Author Archives: Andi Marquette
Happy Friday, everybody!
I saw this commercial for Mr. Sketch Markers and I laughed so hard I practically cried. You know Mr. Sketch, right? The markers that allegedly smell like fruit? They’ve been around in this country since I was a kid. Anyway, this ad shows you how they put the smell in Mr. Sketch. It’s total Beavis and Butthead humor, but OMG sometimes that just makes me laugh.
Oh, and how about this weird but strangely cool video from Basement Jaxx for their song “Never Say Never”? It might not be entirely safe for some workplaces, so be careful. The premise is that in the future, people lose the ability to dance. So a Japanese company’s scientists develop a device to help people re-discover dancing.
In other, more serious matters, check out this blog by author Bridget Essex about how book piracy not only affects her, but can have ramifications in the lesfic community.
Y’know, I get why file-sharing sites exist. For the record, though, any copies of my books that you find out there that are not affiliated with a legitimate bookselling site and are available for free are illegal. I have not given and do not give permission to anyone to upload or download my copyrighted work for free on any site, anywhere. My publishers have not given and do not give permission for that, either. So if the site you’re on is telling you that oh, everything is copacetic and legal, that’s not true.
So if you are a fan of my work and you can’t afford it, drop me a line. Let’s chat. As my colleague Jove Belle says, maybe we can arrange an alternative to you downloading from a site that could eventually infect your device or computer with some kind of evil spyware.
So share some luv, and support this awesome community of lesfickers (writers, readers, publisher, editors, designers, typesetters) and booksellers by legally purchasing or legally acquiring (i.e. through giveaways or if you’re a book reviewer with a site) their work. Help ‘em keep writing. :D
And let’s hope that the world never forgets how to dance.
I kept thinking that I was going to do a giant “here’s what happened at GCLS,” but ultimately, I decided not to. The conference schedule is still available so you can see what panels were offered and who was on them (click HERE). The vendor layout is also available, so you can see where everybody was in the Grand Ballroom, which was the vendor room. I even took photos. You can see those HERE. And you can check out the list of Goldie finalists HERE and then the list of winners HERE.
I will say that the panels I was on included absolutely fab fellow panelists and moderators and I was extremely excited to be on them. I was also one of the awards presenters this year, along with fellow author R.G. Emanuelle. That was a new experience, but I enjoyed it immensely and considered it an honor.
So here, I’ll do a round-up of the crazy that goes into attending a conference. Some of you may remember that I did an earlier post on prepping for one. Well, here’s the bag of controlled chaos that goes into attending a con.
So I’ll be scarce the next 10 days or so because I’m scheduled to be on-hand at the GGLS conference. What that means is that I’ll be traveling for a couple of days and then I’ll be on-site at the con running around like a freak because I’ve got lots of things going on there this year, including panel appearances and an author chat. I’m also going to be available for chatting outside the formal panels should any readers who are in attendance see me bouncing around the halls.
Oh, and yeah. My third installment in my sci fi series, The Edge of Rebellion, made the finalist list for an award. I’m very pleased about that, and congrats to all my fellow nominees!
I was going to do a long-ass post on the process a manuscript goes through in terms of self-publishing (at least my process), but decided that was too long-ass for today. Instead, I’ll get you updated on a few things.
What does this mean? Well, it means that it’s about to go to the typesetter where it’ll be made all sexy-time. JUST IN TIME for its August debut. Yes, indeedie, friends, this dish is just about ready for the table. Y’all be sure to dig in, now.
In other news, I’m waiting for the final proof from CreateSpace for the print version of From the Hat Down. Jeeziz freaking Christ on a jet ski, but this damn project has been crazy-making. Getting the print version ready has been so amazingly WTF that I can’t even begin to describe it to you. About the only good thing that has come out of this process is that I now know a lot about what to look for and what to do when really weird unheard-of tech glitches pop up in a file and you’re trying to figure out what mystical sorcery powers you can draw on to attempt to fix it.
On the other plus side, I’ll be ordering them to start printing it today. LORD WILLIN’ AND THE CREEK DON’T RISE!
I’m also working on some short stories for some upcoming anthologies. AND I’m almost halfway through the fourth installment of my sci fi series, the Far Seek Chronicles. Always something going on up in here, fer sure.
All right. I might post a couple of quick things at the con, but I can’t make any promises. In the meantime, y’all have a nice break (from me) and y’all come back now, hear?
I’m thinking a bit about reviews. I know a lot of authors think about reviews. Sometimes incessantly. And yes, reviews can be helpful in terms of sales, both long-term and short-term. They can also be really harmful, but if you engage in this writing pursuit, guess what? That’s part of the territory.
In the world of books, reviews have a long and tortured history, as this 2012 Atlantic Monthly piece points out. Yes, friends, no matter the era, there are invariably complaints about reviews, reviewers, and what they ultimately accomplish. There are also always complaints about whether someone has the expertise in a particular genre or subject to do a review, and whether someone has a background in writing.
And yes, reviews can also be political/false in the sense that someone is trying to deliberately sabotage a writer or a writer is actually posting glowing reviews of his or her own work (that’s called a sock puppet review).
None of this is really new, friends. Certainly technology gives us the ability to post things quickly and create “buzz” (whether negative or positive). It also allows people to mask their identities and post whatever they want about a writer’s work. Which, again, isn’t necessarily new. It’s just a lot easier now than it was a couple decades ago to do it. The Interwebz have created an arena in which anyone can voice an opinion about a book (or any other product) and even develop reputations for reviews, and become kind of a reliable source for others about particular genres. You might, for example, find that you seem to like the same types of genres that, say, “pinklady998″ likes, and you start following that user and find that you trust her/his reviews about certain things, which might in turn guide some of your own purchasing habits.
So reviews can also be tools. They’re a “word-of-mouth” kind of thing, in this crazy Internet age. So rather than hanging out with your friends on Friday night talking about the latest reads you got at the library (or at the bookstore), you post a review of a book online and that then becomes part of a larger conversation about the book/story that anyone else can engage in. Which is kind of neat, actually, that you can engage with other people from all over the world about a particular work.
As an author, though, you might consider the following guidelines regarding reviews. And I’ve said some of this elsewhere, but I’ll reiterate it here:
Sad news in the world of writing.
Acclaimed author Nancy Garden died yesterday at the age of 76. She was the author of Annie on My Mind, the 1982 novel in which a high school senior from an upscale neighborhood falls in love with another girl from a poorer neighborhood and from a very different family background. The two hit it off, but they have to contend with a few obstacles.
Many of you have no doubt read this now-classic young adult lesbian novel. If you read it when you were a teenager, no doubt it made you feel somehow better about being different. If you read it as an adult, it probably took you back to your teen years, when you were trying to figure out your feelings and who you might be. And might just have made you feel better about who you became.
Victoria Brownworth wrote this remembrance of Garden over at Lambda Literary. I don’t have the words in this instance, but fortunately, Victoria does:
Garden’s books were published by many of the top publishers — Knopf, Houghton-Mifflin, Holt, Harcourt, Lippincott, Scholastic, HarperCollins, Putnam, Random House, Dell, Farrar, Straus, Giroux and Bantam. But she was also published by smaller independent publishers including Bella Books.
She won dozens of awards, major and minor, and if the American Library Association (ALA), the New York Public Library and the Children’s Book Council each had a “watch for the latest from this children’s author” list, Garden would have been at the top–nearly all her books received awards and/or listing from all of them. Over a ten year span, Garden was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award every year.
Look again at that list of publishers and awards and remember that Garden was an out lesbian writing solely for the children’s market (her one adult romance novel was published by Bella in 2002). That made her an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind trailblazer for LGBT writing. From the time she published her first book in 1971 when she was 43, she wrote at least a book a year, but usually several. Her most recent book was published in 2012.
As Brownworth says, Nancy Garden was a rarity. “The consummate children’s book author.” She wrote dozens of books, Brownworth notes, “some gay-themed, some not, but it was this book, Annie on My Mind, which was a first of its kind, before Y/A was even a sub-genre within the catch-all children’s books genre, that was Garden’s best-known work. Farrar Straus Giroux had taken a chance on the novel and it paid off–the book has remained in print throughout the past three decades.”
But she wasn’t just an author. Garden was an avid though kind and respectful opponent of censorship (she ended up on banned books lists and her work was actually burned) who received the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award in 2000 in recognition of her work defending intellectual freedom for young readers. In an interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith that Garden did in 2001, Garden stated,
Nothing is served, I think, by demeaning those who truly believe that books should be banned, or by arguing against them in a hotheaded way.
Conversely, everything is served by reasonable dialogue when that’s possible, and by making the point that although parents have every right to control what their own children read, they have no right to control what other people’s children read.
Everything is also served, I think, by pointing out the importance of the First Amendment and the danger of eroding it. In a society without the protection the First Amendment gives us, sure, you’d be able to ban books that I like but you don’t — but there’d be nothing to stop me from turning around and banning the ones you like. It’s important to remember that, and also that one of the first steps toward Nazi control of Germany was book burning.
She told Leitich Smith that she wanted to write for LGBT youth because “When I was growing up as a young lesbian in the 50s, I looked in vain for books about my people. There were none for kids, and the few I knew about for adults were always out of the library, which I later realized was probably a subtle (maybe backhanded would be a better word!) form of censorship.”
I did not have the good fortune to meet Ms. Garden, though I might have had the chance. She was the recipient of the Lee Lynch Classic Book Award for Annie on My Mind through the Golden Crown Literary Society and as GCLS associate executive director Liz Gibson told Victoria Brownworth in a statement, Nancy hadn’t yet written her acceptance speech, but no doubt she would have been prepared by July 9th, which is when the GCLS conference is scheduled to kick off this year in Portland. The GCLS echoed the sentiments of so many upon news of Garden’s death: devastated. “The lesbian community,” the GCLS statement to Brownworth read, “has lost a valuable treasure, and our hearts and prayers go out to Nancy’s partner, Sandy.”
Yes, we have indeed lost a treasure. An indomitable spirit whose tireless advocacy in different quarters provided hope and guidance to so, so many. Small comfort in the midst of such a loss, but we can also take comfort in the legacy she left. Let us not forget, and let us honor her work and spirit by continuing to advocate for voices that lack a platform.
ARGH. Kickity kick kick ARGH.
I’ve been running around trying to get a print version of From the Hat Down up and operational.
It’s not working. It’s making me frustrated. REALLY frustrated.
The main issue is that the print people claim that the file I and my typesetter supplied is causing the print to be too light. You see, I ordered an ol’ skool paper proof, which means I ordered a preliminary version of the book, bound with the cover so I could see how it looks. The exterior looks fine. But the interior typeface is just too light. So I brought it up with the printer people who allegedly did some “tracking” to determine what the cause may be. Meanwhile, my typesetter checked, too. The settings in my typesetter’s file are fine. They’re where they need to be. The printer people insist they’re not (bless their hearts).
In the meantime, the book doesn’t get printed because I refuse to release a book whose type looks like it’s the 20th Xeroxed copy off another Xeroxed copy.
I spent around 15 years in publishing. My typesetter spent about 20. And my designer is still working in publishing. I met her 20 years ago at the press where we worked and at that point, she had a good 10-15 years of design experience under her belt. Ergo, we kind of know what we’re doing.
But the printer people are just not on the boat with us.
And this makes me Writer McCrankypants.
So, dear readers, at some point, I will have a print version available. For reals. But I want to make sure it’s a quality product that you will be able to read without thinking: “Damn. This typeface is so light.” Because that will make you Reader McCrankypants, and that is so totally not cool.
And yes, at some point, I will have some other e-formats available. Those issues are also contributing to my McCrankypants self. Send me some good ju-ju. Maybe the printer needs a ju-ju infusion, too. And all the e-platforms. Just massive good ju-ju everywhere. I think that will decidedly help. In the meantime, howsabout we listen to the playlist to From the Hat Down to make us feel better? Music always makes me feel a bit better.
LINK, in case this embedding freaks out again.
And here’s the playlist for From the Boots Up, just cuz.
LINK, in case the embedding flees this site.
Happy reading, happy writing. And happy Friday, all!
This is the follow-up to my Rainbow Award runner-up, the novella From the Boots Up. So you’ll see it posted in a variety of places — thanks, peeps! MUCH appreciated! Anyway, here’s more info plus some goodies to check out:
Meg Tallmadge is a veterinarian at a clinic in Laramie, Wyoming. She’s got a great job, great friends, deep ties to the family ranch, and big plans for her vet future. Sure, there are bumps in the road, like her mom’s continued denial about who Meg is and her painful and infuriating attempts to make Meg a “proper” woman. Then there’s Meg’s recent breakup with a girlfriend, which has her wondering why she can’t seem to open up to relationships. But Meg knows that life is messy, and sometimes all you can do is get through and shake it off. What she can’t seem to shake off, however, is her past.
It’s been almost ten years to the day since she met the love of her life, and about eight since she let her go. Meg has a hard time admitting that maybe she didn’t really let go, and that maybe some things you never really get over, no matter how hard you try. But her past is half a world away, caught up in her own life, relationship, and journalism career, and Meg isn’t one to chase the ghosts of past relationships. Even if they send you a birthday card and nudge what you thought were the closed-off parts of your heart. After all, second chances are the stuff of fantasies and movies where the good guy always gets a happy ending. You can’t count on something like that.
Or can you?
Click this link to read one!
These songs and/or artists played a role in the writing of this novel.
Holy moly! Click to get into the running for a $25 Amazon gift card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Where to find Andi
From the Boots Up
Thanks, all, for joining me. Happy reading, happy writing!
YEEEEEEEEE-HA, my friends!
For Kindlers, From the Hat Down is now available for your purchasing and (hopefully) reading pleasure!
Hope you enjoy it and thanks for joining me, Meg, and Gina on another ride.
And if you’re interested, this is the follow-up novel to my Rainbow Award runner-up novella, From the Boots Up.
Happy Thursday, happy reading (hopefully)!
I’m pleased to be a stop on my fellow author Jove Belle’s blog tour for her Uncommon Romance. Below you’ll find all kinds of goodness and info about her and her book, so sit back for more info and teaser stuff.
was born and raised against a backdrop of orchards and potato fields. The youngest of four children, she was raised in a conservative, Christian home and began asking why at a very young age, much to the consternation of her mother and grandmother. At the customary age of eighteen, she fled southern Idaho in pursuit of broader minds and fewer traffic jams involving the local livestock. The road didn’t end in Portland, Oregon, but there were many confusing freeway interchanges that a girl from the sticks was ill-prepared to deal with. As a result, she has lived in the Portland metro area for over fifteen years and still can’t figure out how she manages to spend so much time in traffic when there’s not a stray sheep or cow in sight.
She lives with her partner of seventeen years. Between them they share a collection of six children, one dog, two cats, a mortgage payment, one sedan, and a cushy SUV big enough to hold the Lesbian Brady Bunch on their family outings. One day she hopes to live in a house that doesn’t generate a never ending honey-do list.
Incidentally, she never stopped asking why, but did expand her arsenal of questions to include who, what, when, where and, most important of all, how. In those questions, a story is born.
Her books include The Job (coming October 2014) Uncommon Romance, Love & Devotion, Edge of Darkness, Split the Aces, Chaps, and Indelible. They are available at Bold Strokes Books.
Jove’s latest, Uncommon Romance, is a collection of three steamy, sexy, erotic novellas.
Happily ever after doesn’t look the same for every couple.
In “Raw Silk”, happily married June and Ashlyn Phillips occasionally enjoy adding another dynamic to their sex life. When Katerina “Kat” VanderVort enters June’s office one day, she sets her sights on June. Lucky for her, Ashlyn loves to indulge her wife’s fantasies.
In “On Her Knees”, Simone Davies is finally happy. That is, until her chief tormentor and biggest crush, Abby Nelson, shows up at her firm’s holiday party. Together they struggle to forget the past and build a future together.
In “Hollis”, homicide detective Jude Lassiter pushes a little too hard, and her instructor at a FBI anti-terrorism training session, Special Agent Beverly Hollis, knows exactly how to punish her. Jude is all too willing to submit.
And here’s an EXCERPT from “Raw Silk,” to whet (wet?) your whistle:
“The client hit on me. A lot.”
Ash swallowed hastily, her eyes narrowed and heated. “Bastard. I’ll kill him.” Jealousy made Ashlyn forget details.
“Her. The client is a her, remember? Katerina VanderVort.”
“That’s right.” The flash of anger was replaced by a curious, if not a little devious, smile. “Katerina?”
“Yeah, she told me to call her Kat.” June pushed her salad around with her fork. She wasn’t nearly as hungry as Ash, but she’d remain at the table for as long as Ash did.
“Kat?” Ash laughed lightly. “Is she hot?”
June nodded reluctantly. Ash was laughing now, but she didn’t want to give her wife any cause for genuine jealousy, either. “She is. She’s dark, like Mediterranean. She doesn’t match her Scandinavian last name at all.”
“Did you ask her why?”
“No, I was too busy trying to get her to stop touching me.”
“Wait, she touched you?” The jealousy June feared threatened to surface again.
“Sort of. She sat really close, like close enough for our legs to touch.”
Ash smiled again, then slid her chair closer to June. She stopped about a foot away. “Like this?”
June shook her head. “Closer.”
Ash shifted again but stopped before they touched. “Like this?” Ash leaned in intimately close and spoke directly into June’s ear. Her hot breath puffed against June’s skin, and she almost forgot what Ash was asking.
“Closer.” Her answer came out hushed and secretive.
Ash moved until her chair touched June’s and their legs touched from floor to knee. She slipped her bare foot over the top of June’s and caressed it. “Like this?” Ash whispered the question with her lips pressed to June’s ear.
June nodded, but she couldn’t force herself to speak. The words were trapped in an emotional bunch in her chest.
“And you liked it.” Ash worked the buttons on her blouse open in the middle until she was able to reach her fingers in and touch skin. June jumped at the contact. Ash rolled the backs of her fingers over June’s abs, tickling and teasing. “Didn’t you?”
June gasped and found her voice once again. It was shaky and uncertain, but it worked. “I did.”
Ash pulled her shirt free from her skirt and smoothed her palm flat against her stomach. She draped her other hand over the back of June’s chair and played her fingers through the ends of June’s hair. She pushed the hair out of the way and bent her mouth to June’s neck. Her kiss was hot and open mouthed, and she sucked hard on the skin where neck met shoulder. “Did she do this?”
She moaned and reflexively clutched Ash’s head to hold her close. She held her body tense and perfectly still. “No.”
Ash worked her way up until her mouth was once again upon June’s ear. She sucked the lobe into her mouth and breathed hot air over the wet skin. Excitement rushed to the surface and June groaned.
“You want her to.” Ash massaged her hand through June’s hair. The touch was rhythmic and lulling and robbed her of her ability to focus on anything but Ash’s fingers against her skin and in her hair. Ash nipped the sensitive skin behind her ear. “Didn’t you?”
Want more? Check it out: