Back from the GCLS conference

DCI just returned from ten days of sightseeing in Washington DC & Alexandria and from attending the GCLS conference–a conference for readers and writers of lesbian fiction.

This has been my third conference, and it’s always a highlight of my year.

It’s impossible to put into words how it feels to be surrounded by people who “get” lesbian fiction and what it means to me.

I attended a great class on Self-Care for Writers by Beth Burnett and panels on Women of Color in Lesbian Fiction and Differently Abled Characters. I was a panelist on the historical fiction panel, moderated by Patty Schramm, and I let myself be auctioned off for a lunch with two readers and Georgia Beers (not a sacrifice, really!).

It’s not just about the interesting classes, panels, and readings; it’s about seeing old friends and making new acquaintances. This year, I met one of my beta readers, who’s from Germany too, but we had never met face-to-face before, and some of my fellow Ylva Publishing authors and editors. We even had an Ylva dinner at a wonderful restaurant in Alexandria.

group

The GCLS is doing a great job of making everyone feel welcome. This year, they even paired up con virgins with buddies who introduced them around, and I was happy to volunteer to be a buddy for one of them.

The culmination of the conference is always the awards ceremony on Saturday night, and I was honored to take home two awards, one of them for Good Enough to Eat, my paranormal romance that I co-wrote with Alison Grey, the other for Don’t Be Shy, the erotica anthology that I co-edited with Astrid Ohletz.

Here’s a link to the full list of Goldie winners.

I’m already looking forward to the GCLS conference in Chicago next year!

Ylva Publishing blog hop — Jane Waterton

Today, I’m honored to present the next stop on the Ylva Publishing blog hop. It’s Jane Waterton’s turn to talk about her life and her book, Time of Our Lives. Welcome to my blog, Jane!

January Blog Hop

‘Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.’

Vincent Van Gogh

Growing up, my family moved constantly; my father always in search of the ever elusive big deal ‘just in the next city’. Invariably, it would be a mirage and he and my step mother and I would once again take to the road. To be honest, I was probably at least ten years old before I realised that not everyone moved house at 2 am.

For me, this peripatetic lifestyle meant more schools than I can remember. Day schools, sometimes boarding schools, different teachers, different rules.  What never changed was the fact that I never seemed to be anywhere long enough to make friends – not real friends, the kind that stick to your ribs and stick to your heart. It didn’t help that I was painfully shy and it took a while for me to get to know people.  It always seemed that by the time I had started to make friends, we were gone and I was alone again.  In the end it all just got too hard and I stopped trying.

Luckily, by the age of thirteen, I was finally in a boarding school that was to be my home away from home for the next five years, and it was here that I finally started learning about true friendship and everything it represented. I grew, I blossomed, and I finally made friends, several of which I still have some 45 years later.

In Times of our Lives friendship is also the anchor for the residents of OWL’s Haven.  Meg and Allie have known each other for over forty years. As Allie says to Meg, “Sometimes I swear you know what I am thinking before I do.”  The love between Pat and Bella has developed over decades, evolving from a tenuous friendship that overcame considerable obstacles, growing stronger and deeper as the years went by.

For these wonderful women, friendship is a code they live by; if one is in trouble they all come together to comfort, offer advice and to just be there; a light chasing away the darkness. With friendship leading the charge, laughter invariably comes along for the ride, ensuring that the experiences are sweetened and that memories endure.

As for me, I am reminded daily how lucky I am to have learnt how to gain, grow, and treasure friendships. It has been the most important and most rewarding lesson of my life.

***

cover_times-of-our-lives_500x8001“Growing old is not for Sissies…”

Set against the backdrop of OWL’s Haven, Australia’s first exclusively lesbian retirement community, an irreverent cast of residents share their lives, hopes and dreams together.

At 65, Meg Sullivan is very clear about what and who she wants in life. Despite a string of lovers Meg’s first loyalty has always been to her best friend, Allie Richards. After reading about OWL’s Haven in a magazine, she knows the lesbian retirement village would be perfect for them both.

Allie Richards has shared the best part of her life with Meg. For over forty years they’ve travelled the world, and love and trust each other completely. Moving to OWL’s is perfect, as a new group of friends join their comfortable circle of two.

Pat and Bella have been together for nearly fifty years. To them OWL’s represents the secure and loving community they rarely experienced in the homophobic Sydney of the 60’s. But life is never simple, and safety is sometimes elusive as they face their own personal challenges.

Through laughter, tears, and joy these woman prove that no matter what your age, you’re never too old to fall in love.

Times of Our Lives is Jane’s first novel.  If you would like to read about the fun and antics at OWL’s Haven, you can pick up a copy at the Ylva Publishing webstore or at all the major online bookstores.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my stop on the Ylva author blog hop. Next up is Lois Cloarec Hart on February 15. You can read what she has to say at  http://canadianlesfic.com/blog/

GCLS conference and writing hours in July 2015

gcls conIf you follow me on Facebook, you know that July has been an exciting month for me—how could it not be in a city like New Orleans? After a week of sightseeing, I attended the GCLS con—the annual lesbian literature conference of the Golden Crown Literary Society.

I can’t put into words the experience of spending five days surrounded by 350 readers and writers of lesbian fiction and attending so many great panels and workshops. The conference just gets bigger and more professional every year! There were so many different writing workshops, panels, chats, and readings that it often was difficult to choose which ones to attend.

As far as I know, the keynote speech and some of the panels and sessions will be available for viewing on the GCLS’s shiny new website—the one with the menu structure (don’t ask; it’s an inside joke), but what the videos won’t be able to show is what it’s like to be among so many other people who are just as passionate about lesbian fiction as I am.

It was wonderful to meet some of the friends I’d made last year, at the GCLS conference in Portland, or online, and to talk to fellow authors and readers I hadn’t met before.

The videos also won’t tell you anything about the 31-hour-long shower & coffee abstinence. There was a water boil advisory going on in our part of New Orleans right before the awards ceremony. I’m still waiting to see if that adventure will make it into the book of one of my fellow sufferers.

GCLS-AwardsSpeaking of the awards ceremony… That was definitely one of the highlights of the conference. Ylva Publishing won awards for Emma Weimann’s erotic romance Heart’s Surrender and the paranormal anthology Wicked Things, which I co-edited with Astrid Ohletz, as well as the holiday anthology Unwrap These Presents.

With all that excitement, I’m amazed that I got any writing done while I was in New Orleans, but I’m proud to say that I even met and exceeded my goal of writing about 15,000 words while I was gone. Now I’m 83,000 words into my work-in-progress, Just Physical.

Let’s take a look at my numbers for July:

 Fiction Writing EditingResearchNonfiction WritingMarketing & AdministrationTOTAL
2015 - TOTAL854 hours569 hours83 hours89 hours214 hours1,809 hours
January175 hours88 hours---5 hours29 hours297 hours
February155 hours53 hours4 hours9 hours36 hours257 hours
March116 hours120 hours32 hours1 hours25 hours294 hours
April79 hours86 hours6 hours18 hours48 hours237 hours
May97 hours100 hours19 hours54 hours32 hours302 hours
June143 hours80 hours21 hours2 hours25 hours271 hours
July89 hours42 hours1 hours0 hours19 hours151 hours

Please check back next month to see if I made my goals for August–wrapping up Just Physical and selecting the stories for the holiday anthology I’m co-editing with Fletcher DeLancey for Ylva Publishing.

Have a great week, everyone!

Jae

Interview with fellow author Ari Bach

ValhallaFSmallI always enjoy talking to other writers, so when I recently “met” Ari Bach on Twitter, I invited him over to my blog so you could get to know him along with me.

Ari is the author of the Valhalla series, YA novels that are set in a dystopian, futuristic Scotland. I haven’t read Valhalla or its sequel, Ragnarok, yet, but all the stellar reviews they got make me wish I had a bit more time for reading.

Let’s start with some warm-up questions:

Chocolate or cookies?

Chocolate!

E-books or paperbacks?

Paperbacks.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

I grew up with Star Trek as the center of my entire life, attended the conventions, and watched every new episode over and over. I’m currently marathoning the entire universe, from TOS and the animated series to the last (10th) movie, and recently won the local Geeks Who Drink Star Trek Trivia Quiz. So uh, Star Trek probably.

Beach or mountains?

Mountains, my family has some land in the Rockies and it’s heaven.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m generally building model kits or browsing funny cat pictures online. Or watching Star Trek, as seen above. Other than that I’m very happily married, and we live in a tiny dark cave of a house that we’ve filled with tons and tons of books and movies and cats, and we absolutely love it.

Please tell us about your RagnarokFSmalljourney in becoming a published writer. What challenges did you face when you published your first book? How did you come to publish with Harmony Ink Press? Is it your own imprint or a publishing house?

I wrote the first novel around 2008-2010 and self-published it on Lulu, and then on other eBook platforms in 2012. I sold about 50 copies total. I kept submitting it to any new agents and publishers I could find, though, and in 2013 Harmony Ink contracted it for a 2014 release. I think I found them mentioned on Tumblr originally. Harmony Ink is an LGBTQ+ publisher for YA books, and they’ve been exceptional. Their production style is much more favorable to the author and their creative decisions than most publishers, actually than any other publisher out there. If I were offered a contract with Putnam for my next book, I’d turn it down to work with Harmony Ink again. Before Valhalla was published, its few readers kept asking when I’d do a sequel. My reply was always that I’d do one if the book got published. So I had to get off my butt and finish the sequels pretty quick after that.

How did you come up with the idea for Valhalla?

It was originally intended to be a movie; I wanted to make an all-out fun action sci-fi film since 1997 when I saw The Fifth Element. Once it got ignored in Hollywood, I decided to turn it into a novel series, and it grew in the adaptation into something even cooler.

How did you come up with the title for your novels?

The original movie was called Gossamer, for no real reason. Once the central ravine in the story was named Valhalla, it became the most appropriate title, not least of all because of all the Norse mythology references and inspirations. Ragnarok goes further with the Norse myth and actually has plot events inspired by the Eddas. Those events more or less match the actual myth of Ragnarok, so the title fit. Book 3 is currently titled Gudsriki, which is Icelandic for “The Kingdom of God,” which has a couple meanings for the story.

What would you say are the main themes in Valhalla and Ragnarok? What personal meaning do those themes have for you?

The most tangible theme of Valhalla is that the outcasts and rejects of common society are actually the people who keep it running, who keep it from destroying itself. Personally speaking as one of those rejects, I think it might be true.

How long did it take you to write each book?

From the beginning idea, it took seventeen years before publication of the first book. All that time was spent developing the idea and story; it was always part of my creative life. Translating the story into a novel trilogy took around five years, seven counting the last novel yet to be edited. But given the actual production and time even before the project had its first name, it’s not inaccurate to round it up to a twenty-year project.

What’s your favorite scene in book 1?

Near the very end of the book, the heroine and villain meet face to face and the former comes to realize something about how she works, something she couldn’t admit before but is finally proud of.

Which scene in the series was hardest for you to write?

The first one. The opening scene took around 40 drafts to get it just right. Most other scenes only took a couple drafts but getting the first scene up and running stretched from inception to completion, going through a dozen different forms.

If Starbucks existed in 2230, what sort of coffee would Violet MacRae, the main character of Valhalla,  order? Black coffee? Soy-sugar-free-non-fat-vanilla latte? Double chocolate chip Frappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate sauce? Something else?

Coffee is a controlled substance in the future, so Starbucks is around, but you have to pass the adulthood tests to drink there. Violet would just be starting out on her coffee adventures. I imagine in time she’d like something along the lines of an iced vanilla spiced latte. To be honest, though, I’ve never had coffee myself. I have no idea what that really is.

What projects are you working on right now? I heard there’s going to be a book 3 in the Valhalla series. Is that true?

Book 3 begins editing today actually and will hopefully come out in October. With the big trilogy completed there’s a massive hole in my creative world. I can’t work on the thing I’ve been working on for most of my life anymore, at least not outside of the final editing process. Re-adapting the stories back into film format is on the to-do list, and I’m thinking about adapting other old scripts into novels. There’s no shortage of them; I have a work in every genre ready to go.

Ari, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and for introducing us to the Valhalla series!

Readers, if you want to find out more about Ari Bach, visit him at The Walrus Squad.

Has anyone read one of Ari’s books? How about other dystopian fiction? Any recommendations?

Please leave a comment!

Interview with fellow writer Dillon Watson

keicha_lgToday’s guest on my blog is Dillon Watson, whose novels Keile’s Chance and Back to Blue I enjoyed very much. Her newest romance novel, Full Circle, has just been published, so I took the opportunity to find out more about it.

Let’s start with some warm-up questions:

Chocolate or cookies?

Chocolate cookies with chocolate chips.

 

E-books or paperbacks?

E-books. They’re easier to read on the bus and in meetings, and you can’t beat them for traveling. However I buy paper copies of the ones I know I’m going to want to reread.

 

Star Wars or Star Trek?

I have to confess I’m the only non-trekkie in my family and that I slept through the second Star Wars movie. I guess I should add I haven’t seen any of the newer Star Wars movies. But I am a huge fan of Fletcher DeLancey’s Star Trek Voyager fanfic series despite having never seen a single episode.

 

Beach or mountains?

Tough. I like the idea of lounging at the beach, but I think I love to look at mountains more. That’s look, not climb.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you do when you’re not writing?

I work at a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). My team ensures our regional transportation plans meet conformity standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I’m also an avid reader. Because of a medical condition, I exercise regulary, usually in the morning before work. I also enjoy putting together Nanoblock building sets and watching reruns of Castle, NCIS, Law and Order: SVU and Bones. And playing many different versions of mahjongg on my iPad.

 

Please tell us about your journey in becoming a published writer. What challenges did you face when you published your first book? How did you come to publish with Bella Books?

I didn’t think about publishing until about seven or eight years ago.

I had a couple of stories (non-fanfic) posted on The Royal Academy of Bards and got some good feedback. Then I heard about the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) conference. After attending a number of sessions dedicated to the writing craft and realizing that my favorite writers were humans just like me, I began to think I could be a published writer as well.

I participated in the GCLS’s mentoring program, received excellent feedback, rewrote my novel, and sent Keile’s Chance off to Bella Books. I mainly chose Bella because of the type of books they publish and who their editorial director was. Based on what I heard in some of those GCLS sessions and some of the things she posted, I had the utmost respect for Karin Kallmaker. Bella liked my novel but thought it needed some reworking. I reworked and sent it back, and they said yes. That was the easy part. The hard part was being edited, and by none other than Katherine Forrest! But I managed to survive and write another day.

 

BEL-FullCircle_2How did you come up with the idea for Full Circle?

A small kernel came from an episode of CSI: Miami that I saw years ago. The rest came to me organically. I knew I was going to write a romance. I even knew something about each character’s background and that I wanted them to work in the same building. So with that premise, I began writing and 80,000 or so words later, not including the 80,000 words I ditched on the way, a novel was born.

 

Full Circle is set in Atlanta, the city you live in. What role does that setting play in your novel?

The setting is strictly a backdrop.

 

What would you say is the most important theme in Full Circle, and what personal meaning does that theme have for you?

The theme is perseverance. The two main characters are working through separate issues, and at the same time, working through issues with having a relationship. That’s something every single person can relate to.

 

How long did it take you to write Full Circle?

It seems like forever. I’m a very slow writer. Mainly because I edit while I’m writing. I always say my first draft probably is not that much different than the last draft in terms of the story. It’s the words. I tweak, I tweak, I tweak and then I tweak some more. I can say I have gotten better over the years. And how is that for a non-answer?

 

How do you find enough time to write, even though you have a day job? Any tips for how to be productive as a writer who can’t write full time?

Who says I’m productive? LOL! National Novel Writing Month has done more for my productivity than anything else. For reasons unknown, once I decide I’m going for those 50,000 words, I feel like I have to succeed. That means I come out of November with a decent base to build on.

I’ve also found that exercise really helps with the creativity. While I’m walking, or running, or jumping around to some stupid exercise tape, some part of my brain is still thinking about my story. Then when I sit down to write, I sort of know what I’m going to write. I say “sort of” because thinking about what I’m going to write and what ends up getting written are two totally different things too much of the time.

Let me add that my job is not physically demanding, meaning I’m not totally wiped out at the end of the work day. Except Fridays. I never write on Friday nights.

 

Your novels Keile’s Chance and Back to Blue are linked by having the main characters of the first book make an appearance in the second novel. Is Full Circle also part of that world?

Full Circle is not part of that world. I’m hoping one of the stories I’m toying with can connect with Sara and Mikaela.

 

Which scene in Full Circle was hardest for you to write?

One of my main characters suffered a loss when she was young. Writing about her remembrance of that loss had me in tears.

 

What sort of coffee would Sara and Mikaela, your main characters, order at Starbucks? Black coffee? Soy-sugar-free-non-fat-vanilla latte? Double chocolate chip Frappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate sauce? Something else?

Sara wouldn’t go to Starbucks because she’s cheap. Now Mikaela loves coffee, but she’s also worried about putting on weight, so I’d go with the soy-sugar-free-non-fat-vanilla latte.

 

What projects are you working on right now?

I’m working on the 30th draft of The Secret Unknown. I would classify it as Romantic Intrigue. A woman has to uncover her past after someone tries to kill her. Ideally, I would like to have it come out next year, but no promises.

I also have the beginnings of a romance where two women meet because one of them discovers the dead sister of the other. It’s set in Atlanta and maybe I can work my way to connecting up with Sara and Mikaela. It’s tentatively titled – Trust Not.

 

Thank you, Dillon, for putting away the Nanoblocks and your writing to answer my questions. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in New Orleans later this year.

Readers, have you read one of Dillon’s novels? If yes, what did you think? Please leave a comment or contact Dillon via her website or Facebook.

Fellow authors, if you want to be interviewed on my blog, let me know.

Have a nice Sunday, everyone!

Jae

A list of lesbian romances by Jae

bookshelf2

It seems a lot of readers are discovering my books these days. I have received e-mails from several readers this week, asking for a complete list of my books so they won’t miss one.

By now, I have so many novels, novellas, and short stories out that it’s easy to lose track. The latest novel, Damage Control, a contemporary lesbian romance, has just been published not even a week ago.

So, for anyone who wants an overview of my works at a glance, you can either download it as a pdf file here or just click on “books” in the menu of my website.

The stories are listed in the order in which they should be read, but most often, you should be able to read them in any order you want, since each book can stand on its own.

Happy reading!

Jae

My short story Pigeon Post is now available

cover_Pigeon-Post_500x800I’m pleased to announce that my latest short story, “Pigeon Post,” has been published today, even a little bit ahead of schedule.

“Pigeon Post” is a short story, but at 13,000 words, it’s not a very short one, and at $0.99, it’s not expensive either.

It’s part of my shape-shifter series and stars Kelsey and Rue, the main characters from True Nature.

If you have read other books in that series, you might remember that the Wrasa, my shape-shifters, are much more lesbian/gay-friendly than your average human. So it’s no wonder that their PR experts come up with an interesting plan to fight for the acceptance of shape-shifters in society—they want to have a Wrasa Pride Parade…and they want submissive wolf shifter Kelsey to lead it.

To find out what happens, check out the story, which is available here.

Interview with fellow author Laina Villeneuve

BEL-TakeOnlyPicturesIt’s been a while since I interviewed a fellow author on my blog, but today, I had the opportunity to interview Laina Villeneuve, a first-time author with Bella, who’s already hard at work on book number two and three. You can find her first book, Take Only Pictures, here and read an excerpt of it here.

Welcome, Laina. Let’s start with some warm-up questions:

Chocolate or cookies?

Definitely chocolate. One of my earliest memories is of me pouring over a box of See’s chocolates and skipping over the chocolate covered cherry. When my mom commented on my choice, I pointed out that I was the only one who ate them; thus, they would be there until the end. Strategy!

E-books or paperbacks?

This is tough since I do have a Kindle and have recently reaped the benefits of Whispersync on a trip to San Francisco, enjoying the audio while I drove and the book in the hotel (not to mention the added benefit of being able to read in the dark while my children fall asleep…) But none of that replaces the feel of my favorite book in my hand or the smell of the binding on an old hardcover. When push comes to shove, I prefer paper.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Battlestar Galactica

Beach or mountains?

In California, I have easy access to and enjoy both. I lived on the coast for nearly eight years and loved walking on the beach, but I hate the sand and long sun exposure. Ultimately, I’d much rather spend my time in the mountains, especially on horseback. I’ve been across the Silver Divide and have taken a string of mules through the San Joaquin River. The mountains are much more exciting to me (and have so much more shade!)

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you do when you’re not writing?

First, I’m a mother of three, so much of my time includes answering various demands for food, help, or entertainment. We enjoy our local parks, spend a lot of time in the pool and love a good movie night. I’m also a full-time professor of English at a community college which means I spend many of my nights grading. Once, my daughter grumped at me when I gave her a blank piece of paper and demanded paper with writing on it, “Like Mama.”  All three have scrawled on my students’ work, too, “helping” me catch up on my work.

Please tell us about your journey in becoming a published writer. What challenges did you face when you published your first book? How did you come to publish with Bella Books?

I tried to publish a novella straight out of grad school more than 15 years ago. After several rejections, I dedicated all my energy to teaching. My wife encouraged me to write for years, and we began this novel around the start of 2012. We submitted to Bella Valentine’s Day the following year, and they called us in the spring to say they were interested in the book. My greatest challenge lay in the continued revising. My editor asked core questions that were difficult to answer, and our final edits came during my finals week at school. I had my first panic attack during that stretch of revisions.

We chose Bella because we are such huge fans of so many of their writers. I nearly fainted when I saw Karin Kallmaker’s signature on the first email we got back from them, and my wife insisted on joining me on the line when we first spoke.

How did you come up with the idea for Take Only Pictures?

Years ago on Facebook, some friends of mine asked their friends to post stories of how we DIDN’T meet. I slammed out something that went like this: “I was a cowgirl riding the trails, and you were working for the Forest Service. Although our professional worlds clashed, you admired my ass.” That was the seed idea for the story—two professional women whose jobs would put them in conflict with each other, the Forest Service employee having a problem with the impact of the Pack Outfit’s animals on the backcountry. As it turned out, I had to change Gloria’s profession to give her more freedom in the backcountry, but her position still puts her into professional conflict with Kristine, which adds a nice texture to whether the two women are well suited for each other.

How did you come up with the title for your novel?

There’s a sign that reads “Take Only Pictures; Leave Only Footprints” as you enter the backcountry in California. One of Kristine’s conflicts is whether to follow her natural talent raising and working with mules or pursue a career in photography. Initially, I liked the emphasis on photography. Working on the book, I liked how Gloria used it to describe relationships that leave no permanent mark. Now that I’m answering this question, I realize it’s also Kristine’s greatest desire, to walk away from her father’s ranch and spend her time taking pictures.

What would you say are the main themes in Take Only Pictures? What personal meaning do those themes have for you?

The driving force of this book is making a choice for yourself. In the opening chapter, Kristine’s father reminds her that there are two ways off a horse. She knows: when it’s their idea and when it’s yours. Kristine is in the position of figuring out how to make her own decision, first in trying to choose between the life goals her father has versus her own desires. Just as she’s figuring that out, she has to factor love in. I love Kristine’s dedication to her family and admire her quest to find out who she is an individual.

Years ago, my mom and talked about my decision to move five hundred miles away to attend a community college. What she observed struck me. She said that she didn’t think I would have become who I am today if I hadn’t made the decision to move away from my family. So how one discovers her identity is important to me.

How long did it take you to write Take Only Pictures?

From brainstorming the idea to sending in the “final draft,” I think about fourteen months, but at least half of that was spent on two major overhauls. I like to talk to my students about how I’m an okay writer, but I’m a really good reviser. I had an okay first draft and amazing advice input from a colleague that completely reshaped the conflict and pushed the story in a more action-oriented direction. When I finished a draft for him, my wife said, “This isn’t a romance anymore!” so I was thrown back into revision. Once I’d made her happy, we were ready to submit.

How do you find enough time to write, even though you have a day job? Any tips for how to be productive as a writer who can’t write full time?

Habit and sacrifice. I got about four or five chapters written during my winter break between semesters, and once the semester started, I gave myself one evening and one weekend morning to write. That usually means I get between two and three hours of writing time, minimum, a week. I made that part of my budget and balance it like anything else. Research papers took away my hour this week, I’ll take two weekday hours next week. The hardest part has been sacrificing snuggle time on the couch with my wife. I cut out a lot of TV to increase my writing hours when I really got into a writing groove. No-matter what, though, the consistency is key. The mornings I just wanted to sleep, I’d tell myself, “You’re a writer. Writers get up and turn on the computer.” And then I would.

What’s your favorite scene in Take Only Pictures?

When Gloria has returns from Fish Creek and offers Kristine an apple. There is so much sensory detail in what Kristine smells and feels when she puts the apple up to her lips, and I love her willpower when she puts it down and says she doesn’t want to spoil her supper. I love that she says supper, too.

Which scene in Take Only Pictures was hardest for you to write?

The final scene with the bear was the hardest to write. The only real-life experience I have with a bear was chasing a yearling away from my camp. I struggled to make the scene feel authentic, getting caught up in what that specific place in the backcountry looks like. My wife kept on saying, “It’s fiction! Just make it up!” A friend told me that Steven Spielberg says write first; research later. I find that advice very useful but also very difficult to follow. I get caught up in the research, wanting the details to be right.

What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would Kristine, the main character in Take Only Pictures, order? Black coffee? Soy-sugar-free-non-fat-vanilla latte? Double chocolate chip Frappuccino with whipped cream  and chocolate sauce? Something else?

If, and that is a huge if, Kristine set foot in a Starbucks, she would get a small, black coffee and drink it just like that, piping hot. She’s a bigger fan of campfire coffee in a tin cup, the kind you bring to a boil before settling the grounds with a cup of cold spring water.

What projects are you working on right now? Any upcoming releases?

I’m wrapping up my first draft of my third book. My wife says the last six chapters need a lot of work, but the arc of the story is there. My second book, The Right Thing Easy is due for a Valentine’s Day 2015 release which I am really excited to hear. I figure I’m looking at edits for that book pretty soon, so I’ll most likely be juggling polishing the third book for submission with editing the second one for publication. Oh, and my wife is pestering me to get started sketching out the fourth…

Thank you, Laina, for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. Best of luck with your new books, and I hope to find some time to read Take Only Pictures soon!

Readers, has anyone read it? If yes, what did you think? Please leave a comment or send Laina an e-mail at: lainavilleneuve @gmail.com (please remove the space before the @).

Fellow authors, if you want to be interviewed on my blog, let me know.

Have a good week, everyone!

Jae

Golden Crown Literary Society Awards 2014

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Me (left) and Caren Werlinger (right)

Now that I’m writing full time, I finally had the chance to travel to Portland and attend the Golden Crown Literary Society conference. It was an awesome experience that I definitely intend to repeat next year. It’s hard to describe how it feels to be among nearly 300 lesbians who are just as dedicated to lesbian fiction as I am. I had the chance to meet so many readers and fellow authors, including some of the writers whose work I admired for the last fifteen years.

Tonight, on the last full day of the conference, the “Goldie” awards were presented. Here’s a list of this year’s winners, and I’m very honored to be among them!

 

 

Anthology:

Best Lesbian Romance by Radclyffe (ed.)

Beyond the Trail by Jae

Three by Ann McMan

 

Debut Author:

Exception to the Rule by Cindy Rizzo

In Between by Jane Hoppen

Laughing Down the Moon by Eva Indigo

 

Dramatic/General Fiction:

In This Small Spot by Caren Werlinger

Letters Never Sent by Sandra Moran

Picking Up the Pieces by Brenda Adcock

 

Erotica:

At Her Feet by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Switching Gears by Rhavensfyre

Wild Girls, Wild Nights by Sacchi Green (ed.)

 

Historical Fiction:

Passion for Vengeance by Patty G. Henderson

Reflected Passion by Erica Lawson

Silver Wings by H.P. Munro

 

Mystery/Thriller:

Point of Betrayal by Ann Roberts

Turning on the Tide by Jenna Rae

Yellow Vengeance by Liz Bugg

 

Paranormal:

The Awakening by Yvonne Heidt

The Horde by Linda K. Silva

The Lone Hunt by L.L. Raand

 

Poetry:

Chopper! Chopper! by Veronica Reyes

Roses Read by Beth Mitchum (ed.)

The Finley Human Experience by Monique Finley

 

Romantic Suspense/Intrigue/Adventure:

Code of Honor by Radclyffe

Mountain Rescue: The Ascent by Sky Croft

The Gemini Deception by Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou

 

Science Fiction/Fantasy:

Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau

Saving Morgan by MB Panichi

Shell Game by Benny Lawrence

 

Traditional Contemporary Romance:

Every Second Counts by D. Jackson Leigh

Homestead by Radclyffe

I Remember by Julie Cannon

 

Young Adult:

Orphan Maker by D. Jordan Redhawk

Secret City by Julia Watts

Secret Lies by Amy Dunne

 

Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award (Tie):

All That Lies Within by Lynn Ames

Letters Never Sent by Sandra Moran

 

Directors’ Award:

Mary Griggs

 

Lee Lynch Classic Award:

Nancy Garden for Annie On My Mind

 

Trailblazer Award:

Judy Grahn

 

Congratulations to all the winners and also to the finalists!

To all of you who couldn’t be there—you are missing out, so try to make it next year, when the con will be in New Orleans!

Jae

50 % rebate on all of my e-books at AllRomance

earthdayrebate

To celebrate Earth Day, AllRomance is offering a 50 % rebate on all eligible e-books today (April 22).

All of Ylva Publishing’s books are eligible for the rebate, including:

My shape-shifter series:

https://www.omnilit.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=series&qString=The+Shape-Shifter+Series

The Oregon Series:

https://www.omnilit.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=series&qString=The+Oregon+Series

Something in the Wine:

https://www.omnilit.com/product-somethinginthewine-1381948-149.html

Conflict of Interest:

https://www.omnilit.com/product-conflictofinterest-1470242-182.html

How it works: You pay full price, but you get half back in All Romance’s e-bucks that you can use to buy other e-books from the store.

Happy Earth Day and happy reading!

Jae

Created by Krystel Contreras & Jorge Courbis