Even better review

I found an even better version of one review of “Gift”, in Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, on Goodreads:

The Gift, by Dina Hankins is a remarkably tender, sexy story of senior lovers, Helen and Margaret. As a senior woman this one resonates with me, for sure. It’s gratifying to see stories of senior sex included in erotica anthologies. After all just because the packaging has changed doesn’t mean the fires within aren’t still burning.

Love this stuff!

Some great reviews for “Gift” in Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica

It’s tempting to spend all one’s time on Amazon’s author pages, refreshing the reviews page.  Has anyone talked about my work?

I stayed away a while and, what do you know, when I went back on, I saw some great mentions of my story in Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica!

WIP Wednesday

I’ve recently found the Facebook phenomenon called Binders.  The Binders Full of Women Writers and the spin-off groups for subcategories like romance, travel, and “rainbow” writers are active, vibrant communities of women sharing their successes and spreading word of opportunities.

The romance binder has organized a Work in Progress (WIP) Wednesday.  I imagine the intent was less transparent than this post, but being new to the binders makes me want to show some appreciation for these women and their willingness to support one another.  I’ve gotten new Twitter followers from the binders already, and now I’m hoping to see some new traffic on this site.

With that background established, I’ll move on to the actual purpose of the post.  Heart of the Lilikoi comes out October 13th and I’ll debut it at the Provincetown Women’s Week in Massachusetts.  It is still my work in progress, though I’ve sent it to my Bold Strokes Books editor and my Hawaiian-language editor.

Romantic suspense is a new subgenre for me and I found it both fun and tough to write.  Fun in that I was able to explore human motivation in all its aspects, not just the romantic.  Tough in that I have a hard time getting into the heads of characters I don’t like.  Living with these people for such a long time, living in Hawaii with them and shaping their reality with my words, tested my determination.  I move often and easily, but I stuck with these folks to the end of the first draft and through subsequent rewrites.  Now that I’ve reached the point where my world is getting outside visitors, I’m looking forward to jumping back in and seeing how I like the place I spent so much time.

Here’s a taste of the beginning.

Kerala circled the plot of land, striding from the black beach cliff to the rough lump of exposed pāhoehoe lava that marked the far edge of the construction site. Salt glistened in the bright, tropical sunlight wherever waves had crashed ashore. The Kona side of the Island of Hawai’i didn’t get enough rain to wash it away.

She mounted the hill and turned to look back at the marker flags and check their positions. The litany of what’s-next flowed inexorably in her thoughts, but her eyes focused on the job at hand. She took a step to the left.

The hill disintegrated under her boots.

Surfing the lava-rock wave, Kerala dropped ten feet in an instant and thought, oh, shit.

Near the bottom, her feet scraped against the flattening slope and she crumpled, curling and dropping a shoulder faster than thought. She and the rubble hit the bottom of the grade and she rolled until she cleared the falling debris.

Momentum spent, she lay on her side and kept her arms around her head for a moment, listening to the ground. Adrenaline sharpened her senses. Tender, tough greenery lay smashed under her. Its freshness complicated the smells of saltwater, dirt, and sun-heated lava rock. She listened closely, tensed to move, but only small spills continued from the top of the new slope. When she confirmed she wouldn’t be buried under another rock fall, she rolled onto her back and stretched out flat. She opened her eyes gingerly and blinked into the tropical sun, feeling along her bones and muscles from the inside. No real injury.

A burst of fury propelled her to her feet.

Shouts and commotion from the top of the hill cascaded toward her as several men slid-fell to where she stood. By the time they reached her, she had checked the newly exposed rock for clues on why the grade had given way. She would hurt like a bitch later, but she’d use the adrenaline high while it lasted.

When the crew supervisor, Jack Zelinski, stepped forward, he did so with all the care of a handler feeding a tiger.

“Quite Inventive Sexually” ALA Reviews Blue Water Dreams

I always go for the sexual references.  Not that this is news to me or anyone who’s been friends with/followed/slept with me over the years.

The American Library Association has a sub-group called the GLBT Round Table, which has published a review of Blue Water Dreams.  Its tone reminds me strongly of the librarian in Moses Lake, where I went to high school.  She took her job seriously and gauged each book almost dispassionately.  The same tone is clear in the review, even with multiple references to sexy-times.

The reviewer finds it “refreshing to read a love story where there is no jealous triangle” and notes that Lania and Oly are both “fairly free of hang-ups” (which made me smile).

The wrap-up has the tone that I referenced above.  It’s so wonderfully librarianish that I’m going to quote the whole last paragraph.

Blue Water Dreams falls well within the expectations of the romance genre, albeit with an atypical male lead. It may appeal to romance readers who are willing to try something a little different. It may also find a readership among trans men for the ways it affirms their sexuality and desirability.

Goa Gets More Love

A new publisher on the erotica scene, Explicit Books, has chosen to reprint “Goa”, originally printed in Twice the Pleasure, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel and published by Cleis Press. It’s available now in their e-book collection Breathless: Steamy Sexy Short Stories on Amazon. Also, they chose my story to be the sample – nice!

Heart of the Lilikoi Scheduled for Oct 13 Release

Hot news in the cold.  Bold Strokes Books has contracted my next book, Heart of the Lilikoi, and scheduled it for release on October 13th – right at the beginning of Provincetown Women’s Week.

Heart of the Lilikoi is romantic suspense, with plenty of the usual Dena Hankins flavor.  Gender, social justice, steamy sex, colonialism, and the concept of home get a thorough exploration against a background of passion and regret, love and hope.

The book has been listed on GoodReads and Amazon which is the first step (I learned from Blue Water Dreams) down the road toward realization of this manuscript I’ve been working on for years.

Heart of the Lilikoi contrasts with Blue Water Dreams in almost as many ways as it is similar.  The main characters are older, more mature, and far more sure of what they want.  The suspense creates a darker tone, and it’s harder to see how these amazing people are going to end up together.

Here’s the blurb for the back of the book:

Human remains tangled in lilikoi roots bring the authorities to Kerala’s construction site. Native Hawaiians say the passion fruit vine marks an ancient burial ground protected by guardian spirits, the ’aumakua. But these aren’t ancestral bones. The fractured skull points to murder.

Secrets, sabotage, and indigenous sovereignty campaigns hinder the project Kerala leads: building an eco-dream vacation home for Ravi, CEO of a solar power company. Proud to be a tough dyke in the trades, Kerala can’t believe she’s so hot for the masculine genderqueer scientist. Their sexual connection is volcanic, but Ravi’s craving for love and family aggravates burn scars from Kerala’s past. As the lovers pursue justice for Hawaii and its people, Ravi turns his gift for harnessing the sun’s strength toward cultivating his own power, and Kerala wonders if building deep, lasting love could be even more satisfying than constructing a home to last the ages.

 

49 Copies of Blue Water Dreams in US and UK Libraries

I started reading young and never stopped.  My dad fed me science fiction at what he considered an age-appropriate pace; I pulled random books from his shelves and got an accelerated education.  My school librarians learned to introduce me to series because I read so much and so quickly that I would be a pest if they couldn’t hand me at least five books at a time.

Town and air force base libraries had more to offer than my dad or my school.  They stocked things that would never fly for a school library and had a much wider idea of what might be a good book.  I devoured science fiction, romance, adventure, and more.  I dabbled in and turned my back on autobiography, biography, and war histories.  I developed the tastes that I’ve been broadening and refining ever since.

It’s not just the access to books.  It’s the space, filled with books and readerly accoutrements.  Lamps and chairs and tables to enable my passion.  Card catalogs and librarians and featured shelves.  The plainest of them still smell like books and the most ornate still turn one’s attention back to the books they exist to present.

I got on Goodreads today and saw again the link that reads Libraries.  Curious, I went to my book, Blue Water Dreams, and clicked the link.  It showed me the list of 24 library systems that have it.

This was so exciting to me that I clicked through on every one of them and discovered that some systems had multiple copies – as many as six copies – and that, even more exciting still, there were five copies checked out!

Oh. My.

I geeked out completely, made a list of all the locations that have copies, added them all up.  I have 49 copies of a book with my name, with my words, in 24 library systems, in something more like 45 individual libraries.  One put me in New Adult, some put me in Erotica, others stuck with Romance.  But I’m out there.

With excitement and joy, I share the list of libraries that have Blue Water Dreams:

On library shelves now in:

Chicago
Fort Wayne, IN
Fargo, ND
Bettendorf, IA
Los Angeles, CA
Hull, in the freakin’ UK!
San Diego, CA, currently checked out
2 in London…also UK.
3 in Santa Monica, CA
6 in 4 San Francisco libraries
5 in Kent County, WA – 2 copies checked out!
3 in Snohomish and Island Counties, WA – 1 checked out!
5 in 4 Seattle libraries – 1 checked out!
3 in 2 Minneapolis libraries (as New Adult Fiction, by the way)
3 in Louisville, KY
4 in Allegheny County, PA
2 in Fort Myers, FL
2 in Denver

The conservative town I went to high school in, Moses Lake, WA, has a copy, plus nearby towns of Ephrata, Omak, and Wenatchee.

I went to the Moses Lake Library for a lot of reasons.  I wanted books, obviously, but I also wanted to live in a bigger, wider world.  I wanted to know more and books held a lot of what I needed.  I wanted a quiet place where I could read in the public privacy one can achieve in a library.  I wanted a haven when the world hurt me.

I found all those things in the Moses Lake Library, and more.  I found respectful interaction with adults and the joy of reading to children and the honor of doing ESL tutoring for a Mexican banker turned agricultural worker.  I found a version of me that I carry to this day.

So thanks, libraries.  Thanks for being there for me.  And thanks for stocking this book about being queer and trans and in love, about being passionate and deeply caring about social justice and independence and working it all out to have everything when you think you’ll have to choose.

Thanks.

 

Out in Print Best of 2014 features Blue Water Dreams

Out in Print has done it again!  They had great things to say about Blue Water Dreams in their review last week, and they were impressed enough to put the book on their Best of 2014 list.

One of ten books chosen, it seems to be the only romance on the list and one of three published by Bold Strokes Books.

How cute is this?  “In fact, it has some extremely hot sex–something I neglected to mention in the original review because I was so blown away by how well-drawn its characters are and how naturally they interact.”

What a thrill!

Q&A with Carol Queen for Good Vibes workshop and reading

I’m excited to be hosting a reading of Bold Strokes Books authors at Good Vibrations on Monday, then following it up with a workshop on using erotica to spice up your sex life, communicate with partners, and get yourself off!

Carol Queen sent me some questions for a post on the Good Vibrations Blog and I was highly stimulated.  See my passionate answers here on their site.