woman hiding all but her eyes

I Think I Thought I’d Remember

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Painted Moon 25th Anniversary Edition

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

25 years ago there was a lot of life I didn’t know was going to happen. I didn’t know I’d have two fully grown kids, that the Rolling Stones would still be touring, or that dot-com was going to be an economy. I didn’t know same sex couples would be able to get married everywhere, though I sure hoped so.

I also didn’t know the meaning … of … restraint … when it came to ellipses. And I sure didn’t know that I’d deeply regret not starting and maintaining a spreadsheet to keep track of names of characters, their careers, where they lived, what time of year the story took place, and physical characteristics of my leads.

I don’t even remember if I simply thought I’d remember, and there’s irony for you.

And Then I HAD to Remember

When releasing a 25th Anniversary edition of Painted Moon became a thing, I was thrilled because Jackie Frakes and Leah Beck are two of my favorite people. We were great friends all those years ago, though we’ve only spoken briefly in the twenty-five years since, when I wrote “Smudges” for Frosting on the Cake Volume 1 (This short story is now added to this edition, FYI).

There would be challenges. I knew this. For example, revising the layout of the book for the way we read today, such as shorter chapters and fewer scene breaks inside chapters. I wanted it to be far more digital reader friendly, but without sacrificing the feel and pacing of the story as it was originally written.

book cover Painted Moon 25th Anniversary Edition

Blue? Brown? Green? Hazel?

A challenge I didn’t anticipate was not being able to easily find a reference to the color of Leah Beck’s eyes. A romance novel where one woman doesn’t think even once and with great longing about the other woman’s eyes? I was appalled, yes I was. Appalled.

And I can tell you this – if I’d been populating a database all along (and migrating it from Lotus to Excel to Helix to Access) I’d have realized how this usually important detail was lacking while I was writing the book, not twenty-five years later.

For the record, Leah’s eyes are bronze-brown, as described by Leah herself. Apparently, Jackie’s not into eyes. Bad Karin, bad, bad!

Don’t Do What I Did

Also true: If I had been keeping track of vital details along the way, it would have been a snap to check necessary facts I needed for the short story “Living Canvas” that has been added to this edition. Their ages, for example. Hair, eyes, build – who was taller? So as I reread the manuscript start to finish I was taking notes like it was going to be a book report for Lesbian 101.

So here is my unsolicited advice to all you writers starting out – don’t be like me and put off basic data collection about your own work until you’re a couple million words deep and Mother Time has declared war on your grey cells.

Books Make Bridges

Setting that one (major) issue aside, all in all, revisiting this story about these women in that remarkable era of the Gay Nineties was quite simply a bunch of fun.

I caught up with old friends. I scritched the best dog ever one more time.

I thought about the women who haven’t yet come out and how, for them, this story of finding and claiming yourself will be one they need to go forward in their lives. Which is one of the ways books are so magical – bridges to past and future at the same time.

And THANK YOU, One and All

Thank you, all of you, for the long journey we’re on together. There’s no way to state how much your support all these years has meant, and how much it keeps me at my desk writing new stories.


Hippity-hop to Amazon for Kindle and Audible

Mosey over to Audiobooks.com

Click-clickity to Audible.com

Sashay your way to Kobo for the audio version

Grab all the eBook formats in a single purchase at Bella Books

Maybe you’re looking for a signed copy for a holiday gift?

For the record, this blog post was used to receive entries for a drawing only announced on Facebook.

Copyrighted Material

Comments 33

  1. Thank you everybody for commenting and sharing your thoughts about Painted Moon and other books. I appreciate all your kind words.

    The random number generator selected the comment by Hayde! Email will be sent shortly with the code information. Enjoy!

  2. But wasn’t it FUN to reread with that much attention to your own detail?

    1. It was when I could turn off my critical brain and stop thinking of a hundred other ways I could have written something. You know how that goes. 🙂

  3. I ‘ve read many of your books throughout the years. I don’t remember reading this one so I look forward to doing so soon. It’ll either come back to me or be a new experience. Seems to be a win either way. [vbg]

  4. I would love to read the new edition of ‘Painted Moon’. Don’t feel bad about not remembering the color of Leah’s eyes. I can’t remember the color eyes of my ex’s eyes. I love your books and am waiting until the first of next month to purchase ‘Because I said so”. I can only purchase one book a month and next month is slotted for you!

    1. I feel so honored, thank you. And I mostly feel bad about forgetting to even give her an eye color. That’s kinda my whole job, making characters who can be visualized.

  5. I loved all of your books! Hard to pick a favorite,but I did love Painted Moon. Can’t wait to read the extra chapters you added!

    1. I really hope you enjoy them. I had a lot of fun imagining where Jackie and Leah would be in 2019.

  6. My wife and I have been on the move for the last five years, and the books I haven’t given away (we gifted an East London lesbian and gay group many of them after my attempt to set up a regional lending library failed for a lack of venue) have remained in boxes. Ironically enough, it was only in the last few weeks we have landed in a more permanent location and done a little unpacking, and lo and behold, I have unearthed a small stash of Kallmaker novels! So I was able to celebrate your release of the 25th anniversary edition of Painted Moon by rereading my copy of one of my favorite books! I expect a new generation of readers will enjoy it just as much. Well done for writing such entertaining stories!

    1. Moving boxes isn’t any fun, but unpacking them to find treasures is a win! I hope there are even more treasures yet to be found.

  7. I am so looking forward to reading this story again and catching up as if I’ve never read it before. Yes, the pitfalls of a poor memory mean that each book reading is a new one anyway.

    1. It’s silver lining of a poor memory – everything old truly is new again. 🙂

  8. Dear Ms Kallmaker. I have been a fan of your work for decades. I am also a fan of your cooking and your wife and children.

    1. It’s an oldie but a goodie. (A phrase that increasingly describes its author as well. 🙂 )

  9. I can’t wait to read this or even have an opportunity to listen to it… either case I’m sure it’s as good as your other work! Thanks you for sharing your writing with all of us. 😌👍

    1. Thank you for commenting! It’s a favorite story of mine, and if you love a good dog in a story, Butch is all that.

    2. Congratulations, Hayde! The random number generator picked your comment. Expect an email with the details.

  10. I read Painted Moon ages ago and enjoyed it. I’d love to hear this on audiobook.

    1. The random number generator could make it so! Thanks for entering. 🙂

  11. i enjoyed “all the wrong places” good love story sometimes hard to see what you have. I love Abby and sometiimes if she does one and i am on the fence it pushes me over if she is the narrator, thanks Karin

    1. Narrators are a really personal choice, and I’ve read books I wasn’t sure about just because of who narrated them, so I get it!

  12. I’d love to be able to win an audiobook version of Painted Moon. I have the original paperback along with Car Pool and In Every Port. I have loved your books for a long time. Thank you for your talent in story telling

  13. I can’t wait for this, both the new ebook and the audiobook are on my wish list! (Even though I’m one of the few people who are not a fan of the narrator, but when it comes to my very favourite books I buy the audiobook even if it’s narrated by her. I hope in the future you or your publisher will consider a more diverse pool of good narrators :-))

  14. Time is undefeated, unfortunately. I can’t imagine having to remember details in something I wrote 25 years ago. I can’t remember what I walked into the kitchen for half the time! Anyway, I’m so looking forward to catching up with these lovely ladies.

    1. It’s the greatest lie I tell myself these days – “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember.” Yeah, no.

  15. I can’t wait to reread this one. It’s fun to hear about your writing process as well. Thank you for sharing these tidbits in your blog and newsletters.

    1. Thank you for all of your support, and your feedback. It makes a difference.

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