October 2007
SCP      Please help support Just About Write
by purchasing your books through the
StarCrossed Productions
links on our pages. Thank you, wholeheartedly.

Title: Amantha
Author: Sarah Aldridge
ISBN: 0-9646648-0-1
Publisher: A&M Books (originally from Naiad)
Distributed by A&M Books (
Price: $12.00
Pages: 236
Genre: Fiction/Lesbian

The twelfth novel, written in 1995, by the great lady of lesbian literature, Sarah Aldridge, Amantha shows just how far a writer can evolve in her writing. Without losing her very distinctive voice, Aldridge has crafted a much more sophisticated and complex plots thus far in the chronology of her writing.

Amantha is a young innocent of eighteen in the 1880s when she falls in love with a sophisticated entrepreneur named Godwin Shenstone. He marries Amantha and whisks her off to Paris, where he introduces her to a woman, the Comtess Leonie de Brieux who will school Amantha in “French ways.” Amantha is intrigued and enamored by the Comtess. They soon become friends, calling each other by their first names. But Leonie has more to reveal to Amantha than only the French culture and language. Amantha is in for a rude awakening—about Godwin and about Leonie. Which of them will open Amantha to the depths of true love and release her from the emotional prison she finds herself in is for the reader to discover in this fascinating tale. For when Amantha finds that she has been brought to Paris and asked to take on an unexpected duty, life with the “ideal” husband changes and Amantha learns to adapt and deal with Godwin on very different terms. Much to the surprise of those involved, Amantha embraces her new responsibility without flinching.

Sarah Aldridge writes best when she writes in this era. Still, in this work, her style has become more “modernized” and the story unfolds more smoothly with all of the conflicts brought to resolution by the end of the story like no other Aldridge tale thus far. There is an air of mystery throughout the story—several mysteries, in fact, are intertwined around a bittersweet romance. The author provokes many questions of her reader. We grow suspicious of Godwin’s real motive in marrying the young Amantha and wonder who the Comtess de Brieux really is. Finally, we wonder if Amantha will ever find the kind of love for which she truly longs.

Since this reviewer has been reading and reviewing the writings of Sarah Aldridge in chronological order, I must conclude that Amantha is the finest single work of Ms. Aldridge so far. I look forward to the last two books in this body of work with great anticipation. Don’t miss putting Amantha in your library. It is a fine historical tale.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Blind Curves
Author: Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall
ISBN-10: 1933110724 - ISBN-13: 978-1933110721
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
and Bella Books,
Price: $15.95
Pages: 259
Genre: Mystery/Lesbian





Any story that begins with a string of curse words is sure to take the reader on a bumpy ride—and Blind Curves doesn’t disappoint. Careening through the story past events and characters, we take it all in and try to process the information, sorting the red herrings from the true perpetrator of the murder of lesbian magazine publisher, Rosemary Finney. Along the way, we get to know a cast of distinct, memorable characters—members of the Blind Eye Detective Agency and their friends.

Velvet Erickson, although the name sounds as if it should belong to a porn-star, is a serious journalist who works for the San Francisco Chronicle. In the name of a good story, Velvet ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time and looks like the best bet for the murderer. Thus Velvet comes headlong into the opening of the story hurling curses for her misfortune. However, as the plot twists and turns, we find that Rosemary has a long list of enemies, many of whom have both motive and opportunity.

The ragtag bunch at Blind Eye has their own issues, not the least of which includes physical handicaps as well as emotional baggage. Yet they all manage to do their jobs remarkably well—although somewhat unconventionally at times. In some cases, the lack of convention is a necessity to compensate for limitations; in other cases, it’s simply because it is in a character’s nature to be a rebel.

The unmistakable star of the show is Yoshi Yakamota, Blind Eye’s owner and primary detective. As a vulnerable woman who regrets no longer being able to see the beauty of the world around her, Yoshi is struggling to come to grips with her progressive blindness and we see her alone in her apartment, hidden away from the rest of the world for whom she puts on a strong, brave persona. Throughout the story, there is a sense that we haven’t even scratched the surface of who Yoshi really is.

As the story unfolds, we find that many of the characters have less than six degrees of separation, with lives that intertwine in ways that make us marvel at the creativeness of husband and wife team Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall in their imaginative collaboration.

The authors, both of whom have worked in the lesbian magazine publishing industry, having founded similar publications in real life, skillfully portray the high-stakes events surrounding the industry. Both characters and plot are expertly developed to keep the reader turning page after page until the killer is finally revealed.

A word of caution: don’t start Blind Curves on a work night. Save it for a weekend when you have nothing to do but read because you won’t be able to put it down! Thankfully, there is more—much more—to come with a whole series of Blind Eye mysteries scheduled for future publication with Yoshi and the Blind Eye crew at the center of it all.
Reviewed by Anna Fortado

Title: Brilliant
Author: Ann Roberts
ISBN: 978-1-59493-115-4
Publisher: Bella Books,
Available From: Bella Books, and StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $13.95 Pages: 256
Genre: Romance

Brilliant by Ann Roberts is a captivating romance that tackles the taboo subject of professor- student love affairs, and succeeds. Sociology Professor Diane Cole reluctantly hires Ronnie Frost, one of her graduate students, as a teaching assistant because her misogynist department chair steals her former TA. Diane knows nothing about Ronnie, except that they once shared a birthday kiss on a dare. Since Diane has love figured out from an academic viewpoint, the last thing she expects is to fall in love, especially with a student. As the two get closer and spend more time together, the lines between student-professor blur, but Diane will not make that final leap. She is very aware of the age difference as well the ethics violation if she crosses the line. She fears that she will lose her job, and more than that, she is somewhat in the closet in her small college community. Their romance builds slowly and realistically, beginning with a seemingly innocent working relationship. How Roberts does this is what makes this story so successful.

I found this book tightly written, engaging, and provocative. The author does not ignore the serious moral issues, nor does she cheat with a tidy ending. Roberts touches on all of the ethical dilemmas that surround a professor-student affair and faces them head on. This is the first romance I have read that has effectively dealt with this topic without including any quick and easy solutions. Life and love are not neat, and it is okay for fiction to mirror that. Roberts does an exceptional job doing that while making Brilliant thoroughly enjoyable.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: Close Enough
Author: Jane Vollbrecht
ISBN: 978-1932300857
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $19.95
Pages: 278
Genre: Historical Romance

Two women, a mother and daughter, are separated by dire circumstances and misunderstanding. Hilda is nineteen when she gets pregnant in 1942, and there’s no way she can keep the baby. Rather than go through official channels, she entrusts her infant – not even knowing if it’s a boy or girl – to a soldier friend of her brother Martin. The soldier and his wife are never heard from again. Hilda must go on with her life, but she can never forget that child whose memory haunts her.

Frannie Brewster, who we immediately discover is Hilda’s long-lost child, has grown to maturity in a hardscrabble existence with an alcoholic adoptive father and a very unhappy adoptive mother. Her solution is to flee by first going to college, then joining the Women’s Army Corps. Frannie has long dealt with the world by deflecting everything with humor. One time a friend was mentioning how another gal’s mother had made her a lesbian, and Frannie quipped, “Hey, Margo, maybe if you buy her the material, she’ll make you one, too” (p. 80). Regardless of the scrapes she gets in, the problems that arise, the people who cause her trouble, Frannie makes a joke of it. Women are drawn to her because of her ready wit, but she uses her humor to hold people at a distance. Nobody ever gets close enough to stick. Not for too long anyway. The journey Frannie takes to find love and her roots is by turns hilarious and engrossing.

After years of running, for Frannie, and decades of grief for Hilda, both women long to discover where they came from to try to find what they lost. Hilda’s journey, even with her partner’s support, doesn’t seem fruitful. Frannie’s investigation into the past is frustrating. But neither woman gives up. In the process of searching for their roots, will they find each other? Even more important, will they find themselves?

While sections of this book were quite serious and dramatic, overall this book was also a hoot to read. In Chapter Twelve, when Frannie arrives at Fort Sill for basic military training, she’s confronted by a drill sergeant who lines up all the women and says, “There’s miles and miles of penis on this Army base, and you aren’t going to get even a single inch of it” (p. 134). Little does the drill sergeant know that men are just about the furthest thing from Frannie’s mind! The drill sergeant “didn’t talk, she roared, and that was one of her more feminine qualities” (p. 134). I could go on and on quoting the funny lines in this book. Vollbrecht’s writing style and sly humor kept me chuckling throughout.

From the time of World War II and the Korean Conflict, through Vietnam and up into the 1980s, Close Enough covers the life of a remarkable woman. Frannie is so alive, she’s someone you’d want to know, and her problems are so human that I couldn’t put the book down. When the story ended, I wanted to know what would happen to her and how the rest of her life would go. I give this book my highest recommendation.
Review by Lori L. Lake

Title: First Instinct
Author: JLee Meyer
ISBN: 1933110597
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc.,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and
Price: $15.95
Pages: 272 pages
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Romance/Intrigue

When Dr. Conn Stryker, PhD and CEO of a forensic software firm with governmental ties meets Leigh Groove, a possible informant in her latest sting, she does everything she can to avoid getting close. Even though their first encounter ends up with Leigh in Conn’s arms, Conn is a self-imposed loner who steers clear of relationships, especially when it involves her work.

What happens when Leigh, presumably straight, meets the person of her dreams, and that person happens to be a woman? Conn is a tall striking redhead with a brilliant mind, who sweeps Leigh off her feet. Conn is mysterious, reserved, and a tough woman to figure out, but the outgoing and persistent Leigh is up for the challenge.

Leigh is a cover model, a Harvard sorority girl and debutante, and has a Wharton MBA. She’s particularly endearing when she uses humor in the face of danger to get out of deadly situations. Readers won’t be able to turn the pages quick enough to find out if Conn lets Leigh into her heart even if it means risking Leigh’s life.

First Instinct by JLee Meyer is a romance, but before long Meyer proves that she has something special to offer in her action-packed intriguing love story. Meyer’s heroines are quirky, funny, and so very good together that you can’t visualize them apart. Between the multi-dimensional characters with their genuine virtues and flaws, a plot you won’t have figured out from the beginning, and a most satisfying conclusion, First Instinct leaves readers sated but anxious for more. Luckily, Rising Storm picks up where First Instinct leaves off.

From the absurdly funny to the romantic moments, First Instinct, a 2007 Golden Crown Literary Society Goldie winner, is a satisfying journey you won’t want to miss.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg

Title: Laura's War
Author: Ursula Steck
ISBN: 978-1--59493-090-4
Publisher: Bella Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and
Price: $13.95
Pages: 275
Genre: Mystery/Lesbian

Anna Spring is a novice private investigator. She owns a firm in San Francisco with her neighbor, retired police detective Martha Bega. Anna has been hired to find a manuscript which was written by Laura Cunningham. Laura was murdered by her lover, and her mother, Susan Bradley, wants the manuscript to gain a better understanding of her daughter.

In Laura's War, Ursula Steck has written a complex novel which takes her protagonist from the local California state prison to the Deep South, on a journey to find the truth about Laura, her life and her death. In the process, several people die and Anna finds herself solving murders, both old and new.

Both Anna Spring and Martha Bega are enjoyable characters. Anna, new to the business, is gutsy and sometimes rash. Martha is crusty, knowledgeable, and caring. She is on Anna's side and will not let her down. Both Laura and Anna are bi-racial, and Martha does her sleuthing from a wheel chair. Laura's War has characters that are as diverse as the population of San Francisco, and many times, just as quirky. This is a tightly written mystery that is an excellent read all the way to its exciting end.
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: Miss McGhee
Author: Bett Norris
ISBN 978-1932859331
Publisher: Bywater Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $13.95
Pages: 288

What if you’re a girl, at age 16, who falls in love with another girl – but it’s the 1940s? And then you moved on, only to get in trouble again? What if you had no reasonable expectation of finding love and living happily ever after?

This is Mary McGhee’s life. She’s been in that situation one too many times. Now in her late 20s, once again she’s starting over, in a new town called Myrtlewood, Alabama. This time she’s taken a position as a secretary at the town lumber mill, owned by the rich and prestigious Dubose family. Little does she know she’s walking into a town full of busybodies and vipers, and the job she’s taken is no simple matter. The head of the family has died, leaving his wealth and the mill to his incompetent son, Tommie Dubose, and Mary must come on the scene and somehow turn the business around while not angering the men in town, many of whom work at the mill.

But Lila Dubose, Tommie’s wife, is a port in the storm, and as Lila and Mary get to know each other sparks begin to fly. Will Miss McGhee once again find herself exiled – or worse?

Bett Norris has crafted an impressive story that takes place after World War II and at the brink of the civil rights movement. Her prose is clean and clear with moments of great beauty and lush description. Readers definitely feel as though we are THERE – living in this small town, at a time when white men seemed to rule all, and opportunities for women, minorities, and gay people were all but impossible to find.

This is no typical romance, and the various characters in the story face mounting obstacles. Anyone stepping outside society’s rules for women and blacks was bound to suffer, and there is great tension and drama in the way Norris rolls out this tale. But the love that grows between various people, in particular Miss McGhee and Lila Dubose, is a joy to watch. The alliances Mary and Lila make and the stands they take kept me poring over this novel until late into the night.

Miss McGhee is an excellent novel, filled with drama, excitement, and passion. The tone is pitch perfect, and the author has created a terrific cast of characters you’ll remember long after finishing the book. I give this one my highest recommendation.
Reviewed by Lori L. Lake

Title: Mistress of the Runes
Author: Austin & Andrews
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; Bella Books,
Price: $15.95
Pages: 240
Genre: Romance

Andrews and Austin balance humor and sexual tension throughout this book as their protagonists, Brice Chandler and Liz Chase spar and work together. Brice is a powerful, corporate executive for whom going to work is tantamount to going to battle. The corporate wars in which she fights could be cut from the business page of the L. A. Times. As Brice fights these wars, she is haunted by Peggy Lee's song, "Is This All There Is?"

Liz Chase is a TV anchor of the morning news. Liz and Brice meet at a fund-raiser, and each is instantly attracted to the other. Liz is doing a story on Icelandic horses, a topic new to Brice. As they investigate the subject, each woman is taken by these spirited, almost human creatures. For Brice, the horses also bring on past life dreams, and present-day visions.

Andrews and Austin keep up the sexual tension between Liz and Brice while telling the story of these two dynamic, witty women. Their verbal sparring is reminiscent of The Avengers in its wit and double entendre'. The other characters in the book, including the two Icelandic horses, add to the mystery as the haunting love story unfolds.

Andrews & Austin, partners in life as well as writing, live on a horse ranch in the Central Plains. They previously wrote for the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. They are involved in several large business ventures as well as their ranch and their passion, writing lesbian fiction. Mistress of the Runes is the their third book published by Bold Strokes Books.
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: Murder Came Second
Author: Jessica Thomas
ISBN-10: 1594930813 -- ISBN-13: 978-1594930812
Publisher: Bella Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and
Price: $13.95 Pages: 246
Genre: Mystery/Lesbian

A devotee of Alex Peres mysteries can always depend on Jessica Thomas to be entertaining with just the right mix of bafflement and humor thrown in for good measure. Murder Came Second is the fourth in her Alex Peres stories and the familiar characters of Alex and Fargo, along with Alex’s Provincetown police detective brother, Sonny, her mother and her Aunt Mae, her very grounded lover, Cindy, and the town’s most memorable personality, Harmond, are like old friends. Sadly, Fargo does not play as big a part in this story as he has in the past.

In this particular tale, we are introduced to an alligator, a naked woman in a tree, a motley cast of Shakespearian players, and an imbedded reporter that everyone would like to kill for her tabloid tactics and acerbic personality. When the reporter is found dead, the dilemma is: who among the long list of possible killers is the one who actually did it? After a long investigational odyssey with multiple twists and turns, the streets of P-town are finally made safe again only after Alex and Sonny put their heads together and shift their sleuthing talents into high gear to bring the killer to justice.

If you’ve enjoyed the other Alex Peres mysteries, you’ll want to include this one in your collection. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, be sure to catch Murder Came Second, then catch up with the other Thomas tales. Except for Alex’s developing relationship with her lover, Cindy, the stories are pretty self-contained and can be read in any order. The Peres mysteries are written in a pleasant, entertaining style, indicative of Alex’s easy-going personality. They are also peppered with plenty of smiles between the pandemonium.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Murder on the Mother Road
Author: Brenda Weathers
ISBN: 1892281236
Publisher: New Victoria Publishers
Pages: 192 pages
Available From: New Victoria Publishers; Bella Books,
Price: $12.95
Genre: Mystery

Brenda Weathers has written what can only be described as a delightful little mystery in her Murder on the Mother Road. Though the main character is a lesbian, there isn't a romance as such in this story. A tricky mystery with lots of twists and turns and interesting characters is what it is.

Libby Merchant is middle aged and has survived breast cancer and her partner walking out on her for a younger woman. Now, what she likes to do is get in her RV and go, just go. She is on her way to Albuquerque to join friends for a balloon festival when she decides to get off on old Route 66, "the Mother Road," and take the scenic route. She has no way of knowing when she stops for coffee at the Knight's Rest Motel and Café that she is going to meet an old college sorority sister and be drawn into a murder mystery. Libby remembers Janet Winterspoon as an attractive, wealthy, kind woman, not as the feeble stroke victim she finds wandering in the café's parking lot. When she discovers that Janet's brother Claude has died in their Winnebago, she takes it upon herself to help Janet until her family can arrive to take over. Libby will now be thrown in with a gaggle of kooky and sometimes dangerous characters, plus another murder, and she is forced to try to solve the mystery when she realizes that she's looking like a suspect. Who would want to kill two elderly people? And why?

From the picture on the back of the book, it's clear that Brenda Weathers is a follower of the RV life herself and her knowledge of this world adds rich details to her story that give it a feeling of authenticity. Libby notices little things about the Winterspoon's RV that don't make sense, and these add to the mystery surrounding them.

It's the characters in the book though that are the best part. Libby is an aging, slightly overweight adventuress who feels the limitations of her age but refuses to give into them. There is a scene where she has to make a run for her life that will also have the reader laughing at her thoughts about her need to diet as she's doing it. Hazel Tutt is the imposing owner of the Knight's Rest who rules with an iron hand, lives for economic opportunity and serves gourmet meals, when she feels like it. Her boyfriend Billy Ray is the trial of her life since he can't ever seem to show up for anything on time. The amazing thing is that it never occurs to him to buy a watch until Libby suggests it. There's the Winterspoon's niece Myra who loves nothing better than to crawl into a liquor bottle and then into the bed of any available male; and her brother Sonny, who comes and goes as he has to indulge his gambling habit and wager away the family fortune. David DiMarco appears to be of sterling quality as he raises money to help abandoned animals, but why is he so reluctant to help the Winterspoons when he claims he was so close to them? Do any of them have a true interest that goes beyond finding the elusive Winterspoon wills? And leading them all is Sugar, the abandoned bull dog, who is just looking for someone to take her in, especially if she can make it Libby.

Murder on the Mother Road is an enjoyable book to read. You won't really figure out who did what until the end of the book, which is always a plus in a mystery. In the meantime, you'll get to enjoy some interesting characters and glimpses into a different way of life. This is worth spending some time with.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Not Single Enough
Author: Grace Lennox
ISBN: 1-933110-85-6
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and
Price: $15.95 Pages: 212 pages
Genre: Romance

Giselle Truelove had lost her job and lost her girlfriend. She was sure life couldn't get any worse when she heard a soft cry coming from a New York City dumpster. Thinking that a kitten needed rescuing, she reached in and discovered that a newborn baby girl had been thrown away. The abandoned baby gave Giselle something to love and a sense of purpose. Unfortunately, she had only a short time with the child before legally she had to turn her over to the authorities.

The baby was removed from Giselle's apartment by Homicide Detective Dale Porter. Dale did this as a favor for Sandy, Giselle's best friend, What happens next is the story of two women, both fragile and with family problems, who help each other work through their personal issues. In the process, they discover a mutual attraction to each other and they experience some very, very hot sex.

In Not Single Enough, Grace Lennox has once again given readers an enormously engaging modern romance that takes many twists and turns before its satisfying conclusion. Her characters are complex and real. They are also extremely likeable, quirky, funny, and they keep the reader turning pages to see how they will solve their problems.
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: Past Remembering
Author: Lyn Denison
ISBN: 978-1-59493-103-1
Publisher: Bella Books,
Available From: Bella Books,; StarCrossed Productions,
Pages: 232 Price: $13.95
Genre: Mystery/Romance

Asha has left her job and her failed relationship to return home to Brisbane, Australia. She is sure that as a skilled librarian and genealogist she'll be able to find a job, and meanwhile, she can spend time with her stepmother and her sister. Asha quickly locates a new position but it won't be available for a few months. She receives a second offer from Vivienne Chaseley, the matriarch of one of Brisbane's pioneering families. The elderly lady would like to hire Asha to create a book about her family's history. The book is to be a birthday gift to her widowed son. Asha would stay at the family manor, Tynehohme, while she does her research.

Asha is quickly involved in the Chaseley family history. She is particularly excited when she locates the diaries of one of the Chaseley brothers. As she delves deeper and deeper into the history, a hidden story begins to emerge. Complicating matters, Asha soon learns there are secrets of a more modern era linking her family to the Chaseley clan. And one of the current family members, Peri, has sent out hot, sexy, mixed signals.

Denison has done a wonderful job telling about the late 1800s in the mining towns of England and Australia through the diaries of the Chaseley brother. She has made the unfamiliar history come alive by populating it with wonderful characters and tender love stories. Her main character, Asha, brings an excitement to her research that makes what could be a dull subject exciting to the reader.

Past Remembering is an engrossing novel which teaches the reader once again, that if we don't learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it!
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: Revelations
Author: Erin O'Reilly
ISBN: 978-1-933113-75-3
Publisher: Intaglio Publications
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $16.95 Pages: 214
Genre: Romantic suspense

Cay O'Neill comes from a law enforcement family; her father and four of her brothers are police officers. One uncle is a police commissioner. Not able to cope with the brutality of some people toward their families, she left the force and went into private investigation. She specialized in corporate espionage until one of the bad guys turned the tables on her, causing her to lose everything. Now she has been hired to bring Emma Sanders to her employer, who she has only spoken with over the telephone.

Emma and her mother were the sole survivors of a horrendous fire. The fire crippled her mother both physically and mentally, causing her, in turn, to emotionally cripple Emma.. Emma's mother has been dead for a few years when Cay enters her life. Cay is first met with suspicion and then welcomed by the reclusive Emma. Revelations tracks their friendship as each woman opens herself to the other. Throughout the story, however, is the menace of the man who has hired Cay.

Revelations shows how two very different women can lend each other their strength, and how each grows from the experience. It is a riveting story with an exciting climax that will have the reader on the edge of her seat.
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: Rising Storm
Author: JLee Meyer
ISBN: 1-933110-86-4
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: Bella Books,; StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $15.95 Pages: 221
Genre: Romantic thriller

Rising Storm
is the sequel to First Instinct and brings back Conn Stryker and Leigh Grove, along with other characters from the first book. It picks up where First Instinct left off with Conn and Leigh hiding up the California coast, in a cabin outside of Mendocino. Conn and Leigh have seriously enraged Dieter, an international criminal, as well as his lover/lieutenant Georgia Johnson. The presence of these two villains makes Conn and Leigh feel unsafe. While Conn has many enemies, she also has many friends. Rising Storm introduces several colorful friends of Conn's who live in the Mendocino hill country. These friends help Conn and Leigh escape from the area.

Once sequestered at Lake Tahoe, their peace is shattered once again when Conn's mother is kidnapped while on a writing assignment in Pakistan. Conn must try to rescue Marina, and Leigh must try to avoid the criminals that are chasing her. Their journey takes them from Lake Tahoe, to Paris, and to Karachi. Each woman must use her wits and spirit to survive. Happily, each learns the heart, brain, spirit connection.

Meyer has given her readers an exciting roller coaster of a ride. Her descriptions of the by-ways of California's northern coast are wonderful, as is her description of the off-beat characters that inhabit the area. This is a book readers will not be able to put down. Be sure to leave a solid block of time with no interruptions!
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: Vera's Still Point
Author: Ruth Perkinson
ISBN: 1883523737
Publisher: Spinster's Ink, Inc.
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Cost: $14.95 Pages: 177
Genre: Romance

"Have you ever been somewhere or with someone and it was such a wonderful experience that it was like time was not moving forward or backward? You were just standing still, taking in all of the moment's beauty….there is the dance, the dance of life, what we all live for but what most of us don't recognize. We are mired in the past and pulled centrifugally into the future. However, it is the small dancing moments that evade time that we need to touch like a spirit fleshed out before us." Vera's Still Point, p. 104

Vera Curran was living a life where she missed most of the still points. She wasn't completely to blame for this because she was a forty year old lesbian librarian at a public high school in Virginia, a state that unfortunately is well known for being gay-unfriendly. Vera made the decision that the only way to protect her job was to live her life as a complete denial of her sexuality and follow a rather mundane and mind-numbing routine. She thought she was relatively happy living like that, until she met Frankie Bourden. Frankie was a former military pilot who decided to become a teacher with a mission to change the world, or at least her little corner of it. Frankie represented everything that Vera taught herself to be afraid of; she was out and proud and determined to shake up the system. And Vera couldn't resist her. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in real life, the relationship is doomed to be of short duration because the reader learns on page 2 that Frankie dies from cancer, but, instead of being sad, the end of the book is uplifting. It tells the story of two women, how one awakened the life in the other and how the survivor learned to go on without her. The chapters alternate from the present when Vera is telling their story to her nephew Kyle and flashbacks of how the improbable relationship developed, beginning with cryptic questions on Post-It Notes. In the end, Vera would learn from Frankie that it's the still points and the people who make them for you that give richness to your life and she loved her for it.

Vera's Still Point is not a typical romance. There is a love story involved, but it's overshadowed by other themes. The first is the cost of living in an environment that will not let a person be who she truly is. People who do not live in one of the extremely conservative states may have trouble understanding Vera's fear about what could happen to her career if it becomes known that she is a lesbian. Virginia has been dominated for many years by the presences of the Rev. Pat Robertson and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell and was the birthplace of the Moral Majority.

Perkinson, a former teacher, captures the repression of living in such an environment and the destruction it can wreak on a person's soul to be forced to live in the shadows. Vera's fear of discovery is real, which makes Frankie's openness either heroic or foolhardy, depending on how you view the outcome. The fact that Vera is so obviously unhappy in her personal life without realizing it will cause readers who have been in similar circumstances to consider what "still points" they have also failed to experience. There is a certain sadness in wishing that everyone could be as fearless as Frankie and knowing that it sometimes can't be so in real life.

There is the theme of how family dynamics shape a person's behavior or fail to shape it. Vera and Frankie's mothers make an interesting contrast of people who don't approve of something, but choose to deal with it in different manners. One interesting question that never quite gets answered is why Vera, who appears to have the more accepting family, doesn't have the courage to be more of a fighter for her life.

Also there is the theme of love discovered and lost. Or is it? The reader will be left to ponder whether the cessation of life has to be the cessation of love. Can love be sustaining when one person is a memory? And what happens if you are the one left behind? It would be expected that Vera, after so many years of cutting her emotions off and then finally discovering the deep joy that love can bring, would become bitter when it's taken away too soon or that she would retreat to her former behavior. Neither of those happens however and the book makes a powerful statement about drawing strength from the past to face the future.

Vera's Still Point is a thoughtful book told with humor and insight. While it tells a love story, it will also lead the reader into reevaluating life and what really matters. Hopefully, it will lead the readers to also be more aware and appreciative of the still points that they personally experience and the people who help to cause them.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

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.

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
Lynne Pierce is a life-long resident of Virginia who has spent the last thirty-two years 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. 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 also can be read at
lesfic_unbound and

You can reach Lynne at

RLynne lives in the high desert of California, next to Joshua Tree National Park, with her partner of 24 years, and various four-footed friends. A semi-retired educator, she’s been reviewing books since 1992. Her reviews have appeared in various gay rags, including Mega-Scene, The Lesbian Teachers Network, Lesbian Connection, and others.

Contact her 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.

Contact her at

Author Bios

Sarah Aldridge
Sarah Aldridge is the pseudonym of Anyda Marchant who spent the forty years of her working life in New York City and Washington, D.C. as a lawyer in both public and private practice. Upon retiring in 1972, she began a career as a writer and publisher. She originated the Naiad Press and was co-founder when it was incorporated in 1974.

In 1995 she and her lifelong companion Muriel Crawford withdrew as co-owners of the Naiad Press and founded a new publishing venture, A&M Books, which thus became the publisher of the Sarah Aldridge novels.

Journalist Andrea Peterson has called her books "perhaps the most substantive and enjoyable lesbian novels ever written." Anyda and Muriel lived in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, until their deaths. Anyda passed away in January and Muriel in June of 2006.

Diane and Jacob

Diane Anderson-Minshall has been writing as long as she’s been reading. Her first work, published when she was eight years old, was printed in Highlights magazine. Since then she’s covered everything from the mundane to the sensational. Diane’s writing has appeared in Passport, Bust, Bitch, Venus, Utne, Seventeen, and more and she is the executive editor of Curve magazine and the founder and former editor of Girlfriends and Alice magazines. Diane has received numerous awards for her journalistic endeavors.

Jacob Anderson-Minshall has been many things: farm boy, carny, artist, activist, park ranger, and lesbian. He grew up on a small farm in southeastern Idaho, where his mother fostered his love of reading and mystery with bedtime stories like Poe’s "Pit and the Pendulum" and 5,000-piece puzzles obscuring the dinner table for weeks at a time. For nearly four decades Jacob was a girl named Susannah. He cofounded Girlfriends and began his life’s romance with his wife, Diane, who has been his partner for seventeen years. Jacob writes the syndicated weekly column "TransNation," which runs in queer publications from San Francisco to Boston, and he is a frequent contributor to Bitch magazine.

Austin and Andrews
Andrews & Austin, partners in life as well as writing, live on a horse ranch in the Central Plains. They previously wrote for the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. They are involved in several large business ventures as well as their ranch and their passion, writing lesbian fiction. Mistress of the Runes is the their third book published by Bold Strokes Books.

Lyn Denison
Lyn Dennison was born in Brisbane, Australia. She and her partner of nineteen years live in an inner city suburb of Brisbane. Before devoting herself full time to writing, Lyn was a librarian. She has many hobbies, including genealogy, photography, and travel.

Grace Lennox
Grace Lennox is one of the pen names of Jennifer Fulton. She also writes under the pen name of Rose Beecham. She has published sixteen novels and several short stories. In 2006 she received the Alice B. award for her body of work as a multiple GCLS "Goldie" Award recipient. She was also a Lambda Literary Award finalist in 2006.

Jennifer lives in the West with her
long-time partner, her daughter, and a menagerie of animals. She enjoys writing, fine dining, and the open land around her home. She has a keen wit, which she brings to all aspects of her life.

JLee Meyer
JLee Meyer is an international communication consultant. Her background is in psychology and speech pathology. She lives with her long-time partner in Northern Ca. They share a sense of humor which shows in her writing.

Bett Norris
Bett was born and raised in Alabama, just down the road from Monroeville, where Harper Lee grew up and still lives. She graduated from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide) and now lives in Florida with her partner Sandy, who is an artist. They have two cats, Sketch and Sister, and a pond full of koi and goldfish. Favorite literary quote: "The truth is not in the Delafields."

Bett loves to read and to follow Alabama football. She is currently at work on the sequel to Miss McGhee. Find out more about her at

Erin O'Reilly
Erin O'Reilly lives with her family in the Hill Country of Texas. Her passion is computers, and prior to retirement, she worked in the local school system as a computer geek. She now has a small consulting business maintaining and creating Web sites along with computer troubleshooting. Revelations is her first book.

Ruth Perkinson
Ruth Perkinson is a former teacher and lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her two dogs. Vera's Still Point is her first published novel.

Ann Roberts
Ann Roberts lives in Arizona. Her previous works include Paid in Full and Furthest from the Gate.

Ursula Steck
Ursula Steck was raised in Germany and the United States. She has spent much of her adult life in Germany, and has had three mysteries published there. She and her partner have lived in Northern California since 2005. Her first American novel was The Next World.

Jessica Thomas
Jessica Thomas is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she attended Girls’ Preparatory School. She later graduated cum laude from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, with a bachelor’s degree in literature.

After early retirement, Jessica spent a bit of time doing some rather dull freelance assignments and ghostwriting two totally depressing self-help books, always swearing someday that she would write something that was just plain fun. When her friend, Marian Pressler “gave” her Alex and Fargo, Jessica took them immediately to heart and ran right to her keyboard.

Jessica makes her home in Connecticut with her almost cocker spaniel, Woofer. Her hobbies include gardening, reading and animal protection activities.

Jane Vollbrecht
Jane retired from Federal Civil Service in September 2004 after more than thirty years with the same agency. Much of her tenure with the Federal Government was spent in Washington, D.C. She is now eagerly pursuing a second career as an author. Her first novel, Picture Perfect, was released in March, 2005. Her fourth is this latest, Close Enough.

Jane is the youngest of six children. She was born and raised in a farming community in northwestern Minnesota. She received her elementary education in a one-room, country schoolhouse and holds a Bachelor's degree from St. Cloud (Minnesota) State University and is a member of Lambda Iota Tau, an international literature honors society. She lives in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains with her many cats.

In addition to spending time at the computer writing books, Jane enjoys tending her gardens, feeding the wildlife on her property, and playing the piano. Find out more about her at

Brenda Weathers
Brenda Weathers was an activist, writer and founder of a pioneering drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for women in Los Angeles. She was born in Texas and attended Texas Women's University until she was expelled when it was discovered that she was a lesbian.

She eventually became a social worker in California and developed an interest in helping alcoholics because of her own battle with the illness. Later she became active in helping battered women. She also authored The House at Pelham Falls and Miss Pettibone and Miss McGraw, both published by Naiad Press.

Brenda Weathers died of lung cancer in March 2005 before Murder on the Mother Road was published. There's an interesting biography of her at .