Category Archives: Things I’m Thankful For

Love Aggression, the Pride Parade and life in general. June is a busy month!

My latest novel, Love Aggression came out on May 30 and I am so immensely proud of it. Getting it published took a long time and I hope Ashavan Doyan and Ron Desroches at Purple Horn Press know how grateful I am for all of their hard work. And writers, especially new writers, if you’re looking for a publisher, then give Purple Horn Press a chance. They will walk you through all the steps and I promise, you won’t be sorry. Here’s a link to the submission guidelines!

You know, this has been a stressful couple of months for me. Waiting for the release and then sitting and watching my book riding the rankings at Amazon like a roller coaster. It’s left me feeling a little sick to my stomach. But it also gives me a feeling of accomplishment that nothing else can compare to.

So what else is new? It’s Pride month, obviously and I got back to the parade this year, after having to work last year. My daughter Meghan was part of the Grand Marshal contingent this year and it made me so proud to see her walking up there with her peers, and standing up for herself and the community she was representing.

For those of you who don’t know, Meghan is pansexual. That means she doesn’t really care about the sexual identity of the person she’s attracted to. She looks more at who a person is in their heart and in their mind and I think that makes her amazing.

This year was the first time we encountered a protest at the parade. A group of people from the community wanted to be heard and made sure they were. I absolutely understand that there is still work to be done on behalf of transgendered persons and people of color in the LGTBQ community and I’m glad they had the chance to say what was on their minds. I hope that it will open up a dialogue with the Pride Committee and others who need to work on their interactions and support with the people are still feeling like they are on the outside looking in and terrified of the things that could still happen to them.

However, as a mother, watching your child disappear around the corner at the end of the parade, out of your sight, only to have it all stop a minute or so later it was very scary. I couldn’t see her, or the group she had been with, but I could see all the police officers who were there providing security looking in that direction. My only consolation was they didn’t seem very concerned and when I texted Meghan she answered me right away, telling me about the protest and letting me know that she was with people she trusted and out of harms way.

Fortunately it ended a short time later, with concessions made on both sides and promises for future talks. But the thought of what could have been left me sleepless for more than a few nights.

I thought about telling her no more Pride but then I realized that if I was going to stand with her and the rest of the community, then I also had to understand that sometimes there are risks. I always considered that before going, although my concerns where always more along the lines of queerphobic assholes causing problems.

I think when we are celebrating how far we have come in the world in regards to equal rights, we sometimes forget how far there still is to go. And as an ally, if I want to celebrate with you in the good times, I also have to stand with you in the scary, sad and frustrating times. This year was a sobering reminder that Pride didn’t start as a celebration, it started as a protest against oppression and I’m thankful for that reminder.

And as for the rest of life, well, it’s busy. Working full-time, trying to promote Love Aggression and finding time to read, write reviews for the Love Bytes book blog and work on my WIP…well it doesn’t leave time for much else.

Except thinking about that sequel my publisher keeps hinting at. Woof!

Anyway, you can find all my books at Amazon as always. And just so you know, my best-seller Wrapped Up in Chains is only 99 cents until the end of June!

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Filed under I'm so excited!, Monday Raves, Pride, Things I'm Thankful For, This is important., Writing and thinking.

Patience is a virtue, might be my only one…

So, it’s been a while. Life had definitely been making things interesting lately….or always.

Work keeps me the most busy. I love my job but sometimes it feels like it’s taken over my whole life and I have to work harder on changing that a bit.

Also, trying to write takes up a lot of my time. Not actually writing of course. That would be silly. I mean trying to find the urge to write. When I’m not at home with free time, there are a ton of ideas running through my brain. I write chapters of stuff in my head when I have no time to write it down, but as soon as I sit down in front of my computer, it all flies right out of my head and all that flows from my fingers is gibberish.

However, things are looking up. I’ve got some chapters of a new story, one that my friend, editor and publisher (all the same person, lol) says has promise. And I have an idea for Love Aggression.

Oh yeah, there’s that too. After a long, long, (so freaking long) time, Love Aggression will be out on May 30th, thanks to that publisher I mentioned. Purple Horn Press has taken a chance on me and for that I am eternally grateful.

I can’t wait for you all to read this story. I am still so proud of it. Its funny, after I go through the editing process with a book, I usually end up almost hating it. The stress of the whole publishing process drives me up the wall because it makes me feel so incompetent.

But with this story, its different. I still felt like a moron after the 3 round of edits but all in all, I still love it. I love my characters, especially Jesse. Everyone who knows me knows how much I love kids and Jesse is no exception. He’s a mashup of all my nieces and nephews with a big splash of my sarcastic, sassy and amazing daughter thrown in for good measure. I spent a long time looking after other people’s children and I’ve met dozens of wonderful kids just like Jesse…without the wolf shifter thing of course.

And Ty and Kelan? I hope you fall for them as much as I have. Sometimes I can’t believe that they chose me to tell their story. They lived in my head for a long time and I don’t think I’m quite done with them yet. They might make an appearance in another story I have in mind that stars one of my side characters that my pre-readers and proofer seemed to be fascinated by.

What else is going on? Pride is coming up in a couple of weeks. I’ve already booked the day off because I had to miss last year due to work. I am really looking forward to this year. I’m going with my girl, of course, and some of her friends who have never been. One of them is a young man who has just recently come out and he really is a wonderful human being. He’s been a great friend to my kid, which will always win my heart over and I know that experiencing Pride with him and Meg and Dani and Jeremy will be a lot of fun.

So yeah, that catches you all up on me. In a couple of weeks there will be another post with my flailing about my book and I will apologize now for my over-enthusiasm. For now, here’s a look at my beautiful cover, designed by the very talented Ashavan Doyon.

LoveAggressionCoverSM

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

The loss of a light…

So I usually use my blog to talk about my beliefs in equality, or what inspires me to write but today I was thinking about something a little different.

I work in a small town grocery store. It’s a great place to work and I am very grateful every day that I was given the opportunity to work there. One of the things that I love about it is that I get to meet so many interesting people. As a small community, we get the same people in our store day after day and I talk to a lot of them. I enjoy listening to their stories, especially from the large senior population that comes to shop almost every day. I always try to remember that for some of these people, the cashiers and other store staff might be the only conversations some of the people get to have all day.

Today this lady came in and I hadn’t seen her in a little while. She’s a lovely lady and usually came in with her mom. Her mom suffers from dementia and I’ve known them for about 5 years now. When I first met them, her mom still talked. She would say hi, ask how I was doing and tell me she was going home to Spruce Grove every chance I get. Even then the dementia had started to set in but she was a feisty old lady, dashing off and trying to escape the store every chance she got. She was sneaky too, waiting until her daughter was distracted by something before making a break for it. She was always smiling while she did it too, and I knew that some part of her was getting a kick out of being a bit of a rebel.

Because they were in the store a lot, I could see as the dementia got worse. For a while she started glaring at me and a couple of times she tried to hit me, much to the horror of her daughter but I didn’t let it bother me. I can only imagine the frustration her mom must have felt in her moments of clarity, knowing there was something wrong and not knowing how to fix it.

The last couple of year, she didn’t speak at all. She yelled a lot, like a small child does, smiling and gesturing and still getting into little bits of trouble. You could hear her clearly as she made her way through the store with her daughter and it always made me smile. Most of the staff said hi to her and spoke to them both as they went through and the daughter was always very grateful for the kindness she found at the store for her and her mom.

Today the daughter came in alone and I asked how she was doing and her eyes teared up as she shared with me that her mom had passed away 3 weeks ago and I wanted to go around my counter and give her a hug. I didn’t though. I could see that she was trying hard to hold herself together, and sometimes when you are in that head space, a hug with good intentions can be the straw that broke the camels back.

But the reason her visit today affected me so much was how much she very obviously missed her mom.

Her life couldn’t have been easy the last few years. Her mom’s behaviour was pretty much that of a toddler, and the daughter looked completely exhausted every time I saw her. She’d always have to keep her mom behind her at the till so she didn’t run out of the store and her mom was always smashing the small cart she was pushing into her daughter’s side and I know it had to hurt, in more ways than just physical.

But she still missed her. Even though it was hard, even though it was probably painful, having to act like the parent in the relationship because I know that when my life is making me crazy, the first person I still want to talk to is my mom.

That kind of love really is amazing. I mean, I wouldn’t have blamed the daughter for being a little relieved that the ordeal was finally over and that they would both get some peace, but I could tell that she’d give anything to have her mom back, just how she was, for just a little longer.

Alzheimer’s runs in my family. Both my grandmothers suffered from it as did an aunt and I know the odds of one of my parents…or myself developing it is fairly high. And I won’t lie and say it doesn’t scare me. I rely so much on my parents, mostly because I truly enjoy their company, and I have no idea what I would do without them to lean on.

I talk to my mom almost every day and movie night with dad is one of my very favorite things. When life is wearing me down, moms always got a free ear for me and dad always knows how to make me laugh.

I can only hope that if I find myself in that daughter’s shoes one day, I can half as amazing as she did with her mom. Her patience and good humor were truly a miracle and while I know she most likely got down at times and probably despaired a time or two, you never would have guessed it from the way she interacted with her mom every time I saw them.

I hope that someday my girl remembers me and smiles through her tears.

And I’m thankful for days like today that remind of how lucky I am to have my family in my life.

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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.

Where in the hell have I been???? And yes, I have a book rec!

So, life has been a little busy. To say the very least.

I quit my dayhome after 12 years and took a job as a cashier at a local grocery store and after 6 months, some foolish person made me the Front End Manager (sorry boss, you’re awesome) and it feels like I’ve been running in circles ever since.

However, today I sat down and wrote 2000 words for the first time in forever and it felt damn good. My shifter WIP is finally going again and I can’t wait to get it done. I’m so proud of it and I hope you guys are all gonna like it.

And so much has happened in the world of equality.

In the United States, everyone is entitled to get married to the person they love. And isn’t that just the grandest thing?

The law says so, no matter what small-minded county clerks in Kentucky think and by the way, Kim Davis you should be ashamed of yourself. You are not someone who should be trying to represent “marital purity”  with your background and it’s sad that they didn’t just fire you for not doing your damn job. This circus you’ve created to grab your 15 minutes of fame is shameful and unnecessary and I’m betting that there are a lot of Christians out there who are ashamed of your bigotry.

Okay, there’s my rant for the day. I refuse to give this woman one more minute of attention.

So, what else is new? My girl is starting grade 9 this week and I keep looking at her and wondering how in the hell that happened. She’s so smart and funny and sarcastic and beautiful and every single time I look at her, I’m so proud to be her mother. I mean, she’s 14 years old and is taking World History as one of her optional classes! She could be taking foods, or woodworking or something but no, she’s basically taking Social Studies on purpose! God I love her!

My sister got married to the man of her dreams and it was a beautiful wedding. It was about as country as you can get and everyone had a blast and I’m so happy for her and her kids and the new family she’s building with this amazing man who makes her smile.

On the writing side of things, I’m waiting for the release of my first audiobook. That’s right, Wrapped Up in Chains is coming soon as an audiobook and I admit that I might have squealed a little when I heard about it.

I also have an idea for a sequel to Wrapped but I refuse to start anything until Love Aggression is finished. I am done being distracted away from this story.

So yeah, that’s a pretty boring update I guess. I’ve been working so damn much that there really hasn’t been time for much of anything else, but I promise that I’m going to try to do better with these blog updates, okay Aunty LeAnn?

I do have a rec for you as well. The College Rose Romances by Ashavan Doyon are a perfect set of stories for those of you who like their stories to feel a little more real. Loving Aidan, Steven’s Heart and Andrew’s Prayer are not fluffy. There is pain and angst and so much heart in this wonderful series and I encourage you all to check them out. You can find Ashavan on Amazon here.

And of course, you can find me on Amazon as well here.

And for your viewing pleasure, a gorgeous photograph by Anthony Aceto. He’s amazing with a camera.

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I Took My Girl to Pride and this is what I learned….

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So, I’m sitting here in the middle of Pride Week, at least here in Edmonton and I realized I had some things to say and if you know me at all, you know I say what’s on my mind, lol.

Saturday was the Pride parade in Edmonton and we all got up early in the morning and made our way into the city. Hubby went with my nephew to some sports thing while my daughter and I hopped on the LRT (our subway of sorts) and rode to Churchill Square, just outside City Hall.

It was a beautiful day and people were just starting to arrive and we took advantage of the lack of crowds to walk around and look at every booth. At the biggest booth selling Pride merchandise, her eyes got wide and happy and I knew I was about to spend some money. The girl ended up covered in rainbows and she was so enthusiastic and silly that all the people working loved her and I couldn’t blame them in the least.

At 13 this amazing young lady is the center of my world and her father’s. She’s not perfect and we don’t expect her to be. She’s got the teenage attitude thing going on and boys are starting to take notice and some days I want to lock her in Rapunzel’s tower to keep her safe.

But she’s fierce and independent and way smarter than I could ever hope to be and watching her on Saturday was a revelation that took my breath away.

When I went to Pride for the first time last year I was blown away by it all. The joy and feeling of freedom that everyone was sharing was almost overwhelming for me and I found myself close to tears several times at how wonderful it all was and at how much I wished it could be like that every day. I never heard one cruel word the whole time I was there and so many people stopped to talk to me and asked if I was having a good time and wish me a Happy Pride. I was alone but I’m glad of it because I met some amazing people and I think the experience would have been different if I would have had people with me.

But as I watch my girl on Saturday I kept waiting for her to show some kind of big emotion. I waited for questions that never came and at first I was concerned that she was missing something, but then as I listened to her chat with the people around us, I realized that for her, this was just how it was. Everyone was the same in her eyes, from the adorable young gay couple standing on one side of us to the mom and dad and their three kids on the other side and the grandparents who had complimented her on something a few minutes before.

In her eyes, everyone is equal because that’s what I’ve taught her.

For her, the party was great and the people were fun, but she wasn’t quite getting the big deal because for her this is how it’s supposed to be.

I grew up in a different world than she did in so many ways. Some of the things are worse now. She will never leave the house in the morning and not come home until dark in the summer without checking in because it’s not safe and that’s why she has a phone. Things are scarier now in lots of ways but there are issues that are a good kind of different too.

She knows that the LGBTQ community is still fighting for equality in so many ways but in her mind, it’s a forgone conclusion. Equality is coming and it will happen and she just doesn’t understand why it’s taking so long.

People from my generation (if they thought about it at all) hoped for a brighter future for the LGBTQ community but weren’t sure it would ever happen. When I think about how I was her age when I first started hearing about AIDS and HIV and that was probably my first introduction to the gay community. And even back then, I knew that the horrible things that I was hearing on TV weren’t right and it was then that I started to realize how much injustice had been done to a whole community of people. I’m floored at how far we’ve come…and how far there still is to go.

But watching my girl dance and smile as the parade went by, I figured out that she was the biggest and best thing I had ever done to fight against that injustice and that she is going to be one of the reasons that equality for everyone will happen.

I took her to Pride because I wanted her to see that I didn’t just say I believed in equality, but that I actually meant it and would do my part to support it. I wanted her to learn something and I suppose she did, but in the end, it turns out that I learned even more.

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ally

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Merry Christmas Baby!

Merry Christmas Baby

So, here it is, two days before Christmas and while my old Christmas fever isn’t quite what it used to be, I’m a little better than I have been in the last few years.

I finished going through the first edit of Wrapped Up in Chains and it actually kind of made me happy. I can see the mistakes I’m NOT making like I used to and the re-writes I had to do were minimal. And I also liked the fact that Brian, the editor, made comments about the things he liked instead of just pointing out my stupidity. (trust me, I know where I fall on that scale most days.)

Now I’m just waiting for the first edit for Breaking Cupid’s Curse. Good thing it’s shorter and won’t take as long to go through.

My WIP is coming along nicely, although it’s taking longer than I hoped. I think I need some more free time and I’m also thinking that after Christmas it might be time to consider giving up job #2. My house is a disaster and this 7 days a week thing is starting to wear me down. If I take on one more kid in my dayhome, that covers the money aspect and although I’ll miss getting out of the house on the weekends, I think that I need the break. We’ll see…

So, is everyone ready for the big day? My gifts are all bought. And some are even wrapped! I best get to the rest of them or I will find myself wrapping like crazy tomorrow night after we get home from my brothers. Hmmm, we are going there Christmas Day too…in our PJs. I wonder if he knows I’m expecting some sort of breakfast with bacon??? No, not really. With the big turkey dinner Christmas day, I’ll be happy with toast and lots of coffee.

I wonder if my almost-teen-age daughter will be up early on Christmas morning or if her hormones will have her trying to sleep till noon? I think I’ll enjoying getting her ass our of bed about 7am…just to bug her. I’m sure all her presents will make up for the indignity of having her blankets pulled off and the bells ringing in her ear!

And now comes my little reminder(steps up onto soapbox):

If you can, please remember the less fortunate this holiday season. There are so many people out there who have no one to spend their holiday with for whatever reason. If you know someone who’s going to be alone, why not set one more place at your table?

And there are many charitable organizations who can put any donation you make to good use. Of course, being me, I encourage you to donate to equality-friendly charities that recognize that EVERYONE who is in need deserves our help. I like to donate gifts for older kids because everyone what’s to give a child a toy, but some people forget that you don’t stop wanting presents just because you turned twelve.

And helping out someone in need is a gift you are giving yourself for Christmas. There is nothing that warms your heart and soul like giving someone a smile during the holidays.

(steps down off soapbox)

To all of my family, you know I love you more than anything. To my friends, old and new, I’m blessed to have you in my life. You are all on the top of my list of things I need to be happy in my life. Merry Christmas.

Now, I do have a fic rec of sorts. First of all, if you get a chance, pick up the Dreamspinner Christmas anthology for this year. The assortment of stories is an amazing collection of short story smiles. You can get it here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=62_981

Christmas Wish by BG Thomas is a story about getting what you didn’t know you wanted to for Christmas. Sometimes, the thing you want the most turns out to be a big disappointment and the gift you love the most is the one you never knew you wanted. This story is smart and funny and sexy and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a cure for the holiday blues.

Get it here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2101&cPath=56_65

And here at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Wish-B-G-Thomas-ebook/dp/B004GEARTK/ref=sr_1_15?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1387816595&sr=1-15&keywords=Christmas+Wish

And of course, I’m here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Cindy%20Sutherland&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

And here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_454

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you all have the best possible holiday.

Cindy

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