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

Title: The 100th Generation - The Ibis Prophecy: Book One
Author: Justine Saracen
ISBN: 1-933110-48-1
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and
Price: $15.95 Pages: 275
Genre: Adventure/Fiction/Lesbian

The 100th Generation. is a finalist for the Golden Crown Literary Society's "Ann Bannon GCLS Popular Choice Award." It is a story filled with ancient myths, Egyptian gods and goddesses, legends, and, most wonderfully, it contains the lesbian equivalent of Indiana Jones living and working in modern Egypt.

While digging in Egypt, the thirty-something archeologist, Valerie Foret, discovers the find of a lifetime - the tomb of Rekemheb, an ancient priest. But Valerie discovers more than just an old mummy among the rich tomb treasures, for she finds that the spirit (or Ka) of the murdered priest still hangs around his sarcophagus awaiting the fulfillment of the prophecy of "the 100th generation." Part of the accomplishment of that prediction is to be realized in Valerie's friend, Derek, an opera singer who just happens to be in Egypt to perform, and he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his friend to the near destruction of both of them.

Saracen has sprinkled cliffhangers throughout this tale as the motley group made up of the archeologist, the opera singer, Derek's erstwhile mate, pregnant with his child-who is the fulfillment of the 100th generation prophecy - and an Arab who has taken on the protection of the young Madonna in a very St. Joseph sort of way - all travel through the desert toward their own individual destinies. Their attempt to save the ancient treasure from those who would seek to destroy both the mummy and, with it, Valerie's reputation as a respected archeologist, is foiled again and again as the group battles against perilous enemies and the harshness of the desert. Of particular interest is a beautiful and mysterious Arab woman who materializes to save and guide Valerie again and again. This somewhat shadowy figure both intrigues and attracts the determined archeologist.

If you enjoy the History Channel presentations about ancient Egypt, you will love this book. If you haven't ever indulged, it will be a wonderful introduction to the land of the Pharaohs. If you're a Raiders of the Lost Ark type adventure fan, you'll love reading a woman in the hero's role.

Saracen's characters are well developed and the plot is rich with history, myth and culture. Valerie Foret is a strong woman with some just enough insecurity to make her a likeable hero. Derek is at times both an unwilling and unlikely participant in the adventure in which he his destined to play an integral part. Finally, there is the spirit of Rekemheb, the priest, who is a delightful and insightful character - and there are more - too many to note here.

Finally, the reader will be pleased to know there is more to come in the Ibis Prophecy series, as it is clear that the end of Book One is only the beginning of this fascinating story. So start your adventure into ancient and modern Egypt today with The 100th Generation. This story does not disappoint.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Broken Wings
Author: L-J Baker
ISBN: 1933110554
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: Bella Books, StarCrossed Productions,, or
Price:$15.95 Pages: 300
Genre: Fantasy Romance





When is a fantasy not really a fantasy? When it is a book that appears to be a fantasy, but really deals with some very serious themes. If you have not read Broken Wings because the write up says it's about fairies and dryads, it would be a good idea to rethink your decision.

Rye Woods lives a precarious life. Years before, she escaped from Fairyland with her younger sister Holly and now she lives in terror that they will be discovered before Holly can reach the age of maturity. Fairyland is dominated by religious fanatics who tolerate no deviations from the "norm" and won't hesitate to use abuse to enforce their beliefs. Rye wants to spare Holly from having to deal with that, so she painfully binds her wings every day to hide the fact that she is a fairy, lives a life of poverty, and works two and three jobs as a laborer to put her sister through the best school available. Holly, like many typical teenagers, doesn't always appreciate what Rye is trying to do for her and, because she was young when they fled, doesn't understand Rye's great fear about keeping their identities secret.

Holly has some talent in the field of design and that brings her and Rye in contact with Flora Withe, a dryad who is a wealthy and respected artist living a life of privilege. Although Flora is obviously drawn to Rye, Rye is convinced that Flora is just having a fling, slumming with a woman who is so different from what she is used to. Rye can't accept that a woman who has so much can be interested in one who has so little. As their relationship grows, so does Rye's fear of discovery and her concern that Holly's irresponsible behavior may ruin everything. To have a future with Flora, Rye has to overcome many barriers, maybe more than are possible.

A reader might wonder why Broken Wings was written as a fantasy. Although the book is populated with fairies, dryads, gnomes and other mythical creatures, they behave just like human beings. They have no special powers or abilities that make a fantasy world necessary. The answer may be that the book deals with some very serious themes. Rye's experiences in Fairyland deal with slavery, abuse, discrimination, and religious intolerance. She faces the consequences of homophobia and classism on several levels. The fantasy aspect might make these themes more palatable, but it isn't necessary. The themes are handled in a very deft manner, making their points without being preachy or heavy-handed. It's a worthwhile telling of struggle, adversity and the possibility of the good person winning in the end. Even if you're not a fan of fantasy writing, you should give Broken Wings a chance.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Close Enough
Author: Jane Vollbrecht
ISBN: 9781932300857
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Pages: 270
Price: $19.95
Genre: Drama

Close Enough is a novel that spans decades and generations, but it addresses the same issues. What is family? How do the choices we make influence not only our own futures, but those of the people we touch? Never give up on a dream.

In 1942 Hilda Stenkiewicz is forced to give up her illegitimate baby and starts a chain of events that will not conclude until forty-two years later. She gives the child to an Army buddy of her brother and intends to keep track of it, but loses all chance for that when her brother is killed in World War II. Although Hilda meets Elaine Huebner and they build a rich life together, there is always that nagging desire to find the child that she really wanted to keep.

Frannie Brewster always knows that she is adopted, but she thinks she was abandoned by a mother who did not want her. Though her adoptive mother loves her, her father makes her early years torture and all she can think about is getting out of her small Alabama hometown. An outstanding academic record takes her to college and then to a career in the Army.

Along the way, Frannie discovers that she is a lesbian in a time when that was still considered a mental illness. She struggles to find love and a way to accommodate it with the career she has chosen and a society that wants to treat her as a criminal if her sexual orientation is disclosed. Meanwhile, her adoptive mother is spiraling out of control as an alcoholic, depriving Frannie of any type of home life to fall back on. As she goes through the years, she searches to find a place where she truly belongs and to fill the emptiness she feels inside.

Eventually, the search is begun for Hilda and Frannie to find each other. The odds of connecting seem insurmountable, but each has a greater fear than that they will never connect. What if they do and cannot accept each other as they are? The loving families that each has found will make all the difference in how this question is answered.

Close Enough is really Frannie's story. Enough of Hilda's story is told in the beginning to set up what is happening, but that's all. It would have been interesting to see how Hilda and Elaine lived a closeted existence coming through the years of the 1940's and 1950's as a lesbian couple, but that wasn't the focus of the book. Vollbrecht takes her time developing the character of Frannie. The reader sees her grow from eighteen to forty-two as she deals with learning about herself, strengths and weaknesses. She searches for love as she searches for identity and, like all true people, she makes mistakes. The particularly interesting part of the book is when it shows how lesbians in the Army dealt with their situation in the years before "don't ask, don't tell." Vollbrecht is beginning to make a mark for herself as someone who tells lesbian stories that don't fit in the mold of the romances. While the romantic story is there with the necessary love scenes, it's secondary to the main story that is rich with details of a woman's struggle to cope with the rather difficult life that fate has dealt her. Vollbrecht proves once again that she can write a story that is lesbian, but with universal appeal. This is well worth reading.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Dynasty of Rogues
Author: Jane Fletcher
ISBN10: 1-933110-71-6
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc.,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions, and
Price: $15.95 Pages: 305 pages
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Speculative

Jane Fletcher has another triumph with Dynasty of Rogues, the continuing story in the Celaeno series. This reviewer found the book clever and compelling and difficult to put down once I started reading and easily could be devoured in one sitting.

Some of the characters in Dynasty of Rogues have visited us in other Celaeno novels, but this is a non-linear series, so it can be understood without having read the other stories. One such character is Captain Chip Coppelli whose daughter Tanya is now grown and the patrol corporal of Ranger Riki Sadiq. Riki has been demoted and transferred from Ginasberg to Westernfort after many years of troublemaking. Riki must make it in Westernfort or her days as a ranger are over. It doesn't help that she has no friends, and everyone expects her to fail. Tanya, who is tasked with working with Riki, doesn't make it easy for her either. There is so much animosity that Riki must work harder just to demonstrate she can be a good ranger. But when Riki is falsely accused of a heinous act, she must prove her innocence or be hung. So Riki escapes from Westernfort in an effort to find the real culprit.

Fletcher continues to provide her readers with first-class storytelling. She fills in the back story seamlessly to add to the continuity of the book as well as the series. The characters' motivations are explored thoroughly; the multiple subplots keep the reader guessing, but Fletcher gives us these intricate details without being long-winded. The author also delves into complicated mother/daughter relationships, a theme she has dealt with in other stories. The characters' actions and words give us insight into the hurts, expectations and different goals that mothers and daughters sometimes face. We also get a glimpse at the growing pains and the act of letting go for both. This examination gives the reader pause and helps us to reflect on our own situations.

Dynasty of Rogues has it all. Mystery, intrigue, crime, and romance, with lots of angst thrown in too, make this fascinating novel thoroughly enjoyable and fun.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: Dynasty of Rogues
Author: Jane Fletcher
ISBN10: 1-933110-71-6
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc.,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions, and
Price: $15.95 Pages: 305 pages
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Speculative

Leading Ranger Riki Sadiq has her share of detractors. She's been in trouble all her short life, and she joined the Rangers to escape more of it. As a Ranger, she is a part of the armed force that protects the community of outcasts and heretics who have escaped the big cities and repressive religion that now marks all urban society. Unfortunately, Riki can't even get along with the heretics. She finally has a lapse of judgment that gets her stripped of rank and sent off to the remote Westernfort for one last chance.

At Westernfort, Riki's new supervising corporal is Tanya Coppelli, a woman close to Riki's age and the daughter of the regiment's captain. Riki isn't sure Tanya is officer material, and she makes no secret of her skepticism, so of course she and Tanya get off to a bad start. Riki feels helpless to curb her smart-aleck attitude and unable to figure out a way to make friends, so the women in her new group, most of whom are already suspicious of her fitness to serve, are hostile toward her.

Riki is sent out on patrol with Tanya's group, and at first there's an uneasy peace. But when they encounter enemy Guards all hell breaks loose. One of the group will betray the others, one will be kidnapped, all will be suspicious. Naturally, who else is blameworthy besides Riki?

Dynasty of Rogues is a tale of deceit and shifting allegiances, corruption and false pretenses. Riki's life will not be the only one in danger, and an enormous miscarriage of justice will occur if she doesn't take action. She'll need all the cleverness and good fortune that she can muster to save her comrade and herself from an impossible-seeming situation.

When you pick up a novel by Jane Fletcher, you will always get a riveting plot, strong, interesting characters, and a beautifully written story complete with three-dimensional villains, believable conflicts, and the twin spices of adventure and romance. Ethical and moral dilemmas abound. Fletcher writes real characters, the type that William Faulkner once said "stand up and cast a shadow." The reader can't help but root for these characters, many of whom are classic underdogs.

Fletcher's work transcends the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Yes, there are a few elements of science fiction and perhaps fantasy, but they register as entirely natural in this timeless world. The story people are so fresh, so individual, so real that they make a unique mark unlike anything I've ever read in lesbian adventure stories. The reader will feel like she's living the action, not experiencing it on the printed page. I haven't read such wonderful stories since I first encountered the work of Marian Zimmer Bradley and Elizabeth Moon.

To read a novel by Jane Fletcher is to fall in love with a world. You'll wish her characters were your friends and that you could visit them - perhaps permanently. I give the highest recommendation for Dynasty of Rogues and to the entire Celaeno Series of which it is a part.
Reviewed by Lori L. Lake

Title: Keep To Me, Stranger
Author: Sarah Aldridge
ISBN: 0-941483-38-X
Publisher: A&M Books (formerly Naiad)
Distributed by A&M Books (order from
Price: $12.00
Pages: 360
Genre: Romance/Lesbian Fiction

Sarah Aldridge's eighth novel, Keep To Me, Stranger, tells the story of a family bound by religion and culture, as well as familial loyalties. It is a tale of two young women whose love cannot be destroyed or denied - even as events unfold that threaten to contribute to such a fate.

When Helena Worrall begins a new phase of her career as manager of Rosenstein's department store - a store known for its glamour and elegance - she soon discovers the difficulties she must face in dealing with the Rosenstein family and the influence of the long-dead founder, the legendary Leah Rosenstein.

As Helena struggles to prove herself and find her place among the family members who are in control of the store's future, she meets Billie, a third-generation Rosenstein. Love quickly blossoms between the two young women, but Helena is troubled by the fact that Billie seems to pop in and out of her life and pays little attention to her when she sees her at the store. Billie appears to be an independent woman, but she is really governed by a very manipulative mother.

Things get complicated when Moishe, Billie's cousin and a man who seems to have some influence on the destiny of the store, pursues Helena. Even though Helena doesn't encourage him, and she tells him, point blank, that she has no interest in pursuing a romantic relationship with him, it doesn't stop the persistent young man. This is to the consternation of Billie's mother, Rosalie, who is horrified by the thought that her nephew might marry a Gentile. Although Moishe is only Rosalie's nephew, he is very close to her and has her ear.

Meanwhile, Billie treads carefully not to be in conflict with her mother and not to jeopardize Helena's reputation. As the story unfolds, we find that things are not always as they seem, however, because people of influence are thwarted and those who seem to have no interest in Rosenstein's finally exert their power to change the future of the store.

As Billie and Helena struggle to find a way to be together, Billie comes to realize that her destiny is truly intertwined with Rosenstein's and with Helena both. All Billie has to do is figure out how to keep both - and not alienate her mother. A tall order for someone that the family frequently describes as "lazy."

Aldridge tells a story of the complexity of family relationships, as well as that of the extended family of friends who support the young lesbian women as they struggle to keep a delicate balance. The reader may find the setting of glamour and glitz of high society fashion an unlikely setting for a tale of lesbian romance, but it is perfect for these characters and the study of their relationships. The study of relationships and motivations is what Aldridge does best, and Keep To Me, Stranger demonstrates her versatility in this classic lesbian romance.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Pipeline
Author: Brenda Adcock
ISBN: 978-1932300642
Publisher: Regal Crest - Quest
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $15.95
Pages: 196 pages
Genre: Mystery/Lesbian

A hard-boiled detective mystery with a bit of romantic tension thrown in for good measure, Pipeline is a 2007 Golden Crown Literary Society Award finalist in the Lesbian Debut Author category. It tells the story of Jo Carlisle, a fifty-something woman who's far from over the hill. A photojournalist by trade, Jo is content to think that she's come home to retire to a quiet life on the family ranch in Texas only to find that life is far from relaxing when her ex, Cate Hammond, shows up pleading for her help. It seems the couple's son, Kyle, has almost gotten himself killed over a story he's writing about illegals from Mexico, and Cate wants Jo's help getting to the bottom of it all.

Jo is a reluctant detective until the murder and mayhem comes too close for comfort - then she wants revenge. Calling on some old friends from her days in the reporting business, Jo starts to wade through the underworld of gangs, illegal border crossings and some underhanded dealings at a meatpacking plant. Her old pal and ex-cop, Pauli, is enthusiastic and delighted just to get back into the thrill of the hunt. His expertise proves to be Jo's most valuable asset.

The plot twists and turns as characters are introduced and bits of information trickled to Jo like bits of confetti swirling in the wind to be recognized and interpreted. While trying to get to the bottom of some very frightening events, Jo battles her feelings for Cate and her regrets for what she left behind when their relationship ended 15 years ago. She also must deal with Kyle's rejection and anger while trying to keep him out of danger.

The final turn of events is surprising - but the best part of the story is the mostly off-again love affair filled with sexual tension between Jo and Cate. These are women filled with misgivings for a past that they knew they couldn't avoid. If they had it to do over again, there's no telling if they would do it the same way, but we are pulling for them to realize that they were meant to be together in spite of the odds.

It is wonderfully refreshing to find a woman character that, in spite of standing on the precipice of her golden years, is still feisty, vibrant and sensual. The story is classic gumshoe with a perfectly executed climax. The adventure, along with the undercurrent of sexual tension between Jo and Cate, leaves us wanting more Jo Carlisle mysteries and since this is Adcock's first book, we can only hope others will follow. She certainly has a winner in Pipeline.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: She Waits - A Kate Ryan Mystery
Author: Kate Sweeney
ISBN: 978-1933113401
Publisher: Intaglio Publications,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $15.95
Pages: 234 pages
Genre: Mystery/Lesbian

She Waits is the first in a series of Kate Ryan mysteries. The book is a dual finalist for the Golden Crown Literary Society Awards in the Lesbian Mystery/ Thriller/ Adventure and Lesbian Debut Author categories.

Kate Ryan is described as "middle-aged, accident prone, and an ex-private investigator." Throughout the current tale, Sweeney drops little tidbits of backstory regarding why Ryan no longer wants to be a private detective. These hints of a prequel are, in themselves, intriguing and make us want to know more about Kate Ryan. This character is also refreshing because of her age. She's a fifty-something woman with some life experience under her belt. To those of us who are "boomers," it's uplifting to find more and more characters that have reached this age and have not retired to a rocker on the rest home porch.

As the story opens, accident-prone Kate's first encounter with somewhat younger Dr. Maggie Winfield almost ends in disaster when she runs Maggie down as she rides her horse. At least that's what everyone thinks she's done - everyone except Maggie's even more senior aunt, Hannah, who lives with Maggie.

When Hannah has Kate's car towed to a garage for repairs and extends an invitation to Kate to stay the night with them, we wonder just what the sweet little old lady is up to, especially when Kate has to extend her stay. We meet a myriad of red herrings as Kate gets more and more deeply into the mysterious events surrounding Maggie and we spend a lot of time wondering who the woman that seems to just materialize in the woods really is.

Maggie has a lot of fears and concerns, and we find that there are things happening to her that rival Kate's own tendency to be accident prone. It's hard to figure out who wears the white hats in the story but as it progresses, it finally becomes clear who the perpetrator of Maggie's troubles really is - and the reader may find herself yelling at Kate not to do certain things that she knows certainly mean trouble.

In the midst of the chaos going on in this story, some very different emotions emerge for Kate - and possibly for Maggie, too - in the way of an attraction. This complicates matters as Kate tries to ignore new feelings and stay objective to try to solve the mystery that surrounds the young doctor. Kate calls upon her sister and brother-in-law to help solve the mystery, but it is Kate's dog, Chance, who literally unearths clues that prove to be key in tying up all the details.

The characters in She Waits are well drawn and the plot moves along with one troubling event after another entangling everyone involved. Kate is a loveable character. She makes us want to cheer her on to be successful in finding out who is behind all the awful things that are happening to Maggie. Kate is at once both whimsical and intelligent and we can't help but hope that she might yield to personal feelings that she thought long dead. Clearly, we have only begun to scratch the surface of this entertaining lead character and the reader will be glad to know that there is more of Kate Ryan to come.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Skin Deep
Author: Kenna White
ISBN10: 1594930783
Publisher: Bella Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; Bella Books,
Price: $13.95 Pages: 280
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Romance

Jordan Griffin is the assistant editor of Northwest Living Magazine and a reporter known for getting the tough story. No story is tougher than Reece McAlister. McAlister was once famous as a beautiful, intelligent broadcast journalist who reported some of the most high profile and dangerous stories in the world. Reece mysteriously left journalism and began a new career as a nature photographer with a reputation for avoiding interviews. When Jordan confronts Reece at her latest showing, the reason for at least part of this becomes clear because Reece is horribly disfigured on one side of her body. How this happened and what motivates Reece fascinates Jordan and she is more determined than ever to get the story, to the point that she follows Reece into the wilderness on a camping trip although Jordan's only camping experience was in her grandmother's living room. Reece makes it clear that she doesn't want Jordan along and she spares her no pain in the early days of the trip.

As time passes though and they get to know each other, a fragile trust develops between them and a mutual attraction. Jordan returns with her story and then a dilemma. Her research turns up certain facts that Reece doesn't want made public. To reveal them could destroy their relationship, but not revealing them could violate her sense of professionalism. When a jealous co-worker betrays both women, Jordan is finally able to see what her priorities should be. The question is whether or not Reece will forgive her and allow their relationship to continue. A life and death situation develops as Jordan follows Reece into the wilderness again and survival becomes more important than forgiveness.

Skin Deep is another Kenna White romance, but there is more to this story than just two women meeting and developing an attraction for each other. And this isn't just a story about not judging someone by appearances. The scars that Reece wears in her soul are much deeper and worse than the ones in her skin. The book's title indicates that there is more to a person than what is on the suface, but going deeper than that often reveals complexities beyond imagination. Skin Deep deals with issues of trust, honor and loyalty. However, all of this is woven into a story that never becomes pedantic. This is a case where you may learn something without having to work at it. That alone makes it worth reading.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: So Dead, My Love
Author: Patty G. Henderson
ISBN: 9780615140254
Publisher: Black Car Publishing
Available at:
Price: $13.99
Pages: 168
Genre: Supernatural/Vampire

(This is the second edition of this book. It was originally published under the title Blood Scent.)

The Karnov legend is that the "chosen one" will come to free Lara Karnov from a curse imposed by her vampire family and then she will rise to lead vampires into a new age. Lara has lain waiting for centuries and the time may have finally come.

Samantha Barnes has always known that she was different from other people. That is one reason why she chooses to live on an island off of the coast of Maine and be a semi-reclusive artist. When she is commissioned to do a mural for the local bank and begins to investigate the history of the island, she finds herself drawn to the creepy old Karnov Mansion. Samantha also finds herself drawn into an existence she never imagined and a love affair with a woman who wants her soul. But there is still a contact who holds her rooted in the "normal" world.

Carmen Montaya loves Samantha and would give anything to be her partner. She knows something is wrong with the strange visitor who has shown up at Samantha's and she's not going to give up Sam without a fight. Samantha is going to have to make some choices. Does she accept eternal life with Lara, bought at a terrible expense, or turn to the dedication and love that Carmen offers her? Is Samantha in fact the "chosen one?" The fact that she's not sure herself adds some suspense to the book.

Vampires exist by drinking blood; nothing changes that in So Dead, My Love. When Lara awakens, she has to feed and the island provides ample opportunities for that. The back blurb says that "even among vampires…there is good and there is evil." Where that line falls is not very clear in this story. Lara Karnov performs acts that are decidedly evil and leads Samantha into activities that should have her conscience in a turmoil forever, although there is a twist at the end that might be considered redeeming. This is the first book in a trilogy, so the role of the Karnovs might become more clear as the series progresses. There were a number of editing errors that should have been caught, especially in a book that is a second edition, but they don't detract from the story much. If you're a fan of vampire novels, you might want to give this one a try.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Sumter Point
Author: KG MacGregor
ISBN: 971594930898
Publisher: Bella Books
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Cost: $13.95 Pages: 278
Genre: Romance

Can an adult wild child and a woman who never really had a chance to have a childhood find something in common upon which to build a relationship? That is the story at the center of Sumter Point by KG MacGregor. As in most of MacGregor's books though, there is more to the story than there seems to be on the surface.

Audie Pippin and Beth Hester couldn't meet in a place less likely to spawn a romance. Audie has to admit her beloved grandmother to a nursing home after she suffers a serious stroke and Beth is the nurse who tends to her. The two women are separated by nine years in age, but an ocean in maturity and life experiences. Audie is a pot smoking, tequila drinking party animal who indulges in all of her interests, including casual sex with multiple partners. Somewhere along the line she has forgotten to grow up. Beth is a serious minded nurse who raised a younger sister and doesn't have time for fun between her job and furthering her education to become a RN.

Don't let surface appearances fool you though. There's more to Audie than is apparent and she shows her caring nature in her job as a veterinary technician at the local animal shelter. Beth is frustrated that she's old beyond her time and that she hasn't found a relationship that has fulfilled her. The two of them meet in the common ground of caring for Audie's grandmother, Violet, who is the center of Audie's universe and a role model from Beth's earlier days. As they combine to care for Violet, they come to learn about each other and discover that they each might be exactly what the other one needs. Things will not be easy however as Violet's health wanes and Audie fights the attraction of a more frivolous life. A crisis involving Beth's duty as a nurse may drive them apart or cement the relationship, but Beth isn't sure what will be the eventual outcome.

Sumter Point is the latest in the string of romances written by KG MacGregor. As usual in her books, MacGregor creates characters that are deeper than appearances. Both Audie and Beth are escaping from unhappy instances in their childhoods, but they've gone in opposite directions to accomplish that and they make an interesting contrast in coping. MacGregor also likes the theme of having women who are slightly separated in age and showing that these relationships do have potential despite their different places in life. What brings Audie and Beth together is their caring natures and age has nothing to do with that.

Sumter Point also confronts the difficult issue of dealing with the elderly, the strain of having to commit them to nursing homes and, ultimately, facing the balance between maintaining their dignity and tending to their health needs. Anyone who has had to cope with a loved one's decline will understand Audie's anguish about what is happening with her grandmother. Beth's struggle to serve her patients when they no longer want to go on and trying to help the families to understand this is an issue that many readers will be able to relate to.

Sumter Point is not a sad or depressing book, but much of it will cause you to think. That isn't a bad thing. There is enough of the romance between Audie and Beth to keep you reading and the understory will have you considering many points. Overall, it's a book that you really should read.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: The Fifth Stage, 2nd Edition
Author: Margaret A. Helms
ISBN: 9780977031870
Publisher: Blue Feather Books, LTD,
Available From: Blue Feather Books, Ltd.
Price: $15.99 Pages: 235
Genre: Romance

Claire Blevins, a mid-Southern gal from a sleepy town, is turning forty and her friends think it's time she moved on. Even though Claire was technically born in the sixties, she claims that her real birthday was two months shy of turning eighteen, when she befriended Lora Tyler. With Lora, she discovered a connection stronger than raging hormones and deeper than friendship. After high school graduation, Claire and Lora managed to move out on their own while they attended college. Claire became financially secure, determined to give her girlfriend as much as anyone could, but at what price? Unfortunately, the two eventually travel separate paths.

Claire lives in a self-induced trance, much the same as the town where she grew up. She gives the illusion of someone living the American dream - self-sufficient and independent, with a good job and a nice house. She can afford the finest restaurants, but she frequents a mediocre eatery instead. It's not the menu that draws Claire, but rather Rebecca Greenway, a woman she's sure she can't have, meaning that she can admire her from afar. After three years of living alone, Claire questions if wealth is an acceptable substitute for the companionship of a lover.

The Fifth Stage is a romance with a clear message that the reader discovers the way Claire does - one stage at a time. One can't help but hope that Claire finds her way to forgiveness so that she can find fulfillment in a second chance at love. Claire is likeable despite her stubborn nature; she's smart but makes mistakes like all mortals; and she's successful but filled with regrets. Written in almost a memoir format, The Fifth Stage is a story about a woman who realizes that she's different from other girls, and comes to terms with the revelation. She's also haunted by the memories of her youth and must learn to accept the things she cannot change before she can have any chance of happiness.

Claire's story, told intimately, honestly, and with humor, reveals her desires and vulnerabilities. Margaret A. Helms slowly builds the tension and then hits the reader with a memorable impact to drive home her message.

Helms deftly leaves a lasting impression from the first word to the last. Through alternating points of view - Claire in the present and in the past - Helms succeeds in telling two stories for the price of one and maintains a flawless flow between both. The Fifth Stage is one of the most profound and emotional journeys this reviewer has read so far this year. It's a five star plus read and hopefully the beginning of a slew of this brilliant author's novels.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg

Title: The Spanish Pearl
Author: Catherine Friend
ISBN: 1933110767
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $15.95 Pages: 293
Genre: Lesbian

The Spanish Pearl isn't quite like any time travel novel I've ever read before. For one thing, eleventh century Spain wasn't a historical period I felt knowledgeable about.

But it doesn't matter!

For one thing, the history is dealt to the reader with a light hand. 1085 AD is a perfect backdrop for this wild romp. The observations Kate Vincent, our plucky heroine, makes about eleventh century Spain through her contemporary eyes are priceless. When she first encounters a band of what she thinks are guys doing an historical re-enactment, one of them asks her if she needs help. She says yes and then thinks: "What nimrod. I was out in the middle of nowhere by myself. What did he think I needed - a French vanilla latte?" (p. 29).

Kate simply cannot believe what's happened to her, and her slow realization of the truth is comical. "Another, less plausible, totally fantastical explanation kept creeping in, but I repeatedly pushed it away. Time travel was for rabid fans of Star Trek and Stargate, not for me" (p. 43). It's some time before Kate finally accepts that she's been transported back in time, and an immediate concern is that she must live without Diet Coke. But very quickly, she realizes that eleventh century Spain isn't going to be a good place for a twenty-first century American who has few useful skills. She can't throw a knife straight, much less wield a sword, isn't used to horses, doesn't know the culture, and can't fight worth beans. Luckily she does speak Spanish and know a bit of the history of the time, but if not for Luis Navarro, the leader of a band of mercenaries who puts her under his protection, Kate would be in a very bad place. Like dead.

Instead she's caught up in the politics and power struggle between the Christians and the Moors, and she has to risk everything to figure out how to get back to her own time. But first, she's going to make friends, fall in love, and get in and out of terrible predicaments. Her attempts to escape a harem, dungeons, and from various captors are often suspenseful and occasionally hilarious.

This is a rollicking good tale, full of adventure, humor, romance, and high stakes suspense, for Kate's friends and foes are not always who or what they seem. It will take all the smarts and patience of a severely decaffeinated woman to figure out what she wants, not to mention how to actually get home.

The author does a terrific job with characterization, lush setting, action scenes, and droll commentary. This is one of those well-paced, exciting books that you just can't quite put down. ("Just one more chapter… Uh oh, I need to find out what happens next… Can't stop now - just a little further!). If you're like me, soon enough you'll realize it's three a.m. and you can't stop devouring it until you get to the wonderful conclusion.

An excerpt from the sequel, The Crown of Valencia, is included in the back of this book, and I would strongly suggest avoiding that. The sequel isn't out until November 2007, and it's killing me to wait to read it.

The Spanish Pearl is one of the very best books I've read in many months, so I give it my highest recommendation! Don't miss this one.
Reviewed by Lori L. Lake

Title: Turning Point
Author: Lara Zielinsky
ISBN: 1933720190
Publisher: P.D. Publishing,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $19.99
Pages: 289
Genre: Romance

Lara Zielinsky's work is familiar to many people who like to read online fan fiction. Now, she brings her first novel, Turning Point, to print. Fans of the program "Star Trek: Voyager" will see where she got much of her inspiration.

Turning Point is set in Hollywood and centers around the cast of a sci-fi series called "Time Trails." The show's long time star Brenna Lanigan has had a trying year because the producers brought a new character into the show to ramp up the sex appeal of the program. Cassidy Hyland admires Brenna for being a consummate professional and highly skilled actor, but she's spent the last year getting nothing but the cold shoulder from her co-star. All of that begins to change when Brenna uncharacteristically accepts an invitation to a birthday party for Cassidy's young son. The party gives both women a chance to show aspects of their personalities that have been hidden from each other.

From that tentative beginning comes a friendship based on shared experiences and emotions and before long Brenna and Cassidy find themselves being drawn into a deeper relationship that neither had anticipated. Meanwhile, they also have to deal with the stresses of the final season of their show, planning for the future and difficulties with the other people in their lives. Ultimately, the question becomes if the women can have very public careers and the type of love that they truly want.

For those who feel that plots of books are often rushed to completion without good character development, this book will be a welcome change. It spends considerable time letting the reader get to know the characters and study the development of their relationship. There are numerous and varied scenes showing them interacting with other characters and the reader can develop a sense of what is going on in these women's heads.

Not only does the book contain more pages than the average lesbian novel, but it's printed in the larger size book and in a smaller than usual font, so there is a lot on each page. The font size is the biggest drawback to this book. It is one way to get more story in while not having to increase the number of pages, but for those who have difficulty with print size, this book may be beyond the limits of their toleration.

Another distracting aspect is that, since it's based on people from a well-known TV show, the reader can't help but visualize Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan in the two main characters. That isn't necessarily a detriment to the story, but readers who like to conjure up images of characters for themselves may have a problem with this. On the whole this is a well written book and, though some scenes might have been eliminated to shorten the book, the story moves at a good pace and keeps the reader engrossed. It's a standard romance and worth the reading time.
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

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

Brenda Adcock
Originally from the Appalachian region of Eastern Tennessee, Brenda now lives in Central Texas, near Austin. She began writing in junior high school where she wrote an admittedly hokey western serial to entertain her friends.

Completing her graduate studies in Eastern European history in 1971, she worked as a graphic artist, a public relations specialist for the military and a display advertising specialist until she finally had to admit that her mother might have been right and she earned her teaching certification. For the last twenty-plus years she has taught world history and political science.

Brenda and her partner of ten years, Cheryl, are the parents of three grown children and one still in high school. They also have two grandchildren. Rounding out their home are three temperamental cats and an occasionally conscious Bassett Hound. When she is not writing, Brenda creates stained glass and shoots pool at her favorite bar.

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.

L-J Baker
L-J Baker lives in New Zealand and is civilly united with an amazing woman. Alas, L-J has not done any of those jobs that make authors' bios sound fascinating. Before becoming a writer, she was a research scientist. She has lived in the United States and has attended the Viable Paradise Writers' Workshop on Martha's Vineyard.

Jane Fletcher
Jane Fletcher was born in Greenwich, London in 1956. She now lives alone in the south-west of England, after the sudden, and 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 wrote it down. After many years of revision, the result, Lorimal's Chalice, was published. This book was short-listed for the Gaylactic Spectrum award for that year.

Catherine Friend
Catherine Friend farms in Minnesota with her partner of twenty-three years. The author of six children's books, one nonfiction book for adults, and two romantic adventure novels for adults due out in 2007, Catherine would rather write than wrangle sheep, but is proud she can do both. She shares her life with between fifty and one hundred sheep, three llamas, two dogs, two cats, and lots of ducks and chickens. Learn more about her farm at

She has a B.A. in Economics and Spanish, and an M.S. in Economics, neither of which she has used for years. She has held an impressive array of odd jobs, such as working in bookstores, packing cheese and sausage gift boxes, weeding on an organic vegetable farm, and working on an assembly line packing boxes of Christmas decorations.

For many years she taught writing for the Institute of Children's Literature, then worked as a freelance editor. She currently gives writing workshops, volunteers on the local library board, does chores on the farm, is afraid of geese, and wears an Elvis watch.

Margaret Helms
Margaret earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from East Tennessee State University in 1986, and has spent several years in the financial industry. A Virginia native, she spent time in Chicago and Washington D.C. before making her home in Tennessee.

In a personal "plot twist," she graduated from massage therapy school in March, 2007 and plans on building her own business. Margaret hopes her schedule will soon allow more writing time.

Patty G. Henderson
Patty Henderson is a native of Tampa, Florida, and the author of the three volumes of the Brenda Strange Mystery series.
K.G. MacGregor
KG MacGregor is a native of North Carolina, but, as a member of a military family, she's lived in many places. She and her partner now divide their time between North Carolina and Florida, depending on the season and the basketball games.

KG once taught elementary school, but, after receiving her PhD in media research, moved on to being a political pollster and then into strategic market research. Now she devotes her time to writing when she isn't hiking or traveling. She has published several books and has had short stories accepted for some anthologies.

Justine Saracen
Justine Saracen is something of an "old hand," having traveled to the dense streets and markets of much of the Arab world, in Egypt, Morocco, and the West Bank. After two trips to the Ptolemaic temples along the Nile, however, she lost her heart to the desert and its ancient cultures. Together with her Egyptologist partner, she became immersed in the colorful theology that "lives" in the temples and tombs of Egypt. Speculation on how much fun it would be to throw together the Egyptian gods and the modern world, and to put a lesbian at the center of it all, led to the Ibis Prophecy books. The first novel of the series, The 100th Generation, was a finalist in the Queerlit Competition.

Kate Sweeney
Born in Chicago, Kate currently resides in Villa Park, Illinois.

She Waits introduces the reluctant heroine of the Kate Ryan Mystery series. The author also has a collection of short stories and novellas that run the gamut from funny to sad, erotic to romantic available on her website at

Jane Vollbrecht
Jane Vollbrecht was born, raised and educated in Minnesota. After more than three decades working in the Federal civil service, she retired and began a career as a writer and editor.

Her novels include Picture Perfect, Heart Trouble and In Broad Daylight, plus a number of short stories have appeared in anthologies. Jane now lives in north Georgia and enjoys her cats, gardening, feeding the wildlife and playing the piano. Her web page is located at

Kenna White
Kenna White was born in a small town in Southwest Missouri but has lived from the Colorado Rocky Mountains to New England. Once again back in the Ozarks where bare feet, faded jeans and lazy streams fill her life, she enjoys her writing, traveling, substitute teaching, making dollhouse miniatures, and life's simpler pleasures with her partner of many years. Her next novel Braggin Rights is due out this summer.

Lara Zielinsky
Lara Zielinsky, formerly LZClotho of online Xena and Voyager fanfiction, resides in Orlando, Florida, and is a working wife and mother. An affinity for strong female heroines in books and television led her to writing stories online, and awakened her to her own truths, some of which she's still working out, like her characters. Turning Point is her first published novel.