Discovering much more than Delilah with Melissa Foster PLUS GIVEAWAY


EVERYBODY is a winner! Melissa Foster is giving everyone who entered the drawing an ebook copy of her book, Discovering Delilah.

So hang in there while I contact you to find out what file formats you all indulge in.

Hi, Women and Wordsters!

Well, we have a treat today! New York Times bestselling romance author Melissa Foster stopped by to have a chat about her latest release. AND I MEAN LATEST. HOT OFF THE PRESS YESTERDAY. More on that in a minute.

I cyber-met Melissa after I wrote this blog last fall in which I took to task the myth that there’s no audience beyond a really tiny one for F/F romance. Melissa read it and contacted me. She’s writing primarily in what we’d call the heterosexual romance market but she has a variety of characters across her book spectrum and in one of her series, she has a book that JUST CAME OUT (see what I did there?) whose main character is a lesbian and is on her way to falling in love with another woman.

That series is Melissa’s new adult Harborside Nights, and the book is Discovering Delilah. The series deals with a group of friends who have known each other for years. Each book focuses on a different character’s story. DD is the second book, and features Delilah and her growing feelings for another woman (you can see the book trailer RIGHT HERE). DiscoveringDelilah_FINAL-266x400

Those of us who have been writing F/F romance know that the audience is primarily lesbian- or bi-identified women with some exceptions. Many of us also wonder why F/F doesn’t seem to get much play beyond our lesfic corners of the world, because as we know, there are some great F/F stories out there, with wonderful characterization, great dialogue, and all the other elements that make for an awesome read. Well, the obvious reason for that is because DUH lesbian cooties and nobody wants to get them except other lesbians.

But that, my friends, is changing, I think. Romance Writers of America has become more inclusive over the past few years, and includes an LGBTQ chapter and romances featuring lesbian or gay relationships have won some of the story contests and awards that RWA has going on. With some exceptions, sadly — in 2012, an Oklahoma chapter had an issue with LGBT romance. RWA responded (you can see that at that link), and reiterated that it does not condone discrimination. Regardless, all of us who are LGBTQ (and our allies) know that even with the great advances we’ve made over the past few years, there is still a lot of work to be done.

So we will continue to write all kinds of stories with all kinds of characters, as Melissa is doing with her work, even with the potential for blowback, as Melissa faced when she started working on Delilah’s story.

The upshot of this is, especially in the wake of the awesome happenings in June, I think we’re going to see a lot more F/F go “mainstream,” if you will, and I think there are going to be all kinds of shifts in various literary canons. Maybe rather than F/F romance or M/M romance or M/F romance, it’ll just be romance. After all, as I quoted another blogger last fall, we can all use another good book.

SO! Melissa is putting up an ebook copy of Discovering Delilah. If you’d like to get in on the awesome, leave a comment below. Please include your email address in the comment fill-out form BUT NOT IN THE COMMENT BODY. We’re trying to save you from spambots. You’ll thank us later. Really.

Drawing closes at 10 PM EST (US) Monday, July 13.

And now, I’ll let Melissa take it from here.

Discovering much more than Delilah
Melissa Foster

When I set out to write the Harborside Nights series, a new adult hetero and LGBT romance series, I did so because the characters and their world spoke to me so loudly that I might as well have been in bed with Wyatt, Delilah, Ashley, Brandon, Tristan, and all their other friends. What I found was a beautiful world, a bit of controversy, and an exploration of the incredible power that parents have over their children.

Discovering Delilah is the second book in Harborside Nights, and focuses on the blossoming love between Delilah Armstrong and Ashley Carter. Delilah’s parents were killed on the day of her college graduation, which, unfortunately, was the same day Delilah came out to them, and her ultra conservative parents did not take the news well. In the aftermath of their tragic death, Delilah is left struggling to pick up the pieces of her life, and trudge through the guilt they’d instilled in her forever, which led her to keep the most intimate side of herself a secret for so long.

Courtesy of Melissa Foster
Courtesy of Melissa Foster

Delilah’s grief leads her to a world of self-discovery, where she faces her deepest fears at the risk of losing her closest friend. Isn’t that what grief does? Makes us turn introspective and scares the shit out of us? Sure, but this story is about more than love, loss, and self-discovery. It’s an exploration of the people who influence us the most — parents, siblings, and closest friends.

It’s a test of strength for not only Delilah and Ashley, but for their friends and Delilah’s twin brother, Wyatt, who for the first time in his life, feels impotent to help. Wyatt’s story unfolds in Catching Cassidy, the first book in the series, where we learn how parenting can affect children so very differently.

I have children. And as a mother, I have to say that it’s hard to stomach the power parents hold over their children. On some level I wonder who we are, to decide what beliefs are right or wrong for them. Hello controversy!

Along those lines, I would like to share with you a little more unexpected controversy that I faced while writing Delilah’s love story. Writing is like living with friends in your head for months on end, and then opening the door and bringing them out to play.

I was thrilled when I began my adventure into Harborside and started work on Delilah. And then the advice began pouring in from author friends: The LGBT audience is too small to risk upsetting your het readers. And use a pen name so you don’t lose your het readers. Oh boy, really? Did I worry about turning off my lesbian readers when I published my het romances? Nope. So why worry now?

This was an eye opener, to say the least. Not one that would dissuade me from writing what I feel, of course. I found this advice maddening and shortsighted — and disappointing. It saddens me that in 2015 we’re still dealing with this type of prejudice, and I hope that by standing up and writing stories like Delilah’s, other authors will feel empowered to do the same, and not kowtow to pen names (which would be like writing in a closet!) or worse, not writing the stories at all.

Melissa Foster
Melissa Foster

Indeed. So let’s all keep writing, people! And readers, keep reading! And if you’d like a chance at winning a copy of Discovering Delilah, leave a comment below.

Discovering Delilah on…
Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
Barnes & Noble

MOAR details:

Melissa Foster is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Harborside Nights New Adult Romance series (includes LGBT), Love in Bloom Contemporary Romance series, and several women’s fiction novels.

Twitter (@melissa_foster)


  1. Good for you in standing up to those who would privilege het romance over lgbt! The series sounds very interesting and I love character-driven stories. Count me in on the drawing!


  2. I already bought the book since I am a fan of your writing. Great that you don’t let others tell you what to write. Keep going and stay true to yourself!


  3. This is an interesting time … I think Andy is correct that we will see more lesbian content in mainstream fiction going forward.

    Another interesting aspect of this – to me at least! – is to wonder about what happens to the writers who have written for lesbians for many, many years. Will they be adopted into – and, finally, rewarded by – the new mainstreaming of previously marginalized content, or will the lesbian content become the ‘property’ of non-lesbian, more well-known writers? Will consumers of lesbian fiction remain loyal to lesbian writers? Will the publishing and publicity juggernauts of, say, Nora Roberts or Jodi Picoult swamp longtime marginalized lesbian authors?

    Thoughts? Does the author matter?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Lynn–this is indeed something that others have wondered, as well. I personally really enjoy the idea of FINALLY getting some recognition for lesfic authors in mainstream venues who have been writing great stories and characters for freaking years, because it will expand audiences and make them eligible for awards that have ignored them in the past.

      However, I also wonder how this can be done without “co-opting” lesfic, as you seem to be suggesting above. An argument can be made, I think, that readers will support authors whose stories they enjoy, and audiences will build for authors accordingly, but given how long lesfic has been marginalized and dismissed, to have authors who don’t identify as lesbian writing it and possibly getting all kinds of accolades that have escaped lesfic authors does indeed leave a somewhat icky feeling.

      I don’t have any answers for you, but perhaps it is a conversation that we need to address. I know that non-lesbian authors writing strong LGBT characters are most likely allies, and perhaps building more bridges between lesfic and them will help ensure that lesbian authors of lesfic aren’t relegated to a back room because EEW lesbians. Rather, we’ll be part of those panels at major romance conferences, and we’ll be board members and awards committee members, and editors for LGBT imprints at major houses. But yes, I think you have some valid questions. Thanks for stopping by.


      • Thanks, Andi!
        No, there are no answers. But you make two (at least!) good points – (1) that straight authors “writing strong LGBT characters are most likely allies” and (2) that it is important that lesbian authors become visible in other, “non-lesbian” publishing houses and associations. Hopefully that begins to happen …


      • Hi Andi and Lynn,
        Great questions and points. I’m not sure who the author is matters as much as the quality of the writing. I doubt you’ll ever see someone like Nora Roberts give up her mainstay audience to delve into lesfic writing simply because the number of readers in this genre is so much smaller than het romance or even M/M romance. Jodi Picoult has written one lesfic story (to my knowledge), but I think quality writing from ANY authors – well known or new – will make the difference. I think the key is doing the community justice with the stories and not falling prey to writing for $$ over quality. Will lesfic ever become as big a genre as hetfic? That’s the main question I hear and it’s all up to the readers. I think it’s harder to reach the lesfic readers than mainstream het/MM readers. When it’s easier to find ways to reach out, it’ll make a difference.

        As for conferences and awards. Heck yeah! I’m doubt lesfic is being blacklisted there. Maybe the strong enough candidates aren’t reaching out to speak or attend? I don’t know, to be honest, but I know I’ve spent months trying to reach the lesfic audience, and it’s a slow ride. Thanks to wonderful folks like Andi and the people at Huff Post Gay (hate that name, by the way, not sure why but it bugs me lol), and LGBT Feed, the net is cast wider, but again, it’s a slow roll. I’d love to know avenues to help grow the readership and visibility of LGBTQ titles.

        Sorry for rambling 🙂 I’m so glad you stopped by to chat and to read this post. As for me, when I met Delilah, I just knew her story had to be told, so no matter how many “don’t do its” I heard, I did it 🙂 xox

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a good book. I am very happy you you wrote it and used you name on it and didn’t hide! Count me in!


  5. Wow ,another new author to read. Please count me in . Looking forward to reading this book.


  6. Sounds like a really great book and a read for many . Thanks for the post.Congrats on the book as well .


  7. Please add me to the draw. My hope is that mainstream authors do their homework and demystify lesbians and the women they love to their het audience. It may not help the cause of getting our excellent lesbian authors more mainstream exposure but it might help break down walls of ignorance and indifference.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Melissa Foster,
    I look forward to reading your books. By the way congratulations on the new book.


  9. Lynn and Andi I loved the side comments..Andi I never come away from your blogs or posts without being entertained, enlightened or have opened my eyes and mind to many things that I would have never questioned or thought of..thank you for that..and thank you for introducing me to authors I haven’t read yet but probably should have..Melissa looking forward to reading your works whether I win or not!!


    • Hi Annette,
      My bias is – and I suspect always will be – reading lesbian fiction by lesbian writers. However, so far in (how many years?) lesbian writers of lesbian fiction have not really ‘cracked’ the mainstream. If and when mainstream fiction adopts or incorporates lesbian themes and characters I would just like ‘our’ writers to enjoy some of the rewards and awards. I think of, for examples, Jane Rule and Katherine V. Forrest, both excellent writers but, because they were/are (I realize one is deceased and one – very thankfully – still with us!) lesbian writers/writers of lesbian fiction, they labored for years without what should have been more acclaim for the quality of their writing.


    • Hi Annette, thanks for stopping by and reading the blog post.

      Lynn, rest assured that the same thing happens in het fiction:-) It happens in every genre. It took me years to break out, as it does for everyone. But I think until the lesfic readership grows larger it’ll be a tough one to be promoted by the retailers. Even if it sells well, retailers are somewhat afraid of putting any specific genre out to all audiences (although they sure did pop the lid for 50SOG, right? So there is hope!)


      • “rest assured that the same thing happens in het fiction:-) ”

        Okay – too funny! I get it! Just me getting my ‘prickly’ up.



  10. Andi,
    Thank you so much for hosting me and sharing your lovely audience with me and Delilah (and Ashley!). I feel very lucky to have connected with such a cool woman. Thank you!! xoox


    • Back atcha and WOOOO! And there’ll be more folks coming by, no doubt. The merry elves here at Women and Words luuuuv to get the word out about things.



  11. We need more lgbt scifi/fantasy novels. And it is about time there wasn’t a distinction between lesbian fantasy/scifi and “normal” fantasy/scifi, or any other genre. If a character happens t be gay, so what? Why should it matter? I loved this article. And I’m going to check out Melissa’s books. She sounds like just the kind of author I want to be reading. 🙂


    • Hi Phoenix!
      Thanks for the vote of confidence. My brother has been asking me to write sci-fi for ten years, but my brain doesn’t work that way 🙂 I’m so grounded in the real world that I would stink at writing sci-fi, but I hope you find great authors writing what you want to read! xox

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Delilah and Ashley’s story sounds like a terrific read! Always looking for new authors who write “our” stories. Thanks Melissa!


  13. Thank you Melissa!! An author should write about the characters that speak to them and I am very proud of you for letting Delilah’s story be told as part of mainstream life. I think your faithful followers might surprise you and enjoy hearing the story. Romance is romance; love is love. You series will be part of my library.


    • Hi Karen,
      Thank you so much for the kudos! My fans never fail to surprise me 🙂 They’re amazing and several have told me that Discovering Delilah is better than my het romances! **So happy** xox


  14. Looks like a delightful “friend” to take to up North; the cabin, the creek or Agate Beach!
    Thanks for putting my girlfriend in the drawing…


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