As part of ‘The Next Big Thing Blog Hop,’ I was tagged by the wonderful writer Sally Bellerose in her post this week. http://sallybellerose.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/the-next-big-thing-writers-discuss-new-work/ The purpose of this hop is to expose folks to writers and their work that perhaps they haven’t heard of, whether a new release or a Work in Progress (WIP). This is week 25.
According to the rules of the hop, I will be answering some questions (the same ones for every other blog hopper) about either my newest release or my WIP and then at the bottom of the post I’ll listed authors who will do the same thing in their blogs next Wednesday Dec 19th.
What is the working title of your book?
I’m cheating here right away. My anthology releases this year were Girl Fever: 69 Tales of Sudden Sex for Lesbians (edited for Cleis Press) out in June, and Heiresses of Russ 2012: the Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction (co-edited by my alter-ego Connie Wilkins with Steve Berman for Lethe Press) out in October. My next anthology, Wild Girls, Wild Nights: True Lesbian Sex Stories (edited for Cleis Press) will be out next June. But I’m going to discuss a short story just out in November in Kristina Wright’s anthology Duty and Desire: Military Erotic Romance (Cleis Press) and being reprinted in Radclyffe’s Best Lesbian Romance 2013 (Cleis Press) in February. The story, “Sergeant Rae,” is quite short, but sticks in my mind, and I might yet expand it to novel length. Maybe.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’ve never served in the military myself, but the concept of women (especially lesbians) serving under all the constraints and tensions of such a situation has fascinated me for many years, and I’ve written several short stories about women soldiers from WWII to Vietnam and on to Iraq and Afghanistan. All that research still simmers in my subconscious, and this time an irresistible pair of characters bubbled to the top and demanded that their story be told.
On the off chance that you might be interested in more stories about lesbians in the military, here’s a list of mine:
“To Remember You By” in Hanne Blank’s Shameless: Women’s Intimate Erotica, 2002, Seal Press, reprinted in Maxim Jakubowski’s The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, Vol. 3, 2004, Mammoth Books, and reprinted again in my own collection for Lethe Press, A Ride to Remember, 2011. (In WWII London, a WAC nurse meets an American woman pilot who ferries planes for the RAF. This one is also posted for free on my blog, temporarily, if you scroll down far enough and search for it. I wrote a sequel with the same characters 30 years later, but by then they’re no longer in the military.)
“At Liberty” in Ultimate Lesbian Erotica 2005, edited by Nicole Foster for Alyson Press, 2004 (An Iraq War vet with PTSD climbs Miss Liberty.)
“Dietrich Wears Army Boots” in Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers, edited by Mitzi Szereto for Cleis Press, 2005, reprinted in my collection A Ride to Remember, Lethe Press, 2011. (Fictional treatment of Marlene’s actual service entertaining the Allied troops during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII.)
“Lipstick on Her Collar” in Lipstick on Her Collar and Other Tales of Lesbian Lust, edited by Sacchi Green and Rakelle Valencia for Pretty Things Press, 2008, reprinted in Best Lesbian Erotica 2009, Cleis Press (In Vietnam a WAC jeep-jockey shows a woman reporter the ropes of being In Country.)
“Danger” in Lesbian Lust, edited by Sacchi Green for Cleis Press, 2010 (An Army nurse and a WAC, both just back from Vietnam, meet accidentally on the scene of the Stonewall Uprising.)
“The Gift” in Best Lesbian Romance 2011, edited by Radclyffe for Cleis Press, 2011. (A British soldier in Afghanistan has a dream encounter with the lover she left behind her.)
What genre does your book fall under?
Both anthologies that include my story are classed as erotic romance, and that’s a good fit. Duty and Desire is mainly heterosexual in emphasis, with a few LGBT pieces like mine. Best Lesbian Romance is, obviously, filled with lesbian stories. To be most specific, my story “Sergeant Rae” is lesbian erotic romance, but could fit easily in an erotica book as well.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
That’s a really tough one. For the younger, vulnerable-but-tough-as-armored-tank-treads Jenny, I could see someone like a younger Sissy Spacek, if there’s such an actress out there. For Sergeant Rae herself, my vision is so specifically of someone I’ve known very well, but is not an actress, that I can’t think of any professional actress who could handle her.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
An injured army tank mechanic and a paraplegic sergeant find love and healing in the aftermath of war.
What is the longer synopsis of your book?
Sgt. Rae saved Jenny when their convoy hit a minefield. Jenny gave Sgt. Rae, more drastically wounded, a will to live through months of hospitalization and therapy. Now they work to heal and make a life together in rural New England.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
All my work so far has been short fiction in books from established publishers, but if I expand it into a novel, who knows?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A couple of weeks. But it’s quite a short story.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
All the history and memoirs I’ve read about women in the military, as well as stories I’ve been told, inspired me.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Besides dealing with women in the military, the story addresses the aftermath of wars, disabilities, gay marriage, and a certain psychological element of the need for kinky sex.
Here’s snippet that might pique the reader’s interest:
Sgt. Rae was so strong she could carry me at a run through gunfire and smoke and exploding mines. Two years later, she’s that strong again. With just one hand she can hold me from getting away, no matter how hard I struggle. Even her voice is enough to stop me at a dead run, so it doesn’t matter that she can’t run any more. And anyway, I’d never want to run away.
I’m smaller, but I’ve got my own kind of muscle, even if it doesn’t show. A mechanic in an armored tank unit has to be strong just to handle the tools you need, and if you’re a woman doing the job you need a whole extra layer of strength. I’m not an army mechanic any more, but I can still use tools; Sgt. Rae isn’t an army Sgt. any more, but she’ll always be in charge. At the town hall where she’s the police and fire department dispatcher, they tell me she’s got the whole place organized like it’s never been before.
In our house, or in the town, I’m supposed to just call her Rae these days, and mostly I remember. I’m just Jenny. In the bedroom, we don’t need names at all, except to wake each other when the bad dreams come, and whisper that everything’s all right now. Or close enough to handle, as long as we’re together.
Next Wednesday check out these author’s blogs to find out about their Next Big Thing:
Jove Bell: http://jovebelle.wordpress.com/
MJ Williamz: http://mjwilliamz.wordpress.com/
Teresa Noelle Roberts: http://www.teresanoelleroberts.com