I don’t often make a big deal over things I’ve self-published. Those are usually inexpensive short stories which are companions to my novels, re-issued things I’ve published in anthologies, or just plain messing around with genre or style. But I’m especially excited to re-release this story.
Here’s the history: Last spring, I submitted to an open call because it was exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. The story was accepted, edited, and included in a summer release. And then, without my ever having received any payment at all, the publisher closed its doors.
It’s taken me months to get my rights back and have all versions removed from sellers’ sites, but now I have it. I commissioned the absolutely wonderful and talented Dee Aditya of DA Studios to do my brand-new cover art (which I love!). She’s amazing, flexible, easy to work with, and I swear she read my mind on what I wanted. Not to mention that her prices are reasonable, based on her own fees and the cost of the stock photography. I had an unusual request, since I needed a specific image of a classic car, and Dee delivered.
Due to the gracious offer of my original editor, Paige Prince, I was able to retain the final edits on the story when I changed over to self-publishing. My experience working with Paige was wonderful. She’s a kind and caring editor who took the time to not only correct my mistakes but discuss why she was asking for certain changes. She’s at the top of my list of editors I’ve enjoyed working with.
So here’s the deal: Below, you can see my gorgeous cover, and I’ve listed additional purchase links (more to come as they are available). I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
About the Book
Title: Pink in the Mirror
Length: ~8k words
Published: March 6, 2017
Categories: Coming of age, 1950s, historical, lesbian romance
Before, Barbara’s goal was to win the county drag race. Now all she wants is to win Dottie’s heart.
It’s California in 1958, and Barbara is two different people. By day, she works as an assistant seamstress. By night, she’s a drag racer preparing for the biggest local event of the summer. Her only hope to make it out of town is to win the race and spend a couple of years in junior college. If she can put him off long enough, she can gently let down the polite young man with whom she’s keeping up appearances.
What Barbara hasn’t counted on is how drawn she is to vibrant, gorgeous Dottie, the woman who comes to watch them prepare for the race. A single evening with Dottie convinces Barbara she’ll never be happy with an artificial life. Now she’ll have to make a decision about what she wants before it’s too late.
They rolled the car out into the sunshine, and sure enough, Jimmy arrived at the same time. He parked and hopped out, coming over to them to inspect Princess Grace. While he waxed poetic about Roo’s adjustments, Barbara looked over to Jimmy’s car.
There she was, sitting on the hood like she did every day, pink sleeveless blouse pulled taut over her full breasts and long, dungaree-clad legs stretched out in front of her. As always, her glossy, dark brown hair was swept up in an elaborate twist, and her face was perfectly painted, complete with bold, red lipstick. She was smoking—smoking!—blowing thick clouds from her mouth and seeming as relaxed as you please. Barbara couldn’t help the way her eyes were drawn that direction, stealing glances in between listening to Jimmy and Roo go on about how much they could shave off Barbara’s best time.
Barbara’s gaze flicked to Jimmy’s Olds again, and this time, the young woman’s eyes locked on hers. Barbara’s breath caught, and she took a step back—right into Jimmy.
“Watch it!” he said. When Barbara didn’t respond, Jimmy nudged her.
“Sorry,” she said.
Jimmy followed her line of vision, grinned, and turned to talk to Roo. By then, the young woman had slipped off the hood of the car and begun sauntering over. Barbara tore her eyes away and looked at the guys, but they were busy. Roo had gone back to fiddling with the car’s engine, showing Jimmy what he’d done. When Barbara turned her head forward again, the young woman was still focused on her. Barbara swallowed and took a few steps.
The woman stopped in front of her. “Hey,” she said. She stuck out her hand. “Dottie McAllister.”
Barbara gulped, taking Dottie’s hand in her own and hoping she didn’t notice how clammy it was. “Barbara Peterson.”
Dottie’s bright red lips curved upward in a sassy smile. “Well, Babs—can I call you Babs?—it’s a treat to meet you.”
“Are you Jimmy’s girl?” Barbara blurted. She wanted to smack herself, but it was all she could come up with.
“So what if I were?” Dottie’s arched eyebrow dared Barbara to press the issue. “What’s it to you, huh?”
“N-Nothing,” Barbara replied. “Just wondering. He brings you with him.”
“As it happens, I’m not Jimmy’s girl, no. He’s my step-brother.”
That explained their relationship, not why she was there. “Are you here for one of the others, then?” She didn’t see Roo as this woman’s type, nor Copper, but maybe she was into Frank or Warren Peace. She certainly wasn’t there to help with the car.
Dottie leaned in so close Barbara could smell the combination of her makeup and perfume. “Maybe,” she said, her voice low and breathy, “I don’t come here to watch the boys.”