Monday, August 25, 2014

Welcome to my street team: The Leading Ladies

I decided to try something new in terms of marketing and go with a street team, created by the Smexy Fab Four. It's up and running, and if you'd like to check it out, take a look at our FB group.

Why leading ladies? I think it says something about the stories I write. The genre will differ, but there are always women characters at the center, most of the time but not exclusively lesbian. Thank to Sheri for creating the awesome button:

PS: Don't forget you can still enter the Goodreads giveaway for a signed copy of Spring Fever, book 3 in Callie and Rebecca's love story. The giveaway ends August 30th. Good luck!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Spring Fever is here...with a Goodreads giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Spring Fever by Barbara Winkes

Spring Fever

by Barbara Winkes

Giveaway ends August 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Good luck! If you'd like to catch up with Callie and Rebecca, you can find the other books in the series on Amazon or purchase directly from Eternal Press.

And don't forget the Wednesday Women will return after their summer break! See you soon!

Monday, July 28, 2014

SPRING FEVER is coming:

Are you too excited to wait for August 1st? You can pre-order the paperback now on Amazon, or be a lucky winner of one of the upcoming giveaways. All you need to do is either

- sign up for my mailing list at BarbaraWinkes at hotmail dot com. I promise you won't be spammed. This is only for big news and the occasional exclusive giveaway.

- or join my brand new street team, the Leading Ladies:

Can't make it this week even though you'd love to? Come to my Facebook event on August 10th. More chances to win, and lots of fun:

Spring Fever (Callie & Rebecca #3)

From Eternal Press, August 1st 2014:

What doesn’t kill love…makes it stronger.

Callie has a hard decision to make when her ex Nicole tries to blackmail her with an old secret. The timing couldn’t be worse as Maggie still suffers from nightmares that appear to be related to previous traumatic events.
Andy, a new resident, is eager to make friends and promote the prejudice Callie and Rebecca have grown tired of. They have learned that trust is the most important thing in a relationship, and when you have it, hate can’t touch you.


Eternal Press: (book pages include excerpts)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday Women: Fanfic Month: Women's Murder Club

Hello and welcome to the last Wednesday Women before the summer break! We'll resume with more awesome authors in September. Next week I'll give you the masterlist of the ladies who have visited, but for now, let me tell you a story...

I picked up James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series with the first book and haven't missed one ever since. I've always loved the idea of women working together instead of competing, being allies instead of "frenemies", friends instead of backstabbing mean girls. When the series came to TV, I was curious and skeptical. What I saw, made my jaw drop. This was a TV show tailor-made for me, beautifully and unapologetically feminist.

If you heard about it, you probably know it fell victim to many circumstances--the writer's strike, but more so the lack of vision from TPTB. It would enter its 8th season this year, and probably successfully though, but in 2007, before The Good Wife and other shows proving the audience likes stories about smart capable women...not possible. A maybe even bigger blow was when the original showrunners were replaced with a producer who didn't manage to bring the same depth to a beautiful concept.

At this point, a small but dedicated fandom had formed, and if the network wasn't willing to give us any more of our favorite show...Well, we could created it ourselves. With the talent of amazing contributors, writers, artists and beta readers, the Virtual Seasons were born, as an homage to the actresses and the creators of the show and book series.

These "episodes" continued for two years and were created with lots of love.


Season 2

Season 3

A big thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort, esp. co-producers inspectorboxer (who wrote 7 episodes) and grumpybear1031 (who created all the banners, lots of promo materials and kept the site running). See all credits on the website.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Women: Fanfic month: Rizzles by Liv (RizzlesUnlimited)

This week, I invited Liv of RizzlesUnlimited to Word Affair to talk about Rizzles. If you know me a little, you know I'm quite fond of Angie Harmon since the days of Women's Murder Club, but I've also been a longtime fan of James Patterson's and Tess Gerritsen's respective book series, so when I learned she was cast as Jane Rizzoli, I was quite thrilled about it.
Today, Rizzoli and Isles is a hit series for TNT, and for many fans, the Rizzles ship plays a big part in that. Don't forget to check out Liv's awesome blog which is one of the go-to sites in this fandom, and of course the beautiful artwork by thepriceismeg

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I can’t say I was hooked on ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ after the first episode. I wasn’t; I kept watching because my wife thought it was a fun show. I was hooked after the eighth episode in which we find out the big bad guy has another apprentice on the outside who is now stalking Jane Rizzoli. There was something about the interaction between Jane, the tough-as-nails, heart-of-gold tomboy, and Maura Isles, the tough-yet-compassionate, quirky-yet-endearing socialite that just clicked with me.
                Here were these two women who, ordinarily, wouldn’t so much as say hello to each other, but, because of their work and the compassion they shared for the people around them, had become these incredibly close best friends. When Maura was willing to learn how to handle a gun in order to protect Jane just so Jane could get a decent amount of rest, it struck me that these women shared a bond the likes of which hadn’t caught my attention since Captain Janeway and 7 of Nine or Xena and Gabrielle.
                Up until then, I hadn’t really been watching the show. It was background noise to pacify my wife’s television watching preferences. As I rewatched the first few episodes and really paid attention, I saw very clearly the start of a beautiful romantic relationship between these two women that was only heightened by the natural chemistry between Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. There was this wonderful subtext underlying the show, and I couldn’t ignore it.
                I jokingly tell people I started writing fan fiction for the show because I was bored at work, but the truth is I started writing it to showcase the romantic relationship I saw blossoming in between the lines because it was strongly there. Their personalities balance each other well, they are willing to go way above and beyond to save each other in ways a normal friendship would not bend, they spend most of their free time together, and they understand each other in ways no one else does. It’s the perfect blend to produce a love story to rival most on T.V. these days. 

Fan art used with permission (thepriceismeg on tumblr)

                I’m not the only person who sees it. The Rizzles following is strong. It saddens me the media makes the ship pairing very base. They tend to make it about the sex, that fans want to see Jane and Maura in bed together, but they’re wrong. It’s not about the sex. It’s about the relationship. The kind of relationship Jane and Maura have with each other is just as strong as Castle and Beckett or Bones and Booth. The parallels between Jane and Maura’s relationship and those canon couples’ relationships is astounding.
                I’m enamored with the Rizzles pairing because of the potential from Season One. You don’t find a bond like that every day, and, if it’s there, I feel it should be nurtured, even if it’s only fan fiction on the internet.
It is the greatest ‘one true pairing’ that will never be told in canon, right?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday Women: Subtext and canonical pairings by Ralst

The first femslash fanfiction I found was on the Passion & Perfection livejournal, and it was every bit a revelation to me as discovering lesbian pro fiction. Of course, it was around the same time I discovered Women's Murder Club, the TV show, and the rest, as they say...The P&P community has always been a welcoming and supportive place, be it to discuss our favorite pairings (or in my case, pairing), tell stories and support our favorite shows. Making connections and getting feedback changed my own options as a writer. Rachel has done great work to promote femslash for years, and of course she also came up with the idea of IDF. I'm happy to have her as my guest this week.
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The last eighteen months or so have seen a real upsurge in the number of television shows that include either a canon or acknowledged subtext lesbian/bisexual-female pairing. That's not to say that we're suddenly awash with lady-loving-ladies on our screens but in contrast to shows such as Rizzoli & Isles and Once Upon a Time, where the subtext is used to lure in viewers only to then be dismissed as a figment of our imagination, the newer crop of executives and actors seem to relish the idea of catering to their lesbian fanbase.

Rookie Blue, Orphan Black, Orange is the New Black and non-colour related title Last Tango in Halifax have all included central queer female characters whose sexuality is an integral part of their character but by no means defines their character or storyline. They also have show runners and actors who readily discuss the lesbian storylines and emphasis - to an all too often clueless media - the character driven nature of those relationships.

(graphics provided by guest blogger)

It's not only shows with canonically queer characters or storylines that are embracing the idea of female pairings; Marvel's Agents of SHIELD and Person of Interest are two examples of shows where the actors and show runners have, to different extents, fuelled the idea of a femslash pairing. The actors who play Skye and Jemma Simmons on AoS talk about Skimmons (the portmanteau for their ship) during panel discussions, interviews and in numerous tweets. While the show runners on PoI drop hints about a possible escalation of the flirty relationship between Root and Shaw in the new season and ask viewers for their opinion on the best portmanteau for the pairing, while the actors discuss their characters' mutual love of pain and suitability.

This isn't the first time actors and show runners have backed their queer female ships - Lost Girl has been doing it for several years now - but the sheer number of shows that are now talking about it at an official and not just fan level is very encouraging; it shows that finally, the people who make the decisions are beginning to see the upside of including our stories in their programs and, more importantly to them, how it can actually help to sell their programs to a wider audience.

Strangely, when it comes to fan-fiction, canon pairings have always tended to draw less attention than subtext ones; Xena, although maintext to all but the most obtuse, managed to couch their relationship in such a way that it still left all their big romantic moments up to the writers' imaginations and thus managed to buck the trend. The new batch of canon-relationship shows has conformed to that trend, so far, but whereas a few years ago fan-fiction and fan-created wallpapers, icons and videos were the main focus of fan-creativity, nowadays tumblr has opened the doors to a wider range of fan-created endeavours that allow for a mixture of art and storytelling that has embraced these shows and created a new type of fan-art-fiction to accompany them.

The abundance of graphics-inspired storytelling has, perhaps, delayed the leap to writing the more traditional types of fan-fiction, but it has also helped fuel people's ideas and prompted discussions that have gone on to spark longer narratives. This combination of actors' and show runners' eagerness to discuss same-sex pairings, even in the abstract, and fans' abilities to turn those discussions and scenes into visual stories and artworks is pushing the media in a whole new directions. One that should not only provides instant and easy access to fan-created projects, but also draws people in to the world of femslash storytelling.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wednesday Women (Fanfic month): Root/Shaw, Person of Interest, by inspectorboxer

 July 19th this year marks the International Day of Femslash, a celebration of all  Femslash fanworks that has been around since 2009. I started the Wednesday Women blogs last summer, but decided that this year, we'd have a full month dedicated to fanfiction. Many published writers started out in the community (in fandoms like Xena: Warrior Princess or ST: Voyager) which also provided a visibility of LGBT-related (love) stories that mainstream TV was and still is slow to integrate into their usual schedule. I met inspectorboxer in (you could guess from the name) Women's Murder Club fandom to which fanfic definitely has a special meaning--it helped us keep the stories of four exceptional women alive long after the show's cancellation. Since then, she has written in various fandoms, and for this week's Wednesday Women, she'll take a look at one that is likely in her future: Root/Shaw from Person of Interest.

 (Graphic provided by guest blogger)

When Barb kindly asked me to do this blog entry for her fanfiction month, I was both flattered and panicked. Asking me to choose my favorite pairing is a like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. She might actually have one, but admitting it out loud might not be a good idea. I love all the pairings I’ve dabbled in, but as a writer, I confess that female characters that are flawed and damaged challenge me the most. I’ll play it safe here and choose a pairing I have yet to write: Root/Shaw from Person of Interest.

Some fans call them “Raw,” others prefer “Shoot.” Whichever portmanteau you like, the nicknames are apt. Both women have a thing for guns, and when it comes to their mental states… let’s be polite and say they don’t have issues, they have a subscription. As dangerous and unhinged as they are, I easily find myself cheering them on week after week as these enemies turn into reluctant allies.
The characters in a nutshell: Root (Amy Acker) might be more than a touch insane. A woman who once killed for kicks and money has now found God in the form of a machine created to spy on us all. Shaw (Sarah Shahi) is a borderline sociopath who used to work as an assassin for the CIA. She has a thing for pain – both giving it and receiving it. As dark as their characters sound, their moments together are often infused with some of the show’s rare flashes of humor. Their flirty, uneasy alliance is like nothing else on television right now, and it’s as fascinating as it is unpredictable.

The characters come across as soul mates – two tortured and disturbed sides of the same crazy coin. If their damaged characters aren’t intriguing enough, there is always their whip-smart banter to hold your attention. On any other show, these two characters would be villains. On Person of Interest, they are the heroes.

If you haven’t watched Person of Interest before, I highly recommend it. The writing is top notch and the characters, especially the women, are crafted exceptionally well. I suggest watching from the beginning. Give the show a few episodes for it to find its stride, and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll have to wait a few seasons to meet Root and Shaw, but I don’t think you’ll mind when you have such a well-written series to catch up on.

While I haven’t written this pairing yet, I am tempted, but I have a number of my own stories to finish up first. There isn’t enough fan fiction out there with these two, so perhaps this brief post could inspire a little more. A girl can dream.
If you’re curious about my writing, you can find my stories about Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Firefly, Nikki & Nora, Women’s Murder Club, and Rizzoli & Isles at either Live Journal or Archive of Our Own.

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Thanks inspectorboxer for joining me this week! There'll be more fanfic related blogs all through July and a summer break in August after which the Wednesday Women will resume in September.