Today is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. There’s a blog hop going on among authors and publishers for this event – and I’m not actually part of it. (Life got a bit complex and I just missed the chance to sign up officially. I put a link for you at the bottom of the post.) But I still wanted to write something today. And if you read down, there is a prize drawing for one of my books as well.
This day is a mix of the good and the bad. The good – that we’ve come far enough with acceptance of the LGBTQ community that discrimination is seen and not universally ignored or condoned, and that we have an international event for acceptance. The bad – that this day is necessary because those phobias, the fear and hate directed toward anyone “other” than mainstream heterosexual, is still so strong we need every resource to fight it.
We’re making progress, mind by mind, and place by place. Just this week, Minnesota Democratic Governor Mark Dayton signed same-sex marriage into law. Couples can begin marrying in Minnesota August 1. The bill was passed by the state senate and house, just six months after voters rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Minnesota become the twelfth state in the United States to extend marriage to same-sex couples. As a Minnesotan, I’m proud of that (and may need to do a Mac & Tony short story after the fact… or maybe Simon and Paul should get married.) But the fight continues. And all of us can do our part, by writing, speaking, standing up.
The other day, I was in the grocery store parking lot and a nicely-dressed man came up to me. He pointed at my bumper stickers (things like “Celebrate Diversity” in rainbow colors, and “Vote No to Bigotry”) He told me he wanted to give me God’s word, and help me see how sinful being queer is and turn me to Jesus. In the past, I would usually say something inadequate like “Go away.” Because talking to people is not my thing. Writing, definitely. Talking, not so much.
But this time I managed to say, “I know a lesbian couple, both veterinarians, together twenty years and raising two special needs teens. I think God approves.”
He spouted something else about Jesus. I told him, “I think Jesus would rather see you helping animals and children than talking about hate in His name.”
He got very affronted about me telling him what Jesus would want. And I managed to just laugh and walk away. Did I change his mind? No. But maybe the cart boy, who paused to listen, heard being gay accepted and defended. Maybe that will make a bit of difference, if we repeat it over and over, publicly and widely. The tide is turning here. We can all help it move forward.
I sometimes get the boost of seeing that happen with my writing. I got a review of Lies and Consequences recently that said, “I read the summary and saw that the two main characters are gay. Since LGBT rights are an issue right now I thought it’d be a good idea to read the book, it’s an issue I don’t no a lot about…The characters are so in depth, after finishing I started to think about my opinion on LGBT rights because I didn’t have one before. This book caused me to look at an important issue in the world. I’ve decided that they should have the same rights as anyone else, I wouldn’t have an opinion at all if It wasn’t for the fact that I stumbled upon this book.” So a free story that I put out helped move someone’s opinion toward equal rights. That is so cool, and such an affirmation of the power of fiction to shape opinions. It’s not why I write – I write for love of the stories and to share them with other people. But it’s one hell of a great side effect.
So I’m going to link to the official Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2013 . (Although they may be having link problems – if so, you can do a search and find a lot of the blogs that way – there are many free books and prizes being awarded.)
And for those who made it down to here, I’m going to do a drawing from comments here and on my Goodreads blog, for one advance copy of Sole Support . Post a comment now through midnight Friday May 24th, and I’ll draw a winner on Saturday May 25th, ten days before the official release on June 4th.
So comment and then go out, look around and read the posts, and see what everyone else is doing today. Celebrate community and combat ignorance and prejudice. Shine a light on love of all kinds.
So, a progress report…
I’ve turned in my free story for the Goodreads M/M Romance group event, Love Has No Boundaries. My “short story” ended up as a 103,600 word fantasy novel. (Oops.) It’s pretty much classic fantasy, with a hurt-comfort friends-to-lovers type of M/M romance at its heart. There’s no fixed release date at present – sometime between now and August is as close as I know – and the cover’s not quite ready, but I’ll keep you updated.
It’s my first full-length fantasy (at least published as opposed to moldering on the hard drive.) I’ve done the short stories (Gift of the Goddess in the Carved in Flesh anthology, and the Fae Story Within Reach on my website) but that’s a bit different from sustaining world-building through a novel, so it will be interesting to see what readers think. This will be a freebie, downloadable from Goodreads when it comes out. The M/M team are putting in some overtime on this event – 189 free stories, two of which are out now.
I’m working on a modest collection of the short stories I’ve written for the YA LGBT group, to release as a freebie on Smashwords, and maybe OmniLit. I’ll put them out under the Kira Harp pen name. I’m trying to make it a somewhat balanced collection to represent the YA group as well as my writing, so it will have my two F/F, the one M/M/M, and a trans story I’m writing now. I have to pick 4 or so of the 15 M/M I’ve done, and decide if I should also write a bi story… I don’t want it to be a big deal, mostly just for fun and because there’s not as much YA LGBT that’s free as there is on the adult side. Kids often don’t have credit cards, so I thought it would be nice to add a few of mine. I’m not sure of the title – in my head it’s called “Assorted Shorts” but given the picture of mixed underwear that creates, I may have to do better. Or maybe mixed underwear is a good image…
Then I’m writing the third Hidden Wolves book, and editing the fourth Life Lessons, which I’ve decided to title “Learning Curve”. I liked my alternate title of “Bullet Points” a lot, but it’s a bit too dramatic for this story, I think. I’m totally saving it for something else though – maybe a Mac and Tony short story later on.
Anyway, that’s it.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. Now I’m going to go eat the cake my daughter made for me (banana chocolate chip, with chocolate icing, of course.)
I’ve uploaded the files to Smashwords and Goodreads for this free short story (or is 33,000 words a novella?) Either way, Unwanted Appeal – Hidden Wolves 2.5 takes place shortly after the end of Unexpected Demands – Book 2. It has spoilers for the novel, so they’re really best read in order.
Goodreads isn’t letting me upload .mobi files at the moment, but it’s available there in .pdf and .epub. All the formats are available on Smashwords. Obviously it’s a freebie either place. There is some forward movement of the relationship between Zach and Aaron in this one. I hesitate to put too much in the free stories, because they’re not as widely known or read, and I don’t want gaps between the pro novels. But I might try to get this up on Amazon as well. Having to charge for it there is a bit of a question…
Anyway, here’s the story – I hope you like it.
On Thursday April 25th, I plan to release the next installment in the Hidden Wolves series.
Unwanted Appeal – Hidden Wolves 2.5
This story follows after, and contains spoilers for, Unexpected Demands – Hidden Wolves Book 2.
Blurb: Werewolf packs traditionally stay aloof from one another, but gossip still spreads like wildfire. Whispers and rumors about Simon and his mate-bonded male lover, and the pack’s experiences with human were-hunters, are still making the rounds. Aaron, the Alpha of Minneapolis West, would love to see his pack’s fame fade into the past. But the arrival of two strange wolves makes it clear that for some outsiders, his pack is still considered a pariah, or a threat. For others, it has unwanted appeal.
This story will be available for download on Goodreads and on Smashwords. I’ll post the link when it goes live. This one is about 31,500 words. Hopefully readers will enjoy another look at Aaron, Zach and the Minneapolis West pack.
You saw the gorgeous cover last week; Unsettled Interlude is now available for free download on Goodreads from its book page, and also on Smashwords in multiple formats.
At 11,000 words, this is about a double-length expansion of the short story “Interlude” that I’ve had on my blog and website. Don’t read this before the first Hidden Wolves book, Unacceptable Risk, because of spoilers. If you’ve read Risk, then this story adds an extra glimpse into the relationship between Simon and Paul, right after the end of Book 1 and before Book 2. It will be a step back in time, for those who’ve also read the second book, Unexpected Demands. But I hope you still enjoy it.
The next free short story is coming soon. I hope to have the cover in a few days, and to release it in a week or so. That one is Unwanted Appeal – 2.5, and features Aaron and Zach.
I’ve also finished the 99K rough draft of my free novel for the Goodreads M/M Romance group, and now I’m turning back to writing Hidden Wolves Book 3. Fun!
Today I finished the rough draft of the free story I’m writing for the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s summer “Love Has No Boundaries” event. It’s going to be a somewhat angsty fantasy novel (over 90K because I’m addicted to writing.) I can’t tell you the title, since the group likes to play guessing games with that, but it will be a summer release. I’ll be able to give you some more information about it later. There’s still a fair bit of editing to be done, but it feels good to have the draft finished.
Now that I’ve written that story out of my brain, I’m going back to the two Hidden Wolves short stories I was working on. The first one, Unsettled Interlude – Hidden Wolves 1.15 is a rewrite and expansion of the little short I had on my website (Interlude), about Paul and Simon. I just got the cover for it. Isn’t this gorgeous?
This is by a new cover artist for me – Ren Brennan. I love the look. In fact, I need to polish up the story to match quality of the cover. Look for a mid-April release for this story. Ren is also doing a cover for the upcoming second story, Unwanted Appeal – Hidden Wolves 2.5, featuring Aaron and Zach. That one should be out in late April or early May.
(I do want to say that Enny Kraft generously offered to do covers for these and she has done wonderful artwork for me on several of my other freebies, but Ren had also offered first – and I love the result too. An embarrassment of riches to have more than one excellent cover artist doing my stories.)
After the short stories, I’ll be writing Wolves #3 and hopefully editing Life Lessons #4. My editor for that is pretty busy, so edits are a bit slow. I’ll let you know as soon as I have any clue about release dates for it.
I haven’t posted for a while, partly because I’ve been busy with real life and partly because I haven’t released anything new. In the past I’ve usually had an impending release to blog about, so it’s been a bit odd so far this year to have nothing. But I thought I’d let you know a few plans going forward.
The fourth Life Lessons book was accepted by MLR Press, and is in editing. I can’t yet predict a release date or even a release month, but you can think good thoughts for it. Editing is a bit backed up at the moment.
I’m hoping to release two short stories in the Hidden Wolves series soon as freebies. One is an expansion of Interlude, retitled Unsettled Interlude, about Simon and Paul between the existing two books. Although the original scrap of story has been up on my website, I’m doing a bigger rewrite and then will have it for download as well. The second story comes after the events in Unexpected Demands with a look at Zach and Aaron. I’m doing proofing and covers, and hope to have those for you soon.
My latest distraction has been a story I took on for the Goodreads M/M group’s 2013 writing event, Love Has No Boundaries. I really love writing stories for picture prompts and was sucked in by one that says,
Dear Author –
For so long, years that seemed to go on forever, I couldn’t bear to be touched. I put up not just walls but whole concrete bunkers to keep people out — not just emotionally, but physically as well. Sure, I was alone. But I felt safe. Only, after awhile, I wasn’t sure any longer whether a totally “safe” life was really worth living. But I was still too afraid to reach out. I started to think about a way out — a way out of living, that is.
Then someone came along. Someone…completely unexpected. How do I explain him? I can’t. But he wouldn’t give up on me, and he never believed in walls.
I was in a mood to write fantasy, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Working on this story is the perfect distraction (and I’ve passed 40,000 words in a couple of weeks.) It will release for the event sometime in the summer – June through August. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.
I’ve also registered for the Gay Rom Lit retreat in Atlanta this October. I’ll be going as an official author this time, which means swag and a book signing and some kind of panel, oh my. But last year was so much fun that I’m looking forward to it. For now, it’s far enough off that I’m not focused on it. I do hope to see some of you there, though. Last I looked there were still about 25 reader slots available. I’m planning to have an extroverted friend along to push me into going to events, so I may be more visible than last year. Hopefully this will be a good thing.
I’ll post again when the short stories are closer to being available. Thanks for sticking around while I get the writing back in gear.