Meet Lise Gold

2019 Finalist for Living

Lise Gold LivingLise Gold Finalist

2018 Winner for French Summer

Lise Gold 4410AW9FCI0L._SY346_

 

Where were you born?

London, UK

Where did you grow up?

London, Norway, Zambia, the Netherlands

Do you have any siblings?

Many! All half siblings, my father has been very active. 2 half-sisters in Scotland, 2 half-brothers in the Netherlands (who I grew up with), 2 half-sisters in Thailand and a half-brother in Thailand. They’re all lovely.

What were your parent’s professions?

My stepfather was a biologist and helped set up breweries for Heineken in different countries when I was younger, and later worked for dairy companies. My mother stopped working when I was born and was a lovely stay-at-home mum. My father, well… I think I’ll choose not to answer that question lol.

Why do you write?

F/F Travel Romance (if that’s a thing J)

What do you think makes good writing?

Making the reader want to keep turning the pages.

How do you choose the names for your characters?

I just pick one that I think might suit the character. Sometimes, I use real names for side-characters, if people ask me to put them in their books.

What is the first piece you ever wrote?

The very first was a story my mom sent to me recently, written in Norwegian. Five pages of rambling when I was five. My first piece in Dutch was a book I started on. 30.000 words in, my laptop got lost on the train and I didn’t have a backup. I gave up on writing then, until I write Lily’s Fire, although I wrote consumer-facing messages, marketing stuff and lots of trend predictions while working as a designer.

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

They’re not personal, but yes, I take inspiration from life, and even my own life. I use events or struggles I see around me, and the travel aspect of my books comes from my own travels, too.

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

Maybe. There’s always a maybe. But at some point, you have to decide the book is finished, otherwise there will be no end to the process.

What is the hardest part of writing a book?

The last couple of weeks when everything has to be made pretty and edited.

What is the easiest part of writing a book?

The start. And I love the 40% mark (I don’t plot) when things start to make sense and I get to know the characters.

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

It could. It depends on the individual readers too; how much detail they like or need to be able to envision the scenes.

Do you have any writing rituals? And can you tell us about your writing discipline.

Alcohol and candles when I write sex scenes. And I need to travel to where my book is set, otherwise I find it hard getting inspired. As there won’t be any traveling in the near future, I’ve set my current WIP on a yacht, so hopefully I can get around that problem if they’re floating at sea J

What is your greatest fear as an author?

I do always worry my readers will not like my latest release. My aim is to get better with every book, not take a step back.

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

I don’t know… I can only see what authors I’m being paired with on Amazon (the ones my readers buy too).

What are you working on now?

A novel set on a yacht. It’s a romance and I’m drawing inspiration from a fabulous 3-day trip I got invited on last year, sailing along the coast of South of France.

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

It’s easy; they are, or become, their own person.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Full-time.

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

I start early morning (around 7 or 8 am) and stop when I’ve had enough. Sometimes that’s late afternoon, and sometimes that’s closer to midnight.

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

Six days, sometimes seven. Of course, it’s not just writing. There’s also research, editing, marketing, distribution. proofing, audiobooks, translations, social media, and lots of people to liaise with.

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

Yes. 2000 words as I have a lot of other book-related stuff to do.

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

On my MAC. It’s my baby and I’m permanently attached to it.

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

No. I don’t plot (I can plot but then I don’t ‘feel’ my own writing), so I never know where the story goes until it ends. I’m also very chaotic so I’d feel bad for anyone who would have to work with me. It’s not that I’m not open to it, but I need to collaborate with someone I have ‘natural flow’ with.

Where do your ideas come from?

Traveling. I write the first part of the book on location and love to observe people and situations. If I want to write about a topic, such as addiction, depression, sexual harassment, I’ll spend a lot of time on research and talk to professionals.

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

I just see where it goes. Once I get to the 40% mark and I know my characters, I re-write a lot, so their actions make sense.

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

Airline hostess, vet, ballerina, singer, spy, profiler. So many things. I ended up being a designer because that seemed like the least boring choice when it came down to picking a study. Spy or profiler didn’t seem like plausible choices.

What genres do you normally write in?

Only romance so far, but I’d love to write a thriller one day, and I’m also working on a collection of essays.

What genres do you typically read?

Humour. Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, Garrison Keillor, although I will admit that I don’t have much time to read these days.

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

Suspense, and I’d also like to write a collection of essays.

Are there any authors who have influenced your work?

I’d never read lesfic before I started writing it (I didn’t even know it was a thing), so not in this genre.

What was the first book you ever published? 

Lily’s Fire (2017)

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

I’m self-published (Lise Gold Books)

How did you celebrate your signing?

I celebrated my first release with lots of Champagne and a lavish dinner.

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

Not sure, but I can tell you the worst thing. My characters in ‘Beyond the Skyline’ eventually had their happy ending in Luton, London. I’d never been to Luton when I wrote it, but I now know that it’s about as unromantic as it gets.

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

I do, and I’ll just leave it at that

Is there a certain time of day you prefer to write?

Early morning

What is your writing day like?

I usually have one audiobook on the go, so I’ll proof the chapters my narrator has uploaded the night before over my first coffee while I check my emails and social media. Then I’ll write until I get tired. More coffee, then sometimes a meeting with one of my translators, narrators, cover designers, or my editor. Then more writing. If I feel like it, I’ll cook dinner. I love cooking but get lost in it and will make up dishes from anything I have in the fridge for hours. If I still have energy after that, I’ll write for another hour or two.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

No, it was always there but I never thought of giving it a go until I needed a new challenge after being a designer for fifteen years. I wanted to create something that was just mine, that didn’t involve endless meetings or decisions from higher up, spoiling my creative process.

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

Yes, and I love hearing from them. For me, it’s very important to be in touch with my readers, it gives me joy to hear they’ve enjoyed my books, and their constructive feedback helps me too. I love honesty.

Tell us about your new release.

The Scent of Rome will be out on 28/05/2020.

In a last-ditch attempt to secure an investor for an app she’s developed, Rome Foster travels to her namesake city hoping her luck is going to change. Just as she’s about to pitch her life’s work, she meets the charming and captivating Nadine; a high-end escort who shocks Rome by flirting with her. Rome is straight, but Nadine sparks up a fire in her so strong that it seems impossible to extinguish.

Nadine Costa is pleased with the way her life is going. She lives in a fantastic apartment in the city she loves, and her lucrative job provides the funds she needs to support her expensive passion: perfume making. When Rome crosses her path, she knows she’s never smelled anything quite so exquisite in her life.

Rome is a loner and doesn’t let people in, but when an incident occurs and Nadine steps in to save her, she realizes her feelings go deeper than just lust. Neither of them was looking for something more than physical, but when the stars are aligned, it’s hard to escape destiny…

What kind of heroine is in your current book?

The kind that fights for justice.

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

Neither. She just manifested in my mind J

What are your favorite character traits that you cannot resist?

I love teasing, playful, sexy characters, who are also intelligent.

What part of the female physique captures your attention?

LOL! Are you asking me if I’m a ‘tits or ass’ girl? It depends…

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

Yes, but I also find it really easy to let go after a book. I don’t normally feel the need to make it into a series so I can hold onto them.

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 would love to meet Nadine from ‘The Scent of Rome’. I think we’d get on really well.

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

I like strong and intelligent women who make sense. I suppose you could call them leaders.

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

I’ve never thought about that. I’m quite happy within myself and I don’t think I’d want to be anyone else.

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

I always prefer my latest as I think (hope) my writing gets better with each book.

What is your biggest distraction when you write?

We have two dogs and three cats. The dogs tend to stare at me with a ball in their mouth, and recently, our cat, Tittie, has taken a liking to the ball too. Now, I have three pairs of eyes putting me under pressure all day long.

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

I travel and talk to professionals for my research: therapists, perfumers, pilots, cruise ship staff, recovering addicts, lawyers… For my latest book, it was fun spending some time with a high-end escort who filled me in on her job.

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

I have no idea… I will be mortified if you catch me with a builders’ 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?

I’ve had a lot of fun jobs (designer, chef, singer) and I’ve used some of them in my books. I suppose I’d like to write about a profiler one day and certainly wouldn’t mind working in that field, but you know, the ten years of studying never appealed to me because I get bored easily.

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

Apparel designer, sportswear designer, swimwear designer, creative lead, singer, chef, waitress, buyer, gas-station assistant, and many, many more part-time jobs I can’t even remember. I’ve had jobs since I was 15.

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

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. I wouldn’t change a lot, but I’d add a doomed romance between Julia and the narrator (Charles) and turn him into Charlotte J

Some quickies (pardon the pun—pick twelve):

Satin or Lace?  Satin (‘Satin’s for the free!’ – Dorothy Parker)

Hot or Cold? Hot

Camera or Canvas? Camera

Denim or Leather? Satin lol

Talking or Texting? Talking

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 her attention

Crayons or Paint? Paint

Mountains or Beach?  Beach

Rain or Sunshine? Sunshine, always!

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

My editor approached me out of the blue when I was writing my third book and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go with it. I’m glad I said yes eventually because she’s been my rock and sounding board ever since and I’m so grateful to have her in my life.

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

I’d love to have a drink with Meghan Markle. I’m sooooo curious to know what’s been going on behind closed doors at the Royal Palace.

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

No, I believe in crossroads and that we’re meant to make mistakes. I’ve made many.

What were you like at school?

Naughty (but never mean) Also, highly uninterested J

Were you good at English?

Yes, but it never felt like my mother tongue.

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

Norwegian and Dutch, and a bit of Mandarin. I can also communicate, with Swedes and Danish, Germans and South-Africans.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I want to be a better writer and write something I’m very proud of one day. I’d also like my books to be for everyone and have them translated into Spanish, Hindi, Mandarin and French. (I’ve already started with Spanish and Hindi)

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

Vera Farmiga. I think she’s charming, beautiful and a great actress. I would want her to play Ally in ‘Western Shores’. I’d also love Meghan Markle to play Nadine in ‘The Scent of Rome’.

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

3-4 Months. 4 Months, mostly.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Not often, but sometimes, yes, and it really sucks.

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

Stepping away. Travel helps me, and new experiences. Micro dosing LSD also helps but I only do that when nothing else works.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I’m not sure, I’d have to read my books in order to know. Creatively, I don’t think I’ve evolved much, though, but hopefully I’ve improved technically.

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

I don’t get much time to read and I know I should make more time to read as it makes my writing better. I only read four books last year. Strangely, I seem drawn to male, humorist writers, both English and American. In the lesfic genre, I like to read Melissa Brayden or Clare Lydon as their books are relaxing and fun.

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

Paperbacks. But I rarely buy new books, mainly second hand, and I see it as a positive trend that people read more eBooks. Better for the trees J

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

No, I have an editor, a beta reader and proofreaders.

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

Never, I need to stay in the zone.

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

I did my first four covers, and the covers for The Compass Series. As I used to be a designer, that wasn’t hard, but fonts and covers are certainly not my strong point, so I now hire a very good cover artist I used to work with, and for Madeleine Taylor’s books, I use an illustrator.

Who designed your book covers?

Myself and for the last two, Neil Irvine Design. He’s amazing.

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

Yes, I’m very familiar with the psychology behind marketing and I believe it’s important, especially if you’re an unknown author.

How do you market your books?

Online adverts, magazines, social media, radio, blogs.

Why did you choose this route?

These are all the routes available to me.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?

No. I’m yet to come across a PR agency that actually offers value for money for indie authors.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Go with any option available to you, see what works, then re-evaluate once a year. The world changes and things that work today might not work tomorrow. When it comes to social media marketing, don’t just throw book links out there five times day for the sake of it, but make it meaningful or interesting.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

Depends. I plan time and budget according to what I want to achieve. I’m planning on marketing heavy in Spanish speaking countries later this year, so that will cost more time and effort as I’ll need help with that. Normally around 5% of my time.

What do you do to get book reviews?

Not much, I prefer natural reviews as they will give me honest feedback. I have a small group of ARC readers.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?

I don’t spend time on this.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?

No, I don’t look for them. I do always send my books to 4 lesfic reviewers, though.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Of course, good reviews make me happy. If the feedback in a bad review is constructive, I’ll take it. One-star reviews that don’t make sense or feel like a personal attack don’t bother me; I have very thick skin after working for big corporate brands for years.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?

Sorry, can’t think of anything.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

I believe it works if it’s natural. I like to share my writing / travel process which isn’t marketing per se, but it helps the book getting noticed and builds anticipation.

Which social network worked best for you?

Facebook.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?

Don’t bombard people with stuff you wouldn’t want to see yourself.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

I had a press release for Living as it was running along with a fundraiser for mental health awareness, and if magazines ask for it, I will write one up. But normally, no. They only reach a very small audience.

Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?

Yes, a couple of times.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?

No, I wish there was one, apart from discounting lol.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?

No.

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

If you’re with a big publisher, but you’re not one of their best-selling authors, they won’t put much marketing budget aside for you, no matter how good your book is. If you’re with a smaller publisher (at least from what I’ve seen) they don’t put much effort into marketing your book, so then it’s down to yourself anyway. The more eyeballs on your books, the more they will sell, and in my opinion, some of the best-selling indie authors very pretty good at marketing their books because they do it in creative ways and therefore manage to connect with their audience.

What do you think of “trailers” for books?

No opinion on them.

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

Yes, I give away a lot for free. People who wouldn’t normally buy your book might try it that way and if they like it, they’ll want to read more.

Did you format your own book?

Yes, I use Vellum.

In what formats is your book available?

All my books are available in e-book, paperback and audio.

How do you relax?

Signing or cooking.

What is your favorite positive saying?

It is what it is.

What is your favorite book and why?

No idea. I don’t have a favorite book.

What is your favorite quote?

Panta Rei (everything flows)

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

I’m happy, so I would be grateful if life continues like this. Maybe in a warmer county though, I hate the English weather.

What is your favorite movie and why?

Depends on my mood. I have a guilty pleasure for Asian horror movies.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

You don’t know shit, so think before you speak. Also, ‘assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups’.

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

Dorothy Parker and Dolly Parton. Dolly because I think she’s fabulous and funny and she’s an amazing songwriter and singer. And Dorothy because I was always drawn to both her work and persona. Neither of them give a fuck about anything.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

I would have loved to have been Agatha Christie. I’d be memorable and my books would be both entertaining and approachable.

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

What is your favorite word? Yes
What is your least favorite word? Can’t (technically two, but okay J)
What turns you on? Hehe…
What turns you off? Sexy talk in Dutch. It’s awful.
What sound or noise do you love? The sound of the ocean
What sound or noise do you hate? A drill going through concrete

What is your favorite curse word? Fuck
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Spy
What profession would you not like to do? Anything that involves killing animals. Being a butcher would be my worst nightmare.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? You’ve been a good girl, please step into my beautiful garden filled with puppies, kittens, wine and sunshine.

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

I had an unconventional but good childhood, and I suppose I was a bit of a wild child / party animal in my late teens / early twenties.

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

Carefree, lazy, curious, (but at the same time blissfully ignorant)

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 don’t think porn would inspire me. In my opinion, it’s better to leave something left to the imagination. The mind is stronger than the eye.

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

To be able to fly. I dream about it a lot.

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

Yes. Nothing weird, just book stuff, and I hope it stays that way.

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

Pen name. Many reasons.

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

When my characters are in a good place and have resolved their issues. I like to give them a happy ending.

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! People deserve choice, right? I also think it’s a good thing that it’s starting to cross over into mainstream. More visibility means acceptance is growing.

Are you a quiet person or verbose in person?

Both. I like my own company, but I can be loud and extravert in social situations.

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

No. I have no regrets.

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

Dorothy Parker – collected poems, anything by David Sedaris, The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood.

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

Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert and Aretha Franklin. I’d love to harmonize with them, and elevators have great acoustics!

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?

I’d love for them to say my books have made a difference to millions of readers in one way or another. But I doubt that would be the case J

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

Success is relative, but I’m writing full-time and it’s going well, so that’s success to me.

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

My art teacher was inspiring and encouraged me to develop my creativity.

Do you enjoy debates?  Any particular subjects?

As Lise Gold, no. Especially online, I don’t engage in debates and I don’t talk about politics. It’s just about the books for me.

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

No. Wait… can I just make my body go back in time and keep my mind the same?

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’m balancing between Pisces and Aquarius, but I’d say I’m a typical Aquarius. ‘Believe’ is a strong word, but I do find astrology interesting.

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

If I had to, a toe ring.

If you were the love child of two great authors who would they be and why?

Barbara Cartland and David Sedaris. I’d be fabulous and funny.

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

I don’t tend to get scared easily but someone once asked me: ‘Could you hold my snake for a minute while I use the bathroom?’ and wasn’t my favorite moment. I’m willing to try everything once, though.

Have you ever stolen anything?

Yes. My best friend and I shoplifted like motherfuckers when we were fifteen because we wanted to wear matching outfits on holiday lol. I haven’t stolen anything since I turned seventeen though, apart from a Starbucks mug a couple of months ago. It was an opportunity too good to pass…

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

Mila Kunis in Black Swan

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

I don’t know, that’s difficult for me to say. You’d have to ask the readers.

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

That people actually wanted to read my books J

Where were you when you found out you won the Lesfic Bard Award and what was your reaction?  When I won the Lesfic Bard Award for French Summer last year, I was at my kitchen table, where I tend to write.  I saw the post and got super excited, did a victory dance across the kitchen floor, then went out to get a bottle of Champagne!

Meet Jane Alden

Jane AldenWinner of the 2019 Lesfic Bard Award for Fiction.

Where were you when you found out you won the Lesfic Bard Award, and what was your reaction? I was sitting in my den in Claremont, California. MSNBC was playing in the background, as it always is, and my partner Donna was making dinner. I saw the notice on my laptop that the winners were out, and I opened it and scrolled through to see who the lucky winners were. There was the great Ann McMan cover with the yellow Duesenberg! I yelled, “I won!” It was one of the biggest surprises and truly the best moment of my writing life.

Where were you born? A small town in the Mississippi River delta country. Trumann was only 5,000 souls, but still the largest town in the county. It was a company town, Singer Sewing Machine Cabinets employed  two thousand people, so pretty much called the shots. I went through high school there. There were 72 people in my graduating class.

Do you have any siblings? I have two brothers. Ed is 12 years older and Coy is three years younger. They both still live in Arkansas.

What were your parent’s professions? My father was a cotton farmer and small-time entrepreneur. He was somewhat limited in his business enterprises because he was too conservative to borrow money. He owned a move theater in the late 40’s, sold real estate, appraised farms for the bank, sold used furniture, opened a coin laundry, and so on. My mother went to teacher’s college in Mississippi before they married. She taught school, worked in my father’s various ventures, and worked in the town library. Her true love was writing poems and memories about growing up in rural Mississippi. Her poetry and prose pieces were published in the Memphis newspaper and some magazines.

Why do you write? I started writing very recently. My first fiction was published two years ago. There were two main reasons I wrote that first book: I wanted to see if I could do it and I wanted to write about an experience I had as a teenager that affected my life.

What do you think makes good writing? Good craft is important. Readers expect and deserve stories that are as technically perfect as possible. Then, I’d say character development is most important. Creating people who are believable, interesting, and who grow over the course of the story. Finally, the interplay between character and setting, which gets into great descriptions of time and place.

How do you choose the names for your characters? Names are easy for me for some reason. My characters name themselves. Titles, on the other hand, are hard for me. I’ve thought a lot about why, and I think I try to be too literal. I try to find the perfect few words that tell the potential reader exactly what the story is about. I’m working now on my third book, a crime novel. I think I have a good title, Death Comes on Swift Wings.

What is the first piece you ever wrote? I was in business for many years and wrote a business “How-to” book called The Everyday Genius about how people of different temperaments lead other people.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Writing Jobyna’s Blues was really fun. I did a lot of research about the settings, 1920’s American south and skipping forward to 1970’s London and New York. I love the characters. So no. However, my first book, Across A Crowded Room, I would definitely change the abruptness of the ending. I got to write a follow-on short story, Forever Across A Crowded Room, which is available for free on the Desert Palm Press website, so I did get to change that.

What is the hardest part of writing a book? For me, the middle.

What is the easiest part of writing a book? I love writing dialogue. I’ve always been interested in accents and regional figures-of-speech. I think it comes from having grown up in the south and then moving to California. Death Comes on Swift Wings is written in first person, a new experience for me. I’m really enjoying it.

How do you keep your different characters separate in your mind? Writing for me feels like watching a movie and then putting it down on paper, so it feels very visual.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when? I write almost every day, but I’m ok if I don’t. I don’t write many words at a time, but may write several  separate times during the day. I write in my head before putting it in the computer.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I start with an outline, and many things happen that I never anticipated.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An archeologist. Death Comes is about a hot archeologist and her assistant exploring Egypt.

What genres do you normally write in? While my stories are about relationships and have a love scene or two, I don’t think they’d be called romances. I feel most comfortable writing about the past up to the 1970’s. Haven’t been moved to write anything contemporary. I think it’s best for me to be able to look back on things for perspective. So, I guess you’d say Historical.

Are there any authors who have influenced your work? Jane Rule, Kathryn Forrest, Sarah Waters, Carol Anshaw.

When did you first sign with (your current publisher)? Desert Palm Press, two years ago.

How did you celebrate your signing? Yelled a lot.

Do you have any specific things (or rituals) that help you to write or that inspire you? I read the last thousand words or so that I wrote and rewrite heavily.

Is there a certain time of day you prefer to write? Middle of the day

What kind of heroine is in your current book? Death Comes On Swift Wings is narrated by Ariadne Morgan, a 23-year-old woman just graduating from Barnard and at loose ends after breaking up with her Woman’s Studies professor. She is smart, well-organized, and a little naïve. She takes a summer job as assistant to a hot archeologist, thirty-something Cassandra Stillwell, intuitive, impulsive, and creative.

Is there someone famous she resembled when you wrote her? Or is she based off someone you personally know? Dr. Stillwell is sort of a hot, female Sherlock Holmes.

What are your favorite character traits that you cannot resist? A genius who has feet of clay.

What part of the female physique captures your attention? Breasts.

As an author and essentially the “creator” of your character, do you find yourself attached to her in a personal way? One of the great things about writing is that I can create exactly who I want her to be and how she behaves. A power trip.

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? Jobyna Jones, Empress of Blues. She was so talented and was a great business woman for her time. She had a deep, interesting sadness from a difficult life.

Tell us what kind of heroes/heroines you prefer to write about. Flawed geniuses.

Does your heroine, take after you? Or is she someone you wish you could be? Cass Stillwell and I are both big picture, intuitive people who like to think we’re good judges of character.

Out of all your books, do you have a favorite? Jobyna’s Blues is better technically than Across A Crowded Room. I hope Death Comes will be even better than the first two.

What is your biggest distraction when you write? My 10-month-old lab puppy needs lots of attention. If she can get at my laptop, she tries to swat it away.

What are your major sources for research?  Do you use books or google?  Even movies? The internet is invaluable. Google Earth is incredible because you can actually be standing in the middle of the location as you write a scene. Books from my favorite authors are a great source as are biographies of people who resemble my characters.

Which grammar rule is your favorite to break? Starting a sentence with And. Which one do you never break? I never purposefully break any other ones. I love perfect grammar. I had a great high school English teacher and was an English major in college.

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? Lightening

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

Holding hands or Holding her attention? Holding her attention

Crayons or Paint? Paint

Mountains or Beach?  Mountains

Rain or Sunshine? Half and half

If you could meet anyone famous, PAST or PRESENT who would it be, and why? Abraham Lincoln. I would like to get his advice about how we can get out of this mess.

What were you like at school? I was the ideas person. I always was saying, “Here’s what we should do.” I was the president of my senior class.

Were you good at English? I was great, and I had great teachers. We learned everything from Shakespeare to how to diagram sentences.

Do you speak any foreign languages? Which ones? Spanish. I took it in high school and college, and then taught seventh grade for two years with students who didn’t speak English.

If you could have anyone play the main character of one of your books, any actress, who would you choose and why? Oprah would play Jobyna. She has the ability to win against the challenges of fame and social change. Also, I think she’s a genius.

How long on average does it take you to write a book? Six months or so.

Do you ever get writer’s block? I write mostly in my head, and my problem is the opposite of writer’s block. I have a hard time getting my mind to shut up and just be in the moment.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I haven’t been around long enough to evolve very much. I’ve gotten much better at the craft of writing through reading authors I admire, attending workshops, reading “how-to” articles on the internet, the advice of beta readers, and a great editor.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? I proofread and edit as I go along. I like to have the story be as perfect as possible when I write The End. The frustrating thing, it can always be better. My publisher provides professional editing, which I really enjoy.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? No, I never do this.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. My publisher, Lee Fitzsimmons at Desert Palm Press provides the cover artist, but she lets me work directly with the artist. I love the Jobyna’s Blues cover by Ann McMan. It blows my mind how brilliant she is as both a writer and artist. My contribution to that cover was saying, “I see a yellow Duesenberg.”

How do you market your books? Social media and, before the virus, in person readings and book signings, which I love to do. Meeting a reader and getting her feedback is just the best. Marketing my books is a new world for me, and I’m not great at it yet. Something I need to spend more time on and learn about.

Which social network worked best for you? Facebook is best for me. It’s the meeting place that people I have most in common with tend to gather. I tried Twitter, but didn’t like it as much.

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

What is your favorite word? Possibilities
What is your least favorite word? Limits
What turns you on? Strong women
What turns you off? Narcissists
What sound or noise do you love? A train whistle in the distance
What sound or noise do you hate? The street sweeper at 6 am
What is your favorite curse word? Fucker
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Archeologist
What profession would you not like to do? Teacher
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? You weren’t so bad

Did you have a good childhood? Were you a wild child? Are you the ‘odd’ one out in your family? My mother told me I was perfect. My father told me that southern women have a proscribed role and limitations. I chose to believe my mother. The truth came to me over the course of my life: seeing yourself as perfect is a great benefit in some ways because it lets you try anything without fear of failure. However, it’s not true, of course, and it can be annoying to other people.

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

If you could have one and only one super-power, what would it be and why? Mind reading. The most important thing in life is relationships with other people. Knowing what they think would let you quickly develop a relationship.

Pen name vs no pen name? What was your rationale? My real name is Jane Hurd, and pen name is Jane Alden. Alden is a family name on my mother’s side, so it’s to honor her.

Besides writing THE END, how do you KNOW a story is over and you should conclude it? I’m still learning about how to end a story. One of my imperfections is assuming that people can read my mind. As an executive, I always had to remember to explain why I was making a certain decision. It seemed so self-evident to me that I felt I was talking down to a person when I went into details. My first book, Across A Crowded Room, ended too abruptly and I got critiques for that. Desert Palm Press has a free short story, Forever Across A Crowded Room, that follows Bennie and Laura thirteen years later. That should have been the last chapter of the book originally. Jobyna’s Blues is better at tying up the loose ends.

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 good. Our stories are a way we connect with each other.

Are you a quiet person or verbose in person? I think you would say “to the point”.

If you were stuck on an island with only three books, which three would you like them to be? The Price of Salt, Desert of the Heart, Curious Wine

If you were stuck in an elevator with three people, who would you like them to be? My partner Donna, Ellen DeGeneres, and Oprah.

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 able both to entertain and to provoke thought. She got better over time. She was never boring.

Do you consider yourself successful at this thing called writing? What makes you think that? Winning the Lesfic Bard Award was a tremendous validation. I think the triple blind judging process is so smart. I wish I sold more books, because that would be good for my publisher who has faith in me as a writer, and it would mean people enjoy my stories.

If you had a time machine would you go forward or back in time and why? I’d like to be able to go both ways, but always stay close enough to the portal to make sure I could get back to the present.

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 believe in temperament types. My business book, The Everyday Genius, proposes four types, Idea Genius, Plan Genius, People Genius, and Data Genius. It has a little test to discover which one you are. I think astrological signs often correlate with temperament types. I’m a Scorpio, and I think the description fits.

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

If you were the love child of two great authors who would they be and why? Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson. They were both dreamers.

What is the scariest thing you have ever attempted in your life? Riding a bicycle down Haleakala Volcano in Maui at dawn.

Is there one scene from your book that is the most memorable? In Jobyna’s Blues, before Jobyna and Lily get together as lovers, they go to a rent party in Memphis. Lily gets accosted by a man, and Jobyna rescues her. He says, “Oh, I see. She’s your girlfriend. Well, you better take care of her or she’ll find out what a real one feels like.” Jobyna decks him. In my work-in-progress, Death Comes on Swift Wings, I’m proud of how the murder scene came out.

Jane Alden Jobyna's Blues

Meet Elle Hyden

Winner of the 2019 BEST COVER for the Lesfic Bard Awards, Finalist for BEST NEW AUTHOR!

Elle Hyden

Elle Hyden Finalist

Where were you born?  San Antonio, Texas

Where did you grow up?  Same as above

Do you have any siblings?  Yes 3 brothers 1 sister

What were your parent’s professions?  My mom was a bookkeeper my father was an insurance investigator.

Why do you write?  That’s a tough one.  I’ve been a reader since I was about eight.  I love it and when I retired and could read non stop something happened and stories started filling my head and invading my dreams. I wanted to emulate the authors that had entertained my all my life and try and craft my own.

What do you think makes good writing?  The ability to tell a story that the reader can feel to the marrow of their bones.

How do you choose the names for your characters?  In my first book it was based on ethnicity of the characters. In my current book it has to do with the theme of the story.

What is the first piece you ever wrote?  A paranormal thriller (that is not in print).

When you are writing each novel. Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?  There have been little parts of me in each book.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Yes.  Have the characters meet a little sooner.

What is the hardest part of writing a book?  Finding the right balance between show and tell.  Too much description slows the story down but you need enough that the reader feels they are there.

What is the easiest part of writing a book?  Coming up with the story idea.

Do you think a book can have too much detail it?  Do you think it can detract from the story? Yes, needs to be balanced between show vs tell

Do you have any writing rituals? And can you tell us about your writing discipline.  I have to write in the mornings before I start anything else.  I also like to find music to listen to that won’t take my focus off the writing but play like a theme in the background.

What is your greatest fear as an author?  That my writing is crap.  lol

Who do you have fans compare you to (other authors)?  I don’t know.

What are you working on now?  Book two of my mystic meteor tale.  This one has a bit of a Poe them going with the M/C are named Raven and Lynnore.

How do you keep your different characters separate in your mind?  They each have their own distinct voices and personalities so that part is easy.

Do you write full-time or part-time?  Even though I am retired I only write about 4 or 5 hours a day when I’m not doing other things.  So probably part-time is the best answer.  lol

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  Mornings are for writing, afternoons are for naps.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?  I try to write a little each day but not consistently.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?  On days I write I try to get at least 500 words in minimum.

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

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?  No

Where do your ideas come from?  Out of the blue somewhere.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?  Make a rough outline but don’t always stick to it.

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

What genres do you normally write in?  Romance

What genres do you typically read? Fantasy or sci-fi

Is there a genre you haven’t written in that one day you’d like to tackle?  Yes I would like to try my hand at both of the above.

Are there any authors who have influenced your work?  Annette Mori and Fletcher DeLancy.

What was the first book you ever published?  A Sensitive Case (not in publication now) a mystical thriller.

When did you first sign with (your current publisher)?  Signed my first book off to a publisher which ended badly so now I am an indie.

How did you celebrate your signing?  At the time yes, I did.

What was the craziest thing you’ve ever done when it came to a storyline in your book?  I don’t think I have done anything crazy.  lol

Do you have any specific things (or rituals) that help you to write or that inspire you?  Music and sometimes pacing.

Is there a certain time of day you prefer to write?  Mornings only

What is your writing day like?  Nothing really.  I just open my WIP and start in on it.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?  After I retired, I spent almost every waking hour reading, and I started dreaming about stories.  One really stuck and I kept dreaming about it and started writing it down just to see if I could craft one as good as the ones I was reading.

Do you hear from your readers much?  What kinds of things do they say?  Not really.  When I post a snippet of my current WIP I will get likes and comments like ‘Can’t wait’

Tell us about your new release.  Don’t have one yet.

What kind of heroine is in your current book?  Lynnore is an empath and has gone into hiding with a little girl that she swore to the child’s grandmother that she would look after, to keep the child’s mother from taking her.

Is there someone famous she resembled when you wrote her? Or is she based off someone you personally know?   No

What are your favorite character traits that you cannot resist?  Altruistic traits

What part of the female physique captures your attention?  Someone’s smile and I have a thing about pretty teeth.

As an author and essentially the “creator” of your character, do you find yourself attached to her in a personal way?  Yes, especially when they espouse the things that I believe in.

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?  Selina because I love Native American culture and she overlooks the physical and only cares about the person.

Tell us what kind of heroes/heroines you prefer to write about.  Ones that overcome adversity.

Does your heroine, take after you? Or is she someone you wish you could be?  Only in sense that I have overcome some adversity in my life.  I also wish I could find a loving relationship, but I fear I am too old now for that to come to pass.

Out of all your books, do you have a favorite?  Since I have only written two I would have to say Lost & Found.

What is your biggest distraction when you write?  My brother since I am his primary caretaker and he no longer drives so I run him around, do all his grocery shopping, and even his laundry these days.

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

Which grammar rule is your favorite to break? Which one do you never break?  Since grammar is not my thing, I’m not sure.  lol

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 would love to learn to be a computer programmer and create games.  My current M/C is that.

What kind of jobs have you have in the ‘real’ world?  During high school and college I was in food service.  After that I was in accounting for years before joining the Navy where I was an Aviation Electronics Technician.  After the Navy I went back into Accounting and Business Management.

If you could rewrite a CLASSIC novel as a lesfic novel, which would you choose and why? Bid Time Return is a 1975 science fiction novel by Richard Matheson (made into a movie Somewhere in Time).  I love the concept of that story of being out of the time line of your one true love.

Some quickies (pardon the pun—pick twelve):

Satin or Lace?  Satin

Hot or Cold?   Cold

Camera or Canvas?  Canvas

Denim or Leather?  Denim

Talking or Texting? Talking

Irish or Italian? Irish

Thunder or Lightning? Both

The sound of a heartbeat or a crackling fire? Heartbeat

Holding hands or Holding her attention? Holding her attention

Crayons or Paint? Paint

Mountains or Beach?  Mountains

Rain or Sunshine? Rain

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members that ‘surprised’ you? Other Lesfic Authors.  They kept encouraging me and several served as my beta readers

If you could meet anyone famous, PAST or PRESENT who would it be, and why?  I would love to meet Katherine Hepburn.  I think she was phenomenal in every respect and I would love to ask her if she was gay or bi.

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

What were you like at school?  A jock so I hung out with teammates

Were you good at English?  Not especially I was good at mathematics.  Lol

Do you speak any foreign languages? Which ones? What, if any, would you like to learn?  In my youth I spoke German but not all that well.  I also took Spanish in college because I had to have two semesters of language, but I am linguistically challenged.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?  Not to crash and burn.  But seriously I hope I can keep improving and that I will learn to write faster.

If you could have anyone play the main character of one of your books, any actress, who would you choose and why?  When I was writing Lost & Found I used Megan Fox as my model for the character Selina.  She’s mixed race with some Native American in her background and her blue eyes were the clincher.

How long on average does it take you to write a book? A year with beta readers and edits.

Do you ever get writer’s block?  Yes

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?  I just try and figure out why and push past it by writing even a few paragraphs till the characters start speaking to me again.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  Too early to tell yet.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?  If I am not writing I am reading.  I love Fletcher DeLancey’s books because she is awesome at world building and also Robin Alexander because hers are so light hearted and funny.

For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?  I have a vast library of hardbacked books but these days it has to be eBooks because I can increase the size of the text.  My eyes aren’t what they used to be.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?  I do the initial editing but then I have my beta readers and then pay for a line editor to go through it before publication.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?  Since I send it out to multiple beta readers one at a time it seems that I am constantly editing.  Once it goes to the editor though it took a month to get it back for my final edits, but I work on my WIP during that time.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.  I did have an idea for it and tried to put one together myself but with all the technical stuff and the copyright parts I felt it best to go with a designer and I am so glad I did.  She took my basic idea along with the synopsis of the story and crafted the perfect cover.

Who designed your book covers?  May Dawney

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?  Absolutely. The more intriguing the cover the more likely that someone will stop and read the blurb.

How do you market your books?  Facebook groups mostly.

Why did you choose this route?  It was the one open to me that wouldn’t cost anything.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?  No

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?  Just try and interact in the Facebook readers groups so that when you book comes out people in those groups already know you.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?  When it first comes out, quite a bit.  After that I put up a promo in groups occasionally so I don’t piss any of the other group members off.  Promoting too often I think can have an adverse effect.

What do you do to get book reviews?  Get ARC readers, do give a ways.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?  I think they have been decent based on the fact that I am a new author.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?  Not really

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?  If someone really like it and said why I want to make sure I keep up with that.  If someone didn’t like it and offers honest criticism that like grammatical error and such I try and learn from that.  If my story just isn’t their cup of tea because of the storyline I ignore those.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?  Not yet

What’s your views on social media for marketing?  Good as long as your don’t abuse it by over posting.

Which social network worked best for you?  Facebook is the only one I use.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?  No

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?  Nothing other than Facebook

Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch? No

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?  My dog Opie pics and using him to promote the books have gone over the best.  Plus getting the Lesfic Bard Awards.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?  Not that I know of.

Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?  Market seems to be flooded with new authors and I think a lot of readers stick with authors that are with the big name publishers, like that is a guarantee that the books are better.  Same goes for the other awards that seemed to favor the big publishers as well.

What do you think of “trailers” for books?  I’m not a fan of those as a reader so didn’t pursue it when my book came out.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?  Not really sure, but I think it made me a little more visible and I may have gotten a couple of reviews out of them.

Did you format your own book?  Yes

In what formats is your book available?  Ebook and print.

How do you relax?  Read

What is your favorite positive saying?  This too shall pass

What is your favorite book and why?  I have more than one and for different reasons.

What is your favorite quote?  Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.  Katharine Hepburn

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time? About the same as now, maybe less my brother duties.

What is your favorite movie and why?  Fried Green Tomatoes because I was Idgie Threadgood but wanted to be Tawanda

What advice would you give to your younger self?  Figure out sooner who and what you are, then go for it.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?  The Chronicles of Alsea by Fletcher DeLancey because I would love to be that good an author.

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

What is your favorite word?  Türklingel  (doorbell in German)
What is your least favorite word? Cunt
What turns you on?  Love
What turns you off?  Hate
What sound or noise do you love?  Thunderstorms
What sound or noise do you hate?  Anything that screeches
What is your favorite curse word? Shit
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Computer programmer
What profession would you not like to do?  Salesman
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?  You did good kid.

Did you have a good childhood? Were you a wild child? Are you the ‘odd’ one out in your family?  Mostly good but there were definitely some hard times because my Mom was widowed when I was young, so she lived thru some hard times.  I could be very wild but tried to temper it so I wouldn’t give my Mom too much trouble.  I was always bucking the trend because I was a tomboy, only one in my family to go to college, and the only girl in my family to go into the military.

If you had to use THREE words to DESCRIBE yourself and you were looking from the outside, how would you describe yourself?  Animal lover, kind, and fat.  Lol

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’m not really into either of those but have watched and read some, especially when I was discovering my own sexuality.  Now I prefer things that portray the emotional connections in lovemaking versus the physical descriptions of it.

If you could have one and only one super-power, what would it be and why?  Seer.  If I could tell the future then maybe I could become rich enough to spread that wealth out to those really in need.

Have you ever Googled yourself? If you did, what did you find out about yourself?  Well I hadn’t but this made me go do it.  I’m amazed that it brought up so many results.

Pen name vs no pen name? What was your rationale?  I decided to use a pen name because at the time I wrote my first book I wasn’t out yet with any in my family.

Besides writing THE END, how do you KNOW a story is over and you should conclude it?  I just felt that I had tied up everything nicely, but left an opening for another story.

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 great but harder as an author to get noticed unless you are with the big Lesfic publishers.

Are you a quiet person or verbose in person?  I’m quite at first then you can’t shut me up.

Is there something in life you wish you had been braver about?  Not really braver about but I wished I was better at telling people NO.

If you were stuck on an island with only three books, which three would you like them to be?  The Stand by Stephen King, The Chronicles of Alsea by Fletcher DeLancey, and the Anne of Green Gables book series by L.M. Montgomery.

If you were stuck in an elevator with three people, who would you like them to be? My dog Opie, my best friend and Little Debbie because she will have treats with her.

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?  Well I hope there will be a body of work first off, but I hope they will see that the stories were all about inclusion.

Do you consider yourself successful at this thing called writing? What makes you think that? Not yet

Were there any teachers that stood out through school?  Anyone that made it bearable and that you remember fondly?  Yes my Government teacher Mrs. VerSteeg.  She made me want to use the system to make things better for all.  Too bad politics don’t work that way.

Do you enjoy debates?  Any particular subjects?  No, I’m not a debater.

If you had a time machine would you go forward or back in time and why?  Back but only about 30 years after my divorce and make better choices, one of which would be to come out sooner.

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 think it is fascinating but not sure I believe in them.  I was born on the cusp between Cancer and Leo and share traits of both.  I once had a natal horoscope done and it was pretty accurate, so who knows.

Toe ring or belly button ring if you HAD to have one?  Toe ring.  Don’t really like piercings.

If you were the love child of two great authors who would they be and why?  Stephen King and Fletcher DeLancey so maybe I would have inherited their abilities.

What is the scariest thing you have ever attempted in your life?  Writing.  You really put yourself out there when you do that.

Have you ever stolen anything?  No but a not so good friend was shoplifting once and I knowingly went along with it and got nabbed along with her.

If you could make out with one character from a movie, who would it be and why?  Catherine Bell from The Good Witch, because I find her oh so sexy.

Is there one scene from your book that is the most memorable?  Yes the bathtub scene when Rea finally overcomes her body shyness and allows Selina to really see her for the first time.

What is the one thing that surprised you about becoming a published author?  That I actually made it that far.

Elle Hyden Lost & Found A Magicaly Mystery tour

2019 Winners

WINNER Gold BackgroundAction Adventure

Karen Badger Action Adventure

Over the Crescent Moon by Karen D. Badger

Karen Badger Over the Crescent Moon

Makaya Kapule and Spencer Bennet are from vastly different backgrounds…Makaya from Hawaii and Spencer from Vermont. They met and fell in love as members of the National Fencing Team. On hiatus from their grueling training schedule, Makaya and Spencer fly to Hawaii to attend her sister’s traditional Hawai’ian wedding, at which, Spencer meets Makaya’s family for the first time. While there, Makaya’s brother takes them water skiing, and an over-confident Spencer finds herself in danger when she fails to anticipate the raging fury of ocean whitecaps. She wakes up some time later to find herself alone on a deserted beach and with her world about to be turned upside down.

 

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Young Adult

Iza Moreau

Tank Baby by Iza Moreau

Tank Baby by Iza Moreau

For the first 7 years of her life, Elodie Fontaine was part of an ultra-secret psychology experiment in China. Now, at 17, she is trying to put that behind her and simply be a normal Florida teenager. She plays on her high school tennis team, is a nerd-in-good-standing in the Math and Science Club, and has come to terms with the fact that she is interested in girls rather than boys.

 

 

 

 

 

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Drama

K Aten

Burn it Down by K. Aten

K Aten Burn it Down

Ash Hayes was failed by the system at the tender age of sixteen and suffered an addiction. As a result she lives her life weighed down by the guilt of her past. To atone for childhood misdeeds, Ash trained as a paramedic after high school and eventually became a firefighter with the Detroit fire department, along with her childhood best friend Derek. Friend, confidant, brother, he has been her light in an otherwise dark life. When tragedy strikes on the job, injury and forced leave from the department are the least of her concerns. Suffering from even more guilt and depression after the loss of her two closest friends Ash is set adrift in a sea of pain.

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When Mia Thomas buys the house next door, Ash finds friendship in the most unlikely of places. It’s Mia’s nature to help and to heal. Many would say she has a knack for finding the broken ones and leading them into the light. But Ash’s secret still lives deep inside her. Before the firefighter can even think of a future, she has to amend her past. Like the phoenix of legend, Ash has to burn her fears to the ground before she can be reborn.

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Erotica

Madeleine Taylor

The Good Girl by Madeleine Taylor

Madeleine Taylor The Good Girl

I’m a good girl. I work hard, look like your average girl, do everything in moderation, and I certainly don’t make a habit of going into strangers’ hotel rooms dressed in sexy lingerie and killer heels. That is, until I meet her.

When a mysterious woman buys me a drink at a hotel bar in New York, I never expect her to impact my life the way she does. From the moment she lays eyes on me there’s little point fighting my desires because she seems to know them better than I do…

The Good Girl is the naughty debut novella by Madeleine Taylor, author of lesbian erotica.

 

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Fantasy

Alison Naomi Holt

Duchess Rampant by Alison Naomi Holt

Alison Naomi Holt Duchess Rampant

Blending the lyrical and mystical with pulse-pounding action

Epic fantasy featuring strong women characters

Aurelia “Bree” Makena, the Duchess of Danforth, waits on a beach near Port Emnal in front of her three thousand troops. As the waves lap against the hooves of her battle mare, Lioth, Bree watches the enemy ships deploying more warriors against her than she’d ever thought possible.

Victory may prove an insurmountable task.

But wrestling victory from defeat is only the beginning. The real attack is one that if successful will defeat her Anacafrian king more surely than an arrow driven through his heart.

You are invited to enter Ar’rothi, a world as vividly realized as Narnia or Middle Earth, a world where animal spirits guide humans towards enlightenment, and in which an orphaned girl and a warrior duchess must join forces against an evil that threatens everything they have learned to love.

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Fiction

Jane Alden

Jobyna’s Blues by Jane Alden

Jane Alden Jobyna's Blues

Jobyna’s Blues is a multi-generational love story, set in post-WWI American South and flashing forward to the mid-1960’s in New York City and London.

In 1924, Jobyna, the Empress of the Blues, and Lily, a dancer in her chorus line, fall in love as they travel in a custom train car and play to adoring crowds in theaters from Nashville to New Orleans to Mobile. Life is both exciting and dangerous in the young country, only sixty years past the Civil War.

Looking forward to the mid-1960’s, Jobie Greene, a folk singer in Greenwich Village, meets the charismatic English pop star, Deedee. They struggle to manage their long-distance relationship and their careers against a backdrop of social change.

The connections between the love stories and the women’s challenges and triumphs, as they echo through time, keep us surprised and challenged and rooting for their happy endings.

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Historical

Karen Badger Historical

Over the Crescent Moon by Karen D. Badger

Karen Badger Over the Crescent Moon

Makaya Kapule and Spencer Bennet are from vastly different backgrounds…Makaya from Hawaii and Spencer from Vermont. They met and fell in love as members of the National Fencing Team. On hiatus from their grueling training schedule, Makaya and Spencer fly to Hawaii to attend her sister’s traditional Hawai’ian wedding, at which, Spencer meets Makaya’s family for the first time. While there, Makaya’s brother takes them water skiing, and an over-confident Spencer finds herself in danger when she fails to anticipate the raging fury of ocean whitecaps. She wakes up some time later to find herself alone on a deserted beach and with her world about to be turned upside down.

 

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Mystery

Anne Hagan

Steel City Confidential by Anne Hagan

Anne Hagan Steel City Confidential

Clients hide things from their lawyers all the time. Pam Wilson makes it an art form.

Pam’s been on the run from the law for years and she was getting away with it. The statute of limitations ran out on most of her crimes. For her spouse Charlotte? Not so much. Though they were aging, they looked forward to enjoying their golden years and, hopefully, forgetting about the past.

Life got complicated when Charlotte became gravely ill, their daughter got pregnant with the child of a married man…a married man someone took shots at from a rare motorcycle Pam happens to own. When the man was shot again and killed in his office at Pitt a couple of weeks later, the police found all signs pointing to Pam.

Rochelle ‘Ro’ Rabinowitz, a second-generation Pittsburgh lawyer, and her little firm take on Pam’s case pro-bono. Ro thinks it’s a slam dunk for the defense and hands the case off to her new associate and – she hopes – her future partner in the firm, Dominique, to get her feet wet in a courtroom. Clients are never completely honest with their lawyers and Ro and Dominque soon learn this one is no exception.

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New Author

McGee Mathews

Moving Violations by McGee Matthews

McGee Matthews Moving Violations

When interim police chief Molly Gorman pulls Amy over, more than the antics on the motorcycle catch her eye. She discovers Amy Gilbert spends her days repairing cars in her family garage and is intrigued. The only holdup? Amy occupies her nights playing softball and drinking with her wild best friend, who offers incredibly bad advice about love. After several run-ins with a certain drunken mechanic, Molly wonders if Amy is really worth the trouble. When Amy disappears, she has to put her mixed emotions aside to work the case.

 

 

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Romance

Annette Mori

A Window to Love by Annette Mori

Annette Mori A Window to Love

Two life events, two paths colliding, two souls destined to meet.Mandie Carter lives an uninspired life. No passion, no romance, and just when she thought things couldn’t get worse, life throws her a curve ball. Desperate to shake things up, she stumbles on an ad for skydiving in the newspaper. Could diving out of a plane be what it takes to jumpstart her life?Gail Forrester is barely hanging on. Buried under mountains of debt, only her much in demand architectural designs keep her afloat. Working around the clock to satisfy her hungry clients, she can’t seem to catch up. That is, until she is brought to a painful halt by a bus. Now, they must find a way forward together through what life and destiny has in store for them. Only then can they hope to step into that window to love.

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Science Fiction

Rachel Ford

Black Flag: Safe Passage by Rachel Ford

Rachel Ford Safe Passage

Kay Ellis designed the perfect bank for an intergalactic crime syndicate, the Conglomerate. Now the Conglomerate has a bounty on her head. Privateer Captain Maggie Landon is planning a hit on the Conglomerate’s high security bank. But the system is unbeatable – to everyone but its designer.

In order to escape a Conglomerate hitman, Kay needs someone with a ship, and willing to go toe-to-toe with the Conglomerate. To get her gold, Maggie needs Kay, and her knowledge of the bank.

Kay agrees to assist for a share of the loot, and passage to Union territory. Along the way, she and Maggie find their attraction to one another complicates their straightforward business relationship.

They successfully pull off the heist. But when a crewmember betrays them for a larger share of the loot, they almost lose everything – and discover that the real treasure was what they had all the time in each other, and in their crew.

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Cover

Elle Hyden

Lost & Found: A Mystic Meteor Tale by Elle Hyden

Elle Hyden Lost & Found A Magicaly Mystery tour

Two lost souls are on a collision course. One searching for a life partner while the other mourns the loss of hers.

Selina is at a crossroads. No job, no home to call her own, and no partner. She has to turn her life around, but in which direction? Returning to her Native American roots, she seeks mystical aid from the spirit world, to find the life she hungers for.

Rea has been able to find a measure of solace after her wife’s death but longs for the crack in her heart to heal. Sighting a falling star, she sends her wish out into the universe, where it’s heard by the most unlikely allies.

Selina and Rea’s paths crossed many times in the past, but they’d never connected. Now they are being inescapably drawn together by fate, desire, and a touch of the mystical. Will love and trust prevail over loss and fear, so they can have their shot at being found forever?

Join them on their souls’ journey through the Lost & Found.

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2019 Finalists

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Action Adventure

Annette Mori Compound Interest

Compound Interest by Annette Mori

The kick-ass women in The Organization are back and they have their sights set on a few new recruits. Not everyone is jumping for joy at the choices, considering subterfuge is front and center in the games the new recruits have been playing. Dani is supposed to get her happily ever after, but she’s not sure what’s real anymore including Candy’s feelings for her. When a new enemy takes Candy captive, Dani vows to uncover the truth by insisting on going on the mission to save her. Candy is not what she seems, and that presents a new set of complications for Dani and her feelings. The Organization continues to have challenges when those damn book magicians and book witches keep popping back in to warn them of new catastrophes on the horizon. She doesn’t have time for their warnings until their enemies intersect once again to keep them working together.

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Young Adult

Karen Badger In the Blink of an Eye

In the Blink of an Eye by Karen D. Badger

Tara Charland is an ordinary fifteen-year-old kid. She likes music, playing on her phone, going to the mall, dancing with her peeps, and movie nights with her moms and siblings. She especially likes spending time with her new girlfriend, Kelly. Ah…the idyllic life of a teenager! Then, one day, on a chilly Thursday morning, in the midst of leaf-peeping season in her Southern New York town, it all came crashing down. Tara never did pay much attention during those darned lock-down drills. In a million years, she never thought it would actually happen. You see…that’s the problem…she never thought. Tara and Kelly, her brother, Seth, and their best friends, Steve and Karissa are caught in the crosshairs. In the blink of an eye, their lives, and the lives of everyone they loved, changed forever.

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Drama

Elena Graf High October

High October by Elena Graf

Liz Stolz and Maggie Fitzgerald were college roommates until Maggie confessed to her parents that she’d fallen in love with a woman. Maggie gave up her dream of becoming an actress and married her high school boyfriend. Liz became a famous breast surgeon. Maggie is performing in a summer stock production near the Maine town where Liz is now a general practitioner. When Maggie breaks her leg in a stage accident, she lands in Dr. Stolz’s office. Is forty years too long to wait for the one you love?

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Erotica

Lydia Vaughn The Victorian

The Victorian by Lydia L Vaughn

Alicia Brenner isn’t adulting very well.

After her parents kick her out for being gay, she moves to a new city and tries to start over. But when she loses her job and goes to the bar to drown her sorrows, she makes out with a couple she’s never met, and wakes up to a strange bed and an even stranger offer – stay at the house and become an artist.

Pearl, who is all business (both at work and play), and Danna, who beguiles Alicia from the start, are a phenomenal couple and impossible to resist. Together, they run The Victorian, a unique artist colony and auction house, where the artists are eclectic and the patrons are loyal and have deep pockets.

After passing her “interview” with flying colors, she begins her journey into art and self-discovery. Before long, The Victorian and the artists she’s come to know mean everything to Alicia. When the house, too, is threatened, what will she do to survive?

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Fantasy

Tiffany Clavecilla The Dragon Commons

The Dragon Commons by Tiffany Clavecil

The year is 2048.

The Tiered Nations are a consumer society reduced to their stomachs. Here, a denizen’s prestige is measured by their greed and consequently, their expanding waistline. Hadryn and his best friend Thaddius belong to the military branch, and they arrive at the morgue to investigate an unusual death: a limb-hewn corpse which appears to have been mauled when animals are no longer of this world. Meat products, as with all foods, are grown in laboratories and manufactured as “cubed food.”
Before Hadryn and Thaddius can further their examination of the body, two letters arrive for Hadryn. One is from a woman, Oshin Rysing, who is Hadryn’s long-time epistolary paramour, living outside the Tiered Nations in a rebel colony which resists the gluttonous ways of the city, and the second letter is from his father to notify Hadryn that Hadryn will be wedded to an unknown man, as is customary for young women of marrying age. Hadryn attends his engagement banquet with the intention of confronting his father, but strange occurrences of people who seem to be infected with a terrible disease leading to self-cannibalism arise, and a creature out of nightmares emerges.

Hadryn ventures out of the Tiered Nations for answers and to seek out Oshin. There, he meets Ardyce, a dragon, who tells him of gods, legends, and an age-old battle between her people and the mysterious race known as Wyrms.

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Fiction

Lise Gold Living

Living by Lise Gold

During her morning exercise, yoga instructor Cam Saunders finds herself rescuing a young woman who has walked into the sea, seemingly intent on taking her own life. When the woman in question turns out to be a famous actress, Cam promises to keep her secret safe.
Six months later, America’s sweetheart Ella Temperley is working hard to get her life back on track, grieving the loss of her twin sister and fighting a deep depression. Despite her fame, she feels alone in the world and keeps thinking of the woman she owes her life to.
After Ella shows up in Cam’s life again, the two become closer than they ever imagined possible. But what happens when friendship turns into attraction? Living is a slow-burn coming-out romance about loss, love and life.

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Historical

EA Kafkalas Donning the Beard

Donning the Beard by EA Kafkalas

A gender-bending, historical romance.
In 1777, when Gabrielle’s mother dies in childbirth she is left to be raised by her father Lord Guillemot, a soldier in the King’s Army.
Orphaned Madeline is sent to live with her aunt Aimée, the lord’s housekeeper, and work for Lord Guillemot. She is assigned to care for the lord’s daughter, Gabrielle, and finds her best friend and the love of her life.
Gabrielle’s father discovers that she has taught Madeline to read and write, and tries to put an end to their friendship. They thwart his plans only to find that he has arranged a marriage for Gabrielle to Damien. Her fiancé proves to be a vile man, and unbeknownst to Gabrielle, Madeline poses as Alexandre, a new suitor. Alexandre challenges Damien to a duel of swords.
When Gabrielle discovers her new love’s true identity, the fall out sends them on a journey that takes them out of the rising French Revolution into a magical theatrical world in England. There, with the help of an actor and their father’s paramour –the grand dame of theatre– Mademoiselle Babcock, they think their dreams of have come true.
When Gabrielle’s father is rescued from imprisonment and makes his way back to England, will their dreams be dashed or will they finally get their happily ever after?

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Mystery

Charlotte Mills Payback

Payback by Charlotte Mills

A thrilling lesbian mystery about trying to right a past wrong…despite the consequences.

Detective Constable Kate Wolfe is sent to a Cheshire backwater after falling foul of a disciplinary hearing in London. But before she even has a chance to settle in, Kate finds herself in a situation there’s no coming back from. She’s reported as a troublemaker to her new boss, Detective Chief Inspector Helen Taylor, a no-nonsense veteran who once had an esteemed, high-profile career.
The pair investigate a spate of arson attacks, a dead body found in a burnt out building, and a missing architect while fighting their growing attraction for each other. The discovery of a dumped vehicle in a quarry lake sparks a series of events that will change their lives forever.

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New Author

Elle Hyden Lost & Found A Magicaly Mystery tour

Lost & Found A Mystic Meteor Tale by Elle Hyden

Two lost souls are on a collision course. One searching for a life partner while the other mourns the loss of hers.

Selina is at a crossroads. No job, no home to call her own, and no partner. She has to turn her life around, but in which direction? Returning to her Native American roots, she seeks mystical aid from the spirit world, to find the life she hungers for.
Rea has been able to find a measure of solace after her wife’s death but longs for the crack in her heart to heal. Sighting a falling star, she sends her wish out into the universe, where it’s heard by the most unlikely allies.

Selina and Rea’s paths crossed many times in the past, but they’d never connected. Now they are being inescapably drawn together by fate, desire, and a touch of the mystical. Will love and trust prevail over loss and fear, so they can have their shot at being found forever?
Join them on their souls’ journey through the Lost & Found.

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Romance

KJ Coming Home

Coming Home by KJ

What would happen if your regular, ordinary, safe, everyday existence suddenly became…not any of those things? When Samantha Markson, Ordinary Person, is thrust into the life of Abigail Taylor, Not At All Ordinary Person, it proves to be an experience like she’s never had before. World famous actress, Abigail Taylor, is in Melbourne filming her new movie, and is accompanied by her nine year old daughter, Grace, because Abigail wants her to experience an Australian education for three months. Sam Markson is a teacher at one of the best schools in Melbourne, and is perfectly happy doing that, thank you very much, when she’s suddenly redirected from the classroom into the job as Grace’s teacher; a move so fast that even blinking would feel like slow motion. Sam has never met anyone like Abigail Taylor, and she starts to realise that her ordinary life might actually be missing something extraordinary.

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Science Fiction

Jessica Lucci Subton Switch

Subton Switch by Jessica Lucci

Subaquatic city, 1886. Verdandi, a fiery teen tinkerer, is held captive by an evil totalitarian government. She is blasted into a chaos of beauty and fear, depression and addiction.

Verdandi discovers that her only chance of liberty lies not only in trusting her friends, but in challenging her mind and body to fulfill her time travel quest. What begins in compulsion becomes necessity, and Verdandi finds herself torn between two very different worlds, with the only reconciliation being time.
The “Watch City” trilogy continues in “Subton Switch,” creating a testament of the power within us to change ourselves, and the world.

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BL Wilson Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat, Who’s my Sweet by BL Wilson

When wealthy, bossy, arrogant Delisa Winston discovers Nicky Gates, the man she just married as part of a business arrangement, is a woman pretending to be a man, she loses it, starting their marriage with a bang.

Nicholas/Nicolette Gates, a business person with varied tastes in women, mistakenly thinks that since Delisa is a lesbian, she’ll appreciate the revelation that she is gay as well.
Both parties think that they will continue on as before their marriage, dating who they want and enjoying the rewards of their merger. However, Nicky’s disclosure to Delisa has opened a whole new can of worms…and feelings.

Now it’s a question of what to do with the information Nicolette revealed to Delisa. Can the two women keep it a secret until they figure out what to do? Will they manage to stay married and keep their secret? If the secret gets out, what will happen to Nicolette and her company’s merger with Delisa? What will happen to Delisa’s companies and is she culpable? Do the women have a future together?

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Lesfic Bard Awards is a participant in the Amazon Associates program.  Every click on the buy links above contributes a small % of the sale of the books to help us support our awards, advertising, and the promotion of the authors who are finalists and winners.

 

A humble Thank You

Judge woman in courthouse flat illustration

On behalf of the 2019 Lesfic Bard Awards, I want to express my gratitude to our judges who gave selflessly of their valuable time to read the many, many entries we received in our second year.  Not only did they read the entries, they graded them using a system we devised that we feel is particular to lesbian literature.  While the judges’ names cannot be announced, I want them to know how much we appreciate their efforts on behalf of all the authors who entered our awards.

We are delighted that many of the judges who served in 2019 have already committed to return in 2020 for our third year of the Lesfic Bard Awards.   We are always looking to add more judges to our stable of doctors, lawyers, teachers, authors, and other qualified judges.  If you feel you can commit the time and effort as well as the pleasure of reading lesbian literature this year, please apply here.

If you have published since January or are planning to publish in 2020, you will want to enter your book in our awards as quickly as possible as outlined here because we anticipate our judges will be especially busy as the year progresses, especially now that we have added the ability to enter novella’s as well as novels.

Thank you

to everyone who participated in our second year, and we look forward to meeting and welcoming those who will participate in future awards.

Awards for 2019 will be announced on April 19, 2020.  Please watch this space.  If you haven’t already, please subscribe to the Lesfic Bard Awards News.

Sincerely,

K’Anne Meinel, Awards Administrator