Worth a Shot by Cari Z
I love a fish out of water story. New person in a new place, trying to figure out how to live their life when nothing is familiar. That was the original dynamic I set up for Worth A Shot. Samara was the confident girl, the one at home in her skin and in her world. Katie was the newbie, the out-of-towner, the girl who needed to be shown the ropes. Samara would share her wiles, they would weather the bumps with a sense of humor, and eventually they'd settle into an HEA.
Yeah, that's not what happened with this story! There's no gentle weathering of bumps, and no settling for anything, although there are plenty of humor and wiles. Most of the wiles end up belonging to Katie, though, and it turns out Samara is the one who's really in over her head.
Come for Samara. Stay for Katie. Enjoy both of them.
The Woman Next Door by Helena Maeve
The Woman Next Door combines two of my favorite tropes: enemies becoming friends (or lovers) and characters misjudging each other's intentions.
From Pride and Prejudice onward, the romance genre has thrived on misunderstandings and ill-timed declarations. It's a tale as old as time: just when the lovers should discover they're perfect for each other, something throws them off course. Ziva and Yvonne's romance is no different. Artist Ziva has every reason to mistrust her new neighbor. After all, it wasn't so long ago that Yvonne sabotaged her inheritance and forced Ziva to reinvent herself. Sure, she's much happier now, but if rekindling a relationship that went down in flames is to be at all possible, then rebuilding trust is the first hill to climb. And it's a steep one.
Ziva and Yvonne are no Austen heroines, but they have much in common with the likes of Lizzie and Mr Darcy, or Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth. Prior acquaintance paves the way with obstacles. Caution is a necessity, yet in fiction as in life, the heart is often louder than the mind. As the pair soon discover, sometimes life takes a sudden turn and offers opportunities that only become clear with time… and a few timely coincidences.
The Tiny Blue House by R.A. Padmos
Sometimes it really is that simple
Lesbian A sees lesbian B and thinks, “That’s one woman I definitely would like to get to know better.” They go on a date, discover their mutual attraction and…there isn’t a second date, because by that time A has already moved in with B.
I know, it’s a bit of a cliché. One that is perhaps based on reality, but also so old and worn that it would be silly to write a story around that same theme. And yet, here I am, writing about two women who meet and literally on the same day decide they have a future together.
No slow buildup, no friendship blossoming into love, no being with a man only to discover a new (or perhaps old) truth about themselves. Just two women who know what they know.
I might just as well have written down the story of my own relationship, or rather how it all started, although it has a lot less yummy food. My wife and I had one official date, on 30 October 1981. We went to a movie and she invited me to her place for some tea. Yes, we had tea and yes, I never left. We’re now in our fifties, with two grown sons. One date followed by thirty-five years of marriage (the marriage part is officially since 2001, but I refuse to ignore the first twenty years).
Sometimes it really is that simple.
In the Flesh by HK Carlton
It all started with The Submission Call: Passionate women who stand up for what they believe, strong female leads and exciting plots. This is what stood out for me when I started plotting for the Ladies Only Anthology.
I'm also a big fan of weekly episodic cop shows which are often wonderful examples of strong female characters. For my contribution to the Ladies Only antho, In the Flesh, our female protag is an ATF agent who's next assignment takes her into a seedy underworld of organized crime. Even when it came to the naming of my heroine I combined the two names of my favourite TV detectives, Olivia Benson (SVU) and Kate Beckett (Castle), two tough yet feminine women who kick ass and clean up this messed up world on a weekly basis.
I have a deep respect and appreciation for all our law enforcement. Often a thankless job, and in this day and age, a scary and unpredictable one.
In the Flesh is a nod to the real and phenomenal woman in law enforcement who fight crime, right the wrongs and make this world a better place. Thank you.
Window Dressing by Lucy Felthouse
How My Interests Inspire My Stories
My interests are pretty varied. One of those interests is places and learning more about them. London is a perfect example, particularly since it’s such an interesting place, with an incredibly rich history. I’m very lucky to be able to visit England’s capital city at least a couple of times a year, and each time I seem to see something new, and learn something new. It never gets boring!
Even when I’m not visiting, I read quite a bit of non-fiction about London, and watch documentaries about it. One such documentary focussed very much on Oxford Street, the infamous shopping street. Now, I don’t like shopping (with the exception of bookshops, obviously!), so Oxford Street isn’t a part of London where I spend an awful lot of time, but I know the area pretty well nonetheless. However, the documentary also featured the area around Oxford Street, and didn’t just talk about the shops. It covered things like litter picking, cleaning the pavements, cleaning out the drains underneath the streets, having birds of prey to keep away the pigeons, how the police deal with crime and nuisances, and so on. Basically, it’s all focussed on keeping the area clean, safe and appealing to tourists, so they’ll go there and spend their money, boosting our economy.
Part of this is creating eye-catching window displays to lure in customers. One episode of the show covered this, and it was intriguing enough for my brain to turn the idea into a fictional story! Take one idea, add in some sexy women and some spice, and you have Window Dressing, nestling between the covers of the Ladies Only anthology. I hope you enjoy it!
So there you have it… that’s just one example of many of how my interests inspire my writing.