Susies and Marys

So…there’s this person, let’s call her Susie, I see most days who irritates the heck out of me. She’s a know-it-all who gets huffy, dismisses other people’s opinions/experiences, and insists on having her way no matter how trivial the topic. Everyone is incompetent in everything except for her, it seems. Most annoying of all is that she continuously complains about someone else without realizing how annoying she is herself. Irony is that I quite liked her at first. She’s friendly, talkative, and generous.

Then there’s another person, let’s call her Mary, who irritated the heck out of me for weeks. She got under my skin, stymied my efforts, and made things more difficult. Now, though, we get along great. I enjoy listening to her chatter and appreciate that she always has things organized so my work is easier. Her work ethic is incredible.

As a private person who prefers quiet time to social time, this has been an eye-opening experience. How many times do we ignore the Marys in our life because they irritate us at first? How often do we stay within the circle of those who keep us comfortable? I’ve always liked getting to know the sides of people they don’t usually show to the world. I love when I can coax a shy, quiet person to share with me their passions. Even the most socially awkward person will respond to genuine interest in something he or she loves.

The Susies in our life are necessary. They take action, get out into the world, and call other people to action.

Here’s to the Marys, who are just as important.

Jenny’s Wedding: The film we wish we could like

(Warning! This review contains spoilers.)

Recently, a friend insisted on renting Jenny’s Wedding. It was fabulous, she said. We must watch it, she said.

Jenny is getting married. But will her surprise spouse tear her conventional family apart? Katherine Heigl, Alexis Bledel and Tom Wilkinson star in this touching comedy/drama.

On the surface, my friend was right. I should like Jenny’s Wedding. Why?

  • No voyeuristic, porn-style girl-on-girl action conceived and filmed for straight men (and women). This film asserts its right to tell a story about a lesbian couple, not a salacious clandestine treat.
  • An LGBT film that focuses on women, rather than the obligatory gay men? Woohoo! How often does this happen, after all?
  • Marriage, wedding, and two women presented as a legitimate couple. In 2015, this is long overdue.
  • Linda Edmond. I loved her as the stern Colonel Kuhn in The Good Wife, and she plays the mother of the bride here. In fact, she steals the show.

So, I wanted to like the film. I wanted to love it. I wanted to recommend it to all of my friends, especially those who are new to F/F but willing to give it a try.

Instead, my heart sank from the opening scene and never rose again.

Critics have panned the film as insipid, low-stakes, lacking in chemistry, and flat-out boring.

While I agree somewhat, that’s not enough for me to dismiss this film. We need lesbian representation, and beggars can’t be choosers. My friend, when watching this film, got excited at each of the moments when Jenny’s family reacts badly to her coming out.

That’s me, my friend said over and over. This is what it was like for me.

And for a film that shows the difficulty of coming out to a conservative religious family, it does touch on common themes. Parents struggle with religious beliefs, worries about what the neighbors will think, and keeping peace in the family. Everything in the film means well, and it lays the groundwork for what could have been an amazing movie.

Instead, the film fails in its fundamental goal: to make its audience love its main characters. Who cares about a coming-out if the couple is a cardboard prop? When Jenny and Kitty barely hold hands or show any affection toward each other, how can we believe in their existence, let alone impending marriage?

The wooden dialogue doesn’t help, of course. Good writing makes most cliches better, if not tolerable. But when a script commands me to feel sorry for Jenny because her mother won’t shop for wedding dresses together, instead I wonder why Jenny is marrying Kitty in the first place. Did the production team decide to avoid offending homophobic viewers by downplaying the actual relationship, or was this simply bad writing? If the latter, it’s disappointing. But if it’s the former, it makes an incredibly sad statement about a film undercutting its own message.

Coming out to one’s family, especially later in life, is a difficult and heart-wrenching experience for all involved. I wrote about the experience in Living in Sin, in an attempt to portray reality for those who don’t get to have the stand-up-and-cheer endings. Coming out is hard. It can literally be a life-and-death event. Don’t we deserve stories that reflect this reality?

Yet Jenny’s Wedding fails to fall in either camp. It delivers after-school specials-worthy dialogue that clunks its way through Issues with a capital I. But the ending in which Jenny turns a funeral into a shouting match doesn’t make me want to cheer for lesbian rights; it makes me squirm at her self-centeredness.

I get it. Coming out is hard, and living in the closet is perhaps harder. Sometimes we get so fed up with the everyday issues that we blow up. I get that, too. But I’m uncomfortable with the common denominator in many coming out stories: Accept my coming out exactly the way and in the time frame I demand, or you’re out of my life.

At the end of the day, which audience is Jenny’s Wedding trying to reach? Homophobic parents aren’t likely to be swayed by movie portrayals of honestly struggling parents getting yelled at by their adult daughter. Romance lovers are left without any real romance.

And yet, my friend cheered through the film and another mutual friend was in tears by the end.

I wish I could like Jenny’s Wedding, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. But I’ll take Saving Face or The Fosters instead, thank you. Give me Stef and Lena’s adorable, sizzling-hot chemistry any day.

How about you? Have you heard of the film, or have you watched it? What do you think?

Featured Image -- 7125

The Queen of the Wooden Spoon… Why Anastasia Vitsky deserves her crown

Anastasia Vitsky:

What a lovely write-up! Such a pleasant surprise to see enthusiastic support of my very favorite type of story. :D

Originally posted on Luci Jackson:

The talented Anastasia Vitsky is arguably one of my favourite fiction writers in this genre… and perhaps, in any genre. I have the impression that she is pretty damn successful in her field and if you read any of her fiction then you will understand why. Not only does she have a knack for writing compelling and unusual storylines, evident from her range of books which I will elaborate on later, but, even more importantly, she has a particular talent for truly getting to the heart of a character. Her protagonists are complex women who are often struggling with their own desires and their understanding of the place that they carve of the world; heroines who are flawed, realistically human. There is nothing two dimensional about any of the Vitsky’s worlds and she touches a raw nerve with almost every book.

I could spend this entire post gushing about her qualities……

View original 741 more words

Ana’s Spoons: The Monthly QSF FF Takeover

Source: Ana’s Spoons: The Monthly QSF FF Takeover

Spaceships. Aliens. Androids, alternative timelines, and answers to problems no one has solved yet.

Speculative fiction offers authors a playground to try any number of scenarios impossible in the world as we currently know it. At the same time, this unfamiliar landscape allows freedom to make political statements that might not be permitted in realistic contemporary fiction.

Why is it, then, that so much of speculative fiction presents the same dominant power structures of our current society, only dressed up as exciting and new?

In past QSF discussions, I’ve asked what responsibility we feel as authors and readers to combat sexism, racism, classism, and other forms of marginalization. We accept, by our participation in this group, that speculative fiction offers possibilities not available in other forms of storytelling. What are we doing to harness this power?

Today, I’d like to present a personal favorite that is shared by many of us: Star Trek. More specifically, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Because Star Trek is beloved to many but removed from our current society, it offers a meeting ground for us to discuss issues that can become contentious or difficult to see in our own daily lives.

Read the full article by clicking on the link above, and join the discussion on the Facebook group here.

The C Word, again

A few years ago, I wrote about my father’s first experience with cancer and how it caused me to stop writing fiction.

I wasn’t silly enough to think I had caused my father’s cancer by writing a story about cancer. Yet, wasn’t there something uncomfortably eerie, perhaps karmic? I had so happily, eagerly laid out this fictional woman’s fate and built up her life story only to kill her off in order to write the “real” story. I knew all of the lingo of cancer but none of the life.

Chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and all of the assorted paraphernalia associated with cancer became part of my everyday vocabulary.

I never wrote fiction again.

At least, not vanilla fiction. I wrote spanking stories, my way of pretending I wasn’t really writing, until the unexpected happened. I wrote my first vanilla story, or my first vanilla story since the C-word happened. (Hint: It’s now available as Living in Sin.)

My newest work in progress (WIP) contains no spanking. None. One playful tap on the hip, but nothing else. No spanking.
After a second occurrence, my father’s cancer is technically considered incurable. It may strike again tomorrow, in five years, fifteen, or twenty.
Well. It wasn’t tomorrow, and it wasn’t five years.
It was 497 days.
1 year, 4 months, and 9 days.
71 weeks.
11,928 hours. (Give or take)
715,680 minutes.
42,940,800 seconds. (Again, give or take)
There’s a lot of battle descriptions about cancer. Fighting it, beating it, surviving it, besting it, defeating it, eliminating it…
Right now, all I feel is tired.
The C word.

Horrible Halloween Costumes

When I was a child, I dreaded the yearly dilemma of what to wear for Halloween. Once I outgrew the obligatory witch-ghost-pumpkin stage (or at least the age when those costumes were cute rather than overdone), I tore out my hair trying to decide. Today, kids can scour the internet for creative, easy, and daring costume ideas. Back then, I had a ton of imagination without any artistic or sewing skills. Besides, I had stiff competition. In sixth grade, a classmate came to school dressed as a shower. No kidding, a shower! Somehow, he’d managed to rig up a working shower curtain that slid back and forth on a frame around his body.
Me? My mother dressed me up as a hobo.
No kidding.
One of my dad’s plaid flannel shirts padded with pillows underneath, ratty sweatpants, a hideous mask, and my hair frizzed out to kingdom come. Worst of all? My friends made me go trick-or-treating at our teacher’s house. He could not stop laughing. Yep, at me.
My family laughed, my friends laughed, and I’ve had to re-live the horror of that costume through far too many pictures.
To this day, I always wanted to be something cool for Halloween. Something witty that would make everyone think, “I wish I’d thought of that!” My craft-minded friends sew amazing steampunk and Dr. Who costumes for themselves, but I count myself lucky if I tie ladybug wings around my shoulders and find a matching trick-or-treat bucket.
Kat Astra, one of the main characters in my Kat and Natalie series, shares my dislike for Halloween costumes. In Lighting the Way, book two (book one is The Way Home), she tries to veto her roommate’s choice of costume for her:
“Natalie, no!” I stare at the form-fitting pink leotard with attached filmy skirts.  I know she likes me in pink, but this is ridiculous.  I finger the flimsy fabric and shudder.  “Thank you for getting the Halloween costumes, but I’m not going to wear this the first time we meet the neighbors.”
Natalie tugs at the hem of my sturdy navy blue T-shirt as if to lift it over my head.  “You said you’d wear what I chose, and you already vetoed my black cat idea,” she reminds me.
“I know, but…”  My voice trails off as Natalie holds my arm out and drapes across it the leotard along with tights and shoes and some silly glittery thing.
“Go and try it on,” she urges me.  She’s got another costume in a bag underneath her arm.  “I’ll put mine on, too.”  When I don’t respond or move, she swats my bottom.  “Go on,” I said.

First #Ladylove interview with KT Grant

First Ladylove, an anthology of F/F stories, is now on sale! A few of the authors have answered questions about the stories. Please welcome back the founder of the annual Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event, KT Grant!

Have you visited Ana’s blog or in Ana’s events before? If so, which ones?

All the time! I’ve been involved in the Love Spanks event Ana founded for the past 2 years.

If you had to describe yourself using two household objects and one food, what would you choose? Why?

Coffee maker and coffee filter. For food- blueberries. Why? I’m a coffee and blueberry addict.

How did you become involved in First Ladylove?

Kate Richards told me about the anthology and I asked if I could be involved.

Tell us a little about your story.

Mile High Pleasure is sent in a Steampunk London about two childhood friends, one a seamstress, the other a lieutenant in the British Royal Air Navy confront their feelings for one another with surprising results.

What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

I hope readers can forget about their busy life for a while and lose themselves in the world and characters I’ve created.

If you had to summarize your story in one sentence, what would it be?

Two childhood best friends find love together among airships and robots in a fantastical Steampunk world.

Most importantly, what is your position on wooden spoons?

Great to mixing things up in the kitchen.


Set in a world of flying steam airships and robots, the unappreciative Lottie Bells toils away as a seamstress. The only bright side is a visit from her childhood friend, Diana Russell, a lieutenant in the British Royal Air Navy. But when Lottie sees Diana again, she’s confused by her attraction to the beautiful lieutenant, who makes Lottie an enticing offer that may change their relationship forever.

KT bio pic
KT Grant is a self-proclaimed eccentric redhead who not only loves to read a wide variety of romances, but also loves writing it. Under her alter-ego, she is a well-known book blogger who doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinion. A proud native of New Jersey, KT is multi-published and writes Gay, Lesbian and Straight romance. KT has been a top ten best-selling author at Amazon, as well as being a multiple All Romance Ebooks best seller and a Night Owl Reviews Top Author Pick. KT is also’s Romance Novel Expert and Columnist. KT loves to hear from readers. You can drop KT an email at

You can also find KT at these fun places:
Blog: Babbling About Books, and More!
Twitter: @Katiebabs
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00032]

Available on Amazon and ARe! Will also be available on iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Buy on Amazon!

Buy on ARe!