Thursday, June 21, 2018

Coming Out as a Lesbian Author - #lesbian #amwriting #genrerules

Women holding hands

I’ve always been attracted to women (as well as men). My first three novels, Raw Silk, Miranda's Masks and Nasty Business, all include F/F scenes. As a neophyte erotic author, I wrote what I found arousing, and that meant including lesbian interactions.

Then, around 2006, recognizing a new opportunity and a changing publishing landscape, I began producing mostly erotic romance. I rapidly discovered that the constraints in this genre are far stricter than for erotica (which is how I labeled my earlier work). A romance novel is identified first and foremost based on the genders of its protagonists. Heaven help the author who strays away from that primary identification! Romance readers (apparently) want to be warned about what they’ll find inside the covers. If the book claims to be M/M, you’d better not include the slightest hint of heterosexual hanky panky (even involving secondary characters), or you’ll incur the wrath of readers and reviewers. Meanwhile, I found that compared to the enormous popularity of gay erotic romance, the market for F/F erotic romance appeared to be tiny. When I asked the people on my email list how they felt about lesbian stories, many expressed zero interest and one or two went so far as to tell me they found sexual interactions between women to be “icky” (a response I found deeply depressing).

They say you should listen to your readers. So for many years, I suppressed my desire to write F/F tales or scenes. It was hard sometimes. For instance, my romance novel The Ingredientsof Bliss has a bisexual character whom I just adore, a kick-ass French police detective. As I worked on my first and second drafts, Toni kept coming on to my heroine Emily, and Emily so wanted to respond— but I knew I couldn’t allow myself to give in to that temptation. Even so, my editor insisted I further sanitize their relationship. I was so frustrated!

Things have changed though. I’ve switched almost entirely to self-publishing my work. That means I can write what I wantwhat inspires me personally. I’ve also concluded that my stories actually sell better when I write from the heart, rather than according to someone else’s formula.

So I’m proud to say I’m an author of lesbian fiction (as well as gay fiction, and soon I hope, transgender fiction). I’m delighted with my three F/F books out this month. Meanwhile, my upcoming novella More Brides in Vegas includes lots of delicious girl-on-girl scenes.

Romance rules are not going to keep me in the closet any more!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

"You're in danger." -- @TinaDonahue #eroticsuspense #revenge

SiNN cover
Blurb

She's every man's carnal fantasy...and the target of one's revenge

At a Phoenix gentleman’s club, Lea dances as SiNN, her body bared and vulnerable to her male partner, her features hidden behind a feathered mask. To the men watching, she’s a sensual enigma, submissive and seductive with no face, name or history. Not even Lea knows her real origins.

A man from the past does and wants her dead.

Not on the watch of U.S. Marshals Jake Gabriel and Toby Quinn. Commanding and decisive, Jake not only wants Lea’s safety but to have her naked and yielding beneath him. To Toby, she’s all he should resist but cannot.

Protected by them at a secluded estate, Lea’s drawn to their potent masculinity and the raw male lust in their eyes. Inviting desire and an emotional connection, she submits to both at once, surrendering to their most shameless hunger along with her own wanton needs.

All while a killer edges closer…





Excerpt

Gripping her keys in one hand and pepper spray in the other, she rounded the corner and stopped.

The blond from inside stood near her rusting Ford Fiesta.

Surprise, curiosity, and desire rippled through her, matching the unmistakable longing sweeping across his face.

His reaction didn’t last.

Authority returned quickly, hardening his features, dismissing his previous lust, telling her he recalled he was here on business, and not of the corporate variety.

Unfortunately, that only left the government, as in the INS or Uncle Sam. After seeing her on stage, he must have presumed she was an illegal and got paid under the table.

Her initial arousal and confusion turned to fast indignation. How dare he. As a good, upstanding citizen, she reported her tips…for the most part, and figured that was why he was here, giving her his I-want-you-but-you’re-in-deep-doo-doo look. He intended to either check her immigration status or audit her. Damn. If he took her vehicle because she hadn’t paid enough taxes, she’d be totally screwed, not able to go to school or work. Her stomach twisted.

She couldn’t figure out how he’d even known she was SiNN and the vehicle was hers or she’d leave early.

Unless a bouncer here had told him, caving because he had his own tax problems.

Idiot. When she got her hands on the SOB, he’d regret the day he—

Ms. Baptista.”

Her pulse jumped at the voice from behind…deep, resonant, possessive.

Even before she turned, she knew she’d face the man in black. The way he spoke matched what she’d imagined in her mind. A protective, masculine tone, commanding but also safe, calling to the female within her. She met his dark eyes, his irises sparkling in the parking lot lights.

Unlike the blond, he was close enough for her to sense his restrained strength and heat…the male animal within him barely controlled.

Everything went still, the traffic sounds, noisy insects, and masculine laughter receding beneath her wildly pounding heart. Held by his potent allure, she couldn’t think, breathe, or budge.

He slipped his hand into his back pocket.

Her pulse leaped. Acting on instinct, she stepped to the side, putting distance between herself and him. His shirttails hid the bulge behind his fly. The erection she sensed he sported.

It should have frightened her further, but didn’t. No more than the blond guy by her car.

Having grown up around strangers, she’d acquired the ability to read them quickly. These men didn’t seem to be physically dangerous, though they were clearly together. They knew her name and had come out here for an ambush. Now all she needed to know was what kind. The blond seemed prepared to hassle, not harm her, while naked passion flickered in this man’s eyes.

Her legs weakened.

Ms. Baptista.” He spoke quietly, the way a guy would if he wanted no one except her to hear. “I’m Jake Gabriel from the U.S. Marshal’s Service.”

It took a moment for his words to register. Even then, she didn’t understand. U.S. Marshals here to speak to her? Why?

He opened a leather wallet and showed her a circular gold badge, a large star in the center.

Very impressive, but it didn’t tell her what this meant for her. Bewildered, she looked at him.

He regarded her pepper spray then inclined his head toward her car. “That’s my partner, Toby Quinn.”

She wanted to look, but couldn’t. Jake had captured her full interest. She guessed him to be six-three, given how he towered over her. This close, she caught his leather and musk scent, an intoxicating mixture. The faint breeze ruffled his glossy black hair, freeing a strand.

It fell forward, grazing his forehead, the tip touching his dark eyebrow.

Tantalized, she had an insane urge to ease the lock back then trail her fingers over his rich skin. She could almost feel its heat, the bite from his beard-stubbled cheeks.

He closed his wallet. “You need to come with us.”

That she understood. Sort of. Her arousal receded beneath renewed alarm. “What? Why?” He couldn’t be arresting her. He’d better not try it. She frowned. “I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m in this country legally. I pay my taxes.”

Amusement flickered across his face. “This isn’t about your status or taxes.” His tone was gentler than before, the way a man would speak to someone he valued. “You’re not in trouble, but you do need to come with us.” He slipped his wallet back into his pocket and rested his hand on her upper arm.

His warmth and tempered strength jolted her, sending her heart to her throat where it pounded so fiercely the world spun.

Breathless, she could barely speak. “I don’t understand.”

I know.” He glanced past her to Toby then met her gaze. “You’re in danger.”

About Tina

Tina is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist who writes romance for every taste – ‘heat with heart’ – for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels were Readers' Choice Award winners. Another three were named finalists in the EPIC competition. One of her erotic contemporary romances was chosen Book of the Year at the French review site Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for one of her erotic romances. Two of her titles received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Another two won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.










Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1ChWFkO

My page at TRR: http://bit.ly/1vb7eEc


Sweetn Sexy Divas: http://bit.ly/1ChWN3K

Romance Books 4 US: http://bit.ly/1JPtfeS


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review Tuesday: The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen - #Vietnam #refugees #stories #ReviewTuesday

The Refugees cover


The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Grove Press, 2017

What does it mean to be a refugee? You are a stranger in the country that has, willingly or not, taken you in. You’re a stranger to the place you’ve come from as well, where time and history continue to unfold without your witness or participation. If you’ve left family or friends behind, their paths will diverge from yours until they’re as distant and unfamiliar as the people who surround you in your adopted home.

Though you may have memories, you can’t be sure they’re true. They might be pure fiction, manufactured from the stories you’ve heard from your relatives, or from the individuals who had pity on you and took you in. You may get news from home (or what used to be home), but that’s just likely to be falsehoods generated by pride or by fear. You cannot necessarily trust your view of the world around you. It might well be a facade, an illusion, or simply a misunderstanding due to cultural differences.

To be a refugee is to be insecure, in a fundamental way that those of us who have always belonged to a country may find difficult to comprehend. The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen explores and lays bare that insecurity and its consequences.

This book of eight stories plus two moving personal essays should be assigned reading for those segments of society who rabidly oppose immigration. With eloquence, delicacy and beauty, the author captures the uncertainty and the irony of a refugee life.

All but two of the stories (“The American” and “Fatherland”) are set in the United States and revolve around characters who escaped from Vietnam around the end of the Vietnam war. Many of the protagonists are young people, working to adapt to their new home, sometimes mystified by the beliefs and behavior of the older generation.

In contrast, the central character in “The Americans” (which was one of my favorite tales) is an aging ex-soldier who fought in the war, whose daughter is now coupled with a Vietnamese engineer, working for an NGO that clears land mines. James Carver honestly can’t comprehend why Claire is (as he sees it) sacrificing her life for the sake of strangers, but a trip to Vietnam shows him a world he’d only seen previously from a bomber at forty thousand feet.

In “Fatherland”, a family in modern-day Saigon receives a visit from the father’s daughter by a first marriage, who has been living since her childhood in the US. Dutiful, hard-working Phuong is simultaneously fascinated by and jealous of her glamorous, apparently wealthy older half-sister (who’s also named “Phuong” but uses the name “Vivien”). The relationship profoundly changes Phuong’s beliefs and aspirations, even when she discovers that Vivien is not who she pretends.

Another standout is “The Transplant”. A Mexican American whose life is saved by a liver transplant befriends the Vietnamese man who claims to be son of the donor. In the name of friendship, Louis Vu makes some difficult requests. This story is particularly interesting because of the interactions between two immigrant communities, the Mexicans and the Vietnamese.

I tend to think of short stories as neat, well-structured gems of craft. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s stories are anything but neat. They ramble back and forth between past and present; they focus on seemingly inconsequential details; they are complex and ambiguous, often without clear resolutions of the conflicts they present. Nevertheless, in retrospect one can see that they are meticulously constructed to convey the multi-layered experience of the characters.

These are not easy stories to read. They demand a great deal of the reader, both intellectually and emotionally. That should not deter you from getting a copy of The Refugees. There’s a kind of deep satisfaction in truly seeing what these characters face and how they cope. In addition, even before you read his essay “In Praise of Doubt and Uselessness”, you will sense the depth of feeling and the intensity of effort the author has lavished on these tales. They deserve your attention.

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Real Place for a Story - #HistoricalRomance #CivilWar #Nursing

A Place in Your Heart cover

By Kathy Otten (Guest Blogger)

My new novel, A Place In Your Heart, takes place mostly at Armory Square Hospital in Washington, DC. In doing research for the day to day organization of a hospital at that time, I relied heavily on the book, Diary of a Civil War Nurse by Amanda Akin, who had been a nurse at Armory Square.

Before the war began, Washington was a relatively rural town with limited medical accommodations. There were no military hospitals and very few medical facilities.

By the end of the war there were over 56 hospitals in and around the Capitol.

The military soon realized that the current facilities were inadequate and public buildings were turned into hospitals. One wing of the Patent Office became the Patent Office Hospital. Patients were cared for within the walls of the Capitol. Reynolds Barracks Hospital was set up on what is now the south lawn of the White House.

Other buildings used as hospitals included Georgetown College, Water’s Warehouse, and St. Elizabeth’s Insane Asylum. Hotels and private schools were taken over for a monthly fee.

Soldiers were kept in field hospitals and when the regimental tents filled up, nearby homes were commandeered. Sick and wounded were only sent to the Washington hospitals after their conditions had worsened to the point of barely being able to survive the trip.

Because of the informal set up of these Washington hospitals, security and privacy for the sick were non-existent. People wandered in and out, looking for wounded friends and family. Pastors came into pray and convert the wounded. Patients became the victims of theft.

Mothers, wives and sisters were allowed to care for their loved ones. But they tended to ignore soldiers in adjacent beds or would only help those wounded from a particular state, and would scoff at Confederate wounded.

These hospitals averaged about 500 beds. Sanitation and ventilation were poor. The hospitals were not heated well. There was no sterilization of instruments and used bandages littered the floors.

As a result, blood poisoning, tetanus and gangrene were common. Mosquitoes and flies abounded spreading malaria and other diseases.

Wounded soldiers were fed the same food as soldiers in the field. Cornmeal and hard tack, fried in pork grease. Fruits and vegetables were never fresh and seldom available. Scurvy and malnutrition was rampant.

In June of 1861 the U.S. Sanitary Commission was organized. Their purpose was to give advice based on the most current medical knowledge of the day. Its goal was efficient, decent health care for the sick and wounded. The Commission directors were men of high professional standards and had the political means to apply pressure when needed. The Sanitary Commission became the driving force of Civil War Hospitals.

Armory Square Hospital, where most of my story takes place was one of six model hospitals built in 1862 according to the specifications of the Sanitary Commission. It was located on 7th St. across from the grounds of the Smithsonian, just beyond the canal, which itself was little more than an open sewer at that time, with floating dead cats and reeking with fetid odors.

Armory Square Hospital

The hospital consisted of eleven long pavilion style buildings placed side by side with their gables facing the front and rear of the grounds.

There was a main pavilion which functioned as an administration building. It contained a reception room and offices for the surgeon in charge, a man named Doctor D. Willard Bliss.

Also inside was a dispensary, a linen room, post office, and officers quarters, (where my hero, Dr. Charles Ellard had a room).

A general kitchen, laundry and mess hall occupied the rear portion of the building.

The remaining 10 pavilions were positioned 5 on each side of the administration building. Each ward was 149x25 ft. with an average height of about 13ft. and held about 50 beds.

Covered walkways connected the wards rather than closed corridors designed to improve ventilation in the sick rooms.

A side door opened about half way down near a cabinet with a table and chair in front of it.

Each ward held about 50 beds. A section at the rear served as a dining room (grub room) and lodging for female nurses. There was an area partitioned off (the wall didn’t go all the way the ceiling), and it closed with a curtain. At the end of the ward were the bathroom, water-closet, knapsack room and the ward master’s room.

 Patients in the ward

In the summer of 1863 the hospital received a $300.00 donation and new quarters were built for the lady nurses.

Ward E is the ward where Amanda Akin worked as well as my heroine Gracie McBride.

At Armory Square Doctor D. Bliss was the surgeon in charge of all the wards. Each ward had a surgeon, who had an orderly. At times a surgeon and his orderly might handle two wards. Each ward had a nurse who also had an orderly. There was a ward master and a cadet surgeon to dress wounds. Three attendants to each ward and 2 night watchers. Nurses were generally men, soldiers assigned the duty, who at the time of my story, were being sent back to the regimental field hospitals as more and more women volunteered.

During the summer months when the casualties were highest, tents were set up on the hospital grounds to handle the over flow of wounded.

Armory Square was known for receiving the worst cases from the battlefields of VA. It was situated nearest the steamboat landing at the foot of Seventh St. and was nearest the line of the Washington and Alexandria railroad. They were the first stop for wounded who wouldn’t survive the trip to any other hospital and they also received the soldiers who died enroute. As a result Armory Square had the highest number of deaths of any Washington military hospital.

Between August 1861 and January 1865 there were 1,339 deaths recorded out of 18,291 admitted patients.

Blurb

Gracie McBride isn’t looking for love; she’s looking for respect. But in this man’s world of Civil War medicine, Gracie is expected to maintain her place changing beds and writing letters. Her biggest nemesis is the ward surgeon, Doctor Charles Ellard, who seems determined to woo her with arrogant kisses and terrible jokes.

Charles is an excellent surgeon. He assumed he would be well received by an army at war. He was not. Friendless and alone, he struggles to hide the panic attacks that plague him while the only person who understands him is a feisty Irish nurse clearly resolved to keep him at a distance.

But, Charles is sent to the battlefield, and Gracie is left with a wounded soldier, a box of toys, and a mystery which can only be solved by the one man she wishes could love her, both as a woman and a nurse.

Excerpt

No. I want you to go home before the death of that ten-year-old boy becomes so ordinary that one day you wake up and realize you no longer have the ability to feel.”

She squared her shoulders and stepped toward him. “Me own husband was a doctor, sir. I’ve birthed babies and stitched wounds. I stood by William’s side during surgeries and passed him instruments. I helped him clean the intestines of a man gored by a bull, before putting it all back inside that man’s belly. Me delicate sensibilities did not send me into a swoon then nor will they here. I thank ye for yer concern, Doctor Ellard, but ’tis who I am. And by the saints, as long as I have breath in me body, I will feel, and I will care.”

Their gazes locked in that moment and something flickered in his icy depths, overshadowing his usual cynicism with what she suspected might be admiration. The harsh lines of his face softened.

Saint Jude must indeed be watching over you, Mrs. McBride.”

That he is, Doctor Ellard, that he is.”

He gave her a brisk nod and opened the door. “You’re not going home then, are you?”

She turned. “Ye know us Irish, Doctor Ellard. We don’t know what we want, but we’ll fight to the death to get it.”

A Place In Your Heart is available at Amazon



About the Author

Kathy Otten is the published author of multiple historical romance novels, novellas, and short stories. She is also published in contemporary romance and historical fiction. She is a Northwest Houston RWA Lone Star winner and Utah/Salt Lake RWA Hearts of the West finalist. A Place In Your Heart is her fourth full-length novel. Currently, she is putting the finishing touches on a contemporary young adult novel.

She teaches fiction writing online and at a local adult education center, and is a regular presenter at area events. Kathy also does manuscript assessments and editing. She lives in the rolling farmland of western New York where she can often be found walking her dog through the woods and fields. She has been married for thirty-four years and is the mother of three grown children and one grandson.

Kathy can be contacted at kathy@kathyotten.com




Sunday, June 17, 2018

Celebrating Pride Month - #lgbtq #Lesfic #GayRomance #PrideMonth #FreeBook

Rainbow Pride flag

I hadn’t planned to release three lesbian titles during Pride Month. It was pure serendipity.

Late in May I received an email from my primary lesbian publisher, indicating that they were reverting the rights to the books I’d published through them. It’s true that neither title had sold very well, but I was still disappointed.

I scrambled to revise, reformat, repackage and republish the work. Of course I didn’t want to put out exactly the same book as they had, so I added some new content.

The new version of The Witches of Gloucester includes a bonus story, “Late Show”, which originally appeared in Best Lesbian Erotica 2015. It’s one of my favorites, a second-chance lesbian romance featuring two very different characters.

Meanwhile, I’ve collected some of my most erotic lesbian short stories into a new collection entitled Burn, Baby: A Sapphic Six Pack. This second book includes a never-before-published tale, “Countertransference”.

Both books are available now, at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and your other favorite booksellers.

Finally, I’ve released another title, Velvet, for free on Smashwords. I plan to get it up on Amazon as a free read, too, but that may take a while, since I have to provide them with evidence that I’m giving it away on other sites.

By the way, at the back of Velvet you’ll find a 50% off Smashwords coupon for Burn, Baby. Yes, I’m hoping to tempt you to spend a bit of money on my book, but even if you don’t, you can read Velvet for free.

By the way, if your tastes run to gay erotic romance, check out my paranormal romance Necessary Madness, my science fiction romance Quarantine, or my recent bisexual tale Dragon Boat Blues.


Lesbian paranormal erotic romance

 
Its not about power. Its about love.

The historic port of Gloucester, Massachusetts has a special charm, due in part to its resident witches. For decades, raven-maned Marguerite and red-headed Beryl have lived among its hard-working inhabitants, making magic and mischief. To reach their full potential, they need a third witch to complete their circle. Platinum-haired newcomer Emmeline might be the woman theyve been waiting for.




Lesbian erotica


Six-alarm lesbian lust

Desire burns hot in these six sizzling tales by Lisabet Sarai. A high-powered executive and a Goth rocker collide on a rainy Manhattan night and succumb to the attraction of opposites. An unorthodox therapist rekindles the libido of a traumatized fire-fighter. A nun fights her forbidden lust for the voluptuous hooker resident at her womens shelter. Burn, Baby includes many of Lisabets lesbian favorites as well as a searing, shocking new tale,Countertransference.




FREE lesbian erotic romance!



Rules were made to be broken.

I must really be horny, to be sitting here fantasizing about the keynote speaker. Marta Hausman, CEO of VideoPlayHaus.com, controls the stage. I can't take my eyes off her.

Finally she concludes, and sits down. She scans the audience, looking bored. For a moment, I have this bizarre notion that she's staring at me.

Dream on, girl. What interest would a hotshot like Dr. Hausman have in you?



Happy Pride Month!