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| Dear Readers
It's been a while since we last wrote, and we've certainly been busy. To find out more, read on!
This month, we're delighted to introduce you to our newest author, Lisa Gitlin. I Came Out for This? is her debut novel, and we'll think you'll love her comic voice. For more details, see Hot Off the Press and Author Profile below.
We're thrilled to announce that Jill Malone won the 2010 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction. We're sorry that this means Elana Dykewomon had to miss out on a second Lammy, but take heart that it went to a fellow Bywater author. We'll tell you more about the awards ceremony in our next newsletter–and there'll be photos too.
Congratulations are also due to Val McDermid! At the beginning of this month, she was awarded the Cartier Diamond Dagger by the Crime Writer's Association (CWA). See News from Bywater below.
As always, we at Bywater strive to bring you the finest in
lesbian romance, mystery, and literary fiction.
Till next time!
Marianne K. Martin
| I Came Out for This?
by Lisa Gitlin
Girl meets Girl and the two of them live Happily Ever After.
That's how the story goes. At least, that's how it's meant to go. Which is why Joanna Kane is feeling cheated. She didn't come out till she hit her mid-forties, and now it's her turn for True Love.
And for a few weeks, she had it–had her. Ms. Right. Also known as Terri Rubin. Then Terri Rubin dumped her. Even though the two of them are Meant To Be.
So what's left for Joanna but to up sticks and move from her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio to Washington, DC to be with Terri, the woman who doesn't want her.
The good news, there's a Happy Ending waiting for Joanna. And she's heading towards it.
The bad news, she's too preoccupied even to notice.
Well, we've told you what to expect. Now read on, to hear Joanna speak for herself:
My name is Joanna Kane. Jewish, 47, living in Cleveland, Ohio, which will prejudice you against me immediately because what's Cleveland, Ohio? A loser city. Anyway, I'm gay and was too stupid to come out until I was forty-five years old.Do you know what it's like to come out when you're in your forties, having menopausal symptoms, for God's sake, and then fall madly in love with someone? All of a sudden you're in adolescence for the first time. You don't even recognize yourself.
Lesbian Fiction 304pp ISBN 978-1-932859-73-7
At fine stores everywhere
or order directly from Bywater Books.
Why not? After all, writing is in her blood: "My father was a writer and newspaper man; I grew up listening to the clack, clack, clack of his typewriter which was as soothing to me as the sound of rain. I learned most of what I know about writing from him; he taught me how to write mean and lean." At the New School for Social Research in New York she sat in an advanced writing program. It wasn't long before she became a professional writer.
She wrote for almost every publication in Cleveland; her work appeared in national magazines. She had a weekly column in the Cleveland Free Times; she wrote regularly for the Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest newspaper. But could she write a decent novel, even to save her life? No.
She did write short stories, though. She got them published too. Including one about an elderly couple with a pet fly. (Yup, you did read that right; a pet fly.)
So what was it that was holding her back?
Lisa explains: "It was only when I came out in my mid-forties, and I re-connected with myself, that I could write a book that people could relate to. Before that, before I had experienced falling in love and physical passion and heartbreak, I just wrote weird fiction."
Or, to put it another way: The "yes" she wanted to hear as a writer came because finally she said "yes" to herself.
And now "my first novel–my coming out story–is being published, and I'm so excited about it I can hardly breathe." It's loosely based on her own life. And if you're expecting anger or tears, think again: Lisa just sees the jokes. The way she sees it, a lovesick teenager in the middle of her forties may as well laugh.
Already she's working on her second novel, "also autobiographical, but with a broader scope; it takes place over a period of decades and shows the damage done to a gay woman who tries to live a straight life." She'd know.
Today, Lisa lives In Silver Spring, MD, just outside Washington, where "I have many wonderful friends and a very rich life." (And where the hot topic right now is whether or not a nominee for the Supreme Court plays softball.)Before a writer becomes an author, she has to hear "Yes." A "yes" from an agent, and a "yes" from a publisher. But so often it's not "yes" a writer hears; it's "no." Ask Lisa Gitlin why "yes" took a little while to come and she answers cheerfully: "I couldn't write a decent novel to save my life."
On the evening of Thursday, May 6, the champagne corks were popping in London. Not because months of electioneering in Britain had finally come to an (inconclusive) end, but because this was the date chosen by the Crime Writer's Association
) to celebrate the award of the Cartier Diamond Dagger
to Val McDermid
The Diamond Dagger has been awarded since 1986. It is given only to those writers who–in the judgment of their peers–have made a significant contribution to crime fiction.
Previous recipients include P D James, Sara Paretsky, John Le Carré, Elmore Leonard, and John Harvey–who is published here in the United States by Bloody Brits, our sister imprint. That's a remarkable pantheon of writers, and Val's now joined them.
Some people would now be content to sit back and relax–polishing that dagger, presumably. Not Val: "the queen of psychological thrillers", who has already published some 27 books, completed her latest manuscript just a few weeks before the ceremony.
For more details, watch this space…!
Bywater Prize for Fiction
Publishing is like any job: some of the day-to-day business is–no other word for it–dull, dull, dull. (And you thought we liked sprinkling commas across every manuscript.) But then there are those moments when a new manuscript arrives and we start reading and we begin to wonder if maybe, just maybe this manuscript is by a real writer. With her own voice. Telling a story that opens great, carries on great, and–please, please, please–ends great too.
Well, this year a manuscript reached us from Sally Bellerose. It's called The Girls Club, and yes, quite simply, it's great. That's not just our opinion, either: with this manuscript Sally was finalist for the James Jones Fellowship, the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, and the Bellwether Prize, and an excerpt from it won her a Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts.
We're delighted to announce that Sally is the latest winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, and we'll be publishing The Girls Club in 2011. Set in the 1970s, it is the story of Cora Rose, contending with illness and the values of her time: Catholic girls get married, right?
As happens every year, Saints & Sinners
was fabulous! Paul Willis
and his army of volunteers put together an excellent program of speakers and panels and readings and New Orleans is looking better every year we come back.
Marianne, Jill, and Kelly were all on panels and Jill read from A Field Guide to Deception at a special gathering of Lambda Literary Award Finalists. Bywater's publicist, Michele Karlsberg, was on a Marketing/Social Media panel. In this world of techno marketing we welcome all the guidance we can get and our heads are still spinning with new knowledge and possibilities thanks to this fantastic panel.
At the closing ceremony–ok, party–Kelly and Marianne had the privilege of announcing this year's winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction. We were proud to award the prize to Sally Bellerose for her novel The Girls Club. (Sally is pictured above with Kelly, left, and Marianne, right.) We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Sally over the weekend and can't wait to publish her novel. Our readers will love it!
Over the weekend we met some great people like Audrey Beth Stein, Cecilia Tan, and Lori Perkins and had a fantastic dinner with Lee Lynch, Elaine Mulligan, Anne Laughin, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Sally Bellerose, Carson Taite, Sandy Thornton, and Lisa Girolami. Watching Carson Taite with a menu is a new and oddly endearing delight. We also caught up with old friends like Jess Wells, Greg Herren, Thomas Keith, Amie Evans, Fay Jacobs, Carol Rosenfeld, and Cherry and Beth.
As always we come away with renewed energy and great ideas and already are looking forward to next year's festival. Thanks again to Paul Willis for making it happen!
The Golden Crown Literary Society Conference
is a must for anyone interested in lesbian literature–readers and writers alike!
Across a fun-packed weekend, you'll be able to attend presentations and listen to panel discussions. Authors will be reading, as well as signing their books. Publishers will be exhibiting, and there'll be time for chats over coffee.
This year Georgia Beers, Z Egloff, Marcia Finical, Marianne K. Martin, Bett Norris, Joan Opyr, and Kelly Smith will definitely be attending. And we'll let you know which other Bywater authors are making plans.
The conference takes place June 3-6, 2010 in Orlando, FLA.
For more information, visit: www.gclscon.com
will be talking to Laura Zielinsky on her radio blog Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women's Fiction.
They will be
discussing Georgia's latest novel, Starting from Scratch — as
well as the haze most authors end up in after the Golden Crown Literary
The show will air on June
10:30-11:30 p.m., EST.
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