Winter
- Hot & Hairy Fiction
- edited by Jerry L. Wheeler
- Bear Bones Books / Lethe Press • November 1, 2013
- Categories: Anthologies, Gay/Bi Men’s Erotica
- ISBN-13: 978-1-59021-455-8 ~ ISBN-10: 1-59021-455-2 ~ softcover: $20.00
- eISBN: 9781590214886 ebook: $9.99
Dennis Rhodes, author of two poetry books and a contributor to Hibernation and Other Poems by Bear Bards, was inspired by the cover photograph (“Justin”) by YogaBear Studio to pen the following verse:
Hibernation, front cover
The exquisite line of hair
between your chest and navel
simply begs for
my finger’s gentle touch.
It is so perfect
it demands I think
of all of you that way…
but I dare not touch,
allowing my eyes to enjoy
the sensual pleasures
you give to me in abundance
just being the ordinary
God-given man you are.
— Dennis Rhodes
Thanks for sharing your poetry, Dennis!
an excerpt from Hibernation and Other Poems by Bear Bards
by Stephen Mead
Hibernation, front cover
Nog of nogs, the creamy yolks
In a globule
With straws, the pinprick holes
In shells, the insides, an elixir
For mural mediums, the suspensions,
The great oracles of paint…
Such is the ritual of what you do
On my flesh.
Here we drink, breathe fire tinctures,
The ageless grog of the primitive,
Viking-furred, glistening holiday lit.
Two toasts we are proposed to each other,
Sipping time, all time love makes, like us
Open & nude.
New Audiobook available from Audible.com:
Jeff Mann’s Edge now available from BBB/Lethe audiobooks:
Bear Bones Books, the hairy arm of Lethe Press, is pleased to announce its newest audiobook:
Edge: Travels of an Appalachian Lether Bear
Edge audiobook cover
Jeff Mann’s acclaimed essay collection is now available in audiobook format from Audible.
Audible Audio Edition
Edge: Travels of an Appalachian Leather Bear
by Jeff Mann
Narrated by Joe Smith
- Listening Length: 8 hours, 24 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Bear Bones Books/Lethe Press
- Audible.com Release Date: March 28, 2014
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00JAJYWNI
Order the paperback edition on Amazon here.
The autobiographical essays in Edge offer insight into the passions of acclaimed author Jeff Mann. These memories, insightful as they are endearing, range from his boyhood obsession with the gothic allure of Dark Shadows to the doubt and pain of being a Southerner, and so at the edge of the gay community, and the appeal of leather bars and bear culture. Mann also visits gay meccas in these essays – the resorts of Key West, Provincetown, and Rehoboth Beach, along with several European destinations such as Germany, Ireland, Belgium, and Scotland, have important cameos. But he is never an idle traveler – he is challenged by his experiences, and his observations reveal the thoughts of many gay men. Along the way Mann ruminates on a variety of subjects, from lost lovers to wearing kilts, theophany, Sylvia Plath, adult videos, and bathhouses.
Coming soon from Bear Bones / Lethe audiobooks:
- Cub, a novel of young hirsute romance
- Salvation, the sequel to Purgatory
Now in print!
Hibernation, and Other Poems by Bear Bards
Edited by Ron J. Suresha
Bear Bones Books
April 15, 2014
Categories: Poetry, GLBTQ Literature
Distributed by: Baker & Taylor, Ingram
Bear Bones Books proudly presents Hibernation, and Other Poems by Bear Bards, a smart, sexy, eclectic poetry collection by a veritable Who’s Who in Hirsute Gay and Bi Men’s Literature.
Predominantly in free verse, these wide-ranging poems address all aspects of contemporary (two-legged) bearish life: changing standards of masculinity, male romance and lust, maturing men’s body issues, and what it means to live and love within the worldwide bi and gay male bear community. The poems are sometimes introspective, sometimes erotic, sometimes amusing — but they’re all well-crafted glimpses of the bear experience.
This thoughtful, fun, and moving book features more than 100 poems by 40 esteemed authors, including David Bergman and Albert Skip Brushaber, whose homonymic, eponymous poems give this anthology its title, plus noted writers Alfred C. Corn, Jameson Currier, Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, Jack Fritscher, Daniel M. Jaffe, Raymond Luczak, Jeff Mann, Ron Mohring, Felice Picano, Jay Starre, Jim Stewart, Dan Stone, and Emanuel Xavier and many fine poems from other fine contributors from around the U.S. and Canada.
Poetry lovers and bear-loving men alike will appreciate the diverse range of contemporary masculine voices in Hibernation, and other poems by bear bards.
Contributors to HIBERNATION, AND OTHER POEMS BY BEAR BARDS
David Bergman ~ Albert Skip Brushaber ~ Alfred C. Corn ~ Michael G. Cornelius ~ Wayne Courtois ~ Bob “Brutus” Cunningham ~ Jameson Currier ~ Lewis DeSimone ~ Gavin Geoffrey Dillard ~ Charles Flowers ~ Jack Fritscher ~ John Genest ~ Scott Hightower ~ Charlie Hopwood ~ Daniel M. Jaffe ~ David Juhren ~ Owen Keehnen ~ Daniel Lewiston ~ Raymond Luczak ~ Ed Madden ~ Jeff Mann ~ Stephen Mead ~ Ron Mohring ~ Miguel M. Morales ~ Jay Neal ~ Felice Picano ~ C.D. Reade ~ Dennis Rhodes ~ Rocco Russo ~ Gregg Shapiro ~ Jordan M. Shu ~ Jay Starre ~ Jim Stewart ~ Dan Stone ~ Shawn Syms ~ Chris Vaccaro ~ Jeff Walt ~ Scott Wiggerman ~ Randy Wyatt ~ Emanuel Xavier
Funding campaign for Hibernation
Dear Bear Bones Books readers:
Do you support the bear arts? Do you feel there should be a bear poetry anthology?
The realities of publishing small-press poetry these days are truly challenging. To cover expenses to publish Hibernation and other poems by bear bards, a new poetry anthology written by and for gay and bi men of the worldwide bear community, we have initiated a brief fundraising campaign on Fundly.
As of this writing, we are one-third on the way to reach our goal of $1,000 to cover editorial, design, production, printing, distribution, and promotion costs for the publication of Hibernation.
The following pioneers have shown their generous support for the work, and we bear our gratitude gladly for their kindness. Check back for updates.
- TJ Lewis
- Sean Gold
- Wayne Courtois-Seligman
- Jay Neal
- Robert Goodwin
- Ed Madden
- Jeff Mann
Readers are welcome to show their support for bear literature by contributing any amount. Here’s what your donations will go for:
Cost of basic, brief Facebook ad campaign $30 Donate
1/3rd cost of upload to POD source. $25 Donate
Cost of printing 250 promo postcards. $20 Donate
Cost of shipping a contributor 1 copy of the book. $10 Donate
When you donate, you’re helping to bring the bear poetry anthology closer to becoming reality. You’re showing your commitment to supporting gay writers and bear literature. Hibernation is more than an anthology of verse by gay and bisexual men who either identify as bears or with the bear subculture. It is part of the creative expression of a worldwide community of homomasculine men who write poetry to make art. Supporters receive a signed copy of the book and an XXXL-sized bearhug.
Please let your friends & family know that you’re supporting a great cause. Other great ways to offer support for Hibernation and other poems by bear bards:
- Like the book page for Hibernation on Facebook: http://snurl.com/28lcjgt
- Buy copies of the book for friends, family, and lovers on Amazon: http://snurl.com/28qgc5w
- Refer folks to the BBB page for the book: http://bearbonesbooks.com/?p=1161
- Review the book on Amazon upon its release, and ask family and friends to do the same.
- Like, share, favorite, and retweet posts and tweets about the book. #Hibernationpoetry @BearBonesBooks @RJSuresha
Thanks again so much on behalf of all the contributors in the book.
best wishes, with bearhugs,