Monday, August 12, 2013


UPDATE: I'll be opening up this blog to my own thoughts or topics on an irregular schedule. I'll still try and feature some interesting Indie authors.

Thank you to all the authors who Guested here and to readers and followers. This blog has outlived its usefulness.

Any updates or postings of interest can be found at my personal web site:

Friday, July 26, 2013


All about the Fantasy: Labeling in Traditional Vs. Self-publishing
Juli D. Revezzo

One year into self-publishing my work and what a year it has been! I have, in that time, also seen a novel I submitted to a small publisher, prior to, published by the small publisher, The Wild Rose Press. A long time ago, I started writing what was called Fantasy. Through the years that hasn’t changed. The strange thing about it is, those in the world of publishing who feel a need to box and label everything, have.

The Artist’s Inheritance  In my current series, The Antique Magic series, I write about ancestral curses, magic and witches. To me, it’s all pagan/supernatural elements—witches, gods, soldiers in a modern day town—elements which I put on par with Charmed (hello, Charmed), with a dash of Morgan le Fay, and things like that. Witches/supernatural equal fantasy to me. Always have, always will. But it seems like everyone you talk to calls my novel, something different! There’s no agreement among anyone, whatsoever of what the book is. In a way, that’s kinda cool and the whole lure of self publishing helping those that don’t fit into the Big Six’s teeny tiny little boxes. J On the other hand, it’s a Pain in the A** because of Amazon, who only recently decided to include Urban Fantasy in their KDP categories (a genre that’s been around since Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended).

Now, as I mentioned, I have a new book out from a traditional publisher—Passion’s Sacred Dance. It released Friday (*squee!*).  Ahem, Between Passion’s Sacred Dance and The Artist’s Inheritance, the elements included are virtually identical: myths, gods, warriors/soldiers and Druids in a modern day town—and the heroine’s long-dead ancestors make an appearance. Yet, by light of the fact that I lean heavily on the romance element in Passion’s Sacred Dance, even if I were to self-publish it, I wouldn’t think twice about the label Fantasy with a secondary category of Romance (are we seeing the overall theme of my writing here: Fantasy). To my publisher however, the romance is high importance, so I’ve no doubts where they’ll list it. To me, however, it’s all about the fantasy (one could even argue that the required Happily-ever-after of romance is a fantasy but that’s a subject for another time).

Genres are becoming very blended these days anyway (steampunk, anyone?), I’m not sure they’re necessarily reliable anymore. Luckily, there are some who don’t care about this, but care more for a good story, well told. :)

Will I self-publish again? Absolutely! Will I submit my next romance heavy fantasy to a publisher? You bet! I am a writer. Writing is what I do, and worry about the genre later. Hopefully the readers will be pleased. I know I am. Would you like to know a bit about my new romantic fantasy? Okay.

Passion’s Sacred Dance

Battling mounting debt, Stacy Macken is determined not to lose her historic art gallery. When Aaron Fielding appears and offers to help, she fights to keep the attraction sizzling between them from clouding her judgment. He may be her savior in disguise--but can she trust him?

Aaron intrigues her with tales of the Tuatha dé Danann, sworn warriors who protect humanity from the monsters seeking their destruction. If Aaron can prove what he claims, she would give up anything to help--even the gallery he claims is sacred ground. But with her property set to stage the next epic battle, she needs answers. An old family diary will confirm the ancient legend is true, if only they can find it in time.

If the battle is lost, the enemy will take control of Earth for the next five hundred years. Stacy and Aaron's budding love might only complicate things.

It’s available now at Amazon and coming soon to other retailers.
For more on these and other books visit Juli at:
And Juli’s Amazon page.

Friday, July 12, 2013

GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: Caren J. Werlinger

How Lesbian is Lesbian Enough?

The topic of what it is exactly that makes a “lesbian novel” has been debated ad nauseum in many circles. Is it only those books written by lesbians, even if there are no lesbian characters? Is it only those novels whose main characters are lesbian? Or is it those whose plot and storyline would appeal to lesbians? The only consensus seems to be that there is no consensus. Maybe lesbian literature is more fluid and diaphanous than any of those definitions.

Lynne Pierce recently raised the question of what it is we want lesbian literature to become. She likened the current state of lesbian fiction as being in its adolescence, having begun with the pulp novels of the 70s and 80s. Most of those books were not brilliantly written or produced, but they were all we had, and we gobbled them up. Now, with more small lesbian presses and the advent of independent publishing, we are in the midst of a flood of lesbian fiction, much of it romances. Not all of it is good, maybe even most of it. But it seems to tickle the taste buds of many readers, and as with typical adolescents, there seems to be a huge preoccupation with sex.

Like most humans (certainly not all), the literature will hopefully mature past this preoccupation to embrace the totality of what it is that makes us lesbian. I love an occasional romance, but sometimes I want something that reflects other aspects of my life. It is certainly much more than the gender of the person with whom I make love, though for many straight people, the definition of “lesbian” probably begins and ends right there.

For me, my being a lesbian influences everything I am – how I perceive and interact with other people, how I look at advertising, how I interpret news events, how I arrange my legal and financial affairs to protect my beloved, how I place myself within society. Absolutely everything about me is colored by the fact that I am a lesbian, and sex is only a very small part of that.
That wholeness, that totality is what I want my books to bring to life. I’m no longer an adolescent, preoccupied with thoughts of sex (well, there are moments…). I am much more than that, and so are my characters.  Their decisions and interactions, their successes and foibles are all influenced by the fact that they are lesbian, even when there is no sex involved. Does that make my books and others like them “unlesbian”?

Apparently, at least one reader thinks so. In a recent review of my novel, Miserere, a reviewer stated, “While this is an interesting read, those who may be expecting a lesbian romance may be disappointed. This is not really a lesbian novel per se -- as the main protagonist is a young girl of about 11 years of age, and the two lesbian characters in the novel have no intimate moments.”

First of all, this book was never marketed as a romance, but more intriguing to me was this reviewer’s opinion that if the book included no intimate scenes, then it couldn’t, by her definition, be lesbian. Nevermind that every critical decision made by one of the main characters is because she has fallen in love with another young woman (and no, she doesn’t identify herself as a lesbian – it was the 1860s), or that the young girl becomes the book’s real hero precisely because she already knows, in her heart, what it is that makes her different.

By this reader’s rationale, any woman who is not in a relationship, not sleeping with another woman, would not be lesbian, either. No sex = no lesbian. I think there are many in our community who would argue that that makes no sense in our lives, so why should it apply to our books?
To me, some of the most enduring and powerful romances in movies and literature have been the ones that don’t involve people thrashing around like eels. Sleepless in Seattle jumps to mind as one of my favorites, with the only physical contact between Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks being the holding of hands at the end of the movie (and I don’t remember the word “heterosexual” being uttered even one time). Jane Austen proved that a slow burn and prolonged attraction without our actually witnessing any sex between the characters has staying power – over two hundred years’ worth. Any of us should be so lucky as to have our books still being read two centuries from now!

I know, “it is a truth universally acknowledged” that sex sells. It always has and it always will. I can’t
help but think, though, that much of the current crop of lesbian romances will someday be looked back upon much as we now look at the novels from the 70s. My hope for our literature is that the novels that will stand the test of time will be those that transcend that very limiting definition of who we are and show us in our totality, as complex, complete human beings living our lives, even if the bedroom door is politely closed in our faces.

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Sunday, June 30, 2013


The Independence of an Indie Author

by T.T. Thomas

As we approach the 4th of July holidays, I am reminded of my first conscious taste and comprehension of freedom. I was 5 years old. A family friend joining us for a picnic and fireworks later, gave me a silver dollar for a present. I had no conscious understanding of the symbolism of the holiday, but I early on recognized the value of a dollar. Why? Because I had a sweet tooth. I knew the most amount of candy that could be had for a penny, a nickel, a dime. A silver dollar was instantaneous millionaire to my youthful mind. It could buy bags of candy. It could buy certain candies I had heretofore only drooled over. It could buy several pieces of candy every day for 20 days at a nickel a day.
And then my father said: You should save this; it's a silver dollar.
What? Hmmm. I walked the sidewalk in front of our house. I clearly recall saying, "It's Independence Day and I'm independent.” No really, I said that! I was pre-precocious. And somehow, I knew what it meant. It meant: my silver dollar, my candy. Who didn't understand that?
But I paced: Should I sneak down to the store, real quick like, to get the candy I dearly wanted? Or not? Finally I went to my dad and explained my dilemma. I wanted to save, but I wanted just a couple pieces of candy. So, why not give me a quarter for the candy, and I'll save the silver dollar? It was win/win as far as I could see. He objected to the concept and the quarter.
"If you want it that badly, spend your own money—you've got it. Or don't, and save it."
I went to my mother. She explained the wisdom of saving in weather terms. "Save it for a rainy day," she said.
I went to my auntie. She asked to borrow it. I left her somewhere in the kitchen. Finally I hovered around the man who gave it to me.
"What are you going to do with your silver dollar?" he asked.
"Well," I said shyly, "I'd prefer to save it for a rainy day, or if someone needs to borrow it, sometime down the road, but then I wouldn't be able to get 15 cents worth of candy, which I'd like to have to celebrate my independence." I had dropped the notion of asking for a quarter, figuring, rightly, that it was going against the grain of the prevailing market conditions.
He looked at me. "No freaking way did you just say that!" he exclaimed.
It's true I didn't say that, and he didn't say that either. But I did say something very cute and ingenuous, because he handed me a dime and a nickel.
Now I had it all: Money for candy and savings. This time I skipped, then ran, down to the corner for the candy. I proudly showed the man at the counter my silver dollar, bought a dime's worth of candy and had a nickel to spare. Now, you might want to sit down for the next part because the story gets...well, the "ewww" factor goes up a bit.
The next day, the landlord came around to visit my parents. He was on his way to the stockyards. I didn't know what they were, but I heard "animals" and wanted to go. I don't know what possessed my mother to let me go with him, and I have even less insight into why she put me in a dress. Have you ever been to the stockyards? This was cows and pigs. All fenced in. Malodorous.
The man lifted me up so I could see into the pens. I stood on one of the fence railings, and he kept his arm around me to make sure I didn't fall in. I had my one nickel in the pocket of the dress, and for some reason, I took it out and held it in my fist. I cannot say with any certain memory what happened next—not much but enough to frighten me.
The man's arm slipped down my body and his hand now rested on my upper thigh, and he began to rub my leg. Frightened but not really sure why, I suppose, I started gnawing on my my closed fist, and somehow, I swallowed the nickel. I suddenly began to cough and spit and cry and throw a terrible fit. A crowd of other men formed, drawn by my bleating and weeping. Unnerved, (by the "witnesses" no doubt) he hoisted me up off that fence, took me to his truck and drove me right home.
He told my mom that I had swallowed a coin and maybe she should take me to the doctor. I must have looked frightened because I saw something begin to dawn on my mother's face. She said goodbye to him and called the doctor who told her how to get that nickel back. To watch for it. To not stop watching for it until she saw that it had exited my body. I could tell she did not look forward to the ordeal, but she had something bigger on her mind.
She sat me at the table and asked me about the day. We got around to talking about Mr. Icky, and she asked me if he was nice to me. I didn't answer at first. Finally I simply said, "I don't like him." Somehow she knew. She gave that Irish mother all-knowing nod, and left me at the table with milk and cookies while she called my father. I never saw the creepy man again, and we moved from that house not long after.
Oh and I did get my nicely cleaned nickel back. And my mother never took her eyes off me and my sisters from that day on.
So, being independent has given me tremendous happiness and a few close calls. And I find as I pursue the life of a published writer, a self-published or “Indie” writer, the same sense of survival, passion for a good story, and a basic sense of good and evil, and right and wrong, are represented by the heroes and heroines in my own and other writer's books.
My favorite characters are people, especially women, who venture into uncharted territories with little more than their own optimism and a will to be who they authentically are. I'm still thrilled to be able to recreate the joy, the spirit and the challenge of trying to balance all that being an Indie means.
I like that it take a village to put it all together, but it's a village with inhabitants of my choosing. The village might change a bit from book to book, but the theme is the same: I will pay you to give me your best edit, your best cover, your ISBN number, your formatting skills, and all the rest of it. And I will pay for the review copies, eBook or print, the advertising, the promotional giveaways, the contest fees, the conference fees, the membership fees, and the contributions to other writers, some I know, some I don't.
Throughout the entire process, I have to tell you: I am excited, I'm thrilled to be able to do it, and a whole lot of  love and dedication to a good tale well told goes into the process, not just from me but from all members of my village. And I belong to other writers' villages, usually as a Beta reader, certainly as a reviewer, always as a cheerleader, an encourager and a good-natured competitor for the next reader!
And when it's all done and my book goes live, I, still an independent and an Indie, come out with the same familiar $1.15 for every book that sells—a dollar for savings, a dime for candy, a nickel for emergencies! No, it's not a lot of money, is it? But I love it. Oh, okay, sure, times about five hundred thousand would be nice! LOL.
I'm thrilled to premiere the cover for my latest offering, A Delicate Refusal, which will be on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all the usual places over the holiday weekend. The print version will be available within a couple weeks.

And here's a small taste of A Delicate Refusal

England, 1914. Two friends, brought together by circumstance and a mutual attraction that threatens to be torn apart by fears, family secrets and mysterious afflictions, face an even bigger adversary in the face and form of a world war.

As World War I begins, England tries to maintain its “splendid isolation” policy, but the British people are quietly enduring their own misgivings, facing their own fears and wondering how long they can bear witness to carnage without a response.

Into this milieu of intrigue and uncertainty, two women begin a most unusual love affair. Theirs is a love sustained by hope and encouraged by letters, but threatened by their own private fears and the worldwide anxieties covering the earth like a dark shroud. As all of Europe drives itself to the brink of destruction, can an uncommon love survive the concussive blasts of doubt and deceit, of estrangement and misunderstanding? Who lives to love? Who lurks in the background watching the affair from the distance of déjà vu? And who presents “a delicate refusal” to become a tragic hero?

It's fitting that I do the world premiere of my cover on the blog belonging to my cover artist—the Gothic Queen herself, Patty G. Henderson. Thank you Patty—for my cover, for inviting me here and for our friendship.

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