Tag Archives: Lesbian Fiction

‘Queen of Geeks’ Is the Lesbian Love Story You Need Right Now

There’s something magical about Young Adult fiction. It exists in a realm all of its own – no matter how bad your day is, it’s not as bad as fighting in the Hunger Games like Katniss Everdeen, or as crazy as getting a box of thirteen suicide tapes from your crush, like in the book 13 Reasons Why.

Queens of Geeks is another great story that sucks you right in. If you’ve ever dreamed about becoming a YouTube celebrity, dressed up for a convention, or secretly bookmarked your favorite fanfiction, this Australian YA book is for you.

Check out the official description:

Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself. “

Charlie is famous. Well, YouTube famous. But with millions of followers, she’s one of the hottest young stars in the world.

She goes to SupaCon (a geek convention very close to Comic-Con), in order to promote her first movie and prove that she’s over her breakup with her co-star, Reese Ryan.

When Alyssa Huntington, Charlie’s longtime crush and even more successful vlogger, shows up, Charlie discovers that maybe she has a chance at love after all.

Taylor, Charlie’s best friend, couldn’t be more different. She’s extremely shy and averse to crowds or change. But maybe SupaCon is her chance to finally break out of her shell and win the fan contest of her dreams.

This book is strong on diversity. Charlie is a bisexual woman of color, and Taylor has autism, both of which are rare in book characters. This book touches on mental health, the politics of race and sexual orientation, feminism, body image, and whether Internet fame is all it’s cracked up to be. It’s a fantastic, feminist romp and hilarious quick read that will make your day.

Pick it up on Amazon or learn more at the official website.

10 Things That Happen in EVERY Queer Young Adult Novel

It’s hard to find positive lesbian role models on television. Shows are finally adding more lesbian characters, but they are killing them off just as quickly.

When many of us were hitting puberty five or ten or twenty years ago, there were even fewer lesbian characters on television. So where did we turn? The same place many teens turn when they realize they’re different:


Do you remember your favorite LGBT young adult book?

There are many. So, so many. So, so, SO many.

Wait a minute. If there are so many…doesn’t that most many LGBT novels end up telling the same story?

Yes. LGBT Young Adult novels, which were groundbreaking in the ’80s and ’90s, often fall into tropes now. The books that used to make our hearts skip a beat now make us roll our eyes.

(Don’t get me wrong. I’m a queer female writer with a short attention span, so LGBT YA is one of my favorite genres. And I’ve been known to write some bad lit sometimes. So I write this article with love.)

Here are the 10 things you’ll find in every queer YA novel:

1) Oh no! A football player has realized that he’s gay. Whatever will he do? His popularity is at stake!

2) Oh no! A cheerleader has realized that she’s gay (and she probably has a crush on the school nerd). Whatever will she do? Her popularity is at stake!

3) A bookish, quirky girl falls for the most popular girl in school – and realizes that the popular girl isn’t as shallow as she thought. Then they make out.

4) The biggest homophobe in school is secretly queer. My goodness!

5) A religious character has to break free of the church in order to embrace his or her ~true self~.

6) The shy main character meets a quirky, openly gay character who helps the main character become his or her ~true self~. The main character rarely starts out openly gay and helps someone else come out of the closet. These are stories of self-discovery, after all.

7) Come to think about it, most of these novels are just coming out stories with different covers.

8) Someone begins a friendship with a hidden agenda, but then the friendship becomes real. That is, until the original sinister intentions are revealed and ruin the friendship (for half a chapter).

9) A male character wears bright, quirkly clothing. That’s how you know he’s gay.

10) A female character has piercings and tattoos. That’s how you know she’s gay (and rejects the patriarchy).

Bonus: Out of sight, out of mind – where are all of the characters of color?

What stereotypes have you noticed in LGBT YA fiction?

The Hottest New Lesbian Writer Is from Greenland

Greenland isn’t known for its risqué lesbian fiction. The tiny island doesn’t have many writers, and the few they do have aren’t writing Fifty Shades of Grey. Greenland’s fiction tends toward the conservative.

And by conservative, I mean “we have magnificent nature and we all live in huts and all we do is go hunting,” as one Greenlander put it.

That’s what makes Niviaq Korneliussen so groundbreaking – and so infuriating – to many people.

Instead of seal-hunting, Korneliussen writes about lesbians. Instead of huts, she writes about queer sex.

Her debut novel, Homo Sapienne, is an unorthodox stream-of-consciousness that flows between five queer Greenlandic protagonists navigating their sexuality via alcohol and one-night stands.

The cover, featuring an almost-naked woman eating a banana, is borderline erotic. The language flows from Greenlandic to Danish to English, with text messages and social media posts woven in like patches on torn jeans. The result is a tattered but comforting story about sex and sexuality.

Korneliussen is Greenland’s most widely-read living novelist. In a small community of fifty thousand people, this means that she’s sold about two thousand copies. Still, that’s an enormous achievement for a community that imports far more books than it exports.

Korneliussen, a former punk who now wears square-framed glasses and has a German shepherd, always knew that she wanted to be a writer. But unlike in the US and Europe, MFA programs don’t exist in Greenland, and the market for books written in Greenlandic is minuscule. However, after winning a contest for a short story called San Francisco, Korneliussen achieved international acclaim and was approached to write a book. It was a dream come true.

An art foundation gave her a three-month grant to write her novel. She procrastinated for two months, wrote the book in one, and became a bestselling author overnight.

Korneliussen’s next book tackles the concept of “home.” She’s spent more than one month working on it, but it’s still a work in progress. How do you break ground after a groundbreaking book?

Learn more about Korneliussen in the New Yorker. Homo Sapienne is still being translated into English, so keep up with its progress here.

Lesbian Bookshelf: Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

For queer people of African descent, finding an LGBT-positive book written by an African is painfully difficult.

Usually we’re stuck with books about praying the gay away, or Nollywood movies about the devil turning good women into lesbians (apparently the devil does that a lot).

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta is a breath of fresh air. Fresh gay, gay air.

The book follows Ijeoma, a young Nigerian girl, during and after the 1967-70 Biafran War.

When her mother sends her to live with a family friend in order to escape the war, Ijeoma meets a young Hausa girl – ethnically her enemy – and the two fall in love. Over the next twenty years, Ijeoma wrestles with her feelings toward women, her traditional mother and the expectation of heterosexual marriage.

What makes this book so great?

It goes toe to toe with religion, and admits that there’s no winner.

Okparanta’s depiction of Christianity is nuanced. In the book, Christian characters openly debate the meaning of the Bible’s anti-homosexuality passages. Some Christians fervently oppose gay people, some are accepting and many don’t talk about it. Despite being queer, Ijeoma prays often. Gay and lesbian Nigerians hold secret meetings inside of a church.

It would be easy to vilify Christianity in a book like this, but instead the writer honestly dialogues with it, proving that middle ground exists between blind adherence and absolute rejection. You could give a book like this to both your conservative mother and to a friend who’s questioning her sexuality.

It doesn’t shy away from sex.

But it doesn’t exploit it, either. In many books, even a lesbian kiss would be considered explicit – or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, the author will revel in the “sinfulness” of lesbianism and write overly in-depth depictions of scissoring.

Okparanta’s characters have sex. Why? Because lesbians in real life have sex and this isn’t church camp. But Okparanta handles it with tact, and only includes it when it’s relevant to the plot (Blue is the Warmest Color could have learned something from her).

It’s funny.

How do you take a book about a relentless war that leaves thousands dead, a suicidal father, an overbearing and hyper-religious mother, rigid gender norms and the lynching of LGBT people, and make it funny? I wouldn’t be able to do it, but Okparanta has.

Not every moment is ha-ha and I definitely pulled out my tissues more than once, but somehow despite the subject matter, Okparanta keeps the book light. It definitely has its amusing moments.

For example, Ijeoma’s roommate treasures  a “special scarf” she believes will attract all of the best men in Nigeria. And, ironically, Ijeoma’s mother fawns over the “good Christian girl” she believes will be a good influence on Ijeoma – when in fact that girl is Ijeoma’s lesbian lover. Awkward.

As a queer person of African descent, I truly hope that Nigerian writers will follow in Okparanta’s footsteps when it comes to taboo subjects.

More than that, I hope that audiences will be receptive to the queer and transgender Nigerian writers who dare to document their journeys.

14 Lesbian Books I Wish I Could Read

This might come as a shock to some of you, but… I am a sucker for romance.

OK, maybe that’s not as big of a shock as I tried to give myself credit for. But I like the idea of a love story that I can get into – especially if it happens to have a good main plot (I don’t like romance to be the focus of everything), and great lesbian characters.

The problem is, those three things are hard to find all in the same book.

Most “lesbian romance books” are all about steamy sex and homophobic jerks – which I suppose is realistic enough, but I want to read something that hits me straight to my soul.

That’s actually a lot of the reason I became a writer. I noticed that there were a lot of areas in lesbian literature that were seriously lacking, and it became a goal for me to fix those little holes.

I’ve sort of strayed from that path a little bit and delved into a world of advice letters and product descriptions, but I jotted down my newest ideas just last night. (Now, if only I had the time to work on that sort of stuff.)

Thankfully, though, the web in the lesbian literature world is starting to get a little thicker – and I’m finding that there actually were books that were everything I’d hoped for. I just had to look a little harder to find them.

Christabel by Karin Kallmaker

Christabel speaks of a love that spans different times – thanks to an evil force that seeks to keep the lovers apart.

This story is told in an elegant way, which is an absolute delight for those of us who want to see the beauty in the written word just as much as the world around us.

The excerpts that I’ve read from this book are completely entrancing, and I am really tempted to go spend money that I don’t have at the moment to make sure I get this book as soon as possible. I guess I’ll just settle for more excerpts for now, but this has definitely made my birthday list.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Some of you might be familiar with the author on this one – she’s the same writer who did Tipping the Velvet (the book that the miniseries was based on).

She’s done it again with Fingersmith – a dynamic, intricate love story dealing with the romance felt between thieves. Apparently this one got a miniseries too, but BBC didn’t do such a great job on this one. Still, I’ll definitely have to check out this book on payday.

Shell Game by Benny Lawrence

Okay, so… I’m a sucker for pirates. Really, I am. I’m not sure if it’s because of Johnny Depp or my high school mascot, or something else entirely, but I am definitely a pirate fan – so when I heard that Shell Game was about a beautiful pirate queen and her prisoner… Well, I was already hooked.

Benny Lawrence is known for her witty writing style, and this book is widely regarded as one of her best. Yes, please!

The Magistrate / The Procuress by Keira Michelle Telford

This one is technically two books, but they’re part of a series and they really should be together. The Magistrate and The Procuress tell the tale of a post-apocalyptic future in London, with the future-space-steampunk equivalent of a cop and a hooker. (The books call them a magistrate and a procuress, respectively.)

Oh – and did I mention, in this post-apocalyptic warzone, homosexuality is punishable by death? Definitely an interesting twist – one that is actually fact in some areas of the world right now. Maybe there’s a little activism written into this book too!

Tomorrow’s Promise by Radclyffe

This particular story sounds like it veers a little heavy into mostly romance territory – I mean, the cover has a picture of a sparkling peninsula… Could be pretty cheesy. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as Tomorrow’s Promise centers around a somewhat dysfunctional pairing.

These women come from different backgrounds and different situations, and they both keep screwing things up. This is a back-and-forth, will-they-or-won’t-they tale that just happens to take place on an island. Worth looking into if you’re a fan of romantic drama.

Sword of the Guardian / Prayer of the Handmaiden by Merry Shannon

Ah, another two-for-one deal here, although these books are easily stand-alone works, too. Sword of the Guardian and Prayer of the Handmaiden are both set in the same world, with some of the same characters, but Sword of the Guardian focuses on the princess and her security guard, whereas Prayer of the Handmaiden deals with two of the characters who were in the background of the first book.

I love that you can read either or both and still feel like you’ve got a complete story going on, so I will definitely be taking a look at both of these books.

Keepers of the Cave / Weeping Walls by Gerri Hill

Another package deal, yay! In this particular instance, the books can stand alone, as they’re about the same characters, but the stories themselves are completely separate. (Although, if you are going to read both, you should probably read Keepers of the Cave first.)

In these books, the main characters are FBI agents who investigate paranormal cases. Sounds too perfect! Keepers of the Cave deals with a cave monster and a kidnapping, while Weeping Walls is (you guessed it) about a haunted house. Now, being the big horror/suspense fan that I have, allow me to just go buy some books I can’t afford real quick…

Lucifer Rising by Sharon Bowers

The excitement and suspense of an ex-DEA-agent-turned-drug-kingpin? Oh, yes, that sounds right up my alley. Lucifer Rising is one such tale, and there’s even more controversy and intrigue than that. This story follows the aforementioned woman after she’s taken over the drug cartel she was chasing down.

Then she meets this incredible woman in a nightclub and starts a complex new relationship – but what happens when she finds out this woman is secretly a reporter? This sounds like a must-read for anyone who likes crime dramas with (sexy) dirty cops. Sadly, this one isn’t available on Kindle, so I’ll have to wait until payday to check it out!

Reflected Passion by Erica Lawson

Okay, Reflected Passion sounds pretty intriguing to me: A woman buys an old mirror with the intention of refurbishing it. Instead, she’s drawn to it and displays it on her wall – but one night, the mirror wakes her up with noises of passion.

Turns out this mirror is a window into another era, one where women had to be accompanied by a man to be “safe”. Present tense and past tense mirror each other as the women can each see into each other’s world through the small pane of glass.

That Certain Something by Clare Ashton

This one’s a more modern-day love story, telling the story of Pia and Cate. Honestly, the description sounds a little bit like Carol to me: A young photographer who has just landed a job at a magazine (that would be Pia) comes across an attractive wealthy woman (that would be Cate) and the two hit it off.

Actually, the description I found doesn’t mention any age difference, but it does tell how Cate’s grandfather is a raging homophobe and gun-worshipper. Yet, somehow, this is a comedy – one I’d like to learn a little more about.

Love & Lies: Marisol’s Story by Ellen Wittlinger

Personal story time! When I was 15, I moved somewhere I had pretty much never been before and the first landmark I found was the public library. The very first book I checked out was Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger, and it was an instant favorite – I think I read through it four times in the week I had it. (I’ve since bought multiple copies, but friends keep borrowing them and then never giving them back… Grr!)

Love & Lies tells what happens next for the secondary main character from the first book, gifted-and-talented Marisol Guzman (who coincidentally was my first-ever book crush). Since the first one was my favorite book, and the second book follows my favorite character from my first book – who is a lesbian writer, how great is that – I’ve decided that I can actually afford to buy this one now.

Guess what I’ll be doing tonight!

If there are any other great lesbian books you’ve read, I’d love to take a look at them. Drop them in the comments!

9 Reasons a Good Book is Better than a Girlfriend

I don’t know about you, but I’m a little bit of a book nerd. There’s something about the feel of the pages that makes me calm, and knowing that I can check in on my favorite characters from time to time is a great reassurance. (Hey, sometimes the power goes out – all I need is a battery-powered flashlight and a Stephen King novel!)

Okay, so I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to my girlfriends, too… I put a lot of dedication into the things they do, and I do my best to do them right. But books don’t have expectations. If I put a book down for six months, I can pick up right where I left off, no questions asked. You can’t do that with a girlfriend, usually. Most of the ones I’ve had required a little more maintenance than that.

Want to know 8 more reasons a good book is better than a girlfriend?

The book will never eat all your favorite food.

Now, I love my girlfriend dearly – but if I had a dollar for every time she ate the last cookie, I’d be able to buy twice as many cookies to start with. A good book will never do that – all your food is safe. (You probably shouldn’t give it anything to drink, either – books don’t like that.)

The book will always stimulate your mind.

A book is better than a girlfriend because the book is going to inspire you. Of course, a good girlfriend will, too, but there’s no guarantee. Even if a book is bad, it’s going to inspire you to think of why it should be better. It could even motivate you to write your own book (an endeavor I personally encourage). A good book can make you think about new worlds, new galaxies, and new possibilities that may not have been on your mind before. A good book is going to teach you something – even if it’s just something about yourself.

The book will never cheat on you.

This is another one that falls into a grey area, because most girlfriends probably won’t cheat on you either. But if you leave a book on your table, most likely, you’re going to come back and find it hasn’t moved. (Unless you have roommates, or cats.) This means you know it’s not straying – but even if it does, that doesn’t mean that your relationship with it is doomed – as long as the person asked first!

The book will always be there when you need it.

Of course, this depends on whether the above mentioned variables are in play (the roommates and cats). But when you want to read a book, you can have one. If you don’t mind losing out on the touchy-feely aspect of book ownership, there are even e-book readers that will let you carry thousands of books in your pocket. (I have a Kindle myself, and it’s one of my favorite splurges. I take it everywhere with me.)

The book will never mind if you bring another book home.

In fact, I think they talk on the shelves and eventually start to like each other. I went on a trip to see my sister not too long ago, and came home with three new books – and then my brother-in-law gave me a fourth for Christmas. My books don’t seem to mind, although I’m close to needing another shelf. Girlfriends, on the other hand, tend to get a little touchy about things like this… Proceed with caution!

The book will always leave you satisfied.

A good book will satisfy your love of reading, which can be as intimate as any other love, to the right person. Sure, there are going to be people who think that it’s weird when you change your relationship status over a book character – but that’s not to say you’d be the only one to do it. A well-written book from your favorite author will very rarely (if ever) leave you disappointed – and most of the time, even a book from a new author is a welcome addition.

The book will never get mad when you’re too busy for it.

I’ve got some books that I entirely forgot about for over fifteen years. (Somehow, they ended up in my mother’s storage unit!) They’re sitting on the shelf, right next to the books I just got. I don’t think any of them mind – especially since I read through my old favorites on a fairly regular basis. (Guys, try to give all your books the attention they deserve – everyone needs to be held once in a while!)

The book might even help you meet your soul mate.

I’ve fantasized about the idea of meeting my true love in a book store. (One that sells coffee and scones too, please.) Even though it’s not the cultural norm, think of how awesome it would be if you found a new favorite – and some gorgeous piece of book-loving beauty steps in and offers to buy it for you if you give her your number. I’m not going to lie, that line would totally work on me, too. If you’re a book lover looking for love, why not try implementing this into your own flirt technique? You never know – it could be magical!

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8 Books Every Queer Woman Needs to Read in 2016

I love to learn, and to read. In fact, two of my goals this year are to learn more stuff and read more books.

So far I’m not doing so great with either one, but hey – it’s still early and I’m still worn out from the holidays.

One thing I don’t feel I know nearly enough about is the history of the gay subcultures.

We’ve had a lot of historic movements happening lately, but what about honoring the people who brought us here? It’s not always easy to find the right stuff.

Thankfully, these books do exist, if you know where to find them. We have collected a list of eight glorious books every queer woman should add to their wish list – which ones will you be picking up?

Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America by Lillian Faderman

This book details the history of American lesbians in the 20th century, paying close attention to the evolution of the label as well as the cultures of that time period. Faderman cites a ton of sources from their respective time periods in order to make this book equal parts educational and interesting. Our only complaint about Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers is that Faderman chooses to absorb trans men into the umbrella of “lesbians”, even whey are living their lives as men.

Tales of the Lavender Menace: A Memoir of Liberation, by Karla Jay

Okay, is it just me or would The Lavender Menace make an awesome superhero name? This memoir is about a different kind of superhero, though – our feminist sisters from the ‘60s. Pairing humor with activism is always a nice touch, and it can be informative for “neo-feminists” to learn about what our predecessors in this movement stood for. The only downside is that Tales of the Lavender Menace lacks the emotional aspect that we often want from a memoir. While Jay did a wonderful job at explaining what was going on at the time, we don’t really get to see much of how it felt to be in it.

Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

While this one isn’t technically a non-fiction piece, Feinberg’s novel is largely based on her own life growing up as a gay woman in the ‘60s. This book follows Jess Goldberg, a butch lesbian living in New York at a time when butch women were not widely accepted. Unfortunately, some critics think that Stone Butch Blues fell a little flat and failed to keep their attention. For those who did enjoy this one, Feinberg has also written other novels detailing the struggles of the gay and transgender community.

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa

If you’re interested in hearing about the struggles of the women subjected to the ills of racism, sexism, and in some cases homophobia and transphobia all rolled into one, This Bridge Called My Back is a poignant look at the struggles of women of color throughout the years. Our only complaint here is that this fight is still not over, so we need to learn how to band together and deal with it!

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider explores a wide variety of controversial topics, including racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and ageism. This book contains 15 essays and speeches by one of the most influential lesbian voices of the 20th century, and has been in print since 1984. One of our favorite things is that Lorde tells those in minority groups that it is OK to have anger in your toolbox – it’s okay to be angry when you are wronged! Too often we are silenced for speaking out against the things that deeply affect us, and we need more role models saying enough is enough.

Transgender History edited by Susan Stryker

Looking to pick up a bit of history about the transgender community and the movement toward acceptance? Stryker’s Transgender History covers a long range from the 1850s to the book’s publication in 2008. This book won’t tell you every detail, but it will help you understand the big points in the movement’s history. The only complaints from readers were that Stryker authorized use of the term “transgender” even in respect to those who do not choose to identify as transgender. Overall, the book showcases a large sampling of pivotal moments that deserve note.

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa

You might notice that Anzaldúa’s name has already been on this list – and for good reason. One of the leading Latina lesbian writers of the 20th century, she uses La Frontera to illustrate the physical and metaphorical borders that exist in the cross section of Mexicans and Americans, as well as heterosexuals and homosexuals.

Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive by Julia Serano

Excluded covers the cross-section between being inclusive and squeezing yourself out. When it comes to the gay community, it can be difficult to find the balance between what is sacred and what is communal. Serano takes a look at the process of queer women being included in the feminist movement, and is an important read for anyone looking to brush up on their history.

The Stage Adaptation Of Sarah Waters’ Lesbian Classic ‘Tipping the Velvet’ Earns Positive Reviews

The stage adaptation of Sarah Waters’ Tipping the Velvet is earning many positive reviews from critics.

The new play has been adapted by playwright Laura Wade, who has teamed up again with director Lyndsey Turner, who she worked with on her play Posh.

The Guardian gave the show a three-star review, saying

Wade ingeniously frames the story by presenting it through the eyes of a gavel-wielding Victorian music-hall chairman of the kind made familiar by TV’s The Good Old Days. This pays off beautifully in the first half, which is a hymn to theatre,” At the opening night on Monday, Wade told the BBC: “There’s so much theatre already in the book, it was about finding that and drawing it out and because of the Victorian age of this theatre, it just seemed like a perfect match.”


The Stage said

It takes the history and traditions of music hall and mashes them together with something altogether more modern. Music, comedy, circus and illusion are all thrown into the mix,” the review read.

Master of Ceremonies David Cardy narrates the story of Nancy, an oyster girl from Whitstable who falls hard and deep for Kitty, a male impersonator and music hall star, before taking to the boards and becoming a star herself. The songs they perform are not music hall numbers, but rather more recent: Prince and the Pet Shop Boys, a little bit of Miley Cyrus, a dash of Bonnie Tyler.”


The TV version – which starred Rachael Stirling as Nan and Keeley Hawes as cross-dressing stage star Kitty – was famed for its steamy sex scenes.

The stage adaptation instead represents the passionate sexual acts with astonishing aerial stunt work reminiscent of Cirque Du Soleil.

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Playwright Laura Wade explained

We wanted to create something on stage that showed how those sexual encounters really felt and the different emotional character of them, to convey that emotional pull to the audience. Sex is always rather difficult to do on stage because you can’t have close ups in the same way that you can on film so you have to find a different way of telling that story.”

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The cast was led by newcomer Sally Messham, who plays Nan, added

This is my first professional theatre job, straight in at the deep end. I picked up the book as soon as I got the role and I loved it, it’s like a Dickensian novel, you get a lot of Victorian novels about gay men and very few about lesbians and what Laura and Sarah have done is to give them a rich history.”

It is still rare to see women’s sexuality portrayed with such frankness on stage, something Waters herself has noted.

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Talking to the BBC on opening night, Water’s said

I do go to the theatre a lot but it’s only when you see a stage with a lot of women on it, telling a young woman’s story that you realise how rarely you do see that. So it has been really refreshing for me to see Laura’s fantastic script. It’s also lovely to know the book still has a currency, still appeals to people. Since I wrote it 20 years ago, a lot has changed since then.”

 Tipping the Velvet will run at the Lyric Hammersmith until 24 October, before moving to the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, from 28 October – 14 November.

Someone Penned a Lesbian Erotic Novel About Kim Davis’ Time In Jail – No Really

Today just keeps getting batter. The infamous bigot and Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis is now the inspiration for a new lesbian erotic novel.

That’s right, author Lilith St. Augustine said Davis inspired her to write Kim Goes To Jail: An Erotic Story. An erotic tale about a small town woman who goes to jail over an issue surrounding religious rights and gay rights.

However, when she gets to jail, things get a little steamy with some of her female cellmates.


Quoted in the New York Daily News:

The NSFW book paints steamy images in the readers’ head of the changes Kim is experiencing behind bars.

One day I’m standin’ on the side of the Lord against sexual perversion, and the next I’m in prison orange watchin’ a buck nekkid m—— vixen ’bout to do impure things to herself and to my soul in one single, terrifyin’ act,” the character says in the novel.

St. Augustine certainly nails Davis’ folksy twang. You can almost hear her self-righteous voice utter those words tinged with both self-hatred and excitement.

St. Augustine told The Huffington Post that she created the novella “to poke fun at [people who use religion to deny others their rights]” and also give readers…

… satisfaction not only in the typical erotica sense but also of seeing a character do some things that, in the real world, would obviously be anathema to the kinds of people we’re talking about.

There can be pleasure in irony sometimes. And hopefully readers will get a chuckle or two while we’re at it.”

Buy the book now for just $1.49. AND SOMEONE PLEASE BUY THE MOVIE RIGHTS.


12 Great Lesbian Books Every One Should Read

What’s the last book that moved you? That made you laugh or cry or completely reconsider your thoughts on life or love?

Those are always the books that stick with me. When I come across a book that truly impacted me I can often remember the intricate details of where I bought it or who gave it to me.

Sometimes when I’m in a certain mood, reading a favourite book can help heighten the depth of emotion.

Here are a few great books and the perfect kind of mood to read them in.

1. The Price Of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

Take Manhattan in the 1950’s, add a budding friendship between two lonely women and a cross-country road trip, finally sprinkle in a game of cat-and-mouse involving a private investigator (hired by Carol’s husband – GASP!) – and you end up with The Price Of Salt. This 1952 romance novel was very popular among lesbians of the time period. Not all that surprising due to the unconventional characters that defied stereotypes about being gay.

The Price Of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

Get your copy here.

2. Inferno (A Poet’s Novel) by Eileen Myles

“My English professor’s ass was so beautiful,” is the first line you’ll read in this story of a young female poet attempting to understand her sexuality in the crazed environment that is New York City.

Inferno (A Poet’s Novel) by Eileen Myles

Get a copy here.

3. Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi

“Shame weighs a lot more than flesh and bone.” It’s lines like that from actress Portia De Rossi’s honest memoir that make this a must-read for anyone struggling to accept themselves. The pages cover her struggles with anorexia, her experiences being a gay woman within the Hollywood realm, and – of course – how she meets and later falls in love with Ellen DeGeneres.

Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi

Get a copy here.

4. Ash by Malinda Lo

In this retelling of Cinderella, Ash is young girl left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother after her father’s death. Just like Cinderella, Ash waits for the day her fair prince – or in this case, a fairy named Sidhean – will come and whisk her away. The only problem? She meets the King’s Huntress, Kaisa, and suddenly her “happily ever after” is a bit more complicated. All fairy-tales should get a makeover like this.

Ash by Malinda Lo

Get a copy here. Also be sure to take a peek at the prequel Huntress.

5. Her Name in the Sky, Kelly Quindlen

Falling for your best friend is confusing. Falling for your best friend is difficult. And, perhaps most of all, falling for your best friend is unbelievably scary. In Her Name In The Sky, 17-year-old Hannah falls for her best friend Baker – really the last thing she ever wanted to do during her senior year – and we are reminded just how true all those sentiments are. While this book focuses on a young gay teenager, it’s completely relatable to anyone at all who went through (survived) high school.

Her Name in the Sky, Kelly Quindlen

Get a copy here.

6. Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch

Sometimes it’s nice to read something that simply makes you laugh. Jane Lynch’s memoir will make you laugh. One chapter begins with with this confession: “Like any good, closeted young lesbian of the seventies, I developed a raging crush on Ron Howard.”

But don’t expect to be in stitches the entire time, as Lynch also delves into her personal fight against alcoholism and her struggle to become comfortable with her sexuality. Even through the serious topics, Lynch constantly adds her touch of wry humour that seems to come so naturally.

Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch

Get a copy here.

7. Empress Of The World by Sara Ryan

Nicola Lancaster has her world turned upside down when she meets a charming blonde dancer named Battle at a summer institute for “gifted youth”. After all – she has always liked boys! AH, those famous last words. An Oregon Book Award winner, Empress Of The World was re-issused recently and now includes three graphic novel stories about the characters.

Empress Of The World by Sara Ryan

Get a copy here.

8. The World Unseen By Shamim Sarif

Sarif’s novel immerses you in 1950s South Africa, where apartheid is only just beginning. The laws won’t stop Amina from running a cafe with her business partner, who happens to be a black man, in a conventional Indian community. Miriam on the other hand is a traditional housewife that wouldn’t even dream of breaking, let alone bending, any rules. When the two women are thrown together you can imagine what happens… so, I’ll just let you read it. Two of Sharif’s novels are now feature length films that are also worth seeing after you’ve done your reading.

The World Unseen By Shamim Sarif

Get a copy here.

9. Valencia by Michelle Tea

Valencia is a drama-filled account of the narrator’s own personal experiences in San Francisco’s queer neighbourhoods. Tea takes you through a string of experiences – and ex-girlfriends – as she rebels against her tight-laced southern upbringing in the city by the bay.

Valencia by Michelle Tea

Get your copy here.

10. Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden

Published in 1982, Garden’s novel tells the story of two teenage girls whose friendship turns into a lot more than just friendship, if you catch my drift. What makes this story different [Spoiler Alert] is that despite the pressures from family and school, they actually get a happy ending.

Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden

Get a copy here.

11. Fall On Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald

There is a good reason Ann-Marie MacDonald’s novel has been translated into over seventeen different languages. The story begins in Nova Scotia in the midst of World War I and ends in New York City. What happens in-between? Terrible family secrets, attempted murder, and forbidden love. Enough said.

Fall On Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald

Get a copy here.

12. Zami: A New Spelling Of My Name by Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde’s stunning autobiography begins with childhood memories in Harlem and spans through her early-adulthood in the 1950s. She creates a “biomythography” by flawlessly blending together her own poetry, popular songs, journal entries, and personal memories.

Zami- A New Spelling Of My Name by Audre Lorde

Tipping The Velvet Stage Show Headed to London Next Month

Tipping The Velvet is one of the most iconic and most well-known pieces of queer media out there.

Set in 1887 in Victorian England, the debut novel by Sarah Waters shows the life of a young woman named Nancy “Nan” Astley as she falls in love with a ‘male impersonator’ named Kitty Butler. Nan follows Kitty to London for hijinks and adventures as the two women get by.

Tipping The Velvet 03

Compared to the works of Charles Dickens, Tipping The Velvet was praised for the way that it explored what it would have been like to be a same-sex couple in Victorian England (Waters was writing her PhD dissertation on gay and lesbian historical fiction at the time) and for the way it looked at themes of gender, sexism and classism, issues which would have been prevalent during their era.

The novel also broke ground when it was adapted into a BBC series in 2002, with Waters having been surprised that the BBC chose to adapt the book due to sexual content within it.

Following that three-part series (which was also praised, despite initial outrage from some) and a stage adaptation in 2009, Tipping The Velvet will once again be presented to audiences, this time at the Lyric Hammersmith (London) starting in September.

This particular stage adaptation has been written Laura Wade and directed by Lyndsey Turner. Having been in the works for four years, it reportedly stays true to the book, with Sarah Waters having worked closely with Wade on the script.

Previous fans of the book (or the TV show) should feel that Sally Messham (as Nancy) and Laura Rogers (as Kitty) stick closely to the original, then, and audiences shouldn’t expect any Twilight ‘spider monkey’ type of diversions from the original work.

Also good news is that Tipping The Velvet‘s artistic director Sean Holmes also realises the significance of the show, telling The Guardian that “what’s so brilliant about the novel is it is such an upfront, unapologetic celebration of sexuality that just happens to be between two women.

homepage Tipping The Velvet 02

Obviously it’s set at a time when that’s frowned upon but it’s also just really about the journey to love and sexual discovery and the massive, formative journey that applies to everyone, whatever your sexuality is, and yet you never see portrayed between gay women.”

Tipping The Velvet will run from September 18 to October 24 at the Lyric Hammersmith. After the Lyric Hammersmith, Tipping The Velvet will be on at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh.


Book Review | Ask the Passengers by AS King

Sending love to the aeroplanes while lying on a picnic table is something I’d like to do a little more often. Teenager Astrid has it down to a fine art. A reminder of how, for some of us, we coped in our youth when questions of sexuality arose and that feeling of being a little different from the crowd.

Ask the Passengers by AS King is essentially about love and acceptance; a classic coming of age – coming out story. However, this book stretches us a little further.

Astrid, our protagonist, is a teenager living with her family in a small town in Pennsylvania, having moved from New York City. A senior in high school she not only has to endure the small mindedness of the locals, but the increasing disparity and dysfunction of her family. Knowing herself to be different, Astrid finds the best way to cope is to lie on the picnic bench in the back garden and send love and life questions to passengers on aeroplanes. It is here that King starts to create a little magic, juxtaposing Astrid’s questions with an anecdote from a random passenger on the plane. It adds quirkiness, cleverly drawing our minds to the interconnectedness of ourselves to one another and the world, wherever we are, whoever we are.

The main thrust of the storyline is when Astrid meets Dee and they become girlfriends. Astrid has a genuine need to move slowly in her discovery not only of her sexuality, but in questioning her whole self. However, her friends and girlfriend begin
to push for her to come out to her family, misunderstanding her request to be left alone. We feel Astrid becoming increasingly isolated yet standing firm in her self belief and wish to define herself on her own terms. Her love and study of philosophy
is a crutch, even adopting Socrates (nicknamed Frank) as her imaginary friend and confidante. King uses the philosophy angle, particularly the elusive character of Socrates to develop the notion of questioning who we are. This effectively highlights the bigotry surrounding Astrid and the propensity for people to label and stereotype.

Astrid is, however, eventually propelled forward to be open about her sexuality, coming out to her family who have a mixed and generally negative initial reaction, as seemingly do the entire town. King whips up the emotional responses to Astrid’s intolerable situation; anger, sadness and heightened comedy that such times can invoke. Eventually, Astrid finds light at the end of the tunnel when all settles down and people rediscover respect and dare we hope, a broader perspective.

It is a thought provoking book while remaining highly readable, funny and original; inspiring for a younger crowd and especially those questioning or discovering their sexuality. For those of us who are a little older, it keeps check on our journey of challenging societal norms, reflecting on our own experiences and how and if times have changed that much. Have they? A question I spent a little time thinking about after closing this book. One thing I do recall, however, is like Astrid I found the whole notion of ‘coming out’ perplexing and abstruse and I’ve no doubt I am not alone in this.

AS King is an American writer of young adult fiction. Ask the Passengers is her fourth novel and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Book Review | Hild – Nicola Griffith

If you want to learn how to make flax, understand the habits of birds or curse in a range of ancient languages – then ‘Hild’ is the book for you.

Thankfully for readers like me, who are not particularly interested in any of those things – although I do now know a lot more about seventh century politics than I ever imagined possible – ‘Hild’ is also a compelling novel about women and power and survival.

The story starts when Hild is just a child, but a very special child. One of royal birth and uncanny powers. Before she is born, her mother dreams her destiny into being: this child will be light of world, an adviser to kings and a leader of people.

We follow her, her half-brother Cian and friend Begu, as they grow up and join the royal court, where at any time the King’s anger could mean the death of one of his advisers. He has absolute power. And yet Hild has power too, as the King’s seer. Where her power comes from, how she uses it and what she has to sacrifice to keep it are the questions I found most fascinating about this book.

Hild’s wisdom comes because she is observant, continually seeking out the pattern in things. She is always watchful, even among those she loves and trusts most, and remains unmarried for as long as she can. She becomes only woman among the King’s advisors, a vulnerable position.

Hild’s physicality matches her role. She is tall and a skilled rider. She is strong and unsqueamish in battle. But, quietly, Griffith shows the toll that so much violence has on Hild’s mind and sense of herself. Her choices are limited and often costly.

There are other sources of power in the book, which Hild learns to use to her own advantage to keep herself and her loved ones safe. The rise of the Church is one, and with it the magic of the written word which few – apart from Hild – learn to master. Marriage is another: it determines alliances between kingdoms, but who you share your bed with – man or a woman – seems to matter very little.

Confession time. For pages of this novel, I had no idea what was going on. I gave up trying to remember which king was which, who was friend or foe, or even who was still alive. I skimmed over the painstakingly-researched Old Anglisc words – only finding the glossary too late. Not as observant as Hild, I missed a lot of the subtleties and could have done without much of the detail. But the character carried me through.

Hild, later St Hilda of Whitby, really existed, although history records very little about her. And Griffith has breathed her into life.

Hild – I salute you. A woman of wit, sense and intelligence. A woman of power in a man’s world. We need more stories like yours.

Book Review | Art Objects by Jeanette Winterson

Personable yet informative, provocative and highly engaging essays on art and it’s relationship to us.

Book Review: Art Objects by Jeanette Winterson is never far away from my bedside table. It’s a book I treasure. Perhaps many JW fans may find this little book an unusual choice as a favourite, however, I’d go as far to say that everyone should read this book. Why? because it’s important. I also believe it is one of her finer works. True to her style, personable and frank, honest yet confident, her passion is clear and it flows beautifully from start to finish.

So what’s so important? Art is what’s important. This book spares no excuses for the ignorant or elitist; its point is clear. Art is there for everyone to be enjoyed, or not enjoyed; loved and hated, moved or indifferent, provoked and changed. It matters simply because it permeates every level of our existence. It is our past and our future, it is our now. You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy or understand this book, that’s the whole point, it is for everyone.

Written as a series of essays, Ms Winterson begins with her own journey and discovery of paintings, how she sought to educate herself with a subject, at the time, she knew little about. Her words hit home and not without that wry wit bringing a knowing smile, but also a thoughtful frown. She ventures further with her thoughts and opinions on the development of literature, with essays on Virginia Woolf and her personal relationship with her work. It is without doubt a powerful piece, forcing us to think, consider and yet it is engaging, funny, serious and provocative. There is meaning for us all here in her words at any given point in our life, something resonates, something hits home. It has a place on everyone’s shelf.

Book Review | Fun Home – A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Asterix and Dr Zeuss bring a flood of colour and humour when I recall the little girl happily reading in the book corner of the schoolroom. Yet perhaps without realising I’d packed away the comics and cartoons along with my childhood, that is until I discovered Fun Home – A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, and graphic storytelling at its best. If I had any reservations about picking up a graphic novel, they were soon to dissipate. After stepping into Bechdel’s life in pictures, the outside world became quiet until the final page.

Fun Home is Bechdel’s memoir chronicling her life from childhood to early adulthood. A coming of age story, it explores the fraught and complex relationship with her father and the discovery of her sexuality in an increasingly bizarre and dysfunctional home. Bruce Bechdel, Alison’s father is an English teacher and director of the local funeral home of which “Fun Home” became the grimly comic reference used by the family. A distant and exacting man, he channels his perfectionism into the frenetic restoration of the large, Gothic-revival house they live in. The dark humour of “Fun Home” sets the tone as Bechdel intricately weaves us through her story of growing up, coming out as a lesbian amidst the confusing and odd situation of her fathers revelation of his own homosexuality. This all wrapped up in the turmoil of her father shortly afterwards being killed by an oncoming truck.

Bechdel gives us a forceful and unexpectedly personal history crossing the emotional gamut of melancholy, humour, grief and the search for happiness. The use of Daedalean and other literary allusion runs throughout the book giving the text richness and depth, elevated by the wonderful pen and ink wash drawings. The construct of the book is made up of just under 1000 panels in a familiar comic format. A stranger to the graphic novel, I found Bechdels illustrations completely absorbing, refreshing and poignant.


What interests me most after reading this book is the delicate balance it achieves with its easy flowing pace and wit transported by the element of cartoon, while tackling the deeper questions in life we are all faced with. More than once I saw myself within the illustrations and this provokes an added sense of awareness I haven’t come across before. The more I think about this book the more impressed I am. Provocative, clever yet touchingly honest, Bechdel’s early life is firmly etched in my memory.

For those less familiar with Alison Bechdel, she is an American cartoonist and author, initially known for her long running comic strip called ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’. Fun Home was her first critical and commercial success. This book ran on The New York Times best seller list for two weeks and was subsequently adapted as a musical. A later notable work is ‘Are You My Mother’ and she is the recipient of the 2014 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award.


Book Review | The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Absorbing and intelligent historical thriller which draws you into the characters’ world through high drama and delicate detail. A compelling and unsettling read.

Book Review: Genteel Frances Wray and her mother have fallen on hard times, so they let out their unused rooms to  paying guests: a brash, working class couple called Lil and Len. Although humiliating, this arrangement should be the answer to their financial worries. Instead they become entangled in a web of passion, violence, deceit and fear, which threatens to destroy them all.

The shadow of the first world war hangs heavily over their lives. Not just the terrible human cost, but the way in which it irreversibly changed the relationship between classes, generations and genders.

Frances scorns marriage and longs for the freedom that she glimpses in this new post-war world. And yet her loyalty to her mother, who has lost two sons in the war, prevents her from leaving to fulfill her own dreams. By her mid twenties, Frances is resigned to a lonely future of struggling to make ends meet, household drudgery and nightly card games with her mother. Then she meets Lil.

The question of whom or what can be trusted becomes central to this novel as Frances and Lil’s secret romance blossoms and even more so once they become unwilling partners in crime. The book is so compelling because, as a reader, you cannot relax or let down your guard: the risk of betrayal and discovery is always there, just as it is for Frances herself, to the point where she struggles even to trust herself.

The novel is strongest when it uses small details to reveal character or evoke an atmosphere. The looks, accidental touches and half-spoken words between Frances and Lil are far more erotic than the eventual sex scenes. A brief description of Frances hands swollen and ruined by scrubbing floors, speaks more clearly about how she is trapped in middle class poverty than any amount of social comment.

The big set pieces – in particular the courtroom scenes – are also beautifully crafted, unbearably ramping up the tension so that you are desperate to skip to the end of the chapter. But it was the small details that haunted me once I’d finished the book.

Sarah Waters is known for her Gothic imagination, twisting tales and lesbian protagonists. Although ‘The Paying Guests’ may not be as dark or as shocking as some of her earlier work, it’s an absorbing and nerve-wracking read. And those on the look out for lesbians in these pages won’t be disappointed either.

Buy this book now

5 More Must-Read Lesbian Books for the Weekend – #outwriters

5 More Must-Read Lesbian Books for the Weekend

Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (2006)

Noted lesbian writer and cartoonist Alison Bechdel always suspected that her father was a closeted gay man. But did her coming out to him contribute to his death? A story that beseeches us to be who we want to be, not enslave ourselves to other people’s expectations.

Read more

Nancy Garden, Annie on My Mind (1982)

This tale of fortitude and perseverance focuses on two teenagers, Liza and Annie, who fall deeply in love, despite coming from very different backgrounds.

Read more


Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe (1987)

In a hick town in ’80s Alabama, Ruth falls for Idgie and their dalliance leads to the opening of a cafe, betrayal, the forming of a makeshift family, a rescue and a murder.

Read more


Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body (1982)

The unnamed narrator of this novel by Winterson, who is best known for her autobiographical novel Oranges are not the Only Fruit (1985), is rather unlucky in love. Her decision to leave her partner for a beautiful woman called Louise creates all kinds of drama.

Read more

Audre Lorde, Sister Outside (1984)

This veteran lesbian feminist campaigner’s best assortment of essays on life, love, art and critical thinking. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and critique the inherently patriarchal societies we all have to grin and bear.

Read more




5 Must-Read Authors and Must-Read Lesbian Books – #OutWriters

5 Must-Read Authors and Must-Read Lesbian Books – #OutWriters

Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway (1925)

A modernist classic that explores the timeless themes of memory and reality. While planning a lavish party, Clarissa Dalloway reminisces about her charmed youth and her love for the beautiful Sally Seton…

read more

Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt (1952)

Better known to the world as a mystery and crime writer, Patricia Highsmith switched genre to deal with forbidden same-sex romance in stuffy post-war Britain. The price of Therese and Carol’s love is judgment by family and society…

read more

Natalie Diaz, When My Brother was an Aztec (2013)

A powerful collection of poems by acclaimed Mohave Native American author Natalie Diaz. While mainly focusing on her brother’s drug addiction, she also examines her own sexual identity in a deeply eloquent and touching style…

read more

Emily Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2012)

A dramatic and fast-paced yarn that highlights the horrors of so-called “conversion therapy” which is becoming disturbingly popular in the United States. Cameron’s reactionary family cannot accept her lesbianism and so send her to the sinister Camp Promise…

read more

Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982)

Breaking all the strictures of race, class and gender as they apply to the southern states of the 1930s, Celie falls in love with the charismatic chanteuse Shrug Avery and her life changes irrevocably…

read more


5 Essential Lesbian Book Reads – #OutWriters

Here is KitschMix’s pick of essential Lesbian Book Reads that you should all checkout

Eileen Myles, Inferno (2010)

Rock star poet Eileen Myles looks back to her experiences of the 1970s New York punk scene for this novel of bad girl behaviour and sexual awakening… read more



Erica Fischer, Aimee and Jaguar (1995)

A bestselling account of the wife of a senior Nazi who falls for a Jewish lesbian in the closing stages of World War II. The stakes could not be higher. The book was turned into a critically-lauded film in 1999… read more


Jewelle Gomez, The Gilda Stories (1991)

A major precursor to today’s over-saturated vampire fiction market, The Gilda Stories follows the exploits of a black and bisexual vamp across two hundred years… read more



Michelle Tea, Rent Girl (2004)

An honest and unflinching memoir of Tea’s days as a prostitute. How did she square her lesbian feminist nature with the exploitation and abuse she suffered at the hands of the men she serviced? Utterly compelling – though difficult – stuff… read more


Susan Schulman, After Delores (1988)

The narrator of this story isn’t in a happy place: she’s been dumped by her lesbian lover, she’s high on drugs much of the time and she’s armed… Will she receive the justice she seeks? Will women ever be treated fairly? It is these big questions that the novel tries to address… read more






Body Geographic Wins Best Lesbian Memoir Award

Body Geographic 02Lesbian author Barrie Jean Borich has just won a Lambda Award for her memoir Body Geographic, a story of “industrial landscapes, urban joy, and riding her bicycle on the mean streets of Chicago”.

Borich is a professor of creative writing at the English Department of Chicago’s DePaul University, where she’s currently setting up the creative nonfiction journal Slag Glass City, which focuses on identity, sustainability and the arts in urban environments.

According to Lambda’s website, the awards “identify and celebrate the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year and affirm that LGBT stories are part of the literature of the world. The Awards ceremony has consistently drawn an audience representing every facet of publishing.”

Borich has already won a number of accolades including an ALA Stonewall Book Award for her book My Lesbian Husband. She has been cited in prestigious texts such as Best American Non-Required Reading and Best American Essays. After earning her MFA at the Rainier Writing Workshop, Borich became the very first nonfiction editor of Hamline University’s Water~Stone Review.

She lives in a “gaybourhood” on the shores of Lake Michigan with her spouse Linnea.

Pioneering Author, Nancy Garden has Died Aged 76

Author, Nancy Garden – a lesbian pioneer in young adult fiction –  has sadly passed away

Garden was best known for the lesbian themed novel Annie on My Mind, about two girls at a New York high school who fall in love.

Published in 1982, the book received critical acclaim for its positive depiction of a same-sex relationship. Sadly, it was also attacked by social conservatives and the religious right and was banned by Kansas City schools for two years, until students brought a First Amendment lawsuit to put it back on shelves.

The book won Garden the ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Lee Lynch Classic Award by the Golden Crown Literary Society, and the Robert B. Downs Award for Intellectual Freedom. It was also ranked in School Library Journal among the top 100 books to have shaped the 20th century.

Annie on My Mind was one of the earliest American novels to depict a lesbian relationship that did not come to a tragic end, and in the 32 years since it was first published the book never went out of print.

When I was growing up as a young lesbian in the ’50s, I looked in vain for books about my people. I did find some paperbacks with lurid covers in the local bus station, but they ended with the gay character’s committing suicide, dying in a car crash, being sent to a mental hospital or “turning” heterosexual.’

Nancy Garden

Her literary career spanned four decades, writing more than 30 books – most aimed at teenagers, though some were written with younger children in mind. Supernatural themes were a recurring theme in her works with many of the stories she wrote involving werewolves and vampires.

She is survived by her long term partner Sandy Scott and their golden retriever Loki and their cats.

#OutWriters – Big Buzz About Upcoming Lesbian Book Awards

There’s a lot of anticipation about this year’s Golden Crown Awards (aka Goldies), the annual book awards held by The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS), a non-profit organisation which is devoted to the promotion, education and recognition of lesbian writing.

With three Goldie nominations, US-based Cleis Press looks set to make the headlines at the 2014 ceremony. The progressive indie publisher stands to win three awards for an LGBT crime novel and two anthologies of lesbian romance stories.

Brenda Knight, Cleis CEO, is proud of her company’s achievement in particular and the Goldies in general:

‘Certain books are getting a lot of attention because they’re the best. Laura Antoniou’s (a Cleis author) The Killer Wore Leather was nominated for both a Lammy and a Goldie, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. The protagonist, Detective Rebecca Feldblum, not just investigates a case but falls in love.’

Cleis’s Best Lesbian Romance 2014 (edited by Radclyffe) Wild Girls, Wild Nights (edited by Sachhi Green) have also been nominated for Goldies.

Cleis Press’s brand new project, Out Writers, is a celebration of Pride Month and you too can get involved by sharing some thoughts about why you feel LGBT writing is important and/or why you write: #OutWriters on Twitter or Facebook.

Cleis specialise in challenging and intelligent books across all genres, including literary fiction, creative nonfiction, romance, crime, erotica, academic studies, pulp fiction, memoir and sex guides.

GCLS offer learning opportunities, assistance and encouragement to lesbian authors and ; support and promote high-quality lesbian fiction and nonfiction. The Goldies have been running annually since 2005.

Gay Women In Comics, and There are Plenty

Here are some of my favourite lesbians and bisexual women Super heros.  The characters cover the full range of heroes, anti-heroes, villains, and supporting cast.

tank-girlTank Girl

Real name: Rebecca Buck
Comic: Tank Girl

My first comic crush, Tank Girl is a tank driving, bounty hunted bad-ass. Her character is well-known for her lack of manners, bad behaviour, and carelessness with the hearts of her lovers. Besides this, she can usually fight her way out of any pickle.


Real name: Raven Darkholme
Comic: X-Men

Mystique’s first made an appearance X-men universe in the comic Ms. Marvel. One of the most famous X-villains, Raven had a lifelong on-again, off-again affair with fellow mutant Destiny. Writer Chris Claremont stated that he originally planned to have Mystique and Destiny be Nightcrawler’s biological parents, but due to the Comics Code Authority, Marvel refused to do this. However, years later Mystique and Destiny were confirmed to be a lesbian couple.

Miss-AmericaMiss America

Real name: America Chavez
Comic: Young Avengers

Miss America story starts when her mothers sacrifice their lives to save their home planet, Utopia, forcing her leave home to fight injustice in more crime-ridden dimensions. She teams up with other superheroes including Loki, Hulkling, and Wiccan. In Young Avengers #12 she flippantly mentions that she is a lesbian.

Scandal-SavageScandal Savage

Real name: Scandal Savage
Comic: Secret Six

One of the most bad ass characters around, Scandal is the daughter of immortal caveman Vandal Savage. She was dating Knockout at the time of the other’s death, and is currently involved with Liana Kerzner. She has a healing factor, and wields her Lamentation Blades with deadly skill.


Real name: Kate Kane
Comic: Batwoman 52

Easily the most prominent lesbian character in superhero comics, Kate’s backstory is tragic and includes the loss of both her mother and twin sister at the hands of a terrorist organisation. As an adult, she joins the Marines to please her father, but is eventually outed as a lesbian and is dishonorably discharged. Upon her return to Gotham as a socialite, she parties and binge drinks every night until an encounter with Batman incites her to begin fighting crime.

Renee-MontoyaRenee Montoya

Real name: Renee Montoya
Comic: Batwoman 52

One time girlfriend to Batwomen, and former Gotham City police officer, Renee picked up the legacy of her friend Vic Sage after he passed away from lung cancer, becoming the second Question. As her desire to fight the good fight intensifies, she reconnects romantically with Kane. Unfortunately, in recent iterations of Batwoman, Montoya is no longer a superhero and simply a member of the police force. Although her big relaionship was with Batwoman, she has also had a long term relationship with Darla Hernandez. Currently she has the co-feature/back-up in DC’s flagship title, Detective Comics.

Maggie-SawyerMaggie Sawyer

Real name: Maggie Sawyer
Comic: Batwoman 52

Created back in the 1980s when the comic code prohibition against lesbian comic characters was in effect, Maggie was as ‘out’ as one could possibly be, even getting a girlfriend named Toby Raynes. Originally created as a supporting character for Superman, Maggie was later shifted over to the Batman universe, first as a cast member in Gotham Central and more recently as a potential love interest for Batwoman in Detective Comics.

Ramona-FlowersRamona Flowers

Real name: Ramona Flowers
Comic: Scott Pilgrim

Ramona Flowers is a subspace-traveling, mallet-weilding, endlessly desirable bisexual woman. How else would someone end up with seven evil exes? She’s guarded and maybe a bit cold, but she isn’t particularly interested in how most people feel about her. However, when she’s jealous or upset her head glows.


Real name: Gwendolyn
Comic: Saga

Gwendolyn is the most enigmatic characters in new Saga series. Her story, well Gwendolyn is on the hunt for her ex-fiancé, Marko. She doesn’t want him back, but he stole a family heirloom from her, a set of rings that allow languages to be translated between two speakers. After becoming infected with Heroine (a parasite that alters brain chemistry), Gwendolyn sees a naked mirage of the first woman she ever slept with, Velour.

A Renaissance in Young Adult LGBTQ Fiction

A Renaissance in Young Adult LGBTQ Fiction – It’s been a common complaint for some time now within the LGBT community: there just aren’t enough books for young LGBTQ adults. All that is starting to change now, as 2014 has seen the publication of some truly great reads:

Moon at Nine

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

A whodunit with a fascinating element of same-sex attraction between the protagonists.

Synopsis: The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick. The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth… read more

Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis

Two lesbians fall in love under the religious strictures of 1980s Iran – with dramatic consequences.

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Farrin has many secrets. Although she goes to a school for gifted girls in Tehran, as the daughter of an aristocratic mother and wealthy father, Farrin must keep a low profile. It is 1988; ever since the Shah was overthrown, the deeply conservative and religious government controls every facet of life in Iran. If the Revolutionary Guard finds out about her… read more

Changers, Book One: Drew by T. Cooper and Allison Glock

Gender-bending occult thriller that bears a resemblance to the excellent Every Day by David Levithan.

Synopsis: Changers Book One: Drew opens on the eve of Ethan Miller’s freshman year of high school in a brand-new town. He’s finally sporting a haircut he doesn’t hate, has grown two inches since middle school, and can’t wait to try out for the soccer team… read more

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kiklan

This nonfiction collection of portraits and interviews is a powerful insightful into the lives of LGBTYAs.

Synopsis: Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preferen… read more

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Hard science fiction with a strong focus on bisexuality – a must-read!

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa… read more


Shadowplay by Laura Lam

The sequel to last year’s highly successful Pantomine, out now!

Synopsis: He and the white clown, Drystan, take refuge with the once-great magician, Jasper Maske. When Maske agrees to teach them his trade, his embittered rival challenges them to a duel which could decide all of their fates… read more


Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

The issue of lesbians who work in the world of cinema is not widely discussed, but this book addresses precisely that theme.

Synopsis: A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world. Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess… read more


Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Two female students in the same art class fall gradually in love…

Synopsis: Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend… read more


One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

Israeli/Armenian author Michael Barakiva portrays young gay love with verve and sub

Synopsis: Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up… read more

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters

Murder, love, betrayal, jealousy – this lesbian melodrama has it all and more!

Synopsis: When Alix’s charismatic girlfriend, Swanee, dies from sudden cardiac arrest, Alix is overcome with despair. As she searches Swanee’s room for mementos of their relationship, she finds Swanee’s cell phone, pinging with dozens of texts sent from a mysterious contact, L.T… read more





‘Can butches even get pregnant?’ A.K. Summers Answers That

A.K. Summers began working on Pregnant Butch in 2005, following the birth of her son, and, in 2012, serialised it on webcomics site Activate Comix. Now a book has been published – a graphic memoir, which chronicles a ‘neurotic bull-dagger’s’ unique perspective on pregnancy.

First pregnancy can be a fraught, uncomfortable experience for any woman, but for resolutely butch lesbian Teek Thomasson, it is exceptionally challenging: Teek identifies as a masculine woman in a world bent on associating pregnancy with a cult of über-femininity. Teek wonders,

“Can butches even get pregnant?”

Of course, as she and her pragmatic femme girlfriend Vee discover, they can – but what happens when they do?

Written and illustrated by Summers, Pregnant Butch strives to depict the increasingly common, but still underrepresented experience of queer pregnancy humour and complexity. Offering smart, ambitious art, this graphic memoir is a must-read for would-be pregnant butches and anyone interested in the intersection of birth and gender, as well as a perfect queer baby shower gift and a conversation starter for those who always assumed they “got” what it’s like to be pregnant.

See excerpts of the book below:

with Pregnant Butch 01 Pregnant Butch 02 Pregnant Butch 03 Pregnant Butch 04 Pregnant Butch 05


Sapphic Cinema Sensations: 10 Essential Lesbian Movies

The last decade has seen a number of films deal with lesbians and lesbianism in a mature and insightful way. From light-hearted romantic comedies to tragic social dramas, Sapphic cinema has never been so healthy.

1. Sea Purple (2009)

This stylish Italian historical drama is about a lesbian called Angela in 1800s Sicily who is forced to change her identity and pretend to be a man in order be with the woman she loves. The ethereal atmosphere of the cinematography and scenery belies the film’s angry critique of patriarchy and state-sanctioned homophobia.


2. Affinity (2008)

Set in Victorian London, this BBC TV movie tells the tale of a miserable gentlewoman’s (played by Anna Madeley) attraction to an enigmatic spiritualist (Zoe Tapper). Adapted from Sarah Waters’ bestselling novel.

3. Imagine Me and You (2005)

Viewers were wowed by this film’s twisty-turny plotting and hilarious reimagining of a long-established genre. Piper Perabo and Lena Headey are perfectly cast as two women with very different attitudes to their attraction to one another.

4. Fingersmith (2005)

Another gem from the BBC, the “fingersmith” of the title refers to two 19th century female pickpockets who fall in love, despite coming from radically different social backgrounds. The quality of the acting and the beauty of the narrative structure will keep you glued to the screen.


5. Puccini for Beginners (2006)

Maria Maggenti’s second outing as director sees New York classical music expert Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser) starts dating a banker called Grace (Gretchen Mol), only to discover that previously they both dated the same male academic, played with poise and subtlety by Justin Kirke.


6. The Kids Are Alright (2010)

Perhaps the most high-profile lesbian motion picture of recent years, The Kids are Alright has an intriguing premise: what happens when the children of a long-term lesbian couple go seeking out the man who donated the sperm to create them? Although a critical and commercial success, the movie was not without its detractors who claimed that this nominally lesbian film was in fact more interested in satisfying a straight audience.


7. Pariah (2011)

This brave and unflinching film highlights the obstacles that an African-American lesbian must overcome in order to find happiness and acceptance. Adepero Oduye’s lead performance as the troubled and conflicted Alike is nothing less than masterful.


8. Kiss Me (2011)

A vividly realist portrayal of two women who fall in love. It should be that simple, but the fact that they are about to become step-sisters means that it really isn’t. Director Alexandre-Therese Keining handles the story with genuine empathy and respect.


9. Circumstance (2011)

As a recent blog entry on KitschMix showed, Iran is not the easiest place to be gay. Circumstance offers viewers an unsettling insight into what it is like to live in a society that treats women as second-class citizens and lesbians as something even worse.


10. Bloomington (2010)

A lesbian variation on the timeworn theme of teacher-pupil romance, Fernanda Cardoso’s meditation on the affair between a maternal psychology lecturer and a former child actress in need of a parental figure is intriguing stuff.

Reaching for the Moon – Watch the Trailer for New Lesbian Romance

Academy Award nominated filmmaker Bruno Barreto returns with a sophisticated tale of an unlikely romance between two extraordinary artists.

Grappling with writer’s block, legendary American poet Elizabeth Bishop travels from New York City to Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s to visit her college friend, Mary. Hoping to find inspiration on Mary’s sprawling estate, Elizabeth winds up with much more – a tempestuous relationship with Mary’s bohemian partner, architect Lota de Macedo Soares, that rocks the staid writer to her foundation.

Alcoholism, geographical distance and a military coup come between the lovers, but their intimate connection spans decades and forever impacts the life and work of these two extraordinary artists. The attraction of two polar-opposite women has rarely been so volatile and so erotically charged on the big screen

5 Books Every Young Gay Woman Should Read

A few of my favourite books…

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson’s award-winning novel is the story of a girl adopted by working-class evangelists in the North of England in the 1960′s – and leaves at the age of 16 for the woman she loves. The book (and subsequent BBC mini series) are loosely based on Winterson’s actual life in Accrington, Lancashire. While the story is written in first person, Winterson claims the story “isn’t autobiography in the real sense.”… Read more

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Brown’s novel, which often parallels with her own life, is first and foremost about growing up as a lesbian in America. Or, as the cover says quite nicely, “being different and loving it.” Molly Bolt – fearless and feisty – grows up dirt poor in the South where she realizes early on that she is attracted to girls. The story follows her escapades as she attempts to find herself and actively takes pride in what makes her so “different”. Bonus: The term “rubyfruit jungle” is slang for lady parts… Read more

Ain’t Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice by April Sinclair

The book Ain’t Gonna be the same Fool Twice by April Sinclair is the sequel to Coffee Will Make You Black. These books are very interesting, they were about a girl named Jean Steveson. In Coffee Will make you Black,Jean was growing up and graduating from high school. While this slow time period passed, she thought she was gay. She caught herself looking at women. At first she thought that it was natural for other women to look at other woman. Her junior year she had a crush on her nurse Mrs. Horn. She loved the way Mrs. Horn walked, talked, laugh, and smiled. She goes through college with the same insecurity and doubt. This story is a very interesting, once you start reading it, you don’t want to stop because you want to find out what’s happening next. What Jean is really trying to say is her sexuality is a journey and she is still on the road… Read more

Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

A story-within-a-story, two women meet in a nursing home and develop a friendship through the older woman’s fantastic telling of her life – particularly her story about two women named Ruth and Idgie. For anyone who has seen the film, you already know how perfectly the two stories play off each other, each taking place in very different time periods (the mid-1980s and 1920s). Both sides of the novel remind you that family is something you choose, not something you’re born into. Grab a box of tissues for this one and maybe make some fried green tomatoes of your own… read more

Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters

The heroine of Sarah Waters’s audacious first novel knows her destiny, and seems content with it. Her place is in her father’s seaside restaurant, shucking shellfish and stirring soup, singing all the while. “Although I didn’t believe the story told to me by Mother–that they had found me as a baby in an oyster-shell, and a greedy customer had almost eaten me for lunch–for 18 years I never doubted my own oysterish sympathies, never looked beyond my father’s kitchen for occupation, or for love.” At night Nancy Astley often ventures to the nearby music hall, not that she has illusions of being more than an audience member… read more

Bored of the Hollywood Spin, then here are 5 Lesbian Films to Consider

In honor of queer cinema (that is, cinema made by, starring, or directed by LGBT people) here are five lesbian films that capture the lesbian experience.

But I’m a Cheerleader!

One of my favourite actress, Natasha Lyonne, stars in this film is unabashedly camp romantic comedy, But I’m a Cheerleader is the directorial debut of well-known out-filmmaker and screenwriter Jamie Babbit. It tells the story of a pretty high school cheerleader who is sent off to an ex-gay camp by her family. The conversion therapies used are awkward, and the technicolor sets and pervasive use of neon pink add an utter flamboyancy to the whole romp.

Room in Rome

Room in Rome is unlike most LGBT films out there — for better or worse. It attempts to delve into the realm of art house cinema as it tells a melancholic story of two strangers meeting and falling in love in over the span of one night in a hotel room .

Mosquita y Mari

The award-winning debut film from openly queer director Aurora Guerreo, Mosquita y Mari is a story of first love and self-discovery. Coming to terms with and exploring your sexuality is a major experience for anyone, but it takes on a different significance when a relationship is same-sex, and cultural and political environments limit your freedom and safety.

Kyss Mig  (translated as With Ever Heartbeat)

A Swedish movie that came out in 201; it stars Ruth Vega Fernandez and Liv Mjönes. Part family drama and part romance, Kyss Mig (translated as With Ever Heartbeat) tells the story of Mia and Frida, women on their way to becoming step-sisters after the engagement of their parents. Further complicating their story is the fact that Mia is also engaged to a man, a situation that forces the two women to make some very difficult and confrontational decisions.

I Can’t Think Straight

A solid, light-hearted rom-com, I Can’t Think Straight has everything you would want in a date-night movie: a little bit of drama, a lot of cheesy, heartfelt moments, and the happy ending you’d expect.

A beautiful article from Amy Dune

A beautiful article from Amy Dune – LGBTQ Books Made Me Realise I wasn’t Alone.

Never underestimate the power a book can have on you…

I’m sat downstairs in the very early hours of the morning, with two sleeping cats and a snoring puppy for company. Why am I awake at such a Godforsaken hour? Well, I believe the upcoming BSB UK book event is to blame. A potent mixture of excitement and nerves has started to kick in and as a result I’ve got an evil attack of insomnia. So, I figure now is an ideal time to write my blog, rather than procrastinate (which I have been doing) and end up having Vic Oldham chase me down.

What should I write about? Well, as I’m new to the BSB family and this will be my first official book event, I think I’ll introduce myself, explain why I’m passionate about LGBTQ fiction and how I ended up becoming an author at BSB.

Here goes…

I was a fairly late bloomer in terms of accepting my sexuality. It happened in my fourth year at University. At the age of 22, my sexuality hit me like a tonne of bricks. I fell head over heels for a close friend and there wasn’t anything I could do to prevent it. Although it was a major surprise for me, annoyingly, my sister and all of my friends revealed that they’d always known and had been patiently waiting for me to realise.

To be totally honest with you, I’d secretly always known deep down, but had succeeded in pushing all thoughts away from the forefront of my mind. For years I fooled myself into believing I was happy to ignore them.

Throughout secondary school I had a best friend, he and I were inseparable. Having a best friend of the opposite sex meant that we always had a date for prom and we didn’t have to worry about peer pressure when it came to relationships. When we went to college he came out as gay, which wasn’t a surprise to either of us. We shared the occasional night out in Nottingham’s only gay club, during which I ignored my feelings and the fact I was blatantly checking out women, by convincing myself that I was only there to support him. A little while later I went away to University and he and I drifted apart.

At University I went on to surprise everyone, myself included, by joining the rugby team. Half of the team was made up of straight girls and the other half was made up of gay girls and we were like a little family. Although I got teased mercilessly for being such a prude, those four years at Keele University were the happiest and most content of my life up to that point.

From the ages of 12 – 21 I genuinely considered becoming a nun. (Sister Act had a lot to answer for.) I’m not sure that being locked away with other sexually repressed women for the rest of my life would have necessarily helped my plight.

Looking back, I believe my subconscious had been trying to get me to come to terms with my sexuality for many years, but I’d done my very best to ignore all of the signs, regardless of how blatant they were. And let’s face it… some of them were pretty blatant.

Not long after I graduated, my very first serious relationship ended and I returned home to live with my family. Now, my family are Catholic and initially they really struggled to accept it when I’d told them I was a lesbian. It didn’t help that I did it over the phone while drunk. (Never, ever, come out over the phone, let alone when drunk. It’s never going to end well. Trust me.) And it certainly didn’t help that the lesbian relationship that I’d been in, had been spectacularly damaging in many ways and ended up taking its toll on me both emotionally and physically.

Now that I was back home, my family made it clear that my ‘experimental phase’ was over and that they wanted me to find a nice boyfriend. I felt ashamed. I just didn’t have the courage to tell them it wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I resigned myself to keeping my head down low and accepting the fact I was most likely going to become a spinster, who would one day get eaten by her large array of pet hamsters.

Then one night, while shopping online, I came across a section for LGBTQ Books. It was like an epiphany! I felt the usual sting of Catholic guilt, but I also felt invigorated at the same time. The loneliness I’d been wallowing in began to disappear and I felt happier than I had in weeks. I sneakily ordered a few books and eagerly awaited their arrival. When I received them, I hid them in my room and devoured them, one after the other, after the other. I probably spent more on books in that month alone, than I did in the whole of the four years that I was at Uni.

Those books helped me, more than I can explain. It wasn’t just lesbian escapism that I discovered and treasured. It was solidarity. I wasn’t alone anymore. The feelings I’d secretly harboured became validated and even more importantly, were shown to be perfectly natural. Those books made me proud to finally accept who I was and they also ignited a burning desire to write my own lesbian story.

They enabled me to change my life and six years on… I now have a beautiful wife, two cats, a puppy and unconditional love from family and friends, who have accepted us wholeheartedly. My wife and I continue to read LGBTQ books and have no intentions of stopping.

It was only two years ago that I came across a posting on Facebook. It listed the information of the Bold Strokes Books 2nd UK book event that was taking place in Nottingham. As soon as I read that some of my favourite authors would be there, I was adamant that I was going and my lovely partner said she’d accompany me. I’d never been to a LGBTQ book event before and was a little apprehensive about what to expect.

We both had an amazing time and I spent a small fortune on books. It was wonderful to meet new people, who perhaps we normally may not have come across. The atmosphere and the attendees were friendly and inclusive. So much so, that we both ensured we had the weekend off last year, so we could attend the 3rd Book event which was even better!

We listened to the authors talk and they all described how being apart of BSB was like being a part of a family. In fact, they all spoke so highly of BSB that from that point onwards I became determined that if my manuscript was ever going to get published, it would be by BSB.

It took me a year to re-write and edit my manuscript before I eventually found the guts to submit it. I later received an e-mail politely saying that it had been rejected. I was disappointed, but strangely, it made me become even more determined. They gave me some excellent constructive feedback and so I went away, worked my socks off and then resubmitted it. In December last year my manuscript was accepted and I can’t express how happy it made me.

I’m please to announce that Secret Lies is due to be released on 16thDecember 2013 and I can’t wait to hold a copy of it in my hands for the very first time.

So, what have I learned about writing lesbian fiction so far? I’ve learnt that writing is a labour of love. There’s a reason why not everyone chooses to write books… it’s actually really hard. You have to motivate yourself, even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing. You have to put in so much time, much more than you initially think. You have to accept that most people won’t appreciate or truly understand how much time and effort you’ve invested, with the exception of other writers and loved ones (who sacrifice the time you should be spending with them, so you can write). You have to develop a thick skin, be prepared to accept constructive criticism, make changes (even if you don’t entirely agree) and work really hard. But most importantly, you have to be passionate about what you’re writing, because ultimately, that’s what’s going to get you through.

I also keep getting asked the same two questions over and over again:

  • Q) “Why do you want to write lesbian fiction?”
  • A) Because I’m a lesbian and I enjoy reading and writing lesbian fiction. Simple.
  • Q) “If you wrote a mainstream book, wouldn’t you get loads more cash and maybe even become famous?”
  • A) Perhaps. But my main motivation for writing isn’t to make loads of cash or to become famous. I write the stories because I enjoy writing them and hopefully readers will enjoy reading them.

So, now that I’ve written an essay—oops, sorry. I’m going to go and try to sleep. But I do hope that if you’re in or around Nottingham on the weekend of the 8thand 9th June, that you do come along. ( I’ll be the short one, that looks panic stricken.)

It really is a very social occasion and everyone is welcome.