I’d like to thank Dale Cameron Lowry at https://readersandwritersforlgbtchechens.wordpress.com/ for giving me the chance to help signal-boost the terrific work of Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens and Books Save Lives. If you read my books, or my Facebook posts, or pretty much anything I write anywhere, chances are you don’t need to be told about the horrific scenes presently unfolding in Chechnya, gay men imprisoned, tortured, killed – some by the authorities, some by their own families in “honor killings.” Concentration camps, and governments – including, to my shame and outrage, my own – turning a blind eye.

So, instead of telling you that story, I’d like to start by telling you a story about a story.

I was inspired to write WOLF, BECOMING by a panel discussion at the first Rainbow Con, back in 2014. The Sochi Olympics were coming up, and the institutionalized homophobia in Russia was very much on everyone’s minds. I was a panelist on a Sunday morning panel on “religion in LGBT fiction” (It was Easter morning, it seemed appropriate), and someone proposed doing a charity anthology – all m/m stories set in Russia or the Ukraine, all featuring HEAs – gay men living and loving their truths in a regime that was beginning to indicate that it had no intention of allowing them to do either. And I got to thinking about a dear friend of mine, a gay Russian man, living in the U.S., who I’ve known for over 20 years. He had lost his partner to cancer a few years previously, and had followed his partner’s wishes and brought his body back to Moscow for burial. And by 2014, because some American embassy attaché’s kid decided to write a book about his years in Russia during the Cold War and thought it would add verisimilitude to out my friend, my friend can’t go back to visit his partner’s grave, not without risking his life.

And right after I left that panel, I discovered that the Dreamspinner Advent Calendar anthology for 2014 was going to feature Christmas stories from countries other than the U.S. Now, I’m not necessarily the brightest bulb on God’s Christmas tree, but when an idea hits me over the head hard enough, even I notice.

So WOLF, BECOMING was born, a novella-length story out of ancient Russian legend and the modern day, a wolf shapeshifter reviled by wolves for his strangeness and the third son of a powerful Russian oligarch, a wealthy man who can’t afford the disgrace of a gay son. The story pulls no punches – one reader has commented “You know, this is the first Christmas story I’ve ever read that features an attempted fratricide.” It’s dark and cold, yet it’s also warm and beautiful and the HEA I wished I could have given to my friend, and so many men like him.

I wish I could reach out and do more now, as another cancer spreads in Chechnya. I’d offer the royalties from WOLF, BECOMING, as part of the good work Dale and so many authors are doing (go check out that link at the head of the article for even more ways you can help) but Volyk and Ilya would have to hit the NYT bestseller list for me to be able to give as much as I’d like. Although I will donate royalties to Rainbow Railroad – at the end of this post is a link to WOLF’s page on QueeRomance Ink, which isn’t a sales page but has links to every place you can buy the novella. And if you hit me up on Facebook by private message, or e-mail me at Rory (dot) Ni (at) yahoo (dot) com, and attach a screenshot of your receipt, or some other proof of purchase, before the end of May, I’ll donate the royalties. But I want to do more – so every comment on this blog post before the end of May will mean another $1.00 donation from me. I’d let the comment period run even longer, but this money needs to get where it’s going, so we can get these men to safety.

So…. read, comment. And wherever you are, and whoever you speak to, speak up. Speak out. Silence is a luxury no one can afford right now.

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WOLF, BECOMING’s QueeRomance Ink page:

https://www.queeromanceink.com/book/wolf-becoming/