It’s February and 2018 is well underway. So far, I’ve not made much progress on getting back in shape, but I did get my taxes done. Now, if my wife and I can only build our IKEA bedroom set before March, I’d say we were off to a great start!
A few notes before we get to this month’s exciting Meet & Greet. I’ve been working on adapting my first novel, “Somewhere Between Love and Justice” into a screenplay and if you didn’t see my announcement on Twitter or Facebook, I’m ecstatic to say it was named a winner at the Women’s Film and Script Showcase! You can read the first ten pages and…time for my monthly shameless plug…if you’re looking to produce a film this year, this one is available for option. You know I had to throw that out there.
Just a reminder that the ReadOut Lesbian Literary Event is coming up on Feb. 16-18 in Gulfport, Fl. More than a dozen authors will be attending and reading. A workshop is also planned for Sunday as well as a panel discussion. If you’re interested in attending, all the details can be found at READOUT2018.
And, if reading more lesfic is one of your goals, don’t miss out on your chance to read and win with Jae’s Lesbian Book Bingo all year long. A ton of authors and publishers,including myself, are in on the prizes. All the details are HERE and you might just discover some new favs along the way.
Now, let’s Meet & Greet the diversely talented author and illustrator, Missouri Vaun, whose latest novel, “Love at Cooper’s Creek” was just released on February 1st by Bold Strokes Books. From sci-fi and romance to graphic novels and comics, there is something for everyone in Vaun’s arsenal to enjoy. I’ve had the pleasure of reading several of her books (I’m currently reading “Birthright”) and each one brings something special that sucks me in. And if butch characters are on your wishlist, she delivers those as well. That little writing studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains stays pretty darn busy.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me.
My “other” career is as an illustrator. So when I’m not writing I’m usually drawing or painting.
I’ve contributed art to some of the covers. The cover of “Crossing the Wide Forever” being one example.
It’s been fun to utilize both writing and art on some of the books.
I like action and sci-fi but really, the characters come first. They tell you where they want to live. My next two releases are contemporary romances set in small towns in the Deep South. But now I’m back to sci-fi. I think changing genres keeps it interesting for me, as a writer, I hope it does the same for my readers.
I really try and take advantage of every free moment and I keep a journal with me at all times because I’m frequently traveling for work. However, if anyone tried to make sense of my notes they’d probably be very frustrated… I describe my method as “chaos.” But so far it’s working. Oh… and I also pretty much gave up TV.
I mostly read non-fiction. But if I do read fiction, lesbian fiction specifically, I tend to read action stories.
I’m reading 1666: Plague, War, and Hellfire by Rebecca Rideal.
Nice, light reading, right? I’m also reading “The Witches: Salem, 1692” by Stacy Schiff.
I tend to read a few books at once, depending on what mood I’m in. The Witches book is a bit of research for an upcoming novel titled: Spencer’s Cove.
My wife and I read aloud to each other at night, which is fun. Right now we’re reading The Mayflower, by Nathaniel Philbrick. Who also wrote “In the Heart of the Sea,” which is a great book.
I really wish I had more time to read… I have a stack of books on my nightstand at the moment and no time to read them. I love Radclyff’s Provincetown series… and I’m currently reading one of Ali Vali’s books at the moment. Ali writes great butch characters. She and Radclyff have perfected “hero” characters … which really appeal to me.
My all time favorite writers, the ones I return to over and over, are James Agee and Cormac McCarthy. Oddly, they both lived in Knoxville, Tenn. at one time. Which is where I went to college. That seems like an odd coincidence since I didn’t discover them until many years after graduation. A couple of years ago I went back to UT to teach a workshop. I visited the apartment I rented in this old Victorian only to discover that the park across the street is now named James Agee park. I thought that was sort of cosmic.
Yes, I knew I wanted to do comics when I was about seven. And I started writing novels because I had all these “stories” that I’d planned to do as graphic novels but never had time to do them. It takes a long time to produce a graphic novel. So, at some point I decided to see if I could take one of those stories and turn it into a novel. “Birthright” was supposed to be a graphic novel, but I like it much better as a prose novel.
Jane’s World started when I was working at the Chicago Tribune. I was working full time and Jane’s World became my late night sanity project. And then it just kept going. I’ve been doing it for 20 years now, which is hard to believe. There’s going to be an anthology out this fall that collects the “best of” Jane’s World from the past 20 years.
There was this great company in Oakland called Saint Harridan who did tailored suits for women. Two of my suits came from there. Unfortunately they’ve since closed. It’s too bad. I loved their stuff.
Now, I get jackets etc from Trunk Club, out of Chicago.
Make time for yourself to create. And find a quiet place to do it. (I also find that noise cancelling headphones are a must.)
I usually have a couple of projects going at once, so that if I get stuck, I work on something else and then come back to my writing. I find you can’t force yourself out of writer’s block… you just have to wait for it to pass. And if you don’t freak yourself out about it, then it usually does. I suffer more from a lack of time to write than from writer’s block (luckily)… although now I’ve probably just jinxed myself!
Missouri Vaun was my great grandmother’s name. She was a Creek Indian. I’m entertained by the notion that she’s in some way helping me write lesbian fiction from beyond the grave.
Love at Cooper’s Creek
Successful, but suffocated by the demands of her corporate career, Shaw Daily walks out on it all. She returns to her grandparents’ rural property in Cooper’s Creek, North Carolina
with a plan to hide out and reboot her life to be simple and stress free. But escapism eludes her when her attentions are captured by small town beauty, Kate Elkins.
Kate has spent almost her entire life in Cooper’s Creek. For Kate, the bonds of small town life are a source of strength and comfort. When her aging mother weakens, Kate takes a leave from teaching to care for her. Romance is the last thing on her mind when she bumps into her unrequited teen crush, Shaw Dailey just back from California. Long-buried feelings resurface for Kate, but all Shaw sees is a beautiful woman saddled with the responsibilities she is finally free from.
Vaun spent a large part of her childhood in southern Mississippi, before attending high school in North Carolina and college in Tennessee. Strong connections to her roots in the rural South have been a grounding force throughout her life. Vaun spent twelve years finding her voice working as a journalist in places as disparate as Chicago, Atlanta and Jackson, Miss., all along filing away characters and their stories. Her novels are heartfelt, earthy; speak of loyalty and our responsibility to others.
She and her wife currently live in Northern California.
You can find all of Missouri’s works, including her new release “Love at Cooper’s Creek,” at Bold Strokes Books and be sure to follow for all the happenings at: