Where Have I Been?

When things are stressful or upsetting I have a tendency to turtle and withdraw. If you’ve seen less of me around lately, it’s because the past six months have been long and difficult. Since I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, I thought I’d just give a not-so-quick summary of why I’ve been so scarce.

In August, my dad passed away after a long battle with cancer. I was back home for a month to deal with that as best I could including some long, heartbreaking days at the hospice. My stepmother is great, though, and had everything super organized. During that time my mother was also diagnosed with dementia and her driver’s license was revoked. Given my mother’s self-absorption (which is only exacerbated by her condition) she didn’t seem to care at all that my trip home wasn’t about her, which made it all the more stressful.

Nineteen days after my dad’s funeral, I was flying to Hawaii for a family vacation with my in-laws. Hawaii was beautiful, my in-laws were great, but I wasn’t at all in the mindset for a vacation and it might have been the worst vacation I’ve ever taken. I just couldn’t get in the right mood.

Ten days after I got home from Hawaii, I was headed back out to Chicago for GayRomLit. There was a time, earlier this year, that I was disappointed my internet screwed up and didn’t let me register as an author. I signed up as a reader because I still wanted to attend but I was hopeful I’d be moved from the waitlist to author status. It never happened, and when I got there, I’d never been more grateful for that. GRL was the first real relaxation I’d had since August, relaxation I never would have gotten with the added stress of meeting obligations as an author. It was a wonderful time where I could (mostly) forget what was going on in real life. My book club ladies were a real boon, and we had a blast.

When I got home from GRL, I expected to start getting back into a routine then, although I was also trying to research retirement homes for my mother, and trying to get friends to go visit the various places in my stead. But by this time, I could tell the dementia was getting worse and I was dealing with a number of people calling – social services, health care workers, my family, and lots and lots of confused calls from my mother.

I was home for another sixteen days before a hospital stay and a doctor refusing to allow my mother to return to her home, based on her inability to care for herself, saw me flying back again.

It took another month to deal with the move to an assisted living facility and leave the remaining loose ends with a family member who has power of attorney. I just got back home on Sunday, and I think things will be stable for a while so I can get back into my regular routine. Needless to say, I haven’t done much writing, although I did complete a book shortly before my dad died. I will have some news on that soon.

I’m so very thankful that I have some really great people in my life to help me through it. Unfortunately, my hubby wasn’t able to accompany me for most of my time home, but he was there for me by phone and he eased my mind because I knew our 17 year old cat was in good hands. My cousin and her husband need a shout out, because they’re going to be stuck dealing with the worst of my mother’s nonsense (not just her condition, but the fact that my mother isn’t a particularly pleasant woman) and I appreciate them stepping up.

My friends and in-laws did so much to help out, offering rides, offering meals, offering help with moving and cleaning (OMG so much random stuff in my mother’s place), or just plain offering a much-needed ear so I could vent. I stayed with my in-laws in August, and my friend Dot in November. My in-laws are fantastic, and so supportive. As for Dot, I owe her so much more than I can repay – she came with me to the hospice, she always had hugs when I needed them, she took my mom’s cat into her already crowded menagerie. She’s going to check up on my mom periodically. She also let me stay with her while I was home in November. When was the last time you crashed with a friend for an entire month? Especially when you’ve got to sleep on a futon in their living room? We’ve been friends forever (well, since we were ten) and the friendship is just as easy and comfortable as it’s ever been. I don’t know if I would have survived mentally if it hadn’t been for her. Naturally, she’s got favours locked in from now until the end of time ;) although she knows I’d do the same for her if our situations were reversed.

I just wanted to let everyone know why I’d disappeared. I have an awesome street team and assistance with my FB page, thanks to Smexy and Fabulous. My posts aren’t too prolific anyway since the day job takes up a lot of time too, but you should start seeing more of me, and hopefully some more bitching and whining about manuscripts that aren’t going well or characters that are determined to do their own thing, no matter what plans I have for them.

Sunshine State Stories Blog Tour

SunshineStateStories1
This week, Books Make Me Happy blog and a handful of UF/PNR authors are celebrating stories set in sunny Florida. The authors showcased have offered excerpts, written cool blog posts, and are all participating in a blog hop GRAND PRIZE giveaway full of books and other goodies. Be sure to click on the header above to see the complete list of participating sites. Check out each day’s excerpt and the Featured Author’s site for fun posts and chances to win!!
Today is MY turn to be featured!! You can find my excerpt on Books Make Me Happy HERE.
Be sure to check at the bottom of today’s post for the rafflecopter entry form for the Grand Prize!

I have a new completed book! It just finished edits (mine) and I’m waiting on beta reader feedback, so I should be submitting it within the next week or so. Which is a roundabout way of saying I don’t know when it will be available. It is, however, the first book I’ve written set in Florida, and once I started toying with the concept, I realized I couldn’t set it anywhere else. It’s a paranormal romance with a hint of cozy mystery, called North on Drummond.

I’m originally from Toronto, and moved to Florida about seven years ago. Now, I live in California, but those few years in Florida gave me a better feel and appreciation for the area as setting. Here’s the tentative blurb:

Sandy Bottom Bay, Florida – Come for the Haunts, Stay for the Beaches!

Drew Drummond might call himself a psychic tarot reader, but he doesn’t believe in the supernatural. The business was left to him by his grandmother, and seemed the best way to rise above the chronic criminal behavior of the Drummond family. Despite his efforts, few of the townspeople consider him a good romantic match. Being gay only makes finding love more difficult.

When Cliff Garcia, Drew’s teenaged crush, moves back to town and joins the police force, Drew doesn’t think he has a chance. After all, the skeptical cop considers Drew’s profession on par with professional con man, and Cliff had spent his entire school career feuding with Drew’s volatile brothers. Despite the obstacles, Drew and Cliff begin a fiery relationship.

Just when Drew starts to believe they might have a chance, he suffers a head injury and begins having visions of the future. If Drew tells Cliff the truth, he’ll lose the man he’s falling for, but keeping his new ability a secret is no longer an option. If he can’t convince Cliff he’s for real, a murderer will walk free.

So, why set this in Florida? Although Sandy Bottom Bay is partly inspired by Salem, two other communities in Florida were the primary inspiration: Cassadaga & Gibsonton.

Cassadaga is known for it’s large number of psychics and mediums. Gibsonton is a community where carnival and circus performers lived during the winter. With those two somewhat unusual communities for inspiration, it was easy to extrapolate to Sandy Bottom Bay, a place that wanted to be as popular a tourist destination, but didn’t quite make the cut. They do get their fair share of paranormal groupies during Haunt Fest, though, and North on Drummond takes place in the week or so leading up to Haunt Fest.

In addition, the swampland and the alligators and the hot, humid weather in Florida gave me the ability to add a rather unique flavor to the setting. Florida is also the source of a number of odd news stories that the hubby and I dubbed “Florida weirdness”, and Sandy Bottom Bay definitely has its share of eccentrics. It fit right in, in my opinion.

If I was going to have a haunted town, with townspeople who celebrate the hauntings, it had to be Florida. Nothing else made sense.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rainbow Blues is here!

I’m so thrilled that Rainbow Blues is here. To celebrate… there will be prizes & games!

June 20: Facebook Party – me and some of my awesome author friends will have a bunch of books to give away. The festivities start at noon (Eastern) and will last for hours!

June 22: Chat at the Dreamspinner Facebook Page – ask me some questions, win more prizes, and get some discounts.

Also June 22: I’ll be chatting at Beth Wylde’s Yahoo group with Lex Valentine, VJ Summers, and a few other authors for a Pride celebration. Guess what? More prizes! And if I could figure out how to find the link for it, I would post it here, but you should be able to search for it you don’t already belong.

I’m gonna keep you hopping this weekend :)

Rainbow Blues Available at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance eBooks.

Having come out late in life, forty-three-year-old Luke Jordan is at a loss about how to conduct himself as a gay man. As a construction manager, he’s not interested in being out at work, but he’d like to find a boyfriend or at least some gay friends. Two years after his wife got all their friends in the divorce, he’s no closer to the life he wants.

Zach, Luke’s adult son, takes charge and signs him up for the Rainbow Blues, a social group for gay blue-collar workers. At an event, he not only finds friends but meets Jimmy Alexander, part-time stage actor and full-time high school biology teacher. Jimmy loves the stage but wishes potential boyfriends weren’t so jealous of the time he devotes to it. When he meets Luke and finds him accepting of his many facets, he thinks it’s a dream come true.

Their relationship quickly moves into serious territory, but their connection is tested to its breaking point by the offer of a juicy movie role that takes Jimmy to the opposite coast and into the path of a very sexy costar.

Join in the Party on June 20! Books, Games, Prizes!

RainbowBlues200Friday June 20 – I’m having a Facebook party to celebrate my new release, Rainbow Blues. There will be lots of games with prizes from me and some of my awesome, kick-ass author friends, including Tara Lain, Lex Valentine, Katie Reus, Lori Sjoberg, Kiernan Kelly, Wynter Daniels, Jessica Freely, Belinda McBride, and Louis Bacio. RSVP using the button below and have fun!

 

Having come out late in life, forty-three-year-old Luke Jordan is at a loss about how to conduct himself as a gay man. As a construction manager, he’s not interested in being out at work, but he’d like to find a boyfriend or at least some gay friends. Two years after his wife got all their friends in the divorce, he’s no closer to the life he wants.

Zach, Luke’s adult son, takes charge and signs him up for the Rainbow Blues, a social group for gay blue-collar workers. At an event, he not only finds friends but meets Jimmy Alexander, part-time stage actor and full-time high school biology teacher. Jimmy loves the stage but wishes potential boyfriends weren’t so jealous of the time he devotes to it. When he meets Luke and finds him accepting of his many facets, he thinks it’s a dream come true.

Their relationship quickly moves into serious territory, but their connection is tested to its breaking point by the offer of a juicy movie role that takes Jimmy to the opposite coast and into the path of a very sexy costar.
Available for preorder at Dreamspinner Press.

Print (preorder): Dreamspinner Press.

Rainbow Blues Available For Pre-Order

RainbowBlues200Rainbow Blues is almost here! I really hope you all like Luke and Jimmy as much as I do!

Rainbow Blues

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Release Date: June 20, 2014

eISBN: 978-1-63216-010-2

Available for preorder at Dreamspinner Press.

Having come out late in life, forty-three-year-old Luke Jordan is at a loss about how to conduct himself as a gay man. As a construction manager, he’s not interested in being out at work, but he’d like to find a boyfriend or at least some gay friends. Two years after his wife got all their friends in the divorce, he’s no closer to the life he wants.

Zach, Luke’s adult son, takes charge and signs him up for the Rainbow Blues, a social group for gay blue-collar workers. At an event, he not only finds friends but meets Jimmy Alexander, part-time stage actor and full-time high school biology teacher. Jimmy loves the stage but wishes potential boyfriends weren’t so jealous of the time he devotes to it. When he meets Luke and finds him accepting of his many facets, he thinks it’s a dream come true.

Their relationship quickly moves into serious territory, but their connection is tested to its breaking point by the offer of a juicy movie role that takes Jimmy to the opposite coast and into the path of a very sexy costar.

Winner! Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

HAHAT_2014

 

Thank you to all the wonderful people who participated in the hop, including all those who came and checked out my post. There were a lot of great suggestions for me to send my donations. The Trevor Project was a popular option, so I choose that as well as the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center (which is local for me now) and the You Can Play Project (thanks for the reminder, Trix!). As promised, I donated $50 each.

As for my winner, thanks to the magic of random.org, Suze was my winner. Suze, I’ll email you about your prize.

Thanks again!

Voodoo ‘n’ Vice is finally here!

Copyright © 2012 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under licence.

Voodoo ‘n’ Vice is the third book in the Galactic Alliance series, and I hope you love Tai and Gideon as much as I do! It’s not necessary to read the first two books to enjoy Voodoo ‘n’ Vice, but for those of you who’ve read Alien ‘n’ Outlaw, Gideon is the captain who made so much trouble for R’kos and Darien.

Available at Carina PressAmazon, All Romance eBooksiBooks Store, Barnes & Noble, Google Play.

After nearly causing a galactic incident, fleet captain Gideon Arcturus is disgraced, demoted and exiled with nothing to do but pass the time at a seedy club on seedier planet Elora Ki. It’s no place for a straight-laced soldier, but following the rules is what got him there in the first place. When he meets a mesmerizing fire dancer, he’d do anything to get close to the flame.

Tai doesn’t date customers—it’s far too dangerous for a man who was once for sale. But the shy, awkward Gideon entices him, and the two spend Gideon’s leave tangled together, neither knowing the passion that stirs within them won’t soon subside.

When a violent drug lord forces Tai back into slavery, Tai has no choice but to give up his new love. But when Gideon learns that Tai’s fate lies with those who brought about his own ruin, he’ll need to revisit his own difficult past in order to save them both.

Hop Against Homophobia & Transphobia

HAHAT_2014

 

May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

I need to apologize. My life has been rather upside down over the past few weeks, and I’ve barely managed to keep afloat. So, it comes down to this… trying to prepare a blog post a mere hour before leaving for the airport for a conference. And I’m finding myself without an idea, a theme, any pithy words. Aside from a wish that this day wasn’t necessary. I wish that people didn’t feel the need to lash out, physically or verbally, against those who are different. I wish that one’s gender identity or sexuality wasn’t fodder for discrimination, ridicule, or hatred.

As I’ve done in the past, I’m going to make a donation to an organization that helps LGBTQ – fighting for rights or equality or helping them get through the tough times. I’ve got $150 earmarked for this – tell me where to spend it. I’ll choose three organizations that you mention in the comments & split the money. It’s not much, but it’s what I can spare at the moment.

For those of you who comment… I’ll choose a winner, who can choose anything off my backlist, or even the brand new book coming out May 26 (Voodoo ‘n’ Vice). You can choose an ebook or a signed copy of one of my print books.

Make sure you check out the other hop participants, too!

Voodoo ‘n’ Vice is available for pre-order!

This is the third in my sci-fi Galactic Alliance series, and whooo, did I ever get a great cover! I’ve always been lucky enough to get good covers, but this one is pretty spectacular! Voodoo ‘n’ Vice is due for release on May 26.

Copyright © 2012 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under licence.

Voodoo ‘n’ Vice

Publisher: Carina Press

Series: Galactic Alliance

Release Date: May 26, 2014

eISBN: 9781426898419

Available for preorder at Carina PressAmazon, All Romance eBooksiBooks Store, Barnes & Noble, Google Play.

After nearly causing a galactic incident, fleet captain Gideon Arcturus is disgraced, demoted and exiled with nothing to do but pass the time at a seedy club on seedier planet Elora Ki. It’s no place for a straight-laced soldier, but following the rules is what got him there in the first place. When he meets a mesmerizing fire dancer, he’d do anything to get close to the flame.

Tai doesn’t date customers—it’s far too dangerous for a man who was once for sale. But the shy, awkward Gideon entices him, and the two spend Gideon’s leave tangled together, neither knowing the passion that stirs within them won’t soon subside.

When a violent drug lord forces Tai back into slavery, Tai has no choice but to give up his new love. But when Gideon learns that Tai’s fate lies with those who brought about his own ruin, he’ll need to revisit his own difficult past in order to save them both.