New Release – Partners (Italian Edition)

I’ve been fairly quiet about what I’m working on lately, but I’ve had some wonderfully exciting things happening. I will update you more on what’s to come later, but one of those exciting things is the translation of “Partners” into Italian!

Last spring I worked with Francy e Alex Translation to translate the first book in the “Equals” series into Italian. The release of “Compromessi” went incredibly well and I happily agreed to translate “Partners” as well. Francesca and Alessandra have been lovely to work with and I am so pleased to announce that the second book, “Partners” is now available!

*waves to my Italian readers*

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All Romance

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

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(Note: I will update this post with the buy links for B&N and Kobo once they go live there)

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Flash Fiction Monday – Temptation

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“Get down from there, Sebastian,” I begged. Fear made my throat tight and quaver-y. But he didn’t appear to hear me. He was a dark figure, silhouetted against the sky. The fading sun tinged everything with a strange, surreal glow.

Sebastian wavered, almost losing his balance for a moment before he righted himself. His arms rose higher behind him, looking almost like wings as he walked along the fallen tree, so high up off the ground. Snapped off during a heavy storm, the tree had come to rest on the branches of another tree and made a bridge.

We walked these woods every weekend. Bullied and teased at school. Ignored or picked on at home, neither of us had anywhere to go but these woods. And no one to turn to but each other.

The moment Sebastian had seen the tree-bridge, he’d darted ahead of me and scrambled up to explore. Now, my heart sat in my throat, heavy with fear. Sebastian had been so vague lately. So distant and strange. More reckless than usual.

What if he  … but no, he wouldn’t? Would he?

“Please,” I begged again.

He turned to face me and closed his eyes, looking like someone about to dive from a cliff into the ocean. Only there was no ocean below. Just cold, hard earth and too far to fall in between. I held my breath. He crept forward, his scuffed sneakers reaching the edge of the fallen tree.

I whimpered, helpless terror making my voice mute, but he must have heard me because his eyes opened. Even at that distance I could see the blankness on his face.  He shook his head and seemed to snap out of the daze he’d been in.

“Come down, Sebastian, please,” I croaked.

He gave me a vague, fleeting smile, but turned and walked slowly across the fallen tree and shimmied down the trunk to the ground. I caught him in my arms the moment his feet touched the earth.

I squeezed him hard, too hard probably, but I was so relieved to see him on safe, flat ground. “Don’t fucking do that to me again,” I pleaded. “Please, you’re all I have. Don’t scare me like that.”

He mumbled something against my shoulder. I pulled back and he looked me dazedly, like he wasn’t sure what had happened. The look in his blue eyes was still vague and distant, but he nodded at me. I gripped his hand and led him away, but he turned back and stared at the tree.

“You’re all I have,” I repeated and tugged him further from temptation.

I didn’t know if I was enough to anchor him to this earth anymore. And without Sebastian, I had nothing.


That took a more serious tone than I originally planned, but

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

 

 

 

 

 

Photography – The Golden Hour #VantagePoint

A few weeks ago, I was approached by someone from Light.co about my photography. They’re a camera company with a new technology that sounds quite interesting, but since I don’t actually have a photography blog, I was rather surprised they’d stumbled across it.

I primarily think of myself as a writer, but photography really is my second passion. When they asked if I’d like to take part in their #VantagePoint project it was such an interesting project I said yes.

The challenge was to pick my favorite location to shoot and share my favorite photo from that location and tell a bit about why I picked that location and photo.

I debated what my favorite location was for quite a while. I have a deep love for Stratford, Ontario and have taken hundreds of photos of both the charming little town and the surrounding countryside. Nova Scotia was also a favorite place because of the incredible rocky streams and waterfalls. The Great Lakes were also a contender because being near them is truly my happy place. But in the end, I chose my parents’ property.

They own fifty acres, most of which is fields and woods. It’s a really lovely contrast to the areas near the house, which are beautifully landscaped. When they bought the property from my grandma and built the house twenty-five years ago, it was a bare field with woods ringing the outskirts. They’ve planted trees (with an emphasis on native species) and made beautiful vegetable and flower gardens. The house is tucked back on an angle and the driveway curves around to reach it. As you pull in the driveway you pass some clusters of trees. To the left and right are fields with wild grasses. Next, you see the small barn and two horses grazing in the fenced in pasture. Next is the vegetable garden. And then you see the house and garage. Although only a few decades old, the house seems much older. Flower gardens ring the house and in the height of summer, it’s absolutely stunning.

The variety of subjects I can shoot on that property is what makes it so appealing. I can shoot both the wild fields and cultivated flowers. I can find an endless array of textures and shapes to do close-up shots. The area changes drastically throughout the seasons, and there’s always something interesting to point my camera at.

It was difficult to choose my favorite photo, but the one I finally settled on is a great example of what the property looks like in late summer as the sun begins to set. Photographers refer to that time as the “golden hour” when the light is softer and warmer-toned. It gives everyone and everything a magical glow.

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This particular photo was taken a few years ago. Friends met me at my parents’ house and we had a bonfire. If I remember right, it was to celebrate the engagement of friends of ours. It wasn’t a planned shoot, but I happened to grab my camera and took a handful of photos of the light, the sunset, and then the bonfire.

Although the golden hour makes everything look more beautiful, it can actually be quite difficult to capture especially as it starts to wane.  The photo can be washed out or too warm in tone, with no cooler tone to balance it out. The shadows can also be tricky. When I caught a glimpse of the sun peeking through the trees and highlighting the leaves that were just beginning to turn yellow, I knew I needed to photograph it. But capturing that was difficult.

I took a handful of shots that didn’t quite manage to get the right balance. It wasn’t until I stepped further to one side and only caught the edge of the sun in the frame that I got that perfect blend of warm light and interesting shadow and texture.

I shot it using my Canon Rebel XTi, which I’ve owned for maybe 7-8 years (I had a Canon Rebel G before that when I shot with film). I used my favorite lens, a Canon EF-S 55-250mm zoom.  It’s a really versatile lens and I find I use it most when I am shooting a wide variety of subjects. In this particular case, I was zoomed all the way out to 55mm, but if I’d wanted a close up shot of the light through the leaves of the tree I could have zoomed in to get a very tight shot. I absolutely love that flexibility.

In the end, I picked the photo because it perfectly captures the mood of that evening and the feel of the property. Sometimes it takes dozens or hundreds of pictures to get that perfect shot. And when you’re racing against the setting sun to capture the light it adds an extra challenge.

But getting that perfect shot makes it totally worth it.

Note: If you’re curious to learn more about light.co’s new camera, stop by their site. It uses a really interesting new technology. One drawback of my Canon is the size and their camera does promise DSLR-technology in a much smaller package. I am definitely intrigued by the idea.


Disclaimer: I wasn’t compensated in any way for this post.  I just found the project and camera interesting and enjoyed the chance to discuss my photography.

 

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Monday – Whiskey and Need

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“We shouldn’t be doing this,” Rey said, but there was no conviction to his tone, just thick need, barely suppressed.

The garish light from the neon motel sign lit the side of Barrett’s face and highlighted the rugged handsomeness. Rey’s chest felt tight as he looked at his partner, Barrett. Partner in the Springfield police department, that is. Not his lover. Or at least they hadn’t been.

But their mouths were inches apart and Barrett’s grip on his shirt was tight.

They’d been skirting this moment for weeks now. Months of getting to know the man under the stoic façade, months of noticing the width of Barrett’s shoulders, the solidity and heat of his body, and months of fighting it. Weeks of wondering what his mouth tasted like. Days of being holed up in this motel together and trying not to stare at Barrett’s chest, broad and lightly furred, damp from the shower as he walked around the room in a towel.

“You think I don’t know that?” Barrett’s voice was a low rumble and Rey felt his gut clench as he imagined that sound in his ear as Rey pinned him to the bed.

No, he knew Barrett understood the dangers as well as he did: work conflict, the danger of being found out by their colleagues, Barrett’s family.

Barrett half-rose in his seat, pulling Rey toward him.

Rey’s head swam; his brain entirely incapable of rational thought anymore. The throb in his groin and the need in his chest overwhelmed everything else.  They shouldn’t  … and yet  …

Barrett’s mouth landed on his, tasting of whiskey and need.


 

This week’s flash is short, but hopefully sweet.

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

 

Don’t Tell Me It’ll Be Fine – Pt. 2: The Plan

To see Pt. 1: The Rant, click here.

Last night, I got a message from a friend who lives out of state. He was in the area and asked if I was free and wanted to grab dinner. I’d actually canceled a date (the guy turned out to be racist and xenophobic, ugh) so I met my friend in Ann Arbor instead.  Although we touched briefly on the election and the consequences, our conversation primarily covered everything else.

We stayed at the restaurant until they kicked us out and it was a massive relief to laugh and joke and just enjoy a good meal. I drove home with a smile on my face, singing along to show tunes. It was glorious.

For a few minutes, I felt guilty. But I realized that I needed that break. It didn’t make me any less determined to make changes in my life or fight for myself and the people I care about. On the contrary, it allowed me to do that better.

I fell asleep easily and woke up feeling more rested than I have since Tuesday.

Today I feel mentally equipped to sit down and make a plan.

Here it is.

The Plan:

  • Set up a recurring monthly donation to the ACLU. (Already done)
  • Donate to other groups like Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center as my budget allows.
  • Find organizations and groups that are educational and help me connect with others who want to make change happen. (Ongoing, but I’ve already started)
  • Attend local events where my voice can be heard.
  • Contact my legislators through petitions/letter writing campaigns/calls. (Ongoing, but I’ve already started)
  • Seek out the voices of people who are marginalized and listen to what they have to say. (Ongoing, but I’ve already started)
  • Contact the Ruth Ellis Center about volunteering my time. It’s a wonderful organization in the Metro Detroit area that helps:LGBTQ youth. I donate to them around the holidays every year, but I need to do more.
  • Be scrupulously careful about only sharing verified news and information about what’s happening. There will be plenty of horrible results of this. There’s no reason to spread false information. It only hurts us. (Ongoing, but I’ve already started)
  • Vote with my dollar. Support ethical companies and actively avoid supporting companies that are contributing to the problem.
  • Stop tolerating minor comments against women/minorities/LGBTQ people. I know there are times I could have spoken up and haven’t, and that has to stop. (Ongoing, but I’ve already started)
  • Attend the Million Women March in D.C. in January to show that my voice won’t be silenced.
  • Work on learning the difference between preaching and educating people.
  • Come out to my former coworkers. If I lose them as friends that will break my heart, but I will not hide who I am anymore, just because it’s going to be difficult.
  • Allow myself  to take a break for my own mental health. (Ongoing, but I’ve already started)

Quick note: Here’s a great resource for self-care specifically for bisexual people: https://bisexual.org/self-care-for-bi-people-election-edition/

Please, please, feel free to comment with other constructive suggestions. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Don’t Tell Me It’ll Be Fine – Pt. 1: The Rant

The Rant:

You tell me to calm down. You tell me it’ll be fine.

First of all, you don’t get to tell me how I feel.

I am a bisexual woman. I have family and friends who are LGBTQ and minorities.

I am scared. I am sad. I am angry.

And I have every right to be.

Because it’s not going to be fine. It already isn’t fine.

Not when a man who ran on a platform of hate got elected to the presidency. Not when his vice president actively supports conversion therapy and stripping away the rights of women and minorities. Not when the world has seen the worst behavior not only condoned, but rewarded. Not when an Anti-LGBT hate group is running the domestic policy transition. Not when the architect of one of the most racist laws in modern US history and a man who wants to bring back McCarthy era witch hunts are being considered for prominent positions.

You tell me that there are checks and balances in the government. Yes, there are. One of those is US Senator Harry Reid who is speaking out about Trump. But with a Republican-controlled House and Senate, and the potential for Supreme Court Justice nominations those checks and balances can be eroded.

You tell me that Trump will back down and that he won’t accomplish everything he’s promised. That’s possible. But what if he accomplishes 10% of those things? Doesn’t sound like much, does it?

But what if I lose my health insurance?

What if I fall in love with a woman and no longer have the civil right to marry her?

What if my Hispanic friend’s kids are tormented and frightened and told to go back to Mexico?

What if my cousins are beaten to death because they’re black?

What if I’m raped or assaulted?

What if these things are done because of his policies or because of his hate speech?

If you voted for Trump or didn’t vote at all, can you look me in the eye and justify your choices?

Can you tell me that your beliefs are more important than my health and safety and that of everyone I care about?

I don’t hate Trump voters and the people who didn’t vote. But I do feel betrayed. You were given a chance to stand up for me, to support me, and you chose not to. If I know you personally, that cuts me deep. And the closer we are, the deeper that cut goes.

You gutted me.

Yes, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. To vote as his or her beliefs and values dictate. You say you had a right to not vote at all. That’s true.

But there are consequences. And one of those consequences may be losing my trust and respect.

I am not someone to whom anger comes naturally. Extreme emotional stress typically makes me cry. But this week, in between the tears, there has been red-hot fury like I’ve never felt before.

On Thursday, a friend said, “They woke the dragon.” And maybe that’s true. But it doesn’t feel like red-hot anger anymore. It’s still anger, but it’s something cooler. Something infinitely sharper and more effective. It’s determination.

This has been building for a long time.

To whatever degree I have kept silent when I could have spoken up, that is over now.

To whatever degree I’ve hidden my identity, that is over now.

To whatever degree I have allowed people to slide or given them the benefit of the doubt, that is over now.

I am done.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish putting together an action plan for how I am going keep these things from happening to myself and my loved ones. To all of you.

I will take some deep breaths and try to let go of the anger. I will mend fences with people I got angry with. I will try to listen to their concerns and their reasoning for their choices. I will try to reach across the divide.

But today I am angry.  And that is okay.