1 Question, 20 Answers – February

It’s that time of month again (which sounds far more ominous than intended)! Yep, you guessed it! It’s our February edition of 1 Question, 20 Answers. We asked twenty fabulous and unsuspecting authors the same question and this month, just to keep things fair, we threw our answers in the ring as well.

The question: What 3 of your own characters would you date? (that is, if you were available, of course)

Yes, we totally came up with that question in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Because we’re sweet and romantic and stuff. Yep.

Want to know the answers? Keep reading!

Jove Belle

Love & Devotion 300 DPI

1. Braxton from Edge of Darkness because I have a serious thing for in charge Southern women of a certain age.

2. Cori from Split the Aces because she has a sexy voice and it good with her hands and I’m just shallow enough to make those a priority on my fantasy list.

3. The very first bit of writing I sold was a short story called “Ball Pits and Other Romantic Places”. It appeared in an anthology from Alyson (now defunct) called Best Date Ever: True Stories that Celebrate Lesbian Relationships. That story is about me and Tara and the very moment I realized I was so far in love with her that there was no hope of ever turning back. Eighteen years later I’m still completely lost over that woman. And since I did date her (and a whole lot more), she definitely makes my list. Hell, I could just eliminate the other two and make it a one name list because, really, hers is the only one that matters.

BIO: Jove writes books. You can check that out HERE.

Renée Bess

If I were single and wanted to wade into the dating pool, the three characters from my books with hwom I’d like to splash about are:

Corey Lomax from Leave of Absence (forthcoming, Regal Crest). Why? Because although she’s determined to avoid the mistakes she’s made in the past, she’s willing to risk other errors in order to experience love. Her unsuccessful romantic encounters have made her cautious but not bitter.

Alana Blue from The Butterfly Moments: I’m attracted to her because she’s arrived at a certain turning point in her life and she finds herself confident aobut her age, her ethnicity, and her sexuality. Alana has the fortitude to confront her daughter’s homophobia and embrace love when it arrives in the form of Detective Johnetta Jones. She is gently brilliant.

London Phillips from my current Work-In-Progress, The Rules: I’d gravitate toward her because I believe I understand what makes her tick. I know why she ruminates about race and class and her place in the world, and I admire how she defends who she is. [Drop Renée a note to find out more about this one!)

BIO: Philadelphia native Renée Bess is a former high school teacher, where she taught Spanish and French. As a child, she became enamored with books and writing. She has won awards and written plays as well as short stories and novels in which she captures the experiences of LGBT women of color. Her latest is The Butterfly Moments, a romance/mystery, available from Regal Crest.

Carrie Carr

What 3 characters of mine would I date? Assuming of course I was single, and so were they. . .don’t want any of my other characters coming after me.

First and foremost, I’d have to say Amanda Cauble Walters, from my Lex & Amanda series [NOTE to readers: here’s the link to Book 1]. She was my first, um, dream gal. I like that she’s kind, gentle and can also kick ass when necessary (as long as it’s not mine). She really has the qualities I admire in a person – except maybe that hair-trigger temper. LOL!

Second, I’d have to say Kay Newcombe, from Something to be Thankful For. She’s another woman who has a good heart and isn’t afraid to show it. And she tolerates her family, no matter how much of a pain it can be. I think she can handle just about anything.

Thirdly, I think I’d go with Gib Proctor, from Heart’s Resolve. She’s fun, soft-hearted, and would probably drag me out of the house and make me enjoy life. You gotta love a woman like that! But I’d definitely make sure that she was single, because Delaney kinda scares me.

BIO: Native Texan Carrie Carr has been writing since 1998. Her latest novel, Heart’s Resolve, is a romance published through Regal Crest. She’s currently working on the latest title in her Lex and Amanda series.

Stevie Carroll


Helena from “What Katy did on Holiday” in Tea and Crumpet  and “Katy’s Mediterranean Holiday” in Extra Sauce (a freebie for UK Meet 2012 attendees), both soon to be available as stand-alone stories. She illustrates children’s books, she works in a museum, she plays basketball, and she has pink hair. If that’s not enough, she occasionally still lives in a classic VW Campervan and is the perfect grounded girlfriend for the more flighty Katy.

Annie from “Hawks and Dragon” in A Series of Ordinary Adventures. This time I’m choosing the less worldlywise half of a couple. I loved writing her sense of wonder at being able to fly, especially on top of the longing she’d felt earlier in the story to experience airtravel in something less cut-off than the average passenger jet. Then there’s her courage: there’s something enchanting about anyone who acknowledges their fears, but acts anyway. She just has a huge sense of fairness and a determination to do what’s right. What’s not to love?

Poppy from ‘The Footballer’s Mistress’ in A Series of Ordinary Adventures. She’s a ghost, and a fairly ordinary one at that: a worker in a Victorian cotton mill, who in life dreamed of becoming a lady’s maid, even though her skin colour and her mother’s disgraced reputation made it unlikely her dream would ever come true. Poppy haunts the mill where she died by preventing others from having accidents, and by tidying up after the people who move in after the mill is converted into flats and houses. Then she falls for the mistress of a famous footballer…

BIO:  Born in Sheffield, Stevie Carroll is now based in Hampshire, England. Stevie’s short story, ‘The Monitors’, in Noble Romance’s Echoes of Possibilities, was longlisted by the 2010 Tiptree Awards jury. Other short stories have appeared in the anthologies British Flash and Tea and Crumpet, while Stevie’s first solo collection A Series of Ordinary Adventures was published by Candlemark and Gleam in May 2012.

Stevie has a LiveJournal for writing updates, and is in the process of building a website: Telling Stories in Words and Pictures.

Z Egloff


1. Claire McMinn from Verge. I must qualify this choice. I would never, ever, in a million years date Claire now. But I would have. In my twenties, when I was young and foolish. I would have thought she was hot. And dangerous. And sexy. These days, I would probably just see her as a hot mess, and walk away.

2. Sister Hilary from Verge. Yes, I would date a nun. I love all things spiritual. And Sister Hilary is bright and interesting. Sure, she has issues, but who doesn’t?! Okay, maybe this is another one of those people I would have dated earlier in my life, but not now. She’d have to be out. Which would mean that she probably couldn’t stay a nun. But I could bring her out, and we’d live happily ever after. Like that.

3. Rowan from Leap. Rowan is a teenager. So I couldn’t date her now, but I would have. (I’m sensing a theme here.) Unlike Claire, she’s not hopelessly messed up. And she’s not a conflicted woman religious. She’s just a sweet young thing who’s discovering who she is. I can relate to that. We could be baby dykes together. That would be cool.

BIO: Z Egloff was born in California, raised in the Midwest, and schooled (academically and otherwise) on the East Coast. She currently resides in Northern California. Her debut novel, Verge, was awarded the Bywater Prize for Fiction in May of 2008. Z writes a weekly blog, Life in Z-D, which can be found at zegloff.com.

R.G. Emanuelle


Wow, what a great question! And one that I’ve never considered. It also opens up a big gray area. Does “date” mean a casual affair, or a “going steady” kind of thing? Does it mean just going out, or does it include sex? Do you base this decision on the “whole package” or pure physical attraction? I guess everyone will have a different definition what it means to date someone.

My three choices are a mix of these things. Here they are.

Ursula Lundberg, the hero who rescues the main character, Rose, in Twice BittenUrsula is a little bit of me, and a little bit of who I’d like to be, and it’s these qualities that I would find attractive in a woman. Ursula is restless, always looking for something to do and learn, desperate to break out of the box that society has put her in, and that would draw me to her as a kindred spirit. This is a woman I would date because she’s deep, strong, courageous, and beautiful on the inside and out. Dating her would probably lead to a long-term relationship. Plus, she’s not afraid to pick up a weapon and do some vampire slayin’. Now that’s sexy.

Rianne Cotter, captain of the pirate ship The Queen’s Wrath in “Map of the Heart,” Skulls & Crossbones: Tales of Women Pirates – Captain Rianne Cotter kicks ass. She is afraid of nothing and no one. Although she’s a criminal and does bad things, she nevertheless maintains a level of honesty and fairness (except when she’s destroying a vessel and plundering it). She’s as ruthless as any man, but inside she’s understanding and caring, and in some ways, a little girl. Fearlessly, she chose a “profession” and lives a life usually reserved for men (I love that), and she leads men out to sea and into battle. And any woman who can handle a blade and a flintlock is okay by me. That’s really sexy.

Spike, a butch stripper at a gay club “From the Halls of Montezuma,” Best Lesbian Erotica 2010 – This one is pure animal, raw, sexual attraction. Spike is just a hot, muscular, beautiful butch who knows how to charm the pants off anyone. Literally. Her sensual dancing serves as foreplay and once she’s got you hooked, your inhibitions disappear. (The Marines uniform she dances in doesn’t hurt, either). She just oozes sensuality and sexuality and dating her would be a whirlwind of excitement, adrenaline, and pheromones. Lust would dominate everything we did. But because she’s a wild card, living life on the edge, she would probably dump me very quickly for the next piece of ass. Ultimately, dating Spike would be about dancing the horizontal mambo. This hottie is for the sheets. But who cares?

BIO: R.G. Emanuelle is a writer and editor living in New York City. She is co-editor of Skulls and Crossbones, an anthology of female pirate stories, and her short stories can be found in Best Lesbian Erotica 2010, Lesbian Lust: Red Hot Erotica, Women in Uniform, Lesbian Cops: Erotic Investigations, Khimairal Ink, Read These Lips Volumes 4 and 5, and the online collection Oysters & Chocolate. When she was a child, a neighbor called her a vampire because she only came out after dark, so it’s fitting that her first novel, Twice Bitten, is about creatures of the night.

Blog: www.RGEmanuelle.com
Facebook: R.g. Emanuelle
Twitter: @RGEmanuelle
Pinterest: R.G. Emanuelle

Stone Franks

Not an easy question. Most of my horror works have very few characters, most of whom are straight, usually men, and do not have long to live. This leaves the characters from my lesbian erotica, who seem to exist in a strange demimonde nightscape where there are no men. At first this seems like an idyllic Costco of angry muscular young women with short hair and shorter pubes ready to launch into highly choreographed strip routines that include your clothes as well as theirs and some light BDSM, in public. However, faced with a question like this as an author I have to ask myself, what happened to all the cool, deep characters you were going to write? Well, they haven’t made it yet ,and I now see a lot of the early characters as what they are, mannequins dressed by ghosts, the ghosts of people who left an impression on me as a teenage writer. They put their clothes one by one onto the mannequin, growing fainter as they do, then naked and transparent they disappear.

Amy Robson in Taught is an obvious candidate. A nineteen-year-old judo champion studying sports medicine at university, and she is punk. What could be better? Sporty and punky, two lesbian stereotypes in one. She also strips in dyke bars under the name Di Layter to make extra money, and knows how to look after herself. Would I date her? Yes, definitely, she is punk as fuck, has a career, a body, and can wrestle both in a judogi and completely nude.

The woman from Ghosts of Sector 376, a story that asks whether zombies can see ghosts. She is quiet, there is no dialogue in the story, only action, but she is very fit and agile from long experience avoiding zombies, which she excels at. Other plus factors are that she is very beautiful and doesn’t wear any clothes. Downside is she lives in a storm drain system. Living below ground in darkness has protected her perfect alabaster skin from sun damage and I am pretty sure storm drains are just for surface water not raw sewage, so I don’t think I would have too much of a problem with some silt makrs on my quiet, feral, athletic, naked date. We could go to a national park or somewhere like that, just go for a walk, picnic. Actually, a first date where one or both people agree to be totally nude throughout would be pretty interesting.

Third choice, after some thought, would the title character from Stretch, which I wrote overnight to a tight word count for the January 2009 issue of what was then Australia’s top lesbian magazine, Cherrie. The magazine seems to have been absorbed into Gay News Network so I will make a revised version available now in the Notes on my Facebook. If you’d like to read it, send me a message or friend request on Facebook. Stretch is the most obvious and best choice but just like real life you never realise this until much later. She is butch with a quiff and leather jacket, lives in Berlin, and works as a stuntwoman. So she looks cool, she lies somewhere cool, probably knows lots of cool people and celebs and is physical There is also the mystery and fascination of her missing hand and the fact that she is skilled in unusual sexual practices. I think I might have a fixation for one-handed or one-legged people who are really good at something and may have unusual or accessorized/weaponized prosthetics.

BIO: “Would the real Stone Franks please stand up? Oh, you are standing up.” Stone Franks is the pen-name of Baroness I.D. von Mannchilde. She discovered a lifelong fascination with horror while announcing her sapphism to her parents. In subsequent exile she has studied arrogance and courted disaster.

Roselle Graskey


I would definitely date Colleen from October Echoes, she’s a little nuts and a little frenetic but I’m telling you she’s a lot of fun.

I’d date Maria (if she wasn’t already married, does that count?) from Life’s Little Edge. I like older women and hey she owns a bar.

I’d date Rhea (one of the strippers in Life’s Little Egde). I like her edge, not to be punny. She’s definately not fluff, there’s a backbone in there somewhere :).

BIO: Roselle is a radical Democrat living in Texas. After ten years in the military, she moved to the private sector where she has declared herself pretty much boring. Check her out on facebook HERE.

Insane Englishwoman
First Character: Beth from my story “That’s When I Fell.” It wasn’t easy to write this — it was written for J M Dragon’s “Dragon Jules Storybook Challenge,” whose premise was to write a love story based on a song. The story must have as little angst as possible and must incorporate the elements of your choice of song. And keeping within the rules while making the characters and story totally your own was challenging. I think I did an okay job of it. Beth was a challenge to write, too. I wanted to make her slightly naïve without making her a total innocent. And I wanted her to be completely non-judgmental. I wanted her to treat everybody the same, no prejudices — not of class, race, type or anything else, and comletely honest in her feelings, and eventually strong and independent. I like that most in a woman: honesty, openness, strength, independence and freedom from prejudice. Beth was as close to my ideal in that as I could make her within the requirements of the song. I’d date her in a heartbeat!

Barbara from “Nature of the Beast.” Not a bad story although since it was written while I was still following fandom conventions rather than good writing techniques there were a few too many epithets used. And the physical descriptions were from my favourite fandom — though the characters are all mine apart from that. A lot of people didn’t care for the ending but I felt it was right for the story. Barbara was another character similar to Beth, somewhat naïve but honest, brave, and strong. Coping with adversity with courage and determination, and choosing her own fate. All qualities I admire. And because of those qualities I would be honoured to date such a woman even t hough I knew our time would be short.

Sandy from “Until I Kissed Her.” A better story than the one I wrote it as a prequel to, but still one of my earliest efforts and so laden with “not quite proper” techniques. Sandy is once again, slightly naïve — innocent, even — and yet honest an strong (do we sense a theme, here). You have to be strong to buck your culture, upbringing, and family in order to be true to yourself. And I admire those who can and do.

BIO: The Insane Englishwoman loves books, bikes, Xena, travel, and women. That order may change depending on various factors. You can find her at e-scribblers.

Q. Kelly


Heh! Fun question. I’d date all my characters (well, not the male characters), so it is hard to pick three. But pick three I must! My answers, in order of preference, are:

1) Anne Boleyn from Third. Need I say more? Anne Boleyn! Anne freaking Boleyn! Who wouldn’t like to say: “Oh yeah, I did one of history’s most infamous women–and oh, by the way, she’s a time traveler. Let me introduce y’all.” Besides, I like corny jokes that make me groan, and the Anne Boleyn in my book has several “losing your head”-type jokes.

2) Elena Marie Elise from “Strange Bedfellows” and from “Three’s a Crowd” (the latter book will be released in a couple of weeks). Elena is tough, vulnerable, wounded, grieving. Not to mention damn sexy. If I dated her, I think it’d be fun to crack her shell and hopefully help her move past her pain. Plus, she is/was a call girl and crazy open-minded. I’m sure she has a whole lot of tricks in her goodie bag.

3) I tried to decide between Frances in “Strange Bedfellows” and “Three’s a Crowd” and Vexa in “The Girl Prince and Her Princess.” It was a tough choice, but I eventually went with Frances for much the same reasons I picked Elena. Tough, vulnerable, repressed. A woman who’ll make the chase worthwhile. A woman not easily conquered. I wonder what it says that two of my top three are from the same book/series!

BIO: Q. Kelly is a self-professed weird girl who likes corny jokes and the color purple (like the crayon, not the movie). Check her out online HERE.

JE Knowles

1. Tomas Jefferson. Tomas is a minor character in Arusha who goes on to be one of the main characters in The Trees in the Field. First of all, she’s hot. I would be dishonest if I didn’t start with the body. I can see Tomas at the gym, lifting weights in her SHUT UP AND DIVE T-shirt, and a little sweat goes a long way. She’s also intellectually brilliant and she and I would disagree, sharply, on most things. This could be a real challenge to a long-term relationship, but it’s certainly no obstacle to dating. Opposites attract.

2. Linda Nye, the love interest in Arusha. Linda is too old for me, but so what? I am a sucker for laugh lines, Georgia accents, and a woman wise enough to know exactly who she is. Linda is one of the unsung heroes of our society, working in early childhood education. And, she has a faith that no one can shake. I’d love to kiss her in the middle of a baked bean recipe.

3. Serenity LeFevre, the hero of my short story “Saints,” which is free on the e-book application Ether Books (http://www.etherbooks.com). Serenity is a professional singer in New Orleans, married to a preacher, when the hurricane strikes. If the music hadn’t already weakened my knees, Serenity’s fearlessness in reaching out to her fellow man would do me in. In the story, Serenity is straight, but I do like a challenge. This is my fantasy and there’s nothing to prevent her turning back!

BIO: J. E. Knowles is the author of The Trees in the Field and Arusha, a Lambda Literary Award finalist. She writes, reads, and makes music, living and lusting in London with her love. You can read more at jeknowles.com

Lori Lake

I would love to date Estelline from Ricochet in Time. By the time I wrote about her, she was elderly and retired, but all her life she was such a spitfire, and I love her chutzpah. She’d be entertaining and fun to date — although I’d have to travel back in time to about 1950 to catch her when she was young and single!

I would totally date Lily Gordon, the painter in Like Lovers Do. Whew. In my mind, she’s so beautiful and passionate and accomplished, and I’m totally attracted to those who love art. She is *HOT* and that would draw me to her. [Tell us how you really feel, Lori. LOL!]

In the collection of stories called Shimmer, the title story features a woman, Lauren, who has a magic coat that renders her invisible. How cool would it be to date someone who had that kind of power? Could I snuggle up in the coat with Lauren and be invisible, too?

BIO: Lori Lake is a multi- award-winning author, including the Ann Bannon, Alice K., and Golden Crown. She has also been a finalist for the Lambdas. She writes romance, mysteries/detective novels, short stories, historical fiction, and nonfiction. Currently based in Portland, you can find Lori at the movies, curled up somewhere reading a book, or hard at work on her next bit of writing.

KG MacGregor

Anna Kaklis from the Shaken Series [Andi Note: start here with that] — *thud* strong & gorgeous, with great taste in cars. Doesn’t hurt that she’s rich, either.

Carmen Delallo from Out of Love — smart, sassy & sexy. She’d be a lot of fun someday in the old folks home.

Marty Beck (from Mulligan) — a golf pro. I could use some help with my fairway woods.

BIO: KG MacGregor is a former teacher and market research consultant who holds a Ph.D. in journalism. She developed a fascination with Xena: Warrior Princess fanfic, and she decided to try her hand at writing in 2002. In 2005, she signed with Bella Books, and has been thrilling and pleasing readers with her novels and stories ever since. Her latest is Playing With Fuego. She is a Lambda Literary and Golden Crown Award winner.

Jill Malone


My first response is, “Why am I being punished?” My second thought, “Well, I dated most of them.” So if I got to pick the three finest, I’d pick Emily Taylor, the surfing heiress from Red Audrey and the Ropingbecause she makes danger seem kind of whimsical, and I appreciate the way she wears heels. And Bailey, from Field Guide to Deception, because there’s nothing like a masterful cook, and I know she’d be OK if we ever happened to be in a bar brawl. If I were in high school, I’d pick Cole Peters, my narrator from the forthcoming Giraffe People, since she’s the only truly likable character I’ve ever written. I hope this is proof that I’m getting smarter. (Forthcoming May, 2013!)

BIO: Jill Malone lives in Washington where she plays guitar, hangs out with her wife and son, and writes kick-ass novels. Her debut novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, was a Lambda finalist, and won the third annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. Her second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, was a finalist for the 2010 Ferro-Grumley, and won the Lambda Literary award. Giraffe People, her third novel, is due out in May, 2013. Check out her website HERE to learn more.

Andi Marquette


I kind of suck at dating. I’m just going to put that out there, because my friends all tell me that I’m totally clueless when someone’s interested in me. They’re right. It’s actually amazing that I’ve ever dated at all, as clueless as I am. Anyway, I view myself as the “funny sidekick” or “plucky comic relief” to my far hotter and dating-savvy friends when I’m out and about, and everybody knows what happens to those people in the dating scene (think Duckie in Pretty in Pink). But we do get a few laughs, and that’s why I really like humor in women. Hell, in anybody. And not that nasty, mean-spirited humor that some people engage in. I like warm, deep, smart humor. And smart women. Oh, and I like confidence, and someone who takes care of herself and who conducts herself as honestly as she can given the circumstances in which she might find herself, and is perfectly fine being alone. Oh, and I’ve discussed this with my characters, and they all think it’s funny, this question, and they’re cool with me taking this liberty with them.

Dayna Carson, the prosecutor who made her first appearance in book 2 of my New Mexico series, State of Denial. I’d gladly go out for coffee with Dayna. She’s smart, funny, bubbly, outdoorsy, but she has a spine of steel and she does not take any shit from anybody. Not even Chris Gutierrez, her actual love interest. She also has a nurturing side, and says what’s on her mind, no matter the situation. I appreciate that. Being clueless, and all.

Jindor Korickis, who made her first appearance in the first book of my sci fi series, Friends in High Places. Her humor is wry and generally understated, but when she wants something or is thinking something, she’ll tell you. That appeals to the cluelessness in me. Heh. Anyway, she has a past that she hasn’t fully revealed (yet), but it involves physical and emotional trauma. In spite of that, she maintains professional and personal boundaries, and has demonstrated integrity in the situations in which she’s been put (okay, in which I’ve put her). She has numerous skills, no doubt acquired in her mysterious past, and she’s flexible and excellent in a crisis. Spaceship with damaged engines pursued by Coalition fighters into an asteroid belt? I’d want Jindor right there to navigate me through that. She has a calming effect, so I’d definitely dig a cup of hasha with her.

Gabriela Ford, in my freebie short story “Floral Designs.” Which is, coincidentally, a Valentine’s Day story. At any rate, Gabriela is probably more the kind of woman I’d have a crush on rather than date. Though if I ever did get up the nerve, I’d ask her to coffee. She’s the type of woman who wears jeans with men’s wingtips but accessorizes with bright colors. She’s polite (I’m also a manners freak), but approachable and warm, and as you’ll find out, not afraid to take chances and follow up. She’s understated, but grounded, I think, and open to new experiences and different people.

There you have it. At least this month. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone, and may you always have a little romance in your lives.

BIO: Andi Marquette writes stuff like mysteries, sci fi, and romance. A few of those have gotten her a few awards, and that makes her feel humbled and grateful. And sort of like she should have some champagne now and again. Or maybe some chocolate. You can find info about her books, novellas, and short stories at her website, where she also offers several freebie stories (so you can decide if she sucks or not). Her latest novella, “Some Kind of River,” is available on Kindle.

Paula Martinac


From my novel “Out of Time” — a ghost story that takes place in both the present and the past — I would definitely date either Lucy or Harriet, two of the “ghosts” from the 1920s. Lucy is sexy because she’s an intellectual and a writer and an openly woman-loving-woman at a time when “hard” doesn’t begin to describe how difficult it was for lesbians. She would be a great dinner conversationalist, too, and over the long haul, a true, loving companion.
Then Harriet, her partner, is sexy because … well, just because she is. In fact, that’s what gets her into trouble, because she’s such a flirt. She’s definitely someone I would only date casually, no strings attached — she’s a heart-breaker!
Of the women in “Out of Time” from the present day, I’d have to pick a supporting character, Tuttie — an odd pick, maybe, because she’s 75 years young. But, in fact, she’s very fun-loving, honest and smart as a whip. She’s got a huge heap of life experience, and I think would be a great date.
BIO: Paula Martinac is the author of three novels, including the Lambda Literary Award-winning Out of Time and the Lammy-nominated Home Movies. She has also written three nonfiction books, half a dozen short plays, a full-length play and hundreds of articles. Her unproduced full-length screenplay, Foreign Affairs — about the relationship between journalist Dorothy Thompson and novelist Christa Winsloe  took second place in the POWER UP Screenplay Contest in 2004. After two decades in New York City, she now works as a journalist and nutrition educator in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she lives with her partner of 20 years. Visit her website: www.paulamartinac.com. Or, better yet, buy her recently re-released Out of Time from Bywater Books HERE.

As a writer of mostly lesbian romance who happens to be single (not that I’m advertising), I feel especially qualified to answer this dating question. Since my main characters often emerge from dreams, it might be weird to date someone who is so much a part of me. It would certainly present a challenge—as if there isn’t enough of that in online dating!

That said, I’d consider dating the passionate Italiana Isabelle, or Iz, of my first novels, Clara’s Story and Iz’s Journey. Iz was born out of the sensitive artist in me who loves beauty. Humor is essential to the healing process from her (and my) troubled childhood. And like Iz, “I cannot be with a woman who doesn’t laugh.”

Jen, of my short story “Auntie A’s Gift”, is pretty femme and I see myself as androgynous. My characters often embrace this femme/butch duality of my own personality. But Jen is a spiritual, peace-lover who protested the Vietnam War just as I opposed the war in Iraq. Being with a woman who shares my left of center political views would be a big plus.

Of course, dating Janine of my short story “Resurrection” would require time travel. We would be grappling with, not only the give and take of dating, but the pickle of lesbian life in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. As gentle and thoughtful as Janine is, my agnosticism might not jive with her being a nun-in-training.

Funny, when I reflect on these characters, I instantly think of the characters I created to love them. Having evolved out of a romance story, they are closely linked to their lovers. Iz is very much Claire’s woman and vice versa. Jen is like manna from heaven in Lorraine’s love-starved background. Janine is a sweetie but how could I deny her Phoebe who rises like “a blazing dawn” over her cloistered world?

Sigh! Maybe I’ll stick to online dating.

BIO: Doreen Perrine has published two novels, Clara’s Story and the sequel Iz’s Journey, through Bedazzled Ink’s Nuance Imprint. Doreen’s short stories have been published in numerous anthologies and literary ezines and her plays have been performed throughout New York City. She is also an artist and art teacher who resides in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Her website address is http://doreenperrine.tripod.com/

Carsen Taite

Carsen Taite Cover

All of my characters are excellent date candidates, but not for me. Prime reason – a little bit of myself goes into every character I write and dating myself, well, that seems a little odd. However, I’ve picked three strong women I’d definitely choose as running buddies.
Top of the list is Luca Bennett. She’s a badass bounty hunter, featured in the mysteries Slingshot and Battle Axe (to be released this May). She lives life day to day and doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about all the stuff that bothers most of us, like paying bills, saving for retirement, and obeying laws. She gambles, steals food, and carries lots of guns. If she cares about you, her loyalty knows no bounds. I’d want her by my side in a fight, for sure.
Next up is Cory Lance. She’s a lawyer, featured in Beyond Innocence. Cory has worked both sides of the criminal justice system. Key word: justice. She’ll fight for what’s right even if it means losing a case.
And last, but not least, is Skye Keaton, who appears in It Should be a Crime, The Best Defense (where she has a starring role), and Beyond Innocence.  She’s a relentless private investigator with a sweet Harley Softail and a handy set of lock picks. Talk about a pal who’s ready for anything.

BIO: Carsen Taite is the author of seven novels, with more to come. The most recent, Beyond Innocence, is available now from Bold Strokes Books.

PJ Trebelhorn


My partner’s first reaction to this question was to say I’m faithful, so I wouldn’t date any of my characters. While true, I was pretty sure that wouldn’t fly, so I just smiled at her and shook my head. Then I wondered what it actually means to “date” in this day and age. Are we talking one date, which might end in a one-night stand? Are we talking about dating as in a long-term relationship? Or perhaps we’re talking about an affair, which could be fleeting? I chose to answer the second of those three options, and my answers may have been different if addressing the other two options. Anyway, here goes:

Lynn Patrick from True Confessions – I’d be lying if I didn’t pick Lynn for this list. This story was the first one I ever wrote, and I started it way back in the 80s. Through all of the changes this character went through over the years, I think I’ve always been a little in love with Lynn.  Underneath it all, she’s always been fiercely loyal and protective of the woman she loves. Who wouldn’t want that?

Katherine Hunter from From This Moment On – Kat’s partner died five years before the book begins, and she’s never dated anyone since because she felt like it would be cheating, or be somehow disloyal to the love of her life. While that’s incredibly sad, it also speaks volumes about her character. I think Kat would make any woman she dates feel like they’re the only woman in the world.

Olivia Andrews from Missing – A bad-ass FBI agent who has an incredible soft spot for children—what else can I say? The fact she can make a grown man shake in his boots is a plus too. I think all of her intensity would make dating Liv an adventure.

BIO: PJ Trebelhorn is a novelist whose work is available through Bold Strokes Books. Her latest, Missing, is available now. Check her out online at her website HERE or on facebook HERE.

Barbara Winkes

Two beautiful girls in the background of spruce forest

All characters come from my novels Autumn Leaves and Winter Storm, part 1 and 2 of a series. Rebecca, a mother of two whose been married to her husband for 16 years, falls in love with the new girl in town–Callie, an author of lesbian fiction. Asha is Callie’s editor–and ex.

When it comes to the possibility of me dating on of my characters, there are some disclaimers:

1. If I wasn’t married. . .

2. Usually, I find my main character the “right person”. I love happy endings. No matter if we’re talking romance or thrillers, I think there can never be enough of them, especially in LGBT fiction. It’s part of the “It gets better” promise. So dating one of the main characters would be weird, like breaking up the relationship. That being said…

Asha Malik: She was Callie’s lover, then friend with benefits, then BFF — mainly, she’s Callie’s editor and supposed to keep her on track. She’s funny and easygoing, smart and successful. In my usual high drama setting, she’s the least dramatic person. Any kind of date with her would probably be rather physical — make of that what you want — no strings attached. Don’t expect her to call you right away, because she might forget, because she’s busy, but if you need her, you can count on her.

Rebecca Lowman: Since her husband’s work took him out of town most of the time, she was left solely responsible for the family and the home. Whenever he was home, they’d be falling back into the traditional role division. She’s the kind of girl you’d take out to an expensive restaurant with dress code and all — maybe on a spa day, because she has a hard time doing things for herself.

Callie Bryan: Two writers and book nerds amongst themselves, awesome! Meet in a library, talk books, characters and research, hang out in a coffee shop for hours afterwards. We’d have long talks regarding marriage equality and other LGBT issues. . .and then we’d probably both go home, because she’s really into tall brunettes, and I don’t fit that image enough.

This question makes me once again realize that the details of what we want in real life and fiction (as writers and readers) can differ greatly. In my fictional universe, there’s often a bit of an age gap between the characters, and contrasting looks (hair color!).

BIO: Barbara Winkes is a writer, a feminist, a shrink, a fangirl, and a proud wife. Her novels,  Autumn Leaves and Winter Storm, are available from Eternal Press


  1. Thanks, everyone, for participating–I really enjoyed reading all your answers. Some of you I’m discovering for the first time–making me laugh out loud is a good start! And all the “what does dating mean?” and disclaimers. I never would have thought of that!


  2. The quintessential question. What, exactly, is a date? To me, a date is when someone asks you to coffee or a meal one-on-one in a context that is definitely not work- or school- or project-related. For example, if one of your work colleagues says, “Hey, I’m trying to figure out this account thing. Grab lunch with me and chat about it?” that’s not a date. If said work colleague says, “So, I was wondering if you’d like to have dinner with me sometime. I mean, if you’re not busy or anything,” then, well, err on the side of date caution.

    If someone says to you: “Hey, a group of friends and I are going to [insert club here], and would you like to come along?” that’s not an official date, but it might be a fact-finding mission by the person to figure out if you’re someone she might want to ask out on a more official/formal date OR set up with someone in her group of friends. Take a wingman to help with your own fact-finding mission.

    If someone says to you: “I think you’re really cute. Would you have coffee with me?” That’s a date.

    If you’re sitting in a bar hanging out with friends and someone you don’t know sends you a drink, that could morph into a date situation. Or not, depending on whether or not that person follows up with a little bit of conversation with you.

    Here’s an amusing story, which will speak to my own personal cluelessness about not realizing when people are interested in me and will demonstrate why it’s important to be clear in your intentions. My second year in college, I was living in the dorms, and it was Christmas/New Year break, the week before classes started up again. Our floor had a dorm party (and yes, rules about alcohol were summarily broken) and there was this woman who lived down the hall from me who I thought was cute and interesting, but I wasn’t about to say anything because, well, I was insecure and young and relatively new to the college dating thing.

    Anyway, the evening progressed and the cute woman and I ended up chatting for a bit and she says to me, “Hey, do you want to go see that movie showing on campus this Friday?”

    My clueless response: “Sure. I’ve been wanting to see that, actually. I like foreign films.”

    Cute Woman: “So you’re okay going with me.”

    Me (puzzled): “Um, yeah. Why wouldn’t I be?”

    Cute Woman, realizing that 1) she hasn’t been nearly clear enough in her intentions and 2) I’m completely clueless: “I’m asking you on a date.”

    Me: “Ah. Well, then I’m even more interested.”

    Cute Woman: “Cool.”

    But do you see the ambiguity here? I mean, we both lived in the dorms on the same floor. We saw each other quite a bit coming and going, and we’d chatted quite a bit in passing. So in my defense, her asking me to the movie could have been just a friend at the dorm asking me to go with her to a movie. And her body language didn’t give me any clue, either (then again, I’d had a couple drinks, so who the hell knows what I was and wasn’t reading correctly). If you’re not going to use specific date-oriented language, then there needs to be a period of obvious flirtation before you ask someone to accompany you to a movie or even to coffee. Flirtation is key, here, if you don’t use specific “I WANT TO TAKE YOU OUT ON A DATE” wordage.

    But that also means you need to be tuned in to flirting.

    Do you see? This is completely complicated. It’s amazing anybody ever hooks up! 😀


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