Pod: Keeping the Romance (Novel) Alive: A Candid Conversation between Georgia Beers and Anne Shade, with Introduction by Len Barot

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Georgia Beers is the Lambda Literary Award, Foreword Book of the Year Award, and Goldie Award winning author of over thirty novels of women-loving-women romance. She resides in Upstate New York where she was born and raised. When not writing, she can usually be found searching for a scary movie, lifting all the weights, sipping a good Pinot, or trying to keep up with little big man Archie, her mix of many tiny dogs. She is currently hard at work on her next book. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Anne Shade loves writing stories featuring strong, beautiful BIPOC women who love women, from her idyllic suburban home in West Orange, NJ. Anne is the author of four novels: Femme Tales, queered retellings of three classic fairy tales, short-listed for a 2021 Lambda Literary Award; Masquerade, a roaring twenties historical romance; Love and Lotus Blossoms, a coming-of-age and coming-out story, included in Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2021; and Her Heart’s Desire, a coming-out romance. Anne has also collaborated with editor Victoria Villaseñor on the Bold Strokes Books anthology In Our Words: Queer Stories from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Writers and with Bold Strokes Books authors Julie Cannon and Erin Dutton for the novella collection My Secret Valentine. When Anne isn’t busy writing, she’s crafting and making plans for her future bed-and-breakfast. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Len Barot has written over sixty romance and romantic intrigue novels as Radclyffe, as well as a paranormal romance series, The Midnight Hunters, as L.L. Raand. She is a three-time Lambda Literary Award winner in romance and erotica and received the Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Award by the Lambda Literary Foundation. A member of the Saints and Sinners Literary Hall of Fame, she is also an RWA / FF&P Prism Award winner for Secrets in the Stone, an RWA FTHRW Lories and RWA HODRW winner for Firestorm, an RWA Bean Pot winner for Crossroads, an RWA Laurel Wreath winner for Blood Hunt, and a Book Buyers Best award winner for Price of Honor and Secret Hearts. She is also a featured author in the 2015 documentary film Love Between the Covers, from Blueberry Hill Productions. In 2019 she was recognized as a “Trailblazer of Romance” by the Romance Writers of America. In 2004 she founded Bold Strokes Books, one of the world’s largest independent LGBTQ publishing companies, and is the current president and publisher. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: Just One More Page…

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With Elle E. Ire, Riley Scott, Meredith Doench, and M.B. Austin: Suspense isn’t just for thrillers and mysteries. It’s the element that keeps readers of all genres on the edge of their seats and makes them say, “Just one more page.” Join the Feisty FOES—a group of multi-genre WLW authors (Elle E. Ire, Riley Scott, Meredith Doench, and MB Austin)—to discuss the art of building suspense in every genre from mystery to romance, thriller to sci-fi, and everything in between. While their works may differ in content and style, these four authors share more commonalities than differences when it comes to writing intriguing fiction, and they know the secrets to engaging readers require antici……pation.  MB Austin’s contemporary thrillers feature Maji Rios, a counter-terrorism covert operator whose work intrudes on every vacation she attempts. Someday she’ll get both downtime and the woman of her dreams. MB Austin herself vacations in a past that never was, within a questionably utopian (but unquestionably genderqueer) 1850s Mediterranean, the Trencadis universe. Look for Blursday’s Revenge, a darkly funny mid-pandemic mystery that asks: murder, or Darwin award?, from Bywater Books in Fall 2022. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Meredith Doench is the author of the Luce Hansen thriller series and Whereabouts Unknown (March 2022). Her writing has also appeared in many literary journals. She is a board member of Mystery Writers of America, Midwest Chapter, and is a senior lecturer of creative writing, literature, and composition at the University of Dayton in Ohio. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Elle E. Ire writes science fiction and paranormal romance featuring kickass women who fall in love with each other. Her novels include: VICIOUS CIRCLE, the STORM FRONTS trilogy, DEAD WOMAN'S POND, and REEL TO REAL LOVE, all from DSP Publications. Elle enjoys getting into her characters' minds by taking shooting lessons, participating in interactive theatrical experiences, paying to be kidnapped "just for the feel of it," and attempting numerous escape rooms. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. In addition to having published poetry and short stories, Riley Scott has worked as a grant and press writer and a marketing professional. She holds a degree in journalism. She has five WLW romance novels published by Bella Books—Conservative Affairs, Small Town Secrets, Backstage Pass, A Time to Speak, and On the Rocks. Her first YA title—Take Your Shot—is coming out in 2022. She lives in Pensacola, Florida, with the love of her life and their three beloved dogs. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pearls: Fiction & Nonfiction

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The following authors will be reading excerpts from their work: Rita Potter, SA Mossman, Becca Spence Dobias, Kimberly Dark, Christiana Harrell, and Kenni York. Rita Potter, Upheaval (As We Know Book 1), SA Mossman, Last Night at the Fremont, Becca Spence Dobias, On Home, Kimberly Dark, Damaged Like Me, Christiana Harrell, For Bidding or for Worse, Kenni York, Testing My Gangsta, Meredith Doench, From Whereabouts Unknown Rita Potter's stories are eclectic but typically put her characters in challenging circumstances. She feels that when they reach their happily ever after, they will have earned it. Despite the heavier subject matter, Rita’s humorous banter and authentic dialogue reflect her hopeful nature. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. S.A. Mossman is a writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. She began her career writing and directing with projects including; the documentary short Charm City Roller Girls about the women’s roller derby league in Baltimore, Maryland, and the dramatic thriller short Art/Form about a sex worker turned artist taking solace in violence against men after the accidental death of a man that drunkenly attacks her. Her work has screened at Cannes, Cambridge Film Festival, Austin Music Video Festival, and the Independent Horror Movie Awards. Her debut novel Deadalus Detectives: Tree of Life will be released in late 2022. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Becca Spence Dobias is from West Virginia, and now lives in Southern California with her husband and two children. She is the author of On Home (Inkshares, 2021). She misses West Virginia every day but learning to play clawhammer banjo helps. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Kimberly Dark is a writer, professor and storyteller, working to reveal the hidden architecture of everyday life so that we can reclaim our power as social creators. She’s the author of Damaged Like Me; Fat, Pretty, and Soon to be Old; The Daddies; and Love and Errors, and her essays, stories and poetry are widely published in academic and popular online publications alike. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Christiana Harrell was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She introduced herself to the literary scene in 2009 with her first bestseller Girl: A Story for Every Les Being. GIRLwould set the stage for the author she would become and the voices she wanted to represent. In 2013, her title CREAM would become a finalist selection in the Lesbian Fiction category for the Lambda Literary Awards. To date, Christiana has published twelve titles. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Kenni York has penned  33 books including her LGBT titles Testing My Gangsta and A Savage Stole my Soul. She is passionate about using her voice and talent to tell stories representing her community. Her literary accolades include 2013 AAMBC Female Author of the Year Award Nominee, 2013 National Association of Professional Women Inductee, 2013 Continental Who’s Who Award Recipient, 2014 and 2015 Who’s Who in Black Atlanta Entrepreneurial Award, 2015 Literary Jewels Editor of the Year Award, 2018 The Secret Place Book Club Author of the Year,  2018 and 2019 ACHI Author of the Year Award Nominee and Entrepreneur of the Year Award Nominee, and 2018 & 2019 ATL’s Hottest Author of the Year Award Nominee. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Meredith Doench is the author of the Luce Hansen thriller series and Whereabouts Unknown (March 2022). Her writing has also appeared in many literary journals. She is a board member of Mystery Writers of America, Midwest Chapter, and is a senior lecturer of creative writing, literature, and composition at the University of Dayton in Ohio. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pearls: Fiction & Nonfiction

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The following authors will be reading excerpts from their work: Catharine Wright, Melanie Mitzner, Estela González, Sue Katz, Chris Stark, and Briona Jones. Catharine Wright from Tipton's Town Clerk, Melanie Mitzner from Slow Reveal, Estela González from Arribada, Sue Katz from The Unexpected Primrose, Chris Stark from Carnival Lights, Briona Jones "Introduction: No Hand, No Gaze" from Mouths of Fire: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought (nonfiction) Catharine Wright is an eighth generation Vermonter who teaches courses such as Outlaw Women and Writing Gender and Sexuality at Middlebury College. She has earned several writing prizes and published fiction and poems in magazines such as The Feminist Wire, Blue Mesa Review, Negative Capability, Pleiades, Hurricane Alice, and Narrative Northeast. She has collaboratively written and edited two nonfiction books, Vermonters At Their Craft, and Social Justice Education. She just completed a novel about a town clerk and lesbian mother who leaves her civil union partner to find new love in a small town. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Melanie Mitzner’s novel Slow Reveal will be published on May 17, 2022 by Inanna Publications, York University, Toronto. Awarded an Edward Albee Fellowship for her play Personal Effects, her screenplay Dodge and Burn was a finalist in the Writers Guild East Foundation Fellowships. In the Name of Love and Out to Lunch were finalists in the Houston Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. An excerpt of her novel Too Good to Be True was published in Harrington Lesbian Quarterly. She writes for Vol1Brooklyn, Wine Spectator, Hamptons, The Groovy Mind, Society for Curious Thought, Broadcast Week, Millimeter and Video Systems. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Estela González writes in English and Spanish about the liminal lives of LGBT individuals, sea turtles, monarch butterflies, and those whose cultures are seen as less. Her novel Arribada, slated to appear in April 2022 with Cynren Press, was a finalist for Feminist Press’s Louise Meriwether award in 2019. Estela’s work appears in magazines and anthologies such as Barcelona Review, Coal Hill Review, La Colmena, Cobalt, Cronopio, Feminine Rising, Flash Frontier, Flyway, Label me Latina, Letralia, Luvina, Resonancias, Revista de Literatura Mexicana Contemporánea, Sinister Wisdom, Solstice, and Under the Volcano. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Sue Katz’s business card identifies her as a “Wordsmith and Rebel.” Her writing has been published on the three continents where she has lived, worked, and roused rabble. She has been a martial arts master, promoted transnational volunteering, and partner danced more than her feet could bear. Her fiction books, often focusing on the lives of LGBTQ elders, include A Raisin in My Cleavage: short and shorter stories, Lillian’s Last Affair and other stories, and the novel Lillian in Love. Her short story “The Lipstick Assault in Serene Manor” was recently published by Gertrude Press. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Chris Stark is an Anishinaabe and Cherokee lesbian writer, organizer, and trainer. Her first novel, Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, was a Lambda LIterary Finalist. Her second novel, Carnival Lights, was released recently and is a Minnesota Book Awards finalist. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Briona Simone Jones is a scholar of African American literature, Feminist Theory, and Black Queer studies. Jones has published a collection of Black Lesbian writings titled Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought, the most comprehensive anthology centering Black Lesbian thought to date. Jones's forthcoming monograph coins and develops the concept of “Black Lesbian Aesthetics” to demonstrate how literature produced by women of color from 1974-1988 addressed both anti-Blackness in the Women’s movement and sexism and homophobia in the Black power movements. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: Make it Funny!

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With Fay Jacobs: Writing humorous prose can be taught. Whether you want to add humor to a novel or an essay, develop funny characters, or make readers laugh out loud at whatever comes from your keyboard, this workshop will provide advice and rules for writing funny stuff. By reading and analyzing copy from humor writers, you'll learn what makes something funny, how to land a punchline, why the word pickle is funny, and what you can do to ensure a laugh in your writing. You'll laugh and learn. Fay Jacobs is currently Managing Editor for Bywater Books. She has 5 published collections of humorous/activist essays with Bywater Books, was named a 2019 Champion of Pride by The Advocate Magazine and has won numerous awards for her books. She’s written for The Washington Post, Advocate Magazine, Washington Blade, Delaware Beach Life, and has authored a column for 26 years for Letters from CAMP Rehoboth and more. She’s also a sit-down comic performing her solo show Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay all over the country. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: Our International Writing Partnership: A Booster Against Covid

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With Sue Katz and Elizabeth Woodcraft: Two writers – Elizabeth Woodcraft in London and Sue Katz in Boston – explore our international writing partnership before and during the pandemic, as well as our varied experiences with the world of publishing. We will do brief readings from our work. We’ll discuss our enduring commitment to encouraging each other, despite living on different continents with conflicting time zones. Surely our experiences of mainstream publishers, small press publishers, periodicals, and self-publishing will resonate with others. We'll talk about being long-haul writers, now past 70, but still writing and publishing after decades. We welcome your input during a monitored Q&A at the end. Sue Katz’s business card identifies her as a “Wordsmith and Rebel.” Her writing has been published on the three continents where she has lived, worked, and roused rabble. She has been a martial arts master, promoted transnational volunteering, and partner danced more than her feet could bear. Her fiction books, often focusing on the lives of LGBTQ elders, include A Raisin in My Cleavage: short and shorter stories, Lillian’s Last Affair and other stories, and the novel Lillian in Love. Her short story “The Lipstick Assault in Serene Manor” was recently published by Gertrude Press. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. During her time as a lawyer in London, Elizabeth Woodcraft represented lesbians seeking custody of their children, as well as victims of domestic and sexual abuse, women from the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, and anti-apartheid protestors. Good Bad Woman and Babyface (HarperCollins), her two crime novels feature barrister Frankie Richmond. Good Bad Woman was short-listed for a CWA prize for best first crime novel, and won a Lambda award in the US (Kensington). The London Times wrote ‘Move over Rumpole.’ Her most recent books are set in the Sixties - Motown, milk bars and ban-the-bomb marches. The Saturday Girls and The Girls from Greenway are published by Bonnier Zaffre. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: Rural Spaces and Queer Women

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With Catharine Wright and Estela González: As residents of a small Vermont town, writers Catharine Wright and Estela González often turn their attention to how queer women experience both living and writing in rural spaces. In this 60-minute Pod they will discuss how a small town in Vermont and a port town in Mexico inspired their recent fiction projects (one a novel under contract) as well as explore dynamics of class, race, sexuality and culture in their writing. They will discuss the Pearls they will share at the festival, and how other lesbian writers have informed their work. Estela González writes in English and Spanish about the liminal lives of LGBT individuals, sea turtles, monarch butterflies, and those whose cultures are seen as less. Her novel Arribada, slated to appear in April 2022 with Cynren Press, was a finalist for Feminist Press’s Louise Meriwether award in 2019. Estela’s work appears in magazines and anthologies such as Barcelona Review, Coal Hill Review, La Colmena, Cobalt, Cronopio, Feminine Rising, Flash Frontier, Flyway, Label me Latina, Letralia, Luvina, Resonancias, Revista de Literatura Mexicana Contemporánea, Sinister Wisdom, Solstice, and Under the Volcano. Estela divides her time between Mazatlán, México, and Vermont, where she teaches Latin American literature and culture. She is now finishing a collection of stories titled The Age of Aquarius. Her new project is a novel of ghosts in the Mexican Pacific coast. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Catharine Wright is an eighth generation Vermonter who teaches courses such as Outlaw Women and Writing Gender and Sexuality at Middlebury College. She has earned several writing prizes and published fiction and poems in magazines such as The Feminist Wire, Blue Mesa Review, Negative Capability, Pleiades, Hurricane Alice, and Narrative Northeast. She has collaboratively written and edited two nonfiction books, Vermonters At Their Craft, and Social Justice Education. She just completed a novel about a town clerk and lesbian mother who leaves her civil union partner to find new love in a small town. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pearls: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, & Fantasy

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The following authors will be reading excerpts from their work: K. Aten, Tenea D Johnson, Regina Hanel, JB Marsden, K. Ancrum, and Eboni Dunbar. K. Aten from Elemental Attraction, Tenea D. Johnson from Frequencies, a Fiction Album, Regina Hanel from Cassethea of Mercia, JB Marsden from Virago, K. Ancrum from The Weight of the Stars, Eboni Dunbar from Stone and Steel K. Aten is an award-winning author, Technical Analyst, and Social Media Manager living in Michigan with her wife, two kids, two cats, and a dog. She’s published more than a dozen novels across multiple genres since 2018, and is currently penning for Flashpoint Publications. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Tenea D. Johnson is a multimedia storyteller, musician, editor, arts & empowerment entrepreneur, and award-winning author of 7 speculative fiction works, including 2021’s releases, Frequencies, a Fiction Album, and Broken Fevers, of which Publisher’s Weekly wrote “the 14 hard-hitting, memorable short stories and prose vignettes in this powerhouse collection… are astounding in their originality.” For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Regina Hanel lives in the mountainous suburbs of Northern New Jersey with her partner of twenty years. Her first novel, Love Another Day, received the Alice B. Readers’ Lavender Award certificate in 2012, which is given to “promising writers of lesbian fiction” and represents, to this author, a heart-warming affirmation that anything is possible through hard work and the love of creating. Other novels by this author are White Dragon, A Deeper Blue, and Cassethea of Mercia, which is her fourth and latest novel. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. JB “Joey” Marsden wrote her first short story at age ten, but, needing to make a living, spent most of her life writing academic tomes that no one enjoyed reading. Now having published six novels, she has realized her childhood dream. Her books are published by Sapphire Books and are available on Amazon: Reclaiming Yancy, The Travels of Charlie, Bobbi and Soul, Prairie Hearts, Family Ties, and Yancy in Love. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. K. Ancrum is the author of the award winning thriller THE WICKER KING, a lesbian romance THE WEIGHT OF THE STARS and the upcoming Peter Pan thriller DARLING. K. is a Chicago native passionate about diversity and representation in young adult fiction. She currently writes most of her work in the lush gardens of the Chicago Art Institute. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Eboni J Dunbar (She/her) is a queer, black woman who writes queer and black speculative fiction. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wife. She received her BA from Macalester College in English and her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. She is a VONA Alum, and the managing editor for FIYAH Literary Magazine. Her work can be found in Stellium Literary Magazine, FIYAH Literary Magazine, Drabblecast, Anathema: Spec from the margins, and Nightlight Podcast. She also has a novella, Stone and Steel, out now from Neon Hemlock. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: Root to Fruit: Producing Speculative Fiction By and About People of Color

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With Tenea D. Johnson and Silk Jazmyne: Join authors Tenea D. Johnson and Silk Jazmyne for a conversation about people of color in speculative fiction: from the foundations that informed the work to the formulations pushing the genre to ever-new and exciting realms. Both as subject and creator, people of color are enriching the genre and expanding the boundaries of imagination: come hear how the history of spec fic wouldn’t be the same without them and who you should be reading to catch the newest wave. Both authors will also read from their fiction and welcome questions during a Q&A. Tenea D. Johnson is a multimedia storyteller, musician, editor, arts & empowerment entrepreneur, and award-winning author of 7 speculative fiction works, including 2021’s releases, Frequencies, a Fiction Album, and Broken Fevers, of which Publisher’s Weekly wrote “the 14 hard-hitting, memorable short stories and prose vignettes in this powerhouse collection… are astounding in their originality.” For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Silk Jazmyne was born in New York and grew up all over as a Navy brat. She received her B.S. in Communications at Florida International University and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Tampa. Her work has appeared both online and in print at Black Girl Nerds, Midnight & Indigo, African Writer Magazine, and in Ekphrastic Exhibition in Tandem: Back | Forth. She's an Account Coordinator at a boutique advertising agency by day and a speculative fiction author by night who loves the artistically strange. She currently lives and works in Florida. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: The Secret Lives of Historical Novelists

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With Ellen Levy and Elena Graf: This presentation provides an inside look at the rationale, craft, and process of creating lesbian historical fiction. The topics covered will include: the reasons we write historical fiction, and how history impacts our work; how we incorporate lesbian identity, faith and sex in our writing; recreating history but keeping it true to the facts; the process of researching the past. Ellen Levy is obsessed; writing has taken over her life. She spends part of everyday living in 1910’s with her characters, Deborah and Miriam, young Jewish women in love. Ellen summers in Boston with her wife and two cats, and winters At the Resort on Carefree Boulevard in Florida with 500 older women who celebrate the hard-earned freedom to be themselves. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Elena Graf has published four historical novels set in Europe in the early 20th century. Lies of Omission, the third volume in the Passing Rites Series, won a Golden Crown Literary Society award for best historical fiction and a Rainbow Award. The fourth volume, Acts of Contrition also won a Goldie and a Rainbow Award. She has also published six novels in a contemporary series featuring a group of senior women living in the fictional town of Hobbs, Maine. The first novel in the series, High October, was a Lesfic Bard Award finalist. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pearls: Fiction, Romance, & Poetry

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The following authors will be reading excerpts from their work: Nisi Shawl, DT Bush, Stephanie Shea, Misa Sugiura, Elizabeth Andre, Sara Yager, and EF Schraeder. Nisi Shawl from "The Things I Miss the Most," D T Bush from Sweet Honey Wine, Stephanie Shea from Whispering Oaks, Misa Sugiura from Love & Other Natural Disasters, Elizabeth Andre from Trail of Hearts, E.F. Schraeder, from Judy Garland Is Not a Sunrise, Sara Yager, "Twelve Poems" Nisi Shawl is best known for fiction dealing with gender, race, and colonialism, including Nebula finalist Everfair, an alternate history of the Congo. They’re the coauthor of Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, a standard text on inclusive representation, and cofounder of the Carl Brandon Society. Their criticism and essays appear widely, in one case as part of a volume of the Library of America. Shawl edited Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler; Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany; and New Suns: Speculative Fiction by People of Color. Awards include the World Fantasy Award, two Locus Awards, and FIYAH’s Ignyte Award. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. DT Bush's publications of adult fiction include: Anton's Place, Necessary Lies, Stars Above The Forest Dark, and No Other Man. Published Poems: Poetyr. Children's Picture Books: Grandma's Glasses, Rebecca's Song. All are available through Amazon. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Stephanie Shea is a self-proclaimed introvert, who spent her days in corporate daydreaming of becoming a full-time novelist. Her favorite things include binging TV shows, creating worlds where no character is too queer, broken or sensitive, and snacks. Lots of snacks. Someday, she hopes to curb her road rage and get past her anxiety over social media and author bios. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Misa Sugiura’s ancestors include a poet, a priestess, a samurai, and a stowaway. Her first novel It’s Not Like It’s A Secret, won the Asian Pacific Islander American Librarians’ Association’s Award for Young Adult Literature; her highly acclaimed second novel, This Time Will Be Different, made the Best of 2019 lists of YALSA, Kirkus Reviews, the New York Public Library, and the Chicago Public Library. Her short story, “Where I’m From” appears in Come On In, a young adult anthology of stories about immigration. Her latest book, Love & Other Natural Disasters has been praised by the American Library Association as "hilariously awkward" and "honestly poignant." For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Elizabeth Andre writes lesbian romance, science fiction, and paranormal adventure. She is a lesbian in an interracial same-sex marriage living in the Midwest. She hopes you enjoy her stories. She certainly loves writing them. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. EF Schraeder is the author of Liar: Memoir of a Haunting (Omnium Gatherum, 2021), the story collection Ghastly Tales of Gaiety and Greed: Unauthorized and Haunted Cedar Point (Omnium Gatherum, 2020), and two poetry chapbooks. Awarded first place in Crystal Lake Publishing’s 2021 Poetry Contest, E.F. Schraeder was also semi-finalist in Headmistress Press’ 2019 Charlotte Mew Contest. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Sara Yager feels fortunate to have found the Carefree community since it inspired her to make films and also begin writing. She writes short pieces and haiku, taking common experiences and everyday events and trying to find some humor in them. Her short films have won several People’s Choice awards at Carefree film festivals. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: How Editors and Authors Can Stay Friends

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With Fay Jacobs and Stefani Deoul: Editing can be a tough process for the editor and the author. Can friends take on these roles and keep from dissolving the friendship? YES! But it's dicey fun. Learn how to edit your work for crisper, tighter writing. Become an expert self-editor and understand the relationship between content editors and authors. Stefani Deoul is the author of the award-winning YA mystery series, the Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventures: ON A LARP, ZERO SUM GAME, and SAY HER NAME from Bywater Books. Her backlist includes first novel, THE CAROUSEL. She is a regular contributor to the magazine Letters from CAMP Rehoboth, and her short stories appear in several collections. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Fay Jacobs is currently Managing Editor for Bywater Books. She has 5 published collections of humorous/activist essays with Bywater Books, was named a 2019 Champion of Pride by The Advocate Magazine and has won numerous awards for her books. She’s written for The Washington Post, Advocate Magazine, Washington Blade, Delaware Beach Life, and has authored a column for 26 years for Letters from CAMP Rehoboth and more. She’s also a sit-down comic performing her solo show Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay all over the country. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pearls: Memoir

Zoom

The following authors will be reading excerpts from their work: Esther Newton, Lois McGuinness, Mary Ciner, Pat Hulsebosch, Elizabeth McCain, and Ginny Z. Berson. Esther Newton from "Old Movie Star," Lois McGuinness from The Queen of Denial, Mary Ciner from Bar Time: A Lesbian Rite of Passage, Pat Hulsebosch from "Not Napping," Elizabeth McCain from A Lesbian Belle Tells, Ginny Z. Berson "Prologue" from Olivia on the Record: A Radical Experiment in Women's Music Esther Newton is a retired professor of anthropology and women’s studies, currently splitting my year between Michigan and Florida. I loved teaching and mentoring all students, but most especially queer students. My writing and research include numerous articles and essays all dealing with the culture and history of LGBTQ people, and five books, Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America, Womenfriends (with Shirley Walton), Cherry Grove, Fire Island: Sixty Years in America’s First Gay and Lesbian Town, Margaret Mead Made Me Gay: Personal Essays, Public Ideas, and My Butch Career: A Memoir. All these books, exceptWomenfriends, are still in print.  Currently I am the subject of a documentary film in final stages of post-production titled Esther Newton Made Me Gay. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Lois McGuinness, a longtime member of the Carefree Writers’ Circle, focuses on creative nonfiction. She made her literary debut in the 2020 ReadOut. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Mary Ciner, At 80 years old, I could not believe, that my first ever attempt at writing — my bar story, was chosen to be published along with 24 other lesbians’ work in Bar Times. I am now a social activist for lesbians in my community. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Pat Hulsebosch is a queer Pippi Longstocking wanna-be who writes stories and poems about being a wife, daughter, mother, sister, grandmother, and, now, in her sixth decade, a great-grandmother. Since retiring from Gallaudet University she’s found a passion in story-telling about a never-boring life of teaching and learning, wonder, awe and day to day discoveries. Her work has appeared in literary journals including Columbia Journal, Lunch Ticket, Halfway Down the Stairs, Furious Gravity, Grace & Gravity, Vol. I, and The Washington Post. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Elizabeth McCain is a performance artist, storyteller/story coach, spiritual counselor, and an Interfaith minister and author of a compelling memoir, A Lesbian Belle Tells OUTrageous Southern Stories of Family, Loss, and Love. Her memoir is an expansion of her award-winning one woman show about her stories of her Mississippi roots, coming out in Washington, DC in the 90s, family rejection, and finding love and belonging. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Ginny Z Berson is the author of Olivia on the Record: A Radical Experiment in Women’s Music(Aunt Lute Books).  She was a principal founder of Olivia Records and a member of The Furies collective, for which she wrote many articles.  She has been a social justice activist since the 1960’s and currently serves as Director of Outreach for World Trust Educational Services which produces documentary films, workshops and trainings on racial equity.  She is a co-founder of Neighbors for Racial Justice which works to make her Oakland, CA neighborhood safe and welcoming for all neighbors and supports alternatives to policing and incarceration. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pearls: Memoir & Fiction

The following authors will be reading excerpts from their work: Carol Anne Douglas, Sara Fleming, Sharon Deevey, Lynn Ames, Paula Martinac, and Ginny Z  Berson. Carol Anne Douglas from Sister Matthew and Sister Rose: Novices in Love (fiction), Sara Fleming "Pool Talk at the Women's Resort," Sharon Deevey "Nurse" from The Zebra Reader: A Lesbian NET Cancer Journey, Lynn Ames from Extra Innings: The Dot Wilkinson Story, Paula Martinac from Testimony (fiction), Ginny Z. Berson "Chapter 8" from Olivia on the Record: A Radical Experiment in Women's Music Carol Anne Douglas worked on the feminist news journal off our backs for 35 years. She now writes novels and plays. Her latest book is Sister Matthew and Sister Rose: Novices in Love, a story set in 1962. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Sara Fleming, after retiring from an adequate career, moved to Carefree Resort in FL, an all-women community. There she enjoys kayaking the numerous Florida waterways, biking, and participating in the community Writers’ Circle. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Sharon Deevey is a 77-year-old white lesbian who lives in Westerville, Ohio. Between 1989 and 2011, she published several articles about lesbian health and lesbian self-disclosure in nursing journals.  Her poetry collection, Lesbian Jottings: 1970-2010 is available online at Julie Enszer’s lesbianpoetryarchive.org/node/243. Sharon is the author of a recent memoir, The Zebra Reader: A Lesbian NET Cancer Journey. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Lynn Ames is the best-selling author of sixteen books. She also is the writer/director/producer of the history-making documentary, “Extra Innings: The Real Story Behind the Bright Lights of Summer.” This historically important documentary chronicles, for the first time ever in her own words, the real-life story of Hall-of-Famer Dot Wilkinson and the heyday of women’s softball. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Paula Martinac is the author of the historical novel Dear Miss Cushman (Bywater Books), and six others, including Testimony; Clio Rising, Gold Medalist, Northeast Region, 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards; and The Ada Decades, a finalist for the 2018 Ferro-Grumley Award in LGBTQ Fiction. Out of Time, her debut novel, won a Lambda Literary Award. She has received fellowships from North Carolina Arts Council and the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg and teaches fiction writing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Ginny Z Berson is the author of Olivia on the Record: A Radical Experiment in Women’s Music(Aunt Lute Books).  She was a principal founder of Olivia Records and a member of The Furies collective, for which she wrote many articles.  She has been a social justice activist since the 1960’s and currently serves as Director of Outreach for World Trust Educational Services which produces documentary films, workshops and trainings on racial equity.  She is a co-founder of Neighbors for Racial Justice which works to make her Oakland, CA neighborhood safe and welcoming for all neighbors and supports alternatives to policing and incarceration. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: Love & Romance Writing: Building Our Happily Ever Afters

Zoom

With Jae, Karin Kallmaker, Celeste Castro, and LaToya Hankins: Everyone wants a good love story, come join us as we discuss what goes into crafting a compelling romance, tropes of the trade, and the importance of showcasing diverse happily ever afters. Jae is the author of 22 award-winning sapphic romance novels. She lives in the sunniest city in Germany, near the French and Swiss borders. The writing bug bit her at the age of eleven. She used to work as a psychologist but gave up her day job in 2013 to become a full-time writer and a part-time editor. As far as she’s concerned, it’s the best job in the world. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Celeste Castro, she/her, is an American Mexican, author from small-town, rural Idaho, where most of her stories take place. She grew up with learning disabilities, though she always kept a journal. She has several published books including her most recent, PRIZE MONEY published with Interlude Press, 2021. In addition to fiction, she is a staff writer with Hispanecdotes, an online magazine for Latinx writers, where she publishes essays and poetry. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Karin Kallmaker has been exclusively devoted to lesbian fiction since the publication of her first novel by Naiad Press in 1989. In addition to multiple Lambda Literary Awards, she has won the Ann Bannon Popular Choice, multiple Goldies and has been selected as a Trailblazer by the Golden Crown Literary Society. Her latest novel is Simply the Best from Bella Books. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. LaToya Hankins resides in Durham, NC. Her work includes novels SBF Seeking, K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood, and various short stories. She is a book reviewer for the Black Lesbian Literary Collective and her work has been featured in various anthologies. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: The BookstaGays: An LGBTQ+ Books Podcast

Zoom

With Alex Cario and Sam Land: The BookstaGays is a weekly podcast that discusses LGBTQIAP+ books, interviews LGBTQIAP + authors, and invites fellow queer friends on to talk about relevant topics such as coming out, the importance of representation, labels, the intersections of identities, and more. In this panel, Alex and Sam will discuss how and why they started a podcast focusing exclusively on queer books, and the importance of representation for the LGBTQ+ community. They will delve into the podcast, discussing favorite episodes, books, and authors, and will offer recommendations of queer literature.  I’m Sam Land. I’m a 32-year-old dog mom living in a tree house on the river in Florida. I also teach 7th grade. I’m a good time till about 11 pm and then it’s off to hit the hay. Food is a love language that I’m willing to get behind and everyone knows how much I love jalapeño poppers. I’ve been on Instagram for 3 years at @staxsonstaxs. Reading is my escape but I can’t promise I won’t dog ear the pages. My favorite genres include fantasy, young adult, and literary fiction with LGBTQ+ representation! For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. I’m Alex Cario. I’m newly 30-year-old living in Tampa, Florida. I have a basset hound named Penelope that I spend most of my time with. When I’m not reading or at home with my dog, I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker that works with LGBTQ+ youth. I’m the introverted and sarcastic side of the podcast duo! I’ve been talking about books on the internet for over 5 years now, specifically on Instagram at @thebookadvocate. My favorite genres are young adult, literary fiction, and memoir - with a dash of romance, specifically with LGBTQ+ representation, characters, and/or authors. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: More Love and Romance Writing: Building Our Happily Ever Afters

Zoom

With Erin Zak, Stephanie Shea, Fiona Riley, Lola Keeley, and Ava Freeman: Everyone wants a good love story, come join us as we discuss what goes into crafting a compelling romance, tropes of the trade, and the importance of showcasing diverse happily ever afters. Lola Keeley is a writer and coder. After moving to London to pursue her love of theatre, she later wound up living every five-year-old’s dream of being a train driver on the London Underground. She has since emerged, blinking into the sunlight, to find herself writing books. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Fiona Riley was born and raised in New England where she is a medical professional and part-time professor when she isn’t bonding with her laptop over words. Fiona’s love of writing started at a young age and blossomed after she was published in a poetry competition at the ripe old age of twelve. She wrote lots of short stories and poetry for many years until it was time for college and a real job. Fiona found herself with a bachelor’s, a doctorate, and a day job, but felt like she had stopped nurturing the one relationship that had always made her feel the most complete: artist, dreamer, writer. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Ava Freeman is a writer of contemporary romance that centers the Black queer woman’s experience. Through her stories she strives to give readers rich, complex characters that always find their happily ever after. She is the author of several books including the Friends & Lovers series and her most recent story collection Sweetest Taboo. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Stephanie Shea is a self-proclaimed introvert, who spent her days in corporate daydreaming of becoming a full-time novelist. Her favorite things include binging TV shows, creating worlds where no character is too queer, broken or sensitive, and snacks. Lots of snacks. Someday, she hopes to curb her road rage and get past her anxiety over social media and author bios. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Erin Zak grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado in a town with a population of 2,500, a solitary Subway, and one stoplight. She started writing at a young age and has always had a very active imagination. Erin later transplanted to Indiana where she attended college, started writing a book, and had dreams of one day actually finding the courage to try to get it published. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: Character, not Caricature: Writing People Who are Not Like You

Zoom

With Cheryl A Head: You’re a writer so you should be able to write about anything you want. Right?  Well, yes. But…if you’re writing fiction that includes characters who are, for instance, persons of color, differently-abled, non-binary, or culturally different than you, your readers want (and increasingly demand) you give those characters full, authentic, three-dimensional personality.  Let’s discuss some of the techniques, and resources that can help you write what you may not know. Cheryl A Head (she/her) writes the award-winning, Charlie Mack Motown Mysteries whose female PI protagonist is queer and black. Head is a two-time Lambda Literary Award finalist and her books are listed in the Detroit Public Library’s African American Book List. In 2020, the third book in Head’s mystery series was shortlisted for the Next Generation Indie Book Award. In 2019, Head was named to the Hall of Fame of the New Orleans Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. She is a current member of the national Bouchercon Board of Directors. Head lives in Washington, DC with her partner and Abby & Frisby who provide canine supervision. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: Moving in Two Worlds: Telling Stories about Our Intersecting Communities and Identities, & Undoing their Stereotypes

Zoom

With Chris Stark and Giovanna Capone: Chris Stark and Giovanna Capone will read brief excerpts from their work and talk about their challenges and triumphs as they tell stories in literature and in documentary film that portray characters who embody two or more identities, cultures, and communities: Native American and Italian American. They will discuss telling these stories from a lesbian point of view, and how these stories are received by their readers and viewers. They will also shed light on why we need more accurate stories regarding underrepresented and misrepresented populations in America today.  Chris Stark is an Anishinaabe and Cherokee lesbian writer, organizer, and trainer. Her first novel, Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, was a Lambda LIterary Finalist. Her second novel, Carnival Lights, was released recently. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Giovanna Capone is a poet, fiction writer, playwright, and editor. She was raised in an Italian American neighborhood near the Bronx, whose strong immigrant influence still resonates in her life. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, Bedazzled Ink published her first full-length book, In My Neighborhood: Poetry & Prose from an Italian-American. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pearls: Romance & Fiction

Zoom

The following authors will be reading excerpts from their work: Becky Bohan, Isis Brown, LaToya Hankins, and Anondra "Kat" Williams. Becky Bohan from The Santorini Setup, Isis Brown from Worlds Apart, LaToya Hankins from SBF Seeking, Anondra "Kat" Williams from Pat Greene Becky Bohan has published both fiction and nonfiction. Her novel A Light on Altered Landwas a 2021 Goldie Finalist. Her newest release is the suspense/romance blend The Santorini Setup. She has participated in every ReadOut! For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Isis Brown is an elder millennial, carb connoisseur, and lover of animals. She loves getting lost in a good book, limited series, and music. Lots and lots of music. Every once in a while she'll write a book, and hope you have as much fun reading it as she did writing it. She believes there are far too few stories centering women of color, and she aims to help with that. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. LaToya Hankins resides in Durham, NC. Her work includes novels SBF Seeking, K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood, and various short stories. She is a book reviewer for the Black Lesbian Literary Collective and her work has been featured in various anthologies. Hankins is working on her third novel, exploring the relationship between mothers and daughters. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Anondra "Kat" Williams is writer, poet, radio host and all around lover of words. Her first foray into writing was black girl love released in 2011 and her second book SistaGirlreleased August 2013. Both are a collection of short stories and poetry, detailing everyday love and life between women who love women. Since then she has written her first novela Pat Greene, a third collection of short stories About Love and is in the process of finishing Savannah, her first full length novel. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

Pod: Writers’ Groups: Going Deep, Soaring High, Bringing Out the Best

Zoom

With Becky Bohan, Carol Anne Douglas, Dana Finnegan, Sara Fleming, Ellen Levy, Lois McGuinness, and Sara Yager: What makes a successful writers’ group? Members of the Carefree Writers’ Circle from North Fort Myers will discuss the purpose and value of writing groups. As an open, non-genre specific group, the Carefree Writers’ Circle helps develop novice writers and puts the polishing cloth to the work of experienced writers. Members will share their experiences of writing at this women’s community and provide tips on how to have a successful group. Becky Bohan has published both fiction and nonfiction. Her novel A Light on Altered Landwas a 2021 Goldie Finalist. Her newest release is the suspense/romance blend The Santorini Setup. She has participated in every ReadOut! For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Carol Anne Douglas worked on the feminist news journal off our backs for 35 years. She now writes novels and plays. Her latest book is Sister Matthew and Sister Rose: Novices in Love, a story set in 1962. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Dana Finnegan, a retired psychotherapist, taught English literature at the college level in her early career. A leader of the Carefree Writers’ Circle for many years, Dana published the first installment of her memoir, Ollie, Ollie, In Free, in 2018. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Sara Fleming, after retiring from an adequate career, moved to Carefree Resort in FL, an all-women community. There she enjoys kayaking the numerous Florida waterways, biking, and participating in the community Writers’ Circle. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Ellen Levy is obsessed; writing has taken over her life. She spends part of everyday living in 1910’s with her characters, Deborah and Miriam, young Jewish women in love. Ellen summers in Boston with her wife and two cats, and winters At the Resort on Carefree Boulevard in Florida with 500 older women who celebrate the hard-earned freedom to be themselves. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Lois McGuinness, a longtime member of the Carefree Writers’ Circle, focuses on creative nonfiction. She made her literary debut in the 2020 ReadOut. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page. Sara Yager feels fortunate to have found the Carefree community since it inspired her to make films and also begin writing. She writes short pieces and haiku, taking common experiences and everyday events and trying to find some humor in them. Her short films have won several People’s Choice awards at Carefree film festivals. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit the Authors page.

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