Sunday, January 22, 2017

Coming Out of My Political and Social Shell by Christa Tomlinson




I debated all week whether or not I would share this post. I don’t normally talk about political and social issues online for two reasons. One, I don’t feel that I can speak eloquently enough to accurately express my feelings. And two, I really despise arguing with people on the internet. However, now that our new presidency is in place I feel it is my duty as a citizen to share where I stand. I have seen many posts from people who don't understand why some of us are concerned with our new executive leadership. I'd like to try and explain that concern.

I am African American. I am a woman. I write m/m romance, not to be exploitative but because I enjoy giving usually marginalized characters the center focus and a happily ever after. All of those things are a part of me, and they influence my view of the world. They also influence the way the world sees me.

Let me tell you about a few of my experiences with the police. When I was sixteen, I got my first car and my first job. I was driving home one night from hostessing at Red Lobster. As I drove down Florissant, a police officer was coming the other way. My seat belt was on. I was going the speed limit. I had license plates. Still, he looked at me, then busted a U-turn in the middle of the street and zoomed up behind me. Lights flashing, he pulled me over. He goes through the whole check my license and insurance thing, sees everything is in order, and let’s me go. I didn’t think anything of it, I was sixteen. And in my circle, I’d heard stories of police harassing black people for no reason over and over again. As messed up as it sounds, that’s just what I expected. 

At twenty-three, I was dating a college classmate. Sadly, his brother died in a horrible car accident. My boyfriend arranged for me to ride with his friends to the funeral. Like my boyfriend, they were all white. Two of them were police officers, so it was only natural the conversation turned towards cop stories. One guy (not one of the cops) mentioned how he’d been pulled over for driving drunk. The cop let him sit in the front seat. They chatted the whole way there. Once they got to the station, the cop gave the guy a set of handcuffs, and told him to put them on so he wouldn’t get in trouble for bringing someone in without them. Everyone laughed at how cool the cop was. Then I told my cop story that had happened about a month earlier. 

I was pulled over for having a headlight out and ended up arrested for an unpaid Metrolink fine. My fault, I was irresponsible and kept forgetting to pay the ticket. But when I was taken in, my hands were cuffed behind me. The cop kept verbally poking at me, aggressively asking why I was out that late, who I’d been to see, etc. I didn’t answer. Not because I was smart enough to think of my Miranda Rights, but because I was scared and angry and trying not to cry. The more I didn’t speak, the madder the officer got, until when he was booking me, he outright threatened to add more charges on. I stayed silent. What the heck was I supposed to say to that? Yes, sir, officer sir. Thank you for only bringing me in for this one charge. Please don’t add more. I’ll kiss your feet and come clean your house as a thank you. I mean, really. 

After I told my story, the van got quiet and the subject quickly changed. 

When I was twenty-five, I was pulled over while driving down the highway. I had a shiny new sports coupe, so yes, I was speeding. The officer asked to see my insurance, and I reached into the glove box to get it. All of a sudden, I heard shoes scuffling on pavement, and the rustling and jangling of all the stuff cops have on their person. I froze and looked back over my shoulder to see the cop with his gun half way pulled. I didn’t know what the heck to do, so I just sat there terrified. He eventually took his hands off his gun and I gave him my insurance. I’d been following his instructions, but he was still so nervous/jumpy/scared of me, a young, smiling and cooperative, 130-pound woman, that he nearly pulled his weapon. I don’t even want to think about what might have happened if I hadn’t stopped moving in time.

I’m not saying all cops are horrible and racist. I’ve been pulled over a few times for speeding and let off with nothing more than a warning. (I and my insurance rates appreciate it) My point in telling these stories is to illustrate that yes, black Americans are often treated differently than white Americans by police officers. The history between us and police officers isn’t the best. That won’t go away in one or two generations. It definitely won’t go away if people feel they have the right to see and treat African Americans as second class citizens. And that’s only one example of racism in our country. 

Because of this, it makes me nervous when our country has a president who hasn’t demonstrated the best in race relations. He said multiple times during the debates that “the blacks” live in horrible, poor, crime-infested inner cities and don’t have any education. My diploma, my friends and family, and a whole mess of other black people with careers, education and financial security disagree. A couple of years ago, he tweeted: “Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won’t see another black president for generations!” Lumping all black people together and blaming all for the perceived failure of one? That is racist. He referred to an African American Trump supporter as his African American, grossly implying ownership. And not once did he outright and emphatically denounce the support of the KKK. 

All of that concerns me. Shit rolls downhill. If people see the person at the top treating minorities poorly, they will feel free to do the same. For me, that is a very scary thought. 

I had a boss who requested that his female employees come to work wearing makeup. He didn’t like female employees to wear their hair in a ponytail. When I cut my hair off, he made fun of women with short haircuts within my hearing. He only wanted to hire women who were attractive. It made me uncomfortable and thankfully, I no longer work there. But now, we have a president who bragged about his extremely poor treatment of women. As a woman, that concerns me. Because again, shit rolls downhill.

I see people laughing at artists and the self-employed who are worried about their healthcare, telling them to get a real job. Okay, I can do that. All artists, writers, musicians, and fashion designers can get “real” jobs and have insurance through our employers. But if we all do that, who will create the art, books, music, movies and clothing that you consume? Don’t we deserve to have affordable (not free) health care while pursuing our careers? 

I see people mocking boys for wearing make-up. I see laws passed to prevent transgender persons from using the restroom they are most comfortable with. I see people who don’t even want to make a freaking cake for a same-sex couple. That is not the America I want. If we truly want to make America great, then we need to make sure that rights, security, and opportunity are there for all – not just those who are a certain race, religion or gender. Yes, we rejoice in the rights we do have. But we also need to make sure those rights aren’t reversed by the new administration.

Many Trump supporters say voting for him doesn’t make them racist, homophobic, etc. They ask for people like me to give the Trump presidency a chance. Fine. But in exchange, I’m asking everyone, NO MATTER WHO THEY VOTED FOR, to do something for me. If you believe in your heart that you are not an intolerant person, then stand up when you see intolerance happening. 

Have a family member that calls Michelle Obama a monkey? Call them on that crap and tell them it’s racist and disrespectful. If you hear a friend using homophobic slurs, let them know it’s inappropriate and not funny. See people making fun of women for being too girly/ too butch/too smart/too dumb/too sexy/too frumpy/too whatever? Let them know they don’t have any right to judge how that woman is living her life. Understand that a culture that is different from yours isn’t wrong, it’s simply different. Don’t share social media posts denigrating groups without checking to see if that image or article is actually true. Stopping these small transgressions is important, because it prevents them from growing large and out of control.   

I’m not here to chastise anyone because of who they voted for, or for choosing not to vote. That ship has sailed and I’m not your political conscious. I’m not going to unfriend you on Facebook (unless you post intolerance or hate). I’m not going to tell you not to buy my books. That’s not the kind of person I am. I don’t want to exist in an echo chamber where I surround myself with people with the exact same views as me, and I don’t want you to either. Exposure to others is what helps us learn to embrace our differences. Instead, I ask that you LISTEN to the concerns of your fellow Americans rather than saying ‘get over it, we won, don’t be a sore loser’ and help to keep our country on the path towards equality.  

tl;dr: Have empathy y’all.

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Christa
 
 www.ChristaTomlinson.com
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Saturday, January 21, 2017

I Have a New Release Out Today! Shadow's Edge by S.C. Wynne




Hi all!

I usually don't use this spot for promo but I have a new release today so I decided I would. It's a little different from what I usually write. I love mystery and psychic stuff so I decided to give into that affection and start a psychic detective series. It is still heavy on the romance side because I love mm romance, and can't imagine not adding those elements to my stories.

This one is about a psychic who's helping out a homicide detective on some of his tougher cases. I'll post the blurb below and a buy link in case this sounds like your kind of story!

BLURB:

Liam Baker can see things. Dead people like to visit him and tell them how they were wronged. Some might call it a gift, other’s a curse. But either way this ability makes him useful to Los Angeles homicide detective Kimball Thompson.

Some madman is slitting the throats of young male prostitutes and then dumping their bodies in the desert with vague clues of pink feathers and the number five. Usually Liam can talk to the spirits of the dead. But someone is blocking him. Someone is taunting him.


The case is rapidly deteriorating into a violent, psychic pissing contest and Liam can’t see far enough ahead to figure out who wins or who dies.


I had so much fun writing this story. I got to touch on my more macabre side. Oh, yes, it's there. lol But I also got to indulge my love of angsty romance. I hope you enjoy this one and I'll see you next Saturday right here! 


Friday, January 20, 2017

Romance With a Capital R by Felice Stevens


If you've read my books you know I write romantic stories of men falling in love, or, in the case of my next release, Reunited, men already in love but facing challenges. Yes, I write Romance...some may call it schmoopy, some may call it sappy, but whatever you want to call it, I stand by it. I grew up reading romance books that swept me away to glittering courts or pirate ships, harems or the English countryside. It was a way to escape, if only for a few hours the stress of everyday life. And what I like to read is what I like to write.

I'll be the first to admit authors shouldn't read reviews, but sometimes its can't be helped. I've been sneered at and laughed at for unrealistic plots and storylines, but the more I've written the more I've learned that for every book someone didn't enjoy, there is a reader who did. I'm here to talk about that part, because it's important.

In the last few weeks I've gotten quite a few emails from readers, and to my surprise they've mostly been from men. I'm going to quote them because their words truly resonate with me.

"Hello Ms. Stevens, I just finished A Walk Through Fire and wanted to tell you what a great story it is. I actually took off a day of work to finish the book and now I wish I had more to read... I normally don't cry when reading stories, unless it's about a dog, but you did it to me this time. Thanks again. Bob R."

"This is not typical of me, but... I just finished your book Beyond the Surface. I'm usually a stoic, hard person. I wept through much of the book. Mostly of the acceptance from Nick's family (which I never got) as well as the realization of what Julian experience as to what is valuable in life. Great book. I am somewhat transformed. Lol. Corny, but from the heart. Than you. I need to cry." John. J

I didn't post this to puff myself up, but to show how for every story there is a reader. I personally am thrilled when any reader takes the time to send me an email about any of my books good or bad, but to have it come from men, especially gay men is especially validating. For an author to know that your book has touched a reader personally is the highest compliment.


So yes, I write Romance that some may call old-fashioned but I plan to keep on writing just the same way. I write books where men aren't afraid to show emotion, love fiercely and whole-heartedly and want to find love and their own happily ever after. Hopefully the stories will keep resonating with you all.

Coming soon!
Reunited, the sequel to Rescued is coming January 31st.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New book and newsletter by Riley Hart


I released a new book with Devon McCormack! FAKING IT is the first book in a new series. We're having so much fun with it! We hope you guys enjoy it!

Buy from Amazon

There’s never a dull moment at Metropolis…the condominium known for having the hottest openly gay tenants in town. The boys of Metropolis are always on the prowl for a good time. They like their drinks heavy and their tricks easy.

Gary should be living it up in his South Tower unit of Metropolis, but he’s having a hard time adjusting to his newly single status. It’s not easy to walk away from five years with his ex, who he discovered was cheating on him with some North Tower twink. After a night out partying, licking his wounds, he goes to bed alone. When he wakes the next morning, there’s a naked guy in his bed. Not just any guy. A stud from North Tower. But hot as he is, what the hell is he doing in his room?

Travis doesn’t get why Gary’s freaking out. So he went home with Gary’s roommate and accidentally crawled into the wrong bed. It’s not the first time he’s woken up in a strange place. Maybe Gary would loosen up a little if he gave it a try as well. Travis has more important things to deal with though…like his meeting with an investor who could give him the money to start his massage parlor.

They’re both sure that’s the last time they’ll have to deal with each other until a mix-up leads Gary’s ex and Travis’s investor to think they’re an item, which Gary and Travis use to their benefit by posing as a couple around town. Soon, they discover the chemistry between them is off the charts. Travis brings out a sexual confidence Gary didn’t know he had—one Travis enjoys exploring with him. But as the two keep up their boyfriend hoax, Gary realizes Travis isn’t as shallow as he thought. Gary’s starting to develop feelings for him. But Travis doesn’t do relationships, and Gary should know better, considering they’re just faking it…



Also, I have a new, more official newsletter! Enter your email address below to keep up with my new book releases. There will also be exclusive newsletter content--giveaways, teasers and more included :)












Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Inspiration


Earlier this month, Dominic and I spent 11 days on a Caribbean cruise.  I love winter vacations to sun and sand.  They always fill me with energy and spark my imagination.  The stories are already churning in the back of my head.  But I thought I'd share some of my pictures.  I hope one of them sparks your imagination.




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Evil Plot Bunny is up and Running! Kiernan, BA, Julia and Sean


Hey y'all

Thanks so much for bearing with us while we work through the aftermath of the All Romance Ebooks disaster. It is a disaster for all of us, because we all write full time and depend, in varying degrees, on our royalties to pay our bills. With what Lori James stole from us, we could have all gone to Mexico and lived at the beach for a year. At least.

So if you keep up here, y'all might have seen that in addition to self-publishing on Amazon, Nook, Kobo etc, we're building a place to sell our books directly to the reader. It's called Evil Plot Bunny, and it's a super simple, easy to navigate Wordpress site with a paypal cart that takes Paypal and cards. We don' have access to your financials at all. All of that goes through paypal.

The newest releases are the Club Raven series books by me, BA, and Kiernan, which were up for presale at ARE but were never released, and Nature Call by BA, which is in the same boat. Sean has 3 books up right now, all of which were released in November and December and she's not getting paid for by ARE :(

My Grizzly List books are up, which were at ARE, the last one out in December, and there are some great reprints up by TC Blue.

Anyway, all the books will be available at Amazon as soon as they clear review (They're taking forever) and eventually on Nook, Kobo and Smashwords.

We hope you'll give EPB a try, and thanks so much for all of your amazing support and help!

XXOO

Julia

Sean’s website is http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

Julia’s is http://www.juliatalbot.com BA’s is http://www.batortuga.com

Kiernan's is www.KiernanKelly.com

Facebook:

Sean -- https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites

Julia -- https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor

BA -- https://www.facebook.com/batortuga

Kiernan -- https://www.facebook.com/kiernan.kelly

www.wvilplotbunny.com

Monday, January 16, 2017

Flash Fic of Zev & Jonah by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday! I wrote a flash fic for Boy Meets Boy Reviews featuring the characters in Wake Me Up Inside at the end of last year and now I want to share it with you. Enjoy! - CC

Zev & Jonah Flash Fic by Cardeno C.

“How many hotel rooms like this have we stayed in over the years?” Jonah Marvel asked as he toed off his shoes and ran his hand over the wood paneling covering the wall in the Kfarkattan Inn.
“Too a high number for my little brain to count, Blondie.” Zev grinned, dropped a kiss on Jonah’s lips, and took the suitcase from his hand. “Which means you have no chance of calculating it because I’ve always been better at math.” He put their bags in the closet.
“How do you figure?” Jonah leaned against the wall and enjoyed the view of Zev’s firm butt as he bent over to remove his shoes and then his socks.

Zev closed the closet door, straightened, and then turned around. His amber eyes twinkled and his dimples flashed. “My grade was higher.”
The face that had caught Jonah’s attention as a boy was leaner now, the body tall, broad, and muscular, but at thirty-four, Zev’s hair was still the same brown streaked with mahogany and his eyes still gazed at Jonah like he was the most important person on earth. And Jonah knew that to Zev, he was. The feeling was mutual.
“Oh, please.” Jonah stepped forward, needing to feel his mate’s heat under his palms. “Less than two points difference in one quarter of algebra doesn’t mean anything.” He shoved his hands under Zev’s shirt and pushed his fingertips over the muscular ridges of his stomach, rucking his shirt up to his armpits and then over his head.
“You always spend twenty years hanging on to specific details for things that don’t mean anything?” Zev circled his arms around Jonah’s waist, dropped his hands down the back of his pants, and caressed his backside.
“How can I forget when you bring it up all the time?” Jonah ground his hips against Zev and shivered when he felt the hard line of his erection. He reached for Zev’s zipper while pressing his face to Zev’s neck. “Sad, really, how you can’t acknowledge my superior academic skills after all these years.” He inhaled deeply, relishing the rightness of his mate’s scent, pushed Zev’s pants and briefs to his ankles, and then he cupped Zev’s bare dick.
Zev moaned and breathlessly said, “Fine. You’re infinitely smarter in all things, math included.”
“Don’t push your luck, Hassick.”
“Time to get naked, Blondie.”
Zev reached for him, but Jonah stepped back.
“Patience, Pup.” Jonah winked and then made a show of slowly peeling off his shirt, pants, socks, and underwear.
By the time Jonah was naked, Zev’s pupils were dilated, his lips were parted, and his heart thumped so hard, Jonah could hear it.
“Beautiful,” Zev whispered, his voice reverent.
Every nerve in Jonah’s body tingled with awareness and his balls throbbed with need. He rushed forward, pressed his naked frame against his mate’s, and wrapped his arms around Zev’s waist.
“Zev,” Jonah rasped. He leaned up and brushed his mouth over Zev’s.
“Right here, Blondie.” Zev bit his lower lip and then licked it. “Always right here with you.”
Meet Zev And Jonah!

Maintaining a relationship with the man he has loved since childhood isn’t easy for Jonah Marvel, but he won’t let distance or Zev’s odd family get in their way. When unexplained ailments begin to plague Jonah, he needs to save his own life and sanity in order to have a future with Zev.

Wake Me Up Inside, now at AmazonB&NKoboiTunesPayHip & Smashwords!

More From The Mates Collection

In Your Eyes


Two very different men with a tumultuous history must overcome challenges from all sides and see past their society's rules to realize they are destined for one another.

Until Forever Comes


A sensitive wolf shifter and a vicious vampire challenge history, greed, and the very fabric of their beings in order to stay together until forever comes.


Have a great week!

CC