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Music doesn’t have to be complicated.

At the end of the day, it’s all about being honest, taking no B.S., and getting right back up after every fall. New York-born singer, songwriter, and all-around rock rebel LP puts it even more succinctly, “I go Johnny Cash on that shit and just get through it.”

Like the Man in Black, she pens and performs timeless tunes with attitude—albeit minus the country twang and cowboy hats. Ukulele in hand, voice booming with soul and spirit, and pulling no punches, LP’s palatability belies an underground unrestraint sharpened by several years in the industry. By 2014, she had not only written hits for Rihanna, Cher, Backstreet Boys, Cher Lloyd, and more, but also released her major label debut, Forever For Now. The latter’s “Into The Wild” fueled a Citibank ad campaign as everyone from The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and USA Today to Vogue and BuzzFeed extolled the artist. She performed on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! and ignited audiences at Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and more. However, as her six-year romantic relationship failed and she split from her label, LP put her head down and wrote what would become 2016’s Death Valley EP [Vagrant Records].

“My goal was just to create my best music,” she says. “I stopped overthinking things. I didn’t know how it was going to come out or if anyone would ever hear it, but I just wanted to write. No one told me what to do. I wasn’t trying to fit into some fucking label’s ideal of who I should be. I had complete artistic freedom.”

Death Valley became a watershed moment for the songstress and modern rock at large. Driven by her signature ukulele, raspy acoustic guitars, and the unshakable refrain, “Baby is that lost on you?,” its lead single “Lost On You” amassed over 202 million YouTube views as well as 44 million Spotify streams and went triple-platinum in Italy, platinum in France, Poland, and Germany, and gold in Switzerland. Meanwhile, the title track, “Muddy Waters,” soundtracked the Season 4 climax of NETFLIX’s Orange Is The New Black.

“I love a record that has an eclectic bunch of songs,” she goes on. “I want it to be an interesting landscape, and I like to use my voice in different ways. That was my goal with Death Valley.”

It also extends to her 2017 full-length album. Once again, LP re-unites with the team behind Death Valley—producer POWERS’ Mike Del Rio [Christina Aguilera, X Ambassadors] and writer Nate Campany [Tove Lo, Carly Rae Jepsen, Martin Garrix].

“It’s a weird thing,” she says. “I feel more confident than ever before. I don’t have to police myself anymore. For this record, I decided to unapologetically tress on, keep going, and run with my emotion.”

Ultimately, as LP writes more, she continues to connect with audiences everywhere. “There’s a survivor mentality that comes through naturally,” she leaves off. “That strikes a chord. I want to show people it’s possible to do whatever they want on their own terms.”

Dorothy Allison

Dorothy Allison is the author of Bastard out of Carolina, a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award, and Cavedweller (Dutton, 1998) a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, as well as the memoir, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (Dutton, 1995), and the poetry chapbook, The Women Who Hate Me (1990). She has a collection of short fiction, Trash, published in two editions—from Firebrand in 1989 and in an expanded edition from Penguin, 2003. In addition, she has a book of essays, Skin: Talking About Sex, Class and Literature (Firebrand, 1995). A new novel is forthcoming from Viking Penguin.

Bastard out of Carolina was made into a highly acclaimed film, directed by Angelica Huston. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure was translated into a short documentary that took prizes at the Aspen and Toronto film festivals, and was an Emmy-nominated feature on PBS’s POVCavedweller was presented Off Broadway by the New York Theater Company in the spring of 2003, and, in 2004, it was made into a film by Lisa Cholendenko, featuring Kyra Sedgwick.

A board member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and a past member of the boards of both PEN International and Feminists for Academic Freedom, Allison has taught at some of the most prestigious institutions in the country. She continues to be a sought after lecturer and teacher, and has been writer-in-residence at numerous universities, McGee Professor and writer-in-residence at Davidson College, Emory University Center for Humanistic Inquiry’s Distinguished visiting professor, honored lecturer at John Cabot University in Rome, and a visiting professor at Columbia College. A contributing editor to Tin House, she has taught at the Tin House summer program at Reed College in Portland, Oregon over most of the last decade.

Allison makes her home in Northern California. She and her partner, Alix, were married on All Soul’s Day in 2008, the day before California passed Proposition 8, making such marriages illegal. Their son, Wolf Michael, was their best man.

Jewelle Gomez

Jewelle Gomez (Cape Verdean/Wampanoag/Ioway) was born in Boston where she was raised by her great grandmother. She graduated from Northeastern University and then from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

She worked at WGBH-TV in the 1960s on the staff of one of the first weekly, Black television shows, Say Brother, then in New York on the pilot shows for The Electric Company. She has taught creative writing and popular culture at institutions of higher learning from San Francisco State University to Hunter College (NYC).

She is the author of seven books including the double Lambda Literary Award-winning, vampire novel, THE GILDA STORIES, whose 25th Anniversary edition was recently published by City Lights Books. She’s written for numerous publications including The NY Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, Ms Magazine, Black Scholar, The Advocate and the Bay Times. She was the recipient of a National Endowment on the Arts Fellowship in Literature and two California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence grants. In 2017, she received the Barbary Coast Trailblazer Award from LitQuake. She is a 2018 Community Grand Marshall for San Francisco PRIDE.

She was on the founding boards of Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Astraea Lesbian Foundation and the Open Meadows Foundation. She was previously the director of grants at the San Francisco Arts Commission and Horizons LGBT Foundation; as well as Director of the Literature Program at the New York State Council on the Arts. She also served as the director of the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives (SFSU). Until recently, she was the president of the San Francisco Public Library Commission.

She is currently playwright in residence at New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco which produced "Waiting for Giovanni," her play about James Baldwin which is part of a trilogy about African American artists in the first half of the 20th century. The play has its New York City Premier at The Flea Theatre July 12. "Leaving the Blues," her second play in the trilogy is about singer/songwriter Alberta Hunter and also premiered at NCTC. The third play, "Unpacking in Ptown," will open New Conservatory’s 40th anniversary season in 2021.

J.M. Redmann

J.M. Redmann was born in Biloxi, Mississippi and has yet to recover. She grew up in Ocean Springs, a small town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. At eighteen, determined to get out of the South, she headed north to Vassar College. During her freshman year, she was asked by the Daughters of the Confederacy to make her debut. She declined their offer, and came out in a very different way. The day after she graduated from college, she got on a train for New York City. Determined not to become a rich yuppie, Ms. Redmann embarked on a career in theatrical lighting (including a stint as the lightening director of the New York Playboy Club. Yes, really). Riches never once darkened her door. To this day, they remain far afield.

Missing crawfish and king cake, Redmann returned to her ancestral home of New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler. (No way going back to Mississippi. There is a reason they make those jokes about that place.)

With a degree in drama, Redmann ended up with a day job in public health. She worked in theater just as her co-workers could come to work with a cough and then their funeral was three weeks later. As Camus says, ‘it matters what you do in times of plague.’ She has since continued working in HIV/AIDS and is now the Director of Prevention (meetings, lots and lots of meetings, reports, even more of those) for CrescentCare, an organization that has transformed from an AIDS service organization to a community health center. It keeps her in contact with the areas of New Orleans that the tourists don’t see and allows her to order things that are called educational demonstrators in grants, but most people refer to as dildos. Yeah, nothing like opening the latest shipment just as the bug man comes to spray the office.

She currently writes two series in her copious spare time, a new one as R. Jean Read for Midnight Ink. The first, ROOTS OF MURDER, was out in 2016 and the second, PERDITION, came out summer of 2017. She is better known (five people instead of two) under the name J.M. Redmann, for which she writes the trashy, southern gothic lesbian detective series featuring Micky Knight. Her latest is THE GIRL ON THE EDGE OF SUMMER, which came out in the spring of 2017. Previous books include ILL WILL, which won a Lambda Literary award, Fore Word mystery award and made the American Library Association GLBT Roundtable’s 2013 Over the Rainbow list. THE INTERSECTION OF LAW AND DESIRE and DEATH OF A DYING MAN won Lambda Literary Awards. LAW & DESIRE was an Editor’s Choice of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Redmann was inducted as a Literary Saint into the Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame—first and last time she’ll ever be a saint. Her books have been translated into Spanish, German, Dutch, Norwegian and Hebrew and one short story even make it into Korean. She is the co-editor with Greg Herren of three anthologies, NIGHT SHADOWS: QUEER HORROR, WOMEN OF THE MEAN STREETS: LESBIAN NOIR, and MEN OF THE MEAN STREETS: GAY NOIR. Redmann currently lives in an historic neighborhood in New Orleans, at the edge of the area that flooded. She is the first to admit that this isn't exactly what she had planned. When pressed, she will admit that few things are as she had planned.


Christine Svendsen (writing as Isabella)

Christine Svendsen, also writing as Isabella – Owner and Publisher of Sapphire Books Publishing, LLC.

How it all started — When Christine Svendsen’s first book was turned away by publishers, she launched her own publishing company. Now, eight years later, she’s has a house full of award-winning lesbian authors and her own award-winning books published under the pseudonym Isabella via Sapphire Books. “Believe in yourself. Rejection isn’t the end of a story, it can be a beginning,” Svendsen said. “Looking back, I didn’t think in terms of what if this doesn’t work? I only thought of the possibilities.” Since then Christine has won numerous awards for her books and has signed some pretty awesome and talented award-winning authors, which has moved Sapphire up on the list to be noticed.

Sallyanne Monti

Sallyanne Monti is an Author and Editor. Her fiction and non-fiction short stories, poems, and articles have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, and newspapers. She manages anthologies and business development for Sapphire Books, The Gem in Lesbian Publishing.

She is a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society, Rainbow Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, and The Lesbian Authors Guild.

A retired business management, marketing, and PR consultant, Sallyanne gives back by lending her time freely and creating dynamic partnerships with LGBT leaders and organizations.

She’s at work on her first full-length novel entitled, Light at the End of the Tunnel, a true story of fate and destiny, hopeless long-distance romance, and coming out.

In her spare time, Sallyanne writes music and plays guitar. She’s produced numerous literary, comedy, and music festivals, donating proceeds to charity. Sallyanne lives in Palm Springs, California, and Sedona, Arizona with her wife Mickey and their doggies Sola & Zorra.

Schileen Potter

Schileen is the CFO for Sapphire Books, The Gem in Lesbian Publishing. She is a native of Sugarland, Texas but calls California home now. She loves spending time with her wife Christine and their three sons, two cats and one dog. She enjoys traveling, time at their cabin by Yosemite, and playing slot machines. She is a U.S. Army Veteran and competed for the All-Army & Armed Forces Tae Kwon Do Team from 1993-1997. For the past 16 years, Schileen has worked as a consultant in Healthcare Information Technology specializing in pharmacy informatics and automation.

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