A Day for Celebration

When Miranda and I published Holly and Ivy, we treated ourselves to a day at the spa.

With COVID, that wasn’t an option this time around. However, neither of us wanted to skip celebrating the release of Heart of Ice, our second cowrite. Getting a novel over the finish line shouldn’t skip by without raising a glass.

So, Miranda recommended heading to a Shaker village, roughly an hour and a half drive from Boston.

I know nothing about the Shakers, but I’m always up for a bit of a historical adventure, and I gladly accepted the offer.

Again, due to COVID, there weren’t tours available, but we knew this ahead of time and I didn’t mind. It was a lovely late summer day, and the temperature hovered near 80 without much humidity, a true blessing after a scorching July in Boston. We checked out some of the buildings from the outside, but my favorite part was wandering the grounds.

There was a short walking trail, and I spied many dragonflies, frogs, stunning flowers, and a quaint pond.

We brought food and iced tea for a picnic and camped out at a table for a safe chat. Our only interaction with strangers was an adorable ginger kitty, who conned Miranda out of a slice of turkey. To protect our pussy friend, I didn’t take a photo (code for I was enjoying the food so much I plum forgot to get a snap of the scrappy cat).

On the way home, we stopped at a vineyard since Miranda is doing research for her next lesbian romance. Who doesn’t love research involving drinking wine outside and indulging in dessert?

All it all, it was a fantastic day.

And, Miranda, if you need a research buddy for more vineyard trips, all you need to do is ask.


What happens when the one person who makes your heart sing is also the one person who could destroy everything you’ve worked for?

Laurie “the Hatchet” Emerson is a ruthless leader in Boston finance who’s rumoured to have a block of ice where her heart should be. If only. Recently widowed, Laurie fears she’s broken beyond repair, until a once-in-a-lifetime business deal reignites her passion for work and gives her a shot at proving to the world she still has some life left in her.

Jack Kennedy is a young portfolio manager who aspires to greatness. Unfortunately, she’s so many rungs down the corporate ladder she can’t even scrape up enough money to move out of her mother’s apartment. Her luck changes when her work ethic is finally rewarded with the job opportunity of her dreams.

A blizzard forces their worlds to collide, but what was meant to be a no-strings night of passion becomes more complicated when they both arrive at the office the next morning to discover they each spent the night with the one person in the city who could crush their futures.

Together, they just might hold the keys to everything they’ve ever wanted, but the difference in their ages and positions could spell the end of their careers. Will the ice queen and the protégé find happiness together or lose everything?

Best-selling lesbian fiction authors TB Markinson & Miranda MacLeod have written a scorching ice queen romance about love striking twice. Read it today!


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Is This Your Forever Home?

One of the questions I get asked a lot is where I get my ideas from.

My answer is always disappointing to some, because I get them from everywhere, all of the time. There’s no special sauce, which I think many want to know the recipe for. I’m sure there are times when I don’t even realize I’m being influenced by something.

However, the concept of a forever place sticks out in my head, and I used it in One Golden Summer.

When I moved back to Massachusetts from Britain, it was a complete surprise. We’d recently received five-year visas when the chatter about recalling American employees started. I was on my partner’s work visa, but the uncertainty of Brexit was making a lot of American companies skittish.

So, less than a year of arriving in Britain, after a year and a half break in Ireland (another weird aspect of our first British visas), I was on a plane heading home.

Yet, America didn’t feel like home anymore. I’d been away for nearly eight years, and much had changed in my absence.

The fact that I didn’t have a choice in the matter also rankled.

Back in the US, I was in charge of getting the apartment set up, while my partner closed up shop in Britain.

About a week into unpacking boxes and buying furniture (we no longer had any basics like a bed, couch, or even a camp chair), I was taking out the rubbish (why is there always so much trash when you move?), when my new neighbor flagged me down.

We introduced ourselves, and her young son asked me if the new apartment was my forever home.

He’s an adorable, sweet boy, and the way he spoke touched my heart.

It also struck a nerve since at that moment in time, I felt rudderless.

When it came time to craft Saffron’s backstory, the concept of her never feeling like she had a home spoke to me, and I remembered my young neighbor with his wide, honest eyes asking me that question. It became one of the main themes for Saffron.

Now, over a year after my move, the world is even more terrifying than when I returned. I wonder how long it will take me to feel like I’m finally home in my forever place.

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The New Reality

When Clare and I started planning our research trip to Whitstable for One Golden Summer, our cowrite, neither of us had an inkling how quickly world events would change.

In February, I started reading stories about the virus plaguing China. I found the news troubling, but I had no idea how bad it would get. Then, the news out of Italy was terrible.

By the time I got on the plane early in March, in Boston heading to London, the news was becoming more alarming, but neither the British nor American governments were offering a lot of guidance. What they did say was to wash your hands a lot and thoroughly. I’ve always been a compulsive handwasher, so I felt like I had a handle on that part.

Halfway through my time in London, the WHO declared the virus a pandemic.

The shite was getting real.

Still, though, it seemed like something that wasn’t impacting the US or UK. Of course, it was, but neither government was offering a lot of practical advice.

Then Trump declared he wasn’t going to allow travelers from Europe into the country. This caused a lot of panic, and as it turned out, he wasn’t banning American citizens from arriving in the US.

I looked into rebooking my flight for earlier, but the prices were astronomical, and there were Americans who didn’t already have a way home.

Throughout all of this, Clare and her wife tried to keep me calm. We all did our best to enjoy the time we had, which involved watching a lot of telly. Turns out, Clare’s a good cook. I didn’t know that before.

On the day of my scheduled flight home, I was exhausted from all the stress. The trip from London to Boston, one I’d done a few times before, was one of the longest days ever. It was also the first time I had to fill out a health certificate in order to get on a plane.

The flight home was weird. Only a handful of people wore masks (at the time, we were still being told not to buy masks so healthcare workers would have access). Quite a few people on the flight had a cough. The woman sitting two seats over didn’t look like she felt well.

I tried to keep my head down and continued using wet wipes to clean my hands, still the only practical advice either government was issuing.

By the time I landed at Logan Airport, I just wanted to get home to my apartment for my fourteen-day quarantine. Yet, another first.

I got home on March 17th.

On March 23rd, Britain locked down, and on the same day, the governor of Massachusetts issued a stay-at-home order. Even now, it’s still hard for me to wrap my head around everything that’s happened since.

A few days later, I became sick. At the time, tests weren’t readily available in the US, and I never got ill enough to go to the hospital. But whatever I had still hasn’t gone away completely, and comes and goes in waves.

Before February, if you told me any of this was a possibility, I would have thought you a conspiracy nut. Now, I cringe over my naivety.

Also, I have several face masks, and whenever I leave the house, I have one in my pocket and another in my bag.

We’re living in a new world, and I’m still not used to it.

One Golden Summer:

Would you trade fame for love?

Saffron Oliver is the golden girl. Golden hair. Golden skin. Golden movie career.

Only one problem: she hates it.

She flees to her sister’s seaside town – where she meets the confident & charming Kirsty McBride.

Kirsty is everything Saffron wants to be. Perhaps also, everything she wants.

But Saffron can’t have it all. So now, she has to decide: does she crave Kirsty enough to blow up her golden life?

Best-selling lesbian romance authors Clare Lydon & TB Markinson have written a sizzling lesbian love story about not being afraid and going after what you really want.


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How do you say…?

Sometimes cowriting with an author, even one who is a good friend, presents awkward moments.

For those of you who listen to the Lesbians Who Write podcast, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m terribly shy when it comes to sex scenes.

As it turns out, I’m also extremely timid when it comes to giving praise after reading a coauthor’s sex scene. Honestly, there’s a sentence I never fathomed penning.

Before I get to the sex bit (sorry), I think I should outline our cowriting process. Since Clare lives in London, which is five hours ahead, every day she’d write her chapter and add it to our shared doc. I would read it first thing in the morning, and then I’d write my chapter. When finished, I added it for Clare to read the following day.

In One Golden Summer, Clare had the pleasure (or torture) of writing the first sex scene.

On sex day, when I clocked into the office (aka my apartment, but office sounds fancier), I opened the document and read the scene. I thought it was hot, but I didn’t know how to text good sex today without sounding creepy. Even just writing good job today seemed over-the-top to me, the American prude.

So, I did what I normally do when I don’t know how to react. Nothing. I didn’t say a peep.

The next time we spoke on Skype, Clare asked me (she’s not shy when it comes to these things) what I thought about the sex scene. I’m sure my face went up in flames, but I did muster the courage to apologize for not speaking sooner. She’s seen me squirm when discussing it on the podcast, so she understood.

Now, I need to recover from reliving this episode.


One Golden Summer:

Would you trade fame for love?

Saffron Oliver is the golden girl. Golden hair. Golden skin. Golden movie career.

Only one problem: she hates it.

She flees to her sister’s seaside town – where she meets the confident & charming Kirsty McBride.

Kirsty is everything Saffron wants to be. Perhaps also, everything she wants.

But Saffron can’t have it all. So now, she has to decide: does she crave Kirsty enough to blow up her golden life?

Best-selling lesbian romance authors Clare Lydon & TB Markinson have written a sizzling lesbian love story about not being afraid and going after what you really want.


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The things I do for work

I’m not adventurous when it comes to food.

There are two types of food I usually despise: vegetables and seafood.

Having said that, I should mention I do try things when traveling, but it’s rare for me to say, “Oh, I actually like that.” Usually, I take an itsy-bitsy bite, make a face, and guzzle a beverage to eradicate the taste.

So, when Clare Lydon and I were in Whitstable to research One Golden Summer, I naturally had to eat an oyster. Whitstable is known for them.

I’d eaten them before, since my partner is a seafood fan. She also loves veggies, including brussel sprouts. I will never understand that, but I’m getting off track.

In the past, I haven’t puked up an oyster, which for me is a feat. And, I do like some seafood, such as fried shrimp, crab cheese wontons, and fried haddock. I know none of them is all that adventuresome, and I fully admit the preparation for these items masks the seafood-y aspect I don’t like.

There’s not a lot of masking when it comes to eating a fresh oyster.

When we ordered the oysters, we ended up with half a dozen, even though I’m sure I ordered fewer. I only had the intention of eating one for a photo op. I’m admitting that right now. This was for a photo op.

The oysters arrived at the table, and there were a few large and some not so small ones. I ended up with a large one and added Tabasco, because I normally do.

Then I held it in my hand, while Clare readied for the shot.

As you can see from the photo, I wasn’t super thrilled, but I will report the oyster was extremely fresh. A plus. But not enough for me to eat more. I got my photo. Mission accomplished.

The fish and chips were much more to my liking, so I didn’t starve for the night.

In the book, my character wasn’t an oyster hater, but Clare’s was. I wonder if witnessing my reaction influenced her at all.


One Golden Summer:

Would you trade fame for love?

Saffron Oliver is the golden girl. Golden hair. Golden skin. Golden movie career.

Only one problem: she hates it.

She flees to her sister’s seaside town – where she meets the confident & charming Kirsty McBride.

Kirsty is everything Saffron wants to be. Perhaps also, everything she wants.

But Saffron can’t have it all. So now, she has to decide: does she crave Kirsty enough to blow up her golden life?

Best-selling lesbian romance authors Clare Lydon & TB Markinson have written a sizzling lesbian love story about not being afraid and going after what you really want.


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I think 2020 hates me

When I promised to share my triumphs and failures during the course of 2020, I had hoped I’d have more good shiz than setbacks to report, but so far, this year has my number.

Okay, I’m going to dive in.

On the writing front:

I haven’t published a book yet, so I’m zero for five for my 2020 goals. But I knew I wouldn’t be publishing until late March. I’m still hopeful to hit that mark.

I’m in the midst of two writing projects and had hoped to be further along, but an illness set me back. More on that below.

On the business side of being an author:

One of my goals was to prepare blog posts and newsletters in advance, and for the most part, I’ve succeeded during the month of February. A tick for the win column!

As for revamping my author website, I still haven’t touched it…

On the health front:

My overall yearly goal was to exercise more, eat better, and all the other shite they tell you to actualize a healthier you.

After a hit-or-miss January, I started February off strong, hitting my 10K step goal every day. Then the flu from hell hit me. I stripped the fitbit off my wrist and crashed on the couch for days.

The good news: I’m heading to London to visit friends. I’m hoping some time away from work and the laptop will help me center my chi. I’m not really sure what that means, but it has to be better than sleeping in my soup-stained T-shirt because I don’t have the will to shower.

Fingers crossed my March report will be cheerier.

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So far 2020 has been hit or miss

I’m the type who likes to set ambitious goals. Really ambitious. I do this for two reasons: to push myself to achieve more and, clearly, I’m insane and enjoy punishing myself.

To help keep me motivated, I’ve decided to share my progress once a month. Accountability is a great motivator for me. And, stickers. I loooooveee stickers.

Okay, I’m going to dive in.

On the writing front:

My first goal is to publish 5 books. As of writing this post, one book is with the editor, and I hope to publish it in the spring. Now, I just need to write and publish 4 more in 11 months. Easy peasy. (I’m hearing maniacal laughter in my head.)

My second big goal is to outline before diving into a book. Just last week, I set aside five days to outline 2 books, and I made enough progress to start on one of the books with most of an outline. Obviously, I need to devote more time to this goal, or I’ll end up writing 30k of backstory again. Deleting that many words was a painful experience, hence the need for this goal.

On the business side of being an author:

I set out to schedule and prep my blog posts and newsletters better so I wasn’t always doing them at the last minute. So far in 2020, this has been an epic fail. I’m crafting this post (when I finish this, I plan to write a newsletter) the day before publishing. This isn’t ideal. Not by a long shot.

Also, I want to revamp my author website site this year, and I haven’t even touched a page yet. Moving on.

On the health front:

I wanted to increase my daily activity. To help me keep track, I got a fancy fitbit. And, I set it up on January 6th. Better late than never. Then, the third week of the month, I forgot to wear it for 4 days. Whoops! However, I’ve logged over 75 miles, and one day I walked more than 22,000 steps, so it hasn’t been a complete failure. Now, my fitbit is saying I need 124 more steps before the end of the hour. It’s a bossy thing…

Okay, I’m back. Where was I? Oh, yes, my left shoulder is in bad shape from hunching over a laptop for long hours, and I’ve been going to massages to help ease the constant pain. These aren’t the relaxing type of treatments. They’re the hold on to the sides of the table, wishing the 60 minutes were over kind. I’ve been staying consistent with them, but I’m just realizing I need to make my next appointment. I’ll be right back…

Whew, appointment made.

Now that I’ve framed my progress for January, I’m seeing I have much work to do, but I have made progress. I like to celebrate wins, even tiny ones.

So, I’m going for a walk to enjoy the sunshine, even if it’s only barely above freezing. After I bash out my newsletter, of course.

If you’d like to hear Clare Lydon and I discuss our 2020 goals, listen to the Lesbians Who Write episode. Click here.

How are your 2020 goals going?

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Coming Clean about Hull

Last year, I visited Hull, Massachusetts, and I posted a blog post on my author’s site, but I didn’t divulge the secret reason I went. I mean, I did go because I needed time away to work, which I did.

But there was another reason as well. This was around the time I was outlining A Shot at Love and another project called Sea. The name Sea morphed into Holly & Ivy, and it’s the novel I cowrote with Miranda MacLeod.

When we started tossing around settings for the romance, Miranda suggested an island based on Vinalhaven, which is off the coast of Maine. She had visited the place the previous year. I’d never been, and given it was during the off-season, the island was shut down for tourists and wouldn’t be back in business for many weeks.

In order to get into the spirit of being in a small seaside place, I opted to go to Hull, somewhere I’d never been to. Much like our fictional island, Hull is mostly a summer destination. Considering the majority of the book takes place in the off-season, I got a good feel of how things would be when there aren’t any tourists.

Also, I went for daily strolls along the beach, which soothed the Californian inside me. While I haven’t lived there in many years, I still seek out water, whether it be rivers, streams, lakes, or reservoirs. Water soothes me, and the ocean has the biggest impact on my well-being. Even though Hull technically isn’t an island, it let me tap into the spirit of our fictional one in Holly & Ivy.

And now that it’s been published, I can come completely clean about my trip to Hull.

One of the perks of being a writer is having an excuse to go to places not usually visited that time of year. I was asked many times by the locals why in the heck I was there when it was frozen over. I kept saying, “Isn’t this the best time?” They gave me a weird look, but I get that look a lot. I have a feeling if I said I wasn’t a people person, they probably still would have given me that look.

Holly and Ivy

When Holly and Ivy meet, sparks fly, but it’s hardly smooth sailing. After their one-night stand ends in disaster, both decide they’d rather spend the cold months ahead sleeping alone. However, it soon becomes undeniable that each woman possesses something the other needs. Working together, they just might get what they want and find the love of a lifetime along the way, but only if their own insecurities and secrets don’t destroy them first.

Best-selling lesbian romance authors T.B. Markinson and Miranda MacLeod bring lesfic readers a holiday romance that’ll warm your heart this festive season. Grab your copy of the standalone romance novel that will make you believe love conquers all.

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This Happens Every Year?

I moved to Boston in the fall of 2006 and lived in Bean Town until 2012 when I moved to London. During that time, I never attended the Boston Book Festival held in October. I remember hearing of it, but for some reason, I just didn’t go, or I’d hear about it after the fact, which is often the case for me.

Recently, when one of my writing buddies asked me to go, I said, “Hell yes.” Okay, I probably didn’t say those words, but it was something close. I’ve been trying to network more, which isn’t my comfort zone, because shocking news, I’m a shy writer. However, I’ve really been pushing myself to get out there more, and my buddy was manning a table so it seemed like a good opportunity to go see what it’s all about.

The day was lovely. October weather in Massachusetts can be hit or miss, but this was a picture-perfect fall day. The sky was a stunning blue. Some of the trees were aflame with autumn colors. There were book stalls and food vendors, including an ice cream truck. It had all the things I loved.

While my friend worked, I wandered to different tables, struck up conversations, and purchased quite a few books. More than I intended and my backpack became quite heavy, but this isn’t the first time this has happened to me.

I’m already looking forward to attending the event next year, as long as the weather isn’t shite. I’m getting to that age where I’d rather not freeze my buttocks off for the sake of going. If it’s rainy or snowing, I’ll probably stay home with hot chocolate and read. Either way, it’s a win.

The day after the book fair, which was a Sunday, I was struck with a violent case of food poisoning. I really have no idea if it was any of the food I ate at the event, although I don’t think that’s likely since my friend didn’t get sick. And to be completely honest, I’m a terrible cook and have poisoned myself before.




Speaking of food poisoning, there’s a scene in A Woman Loved, where some of the characters get sick. The audiobook should be out just in time for the holidays, and I’m running a giveaway.

If you’re a US or UK Audible listener, email me at tbm@tbmarkinson.com with A Woman Loved Audiobook Giveaway in the subject line. In the body of the email, let me know if you have access to the US or UK store. The giveaway ends on November 30th.

Have you attended any book events that I should put on my radar?

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