My Interview with Lynn Lawler

Today I am featured on Lynn Lawler’s Book Blog. Ms. Lawler is the author of the upcoming novel, Enlightened Desire. I am privileged to be a guest on her blog where she has given me the opportunity to discuss my lesbian romance novella, Her Name. 

Please follow the link to her blog: http://lynnlawler.blogspot.com/

Thank you!

Her Name
Her Name

Labeling the Lesbian

I write lesbian romance stories that don’t usually tackle the slew of political, social, or religious issues that can be so brutal towards homosexuality that taking one’s own life can feel like the only, and easier, option. It’s not. And it never will be, but I don’t write about those issues. Not yet.

The sexuality of my characters is at times so irrelevant in my books that the f/f romance could be swapped for their m/f counterparts and the story will read almost the same way. Am I playing it safe? Possibly, but what I know is this – I love a good romance – but eventually I will write stories with more substance, more backbone. I have a few in my slush pile, but for now, I’m a hopeless romantic aiming my bow directly for the reader’s heart.

I write about love and I choose two women to represent the love I want to show. But I’m very conscious that when writing about this kind of romance, I am avoiding the Butch/Femme dynamic of a lesbian relationship (even though it is very prevalent in the gay community) because I don’t know exactly what this combo entails and misrepresenting an entire group of lesbians isn’t something I’m willing to chance.

I neglect the whole Butch/Femme coupling because I know if I characterize a woman as appearing “manly” I will be tempted to attribute all the masculine traits that go along with that. I will write scenes with the Butch clamoring her tools underneath a car, or driving a pick-up, or with her face shoved beneath the kitchen sink fixing a leak.

Is this accurate? Do all Butches fix things? Does every single one of them know how to change a tire or rewire the electric cable? Are they even interested in these tasks or do they learn it to satisfy the expectations placed on them by the feminine women they date? Is this all part of the “role” in being butch?

If I wrote a Butch to be so typically “butch”, would I get slammed for it? On the flip-side, if I distinctly characterized feminine lesbian women as standing in front of the stove stirring a pot of some deliciously-mouth-watering concoction, or being experts at removing stains from any stubborn shirt, or as always being pretty and femme and femme and pretty, would it cause a backlash of angry Femmes? Gotta look sexy for the Butch!

Are these expectations placed in a Butch/Femme relationship accurate? I’m asking because I really don’t know. I hate labels and I refuse to make a distinction as to what kind of lesbian I am. I never saw my father hammer a nail into a wall. He didn’t even know how to put the Christmas tree together. My mother did that. But that didn’t make him any less of a man – it only meant he wasn’t a “handy” man.

Although I won’t label myself, I do know that in my relationships I see myself as the “protector.” I have an innate desire to take care of the people I love, particularly the woman I’m with and keep her away from harm. Does this make me the “man” because I’m the one who will jump out of bed in the middle of the night and tell my partner to stay safely in the room while I inspect the strange noises coming from the kitchen? Is it “gentlemanly” of me because I like to help my girlfriend slip on her coat and open doors for her. “Ladies first,” leaves me the one waiting and I’m okay with that, but that doesn’t make me butch.

I knew at a young age I had no interest in being Cinderella – with her white poofed-out ballroom dress and wearing her extremely narrow, high-healed, glass slippers that had to be, without a doubt, excruciatingly painful to walk in. No thank you. Give me Prince Charming’s black pants, elegant blue suit jacket, and flat comfortable shoes. And I’m good.

My role in relationships may seem male-oriented, and I may have an affinity for young men’s graphic t-shirts, camouflage shorts, hoodies, backwards hats, and converse cons (but even straight girls love cons, right?), and I don’t wear dresses, skirts, or anything that is extremely bright in color, still, this doesn’t make me butch.

It only makes me, me. And I say that ain’t so bad.

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Full disclosure. I once told an old girlfriend in lieu of flowers to buy me baseball cards – okay, so maybe this ONE thing makes me a little butch. 🙂

Rainbow Book Reviews

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Thank you, Rainbow Book Reviews, for a wonderful review of my book. I appreciate you having me on your site, as well as for the kind words.

The review below was written by JJ.

Thank you, JJ.

–This is a remarkably imaginative story. I was so touched that I more than found myself laughing with the main character, crying with her, obfuscating with her, and trying to make sense of the phenomenal gift she is given even though it came with as many pains as amazing highs. I was so moved by her dreams…their possible meaning and their potential insights stay with me till this moment. This book is full of passion and love. Plus, I felt myself filled with powerful feelings penetrating my soul. Outstanding!

Madison or Maddy is not in a really good space. She is fast racing towards her fortieth birthday and her life has not gone the way she wanted. She has not met the woman she could love for forever and be loved in return. Her mother passed away recently, her father is devastated, her sister and brother seem to be where they hoped to be. However, Maddy has this job that is a bit of a grind, friends and temporary lovers who possibly should be committed, and a growing fear that life is passing her by. Then she starts having these continuing, greater than life dreams on a nightly basis where all her hopes and desires seem to be actually happening. No one wants to hear Maddy expound on these dreams anymore, her family and closest friend thinks she needs therapeutic help, and she is simply caught in between. However for Maddy, there is unquestionably something very real going on in this astonishing, episodic piece of paradise. Enchanting!

Maddie does not get to know the name of the woman in her dreams till near the end of this story in a core-piercing, breath-losing, and time-halting kind of way. Yet, this woman is clearly the other most important person in this novella. In the beginning there are snippets. Later on, there is a rather long and cathartic path to the big truth about the origin of the dreams. It was intensely illuminating. Maddy gets to see with such clarity how a hypothetically much bigger life story unfolds possibly simultaneously with the life she actually walks through each day, each year. To my surprise, this part of the story totally stopped me in my tracks. Jaw-dropping, eye-popping, heart melting I simply cried an ocean of tears and had my heart burst wide open with joy. Phew! However, I felt that both stories had actually unfolded and blossomed around Maddie as her eternal love lit up the universe. After my initial and cathartically tearful reaction, I felt born again with a sense of the larger picture. Astounding!

I completely recommend this with the proviso that you might shed some tears from joy, from loss, or from bewilderment. Ever since I was introduced to the possibility of alternative worlds, I have tried to be open to such beautiful stories. This one is presented with such darn good insight into such an extraordinary though sometimes difficult to imagine potential. Supremely satisfying! –

If your curiosity has been piqued, you can purchase my book at http://www.amazon.com/

It is only $2.99!

Thank you!

Also, if you’d like to read more reviews of your favorite gay and lesbian books, please visit http://www.rainbowbookreviews.com

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Please Don’t Steal My Book

The first time I saw my book illegally downloaded on the Internet I wanted to cry – but not before punching in the face those six hundred-plus people who stole my book. Yes, stole. They didn’t pay for it, so it’s stealing. I had a discussion today with my sister about this issue. She knows a person who sells pirated-DVD copies of movies – new movies – movies less than a week in the theater new. She makes six hundred dollars cash a week. That didn’t sit well with me.

I told my sister this person was making money off someone else’s hard work. A writer’s words. A director’s vision. An actor’s passion. A costume designer’s sore, over-pricked fingers.

“She’s s single mom,” my sister responded. “Maybe I’d do that too if I needed the money. Would you rather have me work as a stripper and give lap dances?”

Please get over yourself, sister. You don’t have the boobs to be a stripper, but if you did, then yes. Yes, I’d rather you be a stripper giving lonely guys lap dances in dark rooms because at least that’s your hard work you’d be getting paid for. I had to explain it to my sister the way I explained it to my ten-year old niece that buying pirated movies is the same as walking into a store and shoving a DVD under your shirt and leaving.

“But we’re paying for it,” my niece said to me.

“Yes, but to people who stole it,” I responded.

The digital world has made books, movies, and music so conveniently available to us (on our phones, our computers, our Ipads) that it gives the delusion that we own the product before we even buy the product.

I know this didn’t just begin with my book. This type of theft has been going on for a long time. I remember Napster, but I never downloaded music I didn’t pay for, and that goes for books as well.

Authors don’t get paid much, especially authors of e-books that sell for three dollars. The price of a coffee. The price of my book. I didn’t become an author for the money because I knew long before the digital world came around that the writing business was tough. Not many people can make a living doing it, and those who do are probably not living the high-life, but merely scraping by (unless your last name is King, Grisham, Patterson, or Rowling).

Since I’m not here for the money, I admit, I got a little excited when I saw that over six-hundred people had downloaded my book. The prospect of over six-hundred people reading my book was thrilling, thieves and all. Recently, I’d been notified by my publisher about another piracy site. I checked it out and found that my book hadn’t been downloaded at all – not even once. I was relieved, but then quickly thought, “What the ^uck? People don’t even want to read my book for free?”

As a writer I think I’ll always be stoked when people read my work, but is it too much to ask them to pay for it, too?

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

“Her Name” by Alicia Joseph

I’d like to share an excerpt of my lesbian romance novella, Her Name.

Her Name
Her Name

I was on my knees washing the floor when I heard her call out my name. I immediately stopped. This wasn’t just a holler for more pillows or another blanket. This was an urgent “I need you!” scream.

I ran to our room. I found her in our bathroom, sitting on the toilet, hunched over with her arms pressed against her stomach. Blood trailed over the edge of the seat. I couldn’t move. With a scared expression on her face, she whispered, “The baby.”

I hurried to her and wrapped her head in my arms. The toilet was filled with blood, and when I moved to flush it, she stopped me.

“Don’t! Not yet.”

I fell to my knees and cried beside her. She gripped my hand tightly. It was hard to comprehend what had just happened. Even as I had washed the toilet, evidence to what had been so brutally taken from us was right in my face, yet, I couldn’t believe it. It happened so quickly. Everything changed in less than two minutes.

She was lying in bed when I got off the phone with the doctor. She needed to rest, and we were to see him early the following week. I walked into the dimly lit room, carrying a washcloth in my hand, and pulled back the covers. I held her shaking body in my arms.

Her cries were violent. I wanted her to stop, but knew she couldn’t. I knew there wasn’t anything I could say to ease the agony of having a life die inside you, but I wanted to take that pain from her and wear it like a tattoo across my heart. I’d bear all the suffering so she wouldn’t have to, but no matter how badly I wanted to, I couldn’t take it away. She held her sorrow too close to her.

“I let my baby die!” she screamed.

“No, you didn’t. Don’t say that. Don’t ever say that,” I said and kissed the side of her face. “There was nothing you could do. Please believe that,” I begged.

She didn’t say anything, and I stopped talking, knowing she wouldn’t hear anything over her bawling. I held her tightly for as long as she needed me to. Her deep sobs slowed to a quiet whimper. Her body finally found some peace as she fell asleep under the protective covers of our bed. I lay beside her, holding a cool wet washcloth across her forehead.

Alicia Joseph

Please check out my Author Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alicia-Joseph/1444411879162094?ref=hl

http://www.amazon.com/Her-Name-Alicia-Joseph-ebook/dp/B00LPIAGB4

You can also connect with me on Twitter @JosephJody76

My Interview with Ashley Ladd.

Today I am featured on author Ashley Ladd’s blog “Happily Ever After.” Please check out the link below where I talk about my new lesbian romance novella, Her Name. Thank you!

http://ashleyladd.blogspot.com/

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Inked Rainbow Reads

Please check out my interview at Ink Rainbow Reads. They were very gracious with their reviews, and they asked some excellent questions, too. Please check it out at the link below.

And thank you, Inked Rainbow Reads, for having me.

http://inkedrainbowreads.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/5-stars-for-her-name-by-alicia-joseph-ff-mustread-amazing/

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People Person or Loner?

Maybe I’m not the recluse I thought I was or would one day become. The writer huddled inside a log cabin deep in the woods that I envisioned myself to be some day. Maybe that’s an old-fashioned, outdated image of a writer, but even if it were accurate, I couldn’t live like that.

Growing up my friends called me a hermit, a loner, an antisocial. Though I did partake in social events, I spent a lot of time alone in my room, behind a locked door, daydreaming about life while staring at posters on my wall of my favorite long-haired, heavily-tattooed, rock bands as their music blasted loudly in the background (it’s a miracle my ears still function). Even amid a crowded room, shoulder to shoulder with people, I could fall into my own dreamyland and create a world where only those invited were welcome.  And I made out the guest list.

But I didn’t become that to-myself, standoffish person living in the middle of nowhere. Not even close. I am so used to not being alone that if  silence fills my house longer than twenty minutes, I begin to wonder where I am.  If children aren’t fighting, or the dog’s not barking, or my brother’s not yelling, or dishware isn’t crashing to the floor, or the TV isn’t blaring from someone’s room, then this place doesn’t feel like home.

Quiet is only okay for so long, but I need noise to remind me that I’m not alone.  And I suppose that doesn’t make me much of a loner.

 

 

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Photo Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net