Happy Birthday, Speak Its Name



I would like to congratulate Speak Its Name on its most noteworthy 2nd Anniversary. As I am a writer and publisher of historical fiction, this blog holds a special interest to me. I find that it provides detailed and insightful reviews as well as a comprehensive list of gay-related historical fiction.

So what is it about historical fiction that tickles my fancy and sends me soaring with delight? So many of today’s readers recoil at the mention of historical fiction, finding it impossible to relate to, or boring, or disliking it for some other vague reason. I think perhaps it stems from my childhood. How do all fairy tales and many children’s stories begin? “Once upon a time…” That implies the past and instantly a child knows the story will be filled with enchantment. Even George Lucas understood the allure of distance and history—“A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” Knowing that a story occurred in the past and in some remote land is what helps to spark our imaginations. I still remember as a child reading the first sentence of Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.” I was instantly swept away into the simple, joyous life of a pioneer family. When I was a bit older, I graduated to meatier fare with Scarlett and Rhett, and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Born out of my childhood, my fascination with the past is something I’ve never outgrown. Whether it’s nostalgia or otherworldliness I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just that I fancy returning to a more innocent time. Whatever the reason, I’m much more comfortable reading about a reality that is far separated from my own and in later years I’ve even developed an interest in the more recent past, such as the 1950s and 1960s which already are beginning to feel quaint and old-fashioned.

So long live Speak Its Name! I hope gay historical fiction will be documented here for many years to come, though as the genre continues to grow exponentially, it may soon be impossible to keep up with!

Mark R. Probst

Cheyenne Publishing – “Fiction celebrating unique voices of the past”

Advent Calendar Giveaway!

Cheyenne Publishing is giving away a signed copy of “The Filly” To enter, simply send an email to webmaster@iglou.com with the correct answer to this question:

Who are Currer Bell, Ellis Bell, and Acton Bell?

10 Responses

  1. So well put, mate – especially the bit about the 1960s. Seem like another world…


  2. Since my dad fought in WWII and I was born not all that long after it ended, it feels a little strange to see books set in that time labeled “historical.” Of course, to some folks, ‘historical’ is pre-VCR…

  3. The same with historical fiction for GLBT teens! Huzzah! 🙂

    When I cracked open Victor Hugo’s novels as a sophomore in high school, I was completely floored by the alien-ness of it all. Everything seemed so familiar and yet not, and the bizarre disparity and universality of values and behavior kept me picking up more classics.

    I also developed a monumental tween crush on Charles Darnay. XD

    • I adored Sidney Carton; Darnay was too nice. And I loved the Young Soldier in The Red Badge of Courage. And I liked Huck a lot more than Tom. I was always drawn to the scruffy bad boys, cowards, and lazy boys. And they always managed to redeem themselves in one way or another. (g)

      I hadn’t given it much thought until now, but every book I can remember reading and loving in school was historical. Even poetry: I still think John Brown’s Body is the best book ever.

      I’d like to add my “Happy Birthday” SIN to Mark’s good wishes. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already.

  4. Hmmm. Since all of Santa’s reindeer, and some of his elves have names, might Currer, Ellis, and Acton be some of the Jingle Bells?

  5. Happy Birthday too! The 1980s seem historical to me, but I’m probably not a good one to ask.

  6. Hayden said: “You’re right. It was Sidney Carton I crushed on, not Charles Darnay.”

    Tough luck, Toots. Sidney’s mine and I scratch. (g)

    Boy, we historical literary types really take it seriously, don’t we!!!

  7. Hmmmm.

    Sounds like another name for the three Stoodges?

    Tinker Bell’s fairy brothers?

    A new historical gay menage coming soon?

    Okay… three strikes and I’m out!

    I celebrate with you – to the continued success Of Speak It’s Name!


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