Bella After Dark (BAD) LogoOkay, so once upon a time I e-mailed Karin Kallmaker and said something like, “What do you think about four of us getting together with each of us writing a novella? All on the same topic, and we put them all together in a book?” I gave her the opportunity to decide the topic. In my mind, this was a once off. We’d do it once, and that’d be it.

She was all for it, and we quickly decided that if we could get Julia Watts out of her Alyson contract, we wanted her, since we both loved her writing (and still do!) Karin also chose fairy tales.

So Karin approached Julia, but apparently altered the pitch a bit, to make it into a series. Julia apparently said she had but one fairy tale in her, but was Black-and-white photo of me as a three- or four-year-old child. Oh, and I was blonde back then.'m standing next to a dog, Lightning, who is looking up at me. She's a Malamute who's almost as tall as I am. Oh, and I'm wearing a cape, like the little bad ass I was when I was that young.all for it.

Meanwhile, Barbara Johnson really worked me over, trying to get in on it (and when Barbara wrote, she was a pretty solid seller. When I moved to D.C. I lived, for a bit, with her and her gf (there’s an interesting story about how, one morning, Barbara Grier called and I answered the phone. At 6 a.m. Apparently Grier turned to someone in the office and said something like, “She’s living with them now?”)) Anway… I presented Johnson to Kallmaker and Watts, and we all got together in an online chat room and discussed it all.

It was a series. It was the four of us. If one of us had to jump out for a book, that would be fine—the three remaining would fine a one-time replacement. Karin would pitch it to Bella, and write up the pitch materials and such based on our convos, wherein we came up with various ideas, including possible themes and titles. I think my major contribution at that point was the colon in the title: I wanted something to show it was a series, so brought on the entire “New Exploits” bit.

Obviously we got the go ahead.

Now, as for the look of the insides of the books... And I am just talking about the insides—not the covers, though I do think we got some great covers for the books, but I was only in charge of the guts of the things. The typesetting and a little beyond.

About all of that... Well, I did go a bit above and beyond for this series, and I was allowed to use some fancy fonts and different looks for this and all the Bella After Dark books, in fact. Black and white pick of me leaning against a wall. I'm wearing a white T-shirt, jeans, boots and a black leather vest.

With the New Exploits series I got the okay of the rest of the team for the fonts and different looks inside, but I do have to admit that a few things came about over dinner between me and Barbara Johnson. We'd go to the local Macaroni Grill and I'd start drawing on the paper tableclothes —outlining pages and doing layouts of things. A few things did just develop because the typesetter had a few too many Miller Lites. That's when I'd suggest some pretty strange things, like putting our pics in the back.

Of course, per usual, the femmes always chose which pics of mine ended up in the books. Oh, and those are the pics you're seeing on this page. I didn't know how the others would feel about me sharing their pics on this site, so I didn't. You'll just have to buy the books if you want to see their adult—and child—photos.

Oh, the child photo of me from above went into Bell, Book & Dyke, of course. The funny thing is I send that pic to two of my siblings, asking if they knew who had taken it since, if someone good did, I wanted to give them the photo credit. They don't remember who took it, but one of my sisters-in-law walked by the computer and asked who had taken that pic of her daughter. Um, Amy? Got some news for you...

(The other picture was taken for a couple of Between the Lines dining reviews. Between the Lines is the LGBT paper in Michigan. An ex talked me into going out with her since she had to do these reviews. Somehow I got talked into doing them... And for whatever reason, she wanted to take that pic...)

Check out all the incredible
New Exploits books on this site:
Once Upon a Dyke book cover/linkCover/Link to Bell, Book and DykeStake Through the Heart book cover/linkTall in the Saddle book cover/link


What the Critics Say

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What the Critics Say


“Good sex and good humor together in one lesbian story is a true rarity!”

—Curve Magazine

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“Finalist for best erotica of 2004.”

—Lambda Literary Foundation

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“A handful of beloved lesbian writers give classic stories a twist in this collection of reimagined fairy tales... The best part? You can read Once Upon a Dyke and discover exactly how mermaids (and Rapunzel, Snow White and many other familiar characters) get it on!”

—Curve Magazine, February 2005

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“Some magic both in and out of relationships, some amusing twists on both magic and Druidism, and totally enjoyable for those who have a more esoteric bent. Great fun to read!”

—Golden Threads, March 2006

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“I have never been a fairy tale aficionado, but then there have never been fairy tales like these.”


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“Fun is exactly what the reader gets.”

—R. Lynne Watson

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“If you enjoy a fun romp between the covers (of a book), then look for this wonderfully racy collection at your favorite bookstore.”


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Once Upon a Dyke transforms virtually all of the shopworn conventions of the fairy tales we know into fertile ground for a host of adult stories with heroines that are nobody’s gender stereotypes . . .”

—Quality Paperback Book Club

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There’s something irresistible about most of Therese Szymanski’s self-deprecating rogue heroines and Tyler Black is no exception. In the character-driven “By The Book,” Tyler’s profession as a stuntperson gives Szymanski the freedom to make her probably one of the most physically adept witches the world has ever known. Whether she’s falling through closets (a lovely bit of gay humor) into dangerous caverns beneath a suburban Michigan home, seducing starlets or ricocheting off the wall for some potentially deadly swordplay, Tyler’s humor, irreverence and sexy bad-girl charm not only helps her win the girl, but bewitches readers in the process.


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But by far, the most original novella in the pack, and the only one to swerve fully out of the traditional fairy tale paradigm is “A Butch in Fairy Tale Land” by Therese Szymanski. Szymanski knows there is no fitting her desperate-to-do-good butch into the femininity-steeped genre of the fairy tale, so instead she sends her on a sex-laden odyssey through a series of tales. What is also wonderfully different in this is Szymanski’s refusal to sacrifice her character ‘s early 21st century sensibility; there are references to cigarette lighters and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a travel pack of lube that magically appears in her pocket when faced with the seven beautiful femme miners who live with Snow White. Her sometimes snide, sometimes self-deprecatory tone gives the whole thing a wonderfully freeing satirical edge. Is Szymanski telling us that while it is ridiculous for a butch lesbian to attempt to be a fairy tale princess, it’s equally absurd to try to mold her into a prince, so perhaps we should just laugh off the premise and start the story from scratch? It would seem so.

—Joy Parks

Buy the Book

And you can buy the book from your local independent/feminist/LGBT or rockin' lesbian bookstore, or any really cool store that might sell books like mine.

Oh, and of course, you can buy it/find out about its availability and such from my terrific publisher, Bella Books.

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My books are also available on a veritable plethora of online booksellers, including

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all the Amazons in the world:

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U.S. Canada United Kingdom Germany

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And a whole lot of other places.