marygriggs: fleur di lis tattoo (Default)
posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 12:50pm on 15/10/2017 under ,

Title: Asking for Trouble

Author: Mary Griggs

Fandom: DWP

Pairing: Miranda/Andy

Rating: PG

Word Count: 3300

Summary: Andy comes home to find Miranda in the closet with Donna Karan.

Author’s Notes: Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox are the owners; I'm just letting the ladies play in my sandbox for a while.

This piece is in response to the fashion designer, Donna Karan’s interview in defense of serial assaulter Harvey Weinstein. She is quoted as saying, “How do we present ourselves as women? … Are we asking for it, by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality? … I don't think it's only Harvey Weinstein ... We have to look at our world ... And how women are dressing and what they're asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2017/10/09/donna-karan-defends-harvey-weinstein-suggesting-women-ask-trouble/748596001/

Oh, and Bottomless Closet is a real thing – http://www.bottomlessclosetnyc.org

I want to thank Laura aka Brithna for challenging me to write this.



****

Andy tossed her keys into the bowl on the table by the closet that had once nearly gotten her fired. She winced, even after seven years the foyer still sometimes had the power to trigger bad memories. While she could look back on her days as the premier fashion editor’s second assistant with nostalgia, no rose colored glasses could hide the true terror she felt after she interrupted Miranda and Stephen arguing that fateful evening.



But she was also thankful for it. Everything started to change then. By rising to Miranda’s challenge, instead of sinking, Andy began to come into her own power. She knew she’d never have managed to walk away in Paris if not for the spark lit by the acquisition of the Harry Potter manuscript.



A spark that remained banked for more than two years before she re-entered Miranda’s orbit again. And, it was that spark’s ignition, which led directly to the carefully tended flames of their current relationship.



Smiling now at her memories, she stirred the contents of the bowl and saw Miranda’s keys in there, too. Andy rubbed the ring between her fingers and giggled as she thought of the things the two of them might be able to do tonight.



She walked into the kitchen and pulled out the meat that had been marinating in the refrigerator. Andy washed her hands before preheating the oven. She put a little olive oil into Dutch oven and placed it over medium heat. She was humming as she used one of Miranda’s super sharp chef knives to dice an onion.



Scrapping the onion in the pot, she reduced the heat and stirred before tossing in some minced garlic and salt. Once the onions were translucent, she then poured in a portion of Arborio rice. She stirred it while it toasted and then poured in a quart of chicken stock. After another stir, she covered the pot and slid it into the oven.



Washing her hands again, she decided to go change and check in with Miranda before doing any more dinner prep. After glancing into the study and seeing it empty, Andy practically skipped up the stairs to their bedroom. The room was empty. The door to the bathroom was open and the room was likewise unoccupied.



Her brow furrowed and she called out, “Miranda?”



She heard a faint noise. Walking over to the closet she called again, “Miranda?”



“I’m back here.”



“Where?”



There was a beat or two of silence.



“In Narnia,” Miranda replied.



Andy beamed. When she had learned that Miranda had the bedroom next to hers converted into a climate-controlled room reachable through her closet, she had immediately christened it with the name of the magical world of CS Lewis that the children entered through a wardrobe.



Miranda hadn’t seemed amused but Andy knew if she was willing to call it that herself, they must have reached a new plateau in their relationship. After the first kiss, first fight, first make up sex, and first joint purchase, Andy was sure making cute names for things and having inside jokes surely showed that she and Miranda were united in all things that mattered.



She took Miranda’s answer as an invitation and walked through the first closet and into the next room. It was artfully designed with beautifully lit display cabinets and shelving units with glass doors holding brightly colored hanging items. In the center of the room was a vintage round couch of crushed cream velvet, where Miranda could sit facing any direction she wanted.



Many nights, Andy had woken from a deep sleep to an empty space beside her and a faint light glowing from the room. She would find Miranda deep in thought, staring at some of the beautiful items she had collected over the years.



Miranda might be facing the black dress designed by Givenchy and worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Princess Diana’s sea green sequined evening gown that was designed by Catherine Walker. Or maybe she would be looking at an Armani Prive gunmetal grey dress, encrusted with Swarovski crystals, which had been worn by Cate Blanchet. Over in one corner was the letterbox red Valentino dress worn by Anne Hathaway when she hosted the Academy Awards that Miranda seemed to like best.



She had explained that she was both soothed and inspired by the art of fashion.



Tonight she wasn’t mediating. Miranda was standing in front of a display cabinet along the back wall. There was a rolling metal rack with several items on it and small pile of fabric on the floor by the fashion maven’s feet.



Andy walked over and embraced Miranda from behind. “What’s this?” she asked.



“This is the Seven Easy Pieces collection from 1985.” Miranda opened the front of the case and ran her fingers over one of the black bodysuits.



“I’m sorry, love, but I need more than that.”



Miranda heaved a great sigh. “Donna Karan, you plebian.”



“I know DKNY.”



“That’s the affordable line, she’d been distant from that for years.” She pulled one of the black pieces off the mannequin and held up to Andy. “This is what started it all for working women.”



“Is that a unitard?”



“It is a body suit that mixes and matches with the other pieces.”



“Interesting.”



“She freed women from the power suit.” Miranda sighed. “It is most unfortunate she has likewise failed to free herself from outmoded ideas about why women are assaulted.”



“Yeah, I heard her interview. So insane. I can’t believe a woman fashion designer of all people would blame what women wear for getting them into trouble.”



“Especially when the trouble was caused by an incredibly powerful man abusing women whose very careers were dependent on him,” Miranda replied.



“Their stories are so painful. I can’t hardly believe he was able to keep doing it for as long he did. Why did so many wait so long before coming forward?”



“It isn’t an easy thing to do. Many rightfully fear their reputations will be ruined, that they’ll lose their job or be blacklisted. They know they will be blamed for putting themselves in the position of being alone with him, even when he used honeypots to lure them in.”



“Honeypots?”



“He had other women attend the meetings to begin with, so his victims would feel safe. He’d dismiss his assistants and then start the pressure, many times using force to get them to comply with his demands.”



“I can’t believe other women were helping him.”



“I would guess that while some didn’t know they were being used, many others were complicit because they, too, needed their jobs and his goodwill.” Miranda glanced at her. “Frankly, though, you’re making my point.”



“What?”



“Even now, you’re blaming the other women instead of holding him responsible for his actions.”



“Wow,” Andy said, sinking down onto the couch. “I hadn’t realized I was doing that.”



“It is our default to blame the victim. She was alone, she had been drinking, she was wearing provocative clothes, she should have said no, she could have fought harder...” After ticking off the statements on her fingers, Miranda made a tossing gesture with her hands. “Why do you think so many maintain relationships with these men after the harassment?”



“I have no idea.”



“It is one way to rewrite the narrative. If they can make something of it consensual, then maybe it wasn’t so bad. Maybe you can get something out of it.”



“Gross.”



“Worse is that most victims continue think it was their fault.”



“How so?”



Miranda started putting the items from the display case into a bag. “If they were too friendly, maybe he got the wrong idea. If they had been affectionate, they had been asking for it. If they allowed one thing to happen, then the rest was their fault, too. Maybe you were too ambitious and he could see you wanted it.”



Andy lifted her head and stared when Miranda changed to second person point of view again. “You?”



“Hmmm?”



“You said you. Twice.”



There was silence before Miranda turned to look at her. “Yes, me.”



“You’ve never said before.”



“It was early in my career, when I was still young and vulnerable.”



“Really? You?”



“Everyone is young once. Not everyone has to pay for it, though.”



“If it’s a bad memory, you don’t have to tell me. It may help to talk about, though.”



“I’ve talked about it before but, clearly not enough.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Not enough if this whole Weinstein issue can rattle me so.”



“I don’t remember but you didn’t seem so angry when Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly scandals imploded.”



“Maybe because I never expected better from men who created and made careers in a system built on harassment, belittling and bullying. FOX was a known entity. There might even a part of me that thought maybe all those women deserve what they got.”



“Nobody deserves it.”



Miranda rolled her eyes. “I know that. And I know that I’m more disappointed than angry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m furious at Harvey and all the pain he has caused. But, Donna, she was…” Miranda flung out her arms. “Do you know she was championing a woman president back in 1992? Her advertising campaign was called ‘In Women We Trust’ and had a model wearing one of her double-breasted blazers being sworn in as president.” She sighed. “It was transcendent.”



“I didn’t know that.”



“She designed for real women’s bodies and made even those who weren’t five foot, ten inches and skinny feel beautiful. It was powerful. And, it didn’t end there. After she left her label, she started a foundation which empowers and educates children in Haiti.” Miranda shook her head.



“That’s bizarre,” Andy said. “How could she do one thing and say the other?”



“Her interview knocked me back. I felt like she pulled the rug from under my feet. And it makes me question if anything I believed about her was ever true.”



“That sucks.” Andy stepped up to Miranda and touched her shoulder. “Could you tell me more?”



“Mmm. I think part of it is that it makes me feel lot like I did after my harassment. He was a mentor. A man I looked to for advice.” She reached up and squeezed Andy’s hand. “I thought my boss was invested in my career and instead he was targeting me for my body.”



“What happened?”



“I met with him after work. I brought out my portfolio and he brought out his penis.”



“Ew! Why do men think that’s what women want?”



“He didn’t care about what I wanted.” Her lip curled in a snarl. “He wanted his dick sucked and didn’t care what it took from me to get it.”



“What do the men get out of that? Surely there are plenty of women who would willingly have sex with them?”



“It is about power, not sex.” Miranda brushed off her hands. “They are predators who prey on women they can penalize if they say no and implicate if they give in.”



“Thinking about it makes me feel so helpless. I hate it,” Andy said.



“Unfortunately, far too many men are erotically excited by their ability to punish, humiliate and inflict pain on women. Their…” Miranda looked down. “I mean, our fear turns them on.”



Andy reached out and took hold of her hand. “I’m sorry. I know this must bring up bad things for you.”



“Sometimes it seems you can’t be a women in business without having to endure it. I was lucky to have other women and an HR department to support me when I was harassed.” She bit her lip. “I wasn’t demoted but it did slow my trajectory for a bit. I’m afraid it only stayed quiet because my boss had already been looking for work elsewhere.”



“They allowed him to leave?”



“With my blessing at the time. I wanted it over so I could move on.”



“But when they let them get away with it, the same thing could happen to someone else. How do you know he didn’t do it to someone else at the next job?” Andy asked.



“Sweetheart, sometimes there are no good options. Stay silent and you’re complicit. Tell a friend and nothing gets done. Go to someone in authority and you’ll face unfair consequences – men will be uncomfortable around you, thinking you’ll accuse them next; women won’t be any better, thinking that they’ll be tarnished by standing by you.” Miranda tossed her head. “I learned who my friends are.”



“I’m sorry you had to learn that way.” Andy stomped her feet, “Why can’t we support one another?”



“Because it is still a man’s world. They are in positions of power. They are the ones making the decisions and they’re the ones who refuse to believe us.”



“That’s terrible.”



“While not being believed is bad, the potential for retribution is worse.” Miranda glowered, “And, there will always be retribution, the power dynamics make it inevitable.”



“But you’re a success.”



“I am now. But I remember how my personnel evaluations, which had called me assertive, now warned that I was being aggressive. My decisions were questioned in a way they hadn’t been before and a promotion I had been expecting never materialized. They said it was because of restructuring after he left but it forced me to take a lateral move to a different office before I was able to really start moving forward again.”



“I’m glad they didn’t make you quit.”



“What choice did I have?” Her hands were shaking slightly as she transferred pieces from the display case to the rack. “I didn’t have any money outside of my paycheck and this was my career.”



“You’re a fighter.”



“Yes, but the cost was high. My long term relationship ended as I didn’t feel sexual any more and he was upset I was lumping him together with my harasser.”



“I’m sorry he wasn’t more sympathetic.”



“Me, too. But it was for the best. I wasn’t in a good place.”



“Of course, you weren’t. What happened was horrible.”



“And it wasn’t so much the trauma as the gas lighting.”



“What do you mean?”



“It seemed like everyone around me made me question myself. The male coworkers who told me it was good to be hit on, that I should take it as a compliment to have men want me. Female coworkers who told me it wasn’t so bad, that what they survived was worse and, if they could move on, so should I. I even had someone from human resources tell me he didn’t do or say or mean what we all damn well know he did.”



“Like mansplaining on steroids.”



“Indeed.”



“What can be done?”



“What makes you think anything can be done?” Miranda picked up the dress fabric from the floor and gently hung it on a hanger before setting it beside the others on the rack. “Think back on all the other times we’ve seen a mass of women finally come forth with their stories and what is the result? A hung jury or a mistrial, or even a quiet settlement is the norm. Most often, though, there is a new TV program or movie or a contract for a new sports team.” She brushed her hair from her eyes and glared. “Sometimes they get to take the oath of office as President of the United States of America.” She took a deep breath. “Three women made allegations about Bill Clinton. Ten women accused Roger Ailes. Trump has had fifteen women plus an ex-wife. Twenty-nine women have already come forward about Harvey. Fifty came forth about Bill Cosby. How many will be enough to effect change?”



“We can’t just give up all hope.” Andy scowled at Miranda’s smirk. “I know you think I’m a naïve mid-westerner but can’t we do something?”



“I’m not sure it can be solved with any single thing. It is all tied up in how we raise boys into men and the expectations they have about the women in their lives being available for their sexual pleasure.”



“You’re talking about rape culture.”



“Exactly. When sexual harassment and abuse is ignored, trivialized and normalized, even talking about assault becomes impossible.”



“I want to find a way to do more than just talk.”



“That would involve getting more men to discourage each other from harming women or thinking that dominating women enhances their status.”



Andy recited, ““In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.””



“Dr. Martin Luther King was so very right.” Miranda locked the now empty case. “But the fear about retaliation isn’t just a womans fear. Men face it, too, when they come forward. If they aren’t complicit, they know they will be mocked by their peers, even ostracized.”



“They are victims of toxic masculinity, too.”



“And their privilege will not protect them.” Miranda shrugged. “Maybe I’m being too harsh. Perhaps the young men of today will learn from the public falls of guys like Harvey Weinstein.”



“But those are the same young men who made Trump president, even after he bragged about grabbing her by the pussy.”



“True.” Miranda rolled the cart out of the room and reset the keypad after Andy closed the door behind her. “I’m afraid this administration has given many angry men carte blanche to abuse women.”



“But what about the resistance movement? Aren’t there women being empowered to speak up and demand justice?”



“Possibly in the same way the feminists of the 1970’s did so.” She nodded. “And they did get laws written to protect women. Corporate culture has changed. Maybe now we can go further.”



Andy grabbed her yoga pants and a sweatshirt and started to change. Her voice came out muffled as she pulled off her shirt. “If only there was a way to change their desire to do these things.”



“That’s easier said than done. Desire is such an amorphous thing,” Miranda drawled, her eyes on her younger lover.



Blushing, Andy fought to keep from turning away from Miranda’s knowing gaze. “So what do you suggest?”



“Honestly? I don’t care to change what’s in their hearts. I’m good with them being afraid of the consequences once they get caught.”



“I wish I could fix it, though. For you and all the others.”



Miranda said, “You can’t fix everything, darling.” At Andy’s mulish look, she added. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t fix some things.”



Pointing at the things Miranda had taken from the closet, Andy asked, “What about this stuff? What are you fixing with these?”



“I’m going to donate my Donna Karan collection to Bottomless Closet. They can auction the items to fund their work. They won’t get as much as they would have before she damaged her brand with her remarks but anything helps.”



Smiling brilliantly, Andy said, “You know, Miranda, I think the real champion of stylish working women is you.”



“Honestly, Andrea,” she said as her cheeks pinked. Straightening her back, she asked, “I’m starving. Are we ever having dinner?”



“Yeah, the risotto is baking and the steak is ready to go.” Andy ignored the look from Miranda as she slid her feet into a pair of cerulean Crocs. “You promised not to mock my style choices.”



Arching her eyebrow, Miranda sniffed then asked, “Did I say anything?”



“No but you were thinking awfully loud.”



“God forbid someone in this relationship think.”



Putting her fists on her hips, Andy glared.



Miranda shook her head. “Forgive me, darling. Reflex.”



“I know it has been difficult,” Andy replied. “I do appreciate the effort it must take to bite your tongue sometimes.”



“Sometimes? Only sometimes?”



Andy rolled her eyes. “I’ve gotten better.”



“And we know how high that bar was to begin with.” She leaned over and kissed Andy before she could do more than squawk.



As the kiss deepened, Andy could feel her mood shifting. Her hands moved from her hips to holding Miranda’s, tugging her even closer. Andy moaned and then groaned as her empty stomach grumbled.



Miranda pulled away and used her thumb to wipe away a smudge of her lipstick from Andy’s lips. “Why are you moving at such a glacial pace instead of feeding me?”



“Because I know how much it thrills you.” Andy laughed and stole another kiss before leading the way back downstairs.



They might not have solved the world’s problems but, when they came together, they showed that change was possible. And they proved, in many ways, that change could also be quite pleasurable.


marygriggs: fleur di lis tattoo (Default)
posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 11:58am on 13/11/2016 under ,
Title: And Even Though It All Went Wrong

Author: Mary Griggs

Fandom: DWP

Pairing: Miranda/Andy

Rating: G

Word Count: 1660

Summary: Miranda comes home to find Andy in meltdown.

 

Author’s Notes: Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox are the owners; I'm just letting the ladies play in my sandbox for a while.

 

The title of this work is from a lyric in the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah.” On Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon’s rendition as Hillary Clinton brought tears to my eyes – https://youtu.be/BG-_ZDrypec . After finishing the song, she turned to the audience and said, “I’m not giving up. And neither should you.”

***** 

 

Miranda let herself into the house after a long and exhausting day. It was the culmination of a week from hell, made longer and more exhausting by the miasma of grief and sadness permeating Runway’s floor and the city of New York itself.

 

After dropping her keys and purse on the side table, Miranda stirred her fingers in the cut crystal bowl filled with political pins. Her eyes stung with tears as she ran a fingertip over the cloisonné ‘I believe that she will win’ and the arrowed H’s and cursive, gold-wrought Hillary. She had to blink rapidly to clear her eyes to see the glass pin Andrea brought back from the Democratic National Convention.

 

“We cracked the ceiling but it didn’t break,” she murmured to the vase of flowers standing sentry in the silent hall.

 

She toed off her shoes and shivered a little at the chill in the marble floor. With a very unladylike grunt, she bent down to pick them up, her calves tight from wearing the heels for ten hours. Dangling their straps from her index finger, she carried them with her into the kitchen.

 

She gusted out a big sigh at the sight. There were dirty dishes in the sink and an empty ice cream container on its side on the counter, surrounded by a puddle of melted Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk. Beside it was jar of fudge sauce and an opened bag of Biscoff cookies with a trail of crumbs leading to an open canister of marshmallow fluff.

 

Resolutely ignoring the mess, Miranda started a kettle to boil water for tea. She used the heart shaped tea infuser spoon Andrea had gifted to her and filled it with dried passionflowers. Miranda hoped the herbal concoction lived up to its hype and soothed her anxiety and calmed her circular thoughts. To the hot water in her mug, she added a generous dollop of Tupelo honey. Leaving it on a clear spot on the counter to steep for ten minutes, she turned her back on the kitchen and trudged upstairs.

 

Thinking Andrea might be napping, she tiptoed through the darkened bedroom until she reached the light switch inside the walk-in closet. Glancing at the bed, her brow furrowed to see the bed empty. As she wondered where her partner was, she headed into the closet. Peeling off her day wear and tossing the items into either the dry cleaning or laundry bag, she gratefully shrugged off her bra and took a deep cleansing breath only to cough.

 

The underlying scent of the laundry detergent and her perfume was nearly overwhelmed by the smell burnt popcorn. Shaking her head, Miranda pulled on some stretchy yoga pants and super soft socks. Tonight was a night for comfort, she decided. Running her hand over the faded Northwestern University seal on a grey sweatshirt, she pulled it over her head and mused that a major benefit of her involvement with the younger woman was the increase of casual wear in her wardrobe. Andrea’s insistence that she clearly delineate between work clothes and non-work clothes had the added benefit of more relaxed and happier times at home.

 

Miranda went into the bathroom and washed her hands and face. After wiping the makeup from her skin, she rubbed in some Swiss lotion, focusing on the puffy skin beneath her eyes. With her skincare routine done, she decided to track down her partner.

 

Following the odor of charred popcorn, she climbed up the next flight of stairs to the entertainment room. From the doorway, she saw the blue flickering of a movie. She could just make out an Andrea shaped mound in the center of the couch.

 

Her younger lover had made a nest out of several comforters and even had one covering her head. Starring intently at the screen, she mindlessly fed popcorn into her mouth, dropping several pieces to join the pile of other kernels on her lap.

 

“Darling?”

 

Andy blinked and turned her head. “Miranda! I’m so glad you’re home.”

 

“Hopefully not just to do the dishes.”

 

“Huh?” Andy scratched her nose, not realizing she still had a handful of popcorn clenched in her fist. She dropped the kernels back into the bowl and wiped her hand on her shirt.

 

Miranda pinched the bridge of her nose. “Could you be more of a mess? You left the kitchen in a shambles!”

 

Big brown eyes starred up at her. Andy sniffed. “Sorry, Miranda.”

 

“What’s up with you?” Miranda asked. She stepped into the room and nearly stepped on a laptop. “What the…”

 

“Oh, I had to get that away from me.”

 

“Why?”

 

“My newsfeed was filled with so many triggers. I’ve had to unfriend so many cousins!”

 

“You aren’t the only who is developing election related PTSD.” Miranda set the computer on the coffee table. “Did you go into work today?”

 

“No. I tried but I just couldn’t face it.”

 

“All right. What are you watching?”

 

“Harry Potter.”

 

“Which one?”

 

“All of them.”

 

“Really? Why?”

 

“I…I had to. I had to see with my own eyes.”

 

“See what, sweetheart?”

 

“Voldemort can’t have won!” Andy wailed. “I keep watching to try and see where we went wrong.”

 

“You do realize that the election happened in real life and, as talented as JK Rowling is, she wasn’t prognosticating.”

 

“Yeah, but…” Andy wiped tears from her eyes. “I still don’t understand it. I can’t wrap my head around it and I want someone to blame!”

 

“Is finding fault really helpful?”

 

“I guess not but it might help me wake up from this nightmare.”

 

“Darling, it is a sad truth that our country has just elected a man who has used racism, bigotry, homophobia, and misogyny to ascend to the highest office in America.” Miranda sighed. “Even worse, the Vice-President-Elect is easily one of the most anti-LGBTQ and anti-woman politicians in recent history and will likely have a strong voice in Trump’s administration.”

 

Andy wailed and started rocking back and forth. After a moment or two, she asked, “Doesn’t it bother you? I can hardly function – I’ve stress eaten my weight in junk food!”

 

“Of course it bothers me. Right now, I’m grieving for what might have been and sickened by the thought of the progress we may lose.”

 

“I keep crying,” Andy said as she wiped her eyes with the heels of her hands.

 

“I do, too.” Miranda sat down on the couch and pulled Andy into her arms. She picked off a couple of stray kernels of popcorn. “We still have each other to lean on, even here amongst the rubble.”

 

“Sorry about the mess. I’m so out of sorts. I haven’t managed to do anything productive since they called it.”

 

Miranda thought back to that long Tuesday night and the way acid had churned in her stomach as Florida and Ohio and North Carolina had been called for Trump. By the time Wisconsin had been called, she had been a nervous wreck. She squeezed Andy tight. “It is going to be hard.”

 

“So hard,” Andy mumbled.

 

“Two to four years of hard.”

 

“Two?”

 

“There are the midterm elections coming up.”

 

“That’s right!” Andy sat up. “All 435 seats in the House and 34 of the Senate seats are up for re-election plus 34 of the states elect governors!”

 

 “Exactly. However, to get things done, we need to take care of ourselves first.”

 

“What do you have in mind?”

 

“Let’s go run a bubble bath. We can soak together in some soothing lavender.”

 

“That sounds lovely,” Andy said as she leaned back into Miranda’s arms and snuggled close. “And then?”

 

“Take time to mourn.”

 

“No-one died…yet.” Andy sniffled. “I was so scared that those protests against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would turn deadly.”

 

“I’m even more frightened for our non-white, non-Christian friends who are trying to raise children in this poisonous atmosphere. We have heard their plan — mass repeal for everything from food stamps for the very poor to Obamacare to marriage equality.”

 

“Don’t forget mass deportations of immigrants.”

 

“Yes. The most vulnerable in our nation are in the crosshairs. So many haters have been emboldened by his election.”

 

She smiled when Andy wiggled around in her arms so she could return Miranda’s hug.

 

“Love trumps hate.”

 

“It has been hard to believe in the power of love these past few days.” Miranda brushed a lock of hair from Andy’s forehead.

 

“Some of that is on me – I’ve had a hard time connecting with anyone since...well, you know.”

 

“You’re not alone, my darling. It is going to take a while for us to get past this feeling of profound loss to the action stage.”

 

“There’s going to be some action?” Andy asked, waggling her eyebrows.

 

Miranda laughed and then kissed her fiercely. “I wasn’t talking of lovemaking, although I shan’t be saying no to that, either.”

 

“What kind, then?”

 

“We must move fiercely forward to protect what we achieved. We must support our allies and empower marginalized communities.”

 

“How?”

 

Miranda glanced around the room. “I’m afforded many privileges, from my skin color to my wealth. I can donate to community organizations doing the lobbying, public advocacy and education.”

 

“My schedule is flexible. I could donate time and be a volunteer.”

 

“Indeed.”

 

“They may slow us down but they will never turn us back.”

 

“Exactly,” Miranda said as she held Andy close. “We’re stronger together.”

 

 

marygriggs: fleur di lis tattoo (Default)

Title: Pantsuits, Glass Ceilings and Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Author: Mary Griggs

Fandom: DWP

Pairing: Miranda/Andy

Rating: G

Word Count: 1500

Summary: Miranda spends some time on Facebook the night before the US Presidential election and wakes Andy up.

Author’s Notes: Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox are the owners; I'm just letting the ladies play in my sandbox for a while.


*****

Andy Sachs rolled over and blinked tiredly. There was an odd glow filling the bedroom. She glanced at the windows. With the blackout curtains closed, not a single beam of light was getting through. Turning her head, she looked at the nightstand clock – four twenty in bright red numbers. Not time for anyone to be up – not her, considering she had gotten in at midnight from covering a late-night Port Authority appropriations meeting and not her girlfriend, who had to be up at five o’clock in the morning.

 

Her lips quirked at the thought of being able to call Miranda Priestly her girlfriend. Even after two years of near-blissful cohabitation, she still got a thrill when thinking of finding her way back into her ex-bosses good graces and into her bed.

 

Squinting a little, Andy tried to focus on the woman she loved. Miranda was leaning back against the headboard with her phone held close to her face. She was biting the tip of her tongue and typing furiously with her thumbs.

 

“What are you doing? And why aren’t you wearing your glasses?”

 

Miranda startled and nearly dropped the phone. “Oh, darling. I’m sorry. Did I wake you?”

 

“The screen is a little bright.”

 

“Yes, I know. Remind me to call Tim Cook about improving the night time functions of his phones.”

 

“Right, right. I’ll get right on that,” Andy said as she rubbed her eyes. “But, what are you doing now? At four-freaking-thirty in the morning?”

 

“I was invited to this secret group on Facebook and it is marvelous.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“I’ve been reading for hours now. All these women sharing their stories.”

 

“Lots of secret groups out there. How’d you find this one?”

 

“Oh, I was added without my permission by someone already in it. I went to take myself out when I started reading.” Miranda reached over and grabbed her reading glasses. She sat up a little more and waved her phone. She said, “There is definitely no enthusiasm gap among these women.”

 

“So I see.” Andy murmured.

 

“Grandmothers talking about their experiences as the first or only women in their fields. Mothers talking about their fears for their daughters. All these women, dreaming of a different future for themselves. Quite amazing, honestly.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Indeed. It is like an oasis. A refuge of support and encouragement in a world that feels so hostile to those of us supporting Hillary.”

 

“I can get that. What’s it called?”

 

“Pantsuit Nation.” Miranda turned her phone slightly. “Other than the name, it is inspiring.”

 

“What is wrong with the name?”

 

“Glorifying pantsuits? I mean, notwithstanding the garment’s practicality, it is an insipid fashion choice.”

 

“Every woman I know owns one. Heck, even Beyoncé put her backup dancers in pantsuits for that Clinton fundraising event the other day.”

 

“Just because you are a woman in politics or business doesn’t mean you can’t be daring.”

 

“We are already being judged by our looks. You want more attention focused on our clothes?”

 

“Don’t be naïve. The judging is happening. We just can’t let it keep us from reimagining what a woman leader looks like. She need not be neutered by her clothing or choose the boring uniformity of a man’s suit.” Miranda sighed. “There is such beauty in a woman with power.”

 

“Don’t I know it,” Andy whispered to herself as she squeezed her legs together. Her memories of Miranda in her A-line pinstripe suit were all that sustained her in those dark days after she quit in Paris.

 

“What was that?” Miranda asked.

 

“Uh, I was just thinking that so many women thought leaders find the subject of fashion to be a distraction from their message.” She cleared her throat. “I know used to think that serious people didn’t waste time choosing belts.”

 

Miranda’s lips twitched into a smirk. “Even after the cerulean lecture?”

 

She was grateful for the darkness in the room to hide her blush. “Not so much after, as you well know. And, definitely not so much after I spent time in the industry. But, you still have to admit it is harder for women to be taken seriously at work and clothes have a big role to play in that.”

 

“If that was the case, let’s just give up and wear the burqa.”

 

Andy snorted. “Yeah, I just see you sitting still for that.”

 

Miranda dropped her phone into her lap. “If we’re not careful, there are some in our country that would have women out of the public sphere entirely. They want us silent and powerless. Just look at the language used by some of the tea party evangelicals or alt-right personalities supporting Trump.”

 

“That can’t happen here.”

 

“No? Those who impose Sharia law in other countries are close ideological cousins to many of those legislating women’s lives here in America. Everything from marriage equality to reproductive freedom to equal pay are being assailed by these homegrown extremists under the justification of their sincerely held religious beliefs!”

 

Raking a hand through her hair, Andy muttered, “I can’t believe we’re discussing Sharia law at this hour of the morning.”

 

“I can’t help it if you’re so easily drawn off topic.”

 

“What was the topic again?” Andy asked.

 

“Pantsuit Nation.”

 

“Right. Why are they hiding in a secret group?”

 

“You should read what some of these women are hearing from their friends and family and coworkers against Hillary. It is especially the case for women in the Red states or in rural areas. They just don’t feel safe.”

 

“I get that. This election has made me really aware of how dissent is expressed and when and where I can express said dissent without being trolled.” Andy sighed. “I hope they feel brave enough when they go behind the curtain to vote.”

 

“Yes, there is lot of voter encouragement. I think there are many who will be surprised by how many are finding their power and their voices.”

 

“Cool that women are supporting each other.”

 

“Exactly! Too many try to divide us and pit us against each other, as if the needs of a refugee mother is so different from that of an inner city single mom or a Quiverfull mother of twelve.”

 

“Sisterhood is powerful.”

 

Miranda arched her eyebrow. “Don’t mock it, Andrea. The original concept was incredibly empowering and continues to be a benchmark of radical, feminist thought.”

 

“Sorry. It is just so early,” she whined. Perking up, she drew her finger down Miranda’s arm. “Can’t we do something else if we’re both going to be awake in bed at this hour?”

 

Miranda smiled at her and placed her phone on the nightstand. As she took Andy into her arms, she asked, “You didn’t early vote, did you?”

 

“No, I couldn’t get free.”

 

She frowned and released her hold. “Well, consider this bed as cold as Lysistrata’s until I see an ‘I voted’ sticker.”

 

“Say what?”

 

“From the play by Aristophanes.” At Andy’s continued blank look, she elaborated, “Lysistrata called upon the women of Greece to withhold sex until the men ended the Peloponnesian War.”

 

“Hey, I didn’t have anything to do with nominating that bloviating orange nightmare!”

 

“But you can have an impact on the changing of the culture that legitimizes his agenda. You have to vote and you have to make sure all your friends are getting out there and voting, too.”

 

“Of course, I’m going to vote. Probably after work.” Andy shrugged. “Maybe at lunch.”

 

“Make a plan now.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Find out where your voting location is and put it in your phone.”

 

“Don’t I have the same one as last time?”

 

“Maybe not now after moving in here with us.”

 

“Oh, right.”

 

“Also, the lines could be long and things may delay you. If you make a plan, you’re much more likely to stick with it long enough to help break one of the most enduring glass ceilings on the planet.”

 

“That makes sense.”

 

“Do you know about the other candidates and other initiatives on the ballot?”

 

“Mostly, yeah.”

 

“Honestly, Andrea, you need to know better than mostly. This is our future and not something one can just wing.” Miranda sighed. “You can get a sample ballot from the Secretary of State’s website to know exactly what’s on it and can use your voting time most efficiently.”

 

“I can do that.”

 

“If you have questions about candidate positions try going to the local League of Women Voters website.”

 

“Okay. I will.”

 

“Good girl.” Miranda leaned over and kissed her thoroughly before climbing out of bed.

 

Andy blinked dazedly up at her. “Hey! You can’t just leave me like this!”
 

“Don’t be dramatic, Andrea. I’m merely letting you get an early start. The polls open at six, you know!”

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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 06:05pm on 05/07/2016 under ,
11828583_1605559089708114_2398618113482835871_n

I'm very excited that I will be hopping on a train at the end of next week to take me to Washington, DC and the 2016 Golden Crown Literary Society Annual Conference.

While there, I will be catching the 4th of July fireworks, seeing the White House and getting a tour of the Library of Congress. However, I'm most looking forward to the horde of literary lesbians who will be descending on our nation's capital.

I've waxed lyrical before on what the GCLS means to me; suffice to say I can't wait to catch up with all those readers and authors and publishers whom I'm honored to call friends. And buying books. Lots and lots of books!

If you want to catch me at the conference, I'll be doing the following:

I will be moderating a panel discussion on Sci-fi and Social Justice on Thursday, July 7th from 9:30am to 10:20am. My panelists include: Jewelle Gomez, Elizabeth Hodge, Lise MacTague, MB Panichi, and Tiffany Shamaly. Since speculative fiction allows a reimagining of the universe, we'll be looking at just what is the writer's responsibility for creating diverse, inclusive, and just worlds as well as discussing how we as readers and writers use science fiction to organize for social change.

I will be moderating the Author Spotlight on Thursday from 4:40 to 5:30pm with the following authors: Julie Blair, Jessie Chandler, Bev Prescott, MJ Williamz, and Sheryl Wright

On Friday morning at 8:30am, I will on the panel titled Blood and Gore I. The moderator is Justine Saracen and my fellow panelists are Ann Aptaker, JD Glass, Elizabeth Parmer and Allison Solomon. This panel will focus on violence in the setting of the lesbian novel.

At 9:30am, I will be participating in the Author Spotlight alongside these great authors: Lynn Ames, Marie Castle, Fay Jacobs, Susan X Meagher and moderated by the marvelous Melissa Brayden. I will be reading from my latest novel, Bitter Heart.


I will be signing my books (and anything else a person could want signed) during the author autograph session at 4:30 on Friday afternoon. This session is open to the public so come on down!

Rise early and join me at 8:30 on Saturday morning for Blood and Gore II. Moderated by Alison Solomon, my fellow panelists are: J.L. Gaynor, Laydin Michaels and Justine Saracen. This panel will focus on violence with the protagonist or in the relationship of the lesbian novel.

I'm also looking forward to the always funny and insightful Fay Jacobs who will be delivering the Keynote Address at 10:40 on Saturday morning. Later that night, we'll all get dressed in our finery for the GCLS Awards Ceremony.

I can't wait to see y'all there!
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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 10:52am on 06/03/2016 under ,
 The 2016 Saints and Sinners Festival is scheduled for Friday, April 1 through Sunday, April 3 in New Orleans.

The Festival was founded in 2003 as an innovative way to disseminate HIV/AIDS prevention messages via the writers, thinkers and spokes-people of the LGBT community as well as to bring the LGBT literary community together in celebration.

I will be giving a reading from my new book, Bitter Heart, and will be on a panel. Info for my appearances is below:

Saturday, April 2 @11:30 AM
SAINTS AND SINNERS READING SERIES: WRITERS READ
Authors Rich Barnett, Jameson Currier, Jewelle Gomez, Mary Griggs, J.D. Horn, and Gregg Shapiro share their latest works in our annual reading series. Enjoy a mix of Festival favorites and promising new voices.
Hotel Monteleone, Cabildo Room
Sponsored by The John Burton Harter Charitable Trust.

Saturday, April 2 @1 PM
CREATURES OF THE NIGHT
If writers are supposed to “write what you know”—how do you create supernatural beings like vampires and werewolves and witches, oh my? Can you make up your own rules, or do you have to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before? Join us as we talk about redefining the field of paranormal fiction, and the difficulties LGBTQ writers face as they work to get their voices heard.
Panelists: N.S. Beranek, ‘Nathan Burgoine, Mary Griggs,
Jerry Rabushka, and Jeffrey Ricker.
Moderator: Candice Huber.
Hotel Monteleone, Royal Salon C

The book fair for both Saints and Sinners and the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is located on the mezzanine level of the Hotel Monteleone. Tubby & Coo’s Book Shop is the 2016 Saints and Sinners book seller.

I hope to see you there!

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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 11:12am on 19/02/2016 under
I've got a story in the Women in Sports Anthology coming out soon!

Hot. Sweaty. Tight shorts. Sports bras. Six-pack abs. What sparks your imagination? Muscular legs? Hands that are strong and sure? Baseball, soccer, hockey, track and field...does it really matter? She's sexy, she's incredible and she’s all yours. Sit back, relax and enjoy some wonderful tales from this group of talented authors. Women in sports--does it get any better than that? 
 
This amazing collection of romance and erotica includes stories from: Lee Lynch, Jessie Chandler, Mary Griggs, MB Panichi, Tonie Chacon, Kate McLachlan, A.L. Duncan, Jeanine Hoffman, Erica Lawson, Sharon G. Clark, Nann Dunne, Pat Cronin and Verda Foster.
 
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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 11:35am on 15/12/2015 under
I'm proud to report that I've gone through the edits and author proof for the January 18, 2016 publication of my next novel -- Bitter Heart.

bel-bitterheart

Pretty, isn't it? Thanks to Judy Fellows for the cover art!

What is it about you ask?
When her home planet is invaded by the Babwe, royal daughter Julian escapes aboard a trade ship. She must get to the Unity planet and persuade the system government to intervene before all of her people are slaughtered or enslaved. Julian discovers more allies than she expected but her choices have deadly consequences back home. With the fate of her people in the balance, can Julian work fast enough to save them?

You can pre-order it from Bella Books, your local bookseller or, even, from Amazon.
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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 11:07pm on 27/08/2015 under
Turning on the television or radio these past few days has meant an inundation of media coverage of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. There are memorial services, art shows, documentaries, public speeches, political theater and lots and lots of pictures. Pictures of suffering and loss, of courage and quiet dignity, of humor and protest, of life and death. I don't know about the rest of you but it is triggering my PTSD.

I'm not ungrateful that the world has not forgotten the result of the post-hurricane levee breaks that devastated New Orleans -- 1,800 dead, 1 million people displaced, 1 million homes damaged, 250,000 homes destroyed, and a cost of over $150 billion. It is the almost pageantry of the events surrounding this anniversary that raises my hackles and sinks me further into depression.

I'm going to do my mourning in private and use this blog post to talk about books and how their loss (and what I gained) led to my recovery.

Just a couple of months before the storm, I attended the inaugural Golden Crown Literary Society conference, held at the Renaissance Hotel along Tchoupitoulas Street in the Warehouse District of New Orleans. It was amazing to sit in the same room as many of the authors who not only had entertained and enlightened me but whose books helped me come out.

That might have been all it was except then came the storm.

I evacuated ahead of landfall, expecting to be back in my house in a few days. As it was, it took a month before my neighborhood opened for me to make a trip over there to see for myself what the floodwaters had wrought.

My house is raised up three feet off the ground, so I only had a few feet of water inside. It was enough to wreak havoc on my books, though. You can see in the first picture the water level in this area of the house was recorded in the wood of the bookcase itself.

Den 5

As the books soaked up the water, the pressure pushed on the sides of the case, dropping shelves of books that were above the waterline into the water (as seen on the left of this picture).
Bkcase Den Center of Wall

Mold covered the books that escaped the waters or the falling. Paperbacks were the hardest hit, with some of the mass market paperbacks almost melting away.

Back Hall BedroomI couldn't help the tears. And, let me tell you, crying in air mask is not recommended by the manufacturer or fun for the wearer.

There was a citywide curfew, so my Dad and I took only pictures and left only footprints before closing up my home and making the three-hour trip back to their house to regroup.

Sitting in what would be my temporary home for the next ten months, I saw that someone from GCLS had forwarded me an announcement from the board. It read in part:
In light of the truly devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, the board of the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) has established a special GCLS Relief Fund. This fund, to be administered by the GCLS Advisory Board, will take donations from the public on behalf of all those authors, publishers, and supporters in our community who have been affected by the storm.

I found out later that in less than 48 hours of the relief fund being set up, they raised $7000. I don't know the final numbers of monies dispersed but I was a grateful recipient. I want to thank all who donated because those funds were crucial to my rebuilding.

But that wasn't the end of it.

I missed the next conference as I was across the country, in California. When I made it to the 2007 conference, many of the friends I made the first year remembered me and remembered New Orleans.

Some of those folks went beyond simple hugs (although those were nice, too). Lee Lynch and her then partner (now wife) Elaine Mulligan donated books from their private library to help me rebuild mine.

I cried when I opened the box and saw books that I hadn't been able to find because they were out of print or the publisher no longer existed. Even in the San Francisco Bay Area, lesbian novels aren't easily found in used bookstores. I had despaired finding many of the books which marked milestones in my life. I have always been a voracious reader and much of my development from questioning teenager, to baby dyke, to fully fledged lesbian activist can be attributed to the possibilities I first glimpsed between those pages.

Lee and Lainie weren't the only ones who opened their hearts (and, sometimes, their libraries) for me. I received other boxes but, even more importantly, I gained the great gift of friendship from so many of the participants and attendees at that conference and every subsequent one since then.

I was so pleased to be able to be a part of bringing the 2015 conference back to New Orleans. I hope those who came caught a glimpse of the mystique of New Orleans which endures despite the tragedy of the post Katrina levee breaks.

It is the spirit of a city and its people that makes a city what it is. A disaster cannot kill the creative spirit, the zest for life, or the abundance of hospitality that makes me proud to call this city my home.

And it is that love and spirit that embodies so many of the members of the Golden Crown Literary Society. It is why I am proud to be a member and why I would encourage anyone who cares about lesbian literature to become a member and to attend the conference as you are able.

I hope to see you next year in Washington, DC from July 6 to July 10, 2016. Until then, don't be a stranger!

Originally published on my blog - https://marygriggs.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/katrina10-and-how-gcls-helped-me-recover/
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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 07:50am on 29/07/2015 under ,
gcls_crownI really love the Golden Crown Literary Society's Annual Literary Conference. I attended my first one in 2005 (also their first one) and have only missed one since (the first Atlanta conference when I was still homeless after the post-Katrina levee flooding destroyed my city).

It was like finding my tribe when I first walked into one of the conferences and the feeling has just gotten stronger for each subsequent one. I do a lot of political work and I get to hang out with lots of passionate queer folk and that is amazing. It is something else, though, to be surrounded by these literary lesbians. To be able to talk for hours about lesbian fiction; to discuss reading and writing with other book lovers is like a balm to my thirsty soul. GCLS_NO_color_h This year's conference came back to New Orleans (the first one was also held here). I was on the ground committee and I worked with the GCLS Executive Director, Liz Gibson, and the event coordinator, Judy Comella, to make this one of the best conferences ever.

While I was still on the GCLS board, we were able to secure Dorothy Allison as the keynote speaker. I'm so very glad we did. She exceeded every possible expectation. She is irreverent, charming, poignant, funny, profane and I am in awe. I was in the room when she read from Bastard Out of Carolina and had chills. I was in tears during her speech and the standing ovation she received lasted for more than five minutes. I was also beyond lucky to get to have lunch with her and the recipient of the this year's Lee Lynch Classic Award, Rita Mae Brown, the author of Rubyfruit Jungle.

I helped the Bella Books crew get the many boxes of books up from the loading dock to the conference. The hotel was trying to charge $2 per box, so we liberated a pallet jack and moved them ourselves. The freight elevator did smell like it had been transporting dead bodies but we made it up in one piece. At the vendor room, a number of folks then helped bring them the rest of the way. It was great to see so many people step up to do what needed doing but that is pretty typical for GCLS.

While I wasn't able to attend every panel or reading I wanted, I enjoyed being on the Dystopian panel moderated by SY Thompson with fellow panelists Linda Kay Silva, Jane Fletcher and Liz Hodge (who later won a Goldie for her poetry). We talked about hope and fears and the importance of writing the books you want to read. The special speaker this year was Ali Vali and she gave a funny (and scary) talk on her writing process. She knows she's on the right track when her wife walks away muttering, "What is wrong with you?" Not my process but funny to hear hers.

I was also honored to receive a volunteer recognition award at the annual membership meeting. The meeting is live streamed here, if you want to watch it. You will not see me, as I unfortunately had to run to Baton Rouge for work and missed it! volunteer award The awards ceremony was hilariously MC'd by Lynn Ames and Ann McMan. I have already posted a list of the winners (here) but I want to congratulate all the finalists and winners. I also want to thank all those whose hard work made it possible - the awards committee, the judges, the presenters and the behind the scene tech folk that kept it all moving smoothly. The night was magical - many people were dressed to the nines and the energy was high and the enthusiasm that greeted each announced winner was gratifying to hear.
Marie Castle, winner for her paranormal novel, The Devil You Know and I at the Goldies. (Picture by RJ Layer)
Marie Castle, winner for her paranormal novel, The Devil You Know and I at the Goldies. (Picture by RJ Layer)

Speaking of thanking folks - the GCLS board puts in many, many hours throughout the year for not only the conference but also to make the organization itself successful and sustainable. This is an all volunteer organization and they do it all for love not money. I'm very proud of the job they do.

I'm very much looking forward to next year's conference in DC (actually Alexandria, VA) from July 6 to 10th, 2016. I can't wait to reconnect with old friends, make some new ones and recharge amongst other readers and writers. Please consider joining us!
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The schedule is out for the GCLS Annual Conference in New Orleans from July 22 to 26, 2015.

The special speaker this year is Ali Vali and the Keynote speaker is the incomparable, Dorothy Allison!

I will be on a panel at 9am on Thursday called Dystopian Novels - Who Writes Them, Who Loves Them, Why Are They So Popular?
The moderator is S.Y. Thompson and the other panelists include Linda Crist, Elizabeth Hodge and Linda Kay Silva. Here is the description: Dystopian novels are filling the shelves faster than ever before. Why are these dark thrillers so popular? Are they a precursor to a new genre or a flash in the plan? Hear some of the best discuss their approaches to writing the great dystopian novel!

On Friday at 10:40am, I will be reading from my forthcoming book, Bitter Heart. Other authors in my time slot include Melissa Price, Elizabeth Hodge, Baxter Clare TrautmanAndi Marquette and Anastasia Vitsky

Come and see me at the Author Autograph session on Friday from 4:30 to 6. This is open to the public, so for all you fans of lesbian literature, even if you can't come for the conference, come for the signings!

I will also be hanging out a lot in the vendor space and around the Bella Books and Distribution table (they are the official bookseller of the conference).

You can pre-order books for pickup at the conference. Here is my author page at Bella Books.

Can't wait to see you there!

Oh, and keep up the Golden Crown Literary Society on Facebook by liking their page!

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