Forty Wild Crushes - stories
(updates on my blog)
Teenage lust in summer theatre, cheating boyfriends on The Tonight Show, and an escapee from a pumpkin farm; these are just a few of the characters in short stories from Lambda Literary Award winner Jim Provenzano. The five-time novelist shares new and previously published works, and excerpts from forthcoming novels. Varying from terse accounts of an anti-gay assault to a post-9/11 moment of resolution, Provenzano shares a diverse array of contemporary experiences in rural Ohio, New York City, at funerals and wrestling matches, Manhattan cathedrals and Paris museums. A moment in the life of a gay divorced father, a transgender performer on the rise, and a footnoted feast of pop culture crushes are included in this compelling collection.
"Jim Provenzano's short stories are as beautiful and chiseled as a young Robert Conrad, and they make me swoon just as much." - Aldo Alvarez, author of Interesting Monsters, founder and editor of Blithe House Quarterly
Message of Love - a novel (2014)
(updates on my blog)
Reviews of Message of Love:
REVIEWS for MESSAGE OF LOVE
"The sequel to the Lambda Literary Award-winning Every Time I Think of You reintroduces readers to Everett and Reid as they traverse the next phases of their relationship. It is 1980 Philadelphia, and the couple has settled into their first year at Temple University, together exploring the city and campus and adjusting to dormitory domesticity. Message of Love is a brilliant retelling of young love and the transformations it undergoes as lovers grow from adolescence to adulthood. – Philadelphia Gay News
"Message of Love is an earnest, heartfelt and refreshing continuation of a young couple’s adventures that leaves the reader excited, amused and inspired." – Edge Media
"I loved the way they interacted and wove themselves so completely into each other’s lives. The way it was written was pure genius on Provenzano’s part. I’ll say it again: his writing is gorgeous and sweeping and strong." – Boys in Our Books
"The richness of its details and the complexities of its characters will make this a story to remember. If you are new to Reid and Everett’s story, then begin with Every Time I Think of You. If you are familiar with that novel, then Message of Love is a story not to be missed, a wonderfully satisfying and uplifting novel, certainly one of the best of 2014."– Scattered Thoughts Rogue Words
Praise for Message of Love:
"Instantly compelling and richly textured, Message of Love is more than a sequel; it’s a highly readable novel of two young men trying to learn to love amid the manifold distractions of college, family, and even an epidemic.” – Felice Picano, author of the bestselling Like People in History
“With lively, electric prose, Provenzano conjures an epic love story. He reminds the reader that there’s always something after the murkiest of fates and will make the doubtful believe in romance again. Message of Love makes a significant contribution to disability and queer literature while touching the heart of the general reader.”
– Belo Cipriano, author of Blind: A Memoir
“A vivid and accurate depiction of a moment in time and history, Message of Love is an honest and unsentimental portrayal of the difficulties of sustaining even the strongest relationship and is, ultimately, an inspiring validation of the power of commitment.” – Tom Mendicino, author of Probation and KC, at Bat
“Sexy and uninhibitedly queer. As a bisexual person with a disability and especially as a wheelchair user, I found the story to be written in a refreshing and honest tone without falling prey to the pity approach as it relates to loving somebody with a disability. Jim Provenzano’s Message of Love successfully represents positive crip and queer sexuality. Bravo!"
– Maria R. Palacios, author of The Female King and Criptionary-Disability Humor and Satire
More reviews of Message of Love:
"There are so many great elements of Message of Love, the first being the time period of the story. The 80′s are well represented here and the in-depth research done by Jim Provenzano shows. [He] gets the feel of the times just right. Provenzano describes with great sensitivity the impact of Everett’s disability on their relationship, from living arrangements to their ability to have sex. There are moments in their relationship that just ring with authenticity...Bringing all these extra layers and facts into Reid and Everett’s life together helps to connect the reader intimately to their romance and growing commitment to each other."
– Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
(Also read my guest blog and a new review of Every Time I Think of You)
"By having a disabled main character, Provenzano shows us that the possibility of love also depends upon the people involved. If you doubt the concept of romance, read this and watch it come back into your life...
"Provenzano has created two very special characters and we love them as we read. The writing is fresh and we certainly feel the love leave the page. I really like when an author loves what he is saying—we sense that in his words and tone. It takes a brave man to write about love with a disabled person yet we feel no pity for Everett because we see him as one of us. This is a skill that this writer has and it makes me proud to say I know him and value his writing.
– Amos Lassen Reviews
Read more about Message of Love
Every Time I Think of You
– a novel (2011)
(with a blog)
Published review excerpts for the 2012 Lambda Literary Award winner Every Time I Think of You:
"Their love is a force of nature ... Provenzano’s sweet humor throughout the book is what makes it such a moving and satisfying read. While he certainly brings the reader to a deeper understanding of being differently-abled, he never resorts to preaching his message. These boys are too real for that." – Dick Smart, Lambda Literary Review
"A sense of youthful, romantic optimism ... permeates the novel as a whole." – Erika Jahneke, Breath and Shadow
“[Every Time I Think of You] opens readers' eyes, minds and hearts to corners of the world they may never have realized existed. Everett's paralysis is less metaphoric, more an opportunity to explore the effect of disability on two growing boys who just happen to be gay. It's not easy to write a novel about sports, gay teenagers and sex in (and out of) wheelchairs. Jim Provenzano has done it, with grace and power.” – Dan Woog, syndicated columnist, The Outfield
“With Reid and Everett, the author has created two counterparts that complement each other beautifully. Their romance, simple and pure, yet heated and passionate, is strikingly genuine. Furthermore, they’re both likable, so much so that the reader can’t help but cheer for them. Even the most jaded among us will experience a renewed faith in love and romance after reading it.” – Christopher Verleger, Edge on the Net
“There are so many levels of nuance to Provenzano's story. But reading about the clever ways in which they find to spend time together is inspiring and touching. It's an exciting voyage of discovery, for them and for readers alike. When the story takes its more serious turn, Every Time I Think of You becomes a tale of heartbreak, courage, and healing. It's a remarkable, uplifting story.” – David Elijah Nahmod, Bay Area Reporter
“A beautiful story of friendship, devotion and love, as well as a practical lesson on dealing with physically challenged individuals.” – Eric Lind, Echo Magazine
“Sweet, and tender, with the right feeling for a teenage love story.” – Elisa Rolle, Elisa Reviews
“Provenzano’s characters are rich and complex. Provenzano’s sense of pace and plotting are dead on, so things never drag, and his prose is straightforward and never showy. It’s a well-told tale whose aim to inform as well as entertain certainly hits the mark.” – Terry Wheeler, Out in Print
“This is a unique coming of age story replete with the surprise one feels when he realizes that he is in love. I love the way the writer brought opposites together here—heartbreak and peace, familiar and unknown, humor and near tragedy.” – Amos Lassen Reviews
Cyclizen - a novel (2007)
(with a blog)
Advance praise for Cyclizen:
"From the ashes of office temp arises a courier on two wheels in search of the man who got away. As he whizzes up and down the thoroughfares of Manhattan, fleeing his past, sizing up his future, he careens headlong into lust's pothole. Watch our hero as he falls under the spell of a dashing and dastardly inside trader. How far will the seduction go? Only the Cyclizen knows."
- Ian Philips, author, See Dick Deconstruct
" Juggling AIDS activism, corporate and individual greed, all through the travails of a bike messenger in search of love and belonging, Cyclizen is noteworthy for its fine characterization and poignant lyricism. Provenzano explores love and friendship with insight and nuance, marking his work as unique, vital and significant."
- Trebor Healey, author of Through It Came Bright Colors
GLBT Athletics and Cultural Change
From the 1960s to Today
through Dec. 2006 at the GLBT Historical Society
"An Emerald City version of a school gym's trophy cabinet, illustrating the community's inclusive reputation, and surpassing straight sports culture." - Bay Area Reporter
"The rich and colorful exhibit... documents the thriving gay athletic scene ... The exhibit is filled with rare items, gleaming under lights and organized by sport from track and field to bowling. In one case are original medals from the first Gay Games." - San Jose Mercury News
Monkey Suits, a novel (2003)
"A nostalgic Manhattan-set novel about unfocused youth, mercurial boyfriends, and the early days of ACT UP anger - part sneering and part servile, a nervy imbalance gives it subversive, comic clout." - Richard LaBonte, Bookmarks
"Jim Provenzano's brilliant new novel Monkey Suits captures perfectly the Reagan Age as it examines the lives of gay cater-waiters working the Metropolitan Museum's swank parties, while getting politicized by ACT-UP." - Author David Ehrenstein
Wrestling Team, the German translation of PINS (Amazon.de). "Der 15-jahrige Joe eifert im Ringerteam seiner neuen Schule den 3 Radelsfuhrern nach. Auf einen davon fahrt Joe besonders ab, aber der ist bestimmt nicht schwul - und sich zu outen ist fur Joe einfach nicht drin - schlieblich will er nicht so enden wie Anthony aus dem Team, der wegen seines Andersseins ganz unten in der Hackordnung der Sportler steht. Die Hanseleien fuhren schlieblich zu einem Mord."
PINS the play (2002 San Francisco and 2006 Chicago productions)
The 2012 paperback edition of PINS the Play; available on Amazon.com
"Jim Provenzano's play, based on his novel, is a coming-of-age narrative about a high school wrestler grappling with being gay. Few of the plot developments are surprising: there's bullying, crying, parental bafflement, innocence lost, self-knowledge won.
But Provenzano shows a deep fondness for his characters and a sure understanding of the wrestling milieu. He's particularly adept at handling the crosscurrents of fear and lust produced by the conflict between the sport's potential homoeroticism and the team members' homophobia. ... nicely captures the tender ache of adolescence; Eddie Bennett is particularly endearing as the conflicted young wrestler." - Zac Thompson, Chicago Reader
"PINS is a good choice for Bailiwick's Pride Series. It presents gay issues that are mostly neglected in stage work and it ends on a hopeful note." - Chicago Free Press
PINS the play (2002)
"Played with quietly moving intensity ... beautifully written passages" - San Francisco Chronicle
"A strong, well-staged world premiere production. Provenzano shows great skill with naturalistic dialogue and a healthy dose of wry humor. Nick Tagas inhabits the demanding role with total conviction, great physicality and a puckish charm. - SF Examiner
PINS, a novel (1999)
"A full-fledged miracle of writing." - New York Blade News
"A brooding chronicle of Catholic guilt, faith, family and sexuality in a New Jersey of intolerance. The characters here are real and loaded with depth, making the action and uncertain ending that much more vivid and ultimately poignant.
PINS is an auspicious debut, sort of a Catcher in the Rye about disillusioned gay jocks. It firmly establishes Jim Provenzano as an important new voice in early 21st-century fiction." - Torso Magazine
Every Time I Think of You