BOOKS

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BAND FAGS!

June 2008

"Ever since I first heard that Lionel Richie and Diana Ross song, 'Endless Love,' all I've wanted is to find The One.

Someone to love. Who will love me back."


September, 1982. John Cougar's "Jack and Diane" is on endless radio rotation, and Dallas and Dynasty rule the ratings. Jack Paterno is a straight-A student living in the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park, with his own Atari 5200, a Beta VCR, and everything a seventh-grader could ask for. The only thing he has in common with foul-mouthed Brad Dayton, who lives on the gritty south side near 8 Mile, is that both are in Varsity Band.


Or maybe that's not the only thing.


Because Jack is discovering that while hanging around with girls in elementary school was perfectly acceptable, having lots of girl friends (as opposed to girlfriends) now is getting him and Brad labeled as Band Fags.


And Jack is no fag. Is he?


As Jack and Brad make their way through junior high and then through Hazel Park High School, their friendship grows deeper and more complicated. From stealing furtive glances at Playgirl to discussing which celebrities might be like that, from navigating school cliques to dealing with crushes on girls and guys alike, Jack is trying to figure out who and what he is. He wants to find real, endless love, but he also wants to be popular and "normal." But, as Brad points out, this is real life--not a John Hughes movie.


And sooner or later, Jack will have to choose.


Filled with biting wit and pitch-perfect observations, Band Fags is an exhilarating novel about lust and love, about the friendships that define and sometimes confine us, and about coming of age and coming to terms with the end of innocence and the beginning of something terrifying,

thrilling, and completely unpredictable.

Advance praise for Band Fags!


"More than just a novel, Band Fags! is a virtual time machine that transports you smack dab into the cheesy heart of the 80's. It's like a queer Wonder Years as it follows Brad and Jack's memorable journey through high school hell. Screamingly funny, surprisingly charming and, ultimately, truly moving, it's a fresh take on the importance of friendship during the worst/best years of your life."

--Brian Sloan, A Really Nice Prom Mess and Tale of Two Summers

"A consistently hilarious story of the best-friendship we all seem to have had, set in a time we can never seem to forget -- the totally awesome '80s -- Band Fags! never misses a beat in its affectionate, moment-by-moment chronicling of the complicated journey we take from cradle to closet to what lies beyond."

--Matthew Rettenmund, author of Boy Culture

"Band Fags! is like the gay teen flick John Hughes never got around to making. Let's face it, there's a Band Fag in all of us and Frank Anthony Polito has his on speed dial. This book is a sweet, funny, deeply felt valentine to the wonder/horror of coming of age in the 1980's. You might just pee your parachute pants."

--Dennis Hensely, author of Misadventures in the (213)

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DRAMA QUEERS!

June 2009

"Ever since Mrs. Malloy assigned us the What I Want To Be When I Grow Up paper earlier that year in her 1st hour English, my mind had been made up. . . I, Bradley James Dayton, will be a famous actor someday!"

Meet Bradley Dayton--a wickedly funny high school senior whose woefully uncool life always seems to be full of drama, even in the sorry little suburb of Hazel Park, Michigan. It's 1987, the era of big hair, designer jeans, and Dirty Dancing. George Michael has "Faith" and Michael Jackson still has a nose.


Brad, on the other hand, has a thing for acting, and while his friends are trying to get laid, Brad's trying to land the lead in Okla-homo! and practicing the Jane Seymour monologue from Somewhere in Time.


Sure, he'd like to get laid too, but while Brad has known he was gay forever, the rest of "Hillbilly High" is not so forthcoming. Brad's already lost one best friend, Jack, who dropped out of marching band to step into the closet. But lately, things are looking up. Not only has Brad made Homecoming Top Five, but Richie, a new, totally cute member of drama club, definitely seems to be sending signals--and he's not the only one.


Before senior year ends, Brad will know more about love, lust, and friendship than he ever thought possible. Because if all the world's a stage, he's ready to be in the spotlight. . .

*Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance

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REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS

December 2011

Christmastime brings back memories as surely as office parties bring recriminations. The childhood wishes fulfilled (or dashed), the magic of anticipation, fighting over the dinner table. . .these are the ghosts of every Christmas past and present. Remembering Christmas brings together three holiday stories in a sparkling anthology sprinkled with nostalgia.

It's Christmas Eve in Tom Mendicino's Away in a Manger, and James is snowbound en route from New York City to his West Virginia hometown. While the sight of a familiar Motor Lodge sparks longing for a roadside America of yesteryear, his visions of peppermint stick ice cream are thwarted by a vending machine. But amid the revelry at the local diner, James finds something far more satisfying that will change his Christmases forever. . .

1991, Michigan State University. Best friends Jack and Kirk are preparing for an end-of-semester party in Frank Anthony Polito's A Christmas to Remember. But there's something unspoken in the air—and it's not just the aroma of cinnamon-speckled eggnog.

In Missed Connections by Michael Salvatore, two childhood friends reconnect in an airport lounge on Christmas Eve. And over cocktail-fueled reminiscences, they reconsider the paths they're on—and the roads never taken. . .

Get what you really want this Christmas, with three captivating stories stuffed with warmth, wit, surprises—and the promise of sweet Christmases yet to come. . .

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LOST IN THE '90S

April 2012

“AS LONG AS I LIVE, I WILL NEVER FORGET THE NIGHT OF 4.7.12…”

KURT loves the 1990s! Thanks to his parents who graduated Hazel Park High the exact same year he was born — 1994 — he’s a walking encyclopedia of ’90s nostalgia from American Pie to Zima.

DAVE dreams of becoming the next Kurt Cobain. But first, he has to get himself out of “Hazeltucky” — and away from the pretty cheerleader he’s had his eye on since freshman year at “Hillbilly” High.

MICHELLE’s got it all: beauty, brains, a popular boyfriend. The Homecoming Queen of HPHS is going places after graduation. The last thing she needs in her life is a wannabe grunge rocker — or a baby.

“EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!”

At his school’s “Lost in the ’90s” dance, a wild stage-dive into the mosh pit leaves Kurt facedown on the floor, unconscious. When he wakes, he meets up with Michelle. But the boy doesn’t recognize the girl as being one of his classmates…and vice-versa.

After Kurt runs into Dave at the local diner, he senses something is definitely NOT right in the state of Michigan. Is it the old-fashioned TV set showing “Mad About You” reruns during primetime? Or the fact that, suddenly, there’s a smoking section over in the corner? Or maybe the date on this week’s
Metro Times is what finally tips him off:

APRIL 6-12 — 1994!

Soon, it becomes apparent Kurt has traveled back in time. Bill Clinton is President of the United States,

Ace of Base holds the #1 song in America, and somewhere in the “Friendly City” of Hazel Park, Kurt’s parents

are both 18-year-old high school seniors. But where could they possibly be…

and what will happen if Kurt bumps into them? 

Praise for Lost in the '90s

"...an overall great, imaginative story with some real, unexpected twists and a

wholehearted appreciation of '90s music." [4 stars]

-- Romantic Times

"Lost in the '90s offers a historical snapshot and sweeping theme that things often aren't as bad as they seem."

-- Metro Times (Detroit)

"LOST IN THE '90s is a humorous and touching coming-of-age novel filled with modern day and past pop culture that may appeal, not only to teens and young adults, but also their parents... Author Frank Anthony Polito's writing is smooth and accurately captures the jargon and social consciousness of the '90s in addition to modern day techno-speak, with its SMS language acronyms." [5 stars]

-- IndieReader

"This novel was nothing like what I thought as I started reading it. I loved it! The 'back to the future' theme has been done before, but Frank Anthony Polito has written a wonderful novel that caught my attention and interest from the first page... The characters were fun, interesting and we cared about them. I loved all of the scene setting '90s references from music to television to other cultural things."  

-- 20th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards 

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THE SPIRIT OF DETROIT

September 2013

September 1992. Madonna’s SEX is poised to hit bookstore shelves, The Crying Game makes its cinematic debut in limited release, and George H.W. Bush will soon square off against William Jefferson Clinton

in the battle to be elected leader of the Free World.

After abandoning his dreams of becoming a famous actor, Bradley Dayton returns to his roots and enrolls

as a Theatre major at Wayne State University in Detroit — a town known for its rich cultural history, as well as its gritty urban decay.


But a new cast of characters begins to interfere with his education as these friends (and lovers) induct Bradley into their dark world of backstage drama. By semester’s end, he will have spent many a wild and sleepless Motor City night…and found his fair share of thrills along the way.

Inspired by The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon, The Spirit of Detroit is the follow up to Frank Anthony Polito’s award-winning Drama Queers!