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Latest Blog Tour: Renée Cronin

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in Community | 0 comments

Latest Blog Tour: Renée Cronin

Meet Renée Cronin, a self-described avid reader and lifetime resident of Boston, MA. She began penning her debut novel Tastes Like Cherry in 2005. As a child protective social worker and clinician, Renée uses writing as a personal outlet, but recently began to explore publication. Renee’s inspiration to pen and publish comes from an overwhelming display of support from family and friends. She’s currently working on several short stories and anticipates the release of an anthology as well as a sequel to Tastes Like Cherry in the very near future. Listen to Renée chat with S. Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle about her book and passions! Tell us about Tastes Like Cherry. Tastes Like Cherry is the story of one woman’s fight between her heart and her head. Cherry and Anya are the main characters and the story is told in both voices. Anya breaks up with Cherry right before their wedding and moves out of state. Six months later, Anya is back and she wants one thing – Cherry. Cherry struggles with following her head or her heart. The two are not in accord and Cherry can’t decide what she really wants. How does she trust someone again who hurt her so badly? How does one reconcile with giving their heart back to the person who crushed it before? Read Chapter One! In the novel, there is a character named Olivia who battles breast cancer, just like I did. I wrote part of the novel while dealing with my own wellness journey and some of the questions Olivia asks are ones I had while I thought about death and dying. Parts of the book are like a journal entry, very raw and revealing. When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun? I spend a lot of time reading. I love to get lost in a book and jump into someone else’s world. It’s my stress reliever. I love to dance, but I admittedly have neglected my passion for dance. That is something that I want to get back into. I have recently begun exercising and am slowly (very slowly) falling in “like” with it. Gym and I had a very unstable relationship in the past, so I’ve decided to rekindle and it’s looking better than it used to. Traveling is something that I love to do as well. I’ve been out of the country a few times and there is still so much to explore; and I still have some states that I cannot wait to visit. What part of the writing process do you most enjoy? I love beginning a book. I love when characters talk to me and plead to have their story told. I enjoy coming up with character profiles, names and putting a story together in my head. I have a few friends who are also writers and bouncing around ideas and getting feedback is a part of the process that truly motivates me. What part of the writing process do you most enjoy? I love beginning a book. I love when characters talk to me and plead to have their story told. I enjoy coming up with character profiles, names and putting a story together in my head. I have a few friends who are also writers and bouncing around ideas and getting feedback is a part of the process that truly motivates me. What kinds of books do you like to read? Anything with romance as the basis. I am into fiction literature mainly and can read non-fiction here and there. I love poetry (spoken work mostly), but Nikki Giovanni...

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Blog Tour Featuring Fiona Zedde

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Community | 0 comments

Blog Tour Featuring Fiona Zedde

Meet Fiona Zedde, author of several novellas and novels of lesbian love and desire, including the Lambda Literary Award finalists Bliss and Every Dark Desire. Her novel, Dangerous Pleasures, was winner of the About.com Readers’ Choice Award for Best Lesbian Novel or Memoir of 2012. Her short fiction has appeared in various anthologies including the Cleis Press Best Lesbian Erotica series, Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers, Iridescence: Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica, and Fist of the Spider Woman. Writing under the name “Fiona Lewis,” she has also published a novel of young adult fiction called Dreaming in Color with Tiny Satchel Press. Born in Jamaica, Fiona currently lives and writes in Atlanta, Georgia. Tell us about Desire at Dawn. Desire at Dawn is an erotic novel about vampires, finding love in unexpected places, and about the importance of family. Recently turned from human to vampire, Kylie wants nothing to do with her new life or with the clan that claims her. She certainly wants nothing to do with her mother, Belle, who is completely infatuated with her vampire wife and clan leader. To escape her unwanted existence, Kylie befriends a beguiling human, Olivia, who has been abandoned by her family. But unknown to Kylie, someone is watching her – an enemy that has targeted her and her clan. While battling this enemy, Kylie also grapples with the surprising desire she feels for the human woman; a desire she’d once seen as wicked and wrong. Read Chapter Excerpt… When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun? When I’m not writing, I love to travel. Mostly to places I’ve never been before, but I also love revisiting places I’ve enjoyed and opening myself up to having completely new experiences in these familiar settings. Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured in Desire at Dawn? I like to think so. Growing up, I loved vampire stories. But it was extremely rare to see myself and my culture represented in them. After I read Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories, though, I re-realized that it’s up to us to add our own tales and our own legends— vampires included— to what’s already out there. My characters in Desire at Dawn (and its connected novel, Every Dark Desire) are my contributions to that cultural collection. What aspects of Desire at Dawn are based on your real life experiences? In the novel, there is a character named Olivia who battles breast cancer, just like I did. I wrote part of the novel while dealing with my own wellness journey and some of the questions Olivia asks are ones I had while I thought about death and dying. Parts of the book are like a journal entry, very raw and revealing. What’s next? Tell us about your work in progress. Right now, I’m working on a novel called Rise of the Rain Queen. The title may change though. It’s a historical and paranormal story set in pre-colonial eastern and southern Africa. The main character is Nyandoro, a young woman who falls in love with a man’s wife. This love is selfish and all-consuming, a love Ny gives herself over to with the reckless enthusiasm of the young. But while she revels in the passion she and her lover share, otherworldly forces beyond her control are moving heaven and earth to pull her from her small village life and into a world of legends. ****************************************************************** Contact/follow Fiona Zedde: Website: www.fionazedde.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/fionazedde Tumblr: www.fionazedde.tumblr.com Blog: www.fionazedde.blogspot.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/fiona.zedde   ****************************************************************** The LEZ TALK BOOKS BLOG TOUR is a collaborative effort by Black lesbian writers of...

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Blog Tour Featuring L. Cherelle

Posted by on Jan 17, 2015 in Community | 0 comments

Blog Tour Featuring L. Cherelle

This month, the Lez Talk Books Blog Tour features Resolute author Lauren Cherelle. Her next second novel, The Dawn of Nia, is slated for Spring 2015. In the meantime, she’s compiling a (nonfiction) guide for writers. She also has pages upon pages of scribbled short story excerpts and ideas to develop. Lauren, tell us about The Dawn of Nia. This Black lesbian romance novel begins with a secret that’s revealed in a cemetery on a scorching July day. In the story, loss begets love for the main character, Nia. Her attitude about love creates shortsighted faith until a trail of lust leads to a promising avenue. The love in this book is a little messy— meaning the line between acceptable and inappropriate is blurred. And there’s a difference between perfection and perfected. Nia chooses ‘perfected’ love because ‘perfect’ love can never meet her expectations. My story isn’t about being in love; it’s about what it takes to fall in love. The ‘falling’ helps Nia truly accept that knowing love is okay. Reading sample. How did The Dawn of Nia come to life? Who or what influenced you? A few years ago, my family experienced a difficult death. Some draw-dropping secrets were revealed the day of the funeral. After that experience, I decided my next novel would include a secret that surfaces at a funeral. I’m sure hurtful or shameful truths that arise during tragedy aren’t unique to my family. So, I took an assumed commonplace occurrence and made it unique to my characters. The first chapter opens at a funeral and closes with a secret. Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured in The Dawn of Nia? There are certain aspects of Black lesbian and Black cultural experiences that I made a conscious effort to incorporate. In the Black lesbian genre, readers are often introduced to romantic characters with opposing gender expressions. The Dawn of Nia features a femme-on-femme relationship. Our cultural norms often teach and pressure us to view sexuality as stagnant (e.g. you’re gay, straight, bi, or asexual)— not fluid. The character Deidra represents fluidity. Also, Black folks in America have a special bond with fictive kinship. “Play kin” is an important characteristic of relationships in the story. When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun? Whenever possible, I like to travel and do new stuff with my partner. I couch-potato (Is that a verb? Is that fun?). Relaxation has become a pleasurable activity— especially when it involves a good book or “The Biggest Loser,” “The Amazing Race,” “Falling Skies,” “Defiance,” “American Horror Story,” or “The Walking Dead.” I also like to lose myself in YouTube. A big part of my fun is spending time with Adobe Creative Suite. I also like to play in my curly hair, and teach women to explore and adore the power of intimacy. What part of the writing process do you most enjoy? Editing. I like the process of vetting. I’ve become a writer that embraces editing. It can be challenging and time-consuming to complete several rounds of editing, but you can’t skip them. Editing trims the fat and polishes the gem. Trusted beta readers and an editor or two are essential. Outside perspectives help me consider what I can no longer see. Now, my editing process also includes listening to each chapter. Editing severs the relationship with my baby (the story). I need the separation to help me see my story for what it is— a work in progress. The first draft is nothing. Good editing unearths the story I’ve intended to tell. Good editing unearths the story...

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Writing Inspiration…

Posted by on Jan 13, 2015 in Musings | 0 comments

Writing Inspiration…

Writing? Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ~Arthur Ashe

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Blog Tour Featuring Claudia Moss

Posted by on Dec 1, 2014 in Community | 0 comments

Blog Tour Featuring Claudia Moss

Meet Claudia Moss, a novelist, poet, blogger and speaker. Independently published, she is the author of the bestselling Kindle novel, If You Love Me, Come. She wrote Wanda B. Wonders, a short-story series, showcasing her feisty character, Wanda B. Wonders, a social commentator. Her new work is a poetry collection, Soft Tsunami. Look for her hot new forthcoming novel, Not Without Passion. Claudia is a femme, generally soft-spoken– unless she’s ebullient with laughter– loving, nocturnal, generous, and a sensual dancer and passionate speaker/artist. She loves women in their innumerable ways of being, in their countless colors and textures, sounds and sensibilities, and idiosyncrasies. She’s here to share her thoughts with the Universe and open to loving and being loved, unconditionally and artistically. Tell us about your novel, IF YOU LOVE ME, COME. IF YOU LOVE ME, COME is the story of four women, who find their way through a maze of love and betrayal and faith and redemption. Miz Too-Sweet, their guide, is a mysterious matriarch who, unbeknownst to them, listens to the wind and brings a quiet peace to every situation. In her own way, each woman learns that if you love another, life dictates that you come when Love calls. Will Free find it in her heart to salvage the love that she and Junior Thomas once shared? Will Sharmayne experience the lesbian love for which she longs? Will Rhonda’s love save a student heading for jail? And is Pinky doomed to spend her days in the Techwood Projects, pining for a love she can call her own? When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun? When I’m not writing, I love to exercise, discover new ways of caring for and styling my kinky curls, experimenting with make-up techniques, snapping selfies, reading, experimenting with new recipes, taking long walks in nature and spending quality time with family and friends. In addition, I love viewing and posting Vlogs to YouTube, dreaming about the exotic locales I intend to visit and admiring couples in loving relationships. Read More of Claudia's Q&A Who or what influenced IF YOU LOVE ME, COME? How did the novel come to life? The idea for the novel stemmed from something that happened to one of my knee-baby sister’s close girlfriends. She birthed a child, left it with my sister and walked away. I couldn’t imagine a mother doing that, under any circumstance, thus the proverbial thought: What if a character experienced that? I wondered how the mother and child would be impacted by the whole affair, and with that question leading the way, I set out to write the story. The other cast of characters stepped in with their own stories: Free refusing to be controlled by a lover; Sharmayne pushing her way out of the proverbial closet and embracing her first relationship with a woman lover; Rhonda understanding the weight of loving one of her students as if he were her own son; and Pinky refusing to believe that she is doomed to be loved and left. I was influenced by my own life in the telling of Free, Sharmayne, and Rhonda’s stories. As for Pinky, I have known many women who were loved and left and/or who walked away from abusive relationships with their children in tow. What cultural value do you see in writing IF YOU LOVE ME, COME? IF YOU LOVE ME, COME is a manual on love and the blessing it is to make the decision to love oneself and others under the worst of circumstances, in trying times. The characters are dynamic, each experiencing change from...

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