The Tornado, lithograph by John Steuart Curry, used by permission Kiechel Fine Arts, John Steuart Curry Estate
Les Croyens Press is an imprint of Beautiful Dreamer Press devoted to telling the stories of the LGBTQ community in small towns and rural areas. It is currently publishing The Croy Cycle, a four volume series of novels by Louis Flint Ceci that takes place in east-central Oklahoma in the mid to late 20th Century.
Latest Releases from
Les Croyens Press
(For the latest releases from Beautiful Dreamer Press, use the tab on the left)
Leave Me Not Alone
Book 4 of The Croy Cycle
“Louis Flint Ceci’s new novel, Leave Me Not Alone, is a miracle of understatement. Although its pages are crowded with the current and former citizens of his fictional town of Croy, as well as a wealth of period detail, the book never feels heavy, except with the weight of its many memorable characters. They are deftly drawn in minimal strokes that nonetheless convey a feeling of real lives lived. From the new generation of questing youth to the many self-assured matriarchs, the interactions are always true, sometimes painfully true, sometimes longingly. The collision of post-WWII values and the upheavals of 1970 makes for a dramatic, heartbreaking setting that allows Ceci to explore changing attitudes in America around race, gender, and sexual orientation.
“The book’s central theme of conservative cover-ups versus lived truth is drawn with realism. The book is a defiant cry that small-town American history has always included people of color and queer people in essential roles, despite the forces—political and literary—that have sought to exclude them.” —J. Marshall Freeman, author of The Dubious gift of Dragon’s Blood
“Ceci effectively infuses the prose with the well-developed personalities of its characters. . . . Fans of The Croy Cycle are sure to appreciate this latest entry, but new readers would do well to catch up with previous books first. Overall, it feels less like a standard YA tale than a larger story of small-town life and the interactions of families that have deep, interconnected roots.” —Kirkus Reviews
Set in the same Oklahoma town as the rest of the cycle, this fourth and final book in the series starts on the same afternoon that ends Book 3, but on the other side of town. Characters that appeared only in the wings before—gender-fluid Beau and robust farm boy Frank—suddenly take center stage. Beau follows his dream of starting a rock band, and Frank faces the devastating disintegration of his family. Their lives intersect with the three young adults readers have come to know: Joanie, with her insatiable curiosity and passion for the truth; Randy and the troubled history of his parents; and of course Jake, still exploring the difference between lust and love. Is the explosive sex he has with Frank based on deep feelings, or is Beau’s more gentle approach what he really needs? Complicating things, characters and issues from the town’s past return, bringing The Croy Cycle back to where it began: the completion of the Memorial Library sculpture abandoned in Book 1.
The rock band Beau a starts is called The Quirks, and their big hit song is “The Midnight Train.” In the novel, Jake writes the song to capture the torment and hope he feels in his love for Frank. This echoes “Standing in God’s Love” from Book 1 where Jake’s father, Andy, struggled to reconcile his faith and his sexuality. The video of “The Midnight Train” below features Jonathan Hansard on vocals and Stephen Miller on keyboard. Recorded in Nevada City, December, 2022.
Book 3 of The Croy Cycle
“A delightful story of adolescence in a rural America about to change forever.”
—John Whittier Treat, author of The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House
“Readers familiar with the second installment in particular will get more enjoyment out of this one, but those picking up the series for the first time will be impressed with Ceci’s confident craftsmanship and insightful evocation of adolescence. A rich coming-of-age tale of friendship and self-discovery.”
“Ceci follows his warm and involving novel, Comfort Me, with yet more adventures of these very real, lovable and compelling young people. Equally touching are the grown-ups who are trying to hold their kids’ fragile world together. You won’t want the story to end.”
—David Pratt, author of Wallaçonia
Last year, Mally Jacobs was the weird kid in school, but that was before he spent a summer in New York, witnessed the Stonewall Riots, and kissed his first boyfriend. Now he’s back in Oklahoma, calling himself “Jake,” and using his new-found basketball skills to impress his friends and earn a name for himself. But the small town of Croy is a far cry from the freedom and daring he tasted in New York. Can he find a place for himself while holding on to a secret?
Book 2 of The Croy Cycle
“A tale about the strength of the human spirit challenged by painful histories and unspoken truths, and the powerful glue of friendship that allows us each to survive.”
—Grady Harp, art and poetry reviewer for PoetsArtists
“An intriguing story of teenagers facing their families and their problems as they come of age. Highly recommended.”
—Midwest Book Review
“An honest and utterly raw look at small town life with its prejudices and benefits told through the eyes of three young adults as they come to terms with themselves and their lives.”
Fifteen years after his mother left town in disgrace, Malachi “Mally” Jacobs returns to Croy, Oklahoma, to take care of his ailing grandfather. Outcast and abandoned, he knows nothing about his father or why his mother left. After a few false starts, he forms an unlikely alliance with Randy, a football player with alcoholic parents, and Joanie, an intellectually curious and courageous girl who cannot face the truth about her own family. The three kids find a haven in each other that takes the place of their fractured families. They learn to balance honesty and loyalty, sexual longing and selfless love, and take comfort in the bonds of true friendship.
If I Remember Him
Book 1 of The Croy Cycle
“Ceci really shines as a writer when his characters grapple with matters of faith, having them speak with heart-felt eloquence. And can I just say that I don’t think that I have ever read a more beautiful sexual communion between two men?”
—Keith John Glaeske, Out in Print
“A deeply moving novel, where religious, racial, and sexual differences clash in an Oklahoma small town during the era of McCarthyism. Louis Flint Ceci creates nuanced characters that jump from the page and hold your attention.”
—Gar McVery-Russell, author of Sin Against the Race.
“Ceci’s prose is sharp and evocative of the time and place.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Ceci pulls no punches when depicting the virulence of bigotry and the toll it takes on both its victims and its perpetrators. This portrait of the many forms and shades of grief will leave readers breathless.”
—Booklife Reviews (read the full review here)
When a tornado nearly wipes the town of Croy, Oklahoma, off the map, Lerner Alquist vows to memorialize the wife he lost by building the most magnificent library the state has ever seen. It is a splendid vision, but war and hard times keep delaying it. By 1952, Alquist’s dream needs one final ornament to be complete: a sculpture over the main entrance. Pursuing that sets in motion a series of events that uncovers the racism, religious bigotry, and sexual tensions that underlie the town. If I Remember Him blends historical context with public triumphs and personal tragedy to portray a town torn between its better angels and its old wounds.