3 white unicorns on a rainbow

Inclusion, Survival, and Rainbow Unicorns

Karin Kallmaker LIFE + STYLE, Readers and Libraries, Sisters of the Pen 12 Comments

I’ve made no secret over the years about my love for the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS). I count it among my favorite organizations, and the annual conference is – bar none – my favorite event of the year.

A Bit of Background

As the world around all of us changes, and everyone – young and old – finds new ways to exist and express themselves, ideas and the words that express them change too. I’ve written before about the inevitable phenomenon. It’s exciting and painful all at once.

GCLS has been slow to adapt. Slow to the point that some early supporters have wandered away in search of more welcoming places. I’ve tried to support and amplify the voices of those people who have felt excluded and unwelcome and asked the organization to make it unequivocally clear that the organization’s goals, events, and awards were not just open to them but welcomed them.

Recently, GCLS unveiled updated language throughout their mission statement, goals, awards eligibility, and web site to reflect that GCLS welcomes women and nonbinary people and that there is simply no debate that transwomen are women and it supports the literature that tells those peoples’ stories. These changes to terms used were the result of the work of many volunteers, and was debated by the membership-elected board.

I was outright relieved. As one of their trailblazer awardees, it has been increasingly difficult to tell people they were welcome as the language remained not very inclusive. There has been some vocal pushback since the announcement. I’ve had private conversations with a couple of people that boil down to:

  1. Whenever women open their spaces to not-women, it’s a slippery slope to the not-women ruining everything.
  2. Someone will write a book with two men in it, call it sapphic, and it will win awards and so many more will follow that the voices of the lesbians who began the organization will be overrun and our literature will be lost.
  3. This change to wording is an unrealistic endeavor based on a good intentions.

I wrote an extensive response to one such public posting on Facebook, and I’ve captured the essence of it here. I want to make it clear where I stand. Read More

Griffith Observatory at Night view of Los Angeles below public domain Wikimedia

Hidden and Not-So-Hidden Fun in Simply the Best

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Simply the Best 5 Comments


Drawing and comment period is now closed. Winner announced in the most recent comment.


If I like a movie or show – it makes me laugh or cry or think, or has fabulous music – I watch it again. And again. To the point that my wife doesn’t really get it. However, she appreciates it when I can supply a pithy line at that right moment or a character name during trivia (Leonard Pinth Garnell, y’all, I’m just saying).

Ask me who won the gold medal in fencing at the 2012 London games and I take reasonable umbrage at the very idea I would be carrying that kind of information around in my precious gray cells. I would then pass the question over to Maria. And she will ask, “Which event in fencing, there are this many, here are their names and equipment and assessment of stabbiness, Men’s, Women’s, or Team,” and you may as well say you’re sorry for asking such an imprecise and obviously problematic question.

Hello, My Name is Karin and I’m a Sponge

Instead of facts and figures, I carry around quotes that I paraphrase as appropriate to any given daily situation. Trying to find someone in a crowd? “What’s your vector, Victor?” Ask me how to put an object to use? “I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl…” (Airplane!)

I’m a sponge.I’ve been sponging for decades. Full confession: my best stuff is compiled Read More

5 pink and white marble easter eggs on white background

The Hoo-Ha about Hoo-Hoos

Karin Kallmaker Simply the Best 0 Comments

So I was looking up the history and use of “hoo hoo,” you know, like you do when you’re a writer and you want to be sure that what you think a phrase means is the generally accepted definition.

What’s the Hoo-Ha about Hoo-Hoos?

I confirmed that “hoo-hoo” is a euphemism for lady bits. I was grateful to do so without having to confront the often exceedingly graphic definitions at The Urban Dictionary. As with Mahjong, I found variation in the spelling – to hyphenate or not to hyphenate?

So I asked on various folks on Facebook. There was no consensus about whether the hyphen was required. One person – dead serious I’m sure – thought the hyphen made it more elegant. The Interwebz didn’t have a definitive opinion, and I wasn’t about to click on any site that wanted to show me images. If I’m looking to look, I can always refer to Femalia.

I decided on the hyphen because, sure, it’s more elegant.

Hoo-Hoo Research

Why was I looking up uses of “hoo-hoo”? Simply the Best is set inside a wildly successful women’s lifestyle and wellness company. My deep dive into the women’s wellness industry turned up a product called a yoni egg, which is a rock sold to correct imperfect hoo-hoos. I hadn’t known that any hoo-hoo could be less than perfect! Read More

twitter panel showing hashtag congressman douchebag as a #1 trending topic

Simply the Best – Say Hello to Alice and Pepper

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Simply the Best 2 Comments

When I picked the name for Simply the Best several years ago, I was of course inspired by Tina Turner’s classic 1991 smash hit. Little did I know that while I was writing the book the song would come to life again in acoustic versions, including Patrick’s serenade of David on Schitt’s Creek (incidentally one of my favorite romantic storylines on TV in a very long time).

Just this past week Tina’s original turned up in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which wasn’t so much romantic as juxtaposed calm amongst much mayhem and contretemps. Anyhoo, it seems as if everywhere I turn I’m hearing “Simply the Best.” Partly perhaps because The Hound + The Fox version is in a long Spotify playlist I made for the book.

The novel opens with the unfortunate reality that #CongressmanDouchebag is trending, and it’s all Alice Cabot’s fault. If you haven’t seen the trailer, have a look.


Pop open the box below by clicking on the + and read the introductions for two women who were part of my life for a very long time. You’ll find out how #CongressmanDouchebag came to be.

Simply the Best – Snippets from Chapters One and Two

by Karin Kallmaker


Simply the Best, the longest novel of my career (so far), will be available in August. You can pre-order a signed copy right here.

Copyrighted material, uncorrected proof, 2021