Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday Women: Ann and Chrissie McCoy

Today's Wednesday Women are my own, from my latest novel Amber Alert. 

Ann McCoy faces enough trouble as it is: Her affair with a married man is going nowhere fast, and worse, he has the power to keep her away from the most personal case of her career: The kidnapping of her two-year-old niece Rosie.

While Ann definitely shares some traits with my other leading ladies, this detail is different: For the first time, I wrote a book with a straight main character. How did that happen? I’d say she came to me like all the others did, demanding for her story to be written, of course, but there was also some deliberation. And as always, those choices make even more sense once the story unfolds.

I knew that it would revolve around the abduction of a child from lesbian parents, but I didn’t want either of them to be the investigator. Thus, the straight sister, Ann Mc Coy, was born, and I believe she offers a different perspective on the events.

We still hear about a staggering amount of homophobia on a daily basis, sadly, often from people in power or those who want to claim their fifteen minutes of fame. Some of it is so bizarre that it’s hard to believe anyone would fall for the theatrics and lies. Ann is someone who has never had to deal with this depth of homophobia until she investigates these kidnappings. She and her sister have always been close, but they both learn that a lot remained unspoken over the years.

Chrissie is the opposite of her somewhat reckless sister. She always wanted a family with her long-time partner, now wife, Rachel, and her dream came true with the birth of Rosie two years ago.

Her family must navigate their greatest nightmare in a world where everyone feels like they have a right to an opinion on their lives. When she and Rachel go public with a plea to the kidnappers, they receive encouragement and prayer as well as condemnation.

Chrissie and Rachel are us, the people who want to bang their head against the nearest wall when we hear about the latest politician/pastor/TV or radio personality who tell the most offensive lies about LGBT people, seemingly without any consequences. The ones who have to find a way to say, yes, it’s really still that bad, even with all the amazing victories of the past years.

Understanding this is a learning process for Ann, while she juggles her professional and her private relationship with the leading agent on the case. But make no mistake: This is her family. And you don’t mess with the McCoys.

Eventually, even the most powerful bigot has to learn that lesson.

You can find Amber Alert here on Amazon, $2.99 for an ebook and $12.95 for the paperback (my publisher, Caliburn Press, has set all ebooks to $2.99, and the older paperbacks are going to be reduced as well over time. Happy browsing!). 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Wednesday Women: Cera Raine by Sonnet O'Dell

Sonnet O'Dell was one of the first contributors to the Wednesday Women, with her heroine Cassandra Farbanks. Now she's introducing her new leading lady Cera Raine. Thanks for the visit!

 (Graphic provided by author)

Cera Raine was born into a life of privilege, a rich and exciting world of money, parties and aristocracy. She was incredibly intelligent and beautiful, the perfect daughter, so no one understands why her father would throw her out at 16 or why just a few years later she would be accused and convicted of his murder. She used her intelligence to survive, just on the wrong side of the law, enough that it makes her interesting to the police as a potential informant and operative. She knows the walk, can talk the talk and can get away with it.

The first book is called A Chance of Rain. In it we follow Cera who agrees to work for the police to get out of prison but her job doesn’t come without certain conditions – one of which being that she wear a bomb around her neck, so that she can be taken out should she try to run. The case she is working on, is to find who is selling a new narcotic substance called Reality, a drug that transports the user to a hallucinogenic dream like state. Cera is smart and calculating but also charming and sexually provocative. She often flirts to get her way or disarm her opponents. She has connections but legal and not, and very complicated relationship with Sebastian Raine, her brother.

Cera is immensely fun to write. I like having a character who says what she wants and gets away with it because she says it with a smile and a saucy wink. I like the world in which she lives, a human colonised solar system in a not too distant future. Under all the easy going attitude and cheekiness, there is a serious and conflicted woman who has a lot of questions and secrets in her past. They do say those that smile the brightest are often the loneliest.

A Chance of Rain and Cera, are my first self-published work. I’m working on the next book in the series, I am aiming for a trilogy. It’s a different sort of story from my normal works and I am hoping that it will be as well liked as my paranormal works.

Social Media Links
Twitter: @sonnetodell
Buy Link for A Chance of Rain:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday Women: Sam and Gillian by Emma Weimann

For today's Wednesday Women, Emma Weimann aka Astrid Ohletz stopped by to discuss Sex in lesbian fiction, and also brought her leading ladies Sam and Gillian. You can check out her erotic romance  Heart's Surrender at Ylva Publishing or on Amazon. Thanks for visiting!

(graphic provided by author)

Throbbing, moaning and fading to black:
Sex in lesbian fiction

By Emma Weimann
who in real life is Astrid Ohletz, Managing Director of Ylva Publishing

“The flesh beneath Sam’s fingers was hot. Her heart raced, her muscles trembled. This was heaven. Or at least as close to heaven as she would ever get. Minutes ago she had finally managed to pin Gillian up against the kitchen door and now she had one hand on a soft breast. “I. Love. You.”
Gillian moaned. “Yes. Yes.”
“I want you to come. And I want to see you explode.”
A groan was her answer.
A door banged.
“Shit.” Gillian’s eyes were wide.
“No. No.” Sam whimpered and pressed closer against Gillian. “They aren’t supposed to be back before five. This is not fair.”

The above scene is part of my award-winning erotic romance “Heart’s Surrender.” However, it is not quoted correctly. This here is a slightly tamer version for those reading this blog during office hours.

The good thing is that I am allowed to read erotica at work if I want to… publisher’s privilege. And I really do love to read well-written lesbian erotica and erotic romance. At other times I also love me some awesome paranormal novels or a good young or new adult story. With those genres I don’t really expect sex scenes just because these books are lesbian fiction.

But a great erotic romance is something I’ll never say no to as a reader. And writing one was a lot of fun and more work than I ever thought possible. Writing sex scenes, that are at the same time believable, hot, and intimate is really, really difficult.

Interestingly enough, I found over the years that some readers of lesbian fiction want as many sex scenes as possible in their lesbian fiction, while others really don’t. So, if you are looking explicitly for hot, wet sex scenes or you want to avoid them, here’s a handy guide to lesbian fiction sub-genres:

Lesbian romance: Usually contains at least one sex scene. Some may fade to black, where you just see the beginning and then it’s the next day. It’s worth noting that Wikipedia says a romance has a “(…) primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people.“ Notice, that it doesn’t say anything about sex? Nonetheless, if you buy a lesbian romance these days, it often has sex. Even so, some of my favorite romances fade to black.

Lesbian erotica:  Brace yourself for swinging from the chandeliers. There will be sex, more sex and yet there will also be a plot. You will learn about the characters amidst their sweaty fun times, and in some of the better books, there will be intimacy, too. I personally love well written lesbian erotica.

Lesbian porn: Sometimes known as a PWP (Porn Without Plot or Plot, What Plot?). Most often found in fan fiction, this is, as the title says, just an excuse for the ladies to get their kit off and get it on. If you don’t want to read sex scenes, do not touch these books.

Lesbian mystery/thriller/sci-fi/drama/supernatural/everything else: See how it doesn’t say romance, erotica or porn in the sub-genre? That’s because it’s none of these. There may be sex, there may not. There will be lesbian protagonists, though, off saving the day or at least sharing their lives with us on the pages. There will be excitement, action and character development galore. Just do not automatically expect throbbing, moaning or fading to black from your lesbilicious space pirates or private detectives. They may have their hands full with being glorious in other ways. Or not. You just never know!

Astrid Ohletz has an education as a library assistant but worked as a legal secretary for one of the partners of a large, international law firm for more than ten years before she became a publisher. Publishing combines her love of books with her understanding of legal and economic issues.
Being able to publish books where subtext is maintext is a dream come true for Astrid.
In her free time, she writes stories under the pseudonym Emma Weimann.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wednesday Women: Lou Norton by Rachel Howzell Hall

Today in the Wednesday Women is Rachel Howzell Hall, bringing her heroine Lou Norton. Thank you for being my guest!

(graphic provided by author)

Lou Norton: the Write Way
By Rachel Howzell Hall

I write stories. Mysteries. Crime. My heroine: LAPD Homicide Detective Elouise ‘Lou’ Norton.
Creating her, creating my stories--LAND OF SHADOWS, SKIES OF ASH, TRAIL OF ECHOES and CITY OF SAVIORS—didn’t come easy. It was only after living for more than forty years on this Big Blue Marble that I had the skill, the nerve, and the patience to try it.

Lou is a black female homicide detective – that, right there, makes her odd. She graduated from law school but couldn’t pass the bar. Goes to Krav Maga and is smarter and tougher than most of the men around her. But her marriage… sucks because her husband’s a slut, and her friends don’t understand the reasons she stays. She’s lost a lot in life – a father, a husband – but she keeps at it. Lou, like all women, has a lot going on.

How did I create her? Where did I start? Here’s how Lou came to be, one decade at a time. You may try this at home. You may try with your child. Whatever you try, know that your mileage may vary.

Age 1-10: Paid attention to everything. Read a lot. Listened. Danced. Wrote bad rhymes in colorful notebooks. Wrote down commercials between ‘What’s Happening’ and ‘Dance Fever.’ Read Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Age 11-20: Made friends with different people. Understood that it was normal to be pissed off at Mom, Dad, The Man because yes, they WERE hypocrites. Kept a diary. Took advantage of someone else paying for my education. Learned how to protest. Enjoyed eating Doritos, Taco Bell, wine coolers and Jungle Punch. Loved freely. Listened to hip-hop, Duran Duran, Michael Jackson and Prince. Wrote bad rhymes about who I loved, who I hated, why the world sucked. Was optimistic: if only [fill in the blank]. Read Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, Stephen King and the Bible.

Age 21-30: So effin’ fly and free. Dated bad boys and good boys. Wrote in my journal. Danced all night. Spent every paycheck on shoes. Wanted to be everything. Read sometimes. Happy hours. More happy hours. Finding true love. Bridesmaid dresses. Bridal dresses. Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Elle subscriptions. Read The Joy of Sex and Kama Sutra. Took too many quizzes. Ignored anything serious. Got married. Traveled to other countries.

Age 31 – 40: Life was so hard now. People were dying. Parts of me stopped working. Cells that were supposed to die… didn’t. Friends experiencing marriage, miscarriages, babies, houses, reality. Cried. Cursed the skies. But kept going. Read What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Parent, life insurance policies and Diaper Genie instructions, Tamoxifen side-effects and short-term disability papers. Read Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen King, John Krakauer and the Bible. Understand the word SURVIVOR.

Age 40 – today: Writing gets good now. I’ve experienced so much. I’ve hurt so much. I’ve loved hard. For some friends, that love is over. Writing now is like gumbo. Writing now is like two-day old spaghetti and meatballs. Writing now is like homemade sangria. Use my words. Use my hurt. Wonder. Write. Learn. Write. Listen. Read… EVERYTHING.

It took my lifetime, as you can see, to create this tall, brave black female detective. She’s perfectly imperfect. A control freak. A romantic. A cynic. I love sending her out on quests. She’s my avenger. And doggoneit, I want her to find happiness and maybe even pass the Bar. There’s no one like her in mysteries right now – I know because I’ve checked.

If you haven’t met Lou yet, I hope you pick up a book (or three) and hang out with her a bit. She’ll surprise you.

Rachel Howzell Hall is the author of the forthcoming Trail of Echoes (May 31, 2016), the third novel in the Detective Elouise ‘Lou’ Norton novels. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Visit for upcoming tour dates.
Follow her @RachelHowzell
Pre-order TRAIL OF ECHOES at

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wednesday Women: Catherine Ayers and Lauren King by Lee Winter

Happy New Year! We're kicking off 2016 with a new Wednesday Woman. Welcome Lee Winter and her leading ladies Catherine Ayers and Lauren King.

 (graphic provided by author)

Lee Winter is an award-winning Australian newspaper journalist and author. Her debut novel, mystery thriller, The Red Files, is available now from Amazon and publisher Ylva. Her story follows two warring reporters, the acerbic Boston political journalist Catherine Ayers and knockabout Iowa girl Lauren King, who are forced to work together to uncover a story of a lifetime. Lee has arranged for us to sit down with her characters, after their world exclusive, to learn more about them.

INTERVIEWER: Ms Ayers, a pleasure to meet you.

AYERS: Well, let’s see if you still feel that way by the end. (Smirks)

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Ah, OK. That's a lovely outfit. Armani?

AYERS: I co-wrote the scoop of the decade and you want to know what I'm wearing? Well, if it helps, it’s fabric. 

LAUREN: (Background) Catherine. Behave.

AYERS: I apologize. (Smiles.) I have been known to be a little…caustic.

INTERVIEWER: So I hear. Isn't your nickname the Caustic Queen?

AYERS: Apparently. I have no idea how these rumors get started. 

INTERVIEWER: Well the nickname may have been something to do with the fact you did what few managed, enduring a fall from grace after running a Washington Bureau, being thrown to the wolves in LA on the gossip-writing circuit and then resurrecting your career in spectacular style with a scoop you co-authored with Lauren King.

AYERS: Was there a question in there? (Eyebrow rises)

INTERVIEWER: Yes, how did it feel going from DC's elite political circles to LA's entertainment reporting?

AYERS: Let me think: I went from breaking more scoops on the Daily Sentinel than all the other reporters put together and eating corrupt senators for breakfast to uncovering Justin Timberlake's lunching preferences. I obviously found it an exciting new chapter in my career. Very…enriching.

INTERVIEWER: The question everyone wants to know—what happened? How could such a seasoned reporter make such a huge mistake to have that demotion occur?

AYERS: ....




LAUREN: Um, she’s never gonna answer that one. Probably have more luck milking a tractor.

AYERS: Is that an Iowa thing?

INTERVIEWER: Moving right along, your scoop was an incredible story. How did you stumble upon it? Can you set the scene for us? You and Ms King were at a party in LA and then what happened?

AYERS: We were both entertainment reporters for The Daily Sentinel. If I recall, King had just irritated me beyond belief, again, as was her modus operandi at the time…

(Lauren laughs in background)

AYERS: I noticed she was circulating with some women I hadn't seen before. When you’ve spent a lot of time on the parties’ circuit, you start to recognize faces, including the hangers-on, the escorts and so on. And the place was filled with women—thirty-four as it turned out—who appeared to be out-of-town prostitutes, not your typical LA escorts.

INTERVIEWER: What does a typical LA escort look like? Do you know many?

LAUREN: Yeah, Ayers, tell us: Do you? (Scoots forward)

AYERS: Hilarious. Now bear in mind we were at a high-powered business launch for payroll tech firm SmartPay USA. There were two governors in attendance, one from California, one from Nevada. It was definitely odd having so many prostitutes at such an event, especially given they weren’t local. So we began a joint investigation. We pulled one thread and another came loose—the story took us to Nevada and back and into some very dark things indeed. As the world now knows.

INTERVIEWER: Indeed. I see Ms King is with you today. 

LAUREN: Hey. (Waves)

INTERVIEWER: You were an Iowa girl before coming to LA to do entertainment reporting. What was your background there?

LAUREN: Butter cows. Pork Princesses. Um, wheat yields.

AYERS: Don't forget ugly tractor caps. Her specialty. She's really far too modest.

LAUREN: Catherine.

AYERS: Lauren?

INTERVIEWER: You two certainly seem to get on well now. I'd been told you were arch rivals when you worked together. What changed?

LAUREN: Nevada clears your head.

AYERS: Plus there were the goats. 


LAUREN: Don't ask.

AYERS: She’s just shy. Would you like to see the video? It wouldn't take a minute. (Reaches for her phone.)

LAUREN: I had that taken down. And there were no goats – it was a misunderstanding. She's kidding.


LAUREN: She is. It's just hard to tell on account of all her prickles. She's a pussycat when you get to know her.

AYERS: Pussycats do have claws. Put that on the record: “Catherine Ayers has rapier-sharp claws.”

INTERVIEWER: So noted—and, er, it was never in dispute.

AYERS: Excellent.

INTERVIEWER: So what's next for you two? I hear you both have just gotten new jobs?

AYERS: I intend to pursue the hard-hitting stories overlooked by the asleep mainstream media. The stories that fall into the cracks. Such as illegal drone warfare. I intend holding DC’s feet to the fire – as much as I can.


LAUREN: Um, I have to do the graveyard shift on the police beat. Lots of 4am starts.

AYERS: What? Since when?

LAUREN: Well I only just found out.

AYERS: That’s insane. I mean, I don't think...

LAUREN: It's fine. We'll, I mean, I'll be fine.

AYERS: Of course. (Folds arms)

INTERVIEWER: Wait, ‘we?’ Are you two—

AYERS: No comment.

LAUREN: What she said.

INTERVIEWER: Well, that's all I have time for...

AYERS: If you mention a 'we' in your story, I will make it my mission to get drone flightpaths reprogrammed over your home at all hours. I know people.

INTERVIEWER: What! You can't do—

LAUREN: She's joking. Right, Catherine?

AYERS: ...

AYERS: ...

LAUREN: Catherine.

AYERS: Yes. I'm kidding.

INTERVIEWER: OK, well, thank you for your time.

LAUREN: You're welcome.

AYERS: Is it still a pleasure to have met me?


Background laughter.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays -- and a free download (ends Dec. 26th)

I wish you all happy and safe holidays!

Until the 26th, grab a free copy of Halfway Home here:

and until the 31st, my ebooks published with Eternal Press (Autumn Leaves, Winter Storm, Spring Fever, Secrets, and The Interpretation of Love and the Truth), now an imprint under the roof of Caliburn Press, are on sale for $2.99. Hope you enjoy. :)

See you next year with new books and Wednesdays Women blogs!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wonder Women - why one female superhero every 40 years is not enough

To make a series about Supergirl was a good idea. Why? Because it was so overdue it’s quite sad and ridiculous. Because Supergirl is “the first female superhero to lead a show in nearly 40 years—yes, since Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman went off the air.” (Joanna Robinson, Why Supergirl Star Melissa Benoist Hopes to Talk Less About Gender

Take a moment to let that sink in. Forty years in which we suggest that this archetypal character, the superhero, belongs to men. Forty years of teaching young kids women can’t/shouldn’t be the leads in this context, the strong but flawed individual who saves the world from catastrophe time after time.

Supergirl isn’t perfect, but it’s a fun and interesting approach. Besides Kara’s character, there are other women who take control of their own destiny. That’s always something to watch out for in new shows: It seems like we can do female leads now, but are they the token woman in a sea of suits, or are there other women they relate to, and are they doing it in a positive, uplifting way? It’s frustrating to think that it took forty years to get this far—that also makes it a big leap forward.

Sometimes it seems trivial to talk about TV with everything else is going on in the world, but the stories we tell—or don’t tell— about what women can do, matter.

So give me more of that, the Wonder Woman movie, hopefully, in the near future, a Black Widow movie or three, and please, don’t ask me if I’m Team Supergirl or Team Jessica Jones. If Superman and Batman can co-exist, certainly so can they?

Let’s work towards a world in which we have as many women as men in these roles, in TV, movies and books. Let’s write them. Let’s watch and read about them.

Baby steps—they matter.

(if the ratio was 2:1, it wouldn't be perfect...but a lot better than where we are)