Human Connection through Loss

If you check out the titles of my books or the themes of my writing, vampires, ghosts, scares, and thrills pop out at you. I label myself an author of speculative fiction/horror, so those genres of writing often define me.

However, and I think this is true of a lot of genre writers, the motivating influence on my writing is to explore humanity. I delve into the good, the bad, and the ugly. I want my stories to entertain – but I also hope they prompt contemplation and reflection.

I mention the above because I recently experienced one of those moments in life where emotion and human connectivity roar to the surface, in both shocking and comforting ways.

First, the bad and the ugly. My aunt died. She had battled breast cancer valiantly for a long time. Paul and I traveled to be with family, to celebrate her life and to mourn. The death of a family member is such a sad time, and the sorrow hovers in the air, even in brief times where you talk about something different or remove yourself for a minute to take a breath.

Yet remarkable connection occurred, too. I had not seen my family for quite a while. In going to be there with them, we had a great deal of loving time together in a short burst of two days. My mom also flew in to be with us. The love and caring swirled around our family. I grew closer to them, as did Paul, and I hope they feel the same way.

And therein I find inspiration for writing, to make sense of our humanity. Why, at such a sad time, did the love and togetherness also become so powerful? How do we make sense of feeling great loss while also remembering binding ties, no matter how often we see each other? I don’t have a great answer to include in this blog. But I know my writing today and in the future will search for the answer, and to express these profound and contradictory emotions for myself; and, in the process, maybe for you, too.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Human Connection through Loss

A Couple of Friends for You to Read!

Hey, Everyone,

I’m super excited because Halloween is almost here! Today is a great fall day: rainy, chilly, with the beautiful fall trees coming down to the ground.

I have a couple authors who recently published some stories I wanted to share with you! They are fellow NineStar Press authors. I love giving a shout out to my friends from NineStar, and hope you will all read their stuff!! P.S. I read these two stories already, and really enjoyed them!!!

S.E. Smyth brings you Criminal by Proxy:

Christine is on the hunt to find out more about her great aunt, Rose, hoping to decipher their severed relationship and the murder Rose committed, for which June is in prison. With a stroke leaving Rose incapacitated, it’s a rush against time to find the truth.

Things are doubly complicated when Christine’s girlfriend Terrie is accused of assaulting someone. Nervous about what she might do next, Christine and her friends avoid Terrie. With everything at stake, Christine must stick to the cold hard facts, reminding herself not to let her emotions get in the way.

Christine must evaluate everything happening in her life. The weight of the events buried by her aunt so many years before and the shame of the actions of the love of her life rest squarely on her. If the eyes of the law are always 20/20, how do love, emotion, and insecurities distort fact?

Buy Link: Criminal by Proxy

Also, my friend Kevin Klehr has a short story for you:

Every time a shooting star is scheduled, Arthur, Carol and Tim choose a house with the best vantage point to haunt, carefully making sure its residents are not home.

But this time Arthur recognises the decor. The furnishings belong to his ex-boyfriend, Alexander, a man he never got over. And judging by the happy snaps in the photo frames, Alexander lives with a new lover.

Just as the ghosts settle in to watch the celestial event, the occupants return home early.

Buy Link: Three Ghosts

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Couple of Friends for You to Read!

National Coming Out Day

Happy National Coming Out Day!!!

Today, the LGBTQIA+ Community celebrates coming out! Finding the path to sharing one’s true identity is essential for physical and emotional well being. Having a day to focus on this journey allows everyone to remind the world about who we are, who we love, and the journey it took all of us to get there.

I think it is also important to acknowledge the many shapes, forms, and ways this coming out process takes for each person. I don’t think it’s helpful to demand that everyone’s coming out experience mirror an exact model, or place judgments on how “out” someone is in the various phases of their life. Some people have the emotional power and life situation to be out and proud in all aspects of themselves. Others can be out in their private life but not at work. And variations on these themes exist all over the place. That diverse reality should be respected.

The only time I judge someone for being closeted is when they make harmful comments or do harmful deeds toward the community. For example, if a politician is LGBTQIA+ in private but votes on laws that are antigay – then fuck them, they should be outed.

Otherwise, I cherish everyone’s personal journey toward coming out. Whatever step someone takes – whether telling one special person, shouting from the rooftops to everyone, or coming out to your family – take this day to celebrate who you are!

And for those struggling to make this step and unsure, please know there are so many people who love you. You are not alone. When you’re ready, we’ll find and embrace you.

Happy National Coming Out Day, everyone! Find your truth and it will set you free. Nothing changed my life more than the day, weeks, months, and years when I proclaimed who I am to the world.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on National Coming Out Day

On Autumn’s Arrival

I love the changing seasons of the year. Living in the Midwest highlights these alterations with strong color, temperature, and atmosphere. We experience the stereotypical season changes of novels, television, and movies.

Autumn this year arrived over night. We had been enjoying summer weather, until literally the first day of autumn, when the high reached but 63 degrees and a breeze added a slight chill.

Just yesterday, I remarked to Paul about one seasonal change I have relished each fall since we moved to this house in Downers Grove, IL, almost three years ago. We have a large meadow in the backyard, and a short distance away on the other side of the street is a pretty big park. This provides a lot of nature to witness, including what we refer to as the dogs’ pet hawks. And we have owls. Since they’re nocturnal and we’re not, we rarely see or hear the owls. Except in the fall! The dogs and I wake up to go on our morning journey right before sunrise in the autumn. Often, I hear the owls hooting away, and on special mornings I see them.

Today, we started down the street and after a couple houses, I heard the hooting! I was so excited! I glanced up to search for one, when I heard a rustling in the trees and saw the huge wing span when the owl took flight! The beautiful bird landed in a higher tree but still close by. The owl and I greeted one another.

I stood and watched the owl for a minute. This pause annoyed the dogs, who wanted to keep going on the journey, but I needed a moment with the owl. The owl and I were saying hello to autumn.

Life gets busy. Stresses abound. Sometimes, quiet reflections on seasonal change brings breathtaking scenes and surprises, even amid a routine.

Hello, fall. I am ready for this transition.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on On Autumn’s Arrival

THE VAMPIRE’S WAR! Official Blurb!

We’re getting closer, people! The Vampire’s War will be coming your way this fall! In celebration, here’s the official blurb:

War brews among vampires. Facing extinction at the hands of an ancient one, the Vampire Council plods along with a secret strategy. Jaret Bachmann, both vampire and witch, fears the Council elders move too slowly. He has the power to assist them in defeating their enemy, but the longer they keep him at arm’s length the more defiant he becomes. He’s already pushing the boundaries to assert his will when tragedy strikes, devastating him and compelling him to become even more rebellious. 

A young vampire alone in the world, Jaret struggles to find his true self and discover how he wants to spend the remainder of his eternal life, even as the vampire war intensifies and the rogue vampire strikes again. To compound his problems, he’s faced with the allure of a hot renegade vampire, not sure if he is friend or foe. 

Who will win the war, and where will Jaret’s soul-searching lead him?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on THE VAMPIRE’S WAR! Official Blurb!

A Space Thriller for You!

I’ve told you about M.D. Neu before, if you’re a regular reader of my blog. We met as fellow NineStar Press authors. I enjoy his work a lot! I wanted to share his latest work with you, with more information and a buy link below! Here’s my thought in a nutshell: if you’re looking for a Sci Fi thriller, with so many twists and turns your head will spin, combined with plot intrigue and duplicitous behavior that keeps you on the edge of your seat – you HAVE TO READ CONSPIRACY!

FYI – this is book three of a series, but it stands alone quite well. However, you will probably want to read all three books anyway, so go start at the beginning and build up to this one!

(Another note – when I plug an author or book, I NEVER receive money or any kind of renumeration for it. In other words, I am sharing writers and books I genuinely enjoy, not shilling something for a kick back.)

BUY LINK: CONSPIRACY by M.D. Neu.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Space Thriller for You!

Writing Update!

I apologize for the epically long time since I last posted. My website had a major problem/hacking event. I can’t be more specific about the issue because I have no clue what happened. I either sign in and all goes well, or I panic and yell for my husband to come help. Alas, he came to my rescue yet again, even though it required expert assistance and quite a bit of time. Happily, the website is back to proper functioning.

Every now and then I like to post what I am up to in my current writing. Thanks for your interest!

First and foremost, The Vampire’s War is on schedule to come your way this year! The specific publication date has not been set, but I will keep you posted. We finished content editing and general editing, and we moved to copy editing this week! Whoo hoo! My gay vampires are excited to tell you their latest tale – a vampire war and growing into oneself, all wrapped up in one story! Jaret Bachmann returns as our main protagonist here!

When not getting The Vampire’s War in shape, I am working primarily on a sequel to Santa Is a Vampire. Simon the Elf is enlisted – drafted? forced? – by Santa to tell another tale. Do you know the true story about the Easter Bunny? Simon now does, and he’s preparing to tell you, too.

I also am fiddling with the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and a Sci Fi/alien invasion young adult novel.

Thanks again for your attention!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Writing Update!

Pride Month Sale

NineStar Press is at it again! As has become a tradition, all e-books through the press website are 40% off for the month of June.

How better to celebrate pride than with some gay vampires?! Yes, indeed, you made the connection: this means all e-copies of my novels are currently 40% off!!! What are you waiting for?!

Click here for this fabulous deal: Damian Serbu at NineStar Press!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pride Month Sale

Vacation

Paul and I recently returned from vacation. We went to California, where we stayed a couple nights in San Jose, a few nights in the Paso Robles region, and a couple nights in Carmel. The wine tastings were wonderful, the scenery amazing, and the experience overall a fabulous time. We went with a couple dear friends, which made the excursion all the more special. Paul and I love being together on vacation and having fun.

Here is a photo of us, watching the sunset on the beach in Carmel:

I realize my sharing about vacation has little to do with my writing at first glance, but I am blathering on today because vacation actually has a big impact on my work. Here are just a couple ways getting away affects what I write:

First, I think everyone benefits from breaking up their routines and home life. I am like my dogs – I love my routines and feel comfortable within them. But they can become a rut. Vacation refreshes me, so I can relax and not feel obligated to do all the things I usually do in a week – publicity, writing, other work, chores around the house. I return from vacation excited to be back and with a new energy to tackle my writing and other obligations.

Travel also allows me to include new places and experiences in my stories! Especially when writing about the supernatural and vampires, I don’t want to have to set every scene or story where I live or have lived in the past. For me, however, I find it much more authentic and easy to use places I have seen and visited. Also on vacation, we experience different people and events, all of which may provide some inspiration for a scene or even an entire novel. For example, we visited the Winchester Mystery House on this trip – can you imagine how many ideas that house generated?!

There are other things but I will save you from reading further today. I encourage everyone to break up their routine with a trip or even staycation, as long as you get away from the routine while doing it! Thank you for checking out my blog!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Vacation

Sharing Lee Colgin with You!

Hey, Folks,

Today I want to share another author with you. I like to plug my fellow gay paranormal storytellers! I think you’ll like this one as much as I do.

Over the Emerald Valley by Lee Colgin is a great read! Here’s the blurb: Over the Emerald Valley is a gay paranormal romance full of snarky banter, dangerous secrets, steamy stolen moments and only one bed. It’s a stand alone novel within the Immortal Jewels series and can be read first or last with no spoilers, no cliffhangers, and always a happily ever after!

Here’s more detail for you! Life as a concubine to the devious Viceroy Abasi isn’t so bad. Temaj has food, shelter, and every inch of his skin is draped in emeralds. What’s freedom worth when weighed against the luxury of the palace?

Solon’s dutiful life earned him the rank of army general to the pharaoh. But when he’s sent on a diplomatic mission to an emerald mine rather than into battle, he senses the end of his career and a lonely retirement.

Temaj is gifted to Solon for his stay, but the last person Solon wants in his bed is a slave sent to spy on him—even if he is a gorgeous, silver-tongued vixen of a man.

Trouble brews when emeralds go missing. With only a clever concubine and the viceroy’s harem on his side, can Solon solve the mystery and escape with his life, or are he and Temaj destined to haunt the walls of the palace forever?

Buy It Here: Over the Emerald Valley!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sharing Lee Colgin with You!