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Archive for the ‘novelists’ Category

All you book lovers out there … My publisher, Bywater Books, is having a super sale this weekend on every one of their titles, including two of my historical, LGBT-themed novels: Out of Time (Lambda Award winner) and the recently published The Ada Decades. You can pick up copies for 25% off the list price, including print and ebooks.

Check it out and take advantage to stock up on some terrific writers like (ahem) myself, Fay Jacobs, Ann McMan, Rachel Spangler, Bonnie Morris, Cheryl Head, Ellen Hart, Marianne K. Martin, Judith Katz, Elana Dykewomon, Georgia Beers, and many, many more.

Just visit the website and use the coupon code BANGBANG when checking out.

JULY-4TH-SALE

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I just got back from a five-day residential workshop* at Hollins University, called Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop. Although I didn’t realize until I got there, Annie Dillard attended Hollins and wrote her iconic Pilgrim at Tinker Creek when she lived in the area.

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Tinker Mountain

It’s a beautiful place that I didn’t get to explore because I was inside most of the day talking fiction and craft! But the landscape of the area (the Blue Ridge Mountains) and of the school itself were both inspiring.

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View from the porch of the main administration building, Hollins University

I was in a workshop of eight writers called “Advanced Novel” with author/professor Fred Leebron, and got excellent feedback on the first chapters of my historical novel-in-progress, Clio Rising. We did various exercises related to the future marketing of our novels, like writing the log line and back cover copy. To whet your reading appetite, here’s the log line I came up with for Clio:

In 1980s New York, a newly out gay woman embarks on a job as companion to a literary giant of the “Lost Generation,” a closeted lesbian who accomplished just one great book.

Now it’s on to revision!

 

*My attendance at TMWW was made possible by a Regional Artist Project Grant from the Arts and Science Council – Charlotte/Mecklenburg and the North Carolina Arts Council.

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Independent bookstores need LGBT support! They don’t just sell books, but often act as local community centers as well. I had the pleasure of reading at two recently – Malaprop’s in Asheville, NC, and Bluestockings in New York City. Remember, these stores often carry titles by small presses (like LGBT and feminist publishers) that the big box stores don’t stock. You can find an indie near you by checking IndieBound. Even if you aren’t located near an indie store, you can order books through their websites and support their important work. Happy shopping!

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Reading at Bluestockings Bookstore on June 4, 2017

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What’s that in the front window at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, N.C. – one of the greatest indie bookstores in the country? Could it be the cover of The Ada Decades, my new historical LGBT-themed novel? I’m reading there tomorrow evening at 7pm, if you’re in the area … or are in the mood for a trip to Asheville. (And really, who isn’t?)

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LGBT Pride in Asheville, October 2014.

Asheville is a beautiful LGBT-friendly city in western North Carolina, and I’ll be reading there on May 19 at 7pm from my historical novel, The Ada Decades, at one of the truly great independent bookstores, Malaprop’s. Joining me will be three other well-known lesbian writers: fellow Bywater authors Fay Jacobs and Ann McMan, plus Lynn Ames. Should be a gay old time!

I’ll also be reading at the LGBT Center in Raleigh, NC, on May 21 at 1pm. Drop in, y’all!

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Read this smart, thoughtful review of my historical novel, The Ada Decades, in North Carolina’s LGBT newspaper, Q Notes! Torie Dominguez calls it “a work of quiet wisdom.”

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… the Duchess was an “experience”—a poorly lit hole with pounding music and thick clouds of smoke. “Our clothes will reek,” Ada said.

From a rickety table in the corner, they watched women half their age dancing and flirting, dressed in everything from tight T-shirts to oversized flannel that resembled Ada’s daddy’s pajamas. The booming beat of a younger generation turned any conversation into a shouting match. The lyrics—the ones Ada could understand—were baffling. “‘Come on, baby, make it hurt so good’? What kind of song is that?” She still preferred the music of her youth—Johnny Mathis, Patsy Cline. Cam just smiled.

In 1982, as middle-aged women, the main characters in my novel, The Ada Decades, make a once-in-a-lifetime journey to New York City for the Gay Pride March. Ada, the protagonist, has never been more than a three-hour drive from Charlotte, N.C., and the two are not “out” in their hometown. Her partner, Cam, plans the trip because, as she says, “I’m fifty years old, and I have never been to a real-life gay event.” After some sightseeing at Macy’s and the New York Public Library, the women head for Greenwich Village and a big dose of queer culture.

It was great fun for me to write this chapter, which is called “The Language of New York.” I lived in NYC for twenty years, and still have a fondness for it. Many of the queer sites Ada and Cam visit in the chapter—like the sleazy, long-defunct women’s bar, the Duchess (101 Seventh Avenue South)—were places I frequented as a young lesbian. The Duchess was the first lesbian bar I ever went to, and my friends and I would often hang out there after volunteering at the feminist newspaper, WomaNews.

Because Ada and Cam are a librarian and a school teacher, respectively, they also hit the lesbian and gay bookstores.

They made a stop at Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop—“Twig won’t believe this!” Ada said, snapping a picture with her Kodak—then found their way to Djuna Books, a lesbian-owned shop where they spent a good hour perusing books even Ada had never heard of. Cam bought a baseball cap emblazoned with the word DYKE and put it on immediately. “When in Rome,” she said. Ada picked out a button that read: We Are Everywhere, but she was afraid it would leave holes in her blouse, so she attached it to her canvas purse instead.

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Djuna Barnes and her lover, Thelma Wood

Even though I bought many a book there back in the day, I only vaguely remember the interior of Djuna Books, a cozy store close to where the author Djuna Barnes (1892-1982) lived at 5 Patchin Place. Barnes—a journalist, illustrator, and author of the classic Modernist novel Nightwood—did not identify as lesbian even though her primary relationships were all with women. She reportedly called her namesake “a terrible little lesbian bookshop,” even phoning to demand the owners change the name.

To read about Ada and Cam’s Manhattan trip and about their other adventures through life, you can now pick up a copy of The Ada Decades at your favorite bookstore or online retailer.

 

 

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