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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday Women: Sonia by Erzabet Bishop

There's always a first time to everything, and this week's Wednesday Women post features our first succubus! You can find Sonia in Erzabet Bishop's paranormal erotic urban fantasy/romance Sigil Fire. Welcome Sonia and Erzabet!

Pairing: f/f
Published by Ylva Publishing, June 2014
104 pages

Where there’s smoke there’s Hellfire.

Sonia is a succubus with one goal: stay off Hell’s radar. But when succubi start to die, including her sometimes lover, Jeannie, she’s drawn into battle between good and evil.
Fae is a blood witch turned vampire, running a tattoo parlor and trading her craft for blood. She notices that something isn’t right on the streets of her city. The denizens of Hell are restless. With the aid of her nest mate Perry and his partner Charley, she races against time before the next victim falls. The killer has a target in his sights, and Sonia might not live to see the dawn.

For a sample read:
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Blood pounded in her temples, and Sonia’s feet hit the pavement. Tears blurred her vision as the reality of what almost happened sunk in. He was the killer, and he knew where she lived. He was a fallen angel.
Turning the corner, she saw the tattoo parlor and picked up her pace. The shadows mocked her from every angle. He would be out there waiting. His oily presence oozed unholy joy at her panic, and she stumbled, almost losing her footing on the uneven sidewalk. Footsteps echoed on the street behind her, and in her panic, she couldn’t distinguish between friend and foe.
The glass doors loomed large, windows covered with posters of the latest trends in piercing and ink.
Pulling maniacally on the door, Sonia let out a howl of frustration to discover it locked. “Son of a bitch! Oh Goddess! Open up!” Tears ran down her face, and she tore at the door, hoping for some weakness that would allow her entry. Something. Anything.
She bit back a sob and staggered backward. It was over. He would find her in moments.
The street had become too quiet and the echo of sinister laughter crept along the edge of darkness. The bastard was playing with her.
Fear shot through Sonia’s body, numb and cold, causing her to yelp as the doors rattled behind her.
The sound of a barking dog came from the interior of the shop.
A voluptuous dark-haired woman leaned out, the bluish light illuminating her features with beams of icy radiance. “If you’re looking for a corner, succubus, you’ve picked the wrong one. Move it along.”
Sonia stepped closer to the door, turning her head into the light. “I’m here to see Fae.” She wrapped her arms around herself, shivering. The T-shirt and jeans had been warm enough earlier, but the air had turned chillier.
“Red?” The woman’s eyes grew wide. She assessed Sonia’s every movement.
Sonia shook her head, tears pricking at the corner of her eyes. “Do you know me?
The barking of a dog sounded closer, and the dark-haired woman drew back as the little body pushed past her.
Sonia leaned down. “What are you doing here?”
The little dog barked furiously, wagging its tail and whining. Its furry little face searched Sonia’s, and it jumped against Sonia’s leg, licking her hand.
“Hey there. Glad to see you made it home.” Sonia reached down at petted dog’s head.
Snorting, the dog rubbed its head against Sonia’s hand, letting out a delighted sound.
“Your dog knows me.” Sonia searched the dark-haired woman’s face. “I saved it. In the alley yesterday. There was a demon trying to take it.”
“Jellybean, what have you been doing?” Fae returned her gaze to Sonia and stared hard. “You saved her? How?”
A frustrated snort came from the dog, and she growled at the shadows.
“You’re lucky that you have a hellhound to watch over you. Someone must have loved you a lot.”
The woman’s face softened. “My mother. Jellybean was the last gift she gave me before she died.”
“Can you please let me in?” Sonia glanced behind her. The shadows grew longer, and the temperature continued to drop. The street was deserted now. “I need to see Fae. Monty sent me.” Sonia hated that her voice shook. She couldn’t help but notice the woman who blocked her path was intoxicating. The stranger’s dark hair rippled in the cold light of the shop, and her tight fitting shirt revealed far more than it chose to conceal. Her eyes burned black in the darkness, and despite her fear, Sonia felt herself falling inside them. They were safe. Familiar somehow. It didn’t make sense.
“Why the hell would Monty send you here?” The woman straightened, and the illusion of a simple shop owner vanished.
Jellybean barked. The dog’s body tensed, and she stood in front of Sonia, protecting her from the darkness beyond. The energy on the street grew malignant. The dog’s eyes flashed red and power radiated from her.
Sonia and the woman stared, momentarily speechless.
“Well, I’ll be damned. Come on.” The woman grinned as Jellybean jumped up and down. “Get in here.”
Dark laughter echoed down the street and Sonia flinched.
Jellybean growled, the hair on the back of her neck standing straight up.
Sighing deeply, the woman held the door open. “Come on then. Jellybean’s vouching for you and I’ve been looking for you myself.”
“Thank you.” Sonia scurried through the door, tears of relief brimming on her lashes. She blinked, but the tears still managed to fall. She was an immortal. Fear was not something she was used to living with, and it made her angry. Her head and soul were still spinning from everything that had happened in the past hour. She staggered. Her life was about to change even more. She could feel it.


How did you come up with Sigil Fire?

This story began as a writing prompt that didn’t make it into the anthology it was originally intended for. After much more work, I sent it in to the Ylva Halloween anthology and the amazing and wonderful Astrid believed it could be so much more. What was a nine thousand word story became a nearly thirty thousand word novella.

Will there be a sequel?

Yes. Charley, Perry, Sonia and Fae will be back for book two, which has already begun.

Favorite dessert?

Chocolate. Any kind. Anywhere.

Do you have a pet?

Yes. My husband and I have a pack of furry canine children that constantly keep us on our toes.

Favorite place to relax?

That would have to be in bed with a good book, my puppy Tadpole by my side.

Who are some of your favorite urban fantasy or erotic authors?

There are so many! I love Kim Harrison, Lisabet Sarai, Jaye Wells, Red Phoenix, Cari Silverwood, DL King, Alison Tyler, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Rhavensfyre, Patricia Briggs, Laura Antoniou…the list goes on and on. If I could be sealed in a room for a year I would never be bored reading these fabulous authors and more.

What are you working on now?

I have several works in progress. I write for the serial, Club Rook and am in the middle of two episodes to finish out the first season. There is also a CYOA for Silkwords, a twisted fairy tale for Decadent and a Halloween tale for my wonderful friends at Ylva. Not to mention the urban fantasy romance I’m up to my knees in for Sci Spanks coming up in a week or so.

What is Sci Spanks?

I’m glad you asked! It is a wonderful event for authors and readers to get together around their love of reading erotic literature. Some spanking may be involved, so warm up your paddles! Check out this link to the Facebook page and consider being an ambassador. More prize opportunities and it is as easy as cut and paste.
Thanks for having me on the blog today! I hope to see you around Facebook and hop over to my author site to sign up for the newsletter.

(all graphics provided by author)
About the author:

Erzabet Bishop has been crafting stories since she could pound keys on her parents’ old typewriter. She has only just learned that it is a whole lot more fun writing naughty books. She is a contributing author to the Silk Words website with her Fetish Fair choose your own romantic adventure stories, Elemental Passions, Potnia, A Christmas To Remember, Taboo II,  Club Rook: The Series, Sweat, Bossy, When the Clock Strikes Thirteen, Unbound Box, Milk & Cookies & Handcuffs, Holidays in Hell, Corset Magazine: Sex Around the World Issue and Man vs. Machine: The Sex Toy Issue, Smut by the Sea Volume 2, Hell Whore Volume 2, Can’t Get Enough (upcoming, Cleis), Slave Girls, The Big Book of Submission (upcoming Cleis), Hungry for More (upcoming Cleis), Gratis II, Anything She Wants, Dirty Little Numbers, Kink-E magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer,  Coming Together: Girl on Girl, Shifters and Coming Together: Hungry for Love among others. She is the author of Lipstick (upcoming), Dinner Date, Tethered, Sigil Fire, The Erotic Pagans Series: Beltane Fires, Samhain Shadows and Yuletide Temptation.  She lives in Texas with her husband, furry children and can often be found lurking in local bookstores. She loves to bake, make naughty crochet projects and watch monster movies. When she isn’t writing, she loves to review music and books.
Follow her reviews and posts on Twitter @erzabetbishop.


Ylva Author Page:
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday Women: Meg Tallmadge by Andi Marquette

This week, Andi Marquette brings her leading lady, Meg Tallmadge to the Wednesday Women table. I bet what she's going to tell you about Meg will make you just as curious about her as I am now. Welcome, Ms. Tallmadge!
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A Place to Hang Your Hat
Andi Marquette

Greetings, all!

A big thank you to Barbara Winkes for allowing me the space on her blog to chit-chat a bit about…well, about a few things. Including my latest release.

(Graphics provided by author)

Some of you may be familiar with my novella, From the Boots Up, in which pre-vet college student Meg Tallmadge is spending the summer on the family’s working dude ranch in Wyoming helping her dad. Times are hard, and he’s hoping that a reporter from the LA Times who’s slated to visit the ranch for a story can help boost business. The last thing Meg wants to do is deal with some nosy reporter, but for her dad, she’ll do it, even though she’s dreading it. Until she meets the reporter. Heh. You’ll have to read it to find out more.

At any rate, Boots and I go back a few years (if you’re interested in the origin story, you can check it out here), and it took a while—a few years after I first wrote Boots—before I got to the point where I felt I could do a follow-up justice, which I just released: From theHat Down. It’s currently available on Kindle and I’m working to get the print version up and running and get a couple more ebook platforms ready to go.

From the Hat Down takes place 10 years after Boots. I’m not going to tell you too much more about it here (especially if you haven’t read Boots) but I will tell you that I had a great time with these two stories, and they really resonated with me. Which is not to suggest that my other books and stories haven’t. They all have, in different ways. Every writer will tell you that everything she writes is close to her, and that’s certainly true, but some have more of a grip on you than others. The duo of Boots and Hat had that on me.

I know that one of the reasons that’s the case is because I grew up and spent my young adulthood in the Rocky Mountain West, including Colorado and Wyoming. Southern Wyoming holds a special place in my heart, and when I originally started writing Meg Tallmadge’s character, I wanted to make sure that I captured the sense of place that Meg occupies, both literally and metaphorically. She’s a rancher’s daughter, born and raised in that culture. Like her dad, she is as much a part of the Wyoming landscape as the Medicine Bow Mountains and the way a sunset settles across the prairie.

People often don’t realize the extent to which a sense of self is tied to a sense of place, and that sometimes it’s hard to find where one ends and the other begins. Meg couldn’t be who she is anywhere else but Wyoming. As her character took shape in the pages of Boots, it became pretty clear that her roots were going to play a role in Hat, and they were going to further define her and the choices she made over the previous 10 years as well as the choices she had yet to make. Writing that kind of character—someone tied to the West and to the land on which a few generations of her family coaxed a living—presented a bit of a challenge.

Not to suggest setting isn’t important in my other work. It is. I’m a westerner to the core, born and bred, shaped and defined by similar landscapes as Meg. Setting always plays a huge role in my work. But to really capture it--and maintain the balance between person and place without overwhelming the former with that latter—meant that my work was cut out for me, especially since I also had to realistically age her 10 years and keep her consistent within the tenets of her character that I’d laid out in Boots.

So I had a lot of back-and-forths with her, and a lot of rewrites and do-overs. I had to walk away more than a few times. I took a few drives, too. I spent a couple days in Saratoga, Wyoming, and drove across the southern part of the state on the roads she grew up on. I revisited Laramie after too long away, and drove down her street and past the places she liked to go with her friends and coworkers. And then I drove down 287 south into northern Colorado, where I’d spent a lot of time because I’d gone to college in Boulder, and that was just an hour south of Fort Collins, where Meg went to school at Colorado State University.

I walked the CSU campus, tracing Meg’s steps between classes, and pored through the course catalog. I’d spent a lot of time on this campus, too, back in the day but revisiting it years later helped give me a sense of how Meg might feel, years after she’d been there and maybe returned to visit a colleague.

I know, ultimately, what it feels like to identify with a place, and what it means to have a sense of it. And sometimes I need to revisit those physical places in order to reconnect with the essence of an identity. Meg ended up echoing some ties to my own past, and to my own links to particular places. Which might be problematic for some writers. After all, we might not like excavating too close to our own artifacts.

In this case, Meg’s more like a fellow traveler in my life than an extension of me. Her arc is very different than mine, and her ties to the land express differently. There are aspects to her that I’d really like to emulate, some that I appreciate as part of who she is, and still others that just wouldn’t fit on me.

But that’s okay.

After all, everybody’s boots and hat fit a little differently.

Thanks again, Barb! Happy reading, happy writing to everyone.

Find me at my website:
Twitter: @andimarquette

And have some fun with a couple of my playlists:

From the Boots Up: From the Boots Up (right click for URL)
From the Hat Down: From the Hat Down

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday Women: Luca Bennett by Carsen Taite

Carsen Taite brings her heroine Luca Bennett to the Wednesday Women today. Give her a warm welcome!
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 A few years ago, one of my literary idols, J.M. Redmann, asked me to submit a short story for an anthology titled Women of the Mean Streets: Lesbian Noir. The first thing that comes to mind for me when I think of noir is gritty, hard-boiled detective stories where the point of view character is strong, edgy, and has a lot of layers like Micky Knight, Kinsey Millhone, and V.I. Warshawski.

With an eye to future stories, I decided to create a character that could live beyond the piece I’d been asked to write. I wanted to develop a point of view protagonist that would grow over time, while still maintaining the edge that makes her unique. Enter Luca Bennett, bounty hunter, the protagonist of Boomerang in Women of the Mean Streets and the novels, Slingshot, Battle Axe, and the recently released, Switchblade.

(Graphics provided by author)

I worked as a criminal defense lawyer for a long time and met folks from all walks of life, some shady, some not. The one type of person I never met was a bounty hunter. I know they exist, but as a rule these folks tend to stay below the radar and even the bondsmen they work for are loathe to give out a lot of information about the type of people they hire to do the dirty work of apprehending fugitives. With so little public information, I let my imagination do the work. What type of person would capture and turn people in for money?

Luca Bennett used to be a cop. For a little while anyway. As she says, “everything about it was too black and white. The cars, the rules, the money.” As a bounty hunter she employs some of the same skills, but she sets her own rules and that includes choosing to gamble her earnings instead of paying her rent, and nabbing a free meal at every opportunity – many of which she creates by waiting until the fugitive she’s about to apprehend has ordered takeout.

But at the center of this scruffy, seemingly irresponsible character is a person who wants the same things we all want: to feel worthy and to be loved for who we are. No conditions. After Boomerang was published, I spent three novels helping Luca find those things. The novels can all be read as standalone mysteries, but as a group, they tell the added story of Luca, the person, and how she finds a deeper sense of self. She learns to apply her cop skills to the role of bounty hunter and actually solves crimes instead of just cleaning up after them. She finds love, once she learns that compromise doesn’t mean giving up who you are. My hope is by the end of the latest book, Switchblade, readers will find Luca has grown, but the core of her identity remains the same because she finds someone who loves her just the way she is, edges and all.

Carsen Taite’s goal as an author is to spin tales with plot lines as interesting as the cases she encountered in her career as a criminal defense lawyer. A Lambda Literary award finalist, Carsen is the author of numerous short stories and novels in the romantic suspense genre. Recognition for her work includes Golden Crown Literary Society Awards for her novels, Nothing but the Truth and Beyond Innocence.