Latest Entries »

UNDERTOW, Prologue

Book Six of the SoulShares, MANTLED IN MIST, will be hitting your Kindles and landing in your Christmas stockings the first week in December. But Peri and Fiachra are far from the end of the SoulShares’ story. In fact, I just started on Sunday on UNDERTOW, Book Seven. And I’d like you to meet Rhoann, who’s a very different sort of Fae from any we’ve yet encountered…

(And if you haven’t yet started on the SoulShares journey, I’m putting a link to Book One, HARD AS STONE, at the end of this excerpt. Go ahead, you have a few months to get caught up…)

Roann2

August 16, 2013 (human reckoning)
Domhnacht Rúnda, The Realm

Rhoann corkscrewed lazily down into the shadowed depths of the gorge, his body parting the crystal water, his gleaming gray fur as slick as skin. He wouldn’t be able to stay down long, not in his seal body; salmon was better for exploring the deep places, or mer-form. He didn’t need to breathe when he wore those bodies; he was free to spend hours, days, tracing the caverns underlying his bottomless mountain-brackted refuge. But he wasn’t truly exploring; after all the long centuries, he knew every inch of Domhnacht Rúnda, the Secret Depths. He was simply reveling in his Element. And for the enjoyment of the caress of water, there was no sweeter form to wear than that of a selkie.

Rhoann Callte.

Rhoann froze. The water spoke his name. It had never done that before.

Perhaps if he dove deeper, it would stop. The light around him went from aquamarine to tourmaline to emerald; he skimmed near the face of a submerged cliff, honeycombed with tunnels.

Rhoann Callte.

The voice was female. Something like his mother’s. He thought. But it had been many years since he had heard Miren’s voice, except in dreams. And the water had never spoken with her voice. His mother had been a Water Fae, but not an elemental.

He dove deeper, into colder, darker water. But his lungs were starting to hurt. He drew in the magick of the water, and shifted; fur became scales, gills pierced the skin of his throat. Everything around him blurred, colors became bluer. The cooler water of a tunnel beckoned him, and his salmon form darted inside.

Rhoann Callte. Rhoann Lath-Ríoga. Tá thú toghairm.

The words caught him. Like a fisher’s hook sunk deep under his jaw, only without the pain Rhoann had always imagined the true fish of his mother’s stories would have felt. He thrashed, he fought; his rainbow scales clouded the water around him until the words pulled him free from his refuge and into the open water.

Thou art summoned.

***********

http://www.amazon.com/Hard-As-Stone-Book-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00YB9RSNI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

It’s been a year…. so I thought I’d re-post this.

 

I thought maybe I was going to make it through this week without writing about depression. So many other people are speaking far more eloquently than I possibly could, there seemed to be no point to adding my voice to the chorus. Then I read a re-post, by a friend of mine, of a blog post which essentially said “Depression did not kill Robin Williams. He died by his own choice.” The original blogger went on to say that it was unfair to people suffering from depression to tell them that they had no control over their illness, that medication and therapy and spirituality were useless and that it was their neurochemistry that was going to determine whether they lived or died. That telling them this was taking away their hope. And that Robin Williams had chosen to ignore joy and hope and offers of help. Had chosen to let his illness win. The implication being that he had been free to choose otherwise. I knew in my heart that while there were certain points of truth in that post, from my perspective, it was basically, fundamentally wrong. But I didn’t want to post anything until I had in my head a clearer idea of what was wrong about it. Now I do.

First, I guess it’s kind of obligatory to establish my credentials, to be speaking about this subject at all. That’s hard to do, because to fully explain myself would require me to tell several stories that aren’t mine to tell. So I’m going to have to ask you, dear readers, to trust me a little, here. My part of the story, I can tell you. I’ve suffered from depression since the age of 17, had what I think was a nervous breakdown at 29. I was off antidepressant medication for most of my forties (kind of a miracle, given that my forties were also The Entire Freaking Decade of Perimenopause) but had to go back on for a while when my father died unexpectedly, three days before I turned fifty, and I found myself staring off into space during a dance class I was supposed to be teaching, wondering why the hell I should bother getting up out of my chair. As for the rest, yes, I have been affected, deeply so, by the suicide attempts of several people very dear to me. Affected to the point where my therapist tells me I have most of the symptoms of PTSD. So I think I can speak from the perspectives of both the depressive and the ones who are (nearly, in my case) left behind.

Addressing the original blog post: It would be wrong, yes, to tell someone with depression “This illness is going to kill you.” Just as it would be wrong to say the same thing to someone with cancer. But that’s only true when you’re talking to the living. It’s another matter entirely when you’re talking about the dead. To tell someone with depression who is still living, “You have control, you have a choice,” is at least arguably true, and may be helpful, may give them strength. (Although it could have the opposite effect, more about which in a minute.) But to say of someone who has taken his own life (I’m sticking with the male pronoun here for the sake of simplicity and in deference to Mr. Williams) “It was his choice, not his illness,” is passing judgment, when we have no idea what was in his mind in his final moments. I know there are people out there who call themselves Christians who have no trouble with that notion. But my Christ is the one who said “Judge not,” and I try to honor that. Yes, even though I was nearly left behind twice.

We don’t know what kind of pain Mr. Williams was in, in those final moments. We’re slowly starting to come to some kind of societal consensus, I think, that someone who is in unbearable physical pain and sees no hope of respite may be justified in choosing to end that pain. Why do we assume that emotional, spiritual, mental agony is easier to live with? Or that there’s some kind of special moral imperative that emotional pain can never be too much? Might it not be true, at least in some cases, that we are the ones who are being selfish, if we sit in judgment on someone who is suffering, emotionally or spiritually or mentally, beyond what he can bear, and tell him that he is being weak and cowardly by not staying alive for OUR sakes? And if it’s true in some cases, then it stands to reason that we can’t know for certain whether it was true in the case of any particular individual who takes his own life. Judge not.

And I mentioned earlier, it might NOT always be a good idea to remind a living person with depression that he has control over his illness. Every person with depression is different, at least in some ways. And purely from my own perspective, when I’m at a low point, nothing makes me feel like more of a failure than the thought that I SHOULD be controlling this, I’m ABLE to control this, I’m just such a total fuck-up that I CAN’T control this. I’ve failed at everything else, now I’m failing at being in charge of my own thoughts and emotions. It’s just one more judgment against me, one I’m entirely ready to believe when I’m that low. Not all depressives think like I do. I know this. And if someone has let you know that this sort of reminder is helpful to them, then go for it. But please, don’t sit in judgment on the dead.

Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD is, to me, the most perfect description of depression ever written. The blasted landscape through which the father and the son travel in that book is a pitch-perfect externalization of the internal landscape of depression. Bleak, hopeless, colorless, a world in which the most valuable piece of wisdom a father can pass to a son is the proper technique to blow one’s brains out with a single shot before the cannibals turn you into meat on the hoof, and in which finding a place of rest and respite is a terrible thing because you know it will be stolen from you. Yet, ultimately, it speaks of hope, a hope that the reader has to accept because it’s not a pretty hope, a unicorns and rainbows hope, it’s a hope almost as desolate as the despair that came before it. Because (spoiler alert!) the father dies. But… he brought his son to a place where he would be taken in and cared for before he died. Ultimately, his best was good enough. Everything he had was enough.

Who are we to say, in the end, that Robin Williams didn’t give everything he had? Or that it wasn’t enough? Rest in peace, Genie. And may someone, somewhere, be making YOU laugh.Genie

 

 

 

 

VolykHuman

VolykWolf

I’d like you all to meet Volyk. He’s an oboroten’, a uniquely Russian kind of shape-shifter, and he first made his appearance in my Dreamspinner Advent Calendar story, “Ilya and the Wolf.” Now I’m almost finished turning Volyk and Ilya’s story into a novella, “Wolf, Becoming”. And I wanted to share part of that story with you. The short story didn’t give me room to show you Ilya’s first shape-shift. But now I have world enough, and time. And here it is.

*****

Ilya shivered in the narrow opening, his skin pebbled with goose-bumps despite the two sets of arms wrapped around him, his own and Volyk’s. “At least there’s no wind.”

Volyk didn’t seem bothered by the cold; his tanned skin was smooth under its varicolored dusting of hair. “Would you like me to go first, so you can see it happen? Or would you prefer I wait for you?”

“I think… I need to see. To know.”

Volyk nodded. “Then watch. It happens quickly.”

A kiss, and he withdrew his arms, stepping away from Ilya and out into the snow-brightened sunlight.

Even warned, Ilya almost missed what happened. It was as if a silver veil, one invisible until now, was pulled away. And as the veil fell away, Volyk changed. As if he plunged into some invisible fall of water as a man, and emerged as the great wolf Ilya barely remembered.

Yet he was the same. It was Volyk who looked up at him, his eyes burning amber, his ears pricked forward and his tail arched up over his back. His Volyk.

Impossible to doubt. Not quite impossible to be afraid… but Ilya set his fear aside. Time for a new life.
No. He had already found his new life. This…

…this was Christmas morning. A gift.

He could feel it happening, as he stepped out. He hadn’t expected that. Maybe the first time took longer. Or maybe it was different, for a man who had never been a wolf. Like unexpectedly deep water. Trying to breathe, drawing in nothing. Falling.

Not falling. He stared, stunned, at paws, his own paws, white paws crunching into new snow.

#You take my breath, wolf-mine.#

The voice was in his head. It was Volyk’s.

Ilya turned his head, wondering at the way his whole upper body turned with it. Volyk was watching him, amber eyes blazing; fur of black and brown and gray and cream was scattered with silver light.

#Volyk?# He took a step toward the wolf. Another. Another. Stopped, confused, as three feet obeyed his command to walk. The fourth joined them, and he sat down hard in the snow.

#What is it?# Volyk’s whiskers pricked forward. Ilya thought he looked amused.

#I have too many feet.#

Volyk threw back his head and laughed, silently, his breath forming crystalline clouds in the still air. The not-sound was so joyous, Ilya couldn’t help but join in, even as he blushed. Or did whatever it was wolves did when they were embarrassed.

#I think that problem should pass quickly.# Yes, the wolf was smiling, and not only with his inner voice. #I had the same trouble when I first changed.#

Ilya nodded, and this time the strangeness of the movement was less. #Going from four legs to two must have been harder than from two legs to four.#

#Here.# Volyk turned and bounded away, plowing a furrow through the new snow. Maybe twenty meters off, he stopped and turned back, his forepaws splayed, his tail fanning the air. He looked like a great playful dog. #Come to me, wolf-mine.#

Ilya tried to bound. His first few attempts landed him face-first in the snow. He didn’t mind, not when the reward for his attempts was more of Volyk’s rich laughter. And by the time he reached the varicolored wolf, he had figured out how to make his back end and his front end cooperate.

At least, until Volyk hit him broadside and rolled him over and over in the snow, still laughing. Snow flew, snow clung to his fur, a warm muzzle rubbed against his.

At last they came to rest, tumbled in the snow. #Wolf-mine,# Volyk murmured, the fire in his eyes bright enough to see even in the full daylight.

#Wolf-mine.# The thought was alien, but not, and wonderful. A shiver ran down Ilya’s spine, ending in a strange twitching feeling. At the very edge of his field of vision, something moved. Something that shouted ‘prey’, begged to be pounced on. Ilya leaped.

Volyk rolled in the snow, unable to contain his laughter, as Ilya chased his new tail, around and around.

Burning Roses Firestorm

Two hearts on fire… sometimes it’s romance, sometimes it’s a conflagration…

FIRESTORM for Kindle at: http://www.amazon.com/Firestorm-SoulShares-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B011AKJNAG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

All five

Ask my teenager, and I’m sure he’ll be glad to tell you all about how his Mom larned her readin’ and writin’ and cipherin’ by scratching on the face of a shovel with charcoal. But even the oldest of dogs have been known to learn new tricks, and I’m going to spend this weekend meditating on the mysteries of the QR Code.

I’m listing all the buy links for the SoulShares below, and I’ll be updating (and filling in the blanks) as I get links. If any of the links don’t work for you, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do what I can to fix them. (Which will probably involve telling my son that Mom’s out of charcoal again…)

SOULSHARES BUY LINKS

Hard as Stone (Tiernan Guaire and Kevin Almstead)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Hard-As-Stone-Book-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00YB9RSNI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Hard-As-Stone-Book-SoulShares/dp/1626011931/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hardasstonebookoneofthesoulsharesseries-1815080-340.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-as-stone-book-one-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1121999716?ean=2940151651233

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hard-as-stone-2

Gale Force (Conall Dary and Josh LaFontaine)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Gale-Force-Book-Two-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00ZG85LVY/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434072678&sr=1-5&refinements=p_82%3AB009M8XQP2%2Cp_n_feature_browse-bin%3A618073011

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Gale-Force-Book-Two-SoulShares/dp/1626012016/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434070650&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=rory+ni+coileain+Gale+Force

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-galeforcebooktwoofthesoulsharesseries-1825463-149.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gale-force-book-two-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122095801?ean=2940151450300

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/gale-force-2

Deep Plunge (Lochlann Doran and Garrett Templar)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Plunge-Book-3-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B01096BDXM/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_6_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435115747&sr=1-6

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Plunge-SoulShares-Rory-Coileain/dp/1626012075/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1436488478&sr=8-2&keywords=Deep+Plunge+Rory+Ni+Coileain

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-deepplungebook3ofthesoulsharesseries-1840037-340.html
Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deep-plunge-book-3-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122189321?ean=2940151138369

Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deep-plunge-book-3-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122189321?ean=2940151138369

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/deep-plunge-1

Firestorm (Rian Sheridan and Cuinn an Dearmad)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Firestorm-SoulShares-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B011AKJNAG/ref=sr_1_7_twi_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436489308&sr=1-7&refinements=p_27%3ARory+Ni+Coileain

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Firestorm-Book-Four-SoulShares-4/dp/1626012105/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436549455&sr=1-1&keywords=rory+ni+coileain+firestorm

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-firestormbookfourofthesoulsharesseries-1846722-149.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/firestorm-book-four-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122266522?ean=2940151024006

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/firestorm-54

Blowing Smoke (Lasair Faol and Bryce Newhouse)

Amazon (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Blowing-Smoke-Book-Five-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B011HE7RG2/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1436754435&sr=1-3&keywords=Rory+Ni+Coileain

Amazon (Paperback) – http://www.amazon.com/Blowing-Smoke-Book-Five-SoulShares/dp/1626012121/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

All Romance eBooks – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-blowingsmokebookfiveofthesoulsharesseries-1851332-149.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blowing-smoke-book-five-in-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122287929?ean=2940150794184

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/blowing-smoke-5

And, just for good measure –

“Ilya and the Wolf” (Dreamspinner Press, short story, Russian shapeshifters) – Amazon (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Ilya-Wolf-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B00QEUP9XS/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_7_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436845609&sr=1-7

Heart of the Oak (Ellora’s Cave, novella, Gille Dubh) – Amazon (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Oak-Boys-Will-Book-ebook/dp/B00FBF4XIY/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436845523&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Tempted+from+the+Oak+Rory+Ni+Coileain

Tempted from the Oak
(Ellora’s Cave, novella, Gille Dubh) – Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Tempted-Oak-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B00J8N6SY2/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_8_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436845564&sr=1-8

This Sunday, June 28, is something of a harmonic convergence here in the land of the Fae and the home of the hawt….

It’s Pride. THE day. Stonewall – June 28, 1969. Which was…

My seventh birthday. Stonewall wasn’t exactly the kind of party my parents would likely have been pointing out to me on the news, but an auspicious coincidence nonetheless. And then…

June 28, 2012 – I received and signed the contract for the first four SoulShares novels. My first books.

And now, this year – wow, what a party!

RBGEquality

I haven’t been able to party quite as hard this year as I have in years past, mostly because I’m in the middle of a re-launch of those original four SoulShares novels, plus the fifth – and just finished writing the sixth – and am hard at work on an expansion of “Ilya and the Wolf” into a novella, “Wolf, Becoming”. (And in my spare time, I parent, work my day job, eat, sleep, and breathe. Not necessarily in that order.)

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to celebrate! – far from it. Though I’m hoping to be out and about tomorrow, marching in our local Pride parade and attending Pridefest (though if it rains like it’s supposed to, it’s going to be more like Pridepuddle), I want to have a party.

So here’s the deal. I will leave this post open until I get back from CONvergence on July 5th. For every comment to this post (directly on my blog, not on Facebook) I will donate $1 to the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youth in New York City. (Yes, you may comment more than once.) And every comment here, and every Facebook “like” and “share” (made directly on, or from, my profile page or my Author page – I have to be able to find the posting, so if you like and share a copy someone else shared, I love you from the bottom of my heart but I probably won’t be able to find you) will get you one chance to win your choice of the following:

1. Kindle copies of the Riverdale Avenue Books editions of HARD AS STONE, GALE FORCE, DEEP PLUNGE, and FIRESTORM;

2. Autographed paperback copies of the Ravenous Romance editions of HARD AS STONE, GALE FORCE, DEEP PLUNGE, and FIRESTORM (out of print, collector’s editions!); or…

3. A short story, max length 2000 words, featuring two characters of your choice from any of my books, novellas, or short stories. Just for you.

Please leave some way to get in touch with you in your comment — and

Happy Prideanniverthday, everyone!

Hopeandhistory

TwoCovers

Tired of falling in love with a series and then discovering you have to wait a year for the next book? No worries, the SoulShares have your back!

HARD AS STONE (SoulShares #1):

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hard-As-Stone-Book-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00YB9RSNI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hardasstonebookoneofthesoulsharesseries-1815080-340.html

GALE FORCE (SoulShares #2):

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-galeforcebooktwoofthesoulsharesseries-1825463-149.html
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Gale-Force-Book-Two-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00ZG85LVY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1434044525&sr=8-5&keywords=rory+ni+coileain

And watch for DEEP PLUNGE (SoulShares #3) (releasing June 24), FIRESTORM (SoulShares #4) (releasing July 1), and BLOWING SMOKE (SoulShares #5) (releasing July 15)!

Hard as Stone Final

Hard as Stone, Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/Hard-As-Stone-Book-Soul…/…/ref=sr_1_3…

Hard as Stone, All Romance e-Books: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hardasstonebookone…

Hard as Stone, Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hard-as-stone-2

***prior post***

“Ay me! For aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.”

So Lysander said, in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream…. and so it can occasionally be said of publishing! I fully intended to have a pre-order link for HARD AS STONE available in time for the cover release, but alas, ‘twas not to be. So here’s what I’ll do – I’ll post the link here as soon as it’s available. And if you’d like a reminder, comment below with your e-mail address and I’ll send you the link as soon as it’s up.

Also, as a reward for following Kevin and Tiernan this far, here’s another excerpt from HARD AS STONE – enjoy!

TiernanMikeGrell

Tiernan leaned against the windowsill, looking out into the early evening pedestrian traffic on Bleecker Street. He hadn’t really been living in Greenwich Village long enough to get particularly nostalgic about it, only a few years, but it had a pleasant aura to it. A good vibe, he supposed some humans might call it. He’d lived in a lot of places, in more than a century and a half on this side of the Pattern, moving around every few years, before the humans around him started noticing that he didn’t age. He’d even lived in D.C. a couple of times, once right after the American Civil War and then again back in the late Forties, for a few years. This place, though, had felt as much like home as anyplace in the human world ever could.

But that was about to change. He shrugged and turned away from the window, his gaze raking the efficiency apartment. The bathroom door stood ajar, revealing the sybaritic tub and shower combination he’d violated pretty much every rule this building had in order to get installed. A shame he couldn’t take that with him. He wasn’t one to accumulate things, but he’d grown very fond of that bad boy. Sixteen settings on the shower head alone… damn.

The coffee maker tugged at what passed for his heartstrings, too, but it at least was a brand name and he could always order another one—should have already, he’d groaned out loud when he’d first discovered that his human drank instant coffee. Caffeine is caffeine, Kevin had said with a shrug, their first morning waking up together.

Instant coffee is sacrilege, had been his snarled reply.

It had been met with laughter. You’ll have to tell me more about that religion.

He’d let that one go, since the Fae had no gods. And even if they did, he doubted any would have followed him through the Pattern. What use a half-souled god? With a congregation of one? So far as he’d ever been able to tell, anyway. Granted, Fae had never exactly lined up in the Realm for the privilege of being torn asunder, but it had happened before. There had been stories. But he had yet to meet another of his kind.

The open mouth of his duffel bag beckoned from the California king-sized bed that took up most of the rest of the little space. Most of his clothes were already packed, and his shitkickers stood next to the bed, waiting for him to step into them. Truthfully, he preferred to be barefoot. He didn’t like to be encumbered, and he didn’t feel the cold. Much.

He had finally felt it, though, in the small hours of this morning, standing on the National Mall with Kevin. At first, the shivers had been the last fading remnants of nightmare, the same one that had made him lash out. But gradually, the cold had seeped into him, spreading from the soles of his feet up through his body, and when his human had drawn him in, he’d only put up token resistance, leaned in and pressed himself close and sighed, splaying his hands out over that broad strong back.

Come stay with me, Kevin had whispered.

He’d started, and drawn back, and seen chagrin in that dark brown gaze. I know it’s sudden, but if what you’ve said is true and we really do share a soul… Kevin’s struggle with that concept had been a mighty one, and still was. Then maybe it’s the right thing to do. And maybe I can help you with the dreams.

Going to let me black the other eye for you? He’d shaken his head, and tried to protest; in the end, though, the lawyer’s persuasive powers—and a hot kiss or three, complete with unfair breathless moans—had carried the argument.

He shook his head, reaching down to pick up the battered leather volume on the small table beside the bed, and the little leather pouch half-full of charcoal sticks. A few leaves had been torn out, and then tucked back in; he ran his fingers idly over the rough edges, then jammed book and bag into the duffel. He stepped into the boots, stomped his feet down into them. Almost done.

A belt hung over one of the bedposts, as if he’d played ring-toss with it; he caught it up, unbuckled it, and slid it through the belt loops of his leathers. The sheath hanging there was empty, but that was easily remedied. His stiletto was stuck in the plaster wall, almost at eye level, over the bed, right where he’d thrown it.

One of the two pages tacked to the wall was his latest attempt to capture in charcoal the intricate knots and loops of the Pattern; no two drawings were ever the same, and none was ever quite right. Even trying to copy his tattoo didn’t help, for some reason. Maybe someday he’d get it right, though, and then maybe it would quit haunting his fucking nightmares.

Then there was the other. He pulled the stiletto free, slipped it into its sheath, and smoothed the gouge it had left in the thick paper with a fingertip. A breathtakingly beautiful fair-haired woman looked back at him, caught by a few strokes of the charcoal, in the act of looking back over her shoulder. Just as she had when she’d Faded from his cell, a century and a half ago.

If he’d ever had the ability to love, it had died in that cell.

He reached for the torn page… stopped. There was nothing more here he needed. He buckled the duffel shut, hoisted the strap over his shoulder, the truesilver links coiled around the strap jingling softly, and Faded. Without looking back.

Welcome to my stop on the Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia!

HAHABT badge 2015

May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia—if you’d like to check out the official link, here ‘tis: http://dayagainsthomophobia.org/

I’m just one of 115 participants in this year’s Hop — you can link back to the others at http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com/ We hope you’ll take a look around, visit as many blogs on the Hop as you can – it goes on until late on May 24th.

And every stop offers a chance to win a prize! Comment below, with your e-mail address (so I can reach you if you’re my winner), and after the Hop ends on the 24th, I’ll choose one commenter at random to win a Kindle copy of “Ilya and the Wolf,” my 2014 Dreamspinner Advent Calendar story!

And as long as we’re all here….

“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

I think it’s safe to say that those aren’t words any of us in the LGBTQIA community want to hear. But I’ve been thinking about them for a while, because that’s what I do when I hear a statement that’s obviously wrong, but that doesn’t have an equally short, pithy, effective comeback. Well, maybe not “think about”. I kind of obsess, to be honest. Can’t help it, I’m a lawyer, it’s in my DNA.

And after enough obsessing, I realized that I have a slightly different perspective to bring to the table, one I haven’t heard before. Maybe it’s useful, maybe it isn’t. I’ll let y’all decide what it is for you.

For seventeen years, I was married to an alcoholic. Al-Anon saved my life. Through Al-Anon, I learned that when you love an alcoholic, detachment is a survival skill. Just because you genuinely love the alcoholic person doesn’t mean you approve of or love or support or enable their self-destructive behavior. Their illness.

Now, where have we heard something like that before?

Please understand, I’m not making any kind of comparison between alcoholism and being LGBT. Obviously, being LGBT is not self-destructive, behavior, or an illness. The comparison I’m making is between responses—a comparison between Al-Anon-style detachment and the superficially similar “hate the sin, love the sinner”.

You see, detachment is a genuinely loving response, one that simply recognizes the realities of a relationship with an alcoholic. And I can’t help but wonder if, at least sometimes, “hate the sin, love the sinner” might not also be coming from a loving place. Someone who fears what he or she doesn’t understand, but is trying, however imperfectly, to reach out. A genuine commitment to love a “sinner” despite the perceived “sin” might even be a much more compassionate attitude than that held by the majority of the people who surround such a person.

It’s undeniably true that not everyone who says “hate the sin, love the sinner” is speaking from what they consider a place of love. Far from it. Some of these people are genuinely toxic.

But some people who use those words, who believe them, are really trying to love, the best they know how. I know, because I used to be one of them. At least, I belonged to a religion that taught that (although my particular church was also quick to remind us “judge not, lest ye be judged”). In the end, in my case, love won. But there are more of me out there. I know there are. More who would be our friends, our allies, who would love us if they only knew how. And we need to reach that love.

In my small way, that’s part of what I’m trying to do in my writing. I’m obviously not a gay man, and my m/m romances obviously aren’t an incisively accurate portrayal of the full spectrum of gay life. But they’re a door into a reality that at least some of my readers have never understood, never even tried to understand. I want to make that door as inviting as possible, to persuade readers to step through and discover for themselves that there’s no “sin” on the other side for them to “hate”.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18.

GM-500-x-604-NO-background

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,085 other followers