Posts Tagged 'Radclyffe'

Women’s Week in Ptown

By Heather Blackmore

Tell Me Something Good panelists (L-R): Radclyffe, Aurora Rey (moderator), Melissa Brayden, KC Richardson, Tina Michele, Holly Stratimore, Heather Blackmore

Tell Me Something Good panelists (L-R): Radclyffe, Aurora Rey (moderator), Melissa Brayden, KC Richardson, Tina Michele, Holly Stratimore, Heather Blackmore

Under the Gun panelists (L-R): Carsen Taite, Ashley Bartlett, Ali Vali, Samantha Boyette, VK Powell, Sophia Kell Hagin

Under the Gun panelists (L-R): Carsen Taite, Ashley Bartlett, Ali Vali, Samantha Boyette, VK Powell, Sophia Kell Hagin

Women’s Week in Provincetown, MA is a celebration of all things lesbian. It happens annually around Columbus Day, this year October 10-16th. There’s music, comedy, art, films, local tours, LGBTQ information, author readings, theater events, get-togethers over food, sailing, sports, and wine, and more. And while there are plenty of organized offerings, it’s fun just to walk down the street. You bump into people you know. It’s a safe, welcoming, warm environment where LGBTQ people, especially lesbians, can simply be themselves.

It’s Getting Hot in Here (L-R): Melissa Brayden (moderator), Charlotte Greene, Maggie Cummings, Kris Bryant, Sandy Lowe, Fiona Riley, MJ Williams

It’s Getting Hot in Here (L-R): Melissa Brayden (moderator), Charlotte Greene, Maggie Cummings, Kris Bryant, Sandy Lowe, Fiona Riley, MJ Williamz

 

This was my second time at Women’s Week, and for readers, it offers an exciting array of choices. Bold Strokes Books put on a bunch of author events (more on that later). Bywater Books was there, Indie authors were there, Golden Crown Literary Society members were there, as well as others. The town swarmed with some of my favorite writers in the lesfic community, from everyone on the BSB list below, to non BSB authors such as Lynn Ames, Georgia Beers, KB Draper, and Rachel Spangler.

 

Badges, Stripes, and Medals book signing (L-R): Jessica L. Webb, KC Richardson, Jean Copeland, Emily Smith

Badges, Stripes, and Medals book signing (L-R): Jessica L. Webb, KC Richardson, Jean Copeland, Emily Smith

One of the things I love about lesfic is the massive choice we now have in genre selection. From short-stories to non-fiction, romance to erotica, historical fiction to the paranormal, science fiction to mysteries, young adult to romantic intrigue, there’s something for everyone. Author events at Women’s Week give us a chance to sample from these options, learn about new authors, and hear from veterans.

 

 

Another thing I love about Women’s Week is the camaraderie. I met a ton of authors and readers. From formal meet-and-greets to informal get-togethers over meals and drinks, these readers and authors are mostly just down-to-earth, nice, fun people. The established authors are generally gracious and warm, the newer ones are excited and nervous, and those in between are in turns chillax, giddy, anxious, or troublemaking. The whole week feels a bit like lesbian summer camp (except for bouts of chilly weather).

Books!

Books!

 

 

The reason for this blog is to encourage those of you who enjoy lesfic and are wondering what it would be like to attend Women’s Week, to try to make it up to Ptown for a few days next year. There really are dozens of daily events of all kinds, so you don’t have to spend all your days inside listening to readings and Q&A sessions. Ptown is gorgeous and Women’s Week has a lot to offer.

 

Emily Smith and Laydin Michaels

Emily Smith and Laydin Michaels

 

But when you do want to learn about new books or listen to or meet some of your favorite authors, Women’s Week provides plenty of opportunities for you to do so. This year, BSB put on 8 diverse panels and 4 Q&A sessions and brought 30 authors to Ptown. All events are free and there is no hard sell. Obviously BSB would love to sell books, but there’s zero pressure. As with the meet-and-greet I attended 2 years ago, this one also offered anyone with the slightest gumption to walk up to their favorite authors, introduce themselves, and chat. There is nothing intimidating about it, except for the usual hurdle some of us introverts experience in social situations!

Love is in the Air Q&A (L-R): Aurora Rey, CA Popovich, Fiona Riley, KC Richardson, Sandy Lowe (moderator), Kris Bryant

Love is in the Air Q&A (L-R): Aurora Rey, CA Popovich, Fiona Riley, KC Richardson, Sandy Lowe (moderator), Kris Bryant

 

If you haven’t seen the BSB schedule, here were the authors in attendance this year:

Ashley Bartlett, Heather Blackmore, Samantha Boyette, Melissa Brayden, Kris Bryant, Jean Copeland, Maggie Cummings, Jackie D, CF Frizzell, Charlotte Greene, Sophia Kell Hagin, Sandy Lowe, Laydin Michaels, Tina Michele, Jaycie Morrison, C.A. Popovich, VK Powell, Radclyffe, Aurora Rey, KC Richardson, Fiona Riley, Emily Smith, Holly Stratimore, Carsen Taite, TJ Thomas, Julie Tizard, M. Ullrich, Ali Vali, Jessica L. Webb, and MJ Williamz.

Sealed with a Kiss panelists (L-R): TJ Thomas (standing), Jean Copeland, Melissa Brayden, CF Frizzell, Aurora Rey, Maggie Cummings (moderator), CA Popovich

Sealed with a Kiss panelists (L-R): TJ Thomas (standing), Jean Copeland, Melissa Brayden, CF Frizzell, Aurora Rey, Maggie Cummings (moderator), CA Popovich

 

Obviously I can’t guarantee what next year’s lineup will be, but I’d love to plant the seed for you to consider taking a few days off next year to experience a delightful getaway at Women’s Week in Ptown.

 

Look Into the Wound

By Ruth Sternglantz

This past May, I had the pleasure of team-teaching a master class on self-editing at Saints and Sinners with John Morgan Wilson. John and I wanted to give the writers in the class more than a to-do list—not that a to-do list isn’t important, because it definitely is. But we both knew from experience that a to-do list wasn’t sufficient, and our goal was to teach writers how to get past all the mental and environmental stuff that makes self-editing a challenge. So part of my job was to describe how I see a manuscript as I edit it.

 

I used an image from Radclyffe’s Taking Fire, Taking Fire 300 DPIher just-released First Responders romance, as a metaphor to describe my editing philosophy. When Andrew Holleran stopped me on the street the next day to compliment the metaphor, I realized I should probably blog about it.

 

*

 

One of the greatest bars to self-editing is the terror almost every writer feels of actually looking at their completed manuscript. You know what I’m talking about: you type the last few words, hit save, and breathe a deep sigh of relief because your masterpiece is complete. And then all you want to do is submit it to your editor or professor or publisher. Reopening the file and looking at the words on the page is like tempting fate. What if everything you’ve written is awful? What if your masterpiece falls apart and crumbles into dust? As long as the file is closed, as long as you don’t look at your words, they remain pristine, perfect, a masterpiece, at least in your mind. I say: hold that thought. It’s the key to self-editing.

 

Of course writers are terrified to self-edit. Some editors construct editing as an act of looking at a manuscript to find all the mistakes, as a process of showing an author why their writing sucks. Why would any writer want to be complicit in that and do it to themselves? Why would any writer want to take a second look at their manuscript to polish, revise, self-edit when it means focusing on the damage?

 

That is not how I look at a manuscript when I edit, and Radclyffe gave me the perfect metaphor to describe my process in Taking Fire. Here’s the blurb:

 

After two years and too many lost troops, Navy medic Max de Milles is ready to go home. Her last tour is up in four days and she will soon be catching a transport to the States. Life is looking good until she gets detailed to evacuate a humanitarian group in south Somalia. Rachel Winslow and her Red Cross team are caught in the crossfire during a vicious civil uprising, but she refuses to abandon her team members as the rebels close in on their camp. By the time Max and the Black Hawk arrive, it may already be too late. Hunted by extremists, Max and Rachel are forced to work together if they are to survive, and in the process, discover something far more lasting.

 

Because this is a Radclyffe romance featuring a medic, there is surgery. And here’s how Max looks at a wound:

 

“The key to finding a bleeder in the midst of a pool of blood and shredded muscle was to look—to see, to distinguish the border between the damaged and the undamaged. There, at the edge of destruction, the natural planes of the body remained, even in the worst trauma, pristine layers radiating out from the injury.” (emphasis added)

 

That’s my metaphor.

 

Editing—whether it’s self-editing or editing another writer’s work—starts with a way of looking. If you think of editing primarily as looking for the bad stuff—for the damage—it colors your entire process. Of course no writer in their right mind would voluntarily reopen that saved file to self-edit.

 

Instead, think of editing as looking for what’s wonderful and repairing the rest. Start with the “pristine layers,” and let them drive the revision. You can’t fix what’s broken if you can’t see what works. And you can’t see what works until you open the file and look at your words.

 

That’s how I edit.

 

My process isn’t about pretending every word is perfect or that nothing needs cutting or more development. It’s not about giving everyone a gold star for doing well. After all, the pristine layers are found at the edge of destruction. And part of being a good editor is the ability to talk about what doesn’t work.

 

But my process begins with an orientation. I need to assess the damage, but I can’t edit until I see the healthy structure.

 

If opening that file to self-edit makes you want to cry, just think of Dr. Max de Milles (trust me, read Taking Fire and you’ll absolutely want to think about Max and Rachel!). Open your document, look into the metaphorical wound, and find that border, that edge. See the healthy structure of your story, and start to repair and revise from that starting point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write What and Where You Know – Down Home(stead) Advice

BY RADCLYFFE

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The adages and axioms about how to write are legion, but none perhaps more universal than “write what you know.” In many ways, this advice makes perfect sense–one thing most readers seem to say they want in their fiction is for the story to be “authentic,” although that definition could be open to interpretation (true, genuine, real, accurate.) I take authentic to mean believable, in the sense that in the universe we have created, the facts seem plausible, and the emotions and psychological makeup of our characters are consistent and congruent. There are distinct advantages to writing what we know–we don’t have to fact check as much. When I write a medical romance, many of the technical details are so ingrained I never have to think about writing the action scenes.

On the other hand, if I’m writing a shootout between Secret Service agents and terrorists, I have to research what kind of weapons and ammunition are used, what the their range might be, what kind of protective equipment is worn, and a host of other details. Not only is the writing easier when we write the familiar, we’re more likely to incorporate small details that enhance the scene. Similarly, when we write what we know from an emotional place, if we’re honest enough, we can instill in our characters the kinds of compelling conflicts and reactions that resonate with readers. Our characters become more “real.”

 

But writing what we know isn’t without detractions. On a simplistic level, if we only wrote what we knew, how quickly we would run out of things to write about and how boring our books might be. If we only wrote what was real, fantasy and paranormal would automatically be discounted. Many of our mystery and romance plots, as well. And as to emotional truths, what if we’re writing about a vampire? Oughtn’t they have different sets of moral codes, psychological profiles, and emotional reactions (assuming they have reactions) than humans?

Fiction is the creative equivalent of freedom–we can create worlds, rewrite history, and imagine outcomes that might never happen in “real life” as long as we fashion a believable foundation for the social/cultural/ and biologic basis of the universe and script characters who are emotionally consistent. Our personal experiences are the launch pad from which we create our fiction, and drawing on personal experience can only enrich our work.

 

One of the most important elements of writing what we know, as I have experienced every time I write about familiar places, is setting. In Homestead,Homestead 300 DPI I chose to write about my own front yard. The farm where almost all the action takes place is actually my farm, and the roads and landmarks and villages and most of the people are actually real places and based on real individuals. In addition to the ease of writing a place that is so familiar, I think familiar places instill in us an emotional connection that comes through in what we write. I know when I wrote the Justice series and placed it in Old City Philadelphia, it was easier to write with the kind of observational detail that simply can’t be called up from Google maps or information on the Internet. I know that some of the most difficult settings I’ve had to create are places I have not personally been. Setting becomes a character in our work when it has special meaning to us, like Provincetown has for me in the Provincetown Tales.

 

Obviously, that is not to say we cannot write about places we have never been, or we’ll be right back in the same restrictive situation we are emotionally and psychologically if we only write what we know. While the benefit of actually visiting the place we’re going to write about cannot be overstated, the Internet does provide us with lots of information about climate, architecture, language, and all the other conditions we need to know to write about a particular place.

 

So my humble advice: write what you know and want to know, set in places you love—from the heart.

 

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

BY RADCLYFFE

I was tagged by Diana Simmonds (http://dianasimmonds.wordpress.com) to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop this month. It was a real pleasure to get reconnected with one of my favorite authors and to have a chance to contribute to such a fun enterprise. I’ll be talking about my newest release, Crossroads, which came out in November, 2012.

BSB_Crossroads_small

Now onto the questions:

1) What is the working title of your book?

Crossroads.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I started writing in the romance subgenre of “medical romances” with Passion’s Bright Fury, first released in 2003. I discovered I enjoy setting romances within the action-packed sphere of emergency/trauma medicine and have written a number of books set in that arena. This time, I decided to move away from trauma, but not all that far, because I find that life and death circumstances, be they medical, environmental, military or otherwise, heighten the characters’ emotional investment and connection, making for a volatile developing romance. Also, I enjoy writing about the hospital community, which is like a large extended neighborhood. As I began to write this story, I found myself returning to the familiar neighborhood I first introduced in Fated Love and wrote about again in Night Call. I’ve found that my readers enjoy returning to familiar settings and catching a glimpse of characters as they move through life following their initial romance.

3) What genre does your book fall under? 

This would be considered a traditional character driven romance in the medical romance subgenre. By traditional, I mean that character interaction, rather than an external plot, such as intrigue, action adventure, thriller etc, primarily drives this story.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

I don’t have the slightest idea. I need help on this one. Maybe you could pick someone 🙂

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? 

A midwife and a high risk OB are forced to work together despite a rocky past, professional differences, and unexpected attraction.

6) What is the longer synopsis of your book? 

Dr. Hollis Monroe and Nurse-Midwife Annie Colfax first meet under the most frightening circumstances–when Annie turns up in the emergency room alone and in the midst of a precipitous, life-threatening labor. Four years later, they meet again when both are assigned against their will and professional judgment to work together to form a high risk pregnancy clinic with shared care between hospital obstetricians and community-based nurse midwives. While initially at odds, with unresolved anger and distrust simmering between them, they discover their mutual compassion for their patients and passion for one another changes both their lives.

7) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither. I am published by Bold Strokes Books, Inc. and am not represented by an agent (which is true of 95% plus of the authors at Bold Strokes Books).

8) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

10 weeks, which is standard for me, although as I revise each chapter before writing the next one, I actually have a second draft by the end of that period of time.

9) What inspired you to write this book? 

I recently read an article in the New York Times about the plight of nurse midwives after the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. Because in some states nurse midwives are required to practice under the “auspices” of physicians, these practitioners were suddenly without legal standing. Nevertheless, they were committed to caring for their patients and their patients were committed to continuing with them. Some of these issues inspired me to place my characters in a similar situation.

10) What else about your book might pique the readers interest?

This book explores community on many levels–the hospital as community, the neighborhood as community, extended friendships as family and community. Annie Colfax, one of the main characters, has a young child and her interactions with her friends and neighbors, including those with other children, help show the impact of falling in love on all the aspects of our life–social, emotional, physical, and spiritual. I hope that this book does what every good romance should do–allow the reader to experience the joy of falling in love on all those levels.

Crossroads is available at the Bold Strokes Books web store in print and digital versions, as well as at retailers online and at your local bookseller.

An Interview with Karen Wolfer of Dog Ear Audio

by Clifford Henderson

Hey gang, June is audio book month! So I thought I’d take
a time out from my usual musing and interview one of my favorite women in the
business. Don’t know if you know this, but Dog Ear Audio, a company devoted to
put lesbian novels in the audio book market, produced the audio book of my
novel, “The Middle of Somewhere.” I narrated myself. It was a fun process and
turned out a great product. They’ve also produced novels by Bold Strokes
authors, K.I. Thompson, Catherine Friend, Kim Baldwin, and, you guessed it,
Radclyffe. What are they up to now? Read on.

Me: Why audio books?

Karen: Well, Cliffi, I’ve been a fan of lesbian fiction
for many, many years.  No need to go into exactly how many, but
with putting a lot of miles on my truck because of where I live and my job as a
solar installer, I was looking for something other than the radio to listen to
while on the road.  I searched on line for lesbian audio books, and could
not find any.

About the same time, my partner was building a soundbooth
for her video production company.

In one of those lightbulb moments, I realized this
professionally engineered soundbooth could be used for more than just
voice-over work.  Maybe we could record some of these books and fill a
niche that was not being given attention to.  Since then, I think my
partner has gotten in to use her own soundbooth twice for video work.  The
book recordings have kind of taken over.

Me: What projects are you working on
now?

Karen: We just released our latest book, “Breaking
the Ice” written and narrated by Kim Baldwin, 
which is set in
Alaska.  When possible, we look, and listen, for authors who may have the
voice acting skills to record their own books.  I believe they know best
how they want a particular character to sound, where to place the inflection on
dialog, and what overall feeling they want a listener to take away with them
from the story.  The written word is fantastic in telling a story,
but hearing a story brings with it an entire new set of emotions and
connectivity between an author and their audience.

Audio books connect on such a personal level.  It is
one human relating to another human through the spoken word; the oldest form of
storytelling there is.  Emotions are shared on so many
levels—excitement, anger, love—are all enhanced hearing a human voice
give life to those feelings.  Even a silent pause, in the right place,
can convey more about what is happening in a scene than many, many words
can.

“The Middle of Somewhere”, written and narrated
by a very talented woman, is a prime example of how hearing an author bring the
accents of a local population to life, greatly enhances the
story.  Whether it is the shady characteristics of one person,
or the adorable crush one character has for another, those human traits
are instantly captured in the tone of a skilled narrator.

Me: What projects do you see happening
in the future?

Karen: We have three more titles waiting impatiently on
our computers for editing.  By this, I mean sound editing, where we clean
up any extraneous noises that may have shown up, splice in re-takes, and then
go through an exhaustive listening process so we can correct anything else we may
have missed on the first go-round. All of our books are unabridged.

We recently signed an agreement with a download
distributor who will be getting us into the larger, mainstream distribution
networks like Audible.com, eMusic, Simply Audiobooks, Spoken Network, and
more.

I’ve always wanted to have our audiobooks
available in libraries across the country, so we will be taking a short
hiatus in recording additional titles, in order to establish those
connections with libraries. Having these wonderful stories available to
everyone is one of our goals.

Some women have sight problems, so we want to spend more
time letting them know we are here and that lesbian literature can be still
enjoyed even if the printed word does not work for them.

Me: Tell us a bit out your solar operation and why this
is important.

Karen: For the past 17 years, I have been a solar
(photovoltaic) installer for remote, off-grid homes. Our own home, including
all our computers, and especially the coffemaker, are powered with energy
captured from the sun.  Because our sound files are so precious, we trust
the reliability of our own power over anything that could come from the
grid.  It is better, cleaner energy.

We live in such an amazingly beautiful state, with
those legendary cobalt blue skies, that we like to keep our carbon-footprint as
small as possible.

This summer I hope to make some renewable energy videos
to help educate folks on what solar energy can do, and then maybe my partner
can finally get to use her own soundbooth.

After that,
we will continue to produce lesbian audio books from www.dogearaudio.com,
for all who want to enjoy a good story while driving, walking, or just doing
the dishes.

E-mmediate Gratification

by Radclyffe

 

I’ve become a firm devotee of e-books and e-book readers, mostly because I like to read in bed or have options while I’m traveling. Holding a print book while laying down, frequently with a portable light source attached to the book, is awkward. Plus, packing several print books in a computer bag or carry-on gets to be unwieldy and I often end up not having the book that I want when I want it. Finally, I love to look at all the covers of the books in my “virtual library” while traveling and picking out an old favorite to read or a new one that I’ve been waiting to savor.

Does that mean I don’t care about print books anymore? No, not at all. I still purchase copies of all the print books I want to keep in my “real” LGBTQ library because I know that someday they won’t be available any more. Just yesterday, I was shelving an old pulp fiction work that a reader sent me (you know who you are and thank you very much :-)). While in the process I pulled out the first edition copy I have of Claire Morgan’s (aka Patricia Highsmith) The Price of Salt, 1952. I hunted this down on the Internet and it’s clear that this copy has never been read. The cover is pristine and the spine has never been creased. I very gingerly opened the cover (the edges are discolored from age and time and having been stored somewhere in the light). I just looked at the title page and then carefully put it back on the shelf along with perhaps five dozen other pulp fiction works from the 1940s and 1950s and 1960s, some of them in very bad shape. Still every single one is precious to me. So, no, I haven’t forsaken reading (or publishing) print books.

But back to e-books. The other big advantage of e-books is immediate gratification. I’ve always been a quick decision maker. I study the pros and cons of a particular purchase (or course of action, like starting a publishing company or opening the belly of a trauma patient), and if I am able to, I act. This is certainly true for my reading habits. If I want to read something, I don’t want wait. In the days before e-books, I have been known to drive around the county from one Borders or Barnes & Noble after another looking for a book that I just must read right now.

E-books not only save me a little bit of money, they save me a lot of time and gas. Occasionally, however, they also create quite a bit of frustration. Case in point.

Just yesterday I had the must exasperating experience. You’re supposed to be able to get an e-book when you want it, right? So, the huge monster retailer in the sky that shall go unnamed sent out an e-mail notice that an e-book of a particular paranormal author I absolutely love was available. The book was Sin Undone by Larissa Ilone (it’s a demon a series with lots of sexy female and male demons, demon hunters, soldiers—some human, some not) and lots of hot sex. So with great excitement I grabbed my iPad to purchase the book and lo and behold discovered that it wasn’t going to be available for a week. I was greatly disappointed, but I get what marketing is all about and that anticipation sometimes creates more sales. However, I discovered upon further investigation that the print book was actually available a week before the e-book. It was out already!

Now I wasn’t excited, I was pissed off. Why was the e-book release being delayed? Granted, some mainstream publishers delay the release of their e-books (called windowing), hoping to up the sales of their print books, but most have gotten away from that. BSB stopped doing that about a year and a half ago (and we didn’t delay the e-book release initially to push print sales, anyhow, but because we didn’t have the support structures in place to release our e-books simultaneously. We have consequently corrected that with a fabulous digital technician who stays on top of all our e-book needs 24 hours a day. And thank you, you know who you are too 🙂

So just how important is E-mmediate gratification in terms of buying habits (to say nothing of reader satisfaction)? I recently heard someone say that when she went to buy an e-book, if it wasn’t available she just bought something else and moved on. Is this what we do in the age of E-mmediate gratification? Do we search out a title only to find that it isn’t available and then buy something else in its place, forgetting about the first title, never to return? Or, if it’s not available at the particular online retail store where we go to purchase it, will we seek it out somewhere else?

Should we as publishers be anticipating this kind of “get it now or forget about it” buying pattern? If it’s not there when a reader wants it, they’ll never come back? Do we need to have our books available “everywhere,” as a publisher recently told me at a meeting, or can we count on our readers to search out the titles that they want and buy them where and when they’re available? These are not idle questions for a publisher. As a reader, I will go just about anywhere to get a book I want when I want it. How about the rest of you? What will you do when you want a book and you want it now? An interested publisher would like to know. Thanks! Radclyffe


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