Giving Back

 

Many years ago, when my children were little and my youngest son was in the fourth grade or so his class did a project for Thanksgiving about what they were grateful for. One of the things on his list was that we always had a phone and our utilities were never shut off.

That was a real WOW moment for me.

There was a time that broke was a step up in the world. However, there was never a time we didn’t have a home, or heat or food. Sometimes the home was a tiny apartment that we squeezed into and the food was hot dogs and peanut butter and jelly.

Things are a bit different now. My kids are a dog and cat. More months than not I rob Peter to pay Paul and something is always paid late. But, it all gets paid.

I still have a home–one I own now. I have a car, something I couldn’t always afford. The neighborhood I live in is much better, and I can buy groceries.

These changes are a result, in part, of the fact I now publish books. People pay for those books, which has added to my income. I’m extremely grateful for that extra income and it makes a huge difference in my life.

Along the way from published to royalty check there are a number of people who help authors out free of charge. They give their time and energy to creating blogs where books can be showcased, increasing exposure. They offer reviews, post interviews and run contests.

These blog owners and their reviewers help my career as an author a lot. So, when one of them asks for help raising money for a worthwhile charity there is no way I’d refuse.

See, there are an awful lot of people who, through no fault of their own, don’t have a home, or enough to eat. They might face bullying because they’re part of the LGBTQ+ population. Maybe there are health issues they face and don’t know where to go for treatment.

The point is for many young people times are bleak and they may feel suicide is their only option.

Which it’s not.

I have always liked to give back, be it with my time, my money or something else. I don’t have a lot to offer in the way of financial support, but I do have books to contribute.

When one of the blog owners I work with regularly put out a call for a fundraising project I jumped at the chance.

Kim from Kimmer’s Erotic Book Blog came up with the idea to sell bundles of books at a discount and donate the proceeds to the Trevor Project, which supports LGBTQ+ youth in the United States.

I’m willing to bet everyone reading this post buys books. Here’s a great way to help someone less fortunate, get your book fix, and maybe try a new author. (ppsssttt…my book is the first one in the picture, Gone Away.)

It’s important to give back, even when you don’t feel very fortunate yourself. There is always someone worse off.

Oodles and goodles of book bundles be HERE!

Until next month,

Happy Reading!

Elizabeth

 

 

Tempeste O’Riley’s Monthly Author Column: Disability Author or Writer of Life?

Hello everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by again. I know I’ve been MIA for a bit *blushes* but health has been kicking me around a bit. But, I’m back and will do my best to be here every month for you. Today I’m here to talk a little about something I keep being asked and thought I’d write up as a post instead of relying on all the little replies making the rounds, lol. “Are you a disability author?”

Now, that’s an interesting question that I both smile and frown at. Yes, you can do both, lol. The answer is no, I’m not. Yes, I have a habit of writing characters that have challenges, be they abuse, family, mobility, health, hearing, or other…. But, I do not consider myself a “disability author.” I’m not specifically writing “disabled” characters as a “thing.” I know some authors have a niche, but mine is homoerotic love, in all it’s forms, though I’ve only written with boy bits so far (under this name). I do have a few differently-abled (love that term, thank you Josh for insisting I see myself that way instead of a disabled or broken as I had been told I was by others now in my past!) characters, but the point of the story isn’t their mobility or hearing or … issue, it’s the friendship and life and eventual love they find that their “disability” has nothing to do with.

We all want to see ourselves in the stories we read, the poor, the sick, the rich, the lonely, the successful, the ___…. I write for everyone. Therefore, I put a little of everyone into my stories. One day, you might even find you in one Winking smile

Right now I’m working on two books—the MCs keep trading off who’s louder, ugh! –and in one, one of the MCs has an anxiety disorder and is a sub and in the other, the soon to be sub has been met before, in Dreamers’ Destiny. Nate was referred to as having twisted legs by one of the other characters, though it didn’t bother the guy. It was just a descriptor like saying he had blue eyes or something. What he actually has is severe Internal Tibial Torsion (rotated shin bone) and Femoral Anteversion (twisted thigh bone).

Should we consider either one disabled?

Now, for a fun question or two… Do you have any questions/topics you’d love to see me write about? If so, please email me at tempeste@tempesteoriley.com and let me know! Also, what should I call my monthly column? It needs a name…. But as most know, I’m shite with naming things. Ask anyone in the know how Whiskers of a Chance got it’s name, lol…. For all suggestions, ideas, or just to drop me a note, please email me at tempeste@tempesteoriley.com.

For a chance to win any eBook from by backlist, tell me your favorite story with an MC that had a disability of some form (physical, mental, etc.) in the comment section below. (Don’t forget to leave your email so I can notify you if you win.)

And remember, having a little glitch makes us unique, not broken. Be proud of being you and hold out for that person that sees all of you, instead of just the issue. It’s worth it—even more so in real life than in the stories we write.

Turn The Page…. (Suicide Awareness & Prevention Anthology)
by Tempeste O’Riley, Dianne Hartsock, Nikki Prince, Grace R. Duncan, Sue Brown, Aine P Massie, Carole Cummings, Hope Ryan, Mark Zubro, Antonia Aquilante, D. Zander Crane

M/M F/F Transgender Genderfluid 
Contemporary Urban Fantasy Paranormal BDSM Romance
(Each story is unique and special, so the genre varies wildly. All are LGBTQ)

Publisher: Abbey of the Brew City Sisters
Cover Artist: Jess Small
Release Date: October 7, 2016 (ebook/print)
Length: Novel / 270 pages

Turn The Page…. began as a simple idea and grew from there. No matter how bad things seem to be, just turn the page, there’s more—better—things to come. This is only one chapter in your life. It’s not the whole story. With this simple idea, Novice Sister Eroti-Quill—whom most know better as Tempeste O’Riley—began their quest to help Suicide Prevention and Awareness programs in their area. They managed to con (excuse me, convince) other authors to donate their time and stories to the project, and now, many months later, Turn The Page is born!

The authors in this anthology donated their talent as a way to support Eroti-Quill’s hope for others, to help bring strength to programs that so desperately need funding. It will allow them show those that need support but may not have it, or that may be afraid to reach out, just how much love and understanding surrounds them. Turn The Page…. is a diverse range of stories about the journey of love, hope, and acceptance.

Amazon  Create Space   B & N  Smashwords Kobo 

Homo-Erotic Romance Author, Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t – defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since. Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. They count their friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life.

Tempe is also a PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA.

Website: http://tempesteoriley.com/

A Different Kind of Holiday Guide

Hello and welcome to my December column! The weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been cold and icy this week, but we got some beautiful snow as well to put us in the holiday spirit.

You might have seen the infographics going around near Halloween, explaining the reasons behind some less-than-desirable behaviors that kids could exhibit around the candy bowls. Well, this is that—sort of—only regarding the queers whose families have bailed.

I know, a lot of people have found their large family of choice and love the holidays. Many—family of choice or not—just don’t. We’re not bad people, we just don’t think or feel the same way holiday-lovers do. It’s not something you’ll hear a lot of talk about—it’s just not socially acceptable to be riddled with anxiety about the holidays, or outright loathe them.

Some of these might only apply to me, but some are from other folks entirely and I reserve the right to preserve plausible deniability. 🙂

  1. If you get an email that doesn’t ask about your Thanksgiving or whether you’re ready for Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule/etc., that person might not be a mean Grinch. They could be super-rushed.
    • Or, they could have barely made it past Thanksgiving with their sanity intact and are grateful it’s over;
    • Or, they could be experiencing so much anxiety over the holiday season that they spend hours editing the holiday greeting sentence and still feel it doesn’t sound normal enough to send;
    • Or, they might have so much anxiety about it that they delete the whole email and end up not answering you at all, even if they really want to keep in contact.
  2. If someone isn’t talking about their holiday plans—where they’re going or who’s coming to their house or what they’ll be cooking—consider that they might not want to discuss it because in their world the holidays are a time to batten down the hatches and ride things out, not a time to celebrate.
  3. If you’re organizing a work potluck and someone says they’re not into it because they’re trying to lose weight, consider that they might be using that excuse because it’s easier than saying “potlucks remind me of my mom, who cut me out of the family because I’m queer”. They might honestly be trying to lose weight or eat healthier, but all three are good reasons to bow out of a potluck or resist sampling every treat brought to the office.
  4. This might seem a little off the track, but bear with me. In some cultures it’s seen as respectful to call people cuz—as in cousin—or auntie. I know they don’t mean to hurt anyone, but consider the person whose family won’t let them be an aunt/uncle/cousin because of their orientation or gender identity. If you call someone “auntie” and they’re unhappy about it, maybe stop calling them that without a big discussion about why.

Some people don’t have families to celebrate with, and even some who do have a hard time around the holidays. Your quiet acceptance can go a long way toward making this time of year more bearable. Hugs might also help, but you might want to ask permission first.

Happy Holidays!

holidayweekend_headerbannerIf you like a little angst with your holiday stories you might like my Christmas story Holiday Weekend, Buchanan House: Book Five. It’s releasing next Friday, the 16th.

Sign up for my newsletter here for more information about the blog tour for Holiday Weekend, advance news of a special sale, and upcoming releases.

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This post originally appeared on my Charli Coty blog for #QueerBlogWed.

photo credit: marfis75 santa hood (cc) 🙂 via photopin (license)

Looking Backward with Charley Descoteaux

2015-rainbow-rose-facebook-iconHello, Charley Descoteaux here, welcome to my monthly column at Authors Speak. The column below was written last week and doesn’t feel appropriate today. I’ll leave it up, though, with the hope that it will do a little good to someone, somewhere.

Take care of each other out there~tough times are ahead but we can make it through, together.

 

This month I’m going to talk a little about success.

While pursuing goals sometimes it’s easy to overlook our successes. I know, that sounds strange, but please bear with me. Failures are often impossible to overlook, which is okay as long as we learn something. In my opinion, overlooking success is often worse than not learning from our mistakes. It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of taking the time to reflect on our successes.

Recently I had the privilege to join a group of LGBTQIA+ Romance authors for a reading at a local Barnes & Noble. An amazing experience, it was something I’ve dreamed of since I first began writing with the goal of publication—way back in the mid-1990s. A reading at a real bookstore was one of the lines I drew in the sand. I told myself that that’s what successful authors do, and if I ever did it then I would officially be Successful.

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I’m not going to say I didn’t have a blast or that I don’t value the experience, because that would be lying. However, it did reframe a few things for me. For one, I don’t feel any more “successful” than I did before that reading, and am still battling the same burnout I felt before the reading. Secondly, if my monetary rewards are doing the talking, they’re saying success is still more of a concept than a reality where my career is concerned.

Since my books aren’t burning up any bestseller lists and I’m not busy buying a new home or taking exotic vacations, I thought a look backward at all I have accomplished was the way to go.

  1. In the past four years I’ve published fifteen works of fiction: 5 short stories, 7 novellas, and 3 novels, with another novella due out next month and another novel early in 2017.
  2. I’ve been paid for all but one of the works listed above. (And not only a nominal acceptance fee or contributor copies, which is what I earned on all the fiction I’d had published prior to 2013.)
  3. I appeared on two panels at Gay Romance Northwest Meet-ups: as moderator of panel on kink and panelist on bisexuality in Romance.
  4. I’ve met some truly wonderful people who I never would have met otherwise. Despite the fact that #3 is true, I’m the stereotypical introverted writer—much more comfortable with words than people. Becoming a Romance author has helped me expand my comfort zone to include this amazing tribe that’s accepted me and my odd little stories.
  5. I’ve received some lovely emails and messages from readers. This is probably my favorite of all; taking everything into account the main reason i sought publication in the first place was to engage readers, to tell the stories only I can tell and connect with people.

That felt really good.

I knew it would, and yet I didn’t even consider looking backward until I was searching for an idea for this column. It’s not easy to take a break from striving to move forward—building momentum is important in any career. But we all need a break sometimes. Taking those breaks, basking in the glow of our accomplishments, is an important part of reaching goals and being successful. At least it is for me.

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What’s on your list of accomplishments? What is your definition of Success with a capital “S”? How do you remind yourself of all the little victories you’ve had in your career, or just in life?

 

Thanks for stopping by! Before you go I want to tell you about two fun giveaways you can enter. The gang at Authors Speak is holding a group giveaway—one backlist book from each of the nine authors! Enter the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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I’m starting a newsletter and the first edition will go out on November 16th with an announcement, exclusive content, and a giveaway. Since it’s short notice I’m offering a free ebook to all subscribers through Nov. 16th. Click the rainbow rose to sign up.

onlytheroseSee you next month!

Taking Chances by Charley Descoteaux

castle-1016717_640Hi there, Charley Descoteaux back for my monthly spot on Author’s Speak. Thanks for visiting and thanks, Lou, for not changing the locks after last month. 😉

Recently, a friend sent me an email about a contest she thought I should enter. I missed the window because I thought none of my books fit the guidelines but that got me thinking about the contests I have entered, and why. (It also forced me to wonder how I could forget the ethnicity of one of my own main characters, but I’m writing that off to Real Life Interference.) Contests are fun to enter, and I always find new books for my TBR pile. With the way 2016 has been going I’m not about to pass up anything fun.

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Earlier this year I entered the Twitter pitch contest #DVpit. In case you haven’t heard of it (I hadn’t until the day before) #DVpit is a Twitter event created to showcase pitches about and especially by marginalized voices. Authors pitch their finished manuscripts in 140 characters or less and hope that an agent, editor, or publisher will favorite that tweet. Favoriting a tweet is an invitation to send the story,  to let the author know they want to read it.

My #DVpit pitches were favorited twice—which isn’t bad, considering I hadn’t had much time to prepare—by one agent and one publisher. The agent ultimately wasn’t interested but the publisher who liked the sound of my bisexual genderqueer Romance caught my attention and has since contracted a different story for publication early next year.

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Last week I heard that #PitchWars 2016 was about to start so I checked it out  and ended up submitting my #DVpit story. The submission window has just closed so I probably won’t know if anyone wants to mentor my manuscript until the end of the month, but that’s not really the point. Sure, I’d love to land an agent and a deal with a Big Five publisher but the point is that I took a chance, ventured out of my comfort zone. That carries its own rewards. It’s been fun following the different #PitchWars hashtags (especially #PitchTease and #knowthementees) but I don’t really expect to be chosen from the pool of literally hundreds of entries.

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The larger point of this post is that you never know what will happen when you take a chance. For authors, that could mean catching the attention of an agent or contracting a book with a new publisher. In life in general~the sky’s the limit.

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Next month I’ll be looking forward to the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up (especially the panel on bisexual characters which I’ll be on with some awesome authors and editors) and Bi Visibility Day on the 23rd, so expect something non-monosexual in this space! In the meantime, let’s chat about what you’ve done to shake things up lately.

What chances have you taken lately? How have you pushed yourself to grow—or just to have a little fun?

Leave a comment here or catch up with me online & continue the conversation!

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onlytherose

All photos used in this post are courtesy of the lovely folks at pixabay.com.

Self-Care is for Everyone by Charley Descoteaux

Hello and welcome to my monthly column at Rainbow-Gate!

I had a post all ready to go but I scrapped it. (Okay, archived it.) This is a happier post, but far less editing has gone into it so if you see anything that makes you cringe I apologize in advance.

The past few weeks have been, well, horrible. I’ll spare you the gory deets, but doctors have been and will be involved for at least the next few weeks. In times like these, when life seems to throw feces regardless of which direction I jump, it’s easy to forget about self-care.

So I’m here to remind us all that it’s important to do things that make us happy. Rest and good nutrition are necessary, but so are the little things. Maybe even things we’ve wanted to do for a long time but were hesitant or even afraid to try.

 

I colored my hair purple for Pride and it made me so happy I’ve kept it that way. Not as purple, but I’m making sure the peek-a-boo highlights don’t fade. So many random people have smiled at me since I’ve had my purple hair and some have even said, “I love your hair” or “Cool color” as we passed on the street or in a store. And that feels pretty great.

 

Self-care doesn’t have to be as bold and unconventional as a 51 year old woman walking around with purple hair. Nobody even has to know about it except you. For instance, I tried to sleep in this morning but couldn’t. However, as soon as I get tired this afternoon (if I make it that long *lol*) I’m taking a nap.

 

I have deadlines and emails to write and a cat and apartment that need care—but I need care too.

 

 

What do you do for self-care? We can all use a new idea (or twelve) for how to treat ourselves better. You don’t have to share one to enter the blog’s Rafflecopter, but I hope you will anyway. Bonus points for ideas that are free or under $10 (hint: book recs are welcome!).

Thanks for sticking with me!

Al the info about the Rafflecopter (book $$ is involved) is in this post.

Catch up with me online & continue the conversation!

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onlytherose

 

All photos courtesy of johnhain at Pixabay.