Sapphic Book Bingo graphic

Sapphic Book Bingo Unicorns – Find Them Here!

Karin Kallmaker Events and Appearances, Readers and Libraries 36 Comments

It’s a new year and time for the 2023 edition of Sapphic Book Bingo, organized by the completely awesome Jae.

Have you not heard of Sapphic Book Bingo? Well. Here’s all the details from Jae herself and links to download PDFs of the two bingo cards – Book Unicorns and the Main Categories.

Find out everything you need to know, then come back here for ideas on my books that will help you fill your Bingo card. You could have some of them on your shelf already. Reread a favorite or find something new!

Subscribe to Jae’s recommendations, by the way. You’ll get a wide range of suggestions and for sure discover some new authors. Her weekly blog posts will have some giveaways!

My Unicorns

Just pausing a moment to say that I’ve always wanted a unicorn and thanks to Jae, I’ve realized I have many. Thanks Jae!

Imperfect sex: Car Pool The chili pepper scene, one of the few in my books based on personal experience. Enough said. In A Fish Out of Water sex invokes a terrible curse, so I would say, yes, something goes wrong.
Shorter butch character: One Degree of Separation and All the Wrong Places. Both books are on the steamy side, too. Coincidence?
Brown eyes: Simply the Best, Maybe Next Time, and Painted Moon. That’s the ones where I’m sure. I do wish I’d kept a list.
Unusual first date: Captain of Industry where Suzanne and Jennifer spend their first date opening and starting assembly on a huge Lego project building the Space Shuttle. The date goes awry because Legos and bare feet.
Immigrant or expat: Velvet in Venice The name kind of gives it away.


Stunning cover: Cowboys and Kisses is a striking cover, IMHO, as is my upcoming release Knight of Nights. I also think My Lady Lipstick is unusual because, unlike most romance covers, the model is looking you right in the eye. Anita Topaz doesn’t want you to think she’s hiding anything.
POC on the cover: Because I Said So. The model on the cover represents Filipino-American Kesa Sapiro. Also, the new “Nikki Velvet, Chanteuse” cover of Velvet in Venice.
Romance without a sex scene: Embrace in Motion fits the bill in that the main characters don’t have sex before the novel ends. However, one of them has sex, albeit clearly with a woman who is not Ms. Right.
Menopause: Roller Coaster features actress Helen Baynor. She’s having hot flashes in an industry where 35 might be too old to play 50, and 50 might as well be 90.
Unusual setting: Cowboys and Kisses is set in a fictional but very real 1870s frontier town bordello. In A Fish Out of Water part of the story is set in the Land of the Mer.

Main Categories

Age-gap romance: Touchwood – 29 years. In Simply the Best it’s 15 years.
“Heart” in the title: I have yet to put “heart” in a book title (but I will in 2024 with Covered Hearts. I heartily recommend Jae’s Heart Trouble.
Co-authored book: Take your pick of either of the In Deep Waters volumes I co-wrote with Radclyffe. In the mood for a sea cruise or a trip to Vegas?
Inheritance: Making Up for Lost Time. Chef Jamie Onassis (no relation) inherits the old sea coast inn where she grew up. Enter Val Valentine, DIY Fixer. Who wears a tool belt. And also makes me think a 2024 book unicorn should be a character with an utterly outrageous name, like Valkyrie Valentine.
Free sapphic book: There are four right here.


Country or state you haven’t visited: Never been to California? Pop over to my All About Everything page and click on “Love, California Style.” What about Alaska via Warming Trend? What about Italy via Velvet in Venice? I also have to suggest Stepping Stone because in most ways, Hollywood isn’t even on this planet.
Single parent: Roller Coaster. In addition to hot flashes, Helen Baynor has twins, both teenagers.
Enemies-to-lovers romance: It’s hate at first sight in Love by the Numbers and a case of pride meets prejudice in Just Like That.
Pride scene: My fourth novel Car Pool has a true San Francisco Pride Parade experience. In my recent novel Simply the Best a pride dance on a California beach helps save New Yorker Alice Cabot’s aching soul.
Angsty romance: A Fish Out of Water is off the chart angst in an erotic romance. Maybe Next Time features a suicidal violinist, so yeah, there’s angst.

book cover sugar lesbian romance novel

Low-angst romance: Sugar is full of sweet Sugar.
Boss/employee romance: Above Temptation fits the bill. Although technically Tamara Sterling is Kip Barrett’s boss’s boss’s boss.

book cover lammy goldie winner kiss that counted

Workaholic character: In The Kiss that Counted CJ Roche is determined to work hard with no distractions. Her reasons are unusual to say the least. Let’s just say she’s got red in her ledger… I suppose that it would also be considered angsty.
Vineyard romance: Just Like That fits the bill. So does Jae’s Something in the Wine. Just sayin’.
Sibling relationship: In Unbeliever, Hayley and Kylie Carnegie are identical twins. Their lives are far from identical. Oh. I guess this is another angsty one, though it’s not the romance that brings out the tissues.
Tool belt: As above, Making Up for Lost Time. Val’s tool belt makes it very hard for Jamie to focus.

It’s terrific that Jae puts this event together every year. Be sure to drop some thanks on her! Like I said, you’ll want to sign up for her blog so you can get a broad range of suggestions and have a chance at some giveaways.

Speaking of Giveaways

You could cross the “immigrant/ex-pat” off your list right now with Velvet in Venice. My reward for anyone who read this far is a giveaway. Read More

Golden brown cookies with cracks and sugar sparkle on a white plate that features a green-hatted and green-scarf wearing snowman.

Seattle Ginger Spice Cookies

Karin Kallmaker Chocolate and Inspirations, Favorite Things, LIFE + STYLE 7 Comments

Why Seattle?

This recipe was stumbled upon by my wife, Maria. She thought it would be a tasty treat for everyone at her brother’s house up in Seattle. Somehow I was the one who ended up making them and DANG they turned out perfectly the first time, so preen for me. Everyone loved them.

Five days later they were getting a little bit dry, but still tasted good, especially dipped in a warm beverage. The ginger kick is there, but it’s not “hot.” The final taste is ginger with other warm spices and the rich goodness of dark sugars mixed with butter.


Taste of Home’s recipe with my scrawly notes. Their how-to video is great!

Even the first time around I adjusted the recipe from Taste of Home. You can see the original above and my random markings made with an S-pen on the PDF. I’m sure the original was good, but I don’t like cloves so I substituted cardamom and a dash of nutmeg. I couldn’t conceive a ginger cookie that doesn’t have any brown sugar. Also, rolling in only sugar is simply adding sugar flavor which is one note on an already sweet cookie. Why not boost that with some salt and cardamom? Read More

The skyline of Venice from approaching from Murano Island to the Grand Canal

A Rainstorm in Rome and Self-Portrait of Brain Exploding

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Coin of Love Series, Covered Hearts, Knight of Nights, Velvet in Venice, Wind in Her Hair 0 Comments

I Lose My Heart to Venice

few years ago, before pandemic restrictions, my wife and I traveled to Italy. Our first stop was Venice where we were picked up by boat at the airport and whisked to our hotel on Murano Island, with the familiar skyline of Venice in the distance.

We were there for all of a few hours before I knew I’d write about Venice through the eyes of a smitten tourist. So many places can’t ever live up to their hype, but for me Venice surpassed its hype.

I filed away experiences, art, food, smells, noises, music, and the heat in the way that my writer brain does. Photographs, some notes. Gelato, for research of course. So much gelato.

I had a setting and all I needed was a story. I trusted one would come to me, like we writers do. Read More

Star Wars character Rey holds her yellow light saber

The Short Life and Excellent Death of Darth Lumpius

Karin Kallmaker LIFE + STYLE 46 Comments

Back in August I knew I would be writing this post and that this would be the title.

Darth Lumpius had visions of immortality. Its evilness was about the size of two Cheerios. A routine mammogram screening discovered the nasty little bugger. Three weeks later Darth Lumpius was no more, aspirations of takeover all for nothing, thanks to a crack team of Resistance fighters: one surgeon, one radiologist, one radiation oncologist, one therapeutic oncologist, and a platoon of technicians and nurses. They each had their own light saber and the Force was with them.

All Star Wars references aside, I found out I had breast cancer in August. By the beginning of September, I no longer had breast cancer due to quick outpatient surgery. Radiation treatments followed to discourage any hangers on of trying to attempt their own takeover. I am now cancer free with no greater risk of another case than the general population.

All in all, start to finish, the best possible breast cancer story a person can have. Read More

Cover Cowboys and Kisses written by Karin Kallmaker, narrated by Ann Shanks Etter

Now in Audio – Cowboys and Kisses read by Ann Shanks Etter

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Cowboys and Kisses 56 Comments

Drawing and comment period is now closed. Winners announced in this comment.

It’s always just a little bit weird to hear someone else read my work aloud. Having lived with the voices of the characters in my head, sometimes for years, it’s like hearing familiar music but in a very different key.

So it’s a real relief when a narrator matches my sense of timing, hits the right notes on the humor, and adapts to the story tone to match my words. Ann Shanks Etter has done all that for the brand new release of the audiobook of Cowboys and Kisses. It’s now exclusively at Audible. Early in the new year it will make its way to the other retailers and into library catalogs.

Reminder – if you want a book in audio or ebook format through your local library, try asking! Services like Libby and Hoopla may have the title but your library might not know that LGBTQ patrons want access.

Cowboys and Kisses is a frontier romance where two women, separated by the bordello and the church, find a way to each other.

Run time: 4 hours and 30 minutes
  • A one-way stage ticket to the frontier leaves a young woman penniless and alone in Long Grass, Wyoming. With no other hope than to survive another day, she takes up the only profession open to her. Years later she encounters the cowboy she can love, and her first taste of pleasure - and happiness.

    Cowboys, however, are born to wander, and their kisses are as brief as the lives of young women without family or means. Accepting that her days will be numbered too few, Darlin' escapes into her scribblings where her dreams of freedom can soar over the limitless prairie.

    When she recognizes her own truth and a chance for love in the longing gaze of a townswoman, will she finally find kisses she can trust?

    Two determined women in a hostile world save themselves — and each other — in a lyric, sensual love story as only Karin Kallmaker can tell.

Listen to a Sample


Visit the book at Audible



It was supper and I should have gone down to partake. I was hungry but didn’t feel it.
Jinny had escaped, I reminded myself. I watched Greta’s chest struggle to rise for every breath and didn’t want to acknowledge the truth: for every Jinny there were a hundred Gretas in this house. In other towns, there were more Gretas, Millas, and Darlin’s.
Cherry’s authoritative rap on the door brought me out of grim, dark thoughts.
“Leave her. You can’t help.” Once again, Cherry stayed outside in the hall.
“I think she’s dying. She shouldn’t be alone.”
“You can’t change it. She’ll survive or she won’t.”
Cherry was much older than I was, true, but I felt as if I’d learned something she had not. “Either way, how these hours pass matter.”
“You sound like the preacher’s been at you.” Cherry frowned and I could see her adding up the money Greta had cost, wasn’t making tonight and what it appeared I would not make tonight either. “His way is of no use to you.”
“No preacher could understand what I mean. Or what she’s going through.”
Her expression softened only slightly. “That is a true thing you’ve said. But it don’t change the fact that you need to get downstairs.”
. . .

Close up of the face and hands of black business woman as she laughs and claps. Behind her another person also claps.

Surviving that First Panel – Moderators and Panelists

Karin Kallmaker Business of Books, Events and Appearances, Resources 0 Comments

Panels are a terrific way in the sapphic fiction world to boost your professional street cred and talk about your work. You’re in the midst of a group of other pros – some of whom might be real rock stars in the room – and you get to learn from them about both their work and how to manage the panel experience.

Panels can be live as part of a larger conference, or a one-off hosted by a bookstore or library. They can be online during a weekend writing course, or an hour of a fun topic organized by authors or publishers as a way to engage readers. Each event will be different, and each will have its own audience.

I’ve attempted here to create a useful list of advance work you can do to take some of the anxiety out of the experience, set up realistic expectations, and manage the event itself. Some of these tips won’t work for you. Every event is different. So please consider this a wide-ranging set of tools you can customize to each event as needed.

Ready? Let’s go! Read More

Albuquerque Take Flight Golden Crown Annual Conference logo with hot air balloon aloft in dark morning sky GCLS 2022

GCLS 2022 – Birthing Books and More

Karin Kallmaker Events and Appearances, Sisters of the Pen 0 Comments

Once the Googlerithmz realize we’re writers, we’re bombarded with online ads touting the only way to get an idea out of your head and onto the page. Hooey. Absolute hooey.

meme, the only wrong way to write a book is not to write the book - all other ways are the right way - karin kallmaker

You can quote me. Marketing, quality, style, tone, plot – none of it matters if the page is blank.

How Books Get Born

It’s fantastic that pandemic protocols have eased and the Golden Crown Literary Society is resuming their live annual conference event. (Virtual series events remain too!) It’s been my good fortune to moderate So I Had This Idea – From Idea to Published Work panel over the years. Writers tell the stories of their stories. If you’re attending, mark your Friday morning at 9 a.m. to join us.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced author or just starting out. Read More

Blue sky and green trees behind Rainbow Progress, Dublin City, California State, and United States Flags snapping in the wind

The Best Kind of Surprises and Pride in ALL of Our Books

Karin Kallmaker Cowboys and Kisses 0 Comments

I am continually, delightfully surprised by the reader love for Cowboys and Kisses. As always, I’m never quite sure what aspect of any story will form the magic connection with readers. I usually think I know, and I am often wrong. With this particular story, it might be that the two women might have actually existed in some frontier town, and lived happy lives together.

One reader said it was a “love story that sticks to your bones.” Another said Read More