young white woman with brown hair in pigtail buns clutches her cheeks in terror saying "What have I done?"

Rookie Amateur Mistake = Opportunity, Right?

Karin Kallmaker Business of Books, Cowboys and Kisses 2 Comments

I messed up. Making a rookie amateur mistake is generally not a good thing when you’ve been around as long as I have, but it ended up being a good thing. At least I think so.

It has to do with books and how they’re printed. Specifically, all the magic behind making color that’s true and stays true whether a book is printed in the USA, India, or (eventually, right?) on Mars.

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK = CMYK

There’s a lesson I learned a very long time ago about the difference between computer screens and printing presses. What you can see on the former can’t be reproduced on the latter. It’s all about how color is processed by each device. Here’s an approximation of the difference between RGB and CMYK with the basic colors of red, green, and blue. Read More

dark haired light skinned woman in blue shirt and yellow beret against plain light blue backgrounds looks likes she hatching a plan

Rule #2 for the Win – A Femme’s Tale of a 1980s Workplace

Karin Kallmaker Cowboys and Kisses, LIFE + STYLE 8 Comments

Breaking the rules without looking like you’re breaking the rules. It’s something I tried to excel at as a child. Like Ways-to-Get-Ice-Cream-Even-Though-It-Will-Spoil-My-Dinner.

In my early years of loving as a lesbian and living as a femme woman in a world where nearly all rules were made by men to benefit men, I discovered ways to look like I went along with the rules even as I used the rules to resist the rules. I call that Subverting the Patriarchy. It could be good fun, and often eased the relentless pinpricks of sexism and male privilege. Read More

white cake with chocolate pieces and frosting drips with black and red berries

What Happened Next, Round 3

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Frosting on the Cake Volume 3, Readers and Libraries 81 Comments

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

(Apologies to those who received this post in their inbox twice. Something went awry with the interwebs WordPress magicks and it was not pretty!)

Has Kesa finally designed a dress for Jennifer Lamont to wear to the Oscars? Is Helen Baynor still the Queen of Broadway? Do Kip and Tam ever have a chance to get away from the job? Will anyone ever give Lisa the credit she is due for always being right? Does a TikTok world offer celebrity chef Valkyrie Valentine a way to go viral? Do Alice and Pepper really go on an all-science road trip? Read More

Names and “Fallen” Women

Karin Kallmaker Cowboys and Kisses 11 Comments

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

The old-fashioned western was popular when I was growing up. My grandmother had bookcases of Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey. My dad never missed a John Wayne flick. The iconic tropes of movies like Destry Rides Again were so powerful that 65 years later Blazing Saddles satirized that film and others, and everybody got the joke.

For myself, I might have been more engrossed watching Marlene Dietrich and Madeline Kahn in their performances as “fallen” women than the scenery and six-shooters. I have to put quotes on “fallen” because no western I’ve ever read or seen asks, “Fallen from what and according to whom?” Read More

Reader review Touchwood This verrrrry slow burn romance is honest, beautiful and yes – sexy.

30 Years? How Can that Be?!

Karin Kallmaker Touchwood 30th Anniversary Edition 44 Comments

Drawing and comment period is now closed. Winner announced in the most recent comment.

I still can’t believe it’s been thirty years since the love story of Rayann and Louisa made its way out into the world. Half my brain accepts that events of that time are ancient history now, but the other half feels like I wrote this story merely “a while back.” Before I had kids, you know, not that long ago except both have graduated college now… Well sh*t.

Thirty years went by really fast.

It’s strange to realize that an age-gap romance I wrote in part to claim history for an older lesbian is now itself a step back in time for the younger woman’s experiences as well. I guess it’s not all that strange that all these years later I’d resonate with Louisa more than ever before. A lot of you who read the original back in the day and this edition now have said much the same thing. Read More

chart showing why the writer is crying, chose random page to admire in new release, found typo

Why the Writer is Crying – a Meme

Karin Kallmaker Craft of Writing, LIFE + STYLE 0 Comments

A friend shared the Librarian version of this meme and I immediately thought of all the things writers post about that make them cry.

It’s also true that if you created a similar chart for “How Writers Procrastinate” making a spreadsheet to make a meme to make a blog post would be item number two, after cleaning the house.

P.S. The best depiction of a writer in film is the opening of Romancing the Stone as Kathleen Turner sobs over her keyboard and has used up every possible tissue in the house and finally blows her nose on a post-it note reminding her to buy tissues. 100% accurate. Read More

It’s the Little Things that Bring Comfort and Joy – Giveaway

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Comfort and Joy, Maybe Next Time 70 Comments

Drawing and comment period is now closed. Winners announced in the most recent comments.

As 2021 comes to an end, having been both and neither better and worse than 2020, I find myself greatly heartened by the little things.

A Short Visit to Paradise

My wife and I are back from spending a week in Hawaii. It didn’t matter that the weather was predicted to be stormy, or that we had to take extra steps to prove our vaccination status, or masks were required in all public indoor spaces. We were going to experience all of that at home, so why not experience it in Hawaii?   Read More

3 white unicorns on a rainbow

Inclusion, Survival, and Rainbow Unicorns

Karin Kallmaker LIFE + STYLE, Readers and Libraries, Sisters of the Pen 16 Comments

I’ve made no secret over the years about my love for the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS). I count it among my favorite organizations, and the annual conference is – bar none – my favorite event of the year.

A Bit of Background

As the world around all of us changes, and everyone – young and old – finds new ways to exist and express themselves, ideas and the words that express them change too. I’ve written before about the inevitable phenomenon. It’s exciting and painful all at once.

GCLS has been slow to adapt. Slow to the point that some early supporters have wandered away in search of more welcoming places. I’ve tried to support and amplify the voices of those people who have felt excluded and unwelcome and asked the organization to make it unequivocally clear that the organization’s goals, events, and awards were not just open to them but welcomed them.

Recently, GCLS unveiled updated language throughout their mission statement, goals, awards eligibility, and web site to reflect that GCLS welcomes women and nonbinary people and that there is simply no debate that transwomen are women and it supports the literature that tells those peoples’ stories. These changes to terms used were the result of the work of many volunteers, and was debated by the membership-elected board.

I was outright relieved. As one of their trailblazer awardees, it has been increasingly difficult to tell people they were welcome as the language remained not very inclusive. There has been some vocal pushback since the announcement. I’ve had private conversations with a couple of people that boil down to:    Read More

Griffith Observatory at Night view of Los Angeles below public domain Wikimedia

Hidden and Not-So-Hidden Fun in Simply the Best

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Simply the Best 6 Comments

Drawing and comment period is now closed. Winner announced in the most recent comment.

If I like a movie or show – it makes me laugh or cry or think, or has fabulous music – I watch it again. And again. To the point that my wife doesn’t really get it. However, she appreciates it when I can supply a pithy line at that right moment or a character name during trivia (Leonard Pinth Garnell, y’all, I’m just saying).

Ask me who won the gold medal in fencing at the 2012 London games and I take reasonable umbrage at the very idea I would be carrying that kind of information around in my precious gray cells. I would then pass the question over to Maria. And she will ask, “Which event in fencing, there are this many, here are their names and equipment and assessment of stabbiness, Men’s, Women’s, or Team,” and you may as well say you’re sorry for asking such an imprecise and obviously problematic question.

Hello, My Name is Karin and I’m a Sponge

Instead of facts and figures, I carry around quotes that I paraphrase as appropriate to any given daily situation. Trying to find someone in a crowd? “What’s your vector, Victor?” Ask me how to put an object to use? “I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl…” (Airplane!)

I’m a sponge.I’ve been sponging for decades. Full confession: my best stuff is compiled out of movies I’ve watched 54 more times than just about anybody.

Toast falls on the floor butter side down? “Now we see the violence inherent in the system.” Do something unexpectedly successfully? “Captain, there be whales here!” Or …

I bypassed the compressor! Star Wars

I can’t help myself. All in all, I think it’s not a bad habit for a writer to have, this sponging up thing.    Read More

5 pink and white marble easter eggs on white background

The Hoo-Ha about Hoo-Hoos

Karin Kallmaker Simply the Best 47 Comments

So I was looking up the history and use of “hoo hoo,” you know, like you do when you’re a writer and you want to be sure that what you think a phrase means is the generally accepted definition.

What’s the Hoo-Ha about Hoo-Hoos?

I confirmed that “hoo-hoo” is a euphemism for lady bits. I was grateful to do so without having to confront the often exceedingly graphic definitions at The Urban Dictionary. As with Mahjong, I found variation in the spelling – to hyphenate or not to hyphenate?

So I asked on various folks on Facebook. There was no consensus about whether the hyphen was required. One person – dead serious I’m sure – thought the hyphen made it more elegant. The Interwebz didn’t have a definitive opinion, and I wasn’t about to click on any site that wanted to show me images. If I’m looking to look, I can always refer to Femalia.

I decided on the hyphen because, sure, it’s more elegant.

Hoo-Hoo Research

Why was I looking up uses of “hoo-hoo”? Simply the Best is set inside a wildly successful women’s lifestyle and wellness company. My deep dive into the women’s wellness industry turned up a product called a yoni egg, which is a rock sold to correct imperfect hoo-hoos. I hadn’t known that any hoo-hoo could be less than perfect! Read More