Work(s) in Progress! A stop on the Ylva Blog Hop

Hiya, kids!

So Ylva Publishing, one of my houses, is kicking off 2016 with a blog hop. Which means a whole bunch of Ylva authors are posting blogs on set days during the month and each author alerts readers to upcoming blogs in the hop (see below for the list of authors who have already participated and to see who’s next in the hop).

Since I’m up in here hoppin’ for Ylva, I’ll mention the book I just released with them over the holidays called The Bureau of Holiday Affairs, which is a reboot of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story. I think, though, I’d like to chat about what’s coming down the pike for me, but if you want to know the backstory behind Bureau, you can read it HERE.
The-Bureau-of-Holiday-Affairs-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

Anyway, I thought rather than telling you stories about my sordid past (ha ha) or whatever else sordid, I’d chat a bit about some works-in-progress that I’m doing for Ylva, since readers might be a bit interested in what I’m doing now (and not the past), especially with the holidays all behind us n’ stuff.

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A playlist for you to rock out to while shopping

Or baking. Or dancing. Or whatever you’re doing…

Hi, kids!

As some of you know, I’m super-swamped over at the Women and Words Hootenanny. A couple days ago we gave away 31 books. Every day for 12 days, we give away, on average, 20 books. Why, yes. That is quite a lot. And this year, we’ve included a concurrent Rafflecopter drawing in which we’re giving away two Kindle Fires as well as other cool stuff. For realz. You should go over there and check it out. Because it is happy fun time. HERE’S THE LINK to Women and Words.

Anyway.

I write to music. And for some of my work, I do playlists. I did one for my most recent novel, The Bureau of Holiday Affairs, my reboot of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, which was published on December 19th, actually. FUN FACT!

I post my playlists at Spotify, so if you have an account there, you can find me: andimarquette. Cryptic, I know.

The playlist for The Bureau isn’t Christmasy in the Christmas music sense. That’s because I listen to all kinds of music all the time, and the character of Robin Preston (who is the main character of my novel) isn’t much for Christmas music, either. Rather, she has kind of an alternative/indie/college rock soul that the Bureau is trying to tap into so she can hopefully be redeemed.

My playlists for my novels and novellas also tend to follow the plot arc, and also evoke some of the secondary characters.

See if you can figure out which characters are tied to which songs in the playlist. 😀 Leave a comment with your guesses and I just might send you an ebook copy of The Bureau. WOOOO!

At any rate, here’s the playlist on Spotify:

Happy weekend!

Cover reveal, “The Secret of Sleepy Hollow”

DARLINGS!

I haven’t just been lying around eating bon-bons and watching telenovelas.

My shortish novel/longish novella The Secret of Sleepy Hollow has a shiny new cover!

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It’s part of Ylva Publishing’s Twice Told Tales — retellings of stories you may know and love, with — ahem — Sapphic twists.

Most Americans know the story of Sleepy Hollow, and how Ichabod Crane disappeared that cold night so long ago. Washington Irving left it up to the reader to wonder what happened to him. Well, in The Secret of Sleepy Hollow, you just might get your answers.

SYNOPSIS:
Tabitha “Abby” Crane, a doctoral student working on her thesis, doesn’t allow herself much time outside academia. Fortunately, she’s managed to squeeze in a research trip over Halloween weekend to the historical society of Sleepy Hollow, New York, where she hopes to uncover new research on the notorious town’s most infamous legend—that of the headless horseman. But she has a personal stake in this trip: Abby’s own ancestor, Ichabod Crane, disappeared mysteriously over two hundred years ago, perhaps at the hands of the ghostly horseman.

Abby has no reason to expect anything of Sleepy Hollow beyond immersing herself in archival collections and enjoying its Halloween festivities, but then she crosses paths with Katie, who makes her head spin and her heart pound. When Katie invites her on a nighttime visit to the glen where the horseman allegedly rides, Abby can’t say no, upending her plans for a quiet research retreat. And when Abby and Katie, who has her own ties to the famous story, find what may be the key to the disappearance of Ichabod Crane all those years ago, love, legend, and magic intermingle, making clear that Sleepy Hollow has plans of its own for yet another Crane.

Galloping your way next month! Stay tooooned!

Discovering Delilah with Melissa Foster

HI, DARLINGS!

So today I’m helping my author colleague Melissa Foster get the word out about her latest offering in her Harborside Nights series, the F/F romance Discovering Delilah. JUST RELEASED last week. Below, you will find ALL THE FREAKING INFORMATION YOU COULD POSSIBLY NEED FOR THIS. Keep scrolling down and you’ll find a link for a Rafflecopter giveaway. OMG go see!

So have fun flinging through here and show Melissa some luv.

Happy Thursday, happy reading!

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Book Title: Discover Delilah
Author: Melissa Foster
Genre: New Adult F/F Romance
Release Date: July 9, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

HARBORSIDE NIGHTS is a sexy, hot, and evocatively real New Adult Romance series that follows a group of friends who have known one another for years as “summer” friends, and now come together after college to build their lives. They’re tough, edgy, and accepting–most of the time. Catching Cassidy is written in the loving, raw, and emotional voice readers have come to love by New York Times & USA Today bestselling, award-winning author Melissa Foster.
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DISCOVERING DELILAH is an #LGBT New Adult Romance
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After the death of her parents on the day of her college graduation, Delilah Armstrong thought she could finally follow her heart and come out to her closest friends, but the guilt of going against her parents’ beliefs haunts her. The feelings she has for her best friend, Ashley, are stronger than anything she’s felt before, but Delilah has never even kissed a girl, and fear stops her at every turn.
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Ashley Carver promised herself that she would never again date another girl who wasn’t out, but that was before she met intoxicatingly sweet and sexy Delilah.
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When another girl offers to teach Delilah the ropes, it changes Delilah’s whole world and gives her the courage to go after the only girl she really wants. But coming out isn’t as easy as Delilah imagined, and moving past her parents’ death and the feelings of guilt she is left with is even harder. The intense passion between Ashley and Delilah is too strong to deny, but coming together means risking everything.
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Discovering Delilah is an edgy, evocative, romantic story of friendship, family, and the courage to love.
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COMING soon the full Harborside Nights series:
Catching Cassidy (Het)
Discovering Delilah (F/F)
Tempting Tristan (M/M)
Chasing Charley (Het)
Breaking Brandon (M/M)
Embracing Evan (Het)
Reaching Rusty (Het)
Loving Livi (Het)

Characters from the Love in Bloom series will appear in the Harborside Nights books.

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Meet the Author

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author.She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.
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Visit Melissa on social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

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Catching Cassidy

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Book Blitzin’ with Lesbians on the Loose!

Lesbians on the loose book blitz

Hey, peeps! So I have a longish short story published in the BRAND NEW ANTHOLOGY Lesbians on the Loose: Crime Writers on the Lam. My story is called “The Falcone Maltese,” and it’s the first YA piece I’ve published. In the story, our intrepid high school sleuth Nattie Brew sets out to solve a dog-napping of a prize Maltese show dog from the Falcone household. It helps, of course, that Jo Falcone is a classmate of Nattie’s. And Nattie’s current crush. Join Nattie as she tries to solve the dastardly deed and maybe catch Jo’s eye in the process. See below for an excerpt.

So go have a look at the goodies!

Book Blitz

51pxSz1jhZLBook Title: Lesbians on the Loose: Crime Writers on the Lam
Editors: Lori L. Lake and Jessie Chandler
Genre: Lesbian Mystery Anthology
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

These tales of murder, mayhem, and suspense will keep you up way past your bedtime!

The lesbians on the loose in this collection are an entertaining mix of protagonists: cops, amateur sleuths, a PI, a judge, a bounty hunter, and one very insightful dog. There’s even an intrepid high schooler and a mystery writer.

Despite greed and grief, rage and revenge, secrets and lies, many of the stories feature humor from a variety of characters trying to find their way in a difficult world–cops who’ve seen too much, revenge seekers, and women who want justice for themselves and others.

You won’t regret going on the lam with these terrific writers: Elizabeth Sims, Carsen Taite, SY Thompson, Andi Marquette, Linda M. Vogt, VK Powell, Kate McLachlan, Lori L. Lake, Lynn Ames, Sandra de Helen, Jen Wright, Sue Hardesty, Jessie Chandler, J.M. Redmann, and Katherine V. Forrest

excerpt

Excerpt from The Falcone Matese by Andi Marquette

“Did you hear? One of Mrs. Falcone’s show dogs is missing.” Fred lowered his voice to sound like he was all conspiratorial or something. “Big city problems come to a small town. Next thing you know, we’ll be the center of a missing dog black market.” He was currently going through a Duran Duran phase, as evidenced by his mass of messy hair streaked with blue, black Simon LeBon pants, as he called them, and modish black boots. He wore a deep red button-down shirt and a black skinny tie. The Union Jack took up the bottom half of the tie. His book bag also had a Union Jack on it, along with several pins of bands he liked.

“That’s majorly bogus. Which dog?” Nattie took her biology book and notebook out of her locker. She feigned only passing interest but she thought immediately of Jo, Mrs. Falcone’s daughter, and one of Nattie’s classmates. And also her current crush. She glanced at the lockers next to her to make sure nobody was listening to their conversation. The locker to her right was open and the inside of the door was plastered with various sheets of paper that said “Seniors Kick Ass” and “Class of ’85” in different colors though this was the juniors’ hall. The locker’s owner had a crush on a senior boy.

“Giorgio. But they call him Gigi. The paper said if you see him running around, try calling him with both names.”

“How did it happen?” Nattie asked.

“Cops said somebody broke in.”

Nattie closed the locker door with her foot. “So the dog was stolen.”

“Way.” He twirled his sunglasses in one hand.

Nattie shoved a pen into her back pocket next to her comb. “Who would steal a dog out of somebody’s house?” And in this town, where everybody knew everybody else?

“Therein lies the mystery.” He leaned in, like he was about to share a major secret. “You should totally take the case. Nattie Brew, Detective at Large.”

She laughed. “Oh, right. Because I didn’t get in enough trouble the last time.”

“Since when has that ever stopped you?”

“Since I was totally grounded for a month.”

“This is different. You probably wouldn’t have to break into anything. Plus,” he added with a smirk, “I’m sure you’ll have Jo Falcone’s undying gratitude.” He pretended to swoon.

Nattie’s cheeks flared with heat. “Shut up.”

“Undying gratitude,” he repeated, grinning.

“Fred—”

“Hey, fag. This hall is now for seniors. Not butt ugly faggy juniors.”

Nattie’s stomach clenched. Josh Jacobs was a major dickweed. And always with a few other dickweeds from the football team. Three, today, and they all guffawed at the insult.

Fred gave him an “oh, please” look. “Really? That’s the best you can do?”

Josh’s fake smile disappeared. “Flamer.” He shoved Fred hard, knocking him into the locker next to Nattie’s.

Several other students stopped to watch.

“Takes one to know one,” Fred said..

The crowd uttered a collective “ohhh” in acknowledgement of a good comeback.
Josh reached for him. “Piece of—”

“Leave him alone,” Nattie said. Her voice didn’t sound as scared as she felt. Her knees were shaking.

Josh turned, puzzled, as if it never occurred to him that anybody would say anything. “What?”

“Leave him alone. Go waste somebody else’s time.” Her heart pounded in her ears and she forced herself not to run down the hall.

He glared, his hands clenched into fists. “You a fag, too?”

“Not likely, since ‘fag’ is an insult most often applied to guys. Or, in England, a term used for cigarettes.”

Several students snickered. Josh shifted his glare to the small crowd. The giggles died immediately.

“Is there a problem here?”

Nattie’s knees almost buckled in relief as Mr. Grafton approached from his classroom down the hall.

“No,” Josh said.

Mr. Grafton looked at Nattie.

“Not anymore,” she said.

Fred shook his head.

“All right,” Mr. Grafton said. “Everybody get to class.”

Josh gave Nattie a final glare before he walked away, his posse of teammates right behind him.

Nattie looked at Fred and they stared for a moment before bursting into nervous laughter.

“Major dickweed.” Fred adjusted his bag and smoothed the front of his shirt.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah. You’re so big and strong,” he teased. “Jo will totally appreciate it.”

Nattie rolled her eyes. “Be careful, okay?”

“I’ll just run and find you. Nobody messes with you ’cause of your dad.” He batted his eyes.

“If that’s what it takes.” She gave his arm a gentle squeeze. Nattie rarely talked about her dad at school, but everybody knew he was with the sheriff’s department. She never talked about her mom, either, who had died when she was a toddler.

“Gotta go,” Fred said. “Catch you later.”

She watched him, since Josh was right down the hall leaning against a locker. But he was busy hanging all over—Nattie stared a few more moments—Pam Howard? Pam was back with that jerkoff? Gag. She checked to make sure Fred had gotten past Josh then went to class.

“Hey, Nattie,” Jo said as Nattie approached the door to the biology classroom. She was leaning against the wall, holding her books in front, flat against her waist. She wore her basic Jo uniform, as Nattie categorized it. Loose jeans pegged at the ankles above her black high top Chucks and a light blue T-shirt rolled up at the sleeves. She also wore a men’s black vest over her shirt, which added to her boyish look but in a good way. She’d started streaking her dark hair blonde in the front, which only made her cuter.

“Hi.” Nattie hoped she sounded calm and cool.

“Got a sec?” Jo pushed off the wall.

“Yeah.” Ohmigod.

Jo stepped away from the doorway and the students filing in. She moved closer and lowered her voice. “My mom’s best show dog was stolen.”

“I know. I heard. I’m really sorry.”

“Um. So, do you think you could help find him? I mean, if you want to. I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble or anything.”

Nattie stared at her.

“I mean, after the last time you solved something, I wasn’t sure I should ask, but you’re really good at finding stuff, so—”

“Yes,” she said, and immediately regretted it, but only a little. Her dad didn’t have to know.

Jo grinned. “Really? Awesome. Could you come over after school today?”

“Uh—” Nattie had never been inside Jo’s house and the thought made her nervous, but giddy, too.

“To see where it happened. The scene of the crime.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Awesome. Meet me after school by the parking lot.”

Nattie followed her in and took a seat on the opposite side of the room. Jo sat nearer the back, and Nattie wished the order was reversed so she could see her during class. She opened her notebook and started listing potential suspects in Giorgio’s dognapping and possible motives. Jo would have some ideas, too. She shoved the other thoughts she had of Jo out of her mind. This was an investigation, after all.

Meet the Editors

Lori L. Lake – In addition to writing books, Lori teaches fiction writing courses and workshops, most recently for The Oregon Writers Colony and The Golden Crown Literary Society. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is currently at work on a romance, the fifth Gun Series book, an historical anthology, and the first book in a writing guide series called SPARKING CREATIVITY: WORDS OF WISDOM TO INSPIRE YOUR WRITING CRAFT. For more information, see her website at http://www.LoriLLake.com.

Jessie Chandler is the award-winning author of the Shay O’Hanlon Caper series. Her debut novel, Bingo Barge Murder, was a finalist for a Goldie and won the Golden Crown Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award. Hide and Snake Murder, the second novel in the series, won a Golden Crown Goldie Award, and an IPPY–Independent Publisher Book Award for LGBT fiction. Hide and Snake Murder and the third in the series, Pickle in the Middle Murder, were both finalists, and Chip Off the Ice Block Murder, the fourth Shay O’Hanlon book, won the LGBT fiction category of the 2014 USA Book Awards. Chip Off the Ice Block Murder was also a finalist in the mystery category of the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards.

Chandler lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her wife and two mutts, Fozzy Bear and Ollie. In the fall and winter, Jessie writes, and spends her summers selling T-shirts and other assorted trinkets to unsuspecting conference and festival goers.

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There you go! All kinds of goodies n’ stuff! Hope you decide to check it out! Happy Sunday!

Happy holidays…wait, what? Get your short stories ready!

Hi, peeps!

Hope everything and everybody are treating you well. April has been a whirlwind of crazy bizzy, but it’s all good.

Anyway, I bring up the holidays, friends, because there are usually many opportunities to submit short stories to holiday anthologies at many different publishers. Now, I’m not going to delve into whether or not said anthologies make money, but they remain pretty dang popular every year. And some publishers turn them into really cool fundraising opportunities for good causes, like Ylva did last year with their anthology, Unwrap These Presents. ALL profits go to organizations that help homeless LGBTQ youth. (full disclosure — I have a story published in this anthology)

At any rate, so what, Andi? It’s NOT EVEN FREAKING MAY AND HERE YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT DECEMBER HOLIDAY CRAZY.

Indeed. But I do this because if you want to get your stories in said anthologies, you need to start writing NOW. That’s one of the issues with holiday anthologies. You have to start thinking about it at least 6-7 months in advance and get that story hammered out and submitted. I personally enjoy writing for holiday anthologies because of a bit of personal baggage.

That is, I am so not a fan of the November-December holidays. Christmas is a particular drag for me, but I realized some years back that I get to decide my holiday fate, so I make it a point not to get involved in the absolute nuttiness and rampant commercialism of the season. My friends and family all agreed that instead of doing that, we’d engage in good works and fun and relaxed party things and we all discovered that we are way happier and less stressed at that time of year than in the past.

So I’ve decided that part of my holiday therapy, if you will, is to make it a regular thing to write a story or novella or something comparable that deals with some aspect of the November-December holidays and either get it published or post it somewhere. I particularly like romance/romantic comedies that time of year, so that’s probably going to be a recurring theme.

Having said that, I actually just started writing a holiday novella a couple of nights ago. The idea hit me the day I started writing it. I went home after work and BOOM. Writing crazy. Most likely it’ll be done toward the end of May and then all my critique peeps will rip it apart and I’ll rewrite is 32 times and then see what kind of publishing venue is out there for it. If nobody wants it, I may make it available on Kindle. We’ll see…

So for now, friends, start thinking about holiday anthologies as possible venues for your work. Ylva loves holiday anthologies, and they’re doing one this year, too. F/F romance and/or erotica.

CHECK IT. Deadline is July 15. Get crackin’.

Or perhaps you feel more comfie writing creepy Halloween stories this time of year. GREAT. Ylva loves Halloween anthologies, too.

CLICK. Deadline is May 31. Get creepin’.

Or, if you totally don’t want to do holidays in that vein at all, consider submitting to me and my co-editor R.G. Emanuelle for a second round of F/F FOOD and ROMANCE/EROTICA. FOR REALS! We’d love to consider your work.

CLICK RIGHT HERE BECAUSE OMG YOU SO WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR FORTHCOMING ORDER UP ANTHOLOGY OMG I KNOW YOU DO.

Anyway, if you know of any other holiday anthologies, please feel free to share in the comments. Other readers will totally appreciate that. And for now, start thinking about getting stories ready. After all, you don’t need snow to feel festive.

Happy writing, happy Thursday!

Unwrap these presents, y’all, and help homeless LGBTQ youth!

Hey! Got some great news yesterday from Ylva Publishing.

The holiday anthology Unwrap These Presents is HOT OFF THE EBOOK PRESS available right now as we speak.cover_A_Unwrap-These-Presents_500x800

It’s got a ton of authors (full disclosure: I’m one of them) and ALL PROCEEDS go to benefit 2 organizations that help homeless LGBTQ youth:
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The Ali Forney Center in New York City
The Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK

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I’m going to give you a stat, friends.

Some FORTY PERCENT of homeless youth are LGBTQ and nearly 7 in 10 respondents in this 2012 study about homeless LGBTQ youth said that family rejection was a major contributing factor to their homelessness.

Rolling Stone recently did a piece on homeless LGBTQ youth, and it will give you a stark picture of what these young people face without a support network.

We hope you’ll help us help these two wonderful organizations, and consider helping similar organizations and programs in your area whether through donations or volunteering.

To purchase Unwrap These Presents from Amazon.us, click HERE.

To purchase Unwrap These Presents from Amazon.uk, click HERE.

To donate directly to the Ali Forney Center, click HERE.
To donate directly to the Albert Kennedy Trust, click HERE.

Thank you so much for reading, and thank you for helping us share some luv.

Happy Sunday!

Oldies but goodies (plus update)

Hi, kids!

First, the anthology I co-edited with R.G. Emanuelle is now available in print! WOOO! Go get some.

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And second, I’ve been doing a lot of mystery/thriller reading these days, trying to get inspired to write a mystery/thriller short story. I’ve never written a short story in that genre, so I’m a little tentative about it. I do have an idea, but I haven’t really had the time to sit down and hammer away at it. I’m hoping this weekend is the key.

Anyway, I just finished Walter Satterthwait’s Joshua Croft series, which he published in the late 1980s and early- mid-1990s. Croft is a PI in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the five books (listed HERE) are full of local color and the quirks and vagaries not only of Santa Fe, but of northern New Mexico and its myriad characters. For that alone these are worth the read, but what Satterthwait does so damn brilliantly is characterization and dialogue.

Croft is a wiseass, and the snappy interchanges between him and the other characters that fill these books with New Mexico goodness and maybe a touch of Southwestern noir lend great pacing to the plot arcs and subplots. Satterthwait is a master at pacing, and his descriptions and turns of phrase can be both brilliant and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Witness this, from The Hanged Man, the fourth in the series (that deals with murder most foul in a part of Santa Fe’s new agey community). Here, Croft is about to interview someone who was at the gathering at which a man was later found murdered. He’s gone to her house and is noticing its décor:

The basic motif here appeared to be Egyptian. …There was enough marble in the room to slap together a life-sized replica of the Parthenon. Even the floor was marble, black, as shiny as obsidian. That floor might be pleasant in the summer, on the two of three days when the temperature in Santa Fe rose above eighty-five degrees. During the winter, it was probably a bitch to keep warm. But I suppose that if you could afford a marble floor, you didn’t worry about heating the thing. You just marched your Nubian slaves in from time to time and had them breathe on it. [p. 26]

And one of the interesting things is that there are LGBT characters that pop up in some of the books, and they’re not treated disparagingly. They’re part of the fabric of the culture in Santa Fe, and for books written in the late ’80s and early 90s, that’s actually really cool.

Anyway, I also read crime fiction written years ago to get a sense of how investigation has changed over the years, and what techniques people used to track down suspects. Having a historical sense of shifts in methodology, I think, can help a writer develop a better sense of the many different ways people use to find information. And indeed, ol’ skool is still used for some things today. Reading authors like Satterthwait not only gives you a sense of shoe-leather approaches, but also of how that type of investigation can influence pacing, characterization, and plot arc.

Reading someone like Satterthwait, who weaves the setting so beautifully into his plots and whose characterization is so good, can also provide you some guidance on writing a thriller/mystery with regard to those elements, and how they should work.

So with that in mind, read the oldies, friends. You can find lists of them at links like this:

Stop, You’re Killing Me!
The Top 100 Thrillers of All Time
100 Mysteries and Thrillers to read in a Lifetime (Amazon list)
Mystery Thriller Writers (Wikipedia list)
Edgar Awards Database at Mystery Writers of America
History of crime fiction

Happy reading, happy writing, happy Wednesday!

I write romance. Therefore I am.

Greetings, peeps! August is Read-a-Romance month, and I’m participating in a blog-o-rama held by the website readaromancemonth.com. Thanks to Bobbi Dumas for the invite! The theme this year is “Celebrate Romance,” and many of you readers out there, I’m sure, do just that. HatDown2a-small

But what if you couldn’t celebrate romance? What if you had to keep your mouth shut about your attraction to someone to protect yourself from rejection by your families and peers, emotional abuse, or possibly physical abuse? What if you had to hide who you really are in plain sight? That if you were brave enough to meet with the person you love most, you could never do that openly, and you could never, ever tell anyone about it? Some Kind of River cover 2012

That’s what it’s like for thousands of LGBTQ people all over the world. Imagine, those of you who do not identify as LGBTQ, what it would be like for you to have to change the pronouns of your life partner to keep your job (currently, it’s legal to be fired in 29 states for being LGBTQ). Imagine what it would be like to hide the love of your life from your family for fear that you will be rejected. Imagine what it would be like to never participate in work functions with your spouse or partner because you can’t risk anyone finding out that you’re not heterosexual.

And imagine what it would be like to be denied access to your partner’s hospital bed in their greatest time of need, and that you’re denied recognition in family gatherings as someone who is happily settled. Or even legally married.

Imagine that the greatest romance you’ve ever had and the most amazing person you’ve ever met will always be unspoken, unrecognized, and unrevealed.

And imagine what it’s like to never be seen as a full human being, but rather reduced to an act of sex — reduced to simply someone who has sex with someone else of the same sex. Imagine that the richness and deepness of your life and the many things you do and think and your career and interests and the myriad connections you have and the family ties you have — whether through blood or bond — is all reduced to one thing: who you have sex with. “Behavior.”

That’s why I write books with lesbian characters, who experience a range of relationships, who work to balance work, family, friends, and all the things that make up a day-to-day getting by. I write them them because their lives, like mine, are not merely a “behavior.”

My life, like my characters’, is a giant, glorious clusterf*ck of crazy and fun and amazing and hard and scary and painful. It’s the sum of all my parts — my past, my now, my future. It’s everything I’ve ever done and said, and all the people I’ve known and currently know. It’s the friends I keep and those I’ve lost. It’s the family I choose and the family I have. It’s the unglamorous day-to-day as well as the great highs and terrible lows. It’s a life, like anybody else’s. Not a behavior. Not a lifestyle.

And romance is a wonderful vehicle to express the messy and great things about being human. That’s why I write and celebrate romance. Because I can. Because I’m very fortunate to be writing in a time when there’s a vibrant LGBTQ publishing world out there, when romance and erotica that feature LGBTQ characters can be written and celebrated and rewarded. AllYouCanEat-197x300

So I write stories about people. People living their lives the best they know how. Yes, they sometimes stumble. And sometimes they’re scared. They carry the weight of old issues and old wounds. They have friends and families and work colleagues and they try to find some kind of balance in all of that. And then something really amazing happens to those people. They cross paths with other people, and in those chance meetings are hints of possibility. Sparks. Maybe frustration. Attraction. Flirting. Romance.
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It’s an adventure, meeting someone who sets fireworks off in your stomach with a smile or the way she laughs. And you notice how she wears her hair and how she sometimes fiddles with the ring on her right hand. And maybe you notice the way she frowns when she’s trying to pick just the right item off the menu. You find out she reads a particular author (you approve), and she likes certain movies and music. You hold on to all these details because maybe, just maybe, you’ll get up the guts to ask her to coffee.Gamble Cover

Or maybe she’ll ask first. Because maybe she’s got her eye on you, too.

And maybe this is the start of a whole new adventure.

That’s why I celebrate romance. Because ultimately, it’s about people and connection and attraction and maybe even love. And the world needs a hell of a lot more of that.

Fun and groovy questions

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
Oh, wow. Y’know, every day can be an adventure, and I try to find inspiration everywhere I go. I’ve done a lot of backpacking. In one trip, I ended up living on a beach on the island of Lesvos for a week. Of course, I had inadvertently picked the nude beach. In another instance I had to maneuver five drunk friends across the border from Tijuana into San Diego and we ended up in the middle of a brawl between American frat guys and Mexican guys. We made it with only a couple of scratches. And then there was the summer I lived out of my truck and a tent while helping conduct an archaeological dig in western New Mexico.

There’s adventure and inspiration all around us all the time. You just have to be open to it.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)
I’ve always been writing. I wrote [really bad] poems as a child and some paranormal short stories. I discovered speculative fiction as a child, and so most of what I wrote in junior high and high school was post-apocalyptic and/or fantasy. I wrote my first two (atrociously bad) novels in high school, then wrote a couple more in college and spec fic short stories while working on my master’s degree. I stopped writing fiction while I worked on my doctorate, but then started again in 2007. That was the year I started taking it seriously.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
This is one of those questions that is really difficult for me to answer because there are so many books from which I have derived inspiration. I will say that when I was around 10, I started reading the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Yes, he was sexist and racist and wrote some really androcentric series, but the man could world-build and even then, I crushed out on his female protagonists (often arm candy for the dudes) and always wondered why those women couldn’t just go and kick ass on their own. Ha, I decided. I’ll write them at some point so they do (and yes, I did). And I guess the novel Thendara House by Marion Zimmer Bradley was the first time I read about two women who were attracted to each other and acted on it and it was an accepted part of the culture she was writing about. Books like Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, and the fabulous lesbian pulp fiction of the 50s and 60s generally ended unhappily for one or both of the lesbians. Thendara House opened a whole world of possibility and that’s when I started really writing lesbian-identified protagonists. I was around 17 or so.

Some Recommendations

There are myriad writers of LGBTQ romance (among many other genres). I co-admin a blog called Women and Words, and a lot of what we do is feature guest posts by many writers who write lesbian-themed romance. Start there to see who some of them are. And feel free to drop me a line at my contact page with the type of romance/theme you’re looking for and I’ll match you with some authors.

Thanks, all!

Andi Marquette is a native of New Mexico and Colorado and an award-winning mystery, science fiction, and romance writer. She also has the dubious good fortune to be an editor who spent 15 years working in publishing, a career track that sucked her in while she was completing a doctorate in history. She is co-editor of Skulls and Crossbones: Tales of Women Pirates and the forthcoming All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica and Romance. Her most recent novels are Day of the Dead, the Goldie-nominated finalist The Edge of Rebellion, and the romance From the Hat Down, a follow-up to the Rainbow Award-winning novella, From the Boots Up.bio-pic_andi-marquette

Check Andi’s website for excerpts and info about where to buy her work. You can also read some free romantic short stories there.

Forthcoming anthology!

Hi, peeps!

Well, I’ve been a bit busy on other projects, besides my forthcoming novel.

And here’s one of those projects! I’m way stoked to announce that I and fellow author/editor R.G. Emanuelle are co-editing a volume of erotic and romantic stories that will be published by Ylva Publishing in August. Check out the announcement HERE.

All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Romance and Erotica

R.G. and I are way excited to announce this project we’ve been working on. It’s been an idea we’ve had for a while, and finally we were able to get it off the ground. Ylva Publishing is our host, and we’re pleased to be working with them.

cover by Sue Niewiarowski
cover by Sue Niewiarowski

So, yeah, you guessed it. The central theme of this particular collection of stories is food. Each story incorporates food in some way, whether it’s a catalyst for a romantic interlude or an intrinsic part of the interaction between the characters. You’ll find a range of heat levels here, from mild to super spicy, but you’ll also find some food for thought on the menu, which we as editors really enjoyed.

R.G. and I have worked on an anthology in the past. Some of you may recall our volume Skulls and Crossbones: Tales of Women Pirates. As much work as that was, we had a great time getting it put together, so we decided to be gluttons for more and we came up with the idea for this anthology a while back. Well, various things got in the way and we back-burnered it for a bit, and then decided to go for it.

Anthologies are a lot of work for the editors who put them together, and in some ways it’s kind of like herding cats. You’re trying to keep things on schedule, organized, and make sure the authors are in the loop. And in some cases, you’re working directly with the designer (R.G. and I do) while also working directly with the publisher. So it’s a lot of juggling going on, but we generally end up having a really good time.

And in case you were wondering, the menu includes Jove Belle, Cheyenne Blue, Jae, Cheri Crystal, Sacchi Green, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Karis Walsh, Yvonne Heidt, Ashley Bartlett, Victoria Oldham, and Historia, as well as R.G. (chef) and Andi (sous chef) and quite possibly a couple of others. We’ll keep you posted.

So that’s one of the OTHER things I’ve been up to! Rounding up a bunch of delicious (hopefully) morsels and getting them prepped for serving. 😀

Happy Thursday, everybody, and we hope you’ll join us for dinner.