Golden Crown Literary Society Awards

The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) held its annual conference last weekend, and the GCLS awards (“Goldies”) were presented on Saturday. I woke up to an inbox full of e-mails, telling me “congratulations,” but giving me no clue as to what I had won since three of my novels had been shortlisted. The GCLS hadn’t posted the award winners yet, so I clicked through all e-mails until I got to messages from Jeanine Hoffman, a fellow L-Book author who attended the conference. She e-mailed me on her iPhone during the award presentation, telling me Backwards to Oregon had just won …

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AIDS/LifeCycle

Worldwide, more than 33 million people live with HIV or AIDS, with over 7,000 new infections every day. There’s still no cure. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing we can do. About 2,200 people are doing something wonderful right now. Today is the first day of the ninth AIDS/LifeCycle, a seven-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Those of you who read SX Meagher’s I Found My Heart in San Francisco probably remember that Ryan and Jamie participated in the California AIDS Ride. The AIDS/LifeCycle continues what the AIDS Ride began. A friend of mine is one of …

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reader e-mails

A fellow writer recently pointed out that listing all the mistakes and things that you have to keep in mind while writing can actually become frustrating and intimidating, especially for new writers. And she’s right. You might start to wonder why the heck would any sane person choose that kind of “hobby” (if you can call it that) voluntarily? My answer: Because writing is not just hard work. It’s a passion, and it can be a lot of fun and very, very rewarding. Nothing is quite as satisfying as finishing a scene, a chapter, or even a novel and knowing …

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Things I liked in lesbian fiction

Yesterday, I blogged about the common mistakes I find in lesbian fiction. Since I don’t want you to think I’m seeing just the negative things, here’s a list of what I liked in the thirty-six lesfic novels I read in 2010.   Fresh, beautiful language and vivid descriptions in “Barking at the Moon” by Nene Adams. Examples: superman blue pickup truck. Or: Hennaed hair teased as high as gravity and industrial-strength hairspray allowed.   A psychologist who’s neither unethical nor incompetent in “Battle Scars” by Meghan O’Brien. The book also describes posttraumatic stress disorder in a realistic way.   The …

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common mistakes in lesbian fiction

Some readers on lesfic_unbound are participating in the fifty books challenge to see if they can read fifty (lesbian fiction) novels in 2010. I just finished my number 36, and there are a few mistakes I see over and over again. I’m not saying that you’ll find these mistakes just in lesbian fiction. I’m also not saying that I never committed any of these mistakes (I wish!). But they’re what I most often notice in lesbian fiction and what pulls me out of the story for a moment, so they’re on my list of things to look for when I …

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It takes a village…

Writing is, by its very nature, a solitary process. I know writers who prefer it that way. I don’t. One of the things I like most about writing in English is that it allows me to interact with other writers, readers, beta readers, editors, publishers, etc. Creative writing is less common in Germany (yep, we’re still the land of Goethe and Schiller), and we don’t have large fanfiction fandoms that can help writers learn their craft. When I was writing in German, I had a “fan club,” but no one who pointed out ways to improve my novel and my …

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Award news

I just found out that Second Nature has won a Lesbian Fiction Readers’ Choice Award.  It has been voted one of the top 5 favorite speculative fiction/SF/fantasy books of 2009. I didn’t even know this award existed! But I think it’s great that readers can vote on their favorite fiction. I joined the group and found many of my favorites of 2009 on the awards list — and other books that I had missed and will put on my ever-growing reading list. Also, the Golden Crown Literary Society has shortlisted Next of Kin in the category romantic suspense. Congrats to …

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Puzzled by reader feedback

Recently, I’ve been puzzled by some of the feedback from readers that I got. But before I start explaining, let me say that this is not about a writer whining about negative or critical feedback. I appreciate constructive criticism, and I try to learn from it. In fact, if sites such as Amazon provided e-mail addresses I’d contact readers who pointed out flaws in my books and ask them to test read my works in progress. So let me explain what’s so puzzling about the feedback I got. I stumbled across a review of Conflict of Interest on Amazon. One …

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Setting of my historical romance “Hidden Truths”

My work in progress, Hidden Truths, is set in 1868. The first chapter takes place in Boston, where we meet Hendrika Aaldenberg, who is called “Rika.” In case anyone is wondering: no, that’s not a German name. Her family is Dutch. I got one of my test readers, who is Dutch, to pronounce the name for me. (Thanks, M.!)   In 1868, the Great Boston Fire hadn’t yet happened. Gas streetlights lined the cobblestone-paved streets. Horse-drawn streetcars ran on rails. During the Civil War, women had started doing some of the work that had formerly been done by men. For …

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