“Take my hand.” A simple request with the power to change everything.
Artist Clay Cahill retreats to her hometown of Pine Cone, Georgia, when she’s betrayed by a woman she thought cared and the pressure of the New York City art world becomes too much. Setting paints aside, she takes a job at her grandfather’s garage seeking the restorative comfort of small town life where women are sweet and life flows as slow as molasses.
Manhattan art gallery owner River Hemsworth is preparing for a show when she’s informed her aunt has bequeathed her a local gallery in Pine Cone, a place where the idea of fashion is anything with a Carhart label. En route to review inventory and unload the property quickly, River wrecks and Clay comes to her rescue.
If River can convince Clay to start painting again, she may be able to pull off the show that will make her career and quench the desires she never expected to feel again.
Welcome to part one of the sweet, romantic adventures of Pine Cone, Georgia. I was super excited to write this trilogy with two of my favorite authors: VK Powell and D. Jackson Leigh
Isn’t that the hardest part sometimes? Just sitting down and putting the first lines on paper. I can’t seem to move forward until I get a first paragraph that I feel good about and the very first line needs to feel just right. I’ve realized that many of my books begin with taking a first step, crossing a threshold, which is usually a signal that things for the main character are about to change.
For my newest work in progress, Spencer’s Cove, there is no first step. There’s a cat, who has no concept of how much he weighs (18 lbs.) and a mystery to be solved… oh, and a painfully shy heiress.
Now, back to work on that first chapter.
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” — Matsuo Basho
I am so happy that one milestone along my new journey as a storyteller has arrived. All Things Rise is now live in the Bold Strokes Books webstore! It can be purchased in paperback and in all eBook formats exclusively through our store, ahead of its widespread release.
I’d like to send out a special thank you to the Bold Strokes Books family of writers who have been incredibly kind, supportive and welcoming during the months leading up to the release of my first novel. Radclyffe has created an amazing creative community and I’m grateful every day for the opportunity to be a part of it.
The Missouri Vaun author page on Goodreads is also now up and running. Please visit me there and let me know what you think about All Things Rise.
One of the first lesbian romance novels I ever read was Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg. I was living in Atlanta at the time, and mostly read non-fiction, but after seeing the movie I was curious to know more about the book. I was pleased to discover that the book expanded on the relationship between Ruth and Idgie. Where there was some ambiguity in the movie for those who didn’t want to acknowledge that this was a lesbian relationship, the book was very clear. I think Fannie Flagg did a great job of capturing the South.
A scene that stays with me from that story is when Ruth sends the passage from the Book of Ruth in the Bible to Idgie. It was simultaneously a pledge of love and loyalty and a request to be saved:
“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.”
— Ruth 1:16-20
Having grown up in the Deep South under the shadow of the pulpit, that passage in the Book of Ruth was always meaningful to me. Initially because it was one woman’s pledge to love and follow another woman, to join their fates together. For the most part, the book is a lesson against tribalism, but you don’t have to make a huge mental leap to read into this passage the plight of any individual who feels as if they are “other.” This is a book that champions the outsider. I can guarantee that growing up gay in the Deep South definitely makes you feel like an outsider.
Part of this sense of “lesser” and “other” is what I’ve tried to capture in my first novel with Bold Strokes Books due out May 2015, All Things Rise. It’s a romance between two women from different worlds who must transcend their own preconceived notions about each other to finally encounter each other in an authentic way. This story is also about loving yourself, and not allowing status quo conventions assign your worth. Oh… and a passage from the Book of Ruth makes a cameo appearance.