Words for Women who Love Women

Finding Your Tribe

Brey and I were in Spain in June on a writing retreat with my other Butterworth Books authors, Valden Bush and E.V. Bancroft. At the time, I was reading Viola Davis’s memoir Finding Me (a brutally honest and stunningly visceral book that everyone should consume). There’s a part in it where Viola describes a conversation with Will Smith on a movie set. He asked, “Who are you?” She was understandably confused and needed him to elaborate. He said, “I’ll always be the fifteen-year-old kid who was dumped by his girlfriend,” meaning that an experience in his past continues to define him as a person now. Viola pondered and eventually said that she’d always be the eight-year-old being pushed around by the violent bullies. 

Consumed with the question and all it could bring to the surface, I asked my three musketeers, “Who are you?” After explaining the above, Valden answered that she’d always be the six-year-old not wanting to get out of bed in case the monsters underneath got her; E.V. replied that she’s always be the kid trying to get attention from her mum because her brother was always the focus; and Brey said that she’d always be listening for the creak on the stairs for the bad people to come in to her bedroom. All their responses were traumatic and indicative of how they traverse the here and now, carrying the burden of their past into the future. We are the products of our past, for sure.

Of course, they wanted to know my answer, and they said that their responses might’ve been negative because the example was negative. I disagreed. Who am I? I’m the three-week premature kid hanging on so tightly to the umbilical cord that they thought it was strangling me – but I just wanted out. I wanted to get on with life and ride the journey to the very end, grabbing on to every experience it has to offer me. Not negative at all. But then, I was lucky and had a wonderful, working-class family who loved me and encouraged me to be anything and everything I wanted. Sadly, not many of us get that. And I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had it (and still have it)—it’s one of the reasons I’m so comfortable in my skin, so at peace with who I am, and why I’m an “empty vessel” as a Buddhist guru once told me. 

Anyhoo, why am I telling you all of this? Because of the support. Because of the community. Because of who we are and can be to each other. I started Butterworth Books to create exactly that kind of environment. Somewhere that authors could be their wonderfully weird selves and be celebrated for it. We’re a bunch of rag-tag people from all kinds of backgrounds, with all types of baggage, and plenty of physical and mental health issues. And we’re in it together. We go on retreats together, we sit in places all over the world but in a virtual writing room together, and we’re there for each other through the darkness and the light.

And on that note of support and community, I’m sharing news of today’s Butterworth Books’ release, An Art to Love by Helena Harte. You can buy it here and read it free on Kindle Unlimited. And as you can see from the graphic and quote from another Butterworth Books’ author, award-winning E.V. Bancroft, it’s a damn good book.

So, who are you? Comment or email me or get in touch on social media–I’d love to know. 

And remember, le bonheur c’est maintenant (happiness is now/the best time is now). Ciao, lovely readers 🙂

Dead Pretty – February release

Hello there, you wonderful people! How’s 2022 treating you so far? What are your goals? I’m hoping for another great year of playing with words. And on that note, my new book is all but ready, and I’m happy to report that I’m on schedule for release at the end of February! Dead Pretty is a romantic intrigue novel with a kick-ass FBI agent and a slightly neurotic reality TV star. It’s fast-burn, low-angst, and pacy. Here’s the blurb:
Special Agent Dak Farrell works cold cases, and she’s damn good at it. She’s always on the move and doesn’t care where the next case takes her. But when the Salt Lake City police department need her help with a new serial killer, she’ll be around a little longer than usual. Long enough to get attached to the beautiful woman next door.

Mortician Callie “CJ” Johnson is on top of the world until her show, Dead Pretty, is canceled. Thanks to a frivolous lifestyle, she’s got nothing to show for it. With no other alternative, she heads home to lick her wounds and wait for a new opportunity. When she sees the hot FBI agent living next door, that opportunity isn’t what she expected.

When CJ fixes the serial killer’s “artistic” work, she becomes his next target. Will Dak be able to save her? Or will The Artist claim CJ as his next victim?
And while you’re waiting for that, have you downloaded your free ebook copy of this year’s Butterworth Books anthology, LesFic Eclectic Volume Three, edited by yours truly. With twenty-three established, emerging, and new voices, there’s something for everyone. Authors include Emma Nichols, Brey Willows, Margaux Fox, and M Ullrich.

Release Day! LesFic Eclectic Volume Two – Coach Five of the Blog Train

Christmas is here early! It’s release day for LesFic Eclectic Volume Two. You can now claim your free copy by clicking the link at the bottom of the page (come on, don’t skip through these last lovely authors in your haste). The link takes you to the external website, BookFunnel, to download whatever version works for you.

On our final coach, we’ve got the perfect balance of two established and two new authors for you with Carla David, Valden Bush, my wonderful wife, Brey Willows, and me!

How excited are you to be involved in this project?

Carla David: I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share more of my work with your audience, especially as this is the first story I’ve submitted that’s written from the POV of a person with autism (and I loved writing it!)

Robyn Nyx: I love sharing stories, and I love getting new voices out there for everyone to enjoy. A big part of my work nowadays is helping writers turn their dreams into their reality, and I love it. I love the collaboration, and the creativity, and the inspiration. Every writer has a unique perspective on the world, and it’s such a rewarding thing to be involved in their writing journey. I’ve made this anthology into an annual project, because I believe so strongly in the power of words and their ability to strengthen us as people and as communities.

Brey Willows: I love being part of anthologies celebrating different types of lesbian fiction. It’s great to be included and to give people a taste of what you write. And I think putting short stories together keeps your writing fresh, too, because they’re challenging and force you to hone your skills so you write without waffle.

Valden Bush: The challenge of writing a story and getting it accepted is powerful stuff for a new author. With the help of Robyn and Victoria at Global Wordsmiths and their retreats, I’ve been learning about the craft of writing and I know I’m still developing (will I ever stop?). Writing short stories gives you a place to try things out and to find out how your words can work. Wonderful!

What’s your story about and what genre does it fall into?

Carla David: It’s kinky erotica from a different point of view than you normally read. I’d been wanting to write a sensual story from the perspective of someone with autism and a sensory processing disorder for a long time and finally took the plunge with this. As well as being gay and kinky, they’re also non-binary and polyamorous. It’s definitely queer fiction.

Robyn Nyx: The Prophecy of Irisnah is an adult fantasy bedtime story about dragons and goddesses and recreants, and the triumph of good over evil. I spoke briefly about the idea I’d had to write a full length novel from an omniscient story-telling point of view at Jenn Matthew’s recent event, Weston Super LesFic, and it got me thinking. Later that week, I wrote this, and I’m already plotting the whole book!

Brey Willows: I went with something that’s been on my mind—what happened to the people left behind after the Chosen left? What legacy did Karissa and Devin leave behind? How would society evolve on a dying planet? So my story follows two young women who have been living in Subtrop, a region established in Karissa and Devin’s time…but it’s a hundred years later, and all they’ve ever known is life underground. They take a chance to see what’s out there now… It falls under dystopian fiction, and I think it will eventually turn into a novel.

Valden Bush: My story is a tender love story between two women, how they met and memories of that love after it is over. 

What kind of fiction do you like to write and why?

Carla David: I’m enjoying experimenting with queer romance, showing that there’s more than one way to love and to get that happy ending. I got frustrated by the lack of positive stories out there I could relate to, so decided to write the kind of stories I’d love to read. My own experiences give me insights that I can share by writing from an own voices perspective, and I want to do more of that e.g. writing neurodiverse and non-binary characters. I finished writing my first full-length lesfic novel this year and hope to have it ready for publication next year.

Robyn Nyx: All sorts. I love a good story, and sometimes that’s adventure, sci-fi, or a thriller, but there’s always a strong romance threaded throughout. There’s so much power in story-telling, and people can get so much from reading about people both like them and not like them. I like to write strong women who get to kick ass and kiss the girl.

Brey Willows: I’m a spec-fic writer, all the way. I like to create new worlds and adventures and see where that takes my characters. I like the idea that magic surrounds us, that we can survive if we pull together, that life on other planets would have life forms that would be spectacular. I like that I can also play with deeper themes within spec-fic, like climate change, social inequality, and religion, but in a way that’s fun.

Valden Bush: My current WIP is a science fiction romance. My stories seem to come from within. Something in the world sparks something inside of me that needs to come out, and before I know it, I have a story in mind. I already have more than a few sparks for my next book which will be an adventure story.

Tell us something about yourself that readers might not already know.

Carla David: I once appeared in the Evening Standard, photographed dressed in a clown suit being dragged off the road by a couple of policemen during a protest. It was nearly twenty years ago and I’m still proud.

Robyn Nyx: I collect Zippos and have a collection of around fifty from all over the world. The oldest one I have belonged to a Vietnam vet. Since we got together, Brey buys me one every time I publish a new novel and has it engraved with the title and date of publication.

Brey Willows: EVERY time I get in the ocean to swim, it tries to kill me. I’ve been caught in riptides and flipped head over ass in sand more times than I can count. I stay out of it now, because it’s after me.

Valden Bush: I’m an indoor cyclist and cycle on Zwift several times a week racing for an Australian team. I started a year ago, and since then I have cycled 4190 km and climbed 43100m.

What’s your favourite line from your story in LesFic Eclectic Volume Two?

Robyn Nyx ~ The Prophecy of Irisnah: A Bedtime Story for Adults
“I will never fall to you.” Defiance burned across Irisnah’s eyes, the amber flashing like a wildfire.
“That, my sweet Irisnah, it what every single goddess before you has vowed.”

Brey Willows ~ Into the Light
Sunlight slid over the wide plains in front of them. Trees heavy with fruit and reaching for the sky lined the long road leading toward their home. Thin, wispy clouds rested in sky a brighter blue than anything she’d ever seen. Far below, a wide river flowed languidly past giant birds on the bank. Before them was life; life they’d been told couldn’t exist above ground. 

Valden Bush ~ The Elephant Trees
“Mum says I mustn’t talk to strangers, but a dead old lady isn’t a stranger. I don’t think.” 

Thanks for reading, you lovely folk. And now for your early Christmas present. Click below to get your free copy of LesFic Eclectic Volume Two. Happy reading, and don’t forget to pop a review on Goodreads if you get chance – the authors sure do appreciate it.

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