Bywater BLUE
We love good books, just like you do
May 2011
Welcome to Bywater Books

Dear Readers,

Summer's coming, and this month we're pleased to introduce our newest author Sally Bellerose. The Girls Club, her first novel, will be available later this month. For more details, see Author Profile and Spotlight below.

Congratulations to award winners Lisa Gitlin and Stella Duffy. For more details, see News from Bywater below.

Our Blog Tour continues. For more details, see Blog Tour below.

To find out why Amazon represents such a threat to independent bookstores, take a look at Women & Children First below.

The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival takes place later this week. For more details about panels and appearances featuring Bywater authors and editors, see Saints and Sinners below. At the festival, Kelly Smith will also announce the winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction.

The Golden Crown Literary Society Conference takes place early next month. For more details, see Golden Crown below.

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

Author Profile
Sally B

It's not always easy being a writer. As Sally Bellerose explains, she is "surrounded by a good many people who have no idea why I engage in this eccentric activity." Which is why she's a member of "an embarrassing number of writers groups."

"Embarrassing" because, as she admits, it's funny how most of her fellow writers reckon it's much better to talk about writing alongside food. And yes, there have been a few accidents along the way. Sally offers this bit of hard-won knowledge: "It is best not to ladle soup or serve beverages within ten feet of a laptop."

(She adds that she's currently considering writing a cookbook for writers' groups. She doesn't yet have a name for it — all suggestions welcome — but sample chapters include: "Drink Me: mind-expanding legal intoxicants to combat writer's block.")

There's another reason the groups have been so important for Sally: "I have not had a formal writing education," she says simply. So it's been with the support of groups that she's found her voice. Her most recent short story, "Fishwives," has just won the Saints and Sinners Fiction Contest. And Bywater Books is pleased to be publishing her first novel The Girls Club, which won the 2010 Bywater Prize for Fiction.

By now, she has been writing long enough to see that "sexuality, illness, and class are common themes in my writing." Why? She explains "I'm fiercely working-class," and adds that "I struggle with my passions and prejudices when exploring the ways class, race, good or bad luck, and ability interact and inform each other."

She also knows about illness, coping with what she nicknamed "the dreaded bowel disease." A Registered Nurse, she has also spent "twenty-six years working … with the inspirational residents and staff of Monson Developmental Center, once a community of 1600 residents, now a vastly depopulated home for profoundly delayed, multiply challenged adults." It's an experience that introduced her to many "amazing people," and she has been writing to celebrate them "as well as the wondrous characters from my many other jobs."

And there have indeed been many other jobs — "including, but not limited to, fence painter, babysitter, hall guard, tobacco picker, short order cook, hole-punch operator, cashier, bus driver, security guard, EMT, nurses' aid, Personal Care Attendant, editor, author, and gardener."

She's also been a laundress: "Once, in the era when he used the name Cassius Clay, I washed many pairs of Muhammad Ali's exquisitely knit socks and handed them directly to him. With the possible exception of my son, he was the most beautiful man I have ever seen."

Don't expect Ali (or too many pairs of socks) to show up in The Girls Club, though. It's a story about a working-class girl struggling with an embarrassing illness, and an emerging sexuality that's at odds with her Catholic upbringing. Sounds heavy-going? Don't be mistaken. As Sally explains: "The older I get, the more interested I become in the line between sentimentality and empathy in my work and the value of embracing humor, irony, and absurdity in my life and writing."

Sally lives with Cindy, "my beloved spouse of over twenty years." And when not writing, "you can often find me wrapped around the little finger of my smart, sassy four-year-old granddaughter, Kennedy."

In fact, to find out more about Kennedy, click here. It'll take you straight through to the website, where Sally has written a piece about being happily un-wed — even in a state that allows her to marry.

by Caroline Curtis

Hot Off The Press
Girls Club
The Girls Club

by Sally Bellerose

Sisterhood. The buzzword of the seventies, the key to women's liberation. But for Catholic working class girls like Marie, Renee, and Cora Rose LaBarre, sisterhood is a word that covers a multitude of attitudes. They're best friends, worst enemies, greatest supporters, and biggest detractors.

Set in the decade of opening doors, The Girls Club follows the three sisters as they love, argue, and struggle their way through adolescence to womanhood, taking in religion, illness, parenting, sexuality, drugs, and rock 'n roll on the way.

Sally Bellerose was awarded a Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts based on an excerpt from this book. The manuscript won the Bywater Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the James Jones Fellowship, the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, and the Bellwether Endowment.

"The Girls Club is incredible — fierce, sexy and wise. Reading it will help you get through almost anything with more of your humanity intact. Plus, it's a blast."

— Susan Stinson, author of Venus of Chalk

"Riveting, gripping, unputdownable, The Girls Club grabbed me by the throat from the very first page . . . I'd follow this enormously talented writer to the ends of the earth."

— Lesléa Newman, author of The Reluctant Daughter and Heather Has Two Mommies


Lesbian Fiction 296 pages ISBN 978-1-932859-78-2

At fine stores everywhere
or order directly from Bywater Books.

Bywater Trivia

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

What is the name of the lesbian bar in The Girls Club by Sally Bellerose?

E-mail us at or by post to the address in the column below — see To Order Books.

Blog Tour
Bywater's Virtual Book Tour continues. Seven of our authors are making connections one blog at a time. Guest blogging on each other's blogs for the next four months, they're posting from the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes region, New England, the South, England, and Australia.

This month, Bett Norris has been on the move. She visited Marianne K. Martin on May 2; Lindy Cameron on May 4; Georgia Beers on May 6; and Sally Bellerose on May 11. And she will visit Jill Malone on May 13.

Georgia Beers will visit Marianne K. Martin on May 16; Lindy Cameron on May 18; Bett Norris on May 20; Sally Bellerose on May 25; and Jill Malone on May 27.

In June, Lindy Cameron and Stella Duffy will be on the move. And in July, Sally Bellerose will finish up the tour. We'll give you more details nearer the time. Or check out our website.

This probably goes without saying, but click on the authors' names above to link straight through to their blogs.

Women & Children First

Women & Children First is a bookstore with a mission: to celebrate women. It opened in Chicago in 1979 and for more than thirty years co-owners Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen have had a clear purpose. They want to focus on women's writing and draw attention to the roles that women fulfill, raising children and providing care.

Today Women & Children First is one of the last feminist bookstores in the country — but it's under threat. The reason is simple: Amazon.

Unlike a bookstore, Amazon doesn't need to need to make a profit from books. In fact, it offers books at a loss and makes its profits from the other products it sells, such as electrical goods.

Independent bookstores struggle to compete. And many have simply given up. But Linda and Ann are determined to remain open, which means that they've had to figure out a way to keep the store open even as sales decline. So they've cut staff and overheads, and they've raised funds — none of which is easy. "But," says Linda, "I can't imagine working without a mission. A mission makes work worthwhile."

As part of their mission, here's what the bookstore offers:
· Storytime for children every Wednesday morning throughout the year.
· Sappho's Salon, every Saturday evening.
· Author appearances; last year, more than 300 authors visited.
· Four different book groups, discussing subjects that range from classic literature to feminism — and Buffy.

You can't get any of that on Amazon.

So the next time you want to buy a book, don't shop with your mouse. Remember what they say at Women & Children First, and Shop as Independently as You Think.

News from Bywater
Congratulations to Lisa Gitlin, who has won twice over in the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Her debut novel I Came Out For This? won the Gold Medal for the Humor category and Gold Medal for the Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Fiction category. She will be attending the award ceremony May 23 in New York, the 15th Annual IPPY Awards.

Congratulations too to Stella Duffy. Her novel Parallel Lies was also recognized, winning the Bronze Medal for the Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Fiction category.

Stella's work will also feature in a new Photo Stories exhibition launching May 26. She has also written a new short story, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday June 7 at 3:30 p.m. (GMT). It will be available to Listen Again via the BBC i-Player for the following seven days.

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

Saints and Sinners
The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival attracts writers, editors, publishers, and reviewers from around the world. As well, of course, as readers and fans.

This year's event takes place May 12-15, and Bywater will have a considerable presence:

Sally Bellerose
· will be reading at the Book Launch Party to celebrate publication of Saints and Sinners 2011: New Fiction from the Festival. She will be reading from her short story "Fishwives," which won this year's Saints and Sinners Fiction Contest and which features in the anthology. Thursday May 12 at Hotel Monteleone, 7 p.m.
· will read from her debut novel The Girls Club, as part of Writers Read. Saturday May 14, at 11:30 a.m.
· will appear on a panel called Well Versed: Poetry Discussion and Readings. Saturday May 14, at 2:30 p.m.

Bett Norris and Kelly Smith will appear on a panel called Spit and Polish — a Guide to Self-Editing. This will explore the limits of self-editing, and the responsibilities of the publisher. Saturday May 14, at 10 a.m.

Marianne K. Martin
· will moderate a panel called Women's Writes: HerStory or Sisters Doin' It for Themselves. This will explore how writers, publishers, and booksellers can build a community and help each other, especially in an increasingly virtual world. Saturday May 14 at 11:30 a.m.
· will also be reading from her new novel, The Indelible Heart. Sunday May 15 at 2:30 p.m.

Bett Norris will appear on a panel called If I Could Turn Back Time, to discuss writing historical fiction. When should writers stick to the truth, and when may they take liberties? Saturday May 14 at 4 p.m.

Our publicist Michele Karlsberg will be delivering a masterclass called Make Social Networking Work about connecting writers and readers via social networks. Friday May 13 at 3 p.m.

For further details, including all venues, visit

Golden Crown
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, Marianne K. Martin, Bett Norris, and Marcia Finical will be attending.

The conference takes place June 9-12, 2011 at the Buena Vista Palace in Orlando, FLA.

For more information, click here.

Bywater Events
Stella Duffy
– will be appearing at the Du Maurier Festival to discuss
· Daphne du Maurier and the Historical Novel. Friday May 20 at 11:30 a.m.

· her latest novel Theodora. Saturday May 21 at 2:15 p.m.
The festival takes place in Fowey, UK.
For more information: (44) 1726 833847

– will be offering a Story Surgery as part of the Brighton Festival Fringe. Tuesday May 24 at 12 p.m.
The festival takes place in Brighton, UK.

– will be appearing at the Hay Festival as part of a panel called Bio-Fiction: Mapping Science's Eureka Moments. Monday May 30 at 8:30 p.m.
The festival takes place in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, UK.
For more information: (44) 1497 822 620

– will be reading from Theodora at Dulwich Books. Tuesday June 21 at 7:30 p.m.
6 Croxted Road
London SE21 8SW
For more information: (44) 20 8670 1920

Elana Dykewomon
· will be among the readers at Betty's List Literary Anniversary Party & Book Swap. Friday June 3 at 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Duboce Park Café
2 Sanchez Street
San Francisco
For more details, click here.

· will read at Art and Music in the Gardens, a free two-day even showcasing Oakland talent. She will be reading under the Oak Tree in the Garden Centre. Saturday June 4 at 3:50 p.m.
Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park Garden Center
666 Bellevue Avenue
Oakland, California
For more information: 510-547-8894

· is honored to be taking part in the opening ceremony of the Pacific Northwest Old Lesbians Organizing for Change regional gathering in Tacoma. Thursday June 28
For more details, click here.

Marianne K. Martin
will be reading from her latest novel, The Indelible Heart, at
· People Called Women on June 21, at 6 p.m.
3153 W Central Avenue
OH 43606-2923
For more information: (419) 535-6455

· Common Language Bookstore on June 23, at 7 p.m.
317 Braun Court
Ann Arbor
MI 48104
For more information: (734) 663-0036

Bett Norris
will be reading from her latest novel, What's Best for Jane, at BookStore1Saratosa. Wednesday June 8 at 6 p.m.
1359 Main Street
FL 34236
For more information: (941) 365-7900

The Virtual World

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

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

Joan Opyr
Click for her website.

Mari SanGiovanni
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.

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

Cynn Chadwick
Click for her website.

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.

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: 21
In This Issue
Author Profile
Hot Off The Press
Bywater Trivia
Blog Tour
Women & Children First
News from Bywater
Get Booked!
Saints and Sinners
Golden Crown
Bywater Events
The Virtual World
To Order Books

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Ann Arbor MI 48106

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