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Lesbian romance novelist Kim Baldwin is touching a heart in San Diego

MICHIGAN -- A 20-year veteran of network news, Kim Baldwin retired from a life of journalism in 1997, took a couple years off and then began dabbling in fiction.

She released her first novel in 2004 and has not stopped climbing the ladder of success since.

Now a bestselling and award-winning lesbian romance author, published by Bold Strokes Books, Baldwin has written six solo novels, collaborated on three others, been included in six anthologies, and has had her work translated into Dutch, Spanish and soon, Russian. This is all quite an accomplishment for a woman who never imagined herself a novelist; and she’s not even close to being finished yet.

She has traveled all over the world during her illustrious life, using her experiences to hone her skills and enrich her tales of action, adventure and intrigue; and now splits her writing time between a small cabin in the woods of Michigan and her collaborator’s homes in Europe.

Her website bio shares some of that illustrious life with its visitors, reporting that she has ridden a camel at the Pyramids of Giza, motorcycles down the Blue Ridge Parkway, and dogsleds above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. It also states that she has crossed the U.N. green line at Cyprus, watched the sun rise from atop Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and watched a shuttle launch from a kayak near Kennedy Space Center, among many other breathtaking activities all over the globe.

She has been a feature story for Curve magazine in the U.S., Zij aan Zij magazine in the Netherlands and been the subject of many other interviews and literature readings around the world.

A somewhat envious life, to be sure; although this month, she is doing something much more inspiring - something that completely transcends all that excitement, travel and fame: She is having a book auction of her complete repertoire, in order to raise money for a San Diego woman with ovarian cancer.

That local San Diegan is Christynn Holt, whom Baldwin recently became acquainted with through a mutual friend. Christynn has been fighting ovarian cancer since January without any income to pay bills or incidentals.

San Diego Gay & Lesbian News first told Christynn’s story earlier this year. Since then, she has undergone major surgery and continues to fend off the illness with intensive chemo treatments. Her road ahead is still full of challenges, yet she remains positive and confident – a very brave soul, buoyed by the love and support that continues to surround her by her many friends and the fans of her Facebook page.

Baldwin has chosen to put all 15 of her published works up for bid with all proceeds going to Christynn. The auction winner will receive her six solo action/adventure novels, her three collaborative novels of intrigue and the six English-language anthologies that she is included in. Each book will be personally inscribed -- however the winner wishes -- AND -- the winner will be featured as a character in her next, yet-to-be-drafted solo novel.

Bold Strokes Books, a publishing house started by the award winning lesbian fiction writer Radclyffe, signed Baldwin as their first author after Radclyffe read the first edition of Baldwin's first novel, "Hunter's Pursuit." Bold Strokes then republished it under their own imprint in 2005 and have since signed 67 authors.

Baldwin is an avid outdoorswoman; as a result, her solo novels intertwine action, romance and wilderness adventure. The Elite Operative Series was written with her collaborator -- Greek photographer and co-author Xenia Alexiou. These tales each invoke a face-paced, action-packed scheme, full of plot twists, with an underlying lesbian romance at the heart of the story.

The two struck up a friendship after Alexiou offered Baldwin unsolicited feedback on her first two novels. Baldwin appreciated her input so much she asked Alexiou to be her “beta reader” – the opportunity to offer feedback in real-time as Baldwin wrote -- and Baldwin subsequently incorporated many of Alexiou’s ideas into her next couple of novels.

The Elite Operative seven book series is based on a framework created and presented to Baldwin by Alexiou, but the two share writing duties, focusing on different aspects of the story at once and editing each other’s work as they write in order to create a unique “writer’s voice” for the series that is a meld of the two women’s styles.

Baldwin’s solo books as well as the Elite Operative series books have received numerous awards. The fourth collaboration in the series, “Dying To Live,” is currently in the works and due out next February. Another solo effort is not yet in the works, but she has much more adventure in her left to share. When that happens, the winner of this auction will be drafted into the story in one way or another.

Doing the auction for Christynn was a no-brainer for Baldwin.

“It was important for me to be involved in helping her because her need is so great, and because I've lost many friends and family members to cancer,” the author recently told SDGLN.

A colleague was so moved by Baldwin’s announcement regarding the auction, she posted this on her Facebook fan page, “What you’re doing is inspiring for all of us authors, Kim.”

The auction continues through the end of the month. For details on how to bid and a list of the 15 inscribed books and how to get an opportunity to be a character in Baldwin’s next book, click here.

If you don’t win the auction, or if it is out of your reach but you still want to dive into these books or participate in paying back this generous spirit - you may find (or order) her books at Obelisk Shoppe in San Diego, or online direct from the publisher, Bold Stroke Books.

Baldwin hopes to do another auction for Christynn in the fall, so if you miss this one, stay tuned. You may also find her this fall in Provincetown at Women’s Week.

Morgan M. Hurley is the Copy Editor for SDGLN. She can be reached at (877) 727-5446, ext 710 or by email at morgan@sdgln.com.