Reviews for May-June-July 2006

Please Note: Because my computer crashed and the May issue of Just About Write was lost, I've combined the reviews that were submitted for both months. As a result, more than one review of the same book might be seen this month. Where this occurs, one review will be run directly beneath the other.

Title: A Guarded Heart
Author: Jennifer Fulton
ISBN: 1-932300-37-6
Publisher: Regal Crest
Distributed by Starcrossed Productions (
Price: $16.95
Pages: 212
Genre: Lesbian Romance/Fiction

A Guarded Heart is the most recent offering in Jennifer Fulton's Moon Island series and is a finalist for a Golden Crown Literary Society "Goldie" award in the Romance category. This is the fourth book set on the women-only Moon Island, owned by Annabel Worth and Cody Stanton. Packed with thrills, angst, and plenty of romance, the plot twists and turns as attempts are made to thwart two madmen: one who is after actress Lauren Douglas, and one who has killed several child pageant contestants.

Lauren Douglas is a star as Dr. Kate in a soap opera. Pat Roussel is an FBI agent, burnt out from long days and nights spent focused on finding the Kiddy Pageant Killer. Pat decides she needs to take a break from her job and Lauren needs protection after being shot by a deranged fan. These are the circumstances that throw the two women together and the combination proves both volatile and steamy.

Lauren is vulnerable after her brush with death, but struggles against having her freedom hindered. She finds herself falling in love with the aloof bodyguard that her father has hired, while Pat struggles to remain professional as Lauren's protector. However, complications abound when Pat finds Lauren's beauty irresistible. Lauren isn't the petulant, airhead actress that Pat thought she would be.

As the tension builds, these two draw close, and then pull back, over and over again. While Pat and Lauren struggle with their feelings for one another, Annabel and Cody are struggling with complications of a different nature.

In the midst of these personal struggles, a boat approaches Moon Island carrying a group of men. When they tell Annabel and Cody that one of the members of their treasure hunting party is ill and needs help, the women fly maritime archeologist, Penny Mercer, to the hospital located on the larger island of Rarotonga. As the women race against time to save the scientist's life, they learn about the sunken treasure that the treasure hunters are seeking. Once again, as in previous stories in the series, Annabel and Cody become concerned for the safety and sacredness of the island.

A character from the third Moon Island book is reprised in the fourth. Chris, the lawyer who had lost her partner, has returned to set up a business on the main island and she meets up with Annabel and Cody. When the women tell Chris of the recent events and of their concerns, the three of them hatch a plot to protect the island and help get Penny back as a member of the recovery team.

The fourth Moon Island offering is another wonderful story by a terrific author. Each new character is fully developed while recurring characters stay true to form and never get stale. New plots involving the people and the island and surrounding area continue to be interesting and intriguing. Start at the beginning of the series for the full history and effect. If you've already read the first three, you won't be disappointed in this, the fourth in the series.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Blood Sisters
Author: Mary Jacobsen
ISBN-13: 978-1-56023-322-0
Publisher: Haworth Press
Distributed by Haworth Press, Inc.
Price: $16.95
Pages: 296
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Romance

The title suggests that this work is about family or friendship, but Blood Sisters by Mary Jacobsen is much more. It's about a deep abiding love that knows no boundaries or labels, a story about soul mates and the struggle to come to terms with childhood traumas and the choices people make to effect their own healing.

Blood Sisters tells the story of Val Summer and Emily Ashmont. The two women meet in college and find that there is an instant attraction between them. Val is a lesbian and an inveterate romantic. Ashmont, as she is first called in the story, seems to be Val's opposite, a self-proclaimed heterosexual, a person who scoffs at the idea of romantic love, and a woman who keeps a measured distance, even from her deeply devoted friend Val. Ashmont is a pragmatist to Val's idealist. However, by the end of the story, we realize that these two women are not opposites, attracted to each other as if they were of different polarities, but different sides of the same coin.

The tale is told mostly by means of correspondence. Val's faithful communications to her friend, which she mails to Ashmont on a regular basis after college, and Ashmont's responses, which are seldom mailed because she fears too much exposure, even to her soul mate. Ashmont keeps the correspondence, both Val's and her own, compiling them into the two women's adaptation of the epic story of Gilgamesh, a narrative very dear to Val's heart.

As Val travels through her life seeking healing from a traumatic childhood, falling in love with woman after woman, each of whom leaves her in the end for one reason or another, Ashmont trudges through her own days looking for redemption from her own childhood demons, selectively participating in heterosexual relationships that seem never to penetrate beyond the surface. A constant undercurrent of sexual tension between the two women is evident from the start, but Ashmont insists that she can never love Val "that way" and continues to fend off Val's cajoling advances, even from a distance, over the span of years.

As the childhood trauma of each of the two women is revealed, we see that they are on similar paths to healing, but with each discovery, we wonder whether or not they will ever grow up, heal, and discover where they really belong. This continues right up until the very end of the story, making it seem more mystery than romance at times.

Blood Sisters is a richly fulfilling love story. Jacobsen presents a mixture of engaging humor and touching emotion, especially surrounding Val's relationship with her cousin Dez and his partner Raymond who are instrumental in helping Val through some tough times in her life.

The story of Val and Emily's relationship is a beautifully played counterpoint melody. Jacobsen portrays friendship and love and harmonizes it with healing and growth so well that the final impact of the ending leaves us thoughtful about its soft, sweet, and unexpected ending. This 2006 release from Haworth Press is not to be missed.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Chance
Author: Grace Lennox
ISBN: 1-933110-31-7
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc.,
Available From: Bella Books,; StarCrossed Productions,
Pages: 216
Price: $14.95
Genre: Romance

Chance Delaney becomes a celebrity practically overnight as often happens in the music industry. She is at the right place at the right time. Who would have thought that grooming dogs for the mother of a record industry mogul would lead to fame as the lead singer of Virgin Blessing? Certainly not Chance, who is naïve to the business but goes along for the ride. All the while, Chance is searching for what's most important in life—that someone special. Convinced she needs to change herself to attract the kind of woman she dreams of, Chance quits her job in a San Francisco gay and lesbian bookstore to work as a dog groomer before being catapulted into stardom by a twist of fate.

In Chance, Grace Lennox has created a realistic inner world centered on her character's quest for a meaningful relationship and her need to know who her birth mother is and why she gave her up. Is Chance desperate when she resorts to online dating and chatting in order to hook up with a suitable woman? Is she willing to settle for consoling the women her friend and fellow band partner, Luke, rejects?

Chance writes one of the funniest personal ads I ever read but you're not going to hear it from me. You have to read it and be prepared to crack up. After a tantalizing online friendship with a woman by the screen name Reverie, who refuses to get together for more than a quick cyber chat, Chance meets and ultimately falls in love with a stunning, elusive, yet irresistible songwriter named Layla. The two women clearly connect but secret pasts seem to get in the way.

Chance is refreshing because Lennox doesn't offer overwritten details in her prose. By not spoon-feeding information or overexposing the characters or plot, Lennox respects the intelligence of her readers. Every nuance is powerful and succinct. Grace Lennox, aka Jennifer Fulton and Rose Beecham, shows her muscle in the masterful way she knows her characters and stays true to their personalities. Chance is not a novel about the music industry; it is about a woman discovering herself as she muddles through all the trappings of fame. Chance underrates her own talents and charm and moves from low self-esteem to new self-respect in a first person narrative that is expertly done and flawless in the intimacy it creates between the character and the reader. Once you get inside Chance's head, Lennox makes sure you stay there and feel her myriad emotions.

What I like best about Chance is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. Lennox's keen sense of humor is not only hilarious but her observations are a cause for reflection. Sometimes the obvious is the funniest, and Lennox's wit did not escape this reviewer's notice. Chance packs emotional punches when warranted and delivers an interesting plot where one could dream that an all-woman rock band could become an instant success. Lennox doesn't leave any stone unturned in this original, satisfying romance with surprising outcomes. The stone I am referring to is the sizzling sex that will leave you breathless and begging for an encore.

I thoroughly enjoyed Chance and look forward to future novels by this talented and accomplished author who can write exceedingly well in any genre. Author of twelve best-selling novels, Grace Lennox, writing under the pen names Jennifer Fulton and Rose Beecham, is up for four 2006 Golden Crown Literary Society Awards and has also been selected for the 2006 Alice B. Readers Appreciation Award. She defines high standards in lesbian fiction today.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg

Title: Christie and the Hellcat
Author: Barbara Davies
ISBN: 0-9759555-2-7
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company,
Available From: Starcrossed Productions,
Price: $18.95
Pages: 340
Genre: Alternative Fiction/Lesbian Romance

When the demure Christie Hayes meets Deputy Sheriff Zee Brodie, she is at first afraid of her, then she grows impatient with her, but all the while there is an undercurrent of fascination with her, and ultimately, a strong attraction to her. A deputy In the Old West, in the days when gunfights were still the order of the day for settling an argument, Zerelda (Zee) Brodie is someone to be feared and respected. Formerly called "the Hellcat," Zee got the name when she was a notorious outlaw. She did time in Yuma prison for her offenses and was pardoned by the governor, finally becoming a deputy in the town of Benson, Arizona.

Zee and Christie meet when Zee is escorting a captured outlaw to prison and her boss, Sheriff Hogan, tells her that the Hayes house is a safe place to wait for the Yuma train once she gets to Contention. Zee's outlaw charge tries to escape more than once and constantly tries to talk Zee into giving up her new life on the right side of the law and joining his gang. But it is Christie, not the outlaw, who is Zee's undoing. Christie surreptitiously informs the Wells Fargo agent in town that "the Hellcat" is in her house and that she is afraid for her life. The agent sends Christie home and, after a while, barges in and shoots Zee. When Christie finds out that Zee has been telling the truth about going straight and becoming a deputy, she is remorseful and helps Zee escort her prisoner to the train, where Christie saves Zee's life when the outlaw gang tries to rescue their leader. All this happens because Christie's brother, Blue, has been called away on business.

The aloof, untouchable Deputy Brodie is smitten with Christie Hayes, though, and returns to Contention eager to see her. However, when she arrives, she discovers Christie entertaining her beau, Fred Younger, a small man in more than just his physical appearance.

Disappointed, Zee returns to Benson, writing Christie off as someone who would never be interested in another woman. What she doesn't know is that Christie herself is very fascinated by Zee and finds it difficult to have any feelings whatsoever for Fred. But Christie's brother, Blue (Bluford), thinks the wealthy businessman, Fred Younger, will make Christie a good husband. Deciding to follow her head instead of her heart, Christie finally agrees to marry Fred.

When Fred sends Christie to Benson to get her trousseau sewn by the town seamstress, Christie discovers that Zee lives in the whorehouse in that town, and with some hesitation, she follows Zee, determined to talk to her again and to try to discover what her true feelings are for the tall, dark and handsome Deputy Brodie.

As Christie and the Hellcat progresses, Zee softens and Christie discovers what she really wants from life, but their lives are made more complicated by the ladies of the Temperance Union and one very closed-minded family. Fred and Blue have difficulties of their own that eventually create complications in everyone's lives, and it is Zee who must work to bring peace back to Contention. In order to do that, Zee must travel to an orphanage where she meets the notable Sister Florence. In Christie's own words, she tells us "She's certainly not your run-of-the-mill nun..." (page 341).

Davies has given us easily likeable characters in Christie and Zee. Even Zee's darker side proves to be only a mask covering a soft, loving woman. There are a host of characters that work at the whorehouse, drink and gamble at the saloon and end up in Deputy Brodie's jail. These folks also entertain and enthrall us.

This first offering from new publisher Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company is an entertaining read and Barbara Davies is a master at dropping one-sentence morsels at the end of almost every chapter foreshadowing what is to come and tantalizing the reader to push on to read just one more.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Course of Action
Author: Gun Brooke
ISBN: 1-933110-22-8
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; Bella Books,
Price: $15.95
Pages: 320
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Lesbian

Gun Brooke's Course of Action is not exactly the tale this reviewer expected from the title, but it is a story of deep caring and a wonderful romance.

Carolyn Black wants to be Diana Maddox, a lesbian character in a novel, whose portrayal in audio books has won the heterosexual Carolyn national acclaim and a huge following. Annelie Peterson, philanthropist, publisher, producer, lawyer and lottery winner is about to turn the first Diana Maddox novel into a movie and Carolyn wants the part.

At first, Carolyn and Annelie are at loggerheads about who should star in the role. Annelie, seeming to cave in under pressure from marketing people who think a young, lightweight actress should play the 40-something, poised lesbian main character, spurs Carolyn to extraordinary measures to prove that she is perfect for the role.

Carolyn has always had a reputation for going after what she wants, but she harbors secrets and insecurities that she never allows the public to see. Sometimes she even denies them herself, driving herself to ill-health and collapse. Annelie is an equally determined woman, who harbors her own hidden past and has a passion for her charities, as well as for the books she publishes, and now, the first movie she will produce. Yet no matter how much the women engage in a battle of wits, they find that they cannot resist attraction to one another.

Finally surrendering to their feelings, they still have to battle demons and external difficulties, like the precarious situation that Carolyn's sister is in and the appearance of Annelie's estranged and long-absent father.

Course of Action by Gun Brooke was a 2005 Lammy Debut Fiction Finalist and a 2006 GCLS "Goldie" Debut Author Finalist. These nominations point to an author whose tales are well worth adding to any lesbian reader's bookshelf.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Facing Evil
Author: CL Hart
ISBN: 0976566427
Publisher: Cavalier Press,
Available From: Cavalier Press,; Bella Distribution,
Pages: 403
Price: $17.95
Genre: Mystery

Sometime soon a lesbian novel is going to make the crossover to mainstream publishing and perhaps onto the movie screen. It will be one that, despite the fact that it features a lesbian romance, will be encased in a story that is so compelling the audience cannot ignore it and will be drawn to even though the two lead characters are both women. That story could very well be Facing Evil by CL Hart or one very much like it.

Facing Evil is a multi-layered mystery with tremendous suspense and enough twists and turns to keep any mystery fan happy. Detective Abby Stansfield has been trying to bring Billy Ward to trial for a series of murders of young women and has just had the case thrown out of court on a technicality. Abby loses control outside of the courtroom and attacks Billy, which results in a long suspension from the police department. She retreats to a mountain resort where she hopes she will regain control of herself and restore balance to her life. There is where she meets Sarah McMurphy, who is renting the neighboring cabin, and they begin to develop a relationship. Before it can progress very far, however, Abby is called back into town by another murder. While she is investigating that, Billy goes completely over the edge, takes Sarah as his next victim, ends up dead, and Abby finds herself on trial for killing him. The book then goes into great detail juxtaposing the terrible ordeal Sarah has to go through to recover from the horrible wounds inflicted on her by Billy with the efforts to prepare for Abby's trial where the prosecution is seeking the death penalty. As all of this unfolds, there are separate mysteries about Sarah, Billy and especially Abby that feed into the central plot. Unlike many mysteries, you will not see the answers coming until the last minute and, if you think you've figured out some of the plot, hold on until you get through the next page.

Hart has filled this book with a host of complex characters and situations. Billy is not a run-of-the-mill maniac, and Abby has a darkness to her that isn't normally associated with a hero. Sarah hides her own secrets and stumbles blindly into a situation that almost costs her life. One of the best parts of the book is to see her character strengthen and grow as the story progresses. The characters just flow from the pages and are so richly portrayed. Among them is Abby's partner Lincoln, who is willing to sacrifice his own career to save her life. Abby's Uncle Nathan carries her secrets with him and has to find a way to save her without destroying the family. There are Helga and Gunter who run the resort and provide quiet strength. However, rising above them all is the wolf hybrid Buck, Abby's devoted companion, who will steal your heart and make it wrench at one point in the book.

Hart uses a flashback technique very uniquely in this book. She has the prologue in the present and then Chapter 1 begins the flashback to how the story started. Then, about half way through the book, you're suddenly back where the prologue ended and the story goes on from there. It creates an unusual effect, but works extremely well the way it is used.

If lesbian literature is going to cross into the mainstream, it is not going to be by one of the more formulaic books. The stories that feature two women meeting, falling in love and having passionate sex are very appealing to the lesbian community and sell a lot of books, but they aren't going to open the door to greater acceptance for the genre. It will be books that feature stories that anyone can relate to and get lost in. The fact that two women love each other will not drive the story, but will be an important part of how the characters relate to each other. What will open the doors for all of the other stories will be a book/movie where whoever reads or sees it says, "Hey, that was a great story and did you notice that the two women were in love?" Facing Evil could be that book.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Forever Found
Author: JLee Meyer
ISBN: 1933110376
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc.,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions, and
Price: $15.95
Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Romance

JLee Meyer is a first time author with a first rate romance. Forever Found is thoughtful, heartfelt and outstanding.

Dana Ryan and Keri Flemons are best friends as children until Dana's father picks up the family and moves without warning. Neither child knows why they cannot see each other anymore, leaving unresolved feelings for them. Twenty years later, Dana's career is abruptly ended after a tragic car accident kills her father and leaves her with a damaged and scarred leg. The driver is the very wealthy Keri Flemons who believes that money can resolve the situation. Dana, thoroughly disgusted at her former friend, storms out of the settlement talks. Fast forward to three years later when Keri needs an expert photographer, and Dana wants the opportunity to advance her new career. They reluctantly forge a business alliance, agreeing to an uneasy truce.

What impressed me most from this new author was the timing in Forever Found. Everything falls into place at just the right pace. She does not drop in subplots as after thoughts. Meyer introduces the reader to the past connection, then describes the defining event, and then takes us to the present day. The path is clear, concise and draws the reader completely into the plot. We immediately want to know what is going to happen next, and we are thoroughly invested in these characters.

Forever Found builds on strong characterization and explores the dynamics of all of the characters' interactions. Through past actions and the exposing of deeply rooted emotions, we learn why Keri and Dana are at odds. Their lost childhood love is laid out succinctly for the reader. When Dana and Keri see each other for the first time in 20 years at the settlement talks, Dana remembers a very different Keri than the one sitting next to her. Now Keri is an unlikable woman who is spoiled, rich and self-centered. As the story moves forward, we are treated to subtle changes. After Keri's father dies suddenly, she takes over the family business where she is forced to deal with some difficult employees. She slowly grows into a more mature woman because of this. With the day to day working relationship, Dana and Keri's buried past emerges with pent up feelings of regret, anger and sadness. The discovery of these feelings happens at different times for the two women, which causes some strife and angst and keeps the tension flowing for the reader.

Meyer adds depth to Keri and Dana's story by developing solid secondary characters. With the unsavory Thomas Concannon, Keri's inherited right-hand man, Meyer includes another dimension to the story that provides us with some powerful action scenes. The reader ascertains that he is evil and underhanded, but the author plays out his role brilliantly, building the suspense through most of the book. Meyer deftly peels back the layers of scars between Keri and her estranged mother, Carolyn, thus carrying the theme of physical and emotional scarring throughout the book.

Forever Found succeeds in giving the reader a thoroughly enjoyable romance filled with tension and longing from the first pages. I highly recommend this first effort from this talented new author.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: Have Gun We'll Travel
Author: Lori L. Lake
ISBN: 1-932300-33-3
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $ 18.95
Pages: 267
Genre: Thriller/Action Adventure

Lori L. Lake has written a thrilling nonstop action/adventure, which is impossible to put down. Have Gun We'll Travel is the third installment in her best-selling Gun series. Highly engrossing, it will have you on the edge of your seat rooting for the safe return of heroines, Desiree Reilly and Jaylynn Savage. Dez and Jay come alive in Lake's award-winning novel, Gun Shy, and their adventures continue in Under the Gun. The St. Paul police officers are off-duty and heading for a hard-earned R & R. When the gals set out on a hiking/camping expedition in the breathtaking Minnesota North Woods with friends Crystal (a fellow officer), and Shayna (her lover and a civilian), their vacation turns into a nightmare.

In Have Gun We'll Travel, Dez and Jay are more committed to each other than ever. Dez has discovered the joys of intimacy—she cherishes and is less fearful of her relationship with Jay. Having overcome post-traumatic stress disorder, Dez finds her strength and courage re-tested in every way imaginable. After escaped convicts from the Kendall Correctional Facility abduct Jaylynn, Dez races against time as she tries to rescue her. The State Police and the National Guard are called in, and Dez is frantic to save Jay before something terrible happens. Can Dez get to her in time?

Dez is stronger than ever in matters of the mind and heart. It's wonderful to follow along with her emotional development and personal growth as the Gun series progresses. After she learns how to cope, she draws on experience in order to battle the trials ahead. Jaylynn is a good role model for handling crisis and stress. Together, they make a formidable team. Their story is one that this reader would like to continue exploring and reading about for years to come.

When you pick up a novel written by Lori L. Lake, you are guaranteed a well thought out plot, characters worth emulating, multi-dimensional villains, and a thoroughly enjoyable story. Lake's writing makes readers feel like they are living the action and not just reading about it. The sights, sounds, and smells are vivid, as are the thoughts and feelings the characters experience during spine-tingling moments. Readers ride a rollercoaster of uncertainty, missed opportunities, and the hope that Jaylynn will return to safety. Will good prevail over evil?

With prison escapees and the Russian mob thrown in for good measure, the action seems to have a life of its own as it grabs your attention and doesn't let go until the climactic conclusion. Lake has managed to pack plenty of action, drama, and tension in this third book in the Gun series. Have Gun We'll Travel is thrilling and often chilling. Don't miss this wonderful addition to Lori L. Lake's amazing collection of literature. I'm not a bit surprised that Have Gun We'll Travel is a finalist for a 2006 Golden Crown Literary Society Award. It deserves the attention.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg

Title: In Too Deep
Author: Ronica Black
ISBN: 1-933110-17-1
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: Bella Books, and
StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $15.95
Pages: 329
Genre: Lesbian Crime/Romance

Just when you think you know who the good guys are in Ronica Black's In Too Deep, everything shifts. Flawed white hats, black hats with underlying goodness, people who have been hurt and used and abused abound in this story and everyone's just trying to find some peace—and maybe a little love—in their lives.

When Detective Erin McKinsey (Mac) is assigned to go undercover to get information on a suspected serial killer, Elizabeth Adams, the beautiful, tough-as-nails owner of La Femme nightclub, she gets more than she bargained for in the process. Soon to be divorced from her philandering husband, with whom she has never experienced any kind of deep relationship, Erin finds herself irresistibly drawn to Liz Adams while risking her life trying to find out if the nightclub owner is the killer of a string of men who have been shot and mutilated.

There is no lack of suspects, and some characters that are introduced and shrugged off as minor players in this dangerous game early on, come back to haunt the main characters again and again. Even a cop's motives begin to be suspect, but in the end, all we want is for Erin to find herself and find true love. Oh, yes, and finding the real killer would be nice, too.

In Too Deep is one of the 2006 GCLS "Goldie" finalists in the Mystery / Action / Adventure / Thriller category. It is a page-turner of the highest magnitude. Black doesn't disappoint in this well written, exciting story.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Josie and Rebecca: The Western Chronicles
Authors: Vada Foster and BL Miller
ISBN: 1933119983
Publisher: Intaglio Publications,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $18.99
Pages: 408 pages
Genre: Lesbian Historical Fiction/Romance

Women are often marginalized in history especially in stories about the Old West. BL Miller and Vada Foster have changed that by rewriting history, if only in fiction, with Josie and Rebecca: The Western Chronicles. Women are front and center throughout the pages in this stimulating and inspiring tale of two women finding each other as well as themselves while they forge new trails.

Josie Hunter becomes an outlaw after she is accused of killing her best friend Genie. While on the run, she dispenses her own kind of justice, skirting the "law" quite often. It is during one of these times that she rescues Rebecca Cameron from a gang of men trying to rape the young woman. After this encounter, Rebecca becomes Josie's traveling partner. While unwilling to totally accept this spirited woman, Josie reluctantly lets her tag along.

The authors have invented a truly heroic character with Josie. While it may seem that Josie recklessly breaks the law every chance she gets, in actuality, on the frontier, the law was localized and very arbitrary. Being half Cherokee makes Josie's situation much more complicated. Although deeply flawed and displaying a brusque exterior, she risks her life more than once to save those who can't help themselves. Her compassion for others shows in all of her actions. Rebecca's character complements Josie, offering us innocence as well as a quiet strength. It is her belief in Josie's goodness that draws out the tough outlaw's deep feelings.

As a reader I have found that well written historical fiction is hard to find. Either the authors give too little detail, or they get bogged down in facts that do not move the story along. There is no balance, thus the true historical events detract from the plot. This is not the case with Josie and Rebecca: The Western Chronicles. It is interspersed with actual events that give the readers a flavor for the times. The setting is detailed and accurate. Josie and Rebecca's travels are full of action and variety that keep the book interesting throughout. Foster and Miller realistically portray the women in the story, the choices they must make and the way they are generally treated. The authors also deal with Josie being part Cherokee and the prejudice that Native Americans endured during those times. The authors never preach but let these crucial bits of overlooked history reach us through superb storytelling.

Josie and Rebecca: The Western Chronicles is enjoyable and thorough without dragging. It will surely become as legendary as the great Westerns that have preceded it. I highly recommend this extraordinary account of our forgotten history as told through the fictional characters of Josie and Rebecca.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: Maybe Next Time
Author: Karin Kallmaker
ISBN: 1-931513-25-0
Publisher: Bella Books, Inc.,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; Bella Books,
Price: $ 12.95
Pages: 245
Genre: Romance

Award-winning, best-selling author Karin Kallmaker has repeatedly proven that she has what it takes to spin a romantic tale. Kallmaker has an impressive body of work, and Maybe Next Time further shows her prowess. Her excellent command of the English language taps into human emotion as if she has invented it.

Maybe Next Time, winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Romance, has everything readers expect from a love story, but with an edge.

Sabrina (Bree) Starling was a prodigy destined for greatness. An accomplished musician, she became a world-renowned concert violinist. The music spoke to her, and she felt as though the violin played her instead of vice versa. With talent, fame, and fortune, Bree would appear to have everything, but sadly, her gift came with a huge price and personal sacrifice. Was it fate, her own stubbornness, other people's jealousy of her talent, or a combination of these things that led Bree on the road to destruction? Would Bree ever realize that Jorie, her first love, the one person who makes her whole and fulfills her every desire cannot compete with a violin?

Unable to sustain a meaningful relationship with Jorie or the countless other women she slept with, Bree had many issues to overcome, including guilt after hurting her best friend Diane. Deep depression threatened to consume Bree. Wallowing in despair, guilt, and loneliness, she truly believed she deserved pain and suffering.

Kallmaker eloquently describes her character's state of mind and actions, which evokes the appropriate gut-wrenching response in her readers, including being angry and disappointed in Bree's poor choices but celebrating when she gets it right.

Maybe Next Time is one woman's journey to discover what is important in life. And the reader hopes she figures it out before it's too late. With foreshadowing and vivid imagery, Kallmaker sets up and explains the conflict Bree has with her music, Jorie, and Diane.

Bree's sexual awakening leaves her stunned when she discovers she's in love with Jorie, who along with Aunt Lani, is her "ohana," her family of blood or choice. "[Bree] was a musician, she was haole, she was Hawaiian, a mainlander, an islander, the daughter of a businessman and a singer. She was a woman and she liked girls…the list was long and it swirled like an arpeggio, different notes for different pieces of herself. The arpeggio became a chord and for a shining moment she understood all mysteries and magic, all wonder and music" (p. 37).

For most of her life, Bree felt the "sacrifices meant nothing because she was nothing without a violin" (p. 27). "Perfection was hers to reach for. The violin asked and she played" (p. 28). However, when Bree suffered a twist of fate and was at the lowest point in her life, she felt as though the "voice of her own violin poured over her body like lava" (p. 4).

Kallmaker uses catchy turns of phrase, descriptions that ring poetic, and analogies that make words read like symphonies. "The smile grew as she let the sun kiss her face with the last of its rays" (p. 31). Kallmaker describes the human condition from longing, desire, and love, to jealousy, fear, and loneliness. Bree always felt like an outsider. She was an orphan robbed of her childhood, but fortunately she was given a loving home with her Aunt Lani, who "tried to spare Bree the path of early fame, easy money, then the chill of not knowing who you really were, what you were made of, or who your ancestors were when life became hard" (p. 22).

Kallmaker adds morality to her work when Bree tries to save Jorie's daughter Penny from some of the hurt and shame she herself has endured from using women for pleasure. Bree tells Penny, "It's so easy to forget that sometimes things that feel good aren't good for you. You can't act like other people don't have feelings. You think you won't get hurt, but you do" (p. 103).

Filled with angst, sensitivity, intimacy, and joy, Maybe Next Time delivers a memorable tale. With flawed but likeable main characters, an intriguing plot with many surprises, award-winning prose and flawless editing, this five star novel epitomizes great romantic fiction. And in this reader's opinion, Karin Kallmaker tells it beautifully.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg

Title: Promising Hearts
Author: Radclyffe
ISBN: 1933110449
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc.,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions, and
Price: $15.95
Pages: 264 pages
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Romance


Time after time, Radclyffe's books touch the heart and fill our imaginations. Promising Hearts is no exception, and that is what makes this book one of her most compelling and exciting to date.

Set at the end of the bloodiest war on American soil, Promising Hearts by Radclyffe gives the reader what she craves most, an inspiring romance filled with more than one heroine. It picks up immediately where Innocent Hearts leaves off. It is 1866 in the Montana territory, and Kate Beecher is now living with Jessie Forbes on her ranch outside of New Hope. Mae is still the town's madam, attending to her girls. Dr. Vance Phelps is added to this trio, having just arrived from Philadelphia after spending three of the last four years on the front lines of the Civil War.

Radclyffe's prose persuades the reader to believe in her characters. It doesn't matter whether it is 1866 Montana or 2006 Philadelphia, their stories are realistic, fascinating, and have us hanging onto every word. She has an intuitive sense of who her characters are and does not hesitate to share that with us. In Promising Hearts, Vance is battle weary, aloof and broken. She watched her best friend and colleague die on the battlefield during the last days of the war and could not save him because of her own injuries. She travels to Montana to forget the destruction and to possibly salvage her career. She surely does not expect to find much more until she meets the town's madam, Mae, a woman with integrity and a heart of gold. This brave and honorable woman is also alone, fighting the day to day battles of a frontier brothel, until Vance steps into her life. The two seem an unlikely coupling, but through Radclyffe's astute storytelling, we come to understand their similarities and what makes them kindred spirits.

With many romances to choose from each month, Promising Hearts is an easy choice. Radclyffe grasps the language of love, its subtleties as well as its potency. With minimal words and a clear strong voice, she captures the emotions of her characters perfectly, and we can imagine the moment. Her restraint fuels the story's passion. The language is authentic; the dialogue revealing. Without the detailed display of the physical aspects of lovemaking, these scenes are tender and filled with devotion and desire. A powerful exchange of love fills the pages of this story.

Promising Hearts is more than a western. It is more than a love story. It is a celebration of our history through fiction, making us proud that these are our stories as well.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: Punk Like Me, 2nd Ed.
Author: JD Glass
ISBN: 1933110406
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc.,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,, and Bella Books,
Price: $15.95
Pages: 300 pages
Genre: Lesbian Contemporary Fiction/Romance

If you only read one book in the next six months, let Punk Like Me by JD Glass be that book. It is different. It is engaging. It is life-affirming. Frankly, it is genius.

Punk Like Me cannot be easily dismissed as another coming out story. While on the surface it is about Nina Boyd, a young woman recalling her first experiences at finding love, it really is about much more. Imagine having your first sexual experience and not being able to share it with anyone, even your friends. Imagine falling in love for the first time and not being able to tell anyone, even your parents and siblings. Imagine having all of these feelings as a teenager bottled up inside you and no outlet for you to express them. This is what it means to be a young gay or lesbian in America. But instead of feeling sorry for this young woman, we are uplifted by how Nina battles against all odds to remain true to herself as well as those around her. She is gutsy, smart and boldly honest.

Nina recounts how she doesn't even think of following the easy path and lying to her parents, teachers and friends. Glass illustrates vividly the price that Nina pays for following her heart. With Punk Like Me we feel many emotions along with Nina, but the one we feel the most is pride and hope. Because every day there are young gays and lesbians fighting to find themselves and fit into a world that can be cold, cruel and unforgiving. This is our future standing tall and, most of the time, alone, and this is the impact of this story. At a minimum it compels us to listen and to remember. Glass wants us to take notice. Nina's story is a powerful message that reminds us of our responsibilities, and she does this without preaching or shoving it down our throats.

Glass writes in the first person, which creates an effective bond with the reader. Her rhythmic writing style, laced with humor, makes it easy for us to glide through the pages effortlessly, absorbing the full measure of Punk Like Me. This is a rare book in that it has a soul; one that is laid bare for all to see. We owe it to ourselves to read this book, but more importantly, we owe it to our future.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: Punk Like Me, 2nd Ed.
Author: JD Glass
ISBN: 1933110406
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc.,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,, and Bella Books,
Price: $15.95
Pages: 300 pages
Genre: Lesbian Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Nina Boyd, a slick twenty-one-year-old New York City singer/songwriter for a rock band, recounts her experiences of coming to terms with being a lesbian in an intolerant world. JD Glass' Punk Like Me is reminiscent of J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Both novels can be considered American Bildungsromans, where the main protagonists are nonconformists dealing with their moral development and attitudes in the face of adversity. Like Holden Caulfield, Nina tries to make sense of her life. What makes Nina "punk" by her peers' standards is that she doesn't compromise her values and fall into conformity and mediocrity just to get by. Powerfully written by a gifted author in the first person point of view, Punk Like Me is an intimate glimpse inside a cool "dude's" head.

Glass captures the essence of Nina, a product of Catholic school, who is smart, honest, kind, and generous to a fault. Even though she tests the nuns' authority at times and comes across as tough or "punk," this street-wise kid is a hero. Her only crimes are that she is gay, she has the wrong parents, and she lives in a society with skewed values. Her parents don't understand or appreciate her. They tell her lying is wrong but when she wants to tell the truth about herself, will they really want her to be truthful?

Self-discovery is not a new concept, but Glass makes it fresh, makes it real, and gets to the heart of the matter where there is nothing left but truth. Nina's voice is authentic for a young woman who grows up in a difficult environment where she is not a stranger to physical and psychological abuse. Glass tells Nina's poignant story and succeeds in convincing us that Nina is speaking, that Nina is telling it her way. This reader wants to comfort Nina as she struggles with being a lesbian in a straight world, to love her unconditionally, and to see her prevail over the injustices in her world.

There are books that make you laugh, books that merely entertain, books that make you think, books that make you cry, and books that send a message, and of course, books that have great sex. Believe me when I tell you that Punk Like Me is a book that has all of these and more. True love begins with the love of oneself. In that respect, Punk Like Me is truly a romance. Despite the pain and torture Nina may endure, there is much joy, laughter, friendship, and even love in her life, and most importantly, the reader wants to see if she ends up stronger than ever and hopes to rejoice in her triumph. In another comparison, Punk Like Me may be considered a modern day Ruby Fruit Jungle. Like Molly Bolt, Nina has to deal with discrimination but decides not to apologize for being a lesbian. Like Rita Mae Brown, JD Glass has a strong voice that mixes humor with sorrow, pain, and happiness in a realistic setting with genuine characters.

Punk Like Me speaks to lesbians of any age but straights will love Nina too. This important novel should be required reading in high schools across the country, especially religious schools, since teaching tolerance should be on every curriculum. This is not a young adult novel, although adolescents will love it, but a mature account of an admirable woman who stands up for herself. It is inspiring. Order it today; you will be glad you did. I can't wait for Glass' forthcoming sequel, Punk And Zen.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg

Title: Stepping Out: Short Stories
Author: Lori L. Lake
ISBN: 1-932300-16-3
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Pages: 153
Price: $13.95
Genre: Lesbian Fiction

By Guest Reviewer, Therese Szymanski

Having read several of Lori L. Lake's mysteries, I began Stepping Out, her collection of short stories, with a bit of a preconception as to what I'd soon be experiencing.

I am pleased to say I was wrong.

Well, I was right in that I enjoyed these 14 diverse tales—but that's about where the rightness ended.

To begin with, Lake's writing has developed since her earlier books, like Gun Shy and Under the Gun. Now she writes with greater confidence, and has rid her work of the somewhat clumsy mechanics that marked her earlier creations. This more economical phraseology and greater surety of style make for a more dynamic and flowing storytelling.

Adding to the overall enjoyment and pleasant surprise were the tales themselves. This was definitely not your standard collection of lesbian tales—these stories were written with an overall vision (not of the horny variety), as well as a certain gentleness, respect and love for the players in these stories.

As I read, I was overcome with the passion Lake has for her characters—gay, straight, male, female, young, old… no matter the details, Lake catches those moments that most clearly tell her tale. Sometimes a good story will capture characters just when their lives are in flux. These tales will start in medias res—the middle of things—capturing the time of change.

One could argue that Lake sometimes captures things right when they go all kerflooey—right when a life changes. That even in these real stories of real people, she has occasionally discovered the moments that alter the courses of lives. For instance, in "Strange Inclinations," the narrator chooses her new path while immersed, not pleasantly, in a bathtub full of water. That is, she decides on some major life changes if she lives to do so.

But in reality, Lake's strength in this collection is that she discovers the truth in the everyday. Instead of finding the moment that everything changes in a great big flash, she finds more subtle times and truths. In "Mouse," Irene loses both her lover and her life when her lover's family tosses her to the street with nothing. Yet through this, Irene finds those worse off then she, and even as she counts down the days to when she might get off the cold streets, she tries to make a new friend.

Some writers write stories and have fun. In this collection, Lake fell in love with her characters. She cared for and nurtured them, making this not so much a collection of stories as an anthology of characters.

Years ago I saw a movie that I left thinking, "What was that about?" It was pretty much a slice-of-life piece that got major play due to a big-name star. But it was just a piece of life, without real focus or purpose. Lake may not define a particular moment of change for each entry, but each entry does have a reason—a focus—a purpose. Even though each tale may bring the reader down briefly, each one also gives a shot at redemption and a brighter future. For instance, in "Propane," Della, a lesbian in an abusive relationship, decides to leave. Then Kerry, her lover, accidentally sets herself on fire. Some writers might use huge melodrama, such as having Kerry die, but in Lake's reality, Della takes care of Kerry, smothering the fire, calling an ambulance (against Kerry's will), and seeing her off.

But then Della leaves nonetheless.

This is Lake's talent and what she gives us. Rather like Jane Martin's Talking With… done fictionally, she gives us defining pieces and moments. Not the great broad sweeps, but the depths of the darker colors, which bring forth the highlights further.

I have to admit, overall my favorite tale was "Busybody," which had police, a possible abduction, love and loss. It made me laugh, cry, and feel, and it was told with a subtle poignancy. But again, although I didn't appreciate "Jumping Over My Head" as much, as someone who used to high jump, I appreciated Lake's attention to details. When I read things, facts, details, that are right on, it makes me trust a writer further—allowing her to take me deeper into her world.

That a normally genre-loving reader like me enjoyed (most) of this collection is high marks indeed. I'm looking forward to what Lake has to offer as she further develops her talents, and I do recommend Stepping Out to those who wish to get an inner happy due to just what people can do.
Therese Szymanski is the Lammy-nominated author of the Brett Higgins' Mysteries/Motor City Thrillers, editor of Back to Basics: A Butch/Femme Anthology and Call Of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural, a couple of anthologies, contributor to about a dozen anthologies, and an all-round maniac-about-town.

Title: The Exile and the Sorcerer: Lyremouth Chronicles–Book One
Author: Jane Fletcher
ISBN: 1933110325
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Pages: 320
Price: $15.95
Genre: Lesbian Fantasy

Tevi is the oldest daughter of Red, who in turn is the daughter of the Queen of Storenseg. In this matrilineal society, the women are the warriors and the men are small, weak, and serve in roles as housekeepers, babysitters, and servants. Tevi does not belong. She is awkward—not good with a sword or any type of weapon—and the leaders of Storenseg do not believe she possesses any useful leadership skills. Her younger sister, Laff, is far better suited for power and ruling. Unfortunately, Tevi makes the mistake of revealing feelings for a woman, and in this profoundly heterosexist society, that is cause for death or exile. Like the ugly duckling, Tevi is a disgrace in the eyes of all her people.

Rather than sentence her own granddaughter to death, the Queen sends Tevi on an impossible mission to recover a chalice stolen under odd circumstances. In anguish, the 19-year-old woman embarks upon a journey to other lands. In classic Quest form, Tevi goes out in the world and this is when the fun starts. While learning new skills and finding talents she didn't know she had, she encounters wayfarers, sorcerers, enchanted castles, witches, wild animals, dwarves, and magic—and Jemeryl, who is a young Sorceress who not only saves Tevi from a terrible fate, but also proves critical in formulating a search for the stolen chalice. As it turns out, Tevi's quest has much further reaching ramifications than anyone back in Storenseg ever imagined.

Originally published as Parts One and Two of Lorimal's Chalice, this new incarnation leads off a series that will include a second book, The Traitor and the Chalice (June 2006), which comprises Parts Three and Four of Lorimal's Chalice, and the all-new third book, The Empress and the Acolyte (October 2006).

The Exile and the Sorcerer is a mesmerizing read, a tour-de-force packed with adventure, ordeals, complex twists and turns, and the internal introspection of appealing characters. The author writes effortlessly, handling the size and scope of the book with ease. Not since the fantasy works of Elizabeth Moon and Lynn Flewelling have I been so thoroughly engrossed in a tale. This is knockout fiction, tantalizingly told, and beautifully packaged. It receives my very highest recommendation.
Reviewed by Lori L. Lake


Title: The Killing Room
Author: Gerri Hill
ISBN: 1594930503; $13.95
Publisher: Bella Books
Available from: Bella Books, and StarCrossed Productions,
Pages: 385
Cost: $13.95
Genre: Romance/Mystery

There are writers whose books you know you're going to enjoy before you ever open the covers. From previous experience, you know that the author is adept at storytelling, creating interesting characters and unique plot points. Gerri Hill is one of the authors you can add to that list, if you haven't put her there already.

The Killing Room is a murder mystery about two women who come from different worlds and philosophies. Jake McCoy is a police officer from Denver who has retreated to her mountain cabin to recover from wounds she sustained when she tried to keep a man from killing a child…and failed. She has come to the mountains with her dog Cheyenne to escape from the nightmares that haunt her and to decide if she still has what it takes to be a police officer. She would rather be alone than anything until one day when a stranger discovers her soaking in a nearby hot spring. Jake invites the woman to join her and events lead to a night of exquisite passion. When Jake wakes up in the morning though, the woman is gone without a trace or any indication of her identity.

Jake assumes this is a relationship that wasn't meant to be and returns to Denver to resume duty. She is immediately embroiled in the hunt for a serial killer who is preying on abused women. As she and her partner begin to piece the clues together, the only thing the victims have in common is a therapist they have all seen who specializes in these cases. The surprise waiting for Jake is that Dr. Nicole Westbrooke is her mystery woman from the hot spring and that Nicole is deeply closeted and not quite certain she is happy to be found.

Nicole associates with a group of lesbians who are all professionals and highly successful, including one predatory character who plans to run for mayor. They keep their relationships within the group and protect the truth about their sexual orientation rigorously. Her friends disapprove of Nicole's interest in Jake on more than level. Jake doesn't hide her preferences and they are afraid her relationship with Nicole will call attention to the rest of them, possibly ruining their careers. More disturbing though is the snobbishness that the group exhibits because Jake just isn't "one of their kind" since she isn't a college degreed professional and earns much less money than they do. Unfortunately, Nicole seems to buy into their attitude, but she has to be in contact with Jake because it soon becomes clear that the killer's real target is her. He's just using her clients to shake her up before he makes his final kill, Nicole. Two stories then develop. Can Jake penetrate layers of secrecy within the police department and identify the killer before he reaches Nicole? Can Nicole overcome her fears about exposure and rejection by her friends to allow her relationship with Jake to grow? Throw in a terrific twist in the crimes and you have a very entertaining book.

Gerri Hill is not pretentious in her storytelling. She develops her characters so well that you feel as if you know the people. She wraps them in a storyline that is so engaging that it's easy to lose track of time as you turn page after page to discover what is going to happen; then you regret that the book is over because you want to visit longer with her creation. Hill is definitely a writer who delivers a consistent and quality product, always worth reading.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: The Meadowlark Sings
Author: Helen Ruth Schwartz
ISBN: 1-56023-575-6
Publisher: Harrington Park Press
Available From: Haworth Press,
Price: $14.95
Pages: 189
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Romance/Lesbian


The Meadowlark Sings by Helen Ruth Schwartz is a refreshingly different tale. Fantasy and romance blend together with just a dash of sci-fi as we peer into the possibility of a future where lesbians and gays have their own country and the United States expatriates their homosexual children to this country by the age of three. The reader must first suspend any knowledge of what the experts say can never happen in California—that, in the greatest earthquake the state has ever seen, the entire state is ripped from the mainland in an immense catastrophic rift. However, if the reader allows herself to enter into the fantasy of "what if…," Schwartz has given us a truly wonderful story.

Because of the stated history of the United States from 2010 to 2055 (the year in which the story takes place), the country of Cali, formerly California, is now the place where all homosexuals from the US are deported within the first three years of their lives, once they test positive for the gay gene, the Scarpetti gene. Cara Romero is one of those people who came to Cali as a toddler and was adopted by two women who cherish her. She has grown up to become the Director of the Office for the Aging in Cali. She runs an innovative program started by her predecessor where retirement centers are only built in conjunction with universities and are also related to child care facilities. The result has been a dramatic increase in quality of life and life span for Cali's elderly. Because of Cara's expertise, the Prime Minister of Cali, Miriam Ekstrom, decides to lift the travel ban imposed on Calian citizens for their own safety, and allows Cara to attend the World Conference on Aging in New York in order to present Cali's revolutionary program for the elderly to the world.

The prospect of traveling to the US excites Cara, in spite of the fact that she will have to travel with a body guard and will be in fear for her life in New York because the evil Olms still like to incite US citizens to attack and kill gay people. Working with Tim Felmar, her "escort officer" and press agent, the two prepare for the journey, but not before an ex-lover presents Cara with a challenge: find the Prime Minister's lover, Barbra Weissman, a physician who had been working in the embarkation program from the United States (she chose to remain behind because she had a daughter who tested negative for the Scarpetti gene and she refused to give her up—homosexuals stayed in the US at their own risk at the beginning of the deportation program).

Arriving in New York, Cara endears herself to the country with her charm and intelligence, but when she and Tim Felmar are almost mobbed by a crowd of enthusiastic supporters, they are whisked from their hotel to a more secure place. The place just happens to be the vacation home of the President of the United States, James Mooran. That's where Cara meets Jessica Mooran, the president's daughter, and they embark on a friendship that becomes even more and sets both women's lives into a tailspin as they try to figure out how Jessica, a gene-negative Scarpetti heterosexual, could develop any feelings for Cara at all, and how she and Cara can be together once the conference ends. All this, while trying to locate the mysterious Barbra to try to get her to come back to Cali to be with the Prime Minister, who knows nothing about Cara's search.

Schwartz' tale is inspirational and enlivening. Two mysteries intertwine a love story, making this tale a real page turner. The "history" of Cali and the United States is skillfully interwoven with the rest of the story. The developing romance between Cara and Jessica is beautifully told. The Meadowlark Sings is another fine offering by Haworth Press and this intelligent, masterful story is not to be missed.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: The Next World
Author: Ursula Steck
ISBN: 1594930244
Publisher: Bella Books, Inc.,
Available From: Bella Books, Inc., and StarCrossed Productions,
Pages: 229pages
Price: $12.95
Genre: Fiction/Lesbian Mystery

A 2005 GCLS Debut Author Finalist, Ursula Steck has crafted a sinister medical thriller in the tradition of Robin Cook with The Next World.

During the opening pages, security guard Anna Spring finds her co-worker, Jeff Rockwell, dead after a hit and run. After another co-worker disappears, Anna is convinced that Jeff was indeed murdered. The police are unconvinced, so she sets out to collect evidence. Danger is evident at every turn for Anna as the lies and deception mount and more lives are threatened.

Steck never detours from the main thrust of this riveting story. From the first pages, the author hooks us by forming an exciting puzzle of clues. Even after we discover what is really going on, we do not know how Steck will resolve it. We are left hanging throughout, and the pages can't turn fast enough.

Steck generates multiple sub-plots within the story with an easy and clear writing style and without extraneous details. She expertly ties together everything as the book closes. The author uses medical facts to add a realistic and chilling aspect to The Next World so when we finally get to the shocking truth, we are stunned.

The Next World is a disturbing and unsettling book that questions medical ethics within a spine-tingling story. It is a must read for anyone who loves pure mystery.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: The Sacred Shore
Author: Jennifer Fulton
ISBN: 1-932300-35-X
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises,
Available From: Starcrossed Productions,
Price: $15.95
Pages: 188
Genre: Lesbian Romance/Fiction

The Sacred Shore, Jennifer Fulton's third offering in the Moon Island series, is packed with romance, adventure, women's spirituality, and a few steamy scenes to keep our hearts palpitating. When Merris Randall meets Olivia Pearce, she abandons her resolve never to love again and finds herself drawn to this new interest over and over again. The two end up on Moon Island, where they are joined by the reticent Dr. Glenn Howick and her young assistant who pines after the anthropologist. Dr. Howick's only reasons for coming to the island are to find the sacred cave of Hine te Ana and to witness the rituals that take place on the Sacred Shore. She has her reasons for not engaging in romantic pursuits.

In addition to these four people, a fifth person, named Chris, who has recently lost her partner, has come to Moon Island in an effort to deal with her grief and stumbles on a very strange site in one of the other caves on the island. These women are joined by Annabel's cousin, Melanie, who shows up with a young baby and an illness that threatens to disrupt the lives of Cody and Annabel. To top it all off, Annabel finds that her own biological clock has become a deafening din, but her suggestion that she and Cody think about having a baby of their own does not go over well.

True to Fulton's usual mode of operation, The Sacred Shore is full of interwoven, heart-pounding subplots that leave us wondering if each woman will work through her difficulties and find the healing that she needs to make her whole, allowing her to move into the next phase of her life. This story gives us an in-depth look into the emotional lives of the group during this portion of their journey.

The Moon Island series is a stroke of genius that gives us the anchoring characters of Annabel Worth and Cody Stanton, while always introducing fresh characters and plots drawing us back to a familiar place to meet new adventures. Some people come back to the island more than once, and we meet them as if they were old friends, as do Cody and Annabel. Sacred Shore is a finalist for a 2006 Golden Crown Literary Society "Goldie" award in the Romance category, attesting to the quality of the work. Don't miss this installment of the Moon Island series. If you've read the others, once again, you will not be disappointed.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: The Three
Author: Meghan O'Brien
ISBN: 1932300512
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Pages: 292
Price: $19.95
Genre: Lesbian fiction/ post-apocalyptic adventure

In The Three by Meghan O'Brien, we are treated to first-rate storytelling that features scorching love scenes with three main characters. While the publisher lists this book as an adventure, it is the mix with eroticism that completes this remarkable story.

Anna first meets Elin and Kael as they are traveling south on foot for the winter. There are few people along the way after biological war and sickness wipes out most of the United States' population twenty years before. As the three join together to protect themselves against unfriendly strangers, they find themselves forming a bond of need and love, but the three are no match for a group of pro-creationists who kidnap Elin.

O'Brien convinces and enlightens us with each word as she widens our definition of what it takes to make a family, and this is the power of The Three. She constructs unusual dynamics when Anna unites with the two lovers, Elin and Kael. Rather than being a third wheel, Anna becomes both Kael's and Elin's lover, and we benefit from some awesome love scenes. As the three work through their new relationships, they encounter many difficulties on the road, but they tackle all adversaries as one.

O'Brien's storytelling is much improved over her first novel, Infinite Loop. She hits her stride well in The Three with a well-paced plot that never slows. She excels at giving us an astounding tale that is tightly written and extremely sensual. I highly recommend this unique book.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: True Colours, 3rd Edition
Authors: Karen Surtees and Nann Dunne
ISBN: 1-9330928-17-3
Publisher: Regal Crest,
Available From: Starcrossed Productions,
Price: $18.99
Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction / Romance / Lesbian

This third edition of True Colours will be a welcome addition to any reader's book collection. The book has been re-edited and re-formatted, making the presentation of an already great story even better. The first edition was written under the names Karen King and Nann Dunne. Karen Surtees used the pen name to protect her anonymity as a medic in the British Royal Navy. Britain has since rescinded its discrimination in the military.

The inhabitants of the small Texas town of Meridianville are not happy when they hear that TJ Meridian has returned. TJ's father is hated by the town because he pulled out of his ranch and meat packing plant, taking with him hundreds of jobs, and sending Meridianville's economy into the toilet. However, it takes time for them to realize that the Meridian currently in residence is nothing like him.

Taylor Jade Meridian is a powerful, driven woman who owns a multinational company. Why she has returned to Meridianville is cause for much speculation. However, the conjecture is usually followed by curses and insults because of the actions of TJ's father. That is, until a dangerous situation is discovered and the very lives of the townspeople are threatened. When TJ steps up with a solution, the town starts to rethink their opinion of the Meridian name.

Dr. Mare Gillespie has had a chance to see TJ's good side as well as her difficult side early on. When Mare is called to the Meridian Ranch to tend to a sick horse, she meets TJ and gives her a piece of her mind. TJ is intrigued by the vet's courage and ability to stand up to her, and the two form a kind of truce, then a friendship, and finally begin a torrid love affair. As Mare realizes what a formidable woman TJ is, she also sees her fragility because of childhood trauma and a mugging as an adult that left her brother dead and TJ confined to a wheelchair. She also comes to understand that TJ's physical limitations do not keep her down as much as her mental anguish. Although TJ's friends and caretakers, Erin Scott and Paula Tanner, stick with her through thick and thin, Mare seems to be the only one who can consistently make emotional contact with the brooding and sometimes stubborn TJ.

When the ranch comes under attack, it becomes clear that not everyone in Meridianville has seen the good side of the Meridians, and the women at the ranch are put into some frightening situations. In the midst of this turmoil, Mare has also discovered a secret about her own family that sets her world spinning. In spite of this uproar, the relationship between TJ and Mare grows and even manages to thrive, but only after fits and starts.

The characters are dynamic yet flawed, making them seem so real. And this strength in characterization flows through to secondary characters as well. The solid love between Erin and Paula provides a secure underpinning for the fledgling love growing between TJ and Mare.

Surtees and Dunne have produced a well-rounded tale that never falters. The story is a page-turner, leaving us wanting more. And more is to come with the sequel to True Colours, entitled Many Roads to Travel, by Surtees and Dunne.

My advice is to make certain that you get both books because you'll want to continue straight through with the second story as soon as you finish the first. This wonderful tale, filled with heart and adventure, is not to be missed.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

The Sequel to True Colours:

Title: Many Roads to Travel, 2nd Edition
Authors: Karen Surtees and Nann Dunne
ISBN: Pending
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises,
Available From: Starcrossed Productions,
Price: $ Pending
Pages: 260
Genre: Fiction / Romance / Lesbian

Barring unforeseen difficulties, the new editions of both books will be available at the GCLS Convention.

This new edition of Many Roads to Travel, the continuation of the story begun in True Colours, is a must have for any reader who has read the first book in the series. The first edition of Many Roads to Travel was written under the names Nann Dunne and Surtees' pen name, Karen King.

Many Roads to Travel picks up the saga that began in True Colours—the story of TJ Meridian, her partner, Dr. Mare Gillespie, and their friends, Paula Tanner and Erin Scott—where the first story ended. TJ is going under the knife to repair an old injury aggravated by an auto accident caused by some town thugs with a vendetta out for any Meridian.

Tension builds as TJ must go through a painful recovery, both emotionally and physically, and we wonder whether or not her friends will be able to weather the tumultuous times ahead. Difficulties are compounded when Faithful Flag, TJ's beloved horse, fails to thrive when TJ is absent, and Mare tries desperately to bring the beautiful palomino out of her depression and get her to eat. Added to this already tumultuous scene is the appearance of a second family belonging to TJ's father—a family that TJ didn't even know existed. Then, there is TJ's seemingly constant battle with her childhood demons as she tries to overcome the obstacles that come between her and her friends because of them.

Many Roads to Travel is packed with more adventures and misadventures of the type begun in True Colours. Like its predecessor, this story is difficult to put down as we join in the struggle with these four dynamic women to see if they will come through their personal difficulties and their efforts to continue the warm, loving relationships we learned about in the first book. Surtees and Dunne continue to give us strong, yet imperfect characters, that are deeply compelling. The story persists in calling us back, wanting to know more about each of these women—and wanting to know if they will succeed. You'll want to read True Colours and Many Roads to Travel together for one seamless, engrossing story.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Turn Back Time
Author: Radclyffe
ISBN: 1-933110-34-1
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc.,
Available From: Bella Books,; StarCrossed Productions,; or
Pages: 288
Genre: Lesbian Romance

Radclyffe's knowledge gained during her surgical training clearly informs this work as the passion, dedication, frustration, and occasional disillusionment of the characters speak with the voice of authority. Based on realistic experiences, but entirely fiction, Turn Back Time is another utterly gratifying romantic medical drama that, in my opinion, is Radclyffe's crowning achievement so far. In this tightly woven tale about two amazing women who are destined to be together against all odds, Drs. Pearce Rifkin and Wynter Thompson tango around a relationship until they finally can't deny that their attraction is real.

Classes graduating from Philadelphia's four medical schools gather at the University of Pennsylvania to find out where their training will continue. Quite by accident, fourth-year medical students Pearce and Wynter meet on match day. The meeting doesn't amount to more than a spark, but little do they know that fate will bring them together again after a four-year separation.

Radclyffe's novels continue to offer strong characterization, which makes it easy to become attached to the protagonists. Pearce is striking to look at with her angular features, dark shaggy hair, and athletic build: "Wynter tracked the path of fabric over flesh and was struck by the unexpected beauty of muscles playing beneath soft skin. She saw bodies every day of her life, clothed and unclothed, in every stage of health and disease, but she couldn't remember ever seeing anything quite so lovely" (p. 98). Pearce's self-confidence, intelligence, and prowess in medicine further make her desirable and admirable.

Pearce makes no apology for being gay, and she excels at everything she sets her mind to. Not one to want anything for herself and living her life as if following a script, she's surprised when she meets Wynter, the first woman who has ever distracted her from her goals. Pearce wrestles with her feelings for Wynter. "She didn't need to look at Wynter to remember the shape of her face or the color of her eyes or the way she tilted her head and looked out from beneath those long honeyed lashes when something amused her. She didn't need to look at her to feel that tug deep in her belly" (p. 71).

From something as simple as realizing that casual affairs no longer satisfy her to accepting that she is willing to forgo certain ambitions to be with the woman she loves, Pearce not only struggles with the fear of intimacy, but she shows an incredible growth curve. Strong women who have a heart, live by a moral code, make the world a better place, and yet struggle with vulnerabilities are what compel me to care about them and read on. I love learning what makes a person tick, and Radclyffe does it especially well by revealing different layers of her characters like buds slowly opening into flowers.

Radclyffe writes like a highly skilled surgeon; she demonstrates emotion with the same precision, paying close attention to detail, and making sure everything works and connects properly in the end. That her characters are imaginary defies logic. Pearce is one character this reader wouldn't mind emulating. She's a good person in every way, and I would trust my life in her hands, if only she were real.

Wynter, unlucky at love and struggling between her personal responsibilities and her career, is not looking for a relationship. She is surprised to discover she is attracted to a woman, and not just any woman, but her senior resident, Pearce Rifkin. The fact that Pearce pulls away each time they get too close doesn't deter Wynter. Once the strong-willed woman makes up her mind about something, there's no changing it.

One endearing trait Wynter shows is sticking up for and doing what's best for the people she loves. You have to admire a person who puts others' well-being before her own.

Crisp internal and external dialogue, which is believable, honest, and witty, shows the layers of the characters as we get to know them. In addition, Radclyffe's tight plot, where every scene moves the story along, maintains the intensity and interest. Wanting to find out what secrets the characters are hiding, what will happen next, and praying that it will all work out in the end, make it impossible to turn the pages quickly enough.

Romantic fiction is meant to engage the reader and elicit feelings of longing, desire, and intimacy. Sometimes, as an added bonus, it provides sizzling sex for a totally satisfying drama. Turn Back Time not only meets the criteria for the genre but goes beyond to give the reader more than she hopes for. Even readers who are not in the health field will understand, enjoy, and feel how vital and stimulating the environment is where life and death hang in the balance. Radclyffe displays remarkable skill at making settings believable.

Turn Back Time, by award-winning, best-selling, and beloved author, Radclyffe, is a winner. Don't miss this exciting glimpse into the medical world of two highly acclaimed surgeons or into the hearts and minds of two multi-faceted women. Radclyffe fans will love this one and beg for more about the two new exciting heroines.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg

Title: Unbidden Desires
Author: Donna Kelli
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
ISBN: 0595377505
Pages: 276
Cost: $17.95
Available from: iUniverse, Inc;; Barnes and Noble
Genre: Romance

Unbidden Desires is Donna Kelli's second novel and a continuation of the story begun in her first book Hidden Feelings. It is the story of two teenagers who are trying to understand their feelings for each other and decide what they want their roles in each other's lives to be. As the two girls struggle with their feelings and how to deal with the perceptions of society, it will remind many women of the struggles they experienced—both bitter and sweet.

Hidden Feelings is about Lori Hunter and Julie Conners, who have known of each other much of their lives and attend the same high school, but they don't travel in the same circles, so their contact has been limited. Lori is the star athlete, excelling at every sport she plays, and admired by students and teachers for her humility as well as her skill. Julie is a cheerleader and one of the "in crowd," beautiful beyond belief and chased by every jock in the school. It isn't until the girls end up as counselors at the same summer camp that they come to know each other, first as friends and then, startling them both, as lovers. As the girls try to understand what is happening between them, Lori saves Julie from a male counselor and a near-rape; then the camp closes and the girls return home with nothing settled between them.

As the second book, Unbidden Desires, opens, Julie and Lori are preparing to begin their senior year in high school and their confusion is evident. Neither girl is comfortable with the idea of declaring herself a lesbian and they are terrified that their families and friends will realize that they have more than a friendship. The reader will travel with them as they try to understand what this situation means, their attempts to transfer their emotions to boys, their concerns about what the future can hold for them and the undeniable attraction that keeps pulling them together even when they try to resist it. Meanwhile, the man who tried to rape Julie is stalking the young women and is threatening them with harm physical harm if Julie's family doesn't drop the charges against him. Lori's instinct is to confront the problem head on and Julie wants everyone to forget it and just let it go away, adding another complicating factor to their relationship. By the end of the book some issues are resolved, some aren't, but you will feel that you've taken a trip with which you can very often identify.

One minor problem with this book is that it's a product of self-publishing. Some of the dialogue needs refining and there are grammatical errors that a good editor would catch. The ending of Unbidden Desires indicates that there may be a third in the series. If that is true, Kelli needs to attach herself to a publisher who will give a book the polish it deserves. A hint to publishers: this is one you want to take a look at.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Wild Abandon
Author: Ronica Black
ISBN: 1-93311035X Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: Bella Books,; StarCrossed Productions,
Pages: 247
Price: $15.95
Genre: Lesbian Romance

Ronica Black has proven once again that she is an awesome storyteller with her new romance, Wild Abandon. With her second published novel, she has crafted an erotic, sensual and well paced tale.

Black dives right into the plot, immediately creating tension between the two protagonists. Dr. Chandler Brogan is pulled over and arrested by Officer Sarah Monroe for exceeding the speed limit on her motorcycle. The battle for control begins with this scene, and the conflict extends throughout, capturing our attention with an emotionally charged story.

Both Sarah and Chan like their sex steamy, unencumbered and where each holds the ultimate power. During their repeated chance encounters, we experience this clash of wills and struggle for dominance while Black increases their desire and wanting. The author's imagery of fast driving, open roads, and the resulting freedom is analogous with the themes of sexual dominance and power and paints a vivid picture. The back story is seamlessly woven in and gives the reader a better understanding of who the characters are and why each must be in control. Black sets this apart by using italics so the reader is never confused. The above devices form the meat of Wild Abandon and turn this novel into a very hot and well written book.

Black is a master at teasing the reader with her use of domination and desire. Emotions pour endlessly from the pages, moving the plot forward at a pace that never slows or gets dull. But Black doesn't stop there. She is intent on giving the reader more. Wild Abandon hints at a plot twist early on, and while we know who it involves, we do not know what will happen, and how, until the last minute, effectively keeping us spellbound.

Black's first novel, In Too Deep, was a finalist for a 2005 Lammy and is a finalist for two GCLS "Goldie" awards. With Wild Abandon, the author continues her winning ways, writing like a seasoned pro. This is one romance I will not soon forget.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Our Reviewers
Bios of Authors

Our Reviewers

Sandra Barret
Sandra Barret grew up in New England, where she spent more years than she cares to mention as a software programmer. She lives with her partner, two children, and a menagerie of pets. Sandra has been an avid reader of fantasy, horror, and lesbian romance. This interest has led her to pen her own creations in novel and short story format.

Contact her at

Anna Furtado
Book Reviewer for Just About Write, The East Bay Voice, and The L-Word Literature section; Author of The Heart’s Desire – Book One of The Briarcrest Chronicles, a 2005 GCLS “Goldie” Award Finalist.
Anna's Web site: Contact her at

Arlene Germain
For many years a teacher of English and Creative Writing, Arlene Germain lives with her partner in Massachusetts. She is a book reviewer for The Midwest Book Review, The Independent Gay Writer, the Just About Write Newsletter/E-zine, The Crown—the Golden Crown Literary Society newsletter, and The
Arlene is also a fiction editor. Contact her at

Kathi Isserman
Kathi lives with her partner and two very spoiled cats outside Washington, D.C. When not reading all kinds of books, she can be found on the golf course attempting to hit that little white ball. Her reviews can also be read at,, and The Independent Gay Writer. You can write to her at

Lori L. Lake
Minnesotan Lori L. Lake is the author of the “Gun” series, Different Dress, Ricochet in Time, and a book of short stories called Stepping Out. She also edited the 2005 Lammy finalist The Milk of Human Kindness: Lesbian Authors Write About Mothers and Daughters. Lori is currently at work on her sixth novel, Snow Moon Rising, which comes out in February. She teaches fiction writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and often reviews books for various print and online journals.
Contact Lori at

Lynne Pierce
Although she has traveled some, Lynne Pierce is a life-long resident of Virginia and has never felt a need to go far from home for very long. The last thirty-two years have been spent trying to convince high school students that history is relevant to their lives and leading them through the process of learning to think for themselves about issues. Two dogs and three cats allow her to share their space as long as she behaves herself and promises not to bring any more of them home from the shelter….for now. Her main hobby since the age of five has been reading and she has spent the last ten years consuming every work of lesbian fiction that she can get her hands on. Lynne's reviews can be read on the Canadian Lesbian Fiction Addicts site and She welcomes comments from people who want to comment on her reviews as long as you do it in a genteel manner. You can reach Lynne at

Cheri Rosenberg
Cheri Rosenberg is a reviewer for Independent Gay Writer, Just About Write, Midwest Book Review, The L Life, and other venues posting book reviews for the lesbian community.

Cheri's published works, written under the pen name Cheri Crystal, can be found in Lessons in Love: Erotic Interludes 3 and After Midnight:True Lesbian Erotic Confessions. She is currently writing her second novel while adding the finishing touches to her first.

When she is not working part-time as a Consultant Dietitian in a nursing home, she is reading, reviewing, and writing lesbian fiction. Cheri is an "activist reader," a wife and mother to a wonderful husband and three terrific children, and she maintains that if more heterosexuals would read the works of lesbian authors they would realize they are talented, intelligent, articulate, admirable, and their books are equally as praiseworthy as anything published for the mainstream market in the literary world. Cheri hopes to enlighten the world and make it a more tolerant place where lesbian fiction is every bit as respected as straight fiction. You can contact her at

Author Bios

Ronica Black

Born in North Carolina, Ronica Black now lives in the desert southwest where she spends her time creating the images in her mind. Whether it be painting, drawing, or writing, she simply cannot keep her hands still. A lover of true crime books, she spends any remaining time engrossed in the tales of unsolved crimes and forensic files where she gets many of her ideas for her own stories.
Story telling since she was thirteen, she first typed up her lesbian-themed romance in 2001, a short story entitled A Chance Encounter. Since then, she has graduated from short stories to novels. In Too Deep is her first novel but certainly not her last! Romance, passion, and creativity are her great fortunes and she shares them all with the woman she loves.

Gun Brooke

Gun Brooke resides in the countryside in Sweden with her very patient family. A retired neonatal intensive care nurse, she now writes full time, only rarely taking a break to create web sites for herself or others and to do computer graphics. Gun writes both romances and sci-fi.

Barbara Davies

Barbara Davies was born in Birmingham, England, twenty minutes after her twin sister. She grew up in the Midlands, managed to scrape a BA from York University, worked in computing in Surrey, then moved to Gloucestershire where she's now a writer and a book reviewer for Starburst.

Barbara published her first short story in 1994. Since then, more than forty of her stories have appeared in various genre magazines including Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, Electric Spec, Khimairal Ink, Here and Now, Byzarium, Rage Machine Magazine, and Neo-Opsis, and in several anthologies, among them F/SF Volume 1. The readers of Kimota gave one of her stories their 1999 Best Story Award.

Her website is

Nann Dunne

Nann Dunne has been a professional editor for more than twenty-five years and began writing fiction about eight years ago. She's had four books published: co-author with Karen (Surtees) King of True Colours and its sequel, Many Roads to Travel; author of the mystery, Staying in the Game, and of the recently published historical adventure/romance, The War Between the Hearts.

Nann's short stories are: “The Broken Teddy Bear,” in January 2006 issue of Khimairal Ink Magazine; and “Dominoes,” in the Romance for LIFE anthology.

In addition, Nann is editor-in-chief and publisher of this online newsletter/ezine, Just About Write, and currently edits for several publishers as well as doing freelance editing.
Jane Fletcher

Jane Fletcher was born in Greenwich, London in 1956. She now lives alone in the south-west of England, after the sudden, untimely death of her partner.

Her love of fantasy began at the age of seven when she encountered Greek Mythology. This was compounded by a childhood spent clambering over every example of ancient masonry she could find (medieval castles, megalithic monuments, Roman villas) It was her resolute ambition to become an archaeologist when she grew up, so it was something of a surprise when she became a software engineer instead.

Jane started writing when her partner refused to listen to yet another lengthy account of "a really good idea for a story," and insisted that she write it down. After many years of revision, the result, Lorimal's Chalice, was published. This book was shortlisted for the Gaylactic Spectrum award for that year.

Vada Foster

Originally from a small town in Missouri, Vada Foster has lived in southern California since childhood, most of that time with her twin sister Verda who also writes lesbian fiction. She has written several short stories as well as a one-act play that was produced in Long Beach by Lambda Community Players.

In addition to writing, Vada is also an actor and director, most recently with Kentwood Players in Westchester.

Two years ago, while in Florida for a writers and readers convention, she met Gypsy and her life was changed forever. They shared a commitment ceremony in June of 2005 with family and friends and plan to stay together at least until the age of 90!

Jennifer Fulton

Best-selling lesbian romance writer Jennifer Fulton resides in the Midwest with her partner and a menagerie of animals, where she writes historical novels, screenplays and lesbian fiction in various genres under several pen names, including Grace Lennox and Rose Beecham.

When she is not writing or reading, she loves to explore the mountains and prairies near her home, a landscape eternally and wonderfully foreign to her.

JD Glass

JD Glass was born in the Holy Land of Brooklyn and moved to the Forgotten Borough of Staten Island before she was old enough to use four letter words properly. She has since recovered and curses fluently in American English (such as it is).

She lives in New York, the city she loves so well, with her beloved partner, their spoiled doggie and their crotchety cat and is the lead vocalist and guitarist of "Life Underwater."

C.L. Hart

CL Hart is a published poet and the author of several award-winning novels on the Internet under the pseudonym "Sinful."

Born and raised just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, she has made a living in various jobs including police officer, singer, and truck driver. She is presently working as a residential care aide for people with special needs.

She shares a log house with her partner and their four dogs. Facing Evil is her first novel.

Gerri Hill

Gerri Hill grew up in a tiny Texas town then moved to Colorado as soon as the snow melted in 1992. There, she found "my paradise." Hill loves to go hiking, mountain biking, and camping. Now, gardening and yard work take up most of her spare time. Gulf Breeze, Sierra City, and Hunter's Way are some of her works.
Karen Kallmaker

Karin Kallmaker is descended from Lady Godiva, a fact that pleases her and seems to surprise no one. The author of more than twenty novels (including the award-winning Sugar and Maybe Next Time), she recently expanded her repertoire to include erotica with All the Wrong Places. As Karin says, "Nice Girls Do." She fell in love with her best friend at the age of 16, and still shares her life with that same woman, and their two children, nearly thirty years later.

Mary Jacobsen

Mary Jacobsen is a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Donna Kelli

Donna Kelli resides in the mountains of Virginia with her partner. She enjoys writing novels, family visits, traveling, spontaneous adventures, dancing, games, sports and woodworking. Her books are meant to inspire young women to feel more at ease with themselves and bring fond memories to others.

Grace Lennox

Grace Lennox is a pen name used by best-selling lesbian romance writer Jennifer Fulton for her contemporary fiction and science fiction titles. (See Jennifer Fulton bio, above.)
Chance is her twelfth lesbian novel.

Lori L. Lake

Lori L. Lake and her partner of 24+ years are based in the snowy Minnesota Twin Cities area where she writes full time, edits anthologies, and teaches at The Loft Literary Center. She has completed her sixth novel, Snow Moon Rising (which is scheduled for publication in June). She is currently working on a mystery and planning for her fourth Gun Series book. In addition, she and Jennifer Fulton are laying plans to collaborate on a series of books about writing. Lori also presents seminars and workshops on writing topics such as dialogue, plot, the writing process, the writing life, mystery structure, and form and structure in the modern novel. When she's not working at her computer, you can find her either at the local movie house or curled up in a chair reading.
Web site:

JLee Meyer

JLee Meyer utilizes her background in psychology and speech pathology in her work as an international communication consultant. Spending time in airports, planes and hotel rooms allows her the opportunity to pursue two of her favorite passions: reading and writing lesbian fiction.

JLee and her life partner celebrate their lives together in both Northern California and Manhattan.

B.L. Miller

B.L. Miller claims to be a hermit by nature, loving to stay at home and partake in her favorite pastimes of reading, writing, and painting garden gnomes.

She was born in Massachusetts during a blizzard in 1967 and was raised in and around Albany, New York. Now a resident of Maine, she still gets teased about drinking "caw-fee." She was a wild child, spent her teenage years giving her mother gray hair and self-destructing. Now she spends her days working for a large telecommunication company and her nights sitting in front of the computer happily writing away and answering email. She loves writing and hopes to continue to do so for a very long time.

B.L.'s other works include Accidental Love.

B.L. also has a novel, Court of Love, which was published only in German.

With Verda Foster, B.L. co-authored Graceful Waters and Crystal's Heart.

Meghan O'Brien

Meghan O'Brien
Meghan O'Brien is the pseudonym of a 25-year-old writer living somewhere near Ann Arbor, Michigan. By day, she slays the dragons as a software developer at a dot com; her nights belong to writing, video games, and Ty, her partner of over five years. Meghan started writing stories almost as soon as she learned to manipulate a pencil and paper. Her first novel was Infinite Loop.

Meghan is currently hard at work on her next novel, as well as churning out sporadic short stories and novellas. In a perfect world, she would write until her fingers went numb.


Radclyffe is the author of over twenty lesbian romances and anthologies including the 2005 Lambda Literary Award winners Erotic Interludes 2: Stolen Moments ed. with Stacia Seaman and the romance, Distant Shores, Silent Thunder. She is the recipient of the 2003 and 2004 Alice B. Readers' award, a 2005 Golden Crown Literary Society Award winner in both the romance category (Fated Love) and the mystery/intrigue/action category (Justice in the Shadows), and a 2006 GCLS finalist in the romance and mystery categories.

Radclyffe has selections in multiple anthologies including Call of the Dark and The Perfect Valentine (Bella Books), Best Lesbian Erotica 2006 and After Midnight (Cleis), First-Timers and Ultimate Undies: Erotic Stories About Lingerie and Underwear (Alyson), and Naughty Spanking Stories 2 and Sex and Candy (Pretty Things Press). She is also the president of Bold Strokes Books, a lesbian publishing company.

Helen Ruth Schwartz

Helen Ruth Schwartz was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from Queens College of the City University of New York with a Bachelor of Science degree. Shortly after her graduation, she accepted a commission as an officer in the Women's Army Corps, serving in the military for five years.

Helen received the Army Commendation Medal for exceptionally meritorious service as the Commanding Officer of a Women's Army Corps unit, and later that same year, graduated from the Department of Defense Information School's journalism program as the Honor Graduate.

When she returned to civilian life, Helen obtained her Master of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. As an avocation, Helen used her award-winning military skills to write for publications serving the gay and lesbian community. She supported her writing as a nursing home administrator, as a publisher of educational materials for nursing home administrators, and finally, as a real estate investor before retiring in order to devote her full time to her writing.

Helen currently lives in south Florida with Mollie, a yellow Labrador retriever. She is a member of the Federal Club of the Human Rights Campaign and is also a supporter of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Ursula Steck

"My first book project was a mystery novel I started to write when I was eight and where my beloved teddy bear was the protagonist. That's about all I remember of it. That, and that it remained a fragment. Determined not to repeat this experience, I since have completed most of the novels I began and have never put any stuffed animals in harm's way again. My early fascination with the mysteries of people's minds has remained, though, and so I continue to write about the eternal threesome: crime, love and desire, not necessarily in that order.

"Fortunately, my own life is much less exciting than that of my protagonists. One of my most hazardous pastimes is trying strange and outlandish food. On the travels between my partner's home in San Francisco and my apartment in Cologne, Germany, there is quite a bit of adventure to be found along the way. Usually, one of my poor fictional characters then has to eat what we have discovered shortly before, be it duck tongues, fish lips, blood soup or marinated jelly fish. Considering the dead bodies I let my protagonists encounter, though, the food I make them eat is the lesser of the crimes committed in my books."

Karen Surtees

Karen Surtees (formerly writing as Karen King) is in the British military and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She says English was "the only subject I was good in at school and college, though I have real problems with my spelling and punctuation."

Karen says that most scifi/fantasy TV programs will catch her attention, and she loves to read, with her "favorite authors being too varied to mention."

Karen currently resides on Gibralter but can normally be found in Plymouth in the southwest of England.