Anne’s Current Projects

I’m writing…really! I know it’s been a while since I’ve released new work. I’m also aware that I’ve been promising a certain book’s release since some time in November, Steamboat Reunion. It’s the most current of my current projects, I swear!

Steamboat Reunion Cover

I have a grand plan for 2019, but as with the last several months of 2018, life has managed to remain in the way. I write a little most days, but I’m already off the schedule I set. I’m not adjusting it. I plan to catch up.

This book will be out by the end of this month or very early April. It’s nearly done.

Cover of Steel City Confidential

I’m working on a tight deadline, due to a challenge, to get my first legal thriller, Steel City Confidential, finished. The due date to meet the challenge is May 2nd. The book is plotted in deep detail and I’m about 14,000 words in. That’s a long way from done, but I still have 47 days and a great story that’s just rolling off my fingertips. I promise at least a pre-order release by then with the book to follow no later than the end of May. I have to all0w for proofreading and any necessary edits, after all.

A little secret about this one? A writing group friend gave me an idea for the plot that incorporates all of the points that I have to hit to meet the challenge. You’re going to be shocked when you read it! Thanks, Sarah!

The Cover for Tennessee Bound

Last, but by no means least where books are concerned, there’s a 12th Morelville Mystery in the works, Tennessee Bound. It’s also plotted and around 11,000 words done. I had it scheduled for a late May release, but since I’m pulling back on it to get Steel City Confidential done, it will probably be later.

Rest assured, Sheriff Mel and Dana – and the family – are going to have quite the adventure in this one. I’ve been listening. I know my loyal readers are missing all the family interaction that wasn’t really there in Finding Sheila.

This website is due for a redesign or, at minimum, some major updates. That’s another one of my current projects that’s in the works too and so is another project I can’t announce quite yet.

Thanks for your patience and for hanging around waiting for these books. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Twitter: Who I follow and Why

Let’s talk about Twitter. I’m a fan. Oh, I wasn’t at first, but over time the platform really grew on me. It fills a void for me that other social media networks don’t approach. How?

I have a lot of fellow author friends. I have a few fans of my work too. On Twitter, I can catch up with all of them and what they’re up to in a couple of minutes. I can have a conversation with them publicly or privately. Most importantly for me, support is a tweet away.

Hate Twitter? Think it’s full of nothing but political trolls? You’re probably not using it right. Block those people. Yes, they’ll know you blocked them. So what! It’s your feed. Think it’s a time suck? Don’t let it frustrate you. Make it a positive and uplifting thing for you. How? Use lists.

Twitter Lists

You can create lists on Twitter of people you follow or even that you don’t follow and then make those lists public or private. I’ve created four lists and I’m on or I subscribe to another 16 that have been shared publicly.

Of my own four lists, one is private and is my go-to list to catch up with the people I interact with frequently or people who post great things I find myself sharing often. I’ve simply called the private list I keep, ‘personal’. I’m an author so it’s a list of 111 people, many of them also authors and/or readers, that I interact with frequently. Others on the list are people I find that have inspiring or important things to say or things that are helpful to me as I write.

Another list I use often is my public ‘lesfic’ list. On it are mostly authors of lesbian/women loving women themed fiction and a handful of very supportive readers who tweet often about the books they read – lesfic or mainstream.

It’s Twitter users from these lists that I’m going to list below. All are worth a follow. I wish I could list them all!

If you’re not an author or reader, especially of WLW themed fiction, there won’t be much here for you. That’s okay. Go off and create your own lists of people who inspire, influence and support you.

Who I Follow on Twitter and You Should Too

There are so many more! This isn’t even half of my ‘private’ list and represents only a small portion of my lesfic list. Follow some of these folks. Explore and find your own tribe too. They’re out there tweeting great, interesting and helpful things.

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Read an Ebook Week Sale

Smashwords is promoting ‘Read an eBook Week’ 2019 Edition with another great sale. This week only, you can get thousands of eBooks from 25% to 75% off – and even free – at Smashwords. Even better? Most discounted books are available in multiple formats, so they’ll work with whatever e-reader or eBook software you have including Kindle, Nook, iPhone/iPad, Kobo, Sony and more.

I’m participating, of course and so are a couple of my author friends. Scroll on to hear about some of the deals!

Almost all of my books are on sale, exclusively at Smashwords, for Read an eBook Week. Discounts on books and sets previously priced higher than $.99 are 50% off! Better still? This set, featuring eight of the eleven (and soon to be twelve) Morelville Mysteries, is 75% off!

You can get it for just $2.50 – regularly $9.99 and still a steal – this week only. This is the set that features Sheriff Melissa ‘Mel’ Crane and Special Agent Dana Rossi and their crazy, loving, semi-supportive extended families.

The Morelville Mysteries Collection Box Set

My good friend Elizabeth Andre is also participating in the sale with good deals on several of her novels and collections, including her most recent novel and one of my personal favorites of hers, The Curse of the Old Woods, from her all-new series, Paranormal Grievance Committee Chronicles. The book is a good deal at 25% off, this week only. A new installment is coming soon!

Thora by Red Hope

I recently had the pleasure of meeting ‘Lillian’, a longtime writer of fanfic and now of LGBT fiction who writes as Red Hope. Red Hope has put her ancient history lesbian fiction novel, Thora, A Spartan Hoplite’s Slave on sale this week. It’s half price at just $3.00. ‘Red’ is working on getting some of her other work onto the Smashwords platform.

So there you have it; some great discounts on some new fiction for you to read during these last couple of dreary weeks of winter in the northern hemisphere. Enjoy, and as always, thanks for reading!

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An Interview with Tammy Bird, Author of ‘Sandman’

In December, my friend and fellow author, Tammy Bird, released her debut novel, Sandman, a serial killer thriller set in the Buxton Beach area of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. She’s here today to talk about the book and her journey to becoming a published author…and some other fun stuff.

Anne: Hi there, Tammy! Welcome.

Tammy: Hi Anne. Thanks for the invite.

Anne: Let’s talk first about your novel, Sandman. Wow, what a debut! It’s taken me a few years to work up to writing a thriller. You did one out of the gate and what a great book it is. Can you share a little, like what was the inspiration for it?

Tammy: I consider the setting of Sandman to be a character all its own. And I owe its creation in my book to a man I met when I was on vacation in Buxton, NC in the winter. I mentioned that it was very quiet on the beach. To which he answered, “Yes. So quiet you could bury a body in the dune and it would never be found.” Just like that. The beach was central to the story. 

Sandman by Tammy Bird

Anne: That’s creepy and cool all at the same time. Did you go digging in any dunes, after that?

Tammy: Uh, no.

Anne: Probably a good thing! Stick to making stuff up.

Anne: There’s so much detail here and you use real places. Talk to me about researching and writing the book.

Tammy: There was so much research. I think this is such an important part of the process. In Sandman, I have a character who is central to the story who has autism. He is a teenager. I am not a teen, nor do I have autism. I do have a grandson who is on the spectrum, so I talked a lot to him. I also used a subject matter expert (a mom and teenage son) to read Marco’s parts to make sure I was getting it right. I researched Buxton, and I talked to people who live there. I interviewed EMS workers. The list is endless.

Anne: Please tell us you’re working on something else…this isn’t all we’re going to hear from you?

Tammy: I have the outline for the second book in the Sandman series ready. I am about ¾ of the way to completion for another book, a coming out story with a wicked twist. I have a book with probably one hundred or more titles, ideas, and barely started stories, with more coming to me all of the time. This is one of the reasons I wish I started this writing journey when I was twenty instead of fifty.

Anne: LOL. I’m not laughing at you; I’m laughing with you. Every writer ever feels this, no matter when they ‘start’. Welcome to our club!

Talking Writing with Tammy Bird:

Anne: The age old writing question: Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Tammy: I was actually just having this conversation with someone. I am a bit of a mix. Intuition gives me the kick in the pants I need to keep going, but logic slows me down and makes me research to get it right. I plan a general outline of a new novel, but if a character wants his own voice I let him have it and follow along in pantser fashion.

Anne: Sometimes those characters have a mind all their own. A question that always comes up whenever I interview an author or someone interviews me, did you hide any secrets in your book that only a few people will find?

Tammy: I love this question, and yes. A non-existent coffee shop that a friend and I named years ago is now a real fictional coffee shop; Marco loves his sister “a lottle,” which is a shout out to someone who created the word for us; The gorgeous red hair of my granddaughter and the freckles that I used to count on her daddy’s elbows. It is fun to watch the smiles on the faces of people who catch the secrets.

Anne: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Tammy: Sex. I think this is mostly because I have heard authors talk about how horribly written sex scenes are in some books. We all write from our own knowledge base, and what I do or don’t do (or can do, for that matter) is not the same as someone else. It is hard to know where the sweet spot is, so to speak. Also, as much as I hate it, I am from a time when talking about sex at all was taboo. I try to not be surprised or affected when someone just boldly discusses vaginas and fluids and allathat.  

Anne: I just knew you were going to say that. Almost every debut author who has ever written a sex scene does…and so do lots of authors who have been around a while. I know it’s my biggest weakness.

Fun Stuff with Tammy Bird:

Anne: It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t ask you a couple of offbeat questions. So…first, what are you afraid of?

Tammy: Heights. Deep water. Losing my favorites.

Anne: So when you vacation in the Outer Banks, no deep sea fishing or parasailing for you?

Tammy: No.

Anne: Any other fears? What takes you out of your What takes you out of your comfort zone?

Tammy: Readings. Conferences. Speaking engagements. People find this amusing because I’m a teacher. I can walk into a room full of students and instruct for hours, but that is such a different skill.

Anne: One last question, before we go. What item, that you don’t have already, would you most like to own?

Tammy: Can this be alive? Because I totally want a Boston terrier that doesn’t bark.

Anne: I love that answer. I think they’re so cool, I gave one to one of my characters, Dana, in my mystery series.

Tammy: I had one for sixteen years. Her name was Roxie. She was the best. Now I have two cats who are fifteen and seventeen. They have put their paws down. No dog.

Anne: Too bad. A Boston would give those cats a good run.

That’s all we have for today. I’d like to thank Tammy for hanging out and chatting. You can buy her book Sandman on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo, for sure. Look for it wherever you like to buy your books.

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A Sweetwater Christmas Released

Winter Hearts, the 13 author compilation to raise money for charity, is now history. We raised several thousand dollars to be split between The Trevor Project and Stonewall! An official announcement of all proceeds is coming soon. In the meantime, that means my contribution to the anthology, A Sweetwater Christmas, is now available for sale as an individual book.

A Sweetwater Christmas

In 2017, I started a short story series, ‘Loving Blue in Red States’. There are currently seven short stories in the series. The first one was Sweetwater Texas. This novella, at reader request, is an expansion of that story, more than doubling it in length. Dozens of readers asked for the continuation of the Cass and Emmie story. They got their wish!

If you purchased Winter Hearts (thank you!), and read it cover to cover, you’ve already read A Sweetwater Christmas. If you missed out on Winter Hearts, you’ll get a chance at an all new anthology by a dozen or more authors next year. In the meantime, all of the stories and novellas in the anthology have been released back to their authors, just like mine has been.

For a limited time, A Sweetwater Christmas is available exclusively at Amazon and free to read via Kindle Unlimited.

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The Winner Is…

And the winner is…Sarah Auzina! What do you mean the winner of what? The naming contest, of course!

Oh, you want to know what she named and what she won? I see! Sarah is the lucky winner of the contest I put out to my newsletter subscribers to name the lawyer in my upcoming legal thriller, Steel City Confidential. She presented me with the name “Rochelle Robinowitz” and, after a back and forth exchange over how she came up with the name, I ran with it, with a minor change to spell the surname as ‘Rabinowitz’. That’s more common and it’s the spelling which my spell check likes; always a plus!

Cover of Steel City Confidential

Rochelle Rabinowitz will be the defense attorney in the story. We’ll call her “Ro”. She’s a woman in her forties of Polish, Jewish descent living and working in Pittsburgh, The Steel City. Don’t even try to tell me that’s not authentic, ethnic Pittsburgh!

Sarah wins the autographed copy of Steel City Confidential and special mention on the title page in all editions of the book. But, she’s not the only winner…oh no, no. You see, several people submitted some truly great names and, since this is an all-new book for me – and possibly a new series – I needed lots of names. Everyone listed below wins too! You’ll all get eBook copies of the book and special mention in the acknowledgments.

Additional Winners

I need many, many characters but these are characters whose names I took from those submitted for the contest followed by the name of the winner who submitted it:

  • Amanda Stein-Rabinowitz, Ro’s spouse – Kitty Author
  • Dominque Loya – Jr. laywer in Ro’s firm – Marcey Ruiz (Marcey also submitted Juliette Sawyer which I’m likely to use and Lily Bennett. I’m using the first name ‘Lily’ for Amanda’s daughter)
  • Gael O’Connor – Secretary/Paralegal (Male) – Deb Amia (she submitted it as a woman’s name but it works perfect for this)
  • Catherine Mueller, an investigator for Ro – A.C. Miller
  • Chase Haven, a police detective – Anita Helliwell (Also submitted as a female option but I’m using it as male.)
  • Declan Powers, the District Attorney – Also Deb Amia and also submitted as a woman’s name that I’m using as a male’s name.
  • Kimberly MartinKim Dyke – I haven’t picked a character for it yet but Kimberly is a very common name for women born in the years I’m working with and Martin is a very common last name in that area.

Thank you to all of the winners! Stay tuned for more about the book!

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Update on ‘The List’

I made a lot of promises last week. Many, many promises. I published this post about the lesfic list…The List, as it’s come to be known and the response was overwhelming. There are at least 40 missing/new names to be added. There are many corrections and updates to entries already listed as well.

Write Hand Woman NZ

Because I’m one person, with a day job, it was going to take forever to do all of that, without help. The updates and corrections, I’ll be doing. My good friend, freelancer Erin of Write Hand Woman, will be doing the research to make the additions and adding those to the master spreadsheet that drives the list that appears on this site.

If you’re waiting to be added – and some of you are checking daily, judging by site stats – your time is coming.

If you’re sitting there thinking, “Hey, I could use some assistance with ‘author stuff’ that has nothing to do with actually writing” then look Erin up. She’s great and likes to do the weird, time-consuming tasks we all hate but we know need doing. Oh, and she’s in New Zealand, so she does a lot of your work for you while you’re sleeping!

Stay tuned for the update of ‘The List’. It’s coming!

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Lesfic Authors – Our Growing Community

As more and more lesbians come out, more of their stories are coming out. More important is that more of the stories they have inside them, begging to be told, are coming out too. There are more active lesfic authors out there today, producing great fiction than ever before. And tomorrow? And the next day and the next? There will be even more!

Lesfic List Logo

Two and a half years ago – yes, that long ago – with a blog post, I created what ultimately became the Lesfic Author List. That initial post contained the names of 153 lesfic authors I was personally familiar with, I could track down online by website or by their GoodReads profile.

My initial post was met with such enthusiasm from authors and readers alike, and so many names were passed along to me, I wrote two more blog posts before the list was moved to its permanent page on my website. As of this writing, there are 409 authors listed in the active section!

The Lesfic Authors List Today:

In ongoing efforts, I’m working on identifying authors missing from the list, old/established and new, and also on identifying all of their works by genre; something the original list lacked. I’ve got a long way to go with all of this, but it’s a labor of love.

If you or an author you love isn’t on the list, let me know.

Why do this? Because it’s a living, breathing document of us, our writers, writing fiction for us. Because lesfic authors deserve the same recognition that mainstream writers get. Also because readers deserve to have a resource to easily find new authors in their preferred genres. And, perhaps most of all, because readers can read a lot faster than we can write. They need a place to go that lists everyone we can find that writes for us, about us. That’s why.

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Celebrating the Birthday of A. A. Milne

Beloved children’s author A. A. Milne has been gone from us since 1956, but his famed Winnie the Pooh series lives on in the hearts and minds of so many, young and old. I just want to celebrate him a little bit on the 137th anniversary of his birth.

Some of my favorite A. A. Milne quotes and lines:

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”

“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”

Winnie the Pooh
A. A. Milne’s most famous character, Winnie the Pooh

Happy birthday A. A. Milne. May you forever rest in peace.

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What’s in a Name? On Naming Characters

Naming a character, especially the main character of a story, is one of the hardest things a writer does. Oh, sometimes a name pops into your head and you build a story around it. Usually, the story and a character or two come to you first and you have to find appropriate names for them. As a writer, I want names that fit the locale, the nationalities and the ages of my characters, but more than that, I want names that have meaning and resonate with my readers. I’m sure most writers feel the same.

Cover of Steel City Confidential

My Morelville Mysteries series is well established. Those characters live in a fictional country village modeled after the one I live in. They sport last names common to people in this area and its surrounds. The most I usually have to do for a new book in the series is name a few new suspects and maybe a never before seen villager or two.

Now that I’m starting an all-new series based in a large, ethnically diverse city, I find myself starting all over to name all of the characters I’ve identified so far in the plot I’m building.

The Name Game

So far, I have 13 key characters I need to name for Steel City Confidential. There’s the lawyer and the employees of her law firm. There’s her client. Of course, there’s a victim. With victims and prosecutions come prosecuting attorneys, a judge, investigators and so forth. Then, each of the key characters (lawyer, client and victim) have family members. That amounts to a lot of names! What to do?

I threw up my hands, of course. No really. I sent out a newsletter to a large portion of my subscribers last week and asked for help:

“I haven’t named my lead attorney yet or her law firm. Help me find an appropriate Pittsburgh ethnic first and last name and/or law firm name (typically the attorney’s name) for a female attorney in her early to mid-forties.”

Name game children

Now, I did offer a bit of incentive for this request and boy, did it ever pay off. I’ve received dozens of names. I’ve gotten so many, that not only can I name the attorney (there are a couple of very strong contenders), but I can name most of the other female characters I know about so far and even a couple of the men.

The beauty part? Many of the readers who submitted names told me why they picked the names the did. This led to some interesting discussions with a few of them on family history, genealogy, entomology and ethnicity. It also led me down some serious rabbit holes of research.

I’ve decided, I’m going to use several of the names suggested and make it right with all of those readers. Oh, and the little contest is still open. Have a name you think is a winner? Go ahead and send it along. I might just use it and give you the credit.

P.S.: Please don’t submit the name “Sarah” or any variation of it. While I agree it’s a lovely name, multiple readers already think I should use it.

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