Lesfic Book Club: Media Darling

For our September meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Media Darling by Fiona Riley. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Reader 1

Book club time everyone!

Reader 2  4:02 PM

Before I dig through my brain for questions, I want to say I loved the book.

Reader 3  4:04 PM

Well, let’s get to the most important question: What was your inspiration for Stan?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Ha! There was an old carved wooden moose at my first summer camp. That Stan is a real stiff

Reader 5  5 days ago

Was it named Stan at summer camp?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

No! I actually don’t know if it was ever named, I’m sure probably. And it might have also been a few animals…I feel like there was also a life-sized carved eagle.

Reader 4  4:04 PM

Do you have a background in film?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

I do not. But my very good friend is involved with video development and works on film editing, so that helped with some of my research

Reader 5  4:05 PM

I kept waiting for their relationship to be leaked to Hayley’s boss.

Have you thought about writing films? Or are you happy with novels?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

I would love the chance to screen write someday.

Reader 4  4:07 PM

Did you always intend for there to be two baddies or did the book take you that way as you write it?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Depends on which two baddies you are talking about….

If you meant Rachel and Drake, then yes. There was always two evils to this mix

Reader 4  5 days ago

Rachel obviously and aw you’re gonna make me feel an idiot now but the newspaper pap that was behind all the stalking

Drake, that’s him.

Sorry, I read and loved the book but I have bad memory problems. I’m so sorry

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

No worries. Some people have opinions about the sister as well.

Reader 4  5 days ago

I didn’t get that vibe from the book. Not really but I can now see she could have been portrayed as selfish

Reader 5  5 days ago

Since this relates to my question, I’ve done quite a bit of research into adoption. The sister was doing what was necessary to protect her kid. I didn’t see her as selfish at all. They handled the situation well from my perspective.

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Thanks. I agree

Reader 6  4:09 PM

Where did your story idea come from?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Social media and it’s distortion of reality. I watched as celebrities left their “lanes” and ventured into politics and criticisms, and I wondered more about what happened off the Instagram page, etc. There had to be someone at the center of the celebrity persona, right? I wanted to know more about her. And in my mind, she was Emerson.

Reader 6  5 days ago

I enjoyed the story, very interesting and engaging!

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Also, I had promised a fellow author I would beat her to a secret baby story and this was it

Reader 1  4:12 PM

What was the hardest part of this book for you to write (or to research)?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

The film industry stuff. Learning about the voice-overs and film productions schedules and timing. That was a lot of moving pieces to reign in.

Reader 5  4:12 PM

Yeah, let’s talk about the adoption storyline.

Was that difficult to write/research?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Not difficult to research or write specifically. More I had trouble making sure I could emotionally charge the characters to grapple with the storyline. A child is not a tool or an accessory, and that needs to be highlighted. Emerson truly did what she thought was best for her daughter, and in the end, that decision was the right one.

Reader 5  5 days ago


Reader 1  5 days ago

Same – that’s a situation that can easily become ugly or in fiction, drama for drama’s sake, but everybody was mature and did what was best for the kid. It was heartwrenching and well-done

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Thank you. I don’t think anyone wants to be in the position to make those kinds of decisions, but Emerson was fortunate enough to have a stable and loving sister who could help her figure out an impossible impasse

Reader 5  5 days ago

And a lot of families make those choices.

Reader 6  4:15 PM

How do you decide on your character names?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Emerson is a fav of mine and as it relates to the story, it meshed well with her family’s backstory and the development of her secret literary persona. And Hayley i just think is cute

Reader 4  4:15 PM

Do you plot your books or are you a panster?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

I’m a full-fledged plotter. I map out the entire book before I start writing.

Reader 1  5 days ago

Follow-up in that case, are you a paper, index cards, highlighters kind of plotter, or do you do it digitally?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Everything I do is digital. My handwriting is atrocious. I sometimes take side notes on paper, but rarely

Reader 3  4:16 PM

I’m also interested in Emerson’s fear on take-off… is that an anxiety of yours or somebody you know? I liked how well Hayley put Emerson’s focus elsewhere in those moments, without Emerson realizing until later what she had done!

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

That’s the sign of a soulmate, in my opinion. Someone who can distract you from your greatest fear by just being themselves.

I personally don’t suffer from a fear of flying, but I have MANY friends that do.

Reader 3  5 days ago

I agree! My wife is the only reason I’m able to face as much as I do and I would be lost without her!

Reader 5  4:20 PM

So if you were to write a movie, would you want to adapt one of your novels or write something completely new?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

I’d probably try to adapt one of my existing works

I think the Perfect Match Series would make a great television series since it follows so many characters who are interconnected.

In regards to a movie, I think my newest, Bet Against Me, would make a fun one.

Reader 1  5 days ago

Do you have celebrities or other types of look-alikes in mind when you’re figuring out your characters?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Sometimes, but not always. Emerson’s doppelganger is Angelina Jolie, which was mentioned in the story.

Reader 5  4:24 PM

Do you tend to come up with story ideas on your own, or do you brainstorm with people?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

I usually come up with them on my own, but will often bounce them of others to develop them further.

Reader 2  4:25 PM

What was the part you enjoyed writing the most?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

The interview scene on the balcony. And the food scene at the hotel. Those are tied.

Reader 6  4:25 PM

What inspires you when you write?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Seeing HEA in the queer community. Being able to see my life on the page. Representation matters to me- I want more queer love stories with happy endings, I needed those when I was younger.

Reader 3  4:26 PM

I loved the place in Maine… two questions which you might answer together or separately, depending on how connected the answers are…

Did you have a specific place in mind that inspired the place in Maine? and

2. Is there a sort of haven-place like that for you? And what is it like?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

No specific place, no. But I will say that this book club is timely…I just revisited that Maine cabin (sort of) in my next book Bet the Farm. You’ll even see Emerson and Hayley again.

2. I love the beach. I retreat to it often- it’s my happy place.

(I’ll be writing a beach based romance next).

Reader 1  4:29 PM

Who are some of your favorite authors, lesfic or otherwise?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Glennon Doyle, Mary Higgins Clarke, Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, Chris Colfer, Agatha Christie

Reader 5  5 days ago

quite varied

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

I’m a unicorn. It’s part of my charm

Reader 1  5 days ago

Mystery fan for sure though. Do you have any plans to write one of your own?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

I read only mystery and thrillers for most of my young adult life. No plans to adopt the genre myself, but it’s my favorite place to retreat to.

But I read a lot of lesfic now, I like the escapism.

Reader 2  5 days ago

Do you read much fantasy or sci-fi lesfic?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

I don’t but I do love Barbara Wright and I’m certainly open to more

Reader 6  4:32 PM

When is your favorite time of day to write?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Whenever my kids are asleep

Reader 5  5 days ago

How old are your kids?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

3.5 and 1.5

Reader 1  4:35 PM

Do you have a favorite couple from all your books?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Samantha and Lucinda will probably always be my favs (don’t tell the others!), but I love Emerson and Hayley and I’m very partial to Trina and Kendall in my newest book, Bet Against Me.

Reader 2  4:38 PM

If all your characters were suddenly recruited to become vampire slayers, which couple would be the best at it and which the worst?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Samantha and Lucinda from Miss Match, for sure. Though Trina and Kendall from Bet Against Me are viciously competitive.

Also, this is an awesome question. Thank you!

Reader 3  4:38 PM

I don’t really have a question about this, but one of my favorite things about Emerson was the children’s books and I almost died of cute squee when the girl approached her on the plane!

Reader 5  4:39 PM

Yes! That was truly the best reveal

Fiona Riley  4:42 PM

Do you all meet every Sunday? And how do you decide on the book/author?

Reader 2  4:42 PM

One Sunday a month usually.

Reader 5  4:42 PM

we vote on author first, then what book

Reader 1  4:44 PM

Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on right now, Fiona?

Fiona Riley  5 days ago

Sure! I just finished the second book in my High Stakes Romance series- Bet the Farm. It will be out in the Spring 2021. My most recent release, Bet Against Me, came out Sept 2020 and I’m about to dive into the third and final book of the series- Beginner’s Bet. due fall 2021

Bet the Farm takes place in Maine at Boudreaux’s dairy farm… sound familiar?????

You get to meet the entire Boudreaux family and learn all about that whipped cream that Hayley loves so much.

The book features luxury realty and dairy farm living. It’s quite the combination

Reader 5  4:52 PM

Thanks for sharing your stories with us.

Fiona Riley  4:52 PM

Thank you for having me!

Check out Bet the Farm if you want to see Hayley and Emerson again 🙂

Lesfic Book Club: Turbulence

For our August meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Turbulence by EJ Noyes. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Reader 1 Aug 23rd at 4:02 PM

@E. J. Noyes – I love Turbulence! Any plans for another book in that “world”?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Probably not, much as I adore Isabelle and Audrey. Mostly because I just can’t think of where to take them next and I have a million other projects to do.

In my list of “want to writes” I do have a vague note – Audrey plane crash – ew.

Reader 1  4 days ago

Oh no haha! I’ll look forward to whatever you come out with next.

Reader 2 Aug 23rd at 4:03 PM

@E. J. Noyes I loved Turbulence as well!  Really all your books…  Have read almost all  of them several times (the latest only once so far).  Did you want to leave us with the feeling that Mark was on the up and up or should we think that he was honest, just tired of working?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago


I always felt he was just sick of it all, and also jealous that Is is suck a bloody rockstar.

Originally when I started it I had him involved with embezzling etc but it got too complicated for my brain and felt like something Isabelle really would have noticed. The softer version felt like something he could slip through.

I would have like to do more with him, but felt it took too much away from the core story.

Reader 2  4 days ago

@E. J. Noyes yeah that makes sense.  I got the feeling you wanted to go the embezzlement route with him and backed off.  Yeah one of the things we have to be careful of as writers is not to take away from the core story.

Reader 3 Aug 23rd at 4:04 PM

Can we have more stories of Isabel and Audrey?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I have a strange sense of deja vu right now…

Reader 4 Aug 23rd at 4:05 PM

There’s a certain theme of longing and desire running through all your books. You write that like no one else. Do you just like to torture us poor readers? :laughing:

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Ah thank you for the lovely compliment.

Torture is never the intention!

I think there’s a lot of longing and desire in the real world so being able to resolve that in fiction always feels nice.

Reader 5 Aug 23rd at 4:06 PM

Did writing this story give you the excuse to go to flight school?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Ha! Not quite.

I’d always wanted to learn to fly but after a bunch of lessons (which I was excellent at I might say) it got too damned expensive and I was all weird and nervous about the radio calls.

Reader 6 Aug 23rd at 4:06 PM

@E. J. Noyes a number of your books seem to have a ” forbidden” relationship at the heart of them. Do you enjoy writing the angst that comes from that?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Ummm… I’m a VERY empathetic writer so I don’t enjoy the feeling I get when my word kids are upset.

I do enjoy the emotion of it though.

That’s a total contradiction, isn’t it…

Reader 6  4 days ago

maybe but that’s what makes them so intriguing… and feel so real

Reader 2 Aug 23rd at 4:09 PM

What’s on the horizon for your next book?  When is the Bella publishing date?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Pas de deux!

Dressage in the lead up to the Rio Olympics – rider + veterinarian (and an awesome horse). Characters were NOT friends together at Pony Club 20+ years ago and meet again.

I’m still writing it but I believe it’s out May 2021?

Reader 7 Aug 23rd at 4:11 PM

For me Turbulance felt like a slightly ‘lighter’ story than some of your other books and I just wondered if it felt like that when you were writing it? I loved it btw! (edited)

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Ummm, it was only the second novel I’d written so it  definitely felt lighter than Ask, Tell.

I think I was still in the “HoW is WrItInG?” stage so that had its own stresses.

Reader 7  4 days ago

It is hard to believe (but enderaing and reassuring to hear) you could ever be in that stage with the doubts and stresses that come with it. Your writing is so accomplished.

Reader 5 Aug 23rd at 4:12 PM

Where did the inspiration for Turbulence come from? Did you have the story mapped out ahead of time or did it organically grow once you had the characters set?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I was plane watching while in the city during work day, because I ALWAYS look up at planes.

Most of my stuff starts with – “Wouldn’t it be funny if…” and go from there. I had a thought about a 1st class passenger and pilot spotting each other and the pilot getting an attendant to give the passenger her number.

And it morphed from there.

Nope – I do not plan anything so it evolved as I wrote, including the characters. I get vague ideas, write scenes out of order and off it goes.

Reader 8  4 days ago

@E. J. Noyes and we are grateful of that plane watching because it gave us a wonderful book! It was my first EJ book and got hooked afterward! Definitely a page-turner! Just love it!

Reader 2 Aug 23rd at 4:15 PM

Does it take about 6 months to write a book or maybe it depends on the book?  Which one was the fastest, which one the slowest (maybe the first?)

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I really couldn’t say because I tend to work on multiple projects at once.

I don’t think Ask, Tell was the slowest, no. I think If the Shoe Fits probably? Maybe?

I had to take a week off work to finish up the draft because it was getting too close to deadline for my comfort 🙂

Reader 5 Aug 23rd at 4:16 PM

How often do you find you are deleting scenes and what makes up your mind to do so?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I don’t deleted anything until I’m comfortable with the word count, around say…70k?

Otherwise it makes me feel like I’m going backwards.

Because I don’t plan, and I write like a frenetic monkey, I tend to work by writing scenes/lines/chunks and then joining them up. Then as I start figuring out the  story I start realising what works and what doesn’t.

Anything I cut goes into another file to either be repurposed (either somewhere else in the book or another).

Reader 9  4 days ago

Wow, I never would have guessed that you’re not a planner because everything in Turbulence comes together so beautifully. Do you spend a lot of time on revisions?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago


And also edits with my editor because she’ll point out something doesn’t work

In Turbulence she wanted me to strengthen the Mark stuff (so imagine how flimsy it was at first…) and I had a massive stress because I am so bad at research – my reading comprehension is shit so trying to find info about things I don’t know about (aka every book I have written!) stresses me the hell out.

Reader 2 Aug 23rd at 4:18 PM

@E. J. Noyes RE: Deleted scenes – did you ever consider selling them separately – even as a charity fund raiser?  Or loyal reader reward?  I read recently someone did that and I thought it was really awesome.

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I don’t think I’d ever sell them – that feels weird.

I’d like to keep putting them up on my website, but honestly I’ve been a little busy with writing lately and I do have to run an editing eye over the deleted stuff to make sure they are vaguely readable.

I did have a brilliant (and time consuming) idea of continuing stories on my site as short scenes, one character per chapter (including people like Mitch) but again…time 🙂

Reader 2  4 days ago

@E. J. Noyes The short story character idea like Mitch sounds like a great idea!  Hope you get some time to do that in the near future!

Reader 10  4 days ago

The deleted scenes on your website are fun, would be cool to see more when you have time

Reader 5 Aug 23rd at 4:21 PM

How long does it take you on average from initial idea to publishing?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I can only really speak to Ask, Tell because now my publisher and I are either “Here, I have this” or “Do you have anything?” :slightly_smiling_face:

Ummm….doing a LOT of file searching this morning…

I started writing AT in December 2014 according to file dates. Subbed it to Bella in January 2016 after a million revisions and waiting for another publisher who took months with it on sub (no simultaneous) and rejected it. Accepted by Bella after about a week.

Reader 5  4 days ago

Big, big mistake to the other Pub…

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I’m not sorry 🙂

Reader 4 Aug 23rd at 4:25 PM

Do you have a favourite couple that you’ve written? And which character is most like you?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Oh the favourite kid question!

I can’t answer that because I do love them all.

Um, all of them have parts of me in them but I would say probably Sabine (aside from the super smart surgeon part).

I have the same constantly running self-narrative in my head that she does etc etc

Makes sense my first MC would be an extension of me 🙂

Reader 5 Aug 23rd at 4:26 PM

How do you land on your character names?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

95% of the time – open browser, type “girl’s names” or “boy’s names” 🙂

Some are friends/family but mostly just name searches until I find one that feels like it suits.

Reader 11 Aug 23rd at 4:27 PM

I also loved the book (well, except for wanting to throttle Mark for the blind-siding)… What would you suggest as a good choice for a second of your books to read, for somebody who enjoyed Turbulence?

Reader 5  4 days ago


Reader 6  4 days ago

All of them!

Reader 15  4 days ago

Reader 11, i’ll answer that one and say genuinely: any of them! all are superb but super different to each other. it is just the quality of character and complex emotions that are the same. The setting and background is a complete surprise each time.

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Oh tough one. I think they are all so different so it’s hard if you like a certain thing.

So yeah, all of them 😀

Reader 4 Aug 23rd at 4:29 PM

How did the hook up with Abby Craden for the audiobooks happen? She’s absolutely perfect for your books. They are my absolute favourites for my commute.

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I woke up to an email from my publisher (which is how it usually goes, thanks timezones) saying Ask, Tell and Ask Me Again had been picked up for audio and I’d get a list of narrators choices soon.

I couldn’t type back fast enough that I really loved Abby Craden’s narration.

And that was it. Done.

And I agree. I love the nuance of her performance and I always feel she really gets my work.

For If the Shoe Fits – because I know everyone is curious – there was a scheduling issue and Audible chose Kelsey Navarro, who I’m thrilled with. I love what she did with it 🙂

Reader 6  4 days ago

Ah that’s interesting I assumed it was because you needed a different voice. Yes all great narrations

Reader 12  4 days ago

It was hard to adjust to a different person reading characters I’d known so well, but it was still a good audiobook.

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

@Reader 12 Aye, I’ve heard that a lot, but some things are out of the author’s hands 🙂

Reader 12  4 days ago

Completely agree and understand, being the various stages of producing 3 audiobooks and unsure how to proceed with the rest of the series given production schedules and all that. It was the best you could do with the situation. I’m not sure how Abby has any free time!

Reader 2 Aug 23rd at 4:33 PM

Is the Terminator ride at Universal your favorite?  :slightly_smiling_face:  Or has it been replaced?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I’ve only been to Universal once. Hard when you live in another hemisphere :slightly_smiling_face: So I’d say it still sits at the top of my list.

The Jurassic World ride wasn’t open when we were there which was TRAGIC.

Reader 13 Aug 23rd at 4:35 PM

How do you find the ideas for your books?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Daydreaming. Weird thoughts when I see something. Someone says something which twigs an idea 🙂

Reader 1 Aug 23rd at 4:35 PM

What are some of your favorite WLW books lately?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Oof, I have to admit I’ve dialled back on allll reading. I just don’t have the time I’d like, and honestly – reading fabulous work makes me super self conscious about my own work.

I really loved the audio of Breaking Character by Lee Winter/Angela Dawe.

I have a bunch of unread or unlistened rather audio because I find audio easier on my ego

Reader 14 Aug 23rd at 4:36 PM

If you were offered the opportunity to ride on the back of a dragon would you take it?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Bloody hell, do you think I’m crazy?

As if I’d pass up that opportunity! But I’d like a saddle or something – they always seem so rough scaly.

Reader 9 Aug 23rd at 4:45 PM

What’s your favorite non-lesfic genre to read/watch?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago


I really don’t think I have one for reading or watching.

I’m not a huge television consumer and even less so now with The Rona – just have no desire to read/watch things.

I do enjoy things like Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel etc but then I’ll go down a rabbit hole of books about WWII.

Reader 12  4 days ago

Any particular reason why WW2?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

@Reader 12 Weird morbid fascination that started as a kid I guess. Trying to understand how that happens.

I do have a historical fiction completed but not sure I’ll ever have the guts to publish it.

Reader 12  4 days ago

I’m sure everyone agrees to publish everything. 😉 I’ve always had a fascination with the military. I know why now, but it’s also fascinating on a human level to see how far humans will go for power.

Reader 15 Aug 23rd at 4:48 PM

you said earlier that you write scenes and then tag them all together in an order after the fact. I understand you are a pantser, but at the second stage, after the “big write” do you then lay out a cohesive “emotion” time line. your characters are always so complex yet subtle and i struggle to think of a way you can map their growth if it is purely pantsing, whats your secret?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Nope :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t do any of the stuff they say you should when writing about arcs and growth and relationship and story beats etc.

I think it just evolves as the story grows and comes together.

Reader 2 Aug 23rd at 4:49 PM

Do you see yourself doing anything like sci-fi?  Like a “Terminator” sort of story?  (I’d put “Reaping the Benefits” more as Fantasy).

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I’d not considered it.

It’s funny that Reaping the Benefits is being categorised by people as “paranormal” or “fantasy”.

To me it’s a romance with a plot behind it, much like Alone was 🙂

Reader 12  4 days ago

Agreed. I’m not keen on some of these genre specifications just because there are certain elements in there.

Reader 4 Aug 23rd at 4:49 PM

When you write your characters do you have a person in mind who they look like, an actor or someone you know? If you don’t who could you see playing Sabine and Bec in a film?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

I don’t, no – which I think HORRIFES Lee Winter :slightly_smiling_face:

I find it hard to pick actresses because all of my characters (with the exception of Brooke in Shoe who I knew looked like Jennifer Garner) are mashups of features. So it’d be like “Oh it’s this person, but taller/younger/with different eyes or hair and dimples” so then it’s not really even them, is it…?

Reader 1 Aug 23rd at 4:50 PM

How do you think Isabel and Audrey are holding up in quarantine? Are they staying in the city, or perhaps near Isabel’s mom?

Reader 12  4 days ago

Private jet means they can still travel to a lot of places. 😉

Reader 11  4 days ago

And being the boss means you can have people fetch everything you need if you have to quarantine as a post-travel precaution

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Tough question because I don’t know exactly what you guys can do over there.

If totally stuck, they’d be staying in the city – Audrey moved in to Isabelle’s place. There’s obviously a lot of sex. Audrey is cleaning a lot. Isabelle is online shopping. They’re playing a lot of board games.

Audrey is now addicted to RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Reader 6 Aug 23rd at 4:51 PM

Most of your books have a 1st person POV. Do you find it easier to write the emotions and get in the head of the characters in 1st person?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago


As mentioned above, I’m an empathetic writer so I do really get inside their heads. Which is great, but also exhausting for emotional books like Ask Me Again and Alone.

Reader 15  4 days ago

Did that make reaping the benefits a different writing experience ?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

@Reader 15 It did, but mostly because I was second-guessing my choice the whole time which just messed with my get in their head mojo 🙂

Reader 2 Aug 23rd at 4:52 PM

@E. J. Noyes I wonder if Sabine and Becca would be going crazy at the hospital and wonder if one of them wouldn’t get the virus…

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Sabs being Sabs she’d be loving working instead of staying home but also anxious about being made to do COVID stuff 🙂

Bec is frazzled as shit because she’s the boss.

They, like most of the frontline healthcare people, would probably get it.

Reader 12  5:05 PM

Do you know which of your books are most popular?

Or are they fairly even?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

It’s hard to tell because the only quantifiable thing I have is sales numbers which doesn’t really work because a book released years before another will have sold more at the time of report. I always got the sense that Alone is the most popular. My little weird one.

Reader 12 Aug 23rd at 5:11 PM

Okay, one more, because I can’t remember if you answered this elsewhere. If you could have any of your books made into movies, which would you most like to see?

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Probably Gold – skiing!

But the Ask, Tell trio would be fun.

Alone would be awesome but so much relies on the reader being aware of the truth when Celeste isn’t and I think that would be really hard to convey.

Reader 12  4 days ago

I love Gold. I’m writing a lesbian snowboarding movie with a trans lead right now. Gold could definitely translate.

As much as I love Alone, I can’t imagine how it could be translated to film without changing the experience. And yet, it might be doable. It adds a lot more suspense for sure.

Ask Tell would have to be a miniseries I’d think, but that could be cool. And gives time to dive into Mitch’s world as well.

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

@Reader 12 Aye, and that’s how I wanted it. Obvious twist because knowing what’s going on when you’re inside the head of someone who really doesn’t is awesome. And horrible too

Reader 15 Aug 23rd at 5:19 PM

where would you prefer readers to buy your books, straight from the publishers or amazon ( have read that different authors have different preferences)

E. J. Noyes  4 days ago

Honestly – anywhere :slightly_smiling_face: As long as people purchase them.

Generally authors do make slightly more direct from publisher, but Amazon sales lead to visibility.

Thanks everyone for coming along, and you can always find me on Twitter @zgrokit where I hang out a lot and am always up to answer your burning book questions.

Lesfic Book Club: Blurred Lines

For our July meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Blurred Lines by KD Williamson. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Reader 1  4:10 PM

Thanks so much for joining us – we’re happy to have you

KD Williamson  4:11 PM

I’m glad u reminded me. I’ve probably got a lil too much on my plate this week sorry

Reader 1  4:11 PM

So what did everybody think of Blurred Lines?

Reader 2  4:11 PM

I only made it to chapter 12 so far in the 4th book. I was hoping to have completed the series before the book club meeting today. I got sucked in. 😀

Reader 3  4:12 PM

It was fantastic

Reader 4  4:12 PM

I love the series it’s one of my favorites

Reader 5  4:13 PM

Book was amazing I love the chemistry and the teasing between them!

Reader 6  4:13 PM

It’s great! I love Kelli

KD Williamson  4:13 PM

well don’t stop if you wanna shout more accolades! lol

Reader 3  4:13 PM

I got to ask the most important question first. Metallica? I luuuurrrvvvvvveeeee them so was thrilled they guest starred

KD Williamson  4:13 PM

I’m a metallica fan

old metallica

Reader 7  4:14 PM

Yes, their chemistry is wonderful! I found that I didn’t like either Kelli or Nora at the beginning of the book, but I always liked them when they were together, from their first interactions.

Reader 6  4:15 PM

Aww, Kelli is totally my type of person though :slightly_smiling_face:

Reader 1  4:15 PM

Yeah Kelli seemed like she would definitely be a challenging patient haha

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Kelli is a challenging person period lol

Reader 7  4:16 PM

There are parts of them that I really identify with… but I think what made it hard to like them initially (but what also made it more powerful when they came together) was that we got a really good look at the “walls” each of them put up against the world, before we got to know the women inside those walls

Reader 3  4:15 PM

How did you decide on the characters, were they based on any real life peeps?  (edited)

KD Williamson  4:16 PM

Kelli and Nora were actually based in fanfic ans Rizzoli and Isles

Reader 5  4 days ago

I got that vibe!! I wish on the show they had got together

Reader 8  4 days ago

I’ve never watched Rizzoli and Isles, lol. :see_no_evil:

Reader 10  4 days ago

READER 8 you need to, and I wasn’t wrong when I kept seeing Maura in Nora… tho I just got the Rizzoli fam resemblance in Kelli’s family.

Reader 4  4:17 PM

Yes I called that

Rizzoli and Isles is only the best show EVER I love Maura and Jane

Reader 5  4:17 PM

Kelli is the best totally! I wonder were is my Kelli BUT I am just find out that I have a spot for Ice Queens!!

Reader 6  4 days ago

The chemistry is so strong they should have put them together.

Reader 4  4 days ago

Yes they should have! They were practically together without all the kissing and stuff. Even Hoyt saw it

Reader 3  4:18 PM

Did you always plan it to be a 2 part book?

So the baddie could get what was coming

KD Williamson  4:19 PM

No my publisher at the time, Ylva thought it was wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy to long as it was

so they wanted to split it in two. Character growth big time for the second book

Reader 3  4:21 PM

What about books 3 and 4? Where they just additional stories or did you purposely think them up to fit the docs and cops theme?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

I purposely didn’t want the series to be about the same ppl over and over but I wanted to keep the theme

Reader 1  4:22 PM

Do you have a favorite profession to write about between the two, cops vs. docs?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Kelli and Nora started out as my favorite but Tonya and Haley ended up stealing the show for me. She was a psychiatrist

Reader 2  4:22 PM

Will there be more books in the series?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

If I can find something original possibly

Reader 9  4:23 PM

I’ve only read the first one, with the second ready to go. Is extra slow burn your thing @KD Williamson?

I mean those two were just fizzing and popping and downright smouldering!

KD Williamson  4 days ago

LOL I don’t do it on purpose! Honest! It just worked out that way. But I’m starting to think maybe it is

Reader 3  4:24 PM

If this is too nosey then ignore. But I saw a group of you seemed to defect from Ylva and form a new publisher. Is there a reason or you just all wanted a change?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Nope mad love for Ylva just wanted a change. I may even be going toward self publishing some day

Reader 2  4:25 PM

What was the most enjoyable thing to write for the book?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

the humor and the sex lol

Reader 3  4:26 PM

Do you have a background as either a cop or a doc?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

I have a mental health background, My mom was a nurse. My sister is a nurse too

Reader 9  4:28 PM

Don’t know the show but did you base Carina on anyone. Some of her questions were outrageous!

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Yup Jane Rizzoli’s mom on the show. I added a lil extra spin on her of course

Reader 1  4:30 PM

What’s your favorite part of a romance to write?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

I don’t like so much to do the conventional romance. To me the best part is the getting to know you stage it’s full of awkwardness, humor, heat or it should be

Reader 9  4:31 PM

If the characters weren’t based on the show, who do you see playing Kelli and Nora in a film version?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Ohhh hmmm I’m gonna hav to think on that for a min. I’ll come back to it

Reader 4  4 days ago

I would want Sasha to play Nora still

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Who would yall like to see? Kelli is a redhead so..?

Reader 1  4 days ago

Do you have a strong visual image of your characters/setting/etc while you write? I always tremble in fear at the possibility of being asked this question because I do not lol

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Sometimes I do Reader 1. Sometimes I don’t.

Reader 4  4 days ago

Hmm… Kat Barrel or Chyler Leigh

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Lena Headey as Kelli

she could do the red hair and the attitude

Reader 1  4 days ago

Ooh, I could see Chyler or Lena for sure. I was thinking a little younger, Isla Fisher

Reader 6  4 days ago

The attitude is everything

Reader 9  4 days ago

The actress who plays Joan in Mad Men maybe?

Reader 1  4 days ago

I would watch Christina Hendricks in anything

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Nooo I see her for Nina in my newest book Big Girl Pill

Now for Nora…hmm who does damaged well?

Reader 3  4 days ago


I do damaged real well :joy:

Reader 10  4 days ago

What about Bridget Regan as Nora?

Reader 11  4 days ago

But in the book, you write Nina as a blond. I liked how she came into herself during the book

Reader 9  4:37 PM

What about writing in a different genre @KD Williamson? Any plans?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

I’ve written spec fic before wayyy wayy way back won a goldie for it but the book is out of print

I do think about it but I think romance is my thing…done my way

Reader 6  4 days ago

And your way adds a lot of ‘color’ that we need. Not just in the characters literally ethnicity but in the way they talk and act. Much more down to earth.

Reader 1  4 days ago

I would be very interested to read that – any possibility of self-publishing to get it back into circulation?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

It would need a major MAJOR rewrite lol I’m so different as a writer now but I’ve thought about it

Reader 2  4:38 PM

Who are your favorite lesfic authors?

KD Williamson  4:39 PM

Meghan Obrien is very underrated

I did a podcast with Tara scott about her lol

Reader 9  4:39 PM

Would you ever do a collaboration?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

god no…no no no I don’t think I’d be able to my writing voice is my own

Reader 2  4:41 PM

Any advice for new writers or those looking into getting into writing?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

if u self published get an editor first if you go through a publisher read ur contract and haggle if you can and then listen to your editor! Argue but be willing to listen

Reader 9  4:42 PM

Do you have a potty mouth like Kelli :laughing:

KD Williamson  4 days ago

For the most part fuck yeah lol

Reader 1  4:44 PM

What’s your favorite non-lesfic genre to read/watch?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

I do a lot of superhero stuff. I can’t help myself. I’m a big kid so I love the Marvel and DC live action shows

Right now I’m listening to Sandman its based on a graphic novel from the DC universe

Reader 9  4:45 PM

Do you do much stuff like this, interaction with fans, and do you enjoy it?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

All the time and yes for the most part I really do. The unsolicited DM’s get a lil invasive and weird sometimes tho lol

Reader 1  4:48 PM

Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser, or something in between?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

A pantser to a degree until I get near the end I tend to map that out more

Reader 12  4:50 PM

What is the one book you couldn’t live without?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Wild by Meghan Obrien it’s just something about that book

I listened to the audiobook

Reader 3  4:53 PM

There is a need for more POC in books but there’s a big debate about white peoples shouldn’t write a character who is a POC because they don’t know their lifestyle. So which is better, just hoping for more POC authors or allowing white writers to add characters they want without having to make them all white.

Apologies if this offends anyone

KD Williamson  4 days ago

thats a good question. publishers generally are reluctant to put out books written by POC because they still think they don’t sell or they only sell to that particular race. That’s not true. I’m an example of that. As far as letting others write what they want? I think it’s a fine line because white writers have been guilty of using stereotypes seen in the media for their characters. If a writer does write about a POC they need a very good sensitivity reader

Reader 3  4 days ago

Thanks for your answer. I don’t care what the author looks like, I judge purely on the book.

Reader 6  4 days ago

My take in general is that we have enough bad representation. What we need is good representation. Support authors of color. And if you’re writing outside your experience, research and get sensitivity readers, if you write it at all.

Reader 1  4 days ago

As a traditionally published author, is there anything you think readers can do to put the pressure on publishers to pick up more POC manuscripts?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

They can be willing to read it. I hear so much call for diversity and then when it happens….readers dissappear cuz it isn’t exactly what they thought it was or wanted

And review those books, buy those books, spread the word as well as letting the pub know

Reader 2  4:53 PM

Would you ever consider writing a romance set in a world of super heroes?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

I’ve thought about it. That takes some world building I don’t know if I would be good at that. But I also think about just writing about a Jessica Jones everywoman character

Reader 9

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

Captain Marvel

Reader 3  5:03 PM

I saw a twitter post where you single handedly took on gcls about their diversity issues. Do you feel you won your battle?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

No not until I see some actual change. I did a skype chat with a couple reps the other day so we’ll see. I think the common misconception is because I spoke the Reader 3dest and longest I can fix everything but that’s not my job

Reader 3  4 days ago

No it’s not but it certainly helped raise awareness

Reader 3  5:07 PM

What’s your next book and when will you find time to write it?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

At the beginning of the year I was working on a follow up to Big Girl Pill my latest. Unfortunately, things got derailed. My mother died from COVID and I’m trying to get back on the writing wagon. So this year I’m hoping a new book will be out

Reader 2  5:09 PM

Would a vet and an animal control officer fit the cops and docs theme?

KD Williamson  4 days ago

A vet yes but an animal cop? Idk sounds too cutesy lol

Reader 13  5:09 PM

Blurred Lines has been in my favorites file for awhile now – read it 3 -4 times. Thanks for that treat.

KD Williamson  5:11 PM

thanks all for having me!

Reader 1  5:11 PM

Thank you so much for joining us KD and if you all haven’t been there yet, please check out her charity auction going on now: https://www.facebook.com/events/706052596885127

Lesfic Book Club: Charming the Vicar

For our June meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Charming the Vicar by Jenny Frame. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Jenny Frame  4:00 PM

Hi everyone. Thanks for inviting me.

Reader 1  4:00 PM

Hello Jenny, thanks for chatting with us!

Reader 2  4:01 PM

Hi, just reading the wrong book of yours for book club like you do ya know……

Jenny Frame  4:01 PM

Ha ha! That’s okay. Quade’s book is a fav of mine.

Reader 2  4:02 PM

They’re by the haystack after reconciling …..

Reader 1  4:02 PM

I have not read it yet but I loved Quade in Charming the Vicar

Do you pick favorite characters when you write?

Reader 3  4:03 PM

Ouch, hay is pokey

Reader 4  4:03 PM

Hey jenny

Jenny Frame  4:04 PM

When I start a new series, I always know who the side characters are going to fall for… So it’s always exciting to start and give them all a love story. Quade is especially sweet though.

Reader 4  4:04 PM

Quade is sweet but the vicar s by far my favorite

Reader 2  4:05 PM

Did you have Penny mapped out for Quade from the get go?

Jenny Frame  4:05 PM

Bridge is one of a kind. It was so much fun to write a very femme character with so much confidence and power at her fingertips.

Reader 4  4:06 PM

What was the inspiration for making bdsm part of her background

Jenny Frame  4:07 PM

Penny was always going to be a social media influencer, who couldn’t live without her phone and Instagram, but I did some deeper character work for her when I came to write it.

Reader 2  4:07 PM

Up to the epilogue.

Reader 3  4:08 PM

The character work is definitely fascinating.

Jenny Frame  4:09 PM

The Bdsm part of Bridge somehow was always part of her, and I don’t know why. She came fully formed as a character, and as I say she was different from the normal characters I wrote. From the beginning I saw a Vicar with a whip. The two sides of her creating a conflict.

Reader 2  4:09 PM

How did you research for the royal books? Do you have insider knowledge?

Reader 3  4:10 PM

I am not at all familiar with the churches in England, so it was very interesting to compare the approach to religion in this instance with what I’ve experienced.

Reader 1  4:11 PM

Agreed – having the church leaders be such a center point of the community was very different from what we have locally but it definitely added to the “everybody knows everybody, we’re all family” vibes that were so great in this book

Jenny Frame  4:12 PM

I’m a big history buff and in the U.K that goes hand in hand with royalty. I loved learning about the strange rituals the family take part In. The things they do in their day to day life is fascinating.

Reader 5  4:12 PM

I also found my church comparisons going, though with a little more familiarity because most of the churches I’ve been involved with (and employed by) have been historically connected to the Church of England, but they do things differently than their Canadian and American outgrowths. (And one of the ways has been that the North American outgrowths have, at their national levels, been more welcoming than the C of E as a whole.)

Reader 4  4:13 PM

Of all professions why a magician for finn

Reader 3  4:13 PM

I didn’t even know the C of E was here… which sounds ridiculous to say. But where I grew up our heritage is strongly German and Scandinavian.

Jenny Frame  4:14 PM

Thank you. Yes small English village life has two focal points the church and the pub. The church doesn’t even have to be for believers, it’s sometimes just a traditional thing people take part in on Sundays-then off to the pub! 🙂

Reader 2  4:14 PM

A lot of UK primary schools are c of e including the one I went to

Reader 5  4:15 PM

Well, the Episcopal Church has had a couple of centuries to diverge from the Church of England

Reader 2  4:17 PM

Where do you get your ideas from for your books? What inspires you?

Jenny Frame  4:18 PM

I saw Finn as a magician because I wanted my atheist character to be so sure in her disbelief that losing her faith in atheism was such a hard thing. And I’m influenced greatly by the famous magicians who set about debunking faith healers and such. We have Derren Brown in the UK and I believe Penn and Teller do similar things.

Reader 1  4:19 PM

Was it difficult to figure out how you/Bridget were going to lead Finn back to her faith? I was on the edge of my seat for a while and you pulled it off really well, not compromising either character

Reader 3  4:20 PM

I liked the parallels between illusion and fake preachers, but also the connections you drew to the way Bridge and Annie used similar techniques without harm

Jenny Frame  4:20 PM

Songs inspire me a lot. I build up a playlist for every book and listen on repeat as I write. Songs have always opened up stories in my imagination, but often news reports can set off a story, as it did for my book Unexpected.

Reader 3  4:21 PM

There were times I was genuinely concerned about how you were going to handle everything, but it was well done.

Reader 5  4:22 PM

I think what I loved most was how Bridge and Finn each had histories that shaped them but didn’t, in the end, trap them

Reader 2  4:22 PM

So what song inspired you to write about a bdsm whip wielding vicar?

And was it Could it be Magic by Take That that inspired Finn? 😉

Reader 5  4:23 PM

And I’m so glad that I was “complete-ist” enough to buy and read the first book, so that I could recognize Harry and Annie when people spoke about them (and when they returned to Axedale).

Jenny Frame  4:23 PM

Thank you. I wanted a kind of balance between their beliefs. An open door that Finn could look through into Bridge’s strong sense of faith, but still leave room for Finn’s disapproval in fake faith healers etc. I have Church of England vicars in my family as well as atheists, so I can see that tension in real life.

Reader 6  4:24 PM

I just want to say I love the book! It’s my first read by you and I’m highly impressed… You give Anna Stone a run for her money on the S&M like I was SO drawn to Bridget and how she was protrayed!  It was beautiful

Reader 2  4:25 PM

You’re so lucky Reader 6, I read the wrong book! :smirk:

Reader 3  4:25 PM

And I’m the opposite. That aspect still leaves me uncomfortable, but I enjoyed the story either way.

Jenny Frame  4:25 PM

Bridge and Finn’s song was Bad things by machine gun Kelly and Camilla. I think it describes their relationship to a tee.

Reader 2  4:28 PM

Jenny, you’re with Bold Strokes right? Do you ever find there’s a language barrier between yourself and your editors or do they have uk editors?

Reader 3  4:28 PM

To clarify, not that the dom/sub relationship existed, it was quite interesting and perfect for the characters. It was that it never let up that made me uncomfortable in the end.

Which I recognize as a ‘me’ issue, not a book issue

Jenny Frame  4:31 PM

No. My editor Ruth is assigned to a lot of the U.K authors. She studied there I believe and is very intune with us over here. The only things I ever have to adjust is the Scottish characters language. Some of our local language wouldn’t quite be understood. So it’s like Scottish light. 😉

Reader 2  4:32 PM

I’m from Yorkshire and struggle with that too as we’re very strong on dialect.

Reader 1  4:32 PM

Yep I’m with you – Scottish is its own language, depending on who’s speaking it 🙂

Reader 3  4:33 PM

I enjoyed the Scottish bits in the Unexpected books

Jenny Frame  4:33 PM

Yes, I think we both have the same issue Reader 2. 🙂

Reader 1  4:33 PM

Do you have a favorite part of the romance to write, or a favorite part of the whole publishing process?

Jenny Frame  4:34 PM

I love research. I love learning about every aspect of a characters job, way of life etc. Unlike a lot of authors I do love editing too. I like to get back to the manuscript and make it better.

Reader 2  4:34 PM

Out of your Axedale characters (minor ones too) who would you be BBF with, who would you marry and who would you bury under the patio?

Jenny Frame  4:37 PM

Bridge BBF, I’d marry Quade, and I’d bury Bishop Sprat.

Reader 5  4:37 PM

Good choice on bury!

Reader 2  4:38 PM

In the book I read (book 3) it said Finn’s well known hair (can’t remember the wording) was dishevelled. I was intrigued to know what her hair is like

I’d marry Quade too

Reader 4  4:38 PM

Yes bury bishop sprout!!!

Jenny Frame  4:38 PM

Unkempt, messy mop that somehow sits perfectly and sexily.

Reader 2  4:39 PM

What is your next book about?

Reader 5  4:41 PM

And… for somebody introduced to your work through the Axedale series, which of your non-Axedale books or series do you like most?

Jenny Frame  4:41 PM

I’m part of a novella anthology that is out in July. It has stories from Ali Vali, Carsen Taite, and me. It’s about second chance romance, and features a Glasgow couple. After that I have the second in my vampire series, Longing For you.

Reader 5, I think Unexpected is closest to my heart. A simple family romance.

Reader 2  4:42 PM

Which genre do you like best? Vampires or sweet butch/femme romance?

Reader 1  4:43 PM

Sounds like you do a lot of research, is it safe to say you’re a plotter rather than a pantser? Do you do all your worldbuilding with setting and side characters before you write?

Jenny Frame  4:43 PM

Definitely sweet butch/femme romance. They’re the kind of stories that come from my heart. I’m a hopeless romantic!

Reader 2  4:45 PM

I read somewhere that you’re known for your butch/femme stories? Do you write any others like femme/femme or is this like your signature style

Jenny Frame  4:46 PM

Yes Reader 1, I like to plan, but then during writing I kind of veer off from time to time.

I do butch/femme, although every couple is different. Different energies, different ways of presenting, or expressing themselves. Especially the butch characters. I like to represent butch women for the wonderful people they are.

Reader 2  4:49 PM

Butch people tend to be as soft as s**t like cuddly teddy bears 

Reader 3  4:49 PM

And that’s beyond appreciated (shhh @Reader 2 don’t tell all our secrets)

Jenny Frame  4:49 PM

Gentle giants!

Reader 1  4:49 PM

Who are some of your favorite authors to read?

Jenny Frame  4:51 PM

I love Ali Vali. Her devil, gangster series is my top Lesfic loves, and of course Radclyffe, who writes sweet butch/femme books.

Reader 2  4:52 PM

I love Radclyffe books, her medical ones are my favourite by her

Jenny Frame  4:52 PM

Yes the province town series is lovely.

Reader 2  4:53 PM

Do you write full time or work and write?

Reader 6  4:54 PM

Was there any chance that Finn and Bridget had been at Reds at the same time and never knew it?? Bridget’s dream just got me thinking like what if…

Jenny Frame  4:55 PM

I’m lucky enough to be able to write full time from home.

Yes Reader 6, that was the what if I was thinking of. I had a similar experience with my partner Lou. We worked out we were in the same small gay club years before we met, and never knew it. That’s what inspired me.

Reader 6  4:58 PM

I love little snippets like that…. As long as Harry never actually got with Finn I think all is safe. :joy: Though would be hilarious

Reader 1  4:58 PM

That’s adorable – everything in its time

Jenny Frame  4:58 PM

That would just be so wrong! Ha! Ha!

Reader 6  4:59 PM

It would be .. my mind went there when I read it though. :woman-shrugging::skin-tone-2:

Reader 2  5:00 PM

Have you got any other author friends – like a posse you hang out with (online even)?

Jenny Frame  5:01 PM

Not really. I’m a very shy person. Not good at socialising.

Reader 2  5:02 PM

This group is my posse

Reader 1  5:02 PM

It’s hard! Do you do conferences and stuff for Bold Strokes?

Jenny Frame  5:04 PM

No, I have a back injury that doesn’t allow me to travel, and I’m not so good with socialising. I do my best to interact with readers online and I love talking with them. It’s wonderful to get feedback from readers and to learn that maybe a character has resonated with them.

Reader 1  5:06 PM

We have so much access to be able to talk to each other these days, it’s a great time to be an author or a reader

Well we’re at the top of the hour – thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, Jenny!

Reader 3  5:06 PM

I look forward to reading the rest of the series!

Jenny Frame  5:07 PM

Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s been lovely.

Lesfic Book Club: All the Love Songs

For our May meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed All the Love Songs by Nicole Pyland. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Nicole Pyland  4:00 PM

Hi everyone, I’m here!

Reader 2  4:01 PM

Hi from the UK Nicole. Loved the book. Was Kenzie always going to be a neuro diverse character?

Nicole Pyland  4:01 PM

She was, yes. From the start, I’d always planned on that.

Reader 2  4:02 PM

I think you captured her really well.

Reader 3  4:02 PM

Hey yall I made it hahaha loved the book it made me cry a bit

Nicole Pyland  4:02 PM

Thank you. I appreciate that.

Reader 2  4:04 PM

When you wrote the book did you know there was a also a prequel just waiting to be written, which I’ve recently read.

Nicole Pyland  4:05 PM

Not really, no. I wrote ATLS with the intention of it being a standalone book. Later, I kept thinking about Dani & Peyton and their story, and it became one of the books I had to write.

Reader 1  8 days ago

Dani and Peyton are such fully realized characters I was surprised when I found out that their book was written second. Do you tend to dig deep into all of your characters like that while you’re figuring out the story?

Reader 5  8 days ago

I thought i’d missed something when I saw this is now book 2. I read it before book 1 was released I think

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

yes, they literally all live in my head and it’s confusing. my wife was worried at one point that I might say “Hey, I’m off to have coffee with ___.” and it would be a character. Lol

Reader 6  4:05 PM

I’ve never heard of an autistic character referred to as graceful before. Most of the people I know on the spectrum (including myself) are more on the awkward and clumsy side of things. I’m curious as to where this originated. I don’t know everything there is to know about autism so I’m always looking to learn more.

Reader 3 May 31st at 4:06 PM

When you wrote the book what was the inspiration behind lennox’s character

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I didn’t have an overall inspiration for the character. I just wanted the right woman for Kenzie, and that’s where she came from.

Reader 6 May 31st at 4:06 PM

You did well writing all the parts regarding sensory overload.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Thank you. I deal with these things myself, so I used a bit of my own experiences to describe them.

Kenzie felt like a graceful person to me, and it seemed like something that most people wouldn’t notice, but Lennox did and that made it special.

Reader 5 May 31st at 4:07 PM

the gracefulness made sense bc my brain is constantly trying to optimize. As is my wife’s and we’re both on the spectrum

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I say this to my wife all the time “Be more efficient with your movements.” lol

She’s glaring at me right now after having read that.

Reader 5  4:08 PM

So are you also on the spectrum? Or adjacent?

Nicole Pyland  4:08 PM


Reader 4 May 31st at 4:11 PM

You write with do much heart and each character is filled with wonderful nuances and wit. How did you feel about opening yourself up, and allowing yourself to write honestly? Because All of it came through beautifully.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I’m getting more used to it now, but it was hard in the beginning. I think fanfiction helped a lot here because I could post it, people could read it and tell me if they liked it and since they usually did, I got my confidence to write original stuff.

Reader 1 May 31st at 4:13 PM

How did you come up with the concept for adult summer camp? I loved that

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

It was just something that came to me, and I wrote it in my notes and then when I had the idea for Kenzie and the celebrity squad, it all came together.

Reader 7  8 days ago

I took my granddaughter and friends to an all day concert and there was an adult day care tent.  A/C, chargers, water, etc.  Cool.  Love the idea.

Reader 2 May 31st at 4:13 PM

I found it so interesting that you wrote someone who describes herself as awkward doing a job where everyone wants a piece of her. The tension  of these opposing positions was so interesting to read.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Yeah, I feel that in my day job myself a lot. So much of it is not my natural state and over the past decade or so, I’ve had to develop coping mechanisms and keep pushing myself when I’m put in situations I wouldn’t really like.

It made sense to me that Kenzie would use acting in that regard.

Reader 5  8 days ago

I don’t know how many people caught it, but I really like that Kenzie didn’t know how to dance because she never had to learn for a role. There is so much summed up in that one sentence that it stuck with me.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I feel like it was something she and Lennox would both understand. It’s also the reality of being on the spectrum for a lot of us, which I’m sure you understand @Reader 5

Reader 5  8 days ago

Yeah and then Lennox not even questioning or pushing her was so good!

Reader 8 May 31st at 4:15 PM

Not so much a question, but: One of the things I liked about the book was the balance. For me, your book had a great balance of wish fulfillment (imagining falling in love with a celebrity crush) and… reality (in my case, there were scenes that reminded me of the early days of my relationship with my wife)

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Yeah, there’s a suspension of disbelief a little, but it’s nice to think about that the person you’re crushing on is also crushing on you and then it turns out to be real.

Reader 1  8 days ago

And I think anyone could fall in love in a canopy in the woods – great romantic setting

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I remember picturing that thing in my head for whatever reason and feeling like I had to put it in this book.

Reader 6 May 31st at 4:16 PM

I am curious if Maddox will be getting their own book at some point in the future.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

It may or may not be the next book in the series.

Reader 1  8 days ago

Woo hoo – I love Maddox

Reader 9  8 days ago

me too! Here interactions with Kenzie was great.

Reader 2 May 31st at 4:17 PM

All the love songs has a large supporting cast. Is this part of your masterplan for a huge series?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

As my wife will tell you, I never have masterplans. I have little surprises where I tell her upfront “I’m not writing anymore in this series.” Fast forward a few days or even months, “So, I think I’m going to add to that series I told you I was done with.”

Reader 2  8 days ago

Hahaha. Maybe you just need to percolate!

Reader 1  8 days ago

Whoa, I am in awe of that – I can’t even brush my teeth without a plan in place 🙂 So would you say you’re a pantser when you write?

Reader 6  8 days ago

Or perhaps do you plot in small doses (a book at a time) and pants the overall series?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

It honestly just depends on the book. For some of them, iI’ll write a general outline. Recently, I’ve been writing more detailed ones, but I rarely used to outline at all. That’s true with this book. No outline. Just wrote it with no plan.

Generally speaking, I just get an idea and start writing. Then, if I like the side characters I’ve created, sometimes I get the pull to make them fall in love in their own books. That’s how pretty much all of my existing series have turned out coming to fruition.

Reader 4  8 days ago

That is amazing. I think I spend too much time planning. Maybe Going with the flow is the thing to do.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I think it’s about finding your process honestly. Sometimes, outlining holds me back, so I don’t. Sometimes I need it, so I do it.

Reader 4  8 days ago

When is your next book due to come out? And do you have an ARC team?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Always More (1st book in the sports series) just came out and the next one if A Shot at Gold (book 2) on July 16th. I do have an ARC team. If people reach out on my site and request to join, I usually send them the form to sign up.

Reader 4 May 31st at 4:19 PM

You mention fanfiction, where do you post

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I haven’t in years, but I’m on fanfiction.net and archive.


Reader 6 May 31st at 4:19 PM

I don’t know if Reader 5 will have time to ask these before they have to run off, so I’ll ask for them. 1) Where did the idea for the book come from? 2) Was it hard to write the angsty parts?

2 replies

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I had three random ideas that then turned into the book. 1. adult summer camp 2. girl squad and 3. Kenzie’s character

Yes, it’s always hard for me to write angst after I watch them fall in love. I just want them to be happy.

Reader 2 May 31st at 4:21 PM

First book of yours I read was the one with Eve and Ember. I didn’t realise it was part of a series, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. Do you feel you need to read them in order to get maximum enjoyment?

5 replies

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Depends on the series, honestly. I wrote Fresh Start (book 0) with no intention of writing more. Then, I wrote The Best Lines. So, it can standalone, but Hannah and Alyssa are in book 0.

If you then want to read more about the other characters falling in love, you can read the other books, but I generally write books with just that couple’s story in mind so you can technically read them solo too.

Reader 8  8 days ago

Best of both worlds: I can be so completist about reading series, but sometimes it’s just nice to pick up a book.

Reader 7  8 days ago

I think it’s better read in order.  Chicago still one of my favorite series.  Love Hailey and Charlie.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I read a lot myself, so I like to find the first book in a series whenever I can. It’s why I created the character connection page on my website, so people would always know where to start. I’ve ended up mid-series as a reader at times, and I always feel like I’m missing something.

Reader 1 May 31st at 4:25 PM

Could you see yourself writing full-time if the opportunity presented itself?

4 replies

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I used to think no, but as I’m getting older, I can see myself doing it, yes.

Reader 1  8 days ago

You write so prolifically I assumed that you were full-time until you just mentioned otherwise – you go girl : D

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

No, I have a stressful day job. I usually write most evenings and on the weekends. I’m lucky. I write very fast.

Reader 8 May 31st at 4:28 PM

I also wanted to applaud the representation: I liked that it wasn’t anywhere close to her entire character. And it didn’t fall into the “obstacle or gift” dichotomy, but showed that (like so much else in life) that aspect of her had both positives and negatives for Kenzie

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I wanted to show that it’s part of who she is, but not all of who she is because that’s how I know I feel, and I think that can be applied universally; not just with being on the spectrum.

Reader 2 May 31st at 4:29 PM

What’s your ‘day job’ and how on earth do you fit it all in?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I direct a training team of about 20 people at a tech startup.

It’s taken me a while to get the whole work/life balance thing. I’m not perfect at it, but in my home office (since I’m working from home right now due to COVID), I have a set space for my day job and a space for my writing. That helps.

Reader 1  8 days ago

That separation is so important.

Reader 2  8 days ago

That sounds….. intense! I am rubbish at working from home. Too many distractions, too many dogs to snuggle!

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I have 2 cats. one is downstairs. the other is and I’m quoting my wife here right now, “Trying to get in trouble.”

So, I get it.

Teresa May 31st at 4:32 PM

Hi Nicole. I loved the book. I would like to know how long it takes to write a book? You always seem to have a book out for us to read!

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

It depends on the book. For ALTS, I finished the first draft of it in a weekend. For some of the others, it’s usually about 2 weeks for a draft. Others do take longer, but that’s usually because there’s something going on at work on in my life and I need to pause until I can get back to it. I’d say I easily hit the 10K a day mark almost every day and sometimes, I write much more.

Reader 4  8 days ago

You are truly gifted.

Reader 5 May 31st at 4:33 PM

Does your wife read your books?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

She’s the first reader. I know how much she likes it by how late she stays up reading it.

She runs the business side of the publishing, so she gets dibs. My writing is also how we met. She read my stuff on fanfiction and messaged me. We got together later after that. So, my writing is a big part of our relationship. I’m very lucky it’s not something she tolerates, but something she’s loves and participates in.

Reader 8 May 31st at 4:34 PM

With balancing both a day job and a writing life, how much time do you work on your writing in an average day/week?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I’m usually at it at least 1-2 hours a night when I’m writing. On the weekends, I’m writing most of the day, but I do stop for breaks and meals (assuming I remember I’m supposed to eat), so I’d say maybe 15-20 on avg.

Reader 2 May 31st at 4:35 PM

I really enjoyed The Fire and The Disappeared. Any plans to go more in this direction again?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I have one idea I’ve had sitting in my notes app. I haven’t written it yet. Mainly, what happens is I get an idea, write that down and then have a new idea (or an old one) pop into my head and I trust that. When my brain is telling me to write an idea, I trust that and do that one instead of going down my list, so I’ll get to it at some point. I’m sure there will be more too. My degree is in criminal justice and behavior analysis, so I’m always into writing more in that genre.

Reader 9  8 days ago

I loved The Fire. One of my top three books of yours. The Disappeared was great too.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Thank you. Both of those were really intense, but fun to write.

For The Fire I spent a whole day just trying to come up the names for the characters because I wanted them to be opposite, Ripley is water themed and Kenna is fire themed.

Reader 9  8 days ago

yes, they were intense as a reader but damn, oh, can I say that word…the way you wrote the characters was amazing. I especially loved Ripley and Kenna connection.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

they were really important to me. for whatever reason, I wanted them to find each other and be together, and I wanted them to have to fight through some stuff and earn it.

Reader 9  8 days ago

Excellent book. Can’t say it enough.That’s deep…how you came up with the characters names.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

It was a lot of googling and finding the right ones

Reader 1 May 31st at 4:38 PM

What’s your favorite genre/trope/fandom to read in (if you even have free time anymore haha)?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I listen to books every day, so that’s how I find time to read. I usually read at least a book a week depending on how long they are. I don’t know that I have a favorite. It depends on my mood. I am 99% of the time though reading lesfic. Outside of lesfic, True crime is up there. I should read books on business, leadership and blah blah blah, but I’d rather read something else.

Reader 1  8 days ago

Who’s your favorite lesfic author?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I have a couple right now. I generally read/listen to anyone that’s on Audible, but I just finished Elle Spencer’s latest and I’m a Brayden fan too.

Reader 9  8 days ago

Glad to know I am not the only one who reads lesfic 99% of the time. 😉

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I don’t think I’ve picked up an actual physical book in years. i’ve been buying books on Audible and listening to a ton of lesfic since before I started publishing. I think I really only have a couple of business books in my Audible library, all the Harry Potter books, The Diary of Anne Frank and the rest is all lesfic.

Reader 9  8 days ago

I’m a Brayden fan too. Loved her Seven Shores series, expecially ELT.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

that’s my favorite in that series as well.

Reader 10 May 31st at 4:43 PM

Are you planning on writing books outside of your comfort zone? Sorry I am late I am making chicken gumbo

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Pretty much everything I write is out of my comfort zone. lol The Moments was out of my comfort zone when I wrote that one. Many of my sex scenes are out of my comfort zone. lol ATLS was definitely out of my comfort zone because it was so personal. I try to tell stories differently whenever I can. I have a few written that will come out at some point that are also like that.

Reader 4  8 days ago

I think that’s what makes it so authentic. You dig really deep down to the point where the connections between the characters I raw an honest.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I think that’s the Aspergers thing. My default state is that 99% of things are out of my comfort zone.

Reader 2 May 31st at 4:45 PM

Any plans on a different genre, say historical or sci-fi?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

historical- nothing yet. I did just have an idea pop into my mind for a possible sci-fi book. I wrote it down to maybe use later. Sports is up right now. then, I have some different one-offs that I hope people like.

Reader 9  8 days ago

Starting the first book in the first series today. Just finished reading ATLS again.

Reader 11 May 31st at 4:46 PM

Hi Nicole,  Loved both books in this series.  I re-read both in the past couple of weeks.  “Fresh Start” was one of the first books in lesbian romance I read.  It really affected me and turned me into a fan of the genre.  Thanks for the great books!

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Thank you! Fresh Start is special to me. It’s the first real lesfic I wrote that wasn’t fanfic, but my own. I’d written stuff before (that I rarely finished), but not lesfic and nothing worth publishing.

Reader 4 May 31st at 4:48 PM

Being that many of these books a personal, do they ever takes so much out of you that you have to take a break from writing?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Honestly, no. I usually need to take a break from writing because my hands hurt from typing. When that happens, I revise mostly. While I’m revising though, I’m usually itching to get back to writing.

Reader 2  8 days ago

Sounds like you’re a writing ninja lol!

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

that made my wife laugh

Reader 10 May 31st at 4:51 PM

Is there going to to a answer to the brother on The Disappeared?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

No, unfortunately not. I made that a conscious decision that I know some people had a problem with, but I wanted it to be as real as possible. The reality is that when something like this happens, the family so often never gets answers.

I wrestled with a lot. I knew people would want to know, but the truth is, I don’t even know what happened to him. I wrote the book that way intentionally not trying to come up with an answer because I knew I’d find a sneaky way to leave clues and/or to incorporate it and that just didn’t feel like the right way to end the book for me.

Reader 2  8 days ago

As a reader I did want the answer to that question but I respect that life is not neat.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Yeah, I get that. I wish life could be a little “neater” these days.

Reader 9 May 31st at 4:52 PM

I’m just going say it…I love how you write the sex scenes. They have so much passion. Being that writing them are outside your confort zone how is that you write them so well? What’s your process if any at all?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I wish I could tell you I had some grand process where I mapped things out and knew what the heck I was doing, but that would be a lie. I don’t. This will sound cliche for sure, but I do what my characters tell me to do. That includes but is not limited to the sex scenes. If they’re sassier with each other outside of the bedroom, they might be sassier in the bedroom. That kind of a thing. I try to make sweet moments as well as some hot, passionate ones in each book if I can, because I think that’s reality, but that’s the extent of my planning.

Reader 8  8 days ago

From what I read in this book, it works! (Definitely won’t be the last book of yours I read!)

Reader 9  8 days ago

Wow…I love how you just explained that. I feel you hit every sex scene perfectly for ALL your characters.

Reader 10 May 31st at 4:56 PM

What are your favorite characters or couple in your books?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Kenzie & Lennox, Ember & Eva, Dylan & Ada and now Everly & Wyatt.

That’s ATLS, The Best Lines, The Disappeared and Always More (books)

Reader 7  8 days ago

I still vote for Charlie and Hailey.

Reader 9  8 days ago

Loved, loved Ember & Eva. I’ve read that book at least five times.

Reader 10  8 days ago

Dang, I have go with Fresh Start couple.

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I love Charlie and Hailey too. They frustrated the hell out of me though. Lol

Reader 2 May 31st at 4:57 PM

What book are you most proud of?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

I’m proud of a lot of them for different reasons. I think ALTS is probably the one I’m most proud of overall. It took a lot for me to write it because it is, in a way, personal and then to publish and see the reaction from people who read it.

Reader 4 May 31st at 4:58 PM

I think of your books as insightful and honestly therapeutic And I’m sure I’m not the only one. So how does it feel to be the one to have helped so many people gain an understanding and compassion for those on the spectrum?

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Honestly… weird.

I write for myself. Always have. So, to find out that something I’ve written has helped someone be more comfortable with who they are (whether it be this or with their own sexuality) is one of the best things I’ll ever do.

Reader 4  8 days ago

And you do it so well, Thank You!  I honestly can’t remember which one of your books was the first I read, but I will tell you it took me less than a week to read everyone of your books. It was a whole new meaning to binge reading.

Reader 9  8 days ago

Read all of them. Seriously, they are all great!

Nicole Pyland  8 days ago

Thank you!

If anyone is interested, you can hop over to my site, create a login and get some free stuff right now (like The Proposal Series) and the What Happened After (ATLS and No After You). https://nicolepyland.com/

Lesfic Book Club: Popcorn Love

For our April meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Popcorn Love by KL Hughes. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Cara Malone 

So, what did everybody think of Popcorn Love? Was it your first KL Hughes read?

Reader 1

No, it was my 4th!

Plus, it was my first ever lesfic

Plus I read it when it was still a Swan Queen fanfiction

Reader 2 

my first

I adore Alison

Reader 4 

I’ve read several of KL Hughes, when she was writing as Chrmdpoet in SQ fanfic.

but this is the second book I’d read.

I also read it when it was SQ fanfic. I liked the changes she made to the storyline and character histories for the published version.

Reader 3 

After the first scene, I disliked both Elena and Vivian so much… but then the next scene, with Elena at home, she became a real and likeable character for me, and the rest of the book was wonderful…

Cara Malone

What do you think makes for a likeable protagonist with flaws, and an unlikeable one?

Reader 4 

it’s that glimmer of possibility that they are not happy in their “messed up” ways

Reader 2 

One thing I loved was how real Alison was.
Elena was harder for me, she sounded so much older than she was supposed to be, but I think part of that was also the narrator.

I still like Elena though

Reader 1 

I think it was supposed to be the way she was brought up in her family

Reader 4 

Elena is more mature, even if she is messed up. She’s corporate, business-minded, and a full-time mother with obligations. There’s a natural maturity to that state of being. However, I also liked that KL established that Elena and Vivian had their manners drubbed into them.

Reader 4 

That also gave qualifiers to Elena sounding “older”

Reader 3 

I think I imagined Elena to be what my mother would have hoped I’d turn out to be. (shudder)

Cara Malone 

So this Reeses-popcorn snack… have you guys had this?

Reader 1  4:12 PM

Yes, I did tried it after reading it

Cara Malone 

It seems like it can’t be as orgasmic as Alison makes it out to be, but at the same time, I think I might be missing out

What did you think @Reader 1?

Reader 1 

It was okay, nothing out of this world

Cara Malone 

I think it appears in another book we’ve read recently… Just Jorie maybe?

Reader 4

I wonder if KL put that in as an “easter egg” for fans?

Reader 3 

A waste of good Reeses Pieces – mostly because I don’t have the patience to get popcorn remnants out from around my teeth, so I avoid it now

Reader 4 

I’ve thrown lots of things into my popcorn but not chocolate or anything like that. I’ve eaten Crackerjacks and Twaddle which are caramel coated popcorn-peanuts mixtures. So I imagined it as a “homemade” version of that.

Reader 4 

I think it was a good way to establish their differences in a concrete example. Allison isn’t “storebought” anything. She’ll make it herself or do without. But she has her vices, and Elena who has all this money for vices, has so few.

Cara Malone

I love that. They’re definitely an ‘opposites attract’ couple – Allison is all about physical experiences while Elena prioritizes the emotional/her son, etc.

Reader 2 

I could see it being phenomenal for a kid growing up in the system though

When you have nothing, food becomes more important

Reader 4 


that whole maslow’s hierarchy

and people develop complexes/reactions from extended exposure particularly as children.

Reader 3 

Also, the things that seem special to us as children often seem to remain special for us (even if as “guilty pleasures”) into adulthood

I think especially for children that may have grown up with less than their friends

Reader 4 

encapsulating characterization in the little actions is definitely a KL strength

Reader 2 

Randomly, I also liked that Alison didn’t mention that she sings or performs.

Reader 4 

the hard part of a book like this is picking one scene to “sum up the relationship” . It’s all built on such small details that add up over time.

Like a real couple, IMHO

you look at the 50-year married couple and ask “what makes it so strong?” and there’s not just one thing. It’s a lot of little things.

Cara Malone 

And the fact that Allison was equally excited to spend time with Lucas and Elena was so sweet

Granted she started as the babysitter so of course she likes kids, but not everyone would have incorporated him into so many of their dates like she did

Reader 4 

A dream of many single parents. To find a partner who loves your kids as much as you do

Plus, seeing someone interact well with a kid makes you love them more

for some people it’s a “test” that a potential partner can either pass or fail.

Reader 1 

Lucas is a sweet little thing

Cara Malone

Is there a Lucas character in Once Upon a Time or was he added by KL?

Reader 1 

Yes, Lucas was supposed to be Henry, Regina’s adoptive Son and biologic son of Emma

Reader 4 

Lucas is a “young” Henry for direct correlation, but probably more modeled after Roland, the son of Robin and Marian that Regina helped raise for a bit.

Roland is/was about Lucas’s age, whereas Henry starts in OUAT as a 10-year old

and we only see him as an infant in flashbacks in OUAT

but again, that’s one of the modifications that really worked well for shifting from fanfic to original fic

Cara Malone

I never read the fanfic but Lucas was definitely a highlight in this story

Loved the blind dates too – great comic relief

Reader 3

I also loved how the relationship with Elena’s mother went from the dreaded interrogation to she and Allison teaming up to tease Elena

Reader 2

I’m so glad the middle date was purposely making it bad. I was concerned lol

Reader 3 

Oh, those blind dates were wonderfully horrific!

Made me so glad that I never went on a blind date!

Reader 4 

Finding out the shift in who to set her up with was a great way to show Vivian’s awareness.

Cara Malone 

Oh man, I was cringing through that whole interrogation. A testament to how much Allison cares about Elena that she was willing to sit through it at all

Reader 3 

Oh yes! There are things that we can endure for love that we would not choose to endure for any other reason; and grilling by potential mother-in-law has to be right up there (especially with how the anticipation was set up for this interrogation)

Cara Malone 

What did you guys think about Elena’s decision to go on the third blind date, with the woman?

Should she have gone like she did or make an excuse to stay with concussed Allison?

Reader 2 

I think she should have stayed, but it worked better to have her leave.

I should clarify, to me as a person she should have stayed. As a writer, it made sense to have her leave.

Reader 4

Allison told her to go; to me the decision to go was because Elena had to acknowledge that Allison is her own person, and should know her own body. She realizes she cares, step 1. Going to the date with the woman showed her that it could be more than caring. So the date gave her character emotional growth and self-awareness. Necessary if you are taking a presumably heterosexual character and having them shift their sexuality.

Reader 3

I agree, Reader 2. I could make it a coin-flip decision if it was just Allison’s wellbeing, maybe… but it feels to me like Elena would (in reality) have worried about the potential effects on Lucas, if something were to happen and Allison were not 100%

Reader 2

Yeah, for me as a parent, with a with who has had plenty of head injuries, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable leaving. But, in the specific situation in this book, it still make sense.

Cara Malone

Did you guys have a favorite scene or anything in particular that you loved about the story?

Reader 2 

Every moment of cuteness with Allison, but really, that scene in the shower was the best

Reader 4 

I will defer my answer to my earlier comment about all the little moments. LOL

Reader 1

The scene in the shower

Reader 3 

For me, Lucas stole the show. Especially when he would talk about Allison having a sleepover with either he or his mother

Reader 1 

Yeah, Lucas was the star of the book

When he found Alisson in Elena’s bed

Cara Malone 

I tend to pay attention to prose and word choice a lot and KL had a lot of great lines. I think this was the first time Elena and Allison met, “She watched the girl’s emerald eyes rake the length of her body.”

Reader 3 

I thought of the way so many of us have been living the past few weeks with one sentence in Chapter 8…

[Allison] hated days like this, when she desperately wanted to do something, anything, but everything she actually did just bored her.

I know I had a couple of those days myself this week

Cara Malone 

Yup, that definitely sounds familiar

Do you guys find yourselves reading more or less in quarantine?

Reader 2 

I’m more busy than before

I might find a way to read more now that i have to (and want to).

Reader 1 

A little less reading, but I’m going back on track again

Reader 3 

I’m reading a little less: we bought a game console to help pass the time and… I find my routine just enough “off” with my partner working from home instead of the daily routine of dropping her off at/picking her up from the office

It’s not a whole lot less, but it’s there. (Though I did completely stop listening to audiobooks, because I mostly listen to them in the car.)

Cara Malone 

Yeah it seems like there should be a lot more time in the day now but the quotient of additional stressors has gone up too

I miss my audiobooks so much

Reader 2

Ok, I literally just finished the last chapter (because time management is hard) and I liked how she worked the popcorn and candy in at the end

Cara Malone 

Is my memory correct that Elena holds her ground and doesn’t try it?

Reader 2 

She holds her ground at first, then Allison explains how it represents them

but then she tries it

she says it isn’t awful, but it isn’t heavenly either

Cara Malone 

I figured there was no way she would get through an entire lifetime without trying Allison’s favorite snack – just couldn’t remember if it happened on the page

She’s pretty contrary – probably liked it more than she admitted haha

Cara Malone 

Well, we’re at just about the bottom of the hour… I did ask KL the questions that the group posed and here are her answers.

What inspires your stories?

I am inspired by a great number of things, but for characters and relations, I am often inspired by the people I’ve known or connected without throughout my life. I’ve been inspired by my own life experiences and those of others as well. I do my best to make characters that feel genuinely human in how they experience both joy and suffering because my whole life has been a very human experience in that way, that roller coaster of genuine joy and suffering.

How do you choose character names?

Sometimes, they just pop in my head, but often I do research from the years my characters were born, places they were born, culture, etc. Sometimes, I just pick names I like or have seen somewhere!

How hard your schedule been affected by recent events?

As far as my writing schedule, it hasn’t much been affected outside of the stresses and empathy induced anxiety affecting my motivation to work. I find I have even more time to research and write but less energy to do so. I am doing my best to keep balanced and well though and maintain schedule normalcy. But I also make sure not to let myself overwork so as to keep a healthy mind and balance in that way as well. My meetings schedule has come to a screeching halt due to the crisis, though, and that has been a bit stressful, but we are all doing our best.

What inspired the perfume bottle scene?

Ah, that ridiculous scene! To be honest (and embarrassed), it was inspired by an actual event in my life. It wasn’t quite so traumatic (nothing as hard or edged as a perfume bottle), but it was hilarious. I thought it would make for a great, funny, and endearing scene so I decided to use my experience as inspiration to write something similar but amped up a bit!

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a bit of both, though more of a pantser. I tend to have a solid but very general idea of story flow with a more meticulous idea of character structure before I begin. I have big points I want to hit or scenes I want to write to and from, but I try not to overplan or it kills my passion for the work as I love the joy of discovery. It truly depends on the work though. Some stories require a lot more research or, by the nature of their structure, more planning.

Sneak Peek: The Beginning of Everything

Check out the first chapter of my historical romance, The Beginning of Everything, below – available now on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited.

“Elizabeth Anne Reynolds!” Ruthie Ginsberg’s voice rose to an ear-splitting pitch as she threw open the door to her adorable little butter-yellow ranch house and scooped Betty into her arms. “It feels like forever since we last saw you!”

Ruthie had been married for a little more than six months, but it only took her about a month to lose all sense of self. Nowadays, everything was we and us and our. Betty couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen her best friend without her husband, Joseph, and she was starting to wonder whether they’d already scheduled the surgery that would officially join them at the hip.

“I brought a bottle of chardonnay,” Betty said, her heels sinking deep into the thick carpeting as she stepped into the living room. She could hear voices coming from further inside the little house and for a few seconds, she had a strong urge to grab Ruthie by the arm and steal her away. They could go downtown on the L and Betty could have Ruthie all to herself like she used to when they were girls.

That would be nice.

But Ruthie was already pulling her deeper into the house. She relieved Betty of her coat, then took the wine out of her hands and made some impressed sounds as she inspected the label. “This is so grown-up!”

“I know!” Betty beamed. She was twenty years old and she had a good job in the city, but nothing had made her feel quite as grown up as going to a wine bar after her shift and laying down her hard-earned cash for that bottle of good chardonnay. “The man who sold it to me said it’s ‘fruit-forward with a smoky finish’… whatever that means!”

Ruthie giggled and Betty swelled with pride as her best friend linked arms with her and guided her toward the dining room. Betty knew the layout of the little house well – she’d been at the housewarming party right after Ruthie and Joseph got back from their honeymoon to Niagara Falls, and she came over once a month ever since to have Ruthie trim her split ends on a stool in the kitchen. 

Ruthie was just a homemaker trimming hair for a little mad money. She didn’t have a cape like they had at the salons, and Betty always left the house feeling itchy with dozens of little hairs under her collar, but it was always worth the discomfort to enjoy the feeling of Ruthie’s delicate fingers against her head as she washed Betty’s hair in the sink. Ruthie always took a long time, getting distracted and chatting and letting the warm water cascade over Betty’s forehead, and Betty would look up at Ruthie’s crisp white ceiling and occasionally steal glimpses at her pretty blue eyes. Sometimes Betty would look at the underside of Ruthie’s bust shimmying as she worked shampoo into Betty’s dark locks. It wasn’t like Betty could help it – Ruthie never was very aware of her body while she was distracted with Betty’s hair, and sometimes her stomach would press up against Betty’s arm while she worked, her chest just inches from Betty’s face.

It always made her cheeks flush a violent red, and then she’d have to lie and tell Ruthie the water was too warm and it was making her feverish.

Betty always seemed to be just a little bit too warm in Ruthie’s presence, and the Peter Pan collar at her neck felt a little tight as they went into the dining room now. Tonight kicked off the first of a series of dinner parties that Ruthie had decided to throw in order to comingle her old high school friends with Joseph’s new friends from the Chicago Tribune, where he worked as a salesman. 

“Look who I found!” Ruthie said, her voice climbing into a shrill register again as she drew everyone’s attention. “And she brought wine!”

Every face turned to Betty and Ruthie standing in the arched doorway, and Betty felt like she was on display – especially once she’d done a scan of the room and realized that there was only one other single person here tonight, a stranger who was looking somewhat slack-jawed at her.

“Sorry,” Ruthie said, leaning close and whispering into Betty’s ear. “But we can’t very well have a dinner party with an uneven number of guests – it would throw the whole flow of the conversation off.”

Betty was just about to point out the fact that she still lived with her parents and the three of them had had quite a few successful dinner conversations after her brother moved out, odd-numbered though they were. But Ruthie didn’t give her the chance. She set the wine bottle down on the table and grabbed Betty by the hand, dragging her over to the man who would be her companion for the evening.

“This is Ed,” she said. “He works with Joseph at the Tribune – he’s a typesetter. Isn’t that neat?”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Betty said, holding out her hand. When Ed took it, she noticed his fingers were permanently stained with dark newspaper ink, and she was relieved when none of it rubbed off on her hands. 

“This is the friend we were telling you about,” Ruthie told Ed. “Betty works downtown, too.”

“Oh?” Ed said, and the slight derision that appeared on his face didn’t escape Betty, even though it was only there for a second. One of those ‘a woman’s place is in the home’ types, Betty thought as she appraised him and Ed asked, “What kind of work do you do?”

“I’m a secretary,” Betty said. She could talk at length about how she’d gone to secretarial school after high school because it offered her an alternative to getting hitched like the rest of her friends – at a price much more affordable than college. She could tell him that, in the six months since she started working for the Lumbermens insurance company, she’d already been promoted from the steno pool and gotten assigned as a personal secretary in the claims processing department. But Ed didn’t really want to know all that – he was just being polite. And this was going to be a long dinner party.

“Interesting,” he said. 

“It is interesting,” Betty told him, and when Ruthie caught the edge in her voice, she stepped in. She and Betty may have gone down very different paths after high school, but they’d known each other long enough to read one another’s moods from ten yards away.

“And, of course, you know Nancy and Charlie,” she said, pulling Betty’s attention away from Ed. 

Betty, Ruthie and Nancy had all been cheerleaders together in high school – go Wildkits – and Charlie was the star quarterback. He and Nancy had gotten married right after graduation and she already had a bun in the oven – they were the epitome of an All-American family unit, and Nancy was positively glowing with happiness as she daintily sipped apple juice from a wine glass. 

“You look great, Nancy,” Betty said, going over to hug her. She’d never been as close with Nancy as she was with Ruthie, but the three of them had had their fair share of sleepovers when they were younger. “How far along are you, three or four months?”

“Five!” Nancy said, beaming at Charlie, who took his cue to wrap his arm proudly around her shoulder. 

“Wow, you wasted no time at all,” Betty said, feeling a little bit dizzy before the chardonnay had even been opened. Motherhood – now there was another thing that, like marriage, she was in no hurry to get to. Unlike every single one of her high school friends, it seemed.

“I can’t wait to meet this little one,” Nancy said, her hand on her stomach. She looked at Betty – a little sadly, it seemed – and asked, “What about you? Are you looking forward to finding Mr. Right?”

Nancy’s eyes flitted subconsciously over to Ed, who was now helping himself to a bottle of gin on the sideboard. He poured himself a glass and grimaced as he took the first sip. He wasn’t ugly or anything – a little bit paunchy around the middle, maybe – but Nancy and Ruthie had both given Betty looks that made her think they expected her to make a love connection tonight.

When was she supposed to fall in love with this man she’d never met before? In between the salad course and the entrée? Would he help her put on her coat at the end of the night and look into her eyes, and suddenly she’d be ready to get hitched? Was that how it worked for other girls?

Maybe that wasn’t exactly what Ruthie had in mind when she invited Ed to even out the conversation, but it sure felt like lately, all of Betty’s friends were collectively holding their breaths and waiting for her to find the one. And that was to say nothing of her mother, who got more desperate by the day.

It was like there was a clock counting down right above Betty’s head, and she was the only one who couldn’t see it. Six months, twelve days and twenty-one hours until Betty Reynolds officially becomes a spinster. Except even if she could see the clock, she would have had a hard time figuring out what everyone else was so concerned about. She had a good job. She was saving up to rent her own apartment. And she’d never even been in love – it didn’t look like Ed No-Last-Name, the typesetter with the inky fingers would be the one to break that pattern.

“Maybe someday,” Betty told Nancy.

Nancy looked a little uncomfortable for her, then Joseph pulled the cork out of the chardonnay just then and poured a glass for Betty and Ruthie. Ed poured a few more glasses from the minibar for the other men, and while they all just stood there and sipped for a minute, Betty took a few seconds to swirl the light golden liquid in her glass. She smelled it before she took a small taste, just as she’d watched the man at the wine bar do it.

It was a ten-dollar bottle and she’d expected it to be a revelation, but it tasted just like all the other white wine she’d ever had – like grapes that had gone slightly fermented. Oh well.

“I think the roast should be done now,” Ruthie said after a minute. “Joseph, will you help me take it out of the oven?”

They disappeared through a swinging door on one wall and then a good deal more giggling emanated from the kitchen than was strictly necessary for a roast-extraction. Then, about ten minutes later, they all sat down to eat. Betty tried to feign surprise when Ruthie herded her toward the empty seat beside Ed, and she spent the whole meal trying to maintain a polite detachment from him lest he get the wrong idea and start thinking that this matchmaking nonsense was actually going to work out in his favor.

Ed was probably a perfectly nice guy. One of Ruthie’s other nearly-spinster friends might be happy to snatch him up. But Betty was waiting for one of those see each other from across the room, heart stops in your chest, can barely breathe, love at first sight moments, and what had happened when she met Ed was about as far from that as she could get without flatlining in a bad way. 

Betty’s mom called that love at first sight idea silly romantic drivel – she blamed it on Betty’s brother, Robert, and said he was infecting the whole family with his crazy Hollywood notions. But Betty couldn’t imagine spending the next sixty years of her life with someone who made her feel less alive than she did when she was getting her hair washed. 

“So, Betty, tell us about working in downtown Chicago,” Nancy said after a little while. “It must be stressful.”

“Sometimes,” Betty said. “On my first day working for Mr. Peters, I was so nervous I knocked a cup of coffee over on his desk and I had to spend the whole afternoon retyping a stack of insurance claims that got ruined. I figured he’d send me right back to the steno pool, but he was pretty understanding about it.”

Ruthie raised an eyebrow, as well as her wine glass. “Is he single?”

Betty let out a small sigh, trying not to let it show on her face. Why did everything always have to come back around to that? What would happen if she did get married – what would they have to talk about then? She glanced at Nancy sipping her apple juice. Babies – that’s what.

“No,” Betty said. “He’s married, and at least sixty.”

“Oh,” Ruthie said, disappointed that there wasn’t more of a story there. She switched gears quickly, though. “Ed, did you know that Betty-”

“Okay, that’s enough girl talk for one night,” Joseph said, cutting off his wife mid-sentence. It was rude – definitely not something the etiquette maven Emily Post would have approved of at her dinner table – but Betty could have gotten up and hugged Joseph right then and there for the interruption. Oblivious, he asked, “Charlie, how’s it going working for your old man?”

“Not bad, but I can’t wait to save up the money to open a shop of my own,” he said. Charlie’s dad ran a mechanic shop here in Evanston and Betty’s father had been taking the family cars to the Thompsons for years. They were honest workers who didn’t overcharge and always did the work right, but the subject of carburetors and oil changes bored Betty to tears almost as much as talking about her marriage prospects.

Fortunately, Ruthie proved to be a stern hostess. She let the conversation go on for a couple minutes while she passed around second helpings of juicy pot roast and the buttery new potatoes she’d baked to go with it, then she put her hand delicately on her husband’s arm and said, “Yawn, sweetie. No offense, Charlie, but half the people at this table think you two must be speaking a foreign language right now.”

“What’s so unrelatable about serpentine belts?” Charlie asked, looking to his wife for support. 

Nancy gave him a sympathetic smile – the exact same one she’d given Betty when she asked her when, oh when, she was planning to fall into line with the rest of the girls from their graduating class and get married. It shut Charlie up, though, and then Ruthie turned her attention back to Betty.

“Tell us what Robert’s up to in California,” she said, her eyes glittering with anticipation. For Ed’s sake, she explained, “Betty’s older brother moved to Hollywood last year to be an actor.”

“Oh, wow,” Ed said, showing a little more interest in that news than he’d shown in Betty’s career. “Has he been in anything I would have seen?”

“Not yet,” Betty said. “He’s still trying to get his big break. But he goes to loads of auditions and he’s gotten called back a couple of times. I talked to him last week and he said he had a meeting with an agent coming up, so that could be really good for him if it works out.”

“That’s so exciting!” Nancy said. “What kind of films does he want to make?”

Betty laughed. “Any kind he can book, I think. But he pictures himself as a leading man – a Marlon Brando or a James Dean type.”

“Robert? James Dean?” Charlie asked with a snort, and Nancy smacked his chest with the back of her hand.

“Be nice,” she said.

“I’m sorry,” Charlie said. “But I went to school with the guy and he’s more of a Desi Arnaz. Don’t you all think?”

He looked around the table for confirmation and Joseph nodded, a little reluctantly. They weren’t wrong – Robert had acted in all the high school plays and he’d distinguished himself as a fantastic comedic actor, but he was determined to leave all that behind when he went to Hollywood because it was the leading men who became household names, not the funny guys.

“My mother thinks all of it is an impossible pipe dream,” Betty said. “She and Dad wanted him to apply for a college scholarship instead, but Robert told them college would still be here if Hollywood doesn’t work out.” She gave a little chuckle, thinking back to the peculiar shade of purple that her mom had turned the last time Robert called home. “I’m not sure my mom will still be here, though, at this rate. She lays an egg every time he calls from LA.”

“I don’t blame her,” Nancy said, her hand on her stomach again. She was still four months away from having that baby but it seemed like she had started thinking like a mom at the moment of conception. “I think it’s neat that he’s following his dreams, but I could never do that. I don’t think I’d be too comfortable with it if one of ours decided to do it, either.”

She looked at Charlie, her brow knit with concern. She hadn’t even had this one yet and already, she was thinking multiple kids into the future. 

“Well, I think Robert’s a badass,” Betty said, drawing a couple of surprised looks on account of her language. “He’s going his own way and damn the consequences. I think that’s brave.”

Ruthie smiled at Betty, but Joseph muttered into his glass of gin, “Or foolhardy.”

With both Ruthie and Betty working on it, the chardonnay bottle was empty long before the party ended and the conversation turned to the movies, books and television that everyone had seen lately. They talked for a good half an hour about The Andy Griffith Show alone, and by the end of the night, Betty had completely forgotten that she was supposed to be there ‘with’ Ed – until he picked up her coat for her and offered to drive her home.

“Joseph is calling a taxi for me,” she said as she allowed Ed to help her into her coat.

“It’s no trouble,” he said, touching his fingers to the tip of his nose in a display of sobriety and adding, “I’m completely sober and a real good driver.”

“No, thank you,” Betty said. “I always take a taxi when I leave here.”

Ed looked a little put out at not being allowed to drive her, and they had to go back and forth with offers and refusals a couple more times for etiquette’s sake, but in the end, Betty won with only a small compromise. Ed would stand on the sidewalk with her until the taxi arrived, then slip the driver five dollars to cover her fare.

“It’s only a ten-minute ride,” Betty objected. “I have the money.”

“I’m sure you do, working girl,” Ed said, then handed the money through the passenger window anyway. 

Betty had to struggle not to roll her eyes as she plastered on a smile and said, “Thank you.”

Thank you, but this doesn’t mean I owe you anything, she thought as she climbed into the back of the yellow Checker Taxi. Ed waved as the car pulled away from the curb, and behind him, Betty saw Ruthie stepping onto the front stoop to wave goodbye. 

Joseph stepped out beside her and put his arm around Ruthie to shield her from the cold, and she nestled against him with a smile. Everyone else seemed to know exactly what they wanted and most of the time, it just so happened to be what was expected of them. There was something missing in Betty’s life and she wasn’t quite sure what it was, but she was sure that it wasn’t a husband.

Keep reading now…

Lesfic Book Club: Rising From Ash

For our March meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Rising From Ash by Jax Meyer. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Jax  3:20 PM

While people are waiting, I put information up on Pinterest

Reader 1  3:45 PM

Love the Pinterest inspiration – always cool to see the visuals inside an author’s head

Jax  3:47 PM

Yeah Lee Winter has some cool pinterest boards for her books

Reader 2  4:02 PM

We’re the MC’s always gonna be Phoenix and Ash?

Reader 3  4:02 PM

There are books that go from country, beach, cruise, cities. Why the south pole?

Jax  4:02 PM

and why don’t I start with the characters and setting since it all is the same story?

Way back in… late 2018 I think, we were all talking here about settings. Don’t remember why. I mentioned wanting to do something at the South Pole. My reason was marketing. There aren’t books set there and since I’ve been there, it was something I could write intelligently about. And then @Reader 1 said she’d want to read that so I had to do it.

Reader 4  4:05 PM

Why were you there @Jax ? Leisure, work, or something else?

Jax  4:05 PM

Finding the characters took a lot longer. I decided I needed a character that reminded me of my wife. Someone with a rough past but was freaking brilliant. I spent a lot of time with characters who weren’t like my wife so I thought it’d be a nice switch. Plus, if she reads it, she’ll get to hear me say all the things Ash says to Phoenix and maybe listen. Then again, i’ve said them to her plenty and she still doesn’t always believe me. So…

And then Ash came about because I was realizing my own asexuality and thought, what better pairing than to explore something we’ve had to navigate with zero knowledge for (now) 20 years.

Anywhere but the South Pole, they wouldn’t be forced together.

Their names was intuition. Phoenix was a cool name, and as I brainstormed common names with Lou Ashley popped out as a good one. It took a solid minute to realize the connection.

Reader 4  4:07 PM

Phoenix is the coolest name ever!

Reader 2  4:08 PM


Jax  4:08 PM

We laughed for a while about it. I love that stuff.

@Reader 4 I was at the pole for the same reason as Ash the year prior and Emily. Two weeks of research experience with the IceCube project. I was the first undergraduate to go in 2002.

It kicked off a whole program of undergrads going, which I didn’t know until a few years ago. Now 1 or 2 go each summer (our winter break).

Reader 1  4:09 PM

Were you nervous about the trip when you went?

Jax  4:10 PM

It was very handy to use my old connections to talk to one of the who was wintering over as I wrote. (edited)

@Reader 1 I wasn’t very nervous. Granted it was almost 18 years ago, but I love traveling. Getting to go while someone else paid for it was the best.

Reader 1  4:11 PM

I always heard the boat portions could be somewhat harrowing

Reader 5  4:10 PM

The IceCube project is really interesting!

Jax  4:11 PM

No boats for us. Only planes. C-130, C-141.

@Reader 5 IceCube is one of the few projects that came in on time, under budget, and produces more data than they anticipated. It’s a great project.

Reader 5  4:13 PM

That same year I got to manage operations of the Hobby Eberly telescope in Texas…another very cost effective project…at the time it was the worlds third largest array optical instrument. So I can relate a bit to your excitement.

Reader 2  4:13 PM

@Jax do you think that the experience of being somewhere very unique has changed you and your outlook on life, the universe etc.

Reader 3  4:13 PM

How did you come with Ash writing fanfiction?

Jax  4:13 PM

@Reader 2 I’ve always had a unique view of the world. What is has done is make me very impatient with conspiracy theories. There’s no hole in Antarctica. Yes it exists. No wall either. lol

@Reader 3 I don’t remember exactly why Ash wrote fanfic. Those developments blurred together. But I wanted them to draw a comic and she needed a hobby. That was the simplest solution.

It gave me an excuse for them to spend more time together because they couldn’t be characters that just fell together in five minutes.

Reader 1  4:17 PM

I think you did a great job of letting them clash and work through their problems without a lot of unnecessary angst

What was the hardest thing about this book for you?

Jax  4:18 PM

The hard part was explaining why they had to make up quickly. That took a few editing passes. To me it was obvious, knowing how they’d approach choosing candidates for a Mars trip, but not everyone knows.

Oh, the hardest was the argument in McMurdo. By far. That was at least three separate rewrites.

Reader 6  4:18 PM

Why do you find it hard to write angst? I do too but I like reading books with low angst the best

Jax  4:18 PM

Because I love my characters and want them to be happy!

Reader 5  4:18 PM

Can you tell us a bit about how you got the setting at the current facility so accurate?  I felt I was watching a movie as I read and when I looked at photos on line afterward the facility was exactly as I saw it in my imagination.

Jax  4:19 PM

Youtube @Reader 5. Youtube is a godsend.

For instance, I had no idea that observation tube existed, but it was a random suggestion as I researched.

Reader 6  4:20 PM

I like writing arguments but hate splitting MC’s up. If Ash goes to Mars will that split them up?

Jax  4:20 PM

So, that’s the big question. What happens with Ash’s dream?

I do have a solution for that now, but I will say, there are many ways to fulfill a dream.

Reader 1  4:21 PM

That’s a good question for a romance tho – sometimes with other books it feels like the solutions have been reverse-engineered to fit the characters together, but Mars is a big problem to work thru

Jax  4:22 PM

It is, especially while Phoenix keeps supporting her dream.

It becomes the crux of the next book.

Reader 2  4:22 PM

What I really liked was how Ash opened up Phoenix’s feelings and emotions, and Phoenix was so beautifully respectful of Ash’s asexuality.

Jax  4:23 PM

Me too.

A lot of the conversations with Phoenix working through her past have happened between my wife and I in some form.

Listening to the audio this week actually made me emotional remembering all that. And seeing how much affects her now. Then I think about all the other people I know who are truly phenomenal people and have horrible families who make them think they suck.

I’m always torn when someone says they relate to Phoenix. I’m glad, and I hope it helps them see their awesomeness, but I’m also sad because in an ideal world they wouldn’t relate to her.

Reader 6  4:26 PM

Out of all your books then who would you like to marry, kill, or like to be stuck in a lift with?

Jax  4:27 PM

lol Oh man… Well, I killed the one person I’d definitely kill in Marine discovery. I try not to write awful characters. Though Phoenix’s dad is definitely on the kill list. The rest are all ones I’d love to hang out with. And marry is a dangerous question. I mean, I kinda did marry Phoenix. 😉 But… Sharon is pretty damn awesome.

Though I’d have to fight @Reader 3 for Sharon.

Reader 7  4:28 PM

Yeah, she is

Reader 6  4:28 PM

Good answer, Sharon is my lift person for sure

Reader 3  4:28 PM

I’ll marry Sharon!!

Reader 2  4:29 PM

When you wrote this book did you know there was more than one book for this couple?

Jax  4:29 PM

Yes, this was planned as a series. For once, I planned a head a little.

Reader 2  4:30 PM

Also, Cam is adorable. You all can have Sharon!

Jax  4:31 PM

Since Cam is based a lot on me (but better), I’d never choose Cam because that’s weird.

But you can have her.

Reader 5  4:31 PM

Since you brought up Marine’s Heart…will we get a book about Sarah? She’s pretty awesome.

Jax  4:31 PM

No, no books about Sarah because she is based very much on my real life best friend and that’s too weird.

But she’ll appear in Marine’s Heart book 5 and I might give her an off the page hookup or something.

She needs to get heart eyes over someone so Cam can give her a massive amount of crap.

To go back to the RFA series quick, I don’t know if it will be three books total or more. I think I can wrap up Phoenix and Ash with the next book. But I want to give Cole their own book and let Pash pop in.

Reader 2  4:33 PM

Is there another genre you want to try writing, say historical or mystery?

Reader 8  4:33 PM

Does writing help you heal ‘wounds’, process things that happened..?

Jax  4:34 PM

@Reader 2 the research for Arine Awakening was annoying enough. I don’t think I’d enjoy historical. I’d like to dive into more of the spiritual stuff, so urban fantasy. But that’s still a ways off. I have 3 or 4 books to write in my queue already, without brainstorming much.

And I’d suck at mystery.

@Reader 8 I process a ridiculous amount through my books. Some of my personal blogging gets into that, but I also try to be careful not to make it too much about my own stuff. It does parallel a lot though.

Reader 3  4:35 PM

Maybe something related to soccer

Reader 2  4:35 PM

Know your strengths right?

Jax  4:36 PM

For example, the Marine’s Heart series (during the military years) allowed me to imagine a version of me that didn’t get kicked out before I really got to do much.

@Reader 3 I’d love to write some kids’ books involving soccer.

@READER 8 Rae and I were brainstorming books about women’s tackle football. So that might happen someday. I hope it does at least.

READER 8  4:37 PM

How has support for this book different from the books of A Marine’s Heart? Do you have the same fans or has this brought more?

God knows it’s one of my favorites

I’m still down for the idea

Reader 1  4:38 PM

Lesfic needs some sports romance – we don’t have much of it

Jax  4:38 PM

@READER 8 it’s been different. Sales were slower. I reached out to Jae, being the only lesfic author I know who wrote about ace characters and asked for advice. She helped me focus on more promo, but also joint things with her that helped immensely. We did an ace character chat on her page. A podcast with the lesbian talk show.

In the end, this book may still have not sold quite as much, but I have amazing reviews and people are very enthusiastic about it.

Reader 6  4:39 PM

Are you going to write a book that’s completely standalone or are you always intending to write series?

Jax  4:39 PM

@Reader 6 I hope to finally get my standalone books going. One might end up being written as a screenplay instead since it’s so audio/visual focused.

The problem is, these characters need to tell their stories. So it will be another year at least.

READER 8  4:41 PM

How is the quarantine helping with your writing? Or is it?

Reader 6  4:41 PM

I know you’ve recently collaborated on a book (:wink:) would you ever do that again or has this experience put you off 

Reader 1  4:41 PM

Do you pretty much have the whole book already played out in your head before you start writing, or when you say they need to tell their stories, do you mean figuring out the characters as people before you write?

Jax  4:41 PM

@READER 8 it helps because I’m not ubering, so there’s more time. It hurts because kiddo needs attention. So… it’s a mix. But I’m excited to do edits soon because I can only do that at the computer.

@Reader 1 hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

I’m such a pantser. For the same reason I can’t play chess. Every interaction affects the next. I can’t write out of order, unless it’s to figure out the feel of something.

The best I have are big moments to hit. I do know where they need to end up, and try to figure out their big moment, but a lot of time that can’t be determined until I’m in the story.

@Reader 6 co-writing is a unique experience. And it helped a lot with these last AMH books. It’s a challenge, but also fun.

I might change my answer when the edits come back.

Oh, you guys want to know something funny?

Reader 8  4:45 PM


Jax  4:45 PM

Phoenix worked at Hooters because I was picking up an Uber Eats order at the one local to me. There was a woman in the back cooking. It made me wonder, not that I’d ever have the courage to ask her anything. But that was where that came from.

And no, she did not look like a Hooters Girl. She looked a bit like I’d expect from Phoenix.

READER 8  4:46 PM

Do you have any idea where uh… I can’t remember her name. The other woman. In Antarctica. Where she went and what her story is?

Reader 1  4:46 PM

Ooh, Skye? I liked her – she needs a book

Jax  4:47 PM

Skye? My troublemaker? Wherever the wind takes her. Lol

She was fun.

READER 8  4:47 PM

I’d be interested to see if she ever meets someone just as wild as she is

Jax  4:47 PM

Lots of free spirits at the Pole on the non-science side.

Oh that makes my head hurt. Someday I might have the ability to do that.

Reader 6  4:47 PM

Book number 75 maybe??

Jax  4:48 PM

Each book stretches my muscles to create characters. But that’s a huge stretch.

Reader 5  4:48 PM

So…why Corn Bake?  That was my favorite scene by the way…

Jax  4:48 PM

Oh, because it’s a weird midwestern thing and super yummy.

READER 8  4:48 PM

I want the gravy

Jax  4:48 PM

All the food was based on things my wife makes. Those chicken nuggets are my birthday meal and heavenly.

My wife makes killer gravy. And all of Thanksgiving. That cole slaw is to die for as well.

Oh, in 2022, whoever comes to Denver for GCLS can come to our house and we’ll throw a feast.

The seasoning mix is called Andy’s red breading, or might now only be called Andy’s Cajun. You can buy it

READER 8  4:50 PM

I will 100% be there

Jax  4:50 PM

But Phoenix had to make it, and that’s something my wife does too
Also, the story of her grandma going to alaska… that happened in real life.

Reader 2  4:50 PM

Which writers do you admire?

Jax  4:52 PM

@Reader 2 so many writers. My favorites list on goodreads gives you an idea. (I’ll link it a bit later). But my ultimate, best writers that make me wonder if I’ll ever be good enough include: Lee Winter, EJ Noyes, Jae, Melissa Brayden, Radclyffe for her epic series, Robin Alexander for her humor and families…


There’s a reason why I chose the absolute top of my list. Otherwise the list never ends!

Also, I’m behind on reading so…

Reader 1  4:53 PM

I can’t argue with that list – they’re all fantastic

Reader 6  4:54 PM

All favourites of mine too tbh amongst so many others

Jax  4:55 PM

My goodreads shows how much I love books. I’m very generous with the 5 stars. lol

So what else do you want to know?

Otherwise I have a question for you all

Reader 9  4:56 PM

I know I asked when writing it haha but why Buffy fanfic??

READER 8  4:56 PM

What is your process? Do you require silence, music, chaos, calm? Cats?

Jax  4:56 PM

Because I know the show well enough. And it’s fun.

I’m a silence person. I can’t think with distractions. the only exception is focus@will music

example. I just had to say, Melody, I love you, but please go.

if I use music it’s instrumental only. Words are very distracting.

Music is often distracting.

So I don’t write in coffee shops or anything.

Reader 7  4:58 PM

Cats are distracting

Jax  4:58 PM

They definitely can be. As long as they settle in nearby, I’m good with them.

Reader 9  4:58 PM

Hers like to take over the writing :joy:

Jax  4:59 PM

My cat is a bit of an ass. But he’s also sweet.

Reader 7  4:59 PM

Mine want to sit on my writing while i’m writing and purr

Reader 10  4:59 PM

If you were to have a pet from a fantasy world (or sci-fi I guess) then what kind of pet would you want?

Jax  4:59 PM

Hmm… Can I have baby yoda? No… that’s a sentient creature. Darn.

READER 8  4:59 PM

Mini dragon

Jax  5:00 PM

A tiny dragon would be awesome.

But I’d want it to still be free, just hang out with me when it wants.

READER 8  5:00 PM

Yes. All the more special in the choosing

Jax  5:00 PM

I love all animals. Even creepy ones. I just keep my distance.

Reader 1  5:00 PM

Same, except for most snakes and all spiders

Gotta draw a line somewhere

Reader 8  5:01 PM

There is something with tiny dragons and lesbians for sure

Jax  5:02 PM

Okay, question for you all. I’m starting the sequel as soon as AMH book 4 is done. So, now’s the time to make requests of what you want to see from Phoenix and Ash. Not saying it will go into the book, but I’ll at least consider it.

Right now it’s February, they’ll be there until October. Then they go home.

READER 8  5:02 PM

I want to see a meeting between ash and the aunt

Jax  5:03 PM

that’s definitely happening

Reader 7  5:03 PM

I can’t think on the fly like that!

Reader 9  5:03 PM

Yes! That will be interesting!

READER 8  5:03 PM

Maybe have ash cook something for Pheonix

Jax  5:03 PM

You can always tell me later too, if something comes to mind.

Reader 1  5:03 PM

Sexy rock climbing sequence while they’re still there, or vacation when they get home? 🙂

Jax  5:03 PM

Oh, cooking lessons could be interesting.

Reader 3  5:03 PM

How they handle a misunderstanding in the real world

Reader 4  5:03 PM

Yes, more sexy rock climbing sequences!!

Jax  5:03 PM

Oh, there will be lots of that @Reader 3

Reader 6  5:03 PM

I want to see Ash take on Phoenix’s Dad and totally humiliate him

Jax  5:04 PM

There’s a chance of something like that @Reader 6. Not sure exactly how yet, but it has to happen.

READER 8  5:05 PM

Or maybe see Pheonix finally standing up to him with finality

Jax  5:05 PM

At some point Phoenix will run. Not exactly sure how far yet, but that needs to happen in some way. She’ll get a good ass kicking from her aunt though.

Reader 5  5:05 PM

I’d like to see Phoenix become a successful chef…get rich and take over that Hooters franchise and fire that worthless son of the owner…

READER 8  5:05 PM

That’s real, though. It’s understandable.

Jax  5:05 PM

They won’t break up, though.

Hehehe, that’s a nice one @Reader 5

READER 8  5:05 PM

Oh! Yes! I want to see the son get what’s coming to him

Reader 6  5:05 PM

Don’t have her cheating tho please. I hate books where they love each other totally then can go away and shag others

Jax  5:06 PM

She won’t cheat, just because that’s a surefire way to kill a book. There are plenty of ways to show this tension without breaking romance rules.

READER 8  5:06 PM


And the friend from Hooters. I’d like to see her get a happy ending, even off screen

Jax  5:07 PM

Yeah, she’ll show back up at least for a bit while they’re in Denver. I’ll see if I can’t get her a happy ending.

What about Phoenix and Ash going to C2E2 convention and meeting Cole?

READER 8  5:07 PM

Idk what that is but I was thinking that too

Jax  5:08 PM

it’s the chicago convention

READER 8  5:08 PM

Have a “she’s my best friend” conversation

Reader 3  5:08 PM

But not during corona lol

Jax  5:08 PM


oh man…

I don’t think I want to work covid into the book. Would be interesting though

READER 8  5:08 PM

Don’t you DARE lmao

Jax  5:09 PM

They’re in Antarctica while all this explodes.

Reader 1  5:09 PM

lol I keep writing scenes thinking “they shouldn’t do that – social distancing! Oh wait, this is fiction…”

Jax  5:09 PM

Do you guys want to see much more from their time on the ice? I feel like winter will get pretty repetitive so I’m not sure how much I’ll show

Probably pick it up with them packing to leave.

 (Brainstorming is my favorite part of writing sometimes)

Reader 6  5:10 PM

Maybe have a kids convo. Everyone would expect Phoenix to be against it but you could have Ash against having them instead. Don’t need to get the turkey baster out just yet tho that can be in a final epilogue :joy:

Reader 1  5:10 PM

I think that would work – unless there’s anything really cool in Antarctica that you haven’t had room for yet

Reader 5  5:10 PM

I wondered about what precautions they are taking for the winter over crew there…isn’t this about the time they fly people out and resupply for the long winter?

READER 8  5:10 PM

I’m interested to see how they deal with the “where do we go from here” conversation. Obviously, ash has more of a concrete answer because of her job. Does Phoenix follow or does ash move? Or how does that work?

Jax  5:11 PM

I think it will be more fun for them to share their memories with Diane in person.

@Reader 5 the station closes by mid February. typically. then nothing until usually October.

@READER 8 the current plan is for them to spend time in New Zealand and then Denver, and then Phoenix moves to Madison while Ash finishes up.

Beyond that is a mystery to me.

And ultimately they have to reconcile Ash’s dream with their relationship. There’s no way in hell Phoenix is getting on a spaceship for 4-6 months to go to Mars.

READER 8  5:14 PM

But I would think that Ash would resent to Phoenix for making her give up her dream

Jax  5:14 PM

In the middle of all that is normal life stress. Money. Family. Coping mechanisms changing. It’s going to get bumpy.

Ah, see that’s why I’m writing the story and not you, @READER 8 🙂

There’s a solution that works and I can tell you in DM if you want.

READER 8  5:14 PM

Yes please lol

Reader 1  5:15 PM

You want the spoilers? Ack!

Reader 3  5:15 PM

I don t think Phoenix would make Ash give up on her dream, I think she’ll support her no matter what

READER 8  5:15 PM

I want the spoilers lol

Jax  5:16 PM

Well, how it all comes about is a mystery to me as well

Reader 6  5:16 PM

Everyone’s going to boo me but the more I hear the more I don’t know if I can bear to read it

Jax  5:17 PM

In 6-8 months I should have a draft ready for beta readers.

READER 8  5:17 PM

I volunteer as tribute

Jax  5:17 PM

I promise, it will be ok @Reader 6.

Like I said, they won’t break up. They won’t separate even. They’ll work through it like they always have, just with new screw ups.

For the first time, Ash will truly be stressed as she defends her dissertation. While Phoenix is stressed with work and family. One of them will have to be the grownup.

My editor will definitely have their work cut out for them though.

Making sure the bumps in the road make sense, and are the right intensity… should be fun.

As for kids… I genuinely have no idea what will happen on that front.

I probably won’t think about it much until Cole’s book.

READER 8  5:21 PM

When cole gets their own book, you could make it a small scene in there. That way you don’t take away from Cole’s story. Like radclyffe did in uh… night call. With Quinn and honor.

Jax  5:21 PM

Yeah, they’ll all remain friends, so they’ll be able to pop in and offer an update.

Who knows, maybe Cole will be one of those people who always wanted kids, so is a natural person for Ash to talk to.

It seems to fit Cole’s personality.

Reader 7  5:23 PM

Does Cole have a partner?

Jax  5:23 PM

Not yet.

That would be their story though. So first, I need to figure out who the heck would be the right partner for Cole. But Cole’s story isn’t going to be written (unless they start getting really loud in my head) until after AMH book 5 which will close out that series (I hope)

I learn in about two weeks if I got into the screenwriting program. If I did, that will shift my writing schedule as well, since I’ll have a year to write a screenplay.

Reader 7  5:25 PM


Reader 1  5:25 PM

Woo hoo, fingers crossed for you!

Reader 5  5:26 PM

Yes, best of luck with that.  I’d definitely go see a film you created.

Jax  5:26 PM

I’ve never written a screenplay. lol But, I have two ideas that would be fun to work on. One is a romcom based in Colorado where a woman’s crush at REI teaches her to be comfortable in the outdoors. The other is a romance between a singer and her formerly straight dancer.

Reader 6  5:26 PM

Any film by you will be awesome

Jax  5:26 PM

The second may basically be Halsey/Jade fanfic…

The other is just an idea that hit me one day. Either way, I’ll keep applying to the program until I get in.

Any other questions? About anything?

Reader 5  5:28 PM

Ok, when you were on IceCube, what was your major?

Jax  5:29 PM


Reader 5  5:29 PM

Nice, I started in Physics but the Air Force turned me into an engineer…still love Physics though.

Reader 1  5:30 PM

More power to both of you – I am not a hard science kinda person 🙂

Jax  5:31 PM

I love it, but didn’t do as well as I should due to undiagnosed ADHD. I wish I’d known and had meds then. But, life works as it should.

Reader 7  5:31 PM

There were four people in my HS physics class. I was the dumb one.

Jax  5:32 PM

Everyone has different skills, abilities, and interests.

I’m trying to think of any other random tidbits… I’ll probably come up with some later. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. It was the scariest to publish, by far.

But it was worth it.

Reader 7  5:33 PM

Yeah. I did fine, i just wasn’t used to not being at the top of the class. So it kinda ruined it for me.

But you’re brilliant

Reader 1  5:33 PM

It was fantastic, Jax – loved the unconventional setting and Phoenix and Ash are great. I can’t wait to read their next story

Reader 5  5:34 PM

Agree with Reader 7….brilliant!

Reader 10  5:34 PM

I found it a lot easier to read through than all of the books with Cam. They’re good books, but you write Cam’s autistic experience so well that I experience her anxiety as well and it makes reading challenging.

I wouldn’t change it though.

It makes it harder to get through because I have to slow my pace and take more breaks, but I think it would lessen the impact for others.

Jax  5:34 PM

I’ll be asking for beta readers in the future. If you’re patient with the revision process, you can be an alpha reader. If not, just wait until the first draft is done.

Reader 7  5:35 PM

Well, it made me cry and learn and laugh… all very good things in a book.

Reader 1  5:37 PM

Thanks for chatting with us Jax and for sharing pics!

Jax  5:38 PM

I post behind the scenes stuff on my website/blog. If you haven’t subscribed to the new one, you might want to.


Thanks for reading and all the feedback.

Lesfic Book Club: Running the Tides

For our February meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Running the Tides by Amanda Kayhart. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Reader 1  4:00 PM

It’s book club time! @Amanda did you find us?

Reader 2  4:00 PM

I’m here….although I haven’t fully finished the book.. I was live yesterday for like 6 hrs on facebook and totally fell asleep reading….but I’m really loving the book! :heart_eyes:

Amanda  4:00 PM

Hey, y’all

Reader 3  4:00 PM

Hey Amanda.

Reader 4  4:00 PM

Oh hey hi I have the first question here’s the first question Amanda why are you so perfect

Amanda  4:01 PM

omg, Reader 4. no lol

Reader 4  4:01 PM

Reader 4 yes

Reader 5  4:01 PM

Hi I’m Reader 5 and so excited to join for the first time.

Reader 2  4:01 PM

Hey Amanda!

Reader 1  4:01 PM

Hi Reader 5, good to have you!

Reader 7  4:01 PM

Hi :wave:

Reader 4  4:01 PM

Hi Reader 5!! You joined just in time

Reader 6  4:01 PM

Hi guys

Reader 2  4:01 PM

Hey Reader 5 welcome to joy of book club

Amanda  4:02 PM

It’s honestly so humbling people actually like my writing? lol

Reader 4  4:02 PM

Your writing is amazing and the book was amazing :triumph:

Reader 2  4:02 PM

what’s not to like? Its amazing! and beautiful

Reader 3  4:02 PM

Can’t believe it’s your first book.

Reader 1  4:02 PM

Yes, it was a great read, Amanda!

Reader 7  4:02 PM

Can I ask please…. Freegans? Like how? Have you personal experience?

Reader 1  4:02 PM

Have you written short stories or anything prior to Running the Tides? If not, what made you decide to write it?

Amanda  4:03 PM

I can. Because I went back through it for this, and I’m like “wow, i can’t believe I wrote that” lol

Reader 6  4:03 PM

The book was warm and funny. I even cried a little

Amanda  4:03 PM

LOL dumpster girl gets a lot of reactions that’s for sure

Reader 5  4:03 PM

I was soooo stunned that it was partially set in Saratoga. My hometown

Amanda  4:04 PM

my wife actually suggested her character for a date after watching some weird show on TLC about cheap people? lol

Reader 4  4:04 PM

Omg :joy: that’s a great origin story

Reader 2  4:04 PM

can I say I loved her until that part haha that’s one way to scare you away finding someone at a bar haha

Reader 5  4:04 PM

And yes Popes pizza is very good!!

Reader 1  4:04 PM

I was waiting for Dumpster Girl to be the love interest, like ooh, how’s Amanda going to spin this? 🙂

Reader 7  4:04 PM

Yes she was so trashy! :joy:

Amanda  4:04 PM

I’m from Burnt Hills, actually, so a little south of Saratoga. I lived there until I was twelve, when I moved to VT with my family

Reader 4  4:05 PM

Omg Reader 1 me too :joy::joy: I was like oh hmmmm very interesting direction here

Amanda  4:05 PM

I’ve had suggestions for a dumpster girl spin off tbh lol

Reader 4  4:05 PM

Dumpster girl is the real main character

Reader 5  4:05 PM

I was the postal window clerk in Burnt Hills!!!

Reader 7  4:05 PM

Dumpster girl meets Stig of the Dump! I can see it now

Reader 3  4:05 PM

The book was so sensual, the way you write about the landscape, the food, the sex…. Lol.

Reader 2  4:05 PM

yes Reader 1 me too…and then I’m like wait its gonna have to do with her grandmother in some way…but totally agreed…I was waiting for her to pop up again (edited)

Reader 1  4:06 PM

Haha cool – maybe you two have met before and didn’t know it!

Amanda  4:07 PM

In an early draft, dumpster girl did come back, but I ended up cutting her scene out

Reader 5  4:07 PM

It made this reading personal. My daughters and I argue over what pizza place is better lol

Reader 8  4:07 PM

I also had geographic connections. I grew up in eastern Ontario, so upstate NY can feel like “next door” (even though I was an adult before I visited the US). And… now I live in SE Virginia, so I knew the rest area after the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and have made a couple of visits to the Outer Banks over the last decade, so I could really picture a lot of your settings in this book!

Reader 5  4:08 PM

I feel the same Reader 8

Amanda  4:08 PM

Ive been to the Outer Banks twice, and especially after writing this, it feels like a second home. I love it there

Reader 5  4:08 PM

You’re an incredible writer. Do you do ARC TEAMS.

Amanda  4:09 PM

The aquarium in the book I based off of the Virginia aquarium in VA Beach

Thank you, Reader 5 :heart_eyes: No ARCs. Just write from the heart, and throw it out there, and hope readers like it? lol probably not the best business model lol

Reader 2  4:10 PM

I believe it works for you!

Reader 1  4:10 PM

‘Write from the heart’ is always a solid start

Reader 4  4:10 PM

You could probably have some good success finding ARC readers here if you decide to change your strategy :eyes:

Reader 7  4:11 PM

Who are you favourite authors and what’s your favourite book?

Reader 2  4:11 PM

books are always better when they are from the heart

Reader 8  4:11 PM

And you definitely did that… there were a couple of times I had to pause for a moment because the emotions were so strong and real

Reader 5  4:11 PM

It definitely does work for you, but I’ll  be watching incase you change your mind.

Reader 4  4:11 PM

Yessss it was really strong and I could tell it felt like a personal story for you

Reader 2  4:12 PM

Where did you get Val and her husband from? they were great!

Amanda  4:12 PM

Well, I only started writing in 2015 after I stumbled upon Eliza Lentzski’s Winter Jacket. I had no idea lesfic was a thing. That sounds so ridiculous now lol But I’ll say Eliza is def one of my favs, but there’s SO MANY good authors/books I can’t limit my answer

Reader 4  4:13 PM

Hahaha I mean I only found out lesfic was a thing in 2018 so that’s a mood, lesbians and getting erased by culture go together like peanut butter and jelly

Reader 4  4:13 PM

Or maple and bacon, in the theme of the book

Amanda  4:13 PM

Giles is based on an actual person I used to work with–he had the handlebar mustache and all. I’m not sure where I came up with Val, tbh. But I wanted a grandmotherly figure for Avery

Reader 2  4:14 PM

and btw who doesn’t love Dirty Dancing?? :joy:

Reader 4  4:14 PM

I adored Giles :joy::sparkling_heart:

Amanda  4:14 PM

Dirty Dancing is amazing. That was a little nod to my mom. It’s one of the first “adult” romantic movies she let me watch as a kid

Reader 2  4:15 PM

it definitely worked…it was great. I love Val she’s a hoot!

Reader 5  4:15 PM

Growing up in upstate ny and Vermont I’m not surprised you weren’t aware. However, it’s because of you and others that this genre is booming. Thank you Thank you

Amanda  4:15 PM

Writing this book, the whole time, I was like, why don’t these people actually exist? I’d love to hang out with them

Reader 2  4:15 PM

haha really? very nice I guess it is more adult then some movies.. lol

Reader 4  4:16 PM

Oh jeez that’s a writer’s mood :joy: I’m always like dang why can’t real people be like my characters, the real world is so disappointing

Reader 2  4:16 PM

I wouldn’t mind hanging out with them all specially Olivia :heart_eyes:

Reader 5  4:17 PM

And why aren’t we making movies out of these wonderful books?

Reader 1  4:17 PM

We should all just get a bed and breakfast slash writer’s retreat and hang out 🙂

Reader 4  4:17 PM

How long did you spend writing this book? It seems to have come together pretty quickly for a first book.

Amanda  4:17 PM

omg, I totally fell for Olivia writing this, I think my wife was a bit jealous lol

Amanda  4:17 PM

That’s an amazing idea, Reader 1 yes

Reader 2  4:17 PM

I can see it!

Reader 5  4:18 PM

I can picture these characters on film. Who would you want to play Olivia?

Amanda  4:18 PM

I’m glad it seemed quick lol This is the first piece of fiction I’ve ever wrote, even though I’m an English major, there was a huge learning curve for me. So, this book took me a little over two and half years to put together.

Reader 1  4:19 PM

Not bad at all for a first novel! Did you use beta readers to help you or was it mostly a solo effort?

Reader 4  4:19 PM

Wow. That is quick :sob:

Reader 4  4:19 PM

We’re gonna pretend I didn’t take 9 years to publish a book that made numbers

Amanda  4:20 PM

Olivia, physically, is based off of Darby Stanchfield,from Scandal :heart_eyes:

Reader 5  4:20 PM

Reader 4, there is something to be said for perseverance

Reader 2  4:21 PM

at least you didn’t trash hide it  away like Reader 1 did with her’s :wink::wink: ….(sorry you know I have to throw that out there every now and then LOL)

Amanda  4:21 PM

I agree, Reader 5. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, just enjoy the process

Reader 4  4:21 PM

That’s definitely true :sparkling_heart::sparkling_heart:

Amanda  4:22 PM

I had help, to answer Reader 1’s question. I worked with a student at my college’s writing center. My writing partner helped shaped this book for sure

Reader 1, did you throw out an entire MS?

Reader 2  4:22 PM

Take all the time in the world at least you know its well written and it definitely shows it means something to you…for taking your time.

Reader 4  4:23 PM

Okay here’s another thing I just have to get out there, what is it with lesfic and lawyers, do lesbians just love lawyers that much :thinking_face:

Reader 2  4:23 PM

its the suits

Reader 4  4:23 PM

I mean, the suits are definitely nothing to complain about :thinking_face:

Amanda  4:23 PM

I’m obsessed with anything law lol The Good Wife is legit one of my favorite shows

Reader 1  4:23 PM

I didn’t throw it out – I just never published it. It was my first book and I learned a lot, but it wasn’t written to market and it didn’t have a whole lot of purpose. I consider it a practice book

Reader 2  4:23 PM

My first book I started my MC is a lawyer lol

Reader 5  4:23 PM

Exactly, the pencil skirts!

Reader 5  4:24 PM

At the risk of sounding ignorant, what is MC?

Reader 4  4:24 PM

You don’t have to be a lawyer to wear a blazer and pencil skirt, I do it all the time and I don’t even go outside :joy:

Reader 1  4:24 PM

I nominate Cara Delevingne in that I Feel Everything music video for all your WLW suit-wearing lawyer needs!

Reader 8  4:25 PM

I kind of like that you didn’t always take the predictable route. I mean, while this had an element of long-distance relationship, the relationship developing (and always being shown) in person was really good. And, I normally hate where there’s a big secret that’s going to destroy everything… but… while the secret was there, it didn’t feel as unnecessarily dragged out as that type of storyline often can be. It always felt true to the characters, and I appreciated that!

Reader 5  4:25 PM

I agree Reader 1!!

Amanda  4:26 PM

I was hoping the “secret” came off okay, and more true to Avery’s kind nature.

Reader 5  4:27 PM

I loved the balance in the book between the amount of sex and passion, to the storyline!!  It was perfect!

Reader 4  4:27 PM

The flirting was soooo :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

Amanda  4:28 PM

No one was bothered by the 30-page sex scene, I take it? lol

Reader 2  4:28 PM

and NO Jodi Comer in a suit is to die for!! :heart_eyes:

Reader 1  4:28 PM

Yeah, the banter was wonderful, especially when they were first getting to know each other. The sunrise and racing each other across the dunes… :heart:

Reader 5  4:28 PM

Exactly Reader 4!!! 

Reader 4  4:28 PM

like a 30-page sex scene is a problem? :woman-shrugging::skin-tone-2:

Reader 2  4:28 PM

of course not..longer the better

Reader 8  4:28 PM

It depends on what definition of bothered you use! 😉

Reader 4  4:28 PM

I mean tbh the two hundred pages after Avery and Olivia met were basically just foreplay no matter how you look at it so

Reader 1  4:29 PM

“Ugh, I cannot believe you included 30 whole pages of sex” – no one, ever

Amanda  4:29 PM

We’ll just blame all that foreplay on Olivia and her issues with women and power tools

Reader 4  4:30 PM

Who can blame her???

Okay so here’s the juicy question which part was the best to write and which part was the hardest

Yes, that’s two questions, don’t point that out

Amanda  4:31 PM

Omg, um, the hardest was probably the fishing date chapter, because of the amount of research I put into it. I knew nothing about deep sea fishing

Reader 4  4:32 PM

Ohhh that was super good though, way to make me wish I could have a hot date on a deep sea fishing boat even though I have never once fished or felt the inclination to do so

Amanda  4:32 PM

The best was the first kiss. I had that scene written before a lot of the others

Reader 4  4:32 PM

Omggg the whole aquarium scene 🥰🥰🥰

the first kiss is always the best scene to write imo

Reader 5  4:33 PM

Yes, the Aquarium scene was one of my favorites

Amanda  4:33 PM

That scene still gives me heart yummies, for real. I know it was a slow, slow burn getting to that part, but hopefully the wait was worth it

Reader 4  4:34 PM

I loved seeing Olivia more vulnerable and as on-the-nose as it was the thing with the stingrays and “taking a risk reaching while they’re taking a risk reaching for you” just felt so sweet

Reader 5  4:34 PM

That scene was perfectly placed!!

Reader 1  4:34 PM

Yesss I loved that, it was super romantic and it also managed to make stingrays sound adorable 🙂

Reader 4  4:35 PM

Right?? I never thought I’d think “aw cute fluffy stingrays” but Amanda had the last laugh

Amanda  4:35 PM

Stingrays are adorable. The woman at the aquarium told me when I was doing research they have personalities like puppies? I was like whatttt???

Reader 4  4:35 PM


I love that

Reader 1  4:36 PM

I also had to look up videos hatching sea turtles at one point, so props for all the cute aquatic animal details throughout 🙂

Hmm… now I need to go to Sea World and check out the stingrays

Reader 4  4:36 PM

Watch as aquariums get flooded by lesbians wanting to see cute stingrays and get confused what’s going on

Reader 2  4:37 PM

sea turtles are amazing to see hatch. I can say I did see that when I lived in Hawaii

Amanda  4:37 PM

I am OBSESSED with sea turtles. It was def no burden on me doing sea creature research at all. And yes, go pet some stingrays if you get a chance. They’re super soft

Turtle hatching is on my bucket list for sure

Reader 5  4:37 PM

Better yet, go to the Caribbean and swim with them. And have one placed on your back. It was amazing

Amanda  4:37 PM

My wife and I did that on our honeymoon. it’s wild

Reader 2  4:38 PM

it’s beautiful to see…your gonna enjoy it alot Amanda.

Reader 4  4:38 PM

I’m jealous :sob::sparkling_heart: that sounds amazing

Amanda  4:39 PM

I wanted to go shark diving in a cage, but then I watched 47 Meters down, and nevermind

Reader 4  4:39 PM

So you had this interest in aquatic animals and that drove you to make all the Olivia side of things but do you have an interest in carpentry too or where did Avery come from

Reader 2  4:39 PM

where did you have the idea of her grandmother being a closet lesbian and the letters?

Amanda  4:40 PM

Avery’s carpentry is because of my grandfather, he made tools for General Electric.

Reader 4  4:40 PM

Ohhhhhh that’s so cool :heart_eyes:

Amanda  4:41 PM

When I was a teenager, I came across love letters between my grandmother and her first husband. They were written in the 40s and super romantic. And that’s how the idea for Tides started. Love letters…but gay lol

Reader 1  4:41 PM

Aww, that would be so cool to find! Do you still have them?

Reader 8  4:41 PM

I also appreciate the slightly-unusual-for-fiction take on the unsupportive-family-member-reacting-to-coming-out. Not that they were 100% horrible or completely lock-step with the religious teachings they’d learned. As somebody who had an unsupportive mother, it was nice to see something different explaining an intolerant reaction.

Amanda  4:42 PM

I have some. My grandmother was generous enough to let me have them, for this book

Reader 2  4:42 PM

agreed Reader 8

Reader 4  4:42 PM

Did you tell her you were gonna make her book alter-ego gay

Reader 2  4:42 PM

thats amazing..and super cute

Amanda  4:43 PM

LOL not sure she knows what the purpose of them were. I’d like to keep it that way too lol

Reader 3  4:44 PM

Are you a foodie Amanda because food plays quite a role in the book?

Reader 1  4:44 PM

Yeah we don’t necessarily need grandma reading the 30-page love scene

Reader 4  4:44 PM

I am a major foodie and soooo appreciated that aspect of the book :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

Reader 2  4:45 PM

oh come on…my grandmother, if she was still alive, would totally get a kick out of it lol

Amanda  4:45 PM

I have a love-hate relationship with food lol I’m def not a foodie, I hate cooking tbh. So I think I just like living vicariously through my characters. You’ll see food being a common theme in my books for this reason

Reader 4  4:45 PM

Hahaha that’s fair :joy: You can be a foodie and just like eating instead of cooking, that’s valid

Amanda  4:46 PM

My grandmother is Uber Catholic, and she would most def not enjoy any aspect of my writing. Esp the amount of times I use the word pussy lol

Reader 2  4:47 PM

yes it was dropped like 10 times or more just in the first chapter :joy:

Amanda  4:47 PM

which is why I forbid my mom from reading it as well lol

Reader 4  4:47 PM

Skylar was a fun character :ok_hand:

Reader 2  4:47 PM

makes sense

Reader 4  4:48 PM

In general if the word pussy is on the first page it makes sense you wouldn’t show the book to your mom

Rule of thumb

Amanda  4:48 PM

Skylar was fun. A little aggressive and controlling, tho? But hopefully I made her well-balanced enough

spoiler: I didn’t use the word pussy at all in my next book, and I told my mom she’s free to read this one lol

Reader 4  4:49 PM

Yeah Skylar really ticked me off when they had their fight but I was glad we got Skylar apologizing and not that thing I see sometimes where it’s like “oh we’re friends we were both in the wrong it’s behind us” like I was expecting to happen

Reader 1  4:49 PM

She seemed like she had room for growth, which always makes for an interesting character. I’d love to see how Veronica changes her over the long-term

View newer replies

Amanda  4:50 PM

Yes, I just want someone to make me food. My wife hates cooking too, so most nights, we just stare at each other and do nothing until we starve

Reader 1  4:50 PM

I know that feel. “Which of the four restaurants that will deliver around here shall we order tonight?”

Reader 2  4:51 PM

I hate cooking but I like baking…depending on my mood.. :woman-shrugging::skin-tone-3:

Amanda  4:51 PM

our town is too small and rural. There is no delivery here :sob:

Reader 4  4:51 PM

I love cooking so I got a lil inspired to make some fancy food after reading the book haha

So, my roommates appreciate you, Amanda.

Amanda  4:51 PM

y’all need to come over and feed me and my lazy ass lol

Reader 2  4:51 PM

we jut have crappy and lack of delivery restaurants here…so I understand.. lol I make a lot of pasta and tacos

Reader 1  4:52 PM

Haha so basically what I thought I was doing was complaining about my 4 delivery options but actually I was bragging… my bad (edited)

Reader 4  4:52 PM

I’ll make you some key lime cheesecakes if you sign your book for me :ok_hand:

Amanda  4:52 PM

LOL the one (1) pizza place we had just closed too.

Reader 1  4:52 PM

Everybody start chipping into the bed and breakfast fund – I’ll bite the bullet and cook for us (for a while anyway)

Reader 4  4:53 PM

See we’ve got a bunch of cooks this bed and breakfast will be hopping

Amanda  4:53 PM

For real, Reader 1. This needs to happen. I think it should be in the Outer Banks though, because I’m biased. Also, my favorite pizza place ever is down there and I miss it

Reader 1  4:55 PM

Agreed. Plus I just got done watching the Netflix remake of Tales of the City so I’m picturing it kinda like that – great big house full of LGBT+ ladies and creative types living our best lives

Reader 4  4:55 PM

It’s a perfect plan :+1:

Amanda  4:56 PM

This is perfect. We can start a GoFundMe to get the ball rolling

Reader 1  4:56 PM

I like it!

Reader 4  4:56 PM

Amanda’s book turning us into a business venture :joy::sparkling_heart:

Amanda  4:57 PM

Could we have a hound dog named Harley, too?

Reader 5  4:57 PM

Just let me know where to show up with my knives!!

Reader 1  4:57 PM

Book club is never boring 🙂

We definitely need a mascot – Harley sounds good to me!

Reader 2  4:57 PM

sounds good to me! don’t forget Charlie and Scout too

Reader 4  4:57 PM

All we need is the sexy woman with the power tools

Reader 5  4:58 PM

This actually is starting to sound like a good plot for a book!

Reader 1  4:58 PM

I have pretty much every power tool but I wouldn’t say I’m the most competent with them – I can bring them and we can find the lady to wield them when we get down there 🙂

Amanda  4:58 PM

I have a question for everyone, because my mother in law always mentions it when I see her, could Tides have a sequel? If not a full-length, a novella?

Reader 2  4:59 PM

of course you do Reader 1!! haha

YES please!

Reader 4  4:59 PM

Oh, yeah, because running a bed and breakfast with a queer woman owner and hiring a queer woman carpenter good with power tools when she comes and stays definitely won’t lead anywhere we have an entire book to see already

Reader 1  4:59 PM

Same couple, or are you thinking of telling Skylar’s story (yes please) or someone else’s in the same setting?

Reader 8  5:00 PM

And… yes, Skylar would be an excellent way to connect with Avery and Olivia.

Reader 5  5:00 PM

Yes, Skylar and Veronica

Reader 7  5:01 PM

Deffo Skylar and Veronica’s story

Amanda  5:01 PM

I don’t know? I’d be open to any type of sequel, I guess. I’d love to do Skylar and Veronica, but I think writing a POC as a main character is definately out of my lane?

Reader 3  5:01 PM

Can you ever see yourself writing a completely different genre, say historical or sci-fi for example?

Reader 2  5:02 PM

lol…you could do it….and you could technically if you wanted to write about Veronica and Skylar and also do a sequel with Avery and Olivia as well there’s 2 books for you!!

Amanda  5:03 PM

I’ve been thinking about dabbling in romantic suspense, for my next project? With death and murder and a cold case? Not 100 on it yet though, because thats a lot of research involved

Reader 1  5:03 PM

Ooh, yeah – we need more romantic suspense in lesfic!

Reader 4  5:03 PM

Wanting to stay in your lane is definitely a valid reason :sparkling_heart: I mean, you could always just write a book that’s not really a sequel in any traditional sense but includes a little crossover action we all love that

Reader 2  5:04 PM

yes we do need more romantic suspense…it’s my favorite besides medical

Amanda  5:05 PM

Good idea, Reader 4. I’d rather promote more authors of color in lesfic, which I think esp in romance we need to do, given what’s happened with the RWA, than to put myself in somone else’s story I shouldn’t be telling

Reader 4  5:05 PM

Oh definitely :sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

Amanda  5:06 PM

How about Medical/Lawyer/Romantic suspense? Get it chocked full of pencil skirts

Reader 5  5:06 PM

Ohhh yeah!!

Reader 2  5:07 PM

ooo…YES PLEASE!!! I would be in heaven!!!

Amanda  5:07 PM

That’s a lot of research. But y’all are def giving me confidence to go in the suspense direction.

Reader 2  5:07 PM

I love that you see more medical/cop so would be amazing to see a change from that lol

Reader 1  5:08 PM

Do you have something you’re working on right now, Amanda?

Amanda  5:09 PM

I literally just gave my next book, Fire & Water, to my editor this afternoon. So I’m feeling a little lost atm, and putting feelers out for the next book idea

Reader 1  5:09 PM

Woo hoo, congrats on that milestone!

Reader 4  5:09 PM

That’s so exciting :sparkling_heart::sparkling_heart: I can’t wait to see it!!

Reader 2  5:10 PM

Whispers write suspense write suspense…… LOL

Reader 1  5:10 PM

Also… That’s the glassblowing book, yes? I can’t wait for it. Is there a release date yet?

Amanda  5:10 PM

I’m really proud of this book. I started in in the fall of 2017, so it’s been with me a long time, and as sad as I am to see it go out into the world, I’m so ready to share it with everyone

Reader 5  5:10 PM

Where is it set?

Amanda  5:11 PM

Yes, my glass blowing book. I’m hoping i’ll get it back this week, or next. So early March for release. And it’s set in Vermont this time

Reader 2  5:11 PM


Reader 1  5:11 PM

Me too!

Reader 2  5:12 PM

I think I need to go watch Three To Tango with Neve Campbell cause DAMN!

Reader 5  5:12 PM

If your first Book is any indication of how your next book will be, I can’t wait to read it. It’s gonna be awesome

Amanda  5:13 PM

I think the growth in my writing, and my style is going to be surprising. But in a very good way.

I hope everyone likes it

Reader 4  5:13 PM

That’s a good way to tempt me given how lovely this first book already was 🥰🥰🥰

Amanda  5:15 PM

It’s an age-gap, enemy-to-lover, with a little bit of second chance thrown in there. Aside from the two MCs, I think you’ll equally enjoy the supportive cast in this one as well

Reader 1  5:15 PM

Nice. How big is the age gap?

Reader 5  5:15 PM

Sounds great

Amanda  5:16 PM

15 :upside_down_face: a good, decent gap LOL

Reader 4  5:16 PM

Ohhh enemies-to-lovers trash over here

Reader 1  5:16 PM

I like reading the bigger age gaps – makes it more challenging for them to get over their differences and make it work

We’re a little past the top of the hour – does anyone have questions for Amanda they’ve been holding onto? Or Amanda, any more questions for us?

Amanda  5:18 PM

Same. I love age-gaps. And My one MC is 50. I wanted to give a loving shout out to the older ladies. I think there’s a lot of emphasis on younger women in romance, so that was my decision with making her “older”

Reader 4  5:19 PM

Ooooohhh I have a question for Amanda, Amanda why are you perfect :heart_eyes:

Reader 1  5:19 PM

Definitely, and I love that in lesfic we have readers all across the demographics who are excited to read about different types of main characters. In contemporary/straight romance, it’s all very same-same, so I’m glad we get that kind of diversity!

Amanda  5:19 PM

stop making me blush, Reader 4 lol

Reader 4  5:19 PM

Lesfic is the best fic 🥰

Reader 1  5:20 PM

We just found our new slogan

Reader 7  5:20 PM

Meanwhile this nearly 50 yr old decrepit old woman is off to bed night  (edited)

Reader 4  5:21 PM

So yeah in summary Amanda you’re amazing and the book was amazing and I’m grateful to have you here and to have you and your writing in my life

Amanda  5:22 PM

Y’all are awesome. I’m humbled by everyone’s kind words. I’m so happy you enjoyed Tides

Reader 9  5:24 PM

It was a good book. It took me a while to read through compared to other books though. I loved the layers of prose and description in the book, but it also slowed down my reading speed a touch. Though in a way that’s good because i think things stuck with me more because of that. It was a new experience.

Reader 4  5:24 PM

Oh yeah how many words was the book? I think I drowned my own question in fangirling anyway but I was wondering that

Amanda  5:24 PM

It was long-winded in places lol I’ll admit that. I think it ended up around 105k

Reader 1  5:25 PM

Ooh wow, even more respect for finishing it in 2.5 years in that case – that’s basically 2 books compared to most lesfic

Reader 4  5:25 PM

Oh, gosh. Yeah that’s the length of both my current books put together :joy:

Amanda  5:26 PM

Fire and Water ended at 85k. I think it speaks for my growth this time around

Reader 2  5:26 PM

meh…longer books are better!!!

Reader 1  5:26 PM

BUT how many pages of that are sex scenes? 🙂

Amanda  5:27 PM

It’s still a decent chunk, and the sex scene is good and an equally slow burn

Reader 4  5:28 PM

I was kinda hoping for it to be an indecent chunk tbh

Reader 5  5:28 PM

That alone speaks to her talent!! It’s difficult enough writing an average size book and keep the reader entertained, by to double the size and still manage to make the readers want more is amazing

Reader 4  5:28 PM

Right?? Amanda is a genius and we’re keeping her thx

Amanda  5:28 PM

Thanks, Reader 5

Lesfic Book Club: Forbidden Melody

For our January meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Forbidden Melody by Magnolia Robbins. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Reader 1  3:56 PM

I need to find Maggie’s playlist for this book so I can have some mood music for the chat

Maggie Robbins  3:56 PM

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/18Tfl71RbEZAb19QQfIeYs this is one somebody made, not me though lol

Reader 2  4:00 PM

I listened to some of the great music today while working on a proposal for my company at home. Salut D’Amour is incredibly beautiful!

Reader 3  4:00 PM

Maggie I want to say That I absolutely loved Forbidden Melody! Emma and Juliet were just so…..lovable and amazing! I couldn’t put it down! 🥰:purple_heart::purple_heart: You did such an amazing job with Emma and her being deaf. I was really impressed!

Maggie Robbins  4:01 PM

Salut D’Amor and Tristesse are both my favs, for sure. It was definitely fun writing that book just to learn some songs I hadn’t heard of before. And thank you, Reader 3! I appreciate that.

Reader 1  4:02 PM

Just to officially call book club to order for those who are watching but not chatting yet… thanks so much for joining us Maggie!

Reader 4  4:02 PM

Oh oh oh oh is it time it’s time

Maggie Robbins  4:03 PM

You’re welcome! Thanks for having me. :slightly_smiling_face:

Reader 3  4:03 PM

You are very welcome! :purple_heart::purple_heart:

Reader 5  4:03 PM

Phew, I’m here just in time! Sorry, the writing muse took me by surprise and I only just noticed the time, lol!

Reader 1  4:04 PM

What did everyone think of Forbidden Melody?

Reader 3  4:04 PM

My question I do have is what gave you the idea for this book?? What inspired it??

Reader 5  4:04 PM

Can I get a @Reader 4 squeal out of the way before we get started?? I loved this book so much :joy: I absolutely loved it!

Reader 6  4:04 PM

I really enjoyed this book. :slightly_smiling_face:

Reader 4  4:04 PM

Ok full disclosure I didn’t finish my reread because I’d forgotten how long it was and totally misjudged what would be an appropriate reading pace but still it’s not like I could have forgotten the ending anyway the part when Emma goes to Norway is like :broken_heart:

Reader 7  4:04 PM

I loved the book so much! I first read it a year ago, around the time I first joined this group

Reader 2  4:05 PM

I loved it so much that I had to buy a physical copy after finishing it on KU.  Well done Maggie!

Reader 5  4:05 PM

I spent the whole of Christmas day reading it, lol.

Reader 4  4:05 PM

It really is an amazing book :sob: I’ve probably squealed about it to plenty of people already but it was my gateway into lesfic and I’m eternally grateful to Maggie for it

Reader 3  4:06 PM

Yes I was shedding lots of tears!!!! But then again I didn’t like Lydia at all!!! I was giving her bigger daggers then Juliet was!! :joy::joy:

Reader 1  4:07 PM

Hahaha aww, why? Just because she was getting in the way?

Reader 3  4:10 PM

A little bit..yes but also because the way she was with Juliet was just not okay. I get it I do…and she mostly what she did for her feelings for Emma, but what was going on between them was between them! Lydia should have butted out! :woman-shrugging::skin-tone-2: I’m sure Emma didn’t even know that Juliet trued to contact her when she left. That broke me

Reader 7  4:06 PM

Also, this book feels almost like it was meant for me: my wife and I are both musicians and she actually has Ehlers-Danlos (but, thankfully, without any hearing loss from her type of the disorder)

Maggie Robbins  4:08 PM

Wow, thank you guys! I’m glad you enjoyed it. :slightly_smiling_face: Yeah, I hated writing the Emma part when she goes to Norway, because I hated splitting them up again, but it had to be done. And Reader 7, that is really awesome about you both being musicians and that you could relate to the book in that way. I actually was inspired by Mandy Harvey, a musician who was on America’s Got Talent, who had Ehlers-Danlos. I’m partially deaf, so I wanted to do a book about someone in a similar situation, and so it all kind of fell together like that.

Reader 1  4:12 PM

So I assumed with the incredible depth of musical details that you’re a musician yourself, Maggie? What do you play and how much research did this book involve?

Reader 4  4:12 PM

Breaking your own heart is pretty necessary as a romance author :sweat_smile:  What was writing this book like for you? I know you operate in bursts of inspiration alternating with down periods, was it a book you spent a lot of time carefully crafting or was it the sort of thing that just came together with a lot of inspiration?

Reader 2  4:13 PM

I wanted to ask the music background question but Reader 1 said it better.

Maggie Robbins  4:17 PM

Okay, Reader 1’s first: So, yes, I am a musician. My dad’s side of the family is all musicians, they play bluegrass music. I got a violin when I was in middle school and started playing in orchestra during middle and high school. I also played piano growing up. I play quite a few instruments, just because of my family, but those two were the ones I knew sheet music from. The research on the orchestra side of things was a lot, and I know I still probably got some things mixed up from lack of familiarity with real orchestra, but I had fun talking with some family friends who are in a professional orchestra in Louisville, Kentucky, where I am from.

Reader 4: I was obsessed with this book. Out of all the books I’ve written, it came to me the quickest, and was the most emotional for me to write. I knew I wanted to write a student/teacher romance at first, and had spent a lot of time obsessively reading books in that genre, but I didn’t decide to write a music book until I saw a video about Mandy Harvey, the musician I spoke about with Ehlers-Danlos, who was also deaf by the age of 18-19 years old. Then it all kind of clicked for me. I had a music teacher in high school who was a lot like Juliet, and I wanted to emulate her, because she was always so obsessed with music and the music world, and I thought that was so interesting. Plus, you know, with my family background I know a lot of music obsessive people, so it seemed to work. But it really was just something that, once I had the idea, it came to me pretty easily, surprisingly. I could see their story unfold in my head better than anything else I’ve ever written.

Reader 3  4:20 PM

I love this! Student teacher is my next favorite trope next to medical so yay! So happy you wrote this book it set the bar pretty high though! It’s right up there Reader 1’s Lakeside series!!!

Reader 1  4:21 PM

So cool – were you a musician first and discovered writing later, or have you always explored your creativity in multiple ways?

Reader 8  4:21 PM

Why the age gap – it’s a big gap

Reader 3  4:23 PM

Where did you get the idea of Miranda and Timothy?! I believe they are my favorite side characters ever! :purple_heart:

Maggie Robbins  4:27 PM

Reader 4: I think I wrote the book in a month, actually, the first draft. Then my friend Amanda took it from me and helped shape it up and fix a lot of little things. I owe her for the ending, it had a completely different ending originally.

Reader 1: I think it was around the same time, to be honest. I had a little book I wrote in elementary school that I illustrated that was published in a local journal. And I think I started playing around the same time.

Reader 8: The age gap was actually important to me, and I had a reasoning behind doing it. I wanted to show a “seasoned musician” who was a ‘know it all’ (but rightfully so) and had done this for a long time, contrasting it with a more beginning of her career musician, who everything was new to, and who still had that fiery attitude about her like she knew it all too, but had barely started. I hadn’t expected it to be an age gap and it certainly wasn’t for any other reason than the contrast I wanted to show. Juliet just felt like she needed to be at the pinnacle of her career, and I wanted to give her a reason that she could “retire” if she wanted to, when she left to go to Emma in London. If she had been younger, I don’t know if she would have done it.

Reader 2: Thank you! That was very nice of you to say. I like to say I’m an ‘experimental’ author, I always want to try weird things and different things. So, it all ends up being vastly different.

Reader 3: Miranda and Timothy were based off of the friends of ours who play for the Louisville orchestra, who are also… Miranda and Timothy! LOL. I know, real creative. They were my favorite side characters too. I thought they did a good job of keeping Juliet grounded and acted good as a moral compass for her at times.

Reader 4  4:28 PM

How old was Juliet? I don’t remember if the actual number ever came up :thinking_face:

Maggie Robbins  4:29 PM

She was in her 40s, and Emma was mid-20s, entering graduate school age.

Reader 4  4:31 PM

I don’t typically spring for age gap romance but I really liked the take on it here :sparkling_heart::sparkling_heart: Parts like Emma helping Juliet see the music in a new way when she talked about physically feeling it, I feel like the story was a lot of Juliet learning things from Emma which was really engaging and felt really important a story to tell

Maggie Robbins  4:32 PM

Exactly, and I wanted Juliet to kind of realize that, because she was so stuck in her ways and a know-it-all type when it came to music, it was refreshing for her to have a completely new perspective in that way.

Reader 4  4:33 PM

Okay but also here’s the question that’s really on my mind though, how do you think having published this book has affected you?? I know you mentioned a few times a feeling of struggle with the idea that you’d peaked with this book. Do you think that it’s, ultimately, made telling stories harder after this one?

Reader 6  4:33 PM

I didn’t like it that Emma didn’t take the dangers of Juliet’s father seriously until it hit the fan, and then she just left.

Reader 3  4:34 PM

Yeah that irked me too! I was Yelling at her! :woman-shrugging::skin-tone-2:

I know but she remembered when she needed to remember though…that’s the soul wrenching

Reader 3  4:33 PM

Yes! That’s amazing and definitely her moral compass! I loved even more since she knew Emma! Not to mention that Emma and Juliet met at such a drastic heartbreaking time in both their lives..(the wedding) It was such an amazing soul wrenching they belong together  moment to be so drawn together from neither remembering til they reached that moment in there lives! It was beautiful!! :purple_heart::purple_heart:

Reader 1  4:34 PM

Not to mention how long it took Juliet to remember… :broken_heart:

Maggie Robbins  4:37 PM

Reader 4: LOL yeah, I wasn’t prepared for people to like the book so much (although I know some people didn’t, and thats okay). But the reception kind of threw me for a loop, and yeah, it’s definitely been hard to recover from. It’s definitely getting easier, but the book and I have a love-hate relationship at times, for sure.

Reader 6: Yep, everybody got that one, Emma was definitely young and still immature in ways, and it caught up to her. She had to “grow up” a little bit more, I felt like, hence part of the reason for the time-lapse.

Reader 1/Reader 3: Interestingly enough, I didn’t anticipate having them meeting at the wedding at first, but it kind of all clicked later to have that part. It would have made sense for them both to be there, mingling in the same social circles, and yeah, they were both vulnerable in those moments and needed someone to lean on. So, I thought it worked well.

Reader 7  4:38 PM

Do you have another of your books you’d recommend to a reader who loved this one, but hasn’t (yet) read any more of your work?

Reader 4  4:39 PM

Do you feel like the reception influenced your writing style? Did you feel like you had to lean into the things that worked in this book, or conversely that you had to lean away to define yourself as not just being this book?

Reader 2  4:40 PM

Maggie,  you definitely have not “peaked” with this awesome book.  I finished “Nerd Love” a week ago and couldn’t put it down…what a fun read!

Reader 3  4:40 PM

It was beautiful Maggie! And glad it happened that way! It showed more of there souls recognizing each other. The moment Juliet played with Emma at her audtion it was solidified that they were meant to be! It was epic!

Reader 6  4:40 PM

I loved the interaction between Juliet an Emma’s father. It was sad that Juliet didn’t get to attend the funeral because of the situation.

Reader 4  4:41 PM

Yeah I should definitely say you haven’t peaked with it at all, I can’t tell you how excited I am for Homespun

Reader 3  4:41 PM

When are we getting your Astronaut book???  I’m waiting patiently for it!!

Reader 6  4:42 PM

I was also happy when Juliet adopted Kira.

Reader 4  4:42 PM

Yesssssssss I loved the dynamic with Kira so much

Reader 1  4:42 PM

I would love to know how much research went into/is going into the astronaut book 🙂

Maggie Robbins  4:43 PM

Reader 7: If I recommend another book, it’ll have to be Homespun, which will be released at the end of next month/early March I haven’t decided yet. I can say with utmost certainty, it is not quite as good as FM, but it’s my next best book.

AND, for all of you lovely people here… I do have some news. While it ISN’T a sequel, my new project I’m midway through, features most of the cast from FM. Including a surprise scene at the beginning with Emma and Juliet. :slightly_smiling_face: So, you’ll have to wait and see! And Emerson Reed, one of the characters from FM is actually the Uncle of the new MC for this project. It’s also another classical music book, that will have a soundtrack and everything, so same vein as FM, but a completely different storyline.

Reader 4: Yeah, for sure. So, I met my best friend Amanda through writing FM, because she edited it for me. By the way, if you haven’t read her stuff (Amanda Kayhart) you should, it’s fantastic. But, she definitely helped me up my skills, for sure. I try to make each book better than the last, however I can.

Reader 6: I loved Emma’s dad. Her dad is based off of my dad. And the moments with them listening to music and playing together, are moments he and I shared, and I can say I cried through writing a lot of those scenes.

Reader 3: Astronaut book is coming, it’s on the backburner for a little bit, but it’s still coming! I promise. :slightly_smiling_face:

Reader 6: Juliet and Kira were meant to be, I had it planned that way from the get go, it was another growth moment for Juliet, I think.

Reader 3  4:43 PM

Yes Kira was such a monumental point I believe specially Juliet adopting her when Emma was away! It gave her part of Emma but also showed how much she has grown and changed an would except change when Emma and Juliet would meet again.

Maggie Robbins  4:43 PM

Reader 1: re: astronaut book, haha, yes. A LOT of research, which is part of the reason it has stalled.

Reader 4  4:44 PM

Ohhhh that Amanda!! I love her to death :heart_eyes:

Maggie Robbins  4:44 PM

Yeah, I heard she beta read your new book and that it’s very cute! :slightly_smiling_face:

Reader 3  4:44 PM

Yay!! That’s exciting!

Reader 4  4:45 PM

Oh my gosh she’s so perfect :sob::sob::sparkling_heart::sparkling_heart: Now I can’t wait for that new project too though I loved Emerson :sparkling_heart::sparkling_heart:

Reader 9  4:45 PM

Don’t forget I know people. Send me questions anytime re:astronauts

Reader 10  4:45 PM

NASA just released photos of 5 women astronauts. One of which is supposed to be selected for trip to moon.

Reader 9  4:45 PM

One is a Marine

I don’t have much to add (poorly timed family drama) but as a musician with minimal classical knowledge this book made me feel smarter. 🙂

Reader 8  4:46 PM

I felt like Juliet was 41 and accomplished. Is it common in the music world for an over bearing person like her father to have that much power? She had the credibility to stand on her own, yet she gave in to her father for all those years. Also, why did she give up the violin, a gift from her beloved grandmother?

Reader 4  4:46 PM

So, while writing this book, how many times exactly did you want to slap Juliet in the face,

Maggie Robbins  4:51 PM

Reader 8: I’m not sure how common it is in music, truth be told, but with a step-mom with stories about working on staff for heads of universities in Kentucky, there’s power playing all the time at schools, especially with people that have the money to do it. So, that was kind of where my inspiration for her father came from, was the stories I heard from my step-mom. And, that ending was part of what Amanda and I worked on together. It was really hard to write, I didn’t want her to give up the violin. But, if you recall, that was a huge thing where her father and Juliet butted heads. Her father wasn’t a musician, which was part of his jealousy with Juliet because of her bond with her grandmother, but also because she got this very expensive heirloom (which, he was very obsessive with money and power). In the original ending, she didn’t give up the violin, but I wanted that character growth for her in the end, so I ended up changing it. As much as she loved the violin, it ultimately was about the music, not the object, and her love for Emma. I stand by the ending, as hard as it was for her to give up the violin.

Reader 4: LOL all. the. time.

Melissa: I’ll find a good one, give me a second.

Reader 2  4:53 PM

Giving up the violin was a master stroke of storytelling…very heartbreaking but necessary.

Maggie Robbins  4:53 PM

Yeah, it was hard for me to do that to her, but Amanda and I talked about it a lot while editing, and I completely agree. I thought it was a necessary thing in the end.

Reader 4  4:53 PM

Definitelyyyyy that ending was so amazingly powerful I loved it 🥰🥰🥰

Reader 3  4:54 PM

Yes it was the best growth for her! (edited)

Reader 4  4:54 PM

Are there any other books you would say served as inspiration for this, or no?

Maggie Robbins  4:55 PM

Like I said, I read a lot of student/teacher romance books trying to figure out what I wanted to do, but nothing specifically. I realized I wanted to do something that nobody had done before, and so… that’s what I did! lol

Reader 4  4:56 PM

Oh, of course, who needs inspirations when you’re as generally inspired in everything you do as Maggie is :woman-shrugging::skin-tone-2: idol

Okay so crossover Emma and Juliet meet the leads of another one of your books, who would they have the best time with and you are banned from saying the current WIP where they already do show up

Maggie Robbins  5:00 PM

LOL Reader 4. Oh, that’s a hard one. Hmmm. Well, in Homespun, one of the MCs is a bluegrass musician (also like my dad, who plays banjo) and I think just with their musical backgrounds, they might get along. Plus, the other MC likes to dance, and we all know Juliet likes to dance so… :shrug: That’s my best thought. I’m not sure though, that’s a really good question!

Reader 8  5:01 PM

Thanks for your comments @Maggie Robbins . It put some of the story into perspective for me. I really felt the love/attraction between your MCs when they were playing the duets. It was very powerful imagery in my mind – kind of hot, even :blush:

Reader 4  5:01 PM

I know, right? I ask the best questions :woman-shrugging::skin-tone-2: I figured it’d be Homespun haha way to get me even more excited about it

Reader 6  5:02 PM

So what did Juliet’s dad do with the violin? I’m guessing he sold it?

Reader 4  5:04 PM

keeps it around to condescend at it instead of at Juliet probs

Maggie Robbins  5:05 PM

Thanks, Reader 8! Yeah… I have that bond with my family when we play, there’s something about music that you can’t put into words. It’s just a different type of “speaking” for lack of better way to phrase it. I always feel something special when I play music with my family. I wanted to capture that with them, I think it added a different dimension to their relationship, for sure.

I thought about that a lot, honestly, Reader 6, and I’ve flip-flopped about what I wanted to do, because for a little while I thought about a sequel, but I think how I’m doing it with the new project ended up being the right way to go, with them making an appearance. I kind of hint at what happened in this project, and in order not to spoil it, I’m just going to say that he in fact, doesn’t sell it.  :slightly_smiling_face:

Reader 4  5:07 PM

That is really true about the musical harmony though, I did classical singing in college just on the side and especially with singing since the instrument is inside your own body, there’s a really powerful feeling in harmonizing. Maybe that’s why I liked Lydia because she was my vocal girl haha

Reader 7  5:08 PM

Ah I was the other side of the equation: Back home, I did a lot of vocal accompanying and choral accompanying :slightly_smiling_face:

Maggie Robbins  5:09 PM

I had someone tell me I needed to write another book with Lydia and her wife in Norway. :slightly_smiling_face: I had to at least be nice and give her a happy ending, too. I felt kind of bad for her at times, even though she was definitely a wedge between Juliet and Emma for sure.

Reader 4  5:10 PM

Yeah I loved Lydia even if she did get in the way, I was glad she got her happy ending too

Reader 9  5:10 PM

Yeah but what lesbian didn’t crush on a least one friend?

Reader 4  5:10 PM


Maggie Robbins  5:10 PM

LOL yep.

Reader 8  5:11 PM

Lydia wasn’t a wedge, she was a age appropriate women that fell in love with her friend. Later she found someone she loved enough to marry!

Reader 4  5:12 PM

I mean, I honestly thought Lydia and Emma were pretty cute together and at first I was upset Juliet was in their way so I clearly read the book wrong, but tbf I was upset at Juliet for basically just breathing in the first third of the book or so

Maggie Robbins  5:13 PM

I poorly worded that, because that’s totally correct. I just think she was also hurt and sad that her feelings weren’t reciprocated, too. I was sad for her, because yeah, most of us know how that feels to not have those feelings reciprocated. But yeah, they definitely were meant to be just friends, and I definitely wanted Lydia to get a happy ending, for sure.

Reader 7  5:14 PM

I also liked Lydia, because in so many books, it is clear almost from page 1 that there is only one couple that could ever be together, but this showed that Emma had multiple possibilities for women who could make her happy, I thought

Reader 4  5:15 PM

That is a good point!! I did like that without it feeling like a love triangle story.

Reader 9  5:15 PM

Good points

Reader 2  5:16 PM

I actually admired Lydia for remaining a good friend.

Reader 1  5:17 PM

Agreed – they both took it in stride pretty quickly and got back to sharing textbooks, when it could have gotten awkward really easily

Maggie Robbins  5:18 PM

I had always envisioned them being friends for a while, and I wanted Emma to have that person who still had her back, even if it didn’t work out for Lydia the way that she anticipated. I like that point though, Reader 7, I hadn’t thought about it that way. I definitely was trying to keep it as far from love-triangleish as possible.

Reader 7  5:19 PM

Yes, it didn’t have that feel :slightly_smiling_face:

Reader 1  5:22 PM

Anybody have any more questions for Maggie?

Reader 4  5:22 PM

:woman-raising-hand::skin-tone-2: did you know that I love you maggie

Maggie Robbins  5:22 PM

No, Reader 4. This is brand new information. 🙂 lol

Reader 4  5:22 PM

Omg :triumph:

Reader 8  5:23 PM

Thank you again, Maggie. We look forward to your next book.

Maggie Robbins  5:23 PM

Thanks for having me guys, I really enjoyed talking with you all and answering questions! I’m glad you enjoyed the book. :slightly_smiling_face:

Reader 4  5:23 PM

Which book of yours should I read next while I wait for Homespun :heart_eyes:

Reader 5  5:23 PM

I can’t wait to read another! FM was admittedly the first of yours I’ve read but I’m 100% going to read more! :heart:

Reader 9  5:24 PM

Do you have more planned for audio?

Maggie Robbins  5:25 PM

Reader 4: Depends on what you’re in the mood for, my nerdy-geeky fun book is Nerd Love, Stay is for you if you like animals, and I loved Wildsky, it’s kind of in the same vein as what Homespun is going to be, a second chance/small-town romance.

Reader 9: I’m going to try and get all my books in audio, for sure! I like getting as many formats out there as possible. Most of my books have audio versions at the moment, at least my novels do. I’m planning to do it with all of them! :slightly_smiling_face:

Okay, guys! I’m going to head out, Sundays are my fun adulting days with laundry and food prep and all that fun. :slightly_smiling_face: So, you guys all have a great evening. Thank you again for inviting me to chat, it was a lot of fun!