Happy Halloween ~ no tricks, only a treat!

skulls-1253378_640Happy Halloween!

I love the fall, it still feels like the beginning of a new year to me–more so than January 1st ever has. In the coming weeks I’ll have some announcements and giveaways and to kick it all off here’s a group giveaway from Authors Speak.

 

We’ve set up a bunch of ways you can enter to win a bunch of books.
Get one backlist book from each of our nine regular bloggers. For more info about each author, check them out on Authors Speak, either on their posts or visit their personal blogs.

  • Grace R. Duncan
  • Sarah Madison
  • Anne Barwell
  • Rebecca Cohen
  • Elizabeth Noble
  • Tempe O’Reilly
  • Lou Hoffmann
  • Lou Sylvre
  • Charley Descoteaux

The Rafflecopter is open 10/25-11/22 so there’s plenty of time, but why wait?

Have fun and be safe out there!

 

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

This post has nothing to do with my books, it’s political in nature. It’s also tl;dr.

I’m old. I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, and even though I lived in a diverse area I can’t deny that casual bigotry was a part of everyday life, of popular culture. People made racist, sexist, homophobic─and every other offensive category you can think of─comments and didn’t think anything of it. They were rarely, if ever, called out.

This past Saturday I had a long conversation with my kiddo (who informed me that pushing 30 isn’t really a kid, but whatever) and we covered, among other things, that kind of casual bigotry. That particular thread was prompted by a search I ran on the Merriam Webster site while editing. I don’t even remember what I went there to look up because at the bottom of the page was a question: Do you know the racist origins of the phrase “tipping point”? After admitting that I did not, I clicked. (If you’d like to read for yourself, click here.)

The gist: white families moved out of neighborhoods when the percentage of black families reached 10-15%, which was their “tipping point” in an exodus nicknamed “white flight”. Just typing that sentence felt awful. That was in 1959 and sometimes it feels like as a nation, as a planet, we haven’t made much progress.

I realize for some people “tipping point” has moved into popular culture with a more generic meaning. But maybe not for everyone. I don’t remember ever using it casually before, but my intent is to stay away from it from now on.

I’m not trying to say I understand how hearing this (or similar words/phrases) feels from anywhere other than my own perspective, which is as a white woman who grew up queer in public housing. I’m not saying I’ve never made a remark or used an idiom with racist undertones─most of us have at one time or another, especially folks my age or older. Whenever I come across one, though, like I did on Saturday, I do the work to unpack it and educate myself so I can strike it from my lexicon. Without asking someone in the affected group to explain it to me. As someone who doesn’t really get the value of small talk (in a socially awkward kind of way), I would welcome the chance to make a new friend or chat with someone I already know by discussing a word or phrase, but educating me on how not to hurt them is not anyone’s job.

My contribution to Indigenous Peoples’ Day—as a descendant of immigrants—is to ask my friends to do the same. If you see a statement or word or phrase that had seemed innocuous but turns out to be otherwise, research it (using reputable sources); if it turns out to be offensive, let it fade from use.

I’ve turned off comments for this post because I don’t want any cookies for saying this publicly. If you agree with me please don’t share this post, instead please raise the voice of someone who’s talking about this from a closer perspective, someone who’s been personally affected by the casual racism and intolerance that so many seem not to hear or see.

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of BogdanaLS at pixabay.com

Happy Bi Visibility Day!

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As this post goes live, I’m somewhere in Seattle enjoying that lovely city and preparing for the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up! If you’re in the area please consider joining us at the Central Library for a day of panels and fun, and it’s all about queer books! If GRNW is sold out you can still visit the Book Fest. The room is open 12-6, come after 4 p.m. to meet authors, get your books signed and maybe pick up some cool swag. Visit me if you’re looking to de-stress. 😉

The past week has been loaded with promotion for my latest release, Safe House, so I haven’t said much here about Bi Week. As an out and loud bisexual, I can’t let this day go by like that. I’ve been reevaluating my writing goals lately and that ties in with this week’s theme so here goes.

You may have heard me say before that I’m an old broad who’s been writing for manymany (many) years, or that my early works weren’t as queer as I would have liked. Since that’s not true anymore I can be picky about the stories I choose to tell.

That’s pretty huge so I’ll say it again: I can be picky about which stories I choose to tell.

Why the hell not? Queer Romance is thriving, gay and lesbian stories are being told—being read—so what can I bring to the table that’s unique? You can probably see where this is going: bisexual stories. A lot of my love stories so far have had bi characters, and dealt with bi issues, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.

While I’m writing this I have a lot to get done: an empty suitcase in the middle of my floor, a book on deadline (yes, with a bisexual main character!), more promo to do for Safe House, and hopefully a little relaxing—I am on vacation this week, after all! So I’ll leave you with a mention of the bi characters I’ve written so far and a teaser for what’s to come.

 

Joe Prescott from Not the Doctor (2014), is an accident reconstructionist who was injured on the job with a huge crush on his next door neighbor.

Eric Allen from Buchanan House (2015) is a late-blooming line cook who, for many reasons, has avoided relationships and resisted defining his sexuality.

Justice “JB” Bishop from Cascades (2015) is a small-town bartender who tells himself he’s satisfied with his life in a tiny logging town, but is pining for the one who got away.

Doug Stevens is the one who got away.

Mick Randall from Torque (2016) is on the run from the San Francisco Bay Area and his past, and finds more than he’d ever thought to ask for in an old wrecking yard in NW Portland.

Coming in December, Holiday Weekend is Ryan Orchard’s story. Chapter One is included in the back of Safe House.

The last book in the Buchanan House series, which I’m calling BH#6 for now, is Chase Holland’s story. He’s gay but his long-time partner, Garrett, is bi.

I’m also working on an upmarket contemporary that I won’t be shopping under this pen name because it’s not Male-Male. This book isn’t even trying to be a Romance and features a bisexual genderqueer main character.

 

That’s all—so far!

Happy Bi Visibility Day!

 

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Cascades Release Day!

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Cascades is out today! Not only that, it’s 25% off at the Dreamspinner store!

I’m over at the Dreamspinner Blog, giving away a backlist book and talking about unpopular tropes. Hope to see you there!

Before you leave, see if you can find the photo hidden somewhere on my blog for the 25 Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt from A Writer’s Odyssey. You could win a prize, and your TBR list will probably get a little bigger too. 🙂

CascadesFSCascades by Charley Descoteaux

Justice “JB” Bishop tells himself he’s satisfied with life in the small town of Upright, Oregon. He was born and raised there, and has settled into a comfortable, if lonely, routine working at his uncle’s bar. JB doesn’t expect anything to change after he turns fifty, until an old friend drops in. She suggests he get out of town for the holidays, and soon JB finds himself on an Amtrak to Canada. JB expected to feel different in Canada, to see things he couldn’t see at home. He never expected to find the one who got away.

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Book Blast: A Trip to Remember by Meg Harding!

Happy Friday! Please help me welcome fellow Dreamspinner author Meg Harding. She’s brought an excerpt from her Advent story, A Trip to Remember.

Thanks for visiting, Meg!

 

A Trip to Remember by Meg Harding

Where he ends up might be better than where he was going.

Colin wants to spend the Christmas holiday with his family, but a blizzard settles in and his flight is cancelled. Unwilling to accept this, he strikes out on his own and crashes his car. Where he ends up might be better than where he was going, though.

Logan was content to wait out the blizzard and spend the holiday alone, but when a frozen-solid Colin ends up on his doorstep he’s not going to turn him away. He takes him in and shows him Christmas spent with a stranger really doesn’t have to be awkward after all.

Excerpt:

Left alone, and more aware of the situation than he had been since he’d woken up, Colin took the opportunity to look at the room more thoroughly. In the corner stood a large Christmas tree, the lights and ornaments all red and white, and a couple presents scattered beneath. From the mantle above the fireplace hung several stockings, and little glass reindeer were placed on the mantle itself. Christmas knickknacks were spread throughout the room, placed on shelves and tables. A spinning snowflake dangled from the ceiling fan.

“Your family was supposed to come here, weren’t they?” he asked when Logan came back into the room.

“Yeah.” He handed the wet cloth to Colin with a small smile. “They’re smart, though, they didn’t try to travel through a blizzard.” He winked, his smile turning into a pleased smirk.

Colin rolled his eyes and scrubbed the cloth along his neck, hoping he was getting everything. “Are you ever going to let that go?”

“Considering I’ve only been harping on it for about ten minutes, I think you’ve got a ways to go.” Logan sat down next to him, his hip pressing into Colin’s stomach. “Give me that. You look so pathetic.” It sounded like he was trying not to laugh. He tugged the cloth from Colin’s grip, leaning over him to start dragging it over his skin.

Colin froze for a second, his neck tilted back vulnerably. He swallowed heavily. Logan was very much in his space, his face hovering right over Colin’s. He could see the striations in his irises, the way his pupils had expanded. If he respired out his mouth, he’d be breathing right into his face. He felt like he was holding his breath.

Get a grip. He tried to subtly exhale out his nose. “I thought you weren’t going to play nurse,” he said.

“I had no idea you’d make it look so difficult,” said Logan, brushing his thumb over the skin he’d just scrubbed, soothing irritated flesh. “It seemed wrong to let you keep trying.”

 

Buy Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7183

 

Author Bio:

Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and is completing a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

WordPress / Twitter / Facebook / DreamSpinner / Amazon / Google + / Goodreads

A Trip to Remember

Meg Harding

Holiday Novella, Sleigh Ride Anthology

17,514 words

Contemporary Romance

Published by Dreamspinner

Cover by Bree Archer

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Cover Reveal: Cascades by Charley Descoteaux!

Hi all! I have a shiny new cover to reveal. Cascades has just hit the Coming Soon page at Dreamspinner so now I can show off the amazing cover Bree Archer designed for me. But first a little something about the story.

This year my holiday story is a standalone—not part of the Advent Calendar (and not a 2nd edition). Not sure what that means for this strange little story. It’s great because Cascades has its own cover and it’s a little longer than it would’ve been had it been included in the anthology, but I’m a little worried about it. The Advent Calendar is cool, which is why readers love it. Hopefully Cascades won’t get lost between the Advent stories and the standalones by everyone’s favorite authors (I know who they are, because many of them are my favorites too :)).

Good, bad, or ugly Cascades will be my last angsty story for Dreamspinner. The Buchanan House series is angst-lite and I’m happy to play in that sandbox for a while. In fact, I’ve started Book 3 for NaNo. For fans of the angst, Torque, will be released by Samhain on Feb. 23rd. More on that later because now it’s all about JB and Doug and Cascades!

Okay, I know you’ve probably peeked already, but here’s the cover. It was so hard to choose a cover for this story—everything Bree created was gorgeous and I wanted to use them all! What do you think?!

CascadesFSPre-order Cascades from Dreamspinner Press.

Justice “JB” Bishop tells himself he’s satisfied with life in the small town of Upright, Oregon. He was born and raised there, and has settled into a comfortable, if lonely, routine working at his uncle’s bar. JB doesn’t expect anything to change after he turns fifty, until an old friend drops in. She suggests he get out of town for the holidays, and soon JB finds himself on an Amtrak to Canada. JB expected to feel different in Canada, to see things he couldn’t see at home. He never expected to find the one who got away.

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Happy Birthday to my awesome daughter!

Twenty-eight years ago today, I was in a hospital in Oakland, California, with my new baby. Kiddo was three weeks late, after threatening to pop into the world two months early. After two weeks of trying every “home remedy” known to humankind I went into the hospital preparing to be induced, but she didn’t wait for the doctors to do their thing. She still hates to be told what to do. 🙂

Recently, someone at work asked what my daughter’s name is… this gal thought it was strange that I refer to her as Kiddo, or say “my daughter,” when she uses her girl-child’s name all the time. (It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, but since she asked I’ve realized I did it a lot.) I told her and added that she’d named herself, that I hadn’t named her after myself. (Not sure why I always feel the need to add that, but that’s a tangent for another day.)

My co-worker asked what her name had been before. I gave my standard answer, “She had a boy’s name.” And then my co-worker shocked me. She asked, “Was she born a boy?”

I’ve been saying this for ten years now—almost the exact same lines, to dozens of people—but she was the first one who asked what gender my daughter was assigned at birth.

My response? “We thought so.”

And then this lovely woman nodded matter-of-factly, and went back to the subject we’d been discussing. I can’t remember what that subject was… it was a little while ago and my brain is old.

I tend to leave things “off the page” when I’m writing, but I don’t want to do that here. This rocked my world because for the first time ever, I revealed my daughter is trans and the person sitting across the table didn’t expect it to become a teaching moment. My co-worker didn’t make a face, she didn’t make a judgment, she accepted the fact as though she heard it every day.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. I will say one more thing, though. I don’t mind being a teacher, I’m not shy about fielding questions on gender and sexuality. I’ve been doing it since the 1980s, and once in a while even say something that opens a mind or heart. But sometimes I just need to be accepted. Nobody could be more surprised about that than I am. Nobody could be more grateful.

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Holiday #Giveaway and Backlist Book Bump #Winners!

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Thanks to too much work and too little sleep, i messed up the end time for the Rafflecopter. Sorry it ended early!

I thought Rafflecopter sounded too good to be true, but now I understand why it’s used so often. I hope it was as easy for you to enter!

Okay, to the good part!

Here are the winners!

#1: Hand Knit Snowflake Hat goes to HB!

#2: $10 gift certificate to Dreamspinner Press belongs to Jen CW!

#3: ebook copy of “Toy Run” — for Denise Dechane

#4: signed paperback copy of The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds — Ardent Ereader!

#5: ebook of choice from my catalog — Debra Guyette!

I’ve emailed everyone, and will get the prizes out as soon as I have everyone’s information. Thanks so much for taking part in my holiday giveaway and backlist book bump!

 

Happy Holidays!

 

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I’m the guest again!

christmas-retro26-01-111413-537Today I’m visiting Skylar M. Cates, talking about the inspiration for Ian Bowen from “Toy Run.”

If you stop by don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter–it’s ending on Friday! The ‘copter is loaded with five prizes: a hand knit hat, a $10 credit to the Dreamspinner store, one ebook copy of “Toy Run”, a signed paperback of The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds, and one winner’s choice of ebook from my backlist!

The post is here. Thanks for having me, Skylar! 🙂

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I’m flashing over on Kim Fielding’s blog!

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Check out a bit of flash fiction, featuring Ian from “Toy Run”, and enter my Rafflecopter!

http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/please-welcome-charley-descoteaux/

Happy Wednesday everyone!

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