The murdered body of lesbian magazine publisher Rosemary Finney is found on a remote hiking trail just south of San Francisco. The prime suspect, Velvet Erikson, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, enlists her friend and former lover, private investigator Yoshi Yakamoto, to help her clear her name. It's not a crime report; that's the opening salvo of Blind Curves, one of the four novels from The Advocate's executive editor, Diane Anderson-Minshall, that have just been released by Audible.com.
The novels that Audible released as audio books, include three from the Blind Eye mystery series (coauthored with her husband, transgender journalist Jacob Anderson-Minshall) as well as one solo erotic thriller: Blind Curves, Blind Leap, Blind Faith, and Punishment With Kisses were all originally published by and are still available in print and e-book from Bold Strokes Books.
"Her Blind Eye series is like Veronica Mars meets San Francisco meets lesbians. Oh, and our fearless detective is blind too," says legendary author Susie Bright, editor at large for Audible.com. "It pokes fun at lesbian clichés, while at the same time pulling you in with authentic drama." (In fact, blind readers have long clamored for audio editions of the Blind Eye series, one of the few mysteries ever published about a blind lesbian detective.)
Bright was also struck by Anderson-Minshall's literary send-ups of real queer life in San Francisco. "As a San Francisco diehard, I loved that every alley, neighborhood, and park were ones that I knew well," Bright says. "I swore I've encountered her characters in real life. The details are around the queer film fest, Golden Gate Bridge, Skyline highway, the shenanigans at the Chronicle — it was all there!"
The trio of private-eye thrillers centered around the Blind Eye Detective Agency, now at Audible.com, are narrated by actress Aiko Nakasone, who starred in Rent, Rocky Horror, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway.
Anderson-Minshall wraps romance into her thrillers, including in her latest, Punishment With Kisses, a modern queer send-up of William Bayer's 1982 classic, Punish Me With Kisses. "I was reading the book, which I got at the drugstore, out loud to my eighth-grade classmates, so I was sent to the principal's office," says Anderson-Minshall. "I got in so much trouble that for decades I wanted to do a modern retelling of it. Coincidentally, Bayer won a Lambda Literary Award in the '90s for a book he wrote under the pen name David Hunt."
Punishment, the steamy murder-mystery touted by Helen Boyd as "a smart, sticky read through a mysterious sister's secret sex diaries," is available on Audible.com, narrated by seasoned erotica voice actor Alexandria Wilde (who Bright says is "so good with anything erotic and mysterious"). "Think: Chandler's The Big Sleep, but get rid of Bogart and let Lauren Bacall do her own investigating — and seducing," reads Bright's endorsement of Punishment With Kisses.
Bright, has known Anderson-Minshall since the two worked, consecutively, at On Our Backs magazine in the late 1980s and early '90s. "Diane was always a good writer," she says. "She's a great raconteur/storyteller, and that's what audio is all about. Plus, Diane writes 'sexy' well, even when she's not writing erotica per se. You’d want to bed any one of her main characters."
Perpetually unwilling to rest on their laurels, the Anderson-Minshalls are hard at work on a new memoir, titled Queerly Beloved. Their latest book will explore how the couple have managed to stay together and enamored of each other for 22 years and through a gender change (Jacob's gender transition from female to male, which happened after the two had lived as a lesbian couple for 16 years). Get a sneak peek at Queerly Beloved in the video below, where fellow author and labelmate Carson Taite interviews the couple at the recent BSB Literary Festival in Palm Springs, Calif.