I’m really excited tonight.
I’ve come across some fabulous authors new and old, and I’m reading them in ebooks on my mega smartphone as well as in good, old-fashioned paperback editions.
I confess that I haven’t been reading a lot of fiction in the past several decades. No, I’m not ashamed of that: as I pointed out in an earlier post, I read and edit news articles for a living in my newspaper job, and I blog quite a bit here and in other places. And I have even found some time to do a bit of creative writing myself — but, you know, I really love the immediacy of blogging and the feedback from readers.
As a kid, I read tons of books. I used to read by flashlight under the covers in bed after my parents had ordered “lights out!”.
But I found in my late teens that as I tried to write creatively — short stories and such — I was copying the styles of the latest authors I was reading. So, I stopped reading fiction.
Well, that’s all changed — all of a sudden. I’m reading fiction with a vengeance again, thanks to the inspiration of the Stonewall book shop owners in Ottawa who reached out to me on Twitter. Thank God for social media, eh? I mean, how did we live for so long without smartphones and Twitter and Facebook? It boggles the mind. And to think there are kids being born today who will never have known a world without Internet technology and its social media forums. (But I digress again.)
So, after reading two of the five paperback books I ordered from Stonewall, I decided to check out the offerings on Google Play Books and Amazon’s Kindle. I’d never read a book on my smartphone before — though I have watched TV shows on it, made videos with it, taken pictures with it, texted with it and, oh yah, even used it as a phone. So, I downloaded a free book called Key to the Kiva by Laura Mecham — and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a mystery with a slight LGBT hook — but that hook is not central to the story at all. The fact that two of the characters are lesbians is no more relevant than if they were male-female heterosexuals. But the mystery is very well told, with slight spiritual overtones blended with the possible long-term fallout of the so-called Philadelphia Experiment (google it, if interested).
So, I decided to seek out more offerings on Google’s Play Books site. I’m looking for mysteries with romantic hooks and LGBT characters — because, you know, I’ve been advocating for LGBT people for a long time, and I want to see them represented in literature and in film and on TV.
Today, I discovered Sarah Ettritch, a prolific writer from Toronto who has written mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, lesbian fiction and romance books that are published in print and in ebooks. As she says on her blog page, she writes “science fiction, fantasy and mystery stories featuring strong female characters … the female character is central to the story. It’s her story. She’s not there to support someone else.” She says all of her books have at least one lesbian main character — but none of her books contain explicit sexual content.
I downloaded some samples of her books, and after checking them out, bought some of the ebooks editions: Threaded Through Time, a set of two books about romance, time-travelling and, no doubt, adventure; and The Missing Comatose Woman, a mystery with a female sleuth.
Prices are ridiculously low for ebooks, and I hope writers like Sarah are getting the lion’s share of the money readers are paying. I know how much work goes into writing a novel — it’s a labour of love, yes, but writers have bills to pay, too.
I strongly urge anyone who likes to read a good book to check out Sarah’s offerings. Check out her website for more details. You can even order her books through the site from Amazon, Google etc.
I’ll be writing more about Sarah’s books after I finish reading them, but I liked her style instantly.
I’ve also fallen in love with the writing of Mable Maney, who writes LGBT-hooked parodies of Nancy Drew (Nancy Clue) and James Bond (Jane Bond) etc. But I have to order her books in paperback form because I can’t find ebook editions. I’ve got three more coming in the mail, and the one I read (a Nancy Clue story) was an absolute hoot. More on Mabel’s books later.
Indeed, expect lots of books reviews from me (and some wine reviews soon, too).
Book photos source: Sarah Ettritch at sarahettritch.com