Femme Noir: A Visit with Clara Nipper

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Femme  Noir 300 DPI (3)
Excerpt:

I was thirty-five the year I started drinking gin. It’s not a pretty story and I don’t come off smelling like a rose, but it’s time to tell it. With a story like this, gin is the only thing astringent enough to clean the dirt from my mouth. Gin is snappy and crisp and washes away my sins, at least for the night. I love everything about gin, but maybe that’s because my love affair with it is new. The smell of it is a cold wintry tang in the nose; the look of it is hard and clear like liquid diamonds and that’s sort of deceptive because the taste of it is smooth and sweet yet sharp too like a beautiful woman with a knife. Gin slides down my throat like an ice snake. It’s bitter and oily, wavering in the glass like a silver mirror, and when it is a mirror is when I drink most. I’ll take it any way-neat, a shot, on the rocks, in a martini, in a Tom Collins or a fizz, with stupid fruit draped all over the glass, I don’t care. But my favorite way to drink it is with tonic because it reminds me of Her. I got the idea that gin is a disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide and if I drink enough, it will boil out the infection, which is this story I must tell.

I found I’m a woman of excesses. I love cigarettes, I love gin, I love women and I love winning, all to a fault. I was born for trouble without knowing it and that is the worst kind. Suddenly, I’ve found that sometimes, a woman must drink alone.

So I was forty-five the year I started drinking gin. It all started one day with a call from my ex.

 

 

The ringing was insistent, urgent. Nora let herself into her apartment as quickly as she could because nobody calls at 4 am with good news. She flicked on a light and ran for the phone, a heavy, corded black dial phone that Nora loved for its old-fashioned rebelliousness.

“Yeah?” Nora’s voice was hoarse from lack of sleep. Karen’s appetite for Nora was insatiable. Nora shrugged off the sweaty t-shirt and damp cotton shorts she wore to and from Karen’s house. She never needed regular clothes there and felt it was too much bother to dress up just to go to her and come home. Underneath, she was nude.

“Nora?” the voice was crackly and scared and chillingly familiar. Michelle.

“What the hell do you want?

“Nora, I’m sorry to call so late…to call at all-“ static blocked her voice.

“Yeah, you have some nerve.” Nora wanted a cigarette badly. She needed to suck one to ash in two seconds flat. She made it out of Karen’s clutch without one and now, Nora had to have that dry hot taste to return her to herself. Sex took it out of her in a way that only cigarettes could restore. Plus, she needed to be soothed for this conversation. She spied a pack across the room. “Hold on!” she barked as she put the phone down and dove for the pack. She crumpled it and moaned. Empty. She smelled her hands with Karen’s ripeness coating them. She licked her lips. She picked up her wadded shorts, now a wilted pile of color and checked the pockets. Nothing. After years without, Nora needed a shot. A shot of something. Maybe tequila. She also needed a shower and some sleep. She needed a wife to come in and clean up this place and maybe do some laundry and ironing. She padded back to the phone wearily.

“-need you!” Michelle pleaded when Nora returned.

“I can’t help you no matter what you need,” Nora told her recent ex acidly. Nora found some wooden matches, her preferred method of lighting cigarettes and flicked one after another with her thumbnail. She felt the tiny fire was comforting, as if she were about to have a cigarette. Like the promise of foreplay. The flaming match told her that there would be eventual satisfaction. Was it possible to get a sudden ulcer? Maybe she should go back to Karen’s where there was beer to smooth this sudden craving, plenty of hot water, clean towels and sheets, all the cigarettes she could smoke, and of course, Karen. Karen’s cool, cocoa arms around her all night.

Static. “-please!” Static. Nora angrily banged the receiver against the table, taking mean pleasure in possibly hurting Michelle’s ears. She flicked more matches, savoring the smell.

“After these few months, don’t you have someone else to call?” Nora demanded.

“It has to be you. Only you can help. I need you to—“ static.

“What? What do you need?” Nora scraped one calf with her other big toe.

Crackling and hissing. “—trouble. Bad.”

“What sort of trouble?” Nora was perversely enjoying this drama, so it never occurred to her to get Michelle to call back for a clearer connection. The more inconvenienced Michelle was, the better Nora felt. After all, Michelle was with someone else and living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Nora was in Los Angeles, completely free and not obligated to lift a finger to save Michelle from her persistent destructive foolishness.

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Interview:

1. How did you get started writing lesbian fiction?
I’ve always been a writer, so it was a natural transition after discovering I was Bi.
2. I write because…I can’t not write.
3. Heels or flats? I’m a total shoe whore and heel lover, but skating roller derby has forced me to wear sensible shoes that are foot-healthy.
4. What kind of characters do you most like to write about and why? I enjoy writing about gutsy, edgy people who are fearless in the world because I envy that. I am polite and well-mannered to a fault and always long to be more outspoken and candid, but one cannot keep a day job or get along with coworkers in the most backward red state in the nation without smiling, wearing pearls and keeping my views to myself.
5. Tell us a little about your new release. I don’t have one yet. I am working on a moody coming-of-age novel entitled At My Mother’s Table and another Tulsa-based murder mystery entitled Murder on the Rocks.
6. Name three things on your desk right now. Purring cat, cold Dew and computer.
7. What are some of your favorite lesbian fiction authors? Sarah Waters and Jeannette Winterson.
8. Favorite dessert? Grape popsicles.
9. Plotter or pantster? Pantster.
10. What are you working on now? An article about roller derby burnout.
11. Tell us one thing about you that most people don’t know. I am not sure how much people know or what they know; so this may or may not be news: deeply committed atheist vegetarian. Yeah, I live in Oklahoma. Try to imagine that hell for a minute.
Guest post:
Cookies and Why They Are Amazing-
Cookies are amazing because they make people happy. They are created from simple, authentic ingredients that are food for the soul. I have a dessert company, Andy’s Candies, and I make several flavors: chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip with black raspberry glaze, three kinds of oatmeal, peanut butter, lemon sugar and snickerdoodles. Making cookies gives me a deep sense of joy and accomplishment and I always have too many, so I burden the coworkers at my day job with the supply. The act of creation is the same whether it is a delicious sentence or a  sensual snickerdoodle that says everything I wish it to say. Their intention is also the same: to connect and delight others. That’s why cookies are amazing.
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“I was thirty-six when I left the big city for the Big Easy. They say New Orleans is like a woman, beautiful, deceitful and deadly. All I know is, I had to leave Los Angeles on the run and The Crescent City beckoned like a broad on her back.”  In the sequel to Femme Noir, Nora Delaney has returned to her job as a college basketball coach in Los Angeles and due to a series of lost games and constant drinking, Nora beats up a rival coach on national television and is fired. She flees to a tiny town outside New Orleans where her cousin Ellis Delaney and his wife live. They take her in and put her to work in Ellis’ pawn shop and Nora meets Cleo Sweetleaf, who becomes a mentor and a second father. While Nora takes stock of her life, her everlasting hunger for strange causes trouble from sunup to sundown. When Cleo is murdered, Nora is drawn into solving the crime to get revenge. But Nora, left beaten and bleeding in an alley, may not solve the mystery alive.

 

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Clara Nipper writes fiction and blogs-www.claranipper.org. When not writing, she makes desserts, http://www.andyscandies.biz and enlarges her certified wildlife habitat gardens. Her two murder mysteries (Femme Noir and Kiss of Noir) have been published by Bold Strokes Books and are available at their website: www.boldstrokesbooks.com and on Amazon.com. She is a contributor to local publications: This Land Press www.thilsandpress.com and the Tulsa Voice. Clara also skates for Tulsa Derby League under the derby name Cat Owta Hell. With two Rollercons, countless clinics and boot camps under her jamming belt, it is safe to say it’s derby until death for this Jammer Assassin. Outside the rink, she has had roller derby articles published in Five on Five Magazine-www.fiveonfivemag.com, Hit and Miss Magazine-www.hitandmissmagazine.com.au/, USARS Magazine, Lead Jammer Magazine- http://www.leadjammermag.com, Blood and Thunder and Derbylife.com. Currently, her works in progress are two coming of age novels and another Tulsa-based murder mystery entitled, Murder on the Rocks. Find Clara at her website, on Facebook, Twitter (@mindybendy), Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Linked In, Amazon Author Pages, Good Reads, Derby Social, Word Press and at the farmer’s market.

www.claranipper.org, www.catowtahell.com, http://www.andyscandies.

Facebook.com/clara.nipper and facebook.com/pages/cat-owta-hell

Twitter: @mindybendy, Good Reads: claranipper

Instagram: claranipper, Pinterest: pinterest.com/catowtahell/

Tumblr: Catowtahell, Linked In: Clara Nipper

Derby Social: Cat Owta Hell, WordPress.com: Clara Nipper

Amazon Author Pages: amazon.com/claranipper, amazon.com/author/www.claranipper.org

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Nudge: A Moment with Sandra Moran

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Nudge

I’m not going to lie. When given carte blanche to write about anything I wanted for this guest blog I found myself overwhelmed with the possibilities. For those of you who know me, I’ve got a lot going on – my love of neon, my constant power struggle with Spencer (the cat), and making pie charts that summarize my take on the quirkiness of life. But honestly, those really don’t have a lot to do with lesbian fiction – well, I mean, aside from the fact that I’m a lesbian and that I write fiction.

So, I thought about it … and I thought about it … and I went for a run and I thought about it some more. And then it came to me! I should write about what I know (aside from neon, Spencer and pie charts) which is the study of culture, the impact that has on who we are as a society, how it influences our lives and how I incorporate that into my writing.

As many of you know, I teach anthropology. And I love it because it’s a social science that delves into the reasons why we are the way we are. To fully understand why a culture (and society) is the way it is, you have to really examine it holistically. You have to look at the interplay of all of the parts:  the politics, economics, belief systems, marriage rules and gender roles. And the interesting thing about all of these cultural universals, is that they’re human-designed constructs – constructs that change over time.

Taking the long view – looking at change over time – fascinates me. And it’s something I focus on in my novels. You see it in “NUDGE” where faith and belief is examined in a way that shows that religion – ALL religions – are at their core, the same.

As background, “NUDGE” is the story of a New York advertising executive and life-long atheist named Sarah Sheppard, who, is visited by a mysterious client who offers her a job to write and market a comprehensive addition to the world’s religious texts.  She, of course, thinks it’s an elaborate joke and turns him down. But a series of events transpire that result in her having no choice but to take the assignment. She is quickly relocated to a remote estate in upstate New York where her job is to work with a group of scholars and theologians to compile The Addendum. As work on the document progresses, Sarah has to decide whether to deny her natural skepticism or buy into the idea that she really is working for a universal God.

 

As I approached the research and writing of “NUDGE,” I tried to remain objective. In anthropology, we don’t look at or judge if a religion is right or wrong. (Seriously, who are we to judge anyone else?) What we look at are the commonalities present in all beliefs so we can compare them. We focus on the idea that religion (again, all religions) do three main things:

  • Religion allows people, who are essentially powerless, feel like they have some modicum of control in their future. (If I just pray hard enough … make this sacrifice … do this “activity” then God/the universe/Mother Earth/etc., will give me what I want or need.)
  • Religion provides a moral compass. (This is good behavior and this is not. If I do what I’m supposed to, good things will happen. If I don’t, then … uh oh.)
  • Religion provides group solidarity and shared experiences with people who believe the same thing. Humans are social creatures. We are not meant to live alone and shared belief systems allow for that interaction.

With “NUDGE,” I tried to incorporate those similarities to show that all belief systems are really very similar. At their core, they provide structure and agency.

In addition to belief and faith, I’m also fascinated with gender roles, how they vary from culture to culture, and how they have changed through time. It’s an underlying theme in my novel, “Letters Never Sent” in that the characters of Kate, Annie and Claire struggle against the prescribed gender roles of the early 20th Century, just as Joan, Kate’s daughter, struggles equally hard in 1997.

As background, the novel opens when Joan travels to Lawrence, Kansas, to clean out her recently deceased mother’s home and prepare it for sale. As she’s cleaning, she finds an old suitcase containing a wooden box full of objects that include a spent bullet casing, a key ring, and a packet of sealed love letters – which she reads. And it’s through these unsent letters that Joan begins to understand that her mother’s unhappiness was, in part, because of the prescribed roles of wife and mother expected of her by society. She also comes to realize that despite the fact that her mother was functioning within the paradigms of the 1930s and Joan was working in the 1990s, their lives were in many ways, paralleled.

That last sentence might seem strange given that more than 50 years of “advancement” in regard to women’s rights had occurred between Kate’s experiences and those of her daughter, Joan. And change had occurred. But despite those political changes, in many ways, the underlying expectations of “what it was to be a woman” remained the same.

Despite all the cultural change of The Progressive Era, the passage of the 19th Amendment, the relative freedom of the flappers in the 1920s, and women going to work in traditionally masculine jobs during World War II, the underlying perception of women’s roles remained (and I would argue continues to remain) subtly the same:  cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children. Even today, 50 years after President Kennedy signed legislation calling for equal pay for men and women, women still make 77 cents to every dollar made by a man.

Long story short, we are products of our culture. Every day we work within its parameters and its rules. Again, there is no right or wrong – there just is. And it’s that “is” that I like exploring as a writer. And at the end of the day, if I’ve done my homework, what we find is that perhaps we’re (and by this I mean ALL people) really much more alike than we realize.

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Interview:

  1. How did you get started writing lesbian fiction/romance?

I started writing lesbian fiction several years ago. My undergraduate degree is in newspaper journalism and I had worked as a magazine writer, as a political speech writer and also as a staff writer for an educational publishing company. I knew I wanted to write novels, but I really didn’t feel like I had “lived” enough to have much of anything to say. So, I waited and waited until one I day, about three years ago, I realized I was ready – I actually had something to say. I wrote a couple of manuscripts, but it really all came together when I wrote Letters Never Sent.

 

  1. I write because…

I write because … I can’t not write. Stories are everywhere and I find myself fascinated with why people do the things they do. Heck, I’m fascinated by why I do the things I do.

 

  1. Heels or flats?

Flats … unless I’m wearing a suit or a dress and then heels.

 

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

I like to write about real, flawed, complicated characters. In Letters Never Sent, for example, all of the characters (Kate, Annie, Joan, Claire) were flawed and sometimes, not very likeable. In my new book, NUDGE, all of the characters have something about them that makes you not want to trust them – makes you question their motivations. I like exploring the darker side of what makes these people tick and what ultimately drives them to do the things they do.

 

  1. Tell us a little about your new release…

NUDGE is very different than Letters Never Sent. In short, it’s the story of a New York advertising executive and life-long atheist named Sarah Sheppard, who, is visited by a mysterious client who offers her a job to write and market a comprehensive addition to the world’s religious texts.  She, of course, thinks it’s an elaborate joke and turns him down. But a series of events transpire that result in her having no choice but to take the assignment.

She is quickly relocated to a remote estate in upstate New York where her job is to work with a group of scholars and theologians to compile The Addendum. Within days of taking on the assignment, she discovers that nothing and no one are what they appear to be. And, as more questions than answers mount up, Sarah has to decide whether to deny her natural skepticism or buy into the idea that she really is working for God.

 

  1. Name three things on your desk right now.

Stacks of textbooks and readings I need to review for next week’s classes, a Eucalyptus-Spearmint candle from Bath and Body Works (that has googly eyes pasted onto the side), and a green letter opener from the 1933 World’s Fair.

 

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

I love the work of so many that it would take forever to list them.

 

8. Favorite dessert?

Hot-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies or Snickerdoodles. Or peanut butter cookies. Or sugar cookies. Or almond macaroons. So … yeah … cookies.

 

  1. Plotter or pantster?

MAJOR plotter with maps, post-it notes and taped-together timelines.

10. What are you working on now?

I am currently writing a novel titled All That We Lack. It starts with a bus crash between New York and Boston and then works backward a day, six months, a year and two years, to show the interconnections of a funeral director from Seymour, Indiana, an insurance risk analyst from Chicago, a 10-year-old boy from Philadelphia, and a paramedic from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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

I once took a job as a hand model for a Walmart advertisement. My hands were photographed holding a notepad with a grocery list and a pencil (or it may have been a pen). I was “discovered” while working as a server because, according the photographer, I had (and I quote) “every shopper’s hands.”

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BIOGRAPHY

Sandra Moran is an author and assistant adjunct professor of anthropology at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.

A native Kansan, she has worked professionally as a newspaper journalist, a political speech writer, and an archaeological tour manager. In her novels, she strives to create flawed characters struggling to find themselves within the cultural constructs of gender, religion and sexuality.

She is the author of “Letters Never Sent” and “Nudge.”

 

Find out more about her at: http://www.sandramoran.com

A Visit with Erik Schubach:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17864142-a-deafening-whisper
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Deafening-Whisper-Erik-Schubach-ebook/dp/B00CHEIJSC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392614930&sr=1-1&keywords=a+deafening+whisper
 Excerpt:
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 http://erikschubachauthor.blogspot.com/ and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erik-Schubach-Author/438534946240951 for more information and to discuss my upcoming books.

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Erik-Schubach/e/B00CZE31UA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Spread the Love: Valentine’s Special

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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?

spreadthelovecover

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.

Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20736172-spread-the-love?from_search=true

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Spread-Love-Fletcher-DeLancey-ebook/dp/B00I80DWK4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392387216&sr=8-1&keywords=spread+the+love

The show:

http://www.thelizmcmullenshow.com/valentines_erzabetbishop/

spreadthelovecover

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.