Sandra Moran Radio Book Club—Year 5

The Sandra Moran Radio Book Club is on The Tenth Voice every second Saturday, 1-2 p.m. Central time. This LGBT public affairs show has been on the air since 1989 on KKFI 90.1 FM, Kansas City’s 100,000-watt community radio station. On this Radio Book Club show we discuss LGBTQ books with a variety of authors, books, genres, and panelists. To keep up to date, you can “like” the show page at

Here is the radio book club schedule for 2020 with podcast links for shows that have aired:


January 11, 2020: Year 5 of the Sandra Moran Radio Book Club begins with Galileo. Author Ann McMan joins panelist/author Bev Prescott and host Elizabeth Andersen for a discussion of this 2020 Lambda Literary Award-winning novel. Galileo podcast

February 8, 2020: The Sandra Moran Radio Book Club is honored to welcome Michael Nava along with publisher/author Salem West. The discussion will center on Michael Nava’s Carved in Bone: A Henry Rios Novel and also on Amble Press, a Bywater Books imprint. The Rios novels have won six Lambda Literary awards and Nava was called by the New York Times, “one of our best.” Carved in Bone podcast

March 14, 2020: We discuss Imani Perry’s Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, winner of the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction and The Publishing Triangle’s Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction. The panelists are D. Rashaan Gilmore and Cheryl Pletcher. Looking for Lorraine podcast

April 11, 2020: Author Leona Beasley talks about her novel Something Better Than Home with panelist/author Cheryl Head and host Elizabeth Andersen. This 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist in Lesbian Fiction depicts the life of a young lesbian coming of age and coming out in the 1970’s South. Something Better Than Home podcast

May 9, 2020: Author Esther Newton joins Johnda Boyce and host Elizabeth Andersen to talk about My Butch Career, her memoir that was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Esther Newton podcast

June 13, 2020: The show with Christopher Bram, William Sterling Walker, Philip Hooser, and host Elizabeth Andersen is reprised during LGBT Pride Month. We discuss Christopher Bram’s Father of Frankenstein and Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed AmericaChristopher Bram-June 2019 podcast

July 11, 2020: Author Gar Mcvey-Russell discusses his novel Sin Against the Race with Mercedes Lewis and Elizabeth Andersen. “Written in taut prose steeped in history and current events–and seasoned with the blues–Sin Against the Race follows the coming-of-age journey of a young black gay man as he progresses from an invisible councilman’s son to a formidable presence in his community.” Sin Against the Race podcast

August 8, 2020: We discuss sports romances with award-winning author Rachel Spangler. Book(s) and panelists TBA.

September 12, 2020: Author Renee Bess discusses her writing, including her novel The Rules, with author Penny Mickelbury and host Elizabeth Andersen.

The Sandra Moran Radio Book Club on KKFI has ended as of the September show, but the LGBT book club may very well continue as a podcast. I will post information here as I have it. Thank you so much for your support!

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Sandra Moran Radio Book Club—Year 4

The Sandra Moran Radio Book Club is on The Tenth Voice every second Saturday, 1-2 p.m. Central time. This LGBT public affairs show has been on the air since 1989 on KKFI 90.1 FM, Kansas City’s 100,000-watt community radio station. On this Radio Book Club show we discuss LGBTQ books with a variety of authors, books, genres, and panelists. To keep up to date, you can “like” the show page at

Here is the projected schedule for 2019 with podcast links for shows that have aired:


January 12, 2019: Year 4 of the Sandra Moran Radio Book Club begins with Marriage of a Thousand Lies. Author SJ Sindu joins panelists Johnda Boyce, Carol Rosenfeld, and host Elizabeth Andersen for a discussion of this award-winning novel. SJ Sindu’s Marriage of a Thousand Lies

February 9, 2019: It’s the fourth year of the Sandra Moran Radio Book Club, and this was a different kind of show. Philip Hooser and Elizabeth Andersen hosted and talked to some regular listeners.

March 9, 2019: Author Jaime Harker is on the show to talk about The Lesbian South: Southern Feminists, the Women in Print Movement, and the Queer Literary Canon with Cheryl Pletcher and Elizabeth Andersen. In this book, Jaime Harker uncovers a largely forgotten literary renaissance in southern letters. The Lesbian South

April 13, 2019: Living on the Edge or It’s a Mystery! Linda Wilson and I talk first with author Cheryl Head about Catch Me When I’m Falling, her latest, and third, Charlie Mack Motown Mystery. Then author Ann Aptaker discusses with us Flesh and Gold, her fourth book in the Cantor Gold Crime Series. Charlie Mack and Cantor Gold

May 11, 2019: Philip “blue owl” Hooser hosts and is joined by librarian/technician Sean Taylor, teacher Ronnie Lathrop to discuss with author Eric Andrews-Katz his novel Tartarus. Tartarus

June 8: Author Christopher Bram is on the show to talk with panelists William Sterling Walker, Philip Hooser, and Elizabeth Andersen. We discuss Gods and Monsters (originally titled Father of Frankenstein) and Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed AmericaChristopher Bram

June 29: Bonus Book Club! The theme is climate fiction, a timely subject, as authors Bev Prescott and Anna Burke talk about their thrilling novels 2° and Compass Rose with Michelle Pond and host Elizabeth Andersen. Anna Burke and Bev Prescott

July 13: To honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, Philip blue owl Hooser will host members of a cast that brought Street Theater, the play by Doric Wilson, to life in Kansas City in the late 1980s. Among the guests will be director Carl Hippensteel, Dennis Walker, Jennifer Parker Burrus, Jeff Davolt, and Michael Cranston, who is directing his own version of the play!

August 10: Elizabeth’s co-host is author Kris Bryant, and we are speaking with authors Georgia Beers and Melissa Brayden about the romance genre. Romance with Kris, Georgia, and Melissa

August 31: Mercedes Lewis discusses her poems in Glimpses of a Fractured Soul and Stefani Deoul discusses her Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventures, including Zero Sum Game and the forthcoming Say Her Name. Mercedes Lewis and Stefani Deoul

September 14: Author Jenifer Levin, author of Sea of Light, is on the book club show with Michelle Pond and Elizabeth Andersen. Jenifer Levin

October 12: To celebrate LGBT History Month, author Lynn Ames discusses her historical novels Chain Reaction and the prequel, Secrets Well Kept with reviewer Tara Scott and Elizabeth Andersen. Lynn Ames

November 9: Because of host Elizabeth’s extended stay in British Columbia, a “classic” episode of the Sandra Moran Radio Book Club aired. Here is the podcast for the Lillian Faderman show from March 10, 2018: Lillian Faderman

December 14: Cheryl Pletcher, Karen Richard, and Elizabeth Andersen talk about Sandra Moran’s Nudge and its companion, The Addendum. This is a fascinating novel about history, religion, politics, and social issues. Nudge

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Legacies of Lesbian Literature Project

I post regularly about The Sandra Moran Radio Book Club, but an even larger part of her legacy is the Legacies of Lesbian Literature Project. If every person who has been a panelist or who has listened to at least one book club show could give $5-10 (or more) to the Legacies project, the money needed for two upcoming film interviews would be raised. Details are below. NOTE: I am donating. I have hosted some 40 book club shows as a volunteer and have bought the books because I believe that our community’s best authors should be celebrated.

Lillian Faderman, Fay Jacobs, Cheryl Pletcher

The Legacies of Lesbian Literature Project is a feature documentary in-production examining the history and impact of lesbian fiction from the 1920s through the 1990s.The authors interviewed to date are Dorothy Allison, Ann Bannon, Rita Mae Brown, Elana Dykewomon, Katherine V. Forrest, Jewelle Gomez, Jenifer Levin, Lee Lynch, Penny Mickelbury, Lesléa Newman, and the surviving spouse of Nancy Garden.
If you have not seen the project intro video, please take five minutes to view it.  It will be the most inspiring five minutes of your day.

Legacies team

The story of how the principals in the Legacies of Lesbian Literature project came together is both unlikely and serendipitous. It began when author Marianne K. Martin was invited to be the keynote speaker for the 2014 National Women’s Music Festival in Madison, Wisconsin. She invited author Sandra Moran to join her for the keynote speech and brainstormed with her during that week on a project outline. As a festival crew member, I met Marianne and Sandra for the first time at the artists’ breakfast and later heard Sandra speak on lesbian authors. Tragically, Sandra was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and passed away less than a month later in November 2015. Her widow, Cheryl Pletcher, stepped up to join the project, focusing on the business aspects. Now all that was needed was a filmmaker, and I was asked whether I knew one. I did. I was acquainted with Lisa Marie Evans because I had interviewed her for radio 10 years ago, had seen her films at Kansas City’s LGBT film festival, and had screened OutWrite for a director’s showcase at our LGBT community center. After an initial meeting in Kansas City and a Skype session with Marianne, the team was in place.

Jamie, EA, Cheryl, and Lisa Marie

Cheryl says: “We have two wonderfully generous contributions to the project coming our way in the July time-frame. Between now and then, though, we could use your help. We have not done and will not do, any work on this project without having the funds in the bank, and we have two key interviews we would like to accomplish in May and June. Both Ellen Hart and Sally Gearhart have agreed to be interviewed for the project. Since Sally lives in Oregon, that will be a more costly trip for us. We estimate needing roughly $5,000 to pay the filming and travel costs for both interviews. If you are able to contribute now to the project, we would be very grateful.”

To contribute, please go to the Support section of the website. Donations to the Legacies Project are tax-deductable. And if you haven’t already done so, while you are on the website, please sign up to receive the newsletter. You can also ask any questions by filling out the Contact tab.

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The Gay Revolution by Lillian Faderman

The worst-laid plans … often go awry. I will quite obviously not be recommending a book a day. As to how often during this merry month of May I will offer up a book, we shall see. Today’s book is “The Gay Revolution” by renowned scholar and author Lillian Faderman, published by Simon & Schuster.


Lillian was on the Sandra Moran Radio Book Club during Women’s History Month on March 10 with Lynn Ames, Cheryl Pletcher, and me. I believe the podcast is well worth listening to because the panelists were outstanding. We all agreed that despite setbacks, the inexorable movement forward of the LGBTQ community is encouraging for all of us in these threatening times.

The impeccable research that went into this 832-page book makes it an invaluable resource. From the 1950s to now, the author tracks the events, organizations, and figures who made a difference. The struggles for civil rights and equality are inspiring. Don’t let the page count scare you off because this nonfiction book is not a dry recitation of facts. It is clear and perfectly readable. The endnotes alone are worth the price of admission.

“Faderman’s immense cultural history will give today’s LGBTQ activists both a profound appreciation of their forebears and the motivation to carry the struggle forward.” — Publishers Weekly

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Rivers Solomon: An Unkindness of Ghosts

My plan was to recommend a book a day, and I’m a day behind. I’ll catch up at some point, but in the meantime I’d like to heartily recommend “An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon.

An Unkindness of Ghosts

This dystopian novel explores race, gender, sexual orientation, class strata, ageism, mental health issues, and physical disabilities. I’ll admit to being unsettled at first by the singular “they,” but I was quickly caught up in Aster’s story aboard the HSS Matilda, which has housed famiilies for generations.

Giselle and the Surgeon were two troubled, complex characters who were key to Aster’s survival. I haven’t read a great deal of science fiction. In any case I would not have guessed how the final events would unfold in any case and did not expect a happy ending. I am eager to see what this talented young writer, who has been compared to Octavia Butler, does next.

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From the author’s bio: “Rivers Solomon is a dyke, a Trekkie, a wannabe cyborg queen, a trash princex, a communist, a butch, a femme, a feminist, a she-beast, a rootworker, a mother, a daughter, a diabetic, and a refugee of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.”

“Suffused with the past, the present, and the future of human experiences in its events, An Unkindness of Ghosts launches the career of a brilliantly gifted and important new writer in science fiction.” — J.G. Stinson, Foreword Reviews

This science fiction debut novel was a Best Book of 2017: The Guardian (Science Fiction and Fantasy), NPR Book Concierge, Publishers Weekly (Science Fiction/Fantasy), Library Journal (Science Fiction/Fantasy), Bustle (Fiction), Bookish (Best Book to Give), Barnes & Noble (Science Fiction and Fantasy/Alternate Universe Pick). Also: John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, Finalist; Lambda Literary Award Finalist, LGBTQ SF/F/Horror; and A Stonewall Book Award Honor Book.

Previous recommendations: Mike McClelland’s Gay Zoo DayLucy Jane Bledsoe’s A Thin Bright Line, and  SJ Sindu’s Marriage of a Thousand Lies

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Gay Zoo Day by Mike McClelland

In online lesfic groups I see women proclaim that they will read only books by lesbians about lesbians, preferably romances, and they must have a happy ending. I have no problem with that except that anyone who has more eclectic tastes, and who appreciates books that reflect the complexities of life, is sometimes excoriated and derided.

Well, guess what? I shall dare to eat a peach. I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I shall read a book written by a GBTQ or straight author with (gasp!) gay or bi, trans or straight characters. If that makes me a bad lesbian, then … #proudbadlesbian

And so today’s book recommendation is “Gay Zoo Day: Tales of Seeking and Discovery” by Mike McClelland (Beautiful Dreamer Press). My favorite story is set in the near future aboard the International Space Station when a blond Russian’s iciness starts to melt toward a newcomer. The details of daily living combined with the flirtation in space added up to a romantic tale.

Gay Zoo Day

At the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in March, Louis Flint Ceci read from another story about a pilot who hooks up with a cowboy in Panama, displeasing a volatile landlord. Other stories span the globe and encompass a variety of protagonists, all gay, all searching for answers.

:”The stories are all over the place physically, in time values, and in extremes of human behavior. And every one of them is a success.” — Grady Harp

Mike McClelland

Mike McClelland

Previous recommendations:  Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s A Thin Bright Line and SJ Sindu’s Marriage of a Thousand Lies

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Lucy Jane Bledsoe

Every day I’m citing an author who has created a memorable book. Today’s recommendation is Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s A Thin Bright Line (University of Wisconsin Press). Friends recommended the novel, I read about it online, and I saw reviews such as this one in the New York Times Book Review: “It triumphs as an intimate and humane evocation of day-to-day life under inhumane circumstances.”


Synopsis: “Based on the hidden life of the author’s aunt and namesake, A Thin Bright Line is a love story set amid Cold War intrigue, the origins of climate research, and the nascent civil rights movement. Poignant, brilliant, and moving, it reminds us to act on what we love, not just wish for it.” 

Lucybelle reminded me of my grandmother and all those women who were self-taught or who put themselves through school, who persevered against great odds, and who never made it into the textbooks.

Bledsoe 2

I will be reading Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s new novel, The Evolution of Love, when it launches in two weeks from Rare Bird Books. “A devastating earthquake has just hit the San Francisco Bay Area, cutting off the outside world completely. When Lily decides to fly from Nebraska to California and make the treacherous journey into the Bay Area to find her sister, she knows she’s headed for a disaster zone, but nothing prepares her for what she finds.”

I heard Sandra Moran, who taught anthropology, speak about the bonobos (true), and Lucy Jane Bledsoe says in an interview in The Rumpus: “We are equally descended from bonobos and chimpanzees. The former are much more cooperative and compassionate in their social dealings.” How intriguing!


NOTE: This award-winning author will be the keynote speaker at the Golden Crown Literary Society convention in Las Vegas. I will be in Madison, Wisconsin, for the National Women’s Music Festival and am very sorry to miss her. Author website.

Previous blog on  SJ Sindu’s Marriage of a Thousand Lies.

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Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu

So many friends write poems, chapters, novellas. I’ve decided my daily exercise for May will be to mention some exceptional authors I’ve read in the past few years. They are unlikely to be mentioned in online groups, where the same names come up over and over. Many of those authors deserve the shout-out, but so do other authors who venture beyond the happily ever afters in a variety of genres.

NOTE: Because I am an editor for Bywater Books, I will concentrate at first on authors who are self-published/independents or with other publishers. That said, Bywater’s authors are outstanding, and you should read them. 

SJ Sindu

SJ Sindu photo

First up is a book I read for the Publishing Triangle’s Edmund White Debut Fiction award. SJ Sindu won for her novel Marriage of a Thousand Lies. Here is the description of the novel (thank you, Philip Hooser):

“Lakshmi, the narrator of S J Sindu’s Marriage of a Thousand Lies, seems the very embodiment of “Intersectionality.” A Sri Lankan-American who goes by “Lucky,” she’s a lesbian in a heterosexual marriage to her gay best friend. She spools out relaxed, conversational prose that occasionally leaps into poetic imagery until Lucky’s intersections turn into crossroads, pulling her in opposite directions between a free and honest life and her conservative family’s expectations. As situations tighten around her, Lucky’s voice becomes denser, as if choking on the words that tell her story. It is a love story, but more than a love story. Sindhu tells a story about why we love, what it means to love, and how complex love can be told in a fascinating, fresh voice.”

This story is refreshingly different and is likely to linger long after you read the last page. Author website

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Sandra Moran Radio Book Club—Year 3

The Sandra Moran Radio Book Club is on The Tenth Voice every second Saturday, 1-2 p.m. Central time. This LGBT public affairs show has been on the air since 1989 on KKFI 90.1 FM, Kansas City’s 100,000-watt community radio station. On this Radio Book Club show we discuss LGBTQ books with a variety of authors, books, genres, and panelists. To keep up to date, you can “like” the show page at

Here is the schedule for 2018  (as of now) with audio links for shows that have aired:


January 13, 2018: Author Karin Kallmaker was joined by show host Elizabeth Andersen and Sandy Thornton, avid reader. Among the topics we discussed were Karin’s novels, the romance genre, literary events, and book clubs. Podcast of show: Karin Kallmaker

February 10, 2018: Authors Penny Mickelbury and Renee Bess discussed Penny’s novel Belle City with host Elizabeth Andersen. This interracial, intergenerational saga of love, loss and land is ultimately about family. Podcast: Penny Mickelbury

March 10, 2018: Lillian Faderman, internationally renowned author and scholar, was on the show with author Lynn Ames, Cheryl Pletcher, and Elizabeth Andersen to talk about The Gay Revolution. Anyone who studies or wants to learn about LGBTQ history should read this landmark book. Podcast: Lillian Faderman

March 31, 2018: In a special bonus book club, host Elizabeth Andersen talked with author Hilary Zaid about her novel Paper Is White and with Molly Krause about her memoir Float On. Podcast: Hilary Zaid/Molly Krause

April 14, 2018: The assignment: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz with panelists LuAnn Fox (Educator, Podcaster, GSA Advisor), Ronnie Lathrop (High School English teacher and writer), and host Philip blue owl Hooser (a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world). Aristotle and Dante

May 12, 2018: Katherine V. Forrest will be featured on the show. She will talk with author Fay Jacobs and me about her novels, the arc of lesbian literature, and editing. Novels that we will discuss during the show are Curious Wine, An Emergence of Green, and the Kate Delafield mystery series. Podcast: Katherine V. Forrest

June 9, 2018: On a special edition of the Sandra Moran Radio Book Club Jamie Rich, curator of Out Here Now: Kansas City LGBT Film Festival, joins Elizabeth Andersen to talk with four directors who have films at this year’s eight-day extravaganza, June 21-28. One of the filmmakers was Madeleine Olnek, whose film Wild Nights with Emily was screened during the film festival. “Hermit or sexpot? Molly Shannon stars as poet and fully lesbian Emily Dickinson in a brilliantly quirky comedy that challenges how history gets recorded.  Writer/Director Madeline Olnek restores Dickinson’s true nature as an LGBTQ hero and model for new wave feminism.”
Past and upcoming screenings here: Film festival screenings
Podcast: Madeleine Olnek

July 14, 2018: The panelists are Jeff Mann, Cynthia Burack, Jeff Edmondson, and host Elizabeth Andersen. Elizabeth knew she had to have Jeff Mann on the show when she heard Dorothy Allison and Jeff on a panel at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in 2017. This was the kind of literary conversation author Sandra Moran had in mind when she conceived of this show. Then when Jeff mentioned in a reading that Cynthia Burack (in the front row) was one of his best friends, I made a plan. Jeff Edmondson and I served on the board of the LikeMe Community Center, and I knew Jeff as an entrepreneur and member of the Bear Mafia, but I had no idea he was a prolific author. We discuss Jeff Mann’s novel Cub, our literary influences, our authors’ various books, the bear community, bridge-building in a divisive era, and much else. Podcast: Jeff Mann

August 11, 2018: Philip blue owl Hooser and Guest Ronnie Lathrop talk about podcasts and podcasters, still a growing genre on the internet. We have LGBTQ-centric or hosted podcasts about stories, podcasts that tell stories, some political, some about entertainment, and ALL entertaining and fascinating. We’ll include links to the podcasts we’re talking about, but expect to hear about RISK!, Food 4 Thot, Throwing Shade, Homophilia, Welcome to Night Vale, Cinema Queens, and many more!

September 8, 2018: Writers Lucy Jane Bledsoe and Miguel Morales join Philip Hooser and Elizabeth Andersen on this month’s radio book club. Lucy was the keynote speaker at the Golden Crown Literary Society’s annual convention this past July and will be on a book tour soon for Lava Falls, which is out later this month. And what better way to honor Hispanic Heritage Month than to talk about literary works and activism with Miguel Morales, a regular guest on our radio show. Podcast: Lucy Jane Bledsoe/Miguel M. Morales

October 13, 2018: Nontraditional lesbian romances! Author Nairne Holtz discusses her novel Femme Confidential—which covers queer relationships, sexual freedom, and the lesbian community—with Anne Terpstra and me. In the second half of the show Michelle Pond joins me and author Alison Solomon to discuss Alison’s Timing is Everything, a different kind of suspenseful romance. Podcast: Nairne Holtz/Alison Solomon

November 10, 2018:  Anne Balay’s Semi Queer: Inside the World of Gay, Trans, and Black Truck Drivers is featured. Besides Anne, Sandi Soendker, retired editor-in-chief of Land Line Magazine: The Business Magazine for Professional Truckers, and Shelle Lichti, trucker and founder/advocate/survivor/mentor at LGBT Truckers, will join us. This important conversation is sure to be riveting. Note: I was the copy editor for Land Line, the publication of the Owner-Operator Independent Truckers Association for 10 years, and I can hardly wait to discuss this overlooked subject. Podcast: Semi Queer

December 8, 2018: Who couldn’t use a respite from the holiday crowds, crazes, and crankiness? Holiday humor! We take a break to join two funny authors. Fay Jacobs is talking with host Elizabeth Andersen about all the things, including her latest humor collection, her one-woman show, Rehoboth Beach, and journalism. Laury Egan is speaking with Philip Hooser and Elizabeth about her latest novel, with topics ranging from opera to drag queens to gangsters. Podcast: Fay Jacobs-Laury Egan


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As I Am*

Sixteen years ago my dream job screeched to a halt. It was Tuesday, Nov. 13, and I was at my desk as a senior editor at one of the top newspaper syndicates when our human resources person came to my desk and asked me to go with him to my boss’s office. A half-hour later I was walking to my car, stunned and in tears. When my sons, then 16 and 14, came home from school, they were surprised to see me and even more shocked when I told them I was out of the job I’d loved for 17 1/2 years. They hugged me and said it would be okay. Nevertheless, I was depressed from losing both my editing job and my girlfriend, who had moved to the Pacific Northwest.

 I was more fortunate than many single mothers without a job because I had 37 weeks of severance pay. After attending one session at the “find another job” place, I decided to get to know my sons better. For more than three years, we road-tripped all over during their school breaks – from Kansas City to D.C. to Yellowstone and the Canadian Rockies. We had teatimes, we hiked, we caught falling leaves, we kayaked.

 In 2005 I realized I had to go back to work and did, as an adjunct English instructor at our Jesuit university and as a medical editor for clinical pharmacy books and materials. After a few years of that, I started applying elsewhere, but at age 55 I knew my chances of landing a full-time job as a copy editor in the field of journalism were remote.

A friend told me there was a copy editor position open in rural Missouri at a huge trade association. I was dubious that it was a real job, but applied, was invited for an interview, and was asked to join the media department as the copy editor for magazine, radio, and daily news. The reporters had come from newspapers, and we followed Associated Press style. It was the ideal position for the last 10 years of my full-time career.

 In my off-work hours I didn’t speak much of my years at Andrews McMeel Publishing in the syndicate division, editing famous newspaper columnists and cartoonists. It was the bittersweet past, and I shelved it for about 14 years.

 In early March 2015 Sandra Moran asked me in a Facebook message what I knew about book launches because her novel “All We Lack” was newly published. I had hosted some small readings, but she was thinking something bigger and asked if I had any ideas. I did, but I realized I would have to divulge my editing history or I would seem delusional. So we set up a breakfast meeting. She told me about her future plans as an author, and I told her about my editing experience.

 I asked Sandra afterward why she approached me of all people about a book launch. Her answer: “Because you seem to know a lot.” I treasure that answer.

 Out of that meeting came three things (because there are always three): 1) An event with Sandra and author George Hodgman on stage at Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City in May 2015 with both authors signing their books; 2) months of editing together informally, which was a blast because she was already a gifted author and was eager to improve; and 3) our friendship, which changed my life.


 Sandra was a believer in connections, as am I. Because of her I have my dream job back. She encouraged me to return to reading LGBT literature. I had founded a Literary Lesbians book club in 2002, which ran for almost 10 years, but I wasn’t reading much literature at all for four years. Her presentation at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in November 2014 was energizing and inspirational.

 Our friendship was brief, but we talked books and future plans and ideas and connections and also a radio show she was planning. The intention was for her to continue hosting once she moved to North Carolina, probably with me as a co-host in the Kansas City studio and her on the phone, but also with her taping some segments to send in. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she asked me to host her radio show, and she introduced me to other authors. There is no doubt in my mind that the almost 30 book club shows that have aired in the past two years are what she hoped for: intelligent discussions of well-written LGBT books by talented authors.

 A little over a year ago, Bywater Books asked if I wanted to copy edit and proof for them. I had limited time, mostly evenings and weekends, but said I would love to. I retired this past August and am now reading exceptional books by incredibly talented authors. I have my dream job in retirement. Below is the Bywater gang at the Golden Crown Literary Society annual conference in Chicago this past July (I was challenged to dress as Emma Peel).

Bywater at GCLS 2017


 I’m in my sixties now, and life is good. My adult sons are funny, smart, and delightful. With Sandra as an example, I am more of a hugger, I take chances on social media with opinions and self-revealing anecdotes, and I am more open to new friendships. I feel more “me” than I ever have, and that is a gift.

*I was contemplating titles, and Summer Osborne’s powerful anthem popped into my head. This song closes every WomanSong radio show. You can hear it here: As I Am

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