Happy new year! (and year in review)

MidnightAtTheOrpheusI hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season, and that your 2018 will be all you wish it to be!

2017 was a year full of ups and downs for me, personally and professionally. In late 2016, I found out that Midnight at the Orpheus had won a Rainbow Award for best bisexual fiction. I was delighted, especially as that book had been one that I’d been told was too complicated and should be either a lesbian romance or a mystery. So to have it win, and in its original form, was satisfying.

In February, I presented with M Jane Colette at Owl’s Nest Books, with “More Than a Guilty Pleasure: Reading and Writing Romance and Erotica in the Age of Plentiful Cyber Porn.” I was sick with a horrible cold, but the evening was fabulous, with a good turnout and great participation from the audience. (We even included our parents! And they didn’t seem to mind too much!)

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I also contributed to the collection SCREW CHOCOLATE, adding a new Alex and Vee story to the lexicon. I highly recommend it, and if you want more Alex and Vee, my favourite May-December lesbian romance, check out my free reads and Vee: Volume One.

Most of my year was a quiet one in terms of my writing. I spent time with my Calgary Romance Writers of America chapter, attending two workshops, one with Eve Silver in the spring, and one with Marie Force and Joanna Mackenzie in the fall. Both were interesting and gave me ideas for new works.

WWCIn August, I attended When Words Collide conference in Calgary, and M Jane Colette and I adapted our presentation for More Than a Guilty Pleasure. It was fantastic, and again, great participation from the audience. I am always nervous with panels and presentations, but having such a great and amazingly inspiring friend like M Jane gets me out of my comfort zone. We might do a panel or presentation next year too, and though my stomach roils at the thought of being in front of so many people, I know we’ll have a good time, and hopefully educate and engage at the same time.

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And then, oh my goodness. Thanks to the awesome Naked Girls Reading, who in November, read scenes from Midnight at the Orpheus during their performances at the Taboo! Sex Show. Nothing quite like a brand new audience, and to hear my words being read aloud, performed, by amazing naked women. Many thanks to Keely Kamikaze (and M Jane for introducing us!)

To round off my writing, I have a short piece in the YYC Queer Writers collection entitled Queer Christmas in Cowtown. The book was curated by M Jane, and though I missed the launch at Owl’s Nest (darn illness), I was delighted to hear that the book had sold out at launch, and made it into Calgary’s top-selling non-fiction book list! If you haven’t picked it up yet, please do, because all royalties go towards Camp Fyrefly.

19693834_10154423428025989_6666647511696427711_oIn my personal life, I was definitely busy. Tony and I moved to our new place at the end of March and rented out my condo in Calgary. In the last ten years or so, I’ve moved probably five times (or maybe more) and it’s hectic and busy and nutty every time. And somehow I always end up with more books, clothes, and other things that I don’t know what to do with. But with Tony’s help, I managed to reduce my book collection, donate a bunch of stuff, and get everything ready to go. It was worth it though, as we’re happily settled in our new home and I’ve never felt so content.

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2017 was also a year of some losses, some incredibly difficult ones. My cats, Pandora and Zowie, who I’d had since they were six weeks old in 1998, both passed away due to kidney disease. They had been with me for 18 (and in Zowie’s case, almost 19) years, and thus more than half my life. To have to say goodbye was tough, and it’s still painful, though getting better. I’m glad that I had support through the tough decisions.

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But, in other happier news, Tony and I adopted a Scottish deerhound puppy from Fernhill Deerhounds in Ontario. He was born in February and is now almost 11 months old. Byron joined us in mid-May, at 12 weeks old, and has grown like a weed. He joined our 10 year old greyhound, Arch, who was not too certain he wanted to have to teach a puppy his manners. And after Zowie passed away in October, we adopted a 5-year-old cat from the Cochrane Humane Society, named Norton. So if you’re keeping track, that’s a household of two people, two dogs (Arch & Byron), and three cats (Percy, Bismarck, and Norton) as we go into the new year.

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Coming up next year are a few exciting things, including a secret project which you will learn about in a few months… I can’t say any more yet! :)

And last but not least, I want to thank a number of people, without whom this year wouldn’t have been what it was. To my parents and family for all their support; to my friend and crit partner Cathy Pegau, who is amazing and thoughtful and a great writer too; to my CaRWA friends and chapter buddies, who are a great support and inspiration; to M Jane Colette for pushing me to do more stuff; and most of all to Tony, who makes every day better.

A little late, but I’m in the anthology Queer Christmas in Cowtown!

queer-christmas-in-cowtown-kindleCurated by M Jane Colette, this is a collection of non-fiction stories by YYC Queer Writers. It was #8 on the Calgary non-fiction bestsellers list last week!

A baker’s dozen of queer Christmas stories for the twelve days of Christmas. An exercise in writing—storytelling—story finishing—and story sharing.

The writers were asked to write “true” and “queer.” (Also, short. Because, shiny things!) Their interpretations of these instructions are as marvellously unique—and queer—and true—as they are.

The book is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and all royalties go to Camp Fyrefly, “Canada’s only national leadership retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, asexual, intersex, queer, questioning, and allied youth. The camp provides a space for youth to explore their identity, build resilience and enhance self-esteem, all while having an awesome camp experience. Participants return home with a support network of positive friendships, trusted adult mentors, and an empowered sense of self.” 

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Midnight at the Orpheus is #3 in Best Bisexual Fiction at the Rainbow Awards!

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#1 was Tal Bauer’s romantic suspense novel “Enemies of the State”, and #2 was ARcher Kay Leah’s sci-fi/futuristic novel “For the Clan”. My book was #3 :)

Check out Midnight at the Orpheus at Bold Strokes Books, Amazon, BN.com, or your local bookseller!

Chicago, the Roaring Twenties. Cecilia Mills is new to town and struggling to survive. Her world is turned upside down when she falls for gangster Franky Greco’s moll Nell Prescott. Working at The Orpheus dance hall thanks to Nell, Cecilia becomes known as CeeCee and rubs elbows with gangsters and the city’s elite, and she and Nell hide their affair from Greco.

Patrick Sheridan is fresh out of prison and bent on revenge, with Greco in the crosshairs. He gets a job as CeeCee’s bodyguard, and despite her infatuation with Nell, love blossoms between CeeCee and Sheridan. When Sheridan sees his chance, thanks to a disillusioned cop seeking his own revenge, he must choose where his loyalties lie as CeeCee and Nell are caught in the middle.

Menage m/f/f.

I’m guest blogging today!

Check out the post on Bold Strokes Books’ author blog:

https://boldstrokesbooksauthors.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/it-started-with-a-song-and-ended-with-gangsters/

I talk about how I researched my new book, Midnight at the Orpheus, and about how I got the inspiration for it. :)

Betting on Love scores an honourable mention from the Rainbow Awards!

Betting on Love 300 DPII’m delighted to find out that my book Betting on Love has scored an honourable mention from the Rainbow Awards. Keep your fingers crossed for the announcement of the winners on Dec 8th :)

Overall a very well-written story, with strong, authentic characters and a very delicate, soft touch of coming-of-age plot under the romance. I enjoyed this book quite a lot and would recommend it to an interested reader. The book gets off an awkward start that doesn’t really feel like a start, or even as if the story is starting in the middle. But the plot that develops from this start is done very well. It’s strongly character-driven and takes some unexpected – therefore good – twists and turns, which happily are always in-character for the character triggering that twist. Plus, subplots. While at the surface, this might look like a romance, underneath runs a very fine and delicate coming-of-age/growing-up plot. Sometimes it’s a little too delicate, but it’s there. Very nice. Full points here for clever use of setting. There were two settings/props that played a very strong part in the story: a farm and the other character’s motorcycle. Both settings/props were used very well, featured strongly, and even stood symbolic of the character, their personal development, and of the development of their love story. That was done very elegantly and very well. Like the coming-of-age plot, the character development sometimes was a little … too hidden. Yet both main characters developed; they grew, they grew up. Plus additional character development of side characters. Again somewhat hidden but very noticeable in their words and actions. Very smoothly flowing – so smoothly that you aren’t even aware of time passing or your progress through the book, until something startles you out of it. (At least, that’s what happened to me). Now, it’s a somewhat difficult style that I am not sure many readers will enjoy. Mostly beccause the author doesn’t give a lot of insight into the characters heads and emotions and into their development. And it’s true, occasionally the author could have done with a little more showing instead of presenting the reader with facts. However, it is obvious from the text that this is the author’s personal style, and I know other authors who don’t bother explaining a lot. They present the reader with their story and let the reader draw their own conclusions. And while I enjoy the insights into characters’ minds and emotions a lot, I am also aware that this particular style is a lot harder to pull of successfully. So, kudos to the author.

Every Valentine’s Day needs a motorcycle chick! Snag a copy of BETTING ON LOVE in ebook or print!

BETTING ON LOVE is out, and it’s the perfect read for Valentine’s Day, especially if you have a thing for hot biker chicks ;)

Buy it in ebook or print from Bold Strokes Books, or if you’re an Amazon fiend, pre-order it for release on Feb. 17th.

Betting on Love 300 DPILand poor, Elly leaves the family farm and heads to the big city to become something better than a waitress in a small-town diner. Though she’s succumbed to economic necessity and the siren song of her one-time lover, Alex, she can’t bear to give up the farm that has been in her family for generations. As much as she wants to, she can’t have everything she desires, and she’ll have to decide what is more important: the past or the future.

Alex has always been a daredevil, up for anything, never tying herself down to anyone. When she falls head over heels for quiet Elly, everyone’s surprised, no one more than her best friend and occasional lover, Will. As things heat up between them, Elly must choose between her past and her future, and Alex is faced with a decision that will shake her to the core of all she holds dear.

#LoveSpanks is here! Read “Just Chaps” & enter to win prizes!

Love Spanks 2015 is here! 

Spanks-Lovespanks-2015-wnames-750x1125 The rules, in brief (full version here):

  1. Register here
  2. Visit all 17 blogs and leave a high-quality comment responding to the story content. Deadline: Midnight EST (UTC-5) Sunday, February 8
  3. Add VIP, FF (F/F author), A (non-F/F author), or Amb (Ambassador) to your comments
  4. Join the Facebook/Twitter author chats and parties 
  5. Prize announcements Saturday, February 14!

For more information, updates, and a list of participating authors, please visit Governing Ana(main page) or Love Spanks 2015 (announcement page) 

Like us on Facebook!
Twitter hashtag: #lovespanks

JUST CHAPS

Love Spanks is over for now, but you can check out the anthology, for just 99 cents! It’s available on Amazon as of Feb 14th :)

Betting on Love 300 DPIWant more of Alex and Elly? Find out how they first met in the short story, BETTING THE FARM, and read the tale of their romance in the newly released BETTING ON LOVE, from Bold Strokes Books. (buy on Amazon)

Land poor, Elly leaves the family farm and heads to the big city to become something better than a waitress in a small-town diner. Though she’s succumbed to economic necessity and the siren song of her one-time lover, Alex, she can’t bear to give up the farm that has been in her family for generations. As much as she wants to, she can’t have everything she desires, and she’ll have to decide what is more important: the past or the future.

Alex has always been a daredevil, up for anything, never tying herself down to anyone. When she falls head over heels for quiet Elly, everyone’s surprised, no one more than her best friend and occasional lover, Will. As things heat up between them, Elly must choose between her past and her future, and Alex is faced with a decision that will shake her to the core of all she holds dear.

About Alyssa Linn Palmer
Alyssa Linn Palmer is a Canadian writer and freelance editor. She splits her time between a full-time day job, and her part-time loves, writing and editing. She is a member of the RWA, the Calgary RWA, and RRW (Rainbow Romance Writers). She has a passion for Paris and all things French, which is reflected in her writing. When she’s not writing lesbian romance, she’s creating the dark, morally flawed characters of the LE CHAT ROUGE series and indulging in her addictions to classic pulp fiction. Her next book, BETTING ON LOVE, will be released in February 2015. You can find her online at www.alyssalinnpalmer.com, or on Twitter @alyslinn.

Click this link to get to the list of participating authors and all the other blogs!