Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A mother never forgets. @LeoRosanna #antibullying

As my readers may know, my son was the victim of school bullies about a year ago. I blogged about it here as well. The anniversary is approaching and it's brought up a lot of emotions for me.

I still feel anger because, in a sense, our family only got partial closure. Although school administration spoke to the other parents and brought those other kids into the office, we never heard directly from the other families. This was hard to take because we knew these people. I think a part of me would have liked to get an apology, no matter how small.

I still worry about my son. Although we made sure he got help from professionals, I often fear the situation will escalate again. After all, if a kid lashes out once, how do we honestly know he won't lash out again? And although my son has learned some great coping mechanisms, I worry he's still very hurt deep down. These were kids he's known for years. They were friends and they betrayed him.

I feel a lot of hope as well, of course. Our son has made some amazing strides. He asked us if he could take Taekwondo lessons. We enrolled him. He loves it and has thrown himself wholeheartedly into the activity. He'll be a black belt in no time, I'm sure of it. It has given him focus and allowed him to feel pride. After having his self-esteem demolished, he really needed to be able to shine again. And, boy, does he shine.

My son has re-established his friendships with a couple of the bullies. They even hang out. A couple of the boys expressed remorse and honest surprise that they would have bullied another kid. Hormones ... I get it. Combine them with peer pressure and you have a terrible combination sometimes.

For the most part, my son has forgiven them. Well, as much as he can forgive them. They'll never be best buddies, as he says, but they can exist in the same school together.

As for me, I find it harder to forgive. I've tried, believe me. It isn't easy. I watched my lovely son get torn down over a period of weeks. This will be an experience he never forgets. It will shape him. Yes, we are building him back up but I question why this had to happen in the first place.

My husband tells me I need to let it go and I agree. I'm certainly not going to hold a grudge against a bunch of kids. But as the anniversary of the incidents approaches, I'm shaken by how well I remember the pain of those moments. I remember the tears. I remember the helplessness.

Do we move on? Of course. There is no choice. We seek to build newer, happier memories to replace the vile ones.

But have I forgotten? No chance.






Friday, May 19, 2017

Book-bound For Niagara Falls #RTF2017 & A New Release



Book-Bound For Niagara Falls!


As this post goes live, I will be on the road, heading to Romancing the Falls, 2017. There is nothing more exciting to me than book signing events where we have the chance to meet our readers, and fellow authors up close and personal.

With the digital times of writing and publishing romance, so many of my kindred spirits I meet online. Lovers of dragons and everything paranormal, hopeless romantics, and die-hard readers who fiercely love their authors and travel to the ends of the earth for a chance to meet them in person.

A handful of authors from this very blog will also be in attendance (take a peek at the banner above to see who!), some of which, I've yet to meet in person, and others I have and absolutely adore.

So what is this event I'm so excited about? Have a look and see! http://www.romancingthefalls.com/

***

#RTF2017: Author Freya Barker and Rebel Edit & Design have joined forces to put together an amazing event in Niagara Falls, Ontario, on Saturday, May 20th, 2017.  We’re delighted to announce the ‘Romancing the Falls’ #RTF17 author event and signing.
We have plans to make your stay in the honeymoon capital, Niagara Falls, a memorable one! Niagara has so much to offer, from the amazing view of both American and Canadian Falls, casinos, gorgeous parks, unbelievable restaurants, countless phenomenal wineries to a truly bustling nightlife!
Featuring a line-up of internationally recognized authors this is going to be an exciting event and is being held at the Marriott Gateway on the Falls, in Niagara Falls Ontario.
So what will this group of book lovers be doing this fun-filled weekend?
Our divine hostesses arranged for us to stay at the most luxurious hotel.
They planned a fantastical evening Friday with a Fireworks cruise.
After a huge book fair/signing with over 70 authors, they've planned an evening of fun filled with fine dining and an after party to knock your socks off. No one will want to leave when it's over!
(And I'll share a little secret...I may be getting my first tattoo this weekend too!)
***
As fate would have it, I've been lucky enough to have a release coincide with this event, so I'm gonna tell you all about it! I'm so pleased to share with you, my next Wiccan Haus story with Decadent Publishing: Mythic Iron - A Wiccan Haus Dragons' story.


Blurb:


Flames of Venom…
When the president of Mythic Iron is brutally slain, the VP and the sergeant at arms set out to protect the club’s legacy, and next target. Sai is a world-class MMA champion, and a half-breed dragon with a fiery temper. After the vicious murder of her mother, she fled the arms of her two mates and the MC, and made her way to the ring. A fighter with an edge, she doesn’t apologize, never holds back and doesn’t need saving. The unexpected arrival of her estranged mates coincides with the biggest fight she’s ever had; the one for her own life. 

Dragons of iron…
A leather-clad soldier of fortune with a patch was all Levi could be without her. The MC had taken him in years before, an injured child with no past. A purple dragon with a propensity for danger, he’s evolved into the ultimate weapon for their club. Can he ever reclaim their mate, or will she kill them first?

Drake was born into a legacy of crime… 
In the wake of their mate denying their bond evolved a cold, merciless dragon who did whatever the MC required of him. A reunion with their mate is soon wrought with tragedy, leaving Sai critically injured. Devastated by his failure to protect her and the people she loves, he reaches out to an old comrade for help.

Welcome back to the Wiccan Haus. A place meant for healing, but will the arrival of the purple dragons mean the end of island peace?

Excerpt:


“No….” She widened her eyes and shook her head. “I don’t want to hear it.”
“Babe, please, you have to listen—” Levi asserted.
“I said no!” she hissed. “Hortese, who’s scheduled for a bout tonight?” She spun around and jogged over to the banged-up lockers and grabbed a roll of tape.
Levi moved to follow her, but Drake gripped his shoulder. “Don’t.”
“There are a few new people tonight. Didn’t recognize their names, but they haven’t arrived yet,” Hortese told Sai.
“Yes we have,” a low voice boomed from the doorway.
Drake twisted around to find six, gargantuan men in dark pants and T-shirts, sauntering in. The epitome of bad news with stone-cold expressions, domineering stances, and muscular physiques. Their presence shot pangs of caution through his stomach.
“Brother.”
His sergeant of arms mumbled back, “What do you want me to do, take ’em out?”
“Not yet. We don’t know why they’re here. See how she handles it. We’ve got her back if anything happens.” If only he believed his own words. They had no way to know if these were the same guys who ransacked their clubhouse last night, but he’d bet his patch they were.
“Who’s first?” she called out in her raspy, venomous tone.
Drake glanced over to find her narrow her eyes and slowly slither the tip of her tongue across her upper lip. She was pissed, but now she was on guard, too. Sai pounded at the old CD player until the tune “Mortal Combat” blared throughout the gym. Her serpent sense of smell alone would have alerted her to something about the new arrivals he’d already suspected. Her traditional kick-ass tune was the tell. Shit was about to get real.



***

Mythic Iron will be available in both ebook and print! 



Now that you're up to speed on the current events, I'm off to Join a phenomenal group of readers and authors for an exciting weekend. 

Happy reading!


Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Ultimate Relationship Test by @elle_rush

There are milestones in any relationship. First dates, first overnight visits, first time travelling together. They are all big events in their own ways, but the big test, the true test, on whether you and your partner will make it through the tough times comes...

when you try to assemble Ikea furniture together.
I'm pleased to tell you all that I am in a stable relationship that is going to last. In the past two months, we have assembled a bed frame, two night tables, and a dresser. We have one dresser to go.

We are still talking to each other.

It's not as easy as it sounds. Sure, all the instructions are in pictures, but if you get the pieces to fit in a way they aren't supposed to, there is no way to undo some of the steps! If it were just screws or dowels, that's one thing. But now they have these plastic nails with screw ridges on them that you hammer in. Those suckers aren't ever coming out once they go in. Thank goodness we had a drill downstairs because I inserted a couple pieces backwards, and all of a sudden the holes we needed for step 8 were on the inside of the drawer instead of the outside. Thankfully, that was on the first drawer of my dresser. The rest of the drawers were fine, and I learned my lesson.

Partnership is working together, and knowing the difference between small problems and big problems and dealing with them accordingly. Accidents happen, apologizing and moving on is important on both sides.

It's important to remember that you should not attempt this relationship step until you are sure you are both ready. If all goes well, the experience could teach you things about your partner you never knew...like how many curse words they know. Happy construction!

***
Dena and Curtis aren't at the Ikea step, but they are travelling together, separately. For a fun, quick read on the upcoming long weekend (Happy Victoria Day, Canada!), check out Mexican Sunsets.

     
     "What’s on the agenda? Sky diving?”
     “Funny. Not,” she echoed. “Tomorrow is shopping. El Malecón for souvenirs and silver. Want to come?” she asked him as she usually did.
      He almost said no. He was going to. Then his head nearly bounced off the table when his chair was hit from behind. The trio of rugby players from the plane apologized as they headed out for the night, talking about Señor Frog’s and the ultimate Frisbee competition being held the next day.
      "Curtis, I don’t think you should stay on the resort. Come with me,” she coaxed.
      It was probably safer. But this was Dena. “Okay.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Plum Trees, Floods and New In Print! #Writing #CanadianMuscle @KaceyHammell



Good morning everyone! I hope you've had a fabulous month since I last visited with you. In my burg of Ontario, it's been endless rain, a record amount in the beginning of May at more than we had all month in April. The flooding in my area, thankfully not my property, has been catastrophic for many and my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected. 


This is an image from a friend of mine's street. At least she can enter from the other end of it, as this access is closed off and water a problem to drive through. I will be glad to see the end of rain for those suffering the problems from it. My hay fields, however, are loving it. They are greener than they have been in a couple years and while I hate the issues for others, it is a positive for farmers. 

I also love to see the flowers in bloom. Especially driving along some roads and seeing the tulips out, bright and beautiful. Our plum tree has blossomed for the first time since it was planted. We've been able to make plum jam the last couple years but this is the first for flowers. I'm quite impressed because it's really beautiful, and there are 3 other plum trees starting to grow up in the same area. Plums anyone ...? LOL 

Here are a few pictures of the full bloom plum tree.


 

In book news, Guarding His Anchor received a TOP PICK from Night Owl Reviews. I loved Pauline's review, and to know that she will be reading more of my work.  Guarding His Anchor is also available in PRINT! I'm a very fortunate writer for such accolades. Truly blessed.

Links to the print >> Createspace // Amazon Canada // Amazon US



I hope you have a wonderful month ahead. 

Until next time, 
Happy Reading!





Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mothers day @tdanielsauthor



Hey there all my lovelies! Happy Mothers Day! I've been a busy girl the past few weeks, and I'm just returning from a fantastic weekend in Chicago where I attended Wild & Windy in the City, as a signing author.  What a great event, city and fantastic people.

I had a lot of time on the nine hour drive to think about this post and all the things I'd like to say about this day. It's the day that we take the time to recognize all the wonderful mothers in the world for their outstanding strength, unselfish acts and unconditional love.  But what I thought about mostly today on this long drive was not all the things I did right, but rather all the things I didn't.
I was 22 years old when my first son was born, a new adult. I was still trying to figure out life in general. I finished school, got married, bought a house and planned our family. I was excited about my pregnancy and the new chapter of my life. It really didn't strike me just how much my life was going to change until I went into Labor. 

Nobody starts out, intending to fail as a mother. There's a learning process. For some it's a natural instinct that comes easily to them. For others it takes a lot more work. Irregardless, we love our children. I raised three kids on my own, and I did my best. Was I the perfect mother? Not likely. Were my decisions always the right ones? Nope. Did my kids still love me? They do. They've grown to be strong, independent kids, despite my 'fails'.  So today, I want to recognize all the imperfect moms, grandmothers and Stepmoms out there. The ones who do their best, but made mistakes. The ones who are still learning, but kept on trying.                                                                                                                                                           Life as a parent hasn't always been easy, but I have never regretted my decision, not for one minute. 

In additional I would like to say Happy Mother's Day to all the women,
who haven't had children of their own. It's really does take a village, and there's not quite like a woman who can be a mom to someone else child.



New Release !

I'm pleased to announce that I will be releasing my new Novel named Refusing To Expire on May 31st 2017.  To Celebrate you can pre-order the ebook for 99 cents on Amazon until release day ! After May 31st the regular price will be $2.99.

Amazon Pre-Order Refusing To Expire

Love sometimes comes to us when we’ve completely given up on it.
You just have to let go of the past and accept it.

Tori Campbell has neglected her needs as a woman, for far too long. Times are tough, money is tight, and raising three boys without a positive male role model in the house is challenging. After months of online dating, she realizes that there’s a whole lot of crazy out there. Discouraged, she struggles to accept that she may spend the rest of her life alone.

Roger Ford hasn’t been lucky in love, so far. He’s looking for someone to share his life. Someone to laugh and dance with. The moment they meet and he gazes into her enchanting, green eyes, he falls hard. Everything just seems to fit. Well, almost everything.


Roger may not be the perfect man, but he is no quitter, and he’s determined to prove it.




Friday, May 12, 2017

A tribute to my mom and all of our household of pets. #MothersDay #PetsInSpace @jsubject


This Sunday is Mother's Day in North America, a day where we celebrate all of the love, support, and sacrifices of our mothers, or the woman who has helped to shape our lives. And I've decided to write this month's post as a special tribute to my mother.


Growing up, she didn't teach me about fashion, how to wear makeup, or even how to braid hair. But the life lessons she did teach me proved far more important. I learned how to love, how to accept others, regardless of their differences. I learned how to be open-minded and selfless, and how to work hard.

I also learned her love for pets. For as long as I can remember, we have always had multiple pets in our house. Usually at least one dog, one cat, and some fish, we have also had hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and various small birds. After I left home, she had hedgehogs. And I heard stories of her having a toucan and various reptiles when she was a child.

My mom and I used to work together at the same pet supply store.
And she was about to become a grandmother.
After my brother and I were in school, she gave up babysitting to work at a pet store. And she's worked with animals since then, not only selling pet food and supplies, but grooming cats and dogs, and training dogs. She is so proud to have helped train dogs for deaf clients, and will soon be certified to train dogs for therapy.

She was also very involved in the Ontario Cavy Club. Yes, just as there are dog shows, there are also shows for guinea pigs and rabbits. I learned a lot about genetics during that time, as well as many other life lessons.

So, when I was asked to write for the upcoming Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 anthology, I had plenty of pet experience and information to draw from.

To my mom: I love you! Thank you for being you, and allowing me to be me! <3



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. http://jessicasubject.com



Thursday, May 11, 2017

When the bough breaks - Musings on deadlines and other mayhem




All was going well in my little world. Things seemed to be under control, and then… I looked at a calendar. Panic kicked in, along with the tearing of hair, flailing of limbs, and a fair bit of cursing. How did it get to be May already? I had ages left to finish this book. I had a month to prepare for a major software upgrade at work. There was a plan, dammit!

As you may have guessed, as so often happens, my plan didn’t survive contact with reality. I was out on a limb, and that sucker broke, sending me into freefall.

The software upgrade at my day job devolved into chaos and frustration as the work piled up and the promised technical support and training failed to appear. My desk currently looks a tsunami of paper hit it. There are teetering piles of documents, a plethora of sticky notes, and a desktop Zen garden that currently has a frowny face raked into the sand (I didn’t do it.)

As a result of the situation at work, my muse went AWOL. Not really a surprise, she’s a delicate creature prone to fits of whimsy at the best of times. I spend a fair amount of my time cajoling her out of hiding with cookies and long hours spent looking through stock photos staring at pictures of hot guys. (We romance authors like to call this ‘seeking inspiration.’)

My next book, Three of a Kind, will be finished on time with or without the help of my muse. (If she stays gone, that means more cookies for me!) To make it all work, a few things have gone out the window in the last few weeks. Housework went first, and then carefully planned meals. I’m eating take-out in front of my computer most nights, or dining on chips, dips and whatever unlikely combinations of food I can find in the cupboards. I’m even drinking Soylent these days. (No, it’s not made from people…Apparently, it’s vegan!)



So, my condo is a mess, my diet is that of a teenage boy, and my new motto for everything is “I’ll deal with that after the book is finished.” If this is adulting done right, then I would like a refund, please. This isn’t what I was promised in the brochure. Staying up late, eating what I wanted, when I wanted, and wearing pj’s while the sun is still up all sounded a lot more fun than they really are. On the plus side, there is wine. (and when this book is done, there will also be tequila!)

Despite the chaos, stress, and occasional deadline-induced nightmare (and here I thought those would stop after college.) I am grateful. I’m living my dream of being a writer and sharing my stories with the world. My life is messy, magical mayhem, and I wouldn’t change a thing. (Except maybe the nightmares where I show up naked and running late for imaginary appointments. Really, those could go.)

As for my muse, I indulged in a little procrasti-baking at nine o’clock last night and whipped up a batch of chocolate shortbread cookies. The fickle creature showed up by the time they were out of the oven. Now if only I could figure out a way to summon cleaning fairies, I’d be set. Do you think they’d show up for brownies?





Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Canadian Programming That Inspired Me by Layna Pimentel


Man, oh man. I don't know how many times I started this post and kept deleting the first line. There's so many things I want to say, but would hate to bore you all to tears. So while trying to brainstorm what I want to share with you this month I figured I would do a post of Canadian programming and authors who inspired me from a very young age and still continue to do so. 
Truthfully, I have no idea what pushed me to submit those first terrible manuscripts ever, but you never learn, or will even know until you try.
My family had basic cable growing up. While it wasn't much, I soaked up every ounce of family programming I could find on cable. Let us a pause for a moment while sing praises of CBC. Thank you! Thank you for airing shows like Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon. My God! To this day, I still watch those reruns religiously when I can catch them. It wasn't so much of the wholesome approach to everyday life, but those beautiful and brilliant young ladies that Lucy Maud Montgomery brought to life, gave me hope and escape. 
Then there was TVO. My sisters were quite young, but I didn't mind watching shows to the likes of Read All About It, Today's Special, Dr. Snuggles and Fables of the Green Forest. I should note that it was TVO who also aired the original Dr. Who. That's probably where my first fascination with SciFi came from, but I wasn't supposed to watch the darn show, but did anyways. Yes. I was a defiant young lady at times. Kinda hard to imagine that, huh?
Fast forward to my late teens, early adulthood days. All that angst and gothic culture I loved so much drew me to shows like Forever Knight, La Femme Nikita (1997), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to more subdued shows like Road to Avonlea. Which I should note, my youngest daughter's name was inspired by Gema Zamprogna's character Felicity from Road to Avonlea. But how much of a Canadian would I be if I didn't mention Degrassi, The Beachcombers, Ready or Not, Kids in the Hall, Catwalk, Danger Bay, Due South (who can seriously forget the mounty) etc...
I can honestly say, I've come to appreciate the type of programming we had back in the day, compared to mish mash, hodge podge, wishy washy type of television we're seeing today.
Don't get me wrong, I have my favorites shows, but from a creative stand point, television has turned out to be much of what writing romance is like. Remaking tropes into our own visions. Trying to catch that wave of what's trending until the market becomes flooded.
Fast forward to 2011. 
After reading the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong I found myself blown away. Everything I loved about paranormal creatures and element wise was covered from A to Z. Colour me inspired. I wrote my first book then. I still have that horrible-I'm not kidding-horrible manuscript kicking around. I will be rewriting that book too, this summer with a little luck on my side. 
A few years later, I find myself published. 
Jump to 2017.
I now have eight published titles (technically nine, but the one has to be re-edited), and three more slated before the year is out. Quite possibly four if I'm feeling ambitious. 
This journey has been an interesting one filled with many disappointments, but the company for the most part has been amazing. I am grateful for this group of authors here on the blog. I've met most in the last two years at Romancing the Capital and have a few who are on my list to meet at some point.
We are distinctly Canadian. No doubt about it. You'd be surprised at how many of my fellow blog mates inspire me daily, but that's another blog post for another month. 
We all draw our inspirations from different places, but I'm happy to say I get mine from the arts, from the people I surround myself with and nature (I do live in Northern Ontario after all). 
What are you passionate about? What inspires you? I'd love to hear from you. 

- About The Author -

 Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Layna discovered her love of reading at an early age. She’s a bestselling author at All Romance eBooks and a multi-published author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary erotic romances. When she isn’t devouring salacious romance novels or writing, she enjoys hiking and researching ancient history, mythology, and weaponry. She lives in Northern Ontario with her husband and two daughters.


- Layna's Latest Book - 


Published by Liquid Silver Publishing. Copyright © 2016, Layna Pimentel.
ISBN: 978-1-62210-360-7
Historical Romance | Scottish
171 Pages

Laird Colin McIntyre is faced with a dilemma. Wed the daughter of his enemy or watch the destruction of his clan. However, he’s captured before he can declare war. Time is of the essence, and if he’s to escape, his only chance rests with the hope that his men arrive before the wedding.

Abandoned by her guardian, Beatrice finds herself stationed as a servant in the keep and ordered by Laird Sinclair to tend to Colin, who is being held against his will. Inexplicably drawn to the Highlander and his kindness, she vows to help him escape, but at what cost?

With their fates intertwined, will Colin and Beatrice finally be free of Sinclair's reign of terror? Or will they be driven apart once again by an invasion led by new enemy forces, never knowing how much they’re meant to be together?


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Ancestry

I completely forgot to post in April. April came up way too fast and I was balancing the deadline of two books and what I thought were never ending allergies that turned out to be my third bout of bronchitis in less than a year.

Once I remembered, I emailed the lovely Kacey and apologized.

D'oh.

April, besides being slammed with deadlines was a weird month for me. Emotionally. I was turning 39 and I was in the midst of genomes, halpogroups and discovering a piece of myself I always knew was there, but was told to forget about it.

If you know me or follow me on Facebook you know that my mother is now in a long term care facility. I almost lost her this summer and unfortunately being in long term care means, I will lose her sooner rather than later. She has cancer and a rare paraneoplastic syndrome that is attacking her nervous system. Cancer runs virulent on my maternal side. My Nanny had it and died from it, her twin had it, died from it. My grandfather has it now and is fighting it. My Mom has it.

The cancer prompted me to get a DNA test. Now, 23 and Me only tests the maternal side. I would have to get my brother or father to spit into tube to get my paternal line. However, services like GedMatch can find the trace amounts of DNA from your paternal line in your DNA, because I am made up of both my Mom and Dad.

The results came in and there, on my chromosomes were matches to Cree and Algonquin.

Now, this is something I always suspected. My father would always tell me that his father was adamant that they were Canadian, when in grade school I was trying to find out about our heritage for a project.

Mom's family came from Britain and Ireland.

Dad said "We're Canadian. That's all you need to know."

Well, the name Ruttan was French in origin but Dad would say we weren't French. We were Canadian. He told me his father was adamant they weren't French. I also knew we were United Empire Loyalists, but Dad didn't talk about his mother's side of the family. That was lost. His maternal line was spotty. Everything about his extended family was a bit spotty.

I wasn't allowed to do my grade school project on Britain or Ireland cause, according to the teacher, "we all were". I got assigned another country.

We started watching Spirit Bay when I was about 10 years old. Spirit Bay had Canadian talent such as Tantoo Cardinal and Tom Jackson. It was filmed in Northwestern Ontario where my father was from. Watching that show just reminded me of my father's family. Or pictures I had seen of them.

I never knew my father's family well. I know a few members, like my Dad's sister. I never knew my grandparents. My Dad's father was 62 when he was born and my Dad's mother was very ill. She did know me and there are pictures of us, but she died when I was 4.

The rest of the uncles and cousins, I didn't know very well. Just a few. I was growing up outside of Toronto and they were still in the north. Also, because of age gaps, they were all my Mom's age. They were adults.

There were soapstone carvings and pictures that my father's brother sent to him from up north. I think my longing to see my father's family is why I became obsessed with the north.

And my Dad, after reiterating over and over we were Canadian (or Empire Loyalists from his paternal side), he would tell me stories. Native stories about the Thunderbird. There were others, but the Thunderbird stuck with me because I got in an argument in public school during a thunderstorm and the teacher said God was bowling and I said "No, that's the thunderbird."

I think my parents got a call then because I was pretty adamant and couldn't except it was "God bowling". A bird protecting us from serpents rising from the water made more sense in my little brain back then.

My brother moved up to the NWT while my mother was in the hospital in November. I was so envious of him, because I was totally obsessed with the north. He texted me one day that he was welcomed with open arms by the Metis band up there and I started to cry.

And that's when Dad opened up about living in the bush when he was young. His sister, who is 11 years older, wrote me a letter to tell me that she and the older siblings were taught Cree by an elder who would come off the reserve to specifically teach them. She knew fluent Cree both speaking and writing. When my Dad was two, they packed up and moved out of the bush to a larger town and my aunt lost her ability to speak and write Cree.

She is in her 80's and she misses it, but it wasn't encouraged where they went. So she spoke English.

I told my mother I was jealous my brother was up there. I felt I belong up there and she sighed a sad sigh and said "I know, but we thought it was best to keep it from you."

So, April was a bit ...emotional for me. And when I told a couple of people about what I had found out about my heritage I got, "You don't look native."

I didn't know how to answer that. I am part my mother and father. My father is the same, being made up of both Cree, Algonquin and European. My mother, whose family came from England and Ireland actually has a lot of Russian and Fennoscandian in her. Way more than the British Isles. It explains the height. Her family and me, are 5'10" and over. I'm taller than my Dad.

Genetics being what they are, different traits come out. Always.

BUT that's not what I said. I was stunned and walked away.

Someone said I was going to get stuff for free now. Umm, no. That's when I directed them to Wab Kinew's amazing video about misconceptions.


I was worried about talking about this, because I didn't grow up knowing that part of my heritage. I don't have a voice about this, other I'm proud of what made me. I actually told Zoe York about all this at dinner one night in March.

I told her my fear, but she encouraged me.

I'm proud of my European connections. I'm proud to be part of United Empire Loyalists.

I'm proud of my connections to Cree from Northwestern Ontario.

I'm glad my brother was accepted up north and is finding his path.

He said to me he's never felt so accepted. He never felt like he belonged before and I didn't know that he was feeling the same way as I had all these years.

Dad's been opening up to me too about things that happened when he was young.

It's almost like he feels his mortality with Mom being so ill.

I am proud of who I am and walking a very hard road to learn more about it all.

So much makes up who I am and I'm still trying to learn it all, but I am glad after 39 years I know what makes up me.

And in this crazy, mixed up world I am still proud to be Canadian.

Born and raised just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Amy fled the big city to settle down with the country boy of her dreams.

After the birth of her second child, Amy was lucky enough to realize her life long dream of becoming a romance author. When she's not furiously typing away at her computer, she's a mom to three wonderful children who use her as a personal taxi and chef.

www.amyruttan.com
@ruttanamy

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Top 10 Carrie Fisher Quotes #MayThe4thBeWithYou @MichelleGAuthor


Of course I have to do something Star Wars related on Star Wars Day, but I had no idea what. In truth, it didn't take long to figure it should be something related to Carrie Fisher, an iconic writer and actress, whose death impacted me more than I would have expected. As a little girl seeing Star Wars for the first time, I fell in love with the spunky Princess Leia who wasn't afraid to speak her mind or do what needed to be done.

So in the spirit of speaking my mind, here are my Top 10 Favourite Carrie Fisher quotes (from this article in Rolling Stone).

10. "They always do [ask me to lose weight]. They want to hire part of me, not all of me. They want to hire about three-fourths, so I have to get rid of the fourth somehow. The fourth can't be with me."

9.  "Everyone drives someone crazy. I just have a bigger car."

8.  "I don't think I was ever suicidal, and that's probably because of drugs."

7.  "Instant gratification takes too long."

6.  "I feel I'm very sane about how crazy I am."

5.  "I'm not happy about being older, except what are the options?"

4.  "Resentment is like drinking a poison and waiting for the other person to die."

3.  "The only exercise I get lately is running of at the mouth and jumping to conclusions..."

2.  "Shame is not something I aspire to."

1.  "Sometimes you can only find Heaven by slowly backing away from Hell."

It's fair to say that the world lost a brilliant mind when Carrie passed away. Thank goodness we can still enjoy her words through her books and the wonderful internet!

I can't sign off without letting you know about my latest release, Running Home, that's in the Owned By the Alpha anthology from Evernight Publishing.



NEW Dark Paranormal Romance Stories by Bestselling Evernight Authors!
amazon-bestseller-icon.png 
OWNED BY THE ALPHA 
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 woman, 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 woman that he plays for keeps.
160,000 words

Scent of Destiny by Rose Wulf
Taken Mate by Sam Crescent
Finders Keepers by Stacey Espino
The Hunt by Doris O’Connor
Alpha at Altitude by Lily Harlem
Fated to the Razorback Demon by Maia Dylan
Running Home by Michelle Graham
Alpha’s Sunshine by Elyzabeth M. VaLey
Checkmate by Wren Michaels
Frozen Heart by Beth D. Carter
Wolf Hunter by Elena Kincaid
Returning to the Coyote by Roberta Winchester



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Loving it Short & Sweet with @NathanBurgoine

Given that May is short story month, it seems like a good time to talk about the shorter side of fiction.

Oh, who am I kidding? I've been waiting for May for just this reason.

To be honest, if you've ever talked writing or reading anywhere near me, you've likely heard me wax poetic about short fiction. But if you haven't? Let me be clear: I love short fiction. I love writing it, I love reading it, and I love how short fiction can open doors for new authors from both sides of the equation: giving first-time authors a shot at getting published through a call for submissions, and giving readers an opportunity to bump into a new-to-them author when they're reading an anthology.

That was my path, and the path of so many of my author friends. My first short fiction piece was "Heart," in an anthology called Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction edited by R.D. Cochrane and Timothy J. Lambert. In fact, there were quite a few people in that anthology who were getting published for the first time, and I've happily been following them ever since.

Not in a stalker way. In a reader way. Though to be fair, I did also get to meet most of them.

Now, for all my love of the forms of short fiction (be they short stories, novellas, or novelettes), I do know I'm not exactly in the majority. Quite a few readers are pretty vocal about not enjoying short fiction, and that's fine: we're allowed to enjoy different things. Heck, as lovers of romance, we sure know people get down on the genre as a whole, no?

I can't help but wonder, though, how often dismissal of the shorter forms of writing is done out of a lack of good experience. Or, put another way, how much of it should we blame on high school?

I know, I know, high school gets a bad rap. In the interest of being just as clear about how I feel about high school, let me be blunt: it was awful and you couldn't pay me enough to ever do that again. And even I, a lover of short fiction, pretty much disliked every short story we were forced to read for English class.

Like, a whole short story about teaching a dog not to be gun-shy when duck hunting? Who in their right mind decided that was something a group of sixteen year olds would find enthralling? For every "The Lady or the Tiger," (that one had the whole class chatting) there were a half-dozen stories that, in the hands of teenage readers, felt like the equivalent of watching paint dry.

So is it any wonder short fiction makes so many adults stop and shudder and recall chalk dust and classrooms and staring at a clock and hoping the minute hand will go faster?

In romance especially, the short story (and the novella) are, to me, the sweet dessert when I'm peckish. I can dive into a short story while I'm waiting for my turn with the doctor, or while I'm at a coffee shop on Sunday mornings with my husband, and get a full narrative. That little jolt of happiness is perfect alongside my hot chocolate or my tea, and leaves me smiling for the rest of my day.

During times when my time is crunched, it means I can keep reading. Back when I worked retail at Christmas, this was huge: I would almost stop reading entirely in November, and not start again until January. I'd sometimes re-read things I'd enjoyed, because I was too tired for the mental challenge of a new narrative. But once I'd discovered novellas and short stories? It was magic. In fact, the holiday novella is a huge thing, and I made it through retail Christmas after retail Christmas with tales like Eli Easton's Blame it on the Mistletoe, Anthony Cardno's The FirFlake, Brandon Witt's Teddy Bears, and Z.A. Maxfield's I Heard Him Exclaim.

Even better? I can finish the whole tale and not feel guilty if the to-do list is a kilometre long. Unlike "just one more chapter," the whole thing is likely the length of a chapter. So I read a story, smile, and get the laundry done. If I'm reading in bed, the end of a story makes a perfect lights-out moment, rather than realizing it's now three in the morning and I've got one chapter left on this novel but I need to be up in three more hours.

I mean, I still do that. But with an anthology, at least I can avoid it sometimes.

Although, sometimes this happens.
For me, one of the best things about the e-revolution in the publishing world has been the revival of the novella and short story. E-formats make novellas and short fiction portable (my Kobo is packed to the brim with short stories, anthologies, and novellas). Publishing a novella was a hard sell in the days of paper, as the costs of crafting the book, and the expectations of return on investment were pretty low from the point of view of the publisher. And I won't lie: it's not magically better now. Short story anthologies will likely never be on the same footing as the novella, and certainly they don't perform as well.

But man am I glad they exist. I wouldn't be anywhere without them. And I wouldn't have "met" so many amazing authors if I hadn't bumped into some of their short stories first. There are even novella series that function as shared worlds that invite you in to a familiar surrounding and let a new author give you a story with every instalment, like Kayleigh Malcolm's Craving His Love. The Black Hills Wolves series has over sixty novellas! Werewolf love at your fingertips, and what better way to try out a new author than with a genre you already know you love?

Okay. I'm going on and on about short fiction, and I'll stop after one more thing: side characters. This is another thing about short fiction where I often jump up and down and get really excited. You know how you read a great romance, and there's the best friend to the heroine and you just wish you could hear their story? Again, enter the novella or short story! After loving Heart Block, by Melissa Brayden, I loved one of the supporting cast, Lucy. And lo! Lucy got her own love story in the novella, Firework. This happens more often than you'd think, and is so much fun to track down.

So. Short story month. What about you? What was the last short story you read that you loved? Have you discovered an author through an anthology? What about novellas? Shared world series? Please let me know, as I'm always looking for more.

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Speaking of short romance, my short story "Range of Motion," appears in Men in Love: M/M Romance from Bold Strokes Books. "Range of Motion" is about a personal trainer who can't keep his eyes off a particular client who comes in fairly regularly to run on the treadmill who realizes he might have missed his chance when the client stops showing. But when he does come back, weeks later, it's obvious something has happened, and the easy going smile is gone. He decides he'd like to put it back.



Spring approaches with the promise of new beginnings, fresh adventures, and the thrill of romance rekindled or discovered. Hot, sexy guys abound—meeting on the ball fields or the boardroom, at the theater or the classroom—falling in love and lust for the first time or celebrating a lifetime. Come join the rites of spring and indulge yourself in the passion and pleasures of our luscious men in love. Stories from some of today’s popular m/m romance authors explore the many faces of men in love: gay for you, seductions, weddings and more.