Introducing Ann McCoy by Barbara Winkes (plus TWO FREE BOOKS!)

Hey! We have a couple of winners! Congratulations to Dana Holmes and Maddy!

Happy Sunday morning! Today we welcome back a frequent guest here at Women and Words, Barbara Winkes. She’s got a new release coming out (she’s just not sure when exactly) called Amber Alert, and she couldn’t wait to tell us all about it.

Since she doesn’t have a release date for Amber Alert yet, she’s generously giving away two books to two winners. If you are chosen, you get to pick between Familiar Places and Indiscretions. Leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing. As always, I’ll draw the winners next Friday, June 5.

Good luck!

Introducing Ann McCoy
by Barbara Winkes

My next release with my publisher Eternal Press, Amber Alert, features a straight main character. After asking questions and listening to conversations within our genre, I decided it couldn’t harm to elaborate on this fact a bit more. I think Women and Words is a wonderful venue for doing so.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I went for a walk and happened to come by a shoe lost by a toddler on the lawn of an abandoned garage. This, coincidentally, was the same day the head of a known hate group made an outrageous statement about LGBT parents. It’s how stories are born: Two elements that have nothing to do with each other for most people, click together and there’s the spark of an idea.

The characters came to me quickly, Ann McCoy, the tough, tomboyish (and straight) detective, and her sister who is happily married to a woman. Chrissie and Rachel have a two-year-old daughter. Making decisions about characters in the early stages, before you’ve even written a word, is both spontaneous and pragmatic. As the story unfolds and the characters reveal more about their lives, the pieces come together.

Amber Alert, as the title suggests, is a mystery. I wanted the case to be personal for my investigator, but I didn’t want her to be a mother in this story. Both Ann and Chrissie seemed to be perfectly fine with the roles I gave them, because the book came together nicely.

In the course of it, Ann has to understand that while she loves her sister and has always kept in touch, there are many things about her she doesn’t know. While she’s dealing with her own troubles on the job and in relationships, she comes to understand a lot more about what it looks like to be confronted with homophobia on a fairly regular basis. Deeply-rooted hate does not always manifest itself in physical violence.

In fiction, we define what world we would like to live in, our hopes for change. This aspect made it especially interesting for me to write from a straight woman’s perspective, but Amber Alert isn’t just about the straight vs. lesbian point of view. It’s also the story of two very different women who, after the death of their parents, have to re-learn to communicate and truly respect the differences between them. Some of them have nothing to do with sexual orientation.

I have seen the assumption once in a while that a lesbian writer creating a straight character has mostly to do with monetary reasons. Well, I’m not counting my chickens or money yet. We all see the statistics once in a while about what a writer’s income looks like on average. A straight character might find a statistically larger audience, but they’re up against the same competition, millions of books released each year.

In this first book of the series, not only Chrissie, Rachel and their daughter play important roles, but other LGBT couples do as well.

Does it still count as lesbian fiction?

Some might say no, depending on how you define the term. I hope you’ll give it a chance anyway, but if you prefer lesbian pairings only in your reading, I have plenty to choose from as well. This month, I published Familiar Places, the second in the romantic suspense series about Jayce and Emma from Halfway Home. Indiscretions (coming in June) is a thriller about a rookie and a detective working together. They have to find a murderer who targets women he believes to be “immoral”.

Since I don’t have an actual release date for Amber Alert at this time (but wanted to talk about it anyway), I’ll have Jove pick two winners who’ll be able to chose between Familiar Places and Indiscretions. I’ll be sure to come back with a giveaway for Amber Alert once it’s out—for the Hootenanny at the latest!


FamiliarPlacesCover Final - Copy


Here’s where you find me meanwhile: I look forward to seeing you.


  1. I look forward to Barbara Winkes’ ‘Amber Alert’ and other books, having just finished reading ‘The Interpretation of Love and the Truth’.


  2. This sounds like it will be a good read. I enjoy it when authors expand and try something a little different from their usual. It will be interesting to see if it garners a larger audience. If we all only wrote what we knew personally, there would be no sci-fi…


    • Thanks, Ann. My wife and I often say that about vampire novels–but all joking aside, I think the characters tell the story, and sometimes you go in a direction that’s not the usual for you, in reading and writing. It keeps things fresh.


  3. i will look forward to reading this books. Please add my name for the drawing. Thank you.


  4. Great post! It’s all a matter for personal taste I suppose but I love to see straight and lesbian/gay/bi characters interacting in novels. For me, that reflects how the world is and it makes the story more interesting. When I pick up a book I don’t expect to be able to identify with every character. Sometimes those most alien to us are the most enthralling. I love reading about people, irrespective of culture, age or sexuality. A good book is a good book in my eyes. I will say it would be nice to see more lesbian characters popping up in mainstream fiction. I wish you every success with this.


    • Thanks! I feel the same about all kinds of characters and personalities interacting…I love writing about lesbian main characters as well, but often, I give them straight friends, partners at work, or, logically, family. I think part of the “it gets better” is to show that part of life, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Amber Alert, as you describe it, sounds like something I would want to read. I will look for it this fall.


  6. Thanks for your comments, and to the ladies of Women and Words for having me again! It’s always great to be here. I have a little update as well: Indiscretions is out now, and according to my publisher, I’ll start edits on Amber Alert soon. Have a great summer, everyone! 🙂


  7. reblogged with my thoughts on my own novels which also contain straight characters. this definitely gaveme a lot to think about


  8. As a gay woman with three straight sisters, I’m looking forward to your perspective on the common situation…Continued success, Barbara!! 👏👍🏻📕


    • Thank you, Sandi! I have two sisters and a brother. I think it often happens that dynamics change and we learn more about each other after critical life events–marriage, death of a loved one. In the book, the two characters have a very different approach to relationships. I also found it fascinating to create two women who grew up with the same loving parents, same environment, yet their lives differ a lot.


  9. I have enjoyed your previous books and look forward to your new one. Amber alert sounds very interesting.


  10. This sounds like a good read! I like the diversity of the characters. Please add me to the drawing!


  11. Yes, please. I would love to read one of your books. Looking forward to reading Amber Alert.


  12. Sounds interesting. I think your book picks better way than into an isolated LGBT world.


  13. The new book sounds great. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the release date.
    Here’s to happy writings!


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