• Gini Grossenbacher






    Author, Historical Fiction


    AWA Writing Instructor.


    Book Reviewer.





    Award-winning novelist and forensic historian Gini Grossenbacher is one of California’s respected and sought-after creative writing coaches and educators.


    Her novel, Madam of My Heart, received the 2018 Finalist from American Fiction Book Awards for historical fiction, the 2018 Independent Publisher (IPPY) awards silver medal for historical fiction, the 2018 San Francisco Book Festival award for Fiction, and the 2017 Hollywood Book Festival's Runner-Up Award for Genre Fiction.


    She also garnered the 2017 Jack London Service Award from the California Writers Club.


    She is busy revising her new novel, Madam in Silk which is due out in 2019.


    After completing a BA in English at Lewis & Clark College, Gini completed postgraduate work in European history and Italian literature in Rome and Perugia, Italy. She gained her California Teaching Credential at CSUS Sacramento. She has an M.S. in Education from University of LaVerne, Los Angeles, and has completed post-graduate courses in editing from UC San Diego.


    Gini is also a lifelong historian with a special hands-on interest in the recovery of women’s narratives too often neglected in the stories nations and great cities tell about their origins. She has done in-place literary and historical research across five continents and wandered back alleys and elegant high streets from Bangkok and Kyoto to Singapore, from Mexico City and Martinique to Caracas, from London and Paris to Rome and the medieval hills and historic towns where Francis and Clare of Assisi reinvented European monasticism.


    Ms. Grossenbacher is represented by Cristina Deptula at Authors Large and Small.


  • Baltimore, 1849. Under a shadow of scandal, the young Irish Brianna Baird flees her home at Fells Point. She has little cash, and no worthwhile occupation, for what use is a seamstress’s talents in the raucous, bawdy city of New Orleans? Without family support, her only chance of survival is offered by brothel madam Nancy DeSalle, and the dashing but questionable gambler, Edward Spina, who falls in love with her. In a desperate alliance with these two members of society’s underbelly, Brianna embarks on a journey through the French Quarter’s debauched and glittering world. With the aid of her freedwoman Emma, she learns the ways of the Voodoo Queen.

    After gaining freedom for Emma’s enslaved husband and son, Brianna and Edward flee with them to San Francisco. There she becomes one of the most sought after madams in the gold rush parlor house trade. At last will Brianna become the mistress of her own destiny?


    Available at Amazon and fine bookstores everywhere.


    2017 Hollywood Book Festival Runner Up Award for Genre Fiction. This annual competition celebrating books that deserve greater recognition from the film, television game and multimedia communities



    5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant success

    By Merrick Hansen on November 14, 2017


    Grossenbacher does an incredible job of exploring a side of history that goes largely unspoken, as the story finds its footing in the potent and magnetic atmosphere that New Orleans provides. She is an author that is excellent at portraying a time long past and giving it new life. Brianna comes from innocence and grows into power, subverting sexuality to take the power back into her own hands.

    The scenery is lively and full, Grossenbacher easily carrying the reader through the 19th century underbelly of brothels, gambling, slavery - but shows that true power comes from using what has happened to us to succeed.


  • Testimonials

    Love in your heart isn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love till you give it away.  Oscar Hammerstein II


    Gini writes careful, engaging, detailed stories/novels of people in historically-accurate fiction. Whether in the 1850s California, WWII Europe, or an American boarding house in the hard-scrabble Great Plains, her characters are engaging, spirited, and a bit saucy in their ways. If intrigue, deception, some amorous glances, a sharp mind and adventurous spirit, are your stuff, go find her books, and enjoy!


    Robert Pacholik

    President, Action-Adventure Press, Sacramento, California

    October 10, 2015


    Writing Instructor, Gini's AWA Workshops & Manuscript Review Groups

    Fascinating introduction to flash fiction--a gentle lead-in to our writing of very different stories which we got to hear and feel...I feel very blessed by the whole day--.

    Brady Rubin, September 2018, Ashland Writers Retreat


    What I really liked was how quickly our group writing became so intimate. We have opened our hearts and our writing with trust. What was strong was your (Gini's) set-up for the poetry writing. Listening to the music, talking to one another, thinking about the subject matter. Opening into deep conversations and deep writing. The amazing companionship!

    Bethany King, September 2018, Ashland Writers Retreat


    I love the way you draw me in, step by step, to producing a piece that I did not know was there. Thank you, Gini. I can't wait until you return next year!

    Janet Boggia, September 2018, Ashland Writers Retreat


    What I liked--writing poetry...the positive feedback encouraged me to move forward to publishing some of my poems. Learning about twists and turns in poetry helped me...finding a twist and emerging into a realization, sometimes about myself.

    K.T. Torian, February 2018, Poetry Series


    What would I do without this inspiration? Gini's choice of texts and readings are spot-on, even when I don't see that on first glance. Many of the chapters...of my memoir began with writing in Gini's classes. I have been writing with her since 2014.

    Judy Vaughan, February 2018, Poetry Series


    Gini's workshop left me newly renewed and revitalized, ready to leap into my manuscript once again. I love her ability to keep a group focused and moving, honoring each member's voice. I will return again and again.

    Janet Boggia, October 2017, Ashland Writers Retreat


    I am a beginning writer and I felt very relaxed and accepted into Gini's writing community. Gini sets an atmosphere of trust and excitement to learn. She gives the workshop participant the tools and process to feel confidence in taking the first steps in writing. Her workshops are rich and rewarding.

    Bethany King, October 2017, Ashland Writers Retreat


    I like that you (Gini) are a professional writer and experienced writing teacher. What stays with me is the continuity of the class and the development of a "library of pieces." I love the mutual friendships and caring, and knowing the others' voices.

    Amanda Williams, May 2016


    About the Flash Fiction class: The subject "flash fiction" allowed me to use my imagination and become more comfortable writing fiction pieces. What was strong was learning to write quickly--no time to over-analyze or re-do, over-think, etc. Very valuable! I learned to make up and write stories quickly and to let my imagination grow with each new piece.

    Kris Schoeller, May 2016


    About the Manuscript Critique Class:


    I have belonged to various critique groups over sixteen years of writing fiction, but Gini Grossenbacher's "Writers of Elk Grove," an Amherst Writers and Artists Affiliate, has been the most beneficial due to her professionalism and leadership. Each month, my gratitude increases for the honest feedback and guidance I receive from members of this group. Using Gini's own words, "I consider our AWA manuscript review to be the garden where our new plants are tended as they flower."

    Margaret Duarte, Independent Writing and Editing Professional,

    Elk Grove, California, April 2016



    I've been a member of Gini's writing group for three years. She has been extremely helpful and encouraging in memoir, prose and poetry, and currently working on flash fiction. I am now a member of her advanced manuscript group. Before meeting Gini, I did most of my writing alone in my office. I have found that writing with the group gives me instant feedback. Gini has inspired me to move forward toward getting my writing published.


    K.T. Torian, Writer, Elk Grove, California, April 2016



    I consider Gini to be a master of creative writing and recommend her to anyone. She is a natural leader in our manuscript critique group with remarkable resiliency. She hasproven she can communicate smoothly with people from different backgrounds and cultures. She's been a wonderful encouragement to to me as a new writer. Her overall advice has helped to develop my writing craft toward a whole new level. I'm very impressed with her knowledge in writing structure, dialogue exchange and how available she is for writers to network with her online.

    Lorna Norisse, Webpage Writing Consultant, 2016



    Editing Coaching

    We meet at Peet’s Coffee.

    Will Gini think I haven’t listened to her advice? She gives me a four-page critique, and then orally reviews the progress made in the current draft. We discuss character, touching on gestures and how to include backstory. We refine methods to reveal the relationship of the protagonist to others.

    We move on to story arc, the crisis, escalation.

    Ah, the ending. I’ve gotten the inevitable result of the protagonist’s character flaws, but not enough surprise.

    Gini ends the meeting with more encouragement; she praises my work to move towards a professional standard of writing.

    I leave ready to write more, write better. Gini’s developmental edit is more than a professional service; it’s gift of her care for my work and for me.

    Judy Vaughan, June 2015

    Book Reviews

    Gini is a longtime reviewer for the Historical Novels Review, having contributed many beautifully written reviews since 2008. Not only do her reviews clearly express her thoughts on the strengths and/or weaknesses of each book (in 300 words or fewer!), but they’re also engaging to read. Gini has a wide range of historical knowledge and reading interests, and her enthusiasm for history is evident throughout her work.


    Sarah Johnson, Professor of Library Services, Eastern Illinois University,

    Book Review Editor, Historical Novels Review

    And here’s your reviewer link if you need it: https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviewer/gini-grossenbacher/


    Writing Organizational Leadership

    As John F Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” When I joined the California Writers Club – Sacramento Branch, my first contact was with the VP of Membership— none other than Gini Grossenbacher. Immediately I noticed that Gini was highly motivated, ethical and possessed a strong passion about writing and her willingness to help others become successful. Her effervescent smile and easy going personality was catching while setting a great example for the organization. Leadership is unlocking people’s potential and Gini does this on a daily basis with fellow writers and friends. It is a pleasure to know and work with Gini.


    Michael Brandt, Writer, Speaker, Global Adventurer 2016



  • My Blog

    See the latest news & reviews from the Elk Grove/Sacramento/Amador writing communities and beyond!

  • Elk Grove Writers & Artists

    An Amherst Writers & Artists group for writers of all skill levels.

    About Elk Grove Writers & Artists

    Contact ginis.writers1@gmail.com for course schedule and fees.

    This Amherst (AWA) Creative Writing Workshop Series helps writers expand their craft through developing a unique voice. In an AWA workshop, writers gain confidence in a supportive, small community of peers. Groups generate first draft writing, then choose excerpts to review in our once a month manuscript group.


    Our writers improve as they practice techniques of creative writing, applied across genre to creative non-fiction, autobiography, journals, fiction or poetry. Many work on their own writing projects during the scope of the course. The group meets once a week on Thursday mornings.


    In addition to small classes, one-on-one creative writing coaching is also available.


    We also have Creative Writing Retreats in Ashland, Oregon in the fall and at Fern Cottages on the Russian River in the spring every year.

    About the AWA Method

    Five essential affirmations of Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA), according to Pat Schneider, AWA founder and author of Writing Alone and With Others:

    • Everyone has a strong, unique voice.

    • Everyone is born with creative genius.

    • Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.

    • The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.

    • A writer is someone who writes.

  • Contact Gini

    I'd love to hear from you!

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