Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer Shorts!

Life is crazy busy these days and it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day juggle of all our responsibilities. Often we don’t have the luxury of an hour, or sometimes day, long reading binge. Then right when you’re at the best moment in the book, Especially when your brain is obsessing over what happened to the character in the book you were just reading.

Short stories are the perfect solution for those nights when you think “I’m going to start this book but just another chapter or two” and then it’s 2am and you have to get up in four hours knowing you’re going to get exhausted at work the next day.
It’s the instant gratification of being able to enjoy a story in the tub and be relaxed when you get out safe and secure in the knowledge that the characters are living their happily ever after.

As an author, I love building the rush between the characters exploring love at first sight or the moment when the character loose as a friend and realizes there is so more more to them than friendship. The challenge of making it realistic or at least plausible capturing that moment for my readers to experience. 

My newest release is tomorrow and I loved the theme of the short stories included in this anthology. Mature couples! Writing about a heroine I can personally relate to made this even more enjoyable. While you don't have to be in your 40's to enjoy these stories, they are a celebration of love at every point in our lives. 

Release Date June 27th!!

In the world of working women and glass ceilings, these heroines have kept their eye on the prize. Until now. The prize has suddenly shifted, and they're ready to break the rules, and get wild. From past loves, to forbidden strangers, these good girls are swooning for bad boys, and you're invited to join in.

From 12 NYT and USA Today bestselling authors, these tales of seduction will leave you panting for more...
Featuring stories from: Adaline Raine, Elizabeth Kirke, Ever Coming, Kate Richards, Katherine Deane, Kayleigh Malcolm, Krista Ames, Michele Ryan, Monica Corwin, Nicole Morgan, Tina Donahue, and TL Reeve


MEANT TO BE – Kayleigh Malcolm

Cassandra Jakes’ career gave her more satisfaction than her ex ever did. Making time for relationships was pointless, because at her age, Mr Second Chance wouldn’t be an easy find. She’d kept her inner bad girl locked in a cage for so long, there was no easy way to change that now.  
Remy Moraes had a two week maximum on any relationship and enjoyed the fact that no one expected a commitment from him. Cassandra was the only woman who could have tempted him to stray from his eternal bachelordom, but she was too far out of his league.
When Remy interrupts Cassandra’s solo camping trip, the two of them fall into an erotic weekend of unbridled passion. Returning to the world of indoor plumbing, they both have a lot of baggage to unpack. Can they work out their differences and accept they were meant to be?

Forest air tasted different, Cassandra inhaled deeply and smiled. It smelled better up here too. No car exhaust, city structures, rush hour, or gridlock. A 20 minute hike into the woods to her site had her almost light headed though. Especially since she did it twice in order to get most of her gear up to her site, the rest she left in the car. After only a couple of nasty swear words her tent was up and food stored away in the bear boxes, the last thing she wanted to do was to have any big fuzzies show up for a visit.
            Why didn’t she ever think of this sooner? The sun was setting over the mountains painting the sky in shades of purple and red. A perfect end to a beautiful day after spending the afternoon wandering along the marked trails, and enjoyed the simple beauty around her. 
The only smudge to the picture perfect sunset was a large black cloud formation in the sky adjacent to the vibrant shades. The weatherman hadn’t said anything about bad weather yesterday and she hadn’t double checked this morning. A little rain never hurt anyone. 
With a small fire going in the safety pit, she relaxed in her chair and read. Around her the forest was alive with sounds of little critters and hooting owls. There were already a couple chipmunks she’d bribed a return by tossing a handful of peanuts on the table for them.  She reached for her cell to call Jenny only to find it wasn’t in her pocket. Damn, she vaguely remembered tossing it on the passenger seat. That hike could wait till morning.
            A bottle of Alsatian Gewürztraminer sat on the cooler, a partially filled glass next to it. She held her hotdog over the crackling flame, toasting it perfectly on all sides, a bun in her lap already with horseradish mayo on it. This was the life, no worrying about what her breath would smell like, or if she made a mess. It was going to be a perfect weekend.
            A flash lit up the sky above her, followed moments later by a deep roar of thunder. She loved thunderstorms and her earlier thought of crawling into her tent with some of her toys crossed her mind again. She wished she was brave enough to go at right here and now, there was the slim possibility that someone might stumble across her. Exhibitionism was not her thing, neither was voyeurism. Both embarrassed her and that had been one of the nails in the coffin her marriage had been buried in. Karl was willing to do anything anywhere. Getting caught by a stranger while playing with herself was an intriguing fantasy but not one she wanted to experience. Unless it was Rémy….no! Not Rémy. She could feel her cheeks burning and was certain the heat from the fire didn’t have anything to do with it. Rémy Moraes was a fantasy all on his own and one that would have to stay that way.
            Rémy was going to throttle Jenny Jakes and her mother Cassandra.  The former because the silly twit had run off and gotten herself married in Vegas of all places. No doubt she had some Elvis impersonator do it too. His daughter, Tiffany had filled him in on a few details. Flighty and irresponsible. Apparently Jenny’s boyfriend/now husband had his feet a bit more on the ground, but then after this latest stunt he was going to have to question that previous impression. If this was a grand gesture to win Jenny’s affections back, the man was an idiot.
            Anyone could have seen that Jenny had been pining for him. Moping around, bursting into tears at the slightest mention of him. As much as he loved Jenny, and considered her like another daughter, whenever she came by to cry on Tiffany’s shoulder, he’d beat a quick escape from the house.
            Contrary to his long time impression, apparently Cassandra was as flighty as her daughter. Taking off on a solo camping trip? What was she thinking? She wouldn’t know the difference between a hatchet and a hammer. No doubt almost chopped all her toes off by now trying to break a stump into kindling while wearing a pair of dainty strappy sandals on her delicate feet. That thought distracted him enough that he almost drifted into a tree. Damn, she had sexy calves too, terrible thing if she cut herself.  Shit! He snapped his attention back to the road steering his truck off the gravel shoulder. His wipers barely keeping up with the onslaught of rain pounding against his windshield.
            Goddamn, that woman always had that effect on him. Ever since highschool, when she’d been far too good of a girl for him to ever consider speaking to. She’d hugged the walls when she walked, her head in a book. A riot of black curls surrounded her pale skin, she’d never strayed far from her pack of silly twittering girlfriends. Even at that age he’d know she’d doing more with her life that he ever would. She had a seriousness about her and a drive to succeed he later found out was from her parents high expectations. She'd done well for herself and matured into an incredible woman.
            It wasn’t that she was a snob or anything. Cassandra Banks was a delicate hot house flower and he spent his days as a National Park Ranger. He loved his job, loved being outdoors and to get involved with someone more comfortable in a boardroom then in a forest wouldn’t be fair to either of them. But, here he was driving out into the middle of nowhere at ten at night to find a woman because she’s failed to ensure her phone had a signal. He’d do the same thing for anyone else who’d called him concerned about a family member. She’s not going to drown or get struck by lightning, be attacked by bears, starve, or die of exposure.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Sharknado vs Action Hero by @elle_rush


Fun fact: the longitudinal centre of Canada is thirteen measly kilometres east of Winnipeg. Do you know what that means? We poor Manitobans are as far from either ocean as you can physically get. Fresh seafood is something we only hear about, surfing just happens in the movies, and sharks are never a threat.

That may be part of the reason I love Sharknado so much. We have tornadoes, but we’ll never get sharks in them. Beavers, bears, maybe some moose, but never sharks. I love that series so much, I wrote a tribute to it, and that story is Action Hero. Set in my Hollywood to Olympus world, Glinda Crawford (Aphrodite) and Mike Mosley (Dionysus) are making a movie during the show’s hiatus. What started out as a serious drama has turned into a sharks-in-tornadoes-worthy comedy, and it will test all their acting skills and love to survive it.


 1. Sharknado has cold, wet sharks. Action Hero has cuddly pandas. Cuddly, cyborg panda assassins but pandas! (Winnipeg has neither sharks nor pandas.)
 2. Ninjas. (Winnipeg has no ninjas either.)
 3. Part of it takes place in gorgeous Hawaii. (No part of Canada can double for Hawaii.)
 4. Both Mike and Glinda do the saving – there are no damsels in distress. There are, however, many times they need saving. Action! Adventure! Pandas! (Winnipeg does have heroes though.)
 5. Sharknado has star cameos. Action Hero has surprise guest appearances from other books—and not just other Olympus books. (Although none from Winnipeg.)
 6. Mike and Glinda are smoking hot together. (Winnipeg has all the hotties, so we may actually be ahead on that score.)

 Grab your copy of ACTION HERO today while it is only $2.99.

Nobody in Hollywood takes cable television star Glinda Crawford seriously, and that’s not going to change with her next movie. What started off as a serious drama has descended into a cheesy flick about rabid, cyborg, panda assassins, and she can’t escape the insanity. 

Mike Mosley has it all worked out. He's leveraged his teen-age TV heartthrob days into a successful adult acting career. But the first week on the set of his new movie with his Olympus co-star Glinda has him second-guessing everything: the plan, his single status, and just how dangerous robot pandas can be. 

When script shenanigans spill into the real world, the attraction Glinda and Mike have been faking turns into a hot, real-life adventure. If they can survive this movie, they can survive anything together. However, the shocking finale surprises them both.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Life and New Releases

The Canadian weather has turned the corner. Although we've had a lot of rain this spring, I'm enjoying the shorts and sandals weather! We're celebrating 150 years in Canada this July 1st, so I'm looking forward to some family time on the long weekend with good food and lots of sunshine (fingers crossed).

I mentioned a while back I was going to get back into writing after a too long hiatus. So far, I've written a novella for the Owned by the Alpha antho and released two books co-written with Sam Crescent.

I also have several nearly completed books I'm working hard on. One of the biggest hurdles for me is finding time to write. I now get up two hours early in the mornings to make it happen, and try to get a minimum word count down every day. Another part is confidence. It's tough being an author and sending your babies into the world.

I'm really enjoy writing the Killer of Kings series (dark romance/hitmen) but I haven't forgotten my cowboys! I'm working on the first in a new cowboy menage series and have many other surprises in store.

Feel free to join Stacey and Sam's Playroom on FaceBook for updates and giveaways on our books.

Viper has always been a bastard, a nightmare, death for hire. He's known for his swift kills, so he isn't surprised when he's offered seven figures for a new hit. It’s supposed to be a quick find and eliminate. When his mark turns out to be an innocent twenty-year old with big blue eyes, he shouldn’t care one way or another—but he does. Viper wants to keep her for himself.

Pepper’s step-father killed her mother, and she’s been on the run ever since. When a hitman shows up on her doorstep, covered in ink, and strapped with heat, she expects to be his next victim. But she’s wrong. Viper keeps her safe from the mercenaries hoping to cash in on the world-wide contract on her head. He’s everything she’s not, but she still finds herself falling hard for her captor.

With the odds against them, and death waiting around every corner, can they find true love in each other? Or is Viper only interested in taking her innocence?

No mercy. No pity. No women.

Bain has always worked solo, refusing to allow anyone to lord over him. His life has been fucked up enough, and he’s learned trust comes with a price. When he finally accepts an invitation to work for Killer of Kings, he regrets the decision after his first contract. It was supposed to be simple, now there’s a curvy little temptation tied up in his basement.

Scarlett struggles to move up in a career where appearances are everything. When she lands a risky interview with a known crime boss, she hopes it will be her big break as a reporter. Instead, she’s caught up in the middle of an assassination and taken hostage by the hitman. She wants to hate the tattooed devil, but finds herself intrigued by his story. Is it the reporter in her wanting to know more…or the woman falling for a broken man?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's all dads and the others who've stood in their places. @LeoRosanna

I'd like to wish a happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. I hope this day brings you much happiness and that you have a chance to celebrate with your loved ones.

Fathers mean so much to their children. They represent security, warmth and big bear hugs. They look out for us and make us feel protected.

Father's Day has always been bittersweet for me. It is not a date we celebrated in my house when I was growing up. I grew up without my dad for much of my life. My mother separated from him when I was 7 and that split eventually led to divorce. Unfortunately, it was the best decision for everyone. My father has always been a serious gambling addict and he just couldn't remain in our lives. My mom has always been both mother and father to me and my brother.

I know how important it is for children to have good male role models in their lives. Although my father was absent most of the time, I had some other great men around. After my parents' split, we went to live with my maternal grandparents. I have fond memories of my grandfather driving me to school and expressing encouragement when I tried something new. He meant a lot to me. I also had two uncles and they were fixtures in my life. My Uncle Stuart took me aside many years ago and said, "If you ever need to talk, you can come to me. I won't ever judge you." That meant so much. He passed away several years ago and I still miss him.

A lot of people have "unofficial dads," men who have stepped into the void. I'm sure these great men have been appreciated by the kids in their lives. This is a day when we need to celebrate those mentors, friends and advocates. These are the men who take our sides and who may have helped us through some of our darkest moments. I certainly give thanks that I had unofficial dads, especially because my own was unable to fulfill his fatherly duties.

Most of all, I give thanks for my mother. She did it all and sacrificed a lot for her children. I know how much my brother and I value her presence in our lives.

Today, make sure you call that special man who raised you ... or the ones who did the job for him.

One of my romance heroes is an amazing "unofficial" father. Meet Connor Church.

The shape shifters from Gemini Island's Ursa Resort have been through hell. In the battle with their enemy the Alpha Brethren, they suffered losses and are still dealing with the emotional aftermath. No one in this heroic group has emerged unscathed.

When mountain lion shifter Connor Church lost his best friend, he made a vow to protect his widow and small children. Of everyone on Gemini Island, he knows best how badly the young family has suffered.

Unfortunately, Elaine Gleason hasn't made it easy for Connor. Drowning in grief, she moved her family far away. When a medical emergency forces them to return, she is confronted by unexpected feelings for Connor, a man who has always been one of her closest friends. Her emotions send her into a tailspin when it becomes clear Connor feels the same way. They fight the attraction, tortured by their loyalty to Elaine's dead mate.

When a remorseless organ trafficker develops an obsession for Elaine, Connor's protective instincts emerge and he realizes his feelings run much deeper than friendship. The friends at the Ursa must do battle once more. But even if they win, can Elaine ever move past her grief and start a new life with Connor?

Buy links:

Monday, June 12, 2017

Finding Story Inspiration in New Places with @jsubject #romance #amwriting

Happy June! It's hard to believe we're almost halfway through 2017. Right now, I'm trying to tie up lose ends in my writing obligations before my children are off for summer holidays. No matter how I set goals for myself during July and August, I hardly ever meet them. So, I'm trying to get as much done now, and whatever I accomplish over the summer months is a bonus.

Now, onto the topic for today's post, finding inspiration in new places. I don't know about other authors, but I'm a very routine-oriented person. I see the same people and places day after day, week after week. Every now and again, something changes or is new, but that's usually completely accidental and only lasts until I can get back into my routine.

Sometimes, I have to plan something completely different, something new that I've never tried or experienced before. I did that two weekends ago, and now I'm filled with story ideas that are making it hard to write my current work in progress.

What did I do? I went rugged...

On June 3, I joined several hundred people to run the Rugged Maniac course at Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort in Kitchener. I went there with a smaller group of close to 30 people from the studio where I take fitness classes.

Team Inspired before running the course.

Some had run the race before, but many of us hadn't. Except for what we'd read online, and what many of us had trained for, we didn't know what to expect. But, we were ready to do it together.

The one thing I did notice is that there were people there from many walks of life; different races, religions, and body types. Everyone was welcome to participate.

And as an author, my muse started running wild. While many races ran the first elite heat, many more participated simply for the fun of it. And throughout the 5k, 25 obstacle course, people helped each other, whether they knew them or they were a stranger. We went through mud, lots of mud, over walls, leaped over trenches, crawled under barbed wire, climbed many obstacles, and got very wet and dirty. I have three basic story ideas already based on this race. Like I didn't have enough stories planned. LOL Anyway, here are some more pictures from the event...

Commando Crawl - crawling through muddy water under barbed wire
Warped Wall - I made it up, but needed help to get over
Mount Maniac

Accelerator 3.0 - a giant water inflated water slide
Crossing the finish line felt so good.
Team Inspired after the course.

While I was a bit bruised and scratched up after the course, I definitely want to run it again. Not only was it so much fun, I also need more story inspiration. Maybe by next year, I'll find time to fit in writing those stories. ;)

Jessica E. Subject is the author of science fiction romance, mostly alien romances, ranging from sweet to super hot. Sometimes she dabbles in paranormal and contemporary as well, bringing to life a wide variety of characters. In her stories, you can not only meet a sexy alien or two, but also clones and androids. You may be transported to a dystopian world where rebels are fighting to live and love, or to another planet for a romantic rendezvous.

When Jessica is not reading, writing, or doing dreaded housework, she likes to go to fitness class and walk her Great Pyrenees/Retriever her family adopted from the local animal shelter.

Jessica lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two energetic children. And she loves to hear from her readers.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Seasickness, A Singing Cabbie & a Signing in Seattle

Last weekend I got to go to a local signing. Well, local being a relative thing. I still left the country, but instead of packing up and heading to the airport, I got to pack up and head to the downtown harbour to take a catamaran ferry to Seattle. It was three hours of clear sailing, pleasant conversation, and views that were simply amazing. I even got to see a pod of Dall's porpoises swim by, and then we crossed paths with a submarine heading out of Seattle harbour. The sun was shining, the ocean was calm, and we had food and drink delivered to our seats. I got to take my best friend with me on this little adventure, too, so what's not to love?

This is the vessel that took me to Seattle. Pretty, huh?

For those of you who have never been to Seattle, Washington (This was my first trip) it's not your typical coastal city, with nice gentle slopes down to the water. Oh no. It's all hills. Steep ones. Long ones. The kind that are fun to walk down, and not nearly so much fun to walk back up again later, like say, if your hotel is perched at the top of one. (Guess where my hotel was...)

Those kinds of hills make for an interesting cab ride, too. Especially if your cabbie introduces himself as "Ted Narcotic" and has hair that clearly hasn't been restyled since the Grunge scene hit Seattle. We had a thrill-a-minute ride through Seattle's downtown streets, while he shared his opinion on politics, whether magic mushrooms were safer than marijuana, and hey, did we want to hear his CD? "Cookies cookies, cookies, milk, milk, milk" was the title track, followed by the unforgettable "Sarah is a Baristanaut and her coffee is hot." As we departed his cab, we were handed a copy of his CD: "420 on the 520." Somehow, that man is going to wind up as a character in a future book. *grins*

In case you don't believe me... This is his CD cover.

The signing itself was a fun but very busy day. Set up was at 9:30 am, and the event was a good twenty-minute drive from the hotel. I was lucky enough to have a local reader offer to pick me up and take me to the event, which meant I had no risk of crossing paths with Ted the taxi driver again. (Thank you, Kandi!)

It wasn't until the signing started that I discovered that Washington is an "open carry" state. How did I learn this? Many of the cover models were sporting guns, and I'm  not talking about their very impressive biceps. As a Canadian, this was a matter of great fascination for me, and I swear, anytime I was staring at the models, it was purely about seeing handguns up close in public and not the way they filled out their shirts and jeans. Honest!

I had a great day talking with readers and authors, and before I knew it, the day was gone and it was time to head back to the hotel.

Sunday started out beautifully. The sun was shining, the wind was calm, we got down to the ferry dock with plenty of time to wander around the harbour and enjoy the day. The first sign of trouble came when they started the announcements once we boarded. When they mention not once, not twice, but three times that anyone who experiences motion sickness can go get free medication at the gift shop, you have to know it's not going to be an easy crossing. When they started reminding us that if we have to leave our seat, keep "one hand for yourself and one for the boat" at all times and we hadn't even left the harbour yet, I knew it was time to take a second dose of medication. (I get sea-sick at an I-max 3D movie screening, my inner ear and I have a bad relationship.)

Sure enough, by the time we hit open water, the ferry started to pitch and roll like a drunken bronco trying to ditch his rider. According to Google, the waves that afternoon were between 6 and 8 feet, with 20-knot winds. What does that mean? It means yours truly was a remarkable shade of green for most of the trip home, and while I didn't kiss the ground when we got back to land, I may have cheered softly as I staggered to the car.

I will be keeping my feet firmly on the ground for the next two months until I fly across the country to attend Romancing the Capital in Ottawa in August. Until then I plan on writing, enjoying my summer, and staying far, far away from the ocean. (which isn't easy when you live on an island.)

There's one other thing I will be doing this month, and that's celebrating the release of my new book, Three of a Kind, Book #4 in The Drift Series. If you want a sneak peak, check out my website to read Chapter One.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Better Late than Never

I know, I almost missed my post day. I was not expecting June to sneak up on me like that, but I'm here now!

And, where the heck did May go? Seriously!

It's a bit of a frantic month for me or any parent really. June is the last month of school. My three kids are counting down the days.

I do like June, because I'm getting tired by now ...okay I am tired right now. Activities are winding down, school is winding down, the kids are winding up! LOL

This June it's slightly different for me. My eldest is leaving public school behind!!! *sob* And as fast as the month of June got here, I'm really struggling with the fact that she grew up in a blink of an eye.

My mother told me when I was a kid that kids grow up fast. I thought she was crazy. No we don't. I couldn't wait to become an adult.

Yeah, once you're an adult time slips away pretty fast.

My daughter started Grade 8 this year and in 17 school days (we don't count the weekends), she's going to walk through those school doors one last time, get her diploma and that's it. She's done with our neighbourhood school. The same school she's been going to since she was four.

In September she's starting Grade 9 and she's excited. I am nervous about this, because she's not going to the feeder high school and therefore get transportation. She set her sights on an out of area school that is downtown London. That has been in the top 10 academically rated schools in Canada as rated by the Fraser Institute. A school that has famous alumni such as Victor Garber and David Suzuki.

When I was in high school, in the dark ages according to my kids, it was Basic, General, Advanced classes. Now, it's Locally Developed, Applied, Academic. This school does not have Locally Developed Courses and it doesn't have semesters. You take all 8 at once. The band is part of life here and my daughter is passionate about band.

Some days she'll be getting up at 5:00 a.m. to get to school by 6:45 a.m.

BUT, it's what she wanted. She filled out the intense application and got her acceptance in February 2017.

I'm having a hard time with it. I'm getting way too emotional and it's only Grade 8 grad. I'll be a complete wreck when it comes to high school and getting into University. My daughter has high aspirations to be an engineer and get a masters in neuroscience. So not my kid. LOL

I was an art student when I graduated high school in 1996.

So this hectic June is slightly different. It's bittersweet, because I'm so not ready for my kid to grow up.

You can find Amy lurking about on Twitter or Facebook.
Check out her website here.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

National Hug Your Cat Day @MichelleGAuthor #HugYourCat

Yesterday, we received word of two new terrorist incidents in London. I'm intentionally keeping the tone of this post light because we could all use something cheerful when ugliness like this rears its head. And because hugging your cat can make you feel better!

So here are the Top 10 Reasons to hug your cat according to (Original post here). And if you don't have a cat, I'm sure the same logic applies to a dog or a person.

10. Hugs are good for you! They release endorphins and help get rid of the blahs.

9.  Cat health improves with cuddling. It stands to reason that if hugs are good for us, they're good for the cats, too.

8.  Strengthen the pet/human bond. Your kitty needs to bond to feel secure. Hugs help!

7.  Unsure if you're ready to adopt? You'll know the right kitty by giving him or her a snuggle. This was so true of our cat. Hubby picked her up for the first time and she snuggled right into his arms. We were sold.

6.  Free stress therapy.  Hugs are a lot cheaper than a trip to the spa.

5.  Improves cat behaviour. More hugs makes for a friendlier, relaxed kitty.

4.  Loving Reassurance. Hugs will help cats when there are changes to their environment or routine.

3.  Maximum Purr-fection. Cat purrs have healing powers! They can help to get rid of pain.

2.  Empty Nest Syndrome. Hugging a cat can help for those whose kids have left the home or outgrown hugs. Or for those who've never had kids but like caring for something else. Fur babies are way cheaper than human babies, too.

1.  Celebrate June 4th all year long! It's nice that there's a day devoted to cat hugs, but luckily it's something we can enjoy any day.

Have a purr-fect day!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Happy Pride Month from @NathanBurgoine

It's possible even our LEGO collection celebrates Pride.

It's Pride. Let me tell a story.

I'm not sure I can put words to the way I felt at my first Pride. I'd been out for months by that point, and they'd been frightening months of scrambling for a place to live, figuring out how I was going to support myself, and had included a lot of couch surfing and relying on new friends. By the time Ottawa's parade and festival rolled around (which is actually later than June), I could breathe. I wasn't putting out fires in my life, I was starting to live my life. Sure, I was scrambling with multiple jobs and trying to figure out if I could afford to go back to school any time soon, but I was as stable as I'd been in over a year.

So some friends demanded I told my jobs I needed the one day off—something I never did, as I needed whatever hours I could get—and we went to the parade.

Ottawa is not a huge city, despite being the nation's capital, and yet that year, the parade seemed like so many people. There were drag queens (they gave me beads), and Ottawa's leather group. There were proud gay dads, and dykes on bikes (they let me ride pillion). There was a church group welcoming new members, and student groups, and a trans rights group (they painted my face for me), and some of the local businesses that were queer friendly or queer owned. Local health services were handing out condoms, the chat lines (remember those?) were handing out magnets, and the float for the local gay bar had dancers on it in tight little briefs (and throwing more condoms to the crowd).

The parade moved through the streets, and I walked with my friends and saw people cheering and applauding on corner after corner. There were so many queer people around, and so much support, and it was an incredible day that made something very real to me: I was not alone.

There were protestors, of course. There always are. But those few scattered groups of people with their terrible signs (seriously, the kerning alone!) were just that: few and scattered. Their voices were small. We were louder in our pride than they could be in their hate, and that was magic.

By the end of my first Pride, I was exhausted. I'd walked in the parade with friends, enjoyed the fair that came after, gotten sunburned, gone dancing anyway, and crawled into bed with a stupid grin on my face and without wiping off the various rainbow stripes of make-up that had been applied there. I ruined a pillow-case. I didn't care.

And though the world went back to the way it had always been the next day, I didn't. I was different. I'd seen the crowd of queer people. I'd marched with them. They were there, in the city, just like me, and even if day to day it wasn't clear we existed and the only voices that ever mentioned us seemed to be against us, I knew. We weren't alone.

Every Pride I remind myself there's someone meeting all the rest of us for the first time. Every time I get to speak in public somewhere, I'm conscious that I might very well be someone's "first" queer. I've had it happen, and there's something so incredibly humbling about having someone stop to talk to you and say some version of "I just wanted to say thank you. I've never seen myself before."

I remember my own first person, the one I said it to myself.

A far more recent Pride party.

Those firsts happen over and over. The first time you see a "you" on television, or in a movie. The first time you overhear someone casually mentioning their boyfriend or girlfriend (or, happily, these days, their husband or wife). The first time someone comes out to you (an honour I always cherish). Or, of course, the first time you see a "you" in a book. It's incredible.

Pride is so many things. It's a celebration, but it's a protest. It's a party, and it's political. It's evolving—it's always, always evolving—to include more groups and intersections as we grow and understand more about human sexuality and gender. Every year, I see these changes and can't help but imagine how incredible it must feel for a young ace or an enby to see themselves. Or...

Well, the "or"s go on and on. That's the point. So do we.

We raise a flag. We raise many flags. Our stories aren't inherited: queer kids aren't usually born to queer parents and queer grandparents. We pop up all over the place, and often no one knows. We don't hear the stories of the generations who came before us the way other people do with their own histories. That's why our books, and our parades, and our groups, and our movies, and every other storytelling piece we can get our hands on matter so much.

It's Pride. Go tell a story.


On the topic of stories told about Pride, my very first novel, way back when, takes place during Ottawa Pride. It's called Light.

Kieran Quinn is a bit telepathic, a little psychokinetic, and very gay—three things that have gotten him through life perfectly well so far—but when self-styled prophet Wyatt Jackson arrives during Pride Week, things take a violent turn.  
Kieran's powers are somewhat underwhelming but do have a habit of refracting light into spectacular rainbows for him to hide behind. Even so, it's not long before Kieran is struggling to maintain his own anonymity while battling wits with a handsome cop, getting some flirting in with a hunky leather man, saving some drag queens, and escaping the worst blind date in history. It's enough to make a fledgling hero want to give up before he even begins.  
One thing's for sure: saving the day has never been so fabulous.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Go #Barefoot4Them with @LDBlakeley on #GoBarefootDay (& #NationalNailPolishDay!)


In poking around the web (as one does) for blog ideas, I discovered that not only is June 1 National Go Barefoot Day, it's also National Nail Polish Day. I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned, the two sort of go hand-in-hand (foot-in-foot? Nah, that doesn't quite work.)

Yes, I take foot selfies. No, I don't have any shame.
Enjoying the sands of New Brunswick's beautiful Parlee Beach! 
While a day to kick off your shoes and let your toes go freerange might seem a bit frivolous, the day actually got its start after the Indian Ocean Tsunami by the group Soles4Souls as a means to raise funds by those affected by the disaster. Still going strong after more than a decade, the Nashville-based charity's mission statement is to: create sustainable jobs and provide relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. And, to date, the organization has collected and distributed 30 million pairs of new and gently used shoes to individuals in 127 countries and all 50 U.S. states.

Soles4Souls - Wearing Out Poverty

National Go Barefoot Day was created as a way to raise awareness for their worthy endeavour. They have an extensive website, so if you want to get more deets or would like to get involved, check them out here:

Now, obviously National Nail Polish Day isn't nearly as philathropic an observance as National Go Barefoot Day (it was created by the folks at Essie, after all.) But is there anything quite as lovely as the first pedicure of open-toed shoe season? I don't think so.

So kick off your shoes and celebrate both. And, hey, why not take that pedicure money, donate it to the folks at Soles4Souls and DIY your toes just this once.

Need some inspiration?

With your toes ready for the beach, all that's left to do is grab yourself something spicy to read while you soak up those rays!

Might I suggest this sizzling collection of sexy alpha short stories...


The Alpha lives for the hunt... 

Driven by instinct, an Alpha shifter recognizes his fated mate from one scent, one touch. He'll pursue his man, regardless of the cost, and anyone else would be smart to get out of his way. He won't stop until he takes possession of his prize.

Although the hunter doesn't need convincing, his mate certainly does. The Alpha will have to prove himself as a lover and convince his man that he plays for keeps.



✽ A Tiger’s Luck by Maia Dylan
✽ Last Alpha Standing by James Cox
✽ Mooncrest by Jules Dixon
✽ His Guardian Panther by Elena Kincaid
✽ The Scarf by L.J. Longo
✽ A Matter of Trust by Pelaam
✽ Conflict of Interest by L.D. Blakeley

Until next time,