Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Obligatory End of Year Post

So, it's December 31st again.

The year in review goes a little something like this:

In 2013, in no specific order, I...

...finally revealed and embraced my inner Geek. Well, I've always embraced it, but I finally admitted it to my husband. I'm a Trekker. I love Star Trek TOS.

...reaffirmed my love of William Shatner. I don't even care what anyone has to say - the man's every bit as awesome as he thinks he is, and even more. He's better than me, you, your brother, your boyfriend, and he horses we all rode in on, and we're lucky to share the same airspace. So there.

...discovered Benedict Cumberbatch and Sherlock, and wondered where they've been all my life. Apparently they've been on Netflix this whole time. Who knew?

...got over my hatred of JJ Abrams. If you understand anything about #1 up there, then you'll understand this.

...started writing the book I've always dreamed of writing - a Star Trek novel.

...joined STARFLEET.

...went back to school for a degree in Medical Billing and Coding.

...saw "Pudding Jones" published and open to rousing success, and even made it onto a couple "best of 2013" lists. PJ was a really difficult story for me to write, one that is dear to my heart, and one that I'm immensely proud of.

...passed two gall stones. I'd rather be flayed open from skull to toes before doing that ever again.

...had my gall bladder and uterus removed. Only the second time I've ever had surgery. The gall bladder removal went okay - was a little difficult, due to the size of my uterus, but nothing overly difficult. The uterus, on the other hand, was extremely difficult, took twice as long as the doctor expected, and I lost almost enough blood to need a transfusion. The doctor removed 3 (three) 5 pound tumors

...saw the finish of my monkey house. Hubby and The Boy and I built it over the summer, just before my surgery. It's the single coolest thing I've ever encountered, and I'm so happy to have it.

...had banana rum cake for the first time, and wondered where it had been all my life.

...cooked a Burkey for Thanksgiving dinner. That's a turkey wrapped in bacon. You're welcome for that idea.

...bought my first commissioned piece of artwork. And my second.

...went to Cracker Barrel for the first time ever, thus beginning what I like to think will be a life-long obsession.

...had a driveway put in.

...got together for lunch with a previous co-worker and friend whom I hadn't seen in a couple years.

...attended the wedding of Caesar and Leo - Mr. and Mr. Sock Monkey.

...wrote a blog about how Star Trek saved my life, got the courage to Tweet it to William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and post it on Shatner's FB page...and nothing happened. LOL Such is my life.

 ...figured out gluten wasn't the problem in my diet.

...saw a hand doctor and made progress on fixing the constant pain in my hands.

...saw a neurologist and had my neck pain diagnosed - I have a Chiari 1 Malformation.

...had an MRI for the first and second times...and never want to have another. Ever.

...got my youngest son shitfaced at a drag show, in a stunning display of my obvious Parent of the Year qualities.

...mourned the death of A.C. Crispin. :-(

...bought a 1952 Encyclopedia Britanica set with original cabinet.

...saw the end of Noble Romance Publishing and the return of my rights for the Calliph and Mateo stories. Finally.

...made the Dean's List for 1st Semester.

...found no less than three injured birds in my backyard. One lived. We gave the other two Viking funerals.

...saw "Get Him to the Geek" break the Top 100,000 on Amazon. It hit #64,598.

...left myself the following note: "Fix FGOS paragraph." I still have *no* idea what this means. None whatsoever.

...went on my first official wine tour, limo and all.

...discovered I'm officially allergic to cats, dogs, dust mites, a couple forms of mold, Timothy hat/grass, orchard grass, and a couple trees.

...launched the first ever Duckapalooza.

...finally got a massage. Now I get them every other week. Because I can.

...bought a Garman and drove around to places I didn't recognize.

...mourned the passing of Rick McGranahan. :-(

...attended my first comic book convention.

...went to my first Safe Zone meeting - a local support group for GLBTQ youth. Met a reader of m/m romance, too. 

...made edible goodies for the first time for a social function. Everybody loved them!

...bought a bike. 

...sold about 80% of our Halloween decor. We still have 7 big bins full. :-)

...finished the renovation on our basement and guest room.

...discovered True Blood. Yes, have some. 

...convinced my Hubby to try hummus. He no longer trusts my taste in anything. LOL

And that's all I can remember. Not bad. Not bad at all. :-) 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cause I'm Me, and I'm AWESOME!

I've been thinking about a lot of things lately, not the least of which is gender. Specifically, my gender. I made a comment on a post in a group the other day, and someone asked me "Are you a man or a woman?" because my gender marker doesn't show on FB (or at least, it's not supposed to - who knows FB from one minute to the next). I asked them why it mattered, and they said they "needed to know." I then asked, "Why? Is it going to change what you think of my answer? Does what's between my legs determine if you'll agree with me or not, or take me seriously or not? Do my genitals validate or invalidate me or my beliefs, opinions, and arguments?" To which they answered "No, of course not!" So I was still left with the "Why?"

Why must I label myself for the comfort of others? Why can't I be judged on what I bring to the table instead? Not just in writing, but in life.

Why can't I be judged on the fact that I overtip, or I talk to the homeless guy who hangs out around my college, or that I have a million phobias but I'm fearless when someone tells me "you can't" or "you shouldn't," or the fact that I write hot smut, or the fact that I'm passionate about a lot of things, or that I'm loyal, or that I type 96 words a minute and I'll turn in a 22 page report when the requirement is only 5-7 pages?

Why can't I be judged on these things? These are my merits, after all. These are the things I can influence on a daily basis. These are the things I can either fail at or triumph at. These are the measures of my worth. Not my anatomy. My anatomy is a random happenstance of genes - it's nothing I did or earned.

Which is why... I think... So, the other day, I went and had my haircut. The hairdresser referred to me as "she" and "female" and you know what? I really didn't give a shit. And I started to wonder...why had I ever?

Yes, I'm absolutely masculine. I'm absolutely male.

But what does that mean, really? Does it mean I'm automatically more worthy of something? Less worthy? Smarter? Stronger? Stupider? Weaker?

It means absolutely nothing. Nothing.

I'm me. I don't have to be male. I don't have to be female. I just have to be awesome.

The Path Less Taken

I was out walking the kids in the backyard tonight, and it occurred to me that I was automatically following my footsteps from the last time I'd walked them. It's been snowing most of the day, and my backyard is all stone and no grass. I walk in the same steps because I know there's no ice buried under there or anything that would make me slip and fall.

The simple action became suddenly metaphorical.

I've been doing that - walking in the same footsteps over and over - for most of my life. Following the same patterns because they were easier, safer. More acceptable.

I stayed in the closet throughout junior high and high school because it was safer. After that, I went back in the closet when I moved to NY because my soon-to-be husband had kids and a bitch of an ex-wife who would use my sexuality against him.

Even now, an "out and proud" bisexual and transgender, I still allow people to call me by whatever gender they prefer - whatever makes *them* comfortable.

It's only been in the last few months that I've finally sort of...I don't know. Come into my own? But I'm still getting there.

All my life I've played different roles for different people. I truly believe it's time I played the one I've always wanted to play - me. Just...me.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sending out an S.O.S

I was just outside with my dogs, and I looked up at the sky. I look up at the sky every time I take the kids out at night, because I love the stars. I always have. Tonight, I was looking up, thinking about how, as a child, my night skies had more stars than the night skies do now. I know, of course, it's due to environmental pollutants and what have you, but it made my heart hurt to think, just for a second, that it might be because the stars were dying out. One more species of shiny things our human existence has extinguished.

In any event, I stood there thinking about the night skies of my childhood, and I recalled something.

I was around nine when my father started molesting me. That makes little difference to this recollection, other than the awareness of how young I was.

I loved the stars back then, as I do now. Maybe more. Back then they held the hope of freedom for me. Shortly after everything started, I would go out into my front yard at night with a flashlight, and I would turn it on and point it at the sky. The beam seemed to go on and on forever, and I was certain that Captain Kirk would see it. He'd come investigate of course. He'd have to - something like a strange beam into space wouldn't go unnoticed. He'd investigate, and I'd tell him what was happening, and he'd believe me, and he'd take me away to somewhere safe, where no one would hurt me anymore.

But night after night, no ship came. I got it into my head that I needed to learn Morse Code. You see, I'd surmised that the reason Captain Kirk never responded to my distress call must be because he didn't know it *was* a distress call. If I could learn Morse Code, it would be crystal clear.

I'd forgotten all about that, until tonight. I never did learn Morse Code.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Link and Haddon Chapter Seven: If Wishes Were Flowers

Haddon closed the door behind Bryan. Good riddance, as far as he was concerned. They didn’t need that kind of help. He turned and looked down the hall, frowning. Link had been pacing up and down the hall, phone pressed to his ear, for the past twenty minutes. “Any idea who he’s talking to?”

Danny nodded. “His mom.”

“Fucking hell. That can’t be good.” He edged down the hall so he could eavesdrop.

“I don’t care,” Link was saying. “No, really, I don’t. You can tell yourself I do all you want, and you can believe that, if it makes you feel better, but the reality is, I don’t care.” He ran his hand through his hair and shook his head. “If this is all you called for -- No, I don’t... Damn it, will you listen to me?”

Haddon stifled a growl and the desire to rip the phone out of Link’s hand and throw it across the room. The last thing they needed right now was Link’s mother getting him all riled up. That woman could drive a saint to drink. Or worse.

“Just stop, alright? Just stop it. No. If you’re so concerned, you help him. Then let him rot. Gee, I don’t know, maybe if he had to deal with a consequence or two, he might learn something.”

Haddon sighed. Great. Judging from what he could hear, Link’s older brother, Connor was in trouble. Yet again.

Link ripped the phone away from his ear and raised his arm, but Haddon stopped him before he could throw it. He took the phone, snapped it shut, and shoved it in his pocket. “What happened?”

“What do you think happened? My idiot brother got arrested again. Mom wants me to bail him out. Says I owe it to him.”

“Bullshit!” Danny charged into the hallway. “You don’t owe him anything! You’re not going to bail him out, are you?”

Haddon held up a hand. “No one’s bailing out anybody. Just calm down.”

“I’m not bailing him out!” Link turned and slammed his fist into the closet door.

“Agreed.” Haddon took a step back. Little though he might be, angry Link could still be formidable, and once angered, it could be hard to switch his focus. “Don’t let her get to you, baby. She’s just trying to upset you, like she always does. Don’t give her any leverage.”

“You don’t owe him anything, you know that, we know that, and your mother knows that.” Danny laid a hand on Link’s shoulder.

Link’s phone rang again and before he could answer it, Haddon grabbed it first. “No. No more of this tonight.” He hit ignore on the phone, opened the closet, and tossed the phone up onto the top shelf. He turned to Danny. “No offense, but--”

Danny held up his hands and nodded. “You got it. I’m outta here.” He grabbed his coat and hurried out the door.

Haddon turned his attention back to Link. His lover stood stock still, breath coming in ragged gasps, face red, hands clenched into fists at his sides. Nobody got under Link’s skin like his mother did.
Haddon took Link’s hand and led him into the living room. “Sit down.”

Link didn’t respond, but he did sit, though he shook so hard he could barely stay upright.

With a muttered curse, Haddon headed to the kitchen, grabbed the only coffee mug Keoni hadn’t broken, and fixed some peppermint tea. Back in the living room he sat down next to Link and pressed the cup to his lips. “Drink some tea, baby. You’ll feel better.”

Link sipped at the tea, tears starting to course down his cheeks. He leaned into Haddon’s shoulder and pressed his face tight against Haddon’s neck. “I don’t owe him anything.”

“No, you don’t.” Haddon slipped his arm around Link and held him close.

“He beat the shit out of me when I was little. Beat me up, and she just stood there and watched. Just...let him.” His voice rose an octave with each word.

“I know.” Heart breaking, Haddon rocked them back and forth, trying to summon the words to soothe Link. Words that didn’t exist.

“She said to me... On the phone tonight she said to me blood is blood. Blood is blood? What the hell is that supposed to mean to me?” Link gazed up at Haddon through tears. “What am I supposed to do with that? She hated me so much, she hated what I was so much that she let him torture me, and I’m supposed to just... What? Forgive and forget and run to bail him out whenever he’s stupid enough to get caught? That’s what it is, you know? No matter what he does, he’ll always be better than me because he’s not the freak. He’s not the tranny faggot.”

Haddon swallowed hard. “You’re not a tranny faggot, baby.”

“She thinks I am!” he hissed.

“Well, there’s a word for what she is. It’s four letters long and starts with a c.” He held the cup of tea up again. “Drink the rest of this, and then we’ll go take a nice, long bath and you can relax and forget all about her.”

“If only wishes were flowers,” Link murmured.

“I’d pick you a field full, baby.” Haddon stood and held out his hand. “Now come on. Come with me.”
By the time Haddon had the tub full and both of them stripped, Link had descended into full blown tears. He maneuvered them into the tub, Link in front of him, and held Link tight while the storm raged inside his lover’s heart. How long it would take, he couldn’t say. Might be over quickly, or it might last hours. He made a mental note to visit Link’s mother in the morning and lay down some new terms with her. She couldn’t keep doing this -- she couldn’t be allowed to torment him like this.

Anger burning him from within, Haddon leaned back against the tub, hummed softly, and waited.

Friday, December 6, 2013

NEW RELEASE: "On God's Honor"


Ekenezer has no idea why Nathan Bradley is so important, or why God has sent him to guard the hapless klutz. But one look at Nathan, and Ekenezer soon finds that he has more than protective feelings for his ward. What’s an angel to do, though, when having the one person he’s ever wanted means giving up his wings for eternity?


Still grieving the loss of his luscious locks, Ekenezer scratched at the back of his neck as he boarded the elevator. No more missions. He'd taken those words as a promise—a vow—when Gabriel had said them last year. And now…
"Hold the elevator!" Nathan Bradley came running toward him, one arm outstretched, the other clutching a pile of papers and folders. "Wait!"
Ekenezer stuck his foot in the door in time to keep it from closing.
"Thanks very much." He made a half attempt at straightening his bundle and gave up with a sigh.
Ekenezer bit his tongue to keep from grinning. "You're Nathan Bradley, aren't you?"
Nathan glanced at him, eyes wide. "I am."
"Barry Scott." Ekenezer held out his hand.
"Barry Scott." Nathan frowned. "Where have I heard your name before?"
"I'm the new vice president of accounting."
Nathan's face turned scarlet. "Of course! Pleased to meet you, Mr. Scott," he said, shaking Ekenezer's hand with enough enthusiasm to send his papers and folders teetering.
"Call me Barry. Mr. Scott's my father." Old joke. Lame joke. Nevertheless, Ekenezer couldn't think of anything else to say. Nathan was beautiful. Those average features that had stared blandly at him from the photo were now alive and animated, glowing with vigor and sexuality. Sexuality? Ekenezer shook himself. Not like him to think such unholy thoughts. Fortunately, he was distracted from them as Nathan's entire pile of folders tumbled to the floor.
"Goddamn it!" Nathan cursed.
Ekenezer winced. He had never been able to get used to the human habit of cursing. "Here, let me help you with those." He bent down to retrieve half of the stack.
"What a way to make an impression on the new boss, eh? Show up running late and dump a pile of crap on his feet."
"I've had worse on my feet, I assure you."
Nathan glanced up at him, no doubt wondering what a vice president could have had on his feet that had been all that bad.
Ekenezer chuckled to himself, remembering what some of those things had been. There had been the time in Brussels when that girl had vomited on him. There had been the time in Nevada when he had trudged through a cow pasture—and more than a little manure—to rescue the farmer's son. There had been the time… He shuddered violently and snatched his hand back from the unexpected glide of Nathan's skin against his own.
"Sorry. Wasn't trying to rip your hand off or anything."
"My fault. I was daydreaming." Ekenezer stood and smoothed his hands over his jacket, tried not to look at Nathan. You're an angel, he admonished himself, a representative of God on Earth! Act like it!
The elevator came to a blessed stop, and the doors slid open not a moment too soon for Ekenezer's frazzled nerves. He shuffled out the door and watched as Nathan went his own way down the opposite hall. Ekenezer's gaze swept up and down Nathan, taking in his small shoulders and falling to linger on his… Ekenezer blushed and turned away, scandalized by his own actions. He had certainly not been looking at a human's rear end, certainly not Nathan Bradley's. A man's!
Certainly not when his wings were the price to be paid.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mini Giveaway: Wolf Ornaments 12/4-12/5

I found these last year, and thought they were beautiful. They don't really fit the theme of my Christmas Tree, so I'm offering them up for one lucky winner!

To enter, just leave a comment with your e-mail address. GOOD LUCK!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Paws Blog Hop

****PLEASE BE AWARE: I write GLBTQ romance. GLBTQ stands for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer. This means my works feature same sex relationships AND same sex sexual acts. If winning that kind of a book isn't your cup of tea, kindly pass on to the next blog in the hop and leave the spot open for someone else. Thank you.****


Today I'm sharing some pictures of my baby girl Lollypop.

I work at a veterinary clinic, and one day, Lollypop came in. Her owners had been sent to prison, and she'd been abandoned with three tiny babies. The neighbors finally took action and brought her in after one of the babies died. She was emaciated, matted, and infested with fleas and roundworms. One of her two remaining babies did not survive. The other went to live with one of our doctors, and is almost as beautiful as her mom. We initially put Lollypop up for adoption at our clinic, but no one seemed to want her. One woman even said she was "too ugly to own!" Needless to say, by that point I was already in love with her, so she came home to live with us.

These days she is pleasantly plump, sassy, and full of mischief!

For my prize in the hop today, I'm offering up a free pdf copy of my m/m/m "Perfect Christmas" to one lucky winner! To enter, just leave a comment below, telling  me about your favorite furry friend. If you don't "own" one, tell me about someone else's!



Depressed and lonely, Evan has nothing to look forward to on Christmas but his TV dinner and store-bought cookies, while his lover, Drake, spends the holiday traveling for business. But a special delivery changes everything, and Evan finds himself in the middle of a perfect Christmas. Worn out from his stocking stuffer, Evan's not sure how he's going to handle his present, but when Drake reveals that Evan's gift is a threesome with none other than their hunky friend Mike, Evan summons the energy!

Evan waited in line at Pierce's, the only store open on Christmas Day in the sleepy, coastal town of Ormond Bay, absorbing the chaos as people hurried up and down aisles in search of forgotten holiday necessities. Across the store, a lady frantically called for help from a clerk, begging him to tell her they hadn't sold the last of the cranberries, and wailing about how she couldn't make the perfect meal without them. In front of Evan, a man dressed in a suit and tie tossed down a fifty, told the cashier to keep the change, and ran out the door with two frozen pies.

Evan emptied the contents of his basket—a motley assortment of store-brand frozen dinners, cookies, soups, and canned fruit—and frowned, feeling rather frumpy in the mix of brightly dressed people and festive, almost garish, decorations of the store. He ran a hand absent-mindedly through his hair, remembering only just then he'd neglected to gel and spike it this morning. Not to mention that he also hadn't bothered to get the red tips recolored. Above his dark roots, the tips looked more gray than anything else. Fabulous. It didn’t help that he was probably the only person walking around without a tan.

"That'll be seventeen fifty."

He dug into the pocket of his sweatpants and pulled forth his wallet, handed over a crisp twenty-dollar bill with a sigh. Even his money was snazzier than him.

"Merry Christmas, Mister Connor!" The bubbly cashier beamed up at him from under her picture perfect, curly blonde bangs, but Evan just scowled as he grabbed up his bag of groceries and walked away to trudge out the door and back down the street for home. Outside, even the bright Florida sun couldn't dispel his dreary mood.

Christmas, huh? Bah! Humbug! What did he have to be cheerful about, anyhow? Watching reruns of stupid movies over his microwaved TV dinner of Salisbury steak again? Dodging phone calls from his mother and other assorted supposedly well-meaning relatives whose main questions seemed to be where was his lover, Drake, and when was Evan going to stop putting up with that man's schedule and find someone who appreciated him? Spending yet another Christmas alone, while Drake jetted around the state with the annoying millionaire boss?

Evan sighed. Trouble was, Drake did appreciate him; Drake only worked so hard so that he didn't have to, so he could pursue his artwork. And he knew Drake felt just as bad as he did about missing out on holidays, but Drake's boss had made it quite clear in the initial interview that she expected her men, as she called them, to be at her beck and call, regardless of the time of day or night. Or year. But the money? The money was very, very good. And they were young now, only in their twenties. They had the rest of their lives to spend holidays together, didn't they?

Thanks to our hop sponsors:

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Books to Go Now
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Running with Scissors