Category Archives: Pride

The world keeps spinning…World Aids Day 2017

Every year at this time I do a post about World Aids Day. Why? Because I feel like it’s important to remind people that this epidemic hasn’t gone away and even though things are getting better, there’s still a lot of fighting left to do.

I remember becoming aware of HIV and Aids a long time ago, watching on the news as it became apparent that this new disease so many people were calling “gay cancer” was something that could…and would affect everyone. And I was horrified by the fact that so many governments seemed so unconcerned about doing something to help stop it.

I haven’t always been an advocate of equality. When I was younger I was so caught up in my own life, so sure in my immortality back then, that most of the time, the goings on in the world around me barely registered with me.

But as I got older, I grew to understand that the people I shared the world with did have an effect on me and my life and that by at least trying to make things better for them, I was making the world a better place for me.

So, I could spout statistics here, tell you about the millions of people around the world who are still contracting HIV and dying from its effects. I could tell you about the treatments that are helping people live better lives, treatments that when followed properly will leave someone HIV virtually undetectable. I could tell you about all the amazing people in so many different countries who are working together to hopefully and finally find a cure for this virus that has taken so many lives. I could tell you that there are drugs you can take that will help protect you from becoming HIV positive.

But I won’t. If you’re interested, you will look that information up for yourselves. All the soapboxing I can do here will not make you care if you don’t already. I’ll include some links at the end of this post to help you along if you care to learn more.

What I am going to do it to continue trying my best to help where I can. I’m looking for new opportunities in 2018. I’ll be doing the AIDS Walk in Edmonton again and this year I’m hoping my daughter will join me. My kid has so much heart and spirit and it makes me proud that she is so much more aware of what’s going on in the world around her than I ever was at her age.

We will go to Pride together again in 2018, doing our best to support a community that so many people we care about belong to. We always meet the most interesting people there and it’s one of the ways we find opportunities to give back.

And I truly hope every year when I write this post, that someday I will be writing about how the cure was finally found. That is my dearest wish for the people I know who are HIV positive and for everyone who is living with, or will be living with this disease.

Here’s those links I told you about.

The link to CATIE in Canada: http://www.catie.ca/en/world-aids-day

World Health Organization information: http://www.who.int/entity/campaigns/aids-day/en/

Canadian Aids Society: http://www.cdnaids.ca/

United Nations: http://www.un.org/en/events/aidsday/index.shtml

Please take the time to investigate the options in your own country, where you want to help, or you need help.

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Filed under AIDS Walk Edmonton, Monday Raves, Pride, World Aids Day

No, I’m not lost…just…misplaced. Also a fic rec.

Yeah, I know, I say it every time. Too long between blogs but honestly, my life is just not that interesting and finding things to write about that won’t get me into trouble can be difficult. I could find lots to say that would get me in trouble, lol.

I’m still working on getting Love Aggression published. I’m sorry it’s taking so long, but life gets in the way sometimes. I’m hoping for a cover reveal this month and to have a publishing date not long after that. Between books I forget how much hard work it is to go from manuscript to sale-worthy. I have faith in my publisher though. And just so you all know, I think you’ll love the cover. I know I do.

We are definitely heading into fall in Alberta. Warm days and cool crisp evenings are my absolute favorite. I also tend to write more in the fall, because it’s when I’m the most comfortable I think.

And I really do need to get back to writing. I’ve been letting it slip because I’ve been stressed over getting Love Aggression ready to go but I think it’s making me lazy, lol.

As for everything else, I’ve been so busy working that I missed Edmonton Pride this year and I’m also missing the AIDs Walk. Both make me very sad but I’m going to plan better next year. I miss getting to connect in a more literal way with the community my daughter belongs to (at Pride) and doing my best to help out HIV Edmonton just makes my life a little brighter. But, I will be making a donation none the less, and I encourage you to do the same in your community.

The one thing I don’t stop doing ever is reading. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I couldn’t read. It’s my escape from the stresses of life when I can’t actually get away. Today, I’m going to rec one of my favorite all-time series. It’s one of those that I can read over and over again and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. I know I’ve recced it here years ago, but I’m doing it again because I can’t help myself. I know when I’ve finished it (the whole series, every damn time) I’ll be smiling.

The Sinner’s Series by Rhys Ford is about the Morgan family and their friends and the men who love them. Every story will leave you wishing you were a part of this amazing group of individuals. Kane Morgan and Miki St. John introduce you to the series in Sinner’s Gin. I warn you though…be prepared to get swept into a tidal wave of angst and love and Irish mother’s who you will wish was your own. You will be lost to the world until you devour every single story include the one from the dog’s POV.

You can find it on Amazon and at Dreamspinner Press and if you haven’t read it, I suggest you run to get them. DSP always has one sale or another going on, so take advantage if you can.

As for my stories, you can find me on Amazon as well as Dreamspinner so far. Soon you will be able to find me on the Purple Horn Press website so check them out as well. My dear friend Ashavan Doyon has his wonderful stories going up there and I promise you, if you are looking for stories that break your heart before putting it back together, then Ash is the writer for you.

And because Sinner’s Gin takes place in San Francisco, here’s a beautiful photo from Anthony Aceto to get you in the mood.

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Filed under Friday Ramblings, Pride, Uncategorized, Writing and thinking.

My heart hurts but I have hope…remembering Pulse one year later.

I remember waking up a year ago and turning on the news and it wasn’t long until I started to cry. I just couldn’t fathom how so much pain and anguish could be visited on so many people because of who they love. Think about that for a minute. Because of who they LOVE…

How ridiculous does that sound when you say it out loud? I can’t bring myself to understand how love could ever be a reason for hate.

49 people lost their lives in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida because some mentally deranged man decided walk in and start shooting. Why? No one will ever truly be able to explain it but it’s probably a combination of things. I’ve heard he wanted to make his father proud of him. I’ve heard that he may have been gay and it went against everything he and his family believed in. Self-hatred is a powerful thing, especially when everyone you surround yourself with openly hates everything you secretly know you are.

In the end though, the why of it all doesn’t change anything. Those people are still gone and their friends and family and the LGTBQ community and their allies are still mourning for them. Parents lost sons and daughters, children lost mother’s and father’s and so many lives were irreparably damaged and sometimes the scope of it overwhelms me.

The day after it happened, a gay couple I am acquainted with in town came into the store I work at and the sadness in their faces almost had me breaking into tears at the till and I wanted to walk up and hug them both so tightly. They are a couple in their 40’s who are always smiling, joking and they take the time to speak to me with kindness every time I see them so for me their pain was glaringly obvious as they caught my eye and nodded. It was heartbreaking.

I look at my daughter. She is the shining light of my life and I can’t imagine the darkness that would overtake me if she was no longer there. I’m trying to raise her to be the best person she can be and I love every single thing about her, the good and the bad. There is nothing she could ever be or do that would make me love her any less and every single parent should feel the same way.

The urge to hide her away to protect her is so strong but I know I can’t. So, I let her go, she’s 16 and starting to make strides toward her independent life and all I can do is hope that she finds her happiness.

On Saturday, Meg went to Pride without me for the first time with the GSA she attends and it was so hard. Letting her go to the city alone is difficult at the best of times and something like Pride could be an attraction to people who could be looking to hurt the LGTBQ community. But she is determined to show her support and she loves going to Pride so much. Like me, she finds that the joy of all the people celebrating Pride is contagious and as she has a lot of friends who are a part of the community, it is her honor (and mine) to go out and show her support for them.

Her and I have a deal. She gets to do things as long as she has her phone on her and always answers it when I call. Most of the time she does. Once in a while, she misses the call and it always makes my heart stutter in my chest until I hear back from her.

One of the stories that had me sobbing was of rescue workers and police, who in the aftermath of the murders, had to try to sort through the scene while listening to the never-ending ringing cellphones of people who were never going to answer them again. Loved ones, having heard about the shootings, desperately trying to get a hold of someone they knew could be there, hoping and praying for an answer that would never come.

So yes, today my heart hurts so very much. I will spend the day thinking about the Pulse victims and the friends and family who are still mourning for them.

But I will also be thinking about my daughter and her friends in the GSA. Kids who are being raised to help make the world a better place for everyone. I will think about all the people I’m seeing on the news who are remembering and paying tribute to those who were lost and know that are trying so very hard to help the community heal.

I know this post rambles on a little. My head and my heart are all over today but I felt the need to remember out loud. I don’t claim to be a part of the LGTBQ community and I can never truly understand everything they have been through, but I’m an ally, and I stand with them whenever I can. And I’m hoping for a better tomorrow for us all.

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Filed under Pride, This is important.

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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Filed under AIDS Walk Edmonton, I'm so excited!, Pride, This is important., World Aids Day

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.