Thank you

Well, 2020 FINALLY came to an end! For a lot of us that was a GOOD thing! Here at the Lesfic Bard Awards we were definitely glad that despite the bad year for most that you were able to write and publish your many books and get them in for consideration. We look forward to holding the awards after our judges have had time to read and evaluate your many offerings.

Thank you for your trust in us and we look forward to seeing who the winners will be later this spring.

We want YOU and your lesfic, women loving women BOOKS!

We want you for Lesfic Bard Awards no glove color

Contest Features:

  • Chance to win a beautiful crystal award featuring your name and the title of your book.
  • Chance for free advertising and marketing for the author and their award-winning book.
  • Chance to be in several major LGBT magazines and blogs—free publicity for you and your book.

Become an “award-winning author”!

Book awards grab the attention of bookstores, publishers, libraries and readers, which can translate into increased sales. If you place in our contest, you can add our winner’s award seal to your book and marketing materials to identify your book as an “award-winning book” and brand you an “award-winning author.”

We accept PDF books in 19 genres, but the publication date must be in 2020.  Note: We are an international competition, but your work must be submitted in English.

Please enter here, now!

Meet Iza Moreau

Iza Moreau is the winner of the 2019 Lesfic Bard Award for Young Adult for her book Tank Baby.

Iza MoreauTank Baby by Iza Moreau

Where were you born? Boise, Idaho

Where did you grow up? Boise, Idaho

Do you have any siblings? No

Why do you write? I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately. I don’t think I believe in “born writers” and I don’t believe in the idea of a muse. Nor do I have a burning need to tell my story. Yet I find that when I am not doing creative work, I am unhappy. It’s likely that, over the years, I simply convinced myself that my main strength was in writing and concentrated on that above everything else. But because all of my novels have lesbian protagonists, I am proud to be adding to the store of LGBTQ literature. The only time I have ever felt driven to write anything specific was when I realized that there were no queer-oriented series featuring teen sleuths. In other words, no Nancy Drew for lesbians. So that is what the Elodie Fontaine Mysteries is all about—to begin a literature for young lesbians and teens who may be questioning their sexual identity.

How do you choose the names for your characters? Oddly, some of the names of minor characters just pop into my head—like Sixteen in my novel Swamp Girl. For others, like Elodie Fontaine, I had to do some name searching online. I wanted a musical first name, but it also had to be a Creole name. Likewise, the main character in my literary novel, London, Falling, had to have a name that might be recognized as British, so Dawn Blackwell was born.

What is the first piece you ever wrote? In grade school I wrote a story called “The Clue in the Closet of the Almost-Stolen House.” The story itself has disappeared, alas.

When you are writing each novel. Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Both. And anyone who says different is fooling themselves. That’s why the “any similarities” disclaimers in the front matter of most novels are so silly.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? This is the beauty of ebooks and publish-on-demand paperbacks. If I wanted to change anything, I would just do it. Today, tomorrow, or two years from now.

What is the hardest part of writing a book? I have had trouble beginning a book, continuing a book somewhere after 5 chapters, and actually finding a way to end a book. So depending on the book, any part of it can be hard. In general, I dislike doing the research that is required to get things right. It is necessary, but I would rather go on with the story while I have it in my mind.

What is the easiest part of writing a book? For me, dialogue seems to come quickly and easily, as do relationships.

Do you think a book can have too much detail it?  Do you think it can detract from the story? Yes, absolutely. Too much description of surroundings, too much banal conversation, too much homework. The job of a good copyeditor or editor is to identify and eliminate or ameliorate these.

Do you have any writing rituals? And can you tell us about your writing discipline. I’ve gone through a lot of “writing schedule” ploys, like going to the library each morning at a certain time and remaining for several hours. At that time I was forcing myself to be a writer. Now I have much more leisure time and—because I have learned that I am, indeed, a writer—I simply write when I feel like it.

What is your greatest fear as an author? When I was young I was scared I would never write anything good enough to make me famous. Now that I realize I will never be famous, I am fearless.

Who do you have fans compare you to (other authors)? I feel that most of my novels are pretty unique, although my book of stories, The XYZ Mysteries, has some debt to Conan Doyle and my Elodie Fontaine Mysteries owe a great debt to the authors of girl’s teen mysteries of the 1950s and 1960s.

What are you working on now? The fifth novel in my Elodie Fontaine Mysteries series, Stormy Weather.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? 500 is a good number. Then again, any number of pages written is a good number.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? PC. I look back with little fondles to the days of longhand and typewriters.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers? I am working on one now—a fantasy called Persephone’s Mare—with a good friend.

Where do your ideas come from? No f-ing idea.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you? Usually I am content to see where the characters lead me. There are times, though, when at least some outline is necessary.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? It was always in my mind that I would be a writer. Believe it or not.

What genres do you normally write in? Lesbian Mystery. Lesbian Literary Fiction. Lesbian Young Adult.

What genres do you typically read? Literary fiction, mystery fiction (including lesbian mysteries), and a bit or SF and YA.

Is there a genre you haven’t written in that one day you’d like to tackle? Well, I mentioned that fantasy I’m collaborating on . . .

Are there any authors who have influenced your work? Maggie Estep opened some doors for me in terms of style and attitude. She died way too soon.

What was the first book you ever published? The News in Small Towns, the first book in my Small Town series of lesbian mysteries set in north Florida.  It was published in 2012.

Is there a certain time of day you prefer to write? It varies, but I think I write best between 11:00 p.m. and 3 a.m.

What part of the female physique captures your attention? Hands, feet, hair, skin tone.

Tell us what kind of heroes/heroines you prefer to write about. Intelligent, motivated, and determined women. Women on a quest—as are we all.

Out of all your books, do you have a favorite? They are all special to me.

What is your biggest distraction when you write? I’m pretty easily distracted. That’s why I prefer writing while most people are sleeping.

Which grammar rule is your favorite to break? Which one do you never break? I try not to break any grammar rules—especially my own—and I always use the series comma.

If you could do a DREAM job (other than writing) what would it be and why? Have you used it in any of your stories? A librarian, astronaut, or UPS driver. I have used only the librarian in my writing.

What kind of jobs have you had in the ‘real’ world? Retail clerk, newspaper reporter, state worker.

If you could rewrite a CLASSIC novel as a lesfic novel, which would you choose and why? Little Women, because essentially it is already a lesfic novel but Alcott chickened out.

Is there anything in your life you would delete?  Anything you would replay? We all have made mistakes in our lives and wish we could undo these. But we can’t.

What were you like at school? Mildly smart, mildly athletic, only slightly popular.

Were you good at English? Yes, always.

Do you speak any foreign languages? Which ones? What, if any, would you like to learn? I know a little Spanish; would like to learn Korean.

What are your ambitions for your writing career? To be far more well known after I am gone than I am now.

If you could have anyone play the main character of one of your books, any actress, who would you choose and why? I actually posted this on my facebook page once. Leanna Creel—part of the Creel triplets who starred in The Parent Trap III—would be perfect for Sue-Ann McKeown, the main character of my Small Town Series. Leanne is a lesbian who now works in the film industry as a writer, producer, and director.  Are you reading this, Leanna?

How long on average does it take you to write a book? Depends. The Elodie Fontaine books took only a few months each. The 5 took many years.

Do you ever get writer’s block? I don’t really believe in writer’s block, although I do believe that there are circumstances that cause writing to languish.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I was lucky enough to begin publishing well into my maturity, so I had a long time to learn the basics of conversation, plot, point of view, and the rest. So my published writing, at least, has not evolved.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Literary fiction: Hardy and Austen, Estep, and Dickens. Lesbian mysteries: Nikki Baker and Kate Allen. Fantasy: Libba Bray.

For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books? My failing eyesight makes ebooks or audiobooks a requirement.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? Both. And the more eyes on the manuscript the better.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? Yes. Six months is a good marinating time for me.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. My publishing cooperative comes up with most of the cover design and execution. However, my Elodie Fontaine series required original, story-driven paintings. After several misses, I found an illustrator who was able to transform my own cover ideas into reality. They are based on the cover styles popular in girls’ series books of the 1950s and 1960s: Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Vicki Barr, and the like. I hope I live long enough to sell enough copies of the books to pay for the illustrations.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? You can’t tell a book by its cover, but a cover often—if not always—determines whether a reader will actually pick it up and look at it.

How do you market your books? I have used only a few marketing ploys—facebook, blogs, word of mouth, goodreads groups, and the like. The fact is, advertising—unless one pays thousands of dollars—simply doesn’t work. Today’s indie author has to rely on contests like The Lesfic Bard Awards and others, for any recognition. That and online reviews. Good work should come to the fore—if not now, then later.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? There will always be “friend” reviews and always “troll” reviews. Any well-written and well-thought out review is valid, whether it is complimentary or not.

Why do you think that other well-written books just don’t sell? This is actually more of a research topic than a question. Essentially, online publishing has changed reading considerably. People are into more escapist literature. Anything that smacks of literary fiction is doomed to lie unmolested in the ether. And people that read mostly literary fiction generally have enough to choose from through traditional publishers.

What do you think of “trailers” for books? They are nice for people that have the time, the $$$, and the expertise to create them.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why? I have had bad luck with giveaways. Hundreds of people will download a book without the slightest knowledge of what they are getting. So when they notice that it has lesbian content, the negative reviews begin rolling in. Even paperback review copies are problematic—most end up in the used section of Amazon or other used online book dealers. Sales are hard enough without having to compete against people that have gotten your book for free—one that actually cost you money to print and to ship.

Did you format your own book? Yes.

In what formats is your book available? Ebook(all formats) and paperback.

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time? Relaxing and totally retired.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t fool yourself into thinking that anything you write before you are 30 will be worth reading when you are 50.

What are your thoughts on Porn (visual) vs Erotica (written) and do you think authors can creatively bring some aspects of both into their writing, making it sensual and beautiful instead of raw and vulgar? I think there are ways to write graphic sex scenes that are not only enjoyable, but essential to the story. Check out the sex scene in my story, “Ghosts,” which is the last story in Mysteries in Small Towns. Megan Casey, in her forthcoming book, The Art of the Lesbian Mystery Novel, claims that there is more sex in lesbian writing than in straight writing because lesbian readers demand it.

Pen name vs no pen name? What was your rationale? Different people have different reasons for using or not using pseudonyms. All are valid.

Besides writing THE END, how do you KNOW a story is over and you should conclude it? I’ve never actually heard this question before, but essentially, you have been working toward that ending point for weeks or months or years. You will know when you get there.

What do you think of the ‘explosion’ of available titles for the Lesfic Reader that have come onto the market vs say 5-10-20 years ago? Is this a good thing or bad? The only thing bad about it is the same thing that makes the influx of writing in all genres bad—much of it is unpolished and in need of a good editor.

Are you a quiet person or verbose in person? Verbose.

If you were stuck on an island with only three books, which three would you like them to be? Ulysses, by James Joyce, The Collected poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and maybe Looking for Ammu, by Claire Macquet.

20 years from now your books are assigned to a women’s studies class. What would you want them to say about your body of work? That it spoke to a need and was influential in what came after.

Do you consider yourself successful at this thing called writing? What makes you think that? Yes. With about 20 books published now, I can definitely say that I have succeeded in what I set out to do. But if successful is defined as best-selling, then no, although I don’t think this is the best definition.

Is there one scene from your book that is the most memorable? Yes. One scene actually shaped and gave direction to my entire body of work. I had only finished about 4 chapters in my first novel, The News in Small Towns, which began as a literary novel with straight characters. My protagonist, Sue-Ann McKeown, had just returned from a 6-month stint as a war correspondent in Iraq. Her mother had just died in a riding accident, and her father had sold everything he could and skipped town. Sue-Ann herself was suffering from PTSD and an undiagnosed glandular illness which was affecting her physically and mentally. The last straw was when she feared that she was about to lose her job. She was slumped on the floor of her farmhouse amid a basketful of unread mail, depressed, dejected, and despondent. Then someone knocked on her front door.

She remained on that floor for days. I knew that whoever came through that door would shape the direction of the novel. Would it be Clarence Meekins her good friend from a local market? Cal Dent, her boss at the paper? One of her ex-boyfriends? Her father? To her—and to my—surprise it was her old high-school nemesis, Ginette Carwright, someone that Sue-Ann had always despised because of her Barbie doll looks and her penchant of stealing the spotlight. But as soon as Ginette walked in, I knew that these two opposite women were going to fall in love. So what I was writing had instantly turned from literary fiction to lesbian fiction and because it was a mystery it was lesbian mystery fiction.

I began exploring the genre in a big way and realized that many lesbian mysteries came in a series of three or more. So I wrote three more books in the series and my career as a lesbian mystery writer was born. If Ginette had not walked in that door, it is not even certain that I would have finished writing that first book, much less gone on to write others.

Where were you when you heard you had won the Lesfic Bard Award and what was your reaction to it? I was right here at my computer. I had a vague idea that the award announcements were close to being released, so I was following the Lesfic Bard sites closely. I was delighted, of course. I had already won the Rainbow Award for another book in the Elodie series, so this second win seemed to be a validation that I had done something that was enjoyable; that might endure.

 

 

Meet Karen Badger

Karen is the winner of the 2019 Lesfic Bard Award for Historical as well as the 2019 Lesfic Bard Award for Action Adventure for her novel, Over the Crescent Moon.

Karen Badger HistoricalKaren Badger Over the Crescent MoonKaren Badger Action Adventure

Karen was also a finalist in the Young Adult category for her novel,

In the Blink of an Eye.Karen Badger Finalist

Karen Badger In the Blink of an Eye

Where were you born?

Burlington, Vermont.

Where did you grow up?

I’ve lived in Vermont my entire life.

Do you have any siblings?

Yes, five of them.  My older brother Steve passed away six years ago.  I’m next in line, followed by my brother Todd, sister Penny, brother Bob and brother Dan.

What were your parent’s professions?

My mom was a secretary, and then an IT specialist for 30 years and my dad was a meat cutter.

Why do you write?

My mind is a beehive of activity all of the time and I get bored easily…and when I’m bored, I’m cranky.  I don’t like being idle, so when I’m not engaged with work, or family, I’ll channel my thoughts into something productive…like writing.  I’ve got countless characters rambling around inside my brain just clamoring to get out.

What do you think makes good writing?

The ability to make your readers ‘see’ what you’re writing.  I’ve been told that I am a very visual writer…that my writing is descriptive to the point the reader feels they are ‘inside’ the story and witnessing things first-hand.  I also think a good story has to have substance.

How do you choose the names for your characters?

This is going to sound stereotypical, but my lesbian characters tend to be butch/femme pairs and so they have butch/femme names.  The butch typically will have an androgynous name, i.e., Billie, Elliot, Jordan, Spencer, Sawyer…and the femmes have more feminine names, i.e., Caitlain, Lia, Maggie, Makaya, Willow.  I will sometimes choose last names based on people I know, but the first names just come to me.  I like unusual names, so I try to use them as often as possible.

What is the first piece you ever wrote?

On A Wing And A Prayer.  Published in 2005.

When you are writing each novel. Are the experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life?

My characters are sometimes based on people I know…and I believe every author writes themselves into each of their books, even if they are not aware they are doing it. The situations on the other hand are totally made up, except for my book, “Happy Campers,” which is based on actual experiences.  I guess, for the most part, you could say the situations in my books are experiences I would LIKE to have rather than based on an experience I have already had.  I tend to place my books in cities, towns, states I am familiar with.  By doing that, I feel I am better able to capture the essence of place and setting.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Not really.  My latest release is  “In The Blink of an Eye”, and it’s part of the Billie/Cat Commitment series.  It deals with a high school shooting.  It makes me cry every time I read it.  It’s a tough story to read, but it is appropriate to the world we are living in.  The other book I released in 2019, Over The Crescent Moon, started out as a fun romp and turned into something very different.  I struggled with how to end the book, but an idea came out of a conversation I had with my wife, that I hope my readers will enjoy.  I wouldn’t change a thing in that book either.

What is the hardest part of writing a book?

Finding the time.  I still work full time…and then there’s my wife, kids, grandkids and an elderly mom to spend time with.  My latest problem has been this virus and the state our government is currently in.  I have been very distracted of late to say the least!

What is the easiest part of writing a book?

Letting go and allowing the characters to take over.  I love it when that happens.  The book always turns out exceptionally better for it.

Do you think a book can have too much detail it?  Do you think it can detract from the story?

I like the detail.  I feel like it provides more visual aids for the reader.  What I don’t like, are data dumps.  It is annoying when I read a book that is mostly narrative rather than dialogue, or when the characters just spew information about themselves or their backstory in long rants.  Information should be revealed through conversations.  Like I said…detail is good, but for me, it is best when it comes out through interactions or short descriptions.

What is your greatest fear as an author?

I have two.  First, that no one really knows who I am.  I have 15 books published over the past 15 years, three of which have won Literary Awards, yet, there are thousands of lesbian readers out there who have never heard of me.  I know a great deal of that is my own fault, as marketing myself is my weakest skill.  The second fear is that I will subliminally copy another’s author’s ideas or work.  For this reason, I do NOT read any lesbian literature while I am writing a book.  I don’t want to pick up their ideas, or their sense of ‘voice’.  I want to portray my own sense of style, and I want my readers to recognize my voice.

Who do you have fans compare you to (other authors)?

As far as I know, I have never been compared to other authors.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a speculative novel set in Sedona, Arizona, titled “Love in the Shadows.”  Let’s just say it deals with vortexes and time warps.  Sedona is the perfect setting for such a story!

How do you keep your different characters separate in your mind?

I try very hard not to take the same set of characters from one book, give them different names, and then plop them down into my next novel.  I strive to make my characters unique, flawed, and very different from each other.  I like them to be intelligent, yet vulnerable, likable, yet flawed, quirky, yet serious when they need to be.  Most of all, I like them to be very different from each other.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Part-time.  I still work full time as a Semiconductor Engineer.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I do most of my writing in the evenings.  My ‘day-job’ begins at 7 am and I generally work until 4 or 5 pm…and since we are a worldwide organization and some of our offices are in Germany, India, and Singapore, quite often I have late-night meetings anywhere from 9-11 pm.  That doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing, so I fit it in when I can between working and spending time with my wife and family.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

When I’m on a roll, I’ll write every day, but generally, it is 3-5 nights a week.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

No.  I write until I’ve worked through several chapters, or until my characters are tired of talking to me and decide to take a break.  I’m not hung up on a minimum number of words per session.  I have been known to write well into the night because my characters are being especially chatty…only to go to work the next day with 2 or 3 hours of sleep, and at other times I quit after an hour or two because the flow is just not working.  The fact that I self publish, means I control the deadline.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Computer…sometimes my desktop, and sometimes my laptop.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Not yet, but I’ve offered to collaborate with my wife to kick her writing skills into gear.  She’s an amazing plot doctor, and writer herself.

Where do your ideas come from?

Places I’ve visited, things I’ve read, the news, and from the quirky little imp that lives inside my head and surprises me with ideas in my dreams.  I keep a pad of paper beside the bed in the event that happens.  I am of the age that if I don’t write it down, it will be gone in an instant!

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I am 100% a pantser.  When I begin to write, I have a general idea of what the story is and where I want to take it, but then I begin to write and it goes off into several tangents as it follows my characters around.  I find if I try to force a story to follow a pre-set outline, I have a harder time writing and being creative.  I have learned that my characters have an even more wild imagination than I do, and if I let them do their thing, the story I get in the end may be different than I intended, but it is always better.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I don’t remember much about my childhood thoughts and desires.  When I reached high school, I took a course of study geared toward science, and at one point, I thought I wanted to be an actress, and then I wanted to be a physical therapist, but I switched gears and went for a double degree in theater and education.  By the time I graduated from college (the first time), there were no jobs to be found in education and so I went to work in the semiconductor field.  I went back to school when my kids were 6-months and 4 years, and nine years later, I became an engineer with a degree in scientific mathematics.  Yes…I am a professional nerd!

What genres do you normally write in?

Romance, Occult, Drama, Speculative, Paranormal, Historical, Action, and Adventure.  I think my best niche is in Speculative, although my favorite book I’ve written is 1140 Rue Royale, which is Paranormal.

What genres do you typically read?

I don’t read often, but when I do, I like anything except Erotica.

Is there a genre you haven’t written in that one day you’d like to tackle?

Someday, I will try my hand at a mystery, or maybe detective-themed novels.  Sci-Fi might also be on the future agenda.

Are there any authors who have influenced your work?

Jodi Picoult.  I like how open and direct her writing is.

What was the first book you ever published? 

On A Wing And A Prayer – 2005

When did you first sign with (your current publisher)?

I am my current publisher.  My wife and I established Badger Bliss Book (www.badgerblissbooks.com) in 2014 when my then, publisher, Blue Feather Books, closed its doors.

What was the craziest thing you’ve ever done when it came to a storyline in your book?

Hmmm…tough question.  I’ve written about time travel, witchcraft, and ghosts, but I don’t consider them crazy.  The closest I come to cray cray is funny.  A good example is Book III in the Billie/Cat Series, titled “Happy Campers.”  It is probably the funniest book of the 15 I have released.  It is basically the camping trip from hell, and I’ve pretty much lived through everything that happens in that book on my own camping trips…just not all in one fell swoop!

Do you have any specific things (or rituals) that help you to write or that inspire you?

I am ritualistically addicted to research.  You will recall I mentioned data dumps in an earlier question…well, I need to be careful with research because it borders on data dumps. Before I begin writing, I do extensive research into the setting of the book, and the topic I’m writing about.  For example, in Yesterday Once More, the protagonist is a research scientist/doctor who specializes in spinal injuries, since she was injured as a teenager.  She is working on an implant that restores mobility and notices that the rats they are testing the prototype on, walk with an uneven gait.  She soon discovers it was caused by a different number of significant digits in the amount of time the electrical charge is applied to either side of the injury site.  I was fascinated by this concept and spent an inordinate amount of time researching significant digits….and then proceeded to write two pages about it into the story to explain the uneven gait.  Needless to say, my editor attacked those two pages with the dreaded red pen!  My point is…I am inspired by information, and the more information I have before starting a book, the smoother the process goes for me.

What is your writing day like?

For starters, it’s never an actual day…. a few hours is more like it unless I’m on a roll.  I will generally sit in my office with the television on in the background, or if my wife isn’t home, I’ll park myself in the living room in front of the TV with my laptop.  I do my best writing when I have background noise.  I will generally have something to drink and snack on while I’m working.  When I’m really focused on writing, I barely hear the noise around me, but if it is totally quiet, I have a hard time concentrating.  I try to knock off before midnight because my workday usually begins around six am, but if I’m really on a roll, it will write until two or three in the morning.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I have always enjoyed writing, but when I reached high school, I found that I not only enjoyed it, but I was pretty good at it.  I filled up my electives in college with creative writing classes, and even tried my hand at playwriting as part of my theater degree.  It wasn’t until I was married with two teenage sons that things took off…and my life completely changed.  Much of that change, I attribute to writing.

Do you hear from your readers much?  What kinds of things do they say?

I generally hear from readers after I have released a new title.  I am close friends with several of them and stay in contact on a regular basis, but for the most part, the communication falls off with most of them after the new release isn’t new anymore.

Tell us about your new release.

I released two new books in the second half of 2019.  The first is titled “Over The Crescent Moon,” and the second is titled “In The Blink of an Eye.”  Crescent Moon is a historical/action-adventure novel that started out as a fun romp, but as the writing progressed, the characters turned it into something much more.  The book starts out in 2019 and ends up in 1884.  By the time I finished writing it, I realized that this was book one of what might be a multi-book series.  That book won in BOTH the History and Action/Adventure categories in the LesFic Bard Awards!  The second release, which I affectionately call ‘Blink’ is book 9 of the Billie/Cat Series, and it follows their oldest daughter, Tara, and son Seth, into a high-school shooting scenario.  It is also a coming-out story for Tara.  That book makes me cry when I read it.  I keep imagining my 15-year old grandson caught in something like that.  It is chilling to think about, and unfortunately, appropriate for the times we live in. By the way, ‘Blink’ was a finalist in the Young Adult category in the LesFic Bard Awards as well!

What kind of heroine is in your current book?

My current book, Love in the Shadows, is metaphysical in nature (speculative), set in Sedona, Arizona amongst the vortexes and Indian spirituality.  The heroine is named Kirstin and she is a geneticist by training but has been transplanted from Utah to Sedona to escape the confines of her oppressive religious upbringing.  She finds herself suddenly trying to adjust to being single after her two-year relationship ended when she found her artist-girlfriend getting just a little too close to the model for her latest artwork…in their own bed, no less.  Anyway, Kirstin finds herself with significant free time and chooses to spend it hiking the vortexes of Sedona.  Not to give anything away, let me just say that things begin to happen in a metaphysical sense while on these hikes.  Enough said…for now!

Is there someone famous she resembled when you wrote her? Or is she based off someone you personally know?

Kirstin kind of looks to me, like Jessica Chastain…especially with the red hair.

What are your favorite character traits that you cannot resist?

Boldness, sassiness, independence, determination.  My characters are definitely not wimpy in any way.  They are generally very capable, determined, and independent.

What part of the female physique captures your attention?

Eyes, smile

As an author and essentially the “creator” of your character, do you find yourself attached to her in a personal way? 

I think I create my characters with all the personality traits I would be attracted to.  There are definitely some characters I could see myself attracted to if they were real…and if I didn’t already have the most amazing woman in my life.  Lia Purvis, is the femme in my book, 1140 Rue Royale.  I modeled her after the amazingly beautiful woman of color (Sherri Saum), who played Lena on the television show, ‘The Fosters.’  She mesmerizes me with her beauty.  There are also some characters that get on my nerves sometimes, and I have to work to make them more likable at times.

If you could actually meet the character of one of your books, the exact woman you’ve conjured up in both looks and personality, which one would it be and why?

I guess I would have to say Jordan Lewis from Yesterday Once More.  She’s smart (research scientist), tall, dark and beautiful (think, Xena), and she is so in love with Maggie Downs that she is willing to risk her entire life, her history, and her very existence to be with her.  What complicates matters, is that Maggie has been dead for 85 years.

Does your heroine, take after you? Or is she someone you wish you could be?

As I’ve said, my heroine is everything I would like to be.  In some ways, I believe every author writes themselves into their books…sometimes as secondary characters, but more often some of their personality traits and beliefs are ingrained in the main characters.  My characters have my sense of humor, and at the risk of sounding full of myself, my intelligence as well.  Unfortunately, I don’t really look like any of them – LOL!

Out of all your books, do you have a favorite?

1140 Rue Royale, for sure.  It is my first attempt at writing Paranormal.  I love this book so much because it touches the depths of my soul.  It is about a multi-racial lesbian couple who purchase a mansion in New Orleans with a history of slavery.  The story becomes deeply personal for the woman of color in the couple (Lia) when things begin to happen in the house.  It is a story of love, renewal and redemption.  The idea for the book came to me when I was sight-seeing during a break at the 2015 GCLS Conference in NOLA.  I walked up to the house and touched the brick, and every hair on my body stood on end and goosebumps covered my arms.  I knew instinctively there was a story to be told.  I have goosebumps right now as I write this.  It happens every time I talk about this book.  As I said, it touches me deeply.

What is your biggest distraction when you write?

Current events.  I absolutely cannot write if there is an election going on.  I was destroyed by the 2016 election results and I was consumed with worry and fear immediately following it…and in some ways, I still am to this day.  It took a long time for me to be able to concentrate again on writing.  The coronavirus crisis is also crimping my style.  I am about 8 chapters into the new book, and I’m struggling to make myself get back to work on it.  My goal is to have that one completed before fall…and before the next election.  I am a very political person who cares passionately about the health of our country.  Unfortunately, we have been ailing for the past four years.

What are your major sources for research?  Do you use books or google?  Even movies?

Google, local library, research books.  For example, I set Over The Crescent Moon in Hawaii, and when Barb and I visited Maui two years ago, I picked up several books about the islands and Hawaiian culture to use as references.

Which grammar rule is your favorite to break? Which one do you never break?

I try hard not to break any of them…but I’m sure I do.  I still struggle with lay, lie, laid, lain, and when to put an ‘e’ at the end of the word ‘blond’.  I find myself depending on the spell and grammar checker on MS-Word for words like that.  The ones I never break…or try never to break are point-of-view, passive voice and dangling participles.  I totally get why English is such a hard language to learn for non-native speakers.

If you could do a DREAM job (other than writing) what would it be and why? Have you used it in any of your stories?

I’d like to be a pilot.  It would be awesome to fly, and it’s a great way to travel all around the world.  The protagonist in my very first novel, On A Wing and a Prayer is a pilot.

What kind of jobs have you had in the ‘real’ world?

From ages 12 to 17, I served meals to the elderly in a nursing home.  I drove a cotton candy truck to stock car races for a friend of my father’s who had cerebral palsy.  I also worked as a short-order cook in a snack bar until a year or so into college.  While in college, I manned the box office at the campus theater, and then after graduation, I was hired into a semiconductor manufacturer, and 42 years later, I’m still there!

If you could rewrite a CLASSIC novel as a lesfic novel, which would you choose and why?

To Kill a Mocking Bird.  Scout would definitely be a baby-dyke, and I would replace Atticus Finch with a Xena-like kick-a$$ lawyer…like Billie Charland in my Billie/Cat Series.  Considering the time and place the novel was set in, she would most likely still lose the case, but then she would break Tom out of prison by tying a rope around Argo’s saddle and tearing the bars out of the window.  She would then run for Sheriff and win.

Some quickies (pardon the pun—pick twelve):

Satin or Lace?   Satin

Hot or Cold?   Hot

Camera or Canvas?  Camera

Denim or Leather?  Leather

Talking or Texting? Talking

Irish or Italian?  Irish

Thunder or Lightning?  Thunder

The sound of a heartbeat or a crackling fire?  Crackling fire

Holding hands or Holding her attention?  Attention

Crayons or Paint?  Crayons

Mountains or Beach?  Mountains

Rain or Sunshine?  Sunshine (unless it’s a really violent storm…love the thunder)

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members that ‘surprised’ you?

My employer was super supportive.  They even paid to have me attend the Society of Women Engineers Conference to present a paper I wrote titled, “Switching Sides – My Professional Journey Over the Rainbow.”  The paper was all about coming out at work.  How cool is that?

If you could meet anyone famous, PAST or PRESENT who would it be, and why?

Toss-up between Michelle Obama and Rachel Maddow.  Michelle, because I adore and admire her, and Rachel, because she’s my secret girlfriend…everyone knows that!

Is there anything in your life you would delete?  Anything you would replay?

That’s a hard question.  My first instinct would be to say marrying my ex-husband, but then I wouldn’t have my sons or grandkids.  I guess, if I was to be honest, I wouldn’t delete any of it.  I love where I am today, and who I am with…and had anything part of my life been different, today would be different as well.

What were you like at school?

Nerdy tomboy.  I went to Catholic schools, which was an experience in and of itself!  I hated the uniforms.  I would have much preferred pants.  We had no girls sports, so I joined the band…and of course, I played the drums.  I did really well at school and almost always made the honor roll.  I was not one of the popular (mean) girls…which was something that broke my heart then…but I’m kind of glad for now.  I hung around with the other nerdy girls.

Were you good at English?

Yes.  I took as many creative writing classes as I could.  I remember writing a poem once with 26 words…each one a letter of the alphabet.  I still remember the first verse… “Alcoholic bumpkins, cackling deliriously eating fetid geraniums…”  Odd…yes, but I was amused!

Do you speak any foreign languages? Which ones? What, if any, would you like to learn?

Unfortunately, no.  After eight years of elementary school French and two years of high-school Latin, I’m afraid I’ve retained almost none of it.  I learned American sign language at one point, but again, I’ve forgotten most of it.  I would love to learn Spanish, German, and Gaelic.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I guess we’d all like to become the next Stephen King, but that’s pretty unlikely for me.  It has always been my goal to supplement my retirement with my writing income. That will definitely happen.  I am hoping to learn more marketing skills that I can employ when I have more time in retirement.

If you could have anyone play the main character of one of your books, any actress, who would you choose and why?

If my novel, 1140 Rue Royale was made into a movie, I would have Sherii Saum and Teri Polo play Lia and Elliot…because they are who I had in mind when I wrote those characters.  They’d be perfect!  If my novel Yesterday Once More was made into a movie, I’d want Katherine Moening to play Jordan and Jessica Chastain to play Maggie.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Generally, about a month of research followed by 3-4 months of writing.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Sometimes, yes…or I’ll force myself to keep writing even when it doesn’t feel right, and end up erasing it when it turns out to be crap.  I try not to do that – it’s a waste of time.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Yes…for me, going back to the beginning of the book and reading it all over again almost always shakes the block loose…and most of the time,  the story takes off in an entirely different direction after the block.  I believe a block happens when you are trying to write something the characters don’t want to do, and once you stop trying to force them, the block goes away.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I published my first book in 2005 (On A Wing and a Prayer), and while it continues to be one of my best sellers I feel like the quality of my writing and my creative imagination has improved 100 times over.  It has definitely matured right along with me.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I rarely read…and when I do, it is generally not lesbian fiction…for reasons I stated earlier…I don’t want to subliminally lift an idea or copy the style of other authors.  When I have time to read (which is very rare), I’ll read books by Jodi Picoult, Kathryn Stockett, Dan Brown.  My wife, on the other hand, is an avid reader, and her preference is fantasy books…in particular, by Mercedes Lackey, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey.

For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hardback books?

Paperbacks/hardcovers

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

All of my books are professionally edited.  I go through it a zillion times…then hand it off to Barb for a final read-through (and corrections) …then send it off to several beta readers…and then finally, to my editor.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

No.  When I know it’s finished, I push hard to get it into my editor’s hands as soon as I can.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

My first six books were published when I was with Blue Feather Books.  They had a cover artist who designed several covers for each book, and I was given the opportunity to choose the ones I liked best.  The covers for my last nine books were designed by me.  Some of them are from photos that I took myself, and some of them are from stock photos I purchased online.  The cover for Book I of the Billie/Cat series (In A Family Way), was drawn by my grandson when he was five years old.  The cover is basically a house with a rainbow above it, and five stick figures of the family who lives there.  Funny enough, none of the figures have noses…but they all have belly-buttons, LOL!  It is one of my favorite book covers.  All my book covers reflect an aspect of the story in some way.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

I think it is a mechanism to catch a reader’s eye, so, yes, it is important, but I would hope a reader would remember the old adage… ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover.’  Sometimes some really awesome books are cloaked in mediocre covers.

How do you market your books?

Poorly…that is most likely why there are hoards of readers out there who have never heard of me.  I post on Facebook groups mostly, and I physically sell books at author events and conferences when I can.  I donate a lot of books to pride centers and libraries in the hopes it will get my name out there, and I work with a distributing company that sells my books on consignment.  I also have an author page (www.karendbadger.com), and a publisher website (www.badgerblissbooks.com) …and a Facebook page for Badger Bliss Books.

Why did you choose this route?

This route is what I know how to do at the current time.  As I’ve said – Marketing is the weakest link for me.  I need to learn how to market better…I need to learn the different ways of marketing…and I need to find time for marketing in my crazy-busy life.

What do you do to get book reviews?

I have exchanged free books for reviews and I have solicited reviewed from groups that exist for that reason.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

At this point, social media is my primary marketing tool.

Which social network worked best for you?

Facebook

Why do you think that other well-written books just don’t sell?

Lack of visibility.  It all comes down to knowing HOW to market and being willing to spend the money, time and effort marketing.

What do you think of “trailers” for books?

Trailers are useful tools as long as people watch them…and they adequately entice the reader enough to want to purchase the book.  Again, it’s a matter of visibility.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

Free books in exchange for reviews is based on the honor system.  I have had relatively good luck with it.

Did you format your own book?

Yes.  I format all my own books…and I offer formatting, cover creation and ebook creation (manuscript services) through my Badger Bliss Books website (www.badgerblissbooks.com).

In what formats is your book available?

Paperback, PDF, Mobi, Epub…and most other formats upon request.

How do you relax?

Barb and I watch home improvement shows together.  We kayak, camp, take rides on the motorcycle…and I also like to knit and crochet.  Oh, and let’s not forget singing karaoke!

Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Retired, living part-time, seasonally, in our Vermont and New Mexico houses, traveling to the National Parks, and writing.

What is your favorite movie and why?

Burlesque, and Grease.  I love modern musicals.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t worry so much.

‘Borrowed’ permanently from James Lipton on The Actor’s Studio:

What is your favorite word?  Seriously?! (said sarcastically)
What is your least favorite word? The “C” word.
What turns you on? Tenderness
What turns you off?  Racism, prejudice
What sound or noise do you love?  Rain on the roof of the camper
What sound or noise do you hate?  Screeching
What is your favorite curse word?  God Damn It!
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Acting
What profession would you not like to do? Septic worker
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?  Welcome to the party, your brother is waiting for you!

Did you have a good childhood? Were you a wild child? Are you the ‘odd’ one out in your family?

I had a great childhood.  Not a lot of money, but we had what we needed…and lots of love.  Raised by a divorced mom.  There were five of us when my parents divorced—ages 8 to 2.  God bless Mom!  I was not a wild child…that was my sister and one of my brothers.  I was a good girl.  Sometimes I wish I wasn’t…it probably would have been more fun.

If you had to use THREE words to DESCRIBE yourself and you were looking from the outside, how would you describe yourself?

Considerate, generous, kind

What are your thoughts on Porn (visual) vs Erotica (written) and do you think authors can creatively bring some aspects of both into their writing, making it sensual and beautiful instead of raw and vulgar?

I do not enjoy reading erotica.  I haven’t read any in a while, but the erotica I have read was all sex and no plot (and maybe that’s the point!).  Sex is good…but I enjoy a good story.  I don’t have a problem with raw sex being written into a good story as long as it doesn’t BECOME the story.

If you could have one and only one super-power, what would it be and why?

Flying

Have you ever Googled yourself? If you did, what did you find out about yourself?

Yes, I have.  A bimodal distribution of sites comes up…. those focusing on my writing…and those focusing on technical papers and patents I hold as a semiconductor engineer.  I also learned that a woman named Karen Badger was murdered several years ago in England!

Pen name vs no pen name? What was your rationale?

I began writing fan fiction under the pen name ‘kd bard,’ but all of my books are published under my real name.

Besides writing THE END, how do you KNOW a story is over and you should conclude it?

The book is finished when it FEELS finished.  When I ‘finished’ Over The Crescent Moon, I was so close to sending it out to the beta readers, but it just didn’t feel right…and I couldn’t put my finger on why.  Finally, I read the entire book again and realized that it really WASN’T finished.  By re-reading it from the beginning and through discussions with my wife, an epilogue emerged that completely changed the nature of the story…and opened it up for several sequels.  For me…my gut tells me when it’s finished.

What do you think of the ‘explosion’ of available titles for the Lesfic Reader that have come onto the market vs say 5-10-20 years ago? Is this a good thing or bad?

I think a diversity of authors is good.  And there are plenty of readers out there to read our books.  My only concern is that the growing popularity of self-publishing potentially reduces the ‘controls’ that are traditionally enforced by publishing houses…things like strict editing standards and enforcing the ‘rules’ of grammar.  The good news about self-publishing is that no one can tell you no.  The bad news about self-publishing is that no one can tell you no.  It is important to maintain quality standards, especially when the only one you need permission from to publish your book is you.

Are you a quiet person or verbose in person?

I am not brash and ‘in-your-face’, but I’m not shy, either.  I enjoy people, but there are times when I just want to hang out in the back of the room as well.  I think people, in general, find me to be friendly, engaging and approachable.

Is there something in life you wish you had been braver about?

Not necessarily braver…but more aware about my orientation.  I had crushes on girls since I was a young kid, but I didn’t have a name for it.  I was definitely aware of it, but my young mind thought it was simply hero-worship.  It wasn’t until I was 40 years old that the light bulb came on.  On the other hand, I’ve had an interesting life so far, and I have a family I probably wouldn’t have had, had things come to light earlier.  I wonder now if I would have been brave enough to act had I known earlier.  I can only hope I would have.

If you were stuck on an island with only three books, which three would you like them to be?

A book on survival skills, a book on how to force yourself to like fish (because I wouldn’t want to starve to death), and War and Peace (because it would be a long time before I ran out of reading material). LOL!

If you were stuck in an elevator with three people, who would you like them to be?

President Obama, Etta James and Prince

20 years from now your books are assigned to a women’s studies class. What would you want them to say about your body of work?

That my books are substantive and relevant and feature strong, intelligent, and independent women…and that love is love, regardless of how it’s packaged.

Do you consider yourself successful at this thing called writing? What makes you think that?

Not to discourage new writers out there, but a very small percentage of all authors actually make a living by writing and selling books.  It takes a lot of talent, luck and timing to become a financially successful author.  Success it not necessarily measured by how many books you sell or how much money you make.  You can achieve success simply by putting pen to paper and telling a story that brings a measure of joy or interest to another human being.  I measure my success by how satisfied I am that a story touches my own soul as well as the souls of others.  If I can make myself laugh, or cry, or outraged, or happy by re-reading I book I have written, then I define that book as successful.  If others enjoy it, and it produces some level of income (high or low), then that is a bonus.

Were there any teachers that stood out through school?  Anyone that made it bearable and that you remember fondly?

I mentioned earlier that I went to Catholic schools.  I had nuns as teachers right up until 6th grade.  In 6th grade, I had a lay teacher named, Mrs. Lafayette.  She was pretty awesome…and so different from the nuns.  She was funny and engaging…and laid back—unlike most of the nuns who were, for the most part, stiff and unyielding.  In high school, I had a major crush on my typing teacher, Mrs. MacDonald… Mrs., Mac, as we called her. In college, my drama teachers were a married couple, Joanne and Donald Rathgeb.  They were amazing and extravagant people…especially, Mrs. R.  She would sweep into a room when she entered – always an actress.  I attribute my ability to be friendly, outgoing and comfortable in front of a large crowd to the Rathgebs and the time I spent in the St. Michael’s College drama department.

Do you enjoy debates?  Any particular subjects?

Yes, as long as I am prepared with the facts.  If you follow my Facebook page at all, you’ll know that I am passionate about politics and about the disparity between the two major political parties.  I am also passionate about racial and sexual equality and about the rights of the LGBTQ community.

If you had a time machine would you go forward or back in time and why?

I would go back in time, the first thing I might do is convince Trump’s parents to use better birth control, LOL!  Seriously though, if I could go back in time and prevent slavery, or the Holocaust, or Stonewall…or any other horribly atrocious act against the people of the world, I would do it. Of course, changing even one thing in the past might have a ‘butterfly effect’ or a ‘pebble in the pond’ effect for future events as well.  Those changes might be for the better…or worse.  Who knows?

Do you believe in astrological signs and what they mean? Do you think you follow your own and are stereotypical of what it says about your birthday/year?

I am a Sagittarius and in the Chinese zodiac, I am a Monkey.  When I read about the characteristics of Sag’s, it pretty much fits who I am and how I am.  Sag women are generally described as optimistic and confident, charming, versatile, ambitious and determined.  We seek knowledge and love to explore and to make others happy. We are fiercely independent, yet welcome others with open arms. On the other hand, we can be intolerant, especially with the injustices in the world.  It occurs to me as I write this, that most of the lead characters in my book have the same traits.  Like I said, I believe every author writes some aspects of themselves into their characters.

Toe ring or belly button ring if you HAD to have one?

Belly ring – I actually have a piercing there.

What is the scariest thing you have ever attempted in your life?

Skydiving.  It turned out to be really fun! I’d do it again.

Have you ever stolen anything?

No.

If you could make out with one character from a movie, who would it be and why?

Gracie Lou Freebush (Sandra Bullock) from Miss Congeniality.  I love Sandra Bullock.  She is my second secret (not-too-secret) girlfriend (beside Rachel Maddow).  She is just so down to earth and NICE.  Gracie Lou starts out being this stiff, tough, clumsy detective who suffers from low confidence and in the course of the movie, she turns into this fun, down to earth girlfriend, who of course, saves the day, all while participating in a beauty pageant that she is soooo not cut out for.  I just love her!

Is there one scene from your book that is the most memorable?

Geeze…there are so many memorable scenes in most of my books!  In my latest release, ‘In The Blink of an Eye,’ there is an entire chapter dedicated to the school shooting, and how each of the characters experiences it differently.  That part of the book grabs me in the gut, and creates a lump in my throat.  I have five grandkids in the school systems…one in high school, three in middle school and one in elementary school (in the same age group as Sandy Hook), and it breaks my heart to imagine any one of them in that situation.

What is the one thing that surprised you about becoming a published author?

How satisfying it is to hold a book in your hands with your name on the cover.  The other major benefit is the number of friends I have made through my writing.  I have met so many amazing women, and some of them will remain very close friends for the rest of time.  It is truly a loving and diverse community.

Where were you when you found out your book had won a LesFic Bard Award?  What was your reaction?

I was at home…working from home, actually, thanks to this virus.  I received an email that “In The Blink of an Eye” was a finalist in the Young Adult category.  I was very pleased, but still a bit downtrodden that “Over The Crescent Moon” didn’t seem to get a mention.  Then, the very next day, I received another email that said “Over The Crescent Moon” not only won….but it won in TWO categories, Historical and Action/Adventure.  Needless to say, I was over the [crescent] moon with joy (I know…that was corny!).   When the awards arrived, I promptly gave them a place of honor in my office.  They are beautiful!  For any author reading this, you will understand the feeling of being unappreciated when you release a book that you just KNOW is amazing, only to receive virtually no recognition for it. So when your book wins…and wins big, it’s a validation of your skills as a storyteller and it provides so much inspiration to continue your craft.

email: karendbadger@together.net

Author page:  www.karendbadger.com

Publisher page:  www.badgerblissbooks.com

Amazon page:  https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Badger/e/B00J653VBK

Kindle Store:  https://www.amazon.com/s?k=karen+d.+badger&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss

Bella Books:  https://www.bellabooks.com/category/author-karend-badger/

Barnes and Nobles:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Karen+D.+Badger/_/N-8qa?_requestid=6739504

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kbadger

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Karen+D.+Badger

Meet McGee Mathews

McGee Mathews is the winner for NEW AUTHOR for her book Moving Violations in the 2019 Lesfic Bard Awards.

McGee MathewsMcGee Matthews Moving Violations

Where were you born? In an Army hospital. My dad was a Warrant Officer.

Where did you grow up? Michigan.

Do you have any siblings? Yes, one sister and one brother.

What were your parent’s professions? My mom was a homemaker and dad was a mechanic.

Why do you write? The characters come to me and interrupt my dreams until I find them a story. Then they stalk me until it’s finished.

What do you think makes good writing? When the reader is pulled so far into the story, they feel the emotions of the character and time just slips away from them.

How do you choose the names for your characters? Some are easier to select than others, I use old census records and baby name lists. Sometimes I’ll use a name generator just to get me started.

When you are writing each novel. Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? A tiny tidbit here and there, but the characters present themselves in situations which lead to other situations. My life is full of laughter, but we aren’t that interesting!

What is the hardest part of writing a book? Cutting out that scene you love.

What is the easiest part of writing a book? For me, the research, which can lead into a rabbit hole, but sometimes that’s where the best ideas are hiding.

Do you think a book can have too much detail it?  Do you think it can detract from the story? There’s a reader for every style, so not really. If the reader can’t see it in their head, there’s not enough.

What are you working on now? A story set in a small town in South Carolina, not any different than several just up the road. Sort of a second chance, can’t run from yourself kind of thing.

How do you keep your different characters separate in your mind? I make a character chart for reference as needed, including an image or two for each. I try to pick three good traits and one bad, and then have one of those traits pop up in most scenes.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? I do when writing the first draft. I set timers to “sprint” by which I mean that there is no stopping to look up a thing, just write as fast as you can. Editing is much slower so I have no targets for that.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? I outline on paper with a crazy bubble chart kind of thing, but write on the computer. I’ve started using Scrivner, and the jury is still out.

Where do your ideas come from? I see a scene, in my mind or literally, and it strikes me as curious. Why is that person there? What are they thinking about? What happens next? One answer leads to more questions.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I write myself into corners, or worse just a pretty scene, if I don’t have some sort of outline written down. I took a plotting class at a Book Lovers Convention, and I took what works for me from that. The characters usually are tricksters and act in ways I hadn’t expected and they take the story a whole new direction.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor.

What genres do you normally write in? Romance, both contemporary and historical. I’m already fighting the box. I’m a romantic at heart, so no matter what I write, a romance happens somewhere in there. I think I’m humorous, but it’s really hard to write humor.

What genres do you typically read? I like cozy mysteries, sappy romances, and funny stories.

Is there a genre you haven’t written in that one day you’d like to tackle? I’d love to wrestle with world-building, but I suspect that would become a huge rabbit hole and I’d never get around to actually writing a story!

What was the first book you ever published? Moving Violations. It’s a little genre mash, but I loved hanging out with the characters. Amy is a hot mess, Molly wonders how she got involved with these people, and Robin is a Peter Pan with a mischievous streak. What could go wrong?

When did you first sign with (your current publisher)? I signed with Sapphire Publishing a few months ago.

How did you celebrate your signing? In the era of Covid, just a few phone calls. Someday we’ll have a celebration.

Do you have any specific things (or rituals) that help you to write or that inspire you? I make a sound track on Spotify for each book as I’m plotting, songs that put me in the emotional space for that story. I listen to it when I write that book, or at least a good bit of the time.

Is there a certain time of day you prefer to write? I tend to get rolling at night, and then all of a sudden, it’s three am and I’m still typing away!

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I won a young authors contest in elementary school. I remember sitting in that huge auditorium in downtown Detroit and thinking, after I grow up and learn some interesting things, I’m going to be an author.

Tell us about your new release. Exceeding Expectations, the second book in Diamond Lake came out in February and I have two nearing completion but I don’t have release dates yet. One is a historical romance set in the 1860’s with some quirky characters that I just love. The second is a more contemporary drama dealing with mental health issues, a love lost and a love found.

What are your major sources for research?  Do you use books or google?  Even movies? I try to at least do a cursory google search for general background before I use my friends, friends of friends, whomever, for that little detail only a person who has been through that event/job/skill would be able to describe. Thankfully most of those experts have been willing to read at least sections to make sure the storyline is plausible, even if not likely.

What kind of jobs have you have in the ‘real’ world? Everything from factory work, kitchen help, farm work to building maintenance, automotive engineering and teaching chemistry. Jill of all trades, master of none. It’s an oddly American thing to identify by our occupation, and I found a certain satisfaction from a job well done no matter the task.

Some quickies (pardon the pun—pick twelve):

Satin or Lace?  Lace

Hot or Cold? Hot

Camera or Canvas? Camera

Denim or Leather? Leather

Talking or Texting? Talking

Irish or Italian? Irish

Thunder or Lightning? Lightning

The sound of a heartbeat or a crackling fire? Crackling fire

Holding hands or Holding her attention? Holding hands

Crayons or Paint? crayons

Mountains or Beach?  Beach

Rain or Sunshine? rain

If you could meet anyone famous, PAST or PRESENT who would it be, and why? Ellen DeGeneres, she’s made a huge personal sacrifice that benefited so many other lesbians, and I would thank her. And then tell her something funny and she would hopefully laugh.

Is there anything in your life you would delete?  Anything you would replay? I feel like I did the best I could with the cards I had at the time, but some of the most painful parts of my life have given me the emotional fodder for my writing, even if I don’t write about those events.

Were you good at English? Pretty good, but in my opinion not exceptional.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Yes. I love Robin Alexander’s books, although I can’t put them down and laugh and wake up my wife. There are so many good story tellers out there in lesfic right now, I’m afraid to start listing and miss someone.

For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books? I use an ebook cover so it feels like a “real” book, but I appreciate being able to increase the font!

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? I was a science major! I take all the help I can get!

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. I play around with images that seem to relate to a part of the story and then get help!

Who designed your book covers? To date, two of my friends. Claire Britain worked with me on my first two books. I based a character on a friend from high school, and when I showed her a draft, she popped back a wonderful cover. I haven’t set a release date at this time.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? I think it catches readers with that first look so they will check out the blurb. Now the subjective part is what defines a good cover? No idea…lol

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Make a plan, and then follow it. Don’t leave it up to the winds.

What’s your views on social media for marketing? Pick your format and engage. Whatever you enjoy will be the same for your readers. Then show them the real you, maybe the shiniest you, but still you. No one wants to read about your books all the time.

Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell? It’s the story first, and sometimes we get so caught up in grammar and arcs that we forget to be a storyteller.

How do you relax? I work on genealogy projects.

What is your favorite positive saying? “this too shall pass.”

What is your favorite quote? Hillel the Elder, “If I am not for myself, wo will be for me?  If I am only for myself, what am I?  If not now, when?”

Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Traveling with a caravan of lesbian authors who RV, writing and laughing as we explore the world.

What is your favorite movie and why? American President, funny, sad, touching, and the daughter plays trombone.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t worry so much, everything will be all right.

What is your favorite word? Maybe
What is your least favorite word? Cunt
What turns you on? The right smile
What turns you off? Sweaty socks
What sound or noise do you love? laughter
What sound or noise do you hate? Alarm clock
What is your favorite curse word? Fuck
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Disc Jockey
What profession would you not like to do? Mortician
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Well done.

Have you ever Googled yourself? If you did, what did you find out about yourself? NO! I don’t even read Goodreads reviews; I sure don’t want to open that can of worms.

Pen name vs no pen name? What was your rationale? Pen name, predominately since people are crazy, most in a good way, but some not so much.

Besides writing THE END, how do you KNOW a story is over and you should conclude it? When I am so sick of them and couldn’t possibly reread the story! Lol then I put it away for a month or so and let it cool off before I tackle it with fresh eyes.

What do you think of the ‘explosion’ of available titles for the Lesfic Reader that have come onto the market vs say 5-10-20 years ago? Is this a good thing or bad? It’s a great thing! There is no one narrative of the lesbian experience and who better to tell our stories? The quality improves out of necessity, and readers have a chance to support books that represent them. The river raises all the boats. More books will pop up to “mainstream” as great books are discovered by a wider readership.

Are you a quiet person or verbose in person? I’m chatty, for sure. I am the rare thing in the writer’s world, the extrovert!

Is there something in life you wish you had been braver about? I am not a brave person by any stretch. My wife insists I spoke in tongues when we parasailed. I insist it was the intermittent twenty-foot drops mixed with the number of sharks below us.

Do you consider yourself successful at this thing called writing? What makes you think that? Yes. I had a lady write to me that my book was the first she had read in thirty years. I cried.

Were there any teachers that stood out through school?  Anyone that made it bearable and that you remember fondly? I was lucky to have a number of great teachers over the years, but one in particular I would like to be able to talk to for about ten minutes. I would tell her that 1) she was right, it would be okay if I was a lesbian and 2) Look at what I wrote! Somehow, I suspect she already knows.

Do you enjoy debates?  Any particular subjects? I have been known to switch sides just to keep going at it! I’m a little less passionate, or at least a little less likely to keep talking to a wall.

Do you believe in astrological signs and what they mean? Do you think you follow your own and are stereotypical of what it says about your birth day/year? I teeter totter on this one, but generally agree that the signs seem to fit most people. Why wouldn’t babies who all spend their first months in a warm soft breeze be more similar than babies wrapped up against the cold on their little noses?

Toe ring or belly button ring if you HAD to have one? Ugh. I can’t stand things on my toes, those toe socks, a string or bump in a sock, that stuff drives me nuts.

What is the one thing that surprised you about becoming a published author? Someone I hadn’t heard from in literally thirty years reached out to congratulate me. I was shocked that she’d seen it.

Where were you when you found out you had won the Lesfic Bard Awards, and how did it feel? I was still in bed, lazing around on a Sunday morning, even the dogs hadn’t gotten up yet. I started scrolling on my phone. I had noticed the finalist list the day before, and wasn’t listed. I thought that meant my chances were over. Then I started reading the list and I was shocked to see my name. I told my wife, “I think I won something.” She took the phone, read the screen and gave me big hug. I was stunned most of the day.

Meet Annette Mori

Annette is the winner of the 2019 Lesfic Bard Award for her novel A Window to Love as well as a finalist for her novel Compound Interest.

Annette MoriAnnette Mori A Window to LoveAnnette Mori FinalistAnnette Mori Compound Interest

Where were you born? Galesburg, Illinois

Where did you grow up? Illinois

Do you have any siblings? Two sisters. One older, one younger.

What were your parent’s professions? Father was a school psychologist and my mother was a special education teacher.

Why do you write? It satisfies my need for a creative outlet and a way to write about topics I have a great passion for.  I like to sneak in subtext on contemporary social issues.

What do you think makes good writing? A great story with likeable characters the reader can root for. Plot eats technical skill for breakfast.

How do you choose the names for your characters? Co-workers, friends, family and sometimes a search in my baby names book.  On occasion, I have searched the internet for names that have certain meanings that fit a character.

What is the first piece you ever wrote? My debut novel…Love Forever, Live Forever.

When you are writing each novel. Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Almost always yes, or at least some of the experiences.  Of course, they are major parts in most of my novels that are completely fiction and the product of my overactive imagination and quirky style.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I don’t think so.  I tend to obsess so much during the process that I am so done when it goes off to the Publisher for them to do their thing and send it out to the universe.  That is not to say that if a reader notices an error, I won’t plead with my publisher yo fix it.  I hate errors (part of my well developed OCD).

What is the hardest part of writing a book? The mushy middle.  Normally I have an easy time with the beginning and the end…it is the arc and what happens right before and after that I find difficult.

What is the easiest part of writing a book? The beginning because I am on fire with my latest idea and the words flow best when I have a new idea that I have passion for.

Do you think a book can have too much detail it?  Do you think it can detract from the story? Probably, yes.  I tend to be a heavy dialogue writer and struggle with long descriptions, so maybe that is reflective of the kind of books I enjoy.  Too much of a descriptor tends to slow the story down for me, even if the writer is very talented at detailed descriptions. I enjoy a fast-paced plot.

Do you have any writing rituals? And can you tell us about your writing discipline? I have zero discipline when I am not inspired; which is why I either write quickly or don’t write at all. When I am on a roll I can easily write at least a thousand words a day which is kind of my metric for discipline. As for rituals, that has never been my thing.

What is your greatest fear as an author? That I will inadvertently offend someone.

Who do you have fans compare you to (other authors)? Not sure I am really compared to anyone.  If I was, I don’t recall.  I’m fairly unconventional and quirky…which has been something noted versus a comparison to any famous author.

What are you working on now? I started a story about a woman on the spectrum looking for a girlfriend before my wife and I took our big RV trip.  I will return to that story when we get back home in mid-June.  Since I have another book coming out this year called One Shot At Love, I anticipate getting the edits from the editors to work on very soon.

How do you keep your different characters separate in your mind? They are usually pretty distinct, but I do have serious troubles with the finer details and timelines.  I am constantly going back to re-read sections to get things correct and often have to makes changes to avoid plot holes or other problems.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Very part-time, even though I am now retired from the job that paid the bills.  It seems having more time has not at all meant more writing. In fact, the opposite has occurred.  Of course that may be due to finally getting to spend quality time with my wife.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I used to write after work, now I write in the mornings.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when? I only write when inspired and then I usually will write 7 days a week while on a roll.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? 1,000 has been my metric for what I consider a productive day.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Computer or iPad.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers? One with Erin O’Reilly and two with Ali Spooner.  I loved both experiences.

Where do your ideas come from? Dreams, news articles, Facebook posts, challenges, joking around on Facebook…so many places!

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I am a total pantser and never do an outline. Wherever the story takes me…

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor.

What genres do you normally write in? Almost all of them. I haven’t done much with sports, except my new novel has a Olympic skeet shooter as a main character. I have not done any western themed books.  That would definitely be outside my wheelhouse.

What genres do you typically read? I read them all!

Is there a genre you haven’t written in that one day you’d like to tackle? Maybe a full-length erotica.  I have only done a short based on a challenge.  I’d love to do humor, even though many have commented on humor in most of my books. It isn’t the same as some of my idols who have books that are so funny that’s what they are famous for.

Are there any authors who have influenced your work? Not necessarily influenced my work, but I sure would love to be compared to a few.

What was the first book you ever published?Love Forever, Live Forever

When did you first sign with (your current publisher)? 2014

How did you celebrate your signing? Called my wife and probably had a glass of wine.

What was the craziest thing you’ve ever done when it came to a storyline in your book? Had a character that brought her dreams to life.

Do you have any specific things (or rituals) that help you to write or that inspire you? Not really.  I am mostly inspired by certain social issues.

Is there a certain time of day you prefer to write? Mornings before the day gets going.

What is your writing day like? I usually write for about 2 to 3 hours and then I leave it alone unless something pops in my head and then I might get up in the middle of the night to write or jot down notes if I can’t write at that moment.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I was living separate from my wife and got bored. I was reading lesfic and thought how hard can it be to write lesfic.  For the record…bloody hard!

Do you hear from your readers much?  What kinds of things do they say? I am so fortunate to hear from readers who have thanked me for writing about topics that many will not touch.  A number of readers have been very kind in their comments to me and their e-mails.  Often this has made my day and come at a time when I thought about stopping.

Tell us about your new release. The most recent release is the book I wrote with Ali Spooner as part of the Trophy Wives series.  Ali is a brilliant writer who I am fortunate to have the honor of writing with.

What kind of heroine is in your current book? Chancy is a young bartender who has had a rough life.  Kicked out early and living on the streets until the bar owners gave her a job and place to live.  Prior to that, she was turning tricks on the streets.

Is there someone famous she resembled when you wrote her? Or is she based off someone you personally know? No-one famous and not anyone I know…she is completely a figment of my imagination.

What are your favorite character traits that you cannot resist? Sassy, funny, sarcastic, but with a heart of gold. I always want at least one of my characters to be kind and compassionate.

What part of the female physique captures your attention? Their smile. Lips and nice teeth.

As an author and essentially the “creator” of your character, do you find yourself attached to her in a personal way? I am committed to her having her happily ever after and attached to ensuring that happens.

If you could actually meet the character of one of your books, the exact woman you’ve conjured up in both looks and personality, which one would it be and why? Mabel Butt in Out of This World because I wrote her as a beauty, but she doesn’t know she is.

Tell us what kind of heroes/heroines you prefer to write about. Humble and kind.

Does your heroine, take after you? Or is she someone you wish you could be?Probably someone I inspire to be.

Out of all your books, do you have a favorite? Yes, Unconventional Lovers.

What is your biggest distraction when you write? Social media.

What are your major sources for research?  Do you use books or google?  Even movies? Books, google.

Which grammar rule is your favorite to break? Which one do you never break? I enjoy slang and get cautioned by my editor on that. I’ve been told I have a colloquial writing style which makes me easy to read, but I won’t ever be considered a classic writer! I’m fairly good with correct use of apostrophes, but I’m not sure I’ve never broken a rule…never is such a definitive word!

If you could do a DREAM job (other than writing) what would it be and why? Have you used it in any of your stories? Librarian because I would be surrounded by books!  Yes, Mabel was a librarian.

What kind of jobs have you have in the ‘real’ world? Dishwasher, nurse’s aide, telemarketer, dietary aide, administrative assistant, cocktail waitress, switchboard operator, recruiter, coordinator for higher education programming, college professor, college residential director, human resources executive.

If you could rewrite a CLASSIC novel as a lesfic novel, which would you choose and why? Hunchback of Notre Dame.  I am attracted to underdogs who are not seen for their value as human beings.

Some quickies (pardon the pun—pick twelve):

Satin or Lace?  Satin

Hot or Cold? Hot

Camera or Canvas? Camera

Denim or Leather? Denim

Talking or Texting? Texting

Irish or Italian? Italian

Thunder or Lightning? Lightning

The sound of a heartbeat or a crackling fire? Heartbeat

Holding hands or Holding her attention? Holding hands

Crayons or Paint? Paint

Mountains or Beach?  Beach

Rain or Sunshine? Sunshine

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members that ‘surprised’ you? My most recent boss.

If you could meet anyone famous, PAST or PRESENT who would it be, and why? Michelle Obama…duh..she rocks.  Intelligent, funny, compassionate…

Is there anything in your life you would delete?  Anything you would replay? No, I don’t think I would.  Everything in life teaches us lessons worthy of learning from and allowing growth.

What were you like at school? Very timid and shy.

Were you good at English? Yes

Do you speak any foreign languages? Which ones? What, if any, would you like to learn? Nope.  Took four years of latin.  Spanish seems the most helpful.

What are your ambitions for your writing career? Not sure I have any ambitions.  I think I would like to make it to the number one spot on the Amazon charts someday, but not holding my breath!

If you could have anyone play the main character of one of your books, any actress, who would you choose and why? Ellen Page. She’s a lesbian and I have loved her since I saw her in Juno.

How long on average does it take you to write a book? At least 3 months including edits.

Do you ever get writer’s block? All the frickin time.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? Nope…wish I had any answers on that.  I just wait it out until I am inspired to write again and try to be kind to myself in the meantime (doesn’t work).

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? My stories have gotten more outlandish at times.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? I read all the time and I have too many favorites to list!

For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books? Ebooks because I can work out and read at the same time.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? I proof the many times and also have three different editors: beta, content, final proof.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? I edit right away and return the edits and changes to my editor usually within a day or two of receiving their notes and edits.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. The cover artist asks for ideas and for me to pick out pictures I like and then mocks up several versions to choose from.  On rare occasions, I haven’t liked the first mock ups and she’s been great about going back to the drawing board until I like one.

Who designed your book covers? Nancy Kaufman of Irish Eyes designs.  One was designed by Ann McMann who worked with Stone Soup for Compound Interest, a charity book with Stone Soup Community Press.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? I’ve heard it does.

How do you market your books? Mostly with social media…probably too much during the first month.

Why did you choose this route? It’s what seems to be easiest and most fruitful.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? Probably not because I am not popular enough to afford that.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Not really since this is an I credibly weak area of mine.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? Not sure I can answer that because I don’t set aside specific marketing time.

What do you do to get book reviews? I’ve tried launch teams, giveaways, and sending to review sites.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Meh….

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? Nope and lately I’ve been terribly lazy about sending to the more well-known review sites. Whenever I am asked for a copy, I happily send it!

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Personally I won’t leave a bad review, but I respect those who believe strongly in leaving both good and bad reviews.  I like to leave positive reviews to support fellow authors.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? I don’t like marketing so if there is one, I probably blocked it out!

What’s your views on social media for marketing? It’s where I get most of my suggestions for books to read, so I hope it still works for me.  I am never bothered by authors posting their new releases or older releases as reminders, even if those reminders are daily and on several different sites.

Which social network worked best for you? Facebook

Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Not really because I am sure that no matter what a person does there are competing opinions on this.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? I have not tried this.

Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch? Not local press.  I have done radio interviews.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? I don’t know because I don’t have access to real time sales data.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? Probably, but again there are competing opinions to everything, so I try not to beat myself up too much on this. I do that enough with my writing!

Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell? Now that is the million-dollar question.  I wish I knew.

What do you think of “trailers” for books? Not sure they are successful or not, but they sure are fun to view and I am grateful to Danna for doing several for me and to Julie who does them for Affinity.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why? I hope so.

Did you format your own book? No, Affinity does all that for me.

In what formats is your book available? Both print and e-book.  I only have one audio book (Artist Free Zone).

How do you relax? Read

What is your favorite positive saying? I don’t have a favorite…when I see one I like, I comment, but usually can’t remember them.

What is your favorite book and why? Too many to list.

What is your favorite quote? From Viktor  Frankl…”the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time? Traveling the world!

What is your favorite movie and why? I don’t have one favorite…too many to list, like books!

What advice would you give to your younger self? It gets better, really.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Answered earlier

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? The Hunger Games because Katniss is a badass and the kind of character I would have loved to write.

‘Borrowed’ permanently from James Lipton on The Actor’s Studio:

What is your favorite word? Fuck
What is your least favorite word? Cunt
What turns you on? A build up of intimacy.
What turns you off? Instalove
What sound or noise do you love? Moan
What sound or noise do you hate? Grunt
What is your favorite curse word? Fuck
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Singer
What profession would you not like to do? Gardener
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Your mom has been waiting to see you.

Did you have a good childhood? Were you a wild child? Are you the ‘odd’ one out in your family? Yes. No I was a very good kid. Yes I am the odd one out.

If you had to use THREE words to DESCRIBE yourself and you were looking from the outside, how would you describe yourself? Compassionate, generous, dorky.

What are your thoughts on Porn (visual) vs Erotica (written) and do you think authors can creatively bring some aspects of both into their writing, making it sensual and beautiful instead of raw and vulgar? I think it is all semantics and different for everyone. One person’s porn is another’s erotica.  If you look at the definitions, they are essentially the same…

If you could have one and only one super-power, what would it be and why? The ability to heal someone. I don’t like seeing people I pain.

Have you ever Googled yourself? If you did, what did you find out about yourself? Nope

Pen name vs no pen name? What was your rationale? Pen name because I was in a profession that would have been difficult to explain to colleagues.

Besides writing THE END, how do you KNOW a story is over and you should conclude it? I usually know exactly how to end a book without writing The End. I try to tie everything together in the last page.

What do you think of the ‘explosion’ of available titles for the Lesfic Reader that have come onto the market vs say 5-10-20 years ago? Is this a good thing or bad? Good thing because I love to read.

Are you a quiet person or verbose in person? Quiet and I force myself to be extroverted at events.

Is there something in life you wish you had been braver about? I wish I had started writing before age 54.

If you were stuck on an island with only three books, which three would you like them to be? Yellow Raft in Blue Water, The Help, Grapes of Wrath

If you were stuck in an elevator with three people, who would you like them to be? Oh hell no…I would scratch my way out.

20 years from now your books are assigned to a women’s studies class. What would you want them to say about your body of work? She was not afraid to tackle uncomfortable topics.

Do you consider yourself successful at this thing called writing? What makes you think that? Not particularly. I haven’t sold anywhere near enough to make a full time living at writing. I am very okay with that, though.

Were there any teachers that stood out through school?  Anyone that made it bearable and that you remember fondly? An English teacher who taught an advanced class called, The Psychological Study of Man Through Literature.  It was a fascinating class.

Do you enjoy debates?  Any particular subjects? Yes, politics.  It was a regular topic at our dinner table while growing up.

If you had a time machine would you go forward or back in time and why? Forward…I’d love to see that we hopefully evolved to a kinder, gentler people.

Do you believe in astrological signs and what they mean? Do you think you follow your own and are stereotypical of what it says about your birth day/year? I don’t believe in that and I don’t think I am a stereotypical Leo.

Toe ring or belly button ring if you HAD to have one? Toe…I ain’t showing my belly at my age.

If you were the love child of two great authors who would they be and why? I can’t even imagine this one….

What is the scariest thing you have ever attempted in your life?  Karaoke

Have you ever stolen anything? Piece of candy when I was three and got a spanking for it!  Never stole again.

If you could make out with one character from a movie, who would it be and why? Katniss…hot archer…

Is there one scene from your book that is the most memorable?  Better ask my readers that one…I am notoriously wrong about anything to do with my books!

What is the one thing that surprised you about becoming a published author? That anyone would want me to sign a book for them.

Where were you when you found out you had won the Lesfic Bard Award and what was your reaction? I was in our Moses Lake condo scrolling through social media and clearing out my e-mail in the morning and saw the first notice on Compound Interest.  I didn’t see the other until later!  I woke my wife up to tell her!