Dena Hankins - Author

Lysistrata Cove has launched

by , on
September 13, 2016

Now for attaining escape velocity!

I’m getting feedback already, some of which is exciting, some of which is absolutely thrilling.

Sally Bend reviewed Lysistrata Cove on her review blog Bending the Bookshelf, and she pinpointed some things I’m truly proud of.

First, who wouldn’t love seeing this:

Honestly, this is one of the most remarkable erotic romances I have had the luxury to enjoy in quite some time. There is a lot going on, both on an emotional and an intellectual level, but it all meshes together in a queer, kinky, seamless fashion.

Second, I was worried that this part wouldn’t translate, so this got a full fist-pump:

…what Eve is after is a really fascinating idea, and one that is sure to make readers think about creative freedoms, copyright laws, and piracy.


Lysistrata Cove is also mentioned in The Pleasure Lab podcast #22. It’s about a third of the way through and is more about my lifestyle (sailory, not sexuality) that my writing, though I get good props there too.

All right, Lysistrata Cove – go, be free! Fly into many many hands!

Lysistrata Cove Goes to School

by , on
January 1, 2016

The last few months have been a flurry of travel and writing. After spending the summer sailing north, James and I spent the fall sailing south. The winter, to date, has been more southing, without the snow and depressing low temps we’d feared.

On the writing front, I have rewritten and sculpted Lysistrata Cove, the first draft of which I completed in 11 days while at anchor in Somes Harbor, Maine.

Today, I turned in my manuscript. It’s now on my editor’s desk and not mine (on pain of torture and death if I pick it up and work on it while she has possession of it).

The book is good. It’s an adventure romance with characters who are like my real-life friends in one or more of these ways: queer, trans, kinky, poly, passionate, activist, sailor, pirate…Yep, excellent friend-group!

I’m excited to say that I already have a cover. With Blue Water Dreams, every step in the process added a bit of weight to the reality that I was going to be a published author. This time, every step just makes me that much more excited to hold the final version in my hands.

Lysistrata Cove 300DPI

Lysistrata Cove: First Draft Finished

by , on
September 12, 2015

I just finished a first draft in 11 days.

And I’m not even exhausted!

The complete first draft of Lysistrata Cove represents a change in my understanding of novel-writing. After two books that took me years to write and edit, I know now that I’m, first and foremost, telling a story, and that I work best when I know what the story is, how it got started and how it ends. I tried to leave things open, so that I could do what authors talk about all the time and learn from my characters, but it just left me floundering eventually, hunting and pecking for the impetus to throw them over the cliff or the strength they’ll need to figure out they have wings and can fly.

James and I developed a story, capable of being told in a handful of paragraphs. Then I mapped the story to the dramatic arc, the three-act play, Campbell’s hero cycle, Hauge’s six stage plot structure, using all to some degree and some quite carefully. Using Scrivener, I broke the story into sections (folders): Enemies, Softening, The Fall, Point of No Return, Major Setback, Dark Night of the Soul, and Epiphany and HEA (Happily Ever After). I wrote a synopsis for each scene (individual documents), with 4-6 scenes in each section.

Only at that point, when I had exported all that into MS Word and had a detailed, 10-page synopsis, did I go back and start doing character sketches.

Then I sat down, after several months of thinking over all that, getting to know these people in my head, and started writing. In writing, I didn’t linger on setting descriptions. Lots of scenes take place in amorphous surroundings, which I’m fleshing out in the second draft. But I got the thrust of it down. It’s tight, spare, and plain, but it drives.

Now I’ll go back and add some lushness. I’ll bring the sensual aspects into flower and consider where (not whether) to add more sex. After all, all the best reviews of my work praise the erotic bits.

Blue Water Dreams

First word to completed first draft: 1 year

First word to publication: 9 years, 3 months

Heart of the Lilikoi

First word to completed first draft: 6 years, 2 months

First word to publication: 6 years, 11 months

Lysistrata Cove

First word to completed first draft: 11 days

First word to projected publication: 10 months