Winter Hearts: 13 Festive Tales for Women Loving Women

Surprise! Winter Hearts, the ‘book’ I’ve been hinting at for months, is finally out. Whew! This was a hard one to keep under wraps for so long!

The Cover of Winter HeartsThirteen authors, myself included, got together and contributed a longish short story or a novella to this effort. The works are all holiday and women loving women themed; over 860 pages of reading joy!

Your authors and their stories are:

Eliza Andrews – Her Holiday Song
Lila Bruce – Easier Said Than Done (A Love Bites Christmas)
Giselle Fox – The Perfectly Imperfect Storm
Anne Hagan – A Sweetwater Christmas (yours truly with a greatly expanded version of my short story, Sweetwater Texas)
Jea Hawkins – Full Circle: A Must Love Chickens Christmas
Cara Malone – Christmas in Angel Valley
TB Markinson – A Christmas Miracle
Susan X Meagher – Family Matters
A.E. Radley – Holly Hollydays
Adan Ramie – Drive Me Wild
Emma Sterner-Radley – Greengage Holiday Cheer
Em Stevens – The Gift
Natasha West – Stock Take

The best part? All proceeds – every dime, every dollar, every pound, every Euro, goes to charity. Receipts generated from sales of this collection will be divided between Stonewall and The Trevor Project.

You can pre-order Winter Hearts right now for just $.99 from most major retailers. It will load to your preferred device on November 16th. Hurry, the $.99 price is for a limited time!

 

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Writing Relic My First Novel

The post that follows in part of a blog hop with several other authors of lesfic. Read here, all about how I came to write my first novel and then follow the link below for another great post by the lovely and amazing author, Robyn Nyx.

On Discovering Lesfic

I discovered lesbian fiction the way so many of us did, via fan fiction. Through fan fiction, I found the stories of Kim Baldwin; stories mostly based on romance but often with an air of suspense or with dramatic tones. When Kim published Hunter’s Pursuit, it was the first lesbian paperback I ever bought. That you could buy such works in actual book form was startling. I had no knowledge back then of lesbian presses and of the shining stars out there writing women loving women fiction. It was a real wakeup call.

I’d like to say I went on to discover many of my favorite lesfic mystery authors after I discovered there was more out there than fan fiction. I’d like to say that, but I can’t. I was still married to a man back then, and I never intended to come out of the closet and live my truth. I didn’t go looking for any more books.

On discovering more lesfic mysteries…sort of…

Mystery Novelist Ellen HartLater, divorced and living on half of my former household income, I stopped buying any sort of books and started visiting the library a lot. That’s when I discovered Ellen Hart’s, Jane Lawless series. A few of her books caught my eye, not because I’d ever heard of her, but because of the purple triangles on the spines. What a revelation they were to me! I grabbed them up, took them home and devoured them in two days. Then, I got online and ordered all of the rest to be delivered to my local library that were published at the time. Some were available and came in right away. Others, because the library system only had a copy or two, I had to wait for.

My wait was agonizing. I sped to the library and checked out each book as soon as I was notified it was in. When I’d run through all of those, I resigned myself to waiting a year for the next one, much as I was doing with mainstream authors like Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich. Now, the internet was going through quite the growth spurt then, but the world of ‘published’ lesbian fiction, by and for lesbians, not pulps meant for men, wasn’t noticeable out there …not yet.

Fast forward to 2013. By then, I’d found more lesfic in bookstores and I’d bought things online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I even had an LGBT book review blog. People mailed me their books and begged for reviews. eBooks were still the hot new thing. Many LGBT authors weren’t doing them.

My son graduated from high school that year. My wife and I moved, late in the year, to the tiny village she grew up in. The nearest public library? Nearly a half hour away, in the county seat of a rural, ultra-conservative county. Their collection was small. It took weeks to get things there through interlibrary loan. I had to continue relying on online retailers for my paperback books. And eBooks? They were really just becoming a thing in lesfic. I dropped the blog and moved on.

A writing seed is planted

The Lost Women of Lost Lake by Ellen HartIn the spring of 2014, I finally laid my hands on the latest couple of books in Hart’s Jane Lawless series, Rest for the Wicked and Taken by the Wind. I read them with relish then fell into a funk. Hart and the other lesfic authors I was growing to love couldn’t produce mysteries fast enough for me, even the indies who put out more than a book a year in eBook form. Women loving women romance novels came out in droves, and I read some of them, but most didn’t appeal to me. I wanted mystery, suspense and adventure mixed in with my ladies who loved ladies.

I stared at the cover of the Hart book, The Lost Women of Lost Lake, one of the few that I own outright in trade paperback, for a good long while. Honestly? I thought to myself, I’ve read hundreds of mysteries like this. I could write this stuff and write it with lesbian characters. Could became should, and I started writing.

Relic: The Morelville Mysteries - Book 1Relic, the first book in what would become The Morelville Mysteries series, had a rocky start. My first draft was awful. In it, Sheriff Mel worked alone, with only her family for company, outside of work. She was a lesbian, sure, but she had no love interest, no female foil; unlike the various women who moved in and out of the life of Jane Lawless.

Dana was born in my second draft. Twining two stories, two cases together, and having the two women bouncing off of each other as they pursued leads and got in each other’s way, made the story better.

 

Publishing Relic

I self-published Relic in November of 2014. A trusted friend, a college composition professor by trade, pointed out some major formatting issues and a small plot inconsistency but the story was largely unedited. I had few expectations for it.

I sold four copies of the book, overnight, that first night. It became a number one best seller within 48 hours of going live. I was in shock.

It wasn’t all a rosy picture. Readers began pointing out errors and I corrected every one that got a mention except for changing it from first person to third person, as a few readers mentioned. I eventually did a light edit of the story, on my own, as I learned about such things and then had it formatted for print.Admittedly, it’s never been looked at by a true professional editor. I know it still needs edited for passive voice and misplaced punctuation, but I’ve never had the heart to go back to it and redo it. It was my baby, my firstborn, imperfections and all.

Over time, I’ve developed a team of beta readers and proofreaders. I’ve gotten better at formatting, editing and story structure. Still, I think back to where it all began, and I have to smile. Without Relic, we wouldn’t have Mel and Dana and their crazy, loving, supportive, (did I say crazy?) extended families and all the spin-off stories that story and the series of books that followed has spawned. I banged my head into the desk a few (many) times after that lousy first draft, but I’d do it all again.

Meet Robyn Nyx:

Discover how Robyn Nyx found the love of her life through writing her first novel, Never Enough at robynnyx.com

Robyn Nyx lives in England but enjoys traveling all over the world in search of inspiration. She loves to create complex characters to weave into stories that remind us of the darker side of human nature in the hope that we might cultivate the light.

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Halloween Hop Giveaway

Hi all! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I took a much needed and long-planned family vacation two weeks ago; a cruise for myself, my wife and 25 additional extended family members to the Bahamas. I came back refreshed and renewed and went right back into the hellfire currently known as ‘my day job’. Just a few more weeks of the crazy hours…then we move into the truly busy season…sigh.

Wife and great nephews at Princess Cays Here are a couple of my favorite vacay shots. The first is of my mom and son, standing at the rail as we depart Charleston, South Carolina for our adventure. The second is a shot of my wife and two of my four great-nephews playing in the surf at Princess Cays a couple of days later.

It was beautiful out there; in the 80’s/90’s and sunny every day, most of the day. Back here in Ohio, I’ve had to defrost my car each morning before I could leave for work. Again, sigh…

The Litring Halloween HopOn a brighter note, there’s lots going on right now and something really special coming up in the near future, but more on that in another post. For now, I wanted to let you know about this: It’s the Litring Halloween Hop Giveaway. There are lots of books to fill your goodie bag with. To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is follow the authors who appeal to you on Amazon or Bookbub and you’ll get entries to win Amazon gift cards. It couldn’t be simpler. Trick or Treat! 

 

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Lesfic Book Party – Just Because

There’s a massive lesfic book party happening on Facebook on Sunday, September 30th for authors and readers of lesbian fiction. To date, sixteen authors have signed on to take over the party for an hour and talk books and more with readers. They are as follows:

*** All times are US Eastern (New York) ***

Lesfic Book Party7am: Emmy Engberts
8am: Tamsen Parker
9am: A.E. Radley
10am: Elizabeth Andre
11am: Maria Siopis
12pm: C.L. Cattano
1pm: Barbara Winkes
2pm: Eliza Andrews
3pm: Angelic Rodgers
4pm: KC Luck – Author
5pm: Vanda
6pm: Annette Mori & Ali Spooner
7pm: Alison R. Solomon
8pm: Anne Hagan
9pm: E.A. Kafkalas

Some authors will be using Facebook Live to read from their books and answer reader questions. All authors will be giving something away for free including both eBooks and signed paperbacks!

Everyone is welcome to join in. Come and go all day to talk with your favorites and to meet new to you authors. I’ll be hosting an hour from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern time then I’ll hang around a moderate the conversation for my good friend EA Kafkalas during her hour from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Be sure to join me for lots of giveaways and to ask me anything you want to know.

See you Sunday!

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The Fall Into Books Giveaway

Just a short note today to let you know about a great giveaway with only a few days left to run. It’s getting cooler in the northern hemisphere. You know what that means, right? It means the annual, Litring ‘The Fall Into Books Giveaway’ is back. Litring has gathered over 100 authors across many genres for you to cozy up to and check out their books in the Giveaway.

The Fall into Books GiveawayAfter taking a look at these new authors, be sure to enter for your chance to win one of FIVE $50 gift cards. You can use that to buy several books to cozy up with during the colder months ahead. All you have to do to enter is follow authors you like on Bookbub. What could be simpler?

There are lots of authors to choose from in genres like romance and mystery and so many more. My fellow lesfic authors Vanda and Clair Highton-Stevenson are both listed with me in the LGBT main category because we could only pick one. Vanda has been interviewed here on this blog. She writes some amazing historical fiction. Clair writes contemporary romance with a twist. You can follow all three of us and get at least three chances to win one of those gift cards.

Hurry! This giveaway is only open for a limited time. You have 4 days left!

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Finding Sheila is Out

Finding Sheila, the 11th book in the Morelville Mysteries series is now out, and available almost everywhere eBooks are sold. This book finds Dana in a world of hurt when she’s deputized to do a seemingly simple job – transport a prisoner from Tennessee to Ohio – and she manages to lose the prisoner. Of course, the ‘prisoner’ is Sheila Ford, the Morelville woman convicted of manslaughter for killing her husband’s illicit lover when her shot missed him and hit her instead. You had to figure I wasn’t going to leave that whole mess alone, didn’t you?

The Full Blurb for Finding Sheila:

A woman, imprisoned for manslaughter, disappears without a trace during transport between states and it’s all up to Dana to find her.

Finding Sheila: The Morelville Mysteries - Book 11Sheila Ford traveled to Tennessee planning to commit an act of pre-meditated murder on her husband. Her lone shot at him misses and kills his lover instead. After pleading guilty to a manslaughter charge, she’s locked away in a Tennessee prison for women. Everyone back home in Ohio wrote her off. She wasn’t eligible for a parole hearing for seven years.

When Jennifer Coventry calls begging Sheriff Mel Crane to bring her ailing mother home to Ohio to serve out the rest of her sentence in the county jail, close to home, Mel is reluctant but gives in. The only problem is, she’s short staffed and can’t send a deputy to do the transport. She deputizes Dana to do the duties.

Dana planned to go to Tennessee anyway, to look at a vacation cabin for herself and Mel. A little detour over to Nashville to connect with Sheila and the ambulance transporting her to Ohio won’t be hard, she thought…until everything that could go wrong does, ending up with Sheila disappearing during a rest stop. A multi-state manhunt is on to find the escaped convict and return her to prison, but the circumstances of her disappearance go far deeper than anyone could have imagined.

This book is great together with Books 1-10 of The Morelville Mysteries series but it can also be read as a stand-alone mystery.

This resolves a thread left hanging in Book 10, Sullied Sally, but it calls some things into question, especially for Sheriff Mel. Stay tuned for the future debut of Book 12, Tennessee Bound.

 

 

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The Intimate Lives Of Our Detectives

Hi there, Anne here. Welcome to, The Intimate Lives Of Our Detectives, a guest post by the Carpenter and Harding mystery series novelist, and the author of multiple romance books, Barbara Winkes. Actually, Barbara has written some great books in several genres so let me just dispense with trying to run them all down for you and give you her bio:

Barbara Winkes, born in a small town in Germany, has been telling stories from a young age. She has a degree in psychology and worked in the field for several years. One day she decided to go on a vacation to Paris, where she first met her future wife. Two years later, they married in Québec City.

While waiting for her residency application to be reviewed, she had the chance to focus on writing full-time. Eventually, she signed with a small press but decided later to become hybrid-, and then indie-published. She became a Canadian citizen meanwhile. Besides writing, she loves to read, to travel and to explore new cities and restaurants with her wife.

She has written more than twenty titles in different genres. Women loving women always take the lead.

Anne: Her contact and social media links follow this post. Check them out for more about all of her mysteries, romances, thrillers and more.

The Intimate Lives Of Our Detectives:

Anne: I have some older blog posts I post to Twitter from time to time. One is, Mystery with a Little Sex, or Sex with a Little Mystery? The last time it posted, Barb and I got into a discussion about it. She made some interesting points. I asked her to elaborate a little here. So, take it away Barb!

Barbara Winkes: Thank you for having me!

Let’s get right to the question about the intimate lives of our detectives – how much sex is “appropriate” in crime fiction?

For me, there is no one right answer. I have written romantic suspense and thrillers with varying degrees of graphic scenes. It depends on various factors how much ends up on the page. For example, in a serial, the excitement of the main characters meeting for the first time is often tied into a case—both in lesfic and mainstream, and the relationship is told in more detail.

Indiscretions, the first book in my Carpenter/Harding series, deals with a serial killer that targets women he considers leading an “immoral” lifestyle. At the beginning, one of the lead characters is still in an, albeit dysfunctional relationship. I added a little more detail here, because it fits with the theme of the story: Mistakes, paying the price, but also judgment and hypocrisy surrounding the subject of what a person would consider “moral.”

In the later books, the main characters’ relationship continues to mature, and the cases they are confronted with, differ.

Infatuations Carpenter Harding 7Anne: The newest release in the Carpenter/Harding series by Barb is Infatuations. It’s Book 7 in the series, released in June. If you’re not familiar with the series, I suggest you wait to read the latest book and start with Indiscretions.

Barb: In a standalone book, it’s different. There’s simply less room. Do characters even have time for a relationship, and if they make time, what does it mean to them? A desperate moment? A promise of the future?

The main character could be single, by choice or circumstance, or in a platonic relationship, or…any orientation or identity. The possibilities are endless.

I’m also a reader, and I’m open to all of them, as long as the author tells me the “what” and the “why”. I think when dealing with adult characters, it makes sense to talk about their intimate lives, the reasons why they are or aren’t in a relationship. It adds to their persona, and I think it’s important even if the genre is not romance.

As a reader (and as a writer) I’m always curious about that aspect. How much detail? That’s up to the characters. They know best, after all.

Anne: I agree. Sex for the sake of having a sex scene in the book because of an expectation that doesn’t necessarily fit the mystery genre is misplaced. The relationship is more important and, you’re right, the characters know best.

Let’s switch gears now. You recently released Infatuations and I see you’ve been promoting the new release of the audiobook version of your best selling thriller, The Amnesia Project with T.J. Richards narrating. She’s amazing. I wish you as much success for the audio version as you had with the book.

Barb: Thank you.

Anne: So what’s next? Another Carpenter & Harding? Another romance?

Barb: Actually, I’ve got a dystopian novel coming out soon, Cypher.

Cypher by Barbara WinkesCyphers are assigned a number, a place to live and to work in exchange for giving up rights and freedoms most take for granted. Ami Moore finds herself trapped in what was sold to her as a temporary solution, and her situation gets worse when she is framed and accused of stealing. Ami isn’t certain whether Inspector Katlena Cervantes will be her ally or enemy–but the two women’s fates are tied together from the day they first meet.

Anne: Okay, true confessions time here. I’m a fan of the Leah Remini reality show, ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’. Your description made me think of that and sent a cold shiver down my spine. I can’t wait to read it. I’m sure I’m not the only one!

Want to know more about Barb, how she thinks, what makes her tick and what sets her off? She’s out there on social media and she blogs. Check it all out, below.

Thanks for joining me today Barb and thanks to all of you reading this!

Connect with Barbara Winkes:

Website: https://barbarawinkes.wordpress.com/

Blog: http://barbarawinkes.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @Barbara Winkes

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/barbara-winkes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraWinkes/

 

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Confessions from the Heart – Free for a Limited Time

In Confessions from the Heart, the full-length prequel novel to the Confessions Series by T. B. Markinson, Cori Tisdale first meets Kat Finn.

Confessions of the Heart by TB MarkinsonCori Tisdale fears she’ll never find a woman who loves her for her and not because she has a famous mother and rich uncle.

In an attempt to protect herself, she fills the void in her life with a “friends with benefits” relationship. That is until Cori meets the beautiful and mysterious Kat Finn.

Cori quickly falls for the artist, and not everyone in her life is happy about it. Will Cori be forced to choose between love and friendship?

Confessions from the Heart is a smart and funny prequel to the best-selling lesbian romance series. If you like quirky characters, witty dialogue, and well-crafted prose, then you’ll love T. B. Markinson’s heartfelt series.

The book is free for a limited time from Amazon and always free to read via Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon US | UK | CA | AU | IN

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Notes from Elizabeth Andre, Author of Lesbian Light Reads

My blog has been taken over today by my friend and fellow author, Elizabeth Andre. Elizabeth writes the popular story series, Lesbian Light Reads. I’ve enjoyed the individual stories for their sheer diversity of race and age…among other things. They’ve also been collected into the Light Reads sets. But, rather than me tell you about the stories, I’ll let her tell you about them, and about why she writes them. Having read through this, I found I learned a lot about Elizabeth Andre that I didn’t know.

Do you want a special deal on one of the sets? Please read all the way down…

Now then, take it away, Ms. Andre!

Why Lesbian Light Reads?

My ‘Lesbian Light Reads‘ series has 12 volumes, and a thirteenth is due out soon. Anne asked me how I came to write them; where they came from. So, where did they come from?

I write the Lesbian Light Reads series because our lives are stressful enough. I want to write lush, low-drama love stories featuring diverse characters who always have happy endings and always enjoy good sex. We all deserve happy endings. We are all worthy of love and light. We all deserve good sex. I’ve been asked how I choose what story to tell. More often than not, the stories choose me.

Lesbian Light Reads Volumes 1-6:

Lesbian Light Reads Volumes 1-6 Boxed Set by Elizabeth Andre

The first volume, Love’s Perfect Vintage, tells the story of a suburban African-American woman who turns to her mother to find her a date. It was inspired by a real-life friend whose mother hooked her up with a friend’s daughter. You know, it’s the, “Your daughter’s a lesbian – mine is too! Let’s introduce them,” storyline.

Volume 2, Journey to Passion, was written by my good friend Jade Astor. Volume 3, Lesbian With Dog Seeks Same, was inspired by some dogs participating in a pet adoption event at a local hardware store. They were so cute! Bodies in Motion, Volume 4, was inspired by a conversation at a party with a friend who was looking for love. At the very least, she found love in this story. Up until this point, my stories had been interracial. This was my first all-black romance, and it was super fun to write.

Volume 5, Right Time For Love, features two 65-year-old women falling in love, and, yes, having sex. Reall, why should younger women have all the fun? I have very few characters who continue beyond their initial appearance, but I had a minor character in Lesbian With Dog Seeks Same who deserved her own romance.

Volume 6, Landing Love, was my first all-white romance. I’m a former figure skater, but I can’t skate anymore. Landing Love was my way of enjoying ice skating that winter. It brought back lots of wonderful memories. This story also includes my first transgender character. I had been challenged to write one and discovered that it wasn’t that hard. Transgender people are a part of my life, and they are a part of my writing.

Lesbian Light Reads Volumes 7-12:

Lesbian Light Reads Volumes 7-12 by Elizabeth AndreI’m a former newspaper reporter, and Volume 7, The Beauty Queen Called Twice, is a homage to my former profession. The 8th volume, Skating on Air, is a love letter to skateboarding, one of my other sports, and a love story between two very different women.

Volume 9, Someone Like Her, is another all-black romance, but this time the two women are from different classes. Volume 10, Roll With Me, is really a love story with myself. I’m a former runner turned wheelchair racer, and this story features, you guessed it, a runner and a wheelchair racer.

In Volume 11, Stop and Go, I feature my first bisexual character. Why? Because why not? Bisexuals are a part of my world. Volume 12, Nice Jewish Girls, was inspired by a reunion with someone I knew in grade school, but you need to read it to find out what happened.

So, where can you get Lesbian Light Reads by Elizabeth Andre?

All of Elizabeth Andre’s books are available at most major retailers. As it happens, the Lesbian Light Reads Volumes 7-12 Boxed Set is now on sale. Usually, $9.99, it is $.99 cents this week. This deal won’t last so get it while you can!

Amazon (A geo-link for all countries)
Nook
iBooks
Kobo

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The GCLS Con is Gone…Until 2019

The GCLS Con ended two weeks ago, as I write this. My wife and I took a redeye home, landing early Sunday, morning, July 8th after a week of fun and frolic in fabulous Las Vegas. Our wallets were considerably lighter, and not just from the slots, but we had a great time and we both got a much-needed break. Just as important, during the conference portion of the trip, I learned a ton, made several new friends and felt a kinship and a camaraderie with authors and readers that you just don’t get from social media, no matter how much effort you put into it. We’ll never replace the connections we make bonding over shared experiences.

If we’re friends on Facebook, and even if we’re not, you can see multiple photos from our trip (vacation shots!) and of some highlights of the Con on my timeline.

Here are a couple of the GCLS Con highlights for me:

GCLS Con Virgins 2018This was taken by a pro on Tuesday night, inside Buca di Beppo at Bally’s. My wife (front, left) and I had dinner with a group of ‘Con Virgins’, women who had never been to a GCLS Con before. One of our group was a late arrival given her arrival at the con hotel in total. She’s not pictured, but everyone else seemed to be having a great time. Most of us headed over to the Tequila Taqueria (conveniently right next door) for drinks afterward, too. My wife and I ate there for dinner later that week. Great food! And wow, were we stuffed! Everything is expensive in Vegas – no more $7.77 steak dinners just for sitting down in a joint, but they make up for the prices in food quantity and quality. That was evident everywhere we ate.

Indie Author Panel GCLS Con 2018Other highlights happened early Thursday morning, on the first full day of the Con. First, I sat on the indie author panel and we talked about going indie to about a half-full room of aspiring authors. The panelists pictured from left to right are the accomplished authors: Lila Bruce, Karen Badger, me, Michele Reynolds and Suzie Carr. Moderating was hybrid indie/trade published author, Cindy Rizzo.

After that, I got to meet face to face with the crew below, all active participants in the Lesfic Marketing Alliance group on Facebook.

Lesfic Marketing Alliance Members at the GCLS Con 2018

Members of the Lesfic Marketing Alliance: Suzie Carr, Lynette Beers-McCormick, Annette Mori, Anne Hagan and Vanda

We got to chat just a bit that day about books and marketing. Over the course of the conference, I got to have individual talks with all of them. That was both fun and enlightening. Our perspectives are so different, but we all love lesfic or, as many now prefer to call it, women loving women fiction, and we all want to see it grow and continue. I know it will. My author friends – those pictured and so many more – exude enthusiasm for genres found within WLW fiction. Readers are becoming more of a presence online and at the Con that features the books we love.

Looking Ahead to the GCLS Con in Pittsburgh in 2019

I was born and raised in the small town of New Castle, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh. It’s a city I love. I’ve already registered for the 2019 Con in Pittsburgh. It’s July 10th-14th at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown. You can’t stay any closer to where the three rivers meet.

I’ve got a couple of author friends to talk to about proposing another indie panel (or a presentation) and maybe even a master class on marketing. I’m already thinking about a vendor table too and splitting that with a couple of indie friends. Plus, I have a special release planned for just in time for the con.

Want to go? Come on, then! Let’s talk books and writing and have a few days where WLW fiction and the women who love it are all that matter in the world. We’ll rock the Steel City. Register for the Pittsburgh Con right here. See you there!

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