Kristina Meister on Aesthetics and Morality and her new release Love Under Glasse by Kristina Meister


Love Under Glasse by Kristina Meister

Riptide Publishing
Published August 26th 2019
Cover Art: LC Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have  Kristina Meister here today talking about appearances and her new release Love Under Glasse.  Welcome, Kristina>


One of my least favorite fairy tale conceits is the idea that aesthetics match morality—only the pretty can be good. I wanted to go a step farther with Love Under Glasse and take on the idea that only those who buy into the culture, in this case Christianity, can be good. There’s a concept pervasive to many organized religions—because otherwise they wouldn’t be organized—that “everyone else is wrong”. It’s a situation of absolutes, right?—if they’re correct about how everything works, then obviously everyone else has to be wrong.

For members of the LGBTQIA community, religion can be tricky. Not many embrace us, and some are downright hostile. It can be impossible to feel the pull of any spiritual teachings and a great deal of shame comes from a sense of conflict with the beliefs of everyone around us. Unlike the classic story of Snow White, in which the step mother becomes so fixated on her appearance that she is willing to have her daughter’s heart cut out, Love Under Glasse features a mother so concerned with the appearance of “deviance” that she is willing to essentially deny her child her heart and her independence.

When I told some of my beta readers about my plan to set up the plot with the main character discovering her mother was about to send her to a conversion therapy camp, a few of them were skeptical. Their argument was that those places seem too fanciful, and to people who either aren’t from conservative Christian backgrounds, or who aren’t members of the LGBTQIA community, that’s understandable, but they are unfortunately very real. The American Psychiatric Association rejects the notion that sexuality and gender need to be corrected based on assumptions of morality, and that subjecting patients to practices that are questionable is unethical, but that doesn’t stop many charitable organizations from selling just such “treatment”. There’s teams of researchers from private universities who argue that the therapy should exist in case a patient feels their sexuality is in conflict with their ethics. There are even states in which it is protected and not just legal. It’s in fact, quite a threat, and even if one isn’t part of a conservative Christian background, it’s disheartening to know that so many others feel pressured and ashamed. Even if only a few are affected, it’s a concern to all of us.

I also wanted to play with the concept of transformation, something very common to fairy tales: the princess has to kiss a frog to turn him into a prince, a magic spell must be broken to allow the hero to revert to original form, or a curse turns someone into a monster. Conversion Therapy can easily be seen, as either a curse or a magical fix, depending upon perspective, and this combined with its recent presence in the media, made it a very worthwhile plot device.



About Love Under Glasse

This runaway might want to get caught.

El Glasse’s mother controls her life. What she does, who she dates, even what she’s allowed to say. El only has two ways of holding onto her freedom. One is her popular anonymous blog, hidden from Mama Glasse. The other is what she so often blogs about: her feelings for Riley, the girl who works at the ice cream parlor. Riley is fierce, free, and rides a killer motorcycle, and El cannot help but love her. But Mama Glasse can never find out about her sexuality—unless El is willing to rebel. 

When El runs away, Riley feels responsible. She knows what it’s like to be alone, and she can’t deny her deep desire to learn El’s story. In a move she might end up regretting, she makes a devil’s bargain with Mama Glasse to hunt El down.

Riley isn’t trying to bring her home though, because she knows an evil spell when she sees one—a spell of fear and shame El is finally starting to break. This huntress might lose her own heart, but it’s a risk she’s willing to take. 

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About Kristina Meister

Kristina Meister is an author of fiction that blurs genre. There’s usually some myth, some mayhem, and some monsters. While Kristina’s unique voice and creative swearing give life to dialogue, her obsession with folklore and pop culture make for humor and complexity.

She and her mad-scientist husband live in California with their poodles Khan and Lana, and their daughter Kira Stormageddon, where they hoard Nerf toys, books, and swords—in case of zombie apocalypse.

2018 Foreword INDIES Gold Winner – LGBT

Connect with Kristina:




To celebrate this release, Kristina is giving away a custom ordered biker-style patch that represents El and Riley, as well as a signed copy of her award-winning novel Cinderella Boy! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 31, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

Hannah Carmack on Tagging, Writing, and her new release Seven-Sided Spy (guest blog)


Seven-Sided Spy by Hannah Carmack
NineStar Press
Release Date: January 15th

Buy at NineStar Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Hannah Carmack here today to talk about her new release Seven-Sided Spy and her thoughts on writing, tagging and unhappily every after.  Welcome, Hannah.

Hannah Carmack on Unhappily Ever After

At first, I thought the tagging was a mistake. The manuscript was back from the proofer and below Heat Level: 0 (Which is a measure of spicy romance scenes, not general warmth of the novel’s content,) was a list of tags:

Abduction, historical, spies, no HEA or HFN, revenge, gay, lesbian, eating disorder, secret agent, graphic violence, m/c dies.

M/C DIES. My immediate thought was ‘Uh, spoiler?’ As fast as my fingers could type, I wrote my editor asking if there’d been an error in tagging. I was surprised to learn that there hadn’t. Now, my editor is the and my press is flippin’ the best, so I was surprised that they’d include a tag that gave away so much. Especially in a book where the ending is so emotionally charged. Coupled with the no HEA or HFN (which stand for Happily Ever After and Happy For Now,) I was certain that we’d given too much away.

Then, it happened. As I sent the Advance Reader Copies out, tags included, I had a reviewer write me back. They expressed immense gratitude that I’d included the spoiler-y tags and decided that they needed to pass on the novel at this time in their life. Which I completely understand, respect, and applaud them for. Self-care comes first, kids.

The tags that I initially pushed back on were in fact that the tags that mattered the most. Had I not included them, my book, whose goal it is to bring pleasure to readers, could have hurt someone. In the times we’re in, it may be best to take the Adam Silvera Approach. Being completely upfront with your readers about anything that could be seen as upsetting or distressing –Dog deaths included– is one of the kindest things you can do. 


In the midst of the cold war, the CIA’s finest and most fatal female agent, Diana Riley, vanishes. Kidnapped by the KGB and taken to the backcountry of North Carolina, she and her team of unsavory partners are forced to undergo illegal experimentation.

But, when the experiments leave them horribly deformed and unable to reenter society without someone crying monster, the previously glamorous and high-maintenance spies must escape KGB captivity and avoid recapture at the hands of Nikola, a ruthless KGB agent with an intense and well-justified grudge against her former flame.

In the Spotlight: Take Me Home (Belladonna Ink #2) by Lorelie Brown (giveaway)



Take Me Home (Belladonna Ink #2) by Lorelie Brown
iptide Publishing
Cover Art by L.C. Chase
Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here

About Take Me Home

Thanksgiving arrives in one week and one day. Feeling hemmed in by parental expectations? Are they disappointed by your sapphic proclivities? I can help! The only pay I want is the holiday meal!

I didn’t know what I was looking for until I saw her Craigslist ad.

I love my family. I’m lucky to have them—well, most of them. But my aunt? I’m so tired of her giving my mom crap because I happen to be a lesbian. So one pink-haired tattoo artist pretending to be my girlfriend will annoy my Christian fundamentalist aunt right back and make my Thanksgiving perfect.

Only . . . Brooke turns out to be cuter and more complicated than I expected. And before you can say “yorkiepoo,” we kiss . . . and abduct a dog together. I want to keep them both—but Brooke isn’t the kind to be kept. Lucky for me, I’m the kind to chase what I want.

This title is part of the Belladonna Ink universe.

About Lorelie Brown

After a seminomadic childhood throughout California, Lorelie Brown spent high school in Orange County before joining the US Army. After traveling the world from South Korea to Italy, she now lives north of Chicago. She writes her Pacific Blue series of hot surfers in order to channel some warmth.

Lorelie has three active sons, two yappy dogs, and a cat who cusses her out on a regular basis for not petting him enough.

In her immense free time (hah!) Lorelie cowrites award-winning contemporary erotic romance under the name Katie Porter. You can find out more about the Vegas Top Guns and Command Force Alpha series at or at @MsKatiePorter. You can also contact Lorelie on Twitter @LorelieBrown.

Connect with Lorelie:

Twitter: @LorelieBrown



To celebrate the release of Take Me Home, one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to an ebook retailer of your choice! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 12, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

The Butch and the Beautiful blog tour with Kris Ripper (Riptide Tour and Giveaway)



The Butch and the Beautiful (Queers of La Vista #2) by Kris Ripper
iptide Publishing
Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here


 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kris Ripper here to share zir thoughts about writing and zir latest release, The Butch and the Beautiful.  Welcome, Kris.


Five Bits About The Butch and the Beautiful

By Kris Ripper

1. Sobrantes, La Vista’s best coffee roaster.

I spent half my childhood in an East Bay town called El Sobrante. Years later I asked a friend what the English translation was for “el sobrante”, and she kind of laughed. “Oh, it’s like…the leftover one, the odds and ends.” An auspicious name for a town, clearly! As something of an homage to one of my hometowns, I thought I’d name my fictional local coffee shop chain Sobrantes.

2. Merin. All the Merin.

There’s a character in this book called Merin, one of Jaq’s students. And in my notes, my outlines, that character was just “messed up kid whom Jaq wants to help”. Then I started writing. And, uh, Merin wanted to be…more than that.

One of the great mysteries of creation is how ultimately all of this book came out of my head, and yet it totally surprised me. Merin’s story not only wove more fully through The Butch and the Beautiful, but continued in the rest of the books, adding more depth to this series, and an unexpected edge. Merin challenges the community and doesn’t particularly feel like part of it, which is a wildly important perspective to include.

3. Mildred

Anyone who’s read Gays of Our Lives is familiar with Mildred. In The Butch and the Beautiful she’s Jaq’s ex, whose status as a parent makes Jaq a little uneasy. Dred was young when she and Jaq dated, and now that she’s all grown up with a baby of her own, Jaq’s forced to confront the idea that Dred’s somehow out-paced her at becoming an adult.

One of the most gratifying things about writing a series is following folks through each book. We only see Dred on the page once in TB&TB, when Jaq introduces her to Zane. (Oooh, shivers. *cough*)

4. Dad

Jaq’s dad is another character I thought would be merely a mention, who got all up inside my head and showed up not just later in TB&TB, but later in As La Vista Turns. I write a lot of, uh, less than totally reliable parent figures. But Jaq’s dad is a lot of fun. He pulls no punches, isn’t afraid to confront his kids (and de facto kids) with the truth, and he’s also good for a hug if you need one.

5. Ed!

Interlocking the books in this series was a total pleasure, and one of the best parts was hinting at the characters who’d be telling their stories in following books. Ed shows up at knitting group, which he’s been talked into coming to by his friend Honey. He and Jaq share a sense of “And what do you call these things?” when it comes to knitting. It’s not until the next book, The Queer and the Restless that you really get inside Ed’s head.

About The Butch and the Beautiful

Jaq Cummings is a high school teacher who really wants a committed relationship—as long as it doesn’t keep her out late on school nights or interrupt Sunday mass with her dad. She is absolutely not about to fall for the hot-mess divorcée she hooks up with even if said hot mess pushes all her buttons. Jaq’s white knight days are over.

But one hookup with Hannah becomes two, then coffee, then more incredibly hot sex. And unlike most of Jaq’s exes, Hannah’s not looking for someone to come on strong. In fact, Hannah comes on plenty strong enough for both of them. But she’s just out of a disastrous marriage, she’s in the process of moving across the state, and Jaq can’t take a chance on yet another relationship where she defaults to being a caregiver instead of a partner.

Just when Jaq decides her relationship with Hannah is far too precarious, a crisis with a student reminds her of her priorities and makes it clear that sometimes, you have to take big risks to get what you really want.

About Kris Ripper

Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.

Connect with Kris:



To celebrate the release of The Butch and the Beautiful, one lucky winner will receive their choice in ebook from Kris’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 27, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Love Contemporary Romance? Check out ‘Far from Home (Belladonna Ink #1)’ by Lorelie Brown (a Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)



Far from Home (Belladonna Ink #1) by Lorelie Brown
iptide Publishing
Cover Art by L.C. Chase
Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Lorelie Brown here today to share a little about herself and her latest release, Far from Home. Welcome, Lorelie.  

  • Describe yourself, your favorite character and your book, each in 5 words or less.

(Five words or less is such a challenge! It reminds me of my honors English teacher in high school, who used to make us describe Shakespeare plays in 25 words or less. Except harder.)

Lorelie Brown, myself: Author, mother, loved, runner, knitter.

My favorite character right now is Rachel from Far From Home: Demi-sexual, anorexic, anxious, broken, lonely.

(Wow. Um. I promise that this is a fun, slightly snarky read despite that description of Rachel. I mean, all that is true, but…No, really, it’s a charming book. For reals.)

My book, Far From Home from Riptide Publishing, which has gotten starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist: Lesbian, romance, marriage of convenience.

(I win! I did it!)

(I’m sure no one will notice these extra words. Words don’t count if they’re parenthetical asides, right?)

About Far From Home

My name is Rachel. I’m straight . . . I think. I also have a mountain of student loans and a smart mouth. I wasn’t serious when I told Pari Sadashiv I’d marry her. It was only party banter! Except Pari needs a green card, and she’s willing to give me a breather from drowning in debt.

My off-the-cuff idea might not be so terrible. We get along as friends. She’s really romantically cautious, which I find heartbreaking. She deserves someone to laugh with. She’s kind. And calm. And gorgeous. A couple of years with her actually sounds pretty good. If some of Pari’s kindness and calm rubs off on me, that’d be a bonus, because I’m a mess—anorexia is not a pretty word—and my little ways of keeping control of myself, of the world, aren’t working anymore.

And if I slip up, Pari will see my cracks. Then I’ll crack. Which means I gotta get out, quick, before I fall in love with my wife.

This title is part of the Belladonna Ink universe.

About Lorelie Brown

After a seminomadic childhood throughout California, Lorelie Brown spent high school in Orange County before joining the US Army. After traveling the world from South Korea to Italy, she now lives north of Chicago. She writes her Pacific Blue series of hot surfers in order to channel some warmth.

Lorelie has three active sons, two yappy dogs, and a cat who cusses her out on a regular basis for not petting him enough.

In her immense free time (hah!) Lorelie cowrites award-winning contemporary erotic romance under the name Katie Porter. You can find out more about the Vegas Top Guns and Command Force Alpha series at or at @MsKatiePorter. You can also contact Lorelie on Twitter @LorelieBrown.

Connect with Lorelie:



To celebrate the release of Far From Home, Lorelie is giving away a ring! That’s right, a size 7 ring, similar to the one Pari buys for Rachel in the book. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 6, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Far From Home_giveaway image

In the Book Spotlight: Black and Blue Love: A Lesbian Novel by Judy Folger (author interview and contest)


STRW In The Spotlight Header

Black and Blue Love: A Lesbian Novel by Judy Folger
Goodreads Link

Cover of Black and Blue Love

 Today we have author Judy Folger in our Interview chair!  Check out the interview below and all the book details and contest about Black and Blue Love: A Lesbian Novel.

Q and A with Author Judy Folger

Question: What inspired you to write this story?

A friend and I were talking about my romance books and in particular about women in our society today. She happened to mention that she once had volunteered at a domestic violence hotline center. She said she’d received a call from a woman in a violent lesbian relationship seeking help. That conversation led to my doing some research on the subject. My friend and I neither one remembered ever seeing or hearing anything about lesbian domestic violence. Thus was born my NEED to write a book about a lesbian relationship involving domestic violence.

Question: What books or authors inspired you as a writer?

I find this a difficult question to answer. I have always been a voracious reader. I read fiction and nonfiction on just about any subject. To choose one or a few books or authors who inspired me to write, well that’s difficult to say. Just reading books has been an inspiration…I wanted to write them, too.

Question: What romance novels did you read growing up?

Actually, I didn’t read romance novels while I was growing up. There weren’t any books for lesbian teens back then, and I found heterosexual romances boring. I was more interested in non-fiction.

Question: Did the lack of LGBTQ fiction, romance in particular, prompt you to write your own?

Actually what prompted me to write my own lesbian romance books was the fact that my longtime partner and I had separated. I turned to my writing, which I had suppressed for many years. Since then, writing lesbian romance books has simply been a natural thing for me. My first book, The Unfinished Letter was wonderful for me to write as I included many personal experiences and emotions. The Unfinished Letter was my best seller each month until I wrote and published Black and Blue Love. Now Black and Blue Love is my best seller each month with The Unfinished Letter coming in second.

Question: What qualities do you look for in a story?

I ask that the stories I read be real and believable. All my books are about strong, independent women who find themselves in difficult situations and who also find their way out. My characters and the plots are all realistic. I believe any woman can relate to my books.

Question: Characters or Plot? Which comes first?

I start with an idea for a story. I do not work with an outline. I sit down to write, and the characters start to come to life…they show me the way. It is great fun to write every day and to see how the story grows and develops and then finally ends…I don’t like the end…I hate to say goodbye to my characters.

Question: What are the most important elements for you to include in a story? Is humor one of them?

To me the most important element to include in my stories is believability and relatability. That’s what makes a good book a good book. As for humor, I always have humor in my stories. I personally have quite a good sense of humor. If we don’t have humor in our lives, then what’s left? Humor, I believe, helps us all to survive.

Question: What’s next for Judy Folger?

What’s next for me? To write and write and write. I love writing and creating. That’s who I am. Thanks for asking.
By the way, readers might be interested in knowing that the sequel to Black and Blue Love, entitled Meara’s Moms, is due out next month.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Author Judy Folger

A proud member of the lesbian community, Judy wrote her first book after she retired and hasn’t looked back since. Her books tell the stories of women in love who fight to overcome real-life problems. Judy was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Wichita but now lives in Merriam, Kansas. She has a son who also writes and a daughter-in-law who does paranormal investigations.

Where to find the author:


Publisher: Judy Folger
Cover Artist: Judy Folger

Sales Links:   Amazon

STRW Author BookSynopsis


After Kallie Moran’s husband, Aaron, is killed in Iraq, Kallie asks her law firm to transfer her back to her home town so she can be close to her mother.

When her request is granted, she realizes that closeness to her mother also means closeness to her mother’s dreadful sister, Bessie Benson.

Bessie is loud and crass, and her sons make a lifestyle of rotating in and out of the county jail. The only Benson that Kallie has ever been able to tolerate is her cousin, Andi. Andi, too, once dreamed of getting out of Brookville, but unlike Kallie, she never quite made it.

Now an out lesbian, Andi drags her intimidated partner, Della, to local bars and out-of-control family affairs. Della seems so miserable that Kallie finds herself reaching out to this beautiful, fragile-looking woman who just doesn’t seem to belong among the Bensons.

As Kallie and Della become friends, Kallie witnesses the verbal and emotional abuse Andi heaps on Della. Then comes the terrible night when Andi is no longer able to confine herself to words and slams Della to the ground, permanently scarring her face.

Della flees to Kallie for protection. In relative safety, she struggles to face the fact that she is a victim of lesbian domestic violence. She is also falling hard for Kallie, her rescuer.

Kallie, meanwhile, is keeping some secrets of her own. She wants to be with Della as much as Della wants to be with her, but she is afraid to embark on her first lesbian relationship.

Their love blossoms when Kallie risks her life to save Della from another of Andi’s vicious attacks. But it doesn’t take Andi long to realize she’s been betrayed. Furious, drunk, and carrying her father’s hand gun, she vows that this time she will REALLY make Della and Kallie pay.

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Lesbian Romance, Lesbian Domestic Violence, Lesbian Abuse

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt:

Della leaned into Kallie so that their bodies were pressed close together. Kallie finally did what she had been wanting to do since the day she met Della. She reached up and tangled her fingers in that glorious, unruly hair. She had expected Della’s hair to be coarse, but it was soft and warm in her hands.

Then Della’s hands found her breases, and Kallie remembered where they were and what they were doing. It took every ounce of willpower that she’d ever possessed, but she withdrew from Della, backing into the wall at the end of the step. “We shouldn’t do this,” she said in a voice so hoarse with passion she scarcely recognized it.

Della’s green eyes reflected hurt and confusion. “Why not?”

“Because you’re my cousin’s partner.”

Della nodded sadly. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll go.”

Kallie tried to think of something to say that would ease things between the two of them, but no words came to her mind. All she could do was watch as Della walked out the door.
Pages or Words: 40,000


STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of Black and Blue Love. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopter link and prizes provided by Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:
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Tour Dates & Stops:


Amanda C. Stone

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words


Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves

Cathy Brockman Romances


Hearts on Fire

Love Bytes



Elin Gregory


Prism Book Alliance

Inked Rainbow Reads


Molly Lolly


Book Reviews and More by Kathy


Velvet Panic

Divine Magazine



Emotion in Motion

Bayou Book Junkie


My Fiction Nook

Cate Ashwood


Virtual Tour: Two Alone In Dublin by Lucy Carey (contest and book tour)



Lucy Carey is here on her Two Alone In Dublin tour to introduce her book to our readers. Check out the blurb and excerpts below, along with my interview with the author towards the end.

Here’s Lucy Carey and Two Alone In Dublin!



Contest: Lucy will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the Rafflecopter link provided to enter and for all additional contest details.

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Two Alone in Dublin

by Lucy Carey


Surrounded by one million people in Dublin city, two women feel very alone. One a university student from a small town in the Irish countryside, the other an adventurous spirit from a city in Brazil, they’ve both been searching for the other among the irritations and noise of everyday life…

Excerpt:Cover_Two Alone in Dublin

Mariana hadn’t worn this shade of lipstick in an age. She painted the brash, bright-red gloss around her full lips, rubbed her lips together and pouted. This was her going-out colour, a colour guaranteed to make her feel sexy and confident and womanly.

Had it really been so long since she had been on a date? she wondered. Despite this being her go-to colour for dates, it had been buried in the bottom of her makeup bag.

She checked her teeth for lipstick and, finding none, stepped back to look at her full reflection in the mirror.

She had chosen a form-fitting dress in a colour to match the shade of her lipstick and she adjusted the cups of her bra, to push her cleavage higher in its V-neck.

This, she thought to herself, must be what Susie had described as “putting your best foot forward.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lucy Carey, Lesbian and Bisexual Romance and Erotic-Fiction Writer

I am a 30-year-old bisexual author who writes the kind of fiction I think other LGBTQ women want to read.

As someone born and raised in Ireland, let me assure you: our country is beautiful…and so are its women.VBT_TwoAloneInDublin_CoverBanner

I aim to introduce you to the best of both—the stunning scenery of the Emerald Isle and its funny, complex, gorgeous, lesbian and bisexual women. I hope you enjoy it.  Contact me at:


 My Interview with Lucy Carey


Q. What was your inspiration for the story?

It was almost a typical “girl meet girl” story. I regularly attended a coffee shop where this beautiful barista, who was Central or South American, worked. She was very warm and always happy to chat. We had a bit of a connection—she flirted a little and I flirted back—but I was too nervous to do anything about it.

I haven’t seen her in years but in my head, I’ve built a whole story around her—where’s she’s from, what might have happened if I’d made a move, etc. That backstory helped to lay the groundwork for Mariana, the Brazilian woman in my story, “Two Alone in Dublin,” who encounters a stressed-out, lonely college student named Susie who she feels an instant connection to…

Q. Do you have a muse?

I’d love if I did! No, sadly, it’s just me plugging away at my writing, no special inspiration involved. I’m not sure if I believe in the idea of “the muse” anyway; it seems to me that to rely on something outside yourself for inspiration is to give control of your story away. But I may be overthinking that!

Q. Do you work on one project at a time or many?

I wish I could work on one at a time! My biggest issue as a writer is forcing myself to focus on one story when I have so many different stories I’d like to read and write. Also, my day job involves some drier writing, so by necessity, I write the paycheck stuff in the daytime and the passion projects at night.

Q. Hero or Antihero? Who would you chose and why?

Give me a good antihero over a sappy, boy/girl scout hero any day! The antihero always seems to be having more fun—or at least, they seem like more fun to be around. As a former chain-smoking, often truant teenager, I identify more with the antihero, I think. In my head, I’m a badass. In reality, I’m in bed by eleven and never break the speed limit these days…

Q. People say write what you know. Do you think that is right or even important?

I think that piece of advice has been repeated so often as to be completely useless by now. Sure, it’s good to draw on your own experiences and emotions, as I did with Mariana for “Two Alone in Dublin”—but eventually only writing what you know will severely limit what you can write. I find writing about what you don’t know a better exercise sometimes. By that I mean that your characters should not always act in a way you’re used to or have the experiences you’ve had. Otherwise, nothing of any imagination would ever get written.

Q. What is the first book you read that really meant something to you?

I really loved “Little Women” when I was a little girl, not just because it focused primarily on female relationships but because I identified with Jo—headstrong, tomboyish, and occasionally putting my foot in my mouth with my sense of humor. She is an especially enjoyable and impressive character given the year that she was written.

Q. What do you find sexy in a man/woman?

I love a dirty sense of humor and a twinkle in someone’s eye—that applies to women and men (I am bisexual). I also like very individual people with their own sense of style: be that vintage, rockabilly, tidy, scruffy0 or whatever. As long as someone’s working it with confidence, I’m interested.

Q. What’s next up for you?

I have a couple of projects on the go (I’m trying to focus on one at a time, I swear!). I’m currently writing a longer lesbian romance that will be novel length (as opposed to a novella). Additionally, I’m working on some short, erotic pieces—a world away from the gentle romance of my current book.