Ignorance has me sitting here shaking my head….

You know, I’ve heard some ridiculous things in my life and there’s no doubt I’ll hear more, but once in a while, I hear something that leaves me speechless…and not in a good way.

I was just talking to a friend and he was telling me a story that I’ve heard before. He’s a writer who spins amazing tales that leave me heartbroken before he picks up the pieces and puts it all back together again. I believe his books are so wonderful because he’s writing m/m stories from the point of view of a gay man who has lived what he’s writing about. There’s so much of him in his stories that I recognise from what I know about his life. The details might not be the same but he and his husband of many years are still in love and that’s something to be admired.

And that’s not to say that the ladies in this genre don’t write some breathtaking stories, because there’s some out there who make me crave every story they write because they are just that talented and fantastic. I feel lucky as a reader to have more and more stories to choose from in this field and I’m grateful to all the writers who grace us with their musings.

The thing my friend and I were talking about? The issue that’s put a burr under my saddle so to speak? He’s been told by women writers, to his face, that gay men should not be participating in m/m romance because it was “invented by women, for women”.

I have to admit, the top of my head just about blew off. And just to be clear here, I am a straight, female who is proud to be a part of this amazing family of writers but I cannot believe the gall of someone telling a GAY man that he shouldn’t be writing GAY romance stories because it’s not about him…

Excuse me? As far as I’m concerned, I am grateful beyond belief to all the gay men who have supported my writing over the years. This is them and their lives that I’m writing about and I do my damnedest to make sure I get it as right as I can. In fact some of my friends roll their eyes when I ask them questions because they’ve been asked “is this right?” so many time and they think I’m being a little ridiculous.

But as the writing community has found out in the last week, words hurt. Maybe most people don’t mean them with that intent, but if it is pointed out to you by people you are supposed to be supporting that what you’ve said has offended and hurt them then there is one proper course of action.

Apologize sincerely and learn from your mistake. Then move on. Don’t bluster and try to make light of it. Don’t accuse them of being too sensitive and don’t belittle their feelings. Be a grownup.

I don’t believe the gender of the writer is important in most cases. What’s important is the story and the feelings it invokes in the reader. But telling someone they shouldn’t be writing about their own lives is preposterous and if it wasn’t so ignorant it would almost be funny.

So I want to say thank you to all the men out there who have read my stories and sent me messages thanking me for them. I love hearing about how something I wrote has touched someone in some way. It’s what I dreamed of as a writer.

And I want to thank all the men who have supported me as I’ve dragged a story kicking a screaming out of my brain. The ones who told me when I got something right and the ones who told me when I got it all wrong. Both have helped me grow as a writer and I appreciate it more than I can ever express.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. My friend’s hurt was something I couldn’t ignore because it wasn’t something he deserved and I hope that the men in the genre realize that most of the women around here don’t feel that way and that we are happy to stand alongside you as we all try to live out our dreams.

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Filed under Things that bug me., This is important., Writing and thinking.

Love Aggression has a wonderful home!

Long time no blog huh?

Yeah, there’s a lot going on that’s keeping me distracted so here’s a little catch-up!

I wanted to talk a little about Love Aggression. I’ve been working on this story for far too long and it’s been a lot of ups and downs but it finally has a home at a wonderful new publishing family, Purple Horn Press. I’m very proud to be a part of this new venture. It’s being run by two amazing men. Ashavan Doyon and his husband Ron Desroches.

Ash is a brilliant writer whose wonderful stories always wring my heart to peices before putting it back together again. They are raw and real and there’s always little bit of my friend Ash that I recognize in every story, because they all come from the heart. He had to deal with the fallout of Torquere and All Romance Ebooks closing and became determined to provide a better place for authors.

Ron is a businessman who will be making sure that everything is being run the way a proper publishing family should be and I know that between the two of them, they will make sure that every author that publishes with them is treated with decency and respect, something that seems to have been lacking as of late with some publishers and promoters.

So, if you have a story you’d like to get out there and would like all the help that a publishing family has to offer, give Purple Horn Press a chance. They are accepting submissions and the guidelines can be found here.

So, Love Aggression…it’s kind of a strange name but it has a story behind it. In fact, the whole book was written around it.

I was talking with a friend one day. They had adopted a Pitbull from a rescue shelter and after having him home for a little while they realised that there was a bit of a food issue with the dog. It all came to a head one day when they were feeding both the rescue dog and the other dog they’d had for years and the rescue attacked their other dog. Of course, my friend intervened and ended up getting bitten in the process. After everything had calmed down, my friend had gone back over the info they’d been given from the shelter and realised that in their enthusiasm, they’d missed the part about the dog being starved almost to death in its former home and it suffered from food aggression.

It was understandable. After living so long with not enough food the dog was very protective over not only its own food but any food in his area. The solution was simple really, they just had to feed the dogs in separate rooms and after that things ran a lot more smoothly.

That got us talking however. About how when you’d been denied something so important your whole life and how it would make it even more precious to you. And this idea came into my head…what if you’d never been loved? Your parents didn’t care about you, made you feel unworthy of love and because of that you’d never trusted anyone to really love you? Then what if you found yourself with a child? Someone who loved you just for being you? And then you found a lover, someone who fit everything you never admitted to wanting and who made you feel like you deserved to be loved for the first time in your life?

And then imagine what you would do if someone tried to take them away from you? And what if you weren’t completely human and that the animal that lived under your skin fought and howled to be let out to protect the most important people to you when they were under attack?

That’s where this story came from. Ty is a father and a lover whose whole life is wrapped up in protecting his son Jesse and his boyfriend Kelan from the men who killed Jesse’s mother. The fact that he’s a wolf shifter just means that he has one more fight going on, but this one is inside of himself, against the wolf who is a part of him but almost has a mind of its own at the same time.

I can’t wait to share this story with all of you. It took so long to get it out of my head and heart and into my book but I’m very happy with how it all turned out and I hope you will be too.

If you are looking to catch up with some of my other books, you can find them at Amazon.

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Filed under I'm so excited!, Things I'm Thankful For, Writing and thinking.

World AID’s Day and in case you didn’t realize, it’s still an issue.

So, here I am again, another year later, trying to figure out what to write that’s different…that will make people pay attention to something that I’m still not sure why it’s so important to me.

I mean, it should be important to everyone. Finding a cure, helping those already infected and figuring out how to educate people so that new infections slow and finally stop…that should be a priority for everyone who considers themselves to be a decent human being. This is a disease that doesn’t discriminate. If you aren’t safe, if you don’t take every precaution, you are at risk. It doesn’t care who you are, if you are straight or a member of the LGTBQ community. It’s doesn’t care about gender or race or monetary status. If you share needles, if you don’t use a condom, if you don’t take the available medications, if you don’t get tested so that you know your status then you are taking your life into your hands. And the lives of anyone you are making a part of these at-risk activities.

For a long time, my interest and concern was more global than personal. I didn’t know anyone who was HIV positive but I do now. Friends I talk to almost every day and so now my heart is invested and maybe that’s more than enough reason to speak my bit whenever I get a chance. So here’s a link to a place that will help you find help in your Canadian community, but of course a quick Google search will find you help in just about any country in the world.

You want a few statistics? 37 million people are HIV positive world-wide. Almost 2 million of those are children under 15 who were most likely infected in the womb, during childbirth or from breastfeeding. Most people who are HIV positive come from low to middle-income countries, particularly in the third world. Only about 60% of people who are HIV positive know their status. That means there are a whopping 14 million people out there who don’t have a clue and that’s more than a little scary.

Another happier statistic? There are about 18 million people who are accessing antiretroviral therapy drugs that will hopefully give them a chance at a better life.

I don’t claim to be an expert on anything, especially on HIV and it’s treatment or prevention. But I know that studies are showing that PrEP and Pep are saving people’s lives and I know that it’s a step in the right direction.

I know that there are a lot of people out there who will help you if you are looking to stay negative and there’s a lot who will help you if you are HIV positive. But you have to look for that help so please, do what’s best for you and get whatever help it is that you need.

I could post a lot of links but each country has its own resources and I think if you are reading this post, you know how to use a computer enough to go looking.

The last thing I know is that if you are HIV positive, I am your friend, your advocate and your shoulder to cry on. I would hug the stuffing out of you if I met you and would love to sit down and hear your story.

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So, you have a few questions about AIDS Walk 2016…

I know what you’re thinking. She just blogged, like a couple of days ago? What could she possibly have to say already? It’s usually month between blogs posts, unlike real life, where I never shut the hell up!

But, I just announced the other day that for the first time I’m participating in the 25th Annual AIDS Walk and Superhero run in Edmonton and I’d like to talk a little bit about that.

Every year I do a post on December 1st for World AIDS Day and I always try to explain why it’s so important to me to bring awareness to those around me. I probably do a terrible job at putting into words why I feel so strongly about it, but my feelings about the whole situation grow stronger every year and I’m finding myself looking for other ways to show my support for people who are HIV positive. I had no idea that Edmonton did such an amazing event every year, let alone for the last 25 years!

I get a lot of questions these days. Why do I write books where the two main characters are both men? Why do I attend Pride (and take my kid with me)? Why do you worry about things that have nothing to do with you? Why are you being so weird? Are you gay? Are you HIV positive?

You wouldn’t believe the things people feel free to ask you when they are hiding behind a computer keyboard and have no fear of any consequences (or any manners either) and while I’m under absolutely no obligation to answer any of them (as far as I’m concerned anyway) I’m willing to answer some.

Why do I write m/m romance books? Because it makes me happy. It lets me show my support for the LGBTQ community in a unique way that also lets me express myself creatively. I’m insanely proud of being published and I will never regret finally giving in and submitting my first manuscript to my publisher.

Why do I attend Pride? Once again, it lets me show my support for a community that has shown me nothing but kindness and understanding and I truly believe equality is everyone’s right and going to Pride lets me see how it could be in a world where discrimination and bigotry wasn’t tolerated. Why take my kid? Because I want her to grow up in a better world. Someone once said “be the change you want to see in the world.”and so taking my daughter and educating her is one of the ways that I’m doing that.

Plus, Pride is a whole lot of fun. Being surrounded by people celebrating who they are is one sure way to find a bunch of joy for yourself.

Am I gay? Nope, definitely not. However, I don’t have to be gay to know that there are terrible things happening to people for no logical reason what-so-ever and be outraged by it.

Am I HIV positive? Also no, but I’ve never had cancer or diabetes or MS either and still managed to find a way to support the people who are living with those diseases and the people who love them.

Why am I being so weird? Honestly, I guess weird depends on your point of view. I think I’m perfectly normal and you wanna know a secret? A big one?

I’m kind of selfish because in finally letting myself express my feelings about so many things I’ve always believed in but been too scared to say makes me feel better about myself.

Being good and kind and doing the right thing makes me feel good about myself, even if every once in a while, someone manages to push a button or two resulting in a long rant on my blog about why I do what I do.

And for the last question…why do I worry about things that have nothing to do with me? Because I believe we are all stuck living on this great big world of ours and I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to be the best human beings they possibly can. And I think too many people don’t realise they aren’t as unaffected by what goes on around them as they think they are.

So, there you go. It’s just me trying to be a better person and make the world a better place for my kid in the ways that I can.

So, that being said, if you wanna support me then click here on the clicky thing and take a look: “clicky thing”

BTW, a little side note to my handsome and wonderful nephew. I know the walk is on your birthday and I promise to make it up to you with the dinner and dessert of your choice whenever you want it. I hope knowing that your Aunty is doing something to help people will help you forgive me for missing your big day.

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Exciting news and a little rambling…and a fic rec

Hello friends…long time no blog, huh? Life’s been busy as hell and my inspiration has been leaving me high and dry. It’s very frustrating to say the least.

But now I have some exciting news to share! Wrapped up In Chains, my best-selling novel published in 2014 is coming out in audio book form in a few weeks. It will be available at Audible.com and shortly after, at Amazon and iTunes. I’ve been waiting for this for what seems like forever and so stoked that it’s finally happened.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the book, here’s the blurb:

Devon West is a professional Dom who runs his own club, doesn’t believe in romance, and has never been in a long-term relationship. All this changes when he rescues Chase Mackenzie.

Chase is a runaway who has been kept as a slave since he was sixteen. Now twenty-three, he’s still innocent and sweet despite being severely abused and left behind by his Dom.

When Devon finds out that the man who held Chase hostage is the same man who hurt him terribly when he started learning about the sub/Dom lifestyle, he knows he has to keep Chase safe.

Spoiled rich boy and sociopath James Kingston is obsessed with Devon. He’s convinced Devon would be his perfect sub and Devon only thinks he’s a Dom because he needs proper discipline. Losing Chase to Devon is like rubbing salt in the wound, and he’s determined to get them both under his thumb. This time, Chase may need to rescue Devon.

I am still so proud of this story and the messages of love and appreciation I’ve received because of it still overwhelm me a little.

If audio books are your thing, I hope that you will take a listen to this one. I’ll post the links as soon as I have them but until the, you can get the ebook or paperback version here at Dreamspinner Press or if you prefer, you can pick it up at Amazon.

Oh and here’s the beautiful cover because it makes me smile. Paul Richmond did a beautiful job didn’t he?

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So, I have a few other things to say.

I probably shouldn’t get started on the US election because I know that it’s not my country, but I do have to say that the outcome affects so much more of the world than just the United States.

Maybe I would feel better if I could find one person who can give me some logical, sensible reasons as to why they support Donald Trump, but so far, I can’t. All I here is “he’s gonna fix this country.” When you ask how, people have no idea. They just know he’s spewing the hateful rhetoric that appeals to their bigoted, homophobic, misogynistic hearts. There doesn’t seem to be anything not attached to him that isn’t about anger and fear and I just don’t understand why anyone would want fall into that.

Do I think that Hilary Clinton is perfect? No, but then again I don’t have the highest opinion of politicians in general. I think many people start out in public service with good intentions but by the time they get to the point where they can truly make a difference they are so corrupted by the system that their original intentions are mostly likely lost.

But I hope that Ms. Clinton gets the chance to try because the alternative is so abhorrent that I can’t even begin to imagine how terrible it could be.

Donald Trump is a man completely obsessed with himself and this run for the presidency is nothing but a huge ego trip. He cares nothing for the average person because he has nothing in common with them. He’s never had to struggle for anything in his life and he sees himself above everyone. He holds no compassion or empathy for anyone and that is not a man who needs to have control over a country so powerful. In truth, I’m terrified of what could happen if he becomes president and I hope that all those people who have even a lick of common sense get out there and vote to keep America out of his hands.

Okay, I’m done with that now. On to more pleasant things.

I’m very excited for Rhys Ford’s new novel Mad Lizard Mambo come out in September so I am reccing the first book in the series Black Dog Blues.

Rhys Ford writes amazing characters that capture my heart and her Sinner’s Gin series stands at the top of my list of favorites. Miki and Kane and all their friends and family feel like friends that I visit often.

But Kai Gracen has his own charms and a kick ass attitude. This story is the best kind of fantasy and incorporates everything that I love about the genre. Here’s the blurb for Black Dog Blues:

Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears.

It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past. And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.

But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.

No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.

This story completely swept me away and it feels like I’ve been waiting forever to see what happened to Kai and Ryder after the story closed and I’m sure I will be raving about Mad Lizard Mambo as soon as I can get my greedy little hands on it.

You can find all her books here at Dreamspinner Press or here at Amazon if that’s more your thing. Take a chance and try something new, trust me you’ll like it.

 

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Heading off to Pride…and a book rec.

So, here we are again. It’s June (almost) and that means Pride celebrations will be happening all over the place, including Edmonton, where I will be heading on Saturday with my daughter and some young friends from work who’ve never been to a Pride celebration but always wanted to.

First of all, for those people who’ve been asking Pride is celebrated in June as a tribute to the Stonewall Riots that took place on June 28, 1969 and started at the Stonewall Pub in New York. I could write a lot of things about Stonewall and the brave people there who took a stand, but I’m just going to leave you the link and let you all read it for yourself.

Ever since there, people have come together to celebrate and support the LGTBQ community in June. And that’s where I’m taking my daughter.

She’s been before, a couple of years ago.. I went the year before myself and even though I was alone, I enjoyed myself so much and couldn’t wait to take her the next year.

Why did I go? Because I wanted to show my support for a community that is often discriminated against for no good reason. Loving someone is not something that should even be used against you to cause you pain or suffering and for these people it so often is.

I also went to show support for the people I write about. I have met some of the most amazing and wonderful people since I started writing m/m novels and I want to express my love and adoration for those people who have been so kind to me. Plus, it was a lot of fun being around people who are so happy to be able to be themselves. That kind of joy is contagious and something that everyone should be able to feel.

Why did I take my daughter? Because I want her to live in a better world and it’s children like her who will make it better. I want to live in a world where my grandchildren will say “Really Nan? There was really a time when gay people couldn’t get married? That’s so weird!”

It’s already different for you. When I took her, I wrote a blog post about how it felt to watch her experience Pride for the first time. I kept waiting for that “aha” moment, when she looked around and realized that this was how things SHOULD be all the time. I was disappointed for a while when she just took it all in stride and then I had a little epiphany of my own. To her, this was how it was and there was no surprise for her, because this how I raised her.

To Meg, the parade was fun, because you know, they always are, and it was awesome walking around, exploring the booths and meeting new people, but for her. there was nothing out of the ordinary because I raised her to  live in the world I wanted it to be, not in world that still is in so many places.

She thinks discrimination of any kind is just stupid and she doesn’t understand why anyone would look down on anyone else because of race, religion or sexual orientation. She’s always saying “there’s so many real things in the world to worry about. Why do people care who other people love?”

I’m pretty damn proud of her.

So this year, I’m taking more people with me. A girl I work with has always wanted to go but was reluctant to go alone. I get that. For a lot of people, roaming around a bunch of strangers is a scary experience and when I told her she could go with us, she was thrilled to get the chance. Then her boyfriend asked to come and I said why not? The more the merrier, right?

I can’t wait. I think we are going to have a lot of fun. Hopefully we will meet new friends and run into some old ones. My kid will come home decked out in rainbows, tired and happy with lots of stories to tell and hopefully so will our friends.

And you never know what kind of interesting things can happen when you set out on an adventure. The parade has been moved to one of my favorite parts of town so there will be lots to explore, we will spend some time walking around the University of Alberta as well, and it’s a pretty cool place too.

I’ll let you all know if something interesting happens.

Ok, so for all you asking, I’m still working on Love Aggression. I have some edits in the works and then I will decide what to do with it, whether it means submitting to another publisher or self-publishing, I still love this book, so I’m determined that it will see the light of day.

I’ve also got a couple WIP’s on the go, so I’m keeping busy.

Now for my fic rec. I have two actually. The first one is Floodgates by Mary Calmes. It’s from Dreamspinner Press and I have to say, this author never lets me down. I always go into a Mary Calmes story knowing I’m going to finish it with a smile on my face.

Tracy is an amazing man who made me smile on the first page of the story. Smart, sexy and stubborn he stole my heart from the get-go. He loves fiercely, whether the person is  a friend, family or a lover and there’s nothing he won’t do for someone he cares about.

And Cord stole Tracy’s heart. He’s a big, gruff man who has love Tracy for a long time, but never gives in to his heart until Tracy lets him know that it’s all right to do it.

Check it out here at DSP. You won’t be sorry.

My second book is Otter Chaos by P. D. Singer. Lon and Corey are two of the most adorable characters I’ve ever read and ottershifter Lon is to cute for words. When the author gets inside Lon’s head when he’s an otter, I was absolutely entranced.

If you’re looking for a book that’s has a little sad, but then a whole lot of happy, this is the story for you. Find it here at Amazon.

Also, Dreamspinner has given their site an amazing update so go and check it out as well. You can find me here and I hope you like what you find.

Of course, I’m also on Amazon so look me up.

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Filed under I'm so excited!, Pride, Writing and thinking.

Well, that didn’t go as expected….

So, for the last two and a half years, I’ve been talking about this story I was writing. I was madly in love with it (still am as a matter of fact) and couldn’t wait for it to be published.

Well, about that….

So I submitted it to my publisher and for the very first time, I wasn’t really worried. With every other story I fretted and worried and I was sure they were going to say no. But they never did and so I got a little cocky. But not for the first time, life had a little twist for me.

They didn’t take it.

They had their reasons and I’m trying really hard not to let it get me down, but it’s much easier said than done. I spent the first couple days crying whenever I thought about it. It broke my heart to be honest. It’s like being told that your child just isn’t good enough. I put my heart and soul into that story and I honestly still think it has the best characters I’ve ever written.

So now what? Every writer goes through this and in my head I know it’s not the end of the world. It’s not even the end of the story. I”ve got someone looking it over, and hopefully he can help me address the issues the publisher pointed out and I will re-submit. Not sure where yet. I’ll ask the publisher if they’d be willing to take another look once it’s been edited and if not, I’ll look for another one. I’m reluctant to do that because I love my publisher and working with them has been more amazing than I ever could have hoped when I started on this journey in 2011. But I still think my story is good and my pre-readers seem to agree with me, so I won’t give up.

But man, my hearts a little sore…and I’m a little  embarrassed. As the song goes, I’m an emotional girl and while I try hard to not to let the emotions get the best of me, well, I’m only human.

I have a good friend though, who’s helping me through it. He’s a writer too and knows how it feels and his support and encouragement mean a lot to me and keep me from falling too far into the doldrums. Thanks for that Ash.

So, while I’m waiting for the suggestions from the guy who’s going over it, I’m trying to figure out what to do next. I should be writing and I’m trying. I have a couple of story ideas, one that started as a short but I can tell is going to need a few more words than the 18,000 the publisher is looking for the anthology they are putting together. The other really is going to be a short story that I’ll hopefully get finished in time to submit.

And I’m terrified about the whole damn thing. I know rejection is the chance you take when you put yourself out there, no matter how you do it, but I’ll admit to spending a few days contemplating chucking the whole writer thing because I wasn’t sure it was worth the damage that it was doing to my self-esteem, which can be a little shaky at the best of time.

But I also know that writing is truly a part of who I am. The idea of not writing makes me feel like there would be a great big hole in the person I am, because I also remember that when I finally started it felt like a puzzle piece sliding into place. (Yeah mom, I know, you told me so. I should have listened to you sooner.)

So, I don’t really have any definite ideas of where I’m going or what I’m doing, but I guess I’ll just keep on keeping on. There’s always a plot bunny running around in my head and on the days I can, I’ll sit down and commit the words to paper and pen (or computer screen in my case) and on the days I can’t, I’ll probably berate myself for a while and then sit down to write anyway (although I may end up just reading on those days.)

Giving up just isn’t in my nature. I’m kinda stubborn and tend to do things even when they might not be the best thing for me. And in this case, I don’t really think I have a choice but to let my imagination run wild….I might explode if I try to keep it all in and that would be very, very messy.

So, thanks for sticking with me and I hope you’ll have patience. I will have something coming hopefully not too far in the future.

In the meantime…have you read my books? 😁 You can find them here at Dreamspinner Press or here at Amazon

 

Keep looking for the beauty in whatever you see. Like this full moon photo by my favorite photographer, Anthony Aceto.

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