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July 2012
Welcome to Bywater Books

Dear Readers,

We're celebrating! Marianne K. Martin is the recipient of this year's Trailblazer Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society. Trailblazer below explains why she deserves the honor — and not just for her contributions to lesbian literature.

It's fifteen years since publication of her first novel, Legacy of Love, and now it's available again, in an anniversary edition. To read Marianne's memories of its journey into print, and for news of a sale on all her titles, see Anniversary Edition.

Marianne isn't the only author to be honored this year. Congratulations are also due to Joan Opyr, Mari SanGiovanni, Sally Bellerose, Val McDermid, and Georgia Beers. For more details, see Bywater News below.

Six of our authors are off to P-Town later this year. Check out P-Town 2012 for more details.
As always, we at Bywater strive to bring you the finest in lesbian romance, mystery, and literary fiction.

Till next time!

Kelly Smith
Marianne K. Martin
Val McDermid


Marianne (P-town)
"You know, you are taking a huge risk with your main character not being blond and blue-eyed," she was told about her very first novel, but Marianne K. Martin's not a writer to take the easy route. That's just one reason why she was honored with this year's Trailblazer Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society.

There are plenty more. "Marianne doesn't write your run-of-the-mill love story," said Georgia Beers, presenting the award. "Her characters are deeply detailed, some carry from book to book, and her plots very often deal with issues that affect us all: crime, death, the loss of a loved one and the subsequent recovery from that loss."

Not surprisingly, Marianne has won many fans, and the respect of fellow writers. Ann Bannon describes her as "a wonderful story teller and a graceful writer" and Katherine V. Forrest hailed Under the Witness Tree as "a multi-dimensional love story … that reaches into the deeply personal and well beyond — into our community and its emerging history."

With Mirrors, her first novel to be a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, Marianne tackled a subject that had not yet attracted attention. Sure, the bullying of gay students in schools is a big topic now, "but keep in mind that Marianne published this book in 2001 — eleven years ago" (Georgia again).

The protagonist of that book, Jean, is a high school gym teacher. To create her, Marianne drew on her own experience: she taught physical education for 25 years, and also coached several championship teams. When her school board declined her suggestion that she be paid the same amount as male coaches, she sued — and won. What's more, her case set the precedent for the state of Michigan. It can't just be Georgia who reckons: "If that's not blazing a trail, I don't know what is."

There's more, though. In 2004, just seven years after her first novel came out, she was one of the founders of Bywater Books. As publisher, she now "helps nurture new writers, guides them in their careers and helps them navigate the sometimes churning waters of the lesbian publishing industry, and she does so with a soft voice and a gentle hand.

"And," adds Georgia, "she answers e-mail in a timely fashion."

What's perhaps most remarkable about Marianne's contribution to Lesbian Fiction is that she began writing only after taking early retirement. And even then she couldn't commit full time: she had her own house to build. Yup, you did read that right. And if you're still wondering, here's what Kelly has to say of her: "If you have anything wrong at your house, Marianne is the gal to fix it. Need a new bathroom? She will rip out the old one and put a new one in. She is very talented in this respect. And she also knows how to dress nice. What a combination."

We'll leave the final words about the 2012 GCLS Trailblazer to Georgia: "… she is one of the best."

by Caroline Curtis

Anniversary Edition
Legacy of Love

Legacy for Love is the first novel by Marianne K. Martin, reissued now in an anniversary edition for a new generation of readers.

With all her titles now available in print and as eBooks, Bywater is celebrating. For the next two weeks, her eBooks will be on sale at a discount of 25%. So if you've not yet read her, now's the perfect time. At these prices, you could pick up Love in in the Balance for just $1.49.

Since Legacy of Love was first published fifteen years ago,

Marianne has won many fans. But she can still remember a morning waiting for the phone to ring. She takes up the story:

I waited nervously for that call, the early morning call promised by Barbara Grier from Naiad Press telling me the fate of my first book. And, when it came, my knees went weak and I struggled to keep my voice from shaking. Ms. Grier was a formidable force and Naiad Press was the largest lesbian press in the world, and I was well aware of both.

I sat quickly at the sound of her voice, because quite frankly, I was afraid my legs wouldn't have held up under rejection. I think I was more prepared for that than I was for "We are interested in publishing your book." So unprepared, in fact, that everything after that was of little consequence — cut fifty pages, change the title, count how many words have to do with spirituality, explain where the name Sage came from, and then, "You know you are taking a huge risk with your main character not being blond and blue-eyed."

Yet, Ms. Grier did not ask me to make any changes to Sage Bristo, my brown-skinned, brown-eyed, Native American butch. It seemed, after reading her story, that Barbara Grier was taking the risk, not only on Sage Bristo, but also on this new shaky-kneed author. And, nine novels later, I am still thanking her.

Bywater Trivia

To win the Bywater title of your choice, simply answer this month's question:

Mirrors was the first book by Marianne K. Martin to be a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Name one of her other two books that have been finalists.

E-mail us at or by post to Bywater Books, PO Box 3671, Ann Arbor MI 48106.

Bywater News
This year, Bywater authors have been receiving plenty of attention, picking up nominations and awards. In fact, Sally Bellerose was a finalist with her debut novel The Girls Club for all four of the literary awards listed below. Take a look:

Every year, librarians pay attention to the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards. ForeWord's mission is to spotlight independently published books, and the panel of judges are drawn from across America. This year, three Bywater authors won awards:

96 Hours by Georgia Beers won Gold in the Gay & Lesbian Fiction category.

Trick of the Dark by Val McDermid won Gold in the Mystery category.

Shaken and Stirred by Joan Opyr won Bronze in the Gay & Lesbian Fiction category.

The Independent Publisher Book Awards (Ippys) have been honoring authors and publishers since 1996. This year, we're delighted to report that in the Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Fiction category, two authors won awards:

Shaken and Stirred by Joan Opyr won Silver.

The Girls Club by Sally Bellerose won Bronze.

Val McDermid and Sally Bellerose were also finalists this for Lambda Literary Awards, in the Lesbian Mystery and Lesbian Debut Fiction categories respectively.

We've told you already that the Golden Crown Literary Society honored Marianne K. Martin this year. We're delighted to say that other Bywater authors won plaudits, including Bett Norris, nominated for Dramatic General Fiction with What's Best for Jane, and Sally Bellerose, nominated for Debut Fiction with The Girls Club.

Georgia Beers, a conference regular and author of 96 Hours, received a Goldie for Traditional Contemporary Romance. Joan Opyr's Shaken and Stirred received a Goldie for Dramatic General Fiction.

And Mari SanGiovanni was honored with a Goldie for Traditional Contemporary Romance. This year was her first time attending the conference. I'll let Marianne describe what happened: "it was her first time reading to a crowd. She did a wonderful reading, picked a perfect selection from her book (Camptown Ladies) and had the audience laughing hysterically. She was quite a hit and had a lot of people talking about her books. We were absolutely thrilled when her name was called at the award ceremony, and she had everyone laughing even as she accepted her award."

For pictures of the authors at GCLS, click here.

Get Booked!

Calling all Book Groups:

Ever wanted to know what an author thinks about her own book?

Choose a Bywater title to discuss at your Book Group, and we'll arrange for the author to join the conversation — in person, by webcam, or over the phone.

Book Group Leaders, feel free to write us for a complimentary copy of any Bywater book for your review.

E-mail our Publicity Dept at

Bywater Events
Sally Bellerose
* will be appearing alongside Cassandra Christenson, Julie R. Enszer, Gina R. Evers, Andy Izenson, and Ronna Magy to read from Lady Business: A Celebration of Lesbian Poetry. Saturday, August 4 at 4 p.m..
The DC Center
1318 U Street
Washington, DC
* will be appearing alongside Janet Aalfs and Joseph Ross at Giovanni's Room on Sunday, September 23 at 5:30 p.m..

345 South 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 1907

* will be appearing alongside Deanne Nikaidi and Janet Aalfs at Red Emma's on Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m..

800 St Paul Street
Baltimore, MD, 21 202

Elana Dykewomon

will be presenting a paper at the this year's conference of the National Women's Studies Association. Feminism Unbound: Imagining a Feminist Future takes place November 8-11 2012.
Oakland Marriott City Center
1001 Broadway, Oakland,
CA 94607

P-Town 2012
Bywater authors are regular attendees at Provincetown, MA, and this year is no exception. Authors Sally Bellerose, Georgia Beers, Mari SanGiovanni, and Hilary Sloin, the winner of this year's Bywater Prize for Fiction, will be there along with Kate Clinton, publishers Kelly Smith, Marianne K. Martin, and Michele Karlsberg.

Sally, Georgia, Mari, and Marianne will be reading from their latest work at the Breakfast Club Readings, along with authors Fay Jacobs and Lynn Ames. At Napi's Restaurant, 9:30 to 11 a.m., October 11.

Sally, Hilary, Mari, Georgia, and Marianne will also be reading with Lynn at The Fairbanks Inn, 4-6 p.m., October 11.

Come meet and greet Mari, Georgia, Sally, Hilary, Marianne, and Lynn at the Harbor Lounge. 11:30 to 1 p.m., October 12.


Mari talking about how they write comedy. At the Crown and Anchor, 9:30 a.m. to noon, October 13.

The authors will also be signing books at Womencrafts every day. We'll post further details on the website, nearer the time.

The Virtual World

Your favorite authors also write blogs, have their own websites, and can be found on social networking sites.

Stella Duffy
Click for her blog. Find her on LibraryThing, MySpace, and Twitter @stellduffy.

Elana Dykewomon
Click for her website. Find her on Facebook and Red Room.

Z Egloff
Click for her website. Find her on Facebook and Red Room.

Marcia Finical
Find her on Facebook.

Katherine V. Forrest
Click for her website.

Lisa Gitlin
Find her on Facebook.

Jill Malone
Click for her website. Find her on Facebook and MySpace.

Marianne K. Martin
Find her on Facebook, MySpace, and Red Room.

Val McDermid
Click for her website. Find her on Facebook.

Bett Norris
Click for her blog. Find her on Facebook.

Joan OpyrClick for her website.

Mari San Giovanni
Click for her website. Find her on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter @MariSanGiovanni.

Sally Bellerose
Click for her blog. Find her on Facebook.

Georgia Beers
Click for her website. Click for her blog. Find her on Facebook.

Jesse Blackadder
Click for her blog. Find her on Facebook.

Lindy Cameron
Click for her website, and for news of her press.

Cynn Chadwick
Click for her website.

Kate Clinton
Click for her website.

You can also follow Bywater Books on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter @BywaterBooks. And tune in to our YouTube channel. Subscribe to it, and you'll be alerted each time a new video is posted.

Issue: 29
In This Issue
Anniversary Edition
Bywater Trivia
Bywater News
Get Booked!
Bywater Events
P-Town 2012
The Virtual World
Join Our Mailing List
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