Hello everybody. Stopping by the home blog to post the schedule for my blog tour for Falling Snow on Snow, a holiday novella releasing on 12/23 from Dreamspinner Press. I’m excited about this book, a contemporary romance with characters who made me fall in love with them while writing. (I hate/love it when that happens.) Falling Snow on Snow is up for preorder now and I’m on tour. Links are below, and a rafflecopter giveaway, with a couple of chances to win the book, and more.
Hello, and welcome to my post for the style: color;maroon>Happy Holidays Blog Hop! I decided to keep it simple, and post a short list of short (holiday-flavored) lists. That’s coming right up. I’ve also got a little Lou Sylvre news and info, and a prize drawing and teensy swag offer for Holiday Hoppers. For more holiday-style goodness, check out the other bloggers in the hop, listed right here at this link to the blog of our host, Nikki J. Markus..
Now to the lists!
My three favorite things about the holiday season (not counting being with people I love, because that goes without saying):
(The first list.)
Lights! Or perhaps I should say “light,” because winter is soooooo dark. It would be different if I lived in the southern hemisphere, I suppose, and I don’t’ think I felt this way growing up in Southern California, where it never gets quite as dark in December as it is here, a mere thousand miles north in Washington. Our daylight hours here are pathetically short for the months bracketing the solstice, and the low-angled sunlight often hides behind cloudy skies. Holiday lights and candle flames truly “make the season bright,” and it’s a life-saver.
Pajamas. No seriously. It’s a family tradition to gather on the day of our celebration for breakfast. The rule is pajamas. No one is allowed to be dressed in actual street clothes, even if driving many miles to get to the gathering. This is my rule, and since I’m the grandma, well, it goes. I’d make allowance for guests, but generally speaking, those outside our immediate family who have chosen to join us are perfectly willing to get into the spirit, and they wear pajamas too. In fact, they often wear the silliest pair.
BreakfastWe have lots of food. I no longer have to cook it all. We all manage to squeeze in at the round table . Those are all good things. But my favorite part about the day is German pancakes—that’s what we call them, and they’re reasonably close to what I’ve seen called a German pancake in the few restaurants that have them on the menu. But this is a family recipe. Interestingly, my mother, who was from Germany and came to the US as my father’s bride when he was stationed in Frankfurt in the late 1940s, had never seen such a pancake in her homeland. She learned the recipe from her mother-in-law, whose heritage was a mix of Native and French Canadian. Regardless of whether they’re German, they’re darn good eating, a hefty version of a large crepe, which can be eaten with maple syrup, or rolled up with jam (or whatever) inside. They were always a treat when I was growing up, and now the big treat for me is to see not only my children, but my grandchildren devour them.
(The second list)
Three lists of holiday books (a list of lists in a list of lists):
That’s it for my holiday bloghop entry. Comment by 12/21 with a tiny winter list of your own and enter win a $10 GC for the Dreamspinner Press catalog.
Some Lou Sylvre news: Falling Snow on Snowreleases 12/23 from Dreamspinner, available for preorder now, and I’m on a blog tour! Start here at MM Good Book Reviews blog for day one (yesterday), and get all the links for preorder and for the rest of the tour. While you’re there enter the blog tour giveaway, too! Here’s a review by Mt Snow on Rainbow Gold Reviews.
One last special thing. I’m giving away a litte, itsy-bitsy holiday Vasquez and James Universe vignette, available online at Love Bytes blog, or get a printed and signed copy. If you trust me with your mailing address (I won’t abuse it), write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll mail you a copy.
Hi readers! I’m trying, this month, to catch up with a few of the things that I’ve fallen behind on, and one of them is “Rainbow Snippets”, a brainchild of author Charley Descoteaux. The idea is for lots of authors to post snippets and link them to the associated Rainbow Snippets Facebook group. Click that link, and from there link to dozens of authors posts. It’s a great way to shop for a book that hooks you, and believe me, many of them will do just that with only a few words. Go see for yourself—but not before you check out my contribution this month, please!
I’m happy to spread the news here that this holiday-themed contemporary romance is accepted by Dreamspinner Press for release this winter. Here’s the snippet, blurb to follow:
The scene is inside Pike Place Market in Seattle, pre-Christmas, and guitar-playing busker Beck Justice is playing something rare—a holiday song he likes—even though he knows it won’t bring the big tips. And as he plays, an unseen singer joins in.
Beck wasn’t, in fact, a man of religion. And though he admitted the possibility that something more existed than what could be seen, the closest he knew to spirit lived right there, in the music. In the tones born in the body of a fine guitar, the passage of breath through the vein of a flute. In the flight of sound on the wings of a perfect voice. Like this one.
“Snow was falling, snow on snow.” The singer wove the words over and under the harmonies he offered up with fingers and strings, turned them into something different, something more.
The song ended, as all songs do. But this time, when the words stopped and the echoes died away, Beck felt a thrill of panic, for he still hadn’t located the singer. What if he never found them, never again heard that soaring voice, never looked into the eyes of the man who sang.
For Beck Justice, December is black-hearted and cruel. It’s been that way for a long time, since before he found himself on the streets eight years ago. His recent step up into a tiny apartment and a Busker’s permit for Seattle’s Pike Place Market has done nothing to change his mind. When singer Oleg Abramov comes into his life, Beck begins to think there might be light in the middle of the bleak winter, but his efforts to get to know Oleg are blocked at every turn—mostly by happenstance, but also by his own fears.
Oleg wants Beck in his life, but when he opens up to let Beck into his heart, Beck disappears. Finally, things begin to look brighter for a possible future with the two of them in it together, until Oleg overhears a phone conversation and jumps to the wrong conclusion. It spells the end for their romance unless they both risk their hearts to trust.
Okay, really it’s the Dreamspinner Press bundle, available from iBooks!
—Loving Luki Vasquez: Reclusive weaver Sonny Bly James and ex-ATF agent and all-around badass Luki Vasquez can run from desire, but they can’t hide from the evil that hunts them. Sonny and Luki will have to call a truce and work together to fight an enemy intent on making sure loving Luki Vasquez is the last mistake Sonny will ever make.
—Delsyn’s Blues: While dealing with newly formed barriers between them, Sonny and Luki become the target of a new threat from outside: an escalating and unexplainable rash of break-ins and assaults.
—Finding Jackie: When Luki’s teenage nephew, Jackie, is lured into capture and torture by a sadistic killer, the honeymoon is well and truly over. The couple must put aside their differences to find Jackie before it’s too late.
—Saving Sonny James: The events of the last couple of years have begun to catch up with Luki, who must break free of the subsequent PTSD and depression and get to France fit and ready in time to save his husband’s life.—Because of Jade: Luki and Sonny must combat self-doubt and fear and help each other learn to parent an unexpected child—and they must also nourish the love that has kept them whole for the past ten years.
—Yes: From their first days together, Sonny and Luki stood united against deadly enemies and prevailed. But now the deadly enemy they face is the cancer thriving inside Luki, consuming his lungs.
—A Shot of J&B: Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true. A case from Brian’s police job with Scotland Yard, however, places Jackie in mortal danger.
Hi again. This will be a short and sweet afterthought to my original 2016 hop post. Here I address something different, and personal.
First, an apology. IDAHOT’s official name has expanded to “International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia,” and it’s about time. Maybe the name still isn’t inclusive enough, but it’s better.
My first hop post (please read it here) focused on visibility. Well, I’d be willing to wager bisexuals are among the most invisible people on earth simply because people assume. I should know—I’m one of them. And all my life has been a journey in and out of the closet, often finding myself boxed in there when out was where I truly wanted to be–especially true in the workplace. You may think that’s easy to overcome, but for me, it wasn’t—and it still isn’t even though I’ve reached my sixties, write gay books, and work at home.
So this apology is to all of us bisexuals. Here I’ve been trying to tout visibility—being visible and making it safe for people of all Queer spectrum identities to be visible—and I’ve effectively closed the blinds on us. How easy it is to make that kind of mistake! Vigilance is required for all of us.
So, that brings me to the second part of my post, essentially about how human brains work. It’s called growth.
I’ve been reading other blogs in the hop and I’m impressed. People are just awesome. Me? Maybe not so much! I see people who have known exactly where they fit on the gender and sexuality spectrum all their lives, and on the other hand allies who were allies from day one.
Me? Not so much. First, I wanted to be honest and open and live with integrity from day one, but I had to do a lot of unlearning and re-teaching myself before I was any good at it. Maybe it’s because most of the people whose posts I’ve read are significantly younger than me and the world has changed with every passing year. Whatever the reason, I had to listen to people, examine my own mind, and find understanding before I knew exactly where I stood in relation to others on the spectrum, and even in relation to my particular location in the rainbow. I am not ashamed to say there was a learning curve. Although I never had an inclination to dismiss someone as a non-person or hurt them because of sexuality or gender identity, knowing queer people as no different from me and knowing that love is love was not something that came automatically. Nor can it have done so for anybody else—even if they are not aware of having learned these things. Wherever and whenever it happens, we are what we learn.
Frankly, I’ve decided that admitting I had to go through this process is like a coming out for me. I’m hoping by talking about it, others will be encouraged to examine their beliefs and prejudices (we all have them), to adjust lifelong thinking, to understand that such work is not only okay, but for many of us a necessary part of growing into the kind of people who can consistently squash hate under the weight of love.
Hello! It’s IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia), and I’m here (with the rest of the hop bloggers and readers) to talk about visibility, awareness, and equality.
Well, that’s a lot to talk about, so let’s break it down. Let me start today by talking about visibility, and specifically visibility in the United States.
This year, Trans-related issues are big on everyone’s radar, what with hater legislation (let’s call it what it is) about—of all thigs—bathrooms being very visibly bandied about and enacted in several states, with North Carolina’s HB2 taking a front and center position though Tennessee and eight other states including Minnesota have similar bills. Yes, visibility is an issue across the LGBT-QIA spectrum, but for now, let’s talk about Trans, baby.
“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry—which is happening as I write—is one of them.”
Why focus on visibility?
As I see it from a historical perspective, because visibility is the crux of this focus on toileting. Conversely, invisibility has been both a product and a tool of hateful bigotry for… well, maybe as long as there have been humans who hated. If you are a member of any group that has been marginalized (to any degree) by the dominant culture, you very likely have experienced invisibility. Sometimes, it is a protective instinct to retreat into it. If a hypothetical ‘they’ don’t know that a hypothetical ‘you’ is African, Native, gay, lesbian, refugee, bisexual, HIV+, immigrant—anything that doesn’t match ‘their’ perception of ‘like us’—if ‘they’ don’t know, it is possible to avoid being excluded, ridiculed, ignored, followed around by the store detectives, or beaten to a bloody pulp. Sometimes, invisibility isn’t on purpose. ‘You’ can’t or won’t or just don’t happen to hide your color, country of origin, sexuality, gender identification, age (etc), and therefore the store employee skips over you, your job application gets lost, you speak and no one hears you.
But it shouldn’t be like this. Not only does rendering certain people invisible in society result in numerous individual violations of constitutional human rights, it attempts to rob people of status as human beings. You realize, don’t you, that in the sixties, if you had asked school officials about gay or queer students, they very likely would have said they didn’t exist?
I believe bigoted people feel threatened because trans (and other rainbow spectrum) individuals have shrugged off their cloaks of invisibility—a brave thing to do, dangerous, but life-affirming. People have embraced their identity and thus their humanity. “I am this person, exactly as I am meant to be.” That is a joyful thing, to be celebrated.
Except to the person who keeps their mind closed around the training tapes they’ve heard all their lives, which make it clear that if someone is different, they’re dangerous. If that’s the case, you’re likely to be afraid.
Two ways to deal with fear. One: find out why and fix it. This usually involves a willingness to learn and understand—to listen and truly hear. Two: turn it into something else—hate.
Getting back to North Carolina where you might have to flash your birth certificate to get into a bathroom (because hey, what’s more important for a state legislature to spend time on than where people pee?), just today I saw an article relative to North Carolina’s ridiculous law, being trans, and visibility. Singer Laura Jane Grace, founder of the punk band Against Me, decided they shouldn’t cancel their appearance. In her particular case, she thought another approach would be more effective.
She’s a trans woman, you see, so she burned her birth certificate on stage.
Thank you for reading and hopping for the cause. Comment on this post and enter your name for a giveaway: $15 Gift Certificate Dreamspinner Press, ARe, or Amazon. I’d love to hear how you feel about visibility, whether you have experiences to share, news, or thoughts on the subject. Or, comment on any aspect of these issues, the hop, or my post.
Here are all the blog hop links, for your convenience! (Thanks all you bloggers!)
Hi readers! This will be a quick post, but fun. I joined a facebook group called Rainbow Snippets, which believe is the brainchild of the talented author, Charley Descoteaux. I’m supposed to post a snippet here, and then link back to the group. So here is a tidbit from Saving Sonny James, the fourth book in the Vasquez and James Series.
No matter what else, one thing that would always be true for Luki was that he loved Sonny, and never wanted him to hurt or fear or even endure discomfort because of him. So Luki stood up and opened his arms—but tried to keep his pits under cover—and when Sonny stepped in close and melted against him, Luki squeezed him hard. Before he broke the embrace he kissed Sonny’s damp cheek, and then Sonny kissed his lips—put into it a little more than relief, a little less than heat. For just a moment, all the clouds that hung in curtains across Luki’s mind parted, and he saw a future—a day when trouble would pass and he and Sonny would have a happy day.
But not yet. Because some blond guy who reminded Luki too much of the infamous Richard entered the Cup O’ Gold and said—loudly and nasally—“I’m looking for Sonny James.”
In seven fantasy short stories and novellas, men find passion with other men in the most unexpected places, and even the gravest circumstances may open the door to hope and love.
This anthology includes two brand-new short stories. In “The Sacrifice,” Rylo is a temple slave tasked with comforting a man who is scheduled to be killed in the morning. In “Chasing Away Cold,” Daku builds an ice sculpture of the god Jarli in order to ensure the end of winter. The collection also includes three novellas and two additional short stories, gathered for the first time in a single volume. “Treasure” introduces Jules, a young man who travels to the quirky seaside town of Urchin Cove to regain his health—and finds an unexpected treasure washed up on the beach. Xolani, a soldier in “Three Wishes,” picks up a small glass bottle and unleashes a surprise. Another soldier, Volos in “Guarded,” will risk everything to save Prince Berhanu. In the sequel, “Mato’s Tale,” an unassuming innkeeper gets a chance for adventure. And in “The Downs,” Enitan is unjustly banished and comes to discover that the demons he must face aren’t the ones he expected.
Join Kim Fielding on journeys through imagined worlds where magic is commonplace and romance lies just around the next bend.
All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers.
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.
It is my true pleasure to host Anne Barwell today, as she stops on her tour celebrating the upcoming release of Family and Reflection, book 3 of the popular Sleepless City series, available for pre-order now at the Dreamspinner Press Store. Read on to find out what the heck Easter eggs have to do with books. 🙂 (Also, the blurb, buy links, an excerpt, and a few facts of interest about Anne Barwell.)
Thanks, Lou, for hosting me today.
Something that sneaks into most, if not all of my books, is an easter egg reference. I’m not referring to the chocolate goodies associated with the Easter Bunny, but intertexual references to other books I’ve written. My stories take place in the same universe, so occasionally a character or place from another series has a cameo in the one I’m writing.
A couple of characters from The Sleepless City— a series which is a joint project with Elizabeth Noble— have turned up in other books but so far, only a couple of readers have picked up on it. Often the cameo isn’t something I planned from the outset, but sometimes it’s deliberate either because I’m setting up for something I haven’t written yet, or I need a character in a certain place or time, and I figure as I have an existing one who is there already, why create another? One character—I’m not saying who as that would give too much away—had a blink and you’d miss it cameo in my WW2 book Winter Duet, and a much bigger than I intended one in my WW1 novella, On Wings of Song. Another has turned up in my current WIP One Word, so it will be fun seeing if anyone notices her when things get that far.
On the flip side, there’s also a reference in Family and Reflection to another story I’ve written. It is a very small one, but the clue is that I don’t reuse character names. If you think, “isn’t that the same name as so-and-so in such-and-such a story?” then it probably is the same person.
That’s one cool thing about writing characters who are vampires. There’s a lot of history to play with…
Family and Reflection
Book 3 of The Sleepless City, Sequel to Electric Candle
For as long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has close friends who are vampires. The werewolf pack in Flint—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s association with vampires is barely tolerated, and another transgression will be his last. When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help even though his own life may already be in danger.
Declan has been away from Flint for ten years, but he isn’t surprised to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a vampire and professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible. With the council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out, and for Lucas and Declan, everything is about to change.
Declan turned the page of his book, read the first paragraph, then shook his head. He wasn’t sure why he’d bothered, as he couldn’t for the life of him remember what had happened on the previous page, let alone in the last few chapters. He closed the book with a thump, got up from the table, went over to the fridge, and opened it.
He wasn’t hungry, but if he had been, the mold-covered plate on one of the shelves would have put him off whatever else had taken his fancy. Someone really needed to have a word with Lucas about leaving his science experiments to breed. Declan lifted the plate somewhat cautiously and sniffed it, then wished he hadn’t. City coroner or not, this wasn’t… normal. Normal people cleaned out their leftovers before they got the chance to become strange new life forms.
Even if, in this case, his definition of normal was a werewolf.
But, despite his reaction, Declan couldn’t bring himself to throw the—whatever it was—away. To him it was disgusting, but to Lucas it might be some new discovery crucial to whatever he was currently working on. And Declan didn’t want to upset Lucas. In the short time they’d known each other, he’d become quite fond of Lucas, and enjoyed the time they spent together.
Declan sighed. He returned the offending thing to its previous resting place, ignoring the visions of reanimated zombie leftovers creeping up the stairs to attack him in the middle of the night, and instead got a wineglass out of the cupboard. He poured himself a decent-sized portion of his favorite red beverage and settled back down on the chair he’d recently vacated. As much as he enjoyed a good vintage wine, there were times when one had to quench one’s other thirsts. He sniffed the glass and savored the aroma before swallowing.
Hmm, not bad. It was amazing the standard of blood available to purchase through the right sources. It made it so much easier to feed than it used to be, and less messy too.
He heard the light step on the stairs and human heartbeat long before Ben reached the kitchen and stood awkwardly in the doorway.
“Hello, Ben,” Declan said. “Don’t worry, you’re not disturbing me.”
“If you’re sure?” Ben Leyton ran one hand through his thick dark hair. He looked tired. “I couldn’t sleep, so I thought I’d make a Milo and see if that helps.”
“I heard Simon having a nightmare earlier. He never did sleep well on anniversaries.” He’d known Simon Hawthorne a long time; Jonas Forge had introduced them shortly after Simon had been turned. Declan had also helped Simon through a dark part of his life, triggered by the events he suspected had prompted this particular nightmare, given the time of year. “I also don’t mind if you turn on the light.”
Although Declan didn’t need much light to see, especially with the full moon casting its glow into the room, Ben would appreciate more illumination.
“Yeah, well, they’re the worst times for most people, I guess.” Ben flicked on the light switch before walking across the kitchen. He filled the kettle and put it on to boil before reaching into the cupboard and bringing down a green can. “Do you want some? It’s a chocolate drink.”
“Thank you but no.” Declan indicated the glass in front of him.
The loud howl almost made him jump, and only years of practiced self-control stopped him. Even so, Declan’s hairs stood on end on the back of his neck, and the howl sent a shiver through him.
Lucas howled again. Frustration, anger, and loss all rolled into a sound that was pure wolf.
Declan knocked his glass over, spilling its contents. Without thinking, he moved at vampire speed, catching what was left of the blood in his palm and drinking deeply.
The glass fell to the floor, smashing into tiny pieces. He ignored it and finished the blood, then wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. A low growl escaped his lips. He knew his eyes were completely green. They tended to do that when his fangs extended.
When he looked up, Ben was staring at him, his eyes wide. “I’ll clean up the mess, shall I?” Ben said hurriedly, already heading for the broom.
“Don’t worry,” Declan said. “I’ll do it. Make your chocolate drink, mon ami. It’s my mess, so my responsibility, yes?”
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.
Anne’s books have twice received honorable mentions and twice reached the finals in the Rainbow Awards.
Vasquez Inc #4—A Shot at Perfect (Click to preorder)
Vasquez and James Vol. 1—Click the cover to buy!
Vasquez and James Vol. 2—Click the cover to buy!
Adult Content Disclaimer:
This blog is not pornography, however it will from time to time include material suitable for adults. If you are not of legal age in the country where you live, please leave the site. Thank you. Others, proceed at your own discretion, and please enjoy!
Sunset at Pencarrow—New Zealand Romance by Sylvre and Barwell (Click to Buy)
Click to buy QSF 2019 antho, Migration!
Click to buy QSF 2018 antho, Impact
Falling Snow on Snow—Seattle, Snow, Music, Love (Click to buy)