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!

Lesfic Book Club: Christmas on Emerald Mountain

For our December meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed my novel, Christmas on Emerald Mountain. 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

It’s it’s its… book club time!

Reader 1 4:00 PM

squealing begins

Cara Malone 4:01 PM

So I wanted to start off with a giveaway – I did a little cover design overhaul for this season and I just got the new paperback in the mail. It’s really purdy and I want to send a signed copy to somebody.

Reader 2 4:02 PM

Yay! I love the new cover!!

Reader 3 4:02 PM


Cara Malone 4:02 PM

If you want that somebody to be you, DM me with your favorite holiday lesfic book or favorite holiday movie. I’ll pick the winner at random this time tomorrow

Reader 4 4:00 PM

Will this book ever have a sequel?

Cara Malone 4:03 PM

I think I’d be more likely to go back to Emerald Mountain with a different couple and have a cameo with Joy and Carmen, rather than do an actual sequel.

Reader 3 4:03 PM

you can send all your prior characters there

or we can vote to send our favorites there. A Cara reunion

Cara Malone 4:04 PM

Ooh, I love that idea. I didn’t do an anthology this year because my bout of depression kinda crushed my autumn plans but this would be a really cool way to do it for 2020.

Reader 3 4:05 PM

Honestly, I just want to go to Emerald Mountain. I live in Colorado and it still sounded idyllic

Cara Malone 4:07 PM

I based it on my own skiing and winter experiences around Ohio, plus some online research into a defunct ski resort out there. Glad it resonated with a Coloradan!

Sequels featuring the same couple are really difficult to get right and the Rulebook series damn near killed me

Reader 5 4:04 PM

OMG, the Rulebook series was amazing! (Sorry, off on a tangent…)

Reader 1 4:06 PM

I mean I feel like there’s a lot that still can be done with Joy and Carmen but also I would physically die of squealing if you did release a sequel featuring them so that’s probably the best idea

Cara Malone 4:08 PM

I agree, I would love to know what happens on their road trip, same as I’m curious about what Raven and Kit are up to from Trail Magic. Writing an actual road trip adventure book is on my bucket list so maybe down the line both couples make cameos in a road trip story.

Reader 1 4:08 PM

Also definitely seconding the part about how I would love to go there especially if it involves a cute girl smashing my shins to oblivion

Cara Malone 4:10 PM

That scene was based on real life. Unfortunately, in my case, I got whiplash and the snowboarder was a jerk who just kept going!

Reader 3 4:06 PM

One thing I really liked about this book is how each day strategically brought them closer while also making the trip better for the family. It made the timeline believable

Reader 1 4:07 PM

Oh definitelyyyyy it really nailed the whirlwind romance aspect like that, with each day feeling so meaningful

Reader 6 4:07 PM

It was also funny for me, as I got closer to the end of the week and I’m wondering “How is Cara going to give us the ending we want?” And then she did

Cara Malone 4:09 PM

Believe me, I was thinking the same thing :joy: This was one of the first books I ever wrote largely by dictation so the process was different than my previous ones, more improvised.

Reader 1 4:10 PM

You did it via dictation?? Heck you’re even more amazing than I thought and that was already a very high bar

Cara Malone 4:12 PM

I did probably 50% of the first draft by dictation – I was learning how, so it took a while to get the rhythm. And if memory serves, this book took two complete tear down and rewrites until I was happy with it… most of my dictation books do, ugh haha

Reader 1 4:17 PM

That’s gutsy :joy::joy: I’m too weak to even admit to the kind of books I write in the first place so

Cara Malone 4:15 PM

Haha yeah you definitely need proper dictating atmosphere. I like to write my scene on an index card then go for a walk at the park. I used to stop when I saw people coming but I’ve run out of fucks to give on that subject

Reader 1 4:09 PM

The ending was absolutely a wild ride :sob: the part with Joy just dropping out of contact broke my heart like eight distinct times

Reader 4 4:13 PM

Am I right in thinking it was the snow globe that convinced Carmen to stay? I’m guessing she realized the significance of it being something of importance to Joy and that it showed that the relationship wasn’t just a fling to Joy.

Cara Malone 4:23 PM

Yep :blush: It started out with Carmen simply determined to give it back to Joy because it was precious to both of them, but the longer it took her to accomplish that goal, the more time she had to think about what her life without Joy would be like

Reader 3 4:13 PM

So where did the idea come from for this book?

Cara Malone 4:24 PM

I knew I wanted to write a Christmas romance, and honestly it started as a take on A Christmas Carol/Scrooge just because I was writing it in the middle of summer and was having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit. I knew I wanted to create a very Hallmark-y, festive ski town from my own skiing experiences, and the characters grew from there.

Reader 7 4:18 PM

Which part of this book was most difficult for you to work through?

Cara Malone 4:25 PM

Which part of this book was most difficult for you to work through?

It was surprisingly difficult to make sure it was packed to the gills with holiday vibes when I was writing it in August. I kept sending it to my editor and she kept sending it back like, “MORE CHRISTMAS!”

Reader 5 4:26 PM

I can just imagine your editor throwing the book at you and screaming haha

Reader 2 4:26 PM

That’s funny! It’s like Christmas is July but in August haha

Reader 1 4:27 PM

Honestly never would have imagined it was written in August so I think your editor did her job

Cara Malone 4:29 PM

She definitely had a big role in making this book – I don’t think it would have been as successful as it was if she wasn’t willing to keep pushing back at me and critiquing. She’s a godsend.

Reader 2 4:22 PM

What’s your favorite part of writing Lesfic?

Cara Malone 4:28 PM

My favorite part of lesfic is the community – I don’t know of any other genre that has as much reader-author interaction and I’ve made so many friends I can’t even believe it. My favorite part of actually writing lesfic is getting inside the characters’ heads, trying to figure out how to bring them together in a way that’s going to be meaningful beyond just the romance itself.

Reader 2 4:28 PM

If you could have Joy and Carmen meet one other couple, who would you choose? There’s SO many good couples you have…

Cara Malone 4:31 PM

I think it would be fun to do a Christmas cross-over with Serenity and Liv, and if not them, then I’m sticking with my original answer of having them go on a leg of a road trip with Raven and Kit.

Reader 6 4:31 PM

Yes, every character feels like a real person, with a life before and after the book!

Reader 8 4:33 PM

This may have already been asked, but what is your favorite holiday f/f story, written by another author?

Cara Malone 4:37 PM

I really wish I had time these days to be better-read so I could have more answers to this 🙂 I love anything AE Radley does and A Christmas Swedish Fairy Tale is awesome, and we read Miranda McLeod’s Holme for the Holidays for last year’s Christmas book club pick, which was hilarious and adorable.

Reader 1 4:33 PM

So the book is two years old, isn’t it? Do you feel like the age shows for you or that the way you write lesfic has changed since then, or do you think it’s still true to you as an author now?

Cara Malone 4:39 PM

Before I started publishing as Cara, I’d only ever written one full-length novel before, so I had no idea what to expect as far as how my writing would evolve. I think Emerald Mountain shows more of my literary fiction background than my more current books, which are more specifically romance genre. I’d say it’s still true to me but I like to think my writing style and mechanics have improved since then

Reader 1 4:41 PM

Did not even know you had a literary past before publishing as Cara!! I feel like I’m uncovering the Cara Malone Deep Lore

Cara Malone 4:42 PM

Well, I should qualify that by saying my original goal was to write haughty literary fiction and get published by a Big 5 publisher. Except my stuff back then was really weird and Random House was never gonna be interested

Reader 4 4:45 PM

Cara also writes sci-fi under the Mae Orwell pen name. Watchers. Fighters. Destroyers. I still need to read those 3. I am so far behind on my reading.

Reader 2 4:47 PM

They are amazing!!!! I still need to read the finished books I’ve only read the drafts so far on Wattpad

Reader 3 4:47 PM

Just out of curiosity, did you ever add up the cost of this lovely family vacation? Lol

Cara Malone 4:48 PM

Nope but that’s a fun idea… like when CinemaSins added up the damage in Christmas Vacation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSfBtRfYGTQ&feature=emb_title

Reader 4 4:49 PM

Oh, there’s my weird question for the day! :open_mouth: Is there a possibility in the future we can get a sci-fi lesfic romance Christmas is space book any time in the future?

Cara Malone 4:51 PM

Haha love it 🙂 I’m going to say definitely not as Cara because it would confuse the hell out of everybody who’s used to me writing contemporary romance, but I do think it could be an entertaining project for Mae. Sounds right up my alley as far as weird/absurdist stories go!

Aaand now you guys got me wanting to start writing for Mae again because I was going to let that pen name lie for a while, but it’s fun to get out of romance now and then.

Reader 1 4:52 PM

I feel like there’s a weirdly large amount of lesbian sci-fi (not that that’s something I’d ever ever complain about) so like honestly go for it

Okay but the real question I want to know is what did Carmen and Joy do next after the book ended like that’s the one we all want to know right

Cara Malone 4:55 PM

Oh no. Is this a real question I have to answer?

Reader 5 4:57 PM

Oooh, that’s an interesting question actually… If you continue a story in your head, is it really finished though??

Reader 3 4:55 PM

Ok, beyond the immediate enjoyment of the massive cabin…

have you thought what happened?

Cara Malone 4:56 PM

I would be fascinated to know among other authors, what percentage of them actually carry on the story in their heads after they type ‘the end’ and what percent don’t.

Reader 3 4:56 PM

And whether it’s book dependent

I know it is for me

Reader 6 4:56 PM

I was going to say that “As an author, I prefer to let my work speak for itself” was the obvious non-answer, but I figure I shouldn’t tell you how not to answer a question I want to know the answer to

Reader 1 4:57 PM

The first romance I wrote I cried when it ended because I didn’t want it to be over yet so I think it’s pretty clear at least I keep thinking long after what they do

Cara Malone 4:58 PM

I definitely feel this way about my series when I decide to end them, but it’s usually about losing the opportunity to keep exploring those characters/that setting rather than the actual place where I leave my characters.

Guilty @Reader 6 – I never know when to stop! When you’re writing a romance, it’s so hard to tell if “I want more” means “you stopped too soon” or “I really loved it and I will always want more no matter where you stop”

Reader 1 4:58 PM

But for real I was like “Carmen just go stay in Joy’s apartment already, she has a second bed open but I know you won’t need it anyway”

Reader 3 4:58 PM

well… both?

Cara Malone 4:59 PM

I think I’m going to opt not to answer the question for the time being. We’ll all find out together if/when I cameo Joy and Carmen in another story in the future

Reader 3 5:06 PM

What’s next after lakeside #5?

Cara Malone 5:07 PM

I’ll probably write a standalone – maybe that road trip story because I almost wrote a road trip adventure instead of Good Vibes – and then I’m going back to Fox County for another book in the forensics series.

Reader 1 5:15 PM

Do you have more Christmas romances in you, or does it just depend on what kind of inspirations hit you?

Cara Malone 5:15 PM

Oh definitely – I’ve been meaning to do another one for the last couple of years but it’s just a matter of timing

I probably would have written another one this year if I didn’t do the ShudderCon collaboration, but that took up my summer writing slot

Reader 4 5:16 PM

What about other holidays? Like Halloween? Perhaps in a murder mystery?

Reader 1 5:17 PM

Halloween romance doesn’t sound half-bad you know how the gays love Halloween

Cara Malone 5:17 PM

Yeah, Halloween is on my list, and Valentine’s Day is an obvious one for a romance author.

Reader 9 5:17 PM

Im sensing a holiday series.

Cara Malone 5:17 PM

The only thing that’s stopped me from writing a Halloween romance thus far is that I haven’t quite gotten inspired as to how to blend contemporary romance and horror – it is possible, but I need to figure it out

Reader 1 5:18 PM

A horror romance sounds… I mean, I’d read it

Reader 5 5:18 PM

Maybe two people are dressed up for Halloween and they don’t actually see each others face, then maybe two people meet under normal circumstances or something, and it turns out it was those two people who met at Halloween and didn’t know it, lol.

Lesfic Book Club: Just Jorie

For our November meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Robin Alexander’s novel, Just Jorie. 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.

Robin Alexander

I’m here…I think. LOL!

Reader 1


Reader 2

Woo hoo, welcome!

Reader 3


Reader 4


Robin Alexander

Hi Reader 1!

Reader 2

Thanks for joining us, Robin!

Robin Alexander

Thank you all for the warm welcome!

Reader 2

When people start asking questions, you can either reply in the chat like you’re doing now, or if you prefer, you can thread your answers by hovering over the person’s question and clicking the ‘Start a Thread’ button – either way is good!

Reader 5

Hey hey Robin!!! You’re like my 2nd favorite author behind our lovely Reader 2!

Robin Alexander

Thank you Reader 2. I’ll stay in the main chat. I’m afraid I may wander off by accident if I hit too many buttons.

Reader 1

Ok then… Robin are you as funny in real life as you are in your books?

Robin Alexander

Aw! Thank you Reader 5. Huge compliment.

Reader 5

You are welcome!

Robin Alexander

Reader 1chillia, I’m told I’m funny in real life. I think that’s mainly because I’m goofy and will invariably say or do something stupid. Much like my characters. LOL

May I call you Reader 1? I’m murdering the spelling of your name.

Reader 6

lol if you use @ and then star typing the name you’ll get options

Reader 1

You can call me Reader 1 x Who are your characters based on, particularly Colleen?

Robin Alexander

Ah Ha! Thank you Reader 6!

Reader 1

Think I just murdered the character’s name

Reader 5

Which book was your favorite to write??

Robin Alexander

@Reader 1 She was based on my grandmother’s best friend. She’d say just about anything and was hilarious.

Reader 4

I loved Grams and Coleen SO much!

Reader 2

They definitely stole the show at times!

Reader 1

Past tense? Does that mean we’ll never meet the real person behind the inspiration?

Robin Alexander

Reader 5, I think The Summer of our Discontent was probably my favorite.

Thank you READER 4!

Reader 5

I haven’t read that one yet it’s not on my list though

Reader 2

What made it your favorite to write?


Oh shit I forgot about book club

Sorry I was watching Dwayne Johnson

Robin Alexander

Sadly, Reader 1, I had lost Gram and Coleen aka Augie before I wrote Just Jorie. I was missing them, so I brought them back as characters.

Reader 2

Beautiful way to memorialize them

Reader 1

I got to the last third of the book and you’d set it up for some right good angst and drama….. but the issues resolved without any. I thought it was refreshing. Do you like / hate writing angst

Robin Alexander

Summer/Discontent came to me so easily. Mentally, I was at the camp with those characters.

Reader 6

I’m sure they enjoyed seeing themselves that way and are very proud of you from up above

Robin Alexander

Thank you Reader 6 and Reader 2!


Was there any specific inspiration for Just Jorie or did it just come to you?

Reader 3

So… given how Just Jorie started, do you have personal experience with travel not going to plan? Any personal experience that sparked their road trip to get home?

Robin Alexander

Reader 1, I can’t write angst to save my life. LOL I have no talent for it. Plus, I like to laugh and make others do the same.

Reader 2

It is sooooo hard to kill or otherwise torture your darlings!

Robin Alexander

Reader 3, YES! LOL! I have been stranded in so many airports and have considered renting a car and driving home. The worst was leaving Orlando in shorts and getting stuck in Nashville where it was freezing.

Reader 2, exactly!

Reader 1

I admit I prefer humor but have found I quite like writing arguments don’t I @Reader 6

Robin Alexander

In my earlier books, I tried angst, but it didn’t work for me.

Reader 6

Yes you are. I’m also crap at writing angst. It takes a ton of work

Reader 3

As somebody who grew up in Canada and now lives further south, I definitely can empathize with weather that’s too cold!

Robin Alexander

Reader 1, arguments can be great fodder for funny.


I’m uncomfortably good at torturing my characters. I wish I was as good as Robin at writing happy and loving books

Robin Alexander

I hear you Reader 6.

Reader 2

When Jorie and Lena met in the airport and wound up going to the hotel together I was like OMG IT’S A LESFIC PLANES TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES. And now I must know, was that intentional? Because I was totally there for it


It was so refreshing to have the minor conflicts dealt with quickly and easily

Robin Alexander

Reader 3, I can’t do cold either. If the temps drop below 70 I’m freezing.

Reader 3

Arguments can be great fodder for funny – like Grams and Coleen

Robin Alexander


LOL No, Reader 2, it wasn’t intentional, but you’re right. I’d forgotten about that movie.

Reader 1

It was actually really good because it was a twist to the norm. You expected it, you readied for it and it didn’t come.

Robin Alexander

Reader 1, I built suspense and didn’t know it. LOL!


Was there a specific moment that sparked this story or did it just come to you?

Reader 1

You’re a genius in disguise! So good a disguise you don’t recognize it yourself

Reader 5

What made you write Scaredy Cat?? I absolutely loved that one!

Robin Alexander

It just came to me. At that time, I was taking a lot of road trips and they gave me all sorts of ideas.

LOL Reader 1! I like that.

Reader 1

Which out of any of your characters would you like to be married to and who would you kill?


Why is it I wanted to ask that same question @Reader 1? It’s because we write angst and arguments.

Reader 6

Does that question also imply, is your wife a character?

Robin Alexander

Oh Scaredy Cat. I love scary movies, and the chance to kind of merge spooky and humor was too tempting.

Reader 5

Nice! It was definitely one of my favorite

Reader 6


(or am i confused)

Reader 1

Well it could imply it

But it wasn’t intended


Would you ever pull a jorie and agree to share a rental and hotel with someone?

Robin Alexander

Reader 1, that’s a tough one. I don’t think I could kill any of them. I’d probably want to marry Adrienne from the Gloria series. She dealt with Hayden so well, and alas, I am Hayden Tate.

Reader 1

Does that make your partner Adrienne then?

Reader 6

Do you have more books planned for audio?

Robin Alexander

READER 7. Oh no. I couldn’t do that. LOL I’ve watched too many horror movies. I’d probably spend the entire night with my hand on a lamp in case the stranger came at me with a spork or something.

Reader 6

I loved the Fall as well

Reader 5

Hahaha nice

Robin Alexander

Reader 1 and Reader 6, I think this will answer both of your questions about my wife status. I’m not married and currently single. My future wife will undoubtedly end up in my writing. LOL

Reader 4

She might be carrying your can of peas!

Reader 1

Do you write full time? Or do you have a day job too?


It’ll be a fan you meet at a con and you’ll write an entire book about it

Robin Alexander

Reader 6, I hope to get all of my books into audio. Temporary Girl is in the works now.

Reader 6

Maybe you’re like Jorie and you just need to write her first

Robin Alexander

LOL READER 4, I hope so. She’d be easy to spot,

Reader 1

Put a pic in your profile, this is a good place to flirt

Reader 2

Gotta spend more time in the canned goods aisle then

Robin Alexander

I write full time.

LOL Reader 1!

Reader 1

Ha ha

Robin Alexander

Right?! Reader 2. That would be better than the bakery for sure.

I love sweets.

Reader 1

Dogs or cats

Coffee or tea

Chocolate or savoury

Blondes or brunettes

(or red heads and I suppose I should throw in bald nowadays)

Robin Alexander

If I miss any questions, please bring them back around.

Reader 2

I don’t know, I’m pretty sure the bakery is an excellent place to pick people up

Reader 5

I’m single just saying since my precious Reader 2 is married


Yes I agree with Reader 1 this is a place full of flirts lol

Robin Alexander

Cats, Coffee, Chocolate, Brunettes…Blonde…Red…okay all.

Reader 5

I fit this criteria I also have a precious daughter shes 3

Reader 3

Ssh, READER 7! I don’t want my wife to cut me off!

Reader 1

You forgot bald?‍

Robin Alexander

OK you’re not helping Reader 2. You’ve given me permission to hang out in the bakery.

oh and bald. LOL!

Reader 2

I can’t apologize for this!

Reader 6

Ok, other basics. Plotter or pantser?

Robin Alexander

Reader 6, first, tell me what those things are. LMAO!

Reader 4

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that didn’t know what they were until recently, lol.

Reader 6


How do you write? A strict outline or just let it fly

Robin Alexander

Cool Reader 5! I have a daughter too, she’s 22.

Reader 5


Reader 1

Ok, the one I want to dodge question. Who’s books have you read by authors on here

Reader 5

What gave you the idea for Rusty Logic?

Robin Alexander

LOL thank you READER 4. Reader 6, I let it fly. My brain is too unruly for that kind of organization.

Reader 6

So you’re a pantser!

Write by the seat of your pants

the nicer term is discovery writer, but not many people use that

Reader 1

We’re pantsers then Reader 6 yes?

Robin Alexander

Reader 1, I’m ashamed and saddened to say I haven’t read a book in years. Between writing and my family who have elected me as the go to girl for all issues, I never get that kinda of time.

Reader 1

Or panthers if my autocorrect has its way

Reader 2

GASP! So what do you like to do to unwind? I hope you get time to unwind!

Reader 6

Pantsers who create a few plot points to aim for

Robin Alexander

Yay! I’m a pantser. I like that term. I’m also a member of House Stark, and Ravenclaw

Reader 6


Reader 3

I thought I liked you!

Reader 1

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? And who would you choose to live there with you apart from family friends etc

Robin Alexander

Reader 2, my unwinding time is usually yard work. When I’m mowing grass, no one can call or text me and my mind just wanders. This is why sometimes I cut my neighbor’s grass. LOL Plus, I have the coolest mower ever!

Reader 2

Nice! I do find weed pulling to be oddly satisfying so I’m with you on that

Robin Alexander

Reader 1. Cat Island. I’d pick Johnny Depp because I’m sure he kept a lot of his pirate wardrobe and I want it.

Reader 4

I love Cap’n Jack!

Robin Alexander

It really is, Reader 2. Do you listen to music when you’re outside working too?

Reader 2

Yeah, either music or podcasts

What kind of music do you like?

Reader 1

Cat Island? Is that an island where there’s lots of cats? I’ve not heard of it. Johnny would be excellent company

Robin Alexander

My music library is crazy. One minute I’m listening to show tunes, Wicked is my fave, then the next, Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails.

Reader 2

NIN is always welcome on my playlists too

Reader 1

How many characters are based on or loosely based on people you know?

Robin Alexander

Reader 1, There are some feline friends on Cat Island in the Bahamas. I LOVE the water and the beach, so that island is my happy place.

Reader 1

Sounds lovely

Reader 5

Would you ever co-write a book with another author? If so which author would you want to co-write with?


Do you listen to music when you’re writing?

Robin Alexander

All of my characters are based on people I know. My sister, Elaina is in a lot of my books. That child and her family are fodder for funny.

Reader 6

We thank them all for entertaining us indirectly.

Robin Alexander

Reader 5, I don’t know if I could co-author a book. When I write, the story unfolds as I write it, so I don’t know if the other author could resist killing me. LOL


Or the other author killing your main character lol

Reader 1

Do you write for set hours each day or do you skive off to watch tv here and there?

Robin Alexander

READER 7, sometimes, I do listen to music and sometimes the TV is on. I’m really weird because distraction seems to help my flow.


Reader 1

@Reader 6 do you ever feel like murdering me?

Reader 6

hahahaha no.

Reader 2

^ as if she’d admit it here in public

Robin Alexander

Reader 1, I think I may be part bat because my brain comes alive late at night.

Reader 6

But we aren’t in edits yet… you might kill me then.

Reader 1

That’s a certainty

Reader 6

Do you have the next books planned out already @Robin Alexander?

Robin Alexander

LOL! y’all are hilarious.

Reader 6

so… no?

Reader 1

@Reader 6 Then your name may or may not mysteriously vanish from the authors list

Reader 6

hahahahaha (saves a backup of the story every day…)

Robin Alexander

I’m working on one now, and it’s all over the place. I’ve decided just to roll with all of the parts I’m working with and ‘murder’ the ones that don’t work.

Reader 1

Ooh I’m starting to live that word murder

Reader 2

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

Or your favorite part of the story to write?

Robin Alexander

Reader 1, of course, we mean it in the most loving way. LOL!

Reader 2, When I open up a blank page and my imagination takes off.

Reader 2

Ooh, good answer! That’s a great feeling.

Robin Alexander

It really is

Reader 1

My favourite part is ….. The End

Robin Alexander

I love all parts of writing…except for editing. LOL!

LMAO! Reader 1

Reader 5

I’m hoping once I get my laptop I will be able to get back to my story i have like 3 on my head as well

Reader 1

Editors are rumoured to be one step removed from the devil

Reader 5

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Robin Alexander

I make a million mistakes when I’m writing because I’m watching the story play in my head like a movie.


Murder is apparently my favorite

Oh my stories do that too! Movie playing in my head I mean

Robin Alexander

Reader 5. The endings. I’m never happy with any of the endings I’ve written.

Reader 5

Yeah I can see that…I always want more! Like Just Jorie I wanted more along with Rusty Logic and The Last of the Reader 1dens

Reader 1

Do you carry a note book and write down funny things you hear or have you the book 1001 jokes sat by your computer?

Robin Alexander

Reader 1. I love my editors. Those precious women put up with a lot out of me. I have a comma problem. I want to put them everywhere they don’t belong.

Reader 1

I do love me some commas

Reader 6

I was literally having a comma conversation on fb at the start of this chat


Reader 1

Or should that be.. I do, love me, some, commas?

Reader 6

and I do love deleting your extra commas lol

(I do it to myself constantly too)

Reader 1

You remove (chin wobble) my commas?

Robin Alexander

Reader 1, I will write things on scrap paper, my hand and in the notes on my phone. That usually happens when I’m talking to my sister, or my daughter walks through the room. She often looks at me and says, “You’re so weird. I love you.” Then I tell her the apple didn’t fall far from the wacky tree.

Reader 6


wacky parents are the best

Robin Alexander

LOL @ Reader 1 and Reader 6.

Reader 2

We’re a little bit past the hour, don’t want to take up too much of Robin’s evening – anybody have any last minute questions you’re dying to ask? 

Reader 1

Does your editor let you keep your commas?

I could chat to you all night @Robin Alexander you’re fab. Thank you

Reader 6

I’m looking forward to the next audiobook

Robin Alexander

Reader 1. Oh Hell no. LMAO! Half of my commas are deleted or put somewhere else.

Thank you Reader 5!

Reader 5

Where’d you get the idea for Last of the Reader 1dens?

Reader 1

The home for elderly and retired commas

Robin Alexander

Reader 5. I passed an old house that looked creepy and I wanted to write a story about it. My second attempt to combine the spooky and the funny.

Reader 6


Reader 5

Very nice!

Robin Alexander

I want to thank all of you for making me feel at home here…

Reader 6

Thanks for stopping by

Reader 2

And we thank you for chatting with us!

Reader 1

Thank you Robin

Reader 4

Can’t believe time is up already, lol. This is my first book club and I really enjoyed it!

Reader 5

Your welcome to drop in anytime

Robin Alexander

Big thanks to Reader 2 for inviting me. It was an honor! Y’all are a great group, and I hope I get the luxury of time, so I can read your books.

Reader 2

I hope so too – books are soul food and I very much enjoyed Just Jorie

Robin Alexander

Now, I must go because I was just informed my house will be used for some sort of family meeting.

Thank you so much Reader 2!

Reader 6

good luck with the family

Reader 1


Reader 2

Thank you, have a good night!

Robin Alexander

Thank you Reader 6. I’m gonna need it because I made chilli today…I’ll bow out before I make jokes about them eating it and killing me and my cats.

Reader 8

Have a wonderful night!!! Thank you!

Robin Alexander

Big love to you all!

Reader 5

Bye Robin! Have a good Night!

Reader 2

That was a perfect Grams/Coleen thought to end on

Robin Alexander

LMAO! Reader 2!

Sneak Peek: Cider & Chill

He wants to explore my pumpkin patch…

Cider & Chill is a steamy romantic comedy novella and book two in the Holiday Valley series of standalone holiday romances. If you love a cozy small town atmosphere, hot apple cider and sizzling chemistry, you’ll love this story – available now on Amazon.

Read the first chapter below.

As busy as the cider stand is today, you’d think apples were going out of style.

It’s November first and my family’s seasonal business – a pumpkin patch and cider stand duo – usually starts to wind down after Halloween. We do a good gourd business in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, but as the air turns colder and the leaves begin to blanket the ground, people stop buying pumpkins in favor of more wintery fare.

That’s what happens most years, anyway. This year, it seems like the influx of tourists who have been coming to Holiday Valley in droves lately are determined to buy every last pumpkin in the patch.

That’s perfectly fine with me – the more profitable I can make my little piece of the Morton family’s seasonal business empire, the easier it will be to convince my parents that I’ve got what it takes to run the whole thing when they retire next year.

Right now, I’m not doing a particularly admirable job. I’m whipping up hot apple ciders as fast as I can, but there’s a line of at least two dozen people forming in front of the cider stand, and on the other side of the gravel parking lot, I can see another six or seven people lugging huge pumpkins over to the unattended check-out register at the edge of the pumpkin patch.

Today was a hell of a day to be shorthanded, but my only ‘employee’ is my sixteen-year-old cousin, Jenny, whose high school soccer games take priority over working for me on a volunteer basis. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

“Here you go,” I say as I pass a hot apple cider across the counter to a waiting customer. “Enjoy!”

My next customer steps up and flips a strand of dark hair out of his eyes, giving me a slightly crooked smile. He’s tall, dressed in an expensive-looking jacket, and his rich brown eyes have a certain brooding quality about them that make me momentarily forget my line.

I’ve said it at least ten thousand times since I started working the cider stand in high school, and yet, the words elude me. Hi, what can I get for you? I’m not normally this flustered – especially not on the job – and when that little half-smile deepens into a smirk, I blame my muteness on the stress of the day.

It’s too much trying to manage two lines of customers with no help, and I’m clearly cracking up.

“Hi,” I finally manage, shaking the cobwebs off my brain. “How can I get you?”

Oh God. I see this handsome customer’s canines as he grins at me and I consider just melting right into the plywood floor of the cider stand. How can I help you had melded with what can I get for you and become something that just might be my downfall.

I grab a cup from the stack to my left and start preparing an apple cider before he can even place his order – it’s either that or die of embarrassment. “Hot apple cider?”

“Sounds great,” he says. He’s studying me carefully as I fill the cup from the big carafe on the counter.

Definitely a tourist – Holiday Valley is home to about 5,000 year-round residents and in my 25 years, I’ve come to think of most of them as my extended family. I can tell by the designer jacket that he’s no townie – I’m pretty sure that plaid lining is Burberry. What is that, a thousand-dollar coat? Damn.

“Whipped cream?” I ask.

“Please,” he answers. He’s got a neatly trimmed beard and when I bend down to retrieve the whipped cream from the mini-fridge below the counter, I catch a whiff of his aftershave – spicy and warm. Yummy.

While I carefully swirl whipped cream on top of his cider, I ask, “Are you on vacation?”

I make small talk with all of my customers. A lot of people think it’s a schtick – a gimmick to make the tourists feel welcome – but the truth is that I’m a little bit nosy. I’ve spent most of my life in this town and living vicariously through the tourists that come through here is the next-best thing to seeing the world for myself.

Plus, it really does help the business. People love talking about themselves and they’re usually more than happy to tell me where they’re from and what their lives back home are like. Apparently, working a cider stand is a family-friendly version of being a bartender. If you open up the lines of communication, people confide in you.

That’s why I’m not expecting the snort that Mr. Burberry gives me. “Vacation? Not exactly.”

I cock my head to the side. “Are you here to stay then?”

Be still, my heart.

“God, no,” he says. “I’m hoping to leave as soon as possible.”

Now I’m a little taken aback. I may have a slight case of travel envy, but I love this kitschy little town with all my heart.

“Are you not enjoying your stay in Holiday Valley?” I ask as I put the cup down on the counter and slide it across to him. I give it a little too much English and sticky, hot cider sloshes over the rim, hitting the counter and splashing in his direction.

He jumps back but it’s too late to avoid the spatter.

“Oh, shit,” I say. I look at him with horror – have I just made a powerful Yelp enemy? “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay,” he says, grabbing a napkin from the dispenser on the counter.

“Here,” I say, taking another one and wetting it with a water bottle behind the counter. “Let me.”

I rush around the end of the cider stand and start blotting his jacket with the damp napkin while he protests that it’s not a big deal. Finally, he takes me by the hands to still my frantic cleaning attempts and I look up into his eyes.

His aftershave is even more potent now, when I’m just inches from him. I spend all day in a pumpkin patch where fallen leaves mix with sticky, fresh cider. It’s one of my favorite smells in the world – the scent of autumn – but the way his spicy aftershave mixes with the natural earthiness of his skin is quickly moving into the top of my mental charts.

My core grows warm as he looks me in the eyes and says, “Really, it’s fine.”

“Okay,” I breathe.

And then suddenly my mother materializes out of thin air and puts a hand on each of our shoulders. “Hannah!” she exclaims, “Are you spilling things on our customers?” Before I have a chance to answer, she adds, “You know the pumpkin patch line is getting out of control, right?”

I look across the parking lot, where the line has ballooned to about ten unhappy-looking people. Shit.

“Mom,” I say, giving Mr. Burberry an apologetic smile, then going back into the cider stand. “What are you doing here?”

“Your dad and I are on our way to the farmer’s market to pick up some fresh baked bread for dinner tonight,” she says. “We figured we’d make a pit stop and see how you’re doing. Busy today, huh?”

“Yeah,” I say, gritting my teeth slightly. Of course they couldn’t drop in on me on any other day – like when Jenny was here to help, or a day that wasn’t so unexpectedly swamped with customers. Mr. Burberry tries to hand me cash for the cider but I wave him off. “Free of charge. Sorry for the mess.”

My mom comes into the cider stand and squeezes into the small space behind the counter, jostling me and keeping me from getting lost in those brooding eyes again.

“It’s really not a big deal,” he insists. “I assume Holiday Valley has a dry cleaner?”

“Yes, of course,” I say. I’m about to offer to pick up the bill for that when my mom crouches down in front of me and I nearly lose my footing. I ask her, “What on earth are you doing?”

“I know it’s around here somewhere,” she mutters, mostly to herself.

I look at the line growing in front of me and the line at the pumpkin patch, then at my mother rummaging around in the storage space beneath the counter. And I look at the tall, dark and handsome man who smells like warm spices and apple cider. He’s smiling that slightly crooked smile, amused at the color rising into my cheeks along with my frustration.

I roll my eyes and snatch the five-dollar bill out of his hand, saying, “I hope you enjoy your time in Holiday Valley.”

“Maybe I will after all,” he says, and gives me a quick wink.

My belly floods with warmth again, but then he’s stepping aside and an impatient family of four steps up to the counter wanting the works – whipped cream, caramel drizzle, chocolate shavings, sprinkles. Load ‘em up!

I’m halfway through making the order, trying to work fast so I can whittle down the line, when my mom says, “A-ha!” and pops up, almost tipping an entire cup of piping hot cider onto herself.

“What are you looking for?” I ask, exasperated. I hear a little chuckle and look up – Mr. Burberry is standing a few feet away from the stand, sipping his cider and enjoying the spectacle. I shake my head at him, but I can’t help being at least a little amused – this must look like a Three Stooges skit to him.

Well, two Stooges, anyway.

“This!” my mom says, holding up the red and white Help Wanted sign that I’d taken the liberty of shoving beneath the counter two weeks ago. “I told you that you needed help. Your poor dad’s ringing people out on his day off.”

I look over at the pumpkin patch line and see that she’s right – at least he’s got the line moving, though. I slide the fully-loaded ciders across the counter to a pair of kids who will probably be bouncing off the walls for hours from all that sugar, and take a twenty from their dad. Then I tell my mom, “I’ve got Jenny.”

“She’s at her soccer game,” my mom points out. “We talked about this – you need real, paid help. Look at these lines, Hannah – business is booming and you can afford an assistant.”

I grumble as I take the next person’s order. My mom is right – I can afford it financially, but the last thing I want is an assistant. The last person I hired didn’t exactly work out and I’m not eager to go down that road again.

Besides, if I can’t even run a simple pick-your-own pumpkin patch and a little cider stand on my own, how will I prove I’m capable of running the whole Morton family empire? Besides the pumpkin patch, we’ve got a Christmas tree farm that’ll open up for business in a couple of weeks, a floral shop that does a mean Valentine’s and wedding season business, and a strawberry field that’s very popular in the summer.

I want to claim my birthright when my parents retire, but I’ve got a history of messing things up. If they don’t think I can handle it, they’re going to sell the whole company and let a stranger run it. I can think of nothing worse.

“I’ll think about it,” I tell my mom.

“What’s to think about?” she asks. “Just hire someone. Now, do you have some tape around here somewhere?”

She’s looking for a way to stick the sign to the front of the cider stand when Mr. Burberry steps forward and surprises us both.

“No need,” he says. He holds his hand out to me across the counter and gives me another one of those core-melting half-smiles as he says, “My name is Roman Laurentis and I’d love to make cider with you.”

My mouth drops open for the second time this afternoon.

Keep reading on Amazon…

Lesfic Book Club: Reservations of the Heart

For our October meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed TB Markinson’s novel, Reservations of the Heart. 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

I usually just drink it when I have a headache, which only perpetuates more headaches but

Anyway… it’s book club time. Thanks for joining us, TB

TB Markinson

Thanks for the invite!

Reader 2

Book club time

Reader 1

Basically how it usually goes is just a ton of questions for the next hour and you can either respond in-line or thread your responses, whichever way is easier for you

What did everybody think of Reservations of the Heart?

Reader 3

Loved it.

Reader 2

I loved it couldn’t put it down… May have gotten in trouble at work for reading 

TB Markinson

I hope not serious trouble. I used to listen to audiobooks at my last desk job. Not sure they figured it out, though.

Reader 1

Audiobooks should definitely be allowed – multitasking

Reader 2

No was told to put my phone in the locker for the rest of shift

Reader 4

Absolutely adored it

TB Markinson

My apologies for the reprimand.

Reader 2 

It’s all good lol thanks for writing such an addictive book

TB Markinson 

Aw, thanks for saying that.

The older I get I can’t multitask as much. Oddly, I’ve been more productive.

Reader 1 

I’ve heard this in theory, now if I could only start single-tasking to figure out if it’s true for me too

TB Markinson 

It’s takes time getting used to it.

Reader 4

Ok. Standard question out of the way. Did you plot this one out scene by scene, or how did you write it? 

TB Markinson

A little bit of both. I used to never plot, but I’ve started doing some plotting beforehand.

Reader 1 

What made you want to switch?

Reader 4

What was your favorite part to write?

Reader 2

Which of the characters were your favorite to write

TB Markinson

Oh, gosh, I really enjoyed the crazy office stuff. I used to have Aurora’s job and crazy stuff happened.

Reader 1

Was Dr. Howie a “name changed to protect the innocent” situation?

TB Markinson

As for switching from pantsing to sorta plotting, I have a crazy work schedule and I had to speed up the writing parts. It helps to know sorta what’s going on.

Dr. Howie is a mixture of several doctors I encountered.

As for my favorite characters, I always like the stubborn ones and both leading ladies fall into that category.

Reader 2

Yes they do lol

Reader 4

What was your biggest inspiration for this novel, specifically?

TB Markinson

Originally, I started this novel thinking I would use a penname since it’s different from my usual books. My inspiration was writing a standalone, not a series. And, I just returned to Boston and a lot of memories from my previous job came back.

Reader 4

What made you decide to stick with this name?

TB Markinson

When I started thinking of all the work to build a new newsletter, website, and social media, it didn’t make a lot of sense. I will say, thinking it would be under a different name freed me some while writing. Not having expectations. I really enjoyed that aspect.

Reader 1

Was it just the standalone aspect that had you thinking about a different pen name? I thought it read pretty quintessentially TB Markinson

TB Markinson

Is it? The standalone was part of it. Also, it’s in third person with switching POV.

Reader 1

I think you have a particular style with your characters and how they see the world. Not sure I could put my finger on exactly how, but I could probably pick out one of your books by tone

Reader 4

Did you find it harder to write with those differences?

TB Markinson

The switching POV takes some getting used to, but I liked digging into both heads of the leading ladies. I like to know what makes them tick.

Reader 1

Curious if everybody else feels that way, can you pick out your favorite authors if you were just given the book with no name?

Reader 2 

I feel like I would be able to but I’m unsure of my ability lol

Reader 1 

Haha yeah, maybe like 75% certainty

Reader 2 

Right hahaha

Reader 4 

It really depends  …

Reader 5 

I could pick out your books no matter the pen name…maybe a few others

TB Markinson

I think with some authors I could pick them out. Like Clare Lydon’s British Rom-Com wit.

Reader 4 

Yes! Some authors have a certain feel.

Reader 1

Did you relate to Aurora or Stella more, or both equally?

 (And that question to everybody else, too – are you an Aurora or a Stella?)

Reader 2 

Definitely a Stella

Reader 5 

Combination of both

TB Markinson

Oh gosh, that’s always hard for me to answer. I never base a character on myself or on one particular person. They’re a mesh of everything.

Given I’m closer in age to Stella, I probably relate to her more.

Reader 3

What did you have the most fun with when writing this book?

TB Markinson

I love writing dialogue. That’s always my favorite part.

Reader 5

Hey T.B I’m super late, just woke up couldn’t sleep last night for nothing…..I absolutely loved this book and I felt I could relate a lot to both Stella and Aurora!

TB Markinson

Aw, thanks!

Reader 1

Do you prefer to write with background noise or silence?

TB Markinson

Music. I can’t write in cafes, but I always listen to music in my office.

Reader 5

I do have to ask you….When writing Stella and Aurora was it easy to switch the POV. How do you determine whose POV to write at which time?

Reader 4

I was gonna ask, when you did a little plotting for this one, was it about who would talk when? Or was it planning specific things within the novel ?

TB Markinson

When I started, I knew each chapter would switch. And usually the switch happened when I needed the other character to react. It’s kinda fun to see both sides. How simple things are interpreted differently and then cause problems. Everyone brings in their own experiences to all situations. And that distorts their perceptions and actions.

Reader 4 

Which is one of the reasons why I adore your novels. The way your characters act and react to others is always fascinating and captivating.  I read Claudia Must Die rapid fire (in 3 hours or so).

Reader 5 

That’s the other book I’m dying to read! I might just have to buy it too!

Reader 4 

Read it!!! I loved it  buy it or It’s on KU.

Reader 5 

I gave up KU at the moment…..

TB Markinson

When I plotted, I knew the POV of each chapter and the thing that had to happen. I didn’t plot out how to get to that one thing, though.

Reader 1

Do you have a favorite part of a book (or favorite part of the romance) to write?

TB Markinson

Oh geez. Each romance has an arc to it. And I like all the parts. The Meet Cute. Falling in love. The black moment. And then the HEA. It’s hard to pinpoint which one I like the most. Depends on my mood, I think.

Reader 3

What gave you the most trouble when doing research for this book?

TB Markinson

When going to a Red Sox game to refresh my memory, the weather was complete shite. Rain and so cold. I really didn’t enjoy that day.

As for the medical school aspect, I worked at one for over 3 years.

Reader 4

Whoa. Cooooool

Reader 6

Oh no. I’m late. The clocks have gone forward here and didn’t figure that in. Hi TB. As a very low level manager, I could totally relate to some of the ‘managing people’ issues Aurora has. You sound like you have some experience in this area?! Any specifics that made it into the book?

Reader 4

Would you change anything from this novel (or another), if you could?

TB Markinson

Oh, I’m trying to remember the office shenanigans that I included and the ones that ended up on the cutting room floor. I penned the majority of ROH last January. The missing alcohol actually happened, but there was a twist in real life, which I probably shouldn’t share. I wasn’t the employee in charge of that snafu.

I’m sure when I proof the audio, I’ll cringe a lot. There’s always a way to improve a story. Change word choices. Add a different twist. But there’s no way to make a story perfect. I live by the mantra one of my teachers told me: A story is never done. There are only deadlines.

Reader 4

As a wannabe author, I can completely understand this. As a fan, I think you might be incorrect. 

Reader 5

Yes love that saying!

Reader 1

Love that mantra

Do you have a release date for the audio yet?

Reader 2

I love that mantra

Reader 3

If Mackenzie could be a superheroine who fights villains while riding dinosaurs, which dinosaur would she pick to ride?

TB Markinson

I haven’t had time to work on the audio yet. I need to contact some narrators to see who has time in their schedules. There’s always a long to-do list for all projects.

Reader 1

Oh gotcha, thought you meant it was pending. Yes, those to-do lists never end.

Could you talk a little about your Village Romance series? What was it like collaborating with Harper Bliss and Clare Lydon?

TB Markinson

The first dinosaur that came to mind was T-Rex, but I don’t think Kenzie would limit herself with just one choice.

Reader 3

I would expect her to say, “All of them!”

TB Markinson

Working with Harper and Clare was a blast. We started the collab by taking a road trip through the Cotswolds last March. Harper’s Mrs drove the minivan. We all worked closely to ensure we were staying as consistent as possible, meaning we read first drafts and that always makes me nervous. Although, when Harper and I cowrote Life in Bits, she read my first draft as well. Sending Harper Bliss a sex scene nearly caused my heart to stop.

Reader 1 

Haha I bet!

I love the writer road trip – sounds like a dream

Reader 4 


Reader 2 

Ditto agreed

TB Markinson 

It was fun and we popped into so many quaint pubs. I miss living in the UK.

Reader 2 

Sounds like a dream

Reader 4 

Sounds perfect to me.

Reader 2

Was the Anne of green gables reference just a toss in or were their last names chosen for that reason?

Did that make sense

TB Markinson

The Anne of Green Gables came to me quite early. It was my favorite TV series when I was a kid. It was my way of paying tribute.

Reader 5

I really loved that.

Reader 2

I thought it was really cool its my favorite book series of all time so to see it was great

Reader 1

One of my faves too

Who’s your favorite author, either lesfic or in general?

TB Markinson

Just one?

Reader 2


Reader 1 

That’s fair, it was a hardball question

Reader 5 

Right it’s hard to limit greatness to just one

Reader 6

Any more collaborations in the pipeline?

Reader 5

So I’ve always wanted to see my name in a book…. So thank you for that

TB Markinson

Yes, a novel I cowrote with Miranda MacLeod is coming out in November. Clare and I are planning to cowrite a book in 2020.

Reader 4

With Miranda MacLeod???

TB Markinson

My answers for favorite authors always disappoints people.

Reader 1 

Feel free to pass, although now I’m curious why it’s a disappointment

Reader 4

Not possible.

Reader 2

Try us

TB Markinson

Yep. Miranda and I go way back. To the 6th grade.

Reader 4

6th grade??? THAT IS SO COOOOL

Reader 1

That’s awesome

Reader 5

Just say them. Everyone has there own opinions who the better authors are so no judgement

TB Markinson

Charles Dickens. John Steinbeck. Ernest Hemmingway. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Jane Austen–she’s the one people prefer.

Reader 5

Very nice!

Reader 2

I’m down with your choices very nice

Reader 4

I can dig most of that. There are almost no wrong answers when it comes to that question.

Reader 1

Same, the classics are classics for a reason!

Reader 2

Alright yall wife is saying it’s bed time night yall

Reader 1

Night Reader 2!

And we’re at the top of the hour, any last-minute questions for TB?

TB Markinson

Good night, Reader 2. Thanks for chatting.

Reader 5

Night Reader 2!

TB Markinson

I’m a historian, so the classics speak to me on many levels.

Reader 4 

I love this. I am, too.

TB Markinson 

I always say history is the greatest story ever told.

Reader 4 

…any chance of an historical fiction novel on the future??

TB Markinson 

I wouldn’t stop researching to write it.

Reader 4 

I can understand that. I had a similar issue for my senior seminar paper.

Reader 2

Thanks for writing such an amazing story @TB Markinson

TB Markinson

Aw, thanks for saying that.

Reader 3

What kinds of stories do you think you would never write?

Reader 5

Yes I really loved Reservations of the Heart!! It was beautifully written. And the first book I’ve finished on over a month

TB Markinson

I don’t know if there is a story I wouldn’t write if the muse pulled me in a certain direction. I do avoid historical fiction, simply because I love the research aspect too much.

Thanks so much, Reader 5!

Reader 1

Well, thank you so much for chatting with us, TB

Loved Reservations and definitely looking forward to all those collabs on the horizon

TB Markinson

Thanks for having me. I appreciate the support.

Reader 4

Thank you for joining us!!

And for writing it.

TB Markinson

My pleasure, Peri.

Reader 5

You are welcome! Thank you for having amazing stories you share to the world!!

TB Markinson

Aw, thanks. I’m always so nervous when I release a new book.

Lesfic Book Club: Who’d Have Thought

For our September meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed G Benson’s novel, Who’d Have Thought. 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

G Benson

I just got in! Hi all!

Reader 1


Reader 2

Ah, shoot. Well, you’ve always got the transcript, Reader 1

Reader 5


Reader 2

Hello! Thanks for joining us!

Reader 3


Reader 4

Hi there

Reader 5

Do we call you G?

G Benson

Also please…no use of the Q word or Hayden won’t speak to any of you

Gabby is fine!

A fellow Aussie nicknamed me Benno, if you’re so inclined haha

Reader 6

Hey Gabby! Nice to have you here!

Reader 5

I have read Who’d have thought so many times, it’s my joint favourite book ever

Reader 7

Hello everyone

G Benson

hi @Reader 6 ! Thank you all for having me!

Reader 5

But….. One question, when did Sam start falling for Hayden. Christmas Eve, visiting her mom?

Reader 3

My first question: Why is Sam so awesome?

G Benson

This is the first time I’ve used slack so sorry if I’m a bit slow

Reader 3

And second question: Why did it take so long for Hayden to realize how awesome Sam was?

G Benson

@Reader 5 before I answer this, I would LOVE to know when everyone else thinks Sam started to fall for Hayden and why in that moment

or is that a cheat answer from me?

Reader 5

Cheat answer

G Benson

@Reader 3 Sam is so awesome because she is Sam and is never anyone else but Sam hehe

Reader 5

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

Reader 3

It’s not a cheat if you still give your answer in the end.

G Benson

@Reader 3 it took Sam so long to realise because Hayden is a bit if a stubborn fool

also my cat is trying to sit on my keyboard so all typos are his fault

Reader 3

Also, I really loved the epilogue.

Reader 5

I think it was when she got hurt by her mom and Sam was cleaning her lip

Reader 2

Very convenient excuse

G Benson

Wait I meant it took Hayden so long to realise!

Reader 6

Lol I haven’t read the book all the way. I’ve been so busy with work I haven’t read much lately but I love it so far and don’t want to miss this conversation been trying to get you here for months lol

G Benson

Can’t blame that one on me cat…

Oh no @Reader 6 you’ll get so many spoilers

Reader 5

So……. when was it??


Please even

Reader 6

I’m good. I don’t mind the spoilers

Reader 5

Reader 6, I’ll wipe your memory after this like they do in men in black

Reader 1

What i love about fake relationships is seeing who breaks first and admits feelings

G Benson

@Reader 5 I promise an answer when I hear when others thing it happened hehe

Reader 6

Thank you @Reader 5

Reader 5


Is the keyboard warrior who you based Frank on?

G Benson

@Reader 1 that is a fantastic part of it all. As an author sometimes it isn’t clear who’ll break first even to you

Reader 3

I wouldn’t be surprised if she liked her even before they arranged the whole fake marriage.

Reader 6

Same Reader 1! I always bet my self how long each will break first

Reader 8

Not a question but I wanted to say I thought you wrote very movingly about dementia. It’s such an awful disease.

G Benson

The keyboard warrior isn’t my Frank inspiration, he’s far too social! My Frank inspiration is my lovely now 10 year old guy who was on the street for 3 years before we adopted him. But since WHT was released he’s softened into a complete lap cat so Frank lives on alone as the soul grumper

Reader 1

So you didn’t know until you wrote it?

Reader 3

Sam seems to have been aware of Hayden well before their first meeting after connecting online.

G Benson

@Reader 8 thank you for that feedback! That was a lot of research and experience with my job, but also a lot of my own heart into that story as my grandmother had alzheimers. I wanted it to ring true very much

Reader 5

I took away the fact that the older version of people is not who they will be remembering. That’s not something I’d thought of. My auntie has late stage alzheimers

G Benson

@Reader 1 I’m a terrible pantser who knows nothing until I write it. I often write myself into a wall and have to restart storylines because of it

Reader 1

Lol same @G Benson

Reader 9

I’m here yall my bad I lost track of time

Reader 5

Don’t I know it Reader 1


Have we had enough answers yet @G Benson

Reader 10

2 of my grandparents had it. And my father will (in 30 years, I hope). It was definitely well researched and well written.

Reader 1

One thing I wonder is about Sam. I read her as very likely on the autism spectrum. Was that in your mind as a possibility?

Reader 9 

Thank you some one else saw that too I thought I was trippin

Reader 5 

She’s very anal

Reader 3

I had wondered as well.

Reader 5 

Definitely OCD

G Benson 

Oh we can thread! I need to learn slack

should I stop tagging and thread instead?

Reader 11 

When I described the book to my wife, I made the same observation (while telling her that it wasn’t explicitly stated in the book) 

Reader 5 


Reader 12 

or maybe INTJ

Reader 1 

Tagging is fine

Reader 5

I tried  to twitter you this question months and months ago….and here I am still waiting…..

Reader 6

I might have to catch the reread damn working a business is hard and I have to take a call. But I just wanted to say I read flinging it first and I absolutely loved it to pieces. Your writing is amazing !!!

G Benson 

So glad you liked Flinging It thank you!

Reader 6 

I’m usually not one for affairs but you did it so well…and the situation of pour Cora I can definitely relate to the abuse she was going through. It sucks to feel powerless like she did. And to work with that person is even worse. I was really impressed with the whole thing!!

G Benson 

I never thought I’d write an affair book but these things are never black and white, and for poor Cora it was so far from it

@Reader 1 I’ve had this questions a lot and the answer is definitively yes. I wrote Sam and Sam happened to be on the autism spectrum, it wasn’t something I intentionally wrote. When I realised she was, it was when a friend reading it over before publication pointed it out and it was too late to have a sensitivity reader go over it, or even go through and put it in the book in a way that meant people didn’t have to ask, and without having a sensitivity read I was hesitant to slot it in at the end post edits. But yes, Sam is definitely on the spectrum

Reader 1

A few of us are on the spectrum

I think it’s safe to own it

Reader 5

Just because it’s not explicitly stated doesn’t mean it can’t be so

Reader 9 

Sooo true

G Benson 

So true and totally agree! Just when it comes to something involving a minority group, I like to have a sensitivity reader involved as I would hate to unintentionally write something harmful, but yes, even thought it’s not stated, it is true

Reader 1

Plus older women are rarely diagnosed

She might not have thought about it

Reader 5

Still waiting Gabby, be my bedtime soon here in the UK,,, just sayin

G Benson

That’s true Reader 1, girls and women are often not diagnosed, and sam is definitely on the spectrum

Reader 5

I want me a Sam, she was like my dream woman

G Benson

So, when did Sam start to fall?

Reader 5


Reader 1


G Benson

Sam had a soft spot for Hayden from the start

she all but says as much

Reader 1


Reader 3

Knew it.

Reader 1

I mean how quickly she warms to her quirkiness

G Benson

So for Sam, it was less a moment of falling and more a steady, soft descent until “thump” feelings

Reader 5

Yeah when she first looked back and saw her watching them wheel, the trolley out

Reader 1

Would sam have ever talked to her without this arrangement? Or is work too compartmentalized?

Reader 5

And Hayden hates her and says as much – ouch

Reader 3

And all the mentions of being aware of her for quite some time. Noticing her in med school. Noting her when she first saw her working as a nurse.

G Benson

I don’t think Sam would ever have approached her about the arrangement, work, to Sam, was 100% compartmentalised

I think she came close to a heart attack when someone she knew walked into that coffee shop

@Reader 5 does that satisfy your question?

Reader 3

Probably even more so that it was Hayden.

G Benson

@Reader 3 exactly! Oh no someone I know….oh no, someone I think is very, very cute and not only that but very competent

Reader 5

Yours was the first non binary character book I’ve read.

Reader 9

On another note where did the inspiration come from for luce to be non binary

G Benson

Two important things on Sam’s checklist of “am I interested in this person”

Reader 5

Satisfy my question……. welll…… I suppose so

G Benson

@Reader 9 I have many enby friends and it felt so natural to have Hayden’s bestie be enby! And Luce was just so fun to write, they just flowed for me

Reader 9

That’s awesome I love luce as a character they are quite the personality

Reader 5

Luce is a star, she got nearly all the best lines

G Benson

Haha if you want more specifics @Reader 5 I can say that when they were at Hayden’s families Sam’s soft descent suffered a trip that was very akin to a fall

Reader 5

Sorry threy



argh my keyboard

hates me

G Benson

Luce is an absolute crack up

Reader 5


I knew when she wiped her lip there were genuine feelings there

Reader 3

I didn’t really understand much about what it meant to be non-binary until recently. I kind of knew, but kind of didn’t.

Reader 5

I’m so ignorant I didn’t spot the they bit at first, ten thought it was a typo…. then finally twigged

Reader 3

I have a much clearer picture now.

Reader 1


Reader 11

How did you come up with the inheritance idea and how Sam planned to spend it? (That really helped me actually like the fake wedding idea that I had only tolerated earlier)

G Benson

I think that’s such a great thing about fiction, we can introduce ourselves and each other to so many new and wonderful things and learn so much compassion through it

Reader 3

If only Sam’s parents knew anything about compassion.

Reader 5

The way you wrote them I really wanted to reach thru the page, grab their necks and throttle them

Reader 9 

Took the words right out of my mouth

G Benson 

Same to be honest

I got angry when I was writing and had to take a break

Reader 9 

They are just so.. Horrible

Reader 5 

As a mother I have no comprehension of how they could act like that. I know its a book but it’s real life too, I’d never heard of conversion therapy and was horrified such a thing existed

Reader 4

I’m back, had to do a few things  was scrolling through what has been said, i don’t think it’s when Sam had feelings, i think more when Hayden did, because hated her

G Benson

@Reader 11 that’s a great question, because it took me a while to figure out! I wrote WHT for Nano (national novel writing a month, where writers live of coffee and try write an entire novel in four weeks) and as I’m a pantser, I just went “right, okay, fake relationship, they can be fun, two people who work together cause I love me that in a hospital setting, and oooo, one doesn’t really like the other” and I got part way and was like…but why the fake marriage? And the first thing I thought of was I wanted it to be unusual, so I started from the angle of wanting to get back at homophobic family, and how that could look…and then the only way a character like Sam would go about it was the way she did. Just dating a woman to annoy them wouldn’t be solid enough a reason for fake marriage. Plus, if I’d only gone with that angle we would have had to see Sam interacting with her family more and they were poo and I didn’t want to do that

Reader 2

When you’re not working on a NaNo project, how long does it usually take you to get through a draft?


Not gonna be able to participate but just stopping in to say hi

G Benson

Even with Nano, I don’t really get to finish as I’m notorious for writing super long manuscripts…oops

My first took me about a year over all

My second something ridiculous like 6 weeks, I lived and breathed caffeine

My third 6 months

And WHT 8 weeks

BUT that’s like, messy draft, then it’s going back and revising every sentence and story line and looking at what beta readers have said, then the editing starts (enter headache)

Reader 1

All while working full time?

Reader 9


Reader 4 

No kidding, wow

G Benson 

I’m definitely no the norm! I can sit hyperfocused for two hours and pump out words, but then not write anything for six months once it’s finished


What do you do for work? I work 2 full time jobs while trying to write so I understand that

G Benson

The last I was part time but the others full time! It’s why I work so well with Nano, i have to write every day

Reader 3

Is it weird that the most positive and healthy portrayals of autistic characters I have found have been in lesfic?

At times there may be a detail or two missing from the author’s portrayal of autistic characters, but their portrayals are fairly accurate and genuine and don’t leave me feeling offended or upset in any way.

Unlike with other autistic characters outside of lesfic.

G Benson

I teach English as a foreign language

Reader 9 

That’s pretty cool

Reader 5 

English is a foreign language within itself

I often struggle to speak it and to type it…. well there is no hope

G Benson 

Its a horrendous language

my favourite joke is that English isn’t a language, it’s three other languages wearing a trench coat

Reader 5

So you edit after the beta readers? Do they see first, second draft?


Ok gtg

Gtg, Gabby it was a pleasure meeting you. Hopefully we can have you back so I can actually converse with you

G Benson

I tend to send every few chapters to beta readers, but only two suffer that, as they know it’s the messy, not even up to being called first draft version

The others I work with get the first draft

Reader 5

Reader 1, are you reading this? Can we do this?

Reader 2

Do you edit as you go then, take the betas’ comments into account once they read those chapters?

Reader 1

What send out every few chapters? Of course

Reader 5


Reader 1


Reader 5

Send out after first draft

Like the first chapter because I’m lazy and don’t want to do more work than is necessary

G Benson

@Reader 2 I tend to take them into account as I go, as I’m a pantser, their comments can catch me up before I write myself into a wall

Reader 2

Sounds like a good strategy!

So one of my favorite questions to ask is what’s your favorite part of the romance to write?

G Benson

@Reader 2 ooo this is a fun question and one I’ve never thought about


I love writing flirty banter

At the start, before its a thing, and right after they’ve had a first kiss/a moment that confirms their both interested, that flirty banter then is such fun to write

Reader 5

In all your books, who is the character most like yourself?

G Benson

What’s everyone’s favourite part of a romance to read?

Reader 2 

I’m gonna have to go with the meet-cute – sets up all the ‘before’ personalities and issues and has the potential for a lot of different creative interpretations

Reader 6 

My favorite part of romance to read is the falling in love

Reader 4

I love the flirty banter

Reader 9

I love the banter right before the first kiss

G Benson

@Reader 5 oh wow thats a terrifying question best made to one of my friends or my wife

Reader 5

The happy epilogue after all the angst is over and done

Go on then ask her for me please?

G Benson

Haha she’s not here! Wait I’ll whattsapp her. if the answer scares me I’ll pretend she’s not online

Reader 5

Ok, which would you most like to sleep with, who would you least like to kiss

Reader 3

I like all the little moments that pull the characters slowly together.

G Benson

It looks like everyone loves flirty banter

Reader 4

And the angst

G Benson

It’s so strange to think of my characters like that because they’re all my little creations

Reader 3

What was the most fun thing to research for this book?

Reader 1

I also love banter and the resolution

Reader 3

The epilogue was great.

G Benson

can I turn that question around and ask who everyone else would least like to kiss? Haha

Reader 5

I like reading the banter but writing the arguments 

G Benson 

I lvoe writing arguments, they’re so snappy

Reader 5 

I’m having so much fun, I broke off writing one now to be here

G Benson 

Then I feel honoured!

Reader 5 

Lol, you haven’t seen my writing. You may just have saved mankind

Reader 6 

Don’t let her foul you!!! She’s amazing when it comes to writing!!

Reader 5 

Aww Reader 6, thanks chick. We need you to read the collaboration book to see what you think so far please

Reader 6 

I’ll let you know when I have the time. I have the little bit that Reader 1 sent me the last time you said and I still haven’t read it. Plus my phone is still acting up and won’t let me in my docs. Been pissing me off!! Ive just been so focused on my business it’s been nuts. But hey I made $100 today in Pre-Claims doing nothing but sitting on my butt haha. I didn’t even read Who’d have thought yet. I’m like on chapter too. Before they meet up. And I’ve been waiting for this book forever! Lol I’m gonna stay up tonight and read this though. I was even late to reading @Reader 2 new book she wrote as Kaylin for its M/F and I’m excited for the series. Scary & Sweet was amazing and just what I needed for that small break. Definitely check it out! But I will find the time here when this month is over. I should be more organized and on a schedule I’m hoping.

Reader 5

You need to chill a little. You’re super busy so don’t worry about beta reading. It’s still only half way thru and there’s a lot to write still. I need to finish Crash Dance as it’s changed loads since you read it. Story is the same just more details. And I have first draft of my 2nd book written which you’re welcome to look at some time in 2022 when you’re not so busy

Reader 6 

It will slow down come October. Maybe, at least I’ll be more organized I hope!!! That’s awesome I’m super excited for when you finally finish it!!!

Reader 5 

Me too, it’s been nearly a year now lol

Reader 6 

Yeah lol thats terribly long though mine will take longer so…I understand

Reader 5 

There’s no rush and when it’s fine it will be the best I can do. Then if it’s rejected I’ll take the hint

Reader 6 

It won’t be! Don’t doubt yourself it gets nowhere. I know from experience. And I just got a bit busier. I officially have a team now!! I signed my first team member last night

Reader 5 

Proud of you!

Jae edited the first chapter of mine and Reader 1’s book. I say edited it was more like ripped to pieces but I learnt some valuable stuff from her

Reader 6 

Yeah I can imagine. Jae is perfect for that !!

Reader 5 

She is very good at it lol

Reader 6 


Reader 1

Haden is adorable

G Benson

@Reader 3 most fun to research was marriage law

It was such a bizarre rabbit whole to fall down and it was all US based and being Australian I got super confused, a lot

@Reader 1 an adorable fool (her words, I’m sure)

Reader 1

Shit we get confused too

Reader 2

Do you have a project you’re working on right now, Gabby?

Reader 4

Is Flinging It going to be on audiobook at anytime

G Benson 

I haven’t heard anything about that from my publisher sadly!

Reader 4 

That’s too bad

G Benson

@Reader 2 I actually can finally, after 2 years, say I do! I have about half way into a new manuscript. This one has been like pulling teeth, and will change the “how fast I write a manuscript” answer drastically

Reader 5

Have you ever considered a follow up to WHT like Sam with a baby and nappies to change

Reader 1

And where do you get your ideas in general?

My solution to not having ideas is to hang out with creative and silly writers. I have more snippets from conversations here than anywhere.

G Benson

@Reader 1 I used to write a lot of fanfic, so TV used to inspire me a lot. Now it’s just more, things I want to see wlw getting to do in stories!

@Reader 5 Sam would be such an organised mum

I havent thought of it at all but the image of Hayden, Sam and Frank all coping with a newborn is delightful

Reader 2

I imagine a lot of willful discussions all the way around – I love it

Reader 5

Hmmm, Have you got kids Gabby?  Because an organised mum is only possible if you leave it all to the nanny

G Benson

There would be so many discussions. Those two will never have a problem with communication

Reader 3

I think they’d be coping with things regarding Hayden’s mom as well considering everything.

Reader 5

Yes please then, a sequel Called Who’d Have Them

Reader 14

Stopping by to say hi to a fellow Aussie

G Benson

Haha Sam will try be organised, desperately clinging to the schedule the baby, Hayden, and Frank all refuse to adhere too

WHo’d Have Them hahahaha

Reader 9


Reader 6

It be great!!

Reader 5

You have my permission to use that title

G Benson

If it ever happens, I may take you up on that @Reader 5

Reader 5

You’re welcome, I only ask you send me a free book as I gave you not only the title but the story too

G Benson

That sounds like a fair trade

Reader 6

Awww! Lucky!

Reader 5

Bugger, maybe I have undersold myself??

Reader 1

And if you need future autism sensitivity readers you have a few here.

G Benson 

Thank you Reader 1! That’s great of you to offer!

Reader 1 

It’s my pleasure. Doing that now for a debut and it’s great representation and story so far

G Benson 

Its fantastic to hear debuts are utilising sensitivity readers!

Reader 1 

Yes. It’s great that people are taking rep seriously

G Benson

My wife said I’m most like Anna because of my humour apparently…hmmm

Reader 9

Alright yall it’s bed time for me gnight yall @G Benson it has been a pleasure

G Benson

Anna from all the little moments in case you havent read it

Reader 5

I’ve read it

G Benson

@Reader 9 Thanks for chatting! Hope you sleep well

Reader 9

Thanks @G Benson gnight yall

Reader 2

Night Krys!

Reader 5

Night Krys

Reader 4


Reader 2

Anybody else have questions for Gabby? @Reader 3 I don’t think you’ve asked your traditional oddball one yet have you?

G Benson

OO oddball

My interest is piqued

Reader 3

I’m still thinking of one.

Reader 2

And now I put you on the spot, my bad!

G Benson

I’ll pretend I didn’t read anything about an oddball question

Reader 5

Have you any author mates that you drink wine with and come up with great one liners for your books

Reader 1

Has your wife read all your books?

Reader 3

Hmmm… if you could be any part of a BLT sandwich, which part would you be? The bacon, the lettuce, the tomato or the toasted bread?

G Benson

Haha any author mates I drink with we end up talking about other books we love

@Reader 1 she has!

Reader 5

Names or it’s never happened

G Benson

@Reader 3 I’d be the lettuce, mostly made of water and I like green

Reader 5

Gabby, whose books have you read who are here talking to you tonight?

That’s an on the spot question

G Benson

Ohh nooo I cheated in my answer because I mostly read fanfiction hahaa

I talk about fanfic and they talk about books and I say “Yeah but…Kara and Lena from Supergirl…in another 20000 word angsty one shot”

Reader 3

Favorite fanfic pairing?

G Benson

Lena and Alex from Supergirl

Reader 6

Yes!!  Love Kara & Lena!! Can’t wait for october for the new season!!!

G Benson

Clarke and Lexa too but also it hurts a lot to think about

Reader 6

Eek no no no not okay Alex with Kelly

G Benson

I love Alex and Kelly too

But I tend to love whats not on the screen as it has more fic and angst potential, I am an angst love in fic. I don’t even need happy endings

Reader 3

What pairing would you like to see but have yet to see?

G Benson

@Reader 3 I wanted Alex and Lena very badly because then they could give us queer Lena, even thought they’d never give Lena/Kara, and Alex could avoid the trap of having a relationship and that would be all her story would become, or all her gfs would be, as Lena has a role in the show that extends to connections and storylines with other characters

Reader 10

Lena with almost everyone. Katie McGrath is amazing.

Reader 6

Though I did think last season they were pushing Lena and Alex…only for Alex didn’t know who Kara was lol … then in pops James’s sister haha

Reader 1

I am a season behind

G Benson

@Reader 6 same!

@Reader 1 the last season was suuuuuper slow to start

Reader 1

I’m just too busy to catch up. I will though. I love alex

Reader 6

I want Alex haircut!!           

G Benson

Alex is the best, as is the relationship with Kara and Alex

Reader 1

Definitely. They are great

Reader 6

It was super slow for sure but it was great besides the end with stupid Lex!!

Reader 5

What are we discussing here? I’m too old for this convo, might be my bedtime now.

Reader 6


G Benson

HAha I do need to head off too, it’s late this side of the world

unless there’s any last WHT question?

Reader 1

My daughter loves supergirl too. Since she was 2.

I will probably think of some after i finish my reread

Reader 5

I could talk to you about WHT all night, i can practically recite it I’ve read it that often

Reader 2

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Gabby! Especially with the time difference

G Benson

Feel free ask them when you have the Reader 1!

Reader 1

Will do

G Benson

@Reader 5 that’s the highest praise I think one can get!

Thanks for having me @Reader 2 it’s been fun!

Reader 4

It was so great chatting with you, thanks so much

Reader 6

Yes thank you!! I’ve been trying months to get you here!!

Reader 5

It’s true, I even bought the paperback

Reader 3

Yes, thanks for joining us.

Reader 5

Thanks Gabby, it’s been amazing to talk to you

Reader 10

Thank you!

G Benson

It’s been so much fun chatting to you all! Revisiting Sam and Hayden is always such a good time

Reader 5

Don’t forget the sequel

Reader 1

Thanks for creating them

G Benson

They pretty stubbornly created themselves, they popped out fully formed

Reader 1


Then thanks for listening to them

G Benson

Thanks again, and I hope you all have an awesome afternoon/night/morning! This was fun, I hope to see you all again!

Sneak Peek: Destroyers

The Elimination Game is reduced to ashes but Daniel and Sasha can’t afford to celebrate. Every Watcher in the state is looking for them, so when a resistance group calling themselves the Destroyers offer a safe haven, they have no choice but to accept. The Destroyers don’t give out charity, though. They expect help in return and as they arm themselves to take down the Watchers, Daniel and Sasha must choose: fight or flee?

Destroyers by Mae Orwell

Destroyers is the third book in the Watchers trilogy, available now on all major retailers. Read the first chapter below.

The scene in the motel room is chaotic when Sasha, Daniel and Levi return from the office, first aid kit in hand.

“Quick, open it up,” Aisha barks at them the moment they’re in the door. “Is there antiseptic? What about a hemostat?”

“I don’t know what that is!” Sasha says, panicked, as she comes over to the bed and pulls open the kit.

Aisha has Brody’s leg elevated with a stack of pillows and her hand is clamped over his thigh. Jane’s standing by with her arms full of what looks like every towel from the bathroom, and there’s blood everywhere. It’s on Aisha’s hands, on the comforter, and on the wash cloth she’s using to put pressure on the wound.

“Oh my God,” Levi says, his eyes as big as saucers. “Is he going to be okay?”

“Go sit over there,” Aisha barks at him. “You’re in my light.”

She nods to the front of the room, where Francie and Erica are huddled together beneath the window. They’re both just as pale as Brody, clinging to each other and looking sick with worry.

While Sasha frantically sifts through the first aid kit looking for anything that’ll help, Daniel takes Levi’s arm and guides him over to the window. The two of them sit down with Francie and Erica, and Daniel arranges his body so as to block their view.

“Don’t watch,” he says. “Aisha’s going to take care of Brody.”

“Are there Watchers out there?” Erica asks, her voice barely audible. She looks up and when she reaches for the curtains, Daniel sees her hand shaking.

He takes it before she can rustle the thin curtains, squeezing her hand in what he hopes is a comforting gesture. “No. Not right now, but we have to be careful.”

“They’ll be looking for us,” Levi says.

“We can’t worry about that right now,” Daniel answers.

“He’s bleeding out,” Aisha says, drawing everyone’s attention back to the bed. “Screw the antiseptic – I need that hemostat now. It looks like scissors, but with a gripping end. Any luck?”

Sasha riffles through the first aid kit, making a mess of bandages all over the stained comforter until finally, she fumbles something small and metal out of the box. “Is this it?”

Aisha doesn’t bother to confirm – she just snatches the hemostat out of Sasha’s hands and goes to work. When she lifts the towel from Brody’s thigh, blood comes bubbling out of the wound like baking soda from a science fair volcano and Erica makes a retching sound.

Daniel puts his hand over her eyes and then he closes his own. The darkness is only marginally better than watching Aisha dig into Brody’s thigh with the instrument.

“I have to get the bullet out,” Aisha says. “Or else the bleeding won’t stop.”

Brody regains consciousness as the thin metal pincer invades his already shredded thigh muscles. He wakes up with a scream of pure agony and Aisha motions to Jane.

“Keep him quiet or the Watchers will find us!”

Jane drops to her knees beside Brody’s head, taking his hand. “It’s going to be okay. Aisha’s fixing you up. Squeeze my hand as hard as you need to.”

“Okay,” Brody says weakly. Then Aisha twists the hemostat inside the bullet hole and this time Brody and Jane both scream as he clamps down on her hand.

“That’s not good enough,” Aisha warns. “Put a towel in his mouth.”

Jane gives her a shocked look for a split second, but she does as Aisha orders, letting Brody bite down on a clean hand towel.

“How many people are checked into the motel tonight?” Sasha asks Levi. He’s got his knees hugged to his chest and he doesn’t answer her right away. “Levi!”


“How many people are here?” she asks again. “Are they going to hear this and report us?”

“No,” Levi says, his voice shaky. “Even if they heard, the type of people who stay here aren’t the kind who can afford to report people.”

“Good,” Sasha says. “Are you okay?”

“Umm,” Levi says, losing his concentration again. “Yeah.”
“Got it!” Aisha says, retracting the hemostat, a small-caliber bullet pinched between its prongs.

“Thank God,” Brody says after Jane removes the towel from his mouth. He lifts his head just long enough to see the proof before his head falls back on the bed and he’s unconscious again.

“Is he going to make it?” Jane asks. 
“I need to stitch him up,” Aisha says, “and he’ll need better antibiotics than that first aid kit is likely to contain. But getting the bullet out was a good first step – it bought us a little time. Sasha, is there a needle and thread in there?”

“Yeah, I found a sewing kit,” Sasha says, passing a little pack of thread to Aisha. “But I don’t think it’s for stitches.”

“It’ll have to do,” Aisha says.

They all sit in silence for a few minutes while she stitches and then bandages Brody’s leg. Some of them are watching her, cringing along with each poke of the needle, but most of them wouldn’t watch if a pair of lunatics on a sound stage offered them a million dollars.

When she’s done, Aisha stands and goes into the bathroom to wash her hands. She comes back into the room and takes a clean towel from Jane to dry off, and every single set of eyes is on her.

Levi is the only one who has the courage to speak. “Now what?”

“We should get him to the Destroyer compound as soon as possible,” Aisha says. “Without further intervention, he could go septic, and we all know we can’t risk taking him to a hospital. The Destroyers have all the medical equipment I need and-”

“I’m sorry, what?” Daniel interrupts. “The who?”

“The Destroyers,” Levi fills in enthusiastically. “Aisha’s one of them. She came to take down The Elimination Game.”
“Well, actually,” Aisha says, “I came for you, Daniel.”

Daniel just narrows his eyes at her and Sasha stands, taking an instinctive step toward Daniel. “What does that mean?”

“I already told all this to Sasha and Levi,” Aisha says, her tone patient. “I’m part of a resistance group called the Destroyers. Our mission is to take down the Watcher system, and the first step in our plan was to dismantle The Elimination Game because it was the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with the mentality of American citizens right now.”

“You didn’t take down The Elimination Game,” Jane objects. “We did. We fought our way out.”

“Yes, you did,” Aisha says. “But that’s only half the story. The reason you were able to fight your way out and those evil people didn’t just let you burn was because the Destroyers hacked into the network and made sure the viewers saw what was really going on there. I can tell you all about it and even show you what we did if you agree to come to the compound with me.”

“Agree,” Daniel snorts, looking at Sasha. “Well, at least she’s giving us the illusion of freedom, unlike Gary and the game.”

“You are free,” Aisha insists. “If you don’t want to go, that’s your decision to make – but the Watchers will be looking for you and the Destroyers can offer protection.”

“In exchange for what?” Daniel asks, narrowing his eyes at Aisha. He may have been a sheltered, naive person six months ago when he walked away from his father’s campaign, but now he knows better – nothing in life is free.

“We think you could be of service to the revolution,” Aisha says.

“Me?” Daniel asks.

“Yes,” Aisha answers, looking earnest. “With your growing online celebrity-”

Daniel looks to Sasha, confused. Sasha takes his hand and squeezes, saying, “It’s true – Levi showed me while you were gone. There are actually people out there who have been rooting for us.”

“Sure didn’t seem like it every time I went into that Elimination Room,” Daniel says.

“Look,” Aisha says, “we don’t have many options right now. Brody won’t survive unless he gets some proper medical care and none of us can stay in this motel room. I’d give the Watchers about six hours before they trace us, and that’s being generous. Come with me to the compound and hear our plan, and if you don’t like what you hear, you’re free to go.”

“Just like that,” Daniel says, skeptical.

“Just like that,” Aisha says. “But I’ll warn you in advance – I’m going to need to blindfold you at some point during the journey because if you choose to leave, you can’t know where the compound is.”

Under the window, Erica whimpers and Jane goes over to her, putting one arm around Erica and the other around Francie. Levi’s still wide-eyed, but his expression has changed from horror to fascination.

“I want to go,” he says.

“How far is it?” Daniel asks.

“About three hours,” Aisha says. “I’ll have to call my contact to pick us up, but we can be there before morning if we act fast.”

“How many people are there?” Sasha asks.

“Half a dozen right now,” Aisha says. “We’re small, but our supporters are growing in number every day.”

The idea turns Daniel’s stomach, but Levi’s clearly bought in. Sasha looks on the fence like he is, and Jane looks nervous, too, but Aisha’s right. They only have two choices. They can take their chances with the Watchers on the streets, who will certainly show them no mercy if they’re found, or they can take their chances with the Destroyers at an undisclosed location.

Brody groans, his hand going instinctively to his leg, but when he touches the bandage, he winces in pain. Aisha diverts her attention to him, inspecting his injury. Blood is already beginning to bloom on the fresh bandage and everyone knows that’s not good news.

“Look, I’m not going to sugar coat it,” Aisha says to everyone. “It’s going to be dangerous, and if a Watcher drone zeros in on us while we’re traveling, there’s a chance we won’t even be able to get to the Destroyer compound. But if we don’t try, Brody is going to die.”

Silence descends on the room and everyone looks from Aisha to Brody, and then to Daniel. They’re waiting on his call.

He takes a deep breath, trying to settle his nerves.

“Okay,” he says at last. “But if you try to imprison us when we get there, I’m going to be very disappointed. I’ve had about enough breaking out of places to last me a lifetime, but I’ll do it again if I have to.”

“I promise, you can leave whenever you want,” Aisha says.

“Call your contact,” Daniel says.

Sneak Peek: Fighters

After narrowly escaping America’s most deadly game show, Sasha and Daniel are on the run from bounty-hunting Watchers. When Daniel is recaptured and thrust back into The Elimination Game for an even more brutal round two, Sasha must recruit new allies to help her rescue Daniel – or better yet, burn the whole sadistic game to the ground.

Fighters by Mae Orwell

Fighters is the second book in the Watchers trilogy, available now on all major retailers. Read the first chapter below.

The prison camera is poor quality, grainy and without color. The building itself is at least a hundred years old and its technology isn’t much newer. But it’s good enough to pick up the features of the woman being marched down the hall by a guard.

She’s wearing a baggy prison jumpsuit that drags on the floor beneath her thin-soled sneakers, and she’s holding a small pile of threadbare sheets. A flat thing that’s barely padded enough to qualify as a pillow is stacked on top, and that’s all she will possess for the next six months.

Her crime? Pointing a gun into a crowd on the street outside her apartment. Even the drones were insufficient to de-escalate that situation, and when the armed Tier 1 Watchers have to deploy, it’s a guarantee that somebody’s going to prison.

The inmates on this cell block are watching the new arrival with interest. It’s not that she’s particularly interesting, but there’s not much excitement in the women’s wing of the Philadelphia County Correctional Facility. Intake day is always a source of entertainment. The other prisoners leer at her and the surveillance camera picks up a few cat calls along the way.

“Hey, baby,” one of them says. “There’s room in my cell for that sugar.”

“Shut up, inmate!” snaps the guard.

He’s walking on the woman’s right, his hand around her plump forearm. She’ll lose plenty of that weight during her stay here – the cooks take great pleasure in making the food as awful as possible for newcomers.

As the woman and her escort walk closer to the ceiling-mounted camera that’s capturing all this, she keeps her jaw set and her eyes straight ahead. Her dark hair is greasy and unkempt, but she doesn’t look like the type who would wind up here. She definitely doesn’t look like the kind of person who would snap and start waving a gun around, but then again, they never do.

She and the guard walk beneath the surveillance camera and there’s a momentary pause as it continues to film an empty corridor. An inmate puts her hand out from between the bars of her cell, flicking off the guard behind his back. Then the view switches to another ceiling-mounted camera farther down the hall.

The guard squeezes his new charge’s arm, his fingers digging into her flesh, then brings her to a halt.

“Here it is – home sweet home,” he says, then shouts to another guard stationed out of view at the other end of the hall, “Open cell 145!”

A buzzer sounds and the woman flinches as the cell door slides open.

The guard releases her arm only to shove her head-long into the empty cell. The camera pivots, following the action as the woman careens into the edge of a steel bed frame and drops her pile of sheets on the floor.

The room is very small and the bed takes up the majority of the space. The cell is about six feet square, with a sink-toilet combo in the corner. There are no windows – no natural light at all. Her only view for the next six months will be the woman in the cell across from her and, of course, the surveillance camera mounted right outside her cell.

The guard smirks. When the woman regains her balance, he steps into the cell and slugs her. His meaty fist connects with her jaw and she stumbles backward. She hits the concrete block wall with a sickly thud, getting the wind knocked out of her, then slides down to the floor.

The guard takes another step toward her and she puts up her arms in self-defense, but the other guard hollers from his station at the end of the hall. “Evans! Everything okay in there?”

Evans’ back is to the camera but his clenched fist shows just how irritated he is by this interruption. He shouts over his shoulder, “Yeah, just helping her make the bed!”

He turns back to the woman still cowering on the floor. He rolls his shoulders back and makes a stomach-churning hawwwwk sound. When he steps to the side, the camera catches the glimmer of a massive loogie sliding down the woman’s nose. She’s doing her best not to react, not to give him the satisfaction of seeing her disgust.

“Traitor,” he growls. “I hope you get what you deserve in here.”

Then he marches out of the cell and gives the order to close the door. It slides shut and the camera captures a sly grin spreading across his face. He pulls a billy club from his utility belt and rattles it against the bars, then shouts at the top of his lungs, “Lookie what we got here – this one’s a Watcher!”

That gets the other inmates riled up good, and just in time for their mandatory exercise period in the yard. A lot of mumbling and discussion can be heard from all around the cell block. There’s a Watcher in their midst, one who’s not in a guard’s uniform and carrying a baton.

It’s payback time for the infamous Elvis Splorch.