LGBT History Month by Cherry Potts


Some great thoughts…

Women and Words


Happy Sunday everyone! Author Cherry Potts stopped by to share her thoughts about LGBT History Month!

Cherry has a website HERE. And you can check out her publisher, Arachne Press HERE.

LGBT History Month
by Cherry Potts

So: It’s LGBT History Month, and I started planning for that way back in December when I started booking readings (and readers–writers Clare Summerskill, V.G. Lee, Kate Foley, Rebecca Idris, V.A. Fearon, Catherine Blackfeather and actor Sarah Feathers, and my best girl, Alix,have all been very forthcoming with their time) for a series of events, and started blogging the Historical Birthday-Tea Party, a post a day for the year (in theory!) celebrating the birthdays of lesbians, wild women and fellow travelers.- pretty much any woman who might be or ought to have been a lesbian.

Identifying women from history as lesbian is quite tough, especially before around 1920, when the words weren’t…

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Waiting for Violins: A Visit with Justine Saracen


How did you get started writing lesbian fiction/romance? 

Basically, I have lived deep in fiction most of my life, though I suspect that is true of most gays and lesbians. As a child, I fantasized obsessively and of course with lots of kissing, but did it in chapters and dialog. It seems I was waiting for the universe to provide me a way to realize them in a formal way. That way was the Internet. I wrote fan fiction under the name of Elaine Sutherland for a couple of years, and then, when gay and lesbian presses came into existence, voila, I was ready.

We all know that fiction is more fun than real life. To be sure, my real life has been fun-filled enough. I’ve been in love, traveled abroad, learned a couple of foreign languages, gone scuba diving, swum with dolphins, etc. But I’ve spent more time working at a job, doing laundry/ shopping/dishes, parking the car, enduring the flu, cleaning the cat box, walking the dog etc.

In fiction, you cram all the high points together and leave out the drudgery. It’s way better than drugs.

What kind of characters do you most like to write about and why?

I write historical thrillers with a actual historical persons and LGBT characters moving around them. I’ve written about biblical times, ancient Egyptians, the Crusades, the Renaissance (Rome and Venice) and a great deal about World War II. In principle, I want to re-visit those events that we use to define ourselves, but ensure that the gays and lesbians, who were surely there, are visible. In the novel Sistine Heresy, it was easy because Michelangelo was almost certainly gay himself, so all I had to do was add a couple of lesbians (and painting, and ecclesiastical sex and torture) and I had my story. It took a bit more imagination to add us to the Crusades.

It’s also gratifying to try to get into the heads of great historical people, to try to imagine what was going on in the mind of Michelangelo, a Borgia pope, an Egyptian pharaoh, a Venetian Inquisitor, a disciple of Jesus, a secretary of Josef Goebbels, a soldier at Stalingrad, a fighter in the Résistance. You get to live a hundred lives (and fly planes, parachute into enemy territory, commit murder, torture heretics, visit the underworld, witness Hitler’s suicide, and have any kind of sex with anyone you want.) Did I mention the sex?

Tell us a little about your new release… 

Waiting for the Violins (March 2014) is the third of my World War Two novels and the most historical. When I moved to Brussels from New York a few years ago, I met so many people who had been touched by it. My best friend’s aunt (after whom she was named) was in the Résistance in the Ardennes and was killed by a sniper the day the Allies arrived. My friend brought me to see her grave and monument. Another elderly friend told of being surrendered at the age of three to a Catholic family by Jewish parents who perished at Auschwitz. We made a trip together to a concentration camp outside of Brussels. Deeply impressed by those accounts, I decided to weave them into a novel for which this is the plot summary.

Antonia Forrester, an English nurse, is nearly killed while trying to save soldiers fleeing at Dunkirk. Embittered, she returns to occupied Brussels as a British spy to foment resistance to the Nazis. She works with urban partisans who sabotage deportation efforts and execute collaborators, before résistante leader Sandrine Toussaint accepts her into the Comet Line, an operation to rescue downed Allied pilots. After capture and then escape from a deportation train headed for Auschwitz, the women join the Maquis fighting in the Ardenne Forest. Passion is the glowing ember that warms them amidst the winter carnage until London radio transmits the news they’ve waited for. Huddled in the darkness, they hear the coded message, “the long sobs of the violins” signaling that the Allied Invasion is about to begin.


Name three things on your desk right now.

I write on my sofa, not at a desk. And surrounding me right now are a chaotic scattering of books for research and reference, a plate of crumbs and drying cheese left over from breakfast, and a sleeping dachshund desperately in need of a bath. (Oh, dear. I must give the impression of being a terrible housekeeper.)

What are some of your favorite lesbian fiction/romance/erotic authors?

– Sarah Waters, because she is so good at surprising the reader.

– Jane Rule   Until she died, I checked every month to see if she had published anything new.

– Jane Wagner, better known as Lily Tomlin’s wife. She wrote all the material for Lily’s Broadway show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life, the screenplay for The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and a bunch more of Lily’s material. A real wit, this woman.

None of these women can be considered romance or erotic authors, but there is such a powerful and intelligent lesbian sentiment behind their writing that it makes me want to belong to them.

Favorite dessert?

Duh. Chocolate, of course.  I live in Belgium.


Plotter or pantster?

I am always puzzled by this dichotomy since I don’t think anyone can write a whole novel without having some overall plot arc in mind, otherwise they just meander aimlessly. It’s only a question of how much detail you have in the outline in your head. Myself, I like to know where my characters are going in advance and what kind of trouble they’re going to get into. The creative part is filling in the details and dialogs and threading motifs through the story. A historical fiction writer is also bound by the actual historical chronology. Unless you’re writing paranormal or steampunk, you can’t have your heroines make love in a building that was bombed a year ago, or visit a temple that hasn’t been built yet, or be interrupted by someone who was dead for a century.

What are you working on now?

I’m so glad you asked. “The Witch of Stalingrad” is about a female pilot in the Soviet Air Force in World War Two. It’s based on Lilya Litviak, a beautiful young fighter pilot who shot down a lot of German planes and looked like Jennifer Saunders. I’m quite smitten with her, which I suppose is rather inappropriate because a) she was much too young for me, and b) she’s…well….dead. She was shot down herself at the age of 21. The other heroine is an American journalist based on the figure of Margaret Bourke-White, also a very interesting lady who was in Moscow (photographing Stalin) the day the Germans invaded. This manuscript has me in its grip, although research has been a challenge. So much of the biographic material on Litviak is in Russian. But to inspire myself, I bought a gymnasterka, one of those tunics belted at the waist that all the Soviet soldiers and aviators wore, and some fake medals. Now I dream of flying planes. This is due, in no small measure, to Julie Tizard, a pilot friend who suggested the subject in the first place and who has given me an unhealthy desire to get into small planes.

Let me end this interview by thanking Lesfic and Lipstick for inviting me to show off a little. Every lesfic blog and website and Facebook page keeps the ideas (the gay agenda??) circulating and all of you are part of the ‘show.’ Those of us who perch – or wallow on our sofas – for endless hours in front of our screens making stuff up really depend on your presence and interest. If you were here, I’d buy you some fantastic chocolate. Bisous from Brussels.

Link to Bold Strokes Books for purchases:

Saracen Portrait

About the author:

A recovered academic, Justine Saracen started out producing dreary theses, dissertations and articles for esoteric literary journals. Writing fiction, it turned out, was way more fun.  With seven historical thrillers now under her literary belt, she has moved from Ancient Egyptian theology (The 100th Generation) to the Crusades (2007 Lammy-nominated Vulture’s Kiss) to the Roman Renaissance.

Sistine Heresy, which conjures up a thoroughly blasphemic backstory to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes, won a 2009 Independent Publisher’s Award (IPPY) and was a finalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year Award.

A few centuries farther along, WWII thriller Mephisto Aria, was a finalist in the EPIC award competition, won Rainbow awards for Best Historical Novel and Best Writing Style, and took the 2011 Golden Crown first prize for best historical novel.

The Eddie Izzard inspired novel, Sarah, Son of God followed soon after. In the story within a story, a transgendered beauty takes us through Stonewall-rioting New York, Venice under the Inquisition, and Nero’s Rome. The novel won the Rainbow First Prize for Best Transgendered Novel.

Her second WWII thriller Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright, which follows the lives of four homosexuals during the Third Reich, won the 2012 Rainbow First Prize for Historical Novel. Having lived in Germany and taught courses on 20th Century German history, Justine is deeply engaged in the moral issues of the ‘urge to war’ and the ease with which it infects.

Beloved Gomorrah, (2013) marked a return to her critique of Bible myths – in this case an LGBT version of Sodom and Gomorrah — though it also involves a lot of Red Sea diving and the dangerous allure of a certain Hollywood actress.

Saracen lives on a “charming little winding street in Brussels.” Being an adopted European has brought her close to the memories of WWII and engendered a sort of obsession with the war years. Waiting for the Violins, appearing in March 2014, tells of an English nurse, nearly killed while fleeing Dunkirk, who returns by night parachute as a British spy and joins forces with the Belgian resistance.

When dwelling in reality, Justine’s favorite pursuits are scuba diving and listening to opera. She can be reached by way of, through FB justinesaracen, and at Twitter as JustSaracen.

Thank you Justine for coming on the blog today. I am looking forward to reading your new book!

A Visit with Erik Schubach:


Valkyrie Chronicles - Return of the Asgard - Cover Thumb

Today we welcome Erik Schubach with an interview! Erik has several books in the les-fic genre with many more in the works.

1. How did you get started writing lesbian fiction?

It was actually by accident.  I have always been drawn to strong female characters in books, like Honor Harrington.  I also believe that there is a lack of LGBT characters in media. So one day I came up with a story idea that combines the two… two days later I completed the manuscript for my first book, Music of the Soul.

It was well received so I decided to keep writing and the rest is history.  Each of my books features strong likable female characters that are flawed. I think that flaws and emotional or physical scars make us human and give us more character than simply conforming to some “social norm”.  I write romance, there isn’t any erotica in my stories but they are heavy on emotion and character development.

2. Tell us about your book Fracture. What inspired the tale?

My Music of the Soul series was gathering a following and I branched out into my passion, SciFi, with my Valkyrie Chronicles series.  But I have always like paranormal as well.

Fracture Divergence - Cover ThumbI have always enjoyed modern witch tales and parallel universe stories so I decided to try to unite the two.  I wanted to come up with a story about magic and witches that was unique and broke all the genre norms.  The love connection is the most unconventional I have written and hope my readers enjoy it.3. Pantster or plotter?

I’m a panster.  I start with a general idea with a defined beginning and end then I just let the story flow out organically.  I like to imagine how each character would feel and react in a situation.  I get lost in the moment and the emotions and before you know it I have come full circle and the manuscript is finished.

4. If I were your favorite cookie, what flavor would I be?

You would be all snickery and doodley.  Cinnamon sugar, mmmm.


5. Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.

I have a full wood shop in my garage and I handcraft wooden toys and children’s sleds without plans.


6. Name three things on your desk right now.

I have a Red Seal 1953 two dollar bill, a bugs bunny with carrot launcher to guard it, and an Expo 74 commemorative coin.


7. What kinds of characters really speak to you as you write?

I love writing characters that are flawed that are trying to find their place in the world, who do not realize that what they perceive are their greatest weaknesses are actually their biggest strengths. They just feel more real and identifiable to me as I write them than perfect characters that almost never exist in real life.

8. Do you listen to music as you write?

I do.  I simply LOVE the Veronicas and some old school rock.  But you’ll also catch me listening to songs from movie soundtracks like Let It Go from Frozen.

9. What are some of your favorite lesbian fiction books/authors?

I enjoyed Mila Kerr’s Aspen Meadows.  The You Know Who Girls by Annameekee Hesik. Was fun too.  For the most part I prefer a story of love and romance but sometimes a little erotica in the story is good.

10. Tell us about your next project.

I’m currently writing three books simultaneously.

Music of the Soul - Cover ThumbThe next Music of the Soul Book, Syncopated Rhythm.  Which features Amber LaLanie, a character from a previous book, Karaoke Queen.  It is a stand alone book like all the books in the Music of the Soul series though it shares locations and characters.
The fourth book in the Valkyrie Chronicles Series, Seventy Two Hours.  I can’t say much about that one without giving the whole thing away but the first chapter is going to make fans of the series really mad at me (somebody dies) but I hope the epic story will win them back by the end of the book.The first book in my new Awakening series.  It features an awkward, clumsy, and geeky mythology and anthropology researcher, who is living out of her car while her grant money is coming in.  She gets mugged by her car and shot.  After the assailant leaves the woman finds that she is unharmed and there are red scales on her skin where the bullet struck.  They fade over time.  Shortly after she finds she is a dragon of old who is going through her “awakening” and suddenly in a fight for her very existence.

 deafening whisper

Mia has lived a life full of harassment, for an affliction not many understand. She thought college would be different, her escape, after all, people there are more mature right? She was wrong. A rebellious girl, Vee, saves her from a bad situation and teaches her that every single day is a gift. A romance blooms between them that not even time can erase.
A Deafening Whisper:
The University of Washington awarded me a full ride scholarship, including room and board, for my art and academic record.  I was ecstatic, college was going to be a life changer for me,  no more bullies, no more mocking.  I mean, everyone there was more mature right?That illusion was effectively destroyed my first week at UW, in one of the cafeterias I decided to study in while I ate lunch.  I was hunched down in my hoodie, my utensils organized neatly and in the proper order on my napkin beside my chef salad as I skimmed my calculus book, absorbing the formulas.I had just put my book down, aligned evenly with the table edge, so that I could get a bite of my salad when a familiar screechy voice rang out behind me.  “Well if it isn’t little miss spaz!”  I flinched as stress and anxiety hit me like a bulldozer.  It felt almost like a physical blow.  I turned to see Missy Hannigan, a cheerleader from my old high school, grinning like a hungry alligator.  She was flanked by what I could only assume were her new little minions.

I could feel an “episode” coming on.  I stood and tried to leave but they blocked the way.  My eyes were darting around looking for escape, for a restroom.  My shoulder started to twitch up to brush my cheek as I looked for a way around the girls.  Missy just continued her verbal assault. “They’ll let any freak go to this university it seems.  Why don’t you just go to a community college and leave us normal people alone spaz?”

I blurted “Physical derivative!”  I was moving side to side trying to get around the girls as my shoulder twitched, brushing my cheek again.  “Please let me go.” I begged.  The girls all laughed and I repeated, “The physical derivative.”

Missy was suddenly pushed aside and a tall girl with a gorgeous mane of flowing brown hair stepped up to me, ignoring the shocked girls she had pushed through to my twitching self.  She locked her intense, amber eyes that had an almost orange tint, on my green ones, as she grabbed my arm firmly.  “There you are!” Her eyes flickered to my book and back. “You are supposed to be tutoring me on my calculus.”

She turned her gaze back to the other girls, and I swear there was flame in her eyes as she said in a cold and dangerous tone, “Excuse us.” she hissed as she pushed back through them, being sure to shoulder butt Missy on the way through.

Her hand moved from my arm down to my hand as she dragged me between tables, threading us smoothly to the restroom.  “The derivative!”  I looked at the ground, trying to shrink away into nothingness as she opened the door and pushed me into the room.  She looked under the stalls to make sure the room was empty and pushed me down onto a bench by the door.

The girl then turned around casually, and put her back to the door effectively blocking it.  Then she raised one foot against it to lean comfortably.  I watched as she dug a pack of cigarettes out of her purse and lit one up.  She looked up and took a deep drag, holding it in for a few seconds then exhaling.  She finally looked down at me rocking on the bench, shrugging my shoulder to my cheek. “Derivative.”

I didn’t know what to say to her, and I didn’t want to make eye contact I was so embarrassed by this whole incident.  It wasn’t supposed to happen like this in college, this isn’t how it was supposed to be.

When the episode finally faded, I glanced up from the safety of my hood to see her watching me.  It felt like she was studying me.  Someone tried to push the door she was blocking open, and the girl just turned her head slightly toward it and yelled, “Occupied!”  I took the time to look her over.

She was stunning.  I felt my stomach fluttering a bit as I took in her very feminine but slightly butch appearance.  She was slim and tall, about 5’10” if I were to guess. Much taller than my 5’1”. She had smallish breasts that still managed to fill out her faded black t-shirt in quite a pleasing manner.  Her jeans hugged her legs, showing off the curves of her hips and calves.  And for some bizarre reason the combat boots she wore were the perfect compliment to the outfit.

I looked up to her face.  It held a contrast between an adorable girl next door look and something sexy and dangerous.  She wore hardly any makeup, but her lips were full and looked awfully inviting.  I was biting my lower lip.  Then realized the thoughts I was having when I met her catlike eyes again.  She was smirking.  Shit!

I was immediately embarrassed about my thoughts and that she had caught me checking her out.  I wasn’t checking her out was I?  I don’t ever check people out.  I was just curious about the girl that saved me from the bitch queen, right?  I looked down at the floor and spoke, trying to divert the attention away from me. “Y-you shouldn’t smoke.  You’re not a-allowed to smoke in public spaces.  Th-th-those things will kill you.”

She snorted at me like I had just said the most absurd thing in the world, shaking her head she replied, “If only.”  She put the cigarette out on the sole of her heel, dropping the butt on the tile floor, then held her hand out for me to take. “You done?  Ready to go back out?”

I snapped at her a little too sharply, “I d-don’t need your p-pity!”  My mouth was tight with anger that shouldn’t have been directed toward her.

She looked more amused than taken aback by my aggression. “Not giving you any, just being friendly.”  She kept her hand extended to me.  I slumped my shoulders in defeat and muttered hoarsely,  “I’m sorry.  Missy and the others are right, I’m a freak, I’d be better off dead.”

The next thing I knew, I was seeing white stars as a sharp pain and heat bloomed on my cheek where she had firmly slapped me, a tear was stinging the corner of my eye.

I looked up at her, slack-jawed and in shock, to see her gritting her teeth in anger.  Her eyes were burning into me as she spoke through her clenched jaw, more calmly than her demeanor indicated. “Don’t you EVER say that!  Every day is a gift!  It’s how you fill that gift that defines you.  Don’t let senseless bitches like that Missy define you.  Define yourself!”

About the author:

I got my start writing romance novels by accident. I have always been drawn to strong female characters in books, like Honor Harrington. And I also believe that there is a lack of LGBT characters in media. So one day I came up with a story idea that combines the two… two days later I completed the manuscript for Music of the Soul.

My writing style may not be the most professional nor grammatically correct, but I never profess to be an English major, just a person that wants to share a story. I maintain that my primary language is sarcasm.

Each of my books features strong likeable female characters that are flawed. I think that flaws and emotional or physical scars make us human and give us more character than simply conforming to some “social norm”.

I have also started a SciFi series, The Valkyrie Chronicles which features a Valkyrie, Kara, who was left behind on Earth five thousand years ago to help the Asgard race escape the onslaught of the Ragnarok horde. With the aid of a human, Kate, she holds the line in battle to herald the return of the Asgard!

If you like magic, paranormal romance and witches, then my new series Fracture might tickle your fancy. In the first book Fracture: Divergence, Alex King must stop magic from destroying reality. The problem is that Alex must solve the case in parallel universes where in one Alex is male and female in the other.

You can follow me online via Twitter @ErikSchubach or on Blogger and on Facebook for more information and to discuss my upcoming books.

Amazon author page:

#Thursday13: Things I learned while writing Exposing Ellen | #FF release week


The SkylarVerse

ExposingEllen_highres 1. I hate pronouns . When you have a same-sex scene, you can’t rely on “she” anymore.

2. F/F readership is growing, yay!

3. There are some AMAZING F/F authors telling wonderful love stories. (Check out my giveaway to win some of their books!)

4. When you’re writing about two women falling in love, you think more about how men and women view the process differently.

5. And yet, you realize that gender norms about falling in love can be total bullshit.

6. You party even harder when states challenge legal restrictions against gay marriage (Virginia is NOT yet for lovers…)

7. General genre misconceptions about outside the awesome romance community–only EROTICA contains two girls, and its usually only in a threesome with a guy, and who wants to read about two GIRLS falling in love…

8. Again…pronouns suck. Especially when you re-read a sentence and see…

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Spread the Love: Valentine’s Special


Liz Valentine Special

The reading:

“Black and Blue” by Erzabet Bishop
How long do you wait for the one you love?
Book store manager Julie has a problem. Day after day and shift after shift, she obsesses about the gorgeous woman who frequents her store and soon worms her way into her heart. But can Julie wait for Grace to see her as more than just a friend?
Grace is fighting for her life. Cancer and an abusive boyfriend drive her to the bookstore for escape, where she meets Julie. The two form a friendship based on love and support, but soon Grace has to make a choice. Will she live the life she is meant to live, or will she let the threat of domestic violence kill her before her cancer has a chance to?


The book:

“Learning to Ride” by Fletcher DeLancey
They say that riding a bike is as easy as falling in love: you never really forget how. Or is it the other way around?

“Spider Lines” by Lois Cloarec Hart
Kris loves Sandy, her workaholic partner of 14 years, but lately she’s been feeling lonely and neglected. A trip to a local gym inspires Kris to take up climbing, both as a fitness challenge and as a way to feel again the passion that her long-term relationship seems to have lost. With a fit young teacher eager to impart the benefit of her experience, will Kris’ new-found ardour for the sport extend to her climbing instructor?

“Black and Blue” by Erzabet Bishop
How long do you wait for the one you love?
Book store manager Julie has a problem. Day after day and shift after shift, she obsesses about the gorgeous woman who frequents her store and soon worms her way into her heart. But can Julie wait for Grace to see her as more than just a friend?
Grace is fighting for her life. Cancer and an abusive boyfriend drive her to the bookstore for escape, where she meets Julie. The two form a friendship based on love and support, but soon Grace has to make a choice. Will she live the life she is meant to live, or will she let the threat of domestic violence kill her before her cancer has a chance to?

“Soft Hands and Hard Hats” by JL Merrow
When first-time potholer Han takes a trip down Yorkshire’s Gaping Gill, she doesn’t expect to be hit by a crippling attack of claustrophobia—or to meet a dark-skinned beauty in a hard hat who’s more than willing to hold her hand.
Experienced caver Kim may seem calm and collected in the pitch-black underground, but it turns out she’s got fears of her own. Maybe, though, two can be braver than one.

“Touch of the Traakyn” by Sandra Barret
Reconstructive surgery gave space marine Jolyne cyber prosthetics controlled by the latest neural implants, but it will take more to make her whole again.

“Red Hot Neighbour” by T.M. Croke
In a maze of moving boxes and warm memories, Peyton flashes back to the day her neighbour, Lillian, came into her home and her life, bringing her an apple pie and leaving with her heart.

“Smoke and Swans” by Alisha Kelley
Sarah lives a carefree life of casual hook-ups and free caffeine. That is until she meets Josie, a shy, intriguing young woman with a hidden passion that piques her curiosity.




The show:


Happy Valentine’s Day! Spread the Love is an anthology full of love, romance and eroticism. All lesfic. All great authors showing what it means to them to spread the love. My story is about Julie, a bookstore manager, who falls for one of her customers. Grace is as lovely as her name. She has a couple of problems-she has a boyfriend who is abusive and she is dealing with cancer. Friendship and matters of the heart make this a wrenching story that is based on several things in my own life.

I hope you will check out the anthology and spread some love this Valentine’s Day.