Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Writer and the Song

For many fellow authors, music is an important part of the whole story, inspiration and company in the day to day writing. I'm always intrigued by their posts, and see which songs speak to them and their characters.



For me, the perfect song often comes along when a lot of the story is already written. I know the characters, crucial scenes, and sometimes, the book is already published. I lean back and in my mind, watch the movie I wish the book could be (knowing that even if I ever had that chance, it wouldn't be 100% the same).

One time, in the car with my wife, the song "Amazed" was on the radio, and I said it would be great to hear this from a woman's POV (pronoun-free songs always are great when you write stories with two people of the same gender in a relationship). I eventually found a version by Rachel Kramer, and wow, does it ever work for the way Jordan feels about Ellie. She's constantly amazed about Ellie's approach to life which is so different from her own waiting for the next shoe to drop (the next, not the other, because there's always something more in her experience). Another song I listen to in order to make these two come alive in my mind is "My Kind Of Love" by Emeli Sandé, and then, "Exes And Ohs" by Elle King (the latter, I first heard on an episode of Grey's Anatomy, and it's because of that context that it works for that pairing, not because of the lyrics).

 (an excerpt from Indiscretions)

And sometimes a song opens up a different perspective on a character. Adele's "Hello" is obviously about two people who were in a relationship. I always loved the drama and build-up, but for me, the lyrics could mean something other than a love story. It made me think about Jordan's relationship with her biological mother (sometimes, supporting characters take a whole lot more room than you thought they would).

Would you like to hear more about songs I worked with? A while ago, I was interviewed by Toe Six Press, and part of the interview was my "soundtrack" for The Amnesia Project.

I think part of the reason why many of us use music at some point during the process is this: We always chase the "perfect" imagery, try to put on the page exactly what we see in our minds. If we're lucky, we get close, and we bring those results to the reader. And try harder the next time. Music gets us that much closer.






Tuesday, July 10, 2018

An introduction to Carpenter/Harding (excerpt)

Not, it's not time for the Friday blog yet...but  the7th Carpenter/Harding book came out not long ago, and I realized it's been a while since I've shared an excerpt from Indiscretions (book #1)--so why not?

This is the series I always wanted to write, and what would be my dream TV show. The inspiration for the first book came from watching too much HGTV House Hunters, an episode where a couple visited a house and found a trap door under a carpet. I wanted a fast-paced story with characters that face high stakes and difficult obstacles, danger and attraction...and along came Jordan Carpenter and Ellie Harding.




“He’s been lying to us from the start,” Ellie said when they were on their way to Gleason’s house. “I can see him going off the deep end over all of this. Maybe he started out wanting to punish his wife, but then got into the killing. Whatever. He’s in the hospital now, so he can hardly harm me or anyone else.”
Jordan let her ramble on before she undid Ellie’s argument. “Eleanor Campbell was killed long before Lori disappeared, and besides the M.O., there’s no connection between the two.”
Ellie groaned. “I’m so tired of this. Even Dr. Roberts thinks he’s the one, and isn’t she supposed to be the expert?” Not a good idea, she reflected, bringing up the third party between them. Jordan looked unhappy, her shoulders tense.
“I’ve been on this case since we found the first body. She hangs out with the PD in Seattle, learns some facts and doesn’t even tell me? I hate this bureau-cratic shit.”
If the situation hadn’t been this serious, Ellie might have congratulated her on the pun. As it was, she was trying hard not to overreact to what they had learned from Sheila.
“Either way, it’s shitty of a husband to get someone to kidnap and torture his wife,” she offered. “Even if they were—” She stopped herself short of saying “cheating”. Ellie didn’t think the reminder would be welcome. Speaking of which. “Can you come over tonight? You’ve had a rough day. I could cook you something.”
It wasn’t likely, but she had to try. First of all, once reality sank in that her attacker might have been a serial murderer on the prowl for his next victim, she’d freak. In that case, Ellie would rather be with someone. Second, the sex they had made her feel amazing. She wasn’t ready to give up on it yet. Certainly not for the sake of Bethany who was scornful and patronizing even after Jordan had survived a confrontation with an armed and dangerous man.
“I don’t know,” Jordan said. At least she was honest.
How can you stand her? Ellie wanted to ask. She held back the question, knowing her judgment was clouded by hormones, fear and something that was too early to determine. She was well aware she was walking a fine line. Her new no holds barred approach to life wasn’t supposed to come with heartbreak. “I understand you said you wanted to move out, but how are you still together?” It wasn’t diplomatic enough.
“You’re right, it’s been a rough day. I’d like to get this done and head home. There’ll be an officer in front of your house. If there ever was another guy, and I think it’s a possibility, he might be tempted to make an appearance.”
Ellie leaned back in her seat, trying to get a handle on her disappointment.
“We don’t know if he ever planned to come back for me.”
“That’s right. I don’t want to take that chance.”
“I’d feel safer though if you were with me,” she hazarded.
Jordan shook her head. “No way. We’ve crossed enough lines. Your safety is no joke.”
“Oh, so that other thing is, a joke? I feel so much better now.”
“Ellie.”
“You’re right. We’re at work. This is not the right time to discuss these things.” She avoided Jordan’s gaze, startled when, at the next red light, Jordan laid her hand over Ellie’s.
“Either way, I’ll clean up this mess,” she promised.
Ellie didn’t know what to say.

* * * *

Intrigued? You can find all the Carpenter/Harding books and more at www.amazon.com/author/barbarawinkes



Saturday, July 7, 2018

Going Audio & Other News

I'd been mulling this over for quite some time, and I carefully read and listened to what other authors had to say on the subject. I hadn't listened to many audiobooks at the time, but it occurred to me that this is a new way to bring stories to people who are interested in them. Ebooks vs. paperbacks is mostly a matter of preference, but audiobooks open up new possibilities.
So, where to start? It's not like all my stories have graphic sex and violence--but the majority of them are thrillers and romance (not always completely fade to black). I had to find someone who was comfortable with all of that, and I'm beyond lucky I found T.J. Richards who will bring The Amnesia Project to a different medium this fall (if you haven't read it yet, it's pretty much fade to black in there--I had to think of my own comfort level as well. I'm not ready for, let's say Open Spaces.) I chose this book, because it's one of my most popular ones, with a theme I'm afraid will still be timely for years to come.



I'll keep you updated. For now, I'm beyond thrilled that you'll be able to listen to the story of Dani and Paige...

...and there might be a surprise ebook release coming up this fall as well. At the moment, things are starting to slow down, but there's still a lot going to happen this year. Along with the audiobook and surprise release, there will be a new (and the last) Jayce & Emma story, and closer to Christmas, Killer Instinct, and standalone, and not your usual Christmas story.

If you'd like to stay up to date on new releases and sales, you can always follow me on Amazon and/or BookBub. Or if you see me on social media, just ask!

Friday, June 29, 2018

A moment for escape - or is it?

It's been a tough week for many. I think the fact that there is so much conversation on social media (not just shouting) is a silver lining, if tiny. It feel like I have talked to a lot more people on Facebook and Twitter than in the past weeks. Some of it is about recent policies, in the US and elsewhere, some of it is about TV, books and the publishing world. All of it is important, and, in my opinion all of it is politics.

So, is a lesbian romance escape from it all? To some extent, yes. The Interpretation of Love and the Truth is free for a couple of days (reasonably priced afterwards, always available in Kindle Unlimited). While it's a sweet romance about finding the one, a wedding and a love triangle. A part of it is also about coming out within one's own community, and the challenges that can come with that.


All my books are part escape, part of addressing issues - though I've always believed that writing stories about happy and confident women-loving-women is politics too.  More to the point in this article I found on ElectricLiterature.com: Telling Queer Love Stories with Happy Endings Is a Form of Resistance. I absolutely agree.

Here are some more lesbian links:

Check out July sales on Elizabeth Andre books on Smashwords.

And Smashwords July sales for Anne Hagan.

Click here for Annette Mori's guest blog @ A.J. Adaire's.

Also, Anne Hagan's con sampler is on sale for the upcoming GCLS convention.

NEW: Cover Designs by May Dawney.

Enjoy you weekend - see you next week!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Jordan and Ellie are back: The challenges and rewards of writing a serial

Infatuations is the 7th book in the Carpenter/Harding series, and I'm happy and proud to have arrived in this place, with these characters. I have to admit it wasn't a given. Right after finishing Indiscretions, I sat down to write a dozen pages of the sequel...and that's where their story stayed for a while. I always wanted to do a serial. One of those stories remained a standalone. Another one has yet to be published--I still like the character, but I have pushed her story back for so long, she would need a new one these days. Jayce and Emma were fun to write, but theirs were always meant to be shorter stories.

So...Jordan Carpenter. Ellie Harding. I thought long and hard about whether book 2 was ever going to happen, and then it did. They wouldn't let me be, and so I found out that they had a lot more to tell me--cases, personal issues, the trouble with past relationships, and so on. #7.

This would have been hard to do without the readers that came back for each book, eager to hear more about these two, the adversaries they encounter, and the friends that support them.

Thank you so much. I hope you'll enjoy where I took them.

Lesfic link of the week:

Prudence McLeod blogs about her book SUVI.



Friday, June 15, 2018

I'm Impatient, So I Write What I Want To See.

I'm just coming off from an exciting week, having seen Ocean's Eight on Tuesday (a movie I've been waiting for since long before I heard about it for the first time. Actually, I've been waiting for it since I first saw Ocean's Eleven, and it made me as happy as I thought it would). It was fun. I think it's extremely important to see a group of female characters interacting in a constructive way, and getting the job done. That's what I have always loved so much about Women's Murder Club, the books and the TV show. That's what I enjoyed most about the movie.

In my own story world, Insinuations (Carpenter/Harding #2) is in the My Lesfic newsletter today, and the pre-order for Infatuations (#7) just went live. I love writing this series, and this couple, because it gives me what mainstream media still withholds - a setting with a substantial number of women in it, in which the main characters are lesbians. Because this is what I want to see:
Lesbians as leads. Lesbians as leads, in a relationship, with a love interest that is not just mentioned, and never seen, but present in the other character's professional life.



I want said professional life, and a glimpse into their private lives--but I also want a story beyond the romance, because I came for the action and suspense in the first place. And I can find that in my fellow authors' books as well.

In TV we're still reeling from the #BuryOurGays trope, and if there's lesbian representation, it's usually a friend or sister of the main character. Movies like Carol and Disobedience are more than we've hoped for, but there's the need for so many more, beyond the coming out story--which, of course, continues to be important. Showing the effects of homophobia then and now is important). I got tired of waiting.

The Carpenter/Harding series is what I wish I could see on my TV week after week. I dream of being able to see stories like The Amnesia Project, Secrets and RISE at the movies. More women leads. More lesbian leads. I am not the most patient person, so I sit down and write these stories, as do many of us.

Other interesting news from the lesfic world:

Authors, have a new release? Send a message to I Heart Lesfic here.

New release by May Dawney: Stolen Magic (The Veil Chronicles Book 3)

A sale from Anne Hagan:


Another sale from CL Cattano (Shattered Paradise)

 Also, meet Alicia Sophia, author of 1, 3, 4:


 And, if you still don't have enough to read, here's the 2018 LGBT+ Story Bundle (sci-fi focused).

Enjoy, and have a great weekend! See you next Friday!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

My Top 10 Fictional Detectives (Books)

Of course, there are plenty of lists like this - many of them have few women and ever fewer lesbians in them. Not mine. ;)

By the way, we're only a couple of weeks away from the release of Infatuations (June 21st), #7 in my own Carpenter/Harding series, but before I'll start talking about it more, here's my POV as a reader:

My Top 10 Fictional Detectives:



Lindsay Boxer (Women's Murder Club) by James Patterson

I have talked about the TV series on many occasions, but I fell in love with the concept and the characters years before Angie Harmon walked onto my TV screen and I knew this was the show I had always hoped for, from the first female detective novel I picked up. To this day, the idea is quite unique in crime drama.

Lisbeth Salander (Millennium) by Stieg Larsson

These books have left me breathless at times. She never backs down in her quest for justice, for all women, for herself. There is no sugar-coating about how misogyny is ingrained in everyday life, politics and society in general. Lisbeth never shies away from the fight. On a side note, I like her relationship with Blomkvist. When they first meet, she has no reason to trust any man at all. He acts in a way that should be normal, expected--treating a woman as an equal.

Micky Knight (Micky Knight series) by  J. M. Redmann

By now, Micky, like many of the others, feels like an old friend to me. When I first found mysteries with lesbian leads, she stood out for me, because these books had a bit more of an edge. I have followed Micky through all kinds of turbulent developments in her private and professional life, and I look forward to seeing her again. Knowing she always takes us around NOLA makes it even more fun.

Gianna Maglione (Gianna & Mimi series) by Penny Mickelbury

Here's another series featuring a cop and a reporter, this time not as friends, but lovers. Sometimes, the dynamic between the two reminds me of Lindsay and Cindy, because their professional goals and interests don't always completely overlap (but they always make up). This was also one of the first lesbian series I was excited to discover.

Carol Ashton (Inspector Carol Ashton series) by Claire McNab

And one more from the first lesbian detective serials I found about seventeen years ago - Australian Inspector Carol Ashton, and her lover Sybil, a teacher. I liked Carol because she came out later in life (my own coming out, early to mid-twenties, already felt very late to me, so I could relate a little more). Also, it seemed to me in those days that having a cat was required for the lesbian card. Carol had a dog.

Lena Adams (Grant County) by Karin Slaughter

Even though Sara, the medical examiner, and Jeffrey, her ex and then again husband, and Lena's boss, are the primary characters here, I loved Lena from the beginning. She is not easy-going, bordering on anti-hero, but Karin Slaughter always depicts her in a way that made me appreciate her most of all. Unfortunately, the later crossovers came at a cost for Lena-time.

Beck Nash (21 Weeks) by R.A. LaShea

I will read anything by this author, because her style easily moves from genre to genre. Here, for example, the chilling story about a cop on the hunt for a serial killer.

Jill Graham (Jill Graham series) by Lesley Chase

This was a young adult mystery series I loved as a child. You could easily imagine that Jill Graham, as a grown-up, would be a lot like Lindsay Boxer.

* * * *