Dena Hankins - Author

Buy a paperback or e-book copy now from my publisher at Bold Stokes Books!  If you’d like to find it at an indie bookstore, look on IndieBound. Also available through Amazon, B&N, and retailers across the country.  If buying isn’t your style, Blue Water Dreams is available in libraries and community centers.  Yours doesn’t have a copy? Request it!

Out in Print Best of 2014!

“Two talented, complex, and passionate people thriving in the artsy underworld of Seattle, Washington…magnificent!” Rainbow Book Reviews

“And the sex scenes? Quite well written. Hot, but at the same time genuine – basically two people taking pleasure in each others bodies. And with the novelty of one of its participant being trans, which was treated with a lot of clarity and respect.” Penny via Goodreads

“The details about sailing, printing, magazine production, filmmaking, and workers’ rights were all spot on – clearly, Dena Hankins has a lot of interests (or she does a lot of research!)” Lauri’s Reviews via Goodreads

“These rich characters are like my friends, queer and trans* folks who pay little mind to culturally prescribed boundaries of sexual and gender expression, so comfortable with themselves they barely even register these facets as identities…Lania is someone I want to keep me up all night talking, and — real talk — Oly is someone I want to keep me up all night, period.”  Kate via Goodreads

“It was lovely to actually see myself and my community reflected like this, a rarity in the world of romance. They’re queer and trans and nerdy and passionate and intellectual and struggling.” Erin via Goodreads

Lania Marchiol keeps a wary sailor’s gaze trained on the horizon. Somewhere out there, the perfect boat is waiting to take her around the world in a self-sufficient home powered by wind, sunshine, and the strength of her will. When she finds it, she’ll sell her beloved antique printing press, retire her renowned literary magazine, and wave good-bye to her life on land.

When a suave filmmaker flirts his way into her literary life, Lania must fight to maintain a steady heading toward the high seas. The magnetism of wickedly handsome trans man Oly Rassmussen send her trusty compass spinning off course and they must reimagine freedom and love in order to sail together in the greatest adventure of all.

This is my first novel, published by Bold Strokes Books in September, 2014.  Here’s a little taste of the main characters meeting for the first time.

Lania slid into the park’s picnic table with the sun behind her and fished her notebook from her backpack.  The most recent submission she’d accepted for her magazine needed extensive editing.  She pulled out the typed pages and began reading.  Only a sentence into the piece, she started writing editing points in her notebook.

“Mind if I join you?”

Lania recognized the voice but spoke without hesitation.  “Of course.”

“You do mind?”  Humor shook the smooth tenor.

She frowned up at the man who’d tried to help her dock the boat.  “I meant of course you may sit here.  I don’t mind.”

“Thanks.”  He sat, placing a backpack and bicycle helmet on the seat next to him.  His short golden hair extended down his angled jaw in the form of light stubble.  Eyes the green of tender, newly unfurled leaves echoed the humor she’d heard in his voice.  They compelled her to share the joke and Lania responded with an unbidden smile.  A quirk in his thin lips stretched into a wide grin in response.

“Oly Rassmusen.”

He certainly looked Scandinavian.  Trapped by politeness, Lania grasped Oly’s hand.  “Lania Marchiol.”  The warm length of his fingers curled around her hand.


“No, Lawn-ya.  With an L.  Italian.”

Her clipped tone didn’t have the desired effect.  He continued smiling and squeezed her fingers.  “Beautiful park, isn’t it?”

She slid her hand free.  “Yes.”  Okay, so he was sexy.  Half-sleeves in bold designs peeked from under his shirt, the lines complimenting his well-developed biceps and triceps.  She brought her smiling lips under control.  She still had work to do.

“Don’t talk much, do you?”

“I’m trying to focus on this essay.”  She tapped her pen against the printout that lay beside her open notebook.  Oly’s grin acquired a wicked twist at the unsubtle brush off.

“You’re a student?”

“No, an editor.”

“Of essays?”  Patience gleamed in the flash of teeth as he smiled.  Persistent bugger.

Impatient fingers tucked a heavy lock of mahogany hair behind one ear.  “Yes, of essays.”

“What’s it about?”

Was he flirting with her?  It had been a few years since she’d been attracted to a guy.  Ginger, her best friend, claimed credit for introducing her to so many sexy women.  But this guy…

Pretty eyes aside, she didn’t have time for flirtation.  She needed to get this essay sent back for revision right away.  Also, if she was going to buy a boat and sail away, dating ranked low on her list of priorities.

Lania drew on her obfuscatory powers, sure he’d crumble under the onslaught.  “It’s an essay on gender roles in activist communities and vestigial gendered forms of protest.  It discusses the virilization of honor and how activists both subvert and replicate normative gender ideologies.”

Those fresh green eyes widened.  “Wow.”  She returned her attention to the paper in front of her, but, to her surprise, he continued.  “I’m filming a documentary of the Seattle General Strike of 1919, so I’ve been studying up on labor history and the ways that even men and women in gender-normal jobs would step outside their roles during strikes.  Is that the sort of thing discussed in the essay?”

Much less annoyed, she studied him closely and volleyed back.  “Many people expect activist communities to be models of equality, but they’re constituted of people just like any others, with a significant number of sexist, racist, homophobic, and otherwise discriminatory problems cropping up.  Not to mention coercion, abuse of power, and other bad behavior.  This piece is specifically about gender norms and how otherwise transgressive people fight or fulfill these norms.”

She stopped to check his comprehension and his lips quirked again.  “Don’t worry about losing me.  I can hold my own.”  Lania laughed and tried to resist the thread of interest winding through her.  Oly Rassmussen wasn’t the only sexy academic she’d known, quite the contrary.  But in this park, looking like a skater or bike messenger, he was unexpected.


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