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October 09, 2012

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Steve Berman

Thank you for posting about this. It's an important number of issues that need to be discussed.

Obviously your judging experience was quite different from Jerry Wheeler, who judged Best Gay Romance twice and is willing to go on record (with saved emails from the coordinator) about the mishaps and mishandling of the category. Books were ignored. Guidelines were ignored. If this happened in one category could it have happened in another? Perhaps. But two years in a row? Very different experience from your own. I remember Cecilia Tan mentioning to me that she had difficulties with her judging experience last year but I won't say more unless she wishes to discuss it.

I still do not understand why every one is okay with Labonte being a finalist. Even if he was not at all involved with the judging of the category, it seems unethical--I doubt many other awards would permit such a thing. It's a black eye on the Lammys in my thoughts. I cannot believe I am alone in such thinking.

And still, why are certain categories separated by Gay & Lesbian but not all. It cannot be because of a lack of entries. Tony has refused to address this. It is not fair and suggests that Lesbian Poets and Mystery writers have more value (or their books do) than Lesbian Horror writers.

Steve

Bob Smith

Under the supervision of Richard Labonte, I was a judge in Best Gay Romance and we read everything and discussed our choices. The Lammies are run and supported by writers and editors who volunteer to support LGBT literature. To penalize helpful writers and editors by not allowing them to be nominated is unfair. I've worked on the Host committee for two years. The Lammies sold out this year and they have to make money in order to survive. Mr. Berman's self-serving chief complaints are about categories he wants to win. What has Mr. Berman ever done to help the Lambda Literary Foundation?

Steve Berman

Mr. Smith, I am amazed how psychic you are? Or not. I have donated to LLF in the past. I have offered authors to speak at LLF events (and have never heard back from the Foundation). My complaints about the fairness of categories I want to win? Publishers don't win the Lammys, Mr. Smith. Authors do. I suggest you check your medication. And still it makes no sense why there are some categories and not others. And you are not even aware that Labonte *hates* when people refer to the award as the Lammies. I will ask Jerry Wheeler who was a judge in Best Gay Romance to counter your claims. Defend the LLF, but then, you msut because you are nominated and won, right? So, that makes you as self-serving as you think I am.

Bob Smith

You offered authors to speak? Wow, typing an email is such hard work. Thanks for your support. Maybe your authors aren't winning because their publisher can't spot a misspelled 'msut.'

Steve Berman

I am not sure of your pedigree as a comedian; you're not very funny pointing out typos. Or very smart...Lethe Press has won twice the Lammys (do you know how to spell them now?). We've been finalist many times. Let me know when you get some humorous material.

J. Wheeler

Bob - I'm glad your experience judging the Lammies was positive. As I posted on the Advocate site, I was one of the Best Gay Romance judges last year, and we did not read all entries. In clear violation of the judging guidelines, the panel moderator divvied them up, five or six apiece doled out to all judges. We then read our five or six, selected a winner of that lot and put those choices up for all judges to read. We were encouraged to read outside our initial selected group, which I did -- about ten or twelve in all-- but not all judges read all the selections. Indeed, I never even got a copy of Elliott Mackle's book. I read it from a PDF I received as co-blogger at Out in Print. Marshall Thornton's Desert Run arrived two weeks after the judging closed. Steve is correct in that books sent, in this category at least, were not read by all judges. And the judging guidelines were indeed violated (by dint of attempting to reduce a large number of books to a more manageable one -- but the cause is not the point). Suggestions I made during the debriefing were ignored by the moderator. He did, however, solicit our input for an article which appeared in LLF about the romance genre, but no criticism of the Lammies was involved. But this is just my experience as a judge--which, perhaps, begs a larger question: "Why are there so many different judging experiences for the same award?" Shouldn't everyone's experience be basically the same? I realize how important the Lammies are to the queer lit community, and that's why I spoke out. To make things better. But as Tony Valenzuela never bothered to comment....ah well.

Steve Berman

Oh, and since you are bound to remark about any other errors I have made while responding to your inane defense (which contains no facts to refute my valid complaints about categories or judging or transparency), I'll correct my above post and say Lethe Press has released two books that won the Lammys and has published many that were finalists for that award as well as such awards as the Andre Norton, Golden Crown Literary and Stonewall. Now, Bob, go take your medicine.

Bob Smith

Sounds like Mr. Berman should be the author of an exercise book called, "Hissy Fitness."

Amos Lassen

I was a judge in the very same category as Jerry Wheeler and I concur on every point he made here. Instead of trying to defend LLF, we should be trying to make it the wonderful organization in should be. There is something very wrong at the top and poor leadership can easily be fixed. This is OUR community and if we want to make it better then our voices need to be heard. I, too, have kept all of the emails that I received during the judging process and at the time I did not know why I was doing so. Constructive criticism is given here because we want an organiation we can be proud of and we want our writers to be acknowledged for their contributions but let's do so in a way that is fair for everyone.

Lawrence Schimel

Lethe Press, whose publisher Steve Berman promised he would pay me in August 2009 the $325.27 in royalties owed to me for BEST GAY POETRY 2008, and as of October 2012 I'm still waiting...

Steve Berman

Larry S., brilliant insight into the Lammys.

Amos Lassen

I think that now is the time to put aside our greviances and start to work to build Lambda Literary Foundation into the kind of organization that we can all be proud of. There are some issues that need to be addressed and hopely the board will address those.We have a proud literary history and we want to keep it preserved. Every organization has problems and now that we are all aware of what they are here, let's work together to make it the best it can be.

Lawrence Schimel

Certainly offers insight into the integrity of the person making accusations and allegations, especially when their response is neither shame nor an attempt to apologize or rectify said situation but further snide commentary.

Steve Berman

Larry, you're the one that is commenting off-topic about a matter that was settled ages ago. That speaks volumes. You would rather discuss your own finances and failures than the matter at hand. I recommend you listen to Amos.

steve berman

Also, Larry, try reading up a few commentgas for Mr. Wheeler's comment. Allegations? Accusations? I think Mr. Wheeler offers proof.

Bob Smith

Lawrence, thank you for revealing that Mr. Berman is throwing rocks in a glass library.

Steve Berman

Bob, looks like you share the same myopia as Larry. And no one has any smarts or guts to comment on Jerry Wheeler's points. Sigh. Idiots.

Steve Berman

I think that your antics, Bob & Larry -- focusing only on attacking me but ignoring Amos and Jerry's statements -- will make any visitor to this site believe you are both ridiculously biased and ignorant of what is going on with the Lammys. Kudos for helping my cause!

Lawrence Schimel

Steve, while you eventually paid the moneys due to A Midsummer Night's Press, you have never paid me the creator royalties owed to me as the compiler of the anthology, so it is not a matter that was settled at all. You have ignored all private emails about the situation (and now try to sweep it under the rug in this comments thread, instead of admitting that you are in arrears and finally making the grossly overdue payment).

Sorry if these ugly facts tarnish the image you're trying to project of being a knight on a white steed come to save queer literature, but the facts are that you let your personal bias get in the way of business and honesty.

Such as when you make unverified allegations about Richard Labonté coordinating the categories in which his own books were eligible, something which a) was not true and b) you didn't bother to investigate before slandering Richard. As a friend of Richard's and someone who has worked together with him on various books, I felt my coming to his defense would be seen as being too biased, so I was relieved when Stephen Bottum so emphatically corrected you.

Those are still allegations which I have yet to see you retract or apologize to Richard for making.

I find it hypocritical for you to ask LLF to acknowledge wrongdoing, but don't hold yourself accountable to the same standard and admit to your own--in the case of the never-paid royalties to myself or your slandering of Richard Labonté.

steve berman

Larry, perhaps if Richard had spoken up -- or if LLF has been public and more transparent -- I would not have questioned his ethics. And if it is slander to think that Richard should have excluded himself from being a finalist, well, my opinion remains. I think it is unethical regardless of who coordinated that category.

I'm not alone in thinking such thoughts. But you like to continue ignoring any of the other people voicing the same opinion because of your obsession with our past.

Lawrence Schimel

By what definition is an unpaid debt "past"?

It won't become past until it's actually paid.

J. Wheeler

Bob and Larry - While I realize you've both had some personal and financial difficulties with Steve in the past, how do you respond to my judging experience with the Lammys? Or to my point that the judging experiences are not the same for all categories? Maybe we should be concentrating on the faults in the judging process. And, since you both seem to be better connected to the top brass at LLF than I, why hasn't Tony Valenzuela weighed in on this? Or why were my suggestions ignored by the panel moderator during the debriefing? As far as Richard Labonte goes, even though he didn't oversee the judging for the category in which he was nominated and no impropriety, I'm sure, took place, why could he not see how others might perceive those nominations and bend over backwards (i.e., recuse himself) to eliminate all doubt? Hopefully, we can take this out of the realm of the personal and deal with the issues.

Steve Berman

See, Jerry, Bob and Larry only wanted to bully me rather than have an honest discussion of the issues raised.

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I {like|wanted} to write a little comment to support you.| I {always|constantly|every time} spent my half an hour to read this {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}'s {articles|posts|articles or reviews|content} {everyday|daily|every day|all the time} along with a {cup|mug} of coffee.| I {always|for all time|all the time|constantly|every time} emailed this {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site} post page to all my {friends|associates|contacts}, {because|since|as|for the reason that} if like to read it {then|after that|next|afterward} my {friends|links|contacts} will too.| My {coder|programmer|developer} is trying to {persuade|convince} me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the {expenses|costs}. But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using {Movable-type|WordPress} on {a number of|a variety of|numerous|several|various} websites for about a year and am {nervous|anxious|worried|concerned} about switching to another platform. 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Is this a paid theme or did you {customize|modify} it yourself? {Either way|Anyway} keep up the {nice|excellent} quality writing, {it's|it is} rare to see a {nice|great} blog like this one {these days|nowadays|today}.| {I am|I'm} {extremely|really} {inspired|impressed} {with your|together with your|along with your} writing {talents|skills|abilities} {and also|as {smartly|well|neatly} as} with the {layout|format|structure} {for your|on your|in your|to your} {blog|weblog}. {Is this|Is that this} a paid {subject|topic|subject matter|theme} or did you {customize|modify} it {yourself|your self}? {Either way|Anyway} {stay|keep} up the {nice|excellent} {quality|high quality} writing, {it's|it is} {rare|uncommon} {to peer|to see|to look} a {nice|great} {blog|weblog} like this one {these days|nowadays|today}..| {Hi|Hello}, Neat post. {There is|There's} {a problem|an issue} {with your|together with your|along with your} {site|web site|website} in {internet|web} explorer, {may|might|could|would} {check|test} this? IE {still|nonetheless} is the {marketplace|market} {leader|chief} and {a large|a good|a big|a huge} {part of|section of|component to|portion of|component of|element of} {other folks|folks|other people|people} will {leave out|omit|miss|pass over} your {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent} writing {due to|because of} this problem.| {I'm|I am} not sure where {you are|you're} getting your {info|information}, but {good|great} topic. I needs to spend some time learning {more|much more} or understanding more. Thanks for {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent} {information|info} I was looking for this {information|info} for my mission.| {Hi|Hello}, i think that i saw you visited my {blog|weblog|website|web site|site} {so|thus} i came to “return the favor”.{I am|I'm} {trying to|attempting to} find things to {improve|enhance} my {website|site|web site}!I suppose its ok to use {some of|a few of} your ideas!!\

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