Friday, December 12, 2014

Lesbian Rape is NOT Sexy

When I started writing Lisa's Nightmares, I knew it would contain a scene of female/female rape. Wanting to portray the moment where Lisa's life goes spinning out of control as accurately as I could, I turned to the Internet for help...and came away disgusted.

The first dozen or so hits for the keyword search term "lesbian rape" were all for pornographic videos and a few books. The porn--which seemed to be catering to a predominantly male audience--portrayed female/female rape as fun and sexy, truly a victimless crime.

The one dissenting voice was an article on the Huffington Post about singer and actress Vanessa Williams who was molested by an adult woman when Williams was 10 years old. She didn't find the abuse at all "sexy." She was hurt and traumatized.

Perhaps we don't hear much that is factual about female to female sexual violence because the U.S. Department of Justice reports that 99% of sexual perpetrators are male. But is that an accurate statistic, or does it exist because women are reluctant to report sex crimes committed against them by other women?

My most recent novel, Lisa's Nightmares (a sequel to Lisa's Kiss), shows Lisa being physically and sexually attacked by her partner, Peggy. The rape is devastating to Lisa, and it propels her to do something she's never done before: reach out to another human being for help and comfort.

Lisa is also shown struggling with many emotions common to many survivors of sexual assault including shame, self blame, anger, and terror. The book follows her path as she deals with the present assault, uncovers the roots of violence planted in her childhood, and reclaims her life and sexuality.

Any woman on woman action that is meant to be erotic in this book is completely consensual. The lesbian rape sequence, on the other hand, is brutal, disturbing, and meant to horrify rather than arouse. That is because, whatever the porn manufacturers may want us to think, any kind of rape is a criminal act and should be treated as such.

I hope you enjoy Lisa's Nightmares, and I look forward to hearing your feedback on this controversial story.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Healthcare Nightmare Turns into a Lesbian Romance

I've been in the healthcare business for decades, and I've been the executive director at many nursing facilities. It's a challenging job, sometimes fun and sometimes thankless. Through many of those executive director jobs, my partner was at my side as my director of nursing (DON). Luckily, we worked well together, and our facilities ran smoothly.

But my writer's brain couldn't help wondering, "What if?" What if the executive director and the DON didn't get along so well? Or what if they got along a little too well and didn't want to admit it? The more I thought about it, the more the idea intrigued me. Before long, Lisa's Kiss was born.

The novel tells the story of Michelle Kittredge, the newly-appointed director at one of the city's finest nursing facilities. Her director of nursing, Lisa, is respected throughout the nation for her skill and professionalism. There's just one problem: a few years earlier, Michelle had a brief relationship with Lisa and then ended it.

Now Lisa is out for...something. Does she want Michelle back, or does she want to make Michelle's life miserable for daring to dump her? Even Lisa isn't sure of the answer to that question, and the result is a blend of moments that range from intensely erotic to humiliating to downright funny.

Michelle's life doesn't get any easier when Jennifer, an attractive and allegedly straight assistant, promptly makes a beeline for Michelle. This incites Lisa's jealousy even more.

On top of everything else, of course, Michelle is still responsible for making sure her facility runs smoothly and that her clients are happy. It's a tough job, especially when the lives of the owners of the facility contain at least as much drama as her own.

Will Michelle give into Lisa's charms, bratty games, and oh-so-sweet kisses? Or will she hold out for something different this time around?

Some readers who enjoyed Lisa's Kiss wrote to ask me what had happened to Lisa to make her such a loose cannon. For a long time, the answer was simple: I didn't know. But slowly Lisa began to captivate my imagination as something much more than a plot device. Why was she so messed up, and why did she have such dangerously mixed feelings for Michelle?

The answer came forth slowly in a new book, Lisa's Nightmare, which will be published on Amazon within the next couple of months. So, read Lisa's Kiss now and look forward to learning more about Lisa very, very soon. Each book can stand on its own, but I think you'll enjoy them more if you read them together.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Have You Ever Fallen in Love with a Character?

Have you ever read--or written about--a character you simply could not let go of? It's happened to me a few times. In fact, I have sequels pending for both Black and Blue Love and Lisa's Kiss. But the character who has enchanted me the most so far is Christa. I first met Christa when she played a starring role in my novel, Second Chance. There the poor girl is, finishing dinner in her favorite restaurant and nursing a broken heart, when her ex-lover sashays in with a group of friends. It turns out that her ex, Keri, has been transferred back to town. Once burned, twice shy, Christa is determined to adopt a hands-off policy but Keri, of course, has other ideas.

When I wrapped up that novel, I assumed Christa's story had been told, but she wasn't finished with me yet. Her life takes another twist when she tragically loses Keri. She's just about ready to give up on love entirely when she encounters Susan, a woman she had dated years earlier while she and Keri were separated.

Much to Christa's surprise, her old feelings for Susan are rekindled. She can see herself in a relationship with Susan, but can Susan ever forgive Christa for choosing Keri over her? For once, Christa can't control the outcome of her relationship. It's Susan's Choice.

That probably would have been the last I heard from Christa if it weren't for NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month. If you've never done it, it takes place in the month of November each year. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. I decided to participate and, for some reason, I decided to write a mystery.

This time, the most logical protagonist was Susan's younger sister, Dorrie. Dorrie reunites with an old college flame, but right after she does, Susan and her family suddenly find themselves facing vandalism and homophobic threats. Who is the culprit?

As you might expect, Christa throws herself into the center of the action, determined to protect Susan at all costs and to save Dorrie from what might be a very Dangerous Reunion.

I haven't heard anything from Christa since completing the trilogy. Perhaps her life has finally calmed down. But I won't be a bit surprised if I sit down at the computer to write someday and hear Christa's voice in my head again. And if I do, I'll be delighted to tell her continuing story.

Which characters have clung to you over the years? Leave a comment about your favorite series of books and let me know!  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Do You Believe in Ghosts? Love's Ghostly Shadow May Change Your Mind!

"There's something I need to tell you about this property," the landlord said as he gave me the keys.

"Oh?" A hundred thousand things that could be wrong with a farmhouse that was nearly a century old flashed through my mind.

"It's--well, some people say it's haunted."

A startled laugh escaped my lips. That had not been one of the items on my list.

Seeing that I wasn't scared off, the landlord managed a smile of his own. "The place was built by two bachelor brothers and some people say they're still around."

"Okay," I said. "Just don't tell my partner. She'll freak."

So, Kathy and I moved into the farmhouse, and I put the landlord's warning out of my mind.

We'd been there about two weeks when Kathy approached me. "There's a terrible draft on the stairs," she said. "Have you noticed?"

No, I really hadn't. I paid attention that night when we went upstairs to bed, but I still didn't feel anything unusual. Kathy, however, shivered and wrapped her robe more tightly around her body.

A week later, our dog got in on the act. He started trotting through the house with his eyes focused on something we couldn't see. He acted as if he were following a beloved master. Sometimes he stood on his hind legs and looked adoringly at thin air.

Then one day Kathy came into the kitchen where I was fixing dinner. "I just saw a ghost," she announced.

We sat at the kitchen table and she told me what had happened. She was upstairs in our bedroom, changing her clothes after work, when she felt someone or something staring at her.

She turned and found herself face to face with a white-haired man. He had a weathered face, partially covered by a long beard, and he wore denim bib overalls. His clothes were worn and tattered. He looked like someone who had spent his life at hard labor.

Kathy stared at him, frozen. He returned her gaze steadily for a moment and then turned away and walked down the hall. She raced to the doorway after him, but in the split second it took her to get into the hallway, he had vanished.

"Were you scared?" I asked.

She thought for a moment before shaking her head. "He didn't want to hurt me. I think he just wanted to make sure we were taking care of his home."

We stayed in the farmhouse for several more months. I never experienced any hauntings personally, but the ghost continued to make himself known to Kathy. In fact, they developed quite a cordial relationship.

Years later, when I started writing lesbian romances, I decided to borrow aspects of our paranormal experience for one of my books.

The result was Love's Ghostly Shadow, a novel about a young woman of Arapahoe descent who is in danger of losing touch with both her partner and her heritage. It takes a haunted house with a sometimes less-than-friendly ghost to get her back on track.

Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost? Leave me a message and tell me about it!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Love Knows No Age Group

I don't usually respond to reviews, positive or negative. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and who am I to say they're wrong? But I had to laugh at--and respond to--a review that I recently got on my novel, Sexless?.

In case you haven't read it, Sexless? tells the story of Toni and Elaine, two women in their 60s, experiencing same-sex love for the very first time. Their affair is further complicated by the fact that one of the women, Elaine, has gone through a hysterectomy and a double mastectomy and feels...well...sexless.

Anyway, the reviewer's comment was, "This just doesn't ring true to its age group. Behaviors were very junior high." Oh, she must mean that scene where Toni steals Elaine's little dog to force a confrontation. Or the scene where Elaine, convinced that Toni is cheating on her, stops answering all of Toni's calls and texts. Or the scene where...never mind. You'll see for yourself when you read the book.

When I read the review, I just shook my head. Since when does reaching a certain age guarantee that one will always behave with wisdom and maturity? Watching politicians, many in their 60s and 70s, muck up the entire world should teach us better than that. And anyway, Toni and Elaine are in the throes of their first lesbian romance. They're dealing with passion, uncertainty, jealousy, clueless family members, internalized homophobia, and ageism, to name only a few obstacles. Many of these feelings are completely new to them.

Lost in uncharted territory, they don't always handle themselves with perfect decorum. They make mistakes, and some of those mistakes are pretty junior-high-ish. But then all people in love, not just young people in love, sometimes behave in a cringe-worthy fashion, from making puppy dog eyes at each other in public, to sexting, to slamming down the phone after a heated argument over nothing.

But, just as all people in love are capable of the worst behavior, they are also capable of the best behavior--showing tenderness and compassion, bestowing healing, and helping each other grow and become better human beings. I hope I've managed to convey all of that in Sexless? as well.

So, are Toni and Elaine "untrue to their age group"? That's a matter of opinion, and you all know where I stand. I believe they are very true to their life circumstances, whatever their ages may be.

:::Sticking out tongue::: So there.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Black and Blue Love - My Kindle Bestseller!

          "Black and Blue Love" about Lesbian domestic violence is, so far, my best selling novella. The story is about lovely Della who is in a long term relationship with her partner Toni. Toni has risen above her immediate family and has been the only one of her siblings to go to college and become a professional. Being the only girl in a group of brothers, and obviously having attained a better place in life than they have, her brothers continue to pick on her like they did while she was growing up.

          Lovely Della finds it difficult to be around Toni's family but Toni's mother is a domineering woman who demands that all of her children and their spouses and children attend any get together that she dictates. These family gatherings are always boisterous with loud talking and lots and lots of drinking. And, the usual fun game of picking on Toni who is the baby of the family.

          Over the years Toni's drinking has increased to the point of affecting her relationship with Della. But there seems to be more to Toni's problems than just her drinking and the abuse she has endured over the years from her family. There seems to be something mental going on in her brain causing her behavior to deteriorate.

          Della, who comes from a refined, educated family, finds it more and more difficult to endure the loud obnoxious family gatherings at Toni's mother's house. That is until at one gathering she meets Kallie, a cousin to Toni.  Kallie is educated, professional and very charming, not to mention damn good looking.
          Kallie has lived out of town for a number of years and has accepted a position back in her hometown. Being widowed from her husbands unexpected death at an early age, Kallie is not prepared for the sparks between she and Della from the moment they meet amid all the shouting and talking and drinking coming from Toni's family.

          Kallie becomes aware of the abusive manner in which Toni treats Della and her sympathy draws her closer and closer to Della who obviously enjoys Kallie's attention and concern. Kallie is also aware that her cousin, who used to be her best friend years ago, has now become a philanderer and a drunk. Kallie turns against her cousin and more towards Della.

          As Toni's condition deteriorates her jealousy and her anger escalate. Toni's abuse of Della moves from disrespect and verbal to physical. Della finally flees for her life and for her safety and ends up in the arms of Kallie.

          I won't tell you the rest of the story, you'll need to read the book. This story has pathos, romance, love, humor, sex, abuse, mystery, and crazed Toni, with a handgun, out for revenge.

          I got the idea to write such a story when my editor Debra Stang and I were visiting about her volunteer work at a domestic violence hot line. She told me about a woman who called and was hesitant to admit that her abusive partner was a woman.

          I had not heard much about lesbian domestic violence, nor had Debra.  From this sparked my interest in writing a story about such a topic. After doing research on the topic I found it interesting that same-sex domestic violence is as common as heterosexual just isn't talked about as much. When I would visit with women about this book they all found it shocking and interesting as they had never thought about lesbian domestic violence.

          "Black and Blue Love", when I published it on Amazon, took off like a rocket.  It continues each month to be my best selling novella. I hope you will take a look at it. I'm sure you will like it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Writing - Good for the Soul

The first book I wrote and published on Amazon is The Unfinished Letter. This is a book, a story, I wrote after my 16 year relationship ended. While the story is fiction it is based on fact and has many personal experiences included.

Writing is a good experience and  a way to "talk" about life's situations, some good, some not so good.  This story is a novella and I wrote it in a month's time.  And, it was as if the damn had broken and I continued writing a novella each month for two years. Yes, I was letting my writing come out and it was glorious and continues to be so.

The Unfinished Letter is about two women, Elizabeth and Jackie, who have both lost their long time partners.  One partner was lost to a car accident and the other partner was lost do to a break up of a long time relationship. These women are middle aged and both have accepted their situations of being alone in life without a love partner. They are not starry eyed young women looking for another quick replacement.

After Jackie and her partner separated, Jackie  has been left with very little financial resources and so she has moved into a subsidized apartment complex. She has little money and no car but she has two best friends she is very close with. Jackie meets up with another resident of the apartment complex who turns out to be Elizabeth's mother.

Elizabeth on the other hand, is financially secure.  She and her partner had both had high paying positions that afforded them to live well.  Then when Elizabeth's partner is killed in a car accident, Elizabeth receives substantial life insurance money from her partner's death.

Jackie has had her heart broken and has decided never to let that happen again, she doesn't need a woman in her life and risk being crushed by another woman.  But, Elizabeth's mother befriends Jackie and decides to play matchmaker.

Elizabeth had known for years that her long time partner was being unfaithful and in fact there had been another woman in the car with her when the fatal car accident occurred.

This book is all about finding LOVE and ROMANCE and has lots of HUMOR. I hope you will give it a try. Maybe you could even do a Review for me. So far it has been my 2nd most purchased book.  Thanks for reading this Blog. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook.