joy candles reflection

What’s Your Comfort and Joy?

Karin Kallmaker Comfort and Joy 20 Comments

Drawing and comment period is now closed. Winners announced in the most recent comment. Short version: Everybody won!

Two women in uniform meet in a cemetery on Christmas Eve. The uniforms aren’t subtle: one is a soldier, the other a pastor. The attraction is immediate, but dimmed by the reality of their professions. On the surface, at least, they seem incompatible.

Faith is a tricky subject. For example, along with politics and sports, religion is a topic forbidden from posh dinner parties. We certainly are living in times where discussing some subjects feels about as safe as playing softball with a hand grenade.

Keep Calm and Love On Poster

I can’t find the quote to attribute it correctly, but I tend to agree with my memory of this one: “So much of the conflict in the world comes from the idea that someone has to be right about religion.” For what it’s worth, that leads me to one of my personal philosophies: “I have nothing against guns and the Bible. I just don’t like them pointed at people.”

So how will Milla and Tyna bridge the distance between their first impressions and a surprising, unexpected physical attraction?

That’s the gist of Comfort and Joy, a short novella I wrote a few years ago in an inspired frenzy. The opening scene came to me in a single “download” from the creative heavens, so to speak, as did several others. It’s funny, heartfelt, and sensual, in keeping with the season. And yes, they talk about faith. Read More

window cleaners berlin post war NYPL digital archives

Okay Lesbian Boomer – Diaspora and Other Rewards

Karin Kallmaker LIFE + STYLE 5 Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about diaspora, a word I didn’t hear until I went to college. It’s very useful because there’s a whole lot of diaspora going on. It very generally means the dispersion of people into a new culture. It originally described the Jews out of their Israel homeland to new countries and cultures all over the world. The massive diaspora of Filipinos largely to the western US, for example, was one reason I was drawn to create Kesa Sapiro.

Diaspora has a long, persistent ripple effect. A smaller group of people emerge in a new place. The generations successively adapt into the new culture, which is itself changed by their presence. I think it describes the lesbian community and the gay rights movement too.

We Left Our Closet Homeland

Once I thought of the closet as a kind of homeland for many of us, the inevitable cycles of diaspora seemed more clear to me. The Lesbian Generation that moved from shadow to dyke march in a few short years immigrated from the-love-that-cannot-speak-its-name to multi-color rainbow visibility. They became the targets of all the usual suspects (many of whom are still with us today), but were also shunned by natural allies. Read More

harvest table favorite time of year

It’s Thanksgiving Month – Win an Audiobook for the Holiday

Karin Kallmaker Painted Moon 25th Anniversary Edition

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

Anyone who knows me knows that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Quite literally, EVERYONE is there for the food. Sure, sure – family, gratitude, friendship, good times, whatever, I’m totally on board for that too, and pass the gravy.

But it’s indisputable that this is my patronus:

pooh wiggling for dinner

I celebrated my love of the Thanksgiving feast in the early chapters of my fifth novel, Painted Moon. So this is the perfect time of year for the 25th Anniversary Edition to be released. Piling on to this celebration is the first-ever audiobook production, and it features the excellent narration of actor Abby Craden.

The audiobook, in my nakedly biased opinion, would make a great accompaniment to that plane, train or automobile journey you may have, or your commute, or in the kitchen with you as you prep for your own way of celebrating National Feast Day Thanksgiving.

Painted Moon 25th Anniversary Edition audio cover

To enter to win an audio download code, all you have to do is Read More

woman hiding all but her eyes

I Think I Thought I’d Remember

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Painted Moon 25th Anniversary Edition

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

Twenty-five years ago there was a lot of life I didn’t know was going to happen. I didn’t know I’d have two fully grown kids, that the Rolling Stones would still be touring, or that dot-com was going to be an economy. I didn’t know same sex couples would be able to get married everywhere, though I sure hoped so.

I also didn’t know the meaning … of … restraint … when it came to ellipses. And I sure didn’t know that I’d deeply regret not starting and maintaining a spreadsheet to keep track of names of characters, their careers, where they lived, what time of year the story took place, and physical characteristics of my leads.

I don’t even remember if I simply thought I’d remember, and there’s irony for you.

And Then I HAD to Remember

When releasing a 25th Anniversary edition of Painted Moon became a thing, I was thrilled because Jackie Frakes and Leah Beck are two of my favorite people. We were great friends all those years ago, though we’ve only spoken briefly in the twenty-five years since, when I wrote “Smudges” for Frosting on the Cake Volume 1 (This short story is now added Read More

audience salutes performer

Arting Your Heart Out – Introvert Writer Self-Care

Karin Kallmaker Craft of Writing, LIFE + STYLE, Resources 0 Comments

We saw two plays this week. One was the tippity-top of Broadway shows, complete with a stellar cast and top notch production values in a 2200-seat theater with state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and set design. The other was a local production with local actors of a classic comedy in a 90-seat theater without state-of-the-art anything.

One is the culmination of the best work that hundreds of people can bring to a blockbuster theater project. The other is an underfunded labor of love. I value both equally.

As a writer, experiencing Read More

meme can't marry a man you just met

Instalove, Because I Said So, and Frozen

Karin Kallmaker Because I Said So, Book News 0 Comments

Instalove is a romantic story telling trope of long standing. It shows up so often in Shakespeare, for example, a person could think it’s how all relationships happened. The Romans invented Cupid’s Arrow to explain the irrationality of it (and to excuse a lot of rape, but I digress).

In The Little Mermaid, Mermaid falls for Land Guy cause he’s pretty or something. Land Guy is into someone else and it doesn’t go well. At least that’s how it goes in the original version, which is a cautionary tale about Love At First Sight, and, of course, there is no such caution in the Disney version. (See P.S. below.)

Why can you marry a man you just met according to a thousand years of stories? True love. Love explains all. Read More

woman triumphant in field of sunflowers

Surviving that First Reading – Updated

Karin Kallmaker Business of Books, Resources 2 Comments

Oof the biggest challenges I faced, after writing my first book, was reading from it to a live audience. I had never done anything like that before. My very first reading at a bookstore in Vacaville, sadly now closed, is still a vivid memory. I had flop sweats from minute one. I plowed onward. And at the exact right time in the scene the audience laughed.

Once I got that laugh I was hooked on the feedback loop in public readings. I enjoy readings immensely. But it took practice and learning from a lot of mistakes to get there.

So it’s no surprise to me that one of the most common requests for advice from new authors is how to survive that first reading. I’ve attempted here to create a useful checklist of advance work that will take a lot of anxiety out of the process. Plus tips for managing the event itself gleaned over many years in a changing landscape of opportunities for live readings. Read More

GCLS logo 2019 Pittsburgh

So I Had This Idea 2019 – From Idea to Published Work

Karin Kallmaker Events and Appearances, Sisters of the Pen 2 Comments

Every writer I know has doubts – they come with the job. On top of that, once the Googlerithmz realize we’re writers, every third online ad has a new way, a rediscovered old way, a better way, the best way, the only way to be a writer.

Know what I say to that? Hooey. (It’s a technical term.) The only wrong way to write is not to write. After that, whatever works is what works.

Every year I have the good fortune to be reminded of this fact when I moderate a panel of recently published writers Read More